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!


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