Preview: Brawler Fighter Archetype

I have always liked scrappy fighters that focused on grappling. A lot of the mechanics will look familiar, but whereas the monk gets their abilities through enlightenment and meditation, the brawler gains it through the school of hard knocks. However, I did it take the monks lunch? What do you think? Let me know in the comments or feel free to send me a message. (Also included are a few new weapons).

Fighter – BRAWLER


When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn techniques that focus on grappling and using a limited range of weapons. Brawler weapons are cestuses, clubs, daggers, katars, tortoise shields, and yklwas (see Tomb of Annihilation, page 32). You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only brawler weapons and you aren’t wearing heavy armor or wielding a shield:

  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of brawler or improvised weapons. This damage dice increases to d6 at 5th level, d8 at 11th level and d10 at 17th level.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike, brawler or improvised weapon against an opponent you are grappling, you have advantage on your attack roll.
  • When you score a critical hit with an improvised weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit. However, improvised weapon is also destroyed.

Heavy Hitter

At 7th level, your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 damage. Also your unarmed strikes and improvised weapons count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

The Bigger They Are

At 10th level, you are treated as one size category larger for the purposes of grappling. In addition, you can try to trip a creature grappled by you. To do so, roll another grapple check after succeeding on a grapple check. If you succeed on this second grapple check, the creature is both prone and grappled. If you fail, the creature is freed from the grapple.

Knockout Blow

At 15th level, when you hit a creature during a surprise round that hasn’t had a turn or you score a critical hit, the creature must succeed a Constitution saving throw or be incapacitated until the end of your next turn. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Knockout Blow DC = 8 your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier

Creatures without discernable anatomy, such as oozes and swarms, are immune to this effect. If a creature succeeds on this saving throw, this feature can’t be used again against that same creature until you finish a long rest.

Tougher Than You
At 18th level, you are immune to critical hits.

Name Cost Damage Weight Properties
Simple Melee
Cestus 1d3 bludgeoning Finesse, light
Katar 1d4 piercing/slashing Finesse, light
Martial Melee
Tortoise Shield 1d4 piercing Finesse, light, special*

Tortoise Shield: This small buckler fits over the wielder’s forearm, with a long spike out the end. It provides +1 AC against melee attacks.

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