Brute Vigilante Fix


Homebrew and House Rules


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Well, the Brute seems rather lackluster on multiple views.
It gets a size bonus to it, yes, but -2 AC (plus normal size penalties).

It can only hold this form for 3 times/day, each time no more than 2 hours...

So, I've decided it needs a boost. Heck, even with my boost it might still be weak, but playtesting will help decide.

Changes:
No limitations to amount of times one can turn to and be Brute, it already has weakness that it fatigues same amount of time after (plus can't be immune unlike Barbarian).
No altering weapons/armor proficiencies. This changes lets you stack more archetypes with it.
Bonus feat- Improved Unarmed Strike (they originally gave the feat in the Weapon/armor profiencies).
Temp hp x2 Class level while in Brute (these refresh if come back to Brute after 10 minutes from reverting).
NA Boost: At 1st and every 5 thereafter,(1st, 5, 10, 15, 20) gains +1 to base NA.
Saves: Good Reflex/Fort, it supposed to have bad will like Unchained Monks. So let us keep that for Prereqs like Prcs.
Indomitable Mind: class feature that grant +1 Will saves every 1/4th level starting at 4th (so 4, 8, 12, 16, 20) resulting in +5 at 20. This represents he gets better at controlling himself and his Mind as time goes by. In total, along with his poor Will save, this adds up to +11, a almost Good Will save. So his base saves look like this:
+12 Fort/+12 Reflex/+6 (+5)=11 Will saves.
So it is closer to Chained Monk (3/4th BAB, almost full saves, full BAB when attacking, etc).

Also new Brute Talents:
Wounded Ferocity: While a Brute, in Vigilante form, is at 1/2 or lower health, they gain +1 hit/damage with all attacks and their DR 1 higher (if they have no DR, they gain DR 1/-). This increases at every 4 levels by +1 more hit/damage and their DR increases by 1 more (If they had multiple types of DR, it increases all of them by 1). Only Brute may take this talent.

Control yourself: When a Brute succeeds on a Will save to not attack allies or innocence bystanders, instead of reverting you may stay in Brute form. You don't need to roll a Will save to control yourself for 5 minutes (after that time you must roll as normal). Only Brute may take this talent.

Strikeback: A brute who has this talent can attack back any who attack him as AoO (attack of opportunity) limited by number of AoO you are limited to (Combat reflexes expanse this as normal). Only Brute may take this talent.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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I was thinking that instead of a natural armor boost (a little counterintuitive given all the AC penalties it already takes), maybe instead look at a non-AC defense, like giving the Brute the Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerable feature when transformed for DR/- equal to 1/2 class level (this is also thematically in line with the Hulk, who the archetype is obviously inspired by, and who frequently gets stabbed/shot/cut and then is more or less completely unaffected).

100% agreed on the temp hp.

Rather than giving him an extra class feature to fix his Will save, why not just give him back the good Will save? Then he'd have two good saves just like the parent class and his chance to flip out would never fall too high or too low below or above 50% without dumping stats or investing resources into shoring it up.

A Talent that allows him to regenerate his temp hp in combat that can be selected around the 10th level range would also be cool and thematically appropriate, particularly if you skip the natural armor bonus and focus more one the idea that the Brute gets hit a lot, but shrugs it off and keeps going.


One of my sons would like to play a Brute so I've tried to come up with some simple fixes that make it playable (we may modify things a bit later on).

i) No -2 penalty to AC etc when in brute form (just the standard size penalties) - it also eliminates the skill penalty (which is particularly stupid for intimidate)
ii) Access to stalker or avenger vigilante traits where thematically appropriate
iii) Reduce the will save to resist transforming etc. to 10 + 1/2 level. This might be too low but there will always be at least 5% chance of transforming ...
iv) Maximum hit points per die in brute form (in the form of temporary HP)

We're also considering NA or DR but will start with these fixes to begin with.


Lucid Regression (Ex): The Brute has trained himself to better control his Brute Form after heated battles. The Will Save DC to avoid attacking allies and bystanders, after all enemies are gone, is reduced by 10. At 18th level, the Brute doesn't need to make a save anymore to avoid attacking others. A brute must be at least 10th level to select this talent.

Raging Brute Powers (Ex or Su): The Brute can tap into his inner rage to gain extraordinary powers. He may select a Rage Power from the Barbarian class list, using his Vigilante level as his Barbarian level. He must have the required level to select certain powers.

Brutish Strength (Ex): The Brute has learned to bulk up his form and tapping into his inner rage. Upon assuming his vigilante identity, the Brute gains gains a +4 enhancement bonus to his Strength and Constitution. A brute must be at least 12th level to select this talent.

Monstrous Wielder (Ex): The Brute uses his immense strength to lift and wield objects that no person would be able to. He can wield weapons up to one size larger without penalty from wielding inappropriate sized weapons. The weapon category (light, one-handed, two-handed) is not affected. For instance, the Brute using a Huge Greatclub would be using it a two-handed weapon. A brute must have the Sizing Equipment talent before selecting this talent.

I've suggested these a while back ;)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

The brute is honestly not as bad as most people think. What makes it "meh" is that:

1) The ability is really, REALLY poorly written with several redundant sentences, poor organization of perks, and a tone that makes the ability sound more like a giant drawback than a class feature.

2) The entire archetype is an antipattern in game design. The archetype forces you to divide your character's combat and non-combat activities between your vigilante and social identities since seeing combat risks your social identity involuntarily transforming in a way that could prove fatal. The big problem is that whenever a fight ends, you're forced to transform back to your social identity. So you end up going through the annoying process of having your allies change you back, wait 5 minutes to rest, and then transform again. It just makes the character a huge chore to play if you're in a dungeon.

3) The brute is super squishy. They take a hefty penalty to AC, can't wear armor, and have a d8 hit die. Your suggestions do address this but I'd rather have a Con bonus since the temp hit points don't do anything for me after I take damage.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Cyrad wrote:

The brute is honestly not as bad as most people think. What makes it "meh" is that:

1) The ability is really, REALLY poorly written with several redundant sentences, poor organization of perks, and a tone that makes the ability sound more like a giant drawback than a class feature.

2) The entire archetype is an antipattern in game design. The archetype forces you to divide your character's combat and non-combat activities between your vigilante and social identities since seeing combat risks your social identity involuntarily transforming in a way that could prove fatal. The big problem is that whenever a fight ends, you're forced to transform back to your social identity. So you end up going through the annoying process of having your allies change you back, wait 5 minutes to rest, and then transform again. It just makes the character a huge chore to play if you're in a dungeon.

3) The brute is super squishy. They take a hefty penalty to AC, can't wear armor, and have a d8 hit die. Your suggestions do address this but I'd rather have a Con bonus since the temp hit points don't do anything for me after I take damage.

I agree with basically everything you said except your first sentence, because I do think the Brute is terrible.

Your point number 2 is absolutely spot on though. The Brute takes damn near everything the Vigilante class does well and ruins it. If the Vigilante were an example of how to build a great class (which it arguably is), the Brute is like a collection of "what not to do"s.

The Brute's issues include-
1) It's squishy. Possibly the squishiest option the game offers outside of wizards built at the absolute lowest optimization levels. It's so squishy that you need a 16 Dex just to break a 10 AC at 1st level.

2) It's Will save is terrible, and while this is often bad on thugs as it makes them vulnerable to being used against the party, it's doubly bad on the Brute because it doesn't take an enemy magically controlling him to make him a threat to the group, he'll go after his allies all on his own. This forces you to pump WIS and spend feats shoring up your Will just to function more often than not.

3) Note how issues 1 and 2 above mandate shoring up DEX and WIS? This means that in a lot of games your "Brute" might not even be able to afford a 16 STR! The Brute is arguably more MAD than the core Monk, which is kind of crazy.

You've got a glass cannon archetype that potentially hoses the party over and struggles mechanically to meet its own thematics, and it's arguably worse in pretty much every way than the class it's built off of.

To your suggestion in point 3- it's not a huge deal either way, but I prefer the temp HP solution to a CON bonus so you don't end up with issues where leaving Brute form can instantly kill you. I think it also helps instill some longevity in the character since some of your wounds will just "disappear" when you return to your social identity. This could also help compensate for the fact that your social identity is at far greater risk of exposure than the average vigilante's.


Agreed. Temp hp is better. No messy explosion after shifting.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:
Piles of good s+!~.

A lot of awesome ideas, really dig the updates man, natural armor is something that makes so much sense I kind of wonder why I didn't think of it lol. The big update I've been doing is retooling Heavy Punches which feels like it's supposed to be the bread and butter pick for a hulk smash sort of build but doesn't really give you everything you need like iterative attacks. Will explain more after the update

Heavy Punches (Ex): The brute eschews civilized combat and prefers to wade into a fight with his fists swinging. While in his vigilante identity, the brute’s unarmed strikes deal damage as if he were a monk of his size and vigilante level and gains flurry of blows as a monk of his level. A Brute may use Awesome Blow and Total Destruction as part of this flurry. If he has levels in other classes that provide monk advancement for unarmed strike damage, his vigilante level stacks with those levels whenever he is in his vigilante identity.

The flurry gives the brute the option of iterative attacks and with the Awesome Blow/Total Destruction integration encourages Brute players to dive in and just chuck s&%& everywhere. Now you can dive into a fight and just awesome blow people across the room helter skelter while chucking the wagon, the mule, and it's driver at the castle wall.

Ohh also for the Will bump I'd argue giving it the barbarian's raging Will bump and maybe give it a talent that's like a boosted version of the barb's superstitious rage power. He's already unable to distinguish friend from foe well, now he's got the ability to also shrug spells.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Cyrad wrote:

The brute is honestly not as bad as most people think. What makes it "meh" is that:

1) The ability is really, REALLY poorly written with several redundant sentences, poor organization of perks, and a tone that makes the ability sound more like a giant drawback than a class feature.

2) The entire archetype is an antipattern in game design. The archetype forces you to divide your character's combat and non-combat activities between your vigilante and social identities since seeing combat risks your social identity involuntarily transforming in a way that could prove fatal. The big problem is that whenever a fight ends, you're forced to transform back to your social identity. So you end up going through the annoying process of having your allies change you back, wait 5 minutes to rest, and then transform again. It just makes the character a huge chore to play if you're in a dungeon.

3) The brute is super squishy. They take a hefty penalty to AC, can't wear armor, and have a d8 hit die. Your suggestions do address this but I'd rather have a Con bonus since the temp hit points don't do anything for me after I take damage.

Agreed. The other option is they could just get d10 hp. I mean, if you are already buried in penalties and hamstrings than the upside on a design level is you can put way more buffs into the kit. Sure your the broad side of the barn in terms of targets but you've got a pile of hp and can throw buses at them. The trick is to make the options enticing enough that the risks seem worth it which seems to be the biggest issue.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Other Brute fix

While in his vigilante identity a Brute receives the Will save bonuses of a barbarian of his level including Indomitable Will at 14th. These bonuses do not apply to Will saves to return to his social identity.

Mental Trigger: The wild and uncontrollable power of your vigilante identity protects you from mental control while putting everyone else around you at risk. Whenever a Brute vigilante fails a will save against a mind effecting effect while in his social identity he can choose to transform into his vigilante identity. This transformation causes the vigilante to treat his roll as a success and follows all the rules for transformations as normal. This talent can only be taken by Brute vigilantes.


I'm looking at trying to fix both the Brute and the Wildsoul, and I'm thinking that perhaps it's a function of embracing the implied Barbarian in the archetype.

Since the archetype is getting all of the Rage penalties, I'm thinking that it simply gets Rage while in Vigilante form. This addresses both the Strength issue (a 14 is at least tolerable in this paradigm) and some of the squishiness issue.

In addition, the sizing penalties would be removed; this is great fluff, but the bottom line penalties are way too harsh. So, functionally, the Sizing Equipment vigilante talent is given for free). In exchange, the increased base attack bonus is NOT conferred, nor is the additional melee attack/damage bonuses.

From here, the following vigilante talents are added:

*Warrior Instincts: Gets full BAB bonus. No prerequisites
*Brute Force: As Greater Rage, available at 11th level
*Invulnerability: Gets DR/- equal to half of the vigilante level. No prerequisites

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