Welcome back to the latest installment of the Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2) Character Concepts series. Here, in the Character Dojo, we come up with interesting characters to play at your gaming tables.
A few week’s back, we covered the Investigator from Paizo’s Advanced Player’s Guide. This week, we’re shifting gears to the daring, panache-filled Swashbuckler class! We’ve had a wonderful Swashbuckler character in our long-standing Rise of the Runelords campaign for Pathfinder First Edition, so I have quite the soft spot for this class.
Hoist the mainsail – it’s time for the Swashbuckler!
Pathfinder 2nd Edition Swashbuckler Class
When people think of Swashbucklers, their minds typically flock to pirates sailing the seven seas. Filled with bravado and eccentric over-the-topisms, Swashbucklers are a common trope across popular culture. Westley and Inigo Montoya (Princess Bride), Will Turner or Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean), Zorro (Zorro) – the list goes on and on.
As a Swashbuckler, you see combat as a form of art. It’s about dexterity and grace as opposed to raw power and swinging a greataxe with reckless abandonment. You are bold and sometimes even attention-seeking. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with panache, after all.
You are often the face of the party, showing little in terms of fear, but lots in terms of flashiness. You likely have a reputation to uphold, or at least one to build. Excitement and adventure lie around every corner!
They say that the pen is mightier than the sword, but you wouldn’t necessarily bring a pen to a swordfight, now would you? You keep your anonymity behind the parchment of various tomes and novels. Others employ you because of your witty banter and wordsmithy nature, but they’re forced to contact you through friends of friends of friends.
You wield a blade with the same reckless abandon as your pen. Nobody is safe from the point of your rapier or the jarring bluntness of your satire. Your clothes may be spattered with ink, but they’re merely medals of your exceptional work. They also serve as a warning to your adversaries; everything they say can and will be used against them in word court.
What sorts of material do you often write about? Are there any notable authors that you typically work with, or are you usually working with someone new? How do people contact you? What is your general voice when it comes to writing? Are there any jobs that you won’t take?
What’s the most controversial piece that you’ve written? Is your sword emblazoned with motifs that nod to writing or pens? What’s your favorite kind of ink? Do you challenge your adversaries with an expanded vocabulary? What fictional characters do you take your swashbuckling inspiration from?
- Swashbuckler Style: Wit
- Ability Scores: Wisdom, Intelligence
- Skills: Dueling Lore, Society, Crafting
- Sample Feats: Deadly Grace (Swashbuckler), Guardian’s Deflection (Swashbuckler), Glean Contents
THE PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGNER
There always needs to be a champion for the common person. Someone who’s willing to fight for the peasants who are trying to get out from under a tyrannical thumb. Someone who’s willing to be the face of a cause that others can rally behind. Someone who looks good on a poster.
You are that someone. Maybe you’ve been where they have; oppressed, starved, and down-trodden. In fact, you still might be in a similar situation. But unless someone acts, situations aren’t just going to change. Even in a world filled with magic, things don’t just happen without a catalyst to spur them on.
Who’s plight are you fighting for? Was a great injustice done against a family member or a group of people that you associate with? Are you a great public speaker, or do others convey your words on your behalf? Do you keep to the shadows, or do you proclaim your work in broad daylight? Who is trying to oppose you?
What do your actions look like? Are you swinging your sword first and asking question later? Are you looking to incite a revolution of some kind? What is your personal ethos? Do you have an endgame? How will you know when you’ve won?
- Swashbuckler Style: Fencer
- Ability Scores: Charisma, Strength
- Skills: Government Lore, Diplomacy, Stealth
- Sample Feats: Impaling Finisher (Swashbuckler), Disarming Flair (Investigator), Sign Language
Walk through any major Golarion city and you’re bound to see your face plastered in front of a theater. You’re famous! Ruler of the stage, you are an expert at the thespian craft, and others flock from all over to see you perform. You revel in the limelight and excel when you are the center of attention. Playing second fiddle is not an option; you must be the top billing or you won’t be a part of the production.
While most adore you for your literal theatrics, there are some that are jealous of your talent. Sure, you’ve been a bit callous or pompous on occasion, but what performer worth their salt hasn’t been? It’s taken years of hard work to get to the top, and you aren’t going to just give it away for free. No, this is your time to shine.
What devices or techniques do you use to memorize your lines? When did you learn you had a knack for performing? Do you have formal training with a blade to make your performances that much more realistic? Who are your greatest adversaries? Are there any thespians that you enjoy working with most? What performances or roles are you most well-known for?
Do your stage roles ever come to light out in the real world? Do you consider your life a constant performance? Can you shut off’ your charisma or are you always on? Are there any requirements that a theater have on-hand in your dressing room? Have you ever drastically altered your appearance for the sake of a role? What was the first production that you starred in?
- Swashbuckler Style: Gymnast
- Ability Scores: Charisma, Dexterity
- Skills: Theater Lore, Performance, Acrobatics
- Sample Feats: Flamboyant Athlete (Swashbuckler), Vexing Tumble (Swashbuckler), Reveal Machinations
This is really that iconic swashbuckler flavor that everyone has come to know and love. You perform daring acts of bravery, which might also be a bit foolhardy. Outwardly, you never show fear, even if there is plenty of it bubbling on the inside. Combat is second nature to you, and you are a master of martial weapons. Perhaps you’ve even spent time as a part of a regiment or militia outfit.
The winds guide you to your next destination, whether it’s because you primarily travel by ship or because you never want to settle down. You hold the belief that a person’s worth and honor can be decided by the end of a sword, and yours has seen its fair share of opposition. Loyalty might as well be your middle name.
Where did you receive your battle training? Are you chauvinistic about your abilities or do you mostly stay silent during engagements? Do you have many friends? What draws you to a life of the blade? Where have your travels taken you? Is there a specific life goal that you hope to achieve someday?
What is your weapon of choice? Do you give a name to your weapons? What is the hardest fight that you’ve ever been a part of? Is it easy for you to trust others? What makes you different than a pirate or brigand? How much do you sell corn for?
- Swashbuckler Style: Braggart
- Ability Scores: Strength, Constitution
- Skills: Mercenary Lore, Athletics, Survival
- Sample Feats: Vivacious Bravado (Swashbuckler), Confident Finisher (Swashbuckler), Untrained Improvisation
People find it easy to listen to the voice that’s the loudest, and that describes you perfectly. You roll into town with your grandiose illusion that you have exactly what the people need. Ailments? There’s a cure for that! Rat problems? There’s a cure for that! Love trouble? There’s a cure for that too! You are the one-stop shop for every little problem that could possibly plague someone in Golarion.
Your success hinges on your ability to lie and deceive, although you consider it just a different form of diplomacy. It’s easy for you to see what makes people tick, and you use that as leverage to appeal to their sensibilities. Nobody understands people better than you. It may not be an honest living, but it’s a living all the same.
Are you constantly traveling to hawk your wares? What sorts of things do you specialize in? Is all of it snake oil or are there some legitimate remedies mixed into the lot? What’s your default sales pitch sound like? How many times have you been run out of town (come on, we all know it’s happened)?
What made you turn to a life of deception? Is there anybody that travels with you? How do you manage crowds that get out of hand, or individuals that call you out? Do you have a wagon or cart that proclaims what you’re selling? Or do you deal in less tangible wares, like rumors and secrets? Do you use multiple personas or stick to a single moniker?
- Swashbuckler Style: Battledancer
- Ability Scores: Charisma, Intelligence
- Skills: Alchemical Lore, Medicine, Deception
- Sample Feats: Cheat Death (Swashbuckler), Derring Do (Swashbuckler), Hireling Manager
Pathfinder 2E Swashbuckler Class – Slicing Theatrics!
Swashbucklers combine the outgoing personality of a bard with the martial capabilities of a fighter. It’s an exceptionally fun class that you can use to pump up a character to seem larger than life.
Be sure to check out the master post for all of the character concepts for Pathfinder Second Edition! I’m keeping it up-to-date as I post new concepts articles, so you can find that perfect character for your next campaign.
Until next time, enjoy your time in Golarion!