Grappler (3.5e Class)
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A Grappler focuses on melee combat, with an in-your-face style. Don't expect to get a hit in when they get a hold of you, because once you're down, you won't get up.
You enter the Pit Fights and seem to be doing well, victory after victory. This next opponent is a strange one, he has no weapon, and doesn't seem like an agile monk. The match begins, and with a speed you didn't expect, the fighter charges towards you, and throws you to the ground, his spiked armor digging into your flesh, the ground seeming to strike you much harder than you expected, and your vision fades.
You have just encountered a Grappler, the unarmed tank of the martial world. They are surprisingly fast, and very powerful. With little more than a push they can knock the wind right out of you, causing a moment of pause, which is more than they need to knock you to the ground.
Clad in nothing more than light spiked armor, and light gauntlets, these powerful warriors strike hard and fast, using their own weight and momentum to dominate the battlefield with physical prowess that exceeds their stature.
Making a Grappler
With a strong martial background, strength and constitution are vital, as well as dexterity for the ability to dodge.
While excelling in close quarters, Grapplers lack ranged fighting capabilities. They are often sought after as bodyguards for ranged fighters, and magic users.
Abilities: Strength is most important, as it both powers Grapple strength, and is involved with the Grappler's skill checks, and fuels their offensive capabilities, as well as many of their skills. Constitution, and Dexterity also play a vital roll, to make up for the lack of Heavy Armor on a primarily melee class. Dexterity is also important for many of the Grappler's skills, as many are based not on power, but agility.
Races: Grapplers are most commonly found to be both Human, and Dwarves alike, as their strong statures help overpower most enemies. Orc and Half-Orc are also Grapplers on occasion, due to their overwhelming power, but many find it to be instinctive to wield a weapon.
Alignment: Grapplers can be found as any alignment, but tend to lean towards Chaotic. Most Grapplers are Chaotic Neutral, but many tend to be Lawful as well. Because there are two distinct combat styles, there is no common mold for Grapplers. However, in general Chaotic Grapplers tend to learn the Rush combat style, while Lawful Grapplers usually learn the Takedown combat style.
Starting Gold: 6d4×10 gp.
Starting Age: As Fighter.
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Grappler's Skill, Adept Grappling +1||+0 feet|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||Counter Grapple, Combat Speed Bonus||+5 feet|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Combat Mastery, Adept Grappling +2||+5 feet|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Power Lock||+5 feet|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Adept Grappling +3||+10 feet|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||Combat Focus||+10 feet|
|7th||+7||+5||+5||+2||Improved Combat Mastery, Adept Grappling +4||+10 feet|
|8th||+8||+6||+6||+2||Battle Hardened /1||+15 feet|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||Deflect Blow||+15 feet|
|10th||+10||+7||+7||+3||Grappler's Finesse||+15 feet|
|11th||+11||+7||+7||+3||Battle Hardened /2||+20 feet|
|12th||+12||+8||+8||+4||Greater Combat Mastery||+20 feet|
|13th||+13||+8||+8||+4||Quick Grappler||+20 feet|
|14th||+14||+9||+9||+4||Battle Hardened /3||+25 feet|
|15th||+15||+9||+9||+5||Pinned Flurry||+25 feet|
|16th||+16||+10||+10||+5||Grappler's Endurance +15||+25 feet|
|17th||+17||+10||+10||+5||Battle Hardened /4||+30 feet|
|18th||+18||+11||+11||+6||Master Grappler||+30 feet|
|19th||+19||+11||+11||+6||Grappler's Endurance +30||+30 feet|
|20th||+20||+12||+12||+6||Battle Hardened /5||+35 feet|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Grappler.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The grappler is proficient with Light Armor, and Gauntlets, as well as Armor Spikes, and the Spiked Gauntlet.
Grappler's Skill: At 1st level, a Grappler gains the feats Improved Unarmed Strike, and Improved Grapple as bonus feats even if the prerequisites are not fulfilled.
Adept Grappling: Starting at 1st level, a Grappler wearing no armor, or Light Armor gains a +1 bonus an all Grapple Checks and opposed Dexterity, or Strength checks. This bonus increases by +1 at 3rd level, and every 2 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4.
Combat Speed Bonus: Starting at 2nd level, and when wearing no armor, or Light Armor, a Grappler gains a speed bonus of +5 feet. This bonus increases by +5 feet at 5th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +35 feet. This bonus only applies when in battle.
Counter Grapple: Beginning at 2nd level, whenever Grappled or Pinned, a Grappler may, as a Move action, perform both a Grapple check, and an Escape Artist check, in an attempt to free himself.
Combat Mastery: Starting at 3rd level, a Grappler may begin to master one of two different combat styles, Rush or Takedown. If a Grappler chooses to master the Rush combat style, they gain Improved Bullrush as a bonus feat. If a Grappler chooses to master the Takedown combat style, they gain Improved Trip as a bonus feat. These bonus feats can be learned even if the prerequisites are not fulfilled.
Power Lock: At 4th level, a Grappler learns how to render an opponent unconcious with an amazing amount of pressure to the neck. If the character applies the Power Lock for 1 full round the opponent must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + Grappler's class level + Strength Modifier) at the end of the round or fall unconscious for 1d3 rounds. A creature that has no discernable anatomy has immunity to this effect.
Combat Focus: Starting at 6th level, a Grappler learns to focus his attention on a single opponent, similar to a predator stalking it's prey. Once per round, the user designates a target to focus on. This grants a +2 Dodge bonus to AC against the target, but brings with it a -1 AC penalty against all other enemies.
Improved Combat Mastery: Continuing at 7th level, a Grappler achieves greater mastery over their chosen combat style. If a Grappler further masters the Rush combat style, the Grappler gains Powerful Lunge. If a Grappler chooses to master the Takedown combat style, the Grappler gains Lockdown.
Powerful Lunge: As a Full Round action, a Grappler may perform a Bullrush of a different technique. A Powerful Lunge is executed like a normal Bullrush, but the intention is different. The Powerful Lunge charges straight into the enemy, dealing an additional +1d8 points of damage, knocks the enemy back 5 feet, and initiates a Grapple with a +2 circumstance bonus, as the target is off balance. Standard procedures apply to the Bullrush attempt, pushback attempt, and Grapple attempt. If any check fails, the Powerful Lunge attempt ends immediatly.
Lockdown: As a Full Round action, a Grappler may perform a Trip attempt of a different technique. A Lockdown is executed like a normal Trip, but the intention is different. A Lockdown trips the enemy, pushing them into the ground, dealing an additional +1d8 points of damage, and initiates a Grapple with a +2 circumstance bonus, as the target is nearly defenseless. Standard procedures apply to the Trip attempt, and Grapple attempt. If any check fails, the Lockdown attempt ends immediatly.
Battle Hardened: Starting at 8th level, a Grappler's body becomes tougher, and more durable than it once was. Being able to shrug off more punishment than most, the Grappler gains Physical Damage Reduction/1. This Damage reduction increases by /1 at 11th level, and every 3 levels thereafter to a maximum of /5.
Deflect Blow: At 9th level, a Grappler learns how to deflect the successful melee attacks of his Combat Focus target, so that they deal no damage. This ability can be used only once per round, and takes the place of an Attack of Oppertunity. To use this ability, the Grappler must have one hand free to deflect one-handed attacks, and both hands free to deflect more powerful attacks. Against unusually powerful attacks, such as a Dragon's Tail Swipe, or a Minotaur's Charge, a Strength check (DC = Damage Dealt) must be made to successfully deflect the attack.
Pinned Flurry: Starting at 10th level, a Grappler can hold a Pinned opponent, that they have targeted with Combat Focus, using their knees. This grants a Reflex Save (DC = 10 + Grappler's Strength Modifier + 1/2 Grappler's Class level) to the Pinned target to escape from the Pin. If the escape is unsuccessful, the Grappler Pins the target with their knees, leaving their hands free to attack their now prone target. Each turn beyond the first that the pin is held, the Reflex Save DC lessens by 2.
Grappler's Finesse: At 11th level, a Grappler maintains their full movement speed while engaged in a Grapple.
Greater Combat Mastery: Continuing at 12th level, a Grappler achieves mastery over their chosen combat styles. If a Grappler further masters the Rush combat style, the Grappler gains Powerful Throw. If a Grappler further masters the Takedown combat style, the Grappler gains Death Lock.
Powerful Throw: As a Full Round action, a Grappler may perform a Grapple, in an attempt to throw an enemy to the ground. A Strength check is required for targets of an equal or larger size category(DC 15 for Medium, DC 25 for Large, DC 35 for Huge, DC 45 for Gargantuan, and DC 55 for Colossal)and the target must be within the Grappler's range (Powerful Throw Weight Range = Grappler's Lift Off Ground +10 Lbs per Grappler class level). The Powerful Throw maneuver throws the target 5 feet in the chosen direction, dealing +1d12 points of impact damage upon landing. If thrown into an occupied square, the current occupant is dealt +1d8 points of impact damage, and knocked back into the nearest unoccupied square. Any thrown target lands Prone. A Powerful Throw may be performed as a standard action, if done after a successful Powerful Lunge.
Death Lock: As a Full Round action, a Grappler may perform a Grapple on a Prone target, in an attempt to apply severe pressure therby causing life-threatening damage. Each round the Death Lock is applied, the target must make a Strength check (DC 10 + Grappler's Strength Modifier + Grappler's Class Level) or suffer +1d8 points of damage, and lose their next action. Each round the Death Lock is applied beyond the first it deals an additional +2 points of damage, but the Save DC suffers a -4 penalty. A Death Lock may be performed as a standard action, if done after a successful Lockdown.
Quick Grappler: At 13th level, a Grappler learns how to quickly recover from a missed grapple. Once per round, whenever a Grapple attempt fails, a Grappler may attempt another Grapple attempt, albeit at a -4 penalty. If this Grapple attempt fails, the Grappler lands Prone on the ground.
Grappler's Endurance: At 15th level, the Grappler begins to gain greater endurance. This increases the Grappler's maximum health by +15. This increases at 19th level to a maximum health bonus of +30.
Master Grappler: At 18th level, a Grappler learns how to better recover from a missed grapple. Whenever using Quick Grapple, the penalty on the new Grapple attempt is removed. If this Grapple attempt fails, the user doesn't fall Prone, instead the Grappler becomes Flat-Footed.
|21st||Adept Grappling +1|
|22nd||Grappler's Endurance +25|
|24th||Adept Grappling +1|
|26th||Adept Grappling +1|
|27th||Grappler's Endurance +25|
|29th||Adept Grappling +1|
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Bonus Feats: The epic Grappler gains bonus feats (selected from the list of epic Grappler bonus feats)on level 23, 25, 28, and 30.
Human Grappler Starting Package
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Bonus Feats: .
Playing a Grappler
Religion: most of the time grapplers tend to revere Kord as their patron god, but the lot of them are varied so any grappler is as likely to worship a god as not.
Other Classes: grapplers can see eye to eye with monks, as they too are up close and personal with monsters with nothing in their hands, amoung other martial classes they feel superior as they dont need heavy armor and weapons to take out their enemies. They also tend to shy away from ranged combatants and mages as far too often they have been shot in the back by some archer who does not have percise shot or blown up by some wizards wontonly placed fireball. To other grapplers their reaction can range from friendly rival, to die hard enemy either way each gives their all in those kinds of matches..
Combat: Once in combat the grappler rushes forward and more or less tackles the heaviest enemy there is, one to prove their strength and two to keep their buddies safe.
Advancement: Monk is easily the most common multiclass as it improves their already dominant unarmed fighting skills, fighter is a good choice if you want to pick up the grappling related feats
Grapplers in the World
|—Grimdar, the Half-Orc Grapple Warrior|
Wherever there is a pit fight to be won, a heavyweight championship to be claimed, or someone just wanting a good bodyguard there is a grappler.
Daily Life: each morning starts out with basic streatching and calistenics to warm up the body for the rigors its undoubtedly going to take during the day.
Notables: Xancvil (human grappler 15 monk 5) is the first and last word in wrestling, as indeed he hits like a ton of bricks and uses his legendary "death hold" to quickly incapacitate people who have the gall to challange this titan of a man.
Organizations: generaly there is no true grappler school but more often than not grapplers will meet eachother in the ring and a brawl to end all brawls will break out each person not giving an inch.
NPC Reactions: if they are a standout in a fighting ring people will tend to give them a respect and try to stay in their good graces. If they are yet unknown they will be treated like any other unknown person... ignored.
Characters with ranks in knowledge local can research grapplers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Grapplers do just that, grapple quite well.|
|10||Grapplers are adept pit fighters that if they get a hold of you, you just lost.|
|15||Grapplers can either focus on submission holds, or tackling people.|
|20||The strongest of grapplers can either break your neck in two with a hold, or can toss you around like a ragdoll.|
Grapplers in the Game
Sample Encounter: "Skeleton" Jack (grappler 5) is an up and coming prodigy in the pit fighting ring. Who knows he might one day get stronger, until then he needs a party to help him get the funds for more training.
EL whatever: .