View Full Version : 4E Mechanics for Gladiatorial Miniatures Wargame?

2011-02-24, 02:12 AM
(I'm not really sure if this is the right section for this, but it's the closest I could figure.)

I've been trying to find a new game for our historical gaming group at my university to play for at least one of our meetings this semester, and while watching "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" the other night I decided a gladiatorial combat miniatures games would be really cool. Instead of using one of the older "classic" miniatures systems, since a lot of them either don't fit or are supposed to be for large battles, I've decided to take the chassis of 4E combat mechanics as the basis for the system.

My question is: What changes do I need to make to convert the 4E combat mechanics to a strictly (player-versus-player) miniatures game?

My first thought is that I need to change hit points. A suggestion from someone on Twitter was to remove HP completely and replace damage with light, medium, and heavy wounds. I don't know that I like that. I was thinking of keeping attack powers (which would be at-wills and encounters, and "signature moves" instead of dailies) the same for damage and effects, but changing HP. Any suggestions on this?

And in general, is there anything I'm missing in PvP 4E combat that could cause trouble?

For characters themselves, I've come up with five classes for the types of gladiator. I still need a differentiating mechanic or theme for at least one, though.

Gladiator Types:
1. Samnite/Myrmillo: Standard sword-and-board (gladius-et-scutum?) gladiator. I'm thinking powers that use shields heavily and maybe higher Armor than others.

2. Retiarius: Net and trident "fisherman." Has different powers for each weapon, allowing stabs with the trident and net-throwing to immobilize or restrain opponent.

3. Thracian: Uses shield a "Thracian sword," either a dagger or shortsword. Maybe more mobile and Rogue-like?

4. Galli: Uses a long lance/spear and small shield. Not sure of a shtick here.

5. Dimachaeri: Uses two swords. Gives up defense for more offense, probably based on melee Ranger.

The final thing I've been thinking is giving each gladiator a "Cinematic Move" encounter power that the player can use to do something cool like run up the wall and leap back on his opponent, or do a slow-motion jump-in-the-air kind of attack, or whatever. Maybe require Acrobatics/Athletics check? Or should I get rid of Skills completely?

So yeah. Any ideas?

The Glyphstone
2011-02-24, 11:46 AM
There's the D&D Miniatures game, of course. The MiniHandbook is 3.5-based, but I don't think the actual rules for the miniatures game are edition-specific. You'd need the stat cards and miniatures though, which is harder now that they've been discontinued.

2011-02-25, 01:45 AM
I've got gladiator minis (not D&D, but actual nice pewter ones) and the really nice arena battle mat that came with some 4E Dark Sun thing. I just need to know if there are any particular MECHANICAL changes anyone thinks are necessary to use the 4E combat stuff for a miniatures game (and particularly as a PvP miniatures game).

If not, well... I guess I'll make up some stat cards this coming week and let people review them (if there's interest).

The Glyphstone
2011-02-25, 07:32 AM
Not that I can think of - 4E should do quite well for your purposes, it is remarkably suited for a small-scale tactical wargame once you strip out all the RP material and Page 42 (whatever the "cool stunts" page is in the DMG).

2011-02-25, 11:21 AM
Well, then I'm just going to start putting this together.

Some previews of character cards, based on the D&D pre-gen cards.



2011-02-25, 04:23 PM
Looking at the character cards made me think at first that all the numbers would be in Roman numerals :smallbiggrin:

I think the biggest mechanical change you might want to make is to switch hit points for the characters with a monster of appropriate level and role. PCs in 4e have a larger damage:hit point ratio than monsters, so a fight between two PCs can be over in two hits.

When making powers, check out a lot of similar monsters. I know there's a lizardman who fights with nets, and that could be a good place to start when building the retiarius (martial controller? yes, please!).

The Galli could perhaps have powers that rely on reach, or could have some self-buffing powers (riling up the crowd and such).

Another mechanic you could include would be awarding some kind of temporary buff for winning over the crowd. Like, you could attempt a flourish with your attack, and roll a Charisma check. If you beat a certain DC, you gain temporary hit points, or a bonus to damage, if you fail, you gain a penalty to damage. That sort of thing.

2011-02-25, 04:33 PM
As a quick fix, you could try making PCs with monster HP for an elite of the same level, and restrict them to 2-3 surges. Scale the HP by matching up monster types with classes with relatively similar HP values (so use brute HP for defenders, etc.)

You might need to adjust a number of feats etc. to compensate but I don't really think there will be a way around that.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-02-26, 07:42 PM
There's the D&D Miniatures game, of course. The MiniHandbook is 3.5-based, but I don't think the actual rules for the miniatures game are edition-specific. You'd need the stat cards and miniatures though, which is harder now that they've been discontinued.

There are separate 3.5 and 4.0 miniatures games. I know that for a fact, the owner of my local game shop showed me.

Gladiator idea looks like it'll be very cool.