Swordflight Builds Only

Sup!
New tread for the Swordflight series.
Post your favourite/ successful Character Builds here.
The series takes you so far to lvl 33 so lets stick to that level.

Here goes then, meet the:

Disciple of Zen Dragon

Monk 22/ Sorcerer 1/ RDD 10 (I haven’t played chapter 4 yet so forgive me if any of this is not perfectly optimised for this module, i am learning here myself)

Human, Any Lawful

STR: 18 (36)(All the points goes here! ;))
DEX: 14
CON: 14 (16)(RDD bonus)
WIS: 8
INT: 10 (12)(RDD bonus)
CHA: 8 (10)(RDD bonus)

Skills:
Discipline, Listen, Tumble: 36, Lore: 8, Heal (or anything else): 36, Spellcraft: 21 (could be maxed out too by the cost of 1 monk lvl making it Monk 21/ Sorc 1/ RDD 11)

Saving Throws:
Fortitude, Reflex, Will: 22/21/20

AB (unarmed): +37
5 attack per round (6 with flurry)

AC (naked): 29 (with the right equipment it is easy to reach 50+)

Feats to choose (forgive me for skipping the Class Feats but the list is very long):
Dodge, Blind Fight, Mobility, Lightning Reflex, Wep. Focus: Unarmed, Improved crit. Unarmed, Toughness

Epic Feats: Epic Weapon. Focus: Unarmed, Epic Prowess, Armor Skin, Great Str. I, Great Str. II

Strengths:
Immunity to all mind affecting spells and effects
Immunity to sleep, fire and paralysis
Immunity to poison
Immunity to natural disease
50% concealment
Improved Evasion
Speed bonus +70% (!)
And some more i have probably forget about.

Weaknesses:
No Devastating critical
Low AC without right equipment
Monk/ Fighter/ WM would give slightly better AB

That’s about it. Criticism is welcome and i encourage anyone to post their own builds, thanks!

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My intention is that one should be able to get to Level 40 in Swordflight when the series is completed, so it seems people could just post Level 40 builds as well if they find it simpler to do so?

A few thoughts on this build:

  1. Remember to use the “Advanced Meditations for Monks” book you will find in later chapters of the series to cast Divine Power against high AC foes, mitigating the build’s relatively low AB. As a side note, in addition to monks, that book is also potentially useful to any build with UMD.

  2. It is probably worth trying to advance one of the 3 conversational skills, if you can manage it. Presumably Persuade in this case since it is a class skill of both Monk and RDD. Given the number of checks against them in Swordflight, I would be inclined to list “few non-combat skills” as another weakness of this build.

  3. Certainly not essential (there are advantages both ways), but you might want to consider reducing initial strength slightly to put a few points in Wisdom, for better AC and a few miscellaneous other benefits (e.g., in Swordflight WIS can sometimes offer extra dialogue options). Regardless, you should remember to use Owl’s Wisdom potions and such to increase your Wisdom for these purposes.

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Hi and thanks for posting! :slight_smile:

Bout the Wisdom, as a power gamer i’d take +AB over extra defence point any day, but it’s just me. Agree with the non-combat skills tho. I was missing the choice of those beefy conversation from the dialog’s tree for the entire Chapter Two, but i don’t think those skills are so important in later parts. Non the less, for chapter 2 itself it is worth to have at least 1 conversational skill.

Nice to hear about series to be taking us to 40’s, it would be the only campaign that actually take one that far. Totally amazing :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

I’ve found this baby on Nordock PW. Looking total badass, gonna try it out next time Link Monk/Fighter/Wm with focus on Greatsword is always a winner :wink:

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My first build that have worked for me.

Elf Wiz/PM/Mk.
During SF1: 3 levels of Wiz, 1 of PM, then 1 of Mk. It’s tough, has good saves, good a/c, poor offensive ability. Relies on summons and longbow.
During SF2: Continue as Wizard only, as spellpower is all important.
SF3&4: Continued Wizard until L14 Wiz. The other levels are 4 Mk and 2 PM at Level 20, to get 3 attacks per round. At L21 took 1 PM level, then 1 Wiz level for spell purposes. Thereafter took PM until L10 PM. After that, almost always Wiz with a hint of Mk for tumble ac bonuses.

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The second incarnation replaced both Mk and PM with Rogue. At level 20 I was a L16 mage, L4 Ro for 3 attacks per round. In this case 1 took Ro at level 1 for the skill points. It proved to be tougher to play than the previous incarnation, but at the end of SF4 I was level 34 rather than level 33.

The 3rd incarnation was a HE Pal6/PDK4/BG+, taking full use/misuse of the alignment shift system. You do miss out on a very useful rune, but BAB and saving throws unsurpassed.

4th incarnation was a HO Barbarian with a hint of rogue and bard. Int 12 but Cha 6 so no spells. Bard levels for tumble, spellcraft and song. Started Ro1, then bard and rogue alternating from L7 onwards at 12/17/22 etc.

Current incarnation is Paladin with a hint of rogue, mainly because all my other builds descend to evil, and often chaos. Managed to stay 100/100 and stay there, although I believe I’ve lost a level doing so. Ended L32 at the end of SF4, evil PC’s have been L33 and L34.

Next incarnation will be Barbarian L1, Cleric L1 and then sorcerer. Cleric domains will be Knowledge (so I don’t need to learn identify) and Animal, which does positively effect arcane summonings. This should maximise my XP award potential. Barbarian fast movement should also help me to escape trouble.

I was thinking about a Ranger Build. They can be pretty good against their Favored Enemies once they take the Epic Feat “Bane of Enemies”.

The question is which favored Enemies to take.

There is enough variety in enemies throughout the series that almost any Favored Enemy would be at least somewhat useful, though some will certainly be encountered more frequently than others. The main exceptions would be “Beast” and “Fey.” These are monster types that you will only face on very rare occasions.

“Undead” is an excellent Favored Enemy throughout the series. Formidable instances of Humans and Outsiders are also fairly common (Outsiders especially so in the later chapters). Orc, Goblinoid, Reptilian, Giant and Monstrous will be frequently useful favored enemy types, especially in Chs 2 & 3. Elementals can be a fairly frequent enemy at higher levels. Shapechangers are a common monster type in Ch. 2 and Aberrations are an extremely common monster type in Ch. 4, though these will be comparatively rare in other chapters. Having Constructs as a Favored Enemy could grant you access to the “Fighter” class-specific quest in Ch. 2 (if you also succeed at a Persuade check, and are not otherwise eligible), and also represents a monster type you will encounter with some frequency throughout the series.

Thanks RogueKnight. Undead is pretty much always my first FE, I can’t remember it ever going to waste. I had a hard time deciding after that, because it seems like you throw everything at us. :smiley:

I’d just like to get this, or a similar build thread going again, getting peoples ideas for a good tough well rounded Swordflight build.

I know Rangers are often viewed as weak, but with Epic levels in the cards they can be pretty good, and they don’t have to be leather wearing, dual wielding Dexers. I usually build them Strength based, with Plate Armor, and heavy weapons. In a game were a lot of skills are utilized. Ranger is also full BAB with some extra skill points/level. Very well rounded.

Ranger 21+(Bane of Enemies)/Fighter 4+ (EWS)/Rogue 3+ (Skills…), worked well elsewhere.

Anyone Play a Ranger in Swordflight?

Other more common Warrior archetypes come to mind:

Dwarven Defender (Fighter or Paladin based, lot of hit points, lot of defense), but offense is nothing special.

Weapon Masters (Often Fighter/Rogue/WM). But I find these can be a pain since they are so feat starved to fill up the prerequisites, and defense is nothing special.

Fighter/Bard/Red Dragon Disciple. Another mainly offensive choice with VERY high strength.

Am I missing any other tough Warrior archetypes?

New build to Play test into SF3.

Neither Ranged, nor Melee is the best choice for all combats. So a character that can do both well is handy. Obvious choice. Higher strength AA, can get good ranged without higher dex, and good melee from higher strength, but good mighty bows are lacking (as they usually are).

Alternative: A strong Hafling hurler:

Halfling (+1 attack for small stature, +1 attack throw weapons racial trait, higher starting Dex)
Paladin: Divine might (melee and Ranged) and nice Paladin gear.
Bard: Tumble, UMD and qualifying class
RDD: High Strength, AC boost…

Pros: Halfling makes an ideal hurled weapon user. High strength makes for great melee, Scimitar with great crit range is a two handed weapon, and full strength damage is added to hurled as well. Divine can be added to either. Small stature gets an AC bonus, and RDD gets armor skin for more AC. So AC will be better than average Plate user.

Negative: Low starting strength(RDD handles that). Exp penalty to max out BAB, Alignment changes…

The biggest issue with the halfling build would indeed be the XP penalty due to neither Bard or Paladin being a favored class for the race. That could hurt you a lot in the early stages of the series (if you played it from the beginning) since you would probably be regularly lagging behind the expected level. It would be much less important in Ch. 3+ due to farming opportunities.

Opportunities for alignment changes certainly exist, but it does take time to switch completely. So if you are not planning something simple, like starting as a bard, regularly taking lawful shifts, and then switching over permanently to only taking Pal/RDD levels (e.g., you plan to regularly switch back and forth between Bard and Pal late in the series too) it could be difficult to manage without a lot of metagaming knowledge about where alignment shifts can occur.

Yeah. I’d never play that from the start. I am not fond of alignment shift, or xp penalty builds. It’s more of an experiment trying to make a char decent at melee and ranged that isn’t an AA. Plus it’s a bit of wacky fun.

It’s working pretty good though. Though I thought I would be more untouchable with 47 AC. Nice to be able to use a shield with ranged weapon. :smiley:

I built him in a Pretty good character builder with a Persistent Chest, where I transferred over the SF2 gear from a character that finished that one. The pre-epic Bard levels are done and he’s good to stay lawful till level 20. Then Switch ASAP… After that no more Paladin levels ever.

I may try a few builds before deciding what goes past the first island…

Edit: I am abandoning the Halfling hurler. He fails at ranged when he needs it most. The tough single enemies. His AB is too low for ranged combat against the tougher foes.

The better Archer/Melee balance is perhaps being best at archery to combat the tougher foes at distance, while being weaker but adequate to take on trash mobs with melee (and save ammunition).

Another build abandoned. After the Halfling Hurler failed, I continued with the Original Bard/Paladin/AA Divine Archer onto the SF3 second Island. His Ranged AB was good, his ranged damage was fantastic. Outdoor battles were easy and fun. But he gets murdered in close combat. Even with modified “spot” score of 29, he missed most stealth chars, and they just murdered him. Crippling strike on a low strength Archer is devastating, suddenly you are encumbered, moving at a slow crawl when strength is sapped even a little, so you can’t run and kite the enemy. The guy who wrote the Module can make Archery work here, but I can’t.

Stalwart Rogue/Paladin/Dwarven Defender soldiers on. Both decent strength, and partial immunity to sneak attacks made Island 2, a relative cake walk compared to the PITA it was with the Archer. This character really only had one problem fight, the final one of Island one, where they ranged characters had it much easier. But overall the Dwarven Defender is such a resilient class, he just keeps soldiering on where my other builds fail.

Build that finished SF3:
Rogue(5), Paladin(6), Dwarven Defender(14)

STR: 16 (19)
DEX: 14
CON: 18 (21)
WIS: 8
INT: 12
CHA: 6

Pre-epic feats: In order:
Dodge. Toughness, Weapon Proficiency Exotic, Weapon Focus, Blind Fight,Improved Critical, Resist Energy: Fire

Epic Feats:
Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Damage Reduction I, Epic Damage Reduction II

After attempting other builds this was the best survivor based on benefits from classes:
Rogue: Evasion, Tumble, UMD, Disable Traps, Open Locks.
Paladin: Immunity to disease/fear, cure disease, and Paladin perks in modules
DD: More HPs, Defensive Stance, Damage reduction.

Combo is very strong defensively. Most other classes I find you need to lure enemies and break up mobs is smaller chunks. While the Dwarven Defender can march into the middle of the Mob and go into Defensive stance, and ride out the worse of it. Being a Dwarf is also a Constitution boost, which makes it easier to push Con to 21, enabling Epic Damage Reduction Feat. Which stacks with Dwarven Damage reduction.

Exotic Weapons feat added, since it seemed like a lot of exotic weapons were better than the Martial ones. This char focused on Katanas, and found several nice ones.

Just hit 21 (4 blackguard, 17 bard) so this build is a combo of what’s done and what I plan to do. So far it’s been holding its own just fine. The biggest pain is that in Diamond Edition there’s a bug where the extra spells per day from buffed charisma disappear when the game is loaded. EE fixes this problem but obviously Swordflight was designed for Diamond so it’s not a perfect solution. Here’s the build:

Classes: Bard 18, Blackguard 4, Red Dragon Disciple 10
Race: Human
Alignment: Chaotic Evil

STR: 14
DEX: 10
CON: 14
WIS: 8
INT: 14
CHA: 16

Primary Skills:
Bluff, Discipline, Perform, Persuade, Spellcraft, Taunt, Tumble, Use Magic Device. Make sure to have five ranks in hide prior to level 8 for blackguard and eight in lore prior to level 22 for RDD. Perform only goes to 25 ranks for Lasting Inspiration. If you don’t care for speech skills I’d advise dropping them for listen, additional ranks in taunt and/or discipline, or even appraise to reduce the price of high level scrolls. Spot is also another viable option though only on RDD levels.

You may have noticed there’s eight primary skills but only seven skill points per level. This is because with 10 ranks in bluff and persuade I was consistently passing checks (thanks to charisma + bard song + gear) so I started putting those points in taunt. Routinely debuffing enemy fighters with -6 AC is so strong. And as it turns out nearly every enemy, including undead and constructs, can be taunted. Combined with Curse Song (curse first to debuff concentration) you’re looking at a whopping -11 to AC potentially. You’ll even have a decent shot of successfully taunting spell casters though don’t rely on this.

Levels 1-7: Bard (7)
Feats: Extra Music, Lingering Song, Power Attack, Cleave
Ability Point: Strength

Level 8-9: Blackguard (2)
Feat: Blind Fight
Ability Point: Charisma

Levels 10-11: Bard (9)

Level 12: Blackguard (3)
Feats: Turn Undead, Divine Might
Ability Point: Charisma

Levels 13-17: Bard (14)
Feat: Still Spell
Ability Point: Charisma

Level 18: Blackguard (4)
Feat: Divine Shield

Levels 19-20: Bard (16)
Ability Point: Charisma

Level 21: Bard (17)
Feat: Curse Song

Level 22, 23: RDD (2)

Level 24: Bard (18)
Feat: Lasting Inspiration
Ability Point: Strength

Levels 25-32: RDD (10)
Feats: TBD
Ability Points: Charisma

Levels 33-40: TBD.

Spells:
I don’t know what’s in the mid-to-late parts of Act 3 and all of Act 4 and I’m not an expert on spells so this is more a summary what’s worked for me so far. Your mileage may vary. Please feel free to provide feedback!

Level I:
Only two mandatory spells here are Protection from Alignment and Mage Armor. Early on Magic Weapon is great as well but it becomes obsolete fairly quickly. Expeditious retreat is nice for running around town and cleared areas. At higher levels I’ve been testing Amplify to buff detection and Grease + freedom of movement potions.

Level II:
Early on Bull’s Strength, Cat’s Grace, Ghostly Visage, and Clarity (Clarity potions are pricey at the lower levels) are all fantastic and will tide you over. Improved Invisibility will render Ghostly Visage obsolete and Bull’s Strength and Cat’s Grace will eventually become reliably available from other sources. Clarity becomes mostly obsolete once you can afford Lesser Mind Blank items and potions. Eagle’s Splendor becomes important once you pick up Divine Might and your bard song reaches higher levels. In the higher teens Darkness, Ultravision, and Detect Invisibility were all swapped in. Once you have several attacks per round and your Blackguard sneak attack Ultravision + Darkness becomes extremely strong. Darkness doesn’t have a somatic component and can be cast without risk of arcane spell failure from heavy armor and shields. Ultravision’s duration is 6 IRL minutes per level, and scrolls are cheap, so there’s no reason not to have it up most of the time. In addition to letting you see in magical darkness it also helps you spot in low light.

Level III:
Greater Magic Weapon and Keen Edge are the two must haves here. GMW in particular since, upon reaching Bard level 15, its +5 bonus allows you to bypass damage reduction from Stoneskin, Greater Stoneskin, and Premonition. Displacement is also a nice ace to keep up your sleeve in case you’re caught unawares since, like Darkness, it only has a verbal component. Wounding Whispers gets honorable mention but I’d rather save the extra slots for additional casts of GMW and/or Keen Edge. I’ve been experimenting with clairaudience/clairvoyance as means to detect hidden enemies but the jury’s still out.

Level IV:
Improved Invisibility and War Cry are must haves here. The rest are pretty marginal. You won’t be able to fully utilize War Cry until you get Still Spell, but once you do it really shines.

Level V:
Some of these are interesting but none are mandatory. Once you’ve got Still Spell some of these become more versatile but I find myself largely using these slots for Still version of the Level IV spells.

Level VI:
Only worthwhile spell here is Energy Buffer since it can be cast before entering combat. Dirge is nice but it’s got a short duration, you won’t be able to cast it while in combat, and enemy warriors often make their saves. Still spell version of greater dispelling can be useful but with spell breach scrolls available for purchase I haven’t found myself needing it too much.

Strengths:

  • +16 BAB by level 20 allowing for unhasted 4 attacks per round
  • Extremely high saving throws, unbuffed and buffed
  • Fantastic AC. ACs in excess of 50 are achievable easily and cheaply. ACs of 60 or higher can also be reached using Shield and Shadow Shield scrolls/items.
  • Near constant uptime on improved invisibility at higher levels
  • You can turn any slashing or piercing weapon into +5 and Keen
  • If you’re playing Diamond Edition 1.69 w/o community patches/rebuilds your Blackguard Bull’s Strength ability will stack with Bull’s Strength potions and spells.
  • Divine Might and Flame Weapon scrolls simplify dealing with damage resistant and crit immune enemies
  • Arcane spellcasting and divine spell casting (via UMD + scrolls)
  • Access to that sweet lawful good pally gear thanks to UMD + high charisma
  • Build is reasonably strong from the outset
  • Lots of tactical options for tough fights due to the diverse array of usable equipment and items
  • In Chapter 1 easier time getting gold and XP while maintaining alignment. Killing harmless animals yields decent XP and shifts you towards chaotic. Stealing and vandalism is lucrative and shifts you towards evil. Do these to the max extend practicable!
  • Access to a lot of module content thanks to the high speechcraft skills and diverse class range. Just be sure to backtrack in chapter 2 once you get turn undead.

Weaknesses:

  • Alignment restricted to chaotic evil
  • RDD levels don’t start until late
  • Relatively low HP for a melee build until RDD levels. This is somewhat mitigated by bard song temp hitpoints.
  • No curse song until late
  • No concentration. The lion’s share of your spells will be buffs cast before entering combat. When you do need to cast during, your high AC and concealment will protect you most of the time. Enemies with high enough BAB to have a good chance of hitting you tend to do so much damage that you’ll probably fail the check anyway. Stoneskin, Greater Stoneskin, and Premontion scrolls help a lot here, though they are expensive. If you need to be sure the spell works disengage and take AOOs to put some distance between you and the mobs before casting. They’ll catch up but miss the casting AOO and the chance to interrupt (at least this is what seems to happen). If you’re really desperate quaff an invisibility potion. They are cheap and abundant.
  • No evasion or improved evasion
  • No uncanny dodge or defensive awareness
  • Vulnerable to attacks from stealth thanks to low spot, listen, and tons of dodge AC. This can be somewhat mitigated with True Sight scrolls and gems but these are pricey and limited in quantity.
  • As you reach higher levels inventory management can become tedious, particularly if not well versed in mechanics and don’t know what to keep vs sell.
  • Extra Turning feat can only be obtained via gear, which makes best-in-slot rings two quest-specific ones from chapter 2. This somewhat restricts gear load-out options.

Fundamentally, this is a self-buffing melee build that uses its sky-high charisma as a force multiplier. With Dark Blessing your unbuffed saves will be stellar and buffed will be absurdly high. As an arcane class with a high UMD you can use arcane and divine scrolls to shore up weaknesses (negative energy protection I’m looking at you) and buttress strengths. This is especially helpful b/c scrolls don’t worry about arcane spell failure from armor or concentration check failure from damage. At higher levels you’ll be able to cast Divine Might fairly liberally and it will last a while and hit like a truck. Generally, you won’t need Divine Shield for trash mobs, so save it for the tough fights since it draws from the same pool as Divine Might. Bard Song starts to suffer severe diminishing returns after Bard Level 16 however by this point you’ll have in the neighborhood of a +10 charisma ability modifier (with the right gear the +12 ability buff cap is easily reachable) which lets you hit the 30 perform ranks required to get the level 16 bard song buffs. For the majority of your engagements, Protection from Alignment, Mage Armor, Bark Skin, Bull’s Strength, Endurance, Eagle’s Splendor and Bard Song will be all the buffs required. For the more challenging encounters add on Divine Might and/or Shield, War Cry, and scrolls of Shield (+5 deflection). The scrolls only last five IRL minutes but that should be more than enough time for most fights. If it’s not, use another one. They’re cheap, light, and a stack of 10 only takes up one inventory square. For physical damage-resistant enemies, scrolls of Flame Weapon work wonders. They’re expensive, but last a while and add a ton of damage. For high AC enemies you have Taunt and Curse Song at higher levels. True Strike scrolls are another cheap but effective solution, especially when you’re attacking 4-5 times per round.

For the really tough fights pull out the big guns. Scrolls and items that let you cast things like Spell Breach, Globes of Invulnerability, Spell Mantles, Energy Buffer, Shadow Shield (+5 Natural AC along with necromancy immunity), Premonition, Ultravision + Darkness combo, etc. You can also use most of the sick class restricted items like the Advance Art of Meditation books, Wizard/Sorc Staves, and Pally/Cleric/Druid/Ranger Rods. The list goes on and is really only limited by your gold and creativity.

Edit: Link to pic of build so far

Bard/Blackguard/RDD is a solid combination that should serve you well in Swordflight: a versatile mix of combat power and spellcasting with a few useful skills thrown in. There are various ways one could develop such a build. An alternative to your Charisma-focused build, for example, would be a Strength-based one going for Devastating Critical (not necessarily better, just another option).

One issue with Bard builds in Swordflight is that you spend much of the campaign with a Bard henchman, who often makes your own Bard Song buffs somewhat redundant. One strategy to address this is to get Curse Song, so that you can mostly use your own Bard Song for debuffs while getting the buffs from your companion. You do take this feat, but rather late. Arguably a better plan would have been to dump Extra Music and/or Lingering Song (neither of which is all that useful long term) in favor of Curse Song.

It would probably have been better not to bother with the Discipline skill. If your build has good AC, then as a general rule, hits good enough to get past your AC will also be good enough to overcome the Discipline check, making the skill rather redundant. Arguably, it would also have been better to focus on either Persuade or Bluff exclusively. Having both can be redundant in many situations (though not all, by any means), and there are some rather difficult checks where you need to have the skill maxed out, or nearly so, to have much chance of succeeding (though the skill bonus from a CHA build such as this does mitigate that).

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head. I hope you continue to enjoy the series.

Thanks for the feedback. It’s already given me ideas for other builds. “Enjoying” is putting it mildly. I don’t think an RPG has gotten its hooks in me this much since New Vegas or even Fallout 2. I’ve got like 3 builds to Chapter 3 thus far and probably two dozen others I’ve played through Chapter 1 and parts of Chapter 2. And countless more I want to try.

In hindsight curse song earlier seems like it might have been more practical but on the other hand, there’ve been several instances where having twice the bard songs has been so helpful. Plus, after going 21 levels without it, first getting it with level 17 bonuses feels like such a power jump every time it’s played. I suspected leaving bluff and persuade at 10 would catch up to me eventually but every skill point feels so valuable. Which is all the more reason it sucks to have wasted the points on discipline. My rationale was more for the trash mobs that roll 20 on the final attack of the round and such. With some discipline I have a fighting chance. My understanding of the mechanic is defender’s DC is d20 + modified discipline skill against the attack roll, so if that’s wrong let me know.

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Your understanding is correct: the discipline check is a skill check against a DC equal to the attack roll triggering it (with sometimes a few special modifiers added in, e.g., Knockdown is additionally modified by the relative size of the PC vs. the attacker). You are also correct that high Discipline might help you against some natural 20 hits, so it is not completely useless (not to mention that Swordflight has occasional, but rare, special scripted checks against the skill). It is just that 20 rolls in combination with a special attack requiring such a check, and yet still low enough that the check can be passed, tend not to be all that common, making it somewhat doubtful that an investment in discipline is really worth it, particularly in a build with many other uses for its skill points.