Catfolk Ninja Fourth Edition Style

To make a Catfolk Ninja we need two things: a Catfolk, and a Ninja. Well, duh :)

First, the Race. Catfolk are all about agility, speed and grace, so the first part of the write-up is a cinch – in effect, it’s a direct lift of the Elf Race block but with Wisdom switched for Charisma.

Average Height: 5’4”-6’0”
Average Weight: 130-170ld
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light

I envision these Catfolk to be plains hunters, tied as closely to the flatlands as Elves are to their forests. Let’s give them Skill bonuses to Nature and Perception and proficiency in Shortbow and Spear. This makes them a great choice for any class with a sub-par Proficiency list – a Catfolk Wizard (Shaman?) would be great fun to play!

Languages: Common, Feline
Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Perception
Catfolk Weapon Proficiency: You gain proficiency with the Shortbow and Spear

Finally, they need something special. Let’s give ‘em a bonus to Reflex defense to start with. I never understood the Races of the Wild giving Catfolk +1 AC – they’ll have fur, not tough hide – but we explained that away as some kind of graceful Dodge bonus in our games. Giving them an extra +1 Reflex bonus (along with their +2 DEX) should emphasize their (literally) catlike agility more accurately.

Finally, a peruse through the 4e MM takes us to the Panther entry with it’s Charging Pounce ability. That’s a perfect fit for my lion-like Catfolk who run down prey then leap at ‘em for the kill. In it goes!

Catfolk Reflexes: You gain +1 racial bonus to your Reflex defense
Charging Pounce: When the Catfolk charges, it deals an extra 1d6 damage and knocks the target prone.

There. One Catfolk Race, done.

Next up, the Ninja Class.

Wizards’ Converting Your Character article suggests this as a drop-in for the Ninja Class:

The best match for the ninja in 4th Edition so far is the rogue; however, this 4E class doesn’t have the Wisdom focus that the ninja did, so it’s an imperfect solution. If your DM will let you swap your high Wisdom for a high Charisma, then the trickster rogue build (p117) is an excellent fit. Consider using multiclass feats to pick up a utility power from the wizard or warlock class to mimic the supernatural ki powers of the ninja.

I prefer going the Two-Blade Ranger route, personally. Replace Nature with Streetwise as a Class skill and take Streetwise, Acrobatics, Endurance, Perception and Stealth as your Trained Skills. You’re firmly into Ninja territory here. The Ranger class provides a wider range of weapon proficiencies than the Rogue. You’re a Katana and Wakisashi wielding Ninja bastard who uses your Hunter’s Quarry and Prime Shot abilities to take out foes as swiftly as possible using a combination of close-range missile (shuriken & blowgun) and melee attacks.

Unlike the Rogue’s Powers which are all based around Swashbuckling flair, a Ranger’s attacks emphasize strategy and movement. With Powers called Hit and Run, Twin Strike and Two-Fanged Strike, how can the Ranger not be a Ninja drop-in!!!

Finally, take a Feat which stresses one part of your Catfolk Ninja’s style. Skill Training(Thievery or Bluff) or Skill Focus(Stealth) are good choices, though if you want your Ninja to gain Thiefly skills taking the multi-class Feat Sneak of Shadows is a better route as this provides both the Thievery trained skill and access to Sneak Attack once per encounter.

Now imagine a pouncing Catfolk Ninja doing an extra +4d6 damage (Pounce + Sneak + Hunter’s Quarry) against an unaware opponent – then they’re knocked Prone. And that’s with a basic attack at 1st level! A Power such as Jaws of the Wolf (usable 1/day) means that’s an attack with both weapons, each of which doing double damage!! Wielding a Katana and Wakizashi (long and short sword), a STR 14 Catfolk Ninja could do 2d8+6d6+4 damage if both strikes hit. And the poor victim is Prone afterwards! Ouch.

Did I mention we like Catfolk Ninja ‘round here? No? :D

If you prefer your Ninjas with more spy-talent and less combat excessiveness then take Skill Training(Bluff) instead. In 4e, Bluff covers a whole range of deceptions including Disguises and Forgery, as well as creating a diversion to Hide and Bluffing in combat to gain a Combat Advantage – perfect when you do finally break down and take Sneak of Shadows for that Sneak Attack. You know you will.

Putting it all together into a final character gives us this, quite possibly the first ever Fourth Edition Catfolk Ninja.

I guarantee it won’t be the last.

Rei Tsutomu Good Catfolk Ninja-1
STR 14, CON 12, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 17
AC 16 (Leather), Fort 13, Ref 16, Will 13
hp 29, bloodied 14, surges 7/day
Low-light vision, Move:6, Catfolk reflexes, Charging Pownce, Fighting style(Two-blade), Hunter’s Quarry, Prime Shot
WP: Shortbow, Spear, all simple & martial, AP: Cloth, leather, hide, Sneak of Shadows
Acrobatics +9, Bluff +3, Endurance +6, Nature +3 ,Perception +8 ,Streetwise +8 ,Stealth +9, Thievery +9
Languages: Common, Feline
Hit & Run/at-will, Twin Strike/at-will, Evasive Strike/encounter, Jaws of the Wolf/day
Equipment: Katana & Wakizashi, Shortbow, Blowgun, Shuriken, Adventurer’s Kit

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2 Responses

  1. David says:

    I loved cat people ever since getting hold of the D&D adventure Rage of the Rakasta. You’re write up makes for a great 4e update!

  1. November 22, 2010

    […] and the PCs will be captured only to escape (Skill Challenge!) or die trying. Give him a harem of Catfolk Ninjas and loyal Rakshasa entourage to keep the PCs busy before the final, fateful (and doubtless […]

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