Monday, August 17, 2015

Dark Sun: The Gladiator

The Fighter class in the world of Athas is pretty much unchanged, the only thing was to remove the Eldritch Knight from the Martial Archetypes options, and to compensate I created the Gladiator as a Martial Archetype.
Some people suggested me doing the Gladiator as a completely separate class of its own. But I think that would be redundant. I was even tempted to use the Champion archetype and just change the name to Gladiator because it kind of fits. but in doing so, I was leaving the rest of non gladiator fighters with no option but the Battle Master.
So I worked on the new archetype. I looked at some of the gladiators from previous editions. The one on the original 2E box didn't had much to choose from, and the prestige class from 3.x was too dependent on the crowd cheering up. I somehow implemented that in one of the features, but also added the ability to impress the enemies, in case there's no crowd around—no, the party does not count as a crowd!
So here it is, my take on the Gladiator of Athas, as a Martial Archetype.

EDIT: I just changed the previous Favored Weapon feature for the Pit Fighter feature, to make it feel more like the original box gladiator.


The life of a gladiator is brutish and brief, but it is the one occupation a slave can hold that also brings respect. Gladiators are heroes to the common people. Their trials and victories are the stuff of legend, and many slaves grow comfortable from the accolades their conquests bring.

Pit Fighter

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain advantage in any grapple check you make. Also, whenever an enemy tries to grapple you and fails, you can use your reaction to try and grapple the attacking creature back—make new rolls for this attempt.
Additionally, you are well trained in fighting with your bare hands, your unarmed strikes use a d4 for damage. At 10th level, this dice turns into d6. And at 18th level, it turns into d8.

Bloody Entertainer

Starting at 7th level, you gain proficiency in the Performance and Intimidation skills.
In addition, you can try to sway the crowds or distress a foe with flourishes, trash-talking and fancy moves. You gain the following features.

Roar of the Crowd. As a bonus action, you can make a Charisma (Performance) check, the DC is determined by the DM according to the mood of the crowd: 10 if the crowd loves you, 15 if the crowd is neutral, and 20 if the crowd is hostile towards you. If you succeed in the check, you get a d8 confidence die.
When you make an attack roll against a creature, you can expend one confidence die to add it to the roll. You can use this die before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.

Shrug off the Wimp. As a bonus action choose a target enemy, you then make a Charisma (Intimidation) check contested by the target Wisdom (Insight) check. If your check succeeds, you get a d8 intimidation die.
When the target enemy damages you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to expend your intimidation die and shrug off some of the damage, reducing it by the number you roll on your intimidation die + your Constitution modifier.

You can only have one confidence die and one intimidation die at a time. At 10th level, your confidence and intimidation dice turns to d10s. And at 18th level, they turn into d12s.

Dirty Fighting

At 10th level, you’ve mastered dirty tricks and cheats to make the best out of your strikes. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a melee attack, you can use your bonus action to impose one of the following effects on that target:
  • It must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone. 
  • It must make a Strength saving throw. If it fails, you can push it up to 15 feet away from you. 
  • It can’t take reactions until the end of your next turn. 
The saving throw DC for your Dirty Fighting effects is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).

Uncanny Dodge

Starting at 15th level, when an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack’s damage against you.

Death and Glory

When you reach 18th level, whenever you’re close to death you get an adrenaline rush, excited to go out of this world in the most glorious way! Whenever you’re down to one quarter of your maximum hit points (rounded down), you get advantage in every attack roll you make. This strenuous feat of combat causes your wounds to bleed, you take 1d4 necrotic damage at the end of each of your turns in which you used the attack action.

More 5th Edition Dark Sun


  1. Really love the work you did on Dark Sun. Are you planning on converting more? Like, giving some suggestions about equipment, or Athasian Bards? Or Psionicists?

    1. Thanks! I actually have a draft of a PDF with all the House Rules. I'll be posting it soon =)