Why is the swashbuckler always ignored?

In 3e and 4e, the swashbuckler character concept has never really been adequately filled. To me swashbuckler means:

1) A lightly armored, highly mobile fighter.

2) Based more on dexterity and overall agility than brute strength.

3) Typically fights with a light one-handed weapon, like a saber or rapier.

4) May use a small shield or a parrying dagger for defense.

I remember a 3.5 class in some book called swashbuckler, but it suffered from the problems of all 3.5 martial classes. In 4e, the rogue does ok, but the sneak attack ability doesn't really fit the swasbuckler archetype very well. I don't imagine swashbucklers as being sneaky or fighting dirty, they are actually excellent duelists in my vision. The ranger can do ok, but he uses strength for his melee attacks and is pretty much required to use two weapons. The assassin is clearly magical, and uses heavy weapons, same for the avenger.

To me, the swashbuckler archetype is absolutely basic to adventure fantasy. Why does it always receive so little support in the core rules?
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Two things about this:

1) I worked with the 3.5 swashbuckler and honestly it was exactly what you describe. It was weaker because it was martial but I felt it encompassed that idea well.

That said the biggest flaw I saw with it was you could build nearly the same character out of a figher and get more feats (though you certianly lost skills).

2) The thing is the fighter (in previous editions) could be that. This is a concept that frustrates me sometimes. Because I take the wizard class I have to act like the iconic wizard. Because I took fighter I have to be that guy in heavy plate.

I love drawing RP ideas for the  character sheet but the thing I loved most about 3.5e's inteasely open multi-class system was I could build any archetype I wanted really. It is why I am hoping for a module that allows very open multi-classing.

Just my 2 cents.
Make a DDN Fighter, dump STR and pump DEX and CHA, put him in light armor, and give him a rapier. There's your Swashbuckler. Probably better than a STR fighter at the moment anyway, since Heavy Armor is currently a trap option.
The swashbuckler was so "ignored" in 4e that  before I ran out of classes that have dex-heavy rapier duelist builds, I ran out of fingers to count them on.
...swashbuckler isn't ignored on 4e...just because a character concept build into a character isn't optimal, doesn't make it unviable...i have created characters that goes against what charop say... brutal scoundrel buckler and rapier duelist rogue works fine (you can get CA even without being sneaky or flanking) and even when it's not optimal, a fighter too
In 3e and 4e, the swashbuckler character concept has never really been adequately filled. To me swashbuckler means:

1) A lightly armored, highly mobile fighter.

2) Based more on dexterity and overall agility than brute strength.

3) Typically fights with a light one-handed weapon, like a saber or rapier.

4) May use a small shield or a parrying dagger for defense.

I remember a 3.5 class in some book called swashbuckler, but it suffered from the problems of all 3.5 martial classes. In 4e, the rogue does ok, but the sneak attack ability doesn't really fit the swasbuckler archetype very well. I don't imagine swashbucklers as being sneaky or fighting dirty, they are actually excellent duelists in my vision. The ranger can do ok, but he uses strength for his melee attacks and is pretty much required to use two weapons. The assassin is clearly magical, and uses heavy weapons, same for the avenger.

To me, the swashbuckler archetype is absolutely basic to adventure fantasy. Why does it always receive so little support in the core rules?



4e Rogue + rapier + parrying dagger + artful dodger. I dunno how much more swashbuckly you can get. Plus it was actually a really good build.

Then there was the scout with rapier or thief with rapier for those who want to hit things with basic attacks.


Yeah 4e had lots of fun with swashbuckler builds.

3e had several good swashbuckling classes, just not the actual swashbuckler. He kinda sucked. 
To me swashbuckler means:
1) A lightly armored, highly mobile fighter.
2) Based more on dexterity and overall agility than brute strength.
3) Typically fights with a light one-handed weapon, like a saber or rapier.
4) May use a small shield or a parrying dagger for defense.
 



Sounds like half a dozen really effective character builds from 4e.  As long as you're willing to write something other than "fighter" at the top of the sheet, 4e is the best thing that ever happened to swashbuckling. 
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
Yeah 4e had lots of fun with swashbuckler builds.

3e had several good swashbuckling classes, just not the actual swashbuckler. He kinda sucked. 


The Swashbuckler was a bold experiment, really. A core class with only three levels.

That Insightful Strike was an interesting capstone to the class. A bit hard to keep your Str, Dex, and Int high enough to make real use of it though.
The fact that finesse weapons add dex to attack and damage in 5E pretty much means that swashbuckler should be playable.

I hope they don't remove that.
If swashbuckler is a future core class, I think will not be the new version from 3rd Ed but a ki-caster wuxia-style swordman, the swordsage from Tome of Battle: book of nine swords with a change of name. What would be your opinion if it happens? We are talking about a fighter with light armour. I like the idea or concept of swasbuckler to be used by litle PC races like haflins and gnomes. 

I suggest a ki maneuver like jump. I love the idea of a korokoboru kensai (race and "class" from Oriental Adventures) hitting head of a oni/mage ogre.

My advice for WotC is some names of archetypes should be like a reservation list for future core classes.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Wizard said characters would come in 3 tiers of complexity, the figher we saw in the playtest is probebly tier 1.
woulden't mind seeing the swashbuckler/weaponmaster at tier 2 or 3.
To me, the swashbuckler archetype is absolutely basic to adventure fantasy. Why does it always receive so little support in the core rules?



I think the responses so far have done an adequate job of showing how to use the previous editions / hope for 5th edition to gain some approximation of a Swashbuckler style character, but I think the issue of it not receiving support in the core rules is that it does not fit typical D&D setting.

When I think Swashbuckler, I think Errol Flynn movies, pirates, Musketeers, etc. But the issue is, that style of fighting, (light weapon dueling) is predominately associated with the gun-powder weapon era; when things moved away from heavy armor and heavy weapons. So when you consider most D&D settings are more medieval in nature: including full armor suits, longswords, axes, etc. and you take away the gun-powder weapon advantage that a Swashbuckler would have, you're left with a crippling disadvantage.

There's an instance of this in Greg Keye's Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone fantasy series where an unarmored master duelist is trying to fight against a heavily armored knight - and despite the fact he's much faster and can land blows more easily, he has the distinct disadvantage that his sword can only do damage if he aims for small targets like the helmet visor etc.

I hate to say that a character type is setting dependent, but in the case of the Swashbuckler, they kind of are - otherwise you simply have to accept that in straight one on one combat against the more traditional swordsmen of the typical D&D world, you're going to have an extremely tough time. Now, that's not to say the Swashbuckler can't win that confrontation, they just have to be more creative with their approach. So if there are going to be mechanics for a Swashbuckler, they shouldn't focus on improving their direct combat abilities, but on the other things they can do -- guile, charisma, intelligence, etc.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
Jfriant, there are some decent swashbuckling archetypes for medieval settings. For Errol Flynn films, how about The Adventures of Robin Hood?

For my part, the inclusion of finess weapons gives me great hope that swashbuckler type characters from several different classes may be possible.

Z.
Until they can make Agility based tanks do damage close to what a two-handed wielder can do, why would you ever pick a swash-tank? The idea in 3.Xe that someone with a greataxe could swing it four times in 6 seconds and a dude with a rapier could only pierce with it four times in six seconds, was ludicrous.
Until they can make Agility based tanks do damage close to what a two-handed wielder can do, why would you ever pick a swash-tank? The idea in 3.Xe that someone with a greataxe could swing it four times in 6 seconds and a dude with a rapier could only pierce with it four times in six seconds, was ludicrous.

I think the standard explanation is that that was supposed to be an abstraction, and the number of attacks you got represented the number of telling strikes you could possibly land. The guy with the rapier is moving his weapon a lot more during the six seconds, but a lot of that movement is ferreting out openings, feints, etc. You only go for four "kill shots" over the six seconds. Granted, that's sort of a post-hoc explanation for the game system, but it's reasonably satisfying. There were assorted attempts to work weapon speed in as a mechanic in a few ways, but for various reasons those often have unsatisfying results, often for very unintuitive reasons.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Until they can make Agility based tanks do damage close to what a two-handed wielder can do, why would you ever pick a swash-tank? The idea in 3.Xe that someone with a greataxe could swing it four times in 6 seconds and a dude with a rapier could only pierce with it four times in six seconds, was ludicrous.

I think the standard explanation is that that was supposed to be an abstraction, and the number of attacks you got represented the number of telling strikes you could possibly land. The guy with the rapier is moving his weapon a lot more during the six seconds, but a lot of that movement is ferreting out openings, feints, etc. You only go for four "kill shots" over the six seconds. Granted, that's sort of a post-hoc explanation for the game system, but it's reasonably satisfying. There were assorted attempts to work weapon speed in as a mechanic in a few ways, but for various reasons those often have unsatisfying results, often for very unintuitive reasons.



That explanation doesn't satisfy me.

I am not advocating weapon speed in the game, it would add too much complexity.

In 3.Xe a Dex based tank was unplayable as the main tank. I have run too many campaigns and have a friend who tried many permutations of base and prestige class combos to make something that would stand the test of time. He failed every time. He will only go melee fighter/barbarian now if no one else will, because most of the time it is the same build. Medium or heavy armor, two-handed weapon, Power Attack or Trip focused.

Dexterity? Rapiers? The problem here is that you're trying to build a "tank" in a game that has absolutely no support for the concept.
Until they can make Agility based tanks do damage close to what a two-handed wielder can do, why would you ever pick a swash-tank? The idea in 3.Xe that someone with a greataxe could swing it four times in 6 seconds and a dude with a rapier could only pierce with it four times in six seconds, was ludicrous.


er what? Swashbuckler's aren't suppose to be tanks. They are mobile combatants which in 5e is easy to do with either the fighter or rogue.
Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.
Dexterity? Rapiers? The problem here is that you're trying to build a "tank" in a game that has absolutely no support for the concept.



I don't know, there's that defender theme.  I wouldn't say "absolutely no support" so much as "wildly insufficient support" ;)
I hope they make a Swashbuckler theme... since I could see a dex-fighter or dex-rogue being a swashbuckler (or even a ranger).
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.



Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.

If 5e has tanks, it'll be the first, and the OMGMMO complaints can begin for real this time.
Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.



Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.

If 5e has tanks, it'll be the first, and the OMGMMO complaints can begin for real this time.



The term being coined after MMOs doesn't mean there was never a "meatshield" role in D&D.
Using the default array, give the Fighter stats like this; 8, 15, 13, 12, 10, 14;  At +1 to Str for being a fighter, and another +1 to Str for the Human bonus to favored class; then +1 to all stats for being Human; you have 11, 16, 14, 13, 11, 15; give him a rapier and a chainmail and you have a fighter that is pretty much the same as the one in the rule tests, just with slightly less damage.
Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.



Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.

If 5e has tanks, it'll be the first, and the OMGMMO complaints can begin for real this time.



The term being coined after MMOs doesn't mean there was never a "meatshield" role in D&D.



On a joking manner I think "tank" sounds more positive - it kinda gives you a hint that this guy might survive the enemies charge - whereas the older term of "meatshield" or even older of "Canon fodder" does not bode well for the future of said warrior :D
4th Ed never had got a martial controller, had it?

I imagine swashbuckler like a martial(&ki) controller, like a damage-per-second MMO class. 

I´m think would be better if duelist is the name used for theme. Swashbuclker could be used by a no-martial class but something with ki powers like maneuvers from Tome of Battle. (Would swordsage only a background?).

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.



Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.

If 5e has tanks, it'll be the first, and the OMGMMO complaints can begin for real this time.



The term being coined after MMOs doesn't mean there was never a "meatshield" role in D&D.



What do summoned creatures have to do with anything?
As mentioned..yes Tanks have been around.  Always under a different name, but always around.  Meatshield is the one I always heard until MMO slang got popular.  Or frontliner, or someone.  In general a character who walks up, grabs the enemies attention..and makes sure the ranged characters stay free of trouble from the enemies.  Recently its also become more of a 'make sure the non-tank characters also don't get targeted'.

Heck even 4e had a tank...the defender role.

As for swashbuckler..they've been around for ages...heck the easiest one to make was to base it off of the rogue, which was almost perfect as was...but take the right feats, etc and you could get better (to hit out of dex...sneak attack for actual damage...take ways to deny an enemy their dex besides flanking/hiding.  And you could do one pretty easily....I think there was a way to make it so you could bluff to distract and attack in the same turn).

Given that such options have been allowed in so many editions..the high acrobatic dex based melee character...I don't see why DDN won't have it as well. 
Defenders are not tanks, and old fighters were not tanks. All referring to either of those as "tanks" does is betray a fundamental ignorance of at least one of the terms involved.
I think swasbuckler would make a good theme. I am thinking alot of the sub classes can be turned into themes. Ranger, barbarian, sorcere, bard, asassin, and maybe even paladin and warlord. Basically, once a class is just a variation on one of the 4 base classes (rogue, fighter, wizard, cleric), it becomes a theme. Monk would probably still have to be its own class, and maybe psion. Druid maybe be its own class?


That sounds terrible but I am getting the feeling that in DnDN each class will be such a composition of the class/theme/background that every character will pretty much be a kind of multi class. I keep thinking of the elf fighter I made with the play test materials. I chose fighter, knight, magic user, and looking at the caracter as a whole, I am inclined to call it a mage knight more than 'fighter.' The background, and espicially theme, seem to be pretty important for customizing the character. It is almost like the class=what the character does and theme=how they do it.


What does fighter do? it fights


how does the fighter fight? If its guardian theme it controls the battle by blocking movment and defelcting eney blows against allies. If it is slayer, it fights with pure aggression with killing being its top priority, if its magic user its using a combination of spells and martial ability. If it is a swashbuckler, then it fights by parrying, dodging, and fienting to keep its enemy off balance, and by out pacing/manovering opponents. healter theme, you cut your way though the frey looking for wounded companions to administer aid too.


how does the wizard cast spells? If it is magic user it has access to a varity of spells. If it is a slayer theme, it does so by casting aggressivly and dangeriosly, lurker, it does so by skulking in the shadows, and casting spells at people before they even know the wizard is there...


This I think might be the most exciting part about DnDN
Defenders are not tanks, and old fighters were not tanks. All referring to either of those as "tanks" does is betray a fundamental ignorance of at least one of the terms involved.



Pardon, but fundamental ignorance by whom?

Perhaps you might enlighten us and define these terms. 
I think that they should maintain 3x's 11 base classes and develop more prestige classes, there should be a wide variety of Backgrounds and Themes to adjust your character in a 3D way: Class, Background & theme. When you add race, age and gender each layer becomes more unique.

Themes and backgrounds should be unlocked, that is available to all. Who knows your Fighter may have "magical apprentice" as a background or theme, if it is a background he/she probably dispised all of the theoretical magic ideas and wanted to kill things with more brute force, as a theme the Fighter could have been trying to learn a few spells to better compensate for his/her weaknesses.

For Sashbuckler you could be an "ex"sailor or "ex"pirate for a background, or for a theme you could have "Duelist".

I think a theme with "Duelist" should have a favored martial or exotic weapon as to allow players to determine what their duelist's combat capability is, I mean "Ronin" or "Samurai" could be "Duelists", if you disagree you need to watch more anime and Asian cinema as it is a reoccuring theme of the genre.
If you ask me, eleven "base" classes is patently absurd when you only have four or five actual different functions. 3(.5)'s greatest flaw was piling options upon options... 4E has been making that mistake over the last year or two as well.

I get that you need to sell more books, but having several classes that are essentially identical but for flavor is nothing more then redundant and confusing. 
Why can't you have a Dex based tank? Swashbuckler is just a name.



Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.

If 5e has tanks, it'll be the first, and the OMGMMO complaints can begin for real this time.



Again its just a name.

Strengths of the "4" & "11" basics:

1a Fighter a capable combatant in any regard as long as it is physical.

2a Rogue picking locks and sneak attacking, finding traps.

3a Cleric with domains it is already a vastly extended class compared to the 3 others.

4a Wizard their spell knowledge will evetually make others useless, hurling high powered spells defeats fighter, magically getting rid of locks/traps & polymorphing  into shadow makes rogues useless, but not until a high level of power and specialization is reached.

5 Monk with ki and the ability to perfect their bodies, become immune to disease and poisons... if it is enlightment you seek look no further.

6 Barbarian they are what they are, their rage guides them they might not be able to read but in the wilderness they can be effective survivalists and hunters.

7 Ranger he isn't a "fighter" he is a stalker but not a rogue he has his trusty animal companion and minor spell casting abilities.

8 Sorceror unlike "wizards" they have a natural talent for magic, they don't get the more powerful spells but they do get more low level spells. (they have to do a better job at defining this from a wizard).

9 Druid with an animal companion these are like bararian, ranger clerics dedicated to nature, wether it means distroying civilization to maintain or not.

10 Paladin these are like cleric fighters but because of their strict lifestyles they have less options and are optimized for combating the forces of darkness.

11 Bard not everyone is cut out for combat and these are like sorceror rogues their ability to manipulate others is their strength, instead of prayers they offer songs of hope on the battlefield, they make excellent distractions for the party to do their thing.

Each class has an initial "theme" and "style" but ki isn't magic or psionic instead it is a vital part of the monk that only he with his training can tap into. Song Magic practiced by bards functions differently from psionics, sorcery and wizardry as you can hide it within spells as bards are known to do. Paladins gain fervor from their faith and zeal whereas fighters fight typically for money, not the most noble of causes. Druids answer to the plants, animals and a God, whereas a cleric views all below their God often as lowly and unworthy but in need of salvaton. Sorcerers are called witches misunderstood and outcasted, slain by paladins and clerics. Wizards are bothered by the ignorant village people to solve all of their problems. Barbarians just want to be left alone, the outsiders must leave their land or suffer a great wrath. Rogues are just trying to get by often at the expense of others. Rangers are often instinctive lonewolves and scouts they alert their parties to information they've gained, heavy armored tower sheilded fighters can't do what a ranger can!

This is the reason for more than 4 classes, each has it's own flavor that the basic of basics just don't cut.
Jfriant, there are some decent swashbuckling archetypes for medieval settings. For Errol Flynn films, how about The Adventures of Robin Hood?

For my part, the inclusion of finess weapons gives me great hope that swashbuckler type characters from several different classes may be possible.

Z.



My comments about era were only to illustrate the need in a difference in approach to combat. Let's take that example of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Yeah, I will agree with you that he was a swashbuckler in a medieval setting. However... 1) They're technically still using longswords, not a finess blade like a rapier, despite the fancy cinematic fencing. 2) Robin duels with other lightly armored (unarmored) men, like Guy, so they're on a level playing field. When it comes to the more heavily armored villains he does things like attack them with the deer carcass, shove them away with a table, or use his long bow. He's not really able to go toe-to-toe with a heavily armored enemy.

So, can there be a swashbuckler in a medieval setting? Absolutely - they just have to be more creative with their approach to heavily armored more "traditional" medieval enemies than simply being able to duel another lightly armored swashbuckler on even ground.

Where I'm going with this is; I don't think that swashbucklers need to be beefed up in terms of combat as long as the game allows them to be effective in the other aspects of the game. Part of this is on the player to be creative in-game, but also on the DM and the ruleset to allow that creativity. I think simply making a lightly armored swashbuckler as good in basic combat ("I swing my weapon") as a heavily armored traditional fighter makes said fighter obsolete. From what I have seen, previous incarnations of the swashbuckler, generally, allow for that kind of "outside-the-box" approach to combat situations that can make them effective without having them be the same as an armored fighter.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
If we accept that a martial character can fight a dragon like this with ANY kind of weapon...

Ancient Red Dragon

I don't have a problem thinking about a rapier armed guy against a plate armored warrior...

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

I don't accept that a single martial character could fight a dragon like that with any kind of weapon and have a high likelihood of success.

Could they beat that dragon? Yes. Would they have to do so in a manner other than simply attacking it head on? Probably. If they did just decide to attack it head on, is there a chance for them to survive? Yes, there is a chance.

Same with a lightly armored swashbuckler dueling a heavily armored warrior. It depends on the rules of engagement. You're already denying the swashbuckler one of the things that made them deadly in their historical context (gun powder, opponents not being heavily armored) so that even furthers the need for them to find things outside of direct combat to level the playing field.

I just feel like if you want to play a swashbuckler you need to accept that you're not going to be as martial-combat-effective as the more traditional medieval style fighter. But as I said before, you should still get some kind of perks to other things so that you have a balanced character -- and, in my opinion, previous incarnations of the swashbuckler did that fairly well.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
I hope they make a Swashbuckler theme... since I could see a dex-fighter or dex-rogue being a swashbuckler (or even a ranger).



Which is one of the reasons I love the concept of themes. 


Because "tanks" are not a thing in DnD and never have been.



Just go buy a copy of World of Warcraft already.  We all played MMO's.  It is the same player base.