Ranged Swashbuckler Archetype

Homebrew and House Rules

As of right now it's called the Skirmisher...but I'm not married to that name. Take a look and PEACH away...

(Swashbuckler Archetype)
The flashy fighting isn't only for gunslingers or pirates. There are those that use their guile and panache to great effect in the wild, striking either with quick blade strikes or quick arrow shots. He knows how to move in an out of melee combat, with either his short bow or his short sword, opening up opportunities for his comrades that other archers can not.
Class Skills: Replace Knowledge (local) with Survival. Replace Sleight of Hand with Stealth.
This alters the swashbuckler's class skill list.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Skirmishers are proficient with simple weapons, short swords, and all short bows, as well as light or medium armor but no shields.
However, he may only use "skirmisher weapons" (daggers, hand axes, short swords or short bows) with his deeds.
This alters the swashbuckler's weapons and armor proficiency.
Intuitive Panache (Ex): Each day, a skirmisher gains a number of panache points equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1) and Wisdom modifier (minimum 1), instead of just her Charisma modifier.
Unlike other swashbucklers, a skirmisher gains no panache from a killing blow. She gains panache only from scoring a critical hit with a skirmisher weapon. This ability alters the panache class feature.
Deeds: A skirmisher gains the following deeds, each of which replaces an existing deed. In order for the skirmisher to use any deed with his short bow, he must be within 60 ft. of his target.
Opportune Striker (Ex): As long as the Skirmisher has at least one panache point, he threatens the squares around him with his short bow, and may make attacks of opportunity with it without provoking attacks of opportunity. Also, if he spends a panache as a swift action, he may shoulder his bow and draw an allowed melee weapon, or sheathe his allowed melee weapon and draw his short bow. If the skirmisher has the quick draw feat, he may draw or sheathe both allowed melee weapons, if he fights in a manner that uses two melee weapons.
This replaces opportune parry and riposte.
Skirmisher's Mettle (Ex): At 1st level, a skirmisher can spend 1 panache point when he makes an Acrobatics, Climb, Stealth, Survival or Swim check to roll 1d6 and add the result to the check. He can do this after he makes the check but before the result is revealed. If the result of the d6 roll is a natural 6, he rolls another 1d6 and adds it to the check. He can continue to do this as long as he rolls natural 6s, up to a number of times equal to his Dexterity modifier (minimum 1)
This replaces derring-do.
Evasive Striker (Ex): At 3rd level, a skirmisher with at least 1 panache in his pool no longer provokes attacks of opportunity while firing his short bow in a threatened square.
This replaces opportune menacing swordplay.
Mobile Striker(Ex): At 7th level, a skirmisher with at least 1 panache point can move up to half his speed while shooting his short bow, as long as he moves at least 5 ft. between shots. Also, he may spend a panache as a swift action and move up to half his speed, and make a full attack with his melee weapons.
This replaces superior feint.
Skirmisher’s Edge (Ex): At 15th level, while the skirmisher has at least 1 panache point, he can take
10 on any Acrobatics, Climb, Stealth, Survival or Swim check, even while distracted or in immediate
danger. She can use this ability in conjunction with the skirmisher's mettle deed.
This replaces the swashbuckler's edge deed.
Clustered Shots (Ex): At 15th level, the skirmisher may spend 1 panache point as a swift action. He can as a full-round action make one attack roll with his short bow at his highest attack bonus. When he does, he makes the attack against the target’s touch AC, and ignores all damage reduction. He resolves damage by rolling damage as if he had hit with a number of shots allowed by his base attack bonus. Only add precision damage once.
This replaces perfect thrust.
Practiced Archer (Ex): At 19th level, when the skirmisher has at least 1 panache, he can ignore half of any ranged penalties he may incur.
This replaces stunning stab.
Skirmisher's Focus (Ex): At 1st level, the skirmisher gains Weapon Focus (short bow) and Point Blank Shot as bonus feats.
This ability replaces swashbuckler finesse.
Speedy delivery (Ex): At 2nd level, the skirmisher can use bursts of speed when he need them. For a number of rounds per day equal to half their level, the skirmisher may add 10 ft. to his base speed. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, this burst increases by 5 ft. to a maximum of an additional 30 ft. at 18th level. These rounds need not be consecutive.
This replaces charmed life.
Deadeye Stalker (Ex): The skirmisher is adept at placing his shots precisely where he intends to. At 3rd level, the target of his ranged attacks only gains +3 AC from soft cover from other creatures.
At 7th level, this decreases to +2 AC from soft cover.
At 11th level, this decreases to +1 AC from soft cover.
At 15th level, the skirmisher denies the target of his ranged attacks soft cover from creatures completely.
At 19th level, the skirmisher is considered a flanking partner for all allies within 60 ft. while using his short bow.
Skirmisher Training (Ex): At 5th level, a skirmisher gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage rolls with short bows and short swords. While wielding a short sword or a short bow, he gains the benefit of the Improved Critical feat. These attack and damage bonuses increase by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 5th (to a maximum of +4 on attack rolls and +5 on damage rolls at 17th level).
This ability replaces swashbuckler weapon training.
Skirmisher Weapon Mastery (Ex): At 20th level, when a skirmisher threatens a critical hit with a short bow or short sword, that critical hit is automatically confirmed. Furthermore, the critical threat range increases by 1, and the critical modifier of the short bow and short sword increases by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, for example). This ability replaces swashbuckler weapon mastery.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

It's way too powerful.

The archetype is nothing short of a huge buff over the regular swashbuckler. Bows are significantly more powerful than single-handed melee weapons. The whole swashbuckler class is built with the assumption that you have to use a non-optimal melee weapon. The archetype totally throws that out the window while never considering that it enables you to use a much more powerful weapon.

In addition, pretty much all of the new class features are not only better than what they replace, but also they're essentially the holy grail of archery builds. You get a better version of Snap Shot for free at 1st level. You get two great bonus feats in exchange for one. You can not only move and full-attack at once, but also you essentially get Shot on the Run for free. You can ignore half your attack roll penalties (which is kind of broken, even for a 19th level ability). The archetype doesn't replace precise strike (when it should).

Even Skirmisher Training gives you twice the damage bonus as Weapon Training and Swashbuckler Training!

Thanks for the feedback!

It's a knock off of inspired blade, but for short bows (they can not use long bows, or any other ranged weapons with any of their class features). The melee aspect was added as an after-thought, as I delved more into the concept of a switch hitter. Weapon Focus (rapier) and weapon finesse are replaced with Weapon Focus (short bow) and Point Blank Shot...it's not 2 for 1.
I've never thought of a rapier as a non-optimal melee weapon...odd.
Skirmisher training is the same as the bonuses an inspired blade gets.
Short bows are d6 weapons (so are short swords), and have no critical range, so the benefit of improved critical is muted greatly (compared to a weapon with a decent crit range). This will also make it way more difficult for them to recover panache consistently.
I left precise strike in on purpose, but yes, it does need to be re-worded and replaced. I overlooked the open hand verbiage.
Getting class abilities that mimic feats or replace the need for certain feats isn't anything new, and at which levels the archetype gives certain things, I don't see the problem.
I do not agree whole cloth that all of the deed replacements are better. They are certainly more focused for the concept, and certainly built with a mobile archer in mind. I don't know about the holy grail, though. Several feats needed for a great archer build are not granted, and I assumed the bonus feats the base swashbuckler grants would be eaten up with those choices. Also, when using a short bow, the character must be within 60 feat to use a deed. I may reduce this to 30 to go along with the idea of Point Blank Shot.
Like the swashbuckler, this class is very single class dependent, and loses a lot when multi-classing with other classes to take advantage of certain things. Gestalting this archetype with other classes (like Zen Archer) could be a nightmare, but that's someone else's problem, to be honest, if they play with those rules.

Again, thank you for the feedback. If you have any ideas for deeds or verbiage changes, please mention them!

EDIT: Reworked Precise Strike:

Skirmisher's Precision (Ex): At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, a skirmisher gains the ability to strike precisely with her skirmisher weapons (though not natural weapon attacks), adding
her skirmisher level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a skirmisher must attack with a short bow, short sword, dagger or hand axe, and be within 30 feet of her target.
Any creature that is immune to sneak attacks is immune to the additional damage granted by precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from the additional damage of a precise strike.
This additional damage is precision damage, and isn’t multiplied on a critical hit.
As a swift action, a skirmisher can spend 1 panache point to double her precise strike’s damage bonus on the next attack. This benefit must be used before the end of her turn, or it is lost. This deed’s cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the amount of panache points a deed costs (such as the Signature Deed feat).
This replaces precise strike.

There's a ranger archetype thats going to do what you're looking for here

Not quite, but that's not a bad ranger archetype.

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My points still stand.

It doesn't matter that the shortbow has a d6 and lower critical modifier. Archery builds are the among the strongest in the game, and you're giving goodies (and better abilities) that were meant for a one-handed melee fighter to an archer. The archetype totally ignores this and throws this balance consideration out the window. Precise Strike is a great example of this. The swashbuckler has precise strike to offset the fact they can't two-hand their primary weapon and they're shoehorned into playing a Dexterity fighter.

Even if you made straight trades, it wouldn't be balanced. But you're not even doing that.

I'm sorry you disagree. I'm hopeful to be able to playtest this soon, so we'll see what happens at the table.
Dex fighting build isn't a viable option for the skirmisher, as there's no dex to damage option for bows. So, they will need a good/decent DEX, CON, WIS, and STR. Just as MAD as a monk, without the mystic gimmies.

I do see the tag next to your name, and respect your opinion, just for the record. My group tends to play a little stronger than pathfinder average, so you may be correct in the long run, but for my group, I don't think this will be OP. I've worked on this with them prior to posting it here, and this is the toned down version :)

You should probably model their level 5 off the gunslinger/bolt ace ability rather than weapon training, and ditch precise strike.

Please explain why/how archery builds are "the best in the game".
This may help me understand the responses here.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Kryzbyn wrote:

Please explain why/how archery builds are "the best in the game".

This may help me understand the responses here.

Safe, reliable damage.

Full-attacking is king in the world of martials, and no build does it better than archery. Having range means you don't need to waste precious action economy to engage your target and you don't have to put yourself in immediate danger to fight. This combined with the free action to reload bows means that an archer can reliably keep full-attacking each round during a fight. In addition, archery has more options to increase the number of attacks than melee and other ranged builds thanks to Manyshot and Rapid Shot. Archery gets more options to bypass defenses, such as Improved Precise Shot and Clustered Shots. As a result, archery deals considerably more damage than melee builds. Having lower damage dice and lower critical range doesn't matter when you're getting more hits each round than the melee fighter.

What balances archery and other ranged builds is that:
1) High barrier of entry. At least two feats are pretty much mandatory for any character to be decent at ranged combat.

2) Lack of utility. Melee combatants can act as battlefield control using threatened areas and have access to combat maneuvers. Many strong martial class features favor (or require) melee attacks. Archery lacks these options. Archery's primary focus is dealing tons of damage.

I'm not sure either of those actually do much to balance archery. The large number of feats can be a drag, but they don't stop you or slow you down much and while a great deal of utility options are melee oriented... just killing someone really is the best kind of control and archery does that so damn well.

Ok, well I've changed my copy so that he can only use his deeds within 30'. This character is not supposed to snipe from safety, but move in and mix it up with his short bow. He will never be so far away that an enemy can't get to him in one move, if he wants to use his deeds/deal precision damage.
I'm going to test it as is, still, and adjust the deeds if necessary.
I have some in mind to replace the ones that may need to be replaced.

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