High Noon OSR-style Gritty Western RPG- Fourth Class- The Pugilist

The first big piece of news is that the Hubris Kickstarter will be going live soon!  I’m very excited about this!  I look forward to finally seeing this book in print with tons of kickass art by some really talented people!

Anyways- that full announcement will be coming soon!  On to new projects.

A few weeks ago I was watching the newest season of Hell on Wheels to hit Netflix Streaming (season 4) and was really enjoying it (especially the first half- the second half kinda goes heavy-handed in how they resolved many of the characters story arcs).

Anyways every time I watch a season of Hell on Wheels, I get the urge to run a western (or weird west) game.  Thus far it hasn’t happened.  However I decided that I wanted to write my own.  The mechanics are inspired by White Star, Swords and Wizardry, Beyond the Wall, along with some stuff inspired by games like Savage Worlds, etc.

I figured I’d post a couple of the classes over the next few days.  I’ll be posting the Gunslinger, the Scout, the Cult of Personality, the Pugilist, and the Doctor.

Full class list when the book will be released will also have: Rifleman, Maverick, and Monk

High Noon will also have a chapter called “But I Want it Weird” with rules on Weird West.  This chapter will have Knight of Faith, Sorcerer, Shaman, Weird Scientist, and The Showman.  I’ll post Knight of Faith and Sorcerer as well!

The book is bout 50-75% done for first draft already- so I’m hoping it’ll release in the next couple of months!

Posted thus far: Gunslinger, Scout, and Cult of Personality

Enjoy the Pugilist


Pugilist 1

Pugilists survive by their agility and the ham-fisted knocks of their fists.  Expert boxers and fighters, they earn their way in the west by showmanship and their ability to clobber their opponents into submission.

Pugilists live for the cry of the crowd, the smell of blood and sweat, and the huge payoff should they arise victorious (or are paid handsomely to take a dive).  Many people know the only thing quicker than a pugilist’s fists is their temper, and to be caught on the wrong side of that ain’t the brightest thing to do.


Weapon Restrictions: A pugilist is proficient with brass knuckles, pistols, shotguns, knives, and clubs.


Unarmed Combat: A pugilist knows how to put the hurt on with their fists, dealing 1d6 damage with their punches.

Pugilist 2

Intimidate: Targets can become intimidated by the thuggish demeanor of a pugilist, suffering -2 to all actions for a number of rounds equal to the pugilist’s level.  The pugilist must take a threatening posture for one round, after which the victims must succeed a saving throw or become intimidated.  A target cannot be affected by this more than once in 24 hours.

Hearty: Pugilists come from healthy stock.  They start off with an additional 2d4 HP at level 1.

Unbridled Wrath: For the duration of one combat the pugilist gains + 2 to attack and damage and + 2 saves against mild-altering and fear effects, but suffers -2 to AC.  After combat the pugilist is exhausted and suffers -2 to all rolls and AC until they rest fully for one hour.  This ability cannot be used again until the exhaustion has passed.

Flying Fists: When using their fists, knives, or clubs, the pugilist receives free extra attacks per round, up to their level, against foes with 1 HD or less.

Hard-Hitter (5th): The pugilist gains an extra attack each round with their fists.  Also the damage from their fists is increased to 1d6+1.

Saving Throw: Pugilists receive +2 to saves against poison and death.

Master of the Ring (5th): The pugilist has become renowned for their ability and has opened their own boxing/wrestling ring.  Each week roll 1d3: 1) bad week- roll 1d6x10 dollars; 2) decent week- roll 2d6x20 dollars; 3) great week- 3d6x20 dollars.  This is the house take home from the fights that week.

Skills: A pugilist begins play with two skills.

Starting Currency: 2d6 x 10 dollars.

Pugilist 3

Pugilist Level Progression
1 HP Option +1 14
2 +1 HP +2 13
3 +1 HP +3 12
4 +1 HP +4 11
5 +1 HP +5 10
6 +1 HP +6 9
7 +1 HP +7 8
8 +1 HP +8 7
9 +1 HP +9 6
10 +1 HP +10 6

Other Information

Hit Point Option 1- The Gritty: At level 1 each characters starts with 10 HP + their Constitution Modifier + 1 HP.  Each additional level the characters only gain 1 HP (+ their Constitution Modifer).  A couple blows from a club or a shotgun blast (even at higher levels) will put a character out of action.

Hit Point Option 2- The Not as Gritty: At level 1 each character starts with their Constitution score + their Constitution Modifier +1d6 HP (or +2d4 for fighting-type classes- see below) +1 HP.  Each additional level the characters only gain 1 HP (+ their Constitution Modifer).  This keeps combat deadly, but the heroes are more robust.

Gunslinger: +2d4 HP

Scout: +1d6 HP

Cult of Personality: +1d6 HP

Pugilist: +2d6 HP

Doctor: +1d6

Hit Point Option 3- The Traditional: This follows the more traditional route that many RPGers are accustomed to.  At level 1 each character starts with 6 HP + their Constitution Modifier.  Each additional level the character rolls 1d6 for their HP and adds their Constitution Modifier.

Skills: Each class, unless stated in their description starts with two skills of their choice.  Rather than creating an extensive list of skills, let the player come up with their own skills.  These can be things like riding, survival, security, blacksmithing, history, trade, persuasion, intimidation, etc.

By-and-large a player character is able to attempt anything (however a GM is free to decided that certain things do require a skill, especially highly specialized things like hacking locks, etc.).  To do this the GM decides which attribute is appropriate and the player rolls a d20 and must roll equal to or under their attribute.  If they roll over, the attempt fails.  When a player character has a skill, they receive a +2 bonus.  A player may take a skill twice, giving them a +4 bonus.

Example: Big Eye James is attempting to pull a card from out of his cuff in a game of poker.  The GM asks if he has an appropriate skill.  James has sleight of hand, which the GM feels is more than appropriate for this situation.  Big Eye James has a Dexterity of 13- adding +2 to that for the Sleight of Hand skill.  Big Eye James rolls a 11 on his d20, thus succeeding on placing a card in his hand.


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

8 responses to “High Noon OSR-style Gritty Western RPG- Fourth Class- The Pugilist

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