|Nani O. Pratt|
Threatening Defender (Cheliax, Empire of Devils 19)
Affable (Champions of Purity 13)
Unarmed Strike +4 (1d6+3)
AC: 15 (3 armor, 2 dex), 16 AC with combat expertise
Dax was orphaned during the Goblinblood Wars and spent her youth as a rough and tumble street fighter in Elidir. She turned to the worship of Kurgess as an escape from the oppressive environs. Inspired by the courage of her hero, she made her way south to Andoran, largely relying on a ready smile and the kindness of strangers to help her on her way.
It seems like Martial Maneuvers is the cornerstone of the class, lending instantaneous in combat flexibility. I'm building the character as a generalist, with base feats that will allow for maximum feat chaining: Combat Expertise, Power Attack (which I almost took at first level instead), and weapon focus. I've got my eye on using Martial Maneuvers for the Improved [CMD] feats, as well as a few styles such as Dragon Style.
Confirmation PFS Playtest
Party Composition and Marching Order:
Sorcerer (burning hands, color spray)
1st Encounter: Swarm
The brawler performed about as well as a 1st level melee character can be expected to do versus a swarm. She benefitted from her high fort save, and threw an acid flask (and missed, haha).
2nd Encounter: Undead
My character benefitted from her high hit points and bludgeoning damage. The high hit points (and reasonably good AC) allowed me to get into position to defend casters with impunity while taking some AoOs. I had acrobatics as a skill, but simply moved because of distance.
3rd Encounter: Young Gelatinous Cube
Moving up in single file, the fighter runs straight into the cube and promptly becomes paralyzed. At this point, I wish I had taken power attack so I could use Martial Maneuvers for Improved Bull Rush. I decided to go for broke, and bull rushed the gelatinous cube anyway down the narrow hallway and into an open space. From a purely qualitative point of view, I felt like this was the moment that was built for the Brawler. There was a niche combat situation, and had I selected my feats differently, I could have really taken advantage of it. I was going to grapple the fighter out of the cube in the next round, but it choose to abandon the fighter and try to engulf me instead, which I managed to escape.
4th Encounter: Minotaur
Combat setup: We emerged from a cave and saw the baddie about 120 feet away, across a stream. The brawler benefitted from the 30 foot movement speed and skills. After a round of positioning, in the second round I managed a running leap over the stream and charged into combat. Already injured from my companions' spells and bombs, the Minotaur attempted to escape, and I landed a dramatic AoO crit and downed the creature.
First of all, I did not built an overly min-maxed Brawler, and I'm very well aware that I could have had a lot more strength or dex. But I built a character that is very much in line with my personal preference and play style. While not crippling, I feel like the character is a bit on the weak side mechanically. Compared to a regular monk with flurry of blows and a regular fighter with higher weapon damage (and a bonus feat), the 1d6+3 per round is a bit underwhelming. If you count Martial Maneuvers as roughly equivalent to a bonus feat, the Brawler still might benefit from getting Brawler's flurry at 1st level.
Additionally, after reading the blog post last week, I looked at the close weapons list. But quite frankly, the close weapons list still contains a bunch of Asian weapons, and is really weak compared to the monk list. Most of them are 1d3 or 1d4 damage, and I'd rather not use them at all. The only exception is using a spiked shield with the bashing property, but even then brawlers aren't proficient with shields as armor :) Perhaps the brawler can use his own unarmed damage when using a close weapon...but then again, I foresee a lot of unintended consequences (read: game-breaking) with that option.
I suggest using close, monk AND light blades as options for the Brawler.