In depth thoughts on swashbuckler


Swashbuckler Playtest


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I am just going to jump right into this. Ive been messing with swash a lot and am going to go in order of the APG then summarize my thoughts at the end. So this will likely be long!

KEY ABILITY STAT- given there are basically zero mechanics of the swashbuckler that utilizes this stat, but there are multiple that utilize charm, I am not understanding why the swashbuckler has this as their key stat. outside of tumble through action. If this is the entirety of the basis then you need something else tied to dexterity for it to make sense. imo

DURING SOCIAL ENCOUNTERS- only two styles would even invest into charisma, wich is somewhat a dissapointment as the entire idea of a swashbuckler was a dextrous *and CHARMING* warrior that relied on his footwork as well as the force of his/her personality. Besides the fact that they are a little MAD to start, you are unlikely to see a 18 CHA level 1 swashbuckler.

PANACHE- I love the combat feature of panache, but you keep building up the combat/dexterity side of a swashbuckler while leaving the charismatic force of personality as a mere footnote. Swashbuckler imo should be able to gain/use panache in social engagements. Panache is not merely a physical thing, but a personality. giving you +1 to your social interaction rolls and gaining panache via your style (entering a discussion with a physical stunt nonchalantly or deceiving/intimidating) should give you panache. Then they should have a confident finisher in social engagements when used you end your conversation, depending on how you end it would determine if combat would start. That last bit needs some work lol, but really +1 to social engagements while having panache would not break anything. Merely make it possibly easier to start with panache in a fight.

STYLES- At first glance styles seem woefully imbalanced. But as you look at them more its actually not so bad.

Braggart has the most unique debuff as it stacks with the common flat footed condition and provides essentially a -1 to everything. But it is the shortest lived and quickest for the enemy to be immune to.

Fencer- The first glance best one. But its debuff is very common to the point where youd probably need to take a feat to make it more relevant. With said feat probably the best Riposte swashbuckler.

Gymnast- First glance worst one. This is entirely due to combat maneuvers adding to your MAP. But lets really look. every style can tumble through for easy panache. There are times where feint wont make sense and intimidate wont work. But there are few times you cannot trip or grapple or shove or disarm something. You can target reflex or fortitude, other two can only target will. Probably one of the best builds to take attack of opportunity feat and synergizes really well with things like precise finisher and combination blow. I think after a time this one will be seen as the best, because it will do the most damage (str focused) and have the most options in a fight.

PRECISE STRIKE- I assume this scaling bonus is meant to offset the loss of STR due to needing to focus on dexterity, possibly charisma, and constitution already. I know we get 4 stat bumps every 5 levels, but that doesnt offset the fact you can at best get 1 18 at level 1. This games tight math screams for optimal starting stats, you can get away with a -1 but you will feel it. -2 is just going to feel terrible. The real money is the finisher bonus, 2d6 at level 1 is crazy good. 2-12 damage, average of 7. 10.5 at 5, 14 at 9th, 17.5 at 13, 21 at 17. thats average. losing out on that every round seems bad. since at level 17 if you just attacked 3x (best case scenario here) your looking at 18 added damage to your strikes, vs attacking twice but using a finisher your looking at 23. so even best case scenario that is unrealistic, your going to do less damage. But this also assumes you will be successful at regaining panache 100% of the time. Overall satisfied with this mechanic.

CONFIDENT FINISH- This is easily going to be the most used finisher for the same reason exacting strike is the best Press. It has a positive failure effect. Makes precise finisher almost mandatory imo. Overally I am actually not sure how much i like this for the same reasons as the fighter press i mentioned. Their are few times to use something else outside of corner case scenarios. Its largely boring, though satisfying to say i missed but get to do damage anyways and you cannot stop it. I'd either do away with precise finisher or bake it into the class feature itself. Feat taxes should be about wanting to express yourself and the synergies you build for your class, not a pure numbers game of this is flatly best in nearly all situations you are playing suboptimally if you do not take it...wich is the current case.

SHIELD BLOCK- tbh if bucklers were sturdier id say sure, nice, but your asking for broken bucklers with this.

Opportune Riposte- To be honest this just seems very lackluster. In my experience monsters almost never critically fail their attacks and your not exactly a AC powerhouse like a champion. the disarm seems more for flavor as this is the only disarm mechanic for all of swashbuckler from what i have read. Wich is odd in itself. Id much prefer a reaction that if they miss you you can use your reaction and panache to do your precision (2d6 at level 1) damage. This costs you both your reaction and your panache and you dont do the damage of a full strike but the trigger is MUCH more reliable, can keep the disarm though. Honestly as it currently is people are likely to just forget to use it as you can go so long without it triggering, plus it relies on DM either giving you exact numbers every time, or them remembering to check if it was a critical miss. Overall unhappy and unimpressed with it.

EXEMPLARY FINISHER- outside of Braggart these seem to be of limited use. 5 step is nice sure, but will often be not needed. fencer's is almost laughably redundant imo. Overal neutral on this.

KEEN FLAIR- 19-20 critical ratio? combine it with something like a starknife and perfect strike AND deadly grace? dont mind if i do.

ETERNAL CONFIDENCE-I am a bit confused on this one, is this a 19th level feat that gives you 3 extra damage on a miss? 6 with precise finisher? / yawn

Now onto feats

NIMBLE DODGE- While I feel this was a bit of a trap with a rogue, with swashbuckler, depending on the build, it could be of great use, especially with how...unreliable riposte is.

OVEREXTENDING FEINT- I actually love this, flat footed is a super common condition and the ability to let you do something else with feint that is much less likely to be redundant is great, it also helps with your unreliable riposte. This is required imo if you are a fencer and actually want to use feint.

TUMBLE BEHIND- While i just said FF is super common, the ability to force it on a simple tumble through, wich you will be doing a LOT (especially if braggart and occasionally if gymnast) is notable.

YOU'RE NEXT- same issue as with rogues, its a bit unreliable, requiring you to have not used your reaction and to be the one to score a killing blow.

BUCKLER EXPERTISE/DIZZYING PARRY- These both do the same thing with different items. They are entirely dependant upon your build. While nice, they are not omg amazing either. nothing wrong with them though.

CHARMED LIFE-This i like, its nimble dodge but vs any action that requires a saving throw of you, even spells!

FINISHING FOLLOW THROUGH- same issue as you're next, requires the killing blow, but no reaction at least. I dunno, I love the idea but its incredibly inconsistent. Id much rather it read as an enemy you are within reach of and have damaged goes down. Same for you're next to be honest here.

UNBALANCING FINISH-again, FF is common, however this does say until THE END of your next turn, wich is notable. I actually do not think this is bad, and its value goes up in a combat maneuver light team or if you yourself dont have much in athletics.

ANTAGONIZE- a nice way to encourage a tank playstyle imo, id use it with a buckler build on braggart.

FLAMBOYANT ATHLETE-So much promise, but the current fact that you cannot have panache outside of combat limits its use to an absurd degree. Highly dependant on the campaign /your DM. ask accordingly.

SWAGGERING INITIATIVE- basically incredible initiative+quickdraw. 2 feats in one is never bad.

ATTACK OF OPPORTUNITY- Best use is probably with gymnast and tripping. makes it better than riposte again >.>, please address riposte

COMBINATION FINISHER- Again a numbers game feat, but it doesn't necessarily feel like a feat tax as lot of the time your only going to be attacking twice a round to gain panache. However this really becomes important for a gymnast, the difference between a precise confident finisher being at -8 instead of -6 (-4 if they are flat footed wich they should be if you succeeded at your maneuver). imo required for gymnast.

CONTINOUS SPEED- basically a movement buff even when you do not have panache. Not amazing, not bad by any means either.

PRECISE FINISHER- as i said, this is a feat tax to a class ability and i DO NOT LIKE IT. either bake it into confident finish or remove it entirely. It doesnt feel good when every variation of swashbuckler basically needs to take this feat unless they simply dont care about their damage.

VEXING TUMBLE- reactions are not common anymore but they are devestating. This is a good feat, very good for braggart imo.

BLEEDING FINISHER-at level 19 you get an extra 6 damge a round...skip it, bleeds in general need to be rethought in 2e.

NIMBLE ROLL-is worse than charmed life imo, but if your using nimble dodge instead it might be worth it.

TWIN FINISHER-This is the most damage you are going to pump out reliably, but it requires you to dual wield and attack two seperate targets, so while i say most reliable, its really being compared to crit fishing with advantage here lol.

VIVACIOUS BRAVADO-honestly, I understand why they made this cost an action. and wow something that actually keys off CHARISMA despite DEXTERITY being our key stat? ..., anyways. say you are level 10, started with 12 charisma and bumped it up. 16 charisma. level 10 you gain panache and gain 13 temporary hp. you get hit, spend finisher, regain panache, 13 temporary hp AGAIN. This is if you want to be a tank. while using it you are not looking for optimal damage, rather you are surviving, and very well i might add.

CHEAT DEATH- I am not sold on it, its fine though.

DERRING DOO- my understanding is all actions that gain panache, even tumble through, are skill actions, as they utilize a skill check you have to roll. As such this is advantage on intimidation, feinting, acrobatics, and combat maneuvers depending on your style, and only vs an enemy. ITS AMAZING. but it has the same issue as precise finisher, its a general feat tax that any swashbuckler is concerned with keeping their rolls to gain panache on the lower side (sucks wasting a action and not gaining panache) this is absolutely required. Bake it into the class or remove it, and man, it hurt me to say remove it because its just that good.

TARGETING FINISHER-id only take this if you are focusing 100% on being a controller/debuffer martial.

BUCKLER DANCE/STORM OF PARRIES-2 things that do the same thing but with different items. If you want twin finisher you go with parries, if not you go with buckler stance. parry has one HUGE mechanical weakness in that it triggers enemy attacks of opportunity. While this can in theory synergize with riposte, i think that is a foolish tactic even if you stack the odds in your favor. If twin finisher isnt necessary to you, buckler dance every day all day.

MOBILE FINISHER-its basically a more limited pounce from animal instinct barbarian, accessible 2 levels later. While situationally useful, situationally is the key word.

REFLEXIVE RIPOSTE- honestly id take this just so i have a chance at actually using riposte, because until level 14 im going to be using things like nimble dodge, charmed life or attack of opportunity and am almost never going to be having a reaction for my BASE CLASS FEATURE. This just feels bad in general the more i mention this.

DEADLY GRACE-filchers fork, katar, rapier, starknife are pretty much your options to maximize this feat. so halfling, uncommon, or a rapier wich doesnt have the agile property. best option that a stingy DM is likely to let you have is a starknife. If you can reliably aquire and utilize any of these weapons (except maybe rapier), this is an allstar feat by the time you can get it.

IMPOSSIBLE RIPOSTE-might be good if riposte was good

INCREDIBLE LUCK- if you have taken charmed life, this is basically required, its that good.

FELICITOUS RIPOSTE- same response as impossible riposte

INFINITE RETORTS- even with riposte being unreliable id take this, as you always will have a reaction available just for the chance lol.

PANACHE PARAGON-straight up, until riposte is changed, take this every time. then retrain for combination finisher if you dont have it.

CLOSING THOUGHTS-Straight up Paizo, I adore this class. Even if it was shipped in its current state id play it despite my grievances. That said.

you are neglecting the force of personality aspect of the swashbuckler a little too much imo.

They really should have some social interaction benefits

riposte is unreliable garbage and i have a million in a half better uses for my reaction (up until i can take the feat that gives me a free retort reaction).

confident finisher/precise finisher is universal feat tax wich is no good, same thing with derring-doo, though i actually like derring-doo so that as i said, hurts me to say as its very powerful even if its a universal feat tax.

sorry for the spelling errors! Just spent 2 hours writing this and need a break lol. <3


Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber

I have to say that I enjoyed this review. You list your problems with it and then give an idea for a fix. Constructive criticism. Thanks for the read.

Designer

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Thanks for your thoughts!

As a note, Derring-Do only works once you already have panache, so it's not for making gaining it reliable, it's for doing even more of your panache actions after you already have it (gymnast in particular loves this, since they have several different combat maneuvers that they can keep performing while rolling twice).

You have a lot of good insights just from reading and analyzing, but I hope you'll also play around with swashbuckler a little so we can see your thoughts from that too, though I totally get that not everyone can arrange that during the playtest window. My guess based on my own personal game data is that you might be surprised how often enemies critically fail on their second or later attacks.


Mark Seifter wrote:

Thanks for your thoughts!

As a note, Derring-Do only works once you already have panache, so it's not for making gaining it reliable, it's for doing even more of your panache actions after you already have it (gymnast in particular loves this, since they have several different combat maneuvers that they can keep performing while rolling twice).

You have a lot of good insights just from reading and analyzing, but I hope you'll also play around with swashbuckler a little so we can see your thoughts from that too, though I totally get that not everyone can arrange that during the playtest window. My guess based on my own personal game data is that you might be surprised how often enemies critically fail on their second or later attacks.

ty for the clarification on derring-do

ive only been able to run mock runs, only time riposte saw any value is vs mooks (notably lower level enemies), I was still usually better off running nimble dodge or charmed life majority of the time though. Those are methods to prevent damage/bad things. riposte is just a reward for hoping you dont get hit by a degree of failure.

overall until reflexive riposte, i still wouldnt use it.

edit: i should clarify that in my mock runs an enemy would use a third attack very seldomly as i saw little reason any creature would. Unless it was a mindless creature maybe.


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I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.


Gayel Nord wrote:
I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.

Am I doing something incorrect on my mock up encounters? Why would a non mindless creature attack a third time?

Do you get a lot of lower level enemies?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Martialmasters wrote:
Gayel Nord wrote:
I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.

Am I doing something incorrect on my mock up encounters? Why would a non mindless creature attack a third time?

Do you get a lot of lower level enemies?

The vast majority of enemies will be lower level than the PC's yes.

Last session we had skeleton guards crit fail at least 4 times in 1 combat, nothing happened as nobody had a reaction that triggered, but it happens and it doesn't need to be a 3rd attack.


Vlorax wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Gayel Nord wrote:
I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.

Am I doing something incorrect on my mock up encounters? Why would a non mindless creature attack a third time?

Do you get a lot of lower level enemies?

The vast majority of enemies will be lower level than the PC's yes.

Last session we had skeleton guards crit fail at least 4 times in 1 combat, nothing happened as nobody had a reaction that triggered, but it happens and it doesn't need to be a 3rd attack.

I will contemplate on this. I still do not think a class feature reaction that requires you to rely on the DM not forgetting and incentivizes you holding onto your reaction instead of nimble Dodge/charmed life/attack of opportunity. Etc. Just isn't that impressive. I don't see myself using it until reflexive riposte.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Martialmasters wrote:
Vlorax wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Gayel Nord wrote:
I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.

Am I doing something incorrect on my mock up encounters? Why would a non mindless creature attack a third time?

Do you get a lot of lower level enemies?

The vast majority of enemies will be lower level than the PC's yes.

Last session we had skeleton guards crit fail at least 4 times in 1 combat, nothing happened as nobody had a reaction that triggered, but it happens and it doesn't need to be a 3rd attack.

I will contemplate on this. I still do not think a class feature reaction that requires you to rely on the DM not forgetting and incentivizes you holding onto your reaction instead of nimble Dodge/charmed life/attack of opportunity. Etc. Just isn't that impressive. I don't see myself using it until reflexive riposte.

It just adds another option, take a dueling 1v1 situation.

AoO - Triggers on first approach if they come to you, never again unless they use an item/spell or you try to kite away from them.

Charmed Life - Possible use if combat maneuver used on you or they cast a spell in melee (but then just use AoO). Same issue as Nimble Dodge in that you can use it when it was never needed and it's just wasted reaction.

Nimble Dodge - +2AC vs 1 attack, ideally the first strongest attack, easily wasted as you have to use the ability before you see the dice roll and they may have missed anyway.

Riposte - Chance to trigger on any attack against you.

In a duel, Buckler Expertise + Raise Shield is going to be better than Nimble Dodge in that it gives the same bonus for longer and it doesn't use your reaction so if they crit miss you can Riposte.

I can see AoO being an option over Riposte but the triggers are so different they would seldom compete. AoO is good for things moving in and out of threat and disengaging or doing things other than Melee Strikes, Riposte is good once you're in the fight.

Designer

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To add to Vlorax, if you trip someone so that they are only next to you when you have both Riposte and AoO available, you are giving them a really nasty tactical fork. Either they stand up and take a whack from you, or they stay down, they have to attack you at a -2 (and you may have better HP than some of the squishier targets they'd rather attack), and you have a better chance to Riposte.

While the third action is by no means the only way to get a critical failure, if a monster has an action left to make a third or later attack and it has few other options for that action, it'll usually attempt it rather than end its turn barring something like a Riposte reaction threatening it; and if a monster is worried about a Riposte and ends its turn instead of attacking, the Riposte has acted as a deterrent, which can be useful as well.


Vlorax wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Vlorax wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Gayel Nord wrote:
I also realised that monsters criticly fail often.

Am I doing something incorrect on my mock up encounters? Why would a non mindless creature attack a third time?

Do you get a lot of lower level enemies?

The vast majority of enemies will be lower level than the PC's yes.

Last session we had skeleton guards crit fail at least 4 times in 1 combat, nothing happened as nobody had a reaction that triggered, but it happens and it doesn't need to be a 3rd attack.

I will contemplate on this. I still do not think a class feature reaction that requires you to rely on the DM not forgetting and incentivizes you holding onto your reaction instead of nimble Dodge/charmed life/attack of opportunity. Etc. Just isn't that impressive. I don't see myself using it until reflexive riposte.

It just adds another option, take a dueling 1v1 situation.

AoO - Triggers on first approach if they come to you, never again unless they use an item/spell or you try to kite away from them.

Charmed Life - Possible use if combat maneuver used on you or they cast a spell in melee (but then just use AoO). Same issue as Nimble Dodge in that you can use it when it was never needed and it's just wasted reaction.

Nimble Dodge - +2AC vs 1 attack, ideally the first strongest attack, easily wasted as you have to use the ability before you see the dice roll and they may have missed anyway.

Riposte - Chance to trigger on any attack against you.

In a duel, Buckler Expertise + Raise Shield is going to be better than Nimble Dodge in that it gives the same bonus for longer and it doesn't use your reaction so if they crit miss you can Riposte.

I can see AoO being an option over Riposte but the triggers are so different they would seldom compete. AoO is good for things moving in and out of threat and disengaging or doing things other than Melee Strikes, Riposte is good once you're in the fight.

Trip them


Mark Seifter wrote:

To add to Vlorax, if you trip someone so that they are only next to you when you have both Riposte and AoO available, you are giving them a really nasty tactical fork. Either they stand up and take a whack from you, or they stay down, they have to attack you at a -2 (and you may have better HP than some of the squishier targets they'd rather attack), and you have a better chance to Riposte.

While the third action is by no means the only way to get a critical failure, if a monster has an action left to make a third or later attack and it has few other options for that action, it'll usually attempt it rather than end its turn barring something like a Riposte reaction threatening it; and if a monster is worried about a Riposte and ends its turn instead of attacking, the Riposte has acted as a deterrent, which can be useful as well.

You both make valid points. I still dislike the mechanic itself, or at least how it currently functions.


I feel like you're misjudging Bleeding Finisher. The Bleed persistent damage is your Precise Strike dmg, so instead of 2-6, it's actually 2d6 - 6d6. It's quite potent.


Pramxnim wrote:
I feel like you're misjudging Bleeding Finisher. The Bleed persistent damage is your Precise Strike dmg, so instead of 2-6, it's actually 2d6 - 6d6. It's quite potent.

i read it as your precise strike damage not finisher damage. if it is finisher damage than it is better ill admit.

Liberty's Edge

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Martialmasters wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
I feel like you're misjudging Bleeding Finisher. The Bleed persistent damage is your Precise Strike dmg, so instead of 2-6, it's actually 2d6 - 6d6. It's quite potent.
i read it as your precise strike damage not finisher damage. if it is finisher damage than it is better ill admit.

Mark's specifically stated that it is.


On the Shield Block comment I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to boost the hardness of your Buckler for the purposes of shield block while you have panache, call it glancing buckler

I’d honestly prefer that over buckler expertise granting a +2 though objectively that may be mechanically more powerful.


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Midnightoker wrote:

On the Shield Block comment I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to boost the hardness of your Buckler for the purposes of shield block while you have panache, call it glancing buckler

I’d honestly prefer that over buckler expertise granting a +2 though objectively that may be mechanically more powerful.

the main thing is the armor stances you can get, 1 action and the rest of the fight you have a permanently boosted AC.

wich admittedly plays better into retorts.

im working on a unbreakable goblin gymnast with 18 dex 16 str 12 con, uncertain what ill be boosting for my 4th stat, probably just wisdom, no real point for charisma in the build and you are targeting all your saves already that way. almost entirely tumble focused, somewhat ignoring his style.

but will suck not being charismatic.


I do agree that it’d be nice if the class could choose CHA or DEX as their ability score. Both fencer and braggart use CHA after all.

The bleed deals damage equal to your precise strike finisher damage? Holy heck, that feat is way better than I imagined. Wouldn’t that kill people extremely fast?


Henro wrote:

I do agree that it’d be nice if the class could choose CHA or DEX as their ability score. Both fencer and braggart use CHA after all.

The bleed deals damage equal to your precise strike finisher damage? Holy heck, that feat is way better than I imagined. Wouldn’t that kill people extremely fast?

i see I am not the only one that assumed otherwise!


Mark Seifter wrote:

To add to Vlorax, if you trip someone so that they are only next to you when you have both Riposte and AoO available, you are giving them a really nasty tactical fork. Either they stand up and take a whack from you, or they stay down, they have to attack you at a -2 (and you may have better HP than some of the squishier targets they'd rather attack), and you have a better chance to Riposte.

While the third action is by no means the only way to get a critical failure, if a monster has an action left to make a third or later attack and it has few other options for that action, it'll usually attempt it rather than end its turn barring something like a Riposte reaction threatening it; and if a monster is worried about a Riposte and ends its turn instead of attacking, the Riposte has acted as a deterrent, which can be useful as well.

How often will a swashbuckler want to do this, though? I'd have thought that the swashbuckler's optimal last action against an enemy who's not adjacent to an ally is usually Tumble Through, since that way you simultaneously (a) have a good chance to regain your panache, and (b) force your enemy to waste an action closing the distance.

This actually relates to something else I've been wondering that I'd love to hear your take on. The swashbuckler seems designed to encourage moving around a lot—which I think is a neat idea! The problem is that moving around a lot seems like it would make Opportune Riposte less effective, since non-minions will only be likely to critically fail on their later attacks in a turn, and the more everyone's moving, the fewer of those later attacks will be made.


Martialmasters wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

On the Shield Block comment I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to boost the hardness of your Buckler for the purposes of shield block while you have panache, call it glancing buckler

I’d honestly prefer that over buckler expertise granting a +2 though objectively that may be mechanically more powerful.

the main thing is the armor stances you can get, 1 action and the rest of the fight you have a permanently boosted AC.

wich admittedly plays better into retorts.

im working on a unbreakable goblin gymnast with 18 dex 16 str 12 con, uncertain what ill be boosting for my 4th stat, probably just wisdom, no real point for charisma in the build and you are targeting all your saves already that way. almost entirely tumble focused, somewhat ignoring his style.

but will suck not being charismatic.

To that end, maybe both can exist and be prerequisites.

Then they can afford to buff the hardness fairly well because it comes with the caveat of losing your ac benefits which are significant.

Maybe not a straight hardness buff, but something to the purpose of allowing a Swashbuckler to realistically take advantage of Shield Block because as is it’s the opposite of encouraged to me.

On the charisma piece I think flexing to be Dex and Cha would be awesome, but then maybe they could also add perform dance to the gymnast as an option for triggering Panache. Or add a primary ability based on style


Midnightoker wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

On the Shield Block comment I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to boost the hardness of your Buckler for the purposes of shield block while you have panache, call it glancing buckler

I’d honestly prefer that over buckler expertise granting a +2 though objectively that may be mechanically more powerful.

the main thing is the armor stances you can get, 1 action and the rest of the fight you have a permanently boosted AC.

wich admittedly plays better into retorts.

im working on a unbreakable goblin gymnast with 18 dex 16 str 12 con, uncertain what ill be boosting for my 4th stat, probably just wisdom, no real point for charisma in the build and you are targeting all your saves already that way. almost entirely tumble focused, somewhat ignoring his style.

but will suck not being charismatic.

To that end, maybe both can exist and be prerequisites.

Then they can afford to buff the hardness fairly well because it comes with the caveat of losing your ac benefits which are significant.

Maybe not a straight hardness buff, but something to the purpose of allowing a Swashbuckler to realistically take advantage of Shield Block because as is it’s the opposite of encouraged to me.

On the charisma piece I think flexing to be Dex and Cha would be awesome, but then maybe they could also add perform dance to the gymnast as an option for triggering Panache. Or add a primary ability based on style

the more i test the more the need to run skill checks seem to hinder their performance. In a game where a 60% success rate is considered optimal, 40% of the time you are going to fail, and if you fail as swashbuckler there is a massive chain of momentum broken, results feel absolutely terrible when it happens.

but i have no suggestion to fix this sadly.


Martialmasters wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

On the Shield Block comment I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to boost the hardness of your Buckler for the purposes of shield block while you have panache, call it glancing buckler

I’d honestly prefer that over buckler expertise granting a +2 though objectively that may be mechanically more powerful.

the main thing is the armor stances you can get, 1 action and the rest of the fight you have a permanently boosted AC.

wich admittedly plays better into retorts.

im working on a unbreakable goblin gymnast with 18 dex 16 str 12 con, uncertain what ill be boosting for my 4th stat, probably just wisdom, no real point for charisma in the build and you are targeting all your saves already that way. almost entirely tumble focused, somewhat ignoring his style.

but will suck not being charismatic.

To that end, maybe both can exist and be prerequisites.

Then they can afford to buff the hardness fairly well because it comes with the caveat of losing your ac benefits which are significant.

Maybe not a straight hardness buff, but something to the purpose of allowing a Swashbuckler to realistically take advantage of Shield Block because as is it’s the opposite of encouraged to me.

On the charisma piece I think flexing to be Dex and Cha would be awesome, but then maybe they could also add perform dance to the gymnast as an option for triggering Panache. Or add a primary ability based on style

the more i test the more the need to run skill checks seem to hinder their performance. In a game where a 60% success rate is considered optimal, 40% of the time you are going to fail, and if you fail as swashbuckler there is a massive chain of momentum broken, results feel absolutely terrible when it happens.

but i have no suggestion to fix this sadly.

The designers are apparently looking at a “2 action : gain panache without a check” option. I guess the trick is balancing it / encouraging the rolls instead - I guess the trade off is inflicting the debuff


Thematically I like that Ripostes work when your opponent crit fails (it's this way for the Aldori Duelist and the Fighter as well). Ripostes generally should not trigger off of first attacks, but off of later attacks which suffer MAP (and so are off-balance, etc.)

With a Fencer who uses a buckler and feints with overextending feint you're honestly comparable to the champion in AC against that one opponent.


I do think buckler is good but the lines of feats is for all intents and purposes identical to the parry line, which opens up different weapons, but doesn’t feel different.

It would be nice to have a noticeably different ability set for bucklers to parry, at least more difference than current, because to be honest as written they could almost be combined with two separate qualifiers to trigger the bonus:

“whenever you interact with a parry weapon or use the raise a shield action with a buckler, the circumstance bonus to ac increases to +2”

If they’re going to make them different feats, make them offer different things imo, the dance feats at level 12 are basically the same feat too.


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Midnightoker wrote:

I do think buckler is good but the lines of feats is for all intents and purposes identical to the parry line, which opens up different weapons, but doesn’t feel different.

It would be nice to have a noticeably different ability set for bucklers to parry, at least more difference than current, because to be honest as written they could almost be combined with two separate qualifiers to trigger the bonus:

“whenever you interact with a parry weapon or use the raise a shield action with a buckler, the circumstance bonus to ac increases to +2”

If they’re going to make them different feats, make them offer different things imo, the dance feats at level 12 are basically the same feat too.

I agree. Personally, I think the buckler line should be more defensively oriented while parrying should be more active. I think the buckler line is good as-is, but maybe the parry line should do something with ripostes? +1 circumstance bonus to your riposte if you were parrying, that kinda thing.

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