When In Rome (WIP)


Hi, everyone!

The alpha version for my WIP “When In Rome” is over here:


The description: Orphaned and poor and on your own in ancient Rome, you make allies and patrons, claw your way up through the social classes, and (possibly) change the course of history. You have several choices for the sort of life you’ll lead (scribe? slave dealer? concubine? dirty street poet?). Even a lowly plebeian can end up in the middle of a plot against the emperor…but it’s going to have to be without an army, senatorial power, or heaps of gold. The more focused you are on a specific goal—wealth and power, or glory, or love—the better the chance of achieving it (and not getting your friends killed off along the way). This story guarantees at least one stabbing in the Coliseum, lamps in naughty shapes, a discontent volcano, a troupe of nose-flute players, as many temples as you could ever possibly need, one obliquely observed orgy, and an extremely unpredictable emperor.

It’s relationshippy, somewhat romancey, and occasionally raunchy if you have a very low definition of raunchy.

It’s still an early version, so if you’re tolerant of unpaved roads, come have a look. Eventually every thread ends with a stop sign, but I put in a couple of shortcuts to hop over to other branches. I’m hoping to have a complete beta version by…middle of March? Maybe? I’m optimistic. It’s about 75% written, and part of the other 25% is fleshing out sparse descriptions, and I’m sure there’s another 25% that I haven’t thought of that will come up when people other than myself look at it. It’s 80,000 words at this point (including the parts on the other side of the stop signs), but it branches a lot. Alas, you cannot at the moment get to the volcano.

I’m obsessed with Rome and what it must have been like to be an ordinary person there, and it’s hard for me to get my head out of that and figure out what’d be fun for other people, so any feedback would be great. As well as feedback on gameplay, wacky typos, usefulness of stats, plot potholes, etc. Thanks! :slight_smile:

Flatbreak (WiP) (Short Demo Added)
I question regarding slavery in my game
Which WIP would you bring back from the dead?
Best WIPs - 2015
Gladiator: Road to the Colosseum (Out Now!)

@Carolyn Yeah, I know what you mean. But you got the pacing down pretty well, and I like the amount of options the story has. Now that I’ve got my new phone and Wi-Fi back, I’ll be playing through a lot more.


I love it!


Thanks, @dman1123!

@Blackheart: There are some manly men here and there, but they’re probably overwhelmed by number of sensitive and/or poetic ones. I’ll think about how I can balance that out.


I thought it was pretty good but I like some manly men in it I like the prostitute path (I wonder if that says something about me?) but I would think a gladiator might come in and want me for his own. But honestly idk I’m just curious.


This is great! You really allow the MC to grow! Just how exactly how far can you go in status? Will you be including a military career or a public career like in the senate?


Excellent work! You do an incredible job of making the player feel what it was like in ancient Rome. The reader can smell the streets, hear the bustle of the city, feel the stones beneath their feet. Can’t wait to see what comes next, on all of the paths.


@timmy: Thanks! The plan is to keep the action in the city, so that leaves out the military side–and I think a military career needs its own game to do it justice. But you can earn your way up to higher ranks monetarily, become a sort of shadowy advisor to an influential senator, or to become part of the imperial court (a particularly powerful place to be by this era…assuming the emperor stays alive), and you could be poised for a public career by the end. I’m ironing the kinks out of the 10 status ranks, with the social division between common plebeian and anything else being the hardest to overcome. So right now it’s, loosely speaking:

0: slave, so try not to let this happen to you
1-6: common plebeian
7-8: knight (or the equivalent in power, influence, wealth, marriage, liaisons)
9: noble/senatorial class (rather, the equivalent in etc.)
10: Emperor. You probably can’t get here, but never say never.

I debated whether to make it a more coed Rome, but then decided to stay closer to reality. But female characters can be as powerful and influential as real Roman women, even if they can’t have official public careers and technically don’t have much control over their own money, property, selves…


Love it so far! I can’t wait to meet the emperor!


Love this game so far! It’s very well thought out and engaging, and I can’t wait to see where you take this :slight_smile:


Want gladiator boo!! Or to be a glafiator myself


Excellent, that provides quite a challenge to advance through the social ranks! What emperor is currently ruling Rome in the game? I have some ideas, but I don’t know, I have some beef with some emperors others im cool with!


@ParanoidInc, @BatGirl916, @fantom: Thank you for the encouragement. That makes me very inspired to forge ahead.

@GrimReaper21: Sorry about that! But there’s a chance to see a gladiator match with the poets. Gladiators are so popular, it’s kind of a challenge to do a game about Rome without them.

@timmy: I was skirting the “is this our Rome or alternative-Rome?” line by only giving clues, but all clues point to Domitian. To me he’s a really interesting one of the bad boys of the earlier empire–or maybe he’s just misunderstood. Which emperors are on your worst-of-the-worst list?


I really like the game so far, and I’m glad you didn’t go the ‘coed’ route and have both genders completely equal in game. Part of the enjoyment (for me) in historical stuff is the exploration of a different social landscape like that so it’s awesome. And the detail! The fact that you could have only your family name was a nice touch.

Also, at one point in the game, someone mentions that the Emperor’s wife has her own guard of lady praetorians; Can the player become one of them? Because that would be super neat. I know you said a military path is really unlikely, because it would leave the city which you don’t want, but a royal guard wouldn’t, so maybe you could add that somehow? (If you want to, of course, it’s your game after all.)

Other than that though, I’m really excited for this to be finished, because it’s well written and going interesting places. Good luck finishing it!


I’m so glad I finally got to play ‘When in Rome’ . And I have to say I absolutely love it! :smiley:
All these details and your well thought out storyline… it’s just incredible… I really can picture the scenes you describe in the game. :smiley:
Thank you so much for sharing your WIP. ^___^


Haaaa heres a couple
Maximinus Thrax
and most of all Elagabalus!
If you read what he did you will faint.


@SpaceLesbian: Yah, the “coed” idea made it a fantasy, but I think it’s more interesting to see how women can climb their way up in a society closer to the historical reality. I stuck in the bit about female bodyguards as a little foreshadowing for something I’d like to add in as a possibility.

@FinalFantasyFreak: Thanks for giving me the moral support I needed to get over my stage fright and post the link :smiley:

@timmy: Ah, a few of the baddest bad boys. Somehow they always seem more interesting than the nice emperors who are kind to puppies and the poor…

Updating: I’m going to put myself on a schedule of updating the alpha version files at noon and midnight (Eastern time, if I’m awake, which I usually am…). It’s much too tempting to keep tweaking the live version constantly.


This is beautifully written! I love the opportunities for truly thoughtful character development. I’m also a huge fan of historically-inspired settings that aren’t slavish about “accuracy.” Hope the rest of the writing goes well! Looking forward to seeing more.


My favorite people to play as so far are the tutor and the courtesan. It’s fun having an affair with your pupil or to be a “kept woman” by your favorite customer.


I have to say that I liked it very much. Waiting for the gladiator route :slight_smile: