Fencer (5A)

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Inigo Montoya: You are using Bonetti's Defense against me, ah?
Man in Black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo Montoya: Naturally, you must expect me to attack with Capo Ferro?
Man in Black: Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro. Don't you?
Inigo Montoya: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa... which I have!

Man in Black and Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride (1987).

Fencers represent the pinnacle of elegant swordplay. They move with unmatched grace, parrying blows and countering attacks with swift thrusts of their blades. They thrive in melee, where their skill with the blade allows them to make sudden attacks against clumsy foes and to cripple opponents with precise thrusts of the blade. Fencers fight using geometry. Judging and controlling distance, viewing the patterns of the battlefield, and finding the right angle is essential in fencing. Fencers mainly as a line along which both opponents move, but circular geometric patterns are used sin some schools.

Class Profile

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per fighter level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per fighter level after 1st


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, rapiers, scimitars, short swords. If firearms are in use, a fencer is proficient with all one-handed firearms.
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Persuasion


leather armor
(a) a rapier or (b) a scimitar, or (c) a shortsword
(a) three daggers or (b) a scimitar, or (c) a shortsword
(a) a hand crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) 10 daggers
(a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack

Alternatively you can start with 3d4 x 10 gp or 75 gp.


You must have a Dexterity of 13 to multiclass into or out of this class.

Multiclassing into the class gives you proficiency with simple weapons and the rapier, scimitar, and shortsword.

Fencer multiclassing gives no spellcasting progression, or one-third progression if you have a subclass with spell progression such as the Conjurer or Legate.

Fencer Table

Level Proficiency
Features Precision
1st +2 Fencing School, Guard
2nd +2 Parry, Precision 1d4
3rd +2 Fencing school, Subclass feature 1d4
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 1d4
5th +3 Extra Attack 1d4
6th +3 Fencing school 1d6
7th +3 Subclass feature 1d6
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 1d6
9th +4 Fencing school 1d6
10th +4 Aggressive Dodge 1d8
11th +4 Subclass feature 1d8
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 1d8
13th +5 Fencing school 1d8
14th +5 Ability Score Improvement 1d10
15th +5 Subclass feature 1d10
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 1d10
17th +6 Fencing school 1d10
18th +6 Flexible Fencing 1d12
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 1d12
20th +6 Fencing Mastery 1d12

Class Features

As a fighter, you gain the following class features.

1st level: Fencing School

Different fencing masters have developed fencing techniques that can be mastered by fencers as they advance in levels. Each such technique gives the fencer certain abilities. You can choose a fencing school ability at 1st level and again at level 3, 6, 9, 13, and 17. Each time you gain a new level, you can exchange one fencing school ability you know with another one. The fencing school abilities to choose from are listed in their own section below.

1st level: Guard

When wearing no armor or light armor and not wielding a shield you add your Intelligence or Charisma bonus (your choice) to your base Armor Class. Using intelligence means you rely on positioning and geometry to defend yourself, while Charisma uses presence and posture.

2nd Level: Parry

You can use a reaction to parry the melee attacks of other creatures. To parry an attack, the fencer makes an attack roll. If this roll is greater than the attack roll of the attacking creature, the parry succeeds and the original attack misses. When you use Parry and the attack misses, you can immediately make a melee attack against the attacker.

2nd Level: Precision

To use this ability, you must wield a a precision weapon. Precision weapons are the club, dagger, rapier, scimitar, and short sword. This also allows you to use the club as if it had the finesse property. Fencing schools can add to your choice of precision weapons.

The club used by fencers is long and light, often a practice sword, but a stick will do in a pinch. The short sword used by fencers has a thin blade and is often called a foil or smallsword, but is identical to the normal short sword in game terms.

When you hit with a precision weapon add 1d4 to your damage. This damage is of the same type as the damage the weapon inflicts and increases as you increase in level, see the Fencer table.

3rd Level: Fencer Subclass

Fencer Subclasses
  1. Academic
  2. Agent
  3. Conjurer
  4. Courtier
  5. Duelist
  6. Engineer
  7. Fencing Master
  8. Legate
  9. Medico
  10. Officer
  11. Scaramouch
  12. Scoundrel

At 3rd level you choose a subclass, careers that add abilities outside the normal range of fencer skills. You gain additional abilities from your chosen subclass at level 7, 13, and 15.

5th Level: Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

10th Level: Aggressive Dodge

When taking the Dodge action, you can make a single melee attack.

18th Level: Flexible Fencing

As a bonus action you can learn a Fencing School ability of your choice. You keep this ability for one hour. You can use this ability once, regaining the use at a long or short rest.

20th Level: Fencing Mastery

At 20th level, you can use all fencing school abilities.

Fencing School Abilities

These are the abilities taught by fighting schools and available to fencers. Some of these, like Sword Catcher, are based around variant weapons that allow special maneuvers. These are ignored here, a swordcatcher is just a normal dagger in game terms.


Add +3 to your Armor Class when you are not wearing armor.


You gain proficiency in light, medium, and heavy armor and with shields. This does not change what armor you can use with the Guard ability.


All melee weapons are precision weapons to you.


You are immune to the Frightened condition.


Prerequisite: Fencer level 2.

When you use Parry to make a melee weapon attack while wielding two melee weapons, and use a weapon that has the light property to make this attack, you gain advantage on the attack roll.


All fencers use blunt practice swords, but Canne develops both to their full potential. The mace used in Canne is a walking stick such as can be carried as a support or fashion statement in almost any circumstance.

  • You can use Precision with the mace and it gains the finesse property in your hands.
  • You gain proficiency with unarmed attacks, they gain the finesse property, can use Precision, and do 1d4 bludgeoning damage.


You can use a bonus action to take the Disengage action. When you do so, you can move through the space of enemies. Occupied spaces still count as difficult ground to you. The DM may allow you to ignore such difficult ground if you describe an interesting stunt, but may call for Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to succeed at particularly daring maneuvers.


You gain the Mounted Combatant feat:

You are a dangerous foe to face while mounted. While you are mounted and aren't incapacitated, you gain the following benefits:
  • You have advantage on melee attack rolls against any unmounted creature that is smaller than your mount.
  • You can force an attack targeted at your mount to target you instead.
  • If your mount is subjected to an effect that allows it to make Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Case of Swords

  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one handed melee weapons you are wielding aren't light.
  • When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.


You can wield a cloak, hat, net, or similar soft obstruction in one hand for defense and to snare attacks. This counts as a weapon for Fencing School maneuvers that depend on weapons but cannot be used to attack. When you or an ally adjacent to you is attacked, you can use a reaction to impose disadvantage on that attack. The object used will be torn and won't serve it former purpose, but it can continue to be used with this Fencing School ability.

Dual Parry

  • You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting as long as one of the weapons you are wielding is light, even when the other melee weapon you are wielding isn't.
  • You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.

En Garde

When not wielding a shield and armed with a melee weapon that lacks the versatile and two-handed properties you can use Precision with, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class. This does not work on weapons that have a special rule that gives them either of these properties under special circumstances, like the lance.

Fencing Posture

When not wielding a shield and armed with a single melee weapon that lacks the versatile and two-handed properties you can use Precision with, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class. This does not work on weapons that have a special rule that gives them either of these properties under special circumstances, like the lance. Not that this is similar but more strict than En Garde, as it requires the other hand to be empty. The two abilities stack, but you should pick En Garde before Fencing Posture.


When not wielding a shield and armed with a single melee weapon that lacks the versatile and two-handed properties your melee attacks score a critical hit on a die roll of 19 to 20 and your reach increases by 5 feet but only on your turn.


You ignore difficult ground when in combat. You are still affected by difficult terrain when traveling.


You gain proficiency with the greatsword and a greatsword gains the finesse and reach properties in your hands. You can use Precision with a greatsword.

Precision Shot

When a creature takes damage from one of your crossbow or firearm attacks, you can add Precision damage to that attack. Once you deal this damage, you can't use this feature again until the start of your next turn.


After you use a reaction to either make an opportunity attack or to use the Parry ability, until the start of your next turn you can continue to perform opportunity attacks and use the Parry ability until you have used them a total number of times equal to your Proficiency Bonus.


To use Sidestep, you must first move at least 5 feet. This uses your normal Speed and can trigger attacks of opportunity. After moving you can take the Dodge action as a bonus action. This does not allow you to use Aggressive Dodge.

Staff Flourish

You can use the quarterstaff as a precision weapon and it gains the finesse quality in your hands.


Swashbuckling is the sound made when you carry a sword and buckler shield together and they clash, making a cocky metallic sound. This has inspired an entire genre of stories about fencers and adventurers of all kinds, but here it is used for a fencer with a shield.

You gain proficiency with shields and can use the Guard ability when wielding a shield.

Sword Catcher

When you use Parry with a weapon with the light property and the attack misses, instead of doing a counterattack, you can use that weapon to grapple the opponent. You do not need a free hand to do this, but if you attack with or drop the light weapon you parried with or use this ability again, the grapple ends. As long as the opponent is grappled this way, they may only do one attack on their turn.

Designer's Notes

The fencer has a role similar to the fighter, but does not break the rule that only the fighter can have more than two attacks. A lot of the abilities are there to work around this.

Fencer subclasses are not so much about fighting, fencers have school abilities for this. Instead they are about engaging with the world, often social abilities. This means that the subclasses are less important than those of many other classes, and more of the fighting ability is in the base class.

See Also