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Carceres et Dracones: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?


Carceres et Dracones: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? is an adventure in Ancient Rome for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. This adventure, Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?, is intended for between four and six players, and it should ideally take between three and four hours to play. It is a one-shot, and thus it may be played without reference to any larger campaign. The game is designed so that it may be ended after the adventure is over, but you may also choose to continue beyond what is written here, expanding into adventures of your own creation. No outside materials are required for participants beyond a set of dice and some pencils; there are pre-made characters with limited classes, a considerable amount of script, and a reconstructed Roman dice game included with this text.

As much as possible, the setting, adventure, and characters are all true to history. Accordingly, this game is very unlike normal Dungeons & Dragons. The setting of the game is Rome in the year 727 Ab Urbe Condita (i.e. 27 BCE), roughly when Augustus Caesar instituted a new system for fighting fires in the city. In the past, a small army of slaves and freedmen known as the Three Men of the Night put out the fires, but Augustus thought the system was inadequate and retired it in favor of a more professional force called the Vigiles. Players take on the roles of some of these Vigiles at the start of their careers.

This adventure is a way to explore numerous aspects of Roman life and history, including not only the specific historical events but also broader existence during the earliest stages of the Empire. It also can provide a valuable example of numerous ELA skills at work, such as characterization and the dramatic arc. I have successfully run the adventure multiple times, and fine-tuned the events so that they will work smoothly and dramatically.

All rights to the core Dungeons and Dragons game remain the property of Wizards of the Coast. None are infringed in this text.

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File Last Updated:
December 20, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on December 08, 2018.