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(TFT) Back.. with a lil wargaming buddy.
Hi guys, I've been incommunicado for a while, celebrating the birth of
our son, Garrett. My home pc went tango uniform almost simultaneously
with my wife's labor pains, so I've been email-less for a long time (750
messages to delete this morning).
While spending all too much time in the neonatal intensive care unit
recently, I started to work on what I hope is an amusing variant for
Melee-- but I want to make sure it hasn't been done before. Has anyone
ever done a Gladiatorial Games (as in Ancient Rome) version of Melee? I
seem to recall mention of "Marx Plastic Gladiators" in Vindicator once,
can anyone out there expound upon that?
I've been working on my own game of gladiator fighting (and management)
for a few months now (it's a miniatures game called "Gladius!"-- mostly
for my gaming group's use), and got to thinking that Melee would make a
nice mechanic for a board game version. Sure enough, I started
researching the weapons, armor, and ST/DX limitations and the idea sort
of pulled itself together. I was greatly helped by my old friend Larry
the Gun Toting Psycho dropping by with pristine copies of Advanced
Melee, Advanced Wizard and In the Labyrinth. For me. For Free. Nice
Melee gives stats and ST/DX limitations for MOST of the gladiator's
arsenal (and I could extrapolate those weapons not specifically called
out). I had some trouble with handling the net/trident of the retiarii,
but advanced melee answered this in exquisite detail, as well as giving
some rules for lassos (for the Laquierias). In the Labyrinth gives
stats for MOST beasts a bestiarii would encounter in the arena; it's
possible to extrapolate a few more (cheetahs and leopards for example).
The big challenge now is how to implement the gladiator's "piece armor"
coverage. Melee/Wizard's armor rules represent a large body area being
covered by a single material for armor; this is in keeping with most
FRPGs and late Medieval European tradition. The Roman Gladiator,
however, wore very little (well, most of them). Sometimes, a gladiator
would wear heavy armor on one leg, and leave the other bare. Sometimes,
he would wear a helmet (which doesn't help in the Melee rules at all),
sometimes not. Sometimes he'd have a huge rectangular army style
shield, sometimes just a round buckler, sometimes nothing at all. I've
adopted a "build your armor coverage" approach, rather than adopting the
tactic of specific armor coverage for specific body parts.
Specifically, I assign a point and a DX penalty value to various armor
"pieces" that are added to the gladiator's basic load (which is almost
universally a broad leather belt with some leather straps on the arms
and legs for minimal coverage. all else was variable). The armor
pieces approach adds to the armor value (sometimes by a matter of a .5
pts./piece to keep this idea compatible with the Melee basic rules).
It seems to work well, though I find that some classes of gladiator
(specifically, the Myrmillons and late Thracians) are somewhat
overburdened, as well as the Retiarus, who has to pay a Melee rule
penalty for wielding a net and trident simultaneoulsly.
Any thoughts on the armor idea?
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