Monday, March 3, 2014

The Revised Swashbuckler

Art by Wayne Reynolds

The swashbuckler is one of my favorite fantasy archetypes. I love the concept of a lightly armored warrior who relies more on charisma and finesse over brute force. When Paizo announced they were working on a swashbuckler "hybrid class" for their upcoming Advanced Class Guide, I was ecstatic.

After reading the Advanced Class Guide playtest document, my first impressions of their swashbuckler were positive. However, as I read over it again and saw it in action, my opinion of the class started to sour somewhat. Instead of just complaining about the class, I thought my time would be better spent revising the swashbuckler into something I'd be more happy with.

Like the original version, this swashbuckler is based on the gunslinger from Ultimate Combat and the fighter. However, I've changed how certain mechanics work (like certain deeds, it's weapon training, etc.) and changed the class' capstone ability to mirror the gunslinger's instead of the fighter's.

I haven't actually playtested this revised version of the swashbuckler yet, so I have no idea how it actually works at the table. So, I'd love to see some feedback from those who give it a try. I'd also love ideas on how to make this class the best possible swashbuckler it can be.

So, without further ado, here's my revision of the swashbuckler class:

THE SWASHBUCKLER

Level
Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st
+1
+0
+2
+2
Deeds, Panache, Weapon Finesse
2nd
+2
+0
+3
+3
Derring-Do 1/day
3rd
+3
+1
+3
+3
Deeds, Nimble +1
4th
+4
+1
+4
+4
Bonus Feat
5th
+5
+1
+4
+4
Finesse Training 1
6th
+6/+1
+2
+5
+5
Derring-Do 2/day
7th
+7/+2
+2
+5
+5
Deeds, Nimble +2
8th
+8/+3
+2
+6
+6
Bonus Feat
9th
+9/+4
+3
+6
+6
Finesse Training 2
10th
+10/+5
+3
+7
+7
Derring-Do 3/day
11th
+11/+6/+1
+3
+7
+7
Deeds, Nimble +3
12th
+12/+7/+2
+4
+8
+8
Bonus Feat
13th
+13/+8/+3
+4
+8
+8
Finesse Training 3
14th
+14/+9/+4
+4
+9
+9
Derring-Do 4/day
15th
+15/+10/+5
+5
+9
+9
Deeds, Nimble +4
16th
+16/+11/+6/+1
+5
+10
+10
Bonus Feat
17th
+17/+12/+7/+2
+5
+10
+10
Finesse Training 4
18th
+18/+13/+8/+3
+6
+11
+11
Derring-Do 5/day
19th
+19/+14/+9/+4
+6
+11
+11
Deeds, Nimble +5
20th
+20/+15/+10/+5
+6
+12
+12
Bonus Feat, True Panache

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 4d6 x 10gp (140gp average).

CLASS SKILLS
The swashbuckler's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: Int modifier. 

CLASS FEATURES
The following are class features of the swashbuckler. 

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Swashbucklers are proficient with simple and martial weapons. They are proficient with light armor, but not shields. 

Panache (Ex): Unlike other warriors, the swashbuckler doesn't rely on brute force. Instead, she fight with panache: a fluctuating measure of her ability to perform amazing actions in combat. At the start of each day, a swashbuckler gains a number of panache points equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Her panache goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than her Charisma modifier (minimum 1), though feats and magic items can affect this maximum. A swashbuckler spends panache points to accomplish deeds (see below), and regains panache in the following ways: 

Critical Hit With a Finesse Weapon: Each time the swashbuckler confirms a critical hit with a finesse weapon(1) while in combat, she regains 1 panache point. Confirming a critical hit on a helpless or unaware creature or on a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the swashbuckler's character level does't restore panache. 

Killing Blow With a Finesse Weapon: When the swashbuckler reduces a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with a finesse weapon attack while in combat, she regains 1 panache point. Destroyig an unattended object, reducing a helpless or unaware creature to 0 or fewer hit points, or reducing a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the swashbuckler's character level to 0 or fewer hit points doesn't restore any panache. 

Daring Act (Optional): Each time a swashbuckler performs a daring act, she regains 1 panache point. The GM is the final arbiter of what is considered a daring act. 

Deeds: Swashbucklers spend panache points to accomplish deeds. Most deeds grant the swashbuckler a monetary bonus or effect, but some provide longer-lasting effects. Some deeds remain in effect as long as the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache point. A swashbuckler can any deeds of her level or lower. Unless otherwise noted, a deed can be performed multiple successive times, as long as the swashbuckler has or spends the required number of panache points to perform the deed. Click HERE for a list of the deeds a swashbuckler can use. 

Weapon Finesse (Ex): At 1st level, the swashbuckler gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. 

Derring-Do (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, the swashbuckler may press their luck when performing certain acrobatic acts. When making an Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, or Fly check, the swashbuckler may roll two dice instead of one and take the better result. She must choose to do this before making one of the above skill checks. At 6th level, and every four levels thereafter, the swashbuckler may use this ability an additional time per day.

Nimble (Ex): Upon reaching 3rd level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC while wearing light or no armor. Anything that causes the swashbuckler to lose her Dexterity bonus to AC also causes the swashbuckler to lose this dodge bonus. This bonus increases by +1 for ever four levels beyond 2nd level. 

Bonus Feats: At 4th level, and every four levels thereafter, a swashbuckler gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained by normal advancement. These bonus feats must be combat or "panache" feats (2). 

Finesse Training (Ex): Starting at 5th level, a swashbuckler can select one specific finesse weapon. She gains a bonus equal to her Dexterity modifier on damage rolls when attacking with that weapon. 

Every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), the swashbuckler picks up another finesse weapon, gaining these bonuses for those types as well. 

True Panache (Ex): At 20th level, a swashbuckler picks two deeds that she has access to and that she must spend panache to perform. She can perform these deeds for 1 panache point fewer (minimum 0) than usual. If the number of panache points to perform a deed is reduced to 0, the swashbuckler can perform this deed as long as she has at least 1 panache point. If a deed could already be performed as long as she had at least 1 panache point, she can now perform that deed even when she has no panache points. 

(1): A "Finesse Weapon" is any weapon that benefits from the Weapon Finesse feat. 

(2): "Panache" Feats are the Grit Feats from Ultimate Combat.