Ability Requirements: 12 Strength, 13 Dexterity, 15 Constitution, Wisdom 10.
Prime Requisite: Strength.
Secondary Requisite: Constitution.
Hit Die: d10 per level until 10th, +3 HP from 11th level on.
Alignment: Any.
Allowed Races: Any.
To-hit Progression (Thac0): As Warrior.
Experience Progression: XPro Chart 5.
Saving Throws: As Warrior.

Even in a world much less civilized than our own, people look to competitive sports for escape and entertainment. In such a world only the most bloodthirsty sports can entertain the crowds enough to keep them coming back. Many competitive activities like chariot racing, jousting and prize fighting have a following, but in areas where they are legal, gladiator games draw the biggest crowds to the arenas and have the most loyal fans. Some gladiators achieve such a measure of fame that their reputation spreads far from their home arena. Sometimes they even draw people from neighboring countries where the games are not legal.

Gladiators may come by their profession in a number of ways, but most are slaves, prisoners or entertainers. Most gladiators that survive more than a single match are slaves, mainly because most nations that allow gladiator games also allow slavery. Rich nobles and merchants often keep stables of well trained, gladiators to supplement their incomes with winnings. In areas where the games are allowed, authorities will send violent criminals and repeat offenders to fight in the arena with the jails are over-crowded. Sometimes a prisoner survives his first match, than he gets trained. Entertainers are the only gladiators allowed to travel from one arena to the next. Unlike slaves or prisoners, entertainers are free people. They are highly skilled arena performers that usually fight in pairs, and though no blood is spilled in these bouts they are the crowd’s favorites (next to their local champions). Sometimes they do actually fight and when they do they depend on their theatrical ability, coordination, muscle tone, and balance, rather than brute force, to win in the arena.

A player must choose from which of these backgrounds his gladiator comes. Unless the GM is running an arena campaign, a PC gladiator who has the slave or prisoner background will have to have been freed. Thankfully, prisoner gladiators who win quite a few matches are most often freed by the authorities (who originally sent them there to die anyway). Gladiators who become very popular with the crowds are often freed by the local lord to please the masses and gain their favor. And sometimes, a gladiator simply manages to escape. Escapees or course cannot return to the arenas to make money because they are usually being hunted by both their owners and the law. They usually go to different countries and become adventures to pay their ways.

Gladiators are masters of the craft of fighting, specially trained to participate in brutal physical contests for the enjoyment of the masses. Disciplined in many diverse forms of hand-to-hand combat and skilled in the use of dozens of different weapons, they are among the most dangerous warriors anywhere.

A gladiator who has a Strength of 16 or more gains a +10% bonus to the experience points he earns. The class has a Secondary requirement; a Constitution score of no less than 15. Any gladiator with a 16 or more in their Constitution gains a +5% bonus to his experience points.

Gladiators who were freed because of their popularity usually have a higher than average Charisma. A high Charisma is essential for any gladiator who wishes to work the crowds.

The special benefits of the gladiator class are as follows:

Use of Weapons, Armor and Shields: Gladiators use any of the weapons, armors and shields allowed by the GM and the time period. They may wear any armor and/or shield (with exception) without fear of penalties to their movement or abilities.

Armor Optimization: This skill allows a gladiator to use her armor to the best advantage against a particular opponent. Making a successful Dexterity check (with a -2 penalty) during the first round of combat gives her -1 bonus to her AC for the remainder of the fight against that enemy. This bonus is lost if the enemy is defeated or the character goes two full combat rounds without attacking that enemy.

This ability may not be used in conjunction with armor heavier than Piece Mail. The character is free to use a shield while employing Armor Optimization but the character must be wearing armor to use this proficiency.

This ability operates normally for the gladiator until he reaches 5th level. At that point the gladiator has conditioned himself to use his armor to its best advantage, dodging and moving his body in such a way that opponents are confounded by his armor and shield. He has become so adept with using the proficiency that he may use it while wearing armor as heavy as Plate Mail (though he may not use it while wearing Splint or Banded mail). The Proficiency also now imparts the following abilities instead of the ones listed above:

During the first round of any combat, a gladiator may attempt to use this ability in addition to his other action. The gladiator makes a Dexterity check (with a -2 penalty), if the check succeeds: the effects are active for the remainder of the fight regardless of how many opponents he faces. If the check fails he may continue to make checks in successive rounds (until he is successful) but may not take a action as well. Once a successful check is made his armor class is reduced by 1 for every five experience levels rounded up for the remainder of the fight (-1 at 5th level, -2 at 6th to 10th level, -3 at 11th to 15th level, -4 at 16th to 20th level, etc.). The bonus is lost when the combat ends or the gladiator goes two full combat rounds without attacking or being attacked by an enemy. (Some magical items: like a ring of protection +2, don’t count as armor, while others: such as bracers of defense do. The DM must rule on a case-by-case basis.

Proficiencies: When being created gladiators gain; 4 Weapon Proficiencies and 3 Non-weapon Proficiencies. Because their training is heavily slanted towards combat and tactics, They may use any type of proficiency to gain weapon specializations, style specializations, and unarmed combat specializations. They may not use weapon proficiencies as non-weapon proficiencies. Additionally, they gain 1 Weapon Proficiency every 3 levels and 1 Non-Weapon Proficiency every 4 levels.

Magic Item Use: While gladiators cannot cast magical spells, they can use many magical items, including potions, protection scrolls, most rings, most miscellaneous items, and all forms of enchanted armor, weapons, and shields.

Weapon Style Proficiency and Specialization: When being created, gladiators are Proficient in all of the Basic Fighting Styles (two handed weapon, weapon and shield, single hand single weapon, two weapon, thrown missile/sling, bow missile). Additionally, they may specialize in any of the Weapon Styles.

Wild Fighting: Wild fighting is ferocious and deadly but completely lacking in grace or discipline. It is also extremely tiring, as its nature is focusing every bit of energy into attacking. By succeeding in a Constitution check (no modifier) a gladiator can employ this extremely unorthodox and unpredictable fighting style. If the check fails she suffers all the penalties while gaining none of the benefits.

The benefits of wild fighting are: one additional attack per combat round (per weapon) and each hit scored deals; +3 additional damage. The Penalties of wild fighting are; ‘to hit’ rolls suffer a penalty of -3 and AC is penalized by 3.

Wild fighting may only be used two times a day, as it is extremely tiring. After a battle ends, the wild fighter must rest for one hour before she can again call on this ability. Resting means: doing nothing but sitting and resting or engaging in light travel (riding a slow moving horse, etc.). If the character must walk, she cannot use this proficiency until 4 hours have passed. Without this rest, a tired character suffers a -3 penalty to all proficiency checks, a -5 to AC, a -5 to THAC0, and a -3 to all damage rolls. These penalties are in effect until the full resting period has elapsed. Wild fighting cannot be used in conjunction with Armor Optimization, Combat Dominance or Combat Prowess.

Unarmed Fighting Styles: When being created, all gladiators are Proficient in the basic unarmed fighting styles: Boxing and Wrestling. They are allowed to use their Weapon Proficiencies to specialize in Unarmed Fighting Styles. There are several specialized unarmed fighting styles that are only available to starting heroes from only certain geographical areas. Gladiators can later become Proficient and Specialize in these styles if they can locate a proper tutor.

Gladiators receive a 4 point modifier to attack rolls during unarmed combat. They can use this modifier as a plus or a minus to their roll after it is made. The gladiator may consult the Unarmed Combat Results table while making this decision.

Automatic Proficiency: Because their training involves near constant practice and drilling in combat and tactics, gladiators become experts in all mundane and exotic weaponry. Gladiators are able to analyze the use and function of any weapon they come in contact with. They are thusly, automatically proficient with all weapons without having to spend a proficiency to do so.

Weapon Specialization: Weapon specialization enables the gladiator to use weapons with exceptional skill, improving his chances to hit and cause damage with that weapon (note* gladiator characters are not required to specialize in weapons; the choice is up to the player). In addition to gaining attack and damage bonuses with specialized weapons, a gladiator using his specialized weapon gains additional attacks per round.

If your gladiator is going to specialize in a weapon you must simply choose a weapon with which to specialize (because gladiators are automatically proficient with all weapons, specializing only costs them 1 weapon proficiency). A weapon, once chosen, cannot be changed but gladiators have another ability that relates to specialization.

As a reward for their years of training and discipline, gladiators are the ultimate masters of weapon combat. They may become specialized in any weapon or number of weapons, provided they have the requisite number of proficiency slots. Thus a first level gladiator may be specialized in 7 weapons (provided he spends all of his starting weapon and non-weapon proficiencies to do so).

Weapon Improvisation: In the rare case that a gladiator finds himself in need of a weapon but does not have one he can attempt to improvise a weapon from the things in his immediate vicinity. Succeeding in a Wisdom check (with a -1 penalty) means he has found something usable as a weapon which does 1d6+1/1d3+1 damage. Modifiers to the chance might be applied depending on the character’s location.

Multiple Attacks: Gladiators gain the ability to make additional attacks per round. At levels 1-6 Gladiators are limited to making 1 attack each round with weapons (or 3 every 2 rounds with a specialized weapon). At levels 7-12 they may make 3 attacks every 2 rounds (or 2 attacks every round when specialized). At level 13-18 they may make 2 attacks per round (or 5 every 2 rounds if specialized). Finally, at level 19 and beyond, gladiators are able to make 5 attacks every 2 rounds (or 3 attacks per round if specialized). These figures may be compounded by additional attacks gained through other means.

A partial additional attack (e.g. 3/2 attacks) means that an extra attack is taken on even-numbered rounds in the combat sequence (i.e. one attack on the first round, two on the second, one on the third, two on the fourth and so on).

Level Attacks/Round Level Attacks/Round
1-6 1/round 13-18 2/round
7-12 3/2 rounds 19+ 5/2 rounds

Gladiator School: When a Gladiator attains 9th level he attracts followers just as a warrior. Such followers arrive in the same manner but a gladiator’s first unit will always consist of other gladiators who have been brought to him or have come to him of their own free will to study his fighting style and “learn from a true master.” Once the school is up and running his reputation will also attract men-at-arms but many who come later will also be aspiring gladiators.

The soldiers have heard of the gladiator and come for the chance to gain fame, adventure, and cash. They are loyal as long as they are well-treated, successful, and paid well. The gladiator followers do not require payment as a condition of their loyalty (though it will help if they are not slaves already). Their happiness is dependent upon the wealth of their training. As long as your character spends a few hours a week actually “teaching” his gladiator followers himself, they will feel fulfilled. Soldier or gladiator the abusive treatment of a follower, or a disastrous campaign can lead to grumbling, desertion, and possibly mutiny.

To attract the men, the gladiator must have set up a sizable training facility with lands around it. As word of the school spreads, men will journey to his school, thereby increasing his power. Furthermore, the gladiator can charge for such training and/or demand his students do manual labor in and around the school (as part of their training), thereby gaining a steady income from them. Your GM has information about starting and running a gladiator school.

In addition to regular men-at-arms, the 9th-level gladiator also attracts an elite bodyguard. Although they are still mercenaries or students, they have greater loyalty to their teacher than do common soldiers. In return, they expect better treatment and more pay (and/or training) than the common follower receives. Although the elite unit can be chosen randomly, it is better to ask your GM what unit your gladiator attracts. This allows him to choose a troop consistent with the campaign.


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