Ninja - ROM, 26/Aug/05

Prime Requisite: INT
Requisites: STR 12+, INT 12+, DEX 12+, CHAR 12+
Level  Experience  HD   WP  Ftr WP
  1             0   1    2     4
  2         1,500   2    2     4
  3         3,000   3    2     5
  4         6,000   4    3     5
  5        12,000   5    3     5
  6        25,000   6    3     6
  7        50,000   7    3     6
  8       100,000   8    4     6
  9       200,000   9    4     7
 10       400,000  10    4     7

 11       600,000  11    4     7
 12       800,000  12    5     8
 13     1,000,000  13    5     8
 14     1,200,000  14    5     8
 15     1,400,000  15    5     9

Ninja function as thieves/rogues for fighting ability, most equipment and saving throws; Hit Dice are D6. They have thief weapon proficiencies (WP), unless they take the Fighter Skill ability. At 10th level they are considered to be Ninja Masters, and skilled enough to teach young ninja. Ninja are not required to engage in any promotion contests, but Dungeon Masters (DMs) may choose to say that 15th is the highest level they reach (if they progress further, they gain +1HP/level). The best known race for ninja is human, but other races may well have ninja. The core of being a ninja is to be unseen and unnoticed, what they do with this, such as to get into places they aren't wanted, and acquire information, is secondary. Tertiary is the use of ninja as assassins, as for assassination someone far more expendable, who is preferably willing to die, is a much more effective use of resources.

Ninja do not need to be any particular alignment, or bias towards good or evil, though the structured and rigourous training will make an (initial) alignment of Chaotic less likely, and those who go in for murder and assassination will not be Good. Most ninja have a strong sense of honour about completing tasks they have agreed to do, some regard their word as their bond, some believe that their purpose is to protect the weak, from the strong, who would abuse the power that they have over them. Many ninja are mercenaries, doing whatever task their ninja group has agreed will be done, while hiding who and what they are, unless specifically ordered otherwise.

Ninja are a hidden people, a 'secret tribe', and they go to considerable efforts to avoid outsiders finding out anything about them. Even powerful people, who may be the main employers of ninja in certain campaigns, just know how to get in contact with them, and may tolerate things like being blindfolded, when negotiating with ninja leaders. Where ninja live is a big problem, as most of their work is in towns and cities, but the safest place to live is in the depths of forests, or deep in the mountains. If a ninja group lives in a city, then the entire group, children included, has at least one cover identity each. They will have carefully planned multiple escape routes, for as many of their group as possible, to get them away from the city. When, as is practically inevitable, something goes wrong. Travelling ninja could be something like a theatre company, a group of wandering players, tinkers or other travellers, with a winter lair far from civilisation, where they train and re-equip themselves for the next year.

Where groups live in a city, the larger is considered the better, for anonymity, and they might be something like a training academy, a merchant family, a club for nobles, a fighting arena, a place of entertainment, a brothel, or even on occasion the assassins guild! They may have a layered organisation, with initiates, and people in the outer layers knowing nothing of the true, inner, secrets. City groups will often have countryside contacts, where students can use training facilities too large to be hidden, in all but the biggest city housing. In a few cases, ninja groups have 'gone public', usually with powerful backing, but these groups rarely last more than a generation after that, falling to rival non-ninja, or those who fear their power. Some have actually grabbed power, replacing ruling councils or nobles, but these have not lasted long in the open, with everyone attacking them. There are stories that some ninja groups have grabbed power, while hiding that they are ninja, but if this is true, very few know of it.

If someone finds out too much about a ninja group the obvious choice is to kill them, or, maybe wipe their memory. On occasion, such people might be owed a great debt, so they are declared allies, and 'honorary ninja', swearing great oaths of secrecy, or even agreeing to magical geases. Very rarely, if this is a group of non-ninja adventurers, they might even be helped to start up a new ninja group, though this will be carefully supervised. If it is an individual, they might even be adopted into the group, but conservative ninja will always look on them with suspicion, and if anything goes wrong, they will be the first suspects.

Certain ninja groups have a more or less loose alliance with each other, or are feuding, and the DM should have a list of which are allied groups, who is neutral, and who is an enemy. Naming groups after colours, or animals, might be one way to distinguish them, for example the Green Turtle clan. In certain circumstances, even enemy groups will aid a ninja, for example to hide or escape from the authorities, but this will incur a debt.

Keeping the Secret

A major part of ninja is the secrecy that surrounds them, and the DM and player of a ninja should work together to maintain this. The campaign style that the DM is running has a great deal to do with how this secrecy works for the ninja character.

In the simplest case, all the player characters (PCs) know about ninjas, and work together to keep their secrets. Secrecy is then a matter of not letting non-player characters (NPCs) find things out. This is most likely to occur in a campaign where all the PCs are ninja, maybe from one, maybe from a number of not quite totally hostile ninja groups, gathered together for some reason. This sort of campaign is probably more appropriate for ninja spy/assassins.

Another campaign style is where the DM and player like the idea of ninja, but don't want to bother with the secrecy. The ninja might be a mysterious masked warrior, who has a second identity, which is not questioned, like a dumb stable boy, who no one will miss, or a ladies maid, often sent to do tasks by her mistress. Even in this sort of campaign, the ninja's secrets might have someone protecting them, like the ninja stable master, who is a master of hypnotism (for wiping memories), and has a crystal that tells him when ninja secrets have been revealed, or the mistress of the maid, who is a ninja sorceress. This campaign is probably most appropriate for ninja who are heroic protectors of the people.

In more common campaigns, the ninja will have a non-ninja identity in which they adventure. Any abilities that a ninja shows in public, they should be able to explain where they got them. After a while, the other PCs may suspect that there is something strange about their companion, but the players should only act on knowledge their characters have.

In such a campaign, there might be a God of Secrets who protects the ninja from being discovered (not from dying, just from being found out about), and in return the ninja will do missions for his or her temple when asked. In other campaigns, if the ninja feels that they are under suspicion, and their cover is (about to be) broken, the character must leave the party, hiding their trail, or all their companions will have to die. This campaign is probably the most 'realistic', but it can need good role-players, and is most appropriate for the wandering adventurer ninja.

Killing all the other adventuring party members to hide ninja secrets, using drugs, traps and poison, might be possible, but is likely to leave a very bad playing situation. Asking players to have a PC, who has had their memory of ninja secrets wiped by hypnotism, is also not practical in some playing environments. Having a priest of the God of Secrets tell people that they had better not say anything, and maybe backing this up with magic such as geases, is also not going to work, unless the players are willing to go along with it. And, they will likely want priests of gods to help their characters out, on occasion. If ninja are to be played in a 'realistic' campaign, it will typically need a good role-player, and a DM who is prepared to go along with the secretive style of play needed for a ninja.

Ninja Weapons

Ninja have a number of extra weapon proficiencies that they can choose from; those that do this will typically take the Fighting Skill ability (see below). These include: Fast Draw, Lightning Strike, Improvised Weapon, Multi Missile. A weapon proficiency is typically taken with a given weapon, and the appropriate extra proficiency is also taken. For example, Longsword, Fast Draw: Longsword, Lightning Strike: Longsword, would require three weapon proficiencies. Ninja are also allowed to use weapon specialisation, otherwise only available to Fighters.

There are no limits to the sorts of weapons that a ninja can take proficiency with, and they may use all sorts of apparently innocent objects as weapons, such as playing cards (these need to be very special cards, or modified by a Mystic power). Ninja use unusual weapons for two purposes: surprise, and so as to have a weapon when no one would expect them to.

While many people associate ninja with using exotic, oriental, weapons, they will only do so in public if there is someone else around who might use such weapons, that they could be mistaken for, such as oriental martial artists, or when no one is going to live to report what happened. In consequence, ninja will first be skilled with whatever the local weapons are, before they consider adding proficiency with exotic ones, as they will almost certainly wish to fight in public, without anyone knowing they are ninja. Ninja will also be careful about using their special extra weapon proficiencies, where someone might ask awkward questions, though 'special training under a travelling foreign weapon master' might be one excuse, if such skills do not exist locally.

Fast Draw: allows the weapon to be instantly drawn and then used, with no penalty to initiative for the time to draw the weapon. The weapon must be available, not packed away, or peace-bonded.

Lightning Strike: allows the weapon to be used with a -2 initiative modifier (on a D10, wanting low; +1 on a D6, wanting high). This can be used in the same round Fast Draw is used, and if so, and this is the first round of the combat, the opponent must roll to avoid being surprised. The DM may reduce the chance of being surprised, typically by half, for opponents who know that the ninja has this WP, and have seen them use it, or opponents who have Lightning Strike themselves. A character can have Lightning Strike without having Fast Draw, but if so they do not have the surprise chance.

Improvised Weapon: allows something to be used as a weapon, with which the character does not otherwise have a weapon proficiency, with only a -1 Hprob; costs two weapon proficiency slots. This does not give an effective automatic proficiency with all weapons, and anyone skilled will see the weapon is not being properly used. If a natural 1 or 2 is rolled on the D20 to hit, then a second 'to hit' roll must be made, to not break or drop the weapon (DM rules which). Anything the character can pick up and swing or throw may be used as a weapon, including people, but this does not make them any easier to pick up in the first place. Improvised weapons will generally do less damage than 'proper' ones, and frequently do non-lethal damage; a weapon will do -1 lethal damage, due to it not being used properly. Fast Draw and Lightning Strike may not be taken with Improvised Weapon, though Multi Missile can. Certain Mystic powers can make things into weapons that would not otherwise injure.

Multi Missile: allows multiple hand-held missiles to be thrown in a round, all with full Hprob, or increases the rate of shooting a missile-casting weapon. An extra missile may be thrown or cast for every three levels, e.g. 1st-3rd +1, 4th-6th +2, 7th-9th +3, 10th+ +4; DMs are recommended to put a limit of +4 extra. Note that these missiles must be easily to hand, in a bandolier, or a quiver. Or, if this ability is used with Improvised Weapon, they might be something like a deck of cards, a stack of plates, a tray of flagons... A Mystic power would be needed to make (normal) playing cards into effective missiles.


The basic abilities of a ninja overlap with those of thieves and other varieties of rogue, but they add to these a dedication and focus that many thieves lack. Unlike many thieves, they are intensively and formally trained, and their minds are as carefully trained as their bodies. Ninja have their own version of Thieves Cant, which does not cost them any language proficiency slots. This includes recognition signs for all the ninja groups in the area, and a silent 'finger speech', which also includes standard gestures to use in combat situations. They may learn alignment tongues which are not their own, if these exist in a campaign, and when they learn a language they may imitate any local accent in it, that they have come across, without using any extra language proficiencies. All ninja are automatically literate in their native tongue, at no NWP cost, if this has any form of writing. If the campaign does not allow mystic powers for ninja, they have the abilities to Read Magic as a thief, i.e. 75% at 10th level, and their INT bonus to Read Languages applies to this (in campaigns with mystic powers, ninja leave magic to the ninja specialists). Thorough ninja often take Lore NWP, for any detailed background they need, for an identity that they take on.

The base ninja abilities are:

 1) Disguise/Acting   - CHAR    60%
 2) Open Locks        - DEX     10%
 3) Find/Remove Traps - INT/DEX  5%
 4) Move Silently     - DEX     30%
 5) Hide in Shadows   - DEX     30%
 6) Detect Noise      - INT     15%
 7) Sleight of Hand   - DEX     15%
 8) Read Languages    - INT      0%

Additional (optional) ninja abilities are:

 9) Climb Walls       - DEX      0%
10) Leaping           - STR      0%
11) Swim              - STR      0%
12) Track             - INT      0%
13) Gimmickry         - INT/DEX  0%
14) Backstab          - N/A      x1
15) Fighting Skill    - N/A       -
16) Brawling Skill    - N/A       -

Characteristic Bonuses to Abilities

DEX   OL   F/RT   MS    HS   SoH   CL   Gim
 15    -     -     -     -     -   +1%   +5%
 16   +5%    -     -     -     -   +2%  +10%
 17  +10%    -    +5%   +5%   +5%  +3%  +15%
 18  +15%   +5%  +10%  +10%  +10%  +4%  +20%
 19  +20%  +10%  +15%  +15%  +15%  +5%  +25%

 20  +25%  +15%  +20%  +20%  +20%  +6%  +30%
 21  +30%  +20%  +25%  +25%  +25%  +7%  +35%
 22  +35%  +25%  +30%  +30%  +30%  +8%  +40%
 23  +40%  +30%  +35%  +35%  +35%  +9%  +45%
 24  +45%  +35%  +40%  +40%  +40% +10%  +50%
 25  +50%  +40%  +45%  +45%  +45% +11%  +55%

INT    F/RT   DN    RL    Tra  Gim
13-14    -     -    +5%   +5%    -
 15      -    +5%   +5%  +10%    -
 16     +5%  +10%  +10%  +15%   +5%
 17     +5%  +15%  +15%  +20%   +5%
 18    +10%  +20%  +20%  +25%  +10%
 19    +10%  +25%  +25%  +30%  +10%

 20    +15%  +30%  +30%  +35%  +15%
 21    +15%  +35%  +35%  +40%  +15%
 22    +20%  +40%  +40%  +45%  +20%
 23    +20%  +45%  +45%  +50%  +20%
 24    +25%  +50%  +50%  +55%  +25%
 25    +25%  +55%  +55%  +60%  +25%

13-15   -
 16    +5%
 17   +10%
 18   +15%
 19   +20%

 20   +25%
 21   +30%
 22   +35%
 23   +40%
 24   +45%
 25   +50%

Ninja might be allowed to take (Lore) NWPs which improve their INT-based skills, particularly in specialist areas. NWPs might be used to improve Hypnotism. Note that high STR does not boost the Leaping or Swim percentage, as a high value of STR already affects how these work.

A ability of 95% is referred to as 'mastery', and one of 115% 'complete mastery'. If there are very rarely negative modifiers to an ability, then it is very rarely trained beyond 115% (ignoring any stat modifier).

DMs may use the rule that when an ability exceeds 95% it is treated differently. For every +5% beyond 95%, +1% is gained, so for example if the total ability is 110%, 95%+15%, then the actual roll is only 98% (95%+(15%/5)). DMs may rule that there is always a 1% chance of failure, though if the base score is at least 115% (i.e. 99%) then this is not a total failure, just something has gone badly wrong.

Note that the 95% limit rule is applied after any modifiers to the ability, for easier or more difficult circumstances.

Acquiring Abilities

A maximum of ten abilities may be taken initially and a minimum of five. Initially divide 100 percentage points between abilities, maximum value 25%, minimum value 5%; this must be done in multiples of 5%. Disguise/Acting must be taken.

For each level above the first, 50 percentage points are divided between abilities, with a maximum of 10% and no minimum (again this must be done in multiples of 5%). A new ability may be started at 5% by using 15 points, at 10% for 25 points or at 15% for 35 points. The division will usually be based on activity during the last level, such as significant use of the ability, or training. As an alternative 5 points may be divided for every 10% of experience points towards a level; points may be saved. Abilities that cost a fixed amount to start them may only be started at a given level, not both started and bought up. Abilities which cost a minimum of 10 points may have 10 or 20 spent on them, not just 10.

Explanation of Abilities


is similar to the Disguise NWP, but there is only a -25% penalty to attempts to disguise as a member of another race or sex, and only a -40% penalty to disguise as a particular person. Ninja are very good at acting the role of the one they are disguised as, and this is one reason people may overlook flaws in their disguise, at least until after they have left. At 1st-3rd level ninja choose a specific role as a specialisation, and if in this role they are at a further -10% on each penalty, so they would only be a total -45% to disguise as a particular person of another race and sex, as long as this fitted their specific role. A further role is gained for every three levels, e.g. two roles at 4th-6th, three at 7th-8th, so at 10th level would have a total of four roles. Roles are things like Fighter, Magic-user, Cleric, Thief, Paladin, Ranger, Bard, Merchant, Noble, Healer; note that the role does not give any of the abilities of any of these which are character classes. Acquiring such a role requires a lot of training and practice, this should be role-played if possible, and the ninja's player should generally know what roles their character wishes to learn, before they reach the appropriate new level. In most cases ninja will have taken the appropriate NWP to support their roles. Certain Mystic powers, such as hypnosis and illusions, can make this ability far more effective.

Open Locks

is as the thief skill.

Find/Remove Traps

is as the thief skill.

Move Silently

is as the thief skill. If in no armour, +5%. This ability works just as well in non-urban environments.

Hide in Shadows

is as the thief skill. If are wearing inappropriate ninja garb, -15%, e.g. black or grey is required for dusk/darkness, brown/green for wilderness, white for snow. If are wearing appropriate ninja garb, +5%. This ability works just as well in non-urban environments.

Detect Noise

is as the thief skill. Ninja in particular use this to overhear information that they are not supposed to. If some sort of observation ability is needed, which might involve using sight, or other senses than hearing, still use this roll. For example, if the Reading Lips NWP is taken, it only costs one slot, and this ability roll is used. Even a deaf ninja would use this ability to determine if they have managed to perceive something.

Sleight of Hand

is the use of the quickness of the hand to deceive the eye, and distracting people's eyes from what you don't want them to see. For example, palming coins or other small objects, doing card tricks; prestidigitation. It is also usable to pick pockets, as the thief skill. This can be used to make money as a street 'magician'.

Read Languages

is as the thief skill.

Climb Walls

25 points buys a base 60% chance, after which it is as the thief skill. Note that this ability works just as well in non-urban environment, and includes the Mountaineering NWP, and that the use of ropes and spikes gives considerable bonuses to this ability. Also note that ninja make use of things like (padded, possibly collapsable) grappling hooks, to aid their climbing.


25 points buys a base 60% chance, after which it is bought up as standard. This is as the Jumping NWP, but double distance, and certain Mystic powers (such as 'lightening' the body) can make this quadruple distance, or even more. The same ability is used for things like tight-rope walking, or falling so are not injured (take no damage falling up to STRx5 feet, half damage up to STRx10 feet; if want the combat parts of Tumbling, take the NWP). Nothing like the monkish ability to fall indefinite distances is gained, without also having some sort of Mystic power.


25 points buys a base 60% chance, after which it is bought up as standard. Even without this ability ninja count as proficient swimmers, with this their swimming STR check is this ability roll, if the roll is made they count as having double their CON for swimming endurance, and STR, if this is required. This typically means they last twice as long in the water as non-ninja with the same stats. Holding breath is possible for twice as long as a non-ninja. This ability might also be used while hiding underwater, and breathing through a reed, or a breathing tube, such as a ninja sword scabbard.


25 points buys a base 60% chance, after which it is bought up as standard. Rather than the -6 (-30%), that other classes suffer to their tracking ability score, ninja have no penalty, but this ability otherwise functions as the Tracking NWP (multiply the modifiers by 5% to get a percentage). Having this ability tends to indicate a ninja trained in wilderness work, and taking NWP like Animal Handling, Direction Sense, Fishing, Herbalism (and Healing), Hunting, Navigation, Running and Survival, is quite common (there is no extra cost for these (except Healing) not being Ninja NWP). Ninja should take this ability rather than the Tracking NWP; note that this ability depends on INT, not WIS. In complex urban environments like cities, this skill is defined to instead be Trailing/Shadowing people; if wilderness tracking is desired as well, also take the Tracker NWP, but still use the ability roll. If a wilderness tracker also wanted to do Shadowing, take the Shadower NWP, and use the ability roll. If in the wrong environment, apply a -25% modifier, city/wilderness, if the DM allows the ability to be used at all. Note that either the Tracker or the Shadower NWP only cost a single slot for ninja.


allows the production of ninja 'gimmicks', such as eggs full of blinding powder (which must be obtained from somewhere; Poison skill (see below) would help), inflatable canvas shoes allowing 'walking on water' (given Cobbling), concealed weapons (given Weaponsmith), collapsible grappling hooks with padded hooks (given Smithing), man-carrying kites (given Seamstress), underwater breathing bladder (given Leatherworking), small mechanical traps (given Engineer), and many others. Ninja chain (mail) may be made (given Armorer); assume this encumbers no more than elven chain. Anything the DM allows the ninja to build is possible, given what the local level of technology makes practical. Producing these sorts of things on a regular basis will require some sort of workshop, appropriate raw materials, and plenty of time; the DM may allow some improvised work in the field. If the ninja does not have the appropriate NWP themselves, they may instruct someone who does. Releasing ninja secrets to non-ninja is almost always an execution offence, for both involved. Having access to a discrete alchemist can be very useful. Certain Mystic powers can substitute for many of the ninja gimmicks. Assume that this ability can also be used to create and Set Snares, which works at least as well as the Thief-quality variety of the NWP (pitfalls, mantraps, etc). Note that there is no increased cost for the Armorer, Weaponsmith, Engineer, or any other crafting NWP, for ninja who have this ability.


25 points buys +1 damage multiplier, but may not buy more than +1 per 4 levels, i.e. no better than a thief. If this ability is not taken, the ninja has no Backstab ability.

Fighting Skill

is as a thief of own level, unless Fighting Skill is taken, each level of Fighter uses 10 percentage points with a maximum Fighter level of own level. Fighting Skill gives full fighter abilities, including fighter WP, the wearing of plate, and multiple attacks. However, Lightning Strike may not be used while wearing more than leather armour (or ninja chain), and any more than this armour prevents use of many of the ninja DEX-based abilities. If Fighting Skill is not acquired initially it costs 30 points.

Brawling Skill

is as a thief of own level, unless Brawling Skill is taken, each level of Brawler uses 10 percentage points with a maximum Brawler level of own level. Brawling Skill gives full Unarmed Combat abilities (see the 'Unarmed Combat Experts' rules). If Brawling Skill is not acquired initially it costs 30 points.

Mystic Powers

In some campaigns, ninja can have mystic powers, and if DMs permit this, they can be a lot more impressive. INT 15+ and WIS 9+ is needed to be a mystic ninja, and INT 15+ and WIS 13+ to be a 'natural talent' (capable of being 'opened'). Ninja may have mental or magical powers, but while these may be effective, a ninja of a given level will not be as good as a specialist psionicist or magic-user.

In a non-mystic campaign, the DM may still permit ninja to be multi-class characters, typically a Ninja/Psionicist or a Ninja/Wizard. INT 15+, WIS 13+ and CON 12+ is required to be the first, INT 15+, WIS 9+ and DEX 15+ to be the second. It possible that a DM may have a hybrid campaign, which permits 'opened' mystic ninja characters, maybe with DM-chosen powers (such as Lightening, Mental Message and some form of Transfigure), but replaces trained mystic ninja, with ninja who are multi-class characters.

There are two varieties of mystic powers, 'Mentalism', powers of the mind and the psyche, called 'psionics' by some, which includes things like hypnotism and illusion, 'lightening' the body; and 'Thaumatergy', powers of wonder-working, like commanding elemental magics, summoning things, and anything else magical.

The mystic style of ninja is fast, usable in combat, and does not use incantations, and in most cases foci and other materials. It makes use of precise gestures, sometimes called 'seals', and the focusing of the mental or magical will, through the energy centres of the body.

Without knowing the seals, a given mystic power cannot be used, but those who are 'opened' (see below) seem to use the correct seal instinctively, though often crudely, and this is one way a ninja group acquires knowledge of new mystic powers. The seals needed to use all but the most basic mystic powers may be closely guarded secrets of some ninja groups (simply visually observing someone using a seal is not enough to learn its secrets). Standard magic-user spells, such as are found on scrolls or in spell books, cannot be easily converted into seals, nor can mental powers stored in psi crystals, though a ninja mystic master (10th+ level), working together with a magic-user/psionicist who knows and is willing to repeatedly cast the spell/use the power, could research a new seal. Regaining lost seals can be a interesting campaign idea.

Seals are normally stored on non-magical scrolls, which require the skill of a ninja mystic master (10th+ level) to create. Though in theory a seal scroll could just be exactly copied, each master composes one anew, in a way which reflects their own personal teaching style. On their death, a master's Will typically says what should be done to the seal scrolls they wrote in their lifetime. The ninja group typically hopes they will just be added to the pool for general use, though it is possible that some of them are to be locked and hidden away until some dire circumstance arises. Some ninja groups deliberately steal seal scrolls from others, even those supposed to be locked and hidden away, and this can result in some long-running feuds. A master can directly teach a seal that they know, without use of a scroll; trying to learn from anyone less than a master (10th level) typically requires use of a seal scroll.

There are two ways that a ninja can initially acquire mystic powers, the first 'quick and dirty' way is to be 'opened', and the second involving long and arduous study, similar to that magic-users/psionicists go through. There is also the question of whether a ninja has any mystic talent. DMs can say that 1 in 20 has no talent, 18 in 20 can only learn through long study, and 1 in 20 has natural talent. This is suitable for working out NPC groups of ninja, though it is possible that a group has breed ninja for generations to increase the level of talent. PC ninja should be assumed to have some mystic talent, though maybe not trained, unless the player decides otherwise.

Natural talent (INT 15+ and WIS 13+; one of the '1 in 20') is required to be capable of being opened. Being opened (by the appropriate mystic ninja master, 10th+ level) gives initially very painful, but quick, access to either mental or magic powers. Though, in the longer run, these will prove to be less powerful than those from trained mystic skill. In theory these are random, though some might run in a family, but the DM is encouraged to negotiate with the player about what powers are gained, based on how the player sees their ninja character might work. If desired, some random rolls might be made, then adjusted, until DM and player is happy. Having multiple PC ninja characters, from the same ninja group, who all have been opened, and have just the talents their player's wanted might make initially for a fun game, but the DM might want to make it clear that all talents are useful in some situation. There may be some campaign price to pay further down the line...

It is possible to be opened either mentally or magically, and be a trained mystic in the other. Once opened, it is not possible in general to be trained, though there are legendary ninja in the past who managed this, after cashing-in a favour from some powerful being. It is possible to be both trained mentally and magically, though this is quite rare, due to how much hard work it is (and it needs INT 15+, WIS 13+ and CON 12+).

Mystic  Opened      Trained
Level   Experience  Experience
  1              0*          0*
  2            250       1,250
  3            500       2,500
  4          1,000       5,000
  5              -      10,000
  6              -      20,000
  7              -      40,000
  8              -      60,000
  9              -      90,000
 10              -     135,000

* if a ninja character is opened after they have been played, an additional 500xp is needed to get to 2nd level Mystic, if they are trained after they have been played, an additional 1000xp is needed to get to 2nd level Mystic

All ninja with mystic powers gain sensitivity to the use of the powers, a sort of mystic variety of Hear Noise (use the same roll). This means that they will notice use of that sort of power, and if the use is nearby, or 'loud', the DM may not even require a roll. Sensitivity does not give any details about what is sensed (but, see enhanced sensitivity, below), except a general sense of direction, and maybe a guess about how 'loud' it is, but it is also the way that psychic or magical messages are received.

Opened mystics gain sensitivity to mentalism or magic, and three other mystic powers, from the mental list if they are an Opened Mentalist, from the magic list if they are an Opened Thaumatergist. If mentalist, they count as wild talents, and their psionic strength points are calculated similarly, if thaumatergic, they can use the number of spells that their level of magic-user could use. Opened mystics do not acquire any more powers as they go up levels, and have a maximum level of four, after which they can not, and do not, put any more experience points into their mystic powers.

Trained mystics gain sensitivity to mentalism or magic, and the same mental power using, or magical spell using, abilities as a Psionicist or a Magic-user. They will automatically know the appropriate list of Basic Mystic Powers, and in addition they have access to any of the seals known to their ninja group, which correspond to psionic powers and magic-user spells.

The DM decides what extra seals are known to any particular ninja group, beyond the basic ones, but it is recommended that they have at least ten of both varieties, and rarely more than fifty of either variety. It is strongly recommended that DMs not just allow mystic ninja characters to learn any seals that they want, unless this is some sort of apocalyptic campaign, where they will need any edge that they can get. And, even then, some seals should take a non-trivial effort to acquire.

Some, typically NPC, members of ninja groups may have secret seals, which they will only allow access to in return for payment, such as doing some sort of mission. They will typically also extract a promise that the character not pass on the seal without their permission, or, only to a (maybe single) selected pupil who pays for it, as the character themselves did. There may be rumours of a secret, possibly long lost, Ninja Library, which has a immense range of seal scrolls, some not known anywhere else, in some campaigns.

Basic Mystic Powers:

           Mental                Magic
 1) Psychic Sensitivity    Magical Sensitivity
 2) Hypnotism              Charm Person
 3) Basic Illusion         Dancing Lights
 4) Lightening             Levitate
 5) Mental Message         Magic Message

Suggested Mystic Powers:

           Mental                Magic
 1) Clairaudience          Affect Normal Fires (1st)
 2) Clairvoyance           Burning Hands (1st)
 3) Object Reading         Comprehend Languages (1st)
 4) Danger Sense           Erase (1st)
 5) Know Location          Gaze Reflection (1st)
 6)+Transfigure            Light (1st)
 7) Levitation             Mending (1st)
 8) Metamorphosis          Shocking Grasp (1st)
 9) Shadow Form            Spider Climb (1st)
10) Body Control           Wizard Mark (1st)
11) Body Weaponry          Alter Self (2nd)
12) Cell Adjustment        Continual Light (2nd)
13) Chameleon Power        Darkness, 15' Radius (2nd)
14) Ectoplasmic Form       Flaming Sphere (2nd)
15) Heightened Senses      Fog Cloud (2nd)
16) Mind Over Body         Invisibility (2nd)
17) Suspend Animation      Mirror Image (2nd)
18) Probability Travel     Pyrotechnics (2nd)
19) Teleport               Strength (2nd)
20) Astral Projection      Whispering Wind (2nd)
21) Dimensional Door       Blink (3rd)
22) Dimension Walk         Clairvoyance (3rd)
23) Dream Travel           Clairaudience (3rd)
24) Probe                  Fireball (3rd)
25) Superior Invisibility  Fly (3rd)
26) Switch Personality     Infravision (3rd)
27) Conceal Thoughts       Invisibility, 10' Radius (3rd)
28) Daydream               Lightning Bolt (3rd)
29) Invisibility           Spectral Force (3rd)
30) Psychic Impersonation  Tongues (3rd)

+ see below for explanation.

DMs may allow seals for any sort of mystic powers they like. Most sensibly, starting from the existing psionic powers and magic-user spell lists is going to minimise the work, but, just about any reasonable mystic power could be added. Care should be taken to ensure that a ninja with mystic powers remains less powerful than a psionicist or magic-user of the same level. Unless, the DM is running something like a campaign where all PCs are ninja, and any psionics or magics encountered can be made as powerful as the DM likes.

For example, the DM might wish to add a mentalism (psionic) power allowing 'Hidden Weapons'. This might allow the ninja to carry any total weight of equipment, concealed invisibly in their clothing, that they could just lift, and this does not noticeably encumber them. Using this mystic power under normal circumstances uses no psionic strength. If they are searched carefully enough these various items will be found, and if they are strip-searched all the items will be removed, typically creating an unfeasibly large pile, though small items might continue to be hidden in long enough (generally at least finger length) hair. Hiding an item about the ninja's person requires that they have enough clothing (or hair) to in theory put the item out of sight, though this can be reused for this purpose as many times as desired, up to the weight limit. Some DMs might want a specialised version where a single weapon is just 'sheathed' behind the ninja's back (or even placed in an unfeasibly small bag), and need not be considered until the ninja needs it again. This is sometimes used for signature weapons (or maybe for something like swords, in 'Highlander'), and it might be what is referred to in anime as 'Hammerspace', in that really angry girls (almost always angry with a boy) can always pull out immense hammers from nowhere, to do some (non-lethal) 'attitude correction'.

The spells suggested are spells to do with commanding the four elements (and light and dark), spells altering the caster, 'Alteration' magic, in particular which is relevant to information gathering, most information gathering magic, some magic for hiding or transport, and some summoning magic. Necromantic magic was avoided. With enough effort, almost any magic could be justified, but, that which fits the style of ninja, as the DM sees it, is best.

Explanation of Mystic Powers

Where the powers refer to Contact, assume that is included in the power sufficient for the use of the power. Assume Contact cost 5 psionic strength points, then 1/rnd, for simplicity.

Psychic Sensitivity: the reason for taking this, even though it is gained automatically, is this gives increased sensitivity. So, lower power levels will be sensed, some rough details of the sort of power sensed, the ability is gained to physically trace to the source of the power, if it continues long enough, and it allows recognition of the 'signature', if this power used by someone who's use of power the character is familiar with. As with the automatically gained power, this operates continually, with no psionic strength cost, but nearby major uses of power can cause 'deafness', or wash-out other sources of power, either weaker, or further away. Mental (Telepathy/Clairsentience).

Hypnotism: is similar to the Psionicist NWP (see spec, below), allowing attempts to hypnotise, and can be used in this way with no psionic strength cost. In addition it allows use of the psionic power Contact, at the usual cost, which makes it a lot easier to tell if the hypnotic session is going well. Mental (Telepathy).

Basic Illusion: creates a telepathic illusion as good as Improved Phantasmal forces in the mind of one target that Contact has been made with, and is as effective as the spell, standard saving throw applicable. If desired, the DM may treat this as False Sensory Input, at a cost of Contact plus 4/rnd. Mental (Telepathy).

Lightening: may be used at will with no psionic strength cost, enabling leaping four times the distance STR would normally allow. If this mystic power is gained, then Leaping ability is almost always taken. Using this ability 'roof running', with leaps between building roofs, crossing a city, is quite possible. Leaping down from a great height, up to STRx10 feet, to the ground, without injury is possible. Also, much smaller man-kites may be used, and even someone not heavier than the character's weight carried along. Psionic strength is used when leaping vertically beyond the sort of distances even this power permits, and doing things like walking on water, in which case treat like Body Equilibrium. Mental (Psychokinesis/Psychometabolic).

Mental Message: allows sending a brief one-way message (such as could be said with one breath) to a non-closed mind that can be located. If the person the message is sent to is well known, and particularly if their mind is well known by mental contact, then knowing their location is not needed. Sending a message line-of-sight is almost always possible. For someone to receive such a message they must have at least Psychic Sensitivity, or the equivalent of ESP running. If the receiver's mind was closed by some sort of mental barrier, they may known that a message was directed to them, but will not 'hear' any words or 'see' mental images. Assume line-of-sight messages have no psionic strength cost, longer range or more difficult targets cost Contact plus 8/rnd. Mental (Telepathy).

Magical Sensitivity: is as Psychic Sensitivity, but for magic. This is not a spell, and does not use any 'magical power'. Magic.

Charm Person: is as the 1st level magic-user spell. Magic.

Dancing Lights: is as the 1st level magic-user spell. Magic.

Levitate: is as the 2nd level magic-user spell, but treat it as 1st level. When used it acts to improve Leaping as Lightening does, above, but may be used for vertical upwards movement much more freely, all during the spell duration. Magic.

Magic Message: is as the 1st level magic-user spell 'Message', but the range is doubled if the target has Magical Sensitivity, tripled if they actually have the Magical Sensitivity power. Magic.

Transfigure: allow objects to be changed in shape and properties, and with enough effort the material they are made of. Can function as Molecular Manipulation to weaken something, or as Molecular Rearrangement to transmute things. Given the appropriate craftsman NWP, almost any normal object can be made, repaired, or altered, using any raw materials. This is a very effective way of doing Gimmickry. Many strange tricks are possible, such as briefly toughening a fragile object, so it can be used as an improvised club, or making the edge of common playing cards as sharp as blades, so they can be thrown like knives. If this is an 'opened' power, then it is possible that the playing card sharpening trick is the only thing that can be done with it, but in exchange for this, the psionic strength cost is ignored. Other sorts of limited transfiguration might be allowed, suitable for different characters, such as changing clothes to and from ninja garb, or making ninja garb as effective as plate mail (AC3). Cost (for the more general power) varies depending on the change, from 1 for things like sharpening cards, to 3 for changing clothes to and from ninja garb, to 5 for small-scale repair work or changing the colour of clothes, to 8 for changing the colour or finish of a largish object or larger-scale repair work, to 10 for making ninja garb as effective as plate mail, to 20 and 10/hr for transmuting elements at one ounce per hour. Does not work on living creatures. Note that if this is taken by a ninja who is a multi-class ninja/psionicist, rather than a mystic ninja, there are prerequisites of Telekinesis and Molecular Manipulation, and this effectively replaces Molecular Rearrangement. Mental (Psychokinesis Science).

Ninja NWP

Ninja use the standard NWP tables for thieves/rogues under most circumstances, but they have some additional NWP, which are more-or-less unique to them. At 10th, Ninja Master, they gain an addition NWP, which if they don't have it already, all bar wandering ninja are expected to use for 'Teacher'. The tables below show which NWP differ for them.


Proficiency       #  Ability  Modifier
Glassmaking       1  DEX      -2
(Swimming         -  N/A       -)
Teacher           1  WIS       0

Proficiency       #  Ability  Modifier
*Armorer          2  INT      -2
(Disguise         -  N/A       -)
*Engineer         2  INT      -3
Healing           3  WIS      -2
**Herbalism       2  INT      -2
**Hunting         1  WIS      -1
Hypnosis          1  CHAR     -2
(Jumping          -  N/A       -)
Lore              1  INT      -1
(Mountaineering   -  N/A       -)
**Navigation      1  INT      -2
Poison            1  INT      -2
Poison Brewing    1  INT      -2
(Reading Lips     1  N/A       -)
**Running         1  CON      -3
(Set Snares       -  N/A       -)
(Shadower         1  N/A       -)
**Survival        2  INT       0
(Tracker          1  N/A       -)
(Tracking         -  N/A       -)
Trading           1  CHAR      0
(Tumbling         1  DEX       0)
*Weaponsmith      3  INT      -3
( ) partly or wholly duplicated by Ninja abilities
* only a Ninja NWP if have Gimmickry ability
** only a Ninja NWP if have wilderness Track ability

Armorer: is only a ninja NWP if have the ninja Gimmickry ability. Cost: 2 slots, INT-based (-2).

Disguise: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Disguise/Acting ability. Cost: none, not ability based.

Engineer: is only a ninja NWP if have the ninja Gimmickry ability. Cost: 2 slots, INT-based (-3).

Glassmaking: includes moulded, rolled, and blown glass, but not float glass. Lead crystal may also be made. The skill in building and maintaining a glass-making furnace is also gained, as is the selection and mixing of the materials used to make glass. This skill is suitable for making all sorts of glass, such as beads, containers, tubing, crude lenses, and stained glass for windows, but large, flat, clear sheets of window glass may not be made. Glass mirrors may be made by polishing reasonably smooth glass. The DM should decide whether crown glass, for windows, flint glass, suitable for making the lenses for microscopes, flawless optical glass, and boron glass, like 'Pyrex', can be made in their campaign. Note that in some settings, particularly those not capable of blowing glass, glass objects may be treated as being as valuable as jewels. Ninja use this skill in making the glassware needed to maintain an alchemical, or poison-brewing, workshop, and also in the making of certain forms of gimmicks. Cost: 1 slot, DEX-based (-2).

Healing: is not a ninja NWP, and so costs three slots rather than two, for them, but it is listed here as some ninja may wish to take it as part of a cover identity. Cost: 3 slots, WIS-based (-2).

Herbalism: is only a ninja NWP if have the wilderness variety of the ninja Track ability. Cost: 2 slots, INT-based (-2).

Hunting: is only a ninja NWP if have the wilderness variety of the ninja Track ability. Cost: 1 slot, WIS-based (-1).

Hypnosis: is closely related to the Psionicist NWP, which is gained as part of the Mystic power Hypnotism; ninja will not otherwise have this (unless, the DM is running a campaign where ninja don't have mystic powers). The main interest ninja have in this, is using it to extract information from people, or cover their tracks in some way, so they become a fictitious 'visiting friend', or 'distant relation'. Hypnosis allows placing someone, generally (not un)willing into a relaxed and suggestible state of consciousness. This can be done just by talking to someone, in a certain way, and getting them to relax while focusing their attention on something, like the voice of the hypnotist. Sometimes props, like a spinning coin, a candle flame, or swinging pendulum are used, but these are not necessary. Hypnotising someone takes several minutes, and if the subject is suspicious (DM might roll a reaction check) then it is more difficult. People who know about hypnosis, and even worst have the skill themselves, are almost impossible to hypnotise against their will. A ninja who has (non-magically) charmed someone, and got them to relax, or maybe has got the confidence of a prisoner, by promising them a chance of survival, can hypnotise them even without their permission; this is best role-played. Once hypnotised, the subject will be willing to do things that are not against their alignment, though even then they may be tricked by confusing them, say about who they are giving a secret to. Using this skill to turn someone into a programmed assassin is a long and tedious project, probably taking several weeks, and in no way guaranteed to succeed. More generally, memories can be made clearer (though care may be needed to not induce false memories), the subject can be helped to deal with something, even a phobia, that makes them very anxious, they can be helped get over an addiction or to break a bad habit, or they can practice getting into a role they are going to play. This skill does not allow someone to do anything they couldn't in theory do anyway, but it may allow them to surpass limits they normally put on themselves, though this may involve them taking non-lethal damage. Hypnosis is often used during the training of ninja. Ninja can also use this for self-hypnosis, to get themselves really deep into a role, and on occasion they can put themselves so much into a role that they completely believe it, even to things like ESP and (less than deep) telepathy, and are completely consistent in describing their cover background. In general, these roles are supposed to hold until a trigger event, or maybe a recognisable period of time has passed, when the ninja's true self is supposed to re-emerge, but a really badly failed Hypnosis roll might lock a ninja into a role until and unless they get outside help, and it is possible that even threats of death might not work. DMs might give +2 to hypnotising someone for using a prop of some sort, +2 if the subject is consciously willing to be hypnotised, -2 if the subject is afraid of being hypnotised, -5 if the subject is hostile, -10 if the subject is trained in resisting interrogation and mind control techniques (e.g. a ninja), -15 if the subject is resisting and is a trained hypnotist (e.g. a mystic ninja with the Hypnotism power), and -2 to -8 based on how alien the mind and its motivations are (having the right Creature Lore can help here). Certain carefully chosen relaxing herbs or drugs might give up to +5. Ninja improve +1 for every three levels they have earned (i.e. 3rd-5th +1, 6th-8th +2, etc), both in their ability to hypnotise, and resist hypnosis, whether this is a campaign with mystic ninja powers, or not. Someone who is skilled may be able to give the impression of being hypnotised, or even put themselves into a light self-hypnotic trance, to fool the user of this skill. Cost: 1 slot, CHAR-based (-2).

Jumping: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Leaping ability. Cost: none, not ability based.

Lore: is a general NWP which governs knowledge of a particular subject, such as a town or area, a culture, or even things like trade goods. Ninja who wish to take on a particular role in great detail, or even impersonate a specific person, may learn a Lore NWP to help in this. Lore NWP may be used to give bonuses to certain INT-based abilities, for example Lock Lore might give +10% Open Locks for the varieties of lock it covers, Creature Lore might improve Track, or reduce negative modifiers on Hypnosis. Lore NWP can be more or less specialised, and will give a greater bonus in their specialised area, for example Orc Lore might give +15% in tracking orcs, and +3 when Hypnotising them, due to knowledge of their behaviour (Human Lore is not generally allowed, except for non-humans), Goblinoid Lore might give +10%/+2. Ninja are assumed to have at least the equivalent of a Lore NWP in the specialised roles that they acquire as they advance in levels. Cost: 1 slot, INT-based (-1).

Mountaineering: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Climb Walls ability. Cost: none, not ability based.

Navigation: is only a ninja NWP if have the wilderness variety of the ninja Track ability. Cost: 1 slot, INT-based (-2).

Poison: is a skill with handling poison, paralytics and drugs, and their antidotes, in some respects a specialised sub-set of the skills of an alchemist. Most ninja prefer to get their poisons and their antidotes produced by an expert, an alchemist, but sometimes it is necessary to improvise in the field. At least a common kitchen is needed, though an alchemical workshop is preferred, to do work with poisons (see Poison Brewing skill, below), and the DM will apply modifiers for how good the facilities are. A common kitchen without good lighting and only crude measuring equipment would be -5. Using a poison-making kit in the field, and a camp fire, at night, would be -7. Hurrying might be up to another -5, while taking extra time will give positive modifiers. Particularly high quality equipment, or spending extra on high quality ingredients, will give positive modifiers. Failure will at least halve the effectiveness of anything made. Using just this skill, poisons can be identified, handled safely, and a correct antidote worked out. No special facilities are needed to inspect someone, identify whether they have been poisoned, by which poison, and what needs to be done to counter its effects. Having Healing skill gives +2 to all poison identification and treatment. If the character has Herbalism skill as well as Poison skill, poisons, paralytics, drugs and antidotes can be brewed from herbs, without having the Poison Brewing skill (see the "Alchemist" character class for rules for this). In general, while having this skill might be a little suspect, a physician or healer that had an interest in treating poisons might reasonable possess it; those having it are not necessarily evil. Cost: 1 slot, INT-based (-2).

Poison Brewing: is a more general skill in making poisons, paralytics and drugs, and their antidotes, from minerals, plants, and animal extracts. The Poison skill is required as well. This allows making plant-based poisons and antidotes, without having Herbalism skill; having Herbalism as well gives +2 to plant-based poison work, having Healing skill gives +1 to all poison work. Ideally a full alchemical workshop is needed, which is something that needs a non-apprentice alchemist to set up, costs at least 1000gp, and has 4-8 weeks (3+1D5) set-up time; a master alchemist setting-up and 4000gp would be needed to handle the greatest poisons. These workshops are not generally portable; a DM might allow a small one at double cost to be carried in the back of a large wagon, but there's a lot of breakable glassware. If the workshop is specialised for poisons, then its half cost, but an alchemist will notice this, and might ask awkward questions; characters who kill, or on occasion even threaten, alchemists, a valuable resource, typically find themselves dead shortly afterwards. Using an improvised workshop, or even a common kitchen, will cause the DM to apply negative modifiers, see Poison skill. For the actual process of making of poisons, see the "Alchemist" character class, and assume that this skill makes equivalent to up to a 3rd level Alchemist, just for the purpose of making poisons and drugs, +2 levels per +1 NWP slot. A character can function as a specialised Alchemist of up to half their level, given this skill, i.e. must have +1 NWP slots and be 10th level to make Blade Venom, and +2 NWP slots and be 14th level to make Contact Poison. Assume that the vast number of antidotes may be made by anyone with this skill, at a cost of no more than 50gp, in one day, in an alchemical workshop. But, the DM may rule that some antidotes are far more difficult, require special ingredients, or even need a 'Neutralise' potion, which is beyond the abilities of this skill. This skill does not give the bonus saving throws of the Alchemist class, or their abilities to Detect Poison, Neutralise Poison, or Neutralise Paralysis, or any of their potion making or other abilities. Having this skill is an execution offence in some areas, and it is very difficult to think of a reason to justify a non-poisoner, or non-supplier of poisoners, having it; those having it are generally evil, or at the very least not good. Cost: 1 slot, INT-based (-2).

Reading Lips: is used with the Detect Noise ability, and only costs one slot. The ability roll is used, not any skill NWP roll. Cost: 1 slot, not ability based.

Running: is only a ninja NWP if have the wilderness variety of the ninja Track ability. Note than ninja are only -3 on this skill, rather than -6, due to their intense mental and physical training. Cost: 1 slot, CON-based (-3).

Set Snares: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Gimmickry ability. Cost: none, not ability based.

Shadower: may be taken by ninja if they want to be skilled as an urban as well as a wilderness tracker (i.e. they start as a wilderness tracker, see Tracker); note that the ninja ability Track is used rather than any skill roll. Cost: 1 slot, not ability based.

Survival: is only a ninja NWP if have the wilderness variety of the ninja Track ability. Cost: 2 slots, INT-based (-2).

Swimming: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Swim ability. Even if ninja do not have the ninja ability Swim, they automatically count as proficient swimmers. Cost: none, not ability based.

Teacher: is taken by ninja, typically of at least 4th level, if they wish to efficiently teach others. Many non-wandering ninja of at least 8th level have this NWP; Ninja Masters (10th) are expected to have this. DMs may choose to ignore the following mechanics, and simply say that having this NWP is sufficient to be able to teach. As to how much teaching is required, the training to become a ninja typically starts between the age of four and eight, and is considered to take ten years, much of which is developing and conditioning the body and mind, and training a new ability, if above 1st level, takes two to five weeks of full-time training (D4+1wks?; x40 = 80-200hrs?). There is no consideration here of what payment, if any, is made to the teacher. DMs may say that using this NWP, any ability which has been 'mastered' (is at 95% or better; DMs may choose 90% as an alternative) can be taught to those being trained to be 1st level ninja (as can Fighting Skill or Brawling Skill at 9th level, or Backstab at a x4 multiplier; DMs may say that 6th level and x3 multiplier is sufficient). Such a high ability is needed because ninja have such a high standard of training. A ninja of above 1st level who is acquiring a new ability will typically at least consult a teacher. A ninja who has this NWP and more than the base ability (i.e. has bought the ability above the base value, e.g. 60% for Leaping) can provide lesser teaching by example (typically doubling the training time), or act as a teaching assistant to a master, so that they can handle a larger class. While this NWP depends on WIS, the CHAR Reaction Modifier may be applied to motivate students, and control unruly classes. Complete mastery of an ability (115% or better; DMs may choose 100% as an alternative) gives a +2 modifier to instruction. DMs may apply modifiers based on class size, for example personal one-to-one instruction is +5, two pupils is +2, three to seven pupils is no modifier, eight to fifteen pupils is -2, sixteen to twenty five pupils is -5, and for every additional five pupils there is a further -1. Each teaching assistant allows an extra five pupils without making the negative modifier any worse; there may not be any more than four teaching assistants. Class sizes of larger than fifty are not possible. Teaching is possible without this NWP, but it tends to be by example, the teacher may have difficulty explaining any problems the student has in learning, and class sizes are much smaller (assume that this again doubles the training time). Failing the 'Teacher' roll just means training takes up to twice as long (+10% time per 1 roll failed by?), critically failing the roll means something has gone badly wrong, such as needing +200% training time, or one or more pupils gives up the training as 'useless'; make a WIS roll for each if more than one, all who fail roll, and always at least one, can't learn more about this subject, except from a better (or very different) teacher. Hypnosis is often used in teaching some of the more esoteric ninja abilities, and in campaigns where ninja do not have mystic powers, many Ninja Masters teachers will be expected to be hypnotists. Cost: 1 slot, WIS-based.

Tracker: may be taken by ninja if they want to be skilled as a wilderness as well as an urban tracker (i.e. they start as an urban tracker, see Shadower); note that the ninja ability Track is used rather than any skill roll. Being a wilderness variety of ninja tracker makes a number of wilderness NWP count as ninja NWP, as they are assumed to be trained in this environment. Note that ninja do not suffer from the -6 (-30%) that other classes suffer to their ability score. Cost: 1, not ability based.

Tracking: is not taken by ninja as it is wholly replaced by their Track ability. Note that the NWP Tracker and Shadower work with the Track ability. Cost: none, not ability based.

Trading: is typically taken by ninja who wish to take on the role of a merchant. Appraising NWP is almost always taken as well, so that the value of goods can be told, and Lore about various trade goods, which can even (at fifth or higher level) be things like Magic Items, or History of an area, may also be useful. The ninja ability Read Languages is often taken by trading ninja, and in non-mystic campaigns they may well make use of their Read Magic ability. Cost: 1 slot, CHAR-based.

Tumbling: may be taken by ninja if they want the combat parts of this skill; the reduced damage from falling part is provided to ninja by their Leaping ability. Cost: 1 slot, DEX-based.

Weaponsmith: is only a ninja NWP if have the ninja Gimmickry ability. Cost: 3 slots, INT-based (-3).

Sample Ninja Characters and Groups

These are some sample ninja characters and ninja groups, which could be used as (the basis for) NPCs. While it might flesh characters out more, no detail of NWP or WP, or even mystic powers, is worked out. Also, no racial modifiers have been applied to any abilities. The two tables below may be useful in developing ninja characters.

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- Disguise/Acting

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          60%    -    
Open Locks               10%    -    
Find/Remove Traps         5%    -    
Move Silently            30%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          30%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             15%    -    
Sleight of Hand          15%    -    
Read Languages            0%    -    

Climb Walls               0%    -    
Leaping                   0%    -    
Swim                      0%    -    
Track                     0%    -    
Gimmickry                 0%    -    

Backstab                  x1    -    
Fighting Skill             -    -    
Brawling Skill             -    -    

Sandal is a male human in the ninja group Red Hawk. He has STR 14, INT 13, WIS 7, CON 15, DEX 12, and CHAR 15. Note that he is short of the INT, and far short of the WIS, to be 'Opened', and is also certainly not good enough to be a mystic ninja. He has a good STR, CON and CHAR, which would make him good at Leaping, Swim, and to some extent combat, as well as inter-personal things.

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- Disguise/Acting(5), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(5), Leaping(25=60), Backstab(25=x2), Fighting Skill(10=1st),
      Brawling Skill(10=1st)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          65%    -    
Move Silently            40%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          40%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             20%    -    

Leaping                  60%    -    

Backstab                  x2    -    
Fighting Skill           1st    -    
Brawling Skill           1st    -    

The Disguise/Acting taken is the minimum that any ninja must take, the Move Silently, Hide in Shadows and Detect Noise may allow him to choose when and where he fights, the Leaping makes him quite mobile, and the Backstab, Fighting Skill and Brawling Skill mean that he is good in a wide variety of combat. While he actually has the other skills at their base values, they are not listed here, for simplicity. Note that a role needs to be decided on, and the sort of swashbuckling rogue who goes in for daring actions (while hiding the Backstab ability) would probably be quite good.

A 4th level version of Sandal might be usefully considered:

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- see above
 2nd- *Swim(25=60), *Climb Walls(25=60)
 3rd- Leaping(10), Fighting Skill(20=3rd), Brawling Skill(20=3rd)
 4th- Disguise/Acting(5), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(5), Fighting Skill(10=4th), Brawling Skill(10=4th)

* new ability

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          70%    -    
Move Silently            50%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          50%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             25%    -    

Climb Walls              60%    -    
Leaping                  70%    -    
Swim                     60%    -    

Backstab                  x2    -    
Fighting Skill           4th    -    
Brawling Skill           4th    -    

Instead of improving any existing skills he had learned Swim and Climb Walls at 2nd level, but this has meant that almost all his skill at 3rd level has to go into Fighting Skill and Brawling Skill, so these will remain good. All his other use of skill, at 3rd, and 4th level, goes into improving his existing skills, which are a bit lower than he might want. Note that at 4th he has another role to choose, which may well be based on the NWP he has acquired, such as Trading.

A 7th level version of Sandal might be usefully considered:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-4th see above
 5th- Climb Walls(5), Backstab(25=x3), Fighting Skill(10=5th),
      Brawling Skill(10=5th)
 6th- Disguise/Acting(5), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(5), Fighting Skill(10=6th), Brawling Skill(10=6th)
 7th- Climb Walls(10), Leaping(10), Swim(10), Fighting Skill(10=7th),
      Brawling Skill(10=7th)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          75%    -    
Move Silently            60%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          60%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             30%    -    

Climb Walls              75%    -    
Leaping                  80%    -    
Swim                     70%    -    

Backstab                  x3    -    
Fighting Skill           7th    -    
Brawling Skill           7th    -    

Existing skills have been improved, but getting the next Backstab multiple as early as possible, at 5th level, bit into what was possible, as does having so many skills. At 7th level multiple attacks are gained, both in fighting and brawling, also note that another role is chosen, and he is probably tough enough by now that he can credibly impersonate some sort of warrior, of lower level.

A 10th level version of Sandal would be a Ninja Master:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-7th as above
 8th- Disguise/Acting(5), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(5), Fighting Skill(10=8th), Brawling Skill(10=8th)
 9th- Climb Walls(5), Backstab(25=x4), Fighting Skill(10=9th),
      Brawling Skill(10=9th)
10th- Climb Walls(10), Leaping(10), Swim(10), Fighting Skill(10=10th),
      Brawling Skill(10=10th)
Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          80%    -    
Move Silently            70%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          70%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             35%    -    

Climb Walls              90%    -    
Leaping                  90%    -    
Swim                     80%    -    

Backstab                  x4    -    
Fighting Skill          10th    -    
Brawling Skill          10th    -    

While he is a very credible warrior, his Detect Noise is quite poor, a ninja of less than half his level could be as good or better at Disguise/Acting, Move Silently, and Hide in Shadows, and none of his skills have reached 95% ('mastery'). If he does teach young ninja, it is unlikely to be in anything but the fighting arts. Another role, such as Combat Instructor, needs to be chosen.

Some would say that Sandal has spread himself too thin, and tried to be good at too many things, in consequence ending up not being very good at almost any of them. However, he is a good ninja warrior, though if he cannot deal with a situation via combat, he is nothing like as good as you might expect a ninja master to be.

Zemi is a female half elf in the ninja group Golden Tree. She has STR 15, INT 15, WIS 10, CON 12, DEX 16, CHAR 17. Note that she has barely enough INT, and enough WIS, to be a mystic ninja, but not enough WIS to be 'Opened'. Otherwise, she is good at most things, in particular inter-personal areas, though endurance-based combat is best avoided.

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- Disguise/Acting(20), Move Silently(25), Hide in Shadows(25),
      Detect Noise(5), Track(25=60)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          80%  +10%   
Move Silently            55%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          55%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             20%   +5%   

Track                    60%  +10%   

She is a mystic ninja, using Mentalism powers, and hence automatically gains the basic mental seals, which, using the "Complete Psionics Handbook", replace the psionic abilities a 1st level Psionicist would gain (bar the defence mode). She will choose a primary discipline, and from 2nd level she will gain extra abilities as a Psionicist. She takes Disguise/Acting, as all ninja must, the maximum in Move Silently and Hide in Shadows, the minimum in Detect Noise, and Track (giving her the minimum number of abilities), and a role of Scout.

A 4th level version of Zemi:

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- as above
 2nd- *Leaping(25=60), *Swim(25=60)
 3rd- Disguise/Acting(5), Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5), Detect Noise(5),
      Brawling Skill(30=1st)
 4th- Detect Noise(10), Track(10), Leaping(10), Swim(10), Brawling Skill(10=2nd)

* new ability

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          85%  +10%   
Move Silently            60%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          60%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             35%   +5%   

Leaping                  70%    -    
Swim                     70%    -    
Track                    70%  +10%   

Brawling Skill           2nd    -    

She has made very little improvement in her initial abilities, but has added Leaping, Swim and Brawling Skill. Note that while she now has a total of 95% Disguise/Acting, she has not yet achieved 'mastery', as part of this comes from her high CHAR. She could usefully take Ranger as a role, as long as she only claims to be about 2nd level.

A 7th level version of Zemi:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-4th as above
 5th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(10), Track(10)
 6th- Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10), Leaping(10), Swim(10),
      Brawling Skill(10=3rd)
 7th- Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10), Detect Noise(10), Leaping(5),
      Swim(5), Track(10)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          95%  +10%   
Move Silently            90%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          90%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             55%   +5%   

Leaping                  85%    -    
Swim                     85%    -    
Track                    90%  +10%   

Brawling Skill           3rd    -    

She has mastered Disguise/Acting, and concentrated on improving her Move Silently and Hide in Shadows, while also improving the rest of her abilities. If she has the NWP 'Teacher', she could take the role Instructor. Note that she is quite a good hypnotist.

A 10th level version of Zemi would be a Ninja Master:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-7th as above
 8th- Detect Noise(5), *Read Languages(35=15), Brawling Skill(10=4th)
 9th- Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5), Detect Noise(5), *Gimmickry(35=15)
10th- Read Languages(10), Leaping(10), Swim(5), Track(5), Gimmickry(10),
      Brawling Skill(10=5th)

* new ability

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          95%  +10%   
Move Silently            95%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          95%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             65%   +5%   
Read Languages           25%   +5%   

Leaping                  95%    -    
Swim                     90%    -    
Track                    95%  +10%   
Gimmickry                25%  +10%   

Brawling Skill           5th    -    

She has mastered all her starting abilities, bar Detect Noise, and has also mastered Leaping, and nearly mastered Swim. Adding the new abilities Read Languages and Gimmickry is not at all efficient, and while she will never be really good at these, they might make a reasonable hobby. She is not qualified to teach Brawling Skill, and likely never will be. She is qualified to teach those who wish to be Mentalist mystic ninja, and will almost certainly have the correct abilities to Open those who qualify for this.

Zemi is quite a skillful ninja master, though many would see no point in her having the Read Languages and Gimmickry abilities. She will make a good instructor, mainly due to her high CHAR (helping her Hypnotism), though she is not brilliant in any area. Also, she is not a very good mystic ninja, due to only having a little more than the minimum stats, though experience makes up for this, to some extent.

Beti is a male doppleganger of the ninja group Green Turtle. He starts as skin AC 9, and gains +1AC/level until he reaches AC 5, starts with doing D4 damage, then D6, D8, D10, and finally D12 at 5th, is immune to sleep and charm spells, and makes saving throws as if twice his level until 5th, after which he saves as if +5 levels. He has double the normal suprise chance, and is able to read what people expect of him, taking that shape, and communicate as if in any form of language, using a variety of ESP (the DM rules these abilities mean that brief encounters do not give him disguise penalties, no matter the shape he uses). His problem is, that if anyone ever finds out what he is, they will assume he is evil (he is in fact good), and will try and slaughter him out of hand, but ninja are supposed to disguise who they are, anyway...

He has STR 14, INT 15, WIS 14, CON 10, DEX 14, CHAR 12. He has enough INT and WIS to be a mystic ninja, or be 'Opened', but Green Turtle do not have any masters who can train mystic ninja. The DM has agreed this is a playable character as long as Beti always takes as much Disguise/Acting ability as possible, and pays extra experience points for his doppleganger abilities as if he was a mystic ninja. The DM says that he can also change what his skin feels like, when people touch him, and even alter his smell, to complete his disguise, but has disallowed the standard ninja ability to acquire roles as he goes up levels, which means he will not be good at any specific disguise.

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- Disguise/Acting(25), Open Locks(5), Detect Noise(25), Read Languages(20),

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting          85%    -    
Open Locks               15%    -    
Move Silently            30%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          30%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             40%   +5%   
Read Languages           20%   +5%   

Leaping                  60%    -    

As agreed, he has the maximum Disguise/Acting, which gives close to the listed Doppleganger monster ability of 90% disguise (assuming no modifiers are applied). He has taken maximum Detect Noise, near maximum Read Languages, Leaping for escapes, and minimum Open Locks to make up the minimum five initial abilities. Note that he is not likely to wear any armour, and can shift his appearance to the equivalent of ninja garb whenever he wants to.

A 4th level version of Beti:

Ninja Skill Points:
 1st- as above
 2nd- Disguise/Acting(10), *Move Silently(15=5), Detect Noise(10),
      Read Languages(10), Leaping(5)
 3rd- Disguise/Acting(10), *Hide in Shadows(15=5), Detect Noise(10),
      Read Languages(10), Leaping(5)
 4th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5),
      Detect Noise(10), Read Languages(10), Leaping(10)

* new ability

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting         115%    -    
Open Locks               15%    -    
Move Silently            40%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          40%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise             70%   +5%   
Read Languages           50%   +5%   

Leaping                  80%    -    

He is now nearly mature as a doppleganger, and as he has realised that disguise is not good for everything, has acquired Move Silently and Hide in Shadows. He mastered Disguise/Acting at 2nd level, and is making very significant progress with his other skills, bar Open Locks, which he probably didn't want to learn in the first place. He has married a half elven ninja, who specialises in traditional rogue skills, so it is possible his opinion will change... He will likely be trained as a hypnotist (the DM rules that his ESP gives him a +3 bonus), and will be likely to be pressed, by the ninja masters, to think about training as an instructor, which his WIS will help with.

A 7th level version of Beti:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-4th as above
 5th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5),
      Detect Noise(10), Read Languages(10), Leaping(10)
 6th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5),
      Detect Noise(10), Read Languages(10), Leaping(10)
 7th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(5), Hide in Shadows(5),
      Detect Noise(10), Read Languages(10), Leaping(10)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting         145%    -    
Open Locks               15%    -    
Move Silently            55%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          55%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise            100%   +5%   
Read Languages           80%   +5%   

Leaping                 110%    -    

He was a mature doppleganger at 5th. He has continued the training pattern used at 4th, and has now mastered Detect Noise and Leaping. He now has four children, two half elves, and two dopplegangers, a male and female of each, and the oldest two have started ninja training. He is now quite a credible assistant instructor, though his hypnotic skills are not completely reliable.

A 10th level version of Beti would be a Ninja Master:

Ninja Skill Points:
1st-7th as above
 8th- Disguise/Acting(10), Move Silently(10), Hide in Shadows(10),
      Detect Noise(5), Read Languages(10), Leaping(5)
 9th- Disguise/Acting(10), Open Locks(5), Move Silently(10),
      Hide in Shadows(10), Detect Noise(5), Read Languages(10)
10th- Disguise/Acting(10), Open Locks(5), Move Silently(10),
      Hide in Shadows(10), Detect Noise(5), Read Languages(10)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Disguise/Acting         175%    -    
Open Locks               25%    -    
Move Silently            85%    -    no armour, +5%
Hide in Shadows          85%    -    ninja garb, +5%
Detect Noise            115%   +5%   
Read Languages          110%   +5%   

Leaping                 115%    -    

He is probably best in the clan at Disguise/Acting, and even a 65% penalty for disguise as a specific person of the opposite sex and a different race in an extended encounter still gives him an 98% chance. He is a complete master of Detect Noise and Leaping, and has nearly completely mastered Read Languages. If he survives another level he will likely master Move Silently and Hide in Shadows, even though he did not have the abilities initially. Possibly due to an interest in his children's instruction, he has improved his Open Locks ability. He now has five children, the oldest two first level ninja, the next two under instruction, and the youngest, who can freely flip between true forms of half elf and doppleganger, and can change sex at will, is proving a great trial to his/her parents!

Some would say his ninja abilities are too narrow, though he is very effective at getting into places he isn't wanted, and acquiring information, whether spoken aloud or written in almost any language. As an instructor in his chosen areas, he is very good, though teaching non-dopplegangers might require him to be careful about assuming they have his 'special advantages'.

Red Hawk is a human ninja group which operates in cities and civilised areas. They were founded more than two hundred years ago by a renegade ninja master, only known as 'Hawk'. Red Hawk put a lot of emphasis on the fighting arts, though they have ninja masters skilled in the full range of ninja abilities, and even some limited mystic ninja abilities (they have the basic seals, and ten other magic, and ten other mental, seals, almost all to do with information gathering). As a group they are not fond of other ninja groups who are heavily into the more mystic side of things.

The main work that they do is information gathering, both in their home and nearby lands, and they tend to have short term contracts with various of the nobles and other powers of the land, as well as selling information that they have acquired on a speculative basis. Some of their roving agents travel with groups of adventurers. They will not do assassination work, unless they believe the cause is just, and consider themselves in some respects the protectors of the common people from tyranny.

Golden Tree is a half elven ninja group which operates in rural and wilderness areas. Its origin was an agreement, millenia ago, between a very conservative elven group, under pressure from multiple directions and in multiple ways, and the mysterious priests of the God of Secrets. Half elven children, often new born, were passed to the priesthood, to help preserve the purity of the elves, and these were secretly trained as ninja, who in their turn helped protect the 'pure' elves. While the elves were eventually overwhelmed, the ninja group remains, and has effectively become a sub race of half elves; they still occasionally adopt (normally very young) children of mixed human and elven blood.

Golden Tree is heavily into the mystic ninja abilities, as well as ranger, healing and wilderness abilities, though they have ninja masters skilled in all ninja abilities. They also have masters of alchemy, who they are very careful to protect (these can produce alchemical constructs, which are almost perfect copies of people, including memories given major preparation, for 'difficult' missions). Assume that as a ninja group they have the basic seals, and fifty magic, and fifty mental, seals, as well as a number which are unique to them. As a group they are not fond of other ninja groups that include non-humans, as they consider these to be untrustworthy; they know of no other (half) elf ninja groups.

The main work that they do is acting as reliable messengers and scouts, warning against dangerous beings moving into the areas they patrol. They also try and ensure that they keep track of groups of adventurers, as these often stir up trouble, sometimes planting agents among these. When asked to, they do any work that the Temple of Secrets asks them to, even if the instructions seem to make no sense, though they are reluctant to assassinate elves, humans, dwarves, or members of other 'good' races.

The power of the God of Secrets works to hide their nature as ninja, generally while hiding any divine intervention by what appear to be natural disasters, but if necessary sudden brain fevers causing lost memory. Is is believed that some ninja masters may have gone on to become priests of the God of Secrets, but no one is certain about this. Some Golden Tree ninja who come close to revealing ninja secrets more than a few times just mysteriously disappear, or forget they were ever ninja.

Green Turtle clan is a mixed race ninja group which operates in cities. They were founded fifty years ago by a shape-shifting ninja master of uncertain race, called Nezumi, and have human, half elf, half orc, dwarven, (non-tinker) gnome, (non-evil) doppleganger, and lizard men, among their many races. Green Turtle are very heavily into disguise and movement abilities, though they have ninja masters skilled in all the rogue abilities, and healing and gimmickry; they have no mystic abilities (bar very good hypnotism). The clan is named after the 'Curse of the Turtle', which is something Nezumi never explained. As a group they are opposed to any other ninja group who they consider to be 'evil'.

The main work they do is fighting against what they consider to be the forces of evil, wherever they are. They are based in tunnels and caves below cities, which they are skilled at engineering and digging. It is not clear what their source of income is, and while the ninja masters often complain about waste, they never seem to be short of money. Some members of the clan believe that Nezumi, who while looking older, shows no signs of slowing down, has some sort of alchemical artifact, which allows him to make gold from base metals, has a gateway to another world where he is rich, or knows where there is an immense lost horde of treasure (but however he does it, this is considered to be a clan secret).

Nezumi seems to have a talent for finding abandoned or orphaned infants, and raising them so as they are not evil, even if every other member of their race is so. As well, he has access to alchemy which makes inter-racial marriages fertile. If the parents are of widely differing races, children tend to resemble one or other parent, rather than being a blend of the two, or they might be able to shift between the two shapes of their parents.

(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - Aug. 2005
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes