I'm trying to work out a build for a "naked" grappler, by which I mean, someone who is largely independent of equipment, and whose specialty lay in physical battlefield control. Their goal would not be to deal high damage-per-round, or even one-round nova-burst damage, but rather to lock down and disrupt enemy plans, while tanking the front line fight. My current thoughts are in this direction:
- Variant Human gives me a very early feat, and a fairly well-rounded stat profile (I'll need to keep STR, DEX, and CON all high for this setup).
- Prodigy is a feat that gives me an extra skill early on, along with expertise. Establishing a huge bonus to Athletics makes it very hard for enemies to break my grapples.
- Battle Master Fighter seems like the right decision for a primary class; I can take unarmed fighting for melee effectiveness without gear (and virtually always have a hand open for grappling), the large number of ASIs available mean I can both ramp stats and keep adding feats to the list, and combat maneuvers are another way I can modify the battlefield.
- A light splash of Barbarian gives me both unarmored defense, and Rages, which only ramp my grappling effectiveness further.
- Other feat ideas include Crusher for more battlefield positioning control, and obviously Grappler.