Help Build an Overpowered Swashbuckler


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ShroudedInLight wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

The thing about the saves is bothersome for two reasons. The first is that while you do have a shore up saves feature, it just competes with the glut of other swift/immediate actions you need to take. This is particularly irksome considering they just rolled out a Paladin archetype that gets all the best stuff the Swashbuckler gets (save for early access improved critical) except divine grace instead of charmed life.

This leads into the second problem in that the Swashbuckler is unusual in that it's the class where archetypes of other classes that borrow Swashbuckler features (notably Daring Champion Cavaliers and Virtuous Bravo Paladins) seem to do better at the class's schtick than the class itself does. This seems kind of like a tacit admission by developers that the Swashbuckler is a really flavorful class with some neat mechanics but the total product is underwhelming, so let's export that flavor and mechanics to classes with a better overall chassis.

I do not disagree with you, the Swashbuckler mechanics are certainly better suited as additions to other chassis and they are 100% in constant competition for their swift action. However, as stated before in this topic, Charmed Life is just not good. So swap it out and that gets rid of an entire problem. Noble Fencer is, of course, marvelous for this as it gives you a circumstantial Will Save bonus.

Again though, Comparing the Swashbuckler with the Paladin will always result in the Paladin coming out on top because Paladins are heavily stacked kits. The Paladin getting a Swash-kit is not unexpected, but expecting the Swashbuckler to ever match the paladin most certainly is. Just like trying to make a Fighter compete with a Paladin, you are going to have a bad time.

While the paladin-swash archetype is a bit of a slap in the face, from a build design standpoint it makes sense. Most players just dip Swashbuckler anyway, so making archetypes available helps removing the temptation to Multiclass. Paizo has a big...

The Paladin isn't a "stacked kit", the Paladin is on equal footing with the balanced 6th level casters. I'd say the same thing about the Barbarian and Kineticist, with an argument to be made for the Vigilante.

Liberty's Edge

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

I can't help feeling the topic has wandered rather far afield from the OP's request.


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not going to get deep into this thread (since I do not usually go for the heavy optimization), but here are two simple suggestions to make you generally more rounded on any build with the room:

1.) Half elf with dual minded racial trait. This gives you a +2 to will saves, along wit the +2 vs enchantments that they get by default. A +4 against the favorite GM tool of 'make you kill your friends' is never a bad thing when you are on a class with a poor will save. Don't let the other suggestion's high damage kill your party.

2.) armor expert and mithral medium armor. You get AC bonuses for light armor; mithral medium armor counts as light armor for everything other than proficiency. So getting +2 AC is never a bad thing. Of course, you get around getting proficiency in medium armor with armor trait (the penalty for using nonproficient armor is putting armor check penalty to attack; ACP of 0 = Attack penalty of 0.).

Raw numbers are not sexy, but they are effective in making you more well rounded. Giving your GM less to exploit is the first step to dealing with overpowered enemies.


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Shisumo wrote:
I can't help feeling the topic has wandered rather far afield from the OP's request.

I mean an "overpowered" Swashbuckler might be somewhat impossible. Could you make an "overpowered" fighter or an "overpowered" core rogue? Probably not. You can make a good one, or an optimized one, but you've got a really steep hill to climb if you want to get game breaking.

I suspect that a GM who is saying "you are going to be 3 levels behind the AP" *and* "you have to play a swashbuckler" may well be stacking the deck a bit too much against you.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I can't help feeling the topic has wandered rather far afield from the OP's request.

I mean an "overpowered" Swashbuckler might be somewhat impossible. Could you make an "overpowered" fighter or an "overpowered" core rogue? Probably not. You can make a good one, or an optimized one, but you've got a really steep hill to climb if you want to get game breaking.

I suspect that a GM who is saying "you are going to be 3 levels behind the AP" *and* "you have to play a swashbuckler" may well be stacking the deck a bit too much against you.

I'm inclined to agree. The suggestions made on the first page to see about making a paladin or a cavalier instead are good ones; you might also check into whether you could play a Finesse-focused avenger vigilante.


How about an Eldritch Knight? Inspired Blade goes good with wizard and the user of buff spells allows you to swashbuckle more effectively.

Half Orc with fate's favored and iron will/great fortitude boosts saves in a pinch.


Yeah, if multiclassing is still allowed just go Inspired Blade 1 / Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight with the new Favored Prestige Class feat to get that lost caster level progression back. After that, maybe Evangelist?


Could an ifrit make an interesting swashbuckler (and is there some way to stack it with Slashing Grace and various Dervish Dancing stuff on that)?


Wrong John Silver wrote:
Could an ifrit make an interesting swashbuckler (and is there some way to stack it with Slashing Grace and various Dervish Dancing stuff on that)?

If you don't mind the penalized Will Save, Ifrit make excellent Swashbucklers thanks to their huge initiative boost and perfect Swash Stats (Dex+Cha for life). No idea what you mean stack it with Slashing Grace, but those feats do work with Swashbucklers and benefit from Ifrit's Dexterity bonus.

Now onto the other points, which is that comparing Paladins and Swashbucklers is absurd. Any class in Pathfinder that has access to spells is "better" than classes without spells. Yes defining better is damn hard, but there will never be a martial character built in Pathfinder that can match the versatility of having a spell list on hand. Besides having spells, Paladins, Rangers, and Bloodragers also have full BAB progression which make them the best that martial characters can ever hope to be.

More so than that, the Paladin's kit IS quite stacked in comparison to its fellow martial classes since the class trades alignment flexibility for improved specialization. Paladins are quite possibly the most defensive class in the game. Immunity to charm, immunity to compulsion, damage reduction, immunity to disease, immunity to fear, divine spells, self-healing as a swift action, Cha to saves, and good fort/will saves? I don't know a single martial who would turn those features down.

Bloodrager comes in a close second thanks to their access to Arcane spells, some bloodline abilities, and damage reduction but then again they sit at the same table (Full BAB, 4th level spell casting).

Now this isn't all just to come in the Swashbuckler's defense, as I admitted it functions much better as an archetype than it does as a solo class. However, comparing it to Paladins or other spellcasters and saying that is sucks isn't doing the class justice. Yes, it lacks spellcasting and poor will save progression. So the Swashbuckler is mechanically inferior to a large portion of the cast. However, compare it against its fellow low willed martials such as Slayers, Fighters, Cavaliers, Rogues, or Brawlers and you'll find that it holds its own as a defensive dexterous dandy.

Can you make an OP one? Probably not, but you can optimize what you have been given. More importantly, you can certainly have fun playing one. And fun is always the end goal. And the thread would be better spent trying to optimize a Swash for the TC.

So lets be about it.


Shisumo wrote:
Louise Bishop wrote:
Precision Damage being your main source of Damage. It can be negated quiet a bit.
This, at least, is bumpkis. I'm playing a 10th level swashbuckler in Iron Gods right now, and yes, precise strike adds +10 to my damage, but even without it my damage is 1d6 + 19 (+6 Dex, +2 weapon, +2 Weapon Spec, +3 avenger's target, +6 Power Attack). That's still plenty of damage I can lay out.

That is... not that great though? My level 6 Inquisitor is rolling with 2D4+14 before using Bane, Rage, Divine Favor/spells, Sneak Attack, still stuck with a non magical weapon... and i bet the inquisitor has better saves. Add in a round of prep work and the level 6 is hitting on higher accuracy and damage that isnt shut down in dim light.

a CR 10 enemy has ~130 HP so even against an on Par CR your swash with precision damage is only dealing about 25% of a single target's HP per hit, you will need 2 1/2 rounds to take down a single enemy.

And on the original comment that precision is the class's main source of damage, it is a full third of all your damage and almost twice the size of the next largest contributor to your damage output.


18 STR -> +6 (2H)
4 BAB -> +6 (Power Attack)
LVL 5 -> +2 (Studied Target)

Am I right? Well, a 2 Handed Sanctified Slayer Inquisitor certainly brings the damage (as well as everything else, heh). It's almost unfair to compare the two, really.


I think in terms of actually optimizing the 'buckler, we sort of need to know whether (or how soon) you'll be able to multiclass out of swashbuckler.

The build's going to look very different if you're going to take 12 levels of swashbuckler, versus 5, versus 1. Since the reason the OP is playing a Swashbuckler is "GM said so" it's hard to know which of those three possibilities is closest to the real one.

If it's maximal swashbuckler, the flying blade is probably the best bet, if it's minimal swashbuckler I like the inspired blade into eldritch knight idea.


Kaouse wrote:

18 STR -> +6 (2H)

4 BAB -> +6 (Power Attack)
LVL 5 -> +2 (Studied Target)

Am I right? Well, a 2 Handed Sanctified Slayer Inquisitor certainly brings the damage (as well as everything else, heh). It's almost unfair to compare the two, really.

Yup, but bump it up to level 10, level 4 and 8 go to strength, get the same +2 weapon, and extra +1 from studied target and the static damage is at +18 on a 3/4 BAB chassis compared to the +19 on a full BAB. Granted, the swashbuckler has an extra +10 from precision damage but give the two hander a +2 strength belt and they get up to 22 STR, bumping damage up another 2 points that cant be shut down by light or armor or immunity. And the swashbuckler has to burn actions to boost damage on one hit per round whereas most other classes can get across the board boosts to all their attacks and better accuracy boosters as well.

Really the point boils down to, Swashbucklers get a lot of specific things to let them wear light armor and use one handed weapons but all the things that look like boosts for the class are really band aids to bring them up to a baseline of other martials, not to actually compete with classes that have abilities beyond using a two handed weapon.


Kaouse wrote:

18 STR -> +6 (2H)

4 BAB -> +6 (Power Attack)
LVL 5 -> +2 (Studied Target)

Am I right? Well, a 2 Handed Sanctified Slayer Inquisitor certainly brings the damage (as well as everything else, heh). It's almost unfair to compare the two, really.

Aren't they both filling the damage/frontline role?

That's the point. A lv6 unbuffed is doing the same damage as a lv10 lv10 swash without precision, a 1 rd buffed lv6 is doing the same as a swash with precision. Thus the swash isn't going to win damage to become OP.
The inquisitor has better overall saves, so swash isn't OP there.

Really the only thing OP for the swash is potentially never getting hit by melee attacks.


I think an important thing people are overlooking is that outside of Precise Strike and gaining Weapon Finesse for free, there is nothing that stops a Swashbuckler from using a One Handed Piercing Weapon in both hands. Which means there is nothing stopping you from building a Strengthbuckler. Which means there is nothing stopping her from using Two-Handed Power Attacks.

So at level 6 the Swashbuckler is also gaining +6 from Strength and +6 from power attack and +1 to Damage from Weapon Training. Plus they qualify for Fighter feats like Weapon Specialization.

Notably, a level six Inspired Blade with a miserable 18 strength is at least hitting for +10 1d6+14 just from Stats, BAB, class features, Power Attack, and weapon focus (which inspired blade gives you for free). Also, you threaten on a 15-20.

Oh hey, what do you know, a level 6 Swashbuckler that does damage. Yes, you are no longer a SAD class but you are keeping up on the damage front. Especially when you consider that you still have three feats to spend.


Your Str-buckler has the problem that when their panache is gone it's gone. Maybe spend a feat to get proficiency with an estoc? Though I suppose you could just never spend it, dump Cha (with a cha penalty you still get the minimum of 1), and play like any other fighteroid.


avr wrote:
Your Str-buckler has the problem that when their panache is gone it's gone. Maybe spend a feat to get proficiency with an estoc? Though I suppose you could just never spend it, dump Cha (with a cha penalty you still get the minimum of 1), and play like any other fighteroid.

What do you mean? You are still using a One Handed piercing weapon, and I see no rules saying you cannot two hand a rapier (which has 15-20 crit). Swash regains panache on Crits or Kills with a light or one handed piercing weapon, it doesn't say you have to be holding the weapon in only one hand.


Swashbuckler 1/Summoner 19 should be quite overpowered... ^^

Sovereign Court

PossibleCabbage wrote:
doc roc wrote:
I thought Swashbucklers were quite good...what have I missed?!

If it's a problem that can be solved by swordfighting against something whose reach equals your reach and isn't immune to precision damage, or by being charming/scary at it then swashbucklers are great.

If it's anything else at all, then they don't really have ready options, so you're going to sit around a lot waiting for other people to fix it for you. I'm playing one in a Mythic game now and in the last session I was teleported to a different continent twice, and had to wait for someone with greater teleport to come fetch me. I'm nigh impossible to drop in a fair fight though.

It's a fun and flavorful class, it's just that it has a very limited bag of tricks.

So the answer to your problem is not just swashbuckler but most of the classes, becasue most classes don't have greater teleport, and many have poor will saves.


Go for bladed brush, build to devoted muse, have another martial willing to take combat reflexes and the feint partner/improved feats in the party and tag team enemies. Bonus points if the martial is a half elf u-rogue with a branched spear since sneak attack.


ShroudedInLight wrote:
avr wrote:
Your Str-buckler has the problem that when their panache is gone it's gone. Maybe spend a feat to get proficiency with an estoc? Though I suppose you could just never spend it, dump Cha (with a cha penalty you still get the minimum of 1), and play like any other fighteroid.
What do you mean? You are still using a One Handed piercing weapon, and I see no rules saying you cannot two hand a rapier (which has 15-20 crit). Swash regains panache on Crits or Kills with a light or one handed piercing weapon, it doesn't say you have to be holding the weapon in only one hand.

Huh, you're right. My apologies.


avr wrote:
ShroudedInLight wrote:
avr wrote:
Your Str-buckler has the problem that when their panache is gone it's gone. Maybe spend a feat to get proficiency with an estoc? Though I suppose you could just never spend it, dump Cha (with a cha penalty you still get the minimum of 1), and play like any other fighteroid.
What do you mean? You are still using a One Handed piercing weapon, and I see no rules saying you cannot two hand a rapier (which has 15-20 crit). Swash regains panache on Crits or Kills with a light or one handed piercing weapon, it doesn't say you have to be holding the weapon in only one hand.
Huh, you're right. My apologies.

The PFSRD begs to differ and the core rulebook is along for the ride. You can't 2hand a Rapier. You can, however, 2hand an Estoc. More interestingly, when you hold it in one hand, it counts as a finesse weapon, even by the Swashbuckler's awkward standard. So you 2hand it for damage, then swap to one hand as a free action, and parry to your heart's content. So long as you eat the feat tax for proficiency, of course.

I had a similar build in mind, but the weapon of choice was a greataxe with a spiked gauntlet. Chop things up with the best of them, then hold the axe in one hand and PUNCH ATTACKS OUT OF THE WAY. You even have a pretty good point buy if you dump Int and Cha as low as you can, depending on Extra Panache to have you starting ahead of your average 14 Cha setup.

Alternatively, the Swashbuckler can make a very potent archer if you pretend it's just a full BAB class with a bonus feat with decent proficiency and a bonus feat every 4 levels. Plus, having a spiked gauntlet means you've got an entire class' worth of options for when you get caught in melee. It's no Zen Archer Monk and it lacks the insane burst of the Inquisitor, but they raise the bar pretty high.


Of course you can't >_>

Also, the Estoc doesn't work for your deeds while you hold it in two hands. So no menacing Swordplay or etc, which is infuriatingly dumb writing, but whatever. The bastard sword doesn't share the same language, neither does the katana and I just Rrrrrrrrrrrr.

Anyway, so there is not a single 18-20x critical piercing weapon that can be wielded in two hands and still count as a One Handed piercing weapon. So since that is out of the way that leaves us with 3 builds for our Swash.

-The "rely completely on precision damage" SAD Swashbuckler
-The "13 Strength so I can power attack"+precision Swashbucklers
-And the **** precision damage Crit Miner

The Crit Miner is my personal favorite now that I know Paizo hates 18-20 piercing weapons (Slashing are, of course ok) and follows a simple 5 step process.

Step 1: **** precision damage, you don't need that crap.

Step 2: Power Attack, Two Weapon Fighting, Combat Reflexes, Butterfly Sting, top it all of with a Wakizashi and a Heavy Pick (Short Sword works until you have the 10k to spend on an Ioun Stone)

Step 3: When you crit with the Wak, pass the crit to the next ally that hits the same target.

Step 4: You are your own Ally, smash them in the face with that Heavy Pick for 4x damage. Apply power attack for extra fun.

Step 5: Hit level 20, smash them in the face with the Pick for 5x! damage.

I use the same build on a Dwarven Slayer, the only difference is that the Slayer can cheat on qualifying for TWF but lacks the whole "permanent Keen weapons from level 5 onward" thing that Swash has going for it.


ShroudedInLight wrote:
Anyway, so there is not a single 18-20x critical piercing weapon that can be wielded in two hands and still count as a One Handed piercing weapon.

Does Bladed Brush + Martial Versatility not allow you to count a Fauchard as a one-handed piercing weapon? By virtue of being a polearm it is wielded in two hands and also has an 18-20 critical range.

I mean, it's three feats plus an exotic weapon proficiency to do this, but I think it's possible.


...I think it would, actually.

The only question is whether or not choosing to treat the Fauchard as a One Handed Weapon (and that you're not making attacks with your off hand) can be applied selectively or must be applied universally. If you can pick and choose, then you can treat the weapon as Two Handed for Power Attack and One Handed for class abilities/other feats but if the choice has to be uniform then you are only going to get 2/3 of the damage from Power Attack that you should.

Sovereign Court

The only problem I see with that is that you choose 1 combat feat with martial versatility. So you will need 2 martial versatility feats, one for weapon focus and one for bladed brush.


OilHorse wrote:
The only problem I see with that is that you choose 1 combat feat with martial versatility. So you will need 2 martial versatility feats, one for weapon focus and one for bladed brush.

Only if you wanted to have Weapon Focus with a Fauchard, Martial Versatility doesn't require that you have all pre-requisite feats for the new weapon the feat targets, nor does Bladed Brush's text require you to have Weapon Focus.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
ShroudedInLight wrote:
Anyway, so there is not a single 18-20x critical piercing weapon that can be wielded in two hands and still count as a One Handed piercing weapon.

Does Bladed Brush + Martial Versatility not allow you to count a Fauchard as a one-handed piercing weapon? By virtue of being a polearm it is wielded in two hands and also has an 18-20 critical range.

I mean, it's three feats plus an exotic weapon proficiency to do this, but I think it's possible.

I'm pretty sure it works, im not sure it should. Even though its kind of a nice thing for martials, i dont think the benefit is worth around 15 to 20% of your feats.

Sovereign Court

Possibly.

I am just seeing it as losing the pre-requisite for BB, and if you lose a pre-requisite you lose access to the feat.

Martial Versatility does not say you need to fulfill the pre-requisites, but neither it does not say you do not need to have them. So, again, to me it is just an omission and leaves the general rule about needing pre-requisites in place.

If I was the DM I would most likely let it slide to have a happy player, but if my DM ruled against me on this I would probably understand.


OilHorse wrote:

Possibly.

I am just seeing it as losing the pre-requisite for BB, and if you lose a pre-requisite you lose access to the feat.

Martial Versatility does not say you need to fulfill the pre-requisites, but neither it does not say you do not need to have them. So, again, to me it is just an omission and leaves the general rule about needing pre-requisites in place.

If I was the DM I would most likely let it slide to have a happy player, but if my DM ruled against me on this I would probably understand.

I mean realistically, even swashbucklers aren't suffering too badly from ability to do damage, the urge to squeak out that extra 2-4 damage a hit isn't really 4 feats productive.

I kind of feel like a lot of the path of the righteous PrC roll through and fill some serious gaps in a few of the martial builds out there. Heritor knight fills fighter gaps while keeping one of the main (required) class features rolling and maintaining fighter feat access. I feel like devoted muse does the same for swashbuckler


Ryan Freire wrote:
I feel like devoted muse does the same for swashbuckler

The problem I have with the devoted muse though, is what does the swashbuckler get out of feinting? Sure, your rogue buddy loves you but you can't count on having one of those, and you have precisely no class features that require flat footed enemies. Indeed, you're a full BAB class that does pretty good damage, so if you're in a situation where you don't need to move to attack someone, why aren't you just full attacking? If you're using a high crit range weapon, a significant portion of your iteratives are bound to hit purely because they are critical threats.

It always seemed like that PrC was a better way for someone with a sneak attack to get Swashbuckler stuff than anything that really fixes the swashbuckler.


While it's possible to get feint down to a swift action or to the first attack of TWF, the feat cost is significant. In some ways devoted muse is swashbuckler made as a PrC, as Rose Warden is rogue as a PrC.

Though all crit threats aren't auto hits. A natural 20 is.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
I feel like devoted muse does the same for swashbuckler

The problem I have with the devoted muse though, is what does the swashbuckler get out of feinting? Sure, your rogue buddy loves you but you can't count on having one of those, and you have precisely no class features that require flat footed enemies. Indeed, you're a full BAB class that does pretty good damage, so if you're in a situation where you don't need to move to attack someone, why aren't you just full attacking? If you're using a high crit range weapon, a significant portion of your iteratives are bound to hit purely because they are critical threats.

It always seemed like that PrC was a better way for someone with a sneak attack to get Swashbuckler stuff than anything that really fixes the swashbuckler.

Like the entire rest of the class is bonus effects for feinting. Confused/staggered/dazed for a round, or a 20-35% miss chance. 5d4-5d8 bonus damage +2-4 competence to attack and damage for the whole party, or significant free movement.

Build for feint + dirty trick and you're a solid debuffer, even better if you can work intimidation into the mix though thats probably too feat heavy. Thematically it works with a reach weapon as well.

Its not going to lose out on damage, and provides a martial with options beyond "i swing" while continuing to advance the primary class feature of its base class. Thats a pretty firm upgrade IMO.

In theory (i havent mathed the feat chain out so give or take) Its a class that can apply a 20% miss chance, entangle, and shaken in one round. Add a cruel weapon and you've got sickened as well. I expect its not til around 10-11 you can do this but the only other class i know of that can stack that kind of debuff on someone in one round is the frostbite magus, and its pretty restricted to one handed weapons and will be investing a similar amount of feats to add like...fatigued to the mix.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
That sort of suggests that if we view these sorts of hybrid archetypes as ideally finding a midpoint between the power levels of the two things we're mashing up, the 'Buckler is very much at the low end of the spectrum.

'Tis a hybrid of Fighter and Gunslinger which doesn't use guns - how strong were you expecting it to be?


Indeed, I'd actually say that Swashbuckler is at the upper end of the spectrum (depending on how many magical stuff you can pile on your Fighter, that is) - Gunslinger is a very weak class, it's just that firearms are so ridiculously broken that it's not that noteable. 90% of the Gunslinger's power comes from the equipment and only 10% comes from the class.


Derklord wrote:
Indeed, I'd actually say that Swashbuckler is at the upper end of the spectrum (depending on how many magical stuff you can pile on your Fighter, that is) - Gunslinger is a very weak class, it's just that firearms are so ridiculously broken that it's not that noteable. 90% of the Gunslinger's power comes from the equipment and only 10% comes from the class.

Firearms are among the worst wepaon in the game... The only way to make them not-crap is devoting your whole class to it.


A Flying Blade with Startoss Style (and Desna's divine fighting technique if you want to be SAD) can put out a lot of damage. Not overpowered, but certainly a potent ranged combatant.


Tabernero wrote:
Firearms are among the worst wepaon in the game... The only way to make them not-crap is devoting your whole class to it.

Wait, what? The only downsides of firearms are monetary cost, reload time, and missfire. The monetary cost is negligible after a few levels. Reload time can be mitigated by a single feat plus a bit of money. Misfires can be fixed by either a cantrip or another feat (at low levels), or magic weapons (at higher levels).

I don't see any need to devote "your whole class" (you sure you mean class and not character?).


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Derklord wrote:
Tabernero wrote:
Firearms are among the worst wepaon in the game... The only way to make them not-crap is devoting your whole class to it.

Wait, what? The only downsides of firearms are monetary cost, reload time, and missfire. The monetary cost is negligible after a few levels. Reload time can be mitigated by a single feat plus a bit of money. Misfires can be fixed by either a cantrip or another feat (at low levels), or magic weapons (at higher levels).

I don't see any need to devote "your whole class" (you sure you mean class and not character?).

Let's see...

- They are exotic weapons, therefore requiring a feat just to use without taking a -4 penalty to attack rolls (unless you class gives your proficiency).
- They are as expensive as magical weapons and require quite expensive ammo as well.
- They have very short range.
- They have long reload time.
- They add no ability modifier to damage rolls (unless your class gives you that ability).
- They have innate innate fumble mechanics (which are not limited to Natural 1s).
- They use blackpowder, which is specifically called as becoming useless when exposed to water.
- They are loud as hell (not a hard-coded rule, AFAIK, but I've yet to see a GM who rules otherwise).

These downsides require a hefty resource investment to be mitigated, and some require a whole class (or archetype) fully devoted to making firearms less crappy.
9 out of 10 times, you're better off using a longbow... Or even a crossbow.

Basically, firearms are seriously poorly designed. Paizo gave them an idiotic gimmick mechanic that subverts one of the basest assumptions of the game, then went overboard in giving it flaws to "balance" the crappy gimmick mechanic.


Apparently, you're playing a different game then I am. In my game, proficiency does not require a class, the cost is irrelevant after very few levels, firearms have more range than melee weapons, the reload time can easily be mitigated without a class, bows and crossbows don't inherently add ability modifiers either (and optional scaling with a different ability mod isn't exactly overwhelming), misfires can be fixed by a cantrip or a feat, power horns are watertight, and combat is generally loud anyway.

I mean, you are kinda right, you need to invest a lot to make firearms useable. Which is why I called them "broken" and not "overpowered". Firearms have a poorly designed quantum leap kind of scaling with investment. But you don't need an actual class for it.
Almost the entire strength of the Gunslinger comes from the touch attack mechanics - a feature of the (non-exclusive) weapon and not the class.

Grand Lodge

Everyone saying that guns are poorly-designed needs to look at the actual firearms of the Renaissance era (when Pathfinder seems to be set, accounting for an entirely different universe). Short-range, not great damage unless you're the best of the best, relatively easy to aim at close range (if you don't bother about hitting anything important), expensive and prohibitively prone to misfiring. In fact, Pathfinder early firearms are KIND compared to the actual deal.

Firearms can be super over-powered if you use Modern firearms with the Guns Everywhere rules... y'know, exactly the point in history when guns became the best weapons around.

The only thing Pathfinder really gets wrong is having to have Exotic Proficiency to use them, given that firearms are among the simplest weapons to learn how to kill with. However, that was likely put in as a reason to have a Gunslinger class, even though they probably should have made the Gunslinger just the BEST with firearms, rather than the only ones who can use them without a feat.

Honestly, props to the design team for not making firearms stupidly overpowered, because that's what we see in firearms today and not many know just how awful they were at first.

ADDENDUM: If you were meaning purely-designed from a mechanics point of view, then I'm sorry. This post wasn't directed at that, even if I still disagree.


Derklord wrote:
Apparently, you're playing a different game then I am. In my game, proficiency does not require a class

No, but feats are scarce. Wasting one on weapon proficiency is... Well... A waste.

Derklord wrote:
the cost is irrelevant after very few levels,

That depends on what you call "very few"... That extra 2000 gp really delay the acquisition of a magic weapon (and back ups), which are pretty important IME. The alternative is sacrificing other items or taking quite a while to finally buy a magic weapon.

Derklord wrote:
firearms have more range than melee weapons

And...?

Derklord wrote:
the reload time can easily be mitigated without a class

requiring yet another feat, which are still scare... And even then, many types firearms still won't be able to make a full attack.

Derklord wrote:
bows and crossbows don't inherently add ability modifiers either

composite bows do... For the cheap, cheap price of 100 gp per +1... So while one character is saving money to buy his first weapon, another one is using a quarter of the money to double its damage output.

Derklord wrote:
misfires can be fixed by a cantrip or a feat,

Sure... If you can stop combat for 10 minutes to cast Mending...

Derklord wrote:
power horns are watertight,

But your weapon isn't.

Derklord wrote:
combat is generally loud anyway.

Not every kill happens during combat. Some times you want to silently kill the guard and sneak into the fortress or something, but admitedly, this is just a minor disadvantges... Which piles up on all the major ones.

Take all that into consideration and that's a lot of investment just to make the weapon not-awful.

Derklord wrote:
Almost the entire strength of the Gunslinger comes from the touch attack mechanics - a feature of the (non-exclusive) weapon and not the class.

Almost the entire strength of the Gusnlinger comes from the touch mechanics... PLUS adding Dex modifier to damage. Without that, Gunslingers can hit consistently, but their damage output remains mediocre at best...


Consider sticking with a Swashbuckler as calling a bowl of hummus a meal.

Just stick with it for dipping.

It's lack of scaling class features and automatic DEX to attack and damage with feats makes it PERFECT for multiclassing. Otherwise, it's not really going to be godly and overpowered. You want overpowered try a Shocking Grasp Magus. Of course maybe a Magus with a Swashbuckler dip to have versatility in ranged and melee spells... Hmm...

Grand Lodge

Brew Bird wrote:
Are you married to the Swashbuckler? Because there are a number of archetypes that turn other classes into Swashbuckler+. The Virtuous Bravo (Paladin) or Daring Champion (Cavalier) for example.

I'd go with the Swashbuckler Archetype for Rogue, get as many ranks as you can in bluff plus traits to buff that. Then take combat expertise and improved feint early on and then Greater Feint at 8th. You'll be feinting each round and attacking their flatfooted AC while getting your sneak attack damage added with each strike.

Grand Lodge

hehe. I just resurrected a year old post....nvm.


Just take a look on my Swashbuckler Tank Build.


Hey look, another necro.

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