View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Brawler (non oriental themed unarmed combatant; Base Class)

2016-03-07, 09:38 PM
“I don't need your weapons,” – Klandrin Cestus, Dwarven Brawler

Brawlers are unarmed combatants. They may have been taught boxing, wrestling, or pankration, or may simply have picked up the arts of unarmed combat in a variety of fights, but whatever their history they took to combat like a fish to water. They are simple and brutal combatants, relying on nothing more than their own body and prowess to beat and crush enemies whether humanoid or monster.

Adventures: Brawlers often find themselves as adventurers because their most marketable skill is their talent for violence. Whether mercenaries or heroic defenders, brawlers end up as adventurers because a life of violence will inevitably propel you on such a path.

Characteristics: Brawlers are typically brutal combatants, they use rough and unstylistic forms of combat, the brutal striking of the fist, the knee, the elbow. Brawlers range from mere brutes to legendary heroes, they share only a confidence in their own bodies and a skill with their hands and fists which surpasses the mundane.

Alignment: Brawlers may be of any alignment. They have a tendency away from Lawful, as focusing on violence as a solution is not typically a lawful approach. Lawful brawlers are often enforcers, bounty hunters, or other authorized figures whose task it is to track down and capture fugitives or traitors. Chaotic brawlers are more common and come in a variety of stripes from simply someone who all they have is a hammer like fist, to bandits (whether righteous or not), bodyguards, arena champions, and rebels among other things. Brawlers are more evenly split between Good and Evil, with Good aligned brawlers being liable to roles of (wandering) monster slayer and tyrant breaker, and Evil aligned brawlers tending towards thugs, bandits, and others who rule through sheer physical strength; Evil aligned brawlers are more likely to be Lawful than Good aligned ones.

Religion: Brawlers have no strong inclinations towards or away from religion. Those brawlers who do turn to it often worship gods of strength or war. As such Kord, Hextor, and Erythnul are common, with Heironeous trailing behind.

Background: Much like barbarians brawlers are experienced in combat of some form or another from a young age, but do not necessarily have training. Whether the street thug, the tavern brawler, the wrestler, or something else, all brawlers have learned in their past how to fight.

Races: Brawlers are most common among dwarves and humans. While dwarves have a strong tradition of weapon use, that does not stop them from learning to fight without weapons, and the martial tradition of the dwarven people is strong. Dwarven brawlers may come from among dwarven nobility, tending more towards Law and religion than other brawlers, presenting their bodies as the ultimate weapons forged by the dwarven gods. Humans brawlers are often initially street thugs, or others who had little access to sophisticated weapons and learned to make due with whatever came to hand or when nothing did their own hands. Half-orc brawlers are extremely common, proportionate to their population, and like human brawlers typically come to that path due to lack of resources, but they take to it with a natural ease. Gnomish brawlers are next most common, the small folk valuing martial prowess and the ability for unarmed strikes to be easily used in the close quarters of their warrens. Halfling and elven brawlers are all but unheard of; what elf would be so unsophisticated.

Among the 'monstrous' humanoids orcish, hobgoblin, and bugbear brawlers abound. Orcish brawlers are brutal even for either orcs or brawlers, focusing on swiftly bringing down foes. Hobgoblin brawlers are highly trained enforcers, reliant only upon their own skill, and with a tendency towards sadomasochism exaggerated beyond even the norm of their race. Brawlers can be found more rarely in the less human races, as natural weapons grow more common, the need to use one's fists diminishes.

Other Classes: Brawlers tend to interact similarly to either a fighter or a barbarian depending upon just how brutal and savage they are.

Role: Brawlers are front line combatants, relying on powerful blows and ferocious fighting to bring down foes.

Brawlers have the following game statistics.
Abilities: A Brawler relies upon their brute strength for attack and damage, although a pugilist can go with Weapon Finesse to focus more heavily on Dexterity, a brawler's debilitating effect, however, maintain Strength based DCs. Their armor bonus increases their Dexterity for the purposes of AC, but is still capped by max armor bonus so while they may use Dexterity to gain additional AC, it will require investment in armors which allow them to make use of extremely high Dexterity. Constitution provides increased endurance and toughness. Intelligence provides skill points, Wisdom Will saves, and Charisma helps with certain skills, but a brawler has no specific benefits from any of these abilities.
Alignment: Any.
Hit Die: d10
Starting Age: As barbarian.
Starting Gold: 4d4x10 (100 GP).

Class Skills: Autohypnosis (Wis), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) ×4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Unarmed Damage
1 1 2 2 0 AC Bonus +1, Unarmed Strikes, Pugilist or Grappler, Combo or Improved Grapple 1d6
2 2 3 3 0 Uncanny Dodge, Talent 1d6
3 3 3 3 1 Crushing Blows, DR 1/- 1d6
4 4 4 4 1 AC Bonus +2, Talent, Damaging Combo or Mobile Grapple 1d8
5 5 4 4 1 Improved Uncanny Dodge 1d8
6 6 5 5 2 DR 2/-, Talent 1d8
7 7 5 5 2 AC Bonus +3, Combo (-3) or Crushing Grapple 1d8
8 8 6 6 2 Blind-Fight, Talent 1d10
9 9 6 6 3 DR 3/- 1d10
10 10 7 7 3 AC Bonus +4, Talent, Crippling Combo or Grapple Titans 1d10
11 11 7 7 3 Resilience 1d10
12 12 8 8 4 DR 4/-, Talent 2d6
13 13 8 8 4 AC Bonus +5, Combo (-2) or Maiming Grapple 2d6
14 14 9 9 4 Brawler’s Blind-Fight, Talent 2d6
15 15 9 9 5 DR 5/- 2d6
16 16 10 10 5 AC Bonus +6, Talent, Combo Step (5 ft step between each attack of a combo) or Bear's Grapple 2d8
17 17 10 10 5 Combat Awareness 2d8
18 18 11 11 6 DR 6/-, Talent 2d8
19 19 11 11 6 AC Bonus +7, Grand Combo (1/day, combo with only a cumulative -1/attack) or Improved Mobile Grapple. 2d8
20 20 12 12 6 DR 8/-, Talent 2d10

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Brawler is proficient in simple weapons, and light and medium armor but not shields.

AC Bonus (Ex): A brawler is born for the fight, a creature of the chaotic melee. Whether fighting on the field of battle, or in a simple tavern brawl they are always aware of their surroundings and the least danger within. A brawler gains a +1 bonus to their Armor Class. This bonus is added to their Dexterity modifier and should they lose their Dex bonus to AC it is loss and an armor’s Max Dex Bonus to AC applies to the total between their Dexterity bonus and class bonus.

Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, a brawler gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A brawler’s attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a brawler may even make unarmed strikes with her hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a brawler striking unarmed. A brawler may thus apply her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes.
Usually a brawler’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
A brawler’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
A brawler also deals more damage with her unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown on the table above. The unarmed damage on the table above is for Medium brawlers. A Small brawler deals less damage than the amount given there with her unarmed attacks, while a Large brawler deals more damage; see the table spoilered below.
1st-3rd 1d4 1d8
4th-7th 1d6 2d6
8th-11th 1d8 2d8
12th-15th 1d10 3d6
16th-19th 2d6 3d8
20th 2d8 4d8

A brawler wearing gauntlets may apply their magical enhancements to their unarmed strikes, but may not in such a case apply those applied to unarmed strikes or natural weapons they possess and lose the ability to deal nonlethal damage without penalty when doing so. A brawler wearing spiked gauntlets gains the same option but their unarmed strikes deal bludgeoning and piercing damage when doing so.

Pugilist or Grappler: At 1st level a brawler must choose between focusing on striking or grappling. Whenever a pair of abilities on the table above lists an ‘or’ a brawler who chooses to be a pugilist gains the first ability listed (Combo and its improvements) and a grappler gains the second. The Pankration Adept talent grants a Brawler access to the abilities of the path not chosen, but at a reduced level, and their Brawler level for such abilities is considered to be reduced (including for any save DCs, Crippling Combo limits, etc). Grappler archetype/subclass not yet finished.

Combo: At 1st level a pugilist gains Combo. As a full-attack action a pugilist can make a single unarmed strike, if they gain bonus attacks due to haste, cleave, snap kick or other sources they may still make them but they are not considered part of the Combo. If this attack hits the pugilist may make another attack with a -4 penalty (using their highest attack bonus), if this attack hits the pugilist may make another attack with a -8 penalty. This continues with the penalty increasing by -4 each time (so -12 on the 4th attack, -16 on the 5th, etc) until the pugilist misses an attack. At 7th level a pugilist only suffers a -3 penalty on the second attack and the penalty only increases by -3 each time (+0, -3, -6, -9, -12, etc), at 13th level the penalty becomes -2 per attack (+0, -2, -4, -6, -8, -10). A pugilist may move up to their speed before beginning a combo but they may only do so to reach the nearest square from which they can reach a target that they struck with a melee attack last round, and the first attack of the combo must be against that target.

You may not attempt trip attempts, to initiate grapple, or disarm as part of a combo, though you may do so with bonus attacks from other sources.

Beginning at 4th level a Brawler gains a +2 bonus to damage for each previous hit in a combo (additional attacks from feats, spells, or other abilities, are not considered part of the combo). Beginning at 10th level a Brawler gains Crippling Combo (see below). Beginning at 16th level whenever a Brawler hits a creature with an attack made as part of a combo they may move 5 ft as a free action. Beginning at 19th level a Brawler may, 1/day perform a Grand Combo in which the penalty to hit is reduced to -1 per consecutive hit and they do not automatically miss on a 1.

Crippling Combo: When a Brawler gains crippling combo they gain the ability to inflict various debilitating blows upon targets as part of a combo. For each strike a brawler makes on a creature as part of a combo they gain 1 Crippling Point to use on that creature at the end of the combo. A brawler may spend 1 crippling point to apply a -2 penalty to an ability score, AC, or attack rolls for 1 round, up to a total penalty of ˝ the brawler’s pugilist level to any single score, roll, or AC, and this penalty can never reduce an ability score to below 1. For every 3 points of penalty a brawler inflicts to an ability score 1 point is instead inflicted as ability damage; this ability damage is healed as normal for ability damage and does not fade after 1 round. In addition a brawler may spend crippling points to reduce a target's movement speed for 1 movement mode by 10 per point spent (they may spend no more points this way than 1/2 their pugilist level). Certain talents grant additional options for Crippling Combo.

Grappler: At 1st level you gain Improved Grapple as a bonus feat even if you do not meet the prerequisites. At 4th level you gain Mobile Grapple granting you the ability to take a -8 when grappling a foe to select a single arm, or your legs, to grapple a foe with. If you do so you move the foe into your square (instead of having to move into theirs), and are not considered to be grappled yourself, but you must maintain hold with the chosen limb(s) meaning you cannot use it for other purposes. In addition you may move while grappling a creature in this way assuming you may carry their weight. At 7th level you gain Crushing Grapple adding +1d6 damage with a successful grapple check. Beginning at 10th level you gain Grapple Titans granting you a +4 bonus to grapple checks per size category larger than you your opponent is. Beginning at 13th level you gain Maiming Grapple allowing you, if you begin your turn grappling a creature, to 1/round break one of their limbs or appendages (other than neck unless the damage would kill them) when you deal damage with a grapple check; this renders the chosen limb or appendage unusable until the target is healed to full health (or 2 weeks if something is preventing that such as vile damage). Beginning at 16th level you gain Bear's Grapple allowing you to add your Constitution bonus as a bonus to grapple checks. Beginning at 19th level you gain Improved Mobile Grapple allowing you to use mobile grapple at no penalty, however you suffer a -2 penalty on grapple checks made with the mobile grapple on the second round, -4 on the third, and -6 on the fourth or later rounds.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level a Brawler gains Uncanny Dodge as the rogue ability of the same name.

Talent: At 2nd level, 4th level, and every 2nd level thereafter (6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th) a brawler gains one talent from the list below that they qualify for.

Unarmed Parry (Ex): As an immediate action when you are attacked you may make an unarmed attack at +4 opposed by the attack roll. If you win the opposed check the attack deals ˝ damage whether it would normally have hit or missed. If the attack had any non-damaging effects you gain a +4 bonus on any save required, or if like Energy Drain they do not have an immediate save but a delayed save you gain an immediate save in addition to the delayed save (but no bonus). This has no effect against touch attacks. If you are wearing metal gauntlets or bracers you suffer a -4 penalty on the opposed attack roll (instead of a +4 bonus) but suffer no damage or effect if you succeed on the parry.
Critical Combo (Ex): For every previous hits in a combo your critical threat range is increased by 1 to a maximum of 11-20. This bonus stacks with Improved Critical or similar effects, but is applied after multiplication from them.
Recover Combo (Ex): When you miss with an attack as part of a combo you may, as a swift action, re-roll the attack at a -2. If this hits you hit and the combo is unbroken, if it misses you miss and the combo ends. Requires pugilist level 4.
Accurate Combo (Ex): When using combo you no longer miss on a natural 1.
Blinding Combo (Ex): When using crippling combo you may spend 2 crippling points to blind a creature for 1 round. They are allowed a fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ your pugilist level + your Strength modifier) to reduce this blindness to 1 round of dazzled. This has no effect on eyeless creatures. If you spend 6 crippling points this blindness is permanent if they fail their save. Requires crippling combo.
Deafening Combo (Ex): When using crippling combo you may spend 2 crippling points to deafen a creature for 1 round. If you spend 6 crippling points you may permanently deafen them. Requires crippling combo.
Throat Punch (Ex): When using crippling combo you may spend 3 crippling points to strike a creature in the throat. It must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ pugilist level + your Strength modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. If they succeed they are still unable to breathe for 1 round and must hold their breath, and cannot use breath weapon. This has no effect on creatures without discernable anatomy, creatures which do not require breath, or plants. If you spend 8 crippling points the target is permanently unable to breathe on a failed save, doomed to a slow death of suffocation (a heal or regenerate spell will undo this). Requires crippling combo.
Improved Damaging Combo (Ex): You gain an additional +2 to damage for each previous hit on a specific creature within a combo. Requires damaging combo.
Improved Resistance (Ex): Your defenses go beyond merely avoiding attacks. You gain a +2 on all saving throws. If you possess Great Fortitude, Iron Will, or Lightning Reflexes you gain an additional +1 to the corresponding save. Requires level 4.
Mental Resilience (Ex): You gain a +2 on saving throws versus mind-affecting effects. This increases to +4 if you are at less than ˝ your maximum hit points.
Insightful Combo (Ex): After you use combo you gain an insight bonus to attack rolls against creatures you struck equal to the number of times you struck them in that combo for 1 round.
Quick Combo (Ex): You may use Combo as a Standard action, however if you do you suffer a -5 per attack regardless of the normal penalty you would suffer. Requires Combo (-3).
Second Wind (Ex): Once per minute when at no more than ˝ your maximum health you may spend a swift action to gain temporary hit points equal to your pugilist level for 1 minute.
Iron Resilience (Ex): Your resilience improves. When you fail a Fortitude save you suffer the effects of a successful save (though not with the benefits of Resilience). Requires Resilience and Brawler level 18.
Evasion (Ex): You gain Evasion as the Rogue ability of the same name. Requires Brawler level 4.
Improved Evasion (Ex): You gain Improved Evasion as the Rogue ability of the same name. Requires Brawler level 12.
Knock-Out Blow (Ex): As a standard action you may make a single unarmed strike that deals double damage. If the target has fewer hit points remaining than damage was dealt they must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ pugilist level + Str mod) or be knocked unconscious for 1 minute. Requires Pugilist level 12.
Testing Jab (Ex): When using combo you may make testing jabs. These unarmed strikes deal no damage, except that granted by Damaging Combo (and if you have it Improved Damaging Combo) but are made as touch attacks; these attacks do increase the number of hits in the combo (including the penalty to future attacks in it). You may freely choose whether any attack in a combo will be a normal attack or a testing jab. You may not, however, apply more different Crippling Combo effects on a target than you make normal attacks successfully against them; if you strike a creature once and then with 12 testing jabs you have 13 Crippling Points to spend on them but must spend them all on one option.
Maiming Combo (Ex): When you use Crippling Combo to inflict an ability penalty you may choose to have every 2nd point of penalty be damage instead, and every 3rd point be permanent ability drain; for example if you spent 8 Crippling Points to inflict a Constitution penalty on your target you would give them a -3 penalty to Constitution, deal 3 Constitution damage, and 2 Constitution drain (instead of a -6 Constitution penalty and 2 Constitution damage). Requires Crippling Combo.
Improved Crippling Combo (Ex): When you use Crippling Combo you gain twice the normal number of Crippling Points. Requires Crippling Combo.
Finishing Punch (Ex): As a standard action you may make a single unarmed strike against a creature. If you hit the attack does quadruple damage if doing so would reduce the target to 0 hp or lower, otherwise it deals normal damage. Requires Pugilist level 12.
Improved Trip: You gain Improved Trip as a bonus feat even if you do not meet its prerequisites.
Overwhelming Blows (Ex): Your unarmed strikes ignore DR as if they were magic. Beginning at brawler level 6th they ignore DR based on any material. Beginning at 10th they ignore DR based on any alignment. Beginning at 14th they ignore DR entirely.
Knock Down Punch (Ex): When you use Crippling Combo you may make a free trip attempt by spending 2 Crippling Points. Requires Crippling Combo.
Anchoring Grasp (Su): You may grapple incorporeal creatures as if they were corporeal, they use their Dexterity score instead of their Strength score for grapple checks unless they possess a Strength score for some reason. In addition creatures you grapple are affected as if by a dimensional anchor spell while you grapple them. Requires Grappler level 8.
Grasp the Formless (Ex): You may grapple swarms, gaseous creatures, and creatures under the influence of freedom of movement and similar effects. Swarms use their Constitution modifier in place of their Strength for the purposes of Grapple checks, do not gain a size modifier to their check, and gain a +8 bonus, creatures benefiting from freedom of movement gain a +10 bonus. Requires Grappler level 6.
Choke Hold (Ex): If you begin your turn pinning a creature you may choose to apply a choke hold upon them. They become immediately unable to breathe and may not hold their breath. If you maintain the choke hold for 1 full round the target is reduced to -1 hp and unconscious. If you maintain the hold for another round they die. This has no effect on creatures which do not need to breathe or lack a discernible anatomy. Requires: Grappler level 8.
Pankration Adept (Ex): If you selected Pugilist at 1st level you gain Grappler abilities as a Grappler 4 levels lower and may select talents as if you had a Grappler level 4 lower. If you selected Grappler at 1st level you gain Pugilist abilities as a Pugilist 4 levels lower and may select talents as if you had a Pugilist level 4 lower. This level reduction applies to any save DCs (such as with certain Crippling Combo talents).
Limb Ripper (Ex): When you use Maiming Grapple you may choose to, instead of breaking a limb or appendage you may rip it off. If you do so it does not heal until they receive the benefits of a Regeneration spell (unless they have regeneration which heals it normally), and inflicts an additional 2d8 damage.
Light on your Feet (Ex): You may make an additional 5 ft step each round, or combine the two into a single 10 ft step.
Rushing Combo (Ex): You may make a Combo attack as part of a charge (but not a partial charge). Any bonus damage on a charge only applies to the first attack of the combo, and your penalty per additional attack is increased by -1 (for example if you'd normally suffer -4 per previous attack you would suffer a -5 per previous attack).
Slam Tackle (Ex): When you charge a creature and make an unarmed strike you may attempt to grapple the target as a free action which does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If you successfully grapple the target you may attempt to trip them as a free action which does not provoke attacks of opportunity or allow them to trip you back; you may not, however, make any bonus attack from Improved Trip against a target tripped this way.
Stone Smashing Fists (Ex): Your unarmed strikes ignore hardness up to your brawler level +5, beginning at 10th level they also overcome DR as if they were adamantine.
Pull Foe (Ex): If a non-adjacent creature makes a melee attack against you, you may as an immediate action attempt to grasp their weapon. To do so you must make a melee touch attack and they gain a +2 bonus to their AC if using a 2 handed weapon, a +4 if using a one-handed or natural weapon, and a +6 if using a light weapon. If you hit you must then make opposed Strength checks. If you win you pull them adjacent to you. If they attacked with a non-natural weapon the creature may choose to drop its weapon instead of be pulled adjacent to you.

Crushing Blows (Ex): A brawler is able to lay down overwhelming blows with their barehands. Beginning at 3rd level they may use Power Attack for the purposes of unarmed strikes as if unarmed strikes were two-handed weapons, however when they do so they may only apply the bonus damage to unarmed strike damage. This counts as Power Attack for the purposes of prerequisites, and unless a brawler has Power Attack they may only apply it to unarmed strike damage. In addition when making a grapple check to inflict damage a brawler may take a penalty to the grapple check to gain +3 damage per -1 penalty taken.

Damage Reduction (Ex): A brawler is able to seemingly shrug off even powerful blows as if inured to pain and injury. A brawler gains Damage Reduction 1/3 class levels; this damage reduction has no traditional means to overcome it (DR X/-).

Improved Uncanny Dodge: A brawler’s combat awareness is nothing to sneer at. At 5th level they gain Improved Uncanny Dodge (as the rogue ability of the same name).

Blind-Fight (Ex): At 8th level a brawler gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat.

Resilience (Ex): A brawler is able to shake off more than mere weapon blows. Beginning at 11th level when a Brawler succeeds on a Fortitude save for half or partial effect they suffer no effect instead.

Brawler’s Blind-Fight (Ex): At 14th level a brawler’s blind-fight feat improves. They no longer suffer a miss chance against creatures with concealment when using an unarmed strike and suffer only a 20% miss chance from total concealment.

Combat Awareness (Ex): A brawler’s awareness of the battlefield, and hostile intent, is an instinctual thing honed to near preternatural accuracy. Beginning at 17th level a brawler is automatically aware of any hostile creatures within 15 ft. They know their square(s) and may ignore miss chances with unarmed attacks for not being able to see them and they gain no bonus for attacking you while you cannot see them. A brawler does not, however, gain details as to their person, making this ability closer to an improved blind-sense than blind-sight.

Just to Browse
2016-03-08, 02:11 PM
Combo is very weak due to the huge penalty that doesn't fall off until it's way too late, and the remaining class features indicate that the class falls off before level 10. I feel like this falls firmly in line with the fighter -- not sure where you were aiming, so that may be good or bad.

I feel like the Combo feature could be greatly simplified. I just don't understand what it's supposed to do aside from act like an unreliable / slightly stronger power attack.

2016-03-08, 04:58 PM
It acts like Avalanche of Blades (7th level maneuver), the language is actually almost exactly the same. It's a stronger, more unreliable full-attack, well currently starting at 4th level.

Overall, though, I actually did the math and up until 9th level brawler falls behind fighter offensively, and starting at 9th level they pull ahead in damage; at 11th level they can take standard action combo to be able to almost match a fighter's full attack as a standard action, and Crippling Combo lets them set up for a better combo the next round meaning they pull further ahead of a fighter (+PrC) with every level past 10th, but that'd just put them up with rogue or barbarian which is... actually where I intended.

However as you pointed out Combo sucks until 4th level, and even at 6th level is only questionably worth using compared to a full-attack which means it needs to be fixed. So I'm going to rejigger the abilities, start combo at -4, give -3 at 6th which makes it a better gamble, I'm going to up the number of Talents (to 1/2 levels), clarify how gauntlets work with brawlers' unarmed strike (i.e. a way to actually get traditional enchantments), remove overwhelming blows as gauntlets get around the need for it, and fiddle with a few levels in their blind-fight abilities to avoid dead/overloaded levels.

Just to Browse
2016-03-08, 05:57 PM
Avalanche of blades is one among many options for warblades round-to-round, because a full attack with pumped to-hit is pretty situational. It's also fairly weak, and warblades will generally look to ancient mountain hammer and castigating strike for killing people really hard (which nets you a move action), or spending their known maneuver on quicksilver motion and just full-attacking. Both of those work much better with full attacks, because the bonus attacks/damage aren't contingent on consecutive hits. If not for crazy optimization cases, avalanche of blades could get knocked down to 3rd or 4th level without making much noise.

That brings me to the next point -- two dudes sitting and full-attacking each other is a rarity, especially without any built-in pounce or Tiger Claw's sudden leap. In reality, most enemies that want to sit and duke it out will be hitting far harder (like the 6-headed hydra, ochre jelly, dire lion), or have the tools to keep a Brawler at bay (mummy, ravid, manticore). These are just CR 5 enemies, showing up before the Brawler even hits Combo (-3).

2016-03-09, 09:30 AM
Are you aware of the Pathfinder Brawler (http://http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/hybrid-classes/brawler)?
If not, it might be worth a look. If so, what inspired the changes you introduced here?

2016-03-09, 04:56 PM
Avalanche of blades is one among many options for warblades round-to-round, because a full attack with pumped to-hit is pretty situational. It's also fairly weak, and warblades will generally look to ancient mountain hammer and castigating strike for killing people really hard (which nets you a move action), or spending their known maneuver on quicksilver motion and just full-attacking. Both of those work much better with full attacks, because the bonus attacks/damage aren't contingent on consecutive hits. If not for crazy optimization cases, avalanche of blades could get knocked down to 3rd or 4th level without making much noise.

That brings me to the next point -- two dudes sitting and full-attacking each other is a rarity, especially without any built-in pounce or Tiger Claw's sudden leap. In reality, most enemies that want to sit and duke it out will be hitting far harder (like the 6-headed hydra, ochre jelly, dire lion), or have the tools to keep a Brawler at bay (mummy, ravid, manticore). These are just CR 5 enemies, showing up before the Brawler even hits Combo (-3).

Those enemies give warblades, crusaders, fighters, and barbarians the same problems, the only one with a chance is a whirling frenzy spirit lion totem barbarian or involves the stuff for ubercharging. Which means that the problem is endemic to the system, and not in the scope of a single class. That said I gave them some mobility options because you're right that they need it. So I gave them a talent that gives combo on a charge (at an additional -1 though the +2 to hit means they will not actually have a reduced chance to hit till the 4th attack), one for 10 ft steps, and made it so they can move as part of a combo but only to get close to an enemy they hit in melee the turn before. It still isn't whirling frenzy spirit lion totem barbarian at low levels but should be able to keep up with most melee options, and unlike non-ToB melee actually gets meaningful increases past 5th level.

Also realized Damaging Combo was really weak (took 5 hits to equal weapon specialization) so doubled its bonus (now 3 hits will equal weapon specialization, so not strong but it's better), and increased effectiveness of Crippling Combo (now -2 per point instead of -1).

Are you aware of the Pathfinder Brawler (http://http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/hybrid-classes/brawler)?
If not, it might be worth a look. If so, what inspired the changes you introduced here?

Not particularly well versed in PF. I like the martial versatility though don't think it fits here as this is more of a specialist (unarmed combat) and that's more of a fighter feature.

Just to Browse
2016-03-09, 06:05 PM
Those enemies do not give ToB classes the same problems, because:

ToB classes have maneuvers that aren't full attacks, giving them similar and sometimes better damage along with a move action.
ToB classes have more options than a full attack, such as maneuvers that grant debuffs and disengage. I think every class has one by level 5.
ToB classes have options outside the realm of attacking at all, such as heals / ally buffs / enemy debuffs.
ToB classes can have a greater array of defenses, so they can handle dangerous effects.

The Brawler is not like a ToB class -- it's much akin to the Barbarian and Fighter, and thus suffers similar problems. Lacking the useful optimization tricks of a Barbarian, it falls into the Tier 5 bucket with the fighter. If you were aiming for rogue or barb, this class needs a better trick. Maybe the grappling features will be enough.

Mobility is a good thing for the Brawler, but that definitely feels like a band-aid solution over the existing problem: The combo class feature is just weak. I would be surprised if the combo + charge talent wasn't mandatory on any damage-centric build (which is probably all the combo brawler will be good at), and even that is about as useful as a monk with pounce for the part of the game where enemies don't overpower both of those builds.

Is combo really important enough to keep in its current iteration? If your intention is to create a useful full attack combat pattern with bonus attacks, why not follow the successful implementation of bonus attacks from snap kick / flurry of blows / manyshot / twf, where you add an attack and apply -2 penalties? I don't see the benefit of encouraging players to mix complex table math with gambling when they full attack a new opponent, considering how rare of an opportunity that is.