View Full Version : Swashbuckeling Feats

2007-05-27, 09:59 AM
I am about to DM a seafaring campaign, and do not like the defense bonus variant rule, so I was trying to think of a way to give my players some extra AC and this is what I came up with. I think it promotes more of a fencing/swashbuckeling style combat.

Apparent Defense
You make your opponents think you are harder to hit than you actually are.
Prerequisites: Bluff 4 ranks, Improved Feint
Benefit: Gain a bonus to your armor class equal to your charisma modifier plus one when you successfully feint in combat and are wearing light or no armor. This bomus lasts until your next turn.

Canny Defense
You rely on your quick thinking as much as training and agility to save your skin.
Prerequisites: Combat Expertise, Tumble 4 ranks
Benefit: Gain a bonus to your armor class equal to your inteligence modifier plus one when fighting defensively or using combat expertise (taking a -2 or greater penalty) and wearing light or no armor.

Intuitive Defense
You intuition and perception protect you when you leave yourself open.
Prerequisites: Sense Motive 4 ranks
Benefit: If you are wearing light or no armor and provoke an attack of oppurtuinity, make a sense motive check as an immediate action (DC equal to your opponent's attack roll). If you suceed, gain a bonus to your armor class equal to your wisdom modifier plus one against that attack.

What do you think? I appreciate any feedback.

2007-05-28, 04:39 PM
Feats, though? It seems kind of harsh to create low powered Feats that only work with Light or No Armour when the Defence Bonus Variant gives out AC for free.

2007-05-28, 04:47 PM
Looks interesting. Some reason to do smart warrior.

However - 16 or so Int means that you probably had to take some worse Dex- so when wearing light armor boost to AC can be very small.

2007-05-29, 07:51 AM
It is precisely because the defense bonus gives out AC for free that I don't like it.

The AC bonus seems a little low, but for my situations, these characters are already higher dex than usual (because they knew they would be without armor, or armor better than light). I suppose that I could remove the light or no armor thing, and it wouldn't change anything, but my main purpose for it was to limit CoDzilla's AC on the Cha and Wis bonuses. It seemed unfair to not extend this to the other feat as well.

With Canny Defense, the fact that your Int is probably only a 14 or 16 gives this more balance. When using combat expertise and tumble (more than 5 ranks), you have a +3 to AC to begin with, and only a -2 penalty. This would double it. I think that is fair.

I think I will make it 1+(realitive ability score modifer) just to make them a little more useful though.

Also, I allow up to four flaws in my campaign, with two at first level and two more that you can take one at a time at any subsequent levels.

2007-05-29, 08:06 AM
It is precisely because the defense bonus gives out AC for free that I don't like it.

Well, it's the fact that without combat expertise you defence is reliant entirely on magic that makes me like it.

However the d20 modern version is superior to the Unearthed Arcana version which doesn't stack with armour.

2007-05-29, 08:34 AM
Well, it's the fact that without combat expertise you defence is reliant entirely on magic that makes me like it.

However the d20 modern version is superior to the Unearthed Arcana version which doesn't stack with armour.

Please, this thread isn't to debate the defense bonus, it is for input on my feats, or for others to post their homebrew swashbuckeling feats if they desire. If you want to debate it, please start a thread over in Gaming and I will gladly do so.

I put the statement in my post simply because I knew that many would tell me to check it out or use it.

2007-05-29, 08:47 AM
If you want to promote swashbuckling, I would give bonuses for swinging off Chandaliers.

The problem with these feats is they're too situational. If you make a feat that everybody is supposed to take then you shouldn't make it a feat.

You also need to clarify what kind of bonuses you recieve and what the bonuses are actually to. I assume they're AC bonuses but you haven't actually said that.

2007-05-29, 09:35 AM
Okay, well let's address this from the ground up.

The way Armour is handled in D&D, a Character with Dexterity 29 (+9) and Padded Armour is as well defended as a Character with minimum Dexterity 12 (+1) and Full Plate Armour. The key differences are speed and the results of being Flat Footed. You are looking to play a Seafaring Campaign that de emphasises the importance of Armour, limiting most Characters to Light or No Armour. A Mail Shirt is already one of the best types in the game. A Character with Dexterity 16 has as good Armour Class whilst wearing one as a Character with minimum Dexterity 12 wearing any type of Heavy Armour outside Full Plate.

Where they are going to lose out is with Breast Plates, but that is only going to be by 1 Point.

The question thus becomes are you providing Feats that make the Characters more powerful in general or address the issues that playing in an Armour Light game create (such as they are).

A lot of this hinges on the role of Dexterity. How many Players are going to have a low Dexterity in a game like this? What kind of Attribute spread are we looking at? How will Magical Attribute enhancing items effect Armour Class? Will they be available?

The key problem I see in these feats is that they stack with one another and with Dexterity. By creating restrictions in the way they can be used you have sought to impose some sort of balance, but what will the typical Player's reaction be to this? he will either attempt to find a more reliable means of AC (Dexterity) or will seek to make these reliable by means of Skill Ranks, Skill Focus and favouring that Attribute.

These Feats may work (hell, it's impossible to predict how one campaign will differ from another), but do they really address the problem? Indeed, is there really a problem?

2007-05-30, 08:14 AM
Matthew- On the issue of dexterity, we have a halfling with a 20 and a gnome with a 16. I forget what our druid's was, but he uses the shapechange variant from the PHB2.

Our rogue (the halfling) already focuses on feinting in combat because it is one of the most reliable ways to get a sneak attack. Because I thought that rogues would be rather common (and we have a house rule that feinting is a move action, or a swift action with improved feint), I thought that Apparent Defense might be a good feat, as it would give rogues more AC and more damage.

Because combat expertise was one of the most viable options for the players to increase their AC already (they generally had higher inteligences because of the realization that skill checks would be important onboard the ship, and that they would need a variety of skills to sail a ship and still adventure), I thought that Canny Defense would be a nice way to augment this further.

Insightful Defense is obviously the least useful of the three feats. My main idea for this was to make special combat actions more common (so that a character can trip, grapple, disarm, sunder, etc. more often with less risk). I figured that making those particular AoO less dangerous to somone who took this feat would give a quicker (albeit less reliable) way to go about it. They don't have to take four feats to be good at these actions, but they won't be as good as if they had.

I figure that if they take the feat they will have at least a 12 in the realivant ability score, and so will get a +2 bonus. This would make the armor class similar to wearing medium armor (which the rogue, beguiler, swashbuckler, bard, and scout can't wear anyway). Since I predicted that those classes would be more common, I thought these feats more useful.

Players don't have to take these, but I thought that at the lower levels of gameplay (which we will be at for most of the campaign), they would be useful. I also didn't think that they would be useless as one progressed in level.

I made them stack for a reason. If a character wants a feinting rogue with combat expertise, I will let him take those benefits.

Is there a way to make these feats more constant without making them too powerful?
Would, say, adding your Int. to AC when not flat-footed and wearing light or no armor be too powerful for a third level character to have access to? I am not allowing too many PrCs, so I don't care about making class features of those less useful, etc.