The Pugilist

October 8th, 2012

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

            It’s been said—and not infrequently—that there’s one class in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook (and, by extension, the 3rd-edition Player’s Handbook) that isn’t like the others, and doesn’t quite fit in. I’m talking, of course, about the monk. While everything else in the book has a pseudo-medieval-European flavor to it (a comfortable default in fantasy settings), the monk was clearly inspired not by Franciscans or Dominicans, but rather by kung fu movies from the 80’s.

            At the same time, the monk class also holds something close to a monopoly on characters who fight with their fists, which doesn’t seem like a very good fit for the drunken barroom brawlers so commonly found in fantasy settings. And that brings us to a monk archetype designed to represent a character who focuses in fisticuffs, but doesn’t necessarily have the average monk’s background of mental discipline and focus.



New Monk Archetype
The Pugilist


            Alignment: A pugilist can be of any alignment.

            Hit Dice: The pugilist uses a d10 Hit Dice.

            Skills: The pugilist adds Knowledge (local) to his list of class skills, but removes Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (religion). The pugilist gains only 2 + Intelligence modifier skill ranks at each level.

            Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The pugilist is proficient with all simple weapons, and with light armor, but not with shields. Though the pugilist is proficient with light armor, when he is wearing armor of any kind, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a pugilist loses his AC bonus and flurry of blows abilities.

            Flurry of Blows: The pugilist cannot make a flurry of blows with special monk weapons. He may only use this ability with his fists. Otherwise, this functions as the monk class feature flurry of blows.

            Ready for a Fight (Ex): At 3rd level, the pugilist gains a +4 bonus on initiative checks. At 6th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, this bonus improves by +1. This bonus does not stack with the Improved Initiative feat. This ability replaces fast movement.

            Hearty (Ex): A pugilist of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws made to resist the exhausted, fatigued, nauseated, and sickened conditions. This ability replaces the still mind class feature.

            Fighting Spirit (Ex): This is identical to the monk class feature ki pool, except that the maximum number of points in the pool is equal to 1/2 the pugilist’s class level + his Constitution modifier, and at 10th level, instead of treating his unarmed attacks as though they were lawful weapons, he increases the critical multiplier of his unarmed attacks by 1 whenever he makes a ki strike (typically, this would give them a critical multiplier of x3).

            Resilient (Ex): At 4th level, a pugilist gains Endurance and Diehard as bonus feats. This ability replaces the slow fall class feature.

            Athletic (Ex): At 5th level, the pugilist can spend 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action to gain a +10 bonus on any Acrobatics, Climb, or Swim check.

            Balls of Your Feet (Ex): At 5th level, the pugilist is able to move at his full speed whenever he uses Acrobatics to move through a threatened square without provoking attacks of opportunity without increasing the DC of the Acrobatics check. Further, the DC for Acrobatics checks made to avoid attacks of opportunity remains the same, regardless of how many opponents are avoided.

            This ability replaces the high jump class feature.

            Haymaker: At 7th level, the pugilist can make a haymaker attack as a full attack action. When doing so, he makes a single attack that deals more damage than normal, as if using the Vital Strike feat (even if the pugilist doesn’t meet the prerequisites for this feat), except that the attack also deals an additional amount of damage equal to 1/2 his monk level. At 13th and 17th levels, this attack deals more damage, as though the pugilist were using the Improved Vital Strike and Greater Vital Strike feats, respectively (even if he does not meet the prerequisites for those feats).

            The pugilist cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike for this attack. A pugilist with a natural weapon cannot use it as part of a haymaker, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his haymaker attack.

            This ability replaces the wholeness of body, diamond soul, and tongue of sun and moon class features.

            Second Wind (Ex): Beginning at 12th level, the pugilist is able to press on when others would be defeated. When the pugilist is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, or when his nonlethal damage becomes equal to or greater than his current hit point total, he may spend 5 ki points as a free action to gain a number of temporary hit points equal to twice his pugilist level. These hit points last for 10 minutes. The pugilist can use this ability as many times per day as he likes, as long as he has enough ki points, but must wait at least 10 minutes between each use of this ability.

            This ability replaces the abundant step class feature.

            Knockout Punch (Ex): Starting at 15th level, a pugilist can deliver a devastating blow capable of laying an opponent low with a single punch. As a full-attack action, he may make a single attack with his unarmed strike. If the attack hits, in addition to dealing normal damage, the target must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the pugilist’s monk level + the pugilist’s Strength modifier) or immediately take an amount of nonlethal damage equal to its maximum hit points.

            This nonlethal damage isn’t subject to damage reduction or other effects that would reduce the amount of damage taken, but if the target is immune to nonlethal damage, it has no effect. Creatures that have nonlethal damage in excess of their current hit points immediately fall unconscious.

            The pugilist can use this ability three times per day. This ability replaces the quivering palm class feature.

            Distraction (Ex): At 19th level, as a swift action, a pugilist can spend 3 points from his ki pool to attempt to distract his foe, either with a feint, or by fooling him into turning his attention elsewhere. The pugilist makes a Bluff check to feint the opponent (as described under the Bluff skill in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook), and adds his monk level to the result of his check (the DC remains the same).

            This ability replaces the empty body class feature.