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Different Paths: Shadow Dancer Rogue

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
Food for thought. The Bladesong model has a raft of smaller bonuses packed into it at 2nd, and then 3 big abilities at 6/10/14 and it works on a 2/rest model with a 1m duration. I think that is a strong way to model what we're doing, we just need to figure out how to package it. What that doesn't get the archetype is always on mods, so it's give and take. 2/rest is almost every encounter though, so assuming a standard work day maybe it's fine.
A thing to recall there is that wizard traditions tend to be a bit smaller than rogue archetypes in spite of coming in sooner. Either way, though, I think we are on a good track with Shadow Dance. If it can’t fit a small passive bonus, it’s not the end of the world, but Bladesinger does get light armor and some weapon proficiencies.

I love this idea, since I also prefer rogues to monks but like the shadow theme. Here's how I might go at it:

Flicker of Shadow. At 3rd level, as a bonus action when in dim light or darkness, you can turn yourself and any objects you are carrying into shadow. While in this form, you can pass through gaps as small as 1 inch wide without squeezing, you can hide anywhere, and you do not suffer disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks for moving more than half your speed.

This effect lasts until the end of your turn or until you enter an area of bright light.

Dark Sight. At 3rd level, you gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 30 feet.

Thief of Light. At 9th level, as an action, you can steal the light from all light sources (including magical ones) within 60 feet. They are extinguished and cannot be relit while you hold the stolen light in your fist. You must have a free hand to use this ability.

As an action while holding the light, you can release it in a blinding flash. Each creature within 20 feet that can see you must make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. A creature that fails its saving throw is blinded until the end of your next turn.

After you release the light, or after 1 minute, the light sources are rekindled and return to normal.

Shadow Killer. At 13th level, you can kill your enemies through their shadows. When you are within 30 feet of a creature, if there is a light source on the other side of that creature, you can attack the creature's shadow with a melee weapon as if you were attacking the creature itself. The target takes damage normally from this attack.

One With Darkness. At 17th level, when you use Flicker of Shadow, the effect lasts until you use a bonus action to end it or until you enter an area of bright light.
Probably needs a couple of those to be non combat, but otherwise there is good stuff there. I wonder how much can be combcined with the Shadow Dance as a state you enter 2/SR idea.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
A thing to recall there is that wizard traditions tend to be a bit smaller than rogue archetypes in spite of coming in sooner. Either way, though, I think we are on a good track with Shadow Dance. If it can’t fit a small passive bonus, it’s not the end of the world, but Bladesinger does get light armor and some weapon proficiencies.
My thought was to take that model and build it up a little to counter the whole, you know, you aren't also a full caster thing. I just thought the model made great sense and had some cool flavor and still had room for pretty much everything we wanted. We want to dance, they made a dance, it all made sense at the time.;) It's not your standard archetype anyway.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Probably needs a couple of those to be non combat, but otherwise there is good stuff there.
Flicker of Shadow is almost entirely noncombat. It lets you slide through keyholes*, and dart unseen from one place of concealment to the next. That's its purpose. Its combat use is severely constrained by the fact that it ends on the same turn you use it, and it costs your bonus action, so you can't do any Cunning Action tricks.

The only way I can think of to use it in combat is if you start your turn already hidden; then you could Flicker to let you close to melee range before revealing yourself. Handy, I guess, but you could do just as well with a crossbow, and then you'd have your bonus action to hide again.

[size=-2]*Large keyholes. Okay, maybe not keyholes. An ill-fitted door? 1-inch gaps are actually not as common as they seem at first.[/size]
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
My thought was to take that model and build it up a little to counter the whole, you know, you aren't also a full caster thing. I just thought the model made great sense and had some cool flavor and still had room for pretty much everything we wanted. We want to dance, they made a dance, it all made sense at the time.;) It's not your standard archetype anyway.
I agree completely!

Flicker of Shadow is almost entirely noncombat. It lets you slide through keyholes*, and dart unseen from one place of concealment to the next. That's its purpose. Its combat use is severely constrained by the fact that it ends on the same turn you use it, and it costs your bonus action, so you can't do any Cunning Action tricks.

The only way I can think of to use it in combat is if you start your turn already hidden; then you could Flicker to let you close to melee range before revealing yourself. Handy, I guess, but you could do just as well with a crossbow, and then you'd have your bonus action to hide again.

[SIZE=-2]*Large keyholes. Okay, maybe not keyholes. An ill-fitted door? 1-inch gaps are actually not as common as they seem at first.[/SIZE]
Ah! I missed the action economy of it. I’d say the opposite then, that it would have some use in combat. But regardless, one of the middle features should be noncombat to conform to normal framing.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
The shadow scrying fits the bill as the non-combat ability. A version of that could slide in at 13th, with the teleport/flicker movement thing at 9th, and then a capstone at 19.

Another way we could fold defense into the 3rd level package is to allow dodge as a bonus action (which I cribbed form the monk, obviously). We've been talking about defense and that's pretty strong. If we keep that in competition with the cunning action actions we run less of a risk of over-powering the build too. It also stacks with Uncanny Dodge which is cool. Defense without modding AC makes it feel different than a lot of other builds.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
The shadow scrying fits the bill as the non-combat ability. A version of that could slide in at 13th, with the teleport/flicker movement thing at 9th, and then a capstone at 19.

Another way we could fold defense into the 3rd level package is to allow dodge as a bonus action (which I cribbed form the monk, obviously). We've been talking about defense and that's pretty strong. If we keep that in competition with the cunning action actions we run less of a risk of over-powering the build too. It also stacks with Uncanny Dodge which is cool. Defense without modding AC makes it feel different than a lot of other builds.
Very cool. I think you’re spot on.

So, 3rd Level is a small movement increase in dim light or darkness, and 2/SR Shadow Dance, which comes with a flat movement increase, jump using Dex score, and what else?

edit, oh right, Dodge as a Bonus Action: While in Shadow Dance, or even when not?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Very cool. I think you’re spot on.

So, 3rd Level is a small movement increase in dim light or darkness, and 2/SR Shadow Dance, which comes with a flat movement increase, jump using Dex score, and what else?

edit, oh right, Dodge as a Bonus Action: While in Shadow Dance, or even when not?
I was initially thinking while Dancing. The same ability costs the monk a ki point per use, so I felt that it should be limited somehow. If the dance is 2/SR and a minute duration that covers all six encounters in a standard day. What's missing there is out of combat utility, although that could be where the other three abilties play in. Something to ponder. I have some more ideas, but no time. I'll jump back on later with an idea for the capstone.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
I was initially thinking while Dancing. The same ability costs the monk a ki point per use, so I felt that it should be limited somehow. If the dance is 2/SR and a minute duration that covers all six encounters in a standard day. What's missing there is out of combat utility, although that could be where the other three abilties play in. Something to ponder. I have some more ideas, but no time. I'll jump back on later with an idea for the capstone.
Great points. I’d say that +5 speed in shadow and training performance give good out of combat always on utility at level 3, and won’t overpower the subclass compared to Swashbuckler or Arcane trickster.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
OK, let's sum up and see where we are here:

Lvl 3 two minor abilities; +5 mv in shadows and proficiency in Performance; and Shadow Dance
Shadow dance has the following rules:
1. may be invoked 2/SR and has a duration of 1 minute, the following rules also apply when in areas of dim light, shadow and darkness
2. The SD may use dodge as a bonus action
3. The SD gets advantage on Athletics and Acrobatics rolls
4. The SD does not provoke attacks of opportunity when she moves (perhaps this needs to be qualified somehow...)
5. The SD may use backstab on her first attack of a combat after beginning her dance without needing to fulfill the normal conditions of the backstab rules

I feel like this is still very beta. I like the rules but it also doesn't really feel that different from the other shadow archetypes. Maybe fluff text could change that. There also might be one component too many, IDK.

At level 9 I think we should do something with a Shadow Teleport or that neat Flickering Shadows rule from upstream.

At level 13 I guess we're still looking at tenebration. This has the potential to very cool, we just need the right parameters and exact rules.

And then we need a capstone for level 17. I had a thought that after two non-dance abilities, it might be cool to go back to shadow dance for the capstone. One idea I had was to build on the shadow dodgy hard to hit feel of the dance. What if we stole some ideas from the Monk's deflect missles power but put it to work on melee attacks. Something like this: on a performance check DC 20 (or 25) a melee attack that misses the SD, or is dodged using either dodge or uncanny dodge, may be redirected to another foe within 5'. If the performance check is successful the attack automatically hits the new target.

The other things we've talked about that could be worked into a capstone are shadow doubles of some kind (either mirror image or clone flavoured) or shadow manipulation of some kind - making items of weapons out of raw shadow (Shadowblade?). If we wanted I feel like the shadow blade thing could be worked into a neat ability earlier in the progression, maybe instead of the tenebration?
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
OK, let's sum up and see where we are here:

Lvl 3 two minor abilities; +5 mv in shadows and proficiency in Performance; and Shadow Dance
Shadow dance has the following rules:
1. may be invoked 2/SR and has a duration of 1 minute, the following rules also apply when in areas of dim light, shadow and darkness
2. The SD may use dodge as a bonus action
3. The SD gets advantage on Athletics and Acrobatics rolls
4. The SD does not provoke attacks of opportunity when she moves (perhaps this needs to be qualified somehow...)
5. The SD may use backstab on her first attack of a combat after beginning her dance without needing to fulfill the normal conditions of the backstab rules

I feel like this is still very beta. I like the rules but it also doesn't really feel that different from the other shadow archetypes. Maybe fluff text could change that. There also might be one component too many, IDK.

At level 9 I think we should do something with a Shadow Teleport or that neat Flickering Shadows rule from upstream.

At level 13 I guess we're still looking at tenebration. This has the potential to very cool, we just need the right parameters and exact rules.

And then we need a capstone for level 17. I had a thought that after two non-dance abilities, it might be cool to go back to shadow dance for the capstone. One idea I had was to build on the shadow dodgy hard to hit feel of the dance. What if we stole some ideas from the Monk's deflect missles power but put it to work on melee attacks. Something like this: on a performance check DC 20 (or 25) a melee attack that misses the SD, or is dodged using either dodge or uncanny dodge, may be redirected to another foe within 5'. If the performance check is successful the attack automatically hits the new target.

The other things we've talked about that could be worked into a capstone are shadow doubles of some kind (either mirror image or clone flavoured) or shadow manipulation of some kind - making items of weapons out of raw shadow (Shadowblade?). If we wanted I feel like the shadow blade thing could be worked into a neat ability earlier in the progression, maybe instead of the tenebration?
For the Dance Sneak Attack ability, I think simplicity is key. If we boost stealth, we get there anyway.

no opportunity attacks is really strong by itself, and I’d say that stealth benefits and cunning action cover enough that we don’t need it.

So so what about hiding while in dim light or darkness, and the ability to dim light sources within 30ft as a bonus action?

For 9: I would want something different from shadow monks. What about the ability to use your movement to teleport, following the same rules as normal movement (can split it up, benefits from Dash, etc), While in Shadow Dance or while in dim light or darkness? If we wanna put teleport at 13, what about a shadow blade style thing here?

13: If we teleport at 9, why not scry here? See and hear through a space of shadow within X distance?

17: I really love a shadow double that fights with you, summoned the first time you get Sneak Attack(steal their shadow), or when you enter shadow dance, lasts until it hits 0hp or shadow dance ends? Another idea is that you become insubstantial while in Shadow Dance, and can use any Cunning Action option as part of activating shadow dance. If shadow teleport is based on speed, this becomes really fun.

Id be fine with a shadow blade at level 3, as part of shadow dance or not, that simply lets you create weapons from shadow, and then gets extra damage later.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
If we want the deflect melee Attack ability, is model after the Drunken Master monk’s Level 6 Tipsy Sway ability. Instead of costing ki, ours would require a performance check against the attacker’s Insight? Or perhaps that’s too open to becoming automatic success via expertise and reliable talent, so it could be an attack roll the rogue makes as a reaction?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I went as high ac DC 25 for that idea precisely to include Expertise and reliable talent. The top end there is +17, which PCs would be close to as it's a capstone, so it goes off on an 8+. The problem is that it's probably too hard for non expertised I characters to ever get much use out of. One reason I like keying this whole thing at least partially off of CHA and performance - it forces players to make choices that matter when planning a build.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
I went as high ac DC 25 for that idea precisely to include Expertise and reliable talent. The top end there is +17, which PCs would be close to as it's a capstone, so it goes off on an 8+. The problem is that it's probably too hard for non expertised I characters to ever get much use out of. One reason I like keying this whole thing at least partially off of CHA and performance - it forces players to make choices that matter when planning a build.
I think if we look at other rogue abilities, they leverage opposed checks, which still eventually means that only BBEGs are ever going to win the contest. If we don’t want that level of reliability, I’d rather not require expertise in performance to even have a real chance of success.

I think the simpler thing may be to make an attack roll to accomplish the task? or impose a save?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I think if we look at other rogue abilities, they leverage opposed checks, which still eventually means that only BBEGs are ever going to win the contest. If we don’t want that level of reliability, I’d rather not require expertise in performance to even have a real chance of success.

I think the simpler thing may be to make an attack roll to accomplish the task? or impose a save?
The 15th level ranger ability Stand Against the Tide uses the reaction to force a miss to hit an opponent with no roll needed or save possible. That's probably a good baseline> If we want to play with every miss in a round we'll need some kind of check that has a reasonable chance of failure, regardless of which build is rolling. After some thought, I think agree that a skill check maybe isn't the way to go. How about a straight DEX check at DC 15 or something in that range? That would give a 20 DEX PC a 50-50 chance to redirect. We can just play with the DC to make the % whatever we decide is fair.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
The 15th level ranger ability Stand Against the Tide uses the reaction to force a miss to hit an opponent with no roll needed or save possible. That's probably a good baseline> If we want to play with every miss in a round we'll need some kind of check that has a reasonable chance of failure, regardless of which build is rolling. After some thought, I think agree that a skill check maybe isn't the way to go. How about a straight DEX check at DC 15 or something in that range? That would give a 20 DEX PC a 50-50 chance to redirect. We can just play with the DC to make the % whatever we decide is fair.
I think for ease of play, we’d want just the reaction redirect?

But it yeah I think a Dex check could work. The simplest solution IMO is still an attack, but a Dex check with close to the same success rate as an attack could work too. Or a Dex save by the new target, but why mess with a DC calculation for 1 ability?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
The reaction redirect only lets you do it once because it's limited by the number of reactions. I'm not opposed to that. Or we can give a chance of redirecting every miss, not just one, but that would require a roll IMO. If we go with a reaction based thing, I prefer to not just carbon copy the Ranger ability. We've already established a "really hard to hit" vibe, why not just add to that and maybe do a reaction based ability to redirect a hit, rather than a miss. Maybe as an opposed roll or something. I can picture it...

I dodge, hah! Uncanny dodge, hah-hah!! OMG you actually hit me. Wait ... no you didn't, you hit that chowderhead over there. Suck it Trebek!!

*edit* It's not messing with DC calculations either. Those are, but the rules, ability checks that you are sometimes allowed to add skill proficiency bonuses to, at the DMs discretion, if the action falls under the aegis of an applicable skill. So a DC 15 DEX check isn't odd at all.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
The reaction redirect only lets you do it once because it's limited by the number of reactions. I'm not opposed to that. Or we can give a chance of redirecting every miss, not just one, but that would require a roll IMO. If we go with a reaction based thing, I prefer to not just carbon copy the Ranger ability. We've already established a "really hard to hit" vibe, why not just add to that and maybe do a reaction based ability to redirect a hit, rather than a miss. Maybe as an opposed roll or something. I can picture it...

I dodge, hah! Uncanny dodge, hah-hah!! OMG you actually hit me. Wait ... no you didn't, you hit that chowderhead over there. Suck it Trebek!!

*edit* It's not messing with DC calculations either. Those are, but the rules, ability checks that you are sometimes allowed to add skill proficiency bonuses to, at the DMs discretion, if the action falls under the aegis of an applicable skill. So a DC 15 DEX check isn't odd at all.
The DC calculation comment was not in reference to the PC making a check. I posited that the ability could instead force a Dex save from the new target. That DC would obviously be based on the PCs Dex.

If if it’s possible every time, that is very powerful. It needs to be limited, and I don’t think that limiting it with the least fun method possible (setting the DC so that the success rate is fairly low) is a good way to go. I think keeping it to the reaction is simpler and allows it to be cooler and more fun when it is used. Something like making a hit miss will obviate Uncanny Dodge, so what about making it add to Uncanny Dodge?

When you use it to halve the damage from an attack, you can choose a creature within X feet to take the other half of the damage. Cool and simple, new, but doesn’t protect you any better.

When you use it to halve the damage from an attack, you can make a dexterity saving throw equal to X or half the damage you would take, whichever is higher. If you succeed, the enemy’s weapon seems to pass into you without effect, but is actually carried through shadows to another enemy within X feet. The attacker repeats the attack against them with advanatage. If this second attack hits, you take no damage, and the attack instead hits the second target.

More complicated, but also more powerful. Perhaps the second enemy still just takes half damage, while you take none?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I'd be ok working with redirecting every miss if the math is right. I don't actually think 50-50 is low for an ability that redirects every miss in HtH against a very hard to hit class either. The linking up with UD is cool, but redirecting half damage from one attack doesn't really seem like a 17th level capstone.

Maybe we want to add a couple more options to the Dance rather than one single ability?

If we wanted to go way off piste we could try something in a variable AC bonus (attack penalty? same diff) as part of the dance. For every enemy attack roll a d4 or a d6 or whatever and subtract that from the attack roll. If it goes under target AC it misses. That same basic idea could be implemented several different ways. The UD dodge redirect could be the second part of the capstone additions to the Shadow Dance.

Lets not compete against uncanny dodge though, agreed. I also think we need to focus on clean, simple, mechanics without too many rolls (my biggest issue with my own idea above).
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
I'd be ok working with redirecting every miss if the math is right. I don't actually think 50-50 is low for an ability that redirects every miss in HtH against a very hard to hit class either. The linking up with UD is cool, but redirecting half damage from one attack doesn't really seem like a 17th level capstone.

Maybe we want to add a couple more options to the Dance rather than one single ability?

If we wanted to go way off piste we could try something in a variable AC bonus (attack penalty? same diff) as part of the dance. For every enemy attack roll a d4 or a d6 or whatever and subtract that from the attack roll. If it goes under target AC it misses. That same basic idea could be implemented several different ways. The UD dodge redirect could be the second part of the capstone additions to the Shadow Dance.

Lets not compete against uncanny dodge though, agreed. I also think we need to focus on clean, simple, mechanics without too many rolls (my biggest issue with my own idea above).
Good points. I’ll think on it more and review he whole thing from the ground up again tomorrow.
 

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