from the Introdvction:
This booklet is my unofficial response to William Dowie’s challenge1 to craft an awesome old-school Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) adventure with an ancient Roman theme. Strictly speaking, this is not a traditional stand-alone “module” type adventure, but more of an outline of ideas and first steps for setting up Roman-era characters in a unique sandbox setting. Everything herein
should be usable in any TSR edition of D&D or related retro-clone (Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, and so on).
As you may also guess, XVI Troop was designed to be a quick facilitator to tacking on an ancient Roman feel to the basic D&D rules while also folding in a bit of light-hearted fun, imported from some old TV situation comedies. Will this particular mash-up work at the game table? There’s only one way to find out!
The basic idea for the setting is an out-of-the-way Roman fort on the northern British frontier. The site of VINDOLANDA, just south of Hadrian’s Wall in what is now called Northumberland, contains an auxiliary fort, or castrum, filled with (mostly) locally recruited troops. What few true Roman citizens are present are figureheads, tolerated for the order they maintain. The time-frame is around 140–150 AD. The emperor Antoninus is busy trying to extend the bounds of the empire northward, and is building the Antonine Wall 100 miles to the north in Scotland. Vindolanda hasn’t seen a full Roman legion – or the discipline that goes with it – in decades, but that all may be changing with the arrival of a new commanding officer.