Myrmidons to Freedom
Gladiatoral combatants are slaves forced into lives of bloodshed for the macabre entertainment of the privileged citizenry. These warriors would normally find themselves chained by the nobility of ruthless kingdoms such as Thay, or performing for the sadistic overlords of Zhentarim. Trained by their masters to be brutal killers and display audacious showmanship, a given gladiator may hold combat skills from wide range of battle styles, similar to a barbarian or fighter. A gladiator may be of any race, but typically comes from the mass of common folk without non-magical abilities, turned to hardened warriors by circumstance of their enslavement. Given their raw ferocity and grit, Gladiators are not combatants to be taken lightly. Some gladiators fight hoping to regain lost freedom, others do so for the fanfare and glory, while still others have long won their freedom in the sands of the arena yet still cannot resist the champion’s purse and the triumphant roar of the crowd.
Creating a Gladiator
When creating a gladiator, take a moment to consider why or how you became recruited into this grisly and barbaric arena. Did you lose your citizenship due to an incredibly heavy debt which you could never hope to repay? Did an ambitious relative sell you into slavery in order to seize your inheritance? Are you a hard boiled criminal, enslaved for your vicious crimes and now forced to kill before all the public eye? Your conditions of enslavement may play a great part into your choice to become an adventurer. Perhaps you have won your freedom and seek a place to put your combat skills to use, or maybe you yet remain a slave to a powerful wizard or noble who also happens to be a member of your adventuring party. As a gladiator your status, free or enslaved, will also factor into how you interact with the world, so speak to your DM and fellow players to help prepare for what to expect.
Consider what style of gladiator you want to be, both in terms of combat skill and personality. In the history of our world, the term “gladiator” is in the traditional sense specifically refers to a warrior who uses a gladius or short sword. The term has by now encompassed the entire class of enslaved warriors, forced to fight to the death in staged battles of bloody entertainment. With what sort of weapons have you been rigorously trained? A Retiarius, for example, uses a net to entangle and confuse enemies while stabbing them to death with a trident. A Murmillo has the versatility of a sword and shield in tandem. Think of what weapons you would prefer to have used in the arena, and how you used these weapons to violently please the cheering mobs.
- Quick Build
You can make a Gladiator quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength should be your highest ability score, followed by Charisma. Second, choose the Entertainer background, Gladiator variant. Third, choose your equipment based on what subclass you have your sight set on, and have a complementing unusual weapon from your background.
As a Gladiator you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per Gladiator level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Gladiator level after 1st
Armor: Heavy armor, medium armor, light armor, and shields
Weapons: Simple & Martial weapons
Saving Throws: Constitution and Charisma
Skills: Pick two from Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Performance, Sleight of Hand, or Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) Chain mail or (b) Shield or (c) Scale mail
- (a) a spear or trident or (b) Two shortswords or (c) a heavy and/or two-handed weapon (please see the talk page page) or (d) a pair of cestii
- (a) a longbow with a quiver of 20 ammunition or (b) a pouch with 40 darts
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 6d4x10 gp in funds.
|2nd||+2||Learn a Trade|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|5th||+3||Extra Attack, Fast Movement|
|6th||+3||Weapon of Choice|
|7th||+3||Combat Specialization feature|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement|
|10th||+4||Combat Specialization feature|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|13th||+5||Combat Specialization feature|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|17th||+6||Combat Specialization feature|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement|
Regardless of your freedom or lack thereof, you were once bound to the arena and a life of endless battle. Whether you wanted this or not, this is now shapes your existence. Fighting to to the death on a daily basis, you endure much toil and gratuitous violence, making you hardier than most. Starting 1st level, any time you must make a Constitution saving throw, you may choose to succeed it automatically. You cannot use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
Learn a Trade
Gladiators, especially rich and successful ones, occasionally have spare time when recovering between their brutal bouts and harsh training. Within these moments of relaxation, you have taken the time to learn a craft or practice gaming to earn some more coin among your fellow slaves. Starting 2nd level, you gain proficiency in one instrument, gaming set or artisans tool of your choice. Alternatively, you may double your proficiency for an instrument, gaming set or artisans tool in which you are already proficient
Starting 3rd level, you may choose a Gladiator Archetype through which you begin to narrow your focus as a warrior to specialize in a particular field of combat. Choose one from the sub-classes all detailed at the end of the class description. You gain a feature from your subclass at 3rd level, and further features at 7th, 10th, 13th, and 17th levels.
Ability Score Increase
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Starting 5th level, you learn to be quick on your feet. If you’re too slow, it could spell death, even if the difference was a mere second. You gain an additional 10 feet of movement speed.
Every attack counts in the bloody arena. That’s why it’s good to be able to deal more of them. Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class and to four when you reach 20th level in this class.
Weapon of Choice
Your specialization skills really show now, as you seem unstoppable wielding your weapon of choice. Starting 6th level, when you miss an attack with a weapon you are proficient in, you may instead choose to have it hit. You cannot use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.
Kind of like swimsuit models, but bathed in blood, gladiators can elicit cheers and emotion by showing off their ripped physiques and gaining favor through displays of muscle. Starting 9th level, whenever you should use your Charisma modifier for a check, saving throw or setting a DC, you may instead substitute it with your Strength modifier.
Your cry can be one of victory or one of the beginnings of battle. Whatever it is, it is a signal from a gladiator to the audience as well as to the opponent. Starting 14th level, you gain the following battle cries to use at your disposal:
- Let’s Fight!
- You emit a shout with an action which riles and rallies. Creatures friendly to you gain advantage in weapon attack rolls until the start of their next turn.
- You’re Dead!
- You bellow at a creature that can see and hear you with an action. The creature must succeed a Charisma saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier, or become frightened until the end of their next turn.
- First Blood
- You make this cry with a bonus action after you successfully make an attack on another creature. You become emboldened and empowered. You have advantage in attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
You may use each cry once, regaining use after you finish a short or long rest.
In a way, Gladiators are like burly sportsmen. They spend a lot of time hacking and fighting away that their brains sometimes shrivel or get damaged from impact. This is a bit irrelevant in their line of work; the cheers of the crowd drive them to fight harder and harder without thought. Starting 15th level, you become disadvantaged in Intelligence saving throws. However, you gain advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of your allies (or creatures friendly to you) is within 5 feet of you and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Eventually, Gladiators become masters of a weapon in their own right. Starting 18 level, when you make a successful attack with a weapon you are proficient in, you may roll a d4. The damage you deal is multiplied by the result. You may use this feature once, regaining use after you finish a short or long rest.
Starting 3rd level, you become a gladiator fully fledged to a certain Combat Specialization. Choose from one of the subclasses below.
Gallii are gladiators that are commonly very heavy-set in armor and wielding large, heavy crushing weapons.
Starting 3rd level, your size grants you a great deal of ability to deal damage. When you make a successful attack with a weapon you are proficient in, you may add an extra damage die to the damage roll. You may use this feature a number of times equal your Strength modifier. You regain all uses after finishing a long rest.
Starting 7th level, your tough body is toned against the mundane effects of weapons. You gain resistance to nonmagical slashing and bludgeoning damage.
Starting 10th level, your hulking body intimidates others and not the other way around. You are immune to being frightened and you gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill. If you already have proficiency in this skill, you may double your proficiency bonus.
- Corporal Power
Starting 13th level, you may automatically succeed any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution saving throw. You must complete a long rest before using this feature again.
Starting 17th level, when you make an attack with a nonmagical weapon you are proficient in, you may ignore all resistances and immunities.
Hoplomachi specialize in a mid-ranged fight with their proficiency in spears and such polearms.
You are a sole polearm technician now. Particularly those with pointy or sharp ends and edges. Starting 3rd level, you may double your proficiency in spears, pikes, glaives, and halberds.
- Versatile Hander
Simply throwing something doesn’t quite have the same feel as thoroughly skewering something up close. Starting at 7th level,When you make a melee attack with a weapon with the reach or versatile property, you may increase the damage die by 1 (e.g., 1D4 becomes 1D6). If it is a weapon you have doubled proficiency in, then you may double the damage die instead (e.g., 1D4 becomes 2D4).
- Reverse End
Such long weapons can be used on both ends. Starting 10th level, when you take the Attack action and attack with a glaive, halberd, pike or spear at melee range, you can use a bonus action to make an additional melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.
Staying just out of your reach is a misconception since your reach as a polearm user is extended. Starting at 13th level, While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your weapon’s range of reach.
- Power Thrust
Your frenetic mood as a gladiator empowers your attacks. When you make an attack with a polearm or spear, Starting at 17th level, you may add your Charisma modifier to your attack roll in addition to your Strength modifier. On a successful attack, you also add your Charisma modifier to the damage.
A retiarius is an exotic fighter who uses a net to snare enemies and a trident to spear them like fish.
People won’t be laughing when they’ve been caught in your net like a fish, ready to be speared. Starting 3rd level, you may make an attack with a net using your bonus action this action ignores all penalties regarding the use of nets. You double your proficiency bonus in nets.
The nets main purpose is to pull victims into range for you to poke them with holes. Starting 7th level, when you successfully have restrained another creature in your net, you may reel them up to 10 feet closer to you, costing no action on your part.You may also use a bonus action to retrieve your net after a failed throw.
The best part of a retiarius job is being able to poke the captive to death. Starting 10th level, your proficiency in tridents and spears doubles. You also gain advantage in attack rolls against creatures that are restrained
- Iron Net
Nets are underrated. It’s possibly due to the fact they break easily. Starting 13th level, creatures caught in your net have disadvantage in Strength checks to escape it. Your nets AC also increases to 18.
Your expertise allows you to strike with ease, precision, and power. Starting 17th level, when you successfully attack a creature caught in your net with a trident, the damage you deal is increased by an amount equal to your level.
Murmillos are gladiators wielding a sword and shield like a knight.
You are a guarded fighter type with your shield. Starting 3rd level, when you are wielding a shield, you gain an additional +2 to AC. You cannot be wearing armor to have this benefit.
- Cover Strike
The shield is often a tactic used so you can draw an enemy in and attack them when they make an opening. Starting 7th level, when you are successfully attacked at melee range and you have a shield in one hand and a weapon in the other, you may expend a reaction to halve the damage dealt to you and make a retaliatory strike against the attacker creature.
- Perfect Guard
Starting 10th level, when you use Cover Strike, you may reduce the damage you take to 0 instead of halving it. You may use this feature once, regaining use after you finish a short or long rest.
- Stunning Reversal
Your retaliating strike coming from behind your shield is powerful and surprises enemies with your burst of action. Starting at 13th level when you use Cover Strike and successfully make an attack against the attacker creature, you can force the creature to make a Charisma saving throw against a DC equal to half the damage dealt, rounded down + your Charisma modifier. On a failed save, the creature is stunned until the start of their next turn. On success, they are unaffected by the effects of this feature for the next 24 hours. You may use this feature once, regaining use after you finish a short or long rest.
- Able Knight
Starting 17th level, you are essentially a knight in your handling of sword and shield. Your ability as a gladiator bolsters your defense. When using your shield, you may add your Charisma modifier to your AC.
Hence the name of the archer constellation, sagittarii are expert long-range shooters.
- Reflex Bow
A good archer uses the weapon enough that even its physical imperfections do not inhibit its range. Starting 3rd level, when you use a longbow, the range becomes 200/800. When using a shortbow, the weapon range becomes 120/400.
- Faster Reload
Reloading can be such a pain. It’s one of the big drawbacks to using ranged weapons with ammunition. But you’re skilled enough to be able to avoid that. Starting 7th level, when you make an attack with a ranged weapon that has the reloading property, you automatically reload, while the ammo fired is still flying, out of muscle memory. You do so with no action needed on your part.
Distance means nothing to you. Staring 10th level, you take no disadvantage attacking a creature with a ranged weapon’s long range.
Starting 13th level, you can’t be tricked easy. Hiding does nothing to sway your aim. Creatures cannot benefit from half or three quarters cover from your ranged weapon attacks.
- Armor Pierce
Starting 17th level, your ranged weapon attacks ignore light and medium armors and shields when you make an attack roll.
This type of gladiator specializes in two-sword fighting.
- Two Hander
The whole point of this specialization is to wield two weapons at a time! Starting 3rd level, you may wield a weapon in each hand. The weapons may not possess the heavy, ranged or two-handed properties. When you make an attack with one weapon, you may expend a bonus action to attack with the other. The second weapon uses your proficiency bonus but does not add your ability modifier.
- Effective Strength
You work out your offhand attacks as you go and they get stronger as you do. Starting 7th level, you may add your ability modifier to your second weapon’s attack rolls.
Dual wielding looks pretty cool and intimidating. This helps you win some points in battle, as you dance with your two blades. Starting 10th level, when you use “You’re Dead!” from Battle Cry and you have a weapon in each hand, you may force the creature to fail the saving throw automatically.
With two blades, you’re like a force of nature in battle, using one to block while another swings to blindside your opponent. Starting 13th level, when you are attacked at melee range and you have a weapon in each hand, you may expend an action use one of your weapons to block the attack entirely and take no damage. You immediately follow up by making a retaliatory attack with your other weapon in hand at the attacking creature. You may use this feature a number of times equal your Strength modifier, regaining use after finishing a long rest.
- Slashing Frenzy
Starting 17th level, when you kill an enemy with a weapon attack, your next attack rolls with advantage and is considered a critical if it hits. You cannot use this feature again unless you complete a short or long rest.
Much like a monk, but with protection for their hands, cestii bludgeon enemies to death with blows of their fists.
- Unarmored Defense
Cestii commonly wear no armor whatsoever. Starting 3rd level, your AC when you wear no armor becomes 14 + your Dexterity modifier.
You can’t just punch once. You gotta do it again! Starting 7th level, when you attack with your cestii or make an unarmed strike, you may make an additional attack with your other hand using your bonus action if your other hand is free.
- Heavy Fists
Starting 10th level, your fists accumulate more power as you grow in adeptness of using them. You may double your proficiency bonus when making an attack with your cestii or an unarmed strike. In addition, the damage die you deal with your cestus or unarmed strikes becomes 1d6. If you deal a higher damage die, then this has no effect.
You are a bare knuckle kind of fighter that can wrestle a bear to death like Hercules tamed the Nemean lion and Cerberus. Starting 13th level, when you roll to grapple a creature, you roll with advantage. Additionally, on the turn you successfully grapple a creature, you may use your bonus action to make an attack on that creature.
You have no qualms about beating a cowering opponent into submission. Starting at 17th level you have advantage in attack rolls against creatures that are frightened or grappled.
Laquearii treat their opponents much like beasts, using a whip to either keep them at bay or snare them at close range before gutting them with a dagger or sword.
You are a person who keeps enemies at bay. Starting 3rd level, you may make a special attack with a whip at a creature in range. The target must make a Charisma saving throw equal to 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. Upon failure, they take the normal damage and become frightened until the end of their next turn. On success, they still take the damage from your weapon but become immune to this effect for 24 hours. You may use this feature a number of times equal your Charisma modifier, regaining use after you finish a long rest.
- Whip Master
Your whip is a very distinguishing fighting style. Starting 7th level, you may double your proficiency in whips. You may also double your proficiency bonus for the DC of your Tame feature.
Starting 10th level, you are very adept at using the energy of an audience or a performance to push your own skill. You may add your Charisma modifier to all attack rolls you make with your whip.
Starting 13th level, you are able to use your whip as a trap on enemies. When you successfully attack a creature with your whip, the creature becomes grappled and must succeed all the checks as usual to escape starting on their turn.
Starting 17th level, if you snare a creature within melee range with Flick, you may make up to two additional attacks with a dagger weapon on the same turn with a bonus action. You may use this feature a number of times equal your Strength modifier, regaining use after you finish a long rest.
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Gladiator class, you must meet these prerequisites: Strength and Charisma 13
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Gladiator class, you gain the following proficiencies: Any three simple or martial weapons of your choice