This page runs through creating Gladiators.
In a Pick Up Game this process is undertaken by the Lanistae purchasing the Gladiators.
In a Campaign Game the Imperator designs the Gladiators, and then presents them at auction.
Find a Miniature!
First, you need a miniature to represent your Gladiator.
Morturi Te Salutant assumes a 28mm scale, played on a standard square grid. This doesn't have to be the case, but its sensible to make sure that everyone playing the game is using miniatures of the same scale!
In an ideal world, every gamer will have access to a full collection of Ancient Roman Gladiator miniatures. In practice, any historical or fantasy mini without guns or modern/scifi trappings will satisfy the aesthetic of most players.
Its even possible to play without minis, instead using labelled or numbered counters. This author discourages such terrible shortcuts, of course! If you do use counters, make sure to indicate a "front" on one counter edge, so facing can be determined.
Determine Grade, Class and Role
There are four Grades of Gladiator, represnting quality and experience:
- A Servus (Pick Up Game price: 250 Denarii) is an untested slave, thrown into the arena with minimum equipment.
- A Novicius (Pick Up Game price: 500 Denarii) is an inexperienced fighter, new to the gladiatorial arena. He doesn't have any special fighting skill, though with time and luck he may progress to become a real contender.
- A Palus (Pick Up Game price: 1000 Denarii) is a "ranked" fighter, who has seen at least a bout or two and survived. He has a few tricks up his belt - the product of experience.
- A Primus Palus(Pick Up Game price: 2000 Denarii) is a "first-rank" fighter, who has reached the peak of his potential. He is as good as he is going to get... which is very good indeed.
A Servus is always a Light Class Gladiator, and always has the Role: Servus.
There are three Classes of Gladiator, representing mobility and equipment. Select Class according to the appearance of the miniature:
- A Light Gladiator is unarmoured or lightly armoured, and uses light weapons such as a dagger or a gladius, sometimes with a shield. Their mobility is their prime asset, weaving around and out of the reach of the heaviest fighters. However they don't tend to hit hard, and are often beaten in straight bouts against medium fighters.
- A Medium Gladiator can be unarmoured, lightly armoured or heavily armoured, and uses medium weapons such as a spear or a spatha, sometimes with a shield. They are all round-fighters, and are the core of any Gladiator school. While they risk being crushed by the superior hitting power of heavy-fighters, they are excellent at cutting down light gladiators quickly and efficiently.
- A Heavy Gladiator is heavily armoured and heavily armed, typically employing a large double handed weapon or a heavy one-handed weapon plus scutum. They are damage-dealers and killers par excellence, and while slow they hit with the force of a raging bull. Light fighters will often outpace and out-manoeuvre them, however.
Finally there are multiple Roles available, divided by Class. You can usually determine a character's role by the miniature chosen.
Light Roles include:
- Servus - Literally, just a "slave". These hapless souls represent individuals deemed to be of so little worth and potential to a school that they are given the most meagre of weapons, no armour, and sent into battle. This special role is for Servus characters only - in fact it is the only role they may adopt!
- Bestiarius - Unarmoured, but armed with a short spear or knife, these beast-fighters specialised in fighting against animals. However, their skills and tricks give them some benefit against human fighters too!
- Fast Beast - An animal, such as a wolf or a panther, combining superlative speed with animal instinct.
- Gallus - Essentially a light version of the Murmillo, this dagger and shield warrior is lightly armoured and relies on his speed and trickery to win battles.
- Laquerius - Fighting with a noosed rope (or for this game, a chain or a whip) and short sword, these light fighters focus on ensnaring enemies and pulling them about.
- Praegenarius - More entertainer than fighter, carrying little in the way of useful weaponry, but skilled at working the crowd.
- Sagittarius - An archer, combining good range with good speed.
Medium Roles include:
- Barbarian - Unarmoured, but armed with a double handed weapon, a barbarian hits as hard as a heavy fighter but is as mobile as a medium fighter. Few can match him in sheer killing power!
- Dimachaerus - The "two-swords" fighter is unshielded and lightly armoured, but is a versatile fighter as he can use his dual-wielding for offensive or defensive benefit.
- Murmillo - With arm guard, stylised fish-helms, a single manica (arm guard) and a classic sword-shield combination, these medium fighters are more lightly armoured than the Provocators, but are more popular with the crowds.
- Peltast - A spear-fighter, equally adept at range and in melee.
- Provocator - A well armoured medium fighter, with armour and armaments mirroring a Legionnaire (for this game, typically a shield and sword). These medium fighters are genuine all rounders, with medium armour and armament and good tactical flexibility.
- Retarius - With trident, net and dagger, a Retarius is expert at pinning down mobile opponents, then finishing them with lethal attacks.
- Secutor - A sword and shield "pursuer", excellent at harrying mobile foes and closing the gap on ranged warriors.
- Thracian - Armed with sica (curved sword) and shield, another all rounder class but with a greater emphasis on the kill than Provocator fighters, but has slightly lower tactical flexibility.
Heavy Roles include:
- Andabatus - An exceptionally heavily armoured fighter, that wears a helmet without a visor and fights blindly.
- Bustuarius - A "funeral fighter", armed with a ceremonial weapon plus heavily adorned scutum shield, and skilled in entertaining the crowds.
- Hoplomachus - The basic "heavy fighter" class, representing a warrior with heavy armour plates and a single double handed weapon.
- Large beast - An animal, such as a bear, which combines unmatched strength with superb toughness.
- Samnite - A version of the Hoplomachus armed with spear and shield, combining defensive power with tactical versatility.
Note that some of these roles don't exactly reflect the historical gladiator type. For example, an andabatus was historically a mounted warrior and only ever matched against other andabatae, and historically a Samnite and Hoplomachus were pretty much identical. A certain degree of artistic license has been taken to both make gameplay more interesting and balanced!
Record Special Features, Attributes, and Assign Tricks
Refer to the above three pages to find the special features and attributes of your Gladiator, and to see their Tricks lists.
Servus and Novicius Gladiators start with no tricks at all!
Palus Gladiators select three tricks from their list that they start the game with.
Primus Palus Gladiators start with seven tricks... that is, they know every trick their role has to offer!
Name your gladiator
Next, give your Gladiator a name, and if you wish tell us a little bit about him as well! Perhaps Valerius the Secutor is a man of short temper and has a liking to ale and loose women! Perhaps Cresus the Murmillo is addicted to the rush of combat and lives for the cheers of the crowd!
These extra details are just for colour, and have no mechanical impact on the game, but help to bring your School to life!
This page created by Asklepios.