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Version 0.29: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
The Gladiator has been trained to fight in the ring, and so is versed in the arts of fighting, but is not so good at anything else. In fact, Gladiators have never learned anything except bashing monsters with heavy things. They start with a weapon of their choice, light armour, headgear and some throwing weapons and nets.

Gladiators are combatants who fight monsters and other gladiators in the arena to entertain bloodthirsty spectators. Their fighting style is more mobile (read: flashier) than more straightforward warriors, and they especially enjoy using their throwing nets to trap hapless opponents. They are thus adept in killing anything - and anyone - that gets in their way, but have little background in anything else.

Gladiators differ from the very similar Fighter in that they favour mobility (light armour and Dodging skill) over heavy armour, and are trained in Throwing. By contrast, Fighters favour heavy armour and shields (and the skill to use them), but lack any background (or equipment) for ranged combat.

Preferred Species

Hill Orc, Troll, Merfolk, Gargoyle, Gnoll, and Meteoran are the recommended races if you pick a Gladiator Background.

Racial Restrictions

Felids are forbidden from becoming Gladiators. A Felid Fighter or Monk would end up with the same equipment.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Starting Skills and Stats

Adjusted for your species' aptitudes:

Choosing Gladiator adds 6 to your starting Strength and Dexterity.


Those throwing nets are handy for making your enemies helpless, from D:1 all the way to Zot:5, but they may be destroyed before you can attack the enemy. Throw nets when you are close to your target, to give it less time to struggle.

Use your javelin (or equivalent) to soften up stronger enemies like adders before they approach you. With only 1 javelin, you will run out quickly.


  • In 0.29, most backgrounds were buffed; Gladiators received a single throwing implement (which was removed from Hunter).
  • 0.16 allowed gladiators to choose Unarmed Combat as a starting weapon skill.
  • Prior to 0.14, most gladiator starting weapons were of a lower tier: short sword instead of cutlass, mace instead of flail, hand axe instead of war axe, and falchion instead of long sword. Also, small and little characters would receive stones in place of throwing nets. They also started with 20 gold.
  • Prior to 0.12, gladiators started with a buckler.
  • Prior to 0.10, gladiators could not select a quarterstaff as their starting weapon.
Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterBrigand
Zealots BerserkerAbyssal KnightChaos KnightCinder Acolyte
Warrior-mages EnchanterTransmuterArcane MarksmanWarper
Mages Hedge WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistVenom Mage
Adventurers ArtificerWandererDelver