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Pathfinder - Ninja Handbook

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Introduction

The Ninja is an alternate class to the Rogue, combining some of the Monk's mystic abilities with the Rogue's talent for stealth, cunning, and stabbing things.

Ninja Class Features

Hit Points: d8 hit points is low, but it's normal for stealth classes.

Base Attack Bonus: At 2/3 BAB the Ninja won't keeup up with Fighters in a stand-up fight, but Ninjas aren't intended for a stand-up fight.

Saves: Ninjas have one good save (Reflex), and depend on Dexterity, but don't get Evasion until at least 10th level. Because they don't need Wisdom like a Monk, their Will saves are likely poor as well.

Proficiencies: With light armor, the Ninja needs to rely on Dexterity to improve their AC. Because they need Dexterity, it is typically best to rely on Dexterity for attacks as well. The best weapons available to the Ninja are the Wakizashi, Shuriken, and shortbow. The other weapon proficiencies are flavorful, but are mostly only good for combat maneuvers.

Skills: 8+ skill ranks, and an almost identical skill list to Rogues. Unfortunately, the Ninja doesn't get Trapfinding, which reduces the Ninja's effectiveness as a Scout, but because they need Charisma to fueld their Ki Pool, the Ninja is better equipped to serve as a Face than the Rogue.

Poison Use: Poison is expensive, difficult to use, and unreliable. If you plan to use it, do so sparingly and with plenty of forethought.

Sneak Attack: The Ninja's main resource in combat.

Ki Pool (Su): The Ki Pool fuels the Ninja's abilities. At start, the biggest draw is spending one point for an extra attack. When you are in an advantageous position, this is an excellent way to get an extra pile of Sneak Attack damage.

Ninja Tricks: The primary means of customizing your Ninja.

No Trace (Ex): Situational, and the bonuses are small.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Situational, but it allows you to do silly things like using Full Defense outside of combat.

Light Steps (Ex): Situational, but very cool.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Hugely situational.

Master Tricks: A considerably improvement on Ninja Tricks.

Hidden Master (Su): Invisible Blade is much less costly, but imposing a -10 penalty to constitution is going to be much more effective than an average of 35 damage from one attack.

Compatible Archetypes

Alternate classes can take archetypes for the base class so long as they have the same class features altered or replaced by the Archetype.

Abilities

Ninjas primarily rely on Dexterity, but need Charisma for their Ki Pool and a splash of every other ability to keep themelves functional. They are somewhat MAD, but really only need a splash of their less important abilities..

Str: Helpful for melee and thrown weapon damage, but otherwise useless.

Dex: Your primary ability both offensively and defensively.

Con: Important for overcoming your low hit die and for your poor Fortitude saves.

Int: Only important for skill ranks.

Wis: Only useful for Will saves, and you can overcome a penalty with a cloak.

Cha: Fuels your conversational skills and your Ki Pool.

25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 12
  • Dex: 17
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 14
  • Str: 12
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 8
  • Cha: 14
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 8
  • Cha: 14
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 15
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 8
  • Cha: 14

Races

Darkvision is crucial for scouts, but can be provided by items or spells. Look for ability bonuses to help compensate for the Ninja's MAD.

Dwarf: Bonuses to two unimportant abilities and a penalty to an important ability. The only real draw is Darkvision..

Elf: The bonus dexterity helps, and the intelligence bonus grants some extra skill ranks, but the other racial abilities aren't helpful.

Gnome: Bonuses to Constitution and Charisma are both helpful, but the Gnome can't keep up with the Halfling.

Half-Elf: Flexible ability bonus, and helpful if you plan to multiclass. Alternate racial traits offer a lot of great options, and Half-Elves can take the Human favored class bonus for additional talents.

Half-Orc: Flexible ability bonus and Darkvision are both nice. Half-Orcs can take the Human favored class bonus for additional talents.

Halfling: Bonuses to the Ninja's two most important abilities, and a bunch of bonuses to stealth. The reduced damage and speed are annoying, but can be easily overcome.

Human: Because Ninjas are typically two-weapon fighters they tend to be feat-starved, so the Human bonus feat is crucial. The favored class bonus grants a few bonus Talents (remember that the Ninja is an alternate class for Rogues, so logically you should be able to take the same favored class bonus) which can get you Combat Trick or Weapon Training to help with the feat requirements.

Traits

Skills

Feats

Weapons

Armor

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

Cross-Classing and Prestige Classes

Build Ideas

At some point I will write example builds based on these concepts.