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Knife Fighter (Fighter)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

1 to 50 of 54 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Cheliax RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Boxhead

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Knife Fighter (Fighter)
From gang members in the streets of Riddleport to discreet nobles in the courts of Cheliax, some fighters prefer the speed, subtlety and grace of the dagger over more cumbersome weapons.

Knife Expert (Ex): At 1st level, a knife fighter gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with daggers. In addition, a knife fighter gains a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on disarm and sunder checks with daggers. These bonuses increase by +1 per four levels after 1st. This ability replaces weapon training 1.

Never Caught Unarmed (Ex): At 1st level, a knife fighter gains a bonus to Sleight of Hand checks to conceal a weapon on your body equal to 1/2 your fighter level (minimum +1). This ability replaces the bonus feat at first level.

Quicker Than the Eye (Ex): At 2nd level, a knife fighter gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his fighter level to all initiative checks. This ability replaces bravery.

Parrying Defense (Ex): At 3rd level, a knife fighter gains a +1 shield bonus to his AC when he is using a dagger in his off-hand, or has his off-hand free. This bonus increases by +1 for every four fighter levels the knife fighter possesses. This ability replaces armor training 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Cut and Run (Ex): At 6th level, as a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, a knife fighter can make a combat maneuver check to hamper an opponent by targeting tendons in vulnerable locations, such as the wrist or hamstring. If it succeeds, the target is staggered for one round and the knife fighter can then make a normal move without provoking an attack of opportunity from the target. This ability replaces the bonus feat at 6th level.

Discreet Throw (Ex): At 9th level, a knife fighter can make ranged attacks with daggers without provoking an attack of opportunity. This ability replaces weapon training 2.

Barrage of Blades (Ex): At 13th level, when a knife fighter makes a full attack with daggers, he may make one extra attack at his full attack bonus. All attacks that round suffer a -2 penalty to hit. This applies to both melee and ranged attacks. This does not reduce the action required to draw a weapon. This ability replaces weapon training 3.

Master of the Blurred Hands (Ex): At 17th level, attacks made with barrage of blades no longer suffer the -2 penalty. This ability replaces weapon training 4.

Weapon Mastery (Ex): A knife fighter must choose the dagger.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

This appears to be one of two knife fighter archetypes submitted this round. I like this one better. First, it's non-specific...meaning, it doesn't rely on a single location in Golarion to define itself. Secondly, it's got a lot more going on, including some offense, defense, melee, ranged and even initiative enhancing abilities. The choices on which fighter class abilities to swap out make sense (i.e., there are several precedents set by some of the other fighter archetypes that you clearly studied and mimicked...and that's smart design work on your part). About the only thing I'm not all that keen on with this design is the Cut and Run ability. I would have rather seen a hamstring or wrist tendon injury affect an opponent's movement rate (reduce by 5 feet) or their attacks and hand-based skill checks (-1 penalty, etc.).

Regardless, you've given us a quintessential knife fighter. I could easily see this archetype in play. And it works. Therefore, I RECOMMEND this archetype design for advancement. Let's see if the voters agree.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Knife Expert: You're replacing a +1 on attack and damage rolls from a 4th-level ability with that very same bonus at 1st level. Yeah, you're giving up on all the other weapon training benefits, but you're still giving a scaling bonus three levels earlier than normal, and (more importantly) at 1st-level. Anyone who primarily uses daggers would be strongly tempted to take 1 level in this fighter archetype, especially as they also get +1 BAB, d10 HD, and a combat feat, which they'll probably spend on Weapon Focus (dagger), which adds up to a +3 attack bonus for just one level in fighter. Yeah, a rogue loses one level's of progression in sneak attack for multiclassing (losing +1.75 conditional damage in doing so), but gaining +3 non-conditional attack bonus, +1 non-conditional damage bonus, and some conditional CMB/CMD bonuses. That's a no-brainer, and thus it's too good.

Quicker Than the Eye: Again, I'm still seeing a strong incentive for a rogue to do a two-level dip into this class. At level two he gets +1 BAB, d20 HD, a combat feat (perhaps Weapon Finesse for even more attack bonus?), and a +1 initiative bonus to making going first and sneak-attacking flat-footed opponents even easier.

Parrying Defense: The guy who's a knife-fighter isn't going to be wearing heavy armor anyway, he's going to be in leather or studded leather, so armor training is almost useless to him (the ACP is already trivial and the max Dex is already very high), so this archetype is trading out an ability the character wouldn't use for an ability he would use. And it's giving the benefits of Two-Weapon Defense, which is a second-tier feat, so this just saved you two feats for the cost of an ability you're not going to use anyway.

Cut and Run: So this is like Staggering Critical, except 7 rounds earlier than you can take the feat, and you just have to perform a CMB (one average-to-good roll) instead of critting your target (two average-to-good rolls), but it doesn't last as long. This also should be modeled after the dirty trick combat maneuver instead of an "untyped" new maneuver, and say that it doesn't work on creatures with no discernable anatomy. Also, normally you could withdraw as a FRA and have your starting square be safe; this ability lets you do that *and* you have a chance to stagger them.

Discreet Throw: Everybody wants ranged attackers to get this ability. *sigh* And it's replacing secondary weapon training you wouldn't use anyway.

Barrage of Blades/Master of the Blurred Hands: So you're looting the monk's flurry ability, in exchange for another weapon training you wouldn't use anyway.

I think this is way too powerful, gives away too much at the lowest levels, and is too good of a choice for characters wanting to multiclass a couple levels just for the sweet 1st and 2nd-level benefits (just like the 3.0 ranger).

RECOMMENDATION: I do NOT recommend this archetype design for advancement in the competition.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 4.5 Points
Recommendation: Recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (.5 point)
Boooring name. Fits the archetype though.

Mechanics (1 point)
Great mechanics. You provided 9 features under 450 words. Of those 9, only 1 is a non-enhancement (the restriction to Weapon Mastery).

Impressive.

Awesomeness (1 point)
I would play this archetype. I know many people who would play this archetype. This is so good it probably deserves to be its own base class.

Template (1 point)
Followed the template really well.

Context (1 point)
Basic fighter with knife focus will work in virtually any campaign. The ability to hide a weapon makes it even suitable for a dramatic or courtly intrigue game.

Paizo Employee Developer

Well, Eric, this is a very different challenge than you had in round 2 last year. Let's see how you fared!

First, while descriptive, this is a boring archetype name. Sure, there are similarly bland archetype names in the APG, but this is RPG Superstar. Wow me from the get-go!

From the very first ability we see here, I can't see a reason not to take this archetype. Every ability is better than what the fighter gives up, whether that's a free shield bonus to a 4th-level scaling bonus on attacks and damage with the weapon he's already chosen at first level. And flurry of blows and a free move action after a full-round action at higher levels. Sure, the fighter has to commit to one of the lowest-damage-dealing weapons in the game, but I think the benefits here make this too good for someone who wants it. Sean already broke down why these abilities are a drastic ramp up in power, and much more succinctly than I would, so I direct you again to his comments in that regard.

In many ways, this archetype is too focused. There's not a lot of versatility here, and the result is a one-trick-pony who's way too good at that one trick. I think you got the theme down, but the rules supporting that theme need to be reined in and balanced before this would approach Superstar material. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement, but we'll see what the voters think. Congrats on a repeat performance on the big stage and best of luck.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

Your wondrous item was one of my favorites, and your archetype also looks very good. I hope you'll advance to round 3!


I have always wanted to play a knife fighter, but felt that knives and daggers are kind of underpowered = Interesting concept, weak in practice. I think the knife fighter would be a lot of fun.


Eric Hindley wrote:

Knife Fighter (Fighter)

From gang members in the streets of Riddleport to discreet nobles in the courts of Cheliax, some fighters prefer the speed, subtlety and grace of the dagger over more cumbersome weapons.

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead moths and a three week old shopping list.
;)

Would you want this person sitting next to you as a guest at a formal evening dress dinner party?
Speed, subtlety, grace: all good. Wait. What's this man going to try to do with the steak knife? Sitting next to this person could be just the teensiest bit precarious. But still...

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Well, being good with a knife, he's certainly equipped to operate whilst clinging with one hand to a ledge halfway up a cliff and having to fend off a marauding buzzard.

Could you hire one person like this to do a better job than one other trained mercenary and/or to do the jobs of two (or more) other trained mercenaries?
Oooh, yes. This man's really good with a knife.

Other comments?
Knife fighters. Good for playing dirty up close and personal, and taking people down in a crowd.
The only problem with these gang members is as to how far you can trust them if you're not in their gang. The same could probably be said of Chelish nobles for that matter (except I doubt they even trust one another). Still, some gang initiation ceremonies are rather amusing. I lost count about three hundred and fifty years ago of the number of gangs either current or defunct to which I belonged or had at some point belonged in any capacity.

Desirability:
Bodyguard. (For day jobs only. Wouldn't want him to get the wrong idea, after all...)

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
Quicker Than the Eye (Ex): At 2nd level, a knife fighter gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his fighter level to all initiative checks. This ability replaces bravery.

I think this is a little powerful at 2nd level. I would have moved it to a higher level (maybe 4th) and capped it. As it stands, it's way better than Bravery (your milage may vary). That being said, I still like this a lot.


I think there are a couple of points that this archetype jumped the gun on power a little too much. Quicker than the Eye really should have matched in increase the way that bravery increases. Getting the weapon training like ability so early isn't great and the Cut and Run ability could be much clearer on exactly what it allows (a full attack action but allows movement is kind of sloppy -- perhaps instead a standard action would have been more appropriate).

All this said I really like this archetype for the fighter. I feel it shows an understanding of where to fit archetypes and at least a proficiency making hard decisions and finding ways to change things without running rough shod over what is already present in the game. As such it receives my vote.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka Electric Monk

I really liked your wondrous item, it was my favourite. I love the concept behind the knife fighter but do worry that its a bit too good for rogues to dip into. (I would take a level of this class for just about any rogue i played.)

]Never Caught Unarmed (Ex): At 1st level, a knife fighter gains a bonus to Sleight of Hand checks to conceal a weapon on your body equal to 1/2 your fighter level (minimum +1). This ability replaces the bonus feat at first level.[/QUOTE wrote:

... In this ability you slipped into refering to the charcter as you (your body, your fighter level etc.) rather than in the third person. This is a fairly basic editing problem which should have been picked up.

(I am voting for you though!)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

At first glance I thought this was great, but SKR brings some mighty strong math. Even before reading this though I thought the bonus to initiative was a little much. At 20th level, with a DEX of 18 (which you're sure to have) and improved initiative you have a bonus of 18! Coupled with your other abilities this puts five daggers into the faces of your enemies before they get to do anything, and if you can squeak some sneak in there they may as well not bother rolling initiative at all. It's a great idea, and seems balanced at first glance, but it's just too abuseable.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Anyone who primarily uses daggers would be strongly tempted to take 1 level in this fighter archetype, especially as they also get +1 BAB, d10 HD, and a combat feat, which they'll probably spend on Weapon Focus (dagger)...

Doesn't the second first level ability replace the bonus feat?

While I do tend to agree that this is most likely a little more overpowered than a regular fighter... I'm not sure it's way overpowered in the end. The big thing is that they're relegated to daggers, which only do 1d4 damage. I feel like there's going to be competition between strength and dexterity on this class which will help to balance it.

That being said I think Quicker than the Eye and Cut and Run are a little bit over the top. If those were reduced a little then this would be much better.

Most likely going to vote this in, but need to mull more on it.


Low on flavor but high on function.

Oh, and does anybody else hear "Beat It" in their head when they read this archetype?

K. Just checking.


Love the Archetype, I could see myself playing it for something fun and different as well as it making a great NPC. Still leaves in a lot of customize ability leaving feats intact.

I agree with most of the judges, though it i do believe Sean has missed the fact that Never Caught Unarmed replaces the first level combat feat, bringing the bonuses down to +2 attack bonus, +1 Damage which puts it to an average of 3.5 damage per attack (2.5 on 1d4, + 1), meaning its average damage is the same as any 1d6 weapon (short sword, club, etc, albeit with a min damage of 2). This is exactly the same as having that combat bonus and taking weapon focus with it.

I'd honestly say a rogue would be better NOT dipping a level for this as they would be better off just using short swords for the damage and using that rogue talent on Finesse Rogue for the suggested second level bonus feat.

Abraham spalding wrote:
Cut and Run ability could be much clearer on exactly what it allows (a full attack action but allows movement is kind of sloppy -- perhaps instead a standard action would have been more appropriate).

It may be a bit wordy but I think it's the risk/reward that makes it great as a full round. If you failed you still had the chance to move away with the AoO, this way if you fail your stuck. I'm also okay with the staggered since it deals no damage and means the foe is hampered in coming after you better than a -5 to base speed.

Cheers on a well done job


I think the judges' criticisms about this making a too attractive dip for roguey characters is valid, and I think their criticisms about this making for a little bit too much of a one-trick pony are valid.

That being said: I'm not sure I agree with "way too good" at that one trick for a straight fighter. Being a fighter that's focused on using only daggers is inherently pretty suboptimal -- you have to stack the deck a little to even make it competitive with a dozen better options that even the unarchetyped fighter has.

I think I'd like Discreet Throw a lot better if it was limited to once or twice per round. A knife guy who whips out half a dozen knives and throws them all while in melee feels a little ridiculous to me, but a knife guy who slips in one throw with a quick flick of his wrist as part of a frenzied knife full-attack just feels cool. That might just be my personal preference, though.

I'm not totally convinced but I'm leaning towards voting for this one.


Stehil wrote:
i do believe Sean has missed the fact that Never Caught Unarmed replaces the first level combat feat

Good catch. At least, I somehow missed that detail, which makes me a little more in favor of this archetype.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I like it, but it doesn't blow my hair back like some of the others.

For some reason, swapping out the bonus feats kind of bugs me. It really shouldn't, they're just class abilities. But it kind of limits the flexibility of the class. OTOH, it does serve to limit its dippiness a bit.

I need to mull this one over for a while. It might grow on me.


Eric Hindley wrote:

Parrying Defense (Ex): At 3rd level, a knife fighter gains a +1 shield bonus to his AC when he is using a dagger in his off-hand, or has his off-hand free. This bonus increases by +1 for every four fighter levels the knife fighter possesses. This ability replaces armor training 1, 2, 3 and 4.

I really like this. I do historical fencing and daggers are excellent parrying tools for controlling an opponent's light weapon.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

I'm in agreement that there's some balance issues in when abilities are acquired. However, I strongly disagree that a light fighting archetype shouldn't be able to trade away armor training - I'd venture to say it's a problem if it doesn't. Likewise, a single-weapon fighter needs to trade away at least some of the weapon training abilities. The balance point these trade-offs balance against should be the stock armor-wearing fighter, not the archetype itself. And archetypes probably should drop the abilities that the archetype won't use - I'd hope any civilized ranger variants trade in wild empathy, for example.

With that said, armor training is not the strongest fighter ability, and I do think this class gets too much AC for giving it up. Likewise, the class keeps the best element of weapon training (improving your primary weapon), so giving up later weapon training doesn't actually represent a full loss of ability.

Anyhow. That's my perspective on archetype balancing. I kind of like this archetype, it's in the keep pile for the time being.

I'd like to see this class able to use the kukri, as an aside.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Too specialized. Feel artificial and boring.
20th level master of back-alley slashing saving kingdoms from dragons?

Verdict: Not recommended for conceptual reasons.

Regards,
Ruemere

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Lord Fyre

ruemere wrote:

Too specialized. Feel artificial and boring.

20th level master of back-alley slashing saving kingdoms from dragons?

Verdict: Not recommended for conceptual reasons.

Regards,
Ruemere

However, the idea here is that a "20th level master of back-alley slashing" would be saving kingdoms from Assassins.


Before the voting started, I wouldn't have thought I'd be interested in a knife fighter. But seeing this reminds me that, along with the fully martial bare-fisted brawler, it's an archetype I'd really like to see supported. Interestingly, we got two, and this one is my favorite.

I do dislike some mechanical decisions - weapon training at level 1? Bravery replaced with an Initiative bonus that's twice the original numerical value? The former breaks a pattern and the latter is just flat-out better than the usual. I don't think this makes it a MUST HAVE ROGUE DIP, but still red flags.

Parrying Defense needs a restriction. The shield bonus is already worse than the dodge bonus of equivalent features (Elusive and Defensive Flurry). Add restrictions similar to those and it's perfectly in line.

Cut and Run has grown on me, as I realize what it's trying to represent. I think it might be a little strong for the level, though. Bennies for throwing knives and a (very late) 'Rapid Shot only you can stab with it too', I think, are what ultimately sells me on this.

It's simple, but iconic, if you ask me. I kind of get the feeling there's some baby steps here going towards something good. It is fairly rough now, so I'm voting with my gut and hopefully I won't be disappointed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hi Eric.

You have my vote.

This is definitely an unexplored niche for me, and I'm glad to see someone stepping up and creating an archetype to fill that void. I'm a little leery of losing the bonus feat at first level in order to gain a bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, but that's really a minor quibble.

This is a solid archetype that still offers a great deal of opportunity for customisation, and provides stacks of new material. I agree with Sean somewhat; the mechanics do need a bit of attention to make them work in conjunction with the myriad ways they could be used (level dips etc), but I'm voting for you based on what I think you were trying to do. I think you very nearly achieved it.

Good luck for the remainder of the contest! I hope to see you in Round 3.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Im going to disect this one, no offence intended Eric.

Description: It may be the lack of sleep, but 'gang members in the streets of Riddleport' brought up bad images of Daniel Dae Lewis and Leonardo DeCaprio (ok, ok... are there any good images of Leonardo DeCaprio?)

Knife Expert: Good concept, but really should be pushed back to 4th level, +5/+5 is good enough, and at first level, 1d4 isn't lagging that much to 1d8.

Never Caught Unarmed: This is a good trade. It is akin to the ranger's tracking bonus, or the rogue's trapfinding.

Quicker Than the Eye: Ack! 1/2 level on initiative is a bit much, espeically to replace the situational bonus from bravery. Giving a +4 bonus to initiative would be sufficient (and if you want to go first, take Improved Initative on top of it)

Parrying Defense: I'll disagree with Sean here. The knife fighter will always lag in AC, either by not wearing the heavier armor and shield, or by wearing it with the ACP. (personal comment, I think he should be able to hold something in the off hand, see below)

Cut and Run: Had to read it twice to catch the 'free' move action. It's a risky move, but since I first read it as 'Cut or Run (having missed the move action) I'll admit I like the image of him staggering his foe, then 'laughing in his face' by drinking a potion from a certain tankard ;-)

Discreet Throw, Barage of Blades, Master of the Blurred hands: All look good.

My one complaint would be that they should get quick draw somewhere (Maybe at first level, limit it to daggers). Other than that and the initiative bonus, I like this archtype.

How many votes do we get this round?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Lord Fyre

I am having two problems with this Archetype.

First is that taking one level of "Knife Fighter" is soo good that it becomes an attractive one or two level "Dip" for any Rogue. Rogues also get the advantage that "Sleight of Hand" is already a class skill for them.

Second is that, given the urban feel of the Archetype, changing the fighter's class skills would have helped re-enforce the feel you are going for.

Other then that, this is well done.


There are a lot of good ideas in this archetype but I'm going to agree with many others by saying it's far too powerful. I think that could be fixed by delaying a lot of the abilities until later in the levels but as is, I'd never allow anyone to play this archetype in a game I was running.


Eric Hindley wrote:
Knife Fighter (Fighter)

First of all. Great job.

You filled a needed niche. You kept it simple. You didn't make it too specific.

I would have dropped the world specific references in the intro, just because it isn't relevant to Pathfinder RPG, just Golorian. No harm there though.

Almost all of the abilities sound really good and seem balanced on first review.

My biggest concerns are:
Quicker Than the Eye (Ex): At 2nd level, a knife fighter gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his fighter level to all initiative checks. This ability replaces bravery.

This seems to be a bit too powerful at higher levels (+10 at 20th). I would have bumped it to the 3rd level and increased it every 3 levels (+6 at 18th).

Cut and Run (Ex): At 6th level, as a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, a knife fighter can make a combat maneuver check to hamper an opponent by targeting tendons in vulnerable locations, such as the wrist or hamstring. If it succeeds, the target is staggered for one round and the knife fighter can then make a normal move without provoking an attack of opportunity from the target. This ability replaces the bonus feat at 6th level.

I probably would have done something different with this, but your system works. I however, feel it has some room for abuse. I can't quite put my finger on it at this moment, but I think it's there.

Well done and I really hope this one moves forwards to the next round.

Ken


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Carl Flaherty wrote:
ruemere wrote:

Too specialized. Feel artificial and boring.

20th level master of back-alley slashing saving kingdoms from dragons?

Verdict: Not recommended for conceptual reasons.

Regards,
Ruemere

However, the idea here is that a "20th level master of back-alley slashing" would be saving kingdoms from Assassins.

I'm sure there are gamemasters who don't mind 1st level characters retaining their initial concepts throughout their careers. I've GMed Warhammer for 3.5 years straight and felt entirely satisfied with downtrodden everymen growing up into dark heroes.

Being conceptually frozen through artificial rule restraints however...

In a way tying oneself to a chair and then forcing oneself to watch tv for a month holds as much appeal to me as this class.

YMMV, of course.

Regards,
Ruemere


I found no glaring flaws that would deter me from using this archetype; I like the overall balance of powers, except maybe for 'Quicker Than the Eye' that I would weaken in the same way that Kenneth recommended.

Had I made the Top 32, my archetype would've been very similar to this one, so it also has a bit of intangible going for it.

VOTE.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I agree with Sean that the abilities seem like they're giving a lot for little sacrifice. The bonus to Initiative checks is pretty crazy, and although I like the idea of getting better weapon training to compensate for the piddling d4 of damage, I think as written it's just too much. The Cut and Run concept, though, is pretty clever.

The concept is pretty cool, though. Maybe more West Side Story than Lord of the Rings, but urban games are never a bad thing in my eyes.

I'm going to have to ruminate on this. This is the first archetype I've read, so I don't know how it stacks up. You might get a vote out of me, but I certainly do have reservations at this point.


Nick Bolhuis wrote:
At first glance I thought this was great, but SKR brings some mighty strong math. Even before reading this though I thought the bonus to initiative was a little much. At 20th level, with a DEX of 18 (which you're sure to have) and improved initiative you have a bonus of 18! Coupled with your other abilities this puts five daggers into the faces of your enemies before they get to do anything, and if you can squeak some sneak in there they may as well not bother rolling initiative at all. It's a great idea, and seems balanced at first glance, but it's just too abuseable.

I like this archetype as it gives a different feel to the fighter class, which usually involves large damage dealing weapons.

Quicker than the eye may give the advantage of going first but it's not the most overpowered initiative bonus I've seen in the game.
The worst one I think is the divination school ability forwarned which gives an initiative bonus equal to half the wizard's level, but also at level 20 treats every initiative roll as a natural 20. So even without any dex bonus or feat bonus you're already at a 30 initiative, and if you add 18 dex and improved initiative it will always be 38.
With the knife fighter with the same stat and feat you can only get 38 by rolling a 20, which doesn't happen often.

As for the possibility of five attacks at once with daggers the only way I could see this as being over powered is if the character spent a lot of gold to buy five high powered daggers. Which very few people would spend that much on so many daggers.
And once the daggers are thrown, unless they are all returning, you won't be able to use them for the rest of the battle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really enjoy this archetype as I find its lack of extra bells and whistles refreshing. It's a very iconic character that stands on its own, and by removing any setting defining characteristics, it lets the player decided who their character actually is.

Mechanics wise the Knife Fighter is very tight. Making Knife Expert a first level ability was a bold choice, but without it I think this class falls apart at the lower levels. It encourages the player to use a dagger from the beginning. Without it I could see most players choosing to swing a more powerful 1-handed weapon until the dagger abilities start kicking in. Not to mention at the end of the day you are still swinging a dagger.

The class seems fairly balanced to me. Trading in the weapon trainings for extra perks with the dagger makes sense. Yes you are trading in abilities you aren't going to use but...that's the point. I would be very disappointed if this class didn't replace weapon training, as it's theme would be lost which is the main selling point. It makes playing a dagger wielding fighter a viable option, which is awesome (death by a thousand paper cuts).

TehSquishy wrote:


Quicker than the eye may give the advantage of going first but it's not the most overpowered initiative bonus I've seen in the game.
The worst one I think is the divination school ability forwarned which gives an initiative bonus equal to half the wizard's level, but also at level 20 treats every initiative roll as a natural 20.

Don't forget the fact that they (divination wizards) ALWAYS get to act in the surprise round (no perception check required).

A rogue would be much better off taking a level of wizard for the bonus init (not to mention spellcasting, and other class features).
Overall I find the class dipping comments rather baseless, as there are better options already in the core rules.

This one defiantly has one of my votes. Loved the glove and enjoy the archetype.

Good luck!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8, Contributor

Eric,
I think that while Sean's math-based critique is right on, the rules component of those concepts can be tweaked to restore balance. For me your abilities hit at the flavor of what we want knife fighters to be. I like that you put in both melee and ranged applicable components as well so that all iconic stabby guys are represented.
One thing not mentioned here that I wasn't keen on was the bonus given to sunder checks.
Disarm I get and agree with, but sunder doesn't seem all that viable for a weapon of a dagger's damage output.
Historically speaking there were many off hand weapons like scissors katars and main-gauches that excelled at breaking weapons but I don't know that the game mechanics would make using a dagger for sundering a truly viable choice.
Personally, I'd recommend changing it to a bonus to dirty trick or steal combat maneuvers as I could see someone who excelled at in-close fighting using their blade to cut the skin over an opponent's eyebrow so that blood dripped down to blind their enemy, or that could cut the bottom out of a coin purse or spell component bag in the middle of combat with a deft twist of the wrist.
Just my thoughts.
Again, I think the mechanical critiques are valid, but you nailed the iconic essence of a knife fighter.
You have one of my votes this round and best of luck.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I'm in agreement that the class gives too much away. Even with the first level feat replaced, at 2nd level (Ftr/Rog), I can have essentially a full BAB, a die of SA, and an extra point of damage. At 3rd level, I can start catching up feats with rogue talents. At higher levels, I am replacing a lost attack for double-dipping with an extra atttack at my highest bonues.

Too much initiative in exchange for Bravery. Maybe consider stacking on a second ability score, like Int or Wis instead.

There's too many instances of not provoking AoO with a ranged weapon, at least in the backwards-compatible game. How about doesn't provoke from your target? Same thing with the extra attack at your highest bonus. Moreover, you've assumed in your class features that someone's taking Two-Weapon Fighting. Now you want this dude to fight with two weapons and eventually take an extra attack with no penalties, while gaining AC.

I want to play a stealthy fighter with a brace of wicked knives as much as the next guy, but I think this class twinks too much when it could have offered more diverse abilities and maintained great flavor. I might carry it this round, might not.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This entry got one of my votes, I like a knife fighter concept and my biggest gripes have already been aired here. I hope to see you advance to the next rounds.

Good luck.


Eric Hindley wrote:

Knife Fighter (Fighter)

Disclaimer: My ranking scheme for this round consists of given marks form 0 to 4 in the following three categories:

1.Is the Archetype conceptually interesting?
2.Are the mechanics of the Archetype interesting?
3.Are the mechanics of the Archetype balanced and well executed?
But rather than simply adding up the marks for a final score I'm gonna interpret them as a point in 3-dimensional space and the final mark of your submission will be the length of the vector between the origin and this point.
Note that my ranking doesn't need to directly correspond with my votes, as other factors like: Strength of your item submission, mood, my horrorscope and other random stuff still factor in. Also note that this scheme is highly subjective and only mirrors my perception and opinion about your archetype submission.

Conceptual Mojo (CM): 1, Just a standard “Weapon style” fighter, choosing a normally sub-par weapon.
Mechanical Mojo (MM): 3, Some interesting stuff, like hamstringing, but nothing bold and new.
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2. Maybe a bit strong and front loaded, but not horribly broken. I don't like that you took away some bonus feats, And initiative bonus is too strong compared to bravery.

Final note: Bland idea, well executed.

Total Score: 3.741

Star Voter 2013

I think the honorable judges are forgetting that this fighter is married to one of the least effective weapons in the game, and also one of the coolest archetypes. The powers have to be uber in order for a PC to be anything BUT a drag on his party. If the knife-fighter class can't do damage, what's the point?

Yes, Sean's got a point about the two level dip, but that's easily fixed, and perhaps by the juicy scaling bits.

This one goes on the short pile of candidates to reconsider.


I think it's a good implementation of the theme.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Yes, the name is bland but the archetype concept is solid, if safe.

The bigger problem is that the abilities are way too good. You get stuff way ahead of the levels you normally would, and they advance more quickly. Consider a 'Weapon Master' who is the uber-specialist in dagger only gets his weapon training in the dagger at 3rd level. You get it at 1st. Ouch.

Bravery is a very limited +1 save bonus you get at 2nd, and it improves every FOUR levels. You give out a +1 initiative mod that will be used in EVERY COMBAT, and it improves every TWO levels.

I agree with the argument that, when an archetype is married to a suboptimal weapon, you can cut it some slack on making its abilities a little better (like the impaler archetype's capstone), but the dagger is a better weapon than the spikes (better crits, can be ranged or melee), and there are too many abilities here that are too much better than what you give up.

Solid but ordinary concept, unbalanced mechanics in my book.

Congrats on making round 2, and best of luck!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Alizor wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Anyone who primarily uses daggers would be strongly tempted to take 1 level in this fighter archetype, especially as they also get +1 BAB, d10 HD, and a combat feat, which they'll probably spend on Weapon Focus (dagger)...
While I do tend to agree that this is most likely a little more overpowered than a regular fighter... I'm not sure it's way overpowered in the end. The big thing is that they're relegated to daggers, which only do 1d4 damage.

Exactly. Those extra bonuses make being a knife fighter not a completely stupid choice, which in isolation it is. Build this thing, and it's still not going to outclass Joe Fighter With Greatsword, so how unbalanced can it be?

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

roguerouge wrote:
I think the honorable judges are forgetting that this fighter is married to one of the least effective weapons in the game, and also one of the coolest archetypes. The powers have to be uber in order for a PC to be anything BUT a drag on his party. If the knife-fighter class can't do damage, what's the point?

I disagree. The fighter scores huge damage on crits, pluses, and other bonuses. Not on the die of damage. A d4 instead of a d8 is at max a difference of 8 points of damage on a crit. A mace has a higher die, but a smaller threat range, and still only deals x2 damage. The dagger can be thrown, while other melee weapons cannot. If you get swallowed whole, you can't use your long sword, but you'll deal all your knifey goodness with no penalities. You can sneak the knife in more easily, which is important because the scabbard of the false peace didn't get published and you might have had to leave your weapon with the constubulary. : }

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I share Sean's concerns about dipping, and also the AC bonus seems a bit excessive but other than that I like the archetype. Still shuffling through the herd but this is going in the reconsider pile.

Star Voter 2013

Steven T. Helt wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
I think the honorable judges are forgetting that this fighter is married to one of the least effective weapons in the game, and also one of the coolest archetypes. The powers have to be uber in order for a PC to be anything BUT a drag on his party. If the knife-fighter class can't do damage, what's the point?
I disagree. The fighter scores huge damage on crits, pluses, and other bonuses. Not on the die of damage. A d4 instead of a d8 is at max a difference of 8 points of damage on a crit. A mace has a higher die, but a smaller threat range, and still only deals x2 damage. The dagger can be thrown, while other melee weapons cannot. If you get swallowed whole, you can't use your long sword, but you'll deal all your knifey goodness with no penalities. You can sneak the knife in more easily, which is important because the scabbard of the false peace didn't get published and you might have had to leave your weapon with the constubulary. : }

I see your points, but don't agree. The dagger can't be used two-handed and power attack works only on a 1-to-1 basis with it. So where's all this multipliable crit damage coming from? I do agree that the mace is competitive in its badness, which is why both are simple weapons. I'm also deeply skeptical of dinging this submission on the grounds of the extremely niche swallowed case or the utility of throwing daggers, given their range and feat requirements (precise shot, quick draw, etc.).

Basically, this class needs to do damage to be worth anything to the party, because the flavor means that you're not going to be wearing Plate Armor and tanking. So, the powers darn well better be over-powered given that the class is starting off as a rogue without sneak attack or skills.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Eric, Your Shadow Falconer's Glove was among the best in the round. This time, you've got the second of the knife fighter archetypes I've read. I'll try very hard not to compare the two.

knife fighter wrote:
Knife Expert (Ex): At 1st level, a knife fighter gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with daggers. In addition, a knife fighter gains a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on disarm and sunder checks with daggers. These bonuses increase by +1 per four levels after 1st. This ability replaces weapon training 1.

I was under the impression that if you have a bonus to hit with a weapon, that bonus also transfers to CMB checks made with that weapon. If that's true, there's no reason here to specifically call out disarm and sunder. You still need to note CMD bonuses, however. Regardless, the bonus to a single weapon vs. an assortment of them is a good, expected trade for a knife specialist.

knife fighter wrote:
Never Caught Unarmed (Ex): At 1st level, a knife fighter gains a bonus to Sleight of Hand checks to conceal a weapon on your body equal to 1/2 your fighter level (minimum +1). This ability replaces the bonus feat at first level.

Sleight of hand should be a class skill for this archetype if you're giving them bonuses to it. Otherwise fine ability.

knife fighter wrote:
Quicker Than the Eye (Ex): At 2nd level, a knife fighter gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his fighter level to all initiative checks. This ability replaces bravery.

This is a pretty good ability. It's a must-have for multiclass fighter/rogues.

knife fighter wrote:
Parrying Defense (Ex): At 3rd level, a knife fighter gains a +1 shield bonus to his AC when he is using a dagger in his off-hand, or has his off-hand free. This bonus increases by +1 for every four fighter levels the knife fighter possesses. This ability replaces armor training 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Does a shield bonus like this stack with that granted from two-weapon defense? In fact, does using a dagger in this way interact with TWF at all? It seems like you would have penalties to your attack rolls when using your off-hand to parry.

knife fighter wrote:
Cut and Run (Ex): At 6th level, as a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, a knife fighter can make a combat maneuver check to hamper an opponent by targeting tendons in vulnerable locations, such as the wrist or hamstring. If it succeeds, the target is staggered for one round and the knife fighter can then make a normal move without provoking an attack of opportunity from the target. This ability replaces the bonus feat at 6th level.

This is my favorite ability of the archetype. It's like the "Slow Reactions" rogue talent for fighters. However, you fail to note whether this attack causes normal damage.

knife fighter wrote:
Discreet Throw (Ex): At 9th level, a knife fighter can make ranged attacks with daggers without provoking an attack of opportunity. This ability replaces weapon training 2.

Also a nice, thematic, and mechanically sound ability.

knife fighter wrote:

Barrage of Blades (Ex): At 13th level, when a knife fighter makes a full attack with daggers, he may make one extra attack at his full attack bonus. All attacks that round suffer a -2 penalty to hit. This applies to both melee and ranged attacks. This does not reduce the action required to draw a weapon. This ability replaces weapon training 3.

Master of the Blurred Hands (Ex): At 17th level, attacks made with barrage of blades no longer suffer the -2 penalty. This ability replaces weapon training 4.

This is like a special Flurry of Blows. Hm, I'm somewhat leery of giving this to a fighter, with the high BAB and bonuses to the weapon this is going to be used with. It seems on the overpowered side. A Two Weapon fighter makes this even more scary.

knife fighter wrote:
Weapon Mastery (Ex): A knife fighter must choose the dagger.

Eric, this is a very competant build; it stays true to your theme but goes a little overboard on the power curve. It feels very clean, though. This archetype has a few built-in expectations, like the Quick-Draw feat for throwing, and possibly the Two Weapon Fighting feat, although I see that you can parry with nothing in that hand (although that seems a bit odd)

Not sure if I'm 100% sold on it, although I will come back to it once I've read them all.


Jason Nelson wrote:

The bigger problem is that the abilities are way too good. You get stuff way ahead of the levels you normally would, and they advance more quickly. Consider a 'Weapon Master' who is the uber-specialist in dagger only gets his weapon training in the dagger at 3rd level. You get it at 1st. Ouch.

That's true, but... Weapon Master had to be written to be fair for a fighter using a genuinely good weapon.

It's possible this archetype aims a little high on power, but I don't think it aims a lot high. (At least as a straight-class archetype -- I agree with the dipping concerns that have been raised.)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Knife fighter is an iconic archetype of fighter, so it is certainly worth doing as a Superstar entry.

Knife Expert: Getting the weapon training very early, but it really replaces your bonus feat, despite what you listed as the replacement. My only issue is: why not multiclass into rogue after taking this? (Sean pretty much says the same as me).

Never caught unarmed: you are pretty much getting this for free. You really should have lost Heavy Armor Proficiency or something (anything), for this much frontloading on the class.

Quicker than the Eye: An initiative bonus is far better than a bonus vs. fear, in my opinion. A generic initiative bonus has little to do with fighting with knives. You could have moved the Never Caught Unarmed ability here.

Parrying Defense: This is like the Free-Hand fighter archetype ability but a lot better because the FHF has to be in light armor and have nothing in the other hand. With this you can fight with two weapons in heavy armor.

Cut and Run: Like Neil, I would much rather this be a movement reduction, I notice that it actually does no damage I’m not sure how hamstringing someone doesn’t actually hurt them. This ability starts losing the focus of the class for me.

Discreet Throw: Ok archers have Safe Shot, I guess knife fighters can have this. But again, it loses thematic focus for me. Is this a knife throwing archetype or melee knife archetype? I know it can be both, but by putting it in the archetype, you force people to have to use this archetype as both.

Barrage of Blades: More attacks, here is where I say that a dagger is on average only 2 points of damage less than a sword. (If you change size, it is a little more). At high levels, 2 points is nothing compared to the enhancement, strength, buffing spells, and various other ways you can add to damage. An extra attack adds a heap more damage.

I like this archetype, but as a GM I would not allow it in play for balance issues. It’s well written but too powerful. I hope that people consider the clarity of your writing, your stylish ideas, your previous work, and other factors - in addition to game balance when voting. Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Overall this feels like another attempt to do a "safe" archetype; nothing here that I'm excited about or that I haven't seen before. Heck, you don't even replace armor proficiency or directly reward light armor use, so in many cases this guy is holding a knife in each hand while decked out in breastplate or fullplate (whether this is worth it depends on your build and the current availability of equipment, because without dex there's little incentive to use a dagger in the first place, but still).

Quicker Than the Eye is cool and appropriate thematically, but not a huge deal mechanically for a melee fighter.. well, actually, I suppose this is at least half "archer", and getting off a short ranged full-attack (with Quick Draw) at initiative count 24 is hardly a bad deal. Okay, nevermind, I do like Quicker Than the Eye (without getting too deep into the balance concerns that others have raised), but I'm still not really inspired by the whole package.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: Straightforwardly presents a concept I would like to see done well.
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: edit: Hang on, Knife Expert at first level and with one extra step of effect is a substantial benefit, though the way it operates seems much like other weapon-focused fighter archetypes. Perhaps a dagger-fighter needs it. Why only give bonuses to disarm and sunder? Some of the new combat manoeuvres in the APG, for instance, could be attractive to a knife fighter.
Never Caught Unarmed: For many character concepts, I wouldn't be too happy trading this for a feat. As a decrease in utility, it might give some credit for other strong abilities.
Quicker than the Eye: This will stack up to a large modifier, though the character still has to do something with his high initiative.
Parrying Defense: I might quibble with an empty hand granting a shield bonus, though it might represent cloak fighting, grabbing objects to fend off attacks, or whatever. On the whole this could be an acceptably simple way to handle it.
Cut and Run looks OK and more versatile than it first appears. Discreet Throw seems appropriate.
He gets some elements of the flurry of blows or Rapid Shot either in melee or close range, which seem reasonable for their levels.
Wider relationships: With no change to armour or other proficiencies, this fits with various different concepts of the D&D fighter as a specialisation rather than a wholesale replacement.
The shadow falconer's glove also presents a perfectly reasonable, low-powered martial boost. I appreciate that, personally, but I hope it doesn't prove limiting for later rounds.

I see some hard choices ahead as this seems one of several deserving middle-tier entries.

Osirion

After reading your item, the shadow falconer's glove, I decided immediately to use it as soon as possible in my Council of Thieves game.

I like this archtype, even though it didn't catch my eye initially.

vote.

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