Ninja

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By Proven Paradox at Divided by Zero.

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.

NINJA

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

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+0+0+2+2Ki Pool, Ki Acrobatics + 2, Trapfinding, Sudden Strike +1d6
2nd+1+0+3+3Ki Speed 5 ft., Decisive Strike +1d6
3rd+2+1+3+3Evasion
4th+3+1+4+4Ki Acrobatics + 4, Sudden Strike +2d6
5th+3+1+4+4Ki Blur
6th+4+2+5+5Ki Silence, Decisive Strike +2d6
7th+5+2+5+5Ki Speed 10 ft., Sudden Strike + 3d6
8th+6/+1+2+6+6Ki Acrobatics + 6, Ki Climb
9th+6/+1+3+6+6Ki Step
10th+7/+2+3+7+7Sudden Strike + 4d6, Decisive Strike + 3d6
11th+8/+3+3+7+7Ki Fade
12th+9/+4+4+8+8Ki Acrobatics + 8, Ki Speed 15 ft.
13th+9/+4+4+8+8Sudden Strike + 5d6, Improved Evasion
14th+10/+5+4+9+9 Decisive Strike + 4d6
15th+11/+6/+1+5+9+9Ki Counter
16th+12/+7/+2+5+10+10Ki Acrobatics + 10, Sudden Strike + 6d6
17th+12/+7/+2+5+10+10Ki Speed 20 ft.
18th+13/+8/+3+6+11+11Decisive Strike + 5d6
19th+14/+9/+4+6+11+11Sudden Strike + 7d6
20th+15/+10/+5+6+12+12One with the Shadows

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 recovers 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.


Analysis

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, 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 was my first class, and I'm incredibly pleased with the feedback I've gotten so far, but I'm always looking for more criticism. I'm especially interested in hearing what people think of this class's balance.

  • 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.
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