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Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« on: April 29, 2018, 03:43:17 AM »
Hello,

At current, the Shadowdancer Prestige Class as mechanically envisioned in PotM is more or less uninspiring. It requires two generally pointless feats for any Dexterity-based characters (Dodge and Mobility), and only offers one element of benefit at its first level, that being Hide in Plain Sight. Thus, due to Multiclassing rules, no one will take more than five levels in this Prestige class, with the realization that mechanically, those are best saved for last. In light of recent listings of upcoming updates, I have decided to take a good, measured look at this class and decided on what could be done toward its benefit.

First of all, it was this feat that inspired me to write this:

Shrouded Dance
Spoiler: show
Quote
Type of Feat: General
Prerequisite: Hide 12 ranks, Perform 5 ranks.
Benefit: The character can seem to be where he isn't. Once per day, as a free action, he can attempt a DC 30 Hide check. If he succeeds, the character gains 50% concealment for one round and instantly hides in plain sight as if he had the feat.
Use: Selected.


Now, what are the implications of a feat like that being in play, even with increased requirements and DCs? The answer is that Shadowdancer have now lost their only mechanical appeal. If you are a talented player, you generally do not need the Hide in Plain Sight ability to begin with - corner sneaking will suit just fine for the same purpose, or a bottled black. However, when someone does need Hide in Plain Sight, they also generally will only need a single use of the ability to turn the tables entirely around on an encounter, or give them the opportunity to escape and retaliate at a later point, be it PvE or PvP. This is why Shadowdancers were good, despite not having much use past five levels. They are a class of exceptional roleplay potential, but are, however, one trick ponies. Their Shadow is pointless, as are the rest of their abilities, plain and simple.

This ability will now be open to every class that can stealth. Even Rangers may reach the Perform requirement with a Rogue dip, or just a cross-class with the current numbers if they really wished the ability earlier than 17 and to be used somewhere other than wilderness. This essentially nullifies a Shadowdancer's existence, and I am very open to debating this point if anyone should wish to.

However, my suggestions, I feel, would make the class more appealing to take for more levels than just five, and they are simple in concept (if not in implementation).

  • Remove Dodge and Mobility as requirements, add Blind Fight and Skill Focus: Perform.
  • Give Shadowdancers sneak attack progression at levels 1, 5, and 9.
  • At level 10, the Shadowdancer will gain access to the Shadowlord feat:
    Copies the Shadowdancer's appearance, description, name and weapons (if any) to the Summoned Shadow. The Shadow gains its attached person's ability scores, saves, HP, etc, however it deals no damage. In addition, the Shadow will have its DR increased to 15/+3, and added a regeneration of +3 / round. The Shadow retains its pre-existing immunities and vulnerabilities.
  • Shift Hide in Plain Sight to level 5 Shadowdancer.

Now for some explanations. For the first point, I feel as if the Shadowdancer roleplay has... very little to do, necessarily, with the afforded quick reflexes. Theirs is an art, a type of sleight of hand and attunement with the plane of Shadow - they are called dancers for a reason, hence the perform requirement and now, Skill Focus: Perform. In addition, fighting in darkness, in shade, against their very element, should be as if second nature, hence, Blind Fight.

The Sneak Attack progression is probably the main reason for why the class is uninspiring in combat. They lose 3d6 of sneak attacks if you take 5 levels. That is a huge margin of damage simply lost. Now, some might argue that it is compensated by the fact that, hey, they can disappear from sight once a round - but they do not always need that. They are weaker in PvE and rely on spamming HiPS to get any damage off in PvP encounters. Thus, if a character takes 9 levels in the class (though with these changes, they'd really want to take 10), they will be at least returned 3d6 out of 5d6 damage lost, rather than none at all. Monks, Rangers, and Bards, as opposed to Rogues, gain plenty of damage modifiers and thus it may be a possibility to make this progression be only if the character has at least 3 Rogue levels, if mechanically possible to implement.

Next, the Shadowlord. For this point and the next, I have taken very obvious inspirations from a different NWN server, which I think gave this class a wonderful treatment. Although their version is much stronger, this version is still a valid companion and RP tool, able to soak some hits in order to allow the Shadowdancer to escape encounters it can't stealth out of in PvE, or, if we feel like adding a command for the Shadowdancer to speak through it, become an exceptionally desirable ability to have for roleplay effects.

Moving Hide in Plain Sight to level 5, I think, is an obvious choice. Player characters already take a minimum of five levels in this class, and giving it to PCs at around level 8 or lower (character) feels a bit cheap to me, especially as it is mostly spammable.

I think that does it for my feedback. If I missed something, please point it out. If you would like to leave suggestions, remarks, critiques, please do so as well.

Thank you for reading.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 04:04:14 AM by Pav »
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haifisch021

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 08:12:36 AM »
+1 Pav
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To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 08:21:24 AM »
Removed some posts from people who should know better than to be impolite here! Please be civil, and please be on topic.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 08:32:23 AM »
On a more serious note...!

I'm inclined to agree with Pav here.  While mechanical power may in fact not be the point of PRC's but more to do with character development, this still seems like a rather drastic change, for not only rendering the Shadow Dancer unnecessary or obsolete, but also enormously empowering the rogue class.  While I agree that rogues 'do' need a buff, there is a lack of counter to this that cannot be overlooked, almost entirely for the reasons that Pav has listed.

I tend to trust Pav's opinion on mechanics.  While I might argue with some of the changes he's suggested, I cannot argue with his reasoning behind it.  This is a gigantic boost, the main strength of a class that is incredibly hard to get, and its very, very easily available on a server that doesn't have any automatic counters to stealth.

Philos

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 09:31:18 AM »
I'll make a few comments.

 I think you have the right idea shifting HiPS deeper in SD levels but I feel 5 is a little to far. Consider having it be at 3rd level.

Axing mobility is a good idea. That feat is useless.I disagree with dodge however. Stacking AC is always useful. SF: Perform is a good idea.

The proposed sneak attack progression is fair. It's not really a SDs focus but it'll be helpful.

I like the idea of a shadowlord feat although I think it should function in reverse. Rather than your Shadow mimicking you, I feel as though with level progression in Shadow Dancer you should become more shadow like. At 10th level, much like how RDD's change with their levels, I think the Shadow Dancer should appear as a shadow. With this comes a global OCR increase as well as several benefits. Damage reduction versus physical and negative types as well as vulnerability versus positive energy. This is a theme of both the class and the server atmosphere of corruption.

Consider giving the Shadow Dancer once per rest spell like abilities various spells with a shadow theme. Darkness, damning Darkness, Shadow binding, cone of dimness, Shadow Shield, the shades line of spells etc. I'm not sure which should be included or how often they able to be cast but I do think it's worthy of discussion.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 11:16:19 AM by Philos »

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 11:10:04 AM »
I like the ideas posed for sure. Certainly makes the SD sound less like a glorified shadow rogue

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2018, 11:11:31 AM »
I like the ideas, especially the becoming more shadow/shade like. I also think that the SD should get the monster ability darkness at some point.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 05:55:54 PM »
I think you have the right idea shifting HiPS deeper in SD levels but I feel 5 is a little to far. Consider having it be at 3rd level.

I think it is too early. I wrote my reasoning down, but if you can expand upon why you think it's better on third we could discuss.

Axing mobility is a good idea. That feat is useless.I disagree with dodge however. Stacking AC is always useful. SF: Perform is a good idea.

The problem with Dodge is that it simply does not work in fights where there is more than one person. It is a good duelling feat, but it has nothing to do with the Shadowdancer class and offers it very little benefit.

Spoiler: Explanation • show
It is bugged, in a sense. You may recreate its problems by yourself by doing like so:

Get 3 fresh level 2s. One with Dodge and 13 Dex. Strip him of armor/shield/AC effects. The other two should have equal AB, whether with Strength or Dexterity, it doesn't matter.

Continue to have one person attack the Dodge-r until he scores a hit. Did he mark it at 12? Great, Dodge works. Proceed then to have the two attack the Dodge-r, and notice how the hit will be scored on an 11 rather than the 12.


I like the idea of a shadowlord feat although I think it should function in reverse. Rather than your Shadow mimicking you, I feel as though with level progression in Shadow Dancer you should become more shadow like. At 10th level, much like how RDD's change with their levels, I think the Shadow Dancer should appear as a shadow. With this comes a global OCR increase as well as several benefits. Damage reduction versus physical and negative types as well as vulnerability versus positive energy. This is a theme of both the class and the server atmosphere of corruption.

Agreed. Let's consider something like this:

Shadowlord
Spoiler:  • show
The Shadowdancer begins emulating his own Shadow. Losing the Summon Shadow ability and the Shadow Evade ability, the character now becomes it instead, gaining +5 bonus to natural armor, 10 / +3 damage reduction, Immunity to instant death effects, Immunity to Necromancy spells, Immunity to negative energy damage, as per the Shadow Shield spell (They also gain the spell's VFX, permanently). In addition, their unarmed strikes receive a 2 strength drain on-hit property, with a DC of 10 + Shadowdancer Level / 2 + Dexterity modifier (a far weaker version of Crippling Strike, only for your fists).

However, the Shadowdancer also gains a 25% vulnerability to positive energy damage, and a permanent, high OCR bump. The ability may be activated once per rest, to gain +5/+5 hide/move silently, and 50% concealment.


It might be a bit too powerful, but 10 levels of investment make it so you are much, much weaker on other fronts.

Consider giving the Shadow Dancer once per rest spell like abilities various spells with a shadow theme. Darkness, damning Darkness, Shadow binding, cone of dimness, Shadow Shield, the shades line of spells etc. I'm not sure which should be included or how often they able to be cast but I do think it's worthy of discussion.

With the above ability, and all the special Rogue feats they already gain on PotM, I feel as if this would be unnecessary.
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Philos

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2018, 07:01:06 PM »
HiPS Level
The reason I proposed 3 instead of 5 is that it already has taken you quite a while to find a mentor, go through the training rp, app and approval process and gain 3 levels in SD. That's a more than a couple months to get to the meat of the class so to speak from the time your start pursuing SD. With each level taking longer than the last your gonna be in the teens before you concept even starts to come together. Assuming you're able to start training at 8-9 (which is the earliest you can take a level SD due to skill point requirements), going to 13-14 is too far off imo. I like pushing the core mechanic of the class a little deeper in but 5 feel like it would just be too painful.

Dodge
I'll take a look at the dodge feat.

Shadow Lord

I wasn't thinking of as a spell like ability at first, but I like the idea. I had thought of a permanent status upon taking 10 SD kind of like how RDD's change form the more levels they take. Lets look at ideas and numbers for both cases.

As an activateable ability:
Quote
5 bonus to natural armor, 10 / +3 damage reduction, Immunity to instant death effects, Immunity to Necromancy spells, Immunity to negative energy damage, as per the Shadow Shield spell

I really like this portion of the idea. I'd give it a description of "Once per day a Shadow Dancer is able to draw power from the plane of shadows to protect themselves. They gain benefits as if they had cast Shadow Shield". Shadow Shield as a spell like ability makes sense for shadow dancers. It's the easiest to implement too. I recommend it be cast at (10) which gives you 1 hour of use but won't edge out mages who can cast the spell themselves.

Quote
their unarmed strikes receive a 2 strength drain on-hit property, with a DC of 10 + Shadowdancer Level / 2 + Dexterity modifier
I'm not opposed to this, I just want to separate it from the above feat. I'd rather it offered at say level 7-8 with an improved chance to hit but limited uses per day. DC is 10 + full SD levels + dex with uses per day equal to SD levels.

Quote
The ability may be activated once per rest, to gain +5/+5 hide/move silently, and 50% concealment.
I disagree with this one. That's far too much of a steroid on what was proposed already.

Shadow lord as achieving 10 SD:
I'd propose some of the same candy as above but with tweeked numbers. 5/+3 DR, 2 natural AC, 50% negative damage immunity as you are not a full creature of negative plane. Bonus saves vs. necromancy and saves vs. death (i'm up for suggestions about numbers.) 25% Positive energy vulnerability. Permanate SS vfx and a large OCR bump.

Shadow Themed Spells and "Rogue Feats"
I'd really like to hit home the notion of this class as being not just "The Stealth PRC Class". Giving them access to some of the shadow/darkness themed spells seems like a reasonable to do this. I don't think the rogue feats offered to SDs are all that great tbh and I don't see how shadow themed spells would interfere. Our topic is improving the lack luster mechanical nature of SDs. I don't think access to some of these spells will make them over powered, even with their rogue feats.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2018, 11:04:39 PM »
  • Remove Dodge and Mobility as requirements, add Blind Fight and Skill Focus: Perform.
  • Give Shadowdancers sneak attack progression at levels 1, 5, and 9.
  • At level 10, the Shadowdancer will gain access to the Shadowlord feat:
    Copies the Shadowdancer's appearance, description, name and weapons (if any) to the Summoned Shadow. The Shadow gains its attached person's ability scores, saves, HP, etc, however it deals no damage. In addition, the Shadow will have its DR increased to 15/+3, and added a regeneration of +3 / round. The Shadow retains its pre-existing immunities and vulnerabilities.
  • Shift Hide in Plain Sight to level 5 Shadowdancer.

These changes, or any variation of these changes would make playing a SD many times less painful. At the moment my character (Who is sitting at level 15 with 5 Levels in the class) is a lot of times upsetting to play. In any situation I am worse then a pure rogue at doing rogue things (I.E. Skill related things) and worse in combat then a Ranger of similar level to her (The ranger also gets HiPS at only 2 levels higher then her). The hook or gimmick of taking the class feels cheap now due to the fact that any class with hide as a class skill will be able to do EXACTLY what my SD can do but do it better in every way. I've gotten very discouraged with exploring the shadowy side of the SD RP since I realized that any person who wants to put as much time into a Ranger character as I did with my SD can do anything my character can and more. There's just no feeling of "Hey I'm not like everyone else" anymore. I'm sure there is going to be someone out there who will think "Arent you supposed to take a PrC for the RP?" and they would be right. I absolutely loved exploring the shadow plane whether through DM set up situations or my own RP, but theres just something upsetting and very discouraging to me about being mechanically worse then any other class. This class needs to be looked at (Thats coming from someone who has been playing it consistently for the past 11 months) Its very much not up to snuff and gets bodied by any other class.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2018, 01:10:06 AM »
Shadow Lord

I wasn't thinking of as a spell like ability at first, but I like the idea. I had thought of a permanent status upon taking 10 SD kind of like how RDD's change form the more levels they take. Lets look at ideas and numbers for both cases.

As an activateable ability:
Quote
5 bonus to natural armor, 10 / +3 damage reduction, Immunity to instant death effects, Immunity to Necromancy spells, Immunity to negative energy damage, as per the Shadow Shield spell

I really like this portion of the idea. I'd give it a description of "Once per day a Shadow Dancer is able to draw power from the plane of shadows to protect themselves. They gain benefits as if they had cast Shadow Shield". Shadow Shield as a spell like ability makes sense for shadow dancers. It's the easiest to implement too. I recommend it be cast at (10) which gives you 1 hour of use but won't edge out mages who can cast the spell themselves.

Shadow Themed Spells and "Rogue Feats"
I'd really like to hit home the notion of this class as being not just "The Stealth PRC Class". Giving them access to some of the shadow/darkness themed spells seems like a reasonable to do this. I don't think the rogue feats offered to SDs are all that great tbh and I don't see how shadow themed spells would interfere. Our topic is improving the lack luster mechanical nature of SDs. I don't think access to some of these spells will make them over powered, even with their rogue feats.

I did not mean that Shadowlord will be an activatable ability, but rather a permanent Shadow Shield with some maluses - perhaps more on top of the ones I mentioned. The number tweaking seems fine.

As for Shadow themed spells, I would have to strongly disagree on this because that is not what a Shadowdancer does. He is not a magician, nor does he draw upon any form of magic, but rather upon supernatural abilities and a supernatural link to another plane of existence.

Everything else I can agree with and concede, although my arguments remain standing - simply a difference in opinion rather than a mechanical imbalance.

Otherwise, it's good to hear everyone's opinions and thoughts, especially you, Swizz.
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 11:26:50 PM »
I haven't said anything for a while and i'm sure no one noticed..

But i would like to chime in and state i love my shadow dancer, They are very fun RP class

THat said, I do not agree at all with this new feat that was added allowing ANYONE to be a shadow dancer and truely believe this feat should never have been mentioned, brought up, or even created and should be removed. It is unfair to those that have to go through the PRC and APP to gain the class to have HIPS which is no longer that broken and cannot be spammed. But now you threw away the magic of the class by adding in this feat and allowing those with a absurdly high Hide and MS to practically get a free HIPS when they have no training in the art!

it is a cheap feat that doesn't seem to take into consideration of the SD class. if you want to vanish in front of people, then get a wizard... or a invisibility potion.. or better yet Put in the app for SD

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 12:54:07 AM »
Not to be dismissive, but disscussion for the Shrouded Dance feat should go here: http://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=48278.msg597343#msg597343

As a person with a SD character, are there any changes you'd like to see to the class or improvements you see that could be made?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 12:57:05 AM by Philos »

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 01:04:49 AM »
Couldn't find that thread. Thanks!

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2018, 06:02:53 PM »
A bump to this thread so it doesn't get forgotten. Let me reiterate that this class very dearly needs help to be even competitive with other prestige classes (Especially the new ones) and to give it back its magic feel. As of now it there is nothing special about this class. It is not prestigious at all anymore. I would go as far as to say there isn't a reason to take this class over any other class to do the exact same thing. If anyone from dev team wants to weigh in that would be amazing.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 09:40:11 PM by Morning woods »

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2018, 03:10:50 PM »
Shameless bump.
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Syl

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 02:16:25 PM »
After giving it some thought.. and don't know if it was brought up but if shadow dancers got either a increase to their stealth skill. It can be 1 point too both hide and move silently, per level and maybe level ten you get 2 points each.. maybe add in self concealment at higher levels?

I love the class and it's great fir infiltrating but it is underloved. Maybe make the shadow summon stronger. You already have it marked as a familiar sui it can stay out. But it useless due to it what's staying level 1 or 3..

And it should grow as you deepen your connection..

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2018, 01:21:04 AM »
If Shadowdancer benefitted bards a bit such as spell progression as an optional way to go I think it could be neat.

Bardic Shadowdancers can use their magic to shroud in darkness and invisibility, make use of both HiPS and Shrouded Dance, use their bard song to empower their skills by +2, cast displacement and do all sorts of other shadowdancer-themed things.

Shadow Shield as a lvl 10 Shadowdancer ability once a day seems fair as well given the other levels they could've taken instead.

Also Dodge and Mobility are good feats for anyone. That Mobility +4 AC doesn't count toward the 20 Dodge AC limit and can be used to avoid being hit while casting spells (outside of Defensive Casting) or drinking potions. Niche, but still useful for anyone that needs to do those things mid-combat
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2018, 01:35:16 AM »
If Shadowdancer benefitted bards a bit such as spell progression as an optional way to go I think it could be neat.

Bardic Shadowdancers can use their magic to shroud in darkness and invisibility, make use of both HiPS and Shrouded Dance, use their bard song to empower their skills by +2, cast displacement and do all sorts of other shadowdancer-themed things.

Shadow Shield as a lvl 10 Shadowdancer ability once a day seems fair as well given the other levels they could've taken instead.

Also Dodge and Mobility are good feats for anyone. That Mobility +4 AC doesn't count toward the 20 Dodge AC limit and can be used to avoid being hit while casting spells (outside of Defensive Casting) or drinking potions. Niche, but still useful for anyone that needs to do those things mid-combat

Giving a bonus solely to Bardic Shadowdancers would basically make the class a Bard exclusive.

Mobility only adds your AC to movement AoOs, which is made obsolete by Tumble. Dodge is only good for 1v1s, something you shouldn't do as a Dex character.
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2018, 03:50:00 PM »
It's all AoOs, not just movement.
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2019, 03:40:36 PM »
Feel like this is a good time for some thread necromancy. Lots of positive vibes and feedback threads on classes lately.
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2019, 03:44:08 PM »
SD remains a disappointment with the addition of Shrouded Dance. Any renewed opinions on this from staff, or potential improvements to the class?
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2019, 04:00:08 PM »
I think SDs should get a bonus to hide/ms. Even from purely an RP perspective, it's pretty wonky that you've got a supernatural ability to literally vanish into shadows that can be undone by any bard having some okay gear and maybe a spell or two on them.

Also, like with every other class that gets access to a summon, the summons are underwhelming.
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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2019, 04:43:39 PM »
Remove Shrouded Dance.

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Re: Shadowdancer Feedback Thread
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2019, 04:51:36 PM »
Seconded