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The 13th Age Archmage Engine supports the concept of icons. An icon is a powerful NPC (non-playable character) that has a strong influence on the world outside of your campaign, yet may indeed aid or oppose your character over the course of your campaign, depending on the relationship your character has with the icon.

Icons have their own story, alignment, and personality. The general knowledge and history about them may vary in depth and accuracy; they may be well-known or mysterious. They have their own relationships with other icons, too, which may be friendly, tolerable, or acrimonious.

Your character may have relationships with certain icons. This relationship, if it exists, can be positive, conflicted, or negative.

Icon Lists

Official Icons

The Icons listed in the 13th Age Core Book are the Archmage, the Crusader, the Diabolist, the Dwarf King, the Elf Queen, the Emperor, the Great Gold Wyrm, the High Druid, the Lich King, the Orc Lord, the Priestess, the Prince of Shadows and The Three. See that book for a detailed description.

The Mageflame List

The icons below are shared as Open Gaming Content under the OGL.

The Mageflame

The most powerful wizard in the world is said to possess a special spark, the Mageflame, that allows him or her to rise above the other masters of the arcane. The current bearer of the Mageflame is a powerful wizard who commands a small army of magic wielders to place and maintain grave wards, beast barriers, and weather towers across the land. His realm is a giant floating city in the sky. He is nominally allied to the Ivory Throne, but it’s unclear what role the surface world plays in his larger agenda.

The Conqueror

The chosen champion of the dark gods. He rallies armies and razes demonic strongholds, capturing them to make his army stronger and fight ever more demons. Is the counterpoint to the Godspeaker, and in open warfare with the Hell Mistress.

Hell Mistress

Sower of discord and chaos, The Hell Mistress spreads Demons across the land, tearing small holes in reality wherever she goes. She is the counterpoint to the Gatekeeper, and defending her realm against the Conqueror.

Lord of the Forge

Deep below the mountains, the ruler of the dwarves keeps the different keeps and strongholds united as a kingdom. His position places him in control of a powerful forge from Ages past that allows for the production of new magic items, albeit at great cost of time and resources.

The Elven Court

The ruling court that oversees the alliance between three factions of elves – Wood, High, and Dark. A tentative peace is held between the factions to keep them from acting out on ancient rivalries and grudges. Elves have long lives and even longer memories. For now, the elves understand that only by working together they can keep the younger races from encroaching on their territory. But still, that doesn’t prevent the occasional conflict to be resolved with arrow, magic spell, and poison.

The Ivory Throne

In the imperial capital, the king or queen of men rules from a splendorous seat of power. Over the ages, their realm has risen and waned, and today, the sovereign doesn’t control even half the territory they claim to be theirs. But as long as the throne stands, the kingdom will not fall. The Ivory Throne is allied with the Mageflame, the Godspeaker, and the Gatekeeper to keep civilization from teetering back into darkness.

The Gatekeeper

A gigantic ancient being that some claim to be the physical embodiment of a God. Others claim it is a celestial left to watch over the world they created. The Gatekeeper spends their days locked in battle with the Demons that would otherwise destroy the world. A massive battle in a previous Age has left the Gatekeeper in a diminished state – some fear he is on the verge of death. The Gatekeeper is served by a noble order of Paladins who have sworn to fight demonic incursions. They directly oppose the Hell Mistress, but they are weary allies of the Conqueror. In the short term, their goals may be aligned, but the endgame is very different.

The Wildwalker

As civilization grew, nature retreated. But as the forests shrank, a powerful voice emerged to make their pain heard. The current Wildwalker is a young druid with a powerful rallying cry to fight back. Before, the balance of civilization and nature tilted towards civilization, but she wants to tip the scales back, and many fear this will lead to war with the Ivory Throne.


As the Ages flow, Icons rise and fall, but death always has an Icon representing it – or the fight against it. This Age is defined by an Icon defying death via necromancy, the kind that gives magic a bad name – raising the dead from their graves and turning them against their grieving families.

The Devourer

The savage races of the north, the orcs, goblins, ogres and giants, are too locked up in tribal warfare and seasonal raids to pose a threat to civilization. But every now and then, a leader of such strength, ferocity, and cunning rises up to unite the tribes propels them onto the main stage of history. In this Age, the orcs have proven to be worth of everyone’s attention under the leadership of one who embodies a terrifying concept – relentless hunger.

The Godspeaker

The bright gods play a distant role in this world, but in this Age they have blessed someone with the ability to consult with them directly in return for spreading their will. The Godspeaker has unified disparate divinities under one umbrella, but that doesn’t come without petty squabbles among competing clergy. The Godspeaker may speak, but to act, they would have to unite many diverse and stubborn voices with opposing beliefs on anything from the meaning of marriage to what meats are acceptable to eat. They act as the counterpoint to The Conqueror, champion of the dark gods, and like the Ivory Throne, they serve to protect civilization.

The Faceless

Nobody really knows who the faceless is or what they truly represent, but everyone is willing to sell you their theory for good coin. Some call The Faceless the one true God, enjoying playing with the toys of the world. Others say The Faceless is “only” a highly successful band of rogues, and that The Faceless’s claim of the theft of a star was merely the hunger of the Devourer that they took credit for. Whatever the truth, The Faceless is always at the heart of yet another riddle and mystery.

The Council of Scales

By itself, a dragon is a worthy adversary of an band of adventurers. The eldest dragon of each chromatic color rivals the power of entire small nations. Together, as a council, they control entire cities, mountain ranges and seas, and rival the Ivory Throne in the size of lands they control. If one day they decide to seize their internal squabbles and march their scaled armies into human lands, the throne could finally fall.

The C. A. Wright Icons

Source Charles Wright

The Lord High Magus is a position held by the wisest and most powerful of the arcane wielders and is an apointment for life or until abdication. At least one is known to have become a god and another was removed from the position when he found a way to cheat death. The most awesome of innovations as well as the most tragic of disasters involving the arcane arts can usually be traced back to a Lord High Magus. The Lord High Magus dwells within a large mansion filled with knowledge of the ages.

The Blood Knight is the general of a vast army dedicated to the Dark Gods. Clad from head to toe in tarnished black armor slick with the blood of his fallen foes he lives only to conquer the greatest opposition. As of now, he’s concentrating on the legions of demons as his most worthy opponent. Hopefully his focus doesn’t change any time soon.

The Dark Mistress is the youngest of the current icons, her predecessor, The Dark Master, having been destroyed by the Triumvirate. Because she is currently fighting both the Blood Knight and the Triumvirate she is having problems expanding her power base. The Dark Mistress serves as a conduit that allows demons to come into the world. In other words – she is the portal.

The Longbeard Thane is the most respected of the eldest dwarves, usually a king who has abdicated his throne. His counsel is sought by all but the most foolhardy of dwarves in matters of politics and tactics, especially when dealing with non-dwarves. He is the primary face of dwarfdom to the overworld.

The Triumvirate are three representatives chosen by the wood elves, the dark elves and the high elves to be the ultimate arbiters between their peoples. Two of the Triumvirate are needed to make a final rulings and the welfare of elves as a race is highest in their minds when making a ruling. Only a handful of times in the past has the Triumvirate rallied all of the elven people to go to war against a common enemy. The last time it happened they toppled another icon.

The High King is the ruler of a vast kingdom. His immediate rule is over a small protectorate that is the main capital of the land. Low Kings rule over the majority of the lands in his stead and at his instruction. Most humans consider any humans from outside their expansive lands to be nothing more than savages.

The Platinum Dragon is the wisest of all the “metallic” dragons and holds the wisdom of the ages, the knowledge of all dragonkind, and is a shining example of Good in the world. It is the patron of many paladins, heroic organizations and individuals. The Platinum Dragon isn’t born, but is created in a ritual. When the current Platinum is about to die, the eldest of all the metallics takes the burden upon himself as the previous ascends to a higher plane of existence. The knowledge and memories of the previous Platinum Dragon are passed on to the new and it changes their scales to a soft, glowing platinum. It is known that metallics of all types have served as the Platinum Dragon.

The Untamed is the representative and guardian of nature. It is part of the bird spying on you from above, the tree in which you take shelter from the rain, and the rain itself. Although very powerful, the Untamed is mortal and can be killed. However, once killed a new Untamed is chosen immediately. Lacking only in the skills and knowledge of the previous guardian.

The Deathless One, the master of undead and wielder of the raw power that animates such creatures, was once the Lord High Magus. He achieved a state of deathless immortality through control over negative energy. Once his fellows learned that he would neither die nor abdicate, he was forcibly removed from his position and the benefits it provided. Shortly after, he took control of a small kingdom through the expedient of murdering everyone and raising them under his control. He has been quiet for some centuries, tinkering away at making better and stronger undead creations. Biding his time, waiting to strike and liberate the world from cruelties of life.

The Savage Lord holds the respect, if not outright rulership of the monstrous creatures whose souls are filled with hatred and bile. Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Gnolls, and Bugbears make up the bulk of his horde. Although mostly contained within their own lands, the horde often forms smaller raiding parties for plunder, fun, and profit. Especilly among the elven lands.

The Grand Oracle is the voice of the Gods of Light in the world… and actions speak louder than words. Although she will step up and wield her divine powers if becomes necessary, she is most found by weary travellers in need of help, counsel, healing, or hospitality.

The Jack is the grandest of all rogues. Although Jack is given a male name, no one knows for sure of Jack’s actual identity. Some say if it is ever found out they will no longer be The Jack. The Jack lives for the thrill of the chase and the rush of adrenaline. Equally at home in a burglary, playing mind games, or assassinating those The Jack deems unfit for survival.

The Council of Scales is made up of the most powerful of each of the primary “chromatic” dragons. Once they ascend to the position they take on the simple name of their dragon “race”. (The Black, The Blue, The Green, The Red, and The White). Appointments are for life — as losing the position invariably means the death of the previous office holder. The Green and The White change office holders relatively quickly… every 5 to 10 years. The longest held office is that of The Black, she’s managed to hold on to the position for nearly 500 years, through politics and strategic assassinations.

The Dweller Below is a dark reflection of the Untamed. Ruling over the creatures and sentients who live away from the light, either in caves or deep beneath the waves. Most surface dwellers have forgotten about the Dweller Below or believe him to be a fable crafted to scare children. He simply sleeps in his nest, but will rise if his realm is disturbed.

Espairian Icons

Source Gods and Icons by John WS Marvin

Aurum Rex
Heroic Icon. Giant gold dragon. His dragons and Ghiama’s dragons don’t play well together.
Hierophant Glasyra
HY-ro-fant Glass-EE-rah. Heroic Icon. High Priestess of the Bright Gods.
Thrice Wise Mercurius
mer-CURE-ee-us. Heroic Icon. Master mage of this age.
Baron Von Vorlatch
vor-LATCH. Villainous Icon. Vampire baron of Borgostnya, part of the Espairian Empire.
Blue Aoife
EE-fa. Ambiguous Icon. High Druid of the Old Gods.
Emperor Roland the Unbreakable
Ambiguous Icon. Human emperor of the Espairian Empire. Honor guard rides griffins.
King Thorbal of the Green Gem
Ambiguous Icon. King of the Dwarves. Steward of the Vaults of Grudges.
Lord Ikal
Ambiguous Icon. Attacks hell breaches wherever they are. Ends justify the means.
Father of Robbers
Ambiguous Icon. Honored by thieves, conmen, and tricksters.
Queen Tanadil, High Queen of the Fey
Ambiguous Icon. Queen of High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, and Gnomes.
GEE-ah-ma. Villainous Icon. 5 headed dragon, the white head is dead and covered in silver chains.
Supreme Commander Tyrvek
Villainous Icon. Hobgoblin ruler of goblins, orcs, trolls, and other fell creatures.
Lady Akuma
Villainous Icon. Possibly insane, summons devils, demons, undead and other outsiders.

Players: Determine Your Icon Relationships

Your character’s relationship with icons is an important way to draw him or her into your game world. An icon may have its own champions and heroes (including you) to advance its cause in the game world.

Invest Your Relationship Points

At 1st level, each character gets 3 relationship points. Each point represents one d6 to be used when trying to leverage your connection to the icon (See Using Icon Relationships.)

The number of points you invest in a relationship with an icon doesn’t necessarily correlate with the closeness of the connection or the strength of the relationship. It does correlate with the utility of the relationship. It’s not necessarily about how well the icon knows you or how strong the icon feels about you. Instead, the points reflect the chance that your relationship will be helpful to you.

The Icons Relationships Master Chart summarizes the likely roleplaying and story-oriented consequences of positive, conflicted, and negative relationships with heroic, ambiguous, and villainous icons.

Icon Relationships Master Chart

Icon Positive Relationship Conflicted Relationship Negative Relationship
Heroic Icon Spend 1, 2, or 3 points. As far as this icon is concerned, you’re one of the good guys, a white-hat hero. Authorities often help you, and civilians often trust you. On the down side, you may be called on to serve representatives of the icon even when you have other plans. You might also be a target of villainous icons or this heroic icon’s rivals. Spend 1, 2, or 3 points. You’re probably one of the good guys, but for some reason you’re suspect to the icon Maybe you’re a convict who has served his time, or an imperial soldier who was too good and got drummed out of his legion. You have insider knowledge and allies who are in good with the icon but you also have enemies associated with the icon. Spend 1 point. In the icon’s eyes, you’re a dissident, opponent, rival, or foe. You may have contacts or inside knowledge that you can use to your advantage, but some form of trouble waits for you wherever this heroic icon has influence.
Ambiguous Icon Spend 1, 2, or 3 points. Thanks to your relationship with the icon you are a hero to some, a villain to others, and possibly even a monster to a few. The enemies of your friends may turn out to be your friends, and vice versa. Advantages and complications will come from all sides. Spend 1, 2, or 3 points. Your relationship with the icon is complex, an uneven relationship with an icon who’s a hero to some and a villain to others. One way or another, you can find help or hostility anywhere. You don’t just live in interesting times—you create them. Spend 1 or 2 points. Your enmity with this icon makes you some enemies, but it also makes you some useful friends. You may be a dissenter, unwanted family member, or even a traitor in some way.
Villainous Icon Spend 1 point. You are able to gain secrets or secretive allies, but your connection to this icon brings trouble from people associated with the heroic icons who oppose the villain. Be prepared to justify why you’re not imprisoned, interrogated, or otherwise harassed by the heroic icons and their representatives whenever they encounter you. Or for that matter, by the other PCs. Spend 1 or 2 points. You mostly work against the icon but you’re also connected to the icon in a way you can’t deny. Your connection sometimes gives you special knowledge or contacts, but it also makes you suspect in the eyes of many right-minded would-be heroes. Spend 1 or 2 points. You mostly work against the icon but you’re also connected to the icon in a way you can’t deny. Your connection sometimes gives you special knowledge or contacts, but it also makes you suspect in the eyes of many right-minded would-be heroes.

This chart assumes that you’re playing a heroic character. A villainous character will need to swap the maximums between heroic and villainous icons.

Rolling Icon Relationship Dice

To check your icon relationship (your relationship with a particular icon , roll a d6 for each point you have in the relationship. This means that you will usually roll 1, 2, or 3 dice. (At epic level, it may be 4.)

If any die is a 6, you get some meaningful advantage from the relationship without having complications. If two or three dice come up 6, that’s even better.

If any die is a 5, your connection to the icon is going to work out as well as a 6 would, but with some unexpected complication. If it’s a good icon you might be drawn into some obligation. If it’s a villainous icon, you might attract unwanted attention.

Rolling 5s when you also rolled 6s should make life both interesting and advantageous!

Icons’ Organizations

Icons are usually not directly part of the campaign. They rarely make an appearance personally, except perhaps at epic level. Most of the time, interacting with an icon means that you’re actually interacting with his or her lower-level functionaries, acolytes, disciples, bureaucrats, lieutenants, barons, priests, etc. In fact, any level of relationship with an icon can be enough to get you noticed by other people who are connected to that icon.

Using Icon Relationships

The most straightforward way to use your relationship points is on positive or conflicted connections that generally provide you with outright assistance and useful information.

Negative relationships usually provide inside knowledge, special skills, opportunistic allies, and possibly some sort of supernatural advantage against a villain.

Often you might find that enemies of your rival see you as an opportunity to strike against that mutual enemy. You might get help, wealth and resources, and even magic items from quite unexpected sources, some of which may not be entirely to your liking.

In addition to aid from others, icon relationships provide characters with special knowledge.

A negative relationship with a thoroughly villainous icon is more in keeping with the heroic lifestyle, but you should expect that the assistance you get from a negative relationship may end up being more directly confrontational than more conventional conflicted and positive relationships.

Changing Relationships

When your character achieves champion level (5th), you gain an extra relationship point. Use it to increase an existing relationship by one die or gain a 1-point relationship with a new icon to match your character’s story thus far. You can save the extra relationship die and decide to apply it later.

At 5th level, or any time thereafter, you can switch an existing relationship point from one icon to another, including to a new icon. You owe the GM and other players an entertaining explanation of what this big change represents for your character personally, of course.

When you reach epic level (8th), you gain another relationship point, which you can use to increase an existing icon relationship by one die, including up to 1 point over maximum. As at 5th level, if switching a relationship point from one icon to another makes sense for your 8th level character, go for it.

GMs: Using Icon Relationships

For basic icon relationship rules, see Icon Relationships.

As a GM, use a PCs’ icon relationships three different ways: for starting a session, for in-game dramatic events, and for discovery and surprise.

Rolling Relationships at the Start of a Session

All players roll their PC’s icon relationship dice at the start of each session, and everybody sees the results. As usual, rolling a 6 with an icon die provides an unambiguous advantage. Rolling a 5 provides a similar advantage, but the benefit is balanced by complications and obligations that advance the story. By the end of the session, each 6 or 5 should contribute to the story somehow, either at the GM’s or player’s initiative.

The GM uses the results to think ahead about which icons come to the fore this session. Players use the results to start thinking about how their icon relationships might manifest in the story.

As GM, you bear most of the burden of improvising story elements based on the PCs’ icon relationship results. Your players may have great suggestions, but it’s on you to weave them together with the story elements and battles you have already prepared or are planning to improvise on the spot.

Rolling New Story-guide Dice Mid-session

Story events and talents can create new icon relationships in the middle of play. Allow players to roll newly acquired icon dice right away as if they’d had them at the start of the session.

Icon Relationship Rolls as Dramatic Events

Players roll all of their relationship dice for a particular icon when their PCs are confronting that icon’s representatives, agents, or minions. The GM decides when an event-based roll is called for.

Story-guide rolls should occur most every session. Event-based rolls rise out of circumstances during play.

It’s never the player’s choice to roll icon relationship dice for dramatic events. When new circumstances and dramatic events force or suggest interactions or confrontations with forces or situations associated with a particular icon, the GM can call for an icon relationship roll as a shorthand guide to the dramatic results of the situation.

Rolling a 5 with Icon Events

Getting a 5 on an icon relationship check moves the story forward, just like a 6 does, but it also generates a complication. A 5 means both good and bad results. The negative result might be secret, it might be delayed, and it might be nothing more than a promise until you figure out what it really means.

Discovery & Surprise

At the GM’s option, players may roll icon relationship dice to find out which icons are involved in a plot element, if any. When the characters have slalomed onto paths and adventures you did not anticipate, icon relationship rolls can serve as an idea generator with mechanics that everyone already understands.

Discovery dice aren’t interpreted as positively as other icon relationship rolls. You’re using the icon dice more to determine whether an icon has a stake in what’s involved, not necessarily whether the situation is going to work to a PC’s advantage.

You’ll probably use this style of roll most often when the characters have gone off your map, chasing enemies you hadn’t anticipated, seeking treasures you referred to earlier without having a clear idea about, and taking forest paths you hadn’t been aware existed. GMs who enjoy being surprised by new developments may opt for discovery rolls before improvising the consequences of the PCs’ unexpected steps.

Using icon relationship rolls from one or more characters keeps the new developments relevant to the players and possibly relevant to the overarching plot.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

13th Age Archmage Engine, version 3.0. Copyright © 2013-2015 Fire Opal Media. All Rights Reserved. Licensed under the Open Game License.

Mageflame Icons. Copyright © 2020 Cody Swendrowski.

C. A. Wright Icons. Copyright © 2014 Charles Wright.

Gods and Icons, Copyright 2016, Dread Unicorn Games; Authors: John WS Marvin, Vanessa Rose Phin, Connor W. Marvin.