Gods & Heroes: City Profile: Aricia
Today, we continue our new series of features from Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising. In this series, Perpetual will provide MMORPG.com readers with information on all five of the major cities that players will have a chance to visit in-game. In today's feature, we learn about Aricia.
The city of Aricia was founded long before it was conquered by Roman forces, but it has undoubtedly flourished since becoming a part of the Republic. The city has been greatly expanded and is now connected to Roma via a well-kept roadway, thus making it a suitable site for an important military post between the Republic's capital city and the contested territories to the south. Aricia has also been chosen by many Roman patricians as the site for their palatial country villas because of its proximity to Roma as well as the fact that it is situated in a pleasant, pastoral area.
Despite the presence of a large military garrison, however, lawlessness seems to be on the rise in the Alban Hills, the area surrounding Aricia in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising™ (G&H). A gang of cutthroats and bandits known as the Pugnus has taken over one of the largest local orchard operations in the region, and a tribe of violent Fauni have been inciting the local wildlife against humanity in general. Meanwhile, a tribe of Samnites from south of Alban Hills has been pushing north with increasing boldness and testing the defenses of the Praesidium Primore, a giant wall that protects the pass into Alban Hills. The Praefect of Aricia is an honorable gentleman named Verus Epimachus. He is working diligently to quell the unrest in the countryside, but what he really needs is a true hero to give him a decisive advantage and help turn the tide.
After crossing the wide bridge that spans the Inops Gully and entering the city through its main gates, you find yourself in the bustling, open-air Central Market. The market is a lively place, where Tanicus the Herald proclaims the day's news, Arturus the blacksmith is busy at his anvil, and all manner of business is transacted by merchants from points far and wide. An ornate well located at the center of the market is surrounded by stalls for vendors who offer a multitude of goods and equipment, including food, drink, weapons, and armor. Frequent stops at the market will be vital as you attempt to clean up the Alban Hills countryside.
Proceeding directly through the marketplace and up the broad staircase on the other side takes you to the Forum, a large plaza that features a central rotunda and a series of picturesque, well-manicured lawns. As the civic center of the city, the Forum is where much of the business of Aricia is done, meaning not only commercial and political deals but also the administration of justice. Praefect Verus Epimachus regularly sits out in the Forum during the day, looking for new recruits and giving orders to his agents who work in the field. This is also where players of G&H will find the Guild Registrar.
The Scout Quarter is directly north of the Central Market and has its own entrance to the city so that Scouts can slip into Aricia, stock up on whatever provisions they need at the many vendor stalls, and slip back out of the city with ease. One of Aricia's most renowned hunters, a woman by the name of Silvesia, is regularly spotted in the Scout Quarter, though she only ever stops there briefly before heading back out into the wilderness. She has recently lost her most prized hunting hound, however, and has been searching throughout Aricia to no avail. The Scout Quarter is also the site of the Scout Watchtower, a lookout point that is vital to the city's defenses as well as a training ground for those Scouts looking to learn some new skills.
The Nomad Quarter is on the other side of the Central Market from the Scout Quarter, in the northeastern corner of Aricia. This is a shady, out-of-the-way part of the city that is full of boarded-up, run-down buildings. A man named Solidus has gained much notoriety in the Nomad Quarter for staging street brawls and taking bets on the winner. There are plenty of vendors selling everything a respectable Nomad could need, from daggers to battleaxes, as well as a taberna that acts as a front for the local Nomad Den, a secretive hideout for the brotherhood of Roman Nomads. The doorman is a very mean-looking gentleman by the name of Scato, and he is ruthless in enforcing the "Nomads only" policy.
On the extreme eastern end of the city is the Mystic Quarter, the part of Aricia dedicated to all things esoteric and arcane. There is a gate to the city in the Mystic Quarter, but it is kept closed and locked at all times to prevent the bandits in Inops Gully from coming into the city and plundering the wares of the vendors here in the Mystic Quarter, who sell all manner of powerful items that the Mystics of Rome need to weave their spells. It is also the site of a domed observatory that is used as a place of learning for Mystics from all over the Alban Hills. A powerful conjuror named Papius Flavillus resides at the observatory, ready and willing to teach young Mystics the tricks of the trade - for a fee, of course.
If you ask the average Roman citizen, the main attraction of Aricia - as with any large Roman settlement - is the arena in the Gladiator Quarter, where many memorable bouts have been fought. With all of the troubles plaguing the Alban Hills, the citizens of Aricia could sure use the distraction, and a Bestiarius by the name of Catulus is happy to provide it. He recently organized an arena battle that was free to the public and featured exotic animals, a Cyclops, and human combatants - but now he's fresh out of wild beasts and doesn't know what to do! The arena in the Gladiator Quarter is also a place of training, where Gladiators can buy and learn to use all of the tools of their trade.
Aricia's Pantheon Temple is located in the extreme southern end of the city. This building is devoted to the worship of all of the Olympian gods, thus it is a good place for the heroes of Rome to stop regularly and pay their respects. The Temple Acolytes are not only able and willing to aid heroes in venerating their revered deity, but are also regularly used by the gods to convey messages to mortals. If your god has any special plans for you, a Temple Acolyte will be able to tell you what those plans are and get you started on fulfilling your destiny. The Pantheon Temple attracts all kinds of would-be prophets who proclaim with loud voices the visions they have had. One such individual is Mystagogus Gregorus, who claims that heroes blessed by the Olympians have returned to the land to save mankind from destruction, as in days of yore.
The Soldier barracks are located in the southwestern corner of the city. The soldiers stationed here are under the command of Tribune Sextus Rubico, who is responsible for keeping not just Aricia but the entire Alban Hills region safe. Praefect Epimachus is about to send Rubico and his men out to deal with the Samnites who have been testing the defenses of the Praesidium Primore, but the campaign has already suffered a setback: Cibariator Timon, who is in charge of feeding the troops, has had his entire shipment of salted pork stolen by Pugnus bandits. After buying that new gladius or scutum they need, Soldiers of Rome can head out to the wilderness and do their part for the campaign against the Samnites by bringing in fresh meat.
The Bathhouse is on the western edge of the city. This is where much of the middle and upper classes of Arician society while away their time. Given all the troubles plaguing the Alban Hills, there is sure to be more than one landowner or merchant in the Bathhouse attempting to relax and forget their worries. Crassus Stolo, on the other hand, is practically giddy over the prospects of some new enterprise he has embarked on, and doesn't mind telling everyone he meets that he will soon be rich.
The Priest Quarter is just north of the Bathhouse. The main landmark here is the vast library, where the Priests of the Republic come to deepen their knowledge and learn new ways to call on the Olympians' might in order to bless the heroes of Rome and curse its enemies. The library is a true bastion of learning, knowledge, and worship: there is Grammatus, who is busy translating Greek works into Latin; Pullus Tenebrosus, who never tires of reminding his colleagues that Pluto may not be a popular god, but all true Romans will some day find themselves under his dominion; and Joculus Naso, who deplores the fact that most people think they can properly worship Bacchus only by drinking wine until they fall over.
As with all Roman cities, the architecture, statuary, and public gardens of Aricia are unsurpassed in their beauty and amply demonstrate the cultural refinement of the Roman people. It is a truly awe-inspiring experience to walk through the main gates for the first time and behold the majesty that is Aricia. But all of this splendor is being threatened by the many enemies of the Republic that are abroad in the Alban Hills. Roman Heroes who really want to do something for their homeland should make their way to Aricia as soon as possible and enlist with Praefect Verus Epimachus.