Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ninjas: Join the Club!

Ninja at work
Bored on the train today, so I sketched a ninja class; Blogger is lousy for tables so see the PHB for the move, AC, open hand and special abilities except as noted below.

The Ninja is a sub class of monk. Ninja may be of any race and any non-chaotic, non-good alignment. Entrance requirements are:

Str: 12
Int: 10
Wis: 9
Con: 11
Dex: 14
Cha: 6

Ninja do not receive a 10% bonus.

The differences from the monk  class are as follows:

  • Normal ability score bonuses and penalties.
  • 1d6 hit die per level from 1st to 9th and +2 per level thereafter.
  • If the standard monk AC is poorer than AC10+Dex, then the better AC is used.
  • Spy and disguise as per assassin (DMG p18).
  • Backstab as per thief, using stabbing weapons only, including missile weapons.
  • 2 initial proficiency slots.
  • Any armour may be worn as part of a disguise without incurring a performance penalty.
  • No armour may be worn while using any class combat ability (including bonus damage) or thief-related skills, or the monk falling ability. Such abilities as feigning death are unaffected.
  • May use poison.
  • Open hand combat is as per a monk of half the ninja's level (round up).
  • Ninja never gain the ability to speak with animals (A on the monk list) or plants (F), nor do they have the secret of the quivering palm (K).
  • Ninja gain the ability to feign death (D) at third level.
  • At 13th level ninja gain the ability to create a passwall effect as per the 5th level magic user spell. This ability may be used once per day at 13th level, and an additional daily use is gained at each level thereafter. However, the effect applies only to the ninja and has no duration; the passage closes behind the ninja.
  • Ninja gain the ability to heal damage on their own bodies as per monks (E) but the ability requires a turn of peaceful meditation in order to succeed. If disturbed once rest has begun the ability is lost for the day.
  • Ninja may train in the use of any weapon and may retain any number of magical weapons.
  • Ninja may not retain items they can not use but they may accumulate as much cash as they desire.
  • Ninja do not have to fight for promotion and there are no limits on how many ninja of a certain level there may be.
  • The ninja may reduce his/her weight, including carried gear, by 10% of their own body weight per level for 1 round per level. See below for details.
  • All thief-acrobat abilities are gained from 6th level.
Lv  xp, title
  1. 0 Shoshinsha
  2. 2500 Kyodai
  3. 5000 Monjin
  4. 10000 Kumori
  5. 20000 Himeru
  6. 45000 Kemuru
  7. 90000 Kage
  8. 180000 Chunin
  9. 350000 Ninja
  10. 700000 Ninja, 10th level
  11. 1000000 Ninja, 11th level (Jonin)
  12. 1300000 Ninja, 12th level 
  13. 1600000 Ninja, 13th level, Shinobi
300,000xp per level after 13th

Feather Walk

All ninja gain the ability to reduce their weight by 10% of their body weight per level (assume 14lbs per level if body weight not known) to a minimum pressure of approximately half an ounce (14g or 219grains). The effect can be used for up to one round per level per day, in one or more bursts (always count a usage as one full round even if shorter than that).

More than 100% is possible and allows carried weight to be negated too. Thus, a tenth level ninja carrying 60lbs of treasure or equipment can reduce the pressure of their footsteps to 60lbs for ten minutes in a day; at 13th level the same character could reduce their pressure to 18lbs.

The weight reduction aids movement in many ways and when used to reduce weight to the minimum possible, the ninja is able to walk on water and climb even walls of ice like a gecko. Other effects of near weightlessness are at the DM's discretion but it is a magic effect, not a physical one so the ninja will not suffer combat penalties nor be blown away by the wind etc.

Alignment Change
A ninja who becomes good or chaotic becomes a nukenin (literally an "ninja with no shame"). They retain their xp, level, and ninja abilities but further progression gives them only the thief ability improvements that they would normally have received (at the xp cost of the ninja class). If desired, a character may abandon the way of the ninja completely and become a thief of the same level.

Ninja may multi-class with assassin. This option is available to all elves and gnomes. Humans may, of course, dual-class.

Level Limits
Drow: 10th, other elves: 9th (half elves depending on elven blood). Dwarves: 6th. Gnomes: 9th. Halflings: 5th level. Half-orcs: 6th.

With the exception of half-orcs, these values assume Dex 17. For dex 18 add a level and for Dex 16 or less lose one. Single classed elven and gnomic ninja gain two levels to their maximum level as per UA. Half orcs may add one to their maximum level for each point their Dex exceeds 14.

Ninja use the monk starting age for humans, thief for demi-humans.

Starting Cash

All ninja must use a language slot to learn the secret cant of their clan/school.

Poor Japanese
My pidgin Japanese is not up to translating the noun stems above into the correct form so, for example, "kage" means "shadow" (I think!) whereas I would rather it meant "one who is like a shadow". So apologies to anyone who knows their Japanese (or knows someone who does *cough*) for the crudeness of the level titles.


  1. If I remember rightly "kagamusha" means "shadow warrior", which might suit you better. Of course, it is also the title of a famous Kurasawa film. :D

    1. Doh! I actually googled for "shadow warrior" and got piles of stupid video game results. Brain fart.

      I'm going to try this out and do a PDF of it, by which time I hope to have got better level titles among other things. I'm not sure about the ability bonuses, particularly for strength. But I've been working on a new method of doing the whole martial arts thing, so I might roll it into a post about that.