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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    STRIKING FROM THE SHADOWS:
    THE STALKER


    Brought to you by: The Path of War

    What is the Path of War?
    The Path of War is a new book series by Dreamscarred Press, a third party publisher that has released quality adaptations of the Psionics system for Pathfinder, among other great products. Their latest is the Path of War, which brings the Maneuver System first found in the Tome of Battle back to the limelight through three new classes and over 13 new disciplines.

    What is The Stalker?
    The Stalker is the first of three base classes to be released during the Path of War Preorder. It's a stealthy character similar to a rogue or ninja, but with some supernatural flavor like the Monk. The disciplines available to the Stalker are Broken Blade, Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, Thrashing Dragon, and Veiled Moon. We'll go into those a bit later.

    Rating System:

    We'll be using the standard rating system popularized by treantmonk and others, using a colored scale and a star rating to indicate what class features, maneuvers, feats and skills are the best for the Stalker. The Ratings are as follows:
    RED*: This is a generally poor choice and probably not worth taking except in specific instances.
    ORANGE**: This is not a great choice and should only be taken if the situations where it's useful come up frequently.
    GREEN***: A solid choice that you can depend on, although there might be better options out there.
    BLUE****: This is a great choice, something that you can expect to put to good use throughout your career.
    PURPLE*****: This color represents the absolute best there is. You should strongly consider taking advantage of this no matter your build.

    ABILITY SCORES

    The Stalker class is a little MAD (Multiple Ability Dependent) but there are ways to mitigate this in Pathfinder and in the Path of War book itself.

    STRENGTH***: At early levels this is your damage stat, and you can use it pretty well throughout your career. However, there are much better options with only a little investment thanks to Weapon Finesse, Agile Weapons and the new feat Deadly Agility.
    CONSTITUTION****: You have a D8 Hit Die and probably like to get up close and personal with a foe, more constitution is a good thing, but as long as you have a positive modifier, you might be ok.
    DEXTERITY*****: This is your bread and butter. It aids your skill checks, increases your AC and initiative, and can be used as your Damage stat as early as 3rd level. You want to get this as high as it will go.
    INTELLIGENCE**: You have 6+INT skill points per level, and a plethora of useful skills. You don't really need to invest in this, but it'll probably hurt to have a negative score.
    WISDOM****: This is your key initiator stat, and your class features let you add it to all kinds of things. You want this in the 16 range to start if you can manage it.
    CHARISMA*: The perennial dump stat. If you're not using it for everything, you're not using it for anything. You don't use it for anything, so feel free to dump it.

    A proper stat spread should probably prioritize something like this:
    DEX>WIS>CON>STR>INT>CHA

    Although you can feel free to dump strength too if starting above level 3. Really you should never need more than 12 strength, or possibly 13 if you want Power Attack (hint: take Piranha Strike instead)

    Class Features

    Hit Dice- D8***: This is the same as it is for monks, rogues, ninjas, magi, and anything else meant to strike quickly in melee. It's not great but at least you can't be one shotted by a housecat at level 1.

    Bad Fort*, Bad Reflex**, Good Will**** Saves: This save progression is a little strange for a supposedly agile class, but the high will save is appreciated. The Fort Save kind of sucks since you have no way to really increase it, but the Reflex Save rates a little higher since you have class features that make it not so completely terrible.

    Skill Points- 6+INT per level****: You have 6 skill points per level, which is nice and high for somebody who wants to skill monkey and relies on skills for some of their class features. You can comfortably max your discipline skills and still have enough room to play around with a few other skills. We'll go over the class skills themselves a bit later.

    Base Attack Bonus- Medium***: You have the same BAB as the rogue, ninja, magus and monk, your closest analogues. Unfortunately that means you've got the worst BAB of the three classes to debut in the Path of War.

    Ki Pool****: You get your key pool at 1st level, and it keys off Wisdom. That means you start with Ki before anyone else. You'll put it to good use too, as it unlocks new abilities as you level.

    Maneuvers*****: Did you think this would rate any lower? If you're playing a PoW class, you're playing because you want these babies, and really who wouldn't? Its finally time for melee to tell the wizards to sit down and shut up and boy do you have some tools that willl let you do just that.

    Maneuvers Known/Readied*****: You start with 6 maneuvers known and 4 readied, giving you plenty of tools to play with right from the start.

    Maneuver Recovery**: Both of your recovery methods require you to stop killing things in order to recover maneuvers, Which is bad. You have two choices, you can either spend a Standard Action to recover one expended maneuver of your choice, or you can spend a Full Round Action to recover a number of maneuvers equal to your Wisdom Modifier and gain +4 to AC for the round. You don't have any way to recover all your maneuvers at once, but it sure beats the swordsage recovery mechanic.

    Deadly Strike**: This is your sneak attack equivalent. At 20th level you only have 5d6 dice, and it only triggers when you spend Ki or score a critical hit. There are feats and class features you can use to improve it if its something you want to focus on, but going that route takes too many resources unless you're really into crit fishing.

    Combat Insight*****: This is a bunch of neat stuff all rolled into one ability. As you level, it adds on more and more features, including WIS to Reflex Saves and Initiative (2nd level), Uncanny Dodge (4th level), Wis to Crit Confirmation (Counts as Critical Focus feat) (8th level), Recover a Maneuver or 1 Ki when you score a Crit (12th level), and finally Blindsight (30 ft.) (18th level). And the best part? It's all free.

    Dodge Bonus***: As you level, you gain a scaling dodge bonus to your AC, which is nice. But it lags behind a bit compared to other similar class features, and caps at +5 starting at 18th level.

    Stalker Arts****: These are your rogue talents, your ninja tricks, your magus arcanas. You get 5 of them, and they're all interesting and useful to varying degrees. You'll get detailed analyses of them later on.

    Blending***: You get a minor skill bonus to three useful skills starting at 6th level, big whoop. But at 16 level, you get to be under the effect of a Non magical Pass Without Trace permanently. Still big whoop, but its free and it makes you even stealthier.

    Dual Strike: This would be a great class feature if you could use it more often. At best, you get it 3 times per day which just isn't that great. Although when you need it, you'll be glad you have it.

    Retributive Ki**: This is your capstone ability. Its an interesting and creative ability, especially for a capstone, but I'd prefer to kill my opponents before they even know I'm there.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Racial Choices


    There are plenty of races that can make for good stalkers, anything that offers a boost to Dexterity and/or Wisdom is probably going to be your best choice. That being said, let's take a look at what Pathfinder has to offer:

    Spoiler
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    Dwarves****: Dwarves have a bonus to both Constitution and Wisdom, your two most important secondary stats, and a penalty to Charisma, which you were going to dump anyway. Their racial abilities are good at shoring up your defenses, so you can afford to be a little more aggressive.

    Elves**: Elves gain a bonus to your primary stat, a bonus to a stat you don't care about and a penalty to Constitution, which hurts a lot since you only have a D8 hit die. They don't really have much to offer other than the Dex boost, so give them a pass. It's kind of funny that Dwarves make a better stealthy character than Elves.

    Gnomes*: Gnomes are even worse than elves. Their small size is kind of a wash, although the reduced damage definitely hurts at low levels, especially with the strength penalty. They have nice skill bonuses and decent SLAs, but their stats are all in the wrong places.

    Half-Elves****: Half Elves are much better than their full Elf relatives. All the benefits without being such a **** about it. Bonus to a stat of your choice, bonus to Perception and a free Skill Focus feat (Plus plenty of goodies to trade it out for) make them an excellent choice.

    Halflings***: Halflings are pretty solid all around. They get a bonus to your primary stat, and a penalty to strength which stinks at low level but can easily be mitigated. They also have access to lots of nifty little alternate racial features to play with.

    Half Orcs***: Half-Orcs are my favorite race, and thankfully for me they make pretty good Stalkers. They get a bonus to a stat of your choice, darkvision to help with the sneakiness and although most of their other core racial traits don't do much for them as a stalker, their alternate racial traits are varied enough that you can definitely make something good out of them.

    Humans*****: Would they ever rate any lower? The true Mary Sues of the D&D world return as the best choice for every single class, including the Stalker. The extra skill points and bonus feat are completely golden, and the boost to a stat of your choice just makes them perfect for everything. Aren't they so great?

    More Races (Provided by Greenish)
    Aasimar (Garuda-blooded)*****: Stats exactly where you want them (and no penalties), See Invisibility as an SLA, skill bonus to Acrobatics (and Fly), Darkvision, what more could you ask? (If you came up with something to ask, there's probably an alternative feature, these guys got a whole book for themselves.)

    Tiefling (Asura-Spawn)****: Bonuses to Dex and Wis, penalty to Int. Skill modifiers and SLA are fairly forgettable, but there are good swaps (like bite or claws for SLA) for both. Comes with Darkvision like its goody-twoshoes cousin.

    Vanara****: Have you always wanted to play the Monkey King? You're in luck, vanaras come with bonuses to Dex, Wis, Acrobatics, and Stealth. Penalty to dump stat, good climb speed, and Low-Light Vision round it out.

    Undine****: Bonuses to Dex and Wis, just as you like 'em, though penalty to Str can be an annoyance. Comes with Darkvision and good Swim speed at default, and can swap weak/useless features for Amphibious and a bonus for masquerading as a human. Could also get 30' blindsense that only works underwater, making the race undoubtedly purple for aquatic campaigns.

    Hobgoblin****: Rather sparse on features, but ol' hobboes get bonuses to Dex and Con with no penalties, Darkvision, and a sizable bonus to Stealth. Quite decent alternatives for the features too.

    Goblin****: Blue may be stretching it, but +4 to Dex is pretty great, as are the 30' speed (despite their size), Stealth bonus, and Darkvision. Small size hurts CMB and CMD, as does the Str penalty. Cha penalty and Ride bonus are a wash. Paizo loves these guys, and thus they have surprisingly many racial traits and feats.

    Still More Races (Provided By SquirrelDude)

    Featured Races
    Oread*** Bonus to Wis/Str, penalty to Cha. Good alternate racial traits for any character in melee (bonus AC, fast healing, creating a patch difficult terrain). [link]

    Tengu**** Bonus to Dex/Wis, Penalty to Con. Natural attack or free Improved Unarmed Strike and free proficiency with every sword or "sword-like" weapon or 3+Int eastern weapons of your choice. [link]

    Undine**** Bonus to Dex/Wis, Penalty to Strength. These guys are great if you're in an aquatic setting, or any setting where you'll be near lots of water.[link]

    Uncommon Races
    Duergar*** (non Psionic) For those who really want to dump charisma, and want some the Duergar's really nice defensive bonuses and their really great SLAs. [link]

    Grippli***** Bonuses to Dex/Wis, with a penalty to strength. Small Size. Normal Speed. 20 ft. Climb speed. Darkvision. You can always have a running start on Acrobatics checks. Enjoy [link]

    Merfolk** Unfortunately, you're not a Ranger some other class that has a way to ignore the low land speed problem of these guys. They're Good or Great if your doing an aquatic campaign. [link]

    Strix**** Ex Flight! Bonus to Dex! Penalty to Cha! Do you like ranged weapons, and don't mind hating all humans? Pick this guy.[link]

    Svirfneblin*** Like the Duergar in that you trade of huge penalties to your dump stats for small bonuses to Dex/Wis and all the other alternate racial class features and defensive abilities. [link]




    Class Skills

    As a Stalker you have 16 class skills and 6 skill points per level. That makes for a lot of skill points and a lot of places to spend them.

    Acrobatics (Dex)*****: This is a Martial Discipline Skill for both Thrashing Dragon and Broken Blade, and a really useful skill to have anyway, Keep it maxed.
    Appraise (Int)*: You have better things to do with your time than sit around appraising gems. Leave that to the dopey wizard who carries your stuff for you now. You're too busy being awesome.
    Bluff (Cha): I love bluff, it's a serious game breaker of a skill. If you find yourself with a positive charisma score, it can be very useful to have
    Climb (Str)**: If acrobatics can't get you up there, this can, but one day you'll be able to fly, so this kind of doesn't matter at higher levels.
    Craft (Int)*: Leave this skill to the wizard. He can use it to make your swords better, you're too busy being awesome.
    Disable Device (Dex)***: Only treat this as green if no one else in your party has it. You don't have trap finding, but you don't really need it in Pathfinder.
    Disguise (Cha)**: This is Bluff's less awesome younger brother. You can probably live without it.
    Escape Artist (Dex)***: For when you get tied up, grappled by the tarrasque or otherwise trapped. You'll be glad you have points in it then.
    Heal (Wis)***: Wait, but Heal is a terrible Skill! Except that now it's the Discipline Skill for Steel Serpent, so it pays to put points into it.
    Intimidate (Cha)**: Unless you're going for an intimidate focused build you can safely skip this one.
    Knowledge (local) (Int)*: With this, you can identify Humanoids! I think you already know what they look like.
    Knowledge (martial) (Int)**: This is the new skill used to identify martial disciples. It has some uses, such as identifying what maneuvers they're using or what you're likely to encounter in a given area, but unless your campaign is focused around this stuff, it just won't see much use.
    Perception (Wis)*****: You're a Wis based class, and this is the most used skill in the game. You know what you must do. Max this.
    Profession (Wis)*: I generally wouldn't bother, your profession skill is simply not going to come up any time soon.
    Sense Motive (Wis)****: This is a great skill to have to act as a counter to bad guys trying to deceive you. Just be prepared for the DM to work around it if he thinks it'll ruin the "plot"
    Stealth (Dex)*****: I don't really know what to say, you're playing a class called the Stalker. If you can't stealth, you're probably in the wrong class.

    Stalker Arts


    Advanced Study***: The Advanced Study Stalker Art is basically a bonus feat. It's a good bonus feat, since it nets you more maneuvers, but there are other options to look at too.

    Alacrity**: An enhancement bonus to your movement speed is useful, and the bonus to acrobatics is nice, but the Ki pool addition is pretty crappy and this doesn't necessarily help you kill things better. Only take this if you have nothing else to go with.

    Combat Art***: You don't really have any other way to get bonus feats, so if there's a feat you need this is worth a consideration.

    Combat Precognition****: For one measly Ki point, you can No Save, Just Suck any opponent that tries to attack you for 1+Wis mod rounds. Chances are that's a minimum of four rounds where every attack against you has to roll twice. This is a tasty ability, but it can get expensive.

    Concealed Recovery****: Having to stop what you're doing to recover maneuvers can be dangerous. With a 20% miss chance (and later 50%) taking time to recover your maneuvers becomes much more friendly.

    Critical Edge*****: Welcome to the only stacking crit range increase in the game. This is only +1 and is applied after Keen, but its still a huge boost. And did I mention it stacks with Keen?

    Critical Training**: As much of a focus on crit fishing that the Stalker has, I'm loathe to rate this very highly. I'm ambiguous about whether it adds an extra die or increases the size of the die that you use for your Deadly Strike, but it's probably one of the best choices for crit fishing builds.

    Deadly Ambush****: Now your Deadly Strike is straight up Sneak Attack damage. By RAW, this means that you can hit a flat footed opponent and keep using your Deadly Strike even after their no longer flat footed. You still don't get to hit flanked foes with it, but flat-footing a foe is much easier now.

    Deadly Insight*****: One Ki point and you can add your Deadly Strike damage to all attacks for Wis Mod rounds. Now this is how you use bonus damage dice. One Ki Point is a low price to pay for a boss killer.

    Deadly Recovery****: While recovering maneuvers, you get extra AoOs equal to your Wis Modifier. Now there really isn't much of a drawback to recovering maneuvers at all.

    Evasion****: It's evasion. You don't get the improved version, but it'll save your butt against all the fireballs wizards will be throwing at you in jealousy.

    Ki Vampirism*****: This is your most consistent way of regaining Ki Points. Kill a living foe, gain a Ki Point.

    Obfuscation***: Spend Ki Points to cloud the minds of anyone around you. Good for stealthing.

    Mind Bending***: Charm Monster your opponents with the power of your sexy Ki. This can be great, but why SoS your opponent, when you could just kill them?

    Monastic Weapon Training**: You gain Improved Unarmed Strike and access to Monk Weapons. Too bad most monk weapons are terrible. And if you're going for an Unarmed Strike build, you should already have IUS as your first level feat.

    Phantom Reach***: You can spend a Ki point to use a Martial Strike on an opponent within Close Range. This can be a great way to catch a foe by surprise.

    Precocious Step***: You're a highly mobile fighter, you're going to provoke Attacks of Opportunity. With this you can ignore them for probably longer than the battle will last, at least at upper levels.

    Rogue Talent***: This is actually pretty variable. There are some sweet rogue talents available, but you can't get the ninja tricks with this, so you lose out on some fun stuff to use your Ki on.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Maneuvers

    Maneuvers in Path of War work just like they do in the Tome of Battle. But they introduce several new disciplines to the mix with plenty of different things to offer. The new disciplines available to the Stalker are Broken Blade, Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, Thrashing Dragon, and Veiled Moon. Each Discipline has their own strengths, weaknesses, associated weapons and associated skills.

    Broken Blade

    Broken Blade is a discipline focused on unarmed strikes and close range weapons. Its associated skill is Acrobatics*****, and its associated weapon groups are close, monk, and natural weapons. NOTE: Broken Blade maneuvers can only be initiated while wielding a Broken Blade Discipline Weapon or Unarmed Strike. This may affect your weapon/feat choices.

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    1st
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    Brawler’s Attitude***: Boost. This boost gives you a bonus to your CMB when you use your unarmed strike or Discipline Weapon to make one of several maneuvers. Unfortunately you still provoke an AoO if you don't have the appropriate feat, but the boost is significant enough to make combat maneuvers viable.

    Flurry Strike****: Strike. Make two attacks as a standard action. This is great, because you can either hit the big guy twice, or hit two little guys at once to take them out. It wears out once your full attacks get better, but it's probably worth keeping just in case.

    Iron Hand Stance***: Stance. A scaling shield bonus to AC, that hits a maximum of +5 at level 18. It's a solid AC boost, which might be lacking at low levels.

    Pommel Bash****: Strike. Hit your opponent's flat-footed AC? Great. Do extra damage with an unarmed strike? Also Great. Do both of those together? Beautiful. This even has use at higher levels when you can use flat footed opponents to trigger your Deadly Strike.

    Pugilist Stance*****: Stance. This stance is the best 1st level stance you can take if you're planning to stick to Broken Blade Discipline Weapons. A +1d6 damage with no drawback is a serious damage boost that will see use up through 10th level.

    Shards of Iron Strike*****: Hit your opponent and stun them for one round with no save. That's right, no save. Top that wizards.


    2nd
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    Bronze Knuckle: Boost. Increase the damage of your attack and let it ignore DR. The only downside is that you have to use discipline weapons, but really that isn't much of a downside.
    Cartwheel Axe Kick***: Strike. This is the first maneuver choice that requires the use of your Discipline skill. Your acrobatics check is low enough that you should easily make it, thus getting free movement and a powerful attack off in one standard action.
    Counter Step***: Counter. The first counter that Broken Blade offers, it's an acrobatics check to negate an attack. It's nice that they threw in a free five foot step too, but you have to have a safe square to move to.
    Knuckle to the Blade***: Strike. Combining a disarm and a melee attack is nice, but I don't know why the let you choose to use the weapon or not. Chances are it isn't a discipline weapon, and therefore it locks you out of using Broken Blade maneuvers until you drop it.
    Leg Sweeping Hilt**: Strike. Okay, so with this one, the CMB check comes first. It still doesn't provoke and you get a competence bonus to the check, but if you're fighting anything with more than two legs, trip attempts become very difficult. And if you can't trip them with this, you can't hurt them with it either.


    3rd
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    Broken Blade Stance****: Stance. A bonus to your discipline skill and an extra attack on a full attack are great to have. No wonder this is the eponymous stance for this Discipline.
    Flat Iron Riposte****: Counter. This maneuver brings a tear to my eye. You can finally throw your opponents around without following a flow chart and spending three feats. The opponent even has to make a Reflex Save or be rendered prone.
    Iron Dust***: Boost. I don't really like the Dirty Trick combat maneuver, but being able to sneak one in on a regular attack or martial strike is a definite boon to that combat maneuver.
    Steel Flurry Strike****: Strike. For a -2 to hit you get to make three attacks as a standard action and they gain a significant damage boost. This is a boss killer at mid levels and it's a much better trade off than even Power Attack.


    4th
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    Broken Blade Riposte**: Counter- Ok so the upside of this is that it's a powerful counter with a guaranteed push effect on the enemy. The downside is that you have to get hit to use it.

    Iron Axe Kick***: Strike- This powerful unarmed strike deals a lot of extra damage, and can daze the opponent for up to 4 rounds on a failed Fort save.

    Iron Knuckle***: Boost- Bronze knuckle's older brother, it's really just increased damage over its little brother, and not much of an increase.

    Iron Breaking Palm**: Strike- This is an improved sunder attempt against a foe's weapon, armor or shield. The bonus damage makes sundering more viable, but you're not killing your opponent with this attack which is unfortunate.



    5th
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    Iron Monger's Throw***: Strike- This beautifully simple maneuver reduces the grappling flowchart steps necessary to hurl your opponent down to one simple CMB check that doesn't provoke AoOs and offers a nice little bonus. If you want to throw your opponents around, this is the maneuver for you. Bonus points for the name reference.

    Shards of Steel Strike****: Strike- Shards of Steel has a lot going for it. Significant damage boost? Check. Bleed damage? 2d4 Checks. Ignore Damage Reduction? Maybe, the short description says it does, the detailed description leaves that part out. Until more clarity on the issue is reached, treat this as Green if your DM says no to the DR bit and if they say yes to ignoring DR.

    Steel Grappler's Attitude***: Stance- If you like Combat Maneuvers, this stance gives some pretty hefty boosts to using a good number of them. If you don't use Combat Maneuvers, you won't want to touch this, but if you like them (especially grappling) then this will be great for you.

    Throw The Blade Down****: The classic sidestep counter in real world martial arts appears here in all its beauty. A simple acrobatics check (which at this level you should never fail) and you can move into an unoccupied square, leaving your opponent to stumble into your previously occupied square and forcing a Reflex Save to avoid falling prone.


    6th
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    Singing Steel Punch****: Strike- They should have named this attack "Suck it Casters." Deafening and silencing the opponent on a failed Fort Save makes this a great maneuver to use. Note that you still deafen the target for one round even if they succeed on the save.

    Steel Axe Kick***: Strike- The damage bonus is impressive, but the Fort Save dependent Daze only lasts a round and is a little disappointing, I guess.

    Finishing Kick****: Boost- Extra attacks are a thing of beauty, and extra attacks with extra damage are even better. For a swift action, your full attack gets one last devastating blow in to finish off that pesky boss.

    Pit Fighter’s Stance***: Stance- I didn't like this stance the first time I read it. But a swift action Dirty Trick attempt that doesn't provoke is actually pretty useful, as is the bonus damage you get on your attacks if you manage to flat foot your opponent using your dirty tricks.


    7th
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    Adamantine Knuckle***: Boost- Another Knuckle boost, this one adds ignoring DR/Hardness to your attacks, which is much appreciated.

    Shards of Adamantine Strike****: Strike- This comes with a huge damage boost, a great effect in ignoring DR/Hardness, and the ability to nauseate a foe on a failed Fort Save. Shards of Adamantine Strike has everything there is to love about Path of War wrapped up in one nice neat little package.

    Spinning Flurry Rush****: Strike- One of the consistent problems with Melee is a lack of AOE damage (Area Of Effect). This is Broken Blade's answer to that problem. Two unarmed strikes per opponent with bonus damage on each strike makes for a very effective mook killer Especially if you can get some extended reach.



    8th
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    Meteoric Throw*****: Strike- Is this the most powerful maneuver in Path of War? No. But its purple because it lets you do that one thing we've all wanted to do: Beat one opponent to death by throwing a different opponent at them.

    Spinning Adamantine Axe****: Strike- Broken blade's next AOE attack offers similar damage output to Spinning Flurry Rush, but has the added effect of knocking all your opponents prone, no save.

    Unbreakable Stride Stance****: Stance- This is a swift action freedom of movement that lasts as long as you remain in the stance and lets you ignore any AoOs. It's incredibly potent, but a little underwhelming to me for an 8th level stance.


    9th
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    Storm of Iron Fists Strike*****: Strike- This is it, the big finisher, the ultimate final secret technique, the thing Goku spends half the Namek Arc powering up to do. It doesn't disappoint. It opens with a Full Attack as a standard action, followed by an extra 4d6(5d6? the short text says 4, the detailed description says 5) damage per hit, the ability to ignore any Damage Reduction or Hardness, and finishes with an overwhelming Fortitude Save that if failed immediately reduces your poor opponent to -1 hit points. What makes the fortitude save so good? How about the +2 to the save DC for every attack you land? With a little luck, your opponent could be looking at a minimum DC 39 Fort Save. The Tarrasque only has a +31 to Fort Saves. Think about it.


    Solar Wind

    Solar Wind takes an unusual direction and decides to be nice and friendly to Ranged Attackers. If you wield a bow, crossbow or thrown weapon, this is the discipline for you. Its associated skill is Perception***** and its associated weapon groups are Bows, Crossbows, and Thrown.

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    Curving Ray Shot****: Strike- Cover is one of the biggest obstacles to ranged weapons, so it's great that Solar Wind gives you an answer to that right away. The only drawback is the perception roll, but it should be easy to succeed on.

    Horizon Wind Lancet**: Boost- An extra 1d6 on one ranged attack in the round is good at low levels but ages really quickly.

    Phantom Sun Stance****: Stance- Say goodbye to tracking how much ammo you have. As long as its mundane ammo, you have it.

    Solar Sting***: Strike- Cover a 10'x10' area with phantom caltrops that halve your opponent's movement speed and do damage? It's like Entangle, but shiny and pointy.

    Stance of Piercing Rays***: Stance- Solar Wind's 1st level damage boosting stance increases your damage output by 1d6 fire damage. Like poor little Desert Wind, this suffers from everything and their grandma having fire resistance at mid to upper levels.

    Steady Hand***: Boost- Increased range increment is much better for thrown weapons than for bows and crossbows, but every bit helps. Especially since its a swift action to use.



    2nd
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    Feel the Wind***: Boost- I've never had to fight in naturally occurring storm winds, and most GMs I've played with can't be bothered to remember the penalties for bad weather anyway, but the beauty of this is that it just says no to spells like Wind Wall, which used to hard counter any type of archery.

    Intercepting Shade**: Counter- Shooting arrows out of the sky with your own arrows makes for a great image, but this counter is useless unless you're doing just that.

    Solar Flare***: Strike- A good strike that ignores cover and does additional fire damage. This is going to be a theme.

    Solar Lance***: Strike- So there's some miscommunication between the short text and the detailed description of this maneuver about what exactly happens, but going by the detailed entry you get an attack which does extra damage (not fire!) and allows for a free bull rush attempt on the attack with a +2 bonus.



    3rd
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    Blinding Ray Shot***: Strike- This attack offers no bonus damage, it's one major saving grace is the blindness effect that accompanies the attack sans save. No save blinding is pretty powerful.

    Phantom Wind Ray**: Boost- If your opponent fails a perception check vs. your attack roll the attack resolves against their Flat-Footed AC. This would probably be better with some damage bonus, but if you really need to hit somebody, this has a good chance of doing it.

    Solar Reflection***: Strike- Hit one opponent with bonus damage, hit a second opponent with the same attack (but no bonus damage) a solid way to make multiple enemies pay.

    Sunwalker Stance***: You get to move and attack and a bonus to AC if you move more than 10 ft. Its solid, but feels a little lacking in the "kill things faster" department.



    4th
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    Dazzling Solar Flare****: Strike- I told you this Solar Flare stuff would come up again. This is a good damage boost (sadly its fire), but the Fort Save or Daze is 1d4 rounds of nice, and it still dazzles (meh) on a successful save. I guess that's where the name comes from.

    Disarming Gust**: Strike- Suddenly disarming your opponent is nice, but the damage this does is not significant and disarming only works if your opponent is using a weapon.

    Solar Storm****: Strike- You don't use this attack to protect someone from ranged attacks, or keep them from making ranged attacks (although that part is nice). The real reason to use this Strike is that for 1d6 rounds you can force an opponent to stay in one spot, unless they have a really good reflex save.

    Solar Wind Lancet**: Boost- The damage boosts that Solar Wind has to offer are kind of sub par, and this one is exactly that, unfortunately. The fort save or knock prone is nice, but the damage just isn't there.


    5th
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    Blinding The Bull****: Boost- I have no idea where the name for this Boost comes from, but it's a pretty sweet boost anyway. Considering all the sexy little bonuses that Stalkers have which are triggered off a critical hit, anything that makes that easier is a great addition.

    Double Solar Reflection****: Strike- Double Solar Reflection is twice as good as regular Solar Reflection. Wonder how that worked out?

    Focused Solar Lance****: Strike- Finally, a level appropriate damage boost, with a really cool rider effect that pins the opponent to either a wall or the floor. You're actually better off trying to pin them to the floor, since they're considered both prone and pinned in that case.

    Searing Break**: Boost- Searing break adds a good bit of damage to all your ranged attacks for one round. And since ranged attacks get off a lot of attacks in one round, this is a good boost to use. Then you get 6th level maneuvers and never touch this one again.


    6th
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    Burning Break****: Boost- And all of a sudden, Searing break is useless. This nearly doubles the damage bonus of Searing Break and is only one level higher.

    Solar Meteor Blow****: Strike- Also known as "Knock Everybody Prone!" this maneuver does either +4d6 (short version) or +6d6 (detailed version) damage to the target of the attack and forces everyone in a 15 ft radius of the target to make a Fortitude save or be knocked prone.

    True Shot Stance****: Stance- Wow, sixth level maneuvers are really a sweet spot for Solar Wind. This stance doubles your threat range on ranged weapons and ignores Partial Concealment and "Any Cover" the target might have. Oh, this doesn't say if it stacks with keen or not, but its safe to assume it does not.

    Twisting Wind Shot***: Strike- When I first read this maneuver I was ready to give it a purple rating. Instead, it only does damage equivalent to a critical hit, and doesn't trigger any crit associated abilities the stalker has. If the attack would be a critical hit, you increase the damage multiplier by 1 and trigger all the tasty crit stuff you have.


    7th
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    Phantom Sunstorm***: Boost- This boost doesn't seem all that potent at first, but when you consider all the variable damage boosts available to POW characters, this becomes a lot more appealing. Max your damage, and watch your enemies burn.

    Stunning Solar Flare****: Strike- Let's do a bunch of extra damage (that isn't fire!) and stun our opponent for 1d3 rounds. Then let's point and laugh at him. Because really, you've got like 2 more rounds before he can even act again, so take a little break to revel in the suffering of your enemies like Conan would.

    Triple Solar Reflection****: Strike- The Solar Reflection series of maneuvers are all pretty good for their levels, and Triple Solar Reflection continues to demonstrate that. Hit four opponents with one attack, and do extra damage to the first three.



    8th
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    Aurora Break***: Boost- If you read only the short description of this maneuver it's terrible, doing exactly the same thing as the 6th level maneuver Burning Break, Fortunately the detailed description increases this to +8d6 on all attacks, making it much more attractive.

    Solar Hailstorm Stance*: You get to add your Wis Modifier to ranged attack damage, and you get two extra attacks on a full attack action. Everyone loves extra attacks, and this is just perfect... until you read that it doesn't stack with haste, speed weapons, or the multi-shot (which is probably supposed to be the Mayshot Feat) and rapid shot feats. So with that, you're gaining two extra attacks, but losing out on potentially 3 (haste/speed, Manyshot, and Rapid Shot). Please excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

    Solar Wind Tsunami****: A 60 ft cone is a pretty massive area and 15d6+Initiator Level damage (notably untyped) is significant enough to make for one heck of a mook killer. There's a Reflex Save for Half damage though, which can really ruin your plans.


    9th

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    Solar Wind Nova****: A 20 ft area spread, with 20d6 damage and a save or knock prone. It's a good capstone maneuver, and probably the best AOE in Path of War, but it doesn't get to take advantage of any flat damage bonuses you might have.


    Steel Serpent
    Steel Serpent is a discipline that makes use of poisons, thrown weapons and unarmed strikes. Of note are the Prana and Venom maneuvers, which apply supernatural poison like effects to your attacks. Its associated skill is Heal***, and its associated weapon groups are light blades, close weapons, and monk weapons.

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    1st
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    Body of the Night**: Stance- This stance could potentially double your stealth score (or more) but as it doesn't add anything new to your stealthiness, it's really only about as good as regular sneaking.

    Dizzying Venom Prana**: Boost- The first Prana you get deals Wis damage on a failed save. The ability score damage isn't great but its only first level. Save it for the occasional druid or cleric opponent but otherwise give this one a pass.

    Hunting Serpent Blow***: Strike- The true power of this maneuver comes from its ability to put your opponent flat footed. If combined with the Deadly Ambush**** Stalker Art, you can trigger your Deadly Strike damage whenever you want. The skill check is a drawback though, especially considering there's another maneuver in a different discipline that does the same thing with less hassle.

    Poisoner’s Stance***: Stance- If you're making the sting and prana maneuvers a major focus of your character, then Poisoner's Stance could be Blue**** or even Purple*****. The scaling bonus to all your save DC's for pretty much half the maneuvers of this discipline is truly significant.

    Sting of the Rattler***: Strike- At first the damage of this strike seems a little low, but 2d4 damage is the equivalent to a Falchion, and is enough to take down a significant number of level appropriate enemies. Just don't expect this to last.


    2nd
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    Fading Dodge*: Counter- I might be a little harsh on this maneuver, but it is still one of the worst counters I've seen in this book. At this level, pretty much all the other Disciplines offer counters that not only let you negate the attack completely, but also do something in return. Halving damage just doesn't cut it.

    Iron Fang***: Strike- A nice damage boost and the ability to ignore Damage Reduction. At this level, you'll probably be using this to cut up young dragon skeletons or something, but it's a solid maneuver. It just doesn't have anything unique to make it stand out.

    Sting of the Asp****: Strike- Sting of the Asp does Strength damage. Let me repeat that: Sting of the Asp does strength damage. That is a great thing to use on any big bruiser or wimpy wizard, because it not only hurts them, it also protects you by reducing the damage they can do or increasing their encumberance. The Detailed description says that on a failed save, it does an extra 1d6 regular damage in addition to the extra Strength damage, but the short description makes no mention of that.

    Weakening Venom Prana***: Boost- The same reason I like Sting of the Asp is why I like Weakening Venom Prana. Combine these two to watch your DM's optimized wizard BBEG (with his piddly 6 STR and yes I'm drawing from personal experience) fall over paralyzed with one attack.


    3rd
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    Night’s Knife****: Boost- Add your Heal ranks to your damage for 1 round. Since you should be Maxing your Heal skill, this is basically +Character Level to damage on all your attacks for a round. That can add up to some really significant damage, making this a great scaling boost.

    Sickening Venom Strike**: Strike- So I'd like to rate this green, but I think that the Fortitude Save is just all around too harsh. Sickened is a nice debuff, if not stellar, and Constitution damage can be really nasty, but if your opponent makes that save you've all but wasted your turn.

    Sight Piercing Fang****: Strike- The damage bonus is just a nice little boost. It's the rider effect that makes this so very, very good. If your opponent fails their save, they are blinded for one minute. Go ahead and follow the link to read about the blinded condition. I'll wait.... Pretty cool right?

    Steel Coils**/*****: Stance- There are all of 2 maneuvers in this discipline that deal directly with grappling. This is the first one. Admittedly, if you're going for a grappling build the damage from this stance is easily better than anything else you're going to find, so its worth grabbing (ha!).


    4th
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    Poison Blood*: Counter- This counter has several problems. First, it requires you to get hit. Second, it does at most, 20 damage, and third, it allows a reflex save for 1/2 damage. Skip this.

    Rattler’s Feint****: Boost- As a swift action, feint to make your opponent flat footed and get a bonus to do it.

    Sting of the Adder***: Strike- Wisdom damage, good base damage boost and extra Wisdom damage on a failed save (along with extra regular damage according to the detailed description) make for a very appealing maneuver if you have a wizard or other spellcaster friend who loves to use enchantment effect. Its too bad you don't have many ways to take advantage of the Wis damage directly.

    Tearing Fang****: Boost- an increased damage and bleed damage for a little while are nice, but the real beauty is that the bleed damage and rounds from this maneuver stack. Yes, they stack, so if you and your friends can combo this boost you could be looking at some truly significant bleed damage that never ends.

    5th
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    Burning Venom Prana***: Boost- This Prana pairs nicely with Sting of the Adder for extra Wis Damage.

    Hooded Killer’s Stance****: Stance- The boost to Intimidate checks is ok, the boost to stealth checks is nice, but its the Sneak Attack damage that really sells this Stance. With all the ways you have to put your opponent flat-footed you should have no trouble firing off Sneak Attacking Deadly Strikes. This stance doesn't say if it's Sneak Attack dice stack with other sources, but I'm assuming it does (since all other sources stack) which means any rogue that can get it will definitely want this.

    Pressure Point Break **/***: Boost- The other grappling based maneuver in this discipline, this boost lets you add your Deadly Strike or Sneak Attack damage (Plus a little extra) to your grappling damage. I don't know any rogue that wants to grapple or any monk that likes to sneak attack, but as a stalker you can do both. So if you grapple, pick this up.

    Steel Fang***: Strike- A nice damage boost, and the ability to ignore DR are good enough on their own. The extra chance to daze is very nice if you can get it off, but as you go up in level, even your higher than average base DCs become a little easier to beat.


    6th
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    Blend With the Night****: Boost- Greater Invisibility is the kind of thing all sneaky types wish they had access to (and the reason the Ninja rates so much better than the rogue). Yours only lasts for 1 round, but adds bonus Sneak Attack Damage to your attacks.

    Spitting Cobra Stance*: Stance- This is the only thing in the entire discipline that explicitly works with thrown weapons. Honestly if you're using thrown weapons you should be in a Thrashing Dragon or Solar Wind Stance, not this.

    Sting of the Viper*****: Strike- Ok, so this is actually either Blue**** or Green***, but the maneuver does charisma damage, which means that every time you use it, you're literally beating your opponent with the ugly stick. I'm sorry, but that is just too funny to pass up. Oh, also good damage boost and whatever.

    Virulence*****: Boost- This is only worthwhile if you make heavy use of the Sting and Prana maneuvers, but when you absolutely have to make sure your opponent fails their save, this is the go to boost. Its really good because it lasts until used, which means that you can use it outside of combat and save it until you need it.


    7th
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    Bite the Mongoose***: Counter- So the maneuver acknowledges that someday, you will get hit in melee. At that point you use this counter and make them pay for it. The damage boost is either 8d6 (short version) or 6d6 (detailed version) and the constitution damage is very good.

    Desert Serpent Mirage***: Counter- Finally, an actually good counter! This one requires an opposed attack roll, but if you succeed, you gain total concealment against your opponent for 1d4 rounds. That's a 50% miss chance that is just great. As long as you aren't fighting a Solar Wind Disciple, because they laugh at total concealment.

    Numbing Venom Prana****: Boost- This is your only Dexterity damage dealing maneuver, which rates it as blue just for that. Dexterity Damage is good because it makes your opponent easier to hit and Dexterity often gets applied to many, many other things.

    Silencing Strike****: Strike- Tell whoever is talking to shut up by punching them in the throat. The damage is decent, if a little low, but silencing for a minute on a failed save (or a round on a successful one) means that beating up wizards gets a lot easier.


    8th
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    Adamantine Fang****: Strike- A massive damage boost that ignores DR, and the ability to paralyze a foe for one round. Assuming that they survive the attack, your friend can just coup de grace them before the paralysis wears off. Hurray teamwork!

    Hooded Cobra Attitude***: Stance- How many other classes offer you a gaze attack? Yeah that's what I thought. The ability to give anyone within 60 ft the shaken condition is good, and being able to paralyze one opponent for 1d4 rounds on a failed save is really good. There's no action listed for the focused gaze, so it defaults to a standard action though.

    Sting of the Cobra****: Strike- An excellent damage boost with added constitution damage. The Con damage can be halved on a successful save, but if the save fails, the opponent takes 2 more con damage for the next two rounds and (according to the detailed text) an extra 2d6 regular damage as well.


    9th
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    Five-Fold Hydra Sting****: Strike- This is a risky maneuver to use, because it's effectively a Save or Die. The Save DC is relatively high, especially with a few boosts to your Primary Initiating Stat, but still makeable. The extra damage isn't significant unless you're going to crit, but helps out if your opponent makes the save. The juicy flavor bit about the strike utterly destroying the opponent is great, especially for villain characters. Only a Wish or Miracle can restore someone slain by this attack.


    Thrashing Dragon
    Hey, remember how Two Weapon Fighting kind of stinks? Thrashing Dragon fixes that. With plenty of damage boosts, some great multi hit attacks and a few good mobility maneuvers, Thrashing Dragon makes Two Weapon Fighting more than just viable, it makes it outright deadly. The associated Skill for Thrashing Dragon is Acrobatics***** and its associated weapon groups are Close Weapons, Light Blades and Double Weapons.

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    1st
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    Inner Sphere Stance****: Stance- A very good defensive stance, especially at level 1, but most people aren't going to use it when compared to its brother stance.

    Offensive Roll****: Strike- An acrobatics check (which you should easily make) to flat foot your opponent and do extra damage. This is another low level maneuver that compliments Deadly Ambush nicely.

    Outer Sphere Stance*****: Stance- This stance has the highest damage bonus of any 1st level stance. Its the equivalent of +2d6 damage per round at level one. The -2 to AC is completely forgivable considering how good this stance is.

    Swift Claws****: Strike- The first of many maneuvers in this discipline that offer you the chance to hit your opponent twice (or more) as a standard action. Make sure you're in Outer Sphere stance when you use this and you'll be shredding your way through the opposition. The only downside is that you have to target one opponent with both attacks.

    Talon on the Wing**: Boost- If you're in Thrashing Dragon for the throwing weapon stuff, this is good for you. Otherwise skip it.

    Wyrmling’s Fang***: Throw your weapon at a foe and do extra damage. I'd recommend not using such maneuvers unless you have access to returning weapons, or a shield


    2nd
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    Flash Kick***: Strike- This is a very rare Full Attack Action strike. It lets you add an extra unarmed strike to you full attack with a damage boost but an attack penalty. It's decent, but I can't help feeling like it was supposed to be a boost.

    Flick of the Wrist****: Strike- I know I've warned against Disarming foes before, but this isn't even a Disarm Combat Maneuver. It's just two attack rolls (with an attack bonus) doing regular damage, and your character just happens to steal your opponents weapon. This is how Disarming should be.

    Reflexive Twist****: Counter- A save replacing maneuver, which allows a Reflex Save to be replaced by an Acrobatics check. You can pretty much guarantee that your Acrobatics check is going to be higher than your Reflex Save, and with access to Evasion, this is a very appealing ability.

    Sun Dips Low****: Counter- Let's replace your AC with an Acrobatics Check. This one is a little harder to justify keeping considering all the bonuses you can get to AC, but it definitely has its uses.

    Sweeping Tail**: Strike- The trip attempt does not provoke AoOs, and gets a bonus to the roll, but the damage is very low. You could do much better than this maneuver unless you're trying to trigger AoOs on your opponent when they get up.


    3rd
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    Ancient’s Fang***: Strike- I'm not sure this maneuver qualifies for a word as heavy as Ancient, but its a good boost to damage with your thrown weapon of choice. Here's a fun image about how the name came about though: Imagine a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon spitting his dentures at a foe to attack them.

    Battle Dragon’s Stance*****: Stance- Two weapon fighting comes with a lot of annoying little penalties that get in the way of the damage, Battle Dragon's Stance can reduce or even eliminate those penalties. The Initiative Boost is great, and the extra damage for TWF is just gravy.

    Fangs Strike Low****: Strike- This maneuver applies a goodly amount of bleed damage to the opponent, but the best part is that it halves the opponents (land) movement speed.

    Vicious Swipe***: Strike- Does extra damage, and has a chance to daze the opponent. I'd probably put this in a different discipline if it was me, since it feels more at home in Steel Serpent or Broken Blade, but its a solid maneuver with a great potential debuff nonetheless.


    4th
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    Devastation Roll****: Strike- This maneuver is a little tough to read, but if you move alongside your opponent for 10 feet and use an acrobatics check to beat their AC, you do lots of extra damage and the opponent is considered flat footed. Hello Deadly Ambush Combo, nice to see you again! I'm unsure if this maneuver requires an attack roll or not, it says it uses an "attack action," but I'm unsure how that differs from requiring a Standard Action.

    Dragon Assault*****: Strike- Make a full attack action, and every attack that hits does increasing damage. This is a great maneuver that only gets better the more attacks you have. It caps at +5d6, but that's ok, because it doesn't say you don't continue adding +5d6 to every attack after the 5th one. This maneuver will continue to see use even up to 20th level.

    Dragon Rush****: Boost- As part of an attack, full attack, etc. action this boost adds an extra unarmed strike that does +3d6 damage. More attacks make me happy.

    Sharpened Talons***: Boost- How good this maneuver is depends on whether or not it requires you to be doing slashing damage. The Detailed Description says that it only applies to light blades or natural attacks that do slashing damage, but the short description says it applies to light weapons.


    5th
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    Bend With the Wind****: Stance- One of, if not the best, defensive stances there are, you can either gain a stacking bonus to AC for every attack that misses you, or you can make a 5 foot step every time they miss. You can even mix and match the effects. This stance does require some battlefield awareness, since you have to have an open space to move to in order to gain the benefit of either effect though.

    Hurricane of Fangs***: Boost- Another boost to thrown weapons, this increases their range and adds your Initiator Level to damage.

    Reversing Thrust****: Counter- Not only can you negate your opponent's attack with an acrobatics check, you can make a counterattack at your full Base Attack Bonus. This is a very tasty counter.

    Thrashing Dragon Twist*****: Strike- Two attacks against every adjacent foe makes this strictly better than cleave and great cleave. The added attack for Unarmed Strikes makes this an absolutely amazing maneuver.


    6th
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    Great Wyrm’s Fang***: Strike- A great boost to damage for a thrown weapon, but there's no listed damage for the bleed effect.

    Rending Claws***: Strike- This can only be used with slashing or piercing weapons, but if used the damage is pretty impressive.

    Tail Slap***: Strike- The damage bonus for this maneuver is crap, and its useless unless you're invested in Unarmed Strike damage, but the status effect is great. Your opponent is either stunned for 1d4 rounds or dazed for 1 in either case, they're in trouble.

    Unbreakable Talons***: Boost- A good damage bonus, and the ability to treat your slashing or piercing weapons (and natural attacks) as adamantine make this a very solid boost.


    7th
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    Alacrity on Wing****: Counter- remember all the great stuff about Reversing Thrust? This is even better. You still get to negate the attack, and now you get to make two counter attacks, each with a nice little damage bonus.

    Brutal Dragon’s Stance****: Stance- This is an improved version of Outer Sphere Stance, and offers increased damage for the same penalty. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the damage boost is quite as good as it was at level 1.

    Thrashing Dragon Frenzy*****: Strike- Thrashing Dragon Twist's big brother. With this, you can make 4 attacks against each opponent, or 6 if you have IUS. Yes, I said 6 attacks.


    8th
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    Doom Talon****: Boost- Automatically confirm a critical hit and deal extra damage. You still gain the bonus damage against foes that are immune to critical hits, which is nice.

    Dragon Warrior’s Talons/Stance****: Stance- There's some naming confusion in the PDF, but the mechanics are fine. Your attacks ignore DR and deal bleed damage. No mention of if the bleed damage stacks, so assume not.

    Thrashing Blades*****: Strike- A standard action to initiate, this strike lets you make a full attack with no reduction in attack penalty for iterative attacks, and deal extra damage with each attack. The -4 penalty to AC next round isn't even a blip on the radar.


    9th
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    Deadly Dragon Strike*****: Strike- This attack is a killer, literally. You make two attacks against targeted foes (either both attacks on one target or one attack for each of two targets) and if the attacks hit, it forces a fortitude save or be slain instantly, and even if they succeed they still take major damage. The fact that you can force your opponent to make two pretty high saves or be killed is pretty darn impressive.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Maneuver Analysis Continued

    Veiled Moon

    Veiled Moon is a discipline focused on teleportation, mysticism, and stealth. Its associated skill is Stealth*****, and its associated weapon groups are light blades, double weapons, and spears. Veiled Moon has one of the lowest damage outputs of the new disciplines, but probably has the highest utility. The entire discipline is supernatural - stay out of antimagic fields, and you'll be fine.

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    1st
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    Dimensional Strike***: Strike. Your foe is automatically flat-footed. Not bad. A fun trick: If you have the Deadly Ambush stalker art, you automatically apply your deadly strike damage.

    Disturbing Blow****: Strike. If you hit, your opponent takes a -4 penalty on their next d20 roll. Wait for, say, the party Wizard or Psion dropping a save-or-suck ability, and you've got a nasty combo. Also, at low levels, it's almost a guaranteed failed attack roll from an enemy bruiser.

    Ghost Hunting Blow***: Boost. Your attacks gain the ghost touch property for 1 round. The usefulness of this ability scales hard with your DM's choices. Know you're going to be fighting ghosts? You might be the only party member who can hit them with this. Know for a fact you're only going to be fighting goblins for the first 5 levels? This is worthless.

    Inner Sense****: Counter. +2 insight bonus on a single saving throw. Obviously, it's worthless if you're getting an insight bonus from another source (such as defensive precognition), but otherwise, you can definitely do worse than a 1/combat bonus to saves.

    Leaping Spirit Stance**: Stance. +2 dodge bonus to AC and +2 competence bonus to Reflex saves as long as you move 10 feet each round. It's not bad, per se, especially when you're probably going to have mobility options from maneuvers, but you're probably going to have better options for a go-to stance. In general, I'd recommend Inner Sphere Stance from Thrashing Dragon if you want a dodge bonus from your stance.

    Spirit Sensing Stance***: Stance. Scent is quite useful (both in combat and out of combat). If you don't know what else to pick, consider this for your second level 1 stance.


    2nd
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    Cursed Fate*: Strike. They're allowed a Will save and only lose their move action? Take Shards of Iron Strike in Broken Blade every time.

    Fading Strike*****: Strike: Engage. Disengage. Teleport around the battlefield, while hitting people. There's so many great plays this opens up. It's only a standard action, so you can:
    1. Move, teleport, attack (get in range to teleport, then attack).
    2. Attack, teleport, move (hit someone, teleport out of reach, run).
    3. Teleport, attack, move (jump to someone, then keep moving).
    3. Move, attack, teleport (move up, hit someone, teleport away).
    Seriously, if you don't pick this up, I don't understand you as a person (unless, of course, you're starting at higher levels and can pick up Flicker Strike to begin with...then MAYBE).

    Half-Gone***: Counter. Your Stealth vs. your opponent's Perception. If you win, you're treated as incorporeal for that attack/effect. So you have a chance to give your opponent's ability a 50% chance to miss (if magical) or automatically miss (if completely mundane). Certainly not a bad choice, but there will be better counters later on. Obviously much better if everything your DM throws at you just has natural attacks or regular/masterwork weapons and/or no investment in Perception.

    Resonance Strike**: Melee touch attack for 2d6+initiation modifier force damage. On the one hand, force damage is almost entirely unresistible, but the scaling is so bad that this will become worthless relatively quickly.


    3rd
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    Altered Penumbra****: Counter. Your Stealth vs. their Perception to teleport 10 feet away and leave a mirror image in your place. I told you there were going to be better counters, didn't I? One of the best parts of this counter is that if you teleport out of their reach, you're not just avoiding one attack - you can interrupt a full attack from them.

    Brilliant Moon***: Strike. Ignore armor bonus (except force-effect armor like mage armor) and deal an additional 4d4 force damage. The bonus chance to hit is nice, but remember that 4d4 is an average of 10 damage - not that much as you go up in levels.

    Formless Dance*****: Stance. Blur on its own is a great effect; see invisibility is just icing on the cake.

    Ghostwalk*****: The ability to walk through walls (if only for 6 seconds at a time) is incredible for dungeon crawls and espionage, as well as a clutch defensive ability in combat.


    4th
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    Breath of the Moon*** Strike: Confusion is a painful condition (especially in Pathfinder), but forcing a target to be unable to attack you is excellent. Will save negates, unfortunately.

    Ethereal Reminiscence** - Stay away from this maneuver until you're sure you can make the save reliably. Even then, healing isn't that important that you should be reliant on it; wands of cure light wounds are cheap. Even so, remember that you can keep this as a maneuver known (not readied), and just use it out of combat.

    Flicker Strike*****: Strike. It's an improved version of Fading Strike (teleport before and after the attack, you can substitute a CMB check for an attack, and your opponent is considered flat-footed). All my praise for Fading Strike applies here; if you've got the maneuvers readied, consider readying both for double the teleportation fun.

    Fading Leap****: It's a move action maneuver, which is quite rare. Teleport up to double your base movement speed away. Incredible in- and out-of-combat utility, but remember Stance of the Ether Gate is just around the corner. Because it's a move action, you can combo this with any standard action strike.


    5th
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    Essence Shattering (Strike)****: Strike. Bonus damage+chance to daze is pretty great.

    Stance of the Ether Gate*****: Stance. At will teleportation. If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. Something that needs to be stated: One of the reasons why many of the other high-level maneuvers are rated where they are is because of their usefulness compared with this stance.

    Twisting Ether****: Boost. Change places with an ally. Great stuff, but it'll usually be more useful for getting an ally to safety (as you have plenty of ways to get into and out of combat).

    Warp Worm***: 10d6 force is nice (especially at this level), but no scaling means it won't remain relevant forever, and you have better options for teleportation.


    6th
    Spoiler
    Show


    Ether Wave***: You don't have many AoE options, but this one isn't bad. If you need one, this can suffice.

    Phantom Penumbra - Unrated. There are a few rules questions I have about this one, so I'm withholding judgement until I know exactly how it works.

    Spiritual Weapon Stance**: Stance. Perma-ghost touch weapons plus a small amount of force damage (remember that 2d4 is an average of 5). You've got plenty of better options for stances unless you're fighting Lord Phantom McGhosty and His Shadow Army.

    Vaporform Crash***: Strike. Part of a combo: You can only use it against incorporeal targets, right? Use Dispersal Strike to knock them incorporeal, then follow it up with Vaporform.



    7th
    Spoiler
    Show


    Dispersal (Strike)**** Strike. Especially brutal against melee-types, as they have no Strength score while incorporeal, but nobody likes getting hit with this.

    Fade Through***: It's definitely good - you've just got a ton of options for movement at this point.

    Flashing Ether Touch - I've got some rules questions, so I'm holding off rating it.



    8th
    Spoiler
    Show


    Anchoring Spirit****: Stance. Be the Dimensional Anchor You Want to See in the World. Or something. It shuts down your opponents' teleportation effects, which is pretty worthwhile. Obviously, you're not going to be in it 24/7, but being able to say "Nope" to that Wizard's quickened dimension door is awesome.

    Eclipsing Moon***: When you strip away all the fluff, you're basically just making a full attack with a minor bonus to attack and damage rolls against your opponent's flat-footed AC. Is it a REALLY AWESOME full attack? Yes; yes, it is.

    Lunar Penumbra*****: One of the best counters in Path of War. Make someone hit themselves with their own attack by swapping places with them. Brilliant.



    9th
    Spoiler
    Show


    [S]Banish to the Beyond: Strike. No save, just suck (read it carefully). Arguably more powerful than Astral Projection (and when you're more powerful than a 9th level sorcerer/wizard spell, you're on edgy ground). There are some concerns about balance here, obviously, and some rules clarifications that need to be dealt with. Be careful with this maneuver for the time being


    New Feats and Useful Old Feats


    The Path of War introduces a bunch of new feats that are useable by any character, and have plenty to offer. I'll be providing ratings for each of the new feats presented in Path of War and highlighting some very useful older feats for the stalker.

    New Feats

    Advanced Study [Combat]****: This feat lets you add two new maneuvers or one stance to your list of maneuvers/stances known. It can be taken multiple times, so feel free to take it if you want to nab a few extra high level maneuvers or stances.

    Discipline Focus [General]***: Discipline Focus increases the Save DC of your maneuvers and the damage of Discipline weapons. If there's a particular weapon you're attached to (like your fists) this is a good way to add a little extra damage and a little extra oomph to your favorite discipline.

    Deadly Agility [Combat]*****: The best feat to be released in Path of War, Deadly Agility allows you to use your Dexterity in place of Strength for any Finesseable weapon. You can take this as early as 3rd level as a Stalker, and safely dump Strength. Note that during the Playtest, this was a HIGHLY controversial feat, so there's a very good chance your DM will ban, nerf or otherwise interfere with this feat.

    Double Weapon Finesse [Combat]***: Double Weapon Finesse is kind of tough to rate, if you're building a Dex based, Two Weapon Fighting, Double Weapon using character, then your prayers are answered. But otherwise, you're not going to even look at this long enough to know what it does.

    Extra Readied Maneuver [Combat]****: For some reason this feat makes me think of Dirty Harry. You can have an extra maneuver readied to pull out just in case. Having an extra Boost or Strike to down your opponent, or an extra Counter to save your hide can really make a difference.

    Extra Stalker Art [Combat]****: Most Stalker Arts are better than most feats, and you get so few of them that nabbing an extra one is a good payoff. Just don't do something silly like use it to take Combat Art.

    Fuse Styles [Combat, Style]***: Allowing you to assume a stance and a style with the same action is pretty nice if you're using both. Supposedly there will be new Style feats coming down the pipeline, but none have appeared yet.

    Greater Unarmed Strike [Combat]****: Let's make Improved Unarmed Strike viable for people who aren't monks or ninjas. There's some good damage progression on this feat, but it doesn't interact at all with classes that use a Monk's Unarmed Strike damage progression. If you're thinking of taking a Monk dip, you can probably skip this unless going all the way to 20th level, but without the Monk dip, this is a great damage boost.

    Lightning Recovery [Combat]****: Once per day you can immediately recover an expended maneuver as a free action. You can take this feat multiple times, but honestly I'm not sure its worth it.

    Lightning Swap [Combat]**: If there were a class that could take advantage of drawing and sheathing their weapon as a free action to gain some sort of mechanical benefit, this would be a much better feat. As it is now, it's just a good bit of flavor and a bonus to CMD.

    Martial Training I-VI [Combat]*****: There are six levels of feat here, and each one lets you learn two and ready one maneuver from a chosen discipline. The recovery mechanic for them sucks, but if you choose Thrashing Dragon or Broken Blade, your maneuvers are all keyed off your Dexterity, which has some good potential use with the Prestige Classes that are currently in beta.

    After taking all six levels, you net: 9->11 Maneuvers Known, 3->5 Stances Known, and 6 Maneuvers Readied, with two opportunities to swap out previously learned maneuvers. You can select maneuvers of up to 6th level, and treat your Initiator Level as 1/2 your Character Level + your Initiator Stat Modifier (chosen via your discipline skill).

    Old Feats

    Improved Unarmed Strike****: I recommend this for anyone using Broken Blade, Steel Serpent or Thrashing Dragon. If you're going for an unarmed build, this is obviously required, but even if you aren't, there are some very good Thrashing Dragon and Steel Serpent maneuvers that get an extra benefit from having IUS, and as long as you have it, you always have a Discipline Weapon to use for Broken Blade.

    Weapon Finesse*****: You want this because you want Deadly Agility. You want this so you can dump Strength. You want this.

    Piranha Strike****: The Dex based Power Attack, it's a very useful feat if available, but because it's in an obscure book it may not be allowed.


    Improved Initiative***: This does border on Blue****, depending on your exact build. Your dexterity is so high, and you have extra options to improve your initiative further that you could avoid taking this, but if you find yourself with room, it's a very good choice to have.

    -Point Blank Shot/Precise Shot/Rapid Shot/Deadly Aim*****: This rating only applies if you're playing a ranged Stalker. You're going to need these feats and other archery feats to make your style viable in the long run. I don't want to go into detail on all of them, but archery is very feat intensive and these 4 are key to any archery build.

    Snake Style****:Snake Style offers a couple minor benefits that add up nicely together. It lets you do piercing damage with your Unarmed Strikes (meaning you can get around some of the restrictions that certain Thrashing Dragon maneuvers have) and adds a pseudo-counter you can use to replace your AC with a Sense Motive check.

    Panther Style****,Panther Claw*****, Panther Parry****- When you provoke an AoO from movement, you can spend a swift action (Free Action up to Wis Mod times with Panther Claw) to make a retaliatory AoO against your opponent. Considering how mobile Stalkers are, they'll get plenty of opportunities to put these to good use.

    -Crane Style****: The Crane Style tree is fairly renowned as the best defensive style, and although Stalkers aren't intended to be defensive in nature, the benefits are difficult to ignore.

    -Mantis Style***: If you picked up Stunning Fist (via a monk dip, don't get it anywhere else), you can find some nice benefits to it through Mantis Style.

    -Boar Style*** and Boar Ferocity***: These two feats let you use slashing damage and piercing damage with your unarmed strikes and grant bleed damage and free intimidate checks when you use them successfully.

    The elemental styles*** are all decent.

    Multiclassing

    Path of War classes are multiclass friendly, if you take a dip in another class, make sure its an even numbered dip because non initiator class levels count as 1/2 of an Initiator Level. These tables below show how levels in PoW classes interact with Levels in other classes for determining Initiator Level and access to maneuvers.


    Spoiler
    Show
    {TABLE=head]Table 1.
    {TABLE=head]Levels in Non-initiator Class|IL from those classes|Highest level of maneuver after 1 level of initiator class
    2|1|1
    4|2|2
    6|3|2
    8|4|3
    10|5|3
    12|6|4
    14|7|4
    16|8|5
    18|9|5[/TABLE][/TABLE]


    {TABLE=head]Table 2.
    {TABLE=head]Levels in non-initiator class|Levels in initiator class|total initiator level at 20|highest level maneuvers at 20
    2|18|19|9th
    4|16|18|9th
    6|14|17|9th
    8|2|16|8th
    10|10|15|8th
    12|8|14|7th
    14|6|13|7th
    16|4|12|6th
    18|2|11|6th[/TABLE][/TABLE]

    Tables Courtesy of Novawurmson and Greenish


    I think right now the only Multiclassing choice of note is the Monk****. If you're doing an unarmed strike build, a two level Monk dip nets you some significant advantages that you can use, including bonus feats, better saves, Wis to AC, and better Unarmed Strike Damage.

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    Default Re: [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Choice weapons and weapons of choice.
    Section Originally By Greenish

    Note that using a discipline weapon grants +2 to the maneuver DCs of that discipline. Broken Blade maneuvers can only be performed with the discipline weapons.

    Simple weapons
    Spoiler
    Show

    Unarmed Strike (light, close/monk/natural): Requires a feat to function, tiny damage, but many Broken Blade and Trashing Dragon strikes use it.
    Spiked Gauntlet (light, close): It doesn't take up a hand, and can't be disarmed.
    Dagger (light, light blade/thrown): Two damage types, can be thrown, easy to hide.
    Wooden Stake (light, close/thrown): Aside from being handy for vampire slaying, one of the few close weapons that can also be thrown.

    Quarterstaff (two-handed, double/monk): The only non-exotic double weapon, discipline weapon for all but Solar Wind.


    Martial weapons
    Spoiler
    Show

    Butterfly Sword (light, light blade/monk): Uninteresting save that it is a discipline weapon for all but Solar Wind.
    Kukri (light, light blade): With 18–20 threat range, the classic crit-fishing weapon.
    Starknife (light, light blade/thrown): Melee weapon with 20' range if thrown, x3 crit modifier gets you d8's for Deadly Strike.
    Armour spikes (light, close): Like spiked gauntlet, better damage.
    Light shield (light, close): You're proficient with shields used as weapons, but not as armour, so you need masterwork to avoid penalties.
    Heavy shield (one-handed, close): You'd need Mithril or Darkwood to avoid non-proficiency penalties. Stick with the light shield.
    Rapier (one-handed, light blade): Finessable, 18-20 threat range.
    Scimitar (one-handed, heavy blade): Finessable with the Dervish Dance feat, 18-20 threat range.
    Scizore (one-handed, light blade/close): Works as a buckler, +10 vs. disarm. Can't be finessed, but best damage for its weapon groups.

    Chakram (ranged, heavy blade/light blade/thrown): Good range and base damage. Can be used in melee in a pinch (not recommended).

    Longbow (ranged, bow): The stable ranged weapon for most everyone.

    Exotic weapons (only worth it if you get proficiency for free, unless otherwise noted):
    Spoiler
    Show
    Sai (light, monk): Bonus to Disarm and Sunder.
    Tekko-kagi (light, close): Acts as a buckler, can disarm without provoking, bonus to sunder & disarm (vs. certain weapons).

    Elven Curve Blade (two-handed, heavy blade): Finessable two-hander, 18-20 threat range.
    Double-Chained Kama (two-handed, double/flail/monk): Can be used as a reach weapon or as a pair of kamas. Disarm, trip. Could be worth Double Weapon Finesse, depending on how the DM rules the reach.

    Shuriken (ranged, monk/thrown): Treated as ammunition (free action to draw, cheap to enchant, lost if used).

    Throwing shield(light or one-handed, close): If you really want to be Cpt. America, this is the way.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    More races!


    Aasimar (Garuda-blooded)*****: Stats exactly where you want them (and no penalties), See Invisibility as an SLA, skill bonus to Acrobatics (and Fly), Darkvision, what more could you ask? (If you came up with something to ask, there's probably an alternative feature, these guys got a whole book for themselves.)

    Tiefling (Asura-Spawn)****: Bonuses to Dex and Wis, penalty to Int. Skill modifiers and SLA are fairly forgettable, but there are good swaps (like bite or claws for SLA) for both. Comes with Darkvision like its goody-twoshoes cousin.

    Vanara****: Have you always wanted to play the Monkey King? You're in luck, vanaras come with bonuses to Dex, Wis, Acrobatics, and Stealth. Penalty to dump stat, good climb speed, and Low-Light Vision round it out.

    Undine****: Bonuses to Dex and Wis, just as you like 'em, though penalty to Str can be an annoyance. Comes with Darkvision and good Swim speed at default, and can swap weak/useless features for Amphibious and a bonus for masquerading as a human. Could also get 30' blindsense that only works underwater, making the race undoubtedly purple for aquatic campaigns.


    [Edit]: Surprise contender! (Well, I was surprised at least.)

    Hobgoblin****: Rather sparse on features, but ol' hobboes get bonuses to Dex and Con with no penalties, Darkvision, and a sizable bonus to Stealth. Quite decent alternatives for the features too.

    [Edit]: My sneaky edit didn't make it: vanaras have bonuses to Acrobatics and Stealth, not Perception.
    Last edited by Greenish; 2013-12-12 at 11:20 AM.
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    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
    Praise for avatar may be directed to Derjuin.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Thanks Greenish, I've got your additional races added to the list along with your sneaky edits.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Maybe because it's my favourite Stalker art, but I feel you're rating Obfuscation a tad low. This is basically the HiPS for Stalker, pretty much the ultimate sneaking trick. Let others skulk in shadows, you can just walk to the king's court, right past the oblivious guards. The DC doesn't scale without burning Ki, but even so, this can get you past a lot of mooks.

    Stalker maneuver recovery, on the other hand, probably doesn't warrant anything better than orange, if not red. It takes a whole turn, costs Ki, and only gets you back a handful of maneuvers. You should seriously endeavour never to use this in combat.


    Finally,

    Goblin****: Blue may be stretching it, but +4 to Dex is pretty great, as are the 30' speed (despite their size), Stealth bonus, and Darkvision. Small size hurts CMB and CMD, as does the Str penalty. Cha penalty and Ride bonus are a wash. Paizo loves these guys, and thus they have surprisingly many racial traits and feats.
    Quotes:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
    Praise for avatar may be directed to Derjuin.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    I was hoping to either make one of these or help make one of these. Count me in! What would help you most right now?
    Tier System for Classes | Why Each Class is in its Tier
    PF Optimization Guides Compendium | Extended Signature (Optimization/Conversion/Homebrew)


    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Maybe because it's my favourite Stalker art, but I feel you're rating Obfuscation a tad low. This is basically the HiPS for Stalker, pretty much the ultimate sneaking trick. Let others skulk in shadows, you can just walk to the king's court, right past the oblivious guards. The DC doesn't scale without burning Ki, but even so, this can get you past a lot of mooks.

    Stalker maneuver recovery, on the other hand, probably doesn't warrant anything better than orange, if not red. It takes a whole turn, costs Ki, and only gets you back a handful of maneuvers. You should seriously endeavour never to use this in combat.


    Finally,

    Goblin****: Blue may be stretching it, but +4 to Dex is pretty great, as are the 30' speed (despite their size), Stealth bonus, and Darkvision. Small size hurts CMB and CMD, as does the Str penalty. Cha penalty and Ride bonus are a wash. Paizo loves these guys, and thus they have surprisingly many racial traits and feats.
    You're probably right about the Stalker Maneuver recovery, but I sincerely believe that it is the single best way to spend your Ki, and there are plenty of options (some free, others not) that make the full round recovery much more attractive.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Novawurmson View Post
    I was hoping to either make one of these or help make one of these. Count me in! What would help you most right now?
    If you could do one of the disciplines (I'm currently working on Solar Wind and finished Broken Blade) or the Feats/Multiclass section that would help out a ton!

    We might want to include some sample builds/equipment choices too right? The more I think about it the more I want to add...

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    I'll take Veiled Moon, I think.
    Tier System for Classes | Why Each Class is in its Tier
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Novawurmson View Post
    I'll take Veiled Moon, I think.
    Sounds good to me. Enjoy!

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Looking through your guide to get a feel for your style what you're rating highly.

    Something I noticed: Veiled Moon isn't on your list of the available disciplines!
    Tier System for Classes | Why Each Class is in its Tier
    PF Optimization Guides Compendium | Extended Signature (Optimization/Conversion/Homebrew)


    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Choice weapons and weapons of choice.

    Note that using a discipline weapon grants +2 to the maneuver DCs of that discipline. Broken Blade maneuvers can only be performed with the discipline weapons.

    Simple weapons
    Spoiler
    Show

    Unarmed Strike (light, close/monk/natural): Requires a feat to function, tiny damage, but many Broken Blade and Trashing Dragon strikes use it.
    Spiked Gauntlet (light, close): It doesn't take up a hand, and can't be disarmed.
    Dagger (light, light blade/thrown): Two damage types, can be thrown, easy to hide.
    Wooden Stake (light, close/thrown): Aside from being handy for vampire slaying, one of the few close weapons that can also be thrown.

    Quarterstaff (two-handed, double/monk): The only non-exotic double weapon, discipline weapon for all but Solar Wind.

    Martial weapons
    Spoiler
    Show
    Butterfly Sword (light, light blade/monk): Uninteresting save that it is a discipline weapon for all but Solar Wind.
    Kukri (light, light blade): With 18–20 threat range, the classic crit-fishing weapon.
    Starknife (light, light blade/thrown): Melee weapon with 20' range if thrown, x3 crit modifier gets you d8's for Deadly Strike.
    Armour spikes (light, close): Like spiked gauntlet, better damage.

    Rapier (one-handed, light blade): Finessable, 18-20 threat range.
    Scimitar (one-handed, heavy blade): Finessable with the Dervish Dance feat, 18-20 threat range.
    Scizore (one-handed, light blade/close): Works as a buckler, +10 vs. disarm. Can't be finessed, but best damage for its weapon groups.

    Chakram (ranged, heavy blade/light blade/thrown): Good range and base damage. Can be used in melee in a pinch (not recommended).

    Longbow (ranged, bow): The stable ranged weapon for most everyone.

    Exotic weapons (only worth it if you get proficiency for free, unless otherwise noted):
    Spoiler
    Show
    Sai (light, monk): Bonus to Disarm and Sunder.
    Tekko-kagi (light, close): Acts as a buckler, can disarm without provoking, bonus to sunder & disarm (vs. certain weapons).

    Elven Curve Blade (two-handed, heavy blade): Finessable two-hander, 18-20 threat range.
    Double-Chained Kama (two-handed, double/flail/monk): Can be used as a reach weapon or as a pair of kamas. Disarm, trip. Could be worth Double Weapon Finesse, depending on how the DM rules the reach.

    Shuriken (ranged, monk/thrown): Treated as ammunition (free action to draw, cheap to enchant, lost if used).
    Last edited by Greenish; 2013-12-12 at 02:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
    Praise for avatar may be directed to Derjuin.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Novawurmson View Post
    Looking through your guide to get a feel for your style what you're rating highly.

    Something I noticed: Veiled Moon isn't on your list of the available disciplines!
    Yes it is, It's at the very top of the Maneuvers Post. I guess I missed it in the first post though!

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    Default Re: [PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    WIP! This is just a copypasta of Broken Blade at time of posting.

    Edit: Levels 1-4 are done.

    Edit: Working on the rest on paper. Typing up the rest.

    [SPOILER]
    Veiled Moon

    Veiled Moon is a discipline focused on teleportation, mysticism, and stealth. Its associated skill is Stealth, and its associated weapon groups are light blades, double weapons, and spears. Veiled Moon has one of the lowest damage outputs of the new disciplines, but probably has the highest utility. The entire discipline is supernatural - stay out of antimagic fields, and you'll be fine.

    1st
    Spoiler
    Show

    Dimensional Strike***: Strike. Your foe is automatically flat-footed. Not bad. A fun trick: If you have the Deadly Ambush stalker art, you automatically apply your deadly strike damage.

    Disturbing Blow****: Strike. If you hit, your opponent takes a -4 penalty on their next d20 roll. Wait for, say, the party Wizard or Psion dropping a save-or-suck ability, and you've got a nasty combo. Also, at low levels, it's almost a guaranteed failed attack roll from an enemy bruiser.

    Ghost Hunting Blow***: Boost. Your attacks gain the ghost touch property for 1 round. The usefulness of this ability scales hard with your DM's choices. Know you're going to be fighting ghosts? You might be the only party member who can hit them with this. Know for a fact you're only going to be fighting goblins for the first 5 levels? This is worthless.

    Inner Sense****: Counter. +2 insight bonus on a single saving throw. Obviously, it's worthless if you're getting an insight bonus from another source (such as defensive precognition), but otherwise, you can definitely do worse than a 1/combat bonus to saves.

    Leaping Spirit Stance**: Stance. +2 dodge bonus to AC and +2 competence bonus to Reflex saves as long as you move 10 feet each round. It's not bad, per se, especially when you're probably going to have mobility options from maneuvers, but you're probably going to have better options for a go-to stance. In general, I'd recommend Inner Sphere Stance from Thrashing Dragon if you want a dodge bonus from your stance.

    Spirit Sensing Stance***: Stance. Scent is quite useful (both in combat and out of combat). If you don't know what else to pick, consider this for your second level 1 stance.


    2nd
    Spoiler
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    Cursed Fate*: Strike. They're allowed a Will save and only lose their move action? Take Shards of Iron Strike in Broken Blade every time.

    Fading Strike*****: Strike: Engage. Disengage. Teleport around the battlefield, while hitting people. There's so many great plays this opens up. It's only a standard action, so you can:
    1. Move, teleport, attack (get in range to teleport, then attack).
    2. Attack, teleport, move (hit someone, teleport out of reach, run).
    3. Teleport, attack, move (jump to someone, then keep moving).
    3. Move, attack, teleport (move up, hit someone, teleport away).
    Seriously, if you don't pick this up, I don't understand you as a person (unless, of course, you're starting at higher levels and can pick up Flicker Strike to begin with...then MAYBE).

    Half-Gone***: Counter. Your Stealth vs. your opponent's Perception. If you win, you're treated as incorporeal for that attack/effect. So you have a chance to give your opponent's ability a 50% chance to miss (if magical) or automatically miss (if completely mundane). Certainly not a bad choice, but there will be better counters later on. Obviously much better if everything your DM throws at you just has natural attacks or regular/masterwork weapons and/or no investment in Perception.

    Resonance Strike**: Melee touch attack for 2d6+initiation modifier force damage. On the one hand, force damage is almost entirely unresistible, but the scaling is so bad that this will become worthless relatively quickly.


    3rd
    Spoiler
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    Altered Penumbra****: Counter. Your Stealth vs. their Perception to teleport 10 feet away and leave a mirror image in your place. I told you there were going to be better counters, didn't I? One of the best parts of this counter is that if you teleport out of their reach, you're not just avoiding one attack - you can interrupt a full attack from them.

    Brilliant Moon***: Strike. Ignore armor bonus (except force-effect armor like mage armor) and deal an additional 4d4 force damage. The bonus chance to hit is nice, but remember that 4d4 is an average of 10 damage - not that much as you go up in levels.

    Formless Dance*****: Stance. Blur on its own is a great effect; see invisibility is just icing on the cake.

    Ghostwalk*****: The ability to walk through walls (if only for 6 seconds at a time) is incredible for dungeon crawls and espionage, as well as a clutch defensive ability in combat.


    4th
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    Breath of the Moon*** Strike: Confusion is a painful condition (especially in Pathfinder), but forcing a target to be unable to attack you is excellent. Will save negates, unfortunately.

    Ethereal Reminiscence** - Stay away from this maneuver until you're sure you can make the save reliably. Even then, healing isn't that important that you should be reliant on it; wands of cure light wounds are cheap. Even so, remember that you can keep this as a maneuver known (not readied), and just use it out of combat.

    Flicker Strike*****: Strike. It's an improved version of Fading Strike (teleport before and after the attack, you can substitute a CMB check for an attack, and your opponent is considered flat-footed). All my praise for Fading Strike applies here; if you've got the maneuvers readied, consider readying both for double the teleportation fun.

    Fading Leap****: It's a move action maneuver, which is quite rare. Teleport up to double your base movement speed away. Incredible in- and out-of-combat utility, but remember Stance of the Ether Gate is just around the corner. Because it's a move action, you can combo this with any standard action strike.


    5th
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    Essence Shattering (Strike)****: Strike. Bonus damage+chance to daze is pretty great.

    Stance of the Ether Gate*****: Stance. At will teleportation. If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. Something that needs to be stated: One of the reasons why many of the other high-level maneuvers are rated where they are is because of their usefulness compared with this stance.

    Twisting Ether****: Boost. Change places with an ally. Great stuff, but it'll usually be more useful for getting an ally to safety (as you have plenty of ways to get into and out of combat).

    Warp Worm***: 10d6 force is nice (especially at this level), but no scaling means it won't remain relevant forever, and you have better options for teleportation.


    6th
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    Ether Wave***: You don't have many AoE options, but this one isn't bad. If you need one, this can suffice.

    Phantom Penumbra - Unrated. There are a few rules questions I have about this one, so I'm withholding judgement until I know exactly how it works.

    Spiritual Weapon Stance**: Stance. Perma-ghost touch weapons plus a small amount of force damage (remember that 2d4 is an average of 5). You've got plenty of better options for stances unless you're fighting Lord Phantom McGhosty and His Shadow Army.

    Vaporform Crash***: Strike. Part of a combo: You can only use it against incorporeal targets, right? Use Dispersal Strike to knock them incorporeal, then follow it up with Vaporform.



    7th
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    Dispersal (Strike)**** Strike. Especially brutal against melee-types, as they have no Strength score while incorporeal, but nobody likes getting hit with this.

    Fade Through***: It's definitely good - you've just got a ton of options for movement at this point.

    Flashing Ether Touch - I've got some rules questions, so I'm holding off rating it.



    8th
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    Anchoring Spirit****: Stance. Be the Dimensional Anchor You Want to See in the World. Or something. It shuts down your opponents' teleportation effects, which is pretty worthwhile. Obviously, you're not going to be in it 24/7, but being able to say "Nope" to that Wizard's quickened dimension door is awesome.

    Eclipsing Moon***: When you strip away all the fluff, you're basically just making a full attack with a minor bonus to attack and damage rolls against your opponent's flat-footed AC. Is it a REALLY AWESOME full attack? Yes; yes, it is.

    Lunar Penumbra*****: One of the best counters in Path of War. Make someone hit themselves with their own attack by swapping places with them. Brilliant.



    9th
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    Banish to the Beyond: Strike. No save, just suck (read it carefully). Arguably more powerful than Astral Projection (and when you're more powerful than a 9th level sorcerer/wizard spell, you're on edgy ground). As a DM, I would never allow it at my table - 1 minute CC with a touch attack? Nope. Withholding judgement for a bit.



    Edit: Errors found

    -In Maneuver Lists by Discipline:
    ---Cursed Fate has several errors, and it isn't anything like what the actual strike does.
    ---Essence Shattering is called Essence Shattering Strike in the maneuver descriptions.

    -In the maneuver descriptions
    -Resonance Strike still references "primary initiator attribute."
    -Breath of the Moon is listed as "Will (negates)" instead of "Will negates."
    Last edited by Novawurmson; 2013-12-13 at 02:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Choice weapons and weapons of choice.

    Note that using a discipline weapon grants +2 to the maneuver DCs of that discipline. Broken Blade maneuvers can only be performed with the discipline weapons.

    Simple weapons
    Spoiler
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    Spiked Gauntlet (light, close): It doesn't take up a hand, and can't be disarmed.
    Dagger (light, light blade/thrown): Two damage types, can be thrown, easy to hide.
    Wooden Stake (light, close/thrown): Aside from being handy for vampire slaying, one of the few close weapons that can also be thrown.

    Quarterstaff (two-handed, double/monk): The only non-exotic double weapon.

    Martial weapons
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    Kukri (light, light blade): With 18–20 threat range, the classic crit-fishing weapon.
    Starknife (light, light blade/thrown): Melee weapon with 20' range if thrown, x3 crit modifier gets you d8's for Deadly Strike.
    Armour spikes (light, close): Like spiked gauntlet, better damage.

    Rapier (one-handed, light blade): Finessable, 18-20 threat range.
    Scimitar (one-handed, heavy blade): Finessable with the Dervish Dance feat, 18-20 threat range.

    Chakram (ranged, heavy blade/light blade/thrown): Good range and base damage. Can be used in melee in a pinch (not recommended).

    Longbow (ranged, bow): The stable ranged weapon for most everyone.

    Exotic weapons (only worth it if you get proficiency for free, unless otherwise noted):
    Spoiler
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    Sai (light, monk): Bonus to Disarm and Sunder.
    Tekko-kagi (light, close): Acts as a buckler, can disarm without provoking, bonus to sunder & disarm (vs. certain weapons).

    Elven Curve Blade (two-handed, heavy blade): Finessable two-hander, 18-20 threat range.
    Double-Chained Kama (two-handed, double/flail/monk): Can be used as a reach weapon or as a pair of kamas. Disarm, trip. Could be worth Double Weapon Finesse, depending on how the DM rules the reach.

    Shuriken (ranged, monk/thrown): Treated as ammunition (free action to draw, cheap to enchant, lost if used).
    Do you want to add any more to these/rate them yourself? Because I feel like Unarmed Strike needs to be included since there's 1 discipline entirely devoted to it and 2 others that offer it nice support.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Oh yeah, unarmed strike is a weapon. I'll add it.

    I didn't rate them since the specific rating depends on what you're trying to do, and which schools you prefer. I only mentioned weapons that are (or can be) useful for stalkers.

    [Edit]: There. If you want to add other weapons or rate those, feel free.
    Last edited by Greenish; 2013-12-12 at 02:06 PM.
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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Stalker maneuver recovery, on the other hand, probably doesn't warrant anything better than orange, if not red. It takes a whole turn, costs Ki, and only gets you back a handful of maneuvers. You should seriously endeavour never to use this in combat.
    I'm going to have to correct you here, Greenish. Stalker recovery no longer requires ki expenditure. Perhaps that might change your opinion some.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Well, that saves it from red. Still something you'd rather avoid if possible.
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    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Something I'm noticing about the Stalker that I hadn't before: The Stalker is an excellent 1v1 combatant, especially at early levels - which is a trait that starkly contrasts it with the Rogue, who basically demands a party around to activate his core class feature.

    But seriously, low levels? Burn ki to activate deadly strikes. Disturbing Blow means they probably won't even be able to hit you with a touch attack for one round at least. Burn most of your maneuvers on someone, then spend a full round action to recover with a +4 bonus to AC (again, meaning they probably won't be able to hit you).

    Also, writing optimization guides is a great way to look for errors; it really puts you in the frame of mind of asking how something is supposed to be used.

    Anyway, to typing up the analysis!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Finished with Steel Serpent. Now to tackle the Thrashing Dragon (Oh that sounds painful)

    EDIT: Thrashing Dragon Is DONE!!!! Huzzah!

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Just a heads-up: Steel Serpent and Thrashing Dragon aren't centered.

    Also, Veiled Moon is 90% done, but there were a few maneuvers with editing problems that I wasn't able to review properly. I'll be typing up the typos for ErrantX today.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Novawurmson View Post
    Just a heads-up: Steel Serpent and Thrashing Dragon aren't centered.

    Also, Veiled Moon is 90% done, but there were a few maneuvers with editing problems that I wasn't able to review properly. I'll be typing up the typos for ErrantX today.
    Well as soon as you've finished with Veiled Moon, this should be ready to go! Awesomesauce.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Should you mention the Organizations and their related disciplines? Scarlet Throne with its Sense Motive-based skills is pretty sweet for a stalker, for example.
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    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
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    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Should you mention the Organizations and their related disciplines? Scarlet Throne with its Sense Motive-based skills is pretty sweet for a stalker, for example.
    I certainly think they should be included eventually, but maybe not while they're still in beta testing. Still, Scarlet Throne in particular was released with the Warlord.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Knowledge (local) being trained only, and not a class skill for many classes, means that your average human may well not be able to identify other humans! This may explain the exceptional quantity of half-human hybrids.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Should you mention the Organizations and their related disciplines? Scarlet Throne with its Sense Motive-based skills is pretty sweet for a stalker, for example.
    Quote Originally Posted by Novawurmson View Post
    I certainly think they should be included eventually, but maybe not while they're still in beta testing. Still, Scarlet Throne in particular was released with the Warlord.
    Not having been able to look over the organizations and their associated disciplines, I can't really put anything down about them. And they're still in Beta, while I'm trying to stick to published stuff as much as possible.

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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Just a heads' up in case you didn't realize - Broken Blade maneuvers may only be used with their associated weapon groups. This may affect character options.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
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    Default Re: [WIP][PF] Striking from the Shadows, a Guide to the PoW Stalker

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Just a heads' up in case you didn't realize - Broken Blade maneuvers may only be used with their associated weapon groups. This may affect character options.
    I thought I made mention of that somewhere, but I'll add it to the intro portion of the Broken Blade Maneuvers section. Fortunately, IUS can be used with any free part of your body.

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