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AGON is a brilliant swords & sandals RPG by John Harper. The mechanics are simple without being truly “rules light” and also manage to be highly competitive – encouraging the players to compete with each other to complete the quests they are on but to do so in a manner that allows them to reap more glory than their companions.

While the standard rules were written with a Greek Mythos feel to them, there are suggestions in the back of the book for other settings the game could be hacked to run – such as Norse Adventure, Ancient America, and even Special Ops games. Further, John himself has a half-complete hack of the game for recreating the Shadowrun setting, and there is one for playing Call of Cthulhu / Delta Green (called, awesomely enough, DAGON).

One of the other players in a few of our groups has been tossing around ideas for doing a straight CyberPunk-style conversion (instead of the magic / cyberpunk setting of Shadowrun), but in the Special Ops feel of Ghost in the Shell (based heavily on the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex PS2 game).

But I want a bigger picture game than special ops. I want a game that will handle just about anything that CyberPunk will throw at you, and that you can play in the more familiar environment (for old CyberPunks at least) of R. Talsorian’s CyberPunk 2020 RPG.

And from that we get AGON ex Machina.

The groundwork for the conversion was done by John’s Shadowrun conversion and Dave Younce’s DAGON. The goal is to produce something a lot like CyberPunk 2020 in feel; although I’ve managed to almost completely miss out on the Humanity aspect of the game (but instead have managed to keep another core part of playing the game: shopping for new toys).

I feel that CyberPunk suits the Agon game feeling quite well – as the characters are working together to complete their goals, each also really is more concerned about his own rep and face than on building rep or face for the group as a whole. Agon pushes home the need to compete with the other characters while pushing the envelope, because it is only a matter of time before you push too far and burn out. Hopefully you leave a pretty corpse and a littany of stories and adventures behind that everyone else on the streets will remember for years to come.

Throughout this week I will be posting up the notes and methods as I work on this conversion and hopefully by this time next week we’ll have a full AGON Hack published and ready to play.