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    Default So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    I've taken an interest in the PrC lately, and it looks pretty good. Sure, it loses 4 caster levels, but the class features are plentiful, flavorful, and fairly powerful, so it's easy to see why people like it at a glance.

    I'd like a more thorough breakdown, though. How good is Swiftblade?
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    I can't say how Good it is based on power though I was a force to Be reckon with. (though when I play'd I was a Gestalt Character)

    But I can say the abilities and flavor are really fun and make for cool mental images

    one of my very favorite 3.5 prestige classes

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Well... it's awesome in gestalt, but remember the 1st commandment: Thou shalt not give up thy caster levels.

    4 caster levels is 2 spells levels below a full caster.
    Though it works out to full casters having 1 spell level on you for most of Swiftblade's progression.

    It's good. But it's not that good. It works ingame if you're not being counted on as the primary caster.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    It's one of the strongest things you can do that's not a full caster. That said, it's not a full caster.
    Um, I think you missed the "detailed breakdown" note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nosta View Post
    I can't say how Good it is based on power though I was a force to Be reckon with. (though when I play'd I was a Gestalt Character)

    But I can say the abilities and flavor are really fun and make for cool mental images

    one of my very favorite 3.5 prestige classes
    A bit better.

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    Well... it's awesome in gestalt, but remember the 1st commandment: Thou shalt not give up thy caster levels.

    4 caster levels is 2 spells levels below a full caster.
    Though it works out to full casters having 1 spell level on you for most of Swiftblade's progression.

    It's good. But it's not that good. It works ingame if you're not being counted on as the primary caster.
    Yeah, not primary caster material(which is true for most gish builds I think).

    Also to quote the Gish Handbook:

    Losing caster levels is heresy, but swiftblade has an entire heterodox church complex backing it up.
    YMMV on that, but if you're not the main arcanist...
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    On one hand, it requires too much casting for someone for whom casting is a minor side trick to benefit, and thus makes it hard to combine with a non-caster-heavy build that could take most advantage of it's class feature. Additionally, it sacrifices enough spell levels that taking it means losing access to level 9 spells, and all the incredible power those bring. So the kinds of builds that it's best for really require spreading yourself thin, since simple 'martial, splash casting' and 'casting, splash martial' will both have a hard time making good use of it.

    On the other, the ability to take an extra standard action every turn is an absolutely massive bonus. Most other sources of this require you to Shapechange yourself into otherwise weak forms, or eat a bunch of LA+RHD.

    So, if you've already decided you're gonna waste your potential by spreading yourself a bit thin in a game that encourages specialization, it can grant you a very powerful boon to compensate.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    On one hand, it requires too much casting for someone for whom casting is a minor side trick to benefit, and thus makes it hard to combine with a non-caster-heavy build that could take most advantage of it's class feature. Additionally, it sacrifices enough spell levels that taking it means losing access to level 9 spells, and all the incredible power those bring. So the kinds of builds that it's best for really require spreading yourself thin, since simple 'martial, splash casting' and 'casting, splash martial' will both have a hard time making good use of it.

    On the other, the ability to take an extra standard action every turn is an absolutely massive bonus. Most other sources of this require you to Shapechange yourself into otherwise weak forms, or eat a bunch of LA+RHD.

    So, if you've already decided you're gonna waste your potential by spreading yourself a bit thin in a game that encourages specialization, it can grant you a very powerful boon to compensate.
    There are more benefits than that admittingly. It seems like your point is that they're not that good, though.
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    yuk Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Something to consider about Swiftblade is that if you take it, as has already been pointed out, you are playing a gish. One of the notable aspects of a gish is that you accept a certain portion of your spells will be going towards making you better at hitting things. Swiftblade, while cutting some of your spells, effectively gives you free buffs that don't cost you spells, which you can then use for other things.
    It's also worth noting that classes like Bard and the Trickster Spellthief can enter Swiftblade and gain spell like and supernatural abilities far beyond the power of their own native casting.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombulian View Post
    Something to consider about Swiftblade is that if you take it, as has already been pointed out, you are playing a gish. One of the notable aspects of a gish is that you accept a certain portion of your spells will be going towards making you better at hitting things. Swiftblade, while cutting some of your spells, effectively gives you free buffs that don't cost you spells, which you can then use for other things.
    It's also worth noting that classes like Bard and the Trickster Spellthief can enter Swiftblade and gain spell like and supernatural abilities far beyond the power of their own native casting.
    Yeah, if you can spare the actions to cast Haste(which is pretty easy; there's a class feature that quickens it automatically for no cost), you get a bunch of extra bonuses. You're gishing, but you gish pretty well I think.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    I wonder if there's a good way to use the Trapsmith's first-level Haste to slip into the class without significant investment in a casting class. Bootstrap it up to be cast out of a 3rd-level slot, perhaps.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I wonder if there's a good way to use the Trapsmith's first-level Haste to slip into the class without significant investment in a casting class. Bootstrap it up to be cast out of a 3rd-level slot, perhaps.
    Dip Chameleon first? Idk.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    It's probably the best Gish that loses caster levels, or at least up there. Obviously you're still better off being a DMM Cleric or some other Persistent Spell abuser if your goal is to use spells to fight, but it's not terrible if you are for some reason opposed to doing that.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    It's probably the best Gish that loses caster levels, or at least up there. Obviously you're still better off being a DMM Cleric or some other Persistent Spell abuser if your goal is to use spells to fight, but it's not terrible if you are for some reason opposed to doing that.
    I assume you mean from an optimization viewpoint. I can see plenty of reasons not to be a Persistomancer, such as party balance and letting the other players have fun.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I wonder if there's a good way to use the Trapsmith's first-level Haste to slip into the class without significant investment in a casting class. Bootstrap it up to be cast out of a 3rd-level slot, perhaps.
    The swiftblade Handbook includes this:




    Quote Originally Posted by Sonofapreacherman
    Speaking from an intent perspective (which I know counts for very little in the optimized forums) the idea is for the swiftblade candidate to use all spell slots (of the level in which haste is gained) to cast haste. The Dungeonscape book did not exist when Brian and I originally created the swiftblade, leaving us completely unaware of the trapsmith prestige class when it was finally released. If we had been aware, the special prerequisite would have read...

    Special: Must have spent the entire previous level using all spell slots of the level in which haste is gained to exclusively cast haste.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    I assume you mean from an optimization viewpoint. I can see plenty of reasons not to be a Persistomancer, such as party balance and letting the other players have fun.
    The only thing that you can meaningfully answer "how good" for is optimization. I'm sure you can imagine circumstances in which a Persistomancer isn't the maximally fun choice, or the maximally pro-social choice, or any number of other things. But you should be able to admit you can also imagine circumstances where it is those things. Those questions are subjective. Power is not, or at least is to a far lesser degree.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I wonder if there's a good way to use the Trapsmith's first-level Haste to slip into the class without significant investment in a casting class. Bootstrap it up to be cast out of a 3rd-level slot, perhaps.
    I think we've got a post somewhere from the original Swiftblade designer that said Trapsmith filling all his 1st-level slots with haste should work. Essentially, "at the first level where you can cast haste, fill all your spell slots with it."

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    I really like the theme of the Swiftblade and think it's a fine class for itself, but...

    ...imho it's not as strong as one might think.


    Imho a PRC value (besides from full caster progression) is defined by it's unique abilities, or the amount of abilities that synergy well and would otherwise be expensive to get (via magic stuff/items).

    And let's compare him to full-casters and full-mundane-melees.

    He ain't that versatile as a full caster, cause his spell selection will be more fitting towards his melee playstyle. Metamagic costs are heavier, because you did loose spell lvl. You can't compete with full casters. And compared to full optimized melees, you need to be able to dish an immense amount dmg to compete, which involves heavy feat usage (which this build is already short of imho).

    If you would invest into charge, you still lack pounce. Getting Pounce into the build would weaken your casting even more. Without pounce, investing into charge multipliers is not recommended imho.
    So where will this build get the dmg to play Rocket-Tag?


    The sole point where I see him strong is as some kind of tank-gish. But the higher the lvls get, the more unreliable tank-type builds become.

    but.. If you play on a low optimization lvl, this prc brings enough power of its own. That's the other side again^^. If your intention is to play a gish, who is relying on several short time buffs, this build helps a lot due to the timestop mechanism.

    But other than that, there are a lot more powerful options than Swiftbade as gish.
    Take a clawlock to compare: he will go for a ubercharger build and dish insane dmg values, while coming with several 24h buffs. He doesn't need to waste actions for buffing up and can start to kill several enemies in the first round.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Doesn't swiftblade level 10 give you access to a Time Stop SLA, that is activated by sacrificing spell slots, the higher the slot the better? Because in that case i would think that, combined with two standard actions per turn, a swiftblade with 8th level spells has the strongest time stop ability in the game.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by dude123nice View Post
    Doesn't swiftblade level 10 give you access to a Time Stop SLA, that is activated by sacrificing spell slots, the higher the slot the better? Because in that case i would think that, combined with two standard actions per turn, a swiftblade with 8th level spells has the strongest time stop ability in the game.
    Indeed they do. When they say not to lose caster levels, they usually aim for getting at least 1 ninth level spell, and swiftblade gets that. Not to mention is can be entered rather easily without a dip.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Indeed they do. When they say not to lose caster levels, they usually aim for getting at least 1 ninth level spell, and swiftblade gets that. Not to mention is can be entered rather easily without a dip.
    And isn't Time Stop considered to be one of the best 9th level spells? Combine an supercharged Time Stop with practiced spellcaster and it really doesn't feel like you are losing that much compared to full spellcasters.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by dude123nice View Post
    And isn't Time Stop considered to be one of the best 9th level spells? Combine an supercharged Time Stop with practiced spellcaster and it really doesn't feel like you are losing that much compared to full spellcasters.
    It's up there. Ice Assassin, Wish, Shapechange, and Miracle are better. However if you have Simulacrum I don't think you care.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Imho people overvalue Timestop (for Swiftblades). Imho the sole purpose of it in this build is only for buffing up, initiate & escape. But it doesn't help your crippled dmg (compared to optimized mundane melee/ubercharger and to full casters), besides from the getting some buffs.

    It would help a tank build, but the lvl at where it starts to work and would shine, tank builds become almost useless due to the Rocket Tag problem.

    Imho it feels like a Jake of all Trades and a Master of None. And even that is better covered by Bards and Chameleons than by a Swiftblade.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Using time stop to buff yourself sounds good, until you realize that you could have just been an Incantatrix and had those buffs all day without loosing any caster levels. Using time stop offensively with Delay Spell is passable, but Swiftblade is a pretty crap chassis for it.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    If you need persist, you have most of the spelldancer requirement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gruftzwerg View Post
    Imho people overvalue Timestop (for Swiftblades). Imho the sole purpose of it in this build is only for buffing up, initiate & escape. But it doesn't help your crippled dmg (compared to optimized mundane melee/ubercharger and to full casters), besides from the getting some buffs.

    It would help a tank build, but the lvl at where it starts to work and would shine, tank builds become almost useless due to the Rocket Tag problem.

    Imho it feels like a Jake of all Trades and a Master of None. And even that is better covered by Bards and Chameleons than by a Swiftblade.

    Well it's quite possible to have 9th level spells and 9 levels in swiftbalde for perpetual options, which is a level of actions economy otherwise difficult to achieve. On top of that, it's a gish class, so arcane strike and power attack are applicable.

    Not to mention that you're an arcane caster, so you have Wraith Strike, obviating the need for shock trooper to cancel the PA penalty, and you won't need to charge when you have a free action each turn. Sure, you lose a damage to an ubercharger, in exchange for being useful for anything other than fighting enemies easily killed anyway, and you aren't a glass cannon while doing it.

    What you mean to say is that it's a master of all.
    Last edited by Snowbluff; 2017-07-30 at 06:47 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
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    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    A Loredrake Kobold with extra caster levels could get level 9 spells by 20 using Swiftblade10, but that's against the spirit of this.

    Swiftblade is an interesting idea that should only lose 1 or 2 caster levels over 10 levels instead of 4.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    No casting PrC should cost any caster levels. It's a stupid cost that is inherently unbalanced, especially when you can just be an Incantatrix, a Dweomerkeeper, or a Planar Shepherd. The game is better if you treat PrCs as extra class features for casters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    If you need persist, you have most of the spelldancer requirement.
    And you just lost a bunch of caster levels. The point is not that you need persist. The point is that persist is better for buffing than time stop, and you gave up too many caster levels to be a good time stop blaster.

    Well it's quite possible to have 9th level spells and 9 levels in swiftbalde for perpetual options, which is a level of actions economy otherwise difficult to achieve. On top of that, it's a gish class, so arcane strike and power attack are applicable.
    Most of the time arcane spellsurge + Invisible Spell will be roughly as good action economy and lets you be an Incantatrix (admittedly, only for Sorcerers). Or just be able to cast shapechange earlier and pick up any of a dozen extra action abilities. Or Primal Scholar + celerity. None of those cost any caster levels.

    The synergy of Arcane Strike and having a BAB is kind of meaningless compared to the synergy of Arcane Strike and being polymorphed into e.g. an Octopus to make eight or more attacks per round, on top of whatever else you get from buffs. You might get a marginally bigger to hit bonus from more BAB, but if you're missing you're doing it wrong.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Entering Swiftblade for a single level before 10 on a Sublime Chord build and then taking two more after 10 gives you Swiftblade 3 without costing any meaningful casting ability.

    If you can get Haste on a Duskblade (either via Extra Spell, Arcane Disciple: Celerity, Trapsmith, or a billion other ways) Duskblade/Swiftblade is really fun.
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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    The question is whether swiftblade is fun to play, not whether itís the most Uber-powerful character you could play.

    The answer from those I asked who have played one seems to be yes.

    You are not quite as versatile as a full caster. And you are not able to deal quite as much damage as a specialized damage dealer.

    But you are far more versatile than a typical melee character. And less squishy than a typical caster.

    And playing a character with some fun abilities to play around with.

    And even if you donít get ninth level spells, you get a class ability thatís better than one of the best ninth level spells (better because you can choose exactly how long your time-stop will last). And you can get it a bit earlier, at 16th level.

    You do have to invest in damage-dealing, keeping strength up high enough to be able to do damage. But thatís not impossible to buff in other ways too, even if you donít deal the most damage from strength alone. I personally favor sorcerer (or even bard/sublime chord casting and snowflake battledance) for cha synergyó there are lots of items to help milk a good charisma for AC, attack bonuses and damage bonuses (thunderlance weapon, slippers of battledancing, gauntlets of heartfelt blows, and bardís sirineís grace spell). So you donít have to be super -MAD. (Cha>dex>con>str>int>wis perhaps?)

    Plus swiftblade seems like it also affords some excellent role-playing opportunities. I always wanted to play one as a speed-freak junkie, jonesing for a speed high, getting jittery and annoyed when out of speed. Always ďact first think laterĒ, impatient to get going and do stuff. (The time stop ability is crucial for when you rush headlong into a situation you did not fully prepare for.)

    Being able to both cast spells and mix it up in melee has always been my optimal play-style (itís why Iím playing a kung-fu Druid right now.)

    So swiftblade has always been high on my list of characters I want to play. I have been saying that Iím going to play one soon for a while, but my current group favors book-limited games that donít support it ( and I like playing with these friends).
    Last edited by Hiro Quester; 2017-07-30 at 10:05 PM.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro Quester View Post
    -snip-
    Honestly this is the best answer so far. Great job.

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    Default Re: So how good *is* Swiftblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    If you need persist, you have most of the spelldancer requirement.



    Well it's quite possible to have 9th level spells and 9 levels in swiftbalde for perpetual options, which is a level of actions economy otherwise difficult to achieve. On top of that, it's a gish class, so arcane strike and power attack are applicable.

    Not to mention that you're an arcane caster, so you have Wraith Strike, obviating the need for shock trooper to cancel the PA penalty, and you won't need to charge when you have a free action each turn. Sure, you lose a damage to an ubercharger, in exchange for being useful for anything other than fighting enemies easily killed anyway, and you aren't a glass cannon while doing it.

    What you mean to say is that it's a master of all.
    It looks good on paper, but if you further apply real game scenarios, it doesn't work out that way imho.

    The action economy is needed cause you didn't focus on persisting in the first place. Sure, you can choose it to either cast a spell each turn in addition to a full attack or use it for an extra attack.

    Another problem is the spell known/prepared limitation. Swiftblade as other gishes focus mostly on melee buffing spells. You are much less likely to have the right utility tools at hand, compared to a regular caster. Further you are limited to either increase DC and increase your chance to overcome SR to a full caster, cause you invest more into melee stuff (weapon/armor enchantments and combat stuff).
    Imho a gish ain't that flexible as most would like it to be. As said, it looks good on paper, but the Master of All is a myth imho.

    Wraith Strike + (just only) PA ain't enough. You need to invest into charge multiplier or it ain't worth it. The extra attack you get ain't worth it. Others with full BAB & extra attacks (frenzy, haste, flurry or whatsoever..) have more attacks than a swiftblade (unless polymorped into something with dozen attacks, but a full caster is almost as good at this as a swiftblade).

    And I even doubt that the swiftblade has "really" more survivability. If you don't drop enemies in the first round (maybe even before they get their first action/turn) you'll eat more dmg. A ubercharger will just pounce into a bunch of enemies and will drop everything he can "hit" from there. Possibly killing all enemies in his range and lessen the chance of being full attacked or attacked at all. Imho that's also some kind of survivability where the Swiftblade will fall short off. When he gets his cool stuff, others have long started to play Rocket Tag. And the Swiftblade is just running after them. Sure, it might look cool to buff up and imagine all the visuals incl. Haste/TimeStop, but in the end the results ain't good enough.

    From a fluff perspective, a really cool and "good" prc.
    But in terms of power:"move along, nothing important to see here".


    You wants to be a king of extra actions? Go for planar shepherd as others pointed out and go for the time wombo combo where you get 10turns while others only get to make a single turn. Now you can break action economy for real.

    No, I really just wanted to say it as said: It's a master of none. Sry for that, but just mho ;)
    Last edited by Gruftzwerg; 2017-07-30 at 10:39 PM.
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