You feel a weight lifted off or your belt. Someone has stolen your coin purse! You look behind you to see an empty alleyway. You turn around again and find yourself meeting the beady rat-like eyes of an okiti swashbuckler brandishing a rapier. For most this is a robbery, but for you, this is just another day of life at the docks.
Okiti are curious rat-like creatures. They live short, but adventurous lives on the high seas or in cities that boast major naval traffic. While they’re certainly not evil creatures, they love to steal, trick, and out-wit people out of their belongings, especially shiny things.
Okiti swashbucklers are okiti that have honed their combat skills and have become a dexterous whirring dervish of pain. Also, because I’ve been on a huge swashbuckler kick as of late.
This special edition of D&D Monster Monday is the result of a collaboration between myself and Nord Games. The Okiti are an original race created by them and can be found in their book Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde.
For full disclosure, I was given a free copy of the book for the purposes of this article. You can find my review of the book here.
Okiti are a short-lived race of ratfolk who live out their 20-25 years of life to the fullest. They treasure material objects like shiny things or sweet foods like a kobold. However, they don’t bend the knee to a higher power or creature.
My favorite nugget of okiti lore is that they are an extremely communal folk. Children are raised by the community as a whole. Leaders of an okiti community tend to lead for 1-2 years and willingly step-down. Everyone is equal, even the leadership, that’s their way of life.
A community of okiti can generally be found close to the sea. Typically in urban areas that have bustling docks. They may opt to take to the sea on these ships and work, but they really love stealing what they can from the goods and riches these ships bring to port!
Okiti swashbucklers are just one subsection of okiti. They are the few who have chosen the profession of swordplay, dueling, and violence while others stick to stealing, sailing, or a number of other professions. Swashbucklers are nimble and quick-witted. They’re a blessing to have on a ship’s crew in case of being boarded by pirates!
Okiti Swashbuckler Stats and Abilities
Size: Small humanoid (okiti)
AC: 18 (studded leather, shield)
HP: 17 (5d6)
Speed: 30 ft.
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 18 (+4)
CON: 10 (+0)
INT: 9 (-1)
WIS: 8 (-1)
CHA: 14 (+2)
An okiti swashbuckler has a very specific niche, combat. Its ability score spread greatly reflects that, in fact, it’s extremely min-maxed for melee combat as a swashbuckler. Though to be fair, for a creature, combat is just about the best niche to be optimized for.
They also have a solid Charisma modifier of +2. They’re very persuasive buggers, but they’re not afraid to get into a scrap if their words cannot find purchase.
Having a high Dexterity affords you many great benefits in D&D 5e. In fact, I’d say it’s the best ability score in the game. With a +4 Dexterity modifier, you’ll have high AC (18) as well as a high initiative. Both of these are required for swashbuckler type characters as they thrive off of dealing a crippling amount of damage early.
This is of course because they can’t take more than a couple of well-aimed punches. A +0 Constitution modifier and 17 HP alludes to this. I mean, their AC is higher than their HP! They’re banking on either decimating their enemies before they can act or avoiding damage altogether with their high AC.
Gods help them if they ever need to make a Wisdom or Constitution saving throw though. A -1 modifier for their Intelligence also makes them apt to fall for simple illusions.
Resistances, Immunities, Saves, and Skills
Skills: Acrobatics +6, Perception +1, Sleight of Hand +6, and Stealth +6
Damage Resistances: poison
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages: Common, Okiti
CR: 2 (450 XP)
I think my favorite part about a lot of homebrew and 3rd-party products is that they’re not afraid to give creatures skill proficiencies. Giving the creatures some perks and proficiencies for non-combat interactions gives them another dimension of play.
Of course, most of the proficiencies that okiti swashbucklers get are useful in combat such as Acrobatics for escaping a grapple. They’re stealthy, slippery critters for sure. This spread of proficiencies makes them excellent pickpockets and ambushers.
Resistance to poison damage is a perk that all okiti have. It’s a common damage type, so this is a useful damage resistance to have!
11 passive Perception is slightly above average, but it’s great for a creature with a -1 modifier to Wisdom. They also, of course, have darkvision which certainly helps okiti lurk in sewers or below a wharf waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
The okiti swashbuckler is definitely a high-powered CR 2 creature. I don’t think they’re unreasonably powerful, but they could certainly be a low-end CR 3 creature considering the massive amount of damage they can output.
Abilities and Traits
Keen Smell. The okiti swashbuckler has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Offensive Stance. Once per turn, the okiti swashbuckler can add 1d4 to its attack roll.
Pack Tactics. The okiti swashbuckler has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the okiti swashbuckler’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Keen Smell is another attempt to bolster the okiti’s Perception. Between this and their proficiency in Perception, they have a great shot at perceiving the world around them despite the fact that they’ve got a -1 Wisdom modifier.
Offensive Stance gives you essentially a 2.5 average bonus to hit for one attack per turn. Note that it says per turn and not per round. Opportunity attacks, for example, can benefit from Offensive Stance. Considering the fact that we have a reaction this is going to get some mileage!
Pack Tactics is a popular trait for creatures that have a natural affinity to communal creatures. It’s also extremely powerful as it’s yet another way that the okiti swashbuckler gains a hefty bonus to hit with their attacks. Havoc runner gnolls and kobolds are two other creatures that we’ve talked about that have this trait.
Multiattack. The okiti swashbuckler makes two attacks with its rapier.
Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.
Multiattack is great, especially because I’ve noticed that the roguish creatures in D&D tend to lose out on this feature. Their two Rapier attacks deal an average of 16 piercing damage per round which is a solid chunk of damage for a CR 2 creature.
But we need to talk about that +6 to hit because as-is that’s pretty juicy. Add Pack Tactics (+3.325 avg) and Offensive Stance ( +2.5 avg, once per turn) into the mix and that modifier jumps to just under +12 for one attack and roughly +9 on the other. That’s phenomenal for a CR 2 creature.
Riposte. If a melee attack made against the okiti swashbuckler misses, it can make an attack against its attacker with disadvantage.
Considering you’re a dexterous scallywag with a shield and studded leather armor, you’re going to be avoiding quite a few attacks with your 18 AC. Point being, you should have plenty of opportunities to use Riposte. This can give you an additional 8 piercing damage per round if you hit with your attack.
While disadvantage seems scary, we have to remember that Pack Tactics can cancel this out entirely. Either way, Offensive Stance still gives you a +2.5 average to hit. You’ve got a good shot of hitting with your Riposte.
Okiti Swashbuckler Strengths
It should come as no surprise to you that an okiti swashbuckler is an offensive machine. They get a guaranteed two Rapier attacks per round, but due to their high AC, they should have plenty of opportunities to Riposte!
This means they can dish out 16-24 piercing damage per round. That’s enough to drop a level 2 or 3 PC each round. They’re vicious buggers that’s for sure.
The real strength of the okiti swashbuckler isn’t so much their damage, but their Pack Tactics and Offensive Stance give their attacks ample opportunity to hit. The quick napkin math I did showcases that an attack with both of these bonuses has roughly an additional +6 bonus to hit.
Couple this high attack modifier with a solid action economy that gives them an almost guaranteed reaction each turn and you have a fierce rat with impeccable swordsmanship.
Okiti swashbucklers have a +6 to stealth making them very difficult to see, even if the party is actively on the look-out for an ambush. Though giving these creatures a surprise round might be overkill considering their offensive capabilities.
That being said, a successful surprise round is all you need to get your okiti in position so that they’ll quickly benefit from Pack Tactics.
With their Keen Smell and passive Perception of 11, they have a decent chance of sniffing out incoming prey as they lay in wait. Especially since they have darkvision on top of that.
They also don’t need to necessarily fight the party during an ambush. While an okiti swashbuckler is an exceptional combatant, they may just wish to pick the pocket of a member of the party with a shiny possession. They’ll wait in hiding and dash out to grab this trinket before the party even notices!
Okiti Swashbuckler Weaknesses
While I’ve said quite a few times that their AC is exceptional, because it is, AC is not the only factor of a creature surviving a fight. Though it is a big one.
17 HP isn’t great for a creature’s longevity in battle. Realistically this is about 1-2 hits worth of damage from a lvl 2 or 3 PC. While it may be difficult to land those hits against 18 AC, it’s going to be devastating when they do.
Resistance to poison damage is also a solid defensive trait. However, it’s essentially the only trait they have going for them in the defenses department. It’s good, but it’s probably not going to be the difference between life and death for an okiti in combat with your party of adventurers.
They also have a +0 and -1 modifiers to their Constitution and Wisdom ability scores. As humanoids, they’re susceptible to Hold Person which could prove to be devastating to an unfortunate okiti in the midst of battle. Their survivability relies on them being able to drop one or two members of the party.
Crowd control is essentially the bane of the okiti swashbuckler’s existence, and they don’t have much to work with for avoiding it.
Lack of Ranged Options or Distance Closing Abilities
At 16-24 piercing damage per round, the okiti swashbuckler is a force to be reckoned with. However, there are a lot of caveats to this damage being dealt. Primarily that it’s melee-only damage.
They have 30 ft. of speed per round which is average compared to a typical PC. That’s great in that a PC won’t be able to out-run an okiti, but if the PC already starts 30+ ft. away from the okiti, the okiti is going to have to use their entire turn to get into position. They lose out on dealing their excellent damage which is their win condition for an encounter.
Any sort of ranged weapon would help to alleviate this weakness. It’s certainly possible to add in a few throwing daggers for a DM, but when we’re examining their statblock as-is this is certainly an issue.
That being said, it’s fair to have a weakness like this. An okiti swashbuckler has plenty of excellent melee abilities, they shouldn’t be the absolute masters of the battlefield, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind as a DM building an encounter for them. Long hallways or big rooms are a no-no for them!
How to Play an Okiti Swashbuckler
Gang Up on Your Foes
You should try your damnedest to utilize Pack Tactics to its fullest. An okiti swashbuckler isn’t long-lived for combat, so the idea of playing one successfully is to decimate your enemies before they can have time to retaliate against you.
Okiti, in general, aren’t particularly intelligent. They probably won’t be able to pick out the easiest target to gang-up on immediately. Regardless, with their high attack bonus, Pack Tactics, and Offensive Stance even the party’s front-line tanks are going to be in danger against a group of okiti.
Small areas and tight quarters are the most ideal battlefields for an okiti swashbuckler. Their speed is average so it’s not like they can out-run the party in most cases. Instead, they need to be able to use their environment to corner the party and make them easy to flank. Okiti need other okiti engaged with their target to benefit from Pack Tactics after all!
Wait For the Perfect Target
Strike swiftly, strike true. Okiti swashbucklers are phenomenal damage dealers, but only in fights that work on their terms. If their enemy has the upper-hand on them they’re at a serious disadvantage.
Thanks to their skill proficiencies, okiti swashbucklers have the tools necessary to wait for the opportune moment to pick a fight. They can select an ideal battlefield and potentially get the jump on unsuspecting opponents, giving them plenty of time to dish out some initial damage.
Not every encounter with an okiti has to devolve into combat either. In many cases, the perfect target for them is going to be an easy target to pickpocket. They’re not in it for glory, they’re in it for cash, valuables, or good food.
Okiti swashbucklers’ offensive ability hits well-above their respective CR belt, however, they have quite a few exploitable weaknesses. I mean, they’re the epitome of a glass cannon. They’re not unfair, but they’re certainly strong and challenging creatures.
I love the “bilge rat” aesthetic that okiti bring to the table, and the swashbuckler, in particular, caught my eye as a very fun creature to run as a DM. Their Offensive Stance trait feels fun, rewarding, but still well-balanced. Almost like a reverse Sneak Attack.
I’ve been angling to run a mini seafaring campaign for quite some time now. I’m certainly going to be adding these lovable scamps into the mix when I get the chance!