Revised Swashbuckler Discussion


Class Discussion

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Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

I'd be fine losing Precise Strike and access to Weapon Specialization if that's what's necessary for getting good Fort saves... Hell, I wouldn't mind even losing both of them. I don't really care about an extra +2 to damage, I'm more worried about being able to survive encounters.

SBs shouldn't be about DPR, they should be about mobility. I think making Fighter one of the parent classes was a huge mistake, but since that won't change, I say SBs can lose some damage options in favor of better maneuver and/or mobility options and a good Fort save.

I would be interested to see SB get lots of amazing utility and mobility options and a strong Fort save while losing that much DPR. Tell you what Lemmy--when a year goes by and the book comes out, if Swash comes out and has too much DPR and too few utility and mobility options that make you want to imagine the cinematic scenes from swashbuckler books and films, remind me and I will write an archetype for it that trades away the damage to gain such abilities. I'm sure I can find a 3pp that will publish it.

Heh... I'll hold you to that.

I'm half tempted to create a Gunslinger/Monk hybrid Swashbuckler myself. ^^


Cheapy wrote:


It's been well established that that kills ANYONE. Even guys with great fort saves.

You're not supposed to drink it any how, and can use a number of skills to avoid drinking it.

Not a good counter argument at all :-P

But a fairly decent joke! :)


So, I recently re-watched The Mask of Zorro and I have come to the conclusion that I do not understand why swashbucklers thematically are not allowed to dual wield.

I am serious.


It's probably easiest to design the base class around Sword & Buckler, then add Sword & Dagger / Sword & Pistol / Bastard Sword (I hope) as archetypes.


My only issue with the swashbuckler is how soon they get the improved critical feat. While every other class has to wait till at least level level 8 for the feat and hey look at that level 8 for buying a keen weapon they get it at level 5. That just seems wrong given how classes are balanced against each other. When does a oracle get the ability to fly? The same time a wizard gets to cast it. Same for cleric, witch, sorcerer and alchemist. Just seems unfair to have increased crit range for 3 levels.


Keep in mind that the improved crit feat doesn't do the swashy nearly as much good as it does most other classes.


Raef13 wrote:
My only issue with the swashbuckler is how soon they get the improved critical feat. While every other class has to wait till at least level level 8 for the feat and hey look at that level 8 for buying a keen weapon they get it at level 5. That just seems wrong given how classes are balanced against each other. When does a oracle get the ability to fly? The same time a wizard gets to cast it. Same for cleric, witch, sorcerer and alchemist. Just seems unfair to have increased crit range for 3 levels.

Magi and Paladins can put Keen on their weapons via class feature at level 5, provided their weapon was +1 to begin with. 5th level is also when prepared spellcasters gain access to 3rd level spells, which includes Keen Weapon (though it's unlikely that'll be among their first picks).

Remember that Precise Strike can't crit, so a crit for a Swashbuckler isn't a full doubling of his damage. At the same time, crits are more important to the Swashbuckler because they fuel many of his class features.

Also a little nitpick - Oracles and other spontaneous casters (plus Arcanist for some reason) actually get their new spell levels one level later than prepared casters for no reason.


I know this isn't something people probably care too much about, but for me the idea of dropping the reflex saves for Fort was mainly a theme issue, like why are you this super quick swordsman yet you have a low reflex but high Fort?

It just struck me though, you weren't ALWAYS a quick swordsman. Where others were strong when they were young you were learning to fight fast the hard way, by being beaten Black and blue in training daily. So actually you have probably build up a pretty good ability to "take it like a fighter".

Again I know nobody probably cares at my revelation, but for me the thematic discord was the issue, but now I'm all on board for prioritising fort.


Cheapy wrote:
Although, given the to-hit bonus of ghouls, seems like being hit is going to require a pretty lucky die roll. The guy linked above would need the ghouls to roll 18+ just to have a chance to paralyze poor swashywashy, and with some smart fighting, seems like you could easily give the ghoul only one chance to attack each turn.

Now you are thinking like a second-line combatant. The swashbuckler is a front-liner, the guy who's supposed to hold the line and keep the wizard safe, a fighter replacement. He'll likely be facing more than one ghoul and quite possibly be outflanked too.

This is why fighting classes get good AC and good Fort saves in the first place.


CathalFM wrote:

I know this isn't something people probably care too much about, but for me the idea of dropping the reflex saves for Fort was mainly a theme issue, like why are you this super quick swordsman yet you have a low reflex but high Fort?

It just struck me though, you weren't ALWAYS a quick swordsman. Where others were strong when they were young you were learning to fight fast the hard way, by being beaten Black and blue in training daily. So actually you have probably build up a pretty good ability to "take it like a fighter".

Again I know nobody probably cares at my revelation, but for me the thematic discord was the issue, but now I'm all on board for prioritising fort.

Think about it this way, a Swashbuckler, one who focuses on Dexterity as intended, will end up having both a good Fortitude, and good Reflex save. The Swashbuckler is unlikely to have a Con as high as his Dexterity, so the higher Dex will make up for the lack of being a 'good save'. For example, a 36 Dex wouldn't be unreasonable come high levels, which would give the Swashbuckler a minimum of a +19 Reflex save, +24 with a +5 Cloak. A CR 30 is supposed to have a DC 35 save as its primary save DC according to Monster creation rules, and a +24 Reflex save, is a 50% chance of failure. Sure, the Swash will fail some, but, for the most part, if you fail a Reflex save, all you take is damage. If you fail a Fortitude save, especially at that level, you tend to be dead as a result.

Hell, come 20th, a Swashbuckler will have a base 12 + Con + boosters, so his Reflex might still be better than his Fortitude, by virtue of his ability score if nothing else.

Granted, there is a lot that can be done to boost these saves (like play a Dwarf with Steel Soul), but the point I'm trying to make, is that switching Fort and Reflex doesn't mean the Swashbuckler will have a bad Reflex. It just means he won't have a "only fail on a 1" Reflex and his Fortitude means he won't die from the common cold every time someone sneezes in the vicinity.


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Athaleon wrote:
It's probably easiest to design the base class around Sword & Buckler, then add Sword & Dagger / Sword & Pistol / Bastard Sword (I hope) as archetypes.

With a 3rd party design, I'd change the buckler to small shield. It is way more accurate to the historical model, and allows TWF. As part of a TWF variant of the swashbuckler, it would work much better.


@Googleshng, my noting the Strength damage thing was really nitpicking. I was trying to find some small flaw at some point in your argument. I wouldn't bother doing that unless the general argument was so solid.

I must say your arguments and playtests here have picked the swashbuckler apart very well and found it a bit so soft and squishy, and I agree with every step of it. The strength damage thing was about the only error I could find.

So add me to the group signing all Googleshng swashbuckler posts.


Athaleon wrote:
Magi and Paladins can put Keen on their weapons via class feature at level 5, provided their weapon was +1 to begin with.

Magi can keen non-magic weapons at 5th level. That's when they get the +2 boost, which they can just split +1/keen.

Liberty's Edge

Lemmy wrote:

I'd be fine losing Precise Strike and access to Weapon Specialization if that's what's necessary for getting good Fort saves... Hell, I wouldn't mind even losing both of them. I don't really care about an extra +2 to damage, I'm more worried about being able to survive encounters.

SBs shouldn't be about DPR, they should be about mobility. I think making Fighter one of the parent classes was a huge mistake, but since that won't change, I say SBs can lose some damage options in favor of better maneuver and/or mobility options and a good Fort save.

I wholeheartedly, unabashedly, unequivocally disagree with you here.

Fort saves are not worth precise strike, in no way shape or form. While I agree SBs need better fort saves, gimping their damage makes that good fort save completely unnecessary.

And yes, SBs should be about damage AND mobility.

Liberty's Edge

Raef13 wrote:
My only issue with the swashbuckler is how soon they get the improved critical feat. While every other class has to wait till at least level level 8 for the feat and hey look at that level 8 for buying a keen weapon they get it at level 5. That just seems wrong given how classes are balanced against each other. When does a oracle get the ability to fly? The same time a wizard gets to cast it. Same for cleric, witch, sorcerer and alchemist. Just seems unfair to have increased crit range for 3 levels.

Is it unfair that a Ranger gets access to combat feats earlier, or monks? No, it's called a class feature.


Sir Frog wrote:
Raef13 wrote:
My only issue with the swashbuckler is how soon they get the improved critical feat. While every other class has to wait till at least level level 8 for the feat and hey look at that level 8 for buying a keen weapon they get it at level 5. That just seems wrong given how classes are balanced against each other. When does a oracle get the ability to fly? The same time a wizard gets to cast it. Same for cleric, witch, sorcerer and alchemist. Just seems unfair to have increased crit range for 3 levels.
Is it unfair that a Ranger gets access to combat feats earlier, or monks? No, it's called a class feature.

If this leads to more stuff being taken from the Monk... I will fong you...

%-)


you know, i've been thinking about the argument re: fort saves, and i've come to a conclusion: i don't think that the swashbuckler neccessarily needs fort primary. here's my thinking on it: there are just as many disabling effects that target will as there are fort, and fighters and barbs are in the exact same boat as swashbucklers when it comes to will saves. worse, actually, as at least with charmed life i get to add a secondary stat to saves several times a day (although i will concede the point about charmed life needing to be a free action). and let's compare fort saves for a swashbuckler and a fighter. the fighter is (most likely) not going to have more than a 16 con. that means that a first level fighter has a +5 to fort saves (leaving the OP race that is dwarves aside for the moment, as well as other options like half orc with sacred tattoo and fate's favored). the swashbuckler is most likely not going to have higher than a 14 con, which gives them a fort save of +2 (again, ignoring the above plus traits). ghouls have a dc of 13 with their paralyzing ability. that means that even a fighter with primary save and good con is gonna have a 40 percent chance of failing a save. a 1st level ac focused fighter probably has a breastplate and a heavy shield (not tower unless he wants to seriously gimp his ability to hit things), for an ac of 19. ghouls have a +3 bonus to hit with all 3 attacks. that means that they have a 20% chance to hit on any given attack. thus it's pretty likely that the fighter is not going to get hit more than once a round.
the ac focused swashbuckler will also have a 18-19 ac (depending on stats and gear). that means that the ghoul has about the same chance to hit the swashbuckler as the fighter. the difference being that a swashbuckler has the option to break up a creature's flank, parry away their attacks, or improve the save if he does get hit. that's not horrible. now let's look at a level 5 vs. a ghast. the ghast has a dc 15 save that the fighter has to make every round. his bonus to save has gone up to +8, and the dc to save has gone up to 15. that means that he is failing 35% of the time.
the swashbuckler, on the other hand, will have a +5 to save, meaning he has a 45% chance of failing the save. that means that for all the arguing about needing fort save primary comes down to a 10% difference in saving. now let's look at a different scenario: facing the evil caster and his bodyguard(s). the end "boss" encounter for a group of adventurers can be cr +3, which for 5th level casters typically means facing a 7th level boss. let's take cleric as the boss and throw in a pair of bodyguards to tie up the rest of the party. the fighter and the swashbuckler both move to engage the boss. the fighter in this case probably has to charge (assuming that he has a clear path). lets say, however, that the boss then 5' steps and drops hold person on the fighter and the swash. that's a dc 16 will save. the fighter is probably going to add +4 to his will save (2 base, 1 for a cloak, 1 for wis). the fighter is going to save against that spell only 40% of the time. the swashbuckler is going to be in very similar straits, except that he can add his cha to that save as an immediate action, improving his save by 2-3 (for the sake of arguement, let's say 3). that means that he's now back to saving more than 50% of the time. yet you don't hear fighters screaming about how they can't tank because they "have" to have will saves to be effective.

sorry about the long post, but the idea that you have to do anything with a character seems a bit facetious to me. character building is about resource allocation, or, to quote a shadowrunner, you pay your nuyen and you take your chances.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I think the swashbuckler should tie extra damage to moving. Like the 3.5 scout's Skirmish ability. For example, maybe they should only get Precise Strike damage if they move 10 or more feet prior to the attack roll.

This would also synergize well with high Dex builds, since the SB would need to use Acrobatics to tumble to avoid AoOs for moving.


Sir Frog wrote:

I wholeheartedly, unabashedly, unequivocally disagree with you here.

Fort saves are not worth precise strike, in no way shape or form. While I agree SBs need better fort saves, gimping their damage makes that good fort save completely unnecessary.

And yes, SBs should be about damage AND mobility.

Swashbucklers won't die if they need an extra round to kill their opponents, but that poor Fort save will cripple and/or kill them every time they face an enemy that forces Fort saves, be it casters or creatures with attacks that cause some debilitating condition (poison is a common one).

And nothing makes saves unnecessary. Beyond 9th level or so, saves become the most important defenses in the game. At that point failing a Fort or Will save can easily mean you are out of combat. And no matter how much damage they deal, SBs will still need to make Fort saves quite often.

I don't mind SBs having high damage, but that shouldn't be their priority. If they can't get cool mobility because they already get extra damage, I'd rather have that extra damage removed.

@Vrog

The problem is not having poor Fort as much as it is having both poor Fort and poor Will save.

Shoring up a weak save is doable. Shoring up two, OTOH, will take lots of resources that could have been put to better use, and chances are the character will still lag behind.

Like it or not, effects that force Reflex saves are usually not as deadly as the ones that force Fort and Will saves. Failing a Reflex saves usually means you take some damage, failing a Fort or Will save will usually mean you are severely crippled or downright removed from the fight.

There are a few exceptions, of course. But they are few and far between... Unless your GM gives pit spells and/or Dazing Spell to every caster and creature ever.


Lemmy wrote:


@Vrog

The problem is not having poor Fort as much as it is having both poor Fort and poor Will save.

Shoring up a weak save is doable. Shoring up two, OTOH, will take lots of resources that could have been put to better use, and chances are the character will still lag behind.

Like it or not, effects that force Reflex saves are usually not as deadly as the ones that force Fort and Will saves. Failing a Reflex saves usually means you take some damage, failing a Fort or Will save will usually mean you are severely crippled or downright removed from the fight.

There are a few exceptions, of course. But they are few and far between... Unless your GM gives pit spells and/or Dazing Spell to every caster and creature ever.

it's true that having both poor fort and will sucks. i get that. i'm just saying that it seems to me that it's a fallacy that you "must" have any save in any particular position. i mean look at the inverse of this argument. almost all casters get will primary. does that mean that any caster who doesn't is gimped if they don't have a high will save? i would certainly argue that is not the case.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Casters in general have spells which can help against some of their handicaps like getting immunity to some effects so they don't need to make a save in the first place.

But anyway, the charming life should be enough to help the swashbuckler but I would just suggest them to be able to use it after a roll is a made, nothing quite like rolling high and feeling like you wasted your precious resource.


SmiloDan wrote:

I think the swashbuckler should tie extra damage to moving. Like the 3.5 scout's Skirmish ability. For example, maybe they should only get Precise Strike damage if they move 10 or more feet prior to the attack roll.

This would also synergize well with high Dex builds, since the SB would need to use Acrobatics to tumble to avoid AoOs for moving.

I like the idea of being rewarded for movement on the battlefield (same goes for fighting multiple opponents). But I wouldn't want it to become a "must do" and have it end up denying you full attacks.


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Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
it's true that having both poor fort and will sucks. i get that. i'm just saying that it seems to me that it's a fallacy that you "must" have any save in any particular position. i mean look at the inverse of this argument. almost all casters get will primary. does that mean that any caster who doesn't is gimped if they don't have a high will save? i would certainly argue that is not the case.

Any character that doesn't have at least one good save between Fort and Will is gimped.

Front-liners are more likely to face those all too common poisonous/infectious/paralyzing/whatever attacks than any other class... Casters OTOH, are usually not in a position that makes them particularly likely to be targeted by such attacks. In fact, they have spells that not only buff their saves, but often prevent the need for a save in the first place (e.g.: The enemy can't cast Hold Person on the invisible Wizard and the poisonous ghouls won't be able to attack the flying Sorcerer).

Front-liners don't have that benefit. They are always in plain sight. They are the first line of defense, the first ones to be targeted by enemies. That's pretty much the definition of being a front-liner.

Fort saves become more and more common and more and more deadly. If a front-liner can't reliably make those saves, he'll soon fail at his job and leave his friends unprotected.

Not every martial class needs Paladin-level of good saves, but they all need to be at least as good as a Fighter... And even Fighters could use some help with their saves. But at least they can afford to dump Cha and invest in Wisdom... And since they don't have to worry about Fort, they can pool more resources into boosting their Will saves.

The SBs bonus feats lose a lot of their appeal if they need to take Iron Will, Great Fort just to have a almost decent chance of being neutralized by the first enemy that forces a save... I've seen Rogues and Ninjas trying (and failing) to have decent saves on multiple occasions... I'd hate to see the same happen to SBs. And I'd hate to be in a party that that relies on a front-liner with the saves of a Rogue.

Having Reflex as their only good save will make Swashbucklers easy targets and mid level and all but unplayable at high levels.


Vrog Skyreaver wrote:

you know, i've been thinking about the argument re: fort saves, and i've come to a conclusion: i don't think that the swashbuckler neccessarily needs fort primary. here's my thinking on it: there are just as many disabling effects that target will as there are fort, and fighters and barbs are in the exact same boat as swashbucklers when it comes to will saves. worse, actually, as at least with charmed life i get to add a secondary stat to saves several times a day (although i will concede the point about charmed life needing to be a free action). and let's compare fort saves for a swashbuckler and a fighter. the fighter is (most likely) not going to have more than a 16 con. that means that a first level fighter has a +5 to fort saves (leaving the OP race that is dwarves aside for the moment, as well as other options like half orc with sacred tattoo and fate's favored). the swashbuckler is most likely not going to have higher than a 14 con, which gives them a fort save of +2 (again, ignoring the above plus traits). ghouls have a dc of 13 with their paralyzing ability. that means that even a fighter with primary save and good con is gonna have a 40 percent chance of failing a save. a 1st level ac focused fighter probably has a breastplate and a heavy shield (not tower unless he wants to seriously gimp his ability to hit things), for an ac of 19. ghouls have a +3 bonus to hit with all 3 attacks. that means that they have a 20% chance to hit on any given attack. thus it's pretty likely that the fighter is not going to get hit more than once a round.

the ac focused swashbuckler will also have a 18-19 ac (depending on stats and gear). that means that the ghoul has about the same chance to hit the swashbuckler as the fighter. the difference being that a swashbuckler has the option to break up a creature's flank, parry away their attacks, or improve the save if he does get hit. that's not horrible. now let's look at a level 5 vs. a ghast. the ghast has a dc 15 save that the fighter has to make every round. his bonus...

This is a very poor analysis. The difference between strong and weak saves loosens up to +4 which is very significant. I think, however, that the very good scaling of a swashbuckler's AC may in fact assist in keeping them alive (or rather, just as alive as the fighter)

Using the fighter is a good start, because frankly, with rage and superstition, the Barbarian is a saving throw god.

So, lets look at levels 5, 10 and 15.

We will use that reasonable assumption you tossed out about Con scores, so the fighter will start with a 16 where the swash starts with a 14. Both classes should be taking iron will at some point, and most swashes will end up with great fort as well, but since the fighter has more feats available and this isn't always the way people build, we will ignore it.

So, by level 5, both have a cloak of resistance +1
Fighter Fort save: +4 base, +3 con, +1 cloak = +8
Swashbuckler Fort save: +1 base, +2 con, +1 cloak = +4

By level 10, both should have a +2 con item and a +2 cloak
Fighter Fort save: +7 base, +4 con, +2 cloak = +13
Swashbuckler Fort save: +3 base, +3 con, +2 cloak = +8

By 15, con bonus should be +4, and cloak should be +4
Fighter Fort save: +9 base, +5 con, +4 cloak = +18
Swashbuckler Fort save: +5 base, +4 con, +4 cloak = +13

So, lets look at fort save DCs.
For CR 5, we have an average fort DC of 17 on attack riders
Fighter has a 60% chance of passing
Swashbuckler has a 40% chance of passing

For CR 10, we have an average save of about 22 (interesting actually, +5 CR seems to be +5 dc in this case)
Fighter has a 60% chance of passing
Swashbuckler has a 35% chance of passing

For CR 15, we have an average save of 27
Fighter has a 60% chance of success
Swashbuckler has a 35% chance of success.

So, it seems that the difference is about 25% on the surface, but that is deceiving.

In reality, we have to look at what that truly means. And what it means is that over the course of 100 saves, the fighter will pass 60 and the swashbuckler will pass 35. That means that the fighter is passing 71% more saves than the swashbuckler.

Now, we can also take AC into account here. The majority of fort saves that frontliners have to worry about are poisons, diseases, stat drains and other 'on-hit-riders'. That certainly isn;t the only case, but lets give the swash benefit of the doubt and say that he uses charmed life against the handful of spells he will see each day.

So, for the swashbuckler to be equal to the fighter, he will need to be hit 71% less often than the fighter. We can ignore monster attack bonuses here somewhat and just compare AC to AC.

So, best case for the swashbuckler, the fighter is a two-hander wielder with no shield. No decent fighter dumps dex, so a 12 is a fair guess. Any rings of protection/amulets of natural armor will go to both.

So, at 5, fighter will have full-plate, a +1 ring of protection, and +1 dex. AC total = 21
The swashbuckler will have a mithral chain shirt, +4 dex, +1 RoP, +1 nimble and lets say a +1 buckler. AC total = 22

At level 10, both should have a belt of Physical Perfection +2. Both should have armor +2, swash also has +2 more dex from levels and his buckler is up to +2. Rings are up to +2, and say each has an amulet of natural armor +1.

So, Fighter total AC = 26 (10, +11 armor, +2 dex, +2 ring, +1 amulet)
Swashbuckler total AC = 30 (10, +6 armor, +6 dex, +2 ring, +1 amulet, +3 buckler, +2 nimble)

By level 15, dex should be up by another +2 for each, ring and amulets up to +3, and armor/shields up to +4.

So, Fighter total AC = 32 (10, +13 armor, +3 dex, +3 ring, +3 amulet)
Swashbuckler total AC = 39 (10, +8 armor, +7 dex, +3 ring, +3 amulet, +5 buckler, +3 nimble)

Alrighty, so we have a start here. To keep hit rolls within reasonable bounds, lets say that monsters are always hitting the fighter on an 11 (50% chance). We will look at how many fort saves are failed by each assuming 100 attacks that have to hit AC, and then apply a CR appropriate fort save DC.

So, at lvl 5, over 100 attacks, the fighter is hit 50 times, and fails 20 fort saves.
The swashbuckler is hit on a 12, so he gets hit 45 times, and fails 27 saves.

At level 10, the fighter is hit 50 times out of 100, and fails 20 fort saves.
The swashbuckler is hit on a 15, so he gets hit 30 times and fails 19.5 saves. Interesting

At level 15, the fighter is hit 50 times out of 100, and fails 20 fort saves.
The swashbuckler is hit on an 18, so he gets hit 15 times and fails 9.75 fort saves.

This is actually pretty interesting IMO. Since the bulk of nasty fort saves that are not spells come from attack riders, the swashbuckler is actually MORE protected, due to a higher AC, than the fighter is at higher levels. We should also not overlook the advantage that the swashbuckler has against touch attacks and incorporeal creatures. The chance that a swashbuckler is screwed over, for example, by a disintegrate is actually lower than the fighter because of a high touch AC. (in our example, touch AC of 20 at level 10 vs. 14 for the fighter)


a pretty good analysis overall. the only thing i think would need to be mentioned is that a swashbuckler has at least one defensive ability that will let them get hit less, namely parry and riposte. even if they don't riposte, being able to parry a creature's best swing is pretty solid. or being able to parry an attack then take an off turn 5' step to break up an attack. or (at higher end) being able to fight defensively as a swift action..).

i'm not saying that a swashbuckler is a saving throw gawd, i'm just saying that it's not the swashpocalypse if they don't get fort primary that some people have been intimating.

(oh, and 5th level swashbuckler has a +2 base save, not +1 ;P ).


There are a lot of "disease auras" and non-targeted spells, though.

Silver Crusade

It occurs to me that there is no need for a TWF archetype.

You lose Precise Strike, but that only exists to make up for only using a single one-handed weapon. You could TWF when you can full attack and Precise Strike when you attack as a standard action.

At 15th level you can attack as a swift action, so you could re-train your Signature Deed feat to apply to Dizzying Defence to get a swift action attack at no Panache cost.


@Malkov: That's also somewhat misleading.

Even assuming all of the important Fort saves are carried from attack riders, the Swashbuckler having a significant chance to just DIE, or at least be put out of the fight, upon being hit the first time is a pretty terrible design.

It's basically the equivalent of designing a d4 HD frontliner class who's so MAD he can't invest in Con. It doesn't matter that his AC is high if he has a 35% chance of just straight up dying when he DOES get hit.

Also, this ignores the fact that up until 10, he's still failing more saves than the Fighter is, and even AT 10 he's only failing "1/2" less save than the Fighter.

Your numbers assume he lives through the first wave of 35 failed saves, and then the second wave, etc.


Rynjin wrote:

@Malkov: That's also somewhat misleading.

Even assuming all of the important Fort saves are carried from attack riders, the Swashbuckler having a significant chance to just DIE, or at least be put out of the fight, upon being hit the first time is a pretty terrible design.

It's basically the equivalent of designing a d4 HD frontliner class who's so MAD he can't invest in Con. It doesn't matter that his AC is high if he has a 35% chance of just straight up dying when he DOES get hit.

Also, this ignores the fact that up until 10, he's still failing more saves than the Fighter is, and even AT 10 he's only failing "1/2" less save than the Fighter.

Your numbers assume he lives through the first wave of 35 failed saves, and then the second wave, etc.

I used to underestimate so-called "paper tanks" (high AC, low HP) until I saw an Alchemist2 with two other PCs in Curse of the Crimson Throne beat a stupidly-overbuffed version of Eel's End (with 16 level 2 Fighters and the leader dude as a level 4 Rogue) due to having 28 AC and tanking it (with his mere 17 hp).


17 HP is pretty good at level 2. Alchemists have d8 HD, a trait it shares with quite a few secondary frontliners that can step it up to be main fighters if need be or at a player's desire.

That means he had 14 Con or thereabouts.

Meanwhile, a d4 HD class at level 2 would have on average, with 14 Con, about 12 HP. Within instakill range of some monsters at level 2, and the gap grows worse as that character levels (and, of course, this is even ignoring that I specifically mentioned a class so MAD it had little incentive to get Con). It only gains about 4 HP with level, 5 if it uses its FCB for HP.

At level 10 it'd have average of about 56 HP, well within one round range of most creatures, and one attack range of some.

Which actually correlates as a BETTER chance of survival than a character with a poor Fort save, now I think about it. Most creatures would have to hit him multiple times (two or 3 at most, but still) to kill him. The Swashbuckler only needs to be hit once, and 65% of the time he's screwed.


Yeah 12 Con and FCB for the Alch.

As to Swash, if your AC keeps you down to being hit once per round or less, you can just use Charmed Life and be better than the Fighter in both number of hits and bonus per hit at level 15 (Cha will definitely be +4 or better).

Scarab Sages

Swashbucklers have so much incentive to do a 1-2 level MOMS monk dip it's not even funny.


Rynjin wrote:

@Malkov: That's also somewhat misleading.

Even assuming all of the important Fort saves are carried from attack riders, the Swashbuckler having a significant chance to just DIE, or at least be put out of the fight, upon being hit the first time is a pretty terrible design.

It's basically the equivalent of designing a d4 HD frontliner class who's so MAD he can't invest in Con. It doesn't matter that his AC is high if he has a 35% chance of just straight up dying when he DOES get hit.

Also, this ignores the fact that up until 10, he's still failing more saves than the Fighter is, and even AT 10 he's only failing "1/2" less save than the Fighter.

Your numbers assume he lives through the first wave of 35 failed saves, and then the second wave, etc.

I showed my work, I am not sure how misleading that can be. I also pointed out that the swashbuckler is alright "at higher levels". I gave the fighter a 16 con to start and the swashbuckler a 14... so MAD also accounted for. (16, 14, 13, 12, 10, 10 is a good array, and it goes dex, con, str, cha, wis, int with a +2 in dex from race)

Furthermore, if there is a chance that the swashbuckler is going to die straight up on a failed save, then that same problem occurs for the fighter.

Even on just one attack, at level 15 (using the numbers I posted), the fighter has a 50% chance to be hit and a 60% chance to make his save. Which amounts to a 20% chance for the monster to affect him.

The swashbuckler has a 15% chance to be hit and a 35% chance to make his save, which amounts to a 9.75% chance to be affected.

Its really improper to make an argument around "when he does get hit" because it immediately casts out an important variable. You may as well talk about when a fighter with medium fortification and a 40 AC "does get crit". Sure those things can happen, but you can't just toss out a variable and then compare that fighter to a wizard with no defensive spells or armor. Both classes are fairly screwed by will saves, and we don't throw them in the trash because they could get removed from a combat by failing a save.

For example, if we compared some theoretical class that got hit 100% of the time but took half damage on every hit to a class that got hit 50% of the time and took full damage... we could say "oh but when he DOES get hit, that second class is in too much trouble, therefore class A wins." But in truth they are just about the same.

Now, there are auras of disease and stench and (more prevalent in my experience) spells, but those spells are a problem for everyone. The issue with posions, diseases and on hit stat damage/drain is more specific to frontline fighters. It is not really necessary to talk about how a swashbuckler might get disintegrated, since that argument will inevitably lead to: well what about the poor sorcerer?

Ranged control spells are less specific to frontliners (though still something they will have to deal with like everyone else). Auras and attack riders are all the main concern for melee combatants and usually aren't the main concern for casters and support classes that can stay back.

The other issue at hand is, of course, that a defensively minded fighter will easily keep up with the swashbuckler's AC, and once again make that disparity larger.

By no means am I suggesting that any melee class shouldn't have a strong fort save. Particularly when it is a hybrid made up of two classes that come with one. BUT, AC can do a little bit to mitigate that deficit once the swashbuckler sees higher levels (as shown). The issue of auras and the like is still there. The issue of on-hit fort saves can be helped by AC.

Charmed life still needs to be a free or non-action, but ideally it would just be a static bonus to fort saves... it is charmed "life" after all.


@Lord Malkov, something you aren't taking into effect for the Swashbuckler, is that he spent significantly more money on his AC, than the Fighter did. At 15th level, the Swash has a +4 buckler, a 16,000 gp cost. That money could be spent on other AC items for the Fighter, like an Ioun Stone, or a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier etc.

Also, I'm not sure what averages you are using for DCs and attacks. The average attack/DC for level 5, 10, and 15 are 10/15, 18/19, and 24/23.
This is including a range of enemies for each CR as well, CR 2 to CR 8 for level 5, CR 7 to CR 13 for level 10 and CR 12 to CR 18 for level 15.

With that in mind, your numbers should change a little bit.

(using your AC and saves)

Level 5: Average attack is +10 (%hit), average DC is 15 (%saved)
Fighter: AC 21 (11+ 45%) Fort +8 (7+ 65%)
Swashbuckler: AC 22 (12+ 40%) Fort +4 (11+ 50%)

Level 10: Average attack is +18, average DC is 19
Fighter: AC 26 (8+ 60%) Fort +13 (6+ 60%)
Swashbuckler: AC 30 (12+ 40%) Fort +8 (11+ 50%)

Level 15: Average attack is +24, average DC is 23.
Fighter: AC 32 (8+ 60%) Fort +18 (5+ 75%)
Swashbuckler: AC 39 (15+ 25%) Fort +13 (10+ 55%)

At 5th level, the Swash has a 20% increase in AC that the fighter didn't invest in (buckler), at 10th level his buckler accounts for 3 points of his AC, and at 15th level, it accounts for 5 points of his AC.

You are comparing a sword and shield swashbuckler, to a 2-handed fighter, when you should be comparing it to a sword and shield fighter instead. If you did, the fighter would have a +6 shield bonus at 15th level (assuming a heavy steel and +4 enhancement like the Buckler) which puts the fighters AC almost equal to that of the Swashbuckler.

While your math is interesting, it's not entirely an accurate representation of the two classes.

[Edit] Fixed an extra number.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

Unless the sword and board fighter wants to do peanuts for damage, he's not really using that shield until level 11. So the first two numbers LM puts up seem accurate to me. Otherwise you could go back to our Dex-to-damage argument and remember that taking forever to kill something means that you are getting hit more often (or worse, your squishy companions) even with the higher AC.

None of this matters when Circle of Death drops down, but it does help out with the trending overrun by ghouls discussion.


Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
you know, i've been thinking about the argument re: fort saves, and i've come to a conclusion: i don't think that the swashbuckler neccessarily needs fort primary. here's my thinking on it: there are just as many disabling effects that target will as there are fort, and fighters and barbs are in the exact same boat as swashbucklers when it comes to will saves. worse, actually, as at least with charmed life i get to add a secondary stat to saves several times a day...

Stop right there. You only have a handful of uses of charmed life a day. They are enough to get you through a day's worth of charm spells and such just fine, but seriously, the ghoul fight that keeps killing all my test swashbucklers? In one small area where they can reasonably get a surprise round, there are six ghouls. Each ghoul gets 3 attacks per round. Each attack calls for 2 fort saves. These aren't the only ones you'll end up fighting, nor the only ones you've fought that day. They're also too low on HD for panache to refill on kills.

You are going to be taking more than enough hits to run out of charmed life real real quick. Also, I'm really not sure what you mean by "the difference being that a swashbuckler has the option to break up a creature's flank, parry away their attacks, or improve the save if he does get hit." Are you talking about Dodging Panache? Because "This movement is not a 5-foot step; it provokes attacks of opportunity from creatures other than the one who triggered this deed." Plus it's panache limited. At level 5, you've only got one attack per round, so panache is not yet flowing like water, and you can't count on it.

You're also overestimating stats and AC. Here's a swash with a shield. Here's one with two weapons. Both are minmaxed to high heaven for survivability. The one with a 19 AC had to push str up to 13 to wear her armor, and has only a +1 fort save. The one who has a +2 fort save has only 17 AC, because she had to dump her str, and doesn't have the carrying capacity to hold a shield or get her armor up to where it should be. Both of these have higher than minimum operating cha, but that's because they dumped wisdom in hopes of stretching charmed life to cover 2 bad saves. A comparable fighter would be 16 13 16 7 14 7. 20 AC +7 fort, +3 wis. vs. 19/+2/+0 (19/+5/+3 for 3 saves a day) or 17/+3/+0 (17/+6/+3 for 3/day). Could swap con and cha, leave the boosted will at only a +2, but all you'd have to show for it is 19 AC/+2 (+4) fort or 17 AC/+3 (+5) fort. This is a serious issue with the sheer volume of hits and saves coming in. This is with Nimble applied, but I haven't added stat points from hitting level 4 to these. If the fighter puts his into dex, that actually gives him a 21 AC.

The array of 16 14 13 12 10 10 that seems to be the norm for melee Iconics leaves you in about the same boat, despite being a 20-point buy: 13 16 12 10 10 16, or maybe 12 16 14 10 10 15. 12 18 13 10 10 14 if you really want dex up there.

No matter how you slice it, you're taking more hits than a fighter in this scenario and your fort save is much worse.

As are the consequences for failing it. The saves in question are against ghoul fever, which if you can't magically cure it (admittedly, a big if) that's 1d3 con and dex a day making it harder to save in the future. The other is against paralysis which, first off, denies your dex bonus to AC (and Nimble with it). More importantly, it opens you up to coup de grace, which will outright kill you unless you pass a rather difficult, say it with me now, fort save.

Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
(oh, and 5th level swashbuckler has a +2 base save, not +1 ;P ).

No, it's +1. Level/3 rounded down for bad saves. Level/2+2 for good.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

It occurs to me that there is no need for a TWF archetype.

You lose Precise Strike, but that only exists to make up for only using a single one-handed weapon. You could TWF when you can full attack and Precise Strike when you attack as a standard action.

At 15th level you can attack as a swift action, so you could re-train your Signature Deed feat to apply to Dizzying Defence to get a swift action attack at no Panache cost.

This is what I've been trying to explain to people. ... Although one of us is seriously misreading dizzying defense.


Tels wrote:

@Lord Malkov, something you aren't taking into effect for the Swashbuckler, is that he spent significantly more money on his AC, than the Fighter did. At 15th level, the Swash has a +4 buckler, a 16,000 gp cost. That money could be spent on other AC items for the Fighter, like an Ioun Stone, or a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier etc.

Also, I'm not sure what averages you are using for DCs and attacks. The average attack/DC for level 5, 10, and 15 are 10/15, 18/19, and 24/23.
This is including a range of enemies for each CR as well, CR 2 to CR 8 for level 5, CR 7 to CR 13 for level 10 and CR 12 to CR 18 for level 15.

With that in mind, your numbers should change a little bit.

(using your AC and saves)

Level 5: Average attack is +10 (%hit), average DC is 15 (%saved)
Fighter: AC 21 (11+ 45%) Fort +8 (7+ 65%)
Swashbuckler: AC 22 (12+ 40%) Fort +4 (11+ 50%)

Level 10: Average attack is +18, average DC is 19
Fighter: AC 26 (8+ 60%) Fort +13 (6+ 60%)
Swashbuckler: AC 30 (12+ 40%) Fort +8 (11+ 50%)

Level 15: Average attack is +24, average DC is 23.
Fighter: AC 32 (8+ 60%) Fort +18 (5+ 75%)
Swashbuckler: AC 39 (15+ 25%) Fort +13 (10+ 55%)

At 5th level, the Swash has a 20% increase in AC that the fighter didn't invest in (buckler), at 10th level his buckler accounts for 3 points of his AC, and at 15th level, it accounts for 5 points of his AC.

You are comparing a sword and shield swashbuckler, to a 2-handed fighter, when you should be comparing it to a sword and shield fighter instead. If you did, the fighter would have a +6 shield bonus at 15th level (assuming a heavy steel and +4 enhancement like the Buckler) which puts the fighters AC almost equal to that of the Swashbuckler.

While your math is interesting, it's not entirely an accurate representation of the two classes.

[Edit] Fixed an extra number.

I feel like I already covered a lot of this.

I was using a two-handed fighter because it is a common build and gives the swashbuckler the best chance of showing a closed gap. I said that from the beginning.
As far as items... yeah the fighter would have other items... sure they could be used for AC. Heck, they could be used for poison immunity, who knows.

That really wasn't the point. At level 15 both could have an ioun stone and a jingasa without breaking the budget, and a +4 shield is an immensely more economical option than any other AC boost in the game that comes from a wondrous item.

In any case, the DCs at given levels are not really important as long as they stay within reasonable bounds (ie, as long as neither class is only failing on a natural 1 or only passing on a natural 20) because what matters is the difference between the two classes. For level 5 I was using CR 5 save DCs, for level 10 I was using CR 10 DCs etc. This is not to say that these are the only DCs that the character's will face, but just thrown out for a benchmark. The same is true for monster hit bonuses, which I didn't even bother with.

I wasn't attempting a comprehensive or exhaustive analysis. I was showing something rather simple. On-hit fort saves keep coming up (like ghoul paralysis) and I wanted to show that there was a variable missing. For an on-hit fort save to come up, you need to be HIT first. So higher AC can make up for a lower fort save (in the case of on-hit riders).

That was pretty much my only point, and it is mostly just common sense. Some fighters may use shields, sure, and that will raise the gap again, but many fighters do not, and they are expected to deal with poison/disease/ability drain as well. This is also something that I already covered.

EDIT: was being rude... and there is no need for that.


Tels wrote:

@Lord Malkov, something you aren't taking into effect for the Swashbuckler, is that he spent significantly more money on his AC, than the Fighter did. At 15th level, the Swash has a +4 buckler, a 16,000 gp cost. That money could be spent on other AC items for the Fighter, like an Ioun Stone, or a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier etc.

Also, I'm not sure what averages you are using for DCs and attacks. The average attack/DC for level 5, 10, and 15 are 10/15, 18/19, and 24/23.
This is including a range of enemies for each CR as well, CR 2 to CR 8 for level 5, CR 7 to CR 13 for level 10 and CR 12 to CR 18 for level 15.

With that in mind, your numbers should change a little bit.

(using your AC and saves)

Level 5: Average attack is +10 (%hit), average DC is 15 (%saved)
Fighter: AC 21 (11+ 45%) Fort +8 (7+ 65%)
Swashbuckler: AC 22 (12+ 40%) Fort +4 (11+ 50%)

Level 10: Average attack is +18, average DC is 19
Fighter: AC 26 (8+ 60%) Fort +13 (6+ 60%)
Swashbuckler: AC 30 (12+ 40%) Fort +8 (11+ 50%)

Level 15: Average attack is +24, average DC is 23.
Fighter: AC 32 (8+ 60%) Fort +18 (5+ 75%)
Swashbuckler: AC 39 (15+ 25%) Fort +13 (10+ 55%)

At 5th level, the Swash has a 20% increase in AC that the fighter didn't invest in (buckler), at 10th level his buckler accounts for 3 points of his AC, and at 15th level, it accounts for 5 points of his AC.

You are comparing a sword and shield swashbuckler, to a 2-handed fighter, when you should be comparing it to a sword and shield fighter instead. If you did, the fighter would have a +6 shield bonus at 15th level (assuming a heavy steel and +4 enhancement like the Buckler) which puts the fighters AC almost equal to that of the Swashbuckler.

While your math is interesting, it's not entirely an accurate representation of the two classes.

[Edit] Fixed an extra number.

Your percentages are way off, so I just want to fix these. You always need to account for the target number as well as the difference. (E.G. 15+ is actually 30%...15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 -> 6 numbers that succeed, each representing 1/20th of 100% or 5% each)

SO:
Level 5: Average attack is +10 (%hit), average DC is 15 (%saved)
Fighter: AC 21 (11+ 50%) Fort +8 (7+ 70%)
Swashbuckler: AC 22 (12+ 45%) Fort +4 (11+ 50%)

Level 10: Average attack is +18, average DC is 19
Fighter: AC 26 (8+ 65%) Fort +13 (6+ 75%)
Swashbuckler: AC 30 (12+ 45%) Fort +8 (11+ 50%)

Level 15: Average attack is +24, average DC is 23.
Fighter: AC 32 (8+ 65%) Fort +18 (5+ 80%)
Swashbuckler: AC 39 (15+ 30%) Fort +13 (10+ 55%)

There you go... all fixed, and not surprisingly the alternate DCs and attack bonuses have not changed the differences... which they shouldn't. They are just sliding around a bit.


You're right, my math was off, for that I can only say that I had to get up repeatedly to handle my nephews (one of them loves tipping the trashcan over for some reason) and I wasn't even coming close to double checking what I was putting down.

The point I was trying to make (and seemingly failed at) is that it wasn't a very... fair comparison between the two classes, which was skewed in the Swashbucklers favor. For instance, 2-hand or not, the fighter can also wear a buckler to gain it's shield bonus, in exchange for a -1 to his attack roll. He also has enough feats to spare to take Shield Focus and Greater Shield Focus giving him another +2 AC giving him a total of a +7 increase to his AC, which matches that of the Swashbuckler.

Now, the Swashbuckler can also take Greater/Shield Focus, but he might not be able to afford the feats necessary, depending on his build.

Something I failed to mention, is the way you presented your math is in such away that the Swashbuckler might not need a high fortitude, but, again, this isn't true.

At 15th level, you mention he has to make a save 15 times and fails 9.75 of those saves. That's a 65% failure rate, conversely, the fighter has to make 50 saves, and fails 20 of those saves, which is a 40% failure rate. A 40% failure rate is significantly better than a 65% failure rate.


Projecting out a little bit, any one thinking there will be a deed or optional feat to turn the -to hit from combat expertise or fighting defensively into a bonus on parry rolls? Or a reverse power attack where you could apply a fixed penalty to damage to increase your hit modifier until the start of your next round? "Thread the Needle" or something like that. Just musing about possibilities at this point but it seems like there should be a way to really focus on a parry based build.


Torbyne wrote:
Projecting out a little bit, any one thinking there will be a deed or optional feat to turn the -to hit from combat expertise or fighting defensively into a bonus on parry rolls? Or a reverse power attack where you could apply a fixed penalty to damage to increase your hit modifier until the start of your next round? "Thread the Needle" or something like that. Just musing about possibilities at this point but it seems like there should be a way to really focus on a parry based build.

Personally, I've always wondered why there was never a -damage/+hit feat, opposite of Power Attack.

Silver Crusade

I haven't read the entire thread to check if this has already been brought up, but I have a question about the dueling sword and the aldori dueling mastery feat as they apply to the swashbuckler.

The text of Aldori Dueling Mastery says:

"Although the dueling sword inflicts slashing damage, you treat it as if it were also a piercing weapon when determining the effects of weapons used by a duelist."

The wording sounds rather vague, and the feat does predate the swashbuckler class, but it sounds to me like it should allow a swashbuckler to treat the dueling sword as a piercing weapon for the purposes of his abilities without having to take Slashing Grace. Considering the flavor and substantial feat tax, I think it would be an appropriate and balanced interpretation, too.

Liberty's Edge

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

You know, I also have a 15-point-buy 5th level swashbuckler handy; fighting 6 ghouls, she only gets hit by a natural 20 (this drops "all the way" to a 19+ if they can flank, or a 17+ with Aid - although the standard action cost of that might not make it worthwhile for the ghouls, with their 3 attacks), her average attack only misses on a 3 or less and her average damage kills the ghouls in one shot. If she were trying to solo the ghouls, it would largely be a matter of luck (her saves are not great, although she's not utterly helpless either...), but in a typical party of 4? She'd be fine. I agree that the saves are a problem, but I'm not nearly so certain that they'd be completely fatal every time.


I don't think dropping damage to hit more is all that useful, but something where I drop my accuracy to drop my opponent's damage along the power attack formula is something I wouldn't mind seeing as a new feat.

Either one would be weird as a deed. There really is a lot of design space in the deed list being wasted on stuff that's never worth using though that could stand being freed up for more interesting abilities.


Tels wrote:

You're right, my math was off, for that I can only say that I had to get up repeatedly to handle my nephews (one of them loves tipping the trashcan over for some reason) and I wasn't even coming close to double checking what I was putting down.

The point I was trying to make (and seemingly failed at) is that it wasn't a very... fair comparison between the two classes, which was skewed in the Swashbucklers favor. For instance, 2-hand or not, the fighter can also wear a buckler to gain it's shield bonus, in exchange for a -1 to his attack roll. He also has enough feats to spare to take Shield Focus and Greater Shield Focus giving him another +2 AC giving him a total of a +7 increase to his AC, which matches that of the Swashbuckler.

Now, the Swashbuckler can also take Greater/Shield Focus, but he might not be able to afford the feats necessary, depending on his build.

Something I failed to mention, is the way you presented your math is in such away that the Swashbuckler might not need a high fortitude, but, again, this isn't true.

At 15th level, you mention he has to make a save 15 times and fails 9.75 of those saves. That's a 65% failure rate, conversely, the fighter has to make 50 saves, and fails 20 of those saves, which is a 40% failure rate. A 40% failure rate is significantly better than a 65% failure rate.

You can look at the rate, and it will be worse. But an on-hit fort save effect requires BOTH a hit and a failed save... so what matters is the result, not the specific rate of one or the other. It is really the combination that matters.

For example, if the fighter got hit 90% of the time but also passed 90% of his fort saves... then the chance for him to be affected by such an effect on a given attack would be 9%

If the swashbuckler only got hit 10% of the time but also only passed 10% of his fort saves... he would also have a 9% chance to be affected.

So both would have the same chance, per incoming attack, to be affected by a Poison, Disease, or Dmg/Drain effect that required a successful attack and a fort save. If we used 100 attacks here, the swashbuckler would be hit only 10 times and would fail 9 saves... as expected, a fail rate of 90%... but that isn't what is important. What is important is how often the character will be affected. The fighter in this example has a mighty 90% success rate, but will be affected just as often because of his horribly low AC.

So the combination matters.

You also can't really use a two-handed weapon and a buckler... that is, you lose the shield's AC bonus if you use that hand to attack. The only way around that is to be a 19th level Thunderstriker with this:

Quote:


Improved Buckler Defense (Ex)
At 19th level, a thunderstriker does not forfeit his shield bonus to AC from a buckler when fighting two-handed.
This ability replaces Armor Mastery


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

My 15pt buy level 7 swash rocks a 27 Armor class, so I'm not terribly worried about ghouls with my +4 Fort save (+2 class +1 CoR +1 Resilient).

Not that I'm super excited about it, but if Charmed Life becomes a bit more usable than I think I can make it work. Of course, there is a good chance the Dex-to-damage feats will take away the buckler ala DD. So that certainly changes the equation. Still, with Opportune Parry (which Lord_Malkov doesn't even factor into his discussion) and Combat Reflexes I feel fairly confident. I mean, I'm a swashbuckler, I pretty much have to feel confident.


I'm still not seeing swashbucklers as inherently having higher AC than fighters. At low levels, a fighter has a nice cheap edge because breastplates and platemail have a higher AC/max dex cap than anything the swash can wear with less than a 26 Dex.

If you really focus on maxing your AC out, a swashbucker eventually gets hit fewer enough times to balance out her bad fort save against a fighter who's neglecting his AC but... so what? Death is kind of a slap on the wrist at higher levels, but if I drop in this here low level ghoul swarm before I hit that point, I have to roll up a new character. Plus maintaining that high AC requires pretty frequently selling her current armor and buying something new. Plunk down the cash for a +1 set of studded leather? Half the money you invested is gone when you upgrade to mithral. Trade that for darkleaf? Half that cash is done. Get dex to the point your best bet is just bracers? Say goodbye to have the money that went into that. The fighter meanwhile spends maybe a couple hundred getting to the suit he's going to use for the rest of his life, then armor training grows it with him.

Also, if I was really so inclined, I could just as easily crank up a fighter's AC like that, and keep the good fort save. A dex build works just as well for a fighter as I understand it. 2 feat commitment, but the fighter gets bonus feats the swash doesn't at levels 1 and 2. You probably don't really even need that though. Boost your dex up with a belt (the swash is going to want more str later too, if only as a buffer against damage) and you can keep up with armor training making full plate roomier all the way up to 20. If you aren't playing up to 20, that's less dex you need to start with. You can't use precise strike, but you can get a way better shield than just a buckler. Hit people with it when they don't have a crazy high attack roll (you have the feats to spare) and you make up for that just fine, and it gives more AC out the gate. Heck, if you want to go real nuts, you can just walk out there with a tower shield in each hand. AC out the wazoo.

You don't want to do that with a fighter though because chasing AC is a sucker's game. Make yourself impossible to hit, and people just walk around and hit your friends. I don't want to do that with a swashbuckler either. In fact, right now what I want to do with a swashbuckler is some variation on D.D. whose int and str aren't tanked so hard. I won't be using a buckler at all unless I get a bit more str, and even then, it'll be conditional. Any money I'd be sinking into magic bonuses on my armor and shield are getting spent upgrading a second weapon. My AC is going to suck early on, and won't improve beyond those nimble bonuses until I hit that dex singularity and get some bracers. Worse AC and the bad fort save. This really needs to be a viable build for the class though, because there's so little customization to be had with this.

If the biggest concern in the room is that a swashbuckler who totally turtles up has to roll less fort saves than a fighter who doesn't, I say that's a decent tradeoff for taking their damage potential and giving up half their crit damage.

Knick wrote:
My 15pt buy level 7 swash rocks a 27 Armor class, so I'm not terribly worried about ghouls with my +4 Fort save (+2 class +1 CoR +1 Resilient).

Ghouls are only CR 1. Ghasts are CR 2. The AP I'm testing with starts throwing both around like crazy just around hitting level 5, not 7.


Quote:
You don't want to do that with a fighter though because chasing AC is a sucker's game. Make yourself impossible to hit, and people just walk around and hit your friends.

No sucker's game at all. If they ignore me to go hit my friends, I kill them unmolested and I have now reduced its ability to hit me to 0%. As we can see, offense is so high that not even a Balor Lord or Treerazer can afford to ignore a swashbuckler, since damage is enough to kill them in two rounds.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Quote:
You don't want to do that with a fighter though because chasing AC is a sucker's game. Make yourself impossible to hit, and people just walk around and hit your friends.
No sucker's game at all. If they ignore me to go hit my friends, I kill them unmolested and I have now reduced its ability to hit me to 0%. As we can see, offense is so high that not even a Balor Lord or Treerazer can afford to ignore a swashbuckler, since damage is enough to kill them in two rounds.

Make a level 1, 15 point swashbuckler with a 15-point buy, level it up to 5, and show me that sort of damage output?

Also, again, I don't want to be forced into the one and only possible swashbuckler build that will live to see level 10. Build variety is a real weak point of this class to begin with, and not everyone is going to have access to the magic items you're using in what you've been testing with.


Googleshng wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Quote:
You don't want to do that with a fighter though because chasing AC is a sucker's game. Make yourself impossible to hit, and people just walk around and hit your friends.
No sucker's game at all. If they ignore me to go hit my friends, I kill them unmolested and I have now reduced its ability to hit me to 0%. As we can see, offense is so high that not even a Balor Lord or Treerazer can afford to ignore a swashbuckler, since damage is enough to kill them in two rounds.
Make a level 1, 15 point swashbuckler with a 15-point buy, level it up to 5, and show me that sort of damage output?

I've never said Swashbuckler is too strong at level 5. I said chasing AC is good. By level 5, you don't have enough money to start chasing AC anyway, so I assumed you meant once WBL was high enough to really make choices.

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