Cunning Duelist (Fighter)

January 31st, 2017

Joshua Zaback

Best in Class Archive

Fighting in fantasy games is an interesting thing. Sure, you can throw sand in your opponent’s face, disarm him, or trip him up, but how often do you actually employ those tactics? This week’s Best in Class is meant to present a new fighter archetype that encourages you to do all those things by making you better at them, making it easy for you to succeed as a maneuver fighter. Oh, and to keep the hit point-related offense rolling. The cunning duelist combines a love of combat maneuvers with abilities designed to encourage their purity and use in combat.


 New Fighter Archetype
Cunning Duelist

While many fighters practice combat maneuvers to augment their special skill sets and make them versatile combatants on the battlefield, cunning duelists bring this practice to an art form. Dedicated to using special techniques in combat to outwit and demolish their foes, these fighters are experts in all aspects of using combat maneuvers. In addition to having a mastery of these techniques, they possess unique talents that allow them to take full advantage of their enemies’ weakened states.

Versatile Training (Ex): At 1st level, a cunning duelist practices the barebones techniques of many combat maneuver styles, making him uniquely qualified to use them to their fullest potential. For the purposes of qualifying for feats, he is treated as having the Combat Expertise, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Power Attack feats, as well as having a Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence of 13.

This ability replaces the bonus combat feat gained at 1st level.

Maneuver Defense (Ex): At 2nd level, the cunning duelist gains a +1 bonus to CMD against combat maneuvers. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by a further +1.

This ability replaces the bravery class feature.

Advantageous Maneuver (Ex): At 3rd level, the cunning duelist selects a single type of combat maneuver. He never provokes an attack of opportunity when performing that type of combat maneuver. Additionally, whenever he successfully executes that combat maneuver, he may make an attack roll at his highest base attack bonus as a free action against the target of the maneuver. If he established a grapple as part of the combat maneuver, he may instead make an additional combat maneuver check to deal damage in the grapple. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), he may choose an additional type of combat maneuver to apply this ability’s effects to.

This ability replaces the armor training class feature.

Maneuver Mastery (Ex)): Beginning at 5th level, the cunning duelist become so adept at combat maneuvers that he rarely fails to perform them at his highest potential. He must choose a single type of combat maneuver. He gains a +2 bonus to his CMB when performing the chosen type of maneuver. This bonus also applies to attack and damage rolls made as part of his advantageous maneuver class feature. Every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), the bonus from this effect increases by an additional +2, and he may choose an additional type of combat maneuver to gain this bonus –2.

This ability replaces the weapon training class feature.

Impervious Defense (Ex): At 19th level, the cunning duelist is so accomplished in a specific combat maneuver that he cannot be affected by the amateurish attempts of others to inflict such an attack against him. He chooses a single type of combat maneuver and becomes immune to it, effectively gaining an unbeatable CMD against that combat maneuver. If he chooses grapple, characters he is grappling can still escape a grapple or deal damage to him while in the grapple, and he retains the grappled condition; however, characters cannot establish a grapple against him nor gain control of a grapple he is participating in.

This ability replaces the armor mastery class feature.

Grand Master Maneuver (Ex): At 20th level, the cunning duelist is so skilled at a single type of combat maneuver as to be virtually unable to fail while performing it. He chooses a single type of combat maneuver. Whenever he makes a combat maneuver check to use that combat maneuver, he may take 20 instead of rolling. Additionally, if he chooses one of the maneuvers he chose for the advantageous maneuver ability, he may make an additional attack at his highest base attack bonus against the target of that maneuver if he successfully conducts the maneuver against the target.

This ability replaces the weapon mastery class feature.