Ideas for Gladiator Games

edited October 2010 in General Discussion
My players are going to be kidnapped in an upcoming game and taken to an Arena on the plane of shadows, to be forced to fight as punishment for interfering in one of the big bad's plans. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for fun gladiator fights/scenarios for a group of three pcs between level 13-15. Anything goes for monsters, magic and traps and I thought you guys might have some fun ideas or maybe have done something similar. Thanks in advance!


  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Two will enter, one will leave! (Seriously - if there are two PCs that have been generating friction, make them duel to the death, but have a provision to bring one of them back.)

    I am Spartacus! (A bunch of dangerous monsters - but only one is real!)

    Are you not amused?! (Combat round based on crowd entertainment - descriptive attacks are everything. Normal ones don't work at all. Party lives or dies at the whims of the crowd.)
  • FrankSirmarco
    Posts: 250 edited October 2010
    Start small, end big. Start with easily disposable enemies and graduate to something a point or to higher on the challenge rating. I also like the idea of having two characters fight each other - that could be a lot of fun. In fact, if you have an even number of players, split them into two groups.

    Edited to add: Or you could do something like The Running Man, and have them navigate a game field, where they are constantly hunted by baddies. Throw in some puzzles or other brain-based problems to change pace a bit.
    Post edited by FrankSirmarco on
  • Alatheon
    Posts: 35 edited October 2010
    I played in a gladiator game, and the most important rule in the arena was to make it fun for the audience. Avoid any kind of tactic that slows down a fight, and encourage your players to do the same. When our cleric cast brambles and brought the fight to a screeching halt, they dropped more enemies on us.

    One fun session we did started with each character in a separate fighting ring, against only a few opponents, tailored to that characters fighting style (my ninja was fighting a rogue and a sorcerer with lots of spells for negating invisibility for example). Each fight was run simultaneously, on the same initiative tracker, although we could not effect the other fights in progress. As we each won (or lost) our fights the winner was instantly teleported to another arena with a big bad beastie that we really needed the whole party to face.
    This changed the entire dynamic of the fight, as the name of the game for the early victor (a psion who overtaxed himself in the first round to win quickly) became survival while he waited for the rest of us to finish our own fights. With the added layer of knowing that if we lost we would be reinforcing the rest of the party's opposition, this led to a very tense and engaging fight. Even talking about it makes me want to play a similar set up again. Very fun.
    Post edited by Alatheon on
  • kenurion
    Posts: 80
    Throw in something the characters have a role-playing problem with killing. If there's a druid/ranger, throw in some rare wild animals; if the characters are good, throw in some child-gladiators or obviously charmed combatants; if there are priests, throw in creatures sacred to their religion.
  • DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    I really like the above mentioned ideas. I'm going to have to make note of them. :)

    My players visited a gladatorial arena style underground fight club in the final chapter of my game (haven't posted about it yet). The combatants were dressed in leather and chains like some kind of dungeon and the particulars of this place were that blood and pain were what the crowd was looking for. There was no idea of fairness or a "good clean fight". The crowd just wanted to see people get messed up. So what I did was a made a chart with a list of weapons, and made the PC's roll to see what weapon they were allowed. So one guy could have a dagger and another a two handed axe. Also they had to roll on another chart, it was full of bonuses and penalties. Bonuses were potions like bulls strength, cats grace, etc, but penalties were poisons that took HP all at once or over time, or slowed them down. They didn't know what they got until they sipped it too. In game I said they were pulling rune stones from a bag. I also designed a few arenas. One with pits, another with fire, and another with spikes.
  • JimTriche
    Posts: 483
    We actually designed an entire sports league back in our AD&D campaign. Similar to football/soccer, used game mechanics for ranged attacks thrown and kicked. There were 7 areas you could score from. You had to use opposing grapple checks to control the ball, had to kick forward and pass backwards. Waterdeep, Baldurs Gate, Illefarn, Soubar, etc. all had teams. Goals were made into nets that were 5' above the field at the center of the ends of the elliptical field.

    We do odd things when going through football withdrawal in March. Entire nights just simulating sports or inventing them.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Thanks for the great ideas guys, I'm gonna use a couple of them, like the random weapons, and power ups/downs. Anyone have any tables or maps that they have used for arena combat? If not, I can come up with some of my own of course, just thought if anyone had any handy, they'd be very helpful.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Okay, so here's what I've come up with for some of the various rounds in the ring:

    1. Hazards Galore: In the arena, there is a pit in the center, there are raised platforms, there are pools of acid, there are hidden flame jets, there are stationary boulders (cover/weapons if they can utilize them), and entry points for monsters, if the fight isn't interesting enough.

    2. Using DarkMagus's idea, I came up with a battle royale map. there will be eight teams (for ease, there will be the party, one other unique group, and 6 generic "fighter" or "barbarian" or "rogue" type teams. the goal is to control the center-most point of the map, which is raised up on a pyramid (think american gladiators). Each starting point is 8 squares. which means 6 random weapons and 2 random power-ups. 4 of the points are further away from the center, which means better power-ups and weapons (the further will be just simple weapons, whereas the closer will be martial and simple). on the steps of the pyramid, there are random squares that trigger power-ups, some that trigger traps, and there are some weapons strewn about the steps as well. The winner is the group that manages to have all three of their members on the top for one minute. To discourage a team from hiding on the outskirts while everyone else fights each other, there is a "cannon" on the top of the pyramid that shoots fireballs as per the spell, caster level 8th. it takes two rounds to charge, and a full-round action to fire though, so it's not too useful in the thick of things.

    3. Taking Alatheon's idea, I've created a multi-tiered fight. on the floor of the arena, there will be four starting areas, one for each character, and one for the big bad (undecided at this time). each area will be surrounded by a wall of force, and when the first character wins their fight, their wall of force will dispel, as will that of the big bad. I imagine them using the other walls of force as barriers to buy time until their other party members can help.

    Now, if anyone has any thoughts on gladiator teams or monsters that would be interesting to fight, I'd love to hear suggestions. The party consists of a 13th level sorcerer, a 13th level ranger, and a 12th level cleric of bahamut. I'm also trying to think of one other unique arena style scenario, so that I can have them go through 5 rounds (two would be the generic hazard map, and the other three would be unique). perhaps a scenario based on Rase's idea "are you not amused" of course all gladiator games are based on crowd approval, but perhaps a point based game with judges... but it's almost 5am so I'm having trouble getting any further than that. Thanks for the great ideas guys.
  • DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    A good mix of creatures could be deadly. You could pick creatures that compliment each others strengths and weaknesses. For example you could find a couple that are very hard to hit and a couple that are easier to hit but much harder to kill.

    Example. I createsd a hybrid monster for my group to fight when they were lower levels than your group. I called it a blink beast: they hybrid of a blink dog and displacer beast. It had the abilities of both so it was VERY hard to hit. For creatures that are easier to hit but harder to kill I'm thinking of an armored troll perhaps. If they don't have access to fire spells that could be quite difficult. OOOOH! What about a troll with a ring of fire resistance? They'd have to chop off his finger or arm before they killed him.

    Maybe you can use my idea and find appropriate monsters for their challenge rating? It sounds like you've got a great adventure coming up. Have fun!
  • Alatheon
    Posts: 35
    I just finished reading the book "Hunger Games": Pretty good (and messed up) ideas for gladitorial combat in there.

    The bloodsport takes place over several weeks in a carefully manufactured "wilderness" area. Combatants start in a cirlce around "the cornucopia", which is filled with food, water, survival supplies and weapons (they don't get to bring anything with them). The initial fight over the supplies is a bloodbath, and then things become a game of cat and mouse, where the fighters need to forage for food if they didn't score any before.
    The overseers of the game use traps and barriers to force combatants together if things go too long with out a kill, and before the game, combatants can lobby for patrons, who will send them supplies when neccessary.
    It would require some tweaking, since it is a last man standing contest, which doesn't leave a lot of room for team play. Of course it could be fun to pit the party against each other too.
  • DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    Alatheon, thats a really cool idea! If it was tweaked just a little it could be more feasible for a game, since it seems that needing to forage for food would imply that this fight could take days which many might find boring or tedious, but maybe not. If instead there was something causing damage to all the gladiators, maybe they all imbided poison before the fight, or there is acid rained down on them every so often or something like that, One could replace the food and water with healing potions and it would be a similar dynamic but would take less time.
  • Curufea
    Posts: 161
    Often arena battles were staged performances of famous historical battles and victories. If there are battles in the PC's past or the setting background that the Big Bad would be familiar with - they could re-enact them on a smaller scale.
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