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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice on a PDK swashbuckler

    For a bard life, I was planning to do a PDK swashbuckler (mainly so that I can start at level 15 and have Greater SWF from the get go). Will just be going from 15-30 and then iconic TRing most likely, not going to stay at cap and do EE end game raids, run high skull reaper, or anything complicated.

    The main option that I am looking at is Bard 13/Fighter 6/FVS 1. The 6 fighter is mostly for the +1 crit with the handaxe. But I am not sure whether to go str based with handaxe (for the crit profile) or cha based with shortsword.

    Str based + divine might + 1.5x modifier from Greater SWF is an easy way to boost damage.

    Cha based gets you less damage, but higher spell DCs and tactical DCs. I dont expect to use spells much though, as gearing for both is a nightmare (not enough slots typically).

    I also looked at going dex based with weapon finess, but i couldnt fit in the feat. Was planning to take power attack, cleave, great cleave, precision, the 3 SWF feats, the two shield mastery feats, weapon focus and weapon specialization.

    Someone told me the swashbuckler t5 is actually pretty good with the insight threat range stacking, but i dont know...what t5 do people usually use for a bard/fighter/fvs split? I saw some posts where people talked about how amazing the sonic damage on resonant arms is, but that seems strange to me because most people consider weapon effects trash as they do not get multiplied by crits and its difficult to fit in spellpower gear with melee gear.

    For trees, I'm also not sure what to pick.

    Everyone seems to use the swash buckler style with a buckler. 13 points in Stalwart defense for the defensive stance is pretty much a given. I looked at warchanter, but it seems to be a really hefty investment to get the extra ballard effects...not sure if it's worth it if you dont plan to buff a raid. The freezing is cool, but is cha based which forces you to use a shortsword.

    It also seems pretty hard to get CC before you can take dire charge, unless you go warchanter. The buckler knockdown in swashbuckler seems pretty unimpressive...especially considering that druids get a longer knockdown (have easily seen it last for 5+ seconds) at level 2. For free.

    Anyone know of a build similar to what im trying to do?
    Last edited by Question2005; 02-04-2019 at 10:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Drop focus and spec. Get finesse and extend (qol).

    Tier 5 Swash is fun: insta kill plus expanded crit range with your +1 fighter multi.

    Cha to damage in swash. Dex to hit finesse. Fvs divine presence. Stalwart stance. 21 in WC frozen Fury and fighting spirit. DC will be plenty high enough, to hit will suffer on high AC bosses in hard difficulties in high levels. I have run this build - works well. Could do traditional PDK short sword if got one you want to use. This would help your to hit, but for a poorer damage profile. DC boost from PDK largely irrelevant as you get high enough DCs anyway, if you have the gear, feats etc. If you don't, the PDK boost could be useful (an int variant is another option stacking int hit dam kta).

    Tree LD, especially if you have prowess. Has good dps, PRR and helpless damage to complement frozen fury and dire charge.
    Last edited by BoBoDaClown; 02-05-2019 at 04:59 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Cleaves are a waste of DPS for that build. Go for Precision and Combat Expertise. Weapon Specialization is to get tier 3 bonus to hit/damage in kensai. SWF line + shield feats are a given. Dodge and Mobility to take the +3 Maximum Armor Dexterity Bonus from kensai. 3 Warsoul for divine might, 11 Swashbuckler to use a buckler and swash, 13 in SD sounds good but sometimes to get more AC I go with 24 and take +50% armor bonus to AC and run speed, at least 31 in kensai to get that +20 melee power in tier 5 and of course you take the core for +1 multiplier. So 3+11+24+31=69. Do what you want with the rest but Hamp could be a good option for self healing. You could always ditch defense for DPS and put your points in Vanguard instead of SD. A variant to this build is 12bard/6fighter/2rogue to get evasion. No divine might so you go for Know the Angles instead.

  4. #4
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    You might consider going with 13/6/1 Bard/Barbarian/Favored Soul.

    Feats: SWF line, Shield Mastery line, Knight's Training, Force of Personality, Precision, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect SWF, Perfect TWF, Dire Charge, Scion of Arborea

    Occult Slayer(37) to Elemental Defense, Bond of Destruction, Occult Metalline, One Spirit
    Warchanter(24) to Fighting Spirit, Reckless Chant
    Swashbuckler(13) to Uncanny Dodge, Skirmisher
    War Soul(4) to Divine Presence
    PDK(3) to Cormyrean Knight Training

    You'd have 16-18/x4 19-20/x5 Long Sword (before Epic levels). This is 1.8x vs. 1.85x for Strike with no Thought Hand Axe. However, you'd break all DR, have +1 per weapon die, have a much better hit chance and have a bonus to tactical feats.

    Warchanter would pulse temporary hit points every 10 seconds and your Frozen Fury DCs would be 16 + 1.83x Charisma modifier + stunning. You'd also get some stray PRR and bonuses to damage along the way.

    Occult Slayer would give you +70 hit points (+106 if you count the added Barbarian hit points over Bard), 5% Barbarian Damage reduction, +27/+12 MRR/PRR, +20 Healing Amp, 30% chance casters get knocked down on damaging spellcast and an activated +10 Melee Power/+20 MRR for 20 sec on a 24 sec cooldown.

    Swashbuckler would give you En Pointe to combine with a Guardbreaking buckler and a bit of doublestrike/dodge.

    And, of course, you'd have +23% movement speed.
    Last edited by Hjarki; 02-06-2019 at 12:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveFast View Post
    Cleaves are a waste of DPS for that build. Go for Precision and Combat Expertise. Weapon Specialization is to get tier 3 bonus to hit/damage in kensai. SWF line + shield feats are a given. Dodge and Mobility to take the +3 Maximum Armor Dexterity Bonus from kensai. 3 Warsoul for divine might, 11 Swashbuckler to use a buckler and swash, 13 in SD sounds good but sometimes to get more AC I go with 24 and take +50% armor bonus to AC and run speed, at least 31 in kensai to get that +20 melee power in tier 5 and of course you take the core for +1 multiplier. So 3+11+24+31=69. Do what you want with the rest but Hamp could be a good option for self healing. You could always ditch defense for DPS and put your points in Vanguard instead of SD. A variant to this build is 12bard/6fighter/2rogue to get evasion. No divine might so you go for Know the Angles instead.
    Cleaves are invaluable for leveling, this is not a build meant to run high skull reaper at cap or anything like that. Leveling without any kind of AOE is awful unless you run in a static with casters where this isnt a problem.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoBoDaClown View Post
    Drop focus and spec. Get finesse and extend (qol).

    Tier 5 Swash is fun: insta kill plus expanded crit range with your +1 fighter multi.

    Cha to damage in swash. Dex to hit finesse. Fvs divine presence. Stalwart stance. 21 in WC frozen Fury and fighting spirit. DC will be plenty high enough, to hit will suffer on high AC bosses in hard difficulties in high levels. I have run this build - works well. Could do traditional PDK short sword if got one you want to use. This would help your to hit, but for a poorer damage profile. DC boost from PDK largely irrelevant as you get high enough DCs anyway, if you have the gear, feats etc. If you don't, the PDK boost could be useful (an int variant is another option stacking int hit dam kta).

    Tree LD, especially if you have prowess. Has good dps, PRR and helpless damage to complement frozen fury and dire charge.
    What spells are you using displacement for? What sthe tree AP allocation look like for this other than 21 in WC and 13 points in stalwart?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    You might consider going with 13/6/1 Bard/Barbarian/Favored Soul.

    Feats: SWF line, Shield Mastery line, Knight's Training, Force of Personality, Precision, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect SWF, Perfect TWF, Dire Charge, Scion of Arborea

    Occult Slayer(37) to Elemental Defense, Bond of Destruction, Occult Metalline, One Spirit
    Warchanter(24) to Fighting Spirit, Reckless Chant
    Swashbuckler(13) to Uncanny Dodge, Skirmisher
    War Soul(4) to Divine Presence
    PDK(3) to Cormyrean Knight Training

    You'd have 16-18/x4 19-20/x5 Long Sword (before Epic levels). This is 1.8x vs. 1.85x for Strike with no Thought Hand Axe. However, you'd break all DR, have +1 per weapon die, have a much better hit chance and have a bonus to tactical feats.

    Warchanter would pulse temporary hit points every 10 seconds and your Frozen Fury DCs would be 16 + 1.83x Charisma modifier + stunning. You'd also get some stray PRR and bonuses to damage along the way.

    Occult Slayer would give you +70 hit points (+106 if you count the added Barbarian hit points over Bard), 5% Barbarian Damage reduction, +27/+12 MRR/PRR, +20 Healing Amp, 30% chance casters get knocked down on damaging spellcast and an activated +10 Melee Power/+20 MRR for 20 sec on a 24 sec cooldown.

    Swashbuckler would give you En Pointe to combine with a Guardbreaking buckler and a bit of doublestrike/dodge.

    And, of course, you'd have +23% movement speed.
    Unless im missing something,theres no iconic barb so thats not really an option (i really dont want to level SWF from level 1).
    Last edited by Question2005; 02-06-2019 at 04:16 AM.

  8. #8
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    Some additional notes:

    - You can remove the first level of an Iconic via a +1 Heart. Sometimes this is incredibly tough (making a Bladeforged Bard requires a lot of work since you need to remove the Paladin level, then change alignment, etc.). However, if you don't take your third class in a build until after level 15 and there are no alignment problems, it's pretty easy. In any case, you can take the same approach I was thinking of with the Barbarian split and just replace Barbarian/Occult Slayer with Fighter/Kensai - I just think the Barbarian version is more interesting/versatile.

    - SWF normally doesn't take Cleave because it's so rarely a dps boost, even against multiple targets. SWF gets a significant amount of dps via sheer attack speed, which means the time it takes to Cleave penalizes SWF about 30% more than other fighting styles. SWF is also very Doublestrike-dependent and Cleaves don't Doublestrike. At the top end, this means it's often faster to single target dps 3 - 4 than to Cleave them. En Pointe is what most Bards use for Cleaving, although it has a relatively long cooldown (12 sec?) and is a bit SP-intensive.

    - Insta-kill is more of a Reaper concept than a N/H/E one. While it's awfully flashy, it's only useful on a relatively narrow band of enemies between 'trivial' and 'immune'. It doesn't make much sense to insta-kill a mob when the sheer damage of your attack is already dealing 40% of their life total. The enemies that fit into that narrow band are almost exclusively Champions of one stripe or another - and mainly Champions on Reaper difficulty. Note that Charms tend to fall into the same category - fantastic on hard content, worthless on easy content.

    - Bards use bucklers because the combination of Shield Mastery + Improved Shield Mastery + Legendary Shield Mastery yields 15% Doublestrike while Dashing Scoundrel only yields 10%.

    - Exploit Weaknesses can be roughly modeled as +1.5 threat range.

    - You will likely find not having Evasion difficult. This means either taking 2 levels of Rogue or committing yourself to the Shadowdancer Destiny. I view the latter as a reasonable compromise as it adds a lot of defense you don't receive from Legendary Dreadnought.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Question2005 View Post
    What spells are you using displacement for? What sthe tree AP allocation look like for this other than 21 in WC and 13 points in stalwart?
    Assume you mean 'extend': displace and haste. It's a QOL improvement, rather than power. Otherwise you are sub 2 minutes on these buffs.

    Rough Trees
    Swashbuckler (35AP): Thread the Needle, Exploit Weakness, Coup, Low Blow, Skirmisher, Smooth Flourishes
    Warchanter (21AP): Ironskin Chant, Frozen Fury, Fighting Spirit
    Kensai (11AP): Ascetic Training, Strike with no Thought
    War Soul (4AP): Divine Presence
    Stalward (8AP): Stance and Durable Defence (PRR - no hp enhancements - use EDF when needed).

    Some other comments on what people have mentioned:
    Coup: absolutely true its not so useful in easy content. It is real nice on harder content though, being able to eliminate a mob straight away, especially a dangerous one. Between this and frozen fury, you can eliminate threats really well.

    Cleaves: On one of my iterations of this build, I had them along with Momentum Swing and Lay Waste. Basically I used these cleaves when I had a group of mobs around me. They were useful for this, but ultimately I didn't think they were useful enough for the cost.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Some additional notes:

    - You can remove the first level of an Iconic via a +1 Heart. Sometimes this is incredibly tough (making a Bladeforged Bard requires a lot of work since you need to remove the Paladin level, then change alignment, etc.). However, if you don't take your third class in a build until after level 15 and there are no alignment problems, it's pretty easy. In any case, you can take the same approach I was thinking of with the Barbarian split and just replace Barbarian/Occult Slayer with Fighter/Kensai - I just think the Barbarian version is more interesting/versatile.

    - SWF normally doesn't take Cleave because it's so rarely a dps boost, even against multiple targets. SWF gets a significant amount of dps via sheer attack speed, which means the time it takes to Cleave penalizes SWF about 30% more than other fighting styles. SWF is also very Doublestrike-dependent and Cleaves don't Doublestrike. At the top end, this means it's often faster to single target dps 3 - 4 than to Cleave them. En Pointe is what most Bards use for Cleaving, although it has a relatively long cooldown (12 sec?) and is a bit SP-intensive.

    - Insta-kill is more of a Reaper concept than a N/H/E one. While it's awfully flashy, it's only useful on a relatively narrow band of enemies between 'trivial' and 'immune'. It doesn't make much sense to insta-kill a mob when the sheer damage of your attack is already dealing 40% of their life total. The enemies that fit into that narrow band are almost exclusively Champions of one stripe or another - and mainly Champions on Reaper difficulty. Note that Charms tend to fall into the same category - fantastic on hard content, worthless on easy content.

    - Bards use bucklers because the combination of Shield Mastery + Improved Shield Mastery + Legendary Shield Mastery yields 15% Doublestrike while Dashing Scoundrel only yields 10%.

    - Exploit Weaknesses can be roughly modeled as +1.5 threat range.

    - You will likely find not having Evasion difficult. This means either taking 2 levels of Rogue or committing yourself to the Shadowdancer Destiny. I view the latter as a reasonable compromise as it adds a lot of defense you don't receive from Legendary Dreadnought.
    Im currently playing a druid and though it gets the same 30% attack speed as greater SWF does, I notice that cleaves clear mobs much faster than simply attacking, at least, while leveling. Not for end game EE/reaper though.

    Not sure why you are mentioning insta kills?

    Evasions is really useful, yea...but it seems like a choice between 1 fvs (for damage boost) and 2 rogue.

    So which swashbuckler enhancements are actually useful, or typically taken? Are the ones that do sonic damage useful, since i dont believe it can crit and doesnt benefit from doublestrike, etc?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoBoDaClown View Post
    Assume you mean 'extend': displace and haste. It's a QOL improvement, rather than power. Otherwise you are sub 2 minutes on these buffs.

    Rough Trees
    Swashbuckler (35AP): Thread the Needle, Exploit Weakness, Coup, Low Blow, Skirmisher, Smooth Flourishes
    Warchanter (21AP): Ironskin Chant, Frozen Fury, Fighting Spirit
    Kensai (11AP): Ascetic Training, Strike with no Thought
    War Soul (4AP): Divine Presence
    Stalward (8AP): Stance and Durable Defence (PRR - no hp enhancements - use EDF when needed).

    Some other comments on what people have mentioned:
    Coup: absolutely true its not so useful in easy content. It is real nice on harder content though, being able to eliminate a mob straight away, especially a dangerous one. Between this and frozen fury, you can eliminate threats really well.

    Cleaves: On one of my iterations of this build, I had them along with Momentum Swing and Lay Waste. Basically I used these cleaves when I had a group of mobs around me. They were useful for this, but ultimately I didn't think they were useful enough for the cost.
    Whats strike with no thought? I dont see any enhancement by that name in Kensai.

    Not taking Northwind in war chanter? Or Recklessness?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Question2005 View Post
    Whats strike with no thought? I dont see any enhancement by that name in Kensai.
    The level 6 core in Kensei.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnabel View Post
    Hi Welcome

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Question2005 View Post

    Not sure why you are mentioning insta kills?
    Coup is a tier 5 insta kill in the build I posted. Pair it with low blow.

    Evasions is really useful, yea...but it seems like a choice between 1 fvs (for damage boost) and 2 rogue.
    and DC boost
    So which swashbuckler enhancements are actually useful, or typically taken? Are the ones that do sonic damage useful, since i dont believe it can crit and doesnt benefit from doublestrike, etc?
    The tier 5s, low blow, smooth flourishes, barrage, en pointe, skirmisher, doublestrike boost, fast movement, others to fill out. I was never impressed by resonant arms, but don't play heroic, and never went all in on it.

    As kenpai said, strike with no thought is in the kensai cores.

    I wouldn't get north wind or reckless as there is nowhere I can sacrifice the AP
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Question2005 View Post
    Not sure why you are mentioning insta kills?

    Evasions is really useful, yea...but it seems like a choice between 1 fvs (for damage boost) and 2 rogue.

    So which swashbuckler enhancements are actually useful, or typically taken? Are the ones that do sonic damage useful, since i dont believe it can crit and doesnt benefit from doublestrike, etc?
    One of the primary reasons to take T5 Swashbuckler would be Coup de Grace, an instant kill ability.

    You can also get Evasion from the Shadowdancer destiny. However, this does lock you into a specific Destiny.

    Resonant Arms can potentially add a decent chunk of damage, but most Swashbuckler builds have little reason to gear the Sonic spellpower that makes it pay off. It does benefit from Doublestrike, but it doesn't benefit from Shield Bashes. The damage gains no benefit from critical multiplier, but critical threat range controls how often it occurs.

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    Default Regards to resonant arms

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post

    Resonant Arms can potentially add a decent chunk of damage, but most Swashbuckler builds have little reason to gear the Sonic spellpower that makes it pay off. It does benefit from Doublestrike, but it doesn't benefit from Shield Bashes. The damage gains no benefit from critical multiplier, but critical threat range controls how often it occurs.
    How much spellpower would you consider to be good/worth for it to take. At the moment i have around 450-500 sonic sp and i seem to be averaging 150-200 sonic dmg per hit (ee/r1). Keep in mind this is resonant arms combined with feywild scion and using forgotten handaxe (13-20 and has sonic procs).

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