Player Core 2 request-Overhaul the Swashbuckler


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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nicholas storm wrote:

To change the swashbuckler, I would:

Change the maximum panache to 3; gain 3 on critical, 2 on success, 1 on failure, zero on critical failure. Allow you to add the extra damage to having panache onto the finishing strike if you started strike with 2 or more panache.

I would remove the finisher restriction prohibiting more attacks after finisher.

Add dex to damage for at least one of the styles

Allow STR as the class attribute for gymnast.

it's great,but i don't think paizo would do it.

they won't use the counter .


I think it might be worth formalising the option of doing something fancy for Panche rather than leaving it to GM discretion. Something like:

Do With Panche!
When you move or Interact, you can attempt to do it stylishly. Make an Acrobatics check or a skill check based on your swashbuckler style at a Very Hard DC for your level.

Success You gain Panche
Critical Failure You do not perform the move or Interact


nicholas storm wrote:

Comparison high level based on a recent combat I had at level 17; this is comparing same enemy at level 18

Weapon +3 major striking, speed, +2d6 elemental
+4 strength, +2 hit circumstance, +1 status

Swashbuckler
TH 36
AC 42
Damage 55.5
Critical 0.25 0.4375
Hit 0.75 0.9375
1.375
Damage 55.5 76.3125

TH 36 32 28 28
AC 42 42 42 42
Damage 37 37 37 37
Critical Damage 74 74 74 74
Critical 0.25 0.05 0.05 0.05
Hit 0.75 0.55 0.35 0.35

Damage 37 22.2 14.8 14.8 88.8

With confident finisher swashbuckler does 76; same finisher without confident is 55.5

Without finisher attacking 4 times swashbuckler does 88.8

Fighter does 197; flurry of blows, agile grace, feral mutagen

Why would you use Confident Finisher for comparison, while using a fighter tricked out with Monk Archetype, agile grace, and feral mutagen? An extremely uncommon build? What is the point of that?

What damage are you doing with Perfect Finisher since you are taking into account feats? Why would you compare the base level finisher against a fighter using a full build and not compare the swashbuckler with a full build?

It's like you're trying to lose the debate.


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So here's a thought experiment-

What if, because you are spending Panache to do it and that's a resource it cost you something to get, Finishers simply ignored MAP.

Would that make the Swashbuckler too good? Since there is an awkwardness about how you want to use Finishers with the maximum accuracy, but they cut you off from attacking thereafter.


I used the finisher that rolls twice

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

From me running JR in 2e with two of npcs being built as pc build swashbucklers, the weird thing about class is that until level 7 it feels underwhelming.

Its fine after that, but level 7 is really long time.


nicholas storm wrote:
I used the finisher that rolls twice

That is Perfect Finisher.

Did you try it with one normal attack with Perfect Finisher and Combination Finisher as the second attack?

When I was tracking damage, the swashbuckler's damage really picked up with Perfect Finisher with a rapier.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So here's a thought experiment-

What if, because you are spending Panache to do it and that's a resource it cost you something to get, Finishers simply ignored MAP.

Would that make the Swashbuckler too good? Since there is an awkwardness about how you want to use Finishers with the maximum accuracy, but they cut you off from attacking thereafter.

that would allow double slice and than finisher

3 or 4 attack with 0 map in same turn

dual finisher attack two target while also do 6d6 precision on miss

still worse than rogue with preparation but fully function at range with flying knife and dual thrower


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So here's a thought experiment-

What if, because you are spending Panache to do it and that's a resource it cost you something to get, Finishers simply ignored MAP.

Would that make the Swashbuckler too good? Since there is an awkwardness about how you want to use Finishers with the maximum accuracy, but they cut you off from attacking thereafter.

Had a similar Idea, even If it goes Not quite as far

Let the finisher have the same map as the Attack before it

In that case you still have to think if third Action is the way to go, but you can di a 1-2 Combo at many enemies


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I've always wondered what math they ran to make it seem like you should not be able to attack again after a Finisher.

Same as I wonder what math they ran to make Strategic Strike once per round and require an action to use while maxing at 5d6.

It's very strange that they made both classes so weak. I wonder if it was to somehow ensure the rogue remains the top precision damage dealer by a good margin.


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Pathfinder 2e math is strange sometimes. You can see this in so many places.

- Weapons with reload do nearly the same damage as weapons without reload despite the action cost effectively being DOUBLE.
- Attack spells deal nearly the same damage as save spells despite no damage on failure.
- Poisons deal nearly the same damage as other at-level damage buffs despite having 2 points of failure (attack and save).
- Spells like disintegrate deal less damage than upcasted second level damage spells (sudden bolt) due to 2 points of failure (attack and save).
- Spells with automatic success (maze, wall of stone, heroism, magic missile) are wildly more powerful than other equivalent level spells due to no points of failure.
- Feats and spells with powerful effects only on critical fail are way overvalued in the balance math. Knight's Retaliation shoves an undead enemy back only on critically failed attack of theirs for a LEVEL 8 feat.
- Finishers are just one more addition to the list.

The size of an effect should be adjusted based on the probability of that effect occuring. An effect occuring with a 5% chance should be 20 times more powerful than one occuring at 100% chance. Instead Paizo often has a different type of math: bonuses and damage are always roughly based on level and do not account for the probability of the effect occuring.

EDIT: Removed a needlessly inflammatory statement

Dark Archive

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Vodalian wrote:
CorvusMask Edit: Since quote I'm responding to was edited, I'm also removing it from this quoteblock since offending remark doesn't exist anymore so its all fine xD

O_o I'm kinda weirded out you said that part aloud.

Like yeah, I get feeling that lot of people on forum think they know better than the developers, but usually they don't claim so aloud x'D

This isn't even me making fun of armchair developers, its more of "Wow, do you realize how damning that statement is?"


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Sorry, it's mostly because I'm in an argumentative mood. I still love pf2e, and now that the computer game adaptation Dawnsbury Days is coming out and enabling me to fix all the math to my liking via modding, I feel empowered to speak out.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huh, someone made simple computer game using pf2e rules? neat

Either way, when it comes to house rules I'm sure lot of people have that kind of "it worked in my home game, so why not in the official system?" kind of reactions, but its important to not make strawman out of people you haven't ever met and had conversation with. Presumably there is reason why something is like x that isn't apparent to people not part of the conversation.

(Also in event that you are right and thus have promising career as game dev ahead of you in future, its still likely not good idea to alienate people in same career path as you or interested in it xD Nobody wants to be remembered as "that guy who keeps telling everyone else they know better")


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Oh I already have a stable boring good career as a data engineer, complaining about game design is just a shared passion for me and my SO. We love playing all sorts of games, we love complaining about them just as much.


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Vodalian wrote:
Pathfinder 2e math is strange sometimes. You can see this in so many places.

Just be cautious in your comments as there are some serious mathematicians on this forum.

Your points are largely valid. But I'm going to comment anyway. First off I think that most powers are balanced by a limit. Paizo is perfectly happy to have much weaker feats. Especially if the flavour is good. There are still a lot of abilities which are of minimal value. That is clearly not ideal but it is OK as most of the balance of the game is just in the base class and level.

Vodalian wrote:

- Weapons with reload do nearly the same damage as weapons without reload despite the action cost effectively being DOUBLE.

True but MAP dominates attacks so that is not as bad as it seems.
Vodalian wrote:
- Attack spells deal nearly the same damage as save spells despite no damage on failure.
It is easier to get modifiers versus AC than other defences.
Vodalian wrote:

- Poisons deal nearly the same damage as other at-level damage buffs despite having 2 points of failure (attack and save).

- Spells like disintegrate deal less damage than upcasted second level damage spells (sudden bolt) due to 2 points of failure (attack and save).
Yes I pretty much ignore these type of effects as a bad idea. But there are poisons without a save just damage. Disintegrate still has a place a a utility spell, and you can always use it with True Strike where it is not so bad.
Vodalian wrote:
- Spells with automatic success (maze, wall of stone, heroism) are wildly more powerful than other equivalent level spells due to no points of failure.
This has been a feature of D&D from 1st edition. But effects with a save are still useful as they are another modifier that you can stack on top of your buffs. It is much easier to see now that modifiers are limited to item/status/circumstance and so buffing tops out much quicker
Vodalian wrote:
- Feats and spells with powerful effects only on critical fail are way overvalued in the balance math. Knight's Retaliation shoves an undead enemy back only on critically failed attack of theirs for a LEVEL 8 feat.
You can do things to increase your chance of criticals especially with the new Aid.
Vodalian wrote:

- Finishers are just one more addition to the list.

The size of an effect should be adjusted based on the probability of that effect occuring.

Yep which is why bonuses that are almost always applicable are the best type. Even when they are much smaller.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Agile Maneuvers is likely going away now that Agile from fists and weapons applies on Athletics skill attack combat maneuvers.

[SOURCE]

Apologies if this was already known/discussed here.


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It's very funny that people seem to think they are the only ones with the ability to do math.

Especially when Mark was one of the core designers.


I made a comparison between different finishers, strikes and a rogue with precise debilitations in Pathfinder Damage Calculator and I noticed that in the end the rogue wins against any finishers combinations. The only combination that isn't in the graph due its complexity is use of Perfect Finisher in a target that is already bleeding.
The other curious thing is that Lethal Finisher is a trap. In practice due the dual check (you must hit in order to the target make a fort check vs your class DC) its weaker than 2 Strikes! If used after a Strike it's still weaker than a Strike + a normal Confident Finisher due the Confident Finisher failure effect is grant the normal 6d6 precision damage.

This IMO already made the finishers a target for a revision. I honestly don't accept that a Rogue avg damage could be equal or stronger than a swashbuckler because we are comparing a skill monkey with a fully martial focused character.

About Panache I agree with the general opinion. It's an action tax with a failure (and even a critical failure negative effects) chance and need to be revised too. OK, if you pass you may get some additional effects like Demoralize or Bon Mot. But I think that swashbucklers need a granted way to gain Panache otherwise they will be worse to get their main ability than any other classes.


Updated the DPR graph with Precise Finisher and Combination Finisher. This made the Strike + Finishers stronger but not enough to compete with the rogue.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:

It's very funny that people seem to think they are the only ones with the ability to do math.

Especially when Mark was one of the core designers.

That doesn't really mean anything though.


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Cyouni wrote:

It's very funny that people seem to think they are the only ones with the ability to do math.

Especially when Mark was one of the core designers.

If that's the case why are there so many trap options in the game? Why was Flickmace printed as it was? Why do they have to go back and fix weak classes in the remaster?


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Anyone can make errors and the game designers aren't exception for this. That's the why errata happens.

So anyone has right to complain about math and mechanics specially because the "collective mind" of the internet can easily see things that the game designers and revisors missed. At same time that's common that the people complaining made mistakes too and other people question their complains. All this is normal and benefit the game and its future erratas.

IMO I think that many mistakes was made in swashbuckler and it need to be fixed in order to many people can play with the class without notice that its contribution to the party are being subpar.


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Ryangwy wrote:

Do With Panche!

When you move or Interact, you can attempt to do it stylishly. Make an Acrobatics check or a skill check based on your swashbuckler style at a Very Hard DC for your level.

No class ability or feat should ever default to using a "very hard DC for your level". That is a bad mechanic, and any ability that uses it should be rewritten. If you want to tie the use of an ability to a particular skill, just have it work but tie the actual effect to the skill proficiency rank.


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I think a lot of questions about the Swashbuckler's Panache mechanic could be informed by the Kineticist's Gather Power mechanic.

What if the action tax was simply "you gain Panache" for one action and as a free action, as part of this, you may attempt to tumble through or other actions (combat maneuvers, feints, etc.) depending on your subclass and feat choices?


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think a lot of questions about the Swashbuckler's Panache mechanic could be informed by the Kineticist's Gather Power mechanic.

What if the action tax was simply "you gain Panache" for one action and as a free action, as part of this, you may attempt to tumble through or other actions (combat maneuvers, feints, etc.) depending on your subclass and feat choices?

I actually really like this - the flavor could even be you say some witty comment or a flourish with your blade, or some other thing.

Yeah, I'd be for this.


Cyouni wrote:

It's very funny that people seem to think they are the only ones with the ability to do math.

Especially when Mark was one of the core designers.

I find it more surprising that half the community can't or don't do maths. Even the very simple maths involved in this game.

I mean that people design for certain outcomes: peak or average effectiveness, long or short aventuring days, long or short range combat, offence or defence. Some stick tightly to a theme, others are happy to reinterpret powers into a theme. There are so many different ways of approaching a design. But some people just don't seem to engage the game rationally at all.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think a lot of questions about the Swashbuckler's Panache mechanic could be informed by the Kineticist's Gather Power mechanic.

What if the action tax was simply "you gain Panache" for one action and as a free action, as part of this, you may attempt to tumble through or other actions (combat maneuvers, feints, etc.) depending on your subclass and feat choices?

This would smooth out swash gameplay a lot. I approve.


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Cyouni wrote:

It's very funny that people seem to think they are the only ones with the ability to do math.

Especially when Mark was one of the core designers.

I don't think anyone said that.

I personally want to see the math they ran and what their design parameters that made things work out in the end game the way they are.

They must have calculated the rate of panache generation combined with finisher damage compared to what a comparative class does to come up with the Finisher damage dice and finisher limitations, right? They must have had an idea of how that works.

I'm wondering if they expected people to focus more on regular strikes, then use panache judiciously to boost damage with finishers in fights rather than almost every round as I see it used in the game.


Vodalian wrote:
Sorry, it's mostly because I'm in an argumentative mood. I still love pf2e, and now that the computer game adaptation Dawnsbury Days is coming out and enabling me to fix all the math to my liking via modding, I feel empowered to speak out.

Enlinken’d. I’m not sure why there isn’t more news about this…hopefully the devs of that game can update it to PF2R…


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think a lot of questions about the Swashbuckler's Panache mechanic could be informed by the Kineticist's Gather Power mechanic.

What if the action tax was simply "you gain Panache" for one action and as a free action, as part of this, you may attempt to tumble through or other actions (combat maneuvers, feints, etc.) depending on your subclass and feat choices?

Kineticist compress the EB/Stances into the Channel Elements action. I think that Panache could work like this. You make a Panache action and as part of this action you can Strike, Stride, Tumble Through or the Skill Action provided by your style so you will get the Panache no matter the results.

Maybe some people strange this but Strike in a Panache could be represented as the Swashbuckler Striking in a provocative manner, same for Stride (maybe restricting to Panache only when strides in direction of an enemy). The point is that this improves the number of actions a Swashbuckler could use to get a Panache.

For Finisher I think that simply improve its dice to d8s (like Investigators was improved with Insight Coffee but without need to drink an elixir as a band aid) and Precise Strike adding a 1d8 at level 1, 2d8 at level 9 and 3d8 at level 17 instead for normal strikes while in Panache.

These basically solves the dmg diference between the Swashbuckler and Rogues. In fact makes the Swashbucker stronger but that's the idea once the Rogues get many other benefits from their chassis while the Swashbucker is more combat oriented.


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See... and i really don't like the idea of a pure kineticist treatment... especially not one that encourages you to just "strike/finisher" over and over again, every round. That's the exact opposite of what a swashbuckler should be.

Basically, the current version tried to capture the idea of a swashbuckler in its mechanics. Now, it didn't work as well as we'd prefer in practice, but "screw the idea, just make my numbers go up" isn't the right answer here either.

I think... I think that one answer might just be Flourish. Like, the swashbuckler doesn't get a single action that has flourish. That's ridiculous. "Flourish" is something that a swashbuckler should be doing all the time. By comparison, "Finisher" is just... kind of meh, you know? I mean, what does the idea of "finisher" have to do with sashbuckling, anyway?

So here's my thought:

- Panache is when you're up, you're on fire, you're dancing. Once you get into panache, it lasts until the end of the fight unless you critfail something, or a foe crit-succeeds against you, or you drop unconscious.
- If you have panache, and you take a flourish action, and that flourish includes at least one strike, then on the first strike of that flourish, you get your standard "finisher" benefits. The Swashbuckler feats that used to apply to Finishers get rewritted to apply to "flourishes while you have panache" (and tweaked to make sure that FoB doesn't get abused too badly)
- If you have panache, and you additionally do something that grants panache, you can, as your next action, take a free action flourish strike with an appropriately swashbucklery weapon. Fundamentally, a swashbuckler needs a flourish to work with from the beginning, and this is the one you start with.
- In addition to the other ways you can gain it, if you do not have panache, and you take a flourish action and do not fail or critfail during that action, you get panache. Additionally, any time you get a crit success on anything that involved str, dex, or cha, you gain panache.

So panache is something that you have to set up at the beginning of the fight but then mostly have until you fail hard enough to need to set it up again. At the same time, you're still interested in your panache generators, because your built-in flourish is actually pretty nice, and you'd like to keep triggering that thing. You also get some better action efficiency overall... which helps with encouraging you to ping-pong all over the room and find random little ways to mess with your enemies, like a real swashbuckler should.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:


I personally want to see the math they ran and what their design parameters that made things work out in the end game the way they are.

They must have calculated the rate of panache generation combined with finisher damage compared to what a comparative class does to come up with the Finisher damage dice and finisher limitations, right? They must have had an idea of how that works.

I'm wondering if they expected people to focus more on regular strikes, then use panache judiciously to boost damage with finishers in fights rather than almost every round as I see it used in the game.

One thing I definitely note is that you're expected to get decent use of Riposte, and don't need to be parrying to get that use, unlike Duelist or Fighter feats. (Also, that example is 2-3 feats deep in a chain.)

Another thing that certainly comes up is that some posters basically never consider movement as a factor, see every example where people only ever consider 4 attacks standing still. I do see a quick reference to a dev-side level 5 swashbuckler doing fine with fists critting at 2d4+4+3d6.

One thing I did recall is that it's definitely come up to use the secondary damage on panache in a way where you might not necessarily burn it every turn in situations where it's not reliable to regain it.

---

That said, one thing to consider is that swashbuckler was, far and away, the most popular class in the playtest. I'd have to dig up the Twitch VOD somehow again to confirm, but I don't recall any concerns about damage coming up during the retrospective. In general, people picked 5 stars to rank it more than any other option.

So what changed since then? Retort was lost, because it came up as limiting, though this did an interesting thing in regards to Cheat Death and how often it could be used. One fascinating thing I see changed is that styles had a way to start with panache - when they rolled it for initiative - but that was cut.

What could have been missed? One thing I definitely feel slipped people by is skill increases and the limitations therein, because there wasn't really leveling/characters over time.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
- Additionally, any time you get a crit success on anything that involved str, dex, or cha, you gain panache.

I would maybe amend this so that you don't gain panache just for crit succeeding a saving throw.

EDIT: Especially because you could have a single teammate fully enable a team of swashbucklers just by throwing out a saving throw effect from a low-level item where the DC becomes trivial to beat. Actually never mind, that would be a hilarious strategy and is suitably showoff-y, I approve.

Otherwise, I love everything about this. I especially agree that Finishers are weird flavor-wise and I wouldn't miss them if they got removed, though that sadly sounds like too big a change for the remaster. Still, interesting idea for a homebrew...


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
See... and i really don't like the idea of a pure kineticist treatment... especially not one that encourages you to just "strike/finisher" over and over again, every round. That's the exact opposite of what a swashbuckler should be.

Agreed but this could simply be fixed that you cannot use a finisher on the turn you gained Panache unless you success Acrobatics/style check.

This would mean they could still gain Panache but would actually have to succeed on the check the same round to use a finisher. Finishers should just get the Flourish trait rather than you cannot attack after using a finisher. This would mean Finishers could be guaranteed to be able to be used every second round with a chance of every round. The consolation prize of not succeeding at your check is you still get to hit with Panache.

Sanityfaerie wrote:

Basically, the current version tried to capture the idea of a swashbuckler in its mechanics. Now, it didn't work as well as we'd prefer in practice, but "screw the idea, just make my numbers go up" isn't the right answer here either.

I think... I think that one answer might just be Flourish. Like, the swashbuckler doesn't get a single action that has flourish. That's ridiculous. "Flourish" is something that a swashbuckler should be doing all the time. By comparison, "Finisher" is just... kind of meh, you know? I mean, what does the idea of "finisher" have to do with sashbuckling, anyway?

So here's my thought:

- Panache is when you're up, you're on fire, you're dancing. Once you get into panache, it lasts until the end of the fight unless you critfail something, or a foe crit-succeeds against you, or you drop unconscious.
- If you have panache, and you take a flourish action, and that flourish includes at least one strike, then on the first strike of that flourish, you get your standard "finisher" benefits. The Swashbuckler feats that used to apply to Finishers get rewritted to apply to "flourishes while you have panache" (and tweaked to make sure that FoB doesn't get abused too badly)
- If you have panache, and you additionally do something that grants panache, you can, as your next action, take a free action flourish strike with an appropriately swashbucklery weapon. Fundamentally, a swashbuckler needs a flourish to work with from the beginning, and this is the one you start with.
- In addition to the other ways you can gain it, if you do not have panache, and you take a flourish action and do not fail or critfail during that action, you get panache. Additionally, any time you get a crit success on anything that involved...

This is good but feels very complicated for a lot of newer players.

A completely alternative idea is to have Panache as something you use to buff he actions that currently gain you panache, so Panache gives you a bonus to your next feint, trip, Bon Mot effect and have it scale up - +1 at low levels and +3 at high levels. This would encourage the use of Panache for combat bonuses not just damage. Damage could be either smoothed out so Finishers aren't required or Finishers have the Flourish and can only be used as a subsequent action after use have used Panache.


Cyder wrote:
A completely alternative idea is to have Panache as something you use to buff he actions that currently gain you panache, so Panache gives you a bonus to your next feint, trip, Bon Mot effect and have it scale up - +1 at low levels and +3 at high levels.

That's already how Panache passively operates at low levels. Or do you mean consume the Panache to gain an even higher bonus for those actions?

Scarab Sages

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I'm hearing a lot of back and forth, but this is what I'm getting from a general idea.

Consensus: Swashbucklers are sub-optimal, especially at lower levels. At higher levels they seem to get better.

The Panache system needs reworking/tweaking. It's too hard to gain panache against single target enemies, and too easy to loose it.

The ability to damage on a miss is a nice class ability for a martial, and that could work for a class identity, but needs to be brought to the fore a bit more.

Tweak damage output upwards some amount so they can be competitive with Fighter/Rogue/Barbarian

Skills/skill increases need fixing.

That about right?


Maybe the skill check to gain panache could be against a standard DC for your level or a successful check (whichever is lower)

Would help with bosses and put it in line with inventor with how it gets going.


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VampByDay wrote:
That about right?

Thematically Finisher is an impossible ask of ability. So why do they enforce the restriction of no further attacks. Please rename it and remove that restriction.


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Demorome wrote:
Cyder wrote:
A completely alternative idea is to have Panache as something you use to buff he actions that currently gain you panache, so Panache gives you a bonus to your next feint, trip, Bon Mot effect and have it scale up - +1 at low levels and +3 at high levels.
That's already how Panache passively operates at low levels. Or do you mean consume the Panache to gain an even higher bonus for those actions?

Consume panache. Gain for free, consume for bonuses.


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Cyouni wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:


I personally want to see the math they ran and what their design parameters that made things work out in the end game the way they are.

They must have calculated the rate of panache generation combined with finisher damage compared to what a comparative class does to come up with the Finisher damage dice and finisher limitations, right? They must have had an idea of how that works.

I'm wondering if they expected people to focus more on regular strikes, then use panache judiciously to boost damage with finishers in fights rather than almost every round as I see it used in the game.

One thing I definitely note is that you're expected to get decent use of Riposte, and don't need to be parrying to get that use, unlike Duelist or Fighter feats. (Also, that example is 2-3 feats deep in a chain.)

Another thing that certainly comes up is that some posters basically never consider movement as a factor, see every example where people only ever consider 4 attacks standing still. I do see a quick reference to a dev-side level 5 swashbuckler doing fine with fists critting at 2d4+4+3d6.

One thing I did recall is that it's definitely come up to use the secondary damage on panache in a way where you might not necessarily burn it every turn in situations where it's not reliable to regain it.

---

That said, one thing to consider is that swashbuckler was, far and away, the most popular class in the playtest. I'd have to dig up the Twitch VOD somehow again to confirm, but I don't recall any concerns about damage coming up during the retrospective. In general, people picked 5 stars to rank it more than any other option.

So what changed since then? Retort was lost, because it came up as limiting, though this did an interesting thing in regards to Cheat Death and how often it could be used. One fascinating thing I see changed is that styles had a way to start with panache - when they rolled it for initiative - but that was cut.

What could have been missed? One thing I...

I think they missed the variability of Panache generation, especially in boss fights and how hard that might be to generate.

I was experimenting with using base strikes for rounds, then hitting a powerful finisher or opening with a bleeding finisher getting panache back, then using regular precise strikes.

The biggest problem I saw as a DM was the heavily inconsistent, action intensive panache generation. It was like being a ranger, but you had to roll to make Hunt Prey work every round.

The points of failure for panache generation are many.

High reflex saves against Tumble Through. Immune to your panache ability. High fort saves if a gymnast. Just being too far away to move, Tumble and Attack or use a panache generating skill. Hidden was terrible for a swashbuckler because their panache generating skills needed a target and you can't target an invisible target with a lot of panache generating skills. Alternate forms of movement like flight or swimming or burrowing messed up panache generation. Anything that took an action like even slow 1 or stunned 1 could kill a round if having to generate panache as well. There were so many ways the Swashbuckler was short circuited. How the design team did not see this is beyond me given how obvious it was in play.

It made me wonder if they fell in love with a bad mechanic. One that was clunky and techy as I've heard them put it.

Fixing panache generation would likely fix the entire class. Swash has a lot of good feats and fun elements. But that panache generation and all the problems associated really needs a rework.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

There were so many ways the Swashbuckler was short circuited. How the design team did not see this is beyond me given how obvious it was in play.

It made me wonder if they fell in love with a bad mechanic. One that was clunky and techy as I've heard them put it.

I'm not sure who "they" is, because I'll remind you again that it was insanely well rated during the playtest by everyone that participated. 80% of people picked either 4-5/5 on enjoyment in every regard.

So clearly if it was so "obvious", it's interesting that it barely came up during testing. Two things noted in the one thread where it came up as a topic (specifically against a level+4 enemy) is first, the alternate method of gaining panache where you don't interact with the boss's DCs (but very hard for your level), and second, not necessarily burning panache every round for finishers.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One thing about the playtest is that it was really big. Four classes is a lot, and opinions on the investigator, witch, and even oracle were extremely polarizing and intense.

I feel like to some extent a lot of people gave the Swashbuckler a once over or a very superficial test and then moved on to the 'real' problems. It just didn't get the same level of deep analysis and criticism the other classes got.


And now there's lots of complaint about the class. So what's the reason that the released swash has those complaints?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gobhaggo wrote:
And now there's lots of complaint about the class. So what's the reason that the released swash has those complaints?

Because it's kind of bad, mostly.

High volatility but mediocre payout, leaving it both inconsistent and dubiously effective, with wild variance in power based on very specific feat options, and a gameplay loop that can feel much more stifling that it was originally designed to be.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
If that's the case why are there so many trap options in the game? Why was Flickmace printed as it was? Why do they have to go back and fix weak classes in the remaster?

Because game design and balancing is much much harder than you think it is.

There are a few laws of game design:
- Players are always complaining. How often have I seen a "fix this thing it's bad" when this thing was actually overpowered and ended up with a nerf.
- Feelings are very different from reality. In video games (my experience) you can easily get stats about actual efficiency. And you see strong differences between players feelings and the results of stats.
- Players are not a single block. There are a lot of parameters that will affect players experience differently. The most basic one is player "level of play" (in PF2, it'd be a combination of system mastery and tactical acumen). The same class can be a beast in some hands and a chore in others. Roleplaying games are even more complex than video games because you have low control on the actual experience: Players play very different campaigns with very different GMs.
- Top players have better insights (which doesn't mean they are the only ones to have good insights nor that all their insights are good). In video game design you use stats to determine who's a good player from a bad one (and game designers are in general in contact with their top players). But in TTRPGs, you have no way to know if the screaming guy is pointing an actual issue or just needs to learn to play.

I can say from first hand experience that balancing a video game is hard. For a TTRPG, in my opinion, it's ten times worse. So, yes, you are screaming, and I can assure you the designers are listening (not to you specifically but to the whole community). But don't expect all their changes to align with your thoughts.


Sanityfaerie wrote:

See... and i really don't like the idea of a pure kineticist treatment... especially not one that encourages you to just "strike/finisher" over and over again, every round. That's the exact opposite of what a swashbuckler should be.

Basically, the current version tried to capture the idea of a swashbuckler in its mechanics. Now, it didn't work as well as we'd prefer in practice, but "screw the idea, just make my numbers go up" isn't the right answer here either.

I think... I think that one answer might just be Flourish. Like, the swashbuckler doesn't get a single action that has flourish. That's ridiculous. "Flourish" is something that a swashbuckler should be doing all the time. By comparison, "Finisher" is just... kind of meh, you know? I mean, what does the idea of "finisher" have to do with sashbuckling, anyway?

So here's my thought:

- Panache is when you're up, you're on fire, you're dancing. Once you get into panache, it lasts until the end of the fight unless you critfail something, or a foe crit-succeeds against you, or you drop unconscious.
- If you have panache, and you take a flourish action, and that flourish includes at least one strike, then on the first strike of that flourish, you get your standard "finisher" benefits. The Swashbuckler feats that used to apply to Finishers get rewritted to apply to "flourishes while you have panache" (and tweaked to make sure that FoB doesn't get abused too badly)
- If you have panache, and you additionally do something that grants panache, you can, as your next action, take a free action flourish strike with an appropriately swashbucklery weapon. Fundamentally, a swashbuckler needs a flourish to work with from the beginning, and this is the one you start with.
- In addition to the other ways you can gain it, if you do not have panache, and you take a flourish action and do not fail or critfail during that action, you get panache. Additionally, any time you get a crit success on anything that involved...

I don't catch your idea. It's remove the finisher and make the Panache allow a constant mechanic?

Cyder wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
See... and i really don't like the idea of a pure kineticist treatment... especially not one that encourages you to just "strike/finisher" over and over again, every round. That's the exact opposite of what a swashbuckler should be.

Agreed but this could simply be fixed that you cannot use a finisher on the turn you gained Panache unless you success Acrobatics/style check.

This would mean they could still gain Panache but would actually have to succeed on the check the same round to use a finisher. Finishers should just get the Flourish trait rather than you cannot attack after using a finisher. This would mean Finishers could be guaranteed to be able to be used every second round with a chance of every round. The consolation prize of not succeeding at your check is you still get to hit with Panache.

But this don't solve the main problem that's you are extremely dependent from a success in a check. It's similar to the "save or suck" but with a consolation that is not enough when you see that all other characters don't get the same problem.

While you allied fighter/champion/monk fights well without checks, your allied ranger just need to focus in a single prey each time, the allied magus just need a rapid recharge, your rogue ally just need to hide/flank or put or get an opponent off-guard in any way, your swashbucker, the guy self-confident of your own abilities constantly fails to use them. It's depressing...

aobst128 wrote:

Maybe the skill check to gain panache could be against a standard DC for your level or a successful check (whichever is lower)

Would help with bosses and put it in line with inventor with how it gets going.

Has I said it still don't solve the main problem, just mitigate it.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

...

The biggest problem I saw as a DM was the heavily inconsistent, action intensive panache generation. It was like being a ranger, but you had to roll to make Hunt Prey work every round.
...

Exactly but for some reason some people forget that Hunt Prey is already considered a bad mechanic by many. The check just make everything even worse.

That's why we made many complains during the Kineticist playtest when was presented the Gather Element (the old name of Channel Element) and Overflow. There was so many complains about that the action tax is boring and too punitive that the designers made the beautiful decision to compress it with the Elemental Blast or enter in a Stance without risk to retake the element.

I really think that Swashbuckler needs a similar solution too.

Squiggit wrote:

One thing about the playtest is that it was really big. Four classes is a lot, and opinions on the investigator, witch, and even oracle were extremely polarizing and intense.

I feel like to some extent a lot of people gave the Swashbuckler a once over or a very superficial test and then moved on to the 'real' problems. It just didn't get the same level of deep analysis and criticism the other classes got.

Being honest I already was problems to accompany 2 classes discussion in last playtest. 4 classes is too much.


Cyouni wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

There were so many ways the Swashbuckler was short circuited. How the design team did not see this is beyond me given how obvious it was in play.

It made me wonder if they fell in love with a bad mechanic. One that was clunky and techy as I've heard them put it.

I'm not sure who "they" is, because I'll remind you again that it was insanely well rated during the playtest by everyone that participated. 80% of people picked either 4-5/5 on enjoyment in every regard.

So clearly if it was so "obvious", it's interesting that it barely came up during testing. Two things noted in the one thread where it came up as a topic (specifically against a level+4 enemy) is first, the alternate method of gaining panache where you don't interact with the boss's DCs (but very hard for your level), and second, not necessarily burning panache every round for finishers.

So you're saying the swashbuckler is bad due to popular vote? Wouldn't you have a process in place to ensure that you saw the data problems?

I guess I am too accustomed to video game balancing at this point. I figured the devs could run the numbers and see the problems. But maybe there is more to it than that with a tabletop RPG.

I know I started tracking the swashbuckler and immediately saw the panache generation problem. It seemed glaring. I did not participate in the playtest though, so I have no idea what the debates were.

I don't love the swashbuckler myself. I have one player that really likes swashbucklers. The panache generation issues killed the class for him and he's never tried it again. I hope for his sake it gets fixed. Other than the panache generation, the swashbuckler is a solidly built class with a lot of versatility, at least that is what my data and experience with the class indicates.


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The entire APG was undertuned.

We know thanks to the colossal buffs that witch got in the remaster that the devs evidently agree, but it's striking how awful the APG classes are compared to anything published before or since.

Nothing in Core except maybe alchemist is as low power as ANY of the APG classes. Swashbuckler and investigator are fighting an uphill battle because they're most comparable to rogue, which is probably the strongest class in the game, but comparing their extra-damage mechanics to sneak attack and it's blindingly obvious how much weaker they are. Swashbuckler precise strike is 1d6 more damage than sneak attack with a finisher, but requires said finisher and for you to have gotten panache by burning an action. Investigator strategic strike requires you burn an action on Devise a Strategem but deals about the same damage as sneak attack.

The same can be said of oracle and witch. Witch was (and is) a 3-slot caster with focus cantrips (hexes) which generally cost 1 action... very similar to bard. Again the comparison is really unfair because bard is ALSO one of the strongest classes in the game, but witch hex cantrips are utterly inferior to bard focus/composition cantrips

Compare witch evil eye to bard's Dirge of Doom. The former is single target, requires a save, and provides immunity if the target saves. The latter automatically hits everyone within 30 feet with no save and has no immunity clause. Or look at witch's Nudge Fate compared to bard's Inspire Courage or Inspire Defense. The former is single target ranged 30 feet, affects one roll, and provides immunity. The latter hits everyone within 60 feet, affects every attack roll (or save) that they make, has additional upside (such as providing damage bonuses or minor resistance to physical damage) and has no immunity clause. That's a power disparity by a factor of 5 or 6 between targeting flexibility, AoE, and the fact that bard always works and is not gated by saves.

And finally there's oracle, best of a bad lot. But compare it to sorcerer and there's little competition. Sorcerer gets an additional slot per level and while it starts out with fewer focus points it doesn't suffer crippling curse penalties for using its focus spells. And can catch up with oracle focus points anyway at higher level via feats. Oracle's problem is mostly that some curses (such as flames) are excruciatingly painful and absolutely do not provide enough benefits to justify that cost, in many cases being equal or inferior to sorcerer bloodline magic.

The APG classes are just mind-blowingly inferior to core competition. It's pretty obvious that the designers thought rogue, sorcerer, and bard were a little too strong, and so they built classes that were basically cheap knockoffs of the above for fear of making something similarly powerful. Which is absolutely understandable but unfortunately makes those classes strictly worse than their core equivalents.


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Squiggit wrote:

One thing about the playtest is that it was really big. Four classes is a lot, and opinions on the investigator, witch, and even oracle were extremely polarizing and intense.

I feel like to some extent a lot of people gave the Swashbuckler a once over or a very superficial test and then moved on to the 'real' problems. It just didn't get the same level of deep analysis and criticism the other classes got.

I mean, you were part of it, you tell me. You were one of the people commentating in the swashbuckler playtest forum.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


So you're saying the swashbuckler is bad due to popular vote? Wouldn't you have a process in place to ensure that you saw the data problems?

I guess I am too accustomed to video game balancing at this point. I figured the devs could run the numbers and see the problems. But maybe there is more to it than that with a tabletop RPG.

...tabletop balancing and video game balancing are completely different. You just cannot tweak tabletop numbers with near the same level of control that you can in a video game. Not to mention tabletop balance is basically like balancing for an open world game, except you're also balancing for Diablo on steroids, and with significantly more options because of how it works with action flow.

But if you want a longform discussion with specifics, here, you can listen to Mark talk about Electric Arc.

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