Player Core 2 request-Overhaul the Swashbuckler


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Scarab Sages

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Okay, first of all, I know Player Core 1 isn't officially out yet, but all the commentators online have been talking about it, and there are plenty of previews out there for those who care to look . . . it may not be 'out' out, but it is out.

So I want the thank Paizo for their herculean effort of putting this together in only eleven months give or take. I know that sounds like a long time to us not in the biz, but upending their entire release schedule, designing four whole books, copy-editing two of them, finishing them, getting them printed AND SHIPPED is just quite frankly, insane. It takes something like 2-3 years for Reapermini to make a new batch of minis and that's with proper planning and logistics in the works, I can't imagine doing this was an easy task, so first off, hats off to Paizo, and I want to thank them for their work.

Now, now that I've said that, I just want to make my case for a Swashbuckler overhaul when it comes out next August in Player Core 2. The reason I'm typing this up is because I saw a lot of 'please overhaul warpriest' or 'please overhaul witch,' over the past year, but I'm not seeing a lot of people interested in overhauling the swashbuckler. For some reason, several of the other classes get overhaul requests, but the general consensus of the swashbuckler is "It sucks, just make a fighter and move on." Why does the swashbuckler get no love?

Problems with the swashbuckler that need to be addressed, (IMO)

-1 Panache is a problem. Listen, Panache is a problem here. I love the idea in concept, the idea that you are styling on your enemy, and that gives you the confidence to get more done. The problem here is that it just doesn't work for a couple of reasons
--A) A lot of fights only last 2-3 rounds. So if you spend your first round getting up to someone and getting panache, not only are they going to merc you for the whole of your next round, but that's 1/3 of the fight you aren't participating in.
--B) Getting Panache is dependent on beating enemies in a skill contest. If enemies are immune to your skill (such as intimidate), or just have really high saves, then you don't get panache. There are a lot of fights where my swashbuckler never got panache because I rolled a 13 with maxed out dex and acrobatics and still couldn't trouble through an opponent's square. If you are facing an opponent that is CR +3, you might as well just put up a sign saying 'no panache this fight.'
--C) It basically forces you to take feats that give you panache in alternate ways, such as ONE FOR ALL or AFTER YOU. My swashbucler never gets to 'feel' like a swashbuckler, busting into a room and fencing the bad guys because he HAS to let them go first if I have any chance of generating panache. If something is a 'must take' for the basics of the class to work, it shouldn't be an optional feat, IMO.

-2 They are MAD: Strength, Dex, Con, and often Charisma. Really? That was the same problem the warpriest had, so you got rid of the charisma requirement. Give the Swashbuckler something. I really think they should get the thief rogue's dex-to-damage. If anyone, the swashbuckler deserves it more than the rogue, I would think. In fact, this leads me to:

-3 They are just bad martials. They don't have the accuracy of a fighter, the defensiveness of a champion, or the reduced MAP of a flurry ranger, or the damage output of a rogue. They are just bad. Listen, I love the swashbuckler, but you can literally make a better fencer out of a thaumaturge. They'd do more damage, have better charisma, and have wacky abilities to boot like an ability to heal or a pseudo-reactive strike at level 1.

Listen, a level 1 Fighter, Ranger, or thief rogue putting all their points into strength (or dex for the rogue) does +4 damage base. A typical swashbuckler is going to have something like 14 strength, 18 dex, 14 charisma, so even with panache, they are even with them, and if they loose panache (and can't get it back, like we discussed) then they are just straight up worse.

-4 Skills are a problem. You basically have to skill increase both the swashbuckler's skills (acrobatics and whatever skill they have for generating panache) in order to have any chance of generating panache, which means no, you don't get to up any other skills until, like, level 11. Inspired by Will Turner from pirates of the carribian? Want to be a swordsmith fencer? No, not possible, you have to up your acrobatics and (what is Will, diplomacy?) so kiss the idea of increasing crafting to expert goodbye. If you have to keep the good skills, then at least let the skills auto-increase like they do for the inventor and the thaumaturge.

Okay, so I've said my peace. I just . . . I needed to get it off my chest. I love the swashbuckler, but having played one through Gatewalkers aside a champion, I loose in almost all aspects to the champion. I have worse AC, worse action economy, worse damage most of the time (unless, very rarely, I crit while doing my finishing move) less flexibility in where my skill increases go. I'm so MAD my con isn't as good so I have fewer hit points, can't heal . . . the only thing I have over her is I'm a little bit faster . . . sometimes . . . if I can get panache, and I'm better at acrobatics and perform (she's a battle dancer because nothing is immune to fascinating performance). Oh, I also go after her in inititive stack because I'm forced to use After You just to ensure I have panache and can do 2d6+3 (instead of 2d6+1) against her and her reach polearm with 2d8+4.


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I believe they're planning to rework Swashbuckler.

It has some fairly blatant issues, which you've described above. I've both played the class and watched it as a GM, and I'll add to the above

-Damage output is awful: yeah it just sucks. At levels 1-3 or so you're vaguely competitive with the rogue, after that...precise strike isn't dealing double sneak attack damage anymore. It's dealing 1d6 more than sneak attack, except you can only do it once per round and it requires you to have panache.

-Opportune riposte never happens, and the GM forgets half the time when it does. It's easy as a GM to forget the difference between a miss and a critical miss against the PCs, especially when you're running more than one monster. It's supposed to be the swashbuckler core feature. In practice, uh, no.

There's a reason it's considered one of the worst classes in the game.


I'm just going to quickly put in my 2¢ that really I disagree they need an overhaul. Tweaks at most.

I've played multiple Swashbucklers to various levels, one all the way to 20, and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute. Only really had issues with Panache at levels 1 and 2, after that it wasn't a problem.

Scarab Sages

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Calliope5431 wrote:

I believe they're planning to rework Swashbuckler.

It has some fairly blatant issues, which you've described above. I've both played the class and watched it as a GM, and I'll add to the above

-Damage output is awful: yeah it just sucks. At levels 1-3 or so you're vaguely competitive with the rogue, after that...precise strike isn't dealing double sneak attack damage anymore. It's dealing 1d6 more than sneak attack, except you can only do it once per round and it requires you to have panache.

-Opportune riposte never happens, and the GM forgets half the time when it does. It's easy as a GM to forget the difference between a miss and a critical miss against the PCs, especially when you're running more than one monster. It's supposed to be the swashbuckler core feature. In practice, uh, no.

There's a reason it's considered one of the worst classes in the game.

Yeah, every time the GM misses me I have to remind him 'by how much.'

That being said, I have trained my GM not to make a third attack on me.

"He'll shoot for the moon and attack you a third-no wait, that worked out poorly for him the past two times he tried that. He won't do anything for his third action.

Scarab Sages

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Guntermench wrote:

I'm just going to quickly put in my 2¢ that really I disagree they need an overhaul. Tweaks at most.

I've played multiple Swashbucklers to various levels, one all the way to 20, and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute. Only really had issues with Panache at levels 1 and 2, after that it wasn't a problem.

Even if you didn't have problems with panache, you have to admit, being FORCED to level up two skills and in order to remain competitive is suboptimal.

Horizon Hunters

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I also think that Swashbuckler should get some attention. But I don't have quite as bad of an opinion on them as VampByDay and several other people do.

Some things I agree with:

Quote:
--B) Getting Panache is dependent on beating enemies in a skill contest. If enemies are immune to your skill (such as intimidate), or just have really high saves, then you don't get panache.
I think this needs clarified. Currently there is an argument to be made that Panache is gained any time you succeed at the skill action - even if it doesn't have an effect on the target. But most people don't run the rules that way because of the Battledancer's ability to do Performance on all of the enemies at the same time. The exception proves the rule and everybody thinks that
Panache wrote:
You gain panache by successfully performing the skill check associated with specific actions that have a bit of flair, including Tumble Through and additional actions determined by your swashbuckler's style.

means that the enemy has to actually be affected.

Quote:
-2 They are MAD: Strength, Dex, Con, and often Charisma. Really?

Yeah, being able to not require four ability scores would be nice. Dex to damage would be fantastic.

Quote:
-4 Skills are a problem. You basically have to skill increase both the swashbuckler's skills (acrobatics and whatever skill they have for generating panache) in order to have any chance of generating panache

Auto-increasing Acrobatics Inventor style would be nice.

Some things that I don't as much agree with:

Quote:
--A) A lot of fights only last 2-3 rounds. So if you spend your first round getting up to someone and getting panache, not only are they going to merc you for the whole of your next round, but that's 1/3 of the fight you aren't participating in.

I find the skill action itself to be useful. Other than Battledancer. But as a fencer, being able to succeed at the skill check and get the foe off-guard without putting myself in a bad position is useful.

Quote:
--C) It basically forces you to take feats that give you panache in alternate ways, such as ONE FOR ALL or AFTER YOU.

I don't personally find those feats to be mandatory. Even if I don't have panache, I can still contribute to a fight in other ways besides high amounts of damage.

Quote:
-3 They are just bad martials. They don't have the accuracy of a fighter, the defensiveness of a champion, or the reduced MAP of a flurry ranger, or the damage output of a rogue.

I don't try to compete with my party members on particular stats such as amount of damage done, or number of times hitting an enemy. With any characters. It just isn't enjoyable to me to play those measuring and competing games. As long as I feel like I am contributing to the fight, the campaign, and the story in general - I feel like the character is a success.


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I hope panache and arcane cascade get similar tweaks: increase panache/cascade damage to encourage more varied off turns (mechanics to encourage NOT doing spellstrike/finisher every turn).


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
I hope panache and arcane cascade get similar tweaks: increase panache/cascade damage to encourage more varied off turns (mechanics to encourage NOT doing spellstrike/finisher every turn).

I admit the fact that Conflux Spells often just kinda suck is unfortunate. Many of them are hard to integrate into an attack routine, since you either will eat MAP to your spellstrike (if you try to cast the conflux spell and then spellstrike) or will just flail with the Conflux spell (if you spellstrike and then conflux spell). I really want to play a Gandalf-type magus whirling and whacking with their staff, but Spinning Staff just isn't that useful.

It'd be nice if Magus or Swashbuckler were more fluid, like Kineticist. So that your off-rounds didn't feel kind of sad.


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At the GM's discretion, after succeeding at a check to perform a particularly daring action, such as swinging on a chandelier or sliding down a drapery, you also gain panache if your result is high enough (typically the very hard DC for your level, but the GM can choose a different threshold).

Maybe (i) make it more explicitly part of the package and not merely 'GM's discretion' that a swash can get panache by doing swashy things that arent skill vs skill contests. Like swinging on a chandelier to get to an enemy. (ii) Drop the requirement for the baseline panache effects from 'very hard' to average, then (iii) have the precision damage bonus go to +4, +6, +8 if you voluntarily choose take on a hard, very hard, or incredibly hard maneuver (this in addition to the level bonus, not instead of).


I have a Swashbuckler PC at level 12 in a game I am running. I see she has two big problems. The first is that she can't Bon Mot because whatever we are fighting doesn't speak common. The other issue is she never uses Opportune Reposte because she holds on to her reaction for Charmed Life instead.

Horizon Hunters

Kelseus wrote:
I have a Swashbuckler PC at level 12 in a game I am running. I see she has two big problems. The first is that she can't Bon Mot because whatever we are fighting doesn't speak common.

And again, that one would be fixed if it was clarified that you only need to succeed at the skill check - like the rule actually says - rather than requiring the action to affect the target.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Guntermench wrote:
and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute.

That feels like a really low bar though.


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VampByDay wrote:
Guntermench wrote:

I'm just going to quickly put in my 2¢ that really I disagree they need an overhaul. Tweaks at most.

I've played multiple Swashbucklers to various levels, one all the way to 20, and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute. Only really had issues with Panache at levels 1 and 2, after that it wasn't a problem.

Even if you didn't have problems with panache, you have to admit, being FORCED to level up two skills and in order to remain competitive is suboptimal.

Not really. I picked my subclass based on the skills I was already planning to level.


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Squiggit wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute.
That feels like a really low bar though.

Alright: I spent a couple levels with some (very) mild panache issues, then was doing about the same damage as anyone else (unless I wasn't trying to do damage), then I was doing more damage as we went up in levels. Bleeding Finisher at 8 and Perfect Finisher at 14 are great.

At no point was I significantly behind enough to warrant concern.

Horizon Hunters

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Squiggit wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute.
That feels like a really low bar though.

That feels like a really empty criticism.

Are you trying to say that there should be a higher bar? If so - what do you suggest? DPR? Because only Fighter/Barbarian/Thaumaturge need apply. And only certain builds of those.


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If you play a Swash from level 1 to 20 you should do fine. The issue is that the class is weak at low level and low levels are the most played ones. Once you get to level 7, you finally have some air to breathe. Once strongly into the 2 digit levels the Swashbuckler becomes extremely competitive and even the tankyest martial at high level.

The class has been built with too much power in its feats. So the higher you get, the more feats you have, and the stronger you are in comparison to classes who have only ok feats.

So buffing the Swashbuckler for the first levels to be fine may very well make it overpowered. It's the whole concept behind the class that is faulty.


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SuperBidi wrote:

If you play a Swash from level 1 to 20 you should do fine. The issue is that the class is weak at low level and low levels are the most played ones. Once you get to level 7, you finally have some air to breathe. Once strongly into the 2 digit levels the Swashbuckler becomes extremely competitive and even the tankyest martial at high level.

The class has been built with too much power in its feats. So the higher you get, the more feats you have, and the stronger you are in comparison to classes who have only ok feats.

So buffing the Swashbuckler for the first levels to be fine may very well make it overpowered. It's the whole concept behind the class that is faulty.

Paizo has shown a pretty deft hand in this remaster in adjusting things to take the edge off of certain pain points without really moving the needle on overall power. Something like "achieving panache is really problematic at lower levels, especially against solo bosses" seems like the sort of thing they could probably adjust usefully without significantly raising the power of higher level swashbucklers.


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The literal only thing I personally think Swashbuckler needs is that Braggart should be able to get Panache more than once a fight with Intimidation against single enemies before level 9.

Even if that means they make some Intimidation check that is a pseudo demoralize and doesn't cause Frightened.


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Corabee Cori wrote:
Kelseus wrote:
I have a Swashbuckler PC at level 12 in a game I am running. I see she has two big problems. The first is that she can't Bon Mot because whatever we are fighting doesn't speak common.
And again, that one would be fixed if it was clarified that you only need to succeed at the skill check - like the rule actually says - rather than requiring the action to affect the target.

This is a disingenuous reading. The only way to determine if the check succeeds or fails is if it affects the creature. The linguistics trait, which Bon Mot has, says it only works if the target speaks the same language.

Horizon Hunters

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Kelseus wrote:
Corabee Cori wrote:
Kelseus wrote:
I have a Swashbuckler PC at level 12 in a game I am running. I see she has two big problems. The first is that she can't Bon Mot because whatever we are fighting doesn't speak common.
And again, that one would be fixed if it was clarified that you only need to succeed at the skill check - like the rule actually says - rather than requiring the action to affect the target.
This is a disingenuous reading. The only way to determine if the check succeeds or fails is if it affects the creature. The linguistics trait, which Bon Mot has, says it only works if the target speaks the same language.

Really? I thought the way to determine if a check succeeds or fails was to compare the roll results to the DC. Those creatures do still have a Will DC, right?

I'll quote the rule again:

Panache wrote:
You gain panache by successfully performing the skill check associated with specific actions that have a bit of flair, including Tumble Through and additional actions determined by your swashbuckler's style.

No requirement to affect the target listed.


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I've been asking for a Swashbuckler overhaul for a while now. Panache generation is a real problem. Their damage doesn't close the gap until level 14 with Perfect Finisher. That's way too late in the game.

I'd also like to see monks and rangers get some love. It sounds like they left the ranger nearly the same.

I'm hoping they don't do the monk like that, but we'll see.

I do still put the Investigator and Swashbuckler as number 1 and 2 for a rework that makes them more on par with other martials for doing what martials do.


Kelseus wrote:
I have a Swashbuckler PC at level 12 in a game I am running. I see she has two big problems. The first is that she can't Bon Mot because whatever we are fighting doesn't speak common. The other issue is she never uses Opportune Reposte because she holds on to her reaction for Charmed Life instead.

If you pick the Bon Mot option you definitely want someone to cast Tongues on you or to grab more languages, but that's the same as anyone that wants to use that.


I think the swashbuckler would have been a great place to have a martial character with actual Cool Moves (like the 3.5e Tome of Battle classes), but I guess that's too big a change for a mere remaster.


SuperBidi wrote:
If you play a Swash from level 1 to 20 you should do fine. The issue is that the class is weak at low level and low levels are the most played ones. Once you get to level 7, you finally have some air to breathe.

At low levels everyone has about the same AC, there are a few classes/builds that blow all the others out of the water in terms of damage...and those also tend to have the most HP. It's really hard for any more subtle or complex class to compete with d10 or d12+4+BigClassEffect twice/turn damage right out of the gate at level 1. Combined with high HP to boot! I am not sure any fix to any specific class that isn't them is going to fix that. I'm not sure I'd really want a fix, since that would involve significantly upping the damage of a whole bunch of other classes or significantly downgrading the damage of some iconic damage-dealing builds - neither "fix" being painless or nondisruptive, in my mind.

Making it easier to get panache would certainly help the swash. But that alone won't fix the more general issue of which this is merely an example - i.e. there is a much bigger variation in class 'ability to contribute' to combat at early levels than there is at higher levels.


Squiggit wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
and at no point did I feel like I didn't contribute.
That feels like a really low bar though.

Yeah, even current Alchemists clear that one, even if barely.


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Overall, I quite like the playstyle the Swashbuckler was designed to do. The Panache/Finisher playstyle is quite interesting, it has a unusual cadence to it that seems more in line with a Magus (albeit with less burst) and their Spellstrike.

However, I think the class had some issues that no one really thought about when it was playtested and released, issues that only really became apparent with time (and more interesting classes released). Not only that, but it was released in the same batch of the weakest classes in the game, which definitely made it look better than it actually was. The issues of Panache generation, specially against bosses, the mandatory (highly encouraged at least) skill increases and the feast or famine playstyle that had a lot of famine for a very conservative feast really became apparent.

Personally, I don't think a complete overhaul is needed, but some core changes to the way Panache works must be made. Personally, I think it could be a Stance Swashbucklers can enter that can be spent on Finishers, while class paths and feats change the focus from generating Panache to keeping it in various ways.

On the topic of finishers, I think they need to do more. A whole lot more, assuming the current class stays largely the same (as it has been the case so far, even with the Warpriest). So, if they keep the scope similar to what we've seen until now, they need to do a major pass on the Finisher Feats. All of them.

They need to be more than just a Basic Strike+. They need to break the action economy, stretch the mobility limits, be incredibly sweeping in strength. In short, they need to be more like Dante and Virgil from Devil May Cry and less like Zorro (even though I love Zorro). They need to be flashy and feel like special attacks, giving the class fluidity and more incentives to spend Panache.

Also, I don't think the class would be broken if it also had Dex to Damage. Thief Rogues have a lot more going on for them than just that and they have nearly effortless extra damage with Sneak Attack, so I don't think Swashbucklers having the same benefit would completely step on the recently buffed Rogue's toes.


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I *really* *really* don't want dex-to-damage on the Swashbuckler. The whole fictional archetype the Swashbuckler is supposed to evoke is someone who benefits from Str and they're going to make a lot of athletics checks for climbing nets and swinging from chandeliers and swimming to board ships.

I don't like that the rogue gets dex to damage, but I tolerate it, but I do not want it on the Swashbuckler.

The real problem with Panache is that you only get it for succeeding, when in reality you should get it for trying.


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I'd argue that swash shouldn't have subclasses, and allow every swash to gain panache from multiple skill actions.

Okay I can't denoralize anymore? Then I'll try to feint and voila, it feels good to do cool stuff.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I *really* *really* don't want dex-to-damage on the Swashbuckler. The whole fictional archetype the Swashbuckler is supposed to evoke is someone who benefits from Str and they're going to make a lot of athletics checks for climbing nets and swinging from chandeliers and swimming to board ships.

I don't like that the rogue gets dex to damage, but I tolerate it, but I do not want it on the Swashbuckler.

The real problem with Panache is that you only get it for succeeding, when in reality you should get it for trying.

I feel like this is mostly an issue with the division of physical ability into three discrete abilities that don't influence each other. For some reason, gaming and pop culture think you can be nimble and agile without also being strong. Actually, all that stuff is a function of having powerful muscles relative to what you're moving, smooth and practiced muscle control, etc. Gymnasts are crazy strong, good archers have great backs, etc. Inversely, if you're strong but not agile, you've got some serious weaknesses. Then there's the idea that being injury-resistant and tough is independent of either of those things... whew.

I get where you're coming from with it, but abilities are an abstraction, and Swashbucklers with Dex to damage would be a significant buff and entirely on brand.

It needs more, though, because Swashbucklers lose most of their class mechanics benefits if their turn goes wrong.


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I don't have a problem with Dex to damage myself as all this is abstract. A Dex to damage guy uses his muscles to attack key points with greater power and a strength guy is more brute force.

No one complains when a low dex guy with a high strength hits easily when in reality having an average dexterity or worse would make you clumsy and make it hard to hit anything even in melee range.

Plenty of big strong people aren't very accurate with their punches or even good at fighting.

That indicates this is all in the abstract. It would be no more odd to have Dex for damage than it is to use strength to hit.


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One Point I'd like to raise which I have Not seen (maybe overlooked) is the fact that swashbuckler archetypes keep all dex as Main Attribute, even If it is Not their panache skill

A gymnast for example could make great leverage of strength and the von mot and Battledancer would sometimes surely BE glad to Pic cha

Otherwise-good threat, I agree largely with vamp here


I'm still baffled that FIghter ded needs both +2 dex and Str unchanged

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I don't have a problem with Dex to damage myself as all this is abstract. A Dex to damage guy uses his muscles to attack key points with greater power and a strength guy is more brute force.

No one complains when a low dex guy with a high strength hits easily when in reality having an average dexterity or worse would make you clumsy and make it hard to hit anything even in melee range.

Plenty of big strong people aren't very accurate with their punches or even good at fighting.

That indicates this is all in the abstract. It would be no more odd to have Dex for damage than it is to use strength to hit.

Being good at fighting is what proficiency is for in PF2.

It's not DEX.


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One attack per round makes swashbuckler damage awful; even after confident finisher. Saying the swashbuckler contributes when their damage at high level using confident finisher is still like 40% of an optimized fighter.

Easiest remake of swashbuckler would remove finisher from the class. They could easily reword finishers to something else and just put the flourish tag on it.


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Good points. Thematically Swashbucklers are a lot of fun. But mechanically they are tough to love. For me it boils down to

VampByDay wrote:
Panache

Imagine you are a martial fighting with a crossbow that is reload 1. Now we all know how popular that is. Only a few people like it, but with a lot of effort you can get it to work.

Now make the reload action have a skill check to succeed - so it just fails half the time. Make it even more difficult in those important boss fights.

Now you have a Swashbuckler.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I don't have a problem with Dex to damage myself as all this is abstract. A Dex to damage guy uses his muscles to attack key points with greater power and a strength guy is more brute force.

No one complains when a low dex guy with a high strength hits easily when in reality having an average dexterity or worse would make you clumsy and make it hard to hit anything even in melee range.

Plenty of big strong people aren't very accurate with their punches or even good at fighting.

That indicates this is all in the abstract. It would be no more odd to have Dex for damage than it is to use strength to hit.

Being good at fighting is what proficiency is for in PF2.

It's not DEX.

Why do you even state this? Being good at fighting is proficiency combined with a stat like Dex or Str. It has been that way for years.

Str applies to hit rolls and damage.

Dex can do the same because it is all abstract.


I can very much agree with the criticism. I think there's a brilliant idea behind the swashbuckler that isn't perfectly-executed, much unlike the class's flavor. To me, the big problem is that the swash is effectively two very different characters depending on your level: at low levels, the swash will do everything they can to fish for panache, and then stick to it for the persistent damage bonus without necessarily going for a finisher. At high enough levels, however, the class gets to truly come online, get panache reliably, and use finishers almost every round, but many players never get there.

Some other issues I take with the swashbuckler:

  • The class starts out proficient in more skills than average, but isn't really a skill monkey. On the contrary, as mentioned in the OP, they're practically forced to dedicate some of their standard skill increases towards their panache skills, making them more specialized than most.
  • Panache and Precise Strike are both really messy features: the wording on how to gain panache is both vague and strangely restrictive, making it difficult for the class to gain it consistently early on, whereas the on-hit precision damage from Precise Strike feels mainly like a stopgap for early levels when the swash doesn't generate panache consistently enough to use finishers.

    My suggestions would be the following:

  • Reduce the swash's starting extra trained skills to 2 + Int mod, rather than the current 4 + Int mod, but instead make the class start out an expert in Acrobatics and their panache skill. Have both skills automatically go to master at 7th level and legendary at 15th level.
  • Have Stylish Tricks provide a skill feat for one of your panache skills at every odd level, rather than just at three levels.
  • Tighten panache's wording so that you get panache whenever you succeed at an Acrobatics check in an encounter, while still leaving room for the GM to award panache for other spectacular moves.
  • Remove panache's bonus to checks and Precise Strike entirely. Instead, expand the finisher trait so that all finishers only work with agile or finesse unarmed or weapon attacks, add Dex mod to damage, and deal half damage on a failure by default.
  • Rather than have features like Continuous Flair, Keen Flair, or the second bit to Eternal Confidence (which would be rolled into finishers by default), have the swash's Will save proficiency go up to legendary, giving them two legendary saves.

    The general idea behind these changes being to make the class less MAD, make them an ultra-specialist in a few skills rather than a semi-generalist, and cement their role as a highly mobile and survivable utility character whose damage comes primarily from big, reliable finishers, rather than lots of weapon strikes like most other martials.


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    number just doesn't add up for swashbuckler

    if rogue can get 8d6 with analyze weakness for 1 action swashbuckler will need at least 8d6 maybe even 8d8 to be competitive

    among all the reload mechanic of 2e

    finisher have the worst limitation

    can not attack after finisher need to be removed


    Wish they gave background Lore skills scaling so we could easily pursue things like Will Turner blacksmith trope.

    Liberty's Edge

    Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
    Wish they gave background Lore skills scaling so we could easily pursue things like Will Turner blacksmith trope.

    Remastered Additional Lore works for background Lores.


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    I'll parrot the auto skill increases idea.


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    Honestly? Just make bleeding finsher a level 1 or 2 feat and I will swash all the buckles. Also giving the gimnast the choice for strenght instead of dex would be great


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    Teridax wrote:
  • The class starts out proficient in more skills than average, but isn't really a skill monkey. On the contrary, as mentioned in the OP, they're practically forced to dedicate some of their standard skill increases towards their panache skills, making them more specialized than most.
  • That's a problem in general in PF2, that there are basically only two speeds when it comes to skill acquisition: there's the OK one rogues and investigators get, and there's the crappy one everyone else gets. Having additional starting skills just means there's more stuff you might think you should be good at at higher levels but aren't.

    Any class for whom several skills are part of their core identity should get some form of skill buff above the default. I'm mainly thinking of Bard and Ranger, but I'm sure there are other examples.


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    I know it always comes up, but auto skill increases a la Inventor is definitely wanted.

    VampByDay wrote:

    -1 Panache is a problem. Listen, Panache is a problem here. I love the idea in concept, the idea that you are styling on your enemy, and that gives you the confidence to get more done. The problem here is that it just doesn't work for a couple of reasons

    --A) A lot of fights only last 2-3 rounds. So if you spend your first round getting up to someone and getting panache, not only are they going to merc you for the whole of your next round, but that's 1/3 of the fight you aren't participating in.

    What are you even doing that you're taking your full first round there? If you are close enough to get your base move -5, Tumble Through gets you panache in one action.

    Horizon Hunters

    Cyouni wrote:

    I know it always comes up, but auto skill increases a la Inventor is definitely wanted.

    VampByDay wrote:

    -1 Panache is a problem. Listen, Panache is a problem here. I love the idea in concept, the idea that you are styling on your enemy, and that gives you the confidence to get more done. The problem here is that it just doesn't work for a couple of reasons

    --A) A lot of fights only last 2-3 rounds. So if you spend your first round getting up to someone and getting panache, not only are they going to merc you for the whole of your next round, but that's 1/3 of the fight you aren't participating in.
    What are you even doing that you're taking your full first round there? If you are close enough to get your base move -5, Tumble Through gets you panache in one action.

    It can also get me completely out of position. Ending my turn surrounded by three or four enemies and with enemies between me and my allies doesn't sound very safe.

    But Stride, Feint, Finisher works fine for me. So does Demoralize, Stride, Finisher for a Braggart. Or Bon Mot, Stride, Finisher.

    And some non-panache things I have done on a first turn of combat: Stride, Strike, Dueling Parry. Draw weapon, Stride, Demoralize. Dueling Parry, Strike, Strike. These options may not be the most damaging things to do, but they are still useful.


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    I mean, if you don't want that, simply Tumble Through, Finisher, Tumble Through again on your way out to end with panache at a safe distance. And that's not even counting the fact that you don't actually have to end surrounded - you can Tumble Through to a spot adjacent to only one enemy, or return to the previous square after Tumbling Through. I know this sounds heretical, but you don't have to play stupid simply because you're playing a swashbuckler.

    Acrobatics is attached to the class for a reason.

    (I liked Twin Parry as well on my swash.)

    Horizon Hunters

    Yeah, there are plenty of times where Tumble Through is a good option and works well. But there are other times where it isn't a good choice.

    I remember once when we were fighting against some mindless enemies and the GM was ruling that feint wouldn't give panache no matter how well I rolled at it - that I still didn't want to use Tumble Through because I was the one plugging up the hallway and preventing the enemy from getting to the downed characters and spellcasters behind me. The thing instead had to try and attack me and my high AC, Hit Points, and Dueling Parry.


    Totally disagree on DEX-to-damage and the whole MAD conceit. You get a ton of attributes in this game.

    After You should be a baseline skill though. It solves most of the problems about running into combat.

    Horizon Hunters

    If Swashbuckler did get Dex to damage, it would almost certainly be in replacement of Precise Strike on regular Strike. Precise Strike would only be part of Finisher damage.

    Which wouldn't be a net benefit to Gymnast style.

    Liberty's Edge

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    At a minimum the fix for Swash, I think, should be that Acrobatics and whatever Skill is tied to your style should advance automatically as you level at the same rate that Skill Focused Classes is able to maintain. They'd still be well behind the Skill specialists in terms of the number of highly trained Skills but would have a much better chance at actually succeeding at LEAST as much as they fail at doing the primary thing the Swash is engineered to do which is to generate and use Panache effectively rather than relying on what is essentially betting you get favorable coin-flips twice in a row every one to two rounds while also spending 2x as many Actions every turn in order to attack once for the effect.

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