Monday, August 15, 2016

What non-combat skills do they bring to the DF table? (Swashbuckler, Martial Artist)

Here are some thoughts about the non-combat abilities some DF templates bring to the table. These are my experiences, and may vary from yours.

Martial Artist

The martial artist is potentially a really broadly useful character outside of combat, depending on your choices.

First off, you have DX 16, making for excellent defaults and requiring only minimal points to get a superior level of ability with DX-based skills. Your Stealth and movement and Climbing are enough to make you a potentially useful scout, but your Per 10 hamstrings you there.

Besides physically getting around, your main non-combat strength comes from your Chi powers. Power Blow and Breaking Blow are excellent against doors and obstacles, especially ones that other PCs can't reasonably crack thanks to high DR. Light Walk will help you bypass some traps and dangerous floors; so can Flying Leap in some cases. Flying Leap will also help you reach places inaccessible without flying characters and/or magic, and will work even in a NMZ.

On top of that, don't forget you have to take Meditation, so you may as well use it for Seeking Guidance (Dungeon Fantasy 2, p. 15)


The standard swashbuckler has a lot of what the knight has going on - a singular focus on combat. In this case, acrobatic sword combat. The template has a lot going for you if you do that one thing, but not a lot of breadth outside of that.

The most useful broad aspect of the Swashbuckler is the base DX 15, which gives you lot of good defaults and reasonable levels of skill with only a point or two in a skill. So you can keep up with Stealth, quickly learn other physical skills, and reasonably expect to handle balance and agility challenges. You aren't terribly strong and your Per and Will and IQ are average.

You also have either Streetwise or Savoir-Faire, so you'll be useful in town to a degree. Plus Carousing, which at least in my games is a critical aspect to rumor-gathering and getting along well in town.

But pretty much all you do is combat. Your best bet is to expand on your background skills, and leverage that nice DX to pick up some off-template skills that can aid a party, such as Boating or Riding. If you choose more reaction-based advantages - appearance, Charisma, etc. you can be an okay face character. You'll want Diplomacy, though, to really get things done, and that is off-template and depends on your IQ 10.

You do make a good substitute scout, though, in terms of Dungeon Parkour (Dungeon Fantasy 2, p. 7), so take advantage of your Acrobatics and get around to difficult places in the dungeon to help scour out treasure.

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