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AGON by John Harper

AGON by John Harper

Greek adventures in the genre of the Oddyssey are what await in the Agon RPG – but better than that, the game is competitive and cooperative at the same time, with mechanics to make the characters work together, but also compete to be the best, drawing favors from one another during play to help them have the most boast-worthy deeds.

There’s nothing off-hand that I can say I don’t like about this RPG. The character sheets are unique and functional, the system works, and it really does encourage friendly competitive play. Better than that, it actively supports being hacked into other styles of games – the author has the majority of a Shadowrun hack on RPG.net and the book itself suggests how to make it work for a Special Ops game.

The core game itself is very Greek. Everything in the game must be won in a contest. Together the characters defeat the challenges set before them, but each one is seeking his own glory, not a combined victory. The system is fairly simple, with the players rolling one or more dice (typically two or three) and taking the highest result.

Character creation is simple and also engaging. For this game I’m going to aim to have a charismatic warrior king type.

First (and most importantly according to the game), you have your name. Unlike most games, your name is a vital statistic with a die rating. In this case, perusing the list of classical Greek names, I see one that reminds me of classic D&D and choose Kerameikos. Deciding to be mortal instead of half-divine, the character’s full name is Kerameikos, son of Antenor. As a mortal, my name has a stat of 1d6 (instead of 1d8 for half-divine characters). Then I pick a heroic trait, which is added to the character’s name and provides some game bonuses – in this case, Great-Spirited provides the kind of bonuses I want, with a +2 bonus to Spirit and Orate. So now I am Kerameikos the Great-Spirited, son of Antenor.

Then it’s abilities. There are four groups each of four abilities. All start with 1d6, and you get two bonus dice to put where you want (increasing the die one size). You can also increase an ability by decreasing another one in the same group. The groups are Arete, Craft, Battle and Sport, and each is further subdivided into the total of sixteen abilities. I’m going to increase Spirit at the cost of Insight; Spear at the cost of Aim; Orate at the cost of Heal; and Cunning at the cost of Wrestle. My bonuses go into Spirit (bringing it up to 1d10) and Might (up to 1d8).

I choose Zeus as Kerameikos’ god – after all he’s a king, and Zeus favors Might and Orate, two of his strong points. A bit of equipping, and Kerameikos is ready to adventure.

Name: Kerameikos the Great-Spirited, son of Antenor

Arete: Insight 1d4, Grace 1d6, Might 1d8, Spirit 1d10
Battle: Aim 1d4, Shield 1d6, Spear 1d8, Sword 1d6
Craft: Lore 1d6, Music 1d6, Orate 1d8, Heal 1d4
Sport: Athletics 1d6, Cunning 1d8, Hunt 1d6, Wrestle 1d8

God: Zeus
Favoured Abilities: Might, Sword, Orate
Divine Favor: 7

Weapons:
Javelins – 1d6+1, Range 2-4
Spear – 1d8 1d6, Range 2
Shield – 1d8
Sword – 2d6, Range 1

Armor: 1d8
Helmet (-1 Missile)
Greaves (-1 Positioning)

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