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Swashbuckler

Whereas many warriors brave battle encased in suits of armor and wielding large and powerful weapons, swashbucklers rely on speed, agility, and panache. Swashbucklers dart in and out of the fray, wearing down opponents with lunges and feints, all while foiling the powerful attacks against them with a flick of the wrist and a flash of the blade. Their deft parries and fatal ripostes are carnage elevated to an art form. Some may be arrogant and devil-may-care, but behind this veneer lie people deeply dedicated to their craft. Those of smaller races are particularly driven to prove that the right mix of discipline and daring is the perfect counter to size and strength, and enjoy nothing more than taking down lumbering brutes and bullies.

Role: Combining fancy footwork with quick and precise lunges, swashbucklers dart in and out of battle, harassing and thwarting their opponents. These fast and agile combatants serve as protectors for spellcasters and flank mates for rogues and slayers, while waiting for the opportunity to show panache and score the killing blow on some lumbering hulk. Swashbucklers often face death with wry humor, mocking it with jabbing wit.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Points: 10 per level.

Parent Classes: Fighter and gunslinger.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The swashbuckler receives 1 rank in the following; Acrobatics, Artisan, Awareness, Bluff, Climb, Diplomacy, Endurance, Intimidate, Knowledge (Local and Nobility), Ride, and Stealth.

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Swashbuckler
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Charming swordsman, panache, swashbuckler finesse
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Charmed life 3/day
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Cunning vagabond, nimble +1
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Bonus feat
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Swashbuckler weapon training +1
6th +6/+1 +2 +5 +2 Charmed life 4/day
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 Agile savant, nimble +2
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 Bonus feat
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 Swashbuckler weapon training +2
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 Charmed life 5/day
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 Charming warrior, nimble +3
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 Bonus feat
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4 Swashbuckler weapon training +3
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 Charmed life 6/day
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5 Fight or flight, nimble +4
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +5 Bonus feat
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Swashbuckler weapon training +4
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Charmed life 7/day
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Unerring swordsman, nimble +5
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Bonus feat, swashbuckler weapon mastery, incredible luck

Class Features

The following are the class features of the swashbuckler.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Swashbucklers are proficient with Simple weapons as well as Swords, Bows, and Axes, and receive proficiency with light armor and shields.

Panache (Ex)

More than just a lightly armored warrior, a swashbuckler is a daring combatant. She fights with panache: a fluctuating measure of a swashbuckler’s ability to perform amazing actions in combat.

Swashbucklers add their Charisma in place of Constitution if higher for Stamina Points. They gain special talents as they level up which they can spend their Stamina Points on.

Critical Hit with a Light or One-Handed Piercing Melee Weapon: Each time the swashbuckler confirms a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, she regains 1 stamina point. Confirming a critical hit on a helpless or unaware creature or a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the swashbuckler’s character level doesn’t restore stamina.

Killing Blow with a Light or One-Handed Piercing Melee Weapon: When the swashbuckler reduces a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon attack while in combat, she regains 1 stamina point. Destroying an unattended object, reducing a helpless or unaware creature to 0 or fewer hit points, or reducing a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the swashbuckler’s character level to 0 or fewer hit points doesn’t restore any stamina.

Grit, Luck, and Panache

Grit, luck, and panache represent three different means by which heroes can gain access to the same heroic pool, using it to accomplish fantastic feats, all of which are combined into their stamina pool. For characters with a mix of grit, luck, and panache, they add appropriate stats to their stamina pool as needed. (Those who use panache and luck gain twice their Charisma bonus to stamina, meanwhile a gunslinger who also gains panache from swashbuckler adds Wisdom and Charisma to stamina).

Charming Swordsman (Ex)

With their first steps the Swashbuckler learns techniques which can help them in the middle of combat at 1st level.

Derring-Do: A swashbuckler can spend 1 stamina point when she makes a skill check which relies on Str, Dex, or Con to roll 1d6 and add the result to the check. If the result of the d6 roll is a natural 6, she rolls another 1d6 and adds it to the check. She can continue to do this as long as she rolls natural 6s, up to a number of times equal to her Dexterity modifier (minimum 1). In addition to this, the swashbuckler can choose to forgo rerolling the d6 on a natural 6 to instead refund the stamina point she had spent.

Dodging Panache: When an opponent attempts a melee attack against the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action spend 1 stamina point to move 5 feet; doing so grants the swashbuckler a dodge bonus to AC equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1) against the triggering attack. This movement doesn’t negate the attack, which is still resolved as if the swashbuckler had not moved from the original square. This movement is not a 5-foot step and thus does not expend their 5-foot step if used, however using this ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity for moving through or out of threatened spaces.

Opportune Parry and Riposte: When an opponent makes a melee attack against the swashbuckler, she can spend 1 stamina point to attempt to parry that attack. The swashbuckler makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; if her result is greater than the attacking creature’s result, the creature’s attack automatically misses. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 stamina point remaining, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action make an attack against the creature whose attack she parried, provided that creature is within her reach. This ability’s stamina point cost cannot be reduced.

For each size category the attacking creature is larger than the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler takes a –2 penalty on this roll. For each size category the attacking creature is smaller than the swashbuckler, they add a +2 bonus to this roll.

Swashbuckler Finesse (Ex)

At 1st level, a swashbuckler gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat with light or one-handed piercing melee weapons, and she can use her Charisma score in place of Intelligence as a prerequisite for combat feats. This ability counts as having the Weapon Finesse feat for purposes of meeting feat prerequisites.

Charmed Life (Ex)

At 2nd level, the swashbuckler gains a knack for getting out of trouble. Three times per day as an immediate action before attempting a saving throw, she can add her Charisma modifier to the result of the save. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the number of times she can do this per day increases by one (to a maximum of 7 times per day at 18th level).

Nimble (Ex)

At 3rd level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC while wearing light or no armor. Anything that causes the swashbuckler to lose her Dexterity bonus to AC also causes her to lose this dodge bonus. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 3rd (to a maximum of +5 at 19th level).

Cunning Vagabond (Ex)

Kip-Up: While the swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she can kip-up from prone as a move action without provoking an attack of opportunity. She can kip-up as a swift action instead by spending 1 stamina point.

Menacing Swordplay: While she has at least 1 stamina point, when a swashbuckler hits an opponent with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, she can choose to use Intimidate to demoralize that opponent as a swift action instead of a standard action.

Precise Strike: While she has at least 1 stamina point, a swashbuckler gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, adding her swashbuckler level to the damage dealt. She can use this ability with thrown light or one-handed piercing melee weapons, so long as the target is within 30 feet of her. Any creature that is immune to sneak attacks is immune to the additional damage granted by precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from the additional damage of a precise strike. This additional damage is precision damage, and isn’t multiplied on a critical hit.

As a swift action, a swashbuckler can spend 1 stamina point to double her precise strike’s damage bonus on the next attack. This benefit must be used before the end of her turn, or it is lost. The stamina cost cannot be reduced by any ability.

Swashbuckler Initiative: While the swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she gains her Charisma bonus on initiative checks. In addition she is treated as possessing the Quick Draw feat for light or one-handed piercing melee weapons.

Bonus Feats

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, a swashbuckler gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. Swashbuckler levels are considered fighter levels for the purpose of meeting combat feat prerequisites.

In addition, upon reaching 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, a swashbuckler can choose to learn a new bonus feat in place of a bonus feat she has already learned. In effect, the swashbuckler loses the bonus feat in exchange for the new one. The old feat cannot be one that was used as a prerequisite for another feat, prestige class, or other ability. A swashbuckler can only change one feat at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the feat at the time she gains a new bonus feat for the level.

Swashbuckler Weapon Training (Ex)

At 5th level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with one-handed or light piercing melee weapons. While wielding such a weapon, she gains the benefit of the Improved Critical feat. These attack and damage bonuses increase by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 5th level (to a maximum of +4 at 17th level).

Agile Savant (Ex)

Swashbuckler’s Grace: While the swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she takes no penalty for moving at full speed when she uses Acrobatics to attempt to move through a threatened area or an enemy’s space. In addition to this, the swashbuckler gains their Charisma bonus to these types of Acrobatics checks. Alternatively, 1 stamina point can be spent to negate the need to roll an Acrobatics check.

Superior Feint: If a swashbuckler would miss against an opponent they can spend 1 stamina point in order to treat the opponent as flat-footed until the beginning of the swashbuckler’s next turn. This can only be used once on the swashbuckler’s turn.

Targeted Strike: As a full-round action the swashbuckler can spend 1 stamina point to make an attack with a single light or one-handed piercing melee weapon that cripples part of a foe’s body. The swashbuckler chooses a part of the body to target. If the attack succeeds, in addition to the attack’s normal damage, the target suffers one of the following effects based on the part of the body targeted. If a creature doesn’t have one of the listed body locations, that body part cannot be targeted. Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to targeted strikes. Items or abilities that protect a creature from critical hits also protect a creature from targeted strikes.

  • Arms: The target takes no damage from the attack, but it drops one carried item of the swashbuckler’s choice, even if the item is wielded with two hands. Items held in a locked gauntlet cannot be chosen.
  • Head: The target is stunned for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.
  • Legs: The target is knocked prone and takes a -2 to AC. Creatures with four or more legs or that are immune to trip attacks are immune to this effect.
  • Torso or Wings: The target is staggered for 1 round.

Charming Warrior (Ex)

Bleeding Wound: When the swashbuckler hits a living creature with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon attack, as a free action she can spend 1 stamina point to have that attack deal additional bleed damage. The amount of bleed damage dealt is equal to the swashbuckler’s Dexterity modifier (minimum 1). Alternatively, the swashbuckler can spend 2 stamina points to deal 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution bleed damage instead (swashbuckler’s choice). Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to these types of bleed damage.

Evasive: While a swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she gains the benefits of the evasion, uncanny dodge, and improved uncanny dodge rogue class features. She uses her swashbuckler level as her rogue level for improved uncanny dodge.

Subtle Blade: While a swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she is immune to disarm, steal, and sunder combat maneuvers made against a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon she is wielding. In addition to this, the swashbuckler can make these combat maneuvers with light and one-handed piercing melee weapons adding their swashbuckler level to their CMB when making these checks.

Fight or Flight (Ex)

Dizzying Defense: While wielding a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon in one hand, the swashbuckler can spend 1 stamina point to take the fighting defensively action as a swift action instead of a standard action. When fighting defensively in this manner, the dodge bonus to AC gained from that action increases to +4, and the penalty to attack rolls is reduced to –2.

Perfect Thrust: While the swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she can as a full-round action make a perfect thrust, pooling all of her attack potential into a single melee attack made with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon. When she does, she makes the attack against the target’s touch AC, and ignores all damage reduction. If the attack hits the opponent, they roll their weapon damage as if they had made every iterative attack they can potentially make, and if they critically hit on this attack they roll weapon damage as if every iterative attack they can potentially make had critically hit.

(For example, a Swashbuckler at 15th level has three natural iterative attacks; +15/+10/+5, thus if they make this single attack they would roll their weapon damage as if they had rolled three weapon attack rolls.)

Swashbuckler’s Edge: At 15th level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 stamina point, she can take 10 on any physical skill check, even while distracted or in immediate danger. She can use this ability in conjunction with the derring-do deed. Physical skills checks are any skill check relying on Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.

Unerring Swordsman (Ex)

Cheat Death: Whenever the swashbuckler is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, she can spend all of her remaining stamiina to instead be reduced to 1 hit point. She must have at least 1 stamina point to spend. Effects that kill the swashbuckler outright without dealing hit point damage are not affected by this ability.

Deadly Stab: When the swashbuckler confirms a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, in addition to the normal damage, she can spend 1 stamina point to inflict a deadly stab. The target must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw or die. The DC of this save is 10 + 1/2 the swashbuckler’s level + the swashbuckler’s Dexterity modifier. This is a death attack. Performing this deed does not grant the swashbuckler a stamina point.

Stunning Stab: When a swashbuckler hits a creature with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, she can spend 2 stamina points to stun the creature for 1 round. The creature must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the swashbuckler’s level + the swashbuckler’s Dexterity modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are also immune to this effect.

Swashbuckler Weapon Mastery (Ex)

At 20th level, when a swashbuckler threatens a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, that critical is automatically confirmed. Furthermore, the critical modifiers of such weapons increase by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, and so on).

Incredible Luck (Ex)

At 20th level, the swashbuckler has had so many close calls that she barely notices them anymore. The swashbuckler gains three additional uses of charmed life and can activate the ability as a free action, even outside of her turn.