Monday, 25 January 2016

Velites (3)

The completed Velites
I've been working on some more light gladiators from the HaT Spanish box, specifically the ones that don't look too "Spanish".
Following on from the last conversion of four of the figures (two pairs) to represent the same figure with and without spear I've converted the remainder of the less-Spanish looking figures.
The conversion was simple enough, cutting the shields off two figures and adding one to another figure. The great thing from my pov is that you can hardly see the join.
"Mr. Blue"
Following on my already established protocol of  having the figures colour-coded I painted the remaining pairs each with their own distinctive colours, blue, red and green, having already painted a pair using yellow.
The only difference between these additions and the original is that I added a coloured stripe to the hem of their tunics.
*You can see in the photograph above that the nearest pair don't have this strip though I may add it at a later stage)
Mr Blue on the left, you will note is the only one with a large shield - probably completely anachronistic for "velites" in the arena, though it does add variety
"Mr. Red"
The spear-armed versions of the fighter are each carrying a a "pilum" rather than the more typical spear or javelins used by the velites - or more properly the "venator" or animal hunters.
The rules I'm using do allow for each of the different types of throwing weapon, but I'm adjusting the rules on pila to allow for their effect on shields (if these are used against other shield-armed gladiators). 
Spears have greater 'range' in melee (two hexes) but are at half effect (combat factors) when used single-handedly. If used two-handed then they have full effect but only at close (1 hex) range.

The photograph on the left shows the original figure (leftmost) and the three others; other than the original (Mr. Yellow") each has some variation on the position of the shield and spear arms which can be made out from the photograph hopefully.
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Here's the equivalent figures with only their sword, having dispensed with their spears (pila in this case)
All but "Mr. Blue" (far right) have had new shields added and very little else in the way of conversion. Their shield arms are joined solidly to their torso from the elbow to the shoulder and anything other than moving the lower part of the arm is well above my level of modelling, so there is little in the way of different positioning. I have however managed to cut down their distinctive Spanish weapon to a more representative gladius, though once again  not on all of them, purely for variation.
Finally here's another group-shot.
We're just about ready to feature some animal fights in the arena so these should come in very handy.

Next time I'll either be featuring either my Retiarii (again) as I'm working on their nets (and have finally arrived at a colour for them that I'm happy with) or I'll show how I'm getting on with even more "velites" , this time from the HaT box of Carthaginian Light Infantry.

That's it then for this week and maybe there's something here to interest someone.

Monday, 18 January 2016

It's all about the money

Another grizzly end for a tyro.
The campaign continued with two new players, giving four players for this meeting. Once again the two newcomers rolled for five gladiators each getting the usual batch of good, average and poor.
Everyone is more or less off to an equal footing, the two new players fought a bout and then they decided the wanted to watch the two more experienced players (myself and son #1) fight a bout too so they could see how we played a one out.
As we each only had two gladiators available to fight, a generic light and a generic heavy, we opted for the heavies.
This was a very interesting fight, my  gladiator Gluteus Maximus a favourite of the crowd (favourite=high prestige as his social class determined that he had once was a Senator) was pitted against some no-hoper called Brutus (although I referred to him mostly as the victim).
Gluteus Maximus on the left, Brutus on the right.

The match was a very hard fought one with some very interesting manoeuvres on both our parts. We both had moved so as to avoid a charge (three hexes) from the other  gladiator.
We did however get into combat and the heavier armour of these fighters proved to be a deciding factor in many combat rounds.
Maximus managed to both disarm my opponent and destroy his shield. unfortyunately not before he had got a telling mortal blow on Maximus.

Despite my attempts (as Maximus) at both hitting him and preventing his sword retrieval, he did come up with a cunning plan, Brutus backed off away from me and then charged (over two movement phases) in the hope that he would be stunned by the impact and knocked out and hence ending the fight. My greater strength and shield prevented him from acheiving his ambition  and I cut him down instead, Unlike Maximus though he did live to tell the tale, the crowd (whom I am sure were bribed) granted him a missus for his brave performance.
So at the end of that particular bout I got 125 sesterces for winning, plus 300 sesterces for entering a gladiator and of course saving on doctors fees. Whereas Brutus' ludus gained the 300 sesterces for entring, nothing for losing but he has gained a experience  and has the cash to be attended by a medicus (doctor).
At the auctions (we 're probably going to have one next time), the starting minimum bid for any prospective gladiator is the combined total of the five characteristics that are rolled for each nre gladiator (Training, strength, agility constitution and wounds) multiplied by ten to give a final figure.
Thus the average cost of an 'average' gladiator is about 230 to 259 sesterces and with more than two people bidding it's hard to see me getting one anywhere near that price !
 As I said in the title "It's all about the money" !

In other news I've nearly finished another of three pairs of' 'Spanish' infantry that I'll be using as "lights" and they'll probably be the subject of next week's post. I''ve also found some suitable netting for the my retiarii, so they too can be fully equipped  once they're cut out and painted. The netting came from a sleeve of onions and is square, which I originally wanted and preferred to the hexagonal one I was going to use.

Monday, 11 January 2016


The starting positions of the first contestants.
This month saw my #1 son and I start an on-going campaign for gladiatorial combat.
We each "diced-up" the stats for five gladiators that ranged from volunteer Senators to criminals condemned to the arena.  Once their stats were known we allocated them to generic  roles of a 'light', two "mediums", a "heavy" and a "retiarius". - after they had fought once ib their 'generic' mode they could specialize into a specific  role after they had fought once in the arena.
Maneuverings leads to some interesting situations.
I had hoped for at least four participants but the two of us went ahead anyway. In my campaign, the number of ludi (read players) determines the prize money to be paid out to winning gladiators in addition to the fees paid for gladiators attending. As there were only the two of us he winning gladiators were paid 125 sesterces and another 200 sesterces were paid to the ludi for each participating gladiator, Has we had more players the fees would have been the same but the prize money increases up to a maximum of 1000 sesterces per winning gladiator.

The inevitable conclusion.
 The campaign is all about cash, with each player trying to accumulate the most cash .
To avoid the obvious problem of those winning combats accumulating so much wealth that they can outbid others at the auctions for new gladiators I've set the limit of how much cash can be held by each player's ludus at 2000s) and anything in excess of the 2000 that is gained goes into an untouchable  'deposit' account. This latter account is the milestone by which we determine 'winning' the campaign.
The rules do allow for the individual gladiators to accumulate "experience" (i.e. Experience points or XP) so that they can slowly get better statistics.
The start positions of the second bout
The stats that are used are Training, Strength, Agility, Constitution and Wounds. The number of combat factors (the points we use for attacks) is calculated from the addition of the training, strength and agility factors. Training factors range from 7 to 13 with an average of 9; Strength from -3 (yes it's a minus) to 5, average of 1; Agility from -3 to 4, av. 0; Constitution 1 to6, av.3; Wounds 8 to 15, av. 10.
And another one bites the dust...erm sand
One of the 'newer' ideas was to add in social origins to character generation, (as mentioned above), which not only gives a little more 'colour' and background to our gladiators, but also allows adds minor adjustments to a few of the stats. For example a gladiator that was a soldier has a training adjustment of +2, whilst a criminal has a -1 adjustment to his constitution stat.
There is also a "Prestige" (popularity) statistic that we have adopted, that gives a bonus in both combat factors and when appealing for a missus.

So that's it for this time, my campaign is off and running and in case you're wondering, I did win two very closely fought fights, the first by manoeuvre and the second by very good dice rolling !