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Unread 18th of November, 2011, 21:47
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Ninja type character? (Pathfinder)

Alright, so back in the day I made a character that I only got to play for 3 sessions before the campaign came to an abrupt and unexpected end. I loved the concept for the character I made and would have further loved to get to play it out to see how it was.

Mechanically speaking the character was a Ninja who took levels into the Telflamar Shadowlord PrC (from the Forgotten Realms supliment, Unapproachable East) and Shadowdancer PrC with the Shadow-Walker template (from the same book). The character was all about using combat tricks like ghost step and ethereal jaunt to catch foes flat-footed and deal a devistating round of TWF sneak attacks. He often used hit and run tactics but even in a toe to toe fight he was hard to pin down.

From an RP perspective the character was actually a female human who had a lifetime full of mental and physical abuse. It started with the typical story of a girl whose home was ransacked by orcish raiders who raped, killed and pillaged her family's home only to be taken into slavery herself at the ripe old age of 6 years old. The next several years saw her have her tongue cut out by her cruel masters as they no longer wished to hear her rebelious words. Her treatment saw her grow up with a hatred for slavery, orcs, physical contact and a self loathing of being female and helpless. Murdering her master and escaping their clutches she found refuge in a den of human assassins who saw potential in this youth.

The character has high ranks in disguise and wears a leather mask with a demon face stained into it. She raps her (already smallish) breasts and hides her form under armor, black silk and a cloak. Although she had her tongue regenerated she doesn't ever speak. This isn't just to hide her femanine voice (that she detests herself) but also as she has developed a mental block against it from her previous mental abuse. She has a violent aversion to being touched and has deep seeded trust issues. Although she is a bag of mental complexes she is basically a good person and fights to end slavery and mistreatment of those who can not protect themselves whenever the opportunity arises.

Alright, so thats the story. Here is the potential problem: I may want to play this character in an upcoming Pathfinder game and I am not sure what materials are allowed. If I know my GM well he is likely going to allow all Pathfinder material, plus any non-campaign specific 3.5 material. So that means that the "Complete" and "Races of" books are in but likely Forgotten Realms based things are out.

So the question is... how would I make this type of character without access to Telflammar Shadowlord and the Shadow-Walker template? Basically what I am looking for is a whirling ball of stab-slicing death who is all shadowy ninja-like and, I dunno.... more shadowy darnkessish. I suppose in the end the means to which the character delivers this dark stealth stab-slicing doom doesn't so much matter, but I really did like the original concept.

So here are the things I'm looking at and I'm not entirely certain in which combination I would like to use them:

1. Honestly, the mechanic thing that I liked the most about the original build was the ability it eventually gained to come out of a dimension door type ability doing a full attack. But even being able to do a pounce type attack of any sort is great. I liked the combination of being hidden, BAMFing in and killing the hell out of the guy before he knew what hit him. There isn't a lot that does that but there is a feat in Pathfinder called Dimentional Agility that does basically that. It even has some great follow up feats.
The only problem with all this is that the only way that I can think of to meet the prerequisites for that feat or be able to use it on any kind of regular basis would be to take levels of Monk to get Abundant Step or take caster levels. As this is a melee focused build, the latter is right out and the former is only appealing if I pick up 12 levels of Monk which puts a severe crimper on getting into Shadowdancer (which I would really like to work in there). Also, while Monks definitely can be very ninja-feeling and can certainly fulfill the stealthy dark stab-slicing death I like how the Ninja accomplishes it better. I would consider taking levels in both (I wonder how their Ki Pool work; do they stack with each other if you have levels in both?) that just further delays getting abundant step.

2. That leads me to the Ninja. I like what the ninja offers this kind of build. Where to start? Well, they have disguise (something that my character will be using constantly) and perform (a prereq for Shadowdancer) on their class skill list for one. They get a tasty 8 skill points/level, the same HD and BAB progression (though without flurry). But what I like more than that are their ninja tricks. Particularly tasty are the following:
Vanishing Trick
Shadow Clone
Smoke Bomb (and the other Bomb tricks)
Sudden Disguise
There are several more I like but aren't pivotal to accomplishing what I want the build to do. These include: Pressure Points, Feather Fall, and Flurry of Stars. One of the advantages of taking Shadowdancer is that I would get to take more rogue talents many of which have prerequisites that exist in the ninja tricks list. I don't think it would be a stretch to get my DM to allow ninja tricks in place of the rogue talents from Shadowdancer even as ninja is an alternate class anyway.

3. Thats a great segway into the Shadowdancer. So much about this class meshes with what I want the character to be able to do. Lesse: Hide in Plain Sight check, Evasion, Dark Vision, Uncanny Dodge check check check. The previously mentioned advancing of rogue talents, Shadow Illusion, Summon Shadow and Shadow Jump. Hell, there is so much shadow just in the name of the PrC and the abilities it gets that I don't think there is even a need to reinforce why this PrC is great for the build.

The only issue, again, is that it is much better to go into the class with Ninja than it is Monk. Ninja doesn't grant abundant step and Monk doesn't give it until level 11 so that kinda precludes the idea of jumping out of a BAMF to killstab someone in the face.

I guess another (relatively minor) issue is that the Ninja's Ki Pool is based off their otherwise useless ability score: Charisma. I mean, I suppose it will help disguise checks but beyond that the only thing it will be doing is padding my ki pool. I'd almost rather just tank Charisma and take the extra ki feat. I mean Monks (who are typically considered a weaker class) at least get to use Wisdom for their Ki Pool and it adds to their AC and Will saves as well. Thats much better than Charisma and I definitely wouldn't count Ninja as a stronger class than Monk by any stretch of the imagination. I don't plan on pleading to change this with my DM but perhaps bringing it up might garner more leeway with other things.

And I may need to garner a bit of support because outside of the Shadow-Walker template I don't know of any other way to get a Dimension Door ability from a melee centric class without it. I suppose I could rely on equipment like using a cape of the mountebank or scrolls with ranks in use magic device but I've found using equipment to qualify for PrCs is both silly and folly.

Horizon walker has terrrain dominance at 3rd level that grants it but that just seems like a trap too. I mean, I guess Underground (for blind-fight, a prereq for shadowdancer) and ethereal and forests would be good terrain choices but otherwise the class kinda seems like a waste. Hm... actually, maybe it isn't a bad choice as it also gives ethereal jaunt. Maybe this requires more consideration.

Telflamar Shadowlord has basically been condensed into a single feat (Dimensional Agility) so I guess what I really need to figure out is how to gain Dimension Door as a class ability without use of the Shadow-walker template. I guess Horizon walker does accomplish that, so that is a fallback solution. There used to be a great line of feats that gave bonuses to fighting while ethereal too but I can't seem to find them right now. I have a feeling the character will be feat starved anyway with the TWF tree, Extra Ki, Extra rogue talent (/ninja trick) Weapon Finesse, Dimensional Agility and the follow up feats and such. Being human and getting feats every other level will help to alleviate some of that feat starvation though.

Ideas?
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Last edited by Lune; 18th of November, 2011 at 21:50.
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Unread 4th of December, 2011, 18:45
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Man, no advice on this? Here and I thought it was an interesting character.

Maybe people just aren't into this on these boards anymore?
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Unread 5th of December, 2011, 00:34
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I'm not a PF expert, so I don't know how much I can help. I also have no idea what the Telflamar blah blah class is.

That said, I don't see a way to get abundant step or similar from base classes. The closest I can get to is to use the Ninja Tricks Smoke Bomb and Vanishing Trick together to BAMF, but that's 2 ki points every time you want to do that and that also means you only attack every other round.


EDIT:
Honestly, I don't see any reason not to just take monk if you really want the Dimensional Agility. A 7 level caster dip to get Dimension Door is absurd, but 12 levels of monk with a 5 attack flurry, +40ft move, +3 AC, and MAD abilities that actually play into character design instead of stupid CHA for Ninjas. Pick up feats to get the ninja feel.

OR

Maybe you could convince your DM that the Shadowdancer's "Shadow Jump" could meet the requirements for Dimensional Agility. That means you'd be BAMFing at level 9 or so, assuming you take Ninja 5/Shadowdancer 4.



EDIT2: Ki pools from Monk and Ninja would indeed stack, but you'd only gain the STAT bonus from either Wis or Cha, but not both.
If the ninja possesses levels in another class that grants points to a ki pool, ninja levels stack with the levels of that class to determine the total number of ki points in the combined pool, but only one ability score modifier is added to the total. The choice of which score to use is made when the second class ability is gained, and once made, the choice is set. The ninja can now use ki points from this pool to power the abilities of every class she possesses that grants a ki pool.

Last edited by Mercutio; 5th of December, 2011 at 01:02.
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Unread 5th of December, 2011, 04:35
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There are only a few around here who know a lot about PF. LP is one of them, but he hasn't been around in a while (read: active).

I'm no help, sorry.
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Unread 5th of December, 2011, 15:27
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Well the good news is that I had a chance to talk with my current player/future GM and he has basically approved 3.5 material that hasn't been reprinted to Pathfinder with a few caveats. Firstly, most of the "Complete" books is allowable, some of the material from the "Races of" books and other suplimental books like PH2 are alright pending his approval. Most campaign specific material is out except where it is generic enough that it could fit into any setting.

I'm hoping that the Telflamar Shadowlord falls into that category especially as it has a sidebar in the class for how it could fit into other settings. The Shadow Walker template though may be less likely.

However, aside from that I think everyone's 3.5 knowledge is still fairly applicable. While this isn't entirely accurate to what the PrC is it close. The spell list is slightly different with a few spells from FRCS thrown in but it gives a general feel for what they get. Its missing a few things in the prereq's section particularly that you can qualify with just having the afore mentioned template or the ability to use dimension door. I had forgot to mention before though that the PrC has a 2d6 sneak attack requirement so qualifying with pure monk is out unfortunately.

I'm taking a longer look at going Ninja into Horizon Walker though.
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Unread 5th of December, 2011, 15:30
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Just for reference my previous 3.5 build for this character that I didn't get much of a chance to play was this:


+1 Shadow-walker
1 Ninja 1 TWF (human), Blind-Fight (1st), Ki power, Sudden strike 1d6, trapfinding, Shadow mask 3/day
2 Ninja 2 Ghoststep (invisible)
3 Fighter 1 Dodge (3rd), Mobility (fighter 1), Dimension Door 1/day
4 Ninja 3 Sudden Strike 2d6, poison use
5 Fighter 2 Spring attack (fighter 2), Darkness 3/day
6 Swashbuckler 1 Weapon Finesse (Swashbuckler 1)
7 Shadowlord 1 Shadowsight, shadow jump, Dimension Door 2/day
8 Shadowlord 2 Shadow Blur
9 Shadowlord 3 Shadow Walk, Improved TWF (9th), Shadow spray 3/day
10 Shadowlord 4 Shadow Pounce
11 Shadowlord 5 Shadow Discorporation, Shadow walk 1/day
12 Shadowlord 6 Death Attack, Quicken SLA (12th)
13 Swashbuckler 2 Grace +1, Displacement 2/day
14 Swashbuckler 3 Insightful Strike
15 Shadowdancer 1 Hide in Plain Sight, Dimension door 3/day
16 Shadowdancer 2 Evasion, uncanny dodge
17 Shadowdancer 3 Shadow Illusion, summon shadow, Evard's black Tentacles
18 Shadowdancer 4 Shadow Jump 20ft
19 Shadowdancer 5 Defensive Roll, Improved Uncanny dodge, Greater TWF (18th), Shdow Walk 3/day
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