GURPS 4e Gladiators Arena
Starting characters are 125 points Gladiators, -45 is a cap for disadvantages, plus up to -3 quirks.
Pre-made characters are built 100 point worth, so you have extra 25 to tune it up to your likings, if you choose to pick one. Increase Attributes or Skills – no problem; buying new Advantages after consultation; don’t buy-off disadvantages.
Starting characters are at the beggining of their Gladiator career, so no cinematic traits or Trained by Master/Weapon Master advantages please. Each character can start with one style only, with an exception of Pugilist Style which can be everyones “secondary” style.
A disadvantage is anything with a negative cost, including low attributes. In this campaign only Basic Attributes with a negative cost count against disadvantage limit.
First two disadvantages below (Duty and Social Stigma), are partialy campaign disadvantages, but because their “value” differs based on characters background, these count against disadvantage limit during character creation.
Duty (Ludus; 12 or less)
All Gladiators of a ludus, have a Duty. Several modifiers apply to this duty.
Extremely Hazardous: Gladiators, guardsmen, and venatores are required to risk life and limb during the execution of their duty. It is not always combat to the death, but the risks are high and the consequences of error are steep.
Involuntary: Generally, slave gladiators have an involuntary duty. They do not choose their particular job, and the price of noncompliance with their duty is pain and death.
All gladiators will have some form of Social Stigma. The rest of society looks down upon gladiators, whether slave or free. Individual gladiators may be respected or beloved, but as a class, they are below the average member of Roman society.
All slave gladiators have Social Stigma (Valuable Property). They are no longer people but are valuable investments for a wealthy owner. Neither the owner, nor those who rent the gladiator from the owner, will risk them lightly. However, the gladiator’s main value is his ability to kill or be killed in the arena. Those with Social Stigma (Valuable Property) also add modifier Involuntary to their Duty Disadvantage.
Free gladiators have Social Stigma (Second-Class Citizen). Other Roman citizens always feel superior to gladiators.
Code of Honor (Gladiator’s)
While all free gladiators took an oath to be “whipped, burned, and killed with iron,” this was more of a waiver than a code. Slaves had little choice in the matter, and volunteers gave the oath to subject themselves to these acts normally forbidden by law. Some gladiators, however, may have felt bound by a personal code of showmanship and fair play. This would never have been common, but it is especially appropriate in heroic, cinematic gladiators.
Code of Honor (Gladiator’s): Never willingly show fear, pain, or pity; accept death with courage; and give a good show above all else. -5 points
Gladiators, whether slave or free, may have a Patron. A typical lanista will be a 10-point Patron, with a frequency of appearance as high as 15 or less (for a game set almost entirely within a ludus) or as low as 6 or less (for a campaign with lots of activity outside the ludus). While the ludus provides equipment for a gladiator, it is only for use in the arena. Free gladiators who live and train outside a ludus, or former gladiators, are unlikely to have their lanista as a Patron.
In This Campaign all starting characters (slaves or free) are considered to have Patron (Lanista) as a bonus (free) advantage, because of their mandatory duty to the Ludus.