Iconic Design: The Noblest of Brawlers

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for Alex’s noble brawler build, which was first mentioned on the 7/19 episode of the Private Sanctuary Podcast.

Hello, everyone!

Since James and I just did the brawler for the Private Sanctuary Podcast’s latest class features segment, I thought that it might be fun if I shared my brawler build with everyone today, since I am SUPER hype about it.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Build Concept

Here’s the basic stats for the build.

  • Trait: Child of Kintargo is the centerpiece of this build. From the Hell’s Rebels’ guide, it makes my character part of one of Cheliax’s ten major noble houses if I take Noble Scion at 1st level. But on a brawler? Challenge accepted, PFS. One important thing to note is that in PFS, the GM boon that unlocks the ability to pick Child of Kintargo gives you that trait as a bonus trait, so my brawler actually has three traits (this, heirloom weapon, and affable).
  • Brawler: I ended up picking this class because of its ability to spontaneously grab feats. Also, because the idea of a noble who was a brawler was hilarious.
  • Exemplar: One of the toughest things to decide on when taking the Noble Scion feat was, “What type of scion should I be?” The feat gives you a choice between about a half-dozen types of noble, and none of them really work for the brawler. That said, one of them gives you 3 bonus ranks of bardic performance if you have that class feature, and the exemplar archetype HAS bardic performance for all prerequisites and effects. So I took the exemplar archetype so my noble splendor could inspire the rabble.
  • And that’s the basics of my brawler build. Let’s pop into the early levels and see what they’re like.

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: brawler (exemplar) 7
  • Traits: Child of Kintargo, Heirloom Weapon
  • Feats: Noble Scion (1st), Power Attack (Bonus), Quick Draw (3rd), Dirty Fighting (Bonus), Practiced Tactician (5th), Weapon Focus (7th)
  • Abilities: brawler’s cunning, brawler’s flurry (Two-Weapon Fighting), call to arms, field instruction (1/day), inspire courage, inspiring prowess, knockout 1/day, martial flexibility (swift), martial training

This build isn’t super complicated. You take heirloom weapon with a one-handed monk weapon that you like (I picked the nine-ring broadsword because it looks cool) and take Noble Scion: scion of the arts. You take Power Attack as your first bonus feat and Quick Draw as your 3rd level feat. But why?

Shield juggling.

The exemplar loses out on the brawler AC bonus, meaning he’s somewhat squishy compared to an ordinary brawler. We can make up for that by shield juggling. Basically, you take a quickdraw shield and the Quick Draw feat, which allows you to stow or draw your shield as a free action when used together. With this combo, you start the round with your shield out, stow it as a free action before you attack, switch to two-handing your one-handed weapon as a free action, make your attacks, then switch back to one-handing your one-handed weapon and drawing your shield back out as a free action. It’s a super fun, super cool, imagery-heavy fighting style that has a sort of anime / cinematic feel to it.

I like picking up as many feats as possible that let me step into more feats using martial flexibility, so I took Dirty Fighting. Dirty Fighting will let me pick up virtually any combat maneuver feat that I want, whenever I want it, as it counts as meeting a bunch of combat maneuver feat prerequisites. I also grabbed Practiced Tactician because you really don’t get that many uses of this archetye’s tactician-style ability, and the power to take a teamwork feat with martial flexibility and share it with field instruction is both super cool and super good.

Let’s move on to the mid levels and see how this build progresses.

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: brawler (exemplar) 14
  • Traits: Child of Kintargo, Heirloom Weapon
  • Feats: Noble Scion (1st), Power Attack (Bonus), Quick Draw (3rd), Dirty Fighting (Bonus), Practiced Tactician (5th), Weapon Focus (7th), Weapon Specialization (Bonus), Greater Weapon Focus (9th), Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Lingering Performance (11th), Extra Martial Flexibility (13th), Improved Critical (Bonus)
  • Abilities: brawler’s cunning, brawler’s flurry (Improved Two-Weapon Fighting), call to arms, field instruction (3/day), inspire courage, inspire greatness, inspiring prowess, knockout 2/day, martial flexibility (immediate), martial training

Aside from picking up Lingering Performance at 11th level, this build mostly looks like any other two-handed fighter build. Its pretty straightforward, some extra boosts to our pseudo-tactician and bardic performance abilities.

I don’t think there’s much to talk about here that a general brawler dossier doesn’t cover. Moving on to the endgame….

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: brawler (exemplar) 20
  • Traits: Child of Kintargo, Heirloom Weapon
  • Feats: Noble Scion (1st), Power Attack (Bonus), Quick Draw (3rd), Dirty Fighting (Bonus), Practiced Tactician (5th), Weapon Focus (7th), Weapon Specialization (Bonus), Greater Weapon Focus (9th), Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Lingering Performance (11th), Extra Martial Flexibility (13th), Improved Critical (Bonus), Practiced Tactician (15th), Dodge (Bonus), Greater Weapon Specialization (17th), Practiced Tactician (19th), FREEBIE (Bonus)
  • Abilities: awesome blow, brawler’s cunning, brawler’s flurry (Greater Two-Weapon Fighting), call to arms, field instruction (4/day), improved awesome blow, inspire courage, inspire greatness, inspire heroics, inspiring prowess, knockout 3/day, martial flexibility (immediate), martial training,

 

Endgame for the exemplar also isn’t very surprising. Like most brawler builds, the trick is to pick up things that are always useful as your normal feats, then grab things that are situationaly useful with martial flexibility. So for that reason, this is a mostly straightforward build and I’m pretty chill with that myself.

So, what did you think? What would you have done differently if you were building a noble brawler? Is this something you would try? Leave your answers and comments below, and I’ll see you back here in two weeks for another installment of Iconic Design! Take care.

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC. If you like Alex's writing and are interested in supporting him while getting professional-quality material for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game while doing so, check out the Everyman Gaming, LLC catalog, which is listed under Rogue Genius Games at the following locations: http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6101/Rogue-Genius-Games/subcategory/19574_25289/Everyman-Gaming-Catalog

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3 Comments

  1. Alex, what is the point of the shield juggling? Are you giving yourself your shield bonus on the same round that you made a two-handed attack? If a person with a buckler loses their shield bonus until their next turn when they use their shield arm to attack, I don’t see how your Brawler would not have the same limitation.

    (Sorry to be a killjoy twice in a row.)

  2. Hey 🙂
    For a 15 points but do you have an advice for this build?

    Thanks you !

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