Ninja: Monk Archtype


Homebrew and House Rules

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So, for a while I've been been tossing around the idea of making a ninja class in the style of APG class archtypes. I rather liked the idea of having a ninja use Chakra (in this case, ki for consistency) to use spell like abilities, and I figured it'd be easier to modify a monk than a rogue. Feedback?
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Ninja: Monk Archtype

Class Skills: Remove Knowledge (religion). Add Disguise, Sleight of Hand, Knowledge (dungeoneering)

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier

Saving Throws: A ninja's Fort Save is a "poor save." Reflex and Will remain "good saves."

Alignment: No alignment requirement.

Bonus Feat: Identical, except replace Improved Grapple with Quick Draw. At 6th level, Replace Improved Bull Rush with Improved Dirty Trick, Gorgon's Fist with Spider Step. At 10th level, replace Medusa's Wrath with Cloud Step.

Ki Pool (Su): At 1st level, a ninja gains a pool of ki points, a supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a ninja's ki pool is equal to 1/2 his ninja level + his Wisdom modifier.

The ninja may use his ki to use ninjutsu, powerful techniques which control the elements. The ninja must choose one of the following four elements: Fuuton, or air techniques; Doton, or earth techniques; Katon, or fire techniques; Suiton, or water techniques, to become his primary element. As a standard action, the ninja may use his ki to "cast" spells from the Elementalist Wizard spell lists as a Supernatural, Spell-like ability, at the cost of one point of ki per spell level. The ninja must have at least 1 point in his ki pool to use level 0 spells. Using ninjutsu requires verbal and somatic components, but does not require material components for spells with material components worth less than 1 gp, and has a chance of arcane failure if wearing armor or shilds.

The caster level for spells "cast" through ninjutsu are equal to his ninja level, and his wisdom modifier is used to determine the DC of his spells. The ninja is not considered to have a caster level for the purposes of feats, nor is he considered to have spells known or memorized; he knows ninjutsu, not spells. He may not apply metamagic to his ninjutsu.

The ninja's selection of spell is extremely limited. A ninja begins play knowing four 0-level spell and two 1-st level spell of the ninja's choice. A ninja may only learn spells from his primary element as his highest spell levels. A ninja may only learn spells from his opposition school (air opposes earth, fire opposes water) at least three levels lower than his highest-level spells, and spells from the remaining two school at least one level lower than his highest-level spells. At each new ninja level, he gains one or more new spell, using the Bard Spells Known table (PHB, Table 3-4, page 37).

Upon reaching 5th level, and every third ninja level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a ninja can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect the ninja "loses" the old spell in exchange for the new one. The 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 spell the ninja can use. A ninja 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 spell for the level.

The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive. This replaces the standard monk's ki Pool ability.

Hidden Strike: This ability functions as the rogue's Sneak Attack, with the exception that flanking does not qualify the ninja to use Hidden Strike, and he cannot use Hidden Strick while wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, and he must be using a monk weapon. Hidden strike stacks with Sneak Attack otherwise, and counts as Sneak Attack for the purposes of meeting requirements for feats or Prestige Classes. Abilities that modify Sneak Attacks also modify Hidden Strike.

This ability adds 1d6 extra damage at level 1. At 5th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the damage increases by an additional 1d6, to a maximum of 5d6 at level 17. This ability replaces Stunning Fist.

Bonus Spells: At third level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the ninja learns a bonus spell (from the wizard spell list):

3rd - Vanish, 6th - Invisibility, 9th - Displacement, 12th - Invisibility, Greater, 15th - Suffocation, 18th - Shadow Walk

This ability replaces Purity of Body, Wholeness of Body, Diamond Body, Diamond Soul, Timeless Body, Tongue of the Sun and Moon, and Empty Body.

Improved ki Pool (Su): At 4th level or above, by spending 1 point of ki from his ki pool, a ninja can make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack. In addition, he can spend 1 point to increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round. Finally, a ninja can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action.

Master Strike (Ex): This ability is identical to the Rogue's ability Master Strike. This ability replaces Perfect Self.

Unchanged abilities are: AC Bonus, Flurry of Blows, Evasion, Fast Movement, Maneuver Training, Still Mind, Slow Fall, High Jump, Improved Evasion, Abundant Step, and Quivering Palm (Note that quivering palm does not say it has to be made with an unarmed attack).

I think this looks like a fairly reasonable modification.

I'm not quite sure how spell casting compares to unarmed strike. A level 20 ninja with 26 Wis (16 + 6 equipment + 4 level/inherent) only grants 18 ki pool, enough to "cast" 3 level 6 spells, selected from one element, 3 times per day, with no other ki usage, against unarmed strikes of 2d10.

Sovereign Court

I wouldn't modify base saving throws for an archetype, that kind of goes against the formula so far, so to speak.

Liberty's Edge

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
I wouldn't modify base saving throws for an archetype, that kind of goes against the formula so far, so to speak.

Agreed, having reduced saves is some what of a faux paus. If you wear going to do that, then you should afford the ninja a benefit and fitting to the loss. Losing all good saves...that's fairly unattractive as it is one of the reason to take a monk like class.

Sudden strike has always been more of a hassle than it's worth. Thematically it makes sense. Sneak attack would be better. Ninja are going to take every advantage they can get in combat.

Spell wise, I'd suggest writing up an actual spell list for ninja and base it somewhere between bard and the Elemental Specialist Wizard Lists. Using Ki to Power Spells though, I like that, as it keeps them from oversteping casters. The alternative is you could Give ninja Ranger/Paladin Spell Progression and access to their "school" from spell casting. They would not get above 4th level, but it's free up ki for it's more dynamic uses.

You might want to just make those bonus spells, Ki abilities as the ninja is giving up some helpful features to be a demi-caster.

This might be a little unbalancing, however, Ninja treat short swords, daggers, and simple weapons as monk weapons for the purposes of flurry.

What about Poisin Use? Uncanny Dodge? Ninja tend to be more in the thick of it fighters than monks when one thinks of combat. Yeah they want to get out without being seen, but the have to be brutal in combat to beat superior numbers.

That's all I have for the moment. Then again I'm thinking more Ninja Assassins then tenchu for the class.


much better then a new class


I do enjoy a good ninja. To me there are 3 categories of ninja studies.

Stealth
Magic
Melee

Now, these three items can occur in varying degrees to create different types of ninja.

For example a ninja with a masters of butt whoopin(melee) and a minor in magic with no stealth knowledge could be Ninja Gaiden.

A ninja with a Doctorate of stealth and no melee or magic could be Tenchu.

A ninja with a major in magic and double minor in melee and stealth could be a Naruto.

All three kill people effectively, all three are ninja, but all have slightly different philosophies of "execution".

Just some random thoughts to think about. :-)

Liberty's Edge

Mr Dice Guy wrote:

I do enjoy a good ninja. To me there are 3 categories of ninja studies.

Stealth
Magic
Melee

Now, these three items can occur in varying degrees to create different types of ninja.

For example a ninja with a masters of butt whoopin(melee) and a minor in magic with no stealth knowledge could be Ninja Gaiden.

A ninja with a Doctorate of stealth and no melee or magic could be Tenchu.

A ninja with a major in magic and double minor in melee and stealth could be a Naruto.

All three kill people effectively, all three are ninja, but all have slightly different philosophies of "execution".

Just some random thoughts to think about. :-)

Agreed

Dark Archive

Naruto is not ninja
Hot topic is not punk rock

personally, i like a lot of whats here but i would do it different.

I'd nerf unarmed damage, leave the good fort save, and give standard SA instead of sudden strike. Add blind fight to the list of monk feats and give a ki powered fog cloud later on

Liberty's Edge

Name Violation wrote:

Naruto is not ninja

Hot topic is not punk rock

personally, i like a lot of whats here but i would do it different.

I'd nerf unarmed damage, leave the good fort save, and give standard SA instead of sudden strike. Add blind fight to the list of monk feats and give a ki powered fog cloud later on

Or borrow from shadow dancer a bit.


Once you get this to a final form, would you consider adding this to the Pathfinder Database?


Thank you everyone for your feedback. Let me share some of my thought process with you.

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
I wouldn't modify base saving throws for an archetype, that kind of goes against the formula so far, so to speak.

This is true, and I debated it myself. I really could go either way at this point. Considering almost every gain comes with an equal trade off, and ninja's have to have at least some degree of fortitude to use ki, a strong fort save could work.

Name Violation wrote:
I'd nerf unarmed damage, leave the good fort save, and give standard SA instead of sudden strike. Add blind fight to the list of monk feats and give a ki powered fog cloud later on

Unarmed damage is nerfed. He loses Stunning Strike in favor of Hidden Strike. I also meant to replace Unarmed Strike in favor of ninjutsu. The reason I chose to use Hidden Strike is also for flavor: I wanted him to be based on stealth, not getting sneak attack damage for every hit in a flurry of blows for simply being in the right place (i.e. flanking). To put this in contrast, a flurry of blows at level 20 is 7 attacks with a full BAB, vs a rogues with 6 attacks after spending 3 feats on the two-weapon fighting tree, at 3/4 BAB. Admittedly, when considering that his sneak attack does half as much, it doesn't look as bad, but he is also not having to spend 3 feats to get all those attacks.

Also, Fog Cloud is a 2nd level water element spell, so via ninjutsu, he can learn it at 4th level as a Suiton user, 7th as a Doton or Fuuton user, or 13th level as a Katon user.

Gravefiller613 wrote:
This might be a little unbalancing, however, Ninja treat short swords, daggers, and simple weapons as monk weapons for the purposes of flurry.

Probably not. Short swords is not that much of an advantage over nunchaku, kama, or siangham except that it has a 19-20 threat range. Not to mention that for an exotic weapon feat you can use a Temple Sword. Dagger are nice because they do on average 1 more than shuriken per attack. However, using simple weapons in flurry of blows is just wrong (I don't think you can move a club that fast).

Gravefiller613 wrote:
What about Poison Use? Uncanny Dodge?
Gravefiller613 wrote:
Or borrow from shadow dancer a bit.

The ninja would actually work really well with a Shadow Dancer PrC, which would give it Uncanny Dodge and Evasion.

Mr Dice Guy wrote:

I do enjoy a good ninja. To me there are 3 categories of ninja studies.

Stealth
Magic
Melee

Perhaps a good edit would be as follows: Replace the second paragraph with the following:

Quote:
The ninja may use his ki to use ninjutsu, powerful techniques which control the elements. As a standard action, the ninja may use his ki to "cast" spells from his ninja spell lists as a Supernatural, Spell-like ability, at the cost of one point of ki per spell level. The ninja must have at least 1 point in his ki pool to use level 0 spells. Using ninjutsu requires verbal and somatic components, but does not require material components for spells with material components worth less than 1 gp, and has a chance of arcane failure if wearing armor or shilds.

Add the following ability:

Quote:

Ninja Style: At first level, the ninja must choose one of the following four elements:

Fuuton: The ninja specializes in Air Techniques. He also specializes in swift movements. Fire and Water are secondary techniques.

Add Fly to the list of class skills.

Doton: The ninja specializes in Earth techniques. He also is proficient in poison usage. Fire and Water are secondary techniques.

At 5th level, The ninja learns "Poison Use," (same as the alchemist ability, APG, page 31) instead of "High Jump."
At 12th level, the ninja learns "Swift Poison," (same as the alchemist ability, APG, page 31) instead of "Abundant Step"

Katon: The ninja specializes in Fire techniques. He also becomes more focused on his melee ability. Earth and Air are secondary techniques.

The ninja adds "Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Temple Sword)" and Arcane Strike to his list of bonus feats.

At 3rd level, a ninja may treat any weapon he is proficient in as monk weapons for the purpose of using "Flurry of Blows". This replaces "Still Mind."

Suiton: The ninja specializes in Water techniques. He also becomes specialized in evasion. Earth and Air are secondary techniques.

At 3rd level, the ninja learns "Uncanny Dodge," (same as the barbarian ability, core page 34) instead of "Maneuver Training"
At 12th level, the ninja learns "Improved Uncanny Dodge," (same as the barbarian ability, core page 34) instead of "Abundant Step"

Of course, one could un-marry the 4 styles (maneuverability, evasion, melee, poison) from the 4 elements, but I think it's interesting to leave them combined, similar to the oracle mysteries or sorcerer bloodlines. Thank you all for your feedback, and I look forward to hearing more constructive feedback.


Mr Dice Guy wrote:

A ninja with a major in magic and double minor in melee and stealth could be a Naruto.

I personally would NEVER call Naruto a ninja. Recent piss-poor anime tends to take old words and things and re-define them into something completely different. This and an anime called "Darker Than Black" are two that come to mind.

I will not discuss this specific anime any more to keep from a thread jack.

The key aspects of ninja usually is their ability to be stealthy. Some have a secondary focus on fighting, and more historical ninja I have found have a secondary focus on manipulation.


Name Violation wrote:

Naruto is not ninja

Hot topic is not punk rock

AGREED!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Name Violation wrote:

Naruto is not ninja

Hot topic is not punk rock
AGREED!

Disagreed.

Naruto is not the concept of 'ninja' you are familiar with. Hot topic is not the concept of 'punk' you are familiar with. But both are considered such by others.

Dark Archive

Quote "Hot Topic uses contrived identification with youth sub- cultures to manufacture an antiauthoritarian identity and make millions. That $8 you paid for the Mudvayne poster would be better spent used for seeing your brother's friend's band. DIY ethics are punk rock! Starting your own label is punk rock! GG Allin was punk rock! But when a crass corporate vulture feeds on mass consumer culture, then spending Mommy's money is not punk rock!"


Off topic: Sasuke was a ninja. In the beginning.

Besides that, I like some of the ideas here a lot. Especially using ki to cast spells (though I also agree that the class would quickly suffer from a lack of ki for this reason) and the elements representing more than mystical ninjutsu (like skills and combat style).

I completely agree with the idea that there are different kinds of ninja. I would propose a fourth (mobility), but I think all ninjas have to be pretty mobile. Kinda goes with the territory, but I think some may be more mobile than others.

For the record, as far as Ninja Gaiden goes, sure, there's no stealth in game play, but Ryu is a badass, and he's sneaky so long as it doesn't get in the way of slaughtering monsters, demons, and brainwashed military-drones. That would be my choice of play style for a ninja anyway. At least the first go around.


Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Mr Dice Guy wrote:

A ninja with a major in magic and double minor in melee and stealth could be a Naruto.

I personally would NEVER call Naruto a ninja. Recent piss-poor anime tends to take old words and things and re-define them into something completely different. This and an anime called "Darker Than Black" are two that come to mind.

I will not discuss this specific anime any more to keep from a thread jack.

The key aspects of ninja usually is their ability to be stealthy. Some have a secondary focus on fighting, and more historical ninja I have found have a secondary focus on manipulation.

While I completely agree that the titular character himself is a miserable failure of a ninja, there are ninja in naruto that actually stick closer to the trope.

Secondly, from what I've read (although I could have had bad sources) a fair number of what you see in naruto is derived from, based on, or at least somewhat fall into line with mythological powers some ninja supposedly used.

And third... honestly for what it's worth? I LIKE that Naruto (the show, not the retard in the orange jumpsuit himself) did away with the classical 'ninja pajamas.' Those things are almost as dumb as that orange jumpsuit. Nothing says "don't pay attention to me, I'm only a dedicated assassin who's going to kill you" like a universal uniform. (Granted the headbands kind of give it away in Naruto, but at least they're cool and different.)


I have to agree with the Wiki definition. It is very close the the one I researched a long time ago, as well as what others I know have found.

The key problem with the class of people called "Ninja" in this anime is that they lack the initial and key aspect of what a ninja is supposed to do. Be stealthy and unknown. Walking around with a headband saying "I am a ninja and I am fright this clan". These headbands were thought up because it was catchy, a form of simple vision symbology, would sell for tens if not hundreds of millions of profit in fan collectibles and apparel; but with this single corporate decision they broke, to me at least, the one thing ninja needed to be, unknown. A real ninja would never wear anything at all defining themselves as ninja as hiding in plane sight was too important to what they had to do. Now if you disagree with that, that is fine, but you might want to stop reading. However I will agree they are a "Ninja" as they are using their own definition of ninja, which is right, but only in their own world. This is word re-defining, and in my opinion is a very cheap writing tool that does well in profits in anime, and is a common tactic. An example of this is the anime Darker than Black.

Wiki Definition of Ninja:
Wiki wrote:

A ninja (&#24525;&#32773;?) or shinobi (&#24525;&#12403;?) was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations.[1] The ninja, using covert methods of waging war, were contrasted with the samurai, who had strict rules about honor and combat.[2]

In his Buke My&#333;mokush&#333;, military historian Hanawa Hokinoichi writes of the ninja:
“ They travelled in disguise to other territories to judge the situation of the enemy, they would inveigle their way into the midst of the enemy to discover gaps, and enter enemy castles to set them on fire, and carried out assassinations, arriving in secret.[3] ”

The origin of the ninja is obscure and difficult to determine, but can be surmised to be around the 14th century.[4] However, the antecedents to the Ninja may have existed as early as the Heian[5] and early Kamakura eras.[6] Few written records exist to detail the activities of the ninja. The word shinobi did not exist to describe a ninja-like agent until the 15th century, and it is unlikely that spies and mercenaries prior to this time were seen as a specialized group. In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th - 17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire arose out of the Iga and K&#333;ga regions of Japan, and it is from these clans that much of later knowledge regarding the ninja is inferred. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, the ninja descended again into obscurity.[7] However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, manuals such as the Bansenshukai (1676) — often centered around Chinese military philosophy — appeared in significant numbers.[8] These writings revealed an assortment of philosophies, religious beliefs, their application in warfare, as well as the espionage techniques that form the basis of the ninja's art. The word ninjutsu would later come to describe a wide variety of practices related to the ninja.

The mysterious nature of the ninja has long captured popular imagination in Japan, and later the rest of the world. Ninjas figure prominently in folklore and legend, and as a result it is often difficult to separate historical fact from myth. Some legendary abilities include invisibility, walking on water, and control over natural elements. The ninja is also prevalent in popular culture, appearing in many forms of entertainment media.

In the anime called Darker than Black a class of super being is called "Contractor". Now naturally the term contractor is used to refer to someone usually in the construction field. This anime seems refer to them as super beings. They go on and re-define other words like "Moratorium" witch refers to a legal waiting period, but because it sounds morbid and is another legal term they re-defined it to a super being that is out of control. So like with "Ninja" in this anime, they just took a popular and/or cool sounding name to sell stuff, never mind actual definition. This particular anime is very irritating to me as it seems more like Sesame Street in their use of terms. It feels like it is trying to get its viewers familiar with terms they would have to get used to in the real world; very childish if you ask me.

Edit: A contrast to this is the recent anime Spice and Wolf. It uses unique personalities with real history, and in a mostly quasi real-word beliefs. There is no re-definition of words. There is little corporate planting of sell-able stuff, non really other than maybe a set of clip on tail and ears, but even then this is used as an actual plot device in the anime. Another older example is Akira, here words are more direct in what they are supposed to mean. Akira means "bright boy:, which is what Akira was.


Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
A contrast to this is the recent anime Spice and Wolf. It uses unique personalities with real history, and in a mostly quasi real-word beliefs. There is no re-definition of words. There is little corporate planting of sell-able stuff, non really other than maybe a set of clip on tail and ears, but even then this is used as an actual plot device in the anime.

Off Topic Alert:
Ah, man, I LOVE Spice and Wolf. It has driven me to the point that I rolled a rogue and dumped combat stats in favor of mental attributes. Went for the 20 Charisma (and rolled a nat 20 on her attractiveness, which is a house-thingy) dumped points into diplomacy and appraise and such...

She is a traveling merchant, and the DM used her as the launching point of the campaign. :D I'd personally like to try a 10-pt buy with little-to-no magic and go for something similar.

I forget where I read this, but it seems like there was a book on different ninjutsu. A book of fire techniques, which described ways to use fire as a misdirection tool, if memory serves right; burning something on one side of the village while the rest of the "ninjas" infiltrated the other (naturally the villagers would run to douse the flames and leave little protection on the side being exploited). Water techniques were probably similar to the trick Hanzo Hattori is supposed to have used to get Ieyasu's favor (BASICALLY he snorkled down a stream/creek/river with a bamboo shoot or something and appeared elsewhere, completely confounding the soldiers). Wood techniques would have been things like camouflage. You get the idea.

Koton wasn't "Burning Heaven Fireball Dragon Blast" it was just a technique that utilized fire as a tool. [nod] It makes infinitely more sense that way. But on the other hand, it detracts from the mystique of the ninja and turns them into nothing more than illusionists, like magicians in Las Vegas. Misdirection, manipulation. Things that any character with a creative player could do.

While I am all for keeping a measure of reality in a game to help anchor the player and keep them immersed, I think that in a world where wizards summon giant monsters and fighters carry thundering greatswords of vorpal doom, ninjas can be afforded a few off the wall abilities that pertain more to their mystical image.

EDIT: Why do we feel like a ninja HAS to have "Sudden Strike" or "Sneak Attack" to function...? I just asked myself this and decided that if I were playing a ninja, I wouldn't care if I didn't have that. I'd want to do other ninja-y things. Storms of shuriken, ghostly images, insane mobility (wall running ftw!), and intimidation tactics, maybe some magic-like ninjutsu for those moments when it might feel appropriate...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Foghammer wrote:
Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
A contrast to this is the recent anime Spice and Wolf. It uses unique personalities with real history, and in a mostly quasi real-word beliefs. There is no re-definition of words. There is little corporate planting of sell-able stuff, non really other than maybe a set of clip on tail and ears, but even then this is used as an actual plot device in the anime.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
These two posts just made my day. I want Spice and Wolf season 2 released stateside already.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Foghammer wrote:
Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
A contrast to this is the recent anime Spice and Wolf. It uses unique personalities with real history, and in a mostly quasi real-word beliefs. There is no re-definition of words. There is little corporate planting of sell-able stuff, non really other than maybe a set of clip on tail and ears, but even then this is used as an actual plot device in the anime.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

have you tried checking for fansubs?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I have the fansub, I want the English dubs so I can share it with friends. :P


Of course I am building a Ninja class, perhaps based on Monk as well, for my Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting. And I'm hedging towards what Foghammer is saying above.

Yes, Ninja are considered assassins as part of their job, whereas they are mostly spies, however, I see no reason whatsoever to use Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike or any of that. As far as sneak attack goes, that's a rogue ability. Why diminish the rogue by taking one of his main abilities.

I'd rather my Ninja assassinate with poison, than rely on massive precision damage.

I'm more inclined to throw SA out the window, as Ninja don't need it. By taking it out, it leaves space for more specialized skills, talents and ki power use. That IMO, would make a better ninja, and not look like an oriental rogue.

Perhaps include alternate class features that could replace existing ones, and in that list include Sneak Attack as an option, but not as the base ninja.

YMMV

GP


Ok, I'm going to jack the thread back.

For discussion on Naruto, take it to the television forums. Naruto is not the first place to have ninjas using chakra/ki, nor is it the first appearance of ninjutsu. Look at Ninja Gaiden or Shining Force II. I have made no mention on Naruto, Headbands, "Ninja pajamas", or orange jump suits. If you want your character to dress like a Narutard, ask your DM if that will give you an equipment penalty. If you want ninja pajamas, go right ahead. If you want to use the classic disguise and infiltrate method, this archtype has the tools.

Ninjas are assassins, using stealth, poisons, and disguises. Certain ninja lore include incredible mobility, ninjutsu or other "ninja magic," combat prowess, and the like. I tried to encompass some or most of it into the archtype.

Constructive criticism please, not b#!~@ing about anime.

gamer-printer wrote:

I'd rather my Ninja assassinate with poison, than rely on massive precision damage.

I'm more inclined to throw SA out the window, as Ninja don't need it. By taking it out, it leaves space for more specialized skills, talents and ki power use. That IMO, would make a better ninja, and not look like an oriental rogue.

Perhaps include alternate class features that could replace existing ones, and in that list include Sneak Attack as an option, but not as
the base ninja.

There really isn't too much more one can do with poisons, especially once you have it as a swift action. Being able to do it as a free action or multiple times in a turn is nice, making it last more than a single blow, or increasing the DC are all fun ideas, but I think the alchemist already has that, so really it's the same "dipping into another class" idea.

It's an interesting idea to make sneak attack as an option, but I really have no idea how I would implement it. Would it be like a rogue talent that you'd have to take multiple times to stack the damage? Make it so there are other options to replace it if you choose a different style (i.e. make it exclusive to katon and give the other styles comparable abilities)?


I've been working on a race book for my Kaidan setting, doing Kappa at the moment. There is the base racial write up, and working on a paragon class, but looking at preferred classes through the archetype concept for the APG, we've opted to create alternate racial features that like an archetype replaces existing race features with completely different ones, that still emulate the kappa of legendary Japan, but go a completely different direction. For example the base Kappa has Natural Wrestler as a class feature (rules on CMB and CMD, and how the Kappa doesn't suffer from his small size with combat maneuver penalties). In the alternate features, one can replace Natural Wrestler with Kami-Friend. Kami-Friend grants saving throw bonuses, abilities to cast several 1st level spells, once per day each.

So in looking at that methodology towards a Ninja class, Sneak Attack (or whatever you call your version) is a feature improved every even level. So pick another kind of ability: using magic, double the size of the ki pool with an expansive list of ki powers, or other - and completely pull SA from the feature list and replace with another feature that improves every even level. Or two or more abilities that otherwise fill those SA slots in progression.

A one for one exchange of class features, as an archetype of Ninja might be. So now its a choice of options among players, and GM's discretion on what he will allow.

Making SA a rogue talent might be worth looking at also, but I was thinking of replacing it entirely, as an alternate archetype ability.

So you write up your base class, then create a list of alternate class features that replace this ability, with an existing one of the class. Create your Ninja (monk archetype) but look at as a base class, then create archetypes that offer different versions based on altered class features...

Does that make any sense?

Also I agree that poison is in better hands with the Alchemist, so I might have to think of another method of killing beyond poison and precision damage.

Originally my Ninja was to be a prestige class requiring four levels of monk, plus at least a single level as: alchemist, fighter, ranger, rogue or sorcerer - this way a Ninja has a ki pool, slow fall, fast movement, good saves, plus ability with poisons/bombs, melee, wilderness, magic, or additional stealth abilities. I recognize the alchemist skill as something that a Ninja might want to have.

I haven't made a firm decision whether I want a new base class or prestige class, but since the release of the APG, prestige class direction is much less than as it started for me. I think Ninja as a Monk archetype would serve better.

I do like how your thoughts are going, but my Ninja would be rather different than your write up.

GP


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I have the fansub, I want the English dubs so I can share it with friends. :P

Spoiler:
Season 2 did NOT end on a good note in my opinion. I am waiting on volumes 4-6 of the light novels to come out in English so I can see if they go beyond the anime. The ending really left me frustrated for all the building tension. It's a really good anime though, and while I normally prefer dubs, I think Lawrence's dub voice is a bit on the annoying side. I will definitely be buying it IF they make a third season with a real ending.

The majority of the thread is on track, and the deviation seems to have ended with the post prior to your own. I can't speak for anyone else, but I've spoiler-tagged my own off-topic comments. Being antagonistic doesn't make you look mature. A simple "Hey, let's stay on topic" would suffice.

I was working on making a ninja archetype for the monk as well, and I am starting to think it would be best built from scratch, even if it borrows a lot from the monk. I would remove unarmed damage scaling, remove the flat AC bonus, give ninjas access to light armor only, and slow the fast movement progression considerably. EDIT: Also, writing up the Ninja from scratch with a generic framework would allow different kinds of ninjas to be built through archetypes: combat ninjas, mystic ninjas, living shadows, etc...

I also had a really nifty idea for making ninjas rely more on Charisma. Like the monk adds his Wisdom to AC, let the ninja add his Charisma modifier to AC and attribute it to the natural fear of the unknown. Ninja are mysterious, and nothing is more commonly accused of being scary than something you don't/can't comprehend. That frightful presence could work to the ninja's advantage; maybe the enemy hesitated to attack and that split second allowed the attack to be dodged. I think that is the aspect that should be played up. The mystery of the ninja. Make them full of (Ex) and a few (Su) abilities. I'd rather they didn't get HiPS or other such abilities that are stupid-hard to work out in play.

Fast misdirection, evasion, shuriken flurries, combat maneuvers, high mobility, and supernatural unease... Just trying to pin them down in a description is as difficult as fighting one!


Rionus Nailo wrote:

Ok, I'm going to jack the thread back.

For discussion on Naruto, take it to the television forums. Naruto is not the first place to have ninjas using chakra/ki, nor is it the first appearance of ninjutsu. Look at Ninja Gaiden or Shining Force II. I have made no mention on Naruto, Headbands, "Ninja pajamas", or orange jump suits. If you want your character to dress like a Narutard, ask your DM if that will give you an equipment penalty. If you want ninja pajamas, go right ahead. If you want to use the classic disguise and infiltrate method, this archtype has the tools.

I was merely going with the discussion as for media sources for designing a class; specifically defining how poor a particular media source was for designing an arch-atypical class or mod, and supporting this a with quote relevant to the point and the total conversation at hand as well as similar and contrasting examples showing the quality of the source mentioned (and to also show I was not completely unbiased in a hate toward anime).

P.S. I made no reference to anything in this anime, Naruto, or its fans in a purely hateful and unsupported manor. So please refrain from pushing my argument aside simply because it is a commonly hated anime and fan base.


I'm sorry if I came off as antagonistic. Unfortunately, it is easy to mistake commenting on the headbands as a sales tactic as complaining about an anime as opposed to siting media, and I apologize if I jumped the gun a little. Believe me, I do appreciate the feedback of history/legend/lore about ninjas, as I do want to make the Ninja have the right "feel."

Foghammer wrote:
I also had a really nifty idea for making ninjas rely more on Charisma. Like the monk adds his Wisdom to AC, let the ninja add his Charisma modifier to AC and attribute it to the natural fear of the unknown. Ninja are mysterious, and nothing is more commonly accused of being scary than something you don't/can't comprehend. That frightful presence could work to the ninja's advantage; maybe the enemy hesitated to attack and that split second allowed the attack to be dodged. I think that is the aspect that should be played up. The mystery of the ninja. Make them full of (Ex) and a few (Su) abilities. I'd rather they didn't get HiPS or other such...

Forgive my n00bness, but what is HiPS?

I also like the idea of charisma based ability, especially since bluff and disguise are useful skills for a ninja. My major concern is that Monks already suffer from MAD (str, dex, con, wis), and while adding sneak attack and ninjutsu help alleviate the need for str, adding cha to the mix is going to make things difficult.

Also, Storms of shuriken is already included, as Flurry of Blows explicitly says you can use shuriken. Wall running is a neat idea though.

gamer-printer wrote:
Originally my Ninja was to be a prestige class requiring four levels of monk, plus at least a single level as: alchemist, fighter, ranger, rogue or sorcerer - this way a Ninja has a ki pool, slow fall, fast movement, good saves, plus ability with poisons/bombs, melee, wilderness, magic, or additional stealth abilities. I recognize the alchemist skill as something that a Ninja might want to have.

Not to be antagonistic, but making a single PrC with that broad of a range of 2nd class options would be difficult at best. With all PrC's by Paizo, there is no explicit class level requirements. So the Ninja PrC requirements would look something like: Ki Pool Class feature, plus one of the following: Alchemy, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Sneak Attack, or ability to spontaneously cast 1st level arcane spells. I shudder to think how the class abilities of the PrC would look, to make different abilities to add on to different 2nd classes. One other "problem" is that the monk alignment requirement would make your ninja always Lawful, which kind of goes against the whole assassination theme.

Here's the class features so far:

Quote:

Uses bard "Spells Known"

1 - Bonus Feat, Flurry of Blows, Ki Pool, Ninjutsu (1st), Hidden Strike 1d6
2 - Bonus Feat, Evasion
3 - Fast Movement, maneuver training, still mind, Bonus Spell
4 - Improved Ki pool, Slow fall, Ninjutsu (2nd)
5 - High Jump, Hidden Strike 2d6
6 - Bonus feat, Bonus Spell
7 - Ninjutsu (3rd)
8 -
9 - Improved Evasion, Hidden Strike 3d6, Bonus Spell
10 - bonus feat, Ninjutsu (4th)
11 -
12 - Abundant step, Bonus Spell
13 - Ninjutsu (5th), Hidden Strike 4d6
14 - bonus feat
15 - quivering palm, Bonus Spell
16 - Ninjutsu (6th)
17 - Hidden Strike 5d6
18 - bonus feat, Bonus Spell
19 -
20 - Master Strike

"Dead levels" at 8 and 11 aren't so bad because you get an extra attack on your flurry of blows, but 19 is pretty sad.

If we want to separate out Hidden Strike and use them as "ninja talents," we could also make still mind, slow fall, high jump, abundant step, quivering palm, poison use, swift poison use, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, "turn hidden strike into sneak attack", "flurry of blows with any proficient weapon," wall run, and create additional talents as well. This does have precedent (ranger: skirmisher), however, it starts moving very far from the Monk base class in favor of customization.

Also, instead of having opposition-school "spells" have to be 3 levels lower, it could be 1 level lower like the other schools, but cost extra ki. Thoughts?


Foghammer wrote:
Fast misdirection, evasion, shuriken flurries, combat maneuvers, high mobility, and supernatural unease... Just trying to pin them down in a description is as difficult as fighting one!

Ooh, just had a fun idea!

Fast Misdirection: By spending 1 point of ki, the ninja may make a feint as a swift action. If the ninja has the feat improved feint, he may instead spend 1 point of ki to feint as a free action. (Limit 1 per round? A successful bluff check = 1 free sneak attack :))


Rionus Nailo wrote:

I'm sorry if I came off as antagonistic. Unfortunately, it is easy to mistake commenting on the headbands as a sales tactic as complaining about an anime as opposed to siting media, and I apologize if I jumped the gun a little. Believe me, I do appreciate the feedback of history/legend/lore about ninjas, as I do want to make the Ninja have the right "feel."

No problem. All things aside the fan-subs of the anime were a lot better, and less annoying than the dubbed version. It wasn't all that bad as far as kids anime goes ether, the first few seasons at least.


Whether I go base class or prestige class, Kaidan features five different Ninja Clans, each specialize in one aspect of ninjutsu moreso than the others.

The idea of the multiclass monk/alchemist for example goes to a Ninja house that specializes in smoke bombs and other incendiaries. Another house focuses on wilderness operations, thus monk/ranger is appropriate.

So my plan wasn't to make one kind of Ninja that applies to all those class features, rather five different localized ninja schools, each with it own specialization.

Since I plan to expand the Ki powers list, I plan to create a general Ki powers list accessable to monk, and several other ki accessable classes. Each Ninja clan has its own limited list of 10 or less ki powers only accessable to house members.

I also plan to introduce the Ki Potential Trait, for characters in Kaidan, which allow any class to get a minimal Ki Pool (at 4th level), if they take the Activate Ki feat. The Ki Potential ki pool is limited to 2 ki points. If the adherent also takes Extra Ki, they get a pool of 3 ki points. Very minimal I understand, but then a Fighter or Samurai could use ki powers in combat for a single round or two to enhance their abilities in crucial moments.

Those with Ki Potential ki pool can obtain ki powers from the General Ki Powers list.

So, no, my Ninja isn't a mess of class features as a single class, but a group of five houses with varying class features to ninja. Basically there will be five different Ninja builds for the setting.

If I go the Prestige Class route, the monk/+other class members are all called Shinobi, and must be members of Ninja clan village.

Ninja clans do not recruit those outside their families, you have to be born in the clan to become one. But of course in Kaidan birth, death and reincarnation to multiple lives is at the heart of the setting. If you aren't a ninja in this life, you might be one in the next life.

GP


gamer-printer wrote:
Whether I go base class or prestige class, Kaidan features five different Ninja Clans, each specialize in one aspect of ninjutsu moreso than the others.

Aah, I see where you're going with that now. In that case, either way would work, either 5 PrC's or 5 archtypes of an entirely new base class. I suppose that depends on how different you want to 5 clans to be. If you want them to all be similar, but with different specializations, then archtyping would probably be the way to go. However, if you want them to have significant different differences, including any difference in BAB/HD, saving throws, or you want to develop their second class (rogue/sorc/ranger) more than 1 or 2 levels, PrC is probably the way to go.

Monk/Sorc/Shinobi is going to be a tough one for you though. They will not have level 9 spells, and even if you make the ninja PrC give 10 levels of casting, they're still only an effective lvl 16 by level 20.


Rionus Nailo wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
Whether I go base class or prestige class, Kaidan features five different Ninja Clans, each specialize in one aspect of ninjutsu moreso than the others.

Aah, I see where you're going with that now. In that case, either way would work, either 5 PrC's or 5 archtypes of an entirely new base class. I suppose that depends on how different you want to 5 clans to be. If you want them to all be similar, but with different specializations, then archtyping would probably be the way to go. However, if you want them to have significant different differences, including any difference in BAB/HD, saving throws, or you want to develop their second class (rogue/sorc/ranger) more than 1 or 2 levels, PrC is probably the way to go.

Monk/Sorc/Shinobi is going to be a tough one for you though. They will not have level 9 spells, and even if you make the ninja PrC give 10 levels of casting, they're still only an effective lvl 16 by level 20.

Again, I haven't completely thought this out yet, and I don't really need to get it ready until February, but with this thread its on my mind.

One thought is to allow the Shinobi Sorcerer to take the Ki Potential Trait and Activate Ki feat, and not require any levels in monk, rather create an archetype of Sorcerer, then if going to prestige class make that particular Ninja House that Sorcerer's bloodline.

I also plan to create a specific spell list for this Shinobi Sorcerer using Kuji-Kiri or finger gestures for an all Silent Spell list, with access to most spells, but altered as automatic silent spells or just grant Silent Spell as a free bonus feat. Its one thought anyway.

Another idea is to make the alchemist/ranger/rogue as Ninja base class archetypes, and sorcerer as either just a bloodline or prestige class.

GP


gamer-printer wrote:


Yes, Ninja are considered assassins as part of their job, whereas they are mostly spies, however, I see no reason whatsoever to use Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike or any of that. As far as sneak attack goes, that's a rogue ability. Why diminish the rogue by taking one of his main abilities.

I'd rather my Ninja assassinate with poison, than rely on massive precision damage.

Well I for one think that Ninja should be a PrC of Rogue, and have little (if anything) to do with the Monk.

That is, if you are planning any sort of Ninja based on RL instead of Anime.


I have a feeling that a ninja class would be a very MAD class, though. Ruling out an overwhelming need for strength, they are still going to want a high Dex, Int, and Cha, with Wis and Con close behind.

I know charisma is not a popular attribute, but I believe that ninja rely heavily on it. Again, it's that fear of the unknown. Even during their time, ninja were supposed to have held sway over supernatural forces that made them a terror. I suppose once could fake a high charisma with a powerful intellect by creating circumstances that would enhance a mediocre charisma... But that ultimately requires a lot of work on part of the player and DM both; the player to come up with legit ninja-stuff and the DM to keep things in balance.

My brain is leaking... forgot what else I was gonna say.


Shifty wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:


Yes, Ninja are considered assassins as part of their job, whereas they are mostly spies, however, I see no reason whatsoever to use Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike or any of that. As far as sneak attack goes, that's a rogue ability. Why diminish the rogue by taking one of his main abilities.

I'd rather my Ninja assassinate with poison, than rely on massive precision damage.

Well I for one think that Ninja should be a PrC of Rogue, and have little (if anything) to do with the Monk.

That is, if you are planning any sort of Ninja based on RL instead of Anime.

First of all, I know nothing of anime, and base nothing on anime. I am Japanese and IMO, anime sucks, I don't watch, I just cringe at the thought.

Second, despite the dearth of real world knowledge on Ninja, nothing I can find historically points to a rogue as being a real life ninja. The only things I do find are the possibility of being a fallen samurai house, or a cross between yamabushi and an ascetic monk. I've been reading and having my Japanese relatives (in Japan) doing research for me, on and off for the past 20 years. The only certainty is Ninja is not a rogue. (Note: the research is in all things feudal Japan, not just ninja).

And before anyone posts a link to Wikipedia - that site is mostly built by westerners, what do they know about ninja? IMO, less than I do.

Rogues are limited to the more modern Yakuza, Huryo which are comparable to street thieves, and Gorotsuki which are roguish thugs. Old Japan had its share of thieves, robbers, etc. All of whom are of the Hinin/Eta caste. Most bandits (nobushi) and pirates (wako) are bankrupt farmers, fisherman or ronin, though not Hinin caste members.

While to a samurai the Ninja is dishonorable, and RPGs have rendered them to the Hinin/Eta caste. Ninja are most likely Commoners with some military training. Ninja are definitely not Hinin/Eta caste, and thus definitely not rogues.

I think its a completely western or D&D idea that ninja are rogues, and its just a very wrong perception.

In the end, my best educated guess is that monk fits closest to the idea of a ninja, just one that is specialized in covert activity.

@ Foghammer - the monk is definitely a class with MAD skills, so while I like the idea of a monk based Ninja, I am almost heading towards looking at monk as inspiration, but Ninja as completely its own thing, so I can build a class that has no MAD skill problems. Can I do it? I don't know, but its worth the exercise. I do consider Ninja a Ki based class however, so this is its closer connection to monk.

This doesn't negate what I say above, just that in reality, the D&D monk is not the best monk build, due to its MAD skill issues.

GP

PS: I'm creating this setting and ruleset partly to reveal some real world knowledge of old Japan, much of it untapped and not seen in any RPG system. I am not trying to please popular conceptions, rather exposing the historical truth, mixed with Japanese horror into a game format. It has as much to do with educating the public as creating a good game.


Sorry, I got 'angsty' on my last post, its just I hear that argument all the time, always said so matter-of-factly when the actual Japanese historical data on Ninja is so slim and what little there is suggests that that is not the case. Its just so misinformed.

Anyway, my last iteration of how I want to build Ninja is probably how I plan to do it.

Five archetypes and a prestige class, using Shinobi as the archetype.

In the APG for example, there exists the Investigator Rogue and Dectective Bard, two classes with similar archetypes so you can build a party of urban police commmandos or fantasy CSI.

In that line of thinking I want to create a Shinobi archetype for alchemist, ranger, rogue, sorcerer and monk, all as base classes and not multi-classes as suggested in my first post.

Its only recently that I've come up with the Ki Potential Trait and Activate Ki feat. I kind of want all classes in Kaidan to have Ki Potential (which remember is only 2 ki points total), its kind of like 'Wild Psionic Powers' from 1e/2e - everybody should be allowed access to it (yeah, I know it was d100 roll, shooting for a 00 roll). If any class in Kaidan (or any oriental setting) could have access to some Ki power, it feels more oriental. Especially if I expand the Ki powers list to do a lot more than there is now.

If everybody (in Kaidan) can have a Ki pool, then all Shinobi ought to get Activate Ki as a free bonus feat at 4th level.

So the non-monk Shinobi archetypes get access to a minimum ki pool, and thus the Ki Potential/Activate Ki is one of the necessary features that all, except monk (he's got it already) must have. A shinobi would not have to ever take the Ninja prestige class, and still belong to a Ninja organization as a necessary component to better fill the clan's niche - going a full 20 levels, if desired.

As for the Ninja prestige class, the Ki pool works as per Monk class, so any Shinobi that elect to take Ninja, will get the full Ki pool. To qualify for Ninja, of course, you have to be Shinobi, have an existing Ki Pool and born in one of the five Ninja clans with a minimum 5 HD.

I am thinking of giving Ninja the Assassin's Death Attack, than otherwise sticking to a more mystical (monkish) presentation with covert skills for a 10 level Prestige class. Also thinking (don't know if this is a too complicated of an idea) based on which Shinobi class you were prior to becoming Ninja, certain class features continue to progress - bomb making for Alchemist for example, slow fall for Monk, combat style for ranger (or divine spell access - haven't decided), SA for rogue and spell progression for Sorcerer (at least bloodline spells??)

Each ninja house would have its own Ki powers unique to it only, in addition to the general expanded ki powers that all Ki classes (all classes of Kaidan have access.)

GP


Well, I could point you to Masaaki Hatsumi for a 'source' view on what Ninjas are about, and after spending a decade training Ninjutsu under Japanese teachers, and people who have studied the art and its history extensively in Japan I have some fairly firm views.

Ninja are not really a full BAB warrior class, as weapons are simply a utilitarian tool used to achieve an objective.

As equally, if not more important, was the development of personal skills to achieve the mission. Disguise, Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, Linguistics and Profession skills all required development.

Physical skills of stealth and disable device as well as climbing and acrobatics are also important, as is perception.

Where do we see all this?

The Rogue.

The fighting arts of the ninja were not honed every day in the same way as the Samurai, because there was no great need to stand there 'fighting' toe to toe - if a weapon was drawn it was to deliver a well placed shot and then leave - we see this as a sneak attack. 'Fencing' with an opponent would be a poor choice, as the Ninja weapons were not of high quality (generally) and made of inferior materials to a dedicated weapon system, such as a Katana. Indeed, the Ninja was mainly concerned with getting in and out unobserved, and if found out, was chiefly concerned with fleeing - using distractions and misdirection to get away.

I get what you say that Rogue = Yakuza, and that is ONE use of the class. Samurai = Warrior, yet so does a spear wielding tribesman from a jungle, or medieval swordsman. A Wizard could be Wujen, a Priest could be Shukenja. A 'Class' is simply a set of skills, not always a literal interpretation.

The mystical elements of Ninjitsu can be rolled back in, but they could easily be Rogue talents based on them using Kuji-In and taking minor magic use.

Track down Masaaki Hatsumis books, and watch Shinobi winds - a Ninja skillset is very much a rouges.

If you want to get heavily into the history of the art, I recommend you head over to Martial Arts Planet forums and look up the user group there - you will find both endless amounts of historical information, all thoroughly scrutinised and subjected to vigourous acadmic research and review, as well as people who are well steeped in the 'no BS' side of the art.


I haven't read those book, but I have been to that martial arts site.

The problem is what constitutes as a 'ninja school' in modern Japan is not the same thing it was in the 17th century and before. Kind of like how all modern Japanese martial arts are '-do' instead of '-jutsu'. The level of training has left the original kill/disable your opponent to an agressive, but philosophical study and improvement of oneself - which was a part of the original martial arts, but the true techniques that made them killing arts were removed during the Meiji Era by imperial decree (circa 1900).

Note: modern martial arts certainly can still kill and disable, but the bulk of such training is a pale comparison from before the Meiji era.

Ninja was such an extreme secret (at the time) that to most Japanese (at the time) considered them a myth, or a scary rumor. So little was known as ninja aren't supposed to exist, thus they are that much more invisible. The Ninja did not write down their techniques. So a modern Ninja school is a fictional collection of martial arts techniques developed in modern times. I do not believe that the Ninjutsu schools are real reflections of the lost arts. The fact that they are known to exist dissuades any reality that they are truly ninja schools.

The only official documentation of ninja activity were in Shogun reports where they were hired - thus they are real, most everything else is speculation.

Although Japan used some modern ninja methods during WW2, they were even then shadows of the true ninja houses that almost cease to exist at the beginning of the Tokugawa Era, once the greater peace was firmly established. This means true ninja basically disappeared as an institution about 1700. Could something have survived beyond that? Perhaps, but its not recorded nor truly exposed.

This is the kind of information I've learned in the last twenty years, from Universities in Japan, and where one of my cousins is professor of History at the University of Kobe. So whose right? Don't know for sure, but I will rely on my sources first, but not discount any, yet take all with a grain a salt.

GP


gamer-printer wrote:

This is the kind of information I've learned in the last twenty years, from Universities in Japan, and where one of my cousins is professor of History at the University of Kobe. So whose right? Don't know for...

Going to leave you to it then, and simply agree to disagree with you.

Indeed, what is taught today is probably fairly different to what happened eight hundred years ago, but you expect that in any 'living art'.
What is also true is that people studying an art are also likely to be keen on getting to the bottom of what is 'authentic' and what is 'Bullshido'.

Grabbing yourself a copy of the book 'Ninjutsu - history and tradition' would probably be the most basic step for anyone interested in the subject, and its author is the current Soke, with a lineage extending back to the mists of time.

It's really not that speculative, and its not that a shogun hired them = they exist, you can go and have a peek at the relics and historical pieces. As I say, track down Shinobi Winds.

http://www.amazon.com/Ninjutsu-History-Tradition-Masaaki-Hatsumi/dp/0865680 272

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C_VRjGRDAk

Sorry, it just bothers me that people poorly portray Ninja in an 1980's style, with them jumping out of trees and doing kung-fu in black pyjamas. That misrepresentation is cultural vandalism, and it annoys me to see it... especially if you have spent as long as you say you have looking into the subject, surely you would want a more accuate portratyal than seeing a comic portrayal turning Ninja into the bad joke of the martial arts world?


Shifty wrote:
Sorry, it just bothers me that people poorly portray Ninja in an 1980's style, with them jumping out of trees and doing kung-fu in black pyjamas. That misrepresentation is cultural vandalism, and it annoys me to see it... especially if you have spent as long as you say you have looking into the subject, surely you would want a more accuate portratyal than seeing a comic portrayal turning Ninja into the bad joke of the martial arts world?

I can accept that.

In the end, I'm not trying to build an historically accurate and realistic depiction of feudal Japan. I'm building a mystical, magical, Japanese horror inspired setting based on authentic culture, folklore, religion, and some borrowed events from history. Its not even Japan, its Kaidan, its own fictional place, based on a curse that was uttered at the end of the Genpei War in 1185, and created a pocket dimension that became Kaidan.

There's onmyoji wizards, and henge, kappa, tengu - why, oh why would I want to relegate ninja to what some believe they really are?? I'm designing for D&D/Pathfinder, not Sengoku - this is fantasy fun, remember?

GP

PS: the black pajama aren't in Kaidan, I don't want to further drag a Kabuki stage hand costume to represent a Ninja - I give boxed text info on actual Japan facts throughout the publication, and one specifically deals with this myth. Our disagreement is based on what we think a ninja should have in skills (base class), not what they look like. My understanding of ninja has nothing to do with the 20th century, some 1980's POV? - not here. More legend than fact? Certainly, its Pathfinder.


gamer-printer wrote:
There's onmyoji wizards, and henge, kappa, tengu - why, oh why would I want to relegate ninja to what some believe they really are?? I'm designing for D&D/Pathfinder, not Sengoku - this is fantasy fun, remember?

OK fair enough, as long as we are building mystical magical Ninja, and not then trying to claim we are building historically accurate ones :)

Just call them Shinobi.

But if you do that, you kinda have to leave them running around in the mythical Kabuki outfits, as opposed to the 'blending in costumes' they would really wear.

On the other hand, I always thoroughly enjoy reading a well written Oriental fantasy setting (Oriental Adventures was my favourite 1st Ed book) - I just have never found a group interested in playing in it.
I love Kurosawa's Samurai epics, and I also love classic Hong Kong cinema.
I can accept history and cheese in the same sitting.


Coinciding with the release of each adventure (3 of them) will be a Map Pack, a PC race/paragon/archetypes book, a Class book, all as separate PDF's. The Ninja class book will come out with adventure 3. Then in May 2011, a print compilation of the whole will be available.

The book will go into detail about no Kabuki black suits, a Ninja dresses like a farmer, monk, merchant, ashigaru - whatever disguise best fits his current mission. So if you're caught, you say you're a lost farmer. If you're caught in black suit, your are either a lost stage hand or will probably just get decapitated on sight.

Each ninja house will have a history, and necessary details to differentiate one from the other. It will work, I don't need kabuki suits to sell the concept. I'll try to minimize the cheese and keep them mystical at the same time - a challenge I know. :)

GP

PS: all my points about historical research is so that I can create a better fiction using aspects of the truth - I never claimed the goal is truly historical accuracy, rather true Japanese folklore, if you get my drift.

PPS: I've played Oriental Adventures 1e as well, and did find a group to play it. My goal of trying to create a new RPG genre of Asian Horror, is my twist, that I hope will intrigue an audience to want to play, more than the average fantasy Japan.

PPPS: Kurosawa's RAN is one of my most favorite movies of all time.


gamer-printer wrote:

PPS: I've played Oriental Adventures 1e as well, and did find a group to play it. My goal of trying to create a new RPG genre of Asian Horror, is my twist, that I hope will intrigue an audience to want to play, more than the average fantasy Japan.

PPPS: Kurosawa's RAN is one of my most favorite movies of all time.

Asian Kung-Fu horror (fine example - Chinese Ghost Story)

Chinese Ghost Story.

PS: Excellent taste - I saw Kagemusha at the cinema in 1981 and was instantly hooked. Thus began my foray into Martial Arts :)

Grand Lodge

Good luck on your project, but I will add to what another poster added - don't get hung up on the word 'Rogue' and its translation into Japanese. Yakuzaka were rogues, sure but using the 'class' a rogue can be everything from a pirate, to an acrobat thief to even a swashbuckler... heck, I even made a Surgeon once... for that matter don't get too hung up on the word Monk - its merely the follower of a martial discipline.

Then on top of that you can add multiclassing to help you reach a 'concept' of a spellcasting/mystical stealth expert - Arcane Trickster is just as valid a direction to press in as Assassin or shadow dancer. The names are merely labels, its the effect thats important.

What it looks like you are making is a new class (based on another) with its own archtypes to provide the flavor you need... which is cool if thats what you need it to be.

Not sure if you ever played SAGA edition Star Wars or not but the way they used the 5 base classes allowed the disassociation of Class = concept... Classes became what you used to build your concept, and using this dipping into and between classes gave you what you needed to fit the end concept irrespective of WHAT the class was called. You could be a Jedi without taking a single level of Jedi class or a soldier without a single level of 'soldier' class.

For my 10 cents a Monk archtype that allowed the expenditure of Ki points to add +5 to stealth rolls for a round would give the character 'supernatural' stealth would work fine.

Removal of Knowledge religion for Survival makes sense... and is a simple change that fits the archtype philosophy. Still Mind and Purity of body could be changed for Sneak attack and fit the APG way of doing things easily enough with minimal complications.

I made a perfectly good human ninja once by using my level 1 and race feat as Skill focus: Stealth and taking the 'Stealthy' feat. What I ended up with was a martial artist who was a stealth expert. Short Sword IS a monk weapon, as is spear... so with a 'Ninja-to' (yeah, I know its cheezy and not historically accurate) and a Bo staff that could convert into a spear, and a pouch of shuriken and a background story that included a clan and that allowed me to use Bluff as a class skill (a trait iirc) I was a 'Ninja', not a 'Monk'

Liberty's Edge

Rionus Nailo wrote:
So, for a while I've been been tossing around the idea of making a ninja class in the style of APG class archtypes.

I think it would work better as a Ranger Variant.

Replace Favored Enemy with Armor training

Replace Combat feats with fast movement.

Replace Favored Terrain with Poison Use.

Replace endurance with evasion.

Replace 9th level evasion with improved evasion...etc...

Make this the spell list

1- Endure Elements , Obscuring Mist , True Strike , Memory Lapse ,Disguise Self ,Vanish , Cause Fear , Animate Rope , Expeditious Retreat , Feather Fall , Jump , Stone Fist ,Magic Weapon, Summon Nature’s Ally I, Produce Flame.
2 - Protection from Arrows , Fog Cloud , Dust of Twilight , Detect Thoughts , See Invisibility ,Daze Monster , Darkness , Blur , Invisibility , Blindness/Deafness , False Life , Scare , Accelerate Poison , Alter Self ,Cat's Grace,Darkvision, Codespeak Glide , Knock , Levitate , Pyrotechnics ,Spider Climb, Summon Nature’s Ally II
3- Nondetection , Arcane Sight , Tongues , Heroism , Suggestion , Major Image , Blink , Gaseous Form , Fly , Haste , Keen Edge, Versatile Weapon.Water Breathing, Summon Nature’s Ally III
4 - Stoneskin , Dimension Door , Solid Fog , Detect Scrying , Locate Creature , Scrying , Aura of the Unremarkable, Invisibility, Greater , Shadow Projection , Summon Nature’s Ally IV

I also made an entire class, that could be made a variant instead.


I don't disagree, but if you dropped Ki powers from Monk, called a Monk a Rogue, its almost the same idea too. A monk has Stealth, Perception as class skills. If you add Disguise and Bluff or replace other skills with those it fits, it looks like a rogue or a monk.

Now if I were a rogue, both fast movement, and slow fall are very ideal rogue skills - they could almost be rogue talents. My rogues would love to be able to do that. You'd just need to add Disable Device (and anybody can take that).

The point is the PF Monk could work as a reflavored rogue. Don't get caught up in class names - I agree. Why couldn't monk work as a base Ninja, a monk's abilities already seem very Ninja like.

Whenever I hear the "ninja should be a rogue in PF", above is what first comes to mind.

I do want to minimize the monk's MAD skill issue, but a monk still makes a viable Ninja, as much as a rogue might as well.

Let's turn this around, I could build a Ninja Ranger archetype just as easy. Now its full BAB, but has stealth skills, swap out divine casting with a ki powers list, and create alternate combat styles with shuriken or chain weapons - voilla, you've got a completely different flavored Ninja. Lots of classes work as a ninja, and in doing 5 archetypes for Shinobi. In the end I don't even have to create a prestige class, I just want to so all my shinobi archetypes could gain a more common skillset as a prestige class Ninja.

Other ninja fans are hung up on it being a rogue, when almost any class could emulate some aspect of any other class (except martial vs. caster).

GP

Grand Lodge

ciretose wrote:

I think it would work better as a Ranger Variant.

Ooooh - not bad, very good in fact... I'd throw in unarmed combat as replacement or an additional option for Combat feats with some sort of staggering mechanism that doesnt make Ranger Archtype better at unarmed combat than the Monk... say, no ability to flurry blows.

Maybe Level 2 feat - Weapon training. Unarmed Combat - gain feat and Monk damage as if 1st level monk. Level 6 feat = choice of stunning fist, Gorgon’s Fist, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, and Mobility and Damage as a 4th level monk

Level 10 feat, damage as level level 8 monk and choice of the following feats: Improved Critical, Medusa’s Wrath, Snatch Arrows, and Spring Attack.

Liberty's Edge

Helaman wrote:
ciretose wrote:

I think it would work better as a Ranger Variant.

Ooooh - not bad, very good in fact... I'd throw in unarmed combat as replacement or an additional option for Combat feats with some sort of staggering mechanism that doesnt make Ranger Archtype better at unarmed combat than the Monk... say, no ability to flurry blows.

Maybe Level 2 feat - Weapon training. Unarmed Combat - gain feat and Monk damage as if 1st level monk. Level 6 feat = choice of stunning fist, Gorgon’s Fist, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, and Mobility and Damage as a 4th level monk

Level 10 feat, damage as level level 8 monk and choice of the following feats: Improved Critical, Medusa’s Wrath, Snatch Arrows, and Spring Attack.

I would be ok with unarmed combat, but not giving bonuses to is as you would the monk since the ninja is still more of a weapon master IMHO.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Database Pimp wrote:
Once you get this to a final form, would you consider adding this to the Pathfinder Database?

I've been thinking of submitting soem of my PrC's to that wonderful site.


Along with Ciretose, I agree a Ranger variant would also work quite well... of course, not sure about Animal companion, unless you want to add Tengu to the allowed creatures :p

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