Blood on the sand, white knuckles on sword and shield, the roar of the crowd. Anything less isn’t worth your time. You fight to impress, to shock, and to show just how unstoppable you really are. Whether you believe that a decisive win prevents future battles or you’re just the kind of killer who enjoys an audience, no one knows better than you how to make war a bloody spectacle.

Most fighters who become Gladiators do so as a natural extension of their personalities, though some receive training from an experienced master of the arena. As a Gladiator, you specialize in provoking and taunting your foes into fighting like idiots. You’re an expert grappler, and you learn to use the obstacles around you to inflict maximum damage on any opponent you can get your hands on.

Gladiator Features

Fighter Level Feature
3rd Work the Crowd, Showboat
7th Brutal Grappler
10th Dirty Tricks
15th The Bigger They Are
18th Lord of the Arena

Work the Crowd

When you select this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Performance skill and double your proficiency bonus when making Performance ability checks.


At 3rd level, once per turn when you hit with a weapon attack, grapple a creature, or successfully use the shove action, you can use a bonus action to celebrate your achievement. Make a Performance check against a DC of 10 + half the target’s hit dice. If you succeed, the target cannot willingly move farther away from you and you have advantage on Athletics checks against that creature until the end of your next turn. Creatures that cannot both see and hear you are immune to the effects of this feature.

Brutal Grappler

Starting at 7th level you use the terrain around you to add injury to insult. When you drag or carry a creature you have grappled and that creature is within 5 ft. of a wall or other solid terrain surface, it takes 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage per 10 ft. you move it.

At 11th level the damage increases to 1d6 per 10 ft., and at 15th level it becomes 1d10 per 10 ft. moved.

Dirty Tricks

At 10th level, you can perform a variety of debilitating moves on creatures you are grappling, called dirty tricks. When you take the Attack action on your turn you can use a bonus action to use a dirty trick on a creature within 5 ft. of you. You must be able to grapple the target to use a dirty trick against it. Make an Athletics check contested by the target’s Athletics or Acrobatics check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win, the target suffers one of the following effects.

  • Bear Hug. You grapple the target with a crushing grip, impeding its attacks. Until the start of your next turn or until the grapple ends, the target can’t draw weapons or use items, and the target has disadvantage on its next attack roll before the end of its next turn.
  • Face in the Dirt. You grapple the target and knock it prone, shoving its face into the ground. Until the start of your next turn or until the grapple ends (whichever comes first), the target cannot speak or breathe.
  • Living Shield. You grapple the target. Until the start of your next turn or until the grapple ends, when you would be hit by an attack you can use your reaction to move the grappled creature into the attack’s path, granting you a +4 bonus to AC against that attack. If this causes the attack to miss, it automatically hits the grappled creature instead.
  • Shoulder Throw. You hurl your target a number of ft. equal to the result of your Athletics check (rounded up to the nearest interval of 5) and the creature lands prone.

The Bigger They Are

Starting at 15th level, you may grapple creatures up to two size categories larger than you.

Lord of the Arena

At 18th level, your masterful showmanship and martial skill combine into one terrifying force. Once per turn, when you make a successful Athletics check against a creature, you may use your reaction to make a single weapon attack against that creature.

Ref: T&H p389-390