Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Muscle 11, Balance 11, Fitness 11
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: See below
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: Shortsword, Trident, Net
  • Allowed Weapons: Any
  • Allowed Armors: By class

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: -1 slot
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Martial
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Charioteering, Close-Quarters Fighting, Tumbling
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Acting, Animal Handling, Animal Training, Armorer, Blind-Fighting, Bribery, Crowd Working, Defensive Tactics, Drinking, Eating, Endurance, Etiquette, Gaming, Healing, Intimidation, Jumping, Land-based Riding, Literacy, Modern Languages, Natural Fighting, Prestidigitation, Psionic Mimicry, Somatic Concealment, Tightrope Walking, Weaponsmithing
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: Hiding, Running, Wild Fighting

Overview: Gladiators are showman-warriors who have been trained to put on a good show for paying customers. In every seedy part of every city, humans frequent hidden battle pits where humanoid gladiators are matched against each other or some other opponent (probably an animal or captured monster). Betting takes place at these events, but the real entertainment comes from the stunts employed by the gladiators. All manner of adventuring types are recruited to fight in the arenas-though those able to employ flashy magic or unusual combat styles are especially loved by the crowds.

Gladiators who become player characters have given up the life (if they were slaves) or have decided to supplement their income by adventuring. Even when fighting alongside adventuring companions, gladiators battle like they are still in the pits, making fancy moves and playing with their opponents in anticipation of the roar of the crowd.

Description: Gladiators deliberately draw attention to themselves. When in the arena they carry bizarre weapons and wear flashy armor covered with spikes and fluting, often designed to leave large swathes of exposed skin (sometimes to the point of being purely decorative and non-functional). They shave their body hair and oil their muscles, and often have numerous body-piercings, elaborate tattoos, or unusual hair styles.

Role-Playing: Like cock fighting, arena combat is illegal in most human and demihuman cities, towns and villages. However, that does not stop criminals and others seeking monetary gain from engaging in the practice. In large cities and towns, battle pits may be hidden in the less-savory areas. A few cities, most notably Hillsfar, have large public arenas where gladiatorial shows are put on legally. In villages, spectators must wait until a traveling show fighting circus makes the circuit to their area. The audience bets on each match, and winners of each match receive a portion of the purse.

Gladiators can either be slaves or free, using their talents to make money for themselves and their masters. As a slave, the gladiator fights exclusively for the profit of the owner. In return, the gladiator receives food and water, weapons, training, and the roar of the crowds. A free gladiator enters the pits for personal wealth and fame. Free gladiators usually have an “agent” who assists them in return for a cut of the profits.

Some gladiators use graceful maneuvers, stunts, and witty banter to put on impressive displays. Such skilled fighters are valuable to their masters and rarely forced to fight each other to the death. Instead, they engage in well-choreographed bouts for the entertainment of the audience. When bloodlust takes the crowds, gladiators are pitted against animals, monsters, or criminals, where they use their superior skills to methodically and with great fanfare slice their foes to ribbons.

Many gladiators love to have a good time, often spending the money they earn on gaming, drink, and entertainment. He attracts the attention of crowds of admirers. He receives a lot of credit for brave deeds whether he deserves the credit or not. Most gladiators take their showy skills adventuring with them. They never battle quietly, rarely go for the quick kill, and often prod their companions to compliment them when no crowds of spectators are present to lavish praise.

Special Abilities:

  • Because of his time fighting in the arena, a gladiator begins his career with 2d6 x100 experience points. The player may invent details of these battles within reason when describing the character’s past.
  • Gladiators, because of their intensive training, get a free Weapon Specialization, regardless of class. This doesn’t cost any of their beginning weapon proficiency slots. Most gladiators specialize in an exotic or unusual weapon (nets, whips, chains, tridents, polearms, oriental weapons, or the like).
  • From his wide experience with weapons in the Arena, the gladiator has only half the normal penalty on attack rolls with nonproficient weapons. In addition, gladiators may become proficient with any weapon, regardless of class (though priests who participate in arena combat must still abide by any religious limitations on the weapons they wield).
  • Gladiators are intimately familiar with gladiatorial arenas and how they function. Arena trainers, who overhear everything, and gladiators, because they are valued slaves (or admired free citizens), usually know what’s going on in any given city. Gladiators can trade on their relationships with these people to learn one significant piece of information per game session. The information isn’t always directly related to the character’s current quest, but might prove handy to know in a later adventure or to trade for more immediately important information.

Special Disadvantages:

  • As gladiators are trained to make combat last, they receive a -2 penalty to all damage rolls they inflict.
  • Gladiators tend to be recognized—as Gladiators, at least, if not by their own names—wherever they go. This makes it more difficult for them to do things in secret; some troublesome NPC is always remembering “the tall, fair-haired gladiator” who was at the scene of the action, which makes it very easy for the authorities to follow the heroes’ trail.
  • Also, and this is strictly a role-playing consideration, promoters and managers are always interfering in the Gladiator’s life: Trying to hire him to participate in certain-death events, to fight people the Gladiator doesn’t want to fight, to force him to participate in events taking place at the exact time the Gladiator needs to be somewhere else, etc. These promoters will go to any length to get their way; they may blackmail the character, kidnap his followers, use the time-honored bait of a gorgeous romantic interest, and so forth.
  • Gladiatorial slaves are commonly branded on the arm to show their status and mark them in the unlikely case they escape. Gladiatorial slaves who escape are likely to be hunted for a long time by thugs, bounty hunters, and assassins hired by their former owners.

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