Rome Total War: Overview - Generals, Agents, & Romans

Generals and Agents

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In addition to regular soldiers, each faction may also recruit special agents. These are spies, assassins, and diplomats.

Spies will reveal larger areas of the Strategic Map for the player to see, as well as reveal the specific composition of enemy forces. They may even infiltrate enemy cities and possibly open the gates when the player's army attacks them.

Diplomats can make political and economic agreements with other factions, including alliances and trade pacts. They can also bribe enemy armies to disband or even join the player's faction. Cities can also be bribed to join the player's faction in this manner as well.

Assassins have the ability to kill other characters. They are the only agents in the game that can directly do this. They may also undertake acts of sabotage in enemy (or neutral) cities.

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However, the most important characters are the Generals each faction possesses. These special characters represent the ruling family (or families) of the faction. Each General has ability scores that affect various fields of endeavour. These are:

  • Command: This is the General's leadership ability, which directly affects the performance of troops in battles.
  • Influence: This is the General's personal magnetism. It assists in maintaining public order in cities, and also affects the size of a General's bodyguard.
  • Management: This is the General's administrative ability. It directly affects the amount of wealth a city generates when the General is within it.

In addition Generals also gain retinue members, who are essentially hangers-on that affect the General's abilities and other game mechanics. Some retinue members can be very helpful to the General, and other quite detrimental. For example, the Bard grants a General a +1 to his Influence, while the Drunken Uncle penalizes his Influence by 1 point.

Generals will also develop traits over time that likewise will affect his ability scores and other game effects. These work in the same basic manner as retinue members. Except where retinue members may be transferred between Generals, traits stay with them forever.

New Generals are gained in several ways. The first being the simple matter of existing Generals having children and said children coming of age to fight. Enemy Generals can also be bribed into joining the player's faction. In certain conditions Generals can be adopted from the rank and file of the military as well. They are also gained when the women of the family marry, as their husbands become Generals in the player's faction.

Generals are lost in several ways too. Death in battle is one, and the assassin's blade is another. They can also die from plague and natural disasters that occur in the areas they inhabit. Even if they survive all these, old age will eventually kill them, as it does everyone. As Rome Total War can span several centuries, generations will come and go throughout the play of the game.

The Romans

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The Roman factions are special in several ways. This is Rome Total War after all.

Rome is not truly one faction, but is rather a super-faction consisting of three regularly-playable factions (the Julii, Brutii, and Scipii) plus one extra special one (the Senate) that is not meant to be played by a human. They all begin the game allied to one another, and are under the (supposed) direction of the Roman Senate.

While the Senate cannot directly control the player's Roman faction, it will issue the player missions. If the player fulfills them the Senate will reward the player with things such as money, elite troops, and Senatorial positions (the latter are simulated by positive traits which the player's Generals will acquire). If the player does not fulfill the Senate's directives they will incur the Senate's displeasure. This is something that is ultimately unavoidable however.

For the player's Roman faction also has another group that affects them. The Plebians. The player mainly gains popularity with the Plebs through conquest. People love a winner, and Romans are no exception. When the player's popularity with the People reaches a certain point the Senate, out of fear, will outlaw the player's faction.

This triggers the Roman Civil War. Often the highlight of every Roman Campaign, when the Civil War begins the player's former Roman allies turn on them and become their worst enemies.

The other way the Romans differ from other factions is the Marian Reforms, which simulate the military reforms instituted by Gaius Marius that dramatically altered the makeup of the Roman army. These take place when the Roman factions have reached a certain point of development in the game.

When the reforms happen the player loses the ability to recruit or retrain the troops they originally possessed. However, afterward they gain much more potent units in the form of Auxiliaries and Legionary troops, who are among the most powerful in the game.

The other factions do gain something in the Marian Reforms as well, in that the bodyguards of their Generals all change to a more powerful unit type.

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