How to simulate games/sporting events

Something I want to put into Mercenary, Liberator, Tyrant is sporting competition, given how important it was in Greek culture. Affluent men trained in the gymnasium, it was one of the three pillars of Greekness, and the best competed in the formal Panhellenic Games. There were four big ones, arranged so that there were games every year, though the Olympic Games were the most prestigious. That's without informal games that might being called at any large gathering of Greeks (such as when an army or fleet was mustered).

What I want is a similar level of structure to that which you have with combat, not just a single roll to see who won, but something that gives you some options and a little tactical play.

Some of the events don't need anything additional - there's already rules for unarmed combat and wrestling. But the rest do, to my mind.

First up, racing. Bear in mind in all these events, there are no rules against contact with the other runners, though it's considered bad form. No doubt the Running Proficiency gives significant advantages here, but I'd want to involve all three physical ability scores in some sort of assessment of athletic potential.

The stadion was a 200m-ish sprint along a straight line. I can see four parts to this; the start, as in reacting to the starter's order; the push off to get going; the main run; and the finish.

The diaulos was a 400m-ish run, often in two halves, out to a post, around and back. So you've got the same two-part start, the first straight, the turn around the post, the second straight and the finish.

The dolichos was a longer-distance event, covering about 3 miles. It started and ended in the stadium, but would wind it's way around the whole site and take in significant landmarks like temples. This is much more of a stamina-based event than the other two.

The last race was the hoplitodromos, a single or double diaulos in full armour, including shield. Lots of hazards in this one, even aside from people using their shields to knock people over or otherwise hinder them, falling over or dropping your shield and becoming an obstacle to anyone behind you was a constant threat.

Field events were the long jump (that could be resolved in a single roll to establish how good your jump was), discus throw (again a throw to say how far you threw) and javelin (same again). Though there might be a tactical element with how close to the line you're willing to go to extend your jump for the first.

Lastly, chariot racing. I'd call this an extension of whatever rules we came up with for racing, but with added control-of-horses and interaction with other drivers peril. There were two races, two-horse and four-horse. Both took in twelve laps around a track where they went around a post at either end.



if you want races to be more than just a single die roll, there needs to be a decision to make in between the die rolls, like how wrestling is a decision between the different maneuvers.

my quickest inkling is a rock paper scissors between STR/DEX/CON: shoving, sprinting… uh… enduring. Each person secretly picks one type of running. shoving beats sprinting, sprinting beats enduring, enduring beats shoving (or the other direction if that’s more to your liking). roll 1d6+the mod of the corresponding stat to what you picked, add an additional +2 if your style beats the person in front of you’s style. If you beat the roll of the person in front of you AND the person behind you doesn’t beat you, you switch places with the person in front. If the person behind you beats you and you didn’t beat the person ahead of you, they overtake you.

the frequency of rolls should be enough that the person who starts in very last could concievably work their way up to the front before the race is over… maybe allow someone who wins to “cleave” and make new rolls to overtake the next person in front of them if their class allows it.

Totally just making this up on the fly…

Start: An initiative roll, modified by DEX. Write down the character’s initiative number.

Push-Off: A proficiency throw of 14+, modified by DEX. Characters who fail the throw must either “fall behind” or lose 1 point of CON per point by which they missed the target value exerting themselves to stay in the race.

Main Run: A proficiency throw of 14+, 18+ if the character has fallen behind. The throw is modified by STR. Characters who fail the throw either “fall behind” or lose 1 point of CON per point by which they missed the target value.

Characters reduced to less than 3 CON drop out of the race. Characters with a modified roll of 0 or less sprain an ankle or otherwise are out of the race.

Finish: A proficiency throw of 14+, 18+ if the character has fallen behind. The throw is modified by current CON. Characters who pass the throw arrive in initiative order. Then characters who fail the throw arrive in initiative order. If initiative is tied, the race is tied.

EXAMPLE: A race with 4 runners.
Achilles - STR 18, DEX 18, CON 18.
Basileus - STR 13, DEX 13, CON 13.
Calliopes - STR 11, DEX 18, CON 9.
Davidus - STR 18, DEX 7, CON 15.

Start: All runners roll initiative. Achilles rolls a 5, modified to 8; Basileus a 4, modified to 5; Calliposes a 5, modified to 8; and Davidus a 1, modified to 0.

Push-Off: Achilles rolls a 10, modified to 13 by DEX. He fails by 1. He expends 1 point of CON, reducing him to 17. Basileus rolls a 14, modified to 15 and succeeds. Calliopes rolls a 14, modified to 17, and succeeds. Davidus rolls an 8, modified to an 7. He fails by 7. He chooses to fall behind rather than lose 7 CON, counting on his STR to see him through the next round.

Main Run: Achilles rolls a 7, modified to 10 by his STR. He fails by 4. He expends 4 points of CON, reducing him to 13. Basileus rolls a 6, modified by 1 to 7, and fails by 7. He expends 7 points of CON, reducing him to 6 (ouch!). Calliopes rolls a 3, and fails by 11. He would have to drop out of the race, so he instead falls behind. Davidus rolls a 20, modified to 23, and catches up!

Finish: Achilles current CON is 13. He rolls a 6, modified to 7, and fails. Basileus’ current CON is 6 (-1). He rolls a 2, -1, for 1. He fails.
Calliopes rolls an 18, which is what he needed because he had fallen behind!
Davidus rolls a 2, modified by 1 to 3. He fails.

The final result is Calliopses first, then a second wave of Achilles, Basileus and Davidus.

(… I like alex’s idea better than my own)

Huh. Would there be multiple levels of “fallen behind”? A condition track, more or less?

Back up to the examples, perhaps DEX should be spent on making turns around the pole, and STR can be spent on hitting people with shields/etc. or defending from the same?

The turn event could be at the same throws, perhaps modified for type of turn rather than your position (Catching up on the turn isn’t generally something that happens; espc. not 180deg?)

The ‘interference’ events would happen against people on the same spot on the track, and if the defender fails to defend or spend to defend he or she goes back one spot?

I’m getting kind of a vibe like that mechanical horse racing game at fairs, visually.

Oh, or, maybe a successful interference defense would cause the attacker to roll/spend to stay at the same spot on the track?

This works. I’d had some vague idea of building up “Advantage” at each stage, and the runner with the most won, but no real notion how to turn that into something real.

How would Running Proficiency impact on this? Bonus to the rolls?

What about the turn in the longer race, there’s something DEX-based in there not to trip or otherwise lose pace.

No suggestions but just want to say this is an awesome thing to be including, Kiero. Has the potential to be super sick.

Cool idea. Existing proficiencies to consider: Acrobatics, Dungeon Bashing, Endurance, Running. A new proficiency to consider: Gymnasium Training

Yep, all those can apply somewhere. Gymnasium Training sounds highly appropriate, what might it do? I've added Pankration to my game already:

New Proficiency: Pankration

This covers the Greek style of unarmed combat, which is also integrated into armed combat at higher levels of training. If taken once, it functions as Combat Trickery (Wrestling) and also gives Combat Trickery (Force Back, Incapacitate and Knock Down) with unarmed attacks only.

Taken a second time the character may do lethal damage with unarmed attacks and may damage targets in metal armour. Kick attacks suffer only a -1 penalty to hit.

It's only available to those with the right background, anyone else has to take the constituent parts on their own.

Oh yeah… other applicable proficiencies: Combat Trickery (most of them).

I’m not familiar enough with the history of the Greek gymnasium to suggest details, but if all gymnasium patrons participated in several sports, then it would be a simple proficiency that applies to all sporting events… but if gymnasium patrons typically specialized in a particular sport… then it could be modeled after the Performance proficiency.