These ninja are so mysterious that nobody knows anything about them -- not their background or origin, nor the source of their stealthy power.
- Skills: Acrobatics 10 ranks, Athletics 10 ranks, Stealth 10 ranks, Disguise 6 ranks
- Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike, Dodge, Mobility, Blind-Fight
- Martial Maneuvers: At least three maneuvers and one stance from the Shadow Hand school, one of which must be 2nd level or higher
- Special: Uncanny dodge class feature, AC bonus class feature
Table: The Seven-Dragon NinjaEdit
|1||+0||+0||+2||+2||0||0||0||+1d6 sneak attack, monk abilities|
|3||+2||+1||+3||+3||1||1||0||+1d6 sneak attack|
|5||+3||+1||+4||+4||1||0||0||+1d6 sneak attack|
|7||+5||+2||+5||+5||1||0||0||+1d6 sneak attack, improved uncanny dodge|
|9||+6||+3||+6||+6||1||1||0||+1d6 sneak attack, no-one walk|
|10||+7||+3||+7||+7||1||0||0||Read the winds|
Acrobatics, Athletics, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Intimidate, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Martial Lore, Negotiate, Open Lock, Perception, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Swim, Use Magic Device
Skill points per level: 6 + Int modifier
Weapon and Armor ProficiencyEdit
Seven-Dragon Ninjas (henceforth SDN) gain proficiency with monk weapons and the weapons of the Shadow Hand style. They gain no proficiency with armor.
The SDN adds his full class levels to levels in martial adept classes to determine his total Initiator Level.
At each level except 1 and 6, the SDN gains an additional maneuver known. This maneuver must be selected from the Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, or Tiger Claw schools. The SDN must meet all prerequisites for the maneuver selected.
At levels 3, 6, and 9, the SDN gains an additional readied maneuver per encounter.
At levels 4 and 8, the SDN learns an additional stance. This stance must be from the Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, or Tiger Claw schools. The SDN must meet all prerequisites for the stance to learn it.
At 1st level, the SDN gains the ability to sneak attack as a rogue. If he has a source of sneak attack already, the abilities stack. The SDN's sneak attack improves at every odd-numbered class level.
The SDN has the slam attack of a Monk of his level. If he has levels of monk, or another class that grants improved unarmed damage, his levels of SDN stack with levels of that class to determine the damage. In addition, he gains the monk's unarmored AC bonus if he does not already have it from another source. If he does, then his levels of SDN stack with levels of that class to determine his effective level for unarmored AC. The swordsage AC bonus counts as this. The SDN gains no other monk abilities (flurry of blows, bonus feats, slow fall, fast movement, etc).
The SDN gains the ability to distract and mesmerize his foes. Once per day per class level, the SDN may use hypnotic pattern as a spell-like ability. The DC of this ability is 10 + 1/2 the SDN's class level + the SDN's CHA modifier. The SDN may affect 2d4 HD with this ability, +1 HD per class level.
SDN are trained in the use of poison, and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.
The SDN must have a readied Shadow Hand maneuver to use this strike. As a standard action, the SDN expends a Shadow Hand maneuver to no effect and makes an attack on his target. If the attack deals damage, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + SDN class level + damage dealt) or be silenced for 1d4 rounds. This prevents the target from speaking, casting spells, or shouting an alarm. Creatures immune to sneak attack are immune to this effect.
Improved Uncanny DodgeEdit
As the rogue ability.
Whenever an ally of the SDN deals weapon damage to a creature that the SDN threatens, that creature provokes an attack of opportunity from the SDN. The SDN may take only one such attack of opportunity per round, even if he has Combat Reflexes.
At 9th level, the SDN is so skilled in matters of stealth that he learns how to avoid being seen unless he explicitly wishes to be. Any time the SDN has the ability to enter a Shadow Hand stance, he may instead enter the No-one Walk. In doing so, he foregoes any bonus that the entered stance provides in favor of the No-one Walk. He remains in the No-one Walk until he changes stances, or would otherwise lose benefit of the entered stance.
While in the No-one Walk, the SDN takes no penalty to Stealth checks for moving his full speed, and can continue to remain in Stealth even if he loses benefit of cover or concealment. In addition, he is considered to always be taking 10 on Stealth checks. If the SDN takes an action that would ordinarily reveal himself, such as attacking, any observer simply gains another Perception check to notice him. Running, charging, or attacking still impose a -20 penalty to the SDN's Hide check, though they do not automatically break Stealth.
An opponent who notices the SDN does not need to make another Perception check to continue to see the SDN unless the SDN gains cover or concealment or is able to successfully distract the opponent. See the Hide skill in the SRD for further details. A SDN who has cover or concealment relative to his observers may re-enter Stealth even if under observation.
Additionally, while in the No-one Walk, the SDN leaves no trail and cannot be tracked through mundane means. His movements defeat tremorsense, though he can still be detected normally by scent, blindsense and blindsight.
Read the WindsEdit
At 10th level, the SDN's senses are sufficiently finely-honed that he can notice opponents simply by the air they displace. He gains blindsense out to 30 feet and blindsight out to 5 feet.
The Seven-Dragon Ninja is meant to approximate a gestalt rogue-swordsage, with a few abilities from the 3.0-edition Ninja of the Crescent Moon. Like other pseudo-gestalt classes, you lose roughly four levels of effectiveness from each class you would otherwise take in exchange for taking levels in this class.
The easiest way into this class is Rogue 4/Unarmed Swordsage 3. Rogue 5/Monk 1/Swordsage 1 would also work, but would provide somewhat less potency than the former. Due to the four-maneuver requirement, it is not possible to enter this class without at least one level of martial adept, and since Swordsage is the only adept with access to Shadow Hand, your choice there is constrained.
Taking ten levels in this class, and presuming Rogue 4/Swordsage 3 entry, gives sneak attack damage of +7d6 (equivalent to an 13th-level rogue) and 16 maneuvers known, 8 readied and 4 available stances, comparable to an 11th-level swordsage. It also results in an Initiator Level of 15, granting access to 8th-level maneuvers at character level 17. Finishing out with two levels of Swordsage and 1 level of Rogue gives +8d6 sneak attack and an Initiator Level of 17, giving access to 9th-level maneuvers.
This potency, combined with the extra flavor abilities of the Seven-Dragon Ninja, makes this class compare very favorably to Rogue and somewhat favorably to Swordsage (as the swordsage trades seven maneuvers known, and one stance and one readied maneuver, for 8d6 sneak attack and a wider array of class skills). Rogues lose 2d6 sneak attack, improved evasion and their skill masteries in favor of a lot of maneuvers and a decent AC bonus.
The suggested build (Rog5/Ssg5/SDN10) results in a +13 BAB, +5 Fort, +15 Ref and +12 Will. BAB is two points inferior to either straight Swordsage or Rogue, Fort is one point weaker, Reflex is better than either and Will is the same as straight Swordsage and superior to Rogue. Hit points compare favorably to Rogue and are the same as Swordsage.
A slightly different build (Ssg6/Rog4/SDN10) gives a +14 BAB, +6 Fort, +16 Ref and +13 Will, as well as one additional maneuver known and one additional Initiator Level, at the cost of 1d6 sneak attack and two skill points. This seems like a clearly better option, being clearly better than Rog20 and marginally superior to Ssg20.
The SDN loses access to two disciplines: Desert Wind and Stone Dragon. Neither of these disciplines is thematically appropriate to a stealth-based shadow warrior; however, since neither ranks among the "stronger" disciplines the Swordsage has access to, this seems an appropriate balancing choice.
Reminder to the designer: though Uncanny Dodge is achievable through other classes (Barbarian 2), Disguise is a rare class skill, and 6 ranks of a cross-class skill would require an entrance at level 10 at the earliest.
UPDATE: Had to lower the maneuver requirements from four Shadow Hand maneuvers to three, since four Shadow Hand maneuvers by Swordsage level 3 is not actually possible.