Pugilist (3.5e Class)

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Some warriors train with the sword and shield while others might fight with a battle axe. The pugilist rarely fights with weapons, preferring their fists instead. Though many would compare Pugilist to monks who also study unarmed martial arts, important distinctions exist.

While monks achieve their abilities through years of rigid, organized training and through supernatural techniques; Pugilists tend to be self-taught, or learn from traveling masters in their own style.

In many ways, Pugilist resemble Fighters more than monks, and indeed many regions that produce Fighters are likely to produce a good number of Pugilists as well.

Making a Pugilist[edit]

Adventures: Many Pugilists, having developed their skills personally, see an adventure as a chance to prove themselves and their abilities. Pugilists, as a side product of their unique stance toward fighting, tend to have a fearless, headfirst attitude toward the dangers presented by adventuring.

Pugilists adventure just like any other classes usually trying to improve themselves or their armor.

Characteristics: Pugilist like fighters still use gauntlets and other simple weapons. They fight without martial weapons though. They learn to lessen damage from non-lethal nature as well as hit harder. Like a Fighter they wear all kinds of armor, but like Monk fight unarmed or wearing gauntlets dealing more damage than normal.

Alignment: Pugilists come with all possible outlooks on life. No alignment is dependant upon a Pugilist. Lawful ones might train under schools and live like Monks, and chaotic ones might live like a Barbarian on their own.

Religion: Most pugilists prefer not to be tied down by religion at all, rather just following their own hearts. Though Kord (god of strength) and St. Cuthbert (god of retribution) are strong candidates.

Background: Pugilists are usually taught at some point by a master who approaches or meets the likely person. Afterwards, many pugilist train themselves from there on, but a few stick with the masters waiting for more training.

Races: Gnomes are great Pugilist even with their reduced strength. They see it as fun and more sensible unarmed combat compared to the strict discipline of the Monk. Halfling Pugilist are legendary as you may hear about them but rarely see them. Half-Orcs make good pugilists with their great strength. Humans believe the faster way to learn unarmed combat is the way of a pugilist.

Other classes: Pugilists and Monks get along get together because they have common skills and both possess the ability to fight unarmed. They serve supporting role to Fighter or Barbarian; walking up to enemy and slugging it out beside them. They like the Clerics and their healing, but aren’t always interested in their preaching. They prove themselves reliable companions when needed though.

Role: They can fill the bodyguard or Tank role that Fighters usually try. Although their damage is usually lower than a Monks, they hit more accurately. He makes an excellent scout, hearing and seeing enemies before hand.

Game Rule Information[edit]

Abilities: A High Con gives the Pugilist extra life and Fort saves, but also gives them additional damage reduction against nonlethal damage. A strength adds more damage as well as boosting skills that use strength.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 4d4 x 10 gp.

Starting Age:

Hit Dice:d12

Table: The Pugilist

Hit Die: d12

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Hail of Fists Attack Bonus
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Improved Unarmed Strike, Hail of Fists, Dodge -2/-2
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Heavy Hitter + 2 -1/-1
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Stunning Blow, Bonus Feat +0/+0
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Iron Jaw, Mobility +1/+1
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Pack Mule +2/+2
6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Shake Off, Deadly Strike +3/+3
7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Bonus Feat +4/+4
8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Heavy Hitter + 4, Knock Down +5/+5/+0
9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 +6/+6/+1
10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Mettle, Stand Tough 1/day +7/+7/+2
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 Bonus Feat +8/+8/+8/+3
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Shattering Strike +9/+9/+9/+4
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 +10/+10/+10/+5
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Heavy Hitter + 6 +11/+11/+11/+6/+1
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Bonus Feat +12/+12/+12/+7/+2
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Decisive Blow +13/+13/+13/+8/+3
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Stand Tough 2/day +14/+14/+14/+9/+4
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 +15/+15/+15/+10/+5
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Bonus Feat +16/+16/+16/+11/+6/+1
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Heavy Hitter +8 +18/+18/+16/+12/+8/+2

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha),Jump (Str) Hide (Dex), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex)

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the pugilist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Pugilist is proficient with all simple weapons and all martial weapons as well as all armor and all shields (except tower shields).

Dodge: At level 1, a Pugilist gains Dodge as a bonus feat. He is not only skilled in hitting but not getting hit.

Improved Unarmed Strike: At level 1, a Pugilist gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, he also deals more damage than normal with non-spiked gauntlets or unarmed strikes: he deals damage as two size higher. So 1d3 medium becomes 1d6. Usually a Pugilist’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling or with her gauntlets.

There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a Pugilist striking unarmed. A Pugilist may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes. A Pugilist also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, identical to a Monk (see Table: Monk Unarmed Damage by Size in Monk page).

Hail of Fists (Ex): Starting at Level 1, a Pugilist may strike with a hail of fists at the expense of accuracy. When doing so, he may make one extra attack in a round at his highest base attack bonus, but this attack takes a –2 penalty, as does each other attack made that round. The resulting modified base attack bonuses are shown in the Hail of Fists Bonus Attack column. This penalty applies for 1 round, so it also affects attacks of opportunity the Pugilist might make before his next action. A Pugilist must use a full attack action to strike with a hail of fists.

When using Hail of Fists, a Pugilist may attack only with non-spiked gauntlets or unarmed strikes. When a Pugilist reaches 11th level, his Hail of Fists ability improves. In addition to the standard single extra attack he gets from hail of fists, he gets a second extra attack at his full base attack bonus.

Stunning Blow (Su): At level 3, a Pugilist can strike people in vulnerable areas stunning them. This can be used 1/3 Pugilist levels (6 uses at level 18). You must declare that you are using this feat before you make your attack roll (thus, a failed attack roll ruins the attempt). Stunning Blow forces a foe damaged by your unarmed attack (whether by unarmed strikes or a gauntlet) to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ Pugilist level + Con modifier), in addition to dealing damage normally. A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1d4 rounds. A stunned character can't act, loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, and takes a –2 penalty to AC. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be stunned.

Bonus Feats: At 3rd level, a Pugilist gets a bonus combat-oriented feat. The Pugilist gains an additional bonus feat at 7th level and every four Pugilist levels thereafter (11th, 15th, 19th). These bonus feats must be drawn from the same feats fighters are restricted to for their bonus feats. A Pugilist must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including ability score and base attack bonus minimums.

These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. A Pugilist is not limited to the list of fighter bonus feats when choosing these feats.

Iron Jaw (Ex): A pugilist can take blows that would knock out a man. At level 4, a pugilist gains 1 + his Con modifier as a special Damage Reduction. He also receives +2 bonus on Fort saves. For example, a pugilist with a Con modifier of +2 gains 3 Damage Reduction.

Mobility: At level 5, a Pugilist gains Mobility as a bonus feat. Years of fighting experience has taught her that staying still during a fight leads to exposing vulnerabilities.

Pack Mule (Ex): Pugilists are used to long journeys with a heavy pack and the use of a wide variety of weaponry and equipment. A 5th level Pugilist suffers no penalties for carrying a medium load, and may retrieve stored items from his person without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Shake Off (Ex): Pugilist at level 6 receive 1/4th their pugilist level as a bonus on Fortitude saves against becoming stunned. Also Duration for being stunned reduced by 1 round/3 levels (if reduced to 0 rounds or less, it doesn’t affect a pugilist.)

Deadly Strike (Ex): at level 6, a pugilist learns to hit hard when enemy isn’t ready for the blow. When making the pugilist’s first unarmed attack against a flat-footed opponent, treat a successful attack as a critical hit.

Heavy Hitter(Ex): A pugilist's non-spiked Gauntlets or their unarmed strikes gain a bonus +2 damage. This bonus increases by +2 every 6 levels after. Pugilist specialize in taking someone out, but it even functions when trying to kill someone.

Wisdom from Power: A pugilist may add his strength modifier to all wisdom checks.

Knock Down (Ex): At level 8, a pugilist becomes more able to resist tripping and their mighty blows can knock enemies off their feet. A pugilist gains +2 bonus on all trip attempts. Also when he deals 10 or more damage to a opponent in melee, he can make a trip attempt as a free action (this attempt doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity). However, without Improved Trip, normal attempts to trip will provoke attacks of opportunity.

Mettle (Ex): Starting at level 10, a pugilist determination allows him to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise harm him. If a pugilist make a successfully Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the spell’s effect (such as a spell with entry Will partial or Fortitude half) he instead negates the effects.

Daunting Figure: A pugilist may use his Strength Modifier instead of his Charisma Modifier for intimidate checks.

Stand Tough (Ex): At level 10, a pugilist can attempt to shake off damage when damaged in combat (from a weapon or blow, but not a spell or special ability). To do this, make a Fortitude save against DC =damage dealt. If successful, he takes no lethal damage, instead nonlethal equal to ½ amount of damage the blow would have dealt. Iron Jaw functions against the damage reducing it further. If he fails the save, he takes the damage as normal. At level 17, a pugilist can do this 2/day.

Shattering Strike (Ex): A pugilist can split wood into two with practice and he proves this at level 12, he gains Improved Sunder feat. As well as his unarmed strike or gauntlet counts as a 1-handed weapon not light for the purposes of the opposed attack rolls to sunder another’s weapons. If he already has Improved Sunder, he may choose any general feat instead.

Decisive Blow (Ex): A pugilist at level 16, gains a bonus to their critical multiplier on non-spiked gauntlets and unarmed strikes. Normal unarmed strike deals criticals at 20 X2, this would increase it to X3. This stacks for any ability that increases critical threat or multiplier.

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