Build A Better Catfolk Ninja

First off, I want to say that’s it’s great to see that the folks at Wizards’ are listening to our opinions of the game. No sooner do I complain that Rituals are a pile of crap in ThePlayersHandbookReviewYouDontWantToRead that should have been replaced with a simple extension of the Powers system that this happens:

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That’s straight from the (rather good) playtest preview of the Artificer Class from the latest issue of Dragon magazine, and it details spells – not Rituals! – that work exactly like Powers but may take longer to cast. Booyah!

That’s what I’m talking about! This is what should have been there instead of Rituals all along. Of course, there is a chance that they came to the conclusion all on their own, but where’s the fun in that?

But anyhow.

Boy, it’s hard to sell 4e to my gamer buddies. One of their arguments against 4e is, in a nutshell, “Why trade your pimped out ride for the new, basic model that’s only got a 20th of the bling?”. It’s a fair point. 4e vs 3e isn’t a matter of switching one set of core books for another, but about trading a sizeable library of 3e-specific races, classes, feats, monsters and rules for something that’s got precious few of those, at least for now?

Of course, there’s no reason why we couldn’t convert as we go along, but 3e to 4e conversion isn’t for the faint hearted (and trust me, we’ve tried). The game thinks differently. A better solution is to do what Wizards’ suggest and re-imagine.

With that in mind, I decided to take the legendary Catfolk Ninja test.

I’ll explain.

In my group, we have this theory that a game has reached it’s peak when you can create a Catfolk Ninja. The awesomely great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG (this being the darker, grittier pre-movie franchise TMNT who would never be seen dead saying cowabunga, much less eating pizza) nailed it first time, hence the reason why there were so precious few supplements for this work of brilliance. d20 Modern gave us the Infiltrator Advanced Class (as good a Modern-Day Ninja Class as any) and Feline Moreaus straight out of the Core book, putting his sadly under-rated (and brilliant) RPG right up there too. Again, the Catfolk Ninja curse strikes with d20 Modern being repeatedly left out in the cold by Wizards’ like the unloved child that it is. Harsher critics than me have said it’s because Wizards’ can’t work out how to make a fucking computer game out of it. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Third Edition didn’t enter the fabled Catfolk Ninja Hall of Fame until the release of the Complete Adventurer (Ninja Base Class! Oh yeh!) and Races of the Wild. Catfolk are easily my favourite lesser D&D race, and well worth their +1 LA. Incidentally, in our 3e games “Level Adjustment” now is just a Feat cost and nothing to do with levels at all. A +1LA Race can be played at 1st level if you “spend” your free Feat to get it. +2LA Races are beyond reach until the party average is at least 3rd level and you’re willing to spend both your 1st and 3rd level Feat on your Class choice. That House Rule is working well so far – I recommend it.

Now that 3e players could generate a Catfolk Ninja straight out of the official books we knew the Curse would fall and 3e’s days were numbered. Sure enough, a few scant months later 4e was announced. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The question remains though……. can we generate a Catfolk Ninja using the 4e Core Rules? Dare we take the risk or will the Curse strike once more?

Let’s find out!

Next: The 4e Catfolk Ninja in all it’s glory!

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