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the Pugilist Class

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With nothing but their wits, will, and fists, pugilists lay it all on the table every time they’re in for a scrap. No strangers to adversity, pugilists can dish it out, take a licking and still keep coming back for more. A pugilist’s unbreakable spirit and talent for fisticuffs don’t come from rigorous training or high minded philosophies but are the hard won trophies of never backing down from a fight no matter the odds.

All pugilists belong to a Fight Club, an informal fraternity of brawlers with similar style, that shapes the way they fight. Fight Clubs included in the full version of the Pugilist class are: Arena Royale, Bloodhound Bruisers, Dog & Hound, Hand of Dread, Piss & Vinegar, the Squared Circle, and the Sweet Science. Whether you’re interested in playing an adventuring luchador, a boxer fighting the good fight, or a hard-nosed detective with a penchant for pugilism, these Fight Clubs have you covered!

What's New in the Adamantine Update?

June 2019 marks the Pugilist class' 3rd anniversary on the DM's Guild. We celebrated the occasion by adding new content to the Pugilist:

  • New background prompts and personaltiy quirks to help you build your next Pugilist character.
  • A new fight club, the Hand of Dread.

You can find a free trial version of the class here.

Our friend Emmet Byrne created a character sheet specifically for use with the Pugilist class. You can get that here.

Like the Pugilist class? You can find other Sterling Vermin products on DM's Guild!

 
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Reviews (19)
Discussions (112)
Customer avatar
Dennis G February 23, 2020 8:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Question, might be dumb but I need to ask.
Can the pugilist be used in 5e ? it says 3.5v but I dont know if it's for the class itself or the version of dnd its ment for
Customer avatar
Benjamin H February 23, 2020 10:07 pm UTC
CREATOR
Oh gosh, I can see how that might be confusing. This class is explicitly written for 5e but it's gone through many iterations and updates and is currently on its own version 3.5. Sorry for the confusion!
Customer avatar
Doug R February 20, 2020 2:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
Question! Brace Up, short rest to get the Moxie point back - is it intended for me to keep the temp HP after the short rest?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H February 23, 2020 10:08 pm UTC
CREATOR
It is. If you have the time to kill, you can start off your adventuring day with a free use of Brace Up.
Customer avatar
Michael G February 08, 2020 5:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
I really love fist fighters, and one of my favorite subtypes is a holy fist fighter. Do you think the next Fight Club could be a Pugilistic Priest?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H February 15, 2020 2:52 am UTC
CREATOR
I run a Patreon where my backers get access to a monthly exclusive and I just so happen to have written a divinely empowered Fight Club for them. Come pledge and check it out!
Customer avatar
Bert M January 10, 2020 7:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is an awesome supplement and I really look forward to putting it to use soon. I have a few questions about the design if you have a sec:

1. For the Dog and Hound, it mentions that you can use your bonus action to give it one of that list of commands. It doesn't mention the dog moving (other than to dash) so when would the dog's movement happen on a regular turn? I've not played with a beastmaster ranger yet so I'm not sure of the typical conventions for an animal companion or if the pugilist's dog is mechanically different.

2. For hound's best friend, would the dog taking damage from things such as a fireball or vicious mockery (saving throw spells) count as attacks for the reaction?

3. How would you as a DM flavor the dog getting 'beefed up' so to speak with the level 17 subclass ability? Also, because the subclass doesn't mention the ability to re-summon the same dog like a ranger would after one is killed, would you impose any sort of restrictions in terms of a high...See more
Customer avatar
Doug R December 13, 2019 1:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just wanted to say thanks for this - it's one of very few homebrew classes I've seen that I wish DNDBeyond would look at adding to their setup or allow us to add (if they ever FINALLY add the ability to create classes).
Customer avatar
Jared V December 08, 2019 2:46 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". As a player who reads that. I expected this to be a damage dealing ability, but in fact is not. You just regain 1 moxie point back. Constructive criticism from me would be to completely change this feature as it doesn't really have a use.
Customer avatar
Steven C December 08, 2019 4:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
It looks like you're reading abilities without actually thinking about what they say.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee: You are effectively using cross-counter. What does "cross counter" do? It allows you to reduce damage and also, conditionally, make another attack. It also gives you another moxie point. What do moxie points do? They allow you to make additional attacks. How? via "One Two Tree Floor" and "The Old One-Two".

If your modifiers don't increase, how else can you deal more damage? Do more attacks.
Customer avatar
Jared V December 08, 2019 2:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm missing something here, please clarify. From what I've read about the class it seems like you have plenty of attacks, but they're weak. You roll 1d6 for your unarmed attack and that's it. I see the dice changes as you level but what other attack bonuses do you have. None of the subclasses really stand out to me for laying down the hurt. Again, I feel as though I'm misunderstanding this class.
Customer avatar
Steven C December 08, 2019 4:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You spend moxie points and reactions to do more damage, also see the answer to your other question.
Customer avatar
David F January 07, 2020 7:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Most of the damage boosts are in the base class. Haymaker uses the max of the damage die, Down But Not Out allows you to add full proficiency to the damage. The other thing is that the class has a lot more to do with being hard to drop than dealing an explosive amount of damage (though it still deals a decent amount). As far as a specific subclass adding to the damage dealt, I'd say look to Bloodhound Bruiser (which can get advantage against an opponent which works with Haymakers), Dread Hand (which boosts your damage per hit), and Sweet Science which can get 5 attacks a turn and knock people prone.
Customer avatar
Niko S December 04, 2019 5:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Iron Chin rule question. If I were to play a lizardfolk pugilist, who have natural armour 13+dex and Iron Chin gives 12+con, how would that end up? Would it be 15+con (natural + iron chin + con) or 13+con or dex, or would it be a choice between natural armour or Iron Chin?
Customer avatar
Richard S December 05, 2019 4:55 am UTC
PURCHASER
You would have to choose between 13+dex or 12+con
Customer avatar
Richard S November 02, 2019 6:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love the pugilist! Had my hands on a pirated copy of the pdf and never used it, but now that I have the chance in an upcoming campaign I noticed a difference between Iron Chin in the different versions. I like the new version, but one problem I have with it is that it reduces the usefulness of any magical light armor you find unless your dex is equal to your con in comparison to the older version. I probably sound a little entitled, but would it be possible to also have the option for replacing dex with con in AC calculations?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H November 02, 2019 4:47 pm UTC
CREATOR
Can you clarify that? Why would the usefulness of magical light armor be any less?
Customer avatar
Richard S November 02, 2019 5:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The new text of iron chin is that you can replace your ac calculation with 12 + con. if you make a 12 dex 16 con pugilist you have a +1 and +3 mod respectively. That's 15 ac for the pugilist. Say said pugilist finds +1 studded leather. You would have to make the choice between using the armor calculation (12 + 1 + 1 = 14) or the iron chin calculation (12 + 3 = 15). In older versions the pugilist could wear the armor like this: (12 + 1 + 3 = 16).
Customer avatar
Benjamin H November 03, 2019 12:21 am UTC
CREATOR
I don't know how much older the version you were looking at was but it was never intended that you would add both Dexterity mod and Con mod to AC.
Customer avatar
Richard S November 03, 2019 2:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
I am referring to replacing dex with con. So wearing normal leather armor would give 11 + con, rather than 11 + dex
Customer avatar
David F November 03, 2019 6:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Basically, in older versions you could get +1 studded leather (13) + con mod and the like. Now it is always either 12+con or armor worn (say the aforementioned 13) + dex mod.
Customer avatar
Benjamin H November 03, 2019 11:25 pm UTC
CREATOR
Because wearing magic armor gives an AC boost it still applies even with Iron Chin. Leather studded armor +1 isn't AC 13 + Dexterity modifier it's AC 12 + Dexterity modifier + 1. It's the same logic with Iron Chin. You have AC 12 + Constitution modifier due to Iron Chin then if you have magic armor it's bonuses are added as normal.
Customer avatar
David F November 17, 2019 2:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I am not convinced that works with RAW. 5th Edition uses armor calculations for determining AC, if you wear armor your AC calculation is armor value + dex + enhancement bonus. Iron Chin gives its own AC calculation that has no mention of working with the enhancement bonus of armor worn. If you wished for it to be the way you are looking for it to be you need to spell it out.
Customer avatar
Darius V October 23, 2019 4:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
"Unarmed. When you make an unarmed attack you can choose to deal the damage of this weapon instead of your normal unarmed attack damage."
So is this property of these simple melee weapons only really meant to benefit Monks and Pugilist? Does this really serve any benefits on other classes? Has making any one of these finesse ever come in mind?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H October 25, 2019 3:04 am UTC
CREATOR
No, those weapons are actually more beneficial for other classes than Pugilist and Monk (who will get to deal good damage unarmed anyway). I can't really picture what brawling aid would also use finesse but I'm not ideologically opposed to the idea.
Customer avatar
Darius V October 25, 2019 3:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Can you explain how the "Unarmed" property benefits other classes? I'm not sure what practical use it would really give for most classes (except for Pugilist and Monk). You still have to use the hand space for these items which makes them the equivalent of weapons and at that point why not just attack with the weapon (ex. Fighter or Barbarian or Bard etc, just hits you with a Brass Knuckle instead of using an unarmed strike, because why would they?) rather than use the "Unarmed" Property on these items? I can see how it really benefits a Monk or Pugilist as they have bonus action attacks that state "You must make a unarmed strike" which means you could then use one of these Simple Weapons damage + magical properties whereas if you just used your fist it would not add the magical part.
Customer avatar
Darius V October 25, 2019 3:18 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also I was thinking a hand claw maybe could work for some type of finesse item, as an example.
Customer avatar
Micah P September 06, 2019 1:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
I haven't played this class yet, but I love the flavor of the Pugilist. At first glance, it seems a little fragile for a melee-exclusive character. Is that intentional? How would the class change if you bumped the hit die to a d10? Or having the moxie points equal the pugilist level? Would that mess with the in game balance too much?
Customer avatar
Micah P September 06, 2019 3:03 am UTC
PURCHASER
One other thing, is there any particular reason you have Iron Chin as 12+Con rather than an Unarmored Defense that more nearly matched the Barbarian?
Customer avatar
Justin G October 27, 2019 4:32 am UTC
PURCHASER
Pugilists are supposed to get a great deal of durability thanks to their "bulk up" ability which grants them a bunch of temp HP. also pugilists get more moxie than you think, they get a short rest ability to regain all their moxie when they hit half HP, effectively giving them moxie equal to their pugilist level.
Customer avatar
Nick D August 10, 2019 5:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
Been playing the class for a few months now, absolutely having a ball with it. Just hit level 5 last session, just wanted to clarify something on Haymakers. Where it says you make all weapon attack rolls with disadvantage, does this also include unarmed strikes?
Customer avatar
Steven C August 10, 2019 3:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Yes. Wouldn't be a very good trade off if you didn't actually suffer a negative effect. For the most part I end up using it only when I have advantage, then it's just a normal attack roll.
Customer avatar
Benjamin H August 10, 2019 6:03 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes, it includes unarmed strikes.
Customer avatar
David F August 23, 2019 11:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
In my campaign we've been reading haymaker as always being at disadvantage even if you have advantage on the attack. Is this the correct way to do this or should they be canceling each other out as normal?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H August 25, 2019 3:08 pm UTC
CREATOR
The disadvantage caused by Haymakers follows all the normal rules for disadvantage and advantage, so if you use Haymaker but have advantage on your attacks the advantage and disadvantage cancel one another (you still get the damage benefit of using Haymaker though).
Customer avatar
Logan B August 07, 2019 6:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Does the Squared Circle have a modified grapple? Since they are a ground specialist or is it the normal grapple?
Customer avatar
Steven C August 10, 2019 3:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why would they need modified grapple? Is there some limitation of the normal grapple you don't like?
Customer avatar
Benjamin H August 10, 2019 6:05 pm UTC
CREATOR
Most of their features modify grappling in some way. Other than the ways those features explicitly state, no.
Customer avatar
Dan H July 24, 2019 5:35 am UTC
PURCHASER
Man do I love this class, and the new subclasses just make it better and better. It's actually kind of funny how I was thinking up a custom subclass to give them Warlock, pact-based powers and suddenly I don't have to! Absolutely love this. Maybe next up you can think of a Captain America shield-bearer type of Pugilist? Or maybe something more along the druidic lines? Partial Wild Shaper who transforms portions of their body for animal-like abilities? Hell, maybe a proper 'Penitent Pummeler' whose Paladin-like powers let them wrestle Fiends into submission? I can't wait to see how much more this class can evolve, and look forward to continue allowing it in my own home games.
Customer avatar
Steven T July 15, 2019 6:37 pm UTC
I don't understand why people would play Monk if the Pugilist is a thing. The unarmed damage and Unarmored defense is just better for Pugilist than Monk's
Customer avatar
Benjamin H July 16, 2019 11:00 pm UTC
CREATOR
Stunning Strikes is probably the single most powerful feature in 5e. In exchange for not being able to stun an enemy 20 times per short rest, the Pugilist deals am average of +1 damage per hit over the Monk.

I have no idea what you mean about Iron Chin v Unarmored Defense since the later is going to always be equal to or higher.
Customer avatar
Devin B September 04, 2019 5:52 pm UTC
Alright cool I didn't know if you thought the class was weak or not, glad you at least recognize that it has little to compare to monk.
Customer avatar
Steven T November 20, 2019 4:42 am UTC
Sorry for such late reply but I realize now that each class is actually fairly even. Monk is more defensive while Pugilist is very offense oriented.

And the Unarmored Defense v Iron Chin argument was focusing on the fact Pugilist gets HP and defense from it, but after seeing it in action, it's not as troublesome as I initially thought. I apologize for making the initial statement.

Flavor-wise, I still feel that pugilist has a clear advantage over monk.
Customer avatar
David F June 26, 2019 2:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
For Deal with the Devil, are you using pugilist level for the prerequisites of certain invocations or does it only get to choose ones that don't have level prerequisites?
Customer avatar
C… S June 27, 2019 5:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also, does the Tomb of Levistus invocation count your pugilist level rather than warlock level? (I'd assume so, but you should specify in the text)
Also also, you need to define the spell save DC for Mask of Many Faces and Misty Visions.
Customer avatar
Benjamin H July 16, 2019 10:56 pm UTC
CREATOR
Your Pugilist level counts for the prerequisites.

And thanks for those other pointers - when this gets revised I will address those issues.
Customer avatar
Matt F September 23, 2019 10:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
It would be useful to clarify the list of useable invocations also. Assumption is that those related to the warlock pacts would be off-limits? Such as Aspects of the Moon.

Love your work, wish it could be incorporated into dndbeyond!
Customer avatar
Matt F September 23, 2019 7:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Also, where a spell such as Signs of Ill Omen is cast using a warlock spell slot, how does this scale with the pugilist level? I know these will be addressed in an update, just wanted to highlight them.
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Adamantine seller
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on June 06, 2016.