So here's an "Example of Play" that I made up and tried to gloss over the holes that are still gaping in the design.

Alice is playing Jain, an architect who leads a group of people living in a crashed city-ship that she designed and brought into the battle above Agora. She's from the Hierarchy faction, so is a domineering ubermensch, and from the Oppidan culture, so she's very much an urbanite who cherishes cosmopolitan cooperation.

Ben and Christina are playing other leaders of other groups of people that have alliances and rivalries with Alice's group in the city-ship, but that's not important for this bit. Right here and right now, they're going to play some of the Followers on Alice's sheet; Ben will play Lor the City Controller, and Christina will play Gnoscis, the slave gladiator.

Dan also plays another leader, but for this scene he's going to play Alice's Opposition.

Alice sets out what she wants her movement to do, and in doing so frames about half the scene: "Since we've just crash-landed, we're going to need to repair the damages that the city-ship suffered in landfall. So Jain is going to organize the citizens into work groups, send them out into the surrounding territory to fell trees, and use them to rebuild."

Dan now decides who or what is going to try and prevent Jain's people from getting the repairs done. He could decide to put some guerrilla fighters in the woods, or have an old enemy from the war resurface and attack the city-ship, or whatever, but he decides that Jain's opposition is going to be the woods themselves. So he quickly writes up "The Black Woods," giving it a Position, some proto-Complications, and some Spoils in a process yet to be determined, all of which are counted in dice. "The Black Woods is a proud wilderness, and will swallow up what workers you send into it!" he declares, which are his stakes.

Alice rolls in her starting Ideal "Diversity combines many strengths together 3d8" and her Resource "Industrial Equipment 3d6". Her Ideal rolls up a 3, a 5, and a 6. Her Resource rolls up a 2, a 3, and a 5. She keeps Ideals dice on one side of her character sheet and Resources dice on the other side.

Alice starts off, narrating, "The workbells ring throughout the city-ship, assembling the people before whatever screens are still working. I tell the people of the city that they will be engaged in a great project that will bring honor and recognition to many. Their regular workgroups have been issued new assignments, and their handlers will direct them to their work area in the surrounding forest."

Alice can only mount a one-die Action, since no two dice add up to four or less. She points at a three and says, "One die."

Dan rolls the Woods' starting Position "The wilderness resists the touch of man 3d6" and assigns a proto-Complication to "Rough territory, hard to travel without roads or flyers 2d4". The Position rolls a 3, a 4, and a 5; the Complication rolls a 1 and a 2.

Dan shakes his head. "Your people are used to the orderly grid of streets and mass transit within the city-ship, and have hardly any outdoor survival skills to speak of. Most of the work teams can't even get to their work sites, which have been placed only a few hundred yards into the surrounding Woods."

Dan points at the 1 and 2, which add up to less than four, and says, "Two dice." He discards the one (since it's from a Complication, it does not become Fallout). He now has a 3, a 4, and a 5 in Position and a 2 in Complications.

Since Dan beat Alice by one die, Alice must discard one of her dice. She tosses the 6, which was on a d8, anyway.

"Further," Dan narrates since it's his Action, "the few teams that do scramble into the backwoods are attacked by ravenous monsters that look like a cross between dinosaurs and hyenas, with tufts of fur coming off their shoulders and big red claws!"

Now Dan rolls in a new Complication, "Terrible man-eating beasts 4d10." He gets a 2, a 4, a 6, and a 10. He points at his pair of twos. "Two dice."

Alice can't beat two dice right now, so she needs to do something. Since she's making a Reaction, she could introduce another of her Ideals or Loyalties, but she decides to just reroll the 3 and 5 that she already has. She rolls snake eyes, a pair of ones! She points at those and the 2 she still has, and declares, "Three dice! Of course I anticipated native life, and the security teams go into action, protecting the work crews."

The two ones were from rerolling her Ideals, so they become Fallout and are removed from her pool.

Now it's Alice's turn to take Action, and she decides to bring in one of her Followers. Since she just mentioned the security teams, she decides to introduce Gnoscis. She takes Gnoscis' 2d8 dice, rolls them (a 2 and a 4), and scoots them over to Christina. She points at her two and Gnoscis' two. "Two dice. The security teams hack their way into the interior while the construction crews roll out the heavy machinery to flatten the Woods around the ship. The trees they destroy won't be harvestable, but will function as serviceable roads while the rest of the teams start felling trees."

Dan already has two twos, but if his Reaction only ties Alice's Action, he still loses one die. He rerolls his 6 and 10, but gets a 2 and a 5. He can still only mount a two-die Reaction. "The trees are tough, and have deep roots, but over the course of the day they fall one after the other, until there are trails of crushed trees radiating out from the ship." He tosses the 5.

Since play goes around the table, it's now Christina's turn, and she rerolls Gnoscis' 4. It comes up a 3, so she can only mount a one-die Action. "The gladiator leads his team of bloodthirsty duelists out along the roads, striking deep into the heart of the Woods after every rustle they hear."

Dan's already used two of his 2s in the Reaction against Alice's bulldozers, so he only has one 2. He could roll in a new Position for his Reaction, but since this is at the beginning of play and is an example of play anyway, let's say he doesn't have another Position. He's going to lose a die, and he tosses the d10 showing a 5. "Fleeing from the crashing machinery and chased by the well-organized security patrols, the beasts of the Black Woods fall easily to the gladiators."

"We're totally skinning them and using their pelts in our gladiatorial gear," Christina gloats.

Now it's back to Dan, and he decides to use his last Complication. "Things are proceeding well enough the following day, until the work teams start dropping like flies in the east, knocked unconscious by fungal spores that their trampling of the woods must have kicked up," Dan declares, and rolls in a 3d6 for "Poison Spores." He nets himself a 1, a 3, and a 5. Pointing at the 1 and the 3, he announces, "Two dice." He then discards the 1 and reduces Poison Spores to 2d6.

Alice could use two dice (one in front of her, one in front of Christina), but then she'd still lose a die. She's only got one die left in her Ideals, so she decides to bring in another Ideal. This escalates the conflict, increasing her investment (and decreasing the fallout die size). She rolls in her 2d6 Ideal "Lessers serve their betters to become greater themselves" and gets two fours. "Well, crap!" Since she ties the two-die Attack, she loses one die (one of those disappointing fours) and sighs, "Well, they were really just plebian worker-drones, anyway, so some losses are to be expected. The medical teams go recoup who they can, and we leave that portion of the woods alone."

Alice's Action, now. She doesn't have to reroll anything -- she can still mount a two-die Action and she knows Dan doesn't have any more Positions to throw in. So she points at her two twos, rather gloatingly, and narrates, "As the lumber starts streaming into the city-ship, it's cut down and processed, then put to good use, buttressing crumbling corners and propping up sagging balconies."

Dan waves sadly at his pair of twos, which just ties, so he loses a die, which is going to be one of the twos he's come to depend on. "Yeah, well, there's bugs and rodents in all that lumber you bring in, so you get a nasty infestation of creepy-crawlies in your pristine little city! I surrender."

Alice cheers a bit, and gets her stakes -- the interior of the city-ship is rebuilt. She didn't lose any Resource dice to do it, but she did rack up two Fallout dice.

Since she used two Ideals, the Fallout die size went from ten to eight. Alice rolls 2d8 and gets a 1 and a 3. Any result of 4 or less makes her change one word of her Ideals; any result of 1 means she has to take a keyword from her Opponent's Position. Since the Black Woods' Position is "The wilderness resists the touch of man," she rewrites her Ideal to "The wilderness' diversity combines many strengths together." In her fight with the Black Woods, she has come to respect its noble resistance.

Additionally, since Dan goaded Alice into investing two of her ideals, he gets to bank two Resource dice for his own character.

The Black Woods has Spoils to the tune of 3d4, 2d6, and 1d8. Alice gets to take one of these and add them as Resource dice to her own sheet. So she takes "Building Materials 3d4." The other two Spoils are incremented by one (3d6, 2d8) and the Black Woods is filed away in the Opposition Library to be used by any other player later on in the game.

The next scene is Ben's. He decides what his leader character is doing, and somebody picks up Opposition for him, and the others play his followers or perhaps an allied leader.


After writing this up, I'm thinking the threshold for putting dice together should probably be pushed to five instead of four. There are lots more options of dice that 'fit into' five, and you don't have that two-twos problem where you set that up and then you can only better your chances by rolling two ones, which are immediately lost thereafter.

Note that I didn't include much on the (very rough) banking and support rules, which will allow players to take the Spoils that they win in one scene and either 'bank' them for a delayed payoff (if what you're doing should properly take multiple scenes to accomplish, and have a big payoff at the end) or send them to another player as 'support' (so two leader PCs can cooperate with each other).

This conflict is harvesting and building and stuff, but the system should support diplomacy, battles, exploration, even scientific research.

Opposition is filed away and accrues value so that players are rewarded for reincorporating things.

Since the setting can be (and often will be) Opposition, and the Positions and Complications of Opposition can change just as much as the PCs can change, the action of each scene should have a direct effect on the setting and situation.

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I like these rules alot. They

I like these rules alot. They are akin to some of the other new games out there that deals with dice in the same way. Dogs of the Vineyard comes to mind. Still they are different and very nice. They make for a nice narrative story telling where the players get lots of narrative responsibility.

So I finally sat down and

So I finally sat down and read through this. My initial reaction is: wow, that's pretty cool. I was all set to bombard you with questions about how this or that mechanic works, but then I realized you're probably working on those at the moment. Anyway, Agora looks pretty dang cool, keep up the good work.


Thanks, both of you! Yeah,

Thanks, both of you!

Yeah, dice are ganked from Dogs (and then beaten half to death). Amusingly, the thing that annoys me most about Dogs dice is the mob rules, and this die system is nothing but mobs.

Thomas, I'd love to hear the questions. I find that those are good things to hear in the midst of things, hardly distractions!

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