Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 14 (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.

The Legate and his guards & entourage will enter on the street at bottom L and follow it around the corner to exit at top C. The famous Markets he is to visit are just off-table there.

The next photo below shows the situation at the end of move 1. The white marker shows Macer, surrounded by his bodyguards and entourage in a formation that ensures no one can get into contact with him. The red marker at top is Senex who has entered the scene over the footbridge. The other two red markers show (a) Quadratus and his dog loitering in an alleyway and (b) Flaviana and two of her "sisters" trying for customers at a street corner.

Senex rolled well in turn 2 and moved to position himself behind the Legate's party, seeking an opportunity to strike. It looked as if he would have to kill an entourage member to get to Macer, unless some lucky chance arose. The main problem for Macer and his group is that they are only able to move at S speed if they want to keep their formation, because of the jostling crowds.

Luckily for Senex an opportunity arose right away, when in turn 3 one of the entourage members rolled a turnover, separating both of them from Macer and the two guards who moved on ahead. Senex's luck held when his turn came: he rolled 3 actions. He moved up and struck at Macer from behind. However Macer was somehow able to dodge the blow, or perhaps Senex got cold feet. I dare say it's lucky Quadratus did not see the incident or he would have used some choice words about incompetence! I gave Senex an ambush bonus, but still not enough. Because of the total surprise factor I allowed Senex to run off for his third action without facing a free hack. He ducked down a small alleyway. But now Macer knows there is a plot afoot.

Macer tries regrouping his party before moving on, not because he dismisses the plot, but because he knows there is a picket of legionaries on guard duty at the market gates, not too far ahead (just off table). Once there he will be safe. But his entourage seems to have gotten lost in the crowd and continues to lag behind, so he and his loyal guards push on without waiting.

The next photo shows the situation at the end of turn 4. Macers party is split in two, with himself and the bodyguards pushing on ahead and the entourage trailing behind. Senex has rolled well for actions again and does a rat-run along some alleys to position himself near Quadratus and Flaviana, at a spot where the Legate will have to pass.

And the next photo shows a view down the street as we approach the critical moment. Macer can be seen accompanied by his two guards (with red and yellow shields), and further back behind them his lagging entourage members. Flaviana and her sisters are doing their best to distract passers-by on the side-street corner, and Senex can be seen next to them (with the white tunic and raised sword). Quadratus and Rufus are also in the side street, just out of camera shot.
In turn 5  Macer and the guards come within distract range of Flaviana, while his entourage further splinters when one of them rolls a turnover. The conspirators bide their time waiting to see how the distract affects their target's next turn. Turn 6: Hells bells! No effect, both guards and Legate walk right past the alluring Flaviana and the other exotic dancers, without a second glance. Who would have thought it.

But it is "now or never" time. Quadratus steps in to try and create an opportunity. He moves closer to the guards and unleashes Rufus to attack the nearest guard. Rufus jumps on the unlucky guard, savaging him and he falls to the ground. Senex rolls three actions and moves in for a power blow on Macer. I did not give Senex the ambush bonus this time, but he beats Macer anyway, who falls, wounded. Quadratus then attempts to move in the finish the job but is hindered by passing civilians (rolls insufficient actions).

Turn 7, and the Legate's party looks in trouble: one guard and the Legate himself are on the ground with attackers in contact. The other guard rolls low and is unable to intervene. The mauled guard rolls better, stands up and counter attacks and Rufus falls. Macer rolls three actions. He stands up and attacks Senex with a power blow, but without result. The entourage are not coming to help, they roll turnover again and are apparently lost in the throng.

Senex also rolls three actions and attacks Macer with a power blow but Macer manages to fell him!  Rufus also gets back in the fight and continues the fight with the guard. Quadratus is still unable to intervene.

Turn 8: everything goes pear-shaped for the conspirators. Macer kills the fallen Senex. The two guards get together and kill Rufus. A picket of legionaries, alerted by the commotion, emerge from the markets and move at the double towards the scene. Even the long-lost entourage get their bearings again and move up.

All Flaviana and Quadratus can do is go their separate ways, slinking back into the alleyways before any attention is drawn to them.

Quite a bad turn of events! Looks like it all came down to that last blow of Senex which completely failed…

A bitter end to the campaign, Quadratus will miss his dog, and Androcles falls out of favour with the procurator, having failed at the assassination. One question that no doubt distracted Senex is why Flaviana failed to help, was she secretly paid more by the Legatus all along??


It seemed like a close run thing with your description, but did it favour the legate too much? One concern I had was the “Lucky” trait on the Legatus, in that a good hit could be undone.

It was tilted to the Legate but that was in keeping with the somewhat amateurish nature of the assassination attempt. If Garutianus had been a serious conspirator he would have arranged multiple assassins at the least.

In the end I did not use Macer's "lucky" ability, although it was tempting when he was knocked down. I decided to reserve it until needed to avoid total disaster, which it never was.

On reflection I think the failure of the first attempt by Senex was because Macer was wearing armour under his toga.

Flaviana was genuinely trying to help ... the problem was that after Senex's first botched attempt, Macer and his guards were far too wary to stop and enjoy the show the girls were putting on.

I feel Androcles will be in a spot of bother, as the body of Senex may be traceable to his ludus (through information provided by the ubiquitous Samasu and the other Macer) and he will then have inconvenient questions to answer. The Legate could then confiscate the ludus and give it to his brother. He had better leave town now before Garutianus has him arrested and "disappears" him to prevent him confessing.

Oh well, the procurator got it right in the end, as mentioned by Tacitus in his annals: (histories book 1, chapter 7)

"It happened too that the executions of Clodius Macer and Fonteius Capito were reported at this same time. Macer, who had unquestionably been making trouble in Africa, had been executed by Trebonius Garutianus, the imperial agent, at Galba's orders."

Multiple assassins being present (such as JFK conspiracies or the King and Assassins game) would have been interesting, but think that this would have been more fun if the fight was moderated (or controlled) by an umpire, so that Senex would not know of their existence. They probably were there, but Quadratus fled before seeing them :) Androcles might get some credit from Garutianus for creating the opening...

I was worried it would be too tough, the intention is that the gladiator does not meet his end during an "inbetween" action. However, it does follow the strange trend we have had that once the first gladiator goes, the second follows shortly after. And it was a spectacular finale!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 13

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 off – Bookkeeping! Senex last tally was 34 gold, since he has won 10 gold then 14 gold taking the total to 58 gold. He gets paid 14 gold for the boxing (1 for each wound!), but spends 6 in debauched pleasures (you did say he was carousing again) – leaving him with a total of 66 gold. In a rather unfortunate side effect of the fight, Senex suffers some facial scarring, making him somewhat less “attractive”. (note: he lost 6 from 9 wounds, so I gave it a 4 in 6 chance to scar, and rolled a 2). He was quite concerned as to what Flaviana would think of him now. This seemed to give Quadratus some sort of perverse pleasure, who commented “No longer the pretty boy, eh?”.

It was noted that the procurator, Trebonius Garutianus, was clearly impressed with the efforts of Senex, nodding approval a few times throughout the match. Though, as mentioned in your description, the discerning judges amongst the onlookers thought Subar was too rash in his choice of fighting methodology. At the end, there was an animated discussion with the procurator and Androcles. The next day, Androcles called Senex in for a discussion….
Androcles spoke a lot about politics, throwing in emperor Galba’s name, but most of it went over Senex’s head. He was only able to gather that the Legatus, a dangerous egomaniac, was to be killed, and that Senex, a now hardened fighter, was the chosen assassin. The Legatus was due to leave with his legion in the coming few days, but is anticipated to visit the famous markets of Leptis Magna. Senex, without armour, and carrying a concealed sword, was to sneak up and deliver a mortal wound. There is a big payout if Senex succeeds.

I was thinking you could run this with Songs of Shadows and Dust. Using the lists (starting page 36), the Legatus is a Militia Officer (95 points – page 36), and he is flanked by two of his infamous German bodyguard, who try to stay in base to base contact with him (Foreign Bodyguard 42 points each, page 37) for 179 points total. Senex counts as a Thraex (50 points, page 38). If Senex comes under attack, Quadratus (Retired Gladiator 54 points, page 36) will show up at any location with Rufus (Pet Dog 36 points page 38) to save him – total 140 points. I’m thinking it would be like that “Kings and Assassins” game – the Legatus starts on one side of the board and if he exits the other side, he survives. Not sure how many moves this should be, maybe 4 or 5? Both sides of the table are flanked with market stalls, and there are vignettes everywhere. Senex can replace any vignette to attack. As an option, if Flaviana is paid 5 gold (from Senex’s money, as this would be on his own initiative), she can also be on the board at any location (treat as Famous Courtesan, 38 points, page 37). She might be able to distract the German bodyguards… The Legatus has to die before he exits the board.

As you can see from the photo below, the game is all ready to go. Now for the hard part - finding time to play!

I have used a small board, only 600x900 and set up one of the main entry roads (and associated alleyways) into the famous Leptis Magna markets which L Clodius Macer is due to visit. His party will enter at lower R and follow the street around the corner to exit at top C if he survives. The markets are assumed to be just off-table at top of photo.

There is the usual street traffic, perhaps less than you would expect in such a situation. My idea at present is not to move these figures, nor count them as normal SSD bystanders who could get involved, but instead to make them obstacles the characters have to move around (or through at reduced speed). We'll see how that works out.

I have included Flaviana in the characters per your suggestion.

I have also given Macer an entourage of two people as well as his guards. A VIP like him would always be accompanied by flunkies, toadies, clients etc. They will count as civilians except have no special rules. His chief political adviser, and "a lady not his wife ...". They can be used to accidentally get in the way of anyone approaching Macer.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 12

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.

Such is the fickle fate mortals face. On the blow inflicted by Kemsa that took Asiaticus to 1 strength, the small silver amulet shaped as a caduceus was dislodged from Asiaticus’s belt, falling onto the sands. Did the loss of this cause him distraction? Or did it mean that Asiaticus lost protection? The item was not on Asiaticus when he was dragged through a corridor, his brother cultists noticed this and thought that Asiaticus forgot to wear it, and suffered divine punishment as a result. Quadratus, looking upon the scene said “I picked it from the start! He had a lucky run against incompetents, but once up against a skilled opponent, it all came to nothing!”

The house of Androcles did not fare too well. Bion won his fight, killing his opponent, and became Primus Palus. The Legatus, standing near the magistrate, whispered something into his ear. The magistrate, looking rather pale, awarded the rudis to Bion. In shock, Bion had to accept it, and he was directed out of the arena as a free man. Quadratus muttered a number of expletives. As the primus Palus position was vacant, it was instead awarded to a gladiator from the ludus of Macer. Shaking his fists towards the podium, Quadratus yelled out more expletives.

It was seen that the dashing final move by Senex was that of a skilled gladiator. Senex wins 14 gold and is able to gain another skill. Interestingly, the coinage given to Senex was newly minted and bore the face of the Legatus, Lucius Clodius Macer in place of the emperor. It is clear that he was now in complete control of Africa.

After some weeks, Androcles is going to have an important guest arriving, the procurator Trebonius Garutianus. It is said that the procurator is very fond of cestus fighting. As is the custom in these private fights, the guest chooses the fighters, and, on the big day, all the gladiators lined up. The procurator, a very intense individual, chooses Subar, a new recruit of Androcles, and Senex. “Watch out” Quadratus warns Senex, “this might ruin your pretty boy looks”.

Use your cestus fighter figures and the tiled “private” fight board you have (or a hex board, doesn’t matter). Cestus Rules: All MSM rules apply except:
  • Treat the cestus as a normal weapon except when attacking, roll a d4 instead of a d6. (defender still rolls a d6, all other rolls are still d6).
  • A “double 1” event signifies cestus strapping coming loose. The gladiator needs to spend 2AP to correct, or they are limited to just one attack each turn.
  • Gladiators cannot use any skills gained in arena fights (each has zero skill level).
Let me know the outcome. There is no appeal to the crowd, the loser will survive.

Despite Quadratus's cynical warning, Senex was confident going into the fight. He had been watching Subar in the few weeks since Androcles had purchased him, and saw nothing particularly impressive. And also his visits to the red light district, watching Hannibal and the other pit fighters, had given him some insight into such matters.

The match was held in the local ruined Carthaginian temple, a site convenient and often used for such private entertainments by the elite of Leptis Magna.

The image below shows the starting lineup, with Senex at the top and Subar at the bottom.  Androcles had been careful to lay on plenty of refreshments for Garutianus and his entourage, you can see the amphorae and a slave circulating with a food platter. The guards are also wearing their best armour which has been carefully polished and carrying special matching shields that Androcles has rented for the day.

Senex started with a Strength of 9, Subar with 7. As the fight got under way, Subar was quicker off the mark, but the more experienced Senex got in the first blow, which Subar managed to duck. His counterpunch was a real haymaker, knocking Senex down, but Subar was unable to follow through (not enough AP for a second attack with a disadv weapon). Senex got back to his feet easily enough and quickly hit Subar for 2 damage. Subar chose to back off and work around to a flank, but this tactic almost failed disastrously as Senex (rolling 6AP and having +1AP in his profile) was able to turn and hit with both fists. Somehow Subar was able to parry both blows, showing an unexpected level of skill.

The fight continued with neither man landing a serious blow, and fatigues began to build up against both of them. Both were following defensive tactics, trying to keep a little distance and waiting for a really good AP roll. Subar was the first to catch the wave with this, launching a side attack that caused 3 damage to Senex, and suffering 1 damage himself when Senex responded.

Fatigue was becoming a problem for Subar by this point, he had 4 Strength left and 4 fatigues. I rolled to see what his strategy would be: all-out assault, continue as before, or try to lose the fatigues: he opted to continue as before - a sure sign of inexperience in the minds of many of the audience.

The decision soon paid off though, as another high AP score enable Subar to make another side attack on Senex and caused another 3 damage. At this point Senex had 3 Strength left and 4 fatigues (exhausted), while Subar had 4 Strength and 5 fatigues (also exhausted). Subar was a tougher nut to crack than he had expected, thought Senex.

As it happened, both fighters then rolled a sequence of low AP, making it hard for them to achieve anything, so both caught their breaths and shed some fatigue.

Now no longer exhausted, Subar was the first to start attacking again, although with no success this time. It was Senex who was able to manoeuvre the next side attack, causing 2 damage and tipping Subar back to exhausted. He was able to try one attack, but it failed and increased his exhaustion.

The initiative was now with Senex, if he could make use of it. First another side attack knocked Subar down, and because he was so exhausted he was not able to get up again. Then Senex was able to finish the fight by forcing Subar to submit [took him to 0 Stength].

Senex: lost 6/9, Vincit
Subar: lost 8/7, Missio

Androcles anxiously awaited the post match comments from Garutianus and the other guests: had he put on a good enough show to please these snobbish Romans?


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 11

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.

At the pre-Games pep talk Androcles emphasised to his men how much it would mean to the ludus if they were successful on this big day. He appealed to their sense of pride in their school. After he left, Quadratus said a few words that were more to the point. "You can die and be quickly forgotten, or you can win and gain wealth and glory. Let's see if you have got it in you! I have my doubts, prove me wrong."

After this warm up, here is how our protagonists went ...


Senex (Attack, Stamina) started with a Strength of 11. Diomedes (Dodge, Stamina) started with 10.

Both fighters scored high AP to start the bout and quickly came to blows. Neither could make a breakthrough. Senex suffered a single wound while Diomedes built up several fatigue points.

Then Diomedes lost his sword while attacking, and Senex was able to immediately occupy the hex it fell in and launch a shield-side attack. Diomedes parried with his large shield, but could not counterattack. Then, trying another attack, Senex also lost his sword! The crowd started to jeer the fighters, thinking this was a display of match-fixing behaviour. Diomedes tried to recover by shield bashing Senex, but he avoided the blow and adroitly stepped back to recover his weapon. This allowed Diomedes to also recover his own sword, but exposed him to a rear attack, causing 4 wounds.

The fight then continued as before, both fighters attacking relentlessly to show the crowd they were for real, but only minimal damage and the occasional fatigue resulting. After quite a bit of this, Senex was reduced to 6 Strength & 1 fatigue, while Diomedes was down to 5 Strength (wounded) & 4 fatigues.

Diomedes big disadvantage was his fully enclosed helmet making it harder for him to carry out fancy moves like stepping sideways or backwards, as compared to Senex who also had +1AP for being light-armed. On the other hand his dodge-enhanced armour save roll was 5 for his front hex making it very hard for Senex to get through.

Diomedes shed some of his fatigues by taking a breather, while Senex cautiously moved around his flank, but this was all for nothing as the attack was rebuffed while Diomedes, resuming his work, started building fatigues again. Senex, tiring of this seemingly endless cat and mouse game, exerted extra energy (7AP) and attacked from the rear, scoring 7 hits, seriously wounding Diomedes and ending the game.

Diomedes rolled 12 for his appeal to the crowd, so was granted Missio. Evidently they had forgiven or forgotten about the lost swords fiasco.

Senex: lost 5/11, Vincit
Diomedes: lost 12/10, Missio


Asiaticus  (Attack, Dodge, Popularity, Stamina) may have suffered a slight injury during the Mithras trial as he achieved a Strength score of only 10, whereas Kemsa (Attack, Dodge, Relexes, Stamina) was pumped up with 12 Strength.

As the two fighters entered the arena, Kemsa's spear slipped from his grasp and fell onto the sand. He quickly retrieved it and carried on, but there was an audible gasp from the crowd, who knew an omen when they saw one. The betting odds, before this evenly spread, began to favour Asiaticus [as you can guess I had to repair a broken weapon with a quick superglue dab!].

Asiaticus struck first, immediately causing Kemsa to lose his spear again. The odds on Asiaticus shortened again, while Kemsa became almost unbackable. But he recovered well, using his reflexes skill to sidestep cleverly and recover the spear. The fight continued, both fighters using their various skills to try and gain an advantage but neither able to make the breakthrough.

Asiaticus as usual tried to stay close to his opponent, especially to hinder Kemsa's use of his long spear. This paid off, Kemsa was knocked down and Asiaticus shield bashed him while he was down causing 5 wounds. Kemsa was able to stand again, and dodged Asiaticus's follow up sword attack, but Asiaticus also shield bashed again and once more Kemsa's spear hit the sand.

Kemsa sidestepped and recovered the spear, but Asiaticus was right on top of him forcing Kemsa to use all his skill to avoid a flurry of hits. Then, right against the run of the fight, Kemsa got through Asiaticus's guard with a big hit, causing 2D6 = 7 wounds. The bookmakers were now officially tearing their hair out. Some stopped taking bets on this fight. One or two quietly left the arena and went into hiding.

At this point Asiaticus is wounded, with only 3 Strength left. Kemsa has 7 Strength left. Neither fighter has any fatigues. Asiaticus prayed to Mithra to grant him success and promised to spend big on incense if he could win this fight.

Mithra must have heard him, as Asiaticus was able to get in a spear side attack that caused 5 wounds to Kemsa. However it was not over yet. Both fighters gained a fatigue in the ensuing moves, then Kemsa hit Asiaticus for another 2 wounds, taking him to only 1, and then again, a clean thrust killing Asiaticus outright.

Asiaticus: lost 14/10, Peruit
Kemsa: lost 10/12, Vincit

So that's that for one of them! As usual no happy endings.