One of my many purchases at Gen Con and the first in a long list of products that I plan to review is the Book of Loot for 13th Age. I immediately started reading it on the long drive back home. The Book of Loot was a book I had been eagerly awaiting. I really wanted a larger range of items to hand out to characters; I am running three 13th Age games, and certain items keep showing up in every game (like the Wand of the Mage’s Invisible Aegis). Add the crazy nature of 13th Age True Magic items to Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s creativity (Gareth is quickly becoming one of my favorite RPG writers), and you are left holding a damn-fine tome of magic items.
Book of Loot Review
The Book of Loot is a 72-page, black and white softcover. One of the first things that stands out to me about the book is the paper quality. It is thick and glossy and much nicer than what I am used to seeing in a splatbook-style publication. You can buy a copy at the Pelgrane Press site (here) which includes a copy of the PDF, or you can support your local FLGS by purchasing it there.
The book opens with a brief overview of what the book contains (Loot!) and a reprint of the default item bonuses from the Core rules. Just like in the 13th Age Bestiary, we also have a number of fun lists of entries that demand to be looked at in-depth. Check out Items that Demand a Story and Campaign-Defining Artifacts. They practically write your adventures for you.
The bulk of the book consists of the magic items listings. But Gareth puts a 13th Age spin on the layout by organizing the items by Icon. So when you are planning your game or when you have to pull an Icon connection out of a hat, you can just flip to the Icon you need and find a plethora of themed items. And themed they are: the Crusader’s items are cruel, the Orc Lord’s brutal, and the Dwarf King’s are….well… dwarfish, just to mention a few. Finally, each Icon’s section ends with three adventure hooks.
I will be honest, in most game systems, I don’t read the magic item books. Oh, I buy the book, but I don’t like reading them. I might skim through them, but I usually trust the random table or search for a specific item. But the quirks for each item, as well as their descriptions, make this book a fun read. Not only did I read the Book of Loot cover to cover, but I read a significant portion out loud to my wife and our friend while we drove across Kansas. We were laughing so hard it made Kansas bearable. KANSAS!
The book wraps up with some new one-use items and a summary table of the items found in the book by item type. I originally wished that this table was comprehensive, ala the Bestiary, but as I was writing this review, I remembered how quickly the Bestiary’s table was rendered obsolete. Here’s hoping that Pelgrane puts a magic item list together on their website, like they did for the monsters.
At $17.95, this book is a steal. You greatly expand the scope of the True Magic items for your 13th Age game, receive at least 39 adventure ideas, and will enjoy the time you spend reading the book. Honestly, after realizing that Gareth made my journey through Kansas enjoyable, I might just go out and buy this book again.