D&D 5E How would you prefer Swashbuckling AC be handled

How would you handle Armor in a Swashbuckling D&D Setting?

  • No Change

    Votes: 7 33.3%
  • Class Defense

    Votes: 4 19.0%
  • Heavy Substitution Defense

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Fighting Styles

    Votes: 4 19.0%
  • Warrior Defense Charts

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Hevy Sailor

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 28.6%

  • This poll will close: .


Dex warrior/rogues are already quite effective in a normal setting. I don't think AC is an issue. Remember that HP are abstract (and even moreso in a setting like this). Getting "hit", doesn't mean that you actually bleed.

I would add an actual Buckler (+1 AC), bonus action to doff/don. And of course you would have to have firearms.

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I'd go the Finesse route. Just as a combatant can apply their balance and grace to hitting and damaging with some weapons, allow someone to apply their athleticism and leverage to defending against being hit.

You could require this to be a fighting style, or just allow it as a base capability. It would have the same limitations and maximums when combined with armour as Dex does.


How about these ability scores:

Brawn (As baseline Str and Con, except HP change below)
Dexterity (As baseline, except initiative)
Knowledge (As baseline Int)
Wisdom (As baseline Wis)
Panache (everything Cha, also used for initiative checks)
Luck (New)

AC is 8+Proficiency+Dex bonus
Shields add +2 AC
At level 1, you have 1d8 HD (5 HP), your class HD (not maximized HP) + Brawn bonus + Luck bonus
Even levels add Brawn HP bonus
Odd levels add Luck HP bonus.

Medium Armor (breastplate) grants Proficiency temporary HP at the start of your turn, but caps Dex bonus to AC at 2
Heavy Armor (insane to use on ship) grants DR equal to your Proficiency bonus. No Dex bonus to AC.

Death saving throws are luck saving throws. You make a death saving throw when damaged (no auto-fail). If you roll a 20+ you get up at the start of your next turn with 1 HP. 3 fails still kill you, and a crit is a save against 2 failures.

You can use your Luck up to your proficiency bonus per short rest. There are two basic uses of luck; you can use it to reroll a failed saving throw as a luck saving throw, or an ability check as a luck ability check. You can't reroll the luck roll again. If it result in a better value, some random bit of seemingly external fortune caused it to work.

Fighters get proficiency in Brawn and Luck, Barbarians in Brawn and Willpower.

Direct luck ability checks occur when chance would determine the result; gambling, who gets hit by an arrow, etc.
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This is a bit multi-prong for me. Because in a swashbuckling genre I can see heavy use of finesse weapons and making DEX even more important at the direct cost of STR. It's already so imbalanced that pushing it more means I'd want to address that.

So I'd probably slam DEX & STR together and then pull them apart more balanced, say FITNESS and REFLEXES (or whatever) to psychologically explain moving some of what DEX informs currently over to STR, while still covering what STR does. Specifically moving all weapon damage to FITNESS, regardless of what is used to attack.

I'd move armor over to Damage Reduction of some flavor, and reskin it so that it all makes sense within the swashbuckler genre. But the "max DEX" still applies so bulkier armors might make you easier to hit but provide more protection.

I'd change the base AC to something like 8 + PROF + (lower of FITNESS & REFLEXES), and then give various classes with armor proficiencies ways to replace or add to that calculation. Fighters would add the higher of the two, and have fighting styles that might add more. Paladins would add higher of FIT or CHA. Monk stays adding REFLEXES and WISDOM, but only without any armor. Shield likely stays adding to AC.

All of this was off the top of my head, the math hasn't been examined and I'm sure the concept can be refined.

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