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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: andrew_kenrick on January 22, 2007, 07:29:20 AM

Title: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: andrew_kenrick on January 22, 2007, 07:29:20 AM
So over here  ('ve been talking about a Gladiators conversion for Contenders.

My sunday group wrapped up the first phase of our Burning Empires campaign just before christmas, so this year we thought we'd play something new. I gave the group a huge list of games I'd be happy running, and they picked Contenders, or more specifically, Gladiators.

So we played our first session last night, pretty much using the rules as written. We replaced Cash with Favour, but left everything else the same.

As usual for our games, we made a wiki  ( it.

Here are our gladiators:

Cassius Aelius - played by me, the arrogant son of a noble fighting for kicks, and to earn enough favour to persuade his beloved Julia to marry him.

Enanerix the Gaul - played by Dave, a captured slave fighting for his freedom, hoping to settle down and open an inn with an old veteran gladiator, Bergamix.

Nessius - played by Janos, an Egyptian slave fighting for his freedom, and the freedom of a fellow slave.

Jordius Aurilius - played by Darren, a murderer, convicted to death by gladiatorial combat. A real mean gladiator, with a soft spot for his ill mother.

By the time we'd chosen the game and made some characters, we only had time for a couple of rounds worth of scenes, plus a couple of opening fights.

Notable scenes included Cassius bounding in on Julia fresh from training at the arena full of excitement, only to have her deflate it by throwing him out for smelling too manly. He took it out on a slave who he used as a punchbag in a rather gruesome training montage.

Both Nessius and Enanerix were dispatched to carry out some shady work by their masters. Nessius roughed up a rival slave, only to find on his return that his superior had no intention of paying him. Enanerix went to rough up a rival of his master, but got beaten up in the process.

Enanerix had a touching trainign montage with his mentor, Bergamix, who taught him how to fight with a net.

Then we rounded the night off with a couple of fights. The first of these was Jordius, who decided he wanted to fight some sort of monster, which turned out to be an elephant (created by Dave, who wanted to see what happened if he maxed out power), who we dubbed Nellius. Because Nellius had a technique of 1, he hardly hit, and the first 2 rounds Jordius stabbed and slashed at her. But then on round 3 she lucked out and managed to dominate the round, at which point her power 8 shone through and she KOd poor Jordius in one go. Jordius was dragged to safety, beaten and bloodied.

The final fight was a warm up match between Nessius, new to the arena, and a veteran free gladiator, Marcus. Nessius' master thought he needed toughing up, so arranged for Marcus to give him a beating. But Nessius proved to be quick in the arena, and ran rings around Marcus, lasting for the whole 4 rounds before knocking him to the ground. Although the crowd bayed for blood, Nessius was no killer and spared his life, to a resounding BOO from the crowd!

Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: Caesar_X on January 22, 2007, 08:47:35 AM
Nice writeup, Andrew.  Gladiators is such a natural fit for this system.  I love the addition of an elephant NPC to fight!

Your comment about replacing "Cash with Favour" made me think of politics which made me think of young politicos entering Rome, desperate for a seat on the Senate.  They train for the big debates with other would-be Senators while currying favor with the Patricians.  "The Orators"?

Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: andrew_kenrick on January 22, 2007, 08:58:38 AM
That elephant is going to be a regular foe I feel - one of my players is rather attached to her!

I wonder if you saw Malcolm Craig's entry in the Transatlantic Setting Challenge, Revolutionaries ( It turns Contenders into a rather more political game, which I think would work nicely with senators too.

As I was lying awake dissecting the game in bed last night I was turning my mind to other uses I could put it to - the cutthroat world of chariot racing, perhaps?

Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: Caesar_X on January 22, 2007, 09:04:13 AM
I just saw Revolutionaries after I posted this.  A quick glance and it looks pretty nice.  I tell you, the genius of this system is its portability to other settings and even different types of play.  Chariot racing would be great and you could really bring out the personalities of the drivers.  Those guys were the rock stars back in the day.  Heck, you could even do Top-Fuel Dragster racing in Hoosier country!

Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: andrew_kenrick on January 22, 2007, 09:09:09 AM
It really is a versatile system. Gladiators ports rather easily, as the basic concept remains the same.

I think you'd need to do a lot more work for chariot (or any type of) racing, but I certainly think it's doable!

Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: Yokiboy on January 23, 2007, 04:45:21 AM
Very cool Andrew. I like your inventive NPCs; a group of quivering Christian slaves, and an elephant. Great stuff! I might have to give this a try after we finish our current Contenders game.



Title: Re: [Contenders] Gladiators!
Post by: andrew_kenrick on January 23, 2007, 07:06:54 AM
I know that Contenders recommends that you do stats for NPCs at the start but don't actually name them, but we couldn't resist! We ended up with two named and famous gladiators (Marcus and Ona), as well as the aforementioned slaves and the elephant, who were both intended to be generic stats but turned out rather differently!