Fighters that fall under the Brawler archetype are scrappy improvisers. They use the tools on hand to battle their foes, and when all else fails, their bare hands. Most Brawlers favor light armor for more flexibility, but others favor armor to take the role of an armored juggernaut. Regardless, a brawler is equally adept using unarmed strikes and improvised weapons as it is weapons. Many utilize a shield as both a defensive barrier and a ready implement to beat down its foes.
With the Brawler archetype, I wanted to ensure that it meshed with the Unarmed Fighting Style and with feats, rather than attempt to replace them. While there is still some overlap with Tavern Brawler, the feat still has value. Grappler should prove a potent feat choice for the subclass. The subclass is budgeted as taking the Unarmed Fighting Style, but many of its features work with a weapon. The vision is unarmed or light weapon plus a shield so it always has access to grapples and unarmed strikes, but it can go ham with two-handed weapons.
|Brawler Combat, Scrappiness
3rd-level Brawler feature
You are trained to use your hands and any object in reach as a weapon, granting you the following benefits:
- You are proficient with improvised weapons.
- You gain a +1 bonus on damage rolls with improvised weapons and unarmed strikes, and your unarmed strike can use a d4 for damage.
- The damage die you roll for one-handed improvised weapons is at least equal to your unarmed strike damage die. You can roll 1d12 for the damage die of your two-handed improvised weapons.
- While not wearing heavy armor, a shield counts as an empty hand for the purpose of your unarmed strikes and grapples.
- After hitting a target with an unarmed strike or improvised weapon, you can make one attack with an unarmed strike or a different improvised weapon as a bonus action.
- When you use your Action Surge feature, you can take the Dash action in addition to the action you take with the feature.
3rd-level Brawler feature
You use every opportunity to turn situations to your favor. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice. In addition, you can use Dexterity instead of Strength to determine the attack and bonus damage for your unarmed strikes and any improvised weapon with the Light property.
7th-level Brawler feature
While grappling a creature no larger than you, you can replace one attack you make when taking the Attack action to throw it at a target within 15 feet of you. Make a ranged attack roll against the target. On a hit, the target and the thrown creature both take damage equal to your unarmed strike damage. If the attack is a critical hit, the target and thrown creature are both knocked prone.
If you are holding an object weighing no less than 5 lbs., you can make the same attack, dealing the object’s improvised weapon damage to the target on a hit, and knocking the target prone on a critical hit.
10th-level Brawler feature
The first time in a turn that you deal damage with a weapon or unarmed strike to a target you grapple, it takes an extra 1d8 damage.
15th-level Brawler feature
If you have advantage on an attack roll against a target within 5 feet of you, you can forgo the advantage for the roll to knock the target prone on a hit. If the target is larger than you, it must succeed on a Strength saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability score modifier you used to make the attack or be knocked prone. Creatures your size or smaller get no saving throw.
In addition, when a creature you grapple escapes your grapple, you can take a reaction to attempt to grapple it again. You have disadvantage on this grapple attempt.
18th-level Brawler feature
You master the brawler combat techniques. The bonus damage you deal with unarmed strikes and improvised weapons increases to +2. Moreover, you can take the Dodge action instead of the Dash action when you use your Action Surge feature.