Hello everyone, and a belated happy new year! Today marks the first Best in Class of the new year, and I’ve decided to celebrate with an exciting double feature of archetypes, one fighter and one rogue, which both focus on being masters of defense and subtlety. Suitable for duelists and swashbucklers as well as for anyone who prides themselves on fighting in a non-brutish manner, today’s article is sure to be an exciting way to kick off what will be a historic week (for Necromancers of the Northwest anyway—you’ll see what I’m talking about a little later on).
New Fighter Archetype
Sure swords are fighters who believe highly in the art of combat. That said, they focus more on the artistry and form of combat and less on killing their opponents as quickly as possible. While this style of civilized and cultured fighting makes sure swords far from the first choice for frontline soldiers, their techniques are tried and true, and focus on keeping the sure sword alive in combat. Most sure swords are adventurers or mercenaries of one type or another, and nearly all disdain work which leaves them with little choice in how they do things.
Class Skills: A sure sword adds Acrobatics to his list of class skills.
Feinting Fighter (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, a sure sword learns how to perform and read feints in combat by pure virtue of practice and martial prowess. Whenever he would make a Bluff check to feint, a sure sword may make a combat maneuver check, instead. Additionally, whenever a character attempts to use the Bluff skill to feint against the sure sword, the DC for the check is equal to the sure sword’s CMD, or the normal DC, whichever is higher.
This ability replaces the bonus feat gained at 1st level.
Skilled Maneuvers (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, the sure sword gains a +1 bonus to his CMB and CMD. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1.
This ability replaces the bravery class feature.
Sure Maneuvers (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, a sure sword is a master at utilizing his agility and keen eye in order to ensure his combat maneuvers land successfully. The sure sword adds his Dexterity score as a bonus on all combat maneuver checks.
At 7th level, a sure sword adds his Intelligence score as a bonus on all combat maneuver checks, in addition to his Dexterity modifier. Finally, at 11th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the sure sword may choose a single type of combat maneuver (such as bull rush, dirty trick, disarm, etc.). Whenever he performs the chosen combat maneuver, he does not provoke an attack of opportunity for doing so.
This ability replaces the armor training class feature.
Sure Defense (Ex): A sure sword is trained in fighting in a defensive fashion, learning techniques which improve his ability to avoid getting hit in combat. At 5th level, the sure sword gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC. At 10th level, and again at 15th and 20th levels, this bonus increases by an additional +1 (to a maximum of +4 at 20th level). This bonus stacks with other dodge bonuses, such as those granted by the Dodge feat.
This ability replaces the weapon training class feature.
New Rogue Archetype
More than just a sword and a pretty face, cunning swashbucklers are rogues who fight first with their minds, though their swords are a close second. Artists of both con and combat, these sly characters will do anything to win a fight in style. Well adapted to performing a variety of devastating combat maneuvers, a cunning swashbuckler does more than just stab her opponents in the kidneys.
Swashbuckler’s Sneak Attack (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the cunning swashbuckler gains the ability to deal extra damage against an opponent who is denied his Dexterity bonus. Whenever she succeeds on a melee attack against a character that is denied his Dexterity bonus to AC, the cunning swashbuckler deals an additional 1d8 points of damage. At 3rd level, and every odd-numbered level thereafter, this damage increases by an additional 1d8. This extra damage counts as sneak attack dice for any class feature, spell, item, or ability which references sneak attack, but only applies when the target is denied his Dexterity bonus to AC, and does not apply in other situations where a rogue can typically sneak attack (such as if he is flanking his opponent).
This ability replaces the sneak attack class feature.
Swashbuckler’s Feint (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a cunning swashbuckler becomes a master at feinting in combat. Whenever she uses the Bluff skill to feint in combat, the cunning swashbuckler adds her class level as a bonus on the check. Additionally, beginning at 6th level, the cunning swashbuckler can feint in combat as a move action. Finally, at 10th level, the cunning swashbuckler can feint as a swift action.
This ability replaces the trapfinding class feature and the rogue talents gained at 6th and 10th level.
Sneaky Maneuvers (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, the cunning swashbuckler learns to utilize distractions in order to perform punishing combat maneuvers. She gains a +1 bonus on all combat maneuver checks made against creatures she is currently flanking. At 6th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1.
This ability replaces the trap sense class feature.