Sunday, 21 July 2019

Creating Characters in Dux Britanniarum.

The Magnificent 7... Well, 8 actually!
Having managed to stay focussed on my Levies long enough to get 12 out of the 18 figures painted, I, somehow, allowed myself to get side-tracked into painting the figures I needed to make up all the commanders. One of the many enjoyable facets of Dux Britanniarum is the requirement to generate a degree of personality and background for the nobles who are going to command your forces.

Apart from the Champion, I had already decided to base my leaders as small vignettes, rather than just individual figures. So, now that they are all painted and based, it's time to bring them to life by assigning their characteristics, as outlined in the rule book on pages 7 to 11. The Lardies didn't bother personalising the Champion for their example army, but I decided I would, because these characters often play significant roles in the stories of the people they served.

Character generation is dealt with by the rolling of various combinations of dice and begins with Age and continues on through Physique, Reputation, Character Attributes and then Background, which is influenced by whether your character is Saxon, British or Romano-British.  Finally, the Lord has a die roll to determine his Wealth.

As I like to take short cuts with things like this, I've started work on a spreadsheet which creates randomly generated numbers to replace all that tedious dice rolling!

My first practice test run with the spreadsheet turned out these results for my characters. The Champion appears to be very much a man shrouded in mystery; not that this was generated by random numbers, but that every photograph I took of him came out blurred and completely un-useable. This one is the best of the many!

Octavianus, The Champion
His name is Octavianus, which came from one of the many web sites out there which seem to be designed for people wanting to choose names for soon to be arriving infants! You simply select the category you want, in this case "Arthurian Boys Names(!)", count how many options there are and then generate an appropriate number range on the spreadsheet. There is a PDF that you can download from the DB web site which has a grid of randomly generatable British and Saxon names.

However, on with Octavianus… his age was generated as 31 years, his physique as Average, he is honourable and the Son of a Warlord. The roll for Reputation resulted in him not having yet acquired a soubriquet which, when combined with his age and his average build, perhaps suggests some other reason why he has been given the honour of being selected as the Lord's Champion!

Next on the character generation game, was the first of my two Nobles. This turned out to be Lucanus, aged 27 years, Tall & Strong, Lustful and an Exile.
Lucanus, clearly a man who likes the cut of his own jib.

So, ladies of Romano-Britain, look out! With the background of "Exile", Lucanus was presumably the son of a significant character from a kingdom possibly over run by an earlier incursion of Saxon invaders. He has now managed to use his high born status to acquire influence at the court of his adopted kingdom.

Next on the list then is the companion Noble to Lucanus.
This turned out to be Aetius, 32 years old, Tall & Strong, Flatulent, Honourable and the Son of a Warlord! We can forgive Aetius his suffering with irritable bowel syndrome, that is just something which catches up with all of us when we reach a certain age; that "certain age" just came a little earlier in times of yore. To roll two honourable sons of a warlord, just a year apart in age, was too much of a coincidence to be a simple coincidence! I suspect Aetius and Octavianus are products of the same loins and this may answer the earlier question as to how Octavianus became the Lord's Champion... it's not what you know, it's who you know!

Incidentally, painting Aetius gave me an opportunity to use up one of the many spare LBMS transfers that I had acquired for my Late Roman army. I decided to have a go at applying one of the transfers to the back of his shield, and it turned out quite well! Now Aetius goes into battle quite literally looking into the face of the Mother of Divine Grace! I just wish I'd thought of this earlier and I wouldn't have so many left over transfers!

Finally then, came the roll for the man himself... the Lord and commander of the King's army to face the Saxon invaders.
This set of random numbers threw up yet another crazy coincidence and I now believe that my Lord and Lucanus the Lustful must also be brothers!
The Lord of the Host, turned out to be Theodosious, 3 years older than his brother Lucanus, at 30 years of age. He is of Average physique, so possibly more intelligent than his strapping sibling, he has the reputation for being a Confessor, an Athlete and, again like Lucanus, an Exile. As the Lord, Theodosious had to roll for Wealth and, fittingly, he came up with A Beggar's Bowl.
As we can see, Theodosious has arrived in the kingdom, with his younger brother in tow, and his intelligence, athleticism and ability to listen to the troubles of others and give good advice based upon the Holy Gospels(!) have seen him climb through the ranks to attain the lofty position of Commander of the Army. Although he surrounds himself with good council, I wonder how many local nobles he may have angered on his meteoric climb to the top!

I haven't played a single game of Dux Britanniarum yet, but already, just generating the characters has provided endless fun. Now I need to get on with those other 6 Levy spearmen and the final four skirmishers, so that Theodosious and his Nobles can lead the army into battle against the Saxons, whilst just keeping one eye open on those he has supplanted in his quest for power.