Ninja Playtest level 9-10


Playtest Results: Round 1

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Note: This playtest took place in a Serpent's Skull campaign, but contains no written material from Serpent's Skull.

Playing in my group's Serpent's Skull campaign as a rogue so far has been pretty underwhelming. I built my character to be strong at combat and to basically pick up a lot of skills the party lacked while being good at them. After about 4th level, my chances to disarm traps outpaced the trap's DCs-- and over the six months our characters have been adventuring throughout the AP, my rogue had run into very little traps. After skills became easily replaced by potions and magic, I found out that my character was just quickly falling behind in a higher level world and that being able to jump fifteen foot gaps or climb sheer rock walls was just inefficient compared to levitate, fly, or a potion of jump. Even disable device for lockpicking became fruitless when my DM rewarded me with an adamantine short sword. Often, I'd have to be healed after combat-- rolling acrobatics versus tightly escalating DCs seemed a rough customer. Often, my plans, the most frequent way I contributed to the party, could be completed by anyone with a Use Magic Device check. Essentially, the consensus came down to this from the ranger: "My animal companion does more damage than you, and usually trips his enemies on his bite. I have to spend all of its turns accommodating you for sneak attack. It's sad but it's true; the rogue is absolute garbage when he has no access to magical items."

So, kind of fed up with under performing, I decided to check out how ninja was.

Here's my dude:

Level 9:
Saul Vancaskerkin, Jr. "Junior"
Male human ninja 9
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +6 Senses Perception +12
-Defense---------------------------------
AC 23, touch 16, flat-footed 17
hp (9d8+24) 77
Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +7
-Offense---------------------------------
Spd 30ft.
Melee +1 adamantine machete +12 (1d6+3)
or +1 adamantine machete +10/+5 (1d6+3) and +1 short sword +10/+5 (1d6+2)
Special Attacks sneak attack +5d6, ki pool: 6
-Statistics------------------------------
Str 14, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 24
Feats Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Iron Will, Extra Ki, Improved Iron Will, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Acrobatics +17, Climb +16, Disable Device +20, Disguise +7, Escape Artist +17, Knowledge: Local +8, Knowledge: Dungeoneering +12, Knowledge: Religion +4, Knowledge: Planes +12, Knowledge: Nature +12, Linguistics +12, Perception +12, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +17, Swim +15, Use Magic Device +12
Languages Common, Aklo, Polyglot, Abyssal, Infernal, Azlanti, Giant, Draconic, Celestial, Osiriani, Undercommon
Gear +2 headband of intelligence (Knowledge:(Planes)), +1 amulet of natural armor, +2 cloak of resistance, +2 mithral chain shirt, ring of swimming, +1 ring of protection
Special Abilities slow reactions, vanishing trick (9r), forgotten trick, shadow clone (1d4+3)

My character's fluff is that he's not at all a classically trained ninja with a hood-- he just has superhuman celerity that tires him out rather quickly. Mirror images are afterimages, invisibility is him moving so quickly that you can't see him with the naked eye until he hits you, that kind of thing. Semi-magical, just like alchemist bombs.

The ninja was not that different from the rogue in actual play. It's just that when the ninja wanted to succeed, he could, for a ki point, guarantee success.

While the rogue has to hope he rolls high on acrobatics to escape or hope he doesn't roll low on feint and waste his move action, a ninja can guarantee that he can get a sneak attack opportunity for a ki point. Vanishing Trick is really the glue that holds the ninja together.

Notable things that happened:

1) Second fight of the night was versus a bunch of troglodytes so I didn't use any ki points (though forgotten tricking into ki charge seemed useful, though underwhelming). I still had shadow clones from the first fight of the night, but that's a moot point-- no one attacked me because everyone I sneak attacked died. I even tried to provoke on purpose to get the skirmisher ranger to vengeance strike, but the stupid monster missed me.

A tyrannosaurus-- a war beast used by the trogs-- came up from behind and was essentially moving in to charge us. It'd rolled initiative a ways back so it wasn't flatfooted.

I told the ranger, once it appeared, to ready an action to charge after I appeared. Swift action for vanishing trick, charge my maximum limit to charge to the tyrannosaur, and hit him on the dot with a 4, sneak attacking and inflicting him with the trick slow reactions. Then the ranger charged and the paladin charged. The monster got a significant chunk of HP sheared off in the first round, and no one took damage.

As a rogue, I knew for a fact I could never do this. I didn't have the action economy. I'd have to draw a potion and drink it, or draw a very, very expensive wand (with a failure rate) and use it, and by then the plan has no merit since the monster is already in melee. I couldn't double move and then feint. I couldn't do any combat maneuvers. I'd have to wait for it to enter melee range (1 wasted turn) and then double move to tumble around or through it (2 wasted turns). That's assuming I could roll a 22 on my d20 for acrobatics-- it has a 39 CMD. To not hit my rogue it has to roll a 2-- 3s get me on the dot. To not grab me with its special ability it has to roll a 1. It does enough damage (4d6+22) to kill me in two hits-- a likely scenario when it hits me on an AoO, then swallows me whole, dealing bite damage again.

So, like I said before, where the rogue can only hope to fail spectacularly, the ninja can attempt to succeed-- and almost guarantee his success for a ki point.

Oh. It still bit me. I still almost died. I have 5 mirror images up and I roll a d6 to see and get a 6. That's me. Of course. Failure's part of the game. Did we barely kill it before I died? Oh, absolutely. But it was fantastic to know that I really contributed in letting everyone get close to it on their terms without it attacking on the edge of its reach and forcing AoOs. (Everyone in the party has about 24 AC. We're treasure starved.) EDIT: Now that I think about it, my actions actively prevented one or more characters from dying. I have the second highest hp in the group-- everyone else would've died the same way my rogue would've. Whoa!

2) The alchemist loaned me a poison to put on my shuriken. Then we noticed that he could apply it for me and have it use the qualities of his sticky poison discovery. Our characters suddenly have a unique synergy. (I tossed it twice, and it broke, but I still got someone with strength damage poison so booyah)

3) Last fight of the night, we had become level 10. I used invisible blade to go greater invisible and chase down a pirate captain with the paladin. First thing we meet in the hold? A gibbering mouther. Forgotten trick for shuriken flurry, this thing is toast-- oh, they're immune to critical hits, thanks cross-class Knowledge: Dungeoneering ranks. In the end I ended up just watching people fight it-- cramped space, not enough room, and on top of that I'm getting nowhere near something with a blinding spit attack and six bites. I realized then and there that using shurikens to full attack a monster when I was under greater invisibility was entirely possible. Suddenly I can actually have a character who can full attack from range and drop sneak attack dice on someone, all without having to deal with the god-awful sniping rules. I'm unsure about the rules and I'll have to look it up, but I even thought to myself, "Wow-- if I can two-weapon fight with my shuriken, I could hit up to four targets and inflict them all with slow reactions-- that sounds almost as powerful as a spell."

4) Over the night, and 4 encounters, I used 2 ki points and my freebie from Vanishing Trick. Still had 4 ki points left over to spend if I needed them. Extra Ki seemed like a waste but I'm certain over an extended adventuring day I'll likely use all of them.

Final consensus:

The ninja is everything a rogue should be. The ninja isn't overpowered, nor is he broken or too strong. He's right there where a rogue should be in terms of power-- just behind the melee brutes in damage with enough tricks, skills and abilities to be a useful and powerful 5th wheel character. I still did less damage than the alchemist who was burning through his bombs with haste. The kukri/combat scabbard paladin still confirmed about 8 criticals throughout the night. While I was being chewed on by the tyrannosaur, the ranger's animal companion was killing an elasmosaurus by itself. But I felt like I contributed a lot more than I did as a rogue. Slow reactions really is my favorite rogue talent, and as a ninja trick combined with invisibility it's absurdly useful. Will invisible blade probably unbalance the campaign? In some spots, maybe, but I'm not stronger than an even level wizard by any means. We're 10th level now-- if the DM finds that it's too strong later on, he can have his enemies drink potions of see invisibility when the alarm raises, or use true seeing. He can edit the modules how he wishes.

From a balance standpoint, though?

I feel like invisible blade shouldn't be accessible until 12th level.

I feel like vanishing trick shouldn't be accessible until 6th level. I think it should also be a move action.

Forgotten trick should not even exist. It's absurdly strong-- it doesn't even have an action. I think it needs to be pared down, made less powerful, or removed. Maybe a full-round action or a standard action to use would make it strong but not a must-have.

Those're my experiences and I'll update it again next week after the next game.

Senior Designer

Thank you for the notes and the commentary. I find it interesting that you think it is everything the rogue should be, and your insights on guaranteed successes with ki is very interesting.

These are good points that I look forward to discussing with the design team.


I forgot to mention that some of my math doesn't add up because the AP rewards you with certain bonuses for completing objectives.

So, ignore that my CMB and CMD are faulty, for instance.

Oh and hey the first response is a designer. Neat.


Nice write up Ice Titan - I especially love the flavor of "ninja" (i.e. mundane rogue with high speed).

I don't play rogues myself that much, but I have noticed relatively little trouble for rogues in games I run to support the party effectively (or alternatively harry the players). Then again - I like to have a bit atmospheric actions going on sometimes that eat into action economy of individual monsters.


invisible blade + furry of stars + slow reactions combo was pretty awesome.

If you had to spend an action to "remember" with forgotten trick, would that have changed whether or not you would have used it?


Anburaid wrote:

invisible blade + furry of stars + slow reactions combo was pretty awesome.

If you had to spend an action to "remember" with forgotten trick, would that have changed whether or not you would have used it?

I would likely keep it, just for things like feather fall, sudden disguise, that kind of deal.

If I had to spend an action to remember it wouldn't have been spent. (We ended up fighting an equally invisible rogue right after, and I used a wand of vampiric touch-- then she became visible, and I sneak attacked her with it and that barely dropped her unconcious. If I had flurry of starsed her she would've likely been knocked very low and then dead) It just shows more foresight and in my opinion is a little more tactically interesting-- should I waste this turn doing x or do y instead? should I forgotten trick a smoke bomb right now? should I use forgotten trick to get improved disarm since this person is being mind-controlled by a monster?

I feel a standard is pretty appropriate for forgotten trick, or if they really want to give ninjas access to the trick and use it in the same turn, a move. Just something.

Also halfing the distance needed for jumping is way too cool and I love it in conjunction with not needing a running start. I love being able to figure out how far my character can jump-- it used to be pretty low, but now it's 140 feet. With haste I could jump 28 squares-- that's nuts. And so, so useful.

I figured out after the game was over that, with the distance the GM estimated for how far the pirate ship was from the docks, with haste I could have used light steps to cross the bay all the way to it no problem. That's cool-- that's way too cool. I love it.

Grand Lodge

What I get from this is that the Ninja is more powerful than the rogue.

I'm not going to harp on this here (I do that in other threads) but your phase 'The ninja is everything a rogue should be' rings with something the community has been saying for sometime - the Rogue is underpowered.

I really want them to tone the ninja back but your feedback also makes me hope they also bring the rogue up a notch or two and that both can meet in the middle.

As long as both classes can be compared side by side without someone saying that one or the other is a clear win, I am happy.


Helaman wrote:

What I get from this is that the Ninja is more powerful than the rogue.

I'm not going to harp on this here (I do that in other threads) but your phase 'The ninja is everything a rogue should be' rings with something the community has been saying for sometime - the Rogue is underpowered.

I really want them to tone the ninja back but your feedback also makes me hope they also bring the rogue up a notch or two and that both can meet in the middle.

I strongly feel that the Ninja is for the most part fine. Maybe limit the uses of Hidden Trick, or make Vanishing Trick cost 2 ki or something of the like if anything.

The Rogue is what is underpowered. the Ninja is no more overpowered than any other class... well, besides the Rogue and Monk. Buff them, don't nerf the Ninja.


Heretek wrote:


The Rogue is what is underpowered. the Ninja is no more overpowered than any other class... well, besides the Rogue and Monk. Buff them, don't nerf the Ninja.

Agreed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Heretek wrote:
Helaman wrote:

What I get from this is that the Ninja is more powerful than the rogue.

I'm not going to harp on this here (I do that in other threads) but your phase 'The ninja is everything a rogue should be' rings with something the community has been saying for sometime - the Rogue is underpowered.

I really want them to tone the ninja back but your feedback also makes me hope they also bring the rogue up a notch or two and that both can meet in the middle.

I strongly feel that the Ninja is for the most part fine. Maybe limit the uses of Hidden Trick, or make Vanishing Trick cost 2 ki or something of the like if anything.

The Rogue is what is underpowered. the Ninja is no more overpowered than any other class... well, besides the Rogue and Monk. Buff them, don't nerf the Ninja.

Here, here. Nobody wants power creep, but re-adjusting the Rogue so that it is in line with the other classes sounds like a good idea to me.


Two of my GMs will cry if the monk gets "balanced" better. My monks are scary. ;)

Spoiler:
Because they make use of buffs very efficiently - any given flat + has a bigger effect on a monk than mostly all other characters. In nett-effect the monk deals the same DPR as our barbarian

Dark Archive

LoreKeeper wrote:

Two of my GMs will cry if the monk gets "balanced" better. My monks are scary. ;)

** spoiler omitted **

Somebody is building crap Barbarians then. Monks don’t get pounce or Come and Get Me or any number of things that would make me hate them less. Monks are the worst class in the game.

And that's science. Probably ...


keep the Shinobi as is.
The character let I made and played is an dueled 5th lvl Shinobi and Two-weapon fighter to give more of an edge in combat areas. but all and all the Shinobi is a good character sub class of the rogue class.


I wonder if part of the big increase you see from the ninja over your old rogue might be due to the fact that your party is "treasure starved." Much of encounter design seems to assume a certain level of magical items in the party, if you don't have that everything will be much tougher than it should be.


Jason Ellis 350 wrote:
I wonder if part of the big increase you see from the ninja over your old rogue might be due to the fact that your party is "treasure starved." Much of encounter design seems to assume a certain level of magical items in the party, if you don't have that everything will be much tougher than it should be.

I am curious how having treasure would make the rogue on par with the ninja? That would just make the ninja even better... since his Charisma is likely higher for UMD. just wondering why this is relevant to the playtest.


Midnightoker wrote:
I am curious how having treasure would make the rogue on par with the ninja? That would just make the ninja even better... since his Charisma is likely higher for UMD. just wondering why this is relevant to the playtest.

There is the obvious magic weapon, but part of my question is drive by this statement....

Ice Titan wrote:
Essentially, the consensus came down to this from the ranger: "My animal companion does more damage than you, and usually trips his enemies on his bite. I have to spend all of its turns accommodating you for sneak attack. It's sad but it's true; the rogue is absolute garbage when he has no access to magical items."

What has to happen for an animal companion 3 levels lower to be doing more in combat than a PC? This statement tells me that there was a huge problem with the rogue that got replaced more than anything else.


Jason Ellis 350 wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
I am curious how having treasure would make the rogue on par with the ninja? That would just make the ninja even better... since his Charisma is likely higher for UMD. just wondering why this is relevant to the playtest.

There is the obvious magic weapon, but part of my question is drive by this statement....

Ice Titan wrote:
Essentially, the consensus came down to this from the ranger: "My animal companion does more damage than you, and usually trips his enemies on his bite. I have to spend all of its turns accommodating you for sneak attack. It's sad but it's true; the rogue is absolute garbage when he has no access to magical items."
What has to happen for an animal companion 3 levels lower to be doing more in combat than a PC? This statement tells me that there was a huge problem with the rogue that got replaced more than anything else.

The other thing is that rogues are more than damage dealing flank buddies. They get a lot of skills, and quite adept at using them in non-combat related things. I'd like to see the animal companion bluff his way into the sultan's harem ... puss-in-boots not withstanding ... or any lol cats


Jason Ellis 350 wrote:


Ice Titan wrote:
Essentially, the consensus came down to this from the ranger: "My animal companion does more damage than you, and usually trips his enemies on his bite. I have to spend all of its turns accommodating you for sneak attack. It's sad but it's true; the rogue is absolute garbage when he has no access to magical items."
What has to happen for an animal companion 3 levels lower to be doing more in combat than a PC? This statement tells me that there was a huge problem with the rogue that got replaced more than anything else.

Boon Companion feat from the Pathfinder Chronicles - Seeker of Secrets book (+4 levels to your animal companion, to a max of your HD-- essentially making his animal companion a druid's animal companion)

Add in Eye for Talent alternate race feature from the APG to add 2 to strength.

Cat, Small at 9th level is BAB +6 with 23 Str, 22 Dex, 15 Con. 1d6 bite plus trip, 1d3 claws. Power attack, weapon focus (bite). AC23 (the same as my rogue in magical armor!).

So he attacks at +13/+12/+12 for 1d6+6, 1d3+6, 1d3+6. Or +11/+10/+10 for 1d6+10, 1d3+10 and 1d3+10.

I would like to say that the cat is wearing magical items as well. I know it's not getting spells.

Cat hits pretty frequently for high damage from any direction. Rogue has to flank to out-DPR the cat. Usually, the flanking movement and the killing blow are in the same turn since the cat does such high damage to begin with, and trips on his primary attack, which provides him with even more bonuses.


Nice review, really enjoyed it. I like that the this ninja is on par with other characters and usefull. I never like the CA ninja, to Naruto for me, but the older 3rd Rokugan ninja was 1) to far behind 2) would be way to strong in Pathfinder Rokugan ninja had fighter BAB rogue d6s and 4 to 6 skill points per lvl, can't remember. His abilities and with right feats could make him a one hit killer by using injutus skill (speed draw). Pathfinders UC ninja is a nice blend of mystical ninja with actual fighter. I like it. And I agree buff the rogue, they need it, even if they (and all classes) are better than 3.5/ 3rd.


Here's the results from last Friday's game time. It took me a bit to get around to doing this, so here goes.

After beating up the pirates, the group went off to check out the evil cave they mentioned their captain going to. It's a big and angry evil cave on a canyon wall behind a waterfall, ooooo! The DM stresses just how dark it is so I pop a pair of ki points to get Darkvision through Forgotten Trick.

I continue, taking point... and of course, the first thing that happens is that my darkvision gives us the opportunity to get the drop on some gricks. My character's neutral good nature doesn't let him ambush them, but he calls it out and we end up in combat. I didn't use any other ki points this combat, but it was 6 gricks from Bestiary 2 versus us. The party quickly wiped them out. I got to feel like a rogue again as everyone had to dance around my sneak attack requirements, including the animal companion finally grappling a grick and pulling him into position for my sneak attack.

We continued on into the next portion of the cave, where we met... a pair of angry stone golems.

Now, this was partially my fault. I helped the DM design these encounters and thought, hey, two stone golems sounds good, let's do it. The problem? We're level 10 and stone golems are CR11. So we ended up facing two of them. My adamantine shortsword came into high demand, but the problem was, well... we just couldn't hit them. Even with my +2 from being invisible, they had an AC so high that I could only hit them if I rolled a nat 20 on my non-dual-wielding iterative. I blew a ki point on an extra attack for this fight, but it didn't land. The damage came in like this at the end of the fight:

Dual-wielding paladin: 0 damage. Missed all attacks.
Dual-wielding dex ninja: 24 damage. 2 hits. One did 0 damage.
Ranger: 40 damage. Two greatsword hits.
Oracle: 40 damage. Gave the alchemist another attack with blessing of fervor.
Alchemist: 270 damage. Haste, fast bombs, touch AC, etc. etc.

The alchemist is stupid.

So we skip along after two-rounding an epic level fight in which one party member was served their favorite dish into a fight where, well, it's the opposite. We're ambushed by a pair of hydrodaemons as we walk along a thin stairway around a pit full of blood. It turns out we'd found a hidden temple of the Azlanti vampire god Zura.

This goes a bit differently. My invisibility is still up, and so is my darkvision. In the surprise round the oracle is hit by a leaping Hydrodaemon and grappled, held underwater by it's angry maw. We jump into action-- some literally, as the ranger dove into the blood and became amphibious. Another hydrodaemon appeared, and I kind of contributed to its death along with the smiting paladin. It died very shortly. Meanwhile, the hydrodaemon trying to grapple the oracle was grappled by the ranger-- who had a new favored enemy bonus in evil outsiders-- and dragged onto a ledge, where he was pinned, tied up, kicked a lot (the alchemist and oracle aided on his grapple since the daemon had tough DR-- we imagined it as both of them just kicking the hell out of it), coup de graced, survived, and was coup de graced again. Overall I contributed little to the encounter, but I got to sneak attack. If I wasn't a ninja, I wouldn't have been able to-- jumping into the murky water would give me concealment against the daemons, denying sneak, and the stairway wasn't exactly drawn in a tight box around them. So, that was cool.

Oh, and the alchemist? The monsters fought under cover or submerged in water where his bombs wouldn't work. He had to poison his weapons-- he subclasses in poisoning as a hobby-- and then learned they were, well, immune. He went from a fight where he was the rising and most important star to a fight that he couldn't do anything in. This is the second time I've seen the alchemist in a situation he was useless in. The other time? Underwater. I feel like water is an alchemist's kryptonite or something.

Next room is a winding cavern. The ranger and I drank extracts of invisibility from the alchemist and snuck into the cavern. We saw several fish-type people described as Deep Ones up on a 15 ft tall ledge ready for the party to come around the corner, and snuck around to pincer attack them. Light steps apparently saved me from setting off a trap (?) when I was using it to move silently down a hallway to get to our foes. Essentially what happened was this: we got the party to come in to the front, drawing the deep ones there. We ambushed the deep ones in the back, drawing the ones from the front to the back, and the party in front used a rope of climbing to climb onto the front, drawing the ones leaving the front back. In essence, we got the enemies to run back and forth across a room for 18 seconds. I also thought of and enacted a new technique to encourage enemies into trying to find me instead of attacking my friends-- use an extract of invisibility to turn invisible, attack to drop it, free action to insult, swift to put up invisible blade and then a five foot step. We took out the deep ones pretty quickly without more than a few bruises, and I still had 3 ki points left when we called the session.

Things of importance:

1) Without ki points, the ninja plays and feels just like a rogue. Of course, a good ninja won't run out of ki points. The ability to have options is much funner than your only options being 1/day combat talents. It's a very depressing truth that one of the most useful things my rogue could do in many encounters in the early game was to intentionally miss attacks so I could use assault leader to grant attacks to my flanking ally.

2) The ninja, at least once a session, shows me how much it's worth by not being screwed like a rogue would. When we fought the stone golems, they both used their slow ability. I was the only person in both of their areas of effect, so I rolled twice. 3 and a 5. That's a 11 and 13 after modifiers. Fail. Then we realized that, well... I was invisible, and constructs aren't immune to glamers, just phantasms and patterns. They couldn't target me with the spell effect, so I ended up avoiding it altogether. We weren't sure if the stone golems used it as an area of effect, or if it was just blocked by cover, but the fact was that they couldn't target me since slow targets creatures and they didn't know where I was. As a rogue? Screwed. As a ninja? Fine.

This exact same ruling caused me to miss out on the next round's blessing of fervor. I'm definitely going to coordinate better in the future, and not go invisible if the party oracle has bonus spells to grant me.

3) Being a ninja doesn't change my ability to plan, act and think strategically. There's really not much difference to playing a ninja than playing a rogue-- except, well, more options, more choices, more cool tricks and more things to do. Rogues suffer from variability in terms of their usefulness-- if a GM does a lot of traps, the rogue is strong. If the GM does no traps, the rogue is weak. If the GM isn't clear on how sneak attacks work and the rogue is dishonest, the rogue is far overpowered. If the GM isn't clear on how sneak attack works and thinks it can only happen once a round, the rogue is completely underpowered. If skills are important, then the rogue can be useful. If skills are unimportant and roleplaying determines effect more than skills, then the rogue is less than useful. The ninja kind of fixes this and just lets the rogue do what some rogues want to do best-- flip out and kill people while maintaining the high skill set of a rogue.

A rogue is to a bard as a ninja is to a fighter. One is multipurposed, the other is singularly focused.

Those're my observations on last game. Next game we should be tackling the big bad. Hoo boy.


Not many more observations after the last session.

I've started throwing shurikens under greater invis a whole lot more. My group plays with a houserule that if you can't beat DR, you can't deliver carried effects such as sneak attack. Hasn't been a thing all game since I have pretty much a golf bag of silver, mithral, cold iron etc weapons. EDIT: Add in that my DM hates that a +1 keen speed short sword counts as a +5 weapon for beating DR-- and that you only get bumps up on the this-enhancement-beats-this-DR table if you use a pure enhancement bonus weapon-- and you can see why I have this golf bag. Had problems with the 1d2+2 of my shuriken for all kinds of effects last night since we fought a ton of monsters, up to and including even mundane less-than-1-CR-undead-- need to buy magical ones, look into throwing sling bullets or something for bludgeoning, get some silver ones etc.

I coordinated better with the oracle in the party and we made sure I didn't miss blessing of fervor by being invisible again.

Nothing much else to report. I can do really awesome damage with invisible blades when monsters run up to attack me and I can just five-foot and lay into them.

EDIT: OH! Last night I was finally direly punished for not having evasion.

A wizard hit me with lightning bolt. I made the save and took 19 damage.

The horror! It was the only damage I took all night. It's also the only time I've been asked to do reflex in 3 sessions of ninja.


Some interesting information. If the ninja doesn't have martial arts, my players won't enjoy it. I already ran it by them. They groaned and gave the usual "not this again" faces when I told them Paizo was creating a ninja with no martial arts.

But if the ninja can replace the rogue class that no one wants to play, that might be a class someone will use. The rogue is grossly underpowered in any campaign that isn't strong on skill use. Even with sneak attack, the melee types far outclass them in damage and survivability.

And all the other secondary melee classes like the Inquisitor and Monk far outclass the rogue in overall capability.

The rogue is the red-headed step-child of our gaming group. Never gets played as a single class. As a DM I hate having someone play the rogue solely for trapfinding.

I noticed the ninja didn't have trapfinding. We'll houserule they have it like we did for the Inquisitor, Ranger, and Bard. Trapfinding should never, ever be a reason a player is forced to play a class. That is poor game design to have trapfinding be the main reason a class has a place in a game. There should be multiple trapfinding classes and the rogue should stand alone as a playable class based on their combat ability.

It sounds like the ninja can compete in combat. That is very important in our campaigns because we run Adventure Paths, there is a lot of combat in Adventure Paths. It's frustrating for any player not to be able to contribute meaningfully to combat in a game where combat is so important in major encounters. No fun for a class to seem like they're shooting a pea shooter while watching the two-handed fighter types do obscene amounts of damage that only high level arcane casters can really compare to.

I hope the ninja can at least output a good amount of damage without needing the other party members to set them up perfectly. That's what hurts the rogue so badly is how much they need someone else to be effective in combat. Most players playing fighters or other classes could really care less about setting up another player. They are going to destroy whatever they are fighting. Players are glory hounds, and rogues and types using sneak attack have little chance to compete with the players smashing with two-handed weapons, arcane spells, and optimized archers and monks (high level, not low level monks-which are weak).

I hope the ninja maintains its ability to sneak attack without needing another player to set them up. That will be a key to the class being played. It will be nice to have a viable alternative to the rogue for a skill-heavy class.


Maddigan wrote:

Some interesting information. If the ninja doesn't have martial arts, my players won't enjoy it. I already ran it by them. They groaned and gave the usual "not this again" faces when I told them Paizo was creating a ninja with no martial arts.

Why does a ninja need martial arts? How many real life/fantasy ninjas do you know that trade blows with big fighter types as opposed to just cutting them up?

Nothing stops you from talking IUS you know


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadow_of_death wrote:
Maddigan wrote:

Some interesting information. If the ninja doesn't have martial arts, my players won't enjoy it. I already ran it by them. They groaned and gave the usual "not this again" faces when I told them Paizo was creating a ninja with no martial arts.

Why does a ninja need martial arts? How many real life/fantasy ninjas do you know that trade blows with big fighter types as opposed to just cutting them up?

Nothing stops you from talking IUS you know

Well, how many Ninjas don't know martial arts in movies? Exactly zero.

It can be solved by going one level into Monk ( although two levels is even better ). Yeah, having to have lawful alignment kinda sucks, but that is another bugbear of mine with the Monk class as written.

An excellent playtest, Ice Titan, and I hope one who the devs heed. The playtest consensus seems to be so far "The class rocks and is great fun. Help out the Rogue, don't nerf the ninja!"


magnuskn wrote:


Well, how many Ninjas don't know martial arts in movies? Exactly zero.

It can be solved by going one level into Monk ( although two levels is even better ). Yeah, having to have lawful alignment kinda sucks, but that is another bugbear of mine with the Monk class as written.

An excellent playtest, Ice Titan, and I hope one who the devs heed. The playtest consensus seems to be so far "The class rocks and is great fun. Help out the Rogue, don't nerf the ninja!"

How many are good enough at martial arts to kill a troll? or a dragon? Exactly zero

The ones in the movies kill commoners, the guys with 6 hit points, 1d3+1d6+2 (unarmed sneak attack with 14 str) will kill most of them. Fantasy ninjas don't shatter rocks, split people with a karate chops, or kill a man with a well placed blow.

They do however dodge and parry and land glancing blows, then whip out a kama and finish the job. The martial arts is explained with DEX to AC and the feint/dirty trick combat maneuver.

The only time they go fisticuffs to the death is if the have no weapon, and in movies they are so much higher level (as shown by being able to defeat 10 guys with weapons) that the AOO's never hit and they can unarmed strike them down.

I agree about the playtest though :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadow_of_death wrote:
magnuskn wrote:


Well, how many Ninjas don't know martial arts in movies? Exactly zero.

It can be solved by going one level into Monk ( although two levels is even better ). Yeah, having to have lawful alignment kinda sucks, but that is another bugbear of mine with the Monk class as written.

An excellent playtest, Ice Titan, and I hope one who the devs heed. The playtest consensus seems to be so far "The class rocks and is great fun. Help out the Rogue, don't nerf the ninja!"

How many are good enough at martial arts to kill a troll? or a dragon? Exactly zero

The ones in the movies kill commoners, the guys with 6 hit points, 1d3+1d6+2 (unarmed sneak attack with 14 str) will kill most of them. Fantasy ninjas don't shatter rocks, split people with a karate chops, or kill a man with a well placed blow.

They do however dodge and parry and land glancing blows, then whip out a kama and finish the job. The martial arts is explained with DEX to AC and the feint/dirty trick combat maneuver.

The only time they go fisticuffs to the death is if the have no weapon, and in movies they are so much higher level (as shown by being able to defeat 10 guys with weapons) that the AOO's never hit and they can unarmed strike them down.

I think we are having a disconnect here. I don't want the Ninja to have the all-through martial arts of the Monk, with bigger damage dice as he levels up. I want him to start out with the 1d6 the Monk gets and not get better ( unless there is a feat in Ultimate Combat similar to Superior Unarmed Strike from Book of Nine Swords ). The Ninja, IMO, needs to know martial arts, but it should not be his focus.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just a quick addendum, as I suppose we are entering the end of the playtest phase for this first incarnation of three new classes:

The Paizo devs always say that they value actual playtests much more than pure theory-crafting. Well, so far the playtests have shown that the Ninja seems quite balanced with other classes and fun to play. Most playtesters have pointed out that it's not the Ninja which needs nerfs, but the Rogue who needs buffs. While Jason said no buffs for the Rogue are planned, I hope he and the other developers think this over again.

When even players who I've never seen on these forums as min-maxers point out that a class is lacking, maybe it is time to take a second look at that class.


Maddigan wrote:

Some interesting information. If the ninja doesn't have martial arts, my players won't enjoy it. I already ran it by them. They groaned and gave the usual "not this again" faces when I told them Paizo was creating a ninja with no martial arts.

Here's how I would approach explaining ninjutsu and the ninja class to your players. No class can have total grab bag of abilities and be balanced. Ninjas in fantasy stories tend to focus on using weapons and tools more than their bare fists. Thus the designers focused on the weapons side of things. I have no doubt that ultimate combat will have a bunch of ninja weapons and tools.

That said, its pretty easy to get some martial arts lovin' for a ninja character. All you NEED to be a martial arts ninja is Improved Unarmed Strike. Sneak attack will cover the rest of the damage, and is a good stand in for the fact that ninjutsu uses dirty, DIRTY tricks to inflict damage on an opponent.

If you are a purist, you would also take Improved Grapple (and possibly Agile Maneuvers if you dumped strength). A lot of ninjutsu is about tripping and pinning your opponent to neutralize them as a threat.

If you want to make a ninja that focuses on martial arts, multiclass with monk. There is great monk/ninja synergy as they can combine their ki pools, somewhat, and choose which attribute it is based on (you will want it to be wisdom). All the character needs is 4 levels on monk and they will have a d8 unarmed strike, bonus BAB wen flurrying or using maneuvers, faster movement, 2 bonus martial arts feats, bonus AC, and evasion.

They DO however loose 2d6 sneak attack. That is why just taking Improved Unarmed Strike is a decent way to go about it, if you just want to say your character can fall back on martial arts if caught unarmed.

Edit- Oh, if they multiclass with 4 monk levels, they will also be 4 levels behind on getting advanced tricks, which is kind of a big deal. Alas such is the way with multiclassing. Perhaps the first ninja trick should be forgotten trick since at 6th level, this monk/ninja would have about 6-7 or so ki per day (not counting extra ki). That would allow the monk/ninja to operate like have been leveling ninja all along.


Shadow_of_death wrote:
Maddigan wrote:

Some interesting information. If the ninja doesn't have martial arts, my players won't enjoy it. I already ran it by them. They groaned and gave the usual "not this again" faces when I told them Paizo was creating a ninja with no martial arts.

Why does a ninja need martial arts? How many real life/fantasy ninjas do you know that trade blows with big fighter types as opposed to just cutting them up?

Nothing stops you from talking IUS you know

Because it is an iconic capability of the ninja. We're doing game design here right? Which means we're basing the ninja off myth, history, and various incarnations of the ninja, right?

I have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever EVER, NEVER, EVER, watched a show, read a book, or seen any show ever represent a ninja without martial arts. You are missing a major iconic ability associated with the ninja when you don't include martial arts.

Fighting trolls? What are you even talking about? The standard historical knight didn't fight trolls. In the entire Arthurian legend Arthur fought one giant. It almost killed him.

In Japanese myth most likely a ninja would be fighting Oni. But most of the historical period where ninja and samurai existed didn't have a lot of supernatural stories of samurai fighting monsters. Much of it is historical or talk of the extraordinary sword capabilities against men.

Seriously, I'm a ninja lover. I make ninja's in superhero games. I usually get ninjutsu in games like GURPS or Top Secret. I would love ot make a ninja in a Pathfinder game.

But it won't feel like a ninja without martial arts. The fact that there is a fighting system called Ninjutsu you would think would be a big wake up call to the designers that a ninja without Ninjutsu isn't much of a ninja. Though if you do deeper research you find that Ninjutsu is more of a fighting philosophy while the actual martial style is called Taijutsu which translates as "body combat art". It is a style of fighting that incorporates the entire body as a weapon.

But the overall Ninjutsu style is about training in the stealth, the weapons (often weapons that blend into regular society), and the philosophy of the ninja.


I think there's a confusing point here. Any style of fighting can be classified as a form of martial art (essentially by definition). I agree that ninjas should practice some form of martial art - but I don't think it needs to be unarmed. They get proficiency with various appropriate weapons - this can represent their martial art. If you feel it is appropriate it is easy to take improved unarmed strike at level 1 as well.


Maddigan wrote:


Because it is an iconic capability of the ninja. We're doing game design here right? Which means we're basing the ninja off myth, history, and various incarnations of the ninja, right?

I have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever EVER, NEVER, EVER, watched a show, read a book, or seen any show ever represent a ninja without martial arts. You are missing a major iconic ability associated with the ninja when you don't include martial arts.

Ahem, I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, EVER watched a show, read a book, or seen any movie represent a trained (or brutish) soldier that couldn't easily beat things to death, yet the fighter and barbarian didn't get class features representing this, why should the ninja?

Where is my barbarian ability to rip someones limb off and beat them with it?

they just cant give every martial class that feature, they all have the option to take it (with IUS) but it isn't built in. Most ninja's relied on weapons to kill anyway.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadow_of_death wrote:
Maddigan wrote:


Because it is an iconic capability of the ninja. We're doing game design here right? Which means we're basing the ninja off myth, history, and various incarnations of the ninja, right?

I have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever EVER, NEVER, EVER, watched a show, read a book, or seen any show ever represent a ninja without martial arts. You are missing a major iconic ability associated with the ninja when you don't include martial arts.

Ahem, I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, EVER watched a show, read a book, or seen any movie represent a trained (or brutish) soldier that couldn't easily beat things to death, yet the fighter and barbarian didn't get class features representing this, why should the ninja?

Where is my barbarian ability to rip someones limb off and beat them with it?

they just cant give every martial class that feature, they all have the option to take it (with IUS) but it isn't built in. Most ninja's relied on weapons to kill anyway.

I repeat, all movie Ninjas know martial arts. ^^


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
maddigan wrote:


I have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever EVER, NEVER, EVER, watched a show, read a book, or seen any show ever represent a ninja without martial arts. You are missing a major iconic ability associated with the ninja when you don't include martial arts.

Usually as a sneak attack,(Drop from behind snap neck) than a main attack. Most real fights with ninjas in movies involve weapons like the kusarigama, sword, or shuriken

maddigan wrote:


But it won't feel like a ninja without martial arts. The fact that there is a fighting system called Ninjutsu you would think would be a big wake up call to the designers that a ninja without Ninjutsu isn't much of a ninja. Though if you do deeper research you find that Ninjutsu is more of a fighting philosophy while the actual martial style is called Taijutsu which translates as "body combat art". It is a style of...

Pulled directly from wikipedia description of ninjutsu

According to Bujinkan members Ninja juhakkei, the eighteen disciplines were first stated in the scrolls of Togakure-ryu;. Subsequently they became definitive for all ninjutsu schools by providing total training of the warrior in various fighting arts and agarter.

Ninja was often studied along with Bugei juhappen (the "18 samurai fighting art skills"). Though some are used in the same way by both samurai and ninja, other techniques were used differently by the two groups.

The 18 disciplines are:[8]

1. Seishinteki ky&#333;y&#333; (spiritual refinement)
2. Taijutsu (unarmed combat)
3. Kenjutsu (sword techniques)
4. B&#333;jutsu (stick and staff techniques)
5. S&#333;jutsu (spear techniques)
6. Naginatajutsu (naginata techniques)
7. Kusarigamajutsu (kusarigama techniques)
8. Shurikenjutsu (throwing weapons techniques)
9. Kayakujutsu (pyrotechnics)
10. Hens&#333;jutsu (disguise and impersonation)
11. Shinobi-iri (stealth and entering methods)
12. Bajutsu (horsemanship)
13. Sui-ren (water training)
14. B&#333;ryaku (tactics)
15. Ch&#333;h&#333; (espionage)
16. Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment)
17. Tenmon (meteorology)
18. Chi-mon (geography)

The name of the discipline of Taijutsu, literally means "body skill" or "body art". Historically, the word taijutsu is often in Japan used interchangeably with jujutsu (as well as many other terms) to refer to a range of grappling skills. The term is also used in the martial art of aikido to distinguish the unarmed fighting techniques from other (e.g. stick fighting) techniques. In ninjutsu, especially since the emergence of the Ninja movie genre in the 80s, it is also used to avoid the undesired bravado of explicitly referring to "ninja" combat techniques.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

interestingly the new skills for grappling with a rope fit into the ninja style accurately, as a rope was a common historical weapon and using a rope for multiple purposes was a discipline in itself. now if only we had a a silence trick the ninja would be the ultimate scout (or mage killer).

Silence the guard with a solar plexis strike quietly grapple n tie him up signal the party that the way is clear.
tell me thats not totally ninja

BTW why does the ninja have tricks that mimic items like smoke stick? id much rather just have more items like black eggs than a class feature


Another game. This time we actually tackled creatures that were part of the AP, so it's in spoilers. I'll keep it as vague as possible.

Spoiler:

So, we delved into a dungeon to find some AP-specific stuff. We immediately were set on by monstrous humanoids we'd faced before-- but, uh, with no real special abilities. We blenderized them. Something I noticed is that I really am not using my short swords anymore. I'm almost all of the time using shuriken to deliver sneak attacks. I attacked with my shortsword once in the entire last game. It's just... so easy.

We continued on and fought more monstrous humanoids. When we don't run through a dungeon, 1 ki point per encounter gets kind of steep, especially with using forgotten trick to get darkvision to scout. I ended up completely running try on ki points this game for the first time. I need to get sniper goggles, but darkvision goggles look awesome too.

I used a wand of summon nature's ally III a lot. Almost every fight, since we didn't have our cleric and it soaked up a lot (a lot) of damage. Pitting a CR2 wolverine against the bad guys is funny; making it drink an extract of blur is hilarious; turning invisible and hitting it to try to make it rage is funnier; missing your unarmed conk to make it go berserk because of blur is hysterical. Blender, blender, shuriken blender.

We finally ran into a monster that had some kind of ability to defeat me, and, well, it didn't end up well for them. I won initiative-- exactly, mind you, since I rolled a 17 and they rolled something and we both got 23 but my mod was 6 and theirs was 4. Every session I thank the castaways on the Shiv for providing the strongest minor bonus I've ever gotten. One shadow clone held out the entire fight versus 6 crazy bat people with blindsense. I got hit almost every time, the concealment from invisibility only holding out once, but shadow clone ate every attack for once. I mostly pitifully backpeddled and used a wand of lightning bolt-- the rest of the party, being a two-handed ranger with great cleave and a bomb-focused alchemist-- killed the entire encounter in the next turn as I called for help.

Next fight was vs. a giant slug. It has blindsight. It got a 1 on initiative, and since we heard it in the next room, I had summoned stirges. Well, I missed it, but my stirges gave it 2 Con damage and it died in 6 seconds. Wasted ki point. Also my last ki point.

Final encounter was a stone golem. We'd fought these earlier-- I think it's right up there-- so I knew I sucked vs them. I had to get 13/18 on dice to hit. Instead of suck, I gave my adamantine sword to the dual-wielding paladin and let him rip the golem a new one while I sat back and played caster with a scroll of dispel magic ready to remove slow. Of course, _now_ everyone is a god of will saves, so I ended up just standing there and doing minor healing with a wand. Basically once I ran out of ki points I was a pitiful rogue again.

Before the end of the session, the alchemist (he has a special item to detect magic 3/day) discovered an aura of evocation on the wall of a teleporter and we decided not to touch it. The GM all but confirmed it was indeed a trap. Session ended there!

Between the sabosan surprising me with blindsense, and needing to get darkvision to operate underground, I didn't use ki points to get extra attacks. Still waiting for an opportunity to get that bonus to movement speed, but haven't been able to yet. I have never used a ki point for the bonus to stealth. It is absolutely pitiful (+4? seriously?) and only for 1 round, which is... terrible still. It would be nicer if it was much higher (+20) for 1 round, or the same bonus (+4) for like one minute per level. Level 10, it's +20 for 2 rounds or +4 for ten minutes per level. That'd be useful. +4 for one round is pretty bad. I have an 18 in that skill right now, and a ki point would make it a 22-- that doesn't make it a deal breaker or guarantee success. A level 3 rogue with 10 Cha could use vanishing trick to get 5 times the bonus (+20) for 3 times the length (3 rounds). As it stands, there's no reason to use that function of the ki pool unless you don't want to take the extremely powerful invisibility tricks for some reason.

Another thing that I feel I should note is No Trace's awkward bonus to stealth when you're not moving. It's really, really situational and small, so I always overlook it. At 10 it's like +3 when standing still. I don't know what makes a ninja more stealthy when standing still than a normal person, and why that aspect of them also doesn't make them more stealthy when moving than a normal person.

But, again, great success, good fun, happy times, all is well. Nothing to screw me over this session that would've screwed a rogue, and no reflex saves.

Sessions played: 4
Times a rogue would've been screwed over: 3
Total damage taken that would've been prevented by evasion: 19
Total ki points used: 23
Vanishing trick freebies used: 4
Traps found: 1
Traps disarmed: 0
Traps avoided: 1


Here's my dude at 11, which we reached at the end of the session.
...

Spoiler:

Saul Vancaskerkin, Jr. "Junior"
Male human ninja 11
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +6 Senses Perception +12
-Defense---------------------------------
AC 26, touch 18, flat-footed 20
hp (10d8+36) 93
Fort +8, Ref +15, Will +7; +1 vs. compulsion
-Offense---------------------------------
Spd 30ft.
Melee +2 adamantine machete +15 (1d6+4)
or +2 adamantine machete +13/+8 (1d6+4) and +1 short sword +12/+7 (1d6+2)
Special Attacks sneak attack +6d6, ki pool: 7
-Statistics------------------------------
Str 14, Dex 22, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +8; CMB +11; CMD 29
Feats Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Iron Will, Extra Ki, Improved Iron Will, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Shadow Strike
Skills Acrobatics +20, Bluff +5, Climb +18, Disable Device +23, Disguise +7, Escape Artist +20, Knowledge: Local +8, Knowledge: Dungeoneering +14, Knowledge: Religion +4, Knowledge: Planes +14, Knowledge: Nature +13, Linguistics +17, Perception +14, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +12, Stealth +20, Swim +15, Use Magic Device +14
Languages Common, Aklo, Polyglot, Abyssal, Ignan, Infernal, Azlanti, Giant, Draconic, Celestial, Osiriani, Undercommon, Terran
Gear headband of vast intelligence +2 (Knowledge:[Planes]), +1 amulet of natural armor, +2 cloak of resistance, +3 glamered mithral chain shirt, ring of swimming, +2 ring of protection, belt of incredible dexterity +4, +2 adamantine machete, +1 short sword, +1 dagger, 436 shuriken
Special Abilities slow reactions, vanishing trick (11r), forgotten trick, shadow clone (1d4+3, 11m), invisible blade (11r)

EDIT:

Quote:
We finally ran into a monster that had some kind of ability to defeat me,

I wasn't lying when I said I'd be vague as possible apparently. I mean, I was scouting with invisibility on in the dark using darkvision, and the monsters I encountered and were scouting on had blindsense with a range equal to darkvision. They automatically perceived me and charged-- I won initiative barely, barely noticed that they had perceived me, the rest of the party was surprised, and basically shadow cloning in that surprise round saved my life.


I actually DMed the last session we played, and the regular DM was forced to play my character.

Here's a quick rundown.

Spoiler:

Sessions played: 5
Times a rogue would've been screwed over: 4
Total damage taken that would've been prevented by evasion: 30
Total ki points used: 28
Vanishing trick freebies used: 5
Traps found: 3
Traps disarmed: 1
Traps avoided: 1
Traps set off: 2

Nothing really to report. The ninja was almost ambushed by specters coming through the walls, but ended up being invisible and crying and hiding until the party saved them, aiding the ranger's defense so he didn't die from level drain in one round.

Then we stepped into the trap. First trap blundered into without discovery all game.

A symbol of weakness sprung to life in front of the party.

Everyone got the DC20 fort save except for the ranger's animal companion. Oh, no.

Moments later, they blundered directly into the next trap.

Gears began to whir. The party looked around in abject horror as burial niches flung skeletal dust across the room. Massive scythes sprung from the wall, and rollers firing deadly darts began to bombard the party.

Total damage taken from the trap: 32, among 5 people.
Maximum: 11.
Minimum: 2.

(So, roughly, again, 90 gold pieces for being hit by this trap.)

This trap hits everyone in the room 1d4 times with darts that do 1d4+1 damage. Then it swings axes through the room that do 1d12+1 damage. The DC to disarm it was 20, a roll the ninja could not fail.

This definitely, stronger than anything else, supports my theory that traps are completely absurdly tame and not even worth basing a class on. If the party had succumbed to the symbol of weakness, the oracle would have cast lesser restoration a couple times, the alchemist would've given people potions of alchemical allocation and lesser restoration and the party would be back on their feet without even so much as a shrug. There was one other encounter in this dungeon and the party definitely would not be sobbing over their comrades corpses going "If only I hadn't used lesser restoration so foolishly! Oh god!" or something. Uggggh.

Unless the DM goes out of his way to add traps that are extremely deadly, the rogue won't be able to disarm them and say to the party, "Look! My class features protect us from death, maiming, and extremely negative status effects, just like several spells per spell level of every arcane and divine caster! I'm a character whose many functions are replicated by a death ward or magic circle from evil spell!"

Then the DM runs the risk of the party walking right into the trap and dying.

So basically to make the rogue valued, you have to run the risk of TPKing the group...


Yeah, you are generally right.

Though a trap doesn't need to cause a TPK to be dangerous, it could just kill one person. Then you need to spent 5 or perhaps 10 k to bring the person back, which IS a lot.
Another way for a trap to be dangerous, is as a trigger to an ambush. For example if the weakness trap was followed by a war party waiting in the next room then it could certainly have a greater impact.

But yes, not that common.

Also note thay anyone can find traps and if they aren't rearmable, you can disarm them with SMI.

Edit: By the way that's a pretty good playtest Ice Titan.

Dark Archive

I agree with what John's saying, there are few traps which necessitate a whole class feature, especially when that class feature can seemingly be traded for pretty excellent stuff. Good examples of this in your test, Ice Titan.

I remember some pretty nasty traps in CotCT but they were few and far between and we didn't have a trap finder for most of the campaign (and even when we did have a Rogue she rarely remembered to look) so we just took our lumps.


Ice Titan wrote:

Unless the DM goes out of his way to add traps that are extremely deadly, the rogue won't be able to disarm them and say to the party, "Look! My class features protect us from death, maiming, and extremely negative status effects, just like several spells per spell level of every arcane and divine caster! I'm a character whose many functions are replicated by a death ward or magic circle from evil spell!"

Then the DM runs the risk of the party walking right into the trap and dying.

So basically to make the rogue valued, you have to run the risk of TPKing the group....

This is very true, but like most encounters, how the DM runs traps determines whether they are relevant or whether they are just a speed bump. IMHO traps aught to be used as part of encounters with dangerous creatures. Traps might be the difference between starting an ambush and being ambushed, which can have a drastic effect on the outcome of the game.


Anburaid wrote:


This is very true, but like most encounters, how the DM runs traps determines whether they are relevant or whether they are just a speed bump. IMHO traps aught to be used as part of encounters with dangerous creatures. Traps might be the difference between starting an ambush and being ambushed, which can have a drastic effect on the outcome of the game.

The party got stuck in the trap. The bad guys were currently running around the trap (circular circuit of rooms) to ambush them from behind. Their first action was to just run out of the trap, so the monsters had to double back to pincer them since they didn't want to run a good ~60-70 feet to the PCs and expose themselves in the open.

So, it was kind of part of an ambush that would've worked had the party not just left the room. The module, and how it handles that, now that I think about it, were way off mark for how that encounter will actually go down. Oh well.


By becoming the ninja you basically BECAME the entire party and by spending a Key point success is absolute????

the rogue is only "under powered" in games where Dm's let it be. ALMOST everything can be sneak attacked now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragonslie wrote:
By becoming the ninja you basically BECAME the entire party and by spending a Key point success is absolute????

Where did you get that ridiculous idea from?


Magnuskn, did it really seem to you like a response-worthy post?


A paragraph got let out and I didn't notice!

The ninja got hit by an AoE cone spray of acidic blood, but made his reflex save and took 11 damage. So far, that's 30 damage from reflex saves that have been made. For a normal person, that'd be 50 (19 + 11 = 30 vs. 38 + 22 = 50). If each charge of a wand of cure light wounds does 4.5+1 healing for 5.5 or 5, then that's 6 charges so far in reflex save damage. So, around 90 gold, or 15 gold per 5 hp.

(A ring of evasion's cost is only truly a buy well spent if either it saving your character's corpse from complete annihilation, such as death from a great wyrm red dragon's breath weapon (True Resurrection is 25,000gp!) or if it prevents, over the course of the game, around 8,000 damage.)

For a person with high saves, you don't need evasion until you start hitting extremely terrible breath weapons, like linnorms. Oh, linnorms are CR15+ monsters, so you probably have enough funds to afford a ring of evasion by then, but if you have evasion then that's a time to get it. Until then, the most dangerous reflex saves are from dragons and level 11+ evocation wizards with maximized fireballs.

CR 13 blue dragon can pop off with his lightning breath around average 54 damage, max 96. A maximizing evocation wizard can do 71. The DC for the dragon is DC23, the DC for the wizard is, with both spell focuses, DC21. Junior has a +15. It's a very high chance for these to do, breath: 27 or 48 damage, fireball: 35 damage. Will this ever break the bank? No. Whenever a monster does a breath attack or casts an evocation spell it is usually their worst option, especially since dragons have magic spells in the later age categories. "Save or die... or 9 damage? I know. 9 damage!"

Just making some quick observations.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John John wrote:
Magnuskn, did it really seem to you like a response-worthy post?

Uh, I was running a fever? ^^


Ahh, that explains it! :)


Ice Titan wrote:

A paragraph got let out and I didn't notice!

The ninja got hit by an AoE cone spray of acidic blood, but made his reflex save and took 11 damage. So far, that's 30 damage from reflex saves that have been made. For a normal person, that'd be 50 (19 + 11 = 30 vs. 38 + 22 = 50). If each charge of a wand of cure light wounds does 4.5+1 healing for 5.5 or 5, then that's 6 charges so far in reflex save damage. So, around 90 gold, or 15 gold per 5 hp.

(A ring of evasion's cost is only truly a buy well spent if either it saving your character's corpse from complete annihilation, such as death from a great wyrm red dragon's breath weapon (True Resurrection is 25,000gp!) or if it prevents, over the course of the game, around 8,000 damage.)

For a person with high saves, you don't need evasion until you start hitting extremely terrible breath weapons, like linnorms. Oh, linnorms are CR15+ monsters, so you probably have enough funds to afford a ring of evasion by then, but if you have evasion then that's a time to get it. Until then, the most dangerous reflex saves are from dragons and level 11+ evocation wizards with maximized fireballs.

CR 13 blue dragon can pop off with his lightning breath around average 54 damage, max 96. A maximizing evocation wizard can do 71. The DC for the dragon is DC23, the DC for the wizard is, with both spell focuses, DC21. Junior has a +15. It's a very high chance for these to do, breath: 27 or 48 damage, fireball: 35 damage. Will this ever break the bank? No. Whenever a monster does a breath attack or casts an evocation spell it is usually their worst option, especially since dragons have magic spells in the later age categories. "Save or die... or 9 damage? I know. 9 damage!"

Just making some quick observations.

This is true against a single opponent, and especially if the DM/PC using these attacks is using them just as a direct attack. If you goal is to take out 1 opponent fireballs or dragon's breath is relatively weak.

Where these attacks shine is when you want to soften up a lot of targets at once, or kill a bunch of weakened targets at once. They really are for dealing with mobs of foes/adventurers. Whether or not its the best tactic depends on whether its the best tactic to single out 1 foe at a time.


This playtest took place in a Serpent's Skull campaign. It contains material from the Serpent's Skull adventure path.

Spoiler:

Let's start off with the tracker.

Sessions played: 6
Times a rogue would've been screwed over: 7
Total damage taken that would've been prevented by evasion: 36
Total ki points used: 32
Vanishing trick freebies used: 7
Traps found: 3
Traps disarmed: 1
Traps avoided: 1
Traps set off: 2

This session saw us seeking a camp of goons who had kidnapped some of the Pathfinders from our camp and had killed a lot of folks in a bloody battle. We came up to their camp at about 100 feet, a guard patrolled outside and rolled very high to see the Oracle, who had a stealth score of... 1.

So that fight was us running directly across difficult terrain ding up to a sheer wall that quickly swarmed with guys shooting bows at us, all of them spread apart ding. A flurry of shurikens finished off some already-injured guards atop the parapets, and I aided in the clean up-- as a rogue I would've barely made it there by the time the ranger and alchemist had finished them off. We mopped up quickly and as the rest of the camp prepared, we sped into action.

I took my wand of summon nature's ally III and the oracle took his illusion spells from Haunted and we pretended the camp was under the attack of Explosion (ex-plo-zi-onne), the elemental lord of fires in the jungle. None of the rangers had knowledge: planes. We made an enormous ruckus, drawing them all in close or volleying us with bows while I summoned fire elementals to help us complete the illusion and the alchemist used his explosive bombs to create real explosions where Explosion gestured. Once the jig was up and we revealed ourselves to kill them, greater invisibility had me sneak attacking without tumbling around. I used my short swords a lot more this session. Also, as a highlight of the session, I managed to get a fire elemental to disarm a ranger of his longsword on a standing AoO.

After counting the ridiculous treasure, we moved on to the next vault. This one seemed to be the den of the spider king, so we buffed up and I got a delay poison so that I wouldn't die terribly while within the lair. The first fight was an enormous undead dire crocodile. The fight went like this:

I win initiative and run around him to flank since I assume he'll have a high AC and I didn't think I had a good chance of landing many blows (I was correct)
The ranger hit him softly
He then breathed on everyone for 13 damage, which would have done 6 damage to me. Oh, no. Looking at the monster's stat block, he could have bit the ranger and tail slapped me, doing the exact same thing his breath did, but doing 3d6+14 and 4d8+7 and grabbing and death rolling on top of the spiders' 3d6 reflex saves, but...
The paladin walked forward and full attack crit him, blowing him to pieces.

The next fight, one round later, were boggard fighters. The ranger killed them all in two ridiculous great cleaves and took heavy damage, but nothing real new to report.

We got into a discussion with the creature in the lair, which the paladin assumed was evil because it made undead creatures with its poison. It didn't like my diplomacy check (10 Cha + 0 ranks = 10 on a die is 10) or my intimidate check (10 Cha + 0 ranks -4 for being smaller = 20 on the die is a 16). We got into combat. It teleported up onto a wall and the oracle immediately dimensional anchored it.

So, a rogue in this situation... 15ft away from the monster which is on a wall, no way to flank. Busts out the shortbow or the hand crossbow and picks away with 1d6+1 or 1d4 or so damage. Busts out his wand of enervation and does 1d4 negative levels.

Ninja in this situation? Busts out his wand of enervation and does 1d4 negative levels and 6d6 sneak attack because he's freakin' invisible.

The monster died pitifully in about two rounds since it couldn't get anywhere. The final blow had the alchemist knock the spider down into the ranger's square with a force bomb, and the ranger speared it through with a longspear.

No traps. Next session we'll see how the traps go.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Your playtest continues to be thorough and shows how well the Ninja works with a party, without overpowering anyone. Good work, plesae continue! I hope Jason is reading this thread, so the Ninja doesn't get nerfed into uselessness.

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