This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This pdf begins with a brief introduction and then, the pdf sports two new feats: Feral Pugilism lets you use a natural attack in conjunction with abilities of Improved Unarmed Strike, specifically allowing the use of brawler’s flurry and close weapon mastery as though the natural weapon were a close weapon. This is potentially VERY potent and should have careful GM oversight, as the close weapon group restriction represents one of the problems here. Versatile Pugilism lets you choose one melee weapon, which may be a natural attack – this attack may be used in conjunction with brawler’s flurry and makes it count as a close weapon for the purpose of close weapon mastery…yeah. This lets you use two-handed swords, earthshakers, spears etc. in conjunction with brawler’s flurry. While I am sure that a lot of folks will enjoy these feats to increase the power of their characters, I don’t like them conceptually or balance-wise; they allow you to bypass what makes the brawler a brawler and the class, as such, is not necessarily in need of a power upgrade.
The pdf then proceeds with a selection of new archetypes: The brute is proficient with simple weapons and great club as well as light armor and shields (except tower shields). The archetype gains Weapon Focus (club) as a bonus feat at 1st level and applies all weapon-specific benefits for the club to the great club as well, and vice versa. At 5th level, the brute’s melee attacks with clubs ignore 1 point of DR, + 1 point at 8th level and every 3 levels thereafter. DR/- is not ignored and the benefits stack with Penetrating Strike and its Greater brother. This replaces unarmed strike and brawler’s strike. Brawler’s flurry may only be used with clubs and great clubs (strangely, referring dynamo’s flurry in a cut-copy-paste-hiccup) and 8th level modifies close weapon mastery to instead apply to clubs, using the brawler’s unarmed damage at -4 levels as a possible substitution, if it exceeds the damage of the club. See, this archetype very much makes my point regarding the feats for me – the feats are better than the archetype.
The hurling dynamo replaces proficiency with the close weapon group with thrown weapons. The dynamo’s flurry only works with unarmed strikes and thrown weapons, but both may be used within a flurry, with ranged weapon attacks counting as benefiting from Quick Draw while flurrying. Okay, so do the benefits of the modified brawler’s flurry stack with Rapid Shot? 2nd level locks the character into Precise Shot as a bonus feat. Instead of maneuver training, 3rd level yields either Ranged Feint or the option to use a chosen combat maneuver within one range increment, maximum 30 ft., using Dex-modifier to calculate CMB. This is penalized, though. The first attack of a flurry may be replaced with a maneuver or action chosen with this ability (nice catch re feinting!) and 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield another maneuver choice. 5th level modifies the close weapon group mastery to instead work, at -4 levels, based on brawler unarmed damage, provided that damage would exceed that of the weapon.
The kiai master replaces maneuver training with menacing shout at 3rd level, whenever the character hits at least once in a brawler’s flurry, she can make a demoralize attempt against a target thus hit as a swift action. 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the number of affected targets by 1. This cap is weird, considering that the base ability does NOT have a cap of a maximum of 1 target affected at a given time, though the scaling implies just that. Starting at 4th level, the demoralize attempt, if successful, causes 1d6 sonic damage, but a given foe can only take this damage once per round. 10th level adds deafened to the target for 1 round, and 16th level increases the damage to 2d6 and increases the deafened condition to 1d4 rounds. This replaces knockout.
Finally, there would be the style savant, who only gains the benefits of style feats and combat feats based on style feats when using martial flexibility – the style savant can ignore the feat’s respective prerequisite, excluding Elemental Fist. Yep, this allows you to directly skip ahead to the final feat in a style chain. That is problematic, as the ignoring of prerequisites contradicts the central limitation of martial flexibility and prevents the viable reference to the default ability to clear the rules-language. Also from an action economy perspective – can the respective later feats building on a Style feat only be used when entering that style, which RAW, the archetype can’t? This is weird. At 1st level, the style savant treats his brawler level as fighter or monk levels for prerequisite purposes and also as the number of skill ranks in all skills for the purpose of qualifying for style feats or feats that list one or style feats among the prerequisites, replacing martial training. Maneuver training is replaced by two abilities – savant’s style, which lets the character mix two styles known into a more flexible style, allowing the character to be in two styles at once – cool: The action economy here is concise and at 19th level, the character can be in 3 different styles at once. At 7th level, the style savant may use martial flexibility as a move action to enter all allowed stances, which improves to 15th level as a swift action. So, what are “All allowed stances”? All style feats she can enter at once via style savant? What if they exceed the limit? I *get* what this is supposed to do, namely let the style savant enter multiple styles from her list at once, but the verbiage is a bit wonky here.
Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-language level, there are some oversights in the details to be found here, alas. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column standard with a b/w-background and a nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Sasha Hall’s brawler options have in common that they seek to generate new choices and engine tweaks for the brawler class, which is generally something I applaud. However, at the same time, the options presented herein are problematic from a balance point of view and also feature some rough edges – not in their basics, but in the deeper interactions of the rules-language, which renders them RAW less precise and refined than what I’ve come to expect. As a whole, I would not allow this pdf as written at my table; the feats are straight power upgrades that invalidate one of the archetypes completely and the others also feature some potential stumbling stones. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad file, but it is a long way from something I’d be able to recommend. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.
You can get this supplement here on OBS.