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Ninja Spy

(Oriental Adventures variant, p. 43)

While some ninja are little more than assassins, true ninja spies are masters of exotic weapons, tools of stealth, and strange ki powers. Ninja spies are members of a secretive ninja clan, the head of which holds absolute authority over the ninja's life and death. They are sworn to secrecy to protect the identities of their clan members and must never reveal that they are ninja. Despite their inclination to evil, ninja believe strongly in a code of honor, and risk offending their family (and earning a death sentence) if they break that code of honor.


Alignment: Any Nonchaotic, Nongood

Skills: Bluff 10 ranks , Disguise 7 ranks , Hide 7 ranks , Tumble 7 ranks

Feats: Dodge

Special: Evasion class ability

Hit die


Skill points

6 + Int

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ninja spies gain no additional weapon or armor proficiency. However, they gain proficiency in certain exotic weapons as they advance in level. A ninja spy who wears medium or heavy armor cannot use the following special class features: slow fall, evasion, acrobatics, water walk, and abundant step.

Exotic Weapon: At 1st level, and again at 3rd level, 6th level, and 9th level, a ninja spy gains a free Exotic Weapon Proficiency. This proficiency must be chosen with one of the following weapons: blowgun, chain, chijiriki, fukimi-bari, hand crossbow, kusari-gama, nekode, ninja-to, shikomi-zue, shuriken, spiked chain, or war fan.

Ki Breath (Ex): A ninja spy learns to focus his ki to increase his ability to hold his breath. A ninja adds his ninja level to his Constitution check roll to continue holding his breath (see The Drowning Rule in the DUNGEON MASTER's Guide).

Poison Use: Ninja spies are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.

Slow Fall (Ex): At 2nd level, a ninja spy within arm's reach of a wall can use the wall to slow his descent. The ninja takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. His ability to slow his fall (that is, to reduce the effective height of the fall when next to a wall) improves with his level until, at 6th level, the ninja can use a nearby wall to slow his descent and fall up to 50 feet without harm.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and above, a ninja spy can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If the ninja makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Even if he fails his saving throw, he takes only half damage from the attack. The ninja can only use improved evasion if he is wearing light armor or no armor.

Sneak Attack (Ex): If a ninja spy can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Any time the ninja's target would be denied her Dexterity bonus to AC (whether she actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the ninja flanks the target, the ninja's attack deals extra damage. The extra damage is +1d6 at 2nd level and an additional 1d6 every three levels thereafter. This extra damage stacks with any extra sneak attack damage the character already deals. Thus, a 7th-level rogue/5th-level ninja deals +6d6 damage with a sneak attack: +4d6 from his rogue levels and +2d6 from his ninja levels.

Should the ninja score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can only count as sneak attacks if the target is within 30 feet. With a sap (blackjack) or unarmed strike, the ninja can make a sneak attack that deals subdual damage instead of normal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals normal damage to deal subdual damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty, because he must make optimal use of his weapon in order to execute a sneak attack.

A ninja spy can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature that is immune to critical hits is also not vulnerable to sneak attacks. Also, the ninja must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach a vital spot. The ninja cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Acrobatics (Su): A 3rd-level ninja spy gains a +10 competence bonus on Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble checks. At 7th level, this bonus increases to +20. In addition, a ninja can always choose to take 10 on a Balance, Climb, Jump, or Tumble check, even when circumstances would normally prevent him from doing so.

Leap of the Clouds (Su): A 3rd-level ninja spy's jumping distance (vertical or horizontal) is not limited according to his height.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A 4th-level ninja spy can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a ninja spy can hide himself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. A ninja spy cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

Water Walk (Su): A ninja spy of 5th level or higher can use water walk to walk on any liquid as if it were firm ground. The ninja must concentrate (as a standard action) to perform this ability, and thus can only take a single move or move-equivalent action each round while water walking. The effect lasts for 1 round per ninja level.

Thousand Faces (Su): At 7th level, a ninja spy gains the ability to change his appearance at will, as if using the spell alter self.

Poison Immunity (Su): A ninja spy of 8th level or higher is immune to all poisons.

Slippery Mind (Ex): At 9th level, a ninja spy gains the ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. If a ninja with slippery mind is affected by a spell and fails his saving throw, he can attempt his saving throw again in the next round. He only gets this one extra chance to succeed at his saving throw.

Abundant Step (Sp): A ninja spy of 10th level can slip magically between spaces, as per the spell dimension door, once per day. The ninja's effective caster level is 5th.


Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 Exotic weapon, ki breath, poison use
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 Slow fall (20 ft.), improved evasion, sneak attack +1d6
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 Exotic weapon, acrobatics (+10), leap of the clouds
4th +3 +4 +4 +4 Slow fall (30 ft.), hide in plain sight
5th +3 +4 +4 +4 Water walk, sneak attack +2d6
6th +4 +5 +5 +5 Exotic weapon, slow fall (50 ft.)
7th +5 +5 +5 +5 Thousand faces, acrobatics (+20)
8th +6 +6 +6 +6 Poison immunity, sneak attack +3d6
9th +6 +6 +6 +6 Exotic weapon, slippery mind
10th +7 +7 +7 +7 Abundant step

Class skills

Skill name Key ability Trained only Armor check penalty
Balance DEX no yes
Bluff CHA no no
Climb STR no yes
Diplomacy CHA no no
Disable Device INT yes no
Disguise CHA no no
Escape Artist DEX no yes
Gather Information CHA no no
Hide DEX no yes
Innuendo Wis yes no
Intimidate CHA no no
Jump STR no yes
Listen WIS no no
Move Silently DEX no yes
Open Lock DEX yes no
Pick Pocket Dex yes yes
Sense Motive WIS no no
Spot WIS no no
Tumble DEX yes yes

Spells for Ninja Spy