Last year, one of the highlights of my gaming was joining in a game about roman legionnaires in Britain. I played the role of a hard headed Optio from Gaul in FATE accelerated and the group we played with was really fantastic. After a month or so of trying to get a follow up game happening we all sate down to take two of this game, a year or so after the last happenings occurred we find the Optio still working in the legion despite being past his retirement date.
My character killed a Britain king at the end of the last game so he was pretty similar except he now had King Killer as an aspect. He was famous in and around the empire as such and was well known for his service in this regard among the legion right through to Rome. I sat waiting for the big battle scenes to line up as I was sure that we would be pushing our advantage over the pagan British but our GM +Dan Hall had an entirely different game in mind.
He told us of the General’s crippled nephew building a villa nearby to the healing waters of Aqae Vitas. As he detailed some of this I was literally sneering, thinking of the pompous ass that probably lived off his Uncle’s reputation. As the game moved on my character received a missive from the General that was delivered by the soldiers of the Villa. Having grave concerns of this (my character never receives mail, he can’t read) he had his fellow Optio read it for him. It was as he had feared, a fate worse than death.
|Optio Decimus (Image Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
General License. Original Author Rennet Stowe USA
It was from the General of his Legion and contained a personal request (read order) offering Decimus his retirement in Rome (something he does not want in any way shape or form – he wants to retire and return to live in Gaul) if he could but teach his nephew in the art of warfare. Apparently the weak bodied little fop had told his Uncle that the waters he bathed in had healed him of his afflictions.
Decimus was crushed by this news. He is a King Killer. His only love was battle but he also knew enough that to say no to this request was suicide. His pride and will crushed he accepted his lot and prepared to head to the Villa for his life of mollycoddling a spoiled prat.
Then, as if his life could not get any worse, his fellow Optio discussed his plans to marry a Britain. Something that would be strictly forbidden by the Legion. Seutonius (the other Optio played by +Scott Cadoo ) had a spear wife in the local town and was being pressured to marry her via their traditions. Decimus offered him the advice to follow through with it and that he would back him, even make it accepted, should it ever be discovered.
As you can see, Decimus was having a bad day. So I should have expected it, because as my wife says, things always come in threes. Decimus took one memento from the King that he killed. The King’s claymore that had drawn Decimus’ blood. He took it as a trophy, but also as a test. Decimus has a slave who is a bit of a milk-sop that he is trying to train to be a useful legionnaire. He has been with Decimus for years and whilst not useful in battle the slave (Rhys played by +Stuart McDermid ) always turns out to be useful enough to save his hide from Decimus ultimate punishment. Decimus decided that he would give the blade to Rhys for his training and the day that Rhys learns to use it effectively is the day that he will set the slave free. Well, that important blade, that Decimus loves, got stolen.
Decimus was a broken man by this stage and he accepted this news as a sign from the god of war Mars that he was no longer a warrior worthy of fame. His fighting spirit had been quelled by a letter, a pagan lover and a foolhardy slave who did not have the sense to protect such an artifact.
We moved to the Villa and Decimus kept to himself. When advised that he was to meet with his charge he put on his ceremonial armour for the first time in his career. He would act out the part. Train the boy if he could be trained or sit idly realising his career and chance at a life after the legion had slipped away. The attitude was throwing his companions into a spin. They had never seen the great warrior in such a sullen and defeated manner. They did not know what the future held, but they felt it may be something that was tied to Decimus’ fate.
They met the fop of a nephew. He was cavorting in a Roman bath with his apparent lover, another waif of a boy. They teased Decimus as he played the part he must to appease the boy. When this wisp of a boy laughed at Decimus’ chance at turning him into a warrior and then sullied his title something snapped in him. Here was a boy who had nothing physically wrong with him apart from his over indulgence in pleasurable activities. Decimus stood and advised the lessons would begin immediately. Taking off his armour as he moved toward the baths Decimus recounted every scar he had received and every battle he received it from.
The boy became stunned and a little dumbstruck as Decimus moved toward him, hand held aloft. “Come, attack me with your best wrestling move.” Decimus taunted the boy with every stride and as he reached the boy, with neither the boy or his companion having the sense to act, Decimus grabbed him and held him under the water.
He has now exerted his dominance and sees possibility in training him. In fact Decimus has decided to train both the nephew and the lover in the arts of war. Their homosexuality will enable a strength of bond where they will compete with and protect one another in a brotherhood bond. Decimus sees that this is a workable situation now that he has clearly given the boundaries of who is in charge!
We ended the game there for the time being. It was a good game and took me as a player through a gamut of emotions for the poor old guy! Decimus is such a huge role to fill and a fun character to play. I am hoping this game (next game is in a month or so) will be as epic as the last one. Regardless, it is great to be roleplaying with these guys again. The story is something a bit left of centre and I am well intrigued! Until next time, keep rolling!
Legalese: Some rights reserved. This work (the image above) by Michael Ezaky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic