Swashbuckler (Rogue Variant)

Written by Martin K.

swashbuckler gw2 concept art 7Swashbucklers are heroic and idealistic: they rescue damsels in distress, defend the downtrodden, and in general save the day. Even as unrepentant brigands or pirates, deep inside they have a heart of gold.

The Swashbuckler is a variant of the Rogue class that is inspired by such dashing heroics. Where Rogues hide in shadows and strike from the flanks, the Swashbuckler wants to be right in the center of the action.

Design note: While this Rogue variant keeps the Rogue class framework and maneuver list, it gains a slightly different set of class features and talents. In combat, the Swashbuckler is better able to hold a group of enemies at bay while dodging their attacks. Compared to the core book rogue, the swashbuckler gains a +2 bonus to AC in light armor, but their Duelist bonus damage ability is only about 2/3 of sneak attack damage.

The following is not a complete class writeup. For additional talent and maneuver options, see the core book Rogue.


Play Style: Keep your wits up, stay quick on your feet, and never let your guard down.

Ability Scores: Like the Rogue, a Swashbucklers main ability scores are Dexterity and Charisma, and he gains a bonus to one of them.

Races: Humans and half-elves are the archetypal swashbucklers, but it can be fun to go against the image. Even a half-orc can look dapper in a puffy shirt and a feathered hat.

Backgrounds: Consider Lieutenant of Her Majesty the Empress cavalry, if you like to combine style and discipline, bastard son of an Elven mistress for a dash of noble blood, scourge of the High Seas if you're looking for a job with complimentary parrot and eyepatch, or bar wench with a nasty temper if you always thought that this should be her story.

Icons: Swashbucklers like to make their own luck, and many of them like to have the Shadow Prince on their side for that. Those with a military career, noble blood, or both, often serve the Emperor in one way or another. If you have a penchant for protecting the weak, the Great Gold Wyrm is your friend. Many are connected to the elf queen through a lover or a rival, or both.


Swashbucklers are a late medieval to renaissance archetype, and dress accordingly. Brimmed hats with feathers, frilly shirts, sleek blade weapons...


Swashbucklers wear light armor in battle, typically a breast plate. They are also able to use shields although they prefer a variety of bucklers, parrying daggers, or a cape as defensive options in their off-hand over more medieval heavy shields to achieve the same effect.

Swashbuckler Armor and AC
Type Base AC Attack Penalty
None 11 -
Light 14 -
Heavy 15 -2
Shield +1 -


Swashbucklers favor sleek blades like the rapier.

Swashbuckler Melee Weapons
Size One-Handed Two-Handed
Small 1d8 knife, dagger 1d6 staff, club
Light or Simple 1d8 short sword, rapier 1d8 spear, glaive
Heavy or Martial 1d8 longsword, scimitar 1d10 (-2) greatsword, battle axe


Swashbuckler Ranged Weapons
Size Thrown Crossbow Bow
Small 1d4 dagger 1d4 hand crossbow -
Light or Simple 1d6 javelin, axe 1d6 light crossbow 1d6 shortbow
Heavy - 1d8 (-2) heavy crossbow 1d8 (-2) longbow

Class Features


(replaces Sneak Attack)

Once per round, when you make a rogue / swashbuckler melee weapon attack against an enemy engaged with NONE of your allies, you can deal extra damage if your attack hits.


Duelist Extra Damage
Level Damage
1 +1d3
2 +1d4
4 +1d8
6 +2d6
8 +2d10
10 +3d10


Adventurer Feat: You always gain your Duelist damage against mooks.

Champion Feat: Your Duelist feature also works against enemies who are confused, dazed, stunned, vulnerable to your attack, or weakened.

Epic Feat: Once per battle when you miss with an attack that would have allowed you to deal Duelist damage, replace the normal miss damage with your full Duelist damage.


(replaces Trap Sense)

Swashbucklers have a natural charm to them that helps them dodge the traps that can catch you off-guard, whether in polite society or in the shady back alleys. If a skill check involving social interaction is a natural even failure, you can reroll the skill check once. The reroll will always be based on Charisma, regardless of which ability the first skill check was based on, as the you use your wit to cover your initial faux pas.

Adventurer feat: When affected by a fear ability, roll a hard save (16+) to become immune to fear until the end of the battle.

Champion feat: Once per social interaction scene, you can step in and roll a skill check that an ally failed.

Epic feat: Add your Charisma modifier to the roll to resist fear. You also grant the same bonus to any ally rolling a save to resist fear.

Class Talents

Swashbucklers have access to all Rogue class talents, with the exception of Improved Sneak Attack and Shadow Walk. In addition, you have access to the following class talents below.

Dread Pirate

You gain a 5-point background to represent your experience sailing the high seas, looking for booty.

In addition, you gain the following abilities:

Dashing Entrance: Once per day, when you open a combat with a spectacular entrance, like swinging on a rope and smashing through a window, or riding into battle on a cannonball, immediately set the escalation die to 1.

Avast, ye landlubbers: When you fight on shaky ground, like a ship during a storm, or on top of a giant chandelier, any opponent on the same ground is vulnerable to your attacks. Only characters with a sailor or pirate background are immune to this effect.

Adventurer feat: You fearsome reputation as a pirate has spread the lands. You can use your pirate background to intimidate.

Champion feat: For one combat per day, as a quick action, you can use a stunt to create an environment that provides the Avast, ye landlubbers effect. Describe how the changed conditions favor a full-blooded pirate.

Epic feat: If you reveal your identity, you spread a fear aura with a threshold equal to 10x your level in hp during the first round of combat.

Expert Dodge

Calculate your armor class based on the middle modifier of Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma instead.

Adventurer feat: Increase your unarmored base armor class to 12.

Champion feat: You gain momentum when an opponent misses you with an attack.

Epic feat: When an enemy misses you with an attack, you gain a +1 bonus to your next attack roll. The effect is cumulative until your next attack or until the end of the battle.

Master Duelist

When you are engaged with more than one enemy at once, you gain a +1 bonus to AC. In addition, when you deal Duelist extra damage with an attack, also deal the extra damage to a different enemy engaged with you.

Adventurer feat: You can deal the extra damage to a third engaged opponent.

Champion feat: Increase the AC bonus to +2.

Epic feat: One battle per day, ignore the limitation that you can use Duelist damage only once per round.


Swashbucklers can learn any Rogue power. Replace Sneak Attack with Duelist in powers that refer to that class feature.


Version 1.2, 3 Nov 2016


Art credit: Guild Wars 2 concept art

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  • There are many features in this new swashbucklers in the collection in front of the coming Christmas day. The development of the community should be alive for the best essays of all time so that the interested people can learn more details about the quality of the life. The more ideas and the more efforts should be added in the real planners in the near future.

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  • so... what's the downside to playing Swashbuckler? I don't really see anything that evens out this with standard Rogue. The big question is "why wouldn't I use this over Rogue?"

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  • There are two downsides:
    - Your weapon die is d6 instead of d8. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up over time.
    - You need to isolate enemies instead of attacking the enemy that the fighter or paladin has on lockdown. This makes you the target of more attacks. Yes, you have a slightly better AC, but you will also have a lot more damage coming your way.

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  • -Why not use a two-handed light or simple weapon, which is d8?
    -Unless you use Flying Blade, mitigating those problems entirely.
    To me, this feels like the ultimate mook killer (especially with the Adventurer feat for Duelist), but can contribute to teamwork through the Rogue Powers, changing from a damage focus to control. Meanwhile, the Rogue can only function when it has teamwork.

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  • I made a small change: the swashbuckler gains the same d8 damage die as the rogue, but the damage penalty is reflected in a lower sneak attack damage die (and they can't take Improved Sneak Attack). This balances out the AC bonus.

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  • I think that should work better. The only thing left I would look at is raising their hit points perhaps. Besides that, I really like the swashbuckler and it might be my favorite frontliner. :)

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