Swashbuckler / Kensai?


Advice


Recently on of my buddies decided to convert his 3.5 game to PF and in that game I played a Samurai/DuskBlade. So the easy fix would be build him as a Kensai... but I think we're keeping stats and he was Dexer and there is not really an option for a Katana user. Or I thought till I saw Swashbuckler and slashing grace. With a single level I would have my dexing Katana.

Anyone, try this yet? How is it? Is it worth it with Kensais reduced casting?

Dark Archive

Darth Grall, you are the playtester.

I expect a lot of people want to know how to mix a Swashbuckler and Magus. Rule of Cool says it should work.

Gut feeling says you should be a mostly Kensai Magus with a few levels of Swashbuckler for the odd fancy move.

If you want Duskblade, Bloodrager is better. I had a Duskblade committed to Juiblex, he was fun.


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You actually dont need to take any Swashbuckler to make it work. Just go straight Magus. At first level you gain Weapon prof with one exotic weapon and Weapon Focus with your chosen weapon. With your first level feat take the following.

Slashing Grace (Combat)
Prerequisite(s): Dex 13, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus with chosen weapon.
Benefit: Choose one kind of one-handed slashing weapon (such as the longsword). When wielding your chosen weapon one-handed, you can treat it as a one-handed piercing melee weapon for all feats and class abilities that require such a weapon (such as a swashbuckler's or a duelist's precise strike) and you can add your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to that weapon's damage. The weapon must be one appropriate for your size.

Take the following two Arcana from the ACG...

Flamboyant Arcana (Ex) — Gain the derring-do and opportune parry and riposte swashbuckler deeds.

Arcane Deed (Ex)(requires Flamboyant arcana) - Gain a swashbuckler deed. The deed must be able to be used by a swashbuckler of your magus level. You can use that deed by spending points from your arcane pool as the panache points required for that deed.

You can take Extra Arcana as your 3rd level feat for two Arcana at 3rd. that means you can pick up Flamboyant Arcana and Arcane Deed (Precise Strike). With one Arcana and one feat you have Derring-do, opportune parry, riposte, and Precise strike. Swashbuckler in a box. As long as he has one Arcane Point left in reserve you can deal your Magus level in damage. Thats pretty sick.


The problem is that he can't finesse the weapon (katana) without a Swash level to get swashbuckler's finesse.

Since you get derring-do and opportunate Parry, from Flamboyant arcana anyway, you can trade the parry away with the Mouser archetype (not that the replacement deed is that useful, but it's something).


But katana cant be finessed without swashbuckler finesse. Dex to damage from slashing grace is fine, but to get dex to hit with katana you need swash finesse and slashing grace both. So, swash or daring champ cavalier dip.


Captain K. wrote:

Gut feeling says you should be a mostly Kensai Magus with a few levels of Swashbuckler for the odd fancy move.

If you want Duskblade, Bloodrager is better. I had a Duskblade committed to Juiblex, he was fun.

I would think so too, and if it wasn't for the dex restriction, or the fact I still want Katana I think this would be loads easier.

And agree, but he was being played more as a Gish-y one slash one kill samurai based out of Oriental Adventures and less of an armored magic tank type of Duskblade, so for the purposes of this rebuild Magus makes more sense.

And as others have voiced, I do have to go Swashbuckler AND Slashing Grace for the actual finesse bit if I want AB based Dex.

So a Swashbuckler dip! How many levels you think I should do? One level will get me almost everything I want(dex to attack and reqs for damage feat) as well as parry and such. So a single level dip or two for Charmed Life? IIRC, I have a good CHA for some reason(I think OA iaijutsu was CHA based) so a conditional bonus to Saves seems pretty nice, but again slows down my progression some :/


Ahh yeah. Forgot about the fact you dont get Dex to hit. I really hope they fix that feat. It should provide Dex to Hit and Damage. You could always go Elven Curve Blade and just CALL it a Katana. Kinda crappy I know but who is going to argue with you while you are actively killing them with said weapon.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
You could always go Elven Curve Blade and just CALL it a Katana. Kinda crappy I know but who is going to argue with you while you are actively killing them with said weapon.

True, but then I could just go with Scimitar by that same token and go for dervish dance. Plus I like it as a design challenge lol

Anyways, I think I will build out both and see which one I like more.

Grand Lodge

Can't go elven curved blade. It's two handed, so not only can you not do slashing grace with it, you can't do spell combat with it either.


Kenji Elindir wrote:
Can't go elven curved blade. It's two handed, so not only can you not do slashing grace with it, you can't do spell combat with it either.

Other good catch. Well my second build will be a Dervish Kensai then, to compare against the Swashbuckler dipped Kensai. Should be fairly comparable given they both don't get Dex to AB till 3rd with their their desired weapons lol


You can do it with an Aldori Dueling Sword and call it a Katana as well. That *doesn't* require the Swash dip, and *does* work with Weapon Finesse and Slashing Grace right out of the box.

Opens up a handful of interesting feat and prestige options later on as well.

Shadow Lodge

I would suggest going full Kensai and using a wakasashi instead of a katana. It's quite similar in both form and function, and you can finesse it, if I recall correctly.

Shadow Lodge

Also, in terms of skinning a sword or a scimitar as a katana or whatever; truth be told, it's just a title. The name is really meaningless in comparison to the weapon's function and design.
If it's important to you. Tell your DM that you want to re-skin scimitars as katanas (or whatever), and tell them that you'd appreciate it if they referred to scimitars found thought the game as katanas.

Even the term "katana" itself doesn't have the meaning that most people believe it does.
It's a Japanese pronunciation of a Spanish word used to describe Japanese swords.

"Katana" actually just means "curved sword".

It's just a blanket term that modern antiques collectors use to describe an enormous family of diverse curved Japanese swords. No samurai ever called his sword a katana. The term wasn't even created until at least a century after the heyday of feudal japan.

I think the names "daito" and "tatchi" are more accurate terms that were actually used by the men who forged and wielded them.

TL;DR
Don't get hung up on the terms.
No actual samurai ever used the word "Katana"


Nezumi wrote:
I would suggest going full Kensai and using a wakasashi instead of a katana. It's quite similar in both form and function, and you can finesse it, if I recall correctly.

This is the worst idea of all. You can't Slashing Grace a Wakizashi, so you don't get Dex to Damage, but you still pay all the feat taxes as if you were using a Katana. Where's the benefit?


Problem with the sword rename thing is that the DM is a bit of a stickler for that kinda thing. In my own games I am fine with that and this character originally reflavored my DuskBlade as more Samurai levels since the OA Samurai was still not a good class. But even that took way too much persuasion lol

Plus like I said, I like the challenge as a designer.


LessPopMoreFizz wrote:
Nezumi wrote:
I would suggest going full Kensai and using a wakasashi instead of a katana. It's quite similar in both form and function, and you can finesse it, if I recall correctly.
This is the worst idea of all. You can't Slashing Grace a Wakizashi, so you don't get Dex to Damage, but you still pay all the feat taxes as if you were using a Katana. Where's the benefit?

I'm confused, why can't he use the Wakizashi? It's pretty much the katana but light, so it's finessable and it is also slashing so you can use it with Slashing Grace. Kensai gets all of the requisite feats (exotic weawpon prof., weapon focus), so you're also covered there. Or am I missing something else?


Slashing Grace can't be chosen for light weapons. It has to be in the 'one-handed' section of the tables.


Taleek wrote:
I'm confused, why can't he use the Wakizashi? It's pretty much the katana but light, so it's finessable and it is also slashing so you can use it with Slashing Grace. Kensai gets all of the requisite feats (exotic weawpon prof., weapon focus), so you're also covered there. Or am I missing something else?

Slashing Grace doesn't apply to light weapons, only one-handed weapons.


^ beaten by 2 seconds


Of course a ninja would answer the wakizashi question...

Shadow Lodge

Imo charmed life is not worth at all it just breaks your action economy more with all the class features that call for inmiadate, swift actions. So a swashbuckler dip can be used. The most optimal option however is using scimitar and just saying is a katana cause rule of cool.

If you are reaally interested, there is Martial Versatility which combined with Scimitar dance, you can make it apply to your katana. Its one feat to change 1d6 to 1d8, but if you think is worth it take it. Also since kensai levels do count as fighter levels -3 for feats you can qualify for this feat at level 7 as Straight kensai, no dip needed.

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