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March with the legions against the enemies of Rome in this role-playing game of military adventures.

Salve!

I've always been a fan of the Roman Empire, especially the legions. Their mystique as the paradigm for the professional military remains even today. They are legendary. They are iconic. They are romantic. They were the greatest military on the planet for centuries. While designing games like Sword Noir and Kiss My Axe – two pretty successful role-playing games from Sword's Edge Publishing – I was thinking about how I could do justice to the legions.

So I've written a game in which you play legionaries, marching against the enemies of Rome.

Now I want to bring the experience I've gained through designing and publishing products since 2004 to Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, and I want you to join me in making something awesome. Everyone who invests in this project will get the current playtest document so they can see what I am doing mechanics-wise. You can revoke your funding if you don't like what you see. I don't think you will.

You will find a link to the playtest document in Update #1 (for backers only) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1153118353/centurion-legionaries-of-rome/posts/418548

A Legionary Camp
A Legionary Camp

In Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, players play scouts, spies, or special troops marching under the eagle of Rome. The book supports games in the Late Republic (from the Second Punic War to the rise of Gaius Marius), the Civil Wars (from Marius to Augustus), and the Principate (from Augustus to the Crisis of the Third Century), providing ideas for characters and adventures.

Characters are based around a collection of Qualities including a Concept (the central conceit around which the character is created, such as Seasoned Centurion, Illyrian Recruit, or Gallic Horseman), Traits (including Physical, Mental, and Social), and Elements (just about anything that describes a character, from "Farmer's Son" to "Swordplay" to "Cat's Paws.") which provide d6 with which one builds one's "hand" of dice (2d6 = 1d8, 4d6 = 1d10, etc) used in Tests, or task resolution.

This RPG is in the traditional style of having a GM prepare adventures and adjudicate the game, although there is some level of narrative control provided to players. This game works best with groups that trust each other and play in a cooperative rather than a competitive manner. If you need rules to protect players from GMs or GMs from players, this game is not for you.

You can hear more about Centurion in an interview I did with Jennifer on the Jennisodes. You can find that interview here.

You can also hear a less focused interview about Ceturion I did on the Bear Swarm Podcast in which I get more into the mechanics of the game (but also includes a lot of topics and chatter that has nothing to do with Centurion). You can find that interview here.

I also did a written interview with the Ruthless Diastema BlogCast, which you can find here.

The book will be a 6X9 softcover, and is planned for 34,000 words, which is about the same size as Sword Noir (just over 100 pages), and will include:

  • The game mechanics, including information on building adventures and running the game (10,000 words or approximately 30 pages)
  • A discussion of playing military characters in an RPG.
  • A general overview of Roman society from the Late Republic to the Principate.
  • A general overview of the legions and their structure.
  • The Late Republic as a Setting.
  • The Civil Wars as a Setting.
  • The Principate as a Setting.

You can read more about it at Sword's Edge Publishing. The game has been playtested. It works. It does what I want it to do. It's a game about being in the legions. It's a game about the glory of Rome. It's fun and exciting, but challenging when it needs to be. I'm proud of this game and I want to present it in the manner I believe it deserves. You can help me do that.

Vale

ACHIEVED At $ 5,000, an extra chapter will be added on the subject of the Crisis of the Third Century as a setting, the Dominate as a setting, mass combat rules, or magic. The Crisis of the Third Century was a time of almost continuous civil wars during which the Roman Empire actually collapsed into three competing empires before being re-joined under Emperor Aurelian. The Crisis ended with the rise of Emperor Diocletian. The Dominate refers to the period from the Emperor Diocletian to 476 CE when Odacer deposed the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus. Mass combat rules will allow combats using centuries, maniples, cohorts, or legions against similar sized groupings of opponents. The magic rules will incorporate Roman concepts of magic, which mostly centred around curses.

At the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign, investors who have pledged $10 or more will be asked to vote on which period they would prefer to see in the book, and the most popular will be included in the print book as a setting chapter. This extra setting chapter will be at least 2,500 words or 8 pages long.

At $ 6,500, Corey Reid, the creator of Dino-Pirates of Ninja Island and Reform School Ninja Girls will write a chapter on Roman auxiliaries, those soldiers from the provinces and allies of Rome that staffed the auxiliary legion that marched with each legion, and included specialist troops. This chapter will be included in the print book. This extra chapter will be at least 3,000 words long.

At $ 8,000, a second extra chapter will be included, with another of the subjects from the $5,000 stretch goal. 

Another Day at the Office
Another Day at the Office

$ 1 – Citizen. I appreciate your interest and hope you find the PDF of the draft playtest document intriguing enough to up your investment to Legionary.

$ 10 – Legionary. Receive a copy of CENTURION: Legionaries of Rome in PDF format. This will include any funded stretch goal material. The intent is to have the print-ready PDF available in August 2013. Funded stretch goal material may not be available until a later date, but that will be made clear when the stretch goal is reached.

Your name will be included in the acknowledgements section.

Legionary is the term used for soldiers in the Roman legions.

$ 20 - Optio. Receive everything from the LEGIONARY reward tier plus PDF copies of both KISS MY AXE, a role-playing game of Viking mayhem, and SWORD NOIR, an RPG of hardboiled sword & sorcery, along with one adventure for each of the extra RPGs, all written by the author of CENTURION. You will receive the extra RPGs and adventures in PDF format by May 2013. Information on KISS MY AXE can be found here, and on SWORD NOIR here.

An optio was a junior officer that acted as an assistant to the centurion and was the second-in-command of a century.

$ 25 – Centurion: Receive a copy of CENTURION: Legionaries of Rome in both its print and PDF formats. The print copy will include those funded stretch goal materials slated to appear in the print copy. Those stretch goals that will be included in the printed book will be clearly indicated as such in the stretch goal description. Any further stretch goals will be provided as part of the PDF, as described in the Legionary level.

Your name will be included in the acknowledgements section.

If you would like more than one book, add $25 (plus $5 for shipping outside the US), and email me (and let me know in the end of campaign survey) that you've included the extra money for extra books.

A centurion was an officer who commanded a century of around 80 legionaries in the Imperial legions.

$ 35 - Pilus Prior. Receive everything from the CENTURION reward tier plus PDF copies of both KISS MY AXE, a role-playing game of Viking mayhem, and SWORD NOIR, an RPG of hardboiled sword & sorcery, along with one adventure for each of the extra RPGs, all written by the author of CENTURION. You will receive the extra RPGs and adventures in PDF format by May 2013. Information on KISS MY AXE can be found here, and on SWORD NOIR here.

A pilus prior was the commanding centurion of the first centuries within each cohort, of which there were 10. These were the senior centurions of the legion, and technically, the primus pilus was also a pilus prior.

$ 50 - Primus Pilus. Receive everything from the Centurion reward tier plus a set of dice (one each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20) with the d6 customized with the Centurion symbol from the cover of the book.

A primus pilus was the lead centurion of a legion who also commanded the lead century of the first cohort in a legion.

$ 50 – Socius. This is a retail reward tier. Receive three (3) copies of CENTURION: Legionaries of Rome in Print and PDF formats as per the Centurion reward tier.

The Socii were the allied cities and societies of Italy which supplied troops for Rome and acted as auxiliaries until given Roman citizenship following the Social War from 91 to 88 BCE.

$ 100 – Tribunus Angusticlavus.  Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to name one of the example characters used throughout Centurion. You will contribute to the example text in consultation with me, and I will have the right of final edit. We can do this through email, over Google Hangout, or over Skype. There is a maximum of five example characters in Centurion.

The tribunus angusticlavus in the Principate was an equestrian officer with some military experience. Each legion had five such tribunes, and they acted as administrative officers and staff for the legate who commanded the legion.

$ 100 – Auxiliary. This is a retail reward tier. Receive seven (7) copies of CENTURION: Legionaries of Rome in Print and PDF formats as per the Centurion reward tier. 

The auxiliaries were partner legions to the Roman legions, manned by provincial subjects of the Empire who were not Roman citizens.

$ 125 – Tribunus Laticlavius. Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to participate in a Centurion one-shot run by me at Gen Con Indy 2013. This is not going to be an official Gen Con event, but will rather be a social event, likely in the lobby of the Embassy Suites (110 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN). The only way this will work is if you are attending Gen Con 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. There will be one game with 5 PCs. We'll work together to figure out a time that will work for everyone, but if you are investing at this level, please be flexible in your availability. 

The tribunus laticlavius was the second in command of a legion and was a young patrician. This was the first step in the "cursus honorum," the ladder of offices a young patrician necessarily climbed to gain prestige and position in Imperial Rome.

$ 150 – Praefectus Castorum. Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to create one of the iconic characters for the Late Republic, Civil Wars, or Principate period settings. Your character will be included in Centurion as an NPC. I will have the right of final edit. We can do this through email, over Google Hangout, or over Skype. There are a maximum of 2 iconic characters per setting, making a maximum of six total. Stretch goals may change this total.

The praefectus castorum (or camp prefect) was the third in command of the legion in the Principate and was generally an officer who rose through the ranks. A successful primus pilus could gain promotion to camp prefect. He was a kind of sergeant-major, with responsibilities including the training of the legion.

$ 250 – Legate. Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to act as a model for one of the figures presented in the book. You will need to provide a photo of yourself, and the exact nature of the figure will be decided by the author and the artist.

The legate was a representative of the emperor, and generally inferior to the proconsul or governor of the province in which the legion was based

$ 600 – Proconsul. Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus a replica centurion's helmet, suitable for display and instilling fear into the enemies of Rome. The replica can be worn, but likely won't be of much use stopping the swords of barbarians and invaders. Given that a centurion is supposed to lead from the front, this item may not be the first choice for actually leading a century, but it should look cool. There is a limit of one, as more than one might be too much awesome for even Kickstarter to handle.The legate was the general who commanded a legion in Imperial Rome.

A proconsul is the governor of a province, a position generally preserved for those who have occupied the officer of consul, though some provinces had propraetors in the Republican period, and prefects governed special provinces – such as Egypt in the Principate..

Centurion helmet for Proconsul reward tier
Centurion helmet for Proconsul reward tier

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I am a one-man writing operation, so there is always the chance that real life will intervene to delay the production of the book. However, the writing is 75% done and the mechanics are 100% complete. I have successfully published role-playing games and supplements through Sword's Edge Publishing since 2004, and am confident that I will be able to overcome most obstacles and have the book delivered on time.

Including funded stretch goals into the book could delay its publication, but have tried to be conservative in my timings while not being overly pessimistic. I am aiming for August as the release date, but figuring that things always take longer than expected, I'm adding a month's buffer.

The special rewards – dice and helmet – are being provided by outside vendors, meaning I have no real control once the order is placed. Both vendors supplying rewards have years of experience and excellent reputations in the industry, so the chance of delays in delivery is minimal. Should a supplier fall through, I will move forward with finding a substitute vendor and send along what is available to hit our September shipping date.

I have contracted with Magpie Games for fulfillment services, meaning that storage and shipping will be provided by a business providing that service. While this means that it won't be me with packing materials working hard to meet a deadline, it also means I don't have ultimate control over shipping. Magpie Games has experience fulfilling Kickstarter projects, and has an excellent reputation in the industry, so I am not concerned. However, an interruption of services or business disruption could delay shipping. Should that happen, I would seek an alternate vendor to fulfill, pay to have any warehoused items shipped to the new fulfillment service and have everything sent along as soon as possible.

In the case of any delays or problems, I will communicate the reasons and the solutions to address the problem.

FAQ

  • This question has been asked more than once, and it's a fair question, and the "too long, didn't read" answer is: Printing and fulfillment are both being done out of the United States.

    In order to keep costs down, I am not financing a print run, only the art, layout, and editing for the book. I don't expect enough print orders to qualify for offset printing, so the only real option was digital printing. I examined printing options in Canada, but digital printing is cheaper out of the United States.

    Given that printing is out of the US and most of the customers would be out of the US, I signed up for fulfillment with Magpie Games in the US as well. I went with fulfillment because I didn't expect I could package and ship more than 150 print copies within a reasonable amount of time, so instead of limiting the number of print copies, I signed up for fulfillment.

    I understand the frustration of Canadians considering backing Centurion, as I am generally sitting in that exact spot, looking at something I want to support but questioning the extra shipping. I apologize that this might sour my fellow Canucks on my particular Kickstarter, but it made economic sense for me when I was setting this up.

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    CITIZEN: Receive my gratitude and the playtest document in its draft, PDF form.

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    TRIBUNUS ANGUSTICLAVUS: Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to name one of the example characters used throughout CENTURION and contribute to the example text, with the final edit being done by the author.

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    TRIBUNUS LATICLAVIUS: Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus an invitation to participate in a CENTURION one-shot run by the author at Gen Con Indy 2013. (requires attendance in Indianapolis, Indiana at a date and time specified by Fraser Ronald between August 15 and August 18, 2013)

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    PRAEFECTUS CASTORUM: (Late Republic) Receive everything from the Primus Pilus reward tier plus the opportunity to create one of the iconic characters in CENTURION which will be included in the Late Republic setting as an NPC.

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