Monday, 30 November 2020

Blood, Sweat and Cheers Campaign - Part 2

Read Part 1 HERE. If only because it tells you how this is all set up and run.

Round 3 would be the first round that would see skilled gladiators in action, so had interesting possibilities.

Tertius had to select first, and had to put forward a medium gladiator. They only had one; the thraex, Bremusa. Primus went next, selecting Memnon as their requested heavy gladiator. And finally Secundus had to select their most experienced fighter - their only option was the unlucky Vocorix.

The pairings ended up as follows:

Bremusa (Thraex) vs Hero (Myrmillo)
Memnon (Myrmillo) vs Gracchus (Retiarius)
Vocorix (Dimacherius) vs Artemisia (Thraex)

Round 3 - Bout 1 - Bremusa (Thraex) vs Hero (Myrmillo)

Hero opted for a static defence at the start, waiting to see what Bremusa would do.


What she did was dart in and, to the cheers of the mob, wound Hero.


She continued to attack aggressively, driving Hero back ...


.. but he rallied and slipped a strike past her guard to wound her.


She responded with an attack that left Hero down on the ground. He tried to struggle to his feet, but a swift stab saw him defeated.


The crowd were not with Hero, who died in his first fight. Bremusa earned two Prestige for Tertius. In addition, having survived two bouts, Bremusa got to upgrade a trait, adding 1 to her Armour.

Round 3 - Bout 2 - Memnon (Myrmillo) vs Gracchus (Retiarius)

Both gladiators cautiously circled each other at the start, looking for an opening.


Memnon moved in first, with a crowd-pleasing attack, but Gracchus outsmarted him, and Memnon fell back with a light wound. The crowd were behind Memnon, though, so Gracchus dodged until their enthusiasm died down.


This went of for a while, with Gracchus evading Memnon's advances, waiting for the right moment. Of course both gladiators now had strong hands to play.


Gracchus kept evading ...


... again and again.


And again.


But the time was now right. He closed rapidly and swung his lasso. Memnon skillfully evaded it and countered with a skilful attack. Graccus dodged it and tried a sneaky attack with his dagger. The crowd went wild at this display of brilliance.


Memnon managed to knock Gracchus down ...


... but he got up nd went back on the offensive. Memnon held the attacks, slipped past Gracchus's defences and downed the retiarius for a long and hard-fought win.


The crowd spared Gracchus, who earned 1 Prestige for Tertius, and enough fame to pick up a +1 to his Speed. Memnon scored 2 Prestige for Primus.

Round 3 - Bout 3 - Vocorix (Dimacherius) vs Artemisia (Thraex)

Having learned from the last fight not to rush in, Vocorix went for a more cautious start in this bout against the nimble thraex Artemisia. 


Artemisia saw an opening, and attacked, but Vocorix dodged it and caught her off-balance.


Another blow and Artemisia was deafeted. The fight lasted two turns.


Vocrix earned 2 Prestige for Secundus for this quick victory. The crowd spared Artemisia, who gained 1 Prestige for Primus, and who picked up +1 Speed.

At the end of Round 3 the Prestige totals were:

Primus - 8 Prestige

Secundus - 5 Prestige

Tertius - 10 Prestige

The dead Hero was replaced by another myrmillo, Achillia.

On to Round 4.

Tertius was asked to provide their most-experienced gladiator, so went for Syphax. Primus provided Culex when asked for a light gladiator and Secundus put Achillia forward as a heavy gladiator.

The pairings for Round 4 ended up as:

Syphax (Crupellarius) vs Hippolytus (Retiarius)
Culex (Veles) vs Bremusa (Thraex)
Achillia (Myrmillo) vs Philus (Dimacherius)

Each bout was a novice gladiator vs a skilled one, so had extra Prestige at stake.

Round 4 - Bout 1 - Hippolytus (Retiarius) vs Syphax (Crupellarius)

Hippolytus was the underdog in this fight, as Syphax had not only his strong armour but a strengthened attack.


Syphax went straight on the offensive with a shield rush, looking to knock down Hippolytus and prevent him from evading attacks. Hippolytus stepped back from the attack.


Hipppolytus then went on the offensive, hoping to drain Syphax of defensive cards. Syphax blocked each one ...


.. but his luck ran out when Hippolytus attacked with his net.


Trapped in the net Syphax fought back desperately, but as the crowd went wild Hippolytus went in with his dagger, stabbing furiously. Syphax was quickly defeated.


Crazed by the fighting spirit displayed by Hippolytus, the mob gave Syphax short shrift, and Tertius was dismayed to see one of his top gladiators dispatched.

Hippolytus earned 3 Prestige for Secundus.

Round 4 - Bout 2 - Culex (Veles) vs Bremusa (Thraex)

The next bout saw the novice veles Culex take on the thraex Bremusa.


Culex evaded, looking to keep the range open for a javelin throw, and prevent the thraex getting in close with her knife. His first throw missed.


Bremusa closed rapidly and attacked, but Culex dodged and tripped Bremusa.


He closed to exploit her disadvantage, and she lashed out, wounding him.


He stepped back as she attacked again, but stumbled.


This gave Bremusa time to regain her footing, but Culex still had enough speed to get up as well and duck away. He threw another javelin, and wounded Bremusa.


Despite her injury she closed again, and inflicted another hit on the veles.


He dodged and stumbled.


Bremusa attacked again, and inflicted another wound. Culex was now badly hurt.


She continued to press him ...


... and when he fell for a third time he didn't have the strength to get up. Bremusa was the victor.


Bremusa earned 2 Prestige for Tertius, and was now the most experienced gladiator around. She'd also had three wins. Culex was spared by the crowd and earned 1 Prestige for Primus.

Round 4 - Bout 3 - Achillia (Myrmillo) vs Philus (Dimacherius)

The final bout of the day was somewhat anti-climactic. 


Achillia advanced, Philus attacked her and she fell. 


From that point onwards it was all over for the myrmillo, as the experieced dimacherius rained down blow after blow. However she put up a superb defence, and got the crowd fully on her side, despite losing the bout. There was no question that she wouldn't be spared. 


She earned 1 Prestige for Secundus. Meanwhile Philus picked up an easy 2 Prestige for Primus.

So after four rounds the schools stand as follows:

Primus - 11 Prestige

Artemisia (Thraex) - 2 Bouts, +1 Speed
Philus (Dimacherius) - 3 Bouts, +1 Attack
Memnon (Myrmillo) - 1 Bout
Culex (Veles) - 1 Bout

Secundus - 9 Prestige

Hippolytus (Retiarius) - 1 Bout
Vocorix (Dimacherius) - 2 Bouts, +1 Attack
Alumnus (Hoplomachus - No Bouts
Achillia (Myrmillo) - 1 Bout

Tertius - 12 Prestige

Baccibus (Veles) - No Bouts
Gracchus (Retiarius) - 2 Bouts, +1 Speed
Bremusa (Thraex) - 3 Bouts, +1 Armour
Mordax (Scissor*) - No Bouts

*The Scissor will have the stat profiles of a Myrmillo, so is a heavy gladiator, but the Glory abilities of a Dimacherius.

The next round could be the final one, with all three school potentially able to reach 15 prestige this time. Tertius is a strong favourite, since he ony has to win one bout and survive the other to do it, but even Secundus can come out on top if he can win two fights where novices are pitted against experienced gladiators. Who gets to fight who could be very important.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Blood, Sweat And Cheers Campaign - Part 1

I decided to run and write up a gladiator campaign using the simple campaign rules I put together for 'Blood, Sweat and Cheers' last week. You can read the rules HERE.

I made a couple of changes to the rules as written.

Firstly, players have less choice over the gladiator they put forward at the start. The Editor of the Games is a fickle creatures and makes demands of each ludus. Pleayers still select their gladiators in order, but first they must roll a D6:

1 - You must choose the gladiator who has taken part in the fewest bouts.
2 - You must choose the gladiator who has taken part in the most bouts.
3 - You must choose a light gladiator.
4 - You must choose a medium gladiator.
5 - You must choose a heavy gladiator.
6 - You can choose any gladiator.

In the case of more than one gladiator meeting a criteria, the player gets to decide which one they will use.

Players chose the second (challenging) gladiator as before, albeit with the restricted matchups based on weight.

The second change is to the earning of Prestige. I like the changes Nic has made in the campaign system that will be in the 2nd edition of the rules, so have dropped the +1 Prestige based on Crowd favour at the end, and added:

+1 Prestige if your gladiator won the bout
+1 Prestige if an unskilled gladiator beats one with a skill.

The first school to reach or exceed 15 Prestige at the end of a round would win. If more than one school did it, then the highest Prestige would win, otherwise ... well, I assume there would be a tie-break bout.

I played the games solo; even though both gladitaors have a hidden hand of cards the choices each one makes are generally pretty straightforward. I use a die roll if I feel I can't make an honest decision because of knowledge of the other gladiator's hand.

I set up three schools, run by Primus, Secundus and Tertius.

Primus had the following gladiators:

(Left to Right) - Artemisia (Thraex), Philus (Dimacherius), Rodan (Cestus*) and Memnon (Myrmillo)

*The Cestus class works for unarmoured light gladiators with a whip or similar exotic weapon.


The school of Secundus featured the following gladiators:

(Left to Right) - Priscus (Secutor), Pugnax (Myrmillo), Hippolytus (Retiarius) and Vocorix (Dimacherius*)

* I used the Dimacherius card, but increased his Speed by 1 and decreased his Armour by 1. This makes him a Light gladiator.


Finally, Tertius's gladiators:

(Left to Right) - Baccibus (Velite), Gracchus (Retiarius), Syphax (Crupellarius), Bremusa (Thraex)


I rolled for the first picks from each school. Primus had to choose a medium gladiator, so picked Philus. Secundus had to pick a heavy, so chose Pugnax. And Tertius had to pick their most experienced gladiator, so could choose any of their four, and went for Gracchus.

Tertius opposed Philus with Syphax. Pugnax was paired with Rodan, and Gracchus found himself fighting Priscus.

Round 1 - Bout 1 - Philus (Domacherius) vs Syphax (Crupellarius)

This is  match beween a brutally strong attack and an inpenetrable defence. Syphax started strongly, with two crowd-pleasing shield charges.


These drove Philus back, but the bout quicky switched to a series of attacks and parries.


Philus backed off to slow down the bout - a good move when the other side has a lot of crowd favour, since turns of inactivity see it shift back to neutrality. Syphax struggled to close again.


But close he did. Another shield charge saw Philus knocked down, and as he got up Syphax wounded him.


He followed up with a wild swing, to the cheers of the crowd, which knocked the dimacherius to the ground, defeated.


The crowd seemed to like Philus, and spared him. Syphax earned 2 Prestige for Tertius, whilst Philus' survival gave Primus 1 Prestige.

Round 1 - Bout 2 - Rodan (Cestus) vs Pugnax (Myrmillo)

Whilst not as slow as the crupellarius, the myrmillo is not a fast gladiator. The cestus is, with his only defence being his speed. Both gladiators moved around each other cautiously, Pugnax using his shield, and Rodan keeping his distance.


They closed, and Rodan put on a display of fast jabs which impressed the crowd, but only by as much as Pugnax's skilful defensive moves did. Pugnax got the crowd behind him with a mighty attack that saw Rodan only survive through the play of a Fortune card.Another mighty attack also failed to connect, and Rodan suttled away, as the cheering of the crowd died down.


Rodan swung his whip ...


... and downed Pugnax. 


But he couldn't finish him, and the heavy gladiator struggled to his feet. The fight resumed, with Rodan evading the myrmillo's attacks, but unable to close and make fast attacks of his own.


The fight went from one end of the arena to the other.


It had now gone on long enough that the referee was considering calling it a draw, when Rodan tried a feint. Pugnax saw through it, ducked under Rodan's attack and kicked his legs out from under him.


Rodan was defeated.

The bout went through the deck five times. I was considering a rule for calling bouts a draw; from the fourth deck onwards, each time you get to the end of the deck, check the Crowd Favour. If it is neutral or +1 then the referee will declare the match a draw. Only check at the end of a deck. The rationale is that if the crowd a strongly favouring one gladiator, calling an end to the fight wouldn't go down that well. But if the crowd aren't really cheering then it's OK.


Anyway, despite being highly entertained the crowd decided that they weren't really that keen on Rodan, who was dispatched.

Pugnax earned 2 Prestige for Secundus.

Round 1 - Bout 3 - Priscus (Secutor) vs Gracchus (Retiarius)

Priscus closed quickly, trusting to his shield, whilst Gracchus tried a sneaky attack with his dagger, a move the crowd loved. Gracchus then went on the offensive.


The secutor has two special moves that both include the ability to move one area, so Priscus could afford to give ground as the retiarius attacked. 


The momentum went out of Gracchus's attacks, and Priscus dived in with a counter-attack as the crowd cheered. Gracchus deftly evaded it ...


... swung his lasso and ensnared Priscus.


A second attack saw Priscus down on the ground, and struggling both to escape the rope and stand up.

Soon it was all over, and Gracchus was victorious. Priscus became another victim of the bloodthirsty crowd, whilst Gracchus earned 2 Prestige for Tertius.


At the end of the first round, Primus had 1 Prestige, Secundus had 2 Prestige and Tertius had 4 Prestige.

The schools replaced their losses. Primus added Culex, a velite, whilst Secundus took on the hoplomachus Alumnus.

In Round 2, Tertius had to select a heavy gladiator, so put Syphax forward. Secundus was asked to provide a light, so chose the Gaul, Vocorix. And Primus had to put his most experienced gladiator into the arena, so this round saw the return of Philus.

This led to the following pairings:

Pugnax vs Philus, Vocorix vs Bremusa, Artemisia vs Syphax


Round 2 -  Bout 1 - Artemisia (Thraex) vs Syphax (Crupellarius)

Artemisia immediatly went on the offensive; a crupellarius has strong defences, but is vulnerable when attacking or moving, so by keeping up a constant stream of attacks the thraex hoped to prevent any return attacks. And eventually her dagger would find a gap and wound her opponent.


At first Syphax fell back, but soon resorted to powerful swinging attacks. The crowd loved them, but Artemisia kept her nerve and jabbed Syphax twice, wounding him.


Syphax respnded with a shield rush, which knocked Artemisia down, and he wounded her as she got to her feet.

She responded by a lightning-fast attack which wounded him again.


Aretemisia was knocked down again ...


...  got to her feet and fled, only to be knocked down a third time. This time she struggled to get up as Syphax rained a strong series of attacks down on her, wounding her again.


All seemed lost for the thraex until she managed to kick Syphax's legs from under him, causing him to fall as well.


A desperate struggle ensued, but Artemisia came out on top; her knife stabbed again and again, and Syphax was defeated.

This was a really desperate fight at the end; both gladiators were on their last hit and it could have gone either way. 


Artemisia earned 2 Prestige for Primus, whilst Syphax was spared by the crowd, who'd seen a truly entertaining fight, and earned 1 Prestige for Tertius. With two bouts under his belt, Syphax could choose to upgrade a stat, increasing his Attack by 1

Round 2 - Bout 2 - Vocorix (Dimacherius) vs Bremusa (Thraex) 

Vocorix was a fast, dangerous foe, with plenty of speed and a fearsome weapon. 


He charged Bremusa, who kept her nerve, side-stepped and tripped him.


She then defeated him with her first blow.


Despite the short fight the crowd were entertained - maybe they thought it was a comedy show - and spared Vocorix. Bremusa earned 2 Prestige for Tertius, whilst Vocorix earned 1 Prestige for Secundus.

Round 2 - Bout 2 - Pugnax (Myrmillo) vs Philus (Dimacherius)

Philus charged ...


... whilst Pugnax stepped back and was knocked down.


He got to his feet, but the dimacherius had the advantage now.


A second flurry of attacks saw Pugnax down again, and this time he couldn't get up and conceded.


The crowd were disappointed with Pugnax, so didn't spare him. Philus earned a quick 2 Prestige for Primus and added 1 to his Attack (which will make him truly deadly).

Secundus added the myrmillo Hero to his school.

So this is the position at the end of two rounds:

Primus - 5 Prestige

Artemisia (Thraex) - 1 Bout
Philus (Dimacherius) - 2 Bouts, +1 Attack
Memnon (Myrmillo) - No Bouts
Culex (Velite) - No Bouts

Secundus - 3 Prestige

Hippolytus (Retiarius) - No Bouts
Vocorix (Dimacherius) - 1 Bout
Alumnus (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts
Hero (Myrmillo)

Tertius - 7 Prestige

Baccibus (Velite) - No Bouts
Gracchus (Retiarius) - 1 Bout
Bremusa (Thraex) - 1 Bout
Syphax (Crupellarius) - 2 Bouts, +1 Attack

The next couple of rounds will be interesting, as gladiators now have two skilled opponents to take down for extra Prestige.
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