If ever a class deserved the marking mechanic, it would be the Duelist. I mean, come on! Of course, I avoided marking like the plague because, well duh, bookkeeping.

Here’s the Heroic Duelist class:
Download: Essentials Duelist (Fighter) v.1

First thing’s actually the skill list — one of the more interesting fighter skill lists you’ll find. The Duelist has access to Acrobatics, Bluff, Insight, and Perception — that’s largely the influence of the Complete Warrior Swashbuckler class. I had considered Diplomacy and History, but decided against them for the time being.

The class’s main schtick is the Duelist Gambit power. Simultaneously a defender thing and a punishment power, the Duelist uses an immediate interrupt to take a melee hit for an ally and strikes back against the attacker as a free action.

First and foremost, the power is an interrupt so its effect takes place before the enemy’s attack lands, which means that if the effect dazes the Duelist, it’s no biggie.

Second, the power redirects the enemy attack, which could well trigger a fellow defender’s power. Fun times, especially if the fellow defender is another Duelist!

Third, and returning to the fact that the power is an interrupt, it can be used in conjunction with any of the Duelist’s Opportunity Action powers — the standard Opportunity Attack (plus Superiority), Agile Footwork, or Deflecting Parry.

Shifting Defense is a better version of the feat of the same name, permitting the Duelist to shift with Second Wind or Total Defense — and I can tell you that comes in handy when combined with an allied character who recharges your Second Wind.

The Duelist picks up more tricks as they advance through the Heroic tier — when they have Combat Advantage, they can swing against the target’s AC or Reflex, whichever is lower. Compelling Step slides an enemy once per turn when the Duelist shifts.

Redoubled Recovery at 6th level enables the Duelist to spend an extra surge whenever they spend a surge — canny readers will recognize the Dwarven Armor property — making Second Wind more effective overall and allowing the Duelist a dramatic comeback after taking hits from Duelist Gambit throughout the fight.

Check it out, and let me know if you try one in a game.

As always, play at your own risk.