Heroes, it has been a HECK of a year, and we’re going out with a bang. J Michael Bestul gives us some hot tips on how to get the most out of modding 13th Age, which is a pretty rad system to begin with. Plus, a little waxing nostalgic in the intro and not one but TWO hidden kitties! Don’t ever say we never gave you nothing.

J Michael Bestul on Twitter
J Michael Bestul on G+
J’s website

Quinn Murphy’s post on Backgrounds
Wade Rockett’s post on creating meaningful Icons
Vault of the 13th Age

About the Author
Meghan Dornbrock knows that books are true magic, and has a weak spot for storytelling rogue-kings. An artist, animator, and all-around games enthusiast, she’s fascinated by the many different ways there are to tell a good story and is eager to see what’ll come next. Eventually she will die on Mars, but currently she lives in the uncool part of Brooklyn. Follow her on twitter or on her website.

2 comments on 26. Modding 13th Age with J Michael Bestul

  1. mrm1138 says:

    “I’ve never gotten past the first two hours of any Mass Effect game.”


    Okay, I admit that your feelings about Mass Effect are largely dependent upon your feeling about science fiction and space opera, but Mass Effect is what got me into not just Dragon Age but video game RPGs in general. Up until then, it was pretty impossible to not play a game that had taken at least some influence from RPGs—either with leveling systems or slight variations in story based on player choices, or both of those things—but Mass Effect was the first honest-to-goodness RPG I’d ever played. Before that, I tried Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but I couldn’t get into it due to the sorta-turn-based combat. I just kind of wrote off VGRPGs as a subgenre that weren’t for me.

    And then along came Mass Effect. Everything I was seeing for the design of the universe drew me in, and the fact that it used real-time combat (albeit pausable for the sake of tactical play) made it seem like something I could get into. And do you know what? I did. (I got into it so much that, after realizing a few hours in that I didn’t care for the class I’d chosen at character creation, I started over from the beginning with a new character!) This was the first time I’d played something where I felt like my choices actually mattered more than determining whether I got the “good ending” or “bad ending.”

    Then Mass Effect 2 came along and, in my opinion, blew the first one away by improving pretty much everything. After that, I found myself thinking that I needed to give a shot to everything BioWare did. So next up was Dragon Age: Origins. Unfortunately, I didn’t take to DA as quickly. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always loved the fantasy genre, but the gameplay was a little more like the turn-based VGRPGs I’d written off before. But I gave it a couple more tries, and somehow, the third time was the charm. (And while Origins is still my favorite of the series, I do think DA2 has the superior combat system.)

    Nowadays, I’m actually just fine with turn-based VGRPGs. I’m in the middle of Divinity: Original Sin, which is very much trying to recreate the style of classics like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. I hope to get to the similar Pillars of Eternity in the near future.

    Last but not least, this was a really good episode. I’ve been wanting to pay 13th Age for a while, but I’ve never had the opportunity. (I actually backed the Kickstarter, but around the time it came out, I’d never done any GMing. Trying to get people interested in a new system when you’re not really willing to run it yourself is exceptionally difficult.) It’s something I wish would get covered more often on the podcasts I listen to.

    1. Meghan says:

      Hey mrm! I’m really glad you enjoyed the episode, and that you’re just as psyched as I am to dig into 13th Age. J is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, it’s hard not to get hyped after hearing him extol the virtues of the system. 😀

      Your experience with Mass Effect is amazing, and sounds a lot like how I felt playing Dragon Age. It was the video game I can point to and say “This changed how I think about and experience games.” The lore and story took ahold of me and has never let go.

      Mass Effect comes up a lot on my show. It’s a franchise that people are PASSIONATE about, and for good reason! I’m really excited to be able to experience it as well, as everything I hear about the story sounds so so good. And after three DA installments, I trust BioWare’s storytelling.

      However, something I’ve mentioned previously is that I’m low-vision, so that real-time FPS combat is extremely difficult for me. I just recently started playing through with my fiance, who is a fan of the series, where they do all the shooty bits ad I get to control our choices. It’s VERY slow going though, but I’m excited. 😀

      Thanks for sharing. I can’t describe how happy I am to hear other people get what I do out of games like these. I think that’s really important and encouraging.

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