Ninja AC - how to boost it?


Advice


Me and my ninja have a problem. Although he's fun to play, he has a major weak spot. With an AC of 15 he managed to fall into negatives a total of seven times during last session. I'm afraid he will see his ancestors soon if I don't come up with something to boost his AC. I picked Shadow Clone for his level 4 Trick. I don't think that is enough though. Relevant stats:

Liang Ur-Gren
Half-Orc Ninja 4
LN Medium Humanoid
Init +8 ; Senses Perception +7, Dark vision 60 ft

==DEFENSE==
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor)
Hp 25
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +3
Armor Studded Leather, MW

==OFFENSE==
Spd 30 ft
Melee Curve Blade, Elven +8 (1d10+6) 18-20/x2
Ranged Shortbow +5 (1d6) 20/x3
Ranged Shuriken +5 (1d2+4) 20/x2
Special Attacks Sneak Attack [2d6]

==STATISTICS==
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
BAB +3, CMB +7, CMD +19
Feats Improved Initiative, Exotic Weapon Profiency (Curve Blade, Elven)

Ninja Tricks Vanishing Trick, Shadow Clone
Traits Reactionary (+2 init), Indomitable Faith (+1 to will saves), Toothy (1d4+Str natural bite attack)

---

Any thoughts?

EDIT Fixed the stats


One cool trick is the feat "osyluth guile". If he's fighting defensively, you can add cha to AC against one enemy.

Otherwise, you dont have many options. Better armor? A wand of mage armor/shield (I believe you get UMD, no?). I generally build ninja's more towards finesse. Maybe one of the rogue guides will have some tips beyond "run away".


hargoyle wrote:
Any thoughts?

Elven Chainmail would be a huge boost, improving his +3 armor bonus to +6 before magical enhancements. Note that Elven Chainmail, unlike Mithral Chainmail, actually counts as light armor for purposes of proficiency.

Maxing out Use Magic Device for using a wand of shield is a smart idea.

The Dodge feat is never bad.

I would caution against Osyluth's Guile. Not only do you have to be at least 8th to take it, but the -4 penalty to attack rolls for fighting defensively is really punishing for a 3/4 BAB character. If you want to go that route, Crane Style is much, much better, and even then, the -2 to hit from Crane Style is hard to overcome until you get your attack bonus over the mid-level hump.

Shadow Clone is pretty redundant in low levels if you have Vanishing Trick. Shadow Clone gets a lot better later on, when more things have blindsight and Blind-Fight.

Speaking of, something that's very useful is activating Vanishing Trick after attacking, meaning that attacks against you will suffer a 50% miss chance. Even better is to take a 5' step after vanishing, because then it's Perception vs. Stealth to even pinpoint the correct square to attack.

Another thing that's important is that, since you've got Vanishing Trick, you can move around the combat more freely than your party can. You can choose when and where you reappear. So, if you make sure to reappear on the "wings" of the combat, where there are few enemies who can attack you, you'll take fewer attacks, and thus take less damage. Let the high-AC, high-HP characters charge up the middle.

I've played quite a few rogues and ninja in the past, and one thing I'll note is that with low point-buy builds, going two-handed and Str-focused is always tough on the AC. You don't have the hit points that Fighters and Barbarians have to make up for the AC hit you take for splitting Dex and Str, and you're stuck with light armor. Fortunately, Elven Chainmail really helps here.

-Matt


hargoyle wrote:
Any thoughts?

You can definitely wear better than studded leather. At least go for a chain shirt, and its only 1k more for a +1 chain shirt(5, 2 over your 3).

I'm curious how you got those stats. They don't look too hot.

Lantern Lodge

Just a couple of quick thoughts...

If your character is close to Wealth by Level, you presumably have about 6000 gp in equipment. I'd upgrade to a mithral chain shirt +1, or about 1/3 your money.

If your GM will let you "retcon" your character, I'd dump the Elven Curve blade and switch to a Katana. I really don't see enough of an advantage to the Elven Curve Blade over the Katana to make it worth expending a feat to be able to use it (1d10 vs 1d8 damage, same crit stats, and the Katana can be used one-handed if you need to). The "retcon" part comes in convincing your GM to let you get rid of the Exotic Weapon Proficiency and switching it to something else, like Dodge, or Improved Unarmed Combat. Dodge gives an immediate +1, or if you go Improved Unarmed Combat, you can use that as the jumping off point to pick up Crane Style, then Crane Wing, and fight defensively.

Just the Armor and Dodge will bump you to AC 18, still a bit low for 4th level, but at least not everything will hit you all the time.


@MrSin

Fixed the stats.


I'm kinda surprised, normally the half-orc rogue STR builds use the surprise follow through feat line.

mage armor spell is the first thing that comes to mind, a wand is 15gp for one hour of +4 AC and the one hour duration makes pre-buffing practical

fighting defensively -4 to hit on all attacks for +2 AC (dodge). not great, but something to keep in mind for when you need it.

as a half-orc you have dark vision, so being in dim light gives you concealment (20% miss chance) against creatures without dark vision or some other means of seeing in the dark & being in the dark gives you total concealment (50%) miss chance. You'd do well to stay away from those blind humans with their torches and strike from the cover of darkness.


How magic mart is your game?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A huge part of it is also, how you *use* vanishing trick I find. As Mattastrophic says I don't know how you've been using it but if not like this then I'd suggest never, unless absolutely desperate, casting it and *then* attacking in the same round. Move up (in stealth ideally), attack, *then* go invis. You may miss your sneak attack on the first round, but so be it. Next round move & attack/full attack from invisibility *then*... swift action invis. Repeat. You will be invis for the enemies turn, feel free to 5ft step if you didn't move as well. They have to guess which square you're in, still hit your AC and then suffer a 50% miss chance.

As to AC, a Chain Shirt or Lamellar Leather is AC 4, a Masterwork Buckler (no armour check penalty so no penalty for non proficiency) is another +1 should you not be using that arm, plus 2 from Dex is 17 already. Invest in an amulet of natural armour +1, ring of protection +1 or +1 enhancement to your armour, those are all cheap and at least a couple should be affordable by 4th level going by WBL. All 3 would pop you up to AC 20 with the other changes. Getting more Dex will obviously help via a belt of stats at slightly higher levels.

Offensive Defense is also a great Rogue Talent to take, at higher levels it can pump your AC against someone you sneak attack to very impressive levels.


cnetarian wrote:
mage armor spell is the first thing that comes to mind, a wand is 15gp for one hour of +4 AC and the one hour duration makes pre-buffing practical

Doesn't stack with regular armor though. Only characters who don't wear armor really benefit from it.(monks, wizards, eidolon, etc.)

cnetarian wrote:
fighting defensively -4 to hit on all attacks for +2 AC (dodge). not great, but something to keep in mind for when you need it.

Its pretty awful really, tends to get more people killed than save. You can make it better though with feats. In particular the crane wing style feats. Use with a katana and you can always have a free hand and threaten at the end of a full attack by taking your hand off your weapon and then putting it back on for your attack routine.

Concealment is awesome if you can take advantage of it though! In 3.5 you used to be able to get almost full time sneak attacks with it and a magic item. They removed that in the transition though if I remember right.


A combination of Masterwork Chain Shirt, Ring of Protection +1 and Amulet of Natural Armor +1 will give you +3 AC for 4250g before selling your studded leather armor. Expensive but with an AC of 18 you will evade many more attacks.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Two good items I've got quite a bit of mileage from on my ninja are a Ring of Foe Focus and a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier. The Jingasa negates one crit per day and gives a +1 Luck bonus to AC for only 5k, not bad. The Ring of Foe Focus allows you to (at will) designate a target that you receive a +2 untyped bonus to AC AND saves versus. Its a bit more pricey at 10k, but well worth it.


MrSin wrote:
cnetarian wrote:
mage armor spell is the first thing that comes to mind, a wand is 15gp for one hour of +4 AC and the one hour duration makes pre-buffing practical

Doesn't stack with regular armor though. Only characters who don't wear armor really benefit from it.(monks, wizards, eidolon, etc.)

cnetarian wrote:
fighting defensively -4 to hit on all attacks for +2 AC (dodge). not great, but something to keep in mind for when you need it.

Its pretty awful really, tends to get more people killed than save. You can make it better though with feats. In particular the crane wing style feats. Use with a katana and you can always have a free hand and threaten at the end of a full attack by taking your hand off your weapon and then putting it back on for your attack routine.

Concealment is awesome if you can take advantage of it though! In 3.5 you used to be able to get almost full time sneak attacks with it and a magic item. They removed that in the transition though if I remember right.

Fighting defensively is pretty awful, usually, but sometimes it isn't. If a ninja is dying so often, they are probably acting as an attack sponge, and that is when fighting defensively can pay off. While dead enemies don't make any attacks (so it is usually preferable to kill them faster) dead ninjas are not killing enemies at any speed (excluding undead). Don't use it by default but keep it in mind as it can be very useful, especially when fighting enemies below player level. The rule of thumb I use is that if enemies can only hit me on a 17+ (or worse) and are attacking me, then fight defensively. While crane style etc can make it better, crane style is a 3 feat investment so it's really only an option for those who can dip a level of monk or have feats to burn.


This is just me, but your main damage would come from sneak attacks, not raw power, use stealth and do ranged attacks like shuriken for sneak attack damage if you were based off Dex more you could have a better AC and high chance to hit with shuriken from range and when you attack just stealth again, or if your Dex based anyways you should be able to get weapon finesse and most of the weapons you use should be finesse-able and you can keep your Dex to hit in melee too.


cnetarian wrote:
I'm kinda surprised, normally the half-orc rogue STR builds use the [i]surprise follow through[i] feat line.
Captain Zoom wrote:
If your GM will let you "retcon" your character, I'd dump the Elven Curve blade and switch to a Katana. I really don't see enough of an advantage to the Elven Curve Blade over the Katana to make it worth expending a feat to be able to use it (1d10 vs 1d8 damage, same crit stats, and the Katana can be used one-handed if you need to).

To me, story comes first, mechanics second. That's why this build may not make sense, being STR based and all. And that Curve Blade.. well, it's the sword of his lost brother. The only memento Liang has of him. He was swallowed by night, never to been seen again.. So the Curve Blade makes sense, storywise. There are kazillion other feats I could've taken. But this served the story best.

But. Mechanics shoudn't be forgotten, for dead ninjas tell no tales. That's why I need the AC.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
How magic mart is your game?

The village our characters adventure has a Base Value of 1,000 gp and Purchase Limit of 5,000 gp. So very basic stuff only. For now, at least.

riatin wrote:
Two good items I've got quite a bit of mileage from on my ninja are a Ring of Foe Focus and a Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier. The Jingasa negates one crit per day and gives a +1 Luck bonus to AC for only 5k, not bad. The Ring of Foe Focus allows you to (at will) designate a target that you receive a +2 untyped bonus to AC AND saves versus. Its a bit more pricey at 10k, but well worth it.

Good stuff! Didn't even know these exist!

We had a session last night. Bought the MW Chainshirt. Will enchant it shortly. Probably take Dodge as the next level feat. And will retcon Shadow Clone, but what to choose?

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Ninja AC - how to boost it? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.