Monday, December 08, 2003

More on Ancient d20 Gaming

One of the WizKids Envoys posted this to the Judges forum, where I also posted the bit about the Roman d20:

"Here's what my friend found on the die/dice: Qoute: I've done a bit of sniffing around, and this seems to be a reasonable explanation: Actually these are called Slave Dies and were popularised by the Roman Emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax in the mid 2nd century AD. During periods when professional gladiatorial combat was lacking, 400 slaves would be seperated into 20 groups of 20 each. The diplomat (or the Emperor himself) running the game would roll a Slave Die 4 times. The first time selected a group, the second a slave within the group. The 3rd and 4th rolls repeated this selection. The two slaves would then be outfitted with crude weapons and ordered to fight to the death. Because slaves had horrific medical care the survivor of the battles usually died from infection later on. If, in the odd event, the die rolls selected the same person twice then that slave would immediately be freed and given a not insubstantial amount of gold as it was deemed that the gods had smiled on this person. It was a horribly stressful thing; you wouldn't want to be rolled once, but if that were the case you'd be praying for a second roll to select you."

Good enough for me!

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