Advanced Class Guide Preview: Brawler

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The monk is a disciplined martial artist who spends years of practice to perfect his body and mind. A lawful paragon, the monk has strange and mysterious ki powers. But sometimes you don't want to play Bruce Lee. Sometimes you want to be Chuck Norris. No rules, no discipline, just a headbutt, a kick in the face, and a sucker punch. Bloody, ugly, but effective. If that's what you want, the Advanced Class Guide has the class you've been waiting for.

From the very first playtest version, the Brawler has also possessed some key features. She had full base attack bonus and rocked the monk's unarmed strike damage. She kept all her abilities in light armor (so appropriately, she is brutal in brawling armor). And she had a unique key feature all her own, martial maneuvers, now with a new name in the final version that better carries the awesomeness of the ability—martial flexibility. Martial flexibility is the brawler's answer for the disciplined abilities that the monk learns from all those years of study and perfection. With her flexible mind and intuitive grasp of close-quarters combat, the brawler has seen pretty much every trick in the book throughout her many bar brawls, arena fights, and adventuring combats. Martial flexibility allows her to spontaneously gain access to just the right combat feat (or later feats!) for her situation. Did someone splash ale in your eyes? Gain Blind-Fight. A spellcaster giving you the blues? Try Disruptive and Spellbreaker, maybe with an added dash of Step-Up. Giant enemy archer? Just take Deflect Arrows and they can kiss their Manyshot goodbye (after which you hit their weak point for massive damage).


Illustration by Ramon Puasa Jr

During the playtest, we were all out on the forums bringing back our data, which revealed a few things. Mainly, we all discovered that martial flexibility was awesome, but the brawler could use some more tricks that she could rely on consistently and that are unique to her. Have you ever wished you could hit that weakling wizard right beneath the jaw in just the right spot to knock him out in one hit? As of the second playtest version, the brawler gained the ability to dish out an instant knockout blow starting at level 13 with a devastating DC based on the brawler's Str or Dex score (your choice!). Furthermore, she gained the ability to use Awesome Blow without being size Large, eventually gaining the ability to dropkick the tarrasque 10 feet, knocking it prone, despite being size Medium.

As of the end of the playtest, the brawler was already awesome, and she seemed to have found a good place, but there were still a few observations from playtesters that led to some tweaks for the final version. First of all, the final brawler can deal increased damage with the close weapon group (growing at a slightly reduced rate from her unarmed damage), letting her brawl with everything at her disposal. Second, the knockout ability appearing at level 13 and then growing to 3 uses per day at level 16 seemed rather late and sudden. So the final version? She can start her instant knockout attacks at level 4! And just wait until you see the frankly mind-boggling feat novas you can pull off with her new capstone!

If standard brawler flavor isn't enough, brawler has some of the most evocative archetypes in the book. Instead of using unarmed strikes, the Exemplar can inspire allies like a bard and teach them teamwork feats. If you want a brawler like Bane who is at her best due to chemical enhancements, the Mutagenic Mauler has your back. And the Shield Champion throws her shield like Captain America. I mean look at that Shield Champion. It seems like she's about to punch you in the face right after the shield hits you and leaves you reeling. How cool is that? And that's only the first half of the archetypes in the book!

So to recap, the brawler is the monk's rowdy cousin, more interested in kicking ass than contemplating koans. The brawler is the Chuck Norris base class, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Are you?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Brawler Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ramon Puasa Jr
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So in the ACG band the Brawler is the member in the background braking stuff in accompaniment to the music?


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The NPC wrote:
So in the ACG band the Brawler is the member in the background braking stuff in accompaniment to the music?

The Brawler is The Bodyguard and has developed a relationship with Harkon as the lead singer.


Tels wrote:

You have 2 skill points; most people are going to want a maxed Perception, and if you want to contribute socially, you're picking up Diplomacy or Intimidate.

What about when it comes time to scale that cliff or clamber over the parapets of a castle? You need that climb skill. How about crossing that underground lake that no one brought a boat for? Need to have that Swim skill.

Foraging for food or tracking creatures? Need that Survival.

what about having a profession? Or say you want to make your own armor?

How about if you want to be a 'scholarly fighter'? You need knowledge skills then.

The thing is, with 2 skill points, you are only doing 2 of the above, unless you play a human or have a high Int. Intelligence tends to be on the lower end of the scale when it comes to the 'must have' stats. You need your strength, dexterity and constitution to fight, and you absolutely must have a good wisdom or else you're basically an enemy that hasn't turned yet.

Basically, with the Fighter as is, he really...

Eh, maxed perception is overrated. And that's 2 skill points with a negative modifier. In reality, I'll probably have a 13 int for feats, and if I really need them, putting my favored class bonus into skill points. That nets me 5 points a level. And in reality, you only need one spotter and face, so that leaves those two potentially open to do whatever. This isn't jumping through hoops. This is just simply being.

And, on another note, this is a role playing game. Mechanics aren't the only way to contribute. You can arrange strategies and plans. Another helping hand allows you to do more, regardless of skills. And hell, you can offer another interesting character to the table. I've never had to sit and twiddle my thumbs outside of combat.


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Albatoonoe wrote:

Eh, maxed perception is overrated. And that's 2 skill points with a negative modifier. In reality, I'll probably have a 13 int for feats, and if I really need them, putting my favored class bonus into skill points. That nets me 5 points a level. And in reality, you only need one spotter and face, so that leaves those two potentially open to do whatever. This isn't jumping through hoops. This is just simply being.

And, on another note, this is a role playing game. Mechanics aren't the only way to contribute. You can arrange strategies and plans. Another helping hand allows you to do more, regardless of skills. And hell, you can offer another interesting character to the table. I've never had to sit and twiddle my thumbs outside of combat.

I think the point you're missing is that the Fighter class doesn't do any of that. It doesn't give you any tool to work out of combat.

No one is saying that Fighters are completely useless out of combat, just that they are far less effective than any other class in the game (save for Commoners and Warriors) whenever "hit stuff with a pointy stick" is not a viable option.

All that you mentioned can be done much more easily and for greater effect with any other class. I know Fighters can be skilled and contribute out of combat (I've built effective social Fighters myself).

That doesn't change the fact that they need considerably more resources and a lot of extra effort just to be almost as good as any other class doing the same.

tl;dr: Are Fighters useless out of combat? No. Are they less useful than any other class (save for Warriors and Commoners)? Yes, they sure are.


Having only one person be the spotter is a recipe for failure. If only one person is spotting, then that means the party's awareness is entirely dependent on that one person. If he has a bad roll, that means the party will probably be surprised.

The more people spotting, the better.

Also, you kind of proved my point there. I was talking about the base 2 skill points a Fighter gets, in order to contribute more, you kind of have to play human with a higher intelligence, and you even went so far as to put favored class into it too.

Even still, you're only just barely (1 point) ahead of what many other classes get by default. Most other classes get at least 4 skill points, the exception being Fighters, Clerics, Sorcerers and Paladins (and Warpriests). The Intelligence casters all get 2+Int too, but they're an exception as they are expected to have a high Int.

So 5 classes out of ~30 get 2 skill points. Two of those classes are full casters, one is a 6th level caster a 4th is a Paladin. 4 of the 5 classes have spells, and 3 of the 5 are expected to have a moderate to high Charisma.

The Fighter is the only one with no built in method of contributing to anything other than combat without having to jump through hoops for more skill points.


Plus, if only one person in your party makes a perception check against an ambush, the surprise round still happens. Just that one person gets to act in it along with your attackers.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Magicdealer wrote:
Chuck Norris is a terrible person, and I am saddened to see him referenced here :(

I'd have gone with Christian Kane, myself. (Eliot Spencer from Leverage)


Ooh yay now I see a class to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Shadow Lodge

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Flaming Crab Games wrote:

The Brawler has everything right going for it!

Now all we need is a raging/ drunken brawler archetype!

I have to agree wholeheartedly on this one. As soon as I read the post today, I hopped on HeroLab and whipped up Rowsdower from: MST3K's The Final Sacrifice. For gear, he has a pouch, a sack, and some beer, eh?

He's here, he's woefully unprepared, and he's awesome.


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Guys, there are a million threads to spew fighter hate in. Why not go find that The Main Problem With Fighters thread again?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

And now I'm going to have to stat up a new recurring NPC for my game... Captain Andoran of the E.A.G.L.E. Knights.


Cheapy wrote:
Guys, there are a million threads to spew fighter hate in. Why not go find that The Main Problem With Fighters thread again?

Providing context for my worries about Brawler, mostly.


Tels wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

Geralt is the name of the main character in The Witcher.

A witcher is a combination of alchemist, mage, herbalist, and fighter. Oh and they've had animal parts spliced into them from surgery and magic.

Yeah, I used Tinkergoth's post as reference for a quick Google search.

Tels! Do you have a PC that can play games and a GOG.com account?


Mark, can you say something about the number of skill points of the brawler?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Haladir wrote:
And now I'm going to have to stat up a new recurring NPC for my game... Captain Andoran of the E.A.G.L.E. Knights.

What does the acronym stand for?

Scarab Sages

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Ssalarn wrote:
One of the reasons I liked the basic idea behind the martial flexibility class feature was because it let you dip into the situationally useful maneuver feats without finding yourself stuck with a fair chunk of your resources dedicated to a trick that only works 20% of the time.

Indeed. If wizards and clerics are effectively rewriting their abilities day-by-day, is it any wonder they more often have the right tool for the job at hand?

And isn't that a major factor in why they're more fun to play?


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Ravingdork wrote:
Haladir wrote:
And now I'm going to have to stat up a new recurring NPC for my game... Captain Andoran of the E.A.G.L.E. Knights.
What does the acronym stand for?

guesses:
Executive Advisory Group for Logistics Excellence

Extra-normal Activities Garrison for Law Enforcement
Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge
Ending Arguments Gently Legally and Economically !!
Environmental Awareness Guided Learning Experience


The fighter can actually change a bonus feat of his every day, with a book from Ultimate Equipment.

Evil Lincoln's brother had a really good set of feats for Fighters too that let them do this. It used to be up on pathfinderdb.com, but it looks like that site went away. I can't recommend those feats high enough, or just let the fighter change his latest bonus feat (and maybe, with some more feats, the second and third latest bonus feats :)).

But this is getting off topic.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

@Raving Dork:

Exemplars Against Golarion's Lawful Evils?

Eagle knights for Andoran's Great Liberation Edict

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
paizo blog wrote:
So to recap, the brawler is the monk's rowdy cousin, more interested in kicking ass than contemplating koans. The brawler is the Chuck Norris base class, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Are you?

So, by comparing the brawler to Chuck Norris, Paizo admits that the brawler is terrible. Why? Chuck Norris is terrible.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Some specific and general comments, the rhetoric level in this post implies the brawler is over powered, I didn't look into it during play test, but basically the post above reads to me as follows:

"In early playtest the brawler was awesome, then we gave it more stuff that made it more awesome, then we took some of the awesome stuff it had and made it available even earlier, AWESOME!"

So either the brawler comes from the lego movie, the hyperbole dial is set to 11, or this class is possible on the OP side, can't really say until I see it, but the blog post doesn't give me comfort (p.s. comparing a class to the paragon of hyperbole–chuck norris– does not help.)

In general, I'm finding these post infuriatingly vague. Many of us are familiar with the themes and development process for the classes because we participated in the forums, what these blog posts aren't doing is telling us much about the final form of the class, they aren't class previews so much as a dev process post mortem. If I didn't participate in the play test process they would be less informative because they are making inference to things I would be ignorant of. I don't know if it is a gap in my expectation and yours, but I can't help but feel these posts are missing the mark.

Now release the book so I can shut up and throw my money at you...


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That is a fair point Galnorag. They do seem more to be post-mortems with sprinkling of preview, rather than the other way around.

I'm really enjoying the post-mortems, since that stuff interests me, but I think Stephen's Swashbuckler post hit the best balance so far.

Silver Crusade

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I think it is funny that people are complaining that the Brawler seems OP but then a lot of those same people are the ones who complain that Martial characters don't have anything nice and are weaker then casters in general. As far as the brawler being able to select feats it wants in any given situation it really isn't too far different from a caster selecting a spell when you think about it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Haladir wrote:
And now I'm going to have to stat up a new recurring NPC for my game... Captain Andoran of the E.A.G.L.E. Knights.
What does the acronym stand for mean?

It means that someone really wanted the initials to spell out "eagle."


Mark Seifter wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Brawler Preview wrote:
Giant enemy archer? Just take Deflect Arrows and they can kiss their Manyshot goodbye (after which you hit their weak point for massive damage).

Oh?

Did fights like that happen in ancient Golarion history?
Actually, ancient Minkai history. Little known fact, that.

I hope the locations or future Adventure Paths featuring this Iconic are based on famous battles which actually took place in ancient Minkai.


Seems pretty cool to me.

The mutagenic mauler sounds interesting. I myself was going to create a full BAB alchemist that had no spells and had a altered mutagen mechanic.

Guess I don't have to now.


Galnörag wrote:

Some specific and general comments, the rhetoric level in this post implies the brawler is over powered, I didn't look into it during play test, but basically the post above reads to me as follows:

"In early playtest the brawler was awesome, then we gave it more stuff that made it more awesome, then we took some of the awesome stuff it had and made it available even earlier, AWESOME!"

So either the brawler comes from the lego movie, the hyperbole dial is set to 11, or this class is possible on the OP side, can't really say until I see it, but the blog post doesn't give me comfort (p.s. comparing a class to the paragon of hyperbole–chuck norris– does not help.)

In general, I'm finding these post infuriatingly vague. Many of us are familiar with the themes and development process for the classes because we participated in the forums, what these blog posts aren't doing is telling us much about the final form of the class, they aren't class previews so much as a dev process post mortem. If I didn't participate in the play test process they would be less informative because they are making inference to things I would be ignorant of. I don't know if it is a gap in my expectation and yours, but I can't help but feel these posts are missing the mark.

Now release the book so I can shut up and throw my money at you...

As someone who was MOST interested in the Brawler and did playtests and participated in the Brawler discussions I'll say this. It's not overpowered. Better than the monk? Thank Irori it is... But far from OP. They just hyped it in the preview rather well. But if you read some of the descriptions for things in pathfinder you'll know that there's many times that it doesn't translate well to mechanics...


When they described ver 1.0 and 2.0 Brawler as "awesome" I knew it had to be hyperbole.


mswbear wrote:
I think it is funny that people are complaining that the Brawler seems OP but then a lot of those same people are the ones who complain that Martial characters don't have anything nice and are weaker then casters in general. As far as the brawler being able to select feats it wants in any given situation it really isn't too far different from a caster selecting a spell when you think about it.

Except the Brawler has to select Combat Feats. And he didn't have many uses at all... At least not in the playtest.


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zergtitan wrote:
It's Clobbering Time!

That would be an Oread Brawler, yes?

*Reads about Mutagenic Mauler* Aw, blast it, now I'm gonna have to get this book too. Thanks for cleaning out my pocket again, Paizo.


Galnörag wrote:
In general, I'm finding these post infuriatingly vague. Many of us are familiar with the themes and development process for the classes because we participated in the forums, what these blog posts aren't doing is telling us much about the final form of the class, they aren't class previews so much as a dev process post mortem.

Bear in mind that these posts are directed at a more general audience and not necessarily just the smaller section of people who participate in the forums and the even smaller section of that who participated in the playtest. At least, I assume that's the intent.

Quote:
If I didn't participate in the play test process they would be less informative because they are making inference to things I would be ignorant of. I don't know if it is a gap in my expectation and yours, but I can't help but feel these posts are missing the mark.

This may be a legitimate argument, although I'm not sure it's necessarily apt, at least in the case of this particular post. The post explains in the first paragraph how the brawler is different from the monk.

The next two paragraphs describe some of what went on in the playtest with the brawler, and how it developed, and even some of the key features (and a name change for those who might be familiar with the old term and for those that weren't).

It concludes with a bit of followup without excessive detail on how the playtest ended up (book's out in a couple weeks, no need for excess), and some archetypes.

Seems pretty good to me!


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Chris Ballard wrote:
paizo blog wrote:
So to recap, the brawler is the monk's rowdy cousin, more interested in kicking ass than contemplating koans. The brawler is the Chuck Norris base class, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Are you?
So, by comparing the brawler to Chuck Norris, Paizo admits that the brawler is terrible. Why? Chuck Norris is terrible.

That's why you play a Brawler based on Teddy Roosevelt instead.

Bully!


Cheapy wrote:

That is a fair point Galnorag. They do seem more to be post-mortems with sprinkling of preview, rather than the other way around.

I'm really enjoying the post-mortems, since that stuff interests me, but I think Stephen's Swashbuckler post hit the best balance so far.

Agree

When it comes to best post I Think it’s a draw between the Stephen's Swashbuckler post and his Investigator post. Come to think of it I actually like the Investigator post a bit better.

BTW, I’m really impressed with Stephen :)
In fact I'm really impressed by all the new people Paizo have hired :D

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

mswbear wrote:
I think it is funny that people are complaining that the Brawler seems OP but then a lot of those same people are the ones who complain that Martial characters don't have anything nice and are weaker then casters in general. As far as the brawler being able to select feats it wants in any given situation it really isn't too far different from a caster selecting a spell when you think about it.

For what it's worth, I'm the one who brought up that the brawler seems to be better than the fighter all around, and was troubled that that, and I've never thought martials are underpowered.


Ventnor wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
paizo blog wrote:
So to recap, the brawler is the monk's rowdy cousin, more interested in kicking ass than contemplating koans. The brawler is the Chuck Norris base class, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Are you?
So, by comparing the brawler to Chuck Norris, Paizo admits that the brawler is terrible. Why? Chuck Norris is terrible.

That's why you play a Brawler based on Teddy Roosevelt instead.

Bully!

Bully!

my next character's war cry


Cheapy wrote:

The fighter can actually change a bonus feat of his every day, with a book from Ultimate Equipment.

off topic./

Awesome.
Can you link to it or do you recal the name of the item?

Liberty's Edge

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Zark wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

The fighter can actually change a bonus feat of his every day, with a book from Ultimate Equipment.

off topic./

Awesome.
Can you link to it or do you recal the name of the item?

It's the Manual of War. :)


I think Cheapy is referring to retraining, which anyone can do and costs time and money.

And I am ninja'd by a correct answer. *backs away slowly and quietly*


Ravenblack wrote:
Zark wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

The fighter can actually change a bonus feat of his every day, with a book from Ultimate Equipment.

off topic./

Awesome.
Can you link to it or do you recal the name of the item?

It's the Manual of War. :)

Thanks. Dirt cheap :D

Grand Lodge

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I see my advice was heeded to simply make you write all of these. Muhaha.


Cheapy wrote:
Tels wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:

Geralt is the name of the main character in The Witcher.

A witcher is a combination of alchemist, mage, herbalist, and fighter. Oh and they've had animal parts spliced into them from surgery and magic.

Yeah, I used Tinkergoth's post as reference for a quick Google search.
Tels! Do you have a PC that can play games and a GOG.com account?

I have several character ideas and builds I've never had a chance to play due to my gaming group being slow. 5 years in to both Kingmaker and Curse of the Crimson Throne and 3 years in to Legacy of Fire :(

Based on the fact I don't know what GOG.com is, I probably don't. But it's entirely possible I signed up at one time and forgot (when you have the same account for ~15 years, it's a wonder at what you've all signed up for).

Why?


I meant a personal computer. And so I could gift you the game :p

Webstore Gninja Minion

Removed some posts and its replies. People play the game differently, and what works for them is no more or less valid than what works for you.

Paizo Employee Designer

Himokl wrote:
I see my advice was heeded to simply make you write all of these. Muhaha.

Nah, I'm just writing Sean's. But that's still 2/3 of the others left.


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Cheapy wrote:
I meant a personal computer. And so I could gift you the game :p

I do, but I also have very little time for any sort of gaming any more, even table-top. 10 months ago I took over guardianship of my sisters' two kids (age 2 and 4) while she deals with financial, home, and drug related issues. So overnight, I went from 'single uncle' to 'Uncle Mom', and as such, I don't get to play much of anything anymore.


Here's hoping they fixed the biggest problem with Martial Versatility. The scaling costs of the per day uses.

Also hopefully the Barwler realized how to use a shield for blocking.


Insain Dragoon wrote:


Also hopefully the Barwler realized how to use a shield for blocking.

And how.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Also hopefully the Barwler realized how to use a shield for blocking.

a shield isn't for blocking, its for bashing things over the head until they either submit or die of massive head trauma


Insain Dragoon wrote:
Also hopefully the Barwler realized how to use a shield for blocking.

To be fair, they know how to use shields for blocking... They just don't know how to do it without hampering their own accuracy. :P


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Blackvial wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Also hopefully the Barwler realized how to use a shield for blocking.
a shield isn't for blocking, its for bashing things over the head until they either submit or die of massive head trauma

"Block arrows with my bludgeoning disc? Why would I do that? It's called a bludgeoning disc for a reason, silly!"

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