Home Experts Swashbuckler Rogue D&D 5e Character Build

Swashbuckler Rogue D&D 5e Character Build

Refer to this as week Swashbuckler Week! I lately performed a 1-shot like a swashbuckler rogue and immediately found myself loving them. Actually, they’re on my small short-list to experience in a complete campaign after i have a chance. So, considering that, here’s the build I’d finish up using!

Goals of the Build

Mobile and Maneuverable

Among the core mechanics of rogues is they are very mobile. I am talking about when you are able make use of the Dodge, Dash, or Hide actions like a bonus action stop run circles around friend and foe alike.

The characteristics in the swashbuckler archetype go ahead and take rogue’s incredible base mobility and maneuverability and kicks up a notch. What I got statistics from SEO group buy, Right from the start, you receive Fancy Hard work which enables you to definitely escape from a creature you attack without requiring anything from your action economy.

You’re fast, you’re slippery, but you just have ample other methods your sleeve. For those who have a mind permanently combat positioning and want injury care, the swashbuckler is really a character which will satiate your desires.

Master Duelist

A swashbuckler build will be a complete and utter failure if it wasn’t an incredible duelist. That is why we live and die through the sword, or swords should you so decide to go a far more dual-wielding build.

If you are playing a rogue you’re already looking to hand out massive burst damage via Sneak Attack. The swashbuckler archetype takes Sneak Attack and adds a twist into it, it enables you to definitely 1v1 a target yet still be in a position to deal Sneak Attack damage.

Obviously, it’s understandable that there is also some features and tools to provide yourself top of the hands in one-on-one combat. You are able to charm your enemies into an unideal position after which finish them served by a fast blow while your party engages using the enemy minions. En garde!

rogue archetype art from Xanathar’s Help guide to Everything

You are able to tell the main one around the left may be the swashbuckler because they’re entirely completed with this shit. Credit: WotC.

Books Required for this Build

  • Player’s Guide
  • Xanathar’s Help guide to Everything
  • Optional Books for Races
  • Volo’s Help guide to Monsters

Level 1

Class: Rogue

Background: Charlatan

Note: Urchin & rogue may be the D&D form of peanut butter & jelly. But I’m from Boston. We eat peanut butter and fluff here. We’re choosing Charlatan with this one. (You may choose whatever background you would like because you can swap the skill proficiencies).

Race: variant human, any elf, tabaxi, bugbear, or goblin

Note: Any race with 2 Skill is going to do, really. I did not include halflings as you’ve 25 foot. of speed which feels subpar for any build that values mobility. However, I selected tabaxi his or her Feline Agility trait works very well using the swashbuckler rogue’s package.

Ability Scores: It was done using point buy. Read this publish for more information on point buy!

  • STR: 10 ( )
  • DEX: 16 ( 3) – 2 from Tabaxi
  • Disadvantage: 13 ( 1)
  • INT: 12 ( 1)
  • WIS: 12 ( 1)
  • CHA: 14 ( 2) – 1 from Tabaxi

Note: We certainly want that 3 Skill modifier regardless of what. Getting a 2 modifier in Charisma is amazing and highly desirable too. You are able to certainly optimize another ability scores for many additional Metabolic rate or fire up your Charisma even greater.

Skills: Acrobatics, Violence, Analysis, Persuasion (Rogue) & Deceptiveness and Sleight of Hands (Charlatan) & Perception and Stealth (Tabaxi)

Publish Level 1

Rogue 19/Fighter 1

For 95% of the build, we’ll go rogue. However, there are several excellent perks inside a fighter multiclass for just about any martial character, but rogues particularly.

Yep, we’re dipping just one level into fighter with this one. Actually, you’ll get it done at fourth level. You decide to go inside, get the 1 fighter level, and obtain the hell out and leveling rogue as though nothing happened. However, by doing this we’re likely to obtain a ton.

To begin with, we’ll gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. Really, all we would like this is actually the shield proficiency. We obtain the excellent first-level fighter feature Fighting Style plus they toss in Second Wind free of charge.

We’ve two Fighting Style options, based on which kind of swashbuckler you want to create. The foremost and my own option is Dueling. This provides us a 2 bonus to break rolls having a weapon provided you’re only wielding a melee weapon in a single hands with no other weapons. What this means is we are able to make use of a rapier along with a shield while dealing typically 6.5 DEX modifier damage per hit.

Another Fighting Style choice is Two-Weapon Fighting. This enables you to definitely incorperate your ability modifier towards the harm to the 2nd attack. For the time being, you are able to just use two weapons using the light property, but if you decide to follow this path you’ll want to get the twin Wielder so that you can use two melee weapons that aren’t light.

For additional info on dual wielding and 2-Weapon Fighting read this article!

“But let’s say we’re really likely to play to level 20?”

I’d still skip on going 20 levels into rogue for Stroke of Luck. Nothing against it, but Master Duelist comprises for around 1/2 of Stroke of Luck’s effectiveness. Dipping an amount into fighter will get us all that nutrients I already pointed out, so we get to maximize our Sneak Attack dice and obtain all the rogue’s ASIs.

Ability Score Increases (ASIs)

We obtain as many as 6 ASIs throughout our journey to level 20.

Ability Score Priorities

Skill >>> Charisma >> Metabolic rate > Knowledge >= Intelligence > Strength

Skill is very perhaps the best ability score hanging around. There’s a lot of regularly-used skills that need it, it’s a well known saving throw ability, your initiative is dependant on it, your AC is dependant on it, so that as a rogue, your attacks and damage center around it too. Cap your Skill at 20 As soon as possible, as with in your first 2-3 ASIs.

Charisma is very essential for swashbucklers as many our features center around it. For this reason, we’ll most likely finish up to be the face from the party, so extra Charisma never hurt anybody. I do not want to cap it at 20 but aim for 16-18 for your sweet, sweet 3 or 4 modifier.

Metabolic rate is great because it is also a well known saving throw ability. Additionally, it bolsters our base HP therefore it helps with our survivability. Personally, I wouldn’t go buck-wild with Metabolic rate. You are able to grab one half-task and boost it up to and including 2 modifier easily. 16 Metabolic rate is our absolute max though.

Intelligence and Knowledge are roughly equal in effectiveness for the way you want to experience your character. Are you currently more perceptive or inquisitive? Naturally, I’d provide a slight edge to Knowledge simply because it’s a typical saving throw ability.

Strength isn’t super helpful for this build. However, like a tabaxi, we’ve unarmed strikes that deal extra damage according to our strength modifier. I still wouldn’t put extra points in it, but it isn’t entirely useless.


Dual Wielder* – This can be a fantastic task if you are searching to dual wield two melee weapons rather of roll using the rapier & shield duelist combo. You’ll gain some AC when you are presently dual wielding, dual wield melee weapons that aren’t light, and draw/stow two one-handed weapons at the same time. It’s lots of value for any dual wielding playstyle.

Mage Slayer – Although this is a distinct segment task, it will its job well. You will get the opportunity to make use of your response to make a panic attack against a creature that casts a spell within 5 ft individuals. This provides us another chance to flex our Sneak Attack damage. It’s an enjoyable task when you are facing off against an array of spellcasting opponents.

Magic Initiate (Wizard) – With this particular task, you will get 2 Cantrips and 1 first-level Spell in the Wizard Spell list. Are you able to say Eco-friendly Flame Blade or Booming Blade? I am talking about, if we’re only capable of making one melee attack per turn anyways we might as well cast a cantrip that provides us extra damage and perks for doing this.

Find Familiar is an excellent option for our first-level spell. You should use your familiar to provide yourself or perhaps an ally advantage with an attack every turn among another nice perks.

Resilient (Metabolic rate) – For those who have a strange number for the Metabolic rate score you may as well get this task. By doing this you receive that additional 1 modifier for your Metabolic rate and gain proficiency in Metabolic rate saving throws. We’ll have as many as 4 saving throw proficiencies at level 15 because of Slippery Mind!

Sentinel – This is comparable to Mage Slayer except it’s a lot more possibilities for use. You will see lots of occasions where you want to interact a creature in a single-on-one combat, or else you ask them to locked in a perfect position. This helps to ensure that they won’t slip from your duel without your permission.

Lucky – Lucky is a superb task for just about any build.

Dire Fleet Daredevil Card Art MtG

We are able to still do all of the awesome rogue stuff. We’re just expert duelists too! Credit: WotC.

Class Features – Rogue

Expertise – Level 1 & 6

When the eight skill proficiencies weren’t enough for you personally, now you can gain expertise and double the amount proficiency bonus of a couple of your skill proficiencies. You are able to optionally gain expertise together with your thieves’ tools.

You will get this selection two times so as a whole we’ll have knowledge of four different skill checks.

  • Level 1: Persuasion & Thieves’ Tools
  • Level 6: Dealer’s Choice

I recommend grabbing knowledge of both Persuasion and Thieves’ Tools. Persuasion is directly associated with the swashbuckler’s Panache feature so it’s vital to possess a high modifier. Thieves’ tools are particularly helpful for disabling traps or unlocking doorways.

Honestly, you are able to most likely decide to gain knowledge of whatever skills you would like. Persuasion may be the one mandatory skill that you must have with this build. My own favorites for level 6 could be Stealth and Perception/Analysis, though Deceptiveness and Violence are wonderful choices for a face character.

Sneak Attack – Level 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19

This is actually the rogue’s bread-and-butter combat feature. Unlike another martial classes, rogues don’t get the additional Attack feature. Rather, they play like a high-burst character with couple of attacks per turn, however their attacks hit hard.

Sneak Attack starts-off at level 1 dealing yet another 1d6 (3.5) damage once per turn. This damage increases almost every other level by 1d6 (3.5) damage.

Granted, they have ample tools to offset the chance of missing using their one or two attacks per turn, however it can continue to bring a little bit of risk to their combat effectiveness. Rogues center around having the ability to regularly dish-out their Sneak Attack damage. They become sub-componen when they’re not able to.

Thankfully, there are many methods to trigger Sneak Attack. Technology-not only once per turn provided you’ve advantage around the attack roll having a finesse or ranged weapon. However, its not necessary advantage around the attack if the enemy of the target is at 5 foot. of the target. Swashbucklers will also get yet another trigger which we’ll discuss later.

Sneak Attack provides a lot of burst damage. It’s undoubtedly the key factor into why I frequently wind-up multi-classing into rogue whenever I play a DEX-based martial class.

However, within this build, we’re obtaining the maximum advantages of Sneak Attack because it caps out at 10d6 at level 19. That’s typically 35 extra damage that is absolutely nothing to scoff at for any feature which has no awesome-lower and could be used multiple occasions inside a round.

Thieves’ Cant – Level 1

Thieves’ Cant is basically a distinctive language that just thieves, rogues, along with other unsavory figures know. It requires significantly longer to speak using Thieves’ Cant, but it’s a method to make sure that your messages will not be intercepted by most eavesdroppers.

You’ll also learn secret signs and symbols which you can use to mark locations. These symbols can convey simple messages for example when the area is harmful or has plentiful easy marks for pickpockets.

This isn’t anything essential to our swashbuckler build, but it’s certainly an enjoyable tool for role-playing.

Cunning Action – Level 2

We would have liked mobility, now let’s acquire some mobility. Cunning Action might well be certainly one of my personal favorite features hanging around. It has a absurd quantity of utility packed right into a small, second-level-sized package.

This selection enables you to accept Dash, Disengage, or Hide action like a bonus action. This really is one of the reasons why I opted to choose the rapier and shield duelist combo rather of the dual wielder build. I’ll also have an added bonus action open to use Cunning Action.

Bear in mind that you could still make use of your thing to do a touch, Disengage, or Hide action and employ Cunning Action. Which means that you might take two Dash actions on the turn, or Disengage and Dash within the same turn if you are caught inside a tough position.

If you opt to play a tabaxi much like me you are able to couple your Cunning Action with Feline Agility to secure round the battlefield with lightning-fast speed.

tabaxi art from volo’s help guide to monsters

Tabaxi have climb speed too. Which means we’ve permission to parkour the hell from the battlefield. Credit: WotC.

Uncanny Dodge – Level 5

Our Consitution is alright. We are able to have a solid hit or more. Mediocre HP wouldn’t be considered a problem for many rogues, but we’re playing a swashbuckler which using the Panache feature at level 9 has the capacity to basically taunt an opponent.

My point is the fact that we’re likely to be a target if our high damage output doesn’t make us one already.

Uncanny Dodge, however, provides for us a method to use our response to reduce an attack’s damage by half. It is really an exceptional feature because it provides for us an incredible survivability option, it provides for us a normal use for the reaction. I’m about maximizing that action economy!

You should use Uncanny Dodge to brace yourself to have an attack you know is likely to hit you hard. An execllent me is for mitigating damage while you’re at low HP.

There’s really no wrong method to use Uncanny Dodge, unless of course you believe you’ve got a better way to apply your reaction, for example if you possess the Sentinel task and also have a wider window to create chance attacks against opponents.

Evasion – Level 7

Evasion is yet another survivability feature that rogues get, however, that one doesn’t require anything from our action economy to make use of. It’s purely a passive feature.

If one makes a Skill saving throw to consider half damage you are taking no damage on the success and half damage on the failure.

It’s definitely not an enjoyable feature, but it’s an incredible one which helps you to save your ass many occasions.

Reliable Talent – Level 11

Sorry, were eight skill proficiencies, as much as four of that have been upgraded to Expertise insufficient for you personally? My bad.

Well, with Reliable Talent, if you make the capability make sure that enables you to definitely incorperate your proficiency bonus into it you are able to treat any roll of 9 or lower as though it were a ten.

Awesome, now we can’t roll less than a ten on these skills. This will probably be exceptional for Panache because it guarantees we have a minimum of a ten on all of our Persuasion checks!

Actually, having a base of 10 for the roll, Expertise along with a 3 Charisma modifier the cheapest we are able to roll for any Persuasion check is really a 21. Nice!

Blindsense – Level 14

Now you can sense the place associated with a hidden or invisible creature within 10 foot. individuals provided that you can to listen to.

This really is peak “I’m not in here along with you, you’re in here beside me!” Nobody will get to cover of your stuff unless of course you allow them to.

Or maybe they’re beyond 10 foot. from you, but thinking about how quickly we are able to move you are able to completely sweep an area pretty rapidly to discover a hidden creature.

Slippery Mind – Level 15

As though Evasion wasn’t enough, you have another feature that helps you in preserving throws. Slippery Mind provides you with proficiency in Knowledge saving throws.

If you are truly living around the edge and required Resilient (Metabolic rate) you’ll are in possession of proficiency in four saving throw abilities. Three of what are most widely used saving throw abilities in D&D 5e.

Elusive – Level 18

The other survivability features may be crammed onto our character sheet?

What about becoming so quickly and Elusive that attack rolls can’t have advantage against you unless of course you’re incapacitated? Sounds good. We’ll go.

This is a great finish-game feature. It’s an very effective feature and essentially, another survivability tool to throw in to the pile of survivability and maneuverability options we’ve already.

It isn’t a feature that’s associated with any kind of action or needs a short or lengthy rest to make use of again. Case an always-on passive feature. It’s fantastic.

Roguish Archetype – Swashbuckler

Fancy Hard work – Level 3

Basically, you will get the opportunity to escape from a creature without provoking chance attacks from their store. Provided you’ve attacked all of them with a melee weapon this turn. This doesn’t need you to make use of a bonus action, action, or anything. It’s awesome.

The issue, obviously, is the fact that just the creature you’ve attacked is not able to create chance attacks against you. If you are within selection of other creatures that you simply haven’t attacked, they are able to still make chance attacks against you.

In writing, this sounds pretty weak, however in practice, it’s an very helpful feature when used well. You just need a little bit of tactical know-how and creativeness to do this. Check out the diagram below to determine what I’m speaking about.

It normally won’t call me “the John Madden of D&D” for free.

Like a swashbuckler, you need to continue with the borders of the fight. Allow the front-line plow with the enemy line. We’re here to whittle lower the enemy forces in the outdoors-in.

Move to some creature around the fringe of the enemy formation, attack, then use Fancy Hard work to maneuver back to a perfect position. Rinse, and repeat.

An execllent choice is to lure creatures from their formation and strike them lower while they’re alone.

“But let’s say you’re getting encircled?” Never be encircled! We’ve Fancy Hard work and Cunning Action to allow us dip interior and exterior combat rapidly if we’re facing extremely fast creatures. Essentially, don’t finish your turn ready in which the enemy may use their movement to gang on you.

Understandably, Fancy Hard work also couples well with Feline Agility which helps you to double your speed before the finish of the turn. This combo is going to be available fairly regularly thinking about the truth that Feline Agility’s cooldown resets once you move ft on your turns.

Rakish Audacity – Level 3

Rakish Audacity is really a two-parter. The very first which enables you to definitely incorperate your Charisma modifier for your initiative rolls. For reference, we’d attend a 5 to initiative using the point buy build we created. It’s very possible to possess a 8 or 9 bonus through the finish of the build.

Going at the start of the initiative order is nearly always advantageous, but it’s especially advantageous for swashbucklers. Because of our “dive and weave” positioning, we’ve top of the-hands at gaining a proper foothold around the battlefield prior to the enemy has the capacity to enter into an effective formation.

The 2nd perk of Rakish Audacity is you can use Sneak Attack against a creature if you’re within 5 foot. of these whenever you attack them, so that as lengthy because there are not one other creatures within 5 ft individuals. Additionally you cannot have disadvantage around the roll to make use of Sneak Attack in this manner.

Keep your “no other creatures within 5 ft of you” part at the back of the mind. You aren’t needed to become 1v1ing one another within the corner to make use of Rakish Audacity. You may be around the perimeter of several opponents provided you’re not within 5 foot. of other people.

Obviously, the standard ways of using Sneak Attack continue to be possible. Rakish Audacity just provides you with an alternative choice.

Panache – Level 9

Panache is yet another two-part feature, except that one focuses more about making use of your wit and charm than your sword.

To make use of Panache make use of an action to create a Persuasion check against a creature’s Insight check. The results of Panache differ for the way the creature perceives you if you use Panache.

Should you succeed and also the creature is hostile for you, the creature attacks with disadvantage on attack rolls against targets apart from you. Additionally they cannot make chance attacks against creatures apart from you. This lasts one minute, until your buddies attacks the creature, or you and also the creature tend to be more than 60 ft apart.

Should you succeed around the check, however the creature isn’t hostile in your direction, the creature is charmed on your part for one minute. You’re considered like a friendly acquaintance before the finish from the charm. However, the charm ends early if you and your buddies attack the creature. It’s a small Charm Person with no downsides

There isn’t any short or lengthy rest requirement to get back using this selection. You are able to Panache around you would like. It’s a really solid utility feature both interior and exterior combat, especially because we have knowledge of Persuasion checks!

Elegant Maneuver – Level 13

When compared with all of those other features, Elegant Maneuver is most likely your weakest one. By weak, I am talking about that it is a situational feature.

Elegant Maneuver enables you to make use of a bonus action to achieve advantage in your next Acrobatics or Athletics check you are making throughout the same turn. This is extremely helpful for situations in which you know there’s a hurdle you need to move forward from using one of these simple skills.

The very best utilization of Elegant Maneuver would be to do absurd stunts before the DM provides you with inspiration. Credit: WotC.

Another utilization of Elegant Maneuver would be to escape a grapple. Our survivability and playstyle revolve entirely around having the ability to maneuver around the battlefield. A grapple is among the couple of stuff that makes it possible for the enemy to dogpile upon us making quick work people. Breaking free from grapples is essential.

If there’s an Acrobatics or Athletics check to make, you essentially have permanent advantage onto it from level 13 and forward.

Master Duelist – Level 17

Should you miss by having an attack roll you may choose to roll the attack again with advantage.

When I pointed out earlier this is extremely like the rogue’s capstone ability Stroke of Luck which helps you to turn a missed attack or unsuccessful ability look at successful. Master Duelist is clearly less strong, but it’s a good substitute. Correctly, I do not feel below par about passing up on Stroke of Luck to consider that use fighter.

You simply have this once per short or lengthy rest. Choose your reroll wisely!

Strengths of the Build

We’ve got some excellent damage output because of Sneak Attack and also the Duelist Fighting Style. This could simply be improved on with respect to the feats you finish up taking too.

Dual wielders will definitely emerge ahead within the damage dealing department, but personally, I still like the 2 AC we profit from utilizing a shield. I additionally love getting an added bonus action open to use Cunning Action or Elegant Maneuver whenever I please. Again, this can be a few playstyle preference.

We’re also damn quick because of Cunning Action and Feline Agility. Rakish Audacity helps to ensure that we’re going at the start of the combat order therefore we will surely take a perfect position within the battlefield and, obviously, deal the very first strike towards the enemy!

Also, let’s give another quick shout-to Fancy Hard work which provides us lots of possibilities to dip and weave right into a better position throughout the path of a combat encounter.

We deal some hefty damage, we’re slippery, and we’re damn quick. This is actually the ultimate dream for any combat-focused rogue, except we’ve a lot of out-of-combat utility like a face character because of our skill proficiencies, Panache, and our high Charisma!

Weaknesses of the Build

Honestly, probably the most glaring weakness belongs to why is the swashbuckler so strong to begin with. It’s a hyper-focused archetype that revolves entirely around causing you to an incredible melee enemy. You aren’t a properly-balanced master of combat.

What i’m saying to state is the fact that our ranged choices are possible, we are able to still proc Sneak Attack from afar, but we’re wasting our potential when we’re forced right into a situation where we must use ranged attacks. We’re at our very best in melee combat. Fighting at lengthy-range sucks.

We’re extremely squishy up to we obtain Uncanny Dodge at rogue level 5, which with this build is character level 6. We’ve a lot of AC, but when we obtain hit by a lot of damage we do not have anything when it comes to minimization.

Publish rouge level 5 we’re in a far greater place and just still improve when it comes to survivability, but individuals first 5 character levels could be rough.


The swashbuckler really is affected with getting lots of “looks bad on paper” features. Nothing looks super exciting or flashy, however when you really reach play as you, it all fits in place right into a well-oiled whirring dervish.

Personally, I’d place the swashbuckler just behind arcane trickster within the ranking of rogue archetypes according to combat prowess. Sure, swashbucklers possess a defined playstyle, however they possess the tools to really make it work and have great results well.

You’re not really a front-line bruiser, but regardless of how you slice it you will be doing a bit of massive damage. It is also a really customizable build because of the number of ASIs rogues get. Select fun feats to really help make your swashbuckler unique!

If injury care is among your preferred areas of D&D, the swashbuckler is among the most enjoyable and rewarding character choices for you.

Should you enjoyed that which you read make sure to take a look at my ongoing review for all those official D&D 5e books and my other 5e character builds!



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