So I'm about to start a Skull and Shackles game with a small group (just me and one other player) that the GM is willing to make Mythic, and provide NPC crewmembers to fill out the missing party roles somewhere down the line. As all of us just got our hands on the ACG, I got really interested in the Brawler, and the other player is really interested in making a Swashbuckler.
My problem is...I have no idea how to build a Brawler. I've played plenty of martial characters, but they've always been switch-hitter Rangers or two-handed weapon fighting Fighters, Paladins, and Barbarians. I'm not really sure what direction to go, especially with the anticipation of Mythic somewhere down the line.
The build constraints are: 25 point buy, 2 traits (one of which must be campaign), open to any Paizo stuff. The GM has requested I avoid too much cheese (like everyone's favorite 2 level MoMS dip), and that I try to avoid any particularly exotic races, so I'm going to try to keep it straight brawler with core races.
My first decision I need to make is on race. Human, half-orc, and fighter all appeal to me. Half-elf is also viable, but I'm personally less interested in a half-elf pirate. Those three races have some pro's and con's I'm trying to weigh out.
Human pros: Bonus feat, +2 stat, can take either the skill points or Heart of the Sea. Access to Martial Mastery and Critical Versatility feats.
Human cons: Lack of vision enhancements
Dwarf pros: Racial stat mods and Hardy great for survivability, darkvision, Relentless and Saltbeard seem good for the campaign. Access to Steel Soul and Ironhide.
Dwarf cons: Slow without the bonus movement from a monk, no Strength boost
Half-orc pros: +2 stat, darkvision, can drop ferocity for Sacred Tattoo or Gatecrasher (maybe good for Steel-Breaker). Access to Smash and Ironhide, as well as human feats.
Half-orc cons: None I can think of
From there, I need to figure out feat choices. Pummeling Style is really strong and likely a given, especially when combined with stuff like Horn of the Criosphinx and Mythic shenanigans. But...what else?
If human, I can start off with Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Improved Unarmed Strike at level 1, which means I have the prereqs to grab a whole lot of options with Martial Versatility. Dwarf or half-orc would likely just have power attack. But I'm not really sure where to go from there. Do I grab some combat maneuver feats? Do I grab the Weapon Focus/Specialization chain for more damage and accuracy? Do I grab Toughness and the like to boost my survivability?
It's almost embarrassing how confused I am about how to play a brawler. But I've never played any monk-like character ever, so I don't know how they actually play out in combat in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks for any advice!
Just a note, Mythic will give you the ability to move and full attack via Fleet Warrior, which is a really cool thing to think about. Obviously, it depends on when exactly you get mythic (if it happens late then Pummeling Style is really good, if its earlier I might go with Fleet Warrior). I would give decent consideration to Eldritch Heritage, since Mythic Eldritch Heritage effectively gives you the full bloodline -2 (I have no idea if Robes of Arcane Heritage effectively negates this), Power Attack, obviously is a given, Vital Strike is pretty good in a Mythic Campaign thanks to Improved Init granting you an extra standard which you can use after a full attack, and so on. For most unarmed strike classes, I would go with the Titan Rage / Titan Strike / Stonefist Gloves trinity, increases your unarmed strike damage 3 stages, which is pretty lethal when combined with a flurry.
In general, Martial Versatility gives you a huge number of options, so in general I would end up picking more generic feats such as Toughness, Improved Init (which is a pretty good mythic feat), maybe the Weapon Focus / Greater Weapon Focus chain, and maybe the odd combat maneuver feat. General save boosting feats, wouldn't also go amiss if you have a low will save or the like. Grappling might be a decent combat maneuver to spec in, especially if you dual pathed into Guardian (?), iirc that grants the ability to decrease the escape measures creatures have at avoiding Grapple checks. Grappling also opens up Grabbing Style on the fly via Martial Versatility if for whatever reason you wanted to grapple two enemies at the same time.
True, the increased ability to move and still make full attacks that Mythic brings sort of devalues the pounce effect of Pummeling Style. Still, it's kind of a cool visual and fitting for a brawler to punch something really, really hard instead of a bunch of times. Too bad the extra attacks from spending surges wouldn't be mathed into the combined Pummeling pool.
I'm also still not set on a race, though I suppose at a certain point the power spikes of level and Mythic abilities will make the initial choice less and less relevant.
I'd sort of avoided grappling in Pathfinder because of the terrible experiences with it in 3.5, but some of the Pathfinder abilities make it seem interesting. Especially when you add in the Mythic stuff, like Meat Shield and Uncanny Grapple.