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[Agon] First Run Through

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:35 am    Post subject: [Agon] First Run Through Reply with quote

So I got Agon ( on a whim a couple of weeks back. I liked what I heard about it having a player vs player vibe with the GM acting as adversity for all. It reminded me of many good one off con scenarios I had ran and played in (Archmages Crown, Jail Break, Ultimate Challenge Tea Garden and a Blue Planet one). The dynamic had always proved fun and easy to run and a lot of fun to players. Would an RPG built around this dynamic work?

Anyway, in preparation for MegaRPG Weekend, I decided to run an hour or two of the game to see how it ran. The results were very positive and the game was very easy to prep, run and play (a refreshing surprise to some of indie style RPGs I have tried recently).

First, preparation for this game is very easy. The book literally comes with everything you need including big lists of Greek names. Each game involves the creation of an island (random generation for the key elements) and then 3 "quests" from 3 Gods (partially random too). Once you have that all in place it takes about 30 minutes or so to put all three quests together by aligning several of the elements you have, and about 1 hour to create the major NPCs for all three quests. So after about 2 hours of prep, you should have between 9 to 21 hours of play ready to roll.

Second, the game play teaches everything the players need to know. The setting is a mythical Greece and is forgiving on authenticity (yes I watched Clash of the Titans for inspiration Smile ). The three players I had knew nothing about the game before play but by the time they came out of PC creation (20 or so minutes), they knew exactly what the game was about and were already friendly rivals.

Third, the game play was fun for me as a GM. The games is like DitV in that the GM starts with a basic dilemma and some NPCs but is encouraged to follow whatever plan the players decide on. This is not a game where the GM has the adventure behind a locked door. Instead, it is all out in the open. This makes the game different everytime and much fun for the GM as you throw out a bunch of ideas out there, not knowing what you will get. The game mechanics are also light but essentially provide an "unbreakable" game which gives everyone a fair go.

So we played through the first objective of one quest: to defend the sacred pilgrimage of Zeus from the Khthonians. The PCs went into town only to find the pilgrimage had left and the pilgrims path went into winding valleys that few could navigate. So the first objective was to find the pilgrimage.

Matt's PC convinced the other PCs to seek a blessing from Hermes to find this path. To prove themselves worthy they had to leap a giant chasm. The advice they got gave them several options and they decided to try to get directions from a blind wise woman, who apparently had a soft spot for olives. The PCs sought the best olives in town and again the group decided on diplomacy rather than larceny or violence to get them.

We finished the game with the PCs being set upon by some local thugs (the PCs had been flashing coin) and the combat system proved fun and simple, yet cinematic. It will be interesting to see the more advanced NPCs in action.

Overall it was screamingly good fun and the quote of the day went to Debbie's description of her PC with "Even his nose is strong limbed!" The game combined the fun of an old skool style of play, a player vs player dynamic, the craziness of Greek mythology and a very easy gameplay. I can't want to try out a full game this weekend.
Playing: Doomstones (WFRP2e); Shades of Terra (Exalted: Dragonblooded)
Running: Thousand Thrones (WFRP2e)
Planning: Incarnadine Crucible (Exalted: Alchemicals); Tale of Twin Kings, Angels of Death and the Lover Who Stole All Things (Exalted 1e)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a lot of fun.

Agon is one of the games that I am most itching to play at the moment.
Planning - A supersecret larp project

Running - Dresden Files RPG: the murderer of Merlin

Playing - Exalted: Red Sun Redux
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best Thing In Character Creation

You pick another character, and challenge them in some sort of skill. You frame a scene from your past which showcased that skill, then roll dice. The winner gets to say how they beat the other character.

It's recorded on your sheet for bragging rights and debts of honour.


My character is kick-ass at Athletics. I challenge Debbie's character to a daring feat of athletics. I describe the scene:

Matt: "OK, we're climbing up the walls of a fort to kill the guards."

Luke: "Yes, you need to get the door open for your own armies, and it's a race to see who can climb the wall the fastest and steal all the glory."

Matt or Luke or Debbie?: "And the walls are on fire."

Matt: "Right, come on you muscle-bound ox, we need to climb, not just stand around!"

Debbie: "Your puny limbs will never get you up a wall as big as this! My might arms will pull me up in no time!"

Dice are rolled. Matt wins.

Matt: "Ha! I owned you, muscle-bound fool!"

Debbie: "All right monkey boy, I'm challenging you to a feat of strength..."

Every player gets to challenge someone, and you end up knowing what the other characters are good at, and already wanting to show them up again when the game starts. Muchos fun, and brilliant at setting the tone.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie: "All right monkey boy, I'm challenging you to a feat of strength..."

I don't remember ever calling you Monkey boy?!

Strong-limbed Chromis son of Argos preferred simpler, straightforward but mighty insults.

It is a really fun game - being overly-competitive and selfish glory-seeking behaviour are rewarded which is always great (says the player who snuck in to get the killing blow on the mighty She-wolf after a couple of rounds with 2 other players beating it down).

I still feel like I haven't quite got to grips with how to use interludes as a player. I suspect rapidly burning through Divine Flavour to try to snatch Glory and then having frequent interludes might work better. I also feel that it takes a while to get a hang off 'helping' other players to get oaths. It would be interesting to see how a second game would play out - I expect it would work quite differently once all players had a feel for how to exploit the rules and the banter/competitive relationships between the characters had been established.

I'm keen for more.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I ran Agon at MRW and it was a lot of fun. I think I will need to run a couple more sessions before I have a proper handle on it but overall it was one of the easiest GM experiences I have had.

We had Steve, Debbie, Paul and Nick P playing. A good dream team of smack talkers and hardcore gamers.

Again, the game started off slow but as soon as we got to the achievements part where each PC shows a challenge with another PC in their background, the players got it quickly. The term "On fire" was used to ramp up the tension and soon became the mantra for the game. The cool thing about this time was that the group actually wove a lot of these background challenges together to form the base of a story. Better yet was how we visited scenes that built up to scenes we had just seen to give the group a real sense of history.

Then the game began. The 3 Gods gave out the quests and predictably the group couldn't decide what to do. This happened last time and I recommend that the GM should either be prepared to let the PCs fight it out (could take time) or if they want to move on to use the Orate tie breaker roll. I prefer the second as I find this part not to be that exciting.

The game itself worked well and 3 objectives were completed in 3 hours. Initially, the conflicts were a little wooden and they flet more like hurdles than adversity. However, toward the end, the narrative and conflicts were much smoother to the point where play felt that of a normal RPG.

I recommend that GMs keep reminding players that they have Oaths as this forms the basis for player interaction with each other and often adds to the PCs strife more than what the GM does Smile

Finally, in combat, I use the minion rules for anything that is not a major NPC. This worked well and really made the final battle feel like a challenge and climax to the story.

It was a lot of fun and worked exactly how the game says it would. It is great for a bit of light RPGing, either for one session or a number. I would really like to see a few sessions strung together so that Fates really come into play.

Oh and make sure you have plenty of dice on hand. The game recommends 10 d4s, d6s, d8s and d10s with some d12s. Having dice available to formulate attack and defence pools for each PC as well as enough on hand for other purposes makes things much smoother.
Playing: Doomstones (WFRP2e); Shades of Terra (Exalted: Dragonblooded)
Running: Thousand Thrones (WFRP2e)
Planning: Incarnadine Crucible (Exalted: Alchemicals); Tale of Twin Kings, Angels of Death and the Lover Who Stole All Things (Exalted 1e)
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