Make your own free website on
The Arena is a sub-game that temporarily changes Talisman into a tactical combat game! And you already have the board and don't even know it yet! Now an adventurous (or unlucky) character and his followers are forced to their for lives against multiple opponents. You may achieve wealth and fame, a quick death, or perhaps the Emperor might spare you. Or maybe not.

Setting Up the Arena

The Arena is represented by a standard sized checker/chessboard. A few extra Character stands might come in handy too.

The player controlling the character in the Arena immediately sets aside all Objects, Magic Objects and non-human like Followers except for weapons, Helmets, Shields, and Armor.
He then draws a dozen Adventure cards and keeps any human-like Followers and discards the rest and then gains three 3 Gladiator Slave Followers.
He places his piece and the Followers in his first row and if it is full can then place Followers in the second row as well.
The player to his right controls the Enemies he must face. The Enemy player draws Adventure cards until he has a number of Enemies equal to twice the number of Followers the Arena player has and he places then in his first row and second row as needed as well. All non-Enemy cards are discarded.

Turn Sequence

The Arena player goes first. He selects a piece (his Character or Follower) and acts with it and then selects a second, third, etc until he has used all of his pieces he wishes to use for the turn.
The Enemy player goes second. He selects a Enemy and selects a second, third, etc until he has used all of his pieces he wishes to use and then it is the Arena players turn again.


All pieces (Character, Follower, or Enemy) can move two spaces a turn, three if its picture shows wings or four legs. If a piece has a base Strength of 6 or greater it's strong but slow and moves one less space than normally expected. Only one piece is allowed in each square on the board.


Any piece can attack once per turn any time during its turn any single piece in any adjacent space. This is resolved as standard Combat with two exceptions: there is no penalty for losing (you just miss) and an attacker gains a +1 Combat bonus for each previous piece on his side that attacked his target previously in the same turn.
If a character is hit in Combat he loses 1 Life. If a Enemy or Follower is hit in Combat it dies.
Followers have a Strength of 2 and a Craft of 3. The except to this is if their picture shows them with a weapon - then they has a Strength if 3. The Champion and Storm Giant have their normal Strength and Craft.


A Character may try to outwit an Enemy. Treat as Psychic Combat except if the Character loses he character loses then he cannot attack on his next turn. If the Character wins then he gains a +2 Combat or Psychic Combat bonus against this same Enemy but only on his next turn. An Enemy without a Craft value is considered to have a Craft equal to its Strength.

Spectacular Attacks

Part of life in the Arena is not just survival but showmanship. A Character may attempt a Spectacular Attack to awe the spectators and intimidate his foes. Treat this like a standard Combat but with a -3 Combat penalty by showing off for the crowd.
If his attack misses he cannot attack on his next turn.
If his attack kills his opponent he gains +1 bonus to his Reward roll (see below) and his Enemies have a -1 Combat penalty against him on their next turn. Followers cannot make Spectacular Attacks.


Many spells are not allowed in the Arena but those below are if slightly modified.

Barrier - Place on any space, Followers and Enemies cannot move through it. Lasts 1 turn.
Displacement - Move any Follower or Enemy to any unoccupied space on the board.
Destruction - Remove any Enemy from the board and place it on the discard pile.
Finger of Death - Kill any one adjacent Enemy.
Fireball - Target any Enemy on the board and treat as regular Combat.
Healing - Restores you to 4 Lives as normal.
Hex - Place on any space, any Follower/Enemy moving through it dies, you lose 1 Life.
Immobility - Prevents one selected Enemy from moving or attacking on its next turn.
Invisibility - Prevents your character from being attacked. Duration: 1 turn
Lightning Bolt - Prevents one selected Enemy from attacking on it's next turn.
Misdirection - Move one selected Enemy a number of spaces up to it's normal maximum allowed.
Psionic Blast - Increases your Characters Strength and normal. Duration: 1 turn
Preservation - Prevent your Character from losing a Life or a Follwer from dying as usual
Random - You can cast this on yourself.
Slow Motion - Lowers the movement of any Enemy to one space a turn for its next two turns.
Speed - Doubles the number of spaces you or a Follower can move. Duration: 1 turn
Teleport - Move your Character to any unoccupied space on the board.
Temporal Warp - Your Character (but not any Followers) immediately takes three turns
Weakness - Lower one specific Enemies Strength by 1 until it is destroyed.

Special Abilities

  1. Special Abilities linked to unique weapons like the Archelogist's Pistol cannot be used.
  2. Characters with the ability to fight a second round of Combat only may do so if their first attack missed.
  3. Characters with the ability to reroll for movement cannot use this ability and move as other characters
  4. Characters cannot gain Followers or Objects while in the Arena.
  5. Characters are attacked by all Enemies and cannot evade them.
Specific Cases

  1. The Assassin cannot Assassinate an Enemy in the Arena.
  2. The Cyborg moves up to three spaces a turn.
  3. The Dark Elf cannot Drain lifeforce from a Follower.
  4. The Dragon Rider has a +1 Combat bonus versus Dragons but cannot Enslave one.
  5. The Dragon Slayer rolls two dice in Combat when attacking a Dragon, treat this attack as usual.
  6. The Ghoul cannot Raise enemies.
  7. The Gladiator does not gain a Strength from his Followers but now gives each Follower a +1 Strength bonus.
  8. The Halfling may reroll any failed Feint attempt but must accept the second die roll.
  9. The Highlander can still gain a +2 Combat bonus and miss his next turn.
  10. The Leprechaun cannot Teleport in the Arena.
  11. The Martial Artist can use a Killer Blow instead of normal Combat but with no penalty for failure.
  12. The Monk adds his Craft to his Strength in Combat.
  13. The Necromancer cannot Charm Enemies.
  14. The Ninja can only have Followers while in the Arena and cannot use a Secret Strike.
  15. The Pilgrim cannot Convert Enemies.
  16. The Questing Knight attacks any Enemy as any other Character.
  17. The Ranger has a +1 Combat bonus versus Animals and Dragons.
  18. The Satyr can Panic one adjacent Enemy instead of attacking it. He rolls a die and moves the Enemy up to that same number of spaces.
  19. The Samura can use Karate, his Craft versus an Enemies Strength and if he wins the Enemy cannot attack on it's next turn.
  20. The Swashbuckler takes an extra turn (once per turn only and not including Followers) after winning a Combat.
  21. The Swordsman cannot disarm his Enemies and if he does Parry he cannot attack on his next turn
  22. The Valkyrie cannot Ressurect human Enemies or Followers.
  23. The Warrior still rolls 2 dice in Combat
  24. The Warrior of Chaos rolls a when he (personally) kills an Enemy.

Exiting the Arena: Death or Victory

A Character only leaves the Arena dead, victorious, or occassionally shown Mercy.
If the character dies in the Arena then all Objects, Spells, Followers, etc. he possessed go to their respective discard piles If a Character and his Followers defeat all Enemies then the Character is immediately taken to the Outer Region space of his choice. He has restored to everything taken from his when he entered the arena plus any surviving Followers he had before he entered it. He may keep all enemies he personally destroyed for Strength and gains 1-6 Gold +1 for every Spectacular Attack to a maximum of 10 gold!

The Third Option: Mercy

If a character has been reduced to one Life then on his turn before he or any Followers attacks he may plead for mercy. Add together the total of his Lives lost in the Arena, Followers killed, Enemies destroyed, and Spectacular Attacks to find his Mercy number.
Roll the die three times and if the Mercy number is higher than Mercy is shown. The Character is immediately taken to the City but he loses everything he owns except any surviving Followers he had before he entered the Arena.
If Mercy is not shown then it's a fight ot the death and a Character can only ask for Mercy once.

The Mad Emperor Alternative Ending

You survive to the Crown or Command but this crown has already been claimed! It will amuse him to kill you in the Arena for your arrogance.
The Arena player places his Character and Followers on the Arena board as usual.
The Enemy player draws Enemies until he has twice the number of the Arena players plus he has the Mad Emperor character as well. Play continues until the Character or the Mad Emperor and all the other Enemies are destroyed. No Mercy shown! A Character will either win the game or be destroyed!