Desultor (Petauristae)


The desultor (“jumper”) is specialized in acrobatics shows, in group or even with beasts. He can use his pole to vault over other fighters, and he can use his own, naked hands to grip an Aurochs’ (bull) horns and perform a very dangerous somersault over its back.

Gladiatoris - Desultor (Petauristae)

At level II, he can use a green Maneuver Card to Deflect an Attack, adding one Block and allowing him to move a hex, even if he’s knocked down (he tumbles around as the acrobat he is). His special skill is Bull Leape, and if he is successful in a blue die roll, he can vault above another fighter’s head, moving three additional hexes. If he attacks right after the leap, he adds two surprise Attack Dice! Like the Paegniaria, he cannot get to Level III.

Desultor (pl. desultores): literally, “one who leaps off”. He was not a gladiator type, but an acrobat rider whose main skill was to leap from one horse to another at full gallop. They were also skilled in riding two horses at the same time (having one foot on the back of each horse). Of Greek origin (apobates), desultores performed in the circus.

Excerpt from the glossary of GLADIATORIS, checked by Alfonso Mañas.

Design process

The images we have with desultores in them (coins, lamps, mosaics), show them wearing a pileus, a conical felt hat, jumping or riding standing up one or more horses.

Gladiatoris - prototype (Foundry Miniatures, modified) DesultorIn our first prototype (before the arrival of our historian), we had a Lusiarius instead of a Desultor. He was an expert in pugilism, and wore caestus in his hands. As pugilism became an expansion rule, this acrobat specialized in jumping, and we gave him a short pole. We kept the strapped hands, but without the heavy metal parts of the Boxer of the Quirinal.

Gladiatoris - "Commodus Herculeus" by Alfonso Mañas (April 2014)Some time ago, Alfonso sent us a Commodus Herculeus that we liked as our archetype. Our Desultor would be a new Castor, one of the Dioscuri (and son of Leda, who is represented by the Paegniaria), dressed like the Greek heroes of the Antiquity: wearing, like the Lusitor, a hooded exomis made from tiger fur.

He reminded us of Maciste, with the long hair and short beard expected from Heracles. The best model for this muscled acrobat was Nick Cravat, the mute, short and strong acrobat from The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950), or The Crimson Pirate (Robert Siodmak, 1952). He was Burt Lancaster‘s circus mate and he had spectacular performances in his movies.

Gladiatoris - Desultor "castor" David early (February 2016)

For his head, the inspiration came from the pileus-wearing Odysseus from the fabulous sculptural group Ulysses blinding Polyphemus.

With all these examples, we drew our first sketch, and our expert, Alfonso Mañas, approved it.

boceto-inicial - of-desultrixAlfonso recalled our first work meeting, in which we had talked about this miniature supported by a pole; we spoke of a female acrobat making a flying kick.

The idea of a Desultrix was interesting: in Gladiatoris, there is no difference between male and female fighters, it only changes the illustration and the miniature’s external appearance.

But we grew up watching Dungeons & Dragons, the wonderful 1983 TV series… and we didn’t want it to look like Diana, the Acrobat (remember those action figures? I still own all of them!).

But we finally decided decided the next two gladiatrices would be in the “Colosseum” expansion: an Andabata for the black Executioners, and a… Scissorix? for the white Armoured.

The miniature created many problems, because we didn’t want to show an unrealistic 3D and then having to change it when printing it. So we gave him two extra support points by lengthening the tiger fur cloak (the Tiger is the orange team’s Great Beast).

3DBreed: “It’s been a hard mini to make, but we are very happy with the result, we hope you like it.”

David: “Your solution is better than mine, and I like the tiger’s head as a helmet (more heroic than the pileus). It’s a very fun miniature to play with it during the game (making it jump over other minis and sending little flying kicks their way), and I think new players will prefer it to the Lusitor (hehe).”

Gladiatoris - completed 3D DesultorWe put some finishing touches to his hands (closing the fingers) and added some grain to the wooden pole, so it wouldn’t look so perfect: “all smooth surfaces in any mini look like metal or plastic to me; perhaps it’s the Games Workshop’s influence, because they strip all wood from its grain… the same way we do when constructing a TV set: with the blowtorch’s flame.”

Ready for the Arena!