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D&D: Watch A Grappling Subclass Get Designed In One Short Video

2 Minute Read
Sep 26 2018

As part of D&D Beyond’s 1-Year Anniversary Celebration, Mike Mearls joins their stream for a special edition of the Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour. So come watch as the Creative Director of D&D talks wrestling, then makes a wrestler in 5th Edition right before your eyes.

Now that D&D Beyond is a year gone by, they’re settling in to not only promoting their character/rules app, they’re figuring out the kind of community they want to build. Whether it’s videos and interviews with the Dungeons and Dragons creators, or prominent members of the hobby, there’s a lot of content to be found. And as part of their celebration, they brought Mike Mearls, creative director for Dungeons and Dragons to talk wrestling, and design a grapple-centric subclass.

This is one of the shorter ones–but there’s a lot of hefty ideas on display here. The grappler/pugilist type of fighter built here goes off of a couple of different ideas. The story of the subclass is one that’s built for controlling a fight. Whether dictating the temple of a fight, or controlling the positioning of things like where the fight happens, or who gets to be mobile, the pugilist is all about grapples. And maneuvers. Now it’s interesting to see why they make the choices they make. Mearls picks a Fighter subclass because the Pugilist is about consistency and reliability. As opposed to something like a Barbarian, which is more of a burst-class, meaning their abilities are designed around doing well when they Rage, the Pugilist is meant to always be punching.

Especially since their power comes from their skill and training. Which does scream Fighter to me. Now this one stands out from He designs a new fighting style, and comes up with some techniques to let the Fighter play along, able to wear light or no armor and still be ready to capitalize on the Fighter’s trademark protective/resilient power. But it takes shape, starting with dealing out extra damage that you can trade out for various maneuvers. It’s reminiscent of the Brute Fighter that was featured in an earlier Unearthed Arcana, though with a little more purpose/flavor to it. All in all, I think we get a good example of what a brawler would play like–even if there’s still some work to be done on it.

It’s doubtful that we’ll see this included the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, but the more of these that get worked on, the more I am holding out hope that we get another book that has a few options for everyone, possibly revolving around Dark Sun or Spelljammer. For now though, that concludes our step back behind the screens of D&D.

Happy Adventuring!


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