Quick Guide to the Swashbuckler


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Hi everyone,

As I quite like the new Swashbuckler, I've decided to write a quick guide. The APG being just released this guide's far from perfect but as there are no other guide on the Swashbuckler right now I thought it could help.
Don't hesitate to comment, I'll update it with your input.

Quick Guide to the Swashbuckler


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I wouldn't say fascination is useless, it prevents concentration abilities including sustaining spells. There are very few effects in the game that can prevent an enemy spellcaster from sustaining.

Nice guide tho, really helpful so far!


You're right. But you have to do it just before the enemy acts as any hostile action from your teammates drop it. And as you target Will, using it on spellcasters is tough. I'll see how to nuanced my words but I still think it's useless!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice guide! I especially appreciate the quantitative advice regarding the finishers, which can be hard to evaluate.

One thought: I think Goading Feint and Fencers might not be that bad, with the appropriate build. If you want to build a riposte-maximizing build, then Goading Feint seem pretty good, imposing a -2 circumstance penalty on the opponent's attack roll that stacks with circumstance bonuses to your AC (from bucklers, parrying, etc).

And likewise, since Goading Feint is best for Fencers, it seems like Fencers are a decent choice if you want to aim at maximizing ripostes.

(Wits can get a similar effect once they get their exemplary finisher. But you don't get that until halfway through your career...)


Yes, I see what you mean. I must admit Fencer is a Style that don't appeal much to me. As a result, I may be too harsh on it. I'll try to find how to optimize it to see what I can get out of it. The Riposte optimization is a good direction, I'll see how to make it viable.

Right now, I've put a Braggart build to optimize Riposte: between Frightened to reduce enemies attack roll and Antagonize to push them to attack you, it feels like an obvious build to optimize Riposte (maybe a bit too much if everyone attacks you!).


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Nice guide! I just wanted to add something about One For All. Nothing in the rules say you *need* to use a Skill Check to Aid a Skill Check, and an Attack Roll to Aid an Attack Roll, and One For All counts as preparation to Aid on anything. Nothing is stopping you from Aiding attacks with One For All, which makes a One For All Wit Swashbuckler with Cooperative Nature an absolutely outstanding martial/support build, especially at higher levels.


Thanks for this guide !
I have a question about the braggard: is fear immunity widespread in the bestiary and the adventure paths ? I know we can resort to tumble through in these cases, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the style if it happens too often.


Thank you for making this! Looks great!


Charmed life seems like it has its place. Yes, it can compete with other reactions. But it can also come up at times when you don't really have any other reactions (admittedly, as you go up in level, your speed bonus makes such events rarer since you can get into position).

The value increases depending on how your GM processes reactions in exploration mode. Generally, your GM can allow you to use a reaction if the situation was appropriate (ie- shield reactions when your exploration activity was defend). If you can convince your GM, then you might be able to get a +2 to saves in a variety of situations where other reactions don't matter.

As far as activities that i would argue for with a GM... I think anything that comes up while you are using skill checks for arcobatics and the skill of your style would be appropriate.


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dmerceless wrote:
Nice guide! I just wanted to add something about One For All. Nothing in the rules say you *need* to use a Skill Check to Aid a Skill Check, and an Attack Roll to Aid an Attack Roll, and One For All counts as preparation to Aid on anything. Nothing is stopping you from Aiding attacks with One For All, which makes a One For All Wit Swashbuckler with Cooperative Nature an absolutely outstanding martial/support build, especially at higher levels.

You're right. I completely disregarded One For All in-combat use because it uses your Reaction. But once you hit level 10, it becomes crazy good. It's actually better than Inspire Performance!

Swashbuckler feats are just crazy. I should put a chapter about Swashbuckler Dedication as I think it can help lots of players.

Blue_frog wrote:
I have a question about the braggard: is fear immunity widespread in the bestiary and the adventure paths ? I know we can resort to tumble through in these cases, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the style if it happens too often.

It's far from widespread in PF2. You have Oozes, Constructs, Swarms and Mindless Undeads mostly. By making a search on Swarm and Mindless on Archive of Nethys, I get roughly 10% of the monsters in this category.

citricking wrote:
Thank you for making this! Looks great!

Thanks. Don't hesitate to comment on my numbers if you find a mistake. I've used your tool mostly to get them.

lemeres wrote:
Charmed life seems like it has its place. Yes, it can compete with other reactions. But it can also come up at times when you don't really have any other reactions (admittedly, as you go up in level, your speed bonus makes such events rarer since you can get into position).

It's true that Charmed Life is not bad per se. It's really the competition for the reaction and the fact that there are other good feats at that level. I'll see how to rephrase it to give it a better place, but I'm not sure I'll change it's color. It's still not very good.


I would be interested in thoughts on the multiclass dedication as I am thinking of adding fencer to a scoundrel

Looking at the level 2, 4 and 6 rogue feats this actually seems like a better way to go ...

*

As to Cooperative nature I spotted that early on and suggested it in the APG build thread and it was seemingly brushed over (someone made a catfolk Wit swashbuckler)

That would be what I would play but someone in the group is already talking about playing a wit swashbuckler and two almost identical characters seems a bit daft


Thanks again for this guide, here are A LOT of questions I have about swashbucklers after reading it ^^

1) You advertise Flying Blade and it looks really cool, but I don't see how it actually works in a game. Either you have a thrown weapon already in your off-hand (thus you can't raise your buckler nor use the dueling style) or you have to interact to draw, thus ruining the action economy. Is there something I'm missing here ? The only way it would work would be with a returning weapon in your main hand - or taking Quick Draw from rogue dedication.

2) I absolutely LOVE Leading Dance. And I saw this awesome skill feat, Virtuosic Performer. If you take it for dancing, it gives a +1 circumstance bonus to perform anytime you're dancing, rising at +2 when you're a master. Would this apply to Leading Dance, which is actually a dancing performance ?

3) How does One For All interact with your panache ? Since it's a reaction, this would mean that a Wit Swashbuckler beating the Very Hard DC would gain panache during his friend's turn ? The effect in itself is insanely good (+3 guaranteed on a friend's attack at level 7 ? Sign me up) but the fact that it competes with other reactions kinda bugs me.

4) You talk about taking a caster dedication for True Strike. While it is a very powerful spell, a dedication only gives you one single occurrence of it, unless you take a three-feat-chain on a feat-starved class in order to get two casts a day (and a 2nd lvl and 3rd level slot). Is it really worth it ? I mean, swashbuckler feats are pretty awesome on their own.

5) From levels 1 to 10, what's to stop a swashbuckler to strap a steel shield and save on feats ? I mean, it saves on Buckler Expertise/Twin Parry/Dueling Parry and, although we're starved for reactions, we can save our ass in a pinch through blocking by taking a single general feat. Then at lvl 10 we can happily retrain this to take the appropriate stance.

6) Speaking of defense, Charmed Life seems way better than you say it is. Sure, it's a reaction, but when a dangerous spell or effect comes your way, it seems better to get a potentially life-saving +2 on the roll than keeping opportune riposte in the off-chance that it procs.

7) How is Bon Mot that good ? I keep reading it so it must be true, but the fact that it's a language effect (not to mention mental, emotion and stuff) and that there's no workaround like Intimidating Glare makes it quite niche in my opinion. I mean, it doesn't work on any beast, and you'll have to invest a lot in multilingual or spells to use it against something else than an humanoid. On the bestiary, an awful lot of demons, aberrations, magical beasts and even some humanoids like trolls, drows, orcs or ogres don't speak common.

8) Does Cheat Death work all the time until you're actually dead ? I mean, there's nothing on the feat that says it's only once in an hour or a day. So basically a monster gets a lucky crit and downs you ? Hey, you're fine with 1 hp and doomed 1, and you can retaliate or run. Monster hits you again ? You're still fine with 1 hp and doomed 2. Hits you again ? Just a fleshwound. Hits you again ? Well, if you have Die Hard, you're still standing. That's just insanely strong and no other class has anything approaching this level of awesomeness.

9) Impaling Finisher is kind of weird in its wording. Nothing says the opponents have to be medium sized. Does this mean you technically can impale two gargantuan monsters one next to each-other, even though the second monster is like 20 feet away from you ?

Wow, sorry for all those questions and remarks, but swashbuckler is my favorite class so far and your guide was an eye opener on a lot of things.


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Blue_frog wrote:
Thanks again for this guide, here are A LOT of questions I have about swashbucklers after reading it ^^

It's a pleasure to please :)

Blue_frog wrote:

1) You advertise Flying Blade and it looks really cool, but I don't see how it actually works in a game. Either you have a thrown weapon already in your off-hand (thus you can't raise your buckler nor use the dueling style) or you have to interact to draw, thus ruining the action economy. Is there something I'm missing here ? The only way it would work would be with a returning weapon in your main hand - or taking Quick Draw from rogue dedication.

You need one of your weapons to have the Thrown trait. Either you are fighting with 2 weapons, or only with one with the Thrown trait (you lose on the die but the die is just a small portion of Swashbuckler's damage) or you have Jaws or Claws as main attack.

Blue_frog wrote:


2) I absolutely LOVE Leading Dance. And I saw this awesome skill feat, Virtuosic Performer. If you take it for dancing, it gives a +1 circumstance bonus to perform anytime you're dancing, rising at +2 when you're a master. Would this apply to Leading Dance, which is actually a dancing performance ?

Yes, it applies. You can't make a Perform check without a type of Performance. So, for Leading Dance, it's obviously a Perform(Dance) check and it will apply.

Blue_frog wrote:


3) How does One For All interact with your panache ? Since it's a reaction, this would mean that a Wit Swashbuckler beating the Very Hard DC would gain panache during his friend's turn ? The effect in itself is insanely good (+3 guaranteed on a friend's attack at level 7 ? Sign me up) but the fact that it competes with other reactions kinda bugs me.

I have updated One for All in my guide after dmerceless comment. It should be visible right now.

And yes, you understand it right. You gain Panache during your ally's turn.

Blue_frog wrote:


4) You talk about taking a caster dedication for True Strike. While it is a very powerful spell, a dedication only gives you one single occurrence of it, unless you take a three-feat-chain on a feat-starved class in order to get two casts a day (and a 2nd lvl and 3rd level slot). Is it really worth it ? I mean, swashbuckler feats are pretty awesome on their own.

If you use a Buckler, you can have any L bulk item at hand. A wand or a scroll of True Strike would do fine. You can take a second feat if you want more True Strikes, but already once per fight on your most important finisher is a very good move.

Blue_frog wrote:


5) From levels 1 to 10, what's to stop a swashbuckler to strap a steel shield and save on feats ? I mean, it saves on Buckler Expertise/Twin Parry/Dueling Parry and, although we're starved for reactions, we can save our ass in a pinch through blocking by taking a single general feat. Then at lvl 10 we can happily retrain this to take the appropriate stance.

Clearly. I'll update to say it's only interesting at low level..

Blue_frog wrote:


6) Speaking of defense, Charmed Life seems way better than you say it is. Sure, it's a reaction, but when a dangerous spell or effect comes your way, it seems better to get a potentially life-saving +2 on the roll than keeping opportune riposte in the off-chance that it procs.

I agree that Charmed Life isn't completely bad but first you may no more have your reaction when the spell comes your way, reducing its effectiveness, and a +2 to a save is clearly worse than a free attack. I'll even go further by saying that a +2 to a save is very nice but far from mind blowing. So I'll update the comment and even put it green as 2 of you like it. But it's a light green for me.

Blue_frog wrote:


7) How is Bon Mot that good ? I keep reading it so it must be true, but the fact that it's a language effect (not to mention mental, emotion and stuff) and that there's no workaround like Intimidating Glare makes it quite niche in my opinion. I mean, it doesn't work on any beast, and you'll have to invest a lot in multilingual or spells to use it against something else than an humanoid. On the bestiary, an awful lot of demons, aberrations, magical beasts and even some humanoids like trolls, drows, orcs or ogres don't speak common.

Humanoids are classical enemies and many enemies speak Common. Also, at high level you have solutions like Tongues to help you. If you are the party diplomat you should have such options available.

Bon Mot is especially nice because of it's effect which is completely crazy for me. Even if you can't use it always, it's not a tool that you have to use as a Swashbuckler. So, having an ace up your sleeve is always a good thing, even if it's a situational one.

Blue_frog wrote:


8) Does Cheat Death work all the time until you're actually dead ? I mean, there's nothing on the feat that says it's only once in an hour or a day. So basically a monster gets a lucky crit and downs you ? Hey, you're fine with 1 hp and doomed 1, and you can retaliate or run. Monster hits you again ? You're still fine with 1 hp and doomed 2. Hits you again ? Just a fleshwound. Hits you again ? Well, if you have Die Hard, you're still standing. That's just insanely strong and no other class has anything approaching this level of awesomeness.

The only issue is that you have only one reaction per round. It's rare to take only one instance of damage each round, so you should very quickly be put down. But it can be very powerful in situations where you don't take a lot of attacks but crazy powerful ones (like with spells).

Blue_frog wrote:
9) Impaling Finisher is kind of weird in its wording. Nothing says the opponents have to be medium sized. Does this mean you technically can impale two gargantuan monsters one next to each-other, even though the second monster is like 20 feet away from you ?

Yep, you can Impale the Tarrasque and something else. If there was a limitation on size, it would immediately go into the orange/red feats for me.

Blue_frog wrote:
Wow, sorry for all those questions and remarks, but swashbuckler is my favorite class so far and your guide was an eye opener on a lot of things.

I'm happy it fulfills its role.


Lanathar wrote:
I would be interested in thoughts on the multiclass dedication as I am thinking of adding fencer to a scoundrel

It's a bit more work than I thought it would as I have to think about lots of combinations. I'll do it if I find an hour or two, but it may be only next week.

Also, do you have the list of chapters on the left when you read the document? I have it when I edit it but not when I read the final version and it's quite sad as it's quite big.


Overall I like it. But you are truly overestimating opportune riposte, Charmed Life or even AoO are more likely to occur than a critical failure. Its nice when it happens (for various reasons) but its not super likely. And hardly somehting you can count on. Unless you somehow can get extremly high AC (hard due to AC increases being very limited) or fighting very weak enemies all the time (GM dependent)


Erk Ander wrote:
Overall I like it. But you are truly overestimating opportune riposte, Charmed Life or even AoO are more likely to occur than a critical failure. Its nice when it happens (for various reasons) but its not super likely. And hardly somehting you can count on. Unless you somehow can get extremly high AC (hard due to AC increases being very limited) or fighting very weak enemies all the time (GM dependent)

It's a complicated question. AoO (which I know more) happens very rarely if the party is not built for it. Something like 10-20% of the time. If you have a character who specializes in tripping, it gets suddenly closer to 30-40%. So it's very party dependent.

Opportune Riposte is more monster/DM dependent. On a first attack, it will trigger 5% of the time (same level enemy). On a second attack, 25% of the time and on a third attack 50% of the time. So, if your DM loves hit and run monsters, ranged attackers, spellcasters and such, it will happen quite rarely. But against stupid brutes, it happens a lot. 3 attacks from a brute will trigger one with more than 50% chance. If it's a lower level brute, you will trigger it nearly for sure.
So, because there are 2 variables it's hard to compare AoO and Opportune Riposte. But at least Opportune Riposte is not party dependent. And if you end your turn next to a lower level monster, you can be pretty sure it'll trigger it once. Then, monsters will understand they should not attack you, but it's not bad not to be attacked, too.


SuperBidi wrote:
You're right. I completely disregarded One For All in-combat use because it uses your Reaction. But once you hit level 10, it becomes crazy good. It's actually better than Inspire Performance!

Even before you reach level 10, I think it has a niche. Flying Blade. If you're using thrown weapons as your main combat style, it's very easy to always keep yourself at the 30ft. distance from your allies One For All requires, and you don't get much use of either Opportune Riposte or Attack of Opportunity. Combine that with Cooperative Nature and you have an awesome mid-range support and secondary DPR, plus you can always Bon Mot to reduce enemy Will saves as well for your casters. I think the main disadvantage of this build is that the first few levels before you get a Returning Rune and Expert Diplomacy will be rough. And that you basically need to be a human to make it work xD.


Yep, I'm planning in updating my thrower build to add One For All, but yes, you need to be human to have all the feats.
I find Swashbuckler to not be very well balanced compared to other martial classes. At low level, it tends to struggle with Panache as checks to regain it are quite hard to make. Also, there's no valid reason to give Opportune Riposte at level 3. You need to wait for mid levels for Swashbuckler to really start shining. It has a progression closer to casters'.


SuperBidi wrote:

Yep, I'm planning in updating my thrower build to add One For All, but yes, you need to be human to have all the feats.

I find Swashbuckler to not be very well balanced compared to other martial classes. At low level, it tends to struggle with Panache as checks to regain it are quite hard to make. Also, there's no valid reason to give Opportune Riposte at level 3. You need to wait for mid levels for Swashbuckler to really start shining. It has a progression closer to casters'.

I think the advantage Swashbuckler has at low levels to sort of compensate for this is Precise Finisher dealing 2d6 damage while sneak attack is 1d6. At the first 4 levels, you have double precision damage compared to Rogue and Investigator, while at higher levels it's closer to 50% more. Does this actually compensate enough? Eh... I would say not quite, with how hard it is to make Panache checks at low levels and how your MADness will stop you from having a good amount of Str in many builds. Levels 1-2 are very harsh, levels 3, 4 and 5 make you increasingly better, and I would say 7 is when the class really gets its full power. Very close to a caster, indeed.


GiraffeAndAHalf wrote:

I wouldn't say fascination is useless, it prevents concentration abilities including sustaining spells. There are very few effects in the game that can prevent an enemy spellcaster from sustaining.

Nice guide tho, really helpful so far!

It allows concentration effects if you're the target though. So for something like Spiritual Weapon or Flaming Sphere the caster just has to aim it at you to sustain it.


How does a swashbuckler compare damage-wise to other dps builds (rogue, monk, fighter, barbarian, ranger...). For those who actually played one, did you hold your own ?

I know swashbucklers have a lot of added utility, so I'm ok with them not being top dps, but it would be nice if their damage was in the middle of the pack.


Blue_frog wrote:

How does a swashbuckler compare damage-wise to other dps builds (rogue, monk, fighter, barbarian, ranger...). For those who actually played one, did you hold your own ?

I know swashbucklers have a lot of added utility, so I'm ok with them not being top dps, but it would be nice if their damage was in the middle of the pack.

The guide goes into this.

Short Version: It is complicated and depends on what your panache state is. Seems to range from "ok" to "comparable to 2-hand barbarian".


Saedar wrote:


The guide goes into this.

It does, but it's still theorycrafting numbers. That's why I'm wondering how those who actually played a swashbuckler fared. Did they find it hard to get panache ? Did they feel they were meaningfully contributing ? How useful was their enhanced mobility ? How often did they riposte ? Were they sturdy enough ?

It's one thing to discuss the chassis, and another to see it in actual play ^^


I've made damage calculations with Citricking's tool. Swashbuckler is very similar to Monks or Precision Rangers. You do incredible damage with one action, but if you have more actions available you can't compete with Fighters, Barbarians or Rogues.

If you really only focus on damage, Swashbuckler is not a good class for you. You will have a damage output around a 2-hander Champion attacking twice before counting reactions (as it's hard to take them into account). But you should bring a lot of utility. Also, against multiple opponents, you should do fine as you have the best multi target options amongst martials.


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Blue_frog wrote:
Saedar wrote:


The guide goes into this.

It does, but it's still theorycrafting numbers. That's why I'm wondering how those who actually played a swashbuckler fared. Did they find it hard to get panache ? Did they feel they were meaningfully contributing ? How useful was their enhanced mobility ? How often did they riposte ? Were they sturdy enough ?

It's one thing to discuss the chassis, and another to see it in actual play ^^

Mine (Braggart) didn't have trouble getting panache last night, but contributing damage was rough since we ran into swarms. To-hit seemed fine, especially with optimizing around a single large attack per round. Mobility was really good.


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Kinda weird how much later 2 weapon fighting gets their +2 ac and stance. Before level 4 there is rather little reason to dual wield. Might as well use buckler dance or dueling parry until 4 and then retrain. Or even just retrain when you reach level 8.

ALso wanted to build a wrestler style gymnast swashbuckler. Also makes Sense to use a buckler still


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Gymnast can get panache at range - if they pack some bolas for a ranged trip maneuver


Seisho wrote:
Gymnast can get panache at range - if they pack some bolas for a ranged trip maneuver

True, I didn't thought about it.

But it's not an agile weapon. So you lose a hand if you want to use this strategy. It's quite clunky. But I'll add a word about it.


SuperBidi wrote:


It's a complicated question. AoO (which I know more) happens very rarely if the party is not built for it. Something like 10-20% of the time. If you have a character who specializes in tripping, it gets suddenly closer to 30-40%. So it's very party dependent.
Opportune Riposte is more monster/DM dependent. On a first attack, it will trigger 5% of the time (same level enemy). On a second attack, 25% of the time and on a third attack 50% of the time. So, if your DM loves hit and run monsters, ranged attackers, spellcasters and such, it will happen quite rarely. But against stupid brutes, it happens a lot. 3 attacks from a brute will trigger one with more than 50% chance. If it's a lower level brute, you will trigger it nearly for sure.
So, because there are 2 variables it's hard to compare AoO and Opportune Riposte. But at least Opportune Riposte is not party dependent. And if you end your turn next to a lower level monster, you can be pretty sure it'll trigger it once. Then, monsters will understand they should not attack you, but it's not bad not to be attacked, too.

Hmm is AoO really that party depedent ? Doesn't it greatly depend on the DM and moster as well ?

Also even if point about stupid brutes is take into consideration it would take 6 attacks over 2 turns to be guaranateed a riposte. Thats not something you want optimse over say usage of Charmed Luck that will pretty much happen way more often


Here is a calculator for DPR for the Swashbuckler

https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder2e/comments/db6rxi/website_for_calculati ng_pathfinder_2e_average/


Erk Ander wrote:
Hmm is AoO really that party depedent ?

Clearly. I play PFS. Most of the time, I don't see any AoO. But I sometimes play with a Monk using Wolf Drag and suddenly the number of AoOs just explode. He easily triples the number of AoOs.

The DM can't do much to increase the number of AoOs, unless he plays in an illogical way.

Erk Ander wrote:
Also even if point about stupid brutes is take into consideration it would take 6 attacks over 2 turns to be guaranateed a riposte. Thats not something you want optimse over say usage of Charmed Luck that will pretty much happen way more often

There is nothing like a guaranteed riposte. On average, a single lower level brute attacking three times trigger riposte.

Unless one character in your party is built to trigger AoOs, Riposte should be way more common.


Quick question: can you use a shield spike for Dual finisher ?

In other words, so as not to suffer too much from the delayed aquisition of twin parry/twinned defense, is there something RAW that prevents us from using a buckler with a shield spike, raising it when needed, and using its spike when making a dual finisher ?

Same question with a spiked gauntlet ^^


Blue_frog wrote:

Quick question: can you use a shield spike for Dual finisher ?

In other words, so as not to suffer too much from the delayed aquisition of twin parry/twinned defense, is there something RAW that prevents us from using a buckler with a shield spike, raising it when needed, and using its spike when making a dual finisher ?

Same question with a spiked gauntlet ^^

Nothing.

But the Shield Spike is neither Agile nor Finesse and as such you'll use Strength to attack and won't benefit from your Finisher extra damage. It'll just be a -2 attack on a secondary attribute, to sum up, real bad.
The Spiked Gauntlet is a bit better as it's Agile. But you'll still make the attack with Strength. So, if your Strength is close to your Dexterity, it should not have that much of an impact. Otherwise, your chances to hit will suffer.


SuperBidi wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:

Quick question: can you use a shield spike for Dual finisher ?

In other words, so as not to suffer too much from the delayed aquisition of twin parry/twinned defense, is there something RAW that prevents us from using a buckler with a shield spike, raising it when needed, and using its spike when making a dual finisher ?

Same question with a spiked gauntlet ^^

Nothing.

But the Shield Spike is neither Agile nor Finesse and as such you'll use Strength to attack and won't benefit from your Finisher extra damage. It'll just be a -2 attack on a secondary attribute, to sum up, real bad.
The Spiked Gauntlet is a bit better as it's Agile. But you'll still make the attack with Strength. So, if your Strength is close to your Dexterity, it should not have that much of an impact. Otherwise, your chances to hit will suffer.

Oh.

Yeah.
My bad, that sucks.


What's everyone's opinion on going Goblin for the Bouncy Goblin feat. The +2 to tumble through could help at lower levels before Daredevil boots.

I have also been toying with the Acrobat Dedication. Pick it up at level 2 and get expert acrobatic proficiency and free scaling at 7, & 15. This would allow you to have both acrobatics and whatever your style skill check is at max proficiency for your level ASAP. Thoughts?

Silver Crusade

SEKplayer wrote:


I have also been toying with the Acrobat Dedication. Pick it up at level 2 and get expert acrobatic proficiency and free scaling at 7, & 15. This would allow you to have both acrobatics and whatever your style skill check is at max proficiency for your level ASAP. Thoughts?

You're essentially trading a class feat for some skill raises, skill raises that you can take anyway. So, effectively, you're trading it for a skill raise in another skill if you were planning to go all in for acrobatics.

My biggest problem with that trade is that there are a LOT of swashbuckler feats that I want. It's one of the few classes where I'm VERY tempted to NEVER dip.

It's by no means a BAD idea but personally I wouldn't do it


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pauljathome wrote:
SEKplayer wrote:


I have also been toying with the Acrobat Dedication. Pick it up at level 2 and get expert acrobatic proficiency and free scaling at 7, & 15. This would allow you to have both acrobatics and whatever your style skill check is at max proficiency for your level ASAP. Thoughts?

You're essentially trading a class feat for some skill raises, skill raises that you can take anyway. So, effectively, you're trading it for a skill raise in another skill if you were planning to go all in for acrobatics.

My biggest problem with that trade is that there are a LOT of swashbuckler feats that I want. It's one of the few classes where I'm VERY tempted to NEVER dip.

It's by no means a BAD idea but personally I wouldn't do it

you can't take "anyways" simultaneously both your panache and acrobatics, one will lag 2 levels behind.

Plus, since you are forced to take both your panache and acrobatics, that leaves you with only 1 skill of your choice to raise which is severely limiting.

you are trading a class feat for 3 skill increase, and basically early advance in one of your two important skills.

plus, an increase on maximum legendary skills from 3 to 4.

all those for a single level 2 class feat are quite strong imo.

Dark Archive

Apologies if someone mentioned it before:

Battle Dancer is strong because of the new APG skill feat Acrobatic Performance. That means you can target either Will or Reflex DC off of your acrobatic skill. Add in Virtuosic Performer and an unbreakable goblin with Bouncy Goblin and now you've got a +1/+2 circumstance bonus to perform/tumble through respectively. You can safely dump CHA as a battle dancer. As well, with performance if you keep increasing your performance proficiency you can fascinate more than 1 enemy at a time, letting you target more than 1 creature to see if they have a bad will save (i.e., boss/minions) and that likely increases your chances of success. You could also get yourself a familiar via multi-classing for 1 or 2 class feats and give it the accompanist trait for a +1 circumstance bonus or +2 if your a master in performance.


shroudb wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
SEKplayer wrote:


I have also been toying with the Acrobat Dedication. Pick it up at level 2 and get expert acrobatic proficiency and free scaling at 7, & 15. This would allow you to have both acrobatics and whatever your style skill check is at max proficiency for your level ASAP. Thoughts?

You're essentially trading a class feat for some skill raises, skill raises that you can take anyway. So, effectively, you're trading it for a skill raise in another skill if you were planning to go all in for acrobatics.

My biggest problem with that trade is that there are a LOT of swashbuckler feats that I want. It's one of the few classes where I'm VERY tempted to NEVER dip.

It's by no means a BAD idea but personally I wouldn't do it

you can't take "anyways" simultaneously both your panache and acrobatics, one will lag 2 levels behind.

Plus, since you are forced to take both your panache and acrobatics, that leaves you with only 1 skill of your choice to raise which is severely limiting.

you are trading a class feat for 3 skill increase, and basically early advance in one of your two important skills.

plus, an increase on maximum legendary skills from 3 to 4.

all those for a single level 2 class feat are quite strong imo.

Very well worded, that was the point I was trying to get across. Acrobat Dedication accelerates your skill checks by a couple levels. If you don't want to spend the class feat and are Human or adopted, you can pick Acrobat Dedication up at L2 then re-train at L9 and use the Multitalented ancestry feat. *Corrected by shroudb below.

Red Griffyn wrote:

Apologies if someone mentioned it before:

Battle Dancer is strong because of the new APG skill feat Acrobatic Performance. That means you can target either Will or Reflex DC off of your acrobatic skill. Add in Virtuosic Performer and an unbreakable goblin with Bouncy Goblin and now you've got a +1/+2 circumstance bonus to perform/tumble through respectively. You can safely dump CHA as a battle dancer. As well, with performance if you keep increasing your performance proficiency you can fascinate more than 1 enemy at a time, letting you target more than 1 creature to see if they have a bad will save (i.e., boss/minions) and that likely increases your chances of success. You could also get yourself a familiar via multi-classing for 1 or 2 class feats and give it the accompanist trait for a +1 circumstance bonus or +2 if your a master in performance.

One caveat, Leading Dance requires a "Performance check" and not a "Perform action" so you wouldn't be able to roll acrobatics for it. So if you did dump CHA you would suffer with the Leading Dance feat.


SuperBidi wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
Hmm is AoO really that party depedent ?

Clearly. I play PFS. Most of the time, I don't see any AoO. But I sometimes play with a Monk using Wolf Drag and suddenly the number of AoOs just explode. He easily triples the number of AoOs.

The DM can't do much to increase the number of AoOs, unless he plays in an illogical way.

I doesn't necessarily need to be illogical, but the problem would only come up commonly depending on the party. Reach is really the easiest way to get common AoOs without going too far out of your way.

I can see a creature thinking "wait, why am I standing next to this fighter and eating all of his attacks? I should go over to that nice, tender wizard, even if this guy tags me when I make a great for it".

Of course, there are "correct" ways to disengage without drawing AoOs. Those usually eat up actions, and I find it funny when a "tactical" GM effectively gives creatures the slowed condition when they are near a reach user. It might be better to eat an AoO than waste time like that.

...it makes me want to get the blue scarf item back in PF2e. it gave swashbucklers reach. That way, you can get the same reach trap the paladins have- run away from me, and I hit you; spend your turn attacking me, and I hit you.


SEKplayer wrote:
shroudb wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
SEKplayer wrote:


I have also been toying with the Acrobat Dedication. Pick it up at level 2 and get expert acrobatic proficiency and free scaling at 7, & 15. This would allow you to have both acrobatics and whatever your style skill check is at max proficiency for your level ASAP. Thoughts?

You're essentially trading a class feat for some skill raises, skill raises that you can take anyway. So, effectively, you're trading it for a skill raise in another skill if you were planning to go all in for acrobatics.

My biggest problem with that trade is that there are a LOT of swashbuckler feats that I want. It's one of the few classes where I'm VERY tempted to NEVER dip.

It's by no means a BAD idea but personally I wouldn't do it

you can't take "anyways" simultaneously both your panache and acrobatics, one will lag 2 levels behind.

Plus, since you are forced to take both your panache and acrobatics, that leaves you with only 1 skill of your choice to raise which is severely limiting.

you are trading a class feat for 3 skill increase, and basically early advance in one of your two important skills.

plus, an increase on maximum legendary skills from 3 to 4.

all those for a single level 2 class feat are quite strong imo.

Very well worded, that was the point I was trying to get across. It accelerates your skill checks by a couple levels. If you don't want to spend the class feat and are Human or adopted, you can pick it up at L2 then re-train at L9 and use the Multitalented ancestry feat.

you cant take acrobat with Multitalented. Multitalented is only for multiclass archetypes.

Red Griffyn wrote:

Apologies if someone mentioned it before:

Battle Dancer is strong because of the new APG skill feat Acrobatic Performance. That means you can target either Will or Reflex DC off of your acrobatic skill. Add in Virtuosic Performer and an unbreakable goblin with Bouncy Goblin and now you've got a +1/+2 circumstance bonus to perform/tumble through respectively. You can safely dump CHA as a battle dancer. As well, with performance if you keep increasing your performance proficiency you can fascinate more than 1 enemy at a time, letting you target more than 1 creature to see if they have a bad will save (i.e., boss/minions) and that likely increases your chances of success. You could also get yourself a familiar via multi-classing for 1 or 2 class feats and give it the accompanist trait for a +1 circumstance bonus or +2 if your a master in performance.

acrobatic performance is bad for Battledancers:

For starters, it doesnt work with leading dance, since Leading dance is it's own action and not a Perform action.

Secondary, battledancers need to win on a "performance check" specifically. Do note the difference in wording compared to the rest:

Gymnast only needs to trip/grapple/etc (doesnt care how), fencer needs only to Feint (doesnt care how), and etc. BUT battledancers need to "when the result of your Performance check to Perform exceeds" mentioning specifically that it needs to be a performance check.

In a nutshell, acrobatic performance does nothing for them unfortunately.


I'm sort of torn on the whip. Since I've been intrigued with the whip since the playtest (as it does not need a thousand feats to get going like PF1 did). But it seems like it's getting pulled in opposite directions. Reach and the Trip trait seem like it would be ideal for a gymnast build so you can get derring-do and be really good at tripping people, but being a d4 weapon strongly suggests you want to be doing a finisher a round.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm sort of torn on the whip. Since I've been intrigued with the whip since the playtest (as it does not need a thousand feats to get going like PF1 did). But it seems like it's getting pulled in opposite directions. Reach and the Trip trait seem like it would be ideal for a gymnast build so you can get derring-do and be really good at tripping people, but being a d4 weapon strongly suggests you want to be doing a finisher a round.

A standard Swashbuckler already needs to do a Finisher per round to carry their weight. A whip seems to aid in doing so.

Also, most weapons we're comparing to are a d6, so the difference is minor, easily made up for if getting any extra Finishers.
(A Monk dip or some Advanced and/or Uncommon weapons change up the calculations, but I'm not seeing many suggestions for those.)
With whip, the nonlethal aspect would mean you'd want a backup weapon for enemies immune to that. A gauntlet w/ doubling ring would let all the 1H weapons in your other hand share the same level of enchantment (even if you expect never to use that gauntlet).

Silver Crusade

shroudb wrote:

In a nutshell, acrobatic performance does nothing for them unfortunately

That is certainly an exaggeration.

The battle dancer is probably going to maximize BOTH Perform and Acrobatics. If you prioritize Perform then acrobatic performance is useless except at levels 1-2. But if you prioritize Acrobatics then it is quite useful about half the time (when Perform lags behind Acrobatics)

I think that personally I'll be prioritizing Acrobatics. Which makes Acrobatic Performance quite a good skill feat much of the time ( possibly retraining it in and out as appropriate). In fact, that is pretty much WHY I think I'm going to prioritize Acrobatics


Interesting notion on just attacking once as the preferred method of play for a swashbuckler.

I was trying to find ways to generate and spend and regain panache in the same round or alternate rounds of building and spending.

So they are a bit like... investigator in that they are more about single hits. But with much less ooc utility.


Martialmasters wrote:

Interesting notion on just attacking once as the preferred method of play for a swashbuckler.

I was trying to find ways to generate and spend and regain panache in the same round or alternate rounds of building and spending.

So they are a bit like... investigator in that they are more about single hits. But with much less ooc utility.

Well, bigger hits and they often contribute in combat when they're gaining Panache (i.e. Demoralize). Similar enough balance/action aspects that maybe that's why they're in the same release (and they're complicated, a.k.a. Advanced). Since Swashbucklers can only do 1 Finisher per round and Opportune Riposte is fluky, then they have to find other ways to contribute. It seems wise to attempt to gain Panache toward the end of a round so one's options are open next round, and so they can attempt again if needed.

Arguably, likely with a Dedication, one could build a Swashbuckler who rides on their first Panache, taking the static bonus of Precise Strike and trying to maximize the quantity of hits rather than quality of one hit. Against bosses where it's hard to regain Panache, most Swashbucklers will face this occasion occasionally.
But I think the modest AC encourages skirmishing, not standing toe-to-toe, but Flying Blade could aid by doing multiple attacks from range instead (and maybe with Dual-Weapon Warrior).


that makes me think they are strictly weaker in combat that a barbarian/fighter or rogue while having minimal ooc utility, a investigator meanwhile has great potential for ooc use.

still like the flavor of swashbuckler however


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I don't know if the Swashbuckler has minimal ooc utility. You have a better incentive to be charismatic than more classes, and you have reasons to boost useful ooc skills like intimidate and diplomacy to the max, plus you get 3 more skill feats than non rogue/investigator classes do.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't know if the Swashbuckler has minimal ooc utility. You have a better incentive to be charismatic than more classes, and you have reasons to boost useful ooc skills like intimidate and diplomacy to the max, plus you get 3 more skill feats than non rogue/investigator classes do.

Well, a fighter also has less need for its class feats, so it's easier to take an archetype with out of combat utility, so I think it's fair to say they aren't too different in terms of out of combat utility. (It depends on how they're built for both)


pauljathome wrote:
shroudb wrote:

In a nutshell, acrobatic performance does nothing for them unfortunately

That is certainly an exaggeration.

The battle dancer is probably going to maximize BOTH Perform and Acrobatics. If you prioritize Perform then acrobatic performance is useless except at levels 1-2. But if you prioritize Acrobatics then it is quite useful about half the time (when Perform lags behind Acrobatics)

I think that personally I'll be prioritizing Acrobatics. Which makes Acrobatic Performance quite a good skill feat much of the time ( possibly retraining it in and out as appropriate). In fact, that is pretty much WHY I think I'm going to prioritize Acrobatics

no. It's not about what skill is easier to succeed but what you get when you succeed:

the thing is, Acrobatic performance is truly useless because when you use it, you dont get panache.

so, even if your acrobatics is higher than your performance, you'd still be better off trying performance to get panache than acrobatic performer that while slightly easier to succeed (if you prioritised acrobatics over performance) it will not give you panache.

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