Provocator (Parmularii)

Gladiatoris - Provocator (Parmularii)


This gladiator can brag around for being the only one with metal protection on his chest, the cardiophylax. It’s the type chosen by most deserters from Roman legions, who use their military training to their advantage. Boastful and treacherous, he often makes use of skullduggery and foul play.

At Level III he can put in practice his Foul Play to add two Knocking Down results, or to kick knocked down enemies and Beasts. His special block, Legionary Tactics, adds 1 Stand Up result and changes his Slips (which would make him unable to use his rivals’ Fumbles) into Blocks… and that’s really something, because he can throw two attack dice for each Fumble, thanks to his Riposte skill. Overall, he’s a lethal counterattacker who often waits confidently for his enemy’s first move.

Provocator (pl. provocatores): Gladiator type who wore a kind of breastplate (called cardiophylax). Since the cardiophylax was an excessive advantage (over the rest of gladiator types, who fought bare-breasted), the provocator only fought against another provocator.

Excerpt of the glossary of GLADIATORIS, reviewed by Alfonso Mañas.

Design process

Gladiatoris - Provocator by Alfonso Mañas (April 2014)

The Provocator was the second original miniature designed for GLADIATORIS, when we were still working with our friends from Peká Editorial.

Gladiatoris - Provocator of the prototype (Crusader Miniatures)

When Alfonso Mañas arrived to our team, we even changed the miniature used in our first prototype (who wielded a spear) and we began to use a more appropriate one (by painting Decebalus green, who was our champion Rodrigo Martín’s Thracian Auriga mercenary).

Due to what was later proved to be an historical inaccuracy, we wanted to arm him with a spatha, a sword longer than the rest.

The “provoking” stance was Luis’ idea: we agreed for him to open his guard, put his chest forward, mockingly, and shout his rival some taunt: “What are you going to do, wimp?”

After seeing my sketch, Alfonso described that stance as “he has been shot and is falling backwards.” 😀

Gladiatoris - Provocator "Luperco" by David Temprano (October 2014)

Alfonso amazed us again with his quick response, sending us a lot of reference pictures and notes about the sketch. We loved one of his corrections about the belt’s width: “You can’t show off your navel because they will gut you out”, and that immediately became a returning joke for our Gladiatoris games (with derivatives and variants, such as “You can’t show off your paw because they will gut you out”, or “You can’t show off your cards because they will gut you out”)…

Gladiatoris - Provocator corrected by Alfonso Mañas

Gladiatoris - Second Provocator by Alfonso Mañas (October 2014)

Alfonso: “I resend you the sketch from April. I’ve redrawn it to include a proper helm (the other pic had a helm prior to the Augustian reform). This way, all gladiators will be chronologically coherent, all of them from the Imperial period.”

The shield from this sketch worried us: it looked as big as the Murmillo‘s scutum, something that doesn’t make sense in the Small Shields team. Shouldn’t it be oval, like some of my books about gladiators said?

Provocator’s shield. The inscription CIL, IV, 2483 (from Pompeii, the provocator Mansuetus) calls it parma, so it would really be a parma (much bigger than those used by thraeces, but a parma nonetheless because it was smaller than a scutum). The exact size would be from the face to the knee (that’s why the provocator‘s shinpad goes up to the knee). The scutum went from the face to the middle of the shinbone, and that’s the reason why murmillones‘ and secutores‘ shinpad went only up to half-shinbone.

Even if in representations prior to the 2nd century, the provocator‘s shield appears with rounded corners, it’s not “oval”. A flat oval shield was used by the gallus, but that gladiatorial type is not featured in the game. An oval shield but with protruding edges was the essedarius‘, also an ethnic Gaul type (Gauls from Britannia); that’s why they used (like the Gauls from Gallia) the typical Celt-Gaul oval shield.

Alfonso Mañas’ notes about the Provocator’s shield.

The sword, the shield, the helm and even the cardiophylax generated a juicy but extensive debate, already published on our old blog reports (in Spanish). From it we learnt how to adapt the historical accuracy to the gaming needs, and it set the line for all other miniatures to follow. Today we can say that our gladiators are the most rigorous ones from a historical point of view, but at the same time that our players have total freedom to match them as they see fit: you can follow the gladiatura rules strictly, with successive duels, but you can also bring a lot of fighters into the arena and enjoy a chaotic fight.

Gladiatoris - Provocator 3D in process (3DBreed)

The first detailed 3D version excited us to no end. The sculptors, true to the references sent to them, even copied a reinforcement horseshoe from the helm (which Alfonso took out).

Other elements, like the subligaculum‘s belt cloth were not changed.

Gladiatoris - Provocator corrected by Alfonso Mañas

The Parmularii’s small beasts are the Wolves and consequently, the Provocator’s armor decoration has two pairs of opposing wolf heads.

Gladiatoris - Provocator 3D in process (October 2014)

The green color was another issue we had to tackle.

The first green version, from October, 2014, needed to get its color adjusted… but that was just before the pause we had to make when we changed the publisher, and it wasn’t until a year later, October 2015, already with EscenaRYS, when we were able to start working on it again.

Gladiatoris - Provocator 3D retouched (October 2015)Finally, in October of 2015, 3DBreed returned to the work and they sent us a new and spectacular Provocator.

Gladiatoris - Provocator corrected by Alfonso Mañas

David: “It’s cool, we can see the many experience points you have gained since October 2014. ;)”

Alfonso sent us his corrections and we went back to last years’ debate about long and short blade… We even had a version with a short bladed Provocator!

Gladiatoris - Provocator 3D in process

But finally, most of the EscenaRYS team preferred the long blade (if it’s bigger, it would look like it has more Attack Dice). We made tests with the new green color and finally everybody liked it. And, even if it would get a little darker in later weeks, we already had our Provocator!

Gladiatoris-Provocator 3D finished