The Brute, Revised

Header Image by Kentaro Miura

So, last week, I reviewed January 2018’s Unearthed Arcana. And in that document, they presented a new Martial Archetype for the fighter: The Brute. I expressed…a dislike for this subclass. I thought it was overpowered and boring, giving a character little to do other than hit things very hard.

However, I do like the idea of the Brute. I think a less-than-noble enforcer subclass is exactly what’s missing from the current fighter. Among all the eldritch knights and samurai and arcane archers, there are no cads or street fighters, and I think the Brute is a great opportunity to explore that space.

So…I decided to fix it. Or, at least, make an attempt at fixing it. I wanted to keep the core of the class the same. It’s a bucket of damage and durability. However, I pulled back on the “automatic” aspect of many of its features, and added in a couple of new features to encourage the idea that this is not only a BigStrongFightLord, but a bit of a sadist and a bully. As a brute, you not only hit harder, but you actually get off on hitting harder and inspiring fear in others.

So, without further ado, I present: The Brute, Revised.

PDF Link: The Brute v1.0

The Brute

Brutes are simple warriors who rely on hitting things until those things stop hitting back. And whether they recognize it or not, this brutality makes them particularly terrifying foes on the battlefield.

Fighter Level Feature
3rd Brute Force
7th Schadenfreude
10th Intimidating Presence
15th Vicious Criticals
18th Brutish Resilience

Brute Force

Starting at 3rd level, you’re able to strike with your weapons with especially brutal force. Once per turn, whenever you hit with a melee or thrown weapon attack and deal damage, you can increase the weapon’s damage by an amount based on your fighter level, as shown on the Brute Force Bonus Damage table.

Fighter Level Damage Increase
3rd 1d4
7th 1d6
10th 1d8
15th 1d10
18th 1d12



When you reach 7th level, you start to feed on hurting others, and it inspires you to keep fighting. Whenever you use your Brute Force ability, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to the result of the Brute Force die. If you bring a creature to 0 hit points with this attack, you instead gain a number of temporary hit points equal to double the result.

Intimidating Presence

At 10th level, through your appearance and reputation, your mere presence inspires fear in your foes. You gain proficiency with the Intimidation skill. If you already had proficiency with Intimidation, you instead add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it.

In addition, as an action on your turn, you can attempt to intimidate every creature within 30 feet who can see and hear you. Creatures with 2 or less intelligence are unaffected by this feature. Each creature affected must make a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 + your Charisma modifier + your Brute Force die. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to this ability for the next 24 hours.

If you use the attack action on your turn, you may forgo one of your attacks to immediately use this feature as part of the attack action.

Vicious Criticals

Starting at 15th level, whenever you score a critical hit with a weapon attack, you may use your Intimidating Presence feature without using an action or forgoing an attack.

In addition, your critical hits deal additional damage equal to your Brute Force damage die. This additional damage is not multiplied, but can be applied even if you have already used Brute Force with this attack.

Brutish Resilience

When you reach 18th level, your toughness allows you to shrug off assaults that would devastate others. Whenever you make a saving throw, you may use your reaction to roll your Brute Force die and add the result to your saving throw total. You may do this after you know the result of the saving throw.

In addition, you always add your Brute Force die to the result of death saving throws. If this would increase the total to 20 or higher, you gain the benefits of rolling a 20 on the d20.

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2 thoughts on “The Brute, Revised

Add yours

  1. I like this. I agree that the Unearthed Arcana original Brute was fairly boring, and I think this version is a big improvement. I have a few concerns regarding the Schadenfreude ability (gaining temporary hit points every round seems incredibly powerful to me) and the Intimidating Presence ability (tying intimidation to a class ability suggests that other classes and subclasses can’t attempt to intimidate their foes), but overall this looks like it has a lot more promise (in terms of both abilities and flavor) than the original draft of the Brute.


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