Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Simple Gladiator Campaign - Rules

Warning! Boobs!
'Munera Sine Missione' gives fun, one-off games, but also allows for gladiators to be carried over from game to game. We sometimes use a very simple campaign framework for it, which can cope with a variable number of players and concentrates on the actual fights with very little peripheral fuss. Each player has a stable of gladiators and they are competing to gain the most prestige by the end of an agreed number of bouts. It is based around my particular collection of figures, which is fairly extensive and covers a range of types, but can be adapted for smaller collections without too much trouble. At a minimum you need six gladiators per player, and they should be two each of Light, Medium and Heavy.

Here's how the campaign works. Each player selects six gladiators - 2 x Light, 2 x Medium and 2 x Heavy. Ideally one of the Lights should be a Retiarius or similar.

The campaign is played in a number of bouts, with fights two or more fights taking place simultaneously in the arena. If your playing area isn't that big, then play a number of rounds. Players should decide if each new round represents a new day or not (it influences how much mercy the crowd have).

For each bout, each player selects one of their gladiators. These are the challengers.

The players then each roll a die. The highest scoring player picks a challenger (not his own, of course) and then rolls a D6. This determines the weight of gladiator that they must match it with:

Challenger is          Must Choose
Heavy                    1-3 Medium, 4-6 Light
Medium                 1-2 Light, 3-4 Medium, 5-6 Heavy
Light                      1-3 Medium, 4-6 Heavy

The player should choose a gladiator of the appropriate weight from their stable.

One of the features of gladiator bouts seems to have been  to pit types with different weights, fighting styles and equipment against each other, and these mechanisms promote that. So two Heavy gladiators will never meet, and neither will two Light. In most bouts, one gladiator will have an advantage in maneuver whilst the other has more protection. Medium gladiators cover a range of styles and can fight each other, but the bouts should still promote differences - the gladiators should have different weapon/shield combinations at the very least.

(I know certain types were designed to fight others of the same type, but that's for a more specialist scenario. Mixing styles makes for a  more interesting game.)

The next player then chooses and rolls, and so on until all challengers have an opponent. Set up the gladiators with each challenger facing their opponent on opposite sides of the arena. Each player will have two gladiators in play. and there should be as many pairs as there are players.

The players again roll a die, with the highest score going first. that player takes a turn for each of their two gladiators. Play then goes clockwise around the table until all fights have been resolved.

Once all fights have finished, award experience to surviving gladiators according to the rules.

In addition the players are awarded prestige as follows:

One of their gladiators beat an opponent of equal or lesser experience          +1
One of their gladiators beat an opponent of greater experience                     +2
One of their gladiators lost to an opponent of lesser experience                    -1

Wounded gladiators are assumed to recover. Replace any dead gladiators with new ones from the pool, and then play the next bout.

The main decision the players have to make is whether to risk higher experience gladiators in the area and have them beaten by less experienced ones, and whether to give their lesser experienced fighter a chance or stick to those with skills.

In the next post I will look at how you determine if a gladiator is Light, Medium or Heavy.


  1. The good thing about this campaign is that you can have an odd number of players as each player has 2 gladiators on the field at the same time.


    1. That was a deliberate part of the design. As was getting figures on the table with a minimum of things going on between games.

      Every so often I ponder a betting system for gladiators, but I lack the intuitive Aussie grasp of such things. I must study Tom Waterhouse more closely (depsite my desire to plant a shovel in his face whenever I see it :) )

  2. Just walk around with a smug grin, and wear a $5000 suit at all times :)



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