Whereas many warriors brave battle encased in suits of armor and wielding large and powerful weapons, fencers rely on speed, agility, and panache. Fencers dart in and out of the fray, wearing down opponents with lunges and feints, all while foiling the powerful attacks against them with a flick of the wrist and a flash of the blade. Their deft parries and fatal ripostes are carnage elevated to an art form. Some may be arrogant and devil-
Role: The fencer focuses on quick, nimble feet and a good eye at striking with a light, one handed weapon. Often referred to as “swashbucklers”, fencers use their speed and coordination in a deadly blend with their Charisma to become capable fighters who prefer to avoid getting hit instead of drawing upon their resilience to take the blows and keep on standing. With their abilities, they are able to inflict status effects upon their foes.
Hit Die: d10
Parent Classes: Fighter and Gunner.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gil (average 175 gil.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gil or less.
The fencer’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier
All of the following are class features of the fencer.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Fencers are proficient with all (simple and martial) light and one-handed piercing weapons. Fencers are also proficient with light armor but no shields.
Limit Breaks (Su)
At 1st level, the fencer receives the Limit Breaks (Hummingstrike and Nighthawk).
Hummingstrike (Su): This Limit Break allows the fencer to make an attack roll against all creatures within reach. Creatures that are hit by this attack take damage as normal and must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the fencer’s level + her Charisma modifier) or be inflicted with the Blind, Immobilized and Sap status effects for a number of rounds equal to half of the fencer’s level.
Nighthawk (Su): This Limit Break allows the fencer to counterattack and dodge enemies’ attacks. For a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four fencer levels after 1st, the fencer automatically dodges an enemy’s melee attack and may counterattack using the fencer’s highest base attack bonus (if within range). The fencer may do this once per round + one additional time per four fencer levels after 1st. This limit break requires only a swift action.
Duelist Stance (Ex)
At 1st level, a fencer gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC as long as she is wearing no armor or light armor, wields a piercing weapon in one hand, and her other hand is empty. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 levels the fencer possesses to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.
Fencer Weapon Training (Ex)
At 1st level, a fencer selects one fighter weapon group. She gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat with all light and finesseable, one-handed piercing melee weapons from this weapon group. This ability counts as having the Weapon Finesse feat for purposes of meeting feat prerequisite and she can use her Charisma score in place of Intelligence as a prerequisite for combat feats.
At 5th level, she gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls with all light and finesseable, one-handed piercing melee weapons plus an additional +1 bonus for every four fencer levels after 5th. At 9th level, she gains the benefits of the Improved Critical feat. A fencer also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with all light and finesseable, one-handed piercing melee weapons. This bonus also applies to the fencer’s Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against weapons from this group. If she is using her duelist stance, this attack and damage bonus increases by 2.
More than just a lightly armored warrior, a fencer is a daring combatant. She fights with panache: a fluctuating measure of a fencer’s ability to perform amazing actions in combat. At the start of each day, a fencer gains a number of panache points equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Her panache goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than her Charisma modifier (minimum 1), though feats and magic items can affect this maximum. A fencer spends panache to accomplish deeds (see below), and regains panache in the following ways.
Critical Hit with a Light or One-Handed Piercing weapon: Each time the fencer confirms a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, she regains 1 panache point. Confirming a critical hit on a helpless or unaware creature or a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the fencer’s character level doesn’t restore panache.
Killing Blow with a Light or One-Handed Piercing weapon: When the fencer reduces a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with a light or one-handed piercing weapon attack while in combat, she regains 1 panache point. Destroying an unattended object, reducing a helpless or unaware creature to 0 or fewer hit points, or reducing a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the fencer’s character level to 0 or fewer hit points doesn’t restore any panache.
Grit and Panache: Grit and panache represent two different means by which heroes can gain access to the same heroic pool, using it to accomplish fantastic feats. For characters with a mix of grit and panache, they pool the resources together into a combined pool. For feats, magic items, and other effects, a grit user can spend and gain panache points in place of grit points, and vice versa.
Fencers spend panache points to accomplish deeds. Most deeds grant the fencer a momentary bonus or effect, but some provide longer-lasting effects. Some deeds remain in effect while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, but do not require expending panache to be maintained. A fencer can only perform deeds of her level or lower. Unless otherwise noted, a deed can be performed multiple successive times, as long as the fencer has or spends the required number of panache points to perform the deed.
Derring-Do (Ex): At 1st level, a fencer can spend 1 panache point when she makes an Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim check to roll 1d6 and add the result to the check. She can do this after she makes the check but before the result is revealed. If the result of the d6 roll is a natural 6, she rolls another 1d6 and adds it to the check. She can continue to do this as long as she rolls natural 6s, up to a number of times equal to her Dexterity modifier (minimum 1).
Dodging Panache (Ex): At 1st level, when an opponent attempts a melee attack against the fencer, the fencer can as an immediate action spend 1 panache point to move 5 feet; doing so grants the fencer a dodge bonus to AC equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 0) against the triggering attack. This movement doesn’t negate the attack, which is still resolved as if the fencer had not moved from the original square. This movement is not a 5-foot step; it provokes attacks of opportunity from creatures other than the one who triggered this deed. The fencer can only perform this deed while wearing light or no armor, and while carrying no heavier than a light load.
Opportune Parry and Riposte (Ex): At 1st level, when an opponent makes a melee attack against the fencer, she can spend 1 panache point and expend a use of an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry that attack. The fencer makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; for each size category the attacking creature is larger than the fencer, the fencer takes a –2 penalty on this roll. If her result is greater than the attacking creature’s result, the creature’s attack automatically misses. The fencer must declare the use of this ability after the creature’s attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 panache point, the fencer can as an immediate action make an attack against the creature whose attack she parried, provided that creature is within her reach.
Kip-Up (Ex): At 3rd level, while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, she can kip-up from prone as a move action without provoking an attack of opportunity. She can kip-up as a swift action instead by spending 1 panache point.
Menacing Swordplay (Ex): At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, when a fencer hits an opponent with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, she can choose to use Intimidate to demoralize that opponent as a swift action instead of a standard action.
Precise Strike (Ex): At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, a fencer gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed piercing weapon (though not natural weapon attacks), adding her fencer level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a fencer cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler. She can even use this ability with thrown light or one-handed piercing weapons, so long as the target is within 30 feet of her. Any creature that is immune to sneak attacks is immune to the additional damage granted by precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from the additional damage of a precise strike. This additional damage is precision damage, and isn’t multiplied on a critical hit. As a swift action, a fencer can spend 1 panache point to double her precise strike’s damage bonus on the next attack. This benefit must be used before the end of her turn, or it is lost. This deed’s cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the amount of panache points a deed costs (such as the Signature Deed feat).
Fencer Initiative (Ex): At 3rd level, while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, she gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks. In addition, if she has the Quick Draw feat, her hands are free and unrestrained, and she has any single light or one-handed piercing weapon that isn’t hidden, she can draw that weapon as part of the initiative check.
Fencer’s Grace (Ex): At 7th level, while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, she takes no penalty for moving at full speed when she uses Acrobatics to attempt to move through a threatened area or an enemy’s space.
Superior Feint (Ex): At 7th level, a fencer with at least 1 panache point can, as a standard action, purposefully miss a creature she could make a melee attack against with a wielded light or one-handed piercing weapon. When she does, the creature is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC until the start of the fencer’s next turn.
Targeted Strike (Ex): At 7th level, as a full-round action the fencer can spend 1 panache point to make an attack with a single light or one-handed piercing weapon that cripples part of a foe’s body. The fencer chooses a part of the body to target. If the attack succeeds, in addition to the attack’s normal damage, the target suffers one of the following effects based on the part of the body targeted. If a creature doesn’t have one of the listed body locations that body part cannot be targeted. Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to targeted strikes. Items or abilities that protect a creature from critical hits also protect a creature from targeted strikes.
- Arms: The target takes no damage from the attack, but it drops one carried item of the fencer’s choice, even if the item is wielded with two hands. Items held in a locked gauntlet cannot be chosen.
- Head: The target is confused for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.
- Legs: The target is knocked prone. Creatures with four or more legs or that are immune to trip attacks are immune to this effect.
- Throat: The target is silenced for 1 round.
- Torso or Wings: The target is staggered for 1 round.
Bleeding Wound (Ex): At 11th level, when the fencer hits a living creature with a light or one-handed piercing weapon attack, as a free action she can spend 1 panache point to have that attack deal additional bleed damage. The amount of bleed damage dealt is equal to the fencer’s Dexterity modifier (minimum 1). Alternatively, the fencer can spend 2 panache points to deal 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution bleed damage instead (fencer’s choice). Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to these types of bleed damage.
Subtle Blade (Ex): At 11th level, while a fencer has at least 1 panache point, she is immune to disarm, steal, and sunder combat maneuvers made against a light or one-handed piercing weapon she is wielding.
Dizzying Defense (Ex): At 15th level, while wielding a light or one-handed piercing weapon in one hand, the fencer can spend 1 panache point to take the fighting defensively action as a swift action instead of a standard action. When fighting defensively in this manner, the dodge bonus to AC gained from that action increases to +4, and the penalty to attack rolls is reduced to –2.
Fencer’s Edge (Ex): At 15th level, while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, she can take 10 on any Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, or Swim check, even while distracted or in immediate danger. She can use this ability in conjunction with the derring-do deed.
Perfect Thrust (Ex): At 15th level, while the fencer has at least 1 panache point, she can as a full-round action make a perfect thrust, pooling all of her attack potential into a single melee attack made with a light or one-handed piercing weapon. When she does, she makes the attack against the target’s touch AC, and ignores all damage reduction.
Cheat Death (Ex): At 19th level, whenever the fencer is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, she can spend all of her remaining panache to instead be reduced to 1 hit point. She must have at least 1 panache point to spend. Effects that kill the fencer outright without dealing hit point damage are not affected by this ability.
Deadly Stab (Ex): At 19th level, when the fencer confirms a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, in addition to the normal damage, she can spend 1 panache point to inflict a deadly stab. The target must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw or die. The DC of this save is 10 + half of the fencer’s level + her Dexterity modifier. This is a death attack. Performing this deed does not grant the fencer a panache point.
Stunning Stab (Ex): At 19th level, when a fencer hits a creature with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, she can spend 2 panache points to stun the creature for 1 round. The creature must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + half of the fencer’s level + her Dexterity modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are also immune to this effect.
These techniques utilize the fast strikes of a fencer’s weapon. At 2nd level and every two fencer levels thereafter, the fencer may choose to learn one of the following techniques.
- A complete list of lunge techniques can be found here: Lunge Techniques
At 2nd level, a fencer gains the benefit of the Deflect Arrows feat when using a light or one-handed piercing weapon. The fencer does not need a free hand to use this feat. If the fencer already has this feat, she may pick another Combat feat for which she meets the prerequisites for.
At 2nd level and higher, a fencer can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the fencer is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless fencer does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Finesse Training (Ex)
Beginning at 3rd level, a fencer selects one type of light or finesseable, one-handed piercing melee weapons that she has selected with fencer weapon training and that she is proficient with. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Whenever she makes a successful melee attack or ranged attack (if the weapon is a thrown weapon) with the selected weapon, she adds her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier to the damage roll. If any effect would prevent the fencer from adding her Strength modifier to the damage roll, she does not add her Dexterity modifier. The fencer can select an additional weapon at 7th level and every four fencer levels thereafter, to a maximum of five weapons at 19th level.
Elaborate Parry (Ex)
At 3rd level, a fencer gains a +1 deflection bonus to AC while wielding a light or one-handed piercing weapon. Anything that causes the fencer to be disarmed also causes her to lose this deflection bonus. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 3rd (to a maximum of +5 at 19th level).
Masterful Feint (Ex)
At 5th level, a fencer can feint as a swift action instead of a standard action. Additionally, when a fencer successfully feints an opponent, that opponent is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC against all attacks that she makes until the start of her next turn.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
Starting at 6th level, a fencer can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A fencer with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against her. If a fencer already has uncanny dodge from a different class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Starting at 6th level, the fencer gains Mobility as a bonus feat when wearing light or no armor. If the fencer already has this feat, she may pick another Combat feat for which she meets the prerequisites for.
At 8th level, the fencer’s speed increases by 10 feet. She can take 20 on an Acrobatics check once per day for every four fencer levels she possesses.
Extended Reach (Ex)
The reach of a light or one-handed piercing weapon in the hands of a 9th level or higher fencer is increased by 5 ft., but only on the fencer’s turn.
Elaborate Defense (Ex)
At 10th level and higher, if a fencer chooses to fight defensively or use total defense in melee combat, she gains an additional +1 dodge bonus to AC for every three levels of fencer she has attained.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
A fencer of 10th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies an opponent the ability to sneak attack the fencer by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more thief levels than the target has fencer levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum thief level required to flank the character.
At 11th level, a fencer can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who hits the fencer with a melee attack, so long as the attacking creature is within the fencer’s reach.
Lightning Strike (Ex)
At 13th level, as part of a full attack, a fencer can make one additional attack. This attack is at the fencer’s highest base attack bonus, but each attack in the round (including the extra one) takes a –2 penalty.
Science of the Blade (Ex)
At 14th level, a fencer is able to apply her specialized knowledge of anatomy and physiology to her bladework. The fencer can make a dirty trick, disarm, or trip combat maneuver as a free action with any successful attack using any one-handed piercing weapon. The fencer still provokes attacks of opportunities when using these combat maneuvers if she does not have the appropriate feats to prevent it.
No Retreat (Ex)
At 15th level, enemies adjacent to the fencer that take a withdraw action provoke an attack of opportunity from the fencer.
Superior Reach (Ex)
The reach of a light or one-handed piercing weapon in the hands of a 17th level or higher fencer is increased by an additional 5 ft., but only on the fencer’s turn.
Surgical Strike (Ex)
At 18th level, when a fencer confirms a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing weapon, she deals ability damage in addition to the normal bonus damage from the critical hit. The fencer chooses which ability is damaged, and deals an amount of damage equal to the critical multiplier of the wielded weapon.
Fencer Weapon Mastery (Ex)
At 20th level, when a fencer threatens a critical hit with a melee weapon or thrown weapons that belongs to a fighter weapon group that she selected with fencer weapon training, that critical hit is automatically confirmed. Furthermore, the critical multipliers of such weapons increase by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, and so on).
Favored Class Bonuses
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have fencer as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
- Burmecian: Add 1/4 to the AC bonus provided by cover or improved cover.
- Dwarf: Add +1/4 to the fencer’s effective class level to determine the extra damage she deals because of the precise strike deed when wielding a light pick or a heavy pick. If the fencer has the Slashing Grace feat or another similar effect, she can treat the battleaxe or handaxe as a one-
handed piercing melee weapon, and she gains this benefit when wielding the appropriate weapon for the feat as well.
- Elvaan: Increase the total number of points in the fencer’s panache pool by 1/4.
- Galka: Gain a +1/3 bonus on all critical hit confirmation rolls made while using the precise strike deed (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus doesn’t stack with those gained through Critical Focus and similar effects.
- Half-Breed: Increase the total number of points in the fencer’s panache pool by 1/4.
- Hume: Increase the total number of points in the fencer’s panache pool by 1/4.
- Immortal: Increase the total number of points in the fencer’s panache pool by 1/4.
- Hypello: Add 1/2 to the fencer’s Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, and Swim checks when using the derring-do deed.
- Mithra: Add +1/4 to the number of panache points the fencer regains at the start of each day; her maximum panache also increases by this amount.
- Moogle: Add +1/6 to the AC bonus of the fencer’s duelist stance.
- Tarutaru: Add +1 to the fencer’s CMD when resisting a dirty trick or steal attempt.
- Viera: Increase the total number of points in the fencer’s panache pool by 1/4.
- Yagudo: Add +1/6 to the AC bonus of the fencer’s duelist stance.
- A complete list of fencer archetypes can be found here: Fencer Archetypes