Baths

The Romans love their baths. Rome contains more than 500 bathhouses, from tiny places squashed between insulae to the Baths of Caracalla. Most Romans spend at least part of their afternoons in the baths, as they are a place to socialize as well as to get clean. Of course, the Kindred do not generally care much what goes on in the afternoons, but many baths are open into the night, and some never close.

The baths themselves are the central feature of any bathhouse. Roman baths have three rooms. The tepidarium contains a bath of warm water, at a pleasant temperature. The caldarium contains very hot water, to make bathers sweat, and the frigidarium contains cold water, into which bathers plunge for refreshment at the end. Romans bathe naked, and in most cases, the sexes bathe together. That does not mean that respectable ladies will go to just any bathhouse; some establishments have a more virtue-friendly reputation. At any rate, few respectable ladies bathe after dark.

Another essential room is the changing room, where the bathers leave their clothes in a cubbyhole. Thefts from these places are common, so it is normal to pay a slave, or a member of staff, to keep an eye on your property. Most bathhouses keep a supply of cheap tunics on hand to sell to people whose clothes are stolen. Some arrange the thefts, as well.

Unlike some areas of the world, Rome is not blessed with natural hot springs, so the hot and warm water have to be heated. That means that every bathhouse has a furnace, which is burning whenever the bathhouse is open, and which must be lit some time before that to get the water ready. More than a few bathhouses never let the furnace go out. This makes bathhouses a common source of fires. Fortunately for Kindred, the furnace is kept out of sight, often buried in a basement so that the hot air from it can be ducted under the floors to keep them warm.

Any baths larger than the most basic also include an open area for exercise, known as a palaestra. Boxing and similar martial sports are popular. Many bathhouses also have staff (often slaves) who coat patrons with oil and then scrape it off with a metal implement. This removes most of the dirt on the average client, but is not necessarily the most comfortable experience. Some bathhouses also have an attached tavern, but these are normally at least formally separate establishments.

The most obvious difference between bathhouses is their size. The Baths of Caracalla are the largest in Rome, and the smallest can barely hold six patrons at a time. All sizes are represented. The target clientele also varies: some bathhouses are aimed at the senatorial class, while others cater to laborers. There are some that admit only men, or only women, while some admit patrons of only one sex, but have staff of the other to provide personal services. Such baths are quite rare, however; most really are for washing and exercise.

As a social location, most baths are decorated. Highclass baths, or baths that were high class once, typically have mosaics on the floors of the baths and palaestra, and frescoes on the walls. Athletic scenes and mythological scenes connected to bathing are popular: Actaeon spying on Diana, for example, or scenes of water nymphs. Some baths choose an individual theme related to the kinds of patrons the baths want, though.

Equipment Bonuses: Most bathhouses give +1 or +2 to hunting, no matter what style the vampire uses. Training equipment can serve as an improvised club, although some bathhouses have gladiatorial weapons, which have the normal statistics. The furnace at most bathhouses does five points of aggravated damage per turn to vampires thrown into it.

Baths

Blood of Rome Darkfool