This gladiatorial class, named so because they “chase” their enemies, is the fastest of the Scutarii (Great Shields), and one of the favourite gladiators for a lot of lanistas. He’s easily recognizable by his egg-shaped helmet, plain and without any decoration, so that the Retiaria’s net, his usual foe, can’t entangle it.
At Level III, he obtains the wonderful skill Endless Energy (he spends a red Attack Card to gain a Damage Dice and draw a Maneuver Card), that makes him the most agile of the Great Shields; Shield Parry (he gains a Block); and Chase (he can try to follow an enemy that leaves his Attack Zone, and if he is triumphant, his enemy will have to stop). He’s the favourite gladiator of many players, like the champion of Ultima Test, Dani “Maprenufus”… whose prize was to design him!
Back in 2014, when the Rulebook was finished, we held the Ultima Test league in Valladolid in order to properly test all the different arenas from the Games Book. Like the previous Ludi Pucelae, it was an annual league, with a grand final during the gaming convention Castilla & Dragón.
The winner of that league was Dani “Maprenufus”, one of the greatest experts in GLADIATORIS: for three consecutive years, he had obtained the best results in the Ludi Pucelae… only to be defeated in the three finals, thus losing the right to his own personalised team! But this time, fortune smiled on him and, with the help of the red Scutarii, he defeated his rivals (loaded with titles from their previous successes) in a fair fight:
– Bruno G. Baixauli Ereborius / Amazon Paegarius Elephantus Venator, owner of the Amazones (turquoise) after winning the Ludi Pucelae I, and runner-up in the Ultima Test, thus winning the Paegniariae (group of female gladiators).
– Raúl Foveam Homicida / Germanus Victor Minotaurus Venator, lord of the Germanic after winning the Ludi Pucelae III.
– José Daniel Dominus Regularum, master of the rules, finder of many little mistakes in the Maneuver Cards, but unlucky with dice.
After defeating all of them, Dani won his new titleand entered the history books as Daniel Acebes Maprenufus Victor / Amittere Finem Perserverandus Secutor. Through perseverance he won the Secutor team (group of gladiators) and the right to take part in the Secutor’s design process!
Dani: “It’s an enormous pleasure to be able to work with one of the gladiators and contribute to a game that I really love.
I have been looking around, and I have seen his weaponry (gladius and shield) and that he used an almost complete armor, do you think it’s really possible for him to run? I don’t think a guy with so much weight on him could run a lot, much less chasing anyone. I think it would be a bad strategy; an unarmored rival would make him run around to tire him out and then would take advantage of their physical superiority and greater speed to attack the Secutor with more precise strikes. Would you accept another stance, or we can assume that he is able to run to finish the fight?”
David: “… But, even if he uses a scutum, the secutor has almost no armor and is the lightest of the scutarii; their natural rival, the retiarius, base their strategy in fleeing (as in “Life of Brian”, by Terry Jones, 1979), and the secutor must run to catch him, hence his name. Anyway, don’t worry, we have Alfonso Mañas to address your doubts (I strongly recommend his book).”
Alfonso: “Back in the day, I read in the blog about the whole “designing the secutor as a prize thing”, and I think it’s a wonderful idea in order for the players to feel more involved with the game.
I’ve read Dani’s comments and the truth is that he knows a lot about the secutor. He’s right when he says that making him in a runner stance is possibly excessive, but certainly we must assume that during the combat he’d run after the retiarius at some point.
That being said, I’m completely willing to collaborate with him and advise him about all that he needs in order for his Secutor Maprenufus to be as spectacular as we all want.”
Our munera expert, Alfonso Mañas, contacted Dani “Maprenufus” and exchanged e-mails for some days.
Dani: “I must admit I don’t know a lot about gladiators beyond what Luis and David told me, some movies, and what I have learned about fighting while training.”
Alfonso: “Gladiatorial greetings to you, Dani. Since you say you don’t kow a lot about gladiators, I’ll send you a brief introduction to the Secutor:”
Dani: “Here, have my sketches; even if I don’t know how to draw (I promise they are mine!) I hope you can understand what I was thinking.
As I’m not a very good at drawing, I was thinking of using an action figure to set the stance, and work around that with the gladiator’s attire.”
“… Covered with the shield and just prior to attacking with the knife. It’s a compact stance that I think the secutor would use: blocking a rival’s attack with his shield and taking advantage of his proximity to attack with the knife, or pushing with the shield to unbalance his rival and stab him. My intention is for him to look dynamic and that’s the reason why, even when his weight is on his forward leg, the rear one is ready to advance with the rest of the body and thrust.”
Following these indications, Alfonso answered with a great sketch… and it was his turn to receive corrections!
Dani: “I would change the shield’s position, making it more vertical: that way the arm suffers less from fighting (it gets less tired from enduring the shield’s weight), and is more effective while parrying. (…) I would make the knife more horizontal, as if it was hidden behind the shield, ready to be thrust at a moment’s notice: I think it would make for a more dynamic stance, announcing a future attack.
I love the knife’s arm with its protections, could it be extended up to the shoulder?”
Alfonso: “OK, Daniel, tomorrow I’ll send you a new “interpretation” modifying what you told me (this is the way, you correct me and I keep modifying the sketch until it matches your vision).
– I’ll make the shield more vertical.
– I’ll make the knife more horizontal. I drew it vertical because it was the only possible position according to your doll’s right hand.
Certainly the blade is horizontal in the original source (relief) that I used as a background for my interpretation, and it’s in that position in nearly all sources about secutores, so it would be the more historically accurate.
– The arm protection (manica) could be extended to the shoulder; in fact, it’s this way in a lot of sources. I didn’t do it this time because the specific relief I used as inspiration had a naked shoulder.
Do you want something engraved in the shield or in that shoulder? Maybe something you like, the name MAPRENUFUS, or some animal figure of your liking, so that the ages will know it is your gladiator?”
We loved this idea! We couldn’t engrave a name, as it’s reserved for the Mercenaries (Dani already has one, Milo, a Crupellarius very tough to kill, apart from the Armatus Slave and the Armoured Crocodile). We had the following proposals:
– A lorica squamata looking like the Armoured Crocodile’s scale armour (we couldn’t include the Crocodile itself, as the red team’s Beasts are the Lion and the Hyaenas).
– A symbolic inscription reminding of the three consecutive defeats in the Ludi Pucelae finals (they got really famous) and the last and well-deserved victory at the fourth league, the Ultima Test.
– A made-up and “Roman-looking” symbol, painted over the smooth surface of the shield.
Dani: “Wonderful!. The truth is that I am really thrilled with all this. Just by imagining the miniature I get goosebumps.”
I was thinking about having a lion’s head relief (not a head protruding, but a 2D image with a small relief) because I like felines a lot and the lion is the big Beast of the red team.
I already have my own gladiator and, even if I like a lot Maprenufus’ idea, or having the shield reference my history in the finals (three skulls and a palm is an idea I love), or a Roman symbol related to me, I think it’s not sensible for a basic set miniature to be that personalized. It would be way too much to include in a basic mini. I think it’s better (and more beautiful, I hope) to have a lion in the shield.”
It was a pleasant coincidence, because we had already thought about having a lion in one of the red shields, and the hyenas on some greaves: they appeared this way in an old list with emblems and animals from the four teams. Just by turning it around, we’d have a lion in the Secutor’s shield (it could be the bas-relief of an umbo) and the hyenas on the Samnis’ greaves (he wasn’t a Samnite yet).
It’s a slight license, but it doesn’t go too far away from the shields structure (at the Pompeii ludus, they found an eques‘ parma with a gorgon head in the center, which would be the umbo, so we’re just taking that to a scutum‘s umbo).
For the ocrea (shinpad), I’ve added Daniel’s 3-defeats-1-victory registry vertically. I’ve used gladiatorial symbology. They used the letter M (missio, pardon) for defeats and the symbol כ (which indicates the victory palm) for victories, so I have written M III כ I.”
Once the pre-design is finished and approved the pre-design, it’s the turn of the 3D sculptors. They told us it’s problematic to use a single mold for the body and a separated shield, and they proposed a completely different stance, paired with the Retiaria‘s one.
It was a great proposal, which convinced us for two reasons:
- We already have the Murmillo well-covered with his shield.
- It’s way more dynamic, and reflects the skill “Endless Energy”, one of the more used sills in the game because of its ability to gain new attacks and defenses. Even his other skill, “Chase”, is better represented by this stance than by the sketches’ stance, much more static.
But Dani had the final say about this, and even though he was grateful about the effort, he stood by his initial idea.
3DBreed: “We’re going to try and do what Dani proposes with the shield touching the left leg and the weapon arm in a 90º position, in contact with the waist. We’ll place the shield perpendicular and it will look like he’s protecting himself from the front. This way, we’ll respect most of Alfonso’s sketch.”
Most of the corrections were feasible, except taking the arm away from the body (because of the molds), and Dani agreed to all of them (and was very happy with his lion).
We still made a few corrections to the miniature, to deepen the ocrea inscription, to fix the helmet’s neck, and to adjust the final stance according to Dani’s instructions. Finally, we could consider it finished.
Dani: “It looks so cool. I can’t wait to have it! Great work!”