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Post by Christopher Robin R2 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:42 pm

Is there any reason to take this past 1 level? With the Fae Adept coming out I was thinking of rolling a halfling... err, fae, and rogue/shadowdancer comes to mind. And I know it's cheap to go straight for HiPS, but I just can't see much reason to go farther.
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Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:55 pm

I know lots of people don't agree with me... but HiPS really isnt even good.
Invisibility is only slightly slower - and by and large, more reliable (with no speed penalty)

HiPS is icing, but if you only take one SD level, there's no cake.

Two levels at least gets you both evasion and uncanny dodge, which are incredibly good for dex builds.

SD is, to me, simply the fastest way to get defensive roll, which can lead to epic dodge.

The shadow companion is also good for setting up flanking for sneak attacks.
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Post by Christopher Robin R2 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:03 pm

But a Rogue already HAS evasion and uncanny dodge. And while SD gets defensive roll sooner, he gets slippery mind or improved evasion later.

Because of the Hide 10 requirement, you have to like, Rogue 7 before you can even take Shadowdancer. Which means you already have Evasion and Uncanny Dodge II. And Sneak Attack is 4d6. 3 more rogue levels nets you level 10 Rogue, and your special bonus feat. (IE, Improved Evasion/Slipper Mind). Five levels of SD gets you Defensive Roll.
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Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:14 pm

Which is exactly why I dont favor SD builds with rogue levels. Also keep in mind, level 10 rogues doesnt get all 3 of Uncanny Dodge, Improved Evasion, AND Defensive roll. They can only get 2 of the 3 at 10 levels.

Shadowdancer gets all 3 with 10 levels, you just have to do with a different synergistic class to qualify for SD.

I am thinking now about a ranger 21, blackguard 14, shadowdancer 5. Great BAB, little bit of sneak, little bit of favored enemy damage, bane of enemies, lots of flanking, great stealth, improved dual-wield for free.....
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Post by Christopher Robin R2 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:23 pm

Alright, sure, but I was talking about a specific build using the new Fae Adept, which admittedly we don't know everything about.
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Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:25 pm

My point remains - if you want to go rogue with your fae adept, then dont bother with SD, HiPS isnt worth it in my opinion.
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Post by RustyDios on Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:48 am

The other point is if your going to go rogue in Aenea, max out that Use Magic Device skill (or at least take it to the mid 20's)... this will allow you to use most magic items in Aenea, wands and scrolls included....

Then buy/commission a stock of invisibility wands/scrolls and place them in a quickslot... it IS slower then spamming HiPS but will still allow you to do the "fade from sight" trick on players and enemies alike (well those without True Seeing)...
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Post by Angel of Death on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:10 am

*Throws in my two gold coins.*

Bards do better with the UMD skill than Rogues, simply because they only need to pass the class requirement check on scrolls. Smile
Reason? Bards does not get a d20 + umd skill check to pass when using a scroll...they simply uses it without fail (a bit overpowered maybe :p). So a much better choice all around. /my opinion

--
If I was going to make a character based on a Shadowdancer/Fae Adept concept, I might take Bard as a starting class; you get all the skills of a rogue, but also gets spells and a whole slew of other things like bard song, etc. The Charisma can also be used toward your spells how many/how high the dc is on them too.

Just my view of it anyway.



Last edited by Angel of Death on Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Elhanan on Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:04 am

Bards may do better with UMD in that they have scaling bonuses to CHA. But personally, prefer to keep the higher Skill Pt allotment for Rogues.

Have never played a SD past a lvl or two, as I am not not fond of Stealth investment costs for any character; much prefer other options.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:27 pm

I'll offer some thoughts of my tired mind (forgive me if it contains any incoherence), as the question of Shadowdancer class usefulness has long been a concern of mine.

Most PWs haven't yet changed the Shadowdancer class to be very mechanically advantageous, what with its original short duration Evade (Concealment) and a weak Summons that's not much more useful, even for flanking manoeuvres, than Illusionary Monster (1 hp). My main character is shadow-touched, therefore a Shadow Dancer, by RP qualities and history, but I've never found a reason to take anything of the SD class beyond HIPS, even though I keep hoping that somewhere someone will fix the class to make it really useful.

Instead, I piece together my idea of what the Shadowdancer class should be (referring to the d20 lexicon and various rule books) with Rogue for Sneak Attack, feats, and UMD scrolls/wands/custom rod to get Greater Shadow Conjuration's Summon Shadow, and whatever other appropriate features are available (especially via the lovely custom items here in Aenea) plus just SD1 HIPS as the icing on all that. Teleport and Transference, which can be acquired on a wand or custom item, become Shadow Jump. Self-Concealment feats could be stacked up to five if you have the room in feats. And here in Aenea, you can even take the Shadow Child class which gives permanent 20% Concealment (but unfortunately won't stack with Self-Concealment feats -- a great wish of mine, refer the thread here).

My main character will end up as a DEX build 25 Ranger, 14 Rogue, and 1 SD. And I've been very satisfied going that route, and grateful for the PW that allows only one level of SD (maybe out of understanding how crappy the class is). She'll even have Epic Dodge. Of course, by RP history, Rogue is very appropriate for her, and Sneak Attack so rocks in a Shadow Dancer build.

I did see one PW that had the option to take HIPS as a Rogue bonus feat, which I thought was just the neatest and smartest thing, considering that even if you want to take SD, you do indeed pretty much have to start with Rogue. So why not just bypass the ineffective SD class and make Rogue naturally be able to acquire HIPS.

It is true that you can quickslot an Invisibility item to imitate HIPS, but for my Ranger/Rogue, I find that it just really works for her to have high Stealth investment and HIPS. HIPS does activate a bit faster than Invisibility, to the point where you can actually melee in the middle of a crush of a crowd of enemies, and still quickly unselect combat and stealth 'into the shadows' to escape being overwhelmed. (Even if you don't 'spam', which I myself try to avoid, usually taking time to move into a better position before reappearing.) With my Wizard, who has the quickslotted Invisibility to imitate her own shadow-touch, I fret that the time it takes to activate the Invisibility could get her killed. But it's usually not a problem since she avoids melee in close quarters at all costs. If she gets in a crowd, I just run her away out of it before using Invisibility.

Hope you find some of this useful in your build.

Sleep


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Post by Angel of Death on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:00 pm

Ramana Jala wrote:
I did see one PW that had the option to take HIPS as a Rogue bonus feat, which I thought was just the neatest and smartest thing, considering that even if you want to take SD, you do indeed pretty much have to start with Rogue. So why not just bypass the ineffective SD class and make Rogue naturally be able to acquire HIPS.

That, to me, does not makes sense - and the first part isn't true. Bards, Monks, and Rangers all makes fine Shadowdancers - you don't need the Rogue class to get access to the Shadowdancer Prestige Class. (Actually just requires a few points in hide/ms, a medium-high dexterity + the required feats)
Little known fact: The original requirement for Shadowdancer does require 5 ranks in the Perform (Dance) Skill too. So Bards are actually one of the most suited class of all! study

What does makes sense, for me personally, would be given Assassins - upon gaining their 8th level in the Prestige Class - HiPS, as well as an "outdoor terrain only!" variant for Rangers with 17th+ levels. Smile


But yeah, just my opinion. We all has different views on things. ^^
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Post by Ramana Jala on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:11 pm

Yes, you're right that other classes can get there, I suppose I just see Rogue as the natural predecessor to SD. So, what Angel said. *nods*

And I do seem to recall that NWN2 has implemented what you suggest about Assassin and Rangers, that's probably where you got the idea, eh.

Now I'm really going to bed... gnight!
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Post by Angel of Death on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:38 pm

Nope, NWN2 never crossed my mind when I wrote that post. Smile

I got "my idea" ... from the D&D ruleset 3.5 - the links in my previous post contains link straight from the source. ^^"

It doesn't surprise if NWN2 had implemented a similar system though, since they did build up the game around the 3.5 ruleset (while NWN1 was build up around the 3.0 rules)


Goodnight - Hope you have pleasant dreams! sunny
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Post by daveyeisley on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:29 pm

I think high level rogues being able to spend a feat for HiPS makes perfect sense. Only SD makes sense to me to get it for free.
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Post by Belarric on Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:24 pm

My monk Raiden uses 5 levels of SD to be able to attain epic dodge Smile
But that is the only reason I took 5 levels, although the odd use of HIPS has been a bonus.
The shadow etc. I have never even looked at.
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Post by odbo255 on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:11 am

daveyeisley wrote:I am thinking now about a ranger 21, blackguard 14, shadowdancer 5. Great BAB, little bit of sneak, little bit of favored enemy damage, bane of enemies, lots of flanking, great stealth, improved dual-wield for free.....

Fren is progressing through Ranger 21, Rogue 9, Acrobat 10. Not a power build, but one that I think is a good dex/dual-wield RP build.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:21 am

I found that there's some difficulty in lining up the Ranger bonus feat in the right place at the right time to get that Bane of Enemies right at Level 21. I seem to recall that I found that I couldn't get it before Level 23, thus why I decided to go Ranger 25.

I believe Rusty's Jay had the same issue, so he had to go Ranger 23.
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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:10 am

Well, we may need to be explicit about whether we mean Ranger level 21 or the 21st levelup of the PC.

I am confident that a PC can get BoE at Ranger 21. It may not, however, be the 21st levelup of the PC.

In my proposed build, there would be some ranger and some blackguard in pre-epic levels, so ranger level 21 would come in the mid-epic levels somewhere around level 30. Shadow dancer 5 would be after that, and epic dodge probably late epic levels somewhere around 37.

I would have to actually build it to be certain, but I'm pretty confident I could make it work.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:26 am

Yeah, I did mean Ranger level 21, not character level. Didn't work out for me, or for Rusty apparently. I tried to finagle it every which way using my Character Build Calculator, but unfortunately can't recall the specifics of why I couldn't get BoE at Ranger 21.
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Post by odbo255 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:10 am

Hmmmm. If anyone can recall why BoE was tricky to get @ Ranger 21, please post why so I can avoid the pitfall. Fren's build is based on the assumption that she can get BoE @ 21...
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Post by Elhanan on Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:33 am

odbo255 wrote:Hmmmm. If anyone can recall why BoE was tricky to get @ Ranger 21, please post why so I can avoid the pitfall. Fren's build is based on the assumption that she can get BoE @ 21...

Wondering if it may have something to do with requiring 5+ Favored Enemies, as well as 21+ lvl of Ranger as per the manual; uncertain.
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Post by RustyDios on Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:02 pm

Jays last build took his 21st Ranger Level at Character Level 39... this was a way to get BoE on Ranger21... but if I recall in build-testing I couldn't get BoE at 21st PC/pure Ranger, I couldn't work out how to get the feat until 23rd level... I think there needs to be some cross-classing to let the 21st Rgr level fall on an epic character feat level to get BoE at 21st Rgr...

Can't find anything to state why it can't be taken on pure 21st ranger/PC level though ?!?
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Post by odbo255 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:12 pm

Ok, I hope that's all it is. Fren has already taken several rogue and some acrobat levels so she will Ranger class 21st level well after her 21st character level. I will get one more set of re-level scales which I can use if the build doesn't work out I suppose...
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Post by Ramana Jala on Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:11 pm

I can't say when I'll have the time to look over my records to see what the issue was. However, you can discover this for yourself, by using the NWN1 Excel spreadsheet utility, Character Build Calculator, as at every level it will qualify or disqualify whatever feat or class you are planning, according to if you have made the requirements or not. I can't emphasize enough just how useful this utility is, and can make the difference in knowing whether your build will work or fail.

The only caveat is that, if you've used Aenean Tomes to increase any ability stats, you will need to UnProtect the spreadsheet and add those stat increases at the appropriate level where you got them, so that the spreadsheet will be able to correctly tell you when you have the requirements for any feat. [For a rebuild, add the stats at L2.)
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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:41 pm

Just tested. BoE works fine for pure ranger at level 21.

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Post by Ramana Jala on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:39 am

That's good to know, thanks Dave. That also confirms for me that one indeed can take Epic Feats in the levelup that acquires the Epic status.

Now if I could only remember why my multi-classed character had such a hard time acquiring BoE before Ranger 23....
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Post by eeriegeek on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:14 pm

BoE is appears in both the General Epic and Class Epic Feat lists for rangers, so it should be easy to get. Since rangers don't get an epic class feat until ranger level 23 though, the trick to getting BoE at level 21 ranger is making sure you take the 21st ranger level on a TOTAL character level which is a multiple of 3 so you get the ability to select it as a general epic feat. So you would have to take the 21st ranger level at character level 21, 24, 27, ... up to 39.
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Post by odbo255 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:23 am

eeriegeek wrote:BoE is appears in both the General Epic and Class Epic Feat lists for rangers, so it should be easy to get. Since rangers don't get an epic class feat until ranger level 23 though, the trick to getting BoE at level 21 ranger is making sure you take the 21st ranger level on a TOTAL character level which is a multiple of 3 so you get the ability to select it as a general epic feat. So you would have to take the 21st ranger level at character level 21, 24, 27, ... up to 39.

This totally makes sense and explains why it is a "no brainer" when single-classed, but a pitfall when multi-classing. I'll be sure that Fren takes her final level in ranger on a "3rd" character level.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:26 am

Yes, I think that was the nut of my situation. Because of various issues with my multi-classing, I had to choose to take BoE at Ranger L23.

Just a few of my constraints that I can recall which impacted where I could take a Ranger class in my leveling included trying to avoid multi-class leveling penalties for as long as possible, and having so many feat choices to get in that I didn't want to use a General Feat slot when I could get a Ranger Class Feat at 23 --and maybe at the time I didn't know for certain whether BoE was takeable as a General Feat, or that Class Epic Feats were takeable right at Class level 21.
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Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:03 pm

My two cents....

I see HiPs on equal ground with invisibility, mechanics wise. Sure stealth takes a movement penalty, but you're not limited to casts per day, nor do you have to deal with actual casting.

That being said... it can be a pain in the backside to use it to it's full effect. The "Stop" tool actually makes it a bit easier than in the default NWN game environment, but still a good bit of button clickage.

Quickslot stop and stealth mode into two quickslots (f1 and f2 for example). Engage, attack, "stop", stealth, attack, rinse, repeat.

My experience has been that with maybe one or two exceptions, baddies in Aenea fall into two categories for stealthy types. Cruddy perception skills, so you really don't need that much actual hide/MS skill... or they got true seeing/uber true seeing, in which case, hiding (Or invis/imp invis/gs) are useless too anyways. 30 or so in each hide/ms should get you by with good amount of success. 40ish would go more into the 'never gonna be seen' range of stealth.

As for other SD abilities... I found that it really takes the feat investment for the epic shadowlord to provide long-term function. Even then however, my epic SD can't use the shadowlord in most of the fights she does.

The other abilities... while nice, are so limited by duration/uses per day that yes... you'd get better bang for the buck going with another class. My own epic SD is quite tough... but I don't doubt that if I totally removed the SD in favor of rogue or something else, she'd have one or two more bells and whistles.

It all boils down to playstyle. If you don't mind lots of quickslot clicking, HiPs can provide you with a far more reliable ability to flank than using summons would, at least against enemies who don't have trueseeing/uber true seeing.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:10 pm


My ranger-rogue-sd 'scout' fits that 'maximized Hide and Move Silently' category, and even though NPCs may generally fall into the two opposite categories of either low spot or true sight, don't forget hiding from PCs, also.

My scout uses her ability to 'semi-phase between planes' (HIPS) all the time. This ability is an essential part of her basic combat strategy (for the most of enemies who don't have True Sight), and has never been any PITA for me.

For stopping an action in order to engage HIPS, I find that the easiest way to stop a combat action is to simply click anywhere on the ground to make my scout start a movement action instead, then I can quickly click on my quickslotted Stealth function to go HIPS. Or, if I'm in a huge unnavigable mob of enemies with no easy clear floor to click on, I'll click on the combat icon in the upper left of the screen to kill the combat action, then hit my quickslotted Stealth. Both of these options seem really fast to me, and my scout uses her HIPS constantly in an area populated with hostiles. I don't have to be afraid of being surrounded, because she can HIPS within a second or two and just stand there until the hostiles drift apart so that she can move out and attack from a better position. (Unless, of course, some hostile(s) in the room have True Sight, her greatest pitfall.)

In making my shadowchild wizard character, I almost had to have HIPS (especially since she's another persona of my shadow-touched scout), but then I decided that I would try wizard methods instead. But I'm still not used to the procedure my wizard has to go through to keep an invisibility spell active, being as any little combat action entirely kills full invisibility. The procedure for my ranger is simple: enter an area stealthy, kill an enemy or two, and then HIPS to restealth --setting her quickly and easily into stealth ready to leisurely loot, set up her next manoeuvres, and go on to encounter the next enemy in the room. But for my wizard in a combat situation, having to cast an invisibility spell of some sort every other minute, potentially after every kill, is still really totally clunky to me. Not to mention that it does seem to take more time to cast a spell than activating HIPS does, and is probably subject to a concentration check, too. So I try to not ever get my wizard into the middle of crowds, where if she can't escape being hit on, both of these drawbacks could get her killed. (I'd probably sooner use transference or teleport to escape a crowd rather than casting another invisibility --in fact, for my wizard, I often set up a temporary emergency teleport slot in an out-of-the way place before entering a hostile area.)

So you can see that in my experience, the mechanics are noticeably unequal between Stealth with HIPS and casting the invisibility spell, as they take quite different considerations for their activations in combat. But the number of clicks is not really different, as both have to click to escape combat (simply stopping the combat action for my scout, or running away from everything that can see her for my wizard) and then both have to restealth (click Stealth to HIPS for my scout, or cast an invisibility spell for my wizard).

Different playstyles, definitely. But if I weren't so concerned with maximizing my wizard's effectiveness by 40 levels of pure wizard, I'd rather be HIPSing!
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Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:14 pm

I didn't mention PvP aspect of stealth because Aenea's not really geared towards PvP outside of playing around in the bloodsand arena.

If anything, PCs generally fall into the same two categories. In my DMIng I've seen only two PCs who actually had any spot/listen skills of note, and I think the one was simply from being an ascended character with very high wisdom. So with PCs... it's generally the same... need a minimal amount of stealth skills, or they're packing true-seeing (especially at epic levels).

The click on ground method is ok, as is clicking on the action icon. The stop tool is a good option though for those with finicky mouse control (or people like m who use an xbox controller instead of the sucky laptop touchpad). It also removes the requirement that you HAVE clickable ground to click on, which isn't always possible if you have a huge swarm, or are surrounded by several ancient dragons or any other really big creature who seems to be "clickable" over the entire screen.

Something you could consider for your wizard...

Cloaks of invisibility. It's as close to a HiPs experience as a pure wizard/sorc will get, and just as effective. It doesn't "cast" like other magic items. You simply put the cloak on and you're invisible. Quickslot it and you can take it off/put it back on in just two clicks to go invis again.

The drawback is you gotta watch it's charge level (1 charge per "use" of going invis)... but any self respecting caster will have a sceptre of charging handy and a few magical fuel trinkets to take care of that Smile
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Post by Ramana Jala on Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:28 pm


I haven't hardly ever PvP'd, but my characters often like to hide from PCs. Suspect Although it's probably true that most higher-level PCs wear True Sight items. Crying or Very sad


And thank you bunches for the tip on the Cloak of Invisibility, I'm definitely going to look into that! bounce
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Post by Ramana Jala on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:30 am

I tried out your suggestion, Manny. The Cloak of Invisibility is really sweet, it's pretty much instant invisibility.

I also picked up the Recharger. I presume I need to recharge the Cloak before it reaches zero charges, as zero would make it disappear?

This is definitely an improved option for my wizard, and I'm eager to work it into her strategies.

Thanks a bunch!

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Post by RustyDios on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:02 am

Ramana Jala wrote: I presume I need to recharge the Cloak before it reaches zero charges, as zero would make it disappear?


Yes, you'll need to recharge it before it hits 0 or it will vanish. It might be worth while to carry two cloaks, for when your in a tough spot and can't recharge one. I'd also go for instead of sacrificing everything keep a bag of rings (magical junk) for emergency recharging. The reason I suggest rings is that a) they take up minimal space/weight, b) they can be stacked, c) they normally provide good charge (or did when I used to recharge stuff regularly.. could try scrolls too I suppose?).....
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Post by MannyJabrielle on Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:41 pm

Also note that the recharger's been tweaked from the default NWN functioning. It doesn't give a straight X charges per value as it does in a default NWN module.

I can't recall though if it's the value of the items being zapped, or the item of the item being recharged, or both.

Either way... there's one or two items you can find across Aenea that are powerful enough to give a full, or near full recharge of any item you wish to power back up. One of the items is rather compact and light though Wink Won't say which, but a spoilish hint would be... zzzzzap zzzzap zzzzzzzzzap.
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