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hotel_papa
2010-05-12, 11:11 AM
Here is a class a friend wrote up and asked me to evaluate. Naturally, I would rather a few hundred more sets of eyes see it. My initial observations are italicized.

Samurai

For some, combat is not only a way of survival, but also a way of life. A Samurai dedicates himself to combat, and more specifically, the utilization of the Katana as his ultimate weapon. Samurai are absolutely dedicated to their training above all other things, no matter what their path in life and are guided through all of lifeís situations by the Code of Bushido, which emphasizes the principles of honor, righteousness, courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, and loyalty. For a samurai, there is no such thing as defeat, only death. Thus, life is precious for you will never know when you may die, but you must never be afraid of death. Taking a life should be second nature, but combat should be avoided if possible as there is no need for unnecessary bloodshed.

Role: Samurai excel in combat, willing to take on any opponent who would challenge them, stand in their way, or be foolish enough to attack them. In the name of honor, Samurai always fight head on and to the death, whether they are taking on a single opponent in a duel or multiple opponents on the field of battle.

Alignment: Lawful Good.

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills
The Samurai's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Samurai.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Samurai are proficient all simple weapons, plus the short sword, guisarme, longbow, and bastard sword. They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. When wearing medium or heavy armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a Samurai loses his AC bonus, as well as his ability to utilize Cutting Finesse, Cutting Specialization, Cutting Mastery, Cutting Perfection, Drawing Technique, and Counter Slice.

AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored or wearing light armor and unencumbered, the Samurai adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a Samurai gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four Samurai levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the Samurai is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears medium or heavy armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Samurai Sword (Ex): A Samurai begins play with a Katana, a bastard sword of masterwork quality. A samurai is capable of dealing piercing damage as well as slashing damage with a Katana at no penalty to his attack roll.

I would consider allowing an option to substitute the katana for one of the other weapons in the Samurai tradition, for this and other class features. The Samurai were deadly with the naginata (I assume you included the guisarme for this reason) and the long bow. I understand that some may not fit as well, such as Drawing Technique for the naginata and Countering slice for the bow. Also, don't forget that the bastard sword is an exotic weapon. Free proficiency may be in order. In addition, there is language later on in the class that seems to assume the ability to take fighter-specific feats. Are they allowed? A friend also suggested simply allowing any martial weapon to be substituted, according to racial traditions, like a Dwarven Waraxe or an Elvan Thinblade.

Cutting Finesse (Ex): At 2nd level, a Samurai may use his Dexterity modifier instead of his Strength modifier on attack rolls he makes using his Katana.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 3rd level, a Samurai gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A Samurai with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him.
If a Samurai already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Katana Focus (Ex): At 4th level, a Samurai gains a +1 bonus on all attack rolls he makes using his Katana. This bonus stacks with other bonuses on attack rolls, including those from Weapon Focus.

Drawing Technique (Ex): At 5th level, a Samurai gains Quick Draw as a bonus feat. In addition, whenever a Samurai draws his Katana from its scabbard, he may choose an opponent which he currently threatens. That opponent is considered flat-footed against the next attack the Samurai makes with his Katana.

Kiai Smite (Ex): At 6th level, a Samurai may shout as an immediate action to throw the force of his spirit into an attack. When making a melee attack using his Katana, he may add his charisma modifier to both the attack and weapon damage rolls for that attack. A Samurai may use this ability only once per round. A Samurai may use this ability once per day at 6th level, and one additional time per day for every 4 levels thereafter, for a total of 4 times per day at 18th level.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 7th level and higher, a Samurai can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the Samurai by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has Samurai levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Katana Specialization (Ex): At 8th level, a Samurai gains a +2 bonus on all damage rolls he makes using his Katana.

Cutting Specialization (Ex): At 9th level, a Samurai adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) on all weapon damage rolls made using his Katana in his primary hand. However, if a Samurai wields his Katana in two hands, he instead adds twice his Wisdom bonus.

Countering Slice (Ex): At 11th level, a Samurai can choose to be caught flat-footed by an opponentís melee attack. (to allow his opponents next attack a +5 bonus, maybe?) In return, he can make an attack of opportunity against that opponent. In addition, if the Samuraiís attack roll is greater than the attack roll of the opponent on whom he is making his attack of opportunity, his opponentís attack is negated and the Samurai takes no damage from it as a result. A Samurai may use this ability once per day at 11th level, and one additional time per day for every 2 levels thereafter, for a total of 5 times per day at 19th level.

Honestly, this ability is available infrequently enough that it could simply be an opposed attack roll as an immediate action, and whichever roll is higher gets to resolve normally, delivering damage if it hits.

Greater Katana Focus (Ex): At 12th level, a Samurai gains a +1 bonus on all attack rolls he makes using his Katana. This bonus stacks with other bonuses on attack rolls, including those from Weapon Focus and Katana Focus.

Cutting Mastery (Ex): At 14th level, a Samurai may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength or Dexterity modifier on attack rolls he makes using his Katana.

Greater Katana Specialization (Ex): At 16th level, a Samurai gains a +2 bonus on all damage rolls he makes using his Katana. This bonus to damage stacks with other damage roll bonuses, including any you gain from Weapon Specialization and Katana Specialization.

Cutting Perfection (Ex): At 20th level, a Samurai may use his Wisdom bonus (if any) as critical modifier for attacks made with his Katana. The threat range of the Katana remains unaffected, however.

Holy ***cakes. A samurai has reason to have a huge wisdom modifier, you're looking at criticals that are wisd10 + (2wis times wis) + (Str times wis). That's insane, but this is 20th level. I like it.

Ex-Samurai (Ronin)
A Samurai who ceases to be lawful good or willfully commits an act which goes against the Code of Bushido cannot gain new levels as a Samurai but retains all Samurai abilities. He does, however, regain his advancement potential if he atones for his violations (see the atonement spell description in Chapter 10), as appropriate.

This requires more specific language. Also, a ronin is a samurai without a master, not a samurai who has turned his back on bushido. But, then, bushido itself was a romanticized concept attached to the Samurai tradition by outsiders and relatively late in the game, historically. It still works, gamewise. Also, a ronin is a samurai without a master, not a samurai who has turned his back on bushido. But, then, bushido itself was a romanticized concept attached to the Samurai tradition by outsiders and relatively late in the game, historically. It still works, gamewise.


Samurai

Base Attack Fort Ref Will AC
Level Bonus Save Save Save Bonus Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 +0 AC Bonus, Samurai Sword
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 +0 Cutting Finesse
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 +0 Uncanny Dodge
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 +1 Katana Focus
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 +1 Drawing Technique
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 +1 Kiai Smite (1/day)
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 +1 Improved Uncanny Dodge
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 +2 Katana Specialization
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 +2 Cutting Specialization
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 +2 Kiai Smite (2/day)
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 +2 Countering Slice (1/day)
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 +3 Greater Katana Focus
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 +3 Countering Slice (2/day)
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 +3 Kiai Smite (3/day), Cutting Mastery
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 +3 Countering Slice (3/day)
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 +4 Greater Katana Specialization
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 +4 Countering Slice (4/day)
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 +4 Kiai Smite (4/day)
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 +4 Countering Slice (5/day)
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 +5 Cutting Perfection

I have no idea how to insert a table, but will gladly do so if someone want's to help.

Elegonn
2011-07-29, 12:20 PM
I like the class, just a couple comments:

You need 3 stats to be good, and at the beginning 4 (Strength, Dexterity, Charisma, Wisdom), not even counting constitution for hp, and intellegence for skills
Samurai use two swords.

gkathellar
2011-07-29, 12:47 PM
Samurai use two swords.

<rage>No. No they don't. Nito-ryu Kenjutsu is incorporated in several forms of koryu, but does not by any means encompass its whole.</rage>

Mulletmanalive
2011-07-29, 02:06 PM
<rage>No. No they don't. Nito-ryu Kenjutsu is incorporated in several forms of koryu, but does not by any means encompass its whole.</rage>

I was going to comment on that but figured that he probably meant the Daishou

OT: as for the class, i will feview when there is a table and some bolding. See the important threads link at the top of the forum.

Siosilvar
2011-07-29, 02:09 PM
Samurai use two swords.

No, samurai historically fought with the same variety of weapons as any other warrior caste. At various times samurai were permitted and/or required to wear two swords, but did not necessarily use them.

gkathellar
2011-07-29, 02:17 PM
I was going to comment on that but figured that he probably meant the Daishou

That wasn't even popular until the end of the Ashikaga shogunate! It was only required when performing official duties starting in 1629, when Japan was at peace! Unreasonable anger! Loud noises! Bold text!

Mulletmanalive
2011-07-29, 05:49 PM
That wasn't even popular until the end of the Ashikaga shogunate! It was only required when performing official duties starting in 1629, when Japan was at peace! Unreasonable anger! Loud noises! Bold text!

Wierdly enough, as a Japanese language student, I feel similarly whenever people write contextless gibberish in Romanji [without kanji, written Japanese is really hard to read; one of the worst was when some guys were talking about so and so moves without mentioning swords and i was convinced they were talking about some kind of crab salad]

Kyuu Himura
2011-07-30, 07:01 PM
I would make the smites per encounter, that way it really rewards having a decent charisma, but hey, that's just me...

Wardog
2011-07-31, 03:22 PM
I'm not sure their abilities should be restricted to light/no armour. Much of the samurai armour I've seen looks as if it would be at least "medium" by D&D classification.

They also need more weapon proficiencies:
Glaive (as good as a representation of a nagitana as a guisarmes if not more so).
Greatsword (Odachi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Cdachi) and Nodachi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nodachi))
Sai (or to be precise, a jutte (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jutte))
Possibly a lance as well.




I'm not sure what these would be in D&D terms (or if they were common enough samurai weapons to get automatic profficiencey):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kusarigama
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kusari-fundo

Is a shortsword the official D&D equivilent of a wakizashi? Because if not, a scimitar might be a better fit.

I don't see why a samurai should have to be Good (plenty of acts that were acceptible within the code of bushido would be neutral or even evil). And "falling" and becoming a ronin should be a RP and/or political/social issue ("You are exiled and lose all your privilages") rather than a "you-cannot-level" mechanical one.

Analytica
2011-07-31, 08:41 PM
In my opinion, I would say they should be lawful, but not necessarily good. YMMV.

Also, I would suggest a high Will save progression, given the focus on making yourself able to face anything and persevere no matter what the cost to yourself (Will save required to commit seppuku? :smallbiggrin:).

It might also not be unbalanced to allow the abilities to work with any samurai tradition weapon. Maybe a feat allowing you to use an additional weapon type beside the katana, including two-sword style fighting?

Also, how about an ability to sense hostile intent?

EDIT: Also, at least four skill points per level. To some extent, they are expected to be cultured.

BillyBobJoe
2011-07-31, 10:15 PM
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y34/ThePicStash/Avatars/Thread_Necromancy.jpg

1 year, 2 months, 17 days. Wow. By the way, it's kind of odd that this is suddenly coming to life after the final version of the Pathfinder Samurai was released to subscribers. I like it, though.