Fighting styles for Streets – Beat’em up


Even inside the same combat system (boxing, karate, etc), there’s many different styles of fighting . I’ve tried to translate that for my D&D 5e Streets & Turmoil setting.

As it is far easier and less risky to take what already exists rather than homebrew everything from scratch, I’ve started with looking at the options already available. When I couldn’t find any, I’ve resorted to basic homebrewing, tinkering  with the fighter class feature fighting styles and champion subclass battle maneuvers.


Applying constant pressure, the swarmer wins with sheer volume instead of technique or power, not letting any breathing space for his adversary.

How to showcase that style:

  • Barbarian class feature: reckless
  • Barbarian, path of the berserker subclass feature: frenzy
  • Monk Ki feature: flurry of blows

Evaluation: The swarmer is not a subtle style so that seems like a quick & easy fit.


The opposite of the swarmer, the out-fighter do best while keeping his distance, using superior reach and quick feet.

How to showcase that style:

  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: lunging attack
  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: pushing attack 
  • Rogue, Scout subclass feature: skirmisher
  • Monk, Ki feature: step of the wind

Evaluation: The opponent have the leisure the move back in range easily, this doesn’t seem to give a real edge at all. It definitely needs something more.

Homebrew: New fighting style (Fighter class feature):

Out-striking: +1 bonus to AC when the creature that targets you starts its turn at more than 5′. +1 bonus to attack rolls when targeted creature is at more than 5′.


A counterpuncher relies on good defense and waits for the opportunity to counter when his opponent exposes himself to attack.

How to showcase that style:

  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: riposte
  • Monk, Ki feature: patient defense

Evaluation: That seems sufficient to me, riposte is a perfectly serviceable battle maneuver, even more so with a good AC.



The slugger isn’t about subtlety, his output his low, but when he do strikes, all of his body is committed to it.

New champion battle maneuver:  Power Punch

When you make an unarmed melee attack on your turn, you can choose to have disadvantage. When you do so, add twice the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll.

Dirty boxing

Clinch holds, elbows, headbutts, eye gouge, bites and hidden weapons: anything goes in dirty boxing, less a style than a willingness to uses every possible means to achieve victory.

Okay, I just saw that the Tavern Brawler feat is exactly that… I’ll just rename it.


Unorthodox fighter

The strength of an unorthodox style resides in the fact that it’s something so rarely displayed that almost any opponent feels awkward against its practitioner.

New fighter’s fighting style: 

When a creature makes a melee attack against you , it must make a wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature provokes an attack of opportunity, if you hit, add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll.


Magic Items – Beat’em up

So what kind of magic items can you find in a « rough-and-tumble fantasy setting »? Here’s a few samples:


Brass Knuckles of Button-Seeking


Weapon, rare

Right on the button. Sleep well!

You gain + 1 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. In addition, the chance to score a critical hit is increased (19-20).

Chain of Inescapability

Weapon, rare (requires attunement)

You gain + 1 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. An opponent hit by this weapon cannot choose the disengage action nor can it use any kind of extradimensional movement as long as it is faced by the owner of the Chain.

Fist Cane of Brutality


Weapon, uncommon

When you roll a 20 on your attack roll with this weapon, the target takes an extra d12 of force damage.

Lupin’s Briefs of Heroics

Wondrous Item, legendary (requires attunement by a bard)

Antique underwear of a Hero long gone. How the hell did you got them?!

While you wear these legendary briefs you can use bardic inspiration on yourself.

Hand Wraps of Grasping


Weapon, rare

You have advantage on grapple checks when you’re the attacker. Doing so, you have a reach of 10′. In addition, you have advantage on Strength (athletics) checks that involves climbing.

Hat of  the Watchful Eye

Wondrous Item, uncommon


You need to watch your back on these streets.

The hat have three charges. You can spend a charge to gain advantage on Wisdom (perception) checks for 10 minutes. The hat regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn.

Slimy Padded Vest of Ooze Summoning

Armor (Padded), very rare (requires attunement)

If you’re weird enough to wear this disgusting vest, you gain a + 2 bonus to AC.  In addition, you have advantage on Strength (athletics or acrobatics) checks to escape a grapple.

Each time you have lost 22 hit points (cumulative) while wearing this armor, you can use an action to summon a gray ooze that will be under your control until next dawn (and then liquefy). You can have up to 4 oozes under your control at the same time.

Hand Wraps of the Grave

Weapon, very rare

A ghoul stole it from a corpse. A buried one I mean.

You gain + 1 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. In addition, each time you hit the target takes another 1d4 cold damage.

This item have 5 charges. You can spend one charge to cast Chill Touch or more than one to increase its damage. To regain expanded charges you must put the Wraps of the Grave on a corpse for one night.

Brass Knuckles of Combos

Weapon, rare

When you make an attack roll on a target you already hit you gain a + 1 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. This is cumulative up to + 4. If you attack another target this benefit is lost. After a +4 bonus the combo is stopped and it begins anew.

Chain Necklace of Tattoo Spellcasting

Wondrous Item, common to rare (requires attunement)

This heavy chain necklace may have  1 to 6 charges. It can be used to cast tattoo spell without expanding Hit Dices. It costs 1 charge per level of spell. It is fully replenished each dawn.

Paldrons of Shoving

Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires medium armor proficiency)

Gives the wearer + 1 AC and advantage on Strength checks (athletics) for shoving an adversary.

Gloves of the Gecko

Wondrous Item, rare (requires attunement)

While wearing the Gloves of the Gecko, you can climb (without a check) any surface (even upside down) at a rate of 20′ maximum.

Wand of Smelling Salts

Weapon (staff), rare

The Wand of Smelling Salts has 3 charges. As a reaction, you can use 1 charge to remove a stunned conditon on yourself or someone within 5′ of you.


Drugs are bad…except for the superpowers!

65259-4-1430259360Here’s some street corner-available narcotics for happy PCs.


Cost per dose (1): 15 sp

Addiction level (2): very addictive

How to consume: powder, snort

Common effects (3): euphoria, increased energy, insomnia, restlessness, temperature

In combat, roll 2d4 every round (4):

  • 2: Hysterical fits: as Tasha’s hideous laughter spell (saves are allowed, up to 1 minute)
  • 3-6 Restlessness: advantage on initiative roll
  • 7-8 Incredible energy: as Haste spell


Cost per dose: 4 sp

Addiction level: mildly addictive

How to consume: tea infusion, drink

Common effects: hallucinations, difficulties recognizing what is real, sweating, enlarged pupils, dizziness

Constant gaming effects:

  • disadvantage on saves vs illusion spells and effects
  • disadvantage on perception skill checks
  • disadvantage on acrobatics skill checks
  • advantage on religion skill check
  • can cast minor illusion cantrip, once per use

Also, may attempt concentrating to gain true sight (as the spell). Doing so requires wis DC 16, failure result in a stun effect for 1 minute.

Pelouse’s Pills (or Pelouse’s candies, or P Pills)

Cost per dose: 8 sp

Addiction level: very addictive for creative-minded people

How to consume: pills, swallow

Common effects: lethargy, increased creativity, loss of logical thinking

Constant gaming effects:

  • if you spend an inspiration point, you immediately gain one more point (once per use)
  • disadvantage on persuasion skill checks

In combat:

Creative fighting: advantage on attack rolls


On a roll of 1 on any d20 rolled by the P Pill user: lethargy for 1 minute (paralyzed)


Here’s three more drugs. I am not so sure about the mechanic of  using drugs in combat (by-round random effects). Seems to me now that changing effects each round is a sloppy design and is not the way to go. Anyway, these three new drugs aren’t used for combat purposes so I’ll have more time to think about it.



Much like a feign death spell, with more dramatic effects.

Cost per dose : 5 gp

Addiction level : not addictive

How to consume: Just a sip from a small vial (emanates smoke wisps)

Common effects: one-hour coma

Roll 2d6:

on a roll of 3 to 11: user’s body is cleansed of any disease or poison

on a roll of 12: user’s body is cleansed of any diseases and gains false life (as spell)

on a roll of 2: user begins horrible transformation unto a ghoul, takes 1d4 days of wrecking agony to complete

Constant gaming effects (1 hr): complete shutdown of body functions for one hour. User looks quite dead.


Cost per dose : 15 sp

Addiction level : mildly addictive

How to consume: snuff

Common effects: change of personality, delusion

Constant gaming effects (8 hrs): The player whose character takes split choose one personality trait that changes. The GM (or someone else) chooses another. The PC, for the duration (1hr), is under the effect of a Nystul’s magic aura.

Gobo Coffee

This one is a boon to manage hit points.

Cost per dose : 1 sp

Addiction level : mildly addictive

How to consume: infusion, drink

Common effects: more energy, cardiac arrhythmia, sleep disruption, stomach ache

Constant gaming effects: You can spend one more HD in a short rest. This HD counts on your total for the day.

  1. For simplicity’s sake I’m thinking all the drugs stay active for 1 hour
  2. I guess I will have to work on some kind of addiction system
  3. I would leave to the players to roleplay what’s happening.
  4. High risk, high reward