Magic items make the world go ’round, right? The Book of Loot is a fantastic piece that further cements 13th Age as the ultimate balance between role playing and combat. As I’ve stated in my All That Glitters… post, I’m not a huge fan of money or anything similar to that. Good thing this book isn’t about money, gems or precious metals! This book covers magical weapons, armor and trinkets that you can use in your 13th Age campaign.
What’s fantastic about this book is that it feeds into the system’s unique mechanic: The Icons. The entire book is full of Icon related magic items and categorized by the Icon affiliation they hold. Pretty neat! Even better, not all of the magic items contained within are for offensive/defensive use. As an example, the Boots of Dancing do nothing besides make you a really good dancer. Well… inherent bonus aside, anyway. While on that subject, the book also contains the table from the core rules in regards to inherent bonuses for magic item type. To be precise, it’s the first actual content page of the book. Coincidence? I think not!
The obligatory index in the back of the book is categorized by item name alphabetically, in case you know what item you want but can’t remember what page it’s on. The overall layout of the book is horribly convenient and makes it a serious charmer.
Before getting into the list of magic items but after the inherent bonus table, the book gives you a list of items that demand a story, relentlessly practical items, campaign defining artifacts and unforgivable puns. The more story driven stuff is really awesome from the GM side, and the puns are awesome for the witty player that likes to make their mark on the game outside of character. Almost every Icon had at least one ludicrous magic item that is completely useless outsideof being random or fun as hell to role play.
Some of the evil Icons have some more dark and macabre items associated with them, which is something that really does call to me and my style of GMing/gaming. The Unyielding Plate in the Crusader section is really awesome for a heroic character, and slightly morbid for someone who identifies with the Icon. It should go without saying, but you need not have an association with an Icon to choose one of their items from the Book of Loot. Unless, of course, the item itself is tied to that Icon in its’ description. Such are rare cases, but I believe that the point of classifying the items into Icon categories was to give the player or GM some serious inspiration to give the item a story. In my experience, this has worked insanely well.
An easily overlooked beauty of this book is the fact that each Icon entry in this work has an “Adventure Hooks” section at the end, giving GMs some ammunition as to how your PCs may stumble upon or be associated with these magic items. Another brilliant stroke from the folks at 13th Age.
Probably my favorite thing about 13th Age magic items is the entry of what is called “Wondrous Items.” These items don’t fill up any of your Chakra slots and are basically things that don’t fall into the category of weapons, armor or implements. Wondrous items are novelties, seemingly mundane items that hold some immense and interesting magical power. That item might be as simple as something like a Dwarven Mug, a magical mug that turns everything put in it into Dwarven ale. Useless as far as a combat items could go, but completely awesome in a role play scenario. These make for interesting interactions between player characters and NPC’s alike, while also having some degree of utilitarian application.
To build upon the small empire they created with the magic items section of the core rules and furthermore the magic item section of 13 True Ways, this books also has a section for one use items such as potions and oils. The section is rather short, considering the book is more for Icon related true magic items, but still there are some really awesome gems in there.
In regards to what I said about coins and gems earlier, I totally lied. To me, it’s the more mundane part of the book because I don’t use such things. HOWEVER! The way the Book of Loot approaches non-magical items of particular value such as jewels, currency and other treasures in an interesting way. The folks at 13th Age provide you with a random roll table with some pretty great descriptions of what coins, gems and treasures you could possibly incorporate into your game. Conversely, you could bypass the roll table and choose the entry that fits your campaign or specific adventure. Even me, as a person who hates tracking wealth, can find value in these guidelines as proposed in the Book of Loot. They provide a description of some unique jewels, coins and treasures that could be found that have more of a story impact than a mechanical one. My favorite.
Overall, this book was amazingly done with some really brilliant creative minds behind it. The Book of Loot is essential for any 13th Age enthusiast that wants to add an extra edge of creativity and uniqueness to their campaign,
Stay Metal \m/