AC isn't really much of an issue when you have access to Mirror Image, Blur, Displacement, etc. Look at picking up Blade Lash and keep your opponent prone, or pick up Flamboyant Arcana at 3rd and use Opportune Parry/Riposte and Dodging Deed to avoid melee attacks altogether. I did a Swashbuckler dip on my Magus and once I got Combat Reflexes (or Line in the Sand for a low DEX build) my AC became a non factor for melee.
I did this for my archer a while back. It was not in the least bit overpowered. The DM and I decided that on a natural 1 attack roll the arrow was lost. Basically for a moderate cost the record keeping required for an archer was kept to a minimum. Prior to this solution, I carried several hundred arrows in a bag of holding and simply replenished my quivers at the end of an encounter. The Efficient Quiver with continuous Abundant Ammunition was simply a more elegant solution
Why are you so worried about AC when you have the ability to avoid melee attacks altogether? Take Combat Reflexes over Combat Expertise (and take it at level 3 in place of Arcane Exploit). For extra AoO capability, use the spell Line in the Sand to add your Intelligence bonus to your AoOs per round. At the earliest opportunity enhance your Rapier with Keen (+1) and Answering (+1). Use the Long Arm spell, Lunge feat, and/or Swashbuckler's Flair (Blue Scarf) to increase your reach.
When in melee you can declare a Parry when you are attacked and roll an opposed attack check (at your highest BAB with all your attack bonuses). If your roll is greater than your opponent's roll the attack misses. If you have a Panache point left over you can Riposte as an Immediate action. If you crit on the Riposte you get a Panache point back (Keen/Imp Critical is vital for Panache recovery). If your Panache pool is small you can augment it with the Extra Panache feat but crit fishing is your best bet for maintaining Panache throughout the day.
Now say you are fighting something with multiple attacks. You will need to maintain your spacing from the attacker for this to work. Use your reach (you bought a Blue Scarf right?) and 5' step to stay outside your opponent's reach whenever possible to force your opponent to use a 5' step to engage you. On the first attack use Dodging Panache to take an Immediate 5' step away (1 Panache). You still take the first attack (which you can attempt to Parry but not Riposte) but all iterative attacks are negated because you are now out of range. Of course if the attacker has Step Up (or the whole Step Up chain) this will not work.
Work to your strengths (Magic and Deeds) instead of focusing on tactics that diminish your class abilities.
As an Inspired Blade your best melee defense comes from the deeds Opportune Parry & Riposte and Dodging Panache. I would focus on increasing your crit range, AoOs, and +attack. I would steer clear of things that give you a penalty to attack. Also grab a wand of Mirror Image/Blur/Displacement so you can conserve your spells for other uses.
I had a 2 level Monk dip with my Swashbuckler in our Skull & Shackles game recently. The DM basically ignored the new version of Crane Wing as the character had already been playing with the old version and frankly as it was originally changed it totally sucked. In the end tho I found combat to be extremely boring. I felt like Connor Macleod on the battlefield before falling to the Kurgan.
If you have Arcane Accuracy with your high INT bonus it pretty much takes care of any -atk you may incur. Also Accurate Strikes are good for ignoring AC and DR (Touch attacks bypass DR). Arcane Edge would give you an 8 point Bleed without relying on a crit. I guess you could go with Intensified Spell to get a 10d6 Shocking Grasp.
This is basically a melee version of the Pinpoint Targeting feat except that it has the added bonus of bypassing DR.
Pinpoint Targeting (Combat)
Prerequisites: Dex 19, Improved Precise Shot, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, base attack bonus +16.
Benefit: As a standard action, make a single ranged attack. The target does not gain any armor, natural armor, or shield bonuses to its Armor Class. You do not gain the benefit of this feat if you move this round.
Why is Perfect Strike considered too powerful for a Magus but it is deemed ok for a Swashbuckler. The Magus has to burn 2 Arcana and wait until level 6 at the earliest to qualify for the deed whereas the Swashbuckler gets it automatically at level 3. I just don't see what the problem is with a Magus getting this deed and having it work off of his Magus level.
If you want to use a two-hander with no CHA why even play a Swashbuckler? When not using a light or one-handed piercing weapon you basically lose half of your deeds (all of them if you don't take Extra Panache), you have no Panache and no way to regain Panache (if you take Extra Panache), and you lose most of your class abilities (all except Nimble and Bonus Feats).
If you want a STR based, dumped CHA, 2-Handed Weapon using character, play a Fighter or even a Rogue
I think you are also underestimating the value of Targeted Strike. One of the main problems with combat maneuvers is that CMD scales up faster than your CMB which makes it harder to pull off a maneuver at higher levels. With Targeted Strike you get a choice of 4 effects (Disarm, Confuse, Trip, Stagger) with a successful hit, no combat maneuver check required. Perfect option for stopping an opponent from doing any damage or taking any action. It also can generate a few AoOs.
One other thing, lose the profanity in your write up. It is unnecessary and some will find it offensive.
Vital Strike is a Standard Action
When doing a move (not a charge) followed by a standard action (single attack) he can pick either Vital Strike or Cleave but not both. Backswing will not apply as he is not doing a full attack action
Espy Kismet wrote:
The FAQ states specifically "Greater Trip gives you an AOO when you trip a foe." I do not know how much more clearly it can be written. At this point Espy I think you are just trolling.
So in answer to your question/challenge
Espy Kismet wrote:
The rules for Greater Trip do not expressly state that the AoO applies only to the tripper but according to the FAQ it does apply only to the tripper.
Have you read the FAQ?
Greater Trip: How does this interact with Vicious Stomp (APG)? Do you get two AOOs or just one?
Bolded for clarity.
Demoralize causes the Shaken condition. Refer to the Shaken rules. How does this apply to more than one person?
Greater Trip causes the Prone condition. Refer to the Prone rules for how it specifically applies.
Startling Shot causes the Flat-Footed condition. Refer to the Flat-Footed rules for how it specifically applies.
Satire specifically states in the text that "A court bard can use performance to undermine the confidence of enemies who hear it" The text expressly states it applies to multiple targets.
Slow Reactions states and opponent cannot make AoOs for 1 round. Sounds specific to me.
Power Attack? What is your point with Power Attack?
And this is exactly my argument Elbedor. If I had written:
"The benefit (and point) of Greater Feint is that you deny the target it's Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) not only for your next attack but for any other attacks anyone makes until the start of your next turn."
You would have no problem with this wording. But you are also reading in to the wording to suit your interpretation. Those words (in bold) are nowhere to be found in the Feat description, the Feat rules, the PRD or the CRB. So where are you finding these words? Why is your assumption any more valid than mine or someone else's who reads in yet some other meaning?
I stated in a previous post the common assumptions for the Greater Feint feat. Because of the vagueness of the feat text each assumption is as valid as the other. Until we get a FAQ, neither are right or wrong.
1. "Whenever you use feint to cause an opponent to lose his Dexterity bonus, he loses that bonus (to any attacker) until the beginning of your next turn, in addition to losing his Dexterity bonus against your next attack."
2. "Whenever you use feint to cause an opponent to lose his Dexterity bonus (to everything), he loses that bonus (to any attacker) until the beginning of your next turn, in addition to losing his Dexterity bonus (to everything) against your next (any type) attack."
3. "Whenever you use feint to cause an opponent to lose his Dexterity bonus (to AC), he loses that bonus (to your attacks) until the beginning of your next turn, in addition to losing his Dexterity bonus (to AC) against your next (melee) attack."
Just to be clear, denying Dexterity bonus and denying Dexterity bonus to AC are not the same thing. Feinting only denies Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
I do not think anyone here thinks that Feint is a Combat Maneuver using CMB/CMD to resolve. Feint is a Special Attack, listed after the Combat Maneuver entries and that is all.
These are 2 exclusive effects. You can still Feint in Round 1 and make your Attack in Round 2 on your next Turn if you really wanted to since the "on...your next Turn" timetable is still there. Or you could Feint as a Move and then Attack. But this is no different than what Improved Feint offers you. So what would be the point of taking Greater then?
The benefit (and point) of Greater Feint is that you deny the target it's Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) not only for your next attack but for any other attacks you can make until the start of your next turn.
I think the point that some people do not understand is that Feint is a specific maneuver detailed in the Combat Maneuver section of the Core Rulebook (page 201). Improved Feint, Greater Feint, Two-Weapon Feint, Improved Two-Weapon Feint, Moonlight Stalker Feint, and Wave Strike ALL directly reference, use, state unequivocally that they apply to this rule for the Feint maneuver (again, listed on page 201 of the CRB). When you feint, however you feint, you are doing a feint according to the rules for the Feint maneuver/action in the CRB.
Startling Shot and Superior Feint, both Extraordinary Abilities and not Feats, never once reference the Feint maneuver/action and neither behave in accordance with the rules for Feint listed in the CRB.
Espy Kismet wrote:
No where in the wording for Startling Shot does it reference either feint or that the target is weakened to only your attacks. Feint specifically calls out the target is denied it's Dex bonus to AC against your melee attack. Greater Feint specifically calls out and builds upon Feint by extending the duration of the debuff.
After further review of the Swashbuckler's Superior Feint it is apparent that it is a feint in name only. That is, it is a special ability and does not follow the Feint rules in the CRB. There is no Bluff check, there is no check at all. You purposefully miss and the target is denied it's Dex bonus to AC. There is no reference or link to the Feint action at all (other than the ability name which is basically fluff). Is the effect self only or open to all allies? I am not sure but I would lean towards all allies as there is nothing linking it to feint, loss of AC to melee or ranged, or your attacks only.
Espy Kismet wrote:
Superior was something in the Swashbuckler Playtest, that was pretty much startling shot but when you were in melee. Attack as standard, purposefully miss, Target is Flat-footed.
I just checked the playtest document (#2) concerning Superior Feint. Unless they changed the text again after the second document Superior Feint makes causes the target to lose his Dex to AC. It does not make him flat-footed (there is a difference). Either way, it is generally considered a bad idea for a martial class to give up a full attack in favor of a standard action, especially if that standard action intentionally misses the target. As it is written I would agree that Superior Feint is junk. If it were a swift or free action it would be worthwhile, but a standard? No way. There is nothing "superior" about that ability.
Greater Feint specifically states "Whenever you use feint" so it works with any type of feint action. Feint is a type of maneuver (but not an actual Combat Maneuver). Moonlight Stalker Feint, Wave Strike, Two Weapon Feint, Improved Feint all use the same feint maneuver rules. They all refer to Feint (page 201 in the CRB). They are separate feats because they change the action required (Standard/Move/Swift) or the circumstances required (Concealment/Weapon sheathed/First attack) to perform the feint. Once successful (they all follow the same rules for Bluff check) they all have the same effect (target loses Dex to AC). Greater Feint and Improved Two Weapon Feint simply extend the duration.