View Full Version : A Pathfinder Swashbucker (Please Critique)

Master Arminas
2012-03-31, 06:35 PM
I don't know about the rest of you, but I really love the old swashbuckling movies, from Errol Flynn films to The Princess Bride to even movies such as Cutthroat Island; Pirates of the Caribbean, The Three Musketeers, and The Man in The Iron Mask. The themes and smart, witty action presented by these heroes (and villians) is something that just resonates with me to this day. In Greyhawk, there are many cultures (Holds of the Sea Princes, the coastal lands of the Great Kingdom, among others) where such lightly armored characters might hail from. The Holds in particular can be home to a fantasy version of this genre without too much effort on the part of the DM.

But the Swashbucker we see in Complete Warrior is sadly ill-equipped for such a series of adventures. And the Duelist prestige class is too narrowly focused and not available to a starting character. With all of the new class updates in Pathfinder, I thought that it would be an excellent time to make a revision of the Swashbuckler.

Some people may not like this version. I have had some reaction where comments about the lack of a buckler, or ability to wear medium armor, and the corresponding lack of AC has been listed. In my own humble opinion, these things are not what make a swashbuckler. How many movies in this genre have you ever seen a character wear mail? How many use a buckler (and yes, I know that swashbuckler is derived from a sword-and-buckler fighter).

This class is about style and panache and quick action. If you want to be weighed down by heavy armor, play a Fighter or a Paladin. If you want to alter the universe, play a Wizard. Maybe the Swashbuckler has no place in our game, but if so then it is a poorer game for it.

But putting that aside, I think this class can stand on its own. Despite the lack of armor, the class possesses unique features that allows it to contribute in the game. I hope that you enjoy it.

Master Arminas

The Swashbuckler
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Fighter Training, Weapon Finesse
2 +2 +3 +3 +0 Bonus Feat, Grace +1
3 +3 +3 +3 +1 Dodge +1
4 +4 +4 +4 +1 A Rapier Wit +1
5 +5 +4 +4 +1 Deadly with a Blade +1
6 +6 +5 +5 +2 Bonus Feat, Fisticuffs, Grace +2
7 +7 +5 +5 +2 Parry, Dodge +2
8 +8 +6 +6 +2 Acrobatic Charge, Wit +2
9 +9 +6 +6 +3 Ledge Walker, Deadly +2
10 +10 +7 +7 +3 Bonus Feat, Better Lucky than Good, Grace +3
11 +11 +7 +7 +3 Use Against Them, Dodge +3
12 +12 +8 +8 +4 Shield Duelist, Wit +3
13 +13 +8 +8 +4 Acrobatic Skill Mastery, Deadly +3
14 +14 +9 +9 +4 Bonus Feat, Riposte, Grace +4
15 +15 +9 +9 +5 Hard to Hold, Dodge +4
16 +16 +10 +10 +5 Slippery Mind, Wit +4
17 +17 +10 +10 +5 Stand Up, Deadly +4
18 +18 +11 +11 +6 Bonus Feat, Bleeding Critical, Grace +5
19 +19 +11 +11 +6 Opportunist, Dodge +5
20 +20 +12 +12 +6 Master Swashbuckler, Wit +5

A Swashbuckler for Pathfinder

For some, it is not enough to fight well. For these few, the fight must be conducted with style and panache; with wit and charm; and more than a bit of luck to boot. Forsaking the heavy armor and powerful weapons wielded by fighters and paladins and barbarians and rangers, the swashbuckler depends upon his dexterous grace to avoid blows and his stunning agility to move across a crowded battlefield without suffering harm. He relies upon light weapons that become truly lethal in his skilled hands; and yet, he knows that sometimes the outcome of battle rests not on skill with a weapon, but with a word whispered in the right ear.

Role: Swashbuckler’s are not your typical front-line warrior. Although able to go toe-to-toe with many more traditional swordsmen, the swashbuckler brings a host of skills and abilities to the table along with his acrobatics and his flashing blade. More at home in an urban environment than a traditional dungeon setting, the swashbuckler uses his silver tongue and dashing acrobatics as weapons nearly as often as his rapier.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d10.

BAB: High.

Good Saves: Fort; Ref

Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex); Bluff (Cha); Climb (Str); Craft (Int); Diplomacy (Cha); Disguise (Cha); Escape Artist (Dex); Knowledge (Local) (Int), Intimidate (Cha); Perception (Wis); Profession (Wis); Ride (Dex); Sense Motive (Wis); Stealth (Dex); and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Intelligence modifier.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Swashbucklers are proficient with the following weapons: Dagger, Dart, Gauntlet, Kukri, Light Crossbow, Main-gauche (see below), Punching Dagger, Rapier; Sap; Short Sword; Sword Cane, Unarmed Strike, and Whip. Swashbucklers are proficient with light armor, but not with medium or heavy armor, or with any type of shield.

Fighter Training (Ex): Levels in the swashbuckler class are considered fighter levels for the purposes of qualifying for feats that have a prerequisite of ‘fighter level x'. This stacks with actual fighter levels gained through multi-classing.

Weapon Finesse (Ex): All swashbucklers gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat at 1st level.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, and every four levels gained thereafter, a swashbuckler gains one of the following feats as a bonus feat: Catch Off-Guard, Improved Disarm, Lunge, Nimble Moves, Quickdraw, Skill Focus (any class skill), Throw Anything, Two-Weapon Defense, and Two-Weapon Fighting.
At 6th level, the swashbuckler adds the following feats to his bonus feat list: Acrobatic Steps, Deflect Arrows, Greater Disarm, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Improvised Weapon Mastery, Stunning Fist, and Vital Strike.
At 10th level, the swashbuckler adds the following feats to his bonus feat list: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Weapon Focus, Improved Vital Strike, Penetrating Strike, and Weapon Specialization.
At 14th level, the swashbuckler adds the following feats to his bonus feat list: Critical Mastery, Greater Vital Strike, Greater Weapon Specialization, Penetrating Strike.
A swashbuckler must meet all of the listed prerequisites for a feat that he selects.

Grace (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, the swashbuckler gains a +1 bonus on all Acrobatics, Climb, and Swim checks that he makes. At 6th level, and every four levels gained thereafter, this bonus increases by +1 to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. The swashbuckler gains this bonus only when he is wearing no armor or light armor, and if he is not encumbered.

Dodge (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 Dodge bonus to his Armor Class, provided that he is carrying no more than a light load and is wearing no armor, padded armor, leather armor, or studded leather armor. At 7th level, and four levels gained thereafter, this bonus increases to +1 to a maximum of +5 at 19th level. All Dodge bonuses to Armor Class stack with each other.

A Rapier Wit (Ex): At 4th level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 bonus on all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks that he makes. At 8th level, and every four levels gained thereafter, this bonus increases by +1 to maximum of +4 at 16th level.

Deadly with a Blade (Ex): At 5th level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when using any of the following weapons: Dagger, Gauntlet, Kukri, Main-gauche (see below), Punching Dagger, Rapier, Short Sword; Sword Cane, or Unarmed Strike.
Every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), the bonus on attack and damage a swashbuckler receives with these weapons increases by +1, to a maximum of +4 at 17th level.
A swashbuckler also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with the listed weapons. This bonus also applies to the swashbuckler's Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against any of the listed weapons.
For the purpose of using gloves of dueling, this ability is the same as the fighter-class Weapon Training ability.
The swashbuckler gains this bonus only when he is wearing no armor, padded armor, leather armor, or studded leather armor.

Fisticuffs (Ex): At 6th level, a swashbuckler using an Unarmed Strike is always considered armed and can choose to deal lethal damage instead of nonlethal damage at no modifier to his attack roll. In addition, the swashbuckler deals more damage than normal with an unarmed strike, and the damage that he inflicts increases as he continues to advance in level: at 6th level a swashbucklers unarmed strike deals 1d6 points of damage; at 12th level this increases to 1d8 points of damage, and at 18th level it increases again to 1d10 points of damage.

Parry (Ex): Starting at 7th level, a swashbuckler may declare a parry against a single melee weapon attack that has successfully hit him. Once per round, when the swashbuckler would normally be hit with an attack from a melee weapon, he may parry it so that he takes no damage from it. The swashbuckler must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Attempting to parry a melee attack doesn't count as an action. Unusually massive melee weapons (such as huge or larger weapons) and melee attacks generated by natural attacks of a creature of Huge or larger size cannot be parried.

Acrobatic Charge (Ex): At 8th level, the swashbuckler gains the ability to charge in situations where others cannot. He may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement. In addition, the swashbuckler need not charge in a straight line, but instead can make up to one turn during the charge. He may charge through squares occupied by his allies, but each such square counts as difficult terrain and costs twice its normal movement cost (a 5’ square that is difficult terrain and occupied by an ally would therefore cost a swashbuckler 15’ of movement).
A swashbuckler can use this ability to make dramatic charges, such as swinging from a chandelier or jumping over obstacles, provided that he successfully makes the appropriate skill check.

Ledge Walker (Ex): At 9th level, the swashbuckler may move along narrow surfaces at full speed, using the Acrobatics skill without penalty. In addition, a swashbuckler with this ability is not flat-footed when using Acrobatics to move along narrow surfaces.

Better Lucky Than Good (Ex): At 10th level, a swashbuckler may reroll any failed attack roll, skill check, ability check, or saving throw once per day. The character must take the result of the reroll, even if it is worse than the original roll. At 15th level, and again at 20th level, a swashbuckler gains one additional daily use of this ability.

Us Against Them (Ex): When flanking an opponent with an ally, a swashbuckler of 11th level or higher gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls rather than a +2 bonus.

Shielded Duelist (Ex): Starting at 12th level, when a swashbuckler is fighting with a finesse weapon and his off-hand is either empty or he is holding a dagger, kukri, main-gauche, or punching dagger in his off-hand, the swashbuckler gains a +1 shield bonus to his armor class, as if using the Two-Weapon Defense feat. The swashbuckler gains this bonus even if he is not using Two-Weapon Fighting to gain additional attacks from his off-hand, and it applies even when the swashbuckler uses an attack action or charge instead of a full-attack action.

Acrobatic Skill Mastery (Ex): At 13th level, a swashbuckler can choose to Take 10 on any Acrobatics, Climb, or Swim checks that he makes, even in combat or other dangerous or distracting situations where the character could not normally Take 10.

Riposte (Ex): At 14th level, a swashbuckler who parries (see above) a melee attack can make an immediate attack of opportunity against the opponent whose attack just missed. This attack of opportunity is a free attack and does not count as one of the swashbucklers normal attacks of opportunity for the round.

Hard to Hold (Ex): At 15th level, a swashbuckler can automatically slip any non-magical manacles, chains, or other restraints he is wearing without an Escape Artist check. Instead of slipping a restraint, the swashbuckler can instead automatically escape from a grapple or pin. He may use this ability only once per day, regardless of which option he uses.

Slippery Mind (Ex): At 16th level, a swashbuckler can sometimes break free of charms and compulsions after failing his original saving throw. One round after the swashbuckler fails a saving throw against any charm or compulsion effect, he gains a new saving throw at the original DC to regain his senses. If this second saving throw is successful, the effect immediately ends.

Stand Up (Ex): A swashbuckler of 17th level may, on his turn, stand up from prone as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Bleeding Critical (Ex): At 18th level, a swashbuckler gains Bleeding Critical as a bonus feat.

Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, a 19th level swashbuckler can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as an attack of opportunity for that round. Even a swashbuckler with the Combat Reflexes feat can't use the opportunist ability more than once per round.

Master Swashbuckler (Ex): The swashbuckler reaches the pinnacle of his class at 20th level. He gains the ability to move between his melee attacks without provoking attacks of opportunity.
The swashbuckler may take a free 5-foot step after making a successful melee attack. Like all 5-foot steps, this movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The swashbuckler is limited to moving no more than his standard movement in this fashion, even if the number of successful attack rolls that makes would allow him to exceed this amount. These free 5-foot steps do not subtract from the swashbuckler’s normal movement and can be used even if the character has already taken his 5-foot step for the round. This ability can only be used if the swashbuckler is wearing no armor or light armor, and if he is not encumbered.

New Item

Main-gauche (Light Exotic Weapon)

Cost: 15 gold

Damage (S): 1d3

Damage (M): 1d4

Critical: 19-20/x2

Range: N/A

Weight: 1 lb.

Type: Piercing

Special: Disarm

Description: Also known as a parrying dagger, the main-gauche has a long, thin blade and is normally crafted with a basket hilt. When this weapon is wielded as the second weapon in two-weapon fighting, the wielder gains a +1 shield bonus to his armor class (that stacks with the bonus granted by the feat Two Weapon Defense). The weapon's light weight makes it very suitable for counter-attacks against foes that leave themselves open to attack. If the wielder is using two-weapon fighting and wields the main-gauche in his off-hand, he gains one bonus attack of opportunity per round. This bonus attack of opportunity must be taken with the main-gauche and follows the rules for using two weapons in combat (including applying only one-half of the wielder's Strength bonus on rolls for damage).
This weapon makes conducting disarm attacks easier (as the disarm special weapon quality) and also grants the wielder a +2 bonus to his CMD against disarm attempts made against the main-gauche itself. The main-gauche is not designed to be thrown, but a character with the Throw Anything feat can do so, using the listed damage and critical range of the main-gauche, rather than that of an improvised weapon.
While any character may pick up and use the main-gauche without spending a feat on proficiency (at a -4 penalty to hit), the shield bonus conferred by this weapon, the bonus on CMD versus disarm attacks conferred by this weapon, and the counter-attack bonus attack of opportunity conferred by this weapon require actual training in the proper use of the main-gauche. As such, these properties can only be used by a wielder who has selected the Exotic Weapon Feat for the main-gauche.

Master Arminas
2012-04-03, 05:29 PM
No thoughts at all?