Table of Contents
The Glory of Rome is a fascinating supplement for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd Edition game system, especially for those who are interested in historical campaigns. The Glory of Rome: Campaign Sourcebook (HR5) delves into the Roman Empire, specifically around the early Imperial period. The book provides the necessary tools, background, and flavor to run an AD&D campaign set in Ancient Rome.
The sourcebook gives an overview of Roman history, politics, society, and daily life. It touches upon the Roman Republic’s end, the rise of the emperors, and the vast territories under Roman rule.
In the heart of ancient Europe, the city of Rome arose, its origins shrouded in the captivating legends of Romulus, Remus, and a she-wolf (a wolf who nursed and sheltered the twins Romulus and Remus). Over time, this small settlement on the Tiber River transformed dramatically. From the tumultuous days of kings and their subsequent overthrow, Rome embraced a new order—the Republic.
For centuries, the city witnessed fierce Punic Wars against the formidable Carthaginians, internal power struggles like the unforgettable dance between Marius and Sulla, and finally, the Republic’s twilight, marked by Julius Caesar’s audacious act of crossing the Rubicon. This era, filled with intense drama and political intrigue, set the stage for the ascent of Augustus and the epoch of the emperors.
The bustling streets of Rome, meanwhile, whispered tales of a society both complex and stratified. At its zenith, the city was an amalgamation of patrician elites, spirited plebeians, and the often invisible but ever-present slaves. Amidst the grandeur of architectural marvels and the opulence of villas, the ordinary Roman citizen lived, loved, and bartered. They were spectators to thrilling chariot races, intense gladiatorial duels, and theatrical spectacles that echoed the rhythms of Roman life. Every corner, from the grand Senate to the crowded insulae, resonated with stories, ambitions, and dreams.
Yet, the Roman narrative wasn’t confined to the city alone. It stretched its fingers far and wide, encompassing a vast expanse of territories. From the cold, misty realms of Britannia to the golden sands of North Africa and the mystic landscapes of the Middle East, Rome’s might was evident. These provinces, diverse and rich in their offerings, were threads in a vast realm of an empire. They whispered tales of distant lands, adventures, and mysteries waiting to be unveiled by those daring enough to seek them. In this expansive and intricate world, every road, they said, led to Rome.
Character Classes and Kits
In the bustling heart of this Roman reimagining, the tome breathes life into characters previously unseen in the world of AD&D. Imagine, if you will, a world where the stoic and disciplined warrior of Rome stands shoulder to shoulder with the fierce and indomitable gladiator, each ready to defend the Empire’s honor. In the shadowy alcoves of this world’s political arenas, senators plot, their ambitions as sharp as a gladius and minds as intricate as the mosaics of a Roman villa.
These are not mere replicas of familiar classes but re-envisioned archetypes, exuding the unmistakable aura of Rome. And yet, amidst this historical flourish, the core of AD&D remains untouched, a dance of mechanics and lore. The book masterfully treads the line, intertwining the very soul of Roman personas with the tried-and-true mechanics of the beloved game, crafting a setting both novel and nostalgically familiar.
Magic and Deities
In the vast landscapes of AD&D, where magic soars like eagles in open skies and mystical wonders await at every turn, The Glory of Rome offers a nuanced departure. Like a bard tuning his lyre to a more somber melody, this tome dials back the overt displays of arcane prowess, allowing the setting to resonate with a more grounded cadence. However, don’t be mistaken; magic hasn’t forsaken these Roman avenues. It subtly weaves through the narrative, often finding its voice in the sacred chants to the gods or the hallowed rituals of ancient Roman religion. Here, the divine and the mystical blend seamlessly with history, creating a world both enchanting and authentic.
Equipment and Combat
In the annals of The Glory of Rome, there’s a meticulous chronicle, capturing the very tools and trappings that once armed the stalwart Romans. Imagine the sheen of a finely-crafted gladius, the intricate designs on a scutum shield, or the formidable weight of a centurion’s armor. This compendium doesn’t stop at mere inventory; it dives deep into the strategic heart of Rome.
The disciplined march of the legions, their impeccable formations that once made them the envy and dread of the ancient world, are laid out in vivid detail. For any campaign set on the grand stage of colossal battles, understanding these tactics becomes the difference between a triumphant victory and a harrowing defeat. In essence, it’s a treasure trove for adventurers and strategists alike, bringing the art of Roman warfare to life.
Venturing into this campaign setting, one finds an artful fusion where the cherished hallmarks of AD&D meet the grandeur of the Roman epoch. Picture, for a moment, the catacombs beneath Rome, where darkness cloaks mysteries, not unlike the dungeons of yore, with lurking creatures borrowed from both Roman myths and the classic AD&D bestiary. But there’s more.
This tome sparks the imagination with storylines ripe for the adventuring, seamlessly weaving the fabric of history with tantalizing threads of fantasy. Whether it’s a quest inspired by the legend of Romulus and Remus, a political intrigue echoing the power plays of the Senate, or a confrontation with beings birthed from age-old Roman tales, the sourcebook invites dungeon masters and players to embark on epic narratives that feel both comfortably familiar and exhilaratingly fresh.
The Glory of Rome is an excellent resource for Dungeon Masters (and Game Masters) looking to combine the depth and mechanics of AD&D with the rich works of Roman history. It allows for a unique blend of historical intrigue, political maneuvering, and classic adventuring. Whether players are embarking on military campaigns, navigating the treacherous waters of Roman politics, or seeking the favor of the gods, there’s ample material to craft compelling narratives.
However, as with any historical setting, there’s a balance to be struck between accuracy and playability. A DM might want to do additional research to ensure that their portrayal of Roman culture and history is as accurate as possible, if ancient Rome total immersion is what you seek. Alternatively, they can lean into the fantasy elements and use the setting as a loose backdrop for high adventure. Either way, this sourcebook is a great starting point!