View Full Version : My take on the Ninja (#45274578.2346 ^ pi)

2007-04-01, 11:46 PM
Okay, so, it seems just about everyone has an opinion on the ninja. I like some of what the Complete Adventurer version has to say, but I think I would rather play a rogue and call it a ninja than use that class. So, I decided for my first class homebrew to stat up what I think the ninja should be. Before you read this, keep in mind that this is a fantasy ninja: I'm not trying to be historically accurate at all.


Alignment: Any
Hitdice: d6
The ninja's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.

The Ninja

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special
1st|+0|+0|+2|+2|Ki Pool, Ki Acrobatics + 2, Trapfinding, Sudden Strike +1d6
2nd|+1|+0|+3|+3|Ki Speed 5 ft., Decisive Strike +1d6
4th|+3|+1|+4|+4| Ki Acrobatics + 4, Sudden Strike +2d6
5th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Ki Blur
6th|+4|+2|+5|+5|Ki Silence, Decisive Strike +2d6
7th|+5|+2|+5|+5| Ki Speed 10 ft., Sudden Strike + 3d6
8th|+6/+1|+2|+6|+6| Ki Acrobatics + 6, Ki Climb
9th|+6/+1|+3|+6|+6| Ki Step
10th|+7/+2|+3|+7|+7|Sudden Strike + 4d6, Decisive Strike + 3d6
11th|+8/+3|+3|+7|+7|Ki Fade
12th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8| Ki Acrobatics + 8, Ki Speed 15 ft.
13th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8|Sudden Strike + 5d6, Improved Evasion
14th|+10/+5|+4|+9|+9| Decisive Strike + 4d6
15th|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Ki Counter
16th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10| Ki Acrobatics + 10, Sudden Strike + 6d6
17th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10| Ki Speed 20 ft.
18th|+13/+8/+3|+6|+11|+11|Decisive Strike + 5d6
19th|+14/+9/+4|+6|+11|+11|Sudden Strike + 7d6
20th|+15/+10/+5|+6|+12|+12| One with the Shadows [/table]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency - Ninja are proficient with all simple weapons in addition to the short sword, hand crossbow, shortbow, kama, nunchaku, sai, and shuriken. ((I've only got core for reference here; I'm sure there are several good ninja weapons in other books that I haven't listed here.)) They are not proficient with any armor or shields.

Ki Pool (Su) – A ninja has a maximum number of ki charges equal to her ninja level multiplied by the average of her wisdom modifier and her dexterity modifier. As long as her ki pool is not empty, and as long as she is not wearing any armor or using a shield, she may add her wisdom modifier to her AC. The ninja recoveres ki charges after at least six hours of sleep (or rest for races that do not sleep) and an additional hour of silent meditation.

Ki Acrobatics (Su) – A ninja can channel her inner energy to make herself more acrobatic. As a free action, a ninja may use one of her ki charges to grant herself greater acrobatic skill on one balance, climb, escape artist, jump, or tumble check. At level one, this bonus is +2. This increases to +4 at fourth level, +6 at eighth level, +8 at twelfth level, and +10 at sixteenth level.

Trapfinding (Ex) - Ninja can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

Ninja can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A ninja who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it.

Sudden Strike (Ex) – A ninja deals extra damage to her opponent when she catches them off guard. Starting at first level, whenever a foe is denied their dexterity modifier, a ninja’s attacks deal an additional 1d6 damage. This increases by 1d6 every three levels after first (4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level). Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to Sudden Strikes. For the purposes of qualifying for feats and prestige classes, Sudden Strike counts as Sneak Attack. Ranged attacks must be made within 30 ft. of the target to be Sudden Strikes.

Ki Speed (Su) – A ninja can channel her inner energy to make her faster. Starting at second level, as a free action, a ninja may expend two ki charges to grant a five foot bonus to her base land speed for one round. This speed boost increases by five feet every five levels after second (10 at 7th, 15 at 12th, and 20 at 17th).

Decisive Strike (Ex) – A ninja can focus all of her prowess into a single blow. Starting at 2nd level, a ninja may choose to make a single attack as a full round action. If successful, this attack deals an additional 1d6 damage. This increases by 1d6 every four levels after 2nd (6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level). If the target is denied their dexterity modifier, this ability may be used in conjunction with Sudden Strike. For the purposes of qualifying for prestige classes and feats, Decisive Strike counts as Sneak Attack. Ranged attacks must be made within 30 ft. of the target to be Decisive Strikes.

Evasion (Ex) - Starting at third level, if a ninja makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a ninja is wearing light armor or no armor and not using a shield. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of evasion, as well as a ninja that has an empty ki pool.

Ki Blur (Su) – A ninja can channel her inner energy to make her outline waver to make it harder for opponents to strike her. Starting at fifth level, as a swift action, a ninja may spend three ki charges to be act as if under the Blur spell for a number of rounds equal to half of her ninja class levels.

Ki Silence (Su) - A ninja can channel her inner energy to make herself harder to detect. Starting at sixth level, as a free action, a ninja may spend three ki charges to cast Silence as a spell-like ability on herself. She may spend an additional charge to either expand or reduce the area of the effect by 10 ft. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the ninja's wisdom modifier.

Ki Climb (Su) - A ninja can channel her inner energy to allow herself to climb over walls and ceilings effortlessly. Starting at eighth level, as a swift action, a ninja may spend four ki charges to cast a modified version of Spider Climb. It functions exactly as the Spider Climb spell except that it only requires the ninja to have one hand free to use. This effect lasts for a number of round equal to the ninja's wisdom modifier. When the effect would end, as a free action, the ninja may choose to spend four more charges to extend the effect for a number of rounds equal to her wisdom modifier.

Ki Step* (Su) – A ninja can channel her inner energy to move to any nearby location, instantly. Starting at ninth level, as a swift action, a ninja may ki step 5 ft. per expended ki charge. She may expend a maximum number of charges equal to half her ninja class level this way. This functions as the Dimension Door spell, except that the ninja cannot take other willing creatures, and use of this ability is normally accompanied by a loud "pop" sound and a plume of smoke at both the starting and ending point of the step. A ninja may spend one additional charge to suppress the sound or smoke at one location, and she may spend multiple charges to suppress multiple effects. For example, to keep the step silent at both locations would take two additional charges, while keeping it silent in both locations and smokeless at one would take three. These additional charges count towards a ninja's maximum number of charges spent per attempt. As with Dimension Door, no more actions may be taken after a Ki Step.

Ki Fade (Su) – A ninja can channel her inner energy to fade from sight. Starting at eleventh level, as a swift action, a ninja may expend four ki charges to act as if under the effects of an Invisibility spell for a number of rounds equal to half of her ninja class levels. When this effect's duration is over, as a free action the ninja may choose to use an additional four ki charges to continue the effect without it dropping for an addition number of rounds equal to her wisdom modifier. This may be maintained as long as the ninja has the charges.

Improved Evasion (Ex) - At thirteenth level, a ninja's evasion ability improves. She still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth she takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of improved evasion, as well as a ninja that has an empty ki pool.

Ki Counter (Su)* – A ninja can channel her inner energy to deceive her foes. Starting at fifteenth level, a ninja may expend five ki charges to enter a counter stance as a full round action. While in this stance, a ninja makes a feint attempt against the first opponent that attacks. If this feint attempt is successful, the attacker loses all other actions and is considered flat-footed until their next turn. Regardless of the result of the feint, this attack fails as the ninja automatically uses her Ki Step ability. In place of the ninja, a large log (or other such suitable object) of about the same size as the ninja appears. The ninja ki steps into a position so she is flanking the opponent with the object that just appeared. If she does not have enough charges to step this far, the counter fails and the attack is resolved normally. The object counts towards gaining flanking bonuses, but disappears on the opponent's next turn. If the ninja is subjected to any affect that requires a reflex save, she may either automatically fail the save, or attempt the save and lose her counter stance, regardless of the save's success or failure.

One with the Shadows (Su) – At twentieth level, a ninja gains darkvision up to 60 ft. This darkvision pierces even magical darkness. She also may Hide in Plain Sight in shadows, as a Shadowdancer.


So, here's the way I see it.

The natural comparison to make is the ninja with the rogue. Compared to the rogue, the ninja gains good will saves but loses skill points ((during playtesting, I found that six simply was not enough to fill the role I wanted it to fill, and therefore I've increased the skill points per level to 8 + int mod)), can do more damage in a single strike but less often, and has those nifty ki abilities that make it more versatile for a while but is limited by the ki pool. Ninjas also lose rogue special abilities and aren't quite as viable with the two-weapon fighting tree. I think the rogue is more viable in close range combat, especially if they take the TWF tree, simply because they can strike with sneak attacks so much more often. Decisive Strike is easier to do, but has a lower damage output and can only happen once per turn. A single Sudden Desicive Strike is going to do more damage than a single Sneak Attack, but two Sneak Attacks are going to do more damage on one turn than a Sudden Desicive Strike.

So, tell me what you think. This is my first class, so make sure to point out anything I might have screwed up because of that. I'm especially interested in hearing what people think of this class's balance... One moment I'm thinking “underpowered” and the next I'm thinking “overpowered.”

*I was originally going to call Ki Step “Konoha Gakure” and Ki Counter “Utsusemi.” These are the names for similar moves the Ninja class got in Disgaea II. When I searched around for them, however, they only returned stuff relating to Naruto. I'm not a fan of the series, and the one or two episodes I've watched weren't to my liking. If anyone can give me more details on these names (or other ninjitsu techniques, though preferably not related to that particular show), I'd really appreciate it.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-02, 12:15 AM
My one question is: ki pool. Why so huge? I mean CL*Wis Mod is gigantic, especially if one focuses on Wis and grabs, say, Zen Archery and focuses on throwing. At tenth level, assuming, say, a 25 Wis (not unreasonable), that means that I've got 70 ki points, which I'm basically never going to run out of unless I run a huge marathon solo combat.

2007-04-02, 01:10 AM
i like Utsusemi, and it's also in final fantasy XI

key step- you say it's like dimension door, but can u act afterwards? or no?
class ability?

2007-04-02, 04:50 PM
Fax - Well, if they sink their resources into getting that 25 wisdom, I think they should reap the benifits. True, 70 charges will last them a long time in solo combat, but I'm not sure that it would get them through a solo mission, such as an assassination attempt, where they're utilising more than just Speed, Fade, and Counter. Sneak past the guards (multiple Fades at 4 charges each, with a few Acrobatics to get in those hard-to-reach spaces), kill your target quickly (another Fade and probably a fully surpressed Step to get to him/her) and then GTFO (Fades, Speeds, and Steps all over the place): I think it would add up pretty quickly. This is the kind of work I had in mind when I designed the class, and I don't think it would be possible without a really large pool.

What would you suggest other than what I've written?

Jlousivy: No more actions that turn, no, but since it's a swift action (unless I've misunderstood how that works) you can do it at the end of a movement. So, at level ten, Speed, double move for 80 ft (medium), then Step for 50 ft to get 130 ft of ground covered in one turn, using 12 charges. Add haste for even more obscene speed.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-02, 05:13 PM
I'd personally add a Ki ability that acts like silence, as well as change the formula for Ki to Wisdom Score (not mod) + Class Level. Now my preceding example has 35 charges, instead of 70. Still up there, but not insaneginormous. Alternatively, Wis Mod*Dex Mod, which'd introduce a bit of MAD but do it interestingly.

2007-04-02, 08:07 PM
Hrm... Class level + wisdom score would leave little difference between levels, and Wis Mod * Dex mod would leave absolutley no difference between levels.

What if it was Class level * ([Wis Mod + Dex Mod]/2)? In other words, CL multiplied by the character's average wisdom and dex mod. Introduces some MAD that's probably going to keep it down a bit. At level 10, I'd say two stats above 20 is pretty uncommon unless your DM allows unlimited min/maxing.

I was originally going to add a Silence ability, as well as something that would function like Spider Climb. I'm just not sure where to fit it in. It already has zero dead levels, after all.

Also. I just noticed that I never said anything about weapon proficiencies. As written, ninjas are proficient with nothing... This is exaclty the kind of error I was hoping you be pointed out to me in responce to that "This is my first class, so make sure to point out anything I might have screwed up because of that" comment. *Facepalm*

Fax Celestis
2007-04-02, 08:35 PM
Give Ki Silence at 6th, Ki Spider Climb at 8th.

2007-04-02, 10:38 PM
Dragon had a novel idea based on real world ninjas (ninjai?). since they were also spies, they used a listening tube to listen in to secret conversations. it would provide a +1 to listen checks when used to listen to private conversations (won't really work to listen to orcs in the middle of a battle). a masterwork version would provide +2 to appropriate listen checks.

Ever read the "Tales of the Otori" trilogy? if you have, give them an ability to use ki points to add a bonus to Move Silently checks. This would be used to get past nightingale floors (japanese anti assassination device. a specially made floor that creaks when stepped upon. it was said to sing like a nightingale when activated.

2007-04-03, 12:56 PM
This might need a few more combat-oriented abilities, IMO. Thus far, this class is the sneaky assassin disable-the-traps-and-kill-my-target type that gets killed in the second round of combat. Then again, that may be the point.

Also, what's the difference between Sudden Strike and Sneak Attack.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-04-03, 01:01 PM
Sudden Strike can only be used when the target is denied their Dex to AC. Sneak Attack works against flanked targets.

2007-04-03, 01:14 PM
I’ve been toying with the idea of a variant rules system that uses KI. The idea is that everyone has it and with some training everyone could use it, just some classes (ninja, and monk) were much more skilled at using it. These classes could use their KI to power key class abilities, like the ninja’s invisibility, the monk’s ability to punch through damage reduction. That sort of stuff.

All classes could use it to some degree and with proper training (feats) they could develop similar abilities. All classes for instance could pick up a feat (assuming they met the requirements) that allowed them to add bonus damage dice to their attacks at the cost of expending their Ki, or they could increase one skill check by X amount by expending Ki. Or they could increase on ability score by x points temporarily by expending KI. I had some other ideas, too like a feat that allowed someone to determine how large another’s ki pool (for lack of a better term) was in comparison to others.

I know it seems inspired by anime (to a degree it is), but I think this will add a new and interesting twist to the game and give it a some more flavor rather than “generic Oriental adventures game”.

2007-04-03, 03:11 PM
-Added Ki Silence and Climb
-Made the number of maximum ki charges available to the ninja reliant upon dex as well as wisdom.

Knightsaline, I'm pretty sure that item's been made already... Maybe I saw it in Arms and Equipment? I don't remember, it's a book I don't have.

Eighth, I'm heasitant to give this class more straight-forward combat features. With all of the stuff I've given them so far, they should be experts at making combat happen on thier terms, and I think that gives them an edge in combat that makes up for the lack of pure combat oriented features.

Than, sound's pretty neat. Feel free to write up some feats that this class could utilize in that. I was thinking about a feat that gives a few extra charges, for example.

2007-04-03, 03:25 PM
Sure, when I get around to writing it out. Right now it’s all in my head. I’ve got to decide on a lot of stuff about it. Like for example I need to pick an ability score to base it off of. I don’t want wisdom for fear of making monks and divine casters too powerful. I don’t want charisma because of the same thing with some arcane casters (mainly the sorcerer), I’m currently looking at constitution as that’s the only one that can possibly fit the theme and not give any class a distinct advantage.

2008-05-21, 06:00 AM
For decisive strike... since most of the ninja's abilities are based around movement, would it make more sense to make it a standard action, so the ninja has a move action to get to a better spot before taking the target down?

2008-05-21, 01:17 PM
i forgot all about this thread. actually, one thing that i was thinking is that the decisive strike might work better if the time it takes to complete scales as well, but requires some kind of a check. such as, levels 1-5 usable with any full round attack (such as a charge) with concentrate check; levels 6-10 usable with any standard action attack with concentrate check; levels 11+ usable with any attack with a concentrate check.

i like the idea of adding the damage to some other type of attack, rather than making it its own kind of attack. i think that this would allow some versatility, especially for a mobile-type, which ninjas seem to be characterized as. also, the full-round-to-standard-to-any idea was because i think that would also add versatility, plus some formidability, especially compared to casters and tob classes, whose uber damage comes in a standard act, this one would lose whatever oomph in had pretty fast. also, i've contemplated increasing the damage.

along those lines, if you got rid of sudden strike alltogether, you could increase the decisive strike to a full 9d6.

these are just a couple of thoughts that i had as i looked at it now.

2008-05-21, 03:06 PM
First off, I like your class. A few minor nitpicks though...

Ki Pool (Su) – A ninja has a maximum number of ki charges equal to her ninja level multiplied by the average of her wisdom modifier and her dexterity modifier.

That is very strange, rules-wise. I can see where you're coming from, but rules-wise it doesn't make sense. Maybe Ninja Level plus Dexterity or Wisdom score, whichever is higher.

One with the Shadows (Su) – At twentieth level, a ninja gains darkvision up to 60 ft. This darkvision pierces even magical darkness. She also may Hide in Plain Sight in shadows, as a Shadowdancer.

Dude, lame capstone ability. Rangers get Hide in Plain Sight 3 levels earlier and a lot of races have darkvision, so you can start with it at 1st level. Also, your class gets invisibility and a lot of Ki points, so nobody's ever going to use this when they can turn invisible. I'm not sure what to replace this with though, maybe another Ki ability.