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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 71 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Agon] Camp Nerdly: The Island of Ithaka  (Read 2965 times)
Remi Treuer
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Posts: 67


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« on: October 18, 2006, 01:08:38 PM »

We played Agon the first night of Camp Nerdly. After a half hour of prep, I was ready to go. Character generation went fairly smoothly, and we ended up with:

Jason Morningstar playing Stentor, the Half-Divine Far-Reacher, Master of Music and Sword

Frank Manna playing Kallias, son of Nestor of Pylos, Wise-eyed and many-skilled

Dave Younce playing Praxis, Mortal son of Ajax the Smaller, Strong-Limbed and a Mighty Wrestler

The Achievement phase went well. WIth the heroes helping one another to break down doors, tell great tales, and seduce beautiful women. This immediately brought the heroes together in a common bond and shared competition, while simultaneously showing them how the basic system worked.

I started the game with the three heroes at sea, lost, and far off-course. From the Heavens came Zeus, who ordered them to destroy a temple, Ithaka Knossos, whose worship had become perverted. From the lower deck of the ship came Aphrodite, who plead with them to calm the rage of a madman on the island ahead. Appearing in a chariot riding on water, Ares ordered them to destroy a gift he had given that had become monstrous. And so their Quests began.

Once on land the heroes were greeted by a messenger from the king of a squatty nearby village, Telemachos. Jason immediately set out to hunt for a pig to bring to Telemachos's feast. Several Simple conflicts ensued, including one about whether it was polite to bring anything at all to a welcoming feast!

Around this point in the game I decided to move to one of the outside cabins, as the common room had become too loud for me to concentrate on running the game. It was quite cold (in the mid-30's), and everyone was bundled up, hanging on one another's words, icy breath in the air, illuminated by a single bare light bulb. Awesomely Valley Forge-ish, but breaks were occasionally needed to stretch out and warm up.

After the simple tests, Telemachos revealed he was not a worshipper of the Gods, and refused to allow the heroes to leave to complete their Quests. A battle against some minions ensued, which the heroes won handily. They took their first refreshment cycle to recharge, holding funeral games for the Telemachos's fallen men, among other activities. Telemachos mentioned he was not a true king, for his father was not dead.

A quick stop at the Godless temple gave them the directions to the madman in the mountains, and the heroes also got their first glimpse of Diomedes Man-eating horse, a terrible monster, served by the men who ran at its side across the valley. They then faced Telemachos's father, Odysseus in an extended battle of Orate, with Odysseus trying to drive the heroes mad. Only one of the heroes had higher than d4 in Insight, which defends against Orate, and as a result I was hitting them very hard where they were very, very weak.

I went over the optional Tricks rules with them, which worked well for adding dimension to a non-physical confrontation, which ended up with Frank helping Jason to 'Schoolboy' Odysseus, which gave Jason a chance to make his final Orate roll, knocking out Odysseus and ending his ravings. Odysseus, when he came to, gave them directions to defeat the Horse, and went to make amends with his son.

At this point it was quite late, and it was requested we go straight to the Horse Fight. I agreed, and skipped over the next Refreshment Cycle, healing everyone's wounds and such with an assumption of 4 Refreshments to do so. They went back to the temple (they needed to get their weapons blessed by a heretic to defeat the Horse), and then it was ON.

The final battle against Diomedes's Horse was quite quick, with Jason burning all of his Divine Favor in an orgy of attacks, and me doing the same for the Horse. This left us both very weakened, but when Frank and Dave stepped up, the Horse didn't stand a chance. The Horse was defeated, and everyone went to bed after Zeus bitched them out for not tearing down the temple (the Priestess promised to revert back to God Worship if the heroes defeated the Horse).

Overall I felt the game went fairly smoothly (the index helped immeasurably). I was disappointed that we didn't get more time in the Refreshment phases, but I think everyone wanted to 'finish' the game, and Refreshing to the point where they would have been able to take on the Horse would have made that impossible. I didn't run Oaths right, with God Oaths only being applicable to the God's chosen skills. This caused some confusion during the last part. The players were very engaged, with very little non-game table talk, and much bellowing, oaths to the Gods, high-fives, and laughter, despite the cold and the somewhat spare room.

I was pleased that I was able to dig deep into my past as a great lover of all things ancient Greek, and I feel that even when I wasn't drawing from the source (Ithaka Knossos is a nonsense mishmash of place names) I was able to impart a certain amount of passion and color into the game. I'd love to hear from the players what worked and what didn't, and if I glossed over any particular AWESOME moments. I had a ball running this, and can't wait to play or run it again.
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foucalt
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2006, 05:29:02 PM »

First off, Remi! Great game - I was iffy on whether I was going to get Agon before; now I'm going to get it for sure.

I had a magnificent time playing Praxis, and Frank and Jason were very supportive of all my choices, which made a big difference. I had never gamed with any of these guys before that day, but after the Achievement phase it was easy to feel like these three heroes had spent years pummeling Persians together.

It was cold, but now that I'm not cold anymore I can just chalk that part up in the 'memorable' category. I was totally planning on destroying the temple anyway (and was all psyched to do it, since that would have been Might, which I was d10+2 at, plus the Ares oath I could've used to throw in another d12), so I was a little sad when Zeus came down to berate us for not having done so and the game was over. But, I think we were all pretty worn out by that time (not to mention cold), so I'm by no means calling into question Remi's choice to end the game there. I hope you know you're running the further adventures of... at camp nerdly 1.
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David Younce

dave dot younce at gmail dot com
Remi Treuer
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2006, 04:29:14 AM »

The Zeus thing was my big misstep in the game. I failed to make it clear that killing the horse would make the temple Quest a no-go. My thinking was 'If they destroy the temple before taking on the Horse, the Horse will be much more difficult to kill' OR 'If they kill the horse before destroying the temple, the temple will revert to correct worship of the Gods and to destroy it will cause Zeus more trouble than it is worth, and he will tell them not to." All I got was the last part of the second thing. So apologies for leaving a big part of the connective tissue on the editing room floor, as it were.


Also, a question: Does spending Divine Favor to make a Divine Weapon make the weapon Divine for 1 combat turn or for the entire battle?
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John Harper
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 09:12:09 AM »

Hey Remi,

Thanks for the awesome AP report. I'm glad you guys had fun. And your island sounds very cool.

The divine weapon efffect lasts for the entire battle.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Remi Treuer
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 10:19:35 AM »

Thanks for the awesome game, John! It was surprisingly easy to run, considering the amount of crunch. I can really see how long-term play will bring out the competitive edge in everyone.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Jason completely owned when it came to Glory, he was ahead by something like 10 points by the end of the game. That d8 Name Die is potent stuff!
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rafial
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 11:09:45 PM »

Great is the Son of Poseidon and his Mastery of the Game!

This sounds like it was really awesome, and it warms the cockles of my heart that the Tricks option proved to be a positive addition!
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Remi Treuer
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2006, 08:01:20 AM »

The thing I really like about Tricks is that special maneuvers are still possible for non-physical-combat extended tests, which is awesome. The genericized nature of Tricks mean that, for example, you can 'Schoolboy' someone, a physical/Might or Wrestling maneuver, to give another Hero a bonus to their attack, and it works the same way as Orating to enemies in combat.

Also, now that I think about it, Frank totally should have gotten an Oath from Jason for helping him out. There's the  incentive to do more Tricks that I was missing.

Man, the Nerdly game was damn good, but the next time I run Agon it's going to be freaking legendary. A Name die 12 game, yo!
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2006, 08:46:24 AM »

Yeah, I should have owed Frank a die for schoolboying Odysseus.  I enjoyed Stentor's pompous shouting of every intention. 

It was a really good game, almost a perfect storm of goodness:  We were all amped up to be at Nerdly, we were all on top of our game, we were all committed to having a great time, Remi has a deep knowledge of Greek myth and a natural ability to ham it up, and we could still move our fingers slightly.

I really, really liked Agon and can't wait to play it again or run it for others. 
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