The swashbuckler embodies the concepts of daring and panache. Favoring agility and wit over brute force, the swashbuckler excels both in combat situations and social interactions, making her a versatile character indeed.
Adventures: Swashbucklers adventure for a variety of motivations, based on their alignment and background. Some seek to right injustices, while others seek only fame and fortune. All swashbucklers, however, share a tendency to leap into action when the call comes, regardless of their personal views.
Characteristics: The swashbuckler combines skill and finesse with sheer combat prowess. Though swashbucklers can’t dish out quite as much damage as a typical fighter or barbarian, they tend to be more agile and mobile than most melee combatants. When she can pick her battles carefully, a swashbuckler becomes a very deadly opponent (not to mention hard to pin down). Swashbucklers also hold their own in social situations, unlike most fighters.
Alignment: Like rogues, swashbucklers tend to be diverse in their outlooks, and thus in their alignments. Those who chafe under societal restrictions tend to be chaotic, while those who uphold honorable traditions may well be lawful.
Religion: Most swashbucklers pay at least some small amount of homage to Olidammara (deity of thieves), since that deity is renowned as being lucky. Lawful or chivalrous swashbucklers may revere Heironeous (deity of valor) or even St. Cuthbert (deity of retribution). Swashbucklers who choose the open road over a fixed residence often worship Fharlanghn (deity of roads).
Background: Many swashbucklers come from affluent backgrounds, but anyone valuing finesse over force can become a swashbuckler, regardless of background. A common shared element among swashbucklers’ backgrounds is life in an urban environment, whether the back alleys of a slum or the cultured halls of royalty. Swashbucklers tend to see other swashbucklers as rivals rather than allies, even when sharing similar goals. The swashbuckler’s need for attention often outweighs her better judgment, leading either to friendly competition or even outright distrust and antipathy.
Races: Swashbucklers are most often humans, elves, or
half-elves. Humans and half-elves tend to have the daring
nature required of a swashbuckler, and the natural grace
of elves makes them well suited for the class. Halflings and
gnomes often have the temperament to become a swashbuckler,
though their slower speed works against them. Dwarves
tend to prefer fighting in heavy armor with big weapons, and
thus rarely become swashbucklers.
Among the savage humanoids, swashbucklers are virtually unknown.
Other Classes: Swashbucklers prefer to work with other quick, lightly armored characters. They get along best with rogues and bards, and appreciate the agility and combat talents of the monk (though chaotic swashbucklers may chafe at the monk’s ascetic nature). Lawful good swashbucklers often share the paladin’s honorable nature, but otherwise the classes tend to clash in their approach to life. Swashbucklers have no particular distaste for spellcasters, and they appreciate the utility of a cleverly chosen, well-timed spell. They don’t interact with barbarians, druids, or rangers very often, since these characters tend to prefer natural settings to the typical urban environment of the swashbuckler.
Role: The swashbuckler is an able melee combatant, particularly when paired with a fighter or rogue. She can also make a fine party leader or spokesperson, thanks to her access to Charisma-based skills.
Swashbucklers have the following game statistics.
Abilities: The lightly armored swashbuckler depends on a high Dexterity for her Armor Class, as well as for many class skills. High Intelligence and Charisma scores are also hallmarks of a successful swashbuckler. Strength is not as important for a swashbuckler as it is for other melee combatants.
- Alignment: Any.
- Hit Die: d10.
The swashbuckler’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4 in the Player’s Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Table 1–4: The SwashbucklerEdit
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Evade +1, Weapon Finesse|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Bonus Feat, Insightful strike|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Evasion, Weapon Training|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+2||Improved uncanny Dodge, Acrobatic charge|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+6||+2||Improved flanking, Find the Mark|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+6||+3||Evade +3, Bonus Feat|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+8||+4||Acrobatic skill mastery, Deflect Arrows|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+9||+9||+4||Evade +4, Weakening critical|
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+11||+6||Evade +5, Wounding critical|
All of the following are class features of the swashbuckler.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Swashbucklers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light armor. Some of the swashbuckler’s class features, as noted below, rely on her being no more than lightly armored and unencumbered.
Weapon Finesse (Ex): A swashbuckler gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat at 1st level even if she does not qualify for the feat.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 2nd level the swashbuckler retains his Dexterity bonus to armor class even when he is considered flat-footed.
Insightful Strike (Ex): At 3rd level, a swashbuckler becomes able to place her finesse attacks where they deal greater damage. She applies her Intelligence bonus (if any) as a bonus on damage rolls (in addition to any Strength bonus she may have) with any light weapon, as well as any other weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse, such as a rapier, whip, or spiked chain. Targets immune to sneak attacks or critical hits are immune to the swashbuckler’s insightful strike. A swashbuckler cannot use this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.
Evade (Ex): A swashbuckler is a fluid combatant, relying on quickness rather than heavy armor to deflect blows. When wearing no or light armor, the swashbuckler adds his Evade bonus to his armor class. This is considered a Dodge bonus and whenever the swashbuckler is denied his Dexterity bonus to armor class he also loses his Evade bonus.
Evade may be substituted for the Dodge feat as a prerequisite for other feats (for example, a swashbuckler with Evade +1 need not take the Dodge feat in order to select the Mobility feat).
Bonus Feat: At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the swashbuckler gains a bonus feat from the following list:
Blind-Fight, Catch Off-Guard, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dazzling Display, Deadly Stroke, Double Slice, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Disarm, Improved Critical, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Vital Strike, Improvised Weapon Mastery, Intimidating Prowess, Lightning Stance, Mobility, Quick Draw, Spring Attack,Throw Anything, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Rend, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Whirlwind Attack, Wind Stance.
The swashbuckler must meet all prerequisites in order to select a bonus feat.
Evasion (Ex): At 5th level the swashbuckler is adept at avoiding unusual attacks. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can only be used if the swashbuckler is wearing light or no armor. A helpless swashbuckler does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Weapon Training (Ex): At 5th level, the swashbuckler receives weapon training as per the fighter special ability.
Acrobatic Charge (Ex): A swashbuckler of 7th level or higher can charge in situations where others cannot. She may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement or allies blocking her path. This ability enables her to run down steep stairs, leap down from a balcony, or to tumble over tables to get to her target. Depending on the circumstance, she may still need to make appropriate checks (Acrobatics checks, in particular) to successfully move over the terrain.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 7th level the swashbuckler’s uncanny ability to dodge is honed to the point where he can no longer be flanked.
Improved Flanking (Ex): A swashbuckler of 8th level or higher who is flanking an opponent gains a +4 bonus on attacks instead of a +2 bonus on attacks. (Other characters flanking with the swashbuckler don’t gain this increased bonus.)
Find the Mark (Ex): At 8th level, the swashbuckler increases his threat range by one when using any melee weapon with which he has Weapon Finesse. A weapon that would threaten a critical on 20 would now do so on a 19 or 20, and one which threatens on a 19 or 20 would now do so on an 18 to 20. This ability works with other abilities which increase threat ranges.
Improved Evasion (Ex): At 10th level, the swashbuckler’s evasion improves. In addition to taking no damage on successful saves, the swashbuckler now takes only half damage on failed saves.
Lucky (Ex): Many swashbucklers live by the credo “Better lucky than good.” Once per day, a swashbuckler of 11th level or higher may reroll any failed attack roll, skill check, ability check, or saving throw. The character must take the result of the reroll, even if it’s worse than the original roll.
Acrobatic Skill Mastery (Ex): At 13th level, a swashbuckler becomes so certain in the use of her acrobatic skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. When making a Jump or Tumble check, a swashbuckler may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so.
Deflect Arrows (Ex): At 13th level, the swashbuckler may use any weapon covered under the weapon finesse feat to deflect ranged attacks. This ability functions exactly as the feat of the same name, except that the swashbuckler uses a weapon instead of his bare hands.
Weakening Critical (Ex): A swashbuckler of 14th level or higher who scores a critical hit against a creature also deals 2 points of Strength damage to the creature. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to this effect.
Improved Mark (Ex): At 16th level, the swashbuckler becomes even more adept at finding marks. The threat range now improves by two when the swashbuckler uses his Find the Mark ability.
Slippery Mind (Ex): When a swashbuckler reaches 17th level, her mind becomes more difficult to control. If the swashbuckler fails her save against an enchantment spell or effect, she can attempt the save again 1 round later at the same DC (assuming she is still alive). She gets only this one extra chance to succeed at a certain saving throw.
Wounding Critical (Ex): A swashbuckler of 19th level or higher who scores a critical hit against a creature also deals 2 points of Constitution damage to the creature. (This damage is in addition to the Strength damage dealt by the swashbuckler’s weakening critical class feature.) Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to this effect.
Crippling Critical (Ex): When you confirm a critical hit using a light or one-handed piercing weapon, you can apply one of the following penalties in addition to the damage dealt: reduce all of the target’s speeds by 10 feet (minimum 5 feet), 1d4 points of Strength or Dexterity damage, –4 penalty on all saving throws, –4 penalty to Armor Class, or 2d6 points of bleed damage. These penalties last for 1 minute, except for ability damage, which must be healed normally, and bleed damage, which continues until the target receives magic healing or a DC 15 Heal skill check.