Agon: Seeds of Democracy

Tonight was the fourth session of our beta playtest of AGON 2nd edition and our second island. Dolia’s player was unavailable so our heroes were Antiochis and Phaedra.

Our heroes landed on the islands of Ion and Soros, linked by a land bridge. Usually there was a gate on the island but it had been destroyed and masses of people were fleeing from Ion into Soros. Orta, the giant who controlled Ion, was raging; his cries of rage and stomping could be heard from afar and every stomp was accompanied by a ground tremor.

Seeing something big going on at the royal palace on Soros, the heroes went to check it out. King Vlakas was preparing to pronounce judgment on his daughter and leader of the Soros army, Commander Tyla, for failing to stop the Ionian refugees by force. The King assumes that the heroes were sent by the gods to restore order on Soros. Tyla recognized the heroes and called them by names and deeds, asking them for support.

Phaedra tried to convince King Vlakas to help the Ionian refugees but he would not budge. [The hero player rolled poorly but accepted the failure in order to start growing her Pathos die.] Meanwhile, Antiochis questioned Tyla. The heroes learned what was happening: the giant, son of Demeter, was a cruel taskmaster and had been working his workers to death. He payed a tithe from the harvest, paying off King Vlakas (who they accuse of being a coward!) to keep the workers trapped on Ion.

The heroes decided they must go speak to Orta and get him to treat the workers better. As they were leaving, Tyla asked them to check on her grandmother Thalia, an Ionian weaver, whom she had not seen in a very long time.

Leaving the Soros royal family to their disagreements, the heroes crossed the land bridge to Ion. Orta was in a fury, stomping houses and catching fugitives with his huge hands. Phaedra and Antiochis first managed to attract his attention, then to calm him down enough to talk. Phaedra tried to reason with the giant, teaching him about crop rotations and ways of treating his workers better.

Meanwhile, Antiochis went to find Tyla’s grandmother Thalia, who was protecting a group of children and wounded. The older woman explained that the Ionians were hard workers but refused to be worked to death anymore. Thalia wanted the heroes to take the children to another island so they would not have to grow up as virtual slaves to Orta.

Phaedra was making her case for workers’ rights and agricultural reform to the giant, but the notion that it would take at least a season to prove itself was too much. Instead, Phaedra went to the temple built by Orta himself, offering the splendid cloth she had once woven [during the Achievements phase in Session 1], and appealed to Demeter to insist that the giant follow this plan. [I treated this as a god offering during interludes for dice-rolling purposes. The Strife roll was a big 2, and and Phaedra rolled well, so that was a nice success.] The goddess smiled upon Phaedra’s plan and told her son to go along with it.

Antiochis suggested that Thalia become an advisor to the giant, as he didn’t understand mortal limitations, and that Tyla act as diplomat between the islands, leaving Soros as a figurehead. But during the arranged parlay, King Soros vehemently refused to go along with the plan [Phaedra failed her challenge for a diplomatic solution], so Antiochis dangled him over a cliff [succeeding very well at her less diplomatic solution], humiliating him and deposing him in support for Tyla. Everyone rejoiced!

[We resolved the end of session by awarding Legendary Virtue points (2 points of Judgment for Phaedra, 1 point of Heart and 1 of Justice for Antiochis), trading Oaths, and claiming great deeds (Antiochis the Queen-Maker and Phaedra the Giant-Tamer!)]

[Then we resolved the end of the adventure by describing the fate of the island and updating the Vault of Heaven. They had pleased Demeter by bringing the workers back and finding more productive farming methods, and Zeus by replacing the weak king with a stronger ruler — all hail Queen Tyla! — so I added a star in each constellation. They already had earned one point of displeasure from Zeus, but I felt that this would erase it. In payment, I gave a God-Oath only from Demeter, not Zeus.]

[We compared Glory; Phaedra had the most so she dropped it back to 0 and increased her Name die from d6 to d8). The heroes recovered Pathos, Divine Favour, and Hubris. No one decided to change their Epithet and the linked domain and strength.]

And this is how we managed to have one island adventure in a single session, and with diplomacy and democracy too. When in Greece, right? Our next episode will likely be the final one, next weekend.

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