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Old 03-13-2015, 12:28 PM
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ProfPaulBlemma ProfPaulBlemma is offline
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Climb your way through the hierarchy of the Legion in an alternate version of the Roman Republic. This setting has no magic or races other than human.

The Art of War

SYSTEM: Pathfinder (With Kingmaker rules for armies and mass combat)
POSTING RATE: Twice a week
LOOK AND FEEL: Mass combat, political intrigue, history building and character development in a stylized realistic setting.
FINAL DATE: 03/27/2015 (Applications); 04/10/2015 (Open Roleplay)
THEME SONG: Jerry Goldsmith's "Theme from Masada"

Rising Rome

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In the beginning, they were mere Italiotes, Greek-speaking inhabitants of a peninsula, but they quickly rose to be one of the largest civilizations ever existing on Earth, having conquered the entire Mediterranean Sea (which they proudly called "MARE NOSTRVM", which means "our sea") and lands beyond. The Roman bureaucracy, certainly the most complex and well-operated of the Classical Age, was capable of deeds such as producing food in one side of the Mediterranean in order for it to be consumed on the other side, something no other civilization had the capacity to do. At the same time, Roman government was the most well-structured democracy of its time, having learned from the Greeks and improved on their political arts.

Magnificent as it was, the Roman administrative machinery was, it could be said, nothing but the means that society had to sustain and propel its main and most effective machinery: the Roman Legions. Perhaps the most efficient military force of its time, the Roman infantry had a level of professionalism, standardization and discipline certainly unrivaled among the military forces of the Classical Age and that was the most important element of Roman wealth and dominance over the Classical World.

From the legions came the gold, artwork, culture, slaves and numerous other riches both material and immaterial (such as the writings of Cato The Elder, stolen by the legions from Carthage and which contained the "secret" of crop rotation, an essential factor in Roman food safety and the very reason why Rome had a large urban concentration in a time when agriculture was so vital). From the legions came the pride of being Roman, of being from the strongest nation of its time. From the legions came the sovereignty over Roman territory, which was constantly expanding over defeated civilizations. From the legions came Rome itself, for Rome was built with men, weapons and discipline, under the shadow of the Legionary Eagle.

This campaign takes place in the beginning of the greatest expansion of the Roman Republic, right after the Marian Reform of Roman military discipline, which created the very foundation for the expansion of that civilization by introducing a professional army where only militia were found. The historical accuracy of the campaign will not be the focus and the environment will have medieval technology, in order to better comply with Pathfinder rules, and events will be different than those we know in order to give us more freedom in the construction of the campaign, especially in what comes to the interference of the players in the course of events.

Here, there will be no wizards, druids or clerics, except those of the Greco-Roman deities, which are known to give no one spells or powers in any way. Armies will care about swords and ballistae, not about fireballs. Here there will be no orcs, elves or gnomes to populate the land, but only humans with various origins, cultures and characteristics. People will be of the same species, but Romans will always be Romans. Here, there will be no trips into exotic planes of existence. Conquests will be made by land and sea, not by magical portals.

As a summary, the players will start as legionaries and will fight for Rome, climb their way through the hierarchy of the legions, command soldiers as they go up and, perhaps, even take a seat at the Senate, leaving their personal marks in the history of Rome... which is the history of the Classical World itself.

Story Specifics

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Campaign Traits

You are a patricius (a member of a noble family) and not a plebeius (a member of the lower class), for that you start game with a higher amount of gold (500 gp) and a higher military rank (Decanus - see below). Since you entered the legion as a legionnaire and not a higher commander, your father is not a very influential person in the Republic, but he has land, gold and name enough to give you a head start in your career. Your parents may help you in times of trouble and their house is your house, but you do not command their resources and they will demand that you honor your family's name in the Legion.

Filius Mars
Your father was particularly devoted to Mars, the God of War, and has taken all the possible steps towards training his sons in the arts of war. As a consequence, you have martial training from early youth and receive a +1 bonus in Profession (Soldier) and Knowledge (Tactics) rolls.

You are a foreigner to the Republic and earned Roman citizenship out of gold, favor or merit. You start with one bonus language (that of your home nation) and has a +1 bonus in Knowledge (Local) for your place of birth.

You are a former slave, freed by your former master for any reason and, as a consequence of your years of hard work, you receive a +2 bonus in Fortitude checks for forced march or other types of physically extenuating activities.

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Geography and History

Even though not a "campaign specific" geography, but the actual geography of the Classical World, we see in this section's map the names and locations of the great regions near Rome and that is where you will fight.

The game will start with only Italia having been conquered and you will see the expansion of the Republic as it goes, probably at a faster rate than it actually occurred. I know that it is not historically accurate, as the Roman Republic was far larger than only Italia by the time of the Marian Reforms, but I decided to go this way for the sake of the show. Essentially, it will not be "a walk through Roman history", but a game set in a stylized Roman-like scenario with freedom enough to kill Juluis Caesar before he becomes Emperor, if you want it so (or make it so by mistake...). One of YOU can be Emperor...

"Hey! Julius Caesar being a Legate just after the Marian Reforms? He was 7 years yet to be born!!!" As I said, we are taking lots of historical liberty, so he is older.

In general, I will keep the peoples and nations of the Classical World as they actually were, so that you will have an easy way to create any backgrounds or events that are not exclusively related to Rome, but I am open to small twists in History that you find interesting for the sake of drama and adventure. Just ask me first, OK?

If you want historical references of how the peoples of the Classical World lived and thought, you can make a research on Wikipedia, go through a few books... or read Asterix! Any of those will give you enough for running with us.

By the way, this is NOT a comedic version of the Classical World, but, if you look carefully in the maps, there will be a small village at the shores of Galia that will manage to escape the probable defeat of Vercingetorix and remain free of Roman interference, no matter what...

One important point is Carthage! The city that once ruled most of the Mediterranean for almost a millenium is now decadent, but still very rich and prosper for the standards of the post-Alexandrine Classical World. That is, at present, the greatest of the adversaries of Rome, with the advantage of lots of slave-states, a huge army, millennial military history and food production to spare! Its disadvantages are the fact that their society has become too condescending with corruption, their politics are chaotic and their enslaved states hate them.

Requests for war against Carthage have been on for some time, coming from many a senator, but so far they have not gathered enough support for an actual move, that would most certainly be costly to the Roman Legions, as Carthage is dying, but still strong. There are strong political forces for and against the war, though, and that is one more source of attrition inside the always belligerent, dangerous and ever-twisting Roman politics.

"Catthage had already fallen by the time of the Marian Reforms!!!" If I have to tell you again that we are taking lots of historical liberty here, I will crucify you!

Anyway, I will try to take historical liberty only this far, in what comes to major events: the Roman Republic only occupies Italia, Carthage is dying, but dangerous and Caesar is a Legate.

"But that changes EVERYTHING in History!" Yes, but in a way that we can predict, so nobody will be completely lost. If you get lost, just ask me.

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Military Discipline

The Marian Reforms have turned the Roman military force from a volunteer army assembled by request into a fully professional force that trained constantly, had a high degree of standardization and was permanently ready for conflict whenever it was to rise. That was the key for the long survival of the Roman Republic and later Empire. Indeed, the Marian Reforms were part of the reason why the Roman Republic decayed to an empire, as the allegiance of the soldiers turned from Rome to their commanders, which gave many a legate (a general) the capacity to threaten Rome itself and culminated in the event when Julius Caesar literally marched over Rome in order to laureate his head.

This campaign is mostly about this: the consequences of the Marian Reforms to the Republic, as seen - and modified - by the players. So, the military discipline imposed by the Marian Reforms has a central place in the definition of the scenario. Here we will also take a historical license: the Reforms imposed a lot of standardization to the Legions, but I want strategy and tactics to be constant challenges for the players, so I will consider that the reforms were only partially successful, yet not enough to completely standardize the Legions. The only fixed rules are the composition of the many types of units, described below.

The players will start as legionaries (Decani, if patricii), but will act in a much less regulated military environment, so that they can use their own ideas instead of just having to obey a rigid military doctrine. In time, they will command contubernia (units composed by ten men), centuriae (sections of an army, composed of 100 men), cohortes (armies composed of 1000 men) and even legiones (a group of usually five to ten cohort under the command of a single man, the Legate).

A contunbernium is composed by eight regular soldiers (the Legionari), one slave servant (the Calo) and one commander (the Decanus). The legionari are usually prepared for combat, but there are specialized contubernia, composed of Immunes (soldiers whose tasks are not combat) and oriented to engineering, healing, torture and other relevant tasks needed by the cohort. The calo have the task to care for the mule that carries the part of the equipment of the contubernium that is not carried by the legionari and, also, to keep the unit's supply of water, to maintain the unit's equipment and, sometimes, even to craft weapons. The decanus is the commander of the unit, usually nothing but a more experienced legionary, or one that has come from a family of a little influence and whose son is not to start from the very bottom. His task is to ensure discipline, apply drills and implement tactics in battle. The member of a contubernium travel together, sleep together, eat together and take honor or dishonor together, it is a unit and, thus, not separable, which aims at the generation of a strong bond among the soldiers. Legionari carry their own personal equipment and belongings in backpacks (historically, they carried it in sacks, but we are making it a standard Pathfinder technology scenario, so backpacks are due). How the contubernium is armed, equipped and oriented depends on the centurion's decision. Contubernia frmed by Immunes can have different distributions of people and resources, including more cali and mules needed for support. Some will even carry wagons necessary for heavy transportation.

The centuria is a group of ten contubernia, usually six regular fighting ones, one specialized in healing, two specialized in engineering, torture or other needed specialties and one specialized in tactics and administration, aimed at the support of the centurion and commanded by the centurion himself, instead of a decanus. The centurion is the commander of the centuria and has his own two cali, his own two mules, his private tent and another tent to be used as a field office, where meetings for tactical and administrative decision-making are to take place. The Optio is the adjutant to the centurion, responsible for the administrative tasks of the centuria and serving as his second-in-command. Both the centurion and the optio live and travel with their contubernium of specialized tacticians and administrators, which is aimed at giving support to the centurion in all his tasks. While not in combat, the centurion will detach one contubernium for tasks such as communication and others he deems necessary. A centuria can also be specialized and composed mostly by Immunes, One example is a centuria specialized in siege weapons or engineering.

The cohort is a group of centuriae and is usually consisted of eight normal centuriae, supported by two specialized centuriae of types determined by the Primus Plus, who is the commander of the cohort and also the centurion of its first centuria. Indeed, centuriae in the cohort are designated by their numbers such as "first", "second", etc. The most senior officer of the cohort is the Primus Plus, followed by the centurion of the "second", then the centurion of the "third" and so on. This chain of succession is not a chain of command, though, and only the Primus Plus and the Hastatus Posterior (the centurion of the "second") are truly hierarchically superior to the other centuriones. A cohort is a fighting unit and is never specialized. The administrative structure of the cohort uses the administrative structure of its forming centuriae. A cohort is the largest unit that can fight as a single army.

A legion is a group of five to ten cohorts and is what is most properly defined as an army. Its commander is the Legate, who is the Primus Plus of the first cohort, having his own Hastatus Prior as his second-in-command. Despite the existence of this similarity to the command structure of a cohort, legiones do not have a fixed succession line and a Legate is always appointed by the Senate, usually being a senator himself. The admnistrative structure of a legion uses the administrative structure of its forming cohorts. The cohort is the largest unit that can fight as a single army, so a Legate does not direct a legion as one single force, but directs each individual cohort, instead.

About the Soldiers

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The application process will consist in two parallel events, the creation of the characters and their interaction. For the generation of the characters we will use this thread and anyone interested in participating in the game shall place an application there, this present thread being solely for posting interest and asking questions regarding the application (there is an OOC thread for applicants and visitors here). Once the application is finished, I will give it a go and the character may take part in this thread, which is a roleplay session where characters will interact during a calm day at an encampment. They may belong to the same contubernium or to other contubernia, but will be camped next to each other and will interact while they wait for the orders of their Legate. From this I want to form character bonds and see the characters in action. Also, at any point, an applicant may decide to change something in her character or even discard the character entirely and create another and that will be perfectly OK, for as long as the target date for the end of the applications is respected (the date is stated in the first section of this post ("ARS BELLICA") and can be extended if the need arises, even though I would like to keep it that way to the end.

We are making a Roman game and torture, slavery and sexism were part of that society, so all characters must be male. Understand that, at a certain point, the PCs may (or may not...) have the power to change that, freeing the slaves or placing women in their rightful place (that is: everywhere), but that is up to the PCs. Also, we are using a realistic scenario, so all characters must be human and there is no magic in the sense of casting spells. Things considered supernatural can be a belief and may or may not exist in reality, but I tell you in advance that it will remain always a question of faith and I will not use magic in any way for this campaign. This campaign is about politics, war and life in the Roman military, not about magic or magical creatures/events.

A comical PS: If anyone asks me if she can make a psi, I will say that psychopaths can be of great use in contubernia specialized in torture, but even those are not my favorite types of PC.

Here is the suggested application schema:

.Name: Please be Roman here (or be true to the character's origin, if barbarus)
Age: Above 15
Class: For anything different than fighter, please ask me first (starting level 2, anything non-supernatural from Pathfinder PRD and Pathfinder SRD is to be accepted)
Concept: One short sentence that generally describes your character
Campaign Trait: One of the two traits must be a campaign trait described above
Second Trait: A free choice of traits, remembering that anything supernatural will not work (it is optional)
Drawback: Optional and no more than one, no supernatural-dependent drawbacks allowed
Third Trait: Only if you have chosen a drawback (it is optional and no Su as usual)
Personality: Describe your character's mind
Appearance: Describe your character's physical appearance
Numbers: 25 point buy
  • Str:
  • Dex:
  • Con:
  • Wis:
  • Int:
  • Cha:
Background: Excel here!

NOTE: If, just like me, you like to create your character's sheet even before the end of the application process, remember that the equipment you need to fulfill your tasks will be supplied to you for free by the Legion, OK? Hstorically, that is an important part of the Marian Reforms, as, before that, soldiers had to supply their own equipment.

About the GM
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I have been thinking about GMing a game with a Roman setting literally for decades, but only now I decided to truly make a move on the subject, as I finally found a decent mass combat + economy system for D20 fantasy (I used to think about D&D 3.5, but, after I found Pathfinder, I fell in love with it ).

My experience as a player is lost in the sands of time and my experience a a Gm is not too far from that beginning, which does not mean that I am a great GM... only that I am an experienced one (and I can be experienced in a lot of mistakes :P ). In what comes to GMing style, I tend to go into detail in terms of scenario, finding it quite relevant to give players a sense that they are experiencing a living universe, not a video-game where you can only do what was previously programmed as an option.

On the other hand, I expect players to use creativity and exploit those options I give you (and even point out other options that I have not seen as possible, initially).

One final word is that, since I see that I can make mistakes, I am completely open for you to point them out for me, so that I can learn from them.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 03-13-2015 at 07:29 PM.
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