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I'm a fledgling DM trying to help a player make a wrestler PC. (I saw How can I make a grappling Fighter?, but it's for Pathfinder.)

My friend would like the following if possible:

  • Size: Large (Talking half-giant size)
  • Skills: Anything that revolves around what you see in wrestling today. (Power-bombs, Pile-drivers, etc.)
  • An "Ultimate Move" very similar to the move in this video (2nd phase where it gets really hype).

    With that particular move, every change in position would be a saving throw for the creature against an athletics check to see if he transitions into the next phase. Having succeeded all throws it would be an instant K.O. to the creature. Any fail check would cease the move-combo and finish its damage from the last slam. (This would very much be a high-level move he'd have to earn.)

The trouble I am having is trying to create this character for him and creating his actions that represent the moves he wants to do. Grappling alone isn't enough — as far as he is concerned normal grappling is just cuddling the creature. He is interested in having actual named moves that have damage, saving throws (if it makes sense) and the chance that he might mess up the move (as you see in real wrestling).

So far I have just had him check to see if he grapples the poor creatures, if he succeeds I have him explain to me his desired action and then roll an "Unarmed Strike" attack to determine damage. That is proving to be lack-luster.

So my question to you all (sorry if it hasn't been clear as of yet), if my friend wants a half-giant wrestler, what kind of moves would be appropriate and where might I find example or actual moves I could incorporate into his design? If you have some from your own works or anything that comes to mind, I would greatly appreciate it!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie thank you for the edit, I can be a bit wordy sometimes. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 13 '16 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ any reason you can't have the player roll up a battlemaster fighter or a unarmed monk? Both of those archetypes and their powers would seem to cover a skilled wrestler. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Jun 14 '16 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith This would be a scenario where the player had an ideal character being a "wrestler" and slapping a label on a different class just to appease him wouldn't work. He wanted it to be special and I am happy to oblige since this is his way of making the ideal person he'd want to be. Also, this exercise will help me greatly for future games when creative ideas want to be fleshed out. :) \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 15 '16 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added Features from 1-10 (ignoring those already found in the PHB) and the 20th lvl capstone. Will be adding additional Moves (Tandem Moves, especially) and the Wrestler table once I figure out how to put a table in a post. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruthaford Jun 22 '16 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruthaford Just want to point out that you may have missed adding the "Tandem" moves. :) \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 24 '16 at 3:53
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Excellent question! I currently have a player who, literally, wishes he could be a cross between Wulfgar from the Forgotten Realms novels and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Putting good taste aside, he requested that we homebrew a hulking, grappling character in the vein of professional wrestlers. I'll share my thoughts on that homebrew and some of the 'moves' we have developed over time.

Caveat emptor: The list of moves is quite extensive, so my apologies. Additionally, my homebrew skills are crude compared to, say, KRyan, so your mileage may vary.

Class Basics

The vision of this class is of a flashy, muscled brute who wades (or dives!) into enemies and manhandles them, dealing low to moderate damage to (generally) single targets while granting allies advantage on those targets. To keep the character alive long enough to be enjoyable we looked to the Barbarian template (PHB: 46), to offer excellent hit dice (d12) and Unarmored Defense. To keep them effective as levels increased we took items from the Fighter template (PHB: 70) to offer Action Surge, Extra Attack (3), and Indomitable.

Wrestler Table

  • Hit Dice: 1d12 per Wrestler level.

  • Armor Proficiency: None

  • Weapon Proficiency: Simple

  • Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution

  • Skills: Choose three from Athletics, Acrobatics, Intimidation, Insight, Medicine, Performance, Perception, and Survival

  • Tools: Painter's Supplies, Disguise Kit, Leatherworker's Tools — Limited to costume creation.

Unique Resource: Flair

The Wrestler uses their knowledge of wrestling techniques and their penchant for flamboyance to power some abilities and attacks. Flair Points = Wrestler Level. Flair recharges after a Long Rest. After LVL 9, Flair recharges after a Short Rest.

  • Saving Throws: Some moves require your target to make a saving throw to resist the move's effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

    Move Save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).

Wrestler

You are a professional wrestler and natural showman. At 1st level you have access to Ungrappled Moves and Grappled Moves as detailed in the Moves section below. Flair is the resource that powers these abilities. You have Flair Points equal to your Wrestler level, as shown in the Flair Points column of the Wrestler table.

Unarmored Defense

While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your DEX modifier + your CON modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Airborne!

Beginning at 2nd level you gain access to Aerial Moves as detailed in the Moves section below.

Combo

At 3rd level you may string up to two Moves together. You must pay the cost for each Move as listed in the Move table. The target may make a STR or DEX save (their choice) vs. your Wrestler DC between Moves to break the combo. If successful, the combo ends, they take no additional damage, and your grapple is broken.

Rolling Thunder

At 3rd level, as a bonus action, you may roll up to 10' in any direction. This movement allows you to move through an enemy's space and does not trigger Attacks of Opportunity.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 13th level and four when you reach 18th level.

KO

At 5th level, if the last move of a Combo would reduce a grappled enemy to less than 20% HP you may attempt to KO that enemy. The creature must make a CON save vs. your Wrestler DC. If they fail, you perform an extra Move and reduce the target to 0 HP. This ability triggers at higher HP thresholds at 11th level(25%) and 17th level (35%).

Action Surge

Starting at 6th level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action. Once you use this feature you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.

Remarkable Athlete

Starting at 7th level, you can add half your proficiency bonus (round up) to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check you make that doesn't already use your proficiency bonus. In addition, when you make a running long jump, the distance you can cover increases by a number of feet equal to your STR modifier.

Knack for Flair

At 9th level you regain half of your missing Flair Points at the end of a short rest. You must spend at least 30 minutes focusing on your machismo(a), (working on poses, one-liners, taunts, etc) to regain your Flair Points.

Improved Grapple

At 9th level you have learned to grapple enemies with improved efficiency. You gain a +1 bonus on all grapple checks. Additionally, you may attempt to grapple two enemies at once. The enemies must be within 10' of each other and you must have adequate movement to reach them both. Each enemy may contest your grapple check.

Tandem Move

At 10th level you gain access to Tandem Moves as detailed below in the Moves section. Tandem Moves are denoted by Tandem in the Move description. Tandem Moves not specifically listed in the Tandem Moves section may be used vs. a single creature.

Improved Combo

At 10th level, you may string up to three moves together. You must pay the cost for each Move as listed in the Move table. The target may make a STR or DEX save (their choice) vs. your Wrestler DC between moves to break the combo. If successful, the combo ends, they take no additional damage, and your grapple is broken. Additionally, the first move in a combo costs no Flair Points.

Indomitable

Beginning at 11th level, you can reroll a saving throw that you fail. If you do so, you must use the new roll and you can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest. You can use this feature twice between long rests when you reach 15th level.

Eye of the Tiger

Beginning at 13th level, you can harness your machismo(a) to intimidate your enemies. When you do so, you gain Advantage on all Intimidation checks until your next turn. You may use this ability a number of times equal to your STR modifier (minimum 1) between long rests.

Combo Master

Starting at 15th level you may string up to four moves together. You must pay the cost for each Move as listed in the Move table. The target may make a STR or DEX save (their choice) vs. your Wrestler DC between moves to break the combo. If successful, the combo ends, they take no additional damage, and your grapple is broken. Additionally, the first move in a combo costs no Flair Points and if all four moves are successfully completed you are refunded one Flair Point.

Grappling Master

At 18th level you have mastered the art of grappled combat. You gain a +2 bonus on all grapple checks and have advantage on all STR and DEX checks related to Moves and grappling in general.

Commensurate Showman

At 20th level, whenever you roll initiative and have 0 Flair Points you regain 4 Flair Points.

Moves

Moves are the core of this homebrew class. Using attacks to tackle, grapple, pin, and otherwise physically abuse single, and occasionally multiple, targets, the Wrestler acts as a disruptive force in the midst of the enemy line. Their moves push, pull, throw, grapple, and pin enemies, neutralizing their threat to other party members and allowing advantage on party members' attacks.

Moves that cost Flair Points require 1 Action to complete unless otherwise noted.


Ungrappled Moves

  • Bell Ringer: You clap your hands on opponent's ears, potentially stunning them.

    1 Flair Point. 1d4 + STR mod + CON save or stunned until the next turn.

  • Crossbody Block: You leap sideways at an enemy and attempt to bear them to the ground.

    1d4 + Grappled + Prone (both)

  • Armbar: You grab an enemy's arm and twist, putting pressure on the elbow and shoulder

    The enemy is Grappled.

  • Scissor Press: You leap leg-first at an enemy, bearing them to the ground in a scissor hold.

    1 Flair Point. 1d4 + Grappled + Prone (enemy). Next round, if the enemy does not succeed on their STR check to break the grapple, the Wrestler may use one attack to deal 1d6 + STR constriction damage.

  • Clothesline: If you have moved 10′ toward an enemy this round you may attempt to clothesline them. If successful, you move an additional 5′, through the enemy's space.

    1d6 + Prone + CON save or stunned.

    At higher level: For each Flair point you use you may attempt to apply this effect to an additional target. You may use both arms, affecting two creatures standing adjacent to each other. You must have sufficient movement to continue your charge through the last creature affected.

  • Sledgehammer: You lock your fists together and deliver a massive blow the your enemy.

    1d6 + STR mod. If two or more consecutive blows are landed the enemy must make a DEX save vs. your Wrestler DC or be pushed back 5′ for each blow after the 1st.

  • Helicopter: You whirl in place, roaring with fists extended, bludgeoning all those around you.

    1d4 + STR in a 5′ sphere centered on you.

    At higher level: For each Flair Point you expend, proc the ability one additional time.

  • Elbow Drop: You leap into the air, driving your elbow into a prone enemy.

    1d6 + STR. For each 5′ you drop, add 1d8 to enemy damage and take 1d4 damage. Normal falling damage is halved when using this move.


Grappled Moves

These moves become available once an enemy is grappled, or combo into moves that require the enemy to be grappled.

  • Hammerlock: You grab an enemy's arm and pull it up behind their back, securing your grip on their neck.

    1 Flair Point. Opponent is Grappled and has Disadvantage on attacks.

  • Bear Hug: You grab your enemy and clutch them tightly to your chest, lifting them off the ground.

    1 Action. 1d6 + STR and enemy is grappled. If they fail to break the grapple next turn you may apply 1d8 + STR constriction damage.

    Combo: You may spend a Flair Point to combo a Bear Hug with a Suplex for an additional 1d8 + STR damage. The enemy is prone.

  • Reverse Grapple: You move back-to-back and lock your arms under theirs, lifting them from their feet and bending them over your back.

    Flair Point. 1d4 + STR and the enemy is grappled. If they are humanoid they cannot make weapon attacks or cast spells with a somatic component.

    Combo: You may spend an additional Flair Point to combo a Reverse Grapple with a Facebuster for an additional 1d8 + STR damage. The enemy is prone and remains grappled.

  • Half Nelson: You pass your arm under the arm of a prone enemy, gripping their neck.

    1d4 + STR and the enemy is grappled.

    Combo: You may spend a Flair Point to combo a Half Nelson with a Nelson Choke (kata ha jime), doing 1d8 + STR damage. If the enemy does not break the hold you may deal this damage again at the start of each of your turns.

  • Full Nelson: You pass both your arms under the arms of a prone enemy, gripping their neck and pinning them to the ground.

    1d6 + STR and the enemy is grappled. The may not make weapon attacks and may not cast spells that require a somatic component.

  • Piledriver: You grapple your enemy, turn them upside-down, and drop to a sitting position, driving their head into the ground.

    1 Flair Point. 2d6 + STR damage and the enemy is grappled.

    Combo: You may expend an additional Flair Point to execute a Scissor Choke, wrapping your legs around your opponent's face and neck and squeezing for an additional 1d6 + STR damage. The grappled opponent may not cast spells or use abilities that require a verbal component. If they fail to break the grapple next turn they take an additional 1d6 damage and begin to suffocate.


Aerial Techniques

These techniques involve the Wrestler becoming airborne and/or causing their enemies to become so.

  • Windmill: You grab a prone enemy and hoist them into the air, spinning them around and using them as a weapon.

    1 Flair Point. 1d4 in a 5′ sphere centered on you. Hitting a solid object, such as a wall, halts the spin. The spinning enemy takes 1d4 damage for each other creature and object they impact.

    At higher level: For each Flair Point you expend you may move 5′ in any direction, up to your total movement, proccing this ability once for each 5′ you move.

    Combo: Toss. At the end of the spin you may make a STR check vs DC 15. On a success you may throw the grappled opponent up to 15′ in any direction. They take 2d4 damage from the impact.

  • Double Kick: If you have moved 10′ toward an enemy you may perform a double kick, attempting to plant both your feet in their chest and bear them to the ground.

    1 Action. 2d4 + STR. The enemy must make a DEX save or be knocked back 5′ and prone.

Summary

This homebrew Wrestler is clearly still in the iterative phase. We have taken the character through 7th level and no abilities appear frankly broken. Flair as a resource appears well-balanced, but this player is not a min/maxer so I cannot say things can't be abused. Damage was scaled back due to the inherent advantage granted to allies when enemies are grappled. No level table has been created yet — we are essentially making this up as we go along.

The impact the class has had on the game has been generally positive. I find that the class provides ample opportunities to apply the Rule of Cool. My wrestler-obsessed player very much enjoys the build and the other players at the table enjoy the antics and do not find that they detract from their own fun.

Abilities were sourced from Wikipedia's “Professional wrestling attacks” article. We have not progressed past two-move combos, but it would be a small thing to string suitable moves together (at a cost, of course). Your player likely has a good vision as to the types of things he would like to do. Take those into account and build new moves similar to the ones above or re-skin existing moves to fit the flavor you are seeking.

We are considering using crafting to allow the creation of different costumes which may provide minor benefits such as +2 to intimidation checks (face paint!) or +1′ or +2′ jumping distance (capes make you fly farther).

I hope you and your players find this to be both helpful and enjoyable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an amazing build. You should put this up over at dandwiki.com/wiki/5e_Homebrew. Great job! \$\endgroup\$ – Skathix Jun 14 '16 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruthaford This is what I was pretty much looking for. Would you be interested in keeping in touch as I use it and perhaps polish it with you? (Leveling tables, etc) \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 15 '16 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JamesC Absolutely. I'll continue to update the answer as we run more sessions. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruthaford Jun 15 '16 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ If anyone knows how to add a table to a SE post I would love to know how! \$\endgroup\$ – Ruthaford Jun 22 '16 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruthaford Currently there doesn't seem to be a way to do so.. easily. Here is a link that explains different methods one could implement a table. (Short of just creating the image in excel and pasting an image) meta.stackexchange.com/questions/73566/… \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 22 '16 at 22:00
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I love this idea

Given that you are interested in adding house rules that opens up for a wide variety of options! I think one of the best ways to start this would be to start with/develop a basic set of "wrestling combat maneuvers" and decide how they work.

I would imagine that this character's desire to wrestle/grapple comes above other fighting methods and he forgoes weapons and heavy armor in exchange for these types. I would look towards the Monk class as a base for how the unarmed damage could scale (imagine WWE wrestlers punching each other before going for an grapple), but in the past I adapted a few Warblade maneuvers (Book of Nine Swords) into unarmed wrestling attacks.

In order to balance potential strength of these moves you can either; give them charges (similar to Ki blast or Warblade maneuvers), you could have harder prerequisites, or drawbacks for using them:

  • In order to make a submission attack the PC must use a full round action to attempt a trip then grapple. Enemies would make a fortitude save on their next round or be incapacitated for 1d2/1d4 rounds. However the PC is prone/flat footed while grappling.
  • To do a powerbomb the PC must make a successful grapple, then a strength check to lift the enemy. The damage could be based on the monk damage and/or the surface the enemy slams into (rocky terrain would hurt a lot more than soft dirt)
  • Doing these big actions would also weaken/expend a lot of energy from the wrestler. Obviously a giant lifting a medium creature wouldn't wear him down, but picking up and pile driving a Griffon could wear down the PC for a second. After doing a power move on a similar sized creature, the PC suffers a minus to AC/atk until the end of combat.
  • Try incorporating real Judo moves as actions as well. I personally used Tomo-nage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jMnXGcoqjU) as it is one of my favorite moves. It is a sacrificial throw where the attacker drops to the ground and uses their body/momentum to push the enemy over them and launch them (personally I am able to throw people 5-10 feet easily, so that could scale up easily with a larger creature). An innovative PC may use this to launch his enemy into a group of enemies/ off a cliff/ into a pile of rusty weapons for extra effect.
  • These moves can also demoralize/fear enemies. You could add the opportunity to do an intimidate action after successfully performing actions. After power-bombing the enemy champion through the King's grand table, the PC lets out a mighty howl and raises his hand, causing weaker enemies to flee (you can get some great Roleplaying that will cause everyone to crack up)
  • An innovative player can make up more complicated moves on the spot, don't stop them from trying something new. In my past sessions we had moves where our DM told us our damage for attacks turned from a few d6, to dozens of dice for crazy moves we pulled off.

Here is a hilarious story I saw a while back about a Luchadore PC who had fantastic stories https://i.imgur.com/I69beX1.jpg there are a few others floating around. You will end up having to adjust some moves for viability and balancing, but Roleplaying a character like this well could make some sessions very memorable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you used any of these ideas in actual play? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jun 14 '16 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I have used a few of them; specifically the terrain, judo moves, fear, and fatigue. I found that adding some explanation to the actions and what they would do can make battles a lot more fun. Yes I can trip or throw an enemy, but telling the DM that I specifically am throwing that enemy into the group of others to knock them all down is incredibly rewarding and fun. A quick spot check and telling the DM I slam them down on a rock/table/ect for added effect makes the combat much more interactive than just rolling. \$\endgroup\$ – CObert Jun 14 '16 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer would be much better with that detail in it. How you've used them and how it went etc \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jun 14 '16 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 For the input and will be using your ideas and incorporate them as necessary to the accepted answer. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – JamesC Jun 15 '16 at 9:19
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This would be far more simple in 4th edition. As a 5th edition this becomes much trickier. As I have only played one session of 5th (and the character was handed to me) Im unsure as to how exactly some aspects work.

Have you considered basing it on the full attack, but first make the grapple check. If that succeeds then the player gets to make the attacks. Give him a choice of moves, some of which can follow others but not others. Every so many levels your player gets to choose from ones listed or ones that have been added.

So some early moves could be

  • chest slap, must be standing (cant follow arial attack) deals 1d6 + str, leaves both standing on success, leaves both standing on fail but gives advantage to enemy
  • Head butt, deals 1d6 + str to enemy and 1d4 to you, has chance to stun enemy, can only be used while standing, and so on

So some aspects of the attack are where they start (prone, standing, in the air), where you and the enemy end up (prone, standing, in air), the amount of damage, and possible effects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 you're making untried suggestions for a system you've only ever played once \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jun 14 '16 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course they are untried. Trying them would mean I had built them. It does not matter if I had played only once, it was a possible avenue to consider for what the questioner wants. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jun 14 '16 at 16:51

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