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.
The “official” Icons information below was not added to this site originally due to legal/license concerns but are now available in a format that is 100% Open Game Content (does not include any “Product Identity” terms.
The Archmage has preserved the Empire for centuries and created astonishing new lands. He has also threatened the fabric of reality with experiments you’d have to be brilliant or hugely arrogant to attempt.
The Crusader is the armored fist of the Dark Gods. So long as followers of the gods of light stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the demons that would destroy the world his own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.
The Diabolist controls fiends and tampers with forces even the Archmage avoids. She likes her victims screaming and her chaos pure while claiming that the demons she summons would otherwise overwhelm the Great Gold Wyrm who seals the Abyss. There are two differences between her and her demons: First, she likes keeping destruction personal rather than universal. Second, she’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.
The Dwarf King is lord of Forge, the dwarves’ new homeland beneath the mountains. He’d love to reclaim the dwarven home lost to war against the dark elves and the creatures of the deeps. But now that the Empire is stumbling, the dwarves find themselves manning the mountain walls that shield the Empire from the orcs and monsters of the north.
The Elf Queen rules the Court of Stars, the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the Queen’s innate magic at least equals the Archmage’s spells.
The Emperor rules the world’s greatest human kingdom, known as the Dragon Empire for the mounts of its mightiest warriors. All the signs suggest that the age is turning, but will the Empire fall or shift to a new balance?
The Great Gold Wyrm is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Gold Wyrm’s physical form seals the gap that prevents the Abyss from erupting into the world, its dreams and the agents it employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.
The High Druid is the champion of the resurgent Wild, and the spiritual and magical leader of spirits of nature and the elements that were chained by the Empire but are now working themselves free. She might be the great force that shakes the Empire to pieces or the hero who destroys the destroyers and points to a new way to live.
The Lich King is the lord of the undead, a fallen tyrant who intends to conquer the Dragon Empire and restore his ancient kingdom. He’s not entirely insane and mostly understands that ruling a kingdom is not the same as destroying it.
The Orc Lord is a figure of legend. The last time he walked the land the Lich King fell, in part because of the Orc Lord’s attack. Who will fall before his hordes this time? Who won’t?
The Priestess hears all the Gods of Light and speaks for those who please her. She is part oracle, part mystic, and part metaphysical engineer, since she created the Cathedral, an ever-expanding temple with rooms or entire wings for each of the faiths she favors.
The Prince of Shadows is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some he is a hero; to others a villain. He has squandered the riches of the dwarves, murdered the hopes of a dragon, and plundered the dreams of a god. His exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you his ultimate goals or motives.
The Three were among the first dragons to walk the world. The Red is a living engine of destruction. The Blue is a sorceress, perhaps even the original mother of all sorcery. The Black is queen of shadows and assassins. Unlike the Great Gold Wyrm, who must fight alone, the Three have learned to join forces.
Source Charles Wright of Ludus Macto Publishing, LLC
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.