Starting Crunch: All characters begin at level 1.
38 point buy
Max class gold for first level
Max hp, will be rolled in subsequent levels.
No flaws, no traits.
Leadership is out
Each player may create as many characters as they want, though each must begin at level 1.
Sources: Dragon/Dungeon magazine material is out. 3.0 edition material without 3.5 updates are out. Anything else published by WotC is ok, including Dragonlance and Ravenloft. Web enhancement material is fine so long as it does not require a paid subscription to view (i.e. if you can link it and I can read it, it's ok).
That being said, infinite loops and similar dirty tricks will generally be nerfed by an appropriate ruling. (e.g. Nightsticks are ok, but they don't stack. A cleric may only use a single stick a day to boost his number of turning attempts.)
To join, simply create a character. Create a new thread for that character in the 'Gladiators' folder. The first post should only have the name and a brief description of the character. Second post should have his level 1 statblock. After winning a match you make another post in that thread with his leveled statblock. This way a glance at the subfolder will show which gladiators are at what level. If you want to retire a character, let me know so that it can be moved out of the gladiator folder.
To begin a match, create a thread in the 'Challenge' folder. The thread title should include the names of both the challenger and the challenged. The challenged has the right to choose which arena will house the fight. Any discussion about legality or restrictions should happen in this thread.
Each match will be self-refereed. Each player shall check their opponent's sheet to ensure legality. Thanks to arena scrying (see below), there will be no need for private tags or obscured actions. When an inevitable conflict arises, ask for a ruling in the appropriate thread; I will maintain a thread that includes all rulings.
Each post should include some sort of header that indicates position, HP, AC, and any other relevant conditions (i.e. invisible, blurred, etc.).
You roll initiative as you step into the arena. You are flat-footed until you take your first round actions. There are no prep rounds.
Each match ends at the incapacitation of a gladiator. If a gladiator is unable to finish a match for any reason the match will end. Unconsciousness, immobilization, being panicked/cowering for the rest of the encounter, petrified, being charmed or dominated out of hostility, etc.
When you win a match, you gain a level. You may advance by class level, monstrous class level, or template. Monstrous classes must be completed before taking other classes. There is no multiclass penalty. You may 'bank' a level; after winning a match you may maintain your current ECL while fighting at the next level's rank; upon winning a second match at the higher rank you may then level up twice. This can allow access to higher LA templates. You may also choose to retire a high level gladiator; if you do so you may create a new gladiator with a level equal to 1/2 (rounded down) of the retiring gladiator. This also allows play with higher LA/HD races.
The above assumes that the fighting gladiators are of equal ECL (or one a level lower if someone is banking a level). A higher level gladiator may not challenge a lower level character. However, a character may challenge a character with a higher ECL. In such a match, should the lower ECL character win, he reaches a level equal to his defeated foe's level +1 (i.e. if a level 3 character beats a level 6, then the level 3 character may level to 7). Should the higher level character win, he gains no levels, but may be able to gain more wealth for gear; he may use the approval percentage from his win over the lower character to determine his current wealth.
If you die outright in a match (whether by HP loss, negative levels, or some other insta-death effect), you gladiator comes back one level lower than before.
At first level, gladiators begin with their maximum gold based on class. After each win, they are awarded wealth by level based on the crowd's approval. If you win the match with 100% approval, you get 100% of your new ECLs standard wealth-by-level. If you win with 50% approval, you get 50% of WBL; 150% approval means 150% wbl, etc. Each new win replaces the previous (winnings are not cumulative). If by some fluke your adjusted wealth is less after a win than it was on your previous level, you may keep your previous wealth. Consumables are restocked, even after a loss. However, they cost 10x their listed price (i.e. a potion of Enlarge Person costs 500gp, not 50)(This may change if I don't like how it plays out).
There is no maximum approval, and you cannot drop below 0% approval. Here are the current ways to gain or lose approval.
Threaten a critical hit: +10%
Confirm a critical hit: +15% Heal yourself: +10%
Defeat your opponent: +25%
'Kill' your opponent: +25%
Win an opposed Check: +25%
condition: +10% An Arena feature damages your opponent: +10%
You take HP damage: +5%
Your opponent takes HP damage: +5%
Your opponent takes ability damage: +5%
Leave your foe's melee reach range: -5%
Attempt to affect opponent from outside their melee reach: -10%
The crowd is all-important. They insist on seeing every iota of the action - nothing can obscure their fun in the blood sport. But at the same time, limiting the gladiators spoils the fun as much as obscuring the action does. Thus, powerful and unbreakable divination magic has been placed on each arena, allowing the crowd to see exactly what each gladiator is doing - it even allows the crowd to know what each gladiator is planning on doing. And, because the crowd is fickle, they take great pleasure in telling what a sneaky gladiator is attempting to a clueless foe.
In game-play terms, this means a few things: Each player always knows what actions his foe is taking. He knows where his foe is standing. And he knows what his foe is planning. Effectively, no player will ever need to guess or spot or otherwise use a power to determine which square is occupied; however, all other effects of stealth, invisibility, etc. will be active as normal. You still lose your dex bonus to AC against an invisible foe, you still have a miss chance and/or concealment, etc. Similarly, if you ready an action, your opponent knows what that action is, and what the trigger of the action is. A readied action should be placed in [privatefrom] tags, including the planned action and the trigger.
This means that there will never be a need to use private tags. I know that this somewhat nerfs a number of tactics, but I am attempting to walk a balance between ease of gameplay and keeping options open. This way, you still get concrete advantages from stealth tactics, but gameplay won't be slowed down to ask for rulings and double-checking of private material. You still get your invisible rogue and his sneak attack goodness, you still get to wander and hide from each other in mazes, but we don't have to waste time guessing if it's time to come out from private tags and admit that you were spotted.
Range PenaltyYou may have noticed that ranged abilities will hurt your approval. They are not banned - if you have a high opinion or aren't worried about it, you can still use them. But note: It is not the nature of the power that causes the unhappiness, but rather the distance that you use it. If you're using a reach weapon to attack someone 10' away when they're armed with a normal weapon? Penalty. Using a reach weapon while enlarged against someone 20' away who is medium sized? Penalty. Casting 'Cause Fear' or 'Grease' from the other side of the arena? Penalty.
Casting grease on a large-sized opponent with a reach weapon from 20' away (needing a concentration check to avoid the AoO)? No penalty.
Interestingly enough - a large sized opponent with reach will get a penalty when they attack someone 20' away. That same opponent can fire a spell or javelin back from the same distance without a penalty.
Max ApprovalThere isn't any.
But please notice that the match doesn't end with unconsciousness, it ends when a gladiator isn't able to fight back. If a match is going on and on and on, I may come in and rule that it's over. I know that this is subjective, so I'm going to try and do so only when the result is clear.
As an example: If a character is pinned by another character, their respective modifiers may be such that the pinned character can never escape, regardless of rolls. The pinning character shouldn't be allowed to just stack on condition after condition.
Approval StackingYou can only get an approval gain by a single method once per match. For example, if you trip an opponent you can gain 35% approval (+25 for winning the opposed check, +10 for leaving the opponent prone). Tripping your opponent a second time gains you nothing. That being said, if you render your opponent prone again via a different method (like the stomp psionic power), you get another +10%. Similarly, if an opponent tries to trip you, and you win, you get your bonus for winning that opposed check; if you win a counter trip you get another 35% approval for another opposed win and the prone condition (a counter-trip is not the same as a trip)(well, not for purposes of this game). In the same vein, an opposed grapple check to initiate, to pin, to escape, to do unarmed damage, and so on, are all different checks. You don't get approval for a second initiation of the grapple, but you do get approval for doing different things in the grapple.
Also, if a single action explicitly causes multiple conditions, you get the approval for each. For example, if you cast Color Spray and leave your foe stunned, blinded, & unconscious, you get 30% approval (and the 25% extra because an unconscious character can't fight back, causing the match to end). In comparison, successfully casting Sleep only gets you 10% (it causes helplessness, not proneness, unconsciousness, etc. I always imagine castle guards sleeping on their feet.).
Exception: Dying/death. Unconsciousness ends the match before dying sets in, so no extra approval. Death gives you 25% approval instead of the 10% approval as a condition. Also, HP damage always gives approval, regardless of source.
Rejected ChallengesA character may refuse a challenge. If they do, then they suffer a -1 penalty on all attack rolls and ability checks in their matches until they win a victory.
Open ChallengesIf you don't want to challenge a specific gladiator of your level or higher, you may instead issue an open challenge. Any gladiator of any level may respond. If a higher level gladiator responds, the lower-level issuer of the open challenge may decline without penalty.
The issuer of an open challenge begins the match with 10% approval.
HealingSome forms of healing take multiple rounds (like fast healing, vigor, etc.). You only get the approval on the round that you initiate healing.
Approval PenaltiesThe penalty for moving out of melee reach stacks along with any other actions you take.
However, the penalty for attacking or affecting an opponent from outside his melee reach overrides any positive crowd modifiers from the results of that action. In other words, if you cast a spell on an opponent which could gain 30% approval (by inflicting 3 different conditions), but cast the spell from outside your opponent's range, you get a total -10% approval, without any gain.
The penalty is not triggered by a gladiators inability or refusal to make an attack roll. So long as the affecting character is acting from within theoretical reach (i.e. 5' for a normal weapon, 10' for a large sized character or a reach weapon, etc.) there is no penalty, even if the affected character cannot make an attack.
Also, please note that the penalty accrues on the attempt. Even if you fail to hit or he makes his save, you still recieve the penalty.
A few exceptions: If an opponent provokes an AoO from outside his own melee reach, taking that AoO does not create a penalty. (i.e. if a wizard doesn't cast defensively while inside a 20' reach, the large character doesn't get a penalty for making an AoO attack).
There is never a penalty for attacking from 5' away, even if the target somehow has less than 5' of reach.
Finally, there is also no penalty for attacking creatures other than your opponent from a distance. This includes any monsters included in an arena, summoned creatures, and animal companions.
Summons, Animal companions, and other alliesNo leadership or similar abilities (like the Thrallherd).
Summoned creatures and animal companions are ok.
Any action taken by a summoned creatures and companions are effectively an action taken by your gladiator. If your summoned creature attacks your foe while you are outside his melee reach you get an approval penalty. If your summoned creature trips/grapples/wins a check or inflicts a condition on a foe, you get an approval bonus (assuming that you are in his reach when it happens).
In contrast, an opponent can never receive an approval penalty by interacting with a summoned creature. Leaving their melee range and affecting them from a distance will not penalize him. He may, however, gain approval by winning checks, inflicting conditions, etc.
No approval is gained when an summoned creature loses HP.