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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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's Clobbering Time!


YES! Seifter, you did it again!


Can you do tricks with the shield, like ricochet it back to you?

Silver Crusade

Martial Flexibility... I like it.

Contributor

Hmm...

Yes, this will do...


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Can you do tricks with the shield, like ricochet it back to you?

Like a Bashing Throwing Returning Shield?


I really like the sound of the Exemplar. I just hope it is not a combat chump like the Sensei.

I think this class is goofy, but cool overall. Like Chuck Norris.


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Sounds cool!

Edit:

Mutagenic Mauler sounds really interesting and Shield Champion sounds Awesome!

Silver Crusade

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zergtitan wrote:
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Can you do tricks with the shield, like ricochet it back to you?
Like a Bashing Throwing Returning Shield?

More like a bashing returning throwing shield (you spend less money [+50 gp as opposed to a +1 bonus cost], plus you get a better range increment than the enchantment provides).

EDIT: Will the close weapon damage, when used with shields, interact with bashing at all? I'm assuming that it'll be like the monk and Improved Natural Attack (as in the monk can't benefit from it), but it's good to know this from the get go.


This class has me the most excited of all of them so far!

Shadow Lodge

This is just what I was hoping the Brawler would turn out to be. I can't wait for the book to come out to resume playing my 5th level Brawler in PFS.


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The Brawler has everything right going for it!
Now all we need is a raging/ drunken brawler archetype!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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SHIELD CHAMPION! SHIELD CHAMPION! SHIELD CHAMPION!

*shameless squealing*


Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Can you do tricks with the shield, like ricochet it back to you?

get a returning shield

Liberty's Edge

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Wow, I thought I would try rolling up one of each ACG class before rolling the same one twice, but Mutagenic Mauler? Are you kidding me? Gimme!


The brawler did not catch my interest during the playtest. I felt that the martial flexibility (as it's called now) was TOO flexible and I was concerned that players could spend minutes per turn (on occasion) trying to find the perfect feat for the current situation. I still have that concern and I suppose it'll just take some getting used to on my end. (Worst case scenario, I'll ask newer players to write down a list of 25 feats and have them ready to go to save time.) But man, that Shield Champion looks awesome - count me as interested now. Good work PDT! (Especially Mark for this blog post!)


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"If you want a brawler like Bane who is at her best due to chemical enhancements, the Mutagenic Mauler has your back."

Yes please. And tell me the "Bane/back" joke was intentional... :)


I am in so much love, right here, right now. I hope to really enjoy this class when its finally out. Monks always bothered me, but this... this is the answer I've been waiting for! I hope for thursdays iconic to be a total BA.


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Still not seeing why I should ever play one. Here's hoping the final version in the book does a better job of selling it.

What's been previewed here is a capstone (who cares? You're never going to use it), a name change for an ability that was neat, but very limited per day to the point that you'd almost never use its "upgrades" to grab multiple Feats (and no mention of that being changed), Knockout Blow coming in earlier (which is neat, but doesn't make the class).

Given that it was one of the bigger gripes, and sees no mention, it looks like the Brawler still essentially has "Bonus Feat, except without even the flexibility to pick one you want" as his 16th level ability (which essentially IS the capstone of most campaigns).

And it looks like the Brawler (sans archetype) may still be too dumb to figure out how to hit people with the heavy steel object attached to his arm (because of the baffling "Hey uh you're proficient in shields but not as weapons because uh").

I'm more excited over the fact that I can now multiclass it with MoMS than I am about the class itself.

Sorry to be the gloomy Gus on this one.


MechE_ wrote:
Good work PDT! (Especially Mark for this blog post!)

+1

Great blog post Mark!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:


Sorry to be the gloomy Gus on this one.

It's OK, wake us up when you've got something else to say apart from "My expectations were failed. Again." ;-)

Dark Archive

This is looking like a great fun class.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Rynjin wrote:


Sorry to be the gloomy Gus on this one.

It's OK, wake us up when you've got something else to say apart from "My expectations were failed. Again." ;-)

The fact that I can Fuse Styles and Flurry now is pretty neat I guess.

I guess I really shouldn't have gotten my hopes up for any real changes. That's my fault.

The original designer is gone (and presumably finished the class before he left) and didn't listen to feedback on the class anyway.

Kind of unreasonable of me to hope another designer had stepped in and made any real changes.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

"When Captain Andoran throws her mighty shield...."


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Rynjin wrote:

Still not seeing why I should ever play one. Here's hoping the final version in the book does a better job of selling it.

What's been previewed here is a capstone (who cares? You're never going to use it), a name change for an ability that was neat, but very limited per day to the point that you'd almost never use its "upgrades" to grab multiple Feats (and no mention of that being changed), Knockout Blow coming in earlier (which is neat, but doesn't make the class).

Given that it was one of the bigger gripes, and sees no mention, it looks like the Brawler still essentially has "Bonus Feat, except without even the flexibility to pick one you want" as his 16th level ability (which essentially IS the capstone of most campaigns).

And it looks like the Brawler (sans archetype) may still be too dumb to figure out how to hit people with the heavy steel object attached to his arm (because of the baffling "Hey uh you're proficient in shields but not as weapons because uh").

I'm more excited over the fact that I can now multiclass it with MoMS than I am about the class itself.

Sorry to be the gloomy Gus on this one.

No apology necessary. Every group has its Eeyore ;)


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Looking forward to the Iconic for this!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I predict PFS swamped with Captain Andoran variants...


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Okay I admit I was kinda meh on the Brawler...but this blog post sold it to me.


The brawler was "ok", I certainly would play one of those without problem.

On the other hand, I really hope the number of skill was not nerfed to 2+int per level as some people suggested back then, that would be awful.


John Kretzer wrote:
Okay I admit I was kinda meh on the Brawler...but this blog post sold it to me.

Ditto.

I think I may have found my new favourite class!


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nate Z wrote:
"When Captain Andoran throws her meat shield...."

"A Hellknight get's an angry Halfling to the face."

Shadow Lodge

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zergtitan wrote:
Nate Z wrote:
"When Captain Andoran throws her meat shield...."
"A Hellknight get's an angry Halfling to the face."

Now I want to see a team consisting of a Large-Sized Brawler who throws Tiny-Sized Brawlers into peoples squares. Probably would be Potion-Intensive though.


I'm glad it got better. Could still be better. Still gonna play the crap out of it. Can't wait.


Count me among those who were kind of "meh" about the Brawler class. However, after this, I'm actually kind of excited to get my hands on the class. I wonder if that's actually because the class is awesome, or Mark's ability to make something sound amazing.


EvilPaladin wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Nate Z wrote:
"When Captain Andoran throws her meat shield...."
"A Hellknight get's an angry Halfling to the face."
Now I want to see a team consisting of a Large-Sized Brawler who throws Tiny-Sized Brawlers into peoples squares. Probably would be Potion-Intensive though.

or have the large sized brawler be of a monstrous race that is large sized

Paizo Employee Designer

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Rynjin wrote:
And it looks like the Brawler (sans archetype) may still be too dumb to figure out how to hit people with the heavy steel object attached to his arm (because of the baffling "Hey uh you're proficient in shields but not as weapons because uh").

As the blog says, you not only can use the close group, you can be really badass with them!

Scarab Sages

I'm so happy about the close weapon group scaling damage. deliriously happy.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
And it looks like the Brawler (sans archetype) may still be too dumb to figure out how to hit people with the heavy steel object attached to his arm (because of the baffling "Hey uh you're proficient in shields but not as weapons because uh").
As the blog says, you not only can use the close group, you can be really badass with them!

Right, but I typed that backwards. I'm talking about how he's (as far as 2nd playtest goes) proficient in Close weapons (including shields), but he's not proficient in shields.

Which just evokes the image of "Durrrrr, I'ma hit it with this round thingy uhhhh whatsit do again boss?".

BUT

Quote:
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)

I missed this the first run through. That's actually pretty rad. Finally free of the shackles of the Amulet of Mighty Fists, Pseudo-Monk Man can thwack people with Brass Knuckles FOR JUSTICE.

Here's hoping I don't get banned for mentioning Brass Knuckles again.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:
Nate Z wrote:
"When Captain Andoran throws her meat shield...."
"A Hellknight get's an angry Halfling to the face."

You tricked me into thinking I had made a typo. Well played, sir.


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Ohh I like this. I have an idea....

Also...we have an awesome blog post and it still manages to get doomsayers showing up...seems Paizo can't win.

Scarab Sages

Did the Knowledge skills get changed at all? I still think knowledge (history) was a super weird choice and they didn't get (local)


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I do wonder if any effort was made to fix Melee Class Problems for the Brawler. I noted those when I ran my tests for it, and it suffered similarly to Monk/Fighter when dealing with them. Magus, Inquisitor, and the more melee-focused Alchemists all found solutions, I'm sure the Brawler's in-your-face, brutal combat style can fit some.


I was not expecting the brawler this week. This was one of the classes I was looking forward to the most and it looks like came together nicely out of the playtest.

The three archetypes listed sound pretty fun too. The Exemplar looks like it could make a really fun support/martial character, especially if there are going to be new team work feats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I so want a brawler for Skull and Shackles.


I like it! The Shield Champion archetype looks very fun!


Quote:
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.

Sign me up for this


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minoritarian wrote:
Did the Knowledge skills get changed at all? I still think knowledge (history) was a super weird choice and they didn't get (local)

Chuck Norris makes history. With his fists. Every day.

Doesn't get local, because he's the only thing standing in 100,000 miles.


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Blackvial wrote:
Quote:
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.
Sign me up for this

Assuming you can beat that CMD 66.


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Rynjin wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Quote:
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.
Sign me up for this
Assuming you can beat that CMD 66.

wow you are such a downer

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

You know... with the ability for scaling close weapons group damage... *cough* brass knuckles *cough*

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