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.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The order of fighting in the games has been announced;

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

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

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


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 8

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

I'll give Asiaticus the Attack skill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is how the day went for our protagonists -


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 7

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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