The True Samurai (3.5e Class)
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The mighty Samurai. A warrior of whose legendary status has been maintained through the years, and whose legends could fill enough books to fill even the greatest library. The Samurai is always coupled with honor, duty, resolve, and killing prowess. Though in truth, not all Samurai had the concerns of others. All they shared was the impossible weapon prowess through years of training and then later honed through battle. The True Samurai is called thus, simply because it takes that which defines it only as a warrior. It is the Samurai without being bogged down by useless tradition and servitude. This is the Samurai as it was during war time. When honor and chivalry did not matter, only the next opponent and prolonging your own life. These Samurai were known to possess many weapons, not only the Katana. Though the single weapon devotion was still much the same. These Samurai used Naginata, Daikatanas, Spiked chains, Kamas, or any other weapon that held a signature advantage in combat. Without these limitations of weapon choice, duty, and honor they truly became single man war machines. True Samurai's crave battle, it is an essential part of their life. Pray you do not meet one on the battlefield, for you will be shown the level of mercy a bear shows a salmon. In a battle nearly as one sided.
Making a True Samurai
The True Samurai works well with most classes, but excels at drawing enemy attention. Which can take away from any tanking classes main role. Damage dealing capability can be quite high though regardless, and instead can be used as an off-tank and damage dealer. Though as stated earlier works well with all classes.
Abilities: Strength and Dexterity are important though it depends on the weapon choice. Constitution being third to endure the onslaught of enemy attacks on the front line. With Wisdom coming in fourth to boost Armor Class. Intelligence comes fifth for a more skillful True Samurai, with Charisma in last.
Races: Typically Human. Though any race that excels in great amounts of strength or dexterity would do quite well.
Alignment: Any Lawful.
Starting Gold and Equipment: 1d4 x 10 gp and one Masterwork quality weapon of the True Samurai's choice.
Starting Age: Moderate. Some begin young, some begin old. At least a general amount of training is required however.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The True Samurai is proficient with simple weapons and martial weapons, and can also choose one exotic weapon to become proficient in provided it is a melee weapon. The True Samurai is also proficient with light armor and medium armor and is not proficient with shields.
The True Samurai Way: A True Samurai upon the beginning of his training selects one weapon and trains with it to the exclusion of all else. If this is an exotic weapon he immediately gains proficiency with that exotic weapon. The True Samurai may use other weapons, but his mastery lies in that weapon alone. Allowing him to wield it with extraordinary skill and prowess. At level 1, he gains Weapon Focus with that weapon. At level 4, his mastery improves and grants him Weapon Specialization with that weapon. At level 7, the True Samurai gains Greater Weapon Focus with his chosen weapon. At level 11, the True Samurai gains Greater Weapon Specialization with that weapon. At level 15, the True Samurai gains Melee Weapon Mastery (PHB II). At level 18, the True Samurai's skill with the weapon has reached the bounds of mortal limits granting him Weapon Supremacy(PHB II) with that weapon. All feats gained through this class feature are granted even if the True Samurai does not normally qualify for the feat.
Preternatural Senses (Ex): The True Samurai has a natural sense of incoming danger and how to avoid it. In light or no armor the True Samurai can add his Wisdom Bonus to his Armor Class.
A Killer's Instinct (Ex): The drive to end the opponent's life is strong in the True Samurai, and reinforced by so much training that it comes second nature. The True Samurai can execute Coup de Grace attacks as a standard action rather than a full-round action. In addition, dazed opponents can be Coup de Graced as a full-round action.
Extended Chi (Ex): A True Samurai's link with his chosen weapon type is so strong his very essence leaks into the weapon giving it unnatural strength. At every True Samurai level divisible by 4 the chosen weapon type gains a +1 Enhancement bonus to attack and damage. At level 4, his urge to damage grants the weapon the Collision property. At level 8, his killing prowess extends to the incorporeal granting the weapon the Ghost Touch property. At level 12, the efficiency of his technique is bestowed upon the weapon granting it the Speed property. At level 16, his drive to kill gives the weapon the Wounding property. At level 20, his malice for his enemies is extended to his blade granting the weapon the Bane property set to whomever the True Samurai chooses. The weapon's hardness and hp increase as though it were affected by a normal magical enhancement.
The Killing Fields (Ex): After the first blow is landed from the True Samurai's hands he enters a near zen-like state where the concerns of mortality no longer afflict him. This is conveyed as his mind hardens to cut out all emotion based effects such fear and charm; Even friendly morale bonuses no longer effect the True Samurai. As his mind goes further and further towards battlefield enlightenment as foes fall before him he gains a +1 cumulative morale bonus to attack bonus, damage, and Will save for each opponent downed, starting from the original +2 he gains from his initial hit. The bonus lasts until the end of the encounter or until the True Samurai's battle concentration is broken (Doing any non-combat actions will break concentration, such as drinking a potion. Skill checks may be made without breaking this state by making a Concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + current bonus x number of current skill checks made without a combat action in between them). The bonus is also limited to a maximum of half of your levels in True Samurai.
Unbroken (Ex): The True Samurai's physical fortitude is legendary allowing him to withstand effects even the hardiest of warriors buckle under. The True Samurai gains the Mettle feat. If a True Samurai make a successfully Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the spell’s effect (such as a spell with Will partial or Fortitude half) he instead negates the effects.
All as One (Ex): The True Samurai's prowess with his weapon makes his attacks uncannily quick and accurate. Striking so fast they almost seem to happen in unison. The True Samurai's attacks during his turn count as a single attack when beneficial (Such as with massive damage or overcoming damage reduction and hardness) and separate attacks when beneficial (such as a weapon with the Wounding property).
Counter Blade (Ex): The True Samurai's weapon prowess allows him to act against his opponents with lightning speed. Taking a standard action to execute a single attack the True Samurai then readies himself against all incoming threats. Each attack that targets the True Samurai until his next turn, provided the object or enemy you are attacking is within range, the True Samurai is allowed to make an attack before the other attack fully takes place. Opponents hit by the counter attack suffer a -4 on that single attack against the True Samurai. Projectiles, magical effects, and even ranged melee attacks can be targeted, though they are much harder to hit. Provided you deal enough damage, this may cancel the effect. You are limited to a number of counter attacks equal to your remaining attacks in a round if you had taken a full attack action plus your attacks of oppurtunity, though you must be aware they are happening to attempt a counter attack and cannot be flat footed.
A Killer's Efficient Grace (Ex): The True Samurai has attained a level of efficiency in his attacks and his movements that he can do them at once. Each time the True Samurai lands a successful attack he may if he chooses take a free 5 foot step in any direction.
Iajutsu (Ex): The penultimate attack of the True Samurai. The True Samurai gathers his concentration and then lets loose an attack of tremendous speed and power when his opponent's guard is at its lowest. The Samurai must take a full-round action to study an opponent and sheath his weapon. He may only study a single opponent at a time. In the time before his next turn, if the opponent he studied performs a hostile action towards the True Samurai (An attack counts as any effect that directly targets the True Samurai or includes to True Samurai in it's area of effect, even harmless), the True Samurai can burst in an explosion of action unsheathing his weapon, moving up to double his speed and passing his opponent if possible. Then he performs a single touch attack on that opponent. If the attack hits it is a guaranteed critical hit that regardless of the critical multiplier is at a x4 multiplier (unless your own multiplier is higher). Even if the opponent is immune to critical hits this attack still deals double damage as if a critical hit was dealt. The opponent must be within double your movement rate to use this ability, terrain does not matter with this ability (You may even pass over water and other liquids though you cannot pass over empty space) though obstructions may be navigated with a DC 30 Tumble check. Multiple attacks may be done against other opponents(You cannot use these attacks against the target of your Iajutsu) with your remaining range of movement up to your number of attacks, though these are treated as normal attacks. In that case, the Iajutsu attack consumes the attack at your highest Base Attack Bonus. If this movement would cancel the effect of the hostile action (Such as an opponent charging or a fireball targeted at you) the attack misses or is canceled depending of the action used against you. If it is a guaranteed hit spell or effect (Such as the Hold Person spell) if it is not interrupted by the attack the action still carries.
Undying Resolve (Ex): A True Samurai's resolve is unstoppable. He may as an immediate action once per day replace any of his saves with a Concentration check.
Mind, Body, and Blade as One (Ex): The True Samurai's prowess with his weapon has reached a point where it has harmonized his body and mind as one. This grants him even greater alacrity and ability. When wielding the chosen weapon, his movement rate is doubled. In addition, while wielding the chosen weapon type the enhancement bonus the weapon contains due to Extended Chi is extended to grant a competence bonus to Strength and Wisdom equal to the enhancement bonus of the Extended Chi effect.
Soul Grip (Su): A True Samurai's reluctance to let his weapon go is put into action with his extraordinary concentration and chi. With a successful Concentration check (Opposing roll against a relevant source) he may negate the effects of anything that would disarm him. He may even use this if unaware of the attempt.
When a True Samurai becomes nonlawful, ends his mercenary or battle seeking career, he falls out of practice stripping him of all abilities related to The True Samurai Way and strips him of the ability Mind, Body, and Blade as One. These can be gained back by defeating an opponent of equal challenge, re-honing his killing instinct. He must defeat the opponent alone and must strike the final blow with the chosen weapon type. The exception to this rule are those that set up a school to train others in the path of the True Samurai.
Like a member of any other class, a samurai may be a multiclass character, but multiclass samurais face a special restriction. A samurai who gains a new class or (if already multiclass) raises another class by a level may never again raise her samurai level, though she retains all her samurai abilities.
Epic True Samurais
|21st||The True Samurai's Mastery (Epic Weapon Focus)|
|22nd||Flash Step (Ex)|
|24th||The True Samurai's Mastery (Epic Weapon Specialization), Epic Extended Chi (Acidic,Fiery,Icy,Lightning,Sonic Blast) (Ex)|
|27th||The True Samurai's Mastery (Overwhelming Critical)|
|28th||Epic Extended Chi (Dread) (Ex)|
|30th||The True Samurai's Mastery (Devastating Critical)|
3 + Int modifier skill points per level.
The True Samurai's Mastery: At Epic levels the True Samurai's mastery of his weapon exceeds the mortal bounds that once contained him. At 21st level, the True Samurai gains Epic Weapon Focus with the chosen weapon. At 24th level, he gains Epic Weapon Specialization. At 27th level, he gains the ability to kill with even greater efficiency through his mastery giving him the Overwhelming Critical. At 30th level, he truly masters the chosen weapon landing death strokes without thought giving him the Devastating Critical. All feats gained from this class trait are granted even if the True Samurai normally does not qualify for such feats.
Epic Extended Chi (Ex): The True Samurai's chi continues to grow with his ever growing weapon mastery. At 24th level this manifests itself with the weapon being charged with the element that most closely identifies with the True Samurai. The True Samurai may choose either Fiery, Icy, Lightning, Acidic, or Sonic Blast to be forever bound to his weapon. At 28th level, his chi has reached dangerous levels in his body to the point that truly hated enemies are torn asunder almost by the weapons will alone. The weapon gains the Dread enhancement effect against enemies of the type previously chosen by the Bane quality in Extended Chi. The enhancement bonus will now continue past 30th level and is now dependent on total CL once 30th level is obtained.
Flash Step (Ex): The True Samurai has reached a certain level of enlightenment upon the battle field, where movement is seen as a wasteful exercise. This manifests itself as the ability to seemingly teleport from place to place. Moving the full speed of the True Samurai is now a swift action as opposed to a move action, in addition the True Samurai no longer passes through in-between spaces and can even teleport vertically or diagonally provided there is something to land on otherwise the True Samurai will take the corresponding fall damage. A move action may be taken to move double the distance. This movement does not provide attacks of opportunity. Once this ability is used, the True Samurai unless taking a double move, must regain footing before it can be used again. Even while taking a double move, after the double move is over he must once again regain footing before using this ability again.
Mastery (Ex): The True Samurai after using all his techniques countless times, participating in battles and practicing all his life finally attains true mastery of the path of the True Samurai. He gains the following benefits: Flash Step distance is doubled. A Killer's Grace distance is doubled. Undying Resolve is now once per encounter. Iajutsu now takes only a standard action to study an opponent, or a full-round action to study as many opponents as your base attack bonus will allow attacks. In addition the distance allowed is the True Samurai's Flash Step distance. Counter Blade now imposes a -8 on the attack roll it counters. The Killing Fields now provides complete immunity to mind affecting effects and a further +4 to all Fortitude Saves while it lasts. A Killer's Instinct is improved; now all Coup de Grace attacks are now done as swift actions, except for dazed opponents where it is still a standard action. Preternatural Senses improves to grant a +4 Untyped bonus against attacks that would catch the True Samurai flat-footed. Finally the strength and wisdom bonus granted by Mind, Body, and Blade as One is multiplied by 1.5 rounding down.
Epic True Samurai Bonus Feat List: Same list as the Fighter's epic feat list.
Human True Samurai Starting Package
Weapons: Masterwork Katana.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 3 + Int modifier.
Bonus Feats: Weapon Focus (Katana), Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Katana)
Gear: Leather Armor
Playing a True Samurai
Religion: If a True Samurai worships a god, it is usually a god that is of battle or at the very least favors it.
Other Classes: Despite the True Samurai's need for battle, at all times the True Samurai is quite even-mannered and calm allowing almost any class to interact peacefully with this character. The True Samurai dislikes those who shun combat completely and are not beneficial during combat, but usually respects their importance in the overall group. In addition, the True Samurai has a more open dislike of those who try and steer him from his path of battle.
Combat: The position a True Samurai usually fulfills is a front line attacker, or a unit slightly apart from the party used to distract some of the enemy attention.
Advancement: Due to the nature of the True Samurai, multi-classing while not impossible, is most likely not beneficial. Though the Weapon Master prestige class is definitely not unheard of among True Samurai.
True Samurais in the World
|“||My blade and I are one, though soon you shall be two.||”|
|—Nazarel, threatening a balor on a random level of the abyss, Human True Samurai|
True Samurai are at home anywhere near the battlefield. Often acting as mercenaries, bandits, heroes, or simple wanderers they seek battle to truly hone their abilities while trying to eke out a living.
Daily Life: A True Samurai's day most often begins peacefully. Waking early in the morning, having breakfast and practicing various techniques and forms for 1 hour to several hours based upon the level of activity the day will have. True Samurai do not need to practice their technique as long as they regularly engage in battle, but most do since battle itself is unpredictable and while a True Samurai enjoys battle they do not recklessly seek it out. A True Samurai then will find a mercenary job in the nearby town or attempt to learn things about nearby areas containing large amounts of enemies and treasure. Not out of greed, but all True Samurai recognize the importance of sustaining oneself and maintaining their equipment.
Notables: Nazarel, Human True Samurai - One of the few masters of the True Samurai path, bathed his blade in the blood of a balor he slew with a single stroke of his sword.
Archaedus, Drow True Samurai - While still rising as a student on the path of the True Samurai, he slew every other student in the school in the span of a single night. A great amount of confusion arose between the masters of whether to execute him, or allow him into their ranks. The masters decided that if he can find enough new students to replace those that he killed, he will be given the status of Master. He is still currently searching the world for suitable recruits.
Organizations: True Samurais rarely organize outside of the school they were taught. That being said, seeded very rarely through the world are their schools where the true masters reside and train new True Samurais. True Samurais rarely go back to their school, only returning when they feel they've learned all they can learn on their own.
NPC Reactions: NPC's often mistake the True Samurai for a simple warrior who is poorly armored and do not pay that much heed. Though many are unnerved by the unnatural intensity of his eyes. Upon seeing a True Samurai in battle many regard them with wonderment in the case of mercenaries or heroes and terror in the case of bandits and enemy soldiers.
True Samurai Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History) or Knowledge (Local) can research the True Samurai to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||True Samurai are truly masters of their weapons.|
|10||True Samurai only choose a single weapon type to train in.|
|20||The names of notable True Samurais and direct knowledge about any True Samurai in question.|
|30||Locations of nearby True Samurai schools.|
True Samurais in the Game
True Samurais are found on the battlefield, or where wars or battles will soon be taking place. In large scale conflicts, sometimes a True Samurai will enter the fray without truly picking a side just for the chance to hone their craft in a hostile environment.
Adaptation: You may find entire schools dedicated to weapons where they are prevalent. In some instances the may be simple wanderers, while other instances may have them as battle hungry groups that band together to test their mettle against nearby city militia. Any adaptation is viable as long as it concerns battle and improving oneself through it.
Sample Encounter: "Narconas Longblade. I'll never forget the name", the man at the bar says into his half empty tankard. "That's who you're looking for correct? I heard you asking around. Aye, you'll find him around here you will." The adventurer walks up to the bar," How about a couple of tankards for me and my friend here?", he asks the bar tender. The man at the bar says as he accepts his tankard," Now that's right nice of you, but unnecessary. Once word got around you were looking for him, he'd find you. You don't need to bribe anybody. What I do have for you is a warning friend. Leave town, now and don't come back anywhere near here." The adventurer lightly chuckles as he sets his tankard down, liquid and foam sloshing about almost dribbling over the edge. "Don't you worry about me friend, I've fought many battles and not once have I come close to a defeat," the adventurer boasted, puffing his chest slightly. The man turned and faced the adventurer," None of that will matter soon. Everything you fought for, will be for naught. Narconas is inhuman. We lost half of our town guard to him in a single battle. We didn't even see him move, the men just fell dead. Blood spurting from them like fountains. He only let one man live of that entire troop, to send back a message for the unworthy to not seek him out. If you feel up to the challenge though, head south from here. You'll find a lone tree, wait for him there." The adventurer drained his tankard and cockily announced to the man," Stupid superstitions. He's a man and he will bleed when cut down. Don't listen to hearsay like this old man, makes you sound like an old fool. An entire guard troop, the rumors get more ridiculous the closer I get to finding him." The adventurer chuckled before standing up and walking out saying,"South you say though? We'll see about this so called in-human monster, he'll be a lot less threatening when I bring his head back on a pike." The man waited a number of minutes before whispering into his now empty tankard," Poor idiots never listen to me. He'll be dead before sunset and his journey will have been for nothing. These aren't rumors. I was the one he let live."