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Author Topic: [A New Pie] The Ninja!  (Read 1421 times)
Morgenstern
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« on: October 19, 2012, 09:39:10 AM »

Discussing various base class concepts sort of cross polinated with my desire to experiment with my new attribute/skill array and gave me a little burst of creative energy. So, here you go Smiley!

The paths are sort of placeholders against new ones more closely tailored to traditional ninja-y goodness (I'd like to do a shuriken throwing path for them Cool). I'll post up a standard array version after any discussion here dies down for inclusion in the compendium.

The New Pie can be found here: http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=6692.0

NINJA
   The quintessential stealth operative, the ninja is equal parts spy and assassin.
   In your campaign, a Ninja could be…
•   A loyal retainer eliminating threats to his honorable master
•   A shadowy mercenary feared as much as he is respected
•   A cruel enforcer of a dark regime based on terror
•   The guardian of a secluded tribe and their deadly traditions
•   A secret warrior locked in a battle between rival clans.

   Party Role: Specialist/Combatant. A ninja's first concern is secrecy, but when discovered they can prove more than a handful for such diligent guards...

Class Features
   Favored Attributes: Fitness & Awareness
   Class Skills: Acrobatics, Acting, Athletics, Competition, Focus, Investigate, Mischief, Profession, Sense Motive, Stealth, Tactics, & Vigilance
   Skill Points: 8 + Guile modifier
   Morale: 6 + Determination modifier per level
   Starting Weapon Proficiencies: 5 + Precision modifier

Core Ability
   Superior Fitness: When you spend an action die to boost a Fitness skill  or melee/unarmed attack check, roll 3 dice and keep the single result you prefer.

Class Abilities
   Get In, Get Out: At Level 1, your Athletics and Stealth are flawless.
   (Flawless. Each time you fail a check with a flawless skill and don’t suffer an error, you still succeed as long as the check DC (or your opponent’s check result) is equal to or less than your Class Level + 20. If several grades of success are possible, you achieve only the lowest possible positive result.
   If you gain the same flawless skill from two or more classes, add together your Class Level in all of those classes when determining the minimum result.)


   Silent Killer I: At Level 2, you do not need to make an attack check when making melee attacks against standard characters out of combat - you automatically hit (this cannot result in a critical hit, however). Opponents who have become aware of you cease to be aware of your presence if you remain hidden for 1 minute even if they remain in combat. You also gain the following trick.
   Silent Kill (Melee Attack Trick): If the target is a standard opponent unaware of your presence, he immediately fails his Damage save (damage isn’t rolled). Opponents defeated by this attack make no sound and do not cause other opponents to become aware of your presence. You gain 1 Edge when you defeat an adversary with Silent Kill.
   Silent Killer II: At Level 11, your reach increases by 1 when making melee attacks against standard characters. You now gain 2 Edge when you defeat an adversary with Silent Kill.
   Silent Killer III: At Level 19, your reach increases by an additional 1 when making melee attacks against standard characters (for a total of +2 reach). You now gain 3 Edge when you defeat an adversary with Silent Kill.

   The Way of Shadows: At Levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19, you take a step along the path of Darkness, Shuriken, Spirits, or Travel. If you have an alignment, you may add exactly one path from that alignment to this list (chosen the first time you take a step along one of those paths with this ability). If you gain the ability to cast a spell from The Way of Shadows, your caster level is considered equal to you Ninja Class Level only, ignoring any other caster levels you may have.

   Ninjutsu I: At Level 4, you gain a dodge bonus to defense against ranged attacks equal to your Edge.
   Ninjutsu II: At Level 8, you may automatically escape bonds of with a strength of 3 dice or less.
   Ninjutsu III: At Level 12, you become an expert with 1 Ninja Class Skill.
   (Expert. Taking 10 with this skill doesn’t take twice as long and taking 20 takes only 10 times as long.)
   Ninjutsu IV: At Level 16, you may spend Edge points as if they were action dice to boost checks and confirm criticals with the Athletics and Stealth skills.
   Ninjutsu V: At Level 20, You gain DR equal to your Edge.

   Shadow Warrior: At Level 6, once per adventure, you may spend 1 hour practicing to gain 1 temporary Covert feat of your choice until the end of the current adventure.
   At Levels 9, 12, 15, and 18, you may use this ability 1 additional time per adventure.

   Avoidance Technique I: At Level 10, your Awareness rises by 1. Also, when you or a hero who can see and hear you makes a Reflex save and the result is less than your Awareness, the result becomes equal to your Awareness. Leaving behind a log wrapped in your clothes is optional.
   Avoidance Technique II: At Level 20, your Awareness rises by 1 (total increase 2), and this ability applies to both Reflex and Will saves.

   Knife in the Dark: At Level 14, your hurled, melee, and unarmed damage rolls gain sneak attack dice equal to one-half your Ninja class level (rounded down).

Table 1.0: The Ninja
Level   BAB   Fort   Ref   Will    Def   Init   Lifestyle   Legend   Abilities
1     +0     +0   +2     +1   +2     +1     +0   +1     Get In, Get Out; Superior Fitness
2     +1     +0   +3     +2   +3     +1     +0   +1     Silent Kill I
3     +2     +1   +3     +2   +3     +2     +1   +2     The Way of Shadows
4     +3     +1   +4     +2   +4     +2     +1   +2     Ninjutsu I
5     +3     +1   +4     +3   +5     +3     +1   +3     The Way of Shadows
6     +4     +2   +5     +3   +6     +4     +2   +3     Shadow Warrior 1/adventure
7     +5     +2   +5     +4   +6     +4     +2   +4     The Way of Shadows
8     +6     +2   +6     +4   +7     +5     +2   +4     Ninjutsu II
9     +6     +3   +6     +4   +8     +5     +3   +5     Shadow Warrior 2/adventure; The Way of Shadows
10   +7     +3   +7     +5   +9     +6     +3   +5     Avoidance Technique I (reflex)
11   +8     +3   +7     +5   +9     +7     +3   +6     Silent Kill II; The Way of Shadows
12   +9     +4   +8     +6   +10   +7     +4   +6     Ninjutsu III; Shadow Warrior 3/adventure
13   +9     +4   +8     +6   +11   +8     +4   +7     The Way of Shadows
14   +10   +4   +9     +6   +12   +8     +4   +7     Knife in the Dark
15   +11   +5   +9     +7   +12   +9     +5   +8     Shadow Warrior 4/adventure; The Way of Shadows
16   +12   +5   +10   +7   +13   +10   +5   +8     Ninjutsu IV
17   +12   +5   +10   +8   +14   +10   +5   +9     The Way of Shadows
18   +13   +6   +11   +8   +15   +11   +6   +9     Shadow Warrior 5/adventure
19   +14   +6   +11   +8   +15   +11   +6   +10   Silent Kill III; The Way of Shadows
20   +15   +6   +12   +9   +16   +12   +6   +10   Avoidance Technique II (reflex & will); Ninjutsu V

Path of Shuriken
You are a master of the small but deadly weapons often known as 'throwing stars'

   Shuriken I: You may attack with shuriken on your person without readying them. When you defeat an adversary with a thrown shuriken you gain 2 Edge.
   Shuriken II: When you throw shuriken they inflict 1d6 lethal damage and their damage cannot be reduced to less than 1 by DR and Resistances.
   Shuriken III: Each round you may spend up to 3 Edge to make that many free attacks with shuriken.
   Shuriken IV: Any opponent you hit with 3 or more shurikens in a single round becomes entangled until he moves at least 10 ft. from that square or spends 2 handle item actions to free himself.
   Shuriken V: You may spend 1 Edge to "reveal" that you have 10 normal shuriken on your person. No amount of searching you or removing your gear can prevent you from revealing shuriken this way.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 07:06:22 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 01:40:09 PM »

Fear & Injury?
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 03:28:43 PM »

Just seeing how they read on the page. Older versions of D&D named the saves after what it was being done to you rather than how you got out of it. This was kinda splitting  the difference with 3 saves for Affliction (avoided with Fitness), Fear (avoided with Determinaton), and Injury (avoided with Awareness). My experiences with the Lord of the Rings MMO suggested you could pack a LOT debuffs into that framework. Particularly the fear save as a way of having characters react realistically to dangers without taking control out of the player's hands (fear doesn't take control of you actions, it just penalizes them in various ways). I was also looking forward to using clear naming conventions to untangle to mess between Resolve opposed rolls and Will saves.

A (painful) example from LotRO would scan something like~

Mortal Terror: At the end of each of you initiative counts, take damage equal to your Career Level x 4 until you make a Fear save, DC 20.

Yeah, that one killed me a few times Wink. Memorable. One nice thing widespread use of "fear" as a debuff/save mechanic did in that game was allow somewhat more mundane threats like bears and wolves to have a dimension beyond 'it bites you'. When a bear reared back to its 8' height and roared at you, it didn't seem unreasonable that you wet yourself, just a little (-2 to AC). It also allowed the game to make a tangible distinction between heroes in their levels of courageousness. All heroes fought on, some did so at full effectiveness.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 04:01:48 PM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 10:20:00 PM »

How would it look without the New Pie stuff  - both because I'm not sure what those skills cover (that thread doesn't detail it) and because there is precisely zero chance I (or many others) will ever have a GM allow me to use a class that requires him to change the entire game's skill list.

Also, for a 2/11/19, Silent Kill seems a little weak to me.
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 10:37:35 PM »

So, what's the new pie doing about the old one's Resolve/Will Save semi-redundent overlap?
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 11:16:25 PM »

How would it look without the New Pie stuff  - both because I'm not sure what those skills cover (that thread doesn't detail it) and because there is precisely zero chance I (or many others) will ever have a GM allow me to use a class that requires him to change the entire game's skill list.

Like a ninja Smiley. A few skills are renamed/merged under the pie. Very few of the checks are juggled within the skills. It's still a stealth-monkey (I just grouped Athlectis, Acrobatics and Sneak under a single attribute). Reverse engineering that part back to the standard skill list will be straight forward, though the core ability will be less graceful if it keeps those three skills rather than one attribute.

Fidling with the new pie is a two-fold project for me. On the one hand I want to see how a little bit different naming scheme rolls off the tongue and scans on the page for fantasy stuff. Fact is some of D20's sacred cows annoy me, like the bizzare sprawling monstrosity Wisdom has evolved into. On the other hand I'm looking forward to doing some sci-fi material using the new pie where a lonely, under-skill-supported attribute like Strength makes even less sense.

So for something like the ninja, yeah, I'll post a stock array version in a bit after I've accomplished the first aspect for myself - reading it like this a few days and solving problems in these terms. But for a Starfighter Ace expert class, I'm going to think in terms of this as its native array and stock as the conversion Smiley.

I'll see about getting the pie detailed down to the checks level. A cobat actions cheat sheet is kinda a must anyway.

Quote
Also, for a 2/11/19, Silent Kill seems a little weak to me.

Now that's interesting Smiley. Not the reaction I was expecting, but worth looking into.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 01:56:26 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 11:19:31 PM »

So, what's the new pie doing about the old one's Resolve/Will Save semi-redundent overlap?

Its going take a lot of examples, but I'm hoping to get a little more of a split between distractions (opposed skill check) and distress (fear save). It's an evolving process.
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 11:47:27 PM »

Silent Kill isn't weak, except in that it generates Edge and there's no other class ability that provides the opportunity to spend it.
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 01:03:00 AM »

...except in that it generates Edge and there's no other class ability that provides the opportunity to spend it.

Noted. Will have to include some edge spending in the new paths.

Still waffling on the saves.

Updated link to the New Pie 1.2.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 01:48:53 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2012, 02:24:40 AM »

Quote
Also, for a 2/11/19, Silent Kill seems a little weak to me.

Now that's interesting Smiley. Not the reaction I was expecting, but worth looking into.
Silent Kill isn't weak, except in that it generates Edge and there's no other class ability that provides the opportunity to spend it.

Sorry I wasn't clearer, but Mr A pretty much nailed it.  Silent Kill I is good, but II and III give you something you have nothing to use.  So worst case scenario, they're dead levels.  Best case scenario, a Ninja can start every fight with a full 5 edge and immediately use Qi Supremacy.  Neither are things that fully appeal to me when it comes to a build up timing mechanic.

It also depends on the GMs style a little too much - sometimes you will have zero opportunities to kill someone outside of combat in an entire campaign (in which case I hope you didn't have a plan that relied on that edge too much).  I'd rather it be a little less beneficial (either as a good melee attack trick that improves, or a good attack that grants less edge at higher levels) but be available any time you're hidden (combat or not).
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 04:02:17 AM »

Sorry I wasn't clearer, but Mr A pretty much nailed it.  Silent Kill I is good, but II and III give you something you have nothing to use.

I have a plan for integral Edge use, but it'll take some time to implement. Gonna swap out the attribute bumps on the 4s.

Quote
It also depends on the GMs style a little too much - sometimes you will have zero opportunities to kill someone outside of combat in an entire campaign (in which case I hope you didn't have a plan that relied on that edge too much).

I'm not sure that's any more or less true of the Ninja than of any class that doesn't have combatant as their primary role. To me the social contract of role-playing gaming says "I took levels in this, there had better be opportunities to shine in this way." Be it Ninja or Keeper. If there's not, it kinda falls on the GM to disallow classes he's gonna bench during play.
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2012, 07:30:52 AM »

Unlike other Combat specialists, it requires killing someone outside of combat.  The "Outside" is the sticking point here, not the ability itself.  By the RAW, an Ambush is "in Combat" too - so you can't use your Silent Kill in an Ambush (which seems terribly counter intuitive) - requiring them to be unaware solves all the problems instantly, but makes it quite a bit more accessable (which is why I suggest lowering the edge to 0/1/2).  It also has strong synergy with the Ghost chain, which feels pretty iconically "Ninja" (you can "disappear" in a full action, into thin air, and then Silent Kill your target - if that doesn't scream Ninja, then evidently I don't know what does).
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2012, 10:24:21 AM »

By the RAW, an Ambush is "in Combat" too - so you can't use your Silent Kill in an Ambush (which seems terribly counter intuitive) - requiring them to be unaware solves all the problems instantly.

I would think 'hidden, adjacent, and not in combat' would pretty much points to not aware. Seemingly not a hard enough pointer though. 'Bout to snooze, but I'll give the verbage some thought.

Quote
It also has strong synergy with the Ghost chain, which feels pretty iconically "Ninja" (you can "disappear" in a full action, into thin air, and then Silent Kill your target - if that doesn't scream Ninja, then evidently I don't know what does).

Now that would be pretty durn potent. But I'd tend to run it as the target's still in combat for a bit as the search for you, weapons out, heartbeat elevated.

I mean basically the whole mechanic is about recreating the fun of Tenchu (and all the other stealth-kill consol games that have followed it). Sneak, sneak, gak. Sneak, sneak, gak. Boss fight.
In group play I'd expect the ninja to exterminate a few guards around the perifery before the rest of the team rolled up in force. Don't want them eating up a lot of time (couple of Stealth check to get form point A to B to C with auto-kills at each stop along the way) while still having the enormous evil grin. With a medium BAB and limited during-combat goodies in the class abilities, they'd want to pare the enemy down before that dreaded initiative roll finally pops.
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2012, 10:13:45 PM »

By the RAW, an Ambush is "in Combat" too - so you can't use your Silent Kill in an Ambush (which seems terribly counter intuitive) - requiring them to be unaware solves all the problems instantly.

I would think 'hidden, adjacent, and not in combat' would pretty much points to not aware. Seemingly not a hard enough pointer though. 'Bout to snooze, but I'll give the verbage some thought.

Not "and unaware".  Just "unaware".  To solve the Ambush issue.
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2012, 05:23:03 AM »

Tried to rework Silent kill to address my concerns about it's use in combat. It's now auto-hit/auto-kill outside of combat, and in combat it's still an auto-kill if it hits. I think a ninja could now do some awful stuff if combat breaks out and they can remain hidden - creeping around the fight while their teammates are engaged normally, wiping out enemies on the fringe from stealth.

Also added a surprisingly slick Path for ninja star chuckin' Cheesy. I think that'll be quite fun in the hands of some Priests/Paladins with suitable alignments.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 05:40:45 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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