Kalzazz asked about our staff-armed swashbuckler PC in DF Felltower.
- good reach. You have reach 1,2 with both attack forms.
- cheap weapon. You have a lot of spare cash for equipping your guy, unlike every other swashbuckler.
- great defenses vs. melee and missiles. Buying Parry Missile Weapons for a staff-armed Swashbuckler per DFD Swashbucklers p. 14 is necessary. Once you have it you're going to be remarkably hard to hit, especially given the naturally defensive qualities of the staff.
- limited weapon selection. Your main focus is the staff, which means you do thrust crushing or swing crushing damage only. No cutting, so you give up +50% to +100% injury multipliers. No impaling, so you give up one-shot eye knockouts on living foes and the x3 multiplier to the vitals. While a few foes are vulnerable to crushing (See, Amorphous Stone meta-trait or Vulnerability: Crushing), most are not especially so. Skulls are easy to armor on things with brains, and many things have No Brain, Homogenous, or Diffuse and thus can't be usefully attacked there.
- limited non-magical enhancement options. You've got fine, ornate, and not a lot else to upgrade your staff with. They're cheap, but that's about it.
- competition for staves. Magic staves are also very useful for wizards, clerics, and staff-armed martial artists. Not every magical staff you find is even going to be a useful weapon, and many of them will have been created by and for spellcasters, not fighters.
- always two-handed. Much like greatsword-wielding knights, you've given up a lot of functionality with a two-handed weapon. You can't have a ready weapon and a potion, a concoction, a throwing weapon, a shield for its DB, hold onto a friend or a rope, etc. You're either armed and ready or not, you can't be that and something else. This comes up a lot in my games, as PCs try to "grab so-and-so and drag him to safety" without dropping a weapon or losing any defenses. Not possible with two-handed weaponry.
The staff-armed swashbuckler in our game has mostly have a very limited effect so far. This is because:
- he's 250 points and been adventuring with a group well north of 250 points. Most of the other front-line fighters are in the high 300s and one is 500+.
- the player is somewhat inexperienced. He hasn't really been able to maximize his abilties because he's still not that used to using them.
- the inherent offensive and utility limitations of a two-handed weapon armed guy with a crushing-only weapon makes it tougher for him to make an impact.
I think this is a survivable and interesting character, but with his strong defensive abilties comes a lot limitations. As long as the player can find a way to maximize the good and minimize the limitations, he should do okay.