Sunday, January 29, 2017

Martial Archetype: Brawler [Third Draft]

These days, I really try to finish up options with a second draft. Any changes a second draft needs can be appended to it with subsequent sub-versions.

But that only works out like, half the time. Any time I change a full ability, we need a new draft, so here we are.

The Brawler has been a challenge (and probably will continue to be so, if I made mistakes here), but the standard fist-fighter is something I've always enjoyed playing in fantasy games. I find the best archetypes that I make are those I care personally for, and right now the Brawler is in a place that I'm very proud of, thanks in no small part to the input from you fine folks.

But let's not have that stop us. If there's something that needs changing, this is the place to tell me!


  • Fisticuffs is now Counterpunch, trading out the push/prone ability for the ability to literally roll with the punches. I find this one to be much more flavorful, and has the advantage of pushing home DEX dependence. 
  • Dodge and Weave is now Defensive Footwork, which is just a name change, really, but one that makes more sense for what it is now. 
  • Made Fist-Fighting incompatible with shields to keep it from being strictly better than Two-Weapon Fighting. 
  • There's a lot of kit added at 3rd level, but two pieces of it (the unarmored defense and the progressive damage die increase) are background detail, setting up the pieces for the rest of the class to work, rather than anything active and confusing.
  • This class option has a pretty tight reaction/bonus action economy, but it's not overburdened significantly.
  • The STR/DEX dependence makes this class option a little M.A.D., but fighters of all classes can handle that just fine.
  • There's sometimes a much more thematic ability out there, though it just might require thinking outside the box a little bit. 


  1. I wonder if Knockout Punch couldn't be a percentile dice feature... Maybe a special attack option(replacing a full attack action, like Thunder Monger for the Artificer Gunsmith), that does normal damage, but gives you a small chance to one-shot the target.

    It could be limited to creatures your size or smaller, for the sake of realism, and perhaps it would fail on creatures with more then 100 remaining HP.

    Maybe the player would have to roll more then the remaining HP on percentile dice to knock them out... And if that is still too broken, maybe they would have to roll more then the remaining HP + the target's CR rating, also preserving realism within the game.

    Could it work?

    1. Adding a constant rolling of a d100 is not something i would like to deal with. The incredible large chance game with d100s is not fun.

    2. I feel like the mechanics of Knockout Punch already place a burden on the DM. Adding a d100 (and the swing-y, randomness that comes with that particular die) would make it even harder to use that ability in play, which isn't something I really want to do.

      A d100 is great for use in roll tables, but there's a reason you don't see it used much in abilities in 5e.

  2. The reason I thought it wouldn't come up much is because not only is a lvl 18 ability, but it would have the size limitation and the player would have to believe the target has less then 100 HP. And given the fact that it would replace a full attack action with a normal attack + percentile die, thats actually less roling and it becomes slightly less likely to come up too, since it potencially sacrifices damage.

  3. Idea for Knockout Punch: Maybe you could make it use their action and bonus action to deal their unarmed strike damage+fighter level+Dexterity modifier damage?

    1. Having one thing you do consume two different action economy resources isn't something 5e really does. Like, nothing else really eats up both an action and a bonus action in and of itself.

      I'd also shy away from using Dexterity only for a knockout punch. I'd either offer a choice of DEX and STR, or just lump them both in there together.