Gladiator

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Jean Germain Drouais (1763–1788) Title Seated Gladiator Date late 18th century
Jean Germain Drouais (1763–1788) Title Seated Gladiator Date late 18th century

Heroes of Fantasy
Author August Hahn, Tim Hitchcock, Joseph Miller, Ian Sturrock, John Thompson, Paul Tucker & Patrick Younts
Series Power Classes
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2005
Pages 128
ISBN 1-1-905176-59-7
OGL Section 15 hof
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The material below is designated as Open Game Content.

The gladiator is the highly trained master of arena combat, capable of dispatching foes in the most spectacular manner imaginable. His highly specialised training in such forms of combat as net-fighting, Blind-Fighting and exotic weapons allows him to demonstrate the most unusual fighting techniques in the world to an eager audience. As important as winning his fight, he must win the crowd, the vast seething mob of the imperial cities.

Perhaps the most feared, and yet most entertaining feature of the gladiator is his death move, a flamboyant, individualistic finishing touch with which he slays his opponent. This is the climax of a long, drawn-out battle, with the pair of gladiators playing to the crowd as much as fighting, darting to and fro, opening great bloody gashes in one another, gradually wearing each other down. The mob’s anticipation rises and rises as the two gladiators become more and more vicious, each waiting for the other to make just one fatal mistake.

The Gladiator

Adventures: Almost every ‘adventure’ a gladiator has had will have been a match or other contest in the arena. These, of course, can be many and varied in and of themselves, and most gladiators eventually will gain great renown and fortune by arena combats alone. Yet there are always distractions and opportunities, even in a life as apparently limited as that of a gladiatorial slave. Rich citizens and their wives will often pay well to spend time with a gladiator, for whatever reason. This could involve them in anything from an illicit love affair with a noble’s wife to political intrigue at the highest level. It is also not uncommon for a gladiator’s owners to hire him out for other purposes, such as bodyguarding a grandee or leading a band of mercenaries. In this case, it is the gladiator’s fearsome reputation as much as his skill at arms that is being hired. Slave rebellions, some of them growing widespread enough to almost topple an empire are frequently instigated and led by gladiators. For a gladiator, leading such a rebellion may be less risky than fighting for another year or two in the arena and, if successful, could be a far quicker route to freedom than waiting to be awarded the wooden sword.

Characteristics: Gladiators are some of the most highly trained combat specialists to be found in any fantasy world, knowing little or nothing save how to fight and kill. A gladiator’s owner will have him trained in a particular fighting style first and foremost, such as trident and net or paired shortswords, but the gladiator will have to adapt to whatever is required of him and soon learns a variety of other weapons and combat techniques. The more experienced gladiators also excel at showmanship, having discovered that the crowd prefers a spectacular and exciting fight to a quick and gory one.

Alignment: Because anyone can find themselves enslaved and forced to fight in the arena, gladiators of every alignment can be found. Slavers, after all, are not picky about the moral or ethical background of their captives, and nobles or professional gladiator stable-owners are more concerned with the physical fitness of a slave and any fighting skills he may possess.

Once in the arena, a gladiator will often find most success if he can somehow play up to his alignment. Lawful gladiators may cultivate a reputation for no-nonsense, remorseless combat, while chaotic gladiators often practise a more flamboyant and reckless style of fighting. Good gladiators may develop a reputation for mercy and honour, which can endear them to the crowd, but evil gladiators can win just as much renown by deliberately maintaining a ‘bad guy’ image, viciously slaying their foes and scowling at the mob.

Religion: Gladiators, even high-level ones, fully expect to die in the arena, and know well that every fight could be their last. The odds are against them, after all – many, many gladiators have to die for each one that achieves lasting success and maybe freedom. For this reason their religion tends to be fatalistic, and most will worship gods of death or war. Of course, it is rare for gladiators to have access to priests or religious texts, so their worship is simple, impromptu, and everyday. Most will say a quick prayer or mutter a charm before combat, and be lavish with their gratitude to their gods if they win. Many will have acquired or Crafted a small collection of minor religious objects, perhaps carved figures of their tribal gods or totems, and a bag of good-luck charms or sacred herbs.

Background: Gladiators come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but at 1st level almost all are escaped or recently freed slaves. They may have been captured as prisoners-of-war, been sentenced to slavery for a crime (real or imagined), or spent all their lives as slaves. All will have some skills or aptitude derived from their original background, but are now effectively equal in the arena, their former lives forgotten, reborn to fight… and to die.

Races: Most cultures that hold large-scale gladiatorial events are human, usually vast empires. Elves find such a concept barbaric while dwarves do not really see the point, and Halflings and Gnomes generally prefer a more sensible and restrained form of entertainment. That said, any race can find itself enslaved and forced to fight as gladiators, alongside humans. Likewise, several humanoid cultures have events that resemble gladiator combat, though they tend to be somewhat more impromptu affairs and rarely have purpose-built arenas of the scale and scope of humans. Still, a half-orc can and often will prosper in either a human or humanoid arena, and half-orcs are typically one of the most favoured races with gladiatorial slave-owners, who can play up their bestial nature. Humans likewise are popular, largely for their versatility and because a predominantly human crowd can better identify with another human. Dwarves are prized for their tenacity and toughness, but often find the showmanship required of a truly master-class gladiator to be beyond their reach. Elves are often considered weak, though an elf who survives his first few fights will be quite a catch for any slave-owner. Halflings and Gnomes are most commonly recruited for ‘fights’ in which they are expected to die or for ‘comical’ arena battles in which a dozen or more of them are pitted against a more heavily armed and experienced gladiator or monster.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: To survive the arena, a high Strength, Dexterity and Constitution are all useful, if not crucial. To prosper in the arena, to gain fame and perhaps one day win your freedom, a high Charisma can be more useful still – without it, you will never win the favour of the crowd, nor will your victories ever be true works of art. With it, you can turn every battle into a performance, every killing into a glorious spectacle.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills

The gladiator’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dexterity), Bluff (Charisma), Escape Artist (Dexterity), Handle Animal (Charisma), Intimidate (Charisma), Jump (Strength), Perform (Charisma), Ride (Dexterity), Tumble (Dexterity) and Sense Motive (Wisdom).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Intelligence modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

The Gladiator
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Character concept, gladiatorial combat style
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Exotic Weapon Proficiency
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Spectacular combat
4th +4 +4 +1 +1
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Gladiatorial combat style
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Death move
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Exotic Weapon Proficiency
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Personal symbol
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Gladiatorial combat style
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Exotic Weapon Proficiency
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Improved death move
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Gladiatorial combat style
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Exotic Weapon Proficiency
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Gladiatorial combat style, superior death move

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the gladiator.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: A gladiator is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armour, and shields. Note that armour check penalties for medium or heavy armour apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a –1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour and equipment carried.

Character Concept: Every gladiator has some sort of skills or knacks based on whatever he did before being enslaved, and even those who have lived all their lives as slaves will have picked up something or other, even if it is only a stoic acceptance of their fate. Each gladiator character picks a character concept at 1st level from the following list, or from any additional character concepts permitted by the Games Master:

Part of the Zliten mosaic from Libya (Leptis Magna), circa 80-100 CE. It shows (left to right) a thraex fighting a murmillo, a hoplomachus standing with another murmillo (who is signaling his defeat to the referee), and one of a matched pair.

Part of the Zliten mosaic from Libya (Leptis Magna), circa 80-100 CE. It shows (left to right) a thraex fighting a murmillo, a hoplomachus standing with another murmillo (who is signaling his defeat to the referee), and one of a matched pair.

Gladiatorial Slave: A gladiatorial slave has been bred only for the arena, only to fight and die here. He knows nothing else but fighting and practising for fighting.

† Gladiatorial slaves gain a free proficiency with any one exotic weapon.

† All gladiatorial slaves have a -2 circumstance penalty to Charisma-based skill checks which target any character who is not a gladiator (by Profession, rather than necessarily by class). This penalty remains until such time as the gladiatorial slave spends sufficient time outside the arena to gain at least two levels in another class (excluding a gladiatorial prestige class such as those presented in Gladiator – Sands of Death).

Untrained Slave: Although an untrained slave will have learnt some skills or other useful talents, he has almost no knowledge or training that will be of any use in the arena itself.

† Untrained slaves are proficient only with simple weapons, and do not start the game with any proficiency in armour or shields. However, if they survive they will soon pick up these proficiencies which are, after all, the meat and drink of any gladiator – after each combat the slave lives through, he automatically gains a free proficiency in either one martial weapon, all shields, or light armour. This represents both his rapidly developing fighting skills and the training his fellow gladiators or adventurers will give him, once it becomes clear that such training is worthwhile.

† Untrained slaves are well used to a life of slavery, and so are often excited at the opportunities to be had from a gladiator’s lot. After all, the prospects as a successful gladiator are far greater than those of a mere slave. For this reason, the untrained slave gains a +1 morale bonus to all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks made in the arena. This lasts until the first time he is defeated in combat.

† Untrained slaves may choose any two Craft or Profession skills as additional class skills. These skills remain as class skills, even if the untrained slave later multiclasses.

Soldier: Former soldiers are highly valued as gladiatorial slaves, since most have fair combat skills right from the start and more importantly are used to facing death.

† Soldiers start the game with a bonus Heavy Armour Proficiency.

† Soldiers are used to fighting in groups, rather than individually. A soldier has a -1 morale penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks made during individual one-on-one combats, rather than group battles. This penalty lasts until the soldier wins a one-on-one combat, with no interference from anyone else.

Criminal: Criminals are frequently sold into slavery as punishment for their crimes. Most adapt remarkably rapidly to a gladiator’s life, more out of necessity than anything else. For those from a particularly poor background, the idea of free food and the occasional fight to the death sounds much like home, except with more food.

† Criminals can choose either to have the capability to do a 1d6 sneak attack (as the 1st level rogue ability from the SRD) or take a Skill Focus feat in either Move Silently, Hide, Open Lock or Sleight of Hand. If they choose the 1d6 sneak attack, this will stack with any sneak attack ability they may gain through other classes.

† Criminals are easily scared by the idea of a fair fight. They suffer a -1 morale penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks made during any combat, except when the criminal is in a flanking position in relation to his nearest opponent. This penalty lasts until the criminal wins a combat without ever flanking an opponent.

Gladiatorial Combat Style: All gladiators specialise in a particular style of combat. At 1st level and every five levels thereafter, the gladiator chooses a combat style from among the following. Some styles have a required feat – a gladiator will not be trained in that combat style unless he has the appropriate feat. At 1st level, this requires him to take that feat as his starting feat (or one of his starting feats if human).

Note: All styles have required equipment – unless the gladiator has precisely the equipment listed, and is not additionally encumbered in any way (other than by basic clothing), he is not able to use any of the special features of his gladiatorial combat style.

A Roman cavalry officer of the mid-Republic, as depicted in a copy of a bas-relief found in the Forum in Rome. It portrays the legend of Mettius Curtius, a Sabine raider who, early the reign of Romulus (ca. 750 BC), is reputed to have evaded capture by the Romans by riding his horse into a marsh that once covered part of the site of the Forum. The swamp was supposedly named the Lacus Curtius ("lake of Curtius") after him.[1] But the image probably portrays the equipment of a Roman knight at the time it was made, ca. 150 BC. The knight wears a composite bronze cuirass, Attic-style helmet with horsehair plume, pteruges, and mantle. He carries a spear and small round shield. Original in Musei Capitolini, Rome

A Roman cavalry officer of the mid-Republic, as depicted in a copy of a bas-relief found in the Forum in Rome. It portrays the legend of Mettius Curtius, a Sabine raider who, early the reign of Romulus (ca. 750 BC), is reputed to have evaded capture by the Romans by riding his horse into a marsh that once covered part of the site of the Forum. The swamp was supposedly named the Lacus Curtius ("lake of Curtius") after him.[1] But the image probably portrays the equipment of a Roman knight at the time it was made, ca. 150 BC. The knight wears a composite bronze cuirass, Attic-style helmet with horsehair plume, pteruges, and mantle. He carries a spear and small round shield. Original in Musei Capitolini, Rome

Equite: Equites are mounted gladiators, lethally effective against foot gladiators but most commonly expected to fight one another. When they do go up against a nonmounted foe, they are typically either outnumbered or outclassed, in the hope of making the fight a fair one. Equites are primarily armed with shortspear.htm">shortspears, but carry a longsword as a backup weapon. At low levels, their training focuses on the use of the spear, but as equites get more and more experienced they find fights last long enough that the longsword comes into play more and more often, because the spear has either been thrown or left in the belly of a fallen foe.

† Required Feat: Mounted Combat.

† Required Equipment: Gladiator armour, Light hoplite armour, or Heavy hoplite armour, light shield, longsword, shortspear, light warhorse.

† A 1st level equite is able to take advantage of his mount’s speed and momentum. When using a shortspear from the back of a charging mount, an equite does double damage, just as if the spear were a lance.

† At 2nd level, any attempt to make a trip attack to dismount the equite provokes an attack of opportunity from the equite.

† At 4th level the equite may always Take 10 on Ride checks, even in combat or other stressful situations.

† At 5th level the equite is able to make a devastating downward strike with his longsword, even when he is not charging. He gains a +1 damage bonus to his longsword attacks when mounted.

† At 10th level, the equite’s mounted damage bonus with the longsword is increased to +2, and any creature struck by it for more than 5 points of damage must immediately make a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + damage dealt by longsword) or be knocked prone.

 

Hoplomachus: A hoplomachus is armed and armoured as a heavy foot soldier. He may be pitted against almost any opponent, though usually other hoplomachuses or occasionally secutors.

† Required Equipment: Light hoplite armour or Heavy hoplite armour, tower shield, longsword or Kopis .

† A 1st level hoplomachus using a tower shield chooses how much cover it grants him as usual, but his opponents always have one degree of cover less than he does from the shield – that is, if he takes 9/10 cover, his opponent only has 3/4 cover. This does not apply if the hoplomachus has total cover from his shield.

† At 3rd level, a hoplomachus can no longer be flanked, as he can use his shield to provide total cover from one opponent and simply fight the other.

† At 5th level a hoplomachus armed with a kopis has a +2 circumstance bonus to damage whenever he attacks an enemy’s shield.

† At 7th level the hoplomachus may assume a defensive stance. This is a move action, and gives him a +4 bonus to AC for one full round .

† At 10th level, a hoplomachus who has a kopis can make a special attack as a full-round action. He puts his entire body into a devastating downward-smashing blow with the kopis, taking full advantage of the weapon’s weight and power. The attack has a -1 circumstance penalty, but if it hits it does double damage.

A retiarius gladiator stabs at his secutor opponent with his trident. Mosaic from the villa at Nennig. Date 2nd-3rd century AD

A retiarius gladiator stabs at his secutor opponent with his trident. Mosaic from the villa at Nennig. Date 2nd-3rd century AD

Retiarius: A retiarius is armed with the unusual combination of a net and a trident. He has minimal armour and lack of shield, allowing him to be very nimble around the arena.

† Required Feat: Two Weapon Fighting.

† Required Equipment: Gladiator armour, net, trident, Dagger.

† A 1st level retiarius with his Required Equipment may fight as though he had the Two Weapon Fighting feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

† At 2nd level, a retiarius’s nimbleness and clever footwork allow him to treat his trident as a reach weapon, so long as his opponent does not have any melee weapon of larger than Small size.

† A 3rd level retiarius may use his net exactly as if it were a small shield. He may not attack with the net during any round he uses it as a shield. Any attacks on the net itself while it is being used as a shield gain a +2 bonus to damage. The net also counts as a shield for purposes of avoiding the reduced effectiveness of gladiator armour.

† At 5th level the retiarius may fold his net for throwing as a full-round action, rather than as two full-round actions.

† At 12th level, a retiarius may make a death move attack on an opponent who has a maximum of 33% of his original hit points remaining, rather than the usual 25%, so long as the opponent is entangled in his net.

Roman Relief with gladiators. The standing Secutor fights a Retirarius lying on the ground. In the lower regisert you can see the Secutor only. Text reads: "IMPROBUM" (From Improbus: adj. dishonest, evil, mean. in this case the best translation would probably be "FOUL!")

Roman Relief with gladiators. The standing Secutor fights a Retirarius lying on the ground. In the lower regisert you can see the Secutor only. Text reads: "IMPROBUM" (From Improbus: adj. dishonest, evil, mean. in this case the best translation would probably be "FOUL!")

Secutor: A secutor is lightly armed and armoured with only a Gladius and shield, so as to allow him to pursue the nimble retiarius. This light armament means the secutor – if he survives his first fight – becomes well used to picking up other weapons and shields once his own are lost or battered to pieces.

† Required Equipment: Gladiator armour, a large shield, and a Gladius

† A 1st level secutor is trained particularly to fight against retiariuses – he gains a +2 Dodge bonus to AC against net attacks only, and a +4 competence bonus to Escape Artist checks made to escape a net.

† At 3rd level, when the secutor makes a shield bash attack he does not temporarily lose the shield’s armour bonus for doing so.

† At 8th level the secutor’s versatility and long experience with improvising weapons or scrounging them from fallen foes in the arena means he may now use any of his Gladiatorial Combat Style class features even if he no longer has one or both of his required Gladius and shield.

† At 10th level the secutor no longer provokes an attack of opportunity when making a Grapple check.

† At 12th level, a secutor who has grappled an opponent may attempt a death move so long as that opponent has a maximum of 33% of his original hit points remaining, rather than the usual 25%. The secutor must be armed with a light piercing weapon to do this – he is essentially using his off-hand to simply pull the opponent onto his weapon.

Exotic Weapon Proficiency: At 2nd level and every five levels thereafter, a gladiator gains proficiency in any one exotic weapon of his choice.

Spectacular Combat: At 3rd level, a gladiator begins to master the art of showing off to any crowd while in deadly hand-to-hand combat, with a salute or weapons display before closing with the opponent, or finishing a fallen foe with a flourish. At first, he can only do this when fighting an opponent who also has the Spectacular Combat ability and is also willing to practise it. Two combatants performing Spectacular Combat are an awesome sight to behold, whirling and leaping, hacking and blocking, roaring and shrieking. Each combat round, they may either attack spectacularly or normally. A spectacular attack is made using the character’s Perform skill (DC = opponent’s AC) rather than his attack bonus, with no modifiers for Strength, feats, and so on. A successful result indicates that a mere 1d3 damage is caused. Strength bonuses or other damage bonuses are not added to the damage roll, and critical hits are never used during Spectacular Combat . The wound will look far bloodier and nastier than it is – the art of spectacular combat, after all, is to draw the fight out while making every blow look as impressive as possible, aiming for parts of the body that will bleed heavily and gape unpleasantly without seriously disabling the victim. At any time, either combatant can switch to normal attacks, in which case the remainder of the combat must be played out with normal attacks only – neither combatant can continue with Spectacular Combat once one has attacked normally. At this point fighting begins in earnest. At the end of a fight which was fought at least in part with Spectacular Combat, the two participants make opposed Perform checks, with circumstance modifiers of +1 for each hit landed using Spectacular Combat, +2 for winning the fight, and -4 for being the first combatant to switch to normal combat.

A Death Move which is successful in slaying the opponent does not count as switching to normal combat – in effect, the character turns the Death Move into part of the spectacle. The winner of the opposed Perform check gains a +1 morale bonus to attack roll and damage rolls during his next combat. If you are using the Fame rules from Gladiator – Sands of Death, he also gains a +1 bonus to Fame. These bonuses apply even if he lost the actual combat but survived. Spectacular Combat can only be performed in combats involving just the gladiator and one opponent, and there must be at least one witness to the fight.

At 5th level, a gladiator may use Spectacular Combat against any opponent who is less than half the gladiator’s class level, even if that opponent is not himself using Spectacular Combat. In this case, the gladiator must defeat the opponent using only Spectacular Combat and a Death Move to finish off – if he switches to normal combat at any point (other than a death move), he does not get a Perform check at the end of the fight. If he does defeat the opponent using only Spectacular Combat, he makes a Perform check at the end of the fight, (DC = 25 – number of rounds the fight lasted). A successful check here gains him the normal morale bonus.

At 15th level, a gladiator is able to seamlessly integrate his performance with his fighting. He may now deal normal damage (with any Strength or other bonuses applicable) while performing Spectacular Combat. In addition, he gains a +2 circumstance bonus to all Perform checks he makes which relate to Spectacular Combat.

Death Move: At 6th level, the gladiator is a master of the arena, one who can both sway the crowd and be a truly dangerous foe to face. After defeating an enemy in the arena, the gladiator may perform a special Death Move he has practised to Intimidate other gladiators and cause the crowd to howl. The specifics of the Death Move are up to the gladiator, but actions such as decapitating the head of an enemy, impaling him on a spike or even ripping out his spinal column are particular favourites with the mob. If the gladiator makes either a Strength or Dexterity check (his choice of which) at DC 15, he may perform his Death Move on an enemy he has reduced to zero or lower hit points. Only melee weapons may be used in a Death Move. The gladiator automatically gains a temporary +1 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls that will last for one hour. If using the Fame rules from Gladiator – Sands of Death, the gladiator also gains one permanent point of Fame. In all other respects, the Death Move is treated as performing a coup de grace.

At 13th level, the gladiator gains a truly awesome attack – the Improved Death Move. The gladiator no longer needs to wait for a target to drop to 0 hit points or less to use the Improved Death Move. Instead, the target need only be on 25% or less of its starting hit points, though it may not be of a size class larger than that of the gladiator. Both the gladiator and the target make opposed Strength or Dexterity (gladiator’s choice of which) checks to determine the success of the Improved Death Move. Their character level and/or Hit Dice are used as bonus modifiers to this roll. If the gladiator beats his target’s check with his own, the target is automatically slain in a very grisly manner.

At 20th level, the gladiator can perform the Superior Death Move, gaining a +2 circumstance bonus to either all his Strength or Dexterity checks, when attempting to do a Death Move. He must choose either Strength or Dexterity when he reaches 20th level. He can still use the other ability score if he prefers, but gains no bonus when doing so.

Personal Symbol: At 9th level, a gladiator gains the renown to have his own personal symbol. His identity and skill is immediately obvious as soon as he enters combat, and he gains a +1 morale bonus to all Perform checks made while brandishing his symbol, which is often incorporated into the design of his weapons and armour. At 18th level, this morale bonus to Perform checks rises to +3, as the renown of his symbol spreads further. If you are using the Fame rules from Gladiator – Sands of Death, he also gains a one-time bonus of +5 to Fame on being presented with the armour at 9th level, and a further one-time bonus of +8 to Fame on achieving 18th level.

Ex-Gladiators

Ex-gladiators retain all class features, fighting styles and special abilities, although such features are often restricted when using certain weapons or armour.

Gladiator Armour and Weapons

As well as the armour and weapons listed in the various combat styles, it is quite common for gladiators of any style to learn and use a variety of different weapons. Every arena master worth his salt likes to put on shows that are a little out of the ordinary, and so gladiators might often find themselves armed with weapons that are not used in their usual style, perhaps because they are to battle a monster, fight while chained to their partners (or even their opponents), or re-enact an historic military victory with the appropriate armaments. Gladiators trained in some of the more difficult-to-master styles, such as andabatas and retiariuses, often prefer to fight without their usual weapons, particularly while they are still training to master them.

Gladiator armour is characterised by its grim impracticality – most armour made for war offers heavy torso protection, but priorities are different in the arena. Better a man be killed outright and spectacularly than that he be left unable to fight properly, after all.

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