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Version 0.31: 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. They start with a good weapon of their choice, light armour, headgear and some throwing weapons and nets.

Gladiators are combatants who fight other gladiators (i.e. monsters) in direct combat.

In comparison to Fighters, Gladiators begin with lighter armour, some Dodging skill, and a few Throwing implements. Fighters start with heavier armour, a buckler, and the skill to use them.

Preferred Species

Hill Orc, Troll, Merfolk, Gargoyle, Gnoll, and Vine Stalker 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, so don't train Throwing just because you picked this background.


  • 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 BerserkerChaos KnightCinder Acolyte
Warrior-mages WarperHexslingerEnchanterReaver
Mages Hedge WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistAlchemist
Adventurers ArtificerShapeshifterWandererDelver