Actual Play – Island of Astra Part 2 (3/13/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Alec, Travis and Steve
System: Agon

Wow, I’m somewhat surprised that there is a part two to this game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving Agon, but I ran the first session expecting a one shot… people coming back for more is awesome. And awesome it was!

Quest for Hades

Introducing Zethus, the Strong-Limbed, patron of Ares! Zethus arrived on the ship as well and was ready to kick some Greek buttox.

The game started with Hera thanking the heroes and reminding them the quests her brothers game them. This was really just to catch Steve up on the quests and give the heroes some more chances to argue amongst themselves.

The choice however was clear. Hades wanted the sacred garments back from Dysis, home of the dying King Evandros and the Heroes were going to get it for him. The headed over and saw a city in mourning, the king had just died. However, the next day they were in mourning again… he had just died. With a little lore and orating to the priests, the found out that he died every day, came back to fight the giant in the mountain and then died again. Fun times.

This is where my oh crap alarm suddenly went off. I had decided that his garments prevented him from ever dying… but hadn’t decided why yet. I had decided that Zeus was the god given the most reverence at Dysis, so I kind of went with that. What kind of stuff had Hercules done? Then it came to me, Evandros was a hero, like the heroes of this story, but he had tricked the gods into living past his fate. He crept into the underworld and stole the cloak of Charon (the ferryman for the river Styx), thus making it impossible for him to cross over into death itself. Yeah, not exactly a perfect story, but it worked and the players dug it. The coolest part though was that they got all righteous about it. Instead of just going to get the garments they were going to put that king to and end! How dare he usurp their glory by continuing to live past his time!

Then many hi-jinks ensued, including challenging Apollo, earning his wrath, doing service for the temple of Hermes (and angering Apollo furhter), wresting a spear of stone from the earth, and restoring the old temple of Hades in Dysis.

Of course all these adventures left the heroes plenty weary so what did they do? Hold a three day drunken bender in the temple of Hades. So of course as they tried to exit they were confronted with not only the priests of Apollo but a lost spirit that tried to trap them inside such that they would starve to death. Defeating all obstacles the heroes emerged ready for battle with Evandros.

And on that note… I hadn’t planned a physical battle with Evandros. I figured he would be talked out of the garments and so made him ready for a battle of Oratory. It was really clear though, by this point that they just wanted to kick his butt. Luckily it wasn’t hard to tweak the character a bit and make Evandros the King into Evandros the Warrior.

A big old fight with him and his guard ensued. What I didn’t expect, however, was to run out of Strife. Can you believe it? I had to make super generic minions because my strife budget was low (only 3 to spare). The wiped the walls with them but Evandros proved a worthy foe (built on 12 strife himself). He was able to defeat Latinicus and in doing so revealed himself as Evandros, son of Zeus. Zethus the stronglimbed and Appolinus the great spirited avenged their companion and gave him his final death.

In the end they appeased Hades, amused Hermes but made an enemy of both Apolo and Zeus. Fun adventures sure ensue.

What rocked

I really ramped things up this time. I was burning strife like it was going out of style. Consequently the heroes needed three interludes (hence the drunken bender) and earned a ton of glory… Just as it should be.

I felt MUCH more conformable with the system. We’re so use to Burning Wheel that when a conflict comes up everyone wants to establish their own stakes. What we realized with Agon was that each set of stakes is it’s OWN conflict. Which is great in this game because it allows one hero to best the guards, the other to sneak into the temple and the last to make off with the high priestess, thus spreading glory all around.

What could have been improved

I forgot that Greeks wore black in mourning… minor oversight there. I also could have led the heroes along a little bit more regarding the king, I pretty much spilled the story as soon as they arrived.

I need some more interesting (if still not named) NPCs. Blind old hermits, strong women of a house hold, young men seeking glory, etc. People to occasionally ground the OVER THE TOPNESS of the game.

I ran out of strife! I forgot that the strife scales with players and since I only had three players, I realized towards the end that I was nearly out of strife. I also forgot that I get strife when a hero is defeated equal to his name die. When Latinicus dropped I totally should have had Evandros summon eight more of his guards. That would have been awesome.

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