Morturi: Rules of Conflict

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Morturi Te Salutant: Main Page -> Morturi: Rules of Conflict

This page describes how to play out Battles!


The rules below are broken down into the following sections:

  • Determining Priority
  • Movement Phase
  • Attack Phase
  • Terrain
  • Ranged Attacks
  • Favour of the Crowd
  • Victory!

Determining Priority[edit]

First, you need to decide which school gets to go first!

A school has priority over another school if it meets one of the following conditions. Work your way down the list till you find a condition that you can judge priority by.

  • Number of Gladiators

Total the number of Gladiators on the field belonging to each school. A School which is fielding a lower number of Gladiators gains priority.

  • Total Movement

If the schools are fielding the same number of gladiators, then compare the totalled movement values of all the gladiators on the field belonging to each school. A School which has a lower total movement gains priority.

  • Randomise

If the schools are fielding the same number of gladiators, and have the same total movement, then randomise which school has priority.

Once Priority order is established, it remains in place for the rest of the battle, even if the above parameters change during the course of the battle.

The school with highest priority goes first, activating one of their Gladiators. They then pass priority to the next highest, and so on, until every school has had a chance to activate a Gladiator. The turn order then loops back to the school with highest priority.

While they have Priority, a school deals with his Gladiators one at a time, fully completing that Gladiator's turn before passing priority. That is, each Gladiator completes his Movement and Attack phase before moving onto the next Gladiator. The entire process, during which each Gladiator on the field activates once, is called a Battle Round.


  • The Ludi Aeternum school is fielding 8 Gladiators with total movement value 24.
  • The Vi Et Armis school is fielding 8 Gladiators with total movement value 33.
  • The Legio Mortis school is fielding 8 Gladiators with total movement value 33.
  • The Malleus Deus school is fielding 6 Gladiators with total movement value 30.

The Malleus Deus school has highest priority, as it has the fewest fielded gladiators.

The Ludi Aeternum school is next, as it has an equal number of Gladiators fielded as compared to Legio Mortis and Vi Et Armis, but has a lower total movement.

The Legio Mortis and Vi Et Armis schools have equal number of gladiators and equal total movement. The Imperator rolls a dice, and randomly decides that the Legio Mortis has priority.

The school order is now set...:

  • 1) Malleus Deus
  • 2) Ludi Aeternum
  • 3) Legio Mortis
  • 4) Vi Et Armis

...and this order remains for the whole battle.

When selecting a Gladiator to activate, a School may not select one that already has been activated that Battle Round. If all the School's Gladiators have been activated during the current Battle Round then that school must "pass", activating none of his Gladiators and ceding priority to the next school. Note also that you may not choose to pass until you have activated all your Gladiators.

Its worth being aware that if a School has more Gladiators than another, its entirely possible that they'll be able to keep activating several turns in a row, while their opposition is forced to pass.

Once every school has activated every gladiator they control, then the current Battle Round ends, and a new Battle Round begins.

Keeping track[edit]

Two ways of keeping track of activated Gladiators are suggested.

The first is that each School has a set of index cards, each bearing the name of one Gladiator they control. For ease of reference, you might want to list the Gladiators stats and skills on that Index card too. The School starts with all the cards of their Gladiators present in their "hand". When the School activates a Gladiator, they play the card in front of them onto the table. Once the Battle Round ends (i.e. everybody's hand is empty), all the cards are picked up and returned to their owners hand.

The second option is for the Imperator to keep a written checklist of every gladiator present. As each Gladiator activates, he checks them off on the list. Once every Gladiator has an equal number of checks, the Battle Round ends.

Movement Phase[edit]

During a Gladiators movement phase, he may spend movement points.

By default it costs 1 movement point to move to an adjacent empty square. Morturi Te Salutant is played on a square grid, and an adjacent square is defined as one of the four squares which shares a border with the current square. Note that diagonal movement is not permitted, and diagonal squares are not considered to be adjacent. A Gladiator can only move into an empty square - he cannot move into a square occupied by an ally, an enemy or a solid obstacle (such as the walls of the arena).

Cost in movement may be increased by certain effects, such as certain gladiator tricks and terrain (see Terrain section below). Note that these movement cost increases are cumulative, so with multiple imposed conditions it might cost 3+ movement points for just one square of movement!

At all times, a Gladiator must be facing towards one of the four adjacent squares. At any time during his own turn, as many times as he likes, a Gladiator may turn to face a different adjacent square.

Note that some tricks will allow a Gladiator to do other things with his movement points other than move squares. For example, the Trick "Toe To Toe" has the text "The gladiator may spend 3 movement points to make a melee attack against an adjacent enemy. This is on addition to his normal attacks this round." These actions are carried out and fully resolved during the movement phase.

The Gladiator does not have to use up all his movement points if he does not want to, but cannot attempt any movement or trick that requires more movement points than he has. A Gladiator's movement point total is reset at the start of each turn, and movement points can never be carried from one turn to the next.

The Gladiator's movement phase must end before he can start his attack phase.

Forced movement / Effect movement[edit]

Certain tricks and powers can force movement on an enemy, or move the user as part of the effect. Movement from these sources is counted in terms of squares rather than movement points, and are unaffected by any effects that would increase the movement point cost of a square of movement. However, forced movement and effect movement must still abide by any other restrictions governing movement - for example, you cannot move into a square of impassable terrain, or into a square containing another gladiator. If the forced or effect movement would result in an illegal move, it is cancelled and does not happen.

  • Example 1:

The common Light Gladiator trick "Light Mobility" has the text "After making any attack against a target, this gladiator may move 1 square for free." The Medium Gladiator trick "Combat Control" reads "Any enemy gladiator moving out of a square adjacent to this gladiator must spend +1 movement point for that square of movement."
If a light gladiator attacks the medium gladiator, then activates his "Light Mobility" trick, he can then move 1 square. The medium gladiator's "Combat Control" trick doesn't affect this movement, as the "effect movement" is measured in squares and is unaffected by increases in movement point costs.

  • Example 2:

The Dimachaerus trick "Assault Stance" has the text "...the Dimachaerus pushes the enemy back one square whenever he makes an attack against that enemy, and then moves into the square the enemy has just vacated."
If the Dimachaerus were to attack another gladiator with this trick, he would normally move that enemy back one square and step into the vacated square. However, if directly behind his target there is another gladiator, then there would be no square that the target could be pushed into. In this case, the push would not happen, and neither Dimachaerus or target would move.

Attack Phase[edit]

During the Attack Phase, the Gladiator may make a melee attack against the target in his front adjacent square.

To make a melee attack, roll a single D6. Then, reference the Gladiator's Attack details to see what effect it has.

For example, a Bustarius has the Attack details "Ceremonial blade - Roll 5+ to deal 5 damage. "

Therefore, for a Bustarius making a standard melee attack, if the rolled D6 comes up "5" or "6" then he would deal 5 damage to his target.

Damage is applied to a target's Life Points.

Life Points and Injury[edit]

A Gladiator starts with Life Points equal to the listed amount on his profile.

If an attack reduces a target to 0 Life Points or less, then that Gladiator is taken out of action. An out of action gladiator is removed from the game board and can no longer contribute to this battle.

Unless you are using the optional Factions rules, you will note that by default all Gladiators have 8 Life Points. It is recommended that you keep track of Life Point totals with a D8 for each gladiator, either placed by the miniature or on the school roster.

To save on D8s, some players might prefer to only place a dice by injured Gladiators, presuming that all Gladiators are on maximum life points unless they have a "wound dice" by them.

Damage bonuses[edit]

Tricks and many other rules factors may add damage to an attack. For example, an attack against an enemies' rear facing gives +1 damage.

Unless stated otherwise, all damage bonuses are cumulative. However, you still need to score a hit to deal any damage!

Additionally, its worth noting that some tricks allow attacks which are noted to "deal no damage". An attack that deals no damage cannot benefit from any damage bonuses - even if you have adds to damage, that attack will always deal zero damage. For, example if a Gallus is using the trick "Sand Toss" then he deals no damage. It doesn't matter if the Gallus is attacking the target's rear facing, or if he activates his "Execute" trick... regardless of any adds he will still deal no damage with the Sand Toss attack.

Variant Attacks[edit]

Its worth noting that many Tricks affect the basic attack in many different ways. These are detailed under the descriptions of the Tricks


As noted before, at any time during his own turn, as many times as he likes, a Gladiator may turn to face a different adjacent square.

This is pretty important, as a Gladiator can normally only attack to his front square. However, bearing in mind the above rule it is perfectly possible to turn to face an opponent, make a basic attack, then turn away to face another direction.

Additionally, a Gladiator can use the following "turn to face" reaction when it is not his turn:

  • Turn-To-Face: If a Gladiator is attacked in melee, he may immediately change his orientation so he is facing his melee attacker. This happens before the attack itself is resolved, and before modifiers for facing are calculated. However, a Gladiator may not use Turn-To-Face if there is an enemy Gladiator currently in his own front square. Turn-to-Face is an optional reaction, and the Gladiator is not obliged to take this reaction if he does not want to.

Note that with the "turn-to-face" rule, it is very difficult to catch a Gladiator off guard - they'll almost always be able to spin round to defend themselves. The key tactic to making a flank or rear attack is to first "lock" that target gladiator by occupying his front facing, and then attack with a second Gladiator.

Additionally, some special rules apply for non-frontal facings.

  • Flank Attacks - An attack against a gladiator's flank gains no special bonus, but is considered to be "non-frontal", which can have some effects elsewhere in the rules. For example, shields only give benefit against frontal attacks.
  • Rear Attacks - An attack against a gladiator's rear is considered to be "non-frontal". Also, rear attacks gain a +1 damage bonus.

The damage bonus to flank or rear attacks can make all the difference, especially for Light Gladiators who tend to hit weakly, but rely on manoeuvring into position to make their damage count!


There are various sorts of terrain that may be found in an arena.

Higher Ground[edit]

The arena may include areas of raised terrain, such as small hillocks, crates and the like. These will normally be modelled or indicated by the Imperator player when he sets up the battle. These can be moved onto freely.

  • Height Advantage - An attack from higher ground gains a +1 damage bonus. An area of raised terrain blocks line of sight from any attacks that crosses it from lower terrain to lower terrain, but does not block line of sight into itself, other raised terrain squares or from attacks originating from any other raised terrain.

Difficult Terrain[edit]

Some areas of terrain are hard to move through, perhaps because of uneven footing or thick undergrowth.

  • Difficult Terrain - Moving into a square of difficult terrain costs +1 movement point to normal. Difficult terrain may or may not block line of sight, depending on its nature.


Obstacles represent absolutely impenetrable squares that block both movement and line of sight. For example, a pillar of rock or a wall.

  • Obstacles - Gladiators cannot move through an obstacle. Obstacles block line of sight.


Hazards represent squares that are filled with something dangerous, for example a firepit, a pool of acid or a spike trap.

  • Hazards - Gladiators cannot voluntarily move into a hazard. A Gladiator that is forced to move into a Hazard is dealt damage automatically (amount as determined by the Imperator player at the start of the battle). Hazards may or may not block line of sight, depending on their nature.

Ranged Attacks[edit]

Ranged Attacks, such as the thrown Pilum of the Peltast can be used at range. These attacks are described in the special features or tricks of a given role, but have the following rules in common:

Maximum range[edit]

A ranged attack may be used up to its maximum range. To count range, count the most direct route possible as if you were moving to that target. For example, for a range of 4 squares, you could target an enemy that is 4 squares away in a straight line, or 3 squares away and 1 across, or 2 squares away and 2 across.

Ranged attacks attack a target's front, flank or rear facing depending on the 90 degree arc from which they originate (with attacks directly along the "diagnonals" counting as flank attacks) and the target can make a turn-to-face reaction as normal, if able.

Line of sight[edit]

Draw an imaginary straight line from the centre of the attacker to the centre of the target. If this line would pass through any part of a LOS-blocking square, then you cannot make that attack. Merely touching a corner or edge of a LOS-blocking square does not block line of sight, however.

LOS-blocking squares include:

  • Any square that contains a gladiator, whether allied or enemy.
  • Some types of terrain - see above.

Favour of the Crowd[edit]

Gladiatorial contests are fought in front of a baying crowd, and whether they like it or not, gladiators cannot help but be encouraged if the crowd is cheering them on.

This is measured by Crowd's Favour, which is recorded and tracked for each School separately during a battle. Note that individual gladiators do not have their own Crowd's Favour scores, rather it is a measure of the team's popularity as a whole at any given time.

At the start of the battle, each school has 0 points of Crowd's Favour. Some tricks (such as the Murmillo trick "Everybody loves Murmillos!") can add to this starting value.

A school automatically gains +1 Crowd's Favour every time it successfully deals the final blow to an enemy gladiator (that is, deals the damage that takes that gladiator out-of-action).

If a school has more Crowd's Favour than any other school present, it is said to have Boosted Morale. All Gladiators within a School team with Boosted Morale gain a +1 bonus to all damage dealt. This condition ends if they cease if the crowd turns against them - that is, they only keep this bonus so long as their school has more Crowd's Favour than any other school.

Also, if a School has at least a 10-point lead in Crowd's Favour over the next most popular School, then the Boosted Morale bonus increases from +1 damage to +2 damage.


A battle ends when one team has achieved victory.

For the most simple and straightforward sort of arena battle, victory is attained when all enemy Gladiators have been taken out-of-action. This victory condition is generally appropriate for quick pick-up games.

Specifically designed battles may have other victory conditions - for example, in a Capture the Flag game, victory may go to the team that first picks up the enemy flag and brings it safely back to his own home zone.


Sometimes, especially in Campaign games, a Lanista may want to concede a match and hand victory to his opponent.

This can be done only at the end of a Battle Round. Doing so removes all remaining Gladiators of that school from the battle - they are not considered to be out-of-action, but can no longer take part in the battle.

Some battles might be deemed by the Imperator to be "no retreat" scenarios. In these cases, a Lanista may never opt to surrender, and attempting to do so simply results in every one of his remaining gladiators being taken out-of-action, as they are mercilessly cut down as they scrabble to flee the arena!

Imperators may want to introduce additional limitations to Surrender especially if he suspects that Lanistae are "throwing the match" tactically. As a default, it is suggested that Campaign games use the following additional limitations:

  • A minimum of spilt blood - A match cannot be surrendered until at least one gladiator has been taken out-of-action.
  • A minimum of show for the crowd - A match cannot be surrendered until at least three full battle turns have passed.


This page created by Asklepios.