Ultimate Samurai (3.5e Class)
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Samurai. The very meanings says it all. These servant warriors are far more than that. Gi (rectitude), Yu (courage), Jin (benevolence), Rei (respect), Makoto (honesty) Meiyo (honor, glory) Chugi (loyalty). These are the base seven principles of the Code of the Bushidou (samurai code of chivalry). Any breaking of these principles is strictly against the code and cast dishonor upon him. Depending on the act, the samurai may be forced into seppuku (ritual suicide in honor). Those who desert the code become ronin and may be hunted by his ex-peers and slain. Samurai are very traditional and loyal to their sensei, lord, etc. This wrapping of strict code and traditional ways may, at times, hinder a samurai in travel and adventure.
Making an Ultimate Samurai
<-Strong points and weak points, and effectiveness with party members.->.
Abilities: Strength is especially important for samurai because it improves their melee attack and damage rolls. Constitution is important for giving samurai lots of hit points, which they'll need in their many battles. Dexterity is important for samurai who want to be skilled archers, improves their Armor Class, and allows them access to certain Dexterity oriented feats.
Races: <-description of relative likelihood of various races to join this class->.
Alignment: Any lawful
Starting Gold: 10 gp.
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Bonus Feat, Battojutsu Stance|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+6||Improved Battojutsu Stance|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ultimate samurai are proficient with all simple weapons, martial weapons, light armor and medium armor. Samurai are not proficient with shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than 30lbs apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor and equipment carried.
Bonus Feats: At 2nd level, an ultimate samurai gets a bonus combat-oriented feat. He gains an additional bonus feat every 3rd level thereafter (4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th). Because samurai are basically the fighters of the Rokugan, he may take any feats that Fighters are granted but still must meet the prerequisites. For Rokugan based campaigns, these bonus feats may be drawn from the list that appears below for the character's clan. All primary feats must be taken. Primary Feats (Secondary Feats)
Crab: Emphasize heavy armor, great strength, and unusual weapons. Feats: Armor Proficiency (heavy), Dodge (Mobility, Spring Attack), Endurance, Power Attack (Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Sunder, Great Cleave), Run, Weapon Focus (battleaxe, greatclub, katana, or warhammer).
Crane: Emphasize speed and agility. Feats: Dodge (Mobility, Spring Attack), Expertise (Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack), Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Skill Focus (Iaijutsu Focus), Toughness, Weapon Focus (katana).
Dragon: Teach two-weapon fighting and unarmed combat. Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (katana), Improved Grapple (Choke Hold), Improved Unarmed Strike (Defensive Throw, Deflect Arrows, Grappling Block, Great Throw, Stunning Fist), Power Attack (Cleave), Weapon Focus (katana).
Lion: Emphasize strategy, intelligence, and strength of will. Feats: Endurance, Expertise (Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Ki Shout (Great Ki Shout), Remain Conscious, Toughness, Weapon Focus (katana).
Phoenix: Emphasize mental and spiritual training. Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Expertise (Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack), Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (katana).
Scorpion: Emphasize mobility and dirty fighting. Feats: Blind-Fight, Dodge (Mobility, Spring Attack), Expertise (Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack), Improved Initiative, Prone Attack, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (katana).
Unicorn: Emphasize mounted combat and archery. Feats: Alertness, Mounted Combat (Mounted Archery, Trample, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge), Point Blank Shot (Far Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run), Weapon Focus(spear, lance, bow, or katana).
Ancestral Weapon: All samurai begin play with a katana and a wakizashi - two masterwork weapons. These are weapons that belonged to the samurai's ancestors, and protecting the weapons is an important point of honor for the samurai. As a samurai acquires treasure through adventuring, he has the option of awakening the supernatural abilities latent in the weapons. This option allows a samurai who prefers to use his ancestral blade to wield a magic weapon, while a samurai who wields a tetsubo against Shadowlands fiends can use his treasure to acquire new jade or magic weapons.
At any time, a samurai may retreat to a temple or shrine and spend time in prayer in order to awaken the ancestral spirits in his katana or wakizashi (Most samurai improve their katanas and not their wakizashis). This requires a sacrifice of valuable items worth the amount shown on Table 1-2: Ancestral Weapon. This sacrifice does not have to be gold, the character can sacrifice magic items or other goods worth the required amount, rather than selling his goods (at half value) to pay for the sacrifice. The samurai must meet the minimum character level shown on the table, and he must spend one day per 1,000 gp sacrificed in the shrine or temple. During this time, he must spend at least 8 hours each day kneeling before his ancestors and his weapons, not stopping to eat or rest. Many samurai request the assistance of a shugenja in this process, but a shugenja is not required.
The values shown on Table 1-2 are the total value of sacrifice required to bring a single weapon to the listed weapon bonus. If a samurai already has a +3 katana, he can raise it to a +4 katana by sacrificing 14,000 gp and spending two weeks in prayer. If the same samurai wanted to bring his masterwork wakizashi to a +1 wakizashi, he would have to sacrifice 2,000 gp. Before a samurai's ancestral sword becomes a +1 weapon, it is an ordinary masterwork weapon in every way. Its latent supernatural powers do not cause it to be considered a magic weapon until those powers are awakened.
A samurai who loses his ancestral swords is dishonored until he can recover them. He cannot enhance any other weapon in this way. Note: In some campaigns, a samurai might begin play with a different ancestral weapon, such as a tulwar (scimitar) or a jian (longsword).
Battojutsu Stance: At 2nd level and up, a samurai has learned the ability to draw and attack with his weapon to inflict +1d6 of extra damage if roll of 1d20 plus Iaijutsu Focus modifier is equal to 10, and another +1d6 for every 5 points after. The samurai may use the Iaijutsu Focus against opponents who aren't flat-footed. If it used on a flat-footed opponent then it is only counted as a quick-draw ability (may stack with quick-draw). It may only be used twice per-encounter. If landed with a critical it may only be added with +2d6.
Kan: At 5th level and up, the samurai is aware of his surroundings as well as who is around him, making it easier to react. The Samurai gains +1 to Deflection Modifier.
Improved Battojutsu Stance: At 9th level and up, the samurai has practiced and perfected his battojutsu stance, and is able to sheathe his weapon as free action at the end of his turn. It may be used 6 times per-encounter, and an additional time every 3 levels after, and it is capped at 20th level. The samurai also gains an additional +5 misc modifier to Iaijutsu Focus.
Improved Kan: At 11th level and up, the samurai is not only aware of his surroundings but can now recognize potential threats. He gains +1 to Natural Armor.
|Min Level|| Enhancement
|Cost in GP|
1. A weapon can't actually have a bonus higher than +5. Use these lines to determine price when special abilities are added in. e.g. A samurai who has a +4 katana can transform it into a +4 thundering katana with a sacrifice of 40,000 gp, since thundering is a special ability equivalent to a +2 bonus.
A samurai who ceases to be lawful or who commits an act of grave dishonor loses all samurai class features that depend on Charisma or Charisma-based checks. Minor embarrassments don't count, but major breaks with the code of bushido do. Acts that could lose a samurai his status include disobeying an order from a superior officer or feudal lord, fleeing in cowardice from an important battle, being caught in a major lie or other breach of integrity, and appallingly rude behavior. A disgraced character may not progress any farther as a samurai. He regains his class features the ability to advance in the class if he atones for his violations (see the atonement spell, page 201 of the Player's Handbook), assuming the feudal lord offers a chance at redemption. (Some feudal lords demand ritual suicide as the only act that cleanses the stain of dishonor.)
Like a member of any other class, a samurai may be a multiclass character, but multiclass samurai face a special restriction. A samurai who gains a level in any class other than samurai may never again raise his samurai level, though he retains all his current samurai abilities. The way of the samurai demands constant adherence to the code of bushido. Samurai may sometimes take levels in particular prestige classes without violating this code. The kensai and the knight protector (both in this book) and the dwarven defender (in the Dungeon Master's Guide) are three such examples. The Dungeon Master may designate other prestige classes as available to a samurai. Some disgraced samurai take levels in the ronin prestige class (described in Chapter 2 of this book), which gives them a chance to regain their lost class features. lll
Epic <-class name->
|21st||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|22nd||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|23rd||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|24th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|25th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|26th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|27th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|28th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|29th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|30th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
<-number of skill points-> + Int modifier skill points per level.
<-existing class feature->: <-how this class feature increases or accumulates at epic levels->
<-another existing class feature->: <-how this class feature increases or accumulates at epic levels->
Bonus Feats: The epic <-class name-> gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic <-class name-> bonus feats) every <-number of feats per level-> levels after 20th.
Epic <-class name-> Bonus Feat List: <-list of bonus epic feats->.
<-Sample race of your choice-> <-class name-> Starting Package
Weapons: <-Weapon selection for starting at 1st level with this class.->.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
|<-Skill name->||<-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills->||<-Abbrieviated key ability->||<-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->|
|<-Skill name->||<-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills->||<-Abbrieviated key ability->|| <-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->
<-copy and paste the rows as necessary.->
Feat: <-1st-level feat selection->.
Bonus Feats: <-1st-level feat bonus feats due to class or sample race. remove this section if this sample doesn't get any bonus feats at 1st level. ->.
Gear: <-Starting armor and other equipment outside of weapons.->.
Gold: <-Starting gold using this package.->.
Adventures: Most samurai are limited by their loyalty to their masters, but that in itself can be plenty adventure, close to home. With the mixing of cultures some samurai are able to adventure outside of the Rokugan. Most Rokugan bound samurai will travel to fight the fiends of the Shadowlands or take care of domestic problems by order by his master.
Characteristics: Samurai are warriors who take tradition to heart, as they do duty to their masters. For the samurai, the Code of the Bushido is above all else, because this code is a lifestyle that he takes on willing, like that of severing one's master.
Alignment: Bushido, the code of the samurai, demands strict obedience to standards of behavior and honor. Only lawful characters can adhere to this code and call themselves samurai.
Background: Most samurai learn their combat techniques and the principles of bushido in established, well-organized schools. In Rokugan, at least one family is responsible for training samurai within each clan. The Crab's Hida school, the Crane's Daidoji and Kakita schools, the Dragon's Mirumoto school, the Lion's Akodo and Matsu schools, the Phoenix's Shiba school, the Scorpion's Bayushi school, and the Unicorn's Moto and Shinjo schools are the samurai schools of Rokugan. Some samurai may be taught by other families for reasons of relative relation or particular progress favors in another family.
Races: Almost without exception, all samurai in Rokugan are humans from the major clans. In other campaign settings, only humans and spirit folk usually become samurai, because the samurai is very much a characteristic of human society. This has not discouraged other races from trying.
Other Classes: Most samurai consider themselves the pinnacle of the Celestial Order that structures their society. Shugenjas are technically their equals in this order, but in a world where honor is virtually equated with battle prowess, shugenjas have a tenuous hold on that position. Samurai respect only other samurai, as well as other characters (Unicorn barbarians, Crab rangers) who wear the daisho and uphold the code of bushido. They are prone to treating members of other character classes as servants, or sidekicks at best, unless such characters are obviously well respected by the samurai's lord. Other positions of royalty is shown no less respect then he would show his master.