Please merge Gladiator kit and Gladiator (Prestige Class) into this article.

The gladiator is a character type that has appeared in various forms throughout the various versions of D&D. They have been especially prominent as a character type in the Dark Sun setting, where brutal arena combat is a widespread public entertainment in the various city-states of the Tyr region.

5e[edit | edit source]

The gladiator background appears as a variant of the entertainer background in the Player's Handbook

Gladiator
Proficiencies

Skills: Acrobatics, Performance

Tools: Disguise kit, one type of musical instrument
Starting Equipment An inexpensive but unusual weapon, such as a trident or a net, the favor of an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, or a trinket), a costume, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp
Feature By Popular Demand: You can always find a place to fight for entertainment (such as a gladiatorial arena or a secret fighting club) where, if you perform, you can earn free lodging and food. You are also a bit of a local celebrity; strangers recognize you in a town where you perform, and they regard you fondly when they do.

4e[edit | edit source]

4e had several different ways to represent gladiators, both for general campaign use, and for use in the Dark Sun setting.

Backgrounds[edit | edit source]

All backgrounds here were presented for generic campaign use.

Background Benefit Information
Gladiator - Follower of Kord Skills: Athletics, Endurance As a gladiator, you came to honor Kord, the god of strength and storms.
Former Gladiator It takes four death saves to kill you You grew up fighting for the amusement of the crowd.
Exotic Gladiator Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics (Prerequisite: Dragonborn) You have fought for the enjoyment of others, perhaps in a hobgoblin city or in an illegal fighting ring in a human settlement.
Veteran of the Arena Skills: Athletics, Endurance (Prerequisite: Goliath) You are an old hand in the gladitorial arenas, making no apologies for you life of violence.

Character Themes[edit | edit source]

The gladiator theme was one of the inaugural themes introduced in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting.

Classes[edit | edit source]

Though there is no gladiator class in 4e, it is mentioned that wild battleminds are often found as gladiators in Athas. Additionally, fighters, rangers, warlords, clerics (specifically of Strength-based gods such as Kord), and rogues all had gladiator-themed feat options.

In the Dark Sun Campaign Setting, a suite of class options for fighters called the Arena Fighter was offered, including the Arena Fighting alternate class feature and a suite of Arena Fighter themed powers

Feats[edit | edit source]

Several feats appeared as enhancements to the Gladiator character theme.

The following gladiator-themed feats appeared in Dragon Magazine #368 to support gladiators in a generic campaign setting.

Heroic Tier General Gladiator Feats[edit | edit source]

Feat Category Benefit
Bloodthirsty Mien General Whenever an opponent provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can shift 1 square as an opportunity action instead of making a melee basic attack.
Divine Rage Divinity You gain the Divine Rage channel divinity power.
Double Team Warlord When making a melee attack, you can take a –2 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, another ally adjacent to the target gains a +3 bonus to damage rolls against the target until the end of your next turn.
Fearless Mind General You gain a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against charm and fear effects, and a +1 feat bonus to your Will defense against charm and fear effects.
Feign Injury General Whenever you make a successful Bluff check in combat to gain combat advantage while you are bloodied, you can also slide the target 1 square.
Grim Promise General Whenever you score a critical hit against an enemy, that enemy takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
Pin Down Fighter A prone target you are grabbing can’t stand until you end the grab or until it escapes.
Shield Fighting General Until the start of your next turn, you can forgo the shield bonus to AC and Reflex granted by a shield you wield. If you do, you gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls.
Sickening Finish General Whenever you drop an enemy to 0 hp, you gain a +1 feat bonus to all your defenses until the end of your next turn.
Staff Fighting General You can treat the quarterstaff as a double weapon. As a double weapon, the staff deals 1d8/1d8 damage and gains the defensive and off-hand properties.
Underhanded Tactics Rogue Whenever you deal Sneak Attack damage, you can forgo rolling 1 die of that damage to impose a –2 penalty to the target’s attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

Paragon Tier General Gladiator Feats[edit | edit source]

Feat Category Benefit
Brutal Finish General Whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points by using an encounter or daily attack power, each adjacent enemy takes a –2 penalty to its Will defense until the end of your next turn.
Called Shot Ranger Whenever you successfully hit a target against whom you received your Prime Shot bonus, your attack deals an additional 5 damage.
Serpent Strike Fighting General While you hold a spear in one hand and a flail in the other, targets hit by your opportunity attacks take a –2 penalty to AC until the end of your next turn.
Two-Weapon Ambush General While you wield two weapons and attack foes that grant you combat advantage, your primary weapon gains the brutal 1 property

Epic Tier General Gladiator Feats[edit | edit source]

Feat Category Benefit
Crushing Grab Fighter Each round you sustain a grab on your turn, the target of the grab takes damage equal to 5 + your Strength modifier.
Tactical Action Warlord Whenever an ally you can see spends an action point to make an extra attack and misses on that attack, that ally can make a basic attack against the same target as a free action.

Additional feats include Brutish Disposition, Disrupting Shove, Thrill of the Kill, Keep Them Close, Dual Wilder, Shield Master, Shield Basher, Athlete and Tough.

General [Arena Fighting] Feats[edit | edit source]

A category of feats existed to support gladiatorial characters of many classes - the [Arena Fighting] feats, which provided enhancements to at-will powers for fighters, rangers, warlords, and rogues based on fighting styles. These first appeared in Dragon #368 and were built upon in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting.

Feat Benefit
Arena Specialist - Circling Strike (ranger, MP 43): Before and after the attack with this exploit, your beast companion can shift 1 square.

- Disheartening Strike (rogue, MP 73): If you hit with this exploit and are trained in Intimidate, one enemy adjacent to your target takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

- Opening Shove (warlord, MP 103): If the ally shifts and ends its movement in a space adjacent to you or your target, that ally gains a +1 power bonus to AC until the end of your next turn.

- Reaping Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If you miss with this exploit, you can deal damage to the target or one enemy adjacent to the target.

Arkhosian High Style - Commander’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If the ally hits, you can shift 1 square.

- Piercing Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, the target takes a –2 penalty to AC until the end of your next turn.

- Reaping Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If you are a dragonborn, in lieu of dealing damage on a miss, you can instead use your dragon breath racial power, if available, as a free action.

Battle-Scarred Veteran - Crushing Surge (fighter, MP 7): If you have no temporary hit points when you use this exploit, you gain a +1 bonus to the attack roll.

- Deft Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you take damage from an opportunity attack provoked by the movement this exploit grants, reduce that damage by your Constitution modifier.

- Nimble Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you shift before the attack and you hit, you can also shift 1 square after the attack.

- Viper’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If the target provokes an opportunity attack from your ally and that attack hits, it deals extra damage equal to your Constitution modifier.

Binding Style - Dual Strike (fighter, MP 7): While you wield a spear and a flail, if both attacks hit, you can immobilize the target until the end of your next turn instead of dealing damage to it.

- Twin Strike (Ranger, PH 105): While you wield a spear and a flail, if you hit one creature with both attacks, you can slide that target 1 square.

Catspaw Style - Footwork Lure (fighter, MP 7): If you hit with this exploit, you can forgo shifting and instead slide the target 1 square to any space adjacent to you.

- Predator Strike (ranger, MP 43): If your beast companion has combat advantage against the target, and you hit with this exploit, you knock the target prone.

- Sly Flourish (rogue, PH 118): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, the next ally that hits the target before the end of your next turn deals extra damage equal to your Charisma modifier.

- Wolf Pack Tactics (warlord, PH 145): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, an ally adjacent to you or the target can shift 1 square.

Daring Performer - Brash Assault (warlord, MP 103): Whenever the enemy’s granted attack is a critical hit, your ally’s successful granted basic attack is also a critical hit.

- Deft Strike (rogue, PH 118): You can choose not to move 2 squares before the attack to instead make a Bluff check to gain combat advantage against the target as a free action. You can still use Bluff in this way only once per encounter.

Deft Hurler Style - Cleave (fighter, PH 77): You can forgo dealing damage to the adjacent enemy to instead make a ranged basic attack with a heavy thrown weapon. This ranged basic attack does not provoke opportunity attacks.

- Sly Flourish (rogue, PH 118): If you are a halfling and use second chance to change an attack from a hit to a miss, you can use this exploit to make a ranged attack as a free action.

- Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you are wielding two light thrown weapons and both attacks miss, you can shift 1 square after the attack

Exotic Fighting Style - Brash Assault (warlord, MP 103): If you are wielding a superior weapon and you hit with this exploit, the target does not have combat advantage against you if it makes the granted basic attack.

- Disheartening Strike (rogue, MP 73): If you are wielding a superior weapon and hit with this exploit, you can push the target 1 square

- Sure Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If you are wielding a superior weapon and hit with this exploit, you can add the weapon’s proficiency bonus to the damage roll.

- Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you are wielding a double weapon, you can shift 1 square after the first attack.

Expert Chariotteer - Careful Attack (ranger, PH 105): If you are in a moving vehicle and you hit with this exploit, you gain cover against the next attack that targets you until the end of your next turn.

- Commander’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If you are in a moving vehicle, the ally can shift 1 square after the granted attack as a free action.

- Reaping Strike (fighter, PH 77): If you are in a moving vehicle and you hit with this exploit, you gain a bonus to the damage roll equal to your Dexterity modifier.

Fluttering Leaf Style - Deft Strike (rogue, PH 118): You can move 3 squares before the attack instead of 2.

- Footwork Lure ( fighter, MP 7): You can shift 2 squares instead of 1, but you must end the shift adjacent to the target.

- Hit and Run (ranger, PH 105): If you move after the attack, you can move up to your speed + 2.

- Nimble Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you are an elf and you miss with this attack, and you use your elven accuracy racial power to reroll, you can add a +2 bonus to the reroll.

- Viper’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If the target shifts before the end of your next turn, you can also shift 1 square to a space adjacent to the target.

Grudge Style - Careful Attack (ranger, PH 105): If the target dealt you damage since the end of your last turn, you deal extra damage with this exploit equal to your Wisdom modifier.

- Furious Smash (warlord, PH 145): If the target dealt you damage since the end of your last turn, you gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll with this exploit.

- Riposte Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you hit with the immediate interrupt attack this exploit grants, the target takes a –2 penalty to AC and Ref lex defense until the end of your next turn.

- Sure Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If the target dealt you damage since the end of your last turn, you deal extra damage with this exploit equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Hunting Spider Style - Dual Strike ( fighter, MP 7): Against a target that cannot see you, you can reroll one attack roll for this exploit, but you must use the second result.

- Predator Strike (ranger, MP 43): If you and your beast companion are flanking the target, you can shift 1 square after the attack.

- Viper’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If the target shifts before the end of your next turn and your ally hits, the target also grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn.

Menacing Brute Style - Brash Assault (warlord, MP 103): If the target makes a melee basic attack against you, it grants combat advantage to one of your allies within 5 squares of you until the end of your next turn.

- Brash Strike ( fighter, MP 7): If you hit with this exploit, the target also takes a –1 penalty to Will defense until the end of your next turn.

- Circling Strike (ranger, MP 43): If you hit with this exploit and the target moves or shifts before the end of your next turn, your beast companion can shift 1 square as a free action.

Mocking Knave Style - Opening Shove (warlord, MP 103): If your ally scores a critical hit against the target with the granted melee basic attack, that ally can also push the target 1 square.

- Sly Flourish (rogue, PH 118): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, the target also takes penalty to attack rolls equal to one-half your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) until the end of your next turn.

- Tide of Iron ( fighter, PH 77): If you hit with this exploit, you can forgo pushing the target to instead pull one ally you can see 1 square and shift 1 square.

Nerathi Vanguard Style - Commander’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If you are wielding a shield when you use this exploit, one ally adjacent to you gains a +1 shield bonus to AC until the end of your next turn.

- Riposte Strike (rogue, PH 118): If the enemy attacks you before the start of your next turn, you can gain a +3 bonus to AC against that attack instead of taking the immediate interrupt attack this exploit grants.

- Sure Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If you are wielding a shield and you hit with this exploit, you gain a +1 feat bonus to AC until the end of your next turn.

- Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you’re wielding two melee weapons and both attacks miss, you gain a +2 shield bonus to AC against the target or targets of your attacks until the end of your next turn.

Spear and Shield Style - Opening Shove (warlord, MP 103): While armed with a spear and a shield, you can shift into the space the target vacated after your attack.

- Tide of Iron ( fighter, PH 77): While armed with a spear and a shield, your reach extends by 1 square for using this exploit.

Spirited Rider - Cleave ( fighter, PH 77): If you charge while mounted, you can use cleave in place of a melee basic attack.

- Commander’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If you are mounted, your mount can make the melee basic attack this power grants. If that attack hits, the target is pushed 1 square.

Starlight Duelist Style - Dual Strike ( fighter, MP 7): If both attacks hit, you can shift 1 square to a square adjacent to the target.

- Hit and Run (ranger, PH 105): If you are an eladrin, you can use your fey step racial power, if it is available, as a free action after this attack.

- Riposte Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you are an eladrin, rather than make an attack as an immediate interrupt, you can use your fey step racial power, if it is available, as an immediate reaction.

Swift Blade Style - Dual Strike ( fighter, MP 7): If both attacks hit and you are wielding a light blade in each hand, you gain a +2 feat bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls with opportunity attacks until the start of your next turn.

- Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If both attacks hit and you are wielding a light blade in each hand, you deal extra damage equal to your Dexterity modifier to one of your targets

Trickster's Blade Style - Deft Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, you can shift 1 square after the attack.

- Footwork Lure ( fighter, MP 7): You can shift 1 square before the attack.

- Nimble Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you shift after the attack, one ally adjacent to you can shift 1 square as a free action. The ally’s shift must end in a square adja-cent to the target.

- Viper’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If you have combat advantage against the target and hit with this exploit, one ally adjacent to you can shift 1 square.

True Arrow Style - Careful Attack (ranger, PH 105): If you are wielding a ranged weapon and this attack misses, you can grant combat advantage to all enemies until the start of your next turn to make a ranged basic attack against the same target as a free action.

- Sly Flourish (rogue, PH 118): With this exploit, you take no penalty to your attack roll for attacking targets at long range.

Turathi Assault Style - Crushing Surge ( fighter, MP 7): If you hit with this exploit, you gain a +1 feat bonus to Fortitude until the start of your next turn.

- Furious Smash (warlord, PH 145): If you score a critical hit with this exploit, the target takes extra damage equal to your Constitution modifier and grants combat advantage to the next one of your allies to attack it.

- Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If your first attack with this exploit hits, you gain a +1 feat bonus to the second attack’s attack roll.

Untamed Berserker Style - Brash Assault (warlord, MP 103): If your ally hits the target with the granted basic attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.

- Cleave ( fighter, PH 77): You can forgo dealing damage to an adjacent enemy to instead gain tempo-rary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.

- Disheartening Attack (rogue, MP 73): If you hit with this exploit, you can add your Strength modifier as a feat bonus to Intimidate checks until the end of the encounter.

- Predator Strike (ranger, MP 43): Your beast compan-ion can shift 1 square before the attack.

Warborn Fury Style - Commander’s Strike (warlord, PH 145): If your ally hits with the granted melee basic attack, one ally adjacent to the target can shift 1 square.

- Nimble Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you forgo shifting before or after the attack, then if the target moves or shifts before the end of your next turn, you can shift 1 square as a free action.

- Reaping Strike ( fighter, PH 77): If you’re wielding a two-handed weapon and you miss with this exploit, you deal damage equal to your Strength modifier +2.

- Riposte Strike (rogue, PH 118): If you hit with the granted immediate interrupt attack, the target takes a –3 penalty to its attack roll with the triggering attack

Warding Shield Style - Opening Shove (warlord, MP 103): If you are wielding a shield, you can add your shield bonus as a feat bonus to your attack roll.

- Tide of Iron ( fighter, PH 77): If you hit with this exploit, an ally adjacent to the target gains a +1 shield bonus to AC until the end of your next turn or until the target leaves its square—whichever comes first.

Items[edit | edit source]

The weapon known as the talid is also referred to as the "gladiator's gauntlet," and takes the form of a glove of leather studded with chitin and bone.

Paragon Paths[edit | edit source]

The rogue-based paragon path Death Dealer from Martial Power and the warlord-based paragon path Chainbinder from Martial Power 2 are noted as being gladiators in a general setting.

The Dark Sun Campaign Setting introduced the Jazst Dancer and the Gladiator Champion as gladiatorial paragon paths.

Powers[edit | edit source]

For those with the Gladiator theme, powers included Disrupting Advance, Go with the Flow, Savage Sweep, Infuriating Challenge, Bloodborn Menace, Murderous Rampage, and Bloody Blades.

Those who pursued the Gladiator Champion paragon path gained acess to the power Opening Ploy, Fail to Disappoint, and Finishing Strike.

Creatures[edit | edit source]

Gladiator enemies included the Grand Melee Gladiator, the Common Gladiator, the Mul Gladiator, the Human Gladiator Novice, the Veteran Gladiator, Undol Half-Ogre, Morrn Bladeclaw, Dragonborn Gladiator of Tiamat, Goliath Gladiator, Human Gladiator, Eladrin Feydark Gladiator, and the Marid Gladiator.

3e[edit | edit source]

Prestige Classes[edit | edit source]

A gladiator prestige class appeared in Sword & Fist.

Three prestige classes first appeared in Dragon #303 as gladiator-themed prestige classes: the invisible blade, occult slayer, and reaping mauler. These would later go on to appear in Complete Warrior.

2e[edit | edit source]

General Kits[edit | edit source]

The book Complete Fighter's Handbook{{UnknownBook}} contained a gladiator kit.

Historical Campaign Kits[edit | edit source]

The Glory of Rome sourcebook contained a gladiator kit. This kit was very similar to the kit in the Complete Fighter's Handbook, but more detailed, with options for different gladiator styles, including mirmillo, Thracian, Samnite, retiarius, dimaecheri, essedari, and eques.

Dark Sun Kits[edit | edit source]

The book Complete Gladiator's Handbook{{UnknownBook}} focused on the Dark Sun setting, contained the Arena Champion kit, the Beast Tamer kit, the Blind-Fighter kit, the Convict kit, the Gladitorial Slave kit, the Jaszt kit, the Montare kit, the Professional Gladiator kit, and the Reaver kit.

The book Defilers and Preservers, part of the Dark Sun setting, contained the Arena Mage kit.

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Armor[edit | edit source]

Gladiator armor appeared in both the Complete Fighter's Handbook and the Glory of Rome sourcebook. Gladiatorial armor included Thracian armor, Samnite armor, and Gallic armor. Supplementary pieces of armor include the parma (a shield) and the mirmillo or galeo (a kind of helmet worn by gladiators).

The Complete Fighter's Handbook included the above armor types, and also broke down the various pieces of gladiator armor including the belt, cuirass, fasciae, galerus, manicae, and the galea and myrrmillo helmets. Scutum shields are described alongside parma shields.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

Gladiator weapons appeared in both the Complete Fighter's Handbook and the Glory of Rome sourcebook. Both sources documented the gladius (as a short sword), the iaculum (a gladiator's net), and the cestus.

The Complete Fighter's Handbook also contained information on the bola, drusus, and lasso, as well as a more detailed descirption of the net.

The Glory of Rome sourcebook also contained information on the spatha (longsword) and fuxina (trident).

References[edit | edit source]

5e[edit | edit source]

5e Player's Handbook, pg. 130-131

4e[edit | edit source]

Dragon Magazine 392

Dragon Magazine 386, pg. 56

Dragon Magazine 366, pg. 58

Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn, pg. 17

Dark Sun Campaign Setting, pg. 50, 52, 53, 103, 105, 115. 121

Martial Power 2, pg. 100

Dragon Magazine Annual

3e[edit | edit source]

Sword & Fist pg. 21

2e[edit | edit source]

Complete Fighter's Handbook

Complete Gladiator's Handbook

Defilers and Preservers

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