Gladiator Tactical RPG LANISTA: Shadows and Dust – Announcement & Trailer

Written by Marcello TBL

Lanista Shadows and Dust Overview

LANISTA emerges as a new tactical roguelite game set in a post-apocalyptic world, where players step into the shoes of a Lanista — a master and manager of gladiators — in the year 3027, following the catastrophic effects of the Great Drought. This event transformed Earth’s oceans into vast deserts, leading humanity to revert to a primitive state where Rome stands as the final beacon of civilization.

Amid dwindling resources, society revisits the ancient practice of gladiatorial combat based on the principle of natural selection to determine who survives under harsh conditions.

Lanista Tactical RPG

In LANISTA, players are tasked with the intricate management of gladiators, navigating through a deeply tactical, turn-based combat system that promises a challenging experience of strategy and progression. The game boasts over 18 gladiator classes and 13 weapon archetypes, each with varying rarities, alongside more than 160 unique ability combinations, ensuring a rich and diverse gameplay experience.

The procedural generation of tournaments adds an unpredictable element, while the inclusion of perma-death and hardcore progression mechanics underscores the high stakes and intensity of gladiatorial combat.

Players must guide their gladiators through a series of deadly tournaments — ten in total — each representing a step closer to ultimate glory and the promise of eternal resources. Success in these tournaments is measured brutally in the arena, through a visceral tally of severed limbs and lifeless bodies.

LANISTA Shadows and Dust

LANISTA is brought to life by Digitality Games, a Portuguese indie developer with a portfolio that includes HordeCore and Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire. Set to release during 2024 on PC. Below is an overview of the game via Steam and Trailer.


“The gladiatorial school embodied the entirety of gladiator life. It was managed by the Lanista, often a former gladiator, who oversaw the daily activities and operations.”

LANISTA is a Tactical Roguelike about the life (and death) of post-apocalyptic gladiators.

It is a loot-drivenperma-death, gladiatorial experience where you must climb the ranks of a dystopian Roman society through blood and glory.

The year is 3027, half a century after the Great Drought turned the last of Earth’s oceans into a barren desert of salt and sand.

What was once a highly advanced, technological society – strictly driven by science and striving for progress – quickly devolved into the most primitive, savage representation of a hunger-driven humanity, when answers were sought but science had none left to give.

Rome now stands as the last bastion of civilization, but with resources dwindling and the future of humanity on the line, scientists turned back to the most basic of principles: Natural Selection.

“Under extreme circumstances, only those most adapted to their environment shall survive.”

This simple idea led to the resurgence of an ancient breed of combat bloodsports, and a renewed meaning to the title of Gladiator. Along came the Lanistas, the strategic overlords that both rule and guide the Gladiators to victory, sharing in both their glory and rewards.

“The fittest must survive. The strongest will be fed. The fiercest shall lead.”

You are a Lanista. It is your duty to trainequip and manage your Gladiators in order for them to rise above the competition, as you dictate their actions even during combat.

Through the power of coininfluence and strategic prowess, your goal is to command your fleshy pawns as they hack and slash their way through the daily (and deadly) fights at the arena, and attempt to overcome the mighty Tournaments that represent an opportunity for glory, as well as your next meal.

Every few days you are presented the opportunity to participate in a deadly Tournament.

A mere 10 of these events are what stands between you and eternal glory, as well as an eternal source of supplies – but winning a Tournament is no easy feat, for victory shall be measured in severed limbs and lifeless corpses left behind.

Featuring over 18 classes of Gladiator, these castes may be the baseline that defines your pawn’s fighting style, but it will be the combination of equipment, training, abilities and strategy that define your success as a Lanista.

With a huge assortment of rarity-driven equipment, over 13 weapon archetypes40 active abilities and more than 160 unique ability combinations, you will be in control of the threads of fate that intertwine your path to success – even if that means your fleshy pawns won’t live to share the spoils.


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Marcello TBL

Italian Dad in love with Turn-Based RPGs and Indie Games. In 2018 he started Turn Based Lovers and now he can't live without it.