Thursday, 23 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 5

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

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

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

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

Time passes...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is how it all transpired.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 3

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.

Senex wins 13 gold from his fight, and is able to gain a skill. Asiaticus wins 7 gold, despite the loss. The host of the games was clearly generous, no doubt someone trying to gain political favour.

The crowd was whipped into a frenzy with the Asiaticus and Sotion fight. This put them in the right mood for the fight between Bion and Murena. The winner gained the right to challenge for the Primus Palus. Bion was the favourite and came out strong against Murena, and for the first half of the fight he dominated Murena. Then something happened, Murena got two strong blows against Bion who never recovered and ended up losing. However, the crowd enjoyed the fight and spared Bion.

In gambling news, Asiaticus received his 12 gold in winnings for picking Bion to lose. The Syrian “bookmaker” (not sure what the latin term is here), when handing over the winnings, remarked “Yours is a strange ludus. You should let me in on the scam – both you and Quadratus betting on your own Bion to lose! Let me know what’s going down next time, and I’ll make it worth your while with gold!”. The bookmaker, whose name is Samasu, left with a wink.

Overall, Senex has 10 gold, and Asiaticus has 30 gold.

It was a sombre mood at the ludus, as results were mixed, some wins, and some losses. “Useless fools!” screamed Quadratus to the gathered ludus, “We’ll have to rent you out to turnip farmers soon!”

Since Bion (and most other gladiators from the ludus are injured) Quadratus approaches Senex in private. He has purchased some special merchandise and needs someone to collect the package, and will pay 2 gold for its safe delivery, along with favourable treatment. Senex will have to travel alone in the evening (with a concealed gladius) through the jostling streets of Leptis Magna to pick up the package from a shady trader in a back alley. “Mind you” warns Quadratus “any funny business and you will live to regret it!”. Does Senex;
  1. Refuse the task.
  2. Collect the package (a tied up leather pouch containing something soft) and deliver it back to Quadratus as instructed.
  3. Collect the package and untie it to see what it is before delivering it back to Quadratus.
  4. Once in town, seize the chance for escape and run away.
  5. Collect the package and then linger in town a little longer (which is a very rare treat) and with his 10 gold, spend some on wine, women and song!
LOTS of choices here!!

So many choices, so little time ... !

Senex has acquired the "Attack" skill.

He is happy to accept the assignment from Quadratus, not thinking too much about what it could mean. The temptations of a night away from the school however are great, despite Quadratus's threat. So, after uneventfully collecting the package and stowing it securely in a pouch tied to his waist under his tunic, he finds himself outside the "House of the Rising Sun" in the red light district of Leptis. As usual there are several alluring sirens waiting outside to "welcome" passers-by like Senex, (just like the bars at Pattaya) and he doesn't take much persuading to enter...
I'll be interested to see where this is going. I have a theory about what Q is up to. Good that Samasu has reappeared, I had a suspicious thought that he might turn out to be Androcles! Will you be unveiling Macer too?

There are a few characters I want to bring back, but depends on how the story flows. I’ve been trying to focus more on mundane ludus happenings.

Anyway, on with the story…..

Clearly distracted by the House of the Rising Sun or “Domus Solis Ortum” in latin, Senex entered after being coaxed in by the beautiful Flaviana. What happened next is mostly lost to the memory of Senex, except that woke he while up while being dragged by armoured guards of Androcles back to the ludus.  6 gold of his missing (he only has 4 left now), and the leather pouch was untied and emptied.

“Dullard!” screamed Quadratus, “It was a simple task!” “Do you not think I was having you watched? There was nothing of value in the pouch, it was a test! Half rations for the rest of the week!” Senex was thrown into the compound by the laughing guards. Once again Rufus the dog was well fed. Though the pain of Quadratus’s anger, his sore head, and the hunger was somewhat lessened by Senex having some fond memories of Flaviana….

The gladiators were worked hard over the coming weeks as Bion and Asiaticus recovered. The frequency of games were increasing as the empire was in turmoil. It was rumoured that Lucius Clodius Macer, the Legatus of the Legio III Augusta had renounced allegiance to Nero and was marching upon Carthage to seize control of the province. The upcoming games were to be held in honour of Pax, the goddess of peace, in some vain hope that disaster could be forestalled.

Senex is up against Bogud, who has 1 skill.
Asiaticus is up against Kassandros, who has 2 skills.

Special Conditions: During Senex’s fight, 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. So this should happen at some random point in the first 10 turns.

Hmm, I had not picked to "test of reliability" scenario, though it is obvious in retrospect.

The day of the Pax Games duly arrived and Senex and Asiaticus took their places in the starting lineup. Here is how it all worked out ...

Senex rolled 4 for Strength, and has the 'Attack (+1 attack roll) skill, and Bogud rolled 6. However Bogud has the "Stamina" skill so counts 1D6+6, giving him a Strength of 12 against only 8 for Senex. Bogud is well known in the Leptis arena not only because he is a cunning fighter (he has to be, armed only with a slingshot and sword) but also because he is one of the few local North Africans (Numidians) trained as a gladiator. There are plenty of them to be found in the arena, but usually as wild beast hunters at which they excel.

Bogud's prowess was immediately on display. He rapidly approached Senex and let loose a deadly slingshot at six hexes range, causing 4 damage to Senex (taking him to "wounded" status). Another deadly hit in quick succession knocked Senex down and he lost his shield (double 5 special event), although he was able to recover it almost at once.

I turned the "Flaviana" card at about this time, but she was not spotted.

After that though, Bogud's luck or skill, whatever, seemed to desert him. He accumulated some fatigues, although not enough to worry him yet with that Strength score, but then he miscued a shot and tripped himself up (double 3 special event). Senex scored 6AP next move and was able to get in a side hex attack on the floored Bogud - causing 9 wounds, taking him to 1 remaining strength and 2 fatigues (exhausted).

Bogud was able to stand up but Senex had no difficulty causing another 3 wounds, forcing the Numidian to concede. His modified "appeal to the crowd" score was 8, so he was - barely - granted Missio. Crowd opinion is that Bogud stuffed up by staying a little too close to Senex, he should have kept more distance and attacked Senexes flanks. Easy for the armchair experts of course.

SENEX - lost 4/8, Vincit
BOGUD - lost 12/10, Missio

Quadratus had a few choice words for Asiaticus just before his fight, pointing out that after Senexes win the pressure was on him to live up to the same standard and bring gold and glory to the School. Nothing was said about betting though.

Asiaticus entered the arena with a Strength of 7, and the 'Dodge' (+1 defence roll) skill, while Kassandros started with 9, and the 'Reflexes' (+1 AP) and 'Dodge' skills.

Kassandros scored first blood, causing one wound to Asiaticus with his sica. Asiaticus's response was hapless, he lost his sword. Kassandros caused another wound in exploiting this, but Asiaticus kept backing away, preventing more damage at the cost of temporarily abandoning his weapon. After a few moves he was able to make a run for it past Kassandros, and recovered the sword.

The next phase of the game saw many attacks, but little in the way of results as both fighters built up fatigues. In the end though, Kassandros was able to score a big hit on Asiaticus to take his Strength to 0. The crowd was happy to spare him (modified roll 13), as he had both inflicted and suffered wounds today. Looks like another trip to the hospital though. Quadratus won't like this.

ASIATICUS: lost 7/7, Missio
KASSANDROS: lost 1/9, Vincit

It seems my fighters are developing personalities: Senex the unlikely achiever, Asiaticus the perennial uninspiring dull under-achiever. Tune up A in secret and there could be money to be made from mug punters, I reckon.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Leptis Magna Season 2, Episode 2

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.

Thanks for that report, both fights seemed to have their moments, especially the second one. Asiaticus is able to pick up a new skill and wins 11 gold. Senex receives 3 gold.

Needless to say, Quadratus was unimpressed the performance. “Priscus was clearly carrying an injury before the fight started” he declared, “to lose his gladius twice proves a wrist facture! And then failing to hit Priscus from the back with wild air swings? My pet dog Rufus could have won that fight!”. Then seething with anger, he looked at the bedridden Senex “What laziness was that in catching your breathe in the middle of the fight?! And then to be knocked down with such a soft blow? Bah!!” Then with a dismissive hand gesture he stormed away yelling “just another useless mouth to feed!”

There were mutterings that both gladiators seemed underdone for the fight (rolling low strength), and that Androcles was not happy with this. Quadratus was said to have left his meeting with Androcles in an agitated state. This may be the reason Asiaticus has now been paired with the skilled Bion as his new training partner. Bion is the favourite of Quadratus and always receives special treatment. While Senex is still recovering, there was a particularly brutal training session held where Quadratus (with the large mongrel dog Rufus at his side) was egging on Bion in a mock fight with Asiaticus. Even though blunt weapons are used, Bion inflicts a wound on Asiaticus, much to the joy of Quadratus who clapping with glee exclaims “see, that’s how real gladiators fight! No wrist wounds this time! Ha ha ha ha..” Distracted, Bion looks at Quadratus, laughing as well.

Asiaticus sees an opportunity, he can either (1) lunge forward and strike at the distracted Bion, causing a wound, (2) hurl his wooden sword at Quadratus, or (3) just stand up and resume training.

OK, a hard set of choices. My conception of Asiaticus is that he is an older man, possible aged around 30, so a long time survivor, not only in the arena but in the "politics" of the school. This could argue for a cautious response to Quadratus' bullying, but on the other hand Asiaticus would be totally aware that to let this incident pass would give Quadratus and Bion the go-ahead to step up the level of future bullying.

So, after all that ... Asiaticus takes a shot at Bion and causes a wound.

Asiaticus, sensing the opportunity leapt forward at Bion, who surprisingly reacted quite fast so that the sword of Asiaticus only grazed his flank* as he flew past. Spinning around, Bion was ready to club his sword into the back of Asiaticus, but was stopped as a loud voice was heard. Androcles was standing on the balcony overlooking the training grounds. “Stop this at once!” he yelled. “What are we running here Quadratus? A school for gladiators or a school for praegenarii? Everyone dismissed!” At this, all gladiators returned to their rooms as Androcles and Quadratus spoke. Bion cast some menacing looks at Asiaticus as they left.

For a couple of days after the incident, Quadratus placed Asiaticus on half rations, giving the extra food to rufus. As the weeks passed, Senex eventually returned to training, fully recovered.

The depressing mood in the ludus was lifted by the news of some games coming up. It seems the populace needs some distraction as there was general unrest in the province.

Senex is matched against Titan, who has 1 skill

Asiacticus is matched against Sotion, who has 2 skills (bear in mind Asiaticus has gained a skill)

Quadratus didn’t make any disparaging comments this time as he was quite pleased that Bion had been chosen for the final fight in the games. “If Bion wins” he proudly announced, “he will be able to challenge for the Primus Palus!”. In addition to your gladiators fights, you have the chance to bet on Bion’s fight, the odds are: if he wins, you get back double (so if you bet 1 gold, you get back two gold), if he loses, you get back triple (get back 3 gold for 1 gold bet). Let me know if either gladiator wants to bet on Bion winning or losing as well.

* I rolled a 1 for the attack ….

Hmm, I see a showdown coming in the future if Asiaticus and Bion both continue to survive.
  • I will give Asiaticus the defensive "Dodge" skill, this seems to suit his character better, as a cautious unspectacular survivor-type.
  • Asiaticus will also bet 4 of his accumulated gold, on Bion losing.
And now for the fights: one was over almost before it began, the other seemed to be over but was just beginning! Read on ...

There won't be any further complaints from Androcles about underdone gladiators, as Senex scored a '6' and Titan scored '1' on their strength rolls! Just why Titan was presented in the arena with such poor preparation is a mystery. Perhaps his trainer thought his sheer size and aggression (with the "Attack" skill) would be enough.

It was all over in a flash, even before the crowd had finished buying peanuts (or possibly turnips) from the vendors moving along the rows. Senex and Titan closed, jockeying for position a little. Senex was able to take advantage of two successive poor AP dice by Titan to launch an attack on his unshielded flank. The dice roll was a double 6 special event and Titan suffered 8 wounds killing him outright.
Senex (L) hits Titan (R) with a killer blow, at the first exchange of the fight.
There was a stunned silence from the crowd when they realised what had happened, then growing applause.

SENEX: lost 0/10, Vincit
TITAN: lost 8/5, Peruit

You have to hand it to Quadratus, he knows how to prepare a fighter for the arena when he is motivated! This time Asiaticus scored '4' on his Strength dice. So both Androcles fighters with above average Strength today.

Sotion is a Retiarius with an unusual fighting style. He does not carry a net, so he can use the 'armour penetration' capability of the trident, used two-handed. He is a dangerous opponent, with the 'Reflexes' and 'Stamina' skills. Because of this latter skill his final Strength score was '10' (v '8' for Asiaticus).

The two fighters didn't waste any time, and it was Asiaticus who did the initial attacking, but to no effect. Then Sotion pulled one of his trademark moves: scoring 6AP he stepped back from Asiaticus and attacked two-handed with his trident. Asiaticus failed to save and took 4 wounds taking him to "wounded" status (the armour penetration effect was cancelled by his Dodge skill).

Asiaticus fought on, doggedly continuing to take the fight to Sotion but succeeding only in building up his fatigue. Sotion struck again, taking Asiaticus down to only one Strength, with three fatigues. It seemed to be all over, punters in the crowd even started settling their bets.

But it wasn't over at all. Sotion may have been under orders from a match-fixer who has wagered on the final blow being struck from behind, or something, who can say for sure. All we know is, he stepped back from Asiaticus and began to circle around him, as if to get into his rear. *** Asiaticus stayed still, shedding fatigues, most likely awaiting the final blow and too weak to resist.

Then, in a twinkling, a poor AP roll for Sotion was followed by a good roll for the no-longer-fatigued Asiaticus. Now it was Sotion being attacked from a flank, and taking 6 wounds. He retaliated with another trident thrust, but this time Asiaticus parried it. Fights broke out in the crowd as those who had paid out their losses on Asiaticus wanted their money back! He followed up Sotion and inflicted another 2 wounds. Remaining Strength at this point was Asiaticus 1, Sotion 2 and 1 fatigue.

Initiative passed back to Sotion, but his flurry of attacks no longer had the same results, and his fatigues now exceeded his Strength. Asiaticus took Sotion down to only one Strength with a shield-bash. Sotion hit back with a serious trident thrust but Asiaticus parried, then another which hit, taking Asiaticus to 0 Strength.

Asiaticus fell, but the crowd demanded he be spared after such a thrilling comeback. Sotion was the winner, but is badly wounded and exhausted, so hardly able to savour the moment. Both had to be carried out of the arena on stretchers.

ASIATICUS: lost 8/8, Missio
SOTION: lost 9/10, Vincit

*** This was a bit of a fiddle of course, to save Asiaticus, but I don't think it was totally unreasonable. I diced to see if it could happen, allowing it only if a 1 or 2 was rolled. The result was a 2.

I wonder what Quadratus will have to say about todays action?