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Unconventional Enemies: Gnomes

Artwork: Gnomes from the 13th Age core rule book by Aaron McConell


Regardless of what game you’re playing, if they have gnomes, they tend to be a little eccentric and whacky. 13th Age is no exception to that rule. The rumors suggest that gnomes are, in a way, evolutionary predecessors to halflings, although their demeanor is different. Gnomes take joy in interacting with the “big folk,” although said folk may not like interacting with them given the context. It’s a gnomish hobby of sorts to surprise them, usually through illusions or magic tricks. One thing that may be different from other games, 13th Age makes no mention of gnomes being industrious or mechanically inclined. They do, however, live underground, whether it be in nature or in the modern cities of the Dragon Empire. Basement apartments must be pretty cheap to find, I’d imagine.

Plot hooks:

  • A dinner party in a dwarven city has been city has been ruined. The wine brought as a gift was poisoned, though seemingly unintentionally. This wine is rare, and can only be made through alchemical means. Having only one alchemist in the city narrows down your options as to how this happened; Maillon Greenleaf, the gnomish alchemist is now missing.
  • There’s word of a great beast that dwells in the Bitterwood near Shadow Port. Many claim to have heard sounds and seen great footprints that don’t match any beast, mundane or magical. Your PC’s find a trinket near one of the footprints, but no sign of a struggle. Something’s fishy here…
  • Makeshift towns litter the dwarven ruins deep under the surface, many are inhabited by gnomes now. A scavenger, Aines Tink, has sent word to the surface.  She knows that the dangers of the deep aren’t to be taken lightly and is in need of someone to share an adventure. The letter says that she is in search of a dwarven automaton, likely destroyed by the war, with intent to restore it as an arcane guardian of her people. Price firm, tech skills preferred, adventure at your own risk.
  • Some of the gnomes in the underground towns have been losing their marbles, and not literally. There has been an influx of random acts of violence all over the place with seemingly no pattern. The gnomes are reaching for help to end this affliction.



Artwork: Gnome Wyrm by Aaron McConell

Gnome Trickster

These guys like playing tricks in good fun, but when they’re threatened, the trick start to hurt.

2nd level spoiler [Humanoid]
Initiative: +5

Shiny dagger +7 vs AC – 5 damage
Natural roll is above target’s Wisdom (trapster): The gnome pushes the target into a trap. See the “trapster” ability in the 13th Age Bestiary (Kobolds section) or do an additional 4 damage (for the folks without the book).

R: Magic trick +4 vs MD (up to two nearby enemies) – 7 damage and the target takes a random condition, save ends.

Roll 1d4:

  1. Dazed
  2. Stuck
  3. Vulnerable
  4. Confused

Small: Gnomes have a +2 AC bonus against opportunity attacks

Confounding: Once per battle, when the gnome rolls a natural 16+ with an attack, it can also daze the target until the end of the gnome’s next turn.

AC: 17
PD:  15                  HP: 32
MD: 13



Gnome Illusionist

If you pretend that they’re not real, the spells don’t hurt anymore… right?

5th level blocker [Humanoid]
Initiative: +10

C: Paralyzing touch or gaze +8 vs MD (one nearby enemy) – 15 damage and the target believes they are paralyzed (helpless, save ends). If the helpless condition is a little too brutal for you, stunned hard save ends is a good alternative.

R: Blur – see the Wizard’s Blur spell from the core rules.
Limited use: 1/battle, as a quick action.

R: Is that… slime? +4 vs MD (one nearby enemy) – 20 acid damage and the target is stuck, save ends.

Small: Gnomes have a +2 AC bonus against opportunity attacks

Confounding: Once per battle, when the gnome rolls a natural 16+ with an attack, it can also daze the target until the end of the gnome’s next turn.

Minor Illusions: As a standard action, at-will, the gnome can create a strong smell or a sound nearby. Nearby creatures that fail a normal save notice the smell or sound. Creatures that make the save may notice it but recognize it as not exactly real.

AC: 21
PD: 15                   HP: 65
MD: 19


Gnome Paladin

The size of this one doesn’t mirror the influence. Some learn this the hard way.

9th level leader [Humanoid]
Initiative: +13

Sword and passion +16 vs AC – 65 damage
Natural 16+: The gnome paladin can make an inspirational cry attack.

[special trigger] C: Inspirational cry +10 vs MD (up to three nearby allies) – The target(s) gain a +3 attack bonus against the target of the gnome paladin’s initial melee attack until the end of the gnome paladin’s next turn.

C: Healing word (one nearby ally) – The target heals 1/4 its maximum hitpoints.
Limited use: 2/ battle, as a quick action.

Small: Gnomes have a +2 AC bonus against opportunity attacks

Confounding: Once per battle, when the gnome rolls a natural 16+ with an attack, it can also daze the target until the end of the gnome’s next turn.

AC: 26
PD: 20                   HP: 165
MD: 22


Anything else you want to see out of the gnomes or any of my other Unconventional Enemies? Send me a Tweet, reach out on Facebook or leave a comment below!


Stay Metal \m/

Unconventional Enemies: Halflings

Though it’s abundantly clear that nobody knows how halflings came to be, there’s a lot of speculation. One thing most people agree upon is the Prince of Shadows’ involvement in the matter. It would certainly explain why they’re so agile and sneaky. It’s apparent that that they may be related to gnomes somehow, simply due to their similar size and features, but that’s where the similarities seem to end. The real fact of the matter may never be revealed but we know that halflings are here, and they have their own way of life that is to be respected.

Known for being relatively docile and secluded from the more dreadful things in the world, it’s unlikely that anybody would end up fighting a halfling at all. Just like most things, certain situations can surprise you.

Adventure hooks:

  • The Archmage requires some arcane research to be done one the amity ward that surrounds Twisp, Burrow, and Old Town. He prefers that the operation be quiet, considering the local inhabitants would prefer not to be disturbed. They’re very adamant about that, and will likely confront anyone who potentially threatens their peaceful little pocket of the Empire.
  • Some of the river runners around the three halfling towns have been complaining of marauders that travel the tributaries to the Midland Sea. The disturbing part: they’re being robbed by their own kin.
  • In Glitterhaegen, there’s been a turf war between halfling gangs. Word on the street is the Twiddlefingers, a halfling thieves’ guild, are pitting their brethren against one another to distract from a grand heist they’re plotting.
  • A halfling businessman in New Port gave the same speech as the Priestess in a meeting with some business partners. Stranger still, just like the Priestess, he doesn’t remember giving the speech. All the halflings in the city are claiming that this is the true lead to uncovering their origin. Many influential halflings in the region are offering up some serious coin for someone to get to the bottom of it.


Angry Halfling

It may seem kind of comical to just have one mad at you but it becomes a lot less funny when he has twelve or fifteen angry friends.

Initiative: +7
3rd Level mook

Torch and/or pitchfork +8 vs. AC – 5 damage
Natural 16+: All other halflings gain a +2 to attack this target until the end of the                      round (this does not stack).

Small: +2 AC against opportunity attacks.

Evasive: Once per battle, when hit with an attack that targets AC, the angry halfling can           force that enemy to reroll their attack with at a -2.

AC: 18
PD: 16                  HP: 10
MD: 13


Halfling Cavalry

Whether they are mounted on a mastiff, ram, or mini-horse, a mounted halfling can be a formidable foe. 

Initiative: +13
Double-strength 5th level wrecker

Small lance or trident +10 vs AC – 30 (50/15) damage
Natural 16+: The halfling cavalry may do a pass (pop free and perform a free                                 move action).
Limited use: This attack is only usable while mounted.

Cavalry saber +10 vs AC – 30 (50/15) damage


Expert rider: While mounted, the halfling cavalry deals +20 damage with its attacks, hit or       miss, against unmounted enemies.

Mounted combatant: Reduce the halfling cavalry’s damage by 15 when it’s not mounted. The   halfling cavalry is dismounted when it’s reduced to 1/3 of its max hit points. A halfling         mount is then placed nearby to the dismounted halfling cavalry.

Mount: Whenever the halfling cavalry rolls a natural 1-10 on an attack roll, its mount acts       independently. Roll 1d6 to determine the random action:
1-2: Bite – The mount makes a bite attack
3-4: Impulsive movement – The mount pops free and moves to a random                                   nearby enemy.
5-6: Headbutt – The mount makes a headbutt attack

Small: +2 AC against opportunity attacks when the halfling is not mounted.

Evasive: Once per battle, when hit with an attack that targets AC, the halfling can force that   enemy to reroll their attack with at a -2. This ability can only be used when the halfling is not mounted.

AC: 21
PD: 20                  HP: 150
MD: 15


Halfling Mount

Initiative: +14 (or same as rider, if it has one)
2nd Level troop

Bite +7 vs AC – 10 damage

Headbutt + 7 vs AC – 5 damage and the target is dazed, save ends.

Uncontrolled: A riderless mount will flee the battle after it is staggered.

AC: 16
PD: 18                  HP: 28
MD: 12


Twiddlefinger Rogue

The name of this renowned thieves’ guild usually draws a giggle from those who hear it. It helps to distract them from the fact that their wallet and keys are being taken. 

Initiative : +17
8th Level spoiler

Quick daggers +14 vs AC (2 attacks) – 20 damage
Natural 16+: The target is confused, save ends

Frisk +12 vs MD (one confused creature) – The Twiddlefinger rogue steals a random true     magic item from the target. The Twiddlefinger rogue may use only it if it is a light/simple             weapon. Use the stolen magic weapon attack.

Stolen magic weapon +15 (+16 or+17, depending on item tier) vs AC – Average damage of the original owner’s damage roll. Any magical ability the weapon has can also be used as stated in the item description.

Small: +2 AC against opportunity attacks.

Evasive: Once per battle, when hit with an attack that targets AC, the halfling can force that   enemy to reroll their attack with at a -2.

Thief: The Twiddlefinger rogue will flee the battle once they obtain a magical item (unless       there’s a story/plot reason for them to stick around and fight).

AC: 26
PD: 22                  HP: 155
MD: 20



The Twiddlefinger idea is probably my favorite out of all of these, let me know what you think! And as always…


Stay Metal \m/

Unconventional Enemies: Dwarves

Rugged, proud, rich, unbending; such are the qualities of dwarves in most fantasy genres. 13th Age is no exception, and the consistency with Tolkien’s vision is what captivates me. To truth is, these little buggers may be more inclined than most to oppose the interest of most PC’s/adventuring parties. Whether its unreasonable paranoia, jealousy or they simply just don’t feel like it, dwarves tend to give those in their lands that aren’t kin a hard time. With them being touchy already, one misplaced word in a sentence can lead to the clash of steel. Dwarves are hardy just like the mountains they call home, perhaps this fight is a little more than you bargained for. Their disdain for elves certainly won’t help you if you’re traveling with one. And so, the perceived and eternal conflict between their race and the world seems to continue. As the last civilized bastion between the horror that comes from the Frost Range, can you blame them for being so bitter? We see some dwarves in the Midgard Bestiary but not really anywhere else. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Adventure hooks:

  • Anvil is buttoned up tighter than a purse in Shadow Port. The Crusader’s forces are knocking on the door claiming there’s a hell hole being opened within the city.  Skodr Ironshank, the overseer of the city appointed by the Dwarf King, refuses to open the doors. Anvil is basically under siege by the Crusader, hoping they can continue their witch hunt. Tensions are high, and that’s the last thing the Empire needs.
  • You’ve been stopped by a dwarf in Glitterhaegen. It seems like he’s never seen a battle in his life, based off the finery he wears, yet he claims the magical sword you carry is an ancestral heirloom. He’s either a pathological liar or you’ve unwittingly stumbled upon the remnants of someone who’s had a less fortunate adventuring career. The shady fellows that watch from the surrounding plaza are eyeing you carefully. This guy’s pockets run deep, the loyalty of his goons deeper.
  • A band of brigands or a secret dwarven task force? The matter is up for debate, but what isn’t is the fact that dwarves have been perusing around Burrow and Old Town. They’ve been asking a lot of questions about the surrounding area and are clearly looking for something. Whatever it is, it smells like trouble and rarely do dwarves travel so close to the Queen’s Wood. Thankfully, dwarves aren’t exactly the best at being completely covert.
  • The Emperor’s forces were working with that of the Dwarf King’s in a recent mission to clear out a thought to be ruined hideout of Orc Lord supporters. A powerful artifact was found in their clutches and the Dwarf King claimed ownership of it before talking it out with the Emperor. It’s now stored in Forge, under 24/7 surveillance. The Emperor has great need of you, terms must be set. The catch? Well, dwarves don’t like being told no, much less the Dwarf King himself.



Dwarf Muscle

They call them muscle because the standard for battle prowess is so high that there’s no difference between a guard and a solider. Unlucky for you that you’re on the wrong side of the ax’s haft.

Initiative: +8
5th level troop

Disproportionate weapon +10 vs. AC – 20 damage
Dwarven cooperation: If one or more dwarves are engaged with the target, when this                 attack misses, a second attack (no more) can be made at a -2 penalty.

Heavy crossbow +8 vs. AC – 15 damage

“Is That Your Best Shot?” – The first time a dwarf is staggered or reduced to zero hit points, it heals one third its max hit points.

AC: 20
PD: 20                   HP: 74
MD: 14


Dwarf Battle Captain

It’s no secret dwarves have no trouble cooperating on the battlefield, but these guys make sure there’s no room for error.

Initiative: +11
8th level leader

Ancestral Weapon +14 vs. AC (2 attacks) – 30 damage
Natural even hit: One nearby ally can make a free move action to engage the target. If               they are engaged with an enemy already, they suffer an opportunity attack at half                   damage.

Battle cry +12 vs MD – The target is vulnerable to dwarf attacks, save ends.
Limited use: The dwarf battle captain can only use Battle Cry twice per battle.

“Is That Your Best Shot?” – The first time a dwarf is staggered or reduced to zero hit points, it heals one third its max hit points.

Unit tactics: For every two dwarves in the battle (round up), one of them can use well-armored as a free action once during the battle. (see Well-armored from Hobgoblin Captain in the core rules).

Nastier Specials:

Battlefield mastery: All dwarves in the battle gain the Escalator ability.

AC: 22
PD: 22                  HP: 135
MD: 16



Dwarven Centurion

At first glance, this hulking, steam-powered contraption is some sort of automaton hellbent on making your day worse. Until you see the braided beard poking out from just underneath the face plate, that is. Some wise guy is piloting that thing!

Initiative: +13
Large 10th level wrecker

Massive fists +17 vs AC (2 attacks) – 70 damage
Miss: 7d10 damage

Steam blast +15 vs PD (all nearby creatures) – 50 fire damage and 20 ongoing fire                            damage.
Natural 16+: The target is popped free from the dwarven centurion

Turtled up: The pilot of the dwarven centurion is not exposed until this creature is reduced to zero hit points. When the pilot is exposed, replace the centurion with a single Dwarf Muscle.

AC: 28
PD: 25                 HP:435


As with the other entries, feedback is hugely welcomed either via Twitter or a message to my Facebook page!


Stay Metal \m/

Unconventional Enemies: Elves Part 2

Wood elves are in a bit more of a pickle than high elves. The High Druid is rumored to have many wood elf followers who prefer her radical views on society vs. nature. Having an entire race of elves stuck between two Icons creates fertile ground for conflict.  With their racial power, wood elf PC’s have enormous potential to put down some pain on anyone who stand in their way. Having a wood elf enemy is most unwise.


Wood Elf Hunter

Quiet in the thickest of brush with a keen eye. You’re a bit unlucky that you’re now their prey.

Initiative +12
4th level Archer [Humanoid]

R: Longbow +9 vs. AC – 10 damage
Natural even hit – 5 ongoing damage and second (no more) longbow attack can be                     performed on a different target.

Arming sword (2 attacks) +7 vs AC – 6 damage

Elven Grace: When the escalation die is even, wood elves can forgo their move action to perform an additional standard.

Lethal hunter: The first time an enemy is staggered by the wood elf hunter, it is affected by fear.

Nastier Specials:
Dead shot: If the wood elf hunter is attacking from far away, it gains +2 to its crit range.

AC: 19
PD: 17                   HP: 50
MD: 15



Wood Elf Druid

Usually when you find yourself in druid territory, you have a chance to turn back. If the roots of the tree ahead are already grabbing at your feet, it’s too late.

Initiative +8
5th level blocker [Humanoid]

C: Ripping vines  +10 vs. PD – 15 damage and the target is stuck and grabbed, save ends.

C: Feed the plants (one stuck/grabbed enemy) + 10 vs. PD – 12 damage

Wooden stick +5 vs AC – 8 damage

Elven Grace: When the escalation die is even, wood elves can forgo their move action to perform an additional standard.

Magical grabbing: When a target is grabbed by its ripping vines attack, the wood elf druid does not suffer the typical effects of being the grabber.

AC: 15
PD: 20                    HP: 62
MD: 17



Wood Elf Shifter

These elves are the pride and joy of the High Druid. Only the most honorable of her followers gain the ability to assume animal form. Wood Elf shifters almost never fight in their humanoid form. It’d be an insult to their patron.

Initiavite +15
Large 7th level wrecker [Beast]

Claws, teeth or horns +11 vs AC (2 attacks) – 25 damage
Natural 16+: The target is also hampered.
Miss: Half damage

Meal time (one hampered enemy) +11 vs AC – 50 damage
Miss: 10 damage

Skin changer: The wood elf shifter can change into a humanoid form to perform this attack:
Weapon for thumbs +12 vs AC – 15 damage and 5 ongoing

Bestial fury (animal form only): Wood elf shifters gain a bonus to damage equal to double the escalation die.

AC: 22
PD:  20                  HP: 210
MD: 17


The Wood Elf Shifter is designed to be a pretty tough enemy, ideally a very important adversary story-wise. I hope you find the monsters useful, they are pretty versatile and meant to be a serious challenge.


Stay Metal \m/

Unconventional Enemies: Elves Part 1

Lions, diretigers, and owlbears, oh my! There’s definitely no shortage of monsters in the realm of fantasy role playing. If you’re in need of something to crawl out of the gloom and harry your party’s progress, whether it be the 13th Age core rulebook, 13 True Ways, or 13th Age Bestiary, you’re definitely covered. Best part is that there’s more on the way with the shadowy and mysterious Bestiary 2 on the horizon.

What about fighting potentially friendly and reasonable adversaries? We have  little to work with, some half-orc tribesman in the regular book along with some humans, drow-a-plenty in the Bestiary. I find myself yearning for more, since I definitely enjoy moral conflict. Fighting somebody where there’s a chance that the conflict could be avoided adds some interesting dynamic to a story. Elves will be the first friendly race gone awry we’ll visit. As a race, they tend to be snooty, arrogant, condescending and slow to anger in regards to patience with other races. Of course, the Three Shards of the Crown all have different personalities and racial tendencies. With the drow covered by official material, I think we’ll simply look at the wood elves and high elves here.

Elvenkind is fractured in the Dragon Empire, the war with the dwarves has created unrest and hostility between the three shards. This single fact alone could put elven PC’s at odds with one of the other two species simply for being around. Perhaps they unwittingly wandered into an area where the relationship is so shaky that they’re outright banned. This could be a good cause for physical conflict, with some verbal conflict prior being a fantastic way to set the scene. Here are some plot hooks to give some conflict with elves:

  • You’ve unwittingly stumbled across a treaty line and have since been discovered. The elves tell you that you’ve strayed in the wrong direction but according to your map, the place you need to go is somewhere within their proclaimed boundaries. Things might get complicated…
  • You’ve been labeled by the Elf Queen as criminals. She’s clearly mistaken, but she’s put a death mark on the party. Elves hunt you, and they don’t seem like they want to talk much.
  • An Icon thinks that the Elf Queen’s containment of the Green is insufficient. They’ve caught wind that the Blue and the Black have a plan to break him out in an attempt to make their influence more prevalent. Their power lust can’t be ignored, the Green must be moved but the Elf Queen is perhaps over confident in the security of her Court of Stars. The time to take forcible action is now.
  • The High Druid and her wild elves have started to reclaim various forests around the Dragon Empire. Many Icons believe this is a move to usurp the land from them. Maybe there’s more to the picture than initially though. Whose side do you choose?

Elf Wizard.jpg

High elves tend to be more arcanely inclined traditionally. With their racial bonuses in the core book, it leads me to believe they make sufficient paladins or rogues as well. However, as we encourage here at the Heavy Metal GM, don’t let yourself be bound to a mold or trope, explore! Here are some high elf adversaries:

High Elf Infantry

Orderly, prideful, trained. High elves are bent on preserving their culture and traditions, these ones are willing to die for it.

Initiative: +10
4th level troop

Weapon of war +10 vs. AC – 11 damage
Natural even hit or miss: The target takes +1d6 damage.

R: Longbow +10 vs AC – 7 damage
Natural 18+: Treat the attack as a critical hit.

High Blood Teleport: Once per battle, the high elf infantry can teleport to a nearby location it    can see.

Infantry unit training: If more than one high elf infantry engaged with the target, a missed        attack deals half damage.

AC: 19
PD: 15                                 HP: 48
MD: 18



High Elf Alchemist

Their wizard friends think they’re a schlub, but don’t be fooled, they’re just following a hobby that they’re good at. Extremely good.

Initiative: +8
5th level spoiler [Humanoid]

R: Flask Surprise! (3 nearby enemies in a group) +10 vs. PD  – 12 damage and 5 ongoing    random energy damage (see Sorcerer class)

Tricksy poisoned dagger +7 vs. AC – 10 poison damage
Natural 16+: The target starts making last gasp saves. The target also takes 5                              damage for every failed last gasp save. Potent poison can be surprising!

High Blood Teleport: Once per battle, the alchemist can teleport to a nearby location it can        see.

Potion quaffer: The first time the high elf alchemist is staggered, it will quaff a potion for a    random effect. Roll 1d4:

1: Wrong Potion!: The alchemist suffers 3 damage

2: Potion of Oakflesh: +2 to all defenses until the end of the alchemist’s next turn

3: Marksman’s Potion: The alchemist gains this spell:
C: Detriment +7 vs MD – 5 damage and the target is hampered, save                                              ends

4: Healing potion: Recover 2d6 hit points

Nastier Specials:
Does this smell like…?: The first time the alchemist is engaged, the target is confused and popped free.

AC: 19
PD:16                                  HP: 65



High Elf Wizard

Pompous and intelligent can be two qualities that are a nuisance in their own right. Combined with a slathering of magic, it can turn from annoying to deadly.

Initiative: +14
7th level caster [Humanoid]

Ironwood Staff +13 vs. AC – 25 damage and the target is dazed until the end of its next            turn

C: Fireball (3 nearby enemies in a group) +12 vs. PD – 46 fire damage
Limited use: 1/day and it can damage the caster’s engaged allies for half damage.

C: Magic Missile +15 vs. PD – 28 force damage.

High Blood Teleport: 1d3 times a battle, the high elf wizard can teleport to a nearby                      location it can see.


Nastier Specials:
Counter Magic: Once per day, the high elf wizard can cancel a spell by using this attack:
C: +12 vs. MD – The high elf wizard suffers no damage or effects, but still                                      suffers any miss damage or effects.

AC: 20
PD:  17                                HP:120
MD: 21



Stay tuned and Stay Metal \m/

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