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Thread: A viable Shadow Dancer (build)
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
A viable Shadow Dancer (build)
Using Spheres of Power, I shall conjure up a shadow dancer that more faithfully recreates the class fantasy than even the class itself does. It's also usable early on and doesn't bring your other progression to a stand still. (And this is coming from the guy who played an unironic Shadowdancer for years, and has his campaign journals in his signature....and in those years has made a total of 5 successful attacks. Two of which were against an unaware, unarmed, unarmored guard.)
As always with my builds, this goes up to level 10. For sphere talents, we are using USOP, which just got published recently, and gave slight reworks to spheres of power.
Race: Human. +2 Dex. Not necessary, but the feat is nice. Favored class bonus in Rogue grants additional talents, which can be spent on dark sphere talents, or the new Spheres of Powers rogue talents, which are actually respectable.
Stat Priority: Dex > Int > Con > Wis > Str = Cha
Class: Unchained Rogue 9 / Incanter 1
Spoiler: WhyBecause Incanter is a full caster, and gains 2 talents in its first level. Also gains an additional +1 CL and talent in Dark sphere with specialization. The rogue 10 is also just not anything spectacular. You could take the Incanter earlier on so as to get the bonus talents when you are in the most need of them (obviously).
You could also pick up Conscript at level 1, if you wanted to gain Dual Wielding and / or Barrage spheres so you can optimize your standard action sneak attacks. Or you could just not do that and stick with the standard full-attack-based rogue. We are doing the latter here, although the former would certainly be optimal.
Archetypes: Talent Thief and Spectral Infiltrator (both Spheres of Power for Rogue). Also Dark sphere specialization from Incanter.
Spoiler: ExplanationsTalent Thief grants Rogue low casting, keyed to Int, which while not great, means that it's also not horrendously bad. Not to mention Shadow Theft which grants up to 4-8 temporary spell points with each sneak attack given up. (At this level)
Spectral Infiltrator lets you Ghost Walk, going incorporeal at level 1 (but is a utility/stealth ability until level 6, or level 4, if you take a talent to gain Touch of Corruption). But Ghost Walk, fading in to the shadows, is quite thematic.
Spoiler: Casting TraditionUnless you're going for CL-boosting boons, I actually wouldn't take any general drawbacks, aside from maybe Galvanized and Witchmarked, since they don't really affect you. You don't actually need spell points, thanks to Shadow Theft
Boons: Either Empowered Abilities, since you can drop yourself to 0 spell points and suffer few if any consequences thanks to Shadow Theft
If you don't want to be reliant on shadow Theft, you can instead take Draw Magic...which can give you up to the same bonus...if everyone stands within fireball radius of you. So probably would only give +1 (unless you're cheesing it with caged animals), in which case Empowered Abilities would grant the same bonus at only half of your spell points, and won't fluctuate with combat movement.
For dark sphere specific drawbacks, you could take Cloaking Darkness, and even Photophobic Casting, since they aren't going to be too impactful against you, in general. I'd have bought them off by level 10.
Illusion sphere drawbacks: Disappearance, Obscura Mage
Enhancement sphere drawbacks: Delinquent Enhancements, Marking Enhancements, Obvious Enhancements
Time sphere: Accelerator
Life sphere: Medicinal, Slow Recovery, Limited Restoration
Spoiler: Magic Sphere TalentsWe have 9 talents we can freely allocate, +1 dark talent (incanter), + talents in spheres equal to their sphere specific drawbacks. These are the highest priority picks, but not must-haves, save for much of the dark sphere suggestions.
Dark Sphere (5-6 talents)- Base sphere: conjure darkness (-2 to light level) or blots (which grant darkness talent bonuses without darkness). Area of 10+5/2*CL ft. Duration of 1 minute / CL. (USOP also grants Darkvision meld for free with base sphere)
Greater Darkness: For a spell point, area grows to 20 + CL*5 ft.
Clear Sight (meld): Duration 1 hour / CL, target is immune to negative effects of your darkness
Dark Slaughter: 1 hour / CL, +1d6 precision damage, +1d6 per 10 CL (so 2d6), stacking with sneak attack, and is arguably used by talent thief
(optional) Step Through Darkness: Can teleport through darkness up to 30 + 10 per 5 CL ft as a move action. Duration 1 hour/CL
Thick Darkness: difficult terrain, and range protection
or Shadow Slick: save or fall prone
or Pure Darkness: Essentially totally blind those not in your party
Life sphere (1 talent)- Base sphere: doesn't matter
(Drawback) Revitalize: Fast healing 2 for 1 min / CL.
(Drawback) Instill Life: Std action instill a potion with fast healing until you rest to regain spell points.
(Drawback) Restore Senses: improves Fast Healing
Time (1 talent)- Base sphere: Haste: +1 attack and AC (+1 per 10 CL). Duration 1 min / CL
(Drawback): Improved Haste: 1 more attack per full attack. Doesn't stack with speed weapon, or the like.
Illusion (1 talent)- Base sphere: Nothing
(Drawback) Lingering Illusion: Grant illusions a 1 min / CL duration for a spell point.
(Drawback) Suppression: (invisibility) +CL to stealth checks. While undetected, gain total concealment, ignore dex to ac, and some bonuses. Doesn't break on hit. (Sound) Reduces armor/sniping penalty by CL.
Enhancement (1 talent)- Base sphere: Enhance Equipment: +1 (+1 per 4 CL) enhancement bonus to equipment. Duration 1 min / cl
(Drawback) Energy Enhancement: 1d6 +1 / CL damage to enhanced weapons.
(Drawback) Enhance Focus: 5 + 1 per 4 CL to a skill of choice.
Spoiler: Feat OptionsStudied Healing: Adds half ranks of heal skill to CL, to a cap of HD. Can be applied to Instill Life.
Dark Portal: Leave a portal from your original position to your jump position when using Step Through Darkness.
Extra Magical Talent: Pick up some more magical talents, buying off drawbacks, or just doing more magic. I would probably improve the Life sphere with these picks.
Extra Combat Talent: As mentioned earlier, picking up Dual Wield and Barrage will grant you a bunch of attacks for a single standard action. (And going this route saves us from needing to use time sphere).
Dual Wielding Mystic Fusion: If we were going that route, we could cast and attack in the same turn.
Two Weapon Fighting: Since we aren't going that route, we really ought to be a rogue, and pick this up, and be objectively weaker.
Extra Rogue Talent: Take up some more rogue talents.
Weapon Finesse: Dex to attack (You could alternatively pick up Finesse Fighting from the Equipment Sphere with Extra Combat Talent)
Extra Combat Talent: The Fencing sphere grants bonus precision damage that stacks with sneak attack. Not to mention the exploit talents.
Spoiler: Rogue Talents of ChoiceExpanded Spherecasting (SoP): Gain Extra Magical Talent as a bonus feat.
Flaying Slice (SoP): Sacrifice sneak attack damage to reduce natural armor.
Roguish Know-How (SoP): Gain Int mod a second time to knowledge skills. You shouldn't be the knowledge guy, but hey.
Slowing Strike (SoP): On hitting sneak attack, Slow the target, as though by the Time sphere, treating rogue levels as full caster for this purpose.
Umbral Gear: Create items out of shadow. (Not particularly useful, but it is thematic.)
Ninja Trick -> Fast Stealth: Move at full speed in stealth without penalty.
Ninja Trick -> Pressure Points: Sneak attacks also deal 1 str or dex penalty. Also +10 to heal checks. Yay.
Ninja Trick -> Wall Climber: 20 ft climb speed. Pretty cool, if you didn't take Step Through Shadows.
Ninja Trick -> Fatal Finesse (RGG): Add Dex to damage.
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
Re: A viable Shadow Dancer (build)
I am kind of surprised that Prescient Dodger (SoP) wasn't listed as a suggested rogue talent.
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Re: A viable Shadow Dancer (build)