Source: Originally, from
the Complete Fighter's Handbook--but it has been heavily modified by Jaded DM.
Attached to: Fighter
Taking/Abandoning: To become a Gladiator, the character must have spent time training as one in an arena. To abandon it, he must simply announce it.
Description: The gladiator is a showman-warrior from a society where public combat competitions are a popular sport. The gladiator is a professional warrior in this high-profile arena; for the delight (and bloodlust) of the crowds, for his own personal wealth and aggrandizement (or, if he is a slave, for the profits of his owner), he fights organized matches against humans, demi-humans, and even monstrous opponents.
For the Gladiator to appear in a campaign, the DM must establish that at least one culture has gladiatorial combats, and the Gladiator character must come from such a culture. (He need not have been born there...but he will either have been a slave there or, if he was a freeman, will feel like a naturalized citizen there.) A Gladiator PC can be an active gladiator in the arena, one who adventures in his free time (or within some other context of the current adventure), or can have formerly been a gladiator now living the life of an adventurer.
In the campaign, the Gladiator is going to be a showy, high-profile warrior. He performs dangerous stunts in combat. He attracts the attention of crowds of admirers. He receives a lot of credit for brave deeds whether he deserves the credit or not. A Gladiator can be a callous brute, a dirty arena fighter with no interests other than killing his enemy as quickly as possible and making off with his prize; or he can be a clean-limbed, heroic figure, a hero who always fights honorably in the arena and never kills when he does not have to.
Weapon Proficiencies: Required - One of the following: Gladius/Drusus (short sword), Bolas, Cestus, Lasso, Trident or Net. Gladiators should learn an even mix of normal and unusual weapons; the DM is within his rights to insist that the Gladiator learn one strange weapon proficiency (such as whip) for every "normal" proficiency (like sword, spear, etc.).
Nonweapon Proficiencies: (Recommended) - Tumbling, Charioteering, Blind-Fighting, and Endurance.
Equipment: The Gladiator may buy any sort of equipment he may need before beginning play. However, he must choose one of the following for his starting armor (if any): Thracian, Gallic, or Samnite (see the DM for more details).
Free Punching Specialization - Gladiators receive a bonus WP slot that is automatically devoted to punching.
Extra Specialization - The Gladiator also receives two more WP slots that are completely empty. He may devote them to a second specialization (but not use them for normal proficiency in two weapons). Therefore, the Gladiator receives three specializations total (one in punching, one normally given to fighters, and the extra one).
Show Off - Gladiators are trained not just to fight, but to entertain. Therefore, they receive a +1 to any maneuver or attack that is showy or flashy--this includes called shots, tumbling, DEX checks, and similar things. The DM has the final say in whether this applies to a particular technique or not.
Recognition - 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.
Show Business - 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 (whom the Gladiator doesn't immediately realize is an employee of the promoter), and so forth.
Prolonged Fights - After years spent fighting for an audience, a Gladiator often falls back into old habits. Whenever in a fight and he's being watched by an audience, he may try and prolong the fight.
If in a fight with people watching, the Gladiator will then receive a -2 to all damage rolls until the fight is over or the audience leaves. However, he can try and resist his instinct and avoid the penalty if he makes a WIS check with a -1 penalty for every two people watching.
If fighting in an arena with hundreds watching, it's assumed the WIS check fails automatically. However, say the Gladiator is attacked by a pack of ruffians in an alley. A small group of six villagers hear the noise and run to come watch. Realizing he has an audience, the Gladiator feels himself reverting back to his old habits. He can try to avoid this by making a WIS check with a -3 penalty (-1 for every 2 people). If he passes, he can fight normally. If he fails, he makes all damage rolls with a -2 penalty.
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