Thursday, 30 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 10

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

The time has come for Asiaticus to become an initiate in the cult of Mithras. The first level in the brotherhood is known as Corax, or the Raven. To pass this ordeal, the initiate must dress up as a raven, with large wings made of ravens feathers. Like a bird, he must pick up a piece of food (meat) from an table using only his beak (mouth), hop across the floor while holding the food in his mouth, and drop it precisely in front of the idol of Mithras as an offering.

Seen as the easiest of the entry rites, the initiate must pass the three stages. Roll 8d6 in the first stage (picking up the food). Every roll of 4 or more is a success, if there are no successes, the initiate fails. This determines how securely the food was picked up. With the second stage (hopping across the room to the altar), for every success in the first stage, roll that number of dice in the second stage. Every roll of 4 or more is a success, if there are no successes, the initiate fails. This determines how surely the initate held the food while balancing with the hopping action. With the third stage (dropping the food in the correct spot), for every success in the second stage, roll that number of dice in the third stage. Every roll of 4 or more is a success, if there are no successes, the initiate fails. This determines how close the food is dropped at the feet of the idol. As an example, in the first stage 1,1,2,3,3,4,5,5 is rolled, being 3 successes. In the second stage 3,4,6 are rolled, two successes. In the third stage 2 and 5 are rolled, one success – and the initiate has made it! No successes at any stage is a fail. Asiaticus, all dressed up is in the candle lit Mithraeum, ready to go. The other cultists are all dressed in the paraphernalia of their rank, are chanting away, ready for the show……

Let me know the results of this. If Asiaticus passes, he must buy a raven mask, as a symbol of rank, for 5 gold, and is welcomed to the brotherhood. If he fails, he may be able to try again in future.

Meanwhile, Senex is back at the ludus, in the office of Androcles, reporting what he learnt. Androcles ponders the situation, and looks to Quadratus. Quadratus shrugs his shoulders and suspects that Bion has been afflicted with Livias herbs. Androcles agrees to paying the 30 gold, but warns that if the information gained is not of any use, the 30 gold will be deducted from Senexes future fight payments.

Senex meets Flaviania at a pre-arranged meeting spot, and Livia is there as well. Livia, a tall woman with raven black hair, mentions that a Syrian named Samasu has been a regular customer. Senex racks his brain, and knows that a Samasu comes into the ludus at various times to collect bets and give payouts, but does not know if this is the same person. Livia also gives a small quantity of a cure to Senex, she says that this counter acts the effects of the fever brought on by the substance she sold to Samasu. She says that it will be able to cure a person in time for the games of Liber Pater.

Back at the ludus, Senex reveals the details of Samasu to Androcles who nods saying “it would make sense if it is Samasu, the bookmaker, he comes and goes between each ludus as he pleases!”. One question – does Senex give the curative herbs to Androcles to heal Bion – so that he will be able to fight in the upcoming games? The position of Primus Palus is on the line, and Bion was scheduled to fight the current champion, Murena, who beat Bion once before.

Asiaticus is duly welcomed into the first level of the Brotherhood. His pass scores for the three phases of the initiation trial being 6, 3, 1. In the final part of the trial Asiaticus thought someone tried to trip him, but in any case he passed the test.

Senex hands over the curative herbs as well as the information to Androcles. He is beginning to enjoy his privileged status as a "trusted" aide of the boss, although his mind has begun to turn to how he could possibly take advantage ...

Androcles accepts the herbs and pays over 10 gold to Senex as a reward. When Senex and Quadratus leave to returns to their quarters, Quadratus slaps Senex on the back saying “There is potential in you boy! Keep up the winning and we can start making some real money.”

Asiaticus spends 5 gold on his new raven mask, and a small caduceus, the symbol of mercury to be worn at all times. He was told that not many make it on their first attempt, and his fellow “brothers” thought his skilled performance in the first leg helped with the later stages.

Over the next few days, Asiaticus has noticed that Bion has made a miraculous recovery and is able to compete in the games. He also notices that he has not seen Samasu for a while, and that a different person is in the ludus to collect bets.

The order of fighting in the games has been announced;

Senex is to fight Diomedes (2 skills)
Asiaticus is to fight Kemsa (4 skills)


Bion is also fighting for the position of Primus Palus. Apparently, a replacement had been ready from the travelling ludus of Macer if Bion did not recover in time, but is now not needed.

Anyway, the big day had arrived, with a grand parade commencing at the Temple of Liber Pater, moving past the Arch of Tiberius and towards the amphitheatre. A crowd of 16,000 gathered in the arena together with all dignitaries and the Legatus himself. All looked forward to see what twists and turns the games will bring!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 9

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

Bookkeeping first: Asiaticus now goes to his 4th skill. He wins 17 gold, taking his total to 67 gold. Senex does not gain a skill (beating a lower ranked opponent), and wins 9 gold, for a total of 34 gold.
It is noticed that when Asiaticus wins, it tends to be a kill, with Priscus, Corax and Bardelys being victims, and Hanno being the only survivor. This has given him the grim nickname of “Asiaticus Ducit Mortem” amongst the crowd.

Androcles and Quatratus cannot work Senex out, the theory is that he is playing to the crowd. The low ranked plebs certainly did cheer him a bit when he gave them a wave, which seemed to give Senex a second wind. And laughter broke out as the scandalous Flaviana made an overtly suggestive gesture back at Senex. Androcles turned to Quadratus asking “did you encourage this? It is certainly a high risk strategy to ignore ones opponent to seek favour with the plebs!”.

Quadratus, more through luck than intent, has found himself to be a highly regarded doctore, with the gladiators of Androcles seen as being well prepared. Many of the gladiators have won, including Bion, with the prospect that they will gain good timeslots in the upcoming festival of Liber Pater. However, these hopes are being set back with the arrival of the Legatus. Coming with him is his disgraced relative, Servius Albius Macer. He has brought with him a group of gladiators to contest in the games, much to the annoyance of the Magistrate who ran him out of town in the first place.

Quite a strange Lanista, Macer allows his gladiators to take in the nightlife of Leptis Magna, with discipline being non-existent. It is also said that some key gladiators in other ludii are having strange training accidents. Even more distressing, is that Bion has fallen ill from some unknown fever. In a panic, Senex has been called into the rather Spartan office of Androcles for a meeting with him and Quadratus. “There is something happening since the legion arrived – it looks like strange accidents are afflicting champion gladiators that plays into the hands of the newcomer Macer. We think someone is working for the scheming Macer and is able to move in and out of different ludii and ‘get’ to the gladiators. We need to find our who this is! Quadratus tells me that you have developed some connections, which was quite evident during the crowd behaviour in your last fight.” He outlines a plan that Senex goes into town, to where the gladiators of Macer are carousing, and look for familiar faces. Senex can take someone with him, which can be another gladiator. Androcles finishes with “You will be well rewarded if you find success!”. Quadratus adds that there will be two of Androcles guards nearby who can be called in to help.

Choices are;
  1. Does Senex take Asiaticus with him? Not sure is there is a linking back story here for them both.
  2. When in town, does Senex go to (a) the fighting pits, or (b) the house of the rising sun?
There will be two guards (as mentioned by Quadratus) who follow at a distance behind. Spending money is provided….

I will give Asiaticus "Popularity" as his 4th skill. I don't know how he is feeling about his new nickname - it would tend to increase the pressure, maybe it will affect his performance going forwards.

Regarding the espionage mission that has been assigned to Senex:
  1. He does not take Asiaticus, as although the two of them are acquainted they are not particularly close. Senex is not part of the Mithras in-group who are Asiaticus's buddies now.
  2. Senex makes a beeline for the House of the Rising Sun. He hopes to pass some time with Flaviana, and also he surmises that is the place gossip from the various ludii is more likely to be found.
Finding it rather odd that Senex wants to go it alone, Androcles agrees, even though he believes that another gladiator might aid in some recognition.

Senex travels in the evening to the House of the Rising Sun. Rather luckily, Flaviana is in that night. During their “meeting”, Flaviana mentions that Macers gladiators tend to hang out at the fighting pits. Macer himself is said to be a gambler and goes there as well. She also mentions that a friend of hers, Livia (also notoriously nicknamed Livia the Poisoner), has had someone buying a lot of sickness causing herbs and concoctions off her recently. Flaviana is willing to get more information from Livia for a sum of 30 gold (she sees an opportunity here). This is a lot more than the few measly gold Androcles gave Senex for “expenses”.

What does Senex do;
  1. Try to negotiate with Flaviana,
  2. Go to Androcles with the information gained, and convince him to pay the 30 gold,
  3. Go to the fighting pits to look for an alternative clue,
  4. Wait for an opportunity when the two guards are just out of sight and flee this crazed city, leaving it to the Romans and their scheming ways….
Hmm, I sense a decisive moment in Senexes career is imminent. He also sees the potential of Androcles handing over 30 gold, and imagines Flaviana escaping to freedom with him. Whether he will have the courage to actually make a run for it, we will have to wait and see. But meanwhile, he chooses option (2) and reports back.

NEXT EPISODE

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 8

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

I'll give Asiaticus the Attack skill.

Asiaticus noted the discussion between Quadratus and Androcles, but his natural passivity plus his new devotion to Mithras meant he hurried after the others, to the prayer meeting ...

The conversion of Asiaticus to the cult of Mithras is nearly complete. He has heard of a number of initiation ceremonies that must take place, but is not aware of what they might involve. Whenever he asks about the initiation, he just gets greeted with silence and wry smiles from his new found “friends”.

Androcles addressed the gladiators one morning. He announced that the next fight will be the last before the great festival of Liber Pater, where the Legatus will be in attendance. Galba is now the Emperor of Rome, and the Legatus is the most powerful man in Africa. It is not known what happened to the former Emperor Nero, some say he was killed by his own slave, others say that he used his acting skills and disguises to escape Rome and flee to Greece. This upcoming games are dedicated to Mithras!

The order of events are (nothwithstanding last minute alterations);

• Asiaticus to fight Bardelys who has 3 skills
• 
Senex to fight Mus who has 0 skills

Special Conditions: Senex will be quite distracted in the fight, as he will look in the stands to see if he recognizes anyone from his adventures in the city. Shuffle 10 normal playing cards (numbered 1 to 10, ace being a one). Draw one card after Senex rolls for AP. If the 7 card is drawn, reduce Senex’s AP roll by 2, as he is temporarily distracted when he spots Flaviana in the crowd. If the 10 card is drawn, Senex spots Hannibal in the crowd. Aghast at such a sight, he will skip that turn.

As the games are dedicated to Mithras, Asiaticus gains a prayer ability for these games only. If he rolls a natural 6 for AP, he can choose to skip that turn (pauses to pray) and thereafter gains the ability to ignore any negative AP effect from having fatigues, as he is filled with the bull like stamina of Mithras. This lasts until he rolls a natural 1 for AP. Not only does the effect end on rolling the 1, he gains an additional 2 fatigues at that point.

Both Asiaticus and Senex are beginning to develop a fan base among the arena crowd regulars, although neither is considered by any means a first-rate fighter yet. They are considered "prospects worth watching" and as "in with a chance" to rival the top fighters over the course of the next few Games.

It is also beginning to be noted that fighters from the ludus of Androcles are consistently entering the arena better prepared than their opponents. No one thinks Quadratus is an especially outstanding trainer - what is the secret?

Here is how the day went for our protagonists -


ASIATICUS v BARDELYS

I gave Bardelys the same three skills as Asiaticus (Attack, Dodge, Stamina). He is a sica-armed Thracian but wears heavier than usual armour. They came on with Strengths of 11 (Asiaticus) & 9 (Bardelys).

Asiaticus opened the proceedings with an unsuccessful shield-side attack, and Bardelys, scoring max AP, immediately countered with an identical attack, which Asiaticus parried. After a few more inconclusive exchanges, Bardelys' sica got past Asiaticus's shield and caused 4 wounds. Asiaticus replied with a clever sword thrust that took 4 wounds off Bardelys.

Both fighters then took a breather. Bardelys stepped away from the fray, and Asiaticus did not follow, preferring to stay where he was and recover a bit (shed his one fatigue).

Bardelys then began to try to work around Asiaticus's unshielded flank, but Asiaticus was lucky with AP and surprised Bardelys with an attack on his shieldless side. The potential damage was a staggering 9 wounds but the Thracian dodged and was able to escape the blow. Asiaticus kept up the hassle, and in another similar attack caused Bardelys 4 more wounds. At this point, Asiaticus had 7 Strength remaining, and Bardelys had only 1 Strength, and 1 fatigue.

Bardelys launched an all-out assault, but the effort seemed to over-exert him because (double 3 special event) he was knocked down by Asiaticus's defence. However he recovered and stood up to Asiaticus's flurry of attacks, slowly giving ground as Asiaticus took fatigues. He actually managed a dangerous 5-wound attack at one point but Asiaticus successfully parried. Both fighters were using their Dodge skills effectively to escape lethal damage, but the odds lengthened against Bardelys when he tipped into Exhausted status.

The end-game was quite long and drawn-out, with Asiaticus following his usual dogged "pursue and bustle" strategy, but never quite getting through Bardelys' guard; and Bardelys grimly resisting and occasionally making a potentially fatal hit which Asiaticus was always able to deflect. But finally Asiaticus made the breakthrough, with a lethal thrust that took Bardelys to -3 Strength, a mortal wound.

Asiaticus: lost 4/11 Strength, Vincit
Bardelys: lost 12/9 Strength, Peruit


Asiaticus never rolled a 6AP so the Mithras effect never occurred. It would not have helped anyway
as Asiaticus was at no point particularly close to being Exhausted. Naturally however he believes all his new-found success is due to the protection of the God.


SENEX v MUS


There seems to be something amiss with the big men among Leptis gladiators this season. Remember the disappointment of Titan a few Games ago, who was easily beaten by Senex. Now Senex faces another giant of a man, the Samnite called "Mus" (mouse, it is meant to be ironic) who is fielded with a Strength of only 6, whereas Senex is pumped with a Strength of 10. Strange days indeed, think the more discerning spectators.

Despite his heavier status Mus gets all the good AP early in the game, and Senex has to look lively to avoid being caught at a disadvantage. He decides to play a mobile game using his "+1AP" advantage to try and get in some side or rear attacks on Mus. This fails spectacularly as Mus strikes first causing Senex to lose his sword. Deft footwork and good defence enable Senex to avoid worse damage, but how to recover the sword? A game of cat-and mouse ensues with Mus chasing Senex but always careful to be between Senex and the lost weapon. At last the right AP combination (low for Mus followed by high for Senex) enables him to make a run for it and get to the sword.

But Mus is right behind him and causes 4 wounds in a rear attack before Senex can pick up the sword and get back into action. He grabs it and keeps running to put distance between Mus and himself. Spectators close enough can see him darting anxious glances into the stands as if expecting to see something. But what? Then Senex gives a sort of shudder, as if he sees a terrible sight, and stands for a moment without moving (draws the Hannibal card). Then he seems to recover, smiles and waves (Flaviana card, both cards were together at the bottom of the pack). It is noted that these strange behaviours happened after he had been looking towards the seating bloc reserved for the lowest of the plebs.

Luckily while this mysterious behaviour is happening (and being noted by Quadratus and Androcles among others, although they are as mystified as anyone) Mus has slowed down (some average AP at last) so Senex has time to gather his wits and plan a new attack. He has lost 4/10 Strength and is lucky it is not a lot more, whereas Mus is unharmed. Mus may be a rookie but he obviously cannot be taken lightly.

Senex announces he is back in the fight with an attack on Mus' unshielded side, but his thrust is parried. Mus counter attacks but also fails, and several rounds of unsuccessful attacks follow. Then Senex makes the breakthrough, with a "double 6 special event result. Mus takes 2D6=5 wounds, and is reduced to 1 Strength & 2 fatigues = exhausted status. He recovers well and even manages to mount some potentially dangerous attacks on Senex, but all are unsuccessful and only increase his exhaustion level.

Mus is able to hold off Senex for a few moves, but with exhaustion eventually building up to -3AP each turn it cannot last. Eventually Senex gets through with a lethal 5 wound attack, killing Mus outright.

Senex: lost 4/10 Strength, Vincit
Mus: lost 10/6 Strength, Peruit


Perhaps Senex will develop a reputation as a "giant killer" - unless of course both fights were arranged beforehand?

But either way, it has been a good day for the ludus of Androcles!

NEXT EPISODE

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 7

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.


For no discernible reason Senex and Asiaticus found the order of their fights reversed for these games. Asiaticus and Hanno came on in the morning after the usual executions, acrobats etc; while Senex and Felix did not make an appearance until nearly the day's end.

Both of our fighters went into the arena with their private thoughts. Asiaticus, now a thorough devotee of Mithras, seemed calm and confident. Senex seemed a bit distracted, Flaviana and her "sisters" were on his mind. Also he could not help wondering what would happen if Hannibal the pit fighter ever entered the arena. Senex had described what he had seen to the other fighters in the ludus, but it was generally held that he was exaggerating and that any trained gladiator would easily beat any mere street brawler.

Anyway, here is how it went down. One thing becoming apparent is that, regardless of Quadratus's training methods, he is getting results in terms of well prepared fighters who have better Strength generally than their opponents.

ASIATICUS v HANNO




Asiaticus has the Stamina and Dodge skills, and came on with a Strength of 10. Hanno has the Stamina, Reflexes, and Dodge skills, a dangerous opponent who could move like greased lightning, and a Strength of 8.

Hanno used his speed to close quickly with Asiaticus, although he was unable to get onto a flank despite trying. However, his first cast of the net succeeded in entangling Asiaticus, who was initially unable to break free. Hanno followed up with an unsuccessful trident attack, following which Asiaticus broke free of the net.

Hanno again used his speed, accepting the fatigue that came with the exertion, and attempted a trident attack on Asiaticus's shielded side. The unmodified result was a "defender knocked down, lose shield" double 5 special event, but Asiaticus felt the hand of Mithras turn the blow aside,  as his D6 roll changed from "5" to "1" and he then dodged successfully.


The Hand of God: Mithras guides Hanno's trident away from Asiaticus, saving him from a seemingly-certain five wounds. Hanno's abandoned net lies in front of Asiaticus.
The Hand of God: Mithras guides Hanno's trident away from Asiaticus, saving him from a seemingly-certain five wounds. Hanno's abandoned net lies in front of Asiaticus.

Asiaticus countered with a double attack, driving Hanno back two hexes (push backs for unsuccessful sword and shield bash attacks). Some indecisive exchanges followed, potentially worse for Hanno who was building up fatigue more quickly due to early exertions (using >6 AP). Both began to suffer a few wounds also.

Asiaticus was able to stay in touch with Hanno due to a run of good AP,  and he knocked Hanno down in a special event result. Hanno was able to get back up again, but Asiaticus inflicted more wounds, taking Hanno almost to the point of exhaustion. Asiaticus then knocked him down again, in a "double 2" special event, and forced Hanno to submit by standing over him.

Hanno's modified appeal score was 11 and he was granted Missio. Asiaticus left the arena a fervent believer in the power of Mithras.

Asiaticus: lost 2/10, Vincit
Hanno: lost 3/8, Missio


SENEX v FELIX

Senex has the Attack and Stamina skills, and entered the arena with a Strength of 12. Felix has the Attack and Dodge skills and started with a Strength of 10. The experts in the crowd, and the hard men from the various Schools looking on, could quickly see this would be a fight between two gladiators in top form.

Felix came out quite slowly, due to a run of poor AP, and Senex crossed most of the arena to reach him. He moved more cautiously on approach in case the slow movement was a ruse of some kind. Ruse or not it did not seem to work and Senex pounced on Felix's left side, causing 1 wound. Felix then showed his true capabilities. With a high AP score he turned the tables and attacked Senex's shielded flank, causing 7 wounds and taking Senex immediately to "wounded" status.

Senex counterattacked inflicting another wound on Felix, but many in the crowd wondered if maybe the damage had already been done. Felix continued a flurry of double attacks, taking Senex to only 3 Strength, but events showed that although he was "down" he was certainly not "out". He knocked Felix down with a "double 5" special event, and when Felix got up, did exactly the same thing again! Felix got up a second time, but this time Senex skipped around to his rear and caused 4 wounds, taking Felix to "wounded" status also. The crowd were enthralled by this display of courage and expertise by both fighters.

Felix may have been concussed by his two falls. He scored low AP and was not able to turn to face Senex, who pressed a side attack to cause 2 more wounds, then dodged Felix's belated fight back. Both fighters now had only 3 Strength left, and Felix had 1 fatigue.
At this point Senex scored a third "double 5" knockdown of Felix, once again Felix staggered to his feet, while Senex inflicted another wound. Felix's attack was parried and he acquired a 2nd fatigue, he was now on the brink of exhaustion.

Senex changed tactics at this point. He stepped away from Felix and began to try and work to a flank. At first this seemed to be a terrible error, as Felix came to life with a high AP roll and attacked Senex's shielded side. But Senex parried and the resulting extra fatigue tipped Felix into exhaustion. This got worse as Felix desperately tried to keep in touch with Senex in the hope of a single good strike (all it would take to win).

As the more discerning spectators had predicted, in a fight between two fighters so closely matched, it was a small thing that brought on the final result. Senex made an unforced error in movement and Felix, exerting every remaining ounce of Strength, was just barely able to launch one more attack. It was a "double 2" so Senex was floored and forced to submit.


Felix corners Senex in a last-gasp effort and wins the fight, against the odds, after a heroic performance by both fighters.

Felix corners Senex in a last-gasp effort and wins the fight, against the odds, after a heroic performance by both fighters.

Senex's modified appeal roll was 9, so he was granted Missio but by a surprisingly small margin considering the quality of the fight. Perhaps the voting was influenced by the many who had lost money on the result.

Senex: lost 9/12, Missio
Felix: lost 8/10, Vincit


Interesting that both fights ended with "double 2" special events [defender floored, must submit if the attacker can end his move adjacent]. Maybe this is a special move Quadratus is training his gladiators to use?

Admin stuff: Asiaticus wins 13 gold, and gains an extra skill. His total gold is 50. Senex wins 9 gold, with total gold of 25.

Asiaticus has come a long way from his low point. Religion has been good for him both in and away from the arena. Now that he is no longer alone, and part of the Mithras “brotherhood” within the ludus, the bullying from Quadratus and Bion has dissipated, apart from an occasional menacing stare from Bion. Senex on the other hand, seems to be distracted by other things. Androcles doesn’t know what to make of both gladiators at this stage, at times they show brilliance, and at other times only disappointment.

Senex was quit heavily wounded from his bout, and therefore spent most of his time in recovery. As punishment for his loss, he did not get the privilege of going into the city.



While Senex was recovering, a training session was just completing. Asiaticus was called away by his fellow Mithras brothers to attend a prayer session in a room in the ludus that was an impromptu shrine (a “Mithraeum”). Asiaticus started to follow, but he noticed that Bion and Quadratus were having an animated discussion of some sort away from the other gladiators. Does Asiaticus (1) go to the prayer meeting, or (2), attempt to sneak up to Bion and Quadratus and listen in, while hiding behind a wall?

NEXT EPISODE

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 6


Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

First, administrative stuff… Senex wins 15 gold (a huge windfall), Asiaticus win 10 gold. Overall, Senex has 23 gold, Asiaticus 42 gold. Senex does not get a new skill as he was against a weaker opponent, Asiaticus does gain a new skill. So both are on 2 skills.

Prior to the fight, Asiaticus was in the depths of despair. While looking through the grill onto the arena waiting for the inevitable, a large guard, who was a complete stranger, handed Asiaticus a small idol of Mithras. “Mithras rewards those who believe” he said. Asiaticus had heard other gladiators speak of Mithras, so he tucked it into his belt and put his faith in the idol. When Corax floored Asiaticus, he pleaded to Mithras for a miracle. As if by magic, some unseen force blocked the double attack by Corax. When Asiaticus was leaving the arena to the applause of the crowd, asked for a sign that this was the work of Mithras. Thereupon he saw the flock of birds. He now believed.

After the fights, Androcles arrived with Quadratus to meet the gladiators. Androcles was beaming with joy. “Who would have thought” he said, “that we would be seeing so much success today! Tell me Quadratus, what is the secret here?” Quadratus explained that after Senex lost his first fight, he arranged for Senex to visit the Domus Solis Ortum to lift his spirits, and he placed Asiaticus on a special training regimen so that he could gain confidence and belief in himself. “Excellent” exclaimed Androcles, “Quadratus, you could have trained the warriors in Olympus!”

As a reward, Senex is allowed another visit to the seedy parts of town again.  This time around he gets to see some lawless pit fighting. There are no rules, no concept of matched pairs, and the crowd never grants mercy…


Fighting is Hannibal, who famously wears the face of his most recent opponent as a mask, and uses a vile pick hammer. His opponent (pictured above) is Lenoidas, a specialist cestus fighter. Senex can bet up to 5 gold on the winner. If he bets on Hannibal (the favourite), he will win back an amount equal to his bet, if he bets on Leonidas, he will win back 5 times what he bets. Does Senex place a bet? If so, for who and how much (maximum 5 gold)?

In the meantime, the ludus is visted by a mystic of Mithras. Religious people are allowed to enter from time to time. For 5 gold, he will bring good fortune to Asiaticus’s next fight. If he pays the money, roll 2d6 and record the result. Asiaticus will be able to replace ANY ONE of his own dice rolls in his next fight with ONE of the 2 fortune results.

Asiaticus duly paid his 5 gold for the protection of Mithras, and rolled 2D6 : would you believe, 1 and 1. This mystic may be a fraud, I think. Mind you, still potentially useful to escape from a tricky "special event" problem.

Senex will place 5 gold on Leonidas to win. 

In the pit fight, Hannibal, who is scarcley human, was just too fast, with Leonidas taking fatal blows from the gruesome bipennis. “Hannibal is an uncontrolled lunatic!” thought Senex, and was thankful that he is a gladiator rather than a kill or be killed pit fighter.

Senex loses the bet and the 5 gold. He does however, round out the night in a wild party at the Domus Solis Ortum, spending another 2gp. Senex is starting to gain a reputation in the ludus for his wild and spendthrift ways.

Asiaticus is seemingly going the opposite way, devoting more time to the understanding of Mithras, and bonding with other gladiators who are members of the cult. The prophecy given to Asiaticus by the Mystic is not all that bad, a 1 can always be used for a turning a failed armour save to a successful block. That may have been the vision ….

The next games were announced as one of the qualifying events for the upcoming festival of Liber Pater. The match ups are;

Senex is up against Felix (has 2 skills)Asiaticus (armed with his prophetic dice roll of 1) is up against Hanno (has 3 skills)

The crowd is eagerly anticipating these matches. Betting money favours Senex over Felix, but the money favours Hanno over Asiaticus, as Hanno is seen as a good exponent of the net and trident.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 5

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.
Bion

It is not well known, but Bion gained streetfighting skills in the rough backstreets of Athens as a young lad. He was forced into becoming a gladiator to pay off gambling debts. He was told that he could make a good cestus fighter, but Bion preferred to don the national hoplomachus style of his countrymen. Bion is also considered to be an astute gambler; the gossip in the ludus is that he has already paid off his debts from a number of windfalls but chooses to fight on voluntarily.

Observers of the breakfast fight judged that Bion tricked Asiaticus into defending high while Bion hit low. A trait learned from Bion's old streetfighting days.

However, this was all academic to Asiaticus, whose life became even more miserable. As punishment for his poor performances, he was given the duty to clean out Rufus's kennel daily, which was work normally done by household slaves.

Time passes...

Finally another set of games were announced. They are held to honour the war dead of Legio III Augusta, as it is now the fashion to respect the authority of the Legatus. The match ups are;

Senex (who has 2 skills) vs Botanicus (has 1 skill)Asiaticus (who has 1 skill) vs Corax (who has 2 skills – one of them is attack)

It was thought by Androcles that the match up with Senex was odd, being pitted against a lesser gladiator. “Must be some strange things going on” he murmured.

Corax had previously defeated Senex, so it was widely thought he will easily dispose of Asiaticus. Asiaticus didn’t know what to think, if he lost again, would Androcles lose patience with him?


The pre-fight entertainment included convicted criminals being killed. Greek tragedies were the order of the day, and one poor sod recreated the flight of Icarus and was hurled across the arena from a catapult before falling to a gruesome death. Asiaticus, upon seeing the spectacle, mused that there are others in a far worse position than him…

Yes, no-one would want to be in Asiaticus's sandals at the moment. And yet somehow he survives, although he has seen many "better" fighters perish. The Gods can move in mysterious ways.


Anyway, the day of the new Games dawned and once again it turned out that Senex and his opponent were to go on in the morning session, with Asiaticus's bout just after the lunch break.

Here is how it all transpired.

FIGHT 1: SENEX v BOTANICUS

Senex has the Attack and Stamina skills, Botanicus has the Popularity skill (there's maybe a back story there if needed). Senex entered the arena with a Strength score of 12 while Botanicus came in with only 5! (A 6-1 dice roll split + Senexes stamina advantage). Androcles and Quadratus were feeling confident about this one, as they had been tipped off by a source in the other ludus that Botanicus had diarrhoea. Why was he not 'scratched' from the lineup then?

The two fighters got straight down to it, Botanicus not showing any obvious signs of illness. First blood to Senex causing one wound. Botanicus struck back, a wound to Senex followed by a shield bash that put him on the ground. Senex got up, and the fight continued with several rounds of indecisive sparring and a few fatigues building up.

Then Senex scored a quick hit that took Botanicus down to 0 Strength and it was all over. He rolled a modified 11 for his appeal so was granted Missio.

Senex: lost 2/12, Vincit
Botanicus: lost 5/5, Missio


The crowd digested this one sided result over lunch, with their turnips, and the more they thought about it the less they liked it. Something was obviously not right. The losing punters felt especially aggrieved.

Settling back onto the benches after lunch, they wondered if the first afternoon fight had also somehow been "arranged". Asiaticus was a known loser, and his opponent Corax was considered superior on all points, so no one expected much of a spectacle.

FIGHT 2: ASIATICUS v CORAX

Hmm. Asiaticus, with the Dodge skill, rolled high and came on with a Strength of 10. Obviously that regime of kennel cleaning has toughened him up. Or a realisation that this is probably a "do or die" moment for him. Corax, the cool professional, came in with a Strength of 8 and the Attack and Dodge skills.

They looked evenly matched at first, even rolling identical AP dice in the first few rounds. Corax struck first, two wounds to Asiaticus's shielded side. He hit back immediately with an identical result on Corax's shielded side. The fight then moved into another phase, with Asiaticus trying to bustle Corax, and Corax trying to step back to use his long spear. The only result was fatigue building up on both sides, tho Asiaticus was unlucky to fail in an attack on Corax's unshielded side.   

Corax achieved a "double 4" special event to floor Asiaticus but could not take advantage. He tried a big double attack but only succeeded in building 2 more fatigues, one for the spear failure and one for the bash failure. More inconclusive sparring then resumed.

Then Asiaticus made a big score, taking 4 wounds off Corax in an attack on his unshielded side. Corax was now down to only 2 Strength, with 4 fatigues (exhausted). Asiaticus was at 8 Strength and 4 fatigues. Corax's response was a "double 1" special event, losing his spear which fell in the hex separating the two fighters. Asiaticus moved up to prevent Corax retrieving the spear, and delivered another 4 wounds, taking Corax to -2 and submission.

Corax rolled a modified 6 for his appeal, so Asiaticus completed a successful day at the office by dispatching his badly wounded opponent.

On his way out of the arena, he glanced up at the sky. A flight of birds passed overhead in an auspicious formation. Was his luck changing?

Asiaticus: lost 2/10, Vincit
Corax: lost 10/8, Peruit

NEXT EPISODE

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 4

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. My posts are in blue, Marks are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione - note that this version may have differences to the current version. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

There was much debate as to why Bogud lost. Many thought it was due to his doctore, Pavo, training him in tactics more suited to a secutor, perhaps proving the armchair spectators right. In any event, Senex only won 4 gold from the event. He was quite perplexed at this – maybe it was because the fight was not seen as being serious, up against a slingshot user. Quadratus grumbled “looks like that night at the Domus Solis Ortum did some wonders for you.”

The star of Asiaticus seems to be falling, only earning 2 gold from the event. “Useless buffoon!” screamed Quadratus, “Androcles was right, maybe you are only good for the opening acrobatics!”

There were no games immediately scheduled, and both gladiators had fully recovered. It seemed that Asiaticus was even more out of favour (though he was never in favour). Bion, who won his last bout and full of swagger again, was merciless in his bullying of Asiaticus during communal times. Quadratus seemed to actively encourage this. One breakfast, Bion picked up Asiaticus’s breakfast bowl full of porridge and threw it into the face of Asiaticus. The other gladiators looked on, not wanting to get involved.

It was highly amusing to Quadratus who broke into laughter. Asiaticus has two options – (1) take it and do nothing, or (2) fight (a fist fight).
  • If a fist fight is chosen, then use the following rules; (miniatures are not needed for this)
  • Roll starting strength for both gladiators as normal, except add 8 to the d6 roll rather than 4 (so strength will be between 9 and 14). For Bion, take the higher die of 2d6 and add it to the 8.
  • There is no fatigue.
  • Asiaticus throws the first punch.
  • To punch, choose a target area (head, groin or body) and roll a dice to see if Bion is defending it (see table below). If he is not, do a number of wounds equal to the area hit;
    • A body blow does 1 wound
    • A groin hit does 2 wounds
    • A head punch does 3 wounds
  • If Bion is defending the correct area, the blow does no damage. Then it is Bion’s turn. Decide what area Asiaticus will block, then roll to see what area Bion is attacking;
Die
Bion Attacks
Bion Defends
1
Head
Body
2,3
Groin
Groin
4,5,6
Body
Head

  •  The first gladiator to go to zero or less points falls down and loses.
Let me know what happens….

Bion rolled 2 & 4 for his Strength D6, so his starting Strength was 12. Asiaticus rolled 5, so began with a Strength of 13.
For all his plodding unspectacular nature, something was roused in Asiaticus when Bion provoked him by throwing the bowl of porridge at him in front of the other fighters. He landed a blow on Bion's body, and the two of them traded body blows for a few seconds. Meanwhile the chaos around them subsided as Quadratus ordered the other fighters go back off, and to,d the guards not to intervene. The combatants continued their struggle in the middle of a ring of fighters, guards and slaves, cheering them on. Doubtless many bets were laid by the spectators.

It became obvious after a bit that Bion has faster reactions than Asiaticus. After the initial flurry of body blows, Bion got in two quick groin hits on Asiaticus, while blocking Asiaticus's counter punch.

For a while after that the combatants held each other off, with several rounds of blocked blows. Bion blocked two head punches and Asiaticus blocked a body punch.

But then Bion began to assert dominance, and hit Asiaticus with two groin shots and another body shot, while taking fewer hits as he was able to block some of Asiaticus's punches.

In the end Bion punched Asiaticus to the floor and the fight was ended.

Asiaticus lost 15/15 strength, while Bion lost 9/12 strength. Neither fighter landed a successful head shot in the entire fight. Asiaticus was successful with 5 x body hits and 2 x groin hits (total = 9 strength). Bion was successful with 5 x body hits and 4 x groin hits (total = 13 strength).  Tellingly though, Asiaticus was blocked by Bion 3 times (2 head shots, 1 groin shot) whereas Bion was blocked  by Asiaticus only 1 time (body shot).

This is going to be interesting ... not sure I would like to be Asiaticus right now.

NEXT EPISODE