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.
  • Bretonnian Knights in the Warhammer Fantasy. Fastest of all heavy cavalry - and also the hardest hitting. They can take almost anything head on, and especially the Grail Knights are amongst the best troops in the game. The Bretonnian army is balanced by the fact that their infantry is mostly crap
  • Lizardmen Saurus Warriors and 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 which always strike first each. This is generally somewhere in the vicinity of a horrible nightmare for any close combat army, since a Temple Guard unit in these circumstances can be charged in the rear by a full-scale horde and win.
  • Everyone in Warhammer 40,000 who isn't a squishy little space elf or Puny Earthling. The Space Marines aren't lightning, but they are repeatedly and consistently noted to be faster and more agile than nine-feet transhumans in bulky Powered Armor seem to have any right to be. Fear the Orks who discover red Celtic woad.
    • In a game where the Space Marines are the Jack of All Stats, something really has to stand out to count as a Lightning Bruiser. Marine and Chaos independent characters such as Failbadon, certain Dreadnoughts, and various Monstrous Creatures with high initiatives might count.
    • Abaddon is sort of a mixed bag since he has high initiative, but he moves slowly since he's in terminator armor.
    • Logan Grimnar would like to digress. During the Inquisition and Grey Knights' assault on Fenris, he combines this trope with Unstoppable Rage, being able to sprint in Terminator Armor. Let that sink in for a moment: the guy is so thoroughly pissed that he is able to run in armor that is so heavy that even Astartes are only able to trudge slowly when wearing it.
    • The Tau XV104 is an enormous Crisis suit with five wounds, toughness 6, defences that are at minimum on par with a Terminator, vehicle-shredding close combat power from its monstrous creature status, some of the most goofily huge guns in an army noted for its massive firearms, and yet is still able to fly with a lot more agility than anything the size of a small building, with nearly no ability to see below the horizon line, has any right to. Especially if it uses its nova charge to increase its booster speed for that turn.
    • Everyone who isn't a squishy little space elf? Whoever wrote that has obviously never faced a Saim-Hann Eldar army list. Like most Eldar units, they're fast and pack a decent amount of firepower, but bike Guardians get a save from the bikes too. Shining Spears are Aspect Warriors with bikes and special laser-shooting lances, making them killy against vehicles and they hit like freight-trains on the charge, too (after the momentum has been cancelled out though, they crumple). Eldar tanks like the Falcon and Fire Prism are deceptively bruiser-ish, boasting a nice array of heavy weapon choices, along with holo-fields, star engines and other little trinkets. A properly-built Eldar skimmer list both takes and dishes out big hits - at range, at least - and on a big table with a player who knows what he's doing, it's almost impossible to beat. The weakness of this army is that it is expensive, both in points (so you won't be fielding many models) and cash.
      • Eldar are this compared to humans. Eldar are blindingly fast and seem to move with an almost inhuman grace, and to them, humans move in slow motion. Their civilians can keep up with Space Marines, and don't get started on their close combat specialists. And although their lithe frames and slender limnbs wouldn't suggest it, they're just as strong as we are thanks to a very efficient musculature system. The Phoenix Lord Jain Zar is this compared to other Eldar: in Void Stalker, the protagonists initially believed they could hear rain falling, but it was getting gradually louder. They entered a state as close as an Astartes can get to an Oh, Crap when they realised that the "rain" was actually her footfall, running straight towards them.
    • The Necrons in Warhammer 40,000 exhibit shades of this on the ground, if they go for a teleportation-heavy strategy, but their fleet is the utter embodiment of this trope in space-pound for pound, Necron ships are among the fastest and most maneuverable in the galaxy, rivaling and at times surpassing even the Eldar fleets. Pound for pound, Necron ships are also among the toughest nuts in the galaxy to crack. However, these advantages come at the price of lacking firepower and paying dearly for the damage the ships do take.
      • The lack of firepower is only for Battlefleet Gothic. In the fluff, a small escort ship can take on a small fleet by itself, destroying it before it has a chance to react (specific incident from Cain's Last Stand).
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Barbarian in edition 3.5''. They have the highest hit points, can wear up to medium level armor, rage out, giving them bonuses on taking and giving damage, and use any weapon they please, which is usually a double handed sword, bludgeoning tool, or axe. To top it off, they're also the fastest unmodified class, and at higher levels, react so fast to multiple enemies that they don't get a bonus when flanking him. Including making sure that the rogue doesn't get his handy dandy backstab feature in said mob.
      • 3.5 Rangers start out as a Fragile Speedster, capable two-weapon melee characters or effective archers but they're still outpaced by dedicated archer and fighting classes. Slap Weapon Finesse on them, though, and you've suddenly got a rapier(or thinblade with Exotic Weapon Proficiency) and shortsword-packing Ranger who hits far more often(due to Dexterity being the Ranger's main ability for their class skills and other features) and frequently criticals if said weapons are Keened. They become Glass Cannons when the reach the later Combat Styles, which grant them extra feats with the bow or two-weapon fighting that allow for extra attacks for free in the latter and incredible archery in the former. However, their Combat Styles limit them to wearing only light armor(which is confusing, as the Ranger comes with Medium Armor Proficiency by default despite this) in order to use those abilities. They cross into Lightning Bruiser territory when you can afford a Mithril Breastplate armor. With this, you now have a light armor(allowing you to retain your Combat Styles) that has the defense bonus of a Medium armor while granting a Dex Bonus comparable to light armors with a negligible Armor Check Penalty of -1. Combine this with some enchantments, an animated shield that is also mithril, and some nifty feats and you've got a dual-wielding badass with an AC on par with a Paladin's while still being a capable fighter and skill monkey.
    • In 4e they still have high hit points (really only beaten out by the Warden, now), move fast, and strike VERY hard with their rages. However, their defense is middling to poor, so you're gonna need all those extra hit points.
    • The Fighter in Pathfinder qualifies as a Lightning Bruiser. The ability "Armor Training" 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. At max level, the average medium 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 and 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.
  • 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).
  • High Elf heavy cavalry (Silver Helms and Dragon Princes) in Warhammer Fantasy. Lightning quick and can deliver tremendous blow - almost as efficient as the Bretonnian knights. Not as durable, though, but have better initiative in combat.
  • 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.
  • Monks were intended to be this in Dungeons & Dragons. They were meant to have high movement speed and hit very often. Unfortunately, the 3.5 version is often considered to be quite lacking at high levels of optimization. The 4e version does somewhat better as a relatively effective striker.
  • 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 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 lightning bruiser of them 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.
  • 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.