From looking at the monster stats in the 13 Age rule book, it seems that most of the time AC is higher than the higher of PD and MD. In D&D 4e, this was balanced by the fact that weapons had proficiency bonuses of at least +2 or +3, so wizards targeting non AC defences would have a similar chance to hit as a barbarian would targeting AC (excluding situational modifiers). In 13th Age, there are no weapon proficiency bonuses, so we have found that the fighter in our group tends to miss a lot more than the wizard or bard or druid...

Are we missing something here? Is there a bonus that the fighter should be getting regularly in combat that would increase his to hit bonus, e.g. Something similar to flanking in 4e? Otherwise the math seems to be a bit wonky, and not a lot of fun for the fighter (or anyone else relying on basic attacks, for that matter).


13th Age has 2 things 4e lacked that I think are meant to compensate for this:

  • The escalation die increases as combat proceeds, raising everyone's rolls. From p.310:

    Starting on the second round of combat, the PCs get an attack bonus. It starts at +1 and increases by +1 each round until it maxes out at +6. This bonus offsets the fact that all the monsters have defenses 1 higher than they should be. The party starts each fight in the hole and fights its way up.

  • Many attacks in 13th Age will do damage on a miss. From p.312:

    Damage dealt on a miss. Big daily attacks will often deal half damage. A player-character's at-will attacks typically deal miss damage equal to that character's level. It sucks to miss, but at least you move the battle forward.

The escalation die explicitly compensates for improved monster AC, and miss damage means that the fighter's efforts are harrying and distracting at the worst, keeping the foe busy and softening it up for his teammates.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 Miss Damage and Flexible's that trigger on a Miss are where it's at. \$\endgroup\$ – LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 24 '15 at 2:54

No, there are no special bonuses only those attacking AC would get. The escalation die has already been mentioned, and though in practice it means that few attacks miss in later rounds, it does apply to everyone.

So what benefits do the weapon-user types have over the casters? Each class has their own thing, naturally. Fighters and bards can pick flexible attacks that'd still do something on a miss. Paladins smite evil, barbarians rage, rogues sneak attack, rangers attack twice. All of these add extra damage or effects, but then again, the casters do get spells.

The main benefit weapon users have over casters is AC itself: basic AC for a wizard or a sorcerer is 10, while barbarians and rogues have 12, rangers have 14 and paladins go as high as 16 - before pickup up a shield! Clerics do get basic AC of 14, but their spells tend to do less damage.

So, overall, weapon users do hit less often, but usually have abilities to either improve their odds or still do something on a miss. In addition to that, being melee classes they have higher defenses and so have an important role to play.


I suspect this is one of the things that came into 13th Age via 3e. I see PD as the equivalent of touch AC, which ignored armor. (There's a bit of a Fort save in there too but I think that most of the time PD represents 'armor piercing' stuff).

So it makes sense that PD is worse than AC.


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