Thoughts & Things

Oriental Adventures – Ninja Part 2

I’ve done a few Ninja builds here, and I’ve been working through my backlog of work. This time I wanted to add some more custom build ideas that I’ve had, so I’ve been developing some ideas for a Ninja archetype.  I started with making it a mix between a Rogue Assassin and a Monk Way of the Shadow. This is a copy of the draft I’ve been working on, and it is really rough but I’ve working on it forever. Level 3 gives most of the theme for the Ninja, and I’ve thought about pulling some of that out and spread it to the higher levels. I’ve pulled some flavor text and stuff from random internet sources that talk about Ninjas.

I’d like to see your thoughts, and I may even go in a different direction after it is all is said and done. But I needed to get this written and out there so I could finish someday. Please make some comments, and let me know. So here goes:

Ninja – New Roguish Archetype

I wanted to create a Ninja for my Wuxia campaign for players to use. I first started off with the Ninja having some powerful feats based on one vs. one martial art attacks, sort of when they caught someone in the dark and had to fight. The Ninja could use a base class such as the Rogue-Assassin, or Monk-Way of Shadow, but the Ninja seemed to fit more as a mix of Rogue and Monk. Going in that direction, I decided to build an archetype that pulled some of the martial art aspects of the Monk into an option for a Rogue instead of multi-classing, and without losing a key power of the Rogue: Sneak Attack. I started with Ki and Martial arts and Ninja Weapons as the base. Then added some Ninja Ki Powers, and level up powers like Poison expert, back-stab, and phantom combo strike . The last part is a copy of the Ninja Clan background that I’ve posted before.


Starting at 3rd level when you choose this archetype, your Rogue gains the ability to channel Ki in many different facets. Your Ki gained from this archetype, would be in addition to any Ki gained on the Monk Table if you choose to multiclass with the Monk class. For example; a 13th Level Rogue-Ninja/7th Level Monk would have 15 Ki Points.

The amount of Ki Points you have increases as you gain levels in the Rogue class after choosing the Ninja Archetype:

  • Level 3 Rogue: 2 Ki Points
  • Level 9 Rogue: 6 Ki Ponts
  • Level 13 Rogue: 8 Ki Points
  • Level 17 Rogue: 12 Ki Points
  • Level 20 Rogue: 15 Ki Points

The Ki features that you can choose are from the Monk starting Ki choices of Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense and Step of the Wind along with several special Ninja Ki powers:

Hold Breath – As a bonus action, you can use your Ki to prolong holding your breath. Spend 1 or more Ki Points and gain an additional number of minutes equal to 1 + Constitution modifier to hold your breath (minimum of 1 minute)
Sudden Strike – If you are unseen by a foe, in combination with movement of 10 feet and performing an Attack Action on you turn, you can spend 1 Ki point to cause an additional 1d6 damage to your opponent as a bonus action.
Diverting Defense – As reaction, you may spend 2 Ki and redirect an attack against you to any creature that is adjacent to you, either a friend or foe. You cannot redirect the attack to the creature making the attack.
Ghost Step – As a reaction when a melee attack hits you, you spend 2 Ki and become invisible until the end of your next turn, or when you attack an opponent.
Move across Water – During your turn, you can spend 3 Ki points to move up to your speed across a body of water.
Ki Blade – You are able to create a psionic blade with your Ki. Spend 4 Ki to form a Ninja weapon in your hands that lasts for 10 minutes. Treat this weapon as magical for damage.
Phase Through Walls – During your turn, you can use 4 Ki Points to move through 10 feet of material, and this uses 10 feet of your movement speed. You cannot end your movement inside solid material, but you can continue to spend an additional 4 Ki to move 10 more feet on your turn. You can continue to use this ability as long as you have the require Ki, and your movment isn’t 0. You will simply return to your starting point if your movement ends inside an object
Explosive Ninja – During your turn or as a reaction, spend 8 Ki, and your form divides into five separate Ninja that are Tiny Sized. Each having a divided portion of your hit points, your same statistics and weapons, and with a reduced movement speed of 10 feet. This effect lasts for 10 minutes, or until you choose to end it, afterwards your form converges back to normal, at the total remaining HP of the 5 tiny forms, at one of the Tiny Ninja’s locations that you choose. If all the Tiny Ninja are reduced to 0 HP, then your form automatically combines in one of the Tiny Ninja’s location, and you are unconscious and stable. If you reform in a spot that isn’t large enough for your normal form, then you die.

the explosive ninja has given me the most trouble to put on paper 🙁

Martial Arts

At 3rd level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and Ninja weapons, which are listed below.

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding a Ninja weapon, and you aren’t wearing medium or heavy armor or wielding a shield:

  • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes.
  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike. This die changes as you gain Rogue levels:
    • Level 3 Rogue: d4
    • Level 9 Rogue: d6
    • Level 13 Rogue: d6
    • Level 17 Rogue: d8
    • Level 20 Rogue: d10
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a Ninja weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action.

Ninja Weapons

After choosing this archetype at level 3, your character gains proficiency with Ninja weapons. My initial list started like this: Blowgun,  Kama, Kukri, Ninja-to, Nunchaku, Sai, Shortbow, Short sword, Shuriken, Siangham, Tsuyute, Chain. And then I found a great listing for Ninja weapons with lots of descriptions that I could use. While most of these weapons are exactly the same statistic-wise to weapons found in the Player’s Handbook, these give a distinct Ninja-esque feel.

  • Blowgun (PHB)
  • Claws and Hidden Blades: Both of the Wolverine Claws and Blade Below the Shoulder variation are sometime seen. In Real Life, ninja did use hand claws called Nekode or Shuko and foot claws called Ashiko, but mainly only for climbing. 1gp, 1d4 slashing, 1 lb., finesse, light
  • Kama and Kusarigama: The kama is a small one-handed agricultural scythe that can be wielded singly or in pairs, and the kusarigama is a version attatched to a small weight on the end of a chain that can be used for tangling or as an Epic Flail. Less realistic examples might show the ninja swinging the scythe around by the chain. Variations include the Okinawan kusarigama, which has sickles on both ends.
    • Kama and Kusarigama: 3 gp
      • Sickle end: 1d4 slashing, 1 lb., finesse, light, reach
      • Chain end: 1d4 bludgeoning, 1 lb., finesse, light, reach 
  • Kunai: Pointed gardening tools used as daggers for stabbing or throwing. They’re often depicted being thrown en masse or used for a Knife Outline. Their utilitarian purpose supposedly made them good weapons for ninja in disguise. 1sp, 1d4 slashing, 1 lb., finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)
  • Makibishi: Caltrops, small devices with spikes all over, so that when they’re dropped one spike is always pointing up. Often used to hobble a pursuing foe, since either a human or a horse can be seriously injured by stepping on one.
    • A bag of 50 makibishi, 1gp. These are super small and with an Action can cover a 10 foot square area. A creature walking through them must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw; and on fail stop moving and take 1 piercing damage; walking speed is reduced by 10 feet until 1 HP is regained. Moving at half speed through the area covered by the Makibishi will avoid the saving throw requirement
  • Manrikigusari or Kusari Fundo: Chains with heavy weights to the ends, used for disarm people or entangle and trap them.
    • 1 gp, 1d4 bludgeoning, 1 lb., finesse, reach
  • Naginata: A pole weapon with a curved, sword-like blade on the end of a shaft. A traditional samurai weapon that ninja may also be depicted using. Other kinds of Japanese pole weapons such as the yari (spear) may be substituted, whether bladed or not.
    • 1d6 piercing, 1 lb., thrown, reach, two-handed
  • Nageteppo: Low-tech smoke and/or flash bombs. This isn’t a Ninja weapon, and listed only for reference.  The nageteppo costs 1 sp, and can be thrown up to 20 feet by using a Use Object action. The spot that the nageteppo hits creates smoke in a 10 foot sphere thick fog cloud that goes around corners. The area covered by the smoke becomes obscured, that will dissipate after 1d3+1 rounds.
  • Nunchaku: Basically two short sticks connected by a rope or chain.
    • 2 sp, 1d4 bludgeoning, 1 lb., finesse, light
  • Sai: A short, tapered metal baton with two forward-curved prongs for a handguard. Despite its silhouette it is not a dagger and has no edges, but is used for parrying, bludgeoning, and thrusting with the usually blunt tip.
    • 1 sp, 1d4 bludgeoning, 1 lb., finesse, light
  • Senbon: Needles, some of them long, while others were small enough to be carried in the mouth and then shot using the tongue as a blowpipe. Often Poisoned Weapons.
    • 1 cp, 1 piercing, 1/8 lb, finesse, thrown (10/20)
  • Shinobigatana or Ninjato: A special ninja sword, similar to a short, straight katana and often depicted being held in Reverse Grip.
    • 10 gp, 1d6 piercing, 2 lb., finesse, light
  • Short Sword (PHB)
  • Short Bow (PHB)
  • Shuriken: Probably the most popular and recognizable ninja weapon, these are throwing blades that take various shapes such as stars or darts. Like the above mentioned kunai, you might see fictional ninja throwing a lot of them at once. A ninja who’s a show-off might use the Fuuma Shuriken, which is a shuriken of extra-large proportions.
    • 1 sp, 1d4 piercing, 1 lb., finesse, thrown (20/60)

Poison Expert

At 9th level, Ninja become more adept at killing by any means possible and start to focus their attention on poisons. Ninja are trained in the use of poison and aren’t at risk to accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade, applying it to a trap, or during other methods. Through their training, a ninja gains expertise in dealing with contact, ingested, inhaled and injury type poisons. Their time spent training with poisons also garners them resistance to all poison type damage.

A Ninja at this level gains expertise with the Poisoner’s Kit, and the ability to craft poisons listed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide on pages 257 and 258. The speed at which you can contribute in the crafting of a poison is 100 gp increments a day. While crafting a poison, the Ninja can maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay the 1 gp per day, or a comfortable lifestyle at half the normal cost.

You also have the ability to easily find Poisons for sale through your nefarious contacts that are normally impossible to find. With your DM’s consent, you are able to purchase the poisons listed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide at a reduced price.


By 13th level, you are able to take advantage of an opponent that does not notice your attack. This allows you gain advantage with an attack against a foe that does not see you. During this turn, any attacks that you make against your opponent, you can score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

Phantom Combo Strike

Starting at 17th level, when you take the Attack Action, you are able to perform another Attack action. If this second attack strikes a creature, it becomes Stunned, and you can attack an adjacent creature.

Martial Art Specific Feats

Ground Fighter Feat

You create damage while grappling to the grappled creature from joint locks and choke holds. The grappled opponent suffers 1d4 (or 2) damage each round while grappled. This damage occurs at the end of each of your turns.

Knock out: If a creature is grappled for 3 rounds or longer, at the end of each round, the creature must make a Constitution save, on a fail the creature becomes unconscious for 2d4 (or 5) rounds.

Iron Fist Feat

You focus on delivering devastating punches. Your punches deal an additional 1d4 + Wisdom Modifier of damage.

Swift Kicks Feat

You focus on quick and close knee jabs, and unbelievable roundhouse kicks to critical parts of the body. Against other humanoids, you kicks cause stunning devastation on contact, or increased damage. The target of your unarmed attacks makes a constitution saving throw and on a failure, is stunned until the end of your next turn.

The DC for the save is 8 + Dexterity Modifier + Proficiency Bonus

Ninja Clan Background

You were born into a secret ninja clan, deep in the mountains and far away from civilization. You many years of dedicated martial art lessons, and and were taught the secret ways of the shinobi. A ninja understands the art of stealth and infiltration, whether as a sneaky rogue, a clever master of disguise, or a student of illusion and misdirection.

Ninja clans tend to exist in remote locations, training hard in a family, clan environment, and are often hired by warlords and generals to accomplish clandestine military objectives. While feared and renowned as assassins, in reality ninjas encompass a much broader range of types.

Skill Proficiencies. Survival, Slight of Hand

Tool Proficiencies. forgery kit, and herbalism kit (Kusuribin)

Equipment.  A set of traveling clothes, 12 darts (Bo-shuriken), and a choice of a set of thieves’ tools, an alchemist’s kit, or a disguise kit, belt pouch with 15 gold


Ninja Clan. Your ninja specialty can be stealth, disguise, or illusion. Ninja clans usually focus on one specialty, gaining a reputation for it, and your association with your clan passes that reputation on to you. work with your DM to determine the nature of your ninja clan; you can select your specialty or the table below or roll randomly.

1-2: Shadow Assassins – specializing in sneaking and quietly killing (Sneak). Your clan focuses on the skills of hiding, climbing, and sneaking.

3-4: Clan of the Many Faces – specializes in disguise and intrigue (Disguise). Your clan prefers to infiltrate through the front door, often with long-term planned placements.

5-6: Kōga Clan – a group of sorcerers and illusionist (Illusion). Your clan mastered the arts of alchemy, using smoke, noise, and fire to best effect.

Feature – Ninja Clan

Having been brought up in your ninja clan, you gain certain unique benefits that only the loyalty of family can provide. Your clan will hide you and your companions, and provide you with food and basic lodging, and can provide healing services.

Suggested Characteristics

Due to their isolation, ninja clans often breed individuals with values and traits which do not always fit in well with others; however, the concentration on clan and family means that a ninja’s companions can rely on her as a fiercely loyal ally.

Personality Trait

  1. I grew up in a remote, rural location, and place little value on wealth or nobility.
  2. I feel far more comfortable in the outdoors, away from city life.
  3. My clan was attacked when I was young, giving me a fierce distrust of outsiders.
  4. I believe strongly in loyalty, and can be trusted and relied on whatever the circumstances.
  5. Deception is part of life. Believe nothing I say.
  6. I will never sit with my back to a door or window, accustomed as I am to the arts of assassination.


  1. Clan. My ninja clan is my family and my life. Everything I do is for them. (Lawful)
  2. Friendship. I always knew that things change; but true friends remain always. (Good)
  3. Tradition. The ways of my clan permeate everything I do, even if they would impede my progress. (Lawful)
  4. Chaos. I grew up an outsider, and I will always be an outsider. Civilized order is designed to oppress. (Chaos)
  5. Aspiration. I hope one day to perform a great deed and return to my clan a hero. (Any)
  6. Greed. I’m in it for the money. I’ll take any job if it involves money. (Evil)


  1. I am trying to restore the lost honor of my clan.
  2. I seek revenge on those who destroyed my clan and murdered my family.
  3. My teacher was a wise old ninja master, and I owe him everything.
  4. I will die before I reveal the location of my ninja clan.
  5. My clan’s enmity with another clan is more important than anything else in the world.
  6. I seek an ancient heirloom or artifact which once belonged to my ninja clan.


  1. Discretion is the better part of valor. I will avoid a difficult fight.
  2. Fighting fair is for fools. If I can poison an enemy or slit their throat as they sleep, I will do so.
  3. My focus on tradition overrides common sense, often causing me difficulties.
  4. I embody “dark and mysterious” to the point of obnoxiousness.
  5. I nurture every grudge and insult, and cannot rest until I have had my revenge.
  6. I have a shameful secret, and my clan will kill me before allowing me to return home.

So that is what I’ve got for the Ninja artchtype so far, please let me know what you like, or what you don’t like. Also if you see something incorrect, or out of place, that would be helpful also. Thanks for reading all of this. Love you guys and see next time.


For original details on the Ninja clan background, go to [http://tribality.com/2014/12/01/oriental-adventures/]

Online dice roller that I used to roll d100 quickly to determine the trinket from the PHB [https://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm]

I looked up Uncommon Magic items with the pdf “Magic Items by Rarity” [http://tribality.com/2014/12/02/magic-items-by-rarity-dd-5th-edition-dmg/]

Here are the current links to the Wuxia / Oriental Adventure Campaign World I am building:
part 1. Samurai Build, Ninja Build & Ninja Clan Background
part 2. Food in Wuxia
part 3. Yakuza Chracter Class
part 4. Exotic Weapons
part 5. Wu Jen Character Class
part 6. Vanara Character Class
part 7. Deities & Demigods – Hachiman
part 8. Deities & Demigods – Amaterasu-ōmikami
part 9. Ninja Character Build – Level 5
part 10. Ninja Part 2

TagsD&D 5e