Kitsune Ninja


Advice

Silver Crusade

So I'm (probably) giving up on my idea of creating a ninja/cleric of Besmara pirate. The more I look at the multi-class, the more I don't think it'll work.

So now I'm just looking at just a straight kitsune ninja. I may still go pirate for personality, even though I'm also still thinking of doing the cleric of Besmara. Bear in mind this is for PFS, so it's all RAW. And yes, I have the race boon that allows me to make a kitsune PC in Society play.

I'm thinking these stats:

Str 10 (2) (-2 racial)
Dex 18 (10) (+2 racial)
Con 14 (5)
Int 10 (0)
Wis 10 (0)
Cha 15 (3) (+2 racial)

Or maybe 13 Con and 16 Cha, for the ki point. Haven't decided for sure yet. But I'll probably go with the stats above and just boost cha to 16 at level 4, then focus on dex at levels 8 and 12. I briefly considered dumping int to 8 to start with 16 cha, but I've got over a dozen skills I'll want to train, with a couple of them needing to stay maxed out, so I'll need every one of my 8 skill ranks, and maybe the occasional favored class bonus. All the more reason to stick to 14 con for the HP.

Needless to say, I'll need Weapon Finesse immediately. The fact that it works with the kitsune bite attack is just an extra bonus. I'll probably do the stereotypical ninja thing and go with wakizashi as my main weapon. It's light, finessable and has an 18-20 crit range, which is nice.

Just to make sure I'm clear on the bite attack: It's just an extra attack at BAB -5 with 1/2 the strength bonus on damage. It doesn't affect my weapon attacks the way two weapon fighting would, or get affected by weapon attacks. Right?

Which brings me to my next question: Two weapon fighting or not two weapon fighting?

My main concern is that at 3/4 BAB, I may have trouble hitting, so do I really want the -2 on each attack? Granted, I'll have a good dex bonus, and hopefully be flanking most of the time. And more attack rolls means more chances to maybe hit and do sneak attack damage. I'm just worried that I won't be able to hit at mid-high levels when BBEG AC scores may improve faster than my 3/4 BAB. But a pair of wakizashi would be lots of crit chances, and would only require one Weapon Focus feat to get the +1 on both hits.

Or I could just take Extra Ki a few times and use the ninja ki pool to get an extra attack without the -2 to hit. But I'm leaning towards the two weapon fighting - it's just one feat, and I don't have to use the second attack against things that have high AC, if I'm afraid I'll keep missing. Extra Ki is still a definite possibility, though. Quick question on that: If I use a ki point to get an extra attack at max BAB and also use TWF to attack with two weapons in that round, does the extra attack from the ki also get the -2 from Two Weapon Fighting?

Which brings me to my next point: Feat and ninja trick choices, and what order to take them in.

I'll probably skip 1st level on GM credits, so I don't necessarily need Weapon Finesse at 1st level. I could take Finesse Rogue as my first ninja trick at level 2, if I wanted Two Weapon Fighting at 1st level, so I'd have them both that early. But Vanishing Trick is such a fun, ninja thing to take, so I'd like to get it early. Which leaves me thinking Weapon Finesse at 1, Vanishing Trick at 2, Two Weapon Fighting at 3.

So then what?

Other feats I'm looking at include Weapon Focus (Wakizashi), Extra Ki, Improved Initiative, Combat Reflexes, and eventually Improved Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Critical (Wakizashi). I thought about Dazzling Display and Shatter Defenses to make enemies flatfooted, but that's a lot of feats to invest. I'm hoping flanks and Vanishing Trick will be my keys to getting enough sneak attacks. I also thought about Dodge and Two Weapon Defense for AC.

Other Ninja tricks and Rogue Talents I'm looking at include Flurry of Stars, Wall Climber, Shadow Clone, Bleeding Attack, Ki Charge, Resiliency, Befuddling Strike, and Forgotten Trick. I thought about Acrobatics Master, but I think my high dex, race bonus, and skill ranks should make it unnecessary, especially after picking up the Elven Boots or whatever they're called that give +5 Acrobatics. The Underhanded rogue talent from UC looks great, but I'm a little confused about the action economy of drawing and attacking with a concealed weapon in a surprise round. How does that work? Also, Weapon Training and Combat Trick can be used to get some of the above feats earlier, and also leave room to pick up more feats by picking up feats as talents.

Obviously, Evasion and Invisible Blade are the first two master tricks to pick up at levels 10 and 12 for pretty much any ninja. It's just a matter of which order to get them in, which will likely be decided by how he plays up to that point.

For traits, I was thinking Dirty Fighter, since I'm going to be flanking a lot. The Lantern Lodge Meridian Strike trait would let me reroll the 1s in my damage rolls after getting a crit once per day, which should be useful regularly with an 18-20 crit weapon and all those extra attacks and extra damage dice from sneak attacking. There's also the Amanander Militia trait to get a +1 on hit rolls when flanking, which again, I should be doing a lot. Reactionary is always an obvious possibility, especially since I'll get sneak attacks for catching people flat footed, but I can't take it with Dirty Fighter. Besides, I'm thinking invisibility might give me the extra edge to get sneak attacks, so I won't have to work so hard to get people flat footed.

What do you all think?

Silver Crusade

I hate this iPad. I had a massive post typed out and it erased it. I think you're fine to go with two-weapon fighting. You can probably get away with 12 Con and bump your Cha to 16. I'd do this

1. Two weapon fighting
2. Finesse rogue
3. Weapon Focus
4. Vanishing trick
5. Imp initiative or combat reflexes
6. Shadow clones
7. Whichever you didn't take at 5
8. Pressure points
9. Imp two weapon fighting
10. Invisible blade
11. Improved critical
12. Evasion

Traits: whatever combat trait you like and something to bump your will save.

Put all ability boosts into Dex. Get a menacing amulet of mighty fists as soon as you can to increase your flanking bonus to +4 and offset some of the TWF penalty.


If buy dex down to 17 and str up to 12 personally.


Don't forget you have poison use... buy a poisoned sand tube and some itching powder for some comic relief (at low levels, the DC is rather low) when you are tired of just hacking away at folks. ;-)

Silver Crusade

You know, I actually did forget about poison usage. What books are those two poisons in?

I checked the PFS additional resources page to see what poisons from the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment I can use, but they seem like they're too expensive and not powerful enough to bother. At 100-250 gp per dose, I'm better off spending that money upgrading my weapons, armor, or other magic items that will be more generically useful. Maybe some time around level 4-6, I'll try the poison stuff here or there. Below that level, it's too expensive, and much above that level the fort save DCs will be too easy for any enemy worth bothering to use it against.

Byrdology, I'm not bothering with strength, because I'll use dex with Weapon Finesse to hit with all my weapons (including the bite attack), and my damage should be coming from sneak attack dice, extra dice from crits, etc. I don't expect many damage bonuses. Having 3/4 BAB and a -2 on each attack from two weapon fighting, I'm just more concerned with actually hitting than doing an extra point of damage when I do hit.

Bigdaddyjug, thanks for the suggestions. I think I like your idea for the first four priorities, but not in that order. I just want Vanishing Trick as early as possible because it seems like fun, so I'll probably go with that at level 2. Besides, it'll boost my opportunities to get sneak attacks. That's also why I'm leaning towards lowering my Con to 13 so I can afford to start with 16 Cha, for the extra ki point.

I also agree with your level 9-12 suggestions. Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Invisible Blade, Improved Crit, and Evasion are all worth getting as early as possible, probably in that order. Actually, I could get Improved TWF at level 8 using the Combat Trick ninja trick that lets me choose a combat feat. That leaves levels 5-8 (or 5-7 and 9) that I'm still thinking about.

In theory, Combat Reflexes sounds like a no brainer for a dex based melee build. But from experience, not that many enemies walk into AoOs. Although I guess if they don't know where I am because of Vanishing Trick, they're more likely to walk through my threatened squares and give me the opportunities. So that's probably a good choice for level 5.

Do I really need Improved Initiative? I know catching people flat footed gives sneak attacks, but it's heavily dependent on situation and positioning, since you need to start the fight close enough to attack in the first round. If I want to use a feat to increase my opportunities to get sneak attacks, Extra Ki would let me use Vanishing Trick two more times per day, which seems like a more reliable way to do it. Besides my previous rogue PC is doing the initiative through the roof thing, and I don't want the two to be too redundant. So I'll probably skip Improved Init.

Shadow clones is one of those things that sounds great on paper, but it's a standard action to activate and costs a ki point to use, so I'm not sure how much I'd use it. I guess it would be good to have just to use it once per adventure in the final boss fight. But I'd also stop using it at level 10 when I get Invisible Blade, which lets me stay invisible even after attacking.

I saw you recommended Pressure Points. I do like the idea of taking a ninja trick or rogue talent that adds something to my sneak attacks, but I'm not sure if I necessarily like that particular choice for it. Befuddling Strike and Offensive Defense would help me avoid getting hit after sneak attacking, which is nice, while Bleeding Attack will do a little extra damage, and ignores DR. I don't know which of these I'd prefer, or if there are other good options I haven't noticed.

I'm also looking at other ninja tricks that could be fun and flavorful for a ninja, such as Wall Climber, Flurry of Stars, Smoke Bomb, or Forgotten Trick. Actually taking Forgotten trick around level 6 or 8, after I've built up some ki points to be able to afford to use it, would let me use a lot of the other tricks I'm considering without having to invest a trick in knowing them permanently, so that's worth considering.

Also, I don't know if I should focus on AC at all. I could take Dodge and/or Two Weapon Defense, both of which give me +1 AC. With Befuddling Strike or Offensive Defense, I could try to get a high AC. Or I could just rely on the miss chances from being invisible and Shadow Clones to avoid damage, since with only light armor and no shield, I'm unlikely to keep my AC high enough to matter at higher levels, anyway.

Assuming I don't bother investing any feats or tricks into boosting my AC, here's what I've got:

1. Weapon Finesse
2. Vanishing Trick
3. Two Weapon Fighting
4. Weapon Focus (use the Weapon Training ninja trick to get this one)
5. Combat Reflexes
6. Forgotten Trick, Shadow Clones, or ???
7. Extra Ki?
8. Improved Two Weapon Fighting or ???
9. More Extra Ki or Improved TWF or ???
10. Invisible Blade
11. Improved Critical
12. Evasion

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Fromper wrote:
Just to make sure I'm clear on the bite attack: It's just an extra attack at BAB -5 with 1/2 the strength bonus on damage. It doesn't affect my weapon attacks the way two weapon fighting would, or get affected by weapon attacks. Right?

Right.

Also, if you don't have other plans for your neck slot, you could consider a ghost touch amulet of mighty fists.

Silver Crusade

I know about the Amulet of Mighty Fists, but how do you add ghost touch to it? Bear in mind that this is for PFS, so everything has to be RAW, with no custom magic items. Were you thinking in terms of crafting it that way for non-PFS?

My normal neck slot item would be the old amulet of natural armor. Again, I'm not sure if I should be worried about AC with this guy. Invisibility and Shadow Clones for miss chances seem like my way to avoid getting hit, rather than trying to win the attack bonus vs AC arms race against the bad guys.

Silver Crusade

AoMF can take enchantments instead of +1 bonuses. The enchantments have to be able to be put on unarmed strikes, but they apply to any and all melee attacks you make. Menacing is another good one to put on an AoMF.

The reason I recommended putting off Vanishing Trick until 4 is because TWF is very feat intensive, and you don't get any bonus feats as a ninja (well, you get 2 if you give up ninja tricks for them). By skipping Weapon Finesse at level 1 and taking Finesse Rogue with your level 2 ninja trick, you basically give yourself another feat. If you were playing the character through level 1 you would be fairly useless in combat. Since you said you would most likely get through level 1 via GM credit, it makes perfect sense. Yes, you wouldn't get Vanishing Trick until level 4, but I think it's a perfectly fair trade-off in exchange for another feat. Plus it allows you to have TWF and Weapon Finesse at level 2.

In regards to Improved Initiative, I agree it's probably not necessary. I just couldn't think of anything else really worth taking since Imp TWF wasn't available yet. I agree, you shouldn't need Shadow Clones too often, but when you do need them, they are great to have. If you don't want to take Shadow Clones, take a trick at level 6 that affects your Sneak Attack. You should really take another look at Pressure Points, lowering a mob's Dex by 4 is the same as increasing every ally's attack bonus by 2 and that's nothing to sneeze at. Then at 8 I would definitely take Combat Trick and pick up Imp TWF.

I'm playing a ninja now in RotRL, except mine is going to use an Elven curve blade. I'm building it almost the exact way except I swap out Power Attack and Furious Focus for TWF and Imp TWF. Only level 3 so far, but it's a blast to play.

Silver Crusade

The amulet of mighty fists will only affect my bite attack, right? I might think about it when I reach the level of having that much extra money lying around, but I probably won't focus too much on my bite attack. It's a nice little extra to have because of my race, but with the -5 to hit, I doubt if I'll get many hits with it.

There's really no difference between my order and yours, when it comes to what I pick up. Either way, I'll have the same three feats and Vanishing Trick at level 4. I just like the idea of getting Vanishing Trick earlier, so I can use it at levels 2 and 3, at the expense of pushing back Two Weapon Fighting and Weapon Focus to levels 3 and 4.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Forgotten Trick, and taking Extra Ki as early as possible to pay for its use. That way, I can use flavorful, fun stuff like Shadow Clones, Wall Climber, Smoke Bomb, Flurry of Stars, Acrobatics Master, etc every once in a while, without having to commit a ninja trick to getting any of them permanently, since none of them are things that I could see myself wanting to use every adventure. I might even push back taking Combat Reflexes to level 7 get Extra Ki at level 5. Between extra uses of Vanishing Trick and extra attacks at full BAB, it's not like I'll ever run out of uses for more ki points.

While Pressure Points looks good, it's definitely dependent on hitting a lot with sneak attacks. Just one hit against a single foe before the group takes him down (as with each different mook in a fight against many opponents) will have no impact at all. So it'll really only be good against BBEG types.

So maybe this:

1. Weapon Finesse
2. Vanishing Trick
3. Two Weapon Fighting
4. Weapon Focus (use the Weapon Training ninja trick to get this one)
5. Extra Ki
6. Forgotten Trick
7. Combat Reflexes
8. Pressure Points
9. Improved Two Weapon Fighting
10. Invisible Blade
11. Improved Critical
12. Evasion

For traits, I'm leaning towards Amanander Militia and Meridian Strike. The Militia trait gives a +1 on all hit rolls while flanking. It's a non-evil country in Tian Xia with forced military service, so the idea that he was trained in combat, but was too wild to stay and serve his country, gives me a plot hook to begin with for his personality. And Meridian Strike should give me at least a little extra damage when it counts, while being more creative and interesting than the typical Dirty Fighter, even though DF would probably be more reliable extra damage spread out over various fights.

Silver Crusade

If you put Menacing or Ghost Touchnto the AoMF it will work for all of your attacks, not just the bite. I've never been a fan of Forgotten Trick just because of the ki cost. At level 6 with 16 Cha and Extra Ki, you still only have 8 ki points. Forgotten Trick costs 2 and you still have to pay for whatever trick you use. If you plan on using Vanishing Trick 3-4 times per day, that only leaves 1 use of Forgotten Trick. The traits look good, although I'm partial to Armor Expert because it allows you to wear a mithral breastplate with no ACP. Without it the best you can do is a mithral kikko which has 1 less AC.

Silver Crusade

OK, just re-read the Amulet of Mighty Fists description, and I understand now. Just one question: how do I know what abilities work with it? It says anything that can be used on an unarmed strike, but how do I know which weapon abilities that applies to?

Obviously something like keen that only works on piercing or slashing weapons won't work (which is unfortunate, because that would be awesome). I wonder if agile would work. After all, unarmed strikes work with Weapon Finesse. This would be insanely good for a dex based build like this, possibly to the point of being broken. If not, then agile will definitely be the first enhancement after the +1 bonus on both of my wakizashis, with keen coming later.

To me the whole point of Forgotten Trick isn't to use it a lot - I'm ok with only having enough ki to use it once per day. The point is that every once in a while, you can say "You know what would be good here?" and pull out Shadow Clones, Wall Climber, Flurry of Stars, Smoke Bomb, Acrobatics Master, or some other ninja trick you don't actually know, just as a one time thing. It would be a way to occasionally use all those ninja tricks that just aren't generically useful enough to know permanently. It just seems like flavorful fun that I'd probably only use once per adventure, but each time, it would be something new and different.

Speaking of getting more ki points, check out the Amulet of Hidden Strength in Ultimate Equipment. It lets you regain 2 ki points once per day. The best part is that you only need to wear it for a round to use it. So put it on for literally 6 seconds between fights to get back your first two spent ki points of the day, then toss it back in the handy haversack and put the Amulet of Mighty Fists back on. It's 9000 gold, so I can't imagine getting it until at least level 8 or 9, but it's very cool.

The more I think about it, I guess Pressure Points is probably worth getting. In fact, now I'm thinking it might be worth delaying other stuff to get it at level 4 or 6. Maybe I'll see how often I'm hitting and missing at level 3 with TWF, then decide if I really feel like I need Weapon Focus at level 4, or if I can delay it until level 5 to pick up Pressure Points at 4. Of course, this pushes everything else back, but it could be worth it.

Silver Crusade

You definitely do not want to take Weapon Finesse and Weapon Focus via feats when both are available via trick. Feats are at least twice as powerful as tricks and you would be much better off getting at least one via trick, if not both.

I see your point about Forgotten Trick, but I have never been the kind of person to plan for contingencies. I'd rather have stuff that is useful in 80% of my fights rather than something I might get to use once per day.

I don't know what enchantments you can put n the AoMF. I just know you can put menacing on it and that seems like a really useful one for a class that should be trying to get into flanking position anyway.


I would assume that 'enchantments you can put on an unarmed strike' is another way of saying things like 'not enchantments that only go on ranged weapons' or 'not enchantments that only go on slashing weapons' or the like.

Anything that can go on a melee bludgeoning weapon, in other words.

Silver Crusade

Interesting to see you say that feats are more powerful than tricks. The guy who wrote the ninja optimization guide actually says the opposite. Personally, I'm inclined to go with the "whichever I want for my build" approach. But in the case of maybe taking Pressure Point at level 4, I'll probably end up with the same feats and tricks in the end, regardless of order. If I don't use a trick to get Weapon Focus, then I'll use one later to get Combat Reflexes or Two Weapon Fighting.

As for Forgotten Trick, I like being prepared for the oddball scenarios, because weird stuff does come up. Besides, those weird ninja tricks add flavorful fun to playing a ninja that I can't get from any other class, so I might as well play it up, even if it's not the most useful thing to take. I'll have enough other stuff to help in combat.

I may have to go search for more info on Amulet of Mighty Fists. There are a lot of threads out there, and a quick glance is confusing me more, not less.


You may want to see if you can fit the fox shape feat into the build. Fox form essentially gives you a +10 bonus to stealth due to size and dex changes. That combined with invisibility will give you insane stealth rolls.

Silver Crusade

Zhayne wrote:

I would assume that 'enchantments you can put on an unarmed strike' is another way of saying things like 'not enchantments that only go on ranged weapons' or 'not enchantments that only go on slashing weapons' or the like.

Anything that can go on a melee bludgeoning weapon, in other words.

Looking at other threads about this amulet, I'm realizing you're right. That's pretty cool.

But it does look like the amulet only affects unarmed strikes and natural attacks. So ghost touch or agile would only help my bite attack, which makes them good, but not great. I'm not sure why Bigdaddyjug thought it would help with my weapon attacks.

On the other hand, the menacing weapon quality would give the +2 bonus to hit on all attacks by myself and an ally while flanking, not just my bite attack. That's worth the base price of the amulet right there, especially since that price recently went down.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The idea with a ghost touch amulet of might fists is as a contingency. With your "real" weapon, you either pay far more gold for ghost touch, or you deal half damage and lose the ability to crit and sneak attack against incorporeal foes.

With the amulet, you could answer such a situation by flanking and biting the incorporeal creature for full (and sneak attack) damage.

Silver Crusade

I recommended Menacing. I also stated I wasn't sure how any other enchantment would work. I'd get a Menacing AoMF and get Agile Keen wakizashi +x.

You may want to do some DPR tests. It might turn out you do more damage with 1 wakizashi and Piranha Strike then TWF without it.

Silver Crusade

So I actually created this PC last night. I had 3 GM credits lying around that I hadn't applied to any PC yet, so I was able to create him as level 2 immediately. Actually, 2 of those GM credits were tied to a character # that didn't have a character on it yet, so now this ninja is that character #.

I went with the 18 dex, 16 cha, and 13 con, leaving str, int, and wis at 10. I just didn't want to dump any lower than that, because it would hurt my damage, skill ranks, and will saves, respectively. So I start with 4 ki points, and I put my favored class bonus into HP to make up for the con dropping from my original 14 idea, though I may put it in skill ranks at some levels in the future.

I went with Weapon Finesse at 1 and Vanishing Trick at 2, so he's ready to sneak up on things that way, even though I'll only get one attack until I pick up TWF next level. Actually, I can still full attack and get the bite attack.

For skills, the 8 skill ranks really proved to be minimal, but just barely enough. I would have maybe liked a couple more, but I figured HP is a higher priority at low levels, which is why that got the favored class bonuses. I managed to get 1 rank into every skill I will ever train, with only acrobatics and use magic device getting two. A lot of those are skills I just wanted to toss one rank in to activate the class bonus, though, so I'm unlikely to train them very often in the future. So I should be able to train the ones I care about with at least 50% of my level advances, keeping 2-4 of them at or near max.

For equipment, I spent 2 prestige points to get a wand of cure light wounds right away, which was why I wanted UMD maxed out. More often, I'll hand it to someone else to use, but I'll see if I can ever use it myself. At higher levels, I'll get good at that.

I spent most of my cash getting a mithral chain shirt right off the bat, so I can avoid any AC check penalty on skills. Unfortunately, that means I didn't have enough for a masterwork weapon yet, though I do have every damage type and both short and long range weapons for ranged attacks - wakizashi for P and S, nunchaku for B, shurikens for fast short range (sneak attack in a surprise round), and a short bow for longer range and when I have time to spend a move action pulling it out. I also spent the cash on mw thieves tools and a disguise kit, so I'm at +19 to pretend my kitsune is actually human. ;)

The reason I rushed to do this last night is that I might play him today. I'm scheduled to play in a level 1-2 adventure this afternoon, but being Pathfinder Society, I don't know who I'll be playing with or what characters they'll bring yet. I have a few level 2 PCs I can bring, so I'll see what the party needs, but now I'm excited to try this one out. But I also like most of my other PCs, so I'll be happy to play most of them.


n1 Poison use, sneak attack +1d6, imp initiative, weapon finesse
n2 Ki pool, *vanishing trick
n3 no trace +1, sneak attack +2d6, exotic weapon, Elven Curve Blade: a finesseable 2 handed weapon that dos 1d10 damage.
n4 *weapon training ECB, uncanny dodge
n5 sneak attack, +3d6, lighten weapon (a large ECB does 2d6 and you gain reach. you take minus 2, but look at the extra damage. No different then 2 weapon fighting. you can still wield it with 2 hands so finesse still applies) you lose a little sneak attack but I'm focusing on increasing the base weapon damage. plus I think the reach is more important.
n6 light steps, *ninja trick (I left this open so you can get your shadow clones if you want), no trace +2
n7 sneak attack +4d6, piranha strike (the finesse equivalent of power attack).
n8 imp uncanny dodge, step up (keep threatening with your large ECB).
n9 no trace +3, sneak attack +5d6, vital strike (now your ECB does 4d6)
n10 invisible blade, following step (better then step up)
n11 sneak attack +6d6, improved lighten weapon (the -2 disappears. you attack normally)
n12 opportunist
n13 sneak attack +7d6, step up & strike (whack'em if they try to break contact)
n14 crippling strike
n15 no trace +5, sneak attack +8d6, improved vital strike (now your ECB does 6d6)
n16 bleeding attack (add 1 point of bleed per die of sneak attack)
n17 sneak attack +9d6, improved critical
n18 no trace +6, *ninja rick ( I suggest combat reflexes since you have reach)
n19 sneak attack, +10d6, critical focus
n20 hidden master, assassinate
n21 bleeding critical (add another 2d6 points of bleed when you crit)

As soon as you can, add Agile to the weapon to add DEX to damage. Then put all the pluses you can.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the additional recommendations. Alejandro, I'll have to look into some of those feats you recommended. For now, I'm leaning towards this, which is pretty similar to what I already listed, but with the one tweak mentioned earlier:

1. Weapon Finesse
2. Vanishing Trick
3. Two Weapon Fighting
4. Pressure Points
5. Weapon Focus
6. Forgotten Trick
7. Extra Ki
8. Improved Two Weapon Fighting (Combat Trick)
9. Combat Reflexes
10. Invisible Blade
11. Improved Critical
12. Evasion

By the time I get Forgotten Trick at level 6, I should have a headband for extra charisma on top of my 16 starting, so I'll have 7 ki points already. That will let me use the occasional Shadow Trick, Flurry of Stars, Smoke Bomb, Wall Climber, or Acrobatics Master, as needed, while still having at least 4 uses of Vanishing Trick per day.

It's still tempting to take Shadow Trick instead of Forgotten Trick, because I'd likely use it regularly, unlike some of the others, which are just for very occasional flavor. If I find myself using Shadow Trick a lot, I might push Improved TWF back to level 9 to take Shadow Trick at 8, and just skip Combat Reflexes.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

If you do the math, two attack rolls is a lot better than +2 to hit. It's almost equal to +6 to hit, not to mention the multiple chances to critical and poison, and the possibility of getting two hits in.

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