Martial Archetype: Duelist


Very recently I was inspired to indulge and create a subclass for myself, for my golden boy Daerthalion (pictured above) which I have up til recently tried to avoid. Sometimes, you just have to fight for yourself and what you want, which coincidentally works for this subclass, because I present to you the Duelist Martial archetype. I’m not lying when I say I think this is the coolest thing I’ve ever written.

Now enough talk! En Garde!

Art: Daerthalion Dawntracker by Kannah Casler

Martial Archetype: Duelist

The duelist is a fighter who has not only reached peerless proficiency with weapons, but has also mastered engaging with one enemy one-on-one. In some duelist’s cases, they have mastered engaging with as many as three-on-one. To the duelist, a fight is not a mindless bout of hacking and slashing one’s foes to death in a frantic melee; it is an intimate and profound dance with another worthy opponent in which skill is truly tested, and the merit of years of practice, whet like the sharpest blade, can truly shine.

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you become proficient in your choice of Deception, Insight, Intimidation, or Performance.

Duelist’s Mark

With so much as a look, a narrowing of your stance, and moment of silent poise, you can draw your enemies into a duel. Starting at 3rd level, you can designate a number of creatures equal to half your proficiency bonus (rounded down) within 30 feet of you that you can see as your mark as a bonus action. While you maintain your concentration for up to 10 minutes (as though you were concentrating on a spell), you gain the following benefits. 

  • You gain a bonus to your AC equal to your proficiency bonus against attacks made by your mark. You don’t gain this benefit if you are wearing armor heavier than light armor.
  • Whenever you hit your mark with a weapon attack, you deal an extra 1d6 damage of the weapon’s type. 
  • When you miss your mark with a weapon attack, you can move your mark 5 feet to an unoccupied space.
  • Your mark has disadvantage on attack rolls against creatures other than you. 

Your mark on a creature ends if you end your turn more than 30 feet away from it, or if you make an attack against a creature other than one of your marks. If one of your marks dies, you can use a subsequent bonus action to mark a new creature while you maintain your concentration.
You have two uses of this ability, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.

Rapier Wit

Your razor sharp focus in a duel also aids you in studying, predicting, and provoking the behaviors of those that draw your attention. Starting at 7th level, while you have a creature marked, you have advantage on Wisdom and Charisma ability checks made to interact with it, as well as advantage on saving throws to avoid being charmed or frightened by it

Moment of Clarity

As you catch your breath, in a moment of calm you ready yourself to act more deftly. Beginning at 10th level, when you use your Second Wind feature, you gain the benefit of the Disengage and Dash actions until the end of your current turn, and the next attack roll you make before the end of your next turn has advantage. 

Implacable Duelist

Starting at 15th level, you are always ready for your next duel. When you roll for initiative and have no uses of Duelist’s Mark remaining, you regain one use of it.  

Moment of Alacrity

In a surprising burst of speed, you can end a duel as quickly as it began. Beginning at 18th level, when a creature you have marked targets you with an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the attack to automatically miss, and can immediately take an extra turn, interrupting the current turn. During this extra turn, you can only target creatures you have marked with attacks or other harmful effects. 
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.


2 thoughts on “Martial Archetype: Duelist

  1. I really like this. Feels like a better Fighter version of the Swashbuckler.
    Just a couple notes:
    For Duelist’s Mark you should specify if they round up or down for 1/2 proficiency bonus and may also want to add that the movement you do to your marks does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
    Moment of Alacrity is really strong, but not too much so for a capstone. That said the wording just feels a little off. I would personally change it to say “Beginning at 18th level, when a creature you have marked makes an attack against you, you can use your reaction to interrupt the creature. The creature’s attack automatically misses and you can immediately take a turn. During this turn, you can only target creatures you have marked with attacks or other harmful effects. Once this turn ends, the creature you interrupted’s turn continues as normal.”


    1. Hey Axel! Thanks for the feedback!

      As for the moving the opponent, forced movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks, so I’m not sure it’s necessary, but it would be good reminder text.

      I’ll definitely tighten up Moment of Alacrity, I was looking at it already and this confirms that I should, thank you!


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