Roma is the center of the civilized world, the greatest metropolis known to mankind, and the seat of the eminent Republic that is spreading law and order throughout the land. Its teeming streets, diverse multitudes, inspiring architecture, and stunning public artworks make it not only the Republic’s capital but also quite possibly its most impressive achievement.
Because it’s so big, we’re covering the city of Roma in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising™ (G&H) in three installments. With this third and final chapter, we’ll be looking at the historical buildings featured in Roma, as well as the civic center of the city and several other assorted neighborhoods and landmarks that make up the glorious Republican capitol.
Perhaps the two most recognizable buildings in the entire city are the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. Located in the Vallis Murcia district of Roma, the Circus Maximus is an enormous, oval-shaped structure that is used for chariot races. The Colosseum, which is the site of the legendary Gladiatorial bouts so beloved by the Roman populace, has an entire district named after it. These are perhaps two of the most famous structures in the entire Republic, not to mention feats of architecture and engineering unrivaled anywhere else in the world.
The Forum Romanum, the civic center of Roma, also features some famous buildings, including the Tabularium, the Senate, the Basilica Amelia, the Curia Hostilia, and the Rostra. All of the architecture in the Forum Romanum is extraordinary: There is a monumental arch, some truly beautiful and awe-inspiring temples, a line of ornate columns running up the forum’s eastern side, and the impressive Sybylline Vaults, to name just a few of the marvelous structures to be found there.
As one would expect, the Forum Romanum is a bustling place. Garrulus the Herald loudly proclaims the day’s news, Acilius Automedus the Raedarius and Quirinius Varro the Caelestor haggle with customers over the price for transporting them to the Republic’s distant territories, and the Censor Proximisus Disponius is busy registering new tribes of G&H players.
All is not well in Roma, however, and there are those who have begun to grow quite concerned. Praetor Urbanus Iurius, who can be found outside of the Tabularium, bemoans the fact that the Republic’s leadership is rife with corruption, even though the Roman people’s devotion to the rule of law has been key to Rome’s rise among the nations of the world.
Sadly, Praetor Iurius need not look far to find plenty of evidence supporting his contention that the Republic is sliding into chaos and disorder. There are several neighborhoods and areas in Roma where the rule of law is breaking down. Corrupt senators and malicious street gangs have taken over some portions of the city as their personal strongholds, while dangerous creatures have invaded others.
All of these areas of Roma are experiencing one type of strife or another – a sad testimony to what has become of the glorious Roman Republic, but a boon to players of G&H, who will get to engage in combat within the city. It is best to exercise extreme caution, however: some of these neighborhoods have become very dangerous for honest citizens, as the brazen crooks and callous thugs who operate out of these areas will aggressively defend their turf.
The Baths District consists of the giant Bathhouse and a steamy street that runs between the Forum Romanum and the Forum Plebium. While travelers on the street through the Baths District are generally safe, the Bathhouse has been overrun by the Collegia Caelium, a notorious gang of ruffians and thieves. Their captain, a nasty brute named Lurco, has even barricaded the stairs leading up to the roof, which he has taken over as his personal headquarters. Senator Gaia Pellia is disgusted by the violence perpetrated by the gang’s members, and is searching for someone brave enough to teach them that their lawless ways will not be tolerated.
Esquilinae is an old cemetery built on the Esquiline Hill, which is nestled in the southeastern corner of the city. The cemetery is divided up into multiple walled yards, all of which feature crypts and tombs for some of the Republic’s most memorable heroes and noblest patrician families. Esquilinae has recently been overrun by scavenging wolves and crazed Maenads, however, causing Chlorio, the cemetery groundskeeper, much grief. Most Romans are devout people who are happy to properly honor the dead, but their rites of veneration have become much harder to perform thanks to the dangerous beasts lurking about Esquilinae.
Quirinalis is a large hill in the northeast of the city where several wealthy citizens have built their villas. At the very top of the hill is the villa of one of the wealthiest, the corrupt Senator Titus Inquinus. The treachery of Senator Inquinus is so deep that he’s even hired Roman guards to protect the entrance to Quirinalis and keep all strangers out. One faithful Roman, Lictor Julian, stands at the base of the hill that leads up to Quirinalis to warn all unsuspecting travelers against traveling into Quirinalis unprepared.
Aventinus is a dangerous neighborhood on a small hill in the northwest of the city. The tavern there is the headquarters of Otho, an ex-legionnaire and current leader of a group of thugs from the Collegium Aventinium who are attempting a coup against the gang’s rightful captain, Vorastes. Otho has plans to install himself as the controlling captain of the Aventinium, but Vorastes is a tenacious warrior who commands deep respect from his followers, and Otho has his work cut out for him if his treachery is to achieve the desired results.
Subura, a small suburb on the southern edge of the city, is a slum full of twisting alleyways passing between rundown, boarded-up buildings and small, dingy courtyards. The Collegium Caelium has taken over the neighborhood, making it an even more sinister and depressing place than it was before. The gang’s members loiter about the streets, causing trouble for anyone who passes by – those these days it’s mostly just beggars and other desperate folks who bother going into Subura at all.
Sad to say, but for all it represents the might and glory of the Republic, Roma also represents the strife and lawlessness slowly eating away at the order and progress of Rome. The only thing to be done, Hero, is for you to take up your gladius (or whatever happens to be your weapon of choice) and bring Jupiter’s own justice to the troublemakers.
This concludes the profile of the great city of Roma. Despite having covered the city in three installments, we’ve only scratched the surface of the many wonders to be found there. To see it all, you’ll just have to go there yourself. Don’t worry, it’s easy to find. As they say, all roads lead to Rome.