I wanted to make a build that relied on rolling, backstabbing, poisoning, parrying, etc. This build doesn't use a shield but could if you wanted. It's a pretty versatile build, and the best part is it does all this with just 30% equipment load for better rolling. The armor is quite light, but that's the point.

Rolling and adaptability is very key for ninjas. See:
Also see this for the build graphically:

Build Notes:
1. 30% equipment load for fastest roll.
2. 61 equipment load (points) for good Flynn's Ring Damage
3. Power stance Mytha's Bent Blades for Toxic buildup. I think you can stunlock opponents who have zero poise (needs verification)
4. Equip dark drift (it weights just 3 units) and strong attack through shields.
5. Uses slumbering dragoncrest ring to make backstabbing easier.
6. Needs Southern Ritual Band +2 so you can equip spells. You can also ditch this ring if you don't care about pyromancy.
7. Ring of Blades +2 stacks with backstabbing (Flynn's ring does not add backstabbing damage or so I've read)
Starting Class: Bandit (required)

Vigor: 40 (needed because your armor is going to be low. You need a lot of health with builds like this)
Endurance: 27 (with light armor you don't need much, but this is a ninja so I put it at 27)
Vitality: 15 (this setting allowed me to have 30% with the gear I needed and took just a couple points or so off the Flynn's ring)
Attunement: 2 (if you need to cast use the Southern Ritual Band, and team up for boss fights)
Strength: 30 (I may make this lower but this helps with the damage on the weapons I chose)
Dexterity: 40 (required for ninjas)
Adaptability: 40 (with the low agility you need 40 to get the right number of iframes, and to help with synergies, potion drinking speed etc)
Intelligence: 1 (absolutely useless with this build)
Faith: 8 (the minimum with the bandit class)

You can power level to 150 with a faith/intelligence character, and soul vessel, but that takes the challenge out of it, and you won't learn how the character works. Up to you.

Toxic Mist
Poison Mist
Flame Swathe

Corrosive Urns
Poison Throwing Daggers
Healing Gems

You're going to be a great deal faster than your average opponent, so use that to your advantage. Roll through their attacks, and fish for backstabs. If they are good at avoiding backstabs then get the poison/toxic strategy going. If they turtle throw an urn at them. If they cast roll quickly. Make them waste their spells and get frustrated with your speed. They will not be able to avoid all your daggers so spam those when needed. If they shield you can strong attack with the Darkdrift (I need to test this).

Gear Setup With 30% Equip Burden:
Dark Drift
Pyromancy Flame
Mytha's Bend Blade (two of them power stanced)
Rogue Hood
Shadow Top
Engraved Gauntlets
Shadow Leggings
Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring
Ring of Blades +2
Southern Ritual Band +2
Flynn's Ring

Alternate Gear Setup With 29.3% Equip Burden:
Spider Fang (instead of Dark Drift)
Pyromancy Flame
Mytha's Bend Blade (two of them power stanced)
Manakin Mask (more stylish better stats)
Shadow Top
Engraved Gauntlets
Shadow Leggings
Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring
Ring of Blades +1 (The +2 was a bit too heavy)
Southern Ritual Band +2
Flynn's Ring

Getting the gear:
The only real downside to this build is getting the gear is a pain. The slumbering dragoncrest ring requires rank 3 in the Rat Covenant. The ring of blades +2 requires killing the dual Pursuers. The shadow armor is also a pain (look it up). Mytha's blades are easy, and Darkdrift is also easy but comes late game. You can easily replace hard to find gear with:
1. Any light armor with the same weights.
2. Use daggers / parrying dagger / mannequin knife instead of Mythra's blades.
3. Use +1 ring equivalents early on.
4. A good stylish alternative to the Shadow Set is the Manikin Set which you can get much earlier.
5. Consider hexers or black witches hood for more attunement slots.
6. Consider Flying Feline Boots (they only weigh 2)
7. Consider gear that does bleed instead of poison.
8. Consider the moon butterfly set, or monastery headcloth.

There are plenty of light weapons that do good damage besides the Dark Drift (fyi Dark Drift weighs 3):
1. Manikin Sabre (2.5 weight)
2. Falchion (2.5 weight)
3. Monastery Scimitar (1.5 weight)
4. Spider fang (2 weight)
5. Scimitar (1.5 weight)
6. Most straight swords are about 2-3 weight
7. All the Rapiers work with this build.
8. The hand axe works.
9. All the fist weapons work.
10. All the whips work.
11. The puzzling stone sword weighs 3!
12. The sanctum crossbow weighs 3! (using this as a primary would be odd though)

If you have to have a better katana you can move some stats around (and maybe ditch Flynns ring). The lightest katanas are:
Uchigatna weighs 5.
The Manslayer, Chaos Blade, Berserker Blade weigh 6.
If you remove the engraved gauntlets and add Black Gloves you can choose a weapon that uses 7 weight. That opens up a lot of different weapons like:
Most of the Axes
The Avelyn weighs 6 (hehe)
A few of the Scythes
A bunch of spears
A few halberds (really... two hand for rolling fun)
All of the regular maces (all of them)
The archdrake mace
The bastard sword (heh)
The flamberge (makes perfect sense with this build)
The watcher greatsword weighs 7.
The mirrah greatsword weighs 7.

A note on shields:
This class doesn't use a shield but could easily. Remove the engraved gauntlets and replace with a wide variety of shields and you can still equip a decent weapon. Notable shields are:
Royal Kite Shield (weighs 4)
Lllewellyn shield (weighs 2.5)
Magic Shield (weighs 2)
Blossom Kite Shield (weighs 4) (you don't really need the stamina though)
Silver Eagle Kite Shield (weighs 3)
The kings shield weighs 5! Wear black gloves and you can still wear this with the dark drift and both blades with <30% equip burden.
Have fun!

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