Monday, May 6, 2013

Res Mechanica: Classis Ravennas

In my wierd science Roman game that I'll be presenting at Historicon, I try to give each player a couple of units of infantry or cavalry, a hero, and one or more machines. (I have the game listed for 8 players will be probably accomondate up to 12.) I try to make these somewhat compatable with historical forces or at least have some explanation for them, no matter how far-fetched. For the wierd science elements, I make an effort to have some historical justitication for them and not just random fantasy elements, (I'm reminded of the old SNL skit about "What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub") Availability of cool models or an idea to build one is also an important factor.

One of the forces for the game will be the Ravenna fleet that historically went over to the Flavians shortly after the army of the Danube invaded Italy until Antonius Primus. After the fall of Vitellius, some of the sailor/marines fromt he Ravenna fleet were converted into the Legion II Aduitrix and served in the Batavian revolt and in Britain before ending up on the Danube. I couldn't determine if any members of the Fleet served in Primus' campaign to capture Rome but decided that, with some of the Hieronian inventions they would be able to participate.

The first is a land trireme, the Bellona, powered by oxen on a treadmill. This method of propulsion comes from a medieval illustration of De Rebus Bellicis from the 4th century. In this case, it was converted to land operations.

Here's some pictures of the main deck:

Its main armament is an Archimedean heat ray.

Now I think that the whole legend of Archimedes inventing a heat ray started in the Middle Ages but it was too cool to pass up and, given that an episode of Mythbusters kinda-sorta proved it feasible, I had to include it.

Secondary weaponry are a pair of rapid-fire ballista:

The other major element of the fleet in the game will be an airship, the Favonius.:

Although the Romans didn't seem to contemplate flying too much, the fact that I had a couple of cool looking Elenco da Vinci models, the submarine and the mechanical dragon fly, both of which had a somewhat classical look, inspired me to come up with this model. It's main weaponry are a heavy ballista and a couple of Greek Fire pottery "bombs."

I'll post pictures of some of the machines for the other forces in the game in the next couple of days.


abdul666 said...

Simply excellent and fascinating, as usual!
Looking eagerly forward to enjoy the action report.

abdul666 said...

I hope you still have the stunning models of the 'Age of Reason'and 'Ben Franklin's War' games and that they all together will see the light again. The new Favonius airship would mix well with them, with the Archimedean heat ray as main armament.