Lightning Bruiser: Tabletop Games

  • Very common trope in RPG games as your characters near endgame. Their very high levels usually negate the flaws and when the cannon becomes anything but glass you're in for some serious ass kicking.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Barbarian in Edition 3.5 has the highest hit points available, can wear up to medium armor, Rage to get bonuses on taking and giving damage, and use any weapon they please, which is usually a double handed sword, bludgeoning tool, or axe. They're also the fastest unmodified class, and at higher levels react so fast that they can't be flanked by a group of enemies and/or a backstabbing Rogue. In 4th edition they keep their high hit points, speed and hitting power, but their defense is so poor that they're going to need those hit points.
    • Rangers in 3.5 start out as a Fragile Speedster, capable two-weapon melee characters or archers that are still outpaced by dedicated archer and fighting classes, unless they take Weapon Finesse and use their high Dexterity stat to hit often with rapiers, shortswords or the like. At higher levels a Ranger can pick a combat style and gain additional feats for the bow or two-weapon fighting, elevating them to full Glass Cannon status. But give one a Mithril Breastplate they get all the defense bonuses of medium armor while retaining their Dexterity bonus in light armor, and with the right enchantments, accessories and feats a Ranger becomes a dual-wielding badass with an armor value usually associated with a Paladin, on top of enough skills to contribute in other ways.
    • Monks were intended to be this and combine high movement speed with a flurry of attacks, but unfortunately the 3.5 Edition Monk is often considered to be quite lacking at high levels of optimization. The 4th Edition Monk does somewhat better as a relatively effective striker.
    • The Fighter in Pathfinder qualifies as a Lightning Bruiser thanks to their "Armor Training" ability, which allows them to increase the Max Dexterity Bonus of their armor (they get better at dodging stuff, even when they're covered in plates of steel), decrease the Armor Penalty (they get better at getting around weight issues armor has when preforming physical actions like swimming, jumping, climbing etc.) and most importantly, they can move at full tactical speed in armor. Relatively early, too (3rd level for Medium armor, 7th for Heavy armor). Essentially, a Fighter can sprint while wearing full plate armor before he's even halfway done with his class progression.
    • Pathfinder Monks also qualify. Leveling up, they passively gain more speed, armor, and damage, until at max level an average Monk can move at 90 feet in less than 10 seconds and hit like a truck while still dodging most attacks coming their way.
    • The Monstrous Crab has a massive 66 HP, immunity to mind-affecting spells, and a devastating attack in which it pinches, then grapples the opponent for an average of 29 damage. It can also keep pace with an unarmored barbarian, and outspeeds just about anything else in a land race, to say nothing of water. Oh, yeah, and it's CR 3. Have fun.
    • Though the Tarrasque is best-known for its Nigh-Invulnerability and Instant Death Radius, it's pretty slow... but once per minute, it can Rush to boost its speed to 150 feet per round, three times faster than a horse. Pathfinder's take added the Powerful Leaper ability, letting it manage surprisingly huge jumps even when not using Rush. When it is using Rush and jumping? Yikes.
  • Warhammer:
    • Bretonnian knights are the not only the fastest of the game's heavy cavalry, but also the hardest hitting, and your fancy guns do jack against them. They can take almost anything head on, and the Grail Knights in particular are amongst the best troops in the game. Just don't expect that level of might from the peasant levy.
    • High Elf heavy cavalry, namely the Silver Helms and Dragon Princes, is lightning quick but still delivers tremendous blows. They're not as durable as Bretonnian knights, but have higher Initiative, giving them a better chance of killing their foe before getting hit in the first place.
    • Ogres on the charge have been described by their designer as "rolling a giant wrecking ball at the enemy." They can move 12" a turn, a unit can deal out 12 attacks in the first turn of combat, and each model has 3 wounds apiece. This is balanced out by a high points cost, low morale and dubious magical power.
    • The Lizardmen's mainline unit, Saurus Warriors (and the elite Temple Guard), start out as a Mighty Glacier with high durability and terrible Initiative, but judicious application of Light magic by a friendly Slann can make things a lot more vicious. A unit of Temple Guard powered up with Birona's Timewarp can move as fast as cavalry and dish out three Strength 5 attacks apiece which always strike first, allowing them to survive being charged in the rear by a horde of foes.
  • In Blood Bowl, players with at least Strength 4 and Movement 6 generally fill this mold, especially if they also have a decent Agility. Most of them are balanced by being horribly expensive and limited in number. Vampires (Movement 6, Strength 4, Agility 4, Armour 8) are perhaps the most fastest bruisers of all, but suffer from Blood Lust that gives them a 1/6 chance of delaying whatever they're supposed to be doing in order to feed.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Any model with high Strength, Toughness and Initiative stats can be seen as one of these, be they special characters, monstrous creatures or walker vehicles like Dreadnoughts.
    • Space Marines are gene-boosted brutes encased in full suits of Powered Armor, both of which enable them to be faster and more agile than "mortal" humans. Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves stands out for an incident during the Battle of the Fang, when his chapter was under attack by the Inquisition and Grey Knights - the Great Wolf was sufficiently pissed to be sprinting in Terminator armor, which is normally so heavy that even Astartes find it cumbersome and slow.
    • This is a trait of the Eldar's heaviest vehicles. They won't have an Imperial super-heavy tank's endurance, but they'll be able to dish out just as much if not more firepower while moving at great speed. Eldar super-heavy grav-tanks like the Scorpion or Cobra are fast skimmers just like their mainline tanks, sport cannons the length of train cars, and are protected by holo-fields that make them next to impossible to hit when on the move. Even their Titans share these qualities, and the Revenant is not only fast and agile enough to sprint across the battlefield, it has jump-jets allowing it to make 36" leaps across the tabletop.
      • Outside of vehicles, Eldar look like they should be Fragile Speedsters due to their lithe builds, but their highly-efficient muscular systems make them just as strong as an average human, while their reflexes mean that we might as well be moving in slow motion. Eldar who fully develop their combat potential can be terrifying - in Void Stalker, the protagonists initially believed they could hear rain falling, but it was getting gradually louder. Then they realized the "rain" was the footfalls of Jain Zar, Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees, sprinting at full speed towards them.
    • The Tau XV104 "Riptide" Battlesuit is the race's first proper Mecha, with the best defenses of any of their ground units, enormous weapon systems capable of wiping out entire enemy squads, and a jet pack that allows it to run circles around enemy vehicles and walkers. It's even faster if it dumps charges from its Nova Reactor into its boosters for that turn.
    • Necron ground forces can cheat to pull this off and simply teleport incredibly durable Skelebots right into the enemy's faces, but in space they're a more legitimate example of this trope. Their ships are not only the toughest in the game, but also have inertialess drives that allow them to outrun and outmaneuver even Eldar fleets. In Battlefleet Gothic the Necron fleet's only weakness is a comparative lack of firepower, a drawback not seen in the rest of the background - in Cain's Last Stand one Necron escort ship is able to ambush and wipe out an entire enemy fleet by itself, before they have time to react.
  • Magic: The Gathering: anything big with haste. Consider Predator Dragon, Hellkite Charger, and Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund for three draconic examples. (Admittedly, the "lightning" part only applies on the first turn you summon it, but the "bruiser" will remain indefinitely.)
    • Alternatively anything big with first strike might qualify, such as Akroma, Angel of Wrath. Who has haste too, so she fits by either metric.
  • Old World of Darkness:
    • Werewolves were the eminent personification of this trope. All Werewolves (even the weaker Tribes and Auspices) became at least as strong as the strongest normal human ever when in their war-form. On top of this, the Werewolf super-stat "Rage" had the default effect of giving you more actions per round on a 1-action-per-point-of-Rage-spent basis.
    • Vampires also had the Brujah, whose Clan Disciplines included Celerity (going fast) and Potence (being super-strong).
  • Speedsters in the Hero System can approach this. Obviously they are built for speed, but a high Dex score and Skill Levels in dodging can make them very difficult to hit, and the rules for adding velocity to melee damage mean that a speedster can, if he doesn't mind having a poor chance to hit, land a punch on somebody while going fast enough to circumnavigate the globe in a single combat phase.
  • The nature of the New World of Darkness character-building system dictates these — damage is determined by Strength + skill, and speed is determined by Strength + Dexterity + 5. If you have high strength, you're quick and powerful.
  • Exalted: since there's nothing whatsoever preventing you from buying, say, Melee, Athletics and Resistance (for Solars), Dexterity and Stamina (for Lunars), or Malfeas and Adorjan (for Infernals), these tend to emerge quite rapidly. A Malfean soak/damage build using Adorjani run-like-the-wind and hurricane flurry magic is something you do not want to meet in a dark alley - her ridiculously high Soak and Hardness mean all but the most brutal attacks will just bounce off, and she's likely able to outrun a Bugatti Veyron and rip off enormous rains of radioactive blows. Solars are just as unpleasant, albeit more focused on technical skill and proficiency than weird Primordial power.
    • In 2e, there is one Lunar charm that allows them to chase down literally anyone so long as they are deliberately pursuing them. Give that to someone who can turn into a tyrannosaurus, and the results are typically very messy.
  • Clan Omnimechs from the BattleTech game. Faster, more armored, with more and meaner guns than the Inner Sphere counterparts.
    • One assault class mech used by the Clans called the Gargoyle (called "Man O'War" by the Inner Sphere) fits this trope. It is considered speedy for an assault mech since most in its class move like bricks; according to its listing in some BattleTech technical readouts, its speed surprises smaller mechs that expect to run away from it.
    • Not really. While this was said about Clan mechs back when they were first introduced to the game, much of it turned out to be hype. They still can't break the limit of how much armor a mech is allowed to carry and they run the entire gauntlet as far as speed goes (and actually the fastest Inner Sphere mechs are faster than the fastest Clan mechs). The real advantage they have is that Clan weapons are lighter and (in the case of laser weapons) more powerful than Inner Sphere weapons, which allows them to get more bang for less mass, freeing up extra mass for a bigger engine or more armor. Assuming they actually take advantage of it (which they don't always).
  • The Grav Tank in GURPS: Ultra-Tech can break the sound barrier, become nearly invisible and carries a massively powerful plasma cannon. If it does get hit the armor is the equivalent of several inches of hardened steel. Those stats are for a light tank.
  • In Champions, for the early editions of Champions it was every listed NPC with superhuman strength in the damned game!!! Here's the reason - in Champions, a baseline human has maximum stats of 20 in anything but the makers of Champions often broke their own guidelines when it came to making their characters. Brick-type characters who should be strong but super-slow, will have high-end strength and can bench 100 tons with ease and somehow have superhuman agility (often 23, sometimes less and sometimes more depending on the character) when you'd expect they'd be coming in at 5 or below. Meanwhile Martial Arts-type characters who should just be fairly strong humans but very quick, will have strength that can range from benching 1600 pounds to 4 tons and have the agility to match speedsters. Since the agility stat affects the speed statistic, many NPC you fight will look like a squat brick who can lift 800 tons, juggle swords with their nipples while blind-folded and move at speeds that make the average human look like a turtle dipped in molasses. The biggest oddity is that every NPC is comparatively hit point poor. The average human has 10 Body and max human is 20, however no NPC has 20 Body. Almost everyone has just 10, with high-end bricks getting 14. The highest Body stat belongs to Grond who is an expy of the Incredible Hulk and he's coming in at 18. They do make up for this by being extremely difficult to stun and having enough physical and energy defense stats to soak up any real Body damage.

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