This character is roguish and acrobatic, a daring individual who wields rapier and rapier wit with equal skill. Though possibly capable of wearing armour and wielding heavy weapons, a Swashbuckler is more comfortable when lightly armed and armoured. The Swashbuckler is the sophisticated, but seldom serious, hero or villain who rebels against societal standards.
Any warrior, wizard, or rogue can be a Swashbuckler, though Swashbuckler paladins and necromancers are quite rare and Swashbuckler rangers are uncommon.
Swashbuckler characters can be of any alignment, social background, or gender, but they are seldom lawful and often have aristocratic or wealthy backgrounds. They must have a 13 or better in Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma.
Though some have deep motivations that are seldom shared with others, most Swashbucklers are thrill seekers, adventurers because of a whim. Sometimes characters moonlight as Swashbucklers, leading an entirely different career by day. Swashbucklers are usually chivalrous, or at least pretend to be, though this is less because they believe in chivalry than because they like the esteem.
A Swashbuckler often gains a reputation and notoriety, which is not always good. Cunning and dashing, the epitome of charm and grace, these characters are often found on the wrong side of the law because of their common disrespect for authority. They sometimes ally with bandits or pirates, typically leading such bands.
With charm and wit, a Swashbuckler often gravitates toward the position of group leader, or at least group spokesperson. However, these characters tend to dislike such responsibilities and are more comfortable with wild theatrics and acrobatics than either politics or real fighting. They are most comfortable in cities, where they can shine amid squalor.
A Swashbuckler thief usually balances all skills but tends to emphasise picking pockets (more for sleight of hand). Skills such as moving silently and hiding in shadows tend to suffer because the character likes being noticed. Among Swashbuckler wizards, the schools of alteration, enchantment/charm, and illusion are popular. Rangers usually choose a species enemy that brings notoriety, a recognised but not terribly dangerous foe.
Thieves, paladins, and other characters are almost always independent, seldom working with guilds or other organisations. Most classes have an expanded range of weapon and Non-weapon proficiencies available.
The weapons of the Swashbuckler are the rapier, sabre, main-gauche, and stiletto. At 1st level, a Swashbuckler receives a bonus weapon proficiency slot which must be used for one of these weapons; the most common choice is the rapier. Swashbucklers of any class fight with a warrior’s THAC0 with that chosen weapon. Until a Swashbuckler is proficient in all four of these weapons, at least half the character’s proficiency slots must be used on them.
In addition all Swashbucklers gain the Two Weapon style proficiency.
Swashbucklers can become proficient in the use of wheellock pistols, and many prefer them. Swashbuckler warriors and rogues of all types can take wheellock specialisation (most prefer the belt pistol, but a few use the horse pistol instead). The character is also fond of special manoeuvres. Many learn secret passes, mostly leaning toward the Moncorvo fighting school (see the “Proficiencies” chapter for details on secret passes).
The Swashbuckler’s bonus proficiencies are panache and tumbling. Recommended proficiencies include alertness, artistic ability, blind-fighting, dancing, disguise, etiquette, fast-talking, gaming, jumping, navigation, seamanship, tightrope walking, and gunsmithing. All other rogue group proficiencies are appropriate as well. Rogue proficiencies do not cost extra slots, no matter what the character’s class.
At 1st level, these characters must buy their weapon of choice. All other gold can be spent as the individual sees fit, though Swashbucklers tend to buy stylish clothing and exotic equipment. Swashbucklers must adhere to the armour restrictions of their class.
A Swashbuckler has two special benefits, besides those mentioned under proficiencies. When wearing light armour (leather or padded) or none, the character receives a -2 bonus to Armour Class. As a dashing figure, the Swashbuckler also receives a -2 bonus on reaction rolls from NPCs of the opposite sex.
Just as the Swashbuckler seeks adventure, adventure comes looking for the Swashbuckler. A reputation often precedes the character, leading Duellists and other Swashbucklers to challenge the character’s prowess.
Strange luck affects these characters. For example, if a member of the local nobility falls ill, a Swashbuckler might be asked to imitate him in the midst of an assassination plot. A helpless person running away from something might stumble into a Swashbuckler’s arms and ask for help. A Swashbuckler who leaps off a hill to avoid capture might find himself in an ogre camp and have to talk his way out.
Life conspires to make things a little more difficult for Swashbucklers, and the DM should throw a little more good-natured bad fortune their way than at other characters.
The Swashbuckler receives the standard funds according to character class.
Races and Nationalities:
Swashbucklers are most common in the Savage Baronies, with the exception of Cimarron and Guadalante. Characters from Bellayne and Herath can also take the kit, and Swashbucklers are common in Renardy. Caymas, gurrash, and wallaras never take the kit, even when raised in other cultures. It is rare, but possible, for tortles, shazaks, and phanatons to be Swashbucklers.