Trumps of Winter
Vital stuff you should know about the game:
Lokva has strong fantasy Slavic/Russian flavor. It isn’t a one-for-one match, of course; it doesn’t have the proper Constantinople-equivalent neighbors to reflect the same influences. But it has many of the thematic elements intact — craggy mountains, wide steppes, mild summers and cold winters, and so on. It’s far from historically equivalent, so there’s no need for player homework on how things really worked.
13th Age introduced relationship dice so player characters could start play with ties to the movers and shakers of the land. Instead of using their generic Icons (the Dwarf King, the Orc Lord, etc.), the campaign’s “Icons” are powerful people (or things) that each hold one of the cards of the fabled Deck of Many Things.
Relationship dice don’t necessarily mean obedience, allegiance or vows of revenge. They are relationships, up to the players to determine. The player characters are autonomous at all times, free to answer their allies’ requests or to make other plans.
Here’s a list of how the various races fit into Lokva. Note that the options are even more extensive when you add in reskinning: see Kazimeer, the “comet transformed into a living metallic man” (i.e., “clockwork/forgeborn”).
- Humans: One of the dominant races of Lokva.
- Dwarves: Another of the dominant races of Lokva.
- Elves: Most Lokvan elves are outsiders from the frozen lands to the north and west. Ice elves are typically bluish or white-skinned, with pale hair.
- Halflings: A well-integrated race, from the pastoral burrowing halflings to the odd-jobbers of the cities.
- Tieflings: A small culture of devil-blooded wagonfolk, roaming the land in various caravans. They are often mistrusted, not least because they have a knack for certain forms of sorcery.
- Spartoi/Zmeyevich (Dragonborn): The products of enchantment, powerful humanlike warriors who grew from dragon’s teeth. Spartoi draw some power from their dragon “parent.”
- Clockworks (Forgeborn): A few sentient machine-people roam the nation. Most are creations of the Key.
- Aasimar: A rare scattering of mortals with angelic blood or some other form of heavenly blessing. Most are descended from seven legendary brothers and sisters of long ago..
- Ogrinka: The ogres of Lokva are smaller and smarter than most of their kin, though they become larger and more brutish if they eat the meat of intelligent beings.
- Orcs & Half-Orcs: A few orc tribes linger on the borders, most of whom swear allegiance to the great three-headed dragon. Local half-orcs are usually immigrants from the south or hail from a peaceful orc tribe.
13th Age classes vary in complexity, and are sometimes not quite what you’d expect if you’re coming into a game from another D&D game. Here’s a quick primer on how they handle mechanically in combat if that helps.
No class is banned; the only requirement is that you build a character that feels appropriately “Slavic-ish fantasy,” which may require some careful attention to reskinning mechanics or figuring out an interesting take. I am very open to out-and-out changing special effects so that your “druid” is actually a werebear berserker, or your “necromancer” becomes an ice witch calling up minions made of snow.
- Barbarian: Super-simple. Basic attacks, and the major mechanic is “Rage? [Y]/[N]”.
- Bard: A bit complex. They’re tied into the setting’s icons, which may mean a few tweaks and adlibs as the icons are different.
- Chaos Mage: Complex. Blaster with weird special effects. Random in a “the other players may stuff you in a sack” way.
- Cleric: Moderate. Spellcaster class, customized with domains.
- Commander: Medium complexity; some support ability. They use a command point mechanic: you gain command points with actions and spend them on interrupts. Some healing.
- Druid: Variable complexity in play, lots of options at creation. There are five different druid specialities: you can be a beastmaster, elemental caster, shapeshifter, terrain caster (environment-themed powers) or healer, but you’re not equally all five at once.
- Fighter: Simple. The fighter chooses what maneuvers to use after an attack roll, depending on what he rolled. Plenty of improv but not as good for planning.
- Monk: Medium complexity. Built around a “setup, strike, finisher” combo pattern.
- Necromancer: Medium complexity. Can be a summoner/pet class. Minor house rules because fuck their “necromancers can’t be robust or classy” decisions.
- Occultist: Complicated. Lots of interrupts. Kind of a weird “fate-bender” class.
- Paladin: Simple. A little healing, a little smiting.
- Ranger: Simple. Basically chances to specialize in two-weapon melee, archery, having a beast companion, but mostly going to use basic attacks.
- Rogue: Low-moderate complexity. Uses powers to gain and spend momentum, a mechanic that rewards movement.
- Sorceror: Medium complexity. Themed casters (like dragon sorcerers that use breath weapons), but reskinnable.
- Wizard: More complex; mostly what you’d expect.