Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 6

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

They maybe spared Lupus because of his previous record?

Perhaps Fortuna is beginning to smile on the ludus of Ahenobarbus? A good win in a prime location will boost his reputation, and the money will help too.

GALLUS wins a further 5 aureus for the win taking his balance to 20. He is also in line to pick up a fourth skill (which do you want?).

A few days after the games, the slave Helios comes to see Ahenobarbus, as usual on the pretext of collecting rent for Athenodorus, but in fact to convey the patron's requests (= instructions).

Athenodorus is in a tricky position. As a romanised Greek he is secretly despised (but feared) by his Greek compatriots in Antioch society. The Romans while appreciating his usefulness also do not fully trust him. He also faces a medium term dilemma: suspecting that Mucianus and Vespasian are plotting to seize the throne, should he throw in his lot with them or blow the whistle? As civil war continues in the West, the potential rewards of getting it right, and risks of getting it wrong, are enormous.

As City Aedile, Athenodorus is responsible for such important but boring jobs as road maintenance, markets supervision, and water supply. The actual work of course is done by public slaves including supervisors and professionals, and by contractors. He does not have any armed force. Right now this is causing him a problem that needs to be solved discreetly.

As Helios briefs Ahenobarbus, the Blue Gate market (one of the City's smaller markets, near the Damascus Gate) is being encroached on by a local standover gang, led by Pericles. They are trying to seize control and collect the usual bribes, previously going into Athenodorus's pocket, for themselves. Or, as is suspected, for another shadowy player, even Miltiades the City Prefect, another romanised Greek, and actually a Roman citizen, to whom Athenodorus nominally reports as Aedile. Obviously he must tread carefully, but he must act.

Ahenobarbus's instructions are to form a squad and ambush Pericles's gang at the market, and "get rid of them for good". The gang usually comprises 4-6 men, none of them veterans or gladiators, only street toughs, although Pericles himself is a notorious "hard man" suspected to have committed several murders. Ahenobarbus should take enough men to do a thorough job. Getting the Pericles gang to run away is not enough as they will come back with reinforcements. And none of the many civilians who will be in the market are to be harmed. The City Watch will not show up (they will be incentivised to patrol somewhere else).

Please run this as an asymmetric SBH game. The basic street fighters on each side would be Q4 C2 but veterans and gladiators that Ahenobarbus "might have available" could be Q3 C3-4? Details up to you. If Ahenobarbus goes himself, maybe a hero or combat master? The aim is to kill or capture as many as possible, including Pericles and at least 50% of his gang members. Capture would be good as they can be tortured for information.

I had a game using “Song of Shadows and Dust” using the “abduction” scenario. I had some cardboard standees that I used (though accidentally some were medieval). Not sure if I did it right, but the evil “gang” consisted of (205 points):

2 x Henchmen (Q4 C3 Grey)
1 x Henchman with cudgel (Q4 C2 Agile, Bludgeon, Quick Grey)
1 x Savvy Henchman (Q4 C3 Determined StreetFighter)
1 x Tough Henchman (Q4 C4 Hard)
1 x Henchman with Sword (Q 4 C3 Armed, Bellicose)

The gladiators were (206 points);

Ahenobarbus (Q3 C4 Armed, Champion, Combat Master, Greedy, Hard)
Gallus (Q3 C4 Armed, Bludgeon, Hard, Stubborn)
Other (Q3 C4 Armed, Bludgeon, Quick, Stubborn)

The above picture shows the 6 gang members with black bases (circled in red) entering through an arch commemorating of triumph of some random Roman general. A bunch of civilians with white bases were milling about, the two that are highlighted in green are prostitutes who have a “distract” ability, adding 1 to a figures Q dice when within a short move (one male, one female). The gang moved first but rolled a triple failure. It was clear that Pericles was not amongst the group, and they had no strong leadership. The 3 gladiators on the other hand, moved freely and attacked.

In the above picture, Gallus (unfortunately) scored a gruesome kill on one of the gang. This was crucial as 4 of the gang members immediately fled at the sight, two off table, the other two using “grey” to disappear into the crowd. Surprisingly, one gang member remained, the savvy one with “street fighter”. The second gladiator of Ahenobarbus attacked, causing only a push back on the clever opponent. Ahenobarbus himself attacked, but only managed a draw against the wily criminal – Ahenobarbus’s “hard” skill saving him from an embarrassing knock down. The Savvy Henchman attacked back, and was himself knocked down. The other gang members continued to flee, and Gallus bound the fallen savy henchman, capturing him; with the final position below;
Though an even point fight, it was a very quick, one sided engagement. Overall, a sort of failure. The gang members were not that brave (apart from one) without Pericles. One henchman dead, one captured, and 4 escaped…..


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 5

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

Yes it odd how often it works out like that. I found the same thing with Mago and Kemsa. Possibly some subconscious mechanism at work?

Anyway Ahenobarbus and his troop (less the unlucky GERMANICUS) return to Antioch in reasonable spirits. They have lost one of their better fighters, but overall the ludus has done OK. Ahenobarbus has presented good entertainment to the key Romans (and Roman lackeys) in the province, enhancing his prestige and making useful contacts. He has also made some money.

GALLUS has picked up the new skill "crowd pleaser" to add to "attack" and "dodge", and he gets half the special prize (the rest gies to Ahenobarbus) taking his credit balance up to 15 aureus. He has now also won three fights (v Umbris, Saburra, and Sejanus, killing the last two. And completed an important dirty tricks mission for Athenodorus. After a fairly ordinary start he seems to be gaining self confidence.

Time passes

It is now 68 AD and news is coming in about world events. Nero has been overthrown by Galba who has been proclaimed Emperor. Nobody will miss him, although it seems things are not settling down and Galba may have rivals for the throne. But that is all a long way off - news from Italy can take three months to reach Antioch. Nearer home, Vespasian and his elder son Titus have recaptured Jerusalem and seem close to exterminating the revolting Jews. This is generally welcomed, even the Jewish community in Antioch is keeping it's head down. And there is a glut of Jewish slaves on the market including many prisoners of war. Ahenobarbus is able to pick up several likely lads with fighting skills  at good prices.

Things are also proceeding for the Alexandrian Games, traditionally the first set in each new year and highly prestigious. As City Aedile, Athenodorus can place some of Ahenobarbus's men in key fixtures. GALLUS is slotted into a prime spot against LUPUS (Velite, skills: Stamina, Reflexes, Dodge).

Athenodorus is not being nice to Ahenobarbus purely out of the goodness of his heart, even though open handedness by a patron to a client is a highly regarded social virtue, bringing prestige in itself. Instead, Ahenobarbus (through the intermediary Helios) is becoming Athenodorus's chief enforcer, as he uses his political office to get things done, and enrich himself. He is becoming more Roman than the Romans, whisper his political enemies and enviers. More on thus next time, perhaps.


OK, quite an interesting fight. One sided in the end but skills came into full use. Gallus won with 2 big hits, one doing 6 points of damage, the other 5. Lupus, having stamina, started with 9 strength. Some highlights were Gallus getting crowd favour due to his showmanship that he was working on, which allowed him to do a very rare 7AP move (albeit with a fatigue). Lupus rolled a few 1’s for AP’s but his skill turned them into 5’s & 6’s, so it came to use, but he lost in the end. He rolled 10 for the crowd, so easily survived.

Gallus: Lost 1 from 8 strength, 2 fatigue. Win
Lupus: Lost 10 from 9 strength, 2 fatigue. Lost but survived appeal.

The fight was not THAT entertaining, so it is inexplicable why the crowd was suddenly so generous. Maybe they like fighters dressed in wolf skins?


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 4

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

The VIP crowd that was being entertained at Athenodorus's country villa was delighted with the private games. Several other bouts took place in addition to the ones featuring they Ahenobarbus ludus. They wanted to see GALLUS fight again. Governor Mucianus himself put up a special prize of 10 aureus to see GALLUS fight SEJANUS (Retiarius, skills: Reflexes, Stamina), another fighter considered an unlucky loser last time. Ahenobarbus and his fellow lanista are happy to agree, and the fight is set up for tomorrow evening.


It is funny how the fights have had a consistent pattern that inexplicably fits the story line. In this case, yet again the audience was bloodthirsty. Also, both fighters have just come off a loss and were clearly carrying injuries. When I rolled for strength, I rolled 1 for Gallus – Strength 5. Then I rolled for Sejanus (higher of 2d6 due to stamina) and rolled 2 ones! (seriously), 5 strength as well. Clearly they were rushed into this by their lanistas and well underdone.

Both suffered an AP drought (again, they were underdone!), and kept their distance. Gallus got the first roll of 6 and just managed a frontal attack, causing 3 wounds. Sejanus was now injured, and did not roll enough AP to get away, but enough to get a wild throw of his net which missed by such a wide margin, onlookers were not sure whether it was just outright ineptitude. Gallus (also with low AP) did a few frontal attacks, a couple scoring 1 hit each to bring the hapless Sejanus down. By previous standards, quite a boring fight, but Ahenobarbus would have breathed a sigh of relief . When it came to the crowd roll, Sejanus rolled 7, +1 for being injured, but -1 for not inflicting any, and -1 for having no helmet. Final score 6, the audience was not happy….

Gallus – lost 0 from 5, 1 fatigue, no crowd favour, WIN
Sejanus – lost 5 from 5, 1 fatigue, no crowd favour, LOST Missio roll.

For a new skill, I would pick “Crowd Pleaser” (I need something to get the crowd moving!).


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 3

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

GERMANICUS was brought back to the ludus on a stretcher, but Ahenobarbus's doctor is sure he will be OK, it is just massive loss of blood. But it means he will need time to recover and cannot help to solve the Paulinus problem for Athenodorus.

GALLUS returned in triumph, and just as importantly unscathed, after delivering the best win yet (OK, almost the only win) for the ludus. He wins a further 4 aureus, taking his total to 6, and he now has the skills of Dodge and Attack.

Ahenobarbus now gets another visit from Helios and they work out a plan to deal with Paulinus. The next morning GALLUS (who has been briefed as the assassin and promised wine, women and gold) lurks in the predawn darkness behind the temple of Europa, disguised as a gardener. Helios is out the front and whistles to signal the approach of Paulinus, then scarpers as agreed. GALLUS emerges to do the deed and sees not Paulinus alone, as he expected, but two men and a woman !!! One is Paulinus, who he can recognise because he is unusually tall. None of them look like bodyguards, just civilians, but he has to decide instantly what to do:

  1. Slip away and report back to Ahenobarbus.
  2. Attack Paulinus and risk inflicting collateral damage if it gets messy.
  3. Stay unseen in the shadows, observe, and wait on events.
What will he do?

Through his endeavours in the arena, Gallus has demonstrated a somewhat slow response to situations. Hopefully this will change at some point… However, in light of this, Gallus will demonstrate patience, selecting option 3, and waiting for an opportunity to act!

GALLUS hides in the shadows, unnoticed, and observes the trio walk down the narrow alley between the temple and the wall of an adjacent building (the Gardens of Mus). They open a postern door in the wall and go inside, into the Gardens. Just as GALLUS is about to follow them, two more people come from the other end of the alley and also go through the door. Then some more. Within a few moments about 20 people have gone through the door, at least half of them women, and none, except for Paulinus and his associates, well dressed. What can it mean?

It is starting to get light now and people are appearing on the streets to go about their daily business. A couple of real gardeners appear and start to sweep leaves. GALLUS will have to leave soon, or attention will be drawn to him.

Then a stroke of luck. Paulinus accompanied only by a woman comes out of the garden and they walk back along the alley. They will pass within a few yards of the skulking GALLUS. Will he:

  1. Strike now, even though it is light and there is a risk of being seen by witnesses?
  2. Get cold feet, do nothing, and go back to Ahenobarbus and report?
  3. Wait until Paulinus has gone and try to sneak through the door, into the Gardens, and satisfy his curiosity?
Gallus is in two minds, he thinks there might be something good for him behind the wall, but he will follow orders instead and go for option 1 and strike.

GALLUS'S training kicks in. He moves quickly up to Paulinus's side, from out of line of sight, and runs him through. Paulinus staggers and falls. The woman stands transfixed and horrified, and then starts to scream "murder". Worse, GALLUS thinks he recognises her from somewhere, and thinks he sees recognition in her eyes too. She turns away to try and escape, he grabs her from behind and cuts her throat. Then he runs for it, amazingly no one has intervened or raised a hue and cry (I diced for this, GALLUS was lucky!). Probably any actual witnesses peering around corners etc are slaves and want to keep their heads down. If they become involved in an investigation they will inevitably be tortured for their evidence. Slave evidence was only admissible if it had been obtained by torture. Rumsfeld and Cheney should have been Romans!

GALLUS makes it back to the ludus and reports. Ahenobarbus is relieved the business seems to have been successfully finished, and rewards GALLUS with 4 aureus (total now 10) and various other delights.

Over the next few days reports of the " 'orrible murder" circulate through the City. Rumours fly, especially about a political connection. Eventually, some days later, there is an official announcement from the office of the Governor, G Licinius Mucianus: the victims were Christians, probably murdered by hard line Jews. The Jewish community is fined 1,000 aureus which provokes some unrest but most people think they had it coming.

Here is a crime scene photo of the investigation into the murders of Paulinus and his mistress Thaiis, crypto-Christians. The evidence points to an assassination by "sicarii" - Jewish bandits and extremists. One theory is Paulinus has refused to pay protection money, or to funnel payments to the revolutionaries fighting to free Judea from the Romans. The figure shown in the photos is a slave gardener, who saw nothing, standing in the alleyway where the bodies were found. Another theory is that Mark is getting too involved in the back story !!!

Several weeks pass.

Athenodorus is proclaimed City Aedile for the coming year. There are no Games scheduled for several months because it is harvest time and many of the City plebs are away in the country as seasonal workers. Also many of the elite retire to the comfort of their country estates to escape the heat.

However Athenodorus is organising some private amusement for himself and his cronies at his villa a few miles south of the City, on the coast. Ahenobarbus receives a 'request' to attend and bring some gladiators. It is understood there will be some VIP guests attending. Good entertainment is essential and will be well rewarded.

There is a decent-sized natural arena near the villa, where the bouts will be staged. Arrangements are made for the following match ups:

GERMANICUS (no skill) v CARVILIOS (Hoplomachus, 1 skill, Attack)
GALLUS (Attack, Dodge) v BRASUS (Thraex, 2 skills: Reflexes, Dodge)

As the games begin, Ahenobarbus notices a small group of Romans with Athenodorus and a couple of his romanised Greek friends. There are guards discreetly posted. He thinks he recognises the Governor, Mucianus, and also Vespasian who is supposed to be in the south conquering the Jews. But he has no time or inclination to dwell on this, politics is not for people like him.

Note: Even though it is a “private” fight, I played with the working the crowd rules, as the attendees could still cheer on gladiators e.t.c. – it proved important in the first fight


This was the toughest fight of Gallus’s career, and at the same time, one of the most entertaining fights witnessed. It took a long time, a really long time. For most of the fight, Gallus was on top, Carvillos was both injured and exhausted, but just stayed in the fight. It was a fight of small hits that accumulated. Eventually, Gallus also became injured an exhausted. The crowd really got into it, cheering on both gladiators at various times. It was in fact the wild cheers that kept the fighters going – Gallus had to overcome a -3 to AP (injured + exhausted) and could not even perform a simple pivot, without the crowd egging him on. Carvillo ended proceedings with a double 2 special hit. A 5 was rolled for the appeal, but there were enough bonuses to get it to 8, so Gallus survived. Gallus was on top for most of the fight, but Carvillos only really came back at the very end. Gallus is seriously considering conversion to some strange cult, like that of Mithras, as he heard gladiators gain some luck from that god.

Gallus: Lost 8 from 10, 2 crowd factors, 10+ fatigues Lost, but survived appeal
Carvillos: Lost 5 from 7, 1 crowd factor, 10+ fatigues, Won


This was a really hard fight for Germanicus as Brasus had the attack skill, which allowed him aggressively push the lightly armoured Germanicus around. It was very quick, two fast hits in and Germanicus was felled in a few moves. It went to appeal, but there was a final modified score of 4 – curtains…….

Germanicus: Lost 8 from 7, 0 crowd, Lost, and lost appeal, Dead
Brasus: Lost 0 from 6, 1 crowd, Won

That was the situation, in the private fight, it is in the hands of the host…. One thing that was distressing, the tendency of harsh crowds is too be unforgiving at the end, being it private grouping or large arenas. What is wrong with these Antiochans? Ahenobarbus must be tearing his red hair out.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 2

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

Well that was a decisive opening round. The favoured one KIA on his first appearance!

Let me know if you want me to start another gladiator from my poor start. As Gallus’s first skill, I will take Dodge, as I think he needs to improve survival skills at this stage.

Ahenobarbus was not very happy about this initial showing, although considering it was only the matinee, not too much damage done ... The crowd saw a good fight with GALLUS and plenty of blood with SCORPU. And Ahenobarbus was able to make a quarter-aureus selling the dead body to the lion keepers.

GALLUS earns 2 aureus for the day's work, which becomes his starting balance. And the Dodge skill, as you indicated.

A few days later as Ahenobarbus was busy in a training session with ALUCIO, (another gladiator in the ludus who is subject to violent mood swings that affect his fighting capability) and wondering if the new herbal medication he had been told about would do any good, he got a visit from Helios, who he knew well, one of Athenodorus's slave secretaries and confidential general agents.

(After some discussion, it was decided to run a replacement gladiator, Germanicus, who is a dimacheri - otherwise it would have been the crazy Alucio.)

Helios explained that Athenodorus had heard about the mixed fortunes of Ahenobarbus's fighters the week before, and wanted to make an offer. Athenodorus would be prepared to give Ahenobarbus his gladiator GERMANICUS (Dimachaerus, no skills) at no cost, and pull strings to get Ahenobarbus two prime time slots at the Games of Diana, if Ahenobarbus would just arrange something for him ...

Athenodorus was up for the prestigious office of City Aedile this year, but his main opponent, Paulinus, was getting traction and looked like winning. Now, if he could be removed before the election which is just after the Games ... He would be an easy target as he normally had no bodyguards and often visited an obscure temple, alone, in the early morning when no one was around.

Ahenobarbus agreed, indeed he had no choice as a freedman client was totally expected to obey the commands of his patron. He would think about it later, after the Games.

The Games of Diana duly arrived and as promised there were two prime time slots for Ahenobarbus's men:

GALLUS (now well recovered) (Secutor, Dodge skill) will fight SABURRA (Gaetulian, Reflexes skill)
GERMANICUS (Diamachaerus, no skills) will fight SENECIO (Myrmillo, Dodge Skill)

Ahenobarbus was grateful for this opportunity given by his patron, but nervous as his men lined up against opponents who were nominally superior in skills. However if successful the prize money would be lavish.

One thing that is apparent is that the crowd of Antioch is not only hard to please but quite bloodthirsty!

It was clear that Gallus was a lot more determined in this fight, and was better prepared with a strength of 8 vs Saburra’s 5. Saburra was very tricksy, he came out quite fast and got a couple of good javelin throws into the flanks, but Gallus’s armour proved too strong. Saburra then lunged with his sword in a moment of opportunity, but yet again was unable to cut through the armour. Despite his energetic performance, Saburra was only able to gain very modest crowd support for his boldness and many attempts at showmanship. All the time was also the watchful but clumsy referee, who inexplicably got in the way a few times. Then came that moment, Gallus rolled 6AP, enough to move the referee away from protecting Saburra’s flank (must have been bribed…) and got a massive 6 strength hit in which Saburra failed to save against. The crowd, who never really warmed up to Saburra, gave the thumbs down. (as will be discovered later on, the thumbs down here was quite fortunate for Ahenobarbus)

Gallus: lost 0 from 6, favour points 0. Won.
Saburra: lost 6 from 5, favour points 1. Lost Appeal modified result 6. Dead.


This was one of the best fights of the day, but again, the crowd was hard to work. Senecio started strong (why does everyone get the “jump” on Ahenobarbus’s gladiators?) and attacked a few times with many misses and only scoring 1 wound. He did get 1 favour in that time, which was poor reward for a strong opening. Gemanicus bided his time then came in with a strong flank attack doing 5 damage, injuring Senecio. But Senecio was one to never quit, despite the AP penalty on his wound, he drew upon the crowd support to just perfectly time a flank attack. It was a dismal miss, and Senecio was now “tired” (but not yet emotional). Gambling money was flying on Germanicus to close this out. However, the wily Senecio wrong footed Germanicus and got a 4 hit in, causing serious injury. Germanicus recovered to get a few attacks in (all misses) and was on the brink of tiredness, but garnered 1 favour from the crowd for the fight back. Germanicus then came to life and had a powerful strike on the unshielded flank of the slowed Senecio with enough damage to win the fight, but the sword glanced off the helmet as Senecio’s armour held firm. Senecio then countered and struck Germanicus who fell.

Germanicus: lost 7 from 7, favour points 1 (5 fatigue). Lost but survived Appeal.
Senecio: lost 5 from 8, favour points 0 (5 fatigue). Won.

The appeal roll was interesting here. The roll was 4. As Germanicus did not have a helmet it dropped to 3. It looked like curtains. But.. +1 for being injured, +1 both gladiators tired or exhausted, +1 for injuring opponent, +1 for favour point. Just got to 7 to survive! Luckily Saburra was not spared, as the -1 from this would have finished Germanicus off.

The next skill Gallus will choose is Attack.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Antioch Season 1, Episode 1

Munera Sine Missione are a fast playing set of gladiator rules that can throw up a surprising amount of narrative. A major advantage is that they can be easily played solo.

This is part of a series of campaigns that myself and Mark Stevens played by email. It was run as a "solo" campaign with a GM; one player plays out the arena fights, whereas the GM controls the storyline between fights. The idea was that the "in-between" events were a set of multiple choices (or played out as a skirmish using the Song of Shadows and Dust rules), and that it should not be too dangerous for the gladiator.

The first campaign we played was Leptis Magna, this is our second campaign. The roles were reversed, I was the "player" using my miniatures and conducting the fights, Mark was the "games master".  It was played to a conclusion in 3 weeks in May 2015; all communication was via email.

The campaign is set in Antioch, in the province of Syria in the last years of Nero's reign. The timeline follows on from the end of the Leptis Magna campaign.

From my list of gladiators, I used Scorpu, a Retiarius, and Gallus, a Secutor.

Below are the emails that passed back and forth - Marks entries are in blue, mine are in green. Any post edit comments are in red. I will post the whole campaign, round by round, on a weekly basis.

Campaign Rules background
For the Lanista to make a reasonable return on a gladiator, the gladiator needs to repay an amount of 100 gold aureus to the Lanista. This is repaid from a gladiators share of the winnings. Extra money can be earned in side activities. Depending on how the story goes, the Lanista might also sell the gladiator to another Familia. Or the gladiator could win the rudis and be freed!

Gladiator Background Story
It is 67 AD in the Roman Empire, in Antioch, Syria. Nero is Emperor, but is unpopular and lurid stories circulate. However for most people away from Rome, and not politically involved, it does not mean very much. Of more interest is the news from Judea in the south where the Jews, always troublemakers, have revolted against Roman rule. Last year came the shocking news of a major Roman defeat by these Jews. Now, reinforcements have arrived and several legions have marched south under T F Vespasianus, to deal with them. There has been some unrest in the city of Antioch, as the large Jewish minority (always hating the Greeks who are the dominant population) stirs up trouble in the markets, demanding more religious freedom, and execution of members of some bizarre sect that has apparently broken away from them.

Marcus Ulpius Ahenobarbus ("brass beard") is a former gladiator - probably from the Rhine provinces, he himself cannot really remember - who made it in Antioch, a major city of the Empire. After he won Primus Palus on the local circuit, he was freed and his old Master financed him to start a small ludus. He must now start with his small squad of inexperienced men and try and establish himself. Luckily the patronage of his former master, Gaius Ulpius Athenodorus, will come in useful as Athenodorus (a romanised Greek) is an influential man in the city. As a freedman, Ahenobarbus took his middle name from his former master as a sign of respect and clientage, as is the usual practise.

Ahenobarbus's two most promising recruits are SCORPU (a Retiarius, as was Ahenobarbus himself in his earlier career) and GALLUS (a Secutor). For the Trojan Games coming up next week, Ahenobarbus has been able to get these two fighters onto the roster, although only in the late afternoon shift. However, as he reflected, you have to start somewhere. The potential prize money is only a measly 2 aureus per game, although the City collegia, who sponsor these Games, can give a further 2-4 aureus as a donative to a fighter who puts on a really good show.

SCORPU will be fighting ASTINAX

GALLUS will be fighting UMBRIS

None of these men has any skills, they are all rookies.

In preparing his men for their first fight, Ahenobarbus emphasises the high stakes: the whole future of the ludus could be on the line.

Over to you ...

On a blistering hot day they took the field.


This was a real street fight blow for blow type thing. At first, Umbris with his better speed got some strong side attacks in, but could not cut through the armour of Gallus. The crowd appreciated his enthusiasm though and he started to gain favour. Gallus looked out of sorts but did some counter attacks, but the shield of Umbris saved wounds a number of times except for one hit that got through for 2 damage. Umbris then did a very strong attack on Gallus’s unshielded flank, doing 6 damage, seriously wounding Gallus. Gallus, though slowed, continued to attack earning the praise of the crowd, and he had to draw on this to keep him going. Just when all seemed lost, Gallus made the perfect strike (double 6 event) and took down Umbris, who, unexpectedly, fell. Umbris survived the appeal as he won some praise for his efforts, and many thought he was the better gladiator. A feature of the fight was both gladiators working the crowd quite well.

Gallus: lost 6 from 9 strength. Won 3 favour points, spent 2. Win
Umbris: lost 10 from 9 strength. Won 3 favour points, spent none. Survived Appeal with final result of 9.


Something seemed amiss in the Ahenobarbus ludus, first there was the lucky win of Gallus, and now Scorpu seemed underdone, with a 7 strength vs a 10 strength Astinax. Despite being the slower gladiator, Astinax charged up to a sluggish Scorpu and hit him for 6 damage. Scorpu recovered slightly and got the trident through for 1 damage. Scorpu, (with atrocious AP rolls) kept his distance but Astinax rushed him. At close quarters, Scorpu dislodged the shield from Astinax (double 5 event) in a disadvantaged attack. Astinax, though, was able to jump back, pick up his shield, advance and attack (with really good AP rolls), A further hit of 3 felled Scorpu who appealed, but the crowd was not generous and gave him the thumbs down…. Unlike the first fight, neither gladiator was able to work the crowd, a very dour, spartan affair, no wonder the crowd was in an unforgiving mood.

Scorpu: lost 9 from 7 strength. No favour points. Lost Appeal final result of 6.
Umbris: lost 1 from 10 strength. No favour points. Win.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Leptis Magna Season 1, Episode 9 (Finale)

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.
Unexpected answer….. Mago draws his gladius and leaps forward in a great rage at Noctua. Having the advantage of surprise, Mago felled Noctua in a single blow. The other 2 guards were stunned but starting to react. Mago turned to the first one and quickly despatched him. The second guard came up, and parried Mago’s first strike with his shield. The guard, now with his gladius drawn parried a second blow from Mago. He then counter struck and killed the unarmoured Mago. Such was the end of a promising career. In a way, Mago found peace away from the crazy world he was born into. At the scene of the crime, it was discovered that Mago carried the branding of Macer. The Magistrate was to later arrest Macer for ordering an assassination of Noctua, and it is unknown whether Macer was able to scheme his way out of that one. 


I wasn’t intending for there to be death during the “in between” events, as I thought the most dangerous option out of each 3 was obvious – but from a character role playing point of view, it was the correct answer (in my defence I didn’t know they were brothers!).

I gave the situation the following odds of success, which involved three successive d6 rolls. 1st roll: Kill Noctua on roll of 5 or less. 2nd roll: Kill first guard on roll of 3 or less. 3rd roll: Kill second guard on roll of 2 or less. The chances of success drops at each successive roll as the opponents recover from the surprise. For each failure, a reroll is allowed, but 1 is added (cumulative). A very difficult one. The first roll was 2, Noctua was killed straight away. The next roll was 1, killing the first guard. All of a sudden Mago was looking like surviving here. Third roll was 5, so the last guard was able to recover from the surprise. There was still a chance to win, but I had to roll a 1 (needed 2 or less with +1 on the dice). I rolled another 5, so it was over. Close at the end.

Anyway, it was a good run by Mago, and the story evolved quite a bit – Macer is ruined for a second time (no doubt he originally left Capua the first time under similar circumstances).

I think the mechanism worked very well, the main learning point for me as the Active player is not to get too much into the background context and leave that to the GamesMaster.

No happy endings for anyone: Mago and Kemsa dead, Macer ruined (probably), Noctua dead. Just like real life. I wonder what happened to Samasu?

The second campaign we ran was Antioch, which will be posted up next. Leptis Magna (Season 2) was revisited again after Antioch.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Leptis Magna Season 1, 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.

Wow, a very dramatic outcome. Macer is at a loss. It started in that cestus fight with Isaac, Macer mused. Since that time, Kemsa was not the same, he must have been bewitched by that cult out of Judea. On the other hand, he was very pleased with Mago. That trident is quite special. Macer told Mago that is was tempered by the blood of a 3 year old goat, giving it’s wielder good fortune. Mago wins 9 gold, after deducting 1 upkeep for the child, Mago’s savings are now 35 gold.

Blaming everything on Noctua, Macer decides he will spike the wines in Noctua’s ludus so that his gladiators will be too ill to fight in the next games. Samasu’s sources have learned who Noctua’s wine merchant is. The plan is to somehow intercept the next wine delivery on route and put a herbal mixture into it that causes extreme stomach pain for a week. Samasu has the pouch with the herbs, Mago is to go as “security” in case something goes wrong. Both are cloaked and it is late evening. Unexpectedly, the wine cart left early and got to the outside of Noctua’s ludus by the time Samasu spotted it. It was full of amphoras (earthenware jugs). The merchant was greeted by two armed guards of Noctua who started talking about the wine. While distracted, Samasu snuck up to the back of the cart with his pouch full of herbs, while Mago hid out of view around a corner. Samasu was trying to remove a cork seal on one of the amphora’s when one of them fell, making a loud noise. “Thief!” screamed the merchant as the two armed guards turned around and advanced. Samasu had no choice but to grab an amphora (pretending to be a thief) and bolt, with the 2 guards on hot pursuit. The merchant was not far behind screaming “Thief! Thief! Get the wine back!”.

It was eerily quiet as Mago stepped forward towards the now unattended cart with amphoras full of wine. Most of them are large amphoras with Roman markings on them that look like the names of regions in Africa (with Mago’s limited/no ability to read) and some sort of numbering. There is a single small amphora with what looks like Greek markings on it, but Mago doesn’t understand that language. All the amphoras have large cork plugs on them. It is also apparent that Samasu dropped the pouch with the herbs next to the cart before he ran off. He probably had to drop the pouch in order to steal the wine. In the distance, Mago can hear the smashing sound of an amphora breaking and yelling. Does Mago;
  1. Run away, back to Macer, before he gets discovered an implicates Macer in a theft against Noctua, or
  2. Pick up the pouch, uncork one of the large amphoras and empty the contents into it, recork and run back to Macer, or
  3. Pick up the pouch, uncork the small amphora and empty the contents into it, recork and run back to Macer.
To be a successful Retiarius, when it seems very every one you come up against in the arena is going to be more heavily armed and armoured than you, requires nerves of steel and lightning fast reactions. So it is no surprise that Mago moves fast, retrieves the packet of herbs, and empties it into the small amphora. He re-seals the amphora and slips quickly away into the shadows, back to Macer.

Mago swiftly goes about his work. Just as he pushed the cork back into the small amphora, 2 more guards come out of the gates of Noctua’s ludus building with a man of rank. Mago has seen this man before in the stands, and recognises him as Noctua himself. Mago is stunned for a second, as Noctua yells out to Mago “we have been waiting for you, stop standing around and bring your masters cart in!” (the cart is a sort of large wheelbarrow). Mago has clearly been mistaken as a servant of the wine merchant. One of the guards asks “where are Corvus and Glabrio, they should have been out here?”. The second guard responded in a dismissive tone “those lazy sods are probably out gambling with dice again, they cheated that African gladiator of Macers really good last time!”. They all burst out laughing.

The merchant with the other 2 guards (Corvus and Glabrio) are still nowhere to be seen and might return at any time. And what happened to Samasu? What does Mago do;
  1. Turn and run, he has not been recognised with his cloak on and can easily outpace the armoured guards, or
  2. Play along, pick up the handles and push the cart into the ludus of Noctua, or
  3. Rush forward, draw out his gladius, attack Noctua and the guards, being offended at the slight and trickery against his deceased friend Kemsa.
Oh dear this is starting to get dangerous and tricky. I mini gamed some options (dice rolled for probabilities) including trying to fathom why Kemsa and Mago had been so close. Turns out they were brothers, who had kept it a secret for fear of being split up and sold separately. This was factored into Mago's response to the options you set below.

Mago rushes forward and attacks Noctua and the two guards. He blames Noctua for engineering the death of Kemsa, giving credence to what Macer has been saying.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Leptis Magna Season 1, 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.

These were wonderful fights! The crowds were thoroughly entertained. Everyone was riveted, except of course Noctua, who was seething at the success of Mago. There is talk now that Mago is on course to be selected for the Primus and become the champion (Primus Palus) of Leptis Magna. This would bring great honour to the ludus of Macer. Mago earns 8 gold from the win, and Kemsa, despite losing gets 1 gold. Their savings are now, Mago 27 gold (start 20, win 8, child -1), and Kemsa to 9 gold.

Onto world news, the governor, Vespasianus has now left the province with his family and taken up permanent residence in Rome. Policing of the province has mainly been left to the Legio III Augusta until a new governor arrives.

As both Mago and Kemsa were seriously wounded, they have to do a lot of recuperating before the next fight. It gives Mago more time with Dahia and their little boy. Given his growing status in the arena, Macer offers Mago some new equipment. He can either have some nicely polished and fancier armour [effect: - reroll first result of 4 or less on ‘appeal to the crowd’], or a damascus steel trident [effect - reroll the first 1 (if attacker) or 6 (if defender) roll following a double 1 special event].

Does Mago:
1) take the fancy armour, or
2) take the Damascus steel trident

Kemsa on the other hand passes time by gambling with dice. He can place a bet of 1 gold. Roll 4d6. On a doubles, he wins an extra gold, on 2 doubles, two extra gold. You can only keep going (push your luck) if you keep winning. If no doubles are rolled, the whole lot is lost including the original bet of 1 gold, and it comes to an end. If he does this, let me know if he wins (or loses) any money.

Mago thought about the options offered to him by Macer, and decided to take the Trident.

Kemsa played five games of dice (in my simulation), each ending on the fifth throw or when he failed to throw a double, whichever happened first. Over the course of the five games he won 14 gold including one pair of doubles in the same hand, but ended up losing each game, so as well as 'losing' the 14 gold he has lost his original stakes totalling 5 gold. Kemsa does not really understand probability, so he maybe secretly thinks he has been cheated somehow, or that some god is against him.

After the rather boring recuperation period, both Mago and Kemsa are now fully recovered. Kemsa is feeling emboldened by his new trident befitting his status, while Mago is feeling that luck has turned against him, and possibly as mentioned, he has offended the gods in some way. Gambling is clearly not good for him, losing at both the chariot racing and dice throwing, though people have warned him against the evil “Roman” dice that are slightly warped. Kemsa is now down to 4 gold by the looks of things, and is growing desperate for an arena win to turn his fortunes around.

The upcoming games are announced as the “Ludi Piscatori”, celebrating the fishermen who ply the local seas. The Retiarius (the fisherman) and Murmillo (the fish) will be the focus of events. Unfortunately, both Mago and Kemsa are facing weaker opponents (so they won’t gain a skill if they win), which leads Macer to believe that yet again, Noctua is meddling with the Magistrate to exclude his fighters from opponents of worth. Macer has decided that something singular must be done with Noctua after the games…

Mago is against Priscus (Murmillo) who has 3 skills (Reflexes, Attack, Dodge), and Kemsa is against Mus (Murmillo), an earlier opponent of Mago, who has 2 skills (Dodge, Reflexes). Before the gladiator fights, there was an execution of criminals and other undesirables ad bestias (killed by wild beasts). Through the lattice work of the gates, both Mago and Kemsa noticed that amongst the criminals was Isaac, who was captured. He had the word FUGITIVUS branded onto his forehead and met a grizzly end. Such is the new reign of terror from the Legate of the Legio III Augusta to restore order to the province.

Let me know the outcomes.

Mago and his new trident made short work of Priscus. Priscus started with a whole run of very low AP dice, and did not make much use of his extra 'Reflexes' AP, and Mago came right across the arena to attack him. Mago scored an immediate 5 strength hit, followed by ensnaring Priscus in the net and finishing him off. The crowd spared him even though he had not fought very well. A virtuoso performance by Mago.

Mago: lost 0/10 strength, 2 fatigue, Vincit (Won)
Priscus: 7/7 strength, 2 fatigue, Missio (Lost by given Mercy)

Kemsa and Mus fought a fast bout too, but this one was not to the advantage of Macer's ludus. Mus immediately knocked Kemsa down and he lost his shield (double 5 special event). Kemsa was able to stand up again, but Mus immediately knocked him down for a second time and seriously wounded him (double 6 special event). The crowd started to boo that Kemsa had thrown the fight (even though he was badly wounded) and voted for him to be killed. Mus was happy to oblige.

No one knows why Kemsa failed so badly today. Maybe the news about Isaac, and his own gambling losses, were on his mind and made him lose confidence? Now we will never know.

Kemsa: lost 10/8 strength, 0 fatigue, Peruit (Killed)
Mus: lost 0/10 strength, 0 fatigue, Vincit (Won)


Friday, 28 October 2016

Broken Legions - Argonauts vs Barbarians

I bought a copy of the Broken Legions skirmish rules at MOAB convention. I really like the theme of "weird" ancient Rome where the Emperor (whoever is in power at the time) is involved in clandestine attempts to locate powerful artefacts, with skirmishes, not recorded by historians, taking place in the far reaches of the empire.

Martin and myself tried a game last week with Barbarians AKA Gauls/Germans (Martin) vs Settites AKA Egyptians (me). I got trounced. We decided to try again this week. However, this time I ran Argonauts (Greeks), who I thought would be better at fighting and maybe be able to defeat the rampant barbarians commanded by Martin. The lists used were;

Argonauts (150 points, 9 figures)
1 x Argonaut Captain (32 points)
2 x Heraclean Champions (48 points)
1 x Lost Legionary (20 points) - Auxilia
5 x Argonauts (50 points)

My theory was that this was a hard fighting force - no tricksy magic stuff. Everyone had a melee level of 4, and were heavily armoured.

Barbarians (151 points, 13 figures)
1 x Tribal Chieftan with Battle Axe option (33 points)
1 x Tribal Champion with Battle Axe option (17 points)
6 x Warriors (36 points)
3 x Berserkers  with Warpaint (45 points)
2 x Huntsmen (20 points)

Again, no druids or magic using, just a straight fighting force, albeit the huntsmen can shoot with deadly longbows.

We played the Lost Treasure of the Gods scenario, where a number of sacred sites had to be searched for special items that gave victory points and arcane blessings. This is probably where I made my first mistake - I was outnumbered, but split my force in order to get to more sites faster. In hindsight, I should have kept everyone together as a group, and focused on defeating the enemy first. Below is a photo of the right flank action;

I seemed to initially do well here, defeating some of the barbarian warriors, but as there were more of them, it was difficult to exploit any advantage. The Argonauts made a few critical fumbles, and failed some morale tests and broke from combat. Meanwhile, on the left flank;

I ran into the berserker force. The trick seems to be to get the first charge against them (they are very deadly on the charge), but this is easier in theory than in practice. I defeated one, but the remaining two made short work of my force, even without the aid of the Tribal Champion, who showed up a bit later (after he finished searching the site in the background) just to make sure of things... The next picture shows the overall view;

In two games against the barbarians (commanded ably by Martin), I found them very hard to break. They have a special rule where every one fighting gains increasing attack bonuses as more figures fight. As they also outnumbered the Argonauts, they could get late charges in to gain further bonuses and first attacks. However, I could have used some of the special hero abilities better (such as "To me, Men!") to try and get the jump on the enemy.

If I was to play against the barbarians another time, I might try the Settites again, and give everyone the ability to shoot, and damage the barbarians from a distance before the melee starts.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Leptis Magna Season 1, 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.

Macer can scarcely believe his luck with the success of both Mago and Kemsa. Kemsa picks up a new skill, but Mago’s saving drop 1 gold for the extra maintenance payment.

Macer stood next to the Governor, Vespasianus, and that rich merchant who Macer had earlier entertained (clearly the private fight and new friendship with the merchant got Macer near the Governor). However, Kemsa’s opponent being killed in the arena started a chain of unfortunate events.

The next gladiator scheduled after Kemsa was Isaac, who was quite disturbed at the death. At the start of their fight, Isaac stepped back and preached to the crowd that the games are an abomination, and that life is precious. He fell to his knees and started to pray. The crowd got very agitated and yelled at the Governor “Are these the games you promised us!? Where is the action?” and “Go back to Rome!”. Perplexed, Isaac’s opponent looked to Vespasianus for some guidance.

The rich merchant, standing between Vespasianus and Macer, all of a sudden started at Macer “Ah Ha! Is that not the man who threw the fight at your villa? This explains it, he must be one of those Christian sect members!”. “A Christian?” asked Vespasianus, “they are being blamed for the calamity in Rome, and are being arrested”. Vespasianus looked at Macer “Are you harbouring Christians in your ludus?”. Lost for words, Macer was thinking of a response when a large turnip struck Vespasianus. The crowd started to riot and was pelting the Governor with turnips, yelling “Go back to Rome and take these turnips with you” and “Do you want more turnips, here they are!” throwing more. The legionary guards quickly surrounded Vespasianus and secreted him away from the stands. The mob now burst into the arena in a crazed frenzy. Macer quickly fled down the stands behind Vespasianus and through to his gladiators.

[NOTE: This scene was inspired by Suetonius's sentence "The chance of the lot then gave him (Vespasian) Africa, which he governed with great justice and high honour, save that in a riot at Hadrumetum he was pelted with turnips."]

Macer quickly gathered his gladiator troup along with his own guards tried to push through the masses and flee Hadramentum. All the time, the gladiator troup and Macer were being pelted with turnips that were flying all over the place. Despite the confusion, Mago notices a boy had fallen and was being trampled by the mob, and in the distance, he spotted Isaac, who survived the riot so far and seemed to be escaping to freedom. What does Mago do:

1) Continue pushing through with Macer to get out of the city,
2) Break ranks, and save the life of the boy,
3) Break ranks, chase Isaac, and bring him back to Macer for punishment.

Oh dear. I wondered, when you referred earlier to Isaac being from that new sect, what would come of it!

Kemsa picks up the new skill "Stamina"  - excellent!

Just to cross check with you:
Mago now has 3 skills: Dodge, Reflex, Stamina.
Kemsa now has 3 skills: Dodge, Attack, Stamina.

Without consciously thinking, Mago shoulders through the crowd and grabs the boy, carrying him back to safety. Seeing Isaac in the distance, Mago secretly wishes him good luck, although it is unheard of for a gladiator to escape - as they are all branded - and if Isaac is recaptured he will probably be crucified or sent back to the arena with no chance of Missio.

After carrying him to safety, the boy asks Mago what his name is, and Mago tells him he is a gladiator and to cheer for him in the arena. The boy gives Mago an old silver amulet as a thankyou gift and runs off. Time is pressing and Mago quickly rejoins Macers group (so he is not seen as an escapee….) and Macer gets out of the city. They all journey back to Leptis Magna, glad to be away from the troubles of Hadramentum.

After a couple of months, it was time to plan for the great Festival of Liber Pater to celebrate the harvesting of the grape crop. Mago has been matched against Asiaticus (4 skills: Reflexes, Attack, Dodge, Stamina), and Kemsa is up against Kassandros (4 skills: Reflexes, Attack, Dodge, Stamina). They are both matched against strong opponents so have been given a good timeslot in the games. Both will also gain a skill if they win, and money at last!

The day starts full of excitement, with the parade commencing at the Temple of Liber Pater, moving past the Arch of Tiberius and towards the amphitheatre. All await the fights of the two undefeated gladiators from Macer’s ludus.

Setbacks for Macer's rising stars!

I was convinced Mago was not going to survive this fight. Asiaticus acquired 10 strength to Mago only 7. And Asiaticus was extremely aggressive, using his extra AP from the Reflexes skill to come to close quarters right away. He immediately hit Mago for 4 strength, putting Mago on the defensive. Asiaticus took only 2 strength loss (no big deal when he had ten to begin with) and whittled Mago down with sustained sword and shield bashes over several turns to only 1 strength remaining. At that point Mago was also exhausted, having 1 strength and 4 fatigues. It seemed all over. But then ... Asiaticus started throwing terrible AP dice, and also Mago managed to entangle him in the net. For seven turns Asiaticus threw no higher than 4 for AP (+ his extra AP for Reflexes). Entangled took away 3 AP, so he had between 0-2 AP each turn available to try and cut free and / or close with Mago. He was unable to break the net, and Mago was able to offload all his fatigues by not spending any AP, and then get in two or three decent side-hex hits on Asiaticus, taking him down to only 3 AP. Asiaticus was then the exhausted one. He was able to cut away the net, but then lost his sword. Mago finished strongly with two good hits that Asiaticus could not withstand.

If Mago recovers from his wounds, he will acquire the 'Attack' skill. I am not allowing the 'Veteran' skill until at least 4 other skills have been acquired.

Mago: lost 6/7 strength, 0 fatigue, Vincit (Won).
Asiaticus: lost 13/10 strength, 4 fatigue, Peruit (Killed).

Kassandros initially adopted the tactic of keeping away from Kemsa, using his +2AP advantage. Eventually however he got tired of that (maybe hints from the crowd?) and he started attacking. The results initially were few effective hits and rapid building up of fatigue by both gladiators. But then it started to get serious. Hard core fans in the crowd explained to their friends that up til now Kassandros had just been testing Kemsa, to see what his weaknesses might be. Now, Kassandros slipped through Kemsa's guard with his sica, twice in two turns, taking Kemsa down to only 3 strength. Kemsa hit back with a shield bash and spear attack, taking Kassandris to only 2 strength. Both gladiators were now also on the brink of exhaustion. Then Kassandros was able to trip Kemsa (double 2 special result) and stand over him so he was forced to surrender. His appeal-to-the-crowd score was 10 before modifications, so the crowd were easily persuaded to spare him. It remains to be seen whether Macer will be so generous ...

Kemsa: lost 5/8 strength, 3 fatigue, Missio (Lost but given Mercy).
Kassandros: lost 5/7 strength, 2 fatigue, Vincit (Won).

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Leptis Magna Season 1, 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.

Macer was happy to the extent that his theory of minimal injuries was correct, but he was not sure whether the merchant enjoyed such a one sided match up. He did however think the concept worthwhile to persist with. Strangely, Isaac claimed that he did not put up a fight in the end as was converting to a new cult which extolls him to love his brother and turn the other cheek. Macer laughed this off, calling him a dullard. Kemsa gains 1 gold as reward, bringing his savings up to 8 gold, along with extra rations of turnips and wine. Kemsa was left wondering whether he was truly superior as a boxer, or whether Isaac threw the fight.

The editor of the games, who has previously been unnamed, is actually the city Magistrate, Lucius Septimus Geta. He is from a distinguished and wealthy family of the Roman Equestrian rank, and a major political force in Leptis Magna. Though typically, Macer has scant regard for Geta, especially as Geta is good friends with Noctua. Geta summoned Macer to a meeting to discuss the upcoming games. Macer was advised due to financial constraints, the scale of the games has been reduced, and there is no room for Macers gladiators to participate. He did however say that the governor has declared games in the city of Hadrumentum to the west, dedicated to the goddess Edesia. The games are designed to appease the angry populace there, but as the Governor is too stingy to pay, all participating ludus’s are donating their gladiators for free. There will be compensation only if there is a death. Macer protested “What? No reward? Shouldn’t Noctua go instead?”. Geta grew angry, “I have put forward the ludus of Macer to represent Leptis Magna! If you do not do your civic duty, you will be excluded from the Festival of Liber Pater!”* Grudgingly, Macer agreed to go. “This is Noctua’s doing!” he thought to himself, “All because I didn’t sell him Mago!”.

The wagons, provisions and gladiators took to the road. Upon arriving in Hadramentum, the following match ups have been declared: Mago vs Seleucos who has 2 skills (Dodge and Attack) , Kemsa vs Porphyry who has 2 skills (Attack and Reflexes). Mago’s opponent is of lower skill (so no experience from the win), whilst Kemsa’s is equal (so he will get experience). There are no winnings to be earned, so a risky affair. Though for the first time Mago and Kemsa will have the Governor in attendance.

* The festival of Liber Pater is THE major event in Leptis Magna. It is a festival of wine, freedom, and intoxication (equivalent of the Bacchanalia).

It seems Seleucos is considered an up-and-coming fighter in Hadramentum, which is why he had been picked to take on Mago. As the fight got under way both gladiators circled each other cautiously at first, neither was willing to make the first move to contact. Eventually Mago saw an opening but his attack was parried by Seleucos and Mago acquired a fatigue. Mago continued to take the initiative though, and for several rounds he deliberately spent more than 6AP (he has D6+2 potentially) to try and get in a side attack, but to no avail, except that his fatigue began to mount. Then at last he was able to entangle Seleucos, and shortly afterwards knock him down (double 2 but not able to end his move adjacent). From then on Seleucos was not able to get back to his feet - he would need to throw more than 4AP to do this, 1 to counteract the entanglement and 3 to equal his front-hex defence save modifier. He could not score the needed 5AP, nor could he cut free from the net. Mago took several moves to finish him off, as Seleucos cleverly rolled and crawled to avoid the trident, but inevitably he succumbed in the end. The crowd spared him.

Mago: lost 0/8 strength, 4 fatigue, Vincit. (Won)
Seleucos: lost 8/8 strength, 1 fatigue, Missio (Lost but given Mercy).


As the crowd discussed this fight afterwards, it was generally agreed that either Kemsa is the dumb-luckiest gladiator of recent times, or a tactical genius. No-one is sure which. He and Porphyry did not waste any time coming to blows, and Porphyry soon scored what seemed to be a winning blow, taking 4AP off Kemsa, who was unable to hit back effectively at his more nimble opponent. It was not looking good for Macer's boy wonder. Even when Porpyhry tripped and fell in his own turn (double 3 special event) Kemsa was unable to turn it to his advantage, instead building up more fatigue. He was actually coming quite close to being exhausted. Porphyry withdrew from the fight for a couple of moves, reducing his own fatigue level, but Kemsa kept moving after him, so his own fatigue level stayed dangerously high. Watching from the sidelines Macer vowed to sell Dahia so no more tiring distractions there, and saving on turnip rations too. But then Fortuna started to smile again. It seemed Kemsa's tactic of keeping in touch with his opponent was paying off. Kemsa knocked Porpyhry down, and was able to land some good hits (including a shield bash) before he could get up again, taking him down to his red strength tokens. Finally, in a last attack, Kemsa broke through Porpyhry's defences and delivered a massive 6AP fatal blow. The photo is a staged shot, but it gives the idea!

Kemsa: lost 4/10 strength, 4 fatigue, Vincit (Won).
Porpyhry: lost 11/8 strength, 1 fatigue, Peruit (Killed).