Friday, 11 January 2008

How I should have handled the chase in Agon

I've been stewing over this for a few days now and have finally figured out how I should have handled a particular scene in last weekend's game of Agon. This is the situation. One of the heroes (Cronos, son of Gorgos) had been scouting around a village and had set off a trap. The trap wounded him and also raised the alert that he was there, so a conflict ensued. Cronos decided to use Cunning and try to sneak his way out of trouble rather than run his way out of trouble (Athletics).

What I should have done was call for a contest of Cunning and suggested that Cronos find some creative abilities (e.g., Athletics) to add to the roll. As the Antagonist, I should have paid strife for an advantage for the pursuers because of their superior numbers and perhaps increased it to 2d8 opposition.

The second key thing that I should have done was spend more time defining the outcomes of the contest. That is, a Cronos victory should have enabled him to escape whereas a Cronos loss should have resulted in a capture - including disarmament.

And the third thing I should have suggested, but not insisted on, was invoking Hubris when Cronos lost the contest (which he did, and then refused to give up his weapons).

As the Antagonist/GM I didn't handle this very well and the story stagnated for a few minutes. I will take this as a learning experience and should know better for our second game. The guys at the Durham3 are of the opinion that it's not until the third session of a game system that everyone gets on top of the rules and makes them start to sing.

So there's only one more dodgy session to go. Yes!

Monday, 7 January 2008

The aftermath of Agon

My monthly indie game took place over the weekend and I'm happy to say that we all enjoyed it. For a first game, I spent surprisingly little time flicking through the rule book and I think that's testament to John Harper's work in keeping the concept simple. Of especially good use were the reference tables available for download from the Agon site. They saved us all a lot of time.

I won't go into the details of the first quest, but I feel that I timed it well enough. What I need to do better next time is throw more Strife at the heroes. They were simply too strong for the NPCs and minions that they encountered. With one cautious player and one gung-ho player it wasn't long before the cautious player was using the gung-ho player as a shield.

The only other snag that I feel we hit was with regards to persuasion. In a contest of Oration (seems to be the most appropriate ability), when the heroes win there was no doubt that the NPCs would have to fold. However, if the heroes lose there is nothing to force them to submit to the goal of the NPCs. I think I might need to make it more clear that when the dice are rolled, it is a branching point in the story. I think I also need to frame the scene and the contest better to ensure that the players don't simply say, "No, I'm not going to do that, no matter what the dice have rolled." I will have to be more explicit in laying out the consequences of winning and losing a contest.

Mistakes that I made
  • Armour impairments can be removed during an interlude, as with any other ability
  • The Shield ability should be used during combat
  • Defeated minions are only worth 1 glory, without adding the Strife cost
  • I didn't spend Strife correctly

Other things that I will change next time
  • NPCs will be fewer and more powerful
  • Objectives will be more linear
But there will definitely be a next time. Oh yes indeed.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

At Last, the Agon

Today is the day I get to try out Agon for the first time. This should be an interesting exercise since none of the three of us who'll be playing have played it before. I'm especially interested to see how the competitive aspect of Agon plays out. There'll be cooperation, but how much? I'll put a play report up sometime later.