Swashing and Buckling, love, hate, should it be?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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So, I noticed that the "non-dex to damage" forum kinda devolved into one part original intent, one part "teh swash doesn't have enough mechanical/flavor/whateverness to set it apart" back and forth. Keeping with traditions of old, I thought I'd open a new forum thread with the intent of discussing JUST THAT so the other one doesn't suffer bloat!

On to my opinions on the matter, since I have both played and run a game with, a Swashbuckler present. I think they're awesome, unique, a little under tuned in reference to raw power (sometimes), and absolutely one of the best thematically designed and executed class Paizo has ever made in the many years of game design they've had. Finishers, Riposte, Panache, mobility, skill usage in combat! If I remember correctly, it also had the single highest appraisal of the APG playtest classes and needed the least amount of reworking going from playtest to release.

So, with the setup out of the way, DISCUSS!


I'm running a Braggart through Extinction Curse. I've loved it. It is pretty spiky and not being able to reliably generate panache can be rough. For my character specifically, I suffer from things immune to fear and things immune to precision damage. I've also found a lot of the mid-level and higher class feats to be kind of unimpressive even if they are mechanically sound. Leaves space for an archetype, though, so that's fun.


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Battledancer is my favorite of the bunch, the ability to dance one enemy into another and then impaling finisher both is amazing.

The only thing that I would change in the class is take out the extra skill feats for skill proficiency increase.


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I really like the class as a whole altgough i believe like the early game is not exactly stellar. I feel like bleeding finisher is a huge change in how the class feels, turning you into a very respectable damage dealer in medium to long fights. Braggart and wit are my favourite styles, braggart in particular feels like the best in the game at intimidating. My biggest gripe with the class are probably the capstone feats wich i find rather meh


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Swashbuckler, unfortunately, is a class I really want to like (it's my favorite trope), but currently have a hard time doing so. I won't get much into the whole "non-Gymnasts do bad damage early because no Dex to damage and MAD" thing cause it's been discussed in the other thread.

- A part of it, yes, is power. Rather, lack of it. They generally do low damage compared to other classes in return for some questionable utility benefits, they are too reliant on luck with too many fail points, and they have too many things that completely screws them (immunity to Precision, immunity to Mental, AoOs to an extent, etc.)

- Adding to the previous point, Swashbuckler might be the most volatile class in the game in terms of power depending on your build, maybe second to Alchemist. Too much of their power comes from their class feats. The difference between taking or not taking Bleeding Finisher at 8th level is immense, and even then, the difference between a basic Swash build and some of the cheesier ones like Swordmaster + Deft Cooperation + One For All is also immense.

- Their scaling curve is too steep. The class starts out with low damage, very bad odds at getting Panache and not that resilient, and can end up as one of the best martials at very high levels if you can abuse things like Bleeding Finisher, Dueling Dance and a bunch of extra reactions, not to mention the highly increased odds at getting your much needed Panache.

- They have very little choice in their skills, pretty much choosing none until level 11 if they don't take Acrobat. And for some reason they get extra skill feats when they clearly needed extra skill increases?

- Lastly, I think their gameplay loop is a bit too repetitive. The incentive for staying in Panache is very low if you're not a Derring-Do Gymnast, so you pretty much want to Panache > Finisher every round. The guidelines on how to treat nonscripted Panache actions (very high DC of your level) are very harsh as well. In the end this leads to a very rotational and methodical playstyle with very little room for creativity, which I think is the opposite of how a Swashbuckler should feel like?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Agree with earlier comments about volatility and feeling like they don't get the full benefit of PF2's action economy like CRB martials (investigators and magi kind of have this problem too though) and that the class scales weirdly.

I also feel like they're kind of... maybe too defined by their class features. They have a narrow choice of weapons, they can't be strength based, can't used ranged weapons (thrown with a feat), don't get armor, your skill increases are partially or mostly defined by your choice of Style... (they really could use a free skill increase like the Inventor).

I've found that outside Style choice, going from character to character Swashbuckler has some of the lowest mechanical diversity among characters I've seen in games. The class does not give players a lot of room to add their own mechanical touches.

... Some of that sounds harsh but I genuinely like the class. I sort of feel like though that it got overshadowed by issues with the Investigator and Witch and didn't really get much feedback during the playtest other than "wow this is cool" and as a result it has a lot of rough edges that never got polished.


I agree with op. But now the thread has to be about the inventor because reasons. Inventor is good


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I'll post this here as well as I think the Finisher tag is a far bigger problem for the swashbuckler than some of the other factors mentioned:

Even if you gave Swashbuckler's dexterity for damage, they get one attack per round if using a finisher. And yet no one seems to think the Finisher tag is a problem even with that rather big limitation.

A gymnast swashbuckler can't even get panache back after using a finisher because all the maneuvers he must have the attack trait and it can't be used after employing a finisher. If you use one of the gymnast maneuvers to regain panache, you take a MAP penalty on your finisher attacks.

It's why I'm surprised to see people who consider the gymnast a good Swashbuckler Archetype. It seemed like one of the worst to me, especially at early levels.

As a DM watching a swashbuckler in play, the finisher tag really bogged them down. I'm surprised no one else is having this issue with the Swashbuckler. It seems like a much bigger issue than some minor loss or gain of damage due to dexterity.


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Personally, I don't have any inherent issues with loading everything you've got into a single strike.

My issues with it comes from everything around it. RNG panache, the big strike not being big, it being the only real option you have instead of a build choice, among others.

The stat-to-damage thing is purely early game QoL. Doing your big unreliable thing for 11 damage while Rage McAxe is doing 15 a swing can really make you question your existence.


I am also on the side that the idea of Swashbuckle is good, and has some great themes. But the execution is way too rough.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you're laser-focused on damage then keeping panache is bad but I think the boost to mobility, acrobatics, style skill, and lesser damage boost can be worthwhile. This is definitely dependent on style and party composition but it seems undervalued. I don't think you can say the best course of action is always Panache + Finisher because DPR is not the be-all-end-all outside of white room damage calculation.


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Squiggit wrote:
... they can't be strength based...

Sure they can. Gymnasts want Str for Athletics for Maneuvers. The limitation is that they can only use Agile or Finesse weapons to gain the Precise Strike damage and perform Finishers, but even Finesse weapons can be used with Str.

Indeed, a Strength-based Gymnast / Dual-Weapon Warrior with Gauntlets is quite doable.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Even if you gave Swashbuckler's dexterity for damage, they get one attack per round if using a finisher...

You're just wrong.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
A gymnast swashbuckler can't even get panache back after using a finisher because all the maneuvers he must have the attack trait and it can't be used after employing a finisher. If you use one of the gymnast maneuvers to regain panache, you take a MAP penalty on your finisher attacks.

That's why Gymnasts get their Panache at the start of the turn instead.

Sure, they take the MAP on the finisher, but Grapple or Trip + Finisher takes some edge off the MAP when the opponent is Flat-Footed from being Grabbed or Prone. Being able to choose which DC (Fortitude or Reflex) to target helps land the maneuver. With an Agile weapon the MAP is mitigated even more. Later on, with Combination Finisher, the MAP is even less of an issue.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
It's why I'm surprised to see people who consider the gymnast a good Swashbuckler Archetype. It seemed like one of the worst to me, especially at early levels.

Gymnast is relatively easy to pull off repeatedly and reliably. The Gymnast's routine often eats into the target's action economy (e.g.: Escape from Grabbed which also increases the target's MAP, Stand from Prone, or Step/Stride after being Shoved), and/or sets the target up for Attacks of Opportunity.

None of the other styles have that much bang built into their Panache/Finisher routine.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
As a DM watching a swashbuckler in play, the finisher tag really bogged them down...

Swashbucklers at the tables I've played and DMd have very little difficulty working around the Finisher trait. It just takes some planning, like other martials working with the Flourish, Open, and Press traits.


Pixel Popper wrote:
You're just wrong.

What exactly am I wrong about? Are you just saying this without an explanation proving your point? I'm completely indifferent to whether a swashbuckler gets dexterity to damage because I know, as in provably know, that this would only have any kind of noticeable effect at low level when the stat is a noticeable damage component. It won't do much at all at higher level.

Even recently running a precision ranger, I used a shortbow. Still outdamaged everyone in the group except the two-handed wielding magus with just precision and shortbow damage. Precision damage was the more important damage booster than my statistic. Your main stat damage becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your damage as you level.

Quote:
Swashbucklers at the tables I've played and DMd have very little difficulty working around the Finisher trait. It just takes some planning, like other martials working with the Flourish, Open, and Press traits.

When it comes to comparative damage, I highly disagree. Finisher tag is a much bigger limiter than Flourish or Open. Press traits are generally avoided in my group.

We're talking comparative damage here? Have you tracked it to see how much the lack of being able to do additional attacks in a round interferes with damage say compared to a fighter or barbarian using action economy boosters to do damage? Like a double slice fighter or a knockdown fighter? Or a raging barbarian using Sudden Charge?

Or are you spitballing what you think is the limiting factor for a Swashbuckler doing equivalent damage? I can pretty much guarantee it is not dexterity to damage lowering their numbers. The stat is a small component of damage for high level martials. Almost nothing for a barbarian or rogue. The fighter is probably the most stat-dependent class for a damage boost as a high strength matches their specialization bonus, but it still doesn't form the higher percentage compared to dice.

I really wonder if many on here have tracked how much the finisher tag limits their damage potential versus other martials. I know tracking it, it was quite a big before I modified the finisher tag. It made the Swashbucklers rounds much more fluid.


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So if we're looking to patch the swashbuckler, I think the best way would be to print some more feats that encourage "staying in Panache" so that's more of a viable strategy.

But as for "I lead with a finisher, then regain panache, now what do I do with my third action" question I find that it's pretty easy to find things to do with third actions. If you don't want to move, consider somehing like dueling parry, or vivacious bravado, or using an item, or any number of other things (multiclassing bard is fun.)

Having a free third action is a good thing, not a bad thing.


As a gymnast i did find my playtstyle ended up being either ignore gymnast class features and tumble through bleeding finisher or ignore finishers and trip everyone with derring do and make hay with the fact both me and the fighter had attack of opportunity.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the swashbuckler is a pretty fun class. I would love to see some more options for gaining benefits while in panache as I think it is a underutilized style that has benefits already that people overlook. I think swashbuckler really suffers from the mindset players have of like doing your one thing and staying in that rotation. Swashbuckler functions really well in that paradigm until it doesn't. People worry about not gaining panache but then spend it willy nilly in tough fights were it will prove difficult, or things have an immunity to their panache style. They focus on gaining panache and targeting the same creature as opposed to getting panache off of a weaker enemy and then targeting the stronger one. The finishers are a part of the tool-kit but they aren't the only thing, otherwise panache wouldn't give any bonuses whatsoever on non finisher attacks.

This is with free-archetype and I haven't white room tested( primarily because that doesn't interest me) but I have a swashbuckler with monk archetype, getting fortune on crowd control maneuvers, being able to flurry with precise strike damage, and utilize key finishers in appropriate moments feels really nice and fun. You could probably even keep the core of the build in a non free archetype game and the fun will still be there.


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Monk archetype with stumbling stance is great for fencers. I hope they add more styles in the future. I think a recall knowledge based style could be pretty fun. The stereotypical smartass that knows enemies every weakness.

Liberty's Edge

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aobst128 wrote:
Monk archetype with stumbling stance is great for fencers. I hope they add more styles in the future. I think a recall knowledge based style could be pretty fun. The stereotypical smartass that knows enemies every weakness.

Investigator MC with Known Weaknesses feat ?


The Raven Black wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Monk archetype with stumbling stance is great for fencers. I hope they add more styles in the future. I think a recall knowledge based style could be pretty fun. The stereotypical smartass that knows enemies every weakness.
Investigator MC with Known Weaknesses feat ?

That works but doesn't have panache support.

Liberty's Edge

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DAS, Finisher and One for all ?

And now I want to build one.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Pixel Popper wrote:
You're just wrong.
What exactly am I wrong about? Are you just saying this without an explanation proving your point?

Didn't read my next block, did'ya?

I answered what exactly was wrong in the following block in my original reply. While you can take no other Attack action after performing a Finisher, nothing in the rules prevents taking Attack actions before performing a finisher.

So:

  • Strike then Finisher is allowed.
  • Trip then Finisher is allowed.
  • Strike, Strike... or Double-Slice... or Twin Takedown... or Intimidating Strike... or Skirmish Strike... or Power Attack... etceteras... then Finisher is explicitly allowed.

    Sure, the Finisher roll will have a MAP, but, as I originally pointed out, there are ways to work around that. If someone only makes one attack per round using a Finisher, that is a player choice but it is absolutely not a rules constraint.

    Therefore, you're premise was just plain wrong.


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    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Pixel Popper wrote:
    Swashbucklers at the tables I've played and DMd have very little difficulty working around the Finisher trait. It just takes some planning, like other martials working with the Flourish, Open, and Press traits.
    When it comes to comparative damage, I highly disagree.

    You're statement that I replied to wasn't about comparative damage. It was that the Finisher trait allows only one attack action per turn [I've already refuted that false premise].

    My rebuttal stands.

    Continued... [since you don't read ahead before replying...]

    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Finisher tag is a much bigger limiter than Flourish or Open.

    It certainly is not more of a limiter, but it does require a different approach to work around it. Instead of front-loading your turn with a Precise Strke damage via a Finisher, front-load the turn with other actions and... well... finish with a Finisher.

    I mean. C'mon. They call it a "Finisher" for crying out lout.

    Continued...

    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Press traits are generally avoided in my group.

    You keep describing player problems and attributing them to rules problems.

    Press, like Finisher, just needs to be planned around. Intimidating Strike or Sudden Charge plus Combat Grab [Press] are pretty strong combos. And if the MAP is a problem, find ways to mitigate it. It's really not that hard.

    Continued...

    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    We're talking comparative damage here? Have you tracked it to see how much the lack of being able to do additional attacks in a round interferes with damage say compared to a fighter or barbarian using action economy boosters to do damage? Like a double slice fighter or a knockdown fighter? Or a raging barbarian using Sudden Charge?

    (a.) I never spoke to anything in my response to you about comparative damage. I addressed your faulty conclusions about the limits of Swashbucklers' action economy. To whit...

    (b.) Your statement that I originally replied to was: "they [Swashbucklers] get one attack per round if using a finisher" (emphasis added).

    That premise is false.

    Continued...

    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Or are you spitballing what you think is the limiting factor for a Swashbuckler doing equivalent damage?

    Nah. Never said anything about doing equivalent damage.

    But, nah, no spitballing. Rather, real table experience watching several different Swashbucklers in the some eight or nine campaigns I either GM or play in [that have Swashies]. What I don't see is them suffering from any of the issues you describe with regards to action economy or limited flexibility.

    Regarding damage parity, none of them are deluded enough to believe that they can or should deal, round-to-round, as much damage as a Fighter or Barbarian or etceteras.

    Continued...

    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    I can pretty much guarantee it is not dexterity to damage lowering their numbers. The stat is a small component of damage for high level martials.

    I completely agree.


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    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    ... But as for "I lead with a finisher, then regain panache, now what do I do with my third action" question I find that it's pretty easy to find things to do with third actions. If you don't want to move, consider somehing like dueling parry, or vivacious bravado, or using an item, or any number of other things (multiclassing bard is fun.)...

    Good points, but what about... I dunno...

    How about don't Open with a Finisher? Especially if you want to do other things with the Attack trait.

    Now that's not to say, "never lead with a Finisher," but front-loading turns with a Finisher as standard operating routine is pretty silly and certainly, inferring from the name of the trait, not the intent.


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    Pixel Popper wrote:
    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Pixel Popper wrote:
    You're just wrong.
    What exactly am I wrong about? Are you just saying this without an explanation proving your point?

    Didn't read my next block, did'ya?

    I answered what exactly was wrong in the following block in my original reply. While you can take no other Attack action after performing a Finisher, nothing in the rules prevents taking Attack actions before performing a finisher.

    So:

  • Strike then Finisher is allowed.
  • Trip then Finisher is allowed.
  • Strike, Strike... or Double-Slice... or Twin Takedown... or Intimidating Strike... or Skirmish Strike... or Power Attack... etceteras... then Finisher is explicitly allowed.

    Sure, the Finisher roll will have a MAP, but, as I originally pointed out, there are ways to work around that. If someone only makes one attack per round using a Finisher, that is a player choice but it is absolutely not a rules constraint.

    Therefore, you're premise was just plain wrong.

  • Any particular reason you've followed Deriven to 2-3 different threads to post the same reply? Part of the reason of this thread is to uhh... contain activity like that in one spot.

    Also, related in part to your reply, the Swash has no feats that have the Open OR Press trait, which is interesting as most/all other martial classes do. It's as if something is being implied there...


    In general, I think if you want to do more damage, a strike + confident finisher is the way to go. Once you get bleeding finisher and then perfect finisher, you can open with those more commonly, but the fact that confident finisher has a good failure effect would suggest that it's a good second or 3rd attack.


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    If I'm remembering the math right, attacking before finishing is an average net gain of 2 or 3 damage depending on where you are in the game and a damage loss if it's a maneuver (trip is still good for other reasons obviously). Finishing after two attacks is always a damage loss. This is assuming you're using an agile weapon and took combination finisher.

    In other words, the damage gain is paltry and leaves you with fewer chances to regain panache. I think it's important to keep in mind that for all the average damage estimates that have been going around, they all assume a 100% chance to gain panache in one action. The moment you incorporate panache failure into things, the numbers plummet early before climbing back up as the skill curve acts in the player's favor.

    So just because it's possible to strike once or twice before a finisher, it is incredibly ill-advised.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    In pretty fond of the Swashbuckler mechanics in theory, though I've yet to get first hand experience to see if they feel undertuned in practice. The PF1 version of the class was a fighter/gunslinger hybrid, so I think tend to look at them like fighters for DPR. They functionally seem closer to a monk/rogue hybrid now, though. Probably more monk, really, who has similar stat demands. Dex for AC and maybe accuracy, strength for damage and athletics, and optionally a mental stat depending on some build choices.


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    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Employing an incredibly ill-advised plan to gamble for more damage at a critical moment seems right up a swashbuckler's alley.


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    Pixel Popper wrote:
    Now that's not to say, "never lead with a Finisher," but front-loading turns with a Finisher as standard operating routine is pretty silly and certainly, inferring from the name of the trait, not the intent.

    I feel like the name "finisher" is to imply "finish your opponent" not "finish your turn". So the "no more attacks this clause" is to disincentivize the use a finisher against an opponent it could not possibly drop.

    Like we're supposed to be replicating "with a graceful lunge, you penetrate your opponents defenses and your opponent, you retract your blade, they slump to their knees, you turn your back, walk away while cleaning and sheathing your blade" thing.


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    A friend of mine in a mid level game is playing a wit swashbuckler, and while his damage a little lower than most martials, his support abilities are really clutch. One for All makes him useful in every aspect of the game, since if he can't directly do The Thing, he can aid with his best skill. Bon Mot is really nice for softening up will saves for control casters and perception DCs for sneaky types. Guardian's Deflection has spared us from many hit can crits.

    He's consistently one of our mvps when it comes to hard encounters


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    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    I feel like the name "finisher" is to imply "finish your opponent" not "finish your turn". So the "no more attacks this clause" is to disincentivize the use a finisher against an opponent it could not possibly drop.

    Like we're supposed to be replicating "with a graceful lunge, you penetrate your opponents defenses and your opponent, you retract your blade, they slump to their knees, you turn your back, walk away while cleaning and sheathing your blade" thing.

    The sad thing is that by the time you hit level 6 you can rarely drop even a mook with a high damage roll and beyond that, it would take a crit finisher to even have a chance to drop somebody. These finishers just don't do what they say on the tin.


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    Higher potential damage can mean more to a player than average damage, especially when hero points are involved. Besides, the most powergamery setup I can think of would be stumbling feint followed by a precise + combination confident finisher.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    I feel like the name "finisher" is to imply "finish your opponent" not "finish your turn". So the "no more attacks this clause" is to disincentivize the use a finisher against an opponent it could not possibly drop.

    Like we're supposed to be replicating "with a graceful lunge, you penetrate your opponents defenses and your opponent, you retract your blade, they slump to their knees, you turn your back, walk away while cleaning and sheathing your blade" thing.

    I sort of get that, but the way the Swashbuckler's damage is structured I think makes that a bit of a pain (unless you have a gameplan that revolves around holding onto panache like a derring-do gymnast).

    The 'base' precise strike damage isn't that high and scales fairly poorly. Finisher damage is kind of high, but not that much higher than other mechanics, especially at higher levels, that it really feels like something you can afford to sit on for most of the fight.


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    The mechanic is a misnomer if it's meant to be used as a sort of coup de grace.
    It's too restricted if it's meant to just be done every turn.

    Imagine if Monk could not attack after they did Flurry of Blows.


    I feel like this just circles back to the essential problem of "the hit point system means everybody can take a staggering amount of damage before dropping".

    Like you can shoot a regular shortbow at a high level barbarian for like an hour while they stand there laughing at you looking increasingly like a pincushion and nothing will happen.


    HP is the other system I'd want to see changed after the sacred 6 stats are axed and replaced with something that works better. It doesn't make sense, as either your character can literally take hundreds of shots from a bow (comical), or those 'hits' never actually hit until your last hitpoint drops away (nonsensical). I'd steal from systems that use death saves based on cumulative damage taken and set thresholds where that damage makes you take serious penalties. Then I'd make higher-level characters better at getting the first hits in and have combat actually feel like combat and not some grand sport where the heroes always win because they're the heroes.

    The PCs should never take a fair fight and should endeavor to escape any fight they didn't start. The PCs should use dirty tricks to kill or otherwise bypass enemies without risking themselves. The PCs should play like a trained team of veterans and not a bunch of LARPers yelling fireball and tossing beanbags in an open field.


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    PrismaticPandaBear wrote:
    Verdyn wrote:
    HP is the other system I'd want to see changed...
    If people can suspend their disbelief when playing Fallout they can probably suspend their disbelief for D&D/PF2e.

    You say that like people don't roll their eyes at bullet sponge enemies, especially in games where weapon damage scales and a moderate level enemy might tank dozens of shots when you're level 1 but drop to your weakest weapon when you're level 5. That and many people are just as sick of heroes that regenerate HP after crouching behind a rock for 10 seconds or heal by eating 85 wheels of cheese instantly.

    I think people have an appetite for games where things do actual damage and the key to winning a fight is being a bastard and attacking before the enemy knows you're there.


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    PrismaticPandaBear wrote:
    Verdyn wrote:
    I think people have an appetite for games where things do actual damage and the key to winning a fight is being a bastard and attacking before the enemy knows you're there.
    5e's success seems to disagree with you. It is a fact that the most popular TTRPG right now does not conform to that principle. So, even if "some" people have an appetite for that kind of game, it would be absolutely niche.

    I mean sure, but the popularity of McDonalds hasn't invalidated the rest of the culinary world either, the OSR isn't a hypothetical, a lot of people prefer it.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    I mean yeah some people play those games but it's a pretty significant departure from what PF is, too. So y'know, if you want to go play OSR or WHRPG go... do that.


    The fact something sells a lot because of brand name does not mean that thing is good. Just look at the hyper inflated mess that is Apple, when Linux is overall much better and cheaper.

    Just because people like easy, does not mean there aren't people who like crunch. It the entire reason why Soul-like games sell in the first place. If people didn't like those then everyone would be playing mario party as their only game.


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    This thread is supposed to be about the swashbuckler, but oh well. The whole hp complaint I don't get. It's simple enough to rationalize. I just go with standard hits are glancing unless it does a more significant portion of a characters health and crits are clean blows. Besides, this is fantasy. People are here for fantastic battles with impossibly talented swordsmen, and brutes that can chuck boulders and casters that can melt a whole town. Gritty realism can be done but it's never been the norm, nor what people generally want out of it.


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    Pixel Popper wrote:
    Deriven Firelion wrote:
    Pixel Popper wrote:
    You're just wrong.
    What exactly am I wrong about? Are you just saying this without an explanation proving your point?

    Didn't read my next block, did'ya?

    I answered what exactly was wrong in the following block in my original reply. While you can take no other Attack action after performing a Finisher, nothing in the rules prevents taking Attack actions before performing a finisher.

    So:

  • Strike then Finisher is allowed.
  • Trip then Finisher is allowed.
  • Strike, Strike... or Double-Slice... or Twin Takedown... or Intimidating Strike... or Skirmish Strike... or Power Attack... etceteras... then Finisher is explicitly allowed.

    Sure, the Finisher roll will have a MAP, but, as I originally pointed out, there are ways to work around that. If someone only makes one attack per round using a Finisher, that is a player choice but it is absolutely not a rules constraint.

    Therefore, you're premise was just plain wrong.

  • I covered all this. Players shouldn't have to take the MAP penalty on a finisher, especially a higher value finisher to do those things. And against bosses it is a bad idea.

    I already advised a player to try using an attack prior to a finisher, but it wasn't as effective as using a finisher with the highest possible attack roll.

    In the particular group I ran the swashbuckler in, using finishers on lower level mooks wasn't that great because he was in a group with a druid and a barbarian who murdered things faster than that player.

    Against bosses taking a MAP on a finisher wasn't at all a great idea because they usually have a high AC.

    This is exactly why I don't look at problems with classes on an individual basis, but a comparative basis. If you're having to take a MAP penalty on your best attack, when other classes do not you will perform worse.

    In the group the Swashbuckler was in, the barbarian used one action to rage and eventually was able to rage and Sudden Charge at the same time thus improving his action economy greatly as he leveled.

    The druid also could unload with an AOE spell, while using a sustained spell like Punishing winds to do damage in an area.

    So against mooks the barbarian and druid were murdering groups. Ripping them apart, while the swashbuckler was engaged in this mechanically inferior process:

    1. Attack once with precision damage.

    2. Finisher.

    3. Get Panache back.

    This process against mooks was not competitive with a druid and giant instinct barbarian.

    Then against bosses he used the following as maximum MAP:

    1. Get Panache if no panache.

    2. Perfect Finisher with Maximum MAP. His best option by that level.

    3. Then get panache back usually using Tumble Through.

    Round done for attacking.

    I generally check the numbers of the classes the swashbuckler competes against in a group. The class performance should be on par with the classes they compete for roles with. At least that is how I see it.

    The Finisher tag and current play-style of the swashbuckler is not competitive with core classes for damage or overall group effectiveness.

    Can a player who doesn't care about any of that and just wants to play a swashbuckler for fun do well enough? Sure. PF2 is definitely a game where the difference is not so wide as to make any class unplayable. The gap is wide enough to make them noticeably worse at dealing damage.


    Verdyn wrote:
    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    I feel like the name "finisher" is to imply "finish your opponent" not "finish your turn". So the "no more attacks this clause" is to disincentivize the use a finisher against an opponent it could not possibly drop.

    Like we're supposed to be replicating "with a graceful lunge, you penetrate your opponents defenses and your opponent, you retract your blade, they slump to their knees, you turn your back, walk away while cleaning and sheathing your blade" thing.

    The sad thing is that by the time you hit level 6 you can rarely drop even a mook with a high damage roll and beyond that, it would take a crit finisher to even have a chance to drop somebody. These finishers just don't do what they say on the tin.

    I'm starting to think the finisher wasn't meant to be used every round, but mainly when the target gets into finisher range for a kill.

    So many people posted that maximum damage was achieved using a finisher every round that most people want to be able to do it to remain competitive.

    I think that they wouldn't have included the regular precision damage bonus if they did not intend the swashbuckler to use regular attacks more often. I think maybe swashbuckler players shouldn't rely on using a finisher every round.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Verdyn wrote:
    PrismaticPandaBear wrote:
    Verdyn wrote:
    HP is the other system I'd want to see changed...
    If people can suspend their disbelief when playing Fallout they can probably suspend their disbelief for D&D/PF2e.

    You say that like people don't roll their eyes at bullet sponge enemies, especially in games where weapon damage scales and a moderate level enemy might tank dozens of shots when you're level 1 but drop to your weakest weapon when you're level 5. That and many people are just as sick of heroes that regenerate HP after crouching behind a rock for 10 seconds or heal by eating 85 wheels of cheese instantly.

    I think people have an appetite for games where things do actual damage and the key to winning a fight is being a bastard and attacking before the enemy knows you're there.

    I've heard these ideas for decades. It will never change.

    All the sacred cows are what make D&D/PF what it is compared to a game like GURPs or some other RPG. Why would the designers ever move away from what differentiates their system from other systems?

    If they did, they would see comparison with systems that don't have the history or market power of a D&D type of game.

    Plenty of other games using different system mechanics that people can play. But D&D as the big daddy is there for a reason and it isn't getting rid of sacred cows that have kept it as the market leader for going on what? 40 plus years?


    Deriven Firelion wrote:

    I'm starting to think the finisher wasn't meant to be used every round, but mainly when the target gets into finisher range for a kill.

    So many people posted that maximum damage was achieved using a finisher every round that most people want to be able to do it to remain competitive.

    I think that they wouldn't have included the regular precision damage bonus if they did not intend the swashbuckler to use regular attacks more often. I think maybe swashbuckler players shouldn't rely on using a finisher every round.

    If you're not rocking a finisher every round then what exactly do you bring to the fight? I ask because in doing that you've just put yourself below the Champion in terms of DPR and don't get a ton of stances like a Monk, or skills like a Rogue, or range, or unique utility, or...

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