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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Samurai Class (that isn't completely underpowered)



yaluckyboy09
2014-02-19, 10:47 PM
So a while back (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=306597), I was trying to find ways to make the Samurai Class from Complete Warrior not suck. Thanks to a lot of feedback and creative thinking, I was able to make what I believe is a viable Samurai Class that retains the original style and feel of a pure Samurai

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/v/t35/1889649_10202225226166906_158843962_o.jpg?oh=6ec31 e75b3e5228f91c48913f3011257&oe=53074494&__gda__=1392988698_1b451e448ae9313bd4ab89868fb8c3f c

Class Skills
The samuraiís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis) Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex). See Chapter 4 in the Playerís Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifi er) ◊ 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A samurai is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armor, but not with shields.

Daisho Proficiency (Ex): In melee combat, a samurai favors the katana (a masterwork bastard sword) and the wakizashi (a masterwork short sword). Many samurai receive an heirloom set of these two blades, known as the daisho. Because a samurai is trained in their use, he gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) as a bonus feat.

Two Swords as One (Ex): At 2nd level, a samurai has learned to wield the katana and wakizashi together. He is treated as having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.

Kiai Smite (Ex): Twice per day, a samurai of 3rd level or higher can give a great cry during combat that invigorates him. When a samurai shouts (a free action), his next attack gains a bonus on the attack roll equal to his Charisma bonus (minimum +1) and a bonus to the damage roll equal to the samurai's level. As a samurai gains levels, he can make a kiai smite more often.
[I give him additional uses of this ability and made it deal more damage as it will most likely be the most used ability]

Bonus Feat (Ex): At 4th level, a samurai obtains a Bonus Feat chosen from the Fighterís Bonus Feat list. A samurai obtains another Feat at 8th level and every four levels afterwards.
[I figure the samurai should have more options available to him than a strict progression, so I gave him access to fighter bonus feats at every four levels]

Iaijutsu Master (Ex): By 5th level, a samurai has become adept at iaijutsu, a fighting technique that concentrates on drawing his weapon and striking a foe in one fluid motion. He is treated as having the Quick Draw feat.
[Samurai have a much larger repertoire of weapons other than the katana and wakizashi, so this feat at least should apply to all weapons the samurai is proficient with]

Staredown (Ex): At 6th level, a samurai becomes able to strike fear into his foes by his mere presence. He gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks and can demoralize an opponent using a swift action (as described in the Intimidate skill description, page 76 of the Playerís Handbook).
[This ability was changed so the samurai could use it as a swift action because otherwise it would be the same thing every other class could due with a normal skill check]

Improved Two Swords as One (Ex): At 6th level, a samuraiís prowess with the katana and wakizashi improves. He is treated as having the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for the feat.
[This feature was dropped down from level 11 to level 6 because it'd be way too late to benefit at that level]

Improved Initiative (Ex): At 8th level, the samurai has practiced iaijutsu techniques used in ritual duels between two samurai, and he is able to anticipate when any enemy will attack. He now has the Improved Initiative feat.

Heavy Armor Mobility (Ex): At 8th level, a samurai learns to move more freely in heavy armor. He reduces the armor check penalty of heavy armor by 2 points. This benefit increases by one additional point at 13th level and once again at 18th level. This ability cannot reduce the armor check penalty to below 0.
[Samurai have been known to wear big heavy armor and not be hindered by it, so I figured this would be a good way to represent it]

Mass Staredown (Ex): At 9th level, a samurai has sufficient presence that he can cow multiple foes. Using am Intimidate check, the samurai can demoralize all opponents within 30 feet with a single standard action.
[Dropped down by a level because it seemed appropriate]

Kiai Whirlwind (Ex): At 10th level, a samurai learns to strike all targets around him with deadly accuracy. He can make a shout and perform a Whirlwind Attack as a standard action (instead of the normal full round action) and adds his Charisma bonus on all damage rolls in this attack (functioning the same as the Feat from page 102 of the Playerís Handbook, other than the casting time) twice a day even if he doesnít normally fill the requirements. His weapons are treated as having a ten foot reach for the duration of this attack. He can use this ability four times a day at 16th level.
[This one I'm pretty proud of, Samurai should be able to take out large groups of enemies at once in a single stroke and I figured this would be a decent way to apply it to the class. This ability is basically a cross between the Whirlwind Attack and the Kiai Smite. Pretty strong and hits multiple enemies, but limited in how many times they can use it]

Zantetsuken (Ex): At 10th level, a samurai is proficient in the technique of zantetsuken (or Steel-Cutting Slash) which allows him to bypass Damage Reduction of enemies. It begins as bypassing 5 points of Damage Reduction at 10th level and increases by 1 at every second level afterwards. (12th level, 14th level, 16th level, 18th level and 20th level)
[Samurai should be able to take out other heavily armored and well defended enemies, so bypassing Damage Reduction just makes sense]

Iaijutsu Defence (Ex): At 11th level, a samurai learns to never drop his guard when fighting. He is treated as having a deflection bonus equal to his Charisma bonus. This bonus remains so long as the samurai is conscious.
[Samurai stay alert at all times, I thought this would be a good way to represent their dedication to their defence in the game]

Improved Staredown (Ex): At 13th level, even a glance from the hard eyes of a samurai is enough to give his foes pause. The samurai can demoralize opponents within a range of 60 feet instead of 30 and gains a additional bonus to the Intimidate check equal to half his level rounded down.
[Also brought down because it felt right]

Greater Two Swords as One (Ex): At 14th level, fighting with a katana and wakizashi becomes second nature for a samurai. He is treated as having the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.
[Same as the one above it]

Frightful Presence (Ex): A 15th-level samuraiís bravery, honor, and fighting prowess have become legendary. When the samurai draws his blade, opponents within 30 feet must make a Will save. (DC 20 + samurai's Charisma bonus) Opponents who fail become shaken for 1D4 rounds, opponents who fail by 10 or more become panicked for 1D6 rounds and opponents who fail by 20 or more flee uncontrollably. Any foe that successfully resists the effect cannot be affected again by the same samuraiís frightful presence for 24 hours.
[See, this one was originally at level 20 and that would have been waaaaaaaaay too late to do any good. So I dropped it down five levels and removed the Hit Dice based effect and replaced by how bad they failed their save]

Unconquerable (Ex): An 18th-level samuraiís resolve and determination is so great that when he is reduced to less than zero hit points (but is still alive) he no longer takes a point of damage for performing a standard action, as he usually would according to the Diehard feat. Furthermore, he does not die until he is reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to his class level and may continue to perform either a move action or a standard action each round until that point.
[A friend suggested this one and it just felt right that a samurai keep fighting past any logical point]

Overwhelming Renown (Ex): A samurai of 19th level is treated as a lord in the eyes of citizens and seen as a brave warrior in the eyes of lords and nobles. Enemies who succeed a Knowledge (Nobility) DC 15 will recall of your exploits and be panicked for 1D6 rounds. Citizens and merchants who pass such a Check will gladly offer services and discounts in awe.
[Really just a bit of flavoring to the class and shows just how strong he might be at this point]

Improved Frightful Presence (Ex): At 20th level, a samurai can inspire terror with a simple movement of the hand. Frightful Presence can be triggered by simply moving a hand towards a weapon (not necessarily your own) and has a range of 60 feet instead of 30.
[See, now this is better for level 20. It's still the same effect, but the range is bigger and you don't even need to draw a weapon.]

yaluckyboy09
2014-02-19, 10:48 PM
So what do you guys think?

ngilop
2014-02-19, 10:55 PM
I like this.


Id give them a way to overcome fear immunity.

Eftexar suggested opposed charisma checks for my own samuria fix.

other than that it seems great :)

yaluckyboy09
2014-02-19, 11:01 PM
I like this.


Id give them a way to overcome fear immunity.

Eftexar suggested opposed charisma checks for my own samuria fix.

other than that it seems great :)

good idea :smallsmile:

Amnoriath
2014-02-19, 11:10 PM
Is it more powerful, yes. Is it really something that should be played, not really.
Let me state what you did right first.
1. The reduced action of the fear abilities and the moving up the frightful presence abilities makes it far more compatible to make a strategy with.
2. The increased skills allow him to be decent in conversation while still being able to pull off a couple physical stunts.
3. You made him far more resilient, assuming he has the same hit die.
4. He isn't so feat starved any more.
Now for the things that need to be fixed.
1. You still haven't made him make use out of two-weapon fighting.
2. The Kiai Smite as is will be an encounter-ender as it you basically gave an attack bonus that perfectly scales with Power Attack. If you look at the Uberchargers you just gave that kind of power in one simple attack.
3. He still revolves around fear only which mostly gets little use out of in the double digit CR's.
4. Overwhelming Reknown is automatic with far too much of a debuff unless of course they are immune. It also has language that would suggest automatic Diplomancy that would render many social situations far too easy to solve.

yaluckyboy09
2014-02-19, 11:35 PM
Is it more powerful, yes. Is it really something that should be played, not really.
Let me state what you did right first.
1. The reduced action of the fear abilities and the moving up the frightful presence abilities makes it far more compatible to make a strategy with.
2. The increased skills allow him to be decent in conversation while still being able to pull off a couple physical stunts.
3. You made him far more resilient, assuming he has the same hit die.
4. He isn't so feat starved any more.
Now for the things that need to be fixed.
1. You still haven't made him make use out of two-weapon fighting.
2. The Kiai Smite as is will be an encounter-ender as it you basically gave an attack bonus that perfectly scales with Power Attack. If you look at the Uberchargers you just gave that kind of power in one simple attack.
3. He still revolves around fear only which mostly gets little use out of in the double digit CR's.
4. Overwhelming Reknown is automatic with far too much of a debuff unless of course they are immune. It also has language that would suggest automatic Diplomancy that would render many social situations far too easy to solve.

what if the Kiai Smite remained as it was in the book (aside from extra uses) and the Overwhelming Renown only improved your friendliness with NPCs by one category?

Amnoriath
2014-02-19, 11:46 PM
what if the Kiai Smite remained as it was in the book (aside from extra uses) and the Overwhelming Renown only improved your friendliness with NPCs by one category?

1. It would tame it but it wouldn't be that interesting.
2. You still have the automatic panicked which is basically one of the Save or Suck conditions except without the save.
3. You still have no incentive to use multiple weapons.
In general what you have here is better numbers which only will ever earn an okay tier 4. Now, some people will decree tier 3 sweet spot forcing you to justify something like flight/teleportation...etc. All I say is you need a semi unique mechanic that makes a Samurai a little modular so that you can end up with something different than a scary guy with a big stick but still works well.

yaluckyboy09
2014-02-19, 11:48 PM
1. It would tame it but it wouldn't be that interesting.
2. You still have the automatic panicked which is basically one of the Save or Suck conditions except without the save.
3. You still have no incentive to use multiple weapons.
In general what you have here is better numbers which only will ever earn an okay tier 4. Now, some people will decree tier 3 sweet spot forcing you to justify something like flight/teleportation...etc. All I say is you need a semi unique mechanic that makes a Samurai a little modular so that you can end up with something different than a scary guy with a big stick.

is there anything you'd suggest?

Amnoriath
2014-02-20, 12:04 AM
Here is some of my material. Keep in mind it 2 are Incarnum but even so I think you will get what I mean.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291173
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=304981
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326294
You should understand what you are creating as a theme. Is he stoic fighting noble or is he just the eastern weapon master? I would say develop some form of pool in which he can spend to use his varying abilities.

bobthe6th
2014-02-20, 12:12 AM
Eh... it is better then the vanilla samurai. I aprove of the removal of a "oath."
I would honestly make smite an uses/encounter and keep the current number of uses. Smites are nice, and they definitely make you feel badass. They aren't to powerful on the other hand, so handing them out like candy is a good idea.

Also, might want to offer a set of exotic weapons as options for a potential samurai. They are pretty much knights from Japan after all.... so different cultures use different tools. You could associate these with slightly different styles replacing the core TWF feats. Like Elvish courtblade and the full spring attack tree from PHB 2(otherwise known as actual katanas), or orcish double axe...

On a seperate note for TWF chain... the cool thing with samurai is that you don't need a high Dex. Granting them a similar abilaty for all feats that require Dex and a level of TWF they have access to from TSAO would be very helpful.

Could also use a monk like self heal... or more a way to shrug of injury. I do like the 18th level abilaty... but at that level it reads like "you get 8 bonus HP!"... unimpressive for that level. Perhaps a way to increase the amount of negative you can reach while staying conscious? level*(10+cha mod) into the negative? then the final ability becomes a lot more relevant.

Just some thoughts.

yaluckyboy09
2014-02-20, 12:30 AM
On a seperate note for TWF chain... the cool thing with samurai is that you don't need a high Dex. Granting them a similar abilaty for all feats that require Dex and a level of TWF they have access to from TSAO would be very helpful.

you mean like having all Two Weapon Fighting abilities use Charisma as a bonus to Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls?

Panda Bear
2014-02-21, 01:31 AM
Amnoriath raises the good point that there isn't enough flexibility in how to build out this class. I think it's important to note that samurai:

swore undying loyalty to a single retainer, or journeyed as ronin trying to find a retainer
had a strict code of ethics (the seven virtues of bushido)
practiced Confucian and Buddhist principles--mindfulness, meditation, and self-control were very important
took up aristocratic practices like calligraphy, music, and poetry
could command troops, set strategies, etc
tended to practice a particular style of swordsmanship as both a combat- and spiritual- exercise

What can we take away from this? Well, the Samurai doesn't only need to be a terrifying presence. Your Samurai could commit focus on his diplomacy, performances, and aristocratic relationships. Your Samurai could develop into a brilliant leader and strategist with great foresight in predicting enemy intentions and movements. Your Samurai could meditate and master his own mind, becoming immune to things like fear, charm, and mind-control. Is your Samurai so loyal that he commits his life to protecting his clan, specializing in protecting other characters and defensive techniques?

You could even look into the different kinds of swordsmanship (a great resource for a fantasy setting like ours would be the Vagabond manga). Do some samurai favour powerful strikes? quick attacks? two-handed grips over two weapons? two-handed weapons like the naginata?

Just thought I'd throw some ideas your way. :)

bobthe6th
2014-02-25, 04:30 PM
you mean like having all Two Weapon Fighting abilities use Charisma as a bonus to Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls?

No... in fact I have no idea were you got that interpretation of that post.
I meant allowing feats that require Two Weapon Fighting/ITWF/GTWF as a prerequisite be allowed to ignore a high dexterity requirement, as long as the feat is given by two swords as one. Like two weapon rend or twin strike.

I mean they are already pumping Str for damage... it still boosts their hit rate.