Build of the Week: The Cantina Brawler

This build was partially inspired by the talk of fighting defensively on the latest episode of the Order 66 Podcast, and partially from a request to put together a Chadra-Fan martial artist for a new player. I sat down and went through several build ideas before being struck by this one.

This build makes full use of the oft underused tactic of fighting defensively. For clarities sake, I’m going to run through the rules on that again. Fighting defensively is a standard action. It gives you a +2 dodge bonus to your Reflex Defense. If you give up taking any attacks, including attacks of opportunity, this dodge bonus increases to +5. Continuing to fight defensively takes a standard action each new round. If you’re training in the Acrobatics skill, the bonuses increase to +5 and +10 respectively.

Without further ado:

The Cantina Brawler

Species: Chadra-Fan. This build could make good use of any small race, but the Chadra-Fan is being used to illustrative purposes. While the small characters might not deal as much damage with their melee attacks, they have some advantages due to their size, namely the size bonus to their Reflex Defense. Instead of overcoming the size penalties, this build seeks to embrace the advantages of the smaller size.

Starting Abilities

Strength 10

Dexterity 16

Constitution 12

Intelligence 13

Wisdom 12

Charisma 10

Trained Skills

Acrobatics (trained at level 4)

Climb

Initiative

Jump

Perception

Level Progression

Level 1 – Soldier 1

Starting Feats: Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)

Level 1 Feat: Martial Arts I – Even though you don’t do as much damage with your unarmed strikes as your bigger counterparts, you still want to keep your damage up to stay effective in a fight. Also, the +1 dodge bonus to Reflex Defense doesn’t hurt either. Remember, dodge bonuses stack.

Level 1 Soldier Talent: Counterpunch – This talent gives you a free attack of opportunity when an adjacent opponent attacks you as long as you are fighting defensively. That’s right: attacks you. Not hits you, not deals damage to you, but attacks you. This means you don’t get the big bonus to your Reflex Defense if you’re taking these attacks, but that’s a story for a different feat.

Level 2 – Soldier 2

Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat: Combat Reflexes – This feat gives you a number of attacks of opportunity each round equal to your Dexterity modifier. This means, if you position yourself correctly, you could be getting several of these each round, though in exchange for giving up your standard action.

Level 3 – Soldier 3

Level 3 Feat: Dodge – This feat gives you a straight up +1 dodge bonus to your Reflex Defense against a single opponent that you designate.

Level 3 Soldier Talent: Nimble Dodge – This talent gives you two free squares of movement whenever an opponent misses you with a melee attack, with the caveat that you end your movement adjacent to the enemy. This gives you some extra movement when your opponents miss you as well as letting you get inside the defenses of enemies with longer reach.

Level 4 – Soldier 3/Scoundrel 1

Ability Score Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Intelligence

Level 1 Scoundrel Feat: Point Blank Shot – While you’re not going to be getting any benefit from this feat, it does satisfy one of the feat requirements for the Elite Trooper prestige class.

Level 1 Scoundrel Talent:  Skirmisher – This talent gives you a +1 bonus to your attack rolls as long as you end your movement in a different square from where you started.

Level 5 – Soldier 3/Scoundrel 2

Level 2 Scoundrel Bonus Feat: Mobility – This feat gives you a +5 dodge bonus to your Reflex Defense against attacks of opportunity. This helps you avoid the same kind of tactic that you use.

Level 6 – Solder 4/Scoundrel 2

Level 6 Feat: Martial Arts II – Not only does this push a little more damage into your corner, but it bumps your Reflex Defense up another point.

Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat: Melee Defense – This feat lets you trade points of your attack bonus for a like increase in your Reflex Defense, which can make for a great frustrating tactic should you want to just stand in the middle of the group and draw enemy attacks.

Level 7 – Soldier 5/Scoundrel 2

Level 5 Soldier Talent: Cantina Brawler – This talent gives you a +2 bonus on unarmed attack and damage rolls as long as you’re flanked, giving you incentive to jump into the middle of enemies with abandon.

Level 8 – Soldier 6/Scoundrel 2

Ability Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 6 Soldier Bonus Feat: Weapon Focus (simple weapons) – This feat gives you a straight up +1 bonus to your attack rolls with simple weapons, including your unarmed attacks.

Level 9 – Soldier 7/Scoundrel 2

Level 9 Feat: Martial Arts III –  Not only does this push a little more damage into your corner, but it bumps your Reflex Defense up another point.

Level 7 Soldier Talent: Weapon Specialization (simple weapons) – This talent gives you a straight up +2 to damage rolls with simple weapons, including your unarmed attacks.

Level 10 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2

Level 8 Soldier Bonus Feat: Whirlwind Attack – This feat gives you another tactic for when you jump in the middle of a group of enemies, allowing you to strike every opponent within your reach.

Level 11 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 1

Level 1 Elite Trooper Talent: Greater Weapon Focus (simple weapons) – This talent gives you another straight up +1 bonus on attack rolls with simple weapons, including unarmed attacks.

Level 12 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 2

Ability Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 12 Feat: Tae-Jitsu Training – While the standard benefit of Tae-Jitsu training may seem kind of ho-hum, the main benefit of this comes from the ability to use your Dodge feat against multiple opponents.

Level 13 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 2/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 1 Martial Arts Master Talent: Tae-Jitsu Expertise – This talent allows you to, once per turn, compare your unarmed attack roll against your target’s Fortitude Defense. Success moves the opponent -1 step on the condition track. Now you see the reasoning behind all of the attack bonuses.

Level 14 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 3/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 3 Elite Trooper Talent: Teras Kasi Basics – This talent throws some more damage in your corner, adding another die of damage with your unarmed attacks.

Level 15 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 4/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 15 Feat: Opportunistic Retreat – This feat allows you to move up to half your speed instead of taking an attack of opportunity when one is provoked, giving you more chances at free movement in battle. Moving this way doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

Level 16 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 5/Martial Arts Master 1

Ability Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 5 Elite Trooper Talent: Greater Weapon Specialization (simple weapons) – This talent gives you another straight up +2 damage to your damage rolls with simple weapons, including unarmed attacks.

Level 17 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 6/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 18 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 7/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 18 Feat: Slippery Maneuver – This feat allows you to apply your Dodge feat against another opponent. If I’m correct in my assumptions, this stacks with the extra opponent from the Tae-Jitsu Training feat, making it three enemies you can apply your Dodge feat against. Also, you can withdraw your full speed against the target of your Dodge feat.

Level 7 Elite Trooper Talent: Unarmed Parry – This talent lets you negate an incoming melee attack by making an unarmed attack against your opponent’s attack roll. Multiple parry attempts only give a -2 penalty to the parry rolls instead of the normal -5 penalty for talents like Block and Deflect.

Level 19 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 8/Martial Arts Master 1

Level 20 – Soldier 8/Scoundrel 2/Elite Trooper 9/Martial Arts Master 1

Ability Increases: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

Level 9 Elite Trooper Talent: Unarmed Counterstrike – This talent gives you one step greater, giving you the opportunity to throw an elbow into an opponent’s gut after blocking an incoming attack roll.

So there you have it. Expect more of these in the near future, Gamer Nation. Until then.

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