Iconic Design: Musing About Feinting Fun

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then a Pathfinder RPG option is released that I go absolutely ga-ga for, and this month it happened. In a book I wrote for, no less! But before you start worrying that I’m just going to be pimping my own work this week, don’t worry—I didn’t write any of the content I’m using today. (Although SOOOOOON!) Instead, I’m working with what is quickly becoming one of my favorite, new prestige classes—the devoted muse!

What’s the devoted muse do? Why, let me show you on today’s Guidance!

Build Concept

Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.

  • Classes: Swashbuckler 3 / Mesmerist (Vexing Daredevil) 3 / Devoted Muse 2
  • Feats: Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Weapon Focus (glaive) (1st), Bladed Brush (3rd), Combat Expertise (5th), Improved Feint (Bonus), Mesmerizing Stare (7th)
  • Abilities: artful defense, artistic flourish, charmed life 3/day, consummate liar, hypnotic stare, nimble +1, painful stare, panache, swashbuckler finesse, towering ego
  • Artistic Flourish: circling strike, deadly strike, distracted, harmonious strike
  • Bold Stares: psychic inception (3rd)
  • Dazzling Feint: Piercing Strike (3rd)
  • Deeds: derring-do (1st), dodging panache (1st), opportune parry and riposte (1st), kip-up (3rd), menacing swordplay (3rd), precise strike (3rd), swashbuckler’s initiative (3rd)
  • Mesmerist Trick: astounding avoidance (2nd)
  • Mesmerist 1st-Level Spells Known (4): burst of adrenaline, burst of insight, ANY TWO
  • Mesmerist Knacks Known (6): ANY

Play Description

Alright, so let’s get a few basics down. The devoted muse is a new Shelyn-themed prestige class from Paths of Prestige that’s built around looking REALLY pretty when you feint. So pretty, in fact, that you blast foes with negative conditions as you dart around. It’s a class that is built around swashbuckler mechanics and meshes really well with that class, but its also a feinting-based class, and one of the most important abilities for a feint-focused character is the Mesmerizing Feint feat chain, which make it possible to feint a variety of foes without penalty.

So in order to meet the class’s prerequisites, the most difficult being three feats (Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, and Weapon Finesse) as well as BAB +5, I took three levels of swashbuckler and three levels of mesmerist (vexing daredevil). Swashbuckler gave me the Weapon Finesse feat I needed, while at 3rd level vexing daredevil I get Improved Feint for free, as well as a dazzling feint ability. Dazzling feints allow me to inflict a penalty on foes when I feint them, and I chose Piercing Strike, which lets me make my painful strike hit a little bit harder. Its not an amazing boost, but 1d8+1 extra damage certainly comes in handy! Plus as a 3rd-level swashbuckler, I have an extra +3 damage from precise strike!

Now, you may notice I have some wacky feats in the build—namely Weapon Focus (glaive) and Bladed Brush. Those are no mere accidents, friends! Bladed Brush (which needs Weapon Focus [glaive]) lets me basically use my glaive as if it were a swashbuckler weapon. It can be finessed with swashbuckler finesse, counts as one-handed for all abilities I have, and even lets me add Dex to damage with my glaive! Better still, I can choose to remove my glaive’s reach as a move action, meaning you can’t really “close in” on me to deny me my ability to attack you. Very fun and helpful, but things get better with the PRC.

I don’t know if I can stress how awesome the devoted muse is. First, you get to add 1 point of Charisma bonus per PrC level to your AC, just like a swashbuckler’s uncanny dodge. Next, you get swashbuckler levels for the purpose of deeds and panache (PrC level –3, minimum 1), and it stacks with any existing swashbuckler levels you have. Finally, at 2nd level, you get this AWESOME ability called artful flourish, which lets you replace the “denied Dex bonus to AC” part of flanking with one of several very helpful abilities. At 2nd level, my ability lets me give my allies concealment against my target’s attacks. Even better, I can spend panache whenever I use my artful flourish to get another additional effect—I can move around my foe or deal extra precision damage, with the options getting more powerful as I level up.

As my devoted muse level goes beyond 2nd, I get feinting-based bonus feats, cool new artful abilities, and even bonus panache points. All in all, the combo is a very cool feinting-focused character who can do a LOT of very neat stuff with a simple Bluff check!

That’s it for this week’s Iconic Design. Tune back in two weeks for more ideas for your next PC or NPC, and have a Happy Holiday! Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alexs Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander "Alex" Augunas is an author and behavioral health worker living outside of Philadelphia in the United States. He has contributed to gaming products published by Paizo, Inc, Kobold Press, Legendary Games, Raging Swan Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Steve Jackson Games, as well as the owner and publisher of Everybody Games (formerly Everyman Gaming). At the Know Direction Network, he is the author of Guidance and a co-host on Know Direction: Beyond. You can see Alex's exploits at http://www.everybodygames.net, or support him personally on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/eversagarpg.


  1. DaGreatJL

    Just wanted to point out that since devoted muse levels stack with swashbuckler for the purpose of deeds, which means that the damage bonus from precise strike is 5, not 3.

  2. Marco

    Excuse me Alex, I have two questions.

    1- Doesn’t the vexing daredevil lose bold stares?
    2- Without slashing grace is still impossible to this build to do dex-damage or am I missing something?

    • Zozh

      Just throwing my voice out as I too would like to know if the inclusion of a Bold Stare was just a mistype. It doesn’t stop the build from grabbing Mesmerizing Feint as that only requires hypnotic stare, but it does mean you can’t get the greater version which is a shame.

      And no it doesn’t seem you could have Dex to damage without Slashing grace. I assume him saying that Bladed brush gives Dex to damage referenced that it let’s a glaive be compatible with that feat.

      Also is “swashbuckler’s uncanny dodge” meant to mean the Duelist PrC’s Canny Defense ability?

      Interrested as with Virtuous bravo now an option doing a paladin version of this build would be fun and thematic.