Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Legionnaires aka Nodding Off

Because I follow, I was made aware of this great post last week.

Land of Nod: Centurion class

I'd already done my usual Tuesday post, so the inspiration had to wait a week. I just don't have time to do Tues/Fri posts like I used to, but that should be over soon since finals will be done in 2 weeks.

Anyway, the Land of Nod post spun off all sorts of ideas. They are:

Begin with adventures joining as auxiliaries that have to supply their own armor and weapons beyond standard light stuff provided by the legion.

Players don't even have to have stuff to begin with. An excellent adventure beginning would be to have the players as everyday wanderers with a backpack of food and maybe a sling/short spear for hunting.

They could even be refugees fleeing a village overrun by the legion's enemies. They head to the fort seeking protection or revenge and are either recruited or pressed into service.

"True" heavily armored troops are natives of the empire. An outsider can be elevated in rank, but never to as high a status as a "true" legionnaire.

Years ago when I was finishing my first degree I wrote a term paper on Hadrian's Wall. Some things I remember from my research were bits and snippets from the Vindolanda Tablets. Thanks to that amazing discovery we got a first hand glimpse at life on the wall from soldiers' own writings. Because they were stationed in a fixed location/along an established front, they could still receive letters and goods from home.
For instance, we know one auxiliary wrote home to thank his mother for a care package he'd received. This letter proved that they wore underwear and socks in cold climates. 

But the Romans on/at the wall weren't just sitting around collecting taxes from passing merchants. They marched from fort to fort often, making their presence felt to hopefully dissuade attacks from the Picts. Think of today's military - there's a lot of logistics to running an army. Not everyone is an active combatant. It was the same along the northern front in the 2nd Century - some were supply runners, messengers, healers, priests, etc.

There are lots and lots of ways to take real history: people, places, events, etc and use them for springboards in your own fictional world. As usual, I'd love to hear any ideas folks have.

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