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Why sudden strike should be kept


Ninja Discussion - Round 1

Taldor

Ninjas are even more opportunistic characters than rogues are. Giving them a sneak attack is, imho, too much and too powerful. There was a reason, that WotC gave the ninja the ability in many ways similar to sneak attack, except in one, fundamental way. Ninja does not get to add his precision damage if he flanks a target. He is not a team fighter. he fades in from the darkness behind his target, slays it, and fades back. He should only be able to add extra damage when the target is denied it's dexterity bonus to ac, not when he is flanking. Everything else is quite well done. This is the only beef i have with the character.

Any comments?


I hated the 3.5 ninja for this very reason, it was difficult, if nigh impossible to get the bonus damage most of the time. Flanking is the only reliable way to get the damage often. Without it, the ninja would only get his bonus damage once per round if he was lucky. The ninja would go from slightly overpowered to extremely underpowered.

Taldor

That is why they can become invisible...or pas thorugh walls..or similar stuff. Invisibility = No dex bonus to AC...

Taldor

Single strike sneak attack damage is essentially rubbish- without greater invisibility, you need to be able to flank to deal out en masse d6 based damage like sneak attack.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Sudden Strike sucked donkey balls hard, and was the main reason for 3.5 Ninja being a really, really, really poor class. Maybe not Swashbuckler bad, but essentially what you got was a castrated Rogue. Bleh.


Mechanically, Ninja should not be worse off in combat than Rogue. Period.

Thematically, there's no reason why a Ninja wouldn't try to exploit the added defensive vulnerabilities one has when they are flanked any less than a Rogue would.


Well, sneak attack is inarguably the better of the two abilites. With the ability to be used just for flanking in addition to dex denied targets it is by definition the better ability. In addition sudden strike also had the flaw that all attacks must be lethal. You hit with a sap or whip? You are being too much of a pansy ninja so you don't get your bonus damage. The thinking behind sudden strike had to be one of two things.

"Well, if he gets nothing for flanking, he isn't losing anything for not flanking."
Certainly this is dumb thinking. To suggest that they should take away the ranger's favored enemy so that he could attack all creatures without feeling hindered would be the same. This is a very bad way of trying to encourage the player to act like what the devs saw a ninja being like.

Either that or . . .

"Well the ninja can become invisible and can just decide that 'Hey, I want to sneak attack this guy.' so we can't let him have him just be rogue-plus with powers and a rogue when not using his powers."

An important note on that, the ninja invisibility was for the full round, so he indeed gets his sudden strike on every attack. That is fairly powerful right there, being able to on a whim declare a full attack as sneak attacks while getting a 50% miss chance. This made the ninja a much greater threat for as long as he had ki points to blow. Heck, if he wanted he could grab armor of etherealness or blow ki points to go etherial and do his full attack sudden strikes from the ethereal plane by blowing ki points. The 3.5 ninja was not at a lack of damage as long as he measured his ki points.

All that being said, I always did find it silly that the rogue was essentially the top stealthy damage dealer. I would have pictured the more combat oriented (sure, the ninja is a spy but really we are talking fantasy ninjas. They were designed around fighty ninjas, not historical peasant spies.) When they came up with all of those old classes that were shoehorned into the archetype of stealthy killer, they usually came up lacking next to the rogue in killing power.

Gorbacz is essentially right with the swashbuckler comparison. Yank the real power out of the fighter, add a few social skills and movement abilities and a patronizing nod to the intelligence modifier and you have a class that is not what was advertized. They imply it will function well as a melee combatant, and this is not quite the case. Same went with much of the old ninja you reference. The rogue was more opportunistic in that he actually could get more use out of wider circumstances, while the ninja was forced into blowing through an expendable power source or else sucking total eggs. Finally, is it a good idea to design a character class in such a way that prevents it from synergizing with a party?


It's that daily ki point limitation & the 3.5 ninja's dependency on using Ki Points to get Sudden Strike that really made the class hard pressed to function most of the time(assuming the creature being attacked couldn't see invisibility or didn't have blindsight or true seeing... or was immune to critical hits... or had Uncanny Dodge, which in 3.5 completely shutdown Sudden Strike). Sudden Strike had all of the weaknesses of Sneak Attack, but with more weaknesses. Hell, there were at least variants that made Sneak Attack at least do something to creatures normally immune to it...

In Pathfinder, they're not giving the Ninja greater invisibility for 1 round, so class would be worse off than 3.5 Ninja if Sneak Attack become Sudden Strike(at least in terms of damage capability).

*Ninja should get less skill points(probably 6 + Int Mod) to represent a decrease in out of combat capability to offset the increased combat prowess of the class.
*It should get no armor & instead have Monk's AC bonus
*Some of the tacked on abilities should become talents(to keep the ability count matched with Rogue). I'm looking at you Light Steps.
*The ki pool should be Wisdom-based
*The ki talents should lose their freebie daily usage.
*Rogue should be able to pick up a Ninja talent like how Ninja can pick up a Rogue talent. If the ability uses Ki Points, the Rogue should be allowed to use that ability 2 times per day, since it has no Ki Pool... or you could give it a Ki Pool equal to it's Cha Mod, but since you'll only be able to pick up 1 ninja talent, the 2/day thing would be less of a radical change to the class.

Don't knee-jerk cut Sneak Attack for a vastly inferior ability to try to balance the more combat-orientated class.


InfernosReaper wrote:

It's that daily ki point limitation & the 3.5 ninja's dependency on using Ki Points to get Sudden Strike that really made the class hard pressed to function most of the time(assuming the creature being attacked couldn't see invisibility or didn't have blindsight or true seeing... or was immune to critical hits... or had Uncanny Dodge, which in 3.5 completely shutdown Sudden Strike). Sudden Strike had all of the weaknesses of Sneak Attack, but with more weaknesses. Hell, there were at least variants that made Sneak Attack at least do something to creatures normally immune to it...

In Pathfinder, they're not giving the Ninja greater invisibility for 1 round, so class would be worse off than 3.5 Ninja if Sneak Attack become Sudden Strike(at least in terms of damage capability).

*Ninja should get less skill points(probably 6 + Int Mod) to represent a decrease in out of combat capability to offset the increased combat prowess of the class.
*It should get no armor & instead have Monk's AC bonus
*Some of the tacked on abilities should become talents(to keep the ability count matched with Rogue). I'm looking at you Light Steps.
*The ki pool should be Wisdom-based
*The ki talents should lose their freebie daily usage.
*Rogue should be able to pick up a Ninja talent like how Ninja can pick up a Rogue talent. If the ability uses Ki Points, the Rogue should be allowed to use that ability 2 times per day, since it has no Ki Pool... or you could give it a Ki Pool equal to it's Cha Mod, but since you'll only be able to pick up 1 ninja talent, the 2/day thing would be less of a radical change to the class.

Don't knee-jerk cut Sneak Attack for a vastly inferior ability to try to balance the more combat-orientated class.

I normally don't agree with your cuts to the ninja but these seem well thought out and I approve +1 :)

Except on the Wisdom thing, that just seems like a peeve for some ;)


I've had some time to contemplate the matter. The thousands of threads I've posted on for the subject helps...

Wisdom's a take or leave thing really, but it does fit more thematically, since the overly charismatic ninjas tend to stand out a lot & force personality doesn't seem like it's something that should power a ninja's abilities.


InfernosReaper wrote:

I've had some time to contemplate the matter. The thousands of threads I've posted on for the subject helps...

Wisdom's a take or leave thing really, but it does fit more thematically, since the overly charismatic ninjas tend to stand out a lot & force personality doesn't seem like it's something that should power a ninja's abilities.

I know what you mean, when you think sneaky ninja you wonder what charisma is doing there, but if we are talking fantasy ninja, then they are probably overly loud and flamboyant as soon as they start attacking and very persuasive when they actually have something to say.


Sudden Strike was very weak and dumb.

Really, a lot of "complete" classes was desigend very bad with the fear of outshining the core classes. Barring exceptions, is not a good idea take them as standards.


Kaiyanwang wrote:
Sudden Strike was very weak and dumb.

. . . hmm. I seem to remember someone had an idea to increase the sudden strike damage to try to compensate for the suckitude, although I doubt the Ultimate Combat Ninja needs to be slinging Xd8 or Xd10 damage when using Invisible Blade. It was an interesting thing to look at, but didn't actually solve any of the problems.

This is a poorly examined thought, but if you MUST change the ninja's sneak attack for your own use you could look at something like being able to Sneak Strike(tm) an opponent when they would be flat-footed, regardless of Uncanny Dodge. Let the uncanny dodge folks keep their dex to AC, just qualify for Sneak Strike. That or allow an immediate feint against targets that should be flat-footed. It would make the ninja better able to make use of a suprise round and invisibility in the case of fighting uncanny dodge monsters and opponents. Idea may be a little unstable with the Suprise Attack ability but hey, it has one round of use. It lets the ninja do more of what you seem to see him doing while not really stepping on the toes of the rogue with the flanking. I don't find such fare called for, but it is an idea if you want it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I play a whisper gnome 3.5 ninja with the Dark Creature template from Tome of Magic. He has Sudden Strike instead of Sneak Attack, and can use it relatively often because he has a huge racial/template bonus to Stealth (+7), plus a size bonus to Stealth (+4), plus he has a template ability (Hide in Plain Sight) that helps him be stealthy in most situations. That, combined with the Spring Attack feat tree lets him move, flitting from shaddow to shadow, or tree to tree, and strike his enemies relatively consistently.

So, maybe the ninja can combine Sudden Strike and Hide in Plain Sight at a relatively low level.


There is no mechanically good reason to handicap their sneak attack to "sudden strike". The only reason you'd do that is for some kind of game balance reason. HiPS should not be given out before 6th level for many different reasons.

Don't judge the value of Sudden Strike based on a character who is coloring outside the class lines and using HiPS to offset Ki usage and get more Sudden Strikes per day then was built into the 3.5 Ninja Class.

To put it simply there is no good reason beyond unnecessarily imposed fluff of a ninja striking alone from the shadows. Nothing says a Ninja can't tag team (flank) a target and take advantage of that distraction in combat to deal more deadly blows.

The only big issue with the PF Ninja is that the rogue needs to be able to access a limited number of Ninja tricks if the player so chooses. As has been pointed out in other threads.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Keeping it Sneak Attack is definitely simpler and easier to use. HiPS is relatively powerful for 1st level, which my PC had because started playing in a 3.5 game with all +1 ECL races or templates just to be different. If I was playing a non-HiPS ninja, I would definitely want the sneak attack.

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