- You are not merely a competent soldier;
you are an absolute bad-ass.
- Behave in and promote believable
characterization through actions and raiment.
- You understand and can apply fundamental
strategic and tactical concepts.
- You must own and wear some kind of body
- You must attend more battles than not
|It helps to attend SCA
events before truly being a fighter of awesome combat ability. If your armor and costuming
requirements are up to par, you may feel that you are qualified for Centurion rank. If so,
try fighting some our current Centurions. If you can manage to best a few of them two out
of three in single combat, you are probably qualified.
Only Centurions and Commanders of higher
rank (see below) are permitted to have any brass armor, with the exception
of minor fittings, such as rivets, hinges and buckles, or minor
ornamentation, such as lion's heads and trim. Any former Centurions who have
held the rank of Centurion since April 2, 1995 are extended this privilege
Right: Damon Arthol
Douglas, Praetorian Prefect and Centurion of Rome
Go back to
your navigational convenience, I have placed a link above in order for you to go
back to the Command Structure Chart. If your military aspirations and
combat ability warrant interest in
becoming a Centurion, continue reading the following
UPDATED Excerpt from Commentaries X
In the Consulship of Dominus and Gurrundi
ON BECOMING A CENTURION
Currently Rome boasts a great number of Decurions. It has
been commented on by several people that perhaps our rank structure is top
heavy. I have referred those who mention it to the
Mos Maiorum. I hope
that all of you do own one. Some of have not read it very closely.
Possession of one is, incidentally, mandatory. The Mos Maiorum says,
"There is no such thing as top-heaviness in our rank structure. If our
lowest ranking members are Centurions, we're invincible!" Thus the rank
itself is not limited to the number of people in the Legions. It is an
indication of your relative combat ability, your equipment, your command
expertise, and your tactical skill. Itís what makes you invincible.
Thatís your definition: invincible. I have been asked a
great deal as of late how to become a Centurion. As of this writing there are four Romans
rated as Centurions, though their Legion Commands elevate them further. They are
Baculus, Dominus, and Tobias for those of you who have not been paying
attention. Gurrundi Pontifex Maximus is also a Centurion-quality fighter, but
lacks some of the requisite requirements, and I will be getting to that. Many of
the Decurions have been in their current rank for quite some time, as long as a
year in some cases. Naturally you want to move up. I want that too. It is in
Romeís best interests that you do reach that level of combat. Letís examine
the qualifications as detailed in the Mos Maiorum:
- You are not merely a competent
soldier; you are an absolute bad-ass.
- Behave in and promote believable
characterization through actions and raiment.
- You understand and can apply
fundamental strategic and tactical concepts.
- You must own and wear some kind of
body armor (Lorica).
- You must attend more battles than not
- Own equipment and participate along
with Romeís Legions in all organizations where Rome participates
It helps to attend Markland and SCA events before truly being a fighter of
awesome combat ability. If your armor and costuming requirements are up to par,
you may feel that you are qualified for Centurion rank. If so, try fighting some
our current Centurions. If you can manage to best a few of them two out of three
in single combat, you are probably qualified.
Letís examine the second through fifth criteria for
Centurion rank. They are for the most part the most easily recognizable traits.
Being an "absolute bad-ass" is fairly subjective. That makes it a
"Behave in and promote believable
characterization through actions and raiment."
That should be fairly
self-explanatory, except that raiment means clothing. You know, your costume. A
Roman is the easiest kind of character to portray. Basically heís a nasty but
patriotic American soldier without a TV set. His objectives are simple: plunder,
pillage, rape and conquer. He doesnít use expressions like "dude." As for
expletives, they or their equivalents have existed since the dawn of time. A
costume takes a lot more work. Your costume should be "magnificent regalia".
Examples of good costuming include my own, Artholís, and Alexanderís. Thatís how a Centurion should dress.
"You understand and can apply
fundamental strategic and tactical concepts."
is nebulous and subjective, granted. Do you know how to win a battle? Once and
for all, I do not care how many strategy board games youíve
managed to win. Try playing Count Baculus at chess if thatís your claim. Real
combat isnít even analogous. Directing real people at other real people is
quite different from sitting around a table or computer and making calculated
statistical risks in the comfort of your own home. Read my treatise in the
Mos Maiorum on the Concentrated Essence of Strategy and Tactics. Thatís what
itís all about. To be able to understand immediately how to most effectively
use your assets (your men and yourself) to achieve your military objective. It
means being able to communicate this knowledge to your people, and being able to
offer a legitimate explanation as to "why" when time allows. On a more
tactical level, it means knowing where to be on a battlefield. How to work in
tandem with your fellow Romans, how to move in behind an enemyís shield wall,
how to flank your friendís opponents. And how to hem in and trap your
adversaries. Most importantly, how to time these things, and how to make the
absolute most of any advantage you can identify or achieve. Like I said, there
is a lot to it. You donít have to be a genius, the requirement says
"fundamental". People have very different command and tactical styles.
Count Tobias is inherently aggressive. He was born to command that forward team
at the September 1 Darkon goal-post battle. Count Baculus is instinctively
defensive, and cautious about wasting manpower. Both are good tacticians, but I
would choose each for different situations.
Then thereís the "own and wear"
clause. Armor. If you donít have it, forget everything. Thatís
the only thing keeping my consular colleague from the Centurionate. Which is not
to say that only a fighter (damn LARP definition) may become a Centurion. If
Gurrundi had torso armor and regularly attended Dagorhir and/or Markland (where
there is no magic) events wearing it, he would be promoted to his deserved rank.
Tobias and I have joked about just making him armor, and one day we probably will.
I donít want any Centurion thieves walking around in leather armor. That only
counts in a LARP. Metal armor, if clarification must be made. This is far
and away the easiest prerequisite. Thereís no reason for a Roman not to have
armor. We help you put together everything you would need for Dagorhir
for next to nothing. Additional accessories are necessary for SCA/Markland, and
we can help you with these or refer you to a capable armorer.
The last one is easy too: "Attend more
battles than not." Pure and simple. Most of the Decurions
already meet this qualification as well. For clarificationís sake, thatís
annually. If Rome attends thirty-five battles this year, a Centurion had better
attend at least eighteen of them if he wants to retain his rank when everything
is tallied up at the end of the year. There are many reasons for this rule. One,
a Centurion cannot possibly maintain his fighting skills at their highest
possible level without constant exposure to combat. Secondly, every Roman should
know you and be able to identify you on sight, or there is no way you or your
Commander can effectively use your position. Thirdly, Romeís enemies
everywhere Rome generally goes should know you and fear you, having been the
victim of your skill innumerable times. Most opponents should back away and call
for help every time they face you in combat.
Finally, let me espouse the virtues of perhaps the most
important requirement: " . . .you are an absolute
bad-ass." A Centurion should be larger
than life. On a good day, a Centurion should be able to best anyone in
single combat using almost any weapon style or combination. He (yes, HE.
Sorry ladies!) should be able to take on any two average fighters or four people
who have been fighting for less than a year. Thatís on a good day. Donít believe
me? Try us out sometime. Naturally everyone has weak spots. Some of donít do as
well against lefties, or against taller opponents. That doesnít matter, because
there are other Romans to help them in these situations, and their own tactical
knowledge and awareness of their weaknesses allows them to attack from an
advantageous position. And I never want to hear, "I can beat so-and-so, and heís
a Centurion." Rock, paper, scissors. Some fighting styles can always cancel out
equal or more effective ones.
Learning to kill means meeting the competition.
LARPs are not
competition, as I said earlier. Not by itself, anyway. Our armor and teamwork
make us unbeatable there, and that makes us comfortable and complacent. A Roman
who is comfortable and complacent will never be a Centurion. Armor affords us
little benefit anywhere else. In Dagorhir it only saves you from the first sword
hit. In Markland and SCA, you only wear armor so that you donít get seriously
injured. Attending all three groups gives you a real sense of variety in combat
methods. Attending all three makes you focus on skill and speed rather than
relying on armor. It makes you instinctively adaptable in warfare. A flail
limits you in the combinations you can use and as a fighting style, it is only
effective in LARPs. Dagorhir doesnít allow head-shots, and SCA doesnít
allow flails. Markland does, but the heads are solid foam, and your opponent may
not even know heís been hit with one, compared to the real pounding heĎs
taking from other weapons. That leaves you with only LARPs. And if you only
fight with Rome when we go to LARPs, you will never be a Centurion. Note that
Rome no longer participates in LARP-based organizations. That's an acronym for
Live Action Role Playing.)
Trust is a big factor. My trust in you to do what is best for
Rome. The Centurionsí trust in you to live up to reputation we have fought
hard to establish. Being a Centurion puts you at the top of the Command
Structure after the Commanders. Can I trust you not to behave like some kind of
tyrant because of your rank? Centurions tend to think of themselves as head
coaches. If that kind of power will go to your head, you will cause problems in
Rome because you are overlooking the bottom line: we are all Romans. No one is
paid to be a Roman. No one works for you or has to put up with your attitude. We
do everything out of love for what our unity makes us, the very best. A
Commander has to know this intrinsically. Also, can I trust you to make the
right decisions when the Legion Commanders are dead or busy? Your chance at
command comes only in times of disaster unless you are a Legion Commander too.
During that disaster what will you do? These are all considerations. Will you
remember to think about defense of the fort, or will you charge in to join the
Roman dead? In various situations either could be the best way to go. But can
you identify which in a given situation? Everyone makes mistakes, but a
Centurion is answerable for them. We are each otherís harshest critics.
a former Centurion no longer with Rome (I'll call him Rufus): Only Romans are Centurions. Have any of you noticed
that almost any of our Decurions kill Rufus now with alarming ease? Thatís because just as we make Rome great, it is Rome that makes
us great. Without Rome, we are nothing. Rufus is a dreadful commander. If you
think otherwise, you must have missed a certain LARP's Spring Tournament.
He never knows what do with his resources, and that day he lost two Legions to
half their number. He may as well have killed them himself. Now you will quite
properly ask, "Why then, Dominus, did you make him a Centurion?" I
made him a Centurion because he was ready. Because I understand that not
everyone can be strong in all of those areas. He was a poor commander, yes. But
he fought like a lion, hardly ever missed a battle, fully equipped himself, and
characterized well. As a Commander he had failings, but he had command because
he had a Legion, and being a good focal point with a bad plan is always better
than being no one with no plan. Why, you ask? Because Rufus was larger than
life, because he was an absolute bad-ass. Let me reiterate that I no longer
regard him as any of this. My point is that the first criteria for a Centurion
rating is perhaps the most important thing. If you meet it, we might overlook
other shortcomings. This is especially true of the Decurion, which is
basically a catch-all rank. Some people never get beyond Decurion. Even a
totally mediocre soldier can eventually make Decurion by dressing well and never
missing a battle. The same could be said of a truly gifted combatant with no
armor and a crappy costume. Being a Decurion means you are proven, trusted, and
part of the chain of command. Most people who fight all the time will eventually
reach Centurion. What holds most Decurions back is usually lack of a killer
The Centurions are elite. We are all Romans, and equal under
Roman law. But a Centurion is supreme on a battlefield. He can butcher anyone at
all, and does. The Centurion must be a paragon of Roman virtue. His very person
represents both the reputation of Rome and the Centurionate. He is responsible
for protecting, upholding and living up to these reputations.
Even our most worthy
opponents can grudgingly identify a Roman
of Centurion quality. Part of what makes you a Centurion is how you are
perceived by our opponents. You have to measure up to that reputation if you
want to be a Centurion. I donít consult anyone regarding the promotion of a
Roman soldier. Centurions are the exception to this rule. To make someone a
Centurion is to tell every current Centurion that, "this person is your
equal in my eyes." If you canít live up to that, I wonít insult them by
cheapening or degrading the Centurionate. They are the very best around, and
they prove it every weekend.
Thatís why the Mos
Maiorum says, "try
fighting some our current Centurions. If you can manage to best a few of them
two out of three in single combat, you are probably qualified." I want
everyone who believes they are ready to try. It isnít even a matter of
winning. Itís a matter of how well you do, how much you impress us. It wouldnít
be fair to require that you win, because even at the Centurion-level skill
plateau you still improve gradually. You must be a fighter of remarkably awesome
capability. If you do lose the combats, you may be denied. The Centurions will
meet with you privately to offer constructive criticism. Donít be offended by
this (unless you beat íem all; then youíre in!). If you want to get better,
and be a Centurion, then heed this advice. No promotions are ever given or
withheld for political reasons. No sniveling either: "If I canít be a
Centurion, I donít wanna be a Roman." Good, go away - you fail the first
test. Feel free to ask any Centurion for advice. Thatís why weíre here. As I
said, we want you to eventually be a Centurion. Itís an exclusive club, but
one that all Romans are welcome to join.
-Allaricus Xirinius Dominus, Imperator
Go back to chart.