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Nos Morituri: We who are about to die • 2016rpgfinalist

Gareth Hodges • cosmgames.com

Relive the death, glory, blood and sand of the gladiatorial arenas of Ancient Rome! Nos Morituri uses a single d6.

One player is the Emperor, who the others salute with “Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant!” (Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you!). The Emperor responds “Avete vos!” (Fare you well!) and the games begin.

The Emperor declares the type of match; gladiator vs gladiator in even or uneven teams; gladiators vs beasts, slaves or criminals, or the re-enactment of historic battles. Describe the pomp and ceremony in loving detail. 

Players take turns describing their gladiator’s grand entrance to the arena, and then all roll their die.

The lowest rolling player dies first, and chooses their killer and the manner of their passing. Be visceral; last words and glorious deaths are a chance at immortality!

The next lowest then describes their death, and so on. If gladiators tie they die simultaneously, locked together in bitter struggle or back to back against enemies.

Gladiators who match the Emperor’s die may be spared, by the cheering crowd and the turn of a thumb. 

Survivors are showered in glory, take a -1 penalty on their die, and fight again. 

Ave, Imperator!

Author Comments (if any)

I wanted to explore the thing that is the end of most stories in an RPG; character death. By making it a certainty and embracing it, players get to express themselves in a way they don’t normally have control over. Also, I’m amused by the double meaning of the word ‘die’ in the context of roleplaying games.

Judge Comments

Nos Morituri is a game that revels in its visceral brutality. Set in the gladiatorial arenas of Rome, the game sets up its characters and knocks them down. It’s a competitive game but not in the way you might imagine – the competition doesn’t stem from the game’s mechanics but from the players’ description of their gladiator’s bold entrance and agonizing death. The game really appeals to my sense of melodrama and one-upmanship. - Marshall Miller


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