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Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 03:18 AM
I know there is already a Kensei prestige class, but it doesn't quite fit the flavor that a Kensei should have (in my opinion). I want an unarmored swordsman; a character that trains his entire life to tune a weapon to become an extension of his body. A great example would be Samurai Jack.

Kensei

http://expatmanca.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/samuarijackfinale1.JPG
Requirements
Alignment: Any Lawful

Class Features
HD: d8
Skill Points Per Level: 4+Int
Skill List: Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Sense Motive, Spot, Swim, and Tumble

{table=head]Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special Abilities
1st | +1 | +2 | +2 | +2 | Favored Weapon, Precognition
2nd | +2 | +3 | +3 | +3 | Uncanny Dodge
3rd | +3 | +3 | +3 | +3 | Weapon Style
4th | +4 | +4 | +4 | +4 | Evasion
5th | +5 | +4 | +4 | +4 | Ki Infusion
6th | +6/+1 | +5 | +5 | +5 | Improved Favored Weapon
7th | +7/+2 | +5 | +5 | +5 | Improved Uncanny Dodge
8th | +8/+3 | +6 | +6 | +6 | Great Silence
9th | +9/+5 | +6 |+6 | +6 | Improved Weapon Style
10th | +10/+5 | +7 | +7 | +7 | Ki Soul
11th | +11/+6/+1 | +7 | +7 | +7 | Ki Strike
12th | +12/+7/+2 | +8 | +8 | +8 | Favored Weapon Mastery
13th | +13/+8/+3 | +8 | +8 | +8 | Acrobatics
14th | +14/+9/+4 | +9 | +9 | +9 | Ki Resistance
15th | +15/+10/+5 | +9 | +9 | +9 | Weapon Style Mastery
16th | +16/+11/+6/+1 | +10 | +10 | +10 | Improved Evasion
17th | +17/+12/+7/+2 | +10 | +10 | +10 | Abundant Step
18th | +18/+13/+8/+3 | +11 | +11 | +11 | Timeless Body
19th | +19/+14/+9/+4 | +11 | +11 | +11 | Kukan-Do
20th | +20/+15/+10/+5 | +12 | +12 | +12 | Perfect Self[/table]


Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Kensei are proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
Kensei are not proficient with any armor or shields.
When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a Kensei loses many of his class abilities (specified in each ability).

Favored Weapon (Ex)
At 1st level, a Kensei must select a favored weapon to pursue from among any melee weapon he is proficient with. This choice affects the characterís class features but does not restrict his selection of feats or special abilities in any way.
At 1st level, the Kensei is treated as having the Weapon Focus feat with his Favored Weapon.
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing armor. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Precognition (Ex)
When unarmored and unencumbered, the Kensei adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC.
This bonus to AC applies even against touch attacks or when the Kensei is flat-footed. He loses this bonus when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
Starting at 2nd level, a Kensei can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a Kensei already has uncanny dodge from a different class he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Weapon Style (Ex)
At 3rd level, a Kensei receives one of three weapon styles to pursue: Rapid Strike, Defensive Strike, or Mighty Strike. If a Kensei selected a light weapon as his favored weapon, he receives the Rapid Strike weapon style. If a Kensei selected a one handed weapon as his favored weapon, he receives the Defensive Strike weapon style. If a Kensei selected a two handed weapon as his favored weapon, he receives the Mighty Strike weapon style. This style affects the characterís class features but does not restrict his selection of feats or special abilities in any way.
If the Kensei receives Rapid Strike, he is able to use Flurry with a light weapon.
If the Kensei receives Defensive Strike, he is able to use Parry with a one-handed weapon.
If the Kensei receives Mighty Strike, he is able to use Fury with a two-handed weapon.
Flurry (Ex): When wielding a light weapon, you may take one extra attack per round at your highest base attack bonus, but each attack you make (the extra one and the normal ones) are at a -2 penalty. You must make a full-attack action to use this ability.
You may not use Flurry in combination with Flurry of Blows, but you may use it with Two-Weapon Fighting (for a -4 penalty to each of three attacks).
Parry (Ex): When wielding a weapon in one hand (your off-hand must be free), you gain a +1 shield bonus to your AC.
When fighting defensively or using the total defense action, this shield bonus increases to +2.
Additionally, when wielding a weapon in one hand (your off-hand must be free), you gain the benefits of the deflect arrows feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites for that feat.
Fury (Ex): When wielding a two-handed weapon, you may add your Wisdom modifier to your attack roll once per day per 1/2 your Kensei level (rounded down).
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing any armor, when he is not carrying a shield, or when he is not carrying a medium or heavy load.

Evasion (Ex)
At 4th level or higher if a Kensei makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a Kensei is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Kensei does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Ki Infusion (Su)
At 5th level or higher, a Kensei can heal his own wounds. He can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to his current Kensei level times his Wisdom bonus (minimum of 1) each day, and he can spread this healing out among several uses.

Improved Favored Weapon (Ex)
At 6th level, a Kenseiís aptitude in his favored weapon improves.
The Kensei is treated as having the Weapon Specialization feat with his Favored Weapon, even if he does not have four levels of the fighter class. Note that this does not allow a Kensei to later select Improved Weapon Specialization unless he meets the prerequisite fighter levels for that feat.
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing armor. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

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

Great Silence (Su):
At 8th level, a Kensei gains a gaze attack. The Kensei can use this ability once per day, targeting one creature within 30 feet. When the Kensei's chosen target meets his gaze, the target must attempt a Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 Kensei's class level + Kensei's Wisdom modifier). If the target fails the save, he is struck mute for 1 round per level of the Kensei. A mute character cannot speak or cast spells with a verbal component.

Improved Weapon Style (Ex)
At 9th level, a Kensei's aptitude in his weapon style improves.
If the Kensei has Rapid Strike, he is able to use Improved Flurry with a light weapon.
If the Kensei has Defensive Strike, he is able to use Counterattack with a one-handed weapon.
If the Kensei has Mighty Strike, he is able to use Ki Damage with a two-handed weapon.
Improved Flurry (Ex): You no longer take a penalty on attacks when using a Flurry.
Counterattack (Ex): While wielding a one-handed weapon, you gain a +4 bonus to attacks made as part of an attack of opportunity or readied action to disrupt another's action.
Ki Damage (Ex): After scoring a hit with a two-handed weapon, a Kensei can choose not to roll dice to determine the damage. Instead, he figures the normal maximum damage (not a critical hit) he can inflict and deals that much damage to the target. Additional damage dice (such as sneak attack damage or the flaming weapon property) is rolled normally, not maximized. This ability cannot be used when you roll a successful critical hit. The Kensei can use this ability once per day per point of Wisdom bonus (minimum once per day).
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing any armor, when he is not carrying a shield, or when he is not carrying a medium or heavy load.

Ki Soul (Ex):
At 10th level, a Kensei gains spell resistance equal to his current Kensei level + 10. In order to affect the Kensei with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the Kenseiís spell resistance.

Ki Strike (Su):
At 11th level, a Kensei may empower his favored weapon with ki. Once per day per point of Wisdom bonus (minimum once per day), a Kensei may ignore damage reduction and hardness with an attack with his favored weapon.

Favored Weapon Mastery (Ex)
At 12th level, a Kenseiís aptitude in his favored weapon improves again.
The Kensei is treated as having the Improved Critical feat with his Favored Weapon.
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing armor. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Acrobatics (Ex):
A 13th level a Kensei can always choose to take a 10 on a Balance, Climb, Jump, or Tumble check, even when circumstances would normally prevent him from doing so.

Ki Resistance (Su):
Once per day per point of Wisdom bonus (mimimum once per day), a Kensei of 14th level or higher can use Resist Energy as a sorcerer of the Kensei's level.

Weapon Style Mastery(Ex)
At 15th level, a Kensei's aptitude in his weapon style improves again.
If the Kensei has Rapid Strike, he is able to use Greater Flurry with a light weapon.
If the Kensei has Defensive Strike, he is able to use Iron Stance with a one-handed weapon.
If the Kensei has Mighty Strike, he is able to use Ki Critical with a two-handed weapon.
Greater Flurry (Ex): You use a flurry with a standard attack action as well as a full-round action
Iron Stance (Ex): While wielding a one-handed weapon, any creature struck by an Attack of Opportunity from moving through your threatened space must end it's movement in that square. It can still take any other actions it may have left for the round. Additionally, you gain a +2 Dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by that opponent until the end of his next turn.
Furthermore, creatures cannot take the withdraw action to move out of your threatened space, and the DCs for tumble checks to avoid your Attack of Opportunity increases by 10.
Ki Critical (Ex): After scoring a critical hit with a two-handed weapon, a Kensei can choose to deal extra damage. The damage multiplier of a two-handed weapon is increased by 1. For example, the greatsword has a critical multiplier of x2. Using this ability, the Kensei can increase that multiplier to x3. A Kensei can use this ability once per day per point of Wisdom bonus (minimum once per day). The Kensei must declare the use of this ability before rolling any damage dice.
The benefits of the Kensei's chosen style apply only when he is not wearing any armor, when he is not carrying a shield, or when he is not carrying a medium or heavy load.

Improved Evasion (Ex)
At 16th level, a Kenseiís evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless Kensei does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Abundant Step (Su)
At 17th level or higher, a Kensei can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door, once per day per point of Wisdom bonus (minimum once per day). His caster level for this effect is equal to his Kensei level.

Timeless Body (Ex)
Upon attaining 18th level, a Kensei no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the Kensei still dies of old age when his time is up.

Kukan-Do (Su):
At 19th level, a Kensei gains a second gaze attack. The Kensei can use this ability once per day, targeting one creature within 30 feet. When the Kensei's chosen target meets his gaze, the target must attempt a Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 Kensei's class level + Kensei's Wisdom modifier). If the target fails the save, he and the Kensei locked in a kind of elemental stasis, preventing both of them from mustering their spiritual energies. Neither the target nor the Kensei can use any spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. Either character can attack or use skills and exceptional abilities. Kukan-Do lasts for 1 minute per Wis bonus (minimum 1 minute).

Perfect Self
At 20th level, a Kensei becomes a magical creature. He is forevermore treated as an outsider rather than as a humanoid (or whatever the Kenseiís creature type was) for the purpose of spells and magical effects. Additionally, the Kensei gains damage reduction 10/Chaos, which allows him to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonchaotic weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesnít have similar damage reduction. Unlike other outsiders, the Kesnei can still be brought back from the dead as if he were a member of his previous creature type.

There it is. Let me know what your scouters say about it's power level, and what I need to do (if anything) to balance it.

Chokuto
2008-07-28, 04:10 AM
hmmm...the power level of this homebrew is....

!?!?!!!!!


It's over 9,ooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


:smallbiggrin:

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 04:12 AM
"What! 9,000!"

I knew that would come up sometime. Didn't expect it to be the very first post though!

Graymayre
2008-07-28, 10:31 AM
Looks awesome.

I recommend you change "Ki Body" to "Ki Infusion" (seems to fit better with the ability)

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 10:42 AM
Yeah, that sounds a lot better/cooler. I'm gonna change it now. Thanks!

Spiryt
2008-07-28, 11:03 AM
Looks very fine, but as always, something named "Weapon Master" and with abilities like that looks better as Prestige class.

Anyway, one handed and light style should be stronger. At the moment, while flurry with free Weapon Spec, Full BaB and without bonuses can be made somewhat potent, one handed style is plainly weak compared to two handed.

Anyway I will slow down favored weapon progression at least two levels up each. It's a bit too strong. Think about poor Fighter, and let him be the only one to take Improved Critical at 8th level.

Also Acrobatics needs to be a bit weaker IMO. If you wan't him to have all saves strong, skills can't be that strong. Spell resistance seems a bit too high too.

Those are my humble sugestions.

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 11:35 AM
Let's see...

I left the light weapon abilities alone for now, they seem almost good enough, but could probably use a little something more. I'll hope to get suggestion from the rest of you.

For the one-handers, I combined Deflect into Parry, gave Counterattack at the Improved Level, and made up the ability Iron Stance at the Mastery level. It basically let's him be an effective tank and "hold the aggro" if you will. Might be too good, or not good enough though, let me know what you guys think.

I rearranged the progressions of both the favored weapon and weapon styles. They only get Weapon Specialization and Improved Critical 1 level later than fighter can, instead of 2 like you suggested. I really didn't see a problem with Improved Critical, since Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers could all take it at level 8 also. I didn't bother pushing back Weapon Specialization any farther because it didn't fit into a nice neat pattern after that. But I think the abilities all fit a bit better together now.

I had simply took the acrobatics ability from the 3.0 OA ninja spy. Considering that Ninja spy is a prestige class, I decided to balance it better with the rogue abilities, and simply took out the +10 bonus it grants. I considered giving it at least a +5 anyway, but there are other pretty powerful things in this class, and a few items to give bonuses to those skills would be chump's change at that level anyway.

Thanks a ton for the suggestions!

Spiryt
2008-07-28, 11:53 AM
Let's see...


For the one-handers, I combined Deflect into Parry, gave Counterattack at the Improved Level, and made up the ability Iron Stance at the Mastery level. It basically let's him be an effective tank and "hold the aggro" if you will. Might be too good, or not good enough though, let me know what you guys think.

Looks nice now. If DM can make fight suficiently tactical and interesting, may be good enough. Although rather/in addtion too stpoing enemies, Iron Stance could give them some minuses in next round(s). You must remember that if his oof hand must be free, that put damage on really low level compared to two handed weapon. No double power attack...


I really didn't see a problem with Improved Critical, since Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers could all take it at level 8 also.

The only problem is that mentioned classes can't get a feat on 8th level anyhow...


I had simply took the acrobatics ability from the 3.0 OA ninja spy. Considering that Ninja spy is a prestige class, I decided to balance it better with the rogue abilities, and simply took out the +10 bonus it grants. I considered giving it at least a +5 anyway, but there are other pretty powerful things in this class, and a few items to give bonuses to those skills would be chump's change at that level anyway.



Well, bonus like +2 and always 10 is okay I guess, but +10 is way to strong. Taking 10 is very useful on it's own.

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 12:00 PM
Looks nice now. If DM can make fight suficiently tactical and interesting, may be good enough. Although rather/in addtion too stpoing enemies, Iron Stance could give them some minuses in next round(s). You must remember that if his oof hand must be free, that put damage on really low level compared to two handed weapon. No double power attack...

I'll havta playtest it. He may not be dealing lots of damage, but if he can hold an enemy (or 4-5 with Combat Reflexes) still for a few rounds, they'll be cleaned up in no time with support from other characters.

The only problem I see is their inability to soak up damage, so maybe a bonus to their AC (it is called Iron Stance after all) would fit.


The only problem is that mentioned classes can't get a feat on 8th level anyhow...

Wow, failed my Knowledge: DnD rules check...

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 01:05 PM
Forgot about the Spell Resistance. I changed it to level + 10, but that seems really easy for a spellcaster to break. At high levels, many spellcasters seem to have spell penetration, greater spell penetration, and some magic item that increases their caster level. 15 + level just seemed to even the odds against those characters, but I guess not every caster is super optimized.

Spiryt
2008-07-28, 01:15 PM
Forgot about the Spell Resistance. I changed it to level + 10, but that seems really easy for a spellcaster to break. At high levels, many spellcasters seem to have spell penetration, greater spell penetration, and some magic item that increases their caster level. 15 + level just seemed to even the odds against those characters, but I guess not every caster is super optimized.

It's not about spellcasters, they will certainly mop the floor with Kensei at 16th level anyway, that's 3.5, after all. It's about dragon and other monsters who cast spells even though are not full casters. Barbarian can be defensless against them, leave alone Fighter, when Kensei had way to high Resistance.

Overally, i would personally mix his skills a bit. Low levels are strong offense, while high level seem to concentrate on anti caster defence that won't really work anyway. Not big revolution, but Great Silence looks weak IMO, it can very well be lower, and Evasions or weapon styles higher.

Kukan-Do doesn't have fixed duration, BTW.

EDIT: Oh, like I said Resistance should be lower, but also on lower level. I'm not sure, don't have any experience with high levels, but like you pointed out, resistance anyway doesn't work with powerfull casters. When lower level, it could defend you a bit before real muthas kick in.

Jack Zander
2008-07-28, 01:21 PM
Very good points. I think I'll rearrange the order of stuff some more.

The Kukan-Do ability I completely stole from the OA book, and didn't realize they never set a duration for it. I'll come up with something.

Philistine
2008-07-29, 12:05 PM
The save DCs for Great Silence and Kukan-Do need to come down to 10 + 1/2 class level + WIS mod. In OA, you could only get 10 levels in the class that offered these features; by moving them from a PrC to a base class without adjusting the save DCs you've radically increased their power, especially at high levels.

Jack Zander
2008-07-29, 01:44 PM
The save DCs for Great Silence and Kukan-Do need to come down to 10 + 1/2 class level + WIS mod. In OA, you could only get 10 levels in the class that offered these features; by moving them from a PrC to a base class without adjusting the save DCs you've radically increased their power, especially at high levels.

Good catch. Thanks!

I still think the one-handed tree could be better, especially at low levels. I play tested this last night (at level 5), and all the other martial classes wiped the floor with it (well not really, each match was really close, but not a single kensei won).