Blood of my Blood
These are some of the random facts from around the Empire
- Reins – the family given Emperial decree to allow it to execute other nobles, a practice otherwise abolished. So where Nobles can execute criminals and such that are plebeians, crime by other nobles cannot be punished by anyone other than a Rein. They also often act as judges and healers.
- The Speculatii are the band of informers, spies and assassins working for the Emperor. A speculator is sworn to the Emperor himself and is a zealot. They might be whores or nobles or fishermen, but they follow a higher calling and will kill themselves before talking.
- Tribunes – Tribunes are picked from among the Praetorian Prime that is closest to the Emperor, his own bodyguard. They have served with him for years and he trusts them implicitly. They are the best of the best, men who could be generals in their own right. They wander the land acting as judges, sometimes investigating noble’s wrongdoings or even deposing would-be tyrants.
- Naming Conventions and Ranks – Its first name (usually from the father), then family name, then a nickname or personal name to tell brothers apart, since brothers would essentially have identical first and clan names. This was often descriptive so, for example, Vespian would be fine. For example, Vespian’s father’s full name is Dominus (Lord) Faustus Sanguinius Iustus or as he is known, Iustus the Fair, or Praetor Iustus of the Sanguinii which is a title akin to a Baron. A Baron oversees a Barony in much the same way a Praetor oversees a province and he is over all the other Patricians (Nobles) in that province, in the name of the Emperor. In times of war he could also be referred to as Magister Militum per Minnovium (Commander General of the province of Minnovium). There are Praetor Prefects who are over Praetors and whom are normally relatives of the Emperor, much like a Duke. After Praetor Prefects is the Emperor himself, although there are a few exceptions such as Tribunes. Tribunes are kind of like Federal Marshalls in the old west. They can pull rank on almost anyone, speak with the Emperor’s authority and although they themselves don’t have men to command and are plebian (not of noble birth but career soldiers of modest name), they can commandeer any men short of the Emperor’s own Praetoria Prime, the King’s Personal Guard that serve only the King and his relatives. There are only a handful of Tribunes about the Kingdom. For any knights, the honorific Dan (short form of Dominus) is added although for senior Lords you always use Dominus. If Donnie indeed becomes a fighter, he has the option of becoming a Praetorian (Knight). He does this by passing certain trials of skill, swearing allegiance to both Dominus and Emperor, having a noble enough birth then paying the right tributes and sacrifices to Jupiter and Mars. He has to either serve as a Paige and Squire, OR attend one of the Officer Academies.
- On Religion and Races – The monotheistic religions were crushed when they were perceived as a threat to the then republic. They remain as small cults, with the Roman gods being the only “civilized” gods to worship, although a few foreign gods are accepted. Many from among the patricians secretly worship pagan gods (elven, dwarven, evil gods) in an attempt to get a leg up on their competitors. Bands of Gauls, Goths, Huns, Franks, Vandals, etc still roam. The main groups are Gauls, a slender and fair people that blend in the forest (elves). The Goths are a hardy people that took to the high mountains after being driven from their native cold forests (dwarves). There is a threat from the south in the form of a huge empire from the deserts (Yuan-ti). In the east there is a populous and thriving empire whose size rivals that of your own (Goblinoids + Ogre warlords). Over the ocean are the sea faring Vikings whom took all the western continents and raid the coastal regions from time to time. Instead of Knights they are called Praetorians but are essentially the same for our purposes. There are other vocabulary words we’ll infuse into the campaign for flavor but more on that later.
- Gladiators – the role of gladiator has shifted significantly from its original intent of expendable entertainer. After slavery was abolished by Emperor Tiberius Claudius Titus the role of Gladiator became a paid position. Better fighters were sought out, and serious money was thrown at ex-soldiers, mercenaries and even convicts. The role of gladiator became a prestigious position as nobles used the gladiatorial arena to show off their wealth in the form of the best fighters. All of the sudden nobles strutted gladiators about like prized horses, and the best gladiators could retire quite wealthy. In Today’s Rome Gladiators are Champions, and it has become tradition for nobles to settle disputes in the arena with their Champion. There are schools for Gladiators and often times Gladiators help train a noble’s Praetors in advanced fighting techniques. They will also train young nobles and even retire within the household they served, holding a position of honor – if they live that long.