Saturday, September 15, 2007

Putting a name to the face

On buying the Osprey book ' The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC' I discovered a huge list of Roman commanding Generals in the back. The list was so long with so many fantastic names it gave me an idea. I would use this list to name all of my Centurions and other officers in my Roman forces.The idea didn't stop there, to give more character to each of them, I devised a 1 to 10 table to roll on for their stats e.g +1 to str or +1 to attacks. The Centurions I wanted to be mostly a plus of one sort or another for they had been promoted on example and merit. Whereas the table I drew up for the Higher Officers, the Legates and Tribunes is less positive and has a 50/50 chance of being something bad, a minus. For example an unlucky roll on the High Officer Table could see out of touch Generals receiving a -1 on their leadership, wounds or attacks. These bad officers have obviously been promoted beyond their means, by friends in high places and do their men little favours once in the field. I'm hoping these personalities will bring a bit more colour and life to the board and make great blogging throughout the Campaign. With the all the Centurions carefully named, I wrote out their names on stickers for the bases and added the name and altered stats to the unit cards of the Officers involved. To keep things simple I gave each Centurion just one single name e.g Varro or Balbus so that after a while these names will be easy to remember and real characters will leap from the board. The men of higher rank I gave the Full Roman title of three names. An example of a high officer would be L.Lunis Pullus, who has now become the General of the Rhine army. Again I'm hoping that these names will sink in after a few battles and might even give a sense of loss when well known characters fall, or lucky ones do well, old Linus Pullus has done it again...I don't believe it! that crafty old fox.

Now my Centurions Vitus and 1st Spear Centurion 'Bulla', made famous through the blog, have now got faces to their names and their stats have been rolled and altered. I gave the 1st spears an option of rolling twice and choosing the better roll, this reflects their experience and status in the ranks. The other Centurions aren't as lucky and have to except what the Gods ordain on them. Old war dog 'Bulla' ended up with a weapon skill of 4 which isn't great for attacks but means he has a better chance of scoring a hit in combat. However, Tullus's 1st spear, the renown Terentius, bagged the war hero slot of 10 and walked away with an attack of 3 rolls and a strength of 4. He will be one to avoid at all costs and may even turn the tide of a few battles. Terentius will be a name that people will learn to remember and I'm sure one that goes down in the annuals, "Oh woe to the conquered."

It may turn out that in the heat of battle who has what and toughness and strength they are and so forth may get in the way of the game, but with the unit cards on hand I'm hoping it won't. We will just have to see about that one, but it is great to know that all the characters have names and personalities even if we do drop their skills.

Above, 1st spear Centurion Messala (tough old war dog, Toughness 4) from the army of Rome, takes some welcome advice from an old friend.


Scutatus said...


Fantastic portraits of your Centurions. :D

eddie harrison said...

where did you get the general character from in this picture?!

Consul said...

I'm currently doing this with my characters.
It would be useful to see your table of 1-10 roles for determining Centurions characteristics!