I’ve been working on my articles for my ‘Fantasy Traveller’ series and got thinking about an additional character class based around the Roman Gladiators. I did some research on the internet and with the help of good old Wikipedia, came up with this design. In thinking about career advancement and how people end up as Gladiators, I hit a bit of a quandary. The Roman Gladiators were typically slaves who were unwilling participants in the Gladiatorial Games. I wanted an approach that allowed people to become Gladiators through choice, because it offered some superb hand-to-hand combat training, but this conflicted with the historical approach to how Gladiators came to be. I wanted a way the translate what the dice rolls actually meant when thinking of how this applied to the game-world. So, for my Classic Traveller-based world of Grond, I’m going to take this approach.
Gladiators on the world of Grond are exactly like the trained fighters of the Roman era. They generally come from the lowest classes of society and are trained for one purpose: to fight and kill for entertainment. Characters have two routes into becoming a Gladiator; the first through choice, so for example on Grond the character turns up at a Gladiator training school and asks if they can enlist. They need a 6 or more to succeed, with DMs to apply.
Image: Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic (Creative Commons license: Public Domain)
The second route in is if the character was a slave or was being forced to become a Gladiator, they would still roll for a 6 with appropriate DMs. The difference this time is if they fail, then the school rejects the slave on some grounds such as unsuitable, too weak, failed initial combat test etc and so the slaver has to find some other way of making money from their charge. They are kept in gladiatorial schools and are generally well- treated (food, accommodation), but the training regime is brutal. Many that are trained do not make progression and are killed either in the school, or in actual combat in the arena. This is reflected in the progression and chance of being killed.
The benefits table reflects potential winnings that the character may come away with, after a number of successful fights. Therefore it takes 8+ to survive, but it is very easy to stay in the gladiator school (4+ to re-enlist).
I’ve tried to make being a Gladiator pretty brutal; yes – I am trying to kill your character and advances in rank should be difficult to obtain. The aim of the DMs – to make it easy to re-enlist, once you are a Gladiator and if you are good – you’ll want to be kept! Gladiators exit the service either through being exceptional or there is another way that they gain freedom, eg. special dispensation from a high-ranking official.
The character generation process is as follows:
DM +1 STR 7+
DM +1 DEX 7+
DM +1 END 9+
DM +2 if DEX 8+
DM +1 if Dex 7+
DM +1 Soc 8+
Table of Ranks
Rank 1 Novice
Rank 2 Swordsman
Rank 3 Challenger
Rank 4 Skirmisher
Rank 5 Executioner
Rank 6 General
Acquired Skills Table
Personal Development Table
1 +1 STR
2 Blade Combat
4 +1 END
5 +1 DEX
6 +1 SOC
Service Skills Table
1 Blade Combat
2 Blade Combat
5 Heavy Weapon Combat
6 Net Combat
Advanced Education Table
1 Blade Combat
2 Two-handed Combat
4 Heavy Weapon Combat
6 Chariot Racing
Advanced Education Table – only allowed if EDU is 8+
2 Blade Weapon
3 +1 Soc
4 +1 Dex
5 Net and Trident Kit
6 Horse and Kit
Cash Benefits (Grond Currency)
Riding skill – see the Fantasy Traveller Part 3: Rogues.
Mechanical skill – see the Fantasy Traveller Part 1.
Net Combat skill – the person is proficient in the use of hand-to-hand combat whilst using a net and trident. For the Trident weapon specifications, see the Fantasy Traveller Part 11 – Weapons Charts PDF download. Net – throw 8+ to ensnare opponent with the net, ensnared has a -2DM modifier to hit or other actions. Range 10ft maximum, class as a throwing weapon for purposes of combat resolution.
Two-handed Combat skill – can use two single-handed bladed weapons at the same time (Gladius, sword, dagger, spear) with the benefit of both the weapons damage on an opponent, but with no negative DM.
Hunting – context of the skill is hunting in the arena. Referee to determine how the skill is ised in the arena.
Heavy Weapon Combat – can use a crushing weapon such as a Mace, Flail, Morning Star or large club (see the Heavy Weapons tables in the weapons charts download).
Example Character Generation
Running through the character generation process, we have Hermius (aged 19) who wants to join the Gladiatorial school. Rejected by his wealthy family for wanting to marry below his so-called ‘station’, he has left home and feels the best way to make sure he can look after himself is to train as a Gladiator and make some money from the fights.
Roll for attributes first: 7 5 5 6 11 11, so I’ll assign them to these attributes: BB7655 to maximise Hermius’ chances of survival. Enlistment is 6, Hermius has +2 DM to the score of 6 and rolls a 6, apply the DM = 4; he’s in the Gladiatorial school.
Hermius starts his training and has to roll for survival; he needs to get 8+, but has a DM of +2 as his Dex is more than 8. He rolls 10, plus the DM = 12. As its his first term, he gets two skills – chooses one from the personal development table (rolls a 3) = Brawling-1 and a 6 = Net Combat-1 from the service skills table. For the second term, Hermius needs to roll a 4+ to stay in the school; he rolls a 10.
He now needs to roll to survive, rolls a 7 which would be a fail. Apply the DM of +2 and he survives. Now roll for position / roll for rank 1, need to roll 7+ with a DM +1, rolls a 10+1=11 and gets rank 1 promotion. Rolls for a skill on the Advanced Education table, gets Hunting-1. Roll again to re-enlist, rolls a 6.
Hermius has now reached his third term and decides this is going to be his last in the arena. He rolls for survival and gets 12+2=14. He rolls on the service skills table and gets Blade Combat-1. With a final go at a promotion, he needs a 9+. He only gets a 6, so decides to get out at the end of the third term. Because he has three terms completed and is mustering out, he gets four rolls on the benefits tables. He decides for two rolls on each table and gets the following:
1000 + 500 Grond Cr
So to finish at aged 31, Hermius ends up with: BC7655 1500Cr Grond currency and a dagger.
…with which to hit the dungeons and further his place in the world.
So there we have it, a specialised fighter character class for Classic Traveller. Any comments / suggestions please get in touch via the comments section below!