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.
Hit Die: d10.
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.
The swashbuckler’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Deeds, panache, swashbuckler finesse|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+0||Charmed life 3/day|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+1||Deeds, nimble +1|
|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||Deeds, nimble +2|
|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||Deeds, nimble +3|
|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||Deeds, nimble +4|
|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||Deeds, nimble +5|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Bonus feat, swashbuckler weapon mastery|
The following are the class features of the swashbuckler.
Swashbucklers are proficient with simple and martial weapons, as well as light armor and bucklers.
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. At the start of each day, a swashbuckler gains a number of panache points equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Her panache goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than her Charisma modifier (minimum 1), though feats and magic items can affect this maximum. A swashbuckler spends panache to accomplish deeds (see below), and regains panache in the following ways.
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 panache 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 panache.
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 panache 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 panache.
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. For characters with a mix of grit, luck, and panache, they pool the resources together into a combined pool. (Those who use panache and luck gain twice their Charisma bonus in their pool.) For feats, magic items, and other effects, a panache user can spend and gain luck points in place of grit or panache points, and vice versa.
A luck user does not count as a grit or panache user to satisfy feat prerequisites. Swashbuckler levels stack with gunslinger levels for the purpose of satisfying Signature Deed’s level requirement.
Swashbucklers spend panache points to accomplish deeds. Most deeds grant the swashbuckler a momentary bonus or effect, but some provide longer-lasting effects. Some deeds remain in effect while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache point, but do not require expending panache to be maintained. A swashbuckler can only perform deeds of her level or lower. Unless otherwise noted, a deed can be performed multiple successive times, as long as the swashbuckler has or spends the required number of panache points to perform the deed.
Derring-Do (Ex): At 1st level, a swashbuckler can spend 1 panache point when she makes an Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim check to roll 1d6 and add the result to the check. She can do this after she makes the check but before the result is revealed. 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).
Dodging Panache (Ex): At 1st level, when an opponent attempts a melee attack against the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action spend 1 panache point to move 5 feet; doing so grants the swashbuckler a dodge bonus to AC equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 0) 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; it provokes attacks of opportunity from creatures other than the one who triggered this deed. The swashbuckler can only perform this deed while wearing light or no armor, and while carrying no heavier than a light load.
Opportune Parry and Riposte (Ex): At 1st level, when an opponent makes a melee attack against the swashbuckler, she can spend 1 panache point and expend a use of an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry that attack. The swashbuckler makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; for each size category the attacking creature is larger than the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler takes a –2 penalty on this roll. If her result is greater than the attacking creature’s result, the creature’s attack automatically misses. The swashbuckler must declare the use of this ability after the creature’s attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 panache point, 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 deed’s cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the number of panache points a deed costs.
Kip-Up (Ex): At 3rd level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache 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 panache point.
Menacing Swordplay (Ex): At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache 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 (Ex): At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, a swashbuckler gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon (though not natural weapon attacks), adding her swashbuckler level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler. She can even 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 panache 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. This deed’s cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the amount of panache points a deed costs (such as the Signature Deed feat).
Swashbuckler Initiative (Ex): At 3rd level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache point, she gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks. In addition, if she has the Quick Draw feat, her hands are free and unrestrained, and she has any single light or one-handed piercing melee weapon that isn’t hidden, she can draw that weapon as part of the initiative check.
Swashbuckler’s Grace (Ex): At 7th level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache 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.
Superior Feint (Ex): At 7th level, a swashbuckler with at least 1 panache point can, as a standard action, purposefully miss a creature she could make a melee attack against with a wielded light or one-handed piercing weapon. When she does, the creature is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC until the start of the swashbuckler’s next turn.
Targeted Strike (Ex): At 7th level, as a full-round action the swashbuckler can spend 1 panache 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 confused for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.
- Legs: The target is knocked prone. 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.
Bleeding Wound (Ex): At 11th level, 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 panache 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 panache 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 (Ex): At 11th level, while a swashbuckler has at least 1 panache 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 (Ex): At 11th level, while a swashbuckler has at least 1 panache point, she is immune to disarm, steal, and sunder combat maneuvers made against a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon she is wielding.
Dizzying Defense (Ex): At 15th level, while wielding a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon in one hand, the swashbuckler can spend 1 panache 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 (Ex): At 15th level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache 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.
Swashbuckler’s Edge (Ex): At 15th level, while the swashbuckler has at least 1 panache point, she can take 10 on any Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim check, even while distracted or in immediate danger. She can use this ability in conjunction with the derring-do deed.
Cheat Death (Ex): At 19th level, whenever the swashbuckler is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, she can spend all of her remaining panache to instead be reduced to 1 hit point. She must have at least 1 panache point to spend. Effects that kill the swashbuckler outright without dealing hit point damage are not affected by this ability.
Deadly Stab (Ex): At 19th level, 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 panache 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 panache point.
Stunning Stab (Ex): At 19th level, when a swashbuckler hits a creature with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon, she can spend 2 panache 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.
Deeds of Renown
Swashbucklers and gunslingers perform impressive deeds through their grit and panache, but some are capable of truly spectacular acts known as renowned deeds. A swashbuckler or gunslinger (though not members of other classes) can select a renowned deed for her class upon reaching the class level listed in the deed’s description. This replaces the specific listed deed or deeds; if the character would not gain the appropriate deeds, she cannot select the renowned deed, as if selecting an archetype.
Vengeful Heart (Ex): Some swashbucklers are driven by vengeance above all else. At 1st level, the swashbuckler gains the samurai’s resolve class feature, treating her swashbuckler level as her samurai level. Whenever the swashbuckler spends a use of resolve, she must also spend a point of panache or a use of charmed life, or the use of resolve has no effect. This deed replaces the derring-do deed and one other 1st-level deed. Source PPC:CoL
Hilt Hammer (Ex): Precise strikes with a slender blade do little to hinder amorphous or incorporeal creatures; when encountering such threats, some swashbucklers abandon precision in favor of brutish strikes. At 3rd level, the swashbuckler can activate this deed before rolling the attack roll when making an attack that would benefit from precise strike. An attack altered this way deals only half the normal damage from precise strike, but this damage is not treated as precision damage. This deed alters (but does not replace) the precise strike deed and replaces one other 3rd-level deed. Source PPC:CoL
Dodging Dance (Ex): The swashbuckler moves around her opponents’ attacks to open them up for strikes. At 7th level, a swashbuckler can spend 1 panache point to move up to half her speed as a move action. If a creature makes an attack of opportunity against her due to this movement, she can attempt an Acrobatics check with a DC equal to the attacking creature’s CMD. If she succeeds, the attack of opportunity misses, and the swashbuckler can make an attack of opportunity against the attacking creature instead. She can attempt to evade multiple attacks of opportunity during this movement, but the DC of the Acrobatics check increases by 2 for each additional opponent that makes an attack of opportunity against her during this movement. If the swashbuckler has an ability that grants her additional attacks of opportunity, she can use them to respond to multiple missed attacks of opportunity with her own attacks. This deed replaces the swashbuckler’s grace deed and one other 7th-level deed. Source PPC:CoL
Vengeful Soul (Ex): Sometimes vengeance can take years or even decades, forcing the aggrieved swashbuckler to push the limits of her endurance. At 11th level, the swashbuckler gains the samurai’s greater resolve class feature. At 19th level, the swashbuckler gains the samurai’s true resolve class feature. The swashbuckler must have the vengeful heart renowned deed to select this deed. This deed replaces the subtle blade and cheat death deeds, plus an additional 11thlevel deed. Source PPC:CoL
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.
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. She must choose to do this before the roll is made. 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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
Alternative Capstone Ability
When a character reaches the 20th level of a class, she gains a powerful class feature or ability, sometimes referred to as a capstone. When a character reaches 20th level in this class, the following new ability can be selected instead of the standard 20th level class ability which would normally be gained. In some cases, a capstone specifies what ability it replaces. A character can’t select an alternative capstone if she has previously traded away her class capstone via an archetype. Clerics and wizards can receive a capstone at 20th level, despite not having one to begin with.
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.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have swashbucklers as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
|Dwarf||Add ¼ to the swashbuckler’s effective class level to determine the extra damage she deals because of the precise strike deed when wielding a light pick or a heavy pick. If the swashbuckler has the Slashing Grace feat or another similar effect, she can treat the battleaxe or handaxe as a one-handed piercing melee weapon, and she gains this benefit when wielding the appropriate weapon for the feat as well.||ACG|
|Elf||Increase the total number of points in the swashbuckler’s panache pool by ¼.||ACG|
|Gnome||Increase the number of times per day the swashbuckler can use charmed life by ¼.||ACG|
|Half-Elf||Increase the number of times per day the swashbuckler can use charmed life by ¼.||ACG|
|Half-Orc||Gain a +? bonus on all critical hit confirmation rolls made while using the precise strike deed (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus doesn’t stack with those gained through Critical Focus and similar effects.||ACG|
|Halfling||Increase the number of times per day the swashbuckler can use charmed life by ¼.||ACG|
|Human||Increase the total number of points in the swashbuckler’s panache pool by ¼.||ACG|
|Android||Add +1/6 to the swashbuckler’s nimble bonus.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.
Though the imagination usually conjures images of a well dressed dandy with a trusty rapier, there are many varieties of swashbuckler.
The following are just a few examples.
- Arrow Champion
- Daring Infiltrator
- Dashing Thief
- Falcata Swashbuckler
- Flying Blade
- Guiding Blade
- Inspired Blade
- Mysterious Avenger
- Mystic Corsair (Swashbuckler Archetype)
- Noble Fencer
- Veiled Blade
- Whirling Dervish
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game ACG © 2014, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Ross Byers, Jesse Benner, Savannah Broadway, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Tracy Hurley, Jonathan H. Keith, Will McCardell, Dale C. McCoy, Jr., Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Sean K Reynolds, Tork Shaw, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.