View Full Version : Ninja rewrite [3.5]

2013-02-24, 07:08 PM
This came from a challenge I made a friend, to rewrite the Ninja (from Complete Adventurer) to something that you'd might want to use over a Rogue some times. I liked his version, but didn't think it was powerful enough, so I rewrote it so it could better compete with the big boys.

It uses the Sudden Strike mechanic over Sneak Attack to keep some "ninja-ness", but contains clauses that allows it to PrC out into things without losing abilities. Likewise for Ki Pool uses. I think this is really important for classes that introduce their own form of resource management, as you're unlikely to ever get much of a volume of PrCs that use the resource so you're better off piggybacking on already-existing material.

Speaking of resource management, the resource scheme is specifically designed to be somewhat constraining in an individual encounter, but never constrained over a long period of time. This is in flat opposition to spells/day, which is designed to be constrained over a long period of time but not constrained over any given encounter.

Low level Ninjas are generally expected to make judicious use of Smoke Bomb in combat, for the single-round lockdown and to reliably get their Sudden Strike damage off. As they gain in levels, they get greater powers over their positioning and more reliable use of their Sudden Strike. Their ability to use poison gives them an additional potential damage source, and this class is intended to be used with my Better Poisons (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Better_Poisons_(3.5e_Variant_Rule)) variant so as to not break the game when using poison. They get UMD so they can make their own poisons (and do other such fun ninja tricks) without falling into the land of Magical Tea Party.


1st|+0|+0|+2|+2|Improved Unarmed Strike, Ki Powers (1st), Sudden Strike +1d6

2nd|+1|+0|+3|+3|Evasion, Weapon Finesse

3rd|+2|+1|+3|+3|Poison Use, Sudden Strike +2d6

4th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Ki Powers (2nd), Uncanny Dodge

5th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Improbable Acrobatics, Sudden Strike +3d6

6th|+4|+2|+5|+5|Darkstalker, Death Attack

7th|+5|+2|+5|+5|Ki Powers (3rd), Sudden Strike +4d6

8th|+6/+1|+2|+6|+6|Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Uncanny Dodge

9th|+6/+1|+3|+6|+6|Rapid Death Attack, Sudden Strike +5d6

10th|+7/+2|+3|+7|+7|Ki Powers (4th), Shadowy Concealment

11th|+8/+3|+3|+7|+7|Improved Evasion, Sudden Strike +6d6


13th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8|Ki Powers (5th), Sudden Strike +7d6

14th|+10/+5|+4|+9|+9|Eternal Motion

15th|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Sudden Death Attack, Sudden Strike +8d6

16th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Ki Powers (6th)

17th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Obscured Existence, Sudden Strike +9d6

18th|+13/+8/+3|+6|+11|+11|Super Speed

19th|+14/+9/+4|+6|+11|+11|No Witnesses, Sudden Strike +10d6

20th|+15/+10/+5|+6|+12|+12|Instant Death, One with the Shadows

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ◊4 at 1st level):
Appraise (Int), Autohypnosis (Wis), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Tome of Prowess (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Tome_of_Prowess_(3.5e_Sourcebook)) Class Skills (6, ◊4 at 1st level):
Acrobatics (Dex), Arcana (Int), Athletics (Con), Bluff (Int), Concentration (Wis), Devices (Int), Escape Artistry (Dex), Jump (Str), Legerdemain (Dex), Perception (Wis), Stealth (Dex).

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ninja are proficient with all simple weapons, as well as assassin needles (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Assassin_Needles_(3.5e_Equipment)), bolas, jian (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Jian_(3.5e_Equipment)), kama, katana (bastard sword), net, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, shuriken, siangham, sling, wakizashi (short sword), and whip. And, of course, unarmed strikes. We're not monks.

Ninja are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.

Improved Unarmed Strike: The ninja is always armed, even when disarmed. They gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

Ki Powers: The ninja is said to possess mystical powers, and this is partly true. Through a combination of cleverness, tools, and use of ki to bolster their body and occasionally defy physics they can perform several magical effects at will, though they all draw from the ninja's ki pool. The ninja has a ki pool equal to her 2 + her class level. You regain ki points each round equal to your class level divided by four, rounded down (minimum zero). You immediately regain all of your ki points after a minute of rest.

At first a ninja can only use 1st level ki powers, but at 4th level and every three levels beyond the ninja gains access to a new tier of powers, up to 6th at level 16. See below for the list of ki powers.

Ninja count as arcane spellcasters for the purposes of prestige classes. If you ever take a level in a prestige class that advances spellcasting, you may consider your ki powers advanced appropriately.

Sudden Strike: This is exactly like the Ninja ability of the same name. If you ever take levels of a class or prestige class that grant Sneak Attack dice, you may at your option count them as Sudden Strike dice instead.

Weapon Finesse: The ninja must be nimble and quick, and this applies to her weapons as well. At level 2 they gain Weapon Finesse (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Weapon_Finesse_(3.5e_Feat)) as a bonus feat.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a ninja can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she 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 the ninja is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Poison Use: At 3rd level a ninja is trained in the use of poison and will never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a weapon.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 4th level a ninja can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a ninja already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Improbable Acrobatics (Ex): At 5th level a ninja has mastered the art of "the ability of lightness". She is able to set her apparent weight to almost nothing as a free action, allowing her to walk upon water and dance on the end of a needle. This has the effect of making the ninja immune to all falling damage, and allowing her to walk upon liquid or otherwise unsuitable surfaces (though they may still require a balance check if the surface is too thin in width or is in motion). In addition, it makes her acrobatics much easier to pull off. She may take 10 on Balance, Climb, Jump, Swim, and Tumble checks even if in a stressful situation.

Tome of Prowess variant: A 5th level ninja treats all abilities within the acrobatics skill as if they had a rank requirement 2 points less. This grants them immediate access to the Light as a Feather and Run on Water abilities, and early access to every subsequent ability. Additionally, they may take 10 on any acrobatics or athletics abilities as soon as they possess the (possibly reduced) minimum ranks required to use them, and may take 12 on them as soon as they possess 4 more ranks than the (possibly reduced) required ranks.

Darkstalker: At 6th level a ninja cannot be detected by anything, even by extrasensory perceptions. They gain the Ghost Step (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Ghost_Step_(3.5e_Feat)) feat.

Tome of Prowess variant: As the extrasensory detection abilities of this feat have been placed in the stealth skill itself, the ninja instead gains the Traceless Stalker (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Traceless_Stalker_(3.5e_Feat)) feat.

Death Attack: At 6th level a ninja can kill with a single blow. If a ninja studies her victim for 3 rounds and then makes an attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals sudden strike damage, the attack has the additional effect of either paralyzing or killing the target (ninja's choice). While studying the victim, the ninja can undertake other actions so long as her attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the ninja or recognize the ninja as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Wis) against the kill effect, they die. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the ninja. If the victimís saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sudden strike attack. Once the ninja has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.

If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes their save) or if the ninja does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): At 8th level a ninja can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a ninja can hide herself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A ninja of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.

This defense denies another sneak attacker the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more sneak-attack granting levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level required to flank the character.

Rapid Death Attack: At 9th level a ninja's death attack can be rushed at the expense of its save DC. For every round you shorten the duration by, the DC drops by -2 points (minimum -4 points for 1 round of study).

Shadowy Concealment (Ex): At 10th level a ninja is almost invisible while in the shadows. When in shadowy illumination they have total concealment. When in complete darkness, they blend in so well that even creatures with extrasensory abilities (darkvision, See in Darkness, blindsight, etc.) suffer a 20% miss chance from concealment anyways.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 11th level a ninja can dodge attacks and brush off the largest of explosions. This ability works like evasion, except that while the ninja still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Untraceable (Ex): At 12th level a ninja is impossible to follow. The ninja has no scent, leaves no tracks, and all mundane attempts to track her fail. Even magical abilities and divinations designed to locate beings such as locate creature or find the path struggle. They must succeed on a caster level check against the ninja's HD + 10 to function normally. If they fail the spell goes nowhere, leading into dead ends or giving impossible and obviously false information.

Eternal Motion (Ex): At 14th level a ninja moves with such grace that few things can slow her down. She ignores difficult terrain, and is immune to entangling, paralysis, and stunning. Effects which would make her move at half speed do not slow her speed at all, and effects which reduce her speed to 5 ft. (such as with solid fog) instead only halve her speed. She is still susceptible to other hazards of the terrain beyond movement penalties, and can still be grappled to immobilize her.

Sudden Death Attack: At 15th level a ninja becomes so quick as determining the weak point she can kill before you knew she was there. She may make death attacks against any flatfooted creature who has not yet acted in battle or is in a surprise round, regardless if she had studied or not. In addition, she gains a new ability to death attack; the ability to hold off the effects of death or paralysis of any victim or failed their saves until later. Thereafter the ninja can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to her class level. To make such an attempt, the ninja merely wills the target to die (a free action) or enter paralysis as if the death attack had just occurred. This latter ability is a supernatural ability and a powerful curse that requires break enchantment or greater to remove before it takes effect. A ninja may only keep one victim in waiting like this at one time; if she sets a new victim, the old victim is freed of his curse.

Obscured Existence (Su): At 17th level a ninja has become so good at hiding she hides from reality itself. The subject is protected from all devices and spells that detect, influence, or read emotions or thoughts. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects, even foiling limited wish, miracle, and wish spells when they are used in such a way as to affect the subjectís mind or to gain information about it. In the case of scrying that scans an area the creature is in, such as arcane eye, the spell works but the creature simply isnít detected. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject automatically fail, returning information as indicated in the Untraceable ability.

Creatures who see the ninja have a hard time recalling what they just saw. Anyone who witnesses a ninja and then tries to recall that information after the ninja has left must make a Will save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Wis. On a successful save they remember as normal and may do what they wish. On a failed save their memory becomes hazy. They recall the activities and words of the ninja, but not who it was or any details beyond a foggy blackish shape.

Tome of Prowess variant: At their discretion, a ninja may allow the False Thoughts ability of the Bluff skill to be excluded from the defenses granted here. If they do so the false mind may still be detected, but it may not be breached.

Super Speed: Any of a ninja's Ki Powers that take longer than a swift action to activate now take a swift action. At the ninja's option, they can use their original action cost instead.

No Witnesses (Ex): At 19th level a ninja can observe a whole room full of people... and murder everyone forever. The ninja can observe any number of creature in a 30 foot radius, taking no more than the usual 3 rounds of observation. Once observations are complete, they may make a single death attack attempt against one of the targets in range, and all marked creatures in the 30 foot radius are subject to the death attack as if you had rolled the attack roll against them. In a flash, a mere six seconds, dozens of people can be executed in a single fell swoop.

Instant Death: When a ninja uses their Sudden Strike ability, the target is also affected by the ninja's Death Attack. Any target can only be affected by this at most once per five rounds.

One with the Shadows: At 20th level a ninja becomes a magical creature. Her type changes to outsider, and she counts as a member of her original type and as an outsider, whenever beneficial. She appears always blended into her surroundings, giving her a constant 50% concealment which is not bypassed by true seeing. Unlike other outsiders, the ninja can still be brought back from the dead as if she were a member of her previous creature type.

List of Ki Powers

Ki powers consume ki from the ki pool equal to 2 + a ninja's class level. Each power uses ki points equal to its level to activate. 1st level powers use 1 ki point, 4th level powers use 4 ki points, and so forth. Though many produce effects which defy logic, ki powers are extraordinary by default unless marked otherwise. When you gain access to a new level of ki powers, you know and are able to use all of them at will, ki points provided. The saving throw for all ki powers is DC 10 + 1/2 HD + the ninja's Wisdom modifier.

1st Level Ki Powers

Dancing Spider Stance (Ex): As a swift action you gain the benefits of spider climb for 1 minute.

Everything Kills (Ex): As a swift action you can turn any improvise weapon or object in your hand into a capable weapon. It gains the statistics of the closest weapon you are proficient in (pool cues become quarterstaves, broken bottles are daggers, and so forth). In your hand it is as dangerous as a real weapon and you take no penalty for its use. This effect lasts for 10 rounds.

Frog Leap (Ex): As a standard action you imbue your body with unnatural spring, granting your class level + 10 competence bonus on jump checks and you're always treated as having a running start. This lasts until the end of your next jump, and can be made as part of a jump check.

Tome of Prowess variant: You do not gain a competence bonus to your jump check, but instead increase your total jump distance by 10 + your class level feet.

Moon Hare Dash (Ex): As a swift action, gain a +10 foot bonus to speed for 1 round. At 4th level and every three levels beyond, the bonus rises by another +10 feet.

Ninja Vanish (Ex): As a swift action you become invisible as the spell and are rendered completely silent as if affected by a personal silence spell for 1 round. At 6th level the duration increases to 1 minute, and at 11th level it increases to 1 minute/level.

Smoke Bomb (Ex): As a standard action you produce a smoke bomb which produces a 10 foot cube of smoke similar to a fog cloud spell. At 4th level and every four levels beyond, the cube grows by +10 feet (20 ft cube, 30 foot cube, etc). The smoke lingers in the air for 5 rounds before dispersing. You can always choose to smoke a smaller area than your level allows. This bomb can be targeted at an individual square up to close range away from the ninja. Any occupant of that square must make a Fortitude save or be nauseated for one round.

2nd Level Ki Powers

Flash Step (Su): As a standard action duplicate the effect of dimension slide. At level 8 this can be done as a move action.

Kitsune's Trickery (Ex): As a full round action you gain the benefits of disguise self, which lasts until you change disguises or dismiss the effect. This is a result of clever use of makeup and minor facial positioning, and so is not detected by true seeing.

Muramasa Spirit (Ex): As a swift action just before making a death attack, you focus your mind on the kill granting +2 to the DC of the death attack and an extra +1 point of damage per class level.

Where Was I? (Su): As a standard action, you can trade positions with an ally or enemy within close range (Will negates). At 9th level this increases to medium range.

3rd Level Ki Powers

Ears of the Bat (Ex): As a standard action you focus you senses, granting blindsense out to 30 feet. At 10th level this upgrades to blindsight. The benefit lasts for 1 minute.

Exorcism Blade (Su): As a standard action you make all your weapons ghost touch weapons for 1 minute. You can end the duration early as part of an attack action, discharging the effect in the form of a banishment spell.

Spiritual Poison (Su): As part of an attack with a poisoned weapon you can use this ability. The poison now ignores poison immunity, although they gain a +4 bonus on their save.

Whispers in the Night (Ex): As a swift action, you can use greater invisibility, which lasts for 1d4+1 rounds. You are also rendered completely silent as if affected by a personal silence spell for the same amount of time.

4th Level Ki Powers

Amnesia Dust (Ex): As a standard action you can blow a mixed dustcloud of various drugs into the face of others. All creatures in a 15 foot cone must make a Will save or forget the last 5 minutes. If they are in the middle of combat, they are instead confused for 1d4 rounds as they try to remember what they were fighting for. Once someone has made a save against amnesia dust, they are immune for 24 hours after.

Crimson Moon Death (Ex): As a standard action make a single melee attack. This attack deals an additional 3d6 Con damage to any creature susceptible to critical hits due to massive blood loss.

Maelstrom of Blades (Ex): After using one of the ninja's movement powers, you may use this ability as a bonus action. If you do, you may make a full attack. Using this ability immediately ends your turn.

Reflective Arrangement (Su): As a standard action you duplicate the effect of mirror image, but the copies can roam on their own away from you as long as they maintain within 30 feet of you. Every round, you can switch position in which copy is the real you, and which are duplicates as a swift action. This effect lasts for 1 minute.

5th Level Ki Powers

Decoy Body (Su): As an immediate action you may dimension slide, leaving an obscuring mist behind. In addition, a log appears in the place where the ninja stood before moving away.

Shadow Walk (Su): As a standard action you may duplicate the effects of a shadow walk spell.

Silent Takedown (Ex): As a standard action, if you make a melee attack against a flatfooted opponent who is unaware of your presence you can perform a silent takedown. They must make a Fortitude save or immediately take nonlethal damage equal to their maximum hit points +1, falling unconcious silently without the sound of a falling body or scream. You can now move the body elsewhere while it remains unconscious. If they succeed on the save, they take no damage but are grappled and muffled, preventing speech but not soft noises. Subsequent rounds use typical grapple rules to maintain a grapple and other effects.

Single Stroke Rush (Ex): As an immediate action, if an opponent charges you you can immediately charge them, moving up to your movement speed and passing by your opponent. You may make a charge attack to counter their charge attack; if your attack roll is higher then the attack against you (if any) is negated. They take damage from your charge attack as normal if you hit.

Telekinetic Pressure (Su): As part of an attack action, you may use the Violent Thrust option of telekinesis on an attacked creature. There is no weight limit, but anyone above the spell's normal weight limit has their movement quartered.

6th Level Ki Powers

Ghostwalk (Su): As a standard action, you slip into the spirit world as if using ethereal jaunt. This lasts until you dismiss it as a standard action.

Shadow Form (Su): You are immune to any spell that respects spell resistance. You are immune to critical hits and reduce any form of incoming damage by 20. You can move around as if you were in gaseous form. You cannot attack, cannot cast spells, use spell-like abilities, or use spell-completion or spell-trigger items. This ability can be enabled or disabled with a full-round action.

Shadow Images (Su): As a standard action, you may use major image. The images are made from real shadow pulled from the Plane of Shadow, and as such are not mind-affecting figments and are not foiled by true seeing.

Just to Browse
2013-02-24, 09:49 PM
Is this made to be a Tier 1 class? I assume so, since this gets lots of goodies.

Some things:
Improved Unarmed Strike feels less imperative to a ninja than Weapon Finesse. I recommend switching the feats so that level 1 characters don't feel so hurt when they pump their stats into dex and can't pull of melee attacks.
Does smoke bomb actually proc sudden strike damage? It looks like the ninja could only do that at range, at which point the ninja can't see the enemy anyways... Also, when using smoke bomb, to target a square, does the AoE start from there and nauseate everyone in it or is it required to stay within a 5'x5' cube?
Everything kills seems like it should just be a class feature. I can't see why I'd want to spend a ki point on that when I could instead spend one to become invisible. Also, "you can turn any improvised weapon"
Do ki powers count as arcane spells for feats or items as well? Also, I'd specifically state that a ki power level correlates to spell level (if it actually does).
I just noticed that all the feats you linked are very strong hombrew versions. Without getting into a debate with you about the role of feats, I simply recommend an alternative for those who feel squeamish about the power level of Ghost Step, Weapon Finesse, etc.
The word salad in Improved Evasion could use some more carrots.
Untraceable bothers me because it lets casters find ninjas and doesn't let super awesome trackers find them, which makes the caster-notcaster disparity feel even wider. If anything, I'd turn this around and let regular trackers find the ninja with a higher search DC or extra check, and not let casters find the ninja at all.
Sudden Death Attack is described as a curse, but has no Ex, Sp, or Su type on it. Perhaps you should make that last ability supernatural so that it doesn't suffer from dissonance.
Your capstones are crazy. I'm kind of OK with that.
You could probably copy/paste the text of dimension slide into flash step for easier reference--I play this game a lot, and I had to look it up. It's also only 2 lines of text.
I am disappointed by an apparent lack of substitution powers.

That was a

2013-02-24, 11:05 PM
Oh my God! The ninjas got him! :<

It's nowhere near T1, I think. It's just not flexible enough for that, and doesn't have enough world-affecting power. It is probably strong enough to play with the big boys in combat though (and designed as such). That makes it...what, T2? I don't really use that tier system, so I have no idea.

(I wish your points were numbered, I'm gonna respond in number order anyway.)

#1: Fair enough, though I think the bit where you get a big number boost at level 2 isn't bad. Mostly it's to avoid a dipper snagging an excessively large number of things at level 1.

#2: No; the fog cloud just denies people their dexterity bonus so you can get the sudden strike damage. For the targeted bombs, the AoE works as normal but only the targeted square becomes nauseated. I think an AoE nauseate would be a little crazy.

#3: Fair enough.

#4: They should, I'll clarify this.

#5: Fair enough. They were actually named as such to mostly provide the alternative; Darkstalker is actually a feat from Lords of Madness that provides the basic ability of the feat the class feature gives; Weapon Finesse, of course, has the SRD feat version. There aren't any other feats to worry about.

#6: I think I'll just link it to the Rogue ability and call it a day. Absolutely no need for it to be so wordy, I agree.

#7: This makes sense, though I think magic is supposed to be explicitly better (I mean, those spells are way awesome). But there's no reason this can't be inverted...let's try that.

#8: The curse portion is already described as (Su). Still, you are completely correct.

#9: Well, it is level 20.

#10: I'll just link them, I think.

#11: I'm not sure what you mean by this.