Ultimate Options: Power of the Ninja (PFRPG) PDF

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The very archetype of the mystic spy or assassin: A shadowy figure as much a master of the dark arts as an outlaw. From the Hashsh’shin to the Sicarii, the black-clad assassin clans of Japanese lore to the fanciful depictions of Wuxia films, the ninja is an icon of fantasy and pop culture—ironic, for a creature that lives by secrecy and a mastery of deception and disguise.

Ultimate Options: Power of the Ninja presents 50 new tricks and master tricks for the ninja, along with 8 new ninja-related feats and four variant ninja classes, and is 20 pages long! With this broad set of new resources you can expand the role of ninja-style assassins in your campaign, or leave behind the Asian-themed trappings to integrate the stealthy, deceptive mystic spy concept in a manner that best suits your campaign setting.

The Ultimate Options series of products focuses on topics introduced in the Ultimate Magic book forPathfinder, expanding options for players using that book.

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4.00/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Great flavor for making a ninja.

5/5

The book is full of pretty cool ninja tricks, and some style based feats. Having the ability to increase poison DC, teleport through shadows, mimic other classes, and lay down the hurt all make this book worth the purchase. If you are going to make a ninja, I cannot recommend this book enough.


Rather glitchy supplement, unfortunately not on par with the Gunslinger-book

3/5

This pdf is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover/ToC, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 18 pages of content, so let's check out what the geniuses have in store for the ninja, shall we?

The pdf kicks off by providing 38 new ninja tricks to choose from and the tricks themselves are quite interesting - from the ability to use your ki to subtly damage foes by disharmonizing their ki to sacrificing sneak damage for more deadly poison, running while the foe blinks etc., we get several rather interesting and valid choices for ninja. The pdf does not stop there, though, and offers us several options to improve the disguise options of ninja (being able to fool spells etc.) for rather complex infiltration strategies, especially when combined with the feign death master trick. One of my favorite tricks enables the ninja to ride along on large foes like dragons, giants etc. and thus makes for quite cool, iconic battle-strategies.

The pdf also provides 12 new master tricks, which include fast healing, aforementioned feigning death and even using bombs. Said trick, though, suffers from a formatting glitch that makes it impossible to get what the power is supposed to do: "The ninja cannot combine a dispelling bomb, plague bomb, stink bomb, tanglefoot bomb with a choking bomb or blinding bomb, but
can combine them with a blinding bomb."[Sic!] Sooo...can he combine them with blinding bombs or not?

We also get 8 new feats centered on two ninjutsu-styles and 4 new alternate ninja archetypes: A spellcasting ninja, a bomb-focused demolition-style ninja, a ninja-like warrior appropriate for non-eastern settings (the outlaw Wolf's Head) and the spider-affine Web Walkers.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting could have used another pass - from aforementioned glitch to alert/alter-typos to missing verbs, I encountered a lot of glitches herein. Layout adheres to the 3-column full color standard and the pdf finally has bookmarks, something that has been absent from most SGG-products. Even better, the ToC on the cover-page makes navigation easier when printed out. I liked most of the ninja-tricks and none caught my eye as particularly unbalanced or glitchy. The style-feats rock and use some interesting mechanics and the new archetypes are ok. However, I can't keep myself from feeling that the tricks, while cool, are not all of the same quality. Making sign language a ninja trick AND opening its availability via linguistics makes taking the trick not a valid or prudent option. The overall utility of the tricks seem to fluctuate more than in e.g. the Gunslinger book. The feats are great and I would have loved to see more styles, but the archetypes felt rather bland to me and did not really excite me that much. They are not bad, don't get me wrong, but I did not yell out with excitement when reading them. Add to that the uncharacteristically large amount of editing glitches and we have my final verdict: 3 stars for the Powers of the Ninja.

Endzeitgeist out.


Contributor

Now available!

Scarab Sages

Thanks Liz!

To answer some questions asked frequently when a new product goes up, this one is 20 pages, it's bookmarked, and here's the table of contents:

Table of Contents

Introduction

New Ninja Tricks
Act Without Thought
Blink Dash
Control Breathing
Deadly Strike
Disguise Aura
Dislocate
Emulate Aura
Escape
Fatal Finesse
Face
Fence
Ghost Face
Ghost Fingers
Ghost Slayer
Healing Techniques
Into The Bloodstream
Innocuous Armaments
Ki Poison
Kip Up
Living Shadow
Long Step
Master of Shadows
Mock Ninja
Nei Jing
No-Shadow Strike
Nourish
Peerless Actor
Ready to Hand
Ride Along
Scattergun Assassin
Secret Signs
Shadowblade
Silence
Sleep With Your Eyes Open
Stunning Blow
Sudden Action
Trap Master
Unkind Blow

Master Tricks
Advanced Healing Techniques
Bomb Master
Death Touch
Dream Poison
Feign Death
Improved Ki
Mind Strike
Peerless Disguise
Smoke Walk
Stunning Strike
Suppress Aura
Vivacity

Feats
Deadly Embrace
Fists of Fury
Iron Shackles
Iron Tentacles
Kakute-Ryu-Ninjutsu Style
Ki Master
Kusari-Ryu-Ninjutsu Style
Stone Spirit

Alternate Ninja
Nokizaru
Rappa
Wolf Head
Web Walkers


Don't suppose we could have a brief summary of what each of those classes do?


This isn't a review, just my opinion. Overall, this looks great, and if I allowed Ninjas in my campaign setting this would be a must have for the players.

I am, however, very disappointed that, while they were mentioned in the product announcement, the Hashsh’shin and the Sicarii only get mentioned by name, and are not among the four variant ninja classes. I was really hoping for something that I could incorporate in my games that would be different enough to not immediately call to mind the ninja. The Wolf Head comes closest, but I would still have rather seen rules sets to play the two types I mentioned earlier.

Still, as always, a superior product from SSG.

Scarab Sages

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Don't suppose we could have a brief summary of what each of those classes do?

Sure!

Nokizaru: Spell-casting ninja.
Rappa: Bomb-throwing ninja.
Wolf Head: Western-themed tough guys who are like ninja without supernatural powers.
Web Walkers: Spider-themed ninja who use ki to create their own poisons and can move through webs and do other spider-y things.

Dark Archive

Pretty cool something to add to the cart for next month with some of my other SGG stuff.

I will say on the plus side I doubt anyone would suspect the cover girl of being a ninja, high ranks in "disguise" it seems. :)

Scarab Sages

Dark_Mistress wrote:

Pretty cool something to add to the cart for next month with some of my other SGG stuff.

I will say on the plus side I doubt anyone would suspect the cover girl of being a ninja, high ranks in "disguise" it seems. :)

There are, in fact, a LOT of Disguise-based options in this book. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Don't suppose we could have a brief summary of what each of those classes do?

Sure!

Nokizaru: Spell-casting ninja.
Rappa: Bomb-throwing ninja.
Wolf Head: Western-themed tough guys who are like ninja without supernatural powers.
Web Walkers: Spider-themed ninja who use ki to create their own poisons and can move through webs and do other spider-y things.

Owen: I heard you guys liked Alternate Classes, so we at Rite Publishing put Alternate Classes into your Alternate Classes so you can be different while you're an alternative!

...

Don't kill me! D:
If not I, then someone else!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Golden-Esque wrote:
Owen: I heard you guys liked Alternate Classes, so we at Rite Publishing put Alternate Classes into your Alternate Classes so you can be different while you're an alternative!

Yes, except we are Super Genius Games, not Rite Publishing. :)

Liberty's Edge

Golden-Esque wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Don't suppose we could have a brief summary of what each of those classes do?

Sure!

Nokizaru: Spell-casting ninja.
Rappa: Bomb-throwing ninja.
Wolf Head: Western-themed tough guys who are like ninja without supernatural powers.
Web Walkers: Spider-themed ninja who use ki to create their own poisons and can move through webs and do other spider-y things.

Owen: I heard you guys liked Alternate Classes, so we at Rite Publishing put Alternate Classes into your Alternate Classes so you can be different while you're an alternative!

...

Don't kill me! D:
If not I, then someone else!

Maybe it's the lack of enough strong coffee yet this morning, but I have no idea what this post means ...


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Golden-Esque wrote:
Owen: I heard you guys liked Alternate Classes, so we at Rite Publishing put Alternate Classes into your Alternate Classes so you can be different while you're an alternative!
Yes, except we are Super Genius Games, not Rite Publishing. :)

Sigh, I should not be allowed to post things at 3am :(.

Coincidentally, every time I make that joke, I end up butchering it somehow. It's nice to know I'm consistent.

@Marc: It's a Kayne West meme, stylized after his quote to Taylor Swift after she won X award (can't remember whether it was an Emmy, an Oscar, a people's choice, or whatever).

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Golden-Esque wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Golden-Esque wrote:
Owen: I heard you guys liked Alternate Classes, so we at Rite Publishing put Alternate Classes into your Alternate Classes so you can be different while you're an alternative!
Yes, except we are Super Genius Games, not Rite Publishing. :)

Sigh, I should not be allowed to post things at 3am :(.

Coincidentally, every time I make that joke, I end up butchering it somehow. It's nice to know I'm consistent.

@Marc: It's a Kayne West meme, stylized after his quote to Taylor Swift after she won X award (can't remember whether it was an Emmy, an Oscar, a people's choice, or whatever).

You didn't just butcher the joke, you butchered the explanation of it too. It's all based off of Xzibit memes, referencing lines from Pimp My Ride. (see KnowYourMeme.com) "Yo dawg, I heard you like to drive so we put a remote control car in your car so u can drive while u drive"-style stuff.

Scarab Sages

Golden-Esque wrote:
Sigh, I should not be allowed to post things at 3am :(.

In my gaming group, we have an "It's after midnight" rule. Anytime you make a dumb mistake and are called out on it, if we've gamed past 12am, it's acceptable to just confess you botched it and say "It's after midnight."

In any case, I got that you were referencing that I was providing alternate versions of the ninja, which is already an alternate version of the rogue.

I did think about that. But I think the ninja is distinct enough (and has enough of its own flavor and rules), that players are likely to either allow it and want more options for it, or not want anything like it. So I see alternate ninja as a better description than "alternate rogues who use a lot of ninja rules."

Although even after saying that, I know the non-Asian-themed wolf head really is a rogue alternative that uses some ninja rules, and it's in this book. But I'm okay with that. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Interesting enough to catch my eye on the contents summary/explanation. added to cart for next purchase round. thanks again SGG.

Scarab Sages

Rathendar wrote:
Interesting enough to catch my eye on the contents summary/explanation. added to cart for next purchase round. thanks again SGG.

Always our pleasure!


DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I am, however, very disappointed that, while they were mentioned in the product announcement, the Hashsh’shin and the Sicarii only get mentioned by name, and are not among the four variant ninja classes. I was really hoping for something that I could incorporate in my games that would be different enough to not immediately call to mind the ninja. The Wolf Head comes closest, but I would still have rather seen rules sets to play the two types I mentioned earlier.

I gotta say, the wolf head is amazing. I am stunned that SGG has managed to create an alternate gunslinger I like (fusilier), and now an alternate ninja (wolf head), both of which fit into my current no-guns, no-Asian influence games perfectly!

That said, more wolf-head like classes would be great, and the Hashsh’shin and Sicarii are great examples. Any chance of a Genius Guide to Western Ninja Tropes? :)

Scarab Sages

Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
That said, more wolf-head like classes would be great, and the Hashsh’shin and Sicarii are great examples. Any chance of a Genius Guide to Western Ninja Tropes? :)

It's not impossible, certainly, but that'd be a pretty specialized target market. Anyone else just dying for rules write-up for non-Asian themed ninja?


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
That said, more wolf-head like classes would be great, and the Hashsh’shin and Sicarii are great examples. Any chance of a Genius Guide to Western Ninja Tropes? :)
It's not impossible, certainly, but that'd be a pretty specialized target market. Anyone else just dying for rules write-up for non-Asian themed ninja?

A not-small number of people won't allow ninjas due to the eastern fluff.

Which, IMO, is a stupid reason since fluff is extremely malleable.

But I think there would be a market.


Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers.

Dark Archive

Nice review End.


Thanks, D_M!


Quote:
Silence* (Su): The ninja can silence targets of her sneak attack. Each time the ninja hits a target with a sneak attack, the target must make a Fortitude save or be unable to make noise. The DC of this save is 10 + half the ninja's class level + the ninja's Charisma modifier. This functions like the silence spell and only affects the target.

Is this the intention? This works for the Shadow Assassin since the Deadly Focus is rare, but for the ninja you can easily* get sneak attack against every enemy, thus silencing them.

Also, there's no caster level for the effect.


Bump!


It's one of the options I consider overpowered as well...


An issue is that it might need to keep the star so it's not stackable with other talents. That makes for some awkward text if it's limited.

But here's my shot at it.

Silence (Su): wrote:
The ninja can silence targets of her sneak attack. A number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier, the ninja may focus herself as a free action. As a part of the free action, the ninja designates one target within 30 feet. Until the beginning of her next turn, each time the ninja hits the designated target with a sneak attack, the target must make a Fortitude save or be unable to make noise. The DC of this save is 10 + half the ninja's class level + the ninja's Charisma modifier. This functions like the silence spell and only affects the target. Use the ninja's level as the caster level of the silence effect, where appropriate. Sneak attacks made while focused cannot be modified by any ninja trick or rogue talent that has a * in the name.

A bit wordy, but if follows the idea of the Shadow Assassin.


one last bump!

Silver Crusade

I'm curious.

Does a ninja with the Stunning Blow trick gain an extra use of Stunning Fist from wearing a monk's robe or from style feats that give the same thing? And if so, would that translate into the ninja getting more ki for that purpose, since that's what Stunning Blow uses?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
That said, more wolf-head like classes would be great, and the Hashsh’shin and Sicarii are great examples. Any chance of a Genius Guide to Western Ninja Tropes? :)
It's not impossible, certainly, but that'd be a pretty specialized target market. Anyone else just dying for rules write-up for non-Asian themed ninja?

Late to this thread, but "Yes, please!"

Scarab Sages

BPorter wrote:
Late to this thread, but "Yes, please!"

Feedback is always useful, whenever it arrives!


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Don't suppose we could have a brief summary of what each of those classes do?

Sure!

Nokizaru: Spell-casting ninja.
Rappa: Bomb-throwing ninja.
Wolf Head: Western-themed tough guys who are like ninja without supernatural powers.
Web Walkers: Spider-themed ninja who use ki to create their own poisons and can move through webs and do other spider-y things.

Silly question time, but are the Wolf Heads related at all to the Norse and Germanic ulfhednar, who I've heard referred to as 'Viking special ops'?


One of my players is a wolf head. He didn't want to deal with the ki pool of a ninja, but still wanted to stab things hard. He enjoys it a lot.

Scarab Sages

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Silly question time, but are the Wolf Heads related at all to the Norse and Germanic ulfhednar, who I've heard referred to as 'Viking special ops'?

No, though a common thought process is connected to the naming conventions of each. My wolf heads are derived from the declaration of outlawry in old English law "Caput lupinum" which marked a man as someone citizens could legally harm. The ulfhednar wore actual wolfskins, and were warriors dedicated to Odin, berserkers, or both.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Silly question time, but are the Wolf Heads related at all to the Norse and Germanic ulfhednar, who I've heard referred to as 'Viking special ops'?
No, though a common thought process is connected to the naming conventions of each. My wolf heads are derived from the declaration of outlawry in old English law "Caput lupinum" which marked a man as someone citizens could legally harm. The ulfhednar wore actual wolfskins, and were warriors dedicated to Odin, berserkers, or both.

Thanks for that explanation. I've used the "wolf head as a legal punishment" idea myself, though more as an excuse for why beast-folk might exist in a campaign. (Given that in some cultures such a punishment was apparently thought to literally make you an inhuman monster, a world with magic might take it just one step further...)


Is the formatting still off on this PDF? I am thinking about buying it but the one review up here on Paizo has some formatting issues Id rather avoid having to navigate.

~UpS

Scarab Sages

There has not been a revision to this book yet, so the few typos mentioned in the review have not yet been addressed. When we do release a revision, anyone who has bought this will receive the update.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Late to this thread, but "Yes, please!"
Feedback is always useful, whenever it arrives!

In that case, I'd like to toss in my 2 cents and say that I too would like to see more "western" style nija-esque types.

Scarab Sages

Many thanks to Joseph Garcia 623 for the review!


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
There has not been a revision to this book yet, so the few typos mentioned in the review have not yet been addressed. When we do release a revision, anyone who has bought this will receive the update.

Speaking of items that require revision, found this tonight:

uses up 1 ki point.
A ninja must take
Improved Bluff before
she can take this trick.

I can't locate an Improved Bluff anything anywhere...And didn't see it mentioned as an item here. BTW this is on the No-Shadow Strike trick.


Would the Rappa archetypes bomb tricks function on alchemist bombs as well, and vice versa? Or would they be kept completely separate? Like, would you have to take Precise Bombs as both a ninja trick, and alchemist discovery for it to work with both?

Scarab Sages Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Are you asking how it would work for a multiclass alchemist/rappa? Such a character would have to keep alchemist-class tricks and rappa-archetype-rogue-class tricks separate.

But since a rappa gets alchemist bombs instead of sneak attacks and can take both ninja and alchemist bomb-related options, the rappa can use both alchemist and ninja abilities (taken as a rappa) on the bombs it gets as a rappa.

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