Iconic Design: Alex Writes an Aldori Swordlord

Well, everyone, the Adventurer’s Guide is here, and to celebrate its release, I thought it would be fun to do a build using content from the guide. In my opinion, one of the most viable options in the book is the aldori swordlord, and my Reign of Winter party currently has one of those in it, so I was pretty keen on the concept already. Without any further delays, let’s take a look at the build!

Build Concept

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

  • Classes: fighter (aldori defender) 8 / aldori swordlord 4
  • Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: aldori dueling sword (Bonus), Weapon Finesse (1st), Weapon Focus: aldori dueling sword (Bonus), Dazzling Display (3rd), Combat Expertise (Bonus), Improved Disarm (5th), Quick Draw (Bonus), Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Greater Disarm (7th), Aldori Style (Bonus), Weapon Specialization: aldori dueling sword (9th), Improved Critical: aldori dueling sword (11th)
  • Abilities: adaptive tactics 1, bravery +2, defensive parry +3, deft strike, disarming strike, display weapon prowess, steel net, weapon training (heavy blades) +1

Play Summary

So basically, your job is blender people with your dueling sword. Pretty simple, right? Well surprisingly, the aldori defender / aldori swordlord combo is okay at damage AND okay at not getting blundered. Imagine that.

So, offense-wise, our big advantage is that the new Adventurer’s Guide version of the aldori swordlord can use Dex to damage with his dueling sword irregardless of whether he uses it in one-hand or two-hands (as far as I know, the original was one-handed only). This roughly puts the dueling sword on-par with the elven curve because you get that delicious 1-1/2 times Dexterity on damage rolls. In addition to that, we’re picking up Weapon Specialization and weapon training +1 for damage, so if you’re using your sword two-handed, you’re likely looking at roughly 1d8+10 damage; it’s not amazing, but it’s not terrible either. (This is assuming you have a 20 Dex, of course).

Defense-wise, you’ve got Combat Expertise (stop hissing at me!), and TWO different versions of the defensive parry ability; one from your aldori archetype, and one from your prestige class. And strangely enough, they both do different things and the prestige class seems to advance the archetype’s ability (one’s a dodge bonus, one’s a shield bonus so unless there’s an errata-worthy typo, they stack). However, this is probably a good thing because you’re likely using a mithral breastplate at best. Assuming you are, you’re getting a +8 from the +2 breastplate, +5 from your Dex modifier, +4 from Combat Expertise, +3 from the fighter’s defensive parry, +1 from the prestige class’s defensive parry, and +5 from fighting defensively (you’re probably taking ranks in Acrobatics to boost the normal +2 to +3, and the aldori defender’s steel net ability gives you another +2 to your fighting defensively bonus). And hey, for the heck of it let’s assume you’re buying one of those fancy new aldori cloaks in Adventurer’s Guide that act as a cloak of resistance, but you ALSO get to add the cloak’s resistance bonus as an insight bonus to your AC when you fight defensively. Totally ALL of those bonuses together, that’s a +27 bonus to AC, meaning you have a 37 AC at level 12. ENJOY.

Did I say, “Passable at defense?” I meant “An Abadar-damned tanking god. “

Oh, and for extra giggles, your fighter’s steel net ability reduces the penalty for fighting defensively by 2, and his adaptive tactics reduces it by another 1. So instead of a cumulative –7 penalty to attack for this mighty defense, you’re only looking at a –4. Which is NOT bad. Also worth noting is that the majority of these bonuses only work when you’re attacking. You need to attack to be able to fight defensively, and the fighter’s defensive parry ability requires specifically that you full attack. So make sure you like doing math on the fly when you do this build.

Also, for extra giggles, I took the new Aldori Style feat. Basically, whenever you fight defensively or use Combat Expertise, you get an extra +2 on damage rolls with your aldori sword. Lol. For even more giggles, whenever you disarm someone, you deal your aldori sword’s damage to that target, sans your Dex bonus.

All in all, this isn’t a build that says, “I am going to murder you before you attack.” This is a build that gets up into your face and stays there. Boy oh boy does it stay that….

That’s all for this week, folks! Tune in next week for another blog article from yours truly; 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. Zozh

    I’d be curious to see how you’d build a Hell Knight.

  2. David S.

    This is a fantastic build. Would love to see you take a stab at Dreamscarred Press’ “Path of War” classes.