PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Ninja_Prawn's Samurai and Ronin Martial Archetypes. PEACH!



Ninja_Prawn
2015-06-25, 06:26 PM
I know lots of people have probably been there already, but I wanted to have a crack at homebrewing samurai- and ronin-inspired martial archetypes of my own. I just love the fighter as a base class; it's solid on its own, but leaves enough room in the archetypes to build all sorts of interesting subclasses.

Anyway. Here we go! Now including updates!

A samurai is a noble warrior who practices not only the arts of war, but also civilian arts such as calligraphy, painting and poetry. Samurai are generally sworn to a feudal lord they consider loyalty to their lord as the single most important aspect of the way of the warrior.

Rapid Strike
When you take this archetype at 3rd level, you learn ancient techniques that allow you to strike with blinding speed. On your turn, you may replace all of your movement with a single mle weapon attack.

Noble Passtimes
At 3rd level, you gain proficiency with one tool or instrument of your choice from the following list: calligrapher's tools, fue (flute), painter's supplies, poetry, shamisen (lute) or taiko (drum). Additionally, you may add your proficiency bonus to any skill check relating to gardening, flower-arranging or landscape architecture.

Precise Footwork
At 7th level, your footwork is as fast and delicate as a mountain stream. You can Disengage as a bonus action and you never trigger pressure plate- and tripwire-based traps when you walk over them.

Itto-Ryu
By 10th level, you have perfected the 'one sword' technique, whereby you focus all of your physical and spiritual energy into a single, deadly blow. As an action, you may make a single mle weapon attack against a large or smaller target. You do not need to roll for this attack; it is an automatic critical hit. In addition, you may add your Wisdom modifier to the damage roll. You may not make any other weapon attacks on the turn when you use this ability, even if you use action surge or similar abilities.

Unbreakable Resolve
At 15th level, your dedication to your master allows you to overcome challenges that would bring down other warriors. Whenever you roll initiative and have already spent your second wind, you regain your second wind if the number on the initiative die is 10 or more.

Improved Itto-Ryu
At 18th level, you have mastered the arts of war. When you use your itto-ryu technique, you roll all of the damage dice one additional time.


When samurai find themselves without a master for any reason, they become wandering ronin. The life of the ronin is one of shame and poverty without lands or income they must find work wherever they can, and have little hope of ever regaining their honour.

Diverse Styles
Your travels have brought you into contact with a variety of warriors, and you have learned to incorporate their techniques into your own. When you start on the path of the ronin at level 3, you gain one additional fighting style of your choice from any that are available to you.

Constant Vigilance
The life of a vagrant is filled with danger you are always alert to threats. At 3rd level, you gain the following ability, which you can use if you are conscious and not incapacitated: if a hostile creature surprises you and comes within 5 feet of you during its surprise round, you may draw a weapon and make a single mle weapon attack against that creature. You can only use this ability once per surprise round.

Hardened Wanderer
By 7th level, you have become inured to the harsh lifestyle of the ronin. You have advantage on any saving throw made to avoid exhaustion.

Dishonourable Blow
At 10th level, you abandon any pretence of honourable combat. When you use an action to attack a humanoid target, you may replace one of the attacks with a dishonourable blow, which must be declared before rolling to attack. The dishonourable blow does no damage, but if it hits, the target is stunned until the start of its next turn. If the target has legendary resistance, it may expend one use of that ability to avoid being stunned.

Yojimbo
By 15th level, your experiences as a mercenary and bodyguard have given you an instinctive ability to sense when others are in danger. If a friendly creature within 30 feet of you is affected by an attack, spell, trap or environmental hazard, you may use your reaction to move into that creature's space and take the damage and any other effects yourself (the friendly creature suffers no damage or ill effects, but it is pushed 5 feet in a direction of your choice). When you use this ability, you also gain resistance to all damage until the beginning of your next turn.

Ultimate Dodge
When you reach 18th level, your survival instincts have become so sharp that you can dodge attacks moments before they hit you. If you are hit by an attack, you can use your reaction to add 5 to your AC, potentially causing the attack to miss. Your AC returns to its previous value as soon at the triggering attack is resolved if the attacking creature is using extra attack, multiattack or similar, ultimate dodge can only affect one of the attack rolls.


Comment & criticism is always welcome! I based the ronin's abilities around the concept of 'survival at all costs', but I'm not convinced it ended up as a cohesive, playable class. What do y'all think?

Torched Forever
2015-06-25, 10:39 PM
While I am not a huge fan of setting specific subclasses, these are actually pretty good.

Rapid Strike. This is really good for 3rd level. THF users are getting flat out double damage with this and it doesn't help TWF users at all. A quick look at Wikipedia showed samurai commonly using THF katanas, TWF, and bows. This ability only supports one of these styles at all. Actually I think S&B using dueling gets a huge bonus out of this.
Noble Pastimes. Mostly a ribbon but not a bad one. I don't know when you would make a skill check for gardening or flower arranging, but I've never played a vast Asian-influenced game.
Precise Footwork. Thanks to rapid, you need to make the choice of higher DPS (+50% at 7th) or to disengage. Nine times out of ten, players will take the DPS. However, at later levels this ability is much more worth while then when it shows up.
Itto-Ryu. Three attacks with a miss chance or a single attack with twice as much damage. This slightly favors the single attack at 10th level, but that is resolved by the next level. Good catch with the final clause though!
Unbreakable Resolve. You could simplify this by saying when you roll a X or greater on an initiative roll, regain a spent second wind. This seems a little weak to me, seeing as second wind recovers on a short rest. It would see use, but I'm not sure on its power especially since this subclass gets so many options for a bonus action.
Improved Rapid Strike. Technically, there is no such thing as a 'move action' you have your 'movement' but that's technically not the same. Once this ability hits the field, Itto-Ryu gets a severe nerf. 5-6 potential attacks against 1 crit is not close to balanced.

Overall, great job. Most samurai subclasses I've seen have been pretty bad. This at most could use some tweaking and I'm not sure on its balance against battle master.
Diverse Styles & Constant Vigilance. A second fighting style will end up being more defensive than offensive for the majority of builds. How many offensive styles overlap? 0. On the other hand, constant vigilance is pretty situational. I'm not sure about the 3.x terminology in 5e, but I think it works. Anyway, vigilance and diverse styles provide a lot more variety but less power than rapid strikes.
Hardened Warrior. Umm... exhaustion will not come up very often and I'm not sure how many games pay attention to it. It might be more powerful in a specific campaign, but it isn't universal.
Dishonorable Blow. I like this ability, not sure about the flavor though. Sacrificing an attack for the possibility of advantage on further attacks is good and scales well. However, when you reach this ability it is suboptimal compared to just attacking twice.
Yojimbo. Wow... the tanking ability to end all tanking abilities. Dipping two levels in Rouge for cunning action would superpower this. Take dodge every turn as a bonus action and spend reactions to basically nullify attacks. This isn't a problem seeing as it would be 17th level build. Probably, one of your coolest features.
Ultimate Dodge. Again, coupled with a source of disadvantage on attack rolls, this allows for the ronin to become an excellent tank. Not having synergy with Yojimbo keeps ronin from becoming invulnerable.

I think I like this one's later features more than samurai, but both are really good. It could use some tweaks, like samurai, and then I would be tempted to run this in my campaign.

PotatoGolem
2015-06-25, 11:36 PM
Seems a bit overly strong:

Attacking as a bonus action is really good. Polearm Master is one of the best feats because it gives you a bonus action attack with a d4. This gives you a bonus action attack at 2d6. Also, as mentioned, this makes TWF even more sub-optimal

Itto-Ryu is really abusable in a multiclass. Slap some Paladin on there and you'll be smiting with a fistful of d8s, or go rogue and double your sneak attack. In fact, samurai 11/rogue 9 will have the same sneak damage as a rogue 20.

Again, move actions don't exist anymore, and aren't really part of the action economy.

Dishonorable Blow is way too strong. Against a BBEG, you can keep him stunlocked for an entire battle with no save allowed. With bounded accuracy, a high-level fighter hits almost all the time, so AC isn't a good limiting factor.

Ultimate Dodge also seems a bit strong. It's essentially at-will Shield for one attack per turn, which is quite powerful. As an 18th level ability, though, it might be ok.

Ninja_Prawn
2015-06-26, 03:13 AM
So, Rapid Strike is too powerful... how would you change it? I want to give players a solid reason to pick the archetype at level 3, but I don't want to make TWF unfeasible.

What if I moved the 'improved rapid strike' (replace move with attack) to level 3 and came up with a completely different level 18 feature? And I know "move action" is not officially a thing, but I don't like the way "movement" feels, semantically. I think my meaning is clear.

Oh, and on the flower-arranging thing: I am currently putting together a campaign where one of the main villains takes part in a flower show (in her downtime), and the players might want to take part as well so they can get close to her (and win prizes?!) or whatever. The samurai sources I was reading really emphasise the importance of gardening, so I thought it would be good to include it. Plus, if it's in the rules, players will find a way to weaponise it!

Edit: mmmm bacon :smallbiggrin:

General thought: level 7 archetype abilities shouldn't add damage or be universally useful. I don't see any need to change these in response to the comments so far.

Itto-ryu multiclass abuse: I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of a samurai/paladin being able to cut people in half with extreme prejudice. However, would it be better if the ability was changed to be a 'double-critical', restricted to once per (long/short?) rest? Then you couldn't do it every turn.

I thought about having the unbreakable resolve roll tied to the initiative roll, but I felt like that a) unfairly favours dex-based fighters, b) supercharges any initiative bonuses, which are good enough already and c) doesn't make a whole lot of sense fluff-wise. As an alternative, I could just cut the roll and allow it to always work. Would that be broken?

Torched thinks dishonourable blow is suboptimal; Potato thinks it's way too strong. Maybe I'll wait for more comments, because I really like the concept of a figter going *attack* *attack* *eye poke* *attack*. If you're worried about your main villain getting stun-locked, don't have them fight alone! Or use Angry's two-headed, two-tailed, bifurcated snake concept!

I'm glad you're generally happy with yojimbo and ultimate dodge. The latter was, of course, modelled on Shield - note that the spell mastery ability lets a level 18 wizard use it at-will, and that the magical version is quite a lot better than this one, given that it stays up for a whole round.

Torched Forever
2015-06-26, 10:06 AM
What if I moved the 'improved rapid strike' (replace move with attack) to level 3.

Itto-ryu multiclass abuse: I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of a samurai/paladin being able to cut people in half with extreme prejudice. However, would it be better if the ability was changed to be a 'double-critical', restricted to once per (long/short?) rest? Then you couldn't do it every turn.

I thought about having the unbreakable resolve roll tied to the initiative roll, but I felt like that a) unfairly favours dex-based fighters, b) supercharges any initiative bonuses, which are good enough already and c) doesn't make a whole lot of sense fluff-wise. As an alternative, I could just cut the roll and allow it to always work. Would that be broken?

Torched thinks dishonourable blow is suboptimal; Potato thinks it's way too strong. Maybe I'll wait for more comments, because I really like the concept of a figter going *attack* *attack* *eye poke* *attack*. If you're worried about your main villain getting stun-locked, don't have them fight alone! Or use Angry's two-headed, two-tailed, bifurcated snake concept!

I'm glad you're generally happy with yojimbo and ultimate dodge. The latter was, of course, modelled on Shield - note that the spell mastery ability lets a level 18 wizard use it at-will, and that the magical version is quite a lot better than this one, given that it stays up for a whole round.
That would work pretty well. It limits the damage output if your moving around and helps TWF.

Honestly, Itto-Ryu is fine. The 20th level multiclass isn't overpowering. By that point your are sacrificing 4+ attacks for a single crit.

I meant 10+ on the actual roll not with the bonus applied.

If you shorten the length of the stun to until the end of your turn, it would be more balanced. At the current state it supplies your entire team with advantage.