Martial Archetype: Duelist

by PortentPress

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You are a duelist, a master of one-on-one combat. Nothing drives you into battle more than the thought of outmatching a worthy opponent with naught but your own skill, wits, and courage. Duelists range from flashy tournament fighters, to honed perfectionists seeking their next rival. They might fight only for the prestige of their own successes, perform for a monarch or noble, or even be a noble themselves; trained from birth in the arts of the blade.

Superior Stance

3rd-level Duelist feature

You have learned to adapt your stance to the ebb and flow of battle. When you take the Attack action while wielding a weapon with the finesse property, you can choose to enter one of the following stances, gaining its benefits:

Press. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can choose to mark it until the end of your next turn, or until you mark another creature. You have advantage on the next melee weapon attack you make against the marked creature, and if that attack hits, you can roll its damage twice and take the highest result. Once you attack a marked creature, the mark ends, and you can't mark another creature until you next take the Attack action or make an opportunity attack.

Sway. When a creature hits or misses you with a melee attack, you can choose to mark it until the end of its next turn (no action required). The marked creature has disadvantage on the next attack it makes against you, at which point the mark ends, and if the attack misses, you can immediately use your reaction to move up to 10 feet without provoking opportunity attacks. You can't mark a creature in this way again until the start of your next turn.

Your stance lasts until combat ends, until you are incapacitated or your speed becomes 0, or until you choose to enter a different stance.

Transcendent Technique

3rd-level Duelist feature

Your skill with the blade surpasses mere fundamentals. You gain the following benefits while only wielding weapons with the finesse property:

  • When you engage in two-weapon fighting, only one of the weapons you attack with must have the light property.
  • While you are wielding a melee weapon and have a free hand, you can treat the weapon’s reach as 5 feet longer.

Effortless Grace

7th-level Duelist feature

You can take advantage of the momentum of others. You can move through the spaces of other creatures, and doing so doesn’t count as difficult terrain.

Additionally, the first time on a turn that you move through a hostile creature’s space, you can force it to make its choice of a Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Athletics) check contested by your Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If you succeed, you can immediately move up to 10 feet without provoking opportunity attacks.

Balanced Approach

10th-level Duelist feature

You gain the following improvements to your stances:

Press. When you hit the marked creature with an attack, that creature has disadvantage on the next attack it makes against you before the start of your next turn.

Sway. When you use the reaction granted by this stance, you can make one melee weapon attack against the creature that attacked you as part of the same reaction.

Inevitable Conclusion

15th-level Duelist feature

When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, the minimum roll needed to score a critical hit against it with subsequent melee weapon attacks decreases by 1, to no lower than 15. This effect ends after you score a critical hit, combat ends, or you attack a different creature.

To The Death

18th-level Duelist feature

Battle compels you to a singular purpose. As a bonus action, you can challenge a creature you can see within your weapon's reach that can see and hear you. Until combat ends, or you or the creature are reduced to 0 hit points, you have disadvantage on attacks you make against other creatures, and you gain the following benefits:

  • Every 2 feet you move towards the creature costs only 1 foot of movement.
  • Melee weapon attacks you make against it deal additional damage equal to one of the weapon’s damage dice.
  • The first time on each turn the creature hits you with an attack while you aren’t incapacitated, the attack’s damage is halved against you.

Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you complete a short or long rest. You can use it a second time between rests if you reduce the creature you challenge to 0 hit points.

Art Credit: Anna Podedworna, WotC