I am used to playing simpler Pathfinder classes like rogue or cleric. Swashbuckler is a hybrid class (fighter / rogue) that adds the panache pool and deeds mechanic, analogous to Gunslinger’s grit point pool. Even at 4th level, swashbuckler adds quite a few tricks that make combat a bit more complex. I often catch myself forgetting about many of these tricks and bonuses in the moment, but after the fact it’s too late.
This guide gives simple rules to follow when playing my swashbuckler. It’s mainly for my own reference, but will be useful when I can’t play and others are filling in for me.
- Panache pool
- Combat guide
A swashbuckler has something called panache pool. Each day, Needle starts with 5 panache points (3 from Cha modifier and 2 from Extra Panache feat). Using deeds typically expands a panache point (see details below). Making a crit or killing an opponent refills one panache point.
All of the special tricks such as precision damage and intimidate as a swift action requires having at least 1 panache point in the pool. To make it easier, I always make sure to not use my last panache point, so these bonuses are always enabled.
Making a melee attack
- Roll for attack;
- If critical hit, gain 1 panache point;
- Roll for damage:
- If using a light, one-handed melee or thrown piercing weapon, add +4 as precision damage;
- If opponent reduced to 0 or less HP, gain 1 panache point;
- If opponent still stands, roll an intimidate check as a swift action. If successful, the opponent is shaken for 1 round (-2 to attack, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks).
Optionally, you can spend 1 panache point to add +4 precision damage to the attack in the next round (totaling to +8).
Getting attacked in melee
If you have more than 1 panache point and didn’t expend use of an attack of opportunity, take advantage of oportune parry and reposte (a swashbuckler deed). When the DM announces a melee attack, announce a parry:
- DM rolls for attack;
- Make an attack roll to parry. If greater then attacker’s roll, their attack automatically fails;
- If successful, make an attack roll and follow the steps for making a melee attack.
Other situational stuff
- As a full-round action, you can roll to intimidate all foes within 30 ft (dazzling display feat).
- If prone, you can use kip-up deed to stand up as a swift action, without provoking attacks of opportunity.
- 3 times per day, you can add Cha bonus to saving throws (Charmed Life).
- You can spend 1 panache point to add a 1d6 die roll to Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim check (Derring do deed). I typically do this to pull off crazy acrobatic tricks like running over crowds or doing a summer sault over the opponent. If you roll a 6, roll again. You can do up to 4 rolls (Dex modifier).
CN medium human swashbuckler 4
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +1 shield, +4 Dex, +1 dodge)
Fort +2, Ref +8, Will +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 rapier (mithral) +10 (1d6+9/18-20) (includes precision damage)
Ranged mwk longbow +9 (1d8-1/x3)
Str 8, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16
Base Atk +4; CMB +3; CMD 17
Feats Swashbuckler Finesse, Weapon Focus (rapier), Fencing Grace, Extra Panache, Dazzling Display
Skills Acrobatics +9, Appraise +2, Bluff +7, Climb +3, Diplomacy +7, Escape Artist +8, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +5, Perception +5, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +8, Swim +3.
Languages Common, Dwarven
Stuff +1 studded leather, mwk buckler, thieves tools, rope, grapling hook, 5 adamantine arrows.
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 her previous 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 perform this deed only while wearing light armor 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 stand up from prone as a move action without provoking an attack of opportunity. She can stand up from prone 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 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 a natural weapon), adding her swashbuckler level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her off hand or use a shield other than a buckler. She can use this ability even 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 her 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 a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon that’s unhidden and ready to draw, she can draw that weapon as part of the initiative check.