The Pugilist, 2nd Revised Draft

Pucker up, buttercups!

The 2nd revision of the pugilist is in bringing nearly as dramatic of changes as the first revision brought to the original! Here are some of the highlights of the biggest changes that have made in the 2nd revision:

  • The pugilist went from a d12 Hit Dice and having the Unarmored Defense feature to a d8 Hit Dice and not having the Unarmored Defense feature. Have I gone mad!? Maybe. I’m debating giving them back their d12 HD or at least a d10.
  • You can now spend Moxie to gain temporary hit dice as a bonus action AND you get Moxie back whenever you lose hit points. These changes in combination with one another means that the pugilist’s defense is now very active and he gets to play to offense or defense but not really both at the same time.
  • The Bloodied but Unbowed level dependent features switched places so the pugilist wasn’t the heaviest hitter in the game at level 3.
  • Dig Deep is another defensive tool the pugilist has now though it comes at a steep price.
  • Haymaker got a new ability so it’s not just a copy-and-pasted monk ability. Yay! Again it plays into the pugilist’s active offense / active defense divide.
  • The Sweet Science archetype was heavily revised so as to be the baddest mother around and not far and away the baddest mother beyond any bad mother that’s ever mothered badly.

So if you’ve got nothing better to do this Valentine’s Day, let the pugilist sock you right on the kisser.

Hey there! If you’re just reading this for the first time, or you’re reading it again, you will be happy to know that the full version of the Pugilist class is now available as a Pay What You Want product on DM’s Guild! Older versions of the class have been removed from the blog to comply with the rules regarding content posted to the DM’s Guild – you can find the full class here!

the Pugilist, Final Version

And don’t forget, if you love the pugilist you can become a Patreon backer for only $1 a month to get exclusive content! Pledge $5 or more and you’ll get access to pugilist changes before they go public and you’ll get to vote on the final three pugilist archetypes!

Join the Sterling Vermin Adventuring Co.!

5 thoughts on “The Pugilist, 2nd Revised Draft

  1. I’m absolutely loving this class. However, I was looking at the moxie trait and I’m a bit curious. How have you found the regaining of Moxie points once you lose your real HP bar synergize with Brace Up? I know its easy to hit because of the low armor class, but it just seems too strong on paper.
    Also, have you considered upping the cost of some of the Moxie abilities? Most of the abilities use only 1 charge, so usually you’ll use 2 each round (bonus action, reaction).


  2. In general I think pugilists will have less moxie to work with than monks have ki. Since I imagine most adventurers take short rests after every fight (5e isn’t built with that assumption but it doesn’ t do a great job of conveying its assumptions about encounters per day or providing incentives to stick to that schedule) this means most of the time the monk will have more ki to spend in a fight than the pugilist will have moxie. During long protracted fights the pugilist might pull ahead, but that’s rare.

    I don’t think any of the moxie abilities as written are worth spending 2 moxie points. A moxie ability might show up at some point that costs 2 moxie points but I am not sure I will make it an intention to write. It sounds like you’re saying you feel that would be necessary if the pugilist’s moxie pool is too often surpassing the monk’s ki pool?


    1. It says that the pugilist also gets moxie back at a short rest, which is why I’m thinking they have this endless supply of resources. That’s why I was worried about the whole moxie vs ki regeneration thing. You make a good point on the cost of moxie. I was just thinking of the mid fight moxie regen might warrant higher cost on some skills. I hadn’t tried out the class in fights at that point.

      I have however, tried it in a few “sim” fights now. I fully agree with you on the moxie point above: “he gets to play to offense or defense but not really both at the same time”. I’m not so worried about the whole moxie vs ki anymore, but this was only fights on level 2 and 3.

      Either way, looking forward to my players running around in town as the thugs for a change.


  3. First off, I love this idea so much. I’ve really been bummed that 5e didn’t have a more brawler-y unarmed combatant. That said, this class seems to be extraordinarily weak defensively. Monks have the same low HD, but make up for it with great AC. Brace Up just doesn’t cut it defensively. When an enemy is doing 30+ damage in a round, spending your limited resource to get a few THP each round isn’t helping.

    The bigger issue is that this class is super MAD. You need a very high Dex to have any sort of AC, but you can only attack with Strength and your class features often depend on Con. Compare that to monks, who can use Dex for attack and defense and only need a middling Wis and Con. I’d recommend giving them medium armor, so that you can stop raising Dex at 14 and focus on the Str/Con vibe they have going. Just my 2cp


    1. Thanks for the comment! There are already a few changes that have been implemented behind the scenes to boost pugilist AC (although it’s still not a high AC class), address the MAD issue, and a very slight damage output to make up for its reduced AC. My Patreon backers have already voted on 1 of the final 3 archetypes and once the votes are in on the last two, and I’ve written them up, I will do one last public feedback before producing the final version!


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