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Ninja Guide


Advice

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was rolling up a Ninja character earlier in the week and I wanted to consult one of the great guides here on the Paizo boards. To my surprise there wasn't one, so I decided to write it. Any comments are welcome.

Ninja Guide


Good! I'll try to read it soon. IMO, especially with the nerf from the playtest that lost the free use per day of ki abilities, ninja is so insanely multiple ability dependent as to be unplayable, but it's great to finally have a guide for them.

EDIT: Ok, checked out races. Planning to do non-core ones? I think Fetchling is the ideal Ninja race, both thematically and in the mechanical benefits. +2 dex/cha, -2 wis, dark and low-light vision (miss chance screws over SA, I would NEVER play a rogue or ninja race w/o darkvision, and I refuse to pay a feat tax), and higher miss chance in darkness.


You write:
"Unarmed Combat Mastery: Unless you are already a full TWF build, this is the second best Master Trick, behind only Invisible Blade. Forget about the lower damage dice, the point of this is to get the extra attacks through flurry of blows. To really understand how great this is, ignore the Monk chart and look at what FoB does mechanically."
But as far as I read the ninja abilities, they do not have access to Flurry of Blows. Unarmed Combat Mastery only says that your unarmed strikes deal damage as a monk, not that you gain FoB.


Nice guide. A few comments, though.

You really, really heavily emphasize Dexterity. Too far, in my opinion. Then you dump Wisdom, which is a really bad idea. Your Will save is already poor, and further decreasing it is going to hurt. As always: Failed Reflex hurts you, failed Fortitude kills you, and failed Will makes you kill your friends.

Also, you recommend the Katana as a weapon. It cannot be finessed, so is a poor choice for someone following your guide. It should probably be mentioned shurikens are a great choice for a backup weapon, either to use in the first round to get a full ranged sneak attack off or later as an easily drawn weapon to toss at enemies who, for whatever reason, are open to ranged sneak attack.

I agree with most of the skills section, but I question Disguise and Sleight of Hand. Disguise and Sleight of Hand are good, but don't come up that often in many campaigns. Not sure I'd call them "must haves."

I think you are underestimating Wall Climber and Choking Bomb. Wall Climber gives you a straight Climb speed, which has lots of little attached bonuses over simply having a high Climb check. Even after everyone starts flying, this will be handy to have. Choking Bomb gives Staggered, meaning "no full attacks." Against enemies with multiple attacks, you may well end up preventing more damage than if you blind them. It also slows pursuers and anyone who has to perform full-round actions. Very much not a red talent.

Unarmed Combat Mastery only gives damage, not Flurry. That drops into Red territory, maybe Orange for some high level Monk/Ninjas.

Improved Critical is awful for Ninjas. Most of your damage is sneak attack, making an occasional doubling of your regular damage less than stellar. You aren't immune to poison nor do you have a high Fortitude, making Adder Strike questionable. Pinpoint Poisoner, given the stiff pre-reqs and general weakness of Poison for PCs, is also "meh." Elemental Fist is a minor damage addition, which for a feat starved class I can't imagine being worth it.

You have several options marked Blue, despite being only vaguely useful, and even then only for very specific builds. Combat Style Master requires you invest in two different Styles, which, again, is unlikely for a low-feat class. Plus, as you point out, most of the Style lines are only moderately useful to the Ninja. Master Alchemist is useless for anyone not planning to heavily use poison, which I still don't find a good option in general. If you want to poison, go Alchemist. I've found Step Up and Strike rarely leaves me still flanking, but your results might vary.

I think you underestimate Razortusk. You take no penalty to your normal attacks for using it, and it carries full sneak attack damage. At least a green.

Okay, that is about it. Still, great guide, should be added to the "Guide to Guides" post haste.


Agree with everything Mort said, except I don't value Choking Bomb like he does. It's useful, but it costs 3 tricks to know and a ki point per use. Not worth the cost. I think you rate Poison Bomb way too highly. Poisoner Rogues as well as any alchemist (with a discovery) can turn other poisons into inhaled poisons. Those abilities make Poison Bomb look like utter garbage by comparison. And like Mort, I'm not a fan of poison to begin with.

I like Undetected Sabotage, but it is pretty situational. I also think Slow Reactions is pretty good and your entire guide GROSSLY underestimates the CMD scores of monsters at various levels. In my experience AND from running the numbers, even maxed acrobatics and high dex will lead to failing at least half the time by mid levels, and giving an enemy a free attack at full BAB every other round when you already have worse hp than him sounds like one hell of a losing strategy to me.


Yeahh, I kind of feel like making a ninja guide myself. I've only played one to lvl 7 though, and it'd be a hefty time investment.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am so glad there are people who know that the ninja is a rogue.


I wouldn't recommend getting wisdom below 10, perhaps you don't need dex that high. I mean nobody wants to get controlled, but it's worse when you've got a resource that you try to save up.

No trace: invisible creatures leave traces, not sure about RAW, put creative players could exploit that fact a bit more. Orange is still okay though.

Skill: disguise, never thought it was important, once you're invisible, who sees your fake beard? I get stealth instead.

rogue talent orange, for shame sir, I would have rated it blue without a doubt. I mean if there is one rogue talent that is blue, this one should be also be blue, or do you think that all rogue talents suck? I like underhanded for example.

advanced talents: perhaps give your favorite, skill mastery for me, but I like high int.

archetypes: scout, I would rate him green, and blue when you consider sap master feat.

feats: wow, you've got a big list. you could have skipped some red ones. I've got only 1 question: sap adept/master, where is it? I hope you just overlooked that feat, and not thought it wasn't worth it.

So all in all, nice guide, great to have it, I wouldn't have rated everything quite the same.
I would be an even better guide if you added some sample builds at the end instead of just giving the very general idea.
Also you missed my favorite build, ninja/scout sap master. (sap master can also be used with other builds, but is considered cheese very fast when you flurry/2-weapon fight).

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Pawns Subscriber

I´m working on an extensive rogue/ninja guide that includes UM and UC and a lot of others. Also i see many abilities very different somehow.


Shadow clones works with vanishing trick and lasts a lot longer (more than one attack), it's a must for when you are the only combatant in the group, or if you run into smart creatures who realize you are squishy, and tasted good with sauce.

Forgotten trick is a lot better than you give it credit for, it allows you a nearly unmatched (amongst the non-spellcasters) flexibility, and can easily make up for any mistakes you make. Yes, it's expensive, but it's amongst the best "just in case" class features in the game.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Jrk: you are completely right about Unarmed Combat Mastery. I completely misread that. I'm a little embarrassed.

Mort: I do emphasize Dex well above everything else. I agree with you that a failed will save is terrible, but what else would you dump? You say that I over emphasize Dex over Str. You can't dump Con. Cha is directly tied to your second most important ability. Int, while can be a 10, taking a penalty to one of the few things you do well is I think a mistake. I say in the stat section that having ki based on Cha hurts from a mechanical stand point AND that dumping Wis stinks, but you have to get the points from somewhere.

Disguise and Slight of Hand I find are very important thematically and I admit that they aren't used very often but that doesn't make them poor choices or useless.

Stream: I agree that the Fetchling would be good, but I decided to avoid non-core material because then the guide would have just been too long and less useful since many groups don't use a lot of the other material.
As far as Acrobatics, remember if you really need to you can add +20 to your next Acrobatics check for 1 ki. Also if you are invisible you shouldn't provoke an AoO.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Richard: the reason I rated Rogue talent as Orange is because taken as a whole it is usually better to take a Ninja Trick. Sap Mastery is in there.

Blue Star: I agree about Forgotten Trick, but the cost drops it to green. Most PCs will have under 5 ki for a while.


First, you don't really need to start with a 16 Dex before racial modifiers at level 1. Especially at 15 point buy. Dexterity is important, but as you point out (here, not in the guide), so are many other attributes. The 3 points you save from dropping it to 15 could cover most of the Wisdom dump.

Then, I don't see why you want 12 Int. You already have 8 skill points, and the only Int skills you rated as quite low (which I agree on). Frankly, at a 15 point buy, I'd even consider dropping it to 8. If you are aiming to be an effective combatant, an extra skill point will serve less good than those points elsewhere.

Charisma is nice, but it honestly doesn't do that much for the Ninja. If you aren't taking the small number of tricks that offer a saving throw, it is just an extra Ki point or two. Not that I'm not a fan of ki points, but 3 buy points for 1 ki is not a deal I'd make. A generic Ninja could easily get by with a 12 or 13 there.

Honestly, what I'd really recommend is separating the stats out by build. A Ninja/Monk, for example, should brutally dump Charisma. A "ki warrior" sort of build, specializing in bombs and Assassinate, would need to max Ki at all cost to keep up with saves. Str-based Ninjas (and Rogues) have an advantage in very low feat requirements and higher non-sneak damage, and deserve at least a mention. The Ninja can be done many different ways, and one stat array doesn't really do it justice.

As for Disguise or Sleight of Hand, I didn't call them "poor choices," and especially not "useless." The thing is, you have them marked as Blue. Blue is "an excellent option, should be taken in nearly all cases." If you admit they aren't used often, can you really tell people that they are top tier skills, on par with Acrobatics and Disable Device? If you look at Treantmonk's guides, Blue was used extremely sparingly, only for the very very best options that nearly every character of the class will absolutely want in nearly all circumstances. Green and even Orange aren't "bad" options, they are just ones that aren't as universally necessary as the blues.


j b 200 wrote:

Richard: the reason I rated Rogue talent as Orange is because taken as a whole it is usually better to take a Ninja Trick. Sap Mastery is in there.

Blue Star: I agree about Forgotten Trick, but the cost drops it to green. Most PCs will have under 5 ki for a while.

When the cleric gets access to 4th level spells it should definitely become blue, because then they can cast a spell that regenerates ki points, admittedly it's only 1 per, right until you get it in a magic item that casts it ad nauseum.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Changelings make nice ninjas.


I agree that Forgotten Trick is one of the most useful abilities for a ninja: For example, you can get an on-demand improved trip/disarm/feint that can really adjust to a particular enemy

Hopefully I won't come across as impolite, but I'll just write the other points more directly

- INT should be 8-10. By level 3, you have been able to put at least 1SP in each useful class skill for the +3 bonus and you have been able to keep the important skills for your build maxed out

- I'm not sure that Elves are that great. You take a hit to Con and get a bonus to a stat that you would not be using as much. Half elves are much better for this

- I get the impression that you try to hard to compensate for the ninja's poor AC. If they catch you, you are going to get hit. Extra ki for more shadow clones will be more useful than dodge in terms of survival

- I think the hidden weapons trick usefulness depends on context. Great if you are in a very city oriented adventure in which you can't be holding your weapon ready. Don't see it as useful in a dungeon

- Agree with comments above about improved crit. Get a keen weapon and use the feat to get extra ki, another trick or more on the Eldritch heritage line

- Rapid shot should be blue for a ranged build. Extra attack = more SA

Great guide!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Added your guide to the Guide to the Guides. Very nice.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Changelings make nice ninjas.

I hope they show up in Bestiary 4.


What equipment would a 5th level ninja with 10,500 gp buy?


The guide needs a section on the best magic items for ninja.

Grand Lodge

Blue Star wrote:
When the cleric gets access to 4th level spells it should definitely become blue, because then they can cast a spell that regenerates ki points, admittedly it's only 1 per, right until you get it in a magic item that casts it ad nauseum.

What spell? KI LEECH is a great ninja spell. You'll have to UMD it from a wand or scroll, since it's self only. But if you get a nice sharp weapon (no dachi) or two (wakizashis)you'll be a ki point factory.

EDIT: Nodachi was a martial weapon picked up with one level of barbarian. But even a keen weapon that makes a 19-20 crit range expand to 17-20 means yo uhave a huge chance to pick up extra ki points mid-fight.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
darth_borehd wrote:

What equipment would a 5th level ninja with 10,500 gp buy?

Hat of Disguise, Handy Haversack, +1 weapon, a couple of daggers made of different materials for DR, mithral chain shirt (shadow optional, but highly recommended)....

That's just off the top of my head.


Master Trick: Advanced Talent - Hide in Plain Sight is an absolute must have if your campaign's fights mostly take place in a single terrain type.


I noticed that it didn't mention Inquisitor at all. I personally think a ninja/inquisitor isn't a bad combination.


If you mutliclass with Monk, the Sohei archetype is of interest, both due to having more abilities at the front and one very curious line in the weapon training section

A sohei may use flurry of blows and ki strike with any weapon in which he has weapon training.

While this doubtlessly means the Fighter ability, strictly speaking, the "Weapon Training" Ninja Trick/Rogue Talent will work because it is also called "weapon training". Wear a helmet though, as books to the head will result.


I only realized this after the edit timed out, but Sylvan (+Boon companion) is a decent choice for Eldritch Heritage if you are setting up SA by flank and/or your GM lets you "milk" venom.

And because you mentioned "if your DM allows you to take the Umbral Wildblooded abilities", the Sage FAQ implies you can take wildblooded ("there may be a way for a non-sorcerer to gain access to that bloodline power"), so worth mentioning as evidence of RAI being "yes".

Also Ninja Trick (Rogue talent:Ninja Trick) is legal strictly RAW and lets you qualify for extra talent and (much shakier) take a Trick/Talent that normally can't be more than once (Combat Trick/Style Master are the only ones that have an effect though)


deuxhero wrote:
While this doubtlessly means the Fighter ability, strictly speaking, the "Weapon Training" Ninja Trick/Rogue Talent will work because it is also called "weapon training". Wear a helmet though, as books to the head will result.

Cute, but wouldn't work. The benefit of the "Weapon Training" Talent is "gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat." So you don't have the Weapon Training class feature with that weapon, you have Weapon Focus in it. You might have been given that Weapon Focus by the Weapon Training class feature, but they are not the same thing. It is a pedantic distinction, but then, this is a pedantic loophole. Bravo for cleverness, though.


Hence the book to the head note.

Oh and the guide mentions medium armor is bad because ACP: Mithril Kikko has none (and can explicitly be concealed easily), but because of that it takes no-penalty for non-proficiency so the feat still isn't worth it (though that one piece of medium armor is).

Andoran

I play a Ninja in Society, here is the statblock:
LEONARDO CR 3
Male Human (Tian-Shu) Ninja 4
NN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +6; Senses Perception +6
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +4 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 35 (4d8+8)
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +1
Defensive Abilities Uncanny Dodge
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 30 ft.
Melee +1 Wakizashi +6 (1d6+2/18-20/x2) and
+1 Wakizashi +6 (1d6+1/18-20/x2) and
Unarmed Strike +7 (1d3+1/20/x2)
Ranged Shuriken +7 (1d2+1/20/x2)
Special Attacks Bleeding Attack +2, Ki Attack Speed, Sneak Attack +2d6
Spell-Like Abilities Vanishing Trick
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 12, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 19
Feats Dodge, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Traits Indomitable Faith, Reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +11, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Disable Device +11, Disguise +8, Intimidate +8, Perception
+6, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +11, Stealth +11, Use Magic Device +9 Modifiers Ki Jump
(Running Start), No Trace +1
Languages Common, Osiriani, Tien
SQ Ki Movement, Ki Pool (Su), Ki Stealth, Poison Use
Combat Gear +1 Mithral Chain Shirt, +1 Wakizashi, +1 Wakizashi, Shuriken (20); Other Gear Custom
Container, Wand of Cure Light Wounds
--------------------
SPECIAL ABILITIES
--------------------
Bleeding Attack +2 (Ex) Sneak attacks also deal 2 bleed damage per round.
Ki Attack Speed (Su) By spending 1 point from her ki pool, a ninja can make one additional attack at her
highest attack bonus, but she can do so only when making a full attack.
Ki Jump (Running Start) (Su) Jumping is always counted as being at a running start.
Ki Movement A Ninja can spend 1 point to increase her speed by 20 feet for 1 round.
Ki Pool (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Charisma modifier.
Ki Stealth A ninja can spend 1 point from her ki pool to give herself a +4 insight bonus on Stealth skill
checks for 1 round.
No Trace +1 (Ex) Survival DCs to track you are at +1, gain +1 to Disguise and Stealth when you are
stationary and not acting.
Poison Use You don't accidentally poison yourself with blades.
Sneak Attack +2d6 +2d6 damage if you flank your target or your target is flat-footed.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex) Retain Dex bonus to AC when flat-footed.
Vanishing Trick (Su) As a swift action, the ninja can disappear for 1 round per level. This ability
functions as invisibility. Using this ability uses up 1 ki point.

I find that bleeding attack may be the best talent I've seen so far, It's so crucial to put the bleeding on enemies early, and when I go first I usually do a full attack with thrown shiruken, TWF gives me an extra attack because I throw one from each hand, at different targets in order to start them bleeding.


Akeela Valerian, the Wolf wrote:
Blue Star wrote:
When the cleric gets access to 4th level spells it should definitely become blue, because then they can cast a spell that regenerates ki points, admittedly it's only 1 per, right until you get it in a magic item that casts it ad nauseum.

What spell? KI LEECH is a great ninja spell. You'll have to UMD it from a wand or scroll, since it's self only. But if you get a nice sharp weapon (no dachi) or two (wakizashis)you'll be a ki point factory.

Sorry, this has taken so long, my dot disappeared for some reason. Replenish Ki, it's an Irori spell. Also, you don't need UMD because it's an item with a simple trigger (something akin to boots of speed only with the limiters cut off and it casts Replenish Ki instead of Haste) thereby preventing any silly rolls.


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Hey all,

So first off, great guide!! Thanks for writing it.

Second I have never built a Ninja before.

So my wife recently received a PFS boon to play a Kitsune.

She was intrested in doing a Kinsune Ninja, mostly as we have the Kitsune and she wants to play a Ninja :)

Anyway, I instantly thought of somehow getting SA with natural weapons, Kitsune get a bit naturaly.

Sadly I am just not seeing how this can work, is there an easy way to get claws without a 2 ranger dip? (Not that it would be that bad, but we would like to avoid multi)

Past that I was thinking TWF, but good lord is that a lot of feats.

and lastly..

How do I make the Kitsune Ninja different from the Human Ninja? (all I can manage is that the Human is WAY better, and while yes that is different, it's not really what we had in mind)

Thanks all.


I don't really think a Kitsune ninja would be worse than a human one.

If waiting until level 8 isn't an option, I would buy TWF, it's not that many feats, as you probably won't be buying double slice since you have a penalty to strength. Taking a few levels of fighter or ranger (especially trapper ranger) wouldn't be a horrible idea. The kitsune is already pretty different from a human to begin with, outside of civilization you'll definitely have the edge in staying incognito.

I'd probably take advantage of the magical tail feats.


@ Thefurmonger

Yeah, it's fairly difficult to get those natural attacks without dipping. That being said, the eldritch heritage feat might be a way to go. I mean, it's only 3+cha rounds per day, but it's something.

Although, I'm currently playing a 1/2 orc urban barb/ninja. I took the toothy racial trait, so I have a bite attack just like the kitsune. At barb level 2, the rage power is beast totem (lesser), which gets me claws when I rage. My lv 3 feat is Extra rage power to get fiend totem (lesser), which gives me a gore attack as well. Sure, I've only got the goodies when I rage, but I've got 4 natural attacks at full BAB, since they're all primary. Plus, Barbarian has great synergy with ninja.


Thanks for the advice guys.

Dipping is a problem as it is for PFS and as such most play happenes in the 2-7 range.

So the character really has to "work" right off the bat.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
While this doubtlessly means the Fighter ability, strictly speaking, the "Weapon Training" Ninja Trick/Rogue Talent will work because it is also called "weapon training". Wear a helmet though, as books to the head will result.
Cute, but wouldn't work. The benefit of the "Weapon Training" Talent is "gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat." So you don't have the Weapon Training class feature with that weapon, you have Weapon Focus in it. You might have been given that Weapon Focus by the Weapon Training class feature, but they are not the same thing. It is a pedantic distinction, but then, this is a pedantic loophole. Bravo for cleverness, though.

Yes Mithral Kikko has no ACP, but it costs 3,000gp and a feat more than Mithral Chain Shirt for +1 AC. Instead of 40000gp for a Mitrhal Kikko, just buy a +1 Mithral Chain Shirt and still have 2000gp left over AND an extra feat.


Quite intresting! I really like the idea of flurry of stars, Thanks for making it!


^^ Feat? 0ACP=No penalty for non-proficiency.

Also of note for it is it explicitly can be concealed, a chain shirt doesn't have that.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This is great!

I realize you're mostly sticking to core, but there is a nice option:
-Heirloom Weapon trait for proficiency with the Scimitar.
-First level: Spend your skill points as normal. Weapon Finesse for feat.
-Second level: Put two points into Perform(Dance). Get the Combat Trick for Dervish Dance.

With Dex to both attack and damage, Str can be ignored for anything other than avoiding encumbrance and Str ability damage paralysis.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:

This is great!

I realize you're mostly sticking to core, but there is a nice option:
-Heirloom Weapon trait for proficiency with the Scimitar.
-First level: Spend your skill points as normal. Weapon Finesse for feat.
-Second level: Put two points into Perform(Dance). Get the Combat Trick for Dervish Dance.

With Dex to both attack and damage, Str can be ignored for anything other than avoiding encumbrance and Str ability damage paralysis.

Yeah, it was really a design decision. I chose to stick to Core only mostly for 2 reasons: 1) size, I could include everything available but it would quickly become a massive document and I wanted to keep it concise, as it is the feats section is too long with just core; 2) Maximize Utility, what I mean by that is that if I write the whole guide assuming you have access to dervish dance but your DM doesn't allow it, the whole document becomes useless. You're much more likely to have access to all Core than everything else.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:

^^ Feat? 0ACP=No penalty for non-proficiency.

Also of note for it is it explicitly can be concealed, a chain shirt doesn't have that.

You're right, but it still costs you 2k more for the same AC, and it'll only make a difference at very high levels when you can afford +10 armor.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
j b 200 wrote:
Yeah, it was really a design decision. I chose to stick to Core only mostly for 2 reasons: 1) size, I could include everything available but it would quickly become a massive document and I wanted to keep it concise, as it is the feats section is too long with just core; 2) Maximize Utility, what I mean by that is that if I write the whole guide assuming you have access to dervish dance but your DM doesn't allow it, the whole document becomes useless. You're much more likely to have access to all Core than everything else.

Yep! More just mentioning it on the discussion for folks who are looking through. Just browsing the feats section on the SRD is a persuasive enough argument that things can get pretty complicated once you step outside Core.


QuidEst wrote:

This is great!

I realize you're mostly sticking to core, but there is a nice option:
-Heirloom Weapon trait for proficiency with the Scimitar.
-First level: Spend your skill points as normal. Weapon Finesse for feat.
-Second level: Put two points into Perform(Dance). Get the Combat Trick for Dervish Dance.

With Dex to both attack and damage, Str can be ignored for anything other than avoiding encumbrance and Str ability damage paralysis.

Instead of spending a ninja trick on Dervish Dance, can you just wait to take your second feat (assuming human) until second level and pick up Dervish Dance then? Otherwise I'll just pick it up at 3rd level, I can't see putting off Vanishing Trick for two levels as a fair trade for doing more damage with your scimitar.

I'm thinking about making a ninja for PFS to play on my own since the person I normally play with has school starting up and I don't my current character to get ahead of theirs. How about something like:

True Neutral Human Ninja, Qadira faction (Not sure of name or deity yet, going to have to look through some sources)
(20 point buy PFS legal build)
Str 10
Dex 18 (16 +2 racial)
Con 10
Wis 10
Int 10
Cha 16

Or would Going Cha 15, Con 13 be better, then pumping cha up to 16 at level 4? I'm not keen on dumping stats and negative modifiers.

Feats:
Weapon Finesse
Dervish Dance, if I can "save" it for second level
- What would be a good second feat if I can't take Dervish Dance until I have the perform ranks? Toughness, Dodge (then Wind stance at level 6?) Agile maneuvers (for kusarigama trips), improved initiative?

Traits
Heirloom weapon, Scimitar proficiency
Gold Finger (Qadira trait, +1 on Disable Device and Slight of Hand)

Equipment:
Short Bow, Scimitar (For show at level 1), short sword, then a couple daggers or darts to hide about myself.
Thieves tools/rogue kit, whatever it is in the new equipment book
And a nice set of clothes.

At first I was thinking, why a ninja with a scimitar? Of course, it's so I can do big damage without spreading the stat points out. And it's for PFS, so I don't really have to justify it, but going Qadira is at least intuitive.

But then I remembered the original, AD&D first edition Oriental Adventures ninja: It wasn't a standalone class, you HAD to multi class into something else. You had missions given to you by your lord that that make faction missions look like gimmes. Also, Bad Things Happened if anyone, including other PCs, figured out that you were a ninja.

So, why not play it in that spirit? Imagine I'm actually a Tian Xia (or somewhere that uses ninja) spy sent to infiltrate Qadira? Introduce myself as the foppish young son of a minor Qadira trading family out to make a quick fortune. Never mention my class but offer to scout for the group and handle conversations with NPCs if everyone else "felt it wasn't worth your limited resources to spend the time to learn proper manners during your formative years." Let them assume I'm a rogue, never confirm specifically but never deny. Should be trivial at first level, but could be a fun metagame with GM complicity once I get ki points: Maybe make a slight of hand or bluff check to conceal the fact that I made an extra attack from the other players, get far enough ahead of the group or around a corner then use a vanishing trick to sneak up on enemies and pass it off as a great stealth check, etc.

That should take the character from low level munchkinism to roleplaying fun.


In a similar vein to the kikku vs. chain shirt debate, how about that mithral breastplate? Sure, sure, -1 ACP, but the Armor Expert trait takes care of that nicely.

Also, @ Akerlof
Another possibility is to look into the Dual Talent racial trait. That will let you boost your con to 14 while keeping all of the same stats otherwise. One other thing to consider: If you're looking to get into dervish dancing, you could consider the Dawnflower Dervish bard. A special consideration with that is that they have access to the spell vanish, right at lv. 1. They also have grease, which may or may not make the enemy prone, but regardless, they treat that 10ft. square as difficult terrain, and they make acrobatics checks to cross it, which makes them flat footed.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
galahad2112 wrote:
In a similar vein to the kikku vs. chain shirt debate, how about that mithral breastplate? Sure, sure, -1 ACP, but the Armor Expert trait takes care of that nicely.

the problem with the breatplate is that you are then using a trait, and spending the extra cash. Why not just go with chain shirt and use that trait for something else.


Some comments and suggestions I've had from playing a ninja


  • How about adding purple as "even better than best" color?
  • Leadership should be purple. If you get another ninja as cohort, you can get help with flanking and possibly take all the cool Teamwork feats. The best of which is Seize the Moment. Wakizashi + Improved Critical + Seize the Moment = Monster Grinder. Take Rogue Talent: Assault Leader and give your cohort an attack if you miss and Opportunist for non-critical hits. And what do you mean it doesn't fit the character concept? Don't most ninjas in books and movies have an apprentice? Also, use your followers as a poison-making sweatshop and/or spy network. (+40 on your next Diplomacy or Craft check!)
  • Add Seize the Moment as a purple teamwork feat. See above.
  • I see no problems playing a ninja/paladin. Have you not heard of Batman? True, you will not be the stereotypical ninja or paladin, but it could work, especially if the local government or police are corrupt. The only drawback is paladins are barred from using poisons.
  • Halflings that take Swift as Shadows instead of Fast Stealth. They lose 5' of movement off their top speed, but only a -10 to snipe. Great for shuriken-throwing builds.
  • You do not need wall-climber as a Cloak of Arachnida is better.
  • Quickdraw is better than Hidden Weapon. Do they stack? Rules are ambiguous but if GM says yes, this should be a no-brainer.
  • How about a prestige class section? Shadowdancer is an OK choice. Fantastic if your GM says Shadow Jump qualifies for the Dimensional Agility train of feats (Dimensional Dervish is awesome).
  • Halflings can take the Well-Prepared feat. This is great as ninjas tend to travel light and you never know when a certain item might be helpful. Your Sleight of hand is maxed so you can even pull out some alchemical items.
  • The best Rogue Talents for a poison-using ninja are Swift Poison and Lasting Poison.
  • Anything immune to sneak attacks is your kryponite. Reduce this by adding bane:elementals and Ghost Touch to your weapon.
  • Your other kryptonite are things that see invisible. Take Go Unnoticed and other things to keep that Stealth up and working. (Don't rely on invisibility to save you every time).


Hey Darth
Can you post your preferred halfling ninja build with all of those feats?
cheers


@ j b 200
I really think that the Armor Expert trait is fantastic for any non-caster class. Even then, the bard and magus benefit from it nicely. Really, as far as the $$$ aspect, it's only 3k extra. A +1 mithral breastplate is the same cost as +2 mithral shirt. The breastplate gives more AC and is cheaper to further enhance. Plus, it's much better for str builds, if anyone decides to go that route.


galahad2112 wrote:


Also, @ Akerlof
Another possibility is to look into the Dual Talent racial trait. That will let you boost your con to 14 while keeping all of the same stats otherwise. One other thing to consider: If you're looking to get into dervish dancing, you could consider the Dawnflower Dervish bard. A special consideration with that is that they have access to the spell vanish, right at lv. 1. They also have grease, which may or may not make the enemy prone, but regardless, they treat that 10ft. square as difficult terrain, and they make acrobatics checks to cross it, which makes them flat footed.

This is for PFS, so I'd need to have the source book for the Dawnflower Dervish bard archetype and I'm not finding it in anything I own. That and my girlfriend is already playing a scimitar wielding, dervish dancing bard, so making another bard isn't all that appealing. In any case, this is just a backup character for times I go to PFS alone, it probably won't get played more than once or twice a month and won't make it to a very high level.

After doing a little more looking, here's what I've come up with (in the style of the DPS Olympics thread):

Spoiler:

Shaheed the Scimitar, human Ninja 10

Ability Scores:
STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 26 (+8) (16 base, +2 level, +2 racial, +2 belt +4 Cat’s Grace*)
CON: 10 (0)
INT: 10 (0)
WIS: 10 (0)
CHA: 18 (+4) (16 base + 2 Ioun stone)
HP: 73 HP (8+(9*5)+20) (PFS hit point rules)

Alternate Ability Scores:
STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 24 (+7) (16 base, +2 racial, +2 belt +4 Cat’s Grace*)
CON: 14 (2) (13 base, +1 level)
INT: 10 (0)
WIS: 10 (0)
CHA: 18 (+4) (16 base + 1 level, + 2 Ioun stone)

HP: 93 (8+(9*5)+40) (PFS hit point rules)

Initiative: +14

Saving Throws Fort: +3 Ref: +15 Will: +3 (No defensive items purchased yet)

AC: 25 - Touch 20, Flatfooted 15 (+5 (+1 mithral shirt), +8 dex, +1 Amulet of Natural Armor, +1 Ring of Protection)

Attacks: +2 Keen Scimitar, 1d6+10 dmg +17/+12 (15-20/x2)

Damage:
Full BAB: 0.7(13.5)+0.3(0.7*13.5) = 12.3, +1 attack = 0.9, +1 damage = 0.9
Second Attack: 0.45(13.5)+0.3(0.45*13.5) = 7.9, +1 attack = 0.9, +1 damage = 0.6
Full BAB with sneak attack: 0.7(13.5+17.5)+0.3(0.7*13.5) = 24.5, +1 attack = 1.8, +1 damage = 0.9
Second Attack with sneak attack: 0.45(13.5+17.5)+0.3(0.45*13.5) = 15.8, +1 attack = 1.8, +1 damage = 0.6

With alternate abilities:
Full BAB: 0.65(12.5)+0.3(0.65*12.5) = 10.6, +1 attack = 0.8, +1 damage = 0.8
Second Attack: 0.4(12.5)+0.3(0.44*12.5) = 6.5, +1 attack = 0.5, +1 damage = 0.5
Full BAB with sneak attack: 0.65(12.5+17.5)+0.3(0.65*12.5) = 21.9, +1 attack = 1.7, +1 damage = 0.8
Second Attack with sneak attack: 0.4(12.5+17.5)+0.3(0.4*12.5) = 13.5, +1 attack = 1.7, +1 damage = 0.5

Special Attacks: Sneak attack +5d6, 5 Str or Dex damage

Class Abilities:Poison Use, Ki Pool (9 points), Light Steps, No Trace +3
Improved Uncanny Dodge
Ninja Tricks(5): Vanishing Trick, Pressure Points, Shadow Clone, some others
Advanced Trick: Hidden Blade
Other stuff

BAB: +7 CMB: +7 CMD: 25

Feats:
Weapon Finesse
Weapon Focus (Scimitar)
Improved Initiative
Dervish Dance
Toughness
Something Else, maybe Extra Ki?

Skills:
Perform 2 ranks
Everything else

Gear:
+2 Keen Scimitar
+1 mithral shirt
Belt of Dexterity +2
Amulet of Natural Armor +1
Ring of Protection +1
Ioun Stone +2 Charisma
On my Second wand of Cat’s Grace
16,750 gold for other stuff (Not very familiar with Pathfinder or PFS so I’m not sure of the standard load out.)
His attack routine is: +2 Keen Scimitar +17/12, 1d6+10 (15-20/x2) Special attacks: +5d6 and 5 str or dex damage on a sneak attack and adding another full BAB attack when spending a ki point

Attacking with sneak attack and a Ki attack is: 64.8 (Up to 75.3 when flanking)
A full attack with sneak attack is: 40.3 (up to 47.3 with flanking)
A full attack without sneak attack is: 20.2 (up to 23.7 while flanking)

With the alternate ability scores: Attacking with sneak attack and a Ki attack is: 57.3 (Up to 67.5 when flanking)
A full attack with sneak attack is: 35.4 (up to 42.2 with flanking)
A full attack without sneak attack is: 17.1 (up to 20.3 while flanking)

I don't know if that is going to be enough damage for level 7+ PFS games, but I'm pretty sure it will be OK for the 4-6 tier scenarios. (1 and 2 will kind of suck.) Are there any more feats or equipment I can take to increase my damage? The idea of a ninja masquerading as something else really appeals to me at the moment, I want something that is fun to role play as well as something to fight with.

  • Is this enough damage to not be a limiting factor for my group? Is it enough to get through PFS scenarios without getting other people killed?
  • How can I optimize this build? Other feats, equipment, etc? What am I missing? There doesn't seem to be much that a single weapon user can get.
  • Is gaining 20hp and a +2 fort save worth giving up 7 or 8 DPR?


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    Jubal Breakbottle wrote:

    Hey Darth

    Can you post your preferred halfling ninja build with all of those feats?
    cheers

    This is without any magical gear.

    Terry "The Avenger" McGinnis
    Ninja 12
    LG Small Halfling / Humanoid (Halfling)
    Init +11 ; Senses Perception +15, Low-light Vision
    ==DEFENSE==
    AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+5 dex, +1 size, +1 Quilted Armor)
    DR 3 vs projectiles
    hp 81 (12d8)
    Fort +4, Ref +13, Will +5
    Defensive Abilities Adaptable Luck (PFARG 62), Improved Uncanny Dodge (PFCR 34)
    ==OFFENSE==
    Spd 20 ft/x4
    Melee Wakizashi +15/+10 1d4 15-20/x2deadly
    Ranged Shuriken +15/+10 1 20/x2monk
    Special Attacks Low Blow (PFAPG 21), Ki Pool (PFCR 59), Sneak Attack (6d6) (PFCR 68)
    ==STATISTICS==
    Str 10, Dex 20, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 18 [20-point buy]
    BAB +9, CMB +8, CMD +23
    Feats Armor Proficiency (LIGHT) (PFCR 118), Combat Reflexes (PFCR 119-120), Improved Critical (Wakizashi) (PFCR 127), Improved Initiative (PFCR 127), Leadership (PFCR 129-130), Quick Draw (PFCR 131-132), Seize the Moment (PFUC 117), Well-Prepared (PFAPG 173)
    Skills Acrobatics +20, Appraise +4, Bluff +19, Climb +4, Craft (alchemy) +4, Diplomacy +10, Disable Device +9, Disguise +19, Escape Artist +20, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (nobility) +4, Perception +15, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +20, Stealth +24 (Swift As Shadows), Swim +4, Use Magic Device +19
    Languages Common, Halfling
    Traits Indomitable Faith, Reactionary
    Ninja Tricks Combat Trick (Quickdraw), Finesse Rogue, Assault Leader, Opportunist, Vanishing Trick, Invisible Blade
    Cohort An apprentice ninja 1-2 levels lower but with identical build


    I always thought Terry was more fighter than ninja, his suit made up for it though.

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