Gladiatorial GURPS II: The Wizards
By S. John Ross, Copyright © 1997

Click Here for the main GURPS Gladiator page
Click Here to download a PDF gladiator pit map


Transparent, Unnecessary Rationale: Every couple of years, the Nutty Wizard gets bored and tosses his apprentices into the pits to do battle with the gladiators. You're one of them. Aren't you happy?

The Nutty Wizard's Ground-Rules

The magic rules are standard GURPS, all the way; mana-level is Normal Mana. No optional or special rules are used, apart from those normally appropriate to the palace of the Nutty Wizard.

Mages are created on the same point-scale as gladiators. They have full access to GURPS Magic and GURPS Grimoire, with the exceptions of those spells which appear on the Forbidden Lore list.

Intelligence: The Nutty Wizard's Equally-Nutty-But-Less-Wizardly apprentices have something that ordinary gladiators don't have -- an IQ score of something other than 10. IQ can't be dropped below 10, but it can be higher! Non-mage gladiators can buy high IQs, too, if they're really all that paranoid about resisting spells.

New Legal Advantages: Magical Aptitude, Single-College Magery, Magic Resistance (for non-mages!), Extra Fatigue, and a special version of the Familiar advantage (see below).

New Legal Disadvantages: None.

New Legal Skills: Spells, of course, plus Spell Throwing, Body Sense, Magic Breath, and Magic Jet.

Critical Failures and Successes: On a critical success, the spell costs no ST, and the caster immediately heals 1d fatigue points. If the spell can be resisted; resistance automatically fails.

On a critical failure, the spell fails, the mage pays the full cost, and the mage takes 1d-2 damage for every point of ST the spell costs (thus, a 3-point spell would cause 3d-6; zero damage is possible). Instead of taking the damage, the spell could affect the WRONG PERSON, which can be anyone in the arena. This happens if the mage's enemy(ies) can think of someone that they'd rather have it affect, and can agree on it. Otherwise, the mage just takes the damage.

Odds and Ends: Note that the "Modified Quick Combat" rule applies to Blocking spells normally.

Forbidden Lore

Many spells are illegal, not because they are "unbalancing," but because they can create situations which require the adjudication of a Game Master. Any spell listed here is illegal to cast within the arenas of the palace; they may still be taken (if they are necessary for prerequisites, for instance).

The universal rules of forbidden spells are as follows: No spell may be cast which alters the arena itself (Shape Stone, Earth to Air, that kind of thing). No spells can be used to leave the arena. No spells may be used to fly or travel any way other than (a) ordinary movement or (b) teleporation. No spell may bring any new solids or liquids into the arena, unless these are specific side-effects of combat spells such as Sand Jet or Ice Slick; this also eliminates any sort of summonings! Enchantment, Information and Special spells are forbidden, unless otherwise noted.

More specific Forbidden Lore, by College (spells already covered by the universal rules above are not necessarily listed):

Gladiator Familiars

The Nutty Wizard permits only two types of familiars in the arena: Cats and Birds. Bird familiars are the only creatures ever allowed to fly in combat. Each type of familiar is a separate advantage, which costs 20 Character Points. Only mages may have familiars, and each mage may have only one.

General Rules: Mages can see through the eyes of their familiars. Runaround or rear-attacks on the mage do not incur the regular -2 to Active Defenses, if both the attacker and the mage are in the familar's line of sight (and all familairs have Peripheral Vision; see p.B22).

If a familiar is wounded, the mage feels it. He doesn't take any damage, but he takes shock penalties and can be distracted exactly as if he were hit. High Pain Threshold and Low Pain Threshold apply normally.

Both kinds of familiars can distract; this requires no special maneuver and is considered automatic. Whenever a gladiator begins his turn in a hex with an enemy familiar, all his attacks and defenses are at -1. If he attacks or defends while in a hex with an enemy familiar, the penalty is -2. Characters who move during an Active Defense (Retreat, Blink, etc), take the -2 penalty whether they enter OR leave a "familiar-haunted" hex.

All familiars act at the same time as their masters, regardless of relative Move scores. The mage-player may decide whether the mage or familar moves first in any given turn.

All familiars are attacked at -4 to skill due to their size. All familiars have ST 3, DX 15, IQ 5, HT 13/3 and Move 10. Their only defense is Dodge 7; they have no PD or DR. They can attack in Close Combat for 1d-2 cutting damage. Familiars may not be attacked with a Shield-Bash (exception: Cats may be shield-bashed while latched on a foe's face; see below).

Whenever a familiar dies, the master is automatically physically Stunned. Whenever a mage dies, his familiar immediately disappears in a puff of sparkly smoke.

Extra ST: Mages with familiars may purchased Extra Fatigue at a cost of 2/level instead of 3/level, with the limitation "stored in familiar." This extra ST can be drawn upon normally provided the familiar is alive, conscious, and in the arena. Every point of damage that a familiar takes reduces its "ST pool" by one, if it has one.

Cats: Cats may only move on the ground. They can jump well, clearing any pit or gap under two hexes wide. The jump itself subtracts two hexes from their total movement that turn. Cats can leap to their master's shoulders for a cost of 5 hexes of movement; this in no way distracts the mage. From their master's shoulders (only), a cat can latch on to a foe's face. The victim must be within 2 hexes of the mage and not be wearing a greathelm. The mage must be within the victim's line of sight. The latch requires the cat's entire turn; it leaps onto the victim's face (roll at DX-1), who is permitted a Dodge (but not a Block or Parry, except for Karate and Judo parry or Blocking spells).

The latch does normal (1d-2) damage to the victim's face. From then on, the cat has grappled the foe and he is blinded (-10 to attacks, no Active Defenses, and must make a Hearing-2 roll to attack to begin with).

The latch does no further damage unless the cat is ripped off. This requires grappling the cat (the victim may do this with an ordinary DX roll; he KNOWS where the cat is). On subsequent turns, prying the cat off is considered a Long Contest of ST, with each roll-off taking one turn. Every turn of this (successful or not) does a single point of damage to the victim (Toughness and the Armor spell protects; normal armor does not). A cat pried loose lands in an adjacent hex to the victim (the cat chooses) and takes no damage. Gladiators aren't deft enough to hold a cat that doesn't wish to be held.

Latched cats may be attacked, but they are attacked at -4 and any miss by 1 hits the victim's face. Any miss by 2 hits the victim's torso. Any blow-through from impaling attacks hits the victim's face. The victim suffers the regular -10 to attack the cat with a weapon. Cats may not be shield-bashed unless they are latched, in which case any damage affects the victim's face as well as the cat, if the attack is successful.

Cats that miss the initial latch-attack (and those that are successfully Dodged) land in the hex behind the intended victim. Cat-claw damage to the face doesn't cause Knockout rolls.

Cats underfoot do not count as "occupying" a hex for purposes of preventing the Retreat maneuver, but Retreating into a cat requires a DX-2 roll (Acrobatics-2 or any martial arts skill at -2 may be substituted) to avoid falling after the Active Defense is resolved.

Birds: Birds are permitted low flight in the arena, the only exception to an otherwise absolute rule. Birds in flight get a 3-hex "step" for single-hex maneuvers, and Dodge at +2 (Dodge 9). Weapons must have 1 hex over the apparent necessary length to attack a flying Bird familiar (thus, a two-hex weapon is necessary to attack one in an adjacent hex). They cannot be engaged in close combat unless their master desires it. The turning radius rules on p.B139 are enforced; Birds can perform 2G turns without rolling. Birds can accelerate or decelerate their full Move instantly; they move at 1 on the ground.

If a bird is in flight, a wing may be attacked at -5 to skill. A single point of damage will cripple and "blow-through" a wing. Birds thus crippled land 1-3 hexes forward (their choice) of their current position on their next turn, and may not fly thereafter.

Birds may land on enemy shields, squawking and flapping and holding on, to distract a foe. This is treated as normal distraction, except the bird moves with the foe. The bird must be attacked with a weapon to remove it without it's master's consent (any attempt to grapple it will be futile; it will nimbly flap out of the way and then return to the shield). Enemies without shields are immune, and Birds aren't nimble enough to balance on spears, etc.

The Nutty Wizard's Apprentices:
Stock Sorcerers To Gladiate With

Father Frost (drinks his milkshakes on the rocks); 100 points

ST 9; DX 13; IQ 14; HT 6. Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1
Skills: Magic Breath-13, Magic Jet-14, Spell Throwing (Ice Dagger)-14
Legal Spells: Frostbite-15, Ice Dagger-15, Ice Slick-15, Icy Breath-14, Snow Jet-15, Snow Shoes-15, Water Jet-15
Advantages/Disadvantages: Extra Fatigue +5, Single-College Magery 3 (Water Spells), Low Pain Threshold
Weapons and Other Gear: None
Armor: None (DR 2 on Skull)
Encumbrance: None
Dodge 4, Parry NA, Block NA.
Basic Speed 4.75, Move 4, Sequence 4

Dweomer the Gygaxian (Welcome, Gentle Readers); 100 points

ST 9; DX 12; IQ 14; HT 6. Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1
Skills: Staff-12, Magic Breath-15, Magic Jet-14
Legal Spells: Breathe Fire-14, Extinguish Fire-15, Flame Jet-15, Resist Fire-15, Blur-15, Darkness-15
Advantages/Disadvantages: Extra Fatigue +4, Magery 3, Low Pain Threshold
Weapon/Damage: Quarterstaff w/Staff enchantment (1d+1 cr, 1d cr)
Other Gear: None.
Armor: None (DR 2 on Skull)
Encumbrance: None (4 lbs.)
Dodge 4, Parry 8, Block NA.
Basic Speed 4.5, Move 4, Sequence 4

Big B (give the man a hand); 200 points

ST 9; DX 12; IQ 14; HT 12. Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1
Skills: Staff-12, Magic Breath-15, Magic Jet-14
Legal Spells: Breathe Fire-14, Extinguish Fire-15, Flame Jet-15, Resist Fire-15, Blur-15, Darkness-15
Advantages: Toughness DR 2; Extra Fatigue +3, Magery 3, Cat Familiar
Weapon/Damage: Quarterstaff w/Staff enchantment (1d+1 cr, 1d cr)
Other Gear: None.
Armor: None (PD 0;DR 2, DR 4 on Skull)
Encumbrance: None (4 lbs.)
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Block NA.
Basic Speed 6.0, Move 6, Sequence 6

The original (pre-Blue Room) HTML conversion was provided by Incanus.

Home | Cumberland Games | The Fontworks | Risus | Fly From Evil
Uresia: Grave of Heaven | GURPS | Star Trek | Crossword | The FAQ
Pokethulhu | Gourmand Bleu | Secret Library | Blog | S. John