The Ninja Class


Player character options and their spells

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Post Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:54 pm

The Ninja Class

As promised, my version of the ninja class. Interested in hearing any input! UPDATED 5/7

Notes:
I gave the Ninja a lower backstab damage than the thief, in order to allow the thief to maintain an advantage there.
I replaced several thief abilities (pick pockets, reading ciphers, using magical scrolls and finding secret doors) and also altered the chance of success for some to maintain a balance between the two classes.
Ninja require slightly elevated XP, but have a slight advantage in HD.

THE NINJA
Ninja are the spies, saboteurs and assassins of medieval Japan. They are traditionally organized into clans composed of one or more families who share a common lineage. Their secret arts are passed down within the clan from one generation to the next. In some cases the clan's loyalty lies with a particular daimyo, though many clans operate as mercenary organizations.


  Code:
========================================================================
                           Ninja Progression
========================================================================
          Experience             S a v i n g   T h r o w   V e r s u s
 Ninja     Points     Hit             Wands    Paralysis    Breath
 Level    Required   Dice     Poison   Rays  Petrification  Weapon   Spells
------------------------------------------------------------------------
   1             0    1+1       13      14         13         15      16
   2         1,750     2        12      14         12         14      15
   3         3,500    2+2       12      14         12         14      15
   4         7,000     3        11      11         11         13      14
   5        14,000    3+2       11      11         11         13      14
   6        28,000     4        10      11         10         12      13
   7        56,000     5        10      11         10         12      13
   8       110,000    5+2        9       8          9         11      12
   9       200,000     6         9       8          9         11      12
  10       300,000     7         8       8          8         10      11
  11       400,000    7+1        8       8          8         10      11
  12       360,000     8         7       5          7         9       10
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Ninja requires 200,000 experience points per level beyond the 12th.
A Ninja adds one hit die per two levels beyond the 10th.




The ninja’s prime requisites are Dexterity and Intelligence; having a score of 13 or better in each of these attributes allows for a bonus to experience. Her Wisdom score will adjust both of these abilities and experience adjustments are cumulative. Though ninja are sworn and dedicated to serving their clan, the nature of their work requires ninja to be Neutral in alignment.

Ninja may employ leather or chain armor, however wearing chain mail may incur penalties to several of the ninja’s abilities, as discussed below. Ninja cannot use shields but they may employ light helmets.

Ninja are trained in the use of clubs, daggers, darts, quarterstaffs, short bows and short swords. Additionally, they employ a number of new weapons - blowgun, darts, kama, katana, ko-katana, kusari-gama, kyoketsu-shoge, and manrikigusari. Ninja characters attack as clerics.

Like thieves, ninja are adept ambushers and gain bonus damage when attacking opponents from behind with surprise. The backstab attack is made with a +4 bonus “to hit.” At levels 1-3, ninja roll two dice for damage; at levels 4-6 they roll three dice, from levels 7-10 they roll four dice of damage, and at 11th level and above ninja roll five dice when backstabbing.

Ninja cultivate a number of unique skills through incessant training, rigorous esoteric practices, use of special equipment and kuji-kiri meditation. The success of these abilities is determined with the throw of a six-sided die and achieving the required result.
  • Ninja can open locks, find and dismantle traps, and detect faint noises with a result of 4-6. A ninja may not detect noises while wearing a helmet. Should the ninja fail to disarm a trap, it will instead be triggered as normal.
  • Ninja characters may hide, move silently and climb walls with a result of 3-6. When wearing chain armor the chance of success for these abilities is reduced to 5-6.
  • By dislocating their joints, contorting their bodies and using other techniques, ninja may escape bonds, slipping free with a result of 4-6. Escaping ordinary bonds requires 1-10 rounds to accomplish. The ninja may escape more extreme captivity, including the hold person spell, in 1-6 turns. The ninja is allowed only one attempt and the feat may not be attempted while wearing armor.
  • After observing the natural world for 1 turn, a ninja may attempt to intuit the weather for the next 24-hour period, achieving success with a result of 4-6.

As infiltrators and spies, ninja are trained in the manufacture and employment of disguises and can impersonate people of other classes and castes. The disguise is detected on a result of 1 on a six-sided die. The referee will check for detection each day the ninja is in disguise and may alter the chance of detection as he sees fit. A ninja may attempt to disguise herself as the opposite gender, but will be detected with a roll of 1-3.

Ninja clans each maintain a secret language that uses both code words and hand signals. These are passed down within individual clans and ninja of differing clans will not understand one another's secret language.

When traveling alone or with a group of ninja (and taking the proper precautions), ninja characters may achieve surprise on a throw of 3-6 on a six-sided die.

At 2nd level, ninja characters may hold their breath for twice as long as other characters.

Also at 2nd level, ninja begin learning the mysteries of yogen (ninja alchemy) which allows them to create special items not available to characters outside of the ninja clan. Each item requires a gold piece expenditure to acquire special ingredients and a certain amount of time must be spent for creation (see item descriptions). At 2nd level, the ninja learns to produce a healing poultice and cover scent; at 3rd level she is given the recipes for smoke powder, smoke bombs, blinding powder and blinding eggs; at 4th she learns to make flash powder and flash grenades; finally, upon achieving 6th level, the ninja learns to produce injected and powdered poisons. Any ninja caught selling these items (or revealing the recipes) to individuals outside of the clan will be executed.

Upon achieving the 3rd level of experience, ninja can see in normal darkness to a distance of 30 feet. Magical darkness negates this ability.

At 4th level, ninja gain the ability to feign death by dropping into a deep meditation that lowers their heart rate and slows their breathing. Upon even close inspection the ninja will appear to be dead, though magic may reveal otherwise. The ninja, however, retains consciousness of his surroundings and can maintain the death state for one hour per level of experience.

At 9th level, a ninja may be named jonin - leader of a ninja clan. In some cases, she may be named heir to take control after the present jonin dies; or the ninja may be sent with a retinue to establish a branch family of the clan in a new location. In some clans, it may be necessary to defeat the current jonin in single combat before assuming the position. There can be only one jonin in any clan.

NINJA CLANS
It must be noted that not all members of a clan are necessarily of the ninja class. The nature of their work requires a wide range of specialists; therefore members may be fighters, thieves, assassins, samurai, and even magic-users or clerics.

Ninja characters are sworn to life-long duty to the clan - it is impossible to leave the clan. Disobedience is dealt with harshly with the ultimate penalty being execution. Any ninja who flees his clans becomes nukenin (fugitive ninja) and is marked for death.

NINJA EQUIPMENT
The equipment listed below is only available to ninja characters and those within ninja clans. Each item has a level, cost and time expenditure attached, indicating the requirements for creating the item (the ninja’s level, the gold piece cost and the time expenditure). Any special ingredients noted are required to create the item in addition to the specified costs. The amount/number of doses produced is also specified. These items may be subject to destruction by hazards such as fire or water, as determined by the referee.

Blinding Egg: A hollowed chicken egg filled with one dose of blinding powder, sealed and lacquered. The egg allows blinding powder to be delivered at greater range and may be thrown (3”) or launched with a sling (5”). The ninja must make a successful attack roll against AC 3 to hit the target’s face. Effects are resolved as blinding powder. (Level: 3, Cost: 20 gp, Time: 1 day, Special Ingredients: 1 dose of blinding powder, Produced: 1 egg)

Blinding Powder: When thrown into an opponent’s face, this alchemical mixture adversely affects the eyes. The victim must be within 1” but no attack roll is necessary. The victim must make a successful save versus paralysis or suffer blindness for 1-4 turns. If the victim’s eyes are promptly flushed with water, vision will return in 2-8 rounds. Range is limited to 1”. (Level: 3, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 5-7 days, Produced: 3 doses)

Cover Scent: This concoction includes powdered peppers and other harsh ingredients. When a ninja sprinkles this on her trail scent-tracking animals will not follow her. (Level: 2, Cost: 30 gp, Time: 1 day, Produced: 3 doses)

Flash Grenade: A small ceramic ball filled with one dose of flash powder. When thrown against a hard surface within 3” it explodes with a bright flash and deafening crack. 3-8 man-types within 3” must save versus paralysis or be blinded for 1 turn. Victims must be facing the point of origin and the nearest individuals are always affected first. The ninja also receives an additional benefit – if she so chooses, she may immediately hide herself somewhere within 3” of her location, no amount of searching may reveal her location for 1-6 turns. (Level: 4, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 1 day, Special Ingredients: 1 dose of flash powder, Produced: 1 grenade)

Flash Powder: A mixture of saltpeter, sulfur and other strange chemicals. When the powder contacts fire or hot coals, it burns instantaneously and creates a bright flash. 3-8 man-types within 3” must save versus paralysis or be blinded for 5-10 rounds. Victims must be facing the point of origin and the nearest individuals are always affected first. (Level: 4, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 2 doses)

Healing Poultice: A sticky paste enriched with various herbs and ingredients. A character may benefit from the healing poultice only once per day. Upon application to a fresh wound, bleeding stops, pain subsides and the recipient is healed 1 hit point. (Level: 2, Cost: 60 gp, Time: 1 day, Produced: 3 doses)

Poison, Injected: These poisons might be the venom of poisonous creatures or are otherwise composed of poisonous herbs mixed into a liquid concoction. This type of poison is applied to bladed weapons, darts or arrows. One dose may coat one sword, two daggers or three darts, shuriken or arrows. The poison affects the first opponent struck by the weapon.
  • Death Poison (injected): Affected creature must save versus poison or die within 1-6 rounds. (Level: 6, Cost: 500 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 1 dose)
  • Paralysis Poison (injected): Affected creature must save versus poison or be paralyzed for 9 turns. (Level: 6, Cost: 200 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 1 dose)
  • Damaging Poison (injected): Those affected by this poison must save or feel their bodies racked by pain, as if their blood was afire. Victims who fail the save suffer an additional 2-12 points of damage. (Level: 6, Cost: 300 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 1 dose)

Poison, Powdered: These poisons are formed from dried ingredients and ground into fine powders. Ingested poisons must be mixed with food or drink, while inhaled poisons are delivered via blowgun. One dose may fill one blowgun or be administered to a single meal. If a particular poison may be either inhaled or ingested, the type must be chosen at the time of creation.
  • Sleep Poison (inhaled or ingested): Affects 2-8 creatures within 2” (or who ingest the poison) who are allowed a save versus poison to resist (heroic-types receive a +4 to the save). Victims who fail the save fall into a deep slumber for 3-18 turns and will not awaken to normal noises up to and including the sound of nearby combat. This poison only affects those creatures that normally sleep. (Level: 6, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 1 dose)
  • Sickness Poison (ingested): Affects 1-8 creatures who eat from the poisoned meal (or drink). Affected creatures must save versus poison or become violently ill, suffering from dizziness, vomiting and fever for 2-12 rounds. During this period they cannot attack or cast spells, move at ¼ speed and have their AC penalized by 2. (Level: 6, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 1 dose)

Smoke Bomb: A small ceramic ball filled with one dose of smoke powder. When thrown against a hard surface it explodes and the powder inside begins to burn, creating an impenetrable smoke that fills a 2” diameter area in one round. Otherwise, treat as smoke powder. (Level: 3, Cost: 50 gp, Time: 1 day, Special Ingredients: 1 dose of smoke powder, Produced: 1 bomb)

Smoke Powder: This mixture of slow-burning chemicals alights when contacting fire or hot coals and releases a thick smoke. The smoke can fill a 2” diameter area for each dose used, but the cloud expands at only 2” per round (up to the maximum). For instance, if two doses of smoke powder are thrown into a fire, the resulting smoke cloud will fill a 2” area one round later and a 4” area two rounds later, but will not expand further. The smoke lasts for 7-12 rounds, but may otherwise be dispersed with a light breeze. The cloud blocks vision from one side to the other and characters within the cloud have their range of sight reduced to 2 feet but have their AC improved by 2. (Level: 3, Cost: 100 gp, Time: 1 week, Produced: 2 doses)
Last edited by joseph on Thu May 07, 2015 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:13 am

Re: The Ninja Class

Another good job Joseph; a couple of observations...

I'm not certain that the XP/HD progression achieves the stated aim. I noticed right away that despite adding "one hit die per three levels beyond the 11th", the progression shows 8 HD at 12th, rather than the implied 7+2?

The Ninja starts out needing about 50% more XP than the thief to 3rd level, then 40% more by 8th level, 25% more by 9th, 10% more by 10th, and only about 5% for the long haul beyond 12th. However, with two PRs, the Ninja can actually earn 10% more XP than the thief can throughout so, in balance, the Ninja needs more XP than the thief up to 9th, then less XP than the thief thru the top end.

Also--due to the above--the Ninja's saving throws will improve somewhat more slowly than will the thief's thru to 9th level, but this may not be such a big deal.

An alternative approach might be to require M-U XP (or halfway between fighter and cleric) in order to earn the cleric's HD and attack matrix. Without actually calculating it out, I think this approach would position the Ninja slightly ahead of the thief (but still behind the cleric) in terms of HD and attack capability, but keep the Ninja slightly behind the thief in terms of level advancement for backstabbing and saving throws.

The special abilities are well considered, but my initial impression is that the class could use a little something extra to be compelling... perhaps something of the mythical/near-magical ninja or AD&D-monk-esque type abilities? These might be things like parrying missiles, improved parrying and/or counter-striking, or even pseudo-alchemical abilities? The latter could be as per some of the low levels tricks of the DD Illusionist (particularly those that use blinding flashes, smoke bombs, and/or cause the illusionist to escape from melee)?

Perhaps a few ideas to think about..?

Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work :D
[f=32]Golgildir the Elf Medium (MV 12", AC 9, HD 1, hp 1/1, AL N) great cloak, lantern; spells: color spray; scrolls: sleep, sleep, charm person
Hirelings: Georges; torch[/f]
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Post Thu May 07, 2015 4:32 pm

Re: The Ninja Class

waysoftheearth wrote:I'm not certain that the XP/HD progression achieves the stated aim. I noticed right away that despite adding "one hit die per three levels beyond the 11th", the progression shows 8 HD at 12th, rather than the implied 7+2?

The Ninja starts out needing about 50% more XP than the thief to 3rd level, then 40% more by 8th level, 25% more by 9th, 10% more by 10th, and only about 5% for the long haul beyond 12th. However, with two PRs, the Ninja can actually earn 10% more XP than the thief can throughout so, in balance, the Ninja needs more XP than the thief up to 9th, then less XP than the thief thru the top end.

An alternative approach might be to require M-U XP (or halfway between fighter and cleric) in order to earn the cleric's HD and attack matrix.

The special abilities are well considered, but my initial impression is that the class could use a little something extra to be compelling...


Thanks for the critique Simon! Sorry for my hiatus over the past month, I have been caught with live and other projects, but these classes have not been forgotten.

I have updated the XP progression, placing the ninja at the mid-point between the cleric and fighter. I have not removed the pair of Prime Requisites at this point, I wanted to hear your opinion on the numbers first. It may be necessary to give the ninja only one PR.

Special Abilities... I wanted to keep the ninja away from the "mythical" version as best as possible. First, because I don't like to super-ninja classes we see everywhere. I want their abilities to be generally believable. That said, I could see what you meant. I went and browsed the AD&D OA, but in Bushido RPG I found the alchemy ability, so I started writing up something similar. I also checked you (fantastic) Illusionist and found many of the same abilities. After considering and discarding the idea of giving the ninja spells per day, I went with the more restricted ability to create items. This is largely based on the Magic-User's ability to produce scrolls. Some of the ninja equipment mimic spells pretty closely (though in some cases they are weaker) and I think it works pretty well.

Let me know what you think!
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