Alea Iacta Story Hour: A Mythic Rome Campaign (Baby Announcement: 8/17) - Page 16





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  1. #151
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orichalcum
    Interesting ideas, all of you. Fimmtiu, you're correct about the identity of Jove's sisters. Mortepierre, great knowledge of Roman history, but keep in mind that the game is both alternate history and roughly situated around the early 2nd century CE; the mid 3rd-century disasters are still very much in the future, and, of course, dependent on what happens in the PCs' present.
    Thank you. Like I said previously, the past is my hobby (though I prefer Ancient Egypt).

    I didn't know if your prophecy was a plot device or just a wink directed to your players because it would tell them of events to come long after their characters were dead. Evidently, judging from the rest of the prophecy, it was the first solution. Moreover, pinpointing the year of your campaign is a wee bit difficult. The Hadrian Wall is already built but, apparently, Rome has yet to experience the disastrous reign of Commodus. Then, there is the fact that this is an alternate setting too. All in all, I would love to take a look at your campaign notes (if you have any) to see what kind of alternate time-line you've come up with.

    Perhaps in a new thread on the Rogues Gallery forum? (*hint* I wouldn't mind seeing some NPC stats either *hint*)
    Last edited by Mortepierre; Friday, 21st May, 2004 at 09:03 AM.
    Mortepierre Malepeste
    Dwarven necr.. er.. student of anatomy

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  • #152
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    ø Ignore orsal
    I had also been thinking of the astronomical/astrological approach at first, but, not knowing of any heavenly bodies identified with any of Jupiter's sisters, I gave up on that. Instead, I'm now thinking of a thunderbolt (Jupiter's apparent attack) doing damage to both home (Vesta's sphere) and crop fields of some sort (Ceres' sphere).

  • #153
    Quote Originally Posted by orsal
    I had also been thinking of the astronomical/astrological approach at first, but, not knowing of any heavenly bodies identified with any of Jupiter's sisters, I gave up on that. Instead, I'm now thinking of a thunderbolt (Jupiter's apparent attack) doing damage to both home (Vesta's sphere) and crop fields of some sort (Ceres' sphere).
    I had considered that too, yeah. The temple of Vesta, in fact, was destroyed by a fire at the end of the second century, but I couldn't come up with a similarly specific catastrophe involving one of Jupiter's other sisters at the same time. Perhaps it's entirely allegorical? Jupiter, representing war in his martial roles of Feretrius, Victor, Strator, etc. disrupts the spheres of his sisters (home and agriculture).

    That aside, any guesses on "the first and the eighth", and what they decreed? The first thing which sprang to my mind was calendrical: the first and eighth months would represent the god Janus and emperor Augustus. Sadly, that's an anachronism; the Roman calendar actually started in March, so technically the first and eighth months would represent Mars and the number eight (October), which is not very illuminating.

  • #154
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    ø Ignore Pyske
    Legio I and VIII? They were the first and eighth decreed, since legions are formed by decree, yes?

    . . . . . . . -- Eric
    Last edited by Pyske; Friday, 21st May, 2004 at 09:50 PM. Reason: typo

  • #155
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    ø Ignore Pyske
    Quote Originally Posted by orsal
    I had also been thinking of the astronomical/astrological approach at first, but, not knowing of any heavenly bodies identified with any of Jupiter's sisters, I gave up on that. Instead, I'm now thinking of a thunderbolt (Jupiter's apparent attack) doing damage to both home (Vesta's sphere) and crop fields of some sort (Ceres' sphere).
    Like, say, druids setting fire to the granaries of Rome with lightning strikes? At sundown on the summer solstice? That gives us fire (Nero), barbarians, one light dies (sundown), shortest night (solstice), many other lights arise (multiple fires), crops and buildings (Ceres + Vesta). Maybe even drums, if Call Lighning is ritually invoked.

    . . . . . . . -- Eric

  • #156

    Alea Iacta VII: Lux et Veritas Chp. 8: Plots and Prophecies

    Metellus returns home after the trial and gathers his friends and allies together to discuss the prophecy. They consider a variety of theories, ranging from possible eclipses (the next is in February) to fires to something involving the Druids. After much discussion, most of the group decides to rest and meet again in the morning, when Metellus will be trying out the job of building supervisor for a day.

    Meloch and I, meanwhile, have been bringing olives and cheese back and forth from the kitchen of Cornelia's mother's house for the gathering. On the last of these trips, Meloch notices Ogulnius, Licinia's fat slave steward, yelling at a terrified young slave boy in the doorway, "Go back to your filthy rouge-wearing mistress and don't trouble a decent, respectable house like this again. The ladies here aren't interested in your trash!" The slave boy runs in terror, while Ogulnius turns, beginning to tear to pieces a small sealed scroll in his hands.

    I notice, since Meloch can't read, that the scroll has Cornelia's name written in elegant capitals on the outside, and communicate this to my partner. On his advice, I scramble onto Ogulnius' shoulder, grab the scroll with my tail, and wriggle out of the way before he can hit me.

    "What do you think you're doing, filthy little barbarian pet?" he screeches, luckily at least as afraid of me as I am of him.

    Meloch speaks up boldly, clearly hoping to be heard in the courtyard outside, "I believe that scroll belongs to my mistress, not to you, and therefore I'm going to give it to her."

    "I suppose you'd be only to happy to see your mistress degraded even further by association with more low-lifes," Ogulnius sneers insinuatingly.

    "Who's the scroll from, then?" Meloch asks.

    "A low-bred, scandalous, shameful whore, and the enemy of my lady Licinia."

    "Well, that's still a decision that my lady will have to make for herself." Meloch and I scamper out of the kitchen before Ogulnius can hit either of us, and, after the party has dispersed, bring the scroll to Cornelia. Of course, I've already read it - there are some useful unsealing tricks a monkey's tail can perform...but Cornelia is quite startled by the contents.

    "It's from the Senatorial-class lady Lupina Silvana, inviting me and any of my friends who care to accompany me for honeyed wine tomorrow afternoon," she says, a bit puzzled.

    "Wait," Meloch asks, "Isn't Lupina Silvana the Emperor's primary mistress?"

    "Yes - I don't know much about her besides that, except that she's supposed to have a lot of power and influence."

    "Well, um, mistress, it may be a good thing that your mother is leaving for her seaside villa tomorrow morning. I wouldn't mention this invitation to her."

    "Why not?"

    "My sources tell me," Meloch intones pompously, "that Licinia Luculla does not have the most favorable impression of Lupina Silvana."

    "Well," Cornelia says, sticking her chin out in her usual defiant gesture, "I'm certainly going to go. It could be interesting! Maybe she has useful information. I'll write back, and ask if I can bring a few friends."

    Meanwhile, the rest of the group has retired for the evening, and some have dreamed...


    Heilyn: You fall asleep in your cold, stone, well-furnished bedroom in Metellus’s father’s villa, and dream: You are climbing through the hills of Wales, as you did with your own father when you were young. You stumble, nearly falling off the steep trail, and your father grabs you by the hand. “Be careful, little one. This is a dangerous path you are walking. You must be wary.” You climb onwards, until you can see snow on the peaks ahead. Suddenly, you hear a shout from behind you. “Do not go any farther! You will fall!” As you turn to see who it is, you hear a rumbling from above you. Rocks begin tumbling down, breaking through the path and bouncing down the cliffside. Your father screams as a large boulder heads directly for him, and you leap towards him, trying to grab his hand, only to find the rocks toppling on you as you watch your father fall. You wake up, and make a Reflex Save.

    Metellus: You fall asleep after some tossing and turning; the food tonight was too rich for your tastes, and your stomach is uneasy. In your dream, you are back in the Temple of Janus, overseeing another case as judge. In the defendant’s seat stands a large shadowy dog, which you remember from the cave in Caledonia.
    “You are called here today to answer for your crimes against a Roman Tribune, hound of the shadows. How do you plead?” you intone.
    The hound whines, and its lawyer, Aeduana, dressed in a formal Roman toga, stands. “The hound is not guilty, magistrate. It merely acted according to its nature. It is not the hound’s fault that the Tribune was cowardly and weak.”
    “That is for me to decide,” you reply.
    Aeduana calls a succession of witnesses – the Wolf Druid, Heilyn with his brave little terriers, the Master of the Dogs from the Imperial Palace, and a cloaked figure who speaks on the power of shadows but never gives his name. You listen to them all, and prepare to give your verdict. Just as you are about to sentence the hound to be thrown off the Tarpeian Rock, it leaps at you, jaws bared and dripping blood. You draw back, and wake up, startled by shouts coming from two rooms down.

    Llyr: You curl up easily, afraid that you’re getting lazy with all the fine living here in Rome, and fall asleep. You dream: You are on a battlefield, with sand stretching in every direction. The Prefect of a Legion nods at you. “Well done, Praetorian Centurion Llyr. With this siege engine, we will surely be able to take the city within a matter of days.” He points to a structure made of wood and rope and black chains and glass. It seems amazingly complex, and it has many moving parts swaying in the breeze.
    The city walls are suddenly before you. The Prefect gestures towards you. “Llyr, fire the siege engine.” You look at the device, and realize that you have no idea how to make it work. Still, you are unwilling to admit your shame before the Legions, so you begin pulling various levers. Just as fire begins shooting out from the engine, you look up towards the city walls again, and realize that it is the village of the Brigantes.
    You awake.

    Marcus: It has been a long day, and there are many concerns flitting around your mind as you finally relax into sleep. You dream. In your dream, you are in battle, and it is not going well. You fight bravely –slashing a barbarian here, blocking a spear with your shield there – but there are always more of the enemy, and they keep pressing towards you. Yet your Eagle, shining brightly, is nearby, and it gives you courage and strength to fight onwards. Somehow, you will survive this.
    The primuspilus centurion gestures to the aquilifer, the Eagle-carrier, who runs forward and with his last strength hurls the Eagle like a spear deep into the enemy ranks. A shudder goes through the legion’s lines, and the primuspilus shouts, “That’s your Eagle, men! That’s what you’ve sworn to defend at all costs, even your life. Go and take it back from them!” The lines surge forward, as you move quickly into the enemy, prepared to take any wound, any cost, to save the symbol of the Legion. As the legion advances, the Eagle, now being held jeeringly by the barbarians, seems to glow even stronger in response to your devotion, sending out rays of light towards you and your men. You may die before you reach it, but it is a good way to die.
    You hear, as you fight, the sounds of trumpet calls from the command, although they sound almost as if they come from directly in front of you. The first is the signal indicating that the Legions are hard-pressed. Reinforcements needed, resounds the second trumpet. Defend yourselves – the third. And finally, a last plaintive note from the trumpets, as your wounds begin to take their toll: Never retreat.

    "You know, Roman emperors have plotted against each other without the help of random Celtic people." --Metellus

    All roads lead to Rome, so come visit the Alea Iacta Story Hour.

  • #157

    Back again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Orichalcum
    Sorry for the long delay, folks - I was preparing for the final session of this arc, which just concluded!
    And I had to miss that final session, alas. Was Meloch able to send Shast with the rest of the group, or will the monkey's reportage contain even more hearsay than usual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orichalcum
    But I can promise very regular updates for at least the next month or two.
    I certainly hope so... I want to get more than bare bones detail on how it all ended, and we've a good ways to go yet!

  • #158
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Meloch, do you think you and your companions could post some stats here? I have been begging your DM for some time about those and I am really curious to see what your group looks like on paper.
    Mortepierre Malepeste
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  • #159
    Quote Originally Posted by Mortepierre
    Meloch, do you think you and your companions could post some stats here? I have been begging your DM for some time about those and I am really curious to see what your group looks like on paper.
    Alas, I'm currently in Afghanistan, and have no access to my stats. But perhaps when I get back to the States.

    Course, the character's not really about the stats. But I understand your interest.

  • #160
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    ø Ignore Lazybones
    I'm only halfway through page 3, but I wanted to offer a preliminary comment. This is an excellent story, and from the point of view of someone who taught western civ for a few years I find the historical elements to be an interesting addition. Nice touch having the story told from the perspective of the familiar, as well. The Roman characters are all sort of blending together for me but I thought the girl, the pygmy, and the pets were all distinctive

    You've helped me get through a dull Friday afternoon at work, and I look forward to reading the rest of the tale next week.

    LB
    Lazybones's Story Hour Threads:
    Can a rag-tag band of heroes save the Earth from alien invasion? Find out in my X-COM story.
    My foray into 4th edition is Lazybones's Keep on the Shadowfell/Thunderspire Labyrinth. Characters here.
    Can a band of condemned prisoners survive the horrors of Rappan Athuk? Find out in the Doomed Bastards. Characters here.
    Visit the Shackled City, from the pages of Dungeon magazine. Characters here.
    Wander the forgotten byways of Faerûn in Travels through the Wild West:
    Books I and II, Book III (the Isle of Dread), Book IV, and the final thread, Books V-VIII. Characters here.
    D&D fiction, adventures, NWN modules, and other stuff at my web page.

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