When the wealthy and the powerful need an enemy eliminated quietly and without fail, they call upon the ninja. When a general needs to sabotage the siege engines of his foes before they can reach the castle walls, he calls upon the ninja. And when fools dare to move against a ninja or her companions, they will find the ninja waiting for them while they sleep, ready to strike. These shadowy killers are masters of infiltration, sabotage, and assassination, using a wide variety of weapons, practiced skills, and mystical powers to achieve their goals.
Role: The ninja spends almost all of her time honing her skills, practicing her art, or working on her next assignment. Even when not specifically working, the ninja is ever vigilant and ready for the situation to turn deadly. Her line of work earns her many enemies, but it is a list that she frequently reduces through assassination and misdirection. The ninja is an alternate class for the rogue class.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (140 gp)
The ninja’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Finesse training, poison use, sneak attack +1d6|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+0||Ki pool, ninja trick|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Finesse training, no trace +1, sneak attack +2d6|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Dispatchment, ninja trick, uncanny dodge|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Sneak attack +3d6, style strike|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+2||Ninja trick, no trace +2|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Sneak attack +4d6|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+2||Improved uncanny dodge, ninja trick|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+6||+3||No trace +3, sneak attack +5d6|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Master tricks, ninja trick, style strike|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||Finesse training, sneak attack +6d6|
|12th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||No trace +4, ninja trick|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Sneak attack +7d6|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||No trace +5, sneak attack +8d6, style strike|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Sneak attack +9d6|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||No trace +6, ninja trick|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+6||Finesse training, sneak attack +10d6|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Hidden master, ninja trick, style strike|
The following are the class features of the ninja.
Ninja are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the kama, katana, kusarigama, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, short sword, shuriken, siangham, and wakizashi. Ninjas are proficient with light armor but not with shields.
Finesse Training (Ex)
At 1st level, a ninja gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. In addition, starting at 3rd level, she can select any one type of weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse (such as rapiers or daggers). Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Whenever she makes a successful melee attack with the selected weapon, she adds her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier to the damage roll. If any effect would prevent the ninja from adding her Strength modifier to the damage roll, she does not add her Dexterity modifier. The ninja can select a second weapon at 11th level and a third at 19th level.
Poison Use (Ex)
At 1st level, a ninja is trained in the use of poison and cannot accidentally poison herself when applying poison to a weapon.
Precision damage (such as that dealt by a ninja’s sneak attack ability) applies to more creatures than it did in previous editions of the game.
Some may balk at this but it can easily be imagined or explained as the ninja having found a weak point in the undead’s “body” (such as a zombie’s head) or even finding a crack or flaw in a construct’s “body.”
There is some degree of confusion as to what should separate a “critical hit” from a “precision-based attack” but in any event, in some cases they are treated differently.
The following creature types (or subtypes) have immunity to critical hits (that is, they do not take any additional damage from critical hits):
- Aeon (subtype): “Immunity to cold, poison, and critical hits.“
- Elemental (subtype): Elementals are “not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as sneak attack.“
- Incorporeal (subtype): “An incorporeal creature is immune to critical hits (unless the attacks are made using a weapon with the ghost touch special weapon quality.)“
- Ooze (Type): <Oozes are…> “not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)“
- Protean (subtype): (50% chance to ignore, see below*)
- Swarm (Type): “A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits.“
Precision-Based Damage (like Sneak Attack)
The following creature types (or subtypes) do not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack):
- Elemental (subtype): “<An elemental…> does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)“
- Incorporeal (subtype): “An incorporeal creature is immune to precision-based damage (such as sneak attack damage) unless the attacks are made using a weapon with the ghost touch special weapon quality.“
- Ooze (Type): “<An ooze is…> does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks (such as sneak attack.)“
- Protean (subtype): (50% chance to ignore, see below*)
Creatures Immune to Flanking
Opponents do not gain any special flanking bonuses against the following creature types (or subtypes):
- Ooze (Type): “<An ooze is…> not subject to … flanking.“
- Swarm (Type): “A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to flanking.“
- Elemental (subtype): “<Elementals are…> not subject to flanking.“
*Special: Proteans have a special ability called “Amorphous Anatomy” which might protect them: “<Amorphous Anatomy> grants <a protean> a 50% chance to ignore additional damage caused by critical hits and sneak attacks,”
If a ninja can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.
The ninja’s attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the ninja flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every 2 ninja levels thereafter. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. This additional damage is precision damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit.
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (such as a sap, unarmed strike, or whip), a ninja can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack—not even with the usual –4 penalty.
Ki Pool (Su)
At 2nd level, a ninja gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy she can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in the ninja’s ki pool is equal to 1/2 her ninja level + her Charisma modifier. As long as she has at least 1 point in her ki pool, she treats any Acrobatics skill check made to jump as if she had a running start. At 10th level, she also reduces the DC of Acrobatics skill checks made to jump by 1/2 (although she still cannot move farther than her speed allows).
By spending 1 point from her ki pool, a ninja can make one additional attack at her highest attack bonus, but she can do so only when making a full attack. In addition, she can spend 1 point to increase her speed by 20 feet for 1 round. Finally, a ninja can spend 1 point from her ki pool to give herself a +4 insight bonus on Stealth checks for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action. A ninja can gain additional powers that consume points from her ki pool by selecting certain ninja tricks.
The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive. If the ninja possesses levels in another class that grants points to a ki pool, ninja levels stack with the levels of that class to determine the total number of ki points in the combined pool, but only one ability score modifier is added to the total. The choice of which score to use is made when the second class ability is gained, and once made, the choice is set. The ninja can now use ki points from this pool to power the abilities of every class she possesses that grants a ki pool.
As a ninja continues her training, she learns a number of tricks that allow her to confuse her foes and grant her supernatural abilities. Starting at 2nd level, a ninja gains one ninja trick. She gains one additional ninja trick for every 2 levels attained after 2nd. Unless otherwise noted, a ninja cannot select an individual ninja trick more than once.
Tricks marked with an asterisk (*) add effects to a ninja’s sneak attack. Only one of these tricks can be applied to an individual attack and the decision must be made before the attack is made.
- A complete listing of ninja tricks can be found here: Ninja Tricks
No Trace (Ex)
At 3rd level, a ninja learns to cover her tracks, remain hidden, and conceal her presence. The DC to track a ninja using the Survival skill increases by +1. In addition, her training gives her a +1 insight bonus on Disguise skill checks and on opposed Stealth checks whenever she is stationary and does not take any action for at least 1 round. Every three levels thereafter, the increase to Survival DCs and the bonuses on Disguise and opposed Stealth checks increase by 1.
At 4th level, whenever a ninja attacks an opponent that would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC or when she flanks her target, she gains a +2 bonus on her attack roll. At 9th level and every 5 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1 (to a total maximum of +5).
Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
At 4th level, a ninja can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A ninja with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against her.
If a ninja already possesses uncanny dodge from a different class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Style Strike (Ex)
At 5th level, a ninja can learn one type of style strike, as the monk class feature. Whenever she spends ki from her ki pool to make an additional attack, she can designate that additional attack as a style strike, regardless of the weapon she uses to make the attack. The attack is resolved as normal, but it has a different effect depending upon the type of strike chosen. At 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter, a ninja learns an additional style strike. She must choose which style strike to apply before the attack roll is made. Unlike a monk, a ninja does not gain the ability to designate more than one attack as a style strike per round.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
At 8th level, a ninja can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another ninja (or rogue) the ability to sneak attack the ninja by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more ninja (or rogue) levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack when determining the minimum ninja (or rogue) level required to flank the character.
At 10th level, and every two levels thereafter, a ninja can select a master trick in place of a ninja trick.
- A complete listing of ninja master tricks can be found here: Ninja Master Tricks
Hidden Master (Su)
At 20th level, a ninja becomes a true master of her art. She can, as a standard action, cast greater invisibility on herself. While invisible in this way, she cannot be detected by any means, and not even invisibility purge, see invisibility, and true seeing can reveal her. She uses her ninja level as her caster level for this ability. Using this ability consumes 3 ki points from her ki pool. In addition, whenever the ninja deals sneak attack damage, she can sacrifice additional damage dice to apply a penalty to one ability score of the target equal to the number of dice sacrificed for 1 minute. This penalty does not stack with itself and cannot reduce an ability score below 1.
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
By their nature, unchained rogues are varied and versatile. There are rogues who haunt the city, those who stalk the forest, and those who serve as agents of law. Wherever there is space for someone to make her mark with agility and wit, the rogue is there, using her wide range of skills and abilities to make a place for herself, whether openly or through cunning and subterfuge. And where a rogue’s natural cunning and quick thinking aren’t enough to win the day, well—there’s always the option of a knife in the back.
The following themes represent some of the most popular and effective unchained ninja archetypes. Each archetype comes with one or more class features that must be taken. In addition, each archetype includes a number of new ninja trick suggestions that, while not mandatory, help to flesh out the character.
|Archetype / Alternate Class Feature||Class Features Changed or Replaced|
|Class Skills||Skill Ranks per Level||Weapon & Armor||Finesse Training||Sneak Attack||Poison Use||Ki Pool||Ninja Tricks||Master Tricks||No Trace||Dispatchment||Uncanny Dodge||Style Strike||Improved Uncanny Dodge||Hidden Master|
|Everyman Gaming, LLC.|
|Note: Most of the the ninja alternate class‘ existing archetypes will also work with the unchained ninja.|
X=replaced, (X)=optional replacement, C=changed
Everyman Unchained: Unchained Cunning © 2015 by Everyman Gaming, LLC.; Author: Alexander Augunas.