Player Character Classes

Note the pre-medieval technology of the Roman world. For all classes, see the Money and Equipment page about available weapons and armor.

During the reign of Claudius and Nero, the use of magic was decriminalized and slowly normalized. Much of the old fear of it remains and no one quite knows how it will integrate, but everyone’s rushing (and fighting) to figure it out.


Celts, Germans, Britons, and Scandians—the classic Northern European barbarians—fit the barbarian class perfectly. Sarmatians and Scythians from the East, nomads from the Saharan and Libyan deserts, as well as Bantu-speaking barbarians from the far south of Africa, all might fit into this class.


These classes follow all of the standard rules in the Player's Handbook. (The Second Edition Glory of Rome sourcebook suggested Mithraic paladins.)


The prohibition against magic does not apply to priestly magic; quite the contrary, as the Roman Empire was quite notable for its thirst after healing, amulets of protection, and such magical things of a religious nature. Clerics, then, are quite common, and the vast number of religions which were practiced and popular in the Empire can provide years' worth of cleric characters with little or no redundancy.

PC clerics might serve Osiris, Bes, Mithras, Jupiter, or Dagda, or even be Platonist philosopher-priests—depending of course on where they're from. Nonhuman mythoi should be developed soon, too. Appendix B in the Player's Handbook provides a basic outline of Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse gods, but don't by ANY means think of it as the last word on religions.


Note that Claudius pursued an active policy of persecution against druids in Gaul, concerned with their anti-Roman influence, which was also a reason for his invasion of Britain. In the Year of Four Emperors, it is likely that Vespasian is trying to muster the support of the druids to bolster his claim to the throne. 


Fighters are, with rogues, the most common class of characters in the Empire, and are certainly more respected than rogues.


Monks are not native to the Roman Empire. It might be possible to play a Han Chinese monk visiting the West; see Matt for his ruling.


Rogues are very common in the Imperium Romanum, and follow the standard rules in the Player's Handbook. In the oppressive society of Rome, thieves' guilds tend to be strong or very weak. A consequence of this is that it can be very unsafe to freelance in any major town in the Empire! (This of course depends on the city; who knows what to expect where?)


If wizards and sorcerers are beginning to find more acceptance in Roman society, the same cannot be said for warlocks. Of course, not all warlocks have sold their souls to infernal powers, but the few that have make the others look bad.


The practice of magic is illegal in the Roman Empire, and the populace of the Empire makes no distinction between wizards and sorcerers in their fear and hatred. For an amusing instance of an accusation of magic and a defense against it, see the account of Apuleius' trial in John Ferguson's book, The Religions of the Roman Empire. Apuleius was accused by his wife's family of winning the love of his wife through sorcery. Love was apparently big business for door-to-door magic peddlers (who managed to operate despite the law), as it is for astrologers today.

Because magic is illegal, wizards and sorcerers must be very secretive about their more serious work. Like many rogues, these spellcasters need a cover; also like rogues, they tend to collect into covert organizations or secret societies, at least in some areas. In Ægyptus, for example, many wizards are trained in and belong for life to secret brotherhoods of a quasi-religious nature. Consult with the DMs regarding the nature of wizards and sorcerers in any given part of the world.

It is possible that wizards might travel to Ægyptus for training, because of Egypt's lifelong reputation as a place of sorcery—a reputation which, at least in this campaign, it well deserves.

Wizards and sorcerers in Germania (members of the barbarian tribes at least), are rare and usually low in level. They use a version of the Celtic tongue (left over from when the Celts occupied the region) to keep notes, and have few resources for research.