It’s Ninja Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and that means that we’re going to be lavishing some support on the ninja. Longtime readers will already have determined that this article will be about alternate class features or archetypes for the ninja class, but only very longtime readers (or those who understand the sneaky, deceptive ways of ninjutsu) will even suspect that they might be considering the wrong ninja class. You see, there are other ninja classes besides the one presented in Ultimate Combat. Necromancers of the Northwest’s own book Ancient Warriors: Way of the Ninja presented a ninja class of its own: one that had no spellcasting, mystical powers, or other magical ability at all. No, this was the gritty, down-to-earth ninja that must survive impossible odds with his wits and training alone. And that is also the ninja that I’m going to focus on today.
For those of you who made the mistake of not picking up a copy of Ancient Warriors: Way of the Ninja, and haven’t rectified it yet, you should know that the ninja class included therein contained a class feature whereby the ninja selected a school, which granted a number of different class features, along a theme. The book included four: the poisonous Serpent School, the insidious Shadow School, the deceptive Chameleon School, and the fierce Tiger School. Today’s article will provide two more schools: the steadfast Stone School and the elusive Wind school.
Disciples of the stone school focus primarily on keeping themselves alive, and on defensive techniques. They prefer to disable their foes and then deal with them at leisure, rather than kill them outright. They are far more likely to be found as guards or bodyguards than ninja of other schools are.
Defensive Training (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, a ninja of the stone school gains a +1 bonus to CMD. At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1 (to a maximum of +10 at 19th level).
Disarm Specialist (Ex): At 5th level, a ninja of the stone school gains the Improved Disarm feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the normal prerequisites. At 7th level, he also gains the Greater Disarm feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the normal prerequisites.
Iron Skin (Ex): Beginning at 10th level, a ninja of the stone school has hardened his body through repeated training on how to take and withstand tough blows. His natural armor bonus to AC increases by +1. At 15th level, and every five levels thereafter, it increases by an additional +1.
Hard to Kill (Ex): Beginning at 15th level, a ninja of the stone school becomes incredibly hard to kill, as his body becomes used to suffering wounds, and becomes quicker to heal and mend such damage. When reduced to less than 0 hit points, the ninja automatically stabilizes, though he remains unconscious. Additionally, the ninja recovers twice as many hit points as he normally would when resting (2 hit points per Hit Dice, rather than 1). Finally, the ninja’s maximum hit point total increases by an amount equal to his ninja level (this continues to increase as the ninja gains levels, to a maximum of 20 extra hit points at 20th level). This stacks with the Toughness feat.
Mastery of Mind and Body (Ex): Beginning at 20th level, a ninja of the stone school’s intense discipline and dedication to his art grants him unparalleled mastery over both his mind and his body, allowing him to resist harmful effects. Three times per day, when the ninja would be forced to make a Fortitude or Will save, he can choose to roll twice and take the better result. The ninja must declare that he is using this ability before making the first saving throw.
Disciples of the wind school believe that the path to infiltration should always be the one of least resistance, and prefer to use greater mobility and agility to bypass security and find a weak spot, rather than to use deception or force to complete their missions.
Acrobatics Training (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, a ninja of the wind school gains a bonus on all Acrobatics checks equal to 1/2 his ninja level.
Climbing Master (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, a ninja of the wind school becomes a master of climbing, as high places tend to conceal places vulnerable to entry…to those who can reach them. The ninja gains a bonus on Climb checks equal to 1/2 his ninja level. Additionally, he can move half his speed while climbing without suffering the normal penalty, and can attempt to climb at his full speed by taking a -5 penalty on the Climb check.
Ledgewalker (Ex): Beginning at 10th level, a ninja of the wind school can traverse narrow surfaces with ease. The base DC for Acrobatics checks that the ninja makes in order to cross narrow surfaces cannot exceed 15 (the DC for surfaces 2-6 inches wide). Other adjustments (such as those for a surface being slippery, sloped, or unsteady) can still increase the DC above 15. Additionally, a ninja of the wind school automatically succeeds on all Acrobatics checks made to avoid falling or being knocked prone as a result of suffering damage while using the Acrobatics skill.
Incredible Leap (Ex): Beginning at 15th level, a ninja of the wind school learns how to jump more efficiently, allowing him to make high jumps with greater ease. The base DC for the ninja to make a vertical jump is equal to twice the height to be reached, instead of four times the height to be reached.
Additionally, the ninja gains the slowfall class feature of the monk class. His effective monk level for this ability is equal to his ninja level -4.
Ninja Dodge (Ex): Beginning at 20th level, a ninja of the wind school becomes a master of moving out of the way of incoming attacks. As a move action, he can ready himself to dodge incoming attacks. If he does, then at any point before the beginning of his next turn, he can make a 5-foot step as an immediate action. If the ninja makes a 5-foot step when an attack is made against him, and his movement puts him out of reach of the attack, then the attack automatically misses. A ninja of the wind school can use this ability up to 3 times per day.