Tim, Len, and myself met for a rousing session of killing things (and taking their stuff).
The night started off a little humorously, Tim’s computer couldn’t be connected to both his printer and my portable drive that the character sheets and my adventure notes were stored on.
None of us had played before, but I had read through the rules several times. I (awkwardly) walked them through the process of creating a character. I also explained the rules as we went along (we were using the rated help-oath variant, where d4 help is worth 0 oaths, d10/d12 is worth 2, and +1 is worth +1)
Len came up with Strong-Limbed Praxis, Son of Dionysus. (“His name is law.” -Tim) Praxis specializes in swords, with a d10 in that ability, and has a daiklaive-like weapon (treated in game terms as two swords.) He had a scattering of d8 and d4 traits.
Not to be outdone in the d8 name die or d10 fighting departments, Tim made Alastor the Monster-Slayer, Son of Apollo. Like his companion Praxis, Alastor also has a d10 in swords, and two swords. However, ALL his other traits were d6.
Praxis and Alastor both ended up owing each other oaths- from the challenge their own player issued! Upon arriving on the island of Serifos (detailed on the Agon Forge forums, but my own players stay out!) and the island of Serifopolis, they were granted a visitation from Dionysus, who demanded that his son and companion insure that his Sacred Festival would take place. (Note: Dionysus never specified when the festival was supposed to take place; Praxis seemed to be under the impression that Dionysus wanted it immediately. Praxis also seemed to have a love-hate relationship with his dad, heavy on the hate.)
They thus got the Primary Quest Objective: Arrange for the People of Serifopolis to hold Dionysus’s Sacred Festival, and the Secondary Objective: Discover the sources of opposition to holding the Sacred Festival (note to my players: this objective is not yet achieved!)
(Also note to my players: I didn’t mention it, but this quest has 9 secondary objectives, which means there’s a lot of stuff going on and I have a lot of Strife to play with, but you get more glory for finishing it.)
Serifopolis was a city of many temples, so our heroes decided the best place to start would be at the Temple of Dionysus. Praxis quickly realized that there was no priest there, and the acolytes explained that the priest, Proctus, was on a pilgrimage to the seven shrines. (“Doesn’t he know the festival is supposed to be today?”- Praxis)
Praxis attempted to talk the acolyte into revealing the location of the shrines. I made this a conflict against 2d6 (the base difficultly), not bothering to write the acolyte up as an NPC. Praxis didn’t want to reveal his divine heritage (he doesn’t like being his father’s errand-boy), and rolled poorly, and the tight lipped acolyte sent him on his way.
Alastor took another approach: using Might, he beat the information out of the acolyte! One successful contest later, Alastor had the location of the seven sacred shrines.
(Completed Secondary Objective: Find out where Proctus went.)
Praxis and Alastor decided to split up to cover more ground and see who could get to the most shrines; I believe this was a mistake from a system standpoint; Agon seems designed to challenge the party as a group, and by splitting up, the balanced challenge provided by the GM was thrown out of whack. In the future, I’ll probably encourage the group to stick together.
Praxis had a challenge obstacle against a raging river, which he swam across; Alastor had a color scene with a tribe of Stone Men guarding some of the shrines, but allowing him passage, and then a challenge obstacle with a sheer cliff (which he failed at, taking impairment.)
In the woods near the fourth (and therefore final shrine, where of course the target NPC would be) Praxis found himself hunted by a pack of wolves and a giant wolf- Dire Wolf, totem animal of the Wolf Tribe. This was handled as a non-violent physical combat, with us seeing the initative rules, wounding rules, and attack/defense splits. There weren’t any divine favor, help, oaths, or creative ability usage. The Dire Wolf used Hunt, and Praxis used his Insight or Cunning (don’t remember) to evade him. Thanks in large part to his name die advantage (d8 vs d4), Praxis was able to evade Dire Wolf- and rack up an amazing 16 glory (highest wound plus Dire Wolf’s 10 value- overpriced in this encounter because of the Ambush and Swift abilities. There’s the problem with a group splitting up.)
Alastor approached the final shrine, and was set upon by wolves and humans, led by Orpheus, chief of the Wolf Tribe. Adamant that no one violate the tribe’s territory, Orpheus was still willing to listen to what such a mighty warrior had to say, especially when that warrior announced his intention: Alastor declared that he wished to join the Wolf Tribe!
(Orpheus was also a 10 point enemy, to even the chances between Praxis and Alastor. However, Tim took a non-violent route, and it didn’t seem like an extended conflict thing to me, so he only ended up with 1 glory.)
Praxis tried to sneak into camp, but was spotted by Orpheus, Alastor, and company. Alastor’s quick wit revealed Praxis as another would-be tribe-member, confusing Praxis, but saving him from immediate violence.
Interludes followed, in which the Interlude rules were taken for a spin, and Praxis ended up owing Alastor several oaths. The warriors entertained the Wolf Tribe with Music, and particpated in a carthartic Spear throwing contest.
Praxis and Alastor were able to see Proctus, and discovered that the Wolf Tribe planned to butcher him as an example to the people of Serifopolis not to violate their territory. It wasn’t made obvious what they were waiting for.
(Completed Secondary Quest Objective: Travel to the Sacred Shrines. Incomplete Secondary Quest Objective: Rescue Proctus from the Wolf Tribe)
The next morning, the warriors were awakened early by Orpheus and the Wolf Tribe. For two such promising iniatites as theirselves, they were treated with a special hunt: they would have to fight Dire Wolf himself! (I spent 6 strife to heal the damage from the previous challenge.)
A lot of Divine Favor was spent in this fight, but no Creative Abilities were used, and Help was minimal. Thanks to early use of Swift and Praxis being a right bastard, Dire Wolf was only within range for most of the first part of the combat. Alastor scored the first four wounds on Dire Wolf, but took heavy damage himself.
Note that NONE of the combatants had any ranged weapons! I will have to grill Tim and Len for whether or not their characters have bows or javelins, since there’s no downside to doing so, and with swords you can’t attack more than 2 range bands away.
There was a lot of movement, and lots of use of the Tactics/War Cry/Battle Lore abilities, which seemed very underpowered. (Someone has a temporary penalty, so you Tactics vs. them, making them lose their penalty and gain a new one, and then they just end up using it on some opposed roll you don’t have much control over.) I suspect I’ll be instituting a house rule that by spending an extra victory on such a roll, you can choose what roll it applies to over the course of the next round (before the roll is made).
After a series of good rolls by Dire Wolf (with the exploding die use of Divine Favor, which seemed to be the most popular option), Alastor was disabled, giving me a sweet 8 strife, and him +1 fate (to be fair, I did tell him about his option to try to flee, which probaby would have worked since Dire Wolf didn’t have as good positioning. He chose to stay and fight.) Praxis soon swept in, and mopped up with Divine Favor powered extra attacks. 9 Glory for Alastor, 11 for Praxis. Dire Wolf bit a big chunck of Alastor, but was struck down by Praxis.
At this point, we called it for a night. Praxis told me his plan- challenge Orpheus for leadership of the Wolf Tribe, which I think is way cool. I wanted time to review the rules, with my play experience in perspective.