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Strangler Brawler build


Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori monk, play around with Strangler archetype for Brawler. By leveraging bonus feats and Martial Flexibility, you are a grapple monster by L9.

Human Shoanti

STR 18 (+2 Human)
DEX 14
CON 16
WIS 10

Trait: Bred for War (+1 trait bonus for Intimidate and CMB)

L1 Improved Unarmed Strike, (Human) Improved Grapple, Martial Flexibility, Strangle +1d6
L2 (Bonus) Turtle Style, Strangle +2d6, Practiced Strangler (No DEX penalty while grappling)
L3 Turtle Clutch, Maneuver Training: Grapple +1

Typical L3 progression for a grappler (beelining for Turtle Clutch which allows an immediate action grapple on a miss). Without magic items or buffs: Grapple CMB is +11, a Grapple to do damage is 1d3+4+2d6 (or 2d6 on a successful pin). Martial Flexibility 4/day as move action for 1 feat.

L4 +1 STR
L5 (Bonus) Power Attack, Maneuver Training: Grapple, (BURNER FEAT)
L6 Retrain: (Burner feat) > Greater Grapple

Grappling comes into its own as you now can make 2 checks a round. If an enemy misses you, you can immediate action Grapple on their turn then pin and tie up on your turn...or just squeeze them. Without magic items or buffs: Grapple CMB is +16, a Grapple to do damage with Power Attack is 1d3+8+2d6 (or 2d3+16+4d6 if damaging twice). Martial Flexibility 4/day as move action for 2 feats.

Bruno apologize in advance to all GMs for the next 3 levels.

L7 Maneuver Training: Grapple +2, Finale Embrace

Around this level, you should be able to afford Anaconda's Coils. They will qualify you for Final Embrace. You now have Grab (!) and Constrict with your unarmed damage (!!). Your STR gets +2 boost. Your Grapple CMB is now +25. A Grapple check to do damage with Power Attack, Strangle and Constrict is 1d3+8+2d6 + 1d3+8; 2 in a round totals 4d3+4d6+32.

L8 +1 STR, (Bonus) Final Embrace Horror*
L9 Rapid Grappler, Use Martial Flex for Final Embrace Master* and Pinning KO

*(Please note that FE: Horror and FE: Master had Ability Focus pre-req removed)

Your base unarmed with Power Attack: 1d3+10. Your Grapple CMB is around +30. If you start already Grappled and can make 3 checks to do damage for non-lethal damage:

Grapple Standard Action:
Grapple w/ Pinning KO: 2d3+20
Constrict w/ FE: Master: 2d3+20
Strangle: 3d6
(target now shaken from FE: Horror)

Greater Grapple Move Action:
Grapple w/ Pinning KO: 2d3+20
Constrict w/ FE: Master: 2d3+20
Strangle: 3d6

Rapid Grapple Swift Action:
Grapple w/ Pinning KO: 2d3+20
Constrict w/ FE: Master: 2d3+20
Strangle: 3d6

Total non-lethal damage: 12d3+9d6+120
(Lethal option: 9d3+9d6+90)

Other than Anaconda's Coils, there are no magic items, damage buffs or size buffs in effect.

If you simply have the Brawling enchant on your armor (+2 hit/damage unarmed strikes, +2 Grapple) and the Mizu Ki Hikari Rebel trait (+1 damage unarmed strikes) and an Amulet of Mighty Fists +1, those 4 points of damage become another +48 points of non-lethal damage (12d3+9d6+168) or +36 points of lethal damage (9d3+9d6+126).

Cheap pick ups: Wand of Long Arm + Cracked Purple Ioun Stone, Wand of True Strike + Cracked Purple Ioun Stone, Potion of Enlarge Person

Not cheap pick up: Potion of Strong Jaw

PROS: You hug the world to death. Martial Flexibility gives you options in non-grapple situations.

CONS: Pitifully low Will Save. Unlike a Tetori or a Spell Sunder Brutal Pugilist, you have no Anti-Freedom of Movement options.

Bruno Breakbone wrote:
CONS: Pitifully low Will Save. Unlike a Tetori or a Spell Sunder Brutal Pugilist, you have no Anti-Freedom of Movement options.

Find a friendly level 9 Skald?

Lantern Lodge


I would like to suggest Celestial Obedience for Falayna as a worthwhile feat choice. For being devoted to the Warrior's Ring, you "Gain a +4 sacred bonus on grapple checks and to CMD." For the cost of a feat and having to Don a jeweled ring on each finger and strike a practice dummy barehanded until the impression of the rings is left in your skin.

1 feat that is equal to 2 other feats or a couple of other magical items.

Silver Crusade

@Secane, good point. The grapple CMB gets pretty high pretty quickly and explodes once you get your Anaconda Coils and Final Embrace (+2 competence, +1 STR, +4 grab). If you need to boost your CMB on the cheap prior to that combo, definitely the Obedience is the way to go and you can Flex into Power Attack to boost your damage. Once your CMB is sky high and you flip the switch from controller to damage, you can retrain out of the Obedience into Power Attack.

I'm glad to see a strangler build on the forums. Thanks Bruno!!

What is your opinion of also taking the Snakebite Striker archetype (stacks with Strangler) for even more SA damage? Is it worth giving up Martial Flexibility?

instead of the normal +x holy/etc aomf i would go for a

aomf of phase locking:

Price +2 bonus
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th; Weight —


A phase locking weapon interferes with dimensional travel. A creature damaged by a phase locking weapon is affected as though by the dimensional anchor spell for 1 round.

that way one of your major weakness is gone.

and ofc boots of flying to actually get to some flyers to pin.

The sneak attacks from the two archetypes wouldn't really work together would they?
Although other sources of sneak stack with the Striker, that is not true the other way, and both apply in different situations, so would rarely get the chance to stack.

The Stranglers sneak only happens when its grappling, so the Strikers won't apply as it does not. The Strikers sneak applies to normal sneak scenarios... so the Stranglers won't apply as it does not.

Suppose there's the odd case where you're grappling a flat footed/flanked opponent where they both might kick in.

Seems like you won't get more sneak attack damage... just the ability to use some form of sneak attack in a few more situations. Martial Flexibility seems way to handy to give up for this.

I think they would stack. Here is a post on that very qustion

That would bring the Sneak Attack damage to 9d6 at level 20.

I think that was someone misinterpreting what they were reading hoping they would stack.

I would not interpret it that way at all.

Silver Crusade


Bruno favors tactical preparedness and flexibility above all, so personally, Bruno would not trade away Martial Flexibility.

As for Strangle and Sneak stacking, the "for the purpose of this ability" gives me enough pause to say they don't stack unless you meet the requirements when you're actually flanking or doing damage to a target denied their Dex.

Even if they did stack, Bruno still would not trade Flexibility away.

Odd thought, possible tangent; At 2nd level, the Slayer archetype - Bounty Hunter - can perform a dirty trick whenever able to get sneak attack damage.
Something maybe worth dipping? Especially given removing a given penalty and escaping a grapple might just push escape into a non-option.

As to dealing with that most irksome of escapes; teleporting. Remember, you count as a fighter, and well this feats chain might be worth some uses of martial flexibility.

As an unarmed strike is a bludgeoning force, you might consider the benefits of nonlethal damage:

* Sap Adept
You know just where to hit to knock the sense out of your foe.
Prerequisite: Sneak attack +1d6.
Benefit: Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage, you gain a bonus on your damage roll equal to twice the number of sneak attack damage dice you rolled.

* Sap Master
You knock the sense out of foes with a well-timed surprise attack.
Prerequisite: Sneak attack +3d6, Sap Adept.
Benefit: Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage to a flat-footed opponent, roll your sneak attack dice twice, totaling the results as your nonlethal sneak attack damage for that attack.

* Pinning Knockout
An opponent you have pinned is easy for you to knock out.
Prerequisite: Dex 13, Greater Grapple, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +9 or monk level 9th.
Benefit: While you have an opponent pinned, when you succeed at a grapple combat maneuver check to deal an opponent nonlethal damage using an unarmed strike or a light or one-handed weapon, double your damage result. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is immune to the effects of this feat.

Combined with your already impressive build, these nonlethal options really help in dropping creatures susceptible to such very quickly. What do you think?

Bruno Breakbone wrote:

Isnt the unarmed damage for a medium brawler 1d6 ??? Why do you have 1d3 ???

I think it's a really good idea to dip at least 1 level of monk; buncha good archetypes to pick from, but that two-three extra feats you get are well worth it for 1 BAB imo by themselves.


Timmaay wrote:

Isnt the unarmed damage for a medium brawler 1d6 ??? Why do you have 1d3 ???

The strangler archetype gives up the unarmed strike ability, essentially putting it back to the normal 1d3, even with the improved unarmed strike feat.

This is just nitpicky and a flavor issue, but you referred to him as "Handsome and beautiful", yet his Cha is a 7. Maybe He used to be, now is hideously scarred?

I was recently told by several people that the strangler brawler is a trap option. This seems like a solid build. I wonder if Bruno would be a tetori again if he had it to do over again.

It might slow your build down too much, and it would make your will save even worse, but 2 levels of Cavalier or Samauri with Order of the Penitent from Knights of the inner sea, lets you skip pinning and go straight from grappled to tied up, plus it eliminates the -10 to the check. Samurai would also let your roll twice once per day on a will save.

I am enjoying this build. The only part I am confused on is the power attack damage. I am sure I am just doing my math wrong.
At level 7 after you get Belt of Anaconda's coil, Where are you getting +8 damage? You are getting +5 from str at that time. And wouldn't your Power Attack be giving you +4 Damage at a cost of -2 to hit. Where am I going wrong?

Silver Crusade

You are correct, at L7 it would be +9 not +8.

Bruno not smart, just strong.

Silver Crusade

LazGrizzle wrote:
This is just nitpicky and a flavor issue, but you referred to him as "Handsome and beautiful", yet his Cha is a 7. Maybe He used to be, now is hideously scarred?

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance. Bruno, beautiful and handsome tetori, is very beautiful and handsome. No one he has hugged has ever said otherwise ;)

Bruno RP'd as a good looking but gruff, loud and not-all-that smart man who has evil tattoos (from Lissala/Krune) on his body. CHA is not just physical looks, but presence as well.

Bruno also need to get around to updating his character sheet on

Silver Crusade

Lance Manstrong wrote:
I wonder if Bruno would be a tetori again if he had it to do over again.

Bruno, a handsome and beautiful tetori, would like to settle down one day have many handsome and beautiful babies. Maybe, one day, Bruno will have a handsome and beautiful daughter named Bruna who will take after father, but in her own Brawler way.

(But I'm sure the GMs would rather Bruno not play a grappler again...)

In all seriousness, Bruno like many thing about the brawler chasis, but Bruno's monk saves and monk speed have been very critical in his success. Being a brawler, especially if looking towards higher level play, will require system mastery and foresight about the challenges to come. Bruno seriously considering playing brawler someday, but he already has 3 martials he play on regular basis: Halfling Titan Mauler Barbarian 2, Human Geokineticist 8 and Human Freebooter Ranger 6/Horizon Walker 3/Viking Fighter 3 (DimDoor Shieldbasher)

First things first: love the build - it's very similar to mine ^^

But: Final Embrace Master just doubles the damage DICE of your constrict, doesn't it?! Is there any other point I don't get? Or is the constrict-dmg really just 1d3+10? (or is it also doubled by Pinning KO? and if yes: shouldn't be the constrict-dmg in this case 4d3+20 and y doesn't Pinning KO also double the sneak-dmg?)

My own build works with 2 levels of good old MoMS and fuses Snapping Turtle Style with Grabbing Style for grappling down two foes at the same time ...

EDIT: wasn't the Ability Focus pre-req only for the Final Embrace Horror removed and is still a pre-req for Final Embrace Master?!

Dark Archive

new human trait: Giant Ancestry gives you a raw +1 CMB and CMD -2 stealth and losing skilled.

Liberty's Edge

Another piece of Equipment I would recommend is the Shirt of Immolation:

Whenever the wearer is grappling (whether on the offense or defense), this shirt automatically bursts into flame, dealing 1d6+10 points of fire damage every round to anyone grappling the wearer. The flames do not harm the wearer and last one round (though it continues to burn if the wearer is still grappling after one round). The shirt burns for a maximum of 10 rounds per day. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

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