Current Arena Info
4E DnD Arena Character Generation Rules
Players participating in Arena each make three characters. Each of these characters must be of a different type (defender, striker, leader, controller) and all start at the same level, depending on the season (for example, season one started with 5th level characters). Two of these characters are considered that player's "mains". Main characters are the ones available for selection at the start of a battle. The third character goes into a pool of characters ("pool characters"). When a player's first main dies, that player selects a pool character of the same type as a replacement. That pool character then becomes a main. Because of the way this is setup, this pool character will never be one made by that player.
The collection of mains and pool characters should be balanced so that exactly five of each type are made. This is important because if all characters of one type are eliminated, then the season ends. Because this creates twenty characters, which isn't divisible by three, one of the players will not create a pool character. This ends up creating around 14 mains and 6 pools (assuming seven players). If a player dies three times during a season, he is out and on permanent DM duty. If the pool runs out before the season ends and needs to be used, a player may donate a main or a non-active group of mains can be transferred into the pool.
One or two of the groups of mains may be earmarked for rotation or general use. That is, because of the rotating style of play and the ability to incorporate many different players, these characters can be used by whoever doesn't have a dedicated set of mains for that session. This helps the infrequent players so that they aren't stuck with underpowered characters. It is important to keep accurate notes on these rotating mains because despite having different players each session, they still must count toward the three deaths rule, the intercharacter trading rules, and for purposes of gold piece management.
Actual Character BuildingCharacters are made using the standard point buy system. Any option in any core book or supplement (that a hard copy is available) is an option for all characters. Each character starts with three magic items, one of his level, one of his level -1, and one of his level +1. A lower level magic item may be substituted if the player wishes. These items may immediately be traded between mains, but pool characters can't trade. These magic items can be from any 4E core book or supplement that is available in hard copy. Magic items listed on WOTC's site, such as those from Dungeon and Dragon magazines, are not permitted. An additional 100 gp is given for starting equipment. This should be completely spent, as the leftover amount will not be included in the player's gold piece total later. Ammunition (arrows, bolts, etc) needs to be bought once, but for simplicity's sake, will not be exhausted. A realistic amount needs to be purchased though, this amount should exceed to amount used per battle. Food, inns, and other constant upkeep costs need not be purchased or tracked.
Character Building TipsSince these characters are exclusively going to be arena gladiators, certain character building options become more dominant, while others become near useless. For example, since all creatures are irreversibly hostile, the Diplomacy skill loses quite a bit of appeal. Also, many of the monster identification skills (Nature, Dungeoneering, etc) are not as useful because of the lack of role playing and the fact that all monster stats are public knowledge. Other skills, like History, are outright useless, unless you have a specific purpose that aligns with a character build.
Furthermore, rituals lose quite a bit of use. Craft skills may be used once, at cost, after a session, but others are fairly useless since they can't be cast between battles. The casting times are usually at least one minute, making them unusable for purposes of the arena. Of note is that Raise Dead and its ilk are not allowed to be used at all.