Set during the Second Punic War and beyond, A Legionary's Life lets you play as a Roman conscript soldier. Try to be a hero, rise up through the ranks, get rich through ruthless pillaging or just focus on making it home in one piece; it's up to you.

This is a single-player game with RPG elements, extensive usage of attribute and skill checks, a turn-based combat system involving many variables (including morale, reach, confined space and high ground) and a touch of roguelike features. Among them: permadeath. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it means you'll have to start over if your character dies; but don't worry, the game is designed to be replayable and you'll see only a fraction of it in each run. Also, in future versions you'll be able to spend points on character creation based on how well your best character performed.

The demo includes the first three parts of the game and is available here.
The full game is currently under development.



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Demo version 0.6 released!

News

The combat system of A Legionary's Life offers a wide range of actions to choose from. Two main categories, Feints and Shield attacks, rely on two checks to determine the chance of success: a primary "hit roll" based on their main skill–-weapon for Feints, shield for Shield attacks–-and a secondary check, based on attributes–-usually Awareness for most Feints and Strength for Shield attacks.

Shield Attack - Charge


Before version 0.6, the attacker had to pass both checks for the action to succeed, or suffer the full effect of a failure. Now things work differently: if the primary check succeeds but the secondary check fails, the victim will suffer a small percentage of the full damage. In case of Shield attacks, attackers will suffer part of their failure penalty, too.

Resisted Feint

Also, the influence of Stance has been significantly increased. Before this update, combat capabilities were influenced linearly by the loss of Stance. Now, they are influenced quadratically; in other words, losing Stance makes a fighter more vulnerable than before.

These changes should encourage players to rely on astute decision-making over sheer luck.
Fights involving opponents holding the high ground have been tweaked a little to compensate for the bigger Stance factor.

By the way, I have removed the small pause between each combat round. It was very short, but I find combat flows better without it. I have also added a simple effect to highlight kills.

Kill


The concept of weapon Reach has been simplified. Now there are just 6 categories of Reach: 1 = daggers, 2 = short swords, 3 = long swords, axes, maces, clubs, 4 = spears, 5 = long pikes, like the Macedonian sarissa (actually, the sarissa won't appear in normal fights such as those you see in the Demo. Combat against a Macedonian phalanx will work differently, but we'll come to that in the third and last campaing set during the Second Macedonian War).
This is to enforce realism: a superior weapon Reach gives a significant advantage in combat, but this is reasonable only when the difference is meaningful. Before this change, the most prominent feature of a gladius hispaniensis of type V was a slightly longer reach than any other short sword, entailing all the advantage of a superior Reach, which didn't really make sense.
In the light of this development, the gladius of type V has been modified. These are the stats of an average quality gladius of type V compared to a common gladius of the same quality:

Gladius comparison

Now it's a good weapon to use against scarcely armored opponents, although the low Handiness could become a serious disadvantage, especially when facing a skilled shield user.

Finally, I have corrected a couple of glitches on the combat UI. One of them involved a reduced usability of the Attitude slider. Your Attitude needs to be adjusted several times during the course of a fight for the best efficiency, so it must be comfortable to use. Now it works as intended.

Attitude handle


That's all as far as changes to the combat system are concerned.


There's another important novelty pertaining to special rank-based "events" triggered for characters who have conspicuously high or low attributes crucial to their responsibilities. There were just a couple of these before version 0.6. I have added at least one for each rank, but they work a bit differently: they happen once after each major battle, usually in the first few turns of a Lull phase. Before, they could happen at any time, even more than once in-between battles, and quickly become annoying.
For example, the main role of an optio is to preside over the rear of a maniple, so he needs Charisma in order to command respect. If his Charisma is very low, he'll slowly lose reputation with the troops and the centurion. Earning a promotion is still possible, just harder. One might say that an optio with low Charisma has reached his level of incompetence.

There are several more small changes. As usual, you can find the changelog here on the official website.

Demo v 0.6


Demo version 0.5.3 released!

Demo version 0.5.3 released!

News 2 comments

A progress report on the full version and an overview of the latest demo.

Version 0.5: new depiction of Combat Stats!

Version 0.5: new depiction of Combat Stats!

News

In version 0.5, Combat Stats are no longer cold numbers...

Awards and decorations

Awards and decorations

News

Today we'll take a look at the awards a legionary can acquire in the game. Awards are worth a lot of points, especially the most important ones, and points...

Update: version 0.4.11

Update: version 0.4.11

News 2 comments

Version 0.4.11 introduces an important change regarding spears. The Reach of a melee weapon is one of the many combat mechanics you'll find in this game.

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Demo v 0.6

Demo v 0.6

Demo

This demo contains the first three parts of the game. Unzip the file and run the installer. Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 12)
Temde
Temde

This game is quite hard. I wish there was a save feature, where you could go to the last encounter (i.e. if you die while fighting the mercenaries in the citadel, you restart when you guys are fighting at the gates). Going through the training in the beginning time and time again can be a chore . All my characters have died at a score of 0, lol. I keep building up the green bar too fast, and I always try to attack, which I know I shouldn't do, but still. Bad strategy on my part, but when I see the 20% chance that I might succeed going for the neck shot, I'll always take it lol. Rest in peace Temdavius Poopooius 1 through 4, enjoying the game very much so far. Hopefully I'll improve at it very soon!

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a_roberti Creator
a_roberti

Just for the benefit of future readers: there *is* a save feature. You just can't reload if the player character dies.
I wouldn't want people to believe they have to play the game in one go. :-)
That said, I'm glad you're enjoying the game. Remember to always keep an eye on your Stance: when your attacks miss, your opponent is more likely to find an opening and hurt you, so going on the full offensive when the odds are sharply against you is a quick way to an early game over. Remember the optional fights are usually the toughest.

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Temde
Temde

Woo! Just beat the demo. Quite a lot of things almost got me (bandit ambush, fighting the two people at the same time, etc.), but I took your advice, and didn't fight any battles I didn't have to. Some words;

First off, to everyone else reading this, I think the most important piece of advice I can give is, your goal isn't try to beat the opponent, your goal is to try to stay alive. It can seem frustrating when you keep missing your attacks, but chances are, your opponent is going to miss just as many of their attacks. Once you get to around round 20, either you rotate or they rout, and you'll live to see another battle.

The most important bar (circle, rather, in this case) during battle is your fatigue (green). Try to keep it low, it's more important than the health (red) or your stance (blue). If your stance is only down a little, don't waste your turn on recovering. Only recover when the enemy is also doing so, to have the best chance at succeeding. Respiting is very important, I try to respite every round, unless the enemy misses and loses significant stance (blue), which then can be used to your advantage and try to feint them and then attack/soft spot them.

I really didn't use the javelin or shield attacks much, so try to focus more on sword training, because I feel that sword attacks are much more consistent.

Not sure yet if there's a better way to play other than waiting for an opening and then attacking, but I've only tried to spec into javelins and shields once, and that character didn't really go too well for me.

Pay attention to the attitude bar when you're in battle, always try to be more defensive when you're respiting or recovering, and set it to be more offensive when the enemy is down on his stance (blue) and is trying to recover, so your attacks have more chance to hit. Don't worry when your losing your morale when you're defensive, morale isn't really that important, and can be gained back relatively easily, at least in this version.

Finally, a word to the developer; I felt that virtue wasn't really as big of a factor as I thought it would be, I read it would open up more encounters and stuff, but I didn't really see any opportunity to lose/gain virtue by choice, but that's probably more just on the length of the demo. On the subject of the shop, it was probably due to my low intelligence stat, but I never found anything good in the shop. I never found any leg armor/greaves, and I never found any weapons that had a reach of more than 2. Maybe make them more common to find, but it felt weird going into battle with an empty armor slot, or fighting an enemy with a spear when I only had a gladius.

Overall, great work and art direction. A bit hard for my taste, but I'm sure it'll be alleviated when the I figure out more into it. I can't wait to play more.

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a_roberti Creator
a_roberti

Well done, and thanks for your kind words!
Focusing on staying alive is one way to play the game. We could call it "easy" mode. Once you have figured out some of the basics, you can try a more daring and rewarding approach.

You are learning fast and giving some good pointers. You might be giving too much importance to fatigue, though, especially when fighting in a maniple and rotations occur regularly. Under different circumstances, for instance during a fight to the death, fatigue becomes a bigger factor.
Also, I think you shouldn't neglect your shield training–-your defense depends on it, but different play styles are indeed possible.

As for virtue, that's probably because you've played past the first battle only once. Every game is a diverse experience where different things happen. Besides, if you manage to obtain a promotion, you'll see even more. For example, you'll be occasionally put in charge of a foraging party.

As to merchants, I've just made a few tests and greaves popped out 20 times out of 51 attempts during Phase I and 12 times out of 29 attempts during Phase II. Maybe you just had bad luck.
You won't find spears on sale. The legionary's weapon is the short sword. You often fight in formation: using another weapon would be a disadvantage. There are 9 types of short swords anyway. Also, don't look just at the reach, a gladius has several advantages over a spear; for example, if you perform a successful strike on an spear-wielding enemy, he'll be in serious trouble, with his reach advantage denied and harsh penalties applied.

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Guest
Guest

Screw the garrison mercenary! Is there even a way to kill him? Lol

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a_roberti Creator
a_roberti

It's achievable, but very difficult. You'll get a nice reward (possibly two) for even just surviving that battle without killing anyone. Of course, if you do manage to defeat a mercenary, you may obtain more (either a +1 to all combat skills or a bronze armilla, if you already qualified for the skills bonus thanks to your performance against the militia).

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Lemonater47
Lemonater47

This is a neat little game. I've played the demo 3 times and haven't even reached the end of it. Died each time but always got a little further. I also never thought that it was the game that screwed me over. That it was always due to my own decisions that got me killed.

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a_roberti Creator
a_roberti

Thank you! This kind of feedback on difficulty and replay value is very important to me.

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Lemonater47
Lemonater47

I got there in the end. I.imgur.com

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a_roberti Creator
a_roberti

*And* you got an Armilla too. Not bad at all.

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A Legionary's Life
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a_roberti
Engine
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