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


Advice

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1) Why are you only looking at level 20? Who cares about level 20? 99% of campaigns never see it, and once they get there, they aren't there very long. While actually leveling up, you know, playing the game, that damage bump is just pushed back one level.

2) This is a stealth character. It needs stealth, yes? So acrobatics, perception, stealth are 'all that matter.' (and 2 ranks in dance) None of which are class for the fighter, none of which can even be taken with bonus points from Lore warden. And you can dismiss the other skills if you want, but in general people that play stealthy characters are probably going to want some skills. If they wanted to play a big dumb fighter, they'd have just stuck with that. And you're going to bump int to 14 to compensate for few skills, thereby gimping one of the primary stats, rather than just play one of the classes that gets more skills in order to scrounge up a couple points of damage at the cost of saves, skills, tricks, and unique class abilities that actually synergize with the character concept? By golly, that makes sense. Hm.

3) Your buddy has half your hp, and takes half damage from corporeal attacks, even those coming from magic weapons. So if the baddy is one-shotting your buddy, how are you surviving? Not to mention, this is just a nice example of moving the goalpost. "Zomg, flanks so hard to get!" "But you have a buddy who can flank any time you need him to" "But I don't want my buddy to flank!" Flanks really aren't that hard to come by in general, and you have an on-demand flank when you occasionally need it (if you insist on not letting your buddy fight in general, where they can actually make a decent contribution). Not to mention the character has HiPS. It's not relying on flank 99.9% of the time.

In any case, the actual fact, not the theoretical fact, is that sneak attack is much more reliable than you want to pretend. Yep, some few enemies are flat out immune, and on those you'll be down a few damage. But on the vast majority it works just fine, and on those you get a bit of a damage bump that's thematic has synergy with the core mechanics of the character.


1.) Right, you dont get to level 20. Fine. So when does "getting moved back a level" become a permanent loss? Say you stop at 16, or 12, or whatever. that means you still have a loss of 3 damage for MOST of your campaign, and IF you are lucky, you stop at the perfect level for you to get that extra 3 damage. Its not a guarantee. So, if its NOT a guarantee that you will have a 3 point damage loss, it is also NOT a guarantee that you will gain it back, "a level behind".

2.) Yes, it is a stealth character ,and I demonstrated how to get 8 skill points a level with a fighter. a couple traits, you have 2 class skills you didnt have before.
Like i said though, i think RANGER is the best option, I am merely using the fighter as an anecdote that is largely the opposite of your rogue thesis. Point is, Fighter and a couple traits can do everything a SD requires: stealth, tumble, perception, whatever. On top of that, you will have more feats and FAR better static damage, better than the random damage of sneak attack. 2-12 damage sucks. a flat 8 damage is superior.

3.) Flanking and HiPS doesn't make Sneak Attack an instant win button, it never has and never will, no matter how hard you argue about it. The flat out truth is there are ways to negate sneak attack damage, whether through items, class abilities, spells, are innate abilities.

What will you and your flanking buddy do against a barbarian with Uncanny Dodge? Your Rogue levels are behind anywhere from 2-4 levels (assuming optimal dipping, instead of the whole class, in which case this argument is stronger) and you are not going to be a high enough level to get past Uncanny Dodge.

What do you are your partner do against a flying foe? How about one with tremor sense? how about Arcane Sight, something easily cast and easily made permanent? What about if they increase the lighting level?

Any of these things can lose you your Sneak Attack Damage.

What causes a Ranger or Fighter to lose damage? Damage reduction or the flat out negation of the whole character, not just an ability or two.

By the way, Rogues have JUST as bad saves a fighter, and have no special class abilities that make them stand out. They have Sneak Attack (bad) and Rogue Talents (some are great).

So when you say how fighters have bad saves, no class abilities, etc... you might as well say the same for rogues.

As I said before... Ranger is where it is at. You can defend Rogues all you want, but the truth is they have one thing on Fighter: class skills. Fighter (weapon master) 4/Rogue 1 with a decent INT is a better entry for Shadowdancer than straight rogue. your damage is more stable, you have the same class skills, your hp, BAB, and saves are higher... all of which benefit your Shadow.

And still, Ranger 5 is better mechanically.

Grand Lodge

Rogue does not do Stealth the best either.

Ranger and Inquisitor can do more with it, and do it better.

Urban Barbarian is a great choice as well. With either an Agile weapon, or the Dervish Dance feat, he can be completely dex focused.


Kat Tenser wrote:
stuff

1) Because 3 damage in the mid teens means a whole lot, right? Oh no, I'm 3 damage behind at 4, 8, and 12. Oh noes! Except wait, most of the time I have +7 damage he's missing. Do I really care about that 3? Rolling lots of dice is also just more fun than static bonuses. But who cares about fun, this is about teh dpr!

2) You 'demonstrated' how to get 8 skill points in a way that's horribly inefficient. Yes, you can do it. You can also crank your int to 18 and get even more! You made it about straight fighter vs straight rogue, I really dont know why. If you're going 10 levels of shadowdancer (I wouldn't), the debate is about 3 levels. Stop making it more than it is. The fighter will not have FAR better static damage. He will have a few points more static damage, and the rogue will have a few more situational damage.

3) Who said sneak attack is an instant win button? Way to put even more bs into my mouth. Yes, as I already acknowledged, there are plenty of ways to counter SA, and it will happen occasionally. The VAST majority of the time, however, SA will work just fine. And lol at the flying foe, that goalpost isn't even on the field anymore. What on earth does that have to do with fighter vs rogue? All melee have to deal with that. And yes, the rogue will have better saves than the fighter, because it's 2 ranger/3 rogue, not straight rogue.

I never once said straight rogue was the optimal entry into SD. I think the three best routes would be pal 2/ninja 3, ranger 2/ ninja 3, or ranger 5. All are viable, and all can be built to be very effective, and are all really close to each other in terms of damage and utility (though the pal/ninja will have far better saves) which was my entire point. I never once said 'zomg rogues are the best!' But to say they are poo is total rubbish. (which is what the guide effectively says)

Grand Lodge

The guide is about tactics and numbers.

For the Rogue, the numbers don't add up on this one.

If want the Rogue as the "like, totally awesome 2nd place pick" in a Shadowdancer Guide, then write one yourself.


Minor thing, in your opening on the guide:
"What is Asmodeus’s name are the good for?" is a bit awkward to read~ Might wanna fix it!


Vestrial wrote:
Kat Tenser wrote:
stuff

1) Because 3 damage in the mid teens means a whole lot, right? Oh no, I'm 3 damage behind at 4, 8, and 12. Oh noes! Except wait, most of the time I have +7 damage he's missing. Do I really care about that 3? Rolling lots of dice is also just more fun than static bonuses. But who cares about fun, this is about teh dpr!

2) You 'demonstrated' how to get 8 skill points in a way that's horribly inefficient. Yes, you can do it. You can also crank your int to 18 and get even more! You made it about straight fighter vs straight rogue, I really dont know why. If you're going 10 levels of shadowdancer (I wouldn't), the debate is about 3 levels. Stop making it more than it is. The fighter will not have FAR better static damage. He will have a few points more static damage, and the rogue will have a few more situational damage.

3) Who said sneak attack is an instant win button? Way to put even more bs into my mouth. Yes, as I already acknowledged, there are plenty of ways to counter SA, and it will happen occasionally. The VAST majority of the time, however, SA will work just fine. And lol at the flying foe, that goalpost isn't even on the field anymore. What on earth does that have to do with fighter vs rogue? All melee have to deal with that. And yes, the rogue will have better saves than the fighter, because it's 2 ranger/3 rogue, not straight rogue.

I never once said straight rogue was the optimal entry into SD. I think the three best routes would be pal 2/ninja 3, ranger 2/ ninja 3, or ranger 5. All are viable, and all can be built to be very effective, and are all really close to each other in terms of damage and utility (though the pal/ninja will have far better saves) which was my entire point. I never once said 'zomg rogues are the best!' But to say they are poo is total rubbish. (which is what the guide effectively says)

when talking about a guide, 3 damage does mean something. a guide is suggesting an optimal route. Rogue or ninja, in any number or combination is NON optimal compared to anything else, except maybe monk.

The FACT, the true, mechanical absolute is that a rogue is SUB optimal for this prestige class. you can argue and rail against it, but it is true. Suggesting it as a valid option for a guide is giving it 2 of 5 stars at most.... which is BARELY acceptable.

Ergo, rogue/ninjas are "poo" as you say, and the guide is right to say that. The thing is, 80% or more "optimizers" will say the same. I reckon it might be upwards of 90% even. Usually, in a community like this, the majority is right. I often say "rogues are better than you think".

In this case, they aren't. You are in the minority and the numbers back up the majority. The guide is right, deal with it, I obviously can't change your mind, I have more important things to deal with and think about than this.

Good luck.


So I've been analyzing the guide and trying to build my character and I'm not sure - I kind of want to go the ECB route with Weapon Finesse but then how many of which class do I take? 5 in Fighter? Or mix with.. what? O:

Also was thinking, if you go Ranger 5 - How about Archetype Guide? You lose Favored Enemy, in favor~ of Twice per day, one enemy is your focus.

Got a Dragon to beat? Focus him
Got a Vampire to slay? Focus him
Midboss fight? Focus it and then End boss? Focus it! No need to hope the next fight is your favored enemies. +4/+4 against each Focus, twice a day.

And you get the Terrain thing for your allies. Not awesome but not useless~

Unfortunately, it seems a bit too feat-starved to go Ranger 5 and Weapon Finesse x:


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Kalandros

I am looking at something similar, but will probably take both Guide and Urban. As the "stealthy" guy for the new adventure, I also need to be able to somewhat handle traps, which Urban gives me.

Different weapon, looking at a Critical Build. Taking falchion, improved critical at 9th level, critical focus and blinding(?) at later levels.

-- david


You both keep parroting the same thing, yet don't actually back it up with anything other than vague notions of some elusive damage that will just appear because you happen to have 3 more ranger levels.

I enumerated all the benefits that ranger or pal 2/ninja 3 has over ranger or pal 5. You have yet to contradict any of them. Pal 2/ranger 3 is strictly better than Pal 5 for this build. To claim pal5 is more 'optimum' because you like to pretend sneak attack is some elusive and rare thing is absurd.

The guide is also not only demonstrating the optimum. It offers alternatives. It lists pal 5 as green. To say pal2/ninja3 is less than green because it loses 1 bab (which is the only reason cited for not liking the 3/4 classes) despite all the benefits is an incomplete and narrow view of what the build can do.


Kalandros wrote:

So I've been analyzing the guide and trying to build my character and I'm not sure - I kind of want to go the ECB route with Weapon Finesse but then how many of which class do I take? 5 in Fighter? Or mix with.. what? O:

Also was thinking, if you go Ranger 5 - How about Archetype Guide? You lose Favored Enemy, in favor~ of Twice per day, one enemy is your focus.

Got a Dragon to beat? Focus him
Got a Vampire to slay? Focus him
Midboss fight? Focus it and then End boss? Focus it! No need to hope the next fight is your favored enemies. +4/+4 against each Focus, twice a day.

And you get the Terrain thing for your allies. Not awesome but not useless~

Unfortunately, it seems a bit too feat-starved to go Ranger 5 and Weapon Finesse x:

You pretty much need ranger 2 unless you have 13 or higher strength. You could always go ranger 2 weapon master 3 to get weapon training and a couple extra bonus feats to make finesse work better.

Grand Lodge

Vestrial wrote:


You both keep parroting the same thing, yet don't actually back it up with anything other than vague notions of some elusive damage that will just appear because you happen to have 3 more ranger levels.

I enumerated all the benefits that ranger or pal 2/ninja 3 has over ranger or pal 5. You have yet to contradict any of them. Pal 2/ranger 3 is strictly better than Pal 5 for this build. To claim pal5 is more 'optimum' because you like to pretend sneak attack is some elusive and rare thing is absurd.

The guide is also not only demonstrating the optimum. It offers alternatives. It lists pal 5 as green. To say pal2/ninja3 is less than green because it loses 1 bab (which is the only reason cited for not liking the 3/4 classes) despite all the benefits is an incomplete and narrow view of what the build can do.

There is never going to be enough evidence for you.

The Rogue/Ninja will always be totally awesome best.

Write you own guide.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

There is never going to be enough evidence for you.

The Rogue/Ninja will always be totally awesome best.

Write you own guide.

Mostly because there's no evidence to be had. And once again you put more nonsense into my mouth. Never once said rogue/ninja was totally awesome best. But to claim it's less viable than the alternatives is dishonest and leads new players astray. It's at least as good. In some ways better, in some ways weaker.

I made three builds to actually compare without all the hyperbole and vague theorycrafting you're throwing around, (sans actual craft, of course)

Ranger 5/SD 5 vs. Ranger2/Ninja3/SD5, vs Pal2/Ninja3/SD5

20 point buy (assuming +2 belt/hat)
str 20
dex 14
con 14
int 10
wis 10
cha 16 (ranger could swap wis and char, hurting his DCs and char skills)

All three builds are within 1-3 dpr of each other on CR11 oponnents, favored enemy, and sneak attack immune enemies alike. Straight ranger is up 3 on his most favored ememy, ninja is up by 3 on non-Most favored enemy. Pal can once a day be up there with the ranger vs his most favored enemy, otherwise is same as ranger/ninja. The ninja also has slightly higher max damage than the straight ranger.
(Note, this is at 10, when the ninja is suffering from PA lag. Next level he catches the ranger for the following 3 levels.)

So dpr is a non issue. Hitting for 3 more damage on a very specific subset of monsters is not going to make or break the character. If you're really after dpr, play a fighter. They are vastly better than any of these options.

Saves:

Ranger:
fort 8
ref 9
wil 3 (6 if swap will/char)

Ranger/Ninja
Fort 8
Ref 11
Wil 3

Pal/Ninja
Fort 11
Ref 11
Wil 9

Pal/ninja has huge advantage here.

And what is the basic concept of this character that we're trying to optimize? A stealthy mage slayer.

So the ranger sneaks up to the mage, hits him once for a decent chunk, then stands there, hoping he doesn't get dominated, or just outright killed by the mage's buddies.

Ranger/Ninja sneaks up, hits the mage, then goes invisible. (yes yes, I know, everything sees invisibility, has true sight, etc. etc. But if that's the case, this entire concept doesn't work. Play a fighter.)

Pal/ninja also has a few uses of LoH, which increase his effective hp over the other two by a bit. He can also wear heavy armor if so desired, which would help particularly in the lower levels. His saves make him the clear winner in terms of mage slaying. It would probably be worth it to go 3 pal/2 ninja for invis and immunity to fear. It would really be a personal choice, skills/sa vs fear immunity.

All 3 paths are very viable, and close enough in actual performance that it's purely a personal preference. I think the pal/ninja's survivability pushes him ahead in terms of actual effectiveness, but there are ways to compensate for the other build's lower saves...


The Cad archtype of the fighter works well too.


@OP: You state in the guide, that Weapon Finesse is needed for using an ECB. But it's not.

Quote: "Weapon Finesse: only needed if you are doing an Elven Curve Blade Build"

In the section about weaponry, you mention that "the great part about (...) you can use it with Weapon Finesse"

But that is not the great part, as one can see from further reading your guide.

The great part of the ECB is, that you do NOT need to Finesse it and can become a crit-fisher later with the keen property or Improved Critical.


The dillema is whether or not to take rogue / ninja or not .
Taking will bring sneak attack to a sneaky fellow, but sadly SD are medium BAB, so losi g 2 will harm your to hit a lot , unless you'll focus on one hit.
Also, less bab = less power attack, so the sneak boost will be balanced .


Kalandros wrote:

Minor thing, in your opening on the guide:

"What is Asmodeus’s name are the good for?" is a bit awkward to read~ Might wanna fix it!

Done and done.

Turgan wrote:

@OP: You state in the guide, that Weapon Finesse is needed for using an ECB. But it's not.

Quote: "Weapon Finesse: only needed if you are doing an Elven Curve Blade Build"

In the section about weaponry, you mention that "the great part about (...) you can use it with Weapon Finesse"

But that is not the great part, as one can see from further reading your guide.

The great part of the ECB is, that you do NOT need to Finesse it and can become a crit-fisher later with the keen property or Improved Critical.

That's rather embarrassing. 'Tis fixed.

Also:

STOP ARGUING ABOUT ROGUE VS EVERYTHING ELSE. Take it to a different thread.


The Shadow Dancer is good for tactical opportunities relating to movement - sneak attack is not a prerequisite and the most effective characters can exploit the ability to get beyond the 'defensive perimeter' - read fighters, paladins barbarians and (possibly) rangers.

The shadow summoning has too big a downside and charisma requisites make the character more MAD. My suggestion? Abandon the summon/charisma abilities and exploit the dynamic opportunities to the maximum.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With the new FAQ entry, that SLA's meet per-requisites, you might consider updating the guide to include the dimensional agility feat chain.

-- david

Link HERE

Dark Archive

I've been giving some thought to building a Shadowdancer for PFS and reading through the guide and keep coming back to the Paladin as being probably the best option to go into this PRC.
Yes I know that the lack of Skills and poor feat acquisition makes the first few levels tough but overall it just seems that paladin 5/SD 4 is optimally the best for the hard hitting mage killer build.

Paladin 5 (oath of Vengeance) gives you:

Charisma bonus to all saves for awesome saves.

Multiple Smite Evil's per day (use those LOH to power extra Smites) +3 to hit +5 to damage, bypasses DR

Divine Bond = Bane anything 5 times a day (Bane is a +1 enchant so you can turn it on as a swift action 5x a day for an extra +2 hit/damage + 2D6 extra damage for 5 whole combats every day)

Full armor/weapon proficiencies

Full Bab/HD

Great spells added to your spell list (Grace alone is awesome for Spring Attack Builds and the Litany line is wild).

Yes, you only have 3 free skill points for the first 5 levels of the character but at 6th you get 6/level so that fixes that)

You can't take power attack before 7th unless you are human but the extra hit/damage from smite evil and Bane (anything) more then make up for the delay.

Really, the super high survivability and damage the paladin puts out for the first 5 levels of play mixed with the great maneuverability and skills granted by the next 4 levels in SD should make for a truly interesting and potent PFS character.

I'm starting one now and we'll see how this works out.

Grand Lodge

My buddy plays a Shadow Dancer Paladin, shes a great character both power wise and RP wise.

Also, he pointed out while reading the guide Toughness is probably better than its rated, because it also grants hp's to the shadow.


@Mathwei ap Niall: You can't use bane with Divine Bond, and Divine Bond is a standard action, not a swift. You're thinking of the generally superior Magus ability, or the Inquisitor Bane ability.

I play Agda Haskell in PFS play; up until January of 2013, she was PFS legal - they made her choice of deity illegal at that point, so it's nothing wrong with her build, just her backstory.

Paladin-Shadowdancer is a fun combination; the link there is to the character's journal covering her adventures with the society. (You'll also see why I didn't want to change dieties by reading through that.)

You'll also want to get Unsanctioned Knowledge. (Hey, you're already a Paladin running around with an undead follower, it's thematic...)

Also, while a Paladin or Fighter can wear Heavy Armor, remember that the Shadowdancer's Evasion ability requires you to be wearing light or no armor.

For PFS, don't forget the "One Pet" rule - your Shadow counts against your limit of combat capable pets.

Agda's Build

@Joanna Swiftblade:

You've missed tricks that I found very handy.

1) The most important magic item to buy is the Amulet of Ghosttouch Fists. This lets your Shadow pick things up and open doors from the other side after walking through them. Having an INT 6 flying companion who is largely immune to AoOs delivering potions to injured comrades is handy. You should also look into Ioun Stones that give you feats as resonance powers - the Dexterity Ioun stone gives Improved Unarmed Strike, which can lead to Crane Style (You're already picking up one of the other pre-reqs, and you're going to be light on AC to keep your Evasion bonuses working.) The WIS Ioun stone boosts your Will Save, and grants Blindfighting, which can lead to Improved Blindfighting.

2) As my friend (the previous poster) said, Toughness. It's the only feat I'm aware of that keeps your Shadow alive. You may not have the RP hooks that my character does for keeping the Shadow alive, but the chance at the permanent negative level for losing the Shadow is no joke. Toughness is particularly important to any build using a PrC, because you give up your Favored Class bonuses. Related to this, remember that neither Rangers nor Paladins get Inflict spells, and thus need UMD checks to use wands to heal their Shadows.

3) Find some way (UMD or friends in the party) to cast Blur, or better yet, Extended Displacement on your Shadow. Your Shadow is going to have a 15 AC, and anything that can hurt it can usually obliterate it at 7th or 8th level on up. Miss chance is very much your friend. Likewise, Silence is a great spell to cast on your Shadow if you've got the round to spare. Nothing terrifies an arcane caster quite like not being able to cast most spells while being tickled to death by something that sucks their dump stat...and if you bought the Amulet of Ghosttouch Fists, you can play "Disarm/Steal The Spell Pouch".

4) If you're going to be a Paladin, take Unsanctioned Knowledge. This gives you access to one of two spells; if you're going mage killer the spell you want is Silence. Cast it on your Shadow. You have no idea how much this screws up opposing casters. The other one to consider is See Invisible.

5) There is no combination of abilities that has proven more useful to the party than Hide in Plain Sight coupled with Lay On Hands on wounded party members, or Hide in Plain Sight coupled with Channel Energy, or Hide in Plain Sight coupled with using a wand.

6) Even basic Shadow Conjuration gives you access to two Pit Spells, and the ability to make Shadow Sepia Snake Sigils with an abusably high DC. Combining Sepia Snake Sigils with Beguiling Gift or a good Bluff check can solve many fights that have a "pre-fight banter phase." Plus, since it's through Shadow Conjuration/SLA, it doesn't require that expensive material component...and it can be "banked" on travel days when you otherwise aren't using the SLA. (Your GM will be upset if you abuse this, and you should clear it with your PFS GM before unleashing it.)

Sepia Snake Sigil is also a decent "medevac" spell, since it keeps the subject from dying/stabilizing/poisons from progressing, though they do have to be conscious to trigger it...

7) Most Rogue Talents require using Sneak Attack, which you may not get depending on your entry class. The Talents I looked at were Trap Sense (I didn't take it because another of my regular party members tool it) and Repositioning Strike, which is thematic, and has proven to be incredibly useful at higher levels - where monsters are four squares or nine squares in size, and usually between me and the person I need to rescue.

8) For Paladin-Shadowdancers, who have access to Bless Weapon, don't take Keen. Take a 4x Crit Weapon and get Improved Critical. Auto-confirming Smiting Gravedigger Picks have been very...handy...as reading through Agda's Journal can attest.


My penny on the matter :
Build 1 : ranger 2/ lore warden 2 /monk master of style and mountain 2
Great saves, crane style protection, Ton of feats, favorite enemy, wil take one more ore warde later on the game - adding cmb for some maneuver . Ok damage only.

Build 2: weapon master 4/ maneuver master monk 1
No defence, great damage with training, specialize, and extra action when needed.

Build 3: lore warden 3/ maneuver master 2
Trip and dirty trick frenzy when not spring attacibg. This character got enough feats to consider gaining a animal companion via eldritch heritage to be a 1 man army.

Build4:
Ranger 5/ barbarian 1
Movement me skills

Build 5: my favorite - thug scout 3/ lore warden 3
You auto sicken and shaken as you attack non leathel with enforcer feat .
You got good skills, and sneak damage. And the cmd bonus to balane the loseof bab.
You might consider changing the lore warden to ranger .

Last one; sohei monk 6
Resilient skilled monk that can flurry with a polestar in light armor.


I don't mean to necro a thread, but why does the build suggest brilliant energy? It act's as a torch, meaning that there is no dim light within 20 feet of you for you to hide/jump in.


Thread necromancy time again! Now that the ACG has been out for a few months, has anyone test-driven a Shadowdancer build starting with Slayer? This has weapon and armor proficiency like a Ranger, skills like a hybrid of Ranger and Rogue, Track like a Ranger, the option to get Ranger Combat Style Feats (2 of them if you go Slayer 6 before entry; try to choose ones that you would have trouble meeting prerequisites for if you took them as regular feats), the option to get some Rogue Talents (including Fast Stealth), and the option to get Slayer Talents (including Trapfinding, which puts together a pretty good package if you need that). It even adds a small amount of Sneak Attack damage as icing on the cake, although this is no more than icing on the cake (more generous icing if you go Slayer 6 before entry). (Note: The Terrain Mastery Rogue Talent looks to me like a trap -- if you really need that, go Trapper Ranger instead, which also gives you Trapfinding.) Your Sneak Attack isn't going to be very high, so it might be best considered a vehicle for applying other conditions.


^Bump to more suitable answer fishing time^


(Re-bump) A lot of people on these forums seem to like the Slayer as an approximately balanced Rogue substitute -- anyone tried using this as the entry into Shadowdancer? (See 2 posts up for details.)


Nobody uses Shadowdancers any more? Or just nobody tried using Slayer as an entry into Shadowdancer?


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Nobody uses Shadowdancers any more? Or just nobody tried using Slayer as an entry into Shadowdancer?

Doesn't look that way. I decided to look at Slayer5/SD 5 and compare to a Slayer10.

Slayer10 BAB +10/+5, saves 7/7/3

Slayer5/SD 5 BAB +8(/+3?) saves 6/7/3

Other trade-offs: From level 6-10, straight slayer gets +2d6 sneak, 3 talents (1 advanced), Stalker, and a 3rd studied target. Taking those five levels of SD, you give up average 5 hp. You also need to give up medium armor if you want evasion. For a first studied target, you're giving up +3 to hit and about 7 damage average.

HiPS and summoned shadow look like the big benefits. Shadow illusion and shadow call look sort of weak to me. Shadow jump is pretty limited at this level. Improved uncanny dodge and Defensive Roll are circumstantially good.

I'm not convinced, but this may not be the optimal configuration.


This was a hilarious way to play Neverwinter Nights back in the day. Sneaky-skill guy, leaping through the shadows... POWER ATTACK SNEAK ATTACK!


Smallfoot wrote:

Doesn't look that way. I decided to look at Slayer5/SD 5 and compare to a Slayer10.

Slayer10 BAB +10/+5, saves 7/7/3

Slayer5/SD 5 BAB +8(/+3?) saves 6/7/3

Admittedly, that is a pretty severe tradeoff. I forgot that Slayer has 2 good saves and only 1 bad save, whereas Shadowdancer has 1 good save and 2 bad saves, like a Rogue. Looks like Shadowdancer needs to be updated along with the Rogue, although I doubt Pathfinder Unchained is going to do much for existing Prestige Classes (at least, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has said anything about this). This problem comes from Shadowdancer (like the Rogue) being one of the Core Rulebook Prestige Classes, but even so, it's worth checking to see if the new base classes or archetypes can rescue it as has happened to some extent for a subset of the other Core Rulebook Prestige Classes (the SLA FAQ can rescue some of the casting Core Rulebook Prestige Classes; Scarred Witch Doctor + 1 level of some martial class makes a really good Eldritch Knight; Vivisectionist Alchemist might help a bit with Arcane Trickster, etc. -- so I thought maybe Slayer would help with Shadowdancer).

Smallfoot wrote:

Other trade-offs: From level 6-10, straight slayer gets +2d6 sneak, 3 talents (1 advanced), Stalker, and a 3rd studied target. Taking those five levels of SD, you give up average 5 hp. You also need to give up medium armor if you want evasion. For a first studied target, you're giving up +3 to hit and about 7 damage average.

HiPS and summoned shadow look like the big benefits. Shadow illusion and shadow call look sort of weak to me. Shadow jump is pretty limited at this level. Improved uncanny dodge and Defensive Roll are circumstantially good.

I'm not convinced, but this may not be the optimal configuration.

This is true: Because of Shadow Jump being exponential (which just seems wrong to start with), Shadowdancer takes a while to get online, so you need a game that goes into the high levels (NOT PFS) for it to kick in.

Even so, I would be inclined to put the break between after 6 levels of Slayer rather than 5, because you get another Slayer Talent, which can be a second Ranger Combat Style feat (and, as icing on the cake, you get another +1d6 Sneak Attack, although as I noted above, this is probably best used to trade in for debuffs to your target).

Strange that Shadowdancer, which could give you additional opportunities to pull off a Sneak Attack, doesn't actually give you any more Sneak Attack.

Sovereign Court

I don't really like mixing slayer and shadowdancer, because the slayer gets so much nice stuff at level 6 (ranger style) and 7 (study as a swift action).

I don't think the shadowdancer is hopelessly outdated like the rogue, but I do think it's most attractive on the first three levels; the shadow companion is the main selling point for me.

The way I'd go about it would actually be to stack multiple classes together before going PrC, because you're not gonna reap much of the benefits of single-classing anyway. So maybe dip into slayer for 2 levels (pick up a style), dip into paladin two levels (divine grace, smite evil), or brawler (necessary bonus feat) or inspired swashbuckler (dex-rapier).

The trick there is that the first level of any class gives you a big bonus to saving throws, and your shadow inherits yours. Will is gonna be its most important save (against positive energy); it's immune to many things that require Fort and halves most Reflex-oriented damage.


^That's why I was saying wait until level 7 before switching from Slayer to Shadowdancer (would be level 8 if you want Swift Study).

But I take your point about the Save stacking, even though this seems to me like a system bug in D&D 3.5/PF.


With all the nice new stuff about i was thinking on a shadow dancer 3-4 / other character.
And want some advice.
A SD add mostly the Hips, that with spring attack allow in-out maneuver.
It also costly when feats are conserning.
So...

Thug 3>urban ranger3 > SD 3> ranger rest.
Trap finding, big skills, decent 1 attack , decent full attack.

Lore warden 3> thug 3> SD3> lore rest.
Spring atrack will 1 hit and debuff strongly.
Shaken+sicken+dazzeled in1 hit and even minor damage.

Barbarian 8>oracle 1>SD 3> barb rest.
Yiur 1 hit can dirty trick (str surge, savage dirty trick.) or spell sunder all with rage cycle.
Stand and attack fully at -2 bab but with natural weapons it matter less (or great sword and bite and horn...
And

Lantern Lodge

Great guide and lots of thought into class options / abilities? I think a 3-4 level unchained rogue dip with elven branched spear or elven curved sword for 1.5 dex would be the way to go tho

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Kaisc006 if you added 2 dip in ranger for 2h weapon combat style to get Power Attack without the prereq you could use either of those weapons without investing any points into Str and being only 1 BAB behind a full BAB class.

Lantern Lodge

Taenia wrote:
Kaisc006 if you added 2 dip in ranger for 2h weapon combat style to get Power Attack without the prereq you could use either of those weapons without investing any points into Str and being only 1 BAB behind a full BAB class.

Pre-reqs isn't the issue. A 3 lvl rogue dip lets you add dex to damage. Besides, 13 str is easy to do with an optimal build.


there is no talk here on several other nice options, if the shadowdancer is mostly a dip class of 1-4 levels and not a full 10 levels in.

1. unchained rogue 3 (thug or rake archetype). slayer (bounty hunter) 2
this, using a elven curve blade, offer a strong 1 attack spring attacks.
sneak damage can be covered into dirty tricks OR :
-2 (rogue ability) to ac & shaken (rake or enforcer thug) & sicken (thug) and 1d10+1.5Xdex+1.5Xpower attack + other bonuses + 3d6 sneaks.
take half elf to add +2 will saves or +4 enchantment.
amazing skills. dex to damage . good spring attacks. ok even if cant sneak....
also, rogue talent add no AOO at all from the foe. nice...
you even get the trap finding lost with thug.... it's just amazing.
i shadow dancer 3 \ slayer 2 \ U-rogue (thug) 4 is a lot better (in my view) than a U-rogue 9 . adding all kind of tricks and special effect - even if low on feats.

2. full slayer 6 is , as said above, amazing. full of nice stuff, feeling very roguie but can fight without sneaks.

3. swashbuckler 5 \ SD 3
LOWWWWWWWWWWW saves that REALLY need a hand.... but other that that? not a bad option with parries.

4. better than 3 : daring champion cavalier 5 \ SD 3
gendarme add 2 feats. 5 to damage , dervish dex build.
ok (other than will) saves. some smite options.
order of the cockatrice add nice pluses.

5. last option in mind:
like #1 but, no slayer.
cavalier, daring champion 2\ gendarme \ order of the cockatrice.
than 3 U-rogue (thug or rake ) then SD 1-3
moonlight stalker = +2 to hit all the time
you attack from shades = no dex
thug (enforcer) or rake (attack) add shaken = +2 to hit and damage
that's nice, big bonuses....


I like Unchained Rogue 4/Weapon Master Fighter 3/Shadow Dancer 3 for a Shadow Dancer build.

From there on you can finish with another fighter level for advanced weapon training: warrior's spirit and 4 levels of Oath of Vengeance Paladin for some smite fun and more balanced saves.

You get free Weapon Finesse, 1.5 Dex to damage, Debilitating Strike, 2d6 Sneak Attack, Weapon Training for Gloves of Dueling and once the next 5 levels kick in - you get decent saves, 4 smites and a +3 bonus to his weapon for 4 combats per day.

The only thing stopping this build for actually being "competitive" is the introduction of the bounding assault feat from 3.5 that makes spring attack a viable tactic.

Human, Focused Study, Dimdweller racial traits.

Fighter 1: Skill Focus: Stealth, Dodge, EWP: Curve Blade
Rogue 1: Finesse Training, Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding
Rogue 2: Power Attack, Evasion, Ninja Trick: Pressure Points
Rogue 3: Danger Sense +1, Dex to Damage, Sneak Attack +2d6
Rogue 4: Uncanny Dodge, Debilitating Injury, Combat Trick: Mobility, Combat Reflexes
Shadow Dancer 1: Hide in Plain Sight
Shadow Dancer 2: Darkvision 90 feet, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Spring Attack
Shadow Dancer 3: Shadow Illusion, Summon Shadow, Rogue Talent: Fast Stealth, Skill Focus: Intimidate
Fighter 2: Iron Will, Weapon Guard +1, Cornugon Smash
Fighter 3: Weapon Training +1
Paladin 1: Detect Evil, Smite Evil 1/day, Step Up
Paladin 2: Divine Grace, Lay on Hands
Fighter 4: Advanced Weapon Training: Warrior's Spirit, Disruptive
Paladin 3: Aura of Courage, Divine Health, Mercy: Fatigued
Paladin 4: Smite Evil 2/day, Channel Wrath, Bounding Assault (if allowed)

Then again... it gives a lot of personal survivability, but leaves your party out in the cold unless they have similar means to stay out of dodge.


Honestly, Shadowdancer is at best a 1-level class.

The shadow is killed far too easily (although it is sort of godmode in certain 1v1 situations, I'll give it that) and if you want teleportation, Ranger 5/Shadowdancer 1/Horizon Walker 3 lines up fine, and will do it better for you.


Burnscar wrote:

Honestly, Shadowdancer is at best a 1-level class.

The shadow is killed far too easily (although it is sort of godmode in certain 1v1 situations, I'll give it that) and if you want teleportation, Ranger 5/Shadowdancer 1/Horizon Walker 3 lines up fine, and will do it better for you.

the shadow will indeed be killed if you piss the DM. 1 round of full attack with a ghost weapon will kill it BUT....

I think it's wrong to use the shadow in combat, unless or rare times you must.
the shadow is a creature that:
1. pass through walls
2. flies
3. invisible most of the times
4. understand common and got enough basic INT to understand basic talk.

so... asking it to pass a wall, and report whats on the other side = a ambush or telling me when the family is asleep so i can enter safe or get out as the guards get near.
give it ghost touch gloves and WOW.
he never sleep, eat or breath. he see in the dark and sense the living.
why every one think of it as a killer ally? he ISNT. but he is indeed a VERY good ally to walk the shadows with ...

BTW DAMPEN PRESENCE is a must have feat.

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