Fencer, Variant (3.5e Class)
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Fencers are swashbuckling swordsmen who specialize in fighting smart rather than fighting strong. They use a combination of agility, intellect, and strength to get the upper hand on enemies and deal as much damage in a situation while remaining mobile. Fencers are strikers, able to do good amounts of damage to specific targets and get out of the way when they need to.
Fencers derive their skills from skill and training. Most train under a master, but even those who are self-taught devise drills to keep them on their toes. Fencers serve as personal retainers or go-men, sometimes as bodyguards. Many fencers turn to adventuring to test their finely-honed skills and for the challenge. A fencer may also see adventuring as a simple job, or may be willing to risk their lives in return for a large rewards.
Making a Fencer
Fencers can hit hard, able to use two weapons and with the extra damage they can deal. They are mobile and fast, with a decent amount of health. They somewhat lack a defense, only using light armor and not being able to use a shield and only having one good save. They work best in conjunction with someone that they can flank with and can protect them when things get ugly, like a fighter or a barbarian.
Abilities: Fencers need to be foremost smart and deft, so having a high Intelligence and Dexterity is a must. A high Constitution lets them have more health and improves their Fortitude, which is good for a melee class. Charisma lets them feint better and function as a face. Strength let's a fencer deal more damage, although it loses importance at later levels. Wisdom is less important for fencers.
Races: Most fencers are humans, elves, or half-elves, although halflings also been known to fence. Gnome fencers are often also bards or rogues, wanting to be able to pull even more trickery. Dwarves and half-orcs are hard-pressed to be fencers, as they might be too slow or not smart enough.
Alignment: Fencers can be of any alignment. Chaotic fencers are wanderers who adventure as a way to propel their lives, while a lawful fencer may be a guardian with a distinct purpose. Good fencers want to see the world a better place, and want to use their skills to do so. An evil fencer may simply want, acting as highwaymen and simply taking what they can..
Starting Gold: 8d6 x 10 (Average 240 gp) Fencers mainly came from richer families for it was an expensive hobby and needed medical care often.
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Bonus Feat, Parry, Deflect|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+0||Bonus Feat, One-Two, Through and Through(1-2, T&T) 1d6, Evasion|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+1||Stunning Strike, Intelligent Designs (AC and Damage rolls)|
|4th||+4||+1||+4||+1||Uncanny Dodge, Improved Disarm|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+1||1-2, T&T 2d6, You’re Open!|
|6th||+6/+1||+2||+5||+2||Bonus Feat, Intelligent Designs (Attack rolls)|
|7th||+7/+2||+2||+5||+2||Point to Throat, Sidestep|
|8th||+8/+3||+2||+6||+2||Improved Uncanny Dodge, 1-2, T&T 3d6|
|9th||+9/+4||+3||+6||+3||Intelligent Designs (Trip/Disarm/Feint attempts)|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+3||+7||+3||Bonus Feat, 1-2, T&T 4d6, Improved Evasion|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+4||+8||+4||Intelligent Designs (Dex/Str-based skill checks), Refined Choice +1|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+4||+9||+4||1-2, T&T 5d6, Refined Choice +2|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+5||+10||+5||Refined Choice +3|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||1-2, T&T 6d6, Displacement|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||Refined Choice +4|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Critical Mastery, Refined Choice +5, 1-2, T&T 7d6 , Broken Time|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the fencer.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A fencer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Fencers are proficient with light armor but not shields. If a fencer uses shields, medium, or is encumbered by a load, they lose most of their abilities.
Bonus Feats: A fencer gains a number of bonus feats, even if they do not meet the requirements.
1st level: At 1st level, a fencer gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.
2nd level: At 2nd level, a fencer gains Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat.
6th level: At 6th level, a fencer gains Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat.
11th level: At 11th level, a fencer gains Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat.
Parry (Ex): At 1st level a fencer may take an immediate action a number of times equal to half his level, rounded down per round (minimum of 1) to deflect a single melee attack that would otherwise harm him. By making an attack roll with the DC equal to the attack roll of the melee attack against the fencer he may instead take no damage from the attack. If the attack relies upon touching the fencer such as a touch spell requiring an unarmed strike, the attack is counted as missing the player. The winner of the parry roll may then make an attack of opportunity on the loser.
Deflect (Ex): At 1st level a fencer may take an immediate action a number of times equal to half his level, rounded down (minimum of 1) per round to deflect a ranged attacks that would otherwise harm him. By making an attack roll with the DC equal to the attack roll of the ranged attacks against the fencer he may instead take no damage from the attack. If the attack relies upon touching the fencer such as a touch spell, the attack is counted as missing the player.
One Two, Through and Through (Ex): At 2nd level, a fencer gains the One-Two, Through and Through (1-2, T&T) ability. As a standard action, a fencer wielding two weapons Weapon Finesse may apply to may make a single melee attack roll at your highest attack bonus against an opponent that they have feinted against, tripped, disarmed, or that they are flanking. If the attack is successful, they deal damage with both weapons they wield and deal an additional 1d6 damage. At every 3 levels afterward, an additional die is added to the extra damage. A fencer only applies this ability if they are not wearing medium or heavy armor, a shield, or encumbered by a heavy load.
Stunning Strike (Ex): At 3rd level, a fencer gains the Stunning Strike ability. Stunning Strike is a standard action that functions as a single attack at your highest attack bonus. Stunning Strike forces a foe damaged by your attack to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Int modifier), in addition to dealing damage normally. A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next action). You may attempt a Stunning Strike a number of times equal to your fencer level.A fencer may only attempt a Stunning Strike if they are not wearing medium or heavy armor, a shield, or encumbered by a heavy load.
Intelligent Designs (Ex): At 3rd level, a fencer gains the Intelligent Designs ability. At 3rd level, a fencer adds their Intelligence modifier, if any, to their Armor Class and to their damage rolls. At 6th level, a fencer adds their Intelligence modifier to their attack rolls. At 9th level, they add their Intelligence modifier to their trip, disarm, and feint attempts. At 12th level, a fencer adds their Intelligence modifier to any Dexterity or Strength check, including skill checks. At any time a fencer would be denied their Dexterity modifier to their Armor Class, they cannot add their Intelligence modifier to their Armor Class or any trip, disarm, or feint attempts. A fencer only applies this ability if they are not wearing medium or heavy armor, a shield, or encumbered by a heavy load.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 4th level, a fencer gains the Uncanny Dodge ability. If they already have Uncanny Dodge, they automatically gain Improved Uncanny Dodge.
You're Open! (Ex): At 5th level, the fencer may take advantage of his opponents exposure from either catching them off guard or with assistance from allies. When catching an opponent flat footed, a fencer adds half his class levels to the critical confirmation check. In addition the bonuses to attack bonus granted by flanking is increased from +2 to +3. A fencer may overrule an opponent’s improved uncanny dodge ability to avoid his flanking bonus if he has at least four or more levels in fencer than the opponent has the respective class.
Point to Throat (Ex): At 7th level, a fencer gains to Point to Throat ability. As a full-round action, make a disarm attempt against an enemy with a melee weapon. If it is successful, your weapon is placed at his/her throat. You may not take an attack of opportunity while your weapon is at his throat. While your point is at an enemy's throat, if at any time the enemy attempts to take anything other than a purely mental action, you get a free coup-de-grace attempt against that enemy's flatfooted AC. While your point is at an enemy's throat, you may take no actions that are not purely mental/spoken and are considered to be delaying on your turn. Removing your weapon from an enemy's throat is a free action and may be taken at any time, usually with a parting word or two.
Sidestep (Ex): At 7th level a fencer may avoid his opponent’s advances as well as move with them given the opportunity to strike by completing a rapid cross-over action with his footwork should he need to retreat or press his advantage. Whenever an enemy who is within the fencer’s threatened range chooses to make a 5-foot step, the fencer may make a 5-foot step as an immediate action even if during his own turn he had already taken a 5-foot step. A fencer may also make this movement if he makes a successful parry even if he chooses not to make an attack of opportunity against his opponent. This action may only be taken once per round per each of these instances.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 8th level, a fencer gains the Improved Uncanny Dodge ability.
Point-In-Line (Ex): By studying his opponent continuously whilst they fight, the fencer may gain insight into their style and weaknesses in technique, allowing them to further exploit them. At 10th level the fencer may select an opponent that he is attacking and designate that he is ‘studying’ his opponent’s style, even if they are not attacking the fencer himself. Designating a target is a free action. At the beginning of the fencer’s next turn, he gains a +1 insight bonus to both attack and damage rolls against his designated target so long as all attacks during that turn are against that same target. This bonus stacks every round the fencer is engaged with his target up to a maximum amount equal to his Wisdom modifier. The bonus will reset if the fencer chooses attack another target as his focus is broken on his original opponent.
Engagement (Ex): When engaged in battle, a fencer does not give his opponents the time to produce an adequate defense, lest they gain further advantage. Opposing casters and those with spell-like abilities are unable to cast defensively whilst within the fencer’s threatened range. This means that any and all spells casts will provoke an attack of opportunity from the fencer.
Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except that while the fencer still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless fencer does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Refined Choice (Ex): At 12th level, a fencer gains added efficiency with the weapon that they favor at the cost of efficiency with weapons they don't favor. Pick either piercing or slashing weapons. You deal +1 precision damage with the selected type of weapon. Increase this bonus by +1 every two levels, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. For every +2 bonus a fencer accumulates with a type of weapon, they gain a -1 penalty for the weapon they didn't choose. For example, a fencer chooses piercing weapons. At 18th level, that fencer gains a +4 damage with piercing weapons, at a cost of a -2 penalty to slashing weapons.
Thrust (Ex): By thrusting the blade of the sword parallel to its length, the fencer may gain extra reach by overextending the arm towards his target. At 15th level, a fencer adds an additional 5’ to his threatened squares when in use of a sword with which he is proficient.
Displacement (Ex): A fencer makes use of complex footwork in order to carry him and his blade smoothly and swiftly, making more ground than others in the same amount of time. At 17th level a fencer may travel 10 feet instead of the regular 5 feet during the aptly named 5 foot step – not provoking an attack of opportunity for the duration of the move. A fencer may move in any direction for the second part of his 10 foot movement so long as he does not return to the square which he started the turn in.
Broken Time (Ex): By changing the tempo at which the fencer strikes his opponent, he may catch them off guard by drawing out a mistimed attack or an inappropriate response to his strikes. All attacks of opportunity granted by the parry class feature are now counted as touch attacks, negating both armor and shield bonuses to AC.
Critical Mastery (Ex): At 20th level, a fencer is a master of dealing out as much damage as possible in each strike they do. A fencer has doubled critical range for each weapon they use and deal one step up damage. For example, a fencer that uses a longsword has a critical range of 17-20 and deals x3 damage on a critical hit. This effect stacks with the keen effect or Improved Critical. A fencer only applies this ability if they are not wearing medium or heavy armor, a shield, or encumbered by a heavy load.
Bonus Feats: The epic gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic bonus feats) every levels after 20th.
Epic Bonus Feat List: .
Half-Elf Fencer Starting Package
Equipment: Rapier (1d6 18-20/x2), shortsword (1d6 19-20/x2), light crossbow (1d8 19-20/x2), crossbow bolts (20), Studded Leather Armor (+3 AC, -1 check)
Skill Selection: Pick a number of class skills skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Feat: Combat Expertise.
Gold: 8d6 x 10 minus cost of gear
Playing a Fencer
Religion: Fencers are bound to no one religion, but often follow gods of power like Kord or gods of knowledge.
Other Classes: Fencers get along well with fighters, rangers, and rogues, as they work well with them and adapt to roles that they don't fit, better putting their skills to use. They fit together well with any of the other classes, though, as they have no predisposition that makes them come into conflict.
Combat: Fencers are strikers. They get in, deal damage, then get out. They are best when they maintain mobility and use trips, feints, and disarms to bring their opponent into disadvantage, then cripple them for it.
Fencers in the World
Notables: Many nobles take up fencing, as it is seen as elegant and civilized. There have even been famous fencers outside the d20 world, like Zorro.
Organizations: Fencers can be found in many organizations, like fighter clans and thieves' guilds. There are many schools for fencing, where masters teach further generations the arts of fencing.
NPC Reactions: Most NPCs see fencers as they see fighters, letting their reputation and appearance dictate their reaction. Some might think them more civilized than a normal fighter, or might think that they are a rogue and shun them.
Characters with ranks in can research to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
Fencers in the Game
Sample Encounter: .
EL : .