The gladiator is a character type that has appeared in various forms throughout the various versions of D&D. They have been especially prominent as a character type in the Dark Sun setting, where brutal arena combat is a widespread public entertainment in the various city-states of the Tyr region.


The gladiator background appears as a variant of the entertainer background in the Player's Handbook


Skills: Acrobatics, Performance

Tools: Disguise kit, one type of musical instrument
Starting Equipment An inexpensive but unusual weapon, such as a trident or a net, the favor of an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, or a trinket), a costume, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp
Feature By Popular Demand: You can always find a place to fight for entertainment (such as a gladitorial arena or a secret fighting club) where, if you perform, you can earn free lodging and food. You are also a bit of a local celebrity; strangers recognize you in a town where you perform, and they regard you fondly when they do.


4e had several different ways to represent gladiators.


Background Benefit Information
Gladiator - Follower of Kord Skills: Athletics, Endurance As a gladiator, you came to honor Kord, the god of strength and storms.
Former Gladiator It takes four death saves to kill you You grew up fighting for the amusement of the crowd.
Exotic Gladiator Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics (Prerequisite: Dragonborn) You have fought for the enjoyment of others, perhaps in a hobgoblin city or in an illegal fighting ring in a human settlement.
Veteran of the Arena Skills: Athletics, Endurance (Prerequisite: Goliath) You are an old hand in the gladitorial arenas, making no apologies for you life of violence.

Character ThemesEdit

The gladiator theme was one of the inaugural themes introduced in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting.


Though there is no gladiator class in 4e, it is mentioned that wild battleminds are often found as gladiators in Athas.


Several feats appeared as enhancements to the Gladiator character theme, including Brutish Disposition, Disrupting Shove, Thrill of the Kill, and Keep Them Close.


The weapon known as the talid is also referred to as the "gladiator's gauntlet," and takes the form of a glove of leather studded with chitin and bone.

Paragon PathsEdit

The Jazst Dancer and the Gladiator Champion were paragon paths introduced in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting. The Chainbinder from Martial Power 2 is also noted as a possible gladiator,


For those with the Gladiator theme, powers included Disrupting Advance, Go with the Flow, Savage Sweep, Infuriating Challenge, Bloodborn Menace, Murderous Rampage, and Bloody Blades.

Those who pursued the Gladiator Champion paragon path gained acess to the power Opening Ploy, Fail to Disappoint, and Finishing Strike.


Gladiator enemies included the Grand Melee Gladiator, the Common Gladiator, the Mul Gladiator, the Human Gladiator Novice, the Veteran Gladiator, Undol Half-Ogre, Morrn Bladeclaw, Dragonborn Gladiator of Tiamat, Goliath Gladiator, Human Gladiator, Eladrin Feydark Gladiator, and the Marid Gladiator.


Prestige ClassesEdit

A gladiator pretige class appeared in Sword & Fist.


General KitsEdit

The book Complete Fighter's Handbook contained the Gladiator kit.

Dark Sun KitsEdit

The book Complete Gladiators Handbook, focused on the Dark Sun setting, cointained the Arena Champion kit', the Beast Tamer kit, the Blind-Fighter kit, the Convict kit, the Gladitorial Slave kit, the Jaszt kit, the Montare kit, the Professional Gladiator kit, and the Reaver kit,

The book Defilers and Preservers, part of the Dark Sun setting, contained the Arena Mage kit.



5e Player's Handbook, pg. 130-131


Dragon Magazine 392

Dragon Magazine 386, pg. 56

Dragon Magazine 366, pg. 58

Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn, pg. 17

Dark Sun Campaign Setting, pg. 50, 52, 53, 103, 105, 115. 121

Martial Power 2, pg. 100

Dragon Magazine Annual


Sword & Fist pg. 21


Complete Fighter's Handbook

Complete Gladiator's Handbook

Defilers and Preservers

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