View Full Version : The Swashbuckler Mage (a new base class)

2005-12-28, 02:31 AM
I'm designing a setting which is based on fey courts and swashbuckling. There are no wizards, so I wanted to design a class that used intelligence, and i needed a spellcaster type that was more swashbuckling style. I think it's unique enough to require a new class, but I'm not sure if it's balanced. I'm pretty good about balance, so I'm either way off my game, or it's not too terribly unbalanced either way.

Here's the link to the document: http://www.edanet.com/goober/Swashbuckler_mage.doc

The parry feat it mentions is from Dragon #301. It basically lets you make an attack roll when you're hit in melee, and your roll replaces your armor class. Weather you succeed or not, they then get a free disarm attempt on you, which doesn't provoke an AoO or a return attempt.

The spells marked CAr are from Compelte Arcane.

2005-12-28, 04:45 AM
Just from an initial pass:

This is close in mechanics to the sorcerer (similar if not identical spell progression - haven't compared yet - and similar spell casting system).

But in contrast to the sorcerer, you get a better hit die, better attack progression, more skills, more skill points, the ability to cast in armour, and the ability to swap out spells. All this in exchange for a somewhat more restricted set of spells to begin with, and a few fewer spells at each level along the way.

Or, we compare to the bard:
Lose song and bard knowledge ability, and a few skills and skill points, to get a much more powerful spell progression and options, plus the ability to cast in light armour.

Granted that, IMHO, both the sorcerer and bard may be considered underpowered as classes, this might be seen as a way to boost an arcane caster model. But for this to be a base class - well, I'd pick this over sorcerer in almost any situation, and unless you're basing a character on music for RP reasons, it probably out-performs the bard.

To re-balance, I'd slow down the spell progression further, perhaps to bard levels, but with the spell list you've given, and retain the casting in light armour ability. If you add in good reflex saves instead of the lesser ability you've given, it might make a decent light fighter who casts some spells - or a caster who knows how to fight.

Don Beegles
2005-12-28, 12:09 PM
Personally, I think it would be balanced except for the Hit Dice and Skills per Level. It seems much too good for being, as Toliudar said, a sorcerer with better HP and skills. I wish there was some thing in between d6 and d4 so they could use that, and I would say decreasae skills to the unorthodox 3+Int, and give maybe one less of the two highest level spells per day than the sorcerer to bring it down to the level of sorcerer and bard. * It should be balanced if you do that.

*By the level of the Sorc and Bard I also mean the level of all the other base classes as well, because I pesonally don't consider them underpowered.

2005-12-29, 12:44 AM
The concept is pretty unique, but i think a slight modification of the bard (perhaps a bigger hit die or better bab for losing song and badic knowledge) or the bard itself would fit the role. Perhaps you don't need a new class after all.

Seeing as how i think its similar to the bard...
Hit Die: Same as Bard.
Skill Points: Less than Bard
Spell Selection: Seems to be a mix of a lot of classes, but this also seems to have a restriction when compared to other classes.
Spells Per Day: Less than Bard
Spells Known/Recieved: (I think these are the same, correct me if im wrong) Less than bard.
Base Attack Bonus: Same as Bard
Plus, your swashie loses the special bardic powers, but gains some. Im new to making new classes, but it seems a little underpowered.

EDIT: Link to the Bard class:

2005-12-29, 03:25 AM
This is just a better version of the sorcerer, IMHO. The spell list is more limited, but many of the best spells make it into the list.

To make it more balanced, I would:

1) Get rid of the ability to swap out spells. Either learn and memorize, or spontaneously cast from a fixed list.

2) Consider getting rid of the ability to cast in armor, but retain the ability to use light shields. Not such a big deal anyway considering how useful mage armor is.

3) Further slow down spell progression. I would cap at level 7 perhaps.

4) Make the casting charisma based, or change the skills to 2+INT.

Then you would have a more balanced hybrid.

The question you need to ask- Why would somebody play a sorcerer instead of this swashbuckler mage? At the moment, it is a very hard question to answer.

2005-12-29, 06:43 AM
To make it more balanced I would... get rid of sorceror.

Seriously, Sorceror needed improving and making more stylish.

2005-12-29, 05:41 PM
Alright, I've made some modifications. Same link as above.

First, some notes:
Spells retrieved is just like a spirit shaman. Each day they effectively change which spells they know. They're spellcasting ability and bonus spells are based on Intelligence. They're save DCs are based on Charisma.

Now, the changes:
I reduced skills to 2 + int, but added Bluff and Sense Motive as class skills. I exchanged the bonus feats for spell parry. I moved some of the better attack spells to higher level.

How does it look now?

2005-12-30, 01:34 AM
Actually, I forsee one major problem players will have. If I'm reading this right... and I like to think I am, then swashbucklers are going to run out of hands really fast. I mean, holding a shield in one hand and a sword in the other... how will they meet somatic requirements? Gesture with their tongue? Sing pretty (like a bladesinger)? And what in the world will they do when they have to dig out a material component as well as gesture?

2005-12-30, 01:47 AM
Fey courts and swashbuckling? See if you can't grab "Swashbuckling Adventures" (7th Sea d20), "Lace and Steel" or the 2nd Ed swashbuckling "Historical Reference" out of a bargain bin sometime. All things flouncy and fey shall thus be made clear unto you. :)

Alternatively, for a low(er) magic game. Have Bard, Pally and *maybe* Ranger as the only spellcasting classes. That's _no_ Wiz, Sorc, Cleric or Druid.

Bard takes the wizard/sorc role (surely you know about medieval occultism having swords as a vital ritual artefact right?), while you can retcon Pally into the role of warrior priest. Ranger? He becomes the fey-touched man of mystery from the darkling forests.

To play this up you might want to rule that no racial picks may have spell-like abilities (no Aasimar, Tieflings, etc.).

A low magic base keeps the Fey powerful and mysterious with their innate command of magic, while human occultists (represented by the knowledgable Bard) flounder in their wake.
Monstrous Beasts like the Chimaera, Gorgon, Medusa and Hydra regain their original status as terrors worthy of the greatest heroes.

Dragons or Demons? Don't ask! ;)

2005-12-31, 07:20 PM
I'm using all base D&D classes 'cept: cleric, monk, paladin, and wizard (no deity interaction and no real divine power besides nature, no real martial arts, too much water for spellbooks). I'm replacing them with the swashbuckler mage, the swashbuckler from Complete Warrior, the scout from Compelte Adventurer, and the classes from Magic of Incarnum (incarnate, soulborn, and totemist). I'm also using some variants from Unearthed Arcana as options for some classes.

As for the somatic and material components, they'll need to figure it out. Quick draw would be useful, as would eschew materials.

What do you think of the new version balance-wise? I'll be using it next week, so I want to make sure it's at least mostly balanced by then.