|Rhapsodic College Dropout|
First off, the character I had been attributing my PFS GM credit to had been a Martial Artist Monk 1/ Unarmed Fighter 4. I built this character to solely be a "professional wrestler who traverses the world as a member of the Grand Lodge and the Pathfinder Society in order to remind children to say their prayers and eat their vitamins".
So when the brawler came out in the ACG playtest, I was a little crushed for my efforts since, in essence, a brand new base class had been made for the very thing I had multi-classed myself into.
However, after playtesting the new brawler class (after making use of the new Ultimate Campaign retraining rules), I am pleased. Over the course of the adventure, I utilized the super-versatile class ability that is Martial Maneuvers in order to give myself Dragon Style in order to charge over difficult terrain to crush an enemy with added unarmed strike damage and to give myself Blind-Fight so I could get other chances while fighting in darkness.
Furthermore, the addition of Maneuver Training augmented my grappling ability, and for a pit-fighter/wrestler character, that is more than welcome.
While I do miss having Stunning Fist from the onset, Martial Training makes up for the loss since I was able to take Weapon Specialization (Unarmed Strike), and I intend on taking the "greater" versions when available. The absence of Stunning Fist is also going to hurt when I go down the Jawbreaker/Bonebreaker/Neckbreaker line (the whole reason I made this specific character). However, knowing that Martial Maneuvers is only going to escalate, and I can take them all at once, and possess them temporarily is pretty awesome.
All in all, I like the brawler. It has the "crunch" needed to play, as well as the flavor RPG gamers love to have. Martial Maneuvers, while limited, is a great ability. To be able to access combat feats on the FLY is amazing.
While I have criticisms, the only one that I find really worth mentioning is the matter of combat maneuvers that require Combat Expertise. In the ACG update, swashbucklers were given the chance to use Charisma as their stat for Combat Expertise, and I believe that Brawlers should be afforded this opportunity (with a different ability score, be it STR or DEX). As Brawlers, we should have options for the full range of combat maneuvers, and not just the Power Attack based ones (which STR based brawlers would be limited to). I REALLY wanted to trip my opponents and come "off the top rope" with an unarmed elbow strike, or I really wanted to re-position my opponent closer to an open iron maiden within the environment then bull-rush them in and then start chanting loudly "ECW!! ECW!! ECW!!".
These are my two coppers anyhow. I am playing this character again tomorrow at an all-day gaming event, and I am looking forward to it.
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|