Friday, February 27, 2015

Brawler - A Monk Replacement for AD&D2e

My group has slowly reshaped its home campaign. We started with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but slowly adopted bits and pieces from everything including class structure from AD&D2e. Some classes have been removed entirely for thematic reasons (No one in our group was big on Druids as treehuggers), and some have been replaced.  I always liked the idea of a monk, but it just doesn't fit the setting we play and has always kind of stuck out as a sore thumb in the D&D milieu. Enter the Brawler.

I picture the brawler as one part greco-roman wrestler, one part just skinhead roughneck looking for a bar fight. I'm imagining table legs flying and chairs breaking. In practice, it's worked out pretty well for our group, but we also aren't the sort that really worries about balance so your mileage my vary.

The following does reference a couple house rules as well. We are playing with 2e Weapon Proficiencies, but when classes are restricted by weapons we've simply categorized weapons as "simple" "martial" etc. Individual weapon proficiencies are still purchased, but the prior categories make it easier to manage. We're also using LotFP specialist style skill points, so you may need to tweak the class to your own setup.

Without further ado:

Ability Requirement: Strength 14, Dexterity 14
Allowed Races: Dwarf, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Human

Where thieves are often thought of as nimble professionals, brawlers are best characterized as roughnecks, knee-breakers, and thugs. While lacking the pure martial prowess of the warrior classes, Brawlers compensate through dirty-fighting and a raw talent for destruction. Brawlers can be of any alignment, and gain the following special abilities:

The Sweet Science: Nothing makes a brawler happier than sweet sweet pugilism. Their initial unarmed attacks do 1d4 damage, but as they increase in level their capacity for mayhem rises dramatically. They do increased damage per the chart below.

Bonus Attacks: Unlike other members of the Rogue group, Brawlers gain bonus attacks per round similar to the way in which Warrior classes do. These bonus attacks only apply when the character is using Simple Weapons, Improvised Weapons, or unarmed attacks, and only when the character has not moved that round.

Improvised Weapons: Street fights and pub brawls have left the brawler adept at making use of whatever is at hand. Brawlers can make better use of any improvised weapon that is reasonably similar to a weapon they actually have proficiency in without penalty. Thus, a Brawler who has proficiency in Clubs can make easy use of a table leg. A brawler with the dagger proficiency is deadly with a broken bottle in hand. This ability does not give brawlers access to weapons they couldn’t otherwise make use of, such as fighting with a woodsman’s axe without the Battleaxe proficiency.

Bob and Weave: When wearing light or no armor, Brawlers gain double their normal dexterity bonus to AC.

Rogue Skills: Like other members of the Rogue Group, Brawlers gain some points to spend on skills. Unlike some other Rogues though, their combat focus leaves them with a more narrow skillset. They may only spend points in the following skills: Architecture, Climbing, Search, Stealth

At level 3: Brawlers become an even greater threat through unarmed combat. When they attempt any wrestling / grappling maneuver, they double their Strength modifier when calculating grappling rolls.

At Level 5: Brawlers maximize the destructive potential of their surroundings. If they have not moved this round and are armed with a blunt improvised weapon (table leg, beer bottle, chair, whatever), they may opt to give up their normal Attacks Per Round and instead make a single Collateral Damage attack, by breaking said object over the target’s head or back. This attack roll is made as normal, and can even be a ranged attack at whatever range the object can be thrown.

If the attack is successful, the damage is resolved as normal for that class of improvised weapon but has an additional chance to stun the target on a d6 roll of 1-3, noting the difference in HD or level between the Brawler and his target. For every Level the Brawler has above the target’s HD, the chance of success increases by +1. If the target is a higher level than the Brawler, each level or HD of difference reduces the chance by -1 This cannot reduce the chance below 1, or raise it above 6.

Bob decides to break a chair over the head of the party’s Paladin. Bob is level 5 and the Paladin is only level 3, for a 2 level difference. He has a 1-5 chance of stunning the Paladin.

If successful, the target is stunned for the current round, and d3 rounds thereafter. Regardless of success, the item used is completely destroyed in the process. Undead creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits or Backstabs are also immune to Collateral Damage.

At Level 9: the Brawler gains the ability to Sucker Punch their opponents. In order to qualify for a Sucker Punch, their opponent must be either unaware of the Brawler’s presence, unaware that they are about to be attacked, or distracted by another enemy in combat (not currently engaged with or targeting the brawler). If they have not moved that round, they may opt to give up their normal Attacks Per Round and instead deliver a single Sucker Punch to their opponent. The attack is rolled as normal and if successful delivers it normal damage, but has an additional chance to instantly knock their opponent unconscious on a d6 roll of 1. As with Collateral Damage, compare the Brawler’s HD. For every Level the Brawler has above the target’s HD, the chance of success increases by +1. This chance cannot be modified to less than 1.

If successful, the target is immediately knocked unconscious and will remain so for d3 hours. Undead creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits or Backstabs are also immune to Sucker Punch.

Favored Weapons: Simple

LevelXPHit Dice

Save vs.


(d8)DeathWandChangeBreathSpellPointsDamage/ Round

It's rough, but I've been enjoying the thematics of it. The abilities are possibly a little overpowered, but entertaining and thematic. The unarmed attack damage gets a little ridiculous, but is actually less ridiculous than the monk class that it was based on.

If anyone tries it, let me know. Hopefully it will inspire someone to something.

Until next time,

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