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Sneak Attack as often as possible


Advice

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm combining an idea that someone else had with an idea that I had to make a character who gets sneak attack damage as often as possible.

This would be a Pathfinder Society character, so it starts at level 1, uses Core races, two traits, no crafting (but access to MagicMarts), etc.

Aside from the obvious "get into flanking" route, this build has two means of enabling sneak attack: blinding the enemy, or putting out the lights (so effectively blinding the enemy). So I guess this guy really likes to be the only one who can see.

The Build
Half-Orc [Sacred Tattoo, Scavenger]

STR 12
DEX 18 (16+2)
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 13

Traits: Reactionary (+2 Init), Indomitable Faith (+1 Will)
01:Ninja1:[SA 1d6], Weapon Finesse
02:Ninja2:[Trick:Combat Trick:Agile Maneuvers][Ki Pool]
03:Monk1[Maneuver Master]:[BonusFeat:Improved Dirty Trick], Two Weapon Fighting
04:Ninja3:[SA 2d6][CHA+1=14]
Ninja from here on out.

The idea:
At level 1-2, I'm just your typical Finesse ninja dude.

Starting at level 3, I can add a Dirty Trick (normally requiring a standard action, if not for the MM archetype) onto my full-attacks. So I can blind them, then blow a ki point and attack three times, each one being a sneak attack. (And I can be using wakizashis, or my fists.)

Additionally, I plan to carry one or more oils of darkness and deeper darkness. If I'm fighting in dim light, I can use the former, or use the latter if in normal light. The light level goes down to darkness, and everyone without darkvision is blinded. Unlimited sneak attacks! Of course, this is a bit anti-social, as my party is unlikely to have much darkvision, so this would be sort of an emergency measure if things go south.

So yeah. Flanking, dirty tricks, and darkness. Decent ninja plan? Additional thoughts?

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Additionally, I plan to carry one or more oils of darkness and deeper darkness.

Darkvision doesn't work in deeper darkness areas.

Another trick you might consider is 'canon fodder' to help you get flanking. If you don't mind seriously reducing the kingdom's canine population you can pick up guard dogs at 25 gp each.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

CBDunkerson wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Additionally, I plan to carry one or more oils of darkness and deeper darkness.
Darkvision doesn't work in deeper darkness areas.

Although poorly worded, what it actually means is when you drop the light level down into *supernatural* darkness, darkvision doesn't work. If you drop it from normal light to darkness, darkvision works just fine.

Quote:
Another trick you might consider is 'canon fodder' to help you get flanking. If you don't mind seriously reducing the kingdom's canine population you can pick up guard dogs at 25 gp each.

Oh, that's just... deliciously evil...


Its a good plan. I've been playing a MM monk who uses a lot of dirty trick. Its been fantastic, both for offensive and defensive purposes. Its really been helpful to the party bard/rogue, but its also kept me alive against otherwise nasty full attacks.

Combine with the Scout archetype, which is one of the few rogue archetypes available to the ninja, for even more sneak attacks (on charges/after movement). I also recently built a scout ninja, and worked in 3 levels of shadowdancer, which may be worth consideration. This gives you a flanking buddy (with very nice Str damage synergy with pressure points/crippling strike), as well as giving back uncanny dodge and evasion, and extending the range of your darkvision (or allowing another race if you'd rather), plus neat tricks like hide in plain sight and shadow illusion. It is rather feat intensive though.

Also, for general tactics, note that after the enemy is blind (or after you're invisible; you ARE getting vanishing trick, no?), they won't be able to target you for opportunity attacks, meaning you can now attempt any combat maneuver you want without the improved maneuver feat, and without fear of reprisal. Obviously, attempt with caution against enemies who may be able to target you without seeing you or who are immune to blinding. Just a neat side effect to be aware of if you otherwise weren't.


Alternatively, if you want to get more Sneak Attacks off, pick up the Gang Up feat. The prerequisites are really simple and you can have it at level one if you are a human.

Gang Up

APG Feats wrote:

Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise.

Benefit: You are considered to be flanking an opponent if at least two of your allies are threatening that opponent, regardless of your actual positioning.

Normal: You must be positioned opposite an ally to flank an opponent.


Get a bite attack. Toothy or Razortusk should do the trick and give you one more (sneak) attack per round.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Blave wrote:
Get a bite attack. Toothy or Razortusk should do the trick and give you one more (sneak) attack per round.

So at level 3, if I blow a ki point, I can make a total of five d20 rolls: a dirty trick, a main attack, a ki-fueled attack, an off-hand attack, and a bite attack.

That's sick. In fact, it might be TOO much... gain some GMs' ire...


Right, but that's only if you succeed on the dirty trick. Hows that CMB bonus looking?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Tarantula wrote:
Right, but that's only if you succeed on the dirty trick. Hows that CMB bonus looking?

I still get the attacks without the dirty trick succeeding; I just need it if I want the extra damage. ;)

Although it occurs to me now that the -2 from TWF will stack with the -2 on the dirty trick per FoM...

So maybe I don't want that...? On the other hand, there's no penalty for an epic fail on dirty tricks like there is for disarming or tripping...


Since you are taking a level of monk, that gives you IUS. You could also look into the sap adept/master line and punch with fists/brass knuckles (for an enchantable weapon).


Jiggy wrote:


Although it occurs to me now that the -2 from TWF will stack with the -2 on the dirty trick per FoM...

So maybe I don't want that...? On the other hand, there's no penalty for an epic fail on dirty tricks like there is for disarming or tripping...

The penalty from FoM applies only to the maneuvers themselves, not your normal attacks. That's part of why its made of awesome. It will make your CMB for the dirty trick 2 lower than it'd otherwise be, but all your attacks would be unaffected.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

MTCityHunter wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Although it occurs to me now that the -2 from TWF will stack with the -2 on the dirty trick per FoM...

So maybe I don't want that...? On the other hand, there's no penalty for an epic fail on dirty tricks like there is for disarming or tripping...

The penalty from FoM applies only to the maneuvers themselves, not your normal attacks. That's part of why its made of awesome. It will make your CMB for the dirty trick 2 lower than it'd otherwise be, but all your attacks would be unaffected.

Correct. But I was planning on using TWF, and that penalty would apply to both my "real" attacks and my dirty trick; so the dirty trick would be at -4 if I wanted all my attacks. That's what I was getting at.


And your bite would be at -7. -2 because you are already TWF and -5 because it's a secondary attack. Hardly game-breaking but another chance to score a sneak attack nonetheless. Oh, and take a picture of your GM's face when you reach for 5d20 for your first full-attack at level 3 :D


Jiggy wrote:
MTCityHunter wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Although it occurs to me now that the -2 from TWF will stack with the -2 on the dirty trick per FoM...

So maybe I don't want that...? On the other hand, there's no penalty for an epic fail on dirty tricks like there is for disarming or tripping...

The penalty from FoM applies only to the maneuvers themselves, not your normal attacks. That's part of why its made of awesome. It will make your CMB for the dirty trick 2 lower than it'd otherwise be, but all your attacks would be unaffected.
Correct. But I was planning on using TWF, and that penalty would apply to both my "real" attacks and my dirty trick; so the dirty trick would be at -4 if I wanted all my attacks. That's what I was getting at.

Gotcha. That's all true. As is the bit about the bite being at -7. Not a lot can be done about it I suppose; there's got to be some tradeoff for making that many attacks (unless you're an alchemist or synthesist, that is). Combining TWF with FoM may indeed be too costly to rely on. It may be worth forgoing TWF altogether and focusing on a 2H Str build in that case. You'd make fewer attacks (obviously) but they'd individually hit much harder, and it would facilitate more of a situational skirmisher playstyle if that's attractive to you.

You could still tack on a natural attack for the times you do make a full attack if you like. This is actually the route my scout ninja will take, gaining a natural attack from the White Haired Witch archetype (which, admittedly, I did mostly for flavor and a bit of situational utility). She'll also be taking eldritch heritage (abyssal) and improved EH (Strength of the Abyss). Orcish bloodline would be even better in the long term if it fit the theme, although the claws from abyssal allow a full BAB full attack in conjunction with the hair (and/or bite I suppose), which is nice too. Just some food for thought; I know its pretty radically different from what you've got now.

In any case, I think that -4 penalty is sort of a deal breaker. Its a nice trick to fall back on if you're just out of options for gaining sneak attack, but I'm not sure a "plan B" is ultimately worth a level dip. The "go-to" ways for a ninja to boost your attack bonus in order to land the dirty trick (i.e. flanking, being invisible via vanishing trick/invisible blade, etc.) will also generally render the maneuver itself moot for purposes of enabling sneak attack. That's rather unfortunate. At least a 2H Str build would be able to keep the option of the dirty trick at -2.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Some good points. Of course, I could always still take the TWF feat, so that I can do some additional shredding when I'm in flanking position.

So if flanking, TWF.

If not flanking, FoM without TWF, possibly blow a ki attack (or a flurry of stars).

That might still be worthwhile.


Don't forget the gang up teamwork feat many over look this little gem you need combat expertise to get it but I say worth it


Why just get a Sap get Adept Sapper and Master Sapper... Take Skill Focus Acrobatics max that skill out take Scout and bounce around like a crazy person whacking people for 2x whatever your sneak attack damage is and the follow that up with Step up and Following Step and then you can get more attacks when they run from you when your doing 6d6 by level 5!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Another option is to keep the TWF plan but switch to a full-BAB class after Ninja4, so that for the purposes of the dirty trick I'm only ever down 1 BAB. That martial class could be Ranger, with favored enemy humans...


A tertiary method of getting lots of sneak attacks that I noticed the other day was Improved Two Weapon Feint. It needs combat expertise and two weapon fighting, but it allows you to burn one attack feinting to sneak attack with the rest of your full attacks. This may be good in situations where bluff is better than darkness, the dirty trick, or when you can't get a flank on. Then you get 2-3 sneak attacks instead of none that round.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

That doesn't really sound any better than the dirty trick route. What advantage are you seeing?


bfobar wrote:
A tertiary method of getting lots of sneak attacks that I noticed the other day was Improved Two Weapon Feint. It needs combat expertise and two weapon fighting, but it allows you to burn one attack feinting to sneak attack with the rest of your full attacks. This may be good in situations where bluff is better than darkness, the dirty trick, or when you can't get a flank on. Then you get 2-3 sneak attacks instead of none that round.

Agreed I have 3 characters built around Feinting they work 85% of the time.

Feint is grately underestimated at my table and I wanted to change that.


Jiggy wrote:
Correct. But I was planning on using TWF, and that penalty would apply to both my "real" attacks and my dirty trick; so the dirty trick would be at -4 if I wanted all my attacks. That's what I was getting at.

True, however a few things:

a) Improved Dirty Tricks gives you a +2, basicly negating the -2 from FoM
b) You use your Monk level instead of BAB for the CM (for your monk levels), so thats another +1 there, equivalent to a masterwork weapon.

So essentially you'll do the Dirty Trick with the same attack bonus as you do your normal TWF attacks with a MW or a +1 weapon. Not that terrible for a free Dirty Trick that might just remove the enemies Dex to AC, and that not just for you but your entire team.
And if you pick up Combat Expertise at some point you can get Greater Dirty Trick for another +2.

Now that I see this I kinda regret that my Ninja is Chaotic.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Quatar wrote:
Now that I see this I kinda regret that my Ninja is Chaotic.

You know, atonement can change your alignment on the spot...


Jiggy wrote:
That doesn't really sound any better than the dirty trick route. What advantage are you seeing?

Actually, since Improved Feint is an "Improved" Combat Maneuver, it should work with the Flurry of Maneuvers trait.

Feint is the only Combat Maneuver that doesn't rely on CMB vs. CMD. Improved Feint might be handy to have if you're finding you're having trouble beating your opponent's CMD. If you have your Bluff maxed, and it looks like your build had a decent Charisma, it's possible that the opponent (if it's CMD is huge) doesn't have both a high Wis and Sense Motive, so if Improved Dirty Trick isn't working you'd have another method up your sleeve.

All you'd have to do is take a second level of Maneuver Master Monk to gain Improved Feint as another bonus feat.

I don't think Improved Two Weapon Feint would be necessary, since the Flurry of Maneuvers feature seems to cancel it out.

Unrelated: you could go as Rogue instead of Ninja and take the Knife Master archetype. With a dagger in each hand (which works as a Monk weapon), you could change all of those sneak attacks to d8s.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sean O'Donnell wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
That doesn't really sound any better than the dirty trick route. What advantage are you seeing?

Actually, since Improved Feint is an "Improved" Combat Maneuver, it should work with the Flurry of Maneuvers trait.

Feint is the only Combat Maneuver that doesn't rely on CMB vs. CMD. Improved Feint might be handy to have if you're finding you're having trouble beating your opponent's CMD. If you have your Bluff maxed, and it looks like your build had a decent Charisma, it's possible that the opponent (if it's CMD is huge) doesn't have both a high Wis and Sense Motive, so if Improved Dirty Trick isn't working you'd have another method up your sleeve.

All you'd have to do is take a second level of Maneuver Master Monk to gain Improved Feint as another bonus feat.

I don't think Improved Two Weapon Feint would be necessary, since the Flurry of Maneuvers feature seems to cancel it out.

All that advice falls apart once you notice that Feint isn't a combat maneuver.

Quote:
Unrelated: you could go as Rogue instead of Ninja and take the Knife Master archetype. With a dagger in each hand (which works as a Monk weapon), you could change all of those sneak attacks to d8s.

I went with ninja for the ki pool, specifically so that a ki point can grant me an extra attack.


All that advice falls apart once you notice that Feint isn't a combat maneuver.

Ah. It should probably be removed from the "Combat Maneuvers" section on the d20 site, where it's listed after "trip". That's what I referenced.

I went with ninja for the ki pool, specifically so that a ki point can grant me an extra attack.

Forgot about that.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sean O'Donnell wrote:
Ah. It should probably be removed from the "Combat Maneuvers" section on the d20 site, where it's listed after "trip". That's what I referenced.

Noted. I'll send the d20pfsrd guy an email and let him know about the confusion.

Note in the future that the SRD is fan-run, not official (but still awesome).


Jiggy wrote:


Note in the future that the SRD is fan-run, not official (but still awesome).

It is! It was all I had to reference since I'm at work. :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
And your bite would be at -7. -2 because you are already TWF and -5 because it's a secondary attack. Hardly game-breaking but another chance to score a sneak attack nonetheless. Oh, and take a picture of your GM's face when you reach for 5d20 for your first full-attack at level 3 :D

Any natural attacks are only at -5 as TWF specifically calls out "primary" and "offhand", natural attacks are neither.

Qadira

ninjas of the hidden mist enough said.... oh wait not enough said damn. ok so here we go you get a reach weapon or just become large. take one level of oracle for water sight and the ability to cast obscuring mist. stand 10 feet away and enjoy sneak attacks all day long. for a one level dip its very nice and with umd you can cast a seemingly infinite supply of obscuring mists or upgrade to larger mist spells. even go so far as to create an item of continuous obscuring mist for 4k a bottle with a stopper in it worn as a necklace would be fun. upon uncorking the bottle its magical effect produces the fog everywhere you travel. blend this into everything else you want to do.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sean O'Donnell wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Note in the future that the SRD is fan-run, not official (but still awesome).
It is! It was all I had to reference since I'm at work. :-)

Actually, if you can access the messageboards, then you also have access to The Official PRD which is maintained by Paizo. It doesn't have as much material or as many conveniences as the SRD, but it's official and freely available.


Jiggy wrote:
That doesn't really sound any better than the dirty trick route. What advantage are you seeing?

I don't think it's better, I think it's different, and maybe a backup worth considering for some cases. It doesn't rely on blinding, or attacking a CMD. So if you think you may be fighting a lot off enemies with low wisdoms, darkvision, and high CMDs, it will still get your sneak attack off.


Nephril wrote:
ninjas of the hidden mist enough said.... oh wait not enough said damn. ok so here we go you get a reach weapon or just become large. take one level of oracle for water sight and the ability to cast obscuring mist. stand 10 feet away and enjoy sneak attacks all day long. for a one level dip its very nice and with umd you can cast a seemingly infinite supply of obscuring mists or upgrade to larger mist spells. even go so far as to create an item of continuous obscuring mist for 4k a bottle with a stopper in it worn as a necklace would be fun. upon uncorking the bottle its magical effect produces the fog everywhere you travel. blend this into everything else you want to do.

this character is bad ass, i just used it for the first time in a home game, i went with a bow build and snipers goggles. it did so much damage , it was awesome. the flavor is what really got me in the mood for the character.

ninja scrolls for the win.


bfobar wrote:
I don't think it's better, I think it's different, and maybe a backup worth considering for some cases. It doesn't rely on blinding, or attacking a CMD. So if you think you may be fighting a lot off enemies with low wisdoms, darkvision, and high CMDs, it will still get your sneak attack off.

Just a side note: Blinding works on darkvision, but not on blindsight.


Not a big contribution, but you may want to take a monk vow to increase your Ki pool a little.

And I agree with MTCityHunter that the Scout archetype would be gravy for this character.


Hmm, for maximizing SA opportunity, I've always liked the

Bludgeoner
Dazzling Display
Enforcer
Shatter defenses combination

You hit them with a nonlethal attack bludgeoning attack, which activates enforcer, allowing you to make an intimidate check as a free action. If you succeed,they are shaken which activates shatter defenses which makes them flat footed and vulnerable to SA, for every hit you make that round. No flanking required.

You also could take cornugon smash and power attack instead of bludgeoner and enforcer, same thing, just every time you power attack.

prototype00

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