He's reckless, arrogant, impetuous, probably be dead by sundown, but I like the kid.

Quote Originally Posted by Devon Ambrose

Devon Ambrose
Half-Elf Swashbuckler 3/Fighter 4/Suel Archanamach 1/Bladesinger 10/Dragonslayer 1/Spellsword 1

Background
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Everyman has his price. Every man can be bought. This Ambrose feller seems to be worth his weight in gold. Even so, an ambitious man is like a rabid dog. Never turn your back on 'em.
- Excerpt from the Log of Pirate Captain Arcus Wright

Ambrose is a dabbler and a dreamer. He is easily distracted, shows more love for frivolous things than is healthy, and left my tutelage before he completed his training. And the worst of it is, he is perhaps my greatest student.
- From the Diary of Master Aurellion

I could not let such an insult stand, of course, so I challenged Lord Eryl to a duel. While I'm sure the look on my face when he revealed that he was a silver dragon was the source of some amusement to the court, the look on his face when I buried my blade to the hilt in his scaly chest was the vision of comedy.
- Excerpt from Memoirs of a Life Truly Lived, by Devon Ambrose

It's said that a man is what he wills himself to be. A man can accomplish anything if his will is strong enough. Good ser, you are known throughout the ocean kingdoms as the greatest swordsman alive. You've used your skills to amass a veritable dragon's hoard of historical treasures. I am but a humble aspirant in comparison, but I have come before you all the same. Some have called me a brute, but you will find that I know how to play this game, how to dance this dance. As one swordsman to another I say to you, today we cross blades! Today, I show you the strength of my will.
- Devon Ambrose to Carmichael Kane at The Duel of the Emerald Islands, from the Collected Histories of the Gilded Age.


The Main Course
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Devon Ambrose
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Swashbuckler 1|
+1
|
+2
|
+0
|
+0
|Balance 4, Concentration 2, Jump 4, Perform(Dance) 2, Perform(Sing) 2, Spellcraft 2, Tumble 4|Iron Will, Weapon Finesse|Weapon Finesse Bonus Feat

2nd|Fighter 1|
+2
|
+4
|
+0
|
+0
|Balance 5, Jump 5, Tumble 5|Dodge|Fighter Bonus Feat

3rd|Fighter 2|
+3
|
+5
|
+0
|
+0
|Concentration 3, Jump 6, Spellcraft 3|Combat Casting, Combat Expertise|Fighter Bonus Feat

4th|Swashbuckler 2|
+4
|
+6
|
+0
|
+0
|Balance 7, Jump 7, Knowledge(Arcana) 1, Tumble 7| |Grace +1

5th|Swashbuckler 3|
+5
|
+6
|
+1
|
+1
|Balance 8, Concentration 4, Jump 8, Spellcraft 4, Tumble 8| |Insightful Strike

6th|Fighter 3|
+6
|
+6
|
+2
|
+2
|Balance 9, Jump 9, Tumble 9|Weapon Focus(Rapier)|

7th|Fighter 4|
+7
|
+7
|
+2
|
+2
|Jump 10, Speak Language(Ancient Suloise), Spellcraft 5|Weapon Specialization(Rapier)|Fighter Bonus Feat

8th|Suel Archanamach 1|
+7
|
+7
|
+4
|
+4
|Concentration 8, Knowledge(Arcana) 3, Tumble 11| |Ignore Spell Failure Chance 5%, Tenacious Spells, Spellcasting

9th|Bladesinger 1|
+8
|
+7
|
+6
|
+6
|Concentration 12, Knowledge(Arcana) 4, Tumble 12|Improved Combat Expertise|Bladesong Style, +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

10th|Bladesinger 2|
+9
|
+7
|
+7
|
+7
|Concentration 13, Knowledge(Arcana) 5, Spellcraft 8, Tumble 13| |Lesser Spellsong

11th|Bladesinger 3|
+10
|
+8
|
+7
|
+7
|Concentration 14, Perform(Dance) 5, Spellcraft 9, Tumble 14| |+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

12th|Bladesinger 4|
+11
|
+8
|
+8
|
+8
|Balance 10, Concentration 15, Knowledge(Arcana) 7, Spellcraft 10, Tumble 15|Melee Weapon Mastery(Piercing)|Song of Celerity (2nd)

13th|Bladesinger 5|
+12
|
+8
|
+8
|
+8
|Concentration 16, Knowledge(Arcana) 10, Spellcraft 11, Tumble 16| |+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

14th|Bladesinger 6|
+13
|
+9
|
+9
|
+9
|Concentration 17, Knowledge(Arcana) 11, Perform(Dance) 7, Spellcraft 12, Tumble 17| |Greater Spellsong

15th|Bladesinger 7|
+14
|
+9
|
+9
|
+9
|Concentration 18, Knowledge(Arcana) 12, Perform(Dance) 9, Spellcraft 13, Tumble 18|Combat Acrobat|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

16th|Bladesinger 8|
+15
|
+9
|
+10
|
+10
|Concentration 19, Knowledge(Arcana) 13, Perform(Dance) 12, Spellcraft 14, Tumble 19| |Song of Celerity (4th)

17th|Bladesinger 9|
+16
|
+10
|
+10
|
+10
|Concentration 20, Knowledge(Arcana) 14, Perform(Dance) 13, Spellcraft 17, Tumble 20| |+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

18th|Bladesinger 10|
+17
|
+10
|
+11
|
+11
|Concentration 21, Knowledge(Arcana) 16, Perform(Dance) 15, Spellcraft 18, Tumble 21|Versatile Performer|Song of Fury

19th|Dragonslayer 1|
+18
|
+12
|
+11
|
+13
|Concentration 22, Knowledge(Arcana) 18, Spellcraft 19, Tumble 22| |Aura of Courage, Damage Bonus, +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting

20th|Spellsword 1|
+19
|
+14
|
+11
|
+15
|Concentration 23, Knowledge(Arcana) 20, Spellcraft 21, Tumble 23| |Ignore Spell Failure 10%, +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting[/table]


Stats
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Starting Ability Scores:
Str - 10
Dex - 14
Con - 14
Int - 16
Wis - 10
Cha - 14

Final Ability Scores:
Str - 10
Dex - 14
Con - 14
Int - 20 (4 stat bumps - 4, 8, 12, 16)
Wis - 10
Cha - 15 (1 stat bump - 20)


Spells per day/Spells Known
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Spells per day
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|3|3|0|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|3|3|0|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|4|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|4|4|2|0|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|4|4|2|0|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|4|4|2|1|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|5|4|3|2|0|-|-|-|-[/table]

Spells Known
{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

1st|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

2nd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

3rd|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

4th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

5th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

6th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

7th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|2|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|3|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|3|2|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|3|3|2|1|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|3|3|2|1|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|3|3|2|2|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|4|3|3|2|1|-|-|-|-[/table]

Shield(1st), Expeditious Retreat(1st), Nerveskitter(1st), True Strike(1st), Mirror Image(2nd), Resist Energy(2nd), See Invisibility(2nd), Fly(3rd), Haste(3rd), Displacement(3rd), Polymorph(4th), Stoneskin(4th), Blink, Greater(5th)


Level Breakdown
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Level 1
Unsurprisingly, this plays much like any other Swashbuckler. You've got a decent selection of skills (and a few meager ones to qualify for Bladesinger) and some useful feats. You are a mobile fighter, essentially.

Level 5
By this level, your mobility skills are near maximum and you've got several good options for defense in combat. Grace gives you a bump to your poor reflex save, and Insightful Strike has come online, giving you much needed damage boost. You still play like a mobile, lightly armored fighter.

Level 10
Ah yes, now you've gotten a mouthful of the Secret Ingredient. Bladesinger progresses the spellcasting you picked up from Suel Archanamach (which seemed like a natural fit for the SI), and you've got some increased defenses thanks to Bladesong style. Your saves have been pulled from the dismal state they were in and are now good across the board. Shield and Nerveskitter pump up your AC and Initiative if needed. You are a frontline fighter. Between adding Str, Int, and Weapon Specialization to damage, and being able to sacrifice your ability to hit consistently to push your AC 9 points higher (Improved Combat Expertise), you can switch between damage dealing and defense as needed.

Level 15 "Sweet Spot"
At this point, pretty much all of your tricks have come online. Your saves and skills are excellent, your defenses are high, you can quickly cast your defensive spells (song of celerity), you're adding a good chunk to damage (+15-20) on every strike, you picked up Fly as your 3rd level spell, and the Combat Acrobat feat gives you some handy options for mobility. Everything has come together to emerge as a wielder of the sword (primarily), and practicioner of the arcane arts (secondarily). From here on out, you continue to play as a front-line fighter, switching between mobility, defense, and damage as needed. Pick up a keen rapier with some delightful crit enchantments and go to town.

Level 20
You've picked up additional spells (all selected to augment a melee fighter), and can flurry with your rapier. There isn't much else to be said at this point. The only other nice thing at this level is the Aura of Courage from Dragonslayer. Versatile Performer obviates the need to maintain multiple perform skills, and works far better than simply burning skill points to keep both pre-requisite skills near their max.


Recipe for the Secret Ingredient
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Yikes, Bladesinger. The thing about this SI isn't just that it is bad, it's trying to find a way to showcase it that doesn't use classes that you would simply be better off taking instead of the SI. So that pretty much meant no Wizard, Duskblade, Abjurant Champion, or other classes that either give you better casting, or renders one of the SI features null and void. Unfortunately, this generally means that power must be sacrificed to stay true to the concept of the SI this time around.

So what does the SI tell me I should be using? Well, it's got full BAB, and only half casting. Heavy emphasis on combat ability, secondary emphasis on spellcasting ability. In order to get the most out of that we would need arcane spellcasting from a source that provides its own spellcasting over a faster progression than usual. Suel Archanamach cried out to me from the pantry shelf. It's a Fighter/Mage combo that provides its own casting? Great! Bladesinger's half progression casting doesn't hurt when applied to a 10-level casting class. Suel Archanamach even shares one of it's pre-requisites with the SI. And better yet, Bladesinger has more to offer this build than extra levels of Archanamach!

With casting covered, I needed to turn my attention to full BAB combat ability. The natural choice was Swashbuckler for the Int synergy with Bladesinger, and a mix of Swashbuckler and Fighter levels provides all the feats I need to qualify (and a few extra). The 4/3 mix of fighter and swashbuckler levels in the progression also allows any elf race to run with this build as well, since there will be no xp penalty due to favored class.

The last two levels were a bit difficult, mainly because I wanted full BAB and casting progression after Bladesinger finished out. Dragonslayer works well as a 1 level dip, but would be strictly inferior to Bladesinger in this build. Likewise, the first level of Spellsword finishes the build off nicely (even though the 10% spell failure ignore is wasted because of Greater Spellsong).

The end result is a strong fighter/mage build where none of the components overshadow the SI, merely enhance it.


Pantry
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Player's Handbook
Complete Warrior
Complete Adventurer
Player's Handbook 2
Draconomicon