Gladiator (3.5e Class)

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Gladiators are a style of combatant that find themselves precariously between Barbarian and fighter. With a wide variety of weapons to choose from, Gladiators go into the arena to test themselves for combat in ways that normal fighters and barbarians do not. The ring becomes their mark of honor, and their legacy proceeds these battle readied warriors. Fearsome for their legendary ability to find the upper hand in combat, a Gladiator is no one to be trifled with.

Being a Gladiator[edit]

Role: Much like the fighter, the gladiator excels at pitched combat. The gladiator, though, does not depend on heavy armor and headstrong assaults but on agility, timing, and expertise in a subset of weaponry. Gladiators fight lightly armored, allowing them a great degree of mobility. Many depend on the classic sword and shield, but others specialize in the use of the net or other unusual weapons.

Alignment: Any nonlawful. In addition, the persona a gladiator portrays in the arena may be a certain alignment, or at least generally good or evil even if the gladiator is of a different alignment.

Starting Gold: (2d4+2 x 100) gp (700 gp). A gladiator starts out (2d4+2 x 100) gp in debt to his stable for food, training, gear, or any prior debts, and he cannot adventure or acquire additional gear until the debt to the gladiator stable is paid off. It can be paid off by another person, who may very well have their own terms of repayment or via their winnings in the arena. The most unscrupulous of stable owners may also charge for healing to keep the gladiator in virtual enslavement via constantly mounting debt.

Starting Equipment and Money: Gladiators generally start with minimal equipment and, due to their circumstances, no money. At first level, a gladiator has a longsword, cestus, scissor, javelin, light or heavy shield, and a suit of basic gladiator armor. Once they are out adventuring, they may acquire money and treasure as per normal adventurer. Gladiators are generally scheduled to fight once per week to allow for healing and recovery. More experienced gladiators with a larger draw may only fight every two weeks or maybe even only every month.

Starting Age: Young-Mid

Table: The Gladiator

Hit Die: d12

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +2 +3 +1 +1 Combat expertise, exotic armor proficiency (partial), gladiator style, gladiator training
2nd +3 +4 +1 +1 Uncanny dodge, physical development, bravery +1, improved gladiator style
3rd +4 +4 +1 +1 Gladiator defense, shake it off, damage reduction 1/-
4th +5 +5 +2 +2 Bonus feat
5th +6/1 +5 +2 +2 Improved uncanny dodge, careful stance, melee smash +1
6th +7/+2 +6 +3 +3 Bravery +2
7th +8/+3 +6 +3 +3 Damage reduction 2/-
8th +9/+4 +7 +3 +3 Bonus feat
9th +10/+5 +7 +4 +4 Fleet
10th +11/+6/+1 +8 +4 +4 Bravery +3, damage reduction 3/-, melee smash +2
11th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Bleeding critical
12th +13/+8/+3 +9 +5 +5 Bonus feat
13th +14/+9/+4 +9 +5 +5 Damage reduction 4/-
14th +15/+10/+5 +10 +5 +5 Bravery +4
15th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +6 +6 Defensive roll, melee smash +3
16th +17/+12/+7/+2 +11 +6 +6 Bonus feat, damage reduction 5/-
17th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Fleet
18th +19/+14/+9/+4 +12 +7 +7 Bravery +5
19th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +7 +7 Damage reduction 6/-
20th +21/+16/+11/+6/+1 +13 +7 +7 Bonus feat, melee smash +4, arena king/queen

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Perform (act) (Cha), Ride (Dex), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Gladiator.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Gladiators are proficient with all simple weapons, plus all martial melee and thrown weapons. They are proficient with light armor and medium armor and shields, including tower shields.

Master of Exotic Weapons (Ex): The gladiator uses a variety of unusual weapons in his bloody career and the wide variety of ethnic and national backgrounds among gladiators leads naturally towards extensive cross-training with the tools of their trade. It is worth noting gladiators will only rarely learn or use ranged weapons except for exotic ones. At levels 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17, a gladiator gains a bonus Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat in an exotic weapon of his choice. All Concentration checks are equal to 10 + damage dealt unless otherwise noted.

Master of Melee Combat (Ex): Gladiators gain expertise with melee weapons quickly and have a good innate understanding of how various types of weapons function. This presents earliest with the common tools of their trade, but as time goes on, becomes more broadened.

At 2nd level, the gladiator gains Weapon Focus: longsword as a bonus feat, Weapon Focus: cestus at 4th, Weapon Focus: scissor at 6th, Improved Unarmed Strike at 8th, Improved Grapple at 10th, Improved Shield Bash at 12th, and a bonus combat feat of the character’s choice at 14th, 16th, and 18th levels. These bonus feats cannot be used for ranged weapons or attacks of any kind (though feats gained from advancing a level can be used for ranged weapons or attacks).

City Bound (Ex): Gladiators gain a +3 circumstance bonus to all Acrobatics, Stealth, Climb, and Survival checks in urban terrain; i.e. cities and towns (including arenas). Castles, fortresses, villages, and other small or isolated settlements provide no bonus or penalty. However, wilderness, dungeons, and other undeveloped or ruined areas invoke a -3 circumstance penalty to all Acrobatics, Stealth, Climb, and Survival checks.

Reputation (Ex): A gladiator develops a reputation during his career, and the reputation can go up and down throughout that career. Reputation is used to determine the DC of the gladiator’s Perform skill checks during combat. The higher the gladiator’s reputation, the lower the DC, representing a well-loved gladiator’s ability to easily get a crowd on his side.

A 1st-level gladiator’s reputation is 10 + 1d3.

Reputation increases by 1 point each time the gladiator advances a level, each time he wins a fight, and sometimes at the GM’s discretion (for acting in persona outside of the arena, for instance). Reputation decreases by 1 point for each fight the gladiator loses, for each time the gladiator acts out of persona (beginning at 3rd level), and sometimes at the GM’s discretion (for refusing to meet adoring fans, for example).

Reputation can also affect how others treat the gladiator outside of the arena. Shop owners may give a highly reputable gladiator a discount, while tavern owners might jack up the price of ale for a much despised gladiator.

-1 or lower || 25+ || +25% 0 || 23 || +15% 1-6 || 21 || +10% 7-9 || 19 || +5% 10-12 || 17 || 0 13-15 || 15 || 0 16-19 || 13 || 0 20-23 || 11 || -5% 24-27 || 10 || -10% 28-29 || 9 || -15% 30 || 8 || -20% 31+ || 7 || -25%
Table: Reputation
Reputation Score Perform DC GP adjustment

Bloodsport Showman (Ex): Gladiators do not just fight, they fight to entertain, and as such, during combat they may add either their Strength or Dexterity bonus (not both) to any Charisma-based skill check.

The gladiator receives an additional +1 bonus to these skill checks at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.

In addition, combat maneuvers such as trip, disarm, feint, and sunder — maneuvers that provide a distinct edge in battle but do not directly hurt one’s opponent - all get a +1 bonus at the same levels, as they add more variety than just hammering one another with blows. Such techniques draw out the spectacle and showcases the gladiator’s skill and prowess more fully than a quick kill would, and give the audience a better show for their entrance fee. Likewise, a gladiator will often extend a fight by resorting to grappling if possible.

A gladiator may add his Charisma bonus to his CMB if he makes a successful Perform (act) skill check (DC based on the gladiator’s reputation). The Perform check is made each round of combat as a free action on the gladiator’s turn. The character then fights dramatically, including feigning injuries or fatigue, making flashy moves, brandishing weapons, taunting their opponent, and other impractical but entertaining techniques.

In addition, the gladiator may make a Bluff roll against their opponent as a standard action. The Bluff is opposed by the opponents Sense Motive. If successful, the Bluff provokes an immediate attack of opportunity from the opponent, which must be taken and which counts towards the number of attacks of opportunity the opponent gets in a round.

Exerceo (Ex): Exerceo is a method of mock combat for exhibitions instead of life-and-death battle. A gladiator rolls a Perform (act) check (DC based on the gladiator’s reputation) instead of normal attack rolls to execute a wild series of swings and parries of his opponent’s weapon, sometimes with acrobatic flourishes.

This may be done while using wasters (wooden swords designed for drill and show), but very often exerceo is performed with real weapons. A successful roll means that his techniques are convincing to the observer.

However, a successful Sense Motive check by the crowd (DC is equal to the gladiator’s Perform check total) will reveal that even had the techniques not been parried, the gladiator’s weapon would never have made contact with his opponent.

Ideally, the gladiator uses exerceo against an opponent who is also using exerceo, for an exciting but completely fake encounter, dragging out the fight for the benefit of the crowd. Using exerceo against an opponent genuinely trying to do one harm is extremely risky, with no benefit, and gives the opponent an extra attack of opportunity each round exerceo is used.

When using exerceo, failed Perform checks require an immediate Dexterity check (the DC equals the opponents AC); if that check is failed, the gladiator has accidentally struck his opponent and must roll for damage as usual. If the result of the Dexterity check is a natural 1, the gladiator scores an automatic critical against his opponent.

Persona (Ex):

Starting at 3rd level, a gladiator develops a distinct persona in the arena, with signature moves, personality, and appearance. As such he must make a successful Perform (act) or Perform (oratory) check (and, if he has an elaborate costume, a Disguise check as well) before entering combat or suffer a -3 penalty to all combat rolls. The DC of all skill checks is based on the gladiator’s reputation score.

His persona must have a name, a developed appearance and style, even it’s own alignment, all of which can be different than the gladiator’s, and must be maintained to stay in character. If a gladiator violates his persona, he must make an immediate Charisma check (DC 25) or lose the audience’s favor. Loosing the audience’s favor results in a -3 penalty to all rolls (including damage) for the duration of the combat. The gladiator’s reputation also goes down by one point if the Charisma check fails.

When the persona is first developed and every four levels afterwards (at 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th levels), the persona evolves, developing a new trait that is in effect only when the gladiator is successfully in character. The first trait chosen at 3rd level must be either Face (representing the good guy/hero) or Heel (representing the bad guy/villain).

   Backstabber: A backstabber is a gladiator who takes advantage of his opponents lack of readiness or his disadvantages, striking from behind or the side when his opponent least expects it. The backstabber trait gives the gladiator a +5 bonus to attack and damage versus any opponent that is flat-footed, blinded, or has a back to the gladiator. The target also suffers a -2 penalty to Dexterity until healed because of the nature of the wound. Alternatively, a gladiator using the Exerceo class feature adds the +5 bonus to his Perform check in the same situations, and the target suffers no extra damage.
   Berserker: The berserker is a gladiator that is wild in combat, howls like a beast or grunts and growls, cuts his arms or forehead and displays the blood to the crowd, and generally acts in a barbaric fashion. The berserker trait gives a gladiator a +5 bonus to Intimidate and Perform (act) checks.
   Braggart: The braggart is a gladiator that makes loud boasts before, during and after a match. He claims no one can beat him, that he is the best there is. The braggart may even antagonize and challenge members of the viewing crowd. The braggart trait gives a gladiator a +5 bonus to Perform (oratory) and Bluff checks.
   Daredevil: The daredevil is a gladiator that makes dangerous moves, performs reckless stunts and takes unnecessary risks in combat, though always with extreme confidence. The daredevil trait gives a gladiator a +5 bonus to Acrobatics checks. Once per combat, the daredevil can make a charge attack without needing a straight line to the target, and can take a full attack at the end of the charge, though the gladiator suffers a -5 penalty to AC for one full round beginning when he starts his charge.
   Face: A face is a hero in the arena. A face never backstabs or cheats, and plays the role of the “good guy” for the crowd. The crowd loves a face and cheer for him to win time and time again. The face trait gives a gladiator a +2 bonus to Charisma. The face also receives a +2 bonus to his reputation score.
   Heel: A heel is the villain, the “bad guy”. He is the one the crowd loves to hate, and they boo the heel loudly every time. The heel is often is a backstabber and/or a berserker. The heel trait gives a gladiator a +2 bonus to his Charisma, but suffers a -2 penalty to his reputation score.
   Joker: The joker is a gladiator who pulls practical jokes on his opponents and makes derisive or derogatory jokes about his opponent to the crowd. The joker trait causes the gladiator’s opponent to make a Will save (DC equal to the joker’s Perform (oratory) check) or suffer a -5 penalty to attack and armor class for 1d4 rounds as he fights in a wild and enraged manner. The effects of multiple jokes do not stack, but when the penalty wears off, the joker can make more jokes and cause the opponent to make a new Will save. Once the opponent makes a successful Will save, he is immune to the joker’s jokes for the rest of the day.
   Showy: A showy gladiator is one who customizes his armor in such a way that it takes on an exotic and visually stunning appearance. It might include overly large shoulder guards, a helmet with long animal manes or tails, spikes on the leg or arm protection, a long, flowing cape, or any other sort of dramatic addition. No addition to the armor actually adds to the armor bonus of the armor. The showy extras do give the gladiator a +5 bonus to Intimidate and Perform (oratory), but the gladiator suffers a -2 penalty to Dexterity because of the unwieldy additions.

Signature Move: A signature move is a particular combination of moves that is used time and again by a gladiator, which the crowd comes to expect from the gladiator. The signature move is a combination of a move action (usually acrobatic in nature) greater than 5 ft. and but no more than double the gladiator’s normal movement rate, a combat maneuver, and a single melee attack. The gladiator could also choose to make his signature move a move action followed by two combat maneuvers, or two combat maneuvers and a melee attack also.

When the signature move trait is chosen, the gladiator picks the specific types of move actions, combat maneuvers and melee attacks that make up his signature move. An example might be to Tumble up to the opponent, make a Trip attempt, and then strike with a cestus. The signature move combination cannot be changed once it is determined without taking the signature move trait a second time. The signature move trait allows the gladiator to take all three actions as a full round action (even though normally all three could not be taken in a round) once per combat.

The gladiator receives no bonus to any attacks beyond normal bonuses from successful results of the signature move (for example, if the gladiator successfully trips his opponent, the opponent is treated as prone for any melee attacks that follow.

Warrior Sublime (Su): At 20th level, the gladiator is essentially a living battle-god. Their fame is such that they are practically worshipped by fans. So strong is the devotion that in fact gladiators actually draw strength from their cheering spectators. When the gladiator first enters the arena, the roar of the crowd is so overwhelming and filled with such power that he benefits from two of the following powers for the duration of the combat (roll randomly or choose):

   Awe: the gladiator seems to grow and swell with power as he receives the adoration of the crowd, which gives a +10 bonus to the gladiator’s Intimidate checks.
   Bear’s Endurance: the gladiator is filled with the energy of the crowd, and he receives a +4 bonus to Constitution.
   Black and Blue: each blow from a bludgeoning weapon — including hands and fists — deals an extra 1d6 non-lethal damage to the target.
   Bull’s Strength: the roar of the crowd gives the gladiator the adrenaline to perform amazing feats of strength and deal mighty damage, and he receives a +4 bonus to Strength.
   Cat’s Grace: the roar of the crowd sparks the gladiator’s ability to perform nimble maneuvers, and he receives a +4 bonus to Dexterity.
   Eagle’s Splendor: the gladiator is filled with selfconfidence by the adoring crowd, and he receives a +4 bonus to Charisma.
   Good Fortune: the crowd’s adoration brings the gladiator good luck, and their reactions and noise cues him to his opponent’s intentions. As a result, the gladiator may reroll any three attack rolls (including combat maneuver attempts and uses of the exerceo class feature), ability checks, skill checks, and/or saving throws over the course of the combat, and can choose which of the two rolls to use.
   Lizard Skin: the crowd’s roaring adoration toughens the gladiator to his opponent’s blows, and he receives a +2 natural armor bonus.


A gladiator who become lawful cannot advance as gladiator but he retain all his gladiator abilities.

Epic Gladiators[edit]

Table: The Epic Gladiator

Hit Die: d12

Level Special
22nd Bonus Combat Feat
24th Bonus Combat Feat
26th Bonus Combat Feat
28th Bonus Combat Feat
30th Bonus Combat Feat

2 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Bonus Combat Feat - The Epic Gladiator get bonus feat from epic fighter bonus feats list each even number levle after 20.

Gladiator Starting Package[edit]

Closed to fighter's starting package.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Gladiator[edit]

Religion: In greyhawk most gladiators worship Kord(CG), Fharlanghn(NN), Erythnul(CE) or Gruumsh(CE)

Other Classes: To be among the Gladiatori is to call yourself 'brother'. As such, if you are one whom has yet to earn their trust then you will swiftly learn their terrible countenance! The gladiator as a man has been betrayed, enslaved, and spat upon by lessers whom fancied themselves kings." Your test is blood!"

Combat: Meelo Warrior.

Advancement: Not good class for multiclassing.


"Are You Not Entertained??"

A gladiator's origin may be something of a humble and peaceful life which violently is thrown to chaos due to some spontaneous act or event, or a criminal sacrificed to the arena as debt for his crimes only to survive and be given life renewed by the bloods of its sands...

As such, they will most likely be encountered in great cities wealthy enough to host The Games, or on the road in slave caravans en route to be sold. They may also have escaped enslavement and be found among any province. Their most distinguishing characteristic aside from their demeanor as once blood spattered combatants of the Arena is the Mark of their Doctori branded upon flesh as a reminder that they once knew the humility of being owned.

Daily Life: In the Ludus he beholds the Dawn, followed by relentless training of the Arena Arts until the breaking of it, and knows the sands as wife lest his blood stains her next.If he walks as a 'free man' the gladiator partakes in the pleasures of free men. Thus, allowing his confidence to lead him down uncertain paths. An entity of battle and Brotherhood, the Gladiator will find his way, no matter the bodies in his parting.....

Notables: Spartacus The Thracian, Oenymus The Moor, Crixxus The Gall, Ganickus The God Of The Arena, Titus of Gall, Jackal Twins of Thebes, Theokoles The Ghost Of Sparta.

Organizations: Dependent soley upon their origin, the gladiatori may be lone souls destined or cursed to walk this life alone, or they may be purpose driven to a mutual cause which would find them either becoming paired with another of like mind and/or temperament, or organizing into clans to see an end to a particular means-such as the overthrowing of a Doctori and his house due to poor treatment or revenge of an ungorgivable act against those in his charge.

NPC Reactions: The general public will look upon them and wonder first how long their master's leash must be indeed! Not knowing they walk as free men either through earned means or escape. Fans of a particular gladiator may attempt to get their attentions or begin chanting the gladiator's name loudly as a show of admiration. Even concealment is difficult in public as a gladiator simply because they are gods among men. Their stature alone commands it, often leading to discovery. For this reason, gladiatori tend to adjust their activity cycles unless attention is not a concern for them. Some truly relish in it.

Gladiatori Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in legends and lore can research gladiators to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Legends and Lore
DC Result
5 The Games
10 Traits of the Damned
15 Blood and Honor
20 Plight of All Free Men

Gladiators in the Game[edit]

Like Meele Fighter

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