Unarmed Finesse Barbarian


For a quickie game a friend of mine is doing, I came up with the idea of doing a Urban Barbarian/Brutal Pugilist build. He's a bar tough that,s occasionally the bouncer or the bounced :)
He's 3rd level now, and after 5th level he has all of the benefits of both archetypes, and maybe he could benefit from some levels of rogue.

Brandon McCullough
STR 16
DEX 18
CON 18
INT 10
WIS 10

BAB +3
Hp 46
Feats: Weapon finesse, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved grapple
Rage powers: Brawler

The idea is that he controlled rages, adding to dex, increasing his to hit and AC; Then he grapples, punching his opponent or other unarmed attacks, quickly incapacitating them, then moving on.
He will take greater brawler at 4th rage power, and Dragon Style for 5th level feat.

Where to go from here?

Why finesse?

Why finesse AND 16 strength?

Because of the boost to dex giving bonus to hit and AC.
Still wanted str bonus for damage because we won't be getting any magic items.

having an OK-highish STR can be a decent idea for finesse builds for the damage (and your CMD, and encumbrance, and for STR drain), but there's other problems here:

you are spending a feat on finesse, but that doesn't help you for grapple
(only trip/disarm/sunder or other finesse weapon-deliverable maneuvers - knockback would work IMHO but not normal bullrush)
for which you would need dextrous maneuvers to apply DEX to CMB...
and then even when you are doing that you face the fact that once you have the grappled condition yourself, there is a DEX penalty, cancelling out your DEX>STR advantage. grapple just isn't DEX-build friendly.

advice: switch STR and DEX (you can choose to buff either w/ Urban Rage),
you will have a decently nice DEX for AC/CMD, ranged attacks, init, and AoOs (if you get Combat Reflexes),
you get to save yourself several feats which can be put to better use elsewhere,
and your primary attack stat isn't being penalized when you use a major tactic of yours.
obvious feat choices: power attack, cleave, the STR->Intimidate feat, style feats (with IUS pre-req that you have).

BTW, if you are going urban barbarian and giving up the rage morale bonus to will saves, a better WIS couldn't hurt.
also, taking a level of Rogue seems like it will be most noticeable early on,
particularly in the skill department with lots of ranks and lots of class skills to apply the +3 bonus to.
or consider a level of monk: free IUS, free imp grapple (if you want), free pseudo-2wf (flurry), better damage dice, (should stack with Brawler IMHO), good saves.
with the feats you save, get weapon focus (or two) and the BAB loss is more than cancelled out (when flurrying and for applicable CMBs you are ahead, for everything else you're equal).

Brutal pugilist halves then removes at 5th leval penalties for being grappled.
Also the character already is 3rd, so there's no goin back to take monk levels.

oh, forgot that aspect (i love Pugilist's AoO when anybody tries to grapple/grab you),
that helps but you still need to spend an extra feat on dextrous maneuvers,
it's just way too much pain for the gain, for... +1 AC/AoO/Init?
If you consider the two extra Feats you need to make it work, those Feats can go into Improved Init, Dodge, the +1 AoO Rage Power, etc... while gettting better damage, especially 2 Handed damage (and still benefitting from the reduction in DEX penalty while Grappling).
Personally I wouldn't bother.
But if you can swallow the pill, go for it I guess (my recommendations for other Feats, multiclasses still stand)
Yeah, normal Monk isn't realistic if you didn't start out in it, but you can use Martial Artist (any alignment)...
Just something to consider vs. a Rogue dip, doing both is probably going overboard multiclassing though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Why no magic items?

Without magic items is pretty hard to beat a full plate

No magic items due to the setting.
It's very low magic, and the spells that do work have to work in a subtle way, or they fail.
Enchanted items that could be made would be very weak, and very expensive.

Urban Barbarians are only proficient with light armor.

I realized the example Feats I gave which could provide benefits equivalent to DEX (there is +1 difference in modifier) are pretty much the minimum you could accomplish. Dodge equals the +1 AC that the higher DEX gives, but take Rolling Dodge or several other options and that scales with level. If magic is few and far between something like that will make a huge difference. As will having a great stat score for your to-hit and feats/powers granting attack bonus... Which you lose out on to pay for finesse/agile maneuvers. If you like Urban Archetype's Crowd Control and no AC penalty and being able to boost DEX, that's still compatable with a non-Finesse build, you can switch Rage to boost DEX when you really want a big AC boost (on top of AC boosts you purchased with the 2 Feats needed for Finesse/AgileManeuvers which apply all the time) and apply it to boost STR when you want maximum damage effectiveness. Anyways, that's my advice :-)

Agile maneuvers was a great suggestion. I did not know that was an option. I will look into rolling dodge as well.

It was a funky idea, that so far is turning out to be pretty fun.
If it was a reagular game, I'd've probably gone with flowing monk archtype, but monks weren't available as a class option, unless I was willing to create an order for them. So, I came up with this instead.
The full bab and options for maximizing grapple, actually will make him better overall, I think, at grappling.
When he gets iteritive attacks, can he do multiple grapple checks per round? Will that work with the two weapon fighting he gets while raging from greater brawler?
Will he be able to graple then pin immediately if he's sucessful on the first attempt?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Eldritch Heritage for Arcane Bond, choose an AoMF, make it Agile.

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