Why do people hate Swashbucklers


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I do not understand the dislike for the class...

I read comments like "One level of SB, 19 levels of anything else" or "Take 5 levels of SB and ditch it". I do not see why the dislike, compared to other martials, can someone Please explain this to me. It seems like the precision damage alone is a worthy bonus. I admit that I dislike the "charmed Life" ability, but I see a lot of decent to good abilities.

Maybe my issue is that I look at fighters as the "Base line" Martial class, and feel that Swashes are at least as good...

Liberty's Edge

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Swashbucklers have terrible saves. Reflex is the least necessary Save, especially for a Dex class, and is their only good one. Yes, they have Charmed Life, but to use it they have to not Riposte, which hurts, and their uses are very limited.

In exchange for this they get a variety of cool stuff at 1st level, and at 5th the ability to add their level to damage. They get very little else that's worth the price of having poor Saves.

Therefore, it is advantageous to take only the levels necessary to get the really good stuff, and then take one's other levels in a Class that does not have utterly terrible Saves.


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In general, they have some really glaring weaknesses, and are really only good at a few things. And some of the things they're good at they're arguably too good at and it's frustrating as a player/GM.

As an example, being able to disarm people (without going against CMD).


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I rather think the dislike for the class is less prevalent than your post implies.

Yes they aren't optimal in a monster-hunter game, but that isn't the only game.
Many "Tactical" games are a bad fit too.
They are more focused on fun and style than is to some people's taste.
You can't fix that, nor should you.

Liberty's Edge

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Daw wrote:
You can't fix that, nor should you.

My Swashbuckler House Rules would beg to differ, sir.


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I don't dislike swashies per se, though given what I've read above maybe I should... what I hate is the grits/panache+deeds mechanics they use, and I hate every class and archetype that uses them irrespective of other factors.

Liberty's Edge

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Personally, I think they've inherited the classic fighters dilemma, good at low level, but get outpaced by most everybody at high levels. I'm in a strange aeons game at level 5 right now with a swashbuckler that took the stylish riposte one handed trick from the weapon masters handbook. In a 6 person party, he probably does half to three quarters of the damage the party inflicts, and that's with a bloodrager, archer bard, and 2 damage based casters.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that at level 5 ability scores are still as important as good/bad saves. AC is still relevant, as you don't run into the hit you on a 2 monsters yet, and most of the enemies are medium sized. And almost everything is still decided by the dice. The 15-20 crit range is pretty nice as well.


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My opinion, though you may disagree:
Weak / situational defenses. (ALL the swift action starvation)
Precision damage. ew.
Clunky abilities.
Limited builds.
Limited diversity of flavor. (though maybe im just not imaginitive enough?)

Basically I just think many other martials can do what they do, with more options, and feel cooler / more satisfying while doing it.

I'd have to agree with what others have said so far, even if splatbooks gave them more options and gave them a boost in power, the chance of me finding them fun is slim. Comparatively, I could roll a host of different fighters or rogues and have each and every one of them feel unique, interesting and play in fun and different ways, the swashbuckler... not so much. It has its niche, but it should have been an archetype, not a full class.


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I don't dislike them. But I don't particularly want to play one.

Part of the problem is their swift action economy is really off.

People dip them (particular inspired blade) because they're super f*@#ing front loaded and let you get Dex to damage. This is a thing that people want on other classes, to make a build work so they do a dip into swash to get it.

So its more they want to play a particular class which struggles to do dex than them explicitly not wanting to play a swash.


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The other thing is that they're not actually that good at fun & style by the mechanics. They want to stand toe-to-toe and full attack like any other full-BAB type, they're less good at combat maneuvers than fighters or barbarians (impelling disarm is a rage power!) derring-do hits them in their very limited resource pool and they're not otherwise particularly good at skills... if you want to swash your buckle you're better off with another class. Unchained rogue, some sort of bard, even a fighter or barbarian with a little refluffing.


Yeah, most of the time I see builds with Swashbuckler they've done it as a dip to get dex to damage.


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In addition to the things others have mentions, they're kind of the narrowest martial class out there. They do basically one thing well dex based combat and face skills, and can't really be built into as many different things as other full BAB options. It's a fun niche, but it's a very specialized character.


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They're not even particularly good at "face" skills.

Unless I'm forgetting something they don't get any class bonuses to social skills, they simply have a decent charisma modifier.

That's not good at social skills, that's the baseline for social skills. "Good" is classes that get bonuses to social skill. Like the bard. It can substitute perform rolls for other social skills, and gets bonuses to perform rolls (which would also apply). That's "good" at social skills.

Putting the maximum amount of skill points into a skill and have a good ability modifier for the ability score it's based off of is just sort of a minimum requirement to not be overshadowed by literally anyone else. Swashbucklers are no more competent at this than any other charisma based class.

Liberty's Edge

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In fairness, the Noble Fencer Archetype is actually good at social skills if willing to burn Panache, and does a bit better defensively to boot. Not enough to be ideal, but enough that I might even play one. Especially an Inspired Blade/Noble Fencer.

But yeah, a standard Swashbuckler's social skills are adequate at best.


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Because Swashlaces are easier to use?


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For the same reason people hate anything: Too much time on their hands, not enough real problems.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻


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Gisher wrote:
Because Swashlaces are easier to use?

But I think we can all agree that swashvelcro, no matter how convenient, is way tacky.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

In fairness, the Noble Fencer Archetype is actually good at social skills if willing to burn Panache, and does a bit better defensively to boot. Not enough to be ideal, but enough that I might even play one. Especially an Inspired Blade/Noble Fencer.

But yeah, a standard Swashbuckler's social skills are adequate at best.

yeah, swashbuckler... is only so so with the base itself. It comes with some advantages (ability to sword and board without TWF- giving you good AC, ability to do dex builds easily), but a lot of its material is too situational (most deeds) or doesn't work quite as well as planned even if it is good. Parry riposte has the crane wing problem, where enemies avoid you; it also makes many people reject grabbing feats like power attack (even though precise strike seems scaled to make your power attack hits with 1 handed as good as a 2 hander).

But once you get other material added on, it gets much better.

For example, the sword master's flair (blue scarf) item. If that came packaged in as a deed, that would have made the base much better. Of course, it is still great as an item. Getting +5' of reach as a swift action? That is a much better use of panache than parry/riposte- enemies avoid parry kings, but you make yourself a living obstacle with reach. Enemies can't just ignore you- they either have to fight you, run the long way around to avoid your AoOs, or eat an AoO.

So you can make a 'good' swashbuckler with the right archetypes and items. Sure, build variety is a problem... but I've seen enough 'one true barbarians' to know people won't avoid a class just because of that.

Honestly, it would look a lot better if fighter had not gotten patches through advanced weapon training. So I consider it fair to add things onto swashbuckler as well when evaluating it. EDIT- also, it does look a bit worse when daring champion takes all of the same good things on as well. Again- noble fencer makes the comparison more fair, but that did damage the class's reputation early on.


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Swashcrocs on the other hand...


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captain yesterday wrote:
Swashcrocs on the other hand...

Hmmm... awakened animal companion... specially constructed rapier... months of bipedal training...

Yep. It can be done. And it would be glorious.


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quibblemuch wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Swashcrocs on the other hand...

Hmmm... awakened animal companion... specially constructed rapier... months of bipedal training...

Yep. It can be done. And it would be glorious.

Swash-icorns. Swashbuckling unicorns. You don't need to make special equipment for them.


Don't forget the amorphous sandals.


lemeres wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Swashcrocs on the other hand...

Hmmm... awakened animal companion... specially constructed rapier... months of bipedal training...

Yep. It can be done. And it would be glorious.

Swash-icorns. Swashbuckling unicorns. You don't need to make special equipment for them.

Did somebody say unicorn hair!!


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captain yesterday wrote:
Don't forget the amorphous sandals.

That could be problematic for precision damage...


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quibblemuch wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Don't forget the amorphous sandals.
That could be problematic for precision damage...

As far as I know, most people don't try to stab their own feet.

Allman Brothers exempted, of course.


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lemeres wrote:
Honestly, it would look a lot better if fighter had not gotten patches through advanced weapon training. So I consider it fair to add things onto swashbuckler as well when evaluating it. EDIT- also, it does look a bit worse when daring champion takes all of the same...

Additionally, while the Virtuoso Bravo is definitely a downgrade to the Paladin (which to be fair, is a very strong chassis) it is almost certainly an upgrade to the vanilla Swashbuckler for anybody willing to play a Paladin. Divine Grace is so much better than Charmed Life, it's frankly upsetting.


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lemeres wrote:
Swash-icorns. Swashbuckling unicorns. You don't need to make special equipment for them.

Fun fact: The German word for raccoon is Waschbär (literally: wash-bear).

Now I want a swashbär. Maybe the wizard who owled up a bear could get on that...?


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Are you trying to say Ice Bear needs a bath.


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What about a sentient rapier with swashbuckler levels? A sword wielding a sword would be a pretty funny mental image.


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Who wins in a fight? A sword with gunslinger levels or a gun with swashbuckler levels?


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Who wins in a fight? A sword with gunslinger levels or a gun with swashbuckler levels?

Whoever would win, we’d all lose.

... That, or they’d get together and have a baby named CQC.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Who wins in a fight? A sword with gunslinger levels or a gun with swashbuckler levels?

Swashbuckler, I think? The swashbuckler has archetypes for guns, but gunslinger doesn't have archetypes for swords, as far as I remember (although maybe it does? I don't keep track)

Shadow Lodge

I'm pretty sure that even blind-cursed oracles have a gunslinger archetype now.


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I could have sworn I saw an extremely thread just a few weeks ago . . . .

* * * * * * * *

And all of a sudden, while looking up stuff for this instance of hate pity for Swashbucklers, I just realized that: Rules As Written, you can combine the archetypes Mouser and Musketeer, and even do it as a Ratfolk Ysoki.

* * * * Mouseketeer * * * *


Sir Thugsalot wrote:
I'm pretty sure that even blind-cursed oracles have a gunslinger archetype now.

Actually, that could work. It is more 'the curse of needing glasses' than blind. So it can actually see out to 'pistol touch AC' range.

Now, show me the monk archetype for the oracle whose limbs were burnt to a crisp.... wait, you can do that too. Not an archetype, but a mystery (ascetic).


Vigilante far outshines them at their intended niche (agile charismatic high skills front liner) if you take even the most basic effort to build for it.


Sir Thugsalot wrote:
I'm pretty sure that even blind-cursed oracles have a gunslinger archetype now.

Nothing specific, but dual-cursed would be nice for avoiding misfires, or cyclopean seer for getting one of those x4 crits guaranteed.


deuxhero wrote:
Vigilante far outshines them at their intended niche (agile charismatic high skills front liner) if you take even the most basic effort to build for it.

I never really dug into vigilante. I get that it has a ton of skill stuff, but what does it really have going on for 'agile' and 'frontliner'.


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They don't hate them, its just that the absolute best of the class happens in the first 5 levels. Opportune parry and riposte, and early access to improved critical. After that the deeds are pretty meh and the class has a scaling damage bonus and ac bonus and thats about it.


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Swashbuckler is my favorite class. They are all that is awesome in the duelist archtype(not the actual trash duelist, but the rapier fighting badasses that should have been around from day 1).

That being said, I will admit that if you wanted that combat style, there is a fairly decent chance you'd be better off leaving that after levels 1 or 5. Their further on deeds are alright, but lets be honest, you can get better stuff elsewhere.


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lemeres wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
Vigilante far outshines them at their intended niche (agile charismatic high skills front liner) if you take even the most basic effort to build for it.
I never really dug into vigilante. I get that it has a ton of skill stuff, but what does it really have going on for 'agile' and 'frontliner'.

Vigilantes get the Lethal Grace talent, which gives them a scaling bonus to damage rolls that use Dexterity, and Avenger Vigilantes get mad rush, which makes them better at frontlining than Swashbucklers are.

Also, they have good Will saves, which means they aren't as likely to flip out and attempt to murder their friends as Swashbucklers are.


Ventnor wrote:
lemeres wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
Vigilante far outshines them at their intended niche (agile charismatic high skills front liner) if you take even the most basic effort to build for it.
I never really dug into vigilante. I get that it has a ton of skill stuff, but what does it really have going on for 'agile' and 'frontliner'.

Vigilantes get the Lethal Grace talent, which gives them a scaling bonus to damage rolls that use Dexterity, and Avenger Vigilantes get mad rush, which makes them better at frontlining than Swashbucklers are.

Also, they have good Will saves, which means they aren't as likely to flip out and attempt to murder their friends as Swashbucklers are.

Ok, they have their own pseudo pounce at least. I never really got what they....did, melee wise.

The lethal grace is one of those terrible ones where you have to split between two stats- you have use dex for attack but str for damage. And it only gets 1/2 your level in scaling damage. It gets better if you also get the similarly scaling unarmed talent... but then you have to deal with unarmed (bleh). on top of that, it doesn't really have attack roll boosters (so it hits like an inquisitor, or a bard, rather than a full martial).

So i get it has stuff... but it still comes off to me like it is 'a less terrible rogue' since it is so skill focused.

Dark Archive

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Why hate Swashbucklers? Well, 'hate' is a rather strong word. I'll say I enjoy bullying the class, though. I'll save you my old ramble and break it down into bullet points.

*Low fort save. Funny considering you're a pirate who gets seasick, embarrassing when you consider it's a hybrid of two high Fort classes.

*Laser focus on one particular fighting style and one or two specific weapons due to the encouragement of the mechanics.

*Charisma is still a dump stat, since your Panache pool is minimum 1 regardless, meaning you may be better off with Cha 7 and the Extra Panache feat.

*Parry And Repose is so good, arguably too good for first level. Between that and free Weapon Finesse, the class is so stupidly front loaded that it serves better as a dip into any other martial dex build. Heck, my Swashbuckler fencer is mostly Unchained Barbarian.

I'll give it credit for bypassing the Int requirement of Combat Expertise, but it still relies on Charisma. See above.


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Real question: Why do Swashbucklers hate people?!?


Reduxist wrote:
What about a sentient rapier with swashbuckler levels? A sword wielding a sword would be a pretty funny mental image.

Whoa.

And, of course, it was created via that spell bestow recurse.


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Tableflip McRagequit wrote:

For the same reason people hate anything: Too much time on their hands, not enough real problems.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

..Iii...iis.. is it weird I agree?


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Contrivancecougar wrote:
Real question: Why do Swashbucklers hate people?!?

Have you met people?


AHH!! *hides*


Scared Table wrote:
Tableflip McRagequit wrote:

For the same reason people hate anything: Too much time on their hands, not enough real problems.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

..Iii...iis.. is it weird I agree?

Get over here!


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*Hides under a table...wait...*

(please don't make me make a ninja scared table alias cause I'll do it and I won't be proud)

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