The time has come for my arena to return.

The summer sun beat down on the young man standing alone on the sand. He glanced about as the odd murmured conversation reached his ears. Sweat stung his eyes and he slid his hands down the rough material of his tunic. Without taking his eyes of the large doors he knelt down and rubbed his hands in the sand to help get a better grip on the spear that lay by his side.

From the other side of the doors angry shouts burst out. There was the clanking of chains on metal then silence. Germanicus retrieved his weapon and stood tall, ready to face whatever came through the forbidding portal.

As the doors swung open on their chains the crowd roared their approval as the tawny beast slunk into the arena.

This was no bear, Germanicus had hunted bears with dog and spear in his homeland, but this was a cat! Large and lithe with an agile grace that made him pause.

The cat trotted towards him growling at the back of its throat.

Throwing caution to the wind Germanicus charged, hoping to pierce the heart or lungs, but although his aim was true, the beast leapt sideways and his killing blow, drew blood but little more.

The beast struck back, but perhaps the noise of the crowd or the sudden pain in its shoulder caused it to mistime the strike. Germanicus easily blocked the swipe of the claws.

Germanicus lunged again, but this time the cat expected it an swatted aside the spear point.

Claws raked the spear shaft as Germanicus protected himself from the enraged creature. Who, with some form of detached interest, noted the anger in those yellow-brown eyes. He also spotted the burns where heated iron had been pressed against its skin.

Another lunge and another blocked attack. The crowed heckled and screamed their anger, they had come to see blood and so far very little had been spilled.

Blood appeared soon enough, Germanicus misjudged the attack and his thigh and chest seemed to open up before his eyes.

Stumbling slightly and gripping his spear more tightly, he lunged again, the pain seemed distant. As did the roar of the crowds.

The beast swatted aside his feeble blow with ease. As the great paws struck again and again Germanicus collapsed to the blood soaked sand. As his vision dimmed he realised that he would never again see the rain soaked hills of his beloved homelands.

As the lion dragged the still warm body across the arena men with whips and red hot iron ran forward. They had a timetable to keep to. Any infringement would mean the Fat tub of grease sitting on the dais with his smug smile would have them in front of the crowds like poor Germanicus. The best they could do now was give the poor lad’s remains a proper burial.

As it is our local Games day/convention tomorrow I was asked to bring the Gladiator game again. It is a nice easy system.

This lion was pretty tough, the one liked by the crowds as it became a skilled man killer. Normally the lions in the games are NPC’s and actually don’t have any defence dice. I thought I would see what would happen when they do.

For the first couple of turns the Bestiarius had it pretty much all his own way, and then in three turn the tables were turned and down he went.

The thing about a lion is that it doesn’t really care if someone waves their thumb up or down.

The rules and some of the miniatures are from EM4. The Lions are Foundry and the rest of the gladiators are Westwind ones, to my knowledge no longer available in the uk.

I have enough ‘special’ cards to have four people playing at once.

Each player has a gladiator miniature and associated card

Marcus has 8 hit points, moves 5 and throws 2 standard dice and a boosted dice.

His specials are:

Savage attack

2x feint

2x Doughty defence

2x Dodge

All gladiators get seven specials plus a blank special to avoid your opponent having an advantage. The specials are crossed off the card once used. The blank card can be used as often as required.

We will see how tomorrow goes and feed back tomorrow evening.

4 thoughts on “Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant

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