TOME OF SECRETS Preview #3: Kellaine the Swashbuckler


General Discussion (Prerelease)


The Tome of Secrets, now available for preorder from Adamant Entertainment, will be released on August 13th, 2009. In anticipation of the the release, we'll be posting previews every week until August 13th, giving a glimpse of what lies within the pages of the Tome. This preview gives us a look at Kellaine, a half-elf Swashbuckler.

Kellaine
Male half-elf swashbuckler
CG Medium humanoid (half-elf)
Init +5; Senses Perception +13, Low-light
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 17, flat-footed 20 (+3 armor, +5 Dex, +2 Evade, with Improved Uncanny Dodge)
hp 84 (8d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +11, Will +2
OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft.
Melee +1 Rapier +13/+8 (1d6+2, crit 17-20 x2, +4 on crit check); +1 Dagger +13/+8 (1d4+2, crit 18-20 x2, +4 on crit check)
Special Attacks: Thrust (+3d6)

STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +8/+3 (+13/+8 with Finesse weapons); CMB +13; CMD 26
Feats Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapons Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Skills Acrobatics +16 (+21 jump), Bluff +12, Climb +10, Escape Artist +9, Intimidate +10, Perception +9, Ride +10, Sense Motive +9
Languages Common, Elven
SQ Evasion, Weapons Training (light weapons), Find Mark, Improved Uncanny Dodge, and +2 save vs. enchantment.
Combat Gear: +1 Rapier & Dagger set
Other Gear: Ring of Feather Falling, Boots of Striding & Springing

The swashbuckler is a warrior that relies on his agility and wits rather than heavy armor, shields and crushing weapons. The swashbuckling style is particularly suited to environments where heavy armor would be a liability, such as in deserts, tropical locales, and the high seas. Swashbucklers are also prevalent in advanced societies, where gunpowder or magic has made the wearing of armor less desirable, leading to a lightly or unarmored combatant that relies on staying out of the way rather than absorbing blows. While the ranger and the rogue also fit this mold, neither makes an attractive duelist or pirate. The ranger is geared for being a wilderness warrior with magic, while the rogue sacrifices combat prowess for thieving abilities. The swashbuckler class fills that need nicely, and also seques nicely into the Duellist prestige class.

Kellaine is combat terror with light weapons. He receives Weapons Finesse as a bonus at 1st level, allowing him to use his incredible Dexterity instead of Strength when attacking with his rapier and dagger. His class also gives him the ability to add an Evade bonus to his AC, when he's wearing light or no armor -- at 8th level, that's grown to a +2 bonus. He retains his Dexterity (and Evade) bonus to AC even when considered flat-footed, thanks to his Uncanny Dodge class ability, which improved at 7th level to the point where now, Kellaine can no longer be flanked.

His Weapon Training with light weapons gives him a +1 to hit and damage with his Rapier and Dagger, and his Two-Weapon Fighting feat means that the penalties for fighting with both weapons are reduced to a mere -2 with each hand (essentially removing the +1 for the magic bonus of his preferred weapons, and the +1 for the Weapons Training).

Kellaine's combat style is precise and vicious -- at 2nd level he learns the Thrust manuever, which allows him to exploit an opening to deal extra damage. He may thrust whenever his opponent is denied their Dexterity bonus to AC, or when he flanks an opponent -- at 8th level, his Thrust delivers an additional 3d6 points of damage.

Also at 8th level, Kellaine gained the ability to Find the Mark, which increases his threat range by one when using any melee weapon with which he has Weapons Finesse. This means that his Rapier now has a threat range of 17-20, and the dagger 18-20 -- and with the Critical Focus feat, Kellaine gets a +4 bonus to his rolls to confirm a crit. Ouch.

A Ring of Feather Falling and Boots of Springing & Striding bring our half-elf into the realm of the classic wuxia archetypes (what can I say, I'm a sucker for leaping swordsmen).

So that's a brief look at one of the eight new classes that will be presented in the Tome of Secrets. For our next preview, we'll meet Orsini, the human warlock!


Looks an awful lot better than the Complete Warrior version!
A few very minor points:

1. "Thrust" seems to be "Sneak Attack" with a different name, limited to light weapons. Although I agree the name "sneak attack" doesn't fit the Swashbuckler theme as well as "thrust," I wonder at the need for two different names for the same class feature.

2. Seems as if the Evasion bonus to AC should count towards his CMD score as well, although the stats don't reflect this.

3. One thing that troubles me is that he is in all ways better than a fighter 4/rogue 4: better BAB, better AC, better sneak attack, and ahead on Weapon Training (and his evasion is better than the multiclass guy's armor training from the Beta). He's only 1 feat behind (assuming you used the multiclassed guy's rogue talents for Finesse Rogue and Combat Training), but he's got better crits to make up for that.

Packaging a variant fighter/rogue would seem like a very good idea (kind of like Monte Cook's "Unfettered" from Arcana Evolved), but making a fighter/rogue class that's a few levels ahead in each, across the board, seems like a bit much to me... unless this swashbuckler has drawbacks I'm missing.


Answering those questions that I can, without violating the NDA regarding the Pathfinder rules....

Kirth Gersen wrote:

3. One thing that troubles me is that he is in all ways better than a fighter 4/rogue 4: better BAB, better AC, better sneak attack, and ahead on Weapon Training (and his evasion is better than the multiclass guy's armor training from the Beta). He's only 1 feat behind (assuming you used the multiclassed guy's rogue talents for Finesse Rogue and Combat Training), but he's got better crits to make up for that.

Packaging a variant fighter/rogue would seem like a very good idea (kind of like Monte Cook's "Unfettered" from Arcana Evolved), but making a fighter/rogue class that's a few levels ahead in each, across the board, seems like a bit much to me... unless this swashbuckler has drawbacks I'm missing.

Generally, I think a 'specialist' (a single class character) *should* be better than a 'jack of trades' (a multiclass) -- that's the benefit of specialization.

Think of it like this: A Fighter/Rogue that doesn't have any of the Rogue's talents (which, if you take a look at the most recent blog preview, are a HUGE part of Rogues in Pathfinder), or Trapfinding, etc., instead getting a better BAB, AC, etc. Essentially, all of the training time that would be spent on Kellaine learning the Rogue talents and dealing with traps was spent on Rapier drills. :)


Gareth-Michael Skarka wrote:
Think of it like this: A Fighter/Rogue that doesn't have any of the Rogue's talents (which, if you take a look at the most recent blog preview, are a HUGE part of Rogues in Pathfinder), instead getting a better BAB, AC, etc. Essentially, all of the training time that would be spent on Kellaine learning the Rogue talents was spent on Rapier drills.

Thanks for the quick reply! It's both unexpected and greatly appreciated.

I agree that, by playing a swashbuckler, you'd certainly miss out on the new PF "auto-trapfind" function, which I imagine will now be the first talent everyone picks! But, for the sake of argument, if your fighter/rogue spent those talents on Finesse Rogue and Combat Training... then the Swashbuckler absolutely mops the floor with him (and if the fighter's armor training is indeed gone in the final PF rules, then the swashbuckler is even further ahead). Hopefully your hint about non-disclosure means that fighters are getting some other benefit, so that a fighter/rogue (or even a straight fighter) would be just as good in the long run... (Don't answer that! I'll wait 'til August!)


Kirth Gersen wrote:


Thanks for the quick reply! It's both unexpected and greatly appreciated.

I agree that, by playing a swashbuckler, you'd certainly miss out on the new PF "auto-trapfind" function, which I imagine will now be the first talent everyone picks! But, for the sake of argument, if your fighter/rogue spent those talents on Finesse Rogue and Combat Training... then the Swashbuckler absolutely mops the floor with him (and if the fighter's armor training is indeed gone in the final PF rules, then the swashbuckler is even further ahead). Hopefully your hint about non-disclosure means that fighters are getting some other benefit, so that a fighter/rogue (or even a straight fighter) would be just as good in the long run... (Don't answer that! I'll wait 'til August!)

I edited the original response, while you were answering -- but I answered this a bit: I think that single-class characters should be better than the multiclass ones, because they're specialized, rather than dabblers.

And regarding the Fighter -- they're better in the long run because the Swashbuckler only gets the Weapon Training *once* (at 5th level), whereas the Fighter gets it again and again, every 4 levels thereafter.

Dark Archive

I like this, particularly Find the Mark. I think this translates well to the images we all have for swashbucklers, and combining that with Thrust will allow them make a strong point. This, combined with last week's chase rules is moving this up to number 2 on my "items to purchase" list, right behind the Pathfinder rules.


Interesting. If we do use Pathfinder I know a player or two who will want to try out your book. But I do fear further power creep, as he seems stronger then ever. Power creep really made a mess out of 3.5. I hope for the best though as an expanded class list use able in Pathfinder is a benefit.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OK, I'm sold. Chase rules + good core classes = my money.


Looks like a reasonably balanced class to me. I see little evidence of power creep compared with a straight fighter or straight rogue. Every preview so far has been pretty solid and I am seriously considering getting Tome of Secrets.

WRT the thrust/sneak attack thing, they do seem very similar. Is there anything to differentiate them aside from being limited to light weapons or whatever?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mon wrote:
WRT the thrust/sneak attack thing, they do seem very similar. Is there anything to differentiate them aside from being limited to light weapons or whatever?

I think the key difference is that only one of them meets feat and prestige class requirements involving sneak attack dice.


Shisumo wrote:


I think the key difference is that only one of them meets feat and prestige class requirements involving sneak attack dice.

Plus, if its a different ability, a swashbuckler with levels in rogue, for example, will only get his sneak attack dice when hitting a flanked opponent with, say, a battle axe, but will get sneak attack and thrust dice if he uses a short sword against that same flanked opponent.

Kind of like how some attacks would get sudden strike damage and sneak attack damage if you were a ninja/rogue, but you may only qualify for sneak attack damage and not sudden strike damage in other situations.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Shisumo wrote:
Mon wrote:
WRT the thrust/sneak attack thing, they do seem very similar. Is there anything to differentiate them aside from being limited to light weapons or whatever?
I think the key difference is that only one of them meets feat and prestige class requirements involving sneak attack dice.

Ranged attacks within 30' feet against flat-footed opponents also qualify for SA. This seems to be restricted to melee attacks, which makes sense for a duelist. I would actually go so far in designing the class as to restrict weapon proficiency to melee weapons only, given the flavor of the class, but that's another topic.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Ranged attacks within 30' feet against flat-footed opponents also qualify for SA. This seems to be restricted to melee attacks, which makes sense for a duelist. I would actually go so far in designing the class as to restrict weapon proficiency to melee weapons only, given the flavor of the class, but that's another topic.

Maybe just simple ranged weapons only. I could see a swashbuckler using a crossbow, they just wouldn't be nearly as good with one as a fighter/rogue of comparable level.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Ranged attacks within 30' feet against flat-footed opponents also qualify for SA. This seems to be restricted to melee attacks, which makes sense for a duelist. I would actually go so far in designing the class as to restrict weapon proficiency to melee weapons only, given the flavor of the class, but that's another topic.

You won't need to house-rule that.


I appreciate the answers, however I am interested in whether there is anything else in the mechanics of the thrust ability that isn't mentioned in the preview rather than calling out things which are already self-apparent. If there isn't anything else that's cool, just wondering.

Sorry if that sounds snarky - I don't mean it that way, I am just hungry for more info :)


Mon wrote:

I appreciate the answers, however I am interested in whether there is anything else in the mechanics of the thrust ability that isn't mentioned in the preview rather than calling out things which are already self-apparent. If there isn't anything else that's cool, just wondering.

Sorry if that sounds snarky - I don't mean it that way, I am just hungry for more info :)

Not a problem. Thrust is essentially the same ability as sneak attack, but it is limited to melee weapons that can be used with weapon finesse. It will stack with sneak attack when appropriate.


Walt Ciechanowski wrote:
Not a problem. Thrust is essentially the same ability as sneak attack, but it is limited to melee weapons that can be used with weapon finesse. It will stack with sneak attack when appropriate.

Coolies. Thanks for the info :)

Sounds like a decent swashbuckler feature to me; "Sneak Attack lite" with a slight flavour adjustment to fit the theme. With their good base attack progression, swashbucklers could be doing this four times per round at high levels, presumably.

Rogues get to do it at range, and with greatswords (if proficient), and with an extra d6 or 3 of damage at most levels presumably.


Don't get me wrong, I think this is great and will support the book by buying a copy, but I will as I do with Pathfinder have to read it carefully and then make any changes I think are needed for balance/fun. Again I will buy a copy.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gareth-Michael Skarka wrote:
Think of it like this: A Fighter/Rogue that doesn't have any of the Rogue's talents (which, if you take a look at the most recent blog preview, are a HUGE part of Rogues in Pathfinder), instead getting a better BAB, AC, etc. Essentially, all of the training time that would be spent on Kellaine learning the Rogue talents was spent on Rapier drills.

Thanks for the quick reply! It's both unexpected and greatly appreciated.

I agree that, by playing a swashbuckler, you'd certainly miss out on the new PF "auto-trapfind" function, which I imagine will now be the first talent everyone picks! But, for the sake of argument, if your fighter/rogue spent those talents on Finesse Rogue and Combat Training... then the Swashbuckler absolutely mops the floor with him (and if the fighter's armor training is indeed gone in the final PF rules, then the swashbuckler is even further ahead). Hopefully your hint about non-disclosure means that fighters are getting some other benefit, so that a fighter/rogue (or even a straight fighter) would be just as good in the long run... (Don't answer that! I'll wait 'til August!)

Armor Training is in the PF final rules as shown in the Fighter preview. Valeros has Armor Training 3 under SQ line though his AC doesn't make sense to me.


Look, "Skarka," I was already sold on this book with your first preview. And now you sell me on it again?

I have to buy it twice, now?

**** you! ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
voska66 wrote:
Armor Training is in the PF final rules as shown in the Fighter preview. Valeros has Armor Training 3 under SQ line though his AC doesn't make sense to me.

Jason has said elsewhere that all the medium and heavy armors got a +1 AC boost, which means that armor training no longer gives any AC bonus whatsoever. Which makes me sad, but there it is.


Shisumo wrote:
voska66 wrote:
Armor Training is in the PF final rules as shown in the Fighter preview. Valeros has Armor Training 3 under SQ line though his AC doesn't make sense to me.
Jason has said elsewhere that all the medium and heavy armors got a +1 AC boost, which means that armor training no longer gives any AC bonus whatsoever. Which makes me sad, but there it is.

Actually I don't mind that. The fighters I have in the Beta right now are getting too high of an AC. Level appropriate monster for the most part can't even hit them on anything but 20 in most cases. The drop in AT bonus would reduce their AC by 2 which is significant. They'd lose 3 but gain 1 on the armor.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

i am so glad i've already pre-ordered this!!!


I think I'm going to get the PDF at least.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

No preview this week? I'm dying to see the sample warlock.


IconoclasticScream wrote:
No preview this week? I'm dying to see the sample warlock.

Posting it now....

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