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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The Bestiary: where I take monsters from the manual and explain them my way…
A Galeb Duhr typically come into existence, however briefly, in the aftermath of a brutal street fight that saw a lot of brick/pavement throwing. It’s supposed that the creature’s existence – formed from the very stuff that litters the street – is a defense mechanism set in motion by the ambient angst and the City’s magic.
Most of the time, the Galeb Dhur brutalize some of the nearby offenders and then simply resume its inert state. Sometimes though, it lingers and endangers until forcefully put to rest…
So what kind of magic items can you find in a “rough-and-tumble fantasy setting”? Here’s a few samples:
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).
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.
When you roll a 20 on your attack roll with this weapon, the target takes an extra d12 of force damage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires medium armor proficiency)
Gives the wearer + 1 AC and advantage on Strength checks (athletics) for shoving an adversary.
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.
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.
In a place where murder is prohibited (always a good thing), wielding three-foot steel isn’t in vogue either (it’s illegal, to be clear). Fortunately (that’s debatable), many weapons are not so much frown upon by the agents of the Sanction. In most case, it’s because their “lethality” is seen as inferior.
Here’s some of them: