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Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

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Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby Siosilvar » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:39 am

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The Duelist
This article has a related thread on the Giant in the Playground forums that may contain more up-to-date information than what is provided here.

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Used without permission.

Requirements
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Feats: Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse
Skills: Balance 4 ranks, Bluff 4 ranks, Tumble 6 ranks

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills
A duelist's class skills are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
A duelist gains (4 + Int modifier) skill points per level.

The Duelist
LevelBABFortReflWillClass Abilities"The Numbers"
1st+1+0+2+0Canny Defense, Precise StrikePrecise Strike +1d6
2nd+2+0+3+0Burst Movement, Grace, ParryGrace +1, Parry +3
3rd+3+1+3+1Burst Evasion, Improved ReactionPrecise Strike +2d6
4th+4+1+4+1Improved Disarm, Elaborate Defense, Slippery StrikeParry +4
5th+5+1+4+1Advance, Supreme Balance, Riposte
6th+6+2+5+2FlècheGrace +2, Parry +5, Precise Strike +3d6
7th+7+2+5+2Improved Parry, Critical Strike
8th+8+2+6+2Feint-DisengageParry +6
9th+9+3+6+3Burst LungePrecise Strike +4d6
10th+10+3+7+3Greater Precise StrikePrecise Strike +4d8+10, Grace +3, Parry +7


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies
A duelist gains no proficiency with weapons or armor.

Canny Defense (Ex)
"I know something you don't know. I'm not left handed."
When not wearing medium or heavier armor or carrying a heavy load, a duelist adds her Intelligence bonus as a dodge bonus to AC.

This bonus is limited to 2 points per duelist level and may not be applied whenever the duelist is flat-footed or would otherwise lose her Dexterity bonus to AC.

Precise Strike (Ex)
"Hah, I see you have a sword. I have one, too. They're very manly and tough."
Whenever attacking with a light or one-handed weapon, a duelist may deal additional damage.
This additional damage is equal to 1d6 plus her Dexterity modifier, plus 1d6 for every 3 duelist levels she has attained. While making a Precise Strike, a duelist may ignore a Strength penalty to damage.

A duelist’s precise strike only works against living creatures with discernible anatomies. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to a precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from a precise strike.

Precise Strike can be used with a light or one-handed throwing weapon or any crossbow, but the duelist must be within 30 feet of her target to apply the extra damage.

Precise Strike counts as Sneak Attack for the purpose of qualifying for feats.

Parry (Ex)
"I see your schwartz is as big as mine, but can you handle it as well?"
While fighting defensively, taking the total defense action, or using Combat Expertise, a duelist of at least 2nd level gains a shield bonus to AC equal to half her duelist level, plus 2.

This bonus does not apply when the duelist is wearing medium or heavier armor or carrying a heavy load.

Grace (Ex)
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
A duelist of at least 2nd level gains a +1 competence bonus to all saving throws.
At 6th level and again at 10th level, this bonus increases by another +1.

Burst Movement (Ex)
"Whenever you meet difficult situations dash forward bravely and joyfully."
A duelist of 2nd level or higher has the capability to make extremely fast movements. A number of times per day equal to (3 + her Dexterity modifier), she may move an extra 10 feet with a move action, or may take two 5-foot steps in a turn.

You gain the bonus on Jump checks as usual for having a movement speed greater than normal (+4 for every 10 feet of movement beyond 30 feet).

You may only use Burst Movement to increase the speed you move with a move action once per move action.

Improved Reaction (Ex)
A duelist of at least 3rd level adds her Intelligence modifier as an insight bonus to hit and damage when making attacks of opportunity, and to Initiative checks.
Additionally, if she hits an opponent immune to critical hits with an attack of opportunity, she may still apply half of her Precise Strike damage to that attack.

Burst Evasion (Ex)
At 3rd level and higher, a duelist can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. By expending one Burst Movement use as a swift action, she may gain the Evasion ability and add her Intelligence modifier as an insight bonus to Reflex saves for 1 round per class level.

If the duelist already has Evasion, she gains Improved Evasion for the duration instead.

Burst Evasion can be used only if the duelist is wearing light armor or no armor.

Improved Disarm (Ex)
A duelist of at least 4th level gains Improved Disarm as a bonus feat. If she already has it, she may choose another bonus feat she meets the prerequisites for.

Elaborate Defense (Ex)
"En garde!... You'll have to do better than that."
Whenever a duelist of at least 4th level is attacked and missed, she may make an attack of opportunity. She may only make one attack of opportunity per round in this way unless she expends one use of Burst Movement.

If you use an attack of opportunity granted by Elaborate Defense to make a disarm attempt, you may add your Intelligence modifier to the opposed attack roll.

Slippery Strike (Ex)
"Pardon me, I seem to have left my knife in your chest while escaping your grapple! Terribly sorry about that."
Whenever a duelist of at least 4th level succeeds on an Escape Artist check to break free of a grapple, she may make an attack of opportunity against that opponent.

Advance (Ex)
"The swordfighter reveals himself only when he gets to the arena."
A duelist of at least 5th level may take a 5-foot step as an immediate action to follow an enemy that within her threatened area takes a 5-foot step.

Supreme Balance (Ex)
"They might take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!"
A duelist of 5thlevel can take 10 on any Balance, Tumble, Climb, and Jump checks, even even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so.

Additionally, she does not lose her Dexterity (and Intelligence) bonus to AC while balancing or climbing.

Riposte (Ex)
A duelist of at least 5th level has the ability to make quick counterattacks against any opponent. As a standard action, she may make an attack of opportunity against an opponent that attacked her in the last round.

Flèche (Ex)
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."
A duelist of at least 6th level may charge over difficult terrain, through occupied squares, or any other method needed to get to the target (though she must still succeed on appropriate checks to move over the terrain). She may also make a 90-degree turn at any point in her charge. This ability requires the expenditure of one use of Burst Movement.

Precise strike damage is doubled on a flèche.

Improved Parry (Ex)
At 7th level, a duelist may choose to have her shield bonus to AC from Parry become a deflection bonus.

Critical Strike (Ex)
A duelist of at least 7th level may increase the critical threat range of any weapon used to make a Precise Strike by 1. This bonus is applied after any other threat-range-increasing modifiers.

Feint-Disengage
"Strike where your enemy is least prepared, appear where he least expects it."
A duelist of at least 8th level may make a feint as a swift action. If the feint is successful, you may make an immediate attack of opportunity against the target.
You may make this feint check even against unintelligent creatures, but you take a -12 penalty to your Bluff check when you do so.
If the feint fails, you may immediately move 5 feet away (you still provoke attacks of opportunity as normal, except from the target of your feint). The movement does not prevent you from taking a 5-foot step.

Burst Lunge (Ex)
"You are unwise to lower your defenses!"
Whenever a foe performs an action that would provoke an attack of opportunity within 15 feet of a duelist of 9th level or higher, that duelist may expend a Burst Movement daily use to move adjacent to the target and take an attack of opportunity.

Greater Precise Strike (Ex)
"If they can't finish, they can't win."
At 10th level, all of a duelist's Precise Strike damage dice increase to d8s. Additionally, any target hit with a Precise Strike takes 1 point of Strength and Dexterity damage, and she may add her class level to damage with a Precise Strike.

This ability damage is not doubled on a Flèche.






Duelist Feats
Extra Burst
Prerequisites: Burst Movement class feature.
Benefit: You gain 4 more uses of the Burst Movement class feature. Additionally, you may move an additional 5 feet when using Burst Movement to increase the distance you move with a move action.
Special: You may take this feat more than once.

Improved Precise Strike
Prerequisites: Precise Strike +2d6
Benefit: All of your Precise Strike damage dice increase to d8s.
Special: If you have the Greater Precise Strike ability, all of your damage dice increase to d10s.
Last edited by Siosilvar on Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:26 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Playing a Duelist: The Guide

Postby Siosilvar » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:40 am

Strengths of a Duelist
Attacks of opportunity. You have at least four extra ways to make them, and get bonuses while doing so.
Unarmed combat: All of your abilities function without armor, and an unarmed strike is a light weapon.
Mobility. Although you have no way to make a full attack while moving, you can take two five-foot steps.

Weaknesses of a Duelist
Your Will save will be along the lowest around.
Being caught flat-footed is a death sentence.
Grapples are anathema to the highly mobile, dextrous fighting style of a duelist.
Immunity to critical hits and precision damage, although it doesn't shut you down completely, will cause problems.
As a melee character, dealing with flight is always an issue. You have some ranged capability, however.

Useful Class Abilities
Evasion (Rogue 2)
Sneak Attack or Skirmish (Rogue or Scout)
Pounce (Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian 1)
Uncanny Dodge (Barbarian 2, Rogue 4)
Misc. Intelligence synergy (Warblade, Factotum, Swashbuckler)

Useful Feats
Fleet of Foot (CWar): Combined with Flèche, you can charge the same opponent every turn.
Close-Quarters Fighting (CWar): Provides an attack of opportunity against anybody grappling you. Precise Strike + Improved Reaction = no grapple for you!

Useful Equipment
Mithril Breastplate
Darkwood Heavy Shield (Optionally +1 Bashing and with shield spikes; 2d6 damage plus Precise Strike? Yes please.)
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby Proven Paradox » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:54 am

For the most part, this is pretty cool. I'll be adding it as an option for my players to pick up in my games. Still, I have a few issues.

One issue about overall design: this seems really front heavy. You have several levels that grant three abilities followed by others that grant only one. I would take some time to spread things out a bit.

Going into specifics. If I don't mention something, that means it looks good to me and I have nothing to add.

Canny Defense (Ex): I don't think this should function while using a shield.

Precise Strike (Ex): Okay, I agree that the original Duelist's extra damage progression was way too slow, but I think this is too fast. I would either make it progress slower (increase one dice per three levels (so 1, 4, 7, 10) for example) or make it so this only applies to one attack per round. A dual wielding Duelist could do rather gratuitous damage as-written. Just seems a bit TOO potent to me.

Also, I request some clarification. Does the dex-to-damage effect fail when facing crit-immunes?

Another minor suggestion: I would add in somewhere that this counts as sneak attack for the purposes of feats and prereqs. Ambush feats could make this a lot more interesting.

Grace (Ex): Not sure it should apply to fort saves. This is a minor quibble though.

Burst Movement (Ex): I kind of think this should be limited to once per round. Take two five-foot steps, or add to your standard speed. Again though, fairly minor detail.

Improved Reaction (Ex): Does the half-damage for precise strike also apply to her dex mod? I personally don't think it should. Also, it might be easier to say that she applies half the number of dice she would normally get, rather than 50% of the same number of dice. Kind of splitting hairs there, perhaps.

Burst Evasion (Ex): Not sold on this one. Why not just give Evasion straight out? This class certainly merits it. Perhaps add separate ability that allows one to burst for int to ref saves.

Elaborate Defense (Ex): Can she use multiple bursts to get more than two AoOs this way?

Also, I kind of think this class constant deserves int-to-disarm as a class feature.

Riposte (Ex): This one seems weird to me. I get that the ability is there to allow more attacks of opportunity, since she gets so many bonuses to them, but the wording seems weird. I also don't think this should count against the number of AoOs she can make a round, since she's spending a costly standard action to perform a Riposte. Maybe something like, "If the Duelist uses a standard action against an opponent that (successfully?) attacked her in the last round, treat the attack as an attack of opportunity, apply all relevant class features and feats. This does not count against the number of attacks of opportunity she can make in the round."

Flèche (Ex): I don't like the doubled precision strike damage here. Charge maneuverability is already really powerful. Combine that with how trivially easy it is to get Pounce, and this starts getting completely absurd.

Greater Precise Strike (Ex): The ability damage is too much, that needs to be reigned in. As-is, a 10th level Duelist can easily do 5+ str/dex damage a round with no save IN ADDITION to massive amounts of HP damage. That's already ridiculous, but as attack bonuses increase (from, say, a friendly Bard or another spellcaster) and enemy AC decreases from the absurd dex damage you're doing, more attacks hit, and this gets more and more absurd. I would limit the ability damage to, let's say, 2/round. That's still nasty, but not the instant Duelist victory this ability is now.

I'm also not sold on adding class level to the damage, but that's minor compared to the ability damage.
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby Siosilvar » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:19 am

Proven Paradox wrote:For the most part, this is pretty cool. I'll be adding it as an option for my players to pick up in my games. Still, I have a few issues.

One issue about overall design: this seems really front heavy. You have several levels that grant three abilities followed by others that grant only one. I would take some time to spread things out a bit.

Going into specifics. If I don't mention something, that means it looks good to me and I have nothing to add.

Canny Defense (Ex): I don't think this should function while using a shield.
No? Why not? Parry's already going to be a better shield bonus than any shield you carry will usually be.

Proven Paradox wrote:Precise Strike (Ex): Okay, I agree that the original Duelist's extra damage progression was way too slow, but I think this is too fast. I would either make it progress slower (increase one dice per three levels (so 1, 4, 7, 10) for example) or make it so this only applies to one attack per round. A dual wielding Duelist could do rather gratuitous damage as-written. Just seems a bit TOO potent to me.
It is a rather large boost, but I checked my math and stand by it.

Proven Paradox wrote:Also, I request some clarification. Does the dex-to-damage effect fail when facing crit-immunes?

Another minor suggestion: I would add in somewhere that this counts as sneak attack for the purposes of feats and prereqs. Ambush feats could make this a lot more interesting.
Yes and yes.

Proven Paradox wrote:Burst Movement (Ex): I kind of think this should be limited to once per round. Take two five-foot steps, or add to your standard speed. Again though, fairly minor detail.
It is limited to once per move action. The five-foot steps... have to think about limiting that.

Proven Paradox wrote:Improved Reaction (Ex): Does the half-damage for precise strike also apply to her dex mod? I personally don't think it should. Also, it might be easier to say that she applies half the number of dice she would normally get, rather than 50% of the same number of dice. Kind of splitting hairs there, perhaps.
Yes, it does. And there's no real difference between half dice and half damage; most people will just roll half dice anyway.

Proven Paradox wrote:Burst Evasion (Ex): Not sold on this one. Why not just give Evasion straight out? This class certainly merits it. Perhaps add separate ability that allows one to burst for int to ref saves.
I just felt like it. *shrug*

Proven Paradox wrote:Elaborate Defense (Ex): Can she use multiple bursts to get more than two AoOs this way?

Also, I kind of think this class constant deserves int-to-disarm as a class feature.
One burst gives you any number of AoOs.

Proven Paradox wrote:Riposte (Ex): This one seems weird to me. I get that the ability is there to allow more attacks of opportunity, since she gets so many bonuses to them, but the wording seems weird. I also don't think this should count against the number of AoOs she can make a round, since she's spending a costly standard action to perform a Riposte. Maybe something like, "If the Duelist uses a standard action against an opponent that (successfully?) attacked her in the last round, treat the attack as an attack of opportunity, apply all relevant class features and feats. This does not count against the number of attacks of opportunity she can make in the round."
Heh. The ability is there to not be completely irrelevant against crit-immune foes.

Proven Paradox wrote:Flèche (Ex): I don't like the doubled precision strike damage here. Charge maneuverability is already really powerful. Combine that with how trivially easy it is to get Pounce, and this starts getting completely absurd.
Hrm. Thought I'd taken that out. Though there is the daily limit on it... perchance limit it to one attack only?

Proven Paradox wrote:Greater Precise Strike (Ex): The ability damage is too much, that needs to be reigned in. As-is, a 10th level Duelist can easily do 5+ str/dex damage a round with no save IN ADDITION to massive amounts of HP damage. That's already ridiculous, but as attack bonuses increase (from, say, a friendly Bard or another spellcaster) and enemy AC decreases from the absurd dex damage you're doing, more attacks hit, and this gets more and more absurd. I would limit the ability damage to, let's say, 2/round. That's still nasty, but not the instant Duelist victory this ability is now.

I'm also not sold on adding class level to the damage, but that's minor compared to the ability damage.
You already mentioned spellcasters. Compare a full-round action doing 5ish Strength and Dex damage to, say, a standard action Power Word Stun, which is another ability gained at the same level.
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby DragoonWraith » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:22 am

I think my main issue is that Precise Strike can be done while TWFing, making it strictly superior to Sneak Attack (since you don't have to engineer ways to have Sneak Attack apply). Other than that, I'm only curious if you've read my Dualist class; obviously a lot of the ideas are just expected for a duelist type, but I'm curious if I am (and would be proud to be) a source of inspiration for this.
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby Siosilvar » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:14 am

DragoonWraith wrote:I think my main issue is that Precise Strike can be done while TWFing, making it strictly superior to Sneak Attack (since you don't have to engineer ways to have Sneak Attack apply). Other than that, I'm only curious if you've read my Dualist class; obviously a lot of the ideas are just expected for a duelist type, but I'm curious if I am (and would be proud to be) a source of inspiration for this.


I have skimmed it before; I don't think you were direct inspiration, but may have sparked the idea to rewrite the class.

I think I'm going to leave this class as-is or close to it right now, and cannibalize it for abilities later. Rewriting Precise Strike to fit my new idea would be too much effort; better to start anew.
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby DragoonWraith » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:21 am

You could easily say that Precise Strike does not apply if you use the Two-Weapon Fighting special attack option.
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Re: Duelist [3.5 Revised PrC]

Postby Siosilvar » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:32 am

23. Dec 2010: Changed Precise Strike to 1d6 + 1d6/3 levels.

I'm also debating moving around... pretty much all of the abilities, actually.

There's also the "staggered PrC" option, which really needs a better name.
A staggered PrC is just a collection of class levels, with loosely related requirements and abilities. Essentially it's a PrC consisting of a bunch of 1-level PrCs.
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