View Full Version : Improved Shadowdancer

2012-03-27, 11:50 PM
The shadowdancer is a rather weak class as it is, and I'm trying to give it some more appeal beyond the 2nd or 4th level for a player in my campaign. I've given her the option of 3 potential changes to the class.

1st - Sneak attack progression at 4th, 7th and 10th level

2nd - Shadow companion improves by 2 HD /2 levels instead of /3 levels, and at 10th level the shadow companion becomes a greater shadow (only change really is 1d8 str damage) and the ability to create temporary spawn. An enemy killed by the shadow will rise as a shadow on the next round, the only exception is that this shadow last for 1 round per class level. No limit on the number of spawn that can be created at a time, but the spawn can't create spawn

3rd - Shadow jump begins 2 levels earlier, bonus sneak attack die at 5th level, and at 10th level she gets the ability to shadow jump as a move action.

The second option is the one that I'm slightly iffy about, as it's boosting the power of what's already one of the shadowdancer's most powerful abilities.

How balanced are these abilities? Do they succeed in making the class a viable option to take all ten levels in? Or are they too overpowered? If so, would you recommend any changes?

2012-03-28, 12:42 AM
This helps somewhat, but it doesn't address the real problem with the class: The class has hefty prerequisites that don't actually get improved or used by the class features. It requires five ranks in Perform(Dance) but none of its class features use that. Similarly, it requires two not so great feats which are thematically connected but aren't very relevant to the actual class features other than at a fluff level.

Most of your added features make sense, but I'd really like a feature that actually used Perform(Dance). An obvious thing would be something like the following at first level:

Dancing Dodge (ex): When you designate your dodge bonus from dodge you may choose to have the bonus apply to multiple creatures. You may have the bonus apply to at most your total number of ranks in Perform(Dance)/3.

And then something like the following at third level:

Reflexive Dancing (ex): Once per a day, a Shadowdancer may substitute a Perform(Dance) check for a reflex save. Since this is a skill check, natural 1s are not automatic failures and natural 20s are not automatic successes. The number of times you may use this daily this increases to 2 at 6th level, and to 3 at 9th level.

If one had those features with one of yours it would probably be worth it. From a balance perspective, probably this would render the the improvements to the Shadow as too much, but the others would be fine. And it would fit the fluff a fair bit better.

2012-03-28, 01:16 AM
I have to agree with you on that, the prerequisites in the class are really difficult to meet, and largely irrelevent to the class itself. Honestly I'd rather just see the requirements lowered so that you could get into the class at 6th level. The class as it is really has very little to do with "Dancing" and more to do with "Shadows". I feel like incorporating the dancing aspect into it would more or less require an overhaul of the class, keeping a few abilities and bringing in some more dervish style ones.

What I was going for was make a quick fix that filled up the higher levels with more useful abilities, or rather more useful versions of current abilities.

EDIT: Actually, on the note of dancing, they could have quite easily made defensive roll based on a perform dance check instead of a reflex save. The second ability you came up with made me think of that

2012-03-28, 01:52 AM
The shadowdancer is a rather weak class as it is, and I'm trying to give it some more appeal beyond the 2nd or 4th level for a player in my campaign. I've given her the option of 3 potential changes to the class.If you loosen the prerequisites (lose the feat requirements, possibly aside from Combat Reflexes, lose the Perform skill ranks) it's easier to get into without hating yourself.

Honestly, I think a lot of the problem is that the class tries to stretch to little over 10 levels. What I would do, personally, is:

1. Darkvision, Hide in Plain Sight, Shadow Jump
2. Evasion, Summon Shadow, Uncanny Dodge
3. Defensive Roll, Shadow Illusion
4. Improved Uncanny Dodge, Improved Shadow
5. Improved Evasion, Improved Shadow

Change Shadow Jump to be 10-20 ft./level (depending on taste), unlimited use.

2012-03-28, 12:37 PM
The thing is the class seems to be best at scouting so the pre-reqs are useful to those characters, especially the ones that don't enter with tumble and sneak attack. It also encourages related tactics like whittling foes down with hit and run including strength damage. People, especially the 99% of PCs in unorganized parties, get annoyed because all they want is hide in plain sight on their rogue but don't see any point to the rest of the class for a rogue.

So it's a really narrow class with barely enough payback to make it worth it in that narrow purpose. Back to the OP's idea, I'd give the option of doing all 3 of what you listed. Every X levels let the player choose to advance one of those. The classic shadowdancer can advance the companion slightly faster for more feats (like spring attack). Or the frustrated rogue can now have his sneak attack. Or the mobile guy can get better dimension doors.

Due to that triple purpose you might also allow other optional pre-reqs instead of the normal ones, while also keeping the normal pre-reqs as an option. Maybe replace mobility with "mobility or 10 ranks in tumble".

2012-03-28, 05:45 PM
The shadowdancer is a rather weak class as it is

Depends how you play it and what else is available. If the DM doesn't allow any splatbooks that allow an earlier HiPS, and you're playing with a defensively oriented (or better yet, solo) party, it can be quite nice (i.e. max out your hide score and you've got what's close to Superior Invisibility by level 8).

Shadows can also be useful if used well.