The Shattered Lands
An arena would be nothing without the gladiators that shed their blood on the sands. Arena promoters gather their talent from a number of sources: slaves, criminals, disgraced soldiers, and wherever else they can dredge up a body that can handle a weapon.
Fights in the pits often follow a certain set of rules. Terms vary from arena to arena, and even between individual fights. Some may allow magic, others may prohibit it. Penalties may vary, but in many cases, the penalty is forfeiture of the bout.
The terms also include the purse that will go to the victor. In the case of slaves, the purse is applied towards their own purchase price (with costs of training and boarding subtracted). In the case of criminals, the purse is applied towards their criminal fines. And in the rare case of a freeman who fights in the arena, the purse is simply theirs to carry away.
Once the combatants have been chosen and the terms have been set, individuals with influence can promote their fighters to help rally the crowd. The amount of time required to promote a fighter varies with the size of the community.
|Settlement Size||Time Required|
Time spent promoting a fighter must be immediately before the fight, and must be continuous. If you stop promoting your chosen fighter, even for a day, he will get lost in the crowd of other competitors. You must spend 1gp per day to cover the cost of drinks, social appearances, posters, and the like. You can choose to spend additional gold to lower the DC of the final check. Each additional gold spent per day lowers the DC by one, to a minimum of DC 10.
At the end of the time spent promoting your fighter, you must make a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check. If successful, your fighter will gain +1 Favor to his starting pool.
Favor is a unique resource used in gladiatorial combat. It represents the will of the crowd, which any gladiator will tell you has more influence in the arena than it has any logical reason to have.
Each combatant begins the fight with a number of Favor equal to their level/5 (round down), and may have a maximum amount of Favor equal to 5 + their Charisma modifier.
Favor can be used in the following ways:
*Gain advantage on any attack roll, skill check, or saving throw (before the roll is made).
*Gain +D6 to any attack roll, skill check, or saving throw (after the roll is made).
*Reroll your damage on one attack or spell (after the damage has been rolled).
*Automatically pass a death saving throw.
Favor can be earned in the following ways:
*Score a critical hit on an attack roll.
*Knocking an enemy prone.
*Reduce an enemy to 0 hp.
*Spend a bonus action on your turn make a DC 15 Charisma check. On a success, gain +1 Favor.
Favor can be lost in the following ways:
*Being hit by a critical hit.
*Using the dodge or hide actions.
Announcing the Combat
The tournament is typically announced by a local resident of some importance, often a member of the local government or a wealthy landowner. Announcing the combat is a great honor, and it also carries a bit of influence. At the beginning of the fight, the announcer may raise or lower the starting Favor of each combatant by 1.
Combat in a gladiatorial bout uses all of the normal rules for combat. However, depending on the venue, the DM may also incorporate traps, monsters, or other unexpected surprises.
Knocked into the Crowd
Many large arenas have high walls separating the crowds from the fighters. In smaller venues and unsanctioned fighting pits, however, there is often little between the spectator and the sport. If a combatant is knocked into the crowd, or enters such an area willingly, roll on the following table.
|1||Pummelled: The crowd deals 2d6 bludgeoning damage as they push you back into the arena in the space you occupied before entering the crowd|
|2-3||Tossed: The crowd heaves you roughly back the way you came. You fall prone in the space you occupied before entering the crowd.|
|4-5||Shoved: The crowd pushes you back into the arena, in the space you occupied before entering the crowd.|
|6||Hidden: You may remain in the crowd and gain cover and concealment. If you remain, you must reroll on this chart at the beginning of your next turn.|
Ending a Match
When all but one fighter has been dropped to 0 hp (or all but one team of fighters in the event of a team match) the match ends. It is customary for a fighter to put the fate of his fallen enemies into the hands of the crowd.