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GM's Swashbuckler's Compromise - What do you think?


Advice


Good day, everyone. I have a question here, that's pretty involved, and wanted everyone's advice.

This question has to do with the Swashbuckler, primarily with the execution of the Opportune Parry & Riposte deed.
Here is the deed:

PFSRD20 wrote:


Opportune Parry and Riposte (Ex): At 1st level, when an opponent makes a melee attack against the swashbuckler, she can spend 1 panache point and expend a use of an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry that attack. The swashbuckler makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; for each size category the attacking creature is larger than the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler takes a –2 penalty on this roll. If her result is greater than the attacking creature’s result, the creature’s attack automatically misses. The swashbuckler must declare the use of this ability after the creature’s attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 panache point, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action make an attack against the creature whose attack she parried, provided that creature is within her reach. This deed’s cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the number of panache points a deed costs.

The question or idea has partly to do with the cost of using this deed.

1) You spend 1 panache to use an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry.
2) If you successfully parry, you can then spend an immediate action to attack, if you have at least 1 panache point in your pool.

You must declare the use of this ability after the creature's attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made.
My gripe with this is cost vs. benefit. You are spending a point of a resource to activate an ability, before you know if the attack will even hit.
I think this takes away some of the ability of the player of the swashbuckler to manage their resources or use of this ability.

I asked my GM to allow me to make a BAB-based check to see if the attack was worthy of spending a panache on or not, to give more control over this class ability and its usage.

My GM has listened to my gripe about this, and has offered up a possible house rule as a compromise that eases the choice to use this ability a little bit.

His proposal is:
Instead of declaring to use this ability after the attack is announced, and before the roll is made, the swashbuckler must declare when he is going to use this ability before the full result is given. If the incoming attack won't hit touch AC, the swashbuckler gets the sense he is in no danger of the attack hitting, and can make a better informed decision about whether to try to parry that particular attack vs. others in the round. The riposte portion of the rule remains the same.

So instead of having absolutely no idea whether or not the attack will hit, and blindly spend panache just in case it does, he can at least get the sense on whether the attack even comes close to hitting him at all before deciding to parry.

I thought this was a good compromise, and may not do over much, but at least hits that will go way wide of hitting will be a bit more obvious to the swashbuckler, and he can spend his resources more wisely.

My GM wanted me to post this compromise here, and ask you fine folks if there are any potential problems this may cause that we haven't considered.

Thanks in advance!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like it will slow down the game.

With the normal rule, you get something either way. If they make a crummy attack, you don't get any defensive boost by parrying but you're almost guaranteed a riposte. If they make a good attack, the parry could possibly help you defend, but your chances of a riposte are much smaller.

This houserule is definitely a buff though, in that it allows you to choose - are you prioritizing offense or defense? If you're prioritizing offense, you can deliberately wait until they make a bad attack before trying to parry, to get a great chance to riposte. If you're prioritizing defense, you obviously wouldn't "waste" a parry on an attack that's going to miss you (even if it offers a juicy opportunity to riposte.)

As a GM, I would not offer this, both because it will slow down combat and also because it's a buff to the second-best ability of the second-best martial class. But, it shouldn't be too broken. It is your responsibility to make the decisions very quickly so combat doesn't get bogged down in your mental deliberation of whether you are parrying or not.


So, you wouldn't choose to do this, but it doesn't seem bad, as long as I play the swashbuckler in a timely fashion?


Correct. It's a moderate buff that gives you an interesting choice between an offensive our defensive playstyle. As long as you don't slow down combat or overshadow the other striker-role PCs, it should be unproblematic.


Cool, thanks for the input :)


Parrying misses annoys me too, but you haven't totally wasted a point of panache, since you can then riposte 'for free' (providing you have that all-important point of panache left).

Parrying a miss is easier than parrying a hit too, since you have a lower roll to beat on your parry roll, so you have a larger chance of riposting.


I tend to be more guarded with my use of riposte, as it burns your swift for the next round.


Yeah - the Swashbuckler is a poorly-designed class. You shouldn't have to wonder if riposting this round might prevent you from using charmed life on the next round.

My house rule is to leave parry/riposte as is, but charmed life is a free action, not an immediate action. What is it exactly that you are doing with charmed life that burns up time anyway? Does anyone else's saving throws cost them an immediate action?

Also, by RAW, you can't use charmed life if you are flat-footed, which can be embarassing (and when I say embarassing, I mean deadly).


It's not just that...
He also has levels in investigator, so burning the swift for the next round prevents studied combat and such, but that's more character specific.


The Swashtigator is quite a popular build too. Never played anything with investigator levels myself.

Isn't studied combat a move action though?


Funny thing is, I usually save the studied combat for big fights. But it always ends up being needed after I've riposted, and so it's delayed by a round. I had to take a talent to get it to a swift action, so perhaps I screwed myself and should have just left it as a move action...

But, overall, I really enjoy this character. A skill monkey that is also a front line fighter/alchemist? Yes please :P


And if you'd left it as it was, you'd probably have studied combat activated, but be standing alone, out of reach of your enemy and unable to move. You just can't win sometimes.


Quick study: An investigator can use his studied combat ability as a swift action instead of move action.

You can use quick study as either a move or swift, your choice.


*Ponders*
Good to know. Does that work in general for all swift actions? Can they all be downgraded, where appropriate?

I think we've already house ruled this, but if it's also RAW that's good to know :P


Kryzbyn wrote:

*Ponders*

Good to know. Does that work in general for all swift actions? Can they all be downgraded, where appropriate?

I think we've already house ruled this, but if it's also RAW that's good to know :P

Quick study is an investigator talent, and it would mean missing out on one of the other juicy talents to be able to do this.


Be lucky your GM thinks of changing this. Parry and Riposte is already the best feature of the swashbuckler as is and the fact that it takes a point for every attempt is the balancing mechanic, but with the crits you'll likely get some time and if you can score the last hits then your panache regens. Plus what else are you spending panache on? The bonus to skill checks?
I would never buff the ability.


I don't see it as a buff. I see it as giving more choice.
But I understand your POV.


Kryzbyn wrote:

*Ponders*

Good to know. Does that work in general for all swift actions? Can they all be downgraded, where appropriate?

I think we've already house ruled this, but if it's also RAW that's good to know :P

No, the thing is that the investigator talent allows you the option of doing it as a swift, but doesn't remove the ability to do it as a move action.


The Nite Owl wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

*Ponders*

Good to know. Does that work in general for all swift actions? Can they all be downgraded, where appropriate?

I think we've already house ruled this, but if it's also RAW that's good to know :P

Quick study is an investigator talent, and it would mean missing out on one of the other juicy talents to be able to do this.

I may have to retrain this then. When I do use studied combat, it's rarely in the first round of combat. I've usually already moved into combat, so that may not have been the best choice...


Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't see it as a buff. I see it as giving more choice.

But I understand your POV.

It is indisputably a buff.


On the rare occasions the attack won't hit touch AC, is the only time this will trigger.
I don't expect this will happen all that often, but at least it's something.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
The Nite Owl wrote:
Does anyone else's saving throws cost them an immediate action?

There are some abilities that require an immediate action to buff the save. But Charmed Life is pretty weak.


Kryzbyn wrote:

On the rare occasions the attack won't hit touch AC, is the only time this will trigger.

I don't expect this will happen all that often, but at least it's something.

Swashbucklers generally have very good touch AC. Lots of low rolls and iterative attacks should miss your touch AC, unless you have some strange build.

Liberty's Edge

I'm playing with a swashbuckler who uses the stylish riposte one handed weapon trick, which requires that an enemy misses their ac by 5 or more. That's the same as their touch AC. They get a lot of attacks from it, so missing touch AC will probably be pretty common in the lower to mid levels.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
The Nite Owl wrote:
Does anyone else's saving throws cost them an immediate action?
There are some abilities that require an immediate action to buff the save. But Charmed Life is pretty weak.

Not a save, but the Survivor feat takes an immediate. My then-9th level PFS cleric took a crit from a charging Graveknight, dropping him from 96hp to 4. Then I remembered Survivor! Then the GM pointed out I was flat-footed and couldn't spend the immediate.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

On the rare occasions the attack won't hit touch AC, is the only time this will trigger.

I don't expect this will happen all that often, but at least it's something.
Swashbucklers generally have very good touch AC. Lots of low rolls and iterative attacks should miss your touch AC, unless you have some strange build.

He's 13th level. Most things can hit his touch with a semi-decent roll.

Plus, the GM's dice hate us :)


Deighton Thrane wrote:
I'm playing with a swashbuckler who uses the stylish riposte one handed weapon trick, which requires that an enemy misses their ac by 5 or more. That's the same as their touch AC. They get a lot of attacks from it, so missing touch AC will probably be pretty common in the lower to mid levels.

Where is that from?


Never mind; I found it.

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