Trawling for 13th Age Deep Magic: Clerics

Art by Marcel Mercado

As a 13th Age neophyte and an avid Kobold Press fan, I decided to take a look at Deep Magic for the Archmage Engine.  It’s been sitting on my shelf for ages (maybe one or two, not thirteen), and it was time to blow off the dust. The cleric in my fledgeling 13th Age campaign is feeling a bit cramped with the limited spell selection, and I was hoping Kobold Press could ameliorate the situation. At first glance, I saw many of the fantastic magical traditions that can be found in Deep Magic for Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition.  But strangely, they’re only available for 13th Age wizards.

Magic in 13th Age is certainly closer to D&D 4E than either of the aforementioned systems.  13th Age does, however, have a fairly unified Vancian take on spell selection, memorization, and spell slots.  So why did all of these beautifully creative and evocative spells land only in the lap of the wizard?  I can’t claim to know.  What I do know is that spells originally designed for other classes (in Pathfinder) are liberally sprinkled throughout the book.

You’ll note, of course, that Deep Magic for 13th Age includes rules to give any class access to deep magic spells through a class talent swap.  That is a versatile and fun way to spread the magical love.  But it still doesn’t feel right that all of these spells were made immediately available only to wizards.  Some of them are clearly geared towards druids and clerics and bards.  In lieu of handing the entire book to my cleric player, I’m going to use the magic of the OGL to sift through it and pick out the spells I think could work for a cleric.

Problems?  Of course there are.  Clerics have no concept of utility spells, so I’m going to remove that aspect of candidate spells.  Clerics can cast them outside of battle, of course, through ritual casting.  Similarly, cleric spells don’t have cyclic abilities that depend on the escalation die; that’s only for wizards.  I’m simply removing the cyclic keyword as necessary.  Some of the spells don’t scale beyond their initial level, as nearly all cleric spells do.  I’m just leaving them that way.

Additional considerations?  I’m going to include appropriate spells that deal necrotic (negative energy) damage for those edgelord priests of evil gods.  Lastly, cleric spells seem to have the recharge feature only when you take an associated feat in the core rule book. Many of the spells I’m going to include have the recharge feature.  Will that break anything if I leave them that way? You never know until you try. Am I insane?  Breaking the game?  [shrugs]

Here's the document with the goods.


  1. 13th Age is a great system if you like more narrative game play and can be an absolute blast with the right group. And because it shares DNA with 4e Dungeons & Dragons (my personal favorite) you can easily add in new abilities with very little work. Spellcasters in this system do take a bit to get used especially since using spells usage isn’t always expressly spelled out.

  2. The way I pitch deep magic to my players is the school/society/cult style grouping of spells. 10 spells that are thematically linked. I let players create their own or use one in the deep magic book.

    Once you have that small list of spells, you can then start narrowing down on tweaks if needed. Like recharge. Heck, I'd tell my player "we will take these as written for now, but if the spell is feeling too strong, too frequent, or steals the focus too much, we may need to tweak it."

    if it ain't broke don't fix it, you just don't know without either playing it or doing some in-depth number crunching. I'm lazy so I'd tweak it as I went.

    Along with this, I encourage/require a 2+ point background related to the order they player chose/created. I'm not as big of a fan of requiring a talent for casters to get access, but a background to get access to 10 spells feels good for me. This gives even more depth to the background and a plot hook or two for campaign building.


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