I moderately like the Swashbuckler and will probably build and play one.
That said, as a PFS player, I find that Evasive comes too late. Uncanny Dodge should be available at Level 3 and Evasion at Level 7.
Why not give the Deeds that don't require spending a Panache Point as class features? You could balance this by making a Swashbuckler who is out of Panache Points take the Fatigued condition.
Filling up the class features table with Bravery makes me feel that I've been shortchanged.
I would like to spend a Panache Point to stand up without any Attacks of Opportunity.
I think you need DEX to damage. Otherwise, undead become a real problem. Alternately, you could remove “living” from Precise Strike (and for the Duelist too, please!).
As an aside, I tend to take Monkey Style rather than Crane Style. Pathfinder rewards offense over defense and there is always healing.
You could take a fighter because Eldritch Knight levels stack with fighter levels for fighter bonus feats.
I would even suggest a CAD for first level. You'll get some interesting class skills and you were never going to wear medium armor.
Even so, an Urban Barbarian might be good. So might the Freebooter Archetype of the Ranger.
So, your Half-Elf will do 10 levels of (mostly) Urban Barbarian followed by 10 levels of Duelist.
What are your ability scores and what is your point build? Where will you put your Ability Score increases? Will you use magic items to boost your ability scores? Also, I see you are using a Campaign Trait from the Kingmaker AP.
Experience suggests that a Fighter with a WIS below 12 is as much danger to his friends as his enemies.
I’m not sure that Power Attack goes with the concept of Duelist.
You should take two levels of Aldori Sword Lord PRC. First, this improves your saves. Second, it gives a big boost to Dazzling Display. And, third, it gives you one more feat before you reach Duelist. (If you were starting off as a Lore Warden, you would want to take 4 levels of Sword Lord.)
You should take the first two levels of Duelist as soon as you can.
In PFS, I had a very successful Free Hand Fighter 8/Aldori Sword Lord PRC 2/Duelist 2. (He would have been better as a Weapon Master.) When he reached Level 13, he took Duelist and will probably continue on that path.
Dervish of Dawn, a fighter archetype, might be good.
If you don’t mind giving up 1 point of BAB, four levels of Ninja or Rogue with the Scout archetype is good. A Scout’s foe is always flatfooted when she charges. For your point of BAB you get 2d6 of sneak attack damage and an opponent that is denied its DEX bonus to AC.
When a third-level Dervish of Dawn charges, the charge penalty to AC is reduced by one.
There are Ninja Tricks that give you Improved Unarmed Combat and a Style Feat. Janni Style reduces your AC penalty on a charge by one and flanking opponents only get +1 against you rather than +2. Admittedly, most Ninja players would be reluctant to not take Vanishing Trick as one of their Ninja Tricks.
This is a bit of a stretch, but you might want to take one level of Urban Barbarian. Crowd Control gives +1 to attack and +1 to AC when adjacent to two or more opponents. (If you were playing PFS, the Taldor faction has the Expert Duelist trait: +1 AC versus a solitary foe.)
Edit: It's Dawnflower Dervish not Dervish of Dawn, which is what d20pfsrd.com calls it because it isn't allowed to use names from Golarion.
First, make sure the rest of the party is trying to keep you alive. It they are not helping out, withdraw.
Second, go first. Take Improved Initiative and the Reactionary trait. Wizards have moderately good DEX.
Third, worship Torag. The Religious trait Defensive Strategist means you are not flat footed at the start.
Fourth, beef up. Take Toughness to give you an extra HP per level. Always take your favorite class HP. Your starting CON should be at least 12 or 13.
You may need to use the Extra Traits feat. Being Human gives you an extra feat.
The players' choices strike me as reversed.
For a Dervish Dance fighter, a Free Hand Fighter going into Duelist would be good. (My Free Hand Fighter went into Aldori Sword Lord PrC and Duelist.)
Meanwhile, the 2H fighter guide (in the Advice Guide section) recommends Mobile Fighters take Greatswords.)
In PFS, I had a Free Hand Fighter 8, Aldori Sword Lord PrC 2, Duelist 2. With a +4 Mithral Breastplate and a +3 Ring of Protection, he had a 36 AC. I never felt unhappy about not having Crane Style but I would have liked Monkey Style.
With a +5 sword, he added 25 to his attack roll, before buffs, and did d8+15 damage.
If I did this sort of character again, I would probably use Weapon Master instead of Free Hand Fighter. Going into Duelist via a Dervish Dance Weapon Master is also a possibility.
Another possibility I considered was going into the Aldori Sword Lord PrC by taking a Huntmaster Cavalier 3, Unarmed Fighter 2. After reading this thread, I will look at using a Samurai rather than a Cavalier.
Mithral medium armor is treated as light armor. The Armor Check Penalty for this armor is -1. If the character is not proficient with medium armor, there is, therefore, a -1 penalty to attack rolls. If you take either of the Armor Expert or Sargavan Guard traits, the penalty is reduced by 1 to zero.
The alternative is to take one level of a class proficient in medium armor.
EDIT: And proficient in heavy armor too.
Of course, there are ideas that turn out to not work. A Living Monolith requires both Endurance and Iron Will. Rangers get Endurance and the Infiltrator archetype can pick up Iron Will. Unfortunately, she only gets it for ten minutes per level. So this is a class feature that is different from the feat, which would always be on.
If you see any potential pitfalls in trying to meet the requirements of a Prestige Class, share your thoughts with us all, please.
I would recommend Masterwork Studded leather for 200 GP. The armor has an Armor Check Penalty of 1 but making it Masterwork lowers the penalty to zero. Otherwise, there would always be a penalty of 1 on attack rolls.
If you really want a Chain shirt, buy a Mithral one for 1200 GP.
Is your wolf Large yet?
Edited Huge to read Large!
No, this is not a thread about using SLAs to more quickly become Eldritch Knights or Mystic Theurges.
Instead I want to put some variety into taking PrCs, when meeting the requirements.
Eldritch Knight: you can meet the martial arms requirement by taking a Sohei Monk. I’m not sure I would do it but it might catch someone’s fancy.
Living Monolith: if you want to be a Half-Orc, take the alternate racial trait, Shaman’s Apprentice, to get the Endurance feat you need. I have a PFS character that is taking this route.
Aldori Sword Lord: a Half-Elf can take the needed Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Ancestral Arms) in place of adaptability racial trait, which I’m pretty sure everybody knows. However, I suggest taking two levels of Cavalier. The Cockatrice Order grants the required Dazzling Display as a bonus feat.
Since I prefer full-BAB classes, these are the examples I have stumbled upon. I hope people will add others to this thread. Perhaps it will become useful enough to be listed on the Class Guides thread.
There are several free books that you can download from Paizo. The first is the PFS Guide 4.3 and the second is the Shattered Star AP Player's Guide.
Shattered Star has the Pathfinder Society traits from Seekers of Secrets.
The Field Guide was meant to replace Seekers of Secrets as a required book for PFS.
You have to look at 16th level. Assume their best ability score is 20. Both use a d8 weapon. We’ll ignore magical pluses since they should be the same.
I would go Weapon Master 4 Urban Barbarian 1 Aldori Swordlord PrC 1 Duelist 10.
The Duelist’s damage would be d8 plus Duelist (10), Dexterity (5), Rage (2), Weapon Specialization (2) and Weapon Training (1) for d8 + 20. Note that the 10 points of Duelist damage would not apply to anything immune to critical hits.
The Sword and Board Fighter would get d8 plus Power Attack (10), Strength (5), Greater/Weapon Specialization (4), and Weapon Training (3) for d8 + 22. Compared to a Duelist, you lose 5 points of BAB to Power Attack but get 2 back from Weapon Training and 1 from Greater Weapon Focus. You could drop one level of fighter to take Urban Barbarian. Raging would give you an extra +2/+2.
I would like to play a Duelist in Kingmaker. The closest I have come to this build is Free Hand Fighter 8, Aldori Swordlord PrC 1, and Duelist 2, in PFS.
A Duelist is fun to play. A great weakness for them is being feinted. The fighter has a much better flat-footed AC.
I did this off the top of my head, so there may be errors and omissions.
Four levels of monk will only leave you at BAB +5 when you need +6.
Possible is Freehand Fighter 5/Aldori Swordlord PrC 1/Duelist 10. If you are going more than 16 levels, you might want to take another level of Swordlord.
Instead of Freehand Fighter 5, you could do Weapon Master 5 or, even, Weapon Master 3/Urban Barbarian 2.
Gamers have trouble adapting to discipline and hierarchy.
Have him put on latrine duty while the other PCs go into town for a good time. Role play the digging. If you need to introduce a plot hook, have him find something like an unexpected body or a casket.
A Lore Warden doesn’t need to take Medium Armor Proficiency. A mithral breastplate reduces the armor check penalty to 1. Take one of the traits Armor Expert or Sargavan Guard. Either will reduce the ACP by 1. Thus the Lore Warden will take a penalty but it will only be zero! (Thanks to Mergy for this suggestion.)
If you are playing PFS and take Sargavan Guard, I recommend taking the Defender of the Society trait which gives you +1 AC in medium or heavy armor. It is found in the Faction Guide and the Shattered Star Player’s Guide, which is a free download.
For each of my PFS characters I have a spreadsheet called Sources. It begins with a listing of classes, feats and traits that I am using that are not in the core rulebook and the name of the book in which they appear. (I also carry printouts of those traits and feats.)
I then list everything (BAB, etc.) that contributes to my attack with my primary weapon. I get the total by using SUM. I do the same for my AC. And I have even done this for my damage output.
All this can be printed on one 8½ x 11 sheet, usually the back of the third page of my character sheet.
An Aldori Swordlord PrC at 6th level is a good choice for Free Hand Fighters who use Weapon Finesse. They immediately gain Aldori Sword Mastery which gives them a +2 deflection bonus. They also can add their DEX bonus to damage. I would suggest a second level of this class because you gain bonuses to Dazzling Display.
After doing this, you can take one or more levels of Duelist.
You should also take two more levels of Free Hand Fighter to gain a fighter bonus feat and another +1 to your deflection bonus.
The Aldori Swordlord PrC requires a lot of skill points – probably you need a human with an INT of at least 12. Another drawback is that the Aldori sword is an exotic weapon.
In PFS, I am playing a Free Hand Fighter 7 Duelist 1 with Aldori Sword Mastery. Through the proper use of traits and feats, he really feels like a swashbuckler.
This character was developed before Paths of Prestige. Now, I would go Free Hand Fighter 5 Aldori Swordlord PrC 2 Duelist 1.
First, thanks for all the work you have put into this guide.
Second, Defender of the Society only works with medium and heavy armor.
Third, I am looking forward to your analysis of the Pathfinder Society campaign traits. Some of my fighters have taken Expert Duelist (Taldor) which gives a +1 trait bonus to AC when adjacent to a single foe. However, I realize now that an Urban Barbarian would make better use of it. Her Crowd Control gives a +1 dodge bonus to AC when adjacent to two or more foes!
I’m sorry that I was unclear. I meant that fighter archetypes, of the sort that tend to produce finesse fighters, generally give up weapon training as such. I had Free Hand Fighter and Mobile Fighter in mind.
Nobody has made this mistake yet, but a rogue’s weapon training is not a class feature.
In Faiths of Purity, the paladin code of Torag says:
I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others.
Take a look at The Wrath of Khan. Spock shocks Saavik by making untrue statements over an open channel.
I presently have a Free Hand Fighter 6/Duelist 1. Of my five remaining levels, at least one or two will be Fighter. I took Aldori Dueling Mastery which has four prerequisite feats.
I think you have to think ahead in terms of feats and traits.
You could achieve a similar effect earlier by going Beast Master (Ranger) 1 Free Hand Fighter 11. I feel the skills are what make a swashbuckling character work.