Why Rogue when you can Ninja?


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Scarab Sages

So here's the scenario. We have for the first time in my group a Ninja being played (Grippli as well, which is hilarious). He has now reached level 10. He's a Two-Weapon Fighting sort, Weapon Finesse, that path. Now he has the combination of Vanishing Trick, Invisible Blade, and Pressure Points. So with 7 ki points/day he can use Greater Invisibility for 70 rounds/day. Every time he succeeds on a Sneak Attack, he can do either 1 point of Strength or Dexterity damage, so nearly 4/round. He's denying the opponent it's Dexterity for being invisible. His damage output (while wearing Deliquescent Gloves) is 6D6 + 1D4+1 (wielding a pair of Wakizashi) per hit. If he hits 4 times in a round, that's maxing 164 points of damage.
Now yes I know there is See Invisibility, Blindsense/Tremorsense, True Seeing, Faerie Fire, Glitterdust, and Invisibility Purge around to counter this. But honestly I can't find any other class that even comes close to the damage output and defense abilities these few class abilities can grant (and no let's not talk about the Gunslinger :P).

Am I worrying too much? Or do others see this as well?


To answer your topic question, yeah, Ninja is seen as Rogue plus. That said, I think you are worrying too much and you already mentioned why.

There are plenty of ways to shut down invisibility and they become increasingly common as you gain levels. Ninjas don't really come online until level 10, a time when you are likely to starting see monsters that just flat out don't care about invisibility and casters who have the low level spells to burn to negate it.

Now think of the same Ninja you mentioned but without his greater invisibility. Is he now anything but soon to be dead?

Sovereign Court

Is the ninja better in combat overall? Yes.

But generally - the rogue is considered one of the weakest classes. (there are a few builds that make it work - but generally)

The main thing the rogue has on the ninja is being able to find magical traps.

Although - that max damage is kinda misleading as it's almost entirely with dice as opposed to the static bonuses a two-handed fighter would get.

Edit: Ninja'd :P


Rogues are commonly regarded as an underpowered class. If not the most underpowered class. Ninjas are by all measurements the better class. So are slayers and investigators. Unless you run some heavy homebrewing, those three should be your rogue-alternatives for all intents and purposes.

Ninjas aren't the most powerful class either though, a reasonably solid barbarian or fighter build should out-damage your ninja easily. I know that because i have a party with a very similar ninja build, and he has been outdone by a barbarian easily. And also by a summoner. Who is even more survivable (with a 38 AC, flight and the ability to cast invisibility as a spell)


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Hunters Moon wrote:

6D6 + 1D4+1 (wielding a pair of Wakizashi) per hit. If he hits 4 times in a round, that's maxing 164 points of damage.

...
But honestly I can't find any other class that even comes close to the damage output and defense abilities these few class abilities can grant

6d6+1d4+1 = 24.5 damage x 4 attacks = 98 damage per round

IF all four attacks hit... which is a big IF...

Level 10:

Crossblooded Sorcerer
- 99 average damage empowered scorching ray (as a level 3 spell)
99 average damage in one round

Fighter Archer
- 1d8 +3 STR +3 weapon +6 Deadly Aim +1 Rapid Shot +2 Weapon Spec +3 Weapon Group +2 Gloves of Dueling = 24.5 average damage per hit
- 4 attacks (2 at +10 BAB, +1 from Rapid Shot, +1 from Many Shot)
98 average damage per round

Paladin Sword-n-Board
- 1d8 +4 STR +2 weapon +6 power attack, +10 holy smite long sword
- 1d6 +2 STR +1 weapon +3 power attack, +10 holy smite light shield
- 4 attacks (2 long sword, 2 light shield)
92 average damage

etc.


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mmmmm...nothing like a rogues suck thread

Shadow Lodge

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Hunters Moon wrote:
Am I worrying too much? Or do others see this as well?

I wouldn't worry too much, and I certainly wouldn't try to counter him. He's been waiting 9 levels for greater invisibility, make sure he can enjoy it. Yes, he will destroy some combats, but there are enough things that he can't contend with to make it balanced (flying creatures, Will Saves, Fortitude Saves, Oozes, See Invisibility).

Just pick out the enemies that make sense for your campaign. If he destroys them, then he gets a warm fuzzy feeling. If he doesn't, then he'll (hopefully) understand that his build fluctuates dramatically in effectiveness. If you pick a range of enemies, then this should happen naturally.

Just make sure that he gets to regularly strut his stuff (at least every other combat, ideally more) and you'll have a happy player.

And, loathe as I am to admit it, there is virtually no reason to play a Rogue when you could play a Ninja.

Edit: Good point Dead Horse, let's stick to the quoted question and ways to make this GM's game more enjoyable.

Scarab Sages

Oh I definitely don't think Rogues suck at all. Just a query and thanks all for the responses, hope for lots more insight.

And the campaign is Skull & Shackles. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Hunters Moon wrote:

Oh I definitely don't think Rogues suck at all. Just a query and thanks all for the responses, hope for lots more insight.

And the campaign is Skull & Shackles. :)

Mechanically, they most certainly do suck.

You could have fun playing one, but the same could be said of the Commoner class.

It does not make either mechanically strong.


Thug in my opinion is a really good archetype and can only be chosen by the rogue class, so thats something.

prototype00

Shadow Lodge

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This GM is noting the power of the Ninja once he gets greater invisibility and asking if he is worrying about it too much. Lets get back to that.


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Rogues still have some of the coolest abilities, IMO. Like the one a Charlatan gets at level 3:

Rumormonger wrote:
A rogue with this talent can attempt to spread a rumor through a small town or larger settlement by making a Bluff check. She can do so a number of times per week equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 0). The DC is based on the size of the settlement, and it takes a week for the rumor to propagate through the settlement. If the check succeeds, the rumor is practically accepted as fact within the community; succeeding by 5 or more over the DC decreases the time it takes the rumor to propagate by 1d4 days. A failed check means the rumor failed to gain traction, while failing by 5 or more causes the opposite of the rumor or some other competing theory involving the rumor’s subject to take hold.

That's just cool, you gotta admit. Let's see your ninja do THAT!


The answer to your question is, "When you want to play a Rogue."

It's not all about how powerful a class is mechanically. It's absolutely silly to say that the Rogue is a useless class because other classes do a lot of their stuff better; the class has it's own mechanics and lots of people have fun playing a ROGUE, not a Slayer/Ninja/Investigator/whatever.

I'm not arguing that you have to be a Rogue to be a sneaky backstabber or anything like that. I am arguing that saying you should never play a Rogue because it isn't the best class is a ludicrous concept, especially in a tabletop RPG, where power NEVER has to be an issue if you don't want it to be.

I once read here that the best part about being a Rogue is writing it down on your character sheet, and I say: So what? If that's a valuable part of your tabletop experience, and you like having lots of SA dice and Rogue talents (as underpowered as they can be) and other stuff, who cares?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Effectively the rogue has now more or less officially been divided up into its component concepts:

Mystical Sneaky assasin - Ninja
Dashing swashbucker - Swashbuckler
Back Alley Murderer - Slayer
Intelligence based sherlock holmes stype - Investigator
Indiana Jones - Archelogist Bard
Vile Poisoner - Ninja OR Alchemist

Much like the core monk, the rogue tried to be too much and do too much at once, and isnt particularly good at any of those things as a result.

These component classes/ class-archtype combos are more focused, and have more mechanics tieing directly into their core concepts. They are also all either less/not reliant on sneak attack for combat prowess, OR they have the means to supply themselves with the circumstances for sneak attack.

Baring a very extreme example I'd recommend any one of these classes to a player over the base rogue, simply because it will be easier to get their concept working effectively for the class that fits.


Zodiac_Sheep wrote:

The answer to your question is, "When you want to play a Rogue."

It's not all about how powerful a class is mechanically. It's absolutely silly to say that the Rogue is a useless class because other classes do a lot of their stuff better; the class has it's own mechanics and lots of people have fun playing a ROGUE, not a Slayer/Ninja/Investigator/whatever.

I'm not arguing that you have to be a Rogue to be a sneaky backstabber or anything like that. I am arguing that saying you should never play a Rogue because it isn't the best class is a ludicrous concept, especially in a tabletop RPG, where power NEVER has to be an issue if you don't want it to be.

I once read here that the best part about being a Rogue is writing it down on your character sheet, and I say: So what? If that's a valuable part of your tabletop experience, and you like having lots of SA dice and Rogue talents (as underpowered as they can be) and other stuff, who cares?

Ninjas are better at the sneak attacking thing than rogues. Ninjas (as well as several archetypes for other, better classes) also can get rogue talents, if that's your thing. If you choose the rogue class as the means by which your character gets to do those things, then you are deliberately making your character less effective at those things than he/she could be.


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I personally think Grig Jig is the coolest ability in the game, I just wish I could cast it on a whole crowd of peasants so I could create my own musical numbers on demand.

Grig Jig wrote:

You can weave a bit of magic into your footwork, dancing with an infectious passion that compels another nearby to join in.

Prerequisite(s): Int 12

Benefit(s): Once per day the rogue can target one humanoid within 30 feet and attempt a Perform (dance) check as a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Her target must succeed at a Will save (DC equal to the rogue's Perform [dance] check) or it begins to dance uncontrollably. So long as the rogue continues to spend a full-round action dancing each round, the affected target does so as well. If the target is attacked or otherwise in immediate danger while dancing, the effect ends. Each round on its turn, the target can attempt an Acrobatics or Perform (dance) check or a Will save (target's choice) against the rogue's Perform (dance) check to end the effect. A target who resists the jig can not be affected by the same rogue's jig for 24 hours. The grig jig is a mind-affecting effect.

A rogue can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day for every 5 rogue levels she possesses.


Kolokotroni wrote:

Effectively the rogue has now more or less officially been divided up into its component concepts:

Mystical Sneaky assasin - Ninja
Dashing swashbucker - Swashbuckler
Back Alley Murderer - Slayer
Intelligence based sherlock holmes stype - Investigator
Indiana Jones - Archelogist Bard
Vile Poisoner - Ninja OR Alchemist

And these aren't the only options...

Mystical Sneaky Assasin - Bard, Inquisitor and Ranger do this very well.
Dashing Swashbuckler - Bard and Inquisitor are pretty good at this. So is anything with decent Cha and Dervish Dance, even some Barbarians.
Back Alley Murderer - Pretty much all of the classes I mentioned.
Int-based Sherlock Holmes Type - Alchemist, Bard, Slayer and even Magus and Inquisitor also work here.
Indiana Jones - Again, pretty much every class I mentioned.
Vile Poisoner - Anything with poison use, really. That said... I'd avoid using poison in PF. It's too expensive to craft and not all that effective.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lemmy wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:

Effectively the rogue has now more or less officially been divided up into its component concepts:

Mystical Sneaky assasin - Ninja
Dashing swashbucker - Swashbuckler
Back Alley Murderer - Slayer
Intelligence based sherlock holmes stype - Investigator
Indiana Jones - Archelogist Bard
Vile Poisoner - Ninja OR Alchemist

And these aren't the only options...

Mystical Sneaky Assasin - Bard, Inquisitor and Ranger do this very well.
Dashing Swashbuckler - Bard and Inquisitor are pretty good at this. So is anything with decent Cha and Dervish Dance, even some Barbarians.
Back Alley Murderer - Pretty much all of the classes I mentioned.
Int-based Sherlock Holmes Type - Alchemist, Bard, Slayer and even Magus and Inquisitor also work here.
Indiana Jones - Again, pretty much every class I mentioned.
Vile Poisoner - Anything with poison use, really. That said... I'd avoid using poison in PF. It's too expensive to craft and not all that effective.

Agreed, I am just pointing out that with the addition of the slayer, investigator and swashbuckler, its alot more clear. There are countless threads on how specific builds/archetypes could replicate aspects of the rogue, but those 3 base classes along with the ninja are far simpler and straightforward examples in my mind.


Ninjas are superior combatants (at least until they run out of ki), but not quite as good as actual scouts.

All it takes to ruin a ninja's day is an alarm spell. She'll either set it off, or have to go slinking back to the party and bring back a spell caster to chuck dispels at it until it sticks.

Spellcasting is kind of conspicuous, which may defeat the purpose of stealthy recon in the first place =P

Anywho. The short answer to "why play a rogue" is "because I actually want to a play a rogue." The longer answer is "because I want to see what I can do with what's allegedly the worst class in the game."

Rogues don't get the "I win" buttons that have been handed out to other classes, but are still quite effective in the hands of a good player.


I would take 2 levels of trapper ranger...No you got yourself a ninja with a slightly higher BAB, the ability to find traps, better overall saves, the ability to use a lot of wands.... yeah that would basically be the Rogue ++


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Nicos wrote:
Zilfrel Findadur wrote:
Why Ninja or anything else when you can Slayer?
In this case, I suppose, because magic tricks.

Stygian Slayer?


Zhangar wrote:

All it takes to ruin a ninja's day is an alarm spell. She'll either set it off, or have to go slinking back to the party and bring back a spell caster to chuck dispels at it until it sticks.

Trapfinding trait.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Zilfrel Findadur wrote:
Why Ninja or anything else when you can Slayer?
In this case, I suppose, because magic tricks.
Stygian Slayer?

Ok,then magic tricks not doable with Stygian Slayer (or at least not easily doable), like for example invisibility as swift action.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
Oh I definitely don't think Rogues suck at all.

Too bad. You said the "R" word. Your thread is doomed. DOOOOOOOMED


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Threeshades wrote:
Rogues are commonly regarded as an underpowered class. If not the most underpowered class. Ninjas are by all measurements the better class. So are slayers and investigators. Unless you run some heavy homebrewing, those three should be your rogue-alternatives for all intents and purposes.

Responding to the part I bolded.

Rogue 2 gives Trapfinding, Trapspotting, access via feat to additional rogue talents, makes a ton of skills class skills, and is still something that can be covered by Magical Knack.

Ninja do not get Trapfinding.

Archeologiest needs 6th level to get ability to handle magical traps.

Slayer can get Trapfinding at 2nd level, but I think they have to wait longer for the Trap Spotting.

Investigator doesn't get Trapfinding.

So, if you are doing a two level dip for the ability to deal with magical traps Rogue is the best.

If you don't want the Trapspotting or other rogue talents, Trapper (Ranger archetype) is better.

It is a very narrow niche, but it exists.


invisibility is a trap, teamwork feats and feinting is better.


Emmanuel Nouvellon-Pugh wrote:
invisibility is a trap, teamwork feats and feinting is better.

How is Invisibility a trap? It's not an auto-win button at high levels, but a trap?

Feinting is okay with Two-weapon feint... Without that, it's pretty underwhelming.

I can't comment on the feats introduced in the ACG, but the previous Teamwork feats were mediocre to bad, with a few exceptions.


Thug is also a strong and extremely-dippable archetype.

The Frightened condition is very strong, and it's easy to achieve as a free or swift action while still doing damage (Enforcer, Cornugon Smash, Intimidating Glare, Menacing Strike.)


RumpinRufus wrote:

Thug is also a strong and extremely-dippable archetype.

The Frightened condition is very strong, and it's easy to achieve as a free or swift action while still doing damage (Enforcer, Cornugon Smash, Intimidating Glare, Menacing Strike.)

It is. Even you can not frigthne them stacking shaken and sickened with just one attack is pretty good.


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DrDeth wrote:
Threeshades wrote:
Rogues are commonly regarded as an underpowered class. If not the most underpowered class. Ninjas are by all measurements the better class.

No, they are not. You can say you regard them so, but please dont speak for other players.

yes, they are . You can say you don't regard them so, but please dont speak for other players.


Don't worry too much, the invisibility is nice but easily countered. The ninja suffers from the same problem the rogue does. They lack a method to boost their attack bonus. So they will miss lots at the higher levels.

A ninja and even the rogue can be very over powered in appearance if they have party that makes them so. With debuffs making it easier to hit and buffs to increasing their attack bonus along with some softening up from ranged touch spells. An ninja with grt invis will be wiping things out. Things it's 2 other party members allowing them to. So it's not overpowered at all.


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I'd like to point out that a number of high level monsters DON'T have the ability to see invisibility. Yes, a majority of the high level demons have them, but take, for example, the Pit Fiend.

Surprise! They can't naturally see invisible creatures! For the average Pit Fiend to locate a Invisible Blade ninja, it needs to burn its 1/year wish. Note it can't just AoE Greater Dispel Magic, because Invisible blade is a (su) ability, and (su) abilities are not subject to dispel magic.

Also, a lot of high CR creatures have blindsense (or dragon senses), but blindsense doesn't stop the creature from being flat-footed against an invisible creature's attacks.


The reason I'd play a rogue over a ninja is to take some of the neat rogue archetypes that ninja doesn't qualify for. Knife Master and Skulking Slayer provide a meaningful bump to sneak attack damage, Thug and Charlatan have already been mentioned. The damage potential of a sneak attack build can be very competitive, it's just their attack bonus that brings them down (and immunity to critical hits/sneak attack). That said, most rogue archetypes make for good dips. Unlike ninja, I can't think of many reasons to take it to 20.

If you do go with ninja, I would take the scout archetype. Adding sneak attack on a charge combined with invisibility and flanking should give you plenty of opportunities.


Don't worry, embrace what the characters are capable of and find ways to let them shine and be challenged in equal measure. Break out the rival ninja clan competing for the same objectives.

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