One of the best parts of 13th Age and my favorite takeaway is the icons: 13 high-profile figures who have unusual influence in the campaign. Each icon has drives and goals, and relationships with other icons and with groups within the campaign. PCs almost always have some kind of link to one or more icons, be it positive, negative, or conflicted.
Icons are hugely hookful in practice, making it easy to link situations to adventures and move forward. If all else fails, thwarting the Diabolist or the Prince of Shadows is probably a good idea.
A few years ago I was working up a sandbox setting, and decided I wanted to create icons for use in the setting. This series of blog posts shows how things evolved.
As with many of my blog series, I start with an Introduction.
The second post in the series defines icons and how I plan to develop them.
The third post is my first pass at creating icons, using the polyhedral process. The dodecahedron has twelve faces and twenty points… twelve icons, each with five interests, sounds like a good start. I picked twenty elements that could be relevant in a Celtic-inspired setting and get my first look at twelve icons.
The fourth post shows my second pass over the icons, where I start interpreting the results of the previous post and things really start to come together. Some of the icons or elements of their description are lifted almost directly from other sources (The Riddle-Master of Hed and The Tales of Prydain foremost, plus Irish mythology).
The fifth post uncovers the High One, this setting’s answer to the Prince of Shadows. Once I looked at the other setting influences, the answer came to me quickly.
Finally, in the sixth post I invert the relationships. I want to know which icons might be interested in a particular scenario, and devise a couple ways of determining this randomly. I also flip the tables from listing the interests of each icon to listing the icons with each interest.