Friday, May 17, 2013

Res Mechanica: Automata Magna Subplauda

Here’s some additional special weapons for my ancients weird science game. Part of the back story is that the new technology was used by the Romans for entertainment purposes in the arena and the theatres. The Vitellian defenders of Rome at this stage in the war desperately coopt some of these machines into the defense.First up is an automata.

Several chapters of Heiro of Alexandria’s surviving notebooks describe variously sized self-propelled machines that were gravity-powered by the release of sand. These were used primarily for small puppet show type of entertainments. I decided to add a “big stompy robot” weapon to the Vitellians. Giving Roman artistic sensibilities, the form it would take would be Hellinistic in appearance, hence the use of a larger scale hoplite model. The inspiration really came from the movie Jason and the Argonauts and the great scene where they fought the giant statue Talos.

Here’s a detail of the sand exhaust port. I’m going to have a rule for running out of sand, thereby immobilizing the machine along with an chance to reload it.

Nero was reputed to have invented a new form of musical organ powered by water. I took that idea and expanded it to a giant water harp. It will provide a sonic attack. It will be part of the Flavian defenses of the Capitoline Hill, figuring the defenders dragged it out of one of the temples. The model used here as the basis was the Elenco Da Vinci automated drum with the drum removed.

Finally, there are going to be the Vitellian Cohors Volans Icarii. Some small craft wing charms and a bit of wire added to some skirmish troops. These will come in handy for the assault on the Capitoline Hill.

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