Agents of Concordia is one of those kickstarters I hadn’t thought of anymore. In these days an email has arrived with the link to download the PDF version from Drivethrurpg and today I did it. As I clicked on the download button I thought “let’s hope it’s a nice, full-bodied and characterful manual”. When I saw 213 megabytes of files I started to hope. Double click and it was immediately love for the cover. Good start!
Art and layout
Contrary to what I usually do, I will talk later about the producers, the Kickstarter project and how it went. I want to start with the art, because it’s the first thing that won me over. The cover is beautiful, massive and elegant at the same time. Many congratulations to the author, Robin Thomasson, one of the four talented illustrators of the game and my absolute favorite among them. In the manual there are several of his designs: clean, detailed, engaging and elegant. A perfect mix of realism and figurative.
The layout is pleasant, fluent, with excellent use of spacing, characters, tables and bold font.
Navigation between the sections is also favored by a colored lateral border of the pages on the left which shows written in which part of the manual you are.
Now that we know it’s a pleasure for the eyes, let’s talk about content.
Agents of Concordia in brief
Agents of Concordia is an action and mystery game set in a multiverse run by a central government called UVA Concordia. In this multiverse there is also the Earth, according to its calendar in the year 1964. For reasons related to the setting, the Earthlings are not aware of the multiverse.
Each player roles a special agent in the service of the C.C.I., Concordia Central Intelligence. Think about the CIA or, better yet, about Men in Black.
This game aims to be very varied, fluid and with fast narration, where sci-fi and fantasy come together in a kaleidoscope of worlds, races and situations.
The system is called Pentivity System and is based on the d12 alone, in these years more and more under the spotlight after decades spent only in the hands of the players of barbarian half-orcs armed with an axe.
The project and its developing
Before going further into Agents of Concordia, let’s take a step back and tell how it was born.
It is the first project of Strangewood Studios, Swedish publishing house in the game market since 2014.
Like the d12, Sweden is also coming out more and more on the world roleplaying scene!
The Kickstarter project lasted 45 days, from May 1 to June 14, 2019. It raised around €23,000, exceeding the minimum target by 25%. On average, the backers funded around € 50, indicating a clear preference for physical reward. Now that I’ve seen the beauty of the product, I’m glad I did it too. It should arrive within a month.I don’t know if they will succeed, meanwhile I enjoy the digital version. There were no great stretch goals scored. In my opinion, better stretch goals management would have attracted more people. The most interesting proposals (such as a free app that guaranteed access to information on monsters, worlds and objects) started from too many high amounts. In short, they did not break through, but I’m happy that they got the funds to produce their manual.
Ideas and basic principles
In the introduction the authors explain that they wanted to create a flexible game, quick to play but also deep. They divided the scenes into five types: combat, infiltration, investigation, exploration, research. These are the themes of the game and each of them has been assigned 1/5 of the rules. Furthermore, the necessity to keep discussions at zero is underlined. The multiverse in the manual is only hinted at. Therefore the one in which the characters live is unique and proper to the master so the players must completely rely on his idea of feasibility and possibility, leaving aside any doubts. So it was thought and so it should be.
Some details on the system of Agents of Concordia
It’s called the Pentivity System and uses one to three d12s. You choose the best result and compare it with a number to overcome. The authors called it “a friendly narrative game” because the master is invited to provide numerical bonuses to players who push their characters into breathtaking ventures and who know how to take risks.
Bonus/ malus simply come in the form of + 3/-3. Everything that supports gives +3, everything that hinders -3. The intent is to speed up the game without making people think or argue about the correct number or other details. Simple and clean. Instead, players are able to alter dice results through two resources: veterancy and clearance level.
More info on the setting
Agents of Concordia is centered around the CCI, Concordia Central Agency, an agency that has the task of protecting a multiverse made up of a myriad of worlds located in parallel dimensions. Most (but not all) of these worlds respond to a liberal senate, with two cardinal worlds: Concordia Prime for bureaucracy and Teigo for cultural and economic activities.
Earth is the last outpost before the end of the multiverse and is a popular destination for the Vagrants, real monsters that come from the Primal Dimensions through a portal called Artifex, on the opposite side of the multiverse. They are attracted to the Singularity, a source of pure Aether that is found at the end of the multiverse, therefore immediately after Earth. Aether is the fuel that makes magic work across the multiverse, but it quickly runs out on Earth. This is why magic on Earth is fleeting and fickle.
Earth is only accessed from Concordia Prime and there are many creatures from other worlds who live there secretly, conducting more or less legal activities.
Hence Aether is the energy source of life and power in the Multiverse. There are those who control it through gestures or those who use it thanks to artifacts. Being an energy, Aether batteries are common for recharging artifacts. Batteries work everywhere except on Earth and in the Primal Worlds. Damned suburbs.
Magical gateways allow you to travel between the worlds, which are surrounded by what is called The Void. With hundreds of worlds available, if you exclude the central skeleton of the multiverse which is more codified, there is room for the wildest fantasy.
A multiverse in an handbook?
The manual has just under 200 pages and obviously cannot contain an entire multiverse inside it. It is divided into several parts. The first is the corebook, which in about 30 pages deals with the rules and then devotes itself to a brief description of fifteen worlds. I emphasize short. More space for images than for words. I find it right, not being able to describe a multiverse better to leave a lot of room for the imagination of those who will leave it. The next hundred pages are dedicated to the player handbook, which has about twenty very varied races to mix with a dozen careers. The manual continues with the part dedicated to the master, minibestiary included, and it ends with an introductory adventure.
Last thoughts on Agents of Concordia
It is always easy to describe your project as an excellent role-playing game. Precisely for this reason I cannot be sure that Agents of Concordia, described as a narrative game of “fast decisions, fluid gameplay and action” is really like that. If I have the chance to try it at the table I will certainly let you know. I am sure, however, that it is a beautiful manual, with an alternative idea at the base, a streamlined system of rules and the possibility of mixing magic, technology and any type of world you want. These features make it a very interesting game and definitely worth trying.