My Playtest Swashbuckler Thoughts

Playtest Feedback

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

I love the light fighter concept and have tried for a very long time to make the concept work in D&D/Pathfinder. So this was a really exciting class to hear about. Couldn't wait to try it out. It's not a whole campaign, just a collection of level appropriate encounters from several modules and APs. Besides me there is a Slayer, a Bloodrager, and an Arcanist. I have been mostly concerned and paying attention to my own character so that is what my feed back is for. Point buy is 20.

Human Swashbuckler 4
STR 14 (13 +1 level) DEX 18 (16 +2 race) CON 12 INT 10 WIS 10 CHA 14
Init +4(+6)
AC: 21, touch 14, flat-footed 16
hp 35
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +1 (+2 vs. fear)
Melee +1 Rapier +10 (1d6+11(+13 PA)18-20x2)
Skills Acrobatics +8, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Intimidate +9, Perception +7, Sense Motive +7
Feats: Power Attack, Weapon Focus (Rapier), Combat Reflexes, Weapon Specialization (Rapier)
Traits Resilient, Perseverance
Gear: Chain Shirt, Buckler, Rapier +1, Ring of Protection +1

Level 1:
This was awful... +3 to hit and 1d6+1 damage. I took Power Attack but since my to hit is so low I'm afraid to use it often. I'm a Rogue with no sneak attack and less skills. AC is 19.

Derring-Do was nice. Parry is a crap shoot. I can try it twice since I have a 14 Cha. I stop doing that pretty quickly. Riposte may have been nice, if I had combat reflexes, or more panache, ideally both. I haven't got to use it yet. Recovery has been my go to for Panache spending so far. Boosts my AC to 21 versus one attack, which is nice.

Level 1 of this class is absolutely awful.

Level 2:
I hit a lot better now that I have Weapon Finesse. +7! So I use Power Attack a lot more. That brings me up to 1d6+3... Damage wise I'm still weaker than a Rogue, but I'm supposed to be the groups heavy melee. Still sitting on an AC 19.

I still enjoy Derring-Do. It's flavorful and fun! Parry is less of a crap shoot, but it's still a gamble. I haven't got to actually use Riposte yet either, with my one AoO. I'm still using up most of my Panache on Recovery. That +2 AC is the best thing I can use it on. Got Bravery, so my Will save is still +0, but against fear effects it becomes +1. I'm still probably going to fail the save. Not that my Fort is better at +1. I am a little worried that going forward these are going to hurt me a lot.

Level 2 is better, but I still feel pretty let down by the class.

Level 3:
Bought Combat Reflexes because I feel like I need it to use my class abilities. Got a +1 Rapier (maybe I should have got a ring of protection, but selling the sword for half price just to buy another one later seemed like a poor decision).

I feel better about my combat role. Hit at +9 (+7 with Power Attack) for 1d6+5 (+7 with Power Attack). So I'm finally more than a Sneak Attackless Rogue. I hit often, with about the same static modifier as other front liners (I REALLY wanted to use a long sword and had been hoping the class would allow that), which I roll pretty center of the road with (averaging 8-9 damage a hit) which isn't the classes fault.

Still feel the same about all the Deeds. Precise Strike was a nice addition. It makes me feel more like I can potentially be a front liner, sad that it took so long to get here though. I'm annoyed it requires unspent Panache. I just bought Combat Reflexes to be able to use Riposte, and I still can't. All the other front liners get to have their static damage on all the time. Mine shuts off my class abilities. I like Menacing Swordplay, and I have been putting ranks in Intimidate (all the social skills actually). I use that now when I can. Recovery is gone forever since I can't use more than one Panache. I can potentially deal the killing blow now though so maybe it will refresh faster. Got Swashbuckler Initiative. Don't care. My initiative is fine without it. Nimble is nice. AC is at 20 now. Every encounter I dread a Will or Fort save. I should have bought Great Fortitude instead of stupid Combat Reflexes.

Level 3 brought me more into my role as a heavy hitting front liner. But it was still a frustrating experience because I want to be able to use my other abilities.

Level 4:
Put my point in Str to roll it over to 14. Extra point of damage. Dex is 18 so putting the point there wouldn't have helped me until 8. I'm the front liner, I can always use the damage anyhow. I got a Ring of Protection which brings my AC up to 21. I can get a Belt of Dex when I get a bit more gold (Maybe enchant my armor and get a Str one instead). Bonus feat went to Weapon Specialization (Rapier). I would have liked Great Fortitude but it's not an option as a bonus feat. The Str boost, Weapon Specialization, and extra point of Precise Strike get me up to 1d6+9 or +11 with Power Attack.

Nothing new with Deeds this level. Just keep on using Menacing Swordplay when I can. Adding anything else knocks my damage down by nearly half. Parry is such a crap shoot it's just a waste of Panache. Tried a couple of times and it ended in tears (every single time it was successful the attack missed anyway). Anything that triggers a Will (even a fear based one) or Fort save knocks me out of the fight (my next couple of feats are going to have to be tied up in getting Great Fortitude and Iron Will, that belt of Str is going to have to wait until after a Cloak of Resistance).

So level 4 was nothing special, just more of the same. I may as well be a Fighter really.

Overall Thoughts:
I don't know if I will continue with this or not. It has not been all that fun. I feel like I have to spend every one of my choosable options like feats and gold just making the class even work at all. Putting points in Cha was a mistake. Precise Strike requiring I leave a point of Panache to use it at the expense of ALL my other abilities is really frustrating and a big turn off to the class for me. No other class has to give up their class abilities to get their static damage bonuses, or give up half their damage to be able to use their class abilities. Sitting out fights because my saves are garbage is not fun at all. I have to pump Str to keep up on damage which is not what I wanted from the class at all. I wanted to be able to make my main stats Dex and Cha and neither of those is any better an option than it is on any other melee class.

My main character is a Fighter (Free Hand)/Duelist, and I think I will just stick to that.

I want to have a good reason to up my Cha. As it is I feel like I fell into a flavor trap by putting points into it. The Panache Pool is all that currently uses it. I would like more emphasis on the stat. Looking at the Swashbuckler thread (where I posted this instead of making a thread for it last night) I see some suggestions like allowing Cha mod to Will saves. Something like that would be nice in giving Cha more umph as well as dealing with the awful saves.

Emphasize Dex more as well. Maybe add combat reflexes to the class.

I feel like Panache needs to be increased. It was super frustrating to not be able to use more than one deed. Maybe even just free it up by making Precise Strike not require one point held in reserve.

The saves. Oh god, the saves. Why isn't Fort the good save? I suggest changing the good save from Reflex to Fort, and perhaps add Cha mod to Will instead of Wis. Or maybe keep Reflex as the good one but allow Cha mod to all saves like the Paladin.

Make level 1 playable. Why is Weapon Finesse not a level 1 ability?

Parry needs a whole new makeover. It costs waaaay too much to use and is such a crap shoot it is absolutely not worth that cost.

I do find it really strange that you want more of a reason to put points into Charisma, as if the pool isn't enough...but every level you are complaining about not enough points of panache and that you can't use your class abilities because you don't have enough panache. Just seems a bit strange.

Say they were to add a second good save. Would you prefer Will or Fort?

At level 1-4, what did your free hand fighter have that made him more fun to play than the swashbuckler?

I think this was a pretty good report. It's on the macro side of things, but that's useful as well.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

Because it doesn't pay out well. It is a really big investment to grow the Panache pool at all. I am already spread very thin on ability points. I shouldn't have to invest my gold into being able to use my abilities at all. I'm more annoyed at Precise Strike (and more deeds in the later levels) requiring one point in the pool to work at all. It makes me feel like my class abilities are being held hostage. Since Precise Strike is there to keep me on pace with other heavy melees why does it depend on a consumable resource to work? Fighters static damage bonuses don't. Neither do Barbarians. Or Paladins. Or ANY of the other melee classes. If I felt Cha paid out better, and I wasn't buying it up just to make the class do what it should do anyhow, it would be worth building up further.

I would choose Will because very strong force of personality is what I associate with the theme. Both parent classes have good Fort save though so I could see that as well. I do think either of those is more appropriate than Reflex though. I wouldn't mind keeping Reflex, though, if there was help for at least one of the others (those Cha to one or all saves option sounds like it may work).

At level one to four of my Fighter/Duelist I didn't feel so frustrated. The feats I bought didn't rely on a consumable to use. It could just be the Panache system all together that bugs me I suppose. I like activated abilities, sure, so the Deeds are nice and (mostly) fun, but the ones that are always on I would like to just be always on, not hold Panache hostage. (I should point out I really do like the Duelist PrC and I suppose I may have come into this really hoping to get something close to a full 20 level class similar to that)

If I do more levels of this should I tone it down? (I don't know if macro is good)

I don't know if the macro level is useful. I think it is, and I would find it useful if it were my designs.

It's just different from most people here, from what I can tell.

I know this is an old post but it looks like you built your swashbuckler poorly. I have a level 2 in the emerald spire and he's great the pary repost is more to get that extra attack strength and charisma are key attributes dex doesn't seem to play as big of a part in it although I'm sure it's good for the ninja

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