View Full Version : New Base Class: the Brawler

2005-11-14, 03:51 AM
Brawler v1.2

Monks embrace their strict code of conduct. Their mental discipline and focus gives them powers which are supernatural. But... what of those who also strive to harness their emotions? What of those who see their body as the potential for a perfect weapon and focus for their fury? These are known as Brawlers. Less disciplined, but no less deadly. Rather than a dedication to a strict code of conduct, they apply themselves with the singular focus of a fighter, and harness their emotions like a barbarian. They loose much of the monk's unique supernatural abilities, but do not lack for raw carnage potential.

Hit Die: d8

Alignment: Any Chaotic

Class Skills:
Brawler's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2+Int mod) X 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level 2+int mod

BAB Fort Ref Will Abilities
1. +1 +2 +2 +0 Flurry of Blows, Unarmed Strike
2. +2 +3 +3 +0 Bonus Feat: Weapon Focus (unarmed)
3. +3 +3 +3 +1 Rage 1/day
4. +4 +4 +4 +1 Bonus Feat: Combat Reflexes
5. +5 +4 +4 +1
6. +6 +5 +5 +2 Bonus Feat: Weapon Specialization (unarmed)
7. +7 +5 +5 +2 Rage 2/day
8. +8 +6 +6 +2
9. +9 +6 +6 +3 Evasion
10.+10 +7 +7 +3 Bonus Feat: Greater Weapon Focus (unarmed)
11.+11 +7 +7 +3 Greater Flurry, Rage 3/day
12.+12 +8 +8 +4 Bonus Feat: Improved Critical (Unarmed)
13.+13 +8 +8 +4 -
14.+14 +9 +9 +4 Bonus Feat: Greater Weapon Specialization (unarmed)
15.+15 +9 +9 +5 Rage 4/day
16.+16 +10 +10 +5 Two Fist Defense
17.+17 +10 +10 +5 Improved Evasion
18.+18 +11 +11 +6 Overpowering Critical
19.+19 +11 +11 +6 Rage 5/day
20.+20 +12 +12 +6 Perfect Flurry

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: No armor proficencies. Brawlers are only proficent in unarmed attacks, throwing axes, and their special gauntlets described below.

AC Bonus: Brawlers gain AC bonus as per a monk, although they do not get their wis mod to their AC.

Flurry of Blows: as per monk until a Brawler reaches level 20. A Brawler focuses so much on the physical, rather than the metaphysical, that they have discovered the perfect flurry technique, granting them another attack at their full BAB.

Unarmed Strike: Brawlers usually do not fight completely unarmed. They wear a pair of gauntlets with various spikes and edges, and that are their primary weapon. They count as unarmed for purposes of feat application, and count as a weapon for purposes of enchantment. With the gauntlets, their unarmed damage is the same as an unarmed monk of the same level, however without the gauntlets, their damage is as a monk of one size catagory smaller. Their unarmed attacks are still far more powerful than a random joe off the street, but they need their gauntlets to match what a monk can do. A pair of gauntlets cannot be enchanted as an extrodinary item, such as gauntlets of ogre strength, and may not be worn in conjunction with any extrodinary magic item worn on the hands. A pair of gauntlets is effictively one weapon, although it counts as a double weapon for purposes of enchantment. You cannot use a single gauntlet and be effective, you must either wear both or neither. A pair of Brawler's Gauntlets costs 20gp, and may be mastercrafted, enchanted, or made of special materials at the appropriate cost. Brawlers are trained to fight unarmored. Wearing light armor reduces their unarmed damage by one damage catagory. Wearing medium armor reduces their unarmed damage by two catagories. Wearing heavy armor reduces their unarmed damage to normal (but lethal) unarmed damage for the appropriate size of their race.

Bonus Feat Progression Brawlers get several bonus feats, similar to a fighter although with a much tighter focus. At 2nd level, he gets Weapon Focus (unarmed). At 4th level he gets Combat Reflexes. At 6th level, he gets Weapon Specialization (unarmed) even though he is not a Fighter. At 6th he gets Stunning Fist, 10th he gets Greater Weapon Focus (unarmed), 12th he gets Improved Critical (unarmed), and at 14th he gets Greather Weapon Specialization (unarmed).

Rage Much like a barbarian, brawlers can harness their emotions to rage. They can rage once a day at 3rd level, and gain an extra rage every four levels.

Evasion Physical perfection comes through a strenuous training, including techniques in evasion. At 9th level, a Brawler gains the Evasion class ability. Wearing any armor negates this ability.

Two Fist Defense This is akin to Two Weapon Defense, made specifically for unarmed combatants. The Brawler gains a +1 shield bonus to AC whenever fighting unarmed. Using a total defense option raises this bonus to +2.

Improved Evasion Advanced evasion techniques are taught only to the highest rung of students. At 17th level, a Brawler gains the improved evasion class ability. Wearing any armor negates this ability.

Overpowering Critical At 18th level, a Brawler is trained in how to make his vital shots even nastier, giving him a crit damage of X3 rather than X2.

Yuki Akuma
2005-11-14, 04:32 AM
Way overpowered. This is basically a Barbarian with extra abilities. The only things you've taken away are Fast Movement, Trap Sense and Uncanny Dodge. The extra abilities more than make up for those lost ones. Not even the lowered HD makes up for it.

Maybe you should play-test this and see just how broken it is. ;)

2005-11-14, 05:34 AM
Umm... no DR either. It actually has less to do with barbarian than fighter. And a D8 hit die is massively underpowered compared to a D12 hit die. It also has it's rage abilities somewhat delayed. Furthermore, it has less skill points and fewer class skills (no Survival, for instance).

How about if he is not aware of the points the player has taken while in a rage? So the GM just says 'Okay, he hit you, but you can't feel a thing', and keeps tallies on his on sheet behind the GM screen. Then at the end of the fight the GM tells you 'Oh, by the way, you took X damage throughout that fight, since you lost your extra hit points, you're now at Y'. And if the character drops below 0 while raging... 'Oops, the Brawler just fell down...'

2005-11-14, 06:04 AM
I must agree with Akuma. Seems overpowered. Full BAB, good saves, AC bonus, rage. d8 is not real drawback compared to d10. 1 HP per level n avarage.

But he's a feat monster. He gets all the feats for free. If you count it, you'll be surprised :) Way more feats than the fighter has.

Good concept for a fighter/monk/barbarian mix.

2005-11-14, 06:34 AM
He was designed to be a feat monkey, but if you look at it, he's not able to become nearly as obnoxious as a fighter can. He doesn't have Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Improved Disarm, or any of the other things that Fighters can do to be nasty.

And really, he has a lot less feats than a Fighter does. Fighters get feats at 1st and every other. This guy only gets 7 (and he can't choose WHICH seven, they're already chosen for him) as opposed to a fighter who will have eleven, and can tailor his feats to whatever he chooses to do.

I'm not saying it isn't overpowered, however I would appreciate suggestions to make it more balanced rather than just stating it's unbalanced-ness supported by falsehoods.

2005-11-14, 08:22 AM
Drop the BAB down to 3/4s and you'll be fine.

At Full BAB progression, A monk's flurry goes to 6 attacks at 20, and yours give them 7. That's a bit much, 6 would be granted at 3/4s, which is plenty.

2005-11-14, 08:40 AM
Hrrmmm... I was afraid you were going to say that... :-/

I was really hoping I could keep the full BAB. After all, most of the feats are in the feat chain that no one hardly ever uses (weapon specialization chain to it's completion) and there's not a whole lot extra going for it other than the rage. And I put in the extra attack at level 20 to encourage people to stick with it until level 20 and discourage cherry-pickers. It also discourages cherry-picking in other classes (like Pyrokeneticist) and using LA+X races since neither of these will see level 20 and the extra attack until epic.

I'm afraid that with the 3/4 BAB, they'll not be nearly as good as a regular monk, which will have high will save, extra bonuses on will save, SR, more AC (monks get wis bonus to AC, whereas Brawlers don't), and a heck of a lot more speed (not to mention occasionally usefull junk like the safe fall, immunity to disease and poison, dimension door, self-healing, and DR 10/magic. Sure, the Brawler has seven attacks total, but anything gets the jump on it, and it's going to get hurt very badly. And anything with Hold Person in it's repitoire is going to be able to stop it cold.

I may have to drop the BAB to 3/4, but I'm not sure if they should get anything else to compensate (like maybe greater rage or tireless rage)

2005-11-14, 09:36 AM
You could just give them full BAB, but flurry only adds one attack at -2 until 20, when it is simply at full BAB

That gives them 5 attacks +20/+20/15/10/5

That isn't so bad. Also, they can only use their fists, no special monk weapons to get massively enchanted.

2005-11-14, 11:15 AM
One thing everybody seems to be overlooking is that the Brawler's AC is that of a wizard without any magical help. I assume that wearing armor inhibits class abilities. Otherwise a Brawler could just take armor proficiency: X and be massively overpowered. But if it only inhibits the AC bonus, everybody will wear armor because it will be more powerful than the AC bonus no matter what level you are at. :P

2005-11-14, 11:16 AM
Hmm... well, he'll certainly outdamage a monk, and maybe some fighters. The main weakness I see in the class is miserably low survivability.

AC Bonus: Brawlers gain AC bonus as per a monk, although they do not get their wis mod to their AC.
So he loses it in any armor or using a shield. So his base AC before magic is 10+dex+1/5 level, without the ability to use armor. His rage also drops his AC to the nethers. A wizard is probably going to be walking around with better AC than a brawler.

This, combined with d8 hit dice and lacking the monk's high speed and tumbling ability, looks like it could lead to a very short life for a brawler in a tough combat situation.
Evasion helps... but it comes late, and they never really get a solution for AC. Also, a monk's evasion is also lost in medium or heavier armor, but a brawler's is not? So the option to take a couple fighter levels and pick up some magical full plate, as all the brawler would lose is the tiny AC bonus and the flurry of blows ability (which does hurt), in exchange for getting owned up on a lot less, looks even better. This seems like something you want to discourage, however... and I can't offer much of a solution. By your last response, it looks you considered the drastic loss of survivability part of the tradeoff for the power of the class.

2005-11-14, 02:48 PM
There are a few things that bug me about this design. First of all, it's just 3 classes (barbarian, fighter, monk) smashed into one. Secondly, the perfect BAB progression seems like overkill. Why should the brawler have a better to-hit than a monk? I'd scale it back to 3/4 progression.

There are way too many bonus feats. You can almost create this class using only a fighter build.

I don't think it should have any ki strike abilities whatsoever. You emphasize that the brawler focuses on the physical, not metaphysical. Ki strike screams supernatural to me. His fists are magic.

It's overpowered, and it just seems like you've taken the best abilities of each class and put them together.

I do like the overpowering critical ability though. Perhaps it should be available as a magical enhancement to weapons, or as a feat with high prerequisites.

2005-11-14, 03:10 PM
I have been looking for a more generic martial artist. Simply because I don’t like the flavor of the monk class. I even tried to design my own version, but I never came out with something I liked. Anyway I like what you have started and I would love to see a new unarmed base class. So I I’ll throw out some of the ideas I came up with to help out.
One idea I hit upon was using the “combat style” variant monk found in the d20 srd. I also took nearly all the martial arts feats out of Oriental adventures (terrific source for unarmed combat feats) and converted them into “combat styles”. I gave the class a combat style option like that of the ranger. Only they had I believe ten different choices (as opposed to the rather limited 2 the ranger gets). Each feat tree defined how each character fought. Here are some examples:
Cobra’s Strike
Pain touch (oriental adventures)
Karmic strike (oriental adventures)
Falling star strike (oriental adventures)
Stunning fist
Freezing the lifeblood (oriental adventures)
Unbalancing strike (oriental adventures)
Pouncing Tiger
Combat expertise
Spring attack
Flying kick (oriental adventures)
Whirlwind attack
Round about kick (oriental adventures)
Roaring Dragon
Fearsome and fearless (oriental adventures)
Ki shout (oriental adventures)
Fists of iron (oriental adventures)
Power attack
Greater ki shout (oriental adventures)
Improved bull rush
Improved overrun

Another idea I thought up was to use the martial arts feats from StarWars D20 and D20 Modern to help improve the characters fighting ability. The class gained all the StarWars feats as bonus feats (this replaced the monk’s increased damage table). Also I gave the class damage reduction like a barbarian. I decided to do this because the class had no wisdom bonus to ac so I needed a way to give them some more survivability. I ended up with a fighter without the weapon and armor proficiencies. Well anyway I hope these ideas help out.

2005-11-14, 03:20 PM
This seems more like an angry monk than a brawler. I was expecting something with a little more drunken redneck in him, something that serves the same purpose as a Drunken Master, but without the martial art.

I'd definitely get rid of Ki Strike. In it's place I'd go with "We Don't Take Kindly to Your Kind Around Here," which would be a very limited version of favored enemy. Like, 5-10 rounds per day, but you get to pick the enemy. Oh and you probably have to spend a round insulting the victim's race with an intimidate check to activate it, so it's no too broken.

Also, I think some form of DR is more flavorful than the AC bonus.

2005-11-14, 03:35 PM
Brawler v1.0

I like the flavor, but you could flesh it out more:
Other Classes?
After I comment on yours i'll put my Pugilist's Flavor to show what I mean

Hit Die: d8

Alignment: Any Chaotic

Class Skills:
Brawler's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2+Int mod) X 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level 2+int mod

Same Hps as a Monk, but lower Skills. Lower Hps as a Baerb but lower skills. Seems fine so far, but underpowered: let us see what you gave it.

BAB Fort Ref Will Abilities
1. +1 +2 +2 +0 Flurry of Blows, Unarmed Strike
2. +2 +3 +3 +0 Bonus Feat: Weapon Focus (unarmed)
3. +3 +3 +3 +1 Rage 1/day
4. +4 +4 +4 +1 Bonus Feat: Weapon Specialization (unarmed)
5. +5 +4 +4 +1 Ki Strike (Magic)
6. +6 +5 +5 +2 Bonus Feat: Stunning Fist
7. +7 +5 +5 +2 Rage 2/day
8. +8 +6 +6 +2 Bonus Feat: Greater Weapon Focus (unarmed)
9. +9 +6 +6 +3 Evasion
10.+10 +7 +7 +3 Bonus Feat: Improved Critical (Unarmed)
11.+11 +7 +7 +3 Greater Flurry, Rage 3/day
12.+12 +8 +8 +4 Bonus Feat: Greater Weapon Specialization (unarmed)
13.+13 +8 +8 +4 -
14.+14 +9 +9 +4 Bonus Feat: Combat Reflexes
15.+15 +9 +9 +5 Ki Strike (Adamantium), Rage 4/day
16.+16 +10 +10 +5 Two Fist Defense
17.+17 +10 +10 +5 Improved Evasion
18.+18 +11 +11 +6 Overpowering Critical
19.+19 +11 +11 +6 Rage 5/day
20.+20 +12 +12 +6 Perfect Flurry

I'll assume this neand 2d10 unarmed strikes at level 20? A lot, but Monk does it. Personally i think ony monk should have 2d10 because he uses Ki, but not a biggie.

However, I find that you shouldn't give someone Specialazation at same level as a fighter. A close example is the Favored Soul: he gets it at least 2 levels later.

You should too. Move Specialzation to level 6, but keep the focuses where they are.
Much more balanced that way by appearance.

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: No armor proficencies and monk weapon proficencies.

AC Bonus: Brawlers gain AC bonus as per a monk, although they do not get their wis mod to their AC.

I'll assume you got Cutomer Serv's response and that Monks do have unarmed strike Proficiency(just wasn't shown). You are either counting unarmed strikes as a monk weapon or didn't include it under proficiecy. I don't like -4 penalty to hit personally (and no, Improved Unarmed Strike Feat Does not grant Proficiency.).

I'd buy a monk's belt as soon as possible ;D
But seriously, this eeems fine if not low in AC. So 1/5 levels. This reduces MAD alot (Multiple Ability Dependancy).
I worry about saying alive til you can buy magicitems/Mink's belt, but lowers power so full BAB seems fine.

Flurry of Blows: as per monk until a Brawler reaches level 20. A Brawler focuses so much on the physical, rather than the metaphysical, that they have discovered the perfect flurry technique, granting them another attack at their full BAB.

So 1 extra attack at -2 penalty, but no greater flurry removing penalty at level 9? Balanced. Oh wait you just moved it to level 11.

Rage Much like a barbarian, brawlers can harness their emotions to rage. They can rage once a day at 3rd level, and gain an extra rage every four levels.

So the Brawler relies on Con for rage? Okay.

Flavor text is something like this:

Some warriors train with the sword and shield while others might fight with a battle axe.
The pugilist fights with little weapons, mostly none at all. Though many would compare Pugilist to monks who also study unarmed martial arts, important distinctions exist.
While monks achieve their abilities through years of rigid, organized training and through supernatural techniques; Pugilists tend to be self-taught, or learn from traveling masters in their own style.
In many ways, Pugilist resemble Fighters more than monks, and indeed many regions that produce Fighters are likely to produce a good number of Pugilists as well.

Adventures : Many Pugilists, having developed their skills personally, see an adventure as a chance to prove themselves and their abilities. Pugilists, as a side product of their unique stance toward fighting, tend to have a fearless, headfirst attitude toward the dangers presented by adventuring. Pugilists adventure just like any other classes usually trying to improve themselves or their armor.

Characteristics : Pugilist like fighters still use gauntlets and other simple weapons. They fight without martial weapons though. They learn to lessen damage from non-lethal nature as well as hit harder. Like a Fighter they wear all kinds of armor, but like Monk fight unarmed or wearing gauntlets dealing more damage than normal.

Alignment : Pugilists come with all possible outlooks on life. No alignment is dependant upon a Pugilist. Lawful ones might train under schools and live like Monks, and chaotic ones might live like a Barbarian on their own.

Religion : Most pugilists prefer not to be tied down by religion at all, rather just following their own hearts. Though Kord (god of strength) and St. Cuthbert (god of retribution) are strong candidates.

Background : Pugilists are usually taught at some point by a master who approaches or meets the likely person. Afterwards, many pugilist train themselves from there on, but a few stick with the masters waiting for more training.

Races : Gnomes are great Pugilist even with their reduced strength. They see it as fun and more sensible unarmed combat compared to the strict discipline of the Monk. Halfling Pugilist are legendary as you may hear about them but rarely see them. Half-Orcs make good pugilists with their great strength. Humans believe the faster way to learn unarmed combat is the way of a pugilist.

Other classes: Pugilists and Monks get along get together because they have common skills and both possess the ability to fight unarmed. They serve supporting role to Fighter or Barbarian; walking up to enemy and slugging it out beside them. They like the Clerics and their healing, but are not always interested in their preaching. They prove themselves reliable companions when needed though.

Role :
They can fill the bodyguard or Tank role that Fighters usually try. Although their damage is usually lower than a Monks, they hit more accurately. He makes an excellent scout, hearing and seeing enemies before hand.
Abilities: A High Con gives the Pugilist extra life and Fort saves, but also gives them additional damage reduction against nonlethal damage. A strength adds more damage as well as boosting skills that use strength.

I'd post my class, but I don't want to steal your thunder too much. ;D

2005-11-14, 04:30 PM
Okay, I've made some changes based on feedback.

The feat chain was pushed back two levels as a whole. Ki strike was omitted. And I put in the gauntlets as the reason why they can match the monks in damage output, giving them an option to do somewhat less damage without the gauntlets. This limits their magic item choices available to them, as the glove slot has already been taken by their weapons.

I also clarified what happens when a Brawler wears armor to make it very unappealing.