Organized Play


I've only just started running 13th Age after picking it up in the Bundle of Holding.

I'm interested in participating in, or more accurately, running the organized play adventures. When one of my current campaigns ends I hope to start running an open game at a local store.

I'm a little confused though because there doesn't seem to be much information on the program other than just the adventures. I've been reading the 1st adventure of the 2nd season and am not sure how 6 2 hour sessions would work.

Is there an adventure that explains things better, or a website? Any help would be appreciated.


  • The first season adventures included more information on how to run Organized Play, and I wouldn't be surprised if a number of these are repeated in the GM Resource book. Here are the basics:
    OUTs - One Unique Things for PCs should not be "only", as rotating players may share an OUT, and if they ever play in the same session, the OUT is no longer unique.
    Players help with world building - Between OUTs, backgrounds, and the random ramblings of players, there is no standard Dragon Empire. Celebrate the contributions of each player.
    Bus Stop GMing - By segmenting adventures into discrete, 2-hour chunks with definitive beginning- and end-points, you should be able to participate in organized play (ideally) around the country and stay in synch.
    Recap sessions - To help those that are just joining you get up to speed and to remind everyone else about the key points of the previous session, recaps (which may involve redcaps, those devious little monsters!) help to maintain continuity.
    Index cards are essential - These work wonders. Ideas for using index cards include: name tents; quick references for OUTs and backgrounds; scenery/terrain; initiative tracking; and note-taking, of course!
    Montages - Rolling isn't always necessary to advance an adventure. Montages are great way of involving all of the players in some quick exposition and a chance to shine. Just remind them of the focus for the montage and let them take the story reins for a bit.
    Battles - Most adventure segments/parts have at least one battle. Luckily, they usually have a chart that shows how many of each enemy to use based on attending players.
    Skill checks - One and done, meaning one roll is all that should be needed, though that sometimes means one roll per character. Couple that with fail forward ideals to maintain momentum and avoid getting bogged down.

    Looking at the adventure you've already read, Icon Options are also important. Because you won't necessarily know which icons are important to the PCs, these options allow you to customize and cater the adventure (in small ways, typically) to the PCs' icon relationships.

    Hope that helps! Is your concern with working six 2-hour sessions related to time constraints or something else?

    And just to nip a potential question in the bud, you may ask, "Is there anything else to Organized Play besides adventures?" As far as I know, there are only adventures at the moment. That may change in the future.
  • I guess my confusion was more due to the Pathfinder Society being intended for convention games where this is intended for playing at a game store?
  • The Organized Play sessions help reduce a significant amount of prep time for the GM. Although I still recommend glancing through them to get a gauge on how long or short a combat scene might entail. When my group did Quest in the Cathedral (level 2, season 1), we ended up changing some of the combat scenes to montage scenes in order to save on time (and I was running these in my home, not at a game store).

    Each Organized Play can be broken down as follows:
    - the Adventure - why the heroes are here
    - the Arc/Session (1.x, 2.x) - the first number indicates what they had in mind for a general play session. This occasionally requires some effort on the GM if they're working with time constraints. Or you can just pause it mid-way.
    - the Scene (x.1, x.2, x.3) - these are scenes that require the players' interaction. They could be Montages (storytelling challenges encountered and ways that they were overcome), Combat, Traps, etc.

    When they say six 2-hour sessions, they are referring that the heroes (ideally, sometimes they might drag on later than game store hours) will play through Session 1.x on the first game day/night, Session 2.x on the second game day/night, etc. and stopping at the end of Session 6.x

    Hopefully that helps to explain things better. If not, then post other questions for clarification.
  • What I'm really having trouble with is what players do between games if they end up at a different table. I guess everyone is assumed to use the honour system?
  • That could be a potential problem with health potions, runes, and magic items. Health potions and runes would be on the honour system. Magic items would require GM-to-player discussion, in case someone already had that item or you're trying to limit the magic items in play.

    For HP and recoveries, the honour system usually works well unless the players aren't given regular chances at full heal-ups (like going 4+ fights without a chance at fully resting). In this case, I've noticed players tend to lie about their recoveries used (even those with regular attendance).

    If a PC jumps in/out of your table sessions and is too healthy in terms of the party's average, ask if they'd be okay with forfeiting a recovery or two. You could storytell this off due to their character having to catch up to the travel distance the party made, or to show that the "new" PC was surviving it on their own until the party happened to cross their path.

    If in doubt, then just ask what the other players at your table think would be a fair balancing act.
  • That's a good idea, JeanH13, if we're 3 encounters since the last full healup new players can start with reduced recoveries.
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