Why does that shadow have a great sword? - A guide to the 2H weapon Shadow Dancer


Advice

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Hello forum! This is my first attempt at a Class Guide, so I'm sorry if it feels a little bare-bones. It takes a look at the little-know 2h weapon Shadow Dancer build that I love. Let me know if there's anything I missed, or anything that I should add.

Guide link here

Thanks for reminding me hyperlink it :P All fixed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mind the gap between *3* and *S*!
Ah, well, linkified!

Will read tomorrow and post later.
Thanks!

Ruyan.

Shadow Lodge

Try this link: Shadow Dancer Guide

(Also, added to the Comprehensive Guide to the Guides)

EDIT: I guess Shadow Dancers can ninja too!


Good guide, I agree with most things, I especially like the Ranger/Shadowdancer take, its something i have been enjoying for years.

BUT...

I am not sure why you think that the greatsword is the best martial weapon.

No-Dachi is superior after considering crit ranges, and especially once you enter crit feats into the equation.

For half elf, you suggest picking up Elven Curve Blade... I say Fuachard. same damage and crit, plus reach and trip.

which brings me to my next point...

Why are polearms not blue?

Combat Reflexes is a required feat, polearms make the most of it. It could be of course argued that enemies should not often get close enough to use it... but reach helps with that.

Between a casting of Longstrider, a weapon with reach, few enemies should ever be able to reach you for even a standard action attack. Add in Lunge, a Barbarian or travel Cleric dip, and your base speed should be 50 ft, with 15ft reach.

Basically nothing should be able to make a retaliatory strike. IF they should, combat reflexes and a polearm should discourage them a bit.

I just don't see what a greatsword gives you thats better.

EDIT:

You also pretty much need the Fast Stealth as a Rogue Talent ASAP, it helps with your stealth massively. Pretty much required for the HiPS, Spring Attack shenanigans to work.

For Critical feats, also look at Staggering Critical. Its a great way to ensure a pissed off enemy doesn't come charging after you.


I'll add Nodachi to the list, I wasn't aware of it's existence TBH. The great sword is just a staple weapon, as it's 2d6 damage dice provides more consistent damage at lower levels. I know how the numbers work with regards to crits, but the great sword is just a very reliable weapon and should not be undervalued.

The ECB build is a build unto itself, due to it's unique nature of being a 2h weapon that you can both finesse and use power attack with. The Fuachard falls under the Reach Weapon build.

This build is focused on being more of an anti-mage than a defender/AoO build, but I will put a note of the Reach/Lunge combination. I did mention the dip for the Barbarian level for fast movement though.

You don't need Fast Stealth right away, as you can pretty much take the role of a melee bruiser early, and transition into anti-mage. Now that you mention it, I should put a note in for which Rouge Talents are worth while, I'll get on that too.


I agree the greatsword should not be undervalued, I merely feel it is being overvalued.

I think you might want to make it clear (concerning the ECB) that Finesse builds are generally inferior, especially when you are making a single attack a round.

To be clear, I also am not advocating a defender/AoO build. It is merely another way to make up for the damage you lose by generally giving up your secondary attack, and it further discourages enemies from trying to corner you or chase you.

Sovereign Court

Go kensai and get superior reflexes to vastly increase aoo's. The spells are a nice addition and can be used for the darkness spell. The perfect strike rounds out the trifecta.

Or 8 levels of shadow domain cleric to create deeper darkness and see through it, Albeit at limited rounds.


the problem with kensai (magus in general)is that you lose all important caster levels. even Superior Reflexes can't be had until level 11, which you probably won't get until level 20, if you are actually interested in playing a Shadowdancer.

Eight levels of Cleric has the same issue... Its a massive investment for little gain, at the expense of more powerful options.

A ranger, rogue, fighter, even paladin can get something pertinent out of shadowdancer. They lose damage for increased stealth and some unique tricks.

Casters lose damage and spells, which are far better and more versatile than the "unique tricks" a Shadowdancer gets. Ergo, There is no real point for any caster to have more than a level or two of Shadowdancer... and even that is questionable advice.

Scarab Sages

I really liked this guide. Well done. My only advise would be changing "attack of opportunities" to "attacks of opportunity" at several places. :)


@Choon: Done and done.

@Righty: Hector hit it right on the nose. Classes like Magus and Cleric just don't scale with Shadow Dancer, and the losses add up quickly.


Bump

Scarab Sages

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I think I'm actually going to be using this guide to build a group of secret police in my home-brew campaign. Thanks for the Inspiration. :)


Another great method of increasing your speed to avoid retaliatory attacks is a one level dip into Wizard or Sorcerer for Expeditious Retreat. Multiple times a day, 1 min/level (most fights are over by then). Also allows the use of a wand without UMD.

Investing in UMD is also an option, but can be expensive and difficult to use during early levels.


@Cathulhu: I should probably do a list of worth-while skills. As for the 1 level of of Sorc/Wiz, it's not worth it. Take a fighter level and grab Skill Focus (UMD) if you're desperate for that +3 without losing a base attack. Also, taking 4 levels of Ranger will get you longstrider, so problem solved.


Idk, a lvl of sorc would let you chase SD down with DD. makes a nice neat little 20lvl package. Ranger 4/ sorc 2/ shadow dancer 10/ dragon disciple 4... Or any mix of the the sorc 2 and PrC combos. I would say that black dragon would be thematic, but what ever. It also gives you an even better reason to show your Cha some love which will make you even better as a SD... The +4 to str doesn't suck either...


While I'm sure that build works, I do not often see many campaigns reach level 15, where this guide ends. As far as I'm concerned, level 20 is a place reserved for theory crafters and bosses. Also, I have never played a campaign past the level 15 point, so I am not comfortable recommending anything past this level.


I think favored terrain (the rogue talent) deserves a bit more credit. +2 to initiative, perception, and stealth is better than a feat if you know that most of your campaign is going to be in the same terrain, and if you take it multiple times the older instances increment.

It's not for every campaign, but if you know you'll only encounter a few terrains and that the most important battles will all be in the same terrain (eg. underground) it can be a good deal.

I think, on the other hand, that you're overselling fast stealth. The penalty is only -5. At character level 6 skill focus stealth is better. Consider the human variant that gets multiple skill focuses as he levels.

There's also one cavalier archetype that's worth a look. For one level the Gendarme archetype gets you power attack or sneak attack. Ranger 2 fighter 2 gendarme 1 will get you dodge, mobility, spring attack, and power attack from bonus feats alone. Your will save would lag from multiclassing so much, but you can also fit iron will and improved iron will before getting into shadowdancer along with combat expertise without even being human. Or a dwarf could take iron will and steel soul. More generally if you're contemplating exactly one level of fighter and want power attack Gendarme will give you +2 skill points and better class skills.


I like this guide. Never thought of taking 2 Weapon Fighting as a Shadow Dancer. The Shadow dancer i am playing does next to no damage but she is a beast of a tank.

She is currently: Lore Warden Fighter 2/MoMS-Sohei Monk 2/Paladin 2/Shadow Dancer 3.

She has godly saves. She fights with one handed weapon and defensive fighting with crane style/wing/riposte (2 level dip = win). Utilizes Spring Attack. She is using a rapier of Puncturing and going for a draining strategy with her Shadow.

I like your version too, i just min-maxed the heck out of my character. She is very much a tank, and does little to no damage.


^Bump^


Doesn't one of the NPC Codex's Shadow Dancer Stat Blocks wield a Greatsword?


I like the guide but think you should expand a bit beyond core mechanics. Especially Archetypes could really add a lot to your first 5 levels. There are a number of strong ranger archetypes which can be great especially if your not taking Ranger past 5. Obvious ones are Trapper and Urban Ranger (Trapfinding). Guide for the awesome ranger's focus which might be better than Favored Enemy. Also Consider Skirmisher for Ranger's tricks (Chamaeleon Step and Surprise shift come to mind).
Also Cavalier has an Archetype (Gendarme) which can give you a nice list of bonus feats at level 1 (Power attack, Spring Attack) so you might want to reconsider your evaluation of cavalier.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Doesn't one of the NPC Codex's Shadow Dancer Stat Blocks wield a Greatsword?

yes....

I still think greatsword is suboptimal compared to a reach weapon, speed increasing spells, and most importantly, Ranger, not Rogue.

So, i was disappointed in it. I liked quite a few of the other builds in that book, for creativity if not optimization. Some were quite strong though.


^

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You did not mention the Inquisitor.

Heretic Inquisitor with the Wisdom of the Flesh trait for x2 wisdom to stealth.

Nab the Shaonti Tattoo trait to use an Earth Breaker, which 2d6 x3, is not bad, or worship a god with the Greataxe as a favored weapon.

Let's not forget that has mass utility, including many buffs, and many skills.


I think you devalue the 3/4 classes too much, especially rogue/ninja. 2 ranger or paladin, 3 rogue or ninja is a very strong entry into the class, and quite fun. Once you get HIPs you're attacking flat footed targets most of the time, so losing one bab is really not terribly relevant and the SA dice just add some more hurt. pal 2/ ninja 3/SD 4, then back to ninja is a potent build. Awesome saves, heavy armor if you want it, ninja tricks, SA, tons of skills, etc...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Alchemists, Rangers, and Inquisitors, all make better Rogues.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Alchemists, Rangers, and Inquisitors, all make better Rogues.

Debatable when talking about single class builds. For a 3 level run? It's just not true.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Vestrial wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Alchemists, Rangers, and Inquisitors, all make better Rogues.
Debatable when talking about single class builds. For a 3 level run? It's just not true.

Nope, still better.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Vestrial wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Alchemists, Rangers, and Inquisitors, all make better Rogues.
Debatable when talking about single class builds. For a 3 level run? It's just not true.
Nope, still better.

Nope, it's not.

Such an intellectual debate.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Vestrial wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Vestrial wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Alchemists, Rangers, and Inquisitors, all make better Rogues.
Debatable when talking about single class builds. For a 3 level run? It's just not true.
Nope, still better.

Nope, it's not.

Such an intellectual debate.

What does the Rogue do better?

These three levels, what makes them superior to three levels of the above mentioned classes?


I never said 3/4 BaB classes were bad, the reason I do not think they are a worth while investment (most of the time) is because nothing you get from them scales with levels in Shadow Dancer. There's no sneak attack, no +caster level / spells per day, no extra class features. While you can surely off set that 1 BaB with a Bless, or a Magic Weapon, that's a standard action wasted and you can't do it for every fight. When it comes to taking out mages, one round could mean the difference between breezing through an encounter, or a TPK.

Also, stop arguing. Make a post in the general discussion if you really must, but don't do it in my thread.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That's cool. I am not looking to debate here. Better somewhere else.

I need to learn about this thread ownership thing though.

Trust me, I could use the occasional veto on what is said on a thread I started.


Ninja is a very viable option. Adding extra d6's to that first hit is great, and having cha as a main stat helps your SD even more. I personally think that an oath of vengeance pal 4/ ninja 2-3 make a great solid base for a SD. You enter the class a little late, but its worth it for the damage options.


It's not a question of "is it good?" It's a question of "is it better than...?"

Personally, I'd rather have the extra level or two of Shadow Dancer by level 15, giving me an extra rogue talent, 320ft of shadow jump, improved evasion, and shadow master, than 1d6 sneak attack, a ninja trick, and a ki pool. While one or two levels doesn't really mean much at low levels, the experience between level 15 and 17 is almost 665,000 (normal progression), which is like fighting 24 CR 17 encounters, or 6 CR 20 encounters, or 2 CR 24 encounters (with four PCs). Any way you look at it, that's going to take a LONG time.


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2 paladin/3 ninja vs 5 paladin

+ poison use -- meh
+ no trace -- meh
+ 18 skills, + huge skill list -- skills are good.
+ 2d6 sneak attack -- this build is all about hitting hard. More dice is more hitting hard.
+ 3 reflex -- saves are good.
+ 1 ninja trick -- swift action invis ~3 x per day. Lets you be all sneaky earlier than 6th, and once you get HiPs it's still awesome... HiPs up to somebody, stick your sword in their back, then vanish.

- 1 bab -- Really a non issue. More than made up for by the SA dice in terms of dpr, and since attacking from hiding is your SOP, targets will be flatfooted.
- 3 hp -- meh
- aura of courage -- A noteworthy ability that you will occasionally miss, if you don't have some other means of protection from fear.
- Mercy -- the first tier mercies are ok, but really not a big loss, especially since you only have around 4 LoH uses per day.
- 1 smite per day/ -3 smite damage -- Meh. If you want to be all about smiting, be a straight paladin, they are better. the SA dice offer vastly more damage than a multiclass smite is going to provide.
- Divine bond -- meh. Not going to scale.
- 2 first level spells per day -- meh. UMD if you really want to cast spells, and swift invis > 1st level spell, and more times per day.

And ranger 2/rogue 3 is much the same. Gain a bit of saves, bit of skills, 2d6 SA, at the cost of a crappy hunters bond, a couple 1st level spells per day, one favored terrain, and a second favored enemy. If you play in a campaign that will have tons of the same enemy type, the second FE might be nice, but in that case why aren't you just sticking with ranger anyway, since it's going to be vastly better at everything than the SD?

To me, being all sneaky and NOT using that to deliver sneak attacks is just wrong, and kinda silly. You're giving up 2d6 damage for a few incidentals that have really nothing to do with the core concept.


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The problem with sneak attack is that regardless of whether you think it is silly to use it or not... it is unreliable damage.

The great thing about the Ranger or Fighter over a rogue, is that if your one trick (HiPS spring attack) doesnt work on a certain enemy, you still have your typical damage.

A sneak attacker, on the other hand, has nothing but 3/4 BAB -1, and no other reliable way to deal damage. Not only that, but Sneak attack 2d6 is an average of 7 damage which any fighter or ranger could get via static methods. Static damage is ALWAYS preferable.


Cathulhu wrote:

The problem with sneak attack is that regardless of whether you think it is silly to use it or not... it is unreliable damage.

The great thing about the Ranger or Fighter over a rogue, is that if your one trick (HiPS spring attack) doesnt work on a certain enemy, you still have your typical damage.

A sneak attacker, on the other hand, has nothing but 3/4 BAB -1, and no other reliable way to deal damage. Not only that, but Sneak attack 2d6 is an average of 7 damage which any fighter or ranger could get via static methods. Static damage is ALWAYS preferable.

Now explain how any of this is relevant in the 3 levels that we're talking about. Even vs SA-immune targets (which are few and far between), my build is doing the exact same damage as the other, minus 1 bab. What 'static methods' are we missing out on by getting that SA exactly?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Vestrial wrote:

Now explain how any of this is relevant in the 3 levels that we're talking about. Even vs SA-immune targets (which are few and far between), my build is doing the exact same damage as the other, minus 1 bab. What 'static methods' are we missing out on by getting that SA exactly?

Favored Enemy + Instant Enemy, Weapon Training, Weapon Specialization, Smite Evil.

Note: These are reliable, static damage bonuses.


What do you think about Moonlight Stalker?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Moonlight Stalker is feat heavy.

For unarmed, Nightmare Fist is sweet.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Favored Enemy + Instant Enemy, Weapon Training, Weapon Specialization, Smite Evil.

Note: These are reliable, static damage bonuses.

Are we reading the same thread? This isn't about 10 ranger vs 10 rogue. This is about 5 Ranger vs 2 ranger/3 rogue. The SD will never see instant enemy, or if he does, it won't be until the end of his career. And two or three instant enemies per day is hardly any more 'reliable' than multiple SA dice that are essentially always available.


Freebooter is probably your best bet for ranger. You get a marking mechanic that gives all your allies +2 untyped attack and damage to the marked target until it's dead or you retarget and there's no per day limit. It would only be +1 if you took rogue levels.

His allies get +2 untyped to attack when flanking within 30' of him. They wouldn't if you took more than 1 rogue level.


Atarlost wrote:

Freebooter is probably your best bet for ranger. You get a marking mechanic that gives all your allies +2 untyped attack and damage to the marked target until it's dead or you retarget and there's no per day limit. It would only be +1 if you took rogue levels.

His allies get +2 untyped to attack when flanking within 30' of him. They wouldn't if you took more than 1 rogue level.

Freebooter would definitely be a good way to go if you're going straight ranger, unless you're playing in a very enemy-specific campaign. But it eats a move action, which means one round of combat you're losing an attack, and one attack from the ranger is going to be way more damage than +2 to your allies.


Vestrial wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Favored Enemy + Instant Enemy, Weapon Training, Weapon Specialization, Smite Evil.

Note: These are reliable, static damage bonuses.

Are we reading the same thread? This isn't about 10 ranger vs 10 rogue. This is about 5 Ranger vs 2 ranger/3 rogue. The SD will never see instant enemy, or if he does, it won't be until the end of his career. And two or three instant enemies per day is hardly any more 'reliable' than multiple SA dice that are essentially always available.

5 Ranger or Fighter vs Ranger 2/Rogue 3:

Ranger 5 gets you another Favored Enemy, and +2 on top of the one you have.

Fighter 5 gets you another feat and Weapon Training. Add Duelist gloves on top of that, assume the feat is Weapon Specialization: +5 damage.

Each of these options put you an extra point ahead on BAB, which equals an extra 3 points of damage through power attack.

Once you run out of Shadowdancer levels to take, whether just for a dip or what have you, Ranger or Fighter will be a better option than Rogue. SO what is 3 levels of a rogue? Pretty much a waste, when comparing it to the other classes you could take here.

Rogue makes a fine dip for some things... Its not good for shadowdancer though. The only reason to take rogue over other classes are the rogue talents, but since you get those from Shadowdancer....


Weapon Master Fighter can still pick up 2 levels of ranger for FAvored Enemy and the free Ranger Combat Style feat... and get Weapon Training (Duelist Gloves) before entering ShadowDancer.

(has someone said this already?)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Took a while...

Great guide! It covers the basics and is not too clustered with so many obscure race, class combination and what-not choices.

I would change the font to Times though for readability. *shrugs*

While I do understand the talk about "5 levels of whatever class combination + SD" I'd like to point out that going 6 levels in whatever class usually has the benefit of giving you another goodie (and more) of your base class;

Ranger: 2nd CSF, iterative attack, better saves, another spell
Fighter: iterative attack, fighter bonus feat, better saves
Rogue: better saves, another rogue talent (I personally like to have Major Magic early which gives you so much more versatility--too bad you didn't include it in your guide), overall faster BAB progression

Pally just wouldn't roll at my table...

Also, I think it would be worthwhile to do a search on these boards and include some of the discussion about stealth in combat, HiPS, lighting conditions and such, since there are a lot of problems, uncertainties and the 2 blog posts trying to remedy some of the issues.

In addition, while I understand your intention and your main motivation in choosing the greatsword, would you care to add your ideas about the falchion or a heavy flail?

Ruyan.


Kat Tenser wrote:

5 Ranger or Fighter vs Ranger 2/Rogue 3:

Ranger 5 gets you another Favored Enemy, and +2 on top of the one you have.

Fighter 5 gets you another feat and Weapon Training. Add Duelist gloves on top of that, assume the feat is Weapon Specialization: +5 damage.

Each of these options put you an extra point ahead on BAB, which equals an extra 3 points of damage through power attack.

Once you run out of Shadowdancer levels to take, whether just for a dip or what have you, Ranger or Fighter will be a better option than Rogue. SO what is 3 levels of a rogue? Pretty much a waste, when comparing it to the other classes you could take here.

Rogue makes a fine dip for some things... Its not good for shadowdancer though. The only reason to take rogue over other classes are the rogue talents, but since you get those from Shadowdancer....

Fighter wasn't even one of the options presented either (and I think it should be as well). Weapon training and duelist gloves are somewhat tempting, except for what you give up.

Fighter 5 has 10 skill points to throw around as opposed to the ranger 2/ninja 3's 36. He also has worse saves, and can't go invis at will as a swift action. He also does less damage on his one attack per turn.

The power attack thing pushes that bump back one level. In exchange for 2d6 damage.

Really, I know there's a lot of rogue hate on these boards, but this is pretty ridiculous. I'm not saying the rogue/ninja is the only way to go, but to say that 5 ranger is categorically better than 2/3 is absurd, and the alternate builds should be given more attention in a 'guide' than, 'they're poo, don't use them.' lol This build is all about attacking from stealth. All the static bonuses you guys are throwing about have no synergy with that at all. If you're going fighter for weapon training/duelist gauntlets to maximize DPR, why aren't you just going straight fighter? Likewise, a straight ranger with a real pet is going to do vastly more damage than any SD build you can come up with.


It doesn't just push back Power Attack a level, it lowers your overall BAB, which at high levels does lower your overall damage.

Fighter 5 does not do less damage. I demonstrated how to get 5 damage, plus an extra 3 damage from power attack on a fighter 4 (Weapon Master) chassis. that exceeds the average damage of 4 rogue, which is adding an average of 7 damage via sneak attack... IF you make a sneak attack happen.

For the rogue SD to deal damage, it needs to flank or stealth. Neither of these options are always possible, especially considering a scout rarely has a flanking buddy. Stealth is easy to max out, but a few first level spells easily negate your stealth. Arcane Sight or Faerie Fire, and you light up like a damn christmas tree.

At higher levels, enemies with true sight, tremor sense, etc. become common, and once again, stealth does little for you.

This is why sneak attack sucks. it is not reliable, and the average damage you gain from it is better gained from other sources.

IF you are going to argue straight Ranger or Fighter does more damage (you are right, good job)... I then reply that a straight ninja is a better stealthy sneak attacker than any rogue/shadowdancer combo ever will be.

I really like rogues, but the reality is that they are mechanically inferior to other options. One of their best options is Shadowdancer, but other classes make better shadowdancers.


Kat Tenser wrote:

It doesn't just push back Power Attack a level, it lowers your overall BAB, which at high levels does lower your overall damage.

Fighter 5 does not do less damage. I demonstrated how to get 5 damage, plus an extra 3 damage from power attack on a fighter 4 (Weapon Master) chassis. that exceeds the average damage of 4 rogue, which is adding an average of 7 damage via sneak attack... IF you make a sneak attack happen.

For the rogue SD to deal damage, it needs to flank or stealth. Neither of these options are always possible, especially considering a scout rarely has a flanking buddy. Stealth is easy to max out, but a few first level spells easily negate your stealth. Arcane Sight or Faerie Fire, and you light up like a damn christmas tree.

At higher levels, enemies with true sight, tremor sense, etc. become common, and once again, stealth does little for you.

This is why sneak attack sucks. it is not reliable, and the average damage you gain from it is better gained from other sources.

IF you are going to argue straight Ranger or Fighter does more damage (you are right, good job)... I then reply that a straight ninja is a better stealthy sneak attacker than any rogue/shadowdancer combo ever will be.

I really like rogues, but the reality is that they are mechanically inferior to other options. One of their best options is Shadowdancer, but other classes make better shadowdancers.

I don't know what you're talking about with PA. Every 4 bab it gets a bump. Losing one bab pushes that bump back a level. It's really not that big of a deal. So 3 of the damage your crediting your fighter is really just one level back, so it just depends what levels you compare them at. The ranger 2 will also have FE, which will cut into the fighter advantage a bit more on the specific targets.

5 fighter into SD is just terrible. Bad saves, bad skills, no tricks at all, and absolutely nothing 'stealthy' about the class. You're just a bdf for 5 levels until all the sudden the character transforms into a stealth machine, who can't tumble, see anything, disable anything, steal anything, or lie about it. All he does is chop things. Again, if that's your thing, go straight fighter all the way, since it's just better.

SD has a built in flank partner. As for how common truesight and tremor sense are, that is entirely campaign dependent. I've never played through an AP or home brew campaign in which SA was useless at the high level to even a fraction of the degree people claim on these boards. And even if it is, that's just a reason why not to play this character at all, since his entire shtick is based around being sneaky.


1.) Yes, every 4 levels PA gets a bump. level 1, 4,8,12,16,20 BAB... okay. so a Rogue 10/ SD 10 maxes out at 14 BAB. A Ranger 10/ SD 10 has 17. SO, correct me if Im wrong, but that is a permanent loss of 3 damage. not only that, you lose 15% accuracy, which contributes to a further loss of damage. That is a PERMANENT loss, mind you, not just a "level moved back".

2.) Fighter isnt actually that terrible. Pathfinder allows a lot of skill flexibility. Acrobatics and Perception are all that matter, a SD doesnt need to "steal, lie or disable anything". Disable Device isn't really that necessary in most PF games due to the neutering of traps. In any case, a fighter can get all of these things with 10 INT. 2 skill points per level, plus 1 for human, plus 1 favored class. Thats not even touching the ever popular Lore Warden, which can do all of this with an additional Combat Expertise feat and 4 skill points per level. Add in a reasonable 14 INT... well, by golly, you have 8 SP a level. hm.

EDIT: I also dont see what "tricks" a Rogue or Ranger have over a Fighter. they all hit things with pointy things, and don't have any magic abilities.

For the record, I think Ranger makes the best shadowdancer, exactly because they have the most tricks at their disposal: damage, animal companion (maybe), spells (and therefore wands and scrolls).

Rogue has nothing on fighter, ranger has something on both.

3.) You are right, SD DOES have a built in sneak attack partner. As soon as an enemy has a +1 weapon, its a weak, dead sneak attack partner. I like to save my shadow for something its better at doing, like scouting or "poisoning" enemies. Not chilling in the middle of combat. But thats just me.

In any case, it doesn't change the fact the sneak attack is unreliable, doesn't always work, and some enemies are still flat out immune to it.

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