Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Suggestions Should Be Posted in Their Respective Categories

Moderators: Moderator, Quality Control, Associate Dev, Developer, DM

Tanlaus
Recognized Donor
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Tanlaus »

So, I recently played a phantom to 30 for a couple of reasons. 1) he was made to fulfill an RP request from another player and more importantly for this particular post 2) there don’t seem to be many around, especially single class, so I thought it would be interesting to play.

A few things about my build, he’s a drow which I believe helped tremendously since phantoms really have a wide variety of stats they need to be effective. I fully believe you can make a strong phantom without an ECL character but the bonuses did help. Also outside of precision and PTWF I used all my epic bonus feats for extra sneak attacks giving him 21d6 by level 29. So he hits pretty hard. Dropping 2 sneak Duce for epic prowess and expose weakness would also be viable. I decided to go more SA and forego EW because I already have a sneak with it and wanted to try something new, and full rogues or phantoms are pretty much the only way to reach those kinds of sneak dice numbers.

So here are my thoughts on the class...

Overall it is pretty strong, and the balance is pretty good. I still tend to think a pure rogue, with the addition of HiTS is probably stronger. Mostly because rogue bonuses, like the extra feats and what they open up, tend to really shine for the class, where phantom bonuses... don’t always work as intended.

For phantoms there are a few problems that are more mechanical in nature so those are what I’ll focus on.

1) Equipment. I brought this up in another thread. All off the rogue gear in the mask shop, and UD equivalent, is useable by rogues and all rogue PRCs but not phantoms. Which wouldn’t be a problem except phantoms don’t get UMD. So essentially you need to heavily invest in cross class skills just to use stuff you pretty much need as a class.

I’m actually good with phantoms not getting UMD and having less skill points a level than rogues considering their supernatural abilities, but like rogues they are pretty skill dependent and I get the feeling their exclusion from the equipment is more oversight than intentional. Could be wrong about that.

Pure phantoms really need stealth skills and really need bluff. Ghost step is great, but it’s not unlimited like HiPS. You can’t spam it, even at 30, but you will have plenty of uses otherwise, provided you start from stealth and feint when whatever you’re attacking doesn’t drop right away.

On that note, is there some reason that outside of a single +2 short sword there are no items with both stealth and bluff bonuses? Makes life hard for non HiPSters.

2) ki powers. For these I’ll try to address them individually.

Ghost Step.

This is a phantom’s bread and butter. It’s his (or hers) get out of jail free card. And unlike stealth there is no timer. It’s a great ability with one minor flaw. When it switches from invisibility to ethereal mobs are able to track you until you are able to hide, which you can do since it is 100% concealment. A side effect of this is that attacking out of being ethereal did not give me sneak attacks. So I had to wait for my stealth timer to attack again. More often than not I’d prefer to just be invisible.

My suggestion would be to just keep the power as invisibility. And leave ghost walk as an ethereal jaunt like power. So ultimately if you need to be ethereal vs invisible you can.

Ghost Strike.

I’m not 100% sure this does anything. I even tested it on the closest thing I could find to actual ghosts, specters. They have a self conceal that I imagine is what it should be used against. But checking my combat logs it didn’t seem to do anything. I tried it against other enemies with concealment as well, displacer beasts, driders, duregar priests, heretic drow mages. Anything I could find that had a concealment effect I tried it on but never managed to find any evidence it worked.

If it doesn’t work at all it should be fixed or changed. If it does work but only on a specific kind of concealment I didn’t run across... I’d argue it should still be changed since it’s not useful enough to keep on your hot bar.

My suggestion would be to make it a flat AB bonus. Nothing crazy. Maybe stats with +1 and ends with +3 or +4. Useful in a particularly hard fight but nothing you would want to burn too often in lieu of ghost steps.

Ghost Evade.

This is one I go back and forth on. The conceal is nice, but the duration is so short it’s tactically better just to use ghost step anyway. Especially since they both cost a ki power. Why stay in place hoping to not be hit while hoping to land a feint for more sneak attacks when you can disappear, not get hit at all, and assure your next attacks will be sneak attacks? Maybe if you’re in a group and end up having to tank something because your real tank is down? I mean if you are in a situation where your phantom is tanking, better to hide, pick up bodies and run.

I could see it being more useful, paired with feint, if the duration was longer. If you could pop out of stealth and use it to help potentially kill a few enemies then it would be useful. But right now it’s really too short a duration.

My suggestion would be to add rounds via wisdom bonus or level bonus.

Ghost Walk

This seems to be working as intended. Nice when you want to cover a lot of ground without being attacked. I wouldn’t change anything.

3) Acrobatics

Phantoms don’t wear armor. The tumble bonus for this class is... completely useless. Not maxing (or taking to 30 really) the tumble skill is such a huge AC loss I’d argue it wouldn’t be a very viable build. Extra skill points in tumble is just fluff.

I’d replace it just not sure what with. A move silently bonus? Maybe a slight speed increase while moving in stealth? An attack bonus with shuriken? Something that would be marginally useful would go a long way.

That’s my general summary. If anyone is interested I’ll be happy to discuss my experiences with the class in more depth. And as a disclaimer I’m more than happy to be proven wrong about any of my assumptions.

User avatar
Theodore01
Recognized Donor
Posts: 2407
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:32 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Theodore01 »

3) Acrobatics
I’d replace tumble with escape artist, that would at least give a somewhat useful bonus to an almost useless skill ...

Tanlaus
Recognized Donor
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Tanlaus »

Theodore01 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:08 am
3) Acrobatics
I’d replace tumble with escape artist, that would at least give a somewhat useful bonus to an almost useless skill ...
It’s funny, I thought about exactly that. The problem is, since you are more or less forced to take UMD and Bluff, there’s really no room for putting points into it...

However this would be a great idea if they can fix the equipment issue.

Along those lines, it also occurred to me that the same way we have greater regen cloaks, it wouldn’t be terrible to have greater versions of the other matching items (gloves, boots, armor, helms, etc). Right now stealthers are kind of forced into epic ninja gear (not an issue if you have UMD) which is mostly useless outside of the stealth and AC bonuses. It would definitely help reduce the kind of equipment juggling you need to do now. Not to mention the other equipment would probably also be beneficial for lots of non stealth builds as well.

User avatar
AlfarinIcebreaker
Posts: 476
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:20 am
Location: King's Landing

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by AlfarinIcebreaker »

How does Ghost Sight work, mechanically? Does it pierce concealment, and did you pick Blind Fight in your build?

Also, did you utilize any Wisdom bonus for AC increase or just focused on bluff/hide gear?

Can you pick Blinding Strike as Phantom?

There, just a few questions about the class which I find interesting on paper.

Tanlaus
Recognized Donor
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Tanlaus »

AlfarinIcebreaker wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 1:13 pm
How does Ghost Sight work, mechanically? Does it pierce concealment, and did you pick Blind Fight in your build?

Also, did you utilize any Wisdom bonus for AC increase or just focused on bluff/hide gear?

Can you pick Blinding Strike as Phantom?

There, just a few questions about the class which I find interesting on paper.
Ghost sight is perma-true seeing.

You cannot pick up blinding strike, though in all honesty you should be able too in my opinion.

I had a 14 wisdom and used the nature’s vigil ring to make it 16. That plus the phantom AC bonus was a nice boost.

I feel like as a phantom you need to boost your AC as much as possible. Ghost Step is great but since you have limited uses you can’t just pop in an out like HiPS.

User avatar
AlfarinIcebreaker
Posts: 476
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:20 am
Location: King's Landing

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by AlfarinIcebreaker »

Thanks for your input Tanlaus.

User avatar
izzul
Posts: 719
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:12 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by izzul »

have you tested ghost sight vs non detection high CL?

how high CL of non detection 33/35/37/41? to bypass true seeing?
Azzizuleia Tyrielmrande-Permadeath Character
Izz Azzul-Red Knight[Active]
Kruegr Earthstone-Grumbar Trader viewtopic.php?f=55&t=56617 [Trading]
Heartseeker-Siamorphe[missing in action]
Ariel-Mystra[partially active]
Dhorin Oakenshield-Silvanus[Dwarf kin]
Iezzyn-Intuition UD socializer[partially socializing]

User avatar
Winterborne
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:03 pm
Location: US (EST)

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Winterborne »

Mechanically ghost sight is see invis. It is NOT true seeing. It gives you no concealment penetration or similar.

This setup would be nearly unplayable on the surface IMO for the simple reason that non-UD creatures have far too much spot so you cannot reliably feint at epic levels even with a full set of bluff gear. It would make landing sneak attacks without HIPS very hard to do reliably without a partner.

I think Phantoms should get hide in the shadows, it seems odd they do not.

Ultimately Phantom is a class that is immensely stronger when multiclassed than when left pure. Assassin gives you buffs, HIPS, and access to full UMD. I feel like for all you must give up to run a pure Phantom they should get some icing on their cake in terms of class abilities at 27 and 29 rather than just some bonus feats.
Nathan Goldenmane - Knife Fighter of Sune

Steward and Head of Business, House Darius -
Guard and Performer, The Siren's Song

chad878262
QC Coordinator
Posts: 9058
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by chad878262 »

I would be all for phantom getting hide in the shadows progestin same as rogue. It only benefits builds that do not take assassin or shadow dancer and supporting pure builds isn't power creep. As great suggestion.

As to acrobatics, it was included as fluff... not every ability has to add mechanical strength... some just make sense and add color.

As to ninja gear that's an oversight for sure which should be corrected for sure if a dev could take the time to correct its be good
Chord Silverstrings - Bard and OSR Squire / Tarent Nefzen - Arcane Wand Merchant and Master Alchemist / Irrace Arkentlar - Drow Adventurer / Finneaus Du'Veil - Gem Merchant and Executive Officer of SCCE

Tarent's Wands and Elixirs

A Wand Crafter's guide to using wands

Tanlaus
Recognized Donor
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Tanlaus »

Winterborne wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 8:58 am
Mechanically ghost sight is see invis. It is NOT true seeing. It gives you no concealment penetration or similar.

This setup would be nearly unplayable on the surface IMO for the simple reason that non-UD creatures have far too much spot so you cannot reliably feint at epic levels even with a full set of bluff gear. It would make landing sneak attacks without HIPS very hard to do reliably without a partner.

I think Phantoms should get hide in the shadows, it seems odd they do not.

Ultimately Phantom is a class that is immensely stronger when multiclassed than when left pure. Assassin gives you buffs, HIPS, and access to full UMD. I feel like for all you must give up to run a pure Phantom they should get some icing on their cake in terms of class abilities at 27 and 29 rather than just some bonus feats.
I may well be mistaken about ghost sight being true seeing. IIRC I used to go after the high priestess in the ruins of Oghrann with it and was still able to attack her when she was ethereal. But I could be mistaken. It’s been awhile so maybe I’ll dust him off and go tear that over the next few days.

Adding HiTS is a GREAT idea. Relying on feint does tend to be hugely problematic. The moment you run into something you can’t feint you end up burning through far too many ghost steps in a single fight. And as Chad said, it does nothing for any build already mixed with assassin or shadow dancer.

User avatar
Winterborne
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:03 pm
Location: US (EST)

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Winterborne »

Even proper True Seeing actually will not allow you to attack something that is Ethereal, only to see it.

But yeah, Ghost Sight is a carbon copy of the Spirit Shaman ability that does the same thing. It does not convey the server's custom benefits that were added to True Sight (the spell) of seeing through concealment to negate the miss chance, or reducing mirror image AC, or similar - it will simply let you always see thing that are magically invisible. It's a flavor ability more than a mechanical advantage
Nathan Goldenmane - Knife Fighter of Sune

Steward and Head of Business, House Darius -
Guard and Performer, The Siren's Song

Blackbird
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Blackbird »

Having played a multi-classed phantom up to 15, I wanted to offer some additional insight since based on the 2020 vault statistics, this is an almost-untouched class.

For the most part, I agree with Tanlaus's commentary. Outside of Ghost Step, the class feels very lackluster. It has two additional abilities that work for it, Ghost Sight and Ghost Walk. Ghost Sight is a nice-to-have and comes much later in the class progression if you multi-class and Ghost Walk is mostly done in by the number of Ghost Steps you'll have by then, which you may as well use instead because it costs less and as Tanlaus noted, they get transformed into etherealness vs. invisibility, denying the primary functionality of using them to sneak attack and making them instead into a nearly 100% panic button option. A class's bread and butter ability should not get worse as it levels. :shock:

The remaining two class skills are just downright weird. Ki Dodge may feel thematically appropriate, but it's in total opposition to the rest of the class. Instead of being a sneaky backstabber who appears and disappears, Ki Dodge says "Nope. It's tank time." and expects you to hang out in the thick of combat instead of just...using Ghost Step. Not only that, but as Tanlaus also noted, it's got a woefully short duration. The ability should be complementary for the rest of the class if it even remains.

Ghost Strike, on the other hand, I would argue isn't really even thematically appropriate. There is a very thin thread involving some hefty extrapolation connecting this ability to the class (when you think of a ninja/phantom, do you think of someone who smacks ghosts?) and it appears to be broken. Like Tanlaus, I went out looking for ghosts to slap; I found mine in the Undercity, popped Ghost Strike multiple times and...NOTHING HAPPENED!

I think this class needs some fresh eyeballs and I would encourage anyone who wants to give it a look to also take a look at the way Pathfinder 1e handles the ninja class by giving it a series of "ninja tricks" that encompass typical ninja functionality. There is the ever-popular smoke bomb that can be upgraded to do additional things like cause choking fits, poison or blind the targets; shadow clone which features in various ninja-related myths; and yes...even GHOST STEP! (Look, we got one! :D ). I would rather see these kind of cool thematic functionalities in a class like this instead of what it has right now.

And yes, I know from plumbing the depths of the forum that there is an undercurrent of distaste for the class as a whole because of fears that it will result in players trying to live out their Naruto fantasies if it leans too heavily in a particular direction. However, I am a firm believer from a product development standpoint that you should not ever punish your users because you are afraid of a what a few of them might do. Instead, create rewarding opportunities for the best of your community to outshine the potential bad apples. Right now, the class feels like a punishment because it's got too little going for it and what it does have—if it even works (*cough* Ghost Strike *cough*)—is pulling in too many opposing directions.

I await my Valefortian destruction.
Aleth Moonsparrow, Halruuan Acquisitions Agent Delved too deeply and too greedily
Argos Talovir, Servant of Hoar; Horned Vigilante; Gray Ghost of Mordulkin
Onus Tolles, Very Busy Dwarf

chad878262
QC Coordinator
Posts: 9058
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by chad878262 »

Let's be clear that Phantom doesn't need help in terms of getting more abilities. Asking for Hide in the Shadows is one thing, since it wouldn't matter to the P25/SD5 or P21/A9 builds, but asking them to get anything else is a bit much. They literally have the ability in boss fights to completely avoid any and all retaliation after popping out of stealth to land their sneak attacks and that alone makes it a tough sell to give them anything else, outside of the ability (for those that want it) to go pure and get "HiPS-lite".
Chord Silverstrings - Bard and OSR Squire / Tarent Nefzen - Arcane Wand Merchant and Master Alchemist / Irrace Arkentlar - Drow Adventurer / Finneaus Du'Veil - Gem Merchant and Executive Officer of SCCE

Tarent's Wands and Elixirs

A Wand Crafter's guide to using wands

Blackbird
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Blackbird »

chad878262 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:49 pm
Let's be clear that Phantom doesn't need help in terms of getting more abilities.
Then as a counterargument, I would suggest that Phantom shouldn't be a base class if all you expect to get out of it is Ghost Step. You're better off multi-classing with Ghost-Faced Killer, which gets both Ghost Step, Ghost Sight, sneak attacks, a functional and thematically-appropriate Frightful Attack ability (though a certain Dreadmaster thread might have us all believe fear is dead) and can wear armor and toss points in Charisma, which is already a useful rogueish ability score.

Alternatively, I am for replacing some of the Phantom abilities that seem iffy like Ki Dodge and Ghost Strike.
Aleth Moonsparrow, Halruuan Acquisitions Agent Delved too deeply and too greedily
Argos Talovir, Servant of Hoar; Horned Vigilante; Gray Ghost of Mordulkin
Onus Tolles, Very Busy Dwarf

Tanlaus
Recognized Donor
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:15 pm

Re: Phantom at 30 thoughts and suggestions

Unread post by Tanlaus »

Blackbird wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:35 pm
chad878262 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:49 pm
Let's be clear that Phantom doesn't need help in terms of getting more abilities.
Then as a counterargument, I would suggest that Phantom shouldn't be a base class if all you expect to get out of it is Ghost Step. You're better off multi-classing with Ghost-Faced Killer, which gets both Ghost Step, Ghost Sight, sneak attacks, a functional and thematically-appropriate Frightful Attack ability (though a certain Dreadmaster thread might have us all believe fear is dead) and can wear armor and toss points in Charisma, which is already a useful rogueish ability score.

Alternatively, I am for replacing some of the Phantom abilities that seem iffy like Ki Dodge and Ghost Strike.
Just to be clear, I think the phantom is a pretty strong class overall. I also wouldn’t add HiTS to the class. They get ghost step, which while limited is more powerful. My Phantom was in the UD and could solo all of the epic areas without needing to rest, maybe not as quickly as a caster but he could do it.

My main issues are things that seem more oversight than not.

I noticed phantom was recently added to epic ninja gear. That’s great, it was one of the issues I brought up. On the exact same not it should be added to the items in the Mask store (and it’s UD equivalent). Right now most of the there usable but rogues and all of the stealth PRCs but not phantom. Seems like an oversight.

Ghost Strike MIGHT be another oversight. I really couldn’t seem to make it work in multiple tests, and never noticed anything going back over the combat logs, but I’m fully willing to believe I’m just missing something. Perhaps we could get more people who have experience with the clads to chime in.

My last real quibble isn’t as much an oversight as maybe a not well thought though ‘upgrade.’ Changing ghost step from invisible to ethereal is useful for some situations but more often than not it’s much better to just go invisible then ethereal and have to hide again, especially if you are waiting on the timer. So often it ends up being a downgrade. My suggestion would be to split the ability into Shadow Step which is invisibility, then add ghost step as is when you would normally get the upgrade to ethereal.

Post Reply