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Nokizaru (3pp)

While the ninja is itself an alternate version of the rogue, it still represents only a fairly narrow selection of the many different types of mystic assassins found in fantasy games and literature. To expand the variety of what a ninja can portray, below is a variant on the standard ninja class.

The nokizaru is a ninja trained in mystic arts beyond the mastery of ki and poisons, creating an assassin-spellcaster who combines secrecy with magic and mind-over-matter techniques to become an arcane killer and scout. Because they must master both the very physical arts of ninja stealth and the mystic arts of spellcasters, nokizaru are often seen as being particularly clever, and are sometimes referred to as “monkeys” by other ninja.

In many lands nokizaru are broken into specific clans of ninja, each dedicated to using magic toward one specific end. In such regions, each clan of nokizaru have access to a single school of magic (abjuration, divination, or necromancy) unavailable to other nokizaru (see Spellcasting, below). Such clans of nokizaru are generally hostile toward one another, and allies of one clan are automatically targeted by the other clans.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Nokizaru are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the kama, kusarigama, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, short sword, shuriken, siangham, and wakizashi. They are proficient with light armor but not with shields. A nokizaru can cast nokizaru spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a nokizaru wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure. A multiclass nokizaru still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Spellcasting

A nokizaru casts arcane spells, using the caster level, spells per day, and spells known of a bard of the same level. A nokizaru’s spells are drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, but only spells of specific schools may be selected. All nokizaru may learn and cast spells from the conjuration and illusion schools. Each nokizaru may select one additional school of sorcerer/wizard spells from the following list: abjuration, divination, or necromancy. The selection of a third school must be made when a character takes his first level of nokizaru, and once made it cannot be changed.

A nokizaru can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Every nokizaru spell has a somatic component, representing the special hand-signs the nokizaru must use to focus his mystic power.

Nokizaru cannot use the Still Spell feat to remove somatic components from their nokizaru spells (but see Ki, below). To learn or cast a spell, a nokizaru must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a nokizaru’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the nokizaru’s Charisma modifier.

Like the bard, a nokizaru receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. The nokizaru’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A nokizaru begins play knowing four 0 level spells and two 1st level spells of the nokizaru’s choice. The nokizaru gains spells known and spells per day at the same rate as a bard.

Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third nokizaru level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a nokizaru can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the nokizaru “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level nokizaru spell the nokizaru can cast. A nokizaru may swap only a single spell at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

A nokizaru need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

This ability replaces sneak attack. A nokizaru cannot select ninja tricks (or rogue talents) that add or augment sneak attacks.

Ki Pool

A nokizaru gains a ki pool, but has a slightly different selection of ki abilities than standard ninja. A nokizaru cannot spend 1 ki point to make one additional attack at her highest attack bonus when making a full attack. However, nokizaru can use their ki to assist in casting spells. By spending one ki point, a nokizaru may cast a single nokizaru spell without meeting its somatic component.

This ability is otherwise identical to the ninja ki pool.

Nokizaru Tricks

Nokizaru cannot take any ninja trick (or rogue talent) that augments or modifies sneak attacks. Nokizaru do gain access to new ninja tricks, outlined below.

Cannibalize Magic (Su)

A nokizaru has learned how to renew her own ki pool by draining off the mystic energy of her spells.

Once per day, the nokizaru may expend a spell slot to regain a number of ki points equal to the slot’s level. This cannot allow the nokizaru to regain ki points above her maximum pool size.

Ki Blade (Su)

A nokizaru can expend 1 ki point as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level.

These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the nokizaru.

A nokizaru can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.

Ki Spell (Su)

The nokizaru can use his ki to cast nokizaru spells higher level than his remaining spell slots. By expending one ki point, the nokizaru may cast a 2nd level or higher spell known using a spell slot one level lower than normal.

Master Tricks

A nokizaru with access to master tricks gains access to two new ninja tricks, outlined below.

Arcane Assassin (Su): The nokizaru can spend a ki point whenever he casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the nokizaru spell list to deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, the nokizaru can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

Greater Ki Blade (Su): When a nokizaru spends a ki point to grants an enhancement bonus to a weapon he is holding using the ki blade trick, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability. A nokizaru must select the ki blade trick before selecting the greater ki blade master trick.

Why Just a Few Schools for Nokizaru?

The nokizaru gives up sneak attack, a powerful offensive ability, to gain access to magic from just three schools of sorcerer/wizard spells. While this may seem limiting at first, the power of sorcerer/wizard spells actually gives the nokizaru a significant range of spell options. If the nokizaru had access to all sorcerer/wizard spells, the variant class could easily become overpowered.

When designing such a class from scratch, the standard option is to build a custom spell list for the class, similar to the bard or inquisitor spell list. The problem with this approach for supplemental material from a third-party publisher is that it makes it difficult for a GM to know what to add to the class’s spell list when the core rules add new books of spell options. By limiting the nokizaru to just a few schools of sorcerer/wizard spells the class avoids being able to do everything a wizard of similar level can do, but what spells to add from new material is obvious.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Ultimate Options: Power of the Ninja. Copyright 2011, Super Genius Games, LLC; Author: Owen K.C. Stephens.