Ninja (3.5e Class)

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The Ninja[edit]

A ninja is one who refines stealth, intellegence gathering, powerful combat techniques, and mysticism into a deadly science and sophisticated techniques of warfare. When the odds are unfavorable and dishonor threatens, the ninja can be hired to bring victory and restore harmony of society through espionage and assassination.

Making a Ninja[edit]

The ninja are like the rogue in the fact they rely on quickness and stealth to take out their enemies. However, the ninja go about it in a much different way. Harnessing the power of their inner spirits, the ninja obtain the ability to disappear from an enemy's sight completely. Combine this with various abilities that border on otherworldly, and people will see how the rogue and ninja seperate themselves.

Abilities: Dexterity and Wisdom are the chief skills among ninja. Dexterity allows them to get the drop on the enemy, while Wisdom allows them greater ability in harnessing the power of their ki. Despite their bountiful skill points, a high Intelligence can give even more skill points, something no ninja can have too few of.

Races: Ninja are mostly human, but they are not hesitant to welcome new blood. Elves are rare, but those that join are revered and feared, being viewed as great masters of legend. Half-elves, halflings, and warforged are also accepted. Some clans even see the occasional shifter or changeling. Half-orcs, with their lack of emotional control, and dwarves, with their desire for money and regard for family, never become ninja, though they are not unwelcome.

Alignment: A ninja’s life is quite various and thus they can be of any alignment. Of course, since the dictates of their clan (and clanmates) come before their personal interests or others, ninja are more commonly neutral. Neutral ninja are most common, but there are plenty of good and evil ninja as well. Though lawful ninja are more frequent than chaotic ones, the chaotic ninja are still disciplined. They simply have a lower regard for rules than others, making them a bit more reckless, but nonetheless devoted.

Starting Gold: 4d4×10 gp

Starting Age: As a ranger.

Table: The Ninja

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special AC
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Ki power, stealthy strike +1d6, trapfinding +0 +2
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Ghost step +0 +2
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Stealthy strike +2d6, the path I walk (Ex) +0 +2
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Evasion, poison use +0 +2
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Stealthy strike +3d6 +1 +2
6th +6/+1 +2 +5 +2 Ki dodge, the path I walk (Su) +1 +2
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 Stealthy strike +4d6 +1 +2
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 Ghost strike +1 +3
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 Stealthy strike +5d6, the path I walk +1 +3
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 Ghost step (ethereal), improved poison use +2 +3
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 Stealthy strike +6d6 +2 +3
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 The path I walk +2 +3
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4 Stealthy strike +7d6 +2 +3
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 Hundred faces +2 +3
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5 Stealthy strike +8d6, the path I walk +3 +3
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +5 Meditation +3 +4
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Stealthy strike +9d6 +3 +4
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 The path I walk +3 +4
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Stealthy strike +10d6 +3 +4
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Ghost walk +4 +5

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex),
Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Geography) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex),
Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex)

Class Features[edit]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The ninja is proficient with simple weapons, as well as the sai, shuriken, kama, nunchaku, shortbow, ninja-to (short sword),katana(bastard sword), kodachi (broadblade short sword), foot spike, and shuko (hand claws). If the ninja uses the foot spikes and shuko for Climb checks, this is treated as a climber's kit.
The ninja is not proficient with armor or shields.

AC Bonus (Ex): During training, all ninja unlock the sixth sense, an ability that warns of an attack just before it occurs.

As long as he is unarmored and unencumbered, the ninja applies his Wisdom bonus (if any) to AC. This does not stack with the monk's AC bonus. The ninja gets an additional +1 to AC at 5th Level and every five ninja levels after. The AC bonus is applied to all forms of attack, but not when immobilized or helpless.

Stealthy Strike (Ex): At 1st level and every other level after, if the ninja can catch an enemy off-guard, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

When the ninja strikes an enemy that is denied its Dexterity bonus (if any) to AC, he can deal an extra +1d6 damage. The ninja can use stealthy strike for ranged attacks as long as the target is within 30 feet. If the ninja makes a critical hit while making a stealthy strike, this extra damage is not multiplied.

The ninja can use stealthy strike against a flanked enemy, but he uses d4's instead of d6's.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a ninja can make a stealthy strike that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a stealthy strike, not even with the usual -4 penalty.

Stealthy strike can only be use against creatures with discernible anatomies-constructs, undead, plants, oozes, and incorporeal creatures are immune to stealthy strike. Stealthy strike cannot be used against creatures immune to critical hits or against creatures with concealment or whose vitals are out of reach.

Stealthy strike counts as sneak attack for the purpose of qualifying for feats, prestige classes, or anything requiring a minimum amount of sneak attack damage dice.

The bonus damage from stealthy strike and sneak attack stack if they apply to the same target and all other conditions are met.

Ki Power (Su): All ninja have control over a pool of spirit energy called ki. Starting at 1st level, all ninja have 1/2 ninja level (Min 1) + Wisdom modifier uses of ki per day, and as long as the ninja has one use left, he gets a +2 bonus on Will saves. can only gain 1 ki per level

The ninja cannot use his ki power if he wears any armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavier load.

Trapfinding (Ex): At 1st level, a ninja is able to use Search to find traps with a DC 20 or higher. The DC to find a magic trap is 25 + spell’s level. The ninja can also use the Disable Device skill to disarm traps.

Ghost Step (Su): At 2nd level, by using his inner ki, the ninja can fade from sight for a brief time.

The ninja can become invisible for 1 round by expending one daily use of his ki power. Using this ability is a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

The Path I Walk: Starting at 3rd level, and every three levels after, the ninja can select an ability from a list of supernatural and extraordinary abilities. The ninja selects an (Ex) ability at 3rd level.

Extraordinary (Ex) Abilities

Armor-Ki Synergy: The ninja retains the use of all class features in armor and is able to apply his "ki" to his DC until level 7 as long as it does not incur an armor check penalty greater than 0 (before or after being made masterwork). The ninja still loses the noted class features if he wears any armor that has an armor check penalty greater than 0, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavier load.

Great Leap: The ninja can make all Jump checks as if he already had a running start and the Run Feat, effectively gaining a +4 bonus to his jumps.

Improved Evasion: If the ninja makes a Reflex save against an attack that would deal half damage, he still takes no damage. However, if the save fails, he takes only half damage. The ninja cannot use improved evasion if he wears any armor, carries a shield, or carries more than a light load. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

The ninja must have the evasion class feature and three path I walk abilities in order to take improved evasion.

Instinct: The ninja’s instincts and his sixth sense share a stronger connection. The ninja can now apply his Wisdom bonus (if any) to initiative, as long as he is unarmored and unencumbered.

Shunshin (Body Flicker): The ninja learns to move more effectively, becoming able to move his body more quickly due to greater leg strength.

The ninja’s base land speed increases by 10 feet. This speed bonus is lost if the ninja wears any armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavier load.

The ninja can take this ability up to two times. Each time, his speed increases by 10 feet.

The ninja must have Dex 15 in order to take shunshin.

Speed Climb: A ninja can climb up walls at his base land speed as a move action. This ability requires one free hand, and the ninja must begin and end the climb on a horizontal surface.

Bonus Feat: The ninja can select a bonus feat instead of one of these abilities.

The ninja cannot select a bonus feat unless he has two (Ex) path I walk abilities.

Evasion (Ex): Starting at 4th level, when a ninja succeeds on a Reflex save that would deal 1/2 damage (such as a fireball spell), he takes no damage instead, so long as he wears no armor, carries no shield, and does not carry more than a light load. A helpless ninja does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Poison Use (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, the ninja becomes proficient at applying poison to his weapons.

The ninja never risks injuring himself while applying poison to a weapon.

Ki Dodge (Su): At 6th level, the ninja's body starts to blur and haze, as if his enemies are seeing a mirage.

The ninja can expend one use of his ki power to gain concealment (20% miss chance) for 1 round. The concealment given by ki dodge (and greater ki dodge) cannot be used to make Hide checks. Using ki dodge is a immediate action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Ghost strike (Ex): Beginning at 8th level a ninja can use his stealthy strike in synergy with ghost step; this does not require the ninja to hide while using stealthy strike. This expends one of the ninjas daily ki uses.

Improved Poison Use (Ex): When the ninja reaches 10th level, he can use poison with near inhuman quickness.

The ninja can apply poison to a weapon as a move action (instead of as a standard action).

Hundred Faces (Su): Beginning at 14th level, the ninja may expend one use of his ki power to transform himself as if under the effect of a disguise self spell for 1 minute. Using hundred faces counts as a swift action that does provoke an attack of opportunity.

Meditation (Ex): Beginning at 16th level, the ninja uses the comforts and blessings of meditation to bring greater clarity and focus.

Once per day, the ninja can spend 1 minute in a meditative state. If he does, he regains a number of uses of his ki power equal to one-half his Wisdom bonus (min 1). This ability cannot be used to increase the maximum number of uses the ninja can have.

Ghost Walk (Su): When the ninja reaches 20th level, his control over his ki becomes more refined, allowing him to remain ethereal for extended periods.

By expending two uses of his ki power, the ninja becomes ethereal, as if under the effect of the ethereal jaunt spell. The ninja's caster level is equal to his class level. Using ghost walk is considered a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.


The ninja may freely multiclass into the Fighter, ranger, rogue, and scout classes. If he takes levels in a different class, he can no longer take any levels in the ninja class, but he retains all class features he has gained.

Epic Ninja[edit]

Table: The Epic Ninja

Hit Die: d6

Level Special AC
Ki Bonus
21st Stealthy strike +11d6 +4 +4
22nd Bonus feat +4 +4
23rd Stealthy strike +12d6 +4 +4
24th +4 +5
25th Stealthy strike +13d6 +5 +5
26th Bonus feat +5 +5
27th Stealthy strike +14d6 +5 +5
28th +5 +5
29th Stealthy strike +15d6 +5 +5
30th Bonus feat, ghost sense +6 +5

8 + Int modifier skill points per level.

AC Bonus (Ex): The epic ninja continues to gain a +1 bonus to AC every 5 levels above 20th.

Will Save Bonus (Su): The epic ninja gets a +5 bonus to Will saves, as long as he has one use of ki remaining, every 8 levels after 16th.

Stealthy Strike (Ex): The epic ninja's stealthy strike increases by +1d6 at every odd-numbered level.

The Path I Walk: The ninja does not recieve additional path I walk abilities after 20th level.

Ghost Sense (Ex): When the epic ninja reaches 30th level, his sixth sense achieves a point unimagined. He is able to truly see danger before it occurs, obtaining an almost supernatural clarity of his surroundings.

The ninja is always considered to be under the effect of the foresight spell, so long as he is unarmored and unencumbered.

Bonus Feats: The epic ninja gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic ninja bonus feats) at 22nd level and every 4 levels after.

Epic Ninja Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Distant Shot, Epic Reflexes, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Will, Extended Life Span, Great Dexterity, Great Wisdom, Improved Stealthy Strike, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Self-Concealment, Sneak Attack of Opportunity

Ninja Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Poison Dagger (1d6, crit 18-20/x2, 2 lbs, light, piercing)

10 Shuriken (1d2, crit x2, range inc. 10 ft., 1 lb., piercing)

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 9 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Balance 4 Dex +0
Climb 4 Str +0
Diable Device 4 Int
Escape Artist 4 Dex +0
Hide 4 Dex +0
Jump 4 Str +0
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex +0
Open Lock 4 Dex
Search 4 Int
Spot 4 Wis
Tumble 4 Dex +0

Feat: Combat Expertise

Bonus Feat: Combat Reflexes

Gear: Waterskin, pouch belt with thieves' tools, flint and steel, and trail rations.

Gold: 2d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Ninja[edit]

Religion and Class Structure: Ninja are a secretive people, so it is uncertain just what gods they worship. Rumors from centuries ago whispered of a goddess who actually gave birth to the first shadow. Another told of a cloaked figure who wore an outfit that was dyed in the blood of his enemies. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, as no one has seen a ninja in decades, let alone a ninja worship.

Most ninja operate in clans, but there have been historical instances of lone ninja, trained by elders and retired shadow warriors, being part of ninja legend. Such ninja are uncommon, but not overly rare. Such ninja do not have knowledge to the ninja’s alleged secret gods, but lone ninja, if they do have a patron deity, tend to worship Olidammara.

Other Classes: Being secretive, ninjas have difficulty dealing with other classes, seeing as how they need to keep their secrets secret. However, lone or unaffiliated ninja tend to form minor relations with monks and clerics, and sometimes rangers and rogues. They tend to avoid paladins because of their contrasting natures, and they try staying away from barbarians, viewing them as fools who think two steps behind.

Combat: The ninja's role in the party varies from situation to situation. In combat, they function primarily as mystical strikers, using their amazing powers of stealth and subtlety to make an opportune strike against a foe. Their hefty skill points also allow them to fulfill the rogue's role as a skill-monkey very effectively, even though the ninja has a slightly smaller skill list. The ninja can also function as a mysterious wild card if the occassion calls for it.

Advancement: Most ninja have families that have lived as part of a clan for several generations. Some of these ninja will often feel a strong sense of duty, believing the precepts of the clan override any personal objective. Of course, not every ninja was born into a clan. Some in fact, were born in poverty, finding a clan through fate, though some may say sheer coincidence. Others still were taught by those who fled their clan, earning the eternal ire of anyone these missing ninja have trained.

Ninjas in the World[edit]

If you want family, find your parents. If you want love, get married and have children. If you want friendship, find a bum lying in the street and confide in him. If you want forgiveness, find a priest and confess your sins. If you want warmth and comfort, grab a blanket and sit by the fire. We cannot offer you such things. However, if you need a reason, a way, then follow us, and we will show you one.
—Unknown Ninja

The ninja is a class that can fit in many worlds. Their eastern origins and exotic flavor make them appealing to anyone who likes the mysteries of the Orient. In fact, it is possible to apply the ninja to the many medieval realms via the use of cultural diffusion. Remember: Nothing is impossible, especially for a ninja.

Daily Life: The life of a ninja can be quite diverse. Though most are devoted to their clan, they are not with their fellow clansman very often. Usually, they will roam the shadows, blending into the environments of the areas they must become a part of. Their missions force them to adapt, improvise, and blend. Any time a ninja is not off on a mission, they likely spend their time in meditation or training, using the time to strengthen their minds and bodies. Ninja who are not affiliated with a clan sometimes work as hidden mercenaries or bodyguards, becoming a valuable asset for a noble fearing for his life. For them, having their own knife in the dark means the other blades will quickly drop.

Notables: One of the most famous ninja was a rat-man originally born with no name. Born in Telflamm without a name to call his own, the rat-man slept in the streets, abandoned by the parents he would never know.

When he was in his teens, he met Ulysses Farlon, who trained the young rat-man in guerilla warfare. In time, he served under Ulysses as a military scout. When his officer was killed, the nameless rat-man was discharged. He eventually took ship to the eastern realms of Kara-Tur, hoping to make a new life.

In time, the nameless rat-man caught the attention of the Kuroyaiba ninja clan, a small clan devoted to the destruction of the Nine Golden Swords. Viewing a potential ally against the evil yakuza, the clan took in the rat-man. Training him in the ways of mystical silence, the nameless one became a strong ninja in his own right. Combined with his tactical abilities from his scouting days, the rat-man ninja became a bane of the Golden Swords, destroying shipments, slaying family members, and sabotaging the yakuza's various operations. During his days with the clan, the rat-man was taught the value of life, being taught never to kill unless necessary. In time, he was finally given a name: Nezumi Tatsujin, meaning "rat master".

After ten years of service to the clan, a rugged and hardened Nezumi learned of the Nine Golden Swords' operation to extend their influence in Faerun. Seeing Telflamm as the easiest place to strike from, Nezumi departed the clan with their blessing. Returning to the city he grew up, he saw the eastern influences of Kara-Tur had blended into many areas of Telflamm. Setting up a small base of operations, Nezumi took up a secret crusade to destroy the Golden Swords from within. However, the actual exploits of Nezumi are unknown as various guilds and groups have taken credit for many anti-yakuza attacks.

Organizations: The Kuroyaiba and Akaryu ninja clans have been sworn enemies for over 200 years, but the Kuroyaiba are the younger (and smaller) clan.

It all began when the Kuroyaiba, originally a band of courageous samurai, were defeated by the yakuza. After learning the location of their secret locations, the samurai, disguised as Akaryu ninja, infiltrated the Akaryu clan's temple in the mountains of Kozakura and stole the clan's Scroll of Secrets. Within the Scroll contained the skills and mystical powers the Akaryu obtained over several generations. Using the scroll as a baseline, the samurai eventually instilled in their children the power of surprise and subtlety. Eventually, the Kuroyaiba became like the Akaryu in all ways but one: Where the Akaryu served the Nine Golden Swords and killed all who got in their way, the Kuroyaiba clan opposed them and killed those who would slay the innocent.

Now, the clans still wage their secret war in Kozakura. Since few in the region are willing to stand against the Nine Golden Swords, the Kuroyaiba clan has far fewer members than the Akaryu. Nevertheless, the Kuroyaiba continues to fight to see the end of the yakuza, and 200 years of combat has not wavered their courage or convictions.

NPC Reactions: The perceptions people have of the ninja have normally come from storytellers, soldiers, and scholars, and these perceptions are often less than educated. These people usually view the ninja as silent cutthroats, willing to kill for money and power. In reality, the ninja are far more complicated.

Though some of them have this attitude, many ninja are also scouts and bodyguards. Some others work as thieves and saboteurs for military organizations. Others still will protect the innocent. Unfortunately, these truths do not ease the tension and hesitation people have about the ninja, so most will approach them with caution.

Ninja Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research the ninja to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (history)
DC Result
10 The ninja are a silent lot, believed to be ruthless assassins and thieves.
15 The ninja are a group of exotic origin, said to have mysterious powers of stealth.
20 Ninja harness the power of their inner spirits, becoming able to disappear completely.
30 Any PC who succeeds on this check can learn info about a specific ninja clan.

Ninja in the Game[edit]

The ninja can fulfill the role of a rogue well, but they do it differently. While the rogue uses extraordinary skill, the ninja use supernatural abilities to fight their enemy. Nevertheless, the ninja still fight in much the same way as the rogue, waiting for the best moment to strike down an enemy. Despite a shorter list of skills, the ninja are still a versatile and flexible group with a variety of useful abilities.

Adaptation: The easiest substitute for the ninja is, of course, the rogue. Since their sneak attack does more damage overall than the ninja's stealthy strike, so they can do the ninja's job well. Taking out the rogue special abilities and putting in the path I walk abilites that don't rely on ki power can make a good substitute to the ninja. Additionally, a beguiler with a medium base attack bonus works fairly well, too.

Sample Encounter: Even though they are not the hardiest combatants one would meet, the ninja are still a group that requires caution. Their knack for causing confusion and disruption, combined with their mystical abilities, make them formidible enemies. The element of surprise is a powerful weapon, one the ninja can use with deadly effect, whether it be to kill a target, steal a valuable diamond, or guard a just lord from the blackness of the dark.

EL 6: The ninja named Talon Galron was recently promoted to full membership status within the Koumori ninja clan. After years of taking small missions, Talon now works primarily in the outside world, protecting the interests of the clan he has devoted his life to.


CR 6

Male human ninja 6
LN Medium humanoid
Init/Senses +4/Listen +8, Spot +8
Languages Common, Sylvan
AC 22, touch 18, flat-footed 18
(+1 armor, +4 Dex, +6 Wis, +1 ninja)
hp 37 (6 HD)
Resist evasion
Fort/Ref/Will +4/+9/+6 (+7 when ki pool isn't empty)
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 ninja-to +9 (1d6+1/19–20) or
Melee mwk dagger +9 (1d4/19–20)
Ranged shuriken +8 (1d2/×2)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+1/+8
Atk Options stealthy strike +3d6
Combat Gear 2 potions of cure moderate wounds
Abilities Str 10, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 11
SQ ghost mind, ghost step, ki dodge, ki power, poison use, speed climb, trapfinding
Feats Combat Reflexes, Expanded Ki Pool, Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse
Skills Balance +10, Climb +6, Disable Device +10, Escape Artist +9, Hide +13, Jump +5, Listen +8, Move Silently +13, Open Lock +13, Search +8, Spot +8, Tumble +13
Possessions combat gear plus +1 ninja-to, 10 shuriken, ring of sustenance, goggles of night, masterwork dagger, masterwork thieves' tools

Talon had the following ability scores before ability score increases: Str 15, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 14.

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