My kid (who plays Madeline the grave robber in our LotFP game) is already thinking about their next character in the not unlikely event of Madeline’s demise. They wanted to know if there was any kind of class that specializes in unarmed combat. Of course, the easy solution would be to just make a Fighter and use a lot of unarmed attacks and the wrestling moves. But that’s kind of boring.
There are a number of B/X monk classes to be found around the internet, but neither of us wanted to go the kung-fu monk route. Instead we just wanted a big strong person that punched a lot. Like a mixture of luchadore, old-timey boxer, and circus strong man.
So, as a good father and GM, I put together the CHAMPION—a little bit Charles Atlas, a little bit El Santo, a little bit Jojo Jostar. Hopefully it’s a lot of fun. I haven’t done any playtesting with this, nor have I done any XP mathematics (I eyeballed it and thought Dwarf XP looked about right). Let me know what you think!
“I won’t use a sword to fight Grendel, since that wouldn’t be fair to the monster.”
|Mustache optional, but recommended.|
Champions (also known as brawlers, punchfighters, or kickpunchers) are warriors who have dedicated themselves to perfecting their bodies and honing their minds until they are perfect killing machines. As a champion, you abstain from using weapons or armor, preferring to rely on your own skills and training to prove your mettle against all comers. For you, combat is its own reward, and you are constantly on the lookout for bigger challenges and greater opponents. You have mastered many fighting techniques, called stances, that let you fight in a variety of ways using your hands, feet, head, or whatever happens to be lying around. Some of these fighting techniques even border on the supernatural.
XP Progression: as dwarf
Saving Throws: as fighter
Hit Die: as fighter
Attacks: When fighting unarmed, use the fighter’s Attack Bonus for your level. Otherwise, your Attack Bonus is +1.
Fighter Combat Options: When fighting unarmed, you have access to pressing attack, defensive fighting, and the better parry option.
Punches as strong as kicks: Your unarmed attacks deal 1d6 damage. You are never considered unarmed.
Skin Conditioning: When not wearing armor, add your CON modifier to your AC along with DEX.
Clean Living: The power of a champion requires a strict mental and physical discipline. You must choose one activity that you either must do every day, or you must never do. Maybe you must perform an hour of calisthenics every morning or drink a gallon of whole milk with breakfast. Maybe you abstain from alcohol or sexual congress.
If you break this regimen, you gain a dot of encumbrance, as the violation literally weighs upon you. You gain another dot every time you brake your taboo. You lose one dot of this extra encumbrance for every day where you spend at least 8 hours doing proper exercises, ablations, and reconditioning.
Your taboo should be a mild inconvenience but needn’t be too onerous. It’s intended to be a fun role-playing tag more than a serious power check. It shouldn’t be more troublesome than a magic user needing to memorize spells each day. As always, the GM has final approval over any taboo.
Stances are combinations of combat techniques and mental states that allow a champion to modify they way they fight opponents. Stances allow you to punch harder, fight multiple opponents, or even hit ghosts.
As first-level champion, you know the Basic Stance, plus one more stance of your choice. At second level, and every even level after that, you can add one more stance of your choice to your repertoire.
At start of combat, before initiative is rolled, you should announce which stance you are using. This defaults to the Basic Stance, if you can’t make a choice.
You can only use one stance at a time. Changing a stance happens at the movement phase of the round and replaces your movement. If you want to describe your body flaring with visible muscle energy as you shout out the name of your stance, I wouldn’t blame you.
You can maintain a stance outside of combat, but it’s like walking around with an unsheathed sword; you’re clearly ready to start a fight. So, not a real problem in a dungeon, but a bit of a faux pas when meeting the magistrate.
Maintaining stances requires freedom of movement. You cannot use any stance but the Basic Stance if you are more than lightly encumbered.
- No adjustments.
- You cannot see in the dark, but you can detect and fight opponents in within range of your combat movement without penalty while blind or in the dark or against invisible opponents.
- Your unarmed attacks can harm golems and constructs, despite damage immunities.
- Your unarmed attacks inflict double damage (2d6) against inanimate objects.
- You have +2 to hit an opponent that an ally is also attacking in melee. One such ally gains +2 to their AC for the round.
- Add another 20’ to your combat movement rate (40’ for an unencumbered human becomes 60’) as long as you can make an unarmed attack against an opponent after moving.
- Unlike other stances, switching to this stance does not replace your movement.
- Can make two attacks per round. Add all your modifiers to your Attack Bonus and divide the total as evenly as possible.
- Example: Dirkland (3rd level champion) has an Attack Bonus of +4, is making a pressing attack (+2), and the GM gave him a miscellaneous +1 bonus for having the higher ground. His total Attack Bonus is +7. If he makes two attacks, one will be at +4, while the other will be at +3. Dirkland can choose which opponent gets which.
- Your unarmed damage drops to 1d4, but your unarmed attacks now count as magical for the purpose of overcoming weapon immunities.
- Add your CHA modifier to you AC along with your CON and DEX modifiers.
- Your unarmed melee Attack Bonus drops to +1
- You can make ranged attacks with thrown small weapons (1d4 damage) with the fighter Attack Bonus.
- These thrown weapons have range modifiers like a short bow.
- You can make two ranged attacks per round. Add all your modifiers to your Attack Bonus and divide the total as evenly as possible. (see Flurry Stance above)
- Mortal opponents engaged with you take a penalty to their Morale equal to your STR modifier.
- This has no effect on opponents with a 12 morale.
Nice Guy Stance
- You can use improvised weapons to make melee attacks with the fighter’s attack bonus.
- An improvised weapon must be a mundane item, able to be held in one or two hands, that is not designed to be a weapon. (So, a mop or beer mug is fine, but a knife or magic staff is not.)
- An improvised weapon inflicts 1d8 damage and breaks on a roll of 1 or 8.
- You can make unarmed attacks using your DEX modifier instead of STR.
- You no longer add your CON modifier to your AC, but your base AC starts at 14 (as leather armor).
- Add your CON modifier to all Saving Throws.
- You can knock bullets and arrows out of the air and gain +2 AC against all ranged attacks.