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Author Topic: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...  (Read 170264 times)

Offline Furt

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Hi Frank, no worries at all. I think it's safe to say we're both enjoying the playtesting.

Thinking abut the campaign structure, perhaps doubling the points awarded (and points needed to advance a tier) might allow for minor deductions like some minor negative for finishing the game with disfavour tokens?

Having only the 'in play' six count towards a ludus' fame does make the management of gladiators tricky - hence the requirement of the Champion to fight at the Saturnalia so no hiding the frontrunner.

I like the idea of a 'no class restrictions' ludus event - to the point that perhaps class restrictions are banned. Should add a bit of spice. Another option might be for Tier one gladiators fight other tier one gladiators (at the discretion of the fielding lanista) as the crowd want to see the big names fight - maybe attach a fame bonus as well to incentivise give the people what they want?

The game with the Hoplomachus showed the strengths of the system in that it really wasn't a case of going through the motions for a foregone conclusion and Craigus'  ability to conjure a surprise win from his reduced dice pool with judicious management and a bit of luck was really what the game is all about.


Yeah your campaign suggestions certainly have merit.

I still fear that a gladiator who has lost his match with disfavour is likely to gain nothing from the match. I'd like to avoid that if possible.

In regard to "no class restrictions" I did still intend to impose the prohibited opponents, so for example, a retiarius would still be prohibited from facing another retiarius.

Concerning tier, do you mean always forcing like tier gladiators to only fight each other? Or a munus event that forces equal tier bouts? If the former, I think this would lead to matching issues ie being unable sometimes to find an opponent at all.

I am much more comfortable that the system is more robust now a makes for a good tactical combat, not just luck. I assume also that with the amount of bouts you both have under your belts you are learning the nuances of the system.
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Offline Dr Mathias

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Having managed to paint the necessary miniatures to play Blood on the Sands, my friend and I were able to squeeze two matches in tonight.



The first match pitted Tertius the Hoplomachus, a Roman by birth and volunteer into the arena against Popidius, a criminal from Thrace forced to don the gear of a Thraex.

The Hoplomachus, overly exicted and starting with fervor, started off very poorly- critically failing his first attack, stumbling, and inviting a fierce reprisal. The Thraex moved in, hooking his sica around and worrying the Roman. After a short exchange of blows between the two, Tertius opened a vein in the thraex's leg with a well aimed thrust. This was followed by a wound to the head. Things were looking grim for the thraex, and the crowd was certainly behind the Roman at this point. Popidius backed the Hoplomachus against the wall, knowing if he didn't end it soon he would bleed out.

Tertius however, rushed forward and stabbed Popidus in the head again, bypassing the helmet and ending the match. The crowd was of mixed opinion and it was a near thing, but Popidius was granted missio and turned over the the doctors.



The next match was Karnak, a notorious slave from Egypt, vs. Cerebus, a Secutor and also a Roman plebeian. It seemed that the popularity of the games was inducing everyday Romans to join the excitement.



Karnak, utterly disdainful of the jeering audience, threw sand almost immediately, blinding the secutor, who seemed to be at a disadvantage of some sort for the rest of the match. Cerebus taunted the Retiarius and caused him to lose his composure, if only for a moment. The Secutor persevered and lived up to his name, chasing the rebellious slave across the arena. There were net casts and recoveries, attempts to trip, shield bashes, and lunging trident strikes. Cerebus never landed a telling blow on the swift netman, although there were close calls. In return, Karnak managed to land a few wounds, causing the crowd to grudgingly accept that he had some martial skill, as he had two critical strikes, with little result, as if he was toying with the chaser. Eventually, the secutor's activities fatigued him, and he was partially entangled. After casting off the net, he made every effort to keep the retiarius from recovering it, and backed Karnak into the corner. Karnak kicked sand into the Secutors eyes again, and he fell for the move a second time. Cerebus was fading... he attempted a low strike, which barely grazed the skin. His last attempt was a rushing attack as seen by the Hoplomachus in the prior match, and he fell to the ground, exhausted. The crowd again barely delivered missio.



Observations: Honestly, I'm shocked that the game still has the same overall feel despite quite a few changes to the game, as I played it a few years ago.
I like that stats were dispensed with and at this point I don't have any qualms about changes that have been made since the first iteration.

A couple questions/clarifications:

Pg. 6: In the description of the gladiator sheet, it says "this is the sheet for the retiarius class" but it appears to be a hoplomachus sheet.

Pg. 14: "Origin and ethnicity bare no in game effects". First, I think it should be 'bear', but I also wonder if that is true. One rolls traits based off ethnicity (for example 'adored' is available to certain backgrounds) and those do have in game effects, do they not? 

Pg. 21 mentions a 'Hazard table' under trip hazards, but I think that is the collision table?

On the Injury table, pg. 39: If a gladiator has a slow "kill wound" and was disabled due to two head wounds, what is the total modifier?

Fame: Does a gladiator get a point of fame for entering, and two more for winning?

Plan on doing some more matches next week.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2022, 05:20:57 AM by Dr Mathias »
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Offline Furt

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I'm so happy you have had the opportunity to have a game Matt, considering you were so involved with the original version.  :)

Also, excellent to hear that BotS remains at it's core the same game and still gives a good narrative combat.

I am already well into ver1.4 - nothing too major but it will introduce Apathy (the opposite of Fervour) and Signature Moves (the ability to combine a class Special Attack with a Common Special Attack).

Some very lovely gladiators by the way. I like Karnak the retiarius' liberal throwing of sand and his indifference to the crowd. Apathy is introduced especially to deter a gladiator from trying too many underhanded tactics!

I'll answer your queries below:

Pg. 6: In the description of the gladiator sheet, it says "this is the sheet for the retiarius class" but it appears to be a hoplomachus sheet.

Yes good catch - it is most definitely a hoplomachus sheet.

Pg. 14: "Origin and ethnicity bare no in game effects". First, I think it should be 'bear', but I also wonder if that is true. One rolls traits based off ethnicity (for example 'adored' is available to certain backgrounds) and those do have in game effects, do they not? 

Yes you are correct, they do have a bearing of sorts, that of providing certain traits, which of cause have game effects.

Pg. 21 mentions a 'Hazard table' under trip hazards, but I think that is the collision table?

Yes, right again. This has already been caught in ver1.4, but it does refer to the Collision Table.

On the Injury table, pg. 39: If a gladiator has a slow "kill wound" and was disabled due to two head wounds, what is the total modifier?

I can see what you are getting at here - I don't think it has ever came up in a game to date. Although unlikely, a gladiator could suffer a "slow kill" on one location but later have a different location disabled or even suffer two "slow kills" to separate locations. Similarly, they could suffer a flesh wound to a location, followed by a "slow kill" wound to the same location, which would of course disable the location (which I assume was your situation?).

If that was the case, an amendment to ver1.4 means the gladiator actually suffered a kill wound instead  :'(
Should the wounds of a slow kill ever exceed the amount of available circles in a location, the wound instead becomes a kill.

But in general a location being disabled by a "slow kill" will only prompt a single roll on the Injury Table. Receiving two "slow wounds" although is something I'll need to address.

Fame: Does a gladiator get a point of fame for entering, and two more for winning?

Yes, that's right. One just for showing up and two more for winning.

Really looking forward to any further combats you manage Matt.

Offline Dr Mathias

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I can see what you are getting at here - I don't think it has ever came up in a game to date. Although unlikely, a gladiator could suffer a "slow kill" on one location but later have a different location disabled or even suffer two "slow kills" to separate locations. Similarly, they could suffer a flesh wound to a location, followed by a "slow kill" wound to the same location, which would of course disable the location (which I assume was your situation?).

The fighter in question had a slow kill bleeding wound (to the leg if I recall) and two individual flesh wounds to the head which resulted in being disabled. One of the flesh wounds might have been before the slow kill happened. Overall it wasn't a long match! We need to know how bad the modifier is to the recovery roll  :o

Offline Furt

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The fighter in question had a slow kill bleeding wound (to the leg if I recall) and two individual flesh wounds to the head which resulted in being disabled. One of the flesh wounds might have been before the slow kill happened. Overall it wasn't a long match! We need to know how bad the modifier is to the recovery roll  :o

Ah - ok. So clearly this needs to be better explained in the rules, but that would be two individual  injury table rolls. One for the head being disabled (a roll at -1 for head) and the second for the slow kill wound to the leg ( a roll of +0 (+1 for leg and -1 for the slow kill)). Good luck!

Offline Muzfish4

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Very nice write-up and photos, Dr M.

I have had a planned game rescheduled a couple of times now. If v1.4 is on the horizon I might hold off until then.

Offline Furt

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Very nice write-up and photos, Dr M.

I have had a planned game rescheduled a couple of times now. If v1.4 is on the horizon I might hold off until then.

Ver1.4 is looming but I'm not 100% sure when it will be ready, but I'm hard at it. There are some changes to Special Attacks, the introduction of Apathy and Signature Moves, along with some changes to the match events.

I posted this elsewhere but I forgot to mention that I ran BotS at a small local con and brought my new arena along too. That is Victor in the picture, one of the dedicated play testers, running through a demo.





There is more on the arena here https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137342.0






Offline Too Bo Coo

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I still have my entire set up!
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Offline Dr Mathias

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MUNUS II

Castur vs. Populus

The first match of munus II pitted two provocators against each other. Castur, an Italian criminal known for his exceptional fierceness was set against Populus, a German prisoner of war known for his great strength. The two probed each others defenses at the beginning, no one landing a major injury, until Castur unleashed his inner beast. Putting his full weight into his scutum, he knocked Populus to the ground and roared to the crowd. He was awarded with their applause. Dazed, Populus allowed the Italian to gain initiative, and put his shield up as many times as he could. Castur rained several blows with his gladius, sapping the prone gladiator's defenses, and finished with a shield strike, pinning the hapless Populus to the ground by the neck with his scutum. The crowd, extremely disappointed by the short and ineffective display, did not grant Populus missio.



Flava Flavius vs. Aius

The second match of the munus provided a classic Secutor vs. Retiarius confrontation. Flavius was a unruly Thracian slave, and a large one at that- but surprisingly agile. Aius was also a slave, hailing from Hispania, and was quick and very cunning. This bout lasted a bit longer than the previous one, but Flavius kept the pressure on the retiarius. He ended up dealing a wound, and backing Aius up to the arena wall. He bashed the netman to the ground and forced him to ask for missio, which the crowd granted as the retiarius had done just enough to gain some approval.



MUNUS III

The editor was heard making a disparaging remark about Hoplomachus gladiators, and the lanistae were thankful they hadn't submitted any that munus.

Saurus vs. Cassius Quintus

A murmillo named Suarus was elected for match one- an extremely imposing and large brute, taken as a prisoner of war in Britannia. Paired against him was one of Rome's own, an adored member of the equestrian class that had entered the ludus of Matthias Medico- Cassius Quintus, donning the resplendent gear of the Thracian! Quintus basked in the glow of the adoring crowd, taking it in, the sunlight gleaming off his polished armor. The trumpets blared, and the editor's box was stuffed with local dignitaries.

Then the match started. Saurus strode forward and lashed out with a single simple attack. Quintus raised his shield, but the equestrian must have been distracted by the crowd, as the brute's attack slipped by exceedingly easy. The murmillo's large size, brutal nature, and effective strike resulted in a stunning blow, sliding through the Thracian's arm with ease and killing him instantly. The crowd was stunned into silence, barely able to conceive of what had happened... eventually, reluctantly, clapping for the murmillo.



Aius vs. Flava Flavius

Eager to try his luck against the Secutor that bested him before, Aius again entered the arena against Flavius. The netman did a better job evading the chaser, but suffered a critical bleeding leg wound early in the fight, which hampered him greatly. He continued to fight well, entangling the secutor briefly, but found himself having a hard time picking up his net on two attempts- he suspected it had been greased by the secutor's lanista. At the matches end, each gladiator had bleeding wounds, and had put forth a valiant effort as they maneuvered around the entire arena. With two wounds bleeding, the Retiarius made a final move, disarming his opponent, before he fell to the ground, exhausted, but with the crowd's favor. Missio was granted.





Observation: In case you might be wondering, your gladiator does not want to get hit by a large, brute gladiator with an additional  +2 to the wound table due to a high attack roll. These large gladiators are causing me some serious problems!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2022, 07:08:01 PM by Dr Mathias »

Offline Furt

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Re: Blood on the Sands
« Reply #894 on: July 23, 2022, 06:08:21 AM »
Excellent report Matt. Nice to see you returning to the arena.

Are you soloing this?

Ha! Poor Cassius Quintus. Although fairly rare it does end this way sometimes, especially against a large and brutish opponents.

We had a hoplomachus rush attack his murmillo opponent on the very first turn, and stumbled in a heap at his feet. The murmillo rolled 3 higher and basically put his sword to the hoplomachus' throat. Game over.

Offline wkeyser

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Hi
Has this been published yet? I saw on your blog that you had a producer but that was back 2014-15 or so but cannot find any reference to the game being available.

Thanks

Offline Furt

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Hi
Has this been published yet? I saw on your blog that you had a producer but that was back 2014-15 or so but cannot find any reference to the game being available.

Thanks

No it never did get published because of a difference in visions of the final product.

I am looking for a publisher again now.

Offline Dr Mathias

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Re: Blood on the Sands
« Reply #897 on: July 23, 2022, 03:17:38 PM »
Are you soloing this?

No, playing once a week with a friend. Until last munus we'd won a match each, so he's a bit ahead now. Both of us have had one gladiator death.

Offline Eithriall

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Hi Furt,

We finally got to play with my daughter. A few games to relearn the rules and test the mechanics as you can see...
And I must say that you have made some good improvements compared to the previous version. We had a lot of fun and it's nice to be back in BotS and the sand of the arena!









We have created 6 gladiators each and are about to embark on a 2-lanistae campaign. I will be reporting on the fights as the campaign progresses.

I had a few small questions, but the answers are in your exchanges with Muzfish4.
I have one more question to ask: I saw that you can turn a special attack die into an attack die, but can you spend a special attack die to improve the attack roll on a special attack?

However, using your QRS, I realized that there are differences between them and the rulebook. I didn't point out everything carefully, but here are two important ones:

QRS: Feint - the gladiator makes a standard ATTACK! The defending gladiator must make his defense roll before the attack roll.
Rulebook: Feint - the gladiator makes a standard ATTACK! If able, the defending gladiator must spend an available DEFENCE Dice (or parry token) to activate his parry bonus.

QRS : Relentless attack - the gladiator makes a standard ATTACK! If successful, in addition the defending gladiator gains a fatigue.
Rulebook : Relentless attack - the gladiator makes a standard ATTACK! If the attack is successful the defending gladiator must discard one RESPITE Dice, if able.


And, again, I'm really happy about this come back!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 05:12:24 PM by Eithriall »
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”Robert E. Howard, The Tower of The Elephant, 1933

Offline Furt

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Hey Eithriall - great to see you back on the sands too and glad you have found the new adjustments to BotS an improvement.

I wish you could post your pics directly into the thread so they are easier to see. You have a really great set up and you've made custom dice too - I haven't even gotten around to that yet.

Looking forward to your reports but I do hope your daughter hasn't treated you too poorly!

Concerning the QRS - I don't usually give out a QRS with the play test document specifically because things get changed so often. Unfortunately in your case the QRS sheet you have already reflects the changes to be made in ver1.4 of the rules. So the QRS should probably supersede the rulebook in this case.

Concerning the SPECIAL Attack dice - they can not be turned into ATTACK dice and they can not be spent to improve neither a standard or special ATTACK.

I'd like to know the specific questions you had that were already answered in the Muzfish4 reply please as it may point out a flaw in the rules.

Again looking forward to your reports.

 

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