Advanced Class Guide Preview: Swashbuckler

Tuesday, June 2, 2014


Illustration by Igor Grechanyi

As a kid, I spent a good chunk of my weekend hours watching just about anything that had swashbuckler goodness. Pirates, musketeers, and masked avengers were among the first sparks that ignited my fledgling imagination. When we set out to design the swashbuckler class our chief goal was to create a class that was fun in that Errol Flynn sort of way, while creating enough room for the many fine swashbuckler variants that have appeared in the many decades after Captain Blood.

Even before playtesting began, we designed two versions of the class. Like all of the classes appearing in the Advanced Class Guide, the swashbuckler is a hybrid class—a class with mechanics and sometimes theme rooted in two existing classes—specifically a hybrid of fighter and gunslinger. One of the pre-playtest version was heavy on fighter, the second was heavy on gunslinger, but we soon discovered that the latter variant was a lot more fun, as we reskinned grit to panache, and were able to create deeds that were both useful and iconic...including the very fun derring-do feat that grants an extra d6 boost with the possibility of exploding dice (if you roll a 6 on that roll you gain another d6 boost) when using Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim checks.

During the playtest, feedback granted us a wealth of information that allowed us to fine-tune the class. We wanted the class to be true to its roots, but to have enough room for players to create their own take on this daring warrior classic. To this end, we made it relatively easy to gain Dexterity modifier damage and benefit classes nifty precise strike precision damage deed with a variety of weapons through the class itself, by way of multiclassing, and through feats (try the Snake Style feat from Ultimate Combat with the precise strike deed to get your swashbuckler/kung fu fusion on).

The playtest also gave us feedback on which abilities were good, but not quite good enough for a true swashbuckler. For example, in the original iteration of derring-do, you had to spend panache and use the deed before you made the skill check. The finally ability allows you to use it after making the check, but before the results are revealed, making it more evocative and useful.

With the fine-tuning of class abilities complete, we moved on to archetypes, which allowed us create fun and interesting variants on the theme. In the book you’ll find (among others) the flying blade (hint: the blade are flying, not the swashbuckler, unless the wizard decides to do her a solid), the mysterious avenger (so you can make your own flavor of Zorro), and the picaroon (for those of you who like a little bang-bang alongside your flashing blade). Add this to the various combat and panache feats along with magic items tailor made for the swashbuckler, and you will find a lot of options to make exactly the swashbuckler that you always wanted to play.

Needless to say, if you like your heroes with light armor, a sharp rapier, an even shaper wit, and more than a few tricks up your sleeve, we think you’re going to enjoy the swashbuckler at least as much as we enjoyed designing her.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Designer

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Tags: Igor Grechanyi Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Edit this thing. It's not too late!

Scarab Sages

I'm not entirely sure what to make of that expression on his face.

Also, if the iconic is a he, why does the text say "her"?


SWASHBUCKLER!!!! STUFF!!!!!


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Well, I know what just about every build ever is going to be taking now.


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...Do we get to vote for what class to learn about next?

Also, the barbarian can totally make the flying blade fly as well using the timehonored "Halfling Death Lob". And doesn't need to use a wimpy spell to do it!


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Choon wrote:
I'm not entirely sure what to make of that expression on his face.

"This knife...I will make sweet, sweet love to this knife."

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Blog wrote:
To this end, we made it relatively easy to gain Dexterity modifier damage and benefit classes nifty precise strike precision damage deed with a variety of weapons through the class itself, by way of multiclassing, and through feats (try the Snake Style feat from Ultimate Combat with the precise strike deed to get your swashbuckler/kung fu fusion on).

I think there are some missing words in this sentence.

Silver Crusade

Choon wrote:
if the iconic is a he, why does the text say "her"?

Meet Jirelle, the Swashbuckler iconic.


Cool can't wait to see the finished version. Though if I am reading it right it looks like there will not be a dex to damage feat but a built in class ability for the swashbuckler to get. I hope I am wrong and it just means the swashbuckler can get it easier then others.


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*flails excitedly* Finally, my dreams of building the Sicilian Crowd are becoming reality! Here's Inigo, now I just need more details on the Brawler (Fezzik) and the Investigator (Vizzini)...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Choon wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what to make of that expression on his face.

Also, if the iconic is a he, why does the text say "her"?

The iconic swashbuckler is a female half-elf, we got her backstory last week. The pictured individual is probably an archetype. From the daggers, I'd guess flying blade (since that's mentioned in the blog.)


Hmm...I hope the Gunslinger heavy version of Swashie comes back into play as an archetype.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Looking forward to ACG!


Ok, this is cool. But less swashbucker, more warpriest!


Love these archetypes!

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote wrote:
the flying blade (hint: the blade are flying, not the swashbuckler, unless the wizard decides to do her a solid), the mysterious avenger (so you can make your own flavor of Zorro), and the picaroon (for those of you who like a little bang-bang alongside your flashing blade)

Throwing knives, Zorro, guns and cutlasses. Sounds great!


I hope next weeks preview will be the Brawler or Hunter.

Scarab Sages

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Joe M. wrote:
Choon wrote:
if the iconic is a he, why does the text say "her"?
Meet Jirelle, the Swashbuckler iconic.

This is the part of the thread where Choon steps back and pretends to have not said anything...


Disguise as a class skill?

;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Super excited for the mysterious avenger. I know a certain Curse of the Crimson Throne character who will be getting a rebuild before I run that campaign.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
unless the wizard decides to do her a solid

Is that...actually something people say? I'm far too young to feel that out of touch. :P

Suma3da wrote:
Hmm...I hope the Gunslinger heavy version of Swashie comes back into play as an archetype.

The Gunslinger heavy version is the one they kept. The Fighter heavy one got tossed before the playtest, though I wouldn't be surprised if some parts of it are still around (or get put into archetypes).


Shadar Aman wrote:
Suma3da wrote:
Hmm...I hope the Gunslinger heavy version of Swashie comes back into play as an archetype.

The Gunslinger heavy version is the one they kept. The Fighter heavy one got tossed before the playtest, though I wouldn't be surprised if some parts of it are still around (or get put into archetypes).

Whoopies, I derped and misread the pre-playtest part. >.<


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Replace "solid" with "favor" and that's what that expression means, not an allusion to aggressive coitus.


He looks like quite the dandy! Very fancy indeed :-)

This guy has more knives on him than the winter soldier. Yikes!

Liberty's Edge

Quote:
To this end, we made it relatively easy to gain Dexterity modifier damage

Generic Dex to damage Feat? Sounds like it, or something similar.

Yes.


Rynjin wrote:
Choon wrote:
I'm not entirely sure what to make of that expression on his face.
"This knife...I will make sweet, sweet love to this knife."

Did you see where one of his other "weapons" is located?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kryzbyn wrote:
Replace "solid" with "favor" and that's what that expression means, not an allusion to aggressive coitus.

Yeah, I assumed that from context. I've just never heard that expression before.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Quote:
To this end, we made it relatively easy to gain Dexterity modifier damage

Generic Dex to damage Feat? Sounds like it, or something similar.

Yes.

Maybe. I'm currently reading it as meaning there is a deed for dex to damage, meaning dex to damage at least requires a dip in swashbuckler. That sentence is a little mangled.


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Seems that the final Swashbuckler will be great. With the ACG, the begining of Iron Gods and the Technology guide, August will be a great month.

But here we have a great example of something I have never truly understood:

Blog Says
The playtest also gave us feedback on which abilities were good, but not quite good enough for a true swashbuckler. For example, in the original iteration of derring-do, you had to spend panache and use the deed before you made the skill check. The finally ability allows you to use it after making the check, but before the results are revealed, making it more evocative and useful.

What exactly means "before the results are revealed"? Rules assumes that player rolls and later DM says difficulty? That seems odd to me, but is the only way I can understand that sentence.


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I wouldn't call being forced to pay panache to do damage with your primary stat "relatively easy". I'm holding out hope that Paizo has properly fixed the scimitar's iron grip on finesse fighters.

Liberty's Edge

Ross Byers wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Quote:
To this end, we made it relatively easy to gain Dexterity modifier damage

Generic Dex to damage Feat? Sounds like it, or something similar.

Yes.

Maybe. I'm currently reading it as meaning there is a deed for dex to damage, meaning dex to damage at least requires a dip in swashbuckler. That sentence is a little mangled.

That'd make it universal for Swashbucklers rather than 'easy to gain' though, wouldn't it?

I agree that the sentence is a bit mangled, though.


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Alaryth wrote:
What exactly means "before the results are revealed"? Rules assumes that player rolls and later DM says difficulty? That seems odd to me, but is the only way I can understand that sentence.

You roll, you look at your roll, and then decide whether or not you want to use your class feature. The problem with this mechanic is that if the GM forgets that you have it (quite likely tbh, GM's have a crap ton of things to remember) and reveals the results when they read the roll you're SOL.

Liberty's Edge

Alaryth wrote:
What exactly means "before the results are revealed"? Rules assumes that player rolls and later DM says difficulty? That seems odd to me, but is the only way I can understand that sentence.

The default way things work is that the GM says "Make an Acrobatics check." and the player rolls, then the GM says whether they succeed...so yes, the GM is assumed to tell the player the difficulty after they roll if at all.


We always have played the other way; DM says difficulty, player rolls. :(

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The idea being that you roll your die, and see you rolled a 3, and you decide you'd rather re-roll than try to add things up and ask the GM what the DC is.


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Alaryth wrote:
We always have played the other way; DM says difficulty, player rolls. :(

I think most people play that way; when this sort of rule comes up at my table our GM just lets us reroll if we fail the check. Prevents the agony of "NO I WANTED TO REROLL THAT".

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Deadmanwalking wrote:
That'd make it universal for Swashbucklers rather than 'easy to gain' though, wouldn't it?

I'll admit I'm not fully versed in Gunslingers or Swashbucklers, but don't you have to select deeds? Like rogue talents or barbarian rage powers?

That would mean it's easy for a swashbuckler to get it if they want it (because they can take the deed), but it wouldn't be universal.


Nope. You just get the Deeds automatically at the level they become available.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

My mistake then. Hopefully, Stephen will clarify that line. If not, August can't come soon enough.


Worse, you generally pay to use deeds with your panache pool. So if the Swash got dex-to-damage as a deed, it wouldn't always be on.

And that would be bad.


Ross Byers wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
That'd make it universal for Swashbucklers rather than 'easy to gain' though, wouldn't it?

I'll admit I'm not fully versed in Gunslingers or Swashbucklers, but don't you have to select deeds? Like rogue talents or barbarian rage powers?

That would mean it's easy for a swashbuckler to get it if they want it (because they can take the deed), but it wouldn't be universal.

Nope. You automatically know all the deeds.

At least at the levels when you receive them.


Arachnofiend wrote:

Worse, you generally pay to use deeds with your panache pool. So if the Swash got dex-to-damage as a deed, it wouldn't always be on.

And that would be bad.

True, but there are more than a few Gunslinger deeds that work so long as you have a point of Grit left, without needing to spend it. Perhaps this Dex to damage deed would work similarly?


Arachnofiend wrote:

Worse, you generally pay to use deeds with your panache pool. So if the Swash got dex-to-damage as a deed, it wouldn't always be on.

And that would be bad.

Aye, with luck if it is in fact a Deed it functions as one of the "As long as you have at least 1 point..." style doohickies like Menacing Swordplay or Monk's Ki Strike.


Johnico wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Worse, you generally pay to use deeds with your panache pool. So if the Swash got dex-to-damage as a deed, it wouldn't always be on.

And that would be bad.

True, but there are more than a few Gunslinger deeds that work so long as you have a point of Grit left, without needing to spend it. Perhaps this Dex to damage deed would work similarly?

Going from "if I spend my last panache point I lose access to my deeds" to "if I spend my last panache point I am no longer capable of fulfilling my role in combat" is pretty drastic and would ensure that no Swash would spend her last panache point except in a do-or-die situation (and then die afterwards because you're suddenly not doing squat for damage).

Liberty's Edge

Arachnofiend wrote:

Worse, you generally pay to use deeds with your panache pool. So if the Swash got dex-to-damage as a deed, it wouldn't always be on.

And that would be bad.

It would. But their existing damage-bonus Deed works as long as you have at least one Panache in your pool, so I'd assume this one would work likewise.

Arachnofiend wrote:
Going from "if I spend my last panache point I lose access to my deeds" to "if I spend my last panache point I am no longer capable of fulfilling my role in combat" is pretty drastic and would ensure that no Swash would spend her last panache point except in a do-or-die situation (and then die afterwards because you're suddenly not doing squat for damage).

They already have that problem. They get +Level to damage as long as they have Panache. After only a few levels, that becomes essential to keep them viable. The same is true of Gunslingers to a large degree. Never spend the last point.


Some people tend to get fixated on the hoarding mechanics of other classes special point pools like Monk's Ki or Magus's Arcane. Unlike those pools that only get a set amount of points per day to work with, Gunslingers/Swashies can recover points in combat fairly easily so they never want to be completely full of Grit/Panache. This is especially true of Swashies who are likely going to be using weapons with a high crit chance.

Liberty's Edge

I just hope there's an FAQ/clarification with how the swashbuckler interacts with the aldori dueling mastery feat.


Jester David wrote:
I just hope there's an FAQ/clarification with how the swashbuckler interacts with the aldori dueling mastery feat.

I very much hope so too. I'm making a swash buckler for a ACG 1-off this week, but the person who is gming it decided that feat wouldn't work with swashbuckler, because the playtest has a feat for that already. At that point i just ditch all the other dueling feats(although I kept the using the dueling sword for no real reason, instead of going for a 18-20 crit weapon like i probably should).


I just hope he's got some mobility. So far most of the mobility off of the playtest version comes off of the dawnflower dervish bard level.

Liberty's Edge

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Dead Phoenix wrote:
Jester David wrote:
I just hope there's an FAQ/clarification with how the swashbuckler interacts with the aldori dueling mastery feat.
I very much hope so too. I'm making a swash buckler for a ACG 1-off this week, but the person who is gming it decided that feat wouldn't work with swashbuckler, because the playtest has a feat for that already. At that point i just ditch all the other dueling feats(although I kept the using the dueling sword for no real reason, instead of going for a 18-20 crit weapon like i probably should).

I am hoping we see an Aldori archetype for Swashbuckler in Pathfinder Companion: Advanced Class Origins

Shadow Lodge

I believe Tuesday occurs on June 3rd, 2014.

Dark Archive

Avatar-1 wrote:
I believe Tuesday occurs on June 3rd, 2014.

I didn't even notice that, nice catch!

I'm pretty excited to see this Flying Blade archetype myself, thrown weapons don't seem to get enough love around here.

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