Human Fighter Gladiator: Backstory
This Human Fighter Gladiator Backstory works well for most games if your DM is up for it. Feel free to use it and adapt it for your own character.
There’s a smell that you only find in a gladiator ring. Sweat, leather, weapon oil and blood are all common enough smells in the arena but there is something else too. Something that smells a lot like victory and there is nowhere else on earth that you will ever smell exactly that.
And the feeling when the crowd goes wild is indescribable. If your heart rate doesn’t double when you walk onto that crisp sand and hear the chanted sound of your name then you are probably a terrible Gladiator and you should become something boring, like a baker.
Not just anyone can be a Gladiator, you know. I have seen many fighters come into the area thinking that all it takes is fighting skill. And while that is true, it is also true that you need to impress the crowd and enjoy putting on a show while being a good fighter. There is little point in just slashing the throat of your opponent and winning the fight too fast. You need to show your skill. You need to dodge out of the way and tease the crowd. Make them wonder if this will be the time that you get hurt. If this will be the time that you make a mistake. And, if you are good enough then there is a lot of coin in it for you.
Gladiators are celebrities in many wealthy circles and patrons will throw coin purses at you to get you to attend their dinner events and tell stories of your victories in the ring. Sometimes they want you to pose with them for portraits that hang above their fireplace.
Do yourself a favour, though, and save some of that coin while you can. Gladiators’ lives are short and brutal if they don’t retire at the right time. And so, saving coin and buying a bakery or a farm is a good long term goal. That’s my goal, I want to make loads of money and then retire happy. Perhaps invest in some businesses that other people run, perhaps even start a family.
Oh no, I would never want to have a family until I could be settled. There are still too many places for me to explore and arenas for me to conquer before my time in battle is done. And I can still make an even bigger name for myself, you know, I am still young and strong.
I got into this life because of a woman named Marta. She would come to the orphanage once in a while and take the biggest, strongest, fastest kids home with her. I was determined not to be left behind again and so I trained and bulked out and when she arrived the next time I wrestled three of the biggest kids to the ground. Impressed, she took me home with her. Marta and her wife Ingrid were training Gladiators. She ran a school where we learned all the reading and writing stuff but also some basic entertainment like instruments, playing cards, poetry and of course fighting.
I discovered later that Marta and Ingrid had trained some of the best known gladiators out there and they were highly sought after trainers. They didn’t need the orphans but it was their way of giving back and helping to give kids careers that took them off the streets.
My daily routines became learning with Ingrid in the morning where we would vary all the head learning and my afternoons were filled with military drills done by Marta. We sparred with one another and Marta would sometimes pay local rangers to bring in dangerous beasts that we would fight. Wolves, giant spiders and giant snakes were fairly common for the area in which we lived and sometimes the rangers would bring in something a little more exotic and dangerous. For those we would set up a proper mini arena and everyone from the village would come and watch.
Perhaps my childhood wasn’t traditional but I enjoyed learning and I have loved my career ever since I graduated. And when I win I still send some money home to Marta and Ingrid, even though they never ask for it. I want them to give other kids the same opportunity that I got.
I will forever be grateful to them for taking a chance on me and I would do anything that I can to help my fellow gladiators, unless I am beating them in the area.