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Thread: ToB Ninja, stereotypes and all!
Friday, 30th May, 2008, 06:13 AM #1
ToB Ninja, stereotypes and all!
(Basic intro texts to come later)
Ninja of the Sublime Way
Hit Die: d6
Saves: Good Reflex, Poor Fortitude and Will
Skills: 6+ int mod (x4 at first level)
List: Balance, Bluff, Climb, Disguise, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local; nobility and royalty), Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Open Locks, Profession, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Swim, Tumble
Proficiencies: No armor or shields, Simple weapons, sai, shortsword (Ninja-to), siangham, shortbow, kama, nunchaku, shuriken, and hand crossbow.
Disciplines: Desert Wind, Shadow Hand, Setting Sun, Tiger Claw
Recovery: Run or Withdraw action recovers all readied maneuvers
Maneuver swapping: At levels 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc...
Ninja Class Features by level:
Quick to Act: The Ninja recieves a bonus on his initiative checks.
Shadow Hand Focus: As a Swordsage's Discipline Focus, the Ninja instead gains these features solely for the Shadow Hand discipline, with new abilities entirely at levels 12 and 16.
AC Bonus: Ninja's receive a bonus to armor class as a monk of their level (See Monk). Monk level stack with Ninja levels for determining the level bonus to AC.
Acrobatics (Ex): Add wisdom bonus to Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble checks. This only functions while unarmored and unencumbered.
Improved Unarmed Strike: The Ninja gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.
Speed Burst (Su): Initiated as a swift action, this boosts the Ninja's speed by the listed amount until the start of his next turn. Can only be used unarmored and unencumbered.
Sudden Strike: As Sneak Attack, with the following exceptions. Flanking does not allow a Ninja of the Sublime Way to use Sudden Strike. Concealment less than total concealment does not prevent a Ninja of the Sublime Way from using Sudden Strike.
Uncanny Dodge: As the Rogue class feature.
Poison Use: A Ninja of this level no longer risks poisoning himself when applying it to his weapon.
Eternal Calm: The Ninja is always focused, never distracted. He may always choose to take ten on Hide and Move Silently checks.
Ninjutsu Focus: Choose one of the following.
∙Crippling Strike (Ex): As the Rogue Special Ability
∙Defensive Roll (Ex): As the Rogue Special Ability
∙Opportunist (Ex): As the Rogue Special Ability
∙Hide in Plain Sight (Su): As the Shadowdancer class feature
∙Death Attack (Ex): You gain a Death Attack, as the Assassin class feature, except that it can be used at any range you could make a Sudden Strike, and the save DC is equal to 10 +1/2 Ninja level +Wisdom modifier. In addition, whenever you attack with a poisoned weapon, the poison’s save DC increases by 2.
∙Harbinger of Death (Ex): Whenever you drop a foe with Sudden Strike (reducing her to negative hit points or destroying her), all other foes within 30 ft must make a Will save, DC 10 + ½ Ninja level +Wisdom modifier, or become frightened for one round per Ninja level. Those that make the save instead become shaken.
∙Harbinger of Death (Ex): Whenever you drop a foe with Sudden Strike (reducing her to negative hit points or destroying her), all other foes within 30 ft must make a Will save, DC 10 + ½ Ninja level +Wisdom modifier. Creatures with HD equal to or less than the felled target become frightened on a failed save, shaken on a successful save, for one round per Ninja level in either case. Creatures with greater HD than the one you have slain must save or become shaken for one round per Ninja level, with no ill effect on a success.
Find Pressure Point (Ex): You gain a 25% chance of dealing Sudden Strike damage to creatures immune to it (by any means), and reduce any chance the target has of ignoring your SS damage by -25%. Note: You can take the feat Improved Pressure Point up to 3 times. Each time it is taken, these percentages increase/decrease by 25%.
∙Running Climb (Ex): Move up a wall as a move action at your full speed. If you do not reach a horizontal surface to stand on after this movement, you immediately fall, unless you catch yourself with the Climb skill. Falling in this way, you may not “jump off” to reduce falling damage, though you may tumble upon landing. One creative use for this could be to set up a falling attack for more damage, at great personal risk.
∙Sniper’s Eye (Ex): You are so well trained in ranged assassination, “point blank” range is now considered 100 ft for you, modifying the range limit on that feat and any precision-based attack you know. If you succeed in your Hide check after a sniping attempt, you may shift your position up to 5 ft per 5 points your Hide check exceeds 10, up to a maximum of your speed.
∙Springing Attack (Ex): You gain the benefits of the Spring Attack feat. If you already possess (or later obtain) that feat, you instead gain the ability to take any standard action between your movement. Thus, you could move up, use a standard action strike maneuver, then retreat away, for example.
∙Untraceable (Su): You are nigh impossible to track down by even the most exotic of methods. Add your Ninja level to the DC for any creature attempting to track you, and if you move at half speed, you can take the time to leave no tracks at all. Against any creature with the Scent ability that would smell your precense, you can make a Hide check at -5 opposed by that creature's Spot check. Against a creature with Tremorsense, you can attempt a Move Silently check at -5 opposed by that creature's Listen check to avoid being detected when you normally would be.
Lethal Cut (Ex): Add your wisdom bonus to attack and damage whenever you make a Sudden Strike attack. The wisdom bonus to damage stacks with that from Insightful Strikes if doing a SH strike maneuver.
Nondetection (Su): You are constantly under a Nondetection effect, as the spell. This can be suppressed or resumed at will as a free action. Caster level is equal to your Ninja level, and since you are considered to have “cast” it on yourself, caster level check DC to pierce it is DC 15 + your Ninja level.
Silencing Strike (Su): Anyone hit by your Sudden Strike must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 Ninja level + Wisdom mod) or become Silenced for the next 1d4 rounds.
Stealth Dash (Su): Whenever you initiate your speed burst, you gain partial concealment (20%) for one round, and if you gain partial concealment from another source (Child of Shadow stance, fog, etc...), it stacks with this to give full concealment (50%) while both are active. If you move after initiating the speed burst, you may make a free hide check at the end of the movement, as part of the move action, provided you are in an area you could normally hide in. Finally, 3/day, you may use stealth dash to also grant you an effect similar to Mislead (caster level = ninja level). The greater invisiibility and the major image both last for one round, instead of the normal durations. This is initiated as a free action as part of stealth dash. It is considered a 9th level spell-like ability.
Last edited by StreamOfTheSky; Friday, 12th August, 2011 at 05:40 PM.
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Friday, 30th May, 2008, 06:17 AM #2
ASK A NINJA (Questions and Answers)
Warning: The following contains several references, will not be as funny if you do not understand them.
Friday, 30th May, 2008, 06:20 AM #3
Ok, so I think this class is basically done, I had a bunch of friends to help me create this. In fact, let me thank Jovi and Adam for their contributions. Any critiques? Ideas for more Ninjutsu focus choices? Any response would be appreciated.
Saturday, 7th June, 2008, 04:01 AM #4
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
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Hmph. They're a bit too powerful for sure, and have some errors/missing bits.
Why for don't ninja have Bluff as a class skill? That's like a rogue not knowing how to Hide, or a barbarian not knowing how to Intimidate.
The recovery mechanic is too good, despite their slightly fewer maneuvers readied than a swordsage. At least make it require a Swift action after the withdraw or run action.
Desert Wind doesn't make any sense for the ninja, it's too flashy and bursts of flames are generally a good way to get yourself noticed by every frickin' opponent in the area while you're out ninja-ing at night. Also, it steps on the Swordsage's toes, since you gave these ninja all of the Swordsage's exclusive disciplines and most of their other exclusive abilities. Why not give them Devoted Spirit and Iron Heart while you're at it? -_- Really, I just think Desert Wind should be removed from their discipline list.
Speed Burst has no limits. Apparently it can be used every round. So the ninja's speed is essentially always boosted outside of combat, and most rounds during combat except those in which he initiates Cloak of Deception, Shadow Blink, or changes stances. Ergo, Stealth Dash at 20th-level will also always be active, pretty much.
Silencing Strike is way too brutal against arcane spellcasters. While a cleric or druid might be able to resist it, what's the wizard or sorcerer or bard or whatnot supposed to do? Be completely neutralized and helpless even if he or she survives the damage?
I'm not sure if Harbinger of Death is too much or not, but it seems like it might be since there's no way to avoid some degree of fear for 1-2 minutes each time.
Find Pressure Point is absurd. How do you strike a pressure point on a golem, a wraith, or a fire elemental? I could understand if it was just effective for overcoming stuff like armor of Fortification or that one Stone Dragon stance I forget the name of, but come on. You simply CANNOT critical hit something that has no organs or no vital parts.
Saturday, 7th June, 2008, 05:16 AM #5
Thanks for responding!
For comparison sake, the Ninja is worse than Swordsage in the following: HD, saves, class disciplines, maneuvers known/readied, stances, armor proficiencies, weapon proficiencies, Discipline Focus (no choice of discpline), no evasion or improved evasion (maay add as Ninjutsu focus choices). some class features are straight swaps, like Sense Magic roughly = Poison Use. The Ninja's class features are obviously going to be significantly above the swordsage's, given all these detractions. And since every Swordsage grabs Adaptive Style anyway, the maneuver recovery difference isn't a major one to me.
Saturday, 7th June, 2008, 09:06 PM #6
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
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Not to mention that Bluff is for feinting in combat, and ninjas did tricks like that all the frickin' time. Half of their weapons were made to be whipped out in a moment as surprise attacks, catching samurai/yojimbo off-guard. Gather Information? Pah. Ninjas gather their info by being sneaky bastages and spying on people.
They get about half as many known, but slightly more than half as many per day, and they still recover about 3-7 times as many maneuvers in one action than a Swordsage does. And they get to move around while they do it, whereas the Swordsage has to stay parked in one spot (maybe shuffle 5 feet in one direction) while recovering maneuvers, as the enemies move around or continue to full-attack his bum arse.It's worse than slightly fewer, I gave them Warblade maneuver and stance progression (with second stance acquisition level "fixed"), which means exactly HALF the maneuvers a Swordsage gets. And I find their recovery as unforgiving as any of the adepts except Swordsages. Warblades get to do any attack action they want + swift for all; Crusaders spend no actions and get it all back. The running requirement at least means they're removing themselves from combat for a round. And with Adaptive Style as an option (one round, no swift action, get all maneuvers back AND swap readied if you like), it didn't seem like a big deal.
Warblades and Crusaders get too generous a recovery mechanic, yes. But Crusaders have randomized maneuver granting and a very narrow selection of maneuvers, while Warblades still have to expend a Swift action to recover maneuvers. The ninja just repositions himself and gets the benefit of super-speed or other such things at the same time, or could initiate a counter on the previous round without problem (a swordsage could as well, but the swordsage has a slow-arse recovery).
As it is, the ninja has almost no use for Adaptive Style, like the Warblade and Crusader who have little use for it. Sure, it'd be helpful on rare occasions, but they don't know very many maneuvers beyond the ones they got readied.
Diamond Mind and Iron Heart are also about speed to some extent; especially DM. Sure, DW is ever so slightly more speed-oriented, with one or two more maneuvers related to it in some way. That doesn't mean it's totally appropriate for a ninja. If they want to kill stuff faster, that's what Shadow Hand and Tiger Claw and Sudden Strike stuff is for, without all the flashy "I'm RIGHT HERE, freakin' ninja assassin RIGHT HERE, everyone! I'm in ur castle killin ur lord!" Desert Wind stuff.Desert Wind is also the discipline of speediness and acrobatics. Many of its maneuvers fit well with a Ninja, and while fire may be bad for sneaking, it helps to eliminate foes quickly, and perhaps start a fire to distract people as you make your getaway at the other end of the castle. The swordsage may have no exclusive disciplines with Ninja around, but it's still the unparalled master of maneuvers, no one comes close to the amount they get. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad if there were other classes also overlapping with the standard adepts? In my houserules, I improved the Fighter, and made two variants. All get SD, IH, and SS, as I consider those the most fundamental styles, but from there, the standard Fighter and two variant "kits" -- Gladiator and Court Champion -- each sort of resemble the three ToB classes.
If the ninja wants a few of the speedy-not-flashy DW maneuvers, he/she can take Martial Study like everyone else. Though there's not much to take. Flashing Sun, Desert Tempest or whatever, and something else to meet the prerequisites for those first, I guess.
The ninja's Speed Burst is also always-active for nearly all intents and purposes. And it isn't much of a burst if it's constant. It helps them maneuver in combat to reach better positions or chase down mounted targets. I'm just saying that I don't think they really need to be super marathon runners in addition to great sprinters. Considering that they're a bit overpowered as-is.Exactly! Ninjas were great free runners and messengers, and they can basically tear up the dirt roads out of combat. In combat, they switch between lightning-fast striker, darting in and out of the shadows, and occasionally boosting themselves to bring a more focused assault. As for balance, it's not until level 5 that it surpasses the monk's (always active) speed, which ties at level 6 again, and even by level 20, is only +30 ft better. Yes, the Ninja can run really fast, but how does that make them more deadly, exactly? Of course, it makes maneuvers like Ring of Fire, Desert Tempest, and Tornado Throw better, but that kind of synergy was intended. As for Stealth Dash, it's a level 20 capstone power, by then many foes will likely have ways to offset its benefits. It may be stronger than Stance Mastery or Dual Boost, but this class's basic framework (HD, saves, BAB, maneuvers, etc...) is weaker than those class's, too. It's just a reward for sticking with the class.
Stealth Dash is far better than Dual Boost (the Swordsage is the closest martial adept to the ninja, so it's really the only one it should be closely compared to) and even moreso with the fact that Speed Burst is effectively constant (the occasional round of changing stances or using a boost/counter still leaves it active on most rounds). And how would anyone negate it? True Seeing sees through Blur and Displacement, not Stealth Dash. SD would have to say that it counts as a Displacement effect in order for True Seeing or similar abilities to get around it.
Oh? Does every caster have a plethora of weaker spells prepared in their slots with Silent Spell on the off chance someone hits them with a Silence, when he/she would probably be expecting either a Ring of Counterspelling or the party's cleric with one Stilled Dispel Magic to take care of it? You're not really specific about how this Silence effect works. So I dunno if dispelling or suchlike would take it out. Metamagic rods aren't something I'd generally allow, not at the prices and abilities they have in the books, but then some DMs just allow anything ever printed without even considering how broken it might be.It's...a level 19 ability... Any caster should have ways to deal with silence by then, else they'd have not made it so far. Silent Spell is a +1 adjustment and a cheap rod. Bards...well, they can still play instuments.
Still, yes, many casters will have some way of getting around Silence, but much of it depends on how your Silence effect works, like whether or not it just duplicates the spell effect.
Yeah, it does stack well with itself and other fear effects, and there's no way to avoid it unless the creatures are completely immune to it. Player Characters and NPCs usually won't be, nor are most monsters. Sure, undead and constructs are, but the majority of enemies that most PCs face are living creatures. Fountain of Blood is a lot suckier and requires using a maneuver known/ready and then recovering it before re-use.I thought it might be too much, too, but my friend actually said it was fien and that it should have shaken even on a success. One thing to keep in mind is that a level 4 TC boost, Fountain of Blood, lets youdo basically this same thing as a swift action after downing an enemy with any attack, except it lasts a minute and leaves them shaken (no effect on a save). I'm definitely not settled on this one being balanced, though. On the one hand, casters can do much worse by this level and alot of enemies will be fear immune, on the other...it stacks very well with itself.
So - ninja appears and kills two or three of the party's horses or followers or something with a full-attack or a maneuver, and the entire party of PCs or NPCs is panicked and helpless for a few minutes, easy pickings, regardless of saving throws or spell resistance.
Sudden Strikes and Sneak Attacks are roughly synonymous with critical hits. Anything immune to one is generally immune to the other, because they rely on roughly the same thing, one based on luck and the other on skill at hitting vitals.Yup, you sure can't crit those things. Find Pressure Point doesn't let you do that, just Sudden Strike them. Now, I've never understood how you can deal precision damage to incorporeal things w/o a ghost touch weapon, but that hasn't stopped WotC from printing a multitude of class feature variants, feats, and spells to do just that. Corporeal creatures make more sense. There are Rogue class features to deal half SA dice to undead ("Death's Ruin"?), a feat to let a Ranger/Scout skirmish favored enemies, even if immune to crits (Swift Hunter), spells to SA anything (Vinestrike, Gravestrike, the...construct one whose name I forgot), and so on. It may upset your sensibilities, but there is fairly strong precedent to allow for ways to tell SA-immune creatures to shut up and sit down.
Spells and magic are one thing, blade magic is another. Arcane or divine magic manipulates reality and does all kinds of stuff, changing the nature of things even. But you don't see any maneuvers that change a martial adept's body or grant him a monster's special powers or whatnot. Spells might make a weapon more potent against a particular kind of foe, but blade magic doesn't really make much sense for copying that. Blade magic is much more personal and subtle.
And anyway, just cuz WotC makes all kinds of junk that doesn't make sense doesn't make it a good idea to make even more junk that doesn't make sense. Like the Frenzied Berserker and other stuff that one goofball or another at WotC thought was a good idea but really wasn't.
Actually, you gave them Evasion. Look at your level advancement table. And not every Swordsage grabs Adaptive Style, at least not early on necessarily. I've played and seen played a handful of swordsages that didn't bother with that feat, and only one that did take it. It's not really necessary unless they get into a lot of long fights or make really inefficient use of their maneuvers and maneuver slots. Or go for the Master of Nine prestige class, but then, that requires a significant investment in feats that doesn't really fit every Swordsage's style.For comparison sake, the Ninja is worse than Swordsage in the following: HD, saves, class disciplines, maneuvers known/readied, stances, armor proficiencies, weapon proficiencies, Discipline Focus (no choice of discpline), no evasion or improved evasion (maay add as Ninjutsu focus choices). some class features are straight swaps, like Sense Magic roughly = Poison Use. The Ninja's class features are obviously going to be significantly above the swordsage's, given all these detractions. And since every Swordsage grabs Adaptive Style anyway, the maneuver recovery difference isn't a major one to me.
The class features you added are more than just compensating for the slightly inferior HD and Will save (especially since they still rely on Wisdom, so their Will save isn't likely to suck). And the somewhat narrower disciplines. I'm not saying they're terribly overpowered like that, but they do seem to get too many benefits for too few minor drawbacks compared to a Swordsage.
Sunday, 8th June, 2008, 01:16 AM #7
Blistering Flourish: D&D equivalent of a flashbang, only weaker. Create a bright flash, run away while foes cover their eyes.
Desert Tempest: The most "Ninja" move in the whole book! Run around, tumbling like mad, slashing at each enemy as they overstep trying to attack you.
Rising Pheonix: This lets the Ninja run over water, a staple of anime portrayals.
Leaping Flame: Pretty simple, Ninja mystically vanishes from where you see him to behind you, and finishes you with surprise attack.
Searing Charge: What? You think the Ninjas in the movies actually leapt up that high to attack someone with a jump check?!
Wind Stride: Its what lets a Ninja be speedy before the class feature kicks in.
Zephyr Dance: The Ninja dodges an attack that you could've sworn was going to hit. Does this one really need an explanation?
So...that's quite a bit right there, even if you don't want to go for a "magical" Ninja, methinks.
Maybe it's personal taste, but I don't like forcing noncasters to play by the rules of realityjust because they don't use "magic." Even simple high level Fighters break reality all the time. Their jump checks would smash Olympic records. The fact that they can reliably cut past the hides of elder dragons and other beasts, whose scales are often much more protection than what full plate offers...how are these not reality-bending and "magical" in their own right? And since you can't get Find Pressure Point until level 11+, yes, using a high level Fighter as a cross example is fair game.
From just looking at it on paper, it looks unquestionably weaker at the early levels, and all the potential problems come in later. Which I might even find acceptable, since a) the majority of game time is spent in the single digit levels and b) even if they were twice as strong at the upper levels, Clerics, Druids, Wizards, Sorcerers, etc... are still miles upon miles ahead of them and all other noncasters by then anyway.
Thanks for the feedback.
Sunday, 22nd June, 2008, 02:05 PM #8
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
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I agree that not giving a ninja bluff is a major oversight. It's like a rogue not having search, open lock, and disable device.
Sunday, 22nd June, 2008, 03:12 PM #9
Very well, adding Bluff, then. Also, my friend pointed out that I don't have to worry about Harbinger of Death so much. It should fall under the stacking rules, so that a person can't be under the affect of the same Ninja's ability more than once at a time.
Sunday, 22nd June, 2008, 10:44 PM #10
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
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There is no stacking rule for extraordinary ability effects. Only for spell effects. Fear effects normally stack to make a creature more fearful. There is no rule limiting multiple uses of an extraordinary ability on a creature. Only multiple castings of a spell.