Nightblade Ability Suggestions

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Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Maina » Tue Oct 26, 2021 12:58 am

I would do suggestions for more than just nightblades, but... well. This is all I've played. So here are some abilities I think would be nice and shore up some things.

In general, at the time of this posting, I think the greatest weakness of Nightblades is that both their magic options are just... weak. And by 'weak' I don't mean that I think they should be slinging magic like a Warlock. I mean that their magic is just not useful and does not support the core concept very well. Glyphs run out before more than a couple fights in a zone, and it's very difficult to refresh them in the danger zone, due to how long they take to draw. Durations are just too short. Shadow Cloak is a bit better, since you can refresh it anywhere, but it doesn't seem to make much meaningful difference to my rolls. I tried even using uyto to eavesdrop, and I had to refresh it every couple 'says' even with max Arcana.

Effect: Provides a chance to automatically hide without additional roundtime after a successful ambush. Passive.
Notes: Seems like it might be potent, but it ultimately just saves you a few seconds and is otherwise a cool fluff ability, since you can already hide pretty easily after an ambush. If it seems strong, maybe require Shadow Cloak as a prerequisite, both to learn the ability and to use it?

Effect: Allows you to 'study' a target, requiring a brief run time much like Mark does. Maybe half as long. When complete, gives bonuses when fighting that specific enemy. Ideas for bonuses: Higher chink chance (though lower than Mark's), slightly increased odds of hitting vital areas when attacking with 'aim none', additional attack and/or defense reroll.
Notes: Nightblades are meant to "study" their enemies. Mark does this to a degree, but I think it would add to the unique feel of them if they could study enemies even when assassination isn't a possibility. With a shorter runtime, it might make them more useful in group combat as well. Should maybe require or be a prerequisite for Assassin's Mark

Effect: An additional chance to armor chink and attack vital areas when not ambushing. Passive.
Notes: An alternative to the previous ability, not in addition to, covering many of the same reasons. Being passive kind of makes it feel less like 'studying a foe' but it is probably more consistently useful. Assassin's Mark as a prerequisite.

Effect: Touch one glyph to be transported to a second glyph prepared ahead of time. Both glyphs must be placed in rooms with low light levels. Both glyphs must be in the same area.
Notes: I'm honestly do not know much, if any, lore behind glyphs to know if this is possible lore-wise, but it seemed like a nice way to help encourage preparation to further enable the 'get in and get out' playstyle of Nightblades.

Effect: Conjure a stiletto of solidified nether.
Notes: Avoiding the claws of the other game, I figured it might be nice to have a weapon that acts as the nightblade's namesake. Functionally the same as a stiletto, probably not better in stats than a regular stilletto other than triggering a nether/cold damage burst. I'm not sure of the lore of solid nether without cryomancy; if it doesn't make sense, maybe this could disable parrying as the other weapon would pass straight through. It should also be dispelled if you remove it from your hand in any way; giving, dropping, sheathing, etc. It would give an offensive use to sorcery for those of us who don't want to take ranged combat. Right now, sorcery feels like a purely RP choice without much use to be worth the ability slots, since one of the three abilities is useless to me and the other two are very niche.

Effect: Add a reroll to defensive rolls when in roundtime due to an ambush.
Note: There is a fair chance of getting absolutely obliterated if the ambush fails to take out a target in one hit, before one is able to flee. Some sort of ability to mildly mitigate this would be nice. Maybe locked behind Dodge 400 or something equally restrictive. Maybe Tactical Dodge or some other defensive ability as a prerequisite.

As I mentioned, I find Arcana presently pretty useless for Nightblades due to a combination of not being able to refresh them in dangerous areas (can't hide) and short duration. Here are a few different abilities that I think would help make it an actual useful tool for the nightblade kit. These aren't meant to all be used together, just a few different ideas on how to handle what I see as an issue:

Effect: This activation glyph is triggered by a glyph being broken or erased. Glyphs triggered this way last much longer and cannot be easily dismissed.
Notes: While I'm sure there could be other uses for it later on, the main purpose of this is to let Nightblades use their stealthy glyphs for a much greater duration than their low skill allows. The cost of being unable to dismiss them (or maybe requiring some cost to dismiss them) hopefully balances this out a bit, as many/most glyphs have a downside to their activation that one might not always want. Obviously, the name would need to fit the naming scheme of other glyphs, but I do not know how those are determined, if Rias has a particular method. Obviously, Arcanists could also have this. Maybe also Bards, as another support class with limited magic?

Effect: By practicing the ability to draw glyphs much smaller than usual, an occultists can draw their glyphs from a concealed position.
Notes: I know Rias mentioned the size of glyphs as a lore-reason for not being able to hide when drawing them, but hopefully this approach alleviates that. Nightblades, Arcanists, maybe Treasure Hunters, as another stealth class that might use glyphs to support their stealthiness? This would help the duration issue by allowing them to be refreshed in the field.

Effect: The nether is known to mimic things, change its own form, and read the will of its controller. Using these traits, researchers have found a way to have nether mimic certain magical effects attached to a warlock's aura. Allows sorcery to be used (instead of/in addition to) Arcana for determining glyph duration.
Notes: Another way to make the duration of glyphs feel more worthwhile at the cost of needing to also invest into sorcery. Probably Warlocks and Nightblades only. Maybe even Nightblade only, since the Sorcery cap on Warlocks might make this too potent for them. Might be a bit of a stretch lore-wise. Might have to not apply to stuff like distyr; I can't think of any way to justify making nether glow. Blur and muffle seem doable, though.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Xandrea » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:42 am

I like these but, I don't like the necessity of Sorcery. I'd very much like this class to remain playable with and without sorcery. (Without purposefully giving up too much.)

Shadow Shift would be fun but, Shadow Orb does this job well enough I believe and while I think it would be super cool for a planned out ambush the dim-light requirement would make this a hard sell.

Hit and Run can already be done. If you can hide before the enemy recovers from being surprised or flip immediately after being attacked then you have that window to hide.

Appraise Weakness I feel steps on Assassin's Mark a little too much but, could be suited to be a Risk management ability I think. (Being one that would reduce risk gain for a small duration after studying a target.) Thus granting a longer window to gain reroll bonuses. Would have to be done in stealth of course.

Eye for Weakness I love though I don't know how much power could be given to it. In my experience I armor chink very reliably when using weapons that are catered to it but, this could open up more use of weapons that aren't stilettos. (I for instance make it a habit to use a shortsword. The Stiletto is just a fallback.) alternatively granting weapons that aren't normally good at chinking the chance to do so would be very well received I think.

As for Cautious Strike I can't say much. I rarely ever get hit after an ambush but, others might not have my kind of luck with it. I do feel though that this kind of risk is necessary considering how devastating it is when we get in a good sneak strike.

Nether Mimicry- This has a unique idea to me. I can't claim to know the particulars of Arcana lore-wise. Though I do know that drawing with anomalum draws energy from you. I'd suggest being able to use nether as opposed to a material component. I'd advocate this lets you use your Sorcery in place of Arcana at half effectiveness but, allows us (with an energy drain cost a bit heavier) to skip the drawing phase and apply it directly to ourselves.
(Ex: cast mimicry Beldi Uyto. Would pull 50 or so energy and give the effect at a reduced duration. If you're hiding you have plenty of time to recover. Which could allow this to be used as a 'setup phase' ability pre-ambush. It wouldn't be advocating glyphs lasting longer but, aiming for using an effect that lasts long enough for the problem you're activating it for. Making it per-situation and if you're eavesdropping then you should have enough time between casts to keep it active with repeated casting here and there without onset exhaustion.

Nightblade- I love this but, not the weapon. Personally if this could be something that adds nether damage onto a current weapon I would advocate for it 100% with the same restrictions. If that weapon leaves your hands the effect goes away.
If the buff is significant enough it might even warrant simply holding your sorcery channel. This would make your energy decrease faster for higher damage output. It would incentivize having your nether channels open more often. Both for this ability and subsequent sorcerous abilities added down the line.

I don't mean to pick your ideas apart and sorry if it comes off as such, it's not my intentions.
A single bell tolls in the dead of night, as one man screams with un-bidden sight. Begging for an end to his plight. Never would his darkness rescind, blighted in his mortal senses. Wishing that he had never noticed the thing which always gazed back.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Maina » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:58 am

Wanting it to be viable without sorcery is fair. Right now, sorcery feels pretty useless. It would be nice to strike a balance between viability without while still being worthwhile to have. That was the goal of adding more sorcery abilities.

NPCs always get at least one attack on me before the five-second RT for an ambush runs down, which is why Hit and Run was a suggestion. I have never been able to get out of roundtime before surprise wears off and the NPC makes an attack. This is using a stiletto. I don't think there is a shorter roundtime weapon. This was also the reason for Cautious Strike, though admittedly I don't get hit that often either. It's just usually a doozy when I do. It's true, though, this is just one of the few weaknesses of an ambush strategy and maybe shouldn't be mitigated.

You are probably right about Appraise Weakness. I was looking for a way to be a bit more useful outside of ambushes; Rias has mentioned he intends on Nightblades to be able to go toe-to-toe in combat for a time before having to retreat. The attempt was to design an ability to help make it a little more of a thing. Eye for Weakness may be the better approach.

The idea of using half sorcery for Nether Mimicry would make the duration the same as just using Arcana, but shifting it from a 'higher duration' ability to a 'can use in stealth' ability both solves the same problem a different way and might be more in-line with the shadowy and sneaky feel of nightblade sorcery. I like it.

I do like Nightblade making a specific weapon. A sort of way to have a 'concealed' weapon you can summon if you don't have a real weapon on you. But the idea of making it require a maintained channel could be fair, or reducing endurance generation while active if that's a mechanic here. Maybe there could be a more advanced ability to summon a nether short sword or something for those who don't love the stiletto like I do, or a separate ability to apply nether to any wielded weapon as you suggested.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Xandrea » Tue Oct 26, 2021 2:55 am

I do want some unique sorceries that Nightblades get. I know that eventually there will be abilities that Sorcerers can gather from Nether Wells.

I do also share sentiment that the sorcery we have right now isn't the most useful outside of specific situations though. I'll recap how it's worked for me and what tactics I use. To hopefully add something.

The only armor I wear is a gorget. Elsewise I wear no armor at all. Normally I'll use a Shortsword but, I've found that I can use a stiletto in my right hand (main hand) for offense and keep my shortsword in my left hand for range on defensives. (I've noticed that a shortsword in my offhand can fend off attacks and since it's a single-handed weapon it doesn't prevent me from using assassin's mark. This also allows a rapier in the off-hand.)
I fight guardians and marauders with 100 dodge, 180 melee, and 200 acrobatics. (I use graceful dodge as my primary defense method and with intuition as my attribute my Tumble ability rocks socks.)
I try to only fight with an encumbrance of 0-1 and I'll stop fighting when my enc reaches 2.
I haven't ever used True Strike because it eats my balance. I rely on marking and chink from stealth to open fights. (Stalk, Mark, Circle, Chink) If I cannot get into hiding immediately after (Be it that I don't hide well enough or I did not flip away) I have enough balance to dirtkick them in the face and hide. Assuming I'm able to maintain stealth again I'll circle for balance gain and attack, hide, attack, hide until the enemy gains enough bearing to break my stealth streak.

In the scenario where I've been spotted more than once I will dirtkick, Feint, then hide. Circle, chink when I can in stealth. If I cannot chink in stealth then I'll sweep them then chink them when they're prone and defenseless. It's risky but, I also tend to dirtkick them the immediate moment they stand back up. This creates an opportunity to hide or sneak in yet another feint maneuver. Though in the cases where my dirtkick fails this leaves me vulnerable.
I also carry a pouch dedicated to holding ashes which I will open if the situation necessitates. Onto Sorcery.

Sorcerous Channeling- This gives a ranged option and is the pre-req for using abilities. This can't be scrutinized terribly much but, having the ranged option has been nice occasionally. I don't need to carry weapons or ammunition. The damage isn't too high but, ignoring energy drain it's a free weapon and boosts unarmed attacks if you're genuinely without any weapon implement and you can open two channels of it so it can hit harder if you can spare that energy and skill training.

Shadow Cloak- This is such an amazing and TEDIOUS ability. The stealth bonus is genuinely nice but, it requires the right environment. (Let's ignore the disguise part for now.) Unless you're indoors or it's late-afternoon/nighttime this ability doesn't do anything. Unless you combine it with Shadow Orb to artificially change the light levels.

Shadow Orb- This ability is tricky to judge. It's both incredibly situational but, universally useful. In broad daylight you can use a Shadow Orb to force a dark enough environment to allow Shadow Cloak to give you it's stealth bonus. Alternatively it can be reliably used as a panic button when the environment is already dimly lit. Honestly the only problem I think this ability has is duration. If it were doubled or tripled I would use it a lot more often. Set up two or even three in a specific area so I can maintain my stealth bonus in a hunting space where I normally would not be able to with Shadow Cloak.

This said. Including these abilities into my usual tactics only makes my playstyle stronger. I'm prone to stop stealthing entirely just to fight in the open here and there but, these two abilities cater to supporting the playstyle. Scloak to re-attain stealth and Sorb to create the environment for it if not already available. Not to mention Urban Stealth in the right places makes the hiding part even easier.

While this is probably an expected weakness of the class the only thing that consistently beats my knees is multiple enemies. You only impose the surprised condition on the enemy you've swung at from hiding. The other however will immediately bonk you while your in deep RT. I've been trying to figure an ability suggestion that could alleviate this to an extent but, an ability that stuns entire groups of enemies may be too powerful.

Leaning on the calculative potential of the class however I do have one idea that may help with multiple and singular enemies.

Deft Repose-
When unburdened and light on your feet, you can perform a retaliatory strike when hit by an attack.
OOC- When hit by a melee attack you have a passive chance to strike with a non-lethal blow. Causing a 3 second stagger. This ability will not trigger if you are already staggered or in negative balance.

The idea hopefully is to give an ability that allows the Nightblade to have breathing room. Artifice or Acrobatics could possibly even improve this ability as you would be more used to making quick/limber movements as a split-second reaction. Personally I'd advocate these two skills do more for it than melee to promote skill spread but, not be a requirement to have it. I didn't want this to be an alternative version of Marauder's free dirtkick or followup punch however. I feel Nightblade's damage potential is very well suited where it is and multiple strikes aren't it's forte. While I think this ability would be super awesome if usable on a dodge I don't want it to be a goto ability to fish free hits off of. Just something that gives a window of opportunity if you get ambushed yourself or if the strike that just hit you is near-fatal.
A single bell tolls in the dead of night, as one man screams with un-bidden sight. Begging for an end to his plight. Never would his darkness rescind, blighted in his mortal senses. Wishing that he had never noticed the thing which always gazed back.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Maina » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:14 am

A new idea, courtesy of an IC talk with some others:

Effect: A passive effect where killing targets when alone will prevent NPCs in the area from grouping together.
Notes: The idea here is to let a nightblade contribute to a large group by doing what they're good at; assassinating targets solo. By keeping NPCs from grouping up, it keeps things more manageable for the main group while giving the Nightblade a way to utilize their skills and feel useful. It doesn't have to work specifically the way I outlined, but some way to let Nightblades get behind enemy lines and disrupt them for the benefit of a group sounds nice. Ideally, there would be a way to make this useful versus PCs in a CvC situation, but I haven't quite thought of a way to do this yet. Maybe Marauders could also get this ability?

Edit: I should clarfiy I meant 'reduce' how many NPCs group together. Don't really want to keep them from grouping entirely. Kind of boring for the group to be fighting like 5v1. The idea is to help make it manageable, not turn it into a one-sided slaughter.
Last edited by Maina on Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Maina » Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:59 pm

Inspired by a dozen instances of sneak attacking for 90+ damage today, just shy of a kill:

Effect: During roundtime, throw a punch/elbow/knee to the same location as your last attack, which must have been a hit. Deals greatly reduced damage and adds the roundtime of your last attack, but always hits.
Notes: Mostly a finishing move for when you very nearly kill something but not quite. The added roundtime should make you very vulnerable if you fail to make the kill or there are other enemies present, ideally keeping it from being OP. Seems like a great option for Marauders and maybe Rogues as well as the intended Nightblades. Also kind of one of those quicktime events people were asking for last voice chat.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Spidercat » Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:02 pm

Why not change the suggestion to bladetwist. if an ambush puts someone within 5 points of the next wound level or death, have the character twist the blade to do a range of 1-10 extra damage. the blow would need to hit bare flesh, or had armor chinked successfully.

oHonestly, I'm more under the camp nightblades needing passive chances to do some painful things hitting a person's body, especially from stealth. Played one game where if a backstab struck limbs rather than the body, you get a surprise disarm attempt that was usually successful. It could happen if you hit a vital body part anyway, but was most common with arm/legs strikes.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Maina » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:09 pm

Bladetwist is probably a better name for the concept.

Here is another. Less specific to Nightblades, though we'd definitely benefit. Inspired by the Combat Zones Feedback thread.

Effect: Ultimately, the plan here is to have a way to squirrel away riln safely while hunting for those of us that cannot function at encumbrance higher than 1 or maybe 2 due to abilities. There are a few ways to implement this, but I liked the following: a glyph whose circle is invisible to others except the one who created it. You can put items inside of it. How much you could fit inside would be limited due to the size of the circle, and maybe it could be revealed if someone watches you use it, but otherwise it cannot be found with 'search'.
Notes: This would be available to everyone with abilities that require an Encumbrance of 2 or less. Or maybe just everyone. I imagine there might be some reluctance for something like this due to being able to hide items without the risk of them being found, but it's also not super fun that the class somewhat built around fighting solo can't actually do it for long without losing access to abilities due to Encumbrance. Or, in a group, they have to give up on gaining riln because otherwise they're useless or just flat-out going to die, as mentioned in the Combat Zones Feedback thread.

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Re: Nightblade Ability Suggestions

Post by Onasaki » Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:01 pm

Well we have throwing weapons as a specific kind of speciality for the NightBlades. I know there's a few classes that get multi-throw, but I was wondering, what if Nightblades had more traps or gadgets to their build? I'm not talking anything super special, but like, acid flasks. One-time use throwables that do burn damage, made through harvesting the venom or blood of one of the weirder monsters out there. They'd be rare, but maybe the Nightblades are the only ones who know the formula.

Personally, I do wanna see more alchemy-like stuff. But I know that's far off. But a single-use throwable that isn't explosive sounds pretty easy to justify and making it hard to make keeps it rare.

Other things I think about are like spike bags. Or something similar.
I have two forces by my side,
One's the truth and one's a lie,
Which one's which I cannot tell,
This enigma is my hell.

Baako leads you over to the grass to graze.

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