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The following guide was originally posted on the BM forums.

'Lo again, folks. Kade here with my second class guide for newbies. This one's for Brutes. In case you hadn't guessed, I'm personally pretty fond of them. Of all of the characters I've played, I'd say a third of them or so have been Brutes. This guide, as any and all that I may write, is based on my experience playing the class, and is intended not to tell you how to play your character, but to shed some light on how the class can be played from a code perspective. How you choose to use this information is up to you. So, without further ado, once again I'll start with some of the pros and cons of the Brute class.

Why (not) play a Brute?

There isn't a whole lot to say about Brutes in terms of mechanical power. If you want to play a demon who's physically oriented, Brute is probably the class for you. Here are a couple of considerations in deciding whether you want to play one.

Advantages:

1) Customization: As with all demon classes, Brutes get a lot of options for customizing their character. Beyond the basic aesthetics, though, Brutes have the most room for versatility in their buff acquisitions. What I mean by this is that, while devils are best served by defensive buffs, and a Warrior's split between buffs, offense and physical stats tends to leave less points available, a Brute can benefit from more or less any buff they might choose to gain. There's no reason any two Brutes have to look alike. Also, I'd say that at least a good two thirds of the demons from the show would fall under the Brute category, if you want to make a character belonging to one of those races.

2) Physicality: Brutes are the only good-aligned class available to male characters that have their focus completely in physical combat, unless you care to count werewolves. If chokeslamming jabronis appeals to you (I know it appeals to me) then you need not look further.

Disadvantages:

1) Exp Splitting: Because Brutes have one more primary stat than the other physical classes in buffs, they'll tend not to be quite as strong as a Slayer of the same level or as fast as a Fighter of the same level. However, they get the tradeoff of being able to get buffs, which can prove effective in combat and are fun to have in general. They're also not stretched thin like Cultists or Warriors. Overall, I'd consider them middling in terms of streamlining.

How Brutes Work

Brutes aren't terribly complicated. For the most part, they're played like the other physical classes (slayer, fighter). This means that to play a Brute, you'll need to get the hang of styles, and to be effective as a Brute, you'll want to get the hang of weapons for levelling. The thing that really sets them apart is buffs. In this section, I'll cover the basics of styles and equipment (for the sake of having all information needed in one place) and the effects of different buffs.

Primary Stats:

A Brute's primary stats are strength, then martial arts, then buffs, then speed. Vitality is also important to Brutes, as it is to all classes. If you want to train heavily in buffs, however, I recommend doing so early on as a character rather than later, as unspent buff points don't help your character, and with the experience curve for missions, it's easier to acquire large blocks of experience earlier in a character's career.

Styles

First off, you should try and familiarize yourself with the astyle command. I'll describe the arguements for the astyle command here.

The use of styles has several levels of complexity. The most basic level of usage that you should try and master first is matching your style to your opponent's. This is described in help styles, but people still seem to have trouble understanding it, so I'll lay it out fairly simply.

First off, keep in mind that choosing a style will add 5 to your stance timer, or 'ST' in your prompt. That's approximately one round. While you have a style timer, you can't use the astyle command or switch styles.

Think about it as rock, paper, scissors. Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper. Similarly, karate beats aikido, aikido beats kickboxing, kickboxing beats kungfu, kungfu beats karate. When I'm playing a physical character I keep 'karate aikido kickboxing kungfu' in the back of my mind; I find this makes it easy to figure out which is needed. Check your styles lists by typing karate, aikido, kickboxing, or kungfu; you'll likely notice that most kungfu styles have Quan in the name, most aikido styles will have k's strewn throughout, most kickboxing styles are english words or otherwise have one word in their name, and karate styles... well, if it's got ryu in it, it's probably karate. Which style belongs to which school is something most easily learned through experience, as the school a style belongs to will randomly be displayed when fighting NPCs using that style.

So, the basic usage of astyle is to watch which school your opponent is using and use 'astyle karate', 'astyle aikido', 'astyle kickboxing' or 'astyle kungfu' appropriately. For instance, if your opponent is using a kickboxing style, you should type:

'astyle aikido'

However, it doesn't end there; particularly not for Brutes.

Once you've got the hang of beating styles, you'll want to start using astyle detect to determine your opponent's relative stats. Astyle detect speed will give you a percentage comparison of their speed to yours. Astyle detect strength will do likewise for strength. If your speed and strength are equal and your opponent is an NPC, chances are you need only do one or the other or 'astyle detect both' in order to figure out your opponent's stats, but as a Brute this generally won't be the case, at least once you get into later levels. (Of course, if you know your strength-to-speed ratio and don't mind math, you can get away with just figuring one or the other.)

Once you've detected your opponent's strength and speed, you can start using 'astyle <school> <opponent's strength> <opponent's speed>' to pick your styles. This should make you more effective in combat. For instance, if you're fighting someone who's using an aikido style, has 70 percent of your strength, and has 110 percent of your speed, you should type:

'astyle karate 70 110'

Furthermore, you can pick quick, offensive, or defensive styles. Personally, I don't bother with these, as I'd prefer to have the game detect my most effective style regardless of type, but it's something to consider. To pick an offensive, defensive or quick style, just add your choice to the end of the astyle line. So, say you want to use an offensive style against an opponent using a kungfu style with 50 percent of your strength and 75 percent of your speed, you should type:

'astyle kickboxing 50 75 offensive'

Purchasing Styles

Before you buy a style skill, I sincerely recommend taking a look at it by typing the name of the school it belongs to. As a Brute, chances are you'll have much higher strength than speed, which means it simply doesn't make sense to buy some styles because you're not likely to ever use them. For instance, if you're nearly twice as strong as you are fast, what use do you have for a style that works best against an extremely strong and slow opponent? They'd need to have nearly twice your strength and less speed than you, which won't be the case for NPCs are will only be the case on very poorly built player characters. As a Brute, you'll generally want to gain styles that expect an opponent who's weaker than you and about your speed or faster. Any other styles I'd only invest in if you have significant money to spare.

Okay, now, take a deep breath, exhale, relax. Time to move on to buffs.

Buffs

My favourite part of playing a Brute is by far the buffs. Let me start by saying that, in the immortal words of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: it doesn't matter what you like! Though in this case, that isn't a slam, it's a way of introducing the best part about buffs as a Brute: you can pick whatever you want. You can take 50 points and gain massive claws, or you can take those same fifty points and gain rock skin, or you could take those same 50 points and gain small horns, small fangs, small claws, tough skin, and spur firing. In the end, you'll be relatively balanced either way, just with different styles and advantages. So, this section isn't intended to tell you what to take, but to inform you what to expect with each of the buffs that you do take. I will admit that I plan to update this at least once as I haven't had time to check out a few of the upper-level buffs yet.

Claws:

Claws are part and parcel of any number of demonic forms, especially those intended to resemble real-life creatures. Claws will rake your opponent mid-round for relatively high damage. Upgrades to claws will allow them to cause more damage. Massive claws will deal significant damage on a regular basis. I recommend taking claws if your concept includes them and you want a high-damage build.

Fangs:

Fangs are also common to many demonic types. Fangs are an endround attack (endround attacks are attacks that only occur at the end of the round, and only one character per round will make one). Small and large fangs will do significant damage every now and then. I've yet to test the poison fangs, however.

Tails:

Tails; yet another demonic trope. From what I've seen, a tail will strike very often midround, but won't do as much damage as claws. Upgrading to a barbed tail will increase damage. I haven't tested the venomous tail yet, unfortunately.

Horns:

I'll try and avoid the obvious jokes. Anyway, horns, like fangs, are an endround attack, and do significant damage. Increasing the horn size will upgrade damage. I haven't actually tested them, but I believe that life stealing horns will cause you to regain CN, which would make them effective in a defensive build.

Tough Skin/Armored Skin/Rock Skin:

As described in the helpfiles, these will serve to reduce the damage you take when hit, and the higher levels will make you more difficult to hurt with firearms. The first tier isn't visible to viewers, but doesn't have a truely significant effect. Armored skin is visible and will tend to deflect bullets from characters who aren't heavily invested in their guns. Rock skin will cause bullets to ricochet regularly even from higher-level soldiers. These buffs won't speed up fights the way that their counterparts in the offensive buffs will, but can be worth the investment for concept purposes and for combatting people who use guns in PK.

Bone Spurs:

To note, these aren't a pre-requisite for Bone Spear, though functionally they are similar. Bone spurs will give you an extra slay/disable type that can occasionally work slightly earlier than strangling your opponent. Additionally, they give a possible end-round attack that does reasonable damage for such an inexpensive buff.

Bone Spear:

Bone spurs on steroids. These don't appear in your description, unlike the spurs. This is like the bone spear used by Adam and the Polgara demons in Buffy. Unfortunately, even with this buff, you'll still want a weapon for slaying purposes. It does give a chance of an early random slay, but doesn't make the disable or slay command work significantly early in a fight. Still, it's an extra end-round attack as well, and it just looks cool. 20 buff points is hefty, but if your concept calls for it, go for it.

Spur Firing:

This buff isn't actually related to Bone Spurs, despite the similar name. This skill allows you to use the fire command while unarmed and does damage based on your buffs (I haven't tested yet whether it's also based on your strength). It appears to typically do less damage than a shuriken, but you don't have to worry about missing and your victim can't throw spurs back at you. It's useful in dungeons and seems as if it'd be useful in PK, and it's relatively cheap. I recommend it if it fits your concept and you have a significant investment in buffs.

Wings:

Wings are a bit more utilitarian than most buffs. They give a somewhat improved chance of dodging attacks, and large wings allow for flight, which equals divebombing people, which equals fun times for everyone. Indestructible wings have, I believe, been rebalanced since I last played a character with them, but should still make a character highly resilient, though I believe only capable of end-round attacks while active.

Wall Clinging:

...Hrm. Well, to be honest, I've never used Wall Clinging. The one time I was going to, the character already had armor-plated skin, which was incompatible. The problem with wall-clinging is that any Brute worth his salt should be able to jump most heights sooner or later. If it fits you, it's inexpensive, at least, but keep in mind you're giving up the upper part of the skin tree if you take this.

I believe that's all of the available buffs covered. which ones you take is up to you. Keep in mind that if you want more buffs than you can afford, you can take some basic ones through techniques (though if you're a half-demon, keep in mind that these will show up when in human form).

Equipment & Hunting Tactics

Brutes, like most classes, are well-served by equipping themselves properly for hunting. What this means is that you'll want to carry good throwing weapons and at least one melee weapon. Throwing weapons do significant damage before a fight begins, and melee weapons allow you to slay your opponent sooner. Between the two you can narrow the amount of damage you need to inflict to an enemy in-combat before slaying significantly. Note that if you have spur firing, you can eschew the need for throwing weapons to some degree. I recommend that once you've started establishing yourself, you spend the time working to be able to afford the best weapon of the type that you intend to use. (The Security Guard and Enforcer job tracks are particularly suited to Brutes, though you should go with what works for you) If you want it to look different, you can buy another one closer to your desired aesthetic and statswap them. Even a relatively cheap weapon can make slaying easier, so if there's an inexpensive one that has a look you like, you can buy that one first and use it while you save for a better one to statswap it with.

Essentially, hunting NPCs for Brutes is like most physical classes. Find an NPC close to your level. Fire a throwing weapon or spur at it if you have one. Use your styles until it's at a low enough level to slay - this won't be before bruised; if you have a high-end weapon it will generally be around bleeding slightly - then slay it. Straightforward, no?

PKing as a Brute

PK as a Brute is fairly similar to most physical classes. There may be some slight variations depending on your buffs, but for the most part, the important thing is controlling the fight through effective use of movement and weaponry. This means trying to keep your opponent disarmed by moving the fight whenever they lose their weapon. Push fight makes this easier. Without certain techniques or a weapon, you can't attack an armed opponent effectively, and weapons allow your opponent to disable you sooner, so keeping your enemy disarmed is a good idea.

As with most classes, if you take initiative, you'll have the advantage. If you're hunting someone, trying and hit them with ranged weapons before closing in. If you have spur firing, try sneaking up and unloading a few spurs before you attack. If you don't want to use ranged weapons, close the gap before the opponent can, either with flight and divebomb or tackling. If you're a half-demon, make sure you're in your demon form, especially if you have armored skin or rock skin and you're facing a gun-fighter.

Beyond that, make sure you use styles effectively and use your own weapons wisely.

Building a Better Brute - General Tips

This section is basically here to describe some ways you might think of building a Brute from the ground up. I believe that there are multiple methods that work, but here are some that I've found useful personally.

As with any class, I recommend training your vitality first. You can train it up to about 80-85 before the prices start to hike. You could increase it as high as 100 or more, but if you do, expect some difficulty early on.

From there, I recommend figuring out exactly which buffs you want to have. Buffs are cheap to train early on because of their low starting level, and trying to obtain the higher-level buffs in a tree will feel more taxing if you wait until a high level to try and gain them. For those reasons, unless you're planning on just getting a large number of low-to-mid-level buffs, I recommend buying as many of the buffs you intend to gain as possible at low levels. If you're rerolling with a significant of experience, I also recommend getting as many buffs as you intend ASAP.

Once you've got the buffs you want, you've got a bit of a choice. Personally, from there, I generally train strength, speed and martial arts according to their cost. However, you may decide to go against the mold and, for instance, make a speedy Brute. If you do, be forewarned that your experience costs will hike faster, and your level won't go up as fast, which means less techniques and accuracy in combat, etcetera. However, above all else, you should build the character you want to play.

Finally, consider working out if you've got the time. Besides the aesthetic aspect, the extra points added onto your stats can make a difference against opponents your level. Technically, the speed bonus from a lithe build tends to counterbalance a Brute's tendency to lean on strength, but what self-respecting brute wants to run around looking like a fairy boy? Hey, I never said I was completely objective. Anyway, that's it for today's guide. Tune in next time for... uh... whatever I decide to write up next.

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