Santoryu Swordsman (3.5e Prestige Class)

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You're about to have a very bad day.

Santroyu Swordsman[edit]

I'm gonna be such a great swordsmen, my name will be heard from heaven
—Roronoa Zoro, Human fighter, before inventing santoryu

The santoryu swordsman is a very powerful physical combatant. By holding the hilt of a third sword between his teeth, the santoryu swordsmen is able to use a wide array of devastating attacks. This power can only be achieved, however, through great effort, and requires both immense strength and miraculous dexterity.

Becoming a Santoryu Swordsman[edit]

Those who persue the way of three swords do so for one reason, and one reason alone: to be the best swordsman in the world. The unorthodox methods they use quickly attract fame, should they survive to enjoy it. A santoryu swordsman may enjoy the pain he inflicts in others, may desire the strength to protect those he loves, but no matter his motivation, he loves fighting. For this reason, a Santoryu Swordsman may be of any alignment. Rangers are the most likely to consider picking up a third sword, but fighters and barbarians are not unheard of. The techniques of the Santoryu Swordsmen are simply unusable to those without both great strength and astounding dexterity. As with any melee class, constitution is of the utmost importance. Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma are for sissies.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: none.
Base Attack Bonus: +2.
Race: Must have only two arms.
Feats: Two weapon fighting, Two weapon defense, combat reflexes and either weapon focus: longsword or weapon focus: katana. .

Table: The Santoryu Swordsman

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Three Sword Style
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Demon Slash
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Tiger Trap
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Improved Three Sword Style
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 Phoenix Cannon
7th +7 +5 +5 +2
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 Dragon Twister
9th +9 +6 +6 +3
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 Lion's Song, Greater Three Sword Style

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
Balance (dex, Climb (Str), Hide (dex), Jump (Str), Move Silently (dex), Swim (Str) Tumble (dex).

Table: The Epic Santoryu Swordsman

Level Special
11st Three Thousand Worlds
14th Bonus Feat
15th Epic Three Sword Style
16th Asura Form
18th Bonus Feat
19th Asura Demon Slash
20th Perfect Three Sword Style

Class Features[edit]

Three Sword Style: The entire concept of using three swords at once is extremely radical, and highly dangerous to both the user and all those around him. A santoryu swordsman's critical failure range is extended to 1-3. Further, the process of learning to use three swords teaches the Santoryu Swordsman how to make use of the inherent imbalance holding three swords creates, making the use of two or a single weapon awkward, and henceforth receives a -2 penalty on all attack rolls when wielding only one or two weapons. Further, the use of three weapons quickly takes its toll on the body, and he will become fatigued after ten rounds of combat, and exhausted after twenty (the use of armor exacerbates this process: in light armor, he will become fatigued after 8 rounds and exhausted after 16; in medium armor, he will become fatigued after 6 rounds and exhausted after 12; and in heavy armor, he will become fatigued after 4 rounds and exhausted after 8). Nevertheless, the use of a third sword provides some very real advantages. The weight of the third blade, so long as it is extended toward one's favord hand, allows one to solve the balance issues provided by two weapon fighting, so a one-handed weapon may be wielded in each hand, at a -3 penalty on attack rolls for each. Further, a third attack can be made with the one handed sword held in the mouth, at a -4 penalty (he is treated as having the multiweapon fighting feat for the purposes of taking further feats in the multiweapon fighting tree). Further, The Santoryu Swordsman receives a cumulative +1 shield bonus for every sword he does not attack with in any given round, which lasts until an attack is made with that sword.

Demon Slash: Once per day per class level, as a standard action, if a Santoryu Swordsman has a strength modifier of +3 or greater, and a dexterity modifier of +3 or greater, he may attack with all three swords at once. This attack is both devastating and difficult to block. For this attack, his attack bonus is equal to his BAB+triple his dexterity bonus, and deals damage equal to the sum of each weapon individually (for example, if he has a strength bonus of +3 and is wielding three longswords, his demon slash would deal 3d8+9 damage). While exceptionally unexpected, it can be blocked with repetition. Any foe which has already been struck by a demon slash in an encounter receives a insight bonus of +10 to its AC against any further demon slashes.

Tiger Trap: Once per day per class level, while in total defense, if he has a strength modifier of +3 and a Dexterity modifier of +4, a Santoryu Swordsman may prepare a Tiger Trap. If he is targeted by an attack, but the attack does not damage him, he may immediately counterattack using two of his blades. This counterattack does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but it does remove the bonus to AC provided by total defense, as well as the shield bonus of two swords.

Improved Three Sword Style: After extensive training, many of the problems presented by the use of three swords have become manageable. His critical failure range is reduced to 1-2, and he can fight for 15 rounds before becoming fatigued, and 20 before becoming exhausted (extended likewise in armor: fatigued in 12 rounds and exhausted in 24 when wearing light armor; fatigued in 9 and exhausted in 18 when wearing medium armor; fatigued in 6 rounds and fatigued in 12 when wearing heavy armor). His offensive capacity is also refined, reducing the penalty to attack with his handheld swords to -2 and his teeth-held sword to -3.

Phoenix Cannon: Once per encounter per class level, if a Santoryu Swordsman has a strength modifier of +4 and a dexterity modifier of +4, as a standard action, he can slice the air with his swords, launching a blast of air, allowing him to attack with his blades at a range of 50 feet. This attack does only non-lethal damage.

Dragon Twister: Once per day, if the Santoryu Swordsman has a strength modifier of +5 and a dexterity modifier of +4, as a full round action, he may make an attack against all enemies within range, using his BAB plus triple his strength bonus. This attack deals 3d8, and knocks the recipient of the attack prone.

Lion's Song: At level 10, the Santoryu Swordsman is treated as though he had the Die Hard feat (if he already has this feat, then he may choose a different feat). When he has negative hitpoints, if a Santoryu Swordsman has a strength bonus of +5 and a dexterity bonus of +5, he may ignore hardness when attempting to sunder any object. Further, he does not provoke attacks of opportunity during a sunder attempt, and +3 bonus on his opposed attack roll. Further, any and all attacks while he has negative hit points bypass natural armor and ten points of damage reduction.

Greater Three Sword Style: Practice may not have yet made perfect, but it feels like it is getting him there. With the Greater three sword style, the Santoryu Swordsman no longer suffers from an extended critical failure and is able to fight longer without tiring himself. He may fight for twenty rounds unarmored before he becomes fatigued, and forty rounds before exhaustion kicks in (in light armor, 16 rounds before fatigue, 32 before exhaustion; in medium armor, 12 before fatigue, 24 before exhaustion; in heavy armor, 8 before fatigue, 16 before exhaustion). He has also become more adept at parrying his opponent's attacks, receiving a +3 shield bonus for each unused weapon.

Three Thousand Worlds: Once per week per class level, if he has a strength bonus of +6 or more and a dexterity bonus of +5 or more, the swordsman may unleash his most dangerous attack: three thousand worlds. As a full-round action, he may make a charge attack ending with a Demon Slash. For this attack, his critical range is extended by two (20 becomes 18-20, 19-20 becomes 17-20, etc.), and each weapon he holds is treated as being one size category larger than it actually is. Further, if the attack lands, he automatically rolls max damage. Whether the attack lands or not, the Santoryu Swordsman is immediately exhausted, and deals 200 points of non-lethal damage to himself.

Epic Three Sword Style: Few in the world remain who can challenge the Santoryu Swordsman with steel now that he fights using the epic three sword style. He is no longer penalized for fighting with one or two weapons. Further, the penalty to attack with his handheld swords is reduced to -1, and his teeth-held sword to -2. He also receives a +4 shield bonus for each unused weapon he holds.

Asura Form: Once per week, if the Santoryu swordsman has a strength bonus of +6 or more and a dexterity bonus of +6 or more, for three rounds he may transform into an avatar of swordsmanship, spontaneously growing two new heads and four more hands, each wielding duplicates of the swords he was wielding. While in this form, all bonuses attributes to three-sword-style apply for nine-sword-style.

Asura Demon Slash: Once per week, while in Asura form, the Santoryu Swordsman may unleash his ultimate attack. As a full round action, he may make a single attack with an attack bonus of his BAB plus nine times his dexterity bonus, and deals damage with every weapon he is wielding.

Perfect Three Sword Style: Time can scarcely recall the awkwardness felt the first time the Santoryu Swordsman picked up his third sword. He will never again feel fatigued or exhausted on account of his blades, and can fight indefinitely. The penalties to attack are likewise eliminated. And finally, an unused sword being wielded provides a +5 bonus to AC.

The epic Santoryu Swordsman gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Santoryu Swordsman feats) every 4 levels after 20.

Epic Santoryu Swordsman Bonus Feat List: armor skin, blinding speed, damage reduction, devastating critical, epic dodge, epic fortitude, epic prowess, epic reflexes, epic speed, epic toughness, epic weapon focus, epic weapon specialization, fast healing, great constitution, great dexterity, great strength, improved combat reflexes, multiweapon rend, overwhelming critical, perfect multiweapon fighting

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Santoryu Swordsman[edit]

Combat: The Santoryu Swordsman is very clearly a melee combatant, excelling a cutting a swath through enemy forces. He is, however, susceptible to magical attacks, and will likely need support in any extended battle. He excels in single combat and small skirmishes.

Advancement: While the multiweapon tree of feats available to fighters is appealing to Santoryu Swordsman, the Strength boosts given by raging makes Barbarian an equally valid option.

Resources: Santoryu Swordsman, on the incredible off chance that they meet another of their vocation, inevitably fight to establish their own superiority. The loser will often seek training from the winner, or at the very least a rematch. However, the possibility remains that the winner will not desire to see another stealing his style, and execute him post-haste.

Santoryu Swordsman in the World[edit]

There is a difference between using Three Swords and using Santoryu.

The Santoyu Swordsman is frequently an adventurer, but will often fall into a life of bounty hunting, piracy, or even law enforcement in his search for a worthy opponent. When not fighting, he is constantly training for the next fight. While he appreciates the power to be found in magic, he regards those who use it as taking shortcuts on the long-hard road to power; childish, and obsessive. Strength can be found only in strength, and the dedication to seek it day after day.

NPC Reactions: NPC's, meanwhile, are frequently terrified of anyone crazy enough to carry more weapons than armor into battle, and will avoid the Santoryu Swordsman unless they are desperate.

Santoryu Swordsman Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research Santoryu Swordsman to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (local)
DC Result
11 They say that in learning the way of three weapons, a santoryu swordsman becomes less proficient in the use of one or two weapons.
16 They say that no Santoryu Swordsman has ever fought for more than ten minutes at a time.
21 They say that the first practitioner of Santoryu went on to be first mate to the King of the Pirates.
26 They say that a Santoryu master doesn't use three swords, but nine.

Santoryu Swordsmen in the Game[edit]

While on the battlefield, whether PC or NPC, the Santoryu Swordsman will, without fail, either be on the front line of the fight, dead, or dying. Off the battlefield, he is rarely inclined towards inellectual pursuits, and is more often found training his body simply enjoying life to the fullest.

Adaptation: A Santoryu Swordsman would make an excellent rival for any melee based PC, regardless of alignment. Even if he is not morally, philosophically, or otherwise motivated to fight the party, the Santoryu Swordsman will frequently attack for the sole purpose of enjoying a good fight. Further, he may well be motivated to spare the lives of any who he considers a worthy opponent, which opens all sorts of story options.

Sample Encounter: Sailing, lost, upon the high seas, searching for his long-lost crew-mates and captain, Roronoa Zoro is frustrated, unpredictable and dangerous. Keeping afloat on little more than a dinghy, he has survived for the three weeks before sighting your vessel surviving on sake, moldy bread, and an inhuman exercise regimen. While his first priority in this meeting is to locate his missing friends, his pride is unperturbed by his poor nutrition, and his three swords are loosely holstered on his hip, as ever.

EL 14:

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Roronoa Zoro

CR 12

Male SRD:Human Fighter 4 Santoryu Swordsman (3.5e Prestige Class) 10
CG Medium SRD:Humanoid
Init/Senses +5/Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 10
(+5 Dex)
hp 168 (16 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will 11/8/4
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee Katana +19/+20/+20/+20/+14/+15/+15/+15 (1d10+10/1d10+11/1d10+11/1d10+12/1d10+10/1d10+11/1d10+11/1d10+12)
Base Atk/Grp 14/14
Atk Options Demon Slash, Tiger Trap, Phoenix Cannon, Dragon Twister, and Lion's Song.
Special Actions Santoryu; becomes fatigued after 20 straight rounds of combat, and exhausted after 40.
Abilities Str 16, Dex 20, Con 20, Int 7, Wis 4, Cha 11
SQ Directionless
Feats Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon focus (katana), Weapon specialization (katana), exotic weapon proficiency (katana),combat reflexes, improved critical (katana), dodge, improved multiweapon fighting.
Skills 5 ranks swim, 5 ranks intimidate, 6 ranks tumble.
Possessions Belt of Giant Strength +4, Boots of Striding and Springing, +4 Adamantine Holy Defending Katana, +3 Mithral Speed Katana, +2 Wounding Katana.

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