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Firstly I would like to thank Paizo and its development team for integrating us so substantially into the design process. There are many things in the playtest that strike my fancy and I am looking forward to experimenting with a lot of it. That said, I wish to make a strong appeal to the developers to reconsider the current design on the Brawler class.
In my opinion some of the strongest design decisions that have emerged from Pathfinder are shown in classes such as the alchemist, rogue, barbarian and similar classes who possess abilities along the lines of discoveries, rogue talents and rage powers. Such class abilities go a long way in personalizing a class for a given character; and the design team does a sterling job of ensuring that all manner of strong class tropes are supported through these abilities. There is an additional benefit to such a design path: it is very easy for developers to add additional discoveries, talents and powers in supplements such as Player Companions. (In contrast, classes such as paladin, monk or fighter generally have to rely on feats or archetypes for new content, generally few and far between.)
Compare now such a diverse and personal class design with the brawler: the brawler is comparatively rigid with little flexibility for one brawler to distinguish herself from another.
I really enjoy the concept of Martial Maneuvers, it is exciting and filled with possibilities - easily the signature ability by which brawlers will come to be known by. A large portion of the remainder of class abilities can, I think, be encapsulated in player-chosen "brawling skills" (akin to discoveries, rogue talents and rage powers). See below a sample of how such a class could feel:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: unchanged
Martial Maneuvers (Ex): unchanged
Unarmed Strike: unchanged
Brawler Skills: detailed below
Maneuver Training: unchanged
Brawler's Flurry: At 4th level a brawler gains an additional move action in combat. She may use this move action to move at half her speed, or otherwise use it as a normal move action. At 8th level a brawler gains an additional standard action in combat. She may use this standard action to attack, total defense, use combat feats, or use any of her brawler class abilities. At 12th level a brawler gains an additional move action, and at 16th level a brawler gains an additional standard action, all prior restrictions apply. The move and standard actions gained cannot be combined into full-round actions.
Brawler Strike (Su): unchanged
Awesome Blow (Ex): unchanged
Brawler Skills: Starting at 2nd level, a brawler gains one brawler skill. She gains an additional brawler skill for every 2 levels of brawler attained after 2nd level. Except where indicated, a brawler cannot select an individual skill more than once. Brawling skills marked with an asterisk cannot be used in rounds where the brawler makes use of her brawler's flurry class ability.
Brawling dodger: A brawler with this skill gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC and CMD when she wears light armor, or +2 when she wear no armor. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels of brawler she possesses. A brawler may pick this skill a second time, doing so increases the bonus by +1 for every 3 levels instead of every 5 levels. A brawler must be at least 6th level before picking this skill a second time.
Combat training: A brawler may chose a combat feat instead of a brawling skill, she must meet the prerequisites of that combat feat. A brawler may pick this skill any number of times. When chosing combat training, a brawler may change any feats gained previously with combat training; she must still meet all the prerequisites of feats chosen.
Fast: A brawler with this skill gains a +10 bonus to her speed. A brawler may pick this skill once for every 4 brawler levels she possesses.
Flurry* (Ex): A brawler with this skill may, as a full-round action, perform a flurry. When doing so a brawler is treated as having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat when attacking with unarmed strikes or weapons with the “monk” special feature. She does not need to use two different weapons to use this ability. A brawler applies her full Strength bonus to her damage rolls for all successful attacks made with brawler’s flurry, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A brawler may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of brawler’s flurry. A brawler with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of brawler’s flurry, nor can she make natural attacks in addition to her brawler’s flurry attacks. A brawler may pick this skill a second time, doing so grants her the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat at 8th level, and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat at 15th level. She must be at least 8th level before selecting this skill a second time.
Knockout (Su): A brawler with this skill can unleash a devastating attack that can instantly knock a target unconscious. She must announce this intent before making her attack roll. If the brawler strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the target must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the brawler’s level + the higher of the brawler’s Strength or Dexterity modifier) or fall unconscious for 1d6 rounds. Using this ability more than once on a given day reduces the saving throw DC by 5 for each time previously used; once the DC is less than 1, the ability can no longer be used that day. Creatures immune to critical hits or nonlethal damage are immune to this ability. The DC for this ability resets once per day after the brawler is fully rested.
Painful Punches (Ex): A brawler with this skill may add +5 to the damage she deals with unarmed strikes, instead of bonus damage gained from Strength or Dexterity. A brawler must be at least 4th level before selecting this skill.
Professional: A brawler with this skill considers her brawler level as her fighter level for the purpose of qualifying for combat feats.
Stun Specialist: A brawler with this skill gains the Stunning Fist feat. She considers her brawler level as her monk level for the purpose of determining how many times a day she can use the Stunning Fist feat.
Style Savant: A brawler with this skill may chose a single style feat, or feat that has a style feat as a prerequisite, without meeting that feats requirements.
@Chaotic Fighter: there is a feat Style Master that can more-or-less do that (Ultimate Combat). That said, yes of course there is room for a Fuse Style-like brawler skill - the example isn't intended to be comprehensive, just showcase how it could work. If the Paizo development team were to pickup this idea, I fully expect them to add (a lot) of additional options.
And down the line, future Player Companions and other supplements would be able to easily add additional brawler skills. This, and the ability to personalize the class for a character, are the key driving forces in the suggestion.
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
I can't wait for the coders who know Hero Labs to get the beta-test classes up. It'd make it much easier for me to run a trial combat of six NPCs (using the classes here for the run).
Still, I suppose I could take the Faceless Stalkers my group will be facing in the Saturday game and give them some levels in these classes. Probably a better idea than the Advanced Creature template... let's see. probably make a couple of them Brawlers and the other two Stalkers. That way they'll have a minor chance of getting a hit or two in before dying horribly.
I'm pleased with the Brawler as more Fighter than Monk without having the Brawler Archetype. On that note, it should probably be names something else so as not to be confused with the Fighter Archetype of the same name, so instead call the class "Scrapper" or something. Just starting to review, and quickly noticed the error in Bonus Feats which is noted in the Brawler Forum Sticky.
While we're on the subject of Unarmed Combat, I just don't understand why Unarmed Strike does more damage than with Fist Weapons list Spiked Gauntlets, Brass Knuckles and Cestus. I would also think that a Feat like "Belier's Bite" should transcend to those Light Fist Weapons.
Unarmed strike — 1d2 1d3 ×2
Brass knuckles 1 gp 1d2 1d3 ×2
Cestus 5 gp 1d3 1d4 19–20/×2
Gauntlet 2 gp 1d2 1d3 ×2
Punching dagger 2 gp 1d3 1d4 ×3
Spiked gauntlet 5 gp 1d3 1d4 ×2
If I'm playing a Monk or a Brawler, who does a base 1d6 damage with Unarmed Strike, shouldn't my Armed Strike damage be equivalently greater if I'm using a Fist Weapon? I would also think that anyone using say Brass Knuckles would do more damage than if they used their bare fists - not the same amount of damage.
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|