Monsters, Agents, NPCs & Mooks
Every protagonist needs an antagonist and part of the skill in being Game Leader is choosing the right one for the characters and the adventure. Within Age Of Legends there are four broad types of antagonist to choose from: monsters, Titanic agents, archetypes and human mooks. These may be combined in adventures and fights at will but Game Leaders are advised to keep encounters manageable. Battles should be swift and death sudden which is difficult to do if the Game Leader is managing too many creatures at once.
The bestiary contains a variety of well-known and more obscure monsters from Ancient Greek legends. The term monster is pejorative as some creatures may be friendly or at least neutral towards the characters. What makes them monsters is that they are never found in human poleis. They are encountered in the wilderness, in old ruins or in similar remote locations. Though few humans have seen a monster and lived, everyone in the Hellenic world believes in their existence.
Intelligent beings such as Amazons, Centaurs and Fauns populate the fringes of the Hellenic world. They live far from human civilisation but have their own complex cultures. They are as wily and strong as humans and they fight with reason rather than animal instinct. As with humans, they are capable of mercy, justice and cruelty. The Game Leader can create monster sheets for these creatures by combining character paths with monster paths found in the 100 Monster Bestiary.
- Amazons are normal humans but Amazonian Queens have divine blood and use the Divine Ancestry path.
- The half-horse nature of a centaur gives both advantages and disadvantages. Whilst centaur characters can use the Herbivore monster path, they will suffer when trying to interact with anything designed for a two-legged creature and find climbing nearly impossible.
- The Herbivore monster path has several advantages that apply to fauns.
Titanic Agents & NPC Champions
The characters not only face monsters in their adventures but humans equal in power to themselves. Titanic agents are the characters' opposite numbers, serving the Titans as the characters serve the Olympians. Finding and killing agents should not be an easy task and they work best as the mastermind or 'boss monster' behind a fiendish plot. There are also Olympian champions serving other gods. Though nominally on the same side, NPC champions may come into conflict with the characters when their god's ambitions run up against the characters' plans.
NPC agents and champions must have a Champion or Agent path and at least 70 CP, though it is recommended that they be substantially tougher. A 150 CP agent supported by a large gang of mooks will pose a serious threat to a group of new champions.
Though agents and NPC champions are the characters' enemies, they are the people with most in common with the characters. No mortal has such a strong connection to the gods as a champion or agent. Game Leaders should encourage players to see the agents as other human beings experiencing the same highs and lows as themselves. The two sides may be rivals and trying to kill each other but they all do so at a god's whim. Like troops in the trenches, the opposing sides may share wine and a game of dice between bouts of mortal combat.
Greek society is one where honour is important, and there is none in an assassination or the murder of a disarmed foe. The gods need witnesses to their triumphs over rivals, and to see it done with honour. The fate of Achilles is an object lesson in the consequences for a champion who angers a god by dishonouring an opponent. An unspoken accord exists between champions and agents that combat between them will only occur as part of a formal challenge, giving mortals and gods alike to chance to observe it. This allows champions and agents to mix in social situations without killing each other and for the Game Leader to introduce the more subtle and deeper elements to the game.
There are many humans who are too powerful to be mooks but who are not champions. These include the leader of a polis, an important general or an influential philosopher. If the Game Leader needs one of these NPCs to use advantages and make a dice roll they can use an NPC Archetype.
An NPC Archetype is easy to create. Select the character path which most closely fits the NPC. Assign each advantage (including the Path advantage) 4 CP / 1d6+0 to create a 40 CP character. By increasing the CP spent on each advantage to 5 CP / 1d6+1 it creates a 50 CP character; 7 CP / 1d6+2 creates a 70 CP NPC and so on. The player characters, who start with 70 CP, are exceptional humans fit to be champions of the gods. Use this benchmark to decide how many points the NPC archetype needs. Archetypes have three dynamic potential, one static potential, one recoup and one free resist.
In cities and in civilised lands, nearly everyone the characters meet and fight will be human. A number of human mooks with differing traits are provided to ensure variety in combat. Game Leaders should use large numbers of them in fights as Age Of Legends is designed for epic adventures. The slaughter of countless mooks illustrates the power of the champions but players cannot take it easy. A gang of mooks is capable of hurting the characters.