Seeing as I've finally learned how to format, I think it's time for
PART 1: HOW TO NINJA 101
Make sure you have your Traffic Cone "Kill Me" Orange jumpsuits on to get the full experience.
What the crap is Naruto d20?
Naruto d20 is one of many fan projects to convert something the creator loves into a d20 game back during the OGL craze. Unlike most d20 3rd party "I wanna RP in [insert favorite show here]" projects, this one is not only still being maintained, it's actually pretty fun! Relatively speaking of course. Personally, I attribute this to it being based off of not just a show that's still both airing and popular, but also on a d20 Modern which expected you to multiclass and progress in atypical ways rather than D&D which expected you to fit very specific molds. Ever since its start way back in 2004, it has grown to be over 1000 pages and 5 supplements, all written by one guy. If you want to see Frankto's handwork, try it out here for free.
There's even an in progress SRD here.
I don't watch Japanese Animes, what's a Naruto?
I don't think I need to go in to detail over the characters or plot (just wikipedia it, or read the series), but I'll give a (relatively) quick primer on the setting Kishimoto (the manga writer) has it take place in as well as my thoughts on it. Basically, there are 5 nations, each tied to one of the 5 elements (earth, wind, water, fire and lightning) and each one is at roughly modern tech levels except militarily. Instead of men with guns, they have Hidden Villages that train people to be superpowered child soldiers called ninja. The intro to the d20 Modern game actually praises the Naruto setting for making ninja fallible human beings who can specialize in things other than sneaking around in black pajamas, but I wouldn't give Kishimoto too much credit because orginization-wise, Naruto ninja are pretty much what you'd expect from a "train superpowered kids to fight evil" group like Professor X's mutant school from X-Men, except that they start kicking ass really young (you start training as early as 8 and are considered a full fledged Ninja by the age of 12) and that killing your enemies is pretty much expected.
Most of Naruto takes place in the Fire Country's village called the Leaf Village and the Leaf village MO is to have academy graduates (the aforementioned 12 year olds) train under an elite ninja in a 3 man cell until they're ready to rise in the ranks with most cells sticking together for missions even after promotion, at least until they get assigned their own 3 man squad of rookies to babysit. This is actually a really good set up for small groups because it means that there's a damn good reason to go adventuring together and you start with a level 12-15 GMPC with explicit orders to only get involved if things are going to complete shit (as in, the GM needs to either save luckless PCs or slap down asshole ones). The fact that everyone most likely grew up in the same village makes interlocking backgrounds and pre-established relationships easy to do. But I've rambled on for 2 paragraphs at this point, so let's move on to
Chakra is the "how you do awesome shit" of this setting and is defined through a characters Chakra Pools (how much juice they have) and Chakra Skills (how good they are at using it a certain way). The skills are
Tenketsu Damage: This entry relates to the amount of tenketsu damage taken by the character. The penalties are not cumulative.
Chakra Control DC: The difficulty of the chakra control check the character must succeed to perform a technique of a rank impeded by tenketsu damage (see below).
Technique Rank: The rank of techniques impeded by tenketsu damage, for which the character must succeed a Chakra Control check in addition to a perform check. If the performed technique's rank is equal to or lower than this entry, it is impeded.
Check and Threshold Penalty: The penalty to the character's effective skill threshold and perform checks in Chakra Control, Genjutsu and Ninjutsu suffered from tenketsu damage. This penalty does not apply to the chakra control check made to tap one's reserves, but it does apply to Chakra Control checks made to perform a Chakra Control technique (assuming the check was a success or the technique is not affected by tenketsu damage).
Well, nobody has offered any rookie nin for me to make, so I'll just move right along with
PART 2: ZIPPING THROUGH CHAPTERS AT NINJA SPEED
Today I will covering 3 chapters in a single post. And it'll still probably be shorter than the previous one.
Chapter 2 covers new races and it explains that since Naruto is a world pretty much exclusively populated by humans, these races should be considered the results of body altering upbringings/heritages like coming from a long line of genius ninja or being a test tube baby. Everyone gets Simple Weapons Proficiency as a Racial Feat (but so does every Base Class so ), but only 100% bog standard humans get the benefits of increased skill ranks and a 2nd feat at 1st level.
There are 5 different "elemental" humans that represent someone who is exceptionally tied to their homeland's element. They each receive +2 to one attribute, +1 to saves against their element, a +2 skill bonus, and a racial power that can be used once per day, plus an additional time per 10 levels they posses. In exchange, they get a -2 to another attribute and must have their starting element match their country's.
The first are Earth humans who get a +2 Con, -2 Wis, +2 to Climb and have the Racial power of gaining 30 ft Tremorsense out to 30 ft for 1 minute as a Swift action. In the series, Earth ninjas are pretty much the "asshole" nation and hold a grudge against the Fire ninjas for whupping them in the last big world war.
Next are Fire humans who get a +2 Cha, -2 Str, and have the Racial power of granting all allies within 30 ft a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls, saves and skill checks, and a +4 morale bonus to saves against fear effects for 1 minute as a Swift action. They're an odd duck skill-wise because they get a +1 to Diplomacy and Gather Information instead of a +2 to one skill. In the series, Fire ninjas are the "hero" nation who believe in the
Power of Friendship
Will of Fire.
After that are the Lightning humans who get a +2 Dex, -2 Wis, +2 to Tumble and have the Racial power of making a single electric attack deal half damage to them before Resistance. In the series, Lightning ninjas are gangsta rap badasses who love pro-wrestling. It is the most stupid/awesome outside interpretation of American black culture ever.
Anyway, next are the Water humans who get a +2 Str, -2 Cha, and +2 to Swim. Instead of a daily Racial power, they get a 20 ft Swim Speed and can hold their breaths twice as long. In the series, Water ninjas are shark toothed psychos who go through revolutions like popcorn.
Finally, there are the Wind humans who get a +2 Dex, -2 Wis, and have the Racial power of effectively having Evasion against a single wind attack against them. Like the Fire humas, their skill bonus is split (+1 to Balance and Tumble) instead of a single +2. In the series, Wind ninjas are desert dwelling bros of the Fire ninja and are way too caucasian to be living in the desert.
There are 4 other races that aren't tied to any nation or element in particular. The Gigantics (big people), the Monstrous (freaky people), the Smallfolk (midgets), and the Trueblooded (ninja uebermensch). Gigantics are pretty swole, getting a+8 to Str and a +4 to Con for only -2 Dex, as well as +2 Natural Armor and are Large sized, but they get +2 LA for all of their toys. Monstrous are similarly beefy at +4 to Str and +2 Con for -2 to Dex and Cha as well as counting as Monstrous Humanoids instead of Humanoids, picking 2 special passive abilities from a "deformities" list (like a Natural Weapon or Darkvision), and they can trade their Simple Weapons Proficiency for Archaic Weapons Proficiency. This all comes at the same LA as the Gigantics of course. Smallfolk are straightforward getting +2 Dex and Small size for no LA. Lastly are the Trueblooded who get a nice +2 to Str, Con, and Cha, Low-Light Vision, Darkvision, and can trade Simple WP for Archaic just like the Monstrous. This all docks them a +1 LA.
Chapter 3 is about classes and is largely a reprint of the d20 Modern material. Not much new has been added to the base classes except for some new skills and a new ninja-y Talent tree for each that let's you pick up Sense Chakra and Suppress Chakra as Talents once you pick up the first Talent from the tree.
Strong Heroes are martial artists and swordsmen who excel at melee combat. Their new skills are Genjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (confusingly named) Taijutsu which gives a +1 to Unarmed Attack Rolls and Taijutsu skill checks per level in it and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Taijutsu at the final level. Nothing groundbreaking, but fitting with the short range focus.
Fast Heroes are acrobats and burglars who mix it up with both long and short range combat. Their new skills are Genjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is Deflection which gives a +1 Deflection bonus to Defense against ranged attacks per level in it. As always, Fast heroes are the hardest to kill through sheer avoidance.
Tough Heroes are brawlers and guardians who draw on their huge Chakra Pools to win the day. Their new skills are Ninjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is Stamina which gives a +5 to your Chakra Pool per level in it and a +2 to saving throws against chakra exhaustion and chakra drain at the final level. They also add the new Elements (except Holy) to their list of Resistances they can gain through the Energy Resistance tree. Tough Heroes really get a good boost thanks to the lack of guns and the Chakra system making their specialty (victory through endurance) a real possibility, but that might not be a good thing if you don't like drawn out combat.
Smart Heroes are tacticians and jutsu specialist who fight smarter instead of harder. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Ninjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (again, confusingly named) Ninjutsu which gives a +1 to perform Ninjutsu, +2 to identify jutsu, and +2 to Reserve Chakra per level in it and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Ninjutsu and +1 to Skill Threshold with Ninjutsu at the final level. Smart Heroes are one of the most buffed classes thanks to the new jutsu system letting them easily work around their pathetic combat stats and you'll see why when we get to Chapter 10.
Dedicated Heroes are medics and scouts who make the most of their intuition. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Ninjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (still confusingly named) Chakra Control which gives a +2 to perform Chakra Control and +2 to Reserve Chakra per level in it (although it start at +1 making it +1/+3/+5 instead of +2/+4/+6) and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Chakra Control and +1 to Skill Threshold with Chakra Control at the final level. Dedicated Heroes are similarly buffed by Jutsu but they specialize in a much less combat oriented skill and don't have awful combat stats.
Charismatic Heroes are spies and dashing rogues who rely on wit and style to pull through. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Genjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (confusingly- you get the idea) Genjutsu which is just the Ninjutsu tree but for Genjutsu. Charismatic Heroes are reliant on Jutsu just like Smart Heroes, but they are much more Save-or-Lose about it.
Chapter 4 covers the new ninja Occupations which smart players will be taking in favor of the Modern Occupations because they hand out Chakra Skills and jutsu related Feats very liberally. There are 6 regular ninja occupations but Academy Student (you're a vanilla rookie nin) and Mentored (you got special treatment) are the best because they provide 3 Skills, a Feat, and a huge list to choose from for both. Mentored gets a slightly smaller Skill list, but a bigger Feat list and a Reputation bonus. Ninja Law Enforcement (you were raised for black ops) is similar but grants only 2 Skills in exchange for a +2 Wealth instead of a +1, Wandering Ninja (you're an Old West style drifter) does the same but gets a +2 to Rep instead of a Wealth boost, Seal Expert (Fuinjutsu expert) is extremely limited, and Ninja Technician (forgotten jutsu expert) has Skill and Feat prereqs and gives you nothing but a bonus to learning Lost jutsu.
The Clans are where things get interesting because they are Occupations that mark you as a member of a prestigious clan with Bloodline powers. I'll talk more about Bloodlines in Chapter 11, but suffice to say, they are power suites that are exclusive to certain lineages and are bought with your 1st level feat. Clan Occupations grant you bonuses to learning Clan Jutsu and let you pick up the Clan's Bloodline instead of an Occupation feat which leaves your 1st level choices wide open. The listed clans are the Fire country's Aburame (bug loving weirdos), Hyuuga (arrogant chakra damage experts) and Uchiha (copy-cat ninjas), the Earth country's Ishimaru (brutal brawlers) and Yachoumaru (defensive Earth Jutsu experts), the Lightning country's Dattoumaru (zippy taijutsu experts), the Water Country's Kaguya (berserker psychos), and the unaffiliated Fujiwara (jutsu reverse engineering experts), Kagetsuki (medical drug experts with frequent chakra disorders), and Mibu (the bad guys from Samurai Deeper Kyo). Note that the Mibu are listed as optional and that canonically the Kaguya are dead and the Uchiha are down to 2 members (both of which are named villains) but the only time canon really matters in a pre-built setting is when the GM needs to slap down munchkins.
So that was Chapters 2, 3, and 4 and by now you should see why I'm doing this on Majuju's heels. The when the next part happens will be dependent on him, and I'm sorry if I'm putting you on the spot there pal. I'm still willing to write up characters if anyone in the thread wants me to, but only if people are insistent (or bribe me). But until next time, just remember that Killa Bee is the funkiest ninja ever.
Next time: Why I don't allow d20 Flaws