Tactics for Ninjas (and Rogues)


Advice


So in my latest PFS game I decided to not play a spellcaster for once, goitg with a Ninja instead. Chalk it down to masochism.
Anyway, I admit I'm not used to substituting cleverness for magical power. The first game she was pretty ineffective, so I'm looking for good tactics and tricks to help me out. Preferably using mundane items and cheap magic like Smokesticks and Tanglefoot Bags. Anything that would help get sneak attacks would be most appreciated.

I'll start off with this: getting a wand of Faerie Fire to negate concealment.

Any other ideas?


Be a strangler. It will let you sneak attack a grappled victim.

The Exchange

It's a bit trickier in PFS than in regular campaign play because a lot of a rogue's best 'tricks' lie in avoiding head-on fights, which PFS adventures tend to feature. That's not a criticism: it's the consequence of the fact that there are a lot more classes that are built for head-on fights. If your PFS GM is flexible enough to allow for things like the ninja luring the enemies into an ambush zone where the rest of the PCs lie in wait, or allowing you to climb to rafters or clifftops to snipe before announcing that initiative must be rolled, you'll be better off. If you're gaming at a PFS event with multiple GMs you might shuffle tables a bit and see if your "ineffectiveness" was partly due to the ref's style. It might not be, but it costs you very little to find out.


You are a level 1 Ninja, correct? Any other information about your build would be nice. Feats, Traits, weapon set-up, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Well it helps to have something that you're good at and kind of focus on that. Ninja Damage comes almost exclusively from sneak attack, so you need to find a way to get that off. A lot. Currently my pfs Ninja is level 6. His feat selection includes: Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon focus (Wakazashi) and Quick Draw.

Tricks are: Vanishing Trick, Bleeding Attack, and Pressure Points.

I generally start off combat (if I go first by taking a full round attack and spending a Ki point to Throw 3 Shiruken at 3 different opponents, hitting each for a point of Strength Damage, and 3 points of bleed damage on each opponent. On the following round I vanish and pop up a round later in a flanking position for a full round attack with twin wakazashi for big sneak attack damage and 2 pts str to the opponent.

Silver Crusade

I thought you could only apply one extra trick/talent effect to any sneak attack? So you wouldn't be able to use Pressure Points and Bleeding Attack on the same attack.

Keeping acrobatics maxed out so you can tumble into flanking position is very helpful for getting sneak attacks.

Since you get sneak attacks on anyone who is flat footed, pumping up your initiative any way you can is another good tactic. This is where the shuriken come in - you don't want to have to draw a ranged weapon in a surprise round.

Vanishing Trick is pretty much mandatory for ninjas, too. When you attack from invisibility, it's always a sneak attack. Just remember that the first attack makes you visible, so subsequent attacks aren't automatically sneak attacks. So use that invisible time to get into flanking position.


Nice build! I am working on a swordsman build, kind of like a falchion rogue. I am looking at improved int, blind-fight, quickdraw, power attack, shadow strike, furious focus, crit focus, then some delicious crit feats, with extra ki in their somewhere.

As for tactics, disguise should be big, either sudden disguise or just the old fashioned version. Infiltrate enemy camps and bring back a map of the enemy territory. Use dirty trick, smoke pellets, grenades, lots of other alchemical weapons (which sadly do not scale in their DCs :( ). If there is an alchemist in the party, make friends. Alchemist is actually a really nice class for a ninja to have as an ally.

Help the party plan ambushes. Use them to get in a rockin' sneak attack/assassination attempt before ducking out and pulling back to flank with your allies. If you don't have vanish, use a shovel or spade to dig some cover and hide by constricted paths or roads and pop out as your target walks by.

Grand Lodge

* Use Acrobatics to get into flanking positions
* Find out who the best tank (if any) is at the table you are playing with and try to coordinate flanking with him
* Since you are likely going before your flanking buddy in initiative order, move into position then Ready an attack for when you get flank
* Pick up Vanishing Trick early. This will give you one free Sneak Attack and allow you to move into position easily. It is also great for retreating when the position you move into proves too dangerous.
* Use Stealth to get you an occasional surprise round
* Make sure you have a ranged weapon available for use in the first round to take advantage of flat-footed opponents. Shuriken is usually best for this since it is ammunition you can pull and throw it with one hand while you have a melee weapon in the other
* Use UMD and get wands with your PP, like Cure Light Wounds, Shield, Faerie Fire, Obscuring Mist and even Ray of Frost (flat-footed, touch ACs rarely ever get above 10 at any level)
* Feinting in Combat and the Dirty Trick maneuver can both give you a single Sneak Attack every other round but neither of these are very efficient without additional feats


For lower levels, flankign and vanishing trick will be your best friends. However, if you are not adverse to some feat intensive builds, there are other options.

Option 1 - intimidation.

Take weapon focus, dazzling display, and shatter defenses. You won't be able to get all of these till lvl 8, but intimidation is easy to pull off, especially if you go the extra mile and take the skill focus and persuasive skills for an extra +5 (+10 if you have at least 10 ranks).

If you are small you can always add in the taunt feat and focus in the bluff skill instead, or if you are big and muscley the intimidating prowess feat might be more your style.

Option 2 - improvised weaponry

Take catch off guard and improvised weapon mastery. You can easily keep a 1d4 base dmg (or better) improvised weapon with you data all times. The die type will increase by one step (d4-d6-d8-etc) and you will still benefit from a 19-20/x2 crit range, which can (so far as I'm aware) be increased to 17-20/x2 with improved critical (improvised weapon) as the imp weap mastery feat overrides the normal properties of your weapons instead of "doubling their crit range", though the effect is still the same. (Note; I could be wrong, but I do believe these actually do stack in this case.)

Of course, you will only be able to treat unarmed opponents as flat footed while wielding an improvised weapon, so you should specialize in either sunder or disarm maneuvers as well to use this to best effect. Sunder is generally more effective tho, especially if you are using an adamantine shovel to crack their weapon and deal the extra dmg straight to your opponent using greater sunder.

Option 3 - capitalize on one of the above

If you aren't adverse to dealing nonlethal damage you will love this one. Take the feats bludgeoner (at least if you are planning on using an improvised weapon), sap adept, and sap master. You will be able to deal nonlethal dmg with any bludgeoning weapon (most improvised weapons falling into this category), will get to roll sneak attack dmg twice, and get an additional 2 points of dmg per sneak attack die rolled. At lvl 20 that equates to 20d6 + 40 SA dmg (avg 110 dmg) before adding in weapon dmg or other bonuses such as from a high Str score.

The downside: all this damage is nonlethal, so creatures and characters with regeneration will heal it double time, in addition to any lethal dmg they would normally heal. Same goes for healing spells cast on any of your targets, which could bring them back in the fight pretty quickly. But then again, clerics capable of casting such spells should be your first targets anyway.


If you can swing a modest Int score, a vivisectionist alchemist would be a decent 3 level dip for a ninja.

You would keep your sneak attack, and gain throw anything, mutagens, extracts, brew potion, poison resist +2, swift alchemy, and a discovery (some good candidates include concentrate poison, spontaneous healing, infusion, poison conversion).

Then you could craft your own smoke bombs, poisons, grenades, and get some useful extracts like shield, jump, expeditious retreat, true strike, cure light wounds, disguise self, keen senses, etc.

Grand Lodge

Anburaid wrote:

If you can swing a modest Int score, a vivisectionist alchemist would be a decent 3 level dip for a ninja.

You would keep your sneak attack, and gain throw anything, mutagens, extracts, brew potion, poison resist +2, swift alchemy, and a discovery (some good candidates include concentrate poison, spontaneous healing, infusion, poison conversion).

Then you could craft your own smoke bombs, poisons, grenades, and get some useful extracts like shield, jump, expeditious retreat, true strike, cure light wounds, disguise self, keen senses, etc.

Vivisectionists are not legal in PFS.


Don't forget Disorienting maneuvers.

Silver Crusade

The first decision you need to make is whether you want to be Dex-based or Str-based. If you decide on Dex-based, you need to decide if you want to use a two-handed weapon or dual-wield wakizashi. Once you answer those 2 questions, I can give you a build and some solid advice on it.


Well, there's the dervish dance dex based build, too. One handed weapon skirmisher with high damage *and* high AC. The downside is that levels 1 and 2 are hard (thought you could combat trick at level 2 if you don't mind delaying invisibility) and the extra feat hurts the already feat-starved ninja.

A two handed weapon build would be strength based. Katana or Elven-Curve Blade.

Sovereign Court

The improved feint / greater feint set can take you into a head on situation and still pull off sneak attacks. It can also prevail where invisibility doesn't work (e.g. uncanny dodge, blind fight, etc.) I think the main item is to put as many viable hits onto the enemy as possible and let sneak attack do the rest. You can literally kill with a toothpick if you so desire.

Long term depends on your nature:
arcane trickster - for a combination with magic.
shadow dancer (to hide in plain sight)
or full ninja

If I was going full ninja (12 levels) - I'd set up a dispelling strike combo (minor magic, major magic, adv (dispelling strike)) as some higher level mods have a heavy amount of preped magic..and stripping them down is a huge party benefit. You then become a big threat, so time your attacks well with the balance of the party. Combined with the Gr Invis advanced ninja trick is truly terrifying.


My primary ninja/rogue tactic ...

Find the biggest, beefiest beatstick of a PC you can, and hide behind him until he melees with someone. Then Acrobatics your way around him and flank. Commence evisceration.


Dual wield wakizashis and take the combat oriented ninja tricks. Slice everything to ribbins.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like to take the moonlight stalker feat. +2 on attack and damage vs oponents who you have concealment too.
Downside: low-light or darkvision, blindfight and combat expertise as well as 3 ranks in bluff are necessary. So you can´t be human or halfling and pure ninja would be level 5 before that kicks in.
Upside: Nice to hit and damage buff. Also concealment can be a lot. Follow up feats are also nice.

A 2 level dip in fighter Lore Warden eases the pain of waiting.


Flank. Sneak Attack. Hope your target is too busy to fight back.

Well, as a Ninja you can use Vanishing Trick/Invisible Blade to Sneak Attack at least one a round, assuming you still have Ki points left and your opponent is not able to detect you.

Grab Defensive Combat Training and/or put some ranks in Acrobatics and Escaple Artist. That might go a long way to help you survive.

Also, invest a lot of gold in save-boosting items. You have the worst ones in the game!

Contributor

Personally, I play up the fact that the Ninja gets free Exotic Weapon Proficiency with the katana and wakishashi. Both are high-critical threat weapons, so going for critical hits is pretty sweet. If you get a good Strength score, ninjas are the only Rogue archetype that get proficiency with a decent 2H melee weapon, so if you're willing to pile on some Strength taking a 2H build with Power Attack is not a bad option as a ninja. If you feel like going half-elf, you can pick up Skill Focus (stealth) for free and use it to qualify for Eldritch Bloodline (umbral), though I don't know if its legal for PFS play. The umbral bloodline gives you the ability to add a bonus to your Stealth fairly often, and because Ninjas are Charisma-based, you got some cool tricks going for you there. If you go deep enough, at 9th level you can grab Shadow Well which is basically a better Hide in Plain Sight.

Lantern Lodge

If you're trying to optimize, avoid the TWF trap at all costs! You will put out far less DPR and have a higher feat tax. Not to mention in PFS your character will be crippled for over half his career until he gets his hands on two agile weapons and even then will do less damage than a 2HF. Also avoid spending ki on anything other than vanishing trick and extra attacks.

With my half-orc ninja, I pop vanishing trick immediately and move behind enemy lines to hit soft targets like archers or casters. At low levels you can usually one hit a boss (with a proper 2HF build).

Take the traits reactionary and armor expert. This way you boost your initiative and can wear a mithril breastplate at no penalty.

Always have shuriken handy. Since they are considered ammunition, they are drawn as part of your attack action. So during the initial round you can move, throw a shuriken with sneak attack against flat-footed opponents, then go invisible.


I notice that people keep calling TWF a "trap", but for a class that gets the majority of their dmg from an ability completely separate from their weapon's base attack output, I'm not so sure I'd call it that.

While I have never, personally, elected to go much farther than the basic TWF feat (occasionaly splurging on TW Defense or Double Strike), I am quite fond of this on sneak attack builds.

Granted, a properly built fighter will easily match a fully stated rogue's SA on any single hit in a full attack, and probably beat it hands down using feats like the vital strike tree, but that is what they are designed to do.

However, having a realistic chance to get off your SA dmg more than once in a round, when it is likely over 60% of your dmg output is too good to pass up IMO.

That said, given the rogue & ninja's avg BAB, the -2 atk penalty is already a hit, making taking the Imp and Greater versions of TWF rather ineffective given the slim chance of landing one of these attacks with the cumulative -5 penalties for iterative.

Silver Crusade

Mystically Inclined wrote:

Well, there's the dervish dance dex based build, too. One handed weapon skirmisher with high damage *and* high AC. The downside is that levels 1 and 2 are hard (thought you could combat trick at level 2 if you don't mind delaying invisibility) and the extra feat hurts the already feat-starved ninja.

A two handed weapon build would be strength based. Katana or Elven-Curve Blade.

You could do a Dex based build with an Elven curve blade. It isn't quite as high damage as the Str based version, but it's still viable.

kaisc006 wrote:

If you're trying to optimize, avoid the TWF trap at all costs! You will put out far less DPR and have a higher feat tax. Not to mention in PFS your character will be crippled for over half his career until he gets his hands on two agile weapons and even then will do less damage than a 2HF. Also avoid spending ki on anything other than vanishing trick and extra attacks.

With my half-orc ninja, I pop vanishing trick immediately and move behind enemy lines to hit soft targets like archers or casters. At low levels you can usually one hit a boss (with a proper 2HF build).

Take the traits reactionary and armor expert. This way you boost your initiative and can wear a mithril breastplate at no penalty.

Always have shuriken handy. Since they are considered ammunition, they are drawn as part of your attack action. So during the initial round you can move, throw a shuriken with sneak attack against flat-footed opponents, then go invisible.

This guy here knows what's going on. I am building a Str based ninja this exact way. Except you can't take Reactionary and Armor Expert. You need to take Armor Expert and Adopted -> Elven Reflexes. And the best starting race for a ninja is an angel-blooded Aasimar or a human. I prefer the Aasimar.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you have a good cooperating party, gang-up could also be nice for you.
If going twohanded, consider a reach weapon.

Moonlight stalker feint is a supreme follow up for moonlight stalker, since it lets you feint faster.

Potions of blur only cost 300gp, a scroll 150gp. Ask you local magic wielders to help you out on that.

What is another possibility to get sneak attack:
Spring attack and either hellcat stealth or hide in plain sight, or both.
You attack from hiding and move away, hiding again. That way you can "kite" your enemies. Reach weapons or a whip are especially good for this, since you also stay out of reach of AoO´s.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ready attack actions for allies to move to flank.

A high UMD opens a lot of options.

Move to make full attacks while invis then use the vanish trick to turn invis after your full attack, rinse and repeat.

Lantern Lodge

Master_Crafter wrote:
I notice that people keep calling TWF a "trap", but for a class that gets the majority of their dmg from an ability completely separate from their weapon's base attack output, I'm not so sure I'd call it that.

This is exactly why it's a trap. A pile of d6's might look like a ton of damage, but you're better off building a higher static damage bonus. This way when you're critical hitting on 15-20, your damage is getting multiplied. There literally is no benefit to TWF. Compared to a 2HF, you deal less damage in every type of attack (including full-round which you are supposed to deal more), can only deal decent damage when full-round sneak attacking (rare), are worthless until you get two agile weapons (which a 2HF has a keen weapon by this point plus you won't get these till around lvl 8 in PFS which is over half your career), and you're spending more feats.

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Except you can't take Reactionary and Armor Expert.

Crapola I forgot that! Mine has Strong in the Faith for +1 Will saves but I can see really any trait working here even if it's just for fluff.


Master Crafter wrote:
notice that people keep calling TWF a "trap", but for a class that gets the majority of their dmg from an ability completely separate from their weapon's base attack output, I'm not so sure I'd call it that.

Its not that getting to two weapon fight while flanking wouldn't be awesome, its just that it does not, as a matter of practicality, happen all that often.

Round 1: Rogue moves into position. Delays for fighter. Sneak attacks once. Fighter hits them. In all likelyhood, the party archer or wizard sees someone on their last legs and finishes them off

Round 2: You sneak attack them once more and they're dead. So you need to move onto the next target

Full attacks and flanking happening together are an almost celestial alignment of events. Yes its awesome when it happens but its an incredibly heavy feat investment for something that happens infrequently.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, I don't think high initiative is really a bonus on a Str-based ninja because you're going to get almost all of your sneak attacks via flanking or Vanishing Trick, so Reactionary really isn't that important.

Armor expert is huge to be able to wear a mithral breastplate with no ACP, as you said. I think when I finally play my Str-based ninja in PFS I'm going to take the +1 Will saves and Armor Expert.

My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat. I'm strongly considering Skill Focus (UMD) and getting a wand of Lead Blades after my 2nd scenario.

In regards to TWF, you almost have to be a fighter to pull it off. It requires so many feats to do it right that the only other class that can even come close is a ranger. Oddly enough, most fighters who do go TWF end up using kukri for the expanded crit range because the static damage bonuses are so high the weapon damage is nearly irrelevant. You could spend a feat and take EWP (wakizashi), but you'd be spending a feat to add 1 damage to every attack. That's totally not worth it.

Silver Crusade

Ok, so you all seem to agree that a two weapon fighting rogue/ninja won't match the damage output of a well built fighter or barbarian. But does that make it a "trap", or just a slightly less optimized build?

Personally, I just built a TWF ninja for PFS, which is my first time trying a TWF character. If he can consistently do 75% as much damage as I used to do with my now retired barbarian, I'll be pretty happy with him. That's enough to be useful in combat, while also being a much better non-combat character because of his skills. The biggest weakness with him will be his reliance on other party members to provide flanks.

I just think too many people get too caught up in trying to optimize damage output. Just because a particular build doesn't do the most damage ever, it doesn't mean they suck or the build is a "trap". You don't have to be optimized to be useful.

I do have a question on two weapon fighting, though. Everyone keeps saying it's feat intensive. Can someone provide me with a list of the feats necessary to be most effective with it? I've got Weapon Finesse to get away with 10 strength, Two Weapon Fighting (duh!), Weapon Focus (Wakizashi), and eventually Improved TWF.

I know about Two Weapon Defense, but I don't think it's worth the effort to focus on AC. And if I do decide to spend feats on AC, Dodge comes first, in case I'm ever disarmed of a weapon. But I think Vanishing Trick, Shadow Clones, and Extra Ki are better tricks/feats to use to avoid getting hit than focusing on armor class.

Am I missing any TWF feats?

Lantern Lodge

Fromper wrote:
Ok, so you all seem to agree that a two weapon fighting rogue/ninja won't match the damage output of a well built fighter or barbarian. But does that make it a "trap", or just a slightly less optimized build?

We aren't saying they are bad compared to a fighter/ranger/barbarian, we are saying they are bad compared to a ninja using a weapon two-handed. Compared to a fighter/ranger/barbarian they are really really bad lol.

To be honest it's not slightly less optimized, it's terrible. There are multiple threads on this subject that use DPR calculations to show just how bad it is. on 3/4 BAB class especially, TWF won't work. BigNorseWolf has it right that actually TWF with sneak attack rarely occurs and if it does it's irrelevant because your opponent is likely close to death anyways.

As for TWF feats, should only pick the bare minimum of TWF, Weapon Finesse, and Improved TWF. Avoid the ninja ability shadow clones as your ki should only be used for vanishing trick. Because you're spending feats for TWF, you'll have very low ki and probably won't be able to afford extra attacks.

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat

I just played it safe with Dodge lol.

Grand Lodge

Fromper wrote:


Am I missing any TWF feats?

Not really since a good deal of the feat tree doesn't actually give you extra attacks which is all you really care about for a sneak attacker.

I have a 4th level TWF Ninja in PFS but all but two XP came from GM credits, so my practical experience is limited.

The first time I played I was 2nd and had TWF but not Vanishing Trick. I was able to use TWF several time but only got it with Sneak Attack once, albeit this was against the BBEG, I used ki to get a 3rd attack and I did drop him.

The second time I played I was 4th level and had both TWF and Vanishing Trick. Unfortunately, my poor Fort saves did me in on the very first encounter. Five failed saves and my Strength was reduced to 0. The party cleric managed to bring me up to 1 with a Lesser Restoration and the Wizard hit me with Mage Armor so I could still participate, but anything that wasn't a sneak attack was pointless. I think I got to use TWF twice.

At fifth I plan on taking Butterfly's Sting which will at least make TWF without Sneak Attack more viable.

Silver Crusade

kaisc006 wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat
I just played it safe with Dodge lol.

Almost every time I build the character I end up with Dodge at level 1. I just keep thinking there has to be something better.

Scarab Sages

I think as a ninja trying to do something a tiny bit different is always going to make it more fun to play. They are fun as straight-up Ninjas, but the real joy in them comes from silly combos with ninja tricks that may not be optimized but are a blast to play. It's a game! Don't worry about being the strongest person at the table. Have you considered the Deep Sea Pirate and then getting a ship? If this is for Pathfinder Society you can actually spend prestige on a ship. Either way, it doesn't hugely hurt you and a combination of Ninja and Pirate would be fun as all getout.

Assistant Software Developer

I removed a post and a reply to it. That was not helpful.


Lemmy wrote:

Flank. Sneak Attack. Hope your target is too busy to fight back.

Well, as a Ninja you can use Vanishing Trick/Invisible Blade to Sneak Attack at least one a round, assuming you still have Ki points left and your opponent is not able to detect you.

I have not played a Ninja but vanishin trick is one of the best trick for ninja Maybe is a bad idea to use it every round. TO improved the chance of surviving I recommend offensive defense,befuddling strike and slow reaction.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat
I just played it safe with Dodge lol.
Almost every time I build the character I end up with Dodge at level 1. I just keep thinking there has to be something better.

For my human ninja I took blindfight. Just couldn't see having a ninja that stumbled around in the dark :)

Silver Crusade

Anburaid wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat
I just played it safe with Dodge lol.
Almost every time I build the character I end up with Dodge at level 1. I just keep thinking there has to be something better.
For my human ninja I took blindfight. Just couldn't see having a ninja that stumbled around in the dark :)

I keep wanting to take blindfight with my melee characters, but never seem to have a spare feat I can spend on it.

One of these days I need to make a straight up fighter, just so I can do all those feat intensive things that aren't usually options.

Silver Crusade

My Str-based ninja is going to be an angelkin Aasimar. Str-based two-handed weapon ninjas don't need as many feats and the +Str and +Cha is very nice. Plus the exact wording of Alter Self makes it a sick ability for a Str-based character to have available.

Actually, I've got a PFS character (a fighter) with 2 scenarios done on it that I'm going to be playing Saturday night. I'm thinking about rebuilding that character as this ninja.

The fighter is a straight fighter that uses a nodachi. I'm thinking of either turning it into a Str-based ninja or turning it into a TWF fighter that dual-wields kukri. The only problem with that is I really don't know how to build that character because the kukri requires lots of static damage bonuses to do good damage and I don't know how to achieve that while still meeting the 17 Dex requirement for Imp TWF. I am already dumping Cha, I didn't want to dump Int as well.

The Exchange

Really? I always put Blind-Fight near the top of my melee priority list. It's great for dealing with those uppity casters and their obscuring mist, blur, deeper darkness, blindness... Well, you get the idea.

Grand Lodge

Fromper wrote:
Anburaid wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
My biggest roadblock is picking a level 1 feat
I just played it safe with Dodge lol.
Almost every time I build the character I end up with Dodge at level 1. I just keep thinking there has to be something better.
For my human ninja I took blindfight. Just couldn't see having a ninja that stumbled around in the dark :)

I keep wanting to take blindfight with my melee characters, but never seem to have a spare feat I can spend on it.

One of these days I need to make a straight up fighter, just so I can do all those feat intensive things that aren't usually options.

I took BlindFight at first level with my monk as all the other feats he wanted were either free for monks or I couldn't take them at first. So far he has only gotten use out of it once but he has only played 5 adventures and blindness, invisibility and deeper darkness aren't that common at low levels.

The problem with BlindFight on a Ninja, Rogue or Barbarian is that it isn't as cost effective for a class with Uncanny Dodge as it duplicates some of the benefits.


I hate the TWF penalties on a med BaB class that has no built in way of improving their to hit. 2hw is the best dmg for any melee class, especially when you have to maneuver to get off your SA, which hurts your TWF rogue even more. I like to start off with a str= dex build at lvl 1 (16 is a good number) and at least a 12 con with your fcb going into HP from there. You never need more than an 18 str to be viable throughout your PFS career, anything else is gravy, but can be put elsewhere. A 1 lvl dip into ranger or fighter, cavalier, barbarian will get you all the prof you need. By end game (lvl 12) you should have 18 str/ dex (more dex if you like), 6d6 SA, mithril b-plate, good 2hw, and bump to your wis (rogue) or cha (ninja). This should be more than adequate.

If you take your lvl in ranger, get a wand of lead blades and a nodachi (ECB if you absolutely have to pump your dex), take imp feint and vital strike to get an almost garunteed 4d8 + 6d6 + static dmg against touch AC and you will be kicking major butt.

If you take your lvl in fighter or cavalier it's pretty much the same tactic, but without the auto win on your wand of lead blades. If you take your lvl in barb, you benefit from an HP and movement buff, but your AC tanks while you nova.

Half elf or elf makes the best ranger rogue.
Human or half Orc for a ranger ninja.
Dwarf for barbarian rogue.
Fighter and cavalier are tertiary options here.

H/elf ranger/ rogue*
16, 16, 12, 13, 12, 8
Elf ranger/ rogue*
16, 16, 12, 13, 10, 9
Human/ half Orc ninja/ ranger
16, 16, 12, 10, 10, 13
Dwarf barb/ rogue
14, 14, 16, 13, 14, 8

*edit: btw, forgot to mention, ninja doesn't need imp feint because of vanish trick*


IMO, though, you should look into straight elf ninja. Stats look like: 14, 16, 12, 12, 10, 14. Get a comp longbow (+2 str) and rapid shot/ many shot, swift vanish and loose arrows. Archery is at least equal to 2hw, you get off full attacks more than every other fighting style, your AC is decent, its at least as feat intensive as twf, you only have one weapon to enchant, and you stay out of melee anyway. Ninja plays a better sniper than a rogue any day!

You may want to pick up weapon finesse at least for those off times you can't just make pin cushions from range.


I often see rogues over-eager to get their sneak attack off rushing into combat, often before the frontliner has even acted which gets them into all sorts of trouble.

At the start of combat, since targets are flat-footed until they act, I like to get within 30ft and make ranged sneak attacks instead. you don't need to build for it, Just walk around with a bow ready if you suspect trouble and make the attack, drop the bow and proceed as normal once your fighter has closed the targets.

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