- Oct 26, 2009
Hello, and welcome to The Twilight of Antiquity This is my first attempt in creating a Forum Game, and you will probably notice that it is influenced by both RedNomNoms’s St Peter’s Throne and Imperator1993’s Throne of the Autokrator. I had the idea of creating a late antiquity/early middle ages for quite a long time. First I had intended it to be a KaK/DDD- style game, but since at this time period states were quite different from what they are today, I decided to make this a character based game.The Players will navigate their character through the faltering Western Europe, as the Western Roman Empire is shaken by political infighting, and Barbarian hordes ransack its distant provinces. Will you fight for the Empire to last for years to come or perhaps try to end it? Or will the Empire and the Barbarians find a way for peaceful co-existence? This game will be a combination of cunning political intrigue and bloody warfare. Keep in mind that during this period, diplomacy, political intrigue and warfare didn’t really know the Realm borders. So negotiating and having ties with people outside your own Realm is perfectly viable - and recommended.
The Twilight of Antiquity will begin on October 23, 425 AD. The infant Valentinian III has just been officially made the Western Roman Emperor. Her mother Galla Placidia has just named Flavius Felix the Magister utriusque militiae in the west. A huge power struggle ensues between the three leading Roman generals, Felix, Boniface and Aëtius. The Roman Army has become barbarized and its quality has decreased significantly, putting it neck to neck with the Barbarians in terms of quality. The tactics used by both have become similar and the Romans are utilising Barbarian troops in their service. Romans have already evacuated their troops from Britannia and have left the Romanized Britons to fight on their own. The Imperial province of Hispania has been nearly totally lost to Barbarians, the most ferocious of which are the Vandals, who have just united with the Alans to their north and look for new lands, ripe for the taking. In Gallia, the Visigoths have settled to the area around Burdigala, and are launching raids into Roman territory, currently besieging Arles. In the North lay the Franks, and on the Rhine the Burgundians. From the Balkans reports have come about a new Horde from the East, the Huns. Will the Western Empire concentrate on defeating these foes, or maybe ally some them? Or will it succumb to internal disputes? That is for you to decide.
Rules of The Twilight of Antiquity
Joining the Game
The game can be joined at any time.
All players must join the game as either a bureaucrat, noble or a soldier.
Several historical characters will be needed for the game to start, and they are listed on the Realm post below.
To join, simply make a post in the following format:
Culture: (accepted cultures at the start of the game; Roman, Vandal, (Alan only in the Vandal realm), Visigoth, Suevi
Field: (Must be bureaucrat, noble or soldier)
Biography: (Short background story for your character
Realm: (Where your character resides)
Please note that for historical characters, I wish that you use the correct birth dates and biographies. Historical characters are encouraged especially for the starts, but player-created characters are accepted. Also, please note in the biography, in which realm you currently reside, and preferably the particular city.
Also note that at this point you can play as a Barbarian military character inside the Empire, as the Roman Army has become Barbarized and the Barbarians actually form the backbone of the army.
Keep in mind that several historical characters have been marked as NPC, for several reasons, these might be opened later. (eg. Valentinian III and his sister, Honoria)
The King/Emperor of the realm can grant titles and positions and army commands to other characters. (Including honorary titles, for example the Roman nobilissimus )
If a player's character dies, the player is welcome to create a new one. Players are strongly encouraged to create a family for their character in the Game, so that when their character dies, a family member can succeed them. Players who do this will get some on the income, wealth, and influence carried over from their last character as 'inheritance.'
Every character has a 5% chance of dying at 60, and increases 1% every year they are older than 60.
The Roman Imperial Government
As the late Roman government system was extremely complex, I have tried to simplify it as much as I could. The Emperor (or in the beginning his Regent) is the absolute ruler of the Empire. He/She must however be extremely careful with decisions and appointments, as in Roman traditions the female regent may not lead an army. Thus the real power in the Empire is on the the hands of the prominent generals. The Emperor/Regent may appoint both honorary and job titles to characters. The Emperor/Regent also decides on the main Imperial policies regarding war and peace, as well as negotiating about the Imperial Budget with the Senate.
The Roman provincial administration has by this point fallen to disuse and the power is in the hands of local military commanders, although there might always be an attempt to reform the administration...
The Imperial Treasury and the Imperial Tax System serves as the system which keeps the Empire running. From this treasury is paid the upkeep of the Empire as well as its soldiers. By this point the Empire is on the verge of bankruptcy and the Imperial Treasury must be maintained with great caution. The Comes sacrarum largitionum is the one responsible for the Imperial treasury and finances.
The Roman Senate by this point has been stripped of most of its authority. Its leader, the princeps senatus however has much influence in Imperial matters. The Senate also retained the power to try treason cases, and to elect some magistrates, but only with the permission of the Emperor. In the final years of the Empire, the Senate would sometimes try to appoint their own emperor. The Emperor/Regent may or may not listen to the Senate’s opinions, but angering the wealthy senators might not be the wisest thing to do...
(Note: Historically there is no data about the princeps senatus at this point, it is believed that the position was actually held by the Emperor/Regent, but for the game, I decided to handle the position like this. Also, quite interestingly the senate became much more important after the events of 476, which is why I have included it.)
The Roman military has the following organization:
Comes et Magister Utriusque Militae, the Supreme Commander in West: The highest rank in the Western Roman Empire, decides on general strategy and sends reinforcements to critical areas, as well as serves as the de facto governor for the Italian provinces.
Magister Equitum/Militae, Provincial military commanders: These second highest ranking military commanders are appointed to command the most important areas of the Empire, for example Gallia, they are also the de facto governors of the area they have been appointed to.
Comes: provincial military commander of lesser provinces, like Africa or Hispania. As with the previous, they are the de facto governors of their area.
Comes Palatinae, commander of the palace troops: Commands the Imperial Bodyguard guarding the Emperor and his Regent and family at the Imperial capital of Ravenna.
Magister Classis, supreme commander of the Roman Fleet: Commands the Imperial Navy in the West, or the remnants of it.
Note, for the sake of the Game, to maintain interest for a larger group of people, it is recommended that the provincial commanders delegate some of the troops to the command of lieutenant commanders, and also because the commanding General can’t be present on two battlefields at the same time.
The Barbarian Realms
In the Barbarian Realm, the King has the highest authority and can do as he wishes. However the King must also keep the warchiefs and other notable tribal members happy. The players may play as characters in the Barbarian realm, and they can also be Roman landlords who have been trapped to are overrun by the Barbarians.The Barbarian realms open to players are the Vandals, the Suevi and the Visigoths. Because the Barbarian realms did not have an efficient taxation or treasury, the King’s personal wealth serves as their treasury. Thus they must rely on looting, or demanding tribute from the Roman landlords living in the lands they have seized..
The Barbarians won’t have to worry about the Upkeep costs of their troops, as the payment method is: “take what you find”. Thus a long period of peace and not raiding and war will severely affect the Barbarian realms.
Note that every notable Barbarian soldier character will get a small army of followers of his own, and can use as them as he wishes. Thus he can negotiate with the Empire, and possibly even gain foederati status, settling inside the Empire and acting as a mercenary for the Romans. Also, the Barbarian Kings may try to consolidate their Realm to a more Romanized form, and may start granting positions similar to those of the Romans.
In The Twilight of Antiquity, the Characters have three Stats: Income, Wealth, and Influence. Wealth is measured in solidus/solidii, and represents a character's material's worth. Income is measured in solidus/solidii per year, and represents the net tithes or income a character has. Influence is measured in clout, and is representative of the sway, friends, and favors a character accumulates over time.
So how are they useful? Well, each turn your income generates more wealth from you. And then wealth can be used on different orders, like buying more land and estates, or mercenaries etc. Influence is gained by having position, winning battles, courting favor among nobles and senators. and so on, and will make your orders, actions, and plots generally go smoother.
The Roman Imperial Treasury has two stats. Net Income is the Imperial yearly income in solidus after paying the administrators, military commanders and the Imperial Army. Treasury is the ducats the Empire has stored up for later use.
Orders cost wealth to carry out, and plots use influence to increase their chance of success. If you are low on wealth, you can spend Influence on orders, but not vice-versa. If you plan to do this, note it in your orders.
Every character gets one personal order per turn. This can be anything, though you may want to make it useful. For instance, if you are short on wealth, getting favor from an official would be smart so you are granted more land. If you are looking to carry out a plot, visiting noble families and currying their favor would be a good idea. This should be limited to a single action, and should take up no more than four lines in the message box.
In addition to their personal order, all players get an an administrative order. This is used to carryout their duties for the Realm they are in, such as handling administration, or drilling troops, etc. The Kings and the Emperor/Regent has one of these, and he is to use it for administering the Realm (i.e. if he wants to improve the army, build specific buildings, etc.) The administrative order can have multiple actions in it so long as they are related, and should take up no more than six lines in the message box.
Note that the personal order is for actions that help your character, and the administrative order is for doing the duties that a character is tasked with doing by the Realm or other organizations.
You can use an administrative order to help yourself, but you must make it reasonable (i.e. the Aerarii praefectus can raise the salaries of the Imperial administrators).
Finally, the Kings and the Emperor/Regent get an additional Realm order on top of his administrative and personal orders. This is used to do Realm actions such as granting titles, promoting (or demoting) characters, etc. The Realm order can have as many appropriate actions as the King/Emperor/Regent wishes in it, and it will have no limit for length.
Orders should have a subject of “Twilight of Antiquity - Your Character’s Name, Current Year”. So, for example:
Subject: The Twilight of Antiquity - Flavius Aetius, 425 AD
Lots of fun stuff.
Even more fun stuff.
The most fun stuff.
Lots of fun war stuff (only to be used when attacking/raiding/etc. For recruitment/training, use other orders)
Plots are group covert efforts, for example assassinations. These will be treated as a special kind of order. Players are free to secretly plot, gather influence, etc without GM approval. When the plot leader feels he is prepared to act, he must send me a PM detailing the plot goal, its plan, and those who back it. Any requests for NPC support (such as the King of the Franks, Italian noble families, etc) can be directed to me. Once I confirm the people that back the plot, it will be considered an order. A plot serves as the player’s personal order for the turn he decides to launch it, as well as for all those backing the plot. The greater the combined influence a plot has, the more likely it is to succeed.
Note that any assassination of a higher ranking Realm member, or the ruler him/herself, will need a very powerful plot backing to succeed.
Updates, Events, and War
There are two types of updates. These will contain the results of orders, events, and other important happenings. The first type of update is a Main Update. It will cover a year in-game, and will contain the results of all the orders sent in, among other events that happen that year. The second type of update is a Mini Update. It will highlight or cover a specific event during the year.
Events are significant happenings (such as a war, a new ruler in another land, a natural disaster,or an unexpected benefit) that will usually cause a headache for the Realm rulers, though sometimes will bring them or other characters joy. The majority of The Twilight of Antiquity will be player-driven, but the events will provide the substance for you as a player to create this content.
In the event of war, the Comes and Magister Utriusque Militae (or Supreme Commanders appointed by the Barbarian Realms) will use his Administrative order to determine general strategy in their area of operations.
Their lieutenant commanders will be given a special war order for determining their armies objectives in combat. I will write up mini updates for major battles, and perhaps if you are a soldier or an officer you will be noted in such a mini for commendable service to the Imperium Romanum, or to your ferocious Barbarian tribe.
Well, that is it! If you still have any questions regarding the rules, or if some part of them is unclear (or badly written, I am not a native speaker, feel free to PM me here on the Forums or contact me on IRC. Have fun with The Twilight of Antiquity!
The IRC Channel is for OOC conversation and speaking with me. It is not a requirement, but it is strongly recommended.
Channel name: #TA
1) Go to ColdFront using the link above.
2) Choose the Flash or Java Client
3) Create a screen name
4) The client will auto-add you to #coldfront. Leave this channel.
5) In the command box type "/join #TA"
You should then be logged in and ready to chat.