• Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age compatible review

    by  • June 27, 2014 • Reviews • Comments Off

    Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age edition

    This is not just a simple conversion of statblocks from Pathfinder or another system to 13th Age, but instead a far more complete and complex book, with nods that make it into something (though very limited in this aspect) of a campaign book, namely the addition of Icons for the Midgard setting.

    The reasons for this are honestly very simple, statblocks for 13th Age are designed to be small and simple with as much as possible contained in that space. If they’d just included those, this book, which is 105 pages, would probably not even be 30 afterwards, even with the Icons.

    So what do they put in as a replacement? Pretty much anything that might be of use to a GM running with a particular entry. Magical items related to the creature in question, info on their nature, their culture, what you might find on them, much of which is very similar to the official 13th Age Bestiary which will be in print soon (actually, already is, but due to a misunderstanding by the printer, was not shipped out once finished). This is not a book of MONSTERS, but of beings both intelligent and base, with information to make use of them beyond just something to fight. This keeps with the nature of 13th Age as something of a heavily story based game.

    And if that was it, I’d be satisfied and tell you this is a good buy, but it’s not. See, they also provide stats for some of those who have entries in the book as PC kin. Want to play an intelligent ghoul? Well, there are rules! How about a ravenfolk or minotaur? Sure!

    And that’s part of what really shines with this book and hit me, that it doesn’t just focus on “monsters” but on creatures which are not classical PCs but deals with them as people, and with those who are often PCs but left out of Bestiaries, such as say dwarves or gnomes. It feels like there’s a real balance here. Even if you don’t plan on using the Midgard setting, some of the creatures, items, and such are just too tempting to ignore. You’re going to find something not just for GMs, but Players in every entry. And that pushes this from a good buy to a should buy in my opinion.

    As a side note, I really hope that more companies look at books like this (and the official Bestiary for 13th Age) and take notes. When I was a teen, sure, lots of stats were enough, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the tastes of myself and my friends changing. It’s not just about monsters, but we want stories about PEOPLE, some of whom might classically called monsters. I like a good combat as much as the next girl or woman, but intelligent beings shouldn’t be treated the same as animals, even in a game. Maybe they tend to look at others as prey, but I want a game where things can be handled any number of ways, from diplomacy to the sword or even shadowy deals. The fact that historically, some of these things were, let’s say “informed” by people’s views of others ethnicity and such, I feel like it’s a nice step forward in the industry and shows you can have a respectful attitude and still produce awesome and fun material.

    You can find this book at these locations:

    Kobold Press store = http://koboldquarterly.com/kqstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=231
    Paizo Publishing = http://paizo.com/products/btpy8k4x?Midgard-Bestiary
    Amazon = http://www.amazon.com/Midgard-Bestiary-13th-Age-Compatible/dp/1936781271#

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    I am a young trans woman living out in a small town. I mostly game online, as I can't find players for meatspace. I write, most often prose, and consider myself passing good at such. I have a recent surge in my interest in feminism, though it has always been there. I love to read, play video games on occasion, and be outside.

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