[HR - Class] the Pugilist

From the ranks of the common folk, a hero sometimes arises who is neither a soldier, nor a sorcerer, but a man of his fists. Whether trained in a martial arts school, experienced in the bloodsports common in rowdy taverns, or master of the bar-room brawl, the pugilist lives by the fist. He never donned heavy mail or trained with a sword. Instead, he learned the art and practice of wrestling and bare-hand fighting. The haughty tyrant or blade-wielding bully underestimate him. He then rewards their hubris with a well-aimed fist to their sneering faces.


Requirement: Strength 9 or better.

Prime Requisite: Strength.


Class Build

(see the ACKS Player's Companion)

Hit Dice 1 (500XP): 1d6 hit dice.

Fighting 1b (500XP): as a thief; however:

  • Armor selection remains at Narrow - leather armor or lighter.
  • Weapon selection reduced from Broad to Restricted - club, dagger, sling, whip: 3 powers.
  • Fighting styles: reduced to two weapons only: 1 power.

Thievery 2 (1,400XP): 5 skills traded into 5 powers.


XP for level 2: 1,400XP


Powers: 4 at level 1; 2 traded for powers at levels 2, 4, 9; 1 traded to levels 5 and 9; another 1 traded to levels 5 and 9.


level 1: 4 powers

level 2: 1 power

level 4: 1 power

level 5: 2 power

level 9: 3 powers


Power progression:


Level 1:

Combat Trickery (Wrestling).

Fists of Iron: fist/fist attack routine at 1d3-1 each. At level 5, can harm creatures invulnerable to non-magical weapons (i.e. counts as a "magical" attack). Counts as 2 powers.

Legwork: as Blade-Dancing.


Level 2:

Fists of Iron 1d4-1/1d4-1


Level 4:

Fists of Iron 1d6-1/1d6-1


Level 5:

Swashbuckling (stacks with Blade-dancing); AC +1; total AC +2.

Also, as noted above, consider the pugilist's unarmed attacks as "Magical" for the purpose of harming monsters; no additional power cost (subsumed in Fists of Iron).


Level 7:

As noted above, the Legwork and Swashbuckling bonuess to AC increases to +2 each; no additional power cost (subsumed in Legwork). Total AC bonus +4.


Level 9:

Fists of Iron 1d8-1/1d8-1

Fighting Fury: at will, the character can enter a fighting fury. While furious, the character gains a +2 bonus to damage rolls and becomes immune to fear. However, the character cannot retreat from combat. Once it has begun, a fighting fury cannot be ended until combat ends. Counts as 2 powers.


Level 13:

As noted above, the Legwork and Swashbuckling bonuses to AC increases to +3 each; no additional power cost (subsumed in Legwork). Total AC bonus +6.

This is a great class! I might use it.


Great class.  Only suggestion would be to replace  swashbuckling with combat trickery(incapacitate) as it fits the idea of a pugilist.  Any character can take swashbuckling as a proficiciency.  Allowing a charachter to take 3 bonus to AC while unarmored (with an additional one through a proficciency) might be too overpowered.  


On the other hand, remember that the Pugilist cannot use armor beyond Leather and is a front-line combatant. Characters with cheap armor will have a better AC, not to mention magical armor at higher levels.