Talk:Pugilist (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Rating - 7/10[edit]

I give this Prestige Class a 6/10 because it has some clearly interesting ideas (creating a non-lawful monk), but has some sizable things that should be addressed.

The Good

  • BAB is good, keeps in line with a fighter so that there are comparable attacks to a monk.
  • I like the DR and AC, makes it "tougher".
  • Saving throws are also fair
  • I like the idea -- works well for a "fight club" like character

The Bad

  • The fact that the unarmed damage bonus stacks with a Monk's seems to make sense, but doesn't fit the role of this character. The way I read it, this is a street fighter, who is not lawful. I don't think that players who want to play a Pugilist should feel required to take monk levels in order to maximize their damage.
  • I don't think it should require flurry of blows as an option. Again for the reason that players really shouldn't be encouraged to become ex-monks
  • Can they carry a shield? It seems like they can.

The Ugly

  • What happens when the character wears a monk's belt?
  • Besides becoming like a monk, there isn't much flair for his PrC. There isn't something that makes them really interesting.

As far as balancing goes, there isn't much to sway it to totally imbalanced, and not much to sway it to under-powered. The class just lacks the right feel, and flair. --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)

"I don't think that players who want to play a Pugilist should feel required to take monk levels in order to maximize their damage." --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)
Did you look at the Brawler description? It's the most natural path to becoming a Pugilist. One can arrive just as fast by taking any warrior class and the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, but then you don't get the head start on unarmed damage. You can also get there as a monk, but it takes two more levels because of BAB, and then you get the whole issue of changing alignment. I don't see how anyone would feel "required" or even "encouraged" to take that route, or take any levels in monk, for that matter. --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
I did not notice the Brawler link in the flavor text and I retract almost all of my criticisms with this class. Aarnott 12:35, 12 March 2007 (MDT)
"Can they carry a shield?" --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)
A Pugilist does not gain or lose proficiencies. A Brawler can only use Flurry of Blows while unarmed, and a monk can only be holding monk weapons. So, a Pugilist can't carry a shield while using Flurry of Blows. If he rose via Fighter or Ranger, there's nothing to prevent him from using a shield in one hand and an unarmed strike with the other, although it's not clear why he would want to. --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
Hmm. I just realized there's no restriction on the AC Bonus that says he has to be unarmed. That may be an oversight. Do you think he should get the bonus while carrying weapons? --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
I still don't think it fits the theme to be able to carry a shield or weapons. I'd change that. Aarnott 12:35, 12 March 2007 (MDT)
"What happens when the character wears a monk's belt?" --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)
I'm guessing there's a joke here that I'm missing. --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
"Besides becoming like a monk, there isn't much flair for his PrC. There isn't something that makes them really interesting." --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)
You're entitled to your opinion. I think the image of a completely unarmed half-orc walking into town and challenging all comers is rather charming. --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
As far as balancing goes, there isn't much to sway it to totally imbalanced, and not much to sway it to under-powered. The class just lacks the right feel, and flair. --Aarnott 13:53, 9 March 2007 (MST)
A balance of 6 is defined to mean, "Well-worded and clear, but has a few (or one sizable) balance issues." What are the balance issues? --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
Perhaps I misread the scale a little, but the way I saw it is that a 10 makes you go "wow" (based on the flair of the class), a 9 goes in new directions, an 8 is like most SRD entries, a 7 is a bit over/under powered. So when I thought about it, I was thinking (keeping in mind I had missed the whole "Brawler" part in the description): Well it certainly is balanced, but it definitely does not go in interesting new directions. It has confusing requirements that work against the nature of the class (ex-monk). I saw that as being under-powered due to hefty requirements, which gave a 7/10 and I saw the lack of interesting abilities as enough to say it was a 6/10 (since other entries seem to have that factored in the balance rating). I'd like to re-rate this with my new knowledge as a 7/10 (if flair is part of the rating) otherwise, it gets a 8/10. Aarnott 12:35, 12 March 2007 (MDT)
What would give it the right flair? --Cúthalion 20:55, 9 March 2007 (MST)
In retrospect, I should have better defined "flair". What I mean is that there is nothing besides hit stuff and take hits from stuff that this class does. I think the class needs some sort of cool technique that it can use (either all the time, or as a trump card). Aarnott 12:35, 12 March 2007 (MDT)

Flair[edit]

So, I had some flair-related inspirations. Feedback is welcome. –Cúthalion (talk) 09:27, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Combat Expertise[edit]

Increased AC is boring. What we really want is an effect like the Man in Black when he's fighting Fezzik -- dodging and scurrying to avoid potentially crippling blows, even though it means not connecting with as many of his own. In D&D terms: Combat Expertise. But, of course, anyone can take Combat Expertise (well, anyone with Int 13); what we want is Improved Combat Expertise. A pugilist maxing out this ability becomes ridiculously difficult to hit (+10 AC), but the -5 to hit will also tend to reduce his own kill rate. The result is prolonged duels with lots of maneuvering and comparatively few successful hits, much as you might see with true professionals. (If you're looking for someone like Rocky or the Quiet Man, who keeps slugging it out with his opponent until one of them keels over, see the Brawler.)

A side effect of the Combat Expertise prerequisite is that only a character with Int 13 can become a pugilist. I kind of like this, as it indicates a fighter who relies on brains as much as brawn. –Cúthalion (talk) 09:27, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Feint & Sneak Attack =[edit]

If Combat Expertise is all about defense, feinting is all about offense -- tricking the defender into blocking your left jab while you're coming in with a right cross. Of course, a feint has to be quick in order to be effective; hence Improved Feint. At high levels we get Lightning Feint, where a feint takes no time at all. (I debated whether to have one feint last for the entire round, as written, or to allow a separate feint attempt before each strike.)

Feinting will be most useful for a pugilist who began as a thug or rogue, getting levels of sneak attack. Other pugilists are more likely to feint only against a defender with high Dex. Just to add a little extra incentive -- and make Lightning Feint more valuable -- we throw in a single level of sneak attack. –Cúthalion (talk) 09:27, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Damage Reduction[edit]

I debated whether to keep Damage Reduction under this new paradigm, but decided the rationale is still valid. After all, even the most proficient martial artist occasionally ends up on the receiving end of the damage, and is expected to bounce back on his feet (sometimes literally).

One alternative would be to add additional levels of sneak attack in lieu of damage reduction, again emphasizing precision over toughness. –Cúthalion (talk) 09:27, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Prerequisites[edit]

As already mentioned, Combat Expertise is now a prerequisite, and hence Int 13 by extension. However, I cut down on the overall number of prerequisites, focusing on the most essential. In particular, I got rid of the confusing "2 attack" provision, realizing that any character with BAB +6 already gets (at least) 2 attacks. Improved Feint provides an attractive option for the heavily penalized additional attack(s). –Cúthalion (talk) 09:27, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

I'm sure you already know this, but this is great! This PrC has gone from being a tough defensive fighter to a tough tactical defensive fighter. Before the class had the capability to attack in combat. Now the player has to tactically decide how much defense to sacrifice, and whether a fient is worth the bluff check. I will rate this soon after I consider balance, but from my first run through it looks like a solid 9. --Aarnott 11:54, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Rating 9/10[edit]

I give this PrC a 9/10 for the following reasons:

  • It is well balanced with existing material
  • HD, DR, Saves and feats are all well placed within the class.
  • The requirement for entry enhance the feel of the character rather than force a particular build
  • The PrC has good flair [Office Space Joke]at least 35 pieces I might say[/Office Space Joke]
  • There is plenty to do combat-wise with this class --> it doesn't output the same raw damage as other fighter types, nor does it match tank of other fighter types, but it does have tactical options and can adapt to be offensive or defensive. I think this gives players a lot of options that will make it fun to play.
  • It is cool that the class uses faint without a strong sneak attack. It shows a tactical feel to the ability rather than a brute force usage (and I think tha is sweet).

Where it is lacking:

  • I don't really get why the epic version has a larger HD and so many bonus feats as well as DR increases
  • A few of the levels seem even more dead than some of the dead fighter levels. Namely the ones that grant DR. I'm not sure how this could be avoided though. I just don't like the idea of being in a PrC and leveling up and nothing notable happening.
  • Otherwise this class is near (what I think) is the best it can be.

Awesome job on the changes. I's likely going to play one of these soon. --Aarnott 05:57, 4 May 2007 (MDT)

Glad you like it. :) –Cúthalion (talk) 08:49, 5 May 2007 (MDT)
  • A few of the levels seem even more dead than some of the dead fighter levels. Namely the ones that grant DR. I'm not sure how this could be avoided though. I just don't like the idea of being in a PrC and leveling up and nothing notable happening. --Aarnott 05:57, 4 May 2007 (MDT)
I'm curious that you consider DR to be "nothing notable". Isn't that considered a rather significant power? Anyway, if you come up with a more interesting alternative, feel free to implement it. As I indicated above, I'm not wedded to DR as part of the character concept. –Cúthalion (talk) 08:49, 5 May 2007 (MDT)
  • I don't really get why the epic version has a larger HD and so many bonus feats as well as DR increases --Aarnott 05:57, 4 May 2007 (MDT)
Simple answer: I haven't given much thought to the epic levels. I've never played an epic character, and probably never will. The HD is purely accidental. The bonus feats were because I couldn't think of anything more clever. The monk doesn't keep increasing unarmed damage, so I probably shouldn't, either.
I do need to revise this, particularly since AC Bonus is no longer part of the class concept. I'm curious, though. Is it okay to have dead levels for epic levels, but not for non-epic levels? Anyway, I'll make some tweaks, but you're more than welcome to revise it as you see fit. –Cúthalion (talk) 08:49, 5 May 2007 (MDT)
  • Awesome job on the changes. I's likely going to play one of these soon. --Aarnott 05:57, 4 May 2007 (MDT)
Playtesting is the sincerest form of flattery. :) –Cúthalion (talk) 08:49, 5 May 2007 (MDT)
You always make reply formatting tricky :P. After a second look, DR is not that dead of a level. Barbarians have these types of levels. DR is definitely notable, I just don't find it fun to achieve. I like playing wizards for that reason I guess -- there is always something offensive gained each level. Epic levels are practically supposed to be dead. Epic feats are ridiculously powerful and are all that drives an epic character. It is okay of a level 30 to have to wait 2 levels to get another (though it is lame sometimes for a level X to be the same thing as a level X + 1). 130.214.17.20 10:45, 8 May 2007 (MDT)
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