AD&D: Glory of Rome
by: Aldus Marius Peregrinus
This might appeal to the conlusores (fellow-Gamers) among you. My copy's thoroughly beat-up, the cover's faded and has to be retouched once a year, and it made the move in a Laptop case so's my helper would offload it immediately upon arrival and take it straight into the house.

Do you get the idea that I like this book??  >({|;-)

Full title: THE GLORY OF ROME (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Historical Campaign Handbooks)
Publisher: TSR, Inc., 1993
Format: Trade Paperback, 8.5" by 11", 96pp

TSR recently (1993; remember, I think on an archaeological time-scale) published the Glory of Rome historical campaign handbook. By that time, I'd been running my Roma Subterranea campaign for over a year, and had had to come up with my own rules tweaks to adapt AD&D to a Roman setting. It was interesting, and instructive, to see how many of my ideas were thought up independently by their stable of dedicated gamers after extensive Roman research. It was also entertaining to see what they'd missed, and how many of my fixes remain uniquely mine.

Pluses: They definitely did their homework on this one. I got the feeling that we were all reading the same books; the Osprey military-history handbooks and Colleen McCollough's First Man in Rome foremost among them. (I even thought I recognized some of the artwork.) You will find in here the Legionary subclass (called a 'kit', nowadays, but quite distinct from mine); my source for Gladiators and Charlatans; and the first-ever description of the Christian cleric in game terms. Quite a bit about ancient magic, superstition, and folklore (curse tablets, protective amulets, love potions...all things which the Romans believed in). New skills, equipment, and so on; a really nice map of the Empire (no Hexes!) showing its historical development; and, above all, a genuinely great job of converting a game meant for medieval fantasy to a mostly-urban environment where travel was a little safer and a lot more widespread than at any point in the Middle Ages.

Gripes: After reading the massively pan-cultural description of the Heraldry proficiency in the 2nd Ed. Players' Handbook, I was shocked to find GOR denying Romans access to this skill. If "the shield-emblems of African tribal chieftains" qualify for such study, how much more appropriate must be the shield-emblems and standards of the Legions, or the signet-rings of noble families, or the width of the stripe on a magistrate's toga? Also, I think they missed a major opportunity to bring magic into the setting via the clerics. Things like the Palladium, the Seven Shields of Mars, and the Eagles of the Legions must be extremely powerful artifacts (especially under the Tome of Magic's rules regarding 'faith-magic'); but to hear TSR tell it, there's not enough mana in the Roman world to set off a smoke alarm. Just because the wizards can't get to it...

Favorite feature: The book's got Roman auctoritas--"In any instance of conflict between the Players' Handbook and this Supplement, the Supplement shall take precedence in a Roman campaign setting..."--in Ciceronian legalese, even! All in all, a strong recommend.

This supplement is for AD&D 2nd Edition, so may be a little hard to come by nowadays. Check used bookstores and anywhere that sells used games. They should be obtainable online too, as all the version-jumpers are still trying to get rid of their older stuff.

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