Arms and Armor

A late Roman soldier.

Armor

Most rank and file soldiers have a helmet with cheek and nasal guards, and a clipeus, an oval or round shield made from planks of wood glued together, faced inside and out with painted leather, with edges bound with stitched rawhide.

  • Armor:1
  • You can acquire this level of armor with an Average (+1) Patronage roll.

Cavalry typically would have chain mail as well. Chain mail became incredibly valuable, being passed down from father to son, or being buried with powerful kings. Roman officers sometimes still use bronze or metal cuirasses and pteruges, leather strips worn from the shoulders and the waist.

  • Armor:2
  • You can acquire this level of armor with a Great (+4) Patronage roll. If your patron has to have the armor made, it will probably take about a year to do so. Chain mail can sometimes be looted from the bodies of vanquished kings or ealdormen, though. Knights start with this sort of armor.
  • In any scene when you are in your full armor, you have the scene aspect Armored. You do not have a free invocation on this aspect.

The clibanarii, or Roman heavy cavalry, were particularly heavily armored. Vegetius says, “Thin circles of iron plates, fitted to the curves of their bodies, completely covered their limbs.” This type of armor is no longer made in Britain; it must be imported from Byzantium, and even there, it is incredibly expensive.

  • Armor:3
  • You can acquire this level of armor with an Epic (+8) Patronage roll. It will take your patron about two years to have the armor brought to Britain.
  • In any scene when you are in your full armor, you have the scene aspect Armored. You do not have a free invocation on this aspect.

Weapons

Angon

An infantryman would likely carry a few angons, or barbed javelins. Agathias described how the Franks used angons at the Battle of Casilinum in 554:

Suppose a Frank throws his angon in an engagement. If the spear strikes a man anywhere the point will penetrate, and neither the wounded man nor anyone else can easily pull it out because the barbs which pierce the flesh hold it in and cause terrible pain, so that even if the enemy is not fatally hit he still dies as a result. And if it sticks in the shield, it fixes in it at once and is carried around with it, the butt dragging on the ground. The man who has been hit cannot pull out the spear because the barbs have gone in, and he cannot cut it off because of the iron that covers the shaft. When the Frank sees this he quickly treads on it with his foot, stepping on the ferrule and forcing the shield downwards so that the man’s hand is loosened and his head and breast bared. Then, taking him unprotected, he kills him easily either cleaving his head with an axe or piercing his throat with another spear.

  • Weapon:2
  • The angon ignores armor.
  • You can attack with angons using Athletics, from an adjacent zone.
  • You cannot attack with angons from inside the same zone.
  • A character or warband with angons has the aspect Angons. You have a free invocation on this aspect (which you could use to create an advantage like Shields Pinned with Angons on your enemy). Once you have used that free invocation or made an attack with angons, the GM can offer you a compel that you’ve thrown them all.

Martiobarbuli

Soldiers would carry about half a dozen lead-weighted darts on the inside of their shields.

  • Weapon:2
  • You can attack with martiobarbuli using Athletics, from an adjacent zone.
  • You cannot attack with martiobarbuli from inside the same zone.
  • A character or warband with martiobarbuli has the aspect Martiobarbuli. You have a free invocation on this aspect. Once you have used that free invocation or made an attack with martiobarbuli, the GM can offer you a compel that you’ve thrown them all.

Spatha

The spatha evolved from the longsword used by Celtic cavalry. It is an expensive weapon in Britain, marking its owner as a member of a warrior elite.

  • Weapon:3
  • You can acquire a spatha with a Good (+3) Patronage roll.

Hasta

Rank and file soldiers rely on a heavy spear called a hasta. The spatha is too expensive and too long to use in close quarters, so infantry rely on stabbing at arm’s length with the hasta.

  • Weapon:2

Bow

Archers generally rely on recurve composite bows.

  • You can attack with bows using Archery, with up to one zone between you and your opponent.
  • Attacking with a bow ignores your enemy’s armor.
  • A character or warband with bows has the aspect Arrows. You have a free invocation on this aspect. Once you have used that free invocation or made an Archery attack, the GM can offer you a compel that you’ve run out of arrows.
  • If your character uses a bow, you can take the following stunts. You cannot use these stunts without your bow.

Mighty Bow
Requires Fair (+2) or higher Athletics. Your bow is particularly difficult to draw, but that extra tension allows your arrows to fly further. You can attack with your bow using Archery with up to two zones between you and your opponent.

Fiery Arrows
You can light your arrows on fire. Successfully attacking an enemy or creating an advantage also creates the scene aspect On Fire. You do not get a free invocation for this aspect.

Crossbow

The Romans used crossbows. They were less common than recurve composite bows, but were powerful enough to pierce armor and cause terrible damage.

  • You must have Archery at Fair (+2) or higher to use a crossbow.
  • You can attack with crossbows using Archery, with up to one zone between you and your opponent.
  • Attacking with a crossbow ignores your enemy’s armor.
  • A character or warband with a crossbow has the aspect Bolts. You have a free invocation on this aspect. Once you have used that free invocation or made an Archery attack, the GM can offer you a compel that you’ve run out of bolts.
  • When you make an attack or create an advantage using your crossbow, you gain the scene aspect Unloaded Crossbow. The GM can compel this aspect to keep you from using your crossbow again. You can remove this aspect by reloading your crossbow with a Fair (+2) Archery roll.

Arms and Armor

Restitutor Orbis Jason