It all seems to fit but it rings as a little too much. Thoughts?

Req conscript, duelist, criminal, captive of war or any professional soldier.

Time 4 years, Res 10, Stat M/P
Leads Soldier, Outcast
Skills 5 pts: Crowd-wise, Arena-wise, Appropriate weapon, Brawling, Armor Training, Shield Training, Two-fisted Fighting Training, Intimidation, Wrestling
Traits 1 pt: Piecemeal, Taste of the Lash, Brutal, Crippled, Dramatic, Fearless, Gloryhound, Sparticus

New Trait: Peicemeal, Dt 3 pts, Availability, damage, and style dictates no Gladiator can manage a full set of armor. Upon buying armor choose two locations it doesn’t cover. Since gladiators rarely buy their own gear, reduce the cost the cost by one for light armor and by three for plated armor.

Is it necessary that the way in which the gladiator uses armor have to be a die trait?

The first trait would be a character trait, something that defines all gladiators alike.

Hey there,

thanks for writing this down - I just happen to be in need of a Gladiator NPC :slight_smile:

Obviously the lifepath will depend on the setting; here’s my thoughts based on what I know about gladiators in Rome.

In general all is well, except you’re right, there’s too much stuff.

  1. Requirements. Gladiators were trained in schools. They could have started out as someone else than professional soldiers. I imagine someone could have the misfortune of being born a slave and then sold to a school because of their size and lack of discipline, for example. Free men also occasionally served as gladiators, when they were desperate to earn some money. In other words, I wouldn’t set any requirements (except perhaps something like “Power above X” and perhaps “Age below Y”, not sure if this is possible?)

  2. Leads. Being a gladiator can also lead to further servitude: ex-gladiators were often bought as personal bodyguards.

  3. Skills. I think Appropriate weapon skill is essential and should be required, since this is what they were trained in when in school. They had no choice but to learn fighting. Whether they were good at working the crowd was a question of experience and personal flair. I’d put the wises last. Not sure about Brawling: they were skilled with one particular weapon style.

  4. Traits. You did put a lot of them in there. Can’t say much about Piecemeal since I don’t have armour rules at hand. I’d start with Brutal, if it is a character trait. Or something like Scarred. I’d certainly cut out Gloryhound.

As it stands, I think the lifepath is too nice - there’s nothing there that makes the player think twice about going that route and whether they really want to pay the price. Most gladiators were spared, but they certainly paid the cost.

These guys were professionals, they were trained by professionals, those that survived got damned good at their jobs. I’d consider dropping brawling in favour of boxing, or including both for the reason that brawling incorporates impromtu weapons. Boxing is about having working systems of close combat wrestling, holds and throws as well as general boxing. We know these guys trained hard to learn these kinds of techniques.

Appropriate Weapons should be their first skill, absolutely.

One thought regarding “piecemeal” - the lack of armor on certain parts of the body was a lot for show, or am I wrong? To complicate the fights, and also make them more bloody. To think that a gladiator no longer stuck in the arena would really keep wearing his armor that way seems a bit odd… I’d think he would want to cover as much of himself with armor as possible, if he knows that much about combat and what it can do to you.

And then I read it again, and noticed it only applied when buying initial armor. Which changes things - sorry! :oops: Although, it then only makes sense if gladiator is the last lifepath taken. If he moves on to another military lifepath after this, for example, I doubt his fellow soldiers would be that happy about him running around without pants…

AFAIK it’s because the armour was heavy and they had to do lots of running around - so they only armoured the essential parts of their bodies and learned to parry with what they had. Professional soldiers had the same problem. A lot of early gladiators would be prisoners of war and used their soldiering equipment - the fanciful styles were a later development.

Yes, these are not Roman gladiators. I would agree more historical gladiators would req a servant LP or a Debt based trait. Mine, in particular, I wanted to use for a homebrew world where Gladiators were plucked from the ranks of criminals and soldiers when there wasn’t a war to fight.

I am going to play-test Piecemeal before deciding if it’s superfluous. I wanted to make certain it was clear what was going on and I wanted to see the type of fight decisions made when standardly missing pieces of your armor.

Do we think there will be a little more bite to the LP if it started with Taste the Lash or Crippled? My idea here is that spending that much time in the arena would come at a heavy price.

Not making weapon skills first is a balance issue, not a simulationist one. I’m not trying to say they aren’t taught weapons, rather I’m emphasizing the change in fighting environment than in raw force. besides, 99.9% of players will pick weapon skills regardless what goes in here and will be offered in many of the required LPs. Oh, and I considered Boxing and Martial Arts but decided brawling and Wrestling was more appropriate.

Question: no doubt gladiators will be about the baddest mofos to swing steel. I was going to take out Fearless but I just think it fits how badass they really are. If this LP were in your game would every player that wanted to make a fighting character choose the Gladiator LP regardless if it fit?

I don’t think Appropriate Weapons should necessarily be first, or even in the lifepath at all. Gladiators would probably already have had significant weapon training, and while they DID train heavily, what separates them from other combat characters is the performative aspect. I’d allow any outcast lifepath to be a prerequisite - any societal dregs could get thrown in the ring. Possibly Wild Animal-wise? Possibly Broken? Brawling is good because it allows you to use ANY weapon, albeit unscientifically. I’m also not sure it deserves the extra M.

But, if you are a gladiator, why to buy armor at all? Your master will give you the armor that he deems appropriate. And 10 resources points may be too much.

It seems too much for what it is. As it is, it’s like you took squire (already very good) and souped it up, reducing the time and adding better traits. Fewer skill points, though. Oddly few considering how many skills you have there. Most LPs have around the same number of skill points as skills.

First, I don’t think +1 M,P fits. And combined with the short (4 year) duration, it’s a very powerful path for getting very high starting stats. I’d put it at +1P. If you really want to emphasize that they improve their minds (how exactly do you see that fitting in your setting?) then make it +1M/P.

Second, the resource points seem too high at 10. They get paid more than a city guard? But they taste the lash too? I don’t get it. I’d put it at 4 or 5. But maybe you’re picturing it differently than I am.

Last, you crammed in too many traits and skills. Take out theatrics for sure - read the skill description and sample Obs. Are these guys going to be applying stage makeup and disguising men as women? For me, intimidation would be out too - intimidation is a great way to make somebody stand down and win a confrontation without fighting. In the arena, your opponent’s not going anywhere - he has to fight you and he’s come prepared to fight. Keep in mind that your opponent is also a gladiator and thus a fearless gloryhound or whatever. I don’t want to look up all the traits, but you should pare it down too. If you want to keep in fearless, by all means go ahead. It’s good to have a trait like that available to tempt people to take the LP.

I read it as fame. Good gladiators (and this one was good, or he wouldn’t have survived) would be as famous as good sportsmen.

Then take that as a trait. Renowned Fighter - +1D Reputation in your city for being a prodigious badass.

Good input guys. Okay, Theatrics are out. +1M/P. I dunno what I was thinking there. The resource points are based on equipment they will start with as well as affiliations/reputations/relationships. Resources is what you start with, not how much you are paid. Keep in mind, my gladiators for this setting aren’t naturally slaves and also keep in mind this is based on having survived as a gladiator for 4 years.

Oh, and the few skill points compared to multiple skills shows they are specialized. A particular gladiator won’t be trained in all of the skills and if he is he will be a generalist.

You must give the LP one skill point per skill, one skill point plus one per skill, or two skill points per skill. (Monster Burner, page 87.)

This is my conservative version (for roman gladiators). I hope you don’t main.

Time 4 years Res 5 Stat +1P Leads Court, Serviture, Outcast
Skills: 6 pts: Appropriate Weapon, Shield Trainning, Crowd-wise, Arena-wise, Wild Animals-wise
Traits: 2 pts: Infamia, Brutal, Tasting the Lash, Crippled, Spartacus
Requirements: This can’t be the second character lifepath.

I created a new die trait: Infamia, and put it first in the trait list of the lifepath (as Diseased is the first required trait for Ratcatcher and Zealot it is for Cultist).

Infamia Dt
Maybe the gladiator was a soldier once, or a captive of war, or maybe he or she chose to became a gladiator, but he’s a slave now. He has not legal or social standing. He suffers a +1D infamus reputation for all settings except Outcast.

Oh yeah that is good! steals immediately
Nitpick: wild animal-wise instead of lion-wise - they had to fight all manners of beasts.

Btw, Eruditus, I love the “Spartacus” trait.

Changed. But, what about making individuals wises? Lion-wise, boar-wise, bulldog-wise (?), etc.

And I made Infamia mandatory.

Note: I removed Armor Trainning from the lifepath because the romans preferred to watch the gladiators fight with little clothing (for example, women “with spear in hand and breasts exposed”), and because if you don’t have Armor Trainning you must consider using Half-Leggings and Half-Sleeves (just a piece here and another there, y’know).

…“Appropriate animal”-wise? But I think they didn’t fight one kind of animal exclusively, so I’d leave it as a generic thing. I’d maybe even limit it to Dangerous animal-wise (because they sure weren’t fighting squirrels).

As for armour, they had lightly armoured gladiators fighting heavily armoured gladiators, to contrast their speed of movement. On the other hand the heavily armoured gladiators were supposed to be hampered by that weight… so I guess no armur training makes sense :slight_smile:

Here are my 2 cents.

Give your Gladiator LP no Leads out. Once you’re in, the only way out is to become a Champion.

Create a Gladiator Champion LP. This leads out to City, Outcast, Villager, Noble Court, Professional Soldier.

Also, Cold-hearted, Merciless, and Cold-Blooded would be lower-powered replacements for Fearless. Give Fearless to the Champion LP.

Dammit, Don, I told you, the weapons are supposed to be Inappropriate! :slight_smile: