Thursday, March 6, 2014

Classic Ninja (Ninja Build)

Classic Ninja
Human Ninja
A blade in the night.  And a face full of shuriken.

The Classic Ninja dual wields wakizashis and has a number of tricks to gain sneak attack. He also spends a few feats improving his Shuriken abilities, for those times when he really wants to stack on the hurt when enemies are flat footed.

Attributes (with Racial Modifier)

Dex>Con>Cha/Str>Int/Wis

I don’t think putting too many points into Charisma is worth is for Ki. Feel free to switch intelligence and wisdom if you think an additional 5% resist chance is worth one skill point a level.

Put all your attribute gains into Dexterity!

15 Point Buy
STR: 10
DEX: 18 (16+2)
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 8
CHA: 12

20 Point Buy
STR: 10
DEX: 19 (17+2)
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 10
CHA: 12

25 Point Buy
STR: 10
DEX: 20 (18+2)
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 8
CHA: 14


Traits

Adopted -> Carefully Hidden: +1 to Will and other small bonuses.
Reactionary: +2 to Initiative

Feats/Ninja Tricks

1: Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting
2: Combat Trick: Weapon Focus: Wakizashi
3: Improved Initiative
4: Flurry of Stars
5: Point Blank Shot
6: Weapon Training: Weapon Focus: Shuriken
7: Rapid Shot
8: Vanishing Trick
9: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
10: Invisible Blade
11: Dodge
12: Advanced Talents: Crippling Strike
13: Iron Will
14: Evasion
15: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16: Improved Evasion
17: Improved Iron Will
18: Fast Stealth
19: Extra Ki
20: Rogue Trick: Ki Pool

Suggested Gear

Nothing terribly unusual here. You want wakizashis that will hit. If you can get agile wakizashis, all the better! And you want your AC to be boosted up.

Sniper Goggles are good, but you probably won’t be able to hit anything from far away with Shuriken.

Amulet of Hidden Strength is great for regaining ki points! +2 Ki points a day for 9,000? Yes Sir!


What the Build Looks Like at...

20 Point Buy, Mundane Gear Only (no magic or masterwork)

Level 1: Attacks with wakizashis at +2/+2 dealing d6 and d6 sneak attack. AC: 18, HP: 11. Initiative: +6, skill points:9.

Level 4: Attacks with wakizashis at +7/+7 dealing d6 and 2d6 sneak attack. Can flurry with Shuriken for +4/+4/+4/+4 dealing d2 and 2d6 sneak attack each. AC: 18, HP: 35. Initiative: +11, skill points:36.

Level 8: Attacks with wakizashis at +10/+10/+5 dealing d6 and 4d6 sneak attack. Can flurry with Shuriken for +7/+7/+7/+7/+7/+2 dealing d2 and 4d6 sneak attack each. AC: 18, HP: 68. Initiative: +11, skill points:72.

Level 12: And here we have it. This is the level at which the Classic Ninja is best. Attacks with wakizashis at +14/+14/+9/+9 dealing d6 and 6d6 sneak attack. Can flurry with Shuriken for +11/+11/+11/+11/+11/+6/+6 dealing d2 and 6d6 sneak attack each. Each sneak attack deals 2 strength damage, meaning you can do 14 strength damage a turn. Invisible Blade means that you can go greater invisible for 12 rounds for one Ki point, guaranteeing sneak attacks. AC: 19, HP: 99. Initiative: +12, skill points:118. (Shuriken DPR while invisible is 51 with on average 4.6 strength damage)

Level 16: Attacks with wakizashis at +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7 dealing d6 and 8d6 sneak attack. Can flurry with Shuriken for +14/+14/+14/+14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4 dealing d2 and 8d6 sneak attack each. Each sneak attack deals 18 strength damage, meaning you can do 12 strength damage. Invisible Blade means that you can go greater invisible for 16 rounds for one Ki point, guaranteeing sneak attacks. AC: 19, HP: 131. Initiative: +13, skill points:144.

Level 20: Attacks with wakizashis at +21/+21/+16/+16/+11/+11 dealing d6 and 10d6 sneak attack. Can flurry with Shuriken for +18/+18/+18/+18/+18/+13/+13/+8/+8 dealing d2 and 10d6 sneak attack each. Each sneak attack deals 2 strength damage. Invisible Blade means that you can go greater invisible for 20 rounds for one Ki point, guaranteeing sneak attacks. AC: 19, HP: 159. Initiative: +13, skill points:184.


Tactics

Early on, get a flanking buddy. In the surprise round, or if you enemy is flat footed, hit them with as many shuriken as you can - it’s glorious.

At level 10, your tactics change for the amazing. Invisible blade gives you greater invisibility for rounds equal to your level: Price is one ki point. You don’t need to worry about flanking for sneak attacks, and you need to worry a lot less about being hit. At level 12, you will be doing 2 points of strength damage per sneak attack, meaning that a full round flurry of shuriken could take 14 points off of a strength score. That will take out some people immediately, and will drop almost everybody in two rounds. It’s awesome.

Guide to the Builds

Comprehensive Guide to the Guides

Zenith's Guide to the Ninja, Part I: Introduction, Attribute, and Races
Zenith's Guide to the Ninja, Part II: Ninja Tricks
Zenith's Guide to the Ninja, Part III: Feats
Zenith's Guide to the Ninja, Part IV: Equipment, Multi-Classing, and Builds

49 comments:

  1. Two things:
    1.) Why do you get sneak attack damage for each shuriken?

    2.) Why do you get 2 strength damage at level 12?

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    1. This is showing the damage you would get with sneak attack. You can either get it from a flat footed enemy, or from being invisible.

      Crippling strike deals 2 strength damage per sneak attack.

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  2. I'm loving this build!

    One question though, math is not my forte and I'm confused with the attack rolls with wakizashis starting Level 8. I'm getting +10/+10/+5 asuming a +5 Dex Mod.

    Where is the -4 in all attacks (from lv8 to lv20) coming from?

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    1. You are very, very right! Not sure what I was doing! It's all corrected above, and the build is that much better. Thanks!

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  3. Your guides on ninja have been great and helpful reads, but I'm unsure how you're able to get such a high AC (18) at level 1?

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    1. Thanks! Looks like Base 10 + 4 (Dexterity) + 4 (Armor from Chain Shirt).

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  4. Don't you need quick draw in order to throw all those shuriken ?

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    1. Shuriken count as ammunition, so you can draw them as a free action. Just like arrows, you can draw as many as you can throw.

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  5. Can you explain how you're getting 6 shuriken attack at 8th level? Flurry of stars gives 2, full round attack gives 2 and Rapid Fire gives 1 extra for the full round. Where is the 6th coming from?

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    1. I'm obviously missing something.

      How is full round attack giving you two bonus attacks?

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    2. You have two attacks at level 8 from +6 BAB. Two weapon fighting gives another attack, Rapid Fire gives another, and Flurry of Starts (the Ninja Ability) gives you two more.

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  6. Oh. That's what I was forgetting. Makes sense now.

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  7. is there a way of getting around spending a crap load of gold on magic Shuriken? for example it's 1000g for 50 +1 Shuriken and at throwing sooo many per turn thats a huge gold sink.

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    1. Can't think of anything, sorry. You might be stuck with mundane Shuriken.

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    2. Buy your wizard friend a 3rd level pearl of power and have him cast Greater Magic Weapon on your shuriken. Thats 50 shuriken a day for the price of 9k and a caster friend.

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  8. Quite a late reply, but this post/guide has been too helpful for me not to at least say as much. The first guide I've seen on any class in a long while to actually show how the class's different parts work and fit /together/, rather than just flatly rating everything in a vacuum, which does wonders for comprehension.

    I do wonder at the rather extreme-looking DEX scores, though-- that's 3-4 points spent to get a +1 moderately earlier, which I'd probably see thrown into WIS to lessen the need for Iron Will. That had me thinking of things like Dodge earlier to make up for the AC difference, and I'm actually curious as to how a slightly different build would work, now...

    Mind you, I've nowhere near the work put into this as you've clearly done, but I'm wondering how it might work to delay shuriken feats/tricks a bit (so long as they all hit around 12, you still get a nice spike from crippling strike and such), and instead getting dodge/mobility/spring attack early, whilst taking the Scout archetype (to get access to easier sneak attacks from levels 4-9, prior to Invisible Blade).

    1: Weapon Finesse, Two Weapon Fighting
    2: *Weapon Training: Weapon Focus: Wakizashi
    3: Dodge
    4: *Flurry of Stars
    5: Mobility
    6: *Combat Trick: Spring Attack
    7: Point Blank Shot
    8: *Vanishing Trick
    9: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
    10: **Invisible Blade
    11: Rapid Shot
    12: **Advanced Talent: Crippling Strike
    13: Weapon Focus: Shuriken
    14: **Evasion
    15: ???
    16: **Advanced Talent: Feat: ???
    17: ???
    18: **Fast Stealth
    19: ???
    20: **Improved Evasion
    *Ninja Tricks
    **Master Tricks
    ???: Undecided Feats, likely Improved Initative, Greater Two Weapon Fighting, Iron Will, Combat Reflexes, et cetera...

    To start off with the bad, shurikens miss out on Rapid Shot, and you'll be winning initative rolls a bit less without Improved Initative. Mobility is all but a feat-tax, given how great your Acrobatics should be as a Ninja regardless, and the fact that adding Will via WIS means you still need two feats if you wanted that reroll from Improved Iron Will...

    On the bright side, Spring Attack along with the scout's sneak attack options opens up a lot more flexibility in melee, keeping it viable much later into a campaign as you get the chance to Spring Sneak Attack out of melee or the like when lacking the means to full attack with shuriken or the like. If you take Combat Expertise, you get the chance to, thanks to Invisible Blade, set up some great sneak-attacks-of-opportunity, as well, which can add attacks arguably more reliably than Greater TWF might, given the tiny to-hit on those last two attacks.

    I certainly don't have nearly such a breadth of experience with the Ninja class, but I rather like the flavor of a switch-hitter with spring attack, so I'll definitely be trying that variation out, either way-- just felt the need to share after being inspired so by your unbelievably helpful guide. I mean, really, I can't overstate how overwhelmed I was by trying to sift through people's thoughts on every individual talent/feat/trick, and you've really brought it all together into something that just makes sense.

    Excuse that wall-o-text, in any case. Just really excited to give Ninja a try, now. ^^

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    1. Looks like a great build! I'm sure this will be just as good, but here are my two cents.
      Many people initially balk at the high Dex, low will, but think about it this way: Each modifier of Dex gives you +1 to attack (Weapon Focus:Shrunken and Weapon Focus: Wakizashi), AC (Dodge), Reflex (1/2 or Lightning Reflex), and Initiative (1/4 of Improved Initiative). That's equal to about 3.75 Feats. Each point of Wisdom only gives you +1 to Will (1/2 of Iron Will). That's only .5 feats. So it's much more efficient to boost Dexterity and take one feat to Wisdom to make up for it.
      Losing Improved Initiative is a heavy blow - before Invisible Blade, Shrunken are only going to be viable if you beat your opponent in initiative (and a few other rare circumstances.
      Spring attack is fun, but it's not as good for the Ninja as it would be for a Barbarian. The Ninja relies on multiple attacks, so the single attack from Spring attack just isn't as great. That said, I'm sure it will have its uses!
      Great build either way. Have fun, and let me know how it goes!

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    2. I started to play a ninja in a campaign and your guide helped me a lot.
      The first question for me is why you chose human as the race and not halfing.
      You start with one talent more ( for example Weapon Focus: Wakizashi) but if you take halfling you´ll get +1 attack witch means you get Weapon Focus: Wakizashi and Weapon Focus: Shuriken for free so, as human, you loose one talent in the end.
      The second thing i´m asking myself is, if i should choose INT: 8 and WIS: 10 or INT: 10 and WIS: 8.
      Your assumptions is correct, that you are even in talents, but not every skill-point is as importent as the other.
      If you have 8 skillpoints and you get one more, you can only invest this bonus in your 9th best skill wich is not very good if you compare it with a +1 in Will.
      Second thing with WIS is you get +1 perception and only loose points in knowledge.
      The last thing i was thinking about is taking the talent Outflank which i could grab together with 2 other meele charakters (Teamwork), even if it is not that useful with shurikens. I will crit a lot and there is an axe-swinging-fighter who can use attack of opportunity. But I was wondering, which talent I should exchange fot Outflank?

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    3. Good questions.
      I assume you mean feats when you talk about talents. There are a few reasons I prefer the human to the halfing (but only just). The biggest reasons that haltings aren't quite ideal is that they must use small weapons and have a penalty to attack, meaning all of their attacks are going to deal a little less. I'm also not a fan of the slow move speed. But you're good either way.
      I like Int: 10, Wis: 8, but that's just personal preference. At level 10, that will be the difference between +10 skill points vs. +1 will.
      Outflank is a good idea if you can get your allies to take it. Even better would be somehow getting to butterfly's sting - but that requires the 13 Int. Combat expertise. I would consider dropping the shrunken focus entirely and using those talents and feats for other things.

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  9. How do you avoid provoking AoO when throwing Shuriken in melee?

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    1. Don't use Shriken in melee. Use it out of reach with you are invisible or the enemy is flat footed.

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    2. I see.
      How come you get 6 attack in one round? 2 for lvl 8 + 2 for flurry of stars + 1 for rapid shot. That only adds up to 5?

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    3. Two Weapon Fighting gives us another shuriken.

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    4. Shouldn't that result in 4 throw on lvl 4? 2 for Two Weapon Fighting + 2 for Flurry of Stars?

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    5. Yes, but I think I decided that that would bring the attack mod too low to hit anything anyway. But good point, I'll add it in.

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    6. Is it any good idea to take one or two levels of fighter, giving extra combat feat and proficiency with martial weapons?

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    7. I love dipping into Fighter (or Paladin), but you don't need to do it for the martial weapons. Wakazashi is pretty awesome. Take a look here for multi-classing suggestions: http://zenithgames.blogspot.com/2014/08/zeniths-guide-to-ninja-part-iv.html

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  10. Most campaigns offen last only until lvl 7-8. Is there anyway you take "Vanishing Trick" earlier?

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    1. Unfortunately, there isn't. However, if your party has plenty of flanking partners, then the ninja is still a viable option. If you would be the only melee character, then you may want to consider another class.

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    2. I'm thinking 'bout switching #2 with #8 i your build. Should I not do that?

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    3. I'm sorry, I thought you meant invisible blade! Certainly, you can do that! I would actually recommend that you get rid of flurry of starts, point blank shot, and rapid shot, and replace them with feats and tricks that buff your wakizashi.

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    4. Would you say that the ninja trick: "Combat trick" can be taking multiple times?

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    5. Unfortunately not. "Unless otherwise noted, a ninja cannot select an individual ninja trick more than once."

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  11. How do you get Improved Evasion? You've already used Advanced Talent once to get Crippling Strike, and I thought you couldn't take a trick more than once.

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  12. One small question, what armor do you use level 1 ? :)

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    1. Chain shirt, I think. Might have to save up a little for it to start, but it's only 100 gp.

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  13. Hello ! Don't know if you will answer me, but i try my chance.
    There is few things i don't understand. First, lvl 4, how you manage to get 4 shuriken launch at +4 ? Considering the throw take your highest BAB mod, it will be only +3, then -2 from the flurry of star, so +1/+1/+1/+1 and then again -2 so -1/-1/-1/-1 because of TWS. I must be missing something but i don't know what. Shuriken arn't affected by Weapon Finess, are they ? Same question for the next mod, how do you end up with +11/+11/+11/+11/+11/+6/+6 while having -2 -2 with TWF, -2 on all launch by quick shot, -2 by flurring of star.. You got my point. Could you explain that more precisely pls ? Thanks you a lot for this amazing build, just need to understand that :D

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    1. After math, still there this is making no-sense to me.
      Lvl 4, supposing you'll get dex mod, you end up with 5 +3 = +8.
      You launch the 2 first, it's end up +6/+6 then use FoS, These two end up +4/+4 and the second one only take the highest BAB, so +3/+3 and end up doing +1/+1, no ?

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    2. Let's see - At 4th level, with TWF and Flurry of Stars we throw 4 shuriken.

      These are ranged weapons, so our calculation is: 5 (Dex) + 3 (BAB) - 2 (TWF) - 2 (FoS) = +4.

      Make sense?

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    3. It does. Didn't realised you calculate it this way. Thanks you very much, i'm ready to play this AWESOME build :D

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    4. My pleasure. Have a good time!

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  14. Nice build! Makes me think of making a ninja PC for practicing some melee tactics (I've always played either a spellcaster or a longbow ranged hitter).

    However, with the starting gear, what kind of armor works best for ninjas? I always chose leather armor, since despite the +2 bonus to AC, it has no armor check penalty (which works wonders for a class that utilizes Stealth)

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    1. It depends on your Dexterity modifier. If you have a Dex Mod of +4, then go with a Chain Shirt. If you have a Dex Mod of +5, then studded leather is best.

      The -1 or -2 penalty to Stealth won't hurt you nearly as much as lowering your AC by 2 or 3. You are good at sneaking. You are not so good at surviving damage. Want to Stealth more? Then live to do it!

      Have fun in melee! Just make sure you have another buddy or two to coordinate flanking!

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  15. Where does the +2 to damage come from at level 1

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    1. There's no +2 damage. You are attacking with two iterative attacks: +2/+2.

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    2. So is it +2 to hit?

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