This installment of the Legendary Classes-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Okay, so this supplement kicks off with an array of new archetypes for the brawler-class, with the first being the cannon-striker, who gets proficiency with simple weapons and firearms as well as light armor, treating brawler class levels as gunslinger and monk levels for the purpose of feat prerequisites and for the purpose of items. 1st level nets Gunsmithing and a battered firearm, replacing martial training and unarmed strikes. They are locked into bonus combat feats and may only execute ranged attacks with firearms as part of a brawler’s flurry, with -4 to atk and no Strength modifier added to damage. Problem here: This does not help with the reloading issues at low levels or the misfires. Knockout is replaced with a grit-less pistol-whip, which may be used in conjunction with the flurry, though imho, this should be exempt from the increased penalty incurred from the flurry-modification. Instead of brawler’s strike and close weapon mastery, we have the option to reload two-handed firearms as though they were one-handed, as well as immunity to being knocked prone from firing one. 12th level nets deadeye 1/day, and 17th level increases that to 3/day. Awesome Blow is altered to work in conjunction with the firearm instead.
The combat Sybil is a changeling racial archetype that gains medium spellcasting at one fewer spell per day per level, governed by Charisma; 1st level nets mage hand as a knack, 13th level telekinesis as a 4th level spell. Martial telekinesis and telekinetic maneuver are added as 3rd level spells to the spell-list, but aren’t gained automatically. The archetype receives a witch patron, gaining spells at 3rd,8th,13th and 18th level, treating the spells as spell-levels 1st to 4th instead, replacing maneuver training. The combat Sybil treats brawler levels as fighter levels, and the combat Sybil doesn’t gain claws. Here is the unique thing about these guys: They replace the AC bonus with the means to give up the first attack of a flurry to use mage hand or sustained force telekinesis (if available!) to extend the range of the flurry attacks, codifying these attacks properly as ranged attacks, using Charisma instead of Strength or Dexterity as governing key ability modifier. The weapon returns to her hand, and the complex rules-operation is executed properly, and if the character has access to aforementioned optional spells, the feature gains additional, related options. Knockout may be used in conjunction with these, and the awesome blow sequence and brawler’s strike are replaced at 5th level with foe fling, with creature size category scaling, as she learns to enemy hammer foes with her telekinetic powers – this would be rather strong, but is held in check by a hex-caveat. Very complex, technical, and fun tweak.
Cursed pugilists replace martial training with an oracle curse, using ½ class level (minimum 1) as oracle level, and AC bonus replaced with a mystery, which does not grant spells. Instead of martial flexibility, the brawler may change out revelations from the respective oracle mystery chosen. The feat-array is thus also tweaked. Faith’s hand, in contrast, deals scaling bonus damage versus targets opposed to the alignment of the archetype’s deity chosen, akin to an alignment-based sneak attack. 2nd and 11th level’s bonus feats are replaced with two blessings, treating class level -1 as warpriest levels. Brawler’s Strike at 12th level can choose two alignment components.
The fleetfoot replaces the brawler’s bonus combat feats with dimensional darter at 2nd level, the option to, as a swift action, increase base speed by 50%, usable 1/day, +1/day for every three levels thereafter. 5th level nets storm step as a SP, treating this as dimension door for the purpose of feats, usable 1/day, +1/day for every 4 levels thereafter. The higher levels yield the Dimensional Agility feat-tree in conjunction with these tricks. 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter increase the base movement speed by +10 ft.
Knockers treat their monk level as ½ their knocker level (minimum 1) to determine close weapon damage, but get Awesome Blow at 4th level, and they can push the target further back, adding a scaling mechanism. Improved Awesome Blow is similarly modified and gained as soon as 8th level, providing more nuanced control about that component. Interesting engine tweak. Lethal Study gets UMD as a class skill and chooses bard, hunter, inquisitor, magus, mesmerist or spiritualist or warpriest, gaining the ability to use spell completion and trigger items as though they had the chosen class’s spells of up to 6th level, replacing martial training. Instead of martial flexibility, we have the ability to cast 0th-level spells as at-will SPs of the chosen class, and 2nd level nets Arcane Strike, 8th level Riving Strike as bonus feats, using class level as caster level, with 5th level providing Craft Wand, replacing the bonus feats usually gained at these levels. The unique thing: These guys may use wands as weapons, with 5th level allowing for the use unarmed strike damage with them (at the cost of a charge) and the use of charges to also deliver spells held in the wand with such attacks.
Prize fighters use essentially the performance combat engine, and may gain performance feats with martial flexibility; Dirty Trick specialization and interaction of knockout and awesome blow with the performance combat engine is provided. Sumpters replace brawler’s strike and maneuver training with the ability to carry massive amounts of stuff and reduced penalties for load. Cool: The massive bunch of stuff these guys are bound to carry is used as the “Big Bag of Pain”, replacing unarmed strikes with essentially an oversized sap. This made me genuinely laugh when I read it for the first time. Love the visuals! Using massive, debris-filled bags as super-saps? I can totally get behind that… XD
Trance brawlers are another take on a monk/barbarian-ish crossover, with a Wisdom-governed, scaling battle trance, with some abilities of the core class relegated to the trance. Instead of combat feats, we have some rage powers applying to the trance. The triage medic is neat: Swift action (and more efficient!) use of the Heal skill, as well as Heal affecting damage at higher levels – this may not be a strong option, but it’s one that I like. Weapon specialist chooses a fighter weapon group for weapon proficiency, and applies this as the governing group for the purposes of brawler class features, with unarmed strike relegated to 4th level (and at -3 levels); maneuver training is gained at 7th level, but atk and damage are enhanced with the chosen group. Okay, I guess. Wild scrappers gets Aspect of the Beast and thus would be the claw-tweak for the brawler, modifying flurry and gaining pounce at 12h level. Wyrmfang brawlers would be kobolds that begin play with Elemental Fist, which is assigned to a dragon-based elemental energy and yields corresponding bonus feats at 6th, 10th and 14th level, replacing martial flexibility. Unarmed strike is replaced with tail terror and 2nd level increases Strength by +4 for the purpose of unarmed strikes, natural attacks or close weapon group weaponry, replacing 2nd level’s combat feat. Close weapon mastery is replaced with class level -4 monk damage; kobold tail attachments are treated as close weapon group. The dragon heritage that determines styles also influences the enhancements that apply via the archetype’s brawler’s strike variant.
The pdf contains 13 new feats, which include a feat that allows you to unlock the follow-up feats of Awesome Blow (you know, the ones with the ridiculously high Strength-prerequisites), and one that makes your fighter and monk level for prerequisite-purposes as higher, with BAB +11 increasing that further. Limited Strength-based crafting may also be found, and the feats include three new styles: Close Combat Style allows you to expand the close weapon group, while Knocking Style is about moving targets around and potentially knocking them prone. The Rakshasa Style nets you scaling DR and in the end, enhances your effectiveness versus divine casters.
The pdf also provides 8 so-called brawler arts, which can be considered to be alternate choices to awesome blow and knockout. Awesome blow may be replaces with super-powered disarms (that also inflict sunder damage), potent drags or flinging of targets. Knockout may be replaced with nauseating gut blows, attacks that confuse the target, an attack that renders the target flat-footed, grapple with autopins or bonus damage based on Wisdom. It should be noted that variant multiclassing rules for the brawler are included as well.
The pdf includes the urban aggressor 10-level PrC, which gains full BAB-progression, ½ Fort-save progression, d10 HD and 2 + Int skills per level; the prerequisites can be met as soon as 5th level. The PrC gets a ki pool of ½ class level + Wisdom modifier, or stacks levels with ki-possessing classes. PrC class levels stack with brawler levels for the purpose if brawler’s flurry, martial flexibility and unarmed strikes. The PRC gets Dr 2/- versus nonlethal damage, increasing by +2 at 4th level and every 3rd level thereafter. 2nd level nets aggression points: You choose either active or passive aggression each day anew. Active aggression nets you 1 aggression point when you confirm a critical hit or reduce a foe with an unarmed strike or close weapon group to 0 hit points or below. Thankfully, this can’t be cheesed due a kitten-caveat.
Passive aggression nets an aggression point when the character suffers a critical threat or if the fail a Fort-save, and once more, there is a caveat, though here, the HD-caveat was forgotten, making the caveat somewhat toothless. Aggression points cap at ½ Constitution modifier (minimum 1) and temporary increases do not alter this limit. At the end of each minute the aggressor doesn’t gain such a point, one is lost, but as long as the aggressor has them, their number is added to atk with unarmed strikes and close weapon group attacks. 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter nets a ki talent chosen from a list that allows for options that provide further uses for aggression points, use of ki to use martial flexibility, etc, These are interesting, but I couldn’t help but think that the engine per se could have used even more tricks – style strike uses and the like are intriguing, as are kinetic blasts. Aggression points may also be used at 5th level to ignore limited amounts of DR or hardness, and at 8th level, this may be applied to full attacks. 10th level is a nice culmination, allowing for the use of aggression points to get ki talents – including a non-stacking caveat. I really like the engine and its potential here – I think it could have carried a longer class.
The pdf also contains 5 different magic items, with wrestling oil making the target count as though grease’d for quite a while. Warlord’s tattoos (available in three iterations), are assigned a chosen feat, which is then temporarily granted access to; they have a cap that prevents abuse, and duration is contingent on tattoo type chosen. Furious biter is an interesting spring-loaded punching dagger that can add a further attack when used with flurries as the exclusive weapon. Drooling fangs are a tekko-kagi that can apply poisons, potion effects (un-)holy water and similar effects – oh, and it’s human-bane. Glowlash manacles enhance the attacks performed with them modifying size category and reach, but only a limited amount of times per day.
As far as sample NPCs are concerned, we are introduced to Edelhyde Slagg, a level 11 human weapon specialist using battle poi (awesome!), and Witt the Rimetailed, a level 12 wyrmfang brawler kobold has also been included – both NPCs come with very compelling background stories and pretty darn amazing full-color artworks as well as proper boons for PCs befriending them. Cool: The two are fierce foes, but particularly diplomatic PCs may actually manage to end the strife between them!
Editing and formatting re up to Legendary Games’ usual, very high standard on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf employs a blend of previously used and new full-color artworks, with particularly the sample NPCs standing out. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Onyx Tanuki deliver an incredibly technical and challenging pdf here – the rules-operations executed here, time and again, are complex, precise and show a deep understanding of complex rules interactions. I was very happy to see the brawler arts as some customization options, and the archetypes, while primarily focused on engine tweaks, do feature quite an assortment of challenging and playstyle-altering tricks. Now, to be frank, while I don’t exactly love the brawler-class, it is one of the ACG-classes I can get behind. I see its appeal, and I actually use it. That being said, I couldn’t help but feel that a more pronounced focus on brawler arts that would provide unique abilities for the class would have been more rewarding than the crossover archetypes. Then again, you may chalk that up to a certain degree of fatigue I have with regards “It’s class x, save that it has tweaked class feature y of class z” style archetypes.
Before you get the wrong impression: There are plenty of options herein that do more than that, and even engine tweaks herein tend to fall on the interesting side of things. This is, after all, a well-executed expansion for the brawler-class, one that provides plenty of fixes for holes in the rules, and as such, this is a book I’d wholeheartedly recommend for fans of the class, particularly if one of the more far out concepts (the two racial archetypes are my highlights in that section!) struck a chord with you. It won’t make you love the class if you previously didn’t like it, but it will make you like it more – and what more can you ask of a class expansion like this? My final verdict will be 5 stars – as expected from Onyx Tanuki at this point.
You can get this complex, cool supplement here on OBS!
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