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    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

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    Default The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spirit!

    Zen-nenrei no otoko-sama to onna-sama de gozaimasu! Tenjin to kodai na shūtai nimo de gozaru!

    Fortunately, I did learn a bit of Japanese. Time to use the power of the Internet to supplement it! And whomever doesn't know the greeting already...

    So, what will this humble homebrewer, who has done caster retoolings that have gained some good (and also harsh) critique but that wishes the same would happen with his ki-based retoolings will do this time?

    Wait...yet another ki-based retooled class? And a Samurai, no less? Doesn't he ever learn? Wait...that's me who's saying it! I should explain why!

    Actually, the reason is quite simple. I know the connotations that ki offers: it tends to make the class a bit too "Asian". Disregarding the fact that ki, while mostly associated to Asian cultures (the Chinese qi, for example, from which the Japanese ki is derived), is something that has no particular equivalent on a D&D setting (unless you count Rokugan, or Shou in Faerun), people haven't noticed just how cool the ki mechanic is. It places a lot of power on Wisdom as a combat mechanic, it is a supernatural ability that blurs the line between spells and abilities, and it is a mechanic that if supported a bit more, it could work nicely. That it fits "traditional Asian" classes, however, should not be a cause of concern. In any case, it should work to difference them from more Western-themed classes, such as the Fighter.

    There will be still people who will take those concerns at heart and protest about it. As the great Bill Cosby would say; "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." So I will have to ascribe to that mechanic, even if the concerns are somehow valid. There are people that state (correctly and with good reasons) that ki isn't throwing balls of energy and becoming a war-god; that ki is being taken incorrectly, and that it represents something else.

    If I see that the people within the countries in which the concept of ki generated do not particularly give a dire rat's buttocks to "reality", and if I see it is a good flavor to a good mechanic, I don't think the opposite concept should be false either. Call it handwaving, if you like; there is a mechanic that's nice and good, and I decided to make it a tad better.

    So...what is my goal with the Samurai? Well, I did like the old mangaka Ozamu Tezuka did with one of his masterpieces; Blackjack. First, I took most of the realistic concepts of a samurai, such as their code and their preference of combats, and applied mechanics that would work well, would distance it a bit from Fighters but use all the (few) good things they might have, and apply them. Then, at higher levels, I say "screw it" and add loads of Rule of Cool to it.

    For reference: E6 players should see it as a pretty reasonable, Wis-loving class. People of all ages should see it as...Rurouni Kenshin. By epic, it should compare to Sengoku Basara, on terms of how definitely high-end it should be. Add a trace of Samurai Deeper Kyo to the mix, and you have the way the class behaves. The class should (and to my believe, does) offer things a ToB character simply cannot replicate, that are actually reasonable for combat at all levels, and that are actually useful for a warrior. At a glimpse, it'll see as nice at first, then absurd at later levels; this is intentional. By that level, while you still cannot beat the absurdity of a core spellcaster in-game, it should make you reasonably more powerful than a melee warrior by all means.

    So, without further ado, I present to you...the Samurai!

    Disclaimer: This one is for Bhu, who also has a Samurai homebrew he more often than not updates (that's some updating, peeps; he's devoted to his job!). I mentioned twice that I was thinking on making a Samurai version of my own. This is me, placing my word where it matters. This doesn't specifically mean I do it out of a lack of respect, but you may have realized that I have a very distinctive way of seeing ki, and this is closer to how I see it. Don't think of it as a senseless challenge, but "incompatibility of visions" between fellow homebrewers, mmkay?

    SAMURAI


    By Kyle Adamache. Original in http://fineartamerica.com

    "Let your deeds speak of you, and your blade be your witness. My blade has slain countless fiends of the Abyss; come thus, and let my blade speak of those times..." - Akumajogiri no Zaburo, retainer to Lord Yoshitomo.

    MAKING A SAMURAI (or, what has and what hasn't changed)
    Spoiler
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    Abilities: As you may be well-aware, the CW Samurai is...well, quite a task to explain. It requires nearly all physical scores in-between decent and good, but it also required a pretty good Charisma. The first thing you'll notice is that I got rid of Charisma, once and for all. Wisdom, the driving force between all ki classes, has taken the step of Charisma AND Strength, which means less MAD (and which should be good). It also makes for a quite different class, much like the Monk and the Ninja are pretty different because of their large use of Wisdom. Constitution, of course, remains a very important score, and Dexterity a distant third because of their use of heavy armor.
    Races: Humans, naturally, make for the best Samurai; extra feats, extra skill points to spend on skills, and no visible weaknesses or strengths. Dwarves make rather interesting Samurai, if only because they can do several things in heavy armor (which the Samurai allows and favors), and their dual lack of Wisdom penalties and their innate Constitution score make them perfect for the task, given that they aren't constrained by having several stats.
    As usual, Githzerai (with their high Wis and Dex scores) make for interesting Samurai, specifically for their Lawful bent. However, they are not as suited for this class as they would with other ki classes. Bizarre enough as it may seem, Hobgoblins would make perfect Samurai because of their lawful nature as well, and their martial relationship.
    Alignment: Any Lawful. So...why not simply "Any"? Samurai, be it by fiction or by reality, is always considered one of particular obedience to its feudal lord. Certainly, there are people that do not behave in a disciplined way and only show favor to their lord because they see a strong person, but you can be expected that those few who do are either masterless ronin, dead people (by the intricate nature of the society), or perhaps people who are actually Lawful Evil and follow a code, but a rather twisted code that seems spawned from Chaos. The tight discipline and training, however, tends to produce order.
    Starting Gold: as Paladin
    Starting Age: as Paladin


    Class Skills
    The samurai class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Rope (Dex)
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

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    So...Gather Information, Knowledge (architecture & engineering), Perform, Profession, Swim and...Use Rope? Since when does a Samurai has knowledge of these?

    Pretty simple. Just as the Ninja have their Ninjutsu, their specific 18 arts of stealth and entry, the Samurai have the Bugei Juhappan, a series of 18 arts that the Samurai should or was familiar with. Some are arts of combat, such as Kenjutsu and Kyujutsu. Others are rare, such as Jouhou Kaishuu (aka, Gather Information; isn't it pretty?), Chikujou (Fortifications, aka knowledge of both fortifying places and structures, thus Architecture & Engineering), Suijutsu (the art of swimming in armor, and combat swimming known as To-Suijutsu), and Torimono Dougu (which deals with arresting, which would of course use a rope; cowboys aren't the only rope masters). The rest? Samurai were often considered to be Warrior Philosophers, so they took a profession or decided to become masters at practicing prose or song, so it's more than relevant that such feeling is evoked. Calligraphy, for example, is (or was, or so says anime) considered as important for a Samurai (and to any martial artist) as it is combat. Hence, Profession (Calligraphy).

    Because of their lack of importance to Intelligence and their increased skills, I decided to make it 4+Int modifier. That should suffice.

    Oh, one final thing...there's no Iaijutsu Focus. If your DM allows it, though, add it. I like Iaijutsu Focus, but it's not available for everyone. That could also imply I could add Martial Lore, but...well, not always used. So, that's the DM's choice if s/he wants to implement it. However, I heartily endorse said choice.


    Hit Dice: d10

    NAME OF CLASS
    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

    1st|+1|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Kiai, ki power, martial discipline

    2nd|+2|
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Martial alertness

    3rd|+3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Martial insight, mettle

    4th|+4|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Ki strike (magic)

    5th|+5|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Bonus feat

    6th|+6/+1|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Improved martial discipline

    7th|+7/+2|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Maai (combat sight)

    8th|+8/+3|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Ki strike (cold iron)

    9th|+9/+4|
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Ken kon itteki 1/day

    10th|+10/+5|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Bonus feat

    11th|+11/+6/+1|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Martial discipline mastery

    12th|+12/+7/+2|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Iaijutsu step

    13th|+13/+8/+3|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Ken kon itteki 2/day

    14th|+14/+9/+4|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Maai (combat awareness)

    15th|+15/+10/+5|
    +9
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |Bonus feat

    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Martial discipline supremacy

    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Ken kon itteki 3/day

    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Stance of denial

    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |

    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Bonus feat, mastery of ki[/table]

    Spoiler
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    So...differences, differences... As you may have noticed, it has a lot of ki references and loads of new stuff, actually more than the original.

    Will was added since Samurai are often thought of being fearless, focused and concentrated, capable of facing each other in a duel of wills. The rest of the abilities are left as-is, for good reasons: the Samurai is a martial character. Thus, full BAB, good Fort, bad Reflex.

    Some of the abilities follow a chassis I've used for all ki-based classes. The ki power, the ki strike, and the mastery of ki class abilities are part of that chassis (along with adding Wis to nearly everything). Monk and Ninja helped me make a reasonable "chassis", or structure, for various classes and it shows with the Samurai. However, Samurai use heavy armor and don't have many of the benefits present in those. They don't move any faster, they don't add their Wis to AC (they still add their Dex, though) and they don't have a slow-fall ability. Since Samurai are the more martially-inclined part of the set, I found it was crucial to work on the martial aspects.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the samurai.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons plus the bastard sword, composite greatbow and greatbow, with all kinds of armor (heavy, medium and light), and with all shields (except tower shields).

    If using the Oriental Adventures book, a Samurai is also proficient on the sodegarami and satsumata.

    Spoiler
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    Pretty simple fare for samurai. They have virtually the same weapons, armor and shields as a martial character tends to have. One big difference is their mastery of other weapons: the bastard sword is evidently a call-in for their katana, the greatbow and composite greatbow are call-ins for the samurai's yumi (because it IS that big), and the lajatang sodegarami and mancatcher (satsumata) are part of the arresting weapons technique. That makes them a tad closer to the original, no?


    Kiai (Ex): At 1st level, a samurai may use his Strength or Wisdom modifier for her attack and damage rolls with any weapon he is proficient, whichever is the highest.

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    Should be pretty self-explanatory. This is what the Monk and Ninja do to their unarmed strikes, but this time expanded to all weapons. So you can stop worrying about Strength (and perhaps even Dex!). Just consider that this is a replacement, not an addition.


    Ki Power (Su): A samurai can channel his ki to enhance his mobility, defense, and special attacks through a variety of powers. He can use his ki powers a number of times per day equal to half his class level plus his Wisdom bonus (if any). As long as a samuraiís ki pool isnít empty, he may use all of his supernatural abilities (except Ki Strike which is always active). A samuraiís ki powers are described under separate entries below.

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    More standard fare. This means they have a small pool of abilities that allow them to use temporary abilities. The power of these abilities depends on the level, however. As a rule of thumb, Samurai use less ki powers than Monk or Ninja, but that is complemented with their martial mastery.


    Martial Discipline (Ex): Although samurai learn the use of several fighting styles and know several methods of combat, they tend to pursue mastery upon a single discipline above all others. They seek mastery of this discipline through insight rather than physical prowess.
    At first level, you may choose one of the following disciplines. Each discipline grants a set of benefits related to the weapons or tactics used:
    Jujutsu: A samurai gains the ability to fight barehanded with great skill, specifically on empty hand technique and grappling. A samurai gains Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple as bonus feats; for Improved Grapple, a samurai does not need to meet the prerequisites so as long as it has a Wisdom score of 13 or more.
    A samuraiís attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a samurai may even make unarmed strikes with his hands full. Exception: a samurai may not use unarmed strikes if he holds a weapon in each hand (or a double weapon) if he is using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. He may, however, use unarmed strikes with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat if he holds only one weapon or none (in the case of none, treat each unarmed strike as a separate weapon for purposes of qualifying). There is no such thing as an off-hand damage penalty for a samurai striking unarmed, he may thus apply his full Strength (or Wisdom) bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.
    Usually a samuraiís unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
    A samuraiís unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
    A samurai also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would. He deals 1d6 points of damage with each strike; this damage does not improve.
    Kenjutsu: Although the meaning of the word in its native language means ďart of the swordĒ, this discipline applies to any weapon. A samurai gains the Power Attack feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the requirements, so as long as he has a Wisdom score of 13 or more.
    Kyūjutsu: A samurai that follows this discipline practices its oldest art; the art of archery. A samurai gains Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot as bonus feats.
    Nitōjutsu: A samurai learns to fight with two weapons, equally in combat as in defense. A samurai gains Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as he has a Wisdom score of 15 or more.
    Seigan: A samurai learns to focus on defense, and the use of defensive techniques. A samurai gains Combat Expertise as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as he has a Wisdom score of 13 or more.

    Spoiler
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    Now, this is a violent change to the Samurai. You have already seen this. This, of course, is the Ranger's combat style added to the Samurai. Most of the samurai's development is tied to its chosen "discipline" including some of its ki abilities.

    To explain things a bit further: Jujitsu is unarmed combat. Samurai were trained to fight unarmed in the case they lost their weapons, at least at the moment in which they could disarm an opponent and face them properly. Kenjutsu is your basic swordsmanship, but it isn't meant specifically for swords; this is mostly the "default" style of a Samurai, which can be used with most weapons and specifically with two-handed weapons. Kyujutsu is, simply, archery; I could have gone the way of mounted archery, but mounted archery feats are very scarce and mostly focused on allowing archery while mounted rather than enhance it. So the thing that makes best sense is unifying both; thus, kyujutsu refers to both typical archery and kyuba, or mounted archery. Nitojutsu is two-weapon fighting; the style that CW favors and that evidently so did Musashi every now and then. Of course, you could easily use a bo staff and use bojutsu with the same tactics as nitojutsu; the idea is to combine both two-weapon fighting and double-weapon fighting into a single whole. Finally, and the one that's perhaps not as accurate as the rest: Seigan is a reference to Etrian Odyssey and its Ronin class, which has a series of abilities that key off a specific stance. Seigan was the most defensive of stances, actually improving your defense. Of course,seigan has various attacks, but it was a reference I wanted to use for a mostly defensive type of samurai, one that focused on counterattack instead of going for the offensive.

    I might consider other fighting styles I might have forgotten, but this should count for all of the samurai's preferred styles.


    Martial Alertness (Ex): At 2nd level, a samurai may add his Wisdom modifier or his Dexterity modifier for initiative checks and Reflex saves, whichever is the highest.

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    Yup, you don't need much Dex either. You get your Wis for both Reflex and Will (so you get a better saving throw, hence countering the poor base Reflex saves) and initiative. Few classes place a lot of importance on Initiative, and even the CW Samurai procured adding Improved Initiative for that. You, on the other hand, have it for free.


    Martial Insight (Ex): At 3rd level, a samurai further continues his study upon his chosen discipline, easing the stringent requirements for each step. He may choose any feat that has an ability score requirement and that has as a prerequisite any of the following bonus feats (depending on your discipline) without the need to have the requisite ability score, so as long as it has a Wisdom score equivalent to the highest ability score requirement:
    Jujutsu: Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple
    Kenjutsu: Power Attack
    Kyūjutsu: Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot
    Nitōjutsu: Two-Weapon Fighting
    Seigan: Combat Expertise
    A samurai must comply with the other prerequisites in order to acquire the feat, as usual; this ability only allows you to ignore the requisite ability score. For example, a Samurai may acquire the Stunning Fist feat at 9th level, so as long as he complies with all prerequisites, even though he may not have the requisite Dex 13 score, although he must comply with the Wis 13 ability score prerequisite. He may not acquire the skill at 6th level, for example, because he does not comply with the prerequisites (he does not comply with the base attack bonus).

    Spoiler
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    So...you may have noticed that by the time you get better feats, you get screwed because you don't have the requisite ability score. This allows you to subsidize that by turning your best ability score (e.g. Wisdom) into your requisite ability score. Of course, this applies to those feats that deal with the chosen discipline; you still need to have the prerequisites for non-discipline based feats.

    So what if a feat says "Dex 13, Wis 13"? That is why the Stunning Fist feat was added as an example. This benefit applies for all of the requisite ability scores, even if it already has Wisdom; this makes those feats far easier to acquire in terms of ability scores. If it has two or more prerequisites, even if neither of those are Wis, but it has the prerequisite feat acquired as a bonus feat from your discipline, you can substitute Wis for all of them, even if it already has a Wis prerequisite. Also, you always substitute the highest required prerequisite, even if the Wis prerequisite is lower.

    Easy enough?


    Mettle (Ex): At 3rd level, whenever a Samurai makes a successful Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that normally deals partial effect or half damage on a successful save, he instead does not suffer from the effect or takes no damage. A helpless samurai does not gain the benefit of mettle.

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    I...don't think I have to explain what mettle does. If your character is a melee combatant, has high fortitude and will, and isn't a spellcaster, chances are you will enjoy mettle. So...enjoy!


    Ki Strike (Su): At 4th level, a samuraiís attacks are empowered with ki. Any weapon he wields is treated as a magic weapon for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Ki strike improves with the characterís samurai level. At 8th level, any weapon he wields is treated as a cold iron weapon for purposes of bypassing damage reduction.
    A samurai following the jujitsu discipline also gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls when attacking with an unarmed strike; this bonus increases by 1 every four levels. Treat this bonus as an enhancement bonus for purposes of which abilities stack with it (thus, a 4th level samurai wouldnít benefit from magic weapon or magic fang when applied to his unarmed strikes, but it could take benefit from greater magic weapon or greater magic fang if it so desires). If a class progresses ki strike, levels in samurai stack with levels in that class to determine the effective enhancement bonus with unarmed strikes, but not with the other provided abilities (such as bypassing DR or ki expenditures). A samurai cannot extend his ki strike ability to his natural weapons (except his unarmed strikes, as mentioned above, and slam attacks).
    By expending daily uses of his ki power, a samuraiís ki strike temporarily improves. At 4th level, the samurai may spend one daily use of ki to increase the enhancement bonus of his weapon (or unarmed strike) by 1 (but the bonus cannot exceed +5 until 20th level); if the weapon has no enhancement bonus, it is treated as a +1 weapon instead. At 8th level, the samurai may expend two daily uses of his ki power to grant one weapon the ability to ignore all kinds of damage reduction. These enhancements are cumulative (a samurai need only spend two daily uses for all effects), and last for a period of rounds equal to half his class level. If the samurai wields a magic weapon already (or gains an enhancement bonus to his fists) or the ability to bypass any damage reduction, he needs only spend one daily use of ki to grant the remaining enhancements. If the samurai follows the nitōjutsu discipline, he may enhance both weapons with the same expenditure of ki so as long as he has both weapons drawn; he needs only to spend one daily use of his ki power if both weapons have the same trait.

    Spoiler
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    Another immigrant from the Monk and the Ninja. The main difference between the Monk's (and the Ninja's) ki strike and the Samurai's ki strike is that this applies to any weapon it uses, not just to its unarmed strikes. You can take a weapon that's not from your discipline, and add the benefits.

    The first is self-explanatory. The second is thematic (cold iron is a weakness for most chaotic creatures, so...).

    UPDATE: Fixed the first benefit of ki strike so that it increases existing enhancement bonuses, not provide new ones. Based on playtest data.


    Bonus Feat: At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, a samurai gains a bonus feat. The samurai may choose from the list of fighter bonus feats. A samurai is considered as a fighter of his class level minus four for feats that have a fighter level prerequisite.

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    Simple equation. Samurai are martial characters. Martial characters are supported via feats. More feats = more support.

    Adding the reduced fighter class level is like, on the old times, you added weapon specialization to the Paladin and the Ranger. This makes the last foothold of the fighter be definitely lost, but by no means less important. If you wish to become a master of a weapon, nothing should stop you from doing it. Perhaps delay it, but not stop it.


    Improved Martial Discipline (Ex): at 6th level, a samuraiís knowledge of his chosen discipline increases.
    Jujutsu: A samurai may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength modifier for all of his grapple checks. Furthermore, he is also treated as one size larger for purposes of grappling.
    Kenjutsu: A samurai may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength modifier when he initiates a bull rush, overrun or sunder maneuver. Furthermore, when using the Power Attack feat (or a feat based on Power Attack), a samurai may ignore part of the penalty to attack rolls equal to his Wisdom modifier. His Wisdom modifier does not get reduced when using this ability.
    Kyūjutsu: A samurai may attack in close range with any ranged weapon without provoking attacks of opportunity. If mounted, the samurai adds his Wisdom modifier or his Dexterity modifier to all Ride checks, whichever is higher.
    Nitōjutsu: A samurai's penalties when fighting with two weapons are reduced by 2. Furthermore, if the samurai has the Two-Weapon Defense feat (or its improved versions), he may add his Wisdom modifier as a bonus to his shield AC.
    Seigan: A samurai adds his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength modifier when he initiates a disarm or trip maneuver. Furthermore, he adds his Wisdom modifier to his AC when he fights defensively, or 1.5 times his Wisdom modifier to his AC when executing a total defense. If he uses the Combat Expertise or Improved Combat Expertise feats, he can ignore part of the penalty on attack rolls equal to his Wisdom modifier. His Wisdom modifier does not get reduced when using this ability.

    Spoiler
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    So you gave a good look at the Ranger's combat style and thought "Improved Martial Discipline means I get the next highest feat in the feat chain...", right?

    WRONG.

    This is where my belief of a combat style diverges. If you're going to give them a combat style, make it meaningful! Thus, this is where the samurai applies its Wisdom for combat maneuvers. All of the disciplines, except one, gain Wisdom applications to some of their expected moves.

    Jujitsu gets an ability that's awfully similar to an ability I added to my retooled Monk, and for good reasons; it is thematically fitting, since what you're benefitting is grappling, which is one of the basis of jujitsu anyways. Kenjutsu applies the Wis to Power Attack, Bull Rush, and...Sunder. Yeah, Sunder. Still, you get to negate some of your penalty by effectively doubling your Wis modifier to attack, so lovers of Power Attack shouldn't suffer. Nitojutsu gets insanely fast the Supreme Two-Weapon Fighting benefit of having absolutely no penalties, except of course those from iterative attacks. No worries on that one, tho. Seigan is the more defensive version of kenjutsu, and thus grants its benefits to fighting defensively, Combat Expertise, disarm and trip.

    The one discipline that breaks with the norm is Kyujutsu. Basically, you ignore the bane of all archers (fighting at close range), and also get an ability while mounted. This is as best as I can do for mounted archery, which shows just how little WotC has worried for proper mounted archery. However, this granted benefit should be beneficial to those who know how to exploit it.

    UPDATE: Now you can use either your Wis or your Dex for all Ride checks. If you're using your Wis for combat, why not for mounted combat? It's still a tad weak, so more suggestions are welcome.


    Maai (Su): At 7th level, a samurai gains a supernatural awareness that allows his to feel the emotions of his opponents, sensing their presence even at the loss of sight. The samurai gains blindsense to a distance of 30 feet. If the samurai already has blindsense (by means of a racial ability, for example), the range of his blindsense increases by an extra 30 feet. If the samurai follows the kyūjutsu discipline, his blindsense instead extends to the original range increment of his bow or crossbow; this range does not increase with the Far Shot feat or the distance weapon special ability (or similar range extension).
    By spending a daily use of his ki power, his awareness about the battlefield increases. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, he enters a state in which he may counteract against his enemies with unsurpassed clarity. He may instead gain blindsight, but limited to 30 feet (regardless of whether he originally has blindsense or not), and the range of his melee weapons extends by 5 feet. This range extension applies to any attack or maneuver done by the samurai. If the samurai follows the kyūjutsu discipline, he may instead increase the range of his blindsight by the range increment of his bow or crossbow; this range does not increase with the Far Shot feat or the distance weapon special ability (or similar range extension).
    At 14th level, his fighting ability increases, acquiring the ability to maneuver through the battlefield at inhuman speeds and return to the same spot in split seconds. By expending two extra daily uses of his ki power, his effective melee weapon range increases by the amount of his blindsense (or blindsight) for purposes of threat range, up to a maximum of 5 feet plus 5 feet per each four class levels. If the samurai follows the kyūjutsu discipline, he may make a single ranged attack that does not provoke an attack of opportunity at any creature that moves within 60 ft. Treat this as if it were an attack of opportunity, including the number of times it can be done per round, but you may not make any special attacks (such as trip or disarm) with it, even if you gain the ability to do these attacks with a ranged weapon.

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    Maai... The true version of maai isn't exactly what you see here (it's mostly the state in which you can effectively "predict" or appropriately respond to an attack, and it is an extremely short range ability. Maai would be useless if going through that, so I used an alternate description. Samurai Deeper Kyo states a wonderful example of the maai I seek; think of the samurai's aura as a pool, and anything (or anyone) entering towards it a pebble falling into that pond. The movement and actions of those individuals will cause a ripple, which will be detected by whatever else is on the pond; in this case, the samurai that acts as the pond. Thus, even if his eyes are closed, a samurai attuned to combat is aware of his surroundings, although not exactly to what.

    Adding ki to maai, though, changes everything. Then, it turns almost like what you probably have seen in The Last Samurai; Tom Cruise as the american samurai-in-training seeing the opponent's action before he does it. That's foresight, but if you want to have a connection to the original ability of maai, then you want blindsight. Which is awesome, since that means you can't effectively hide from the Samurai (sorry, Ninjas!).

    The 14th level ability, however, is meant to be awesome and there's no reason to change it. Effectively, you increase your threat range and you can effectively make attacks of opportunity at a distance, much longer than a medium creature with reach. Archers gain a special version of attacks of opportunity, but less potent (the ability to do an attack of opportunity, however, should not be denied). As your character grows, so does this field of extended threat range, which should make everyone and anyone wary of moving through your area. This effectively makes the samurai a reasonable barrier, capable of striking even flying creatures that step on its area (so to speak). Think about it; the samurai is facing a crowd of mooks, capable of killing any of them in a single strike. One dares to enter, the samurai slices it. Then another enters, and the samurai (preferably with Combat Reflexes) slices it again. And again. And again. If it has Cleave and is close to an enemy, it can start the Cleave chain. That's the feeling I wished to evoke, and I hope it works.

    However, to most people, it may seem a tad too strong. I seek opinions on whether the 14th level ability is too abusive or fitting. Consider it *is* a 14th level ability, and what other classes of its kind receive at that level before stating your point.


    Ken Kon Itteki (Ex): At 9th level, a samurai acquires the ability to kill with a single strike. Whether it is a clean sweep with his blade upon the head of an opponent, or a hand strike with such precision it pierces the heart, or a lethal shot to the head, the samurai aims for the kill.
    Once per day, as a full round action, a samurai may make a single attack. This attack is done at the highest base attack bonus. If the attack succeeds, the creature must make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 10 + half the samuraiís class level + the samuraiís Wisdom modifier or die instantly. If the creature fails the save, the attack is treated as if a critical hit instead. Creatures immune to instant death attacks are not immune to this ability, nor creatures with immunity to critical hits (except for creatures with the fortification armor enhancement, which force the samurai to roll a d% to determine success). As well, some creatures without discernible anatomies (oozes, for example) are not affected by the ability (but undead and constructs do).
    At 13th level, and again at 17th level, a samurai gains one extra daily use of this ability.

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    A reference to Final Fantasy and a reference to the one and only Sanger Zonvolt in a single ability? Erm...is this awesome or not?

    So yes, this is what comes to replace Kiai Smite. Instead of adding your Charisma to attack and damage for one strike, you effectively, once per day, treat your attack as a Vorpal weapon or as an automatic critical hit. This justifies a once-per-day, single attack move: you are sacrificing everything to kill the character once and for all. This is a save-or-die effect, and you still suck it if you succeed on the save. Of course, it still doesn't work on undead and constructs, as well as heavily fortified creatures and to an extent Warforged, but slicing the head of a dragon with a single strike should be worthwhile. Failing that, an instant crit. Think about it.

    Of course, it has three weak spots that doesn't make it too powerful. First, you need to succeed on the actual attack (but the Samurai has the Wis and the BAB to do so). Second, it requires a save for the instant kill (which some might have high). The third is it requires a Fortitude save, which of course, severely weakens anything. That should dispel the belief that this ability is broken, and may evoke the idea that this ability is broken the other way (as in, it's useless). It's only saving grace is that Death Ward can't protect you, nor immunity to death attacks.

    I'm considering making ken kon itteki apply to undead as well. Good idea or bad idea?

    UPDATE: It now applies to creatures immune to Death Ward, undead, constructs and plants. Only protection is being an ooze or having fortification (Warforged!!). It has three heavy restrictions already (four if you count uses per day), so it's not gamebreaking.


    Martial Discipline Mastery (Su): At 11th level, a samurai gains a supernatural understanding of his discipline. A samurai must expend at least two daily uses of his ki power in order to activate these abilities.
    Jujutsu: When grappling, a samurai may ignore the effects of freedom of movement or similar abilities when initiating a grapple and prevents a grappled creature from teleporting or escaping to another plane, as if under the effects of a dimensional anchor spell, for a number of rounds equal to half his class level.
    Kenjutsu: Attacks done by the samurai cannot be healed easily. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, a samuraiís damage with his weapon cannot be healed by any means, even magical healing, unless the creature using the healing ability succeeds on a Heal check with a DC equal to 13 + the samuraiís class level + the samuraiís Wisdom modifier. As well, fast healing ceases to function, and a samuraiís damage is considered lethal regardless if the enemy has regeneration or not.
    Kyūjutsu: The samurai strikes in such a way it numbs his opponentís body. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, any arrow (or bolt) shot from the samuraiís bow (or crossbow) slows the enemy (treat as if under the effect of a slow spell) fails a Fortitude saving throw (with a DC equal to 10 + Ĺ the samuraiís class level + the samuraiís Wis modifier). If the enemy succeeds on the save, it becomes entangled instead. All effects last for the same amount of time this ability is active.
    Nitōjutsu: The samurai gains the ability to strike his opponents with the same precision as with his first attacks. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, all of the samuraiís extra attacks are done at his highest attack bonus. This ability works if the samurai wields two weapons.
    Seigan: The samurai gains the ability to deflect any projectiles (even magical projectiles) sent against him for a number of rounds equal to half his class level, except for projectiles bigger than his size (such as boulders). If fighting defensively, undertaking a total defense action, or using the Combat Expertise or Improved Combat Expertise feat, you may return a single projectile once per round back to the attacker, but using your base attack bonus.

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    More Martial Discipline, and this time, it gets ki-powered!

    So, by the time your samurai gets to 11th level, virtually everything that the feats offer tends to be less and less useful. Maneuvers and stances remedy that somewhat, of course, but the idea is to make the Samurai useful later on. So...what can we do?

    Jujitsu draws yet another thing from the (retooled by me) Monk; the ability to deny grapples and freedom of movement and teleports. Kenjutsu grants you the equivalent of vile damage. Simply put, your wounds are so potent they refuse to heal. You know, the kind of wounds that leave perpetual scars. Though, in this case, they are temporary. If a creature dares to heal itself, and has no decent amount of Heal skill, then it's screwed. Notice the main difference in the DC: I espouse the theory that 10 + 1/2 class level + modifier is useful, but this time I went with DC 13 + class level + modifier. This is because it roughly represents a challenge for a creature with maxed Heal (thus, someone with full ranks in Heal and high Wis will still have to get a 10 or more on its roll to succeed). But if it doesn't get healed, well..you already attack with touch attacks. And use Power Attack. So...that damage *is* going to hurt no matter what. Kyujutsu gains a save or suck ability, with the ability to still suck if you succeed on it (notice the trend?). If you fail, you get slowed (that is, staggered + penalties, just like the slow spell), and if you succeed, you get entangled instead. Save DC is the same as usual, and it is Fortitude, so might not work. You still hit with touch attacks, so... Nitojutsu users always attack at their highest base attack bonus, so they'll hit even more (find a way to reduce the enemy's AC, and you'll hit even more!). Seigan...well, you get Deflect Arrows. Why Deflect Arrows? Well, you do get Deflect Ranged Attacks, . That means anything that bypasses your AC can be deflected, and reflected back at the attacker (once per round, tho). Including and not limited to twinned split ray empowered maximized enervation. So Seigan gets three feats for free, two of them being Epic Feats.


    Iaijutsu Stance (Ex): At 12th level, as a swift action, a Samurai may move up to his speed. This movement is treated as if normal movement for all purposes, such as allowing attacks of opportunity.

    If the samurai expends at least one daily use of his ki ability, he adds the speed weapon enhancement to any weapon he wields for a number of rounds equal to half his class level. If the samurai follows the nitōjutsu discipline, the speed enhancement applies to both weapons (and the samurai may benefit from the speed weapon enhancement's extra attacks with both weapons, unlike normal.)

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    I was pitched this idea for a 12th level ability. Basically, it's the benefit of Belt of Battle, but permanently. It's a normal movement, and it allows full-round actions without trouble, and since the Samurai will probably have deficiencies in movement (wearing heavy armor, for example), it makes sense that it gets his full movement. This is not a "30-foot" step, though; this is like regular movement, with all benefits and penalties.

    The ki expenditure bonus is essentially a free weapon enhancement. It was originally part of the ki strike set of abilities, but after realizing the benefit of this move, I decided to combine it with this ability and make it a separate entry. Nitōjutsu followers get a better benefit from using two weapons; that is two weapon attacks.


    Martial Discipline Supremacy (Su): At 16th level, a samurai that devotes to his chosen discipline acquires abilities that defy explanation. Each ability requires the expenditure of at least two daily uses of his ki power in order to activate.
    Jujutsu: A samurai saps the strength of his opponent. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, any unarmed strike or damage dealt while grappling cause 1d3 points of Strength drain. The samurai gains those points as temporary Strength or Wisdom points (samuraiís choice) for the remainder of the ability.
    Kenjutsu: The samurai acquires the ability to strike his enemies by disregarding their protection. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, all of the samuraiís melee attacks with a weapon are treated as touch attacks.
    Kyūjutsu: The samurai acquires uncanny precision with his bow, striking at the precise point where the enemy has no protection. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, all of the samuraiís ranged attacks with a bow or crossbow can be treated as touch attacks. A samurai may suppress or reactivate this ability as a free action if it so desires while the ability is active.
    Nitōjutsu: The samurai strikes with such brutality, all attacks are more lethal than they should. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, all attacks done by the samurai are considered critical threats. The samurai must still confirm all threats, as usual.
    Seigan: A samurai enters a state of incredible resistance to pain and weakening. For a number of rounds equal to half his class level, the samurai takes only half damage from any attack, spell or ability that deals hit point damage. When a samurai takes ability damage or suffers ability drain, he may ignore part of the reduction equal to his Wisdom modifier while under the effects of this ability.

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    This is the pinnacle of what a Samurai can do if it follows its discipline. Let's see what you can do.

    Jujitsu allows you to drain Strength from the enemy. Not just do Strength damage, but Strength drain. You become more powerful as you do, since you either raise your Strength or your Wisdom (which ever is more powerful). Sure, most people by that level are immune to Strength drain, but by the moment it happens, they are already facing a Samurai that won't let them even act.

    Kenjutsu and Kyujutsu treat all of your attacks as touch attacks (eat your heart out, Deep Impact and Fell Shot!). I don't think this needs much more explanation.

    Nitojutsu gets automatic critical threats. Yes. Automatic. Critical. Threats. For EVERY attack it does. So you hit? Roll again, you might just strike. That is the lethality of fighting with two weapons; in the end, you'll get sliced into little pieces. Of course, if you're immune to critical...you still get hit that nifty benefit of all attacks at your highest BAB,

    Seigan, of course, got the best of the bunch. You already are almost impenetrable, extremely hard to hit...why not reduce the damage you receive while at it? Of course, this also applies to ability damage, ability drain and energy drain. The former (hit point damage) and the latter behave differently, in either case: one is half damage, the other is reduced damage equal to Wis modifier.

    So, that is it. The culmination of the discipline. Does it seem weak, or does it seem fitting? I could think of shifting the Masteries and Supremacies of the first four disciplines if necessary, but perhaps someone has a reasonable point for this choice. When I first made these class abilities descriptions, I honestly thought the Masteries and the Supremacies were thematically well-placed. As I write them now...not all of them are in the right place. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and thus...


    Stance of Denial (Su): At 18th level, a samuraiís ability to react improves to inhuman levels. Any free or immediate action done by a creature in response of a samuraiís action is delayed until the end of the samuraiís action.

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    Yes, another ability ripped-off straight from my (retooled) Monk. This one is perhaps the best of them all, since you effectively deny the creature any chance of countering your move. It is a pretty and reasonable tactic, actually.


    Mastery of Ki (Su): At 20th level, a samuraiís mastery of ki reaches a pinnacle. He may reduce the cost of all abilities that require daily uses of his ki power by one, up to a minimum of one. As well, he does not lose his supernatural abilities if his daily uses of ki power are completely expended.

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    And as usual, the capstone. All the attacks that costed two daily uses of ki? Now they cost one. So you can use them for many more battles.

    Which is exactly what the Ninja and Monk get. It's part of the class structure, however.


    I'll be adding one more thing on the next post, and then request from all of you people the usual response. This last part is pretty long, and by all means optional, so read at your own risk.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-03-13 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Updating Ki Strike; altering secondary ki benefit

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Bushido
    Also known as the ďway of the warriorĒ, Bushido is a code that all samurai are expected to follow but not enforced to. Bushido is part of the spiritual path that defines a samuraiís way of life, a guide on conduct and behavior for a character that has a final end; to reach the end of oneís own life with oneís honor kept intact. Most samurai, specifically those whom see their training and standing as a step towards spiritual progression, adhere to the code of bushido; others, while not truly inclined, see bushido as a code to respect and follow, albeit not one to dwell upon. Only a few samurai tend to disdain following a code with such aims, instead preferring to follow a personal code which may be of equal spiritual significance, a mundane code of precepts, or even a simple set of rules. A samurai could equally follow its shogun or feudal lord with reverence and significance, and follow the path of bushido, or only follow the lordís orders without question (whether the lord follows bushido or not) and have no particular attachment to the way of the warrior. A samuraiís inclination towards discipline and order does not imply that the samurai will be forced to follow bushido, but it does imply it will follow a set of defining aspects.

    Bushido is best represented as a code to assist roleplaying, and not a means towards which a samurai player character must adhere exclusively. Thus, the player of a samurai character (even that whom only takes a single level in samurai) that does not decide to follow bushido must not be forced to do so. The code of bushido has a rare inclination towards good, and good characters will not feel particularly threatened with concepts such as honesty, or benevolence. Evil characters, however, may easily follow bushido and not fall clear of their stated goals, means and ends.

    As such, following the code does not imply having any mechanical advantage or disadvantage. A Dungeon Master should not punish a samurai for violating the code if it has not decided to willingly follow it. However, if the player and the Dungeon Master agree, a samurai player character may gain specific and simple benefits from following the code, as well as penalties for not following the code. Both the Dungeon Master and the player MUST be willing to understand that such mechanical choice should not disrupt the game in a way that it becomes disruptive; if the player seeks to use the code merely for the mechanical benefits and not because it sees it as a roleplaying aid and reasonable quirk, this alternative is not meant for said player. As well, if the player disrupts the enjoyment of the rest of the gaming group, this makes gaining mechanical benefits from following bushido equally undesirable. Finally, a player should remind the Dungeon Master to be fair if said mechanic is to be used, and a Dungeon Master should never punish a player for choosing the samurai class by forcing circumstances in which the samurai player character will undoubtedly violate the code.

    Following are the precepts of bushido, and how they can be interpreted in terms of roleplaying. Bear to note that these are mere guidelines, and that the player and the Dungeon Master should discuss on how this will apply:

    Gi (rectitude): correctness of principle of practice, or exact conformity to the truth or to the rules of moral conduct. A samurai must be always obedient; both to his lord and to his principles. This may be represented in how well a samurai character follows his moral outlook, his attachment to the law (of the land he visits, or of his own land if the laws are not in accordance with his moral outlook or in lawless territories)

    Yuu (courage): the quality of not being frightened or intimidated easily but without being incautious or inconsiderate, or the ability to do things that one finds frightening. This may be represented in how a samurai behaves in the face of fear. A samurai that becomes shaken, frightened or panicked should never be punished for falling victim of these conditions, but a samurai that behaves in a cowardly manner (such as running from a battle when there are chances of victory, or showing an irrational reason for not following a course of action that denotes fear, or an irrational reason for following a course of action against the moral outlook of the character for fear of reprisal) is not acting in a courageous way. Recklessness, such as remaining in battle even if the chances are completely stacked against the samurai, is not accepted but still tolerated. Courage should not challenge rationality; if the samuraiís only course of action goes against his moral outlook, and he follows said course with evident regret, he should not be punished.

    Jin (benevolence): the act of doing good. This is more often than not an act that Evil or Neutral characters will not desire to follow, but benevolence may be misinterpreted in favor of these characters. A samurai, even if it does not really show any reason to be benevolent, should not be punished for either going against his moral principle (for example, being merciful while being Evil), however, it should not be punished for not following this principle either (such as not being merciful). Good creatures, though, have a much stronger attachment to this precept, and acts of Good creatures that show an irrational lack of benevolence (such as killing an innocent or demanding tribute to the poor) should be nature for punishment. Evil samurai are considered to follow this precept if they are benevolent only for appearances, although there are other ways to use benevolence as a tool rather than a moral requirement. Neutral creatures should consider the benefits of benevolence when necessary, but should not be punished for not being benevolent at all times.

    Rei (respect): an attitude of consideration or high regard; good opinion, or admiration. A samurai should never disrespect those whom are beyond his standing, and some are even inclined to show respect to those under their standing. Good samurai are not enforced to respect everybody, although those who find humility as a virtue may find that respect towards those below their authority or standing serves as attachment to respect. Evil samurai are less enforced to respect those below their standing, although they may use it as a tool just like they would use benevolence. Respect does not extend only to people; much like rectitude, respect extends to codes and traditions, to abstract values. Respect for the lawgiver is respect for the law, and that also implies respect for the letter of the law, its intention, or its reason; while someone may not be in accordance with the letter of the law or the spirit of the law, the act of not violating said law or requesting its abolition or change acts as respect. Equally, spiritual respect is valued.

    Makoto (honesty): the act, quality or condition of being honest; to act truthfully. A samurai must understand and follow the spirit of truth. Another precept that suits good characters, it does not punish evil samurai that decide to be honest however. An evil samurai should not be punished for hiding a truth, but should be punished for mentioning or suggesting a blatant lie. While honesty and deceit are polar opposites, an evil samurai can be deceitful while appearing honest; using truth as a tool and as an opportunity is as every bit as dangerous as relying on a lie, if not more dangerous. Good samurai are always honest, and because of their moral standing, opposed to deceit. Good samurai should never be punished for speaking a lie that they believed an honest truth; the intention of honesty was followed despite the mistake. Honesty also reflects on cheating; a samurai should never rely on cheating if the situation can be resolved with an honest action. In war, any underhanded tactic is not considered cheating or dishonest (even a feint) but a tactical advantage; thus, a character that flanks or feints should not be punished by backhanded tactics, although one that kills an honestly surrendered opponent having been granted mercy or a defenseless character that bears no definite threat is considered quite dishonest and thus on grounds for punishment.

    Yo (honor): high rank, dignity, reputation as a good person, object of praiseworthiness or respect. Honor is something that has evolved in real life, but in the game, honor can be represented differently. To a point, following all precepts leads to honor, but by itself, it represents how other people observe the samurai following those precepts. Thus, it is not a precept that the the samurai follows directly through actions, but indirectly by cause of his actions. A samurai that has a reputation of being dishonorable because of deceit by others should not be punished by violating his own code, but a samurai with a reputation of honorable while being irresponsible of his own code should. A samurai has a duty of watching over his own honor, and how each of his actions will affect his reputation with others. Not being benevolent to a person while on sight of everyone is both dishonorable and malevolent, and a violation of the code; however, if a person is not being benevolent because following such precept would tarnish his honor by allowing deceit, the act is honorable and it may even absorb the negative effect of not being benevolent. Honor can also be achieved through victory, through advancement in social standing, and through praise; that directly affects the samuraiís honor.

    Chuu (loyalty): the state of being loyal; fidelity, faithfulness to oneís lord, to others, to an ideal or cause. Loyalty is far more easily measured as an abstract value than other precepts, for it represents adherence. No samurai, not even an evil samurai, would betray someone that it considers close or important. A samurai would never betray his lord, nor his family, nor those whom he considers close, nor that in which he believes. An evil samurai has a very ambiguous measurement on where his attachments, and thus his loyalties, lie; a samurai that rarely seeks to aid the party may not truly consider the party as worthy of attachment, and at any chance it may betray to one to whom it truly guards loyalties. When two focuses of loyalty oppose one another, a samurai has the singular chance of determining his true loyalty, and his decision of standing for one side or for both nullifies any feelings or effects of betrayal. Normally, a samurai finds that loyalty to abstract things and to people are more important than loyalty to the material, and thus, a samuraiís loyalty rarely lies within money or lands or objects, unless those objects hold relevance or significance to a person or to an ideal or cause.

    If the Dungeon Master and the player agree on placing a mechanical weight on how the code of bushido is followed, the following suggestions may serve as good benefits or penalties.

    • Staying true to the code at circumstances deemed worthy by the Dungeon Master (such as clinging to the truth despite when a lie would be better, or fighting without backhanded tactics, or allowing an opponent to prepare for battle before attacking) may grant an extra daily use of ki power. This extra daily use lasts for 24 hours, after which it disappears.
    • Staying true to the code at critical situations where adherence to the code is deemed worthy by the Dungeon Master may grant a circumstance bonus to certain actions. For example, a samurai that speaks with total honesty while speaking to a foreign lord when part of that truth may be dangerous may receive a circumstance bonus of +1 to +5 on its Diplomacy check. The actual bonus is determined by the Dungeon Master, but it should never exceed +5. Equally, this bonus may be used instead of granting a daily use of ki power if the Dungeon Master deems it necessary.
    • Failing to adhere to the code at circumstances deemed necessary by the Dungeon Master (such as lying when speaking the truth would have been better, or slaying a creature whom had surrendered and had no reasons to strike back) may remove one daily use of the ki power. A samurai may not recover this point unless it performs a suitable action to compensate.
    • Gross violations of the code as deemed by the Dungeon Master (such as repeatedly being dishonest, or repeatedly slaying people without a clear reason) may cause the samurai to lose all of his ki powers. This represents a detachment to his code (again, if the samurai follows the code and receives mechanical benefits) and thus to the spiritual training and lifestyle that he has chosen to follow. At the DMís discretion, a samurai may recover his ki powers by regaining his honor, be it by receiving the benefit of an atonement spell (usually as part of a divine servant of the samuraiís lord), or undertaking a quest for the lord. However, it is left to the DMís discretion if the only suitable way of regaining his honor is by having the character commit ritual suicide, or seppuku; however, unless the Dungeon Master deems the action as truly unforgivable, the DM is never recommended to force a character to commit the act (and for the love of all thatís good, donít even think on forcing it to the actual, real-life player! Thatís an act of maniacs! Thatís a crime, thatís irrational and thatís going too far to deal with a roleplayer! Honestly, I donít think any of you people would even dare try to suggest it, even as a joke, but some people take things too literallyÖ)


    Ex-Samurai
    A samurai that becomes nonlawful cannot gain new levels as a samurai but retains all samurai abilities.

    If the player and the Dungeon Master agree in placing mechanical weight on following bushido, a samurai cannot gain new levels if it loses his ki powers, even if he is still Lawful. A samurai may regain level advancement if it receives the benefit of an atonement spell or otherwise fulfills a task that renews his ki powers.

    Spoiler
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    Told you it was something that was long and possibly not as entertaining to read. A code? Haven't you learned from your favorite class, the Paladin, that the code is almost universally abhorred? Wait, am I talking to myself again?

    Well, there is a reason why I wanted to add a code. First and foremost, I wanted to revolutionize what the code really means. I made it, thus, an optional choice rather than an enforced one, much like the Honor system from Unearthed Arcana is optional. If a character wishes to follow Bushido, the player and the DM should have a good point of reference to look at, and that big bunch of info is meant for that. As the big block says, it's not obligatory that the character follows bushido; heck, for most samurai, it was seen as a courtesy of sorts. In either case, not all samurai are meant to follow bushido, and neither do any of the characters.

    The idea of giving mechanical relevance to the code is essentially working with the code of conduct of the Paladin. This is for the roleplayer, the one that seeks a challenge. A "rollplayer" can pretty much ignore it, but it doesn't gain or lose anything; the good roleplayer, though, gains a lot and loses pretty much nothing. This is for those who believe the code of conduct of the Paladin is a worthwhile but misunderstood mechanic, and for those who believe that the code mechanic was forced rather than a roleplaying aid. It's further explained so that there's little to no technicalities on the matter. And the conversation between the DM and the player is more of a personal recommendation than an actual command or rule, but it doesn't lose any bit of importance nonetheless.

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    One final thing: yes, that thing I have on bold? I mean it. I don't want people taking my homebrew and claiming that "D&D drives people to suicide!!" because they misunderstand things. I do not endorse people getting angry because something happened in a game, and much less that whatever happens on the game table has repercussions outside. I try to make people reconcile, and understand that this is a game, that this isn't as serious as, say, a job, or a marriage, and heck, not even an inch as close as serious as life is. As a game, and as part of the Samurai mythos, the act of seppuku to restore one's own honor will eventually be present and looming. The character, if it so decides, may attempt this; the player, however, should learn to distinguish the relevance of the character's action's and the player's actions. As a player, if your character dies, it's not over; you can start again, make a new story, correct some mistakes, do something new. A character's death is not the end of the game, but a new beginning or just the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. Once a player is out of the gaming table, it returns to a life, and that is more important than playing a game for 4 + (1/person) hours, with breaks for munchies and snacks of 30 minutes or so added. It's also more important to live your life than to live the character's life; although it helps to add some realism to the character, your character is fictional and that's that.

    For everyone: when you speak, please make no reference to this. I seek to make this a piece of advice rather than a reason to discuss. The idea is to discuss the homebrew class (and explicitly the homebrew class), and I intend to keep it as such. You may PM me if you desire to explain your concerns, but this is no place for religion or such; I just wanted to add that little piece of advice out of a concern. If it infringes on the forum rules, the mods are free to remove all that big load of words, but I wouldn't like that a reference to something so delicate is taken out of context. Neither I seek the thread to be closed, since the idea is to promote a homebrewed class.


    So, after that big and long explanation, the usual. Opinions? Comments? So bad, it makes me wanna puke? So good, I'm going to make someone publish it? Ideas for the class abilities and the like?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2010-02-22 at 07:20 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Wow. Looks impressive, just like the rest of your work.

    The Ken Kon Itteki probably shouldn't affect mindless undead. Sentient undead maybe, and definitely vampires.

    Effectively giving the dual-wielding samurai Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting that early seems a bit too much. Maybe just give them a very reduced penalty (say, -2 on both weapons?) at 6th and delay the Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting ability a little later. Say, 9th level?

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteNothing View Post
    Wow. Looks impressive, just like the rest of your work.
    Um...thanks!

    The Ken Kon Itteki probably shouldn't affect mindless undead. Sentient undead maybe, and definitely vampires.
    I wish to fine-tune the description, actually. The idea is that undead cannot be killed by conventional means, but it can be sliced in half, or splattered with such strength they essentially blow away into dust. Limiting it to sentient undead will cause a bit of trouble, since while effective and reasonable, it will seem a bit weird; effective since you're eliminating most of the real threats, reasonable since cutting a vampire's head or blowing off a lich with a solid blow should be enough to kill them, and weird since the same could be said of mindless undead, which could be effectively considered slain if you slice them in half or something. Undead have three counters that tend to ruin stuff (immune to death effects, immune to crits, immune to things that require Fort saves unless they affect objects and are harmless), so it's a hard job just to add them, without adding the rest (such as constructs, which have usually the same immunities).

    Technically, it should be a 1/day (which ends on a 3/day ability) that ignores some restrictions while allows others. Nominally, cover and concealment should remain as immunities, as well as fortificated armor. As well, creatures that usually are not affected by a solid death blow (such as oozes) shouldn't be affected. The main problem stands with Undead, Constructs and Plants, which tend to have all those immunities and are virtually unkillable short of a massive HP damage, destruction or disruption; I wish to affect some of those, but not exactly all of those (a Golem, for example, could reasonably resist the blow, but perhaps a lower Undead such as a skeleton or zombie not so much).

    As I requested, ideas on the matter would help. I'll take yours under consideration, but I seek a good way to expand the options to what I seek. That way, it can remain useful even if the ability has a Fortitude save.

    Effectively giving the dual-wielding samurai Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting that early seems a bit too much. Maybe just give them a very reduced penalty (say, -2 on both weapons?) at 6th and delay the Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting ability a little later. Say, 9th level?
    The actual intention was to remove the penalties if you hold one weapon in a hand and a light weapon on another (the method in which you effectively have no penalties). I can say that you get a penalty reduction of 2 (which is the most reasonable reduction), which doesn't nullify the rest of the reductions (and makes Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting viable).

    I could add the restriction in the way you procure, but it would imply breaking with the methodology of the discipline. It would imply adding a separate benefit that's independent of the combat style (which would imply having equal abilities for other disciplines), as well as independent of existing abilities (such as having dual-wielding samurai "enchant" both of their weapons with the ki strike expenditure ability, or the archer Samurai's benefit with maai). Thus, I prefer to make it a static reduction, and reducing the penalties by 2 seems appropriate (that way, as mentioned, you could use existing TWF penalty reductions) for what I seek.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Sorry, it's just that I've seen your work with the Healer, Warmage, Ninja, and Monk. All of them are, in my humble opinion, very well done. I'm not sure what to think of the Mystic Theurge remake...

    Hmm... You make a solid point with the Ken Kon Itteki ability. I retract my previous statement in favor of all undead being affected. Yeah, oozes should probably be immune. Plants... hmm... I haven't a clue what to do about them. Constructs... maybe a Knowledge (architecture and engineering) check before the attack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteNothing View Post
    Sorry, it's just that I've seen your work with the Healer, Warmage, Ninja, and Monk. All of them are, in my humble opinion, very well done. I'm not sure what to think of the Mystic Theurge remake...
    Oh, I just...ain't so used to praise. Though, well...MT retooling was pretty difficult to work out. It was simple, somewhat expanded a bit but seeking to work with the main troubles of the MT while keeping it a PrC. I'm not of the kind that looks at MT and attempts to advance one side instead of both.

    Nobody's perfect, though, and I'm glad that you prove to me that I still need to do some more solid work on each retooling (and specifically, not to get an ego trip)

    Hmm... You make a solid point with the Ken Kon Itteki ability. I retract my previous statement in favor of all undead being affected. Yeah, oozes should probably be immune. Plants... hmm... I haven't a clue what to do about them. Constructs... maybe a Knowledge (architecture and engineering) check before the attack?
    Hmm...tying constructs to a Knowledge check...interesting, but difficult. It would justify just how you can slice a construct in half even when your weapon shouldn't, but it would make it a tad complex (three rolls instead of two). Constructs aren't something I seek to enforce; mostly undead and creatures that have immunity to death effects. It should still affect outsiders, which are some of the most annoying creatures around (that is, IF they pass the Fortitude save). Undead, on the other hand, could be specifically placed as exceptions to the rule that critical hits do not apply for this ability; liches still have ways to reanimate themselves.

    Although...I was thinking that it could be used to effectively destroy a single object without much effort. That way, it could justify allowing a Fort save and affecting undead (and possibly constructs). Still need to fine-tune that description up, tho.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Hmm... Okay than... Maybe make the knowledge check at the beginning of combat with a construct?

    As for making the undead immune to the critical hit part... well, yeah, that could work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteNothing View Post
    Hmm... Okay than... Maybe make the knowledge check at the beginning of combat with a construct?

    As for making the undead immune to the critical hit part... well, yeah, that could work.
    I decided to actually make the death attack Ken Kon Itteki a bit less restrictive. Immunity to critical hits doesn't help you; fortification, however, does. Thus, a Warforged can survive pretty well that death attack. Also, I managed to work better which classes wouldn't mind (oozes, plants and aberrations). It is as if you had a single chance to use Grave Strike and Golem Strike and a sure critical, and allowing a Fort-save for vorpal; it sure justifies making it per day (per encounter would be too abusive, though)

    Oh, and I was too lazy to mention. I made some changes. As for them...
    • The 12th level ki strike became its own ability. You can move to your speed, and get the speed enhancement (and use both abilities for a semi-Pounce ability)
    • The aforementioned change to Ken Kon Itteki now affecting undead and constructs as it should.
    • Some abilities from Martial Discipline Mastery and Martial Discipline Supremacy were exchanged. The really awesome abilities were delayed, while the still useful ones got early access.
    • Fixed something with the Improved Martial Discipline ability of Kyūjutsu. Now it should do what it was meant to do (close combat shot without attacks of opportunity). The riding ability was replaced; now you get to make Ride a Wisdom check instead of a Dexterity check. Flavorful, of course, but it uses what should be your best score for something that you'll want to use if you're mounted and having the Mounted Archery feat.
    • Added Mettle. Reason is because...well, someone pointed me that 3rd level was essentially a dead level, despite the ability it was granted. Mettle takes advantage of the Samurai's high Fort and Wis saves and makes it pretty endurable. Heck, it adds to the feel of being a War God. Of sorts.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Slight bump, but a good one nonetheless! (It's one of the few reasons I'd double-post, anyways...)

    Recently, a fellow Playgrounder decided to do some playtesting on the Samurai, and drew a few good pieces of data regarding the class. It reminded me of something I had to do with the Samurai's Ki Strike, so I made a slight alteration: basically, a Samurai following the Jujitsu discipline gains the automatic increase in enhancement bonuses that the retooled Monks and Ninjas get already, and the secondary benefit at 4th level has changed to apply not only to the unarmed strike, but to all weapons as well (increase enhancement bonus temporarily by 1). This is due to the ability not being used at 4th level given that +1 weapons can be acquired roughly at that level, which would provide very little benefit to the user if the weapon remains increasing in power. It may be a bit of a nerf to the original ability, but it should make it much more useful if the weapons are upgraded accordingly. Users of jujitsu will get a slightly stronger benefit, seeing as their weapons will have a much better enhancement bonus.

    I decided to retain the fellow Playgrounder's name unless he decides to reveal himself, but as I mentioned on the PM, his work is much appreciated.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-03-13 at 07:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    I decided to retain the fellow Playgrounder's name unless he decides to reveal himself, but as I mentioned on the PM, his work is much appreciated.
    Awwww, I guess I'll reveal myself then. I'll just copy-paste your response, T.G., and will answer you here. Also included is my original commentary.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos
    Ok, so, we had our first session. I use a lot of houserules, but in general, I noticed a few things from your class (which was unaltered, save for adding Iaijutsu Focus and Athletics [Climb/Jump/Swim] to the skill list).

    The player was... not very tactical with his use, and suffered a great deal from being a dwarf (movement issues with short-range weaponry >_>). However, the class can DPS like no one's business. With Wis and Dex to damage (thanks to both the Samurai and the Dead Eye feat), he was dealing something like 1d12+10 on each attack at level 5 (when hasted, he had three a round). Basically, if it was inside of 30 ft, it died horribly. Even the charger, who wasn't incredibly optimized to be fair, was unable to compete with this. Anything the samurai pointed at died a horrible death. Even at greater than 30 ft ranges, the Wis to damage was really a great ranged damage booster. Actually, just the fact that Wis added to everything meant he was able to always be near the top of the init order, has great saves, and dealt great damage with good attack bonuses.

    He made excellent use of Diplomacy however, and his role as a Lawful Neutral Samurai of a respected Lord was incredibly useful, letting him function as the face since we lack a real one, but between him and the two other party members with Sense Motive, we've got it covered.

    Otherwise, I've got little for you. He never used Ki Strike, on the basis of already having +1 pistols, and lacks any special abilities from the class yet. We leveled to 6, so we'll see if the ability to be a melee pistoleer comes up. We play again on April 9th, so I hope to have something a bit more detailed for you then!

    I was kinda hoping he'd be a bit of a "switch hitter" character, using the Wis focus and Ki Strike to turn anything into a useful weapon and serve in a lot of different roles. However, he chose to focus on pure pistols, which proved effective, so perhaps he's onto something.

    I'll keep you updated, T.G.

    -Adam
    Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.
    Absolutely. Happy to help.

    Dwarf is certainly an odd choice for Samurai, but recall that he has greater liberty on feat selection and since he doesn't need to expend so much on increasing his damage (at the moment) he can expend some of his wealth on increasing his base land speed, making him much more competitive on terms of range.
    That was the player's reasoning, the idea being that he didn't *need* the feat (and I combined the TWF tree into one feat and the Precise Shot tree into one feat). And, because we're using PF races, it was a great choice, thanks to the Wis bonus.

    As for the focus on pure pistols; it's understandable. The martial disciplines are specializations in every sense of the word, with bonus feats allowing for even greater specialization or a bit of diversification. With the ability to shoot closer on 6th level, he should deal superb damage on close range without fear of AoO, which means he might seem worthy to remain specializing in long-ranged weapons.
    Yeah, I think that's the idea. I still feel like a switch hitter could be incredibly viable with this class. Especially since Nitōjutsu can be used like Versatile Combatant, so you can melee and ranged at the same time.

    I'd like to ask if the damage dealt seemed a bit excessive for the levels you were playing with. As far as I can see, using both Wisdom and Dexterity (and a strong weapon) means you have a reasonable degree of damage for the level you have, but then you mention the charger didn't deal as much damage as the Samurai, which may seem a bit strong on low-optimization parties. I tend to build on the grounds of moderate to high optimization, and the way the Samurai was built hints at strong utility within moderate optimization, although it may be worrisome at low levels where it may seem like far too powerful. I estimate that the samurai might fall back a bit on level 11 if compared to an ubercharger such as a mounted Paladin or a charging, raging Spirit Lion Totem barbarian, but it's quite comparable.
    Level 5 is just before a serious break-point for the party charger (Shock Trooper), so at this level, he was definitely out-putting far more than anyone else. We have the following:
    -A Conjurer.
    -A Cleric who heals and keeps everyone functional.
    -A Charger Barbarian. His attack routine can be pretty decent (I think that, everything active, he's looking at like a 2d6+14 attack at +9 or +10).
    -The Samurai. He has two pistols at 1d12+11 each attacking on a +11 each.
    -A Binder (Paimon)/Scout, shooting for Swift Ambusher.

    The Samurai is the DPS King, but he's immobile. At the moment, the Barbarian has been chasing people down. The Barb also has Pounce. I'm expecting that, starting next session, the Barb is going to probably outpace the Samurai's damage output. The Barb will have Pounce and Power Attack. The Samurai will have four attacks (TWF change), but each will be at significant penalties and he can't be all "CHAERG" like the Barb can be.

    Overall though, I think this is probably the pinnacle of his combat ability compared to a dedicated charger. When the charger really hits his stride with multiple attacks, Shock Trooper/Combat Brute, etc, I think the Samurai is going to fall behind. And I'm kinda ok with that, seeing as how he's got no source of stacking bonus damage or anything. How was the Samurai intended to function with Kyūjutsu?

    I reckon I made a change to Ki Strike recently, where the increase in enhancement bonus was automatic and the expenditure of ki mostly increased the enhancement bonus by 1 temporarily, so you might want to test that change and see how the temporary +2 pistols work out.
    I can ask him about it.

    I do appreciate the fact that a non-optimal race was used (Dwarf has great Constitution, which covers the second part of the equation alongside Wisdom), since it shows the Samurai has some utility regardless of race, greatly expanding the options. It's good data, though a bit extended between periods; hopefully I'll expect a bit more.
    That was the idea. I will definitely get you more feedback as we go.

    I'll make the changes accordingly, (specifically updating ki strike to the new version) and if you want you can place your results in case some discussion can be gained out of it. Once again, much appreciated.
    Sure will. Already did, in fact.

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    Once per day, as a full round action, a samurai may make a single attack. This attack is done at the highest base attack bonus. If the attack succeeds, the creature must make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 10 + half the samuraiís class level + the samuraiís Wisdom modifier or die instantly. If the creature fails the save, the attack is treated as if a critical hit instead.
    Shouldn't that be "if the creature succeeds on the save"? Maybe increase the DC by the weapon's base critical threat range? (i.e +1 for a 19-20 weapon, +2 for 18-20; since weapons that get a DC boost won't deal as much damage with the crit)

    I'd suggest adding to Kiai the ability to make Wisdom checks instead of Strength checks to break objects.

    And what, no Quick Draw or Ki Strike (adamantine)?
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    That dead level at 19 (and it's a completely dead level[/i]) pains me, Oskar. PAINS ME!


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    Shouldn't that be "if the creature succeeds on the save"? Maybe increase the DC by the weapon's base critical threat range? (i.e +1 for a 19-20 weapon, +2 for 18-20; since weapons that get a DC boost won't deal as much damage with the crit)
    Hmm...interesting one. Also; how could I miss that, when Cie often does my proofreading?

    It would also make high-threat weapons slightly more useful, although I'd make it +2 per each tier instead of +1 (but based only on the original tier) or make it as-is but adding a +2 if using a weapon that has the keen enhancement or with which you have Improved Critical. That would make the bonus maximum to +5 on one side or +6 in another.

    I'd suggest adding to Kiai the ability to make Wisdom checks instead of Strength checks to break objects.
    Good one too. That would pretty much allow a Samurai to ignore Strength, tho.

    And what, no Quick Draw or Ki Strike (adamantine)?
    The original idea for Iaijutsu Step was to make it part of Ki strike, and it would have granted Quick Draw as a free feat, but the primary benefit would have been a bit weak and the secondary benefit (the speed weapon enhancement) kinda limited in range (far too good at 4th level, so-so at 8th, weak at 12th and further).

    As for Ki strike (adamantine), the idea is that the 8th level ki ability makes that redundant. I'd need to provide a secondary ability that's just as good but different than the 8th level ability to provide a 3rd tier of ki strike; in fact, Iaijutsu Step is meant to be the "third" tier of ki strike.

    However, as things go, I'd make the 8th level primary ki strike benefit be the ability to ignore hardness, with the ki enhancement being the ability to ignore damage reduction. Since most samurai aside from jujtsu may use weapons of all times, the ability to ignore a specific kind of damage reduction is less necessary. I'll consider whether that replacement is better or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    That dead level at 19 (and it's a completely dead level[/i]) pains me, Oskar. PAINS ME!
    I know! But it would ruin the aesthetic of the abilities if not done carefully. By 19th level, what I get must be nearing the grounds of stance of denial or any of the martial discipline supremacy abilities, which are for all means superhuman and supernatural. Basically, it should be an ability that's pre-epic, not something I could apply at level 10 or 15.

    But that happens most of the time. I recall Healer and Warmage also have such dead levels, but it's that when you reach that
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    You cut yourself off there, TG.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Another bit of feedback, this time on the Samurai's effectiveness when deprived of all gear. They took a mission this session that involved masquerading as prisoners, meaning they left their gear at home for this session. Not much was really learned except for the fact that the Samurai is not reliant on gear anywhere near as much as other martialists are. For example, without proper gear, the charger was having damage issues, whereas the Samurai could just pick up a bow and go to town thanks to his damage being pretty independent of his weapon.

    Beyond that minor note, there's not much I've got for you this week. Sorry T.G. Next session is in two weeks, so on the 23rd, so I'll report back on the 24th or so.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Sorry, my reports have taken a sharp downswing, pretty much because nothing new has been learned (ie. DPSing is still good, TWFing with pistols is still subject to movement issues, etc). However, this last session did bring up an interesting question: what action is Ki Strike? I ruled it as a swift, just because I couldn't see how that'd be detrimental in any way, though I believe that since its not listed the default is standard. Anyways, might want to think about that and add an action.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Didn't catch that one. Yes, it's supposed to be a swift action to activate, since while you get something quite good (a +1 enhancement bonus that stacks with those from your weapon, and/or the ability to bypass DR), it's for a limited time and expending quite a bit of resources, so it cancels out (making it standard would make you pretty much waste your action anyways). Thanks for the pointer; levels 8 and 9 should provide better data in any case.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Samurai - My heart...it burns. Such force of will. Such fighting spi

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Didn't catch that one. Yes, it's supposed to be a swift action to activate, since while you get something quite good (a +1 enhancement bonus that stacks with those from your weapon, and/or the ability to bypass DR), it's for a limited time and expending quite a bit of resources, so it cancels out (making it standard would make you pretty much waste your action anyways). Thanks for the pointer; levels 8 and 9 should provide better data in any case.
    We just hit seven. Eight doesn't seem useful honestly, but nine is a real interesting point, one I hope we'll get to see (not sure if we'll have time to level that far before the game ends).

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