Advanced Search >

13th Age Core Book
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

13th Age Core Book


13th Age

Bolt Strike Attack

13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming:

About 13th Age

In the 13th Age of the world, adventurers seek their fortunes in the Dragon Empire while powerful individuals known as Icons pursue goals that may preserve the empire from chaos, or send it over the edge.

Players decide which Icons their characters ally with, and which ones they oppose. These relationships, along with a personal history and a unique trait chosen during character creation, help define an adventurer’s place in the world of 13th Age and lay the groundwork for epic stories that emerge through play.

There are also fun new rules for hitting orcs and making them go splat.

“Our goal with 13th Age is to recapture the free-wheeling style of old-school gaming by creating a game with more soul and fewer technical details. …13th Age makes the play group’s campaign the center of attention, with a toolkit of rules that you can pick and choose from based on the kind of game you want to play. The mechanics draw from classic games as well as newer, story-based games.” – Jonathan Tweet, co-designer

Designed for experienced GMs and any type of player, 13th Age offers a fresh take on a familiar tabletop experience. Pelgrane Press gave Rob and Jonathan total freedom to create the game they most wanted to play. They brought the best parts of the great d20-rolling fantasy tradition together with innovative new rules, resulting in a game that EN World readers named “2013’s Most Anticipated RPG”.

Play 13th Age as a standalone game, or use it as a source of cool ideas and add-on rules for make your favorite RPG. This 320-page core rulebook features:

  • Character creation that gives your adventurer a place in the world (and the GM dozens of adventure hooks) through Icon relationships and your One Unique Things

  • A simple, flexible skill system through Backgrounds that bring your character’s personal history into the game with every dice roll

  • Streamlined, free-form combat with new rules that make battles fast, fun and dramatic

  • DIY monster and encounter building sections so GMs can create adventures with little or no preparation

  • Notes from Rob and Jonathan on how they approach their own games—and where they disagree


About Jonathan TweetAbout Rob Heinsoo
Rob Heinsoo has created dozens of role-playing games, card games, miniatures games and board games. He led the design of the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons® and wrote or led the design of many 4e sourcebooks. Rob has just released the card game Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre. Other recent game designs include THREE-DRAGON ANTE, THREE-DRAGON ANTE: Emperor’s Gambit, Inn-Fighting, Dreamblade, FORGOTTEN REALMS® Campaign Setting, and the first nine sets of D&D Miniatures®. Games he worked on in the 90’s that have aged well include Shadowfist, Feng Shui, and King of Dragon Pass.

Jonathan Tweet has been creating games professionally for 25 years. He created or co-created the roleplaying games Ars Magica (1987), Over the Edge (1992), and Everway (1995). He started writing for Dungeons & Dragons in 1992, and in 2000 he became the lead designer of the game’s third edition. In addition to roleplaying games, Jonathan has created and contributed to card games, miniatures games, computer games, and fiction. His games have won three Origins Awards, and he is in the Origins Award Hall of Fame.

“13th Age RPG delivers an incredible fantasy storytelling experience.”

– io9

“One of the best systems I’ve encountered—and I’ve either played or read the rules to countless d20 systems at this point—is 13th Age… It’s fun, fast and accessible.”

– Forbes

“[13th Age] has just enough of the freedom I want from a tabletop game while also being able to balance the crunchy aspects. I was just about to swear off D20 games, too. So I’m glad I found this.” – Kirby Smith, playtester

“The system is absolutely brilliant. For me, it brings a lot of the things I really enjoy about traditional fantasy gaming and infuses them with some new and really useful ideas that you often see in more indie gaming.”

– Aaron R., GM of Forgotten Sagas of the 13th Age, Obsidian Portal’s March 2013 Campaign of the Month

13th Age

 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (9)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Oliver K January 27, 2014 4:10 pm UTC
This is of course purely a matter of taste, but here's my opinion:

- Damage increases by level, based on your damage die. This helps making the non-magic classes competitive - as they have bigger damage dice for melee and ranged in general.
- No battlemat: 13th Age moves away from the mini skirmisher game feel of later iterations of D&D. I for one welcome that.
- Beautiful background system: Defines your character's story and history through a set of jobs and backgrounds it had. Very powerful and simple way to do skills, great for getting players engaged and coming up with creative applications during play. (It feels like Barbarians of Lemuria which I also like.)
- Escalator Die: Simple and elegant means of portraying battle momentum. I like it!

- Different mechanics for each class. (And each have a degree of complexity you should master.)
- The Icons: I find the 13 Icons being the big archetypal players in the setting not to my taste,...See more
Customer avatar
John P. H April 06, 2014 8:33 pm UTC
You mention that 13th Age does away with using a battle map; does it entirely lack any mechanism for miniatures? I hadn't used minis very much until I started playing Savage Worlds a couple of years ago, and we like that very much for being able to visualize what is happening in a confrontation.
Customer avatar
Simon R April 07, 2014 10:29 am UTC
Hi - we use a battlemat, but it's not required. Distances are more abstracted. I do find it useful for visualisations as you do.
Customer avatar
John P. H April 08, 2014 8:59 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Bryce W September 18, 2013 7:12 pm UTC
This game is what I want from a d20 fantasy core rules. The fights are quicker (thanks to an escalation die) the monsters are more flavorful than 3.X and 4.0. (granted I've only seen the monsters in the core book). The modular choice of class abilities means I can actually have a paladin that doesn't lay on hands but has a different talent (why didn't D&D think of this before?). The fact that you take incremental advances after each session rather than waiting for a whole level makes my players happy. It takes what I liked about 4E, that being streamlined mechanics, and what I liked of 3.X, lots of player powers that all aren't forced into the template of damage, move, or condition like 4E was and creates something that I would call simply D&D streamlined. If you like the classes of 3X but want more choice, and you like the ease in which 4E played, this game is for you.
Customer avatar
Rory H September 15, 2013 7:05 am UTC
Although I've head people argue otherwise, to me, this game is very much a '4.5' Edition of D&D. The tropes and mechanical basis of the game is similar, which is obviously the Heinsoo influence. One could argue that the Tweet influence lies in the more 'storytelling' aspects of the mechanics, and it is true that it has more of an appeal to this style than the heavy 'boardgame' elements of 4e. The production and pdf standards are very high (the only problem being the missing Druid Class, as far as I can see), but it's not quite the game for me. There are good ideas in there, like the easy-to-use monster stats, and Icons. It's just I still feel, like with 4e, that the Classes and characters are too power driven rather than truly character driven. That may be just me though.
Customer avatar
Joseph L September 18, 2013 12:07 am UTC
The Druid will be included in the Supplement : 13th Age True Ways (According to the Kickstarter page)
Customer avatar
Blake C December 17, 2013 8:24 pm UTC
First off, a brief statement. I purchased this direct from Pelgrane, hard copy, as a pre-order. I've seen a good bit of teh beta process, and the amount of feedback that they went through and actually listened to was astounding.

I'd call it more of a 3.75 (what Pathfinder claims and fails to be) than 4.5, but either number you use, it is really a mix of things that just -work- for RPG's. There's no massive tables no complicated rules, nothing that slows down a game. The removal of a grid gets rid of the boardgame feel that 3.5 and 4e had. The flavor of the monsters and how that's reflected in their stats (and their SIMPLE yet complete stats) is heads above any other OGL system out there currently.

As to the missing classes: Druid and Monk were both originally planned for the core book, but they were delayed because they didn't feel right. To me, even though I love both classes, and was very impatient to see them, was the right decision. I've seen a playtest version of the monk, and the...See more
Customer avatar
Kyle W December 19, 2013 5:19 am UTC
On the contrary, I think it's actually more like a 3.75. While it certainly maintains some of the concepts of 4, such as having combat equity for characters and plentiful at-will abilities, I note a distinct opposite direction-rather than being combat focused, combat actually feels like it's less centered on in this, instead the focus is on skills and interesting characters. Where 4 resembles an MMORPG, 13th Age is more like an interactive fiction; fewer rules and more story.

I do, however, agree that the missing Druid is somewhat annoying; with a whole Icon devoted to it, the Druid really needs a presence.
Customer avatar
John P. H April 06, 2014 8:34 pm UTC
Does the game lack provision for use of a battle map? See my comment/question to Oliver K, above.
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Platinum seller
Rule System(s)
Publisher Stock #
File Size:
46.81 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
October 18, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on September 13, 2013.