Brawler, 2nd Variant (3.5e Class)

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This is a class meant to replace the monk in campaigns that do not want to introduce Asian concepts (such as Ki). This class functions almost identically to the monk, with some abilities changed to represent a focus on physical, not spiritual, achievement.

Making a Brawler[edit]

The brawler is a strong warrior with balanced offense and defense. He will not put out as much damage as most fighters and barbarians, but his AC may match or exceed theirs. He has special abilities for bursts of extraordinary offense and defense. He could take the role of the tank if needed, and could adventure alone, as well.

Abilities: A brawler's attacks all rely on Strength for damage, although dexterity will benefit him if he is unable to close into melee. Constitution is important to any melee combatant, but pairing high dexterity with high wisdom will make the brawler difficult to even hit. Additionally, wisdom represents the brawler's intuitive and trained (but not scientific) understanding of physics and bodies, so it affects several of his signature abilities.

Races: Elves consider brawling unrefined and primitive, and although they admire the dedication and focus the class requires, the elven brawler is a rare sight. Half-elves and half-orcs generally have dispositions too chaotic, though their difficult heritage may drive them to dedicate their lives to something such as this. Dwarves are easily disciplined enough for the class, but most dwarves prefer to fight with good steel in their hands. Humans make up the majority of brawlers, because their lives are short and they like to live aggressively and powerfully. Gnome brawlers are very rare, and halflings are usually too weak, but halfling brawlers are certainly not unknown.

Alignment: Any lawful.

Starting Gold: As fighter.

Starting Age: Moderate.

Table: The Brawler

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Barrage
Attack Bonus
Speed Bonus
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 Barrage, Bonus Feat, Brawl Mastery -2/-2 1d6 +0 +0
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 Bonus Feat, Evasion -1/-1 1d6 +0 +0
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 Iron Mind -0/-0 1d6 +0 +10
4th +3 +4 +4 +4 Focused Blow (Magic), Roll Right (20 ft.) +1/+1 1d8 +0 +10
5th +3 +4 +4 +4 Pure Blood +2/+2 1d8 +1 +10
6th +4 +5 +5 +5 Bonus Feat, Roll Right (30 ft.) +3/+3 1d8 +1 +20
7th +5 +5 +5 +5 Indomitable +4/+4 1d8 +1 +20
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Roll Right (40 ft.) +5/+5/+0 1d10 +1 +20
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Improved Evasion +6/+6/+1 1d10 +1 +30
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +7 Focused Blow (Lawful), Roll Right (50 ft.) +7/+7/+2 1d10 +2 +30
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +7 Diamond Body, Greater Barrage +8/+8/+3 1d10 +2 +30
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Professional Walker, Roll Right (60 ft.) +9/+9/+4 2d6 +2 +40
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Catch Anything +9/+9/+4 2d6 +2 +40
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +9 Roll Right (70 ft.) +10/+10/+5 2d6 +2 +40
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +9 Wrist Control +11/+11/+6/+1 2d6 +3 +50
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Focused Blow (Adamantine), Roll Right (80 ft.) +12/+12/+7/+2 2d8 +3 +50
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Body Language, Timeless Body +12/+12/+7/+2 2d8 +3 +50
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +11 Roll Right (90 ft.) +13/+13/+8/+3 2d8 +3 +60
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +11 False Hits +14/+14/+9/+4 2d8 +3 +60
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +12 Divine Skin, Roll Right (any distance) +15/+15/+10/+5 2d10 +4 +60

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (choose one) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Brawler.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A brawler is proficient with darts and the sling.

A brawler is not proficient with any armor or shields.

When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a brawler loses his AC bonus, as well as his fast movement and barrage abilities.

AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the brawler adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC. In addition, a brawler gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five brawler levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level).

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the brawler is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Barrage (Ex): When unarmored, a brawler may strike with a barrage at the expense of accuracy. When doing so, he may make one extra attack in a round at his highest base attack bonus, but this attack takes a –2 penalty, as does each other attack made that round. The resulting modified base attack bonuses are shown in the Barrage Attack Bonus column on Table: The Brawler. This penalty applies for 1 round, so it also affects attacks of opportunity the brawler might make before his next action. When a brawler reaches 5th level, the penalty lessens to –1, and at 9th level it disappears. A brawler must use a full attack action to strike with a flurry of blows.

When using flurry of blows, a brawler may attack only with unarmed strikes.

When a brawler reaches 11th level, his flurry of blows ability improves. In addition to the standard single extra attack he gets from flurry of blows, he gets a second extra attack at his full base attack bonus.

Brawl Mastery: At 1st level, a brawler gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A brawler’s attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a brawler may even make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a brawler striking unarmed. A brawler may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.

Usually a brawler’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.

A brawler’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

A brawler also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown on Table: The Brawler. The unarmed damage on Table: The Brawler is for Medium brawlers. A Small brawler deals less damage than the amount given there with his unarmed attacks, while a Large brawler deals more damage; see Table: Brawler Unarmed Damage by Size.

Table: Brawler Unarmed Damage by Size
Level Fine Diminutive Tiny Small Medium Large Huge Gargantuan Colossal
1st–3rd 1 1d2 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6 3d6 4d6
4th–7th 1d2 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6 3d6 4d6 6d6
8th–11th 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d8 3d8 4d8 6d8
12th–15th 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d6 3d6 4d6 6d6 8d6
16th–19th 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d6 2d8 3d8 4d8 6d8 8d8
20th 1d8 1d10 2d6 2d8 2d10 4d8 6d8 8d8 12d8

In addition, a brawler’s penalty for using improvised weapons is -2. The penalty for using untrained Simple, Martial, or Exotic weapons remains -4. If a brawler holds onto and uses an improvised weapon continuously for one week, the penalty for using it disappears, but using any othis improvised weapon incurs a -4 penalty until the brawler spends one week without the familiarized weapon.

Bonus Feat: At 1st level, a brawler may select either Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist as a bonus feat. At 2nd level, he may select either Combat Reflexes or Deflect Arrows as a bonus feat. At 6th level, he may select either Improved Disarm or Improved Trip as a bonus feat. A brawler need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level or higher if a brawler makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a brawler is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless brawler does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Fast Movement (Ex): At 3rd level, a brawler gains an enhancement bonus to his speed, as shown on Table: The Brawler. A brawler in armor or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.

Iron Mind (Ex): A brawler of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects from the school of enchantment.

Focused Blow (Su): At 4th level, a brawler’s unarmed attacks are empowered with the brawler's force of will. His unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Focused Blow improves with the character’s brawler level. At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction and bypassing hardness.

Roll Right (Ex): A brawler at 4th level learns to automatically roll when he hits the ground from a fall. At first, this allows him to take damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The brawler's capability to land safely in a roll increases every other level until at 20th level he can fall any distance unharmed. The brawler needs to have at least 5 feet in any direction from his landing square in order to roll.

Pure Blood (Ex): At 5th level, a brawler gains immunity to all diseases except for supernatural and magical diseases. If he drinks alcohol or consumes drugs, he loses this immunity for one week.

Indomitable (Su): At 7th level or higher, a brawler can heal his own wounds. He can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to twice his current brawler level each day, and he can spread this healing out among several uses.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a brawler’s evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless brawler does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Diamond Body (Ex): At 11th level, a brawler gains immunity to poisons of all kinds.

Professional Walker (Ex): At 12th level, a brawler may move around enemies without opening himself to attack. As a move action, he may move up to his speed and provoke no attacks of opportunity. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to the brawler's Wisdom modifier. The brawler must announce his intent to use this type of movement before moving, or he will provoke normal attacks of opportunity.

Catch Anything (Ex): A 13th level brawler can catch almost any projectile aimed at him. He can use this ability once per round. He can catch a projectile weapon sized for a creature one size category larger than himself or smaller. Magic projectiles (those without a physical form, such as a fireball or magic missile, but not including enchanted arrows, etc.) cannot be caught.

Wrist Control (Ex): Beginning at 15th level, a brawler has the ability to wrestle opponents into utter submission. If he does not have the Improved Grapple feat, he gains it. Additionally, once per week, he may take a move action to paralyze a grappled opponent. His opponent gets no save, and is paralyzed for one day. If he desires, the brawler may instead choose to kill his opponent outright, but his opponent gets a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the brawler’s level + the brawler’s Wis modifier). A successful save still forces the opponent to take damage as if hit by the brawler's unarmed strike. No matter the outcome, if the brawler uses this ability, the grapple is broken. The brawler may use this ability once per week per five brawler levels. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected.

Timeless Body (Ex): Upon attaining 17th level, a brawler no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the brawler still dies of old age when his time is up.

Body Language (Ex): A brawler of 17th level has such complete mastery of his body's movements that he can talk without speaking. A brawler can communicate simple questions, commands, intents, and attitudes to any intelligent creature. Intelligent creatures can understand the brawler's simple communications but are unable to mimic the movements, and thus cannot communicate back with such clarity. Creatures with an intelligence score of 1 or 2 can understand the brawler's attitudes only, but still better than they can understand other intelligent creatures' body movements.

False Hits (Ex): It is often difficult to tell if an attack hits or misses a brawler. Starting at 19th level, a brawler can force an opponent to reroll a successful hit once a day. This reroll must be done before damage is rolled. A natural 20 cannot be rerolled, but the brawler may choose to negate the roll's threat. The reroll must be used, even if it hits, but it can never result in a critical hit, even if the die lands on a number that would normally be considered a threat.

Divine Skin (Su): At 20th level, a brawler gains damage reduction 10/- and cannot die from massive damage.


A brawler who becomes nonlawful can never again advance his brawler level and loses his Focused Blow, Indomitable, and Divine Skin abilities.

Epic Brawler[edit]

Table: The Epic Brawler

Hit Die: d8

Level AC
Speed Bonus
21st +4 +70 ft.
22nd +4 +70 ft.
23rd +4 +70 ft.
24th +4 +80 ft.
25th +5 +80 ft. Bonus Feat
26th +5 +80 ft.
27th +5 +90 ft.
28th +5 +90 ft.
29th +5 +90 ft.
30th +6 +100 ft. Bonus Feat

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

AC Bonus: The brawler’s bonus to Armor Class when unarmored increases by +1 every five levels higher than 20th.

Brawl Mastery: The damage for a brawler’s unarmed strike does not increase after 20th level.

Fast Movement: The epic brawler’s speed when wearing no armor increases by 10 feet every three levels higher than 18th. The unarmored speed of Small and dwarven brawlers increases by 5 feet instead of 10 feet.

Focused Blow: The brawler's Focused Blow ability does not automatically increase with class level after 16th level.

Indomitable (Su): The epic brawler can cure up to twice his class level in hit points each day, as normal.

Professional Walker (Ex): Use the brawler's Wisdom modifier to determine uses, as normal.

Catch Anything (Ex): This ability functions as normal for a brawler.

Wrist Control (Ex): Use the brawler’s class level when determining the DC to resist this attack, as normal.

Bonus Feats: The epic brawler gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Brawler bonus feats) every five levels higher than 20th.

Epic Monk Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Exceptional Deflection, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Focused Blow, Improved Spell Resistance, Improved Stunning Fist, Infinite Deflection, Keen Strike, Legendary Climber, Legendary Wrestler, Reflect Arrows, Righteous Strike, Self-Concealment, Shattering Strike, Vorpal Strike.

Half-Orc Brawler Starting Package[edit]

Weapon: Sling and 10 bullets.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Climb 4 Str
Concentration 4 Con
Intimidate 4 Cha
Jump 4 Str
Listen 4 Wis
Tumble 4 Dex

Feat: Dodge.

Bonus Feat: Improved Grapple.

Gear: Backpack (2 gp), Hempen Rope, 50 ft. (1 gp), Bedroll (1 sp), Trail Rations, 10 days (5 gp)

Gold: 70g.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Brawler[edit]

Religion: Brawlers tend to give thanks to gods of single combat, physical feats, or wrestling. Kord is a common patron of brawlers.

Other Classes: Brawlers get along well with fighters. Barbarians are a mockery of combat in the eyes of many brawlers, and barbarians usually think brawlers are fools. A wizard can understand the brawler's dedication to his chosen path, and these two classes get along well. Paladins similarly appreciate the brawler's discipline, although brawlers don't believe that any blow is unfair, which can create friction but attract the friendship of rogues.

Combat: A brawler is a melee warrior. He trains himself to use a sling or darts, but he will only draw a ranged weapon if he is unable to close in on his foe. He cannot take hits as heavy as those a fighter or barbarian would shrug off, but he can stay away from an enemy's sword long enough to break some bones or even wrestle his opponent to the ground. Brawlers prefer to fight one-on-one, but are certainly capable of taking on two or more enemies.

Advancement: Any brawler can grapple, but some may choose to put a focus on it, depending on the feats they choose. Brawlers will benefit from fighters' bonus feats and hit points, and levels of barbarian will also help them. Levels of a spellcasting class will not benefit a brawler, since he will provoke attacks of opportunity if he casts spells, although characters who are spellcasters might benefit from the saves and hit points of a brawler.

Brawlers in the World[edit]

You'll never catch me in that heavy steel, friend. Your armor is my weapon.
—Targen, half-orc brawler

Brawlers never stop fighting. No matter where they are, if there is no one or no thing to fight, they will leave. Their quest is perfect control, perfect understanding of their body. As long as it offers a chance to focus their skills and become stronger, a brawler may take any job. The lawfulness of a brawler may represent a paladin-like devotion to law-abiding, or it may only extend as far as the brawler's personal extreme discipline, therefore it is possible to find a brawler in illegal fighting rings.

Daily Life: A brawler spends as much of his day as is practical training. If he's lucky, he can substitute training (whether personal or in mock-combat) for actual battle. Brawlers often come in polar opposites - they are either silent, reserved, and imposing, or jovial wrestlers who entertain onlookers.

Organizations: Brawlers often train together. There are many schools dotting countrysides and deep forests for brawlers. Many parents will send a disinherited child away to these schools to grow up disciplined warriors who can make their own way. Other than these brawling schools, there are generally no organizations for brawlers.

NPC Reactions: Most NPCs react favorably to the brawler's extreme discipline and restraint. An impolite brawler is rare, although quiet brawlers, especially half-orcs, may simply scare NPCs. Some arrogant NPCs may take offense to a brawler's self-confidence, especially since even the most law-abiding brawlers can never be too submissive, even to nobles who may feel they deserve the strong brawler's utter respect.

Brawler Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research brawlers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs. Note: This skill is generally used to learn about local brawling schools or legendary brawlers.

Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
5 Brawlers are highly trained to fight effectively without weapons or armor
10 Brawlers almost always train in specific schools. Alternately, give name, location, and size of nearest brawler school.
15 A brawler has almost supernatural control of his body and close combat. Alternately, give leader and famous students (current or former) of nearest brawler school.
20 Great brawlers attract divine patrons. Brawlers can be more difficult to injure than plated soldiers or more deadly than raging barbarian. Alternately, give history and names of any notable students (current or former) of nearest brawler school.

Brawlers in the Game[edit]

Characters and NPCs of this class often join the military, where they will receive armor and weapon training. However, many armies will allow opportunities to fight unarmored. Brawlers may also organize and/or participate in underground fighting organizations, with which the players may have encounters. A brawler NPC will only be found as a peasant or doing other menial jobs if he is able to fight a few times a week (such as in a fighting club) or is an ex-brawler, because being a brawler requires many years of training which are usually done during childhood and adolescence, leaving the brawler no other life to turn to.

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