Shinobi (3.5e Class)

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Author: Eiji-kun (talk)
Date Created: 8-4-12
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Masterful ninja, you stalk the night. All will fear the assassin in the dark: the shinobi! 20 0 Moderate Poor Good Good Sneak Attack Other Other

Lawful Good Lawful Neutral Lawful Evil Neutral Good Neutral Neutral Evil Chaotic Good Chaotic Neutral Chaotic Evil

If you see him, you're already dead.


The shinobi, also known as the ninja, is a deadly and feared assassin, master of unorthodox warfare, stealth, espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and strange mystical powers forged from their inner ki. Dressed in black they stalk the night, unseen by all.

Making a Shinobi[edit]

Abilities: Shinobi are almost universally dexterity focused, using Weapon Finesse to compliment their inherent mobility and nimbleness. Yet a shinobi must also be wise and aware of his surroundings, needing a good wisdom score. Constitution is important for anyone in the line of fire, strength still has its place as a source of damage, and intelligence helps supplement their skillful natures. Charisma is still called on, for when the mask is off shinobis must be able to infiltrate and destroy from the inside out.

Races: Any race can be shinobi, but they are most common in the small and the nimble folk. Orc shinobi are too aggressive for the subtle blade of the ninja.

Alignment: Any. While many are lawful, the rogue shinobi are often the tales of legend, heroes, and villians.

Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp (125 gp).

Starting Age: As fighter.

Table: The Shinobi

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Ki Pool
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Improved Unarmed Strike, Kuji-in Seals (1st), Sneak Attack 1d6, Weapon Finesse 2
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 AC Bonus, Evasion, Poison Use 3
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Death Attack, Sneak Attack 2d6 4
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Kuji-in Seals (2nd), Uncanny Dodge 5
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Qinggong 6
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Darkstalker, Sneak Attack 3d6 7
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Kuji-in Seals (3rd) 8
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Uncanny Dodge 9
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Rapid Death Attack, Sneak Attack 4d6 10
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Kuji-in Seals (4th), Shadowy Concealment 11
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Improved Evasion 12
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Sneak Attack 5d6, Untraceable 13
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Kuji-in Seals (5th) 14
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Eternal Motion 15
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Sneak Attack 6d6, Sudden Death Attack 16
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Kuji-in Seals (6th) 17
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Obscured Existence 18
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Sneak Attack 7d6 19
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 No Witnesses 20
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 One with the Shadows 21

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Autohypnosis (Wis), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Shinobi.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shinobi are proficient with all simple weapons, as well as the bolas, jian, kama, katana (bastard sword), net, nunchaku, sai, shuriken, siangham, sling, wakizashi (short sword), and whip. And, of course, unarmed strikes. We're not monks.

Shinobi are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.

Improved Unarmed Strike: The shinobi is always armed, even when disarmed. They gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

Kuji-in Seals: The shinobi is said to possess mystical powers, and this is partly true. Through a combination of cleverness, tools, and use of ki to bolster their body and occasionally defy physics they can perform several magical effects at will, though they all draw from the shinobi's ki pool. The shinobi has a ki pool equal to her 1 + her class level, and can only be refreshed by 1 minute of rest which restores all of the ki points in the ki pool.

At first a shinobi can only use 1st level kuji-in seals, but at 4th level and every three levels beyond the shinobi gains access to a new tier of seals, up to 6th at level 16. See below for the list of kuji-in abilities.

Sneak Attack: This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. At 1st level they have 1d6 sneak attack, and it increases by +1d6 at 3rd level and every third level beyond (6th, 9th, 12th, and so on). If an shinobi gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

Weapon Finesse: The shinobi must be nimble and quick, and this applies to her weapons as well. They gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.

AC Bonus: At 2nd level a shinobi who wears light or no armor and carries no shield gains her Wisdom modifier to her AC. This bonus applies to both touch and flatfooted AC, and is lost if the shinobi is rendered helpless.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a shinobi can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the shinobi is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless shinobi does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Poison Use: At 2nd level a shinobi is trained in the use of poison and will never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.

Death Attack: At 3rd level a shinobi can kill with a single blow. If an shinobi studies her victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (shinobi's choice). While studying the victim, the shinobi can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the shinobi or recognize the shinobi as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Wis) against the kill effect, they die. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the shinobi. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the shinobi has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.

If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes their save) or if the shinobi does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 4th level a shinobi can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a shinobi already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Qinggong (Ex): At 5th level a shinobi has mastered the art of "the ability of lightness". She is able to set her apparent weight to almost nothing as a free action, allowing her to walk upon water and dance on the end of a needle. This has the effect of making the shinobi immune to all falling damage, and allowing her to walk upon liquid or otherwise unsuitable surfaces (though they may still require a balance check if the surface is too thin in width or is in motion). In addition, it makes her acrobatics much easier to pull off. She may take 10 on Balance, Climb, Jump, Swim, and Tumble checks even if in a stressful situation.

Darkstalker: At 6th level a shinobi cannot be detected by anything, even by extrasensory perceptions. They gain the Darkstalker feat from Lords of Madness, forcing creatures to roll spot and listen checks even if they have abilities such as blindsense, blindsight, and similar.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): At 8th level a shinobi can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a shinobi can hide herself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A shinobi of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.

This defense denies another sneak attacker the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more sneak-attack granting levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level required to flank the character.

Rapid Death Attack: At 9th level a shinobi's death attack can be rushed at the expense of its save DC. For every round you shorten the duration by, the DC drops by -2 points (minimum -4 points for 1 round of study).

Shadowy Concealment (Ex): At 10th level a shinobi is almost invisible while in the shadows. When in shadowy illumination they have total concealment. When in complete darkness, they blend in so well that even creatures with extrasensory abilities (darkvision, See in Darkness, blindsight, etc.) take a 20% miss chance from concealment anyways.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 11th level a shinobi can dodge attacks and brush off the largest of explosions. This ability works like evasion, except that while the shinobi still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless shinobi does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Untraceable (Ex): At 12th level a shinobi is impossible to follow. The shinobi has no scent, leaves, no tracks, and all mundane attempts to track her fail. Even magical abilities and divinations designed to locate beings such as locate creature or find the path struggle. They must make a caster level check against the shinobi's HD + 10. If they fail, the spell go nowhere, leading into dead ends or giving impossible and obviously false information.

Eternal Motion (Ex): At 14th level a shinobi moves with such grace that few things can slow her down. She ignores difficult terrain, and is immune to entangling, paralysis, and stunning. Effects which would make her move at half speed do not slow her speed at all, and effects which reduce her speed to 5 ft. (such as with solid fog) instead only halve her speed. She is still susceptible to other hazards of the terrain beyond movement penalties, and can still be grappled to immobilize her.

Sudden Death Attack: At 15th level a shinobi becomes so quick as determining the weak point she can kill before you knew she was there. She may make death attacks against any flatfooted creature who has not yet acted in battle or is in a surprise round, regardless if she had studied or not. In addition, she gains a new ability to death attack; the ability to hold off the effects of death or paralysis of any victim or failed their saves until later. Thereafter the shinobi can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to her shinobi level. To make such an attempt, the shinobi merely wills the target to die (a free action) or enter paralysis as if the death attack had just occurred. This latter ability is a supernatural ability and a powerful curse that requires break enchantment or greater to remove before it takes effect. A shinobi may only keep one victim in waiting like this at one time, if she sets a new victim the old victim is freed of his curse.

Obscured Existence (Su): At 17th level a shinobi has become so good at hiding she hides from reality itself. The subject is protected from all devices and spells that detect, influence, or read emotions or thoughts. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects, even foiling limited wish, miracle, and wish spells when they are used in such a way as to affect the subject’s mind or to gain information about it. In the case of scrying that scans an area the creature is in, such as arcane eye, the spell works but the creature simply isn’t detected. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject do not work at all.

Creatures who see the shinobi have a hard time recalling what they just saw. Anyone who witnesses a shinobi and then tries to recall that information after the shinobi has left must make a Will save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Wis. On a successful save they remember as normal and may do what they wish. On a failed save their memory becomes hazy. They recall the activities and words of the shinobi, but not who it was or any details beyond a foggy blackish shape.

No Witnesses (Ex): At 19th level a shinobi can observe a whole room full of people... and murder everyone forever. The shinobi can observe any number of creature in a 30 foot radius, taking 3 rounds of observation per person to be targeted in the area. Once observations are complete, they may make a single death attack attempt against one of the targets in range, and all marked creatures in the 30 foot radius are subject to the death attack as if you had rolled the attack roll against them. In a flash, a mere six seconds, dozens of people can be executed in a single fell swoop.

One with the Shadows: At 20th level a shinobi becomes a magical creature. Her type changes to outsider, and she counts as a member of her original type and as an outsider, whenever beneficial. She appears always blended into her surroundings, giving her a constant 50% concealment which is not bypassed by true seeing. Unlike other outsiders, the shinobi can still be brought back from the dead as if she were a member of her previous creature type.

Kuji-in Seals[edit]

Kuji-in seals consume ki from the ki pool equal to their level. 1st level kuji-in use 1 ki point, 4th level kuji-in use 4 ki points, and so forth. Though many produce effects which defy logic, kuji-in seals are extraordinary by default unless marked otherwise. When you gain access to a new level of kuji-in, you know and are able to use all of them at will, ki points provided. The saving throw for all kuji-ins is DC 10 + 1/2 HD + an ability score (usually wisdom).

1st Kuji-in[edit]

Everything Kills (Ex): As a swift action you can turn any improvise weapon or object in your hand into a capable weapon. It gains the statistics of the closest weapon you are proficient in (pool cues become quarterstaves, broken bottles are daggers, and so forth). In your hand it is as dangerous as a real dagger and you take no penalty for its use.

Frog Leap (Ex): As a standard action you imbue your body with unnatural spring, granting your class level + 10 competence bonus on jump checks and you're always treated as having a running start.

Moon Hare Dash (Ex): As a swift action, gain a +10 foot bonus to speed for 1 round. At 4th level and every three levels beyond, the bonus rises by another +10 feet.

Ninja Vanish (Ex): As a swift action you become invisible as the spell and your rendered completely silent as if affected by a personal silence spell for 1 round.

Smokescreen (Ex): As a standard action you produce a smoke bomb which produces a 10 foot cube of smoke similar to a fog cloud spell. At 4th level and every four levels beyond, the cube grows by +10 feet (20 ft cube, 30 foot cube, etc). The smoke lingers in the air for 5 rounds before dispersing. You can always choose to smoke a smaller area than your level allows.

2nd Kuji-in[edit]

False Blow (Ex): As a move action you can make a bluff check to feint the enemy. At 10th level, you can perform this as a swift action.

Flash Step (Su): As a standard action duplicate the effect of shadow jauntToB, teleporting 50 feet away. At level 8 this can be done as a move action, and at level 16 it can be done as a swift action.

Kitsune's Trickery (Ex): As a full round action you gain the benefits of disguise self, which lasts until you change disguises or dismiss the effect. This is a result of clever use of makeup and minor facial positioning, and so is not detected by true seeing.

Muramasa Spirit (Ex): As a swift action just before making a death attack, you focus your mind on the kill granting +2 to the DC of the death attack and an extra +1 point of damage per class level.

Skin of the Chameleon (Su): As a standard action you blend into the background you stand against, granting you concealment (20% miss chance). If you stand still, you become impossible to make out as if you were under the effect of invisibility. This ability lasts for 1 minute.

Dancing Spider Stance (Ex): As a swift action you gain the benefits of spider climb for 1 minute.

3rd Kuji-in[edit]

Ears of the Bat (Ex): As a standard action you focus you senses, granting blindsense out to 30 feet. At 10th level this upgrades to blindsight. The benefit lasts for 1 minute.

Exorcism Blade (Su): As a standard action you make all your weapons ghost touch weapons for 1 minute. You can end the duration early as part of an attack action, discharging the effect in the form of a banishment spell. The saving throw is Wisdom based.

Spiritual Poison (Su): As part of an attack with a poisoned weapon you can use this ability. The poison now ignores poison immunity, although they gain a +4 bonus on their save.

4th Kuji-in[edit]

Amnesia Dust (Ex): As a standard action you can blow a mixed dustcloud of various drugs into the face of others. All creatures in a 15 foot cone must make a Will save or forget the last 5 minutes. If they are in the middle of combat, they are instead confused for 1d4 rounds as they try to remember what they were fighting for. Once someone has made a save against amnesia dust, they are immune for 24 hours after.

Crimson Moon Death (Ex): As a standard action make a single melee attack. This attack deals an additional 1d6 Con damage to any creature susceptible to critical hits due to massive blood loss.

Reflective Arrangement (Su): As a standard action you duplicate the effect of mirror image, but the copies can roam on their own away from you as long as they maintain within 30 feet of you. Every round, you can switch position in which copy is the real you, and which are duplicates as a swift action. This effect lasts for 1 minute.

5th Kuji-in[edit]

Decoy Body (Su): As an immediate action you can make a 5 foot step to avoid an attack, leaving a suspicious wooden log in your place to take the blow. If a 5 foot step does not take you out of danger (such as with most aera effect spells) the use is wasted. Where did that log come from anyway?

Silent Takedown (Ex): As a standard action, if you make a melee attack against a flatfooted opponent who is unaware of your presence you can perform a silent takedown. They must make a Fortitude save or immediately take nonlethal damage equal to their maximum hit points +1, falling unconcious silently without the sound of a falling body or scream. You can now move the body elsewhere while it remains unconcious. If they succeed on the save, they take no damage but are grappled and muffled, preventing speech but not soft noises. Subsequent rounds use typical grapple rules to maintain a grapple and other effects.

Single Stroke Rush (Ex): As an immediate action, if an opponent charges you you can immediately charge them, moving up to your movement speed and passing by your opponent. You may make a charge attack to counter their charge attack; if your attack roll is higher then the attack against you (if any) is negated. They take damage from your charge attack as normal if you hit.

6th Kuji-in[edit]

Ghostwalk (Su): As a standard action, you slip into the spirit world as if using ethereal jaunt. This lasts until you dismiss it as a standard action. Unlike other abilities, you are unable to use this ability again until 1 hour has passed.

Pinching Crab Block (Ex): As an immediate action, if you have at least 1 hand free, you can try and catch a single melee attack against you. Make an opposed attack roll, if you exceed their roll their attack has been blocked. You cannot use this against a full attack or pounce.

Epic Shinobi[edit]

Table: The Epic Shinobi

Hit Die: d6

Level Special
21st Ki Pool Advancement, Sneak Attack 8d6
23rd Bonus Feat
24th Sneak Attack 9d6
26th Bonus Feat
27th Sneak Attack 10d6
29th Bonus Feat
30th Sneak Attack 11d6

8 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Ki Pool Advancement: Shinobis continue to gain +1 ki pool per class level.

Sneak Attack: Shinobis continue to gain +1d6 sneak attack at 21st and every three levels beyond.

Bonus Feats : The epic Shinobi gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Shinobi bonus feats) every at 23rd and every 3 levels beyond.

Epic Shinobi Bonus Feat List: PENDING.

Elven Shinobi Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Katana (Bastard Sword).

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 8 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Balance 4 Dex 0
Bluff 4 Cha
Jump 4 Str 0
Hide 4 Dex 0
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex 0
Spot 4 Wis
Tumble 4 Dex

Feat: Run.

Bonus Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike, Weapon Finesse.

Gear: Leather Armor.

Gold: 80 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Shinobi[edit]

Religion: Like the monk, the shinobi does not focus on the religious and the divine but rather the self. In the self, enlightenment is found. Peace, power, and all aspects are within you.

Other Classes: Shinobis and monks have much in common, as they have a similar degree of dedication. They can appreciate rogues, though some may prove too undisciplined for them. They would appreciate the dedication of the paladin, but for some reason paladins don't like sneaky assassin types. Go figure.

Combat: You play the role of the rogue, the glass cannon, but for you hiding and setup is even more important. You're at your best when you've got a plan and you're on the offensive. However even when surprised and in a straight up fight, a shinobi can hold her own through the powerful kuji-in ninja arts to augment his attack power.

Advancement: Rogue-friendly classes work wonders with the shinobi, as well as monk classes and initiators such as the SwordsageToB.

Shinobis in the World[edit]

Huh? Did you see something?
—Every Dead Guard Ever

Daily Life: A shinobi is not obvious about who she is or what she does. When seen in public, she is just another commoner working the fields, or the local baker, or the cook for the local baron. But at night out of the public view she dons a suit of black and reshapes the world through paranoia, fear, and a sharp blade.

Notables: A defected drow known as Araushnee has taken up the role of a hunter of evil spirits for a local church which has granted her sanctuary from a world she cannot return to.

Organizations: It is said Shinbo do gather in large number for unknown and mysterious actions against unknown and mysterious targets, but since none have seen such and lived, none can really be sure of this fabled "organization of ninjas".

NPC Reactions: A commoner would never guess the cat lady from down the street was a hardened killer. For some reason, knowing such things makes them terrified. Must be the weapons... yeah.

Shinobi Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge Nobility can research shinobis to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge Nobility
DC Result
10 Shinobi are ninja warriors capable of near-magical feats and nimble fighting with a vast array of exotic tools.
15 They say not even a dragon can find a hidden shinobi. They flicker in and out, finding places of vanish right before your eyes and defying all logic.
20 Powerful shinobi are like shadows, never quite there, not entirely real. And yet they can slaughter a whole room in seconds... their reality is unquestionable, even if you cannot see them directly.
30 Those that reach this level of success can research specific ninjas, their motives, whereabouts, and other data. Of course, most ninjas keep their real information even more secret than most...

Shinobis in the Game[edit]

Adaptation: Several powers and abilities have a strong shadow theme. They could be warriors who blend shadow magic with reality and form a semi-real whole.

Sample Encounter: By some mix-up the PCs have been labeled as ghosts possessing dead bodies. Now they have a hunter on their trail who will not listen to reason...


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Eiji-kun's Homebrew (3946 Articles)
Facts about "Shinobi (3.5e Class)"
Allowed AlignmentsLawful Good +, Lawful Neutral +, Lawful Evil +, Neutral Good +, Neutral +, Neutral Evil +, Chaotic Good +, Chaotic Neutral + and Chaotic Evil +
Article BalanceHigh +
AuthorEiji-kun +
Base Attack Bonus ProgressionModerate +
Class AbilitySneak Attack + and Other +
Class Ability ProgressionOther +
Fortitude Save ProgressionPoor +
Identifier3.5e Class +
Length20 +
Minimum Level0 +
Rated ByLeziad + and Hammerhead +
RatingRating Pending +
Reflex Save ProgressionGood +
SkillAppraise +, Autohypnosis +, Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Decipher Script +, Diplomacy +, Disable Device +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Forgery +, Gather Information +, Handle Animal +, Heal +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Open Lock +, Perform +, Profession +, Search +, Sense Motive +, Sleight of Hand +, Speak Language +, Spot +, Survival +, Swim +, Tumble +, Use Magic Device + and Use Rope +
Skill Points8 +
SummaryMasterful ninja, you stalk the night. All will fear the assassin in the dark: the shinobi! +
TitleShinobi +
Will Save ProgressionGood +