It’s a trap!
…No, wait, no it’s not. 818 pages. 818 pages. @.@ Am I really going to review this gargantua? …Yep. I am. Note that I have little exposure to the world of Naruto, so I’m basing it on the merits as a d20 Modern supplement, not a faithful anime adaptation. Please don’t eat me, fanboys and fangirls!
The first chapter gives the basics of the chakra mechanic, which fills this book from top to bottom. Characters have a chakra pool, which functions like an action points pool for chakra abilities. There are four aspects of chakra noted: chakra control (how well you can focus your mystical energy), genjutsju (chakra powers focused on illusion), taijutsu (physical melee buffs), and ninjutsu (…everything else). The main difference between chakra and action points is that chakra can be regained by rest, but there’s a darker one. If you reach 0 chakra points, you must make a Fortitude save or be exhaused and lose half your hit points to sheer physical burn. To get more chakra techniques, you must make a Learn check. The Learn check is a d20 modified by your character level and certain skills and feats. The chapter also has some various rules on chakra-related items such as supernatural abilities that sense or manipulate chakra and new damage types. These are earth, wind, and water damage. Myself? I would have gone with bludgeoning for earth, sonic for wind, and….I dunno for water. But not new types for stuff like that.
Chapter 2 deals with species. In addition to straight-up humans, there are other humanoids present in this title. These are the large and powerful giants, the sturdy tremorsensing earth humans, the courageous fire humans, the electricity-resistant lightning humans, the amphibious water humans, the flighty wind humans, the dwarven smallfolk, and the selectively bred uber-men known as “trueblood humans”. There are also “monstrous men”, monstrous humanoids who gain powers such as natural attacks or amphibious breathing depending on their mutations.
The third chapter deals with the base classes from d20 Modern. I’m betting you are wondering why I am going after this chapter at all, then. Well, there is a reason! Each base class has some new talents based upon their place in the Narutoverse. Starting out the party is the Strong Hero. In addition to the classic d20 Modern Strong Hero talents such as extreme effort and ignore hardness, the Scrolls of Knowledge Strong Hero gets an entire talent tree dedicated to taijutsu. The Fast Hero’s new talent tree is based around deflection, which meshes in with the core rulebook’s improved speed and evasion talents well. The Tough Hero…gets no new toys. Poor Tough Hero. =( The Smart Hero’s new talent tree is dedicated to ninjutsu, while the Dedicated Hero’s new tree is dedicated (hehe) to controlling chakra in better and more efficient manners. Finally, the Charismatic Hero gains a talen tree around genjutsu, appropriately, rounding out all of the chakra disciplines mentioned in chapter 1.
Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7
Since Chapter 4 is so short, it gets a brief mention before moving into the next chapter. Chapter 4 presents a trio of new occupations: Academy Student (a ninja fresh out of the Ninja Academy), Mentored (a student still living in their master’s shadow), and Ninja Law Enforcement (self-explanatory). Anyway, moving on to chapter 5: skills! In addition to skills based on the aforementioned four chakra disciplines (told ya they’d come up a lot), we have Craft (Calligraphy) for making scroll items and seals, a list of new poisons and drugs for Craft (Chemical), how to make puppets (?) with craft (Mechanical), antidotes via Craft (Pharmaceutical), and a revised “anime-style” version of the Jump skill. Chapter 6 is feats, mostly skill enhancers for the chakra and bloodline feats, so I won’t go into much detail. There are also feats that increase your standing amongst the ninja, such as Genin and Chuunin, which can only be taken at certain levels. Chapter 7 deals with equipment. Scrolls, ninja gear, potions, etc. The only thing that really bothers me here is that some weapons such as shuriken and crossbows have been reclassified from Archaic Weapons to “Ninja Weapons”, which somehow require their own feat. Eh, don’t ask me.
Chapters 8 and 9
Chapter 8 details Narutoverse ninja ranks: Genin, Chuunin, Jounin, and Kage. There are also details for Missing Nin, ANBU, Hunter-Nin, and Younin. I don’t know how accurate this is, and I won’t even attempt to try to explain it, so moving on. Advanced classes and prestige classes take up the brunt of chapter 9. You know they were coming, folks, they’re in every campaign setting book.
Beastmaster: This is like a druid and barbarian mixed together, sans magic. With an animal companion, rage, and an animalistic secondary trait (like scent if the Beastmaster’s animal companion is a dog) are only bolstered by a nasty d10 hit die. This guy will definitely be the hazard on the field in any party.
Elementalist: The Elementalist takes a single element and specializes in it to the extreme, pushing those powers stronger and faster than others. While average saving throws and d6 hit die limit the Elementalist’s ability to take damage, nothing quite says “I dish out the pain” quite like an extended reach, more powerful than normal earth fist to the face.
Elite Shinobi Swordsman: d10 hit die and full Base Attack Bonus progression? Add weapon focus and specialization, sneak attack, and more atop that, and the Elit Shinobi Swordsman is definitely the class if you just want to trash people.
Genjutsu Adept: Aha, this one’s a 5-level prestige class, not a 10-level advanced class. The Genjutsu Adept’s a pick and choose class, who can choose between a pool of abilities that include sneak attack, longer lasting illusions, and hide in plain sight.
Medical Specialist: This advanced class can learn medical chakra abilities without penalty, while most other characters have a -8 penalty to Learn checks to learn medical chakra powers. In addition, a Medical Specialist can create a scalpel out of chakra, increased benefits of the Treat Injury skill, and…sneak attack. A lot of these guys get sneak attack.
Ninja Operations Counter: Another prestige class rather than advanced clas, the Ninja Operations Counter specializes in tracking and fighting other ninja. Swift tracking, trap sense, and chakra power countering are some of what this 5-leveller is capable of.
Ninja Police: Contacts, sneak attack, some other random stuff, moving on…
Ninja Scout: This advanced class is really a generalist. Track, sneak attack, increased speed, hide in plain sight…it’s pick and choose over other more specialized classes. I imagine the Ninja Scout is the “generic Naruto ninja”, but I could be wrong.
Puppeteer: I’m scared. o.o; This advanced class is entirely based around puppeteering, as you could probably guess. Only these puppets will kill you.
Sacred Fist: This is pretty much the Monk converted into a d20 Modern advanced class.
Shuriken Expert: It’s like the Gunslinger advanced class…but with shuriken. I thought I’d never see the day where you could base an entire advanced class around shuriken.
Shade: In just 5 levels, this prestige class manages to get more sneak attack bonuses than any other class in this book, plus poison specialty. It’s a pure shadow killer.
Soul Edge: An interesting fighting game, but I’m not sure what that has to do with Na…seriously, that’s the class name? Okay then. Well, the Soul Edge is again a one-trick pony, this time manifesting swords made of chakra.
Summoner: The Summoner summons better than normal people. The Summoner also has 7 levels, breaking the d20 Modern rule of “5-level prestige class or 10-level advanced class only”.
Taijutsu Master: The Taijutsu Master is a brute, focusing on unarmed strikes above all else. The d10 hit die and full BAB progression don’t hurt either.
Undying Shinobi: Essentially the Bodyguard advanced class with damage reduction tacked on.
Weaponmaster: A 5-level condensed version of the Archaic Weaponmaster, more or less.
So, how far in are we? …169 pages?! *Huddles in a corner and cries* This thing is gonna whip me yet. Come back tomorrow for further delving into this massive tome.