Friday, January 27, 2017

Martial Archetype: Brawler [Second Draft]

Making a fighter is hard for a lot of reasons.

Heck, making anything is hard, but that doesn't stop me from doing it, and all you brave souls from helping.

Fighters, though. As one of you pointed out, they only have three options, and each approaches the class from an entirely different angle. Very little overlap, very hard to balance. And on top of it all, fighter subclasses are beholden to being played with several different Fighting Styles. You can have an Eldritch Knight with a bow, a heavy-armored Battlemaster, a Champion with light armor and a rapier, and so on.

So, I made the (I'm sure will be contentious) decision and just eliminated that choice for this particular option.

It seemed to me that the Brawler was a martial archetype that really gravitated towards a single Fighting Style. So rather than attempt to shoehorn all the other Fighting Styles into the brawler, I simply made the Fighting Style it was trying to emulate and spun the rest of the class off of that.

All I ask: If that decision sucks and you hate it, be sure to tell me why!


  • Added Fighting Style: Fistfighting, which incorporates part of what was Fisticuffs and eliminates how Fisticuffs was trying to bend over backwards for Two-Weapon Fighting.
  • Added a Restriction for taking this Martial Archetype, requiring Fistfighting to be taken as a Fighting Style at some point (probably as a 2nd level fighter).
  • Fisticuffs now contains part of Fracas, allowing the ability to shove in fights as a core component of this class.
  • Dodge and Weave no longer involves the Dodge action or armor restrictions, so you can be a full-plate Brawler if you really, really want to.
  • Impressive Physique has been adjusted and now only deals with Performance, Intimidation, or Athletics, allowing single (not double) STR to replace CHA for Performance or Intimidation.
  • Fracas is now Bear Hug Vice Grip because it has been modified to only deal with grapples, granting disadvantage on attacks targeting you by those you're grappling. 
  • Fistfighter's Momentum now adds proficiency bonus to STR and CON for tHP, as it didn't seem like max 10 tHP was enough for a 15th level feature. 
  • Fists of Fury is now Knockout Punch, which can cause your unarmed strikes to simply drop a creature unconscious. FoF adding additional attacks was more or less unnecessary, as a high-level fighter with a bonus action attack makes five attacks a turn, anyway.
  • The shove mechanic might be added a bit early with Fisticuffs, but it costs eating advantage, which I figure makes sense for something that can possibly confer advantage (through prone).
  • Changed a lot = a lot of potential errors, etc etc
  • Making an archetype exclusive to a fighting style may or may not be a great idea. It runs contrary to the overall theme of the fighter, but it seems like it just might be the correct way to make this option.
  • There's probably a reason no one has made a fist-fighting fighter yet, but I'm crazy enough to want to see it through. 


  1. I like this revision well enough. I can't think of any more suggestions. Great work!

  2. Not sure dodge and weave is the best name now that the feature no longer grants the ability to use the dodge action.

    1. I should also say that knockout punch most likely needs a duration for the knockout. Does it last for a few rounds, a few minute, a few hours, a few days, or a few years. Might be a good idea to clarify this.

    2. I agree with the name. As far as a name suggestion goes, perhaps "Thick Skin" is apt. However, as far as the duration of Knockout Punch, it's in there.

    3. How about "Brawler's Footwork" or "High Guard"(both from boxing) as a better name for "Dodge and Weave"?

    4. Good suggestions all, will use.

      As for the duration, I added that after the comment. Sometimes I read comments and then modify my work, when I'm in the middle of already editing something. :p

  3. This revision fixes all of my previous concerns.

    Adding the restriction explores a new kind of Fighter Archetype that expands on a specific fighting style- its not trying to be a cover-all archetypes like the others, which is to its benefit.

    Great fixes

  4. Oh one other comment: core dnd already supports using different ability scores for skill checks, mentioned in the PHB ability scores section, such as using strength for intimidation

    1. Yes, but that's at the behest of the DM to request the player to make such a modified roll. With this class feature, it removes that bit. However, a point that can be drawn from this is that since the structure for most ability checks is, "make a (Ability) Skill check," then another possible wording could be, "when you would make an (Charisma) Intimidation check, you can instead make an (Strength) Intimidation check," and perhaps that syntax is superior.

    2. Perhaps that's nitpicking, I'm not sure. But also, it would probably due well to see if a/an is in relation to the ability or the skill. That syntax on its own is a bit confusing. I defaulted to the skill, as that's how it would work most of the time with parenthesis, though 5E may adopt a different ideology.