The ninja class for 5e Oriental Adventures. You could argue that the assassin archetype fits the ninja quite well but historically the ninja was as much a spy as an assassin. I have used the assassin as the base archetype but added more spy and mystical type abilities to the ninja’s repertoire.
Ninjas are the invisible warriors; spies and assassins practised in the skills of concealment, stealth, trickery, disguise, acrobatics, and assassination. They possess a number of special powers and use many unique devices. Their abilities and reputations are clouded in mystery. Many ascribe supernatural powers to them. The ninjas have done nothing to discourage these stories and may very well spread the tales themselves. Such confusion only enhances their reputations, inspiring more terror at the mere mention of their name.
A note on shinobis. In Japan, shinobi and ninja are interchangeable terms. However, in this particular instance, shinobi is more of an upfront fighter than a ninja using some stealth but otherwise taking opponents head-on. This is reflected in the ninja tricks that are labelled with shinobi – they emphasise combat over stealth.
THE IRON CODE
Ninja follow the Iron Code of the Shinobi. Failure to uphold the code results in the expulsion from their family – and potentially execution if the infraction was heinous enough:
To maintain a strong body, with loyalty, bravery, stratagem, skills, and belief.
To be gentle and faithful with less desire, to value academies, to remember obligations – in particular to one’s master.
To be eloquent, to read domestic and foreign books, to be wise enough not to be cheated by anyone.
To know providence, to master the teachings of Buddhism and Confucianism, and to realize one’s destiny.
To respect ancient, domestic and foreign ethos, to wear a heroic temper.
To be called a good man usually without arguing with anyone.
To have a tidy family and relatives, never to betray anyone and abuse ninjutsu.
To travel around all countries, and to know the customs and manners of each land well.
To have a talent for literature, to excel in writing and to possess a talent for and a keen understanding of military affairs.
To acquire artistic accomplishments like singing and dancing, traditional Japanese music, making impressions of others, and to utilize them when necessary.
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with the disguise kit and the poisoner’s kit. You also consider eggshell bombs as a tool and gain proficiency in their use. They never break in your hands and you may add your proficiency bonus to the DC and/or damage of the bomb as a flat bonus.
Starting at 3rd level, your training allows you to harness the mystic energy of ki. Your access to this energy is represented by a number of ki points. You have as many ki points as rogue levels.
You can spend these points to fuel various ninja tricks. You use your bonus action – unless otherwise specified – to spend a ki point. When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or long rest, at the end of which you draw all of your expended ki back into yourself. You must spend at least 30 minutes of the rest meditating to regain your ki points.
Some of your ki features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature’s effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:
Ki save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity modifier
Unless otherwise noted you may spend 1 ki point from your ki pool for each of the following effects:
- Butterfly Star. You invest a portion of your ki into a single thrown weapon, such as a shuriken, and throw it as an attack action. Your shuriken is trailed by golden butterflies as they home in on a target. The thrown weapon explodes on impact in a 5-foot radius burst, dealing 1d6 points of fire damage plus 1d6 points of fire damage for every additional four ki points you spend. Creatures caught in the blast receive a Dexterity save to halve the damage. If the thrown weapon hits a creature, that creature has disadvantage on the saving throw. If the thrown weapon misses, it still explodes near the target who instead gets a normal save.
- Dazing Blow. When you hit a Large or smaller creature with a melee weapon attack, you can attempt to daze the target by spending 2 ki points. The target must succeed a Constitution saving throw or lose its ability to make opportunity attacks until the beginning of your next turn.
- Devil Sight. Gain darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes (or double the distance if you already have darkvision).
- Dislocate. Gain advantage on an Escape check.
- Duplicate. You gain the effects of the mirror image spell.
- Elemental Weapon. You can expend 1 ki point per attack to change the type of damage your weapon does to an energy type – lighting, thunder or fire.
- Equilibrium. Allows you to cancel surprise for yourself and act normally during a surprise round (uses your Reaction).
- Feather Fall. You gain the effects of the feather fall spell.
- Flurry of Stars. For each ki point spent you throw an additional shuriken as part of your next attack action.
- Kuji Kiri. By making mystical hand gestures as an action, you can render opponents helpless as if he had cast hypnotic pattern. You must use a ki point each round to maintain this effect.
- Leap of the Clouds. You gain the effects of the jump spell.
- Light Step. You gain the effects of the water walk spell.
- Living Shadow. You give yourself advantage on Stealth checks for 1 minute.
- Nekodokei-no-jutsu (cat clock). You may use a cat as a clock and know the time down to the second.
- Opportunist. By spending a ki you can use your reaction to make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by an ally.
- Pressure Points. An opponent damaged by your sneak attack in melee must make a Constitution saving throw or be stunned for 1 round.
- Quick Strike. When making a disengage action you may spend a ki point to make a single weapon attack against a target within reach.
- Razor’s Edge. You spend 2 ki points to increase the critical chance of your ninja-to to 19-20 for the rest of the current encounter.
- Serpent’s Reach. When you make a melee weapon attack, you can increase your reach for that attack by 5 feet by spending 2 ki.
- Shinobi Hamstring. When you hit a Large or smaller creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend 2 ki and attempt to cripple the target. The target must succeed a Constitution saving throw or have its walking speed halved until the end of your next turn.
- Shinobi.You forgo stealth to make a brutal attack. Spend a 2 ki points to use your sneak attack action as part of your normal attack (you do not need advantage to add the sneak attack damage).
- Speed of the Cobra. You increase your speed by 20 feet for 1 minute.
- Thief-Acrobat. You give yourself advantage on Acrobatics checks for 1 minute.
- Versatility. You gain the effects of the enhance ability spell.
Starting at 9th level, you can unfailingly create false identities for yourself. You must spend seven days and 25 gp to establish the history, profession, and affiliations for an identity. You can’t establish an identity that belongs to someone else. For example, you might acquire appropriate clothing, letters of introduction, and official- looking certification to establish yourself as a member of a trading house from a remote city so you can insinuate yourself into the company of other wealthy merchants. Thereafter, if you adopt the new identity as a disguise, other creatures believe you to be that person until given an obvious reason not to.
At 9th level, you have mastered the art of covering your tracks, remaining hidden, and concealing your presence. The DC to track you using the Survival skill increases by +1 for every four ninja levels.
At 13th level, you gain access to more options for your ki power. Unless otherwise noted you may spend 2 ki point from your ki pool for each of the following effects:
- Eavesdrop. Whenever you place your hand against a solid surface, using an action you can hear with perfect clarity as if you stood on the other side of the surface you touch. You can eavesdrop through most barriers in this manner, but you are blocked by 6 feet of stone, 3 inches of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 12 feet of wood or dirt.
- Fly. As an action, you spend 4 ki points and can cast the fly spell on yourself, without using verbal or material components. The spell’s duration is reduced to 1 minute if cast in this way. It costs 1 key point per round to maintain this effect.
- Force Shuriken. A line of pure spiritual energies 5 feet wide and 30 feet long bursts from your shuriken when you throw it (costing 3 kipoints) in a direction of your choosing, piercing through any creature in its path. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes force damage equal to your ninja level + your Dexterity modifier on a failed save, or half as much damage on a
- Ghost Step. You can slip magically between spaces by spending a ki point, as per the spell dimension door except it costs an additional ki point per 1 foot of solid surface you travel through.
- Hidden Master. By spending 3 ki points you may cast the greater invisibility spell.
- Kawarimi. When hit by an enemy as a reaction you may expend ki and attempt a Stealth check opposed by the attacker’s Perception check. You can attempt this check while being observed as long as you have cover or concealment nearby. If you succeed, the opponent’s attack hits an inanimate object that the attacker mistook for you, and you may move into an adjacent square and become hidden from the attacker until the end of your next turn.
- Mind Mapping. When you place your hand against a solid surface, using an action you can map the layout and any creatures that aren’t hidden on the other side of the surface you are touching. You map an area as either a 60 feet cone or a 30 feet half-circle. You can mind map through most barriers in this manner, but you are blocked by 6 feet of stone, 3 inches of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 12 feet of wood or dirt.
- Mind Strike. Expend ki to change the damage type of your attack to psychic damage.
- Mortal Draw. You spend 10 ki points and your next successful weapon attack is a critical hit.
- Poison Adaption. You can spend 1 ki to automatically succeed on a saving throws against a poison effect.
- See the Unseen. Expend ki to use see invisibility as the spell.
- Shadow Skin. When you would be hit by an attack, using your reaction and spend 3 ki to force the attacking creature to miss you instead.
- Shinobi Cross. You use 5 ki points and gain an extra attack the next time you use your attack action. This effect lasts for 1 minute or until you make an attack action. You may spend multiple lots of 5 ki points to increase the number of attacks to a maximum of 4.
- Slippery Mind. By spending a ki you can automatically succeed at a saving throw against any kind of enchantment effect that wrests control away from you – like dominate or charm effects.
- Smoke Bomb Escape. As an action, you spend ki and gain the effects of the gaseous form spell.
- Thousand Faces. You gain one use of the alter self spell.
Starting at 17th level, you become a master of instant death. When you attack and hit a creature that is surprised, it must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, double the damage of your attack against the creature. On a critical failure, the creature is instantly killed (DM’s discretion, Legendary creatures are immune to the instant death effect).
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