View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next You Are A Pirate! - Swashbuckler subclass for Fighters

2015-04-01, 05:48 PM
Obviously, the rogue lends itself enormously well to the ole swash and buckle, but I've always felt that, since the fighter claims to be all things to all martials, it should be equally capable of portraying the nimble, acrobatic finesse warrior. Naturally, the main thrust (har har) of this subclass is along the lines of a Zorro or Jack Sparrow, but you could actually really easily emulate someone like prequel Obi-Wan or Harley Quinn with this subclass as well; it's meant to be a flexible finesse fighter, suitable to any combination of emphasis on Dex, Int and Cha.

Worthy of note is a minor tweak I've applied to the base fighter chassis: all fighters get free Athletics proficiency in addition to the usual two skills, and at level 4 they get Expertise in Athletics. They can, if proficient in Acrobatics, choose to apply the Expertise to that instead. So this was written with the expectation that any swash can get that without multiclass.

Swashbuckler Martial Archetype
The archetypal swashbuckler is a dashing hero who thwarts every opponent with agility and panache. Acrobatic and charismatic, the fighters who emulate this archetype hone their skill with lightweight armor and weapons, trusting a keen intellect and a lifetime of experience over brute strength to penetrate an enemy's defense (and when needed, assail his dignity). A true swashbuckler is always ready for a duel, a dance, or a party, and when the fighting starts, she only stops moving long enough to strike a daring pose.

Image source unknown, but I did learn that I despise Pinterest.

Bonus Proficiencies
When you choose this archetype at third level, you gain proficiency with Charisma saves, and either Deception or Persuasion (your choice).

Canny Offensive
As a swashbuckler, your sword is as sharp as your wit, and no less. When you make a successful attack with a finesse weapon and you aren't wearing heavy or medium armor or a shield, you may add your Intelligence modifier to the damage.

Additionally, you gain a pool of Flourish points equal to your Intelligence modifier, which represent your ability to take advantage of fleeting opportunities other people might miss. Whenever you make a successful attack with a finesse weapon, you may spend a Flourish point to attempt to shove, trip or disarm your target with a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. You may also spend a Flourish point to grant advantage on a Charisma check.

Expended Flourish points are regained after a short or long rest.

Flashing Blade
Starting at 7th level, you begin to truly master the art of the duel. If you take the attack action and make all your attacks with the same finesse weapon against the same foe, you may make an additional attack with that weapon against that foe as a bonus action.

You don't benefit from this feature if you're wearing a shield or medium or heavy armor.

Beginning at 10th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity save for half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the save, and only half damage if you fail.

From 10th level, you can make a foe overcommit and open himself to attack. If an enemy within your reach targets you with an attack and misses, you may spend a Flourish point as a reaction to attack that enemy with a finesse weapon.

Acrobatic Charge
Beginning at 15th level, you can make unexpected movement into a potent tactical advantage. If you make a successful Acrobatics check as part of your movement, you may spend a Flourish point to add your Intelligence modifier to the first attack roll you make before the beginning of your next turn.

You don't benefit from this feature if you're wearing a shield or medium or heavy armor.

Perfect Parry
Beginning at 18th level, when you take the attack action, you may choose to reserve one or more of your available attacks. Until the beginning of your next turn, each time an enemy makes an attack roll against you, you may spend one of these attacks to force the enemy's attack to miss. You must decide to use this ability before the DM rolls the d20 for your target's attack.
If that seems shockingly powerful, note that I was balancing this subclass against every other class in the game, not against the other fighter subclasses. For what its worth, I give Battle Masters a worthwhile level 18 ability too.

Thoughts? This is probably the most simple homebrew I've attempted since 5e launched, which makes me suspicious.

2015-04-01, 06:21 PM
Hmm. For a start I think perfect parry should be size class limited. Maybe to a size one step larger than yourself or below. A Fighter simply parrying an ancient dragon whilst his squire throws rocks at it seems a bit good. At 18th level, if I get it right a two person party can basically fight against one close combat foe (Tarrasque?) with no problem at all.

2015-04-01, 11:14 PM
Swashbuckler Martial Archetype
The archetypal swashbuckler is a dashing hero who thwarts every opponent with agility and panache. Acrobatic and charismatic...

I like this flavor text-- and the flavor you seem to be going for, but the actual features don't bear it out. Besides getting proficiencies, Charisma is irrelevant to this build. Personally i'd switch the features that rely on INT to CHA, and describe it as the effect of his force of personality.

I don't have any specific ideas, but i would be interested in seeing some kind of stunt that can be pulled in combat with a successful deception or persuasion check.

2015-04-02, 08:37 AM
This is a nice archetype I might be interested in adding to my campaign. Here are some ideas:

Make it more similar to the Battle master archetype. This way you don't need to specify separate skills for most levels, just give the player more options to choose from. You already have trip, riposte, etc. You can add more to the list, but make sure at least half of them are new techniques, which the Battle master doesn't offer.

You can make Charisma or Intelligence main attribute, by player's choice. Once made, stick by it. Right now some skills benefit from Int, some from Cha.

3rd level offers too many skills, in my opinion. Better make it Charisma or Intelligence saving throw (by player's choice) and replace the Acrobatics checks with Flourish DC (= 8 + Prof + Mod)

If you make riposte and acrobatic charge maneuvers, you can add some other cool feats at levels 7 and 15. Evasion is good I think. You can even make Evasion level 7, like the other classes which have it. Or leave Flashing Blade at 7 and Evasion at 10. Is the idea of Flashing Blade to benefit from Dueling, because now it remind of two weapon fighting a lot?

Level 18 is kind of strong, I wouldn't allow it for my players. Why don't you replace it with something similar to Indomitable Might or Elusive.

All in all, nice idea, looking forward to see the final version.