*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 24, 2014, 07:34:15 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 116 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: [Agon] - Fun & Death on the Island of Skyros  (Read 5572 times)
Mel White
Member

Posts: 98


WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 07:14:48 PM »


Having read the posts of those in favour of the wound mechanic, it appears that the best way to achieve glory is to hang back and let others do all of the work for you.  The roleplayer in me cries foul at the mere of thought of such an act.  That's not glory...that's cowardice. 
Good point, and I may have given the wrong impression.  In the games I've played, most battles do start with gusto--sword and spear bearers seeking to close to optimal range, and missileers keeping their distance.  The goal is to wear down the opponent.  There's a shift in strategy once the opponent is worn down.  There is a lot of competition to score the last one or two wounds--because the hero hitting the 5 and 6 wound box earns 6 glory, while the nearest competitor earns 4.  Plus, I think there is a lot of desire to land the killing blow for the roleplaying 'glory' as much as the Glory.
Mel
Logged

Virtual Play: A podcast of roleplaying games
http://virtualplay.podbus.com
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 867


« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 08:24:58 PM »

One thing to add: there is sometimes value in opening up a roll and hitting an opponent big early in the fight.
If you get the 4 point wound box, no-one can take it away from you. The next few hits are probably hitting the lower boxes, and so are worth lower glory.

I wouldn't recommend using this is a tactic too much, though, as it's a bit costly.

The main advantage I see for the rolling up mechanic, is the ability to get a hit at all when your opponent has rolled a high defence, and/or you're staggering under the weight of wounds.

And you can never have too many minions! Although the PCs will soon disagree, once they see what kind of attack bonus a group of minions gets. :)
Logged

hermes
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 10:58:16 PM »

John:

Let me begin by saying that I enjoyed my gaming group's first try at playing Agon.  Then again, I usually enjoy most games with that particular gang of misfits.  But that doesn't take away from the game itself in any way.  It has some intriguing ideas and a very evocative setting to put them to use. 

I am glad to hear that minions can be hewn asunder like the cannon-fodder they are (though you make it sound like they can do some serious damage to the unwary).  This fits my conception of the genre.

As for your explanation regarding NPC's, I do see your point that most of the combatants have a chance to earn some glory in the battle, even though it's he who deals the killing blow who reaps the biggest reward.  I can envision a situation wherein none of the heroes are willing to attack a wounded monster because each player is waiting for the others to perform the set-up so they can score the killing blow.  That's the part that irks me somewhat (and which seems decidedly unheroic).  It feels like an artifact of the rules rather than a "realistic" action that might be taken by the character in-role.

Perhaps part of this stems from my conception of competition.  I guess I'm not overly fond of the idea of "screwing" the other players over in order to earn some form of advantage (usually glory, but there are other options as well).  I tend to imagine a more collegial atmosphere to the competition where the warriors attempt to help each other, but the one who gets the kill also claims the bragging rights around the campfire that evening.  The notion that players can and will perform actions that disadvantage other players in the interest of self-promotion just seem contrary to why
I play RPG's most of the time.  I actually like the idea of competition, but I think maybe I'd prefer it if the characters had some motivation to work cooperatively in the pursuit of their quests--something like an honour code might fit the bill (I believe the oath system can also accomplish this, but it is still a form of self-promotion and is, therefore, a bit difficult for me to swallow).

For what it's worth, I do like the Achilles vs. Odysseus analogy.  That works.  What makes me hesitate is the thought that Achilles wades into battle against a cyclops and steadily wears it down with telling wounds, only to have Odysseus, who has been hanging back the whole time doing nothing, suddenly toss a proverbial banana peal under Achilles in order to throw off the mighty warrior's positioning while he puts a single arrow to his bow and finishes off the dying creature.  Odysseus isn't just being clever...he's being a complete bastard...but he still gets the biggest chunk of the glory.

As an almost random thought, related to all of this, I like the notion that the heroes would be quite at home singing each other's praises.  Singing a song about how cool you are is kind of lame, but singing a song about how lucky you were to be standing side by side with "so-and-so, far-seeing son of that older guy" when he slew the cyclops in an epic confrontation.  Perhaps that's the sort of thing I meant previously about collegial competition.  I think they should want to sing each other's praises.

Of course, if, in roleplaying, you decide that one character is competing against another character because he stole the other's woman (or something along those lines), then I could see how one might sabotage the other's actions and try to steal his glory.

Anyway, I will continue to wrestle with this particular aspect of it.  Aside from that, I applaud the work you have done.    :) 

Mel:

I like your use of the phrase "roleplaying glory"--it's so true! 
Logged
John Harper
Member

Posts: 1054

flip you for real


WWW
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 11:43:42 PM »

Odysseus isn't just being clever...he's being a complete bastard...

... pretty much sums up the Odyssey and most of the Iliad, too. Odysseus would be considered a manipulative, deceitful, selfish jerk by our standards of "heroism" and fair-play today. Agon is not about our modern notions, however. The game was designed specifically to portray a culture totally unlike our modern ideas.

I can understand if that clashes with the way you might usually like to roleplay and your own ideas about what heroism and competition mean to you. I'm sure you will find that playing the "nice guy", the facilitator, or the selfless friend, will be consistently punished in Agon.

A group of heroes in Agon should be like nothing so much as a pack of wolves. Woven together with unbreakable bonds of loyalty and respect, and yet ruthlessly fierce over all matters of hierarchy and status. "First among equals" is everything.

In the Iliad, the great heroes fight bitterly (with their friends!) over who gets the larger share of the loot stolen from the bodies of their enemies. The story starts with one hero totally screwing over another, solely for the sake of status. It happens in every chapter.

And thanks for your kind words about the game. I appreciate it, and I'm glad your group enjoyed your first game.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 11:52:51 PM by John Harper » Logged

Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 867


« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2008, 01:00:55 AM »

Perhaps part of this stems from my conception of competition.  I guess I'm not overly fond of the idea of "screwing" the other players over in order to earn some form of advantage (usually glory, but there are other options as well).  I tend to imagine a more collegial atmosphere to the competition where the warriors attempt to help each other, but the one who gets the kill also claims the bragging rights around the campfire that evening.  The notion that players can and will perform actions that disadvantage other players in the interest of self-promotion just seem contrary to why

The way you describe it is pretty much the way my players have played Agon, and the rules don't discourage this behaviour. See below.

Quote
For what it's worth, I do like the Achilles vs. Odysseus analogy.  That works.  What makes me hesitate is the thought that Achilles wades into battle against a cyclops and steadily wears it down with telling wounds, only to have Odysseus, who has been hanging back the whole time doing nothing, suddenly toss a proverbial banana peal under Achilles in order to throw off the mighty warrior's positioning while he puts a single arrow to his bow and finishes off the dying creature.  Odysseus isn't just being clever...he's being a complete bastard...but he still gets the biggest chunk of the glory.

The difference in this case will only be 1 point, so Achilles probably will be irked but not too put out.

People have suggested that heroes will hang back, let others do the work, and come in for the kill. Understand that this is an exaggeration for effect: it's not exactly the way players will act.
What will happen is that people will fight their enemies, but likely conserve resources in the early stages of the fight (to an extent - they'll get used if good opportunities arise, or lucky or unlucky rolls call for them). Then go all out at the end, jockeying for position, moving allies out of position, using any of the resources they have tried to conserve, and so on, to get that last blow.

To better understand how that works: Glory from NPCs works like this: in addition to the other awards, at the end of the fight, you gain glory for the highest level wound you inflicted on an NPC.
So, let's say you hang back at the start. Achilles hits the bad guy, inflicting a 1 point hit, a 2-point hit, then a 3, 4, and 5-point hit. At this point, you swing into acytion and hope to take the NPC out. It's not actually as simple as that: you might fail, and then Achilles takes him down. In which case Achilles gets 6 glory, and you get none. But even if you succeed, you get 6 glory, and Achilles gets 5 - so you've only gained 1 point pover him and risked him getting a massive 6 point advantage over you.
So, players want to get blows in early, so that they can be sure of getting at least a 1, 2, or 3 point award - becuase those later awards are going to be harder fought and harder to get.
This example is exarcerbated in a 3 or 4 player group. Even when all the players get stuck in, it's quite possible - just due to luck of the dice - that one of the heroes will miss out on getting any of that hit glory at all, from a single foe. So someone hanging back can easily fail to get that killing blow when he has two or three rivals going after it.

So with a group of four players facing a couple of NPCs and their minions, the players will fight the bad guys and minions-  attacking as seems the most tactically sound, and according to opportunity. They won't hang back and not attack, because there's no advantage to doing so. They can get glory right from the outset by taking out minions, and they can be sure of getting glory later by hitting the NPCs. If they don't hit the NPCs now, they might not get any.
Then, when the fight looks like it's going the player's way, and they are about to win, there will be a scramble amongs the heroes to get the last and highest glory blows on those NPCs. That's when the competition kicks in.
Logged

Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2008, 01:26:56 AM »

Hi Darcy, no kill stealing expert here I assure you and everyone has said it much better than I could. I haven't played the game all that much yet, but I enjoy it. The game is definitely all about the cock-blocking. I find its loads of fun and there's strategy in it. But its not the most glorious hero gets the most glory. Its the one who gets the most glory is the most glorious. I like the fact that the hero's are performing un-heroic acts so that their heroic exploits are remembered throughout the ages. That kind of tickles my irony bone.

Imagine if the aim of the game was to be first in with a big ol' wallop with your sword. All the heroes rush in and start hitting the thing and opening rolls and trying to do the most damage. The game is basically just rewarding with glory behavior that other games reward with XP. Maybe you position an ally out of range so he can't hit it. But that's not as involved strategically as positioning your ally so that he can hit it first, before you hit it. Or calling on an oath to make him soften the NPC for you. Plus you don't get to swear at your friends for knocking you aside after you did all the hard work and taking your reward, the fuckers! :)
Logged

James R.
John Harper
Member

Posts: 1054

flip you for real


WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2008, 09:54:00 AM »

Darren is totally right, as always, with all things Agon.
Logged

Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 867


« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2008, 03:35:49 PM »

Thanks John :)

One other thing I forgot to mention. I said:
Quote
Then, when the fight looks like it's going the player's way, and they are about to win, there will be a scramble amongs the heroes to get the last and highest glory blows on those NPCs. That's when the competition kicks in.

This is what makes Agon unique among attrition-based combat systems. You know how when you get into an epic battle in Ad&D and in many other games: it's a lot of fun - the outcome is in doubt, everyone is on the edge of their seat. lots of excitement.
Then you reach a tipping point - you suddenly realise the outcome is decided, the fight is over. it's just a matter of going through the motions to finish off what's left of the opposition. What was an exciting battle becomes a mundane exercise in dice-rolling.
In Agon, though, at that stage the competitive element above kicks in, and so the players stay focussed, as the game continues to deliver excitement right to the very end of the combat.
And there's always a chance the players will misjudge: think they've reached that tipping point and start fighting less effectively as they jockey amongst themselves, and the villain makes a surprise comeback, for a short time till the players combine forces again.
That's only happened once in my games, but it was fun when it did.
Logged

Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!