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Quick help with Ninja


Advice


Hi. Just wondering if I steered a friend wrong with some advice. Which of these is generally thought to be most effective for a Ninja build?:

1. Str build w/ 2 handed weapon

2. TWF, low strength, high dex, low mod damage but high sneak attack(?)

3. Slashing grace, one weapon (dex damage but fewer sneaks?)

4. Slashing grace, Two weapons (two weapon grace feat) (hefty feat tax and attack penalties)

Thanks for the help!

(Race could be any core)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2. TWF

Halfling for extra Dex and Cha. Take Vanishing Trick ASAP


The ninja is nice if you're going for a theme type build. Mechanic wise, the Unchained Rogue is usually better.


Ninja's Capstone is one of the best. It is the only class that can stealth and stay undetected even against magic. So going two weapons and land as many sneak attacks as you could would be the best way to go. For your ninja trick, go for vanishing as soon as you can, than take whatever you think will help you survive.


I know the URogue is better. But he wanted to play a Ninja, so...

And TWF focusing on sneak attacks. Got it. Is number 4 something he should plan on going for, or are the feat tax and attack penalties too steep for the Ninja?

Also, just thought of Way of the Shooting Star. Does that have the same one weapon only req as Slashing grace, or no? Would that be a viable option? And for that, is the prereq really only that you have to worship Desna?

Thanks again.


There's a agile weapon enchant which is almost a requirement for the Dex Ninja. It's a +1 enchantment cost that gives dex to damage instead of str.

Would pick up that instead of some feat, since the ninja is usually feat starved.

Scarab Sages

I would just put Agile on his main hand weapon. Unless he's dumping STR to a penalty, the benefit from dex to damage on his off hand isn't great. 1/2 dex is only going to be 3 or 4 point of damage. In terms of spending a couple of feats on it, it's better than Weapon Specialization, but ninja needs to-hit bonuses more than small damage bonuses. Hes better off using feats to create more situations where he can get sneak attacks. Going the Agile route does mean he won't get dex to damage until around 5th, depending on how high the gold rewards are for the game.

There's also a trick with Forgotten Trick that can really help the ninja become more effective. If he can avoid taking Combat Trick, then he can use forgotten trick to pick it up. That essentially gives him swift action Martial Flexibility for things like Shadow Strike when he needs them or Dedicated Adversary for an enemy specific +2/+2.

EDIT: Ninja'd by Matt about agile.


Beware. TWF High DEX Low STR feels like garbage in a party where you can't get many sneak attacks. No Flanker? Getting beat up by a skeleton with 4 hitpoints is a bane of kukri wielding halflings ninjas everywhere. The style is great only if you are solo doing hit and run, or in a group with willing and competent flankers. This is largely resolved with Agile weapons later, but expensive.

STR build with two handed weapon will still be competent even if trapped in a corner by yourself. It works from level 1, which is nice.

Slashing Grace is good for a ninja due to the extra attack granted by ki strike. They are much better to hit than TWF ninjas by ~3 (2 from no TWF and 1 more from better weapon enchant on a single weapon) and by ~4 over Agile weapon TWFers. When a ninjas greatest problem is to hit roll, well, this is a good way to solve it.


1. Str build w/ 2 handed weapon

Your friend will play a melee character and this is the most effective way for melee.
Even if he solved the to-hit problem mentioned by Rory, 2WF would also require him to face stupid opponents who will wait in front of him to be full-attacked.


Okay. So opinions seem pretty split. And still wondering about Way of the Shooting star...

The party has a Ranger who melees and is kind of a tank, a Druid who casts and shows up late to melee, an investigator who is always doing... odd... stuff in combat, and an archer. Also, the Druid's companion is useless. Period. Like, he doesn't want it to fight. So just pretend it doesn't exist.

So flanking is possible, but not... likely. And I think the player will be disappointed the times he does piddly damage.

My concern with 1 2h Str weapon is that he'll be too MAD. He still needs/wants to be sneaky and have good Dex. And my concern with TWF is that he'll miss the AC/not reliably get sneak attack.

That's why I was leaning towards Slashing Grace or Way of the Shooting Star, for more SADness.

Also we're starting on level 3.

Scarab Sages

A 2H strength build is simpler and will more consistently hit and do decent damage. A TWF build will have a higher burst damage when the situation aligns to get a full attack off. But it takes work to make sure you are getting a full attack or getting a sneak attack when you aren't.

If you allow ninjas to take rogue archetypes (which used to be generally accepted, but has been thrown into doubt by designer posts in the last couple of years), then a Scout archetype ninja with a single two handed weapon is a decent build and much easier to run than a more complicated TWF build using feint or something like that. They'll be a little more MAD, but it's not terrible.


I understand the 2h str build is... let's say more efficient, than the TWF build.

At this point I'm asking about it compared to Slashing Grace and/or Way of the Shooting Star.


Mouser the Swashbuckling Ninja

S: 8 D: 18 C: 14 I: 13 W: 10 Ch: 14 (20 pt halfling)

Levels:
1 Swashbuckler (Mouser archetype)
2 Ninja
3 Ninja

Feats:
Combat Expertise (1st)
Weapon Focus: Long Sword (Ninja Trick)
Slashing Grace (3rd)
Gang Up (4th)

Items:
MW Long Sword
MW Buckler

Level 3:

+8 to hit (+2 BAB +4 DEX +1 Size +1 Weapon Focus)
1d6+4 damage (+4 DEX)

Strategies:
- 3 times per day (and more as you level), gain a bonus attack when you full round sneak attack
- if a foe swings at you and misses, jump in their square and "ride the bull", getting sneak attack if only one ally adjacent
- at level 4, sneak attack if two allies threaten, no need to flank

This ninja swashbuckler gets a more sneak attack opportunities than flanking only. It also has a stellar AC with high DEX and using a buckler. Bonus points for keeping track of all the creatures you will "ride" during your career.


Snakebiter the Brawler Ninja

S: 17 D: 14 C: 14 I: 8 W: 10 Ch: 14 (20 pt half-orc)

Racial Trait:
- Half-Orc Bite Attack

Levels:
1 Brawler (Snakebite archetype)
2 Ninja
3 Ninja

Feats:
Combat Expertise (1st)
Weapon Focus: Katana (Ninja Trick)
Gang Up (3rd)

Items:
MW Katana

Level 3:

+8 to hit (+2 BAB +4 STR +1 Weapon Focus +1 MW weapon)
1d8+4 damage (+4 STR)

Strategies:
- 3 times per day (and more as you level), gain a bonus attack when you full round sneak attack
- sneak attack if two allies threaten, no need to flank
- +1d6 sneak attack to add with ninja levels
- at level 4, get to 18 STR and add +1 to hit and +2 damage
- bonus bite attack for an extra sneak attack fishing hit

This brawler ninja will have really intense critical hits.


Sorry, but this guy is intent on playing the Ninja class. Period. Awesome builds though. Thanks


Mbertorch wrote:
Sorry, but this guy is intent on playing the Ninja class. Period. Awesome builds though. Thanks

So not even just a 1 level dip to kick start past tricky requirements... he should really look into the mouser archetype as that is just plain bat crazy fun as a ninja. That said...

Strong Man the Strength Ninja

S: 17 D: 14 C: 12 I: 13 W: 8 Ch: 14 (20 pt half-elf)

Racial Trait:
- Ancestral Arms (Great Sword)

Levels:
1 Ninja
2 Ninja
3 Ninja

Feats:
Combat Expertise (1st)
Weapon Focus: Great Sword (Ninja Trick)
Gang Up (3rd)
Toughness (4th)

Items:
MW Great Sword

Level 3:

+7 to hit (+2 BAB +3 STR +1 Weapon Focus +1 MW weapon)
2d6+4 damage (+4 STR)

Strategies:
- 3 times per day (and more as you level), gain a bonus attack when you full round sneak attack
- sneak attack if two allies threaten, no need to flank
- at level 4, get to 18 STR and add +1 to hit and +2 damage


Dexy the Slashing Grace Ninja

S: 8 D: 18 C: 14 I: 13 W: 10 Ch: 14 (20 pt halfling)

Levels:
1 Ninja
2 Ninja
3 Ninja

Feats:
Weapon Finesse (1st)
Weapon Focus: Hand Ax (Ninja 2 - Ninja Trick)
Slashing Grace (3rd)
Combat Expertise (Ninja 4 - Ninja Trick)
Gang Up (5th)

Items:
MW Hand Ax
MW Buckler

Level 3:

+9 to hit (+2 BAB +4 DEX +1 Size +1 Weapon Focus +1 MW)
1d4+4 damage (+4 DEX)

Strategies:
- 3 times per day (and more as you level), gain a bonus attack when you full round sneak attack
- at level 5, sneak attack if two allies threaten, no need to flank

Scarab Sages

EDIT: Removed suggestions. Nevermind. Forgot Slashing Grace requires Weapon Focus.

Honestly, though, for the team he described, I'm not sure that Gang Up will be as useful as it could be. It sounds like for the most part, it will only be the Ninja and the Ranger in melee, and you need a third person for Gang Up to apply.


Ferious Thune wrote:
Honestly, though, for the team he described, I'm not sure that Gang Up will be as useful as it could be. It sounds like for the most part, it will only be the Ninja and the Ranger in melee, and you need a third person for Gang Up to apply.

The ranger should have an animal companion starting at level 4. If the ranger takes Boon Companion at level 5, the ninja is off to the races.

One can but hope...

Scarab Sages

True. That would help things.


Ranger is a Freebooter. No animal. Sorry.

Scarab Sages

Ok, then, I would recommend something like this for a single weapon dex build (pending allowing Scout on a Ninja)

Ninja (Scout)

S: 8 D: 18 C: 14 I: 13 W: 10 Ch: 14 (20 pt halfling) (EDIT: Could also swap INT and WIS since you don't need Combat Expertise. Helps WILL saves).

Feats
1) Weapon Finesse
2) Weapon Focus (Ninja Trick)
3) Slashing Grace * Character starts here with Dex-to-damage from the beginning
4) Vanishing Trick
5) Dodge
6) Forgotten Trick
7) Mobility
8) Offensive Defense *Scout's Skirmisher ability kicks in here.
9) Spring Attack * To use with Skirmisher.
10) Invisible Blade (Greater Invisibility)

You could use Forgotten Trick at 7th to pick up Spring Attack if you wanted, or just use it for Dedicated Adversary. Or you could take Combat Trick at 6th for Mobility and have Spring Attack at 7th (but lose the pseudo Martial Flexibility of picking up Combat Trick with Forgotten Trick).

So you have Invisible Blade most of the time, but if something has See Invisibility or something else to know where you are, then you can use Spring Attack/Skirmisher and get one big hit in a round. Possibly even go Vital Strike from here if you have a large damage die weapon.

EDIT: Removed Power Stirke? Whatever that is. I think I was trying to say Piranha Strike. Either Vital Strike if you have a large damage die weapon, or Piranha Strike if you have a light weapon (more likely on a Slashing Grace build).

EDIT EDIT: Actually, forget Vital Strike. It doesn't work with Spring Attack. Forgot about that.


Mbertorch wrote:
Ranger is a Freebooter. No animal. Sorry.

That's hilarious! Poor ninja...

Swap out Combat Expertise and Gang Up for Dodge and Mobility. Just have the ninja provoke AOOs, albeit trying to tumble, with a stellar AC (especially Dexy with buckler). Run around foes to get the sneak attacks, as seldom as they might be.


Okay good stuff.

So, is Slashing Grace going to be better than 2H str? Regardless, it seems like these are better than relying on sneak attack via TWF.

I'm still curious about Way of the Shooting Star. If everyone is ignoring it because it's trash, that's fine. But someone could say so.

Because with it, he could do something like this.

Ninja, Halfling

20 point buy (after racial)

Str 8
Dex 15
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 12
Cha 18

FEATS:
1. Martial Weapon Proficiency (starknife)
2. Vanishing Trick
3. Divine Fighting Technique (Way of the Shooting Star)
4. Shadow Clone (he really wants this one...)
5. Dodge
6. Weapon Focus

He'd get a bigger Ki Pool, as well as get Charisma to attack and Damage with two feats: Martial Weapon proficiency and Way of the Shooting Star. Meaning he can pick up Vanishing trick at level 2 instead of 4. And being small, a d3 starknife is not much worse than a d4 handaxe, wakizashi, etc.

Does something like this work? Or am I missing some glaringly obvious component?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Will the druid be summoning allies the ninja can flank with?

Can you buy some barding for his animal companion so it doesn't suck? Or can the druid trade it out for a domain?

Once the druid can wildshape, will he go into melee earlier? Can he poke around with a reach weapon of some kind? Just to flank and get the occasional AoO?

Are there any good Variant Multiclasses the ninja can take to help with combat?


SmiloDan wrote:

Will the druid be summoning allies the ninja can flank with?

Can you buy some barding for his animal companion so it doesn't suck? Or can the druid trade it out for a domain?

Once the druid can wildshape, will he go into melee earlier? Can he poke around with a reach weapon of some kind? Just to flank and get the occasional AoO?

Are there any good Variant Multiclasses the ninja can take to help with combat?

1. The druid is a new and very stubborn player. He's good, but makes his own decisions so I really can't say.

2. He doesn't want it to fight. He wants it to scout and steal. That's why I said earlier pretend it doesn't exist. Please.
3. Not a chance. He's obssessed with it.

4. Probably not, but I don't know.
5. He won't use a 2 handed weapon.
6. See 5.

7. I don't think he will want to. And the DM is new to Pathfinder and would prefer us to stay as one class. For simplicity's sake. Maybe a dip. But not until level 4.

The thing is, everyone has already played in combat but the Ninja, so the other characters can't change. Only him.

Also...

WAY OF THE SHOOTING STAR?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Where is Way of the Shooting Star?


Oh, sorry...

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/divine-fighting-technique-combat /

And scroll down. It's there.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thanks! Desna's weird weapon style! LOL!


Yeah! Kind of crazy cool. Any chance it's as/more viable than builds listed here? I feel like it's even a better choice for TWF, because he'll be adding a significant Cha mod instead of a non-existent Str mod for 'regular' attacks even when he can't get sneak attacks.

Scarab Sages

I'm not as familiar with that one or builds using it. It's the same number of feats as getting Slashing Grace up and running. Maybe you can TWF and get CHA to hit/dmg on both weapons? That might make it worth it.

He's still going to want a high dex for the other things he wants to do and for the AC bonus. Shooting Star looks great for a Paladin, Bard, or Oracle. Without a dip to get CHA to AC or Noble Scion to get it to Initiative, I think he's probably better off sticking with a Dex build.


I can't imagine playing a pure-class Ninja. They're just not nearly badass enough. What self-respecting Ninja doesn't at least have a little Weapon Master? Shameful.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I REALLY want to play a gestalt paladin//ninja someday.

Paladinjas get full BAB, ALL good saves + Charisma to saves, d10 HD, 8 skill points, sneak attack AND smite evil, swift action self-healing, ki, an uber weapon, some spells, ninja tricks, channel energy, THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SWIFT ACTIONS, and I would probably go the Fey Foundling, Two Weapon, Improved Shield Bash, Weapon Finesse route. Or maybe just a pair of wakizashis.


Ferious Thune wrote:
It's the same number of feats as getting Slashing Grace up and running.

Same number of Feats? I was under the impression he would need 2 feats, MWP and Divine Fighting Technique, and would need to worship Desna.

Whereas Slashing Grace needs Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, AND Slashing Grace.

Plus

Ferious Thune wrote:
Maybe you can TWF and get CHA to hit/dmg on both weapons? That might make it worth it.

I'm pretty sure you can. Since

"Initial Benefit(s): You can add your Charisma bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls when wielding a starknife. If you do so, you don’t modify attack rolls and damage rolls with your starknife with your Strength modifier, your Dexterity modifier (if you have Weapon Finesse), or any other ability score (if you have an ability that allows you to modify attack rolls and damage rolls with that ability score)."

And it doesn't say anything about other hand occupied like Slashing Grace does.

Scarab Sages

Mbertorch wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
It's the same number of feats as getting Slashing Grace up and running.

Same number of Feats? I was under the impression he would need 2 feats, MWP and Divine Fighting Technique, and would need to worship Desna.

Whereas Slashing Grace needs Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, AND Slashing Grace

You're taking weapon focus in the shooting star build as well. Really, any ninja is going to spend a trick on weapon focus eventually. So I don't really consider that an extra feat in the Dex build. You do need to take it sooner, but you'll end up taking it regardless.

Scarab Sages

For TWF and Shooting Star... It looks like it probably works, but then you're going to need a high dex to qualify for the TWF feats, unless you stop at the base feat and never take Inproved TWF.


Okay. But Shooting Star doesn't need it to "come online" so to speak. Furthermore, Shooting Star gives the option for TWF (even if he doesn't pursue it) whereas Slashing Grace does not.

I'm not saying Slashing Grace isn't good. Because it is. I'm just wondering if Way of the Shooting Star is better here. It's not like he'll dump Dex. Instead, it will just be like they switched roles. Instead of a phenomenal Dex and great Charisma, he'll just have the reverse. I mean, he needed Charisma for ki anyway. Think of Charisma as his version of Strength for any old melee character. He still needs Dex for AC and reflex, just like the fighter (or whoever) does. Except now, his pseudo-strength stat (Charisma) also grants him some neat abilities (ki pool and tricks).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a 3.5 ninja, which is a total different beast, but I used a lot of Shot on the Run and Spring Attack. It's especially effective in terrain that has lots of sporadic cover or concealment, like a library full of shelves or a temple full of clouds of incense or caverns full of stalagmites or grottos full of gargoyles or dungeons full of pillars.


SmiloDan wrote:
I played a 3.5 ninja, which is a total different beast, but I used a lot of Shot on the Run and Spring Attack. It's especially effective in terrain that has lots of sporadic cover or concealment, like a library full of shelves or a temple full of clouds of incense or caverns full of stalagmites or grottos full of gargoyles or dungeons full of pillars.

That sounds cool and very Ninja-y, but I feel like I need to figure the weapon thing out first.

1. 2h Str
OR
2. Slashing Grace
OR
3. Desna's Way of the Shooting Star (possibly TWF)


Ferious Thune wrote:
For TWF and Shooting Star... It looks like it probably works, but then you're going to need a high dex to qualify for the TWF feats, unless you stop at the base feat and never take Inproved TWF.

I mean, that's an option. He's only 3/4 BAB so maybe a 15 Dex and TWF is enough...


The best Ninja you can build dips one level of scaled fist Unchained Monk.

Unchained Flurry and a dex fueled Ki-Pool mean you can get 3 two handed attacks on a full attack at level 3. That's just brutal...

Also it's super Ninja sexy cause your good looks protect you from harm...


Alex Mack wrote:

The best Ninja you can build dips one level of scaled fist Unchained Monk.

Unchained Flurry and a dex fueled Ki-Pool mean you can get 3 two handed attacks on a full attack at level 3. That's just brutal...

Also it's super Ninja sexy cause your good looks protect you from harm...

That's actually wicked cool. But his first three levels are Ninja. Maybe 4th? Technically, his fighting style is already on his character sheet, but since he's a newbie the DM will let him retrain some stuff. Just once. But not his class. Just feats, tricks, ability scores, and equipment.

That, and him specifically wanting to play a Ninja, is why I'm being so stubborn/limited.

And why I'm only comparing

1. 2h Str

2. Slashing Grace

3. Way of the Shooting Star

Scarab Sages

I'm not saying Desna's Shooting Star (actual name of the ability. PFSRD renames things when they run into Paizo intellectual property) isn't good. But if he's going that route, he's best off taking a dip like has been suggested. Scaled Fist is an excellent dip. I'm doing that on a Vigilante character.

A fighter doesn't need a 15 DEX. A fighter can be fine with a 10-12 DEX (reflex saves aside, but they have more HPs to help handle that), because a Fighter can wear heavy armor. Ninja is stuck with light (or potentially a Mithral Breastplate, eventually, if they have a low DEX mod and they take the Armor Master Combat trait). So without CHA to AC, a Ninja with a 15 DEX is going to be stuck at 16 AC for a while. Especially if they aren't using their level boost at 4 to boost DEX. And if you do use your level 4 boost on DEX, he's not using it on CHA to eventually boost his to-hit and damage. The AC eventually temporarily evens out when he can finally afford a Mithral Breastplate, but then the DEX Ninja pulls away again once they've boosted DEX to 20 and higher.

A Ninja also really wants to go first in initiative. This gives them extra sneak attacks and saves them Ki (don't need to vanish before attacking when they are already flat-footed). Going low DEX Mithral Medium armor essentially costs them 4-5 points in initiative. +2 difference between 15 DEX and 18 DEX (or +3 for 20 DEX). Plus, taking Armor Expert means that he can't take Reactionary. So that's another +2 lost, unless he also wants to spend a Social trait taking Adopted to get something like Elven Reflexes.

An extra Ki point or 2 a day is nice, but it's not as valuable as an extra 2 points of AC, Reflex, and +4 initiative, not to mention all of the DEX skills that are helped by having a higher DEX. If he's ok being more of a social character than sneaky/tumbling character, then the skills even out.

Going Shooting Star makes TWF easier, but again, remember that his bonus to damage is halved on his off-hand. And with only 1 extra attack ever, it's not that huge of a benefit.

For a Shooting Star build, I would highly suggest Noble Scion of War and a dip for CHA to AC. Scaled Fist Monk is probably the best dip suggestion so far. It's too bad Starknife isn't a monk weapon so he could Flurry with it and forget TWF completely. Unchained Monk does mean no armor, but that can be compensated for with Mage Armor (party cooperation is helpful there).

This build adds levels of Scaled Monk and Cleric into the mix, for Crusader's Flurry instead of TWF.

Shooting Star Build:
Ninja, Halfling

20 point buy (after racial)

Str 6 (With no armor, not as big of a deal for carrying capacity. Will also eventually have access to Wand of Ant Haul)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 12
Cha 19

Traits: Reactionary, Fate's Favored

FEATS:
Ninja 1. Noble Scion of War (+CHA to Initiative)
Ninja 2. Combat Trick: Martial Weapon Proficiency: Starknife
Ninja 3. Divine Fighting Technique (Way of the Shooting Star)
Scaled Fist 4. Bonus Feat: Dodge, *Purchase either Wand of Mage Armor and/or Pearl of Power if someone in the group can cast it, Bonus to Fort and Ref saves, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, CHA to AC
Cleric 5. Bonus: Favored Weapon Proficiency: Starknife, Retrain Combat Trick to Weapon Focus, Crusader's Flurry, Channel Energy, Travel Domain (+10' movement, Agile Feet 4/day), Liberation Domain (Liberation 1/day), bonus to Fort and Will saves, 3 first level spells
Ninja 6. Vanishing Trick
Ninja 7. Accomplished Sneak Attacker
Ninja 8. Shadow Clone
Ninja 9. Open Feat (Iron Will, Extra Ki, or Outslug Style?)
Ninja 10. Forgotten Trick, *Buy a Ring of Ki Mastery at this level to reduce cost to 1 Ki.
Ninja 11. Open Feat (Improved Iron Will or Outslug Weave?)
Ninja 12. Invisible Blade

So the two level dips slow sneak attack down for a bit, but he can catch it back up with Accomplished Sneak Attacker. The Cleric dip hurts BAB a little, but he's using Unchained Flurry (no penalty to hit) instead of TWF (-2 to hit). Also, Cleric opens up getting Divine Favor, though only ever at +1/+1. Fate's Favored boosts that to +2/+2.

If he didn't have the restriction of 1st three levels being Ninja, there's probably a better feat order for this to avoid retraining at 5th.


Ferious Thune wrote:

I'm not saying Desna's Shooting Star (actual name of the ability. PFSRD renames things when they run into Paizo intellectual property) isn't good. But if he's going that route, he's best off taking a dip like has been suggested. Scaled Fist is an excellent dip. I'm doing that on a Vigilante character...

...Going Shooting Star makes TWF easier, but again, remember that his bonus to damage is halved on his off-hand. And with only 1 extra attack ever,...

Okay. What you wrote explains, like, everything. Thank you very much for that. Also for the awesome build outline. So cool.

Since I'm still fairly new at all this, and you obviously know your stuff, may I ask you this: what would be simplest for him? Because I can comprehend this build pretty easily, but I'm worried about him. I'm almost thinking now (not to make everyone exasperated) that a Str build, while MAD, would be the most straightforward.

Scarab Sages

The STR build is by far the most straight forward. It makes up for being MAD in that he won't be taking a TWF penalty, and his damage is boosted by getting 1.5x STR two-handing a weapon.

Is he locked into Halfling? You said the GM wouldn't let him change his class, so I'm wondering if he can change race, either. If he's stuck with Halfling and a STR penalty, then Slashing Grace is the next most straightforward build. The Desna build might ultimately end up more effective, but if you're going to bring a stat like CHA into your melee combat, you really want to go all-in on it and get it added to as many abilities as you can. That makes things more complicated.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If this is for an absolute newbie, I would suggest he play a ranger. Just have the ranger dress all in black. :-P

But if he's determined to play a ninja, and is a total newbie, the two handed weapon is probably the easiest way to go. Two Weapon Fighting can be confusing because it requires a full attack action AND has a penalty to hit.


@Ferious Thune
He might be locked in... Kind of. I was coming up with this for a separate reason, but if my DM will allow it, which he already said he's open to custom things as long as they're not too overpowered or complicated, then this might just work.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ulk5?More-Homebrew-Races-Are-they-balanced


The most frustrating thing about a Ninja is that if you build one that relies on sneak attack damage, you have to reliably get sneak attack damage - and sometimes that's just plain impossible.

It's quite possible to build a "warrior-Ninja" type character with strength, who makes use of sneak attack damage as much as possible but is better in a stand-up fight, which would probably be easier on a new player. A Ninja who eventually (like by 10ish?) takes 3 levels of Weapon Master Fighter can pick up a huge combat bonus later down the road from Weapon Training and the Gloves of Dueling item, which makes them much more capable in combat, and they can take the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat to keep Sneak Attack at basically the same level as a pure Ninja. Being a 'weapon master' suits the Ninja concept perfectly.

Note that it's quite possible to be a strength-based Two-Weapon Fighting character; it only requires 17DEX to properly use two weapons, and that's actually not too hard to get to with a strength build. Any strength-based Ninja wants high DEX anyhow. With the Effortless Lace item, dual-wielding katanas is quite efficient and very stylish.

If one wants to get a bit more fancy down the road, the bonus feats from Weapon Master are handy for bringing together the Shatter Defenses setup (the feats Power Attack + Cornugon Smash + Shatter Defenses, or Enforcer + Shatter Defenses) later on, which the Ninja is well equipped to gain from.

In general, note that charisma is a bit mundane for most Ninja. It's tempting to take a high CHA score, but the difference between a 12 and a 16 starting CHA can be covered by taking the feat Extra Ki once. So while you don't want to trash CHA, you don't need to pump it up either.

The trait Irrepressible is helpful anytime you have a notable gap between wisdom and charisma. It covers a lot of the dangers of lowering wisdom a bit to beef up charisma.

Oh, and the Snakebite Striker Brawler is an awesome combo with Ninja for being a damn machine with Feint in combat, but that's probably way more complicated than a new player would want to go.


DM okay'd the Farling, so he's going strength build. Thanks everyone!

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