Building a ninja...


Advice

Liberty's Edge

I'll be starting a Jade Regent campaign soon and im looking for some advice on building a ninja. Stats are made as follows...

All stats start at 10. Then we have 13 point to place where we want them. We can lower stats to increase others ie. 2 points down will give us 1 point up. No stat can be higher than 16 before racial modifier thus making us capped at 18 after racial.

The base concept is Human Ninja of Tian descent with the Younger Sibling(Ameiko) trait. Beyond that I am open to dex or str builds. One note, the DM will most likely allow me to trade poison use for trapfinding.

Id love to know what some of you can come up with.

Thanks in advance.


I would highly suggest Combat Expertise and Gang up. This will make hitting and getting sneak attack a lot easier, plus corners no long stop your sneak attack. You want a high Charisma, gives you lots of ki points to spend on stuff. You don't really need int, you can actually make that your dump stat.


Dex build: Dex > Cha > Con > Wis > Str = Int

Dex for skills, initiative, reflex saves, ac, and attack
Cha for ki and skills
Con for staying alive
Wis for will saves and perception
Str for minor damage and carrying capacity
Int for skills

Dervish Dance or Agile enhancement adds Dex to damage.

====

Str build: Str > Cha > Dex > Con > Wis > Int

Str for attack, damage, and carrying capacity
Cha for ki and skills
Dex for that Dex stuff
Con for staying alive. Toughness and Great Fortitude are easier to get to fake a higher Con, so I rate Dex higher.
Wis for perception and will saves
Int for skills

====

Either way I'd try not to let anything go below 10.

====

For ki powers, I'd go with things that don't cost ki if you're likely to be full attacking a lot. Pressure Points looks good to me.

Liberty's Edge

For dex build I was thinking...
10,17(+2 racial),14,10,10,14
Dual wield Wakizashi

Potential str build, though Im not fond of how low the con has to be...
16(+2 racial),14,12,8,10,14
Using a Katana 2 handed

Liberty's Edge

monk[flowing]1/ninjaX

Grand Lodge

Mike Schneider wrote:
monk[flowing]1/ninjaX

+1

Scarab Sages

Mike Schneider wrote:
monk[flowing]1/ninjaX

If I were not going to go straight ninja, I would much prefer a 2 level dip into monk (master of many styles). With just those 2 levels, you can complete all 3 feats of the crane style, which work with both unarmed strike and weapons. As a ninja, the +4 AC when fighting defensively (-1 to hit instead of -4) would be a huge boon for a strength build. PLus the ability to negate a hit without rolling and get an immediate retaliatory strike is huge. Having this at 2nd level would ensure that your ninja could get into melee even if con was a little low.

If you go straight ninja, I would suggest int be your dump stat. An 8 is no problem since you get so many skill points and a bonus rank for human ( you are human, right?)

try S:16(18) D:13 C:12 I:8 W:10 CH:13 as your array.

put your 1st 2 stat bumps into dex and chr, and you're ready to roll. Use Katana for the beautiful threat range, plus str x 1.5 and power attack x1.5 for great damage.

Grand Lodge

not bad


I don't understand the one level dip into flowing monk. What am I missing about redirection.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will post some builds later i am using when i have more time.
Can you tell what the rest of the group is?
I guess it´s always best to build cooperating group and use the advantages of your mates and make up for their weaknesses.
Also your role in the group should be clear, damage dealer, face, traps, etc. What do you want there?
I don´t recommend two weapon fighting, especially if you are going to dip into another class, you loose too much +hit boni what hurts on higher level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ok here is the ninja i´m currently using (work in progress due to GM):
It´s a halfling, but it functions with a human too.

Halfling Monk Zen Archer 1/ Ninja 10 ranged build wrote:

Yamyra Henderbane:

DEX and CHA are highest, then WIS,CON,INT.
We changed to Zen Archer to work with slings instead of bows for this.

Feats:
-Perfect Strike/Improved unarmed Strike/Flurry of blows (monk fixed)
-Skill Focus Stealth
-Hellcat Stealth
-Point Blank Shot
-Precise Shot
-Clustered Shots
-Big Game Hunter
-Shadow Strike

Tricks:
-Vanishing Trick
-Weapon Focus Halfling Slingstaff
-Forgotten trick
-Darkvision
-Invisible blade

Skills are up to you. I have stealth, acrobatics, bluff, disguise, escape artist, diplomacy, disable device and of course perception maxed because i need them often. Use magic device is also important, this way you can buff yourself easily and cheaply. Protection from evil/lawful/chaotic, true strike, some heal, etc.

Gear:
Snakeskin tunic, bracers of armor +2, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, eyes of the eagle, belt of the snake king, cloak of resistance +2, ring of chameleon power and boots of striding and springing.
Next would be an amulet of mighty fists and a monks robe or a ring of deflection.

As weapon i use a halfling slingstaff +1 with the subtle enchantment what makes it function like a sword of subtlety.
Ammo is in a pathfinder pouch and i carry a handy haversack.
If you get into a melee, remember Weapon Finesse via Forgotten trick.


I´m working on a single weapon melee build and a improved unarmed strike build too, eventually incorporating moonlight stalker if i can.

Liberty's Edge

I'd go with a strength based build. I know dexterity based is more ninja like and allows for TWF and all that, but in the end, I think with limited stat options, strength is going to be your best bet.

Str > Chr > Con > Dex > Wis > Int


Go strength and avoid TWF like the pox on your existence it is.

Go half orc. You cannot sneak attack things that have concealment, and you need to stand in concealment to stealth. Everything and its brother has darkvision or low light vision, so unless you want to try to sneak around with a torch you have to see in the dark.


I'd like to clarify about my Str build advice that even though I rank Dex higher than Con I in no way recommend any form of TWF. Too many negatives to attack and a bunch of feats.

Dex build, MAYBE. Though there's Dervish Dance for that. YMMV.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So here comes the Improved unarmed strike build.
Guess its best for a humanand it deals tons of damage although its a DEX build. There are some feats free you can use like you want.

Nonlethal improved unarmed strike melee ninja:

Again stats DEX, CHA, WIS, CON, INT, STR.
You don´t need STR because you deal damage with sneak attack,
And to carry things you take a handy haversack.

First level monk, rest is ninja.
Monk Master of many styles gives nice style feats, but you loose stunning fist what is very nice on level one already with crushing blow, lowering oponents AC for your WIS Bonus for one minute.

Feats:
Monk gives you Improved unarmed strike, stunning fist, flurry of blows.
-Weapon Focus Improved unarmed strike, Weapon finesse
-Sap adept
-knockout artist
-Dazzling display
-Crushing blow/Rogue talent offensive defense
-Shatter defenses

Tricks:
-Vanishing trick
-Combat trick enforcer
-Rogue Talent Sap Mastery
-Invisible Blade or Unarmed Combat Mastery
-One free (forgotten talent)

Skill Initmidate as high as you can, you need it to make them flat-footed via Shatter Defenses. Enforcer lets them stay this way.
You deal massive nonlethal damage and can intimidate them for free.
Once someone is reduced to 0 HP and takes more damage, the person dies.

Gear you only take Monk´s robe, Snakeskin tunic, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Deflection, cloak of resistance.
Then its up to your GM if you take Brass knuckles and enchant them with +1 and subtle, or a amulett of mighty fists what is very expensive.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If there are problems with concealment get a wand of darkvision and the feat shadow strike. Half Orc is of course nice too, but you loose a feat compared to human.

Liberty's Edge

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Andy Ferguson wrote:
I don't understand the one level dip into flowing monk. What am I missing about redirection.

Well, it depends upon one's concept for the ninja -- if you're going for a strength build, then it probably doesn't offer much, but if you're going to be a TWF or shuriken thrower stacking Flurry of Stars with monk Flurry (usually from darkness), then your first mission is to find a monk archetype which doesn't sacrifice Flurry...and ideally one which grants you something useful at 1st level (ideally by sacrificing Stunning Fist, which will eventually become worthless for the multiclasser). The Crane Style chain is interesting from a defensive standpoint, but the idea behind being a ninja in the first place is to be concealed/invisible/stealthing as much as possible anyway.

Flowing monk essentially gives a ninja two (or more) additional attacks per round: one from Flurry, and immediate reactions to reposition or trip people attacking them -- which means you can move them into a flanking position to sneak-attack on your upcoming turn. If this is all happening while they're stumbling around in darkness or fog which you can see through, and you happen to have a threatening reach-weapon and Combat Reflexes, so much the better. (Reach-weapon and shurikens is, IMO, the ideal way to play a ninja -- and can do 2H+PA for credible damage when you can't conceal yourself as well as throw volleys of sneak-attack dice.

A flowing monk is CMB+2 to trip or reposition during his Redirection, and an additional +2 each if his opponent is charging or Power Attacking (i.e., +6), granting you a huge defensive bonus versus the sort of opponents you're most concerned about it melee. (The Sickened chance follow-up we don't even care about, though it's convenient if it also occurs.)

Repositioning during Redirection is especially nice, because it occurs after the attacking opponent has finished his movement, and your reposition occurs as an immediate action rather than a standard one.

2nd level in Flowing grants Evasion (which the archetype also does not forfeit, and which ninjas, unlike rogues, do not get for free), and Unbalancing Counter, which offers a chance that AoO-struck enemies will be left Flat-footed. -- Normally I would be very excited about this in conjunction with threatening reach-weapon in darkness or Invisibility, but, like Stunning Fist, the non-advancing DC for a dip-build renders it eventually worthless with leveling. You also forfeit the 2nd-level feat in Flowing monk, so I can live without it.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you for the replies. I am definitely looking more toward a str build than a dex build, though I havent counted dex build out yet.

For race, I need to stick to human to stick with the concept of being Ameiko's younger brother. Concerning multi classing I definitely see the reasons/bonuses for using the levels of monk however for now I would like to try to make it full ninja. However, Im not saying that I wont multi class...its still on the table. Im currently reviewing the multi class options.

His party role will be trapfinding/disabling and damage dealer and I'll be assisting with party face. So pretty much a bit of everything. This is what Im thinking so far...

Human Ninja (Tian) - Favored Class +1Hp
Str - 16(+2 racial)(Boosting str with levels)
Dex - 14
Con - 12
Int - 8
Wis - 10
Cha - 14

Feats
1 Toughness and Improved Initiative
3 Power Attack
5 Furious Focus or Weapon Focus(Katana)

Tricks
2 Vanishing Trick
4 Acrobatics Master
6 Pressure Points

*edit* Skills will include acrobatics, UMD, diplomacy, perception, stealth, and disable device for sure.

Other party members are -
2 rangers - 1 ranged and 1 melee
1 rage prophet mostly barbarian with multi battle oracle
1 mystic theurge - starting cleric, aiming for battlefield control

As far as I know now, thats what others are thinking of playing.

Liberty's Edge

Mike Schneider wrote:
Good Stuff

So what do you think of this to start.

Human Flowing Monk 2/Ninja X (Tian) - Favored Class +1Hp
Str - 16(+2 racial)(Boosting str with levels)
Dex - 14
Con - 12
Int - 8
Wis - 10
Cha - 14

Flowing Monk
1 - Toughness / Imp Initiative / Imp Trip(Monk Bonus)
2 - *Evasion
Ninja
3 - Weapon Focus (katana)
4 - *Vanishing Trick
5 - Power Attack
6 - *Pressure Points
7 - Furious Focus
8 - *Acrobatics Master

Skills focusing on Stealth, Acrobatics, Perception, Disable Device, and UMD.

Adding the monk levels I reviewed the styles and none of them peaked my interest for this character, or either the stats above didnt meet the prereqs. Am I missing anything?

Liberty's Edge

While playing with some builds in Hero Lab. I noticed that when I add the second class with a ki pool, ie add monk to ninja or ninja to monk, I can choose which stat, cha or wis, increases my ki pool. I read under the ninja entry that this is allowed but not the monk.

If this is allowed this would allow me to use wis as the ki pool generator netting me higher will saves and allowing me to dump cha. So stats could look something like this...

17(+2 racial)
14
12
8
14
8

This would slow progress on UMD and my character being the face but I wasnt intending to be the main face of the party anyway.


Fing Mandragoran wrote:

While playing with some builds in Hero Lab. I noticed that when I add the second class with a ki pool, ie add monk to ninja or ninja to monk, I can choose which stat, cha or wis, increases my ki pool. I read under the ninja entry that this is allowed but not the monk.

If this is allowed this would allow me to use wis as the ki pool generator netting me higher will saves and allowing me to dump cha. So stats could look something like this...

17(+2 racial)
14
12
8
14
8

This would slow progress on UMD and my character being the face but I wasnt intending to be the main face of the party anyway.

Cha good. UMD so nice for ninja/rogue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I didn´t do or use any STR build for a ninja or rogue yet, but i can tell you pretty sure that with a 3/4 BAB power attack is not the best option unless you are very sure there will be a lot of low level encounters you can hit easily.

Making WIS your main ki pool stat can help our will save and the monk abilities with a save, but also your AC if you don´t wear other armor. You loose some nice skills points though, especially for intimidate/bluff and use magic device.

You are aware that the ninja´s damage comes from seak attack, not plain normal combat like a figher or else?
You have at least to flank to get it.
Since you can use some more feats, i recommend dodge, osyluth guile (only good with high CHA) and offensive defense. This way you get a bonus to your AC.

Liberty's Edge

If you are Str obsessed instead of Dex and TWF, then depending on your group make up you can go for a brutal Ninja, obviously you sacrifice skill points, but:

Str: 18
Dex: 16
Con: 12
Wis: 10
Int: 7
Cha: 12

If you are comfortable with more Con then feel free to drop Str or Dex a bit. If I am 2h I like 18 Str to get the most out of 1.5 modifier.

This is by no means a great build and plenty will probably hate it, but it is a build I have had fun with.

Go Half Orc for Dark Light Vision, replace Ferocity with the Tatoo for +1 to all saves.

For one of your 2 traits pick Toothy for a bite attack. True, the attack is -5 so rarely going to hit, but it causes no penalty on your main attack so it is a free attempt which costs nothing if you miss. By lvl 2 your modifier will be 0 with it or when flanking +2.

So, at lvl 2 when flanking you get 1d10+6+1D6 from the Katana at +7 to Hit. In addition you get to attempt a bite with full attack which gives 1d4+2+1d6 at +2 to Hit.

You have gained a second attack that can apply SA damage but without the cost of feats, and while it is a low hit chance, it has not given a negative to your main attack which to me is very important.

When unable to flank and SA you are still with +5 to Hit on the main attack and doing very respectable damage with your 2h.

By being 2h and Str you have freed up a lot of Feats like Finesse and TWF, this means you can afford to get Extra Ki which makes up for the low Cha only giving 1 Ki point (It gives you the same of 16 Cha).
The downside is of course 12 Cha means lower DCs for special abilities, but I personally spend most my Ki on things that effect me so it is not a big problem.

The big downside to this build is hp with only 12 Con you are getting 1d8+1 +1 Favoured class. Again if hp was a big concern you could go with Toughness I guess, though admittedly most my chars only have 12 Con and have had no real issue.

The other big downside is only 6 skill points per lvl. How much of an issue this is depends on the group make up - if you have a Bard or other skill monkey in the group then 6 points is enough to get the things you would want as a Ninja, but if you are the skill monkey in the group you would want extra points to fill out skills that would serve the team well.

If you go Monk/Ninja I would go 12 Wis instead of Cha for the Ki.

Liberty's Edge

I wouldnt call myself str obsessed. However I have been building sample portfolios in Hero Lab using both dex and str builds and what I have found is the 2 handed str build with power attack usually out damages the dex builds. They have a higher attack bonus and more static damage for when SA isnt possible. Dex builds replaces those 2 bonuses with more attacks but again, at the cost of +hit.

I wasnt thinking originally about multi classing with monk but after looking into it I do like Mike Schneider's suggestion. Aside from the bonus feat and cool redirection ability at lvl 1 flowing monk just adding the monk class essentially gives me TWF for free as well. As a flowing monk 2/Ninja X with a katana str build I'll be able to...

Flurry at d6+SA = TWF with short swords. Also, I can choose to flurry as a full round even while holding my katana in 1 hand.
2hand katana = Better static damage.
Flurry of Stars = SA from concealment and at range. Stars also gets bonus damage from the str build. Albeit the stars will have lower +hit than dex build.
Bonus added - Improved Trip and Evasion :)

So essentially Im looking that build potentially giving me more options to begin with and a higher damage potential over all.

Also, again thank you to everyone who is posting and helping. I still havent completely decided on the route I'll take, :(. Im trying to fit the theme of the campaign and the groups play style into the character. The group as a whole has a more of role play focus and what fits thematically rather than nit picking optimization. But I try to optimize :).


Personally I like the master of many 2/ninja x STR instead of Dex

By level 10 you have full crane style tree, sap mastery/knockout artist, enforcer/shatter defenses.

Nice defense, tons of damage, lots of sneak attack.

And evasion.

And Wis to AC (wear bracers of armor).

Can do Wis to ninja Ki too. But with the need for Cha on all the intimidate checks, might be best not.

Scarab Sages

klevis69 wrote:

Personally I like the master of many 2/ninja x STR instead of Dex

By level 10 you have full crane style tree, sap mastery/knockout artist, enforcer/shatter defenses.

Nice defense, tons of damage, lots of sneak attack.

And evasion.

And Wis to AC (wear bracers of armor).

Can do Wis to ninja Ki too. But with the need for Cha on all the intimidate checks, might be best not.

The only problem with wisdom for ki is I am almost possitive that you actually have to have reached the class feature to make that choice. Thus you need 4 levels of monk.

If you did go this route, the advantage is that you can further prop up one of your weakest saves, Will. Since many Save or suck spells target will, this is a good thing.

Scarab Sages

Fing Mandragoran wrote:


Adding the monk levels I reviewed the styles and none of them peaked my interest for this character, or either the stats above didnt meet the prereqs. Am I missing anything?

With master of many styles you ignore prereqs and can use two styles at the same time in exchange for giving up flurry.

Liberty's Edge

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Do NOT build a stupid ninja!

-- Combat Expertise is the base feat for just about everything cool they can do taking opps while people are stumbling around looking for them in darkness/fog/whatever.

Ninjas need and actually use every stat -- and you can design a very competent and powerful 20pt PC around a 14/14/14/13/13/12 stat array (I put the 12 in CON and the 13s in WIS and INT, raising WIS at 4th while dipping cleric for Darkness domain; I use CHA for Ki stat since we're more likely to raise it than WIS since CHA is used for Bluff/feint, UMD, etc).

You don't need monster stats as a ninja because you're usually exploiting massive bonuses from situations you generate (i.e., having Moonlight Stalker is essentially equivalent to having 18s in both STR and DEX; and if you're taking an opp while invisible, it's like being +4+[lost enemy DEX bonus] to attack).

Liberty's Edge

underling wrote:
With master of many styles you ignore prereqs and can use two styles at the same time in exchange for giving up flurry.

For a ninja, MoMS is a trap because "setting" the style gobbles precious Swift actions, which a ninja is using almost ever turn. That, and losing flurry is a tough decision when you can usually set up a lot of opponents to be very vulnerable and easy to hit -- particularly when you consider Flurry/Flurry of Stars shurikens.


Moonlight stalker has a lot of requirements.

Liberty's Edge

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Blue Star wrote:
Moonlight stalker has a lot of requirements.

So does Enforcer/Dazzling Display/Shatter Defenses, a feat-chain when you don't even get to fully enjoy until 8th level minimum, and which requires winning opposed roles. Elf, half-elf or half-orc with Darkness cleric dip has Moonlight Stalker by 3rd, and the benefits are freebies once you have your situation set up. (I am seriously considering ninja/monk/cleric as the first three levels of my next PFS character with 14s in the attack stats -- he'll look worthless on paper with a +0 BAB, but be an unholy murder machine by 5th or 6th; damage-per-hit output won't be anything to write home about, but the fact that you can make yourself almost immune to counter-attack means you win wars of attrition.)


I was considering a gunslinger(pistolero, mysterious stranger) ninja. Maybe take a 2-level dip into inquisitor if I have a high wisdom. Takes me two stats to be awesome: Dex and Cha.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The thing is crossclassing lets you loose BAB, but with monk you gain +2 to every save for example too, not speaking of the 4 feats you get.
This also makes it for a good possibility to go melee with unarmed.

Although i would say go either one or three levels monk.
With three levels monk you can take the monastic legacy feat enhancing your damage.

Moonlight stalker and Shatter defenses feat chains are both expensive, but bring you an easier time to hit, defend yourself and gain sneak attack.

Master of many Styles takes 2 swift actions to activate both styles and i would go boar or snake style.
Don´t forget you only need the swift actions for vanishing trick really and that can under certain circumstances be done with smokesticks or smoking bombs trick, or you found a way to get concealment like from blur anyway.


Hayato Ken wrote:

The thing is crossclassing lets you loose BAB, but with monk you gain +2 to every save for example too, not speaking of the 4 feats you get.

This also makes it for a good possibility to go melee with unarmed.

Although i would say go either one or three levels monk.
With three levels monk you can take the monastic legacy feat enhancing your damage.

Moonlight stalker and Shatter defenses feat chains are both expensive, but bring you an easier time to hit, defend yourself and gain sneak attack.

Master of many Styles takes 2 swift actions to activate both styles and i would go boar or snake style.
Don´t forget you only need the swift actions for vanishing trick really and that can under certain circumstances be done with smokesticks or smoking bombs trick, or you found a way to get concealment like from blur anyway.

I think snake and crane. They miss you, they get hit (twice), and if you happen to get hit (difficult with your high AC), NOPE, then they get hit again.

Liberty's Edge

Mike Schneider wrote:

Do NOT build a stupid ninja!

-- Combat Expertise is the base feat for just about everything cool they can do taking opps while people are stumbling around looking for them in darkness/fog/whatever.

Ninjas need and actually use every stat -- and you can design a very competent and powerful 20pt PC around a 14/14/14/13/13/12 stat array (I put the 12 in CON and the 13s in WIS and INT, raising WIS at 4th while dipping cleric for Darkness domain; I use CHA for Ki stat since we're more likely to raise it than WIS since CHA is used for Bluff/feint, UMD, etc).

You don't need monster stats as a ninja because you're usually exploiting massive bonuses from situations you generate (i.e., having Moonlight Stalker is essentially equivalent to having 18s in both STR and DEX; and if you're taking an opp while invisible, it's like being +4+[lost enemy DEX bonus] to attack).

True, Combat Expertise can unlock a lot and if you plan on going that way then building a stupid Ninja is not viable. But not everyone will want to invest in long feat chains that take a while to get going, or may simply have a different plan for their feats, in which case a stupid Ninja can work perfectly well assuming you are not being relied upon to be the skill monkey


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mike Schneider wrote:
Blue Star wrote:
Moonlight stalker has a lot of requirements.
So does Enforcer/Dazzling Display/Shatter Defenses, a feat-chain when you don't even get to fully enjoy until 8th level minimum, and which requires winning opposed roles. Elf, half-elf or half-orc with Darkness cleric dip has Moonlight Stalker by 3rd, and the benefits are freebies once you have your situation set up. (I am seriously considering ninja/monk/cleric as the first three levels of my next PFS character with 14s in the attack stats -- he'll look worthless on paper with a +0 BAB, but be an unholy murder machine by 5th or 6th; damage-per-hit output won't be anything to write home about, but the fact that you can make yourself almost immune to counter-attack means you win wars of attrition.)

Could you post a sample build of that please?

You could as well just take two levels of monk for the extra feat.
I´m not sure if the darkness domain or night subdomain features are that good for this build, since the protection only lasts one round.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not going to reveal everything (because I don't want every new ninja in PFS to be a clone of my guy), but the primary purpose of the Darkness domain is, aside from getting Blind Sight, an extra Obscuring Mist.

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