Ninjas move through the shadows, striking down the unwary and vanishing again with ease. Ninjas walk where others cannot. They blend their training in stealth and assassination with a focused mind. Their rigorous preparation sharpens their minds and bodies, giving them supernatural abilities of stealth and making them phantoms in the eyes of many. Although ninjas in battle lack the staying power of martial characters such as fighters or barbarians, they excel at making combat occur on their terms—appearing and disappearing seemingly at a whim.


Highly skilled spies and assassins, ninjas can master a broad range of skills and combat techniques. Nearly every ninja perfects the arts of moving quietly and remaining hidden, and her secondary skills define her role in an adventuring party or a community. Many ninjas hone skills that help them become better spies, mastering the arts of social interaction and disguise. Others take on the role of cat burglars, practicing skills that help them find and bypass traps and locks.
In combat, a ninja can deal out devastating blows if her opponent doesn’t know she’s there, but she’s not quite as adept as a rogue is at delivering such attacks in a prolonged battle.


Although ninjas have a reputation as dangerous assassins and deceptive spies, they follow many different philosophies and ideals and can be of any alignment. For every dangerous mercenary who uses her ninja training to kill for money, an honest and loyal ninja stands guard over a just lord. Most ninjas follow their own beliefs rather than the dictates of a noble or magistrate, and therefore more ninjas are chaotic than lawful


A ninja’s religious beliefs follow those of her clan. Ninjas can follow any god, although most clans devote themselves to deities of stealth or trickery. Neutral or mercenary ninjas might devote themselves to Olidammara (the god of thieves).
Evil ninjas might revere Nerull (the god of death) or Erythnul (the god of slaughter).
Ninjas who have left or lost their clan follow any deity and often choose not to worship a deity.


Many ninjas come from isolated clans that train in secret. They spend years perfecting the arts of stealth and subterfuge in distant villages and hidden training camps. These warriors, whether deployed in the service of an honorable lord or sent to serve as mercenary assassins, carefully conceal their identities and origins.
These ninjas weave complicated webs of disguises, strike only from hiding, and deal through intermediaries whenever possible. Because of their strong ties to their clan, these ninjas must often put aside personal preferences or goals to serve their lord or clan, but in return they gain the support of a powerful political force and access to the clan’s many safe houses and hideouts.
Although most ninjas come from such isolated clans, exceptions exist at every turn. Some ninjas receive specialized training from a single mentor, perhaps even a retired adventurer who wishes to pass along his skills.
Others train alongside monks and other ascetics in a peaceful monastery. In some places, far-thinking nobles set up their own ninja training centers. One of these centers might consist merely of a single teacher with a handful of students; another might be a full-blown ninja school that progresses students through a rigid series of tests, ranks, and trials.


Humans, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs often have the combination of adaptability and ambition necessary to master the techniques of the ninja. Elves, both graceful and deadly, rarely become ninjas, but those who do often achieve great fame or notoriety. Such elf ninjas often attain the heights of ninja prowess, shaping the history of many human generations through their daring exploits. Dwarves and gnomes seldom train as ninjas. Not only is their social structure too open to shelter hidden clans of ninjas, but their martial instincts run to more straightforward forms of combat.

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