The Ninja
[D&D Core Class]

The Ninja
Secretive and deadly, the ninja serve as spies, assassins, and thieves in the Oriental world. Masked and often clad in black, the speak few words, and often make their presence known only at the moment of your death.

Ninja is a path often pursued by humans, half-elves, and spirit folk. Due to their multiclass restrictions, however, ninja tend to represent only the most focused of creatures, regardless of race.

Ninja Prestige Classes: None.

Adaptation: The ninja is designed for Oriental campaigns. However, any campaign that allows both the monk and samurai can incorporate an archetype as recognized as the ninja.

Game Rule Information
Ninjas (Nja) have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Dexterity is of prime importance to ninja, as it augments many class skills, compensates for their lack of armor, and serves as the basis of class features such as Evasion. Ninjas with low Intelligence have limited potential, crippled in several class skills, Artful Dodge, and their ability to cast Justu spells. A high Constitution can counter the ninja’s low HD, while a high Strength makes their blows even deadlier.
Base Attack Bonus: Average (as a rogue).
Hit Die: d6.
Saves: Good Reflex / Poor Fortitude and Will.
Class Skills: The ninja's class skills are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Tumble (Dex). Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Intelligence modifier (x4 at 1st level).
Alignment: Any nonlawful.
Starting Age: As a monk.
Starting Gold: 4d4 x 10gp.
Favored Class: Ninja is favored class for no race – not even for half-elves, humans, and spirit folk.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the ninja.

Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Ninja are proficient with the club, crossbow (light and hand), dagger (any), dart, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, sap, short sword, shuriken, siangham, and sling. They are not proficient with any type of armor or with shields. In Oriental campaigns, ninja are also considered proficient in all simple weapons.

  1. Artful Dodge, Fast [+10], Martial Arts [1d4], Silent Tongue, Unknown
  2. Sneak Attack [1d6], Uncanny Dodge
  3. Evasion, Poison Use
  4. Artful Dodge [+1], Kuji
  5. Martial Arts [1d6], Sneak Attack [2d6]
  6. Ninjutsu
  7. Improved Uncanny Dodge
  8. Artful Dodge [+2], Sneak Attack [3d6]
  9. Uncanny Step
  10. Fast [+20], Martial Arts [1d8]
  11. Improved Evasion, Sneak Attack [4d6]
  12. Artful Dodge [+3], Ninjutsu
  13. Hide in Plane Sight
  14. Sneak Attack [5d6]
  15. Balanced Step, Martical Arts [1d10]
  16. Artful Dodge [+4]
  17. Sneak Attack [6d6]
  18. Ninjutsu
  19. Fast [+30], Shadow Mind
  20. Artful Dodge [+5], Martial Arts [2d6], Sneak Attack [7d6]

Artful Dodge [1st/4th/8th/12th/16th/20th]
The ninja can be as elusive as the East Wind. When unarmored and carrying no more than a light load, he receives a dodge bonus to his AC equal to his Intelligence modifier (if positive), up to a maximum bonus equal to his ninja level +1. This dodge bonus increases by +1 at 4th level and every four levels thereafter. Artful Dodge is extraordinary.

Fast [1st/10th/19th level]
Like a hummingbird the ninja moves. He receives a +10 bonus to his ground movement rate when unarmored and carrying no more than a light load. This bonus increases by +10 at 10th level and every nine levels thereafter. Fast is extraordinary.

Martial Arts [1st/5th/10th/15th/20th level]
His hands are as deadly as his blades. The ninja receives the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free, and his unarmed strikes deal 1d4 points of damage. His unarmed damage increases to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 10th level, 1d10 at 15th level, and 2d6 at 20th level. The unarmed damage of Martial Arts does not stack with unarmed damage granted by other classes, such as monk.

Silent Tongue
When silence must be preserved, he speaks in hand motions and body language. The ninja receives a +4 bonus to Bluff checks made to communicate without speaking. This bonus increases to +8 when the recipient of the message is also a ninja.

The ninja hides behind veils and aliases like others hide behind smiles and clothing. To retain his advantage, he must preserve the secrecy of his identity, hiding both his face and his true name from all but the closest and most trusted of allies.

Against any creature that can see his face, the ninja loses the benefit of Artful Dodge and suffers a –2 penalty to all Will saves made against attacks by that creature. Against any creature that knows the ninja’s true name, or who can recognize him even when masked (such as an ally or a recurring foe), he loses the benefit of Artful Dodge and suffers a –4 penalty to all Will saves made against attacks by that creature. These penalties are cumulative.

However, earning a ninja’s trust creates a valuable ally. Any creature that knows both the ninja’s name and has seen his face enjoys several benefits. When the ninja aids that creature in a skill check or in combat, the synergy benefit increases by +2.

Sneak Attack [2nd/5th/8th/11th/14th/17th/20th level]
The ninja ruthlessly takes advantage of the weakness or laziness of his enemies. At 2nd level and every three levels thereafter, he gains Sneak Attack damage, which stacks with Sneak Attack damage gained from any other source. This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at 5th level and every three levels thereafter.

Uncanny Dodge [2nd level]
He has an uncanny awareness of immediate peril. The ninja retains his Artful Dodge and Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any) even if caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker; he loses this benefit if immobilized. If he has Uncanny Dodge from a second class, the ninja automatically gains Improved Uncanny Dodge (see below). This is extraordinary.

Evasion [3rd level]
The ninja can avoid attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. An extraordinary ability, Evasion can be used only if the ninja is in no more than light armor, carrying no more than a light load, and not rendered helpless.

Poison Use [3rd level]
He is adept in the use of poisons to incapacitate his foes. He never risks accidentally poisoning himself when applying poison to a blade. This is extraordinary.

Kuji [4th level]
The ninja knows a small number of magical tricks to aid him in deception, subterfuge, and acrobatics – a sorcery called Kuji. He gains the ability to cast a number of arcane spells without preparation as a bard, using his Intelligence score to determine his maximum spell level, the save DCs of his spells, and any his bonus Spells Per Day, and using the spell progression below. He has no caster level until reaching 4th level, when his caster level equals half of his ninja level. The ninja selects his spells known from the Kuji spell list::
  • 1st Level: detect secret doors, disguise self, expeditious retreat, feather fall (self only), ghost sound, jump (self only), lesser cat’s grace, lesser fox's cunning, lesser karma, message, obscuring mist, saminjutsu (hypnotism), spider climb (self only), undetectable alignment (self only), yoko aruki (pass without trace - self only)
  • 2nd Level: blur (self only), cat’s grace (self only), darkness, darkvision (self only), daze monster, find traps, fox’s cunning (self only), karma (self only), mirror image, nondetection (self only), onshinjutsu (invisibility - self only), see invisibility
  • 3rd Level: displacement (self only), greater onshinjutsu (greater invisibility - self only), haste (self only), hold person, jinx, poison
  • 4th Level: break enchantment, detect scrying, fu (freedom of movement - self only), gaseous form (self only), shadow walk

Spells Known/Spells Per Day

lv 1 2 3 4
1 - - - -
2 - - - -
3 - - - -
4 1/0 - - -
5 1/0 - - -
6 2/1 - - -
7 2/1 - - -
8 2/1 1/0 - -
9 2/1 1/0 - -
10 2/1 2/1 - -
11 2/1 2/1 1/0 -
12 2/1 2/1 2/1 -
13 2/1 2/1 2/1 -
14 3/2 2/1 2/1 1/0
15 3/2 2/1 2/1 2/1
16 3/2 3/2 2/1 2/1
17 3/2 3/2 3/2 2/1
18 4/3 3/2 3/2 2/1
19 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/2
20 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/3

Spell Notes: All Kuji spells require a somatic component unless cast with the Still Spell feat or by similar means. Kuji spells cannot be scribed into scrolls or used in the creation of anything other than wondrous items. Finally, unlike the bard or assassin, the ninja cannot exchange his Spells Known for other spells at later levels.

Ninjutsu [6th/12th/18th level]
At 6th level and every six levels thereafter, the ninja selects a bonus feat from the following list, even if he does not qualify for the feat selected: Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Combat Parry, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Dodge Traps, Feinting Expertise, Improved Critical, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quick, Quick-Draw, Rapid Strike, Regain Footing, Stunning Fist, or Weapon Finesse. He enjoys the benefit of the selected feat only when in no more than light armor and carrying no more than a light load.

Alternately, the ninja can select as a standard bonus feat either Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency, or Simple Weapon Proficiency.

Improved Uncanny Dodge [7th level]
He fights effectively even when surrounded by foes. The ninja can no longer be flanked, which denies a rogue or ninja the ability to use flank attacks to Sneak Attack him – unless the rogue or ninja is at least four levels higher than the ninja. If the ninja gains Uncanny Dodge (see above) from a second class, he automatically gains Improved Uncanny Dodge, an extraordinary ability, and the levels from those classes stack to determine the minimum level required to flank the ninja.

Uncanny Step [9th level]
The ninja runs up walls and skips across water as if solid ground. As a move action, he can run up vertical surfaces or run across liquids, as long as his starting and ending points are on solid ground. If he traverses such a surface and does not land on solid ground, he suffers falling damage or plunges into the liquid normally. A supernatural ability, Uncanny Step does not protect the ninja from any secondary effects of the surface traversed, such as a coating of acid or the heat of lava.

Improved Evasion [11th level]
If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half-damage on a successful save, the ninja instead takes no damage. If he fails the save, he suffers only half-damage. An extraordinary ability, Improved Evasion can be used only if the ninja is in no more than light armor, carrying no more than a light load, and not rendered helpless.

Hide in Plain Sight [13th level]
He is there – and then he is not. When within 10 feet of some sort of shadow (other than his own), the ninja can Hide in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. This is supernatural.

Balanced Step [15th level]
The ninja's step is as sure as stone. He can Take 10 on Balance, Climb, and Move Silently checks even if conditions or distractions would normally preclude him from doing so. In addition, he can make Balance checks at his full movement rate, Climb checks at half his movement rate, and Move Silently checks at anything less than his full movement rate without the standard –5 penalty. Balanced Step is extraordinary.

Shadow Mind [19th level]
His mind can be as nimble as his flesh. The ninja may substitute his Base Reflex Modifier for his Base Will Modifier when making any Will save against any attack specifically targeting only him. This is extraordinary.

Epic Ninja: The epic-level ninja continues his Hit Die, skill point, Artful Dodge, Fast, Ninjutsu, and Sneak Attack progressions. In addition, he receives bonus feats at 25th level and every five levels thereafter (25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, etc).

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