The Swashbuckler

Category: Archetype of the Week
Created on Friday, 18 December 2009 Written by Steve

Anybody can swing a sword and beat up bad guys, but the swashbuckler does it with panache. While the term was originally used to describe swordsmen, its current usage has more to do with a hero’s style than his weapon of choice. In addition to being incredibly skilled (and knowing it), the swashbuckler is known for his courage, wit. Most swashbucklers believe strongly in fairness, justice, and honor, though some go to great lengths to hide this fact.

 

Likely Stories

Swashbucklers are most common in fantasy and historical games, especially those that take place from the Renaissance to the Age of Sail when light swords were the weapon of the day. Swashbucklers are also often found in pulp adventures, super-hero stories, and space operas.

The Name Game

Swashbuckler are often members of the noble class, and will have names and possibly titles appropriate to their station in life. Because of their strong sense of justice, swashbucklers often find themselves working against those in power, which can be hazardous to one’s health and reputation. For this reason, some swashbucklers often operate incognito under an assumed name, much like comic book super-heroes.

The Numbers

Swashbucklers should generally have good scores in all three Words. A good Body score give them the athletic ability necessary to perform the flashy acrobatic and amazing physical feats common in swashbuckling fiction. A high Brain Number reflects the swashbuckler’s wit and resourcefulness. Finally, because they are so courageous and daring, swashbucklers should have a good Nerve Number.

Suggested Jobs: Adventurer, Blacksmith, Cadet, Daredevil, Duelist, Explorer, Fencing Instructor, Fop, Gypsy, Musketeer, Outlaw, Physician, Pirate, Revolutionary, Sailor, Smuggler, Soldier, Swordsman, Vigilante, Yeoman

Gimmicks: Born Leader, Everybody’s Buddy, Fearless, Friends in High Places, Ladies’ Man, Knows People, Letter of Marque, Lightning Reflexes, Local Hero, Nobleman, Rich, True Love, Spy, Sword Wizard

Weaknesses: Alcoholic, Anger Management Issues, Code of Honor, Cursed, Danger Junkie, Enemies, Exiled, Gullible, Impulsive, Love’s Chew Toy, Polymath, Punching Bag, Victim of the Past, Wanted Man

Skills: Acrobatics, Archery, Brawling, Bullwhip, Climbing, Dancing, Disguise, Etiquette, Fencing, Firearms, Horsemanship, Oration, Parley, Poetry, Politics, Quarterstaff, Religion, Resist Poison, Seduction, Snappy Dresser, Stealth, Survival, Taunt

WWPHITM? Antonio Banderas, Orlando Bloom, Gabriel Byrne, Bruce Campbell, Jackie Chan, James Coburn, Willam Defoe, Sybil Danning, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Nathan Fillion, Harrison Ford, Erol Flynn, George Hamilton, Jeremy Irons, Milla Jovovich, Keira Knightley, Burt Lancaster, Heath Ledger, John Leguizamo, Lucy Liu, John Malkovich, Mandy Patinkin, Tyrone Power, Ryan Reynolds, Tim Roth, Charlie Sheen, Will Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, Kristy Swanson, George Takei, Guy Williams, Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Tag Line: “We are men of action. Lies do not become us.”—Westley, The Princess Bride

Tools of the Trade: His weapon of choice, his courage, his intellect, and maybe some rope.

Where You'll Find Him: Wherever there is adventure to be had, rights to be wronged, and damsels to be rescued.

Social Circle: Swashbucklers often have a band of co-conspirators who assist them in their work, either by participating in their adventures or providing them with information and aid along the way. When not swashbuckling, they can often be found in the company of the very people who they’re working against—nobles, wealthy landowners, corrupt politicians, and the like.

Sample Character

Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)Green Arrow by Alex Ross (DC Comics)

Body: 15

Brain: 12

Nerve: 16

Job: Millionaire Industrialist (13)

Gimmick: World’s Greatest Archer (16)

Weakness: Dames (16)

Skills: Trick Arrows +3; Acrobatics +2; Conspiracy Theory +1

WWPHTIM? Cary Elwes

Dumb Fact: During the Adams and O’Neil run, would have the Gimmick “Always Right” with a rather high Number.

Tag Line:I'm sort of a specialist myself. I shoot green arrows. Therefore, instead of Captain Pectorals or the Incredible Moose, they call me... Green Arrow. And as such, I'm not exactly chopped liver.”
HP:
15

YY: 6

Inspirational Material

Literature

Astro City by Kurt Busiek (Crackerjack)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Dom Juan or The Feast with the Statue, Moliere

Don Juan by Lord Byron (poem)

Green Arrow

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Inigo Montoya, Westly/The Man in Black)

Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio)

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Movies & TV

Don Juan DeMarco

Our Man Flint and In Like Flint

Pirates of the Caribbean series (Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner)

The Princess Bride

Shreck series (Puss in Boots)

The following characters have been the subjects of so many movies and TV shows (often with the same or similar titles), that picking just a few would be impossible:
Robin Hood

The Three Musketeers

Zorro

Music

“Flash of the Blade,” Iron Maiden

“Jayne’s Song (The Hero of Canton)”, from Firefly

“Modern Don Juan,” Buddy Holly

“Whiskey in the Jar,” Traditional

“Zorro’s Ascent,” Alice Cooper

 

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The Swashbuckler.
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