Monday, January 21, 2019

D20x5 Gratuitous Gladiators

Gladiators are coming back. This is my late 21st century prediction.

D20This Gladiator Is Armed With...
1A trident and weighted net.
2A trio of barber juggling-daggers.
3A sword that seems too big to be practical.
4A greatclub studded with iron knobs shaped like angry faces.
5A spear and shield, both designed with unicorn motifs.
6A mace with a hollow head and internal brazier that billows colourful smoke.
7Something like a halberd, with more edges and pointy bits than seems necessary.
8Bladed cestuses (cestii?).
9A lasso and a short, wide chopping sword.
10A hooked axe and spiky buckler.
11Manticore spikes and an atlatl sturdy enough to be used as a bludgeon.
12A brace of pistols more decorative than functional, shaped to make a sound like a tiger’s roar when fired.
13A set of bolas heavy enough to act like flails in the right hands (this gladiator’s hands are right).
14A glaive with an oil-siphon on one end and a sparking butt on the other.
15Chains tipped with claws.
16A pair of bladed war-fans.
17A poleaxe with a head at each end.
18An urumi.
19A set of javelins with rockets built into the heads.
20Something between a beartrap and a boxing glove.
D20This Gladiator Is Armoured With...
1A skirt and crown of peacock feathers, with treated leather beneath.
2A coat of bronze scales polished to a mirror-sheen, each scale inscribed with the name of a gladiator who died in the arena.
3A massive, multi-piece mask that protects their face, shoulders, and torso.
4Nothing but a shiny coating of oil.
5A chainmail cape.
6A round helmet covered in spikes, and a bulbous codpiece covered in the same.
7Old, pitted bracers and greaves.
8Wolf-skin leather armour designed to look like a pack is dragging the gladiator to ground.
9A frogskin bodysuit still slick with psychedelic slime.
10A vest and skirt of metal-and-wood segments, painted with scenes of battles and parties.
11A breastplate, helm, and greaves that cover only the front half of their body.
12Comically oversized pauldrons engraved with images of giants holding up the sky.
13A live, thick-scaled serpent coiled around their body.
14Mats of ivy densely woven into a green suit.
15Steel plates secured by piercings through their skin. Protects them well, but every impact brings agonizing tears.
16So many amulets, talismans, and periapts you can’t quite see them underneath it all.
17Fishleather stretched over a rattan frame to resemble the fins and crests of a lionfish.
18Tin bell-plates that ring pleasingly when struck.
19Heavy bronze half-plate decorated with relief-sculpture scenes of their own violent deaths.
20Spikes strapped across their body like a bear-hunting suit.
D20Before Becoming A Gladiator, This Gladiator Was...
1A slave captured from a now-conquered people.
2A heretic condemned to death, yet impressed the crowd enough to receive more condemnations.
3A noble who could only cure their ennui by risking life and limb.
4A compulsive gambler whose debts caught up with them.
5A soldier’s child disqualified from military service for their unfit mentality.
6A simple farmer dissatisfied with their lot in life.
7A bodyguard who failed to protect their charge and was subsequently sued into pennilessness.
8A student of history who longed to live the bloody battles they read about.
9A wizard defeated by a rival, then partially lobotomized and sold to slavers.
10A young orphan, plucked off the streets and raised to be the ideal fighter.
11An architect whose magnum opus collapsed, and so they were put to deadly work until their weregild was paid.
12A scout who misreported an enemy’s movements and afterwards willingly became a gladiator to cleanse their shame in blood.
13A theatrical actor who felt they weren’t getting enough attention for their art, and settled for fame in the arena.
14A court jester. They’re doing the gladiator thing as an involved, extended bit.
15A freak of nature, a monstrous birth too strong and brutal to do anything else.
16A confection seller who catered to the crowds of the arena and finally couldn’t resist a taste of the action.
17A war veteran who wanted the killing without the drudgery of campaigning.
18A temple acolyte who believed they could gain the favour of senior priests by dedicating their victories to the faith.
19A physician seeking to perfect their work by inflicting injuries rather than healing them.
20A dancer who suffered a sickness that robbed them of the more beautiful part of their grace.
D20This Gladiator’s Vice Is...
1Weird sex with weirder people.
2Memory-regressing drugs that bring them back to the time before they became a gladiator.
3Beating the helpless young of the same animals they face in the arena.
4Listening to people recount their own fights back to them for hours on end.
5Exercising until they pass out from exhaustion.
6Eating all of what or who they kill in one gluttonous sitting.
7Shit-talking their opponents, making grand boasts they can’t back up.
8Making secret appeals to bloodthirsty gods.
9Rigging fights to take cuts from illegal betting rings.
10Taking pupils under their wing and training them with a fatal flaw only this gladiator could exploit.
11Treating their weapon like a lover, sleeping with it, whispering sweet nothings to it, and the like.
12Sadistically playing with their enemies like a cat with its prey.
13Obsessively studying more successful gladiators then emulating their lives and mannerisms in an attempt to capture their power.
14Blowing their pay on gladiatorial memorabilia. Famous fighters’ equipment, body parts, and suchlike.
15Contrarian disobedience of the will of the crowds.
16Patronizing artists to make works depicting them heroically, and hosting exhibitions of the same.
17Attracting entourages of marginal figures.
18A pointed aversion to thinking deeply about anything outside the arena.
19Constant, morbid ruminations on death and the fragility of life.
20Holding grudges beyond all reason.
D20This Gladiator’s Career...
1Has just begun.
2Is approaching its end as age slows them down.
3Peaked a while ago, and they’re attempting to stage a comeback.
4Is buoyed by their private sponsors.
5Has started recovering after a near career-ending injury.
6Dragged them back to fight after a brief retirement.
7Has left them so far undefeated.
8Has made them a fan-favourite for their crowd-pleasing antics.
9Took off explosively, and they’re taking greater risks to maintain that momentum.
10Is in the midst of transitioning to more of a coaching role than a fighting one.
11Has has them play a supporting role to more senior fighters, and they’re hungry for their shot at the limelight.
12Has had to rely on even more gimmicks and unconventional matches than usual to maintain public interest.
13Has just about collected them enough funds to purchase their retirement.
14Is about to drop as they’ve been paid off to take a dive.
15Is the only thing they’ve got going. They have nothing else, desire nothing else.
16Is being driven behind the scenes by something unearthly.
17Is a joke to the crowds.
18Is mostly hype, with few actual accomplishments.
19Is being sabotaged by a rival of theirs.
20Has been statically mediocre for as long as anyone cares to remember.

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