Campaign TrailCharacter BuildsD&D 5eSwashbuckling

The Three Musketeers & Swashbuckling Ideas for Your Next PC

Are you looking to stop a plot against the King or sail the high seas in search of adventure?

I love the Three Musketeers book, the movie from 2010 (yep I do), and the current TV show. I also like building out characters inspired by my favorite characters onscreen such as the Fantastic Four, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. This week on the Campaign Trail, I thought I would provide a collection of swashbuckling PCs inspired by these iconic characters that can be used in a swashbuckling adventure.

Swashbuckling PCs | Swashbuckling NPCs

There are a ton of great systems out there to use to run a group of swashbuckling heroes saving the day such as Pathfinder, 7th Sea, FATE and even Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. D&D is also an excellent system to create a variety of swashbuckling characters. Whether you are a player looking for a character idea, a DM who needs some pregenerated characters for a one-shot, or just some guy who likes reading stuff about things… grab your rapier and let’s get building.

swash·buck·le (verb)
engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance.

About these Swashbuckling Builds

  • These builds focus on being fun to play in a game with a swashbuckling theme.
  • D&D 5th edition released the Swashbuckler archetype for the Rogue class in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, but as you’ll see this isn’t the only way to create a swashbuckling hero for your next PC.
  • These are not designed to be perfect min-maxed builds, rather they are just my attempt at creating a variety of swashbuckling heros at level 10 inspired by these iconic characters.
  • I used base stats (27 point buy) and allowed human variant and taking feats.
  • Get creative for your own PCs as there’s no reason why any of these PCs can’t have a different gender or race. Milady could be switched to a male half-elf womanizer or Porthos could be a strong female half-orc who always looks her best.
  • Adding in magic can be even more fun and opens up PCs that swashbuckle with magic such as Valor Bards, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Trickster Rogues and even Aramis as a Paladin.
  • If you want to add guns, just give your heroes and villains renaissance pistols from the DMG (1d10 piercing) or check out my swashbuckling weapons.
  • I didn’t add any steampunk equipment like they did in the 2010 movie.
  • Swashbuckling heroes should look for opportunities to shove, kick, and punch opponents (with their hilt or free hand) and Dungeon Masters should help them find them.
  • Picking alignment for Dumas inspired swashbucklers is hard as they will follow authority and law, but also happily break laws too. I’ll leave it for you to decide where they fall on the Law to Chaos scale.

Here are stats and more for the Musketeers!

Even more swashbuckling ideas will be provided next week with a bunch of NPCs, including Buckingham, Rochefort and Cardinal Richelieu.

D’Artagnan

D’Artagnan’s name has become synonymous with the fearless, swashbuckling swordsman adventurer. This foolhardy, brave and clever young man is the Three Musketeers’ main character. He leaves his home in Gascony and heads to Paris seeking his fortune, taking almost nothing with him other than his his good looks, integrity and his expert swordsmanship. Despite stumbles early on, d’Artagnan makes friends with the Three Musketeers, becoming a full member.

D’Artagnan and the swashbuckler rogue archetype are a great match, allowing him to focus on dueling his foes. The humble beginnings of a Folk Hero background best match the journey of this boy from Gascony to hero of Paris. D’Artagnan would work well as a battlemaster too. This build is a standard, but still lots of fun to play as you dart around the battlefield and challenge foes. As a swashbuckler, D’Artagnan can be effective with two weapons when using Fancy Footwork, but he would need the Dual-Wielder feat to be effective with two rapiers. With the Lucky feat D’Artagnan can act with reckless abandon too.

 

Rogue 10 (Swashbuckler)

Human Folk Hero

Armor Class 17 (Studded Leather Armor)
Initiative:
+8 (Dex + Cha)
Speed:
30 ft.
Hit Points:
53 (10d8)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 20 (+5) 11 (+0) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 16 (+3)

Features & Traits:

  • Racial. Human
  • Feats. Lucky

Main Attacks:

  • Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d8+5 piercing
  • Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d4+5 piercing

Folk Hero Background Highlights:

  • Skills. Animal Handling (horse!), Survival
  • Tools. Vehicles (land)
  • Features. Rustic Hospitality

Rogue (Swashbuckler):

  • Features. Sneak Attack, Thieves’ Cant, Cunning Action, Uncanny Dodge and Evasion
  • Swashbuckler Archetype
    • Fancy Footwork
    • Rakish Audacity
    • Panache

Athos

Athos (or Count de La Fere), has never recovered from his marriage to Milady and often seeks solace at the bottom of a bottle of wine. Athos is the oldest and most aristocratic of the Three Musketeers, even acting as a father figure to d’Artagnan.

The battlemaster archetype offers a ton of flexibility to create a dueling fighter that is the swashbuckling equal (or better) of the rogue swashbuckler archetype.

Fighter 10 (Battlemaster)

Human Noble

Armor Class 17 (Studded Leather Armor)
Initiative:
+5
Speed:
30 ft.
Hit Points:
63 (10d10)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 20 (+5) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 14 (+2) 12 (+1)

Features & Traits:

  • Racial. Human
  • Feats. Sentinel

Main Attacks:

  • Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d8+7 piercing

Noble Background Highlights:

  • Skills. History, Persuasion
  • Tools. Chess
  • Languages. One of your choice.

Fighter (Battlemaster):

  • Fighting Style. Dueling
  • Features. Second Wind, Action Surge, Extra Attack, Indomitable
  • Battlemaster Archetype
    • Combat Superiority, Student of War, Know Your Enemy, Improved Combat Superiority
    • Maneuvers (7): Evasive Footwork, Maneuvering Attack, Parry, Precision Attack, Riposte, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack

Aramis

Aramis (or René d’Herblay), is a handsome young man who is pulled between his religious calling and his fondness for women and scheming. Aramis was brought up in a monastery and it was assumed that he would become a priest. His future took a drastic turn when met a young lady who he fell in love with. This circumstance unfortunately pushed Aramis into a rivalry with an officer, who he killed after mastering fencing for a year.

The Aramis in this build isn’t afraid of a head to head battle, but is just as happy to attack from the shadows. His Acolyte background represents his past and perhaps his future, when her returns to his calling. As a rogue, Aramis can be effective with two weapons, but I think he might choose to use Cunning Action in most cases.

Rogue 10 (Assassin)

Human Acolyte

Armor Class 17 (Studded Leather Armor)
Initiative:
+10 (Alert)
Speed:
30 ft.
Hit Points:
53 (10d8)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 20 (+5) 10 (+0) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 14 (+2)

Features & Traits:

  • Racial. Human Variant
  • Feats. Alert, Observant, Skulker

Main Attacks:

  • Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d8+5 piercing
  • Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d4+5 piercing

Human Variant:

  • Skills. Perception

Acolyte Background Highlights:

  • Skills. Insight, Religion
  • Tools. Thieves’ tools, disguise kit, poisoner’s kit.
  • Languages. Two languages
  • Key Equipment. A Holy Symbol (Cross) and Prayer Book (Bible)

Rogue (Assassin):

  • Skills. Acrobatics, Investigation, Persuasion, Stealth
  • Equipment. Thieves’ tools
  • Sneak Attack, Thieves’ Cant, Cunning Action, Uncanny Dodge and Evasion
  • Assassin Archetype
    • Assassinate
    • Infiltration Expertise

Porthos

Porthos (or Monsieur du Vallon), is a dandy who loves the finer things in life such as fashionable clothes and is always on the lookout for a way to make a fortune for himself. He compensates for being the least brainy of the quartet with his strength of body and character. Porthos takes pride in his good looks and his fine physique, always making sure he is dressing to impress the women of society. He is devoted to good food and comfortable surroundings. Porthos is so enamored with the finer things in life that while he wasn’t born a noble, he has demanded a position of privilege in society and a noble background works well for him.

This Porthos build uses his brawn to overpower his enemies, providing power and muscle to go along with the agility and panache of the rest of the musketeers. Porthos uses his strength to attack with a rapier or his bare hands. He is much too refined to be a barbarian, so I thought the champion archetype of the fighter would work best with a level of monk, giving him an unarmed attack as a bonus action and let him get more crits. I’d be tempted to take the Grappler or Dual Wielder feat eventually too.

Fighter 9 (Champion), Monk 1

Human Noble

Armor Class 16 (Unarmored Defense) or 14 (Hide Armor)
Initiative:
+3
Speed:
30 ft.
Hit Points:
83 (9d10, 1d8)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20 (+5) 14 (+2) 14 (+2) 9 (-1) 14 (+2) 14 (+2)

Features & Traits:

  • Racial. Human
  • Feats. Tavern Brawler

Main Attacks:

  • Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d8+7 piercing
  • Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d4+7 piercing
  • Unarmed Attack. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d4+5 bludgeoning
  • Improvised Weapons

Noble Background Highlights:

  • Skills. History, Persuasion
  • Tools. Cards
  • Languages. One of your choice.

Monk:

  • Features. Martial Arts, Unarmored Defense

Fighter (Champion):

  • Skills. Athletics, Intimidation
  • Fighting Style. Dueling
  • Features. Second Wind, Action Surge, Extra Attack, Indomitable
  • Champion Archetype. Improved Critical, Remarkable Athlete

milady

Milady de Winter

Milady de Winter, often referred to as simply Milady, is a beautiful and spy of the Cardinal Richelieu, she is also Athos’s ex-wife.

She is a spy for Cardinal and is one of the dominant antagonists of the story. Her role in the first part is to seduce the English minister, the Duke of Buckingham, who is also the secret lover of Queen Anne of France. Hoping to blackmail the Queen, Richelieu orders Milady to steal two diamonds from a set of matched studs given to Buckingham by the Queen, which were a gift to her from her husband, King Louis XIII. Thwarted by d’Artagnan and the other musketeers, Milady’s opposition of d’Artagnan carries much of the second half of the novel.

Jumping back and forth over the fine line between friend and foe, Milady provides interesting ideas for building a PC and a ton of roleplay hooks for the group, especially Athos. This Milady build provides a PC that is skilled at combat and deception. Milady should work just as well with the Assassin archetype, if you don’t like the thief below. As a spy she uses her thievery and acting skills to conduct espionage rather than petty crimes. As a rogue, Milady de Winter can be effective with two weapons, but I think she might choose to use Cunning Action in most cases.

Rogue 10 (Thief)

Human Criminal (Spy)

Armor Class 15 (Unarmored) or 17 (Studded Leather Armor)
Initiative:
+5
Speed:
30 ft.
Hit Points:
53 (10d8)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 20 (+5) 10 (+0) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 18 (+4)

Features & Traits:

  • Racial. Human
  • Feats. Actor

Main Attacks:

  • Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d8+5 piercing
  • Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack +9, Hit: 1d4+5 piercing

Criminal (Spy) Background Highlights:

  • Skills. Deception, Stealth
  • Tools. Thieves’ tools, cards

Rogue (Thief):

  • Skills. Acrobatics, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand
  • Features. Sneak Attack, Thieves’ Cant, Cunning Action, Uncanny Dodge and Evasion
  • Thief Archetype. Fast Hands, Second-Story Work, Supreme Sneak

rapier

Next week on the Campaign Trail…

Keep reading part 2 – Swashbuckling Enemies and Allies from the Three Musketeers, a look at NPCs inspired from the Three Musketeers to provide some of the allies and villains for your adventure.

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