4e Duelist (Swashbuckler) - peach

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I'm not exactly sure how this happened. I just got to the point a couple of weeks ago where I felt like trying to do my own class update, and this is what's come out of it so far. Not much to say at the immediate moment, other than a general request for feedback.


Design theory:
Base theories:

When D&D4 first came out, a number of people noted that the swashbuckler-type of fighter had essentially been rolled into the rogue class. (This was often noted whenever someone complained that the rogue just wasn't a real rogue anymore.) But there's something different that kinda bugged me about the new rogue - the lack of smarts. Since Intelligence no longer determines the number of skills that a rogue can pick up or his ability to use Improved Feint, there's not much use for an clever rogue anymore, especially not since any bonuses that would be granted by Intelligence would be superceded by the rogue's superior Dexterity.

There's an opening in here somewhat to bring back the smart light fighter, the one with "Canny Dodge." And the easiest way to fill that opening may be with a defender class rather than a striker. Since the term "swashbuckler" has been used in tandom with a few rogue abilities, I'm going to take the prestige class definition here and use the term "Duelist" instead - which should more represent the term for a defensive fighter.

Let's start from concepts. The "smart duelist" is one of The Three Musketeers, or Iñigo Montoya, or he's the snotty villain who thinks he's the best fighter in the land because he was trained at the Harvard of fencing schools (and then gets beat up by some kid who learned to fight in the streets). He's the fighter with a trick up his sleeve and the patience and agility to make it happen. On the other hand, a duelist might also be more swashbuckler-ish - a Robin Hood, or Jack Sparrow, or Zorro. He's the guy who gets by using the force of his personality and his chaotic nature to best his enemies. That is to say - a Charisma-based fighter, but not so much a thief or assassin.

So we've got our three major abilities for the duelist: Intelligence, Charisma, and Dexterity. There's two main ways to implement a character's three abilities. The first manner is that the character has one ability that powers all of his powers and other important aspects of his personality - such as a Fighter's or Warlord's Strength, a Wizard's Intelligence, or a Rogue's Dexterity. The other way is that you give the class the choice of powers backed by one ability or the other - as a cleric can use Strength or Wisdom, a paladin can use Strength or Charisma, a Ranger might use Strength or Dexterity, or a warlock may use Constitution or Charisma.

I'm not as big of a fan of the first style since it leads to over-reliance on one ability. But let's face it - there haven't been any martial abilities that use mental attributes as a main ability. All martial classes use Strength as the leading ability, save for the rogue. And, well, if there's only one other class that really uses Dexterity for all of its abilities, then it won't hurt too much to have another Dex-based class. The trick will be making the class not totally reliant on Dex and giving the two side abilities a prominent role (at least as much as the rogue gives Strength and Charisma).

Next, we set the general function for a duelist's abilities. Duelists should not be fighters... which is kind of a vague thing to say, since fighters get different abilities to do just about everything. Duelists are a lot like rogues, theoretically. Rogues focus heavily on shifting, additional damage, and status effects (blind, prone, etc.), with a bit of sliding and additional attacks. I don't want duelists to just be rogues with a defensive ability, though. The other class that puts Intellect toward martial abilities are warlords. Warlords focus on granting bonuses to ally attacks, allowing allies to shift, and healing, with a bit of defensive and shift prevention abilities.

Duelists aren't leaders, so I don't want a big focus on ally bonuses and healing, but battlefield control - through cleverness (Int), trickery (Cha), and a bit of personal shifting (Dex) - all seem like a good idea for building the class's abilities. I don't want a large focus on personal shifting - duelists should be a hold-your-ground-and-fight class, and shifting around is more the rogue ability. In fact, the "third-tier abilities" of the rogue and warlord should be a good area to work around - sliding enemies, defense of allies, and additional attacks (especially ripostes and parries), with a bit of personal shifting and debuffing.

The final thing I'd like to add to the concept is K.I.S.S. - keep it simple, stupid. No seriously deep rules, let's try and keep the class as playable as possible while still being unique.

In the attempts to balance the classes below, I'm going to refer to three "common humans," where I build a class's base abilities from 22 points and add +2 to one ability:

Common human fighter: 18 Str (9), 14 Con (5), 13 Dex (3), 8 Int (0), 14 Wis (5), 10 Cha.
Common smart human duelist: 10 Str (0), 12 Con (2), 18 Dex (9), 16 Int (9), 8 Wis (0), 12 Cha (2).
Common charismatic human duelist: 10 Str (0), 12 Con (2), 18 Dex (9), 12 Int (2), 8 Wis (0), 16 Cha (9).



Class traits:

The duelist's role as a defender will be mostly similar to the fighter's role as a martial defender here, so most stats will be copied from that block (including hit points). However, when was the last time you watched a movie in which a duelist wore any armor? Even a leather jacket? Frilly shirts and capes are the more common attire. We'll limit the duelist to cloth armor and increase its base AC with class features. We'll also split its defense bonus between Fortitude and Reflex.

With a focus on dextrous attacks, the duelist should be restricted to light blades for most of his attacks. But then, have you ever seen a duelist who used a short sword? True musketeers wield rapiers, which should definitely be a base part of the duelist's arsenal. For variety, moves that require the use of a light blade will also allow the use of a scimitar, for the benefit of desert-born duelists with thick sabers or for a pirate captain wielding a cutlass.

Borrowing from the rogue's skill list, Acrobatics, Athletics, Bluff, Insight, Intimidate, Stealth, and Streetwise should all fit the various themes of rascals and duelists in different ways. Giving a defender access to Thievery might be a bit excessive, though - we should probably save that for real rogues, and Dungeoneering/Nature and Perception aren't necessarily hallmarks of swordsmen. History and Diplomacy would be fair skills to allow a school-raised swordsman, and Endurance is also a common defender skill.

Fighters get three skills, but duelists probably deserve more. After all, they get no armor proficiencies (and have to blow a class feature on it), and they have restricted weapon proficiencies. We can probably say that both of those equals a "point" and bump it up to five skills. (Rogues are even more restricted - they have to use short swords instead of rapiers or scimitars, but they get six skills, after all.) No class just "gets" five skills, though - at most, they get four plus a set skill, like rangers do. How about if we make the definite skill a choice between History (for school-trained duelists) or Streetwise (for street-trained duelists) to highlight their background?

(Healing surges have been taken a point down to 8 and skills taken down to 4 as a means of balance after later discussion.)



Class features:

All of the classes get three, rarely four class-specific bonuses.

First of all, we're going to want to give the duelist a defensive bonus equal to the bonus that a swordmage gets for fighting without shields (also adding in that the swordmage can wear leather armor). As an unarmored fighter, however, the duelist would get an extra bonus if it took an armor proficiency feat for basic leather armor, which would be an upgrade from no armor bonus to a +2 armor bonus. So we'll set it up so that the duelist gets a +1 bonus when wearing cloth armor rather than putting the entire benefit to the "base bonus," to make the upgrade to leather less desirable.

Since we've denied the duelist any military two-handed weapons or any two-weapon abilities similar to Dual Strike, should we give the duelist any additional options to allow it to switch from offense to defense? I thought about a couple of different options here, including allowing the duelist to simply trade AC for damage with a switch in fighting stance, but I'll come back to that thought in a moment. If nothing else, we won't restrict the bonus to a completely empty off-hand so that the duelist can take two-weapon fighting feats if he desires (which would be more fitting than picking up a two-handed weapon).


The second bonus will need to be the ability to mark the target. Fighters and paladins have an offensive form of defending against a target, so duelists might have a more defensive ability. Fighters get to make an attack of opportunity with a bonus to the attack equal to his WIsdom. We'll give the duelist a special attack roll based on Dex, and instead of making an attack, we'll use it to cancel the opponent's attack.

But then again, canceling an attack that probably only had a 30%-50% chance of hitting to begin with isn't as strong as automatically granting damage with your second roll. Perhaps the attack also trips up and disrupts the target for future attacks - that is to say, the target becomes dazed. This wouldn't necessarily stop the target's next attack but would cripple it nonetheless (by preventing attacks of opportunity and such). You might also say that you have a 50% or so chance to cancel the attack and daze the target with an interrupt attack, compared to the ability to simply cancel the attack once per turn, the way that a swordmage's defensive aegis basically does when it automatically reduces the attack's damage by 8 or 9 points. This seems like a fair idea, best spelled out as an ability (like the paladin's Divine Challenge).


Now, looking at the fighters' class features: The fighter gets a bonus to attack rolls, which could be equated to the duelist's bonus to AC. Both classes also get the ability to mark a target at about equal ability. The fighter's last ability grants a bonus to all opportunity attacks and the ability to stop a moving target. If you figure a fighter with 14 Wisdom, then the former half of that ability is better than Combat Reflexes and less restrictive than Blade Opportunist, so we should give the duelist an ability worth at least as much as a feat. In fact, if we use the last ability to cover for the fact that the duelist has ability crossover between Dexterity and Intelligence, it should be worth more than that, really.

I guess I could give use that last spot for a choice between two different abilities to choose from (e.g. the rogue's Brutal Scoundrel or Artful Dodger traits), but that would make for Charisma-based duelists who would have no need for Intelligence at all, which is generally outside of the "clever fighter" archetype that I'm going for. But I also want at least enough of a bonus from Int available that the Charismatic fighter would want a portion of it. In the "common humans" I listed above, the main difference between the two duelists is that one has a +2 greater Will defense - which is equal to a paragon-tier feat. So when considering the scaling of the Intelligence-based bonus, the guy with a +3 Intelligence and a +1 Charisma should have about a feat's more bonus than the guy with a +1 Int and +3 Cha. I guess I could just allow a duelist to use his Int bonus as a bonus to his Will defense, but where's the fun in that?

What other kind of bonuses can we give a duelist? What about initiative? It's common for the nimble, resourceful pirate to be on top of the game and get in the first strike. Let's say the duelist gets a flat bonus to initiative from his Int modifier. This would give the common smart duelist a +2 greater initiative than the charismatic duelist - a bonus equal to half a feat, the +4 bonus from Improved Initiative. If we also give the duelist a bonus to Will from half his Int bonus, then the smart duelist will get about a feat and a half (about as much as Improved Initiative and half Iron Will), while the charismatic duelist can still get a smaller bonus if he makes Int his third ability over the top of Constitution. (Should this initiative bonus be a "power bonus" so that it doesn't stack with a Warlord's bonus to the party?)


But then, the fighter still gets the ability to stop a moving target with a successful opportunity attack... which isn't the hugest ability in practice, but it's nice. I still haven't really given the duelist any specific ability to define the difference between a (slightly more) offensive or defensive build, especially without continuing to explore the restriction from not being allowed a two-handed weapon. Would it be fair to add a small "optional" fourth ability, similar to the rogue's weapon talent for daggers, allowing the rogue to trade a point of damage for a point of hit?

Say, perhaps the charismatic duelist can choose to trade AC for damage - the way a fighter would switch from holding a large shield to holding his versatile weapon two-handed. And the smart fighter could trade damage for accuracy - is losing one damage to gain one to hit fair enough, or should it be two damage? I'll stick to one for now, the way the rogue does when he trades down to daggers.

This will also be the optional ability that defines the bonuses to the duelist's other talents. I'm going to call these the "Dashing Brigand" or the "Erudite Guard" traits. I don't much like either of those names and would accept suggestions for changing them.

Having written up the first tier's worth of powers, I'm mostly happy with the variety and flavor of the class. The one thing that really bothers me is the over-reliance on Dexterity. There seems to be even less need for the additional ability scores than the rogue uses. But then, for the wizard's need for Intelligence and the fighter's lack of any real need other than Strength, I'm not sure it'll be a serious issue.

(Class features have been altered a bit after discussion.)




DUELIST

"I was practically raised in one of the most elite fencing schools in all of Cormyr. You're not going to be able to touch me unless you deserve it."

CLASS TRAITS

Role: Defender. You are a durable melee fighter who focuses on defensive maneuvers and retorts.
Power Source: Martial. Your fighting style is the result of keen study, diligent practice, sharpened reflexes, and control over your emotions.
Key Abilities: Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military light blades, rapier, scimitar, simple ranged
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex

Hit Points at 1st Level: 15 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points per Level Gained: 6
Healing Surges per Day: 8 + Constitution modifier

Trained Skills: From the class skills list below, choose four trained skills at first level.
Class skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Athletics (Str), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Endurance (Con), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Stealth (Dex), Streetwise (Cha)

Build Options: Formal Duelist, Gallant Duelist
Class Features: Combat Acumen, Combat Expertise, Duelist Challenge, Duelist Training


Duelists are skillful and flexible melee combatants. With their wits as their shields and their personalities as their strength, duelists can stand at the front of the guard and play their opponents like a game of chess. Despite the lack of heavy implements, moving an experienced duelist from his position can be a near impossible task.
Duelists appear wherever a quick sword and even temper is appreciated. As a duelist, you might be a nobleman trained to watch the back of the lord of the realm, an honorable mercenary who only challenges his quarry on even ground, a daring highwayman who heads and cares for a motley crew of thieves, or the masked man who suddenly appears to stop the tyrant's men from abusing their power.
You have the training and patience to accomplish great things. The world merely waits with baited breath for you to choose a direction.


DUELIST OVERVIEW

Characteristics: You are more durable than you appear. While you have good mobility, you're trained to stand your ground rather than run away, and your strong Armor Class and Hit Points reflect that. You're mostly suited for melee combat, though you're competent with thrown weapons. Your special abilities force your enemies to make the difficult choice between attacking your allies and risking your retort or attacking you directly and suffering your counterattacks.
Religion: Good-aligned duelists tend to revere deities that champion justice and expression, such as Avandra, Bahamut, and Erathis, while more unaligned duelists often revere the independence of Corellon and Sehanine. Evil duelists favor subtle, commanding deities like Lolth and Tiamat.
Races: Nearly every race produces duelists as an alternative to heavier fighters. Humans and half-elves tend to be the most notorious duelists. The eladrin and halfling dueling tradition is handed down from master to student, while elves and tieflings are often self-taught swashbucklers building on their natural talents.


CREATING A DUELIST

The two duelist builds are the formal duelist and the gallant duelist, representing the difference between more passive and more aggressive duelists. Duelists rely heavily on Dexterity to improve their attacks and defenses. They also further improve their reaction times with Intelligence and their charm with Charisma.

FORMAL DUELIST
You are a patient fighter who prefers to react to the situation and puts a premium on defense, both for yourself and your teammates. Your skills make you a dangerous target to attack, and your allies feel safe in your shadow. A high Dexterity will improve your ability to avoid your enemies and to strike in return. A good Intelligence score should be your second-best score so that you can be the stay on top of the situation. Charisma is also important for many of your skills and a good Will defense. You should take the erudite guard training option so that you can focus on dependable attacks and also put your Intelligence to use in improving some of your powers.
Suggested Feat: Calculated Challenge (Human Feat: Action Surge)
Suggested Skills: Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Endurance, History
Suggested At-Will Powers: gambol strike, sweeping parry
Suggested Encounter Power: discrediting strike
Suggested Daily Power: line in the dirt

GALLANT DUELIST
You prefer to charge headfirst into the fray, trusting in your abilities to carry you through. Your patented style is infectious, and you can shape the battlefield with it. You still want Dexterity to be your strongest ability score so that you have good aim with your strikes. Your second-best ability should be Charisma, which will give you a strong Will score and leadership skills, but you shouldn't neglect your Intelligence so that you can be the first to take advantage of a situation. You should take the dashing brigand training option so that you can shift to offense when the time is right and also improve some powers with your Charisma.
Suggested Feat: Overbearing Challenge (Human Feat: Human Perseverance)
Suggested Skills: Athletics, Bluff, Stealth, Streetwise
Suggested At-Will Powers: canny riposte, vexing strike
Suggested Encounter Power: demanding swat
Suggested Daily Power: pushing and shoving


DUELIST CLASS FEATURES

In addition to having a strong background in various skills and good staying power, a duelist also gains the following class features.

Combat Acumen
You gain a bonus to initiative checks equal to your Intelligence modifier and a bonus to your Will defense equal to half your Intelligence modifier (rounded down).

Combat Expertise
While you are conscious and wielding either a light blade or a scimitar in your main hand, you turn your narrow side to your target and use your sword to cover yourself. While unarmored (or wearing cloth armor), you gain a +3 bonus to AC. When your off-hand is free or holding an off-hand weapon, you gain an additional +2 bonus to AC, for a total bonus of +5.
Your parrying ability relies on mobility and flexibility and is restricted by armor. If you are wearing leather armor, reduce the AC bonus by 1, and if wearing any other armor, reduce the bonus by 2.

Duelist Challenge
It's difficult to concentrate on other things when a duelist is bearing down on you with precise strikes. Every time you attack an enemy, whether the attack hits or misses, you can choose to mark that target. The mark lasts until the end of your next turn. While a target is marked, it takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn't include you as a target. A creature can be subject to only one mark at a time. A new mark supersedes a mark that was already in place.
In addition, whenever a marked enemy that is adjacent to you makes an attack that does not include you, you can use the Duelist Challenge power, described in full below.

Duelist Training
A duelist's training allows him to temporarily take up a stance that alters the way he wields his weapon. You can spend a minor action to enter or drop your chosen stance. To determine the bonus that you gain in this stance, choose one of the following options:
Dashing Brigand: You deal an extra 1 point of damage when you roll damage for your weapon, but you take a -2 penalty to AC.
Erudite Guard: You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls, but you decrease your weapon's damage die by one size.
The choice you make represents your fighting style and upbringing and also provides a bonus to your duelist challenge, as well as other duelist powers. Individual powers detail the effects (if any) your Duelist Training selection has on them.


DUELIST POWERS

Your powers are martial exploits, well-practiced drills and improvised techniques. Some powers favor the dashing brigand while others favor the erudite guard, but you're free to choose any powers you like.

CLASS FEATURE
The duelist's duelist challenge feature works like a power and is presented below.

DUELIST CHALLENGE
While your target isn't focusing on you, you elbow him in the face, trip up one of his feet, or scream in his ear.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Close
burst 1
Trigger: A creature in the burst that you have marked makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: The target's attack fails.
____Dashing Brigand: The target also takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of its next turn.
____Erudite Guard: The target also takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn.
Heroic Tier powers and feats:

LEVEL 1 AT-WILL EXPLOITS


CANNY RIPOSTE
As you defend against your opponent's attack, you feint slightly to the side to force an error that gives you an opening for a retort.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: If the target attacks you or an ally before the start of your next turn and misses, you may deal damage to it equal to your Charisma modifier.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier at 21st level.

Design: Rather than comparing it to the rogue's Riposte ability, I would compare this ability to the fighter's Reaping Strike. With the fighter ability, if you hit, it deals 1W + Str, and if you miss, it deals Str damage. With the duelist ability, you deal 1W + Int, and if HE misses, you deal Dex damage. On the one hand, dealing the damage is a bit less predictable than if you'd simply missed, but since your AC is so good, chances are in your favor that the opponent won't be able to hit its target. Question is, should it be a free action or an immediate interrupt, so that it combos with your other interrupt attacks? Seeing as how many other attacks for the duelist are interrupts, the at-will ability should probably be free.

Of course, I could also compare it to the rogue's Sly Flourish that just gives you the additional damage directly, both of which have a requirement on weapons. But then, the duelist isn't a striker class, so it's probably fine at this level.


GAMBOL STRIKE
You attempt to split your attention amongst the foes surrounding you with an array of light strokes.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] damage.
Increase damage to 2[W] at 21st level.

Design: Burst attacks weren't necessarily part of the style for the duelist, but I wanted an "aggressive" ability that would compliment Vexing Jab as a damage-dealing move. It's also hard to avoid that Cleave is one of a fighter's most useful abilities for its usefulness in taking care of minions. But I don't want to do "Cleave."

I originally didn't I want to make this a 1[W] damage ability, since Vexing Jab is already an aggressive ability that deals less than normal damage. Compare the move to a swordmage's Sword Burst, which generally only does 1 damage less than a full 1[W] + Ability damage. But then again, you also don't get to mark every target in the burst with the swordmage's powers, as you do with any target that a duelist attempts to strike. Urgh. 1[W] damage is probably fair.


SWEEPING PARRY
You swing your blade in wide arcs that cover your side, making it difficult for opponents to land decisive attacks.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: Once before the beginning of your next turn, when you or an adjacent ally is hit by a weapon attack, you may reduce the damage of that attack by an amount equal to your Intelligence modifier.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier at 21st level.

Design: The power here was scrapped once or twice and rebuilt. I originally had this providing a flat +1 AC bonus to you or an ally. Then I decided that I wanted this ability to be powered by the player's Intelligence score, the way that other classes have at-will powers powered by their secondary abilities (rogue's sly flourish, swordmage's greenflame blade, etc.) I spent a lot of time trying to decide just want percentage of your Int modifier would be a fair AC bonus before realizing that it would be easier to just have a sort of rogue's Sly Flourish in reverse. With Sly Flourish, when YOU hit, you deal extra mod damage. With this attack, when THE ENEMY hits, he deals less mod damage. This seems like a cleaner version. Written as preventing against a "weapon attack" so that you could lower the damage of arrows but not magic missiles.


VEXING JAB
You arrogantly add flourishes and feints to your attack, daring your opponent to lose his composure.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] damage, and you slide the target 1 square. You may shift into the space that it moved out of.
Increase damage to 2[W] modifier at 21st level.

Design: Was looking for a good ability to reflect the general ability of a charismatic duelist to annoy his opponent, and was going to leave this as just Dex vs. Will to deal 1[W] + Dex damage. But I also needed a push/slide ability in the at-will chart somewhere, Dex vs. AC for a slide ability seemed a bit odd. This is the easiest way to push this one, I think, though it should be lowered to 1[W] damage since Will is reliably much lower than AC for most classes.



LEVEL 1 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


DEMANDING SWAT
You get into your opponent's face and test its focus with an intimidating blast of quick jabs.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will, two attacks
Hit: 1[W] damage per attack. If you hit the target once, you push it 1 square. If you hit the target twice, you push it 2 squares and deal additional damage to it equal to your Dexterity modifier. For each square that you push the target, you may shift into the space that the target left.
____Dashing Brigand: If you hit the target once, you push the target a number of squares equal to your Charisma modifier. If you hit the target twice, you push the target a number of squares equal to your 1 + Charisma modifier.

Design: Lighter damage, but a better attack target, similar to the rogue's Positioning Strike. (I never realized how many rogue powers target Will defenses until I went looking for ideas for similar abilities.)


DISCREDITING STRIKE
You sidestep your opponent' s attack and plant your sword in a spot he didn't realize was unguarded, shaking his confidence in his ability and causing him to become overly cautious.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Special: A creature misses you with an attack
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn.
____Erudite Guard: The penalty to attack rolls is equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier.

Design: I think it should be a thematic goal for the duelist to have an immediate action ability in just about every set of encounter abilities. Warlock's Witchfire is a penalty of 2 + Int, but the level 7 rogue encounter Imperiling Strike only causes a penalty equal to the base ability modifier, so I'm not exactly sure how big this penalty should be.


STRAIGHT SLICE
You jab straight along your opponent's outstretched arm in an attempt to rip a vein.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends). If the target takes this ongoing damage for three turns, the effect ends.

Design: With the 5 extra damage on the next turn, this roughly equals a 2[W] + Dex damage attack, with a 50/50 chance of another 5 damage the turn after, and more if you're lucky and patient. Though the possibility, however slight, of doing incredible damage with a 1-in-16 chance of bad rolls probably warrants limiting the bleeding to a certain length of time.


SPRING ATTACK
Your opponent underestimates your agility and doesn't properly prepare a defense as you bound in and out of its reach with a quick slice.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Special: You may shift 1 square before and after the attack
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.

Design: Building on an old D&D3 feat. Thematically, I like the bonus to attack more than 2[W] damage here.



LEVEL 1 DAILY EXPLOITS


LINE IN THE DIRT
You plant your feet and make it clear that no one is stepping into your space without your approval.
Daily ♦ Martial, Stance, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you push the target 1 square.
Effect: You and all adjacent allies gain a +2 power bonus to AC and Reflex defense. Every time you hit an enemy, you push it 1 square. You may not move or shift more than 1 square in one turn. (You may end the stance to end this effect.)
____Erudite Guard: You and all adjacent allies gain a +3 power bonus to AC and Reflex defense.

Design: Building on the idea of adding a defensive ability for holding the line. Villain's Menace is 2[W] damage and a bonus to both attack and damage. A daily for +2 AC to you and allies should be worth about the same in scope. Adding a restriction to movement should justify an additional pushing ability. I'd also like to add the training options as bonuses to the daily abilities in order to give the side abilities a bit more prominence, though I'm not sure how much extra bonus that should grant.

There aren't a whole lot of daily powers for the other classes affected by "training" abilities, like the rogue or warlock, who get bonuses to encounter powers for their choices, but only rarely for daily powers. From here out, I'm generally adding a +1 bonus to the weak side of the benefit for daily powers for the training choice.



PUSHING AND SHOVING
You feint your opponent into tripping out of the way, and while his back is momentarily turned, you quickly pounce and send him to the carpet.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square. You may shift into the square that it left. Then, if you are still adjacent to the target, make a secondary attack against it.
Miss: You may repeat the primary attack once, but do not make the secondary attack if you succeed.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
____Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you knock the target prone.
____Dashing Brigand: You gain a +2 bonus to the secondary attack roll.

Design: An idea for a basic daily that does more than just slide the target once, similar in scope and power to a ranger's Sudden Strike. Do I need to deliberately say that you have to stay within melee range in order to make the secondary attack? And do I need to say that you only get to make a max of two attacks and don't get to repeat again if you miss with the primary again?


SIGNATURE STRIKE
You combine all of your agility, wit, and guile into one inerrant attack that your enemies know by name.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC. You gain a bonus to the attack roll equal to your Intelligence modifier plus your Charisma modifier.
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier + Intelligence modifier + Charisma modifier damage.
Miss: Half damage.


Design: My common human fighter up at the top would deal 1d8x3 + 4 damage with a one-handed weapon Brutal Strike at level one (as would a similarly strong paladin doing Paladin's Judgment), an average 17.5 damage. If the attack was 2W plus all attributes, either of my duelists above would deal 1d8x2 + 4 Dex + 3 of one attribute + 1 of the other, average of 17 damage. So it's about the same, and scales a bit better long-term.

The fighter daily is Reliable, and the paladin attack allows an ally to spend a healing surge - even on a miss. Casually, most "strong" daily attacks like this provide an additional minor bonus and allow the target half damage on a miss. How much of an excessive bonus would it be to give the attack a +4 bonus or so on the hit roll (by also adding all of your wit and guile to the strike)? Enough that it wouldn't be too unbalancing to allow for half damage on a miss? Well, then again, if you get such a bonus on the hit roll, then the chance that you'll miss is also quite a bit lower, so it might be all right. But a fighter's precise strike is a Str + 4 encounter power that only deals 1W damage, with no bonuses to damage, so it may be better to drop the damage of the daily to 1W plus all attributes.



LEVEL 2 UTILITY EXPLOITS


FIRST IN, LAST OUT
Hoping to make a good first impression, you dive into battle and try to set the tone of the fight.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Standard Action
Personal

Effect: Make a charge action as part of this power. For this action, enemies who have not yet acted in this encounter do not gain any attacks of opportunity against you, and you gain a +2 power bonus to the attack roll against them.

Design: I'm not exactly sure how the wording for this move should go - it seems a bit jumbled there. The basic idea, anyway, is to have a way to take advantage of your superior initiative rolls.


STANCE EVALUATION
You've studied the grammar of body language, and you know that there's a lot that people's bodies are saying about their fighting styles.
At-Will ♦ Martial
Standard Action
Personal

Prerequisite: You must be trained in Insight.
Effect: Make an Insight check with a bonus equal to 2 plus your Intelligence modifier. If you succeed on the check, you determine the target's difficulty relative to your own level. If you fail the check by 5 or less, you narrow your guess down to one of two categories.
You can judge the target to be a pushover (3 or less than your level), an inferior (1 or 2 less than your level), an equal (equal to your level), a superior (1 or 2 more than your level), or a challenge (3 or more than your level). If you narrow the decision to two categories, the DM will decide which categories to reveal to you.

Design: Hm, I notice the rules for Insight don't yet say anything about determining a target's level. That's gonna be my best estimation of how it works, and leave it at that.


SUBTLE TRIP
Where most fighters would keep their eyes on the blade of a charging foe, you watch its feet for a chance to take advantage of its lack of balance.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Immediate Interrupt
Personal

Trigger: A creature targets you with a charge attack
Effect: Add 2 to all of your defenses against this attack. If the attack misses, you may switch spaces with the attacker, and the attacker falls prone.

Design: A reciprocal to First In, Last Out for duelists that would rather hold their ground. Somewhat comparable to the spellscarred Spelleater utility, though I wonder if the range of bonuses here might be pushing it.


TIGHTROPE WALK
You've learned to mind the placement of your feet as precisely as the placement of your sword.
At-Will ♦ Martial
Move Action
Personal

Prerequisite: You must be trained in Acrobatics.
Effect: Make an Acrobatics check to balance while moving across a narrow or unstable surface. You move at your full speed during this action, or you may shift 1 square.

Design: An answer to the rogue's Nimble Climb and Fleeting Ghost, adjusted for fighting on ropes and stairwells and other dramatic places for a straight swordfight.



LEVEL 3 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


CLEVER DISARM
You take advantage of your opponent's weak attack to strike at his grip and knock the weapon from his hands.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: An adjacent creature attacks you or an ally
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Your target's attack roll (Treat the attacking creature's attack roll as the target AC.)
____Erudite Guard: You gain a bonus to the attack roll equal to half your Intelligence modifier.
Hit: The target's attack misses and it drops the weapon it made the attack with. The weapon lands in the space 2 spaces to the left or right of the target (your choice).

Design: Okay, disarming trick. This is something that I haven't seen show up in D&D4 anywhere yet, so let's try to balance this out. Start from an attack of Dexterity vs. AC and, say, 1[W] + Dex damage and knocks the opponent prone, like the Topple Over encounter power. When you knock an opponent prone, he essentially loses his next move action to stand up (and other allies get a bonus to hit him before he acts again). If I knocked a target's sword to his own feet... actually, new 4th ed rules say it's only a minor action to pick up an item in his own square or an adjacent square, so you would have to knock the weapon two squares away to actually cause the loss of a motion. The target would have to use a move action to shift one square, take a minor action to pick up the weapon in an adjacent square, and then could still turn and attack you (in a diagonal square).

Instead of doing 1[W] + Dex damage, I'm going to stop the target's attack. The target might not have hit me anyway, so I'm really only getting about half as much damage trade for my buck with this trick. Making it an interrupt attack, however, also means that I still get my usual at-will attack later in the round, so that balances out somewhat.

Okay, so would you rather have an ability that trips the target, or that disarms it? Actually, I'd rather have a trip attack, because not everyone wields a weapon. I can't disarm a dragon's teeth or a wizard's fireball spell. And there's no deliberate bonus for attacking a disarmed opponent, either. If I say that the target doesn't actually have to be wielding a weapon, however, then you can still use the power to, say, parry aside the dragon's bite or mess up a wizard's hands so that she botches the spell she's casting. Phew, what a mess.


CUT THE TIDE
You bounce from one enemy to another with an unpredictable dance step, making space for your team to reassemble.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: Each enemy in burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dex damage.
Effect: Each ally adjacent to you or adjacent to any of your targets can shift 1 square.

Design: I don't think bursts were part of my original theory for the class, but I like the way I can use them for defense-themed maneuvers like this. Most abiltiies at this level would deal 2[W] + Dex damage, down to 1[W] + Dex for a flat close burst. I don't think a few single-square shifts would be terribly overpowered for allowing the full damage.


MONGOOSE BITE
You weave forward, backward, and forward again in a smooth motion that throws your target off guard.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: Until the start of your next turn, the target takes a -2 penalty to attacks against you, and the first time that target misses an attack against you, you may deal 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to it.

Design: Think of it as an attack that deals 1[W] + Dex damage with a +2 to the attack roll. Then there's a half chance or so that you'll deal twice as much damage, so it averages out to about equal to 2[W] + Dex. Should the effect be dependant on whether or not the attack hits? I'd imagine you wouldn't need to hit with the first strike in order to "sway backward" after it.


SIDEWAYS TOSS
You focus your opponent's attention on your sword so that he does not notice you drawing a dagger with your other hand, and then his focus on the dagger causes him to not notice you repositioning yourself for another strike.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Ranged
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light thrown weapon in your off-hand. If your off-hand is free, you may draw a light thrown weapon as a free action as part of this power.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC (off-hand weapon)
____Dashing Brigand: You gain a bonus to the primary attack roll equal to your Charisma modifier.
Hit: 1[W] damage (off-hand weapon) , and you gain a +2 bonus to the secondary attack roll.
Effect: You may shift 1 square, then make a secondary Melee attack against the target.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC (main weapon)
____Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage (main weapon).

Design: About 2[W] + Dex damage overall. I had this originally as a first level attack, but with 2[W] damage, a space of shift, and a chance at a bonus to the secondary attack roll, it should probably go at least second level.



LEVEL 5 DAILY EXPLOITS


PREPARE TO DIE
You shout your name and purpose at your enemy and flash your blade, repeating until it finally gets the point.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: Until the end of the encounter, the target takes a -1 penalty to attack rolls and AC, and every time you attack the target, it takes a cumulative -1 penalty to attack rolls and AC (to a maximum penalty of -3).
____Dashing Brigand: The target takes an additional -1 penalty to attack rolls and AC, and the maximum penalty is increased to -4.

Design: Your name is Inigo Montoya. He killed your father. But anyway. Ranger's Splintering Shot is 3[W] and a -2 to attack rolls and half that on a miss. This attack is 1[W] damage and against Will, so it's down by a [W] or so, but it accumulates instead of being restricted on a miss.


PRESTO RIPOSTE
You take a deep breath and calmly wait for your opponent to strike, sidestepping his attack and returning with your own in one effortless motion.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Effect: The first time that an adjacent enemy makes an attack that includes you before the end of your next turn, you gain a +4 power bonus to all defenses against that attack. If that attack misses, you deal 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to it, or half damage if the enemy's attack hits. If you are not attacked before the end of your next turn, you do not expend your use of this power for the day.
____Erudite Guard: You gain a +5 power bonus to all defenses against the attack.

Design: What are the chances that a target will miss you with an attack? It's usually around 50% for a stronger opponent. What are the chances that you'll hit him with an attack? Probably about the same, give or take a little. So a bonus to your AC and automatic damage on a miss is about the same as granting a similar bonus to a standard attack.

I originally had this at 2[W] damage. What that'd basically give you is an attack that deals 2[W] + Dex of your damage with a +4 bonus to the attack roll. Then again, the swordmage's Frost Backlash daily deals 3W + Int damage as an interrupt, and targets Reflex instead of AC, and still lets you take your regular standard action. This duelist daily causes you to give up your standard action and thus would net less damage, but with a bonus to the attack roll - and you still have to hope that the opponent actually attacks you before your next turn. So I think it's worth boosting this to 3[W] base damage.


RAPTOR BOOST
You rear back in preparation for a powerful thrust, but then you launch in a direction other than the one you were facing in, catching your real target by surprise and knocking him away with the sudden blow.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Special: You may shift 2 squares before the attack.
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you push the target 2 squares.
Miss: Half damage.
____Dashing Brigand: You push the target 3 squares.

Design: Combining shifting and pushing into one daily.


SLAM THE PORTCULLIS
When your allies need you most, you leap into action and scramble the opposition.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Close
burst 2
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: An ally in the burst is damaged by an attack.
Special: You can shift into a square adjacent to that ally.
Target: The creature that attacked the ally.
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
Miss: Half damage.
____Erudite Guard: The ally can shift 1 square.

Design: I actually added this daily as something of an afterthought after creating two dashing brigand-like abilities. I'm not quite sure with how it turned out.



LEVEL 6 UTILITY EXPLOITS


LIVE BY THE SWORD
It's too early in the battle for the hero to fall. You shake off the pain with a rallying yell.
Daily ♦ Healing, Martial
Minor Action
Personal

Effect: You may spend a healing surge. You also gain an amount of temporary HP equal to your Charisma modifier.

Design: I think a flashy swordsman deserves at least one good heroic comeback ability. A little better than a fighter's Unstoppable, maybe, since it scales up a point or two more with each level and heals permanently, but still requires you to spend a surge. Maybe will leave the additional bonus to the surge as a temporary bonus. Definitely not as good as a warlord's Aid the Injured, but then, the duelist isn't a leader class (nor even a class that focuses on healing).


SPIT INTO THE WIND
You're not the thickest, bulkiest guy on the field, but attempts to shake your strength just make you that much more determined to win.
Daily ♦ Martial
Immediate Interrupt
Personal

Trigger: You are hit by an attack against your Fortitude defense
Effect: You gain a +4 power bonus to your Fortitude defense against the triggering attack. After the attack, you gain a +2 power bonus to Fortitude until the end of the encounter.

Design: Since Fortitude is generally going to be a duelist's worst defense - and not something that a defender should always be bad at, I like the idea of reducing the fighter's Defensive Training to a better bonus to just that defense. Alternately, a rogue's Slippery Mind is a flat +2 bonus that works once every encounter, while this ability works as a stronger daily ability.


TWINKLE TOES
You fight while standing on the balls of your feet and quickly react to any change in your balance.
At-Will ♦ Martial
Immediate Reaction
Personal

Trigger: An enemy pushes, pulls, or slides you
Effect: Reduce the distance that you are moved by 1 square.

Design: This could be an encounter power that completely negates a push or pull, somewhat like a fighter's Unbreakable utility. I'd probably rather have Unbreakable, though, which almost fully negates an attack rather than just a repositioning. On the other hand, setting this up as an at-will power would make it more consistently reliable - and you wouldn't want to use it consistently anyway since it uses up your important immediate action for the round. This one is probably open to debate.



LEVEL 7 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


CROSSUP GAMBIT
You bait your targets into smacking into each other as you dive out of their way.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One or two enemies in the burst
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] damage, and the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
Special: You can trade places with one target that you hit with this power.
____Dashing Brigand: You deal additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier to the target that you trade places with.

Design: A rogue's Dazing Strike, only an encounter 1 ability, is 1[W] + Dex damage and dazes the target. This attack gets a better attack target but lower damage. But it also hits two targets, and you get to slide a target a square. But it's a very limited slide in where you can actually go if you restrict it this way. And after all, it's a level 7 ability rather than a level 1. So in conclusion, I should be able to daze both targets on a hit.


DEFENSIVE TAG
You call for your teammate to duck down as you hop over him and catch his opponent by surprise.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: A willing ally adjacent to you is attacked by a creature
Special: You switch places with that ally, and the attack now targets you instead of the ally. You gain a +2 bonus to AC against that attack.
____Erudite Guard: The AC bonus you gain is equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier.
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.

Design: Another ally-defending ability, with a +2 bonus to AC instead of a +2 bonus to hit with 1[W] + Dex damage .


STAGE THE ACTORS
WIth a flash of distracting attacks, you try to get your enemies to set the scene a little more to your liking.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: Each enemy in burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] damage, and you slide the target 1 square.

Design: One of the last abilities I added while designing this tier. I figured I may as well keep going with the burst attack theme at this point.


RING AROUND THE COLLAR
You tag your target around the neck and legs, making any sudden moves dangerous.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is immobilized until the end of your next turn.

Design: A no-shifting ability seems relevant to add at some point, with a target of Will instead of AC.



LEVEL 9 DAILY EXPLOITS


BREATHLESS FLURRY
Feeling the urgency of the situation, you disregard concerns for your stamina to bury your opponents in a rush of strikes that leaves them bleeding and you gasping for air.
Daily ♦ Martial, Stance, Weapon
No Action
Personal

Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Special: You must spend a healing surge without regaining any hit points.
Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to AC against any target that you have marked. Once per turn, you may use the following attack as minor action.
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you may push the target 1 square. You may shift into the square that it left.
____Erudite Guard: You gain a +3 power bonus to AC against any target that you have marked.

Design: Consider that the fighter's Rain of Steel is an automatic 1[W] damage to every adjacent enemy every turn, while this attack is a vs.-AC chance at 1[W] + Dex against a single target - which averages out about the same, except that it doesn't hit any targets beyond the first like Rain of Steel does. So the attack can also push the target to even it out. But this move was mainly inspired by the paladin's Martyr's Retribution, which essentially lets you trade a healing surge for an extra 1[W] damage on an attack. In order to make the stance truly fatiguing, we'll trade a healing surge for an additional bonus to AC to suggest not giving the opponents an opening.


REDOUBLING COMBINATION
You lunge at your target and then push away from him, using the momentum to prepare a follow-up strike against him or to make a series of successive strikes against the other targets in range.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: Each enemy in burst you can see
b]Attack:[/b] Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Miss: Half damage.
Special: Instead of targeting each enemy in the burst, you may instead choose to only target a single enemy in the burst. If you do, you deal an additional 1[W] damage to that target on a hit (and half damage on a miss). If you hit, you also slide the target 1 square.

Design: The average strong attack is 3[W] with a small bonus. In this case, all I wanted was for the "bonus" to be the ability to switch the attack for an area attack instead. My initial idea was to make it a single attack that did three to five attacks that the player could switch among different targets, but I went through several iterations trying to balance it against other similar attacks. I eventually ditched the idea and went with this slightly more eloquent solution.

Fighter's Shift the Battlefield Daily at the same level is 2[W] + Str to the burst, and you slide the targets 1 square, but then the ranger's Swirling Leaves of Steel only deals damage without even pushing the target. So the amount of target pushing I get to do should probably be limited.


RING THE BELL
Your opponent obviously isn't up to fighting you this round. You smash him in the kidneys and send him to the corner for a break.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: An adjacent enemy attacks you or an ally and misses
Target: The attacking enemy
Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is stunned (save ends).
____Dashing Brigand: The target takes a -1 penalty to its saving throw to end the effect.
Miss: Half damage, and the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.

Design: Wanted a debuffing ability in the last tier and still had an opening for a reaction ability. Ended up basically copying rogue's Knockout for simplicity.



LEVEL 10 UTILITY EXPLOITS


MARK OF DEVOTION
You swore to your team that you wouldn't let them down, and when the time is right, you devote all of your energy to making good on that promise.
Daily ♦ Martial, Stance
Minor Action
Personal

Effect: Choose an ally adjacent to you. Until the end of the encounter, as long as that ally is adjacent to you, it gains a +2 power bonus to AC and Reflex defense, and anytime you shift, that ally can shift an equal number of squares and remain adjacent to you.

Design: Wanted to add another defensive ability here, thought a daily utility would be the best way to add some variety. Similar to fighter's Stalwart Guard, but for only a single target.


STAND AND DELIVER
You grit your teeth and retain your balance through the pain.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Immediate Reaction
Personal

Trigger: You become dazed, stunned, or knocked prone.
Effect: You end that effect.

Design: You're the dandy highwayman! I can't quite find an ability to compare this to, but this seems to be the right place to put this.


TRICK UP YOUR SLEEVE
You have a knack for improvisation and adapt well to a change in the situation.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Minor Action
Personal

Effect: Choose any one of the following effects:
• You gain a +2 power bonus to your AC, Fortitude, Reflex, or Will defense until the beginning of your next turn.
• You can shift 2 squares.
• You gain a +2 power bonus to your next skill check this encounter for a skill that you are trained in. (You may not use this ability more than once per hour.)

Design: Okay, let's see how well I can justify this one. Rogue's Slippery Mind (utility 6) is +2 to Will, but you get to use it as an interrupt when you know that you'll be attacked by that defense rather than having to plan in advance. Rogue's Tumble (utility 2) is half your speed in shifting - 3 for most medium characters. Warlock's Beguiling Tongue (utility 2) is a +5 bonus to one of a few skills. That gives you a choice of abilities which are all just a bit worse than other lower-level utilities, but with a great deal of flexibility. That's probably about fair. Though, I should add a qualifier to the skill option that says that the ability works less often than normal when out of combat, so that you can't simply take a ten-minute break and apply it to all of your skill rolls.



HEROIC TIER FEATS


OVERBEARING CHALLENGE [Duelist]
Prerequisite: Cha 15, duelist, Duelist Challenge class feature
Benefit: You can use overbearing challenge on a marked target.

OVERBEARING CHALLENGE
With a cry of effort, you crash into your opponent with your blade and punish him for taking his eyes off of you.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee
weapon
Trigger: A creature that you have marked makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target's attack fails. The target takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of its next turn.
Special: You must take the Overbearing Challenge feat to use this power.

Design: I figure that the duelist should get a couple feats for boosting his marking maneuver the way that the fighter and swordmage do, but with something a little more interesting than a flat bonus. The common bonus for a fighter would be something like a Wis bonus to attack rolls made with the maneuver or Con bonus to damage rolls, so if we're restricting the bonus to a single encounter power, the gain should be about twice that bonus. That is to say, adding 1[W] + Dex to a single attack in the encounter should be fine.


CALCULATED CHALLENGE [Duelist]
Prerequisite: Int 15, duelist, Duelist Challenge class feature
Benefit: You can use calculated challenge on a marked target.

CALCULATED CHALLENGE
You see your opponent's eyes wander before he shifts his focus from you and prepare your retaliation.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee
weapon
Trigger: A creature that you have marked makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: The target's attack fails. The target is stunned until the end of its next turn.
Special: You must take the Calculated Challenge feat to use this power.

Design: I'm giving up the alphabetical order to put this one second. This is stunning instead of just a penalty, mind you. If the other challenge deals an extra 1[W] + Dex damage, what about denying the target its next 1[W] + Str damage? On the one hand, there's no guarantee that next attack would have hit. You're really only denying, what, a 50% chance for the target's next damage. On the other hand, you're also denying it the ability to make attacks of opportunity, or to use any other special ability that it might find useful at the time. So it's probably fair like this.


NIMBLE SWORDPLAY [Duelist, Swordmage]
Prerequisite: Duelist
Benefit: You can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier when making a basic attack with a melee weapon.

Design: Overpowered? I was proofreading a utility that would have benefitted the duelist for making a charge attack, when I realized that the duelist would have to make a charge attack with its Strength modifier, and would sort of wreck my plans with that ever being useful. Swordmages get a similar feat that allows them to use Intelligence instead of Strength. I don't think it's too unfair to allow a Dex version of this feat restricted to class. It might give a few rogues a reason to multiclass as something other than rangers.
Paragon tier powers:


LEVEL 13 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


FALLING FEATHERS
The grace of your combinations belies the depth of your stabs as you aim for the spaces in your enemies' armor.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: Each enemy you can see in the burst
Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.

Design: Filling a hole at this slot where a burst or bonus attack would fit. If fighters can get Str + 6 vs. AC for a single attack at this stage, Dex vs. Reflex as a burst should be fine.


SHELTERING LUNGE
You crouch low and crash up from underneath your enemy's reach, preventing her from following up against your ally.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: One adjacent ally gains a +2 bonus to all defenses against attacks from the target creature.
____Erudite Guard: The ally gains a bonus to defenses equal to your 1 + Intelligence modifier.

Design: Somewhat comparable to warlord's Thunderous Fury. Kind of a vanilla move, but not one that I've directly created as an encounter power yet.


STOP DROP AND ROLL
You drop your guard and stumble just long enough to make your enemy believe he has an opening, which just puts you in a position to slam into the target at the last moment.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 3
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature in the burst
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: You pull the target into the closest square adjacent to you and deal 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to it.
____Dashing Brigand: The range of the burst is equal to your Charisma modifier.

Design: 2[W] damage all right? (2[W] and attacks Will defense instead of 3[W]?)


TWIST OF THE WRIST
You swing your blade in an intricate pattern and see if your opponent's eyes and grip can keep up.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude, Reflex
Special: You make one attack roll, and you hit if the roll equals or exceeds any of the three defenses.
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target drops its weapon. It falls in any square of your choice two squares away. If the attack hits both defenses, the weapon falls four squares away instead and you deal an additional 1[W] damage to the target.

Design: Adding another disarming trick low enough that it will get used again, borrowing text from the rogue's perfect strike. Fighter's Exorcism of Steel is 2W + Str and disarm, but the weapon lands nearby enough that it can be picked up quickly. I'm tempted to give a penalty to the attack if the target is wielding a two-handed weapon.



LEVEL 15 DAILY EXPLOITS


DELIBERATE GAMBIT
As your opponent raises his weapon to strike, you pull all of the energy you have to dart in under his arms and try and beat him to the punch.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An enemy attacks you or an adjacent ally
Target: The attacking enemy
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target's attack misses.
Miss: Half damage. If the target's attack only targeted a single creature, that attack now targets you instead of your ally.

Design: A reverse of the usual riposte ability.


PIERCE THE HULL
With momentum and precision on your side, you power through a soft spot in your enemy's armor, all the way in and out the other side of his flesh.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Special: When charging, you may use this power in place of the melee basic attack.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends). The target takes a -2 penalty to saving throws to end this damage.
____Dashing Brigand: The target takes a -4 penalty to saving throws to end the ongoing damage.
Miss: Half damage, and no ongoing damage.

Design: A pure damage daily exploit at this level should do at least 4[W] + ability damage with a small additional ability. The base damage is 2[W] + Dex, 5 ongoing damage is worth about as much as an extra 1[W], and a +2 bonus to attack would be worth another 1[W] or so, and a bonus to stop the bleeding from ending as well as the ability to charge with the attack should be worth the "extra" on top of that. And yet, you'd still be doing more damage with ranger's Bleeding Wounds or a fighter's Dragon's Fangs. I almost want to bump the attack bonus up to +4...


OVERHEAD SUPREMACY
You swipe the earth out from your opponent's feet, and then latch him to it with your sword.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Special: When charging, you may use this power in place of the melee basic attack.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is knocked prone if it is your size or smaller. Until the end of the encounter, any time the target stands up from prone, you may make a secondary attack against it.
Miss: Half damage.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
____Hit: 1[W] damage, and the target is knocked prone. It cannot stand up again this turn.
____Erudite Guard: You gain a +2 bonus to the secondary attack roll.

Design: As a 3[W] attack (2[W] vs. Reflex), gets a substantial follow-up attack to continue the ability.



LEVEL 16 UTILITY EXPLOITS


NARROW CORRIDOR
A flourish of unpredictable moves leaves your opponent with no options other than to deal with the threat in front of it.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Free Action
Personal
Effect: One creature that you have marked cannot make any standard action attacks that do not include you as a target until the beginning of your next turn.

Design: Much different from a fighter's Interposing Shield? Doesn't allow a bonus or allow you to react to an attack, but allows you to proactively cut off an attack.


PROACTIVE PARRY
You trade your first strike advantage to more thoroughly flummox your enemy's offense.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Minor Action
Melee weapon
Special: You may not use this power if you have taken any other actions this turn.
Target: One creature you have marked
Effect: You may not make any other actions until the end up the current round, as though you had delayed them until initiative 1. (However, you keep your normal initiative order for following rounds.) Until that time, the target stays marked and takes a -1 penalty to all attacks.
If your initiative roll is at least 15 more than the target's, it instead take a -2 penalty to all attacks.

Design: I wanted to add additional utilities at this level for taking advantage of the duelist's superior initiative rolls, but I'm not sure there are any similar powers to compare to. The basic idea was to say, "Gain a +1 bonus against any target that you beat on the initiative roll." No idea how huge you should beat the initiative roll by to get a double bonus.



LEVEL 17 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


FALLING FEINT
You swing your sword in a wide arc in anticipation of a powerful slash, but you stop dead midstrike, and your opponent trips over himself trying to anticipate the attack, just before you deliver the true blow.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
____Dashing Brigand: You gain a bonus to the primary attack roll equal to your Charisma modifier.
Hit: The target falls prone.
Effect: Make a secondary attack against the target.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
____Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.

Design: A flat attack for knocking the target prone at this level would probably be even at 2[W] + Dex damage, though maybe a bit underpowered considering that encounter powers at this level start getting fancy. Reworking it like this gives a better chance that one or the other will happen with the same possible overall outcome.


SWIMMING STRIKES
Separated from your team, you spin through the crowd, slicing forward with one hand and pushing backward with the other.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature. You may choose a new adjacent target for each separate attack.
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC, three attacks
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you trade spaces with the target.

Design: This maybe feels a bit more rogue-like, but I think the idea is somewhat suitable for a defender for reconnecting with the people he's supposed to be protecting when they get separated.


WALTZING TOSS
As your enemy overextends with an attack, you grab out with your back hand and use his own momentum to toss him away, followed by a slash in the back.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: An enemy attacks you or an ally with a melee attack and misses.
Target: The attacking enemy
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square.

Design: I find the attack bonus on fighter's Exacting Strike to be a bit ludicrous, but I'd like to build on it for now. Attacking Reflex instead of AC is probably worth about a +2 or +3 bonus overall, and then down another point to +3 to slide the target on a hit.


ZEPHYR LASH
You hop with the first step and spin with the second, beating the air around you with guarding slashes.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Special: You may move 2 squares before the attack.
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to its next attack roll.
____Erudite Guard: The penalty to attack is equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Design: Warlord's Fury of the Sirocco is 1[W] + Str and slide one square for each target at level 13.



LEVEL 19 DAILY EXPLOITS


CONDOR TALON
You somersault low then launch into a grand leap. Caught looking at its feet, the target is knocked off balance by your misdirection.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Special: You must charge as part of this power, but you do not provoke any attacks of opportunity for the movement. If you are trained in Acrobatics, you may move through squares occupied by enemies as part of the charge, but treat each such square as difficult terrain.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -4 penalty to its next attack roll.
____Erudite Guard: The target takes a -5 penalty to its next attack roll.
Miss: Half damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to its next attack roll.

Design: How much penalty for one attack? Not sure.


CRASH AND BURN
With a glorious cry, you smash into your target with enough forward momentum to carry you through to your next strike.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An adjacent creature attacks you or an ally and misses
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of the encounter.
____Dashing Brigand: The target takes a -3 penalty to AC.
Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to further attacks against the target until the end of the encounter.

Design: If 4[W] damage is fine at this level, then so would be a Dex + 2 vs. AC. That bonus is extended to later turns, but this also doesn't provide half damage on a miss.


MAGNETIC ASSAULT
You pierce the target's armor and dig your sword in at an angle, forcing it to move with the pain and pinning it to its new position.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 4[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. You slide the target into any square adjacent to you, and the target is immobilized (save ends).
____Erudite Guard: The target takes a -2 penalty to its saving throw to end this condition.
Miss: Half damage.

Design: Fighter's Reaving Strike with a bit less damage and more utility.


STARBOARD TO PORT
This battle is going in the wrong direction. With a commanding array of swipes, you attempt to turn the ship around.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. You slide the target 1 square, and one ally adjacent to the target may shift 1 square.
____Dashing Brigand: You slide the target 2 squares.

Design: Fighter's Devastation's Wake is a 3[W] + Str close burst, with the chance at extra damage as the secondary ability.
Epic tier powers:


LEVEL 22 UTILITY EXPLOITS


BOLD PRESS
As you set up your attack, you press into your target and see if he has the grit to stand his ground.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Move Action
Melee 1
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: You push the target 1 square and may shift into an adjacent square.

Design: Can I justify this as an at-will power? Warlord's Own the Battlefield slides every enemy in the burst as a daily standard action. This power, though, only works on one target (justify it down to an encounter power), has the chance of failure without allowing you to move (justify it down to an at-will), and only allows a single square of pushing (justify as a move action). ...Or I could just note that iron vanguard's inexorable shift is an automatic push 1 square at level 12 as an encounter power.


CANNY REFLEXES
You can mentally prepare a combination of responses with only a moment's notice.
Encounter ♦ Martial
[b]No Action Personal
Effect: You may make an additional immediate action before your next turn.

Design: WIth so much focus on immediate abilities, I thought the ability to double up might be useful.


TWO TO TANGO
You pull your partner back as he pulls you forward, placing a different dancer in the lead.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
No Action
Personal
Trigger: An ally shifts or moves into your square. The ally may end his movement in your square.
Effect: You shift into the square that ally was last in.

Design: Looking for a high-level shifting ability that does more than just "shift your speed once per encounter." This has a nice defender-ish feel to it.



LEVEL 23 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


AIRY SWEEP
As enemies close in, you effortlessly adjust your position - and theirs.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Close burst 2
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Trigger: A creature moves into any square within the burst
Target: Triggering creature
Special: You can shift 2 squares before making the attack and must end in a square adjacent to the target.
____Dashing Brigand: The size of the burst is equal to your Charisma modifier, and you can shift a number of squares equal to your Charisma modifier.
Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you can slide the target into any other square adjacent to you.

Design: Language and theory borrowed from spellguard wizard's force lash.


MAGPIE COMBINATION
Seeing a target painted on every hand and a bullseye on every finger, you steal away your foes' grips.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target drops one weapon it is holding. It lands 2 squares away to the left or right.

Design: The thought of ripping EVERYONE's swords away from them is silly enough for a power at this level.


POTENT DENIGRATION
A feint, a dirty word, a sly grin, and a thrust into the opening it all grants you leaves your target with little on his mind other than revenge.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is marked. This mark persists until the end of the encounter or another creature marks it.

Design: A simpler straight damage strike.


THOUGHTLESS TOSS
Your memorization of your stance is so thorough that you can toss out a separate attack without breaking your stride, seeing if your enemy's concentration is strong enough to withstand the sight of a dagger appearing from nowhere.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Minor Action
Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light thrown weapon in your off-hand. If your off-hand is free, you may draw a light thrown weapon as a free action as part of this power.
Special: This attack does not draw an attack of opportunity from adjacent enemies.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC (off-hand)
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to its next attack roll.
____Erudite Guard: The target takes a penalty to its next attack roll equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Design: If 4[W] + Dex is the average damage at this level, 2[W] is probably fair for a minor action.



LEVEL 25 DAILY EXPLOITS


ASCENDANT COMBINATION
With a hop, skip, and a jump, you feint, slam, and stab your foe.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. You may slide the target a number of squares equal to your Charisma modifier and shift to stay adjacent to it.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: Make a secondary attack.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude
____Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you gain a bonus to the tertiary attack roll equal to your Intelligence modifier.
____Miss: Half damage.
____Effect: Make a tertiary attack.
________Tertiary Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
________Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
________Miss: Half damage.

Design: I imagine this being something like a Soul Caliber combo. Ranger's Three-In-One Shot is 2[W] + Dex for three attacks, with a bonus to both later hits if the first shot hits. Damage is reduced for the better attack targets and being a bit lower in the chain, but with roughly similar added benefits.


FIRE AND FORCE
You stake your concentration on two points, one in front of your enemy, and the other in front of your ally, and seem to keep one sword in both spots simultaneously.
Daily ♦ Martial, Stance, Weapon
Standard Action
Personal
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Effect: Once per turn, you can use an at-will duelist power against the target as a minor action. As long as you remain adjacent to the target, it takes a -2 penalty to attacks. You can also choose one willing ally. As long as you remain adjacent to that ally, it gain a +2 power bonus to AC and Reflex defense.
____Dashing Brigand: Your target takes a -3 penalty to attacks, and your ally gains a +3 power bonus to AC and Reflex defense.

Design: Trying to repurpose fighter's Force the Battle and Reaper's Stance moves as a crossover protection/debuff ability.


SPHERE OF CONTROL
You blast your enemies with a wave of stabs and pushes that carry through into their next choices.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 4[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and if that target attacks an ally before the beginning of your next turn, you gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll for your duelist challenge.
____Erudite Guard: You gain a +3 bonus to the attack roll for your duelist challenge.
Effect: Until the beginning of your next turn, you may use your duelist challenge power as a free action.

Design: At this level, 6[W] damage for a strong attack, 5[W] damage for a close blast? But somehow 4[W] seems more in line with the bonus granted.



LEVEL 27 ENCOUNTER EXPLOITS


EVERYWHERE FORM
Your stern jabs go beyond your targets, shaking the confidence of the entire battlefield and leading your allies in your wake.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each creature in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: Each of your allies gain a +2 bonus to all defenses until the beginning of your next turn.
____Erudite Guard: Your allies gain a bonus to all defenses equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Design: More of a warlord ability, but fitting for a capstone encounter power.


LIGHTNING STEEL
You strike three vital points on your target's armor with such speed that it can only be perceived as a single strike.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC, three attacks
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attacks until the end of its next turn. This penalty is cumulative for multiple hits.

Design: 4[W] + modifier is common damage at this level. This would give you a bit more damage, though you might compare it to fighter's Cruel Reaper, which is 2[W] + Str twice, and for a burst even.


SHIELDBANE RUSH
You combine epic-level focus, planning, and footwork to set up the enemy lines and then break them apart.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in the burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square.
Effect: You can shift 2 squares, and then make a secondary attack.
____Secondary Target: Each enemy in close burst 1
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
____Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, you slide the target 1 square.
____Dashing Brigand: You slide the target a number of squares equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier.

Design: A combination of fighter's Cruel Reaper with warlord's Chimera Battlestrike.


TIDAL WAVE RESPONSE
Stepping into your opponent's attack, you thrust into the hardest part of his defenses, where he least expects it, with a slam that reverberates through his armor and bones.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An adjacent creature attacks you or an ally
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is stunned until the end of its next turn.

Design: Hmm, 4[W] damage standard, down to 3 for being a stun and not just a daze, down to 2 for Fortitude, down to 1 for being an interrupt instead of a response and thus able to stop the attack. ...Would it automatically stop the attack, even though he's already made it?



LEVEL 29 DAILY EXPLOITS


FINAL OVERTURE
Playing each part in the movement on your own, you fiercely dance through the lines.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Special: You can shift 2 squares.
____Dashing Brigand: You can shift 4 squares.
Target: Each enemy you can see who is adjacent to you at least once at any point before, during, or after your shift
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 5[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Miss: Half damage.

Design: Other level 29 dailies that focus on pure damage do 7[W] damage. 5[W] is probably the right amount for an extended burst attack.


MASTER'S HAND
You know every trick, every twitch, and every possibility. Instead of preparing a different move for every alternative, you have simply honed your swordplay to the point that you can make anything happen that you need to at a crucial moment.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC, Dexterity vs. Fortitude, Dexterity vs. Reflex, or Dexterity vs. Will
Hit (AC): If the attack hits the target's AC, you deal 5[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to the target, and you may make a secondary attack against one other creature: a Dexterity vs. AC attack that deals 5[W] + Dexterity modifier damage on a hit and half damage on a miss.
Hit (Fortitude): If the attack hits the target's Fortitude defense, you deal 5[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to the target, and it is stunned until the end of its next turn.
Hit (Reflex): If the attack hits the target's Reflex defense, you deal 5[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to the target, and it is dazed (save ends).
Hit (Will): If the attack hits the target's Will defense, you deal 4[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to the target, and you may slide it 3 squares and shift to stay adjacent to it.
Miss (Any): Half damage, and no further effects.

Design: Most of the abilities listed would do 6[W] damage for targeting a better defense than AC, down a W for the ability to switch off. This ability borrows somewhat from the Wandering Swordmage's Four Corners Attack for a range of opportunities.


PERFECT RETORT
Your target blinks, and that's all you need to slide under his defenses.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An enemy attacks you or an adjacent ally
Effect: The attacker takes a -4 penalty to the attack roll. If its attack misses, you deal 6[W] + Dex modifier damage to it. If its attack hits, you deal half that much damage to it, and the target's attack deals half damage.
____Erudite Guard: The attacker takes a -5 penalty to the attack roll.

Design: Other level 29 dailies that focus on pure damage do 7[W] damage. With a +4 to the "attack" roll, but restricted to an interrupt ability, 6[W] is probably fair damage, especially compared to a warlord's Defy Death.
PARAGON PATHS


HIGH ADVENTURER
"Sounds like it'll be dangerous. Just let me finish my wine."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

You have spent years already on the road. You've fought with a variety of creatures, intelligent and unintelligent, and always managed to come out on top. You've solved crimes and defended the innocent in half the cities in the country, and that blend of experiences has taught you how to improvise for the situation. You've since become addicted to the rush of combat and the glory of victory. You adventure for the sake of the adventuring more than the goal at the end of the quest.

Show
HIGH ADVENTURER PATH FEATURES

DARING METHOD (11th level): When a creature hits you with an attack, you gain a +1 bonus to your next attack roll against it.

DARING ACTION (11th level): After rolling your initiative, you may spend an action point to gain an extra action on your first turn and a +5 bonus on the initiative check. Also, at the end of any turn in which you gained an extra action granted by an action point, you regain one duelist encounter power that you used during that turn.

DARING OPPORTUNITY (16th level): When you score a critical hit with a light blade or scimitar, the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls and is weakened until the end of its next turn.

Design: One of the more directly Charisma-inspired paths. Daring method is meant to reflect an eagerness to jump into battle by making the target focus on you. The final ability is meant to suggest "the time you got that great crit right when you needed it and protected people" and such, similar to the Daggermaster path feature - though the daggermaster gets a wider crit range and a special attack when it has combat advantage, so there should be some bonus beyond just a +2 to attack.

A common paragon path ability allows you to spend an action point to regain an encounter power that was already used. On its own, the action point ability here is less useful than that, as you may not always use an encounter power during your extra ability. Adding the initiative bonus balances the ability and encourages the player to jump in with an encounter power right away and get the fight started.


HIGH ADVENTURER EXPLOITS

SKILLFUL PLOY (High Adventurer Attack 11)
In need of a break from the action, you eschew standard strikes and quickly improvise a method to confuse your opponent.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. You may either slide the target 1 square or give the target a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn.
____Dashing Brigand: If you choose to slide the target, the number of squares you can slide it is equal to your Charisma modifier.
____Erudite Guard: If you choose to give the target a penalty, the penalty is equal to 1 + your Intellect modifier.

Design: A choice between two 1st-level encounter abilities - similar to rogue Positioning Strike or Warlord guarding attack - as a higher level ability.


HERO'S ADVANTAGE (High Adventurer Utility 12)
No one's sure if you're really good at rolling with the punches or you were just born under a lucky star.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Immediate Reaction
Personal

Trigger: An enemy hits you with a critical hit
Effect: Treat the attack as a regular hit (instead of a critical).

Design: At level 12, a Kensei would get to reduce any attack by 12 damage once a day. This utility would let you reduce the damage of an attack by 4-8 damage once an encounter (depending on the size of the weapon die), but only on a crit instead of any attack. That should be fairly even.


DO-OR-DIE GAMBIT (High Adventurer Daily 20)
There's a time to stand your ground and a time to finish the job. Pick your poison.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: You may make a secondary attack against the target. If you do, you grant the target combat advantage until the end of your next turn. If you don't, you gain a +5 bonus to AC until the end of your next turn.
____Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
____Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
____Miss: Half damage.

Design: A few paragon dailies in Martial Power are 4[W] + ability with a fair bonus. The total possible damage is equal to around 6[W] + damage with a penalty. The other bonus should be fine considering many dailies give a +2 AC bonus for the rest of the encounter instead of a larger single-turn bonus.



MASKED PUNISHER
"When the law of the land is also its greatest enemy, someone else will need to pick up the slack."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

Over the course of your career, you've gained a reputation as a troublemaker. Maybe you've decided that the lord of the land is a tyrant who mistreats his people, or maybe you're just tired of the status quo. You've decided to rectify this situation with a broad form of vigilantism, lending your aid and protection to anyone you feel deserves it, no matter how dangerous the foe.


Show
MASKED PUNISHER PATH FEATURES

NOTORIOUS STYLE (11th level): You gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks and a +1 bonus to all attack rolls that you make targeting a creature's Will defense.

PUNISHING ACTION (11th level): When you spend an action point to gain an extra action, one enemy adjacent to you takes a -2 penalty to AC and Will defense until the beginning of your next turn.
When an opponent hits you with an attack, you may spend an action point as an immediate reaction to gain an extra action. If you do, then that enemy instead takes a -4 penalty to AC and Will defense until the beginning of its next turn.

NOTORIOUS REPUTATION (16th level): When you hit with a melee attack, all enemies adjacent to you take a -1 penalty to attack rolls until the beginning of your next turn.

Design: A Zorro-esque path. The bonus for notorious style should be limited enough to warrant an additional skill bonus, considering how few attacks - especially pure damage attacks - target the Will defense here. Punishing action is similar to Impituran Demonslayer's secondary ability, affecting only one target instead of all adjacent targets. Notorious reputation is similar to Sword Coast Corsair's bold attack feature - providing a -1 penalty to all adjacent attackers instead of just a flat +1 bonus to AC or attack, meant to suggest you scare enemies when you live up to your reputation.


MASKED PUNISHER EXPLOITS

SIGNAL THE GETAWAY (Masked Punisher Attack 11)
The innocent are safe and the wagon is ready outside. Time to head out!
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close
burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Every enemy in burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Effect: You and every adjacent ally can move its speed after the attack.

Design: Close bursts at this level are usually worth 2[W] + mod damage, down 1[W] damage for hitting Will defense, and dropping the modifier damage for a fairly substantial hit effect.


PULL THE TIGER'S TAIL (Masked Punisher Utility 12)
As the target whiffs past you, you knock his helmet over his eyes or pull his cape over his head.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Immediate Reaction
Personal

Trigger: An enemy misses you with a melee attack
Effect: The enemy grants combat advantage to you until the end of its next turn.

Design: Pit fighter's Deadly Payback is a daily ability for a bonus to attack and damage. This ability wouldn't grant the damage and may not stack with already having combat advantage, so it should be alright as an encounter ability.


LAUGHING SHATTER (Masked Punisher Daily 20)
You allow your foe to arrogantly believe that he's finally got you cornered so that he fails to see your muscles tense before you dramatically crash into him.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Special: If the target successfully damaged you since your last turn, you gain a +4 bonus to the attack roll.
Target: Dexterity vs. Will
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you may slide the target one square. You may shift into the square it leaves.
Miss: Half damage.

Design: Meant to be, say, that final dramatic point in the movie where the hero gets cornered but suddenly pulls out the win. A "pure damage" daily at this level would normally be 5[W] + Str and a very small bonus. This gets bumped to 4[W] for being against Will instead of AC, and down to 3[W] for the bonus to attack (a +2 bonus generally allows for -1[W] damage, this is a restricted chance for a larger bonus.)




RUINS CHALLENGER

"This tomb is old and forgotten, but it's still guarded. There must be a reason for it."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

In your youth, you were made to study history and politics as part of your training, but there's a distinct difference in the excitement of learning about history from a book and studying the ruins of old civilizations firsthand. While you can be lead to aid in other worthwhile ventures, you have dedicated the bulk of your training to uncovering the buried past and finding the knowledge and tools that aren't written in any book.

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RUINS CHALLENGER PATH FEATURES

EXPLORER'S KNACK (11th level): You gain training in Dungeoneering and a +5 bonus to Athletics checks.

TRAP-DODGING ACTION (11th level): When you spend an action point to make an extra action, you gain a +4 bonus to all defenses until the beginning of your next turn.

EXPLORER'S INSTINCT (16th level): Spending time in the ruins has made you reasonably paranoid. You gain a +2 bonus to all defenses against traps and hazards. Also, when you grant enemies combat advantage because they are concealed or invisible or you are surprised, they do not gain the normal +2 bonus to attack rolls against you. (Any other benefits derived from combat advantage still apply.)

Design: Meant to be a more cerebral, Indiana Jones / Lara Croft-style adventurer than a thief-with-dungeoneering type. Master Infiltrators get a +2 bonus to three skills, whereas here I'm giving one free skill (worth about as much as a skill bonus from the perspective of feats) and a double bonus to one skill. Iron Vanguards have a similar action point ability. The final ability is not quite as good as Uncanny Dodge unless the bonus against traps is added.


RUINS CHALLENGER EXPLOITS

CONCERTED RETORT (Ruins Challenger Attack 11)
This isn't your tomb - it's someone else's, and you don't plan to die in it.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: A creature hits you with a melee attack
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] damage, and the target is stunned until the end of its next turn.

Design: 2[W] + Dex and an ability for the usual attack, down to 1[W] for the attack bonus and losing the modifier for a stun instead of just a daze.


BOULDER RACE (Ruins Challenger Utility 12)
Whether you've tripped an obscenely large trap or woken an exceptionally angry mummy, you recognize that urgency sometimes trumps all other concerns.
Daily ♦ Martial, Stance
Minor Action
Personal
Effect: You speed increases by 3 while running and by 1 for any other movement.

Design: For the Indiana Jones in you. Similar to ranger's Longstrider.


SWEEP THE BELFRY (Ruins Challenger Attack 20)
Surrounded by the goblins of the dark, you throw yourself into the mess and clear a path for your allies.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you slide the target 1 square. Then, you may shift one square, and any allies that were adjacent to you before you shifted may shift into a square adjacent to you.
Effect: You may repeat this attack twice, and you can select a different target for each attack.

Design: Somewhat referenced to ranger's Cruel Cage of Steel.




SENTINEL ENVOY
"Just because we don't like to sit on one place too long doesn't mean that we'll move at your command."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

While many guardians are suited to the defense of the castle and the closed hallway, you have been better trained as the defender of caravans and diplomats. While you were raised in the academy, you were trained on the roads, observing the cultures of many nations and absorbing the things they had to teach you - including their fighting styles. You swordsmanship comes from the combination of those experiences, and your teammates are safe no matter where you follow them.


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SENTINEL ENVOY FEATURES

CROSSROADS ACTION (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you also gain a move action.

WIDE BORDERS (11th level): When you shift or move, you and all adjacent allies gain a +1 bonus to AC until the beginning of your next turn.

DEPENDABLE ESCORT (16th level): The first time you are bloodied in an encounter, you gain a +4 power bonus to your next attack roll.

Design: Meant to be a defensive paragon path that doesn't crossover too much with Coronal Guard or Knight Protector. Copying some abilities and ideas from the Master Infiltrator path. Coronal guards get a flat +1 bonus to AC, so a bonus on moving only should be able to also benefit allies (or perhaps just allies?) If characters can get a flat +1 attack bonus for a paragon feature, a +4 bonus to one attack in the encounter should be fair.


SENTINEL ENVOY EXPLOITS

CARAVAN RIDE (Sentinel Envoy Attack 11)
You wait for your foe to lunge forward, then you snag it by the cuff and pull it off balance and away from your allies.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An adjacent creature attacks you or an ally
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. You can shift two squares and then slide the target into an adjacent square.

Design: Trying to create a defensive attack that works by getting a target away from the ally it's hurting. 3[W] with a shifting ability, down to 2[W] for hitting Reflex, down to 1[W] for being an interrupt rather than a reaction (and thus able to cancel the attack).


BODYGUARD INSTINCT (Sentinel Envoy Utility 12)
When you don't even have the time to shout, "Get down!" you grab your ally by the arm and fling him out of harm's way.
Encounter ♦ Martial
Immediate Reaction
Personal

Trigger: A willing adjacent ally is hit by an area or close attack.
Effect: You push the target one square or slide it into a square adjacent to you. If the target finishes its movement in a square outside of the attack's range, then the attack misses.

Design: A handful of abilities like Ultimate Parry are daily abilities to reduce an attack's damage. This is a more limited ability that requires you to shift the ally to get it out of the way, so it should be fine as an encounter power.


SENTINEL SURGE (Sentinel Envoy Daily 20)
The time for games is over. You take a deep breath, dig in your heels, and mark your new attitude with a fierce blow to the ribs.
Daily ♦ Healing, Martial, Stance, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee
weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and you push the target 1 square.
Effect: You can spend a healing surge. You gain a +2 power bonus to attack rolls, and all adjacent allies gain a +2 power bonus to AC.

Design: Ranger's Slasher's Mark grants the ability to spend a healing surge, in exchange for 3[W] damage and a permanent mark on the target (and a secondary attack instead of half damage on a miss). This ability grants a strong permanent bonus even on a miss, so it should probably drop to 2[W].




TINGEBLADE FENCER
"How much magic do I know? Enough, but I'd still suggest you pay more attention to the sword."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

While one might expect the melding of fencing and magic to be an eladrin tradition, the eladrin tradition more commonly starts with wizards who come to learn the sword as a focus for their arcane training. The tradition of the magical duelist comes more from the adaptability and creativity of humans. As a tingeblade fencer, you probably chose your path when you faced a wizard in combat and found yourself thinking, "I could probably learn to do that." You put your keen wit to work fashioning the basics of arcane study around the improvement of your swordplay. You haven't learned enough magic to truly qualify as a mage - just enough to surprise people who think that you'll be nothing more than just another swordsman.

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TINGEBLADE FENCER FEATURES

TINGEBLADE ACTION (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you create a magical projection of your sword that lasts until the beginning of your next turn. Your attacks gain the Force keyword, your reach increases by 1 square, and the range of your close burst attacks increases by 1.

TINGEBLADE LASH (11th level): You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls when making close burst attacks.

TINGEBLADE PRESENCE (16th level): You can consistently channel a small spell through your weapon, surrounding it with a deflective force. While conscious and wielding a weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Design: Since Intelligence is more often linked to magic ability, I decided the best way to highlight an intelligent duelist would be with a path that incorporates a small amount of magic. I can't find any action paragon abilities that increase your range, but since this ability would allow you to mark and use your challenge against targets two squares away, this should be a fairly strong feature. There are enough close burst abilities for the duelist to use that lash should probably be restricted to a +1 bonus. The 16th level feature isn't flashy but combos well with the defensive nature of the path and is similar to a coronal guard's 16th level feature.


TINGEBLADE FENCER EXPLOITS

BLADE ECHOES (Tingeblade Fencer Attack 11)
As you slice the air around you, arcane echoes of your sword remain and grant you and your allies cover.
Encounter ♦ Force, Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 1
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in burst you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: You and all adjacent allies gain a +2 power bonus to AC until the beginning of your next turn.

Design: 2[W] + Dex is standard for a burst at this level, down by a mod for a bonus that covers multiple allies.


STEEL PROJECTION (Tingeblade Fencer Utility 12)
You speak a cantrip of magic, and the fury of your sword stretches out from the hilt and through your target's armor.
Encounter ♦ Force, Martial
Minor Action
Personal
Effect: The next attack that you make before the beginning of your next turn that targets a creature's AC instead targets its Reflex defense.

Design: Many paragon utilities are simple bonuses to attack or damage along these lines.


LONGBLADE SLICING (Tingeblade Fencer Attack 20)
You've mentally prepared a combination of strikes that smashes all of your foes during your small invocation. What your foes don't realize is that they don't need to be standing next to you to be a part of it.
Daily ♦ Force, Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Close burst 2
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: Each enemy in blast you can see
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is dazed (save ends).
Miss: Half damage.

Design: Polearm Sweep in Martial Power is 3[W] + Str for a close burst 2.



VAMPIRE SLAYER
"It's here. Don't lose your nerve now."

Prerequisite: Duelist class

The slayers were first renowned as specialists for combatting rogue elements that came to plague cities, most often vampires or demons. While the term "vampire slayer" has stuck around in homage to their roots, such a duelist is not merely someone with a single target in mind. As a vampire slayer, you have been fascinated by the many elements of evil that you've met and defeated over the years. You probably have a favorite library - quite likely one in a major cathedral - where you pass the time by studying the lore of various threats, and you've picked up on a few small prayers or arcane words in the process. When you face such a foe, you don't just throw yourself at it. Instead, you watch for it to betray its weaknesses and strike where it will hurt most.

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VAMPIRE SLAYER FEATURES

OCCULT LORE (11th level): You can make an occult lore knowledge check: whenever you could make an Arcana or Religion check to discover knowledge about a monster, you may instead make that check as though it were a History skill check. (You don't need to be trained in Arcana or Religion to make this check.)
If you gain any information with such a check, you gain a +1 bonus to all attack rolls against that monster and a +1 bonus to all defenses against attacks from that monster.

SLAYING ACTION (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you also add one-half your level to the damage dealt by any of your standard attacks this turn against bloodied targets.
If you have succeeded in an occult lore check against that creature, the additional damage is instead equal to your level if the target is bloodied.

OCCULT ENDURANCE (16th level): You've been struck by evil creatures so many times that you're starting to get used to it. You gain 1 additional healing surge. In addition, when you make a successful occult lore check against a creature, you take 2 less damage from any attack that creature makes against you. At level 21, you take 4 less damage from that creature.

Design: This path was designed with Buffy and Van Helsing in mind, sans guns and modern weaponry, as a class that takes a studious and planned effort toward combatting demons rather than just hunting them down. It might be worth altering the prerequisite to any martial class with the History skill or similar. Impilturan Demonslayer gets a d6 damage bonus against demons with a bonus to monster knowledge against just that type - the first ability grants a pair of +1 bonuses and a similar bonus to knowledge (though it doesn't stack with other skills if you have them). The bonus works against a wider range of creatures than demons but requires a successful skill check to function.

Slaying action is similar to the Pit Fighter path action ability, but with a restriction for some creatures and a bonus against others. Features similar to occult endurance provide two healing surges, though I'm not quite sure how much damage the other part of the ability should prevent.


VAMPIRE SLAYER EXPLOITS

PAINFUL ANALYSIS (Vampire Slayer Attack 11)
In need of a breather, you suddenly divert from striking at your target's weak points and instead cut a bone or nerve to pin it down.
Encounter ♦ Martial, Weapon
Standard Action
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity + 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: 1[W] modifier damage, and the target is weakened until the end of its next turn. If you have made a successful occult lore check against that creature, the target is also dazed until the end of its next turn.

Design: Bonus to attack and better attack target with penalty to damage.


OBSCURE PRAYER (Vampire Slayer Utility 12)
During your study, you've picked up a handful of small arcane and religious invocations, which you've incorporated as part of your bag of tricks.
Daily ♦ Force, Martial
Minor Action
Personal
Effect: Choose one of the following:
- Until the end of the encounter, your attacks gain the radiant keyword.
- Until the end of the encounter, your attacks gain the force keyword and deal full damage to insubstantial creatures.

Design: It's rare to find vulnerabilities other than radiant, though I'd be more likely to add those as well if there were others.


STAKE IN THE HEART (Vampire Slayer Attack 20)
WIth the enemy bearing down on your allies, there's no time left for shots to cripple or distract. You jump in front of the attacker and bury your sword in the source of the target's power.
Daily ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade or scimitar.
Trigger: An adjacent creature attacks you or an ally
Effect: The attacking creature takes a -4 penalty to the attack. If the attack misses, you deal 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage to the attacking creature, and it is immobilized (save ends). If the attack hits, you deal half that damage to it and it is not immobilized.
Special: If you have made a successful occult lore check against the attacking creature, you deal an additional 2[W] damage to it if its attack misses (and half damage if its attack hits).

Design: 5[W] and modifier damage standard, down to 4 for a bonus to occult targets and 3 for a substantial attack penalty. Down to 3 for a bonus for occult targets and 2 for a penalty to the attacker.
Reserved one more for good measure...
Add leather prof.
Shaman: "Why doesn't the squirrel shoot the wizard?" DM: "Because the last squirrel who tried to shoot the wizard missed, then was pulled out of his tree and incinerated." Wizard: "He has a point."
Three paragon paths posted, thinking on ideas for another three. And begging for a little more feedback, please.
An interesting take on the idea. I am also making a duelist, but instead of a class, I decided to go with a fighter build. When we each complete our version, we should se how they compare(to each other and to other classes/builds). Mine is going to be more of a striker/defender with an emphasis on the first.
Dude, this is really good-looking. I too mourn the loss of the intelligence based rogue. I don't like that charisma is always trumping intelligence now for the rogue. Once I get to really dig into this, I'll start posting some feedback. This might provide something more fitting for a character in one of my campaigns.

Right off the bat, though, I think I'd like to see a parrying mechanic for this class to call its own. Something to think about. It's very similar to a reflavored fighter right now (at least in terms of the powers I've read so far). There was a duelist article in Dragon waaayyyy back that I loved because it had parrying mechanic that involved opposed attack rolls with the danger of being disarmed. Parrying and disarming is what the duelist is about. There's no ruling on disarming right now. You should try writing it.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Added the other three paragon paths I'd forgotten about.

I'm not sure what to say about a "parrying mechanic." The class as I'm envisioning it already has parry mechanics - in getting a baseline bonus to AC just from wielding a weapon and an at-will ability that grants an additional AC bonus. Disarming should really go into the same place that tripping and bluffing has gone - as encounter powers, though I could maybe find more places to bring that mechanic in. I've got a disarming move in the level 3 encounters right now.

As for reflavoring of the fighter with the powers... I don't know what to say to that so much in that fighters get to do just about anything at some point, while I've also been borrowing from rogues and warlords for some of the theory behind the class. And in that sense, the swordmage is really just a reflavoring of the fighter, too. So I dunno. I think I like where it's gone from here.
"Prepare to Die" is the best thing since the invention of ever.
Zorro, Inigo Montoya, Raphael Sorel, The collective Viera race and I thank you.
I did a quick skim and the class looks awesome.

The only flaw I found on first run through is the +5 to AC may be a little high, especially since the Swashbuckler is a Dex fighter. The +5 to AC when not wearing armor means that your "typical human Swashbucklers" will all start with an AC of 19 (10 + 5 + 4), that's the same as a fighter with scale and a heavy shield, for a fraction of the cost. I understand your intent is to make the Swashbuckler as durable as a fighter, but I think you might be making the swashbuckler too durable. If you make a fighter to deal damage (2 handed weapon) your AC drops to 17, if you make a swashbuckler to deal damage your AC stays at 19. I don't think this is game breaking, but I think it's a small amount of power creep.

Also the duelist challenge power seems to be a power creep from the Fighter's challenge. I'd much rather be able to daze my opponent instead of just a melee basic attack. The at wills seem to be in line with the fighters (although the canny riposte seems to be very powerful: 1[W] + dex AND Dex, yes I know the baddy has to miss, but still it's very nice).

The class looks very awesome, and maybe it's a little too awesome. I'll have to compare the rest of the abilities with the fighters later, but as of right now, the Swashbuckler seems to be the fighters clear superior.
The only flaw I found on first run through is the +5 to AC may be a little high, especially since the Swashbuckler is a Dex fighter. The +5 to AC when not wearing armor means that your "typical human Swashbucklers" will all start with an AC of 19 (10 + 5 + 4), that's the same as a fighter with scale and a heavy shield, for a fraction of the cost.

Also the duelist challenge power seems to be a power creep from the Fighter's challenge. I'd much rather be able to daze my opponent instead of just a melee basic attack. The at wills seem to be in line with the fighters (although the canny riposte seems to be very powerful: 1[W] + dex AND Dex, yes I know the baddy has to miss, but still it's very nice).

I've gone back and thought about this stuff a bit over the past couple of days.

On the AC thing, swordmages would also start out with an AC of 19 - 18 Intellect (+4), leather armor (+2), and the swordmage aura when holding a one-handed weapon (+3). While it's true that scale armor has a price, the swordmage has to give up one of his three base class features to cover the difference. I'd rather my class just wear heavy armor and I have to pay for it, but that I also get the bonus to opportunity attacks that a fighter gets for it. Especially considering that I'm forced to min/max my Intellect to 18 if I want my swordmage to get to that AC. (My poor dwarven swordmage! D: )

If the +5 bonus from the defensive ability really is too much, I'd rather cut away from one of the other side ideas than from that part. And since the swashbuckler doesn't get any versatile or two-handed weapons, you can't make it for damage as easily. And by the way - paladins get heavy shields and PLATE.

On the Challenge ability... I started off thinking like this - when you get the chance to use a fighter's challenge ability or a swordmage's aegis, you're either going to hit or miss with your opportunity attack, and your marked opponent is going to either hit or miss with his attack that triggered your attack. That gives you four different outcomes (hit/hit, hit/miss, miss/hit, miss/miss).

If you're using the offensive aegis or the fighter challenge, two of the four outcomes allow you to deal damage to the target. If your attack hits, you deal damage whether or not the target misses. If you're using the swordmage's defensive aegis, then you also have two of the four outcomes - whether you hit or miss with your attack (since you don't even roll), you reduce the damage anytime your opponent hits with his attack, but there's no gain if he misses. If I make a challenge for the duelist that requires me to hit with my attack and requires the opponent to miss with his before I get any gain from the challenge, that gives me half as much chance to cause a benefit as the fighter or swordmage gets.

However... I realize in thinking about it again that the way I've written it, I get to daze the target anytime I hit and whether or not the target misses... so I've kind of overwritten my own problem that I was having. I'd still like to have some kind of penalty that happens one way or the other, but costing the target a move ability and making him grant CA any time I hit is probably a bit much.

So let me make a suggestion - since the defensive ability grants a whole +5 bonus, I'll take out the training feature (the ability to trade damage for hit / trade AC for damage). Instead, the duelist would choose which training option to use as part of the challenge ability, and the challenge will read:

Hit: Dexterity vs. AC
Effect: If you hit the target, its attack fails.
_____Dashing Brigand: If you hit the target, it also takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of its next turn.
_____Erudite Guard: If you hit the target, it also takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn.

That would also disallow the duelist from trading AC for damage, the way a fighter would in dual'ing his versatile weapon, which would be a substantial disability. (Maybe in exchange you could allow him a +1 hit bonus with short swords like rogues get for daggers?)

Canny riposte a bit powerful? Granted, compared to the fighter ability, Reaping Strike... well, Reaping Strike is also one of the better At-Will abilities. Canny riposte also has the downside that the target has to attack you if you want the benefit - if he decides to ignore you and try attacking the wizard instead or moves away, then you lose the extra damage. Though, I've forgotten that the fighter only gets half-strength on a miss with one-handed weapons and not the full modifier. ...Maybe do Int / Cha damage on the riposte instead?

Thoughts?

(...And now that people are actually reading this thing, I should probably think about finishing the other tiers of abilities. Ugh.)
It sounds like canny riposte gives the foe incentive to back off. Not very defender-ish, more like the rogue's riposte.

Might I suggest-

a +2 bonus to your next attack against that target.
or
If the foe shifts you get instant Int damage (like the fighter's reaping, it's auto hurt, but it also gives the enemy an out. That's why I figure a secondary stat may not be enough to keep it sticky. Trouble is Reaping strike doesn't use a secondary either...)
or
If the enemy attacks an ally you let the ally shift.
I'm still working on thinking up ideas for the latter tiers of abilities. In the meantime, I'm making a few edits to the original abilities.

I suggested a couple of posts up that I might remove the duelist training in order to balance out the size of the bonus from Combat Expertise, but I'd really prefer to keep some kind of attack bonus intact to allow for a "two-handed" weapon. Instead, I've added a couple of subtle penalties for the two features.

Combat Expertise previously gave a +2 bonus in light or no armor, an additional +1 bonus when in no armor, and a +2 bonus for a free off-hand. I've cleaned up the wording a bit to still give the full +5 bonus, but also added a further penalty when armor heavier than leather is worn. Which is to say, there's no bonus for a duelist to take proficiency in hide armor and can thus only take leather proficiency for an AC bonus (just like a fighter can only take scale and a swordmage can only take hide).

I also slightly reworded the duelist training abilities to be a bit less easy to use. Activating the "stance" now requires a minor action (like a ranger's hunter's quarry). The Brigand ability was reworded to read like the bonus for a versatile weapon so that the damage won't stack up, and the Guard bonus reduces the size of your damage die so as to reduce damage more for encounter powers and such.

Finally, I made the alteration to the duelist challenge as described a couple of posts up to be a bit less overwhelming.

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Combat Expertise
While you are conscious and wielding either a light blade or a scimitar in your main hand, you turn your narrow side to your target and use your sword to cover yourself. While unarmored (or wearing cloth armor), you gain a +3 bonus to AC. When your off-hand is free or holding an off-hand weapon, you gain an additional +2 bonus to AC, for a total bonus of +5.
Your parrying ability relies on mobility and flexibility and is restricted by armor. If you are wearing leather armor, reduce the AC bonus by 1, and if wearing any other armor, reduce the bonus by 2.


Duelist Training
A duelist's training allows him to temporarily take up a stance that alters the way he wields his weapon. You can spend a minor action to enter or drop your chosen stance. To determine the bonus that you gain in this stance, choose one of the following options:
Dashing Brigand: You deal an extra 1 point of damage when you roll damage for your weapon, but you take a -2 penalty to AC.
Erudite Guard: You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls, but you decrease your weapon's damage die by one size. You do not gain this bonus for attacks that deal no damage (such as the duelist challenge power).
The choice you make represents your fighting style and upbringing and also provides a bonus to your duelist challenge, as well as other duelist powers. Individual powers detail the effects (if any) your Duelist Training selection has on them.


DUELIST CHALLENGE
While your target isn't focusing on you, you elbow him in the face, trip up one of his feet, or scream in his ear.
At-Will ♦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt
Close
burst 1
Trigger: A creature in the burst that you have marked makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target
Target: The attacking creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: The target's attack fails.
____Dashing Brigand: The target also takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of its next turn.
____Erudite Guard: The target also takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn.


I also considered Swift's note that Canny Riposte as written might make a target want to back off instead of staying on you, which is a fair note, though I don't just want to rip off the swordmage's bonus damage for a target that moves away. Instead, I'm going to try splitting the difference - instead of Dex bonus damage if the target attacks you and misses, I'm going to go with half Dex damage if the target misses you or an ally.

Hopefully can get this finished up for the most part by this weekend. Thanks again for the feedback.
I've gone back and thought about this stuff a bit over the past couple of days.

On the AC thing, swordmages would also start out with an AC of 19 - 18 Intellect (+4), leather armor (+2), and the swordmage aura when holding a one-handed weapon (+3). While it's true that scale armor has a price, the swordmage has to give up one of his three base class features to cover the difference. I'd rather my class just wear heavy armor and I have to pay for it, but that I also get the bonus to opportunity attacks that a fighter gets for it. Especially considering that I'm forced to min/max my Intellect to 18 if I want my swordmage to get to that AC. (My poor dwarven swordmage! D: )

If the +5 bonus from the defensive ability really is too much, I'd rather cut away from one of the other side ideas than from that part. And since the swashbuckler doesn't get any versatile or two-handed weapons, you can't make it for damage as easily. And by the way - paladins get heavy shields and PLATE.

I think the issue here is you don't have to make a choice. You automatically get the AC of a fighter in scale with a shield, and you have the best damage dealing weapons for your class equipped. That's a little much for me.

If you worried about how "squishy" your Duelist will be why not try a +3. Remeber there are feats like 2 weapon defense that will help a Duelist's AC, but when you first start out there is a clear stratta in Defender AC, Pallies, fighters than Duelists. The problem I'm seeing is the lack of a trade off, as a duelist you get really high AC for free, and you can do damage easily. You don't have the choice other defenders have about whether or not to shield up. The duelist doesn't have that choice.


As to the new challenge. I like it, it has it's own flavor, and seems to be in line with the other challenge powers.

Canny riposte a bit powerful? Granted, compared to the fighter ability, Reaping Strike... well, Reaping Strike is also one of the better At-Will abilities. Canny riposte also has the downside that the target has to attack you if you want the benefit - if he decides to ignore you and try attacking the wizard instead or moves away, then you lose the extra damage. Though, I've forgotten that the fighter only gets half-strength on a miss with one-handed weapons and not the full modifier. ...Maybe do Int / Cha damage on the riposte instead?

Thoughts?

I think I like the idea of a trade-off power, you deal 1[w] damage and if the target misses it's next attack it is [status effect] until the end of your next turn.

The question is what should the status effect be? Slowed seems a little weak, and dazed seems crazy powerful. I'll have to think on it.
You automatically get the AC of a fighter in scale with a shield, and you have the best damage dealing weapons for your class equipped. That's a little much for me.

Again, though, I have to pay for it. Fighters get a challenge power, a flat +1 bonus to their favorite hand-size of weapon, and a bonus to opportunity attacks. Duelists get a challenge power, a bonus to initiative and Will of about half-a-feat each, and a feature that only brings them up to the same amount of AC that most fighters get (and as I have it now, a chance to trade AC for damage or damage for hit). Y'know, if I had to choose between the two lists of features on equal ground, I'd much rather have the fighter list, even if it means I have to wake up and put my armor on in the morning. What the duelist would make up for that in that less armor proficiency and a restrictive weapon policy is an expanded skill list. And again, no versatile or two-handed weapons means you don't get the choice between a full scale-and-board fighter or a 2H fighter until you factor in the training feat, which can knock your AC down to the 2H fighter's level.

I still don't think that's so overpowered by those means. If the class still feels too strong by comparison, I'd much rather water down or remove the training power before taking down the AC bonus. Or knock off one of the skills and healing surges might be more fair, perhaps. Looking at it again, in fact, I notice that swordmages get a surge less than fighters do. I could maybe be tempted to take a point off of the AC bonus on the theory that Two-Weapon Defense exists and that the AC scales with Dex, but that also forces Duelists into a two-weapon role to keep up with feats-wise, or forces them to get into hide armor in order to take the armor specialization feat at paragon tier. And there seems to be enough belief that the swordmage is balanced even though it scales with Int.

I just don't buy this theory about how you have to choose to bring a shield if you're a fighter. A one-handed fighter brings a versatile weapon and a shield, and when he feels like going to extra damage, he drops the shield back in the rack and goes two-handed. The 2H fighter doesn't bring the shield but gets the benefit of High Crit for wielding a greatsword. I'm gonna go for taking a surge and a skill out (down to 8 and 4 respectively), and maybe someday I'll actually get around to testing the class out live and figure it out, but I don't mind erring a bit on the side of underpowered instead of overpowered if I'm not fully sure one way or the other.

Now, you think that mess is crazy, you should see the Warden preview. D:

I think I like the idea of a trade-off power, you deal 1[w] damage and if the target misses it's next attack it is [status effect] until the end of your next turn.

I would really rather keep that power as a bonus damage ability, on account of there isn't currently any other at-will for doing added damage to a single target (a la Reaping Strike, Holy Strike, Booming Blade).


Another thing I've noticed re-reading some things is that generally when a class has one main attribute and two possible subordinate attributes, there's one at-will power that gets its bonuses from each of the subordinate abilities. (e.g. Swordmage's Booming Blade for Con and Greenflame Blade for Str, Rogue's Riposte Strike for Str and Sly Flourish for Cha.) I've modified Canny Riposte and Sweeping Parry slightly to benefit from Cha and Int directly and thus put a bit more emphasis on keeping the secondary ability mods up in strength.
I'm maybe still in need of a utility power or two at the 16th level, but top tiers of powers are mostly done for now. It's almost like I'm finished with this thing...
The only negative thing I can find about the class is that it is a cloth-armor Defender. This will put a serious cramp on it's durability. I would suggest giving it proficiency with leather, hide, and possibly even chainmail.
Actually, Rauru, the class would have one of the best ACs of defenders - they have a class feature that gives them a flat +5 to their AC if they're in cloth armor and have a hand free, and because they're in light or no armor they'll get their Dexterity bonus (which will be their highest because Dex is the duelist's primary, so it will also scale well with level bumps) as well.  Add in the unarmored agility feat (+2 to AC), and things will get ridiculous... but, you know, in a good way... unless you're trying to hit the duelist.

Awesome class... neuroglpyh games has been having a series comparing the existing defenders on a variety of criteria for fulfilling that role, specifically: HP & surges; Armor and defenses; marking and retribution; damage resistance & reduction powers; powers granting temporary hit points; powers granting regeneration/self-healing/healing surges; powers granting increased attack/defense ratings; granting damage reduction/resistance to allies; powers granting temp hp to allies; granting healing/surges; interposing/redirecting enemy attacks; powers granting saves/removing conditions; powers granting increased defenses to allies.

It would be interesting to try to classify the duelist in this rubric. 
 

 
        I haven't finish all the exploits, but I like this class very much. Very realistic it is, though a little too strong the AC might be, I guess. 
        Translate it into Chinese and share it on forums may I?