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D&D 3E
12th-Dec-2004 05:34 pm
I was thinking about running a Gladiator based campaign. But...not the typical Gladiator campaign. I'm thinking of making the Players retired Gladiators who now have their own stable. I was thinking about giving them each a "champion" (say, 10th level to start), 5 or so "veterans" (5th level) and 20 or so rookies (1st level) with 2...iunno like Sergeants basically, who are 2nd, or perhaps third level.

Anyway...I was figuring on giving the stable masters each a set amount of gold to equip their characters with, and setting down limits so they don't just spend it all on their Champion, then also saying they have to have several different "kits" depending on the type of...combat.

Anyway, advancing this concept, and some other things...

I figure the people who run it announce what type of combat they'll be having. Then the stable masters "bid" a gold amount and a number of fighters. (this number will be modified by who they pick, btw). Whoever bids lowest gold, wins. In case of a tie...whoever bid the lowest total level wins. In case of tie, whoever bid the least number of combatants wins. In case of tie, you have a duel between equal level members of your stables. Winner of duel wins.

There would of course also be prizes if they won. And in some cases multiple stables can win, as much of it will be gladiators vs. gladiators.

Of course, losses will be inevitable. So I was thinking they could buy replacements for like, 1500 GP per level of the replacement. But they can't have more than say, 2 champions, 10 veterans, and 50 rookies, at most. That would be far in the future of the campaign, however.

And, of course, there would be dozens of NPC stables, most of which would fail quickly. I'm also thinking there will be assassination, intrigue, betrayal, mutiny, and all sorts of good stuff. I think the stable masters will have to pay decent upkeep fees to keep their warriors happy.

Any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms? I don't know if this will work out on a practical level, but it seems interesting, and I at least have never seen it done quite like this, so I'm interested in trying it.
13th-Dec-2004 12:14 am (UTC)
It sounds like a wonderful SimGladiator. Will the players actually have to fight any or will their action be more social?
13th-Dec-2004 12:16 am (UTC)
I was going to let them roll and such during the actual combats and such...and eventually force them to come out of retirement for some reason or another. But that would probably be at the end of the game.
13th-Dec-2004 12:23 am (UTC)
Unless the PCs are getting a lot of action on their own, it seems pretty pointless for them to put a lot of care into their characters, the real business is going on in the pit. And unless each stable has a guy in the pit up against, like a dire lion or something, it looks like a pretty rough game to get players to cooperate in. If just one guy is fighting, it could get boring for the rest.
13th-Dec-2004 04:18 am (UTC)
Well, I'm hoping they'll get attached and put time into thinking about their stable, so to speak. Not so much caring about the loss of one man, as opposed to the general survival of their investments.

I'm also thinking that a betting system may be in order. That way even if they aren't in a combat (though I'm going to do everything I can to ensure they're in the vast majority of combats, and most likely I'll let them control the NPCs if they don't manage to bid their way in) they'll have some sort of interest in each combat.

And really, I want to encourage them to develop a personality for their group. I want them to think tactically, and have to think on their feet to keep their gladiators alive. I want to make them be resourceful, and have to fight with different weapons and tactics than they're used to. Basically I'm sick of seeing the almost formulaic play that seems to be what D&D degenerates into.
13th-Dec-2004 01:28 am (UTC)
If you want to make this more interesting, think of it this way.

Remember all those gladitorial scenes/games where they have to fight strange creatures. Have the pc's go out and try to capture some of these creatures. This is much harder than it sounds. They can then set up a sort of a zoo there. This works great.
13th-Dec-2004 07:56 pm (UTC)
The gladiator idea is a great one, and one of my personal favorites.

The gladiator stable idea makes it sound more like a competitive video game than a D&D session. Inevitably, some players will be doing more than others, as not everybody can be in every "game."

The bidding system sounds a lot like the Clan bidding system in Battletech, but I'm just drawing a parallel here. :P

In any case, I was thinking about doing something like this myself in a future game, but I was never quite certain how I would work it out. The capturing strange creatures idea, from Foxsable, sounds pretty good to me.

Like has already been mentioned, it will be extremely hard for the players to work together in such a situation, unless they were all in the same stable, or had joint ownership of one. Gladitorial schools rarely ever work together, as the competition is the all important thing.

Also, if you're tired of the "I try to hit the enemy again" theme of combat, look into the Tactical Feats in the Complete Warrior and such like. They're specific situations all, but they can and will change the course of a battle, as you're trying to change the battle to your favorable position.

Some characters might have tactics that require charging, and will move in and out of combat to accomplish that. Some characters might depend on working with other characters in tandem.

Basically, the best way to change the game from a boring "try again" fest to a tactical fight is to tell the players to come up with strategies. If you can do it with a Gladiator School, you can do it with an adventuring party: it just takes communication.
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