5e Brutal Fighter

Last 3 Edits

Dec 7th, 2018

  • Adjusted the Extra Damage feature.

Dec 9th, 2015. Moved to own page.



You punish your foes with heavy strikes or swift maneuvers that move your enemies around the battlefield. You rely on hitting hard and those with little protection or ability to avoid your strikes, are in for a lot of punishment. Targets with low ACs do not want to face Brutal Fighters. Other titles that may be used for this archetype include: Gladiator, Reaver.

Although many Brutal Fighters adopt two-handed weapons, their stunts work equally well with one-handed weapons and dual-wielders. To truly embrace this concept, one should not get too attached to their weapons, as you can maximise your destruction by breaking and hurling them.

The following feats are popular with Brutal Fighters: Charger, Great Weapon Master, Mobile, Savage Attacker, Tough.


The Brutal Fighter mechanic relies upon the mechanic of 'Raises'. (This is an idea from the Savage Worlds RPG that drove a lot of the development of our B&B system). As a Brutal Fighter you achieve 1 Raise when your weapon attack roll beats a target's AC by 5 or more. You gain an extra Raise for every 5 points difference between the target's AC and your attack roll.

Raises are then 'spent' to perform Stunts. (This idea is adapted from Dragon Age RPG and a system we trialed in place of our Critical Charts). Stunts occur immediately, as part of the Attack action. (They are not saved and you do not need to keep track of them). Certain Stunts require more than one Raise for them to be performed. You can split your Raises across multiple stunts. For example, if you score 2 Raises on one hit, you can perform a stunt requiring 2 Raises OR apply 2 Stunts requiring a single Raise each.

Unlike a lot of other class features and fighter maneuvers that are limited to once per turn, or can only be performed on your turn, Stunts can be performed any time you hit with a weapon. So, in effect, if you roll well, you could perform several Stunts per turn.

If you score Raises on a critical hit and you are using critical hit tables as a house rule, you roll on the critical hit table as normal, and then choose between the critical result or perform the appropriate amount of Stunts. You do not benefit from both. You still deal extra damage from a critical hit plus the effects of your raise.



Beginning at 3rd level when you take this archetype, you can perform any of the following stunts when you get the associated amount of Raises.

Devastating Strike. This cannot be used with a weapon that has the Ammunition property. For every raise, you can choose to have your weapon take a weapon grade break. (With the first grade, the weapon gains the Fragile quality. Each grade thereafter the weapon takes a cumulative -1 damage penalty until repaired. If a weapon reaches -5 damage it is destroyed permanently). For each grade of breakage that you inflict on your weapon, you deal an extra weapon die of damage for this attack. Any damage penalties to the weapon take effect after the devastating strike. (See the Fragile weapon quality in the En5ider article As Good As His Blade).

Extra Damage. For every raise, you add +1d4 to the damage of your attack (up to a total maximum of dice equal to your Constitution modifier; minimum of +1d4).

Knock Back. For every raise you can knock a Large or smaller creature that you hit 5ft away from you. Weapons with any of the ammunition, finesse or light qualities require an extra raise to knock targets back.

Knock Prone. With 2 raises, you knock a creature of size Large or smaller prone. If you are wielding a weapon with the trip property, you can perform this stunt with 1 less raise. Targets with four or more legs or a stable body shape may require extra raises. (See the En5ider article As Good As His Blade for the trip property).

Resounding Blow. With a raise you can leave the target of your attack reeling. The next attack to target the same creature you hit is made with advantage, so long as it is made before the creature's next turn.


Also at 3rd level you gain this feature. Once during your turn when you take the Attack action and drop a target to 0 hit points with a melee weapon attack with a weapon that does not have the finesse or light property, you can use your bonus action to repeat the same attack against another creature within reach. This second attack deals half damage.


Gained at 7th level. Same as the Champion feature (PHB p72).


At 10th level, you can also perform the following stunts:

Follow-Up Attack. If you score 2 raises, you can make another immediate attack with the same weapon and the same bonuses against a different target. For this attack, any melee weapon has the thrown property with a range of 15/30 if you wish to hurl your weapon at another target.

Invigorating Strike. For each raise, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.

Frenetic Attack. On a raise, you can also take the Dash, Dodge or Disengage action.


At 15th level, you can also perform the following stunts:

Foe Shield. On a raise with a melee attack, you maneuver 1 creature of your Size or smaller and within 5ft of you into such a position that the next attack made against you before the start of your next turn,must target this creature. This does not include attacks from the creature acting as your 'shield'.

Partial Critical. On a raise, you can deal a partial critical. (Roll 1d10 and use the first column of the relevant critical chart).

Stunning Strike. For 2 raises, the target of your attack is stunned until the start of your next turn. If you are wielding a weapon that deals bludgeoning damage, you only require 1 raise for this stunt.


At 18th level your Raises are measured in increments of 4, not 5. In addition you can apply the effects of both Stunts and criticals if you score both in a round.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License