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Author Topic: Fvlminata starts up  (Read 3216 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: February 03, 2003, 02:11:18 PM »

Hello,

Yesterday heralded our first session of Fvlminata for what looks like at least three, maybe more sessions. It's a four-person group including myself (GMing), and so far, I'm liking it.

The book may offer the best ratio of setting-to-usable-inspiration I've seen in a long time. We get just enough about chariot-racing, soldiers, witches, and social structure for it to drive tons of background or color, but not so much that any of us feel like we're wading through data-dump crap prose.

Play's brought up just a few more questions ...

1) Does one use Pietas or Pietas+3 for Divine Intervention? Is it the former for any ol' god and the latter for one's patron god? (If so, that was easy.)

2) In Chapter 3, one is permitted to re-roll any or all of one's roll by spending a Humor point, whereas in Chapter 2, one is permitted only to re-roll one specific die from the four-die roll by doing so. Which way is right?

3) Does a wife take her husband's nomen? Doesn't look like it; is that right?

4) The outcomes on the Influence Effect table are a tad different between the book and the charts from the website-download. I assume the latter are the updated version?

More on a cultural-musing note, it turns out that we are all fascinated by Roman slavery. A bit of text-digging has revealed that the Fvlminata book is historically accurate (no surprise there; hi, Jason!) and that marriage to slaves, or rather, buying a slave to free and marry them, is common. This raised all sorts of issues.

Considering that Senatorial households include many slaves, one can imagine that many might have been well-educated and ended up being pretty good catches, even recognized as potential "marriage bait" among the patrician families.

Also, more in the Plebeian and Freedman realm of things, all sorts of interesting questions arise regarding casual acquaintances and romance, especially since one's status as a slave wasn't really considered "automatic public knowledge," apparently. Imagine two folks who strike up an acquaintance and then a romance in a public context (e.g. the Circus) ... when does one's status of a slave factor into this?

Historical sources suggest that quite a bit of hassles arose if marriage became part of the picture, and that Roman law didn't deal well with it in a codified way, but rather more on a local basis.

Those Influence rules are a lot of fun, and enthusiastic interjections start up 'round the table when a person is figuring out his or her "three choices for you" after a successful roll.

No violence yet, really, but it's a'coming.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2003, 02:48:30 PM »

What is also interesting is the shear level of prosperity, wealth, influence and outright power that a mere "slave" could acquire over the course of a lifetime.  Many slaves were well compensated financially for their services and many more found ways to skim extra for themselves (often being a completely accepted thing for them to do).  Being privy to many secrets carries its own power also.  

Also there is a definite pecking order in the hierarchy of slaves so even if one is a slave himself it is entirely possible to have a veritable army of underslaves to do ones bidding.  It is likely that the booming black market and semi organized crime of Rome served primarily as a vehicle for the underground acquisition and disposition of wealth by privileged slaves.

All of which can provide tremendous grist.
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Jason E. Roberts
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2003, 01:37:09 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

1) Does one use Pietas or Pietas+3 for Divine Intervention? Is it the former for any ol' god and the latter for one's patron god? (If so, that was easy.)


You have it right. The +3 modifier is used for your patron god.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

2) In Chapter 3, one is permitted to re-roll any or all of one's roll by spending a Humor point, whereas in Chapter 2, one is permitted only to re-roll one specific die from the four-die roll by doing so. Which way is right?


It's "any or all". We updated that in the 2nd Edition (I hope!).

Quote from: Ron Edwards

3) Does a wife take her husband's nomen? Doesn't look like it; is that right?


She retains her own family name (in most cases, a feminized version of her father's).

Quote from: Ron Edwards

4) The outcomes on the Influence Effect table are a tad different between the book and the charts from the website-download. I assume the latter are the updated version?


Yes, the latter are correct (2nd Edition rules).

Quote from: Ron Edwards

More on a cultural-musing note, it turns out that we are all fascinated by Roman slavery. A bit of text-digging has revealed that the Fvlminata book is historically accurate (no surprise there; hi, Jason!) and that marriage to slaves, or rather, buying a slave to free and marry them, is common. This raised all sorts of issues.


Also, always remember that under Roman law, slaves could own slaves. That may spawn a plot complication or two.

Jason

FYI - On a similar vein, Michael runs (from what I've heard) a very funny FVLMINATA event called "A Weekend at Bernius" where the personae are slaves in a household. The master of the domus mysteriously dies and since under Roman law all the slaves in a household are executed if it's proven that one of slaves did the deed, the mayhem begins. Of course, with apologies to Weekend at Bernie's, Gosford Park and Plautus.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2003, 02:35:34 PM »

Mike told me about Bernius. We are so gonna play that at GenCon...

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2003, 03:20:13 PM »

Hi Jason,

Thanks!

Quote
under Roman law, slaves could own slaves


!! ... to repeat, !!

Whoa, it is back to the notebook and prepping all manner o'stuff for next session.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2003, 04:07:02 PM »

Hense the "veritable army of underslaves" :-)

Rome is a very very cool place to game.

Its also full of interesting trivia bits.  Like virtually none of the free population in Rome actually worked or had a job.  Most folks just lived on the welfare (Bread and Circuses is a very literal thing).

Few homes had any stove or other fire causing heating device.  Almost all meals were "carry out" from ubiquitous street vendors.

Theres all kinds of cool little flavor stuff in Rome.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2003, 04:54:43 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Mike told me about Bernius. We are so gonna play that at GenCon...


FYI, I intend to schedule Weekend at Burnius for Thursday, 7pm-11pm and Friday, 7pm-11pm, after booth hours.

This is so cool, I get the chance to throw Mike Holmes to lions!! 8-)
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2003, 10:03:37 AM »

This is so cool, I get to be thrown to the lions by Mike Miller! :^)

Hey, for Ron's sake, are slaves of slaves subject to the same fate as their masters? That is, are slaves owned by slaves somehow the property of the overslave's master? Just to be clear, it master A owns slave B, and slave B owns slave C, does A own B technically? IOW, in the Bernius scenario would only the slaves of the master die upon discovery, or their slaves as well?

While were on the subject, what was the fate of a slave whose master dies without heirs?

Mike
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Jason E. Roberts
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2003, 01:07:15 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
are slaves of slaves subject to the same fate as their masters? That is, are slaves owned by slaves somehow the property of the overslave's master? Just to be clear, it master A owns slave B, and slave B owns slave C, does A own B technically? IOW, in the Bernius scenario would only the slaves of the master die upon discovery, or their slaves as well?


In your example above, I think you meant "does A own C technically" by association. That answer is no - the personal property of a slave that he has earned and/or paid for is not the property of the original master. That being typed, I will have to research whether the slaves of a slave implicated in the murder of his master are guilty by association and subject to the same grisly fate. Good question of Roman jurisprudence.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
While were on the subject, what was the fate of a slave whose master dies without heirs?


It depends on the master's will (as in "and testament"). Loyal slaves of the household with a good tenure of service and appropriate age (over 35 or so) were generally freed upon the death of the master and often left sizable fortunes. If there were no identifiable heirs or manumission provisions, the slaves became the property of the Imperial government.

Jason
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contracycle
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2003, 06:06:03 AM »

Quote from: Jason E. Roberts

In your example above, I think you meant "does A own C technically" by association. That answer is no - the personal property of a slave that he has earned and/or paid for is not the property of the original master. That being typed, I will have to research whether the slaves of a slave implicated in the murder of his master are guilty by association and subject to the same grisly fate. Good question of Roman jurisprudence.


As I recall, the slaves of a patriarch could have personal property, but only at the owner/fathers discretion; this was the "peculiar".  This would imply to me that a slave which had been granted the priviliege of a peculiar, that includes slaves, might be liable to the above fate themselves by their own owned slaves might not, not being party to that relationship. However, the peculiar could be revoked at will IIRC.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2003, 10:20:00 AM »

Thanks for correctly assuming the nature of my mistake, Jason, and good answers.

Generally freed, eh? Did they become Plebians or some other social rank (Freedmen)? What was the social status of the children of slaves and/or freed slaves?

Could Plebians own slaves, and if they did, did their slaves have the same conditions? If so, Gareth, why do you indicate Patricians specifically? If the right to own something was revoked did that make the property thn belong to the master? (I'm going to remember that "Peculiar" thing; I always remember Latin roots).

Also, is this one of those things that, as mentioned above, tended to differ in legal application by region? Also, what time periods are we talking here, and did these conditions change substantially during the Republic or Empire?

Sorry, fascinated.

Mike
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Jason E. Roberts
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2003, 11:38:20 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Did they become Plebians or some other social rank (Freedmen)? What was the social status of the children of slaves and/or freed slaves?


They became Freedmen. Slave children freed would also be Freedmen. Subsequent children born to Freedmen were Roman citizens (Plebeians).

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Could Plebians own slaves, and if they did, did their slaves have the same conditions? If so, Gareth, why do you indicate Patricians specifically? If the right to own something was revoked did that make the property thn belong to the master?


Under the Empire, anyone regardless of social class could own Slaves. They were technically property (but had some basic rights as human beings). I cannot affirm or deny Gareth's claim about the paterfamilias having control over the propery rights of his Slaves (I'm assuming this is not a Patrician/Plebeian distinction, which techincally phased out in the Republic replaced by the Senatorial/Equites/Plebeian orders).

Quote from: Mike Holmes
(I'm going to remember that "Peculiar" thing; I always remember Latin roots).


I think that Gareth means "peculium/peculia" the Latin term for a slave's allowance. I guess the origin of the English word "peculiar" derives from this, in the sense of "my peculiars" as it relates to private property.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Also, is this one of those things that, as mentioned above, tended to differ in legal application by region? Also, what time periods are we talking here, and did these conditions change substantially during the Republic or Empire?


My research has focused on Imperial times. While variances do occur, Imperial law was pretty uniform, one of the attractive qualities of Rome to conquered/assimilated people accustomed to arbitrary rule.

Jason
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2003, 01:57:59 PM »

Thanks again, Jason; you are a font.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2003, 02:03:16 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Thanks again, Jason; you are a font.

Mike


so that would make him Times New Roman then?

[heh, heh, heh...]
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