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    Default [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    KENSEI OF THE FIVE RINGS
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    A Kensei of the Five Rings in battle attire.

    ďThere is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.Ē
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho


    There are those who fight for pride and for respect. This is not the Way. There are those who fight for glory and riches. Material things are fleeting, and thus this is not the Way. There are those who fight for power and for esteem. A man needs neither, and thus this is not the Way.

    There are those who fight for the defeat of their enemies. This is a lesser thing, and not worthy of the Way. There are those who fight for their name or the name of their family. These are honorable, but they are not the Way. There are those who fight for their country or for their teachers. These too are honorable, but they are not the Way.

    There are those who fight for mastery of themselves and their blades. This too, is not the Way.

    There are those who fight because it brings them enjoyment and they revel in battle. This, my students, is also not the Way.

    There are those who fight.

    This, my students, is the Way.

    Adventures: The road is as much a path to understanding as is any other form of study. A Kensei adventures, either alone or as part of a group, in a quest to align him or herself with the tenets of their Way or Do. No two Ways are identical, though they often share key aspects, like the pursuit of insight and understanding through battle.

    Characteristics: Perhaps uniquely among the melee classes, the Kensei wields their weapon with a sense of detachment from battle. They do not revel in it as a barbarian does, or seek glory and honor like the paladin. A Kensei wields their blade as a form of meditation and ritual, where the other combatants serve as a canvas for their art and self-understanding. With the use of the five Ways, the Kensei transcends the typical bounds of the martial character, without resorting to magic.

    Alignment: Kensei of the Five Rings come in many forms. Some Kensei seek the Way for personal growth, others seek it in the name of a great cause or for the sake of a friend. While most Kensei of the Five Rings are neutral, there is no real limit on those who follow the path.

    Races: Humans, with their diverse interests and skills, are the most commonly seen Kensei of the Five Rings. That said, there have been Kensei from almost every race imaginable, particularly those that value wisdom and understanding in battle, as opposed to pure bloodlust.

    Other Classes: Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Samurai all have some link with the Kensei. They see a fellow combatant who does not hesitate to enter battle and lay down his life in the pursuit of victory. However, the Kenseiís distant outlook on the world often creates a rift with the other martial classes. Similarly, while wizards and clerics can relate to Kensei intellectually, the pursuit of their enlightenment extends into realms beyond the mental.

    Role: Kensei of the Five Rings are something of a curiosity. Because of their deep and profound connection to their weapons and their fighting style, Kensei make excellent physical combatants. However, their undeniable grasp of each of the five Ways grant them unique and powerful abilities beyond what might be expected of a typical warrior. Many theorize that the Ways are arcane or mystical in nature. The truth, however, is simply that those who truly understand them are able to tap into their own life energies.


    GAME RULE INFORMATION
    Kensei of the Five Rings have the following game statistics.

    Abilities: Wisdom and either Strength or Dexterity are the most important attributes for a Kensei of the Five Rings, the first because it defines their ability to make use of the various Ways, the second because a Kensei is primarily a melee combatant. As with all classes, a high Constitution score is useful for staying alive in battle. Intelligence and Charisma are relatively unimportant to a Kensei, as is either Strength or Dexterity, based on which one was chosen as the basis for their physical abilities.

    Alignment: Any

    Hit Die: d10

    TABLE: KENSEI OF THE FIVE RINGS

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack|Fort|Ref|Will|Special| Maneuvers Known|Maneuvers Readied|Stances Known
    1st|+1|+2|+1|+1|Niten Ichi Ryu|2|2|1
    2nd|+2|+3|+1|+1|Way of the Insightful Earth|2|2|1
    3rd|+3|+3|+2|+2| Weapons of the Way|3|2|1
    4th|+4|+4|+2|+2|Bonus Feat|3|2|1
    5th|+5|+4|+3|+3|Skills of the Way|4|3|2
    6th|+6/+1|+5|+3|+3|Way of the Ever-shifting Waves, Niten Ichi Ryu (Improved)|4|3|2
    7th|+7/+2|+5|+3|+3||5|3|2
    8th|+8/+3|+6|+4|+4|Bonus feat|5|3|2
    9th|+9/+4|+6|+4|+4|Resilience of the Way|6|4|2
    10th|+10/+5|+7|+5|+5|Way of the Flickering Flames|6|4|3
    11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+5|+5|Niten Ichi Ryu (Greater)|7|4|3
    12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+6|+6|Bonus feat|7|4|3
    13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+6|+6|Fleetness of the Way|8|5|3
    14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+6|+6|Way of the Piercing Wind|8|5|3
    15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+7|+7||9|5|4
    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+7|+7|Niten Ichi Ryu (Perfect), Bonus feat|9|5|4
    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+8|+8||10|6|4
    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+8|+8|Way of the Boundless Void|10|6|4
    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+9|+9||11|6|4
    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+9|+9|Master of the Way, Bonus feat|11|6|4[/table]



    CLASS SKILLS (4 + Int mod per level, x4 at 1st level)
    A Kensei of the Five Rings class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Iajustsu Focus (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex)

    CLASS FEATURES

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Kensei of the Five Rings gains proficiency with all simple and martial melee weapons (including those that can be used as thrown weapons), and one exotic martial melee weapon of their choice. They also gain proficiency with light and medium armor as well as with bucklers, though they gain proficiency with no other kind of shield.

    "The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the
    only reason a warrior fights is to win.Ē
    --Miyamoto Musashi


    Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of two martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Tiger Claw, Iron Heart, Desert Wind, and Stone Dragon. If Homebrew disciplines are used, you may exchange them on a one-for-one basis with either Iron Heart, Desert Wind, or Stone Dragon.

    Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by Kensei of the Five Rings is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one.

    You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown on the above table. You must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. See Tome of Battle, page 39, to determine the highest-level maneuvers you can learn.

    Upon reaching 4th level, and at every fourth level after that (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 12th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th-, or 5th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 6th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

    Maneuvers Readied: You can ready both of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by exercising for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to exercise again and change them.

    You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in practice, you can change your readied maneuvers. You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (until you recover them, as described below).

    You may, as a full round action, descend into a state of profound meditation, which does not provoke acts of opportunity. As a result of this meditation, you may recover a number of maneuvers equal to one-half your Wisdom modifier, rounded down (minimum 1).

    Designerís Note:
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    When deciding on how to recover maneuvers, I felt it important that the Kenseiís method of maneuver recovery not immediately render him equal to full martial adepts like the swordsage or warblade. I settled on a swordsage-style of recovery, but only allowing a lesser number of maneuvers to be recovered.


    Stances: You begin playing knowing one 1st-level stance from one of your disciplines. At 5th, 10th, and 15th level, you can choose additional stances. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike with maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.

    Niten Ichi Ryu: Two Swords, One Soul (Ex): A Kensei of the Five Rings is a follower of the Niten Ichi Ryu school. Followers of Niten Ichi Ryu are not adept with merely one sword. Instead, they wield a pair of swords. The first is the main sword, while the second is a smaller companion sword.

    As such, Kensei gain the Two-Weapon Fighting feat as a bonus feat, regardless of whether or not they meet the prerequisites. At 6th level, they gain the benefits of Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. At 11th level, they gain the benefits of Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, and at 16th level they gain the benefits of Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting. These benefits only apply so long as the Kensei of the Five Rings is wielding a larger weapon in his main-hand and a smaller weapon in his off-hand. The off-hand weapon must be of the Kenseiís size or smaller. The main-hand weapon cannot be more than one size category larger than the Kensei.

    As part of this technique, a Kensei chooses whether to add their Strength or their Dexterity bonus to attack and damage rolls. Once chosen, this cannot be changed.

    In my school a beginner learns the way by taking the large sword and the small sword in his hands at the same time. This is essential. If you are going to die in battle, it is desirable to utilize all the weapons you are carrying. It is deplorable to die with weapons left in their scabbards without having been capable of using them.
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, Niten Ichi Ryu


    Way of the Insightful Earth (Ex): At 2nd level, you have come to understand the ways of your enemies. You do not waste your time and effort in a futile examination of all that surrounds you. Instead, you simply center yourself and look outward, gathering in an understanding of all that surrounds you, and all that your enemies might wish to do.

    When this ability is first gained, it grants the Kensei of the Five Rings the ability to move unhindered, regardless of terrain. This does not apply to terrain requiring Climb or Swim checks nor any terrain or terrain features that have been magically manipulated and may not be used while wearing heavy armor. For each additional Way known to the Kensei, new benefits are earned.

    At 6th level, in addition to the above benefits, the Kensei gains the ability to hinder the movement of his opponents. Any opponent moving into a square the Kensei threatens must treat the terrain as difficult, doubling their movement cost. Furthermore, the Kensei is free to take an additional 5í step each round. Likewise, allies in any square the Kensei would normally threaten benefit from his ability to move unhindered, as Flawless Stride, the Scout ability, thanks to the Kensei's enhanced ability to project his understanding of the Way.

    At 10th level, the Kensei of the Five Rings may attempt to negate one attack against them per round by making an opposing attack roll to block the attack with his main-hand weapon. If the attempt successfully negates the attack, the Kensei may make an attack of opportunity against the foe with his off-hand weapon. This does not count as one of the Kenseiís allotted attacks of opportunity per round. He may now also move unhindered through magically manipulated terrain.

    At 14th level, the Kensei attempt to initiate a grapple against any enemy in contact with the ground as long as they are within a circle with a radius of 20í from the Kensei as a standard action. If successful, the enemy is treated as if the Kensei were grappling them, the only difference being they are being grappled by the earth. The Kensei and opponent both treat the grapple as if it were normal, meaning the Kensei must maintain the grapple and the enemy may attempt to break the grapple as normal. The sole exception is that all size modifiers and penalties are ignored. Furthermore, allies attempting to attack the target may treat the target as flanked.

    At 18th level, the Kensei gains Blindsight out to 60í and may attempt to negate two attacks per round. Furthermore, the Kensei gains the ability to move through the earth, as Earth Glide, as a swift action once per 10 rounds, moving a distance during that time up to two-thirds his land speed. If he spends a full round action in meditation, he may increase the Blindsight an additional 5í per point of Wisdom modifier. This ability lasts so long as the Kensei devotes a swift action each round to maintain his enhanced focus. Once he decides to cease doing so, the ability returns to normal. Meditation requires a full-round action with no swift or immediate actions allowed. If he's interrupted, he must start over, and if he takes damage, he must make a DC 20 Concentration check, to avoid losing his meditative state.

    Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things. As if it were a straight road mapped out on the ground ... These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard.
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, The Book of Earth


    Weapons of the Way (Ex): By 3rd level, a Kensei has begun to achieve communion with his chosen weapons. These weapons have, like the Kensei, begun to gain greater understanding of the Way and increase in strength along with the Kensei. They gain a +1 enhancement bonus and gain an additional +1 every four levels after third (+2 total at 7th, +3 total at 11th, etc.). A Kensei may pay an additional sum of money to enchant these weapons normally, though their effective bonus can never exceed +10.

    If either or both weapons are destroyed, the Kensei may undertake a week long ritual during which he reforges the weapons using his inner spirit. This forging is guided by the Way and does not require any form of Craft check. It simply requires sufficient amounts of the desired metal and a set of masterwork tools, as well as a sufficient heat source.

    Bonus Feat (Ex): At 4th level, and every four levels thereafter, Kensei of the Five Rings gain a bonus feat from either the list of Fighter Bonus Feats, or from the Tome of Battle. Prerequisites must still be met in order to select a feat.

    Skills of the Way (Ex): A Kensei is a man of battle, but he is also a man of wisdom and ability. At 5th level, by spending 5 minutes in meditation, a Kensei may sacrificing any amount of his BAB (using his highest modifier, iterative attack bonuses do not count for this purpose) to gain an equal number of temporary ranks in any one skill for a number of minutes up to equal to four times his Wisdom modifier (the Kensei can decide how long he wishes the exchange to last within this time frame. Once a time limit is chosen, it cannot be extended or reduced). During this time, his BAB is lowered by the requisite amount and cannot be recovered by any means. This is a competence bonus and cannot stack.

    Way of the Ever-shifting Waves (Ex): At 6th level, a Kensei of the Five Rings has gained an understanding of flexibility in battle, in improvising and adapting to the techniques of oneís enemy. The Kensei can now assess his opponents in a heartbeat, and change his strategy accordingly.

    When this ability is first gained, it grants the Kensei of the Five Rings the ability to make a Sense Motive check against an opponent as a full round action, opposed by a Bluff check made by the opponent, adding their HD to their total ranks in Bluff. If the check succeeds, the Kensei gains a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls against that enemy, and an additional +1 for every 5 by which they beat the check (minimum +2). For each additional Way known to the Kensei, new benefits are earned.

    At 10th level, in addition to the above benefits, the Kensei gains the ability to analyze the opponent further. If the Sense Motive check succeeds, the Kensei gains the knowledge of one of the opponentís special abilities or special attacks. If it succeeds by 5 or more, the Kensei gains knowledge of one each of the opponents, spell-like/extraordinary/supernatural abilities, and one feat possessed by the opponent. If the check succeeds by 10 or more, the Kensei may learn all of the information about any one of the above categories (i.e. all SLAs, all feats, etc.). If the check succeeds by 15 or more, they gain information about all of the creatureís feats, abilities, etc. This ability may only be used during combat, on an enemy that the Kensei has successfully struck with a martial maneuver.

    At 14th level, the Kensei gains the ability to react with incredible accuracy to an opponentís attacks. Once per round, the Kensei may make an opposing attack roll against an opponent as an immediate action when that opponent initiates an attack on the Kensei or on one of the Kenseiís allies within 10í. If the roll succeeds, the Kensei may make a single attack against that foe with each of his weapons or use a single martial maneuver.

    At 18th level, the Kensei can so fully understand their opponents that they may spend a full round of analysis to gain a form of limited precognition about their opponent. After spending the full round of analysis, the Kensei gains the effects of Foresight as the spell, for the rest of the encounter. Alternatively, the Kensei may spend a standard action and gain the effects of foresight for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier.

    In strategy your spiritual bearing must not be any different from normal. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm.
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, The Book of Water

    Resilience of the Way (Ex): Starting at 9th level, a kensei receives energy resistance for each Way path he has unlocked as a result of his growing spiritual powers. They are as follows:
    • Way of the Insightful Earth: Acid
    • Way of the Ever-shifting Waves: Cold
    • Way of the Flickering Flames: Fire
    • Way of the Piercing Wind: Electricity
    • Way of the Boundless Void: Force


    The kensei's resilience comes from his natural physical condition, as well as his connection to the Way. The amount of energy resistance he receives is equal to 5 points per 1.5 points of his Constitution modifier (minimum 5). If this would give him 30 or higher energy resistance, he instead gains immunity to that specific energy type.

    Way of the Flickering Flames (Ex): By 10th level, the Kensei has fallen deeply into the currents of the various Ways. So great is his prowess in battle that he may move through a horde of men as if he were a ghost, a candle flame twisting and turning along the path of the zephyr.

    When this ability is first gained, it grants the Kensei of the Five Rings the ability to move up to 1/3rd his land speed each round as a swift action in addition to his normal movement. For each additional Way known to the Kensei, new benefits are earned.

    At 14th level, the Kensei gains the ability to treat his swift-action movement as if it was a charge. Furthermore, he gains the Pounce ability.

    At 18th level, the Kensei may move up to his land speed as a swift action each round. During this movement, the Kensei is treated as if he were ethereal if it is beneficial for him to do so and may pass through otherwise impermeable mundane objects such as stone or wood. If at the end of this movement the Kensei would become solid within an object, he is shunted to the nearest open space and dealt 1d6 damage for each 5í required to get him into open space.

    As one man can defeat ten men, so can one thousand men defeat ten thousand. However, you can become a master of strategy by training alone with a sword, so that you can understand the enemy's stratagems, his strength and resources, and come to appreciate how to apply strategy to beat ten thousand.
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, The Book of Fire

    Fleetness of the Way (Ex): As a result of the Kensei's extraordinary spiritual ties to the Ways, he is able to draw some of their energy directly into his body in order to hone his body's natural movement. As a result, the Kensei gains a bonus to his land speed equal to 10' per Way which he can access. At 20th level, this ability is enhanced such that the addition becomes 15' per Way.

    Way of the Piercing Wind (Ex): As a Kensei gains greater understanding of the various Ways, he also gains an understanding of himself and the way in which he perceives battle. From this understanding, he gains greater strength and ability in combat, allowing him to bypass the natural Ways and harness their power in unique combinations.

    When this ability is first gained, it allows the Kensei of the Five Rings to channel his personal affinity to his weapons and the Way into a devastating strike against his opponents. By spending a standard action in meditation, the Kensei may then use a standard action the next round to initiate a full-attack against an opponent. This attack ignores all forms of damage reduction and immunities that would prevent the Kenseiís blade from striking and dealing damage to the opponent, and prevents the target from healing itself or regenerating for 1d8 rounds. Any immunities unrelated to these will be unaffected (for example, a Kensei will always be able to deal damage to Incorporeal foes with this ability, but any extra damage that might result from the Icy Burst ability would not occur if the foe had Cold Immunity, since he can still deal some form of damage).

    At 18th level, the Kensei is able to make his strikes so powerful as to sever the air itself. By meditating as above, the Kensei can center himself and charge his blade with all the force of the Wind. When he attacks the next round, his blades are able to instantly disintegrate any object they come into contact with by severing the atomic bonds binding them together. Rather than fall to pieces, the object is for all purposes annihilated, dispersed to nothing more than invisible specks of dust. This effects constructs, walls of force, undead, and all other non-living matter. The target is entitled to a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 16 plus the Kenseiís Wisdom modifier. If the save succeeds, they instead take 10d6 points of damage.

    Whenever you cross swords with an enemy you must not think of cutting him either strongly or weakly; just think of cutting and killing him. Be intent solely on killing the enemy. Do not try to cut strongly and, of course, do not think of cutting weakly. You should only be concerned with killing the enemy.
    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, The Book of Wind


    Way of the Boundless Void (Ex): The Void is infinite and endless. So too is battle and so too is life. What seems a beginning is actually an end, and what appears an end is truly a beginning. At 18th level, the Kensei has slowly come to gain a hint of insight into this endless cycle.

    This ability allows the Kensei to do things which are normally not possible. The Kensei may, by first using any one of the abilities granted him by the four previous Ways on an opponent, bind his life force to that of an opponent. This technique requires a full round action to initiate, and once initiated, cannot be left unfinished, even if the Kensei so desires.

    When the technique is initiated, the foe is entitled to make either a Bluff or Sense motive check opposed by a Sense Motive check from the Kensei. If the opposed check succeeds, then the enemy is simply unable to act for a number of rounds equal to 1/4th the Kenseiís Wisdom modifier, rounded down. If the check fails, the Kensei and the affected enemy, along with all other creatures with 10í, are transported to a pavilion amidst an endless field of white and black flowers.

    If they so desire, they may speak with one another for up to one full minute. However, no one is capable of any action other than speaking (mundanely, no spells or any other sonic abilities may be initiated), except one. The Kensei, and only the Kensei, may ritually stab himself with both blades. This technique is instantly fatal to both the Kensei and the opponent. However, thanks to his mastery of the Void, the Kenseiís weapons, containing his soul, are returned to the Material Plane and the Kenseiís allies, and may be used as a template for the Kenseiís eventual revivification.

    Additionally, due to the immense spiritual drain required to use this ability, should the Kensei be revived, he will have suffered the loss of a single level, which cannot be restored by any means short of direct divine intervention (the deity themselves must do so of their own initiative, it cannot be the result of a wish, limited wish, miracle or any other such ability which requests divine aid).


    By Void I mean that which has no beginning and no end. Attaining this principle means not attaining the principle. The Way of strategy is the Way of nature. When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing the rhythm of any situation, you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally. All this is the Way of the Void.
    What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.
    In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, spirit is nothingness.

    --Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, The Book of Void


    Master of the Way (Ex): By 20th level, the Kensei of the Five Rings has finally understood the fullness of the Way. He is forever more treated as a native outsider, and may choose among the [Fire], [Water], [Earth], [Air], and [Incorporeal] subtypes. The subtype chosen may be changed by spending 5 minutes in meditation as a reflection of the Kenseiís affinity for each of the five Ways. They gain all of the benefits of the Outsider type, as well as the benefits of any subtype they have currently chosen. Additionally, when using the [Earth] subtype, the Kensei gains a burrow speed equal to two-thirds his base land speed. Likewise, when using the [Air] subtype, a Kensei grows a pair of nearly invisible wings which can only be seen when reflected in the surface of a blade, granting him a fly speed equal to 1.5x his base land speed with good maneuverability.



    Alternate Class Features

    Way of the Boundless Void:
    What you lose: Original "Way of the Boundless Void"
    What you gain: A modified version of lesser power (changes in italics).
    The Effect: The Void is infinite and endless. So too is battle and so too is life. What seems a beginning is actually an end, and what appears an end is truly a beginning. At 18th level, the Kensei has slowly come to gain a hint of insight into this endless cycle.

    This ability allows the Kensei to do things which are normally not possible. The Kensei may, by first using any one of the abilities granted him by the four previous Ways on an opponent, bind his life force to that of an opponent. This technique requires a full round action to initiate, and once initiated, cannot be left unfinished, even if the Kensei so desires.

    When the technique is initiated, the foe is entitled to make either a Bluff or Sense motive check opposed by a Sense Motive check from the Kensei. If the opposed check succeeds, then the enemy is simply unable to act for a number of rounds equal to 1/4th the Kenseiís Wisdom modifier, rounded down. If the check fails, the Kensei and the affected enemy are transported to a pavilion amidst an endless field of white and black flowers for 1d6 rounds. During this time, an area around the Kensei's original location, in a circle with a diameter of 500', is affected by the effect of timestop as the spell. All creatures and objects within the area are affected, regardless of whether or not the Kensei desires them to be.

    Meanwhile, the Kensei and the original target are free to act for the duration of this effect and are treated as being within a Zone of Truth. The opponent is forced to treat all terrain as difficult, must remain on the ground (meaning no flight or burrowing). Furthermore, the enemy is unable to use any mind-effecting abilities or spells on the Kensei, and any auras they possess are dampened for the duration. Finally, the enemy takes -2 to all rolls made for effects that would include or target the Kensei and they are unable to heal or regenerate during this time, by any means.



    Change Log:
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    1.0: Original version.
    1.1: Added Climb to class skills, removed Survival. Clarified Way of the Insightful Earth's Wisdom to AC to only be for less than heavy armor and clarified recovery for the Stone Dragon maneuver/stance. Made counter-attacking as part of Way of the Ever-shifting Waves an immediate action. Reworked Way of the Piercing Wind and added burrow/fly speed to Mastery of the Way.
    1.2: Heavily revamped Way of the Insightful Earth. Altered the 18th level ability of Way of the Ever-shifting Waves and made other minor changes. Altered Way of the Piercing Wind and made minor changes to Way of the Boundless Void. Added Skills of the Way at 5th level and moved the improvements to Niten Ichi Ryu to 6th, 11th, and 16th
    1.3: Minor changes to durations for Way of the Insightful Earth and Way of the Ever-shifting Waves. Skills of the Way made a competence bonus.
    1.4: Added Way of the Boundless Void ACF
    1.5: Added Resilience of the Way and Fleetness of the Way
    Last edited by TravelLog; 2011-12-02 at 02:37 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    I spy, with my little eye, a melee character that doesn't have Climb as a class skill! Methinks this was a mistake, surely.

    Survival? That's an interesting choice. The whole way down, I thought "Oh these all make sense...huh Iaijutsu Focus is Cha-based? Didn't know that...ah, Sense Motive that will be useful...Survival. Weird." It's just that Survival is kind of for wilderness-bent classes (hence why it was called Wilderness Lore in 3.0) and I didn't really get that feel at all from this class.

    But a random skill is not a bad thing! Moving on!

    Maneuvers: No Stone Dragon? That really surprised me. Stone Dragon is the give-away, the only discipline that is free to all three martial adepts. But the others are good. Iron Heart, Desert Wind, Tiger Claw, good good good.

    Recovery mechanic- Better than the swordsage, less confusing than the crusader, and not as cheap as the warblade. Nice and balanced. I like it.

    Two Swords, One Soul: Er...huh. One little problem here: You don't actually get iterative attacks until 6th, 11th, and 16th level, so you can't actually use the rest of the TWF line until those levels...

    The option of using Dex to damage from level one is nice. That combined with Iaijutsu Focus would make this a tasty rogue dip, but looking at it from just a single class perspective, it all starts off balanced and cool. No more front-loaded than a monk.

    Way of the Insightful Earth: There's Stone Dragon! Nice. Question: Is this like Martial Study where it's only once per encounter, or can the kensei recover his Stone Dragon maneuver too?

    For the Wis to AC, you should probably note that it only applies while he's wearing medium or less armor (unless you want to give it to him if he gets heavy armor proficiency, which is kind of going to screw the DM's monsters hard)

    Blindsight 120' is epic, so is the earth glide. Flavorful, useful, scaling. Everything you want in a class. Good job here.

    Weapon of the Way: Nice! Enhancement bonuses that don't disappear in an AMF! And free weapon enhancement helps shoulder the burden of the monetary tax on a TWF class. Very masterfully done here! (Wish I had thought of that for my Twin Blade, actually!)

    Bonus Feat: Little nitpick here, you change from 3rd to 2nd person.

    Evershifting Waves- Whoa whoa whoa! Red alert! Counter without an action requirement? That full-round attack thing should definitely cost the kensei an immediate action. Otherwise, looks pretty nice. Good use of the Sense Motive skill.

    Flickering Flame: A Sublime Way's Travel Devotion. Nothing wrong with this at all.

    Whoa...the ability to charge twice per round...and adding Pounce on to that...hmm...it's a little rich for my taste, but I'll let you get a second opinion before I call it over-powered (Melee does deserve nice things after all)

    Hmmm...Way of the Piercing Wind is pretty weak. You just gave him a 2nd level martial maneuver (Mountain Hammer) but without any extra damage, requiring a full-round action, fatiguing him, and it comes 11 levels later than the warblade got Mountain Hammer.

    The 18th level ability is alright, but it still comes too late. You know, I think you'd be fine with making the 18th level ability the 14th level one and come up with something better for level 18.

    Boundless Void: No save, just die for melee. Fantastic. And very cinematic.

    Master of the Way- Very nice capstone. Gets you some delicious immunity. I would say that the air and earth subtypes should give you flight or burrow speeds too.

    All in all, nice class! I can tell you put a lot of work into it. Hopefully this review will help it come out even better!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    I spy, with my little eye, a melee character that doesn't have Climb as a class skill! Methinks this was a mistake, surely.

    Survival? That's an interesting choice. The whole way down, I thought "Oh these all make sense...huh Iaijutsu Focus is Cha-based? Didn't know that...ah, Sense Motive that will be useful...Survival. Weird." It's just that Survival is kind of for wilderness-bent classes (hence why it was called Wilderness Lore in 3.0) and I didn't really get that feel at all from this class.

    But a random skill is not a bad thing! Moving on!

    I knew I forgot something! Climb added, removed Survival, though I may put it back in.

    Maneuvers: No Stone Dragon? That really surprised me. Stone Dragon is the give-away, the only discipline that is free to all three martial adepts. But the others are good. Iron Heart, Desert Wind, Tiger Claw, good good good.
    Good things come to those who wait!

    Recovery mechanic- Better than the swordsage, less confusing than the crusader, and not as cheap as the warblade. Nice and balanced. I like it.

    Two Swords, One Soul: Er...huh. One little problem here: You don't actually get iterative attacks until 6th, 11th, and 16th level, so you can't actually use the rest of the TWF line until those levels...
    Hmmm...wondering what to do about this, since moving them back a level creates a number of dead levels and stacks level 6.

    The option of using Dex to damage from level one is nice. That combined with Iaijutsu Focus would make this a tasty rogue dip, but looking at it from just a single class perspective, it all starts off balanced and cool. No more front-loaded than a monk.

    ---snip----

    For the Wis to AC, you should probably note that it only applies while he's wearing medium or less armor (unless you want to give it to him if he gets heavy armor proficiency, which is kind of going to screw the DM's monsters hard)
    Noted and changed

    Blindsight 120' is epic, so is the earth glide. Flavorful, useful, scaling. Everything you want in a class. Good job here.

    I love Blindsight, and earth glide, so I felt they were appropriate.

    Weapon of the Way: Nice! Enhancement bonuses that don't disappear in an AMF! And free weapon enhancement helps shoulder the burden of the monetary tax on a TWF class. Very masterfully done here! (Wish I had thought of that for my Twin Blade, actually!)

    Bonus Feat: Little nitpick here, you change from 3rd to 2nd person.
    Fixed

    Evershifting Waves- Whoa whoa whoa! Red alert! Counter without an action requirement? That full-round attack thing should definitely cost the kensei an immediate action. Otherwise, looks pretty nice. Good use of the Sense Motive skill.
    Changed to an immediate action. Thanks for the catch!

    Flickering Flame: A Sublime Way's Travel Devotion. Nothing wrong with this at all.

    Whoa...the ability to charge twice per round...and adding Pounce on to that...hmm...it's a little rich for my taste, but I'll let you get a second opinion before I call it over-powered (Melee does deserve nice things after all).
    This was absolutely my biggest question mark in terms of power. I certainly want opinions on it...

    Hmmm...Way of the Piercing Wind is pretty weak. You just gave him a 2nd level martial maneuver (Mountain Hammer) but without any extra damage, requiring a full-round action, fatiguing him, and it comes 11 levels later than the warblade got Mountain Hammer.
    Going over TOB, I see you are correct. I made the 18th level the 14th level and am working on figuring out a sufficiently epic 18th level ability. Thoughts?


    Boundless Void: No save, just die for melee. Fantastic. And very cinematic.
    Glad you like it!

    Master of the Way- Very nice capstone. Gets you some delicious immunity. I would say that the air and earth subtypes should give you flight or burrow speeds too.

    All in all, nice class! I can tell you put a lot of work into it. Hopefully this review will help it come out even better!
    Thanks for the PEACH! Any ideas on fixing the TWF aspect and the Way of the Piercing Wind?
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    There's nothing particularly wrong with granting them the TWF feats early, just that they will be gaining them before they can really use them.

    You snipped my question about whether Stone Dragon maneuver could be recovered.

    The ability to charge and Pounce twice in one round is devastating, but at the same time, if you don't kill the guy on your first charge, you'll be taking an AoO from him if you tried to Pounce someone else. So I suppose that's a glaring weakness. (AoOs are pretty bad at high levels. You can get grappled and swallowed if you're not careful)

    As for an Improved version of Way of the Piercing Wind, I say, give him an ultimate shatter ability that lets him charge his weapons with sonic energy and break any object immediately (including undead, constructs, and walls of force/forcecage) THAT is an 18th level melee ability right there.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    There's nothing particularly wrong with granting them the TWF feats early, just that they will be gaining them before they can really use them.

    You snipped my question about whether Stone Dragon maneuver could be recovered.

    The ability to charge and Pounce twice in one round is devastating, but at the same time, if you don't kill the guy on your first charge, you'll be taking an AoO from him if you tried to Pounce someone else. So I suppose that's a glaring weakness. (AoOs are pretty bad at high levels. You can get grappled and swallowed if you're not careful)

    As for an Improved version of Way of the Piercing Wind, I say, give him an ultimate shatter ability that lets him charge his weapons with sonic energy and break any object immediately (including undead, constructs, and walls of force/forcecage) THAT is an 18th level melee ability right there.
    Forgot about the Stone Dragon question, even though I edited in the change. My bad. In any case, yes, it can be recovered along with any other maneuvers/stances.

    I'll still have to think about the Pounce, but for now I believe it works.

    And yes, I LIKE that ultimate shatter. I'll write something up and add it in shortly.

    As a side note, how is the fluff for the class? Do you get a sense of character/personality from it? If so, what?
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Forgot about the Stone Dragon question, even though I edited in the change. My bad. In any case, yes, it can be recovered along with any other maneuvers/stances.

    I'll still have to think about the Pounce, but for now I believe it works.

    And yes, I LIKE that ultimate shatter. I'll write something up and add it in shortly.

    As a side note, how is the fluff for the class? Do you get a sense of character/personality from it? If so, what?
    It's very "strong and silent guy with a big sword". Very Auron, very Byakuya Kuchiki (Bleach, though I wasn't really thinking him til I saw the Void ability, then that was Byakuya all over the place). I love the fluff, it really draws me in.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    It's very "strong and silent guy with a big sword". Very Auron, very Byakuya Kuchiki (Bleach, though I wasn't really thinking him til I saw the Void ability, then that was Byakuya all over the place). I love the fluff, it really draws me in.
    The Ultimate Shatter technique was added, so let me know if that's what you meant. And the Void ability was really stumping me at first. Until I thought, "you know what, I'm going to give him a technique worthy of the beginning and ending of all things. And it's going to be exactly like those Samurai movies, with the hero and enemy speaking to one another in a field of flowers, all silent except for the sound of their voices, with cherry blossoms floating around them. It will be for melee, and it will be epic!"

    Sorry about that, I have a tendency for dramatic monologue. But yeah, I want to play and use that ability and have a simply epic scene. Many thanks for all the PEACH help!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    The Ultimate Shatter technique was added, so let me know if that's what you meant. And the Void ability was really stumping me at first. Until I thought, "you know what, I'm going to give him a technique worthy of the beginning and ending of all things. And it's going to be exactly like those Samurai movies, with the hero and enemy speaking to one another in a field of flowers, all silent except for the sound of their voices, with cherry blossoms floating around them. It will be for melee, and it will be epic!"

    Sorry about that, I have a tendency for dramatic monologue. But yeah, I want to play and use that ability and have a simply epic scene. Many thanks for all the PEACH help!
    Though the sonic fluff makes it a shatter effect, if you're going to refer to a specific spell in the text it should most likely be disintegrate, so there's no question of whether it destroys force objects or undead.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    I Sadly don't have much for PEACH, but what is iajutsu focus?

    The main concern that jumped to me was that for 3.5, there seemed to be far too many skills and not enough skill points for them. Consider 6+int mod or even 8+int mod? The skills that can be selected themselves don't look like skill monkey territory anyway.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by kalminos View Post
    I Sadly don't have much for PEACH, but what is iajutsu focus?

    The main concern that jumped to me was that for 3.5, there seemed to be far too many skills and not enough skill points for them. Consider 6+int mod or even 8+int mod? The skills that can be selected themselves don't look like skill monkey territory anyway.
    I'll let the D&D wiki field this one (it's a skill from Oriental Adventures focusing on quick-drawing a sword). Iajutsu Focus

    As for the skills, I hesitate to give a mainly martial class that many skill points, even if the skills are non-skillmonkey territory. Also consider that some of the skills are rarely if ever used (Swim, Ride, Profession, and Handle Animal in particular seldom see use in games I've been in unless as part of a specific setting or build). Still, it's something to think about.

    Note to NeoSeraphi: Changed the text to disintegrate rather than shatter. Thanks for all the help on this.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Note to NeoSeraphi: Changed the text to disintegrate rather than shatter. Thanks for all the help on this.
    Looks good. I noticed the changes you made to Master of the Way. The problem here is that flight speeds that are magical are always perfect maneuverability (that is what the perfect maneuverability exists for). It also would require you to change the heading to Su instead of Ex.

    I know you probably want it to stay Ex and you want an extraordinary flight speed, which is why you gave it good maneuverability to begin with, but for extraordinary flight speed, you need, well, wings. So either the air kensei needs to grow a pair of wings (which should grant him a speed greater than his land speed at average-good maneuverability, see also dragons) or he needs a supernatural flight speed with perfect maneuverability (at which case the half land speed is fine, if a bit underwhelming as a capstone)
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    No PEACHing, unfortunately, but a resounding call to keep it up. This... is... cooool... /drools

    Seriously, though, fantastic job. It provides a great means of playing a mystical, skilled, disciplined warrior.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Looks good. I noticed the changes you made to Master of the Way. The problem here is that flight speeds that are magical are always perfect maneuverability (that is what the perfect maneuverability exists for). It also would require you to change the heading to Su instead of Ex.

    I know you probably want it to stay Ex and you want an extraordinary flight speed, which is why you gave it good maneuverability to begin with, but for extraordinary flight speed, you need, well, wings. So either the air kensei needs to grow a pair of wings (which should grant him a speed greater than his land speed at average-good maneuverability, see also dragons) or he needs a supernatural flight speed with perfect maneuverability (at which case the half land speed is fine, if a bit underwhelming as a capstone)
    *Astonishment*

    I had never noticed that. Huh.

    Anyway, changed to grant him a pair of wings at 1.5x land-speed with good maneuverability. Also added an interesting clause to them because fluffy white wings do not feel like a Kensei to me. Let me know what you think.

    Edit: Thanks Daverin, I strongly suspect it's this good because of my love of the Book of Five Rings. In any case, glad you like it!
    Last edited by TravelLog; 2011-10-17 at 01:56 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    *Astonishment*

    I had never noticed that. Huh.

    Anyway, changed to grant him a pair of wings at 1.5x land-speed with good maneuverability. Also added an interesting clause to them because fluffy white wings do not feel like a Kensei to me. Let me know what you think.
    ^_^ If all of us knew everything, we wouldn't need each other right? Forums are great. I learn things about the same system I've played for two years every day!

    And oh ho ho! Very nice and flavorful! An effect worthy of a capstone!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    It does help that you are gaining inspiration from one of the single most badass legends of swordsmanship to ever exist.

    In honor of the character, any chance I could convince you to add in some proficiency with improvised weapons, for those times where you wish to actually challenge yourself and wield weapons whittled from oars?
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daverin View Post
    It does help that you are gaining inspiration from one of the single most badass legends of swordsmanship to ever exist.

    In honor of the character, any chance I could convince you to add in some proficiency with improvised weapons, for those times where you wish to actually challenge yourself and wield weapons whittled from oars?
    While I find that idea hilarious, I think I'll leave it out for now. Though perhaps I'll make something interesting for the April Fools edition.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Alright, fair enough! As said before, keep it up, I would love to see other work from you in the future.

    EDIT: Just checked your sig, didn't realize you were the guy who did the gentleman. You, sir, just do awesome work.
    Last edited by Daverin; 2011-10-17 at 02:38 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quick skim of the class.

    First, I see Tiger Claw, Iron Heart, and Desert Wind. Not being super into ToB, I would not have expected what I thought was a tank's discipline. Also, Desert Wind is pretty darn weak, so I'm thinking a basic DW stance, Iron Heart up to IHS, and then Tiger Claw up the wazoo, especially since his number of maneuvers known is really really low.

    Also, Iajutsu Focus SHOULDN'T BE A SKILL AAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!... but having that in your class is sensible.

    The recovery mechanic actually seems superior to the swordsage. You spend a full-round action (like the swordsage) and if your Wis is less than 18, you get 1 maneuver back (like the swordsage). But your Wis is 18, you're actually getting 2 maneuvers back. The swordsage only ever gets one... unless my knowledge of ToB is mistaken. I am AFB at the moment, so this could just be me acting dumb.

    The random "get a stance from stone dragon!" doesn't seem very sensible. If you want them to have stone dragon, just give them stone dragon. Or say "you get 2 from IH, DW, and SD".

    18th level, way of the ever-shifting waves is a big hassle. The DM has no what status afflictions the creature will have, or even it will be alive. Even if he could do that, I don't know any DMs who plan 3 rounds ahead for their monsters, even important ones. I strongly recommend changing this guy, or at least having an alternative for DMs who give it the middle finger.

    For Flickering Flame's 14th-level ability, pounce as a Swift action means two full attacks in a turn. And let me remind you that this class uses two-weapon fighting, and will be doing not with penalties but solid bonuses due to the other class features herein. Take landshark boots from MoI for greater lulz. This guy needs some toning down.

    Piercing Wind is nice, though that 18th level ability wins any surprise encounter.

    Void.... needs a fix. I can't read "endless field of black and white flowers" without making my whisky-tango-foxtrot face, and it's actually a legit no-save, no-SR, Save v. Death. And from the text, it appears that the person killed can't be revived either. Bad bad bad. If anything, I'd make this an isolated battle for 2 turns or something, instead of making it a spotlight-devouring auto-win button. If the player and some NPC wants to talk, then let them talk for the narrative's sake.

    Overall Thoughts
    No flight from the class till the capstone. That's a problem.

    Lots and lots and lots of class abilities. This guy easily has more than your average ToB character, and I'd put him on par with the Beguiler in terms of ability. At level 18, you are literally gaining five nearly-capstone-level abilities. That needs to be limited, and my suggestion is a skill tree.

    Make the four elemental ways their own set going from the 2nd-level benefit to the 18th-level benefit (this means adding more abilities, yes). Then the Kensai chooses one to specialize in at level 2, and chooses another to specialize in at a later level, which is staggered and delayed compared to his primary way. He might choose a third one too. The Void Way can always be around, since that's pretty much the epitome of the Kensai. Then, for the Kensai who want to master more or all of the elements, find some way of making them pay feats or feats and gold to get those extra elemental ways (since the Kensai is gaining bonus feats, its actually a workable tradeof).

    Those are my 2cp, and a deeper look at the ways themselves should come later.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

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    Very well-themed, and Musashi quotes are always great for delivering flavor. I really like that the elemental theme is carried so well throughout all of the class features - it really pulls the whole class together, even as some of the features are very different from one another.

    Kot5R offers a lot of mechanical bonuses. Summing them up, I find:

    A likely +35 or +40 to hit over 20 levels.
    +20 base attack
    The better of Strength or Dex to attack
    +Wis insight bonus to attack
    +5 enhancement to attack
    +2 or greater to attack with Sense Motive check (situational)

    A likely +15 or so damage over 20 levels (+155 vs. constructs and undead)
    the better of Strength or Dex to damage
    +Wis insight bonus to damage
    +5 enhancement to damage
    +40d6 damage vs. constructs and undead (save for 5d6, situational)

    A likely +16 Reflex save over 20 levels
    +6 class Reflex saves
    +Wis insight bonus to Reflex saves

    A likely +10 AC over 20 levels
    +Wis to AC in up to medium armor

    A likely 10 to 26 attacks per round at 20th level
    4 attacks per round (base attack bonus)
    +4 attacks per round (NIR)
    +2 attacks per round (WotIE)
    +8 attacks per round (WotESW)
    +8 attacks per round (WotFF)



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    Kot5R includes some extremely powerful abilities, enough so that I wonder what your desired power level is. I would say that this is gunning for Tier 2, as is. In general, I prefer the sort of class that allows the player to respond to the DM's challenges by using creativity, lateral thinking, and perhaps a bit of luck. I don't like classes that force the DM to use creativity, lateral thinking, and perhaps a bit of luck just to challenge the players. Some of your abilities cross that line (marked in red below).

    With 45+ unique class features, bonus feats, maneuvers, and stances, this class is more complicated than it needs to be. I'd encourage you to drop some of the less important features and buff up the remaining ones, so the class retains the same overall power level while being easier to learn, build, and play.

    Mechanically, your attacks per round will be an ENORMOUS problem. Your class is capable of attacking up to 26 times per round if it can find enough opponents able to survive the first 25 attacks, and that's without any sort of optimization at all. Assuming your average damage per hit is something pathetic like 30 hp or so, that's still 540 damage per round, which will kill two solars with enough attacks left over to gratuitously disintigrate any furniture within reach. Speaking of disintigrating furniture, if you were unfortunate enough to be surrounded by nightcrawlers, you could kill up to 20 of them in one round using your pinkie finger to deliver disintigrating strikes. I'd suggest you remove the abilities granting full attacks as swift or immediate actions.

    Wis to AC in medium armor and Str/Dex + Wis + free enhancement + full base attack are potential causes for concern, as these numbers are mildly better than what the Tier 3 crowd can generally produce. I'd suggest you playtest, or perhaps simply challenge your gaming group to try to break the class, and see if the numbers are reasonable when compared to the attack bonuses and AC of equal-CR monsters.

    The power gain overall is very erratic, as you gain much more from levels 6, 10, 14, and 18 than you do from any of the other levels. I'd suggest staggering the advancements to the elemental-themed powers so they don't all land at once.

    Way of the Insightful Earth 14: Need to define whether the kensai is considered grappled, and how he maintains the grapple or how the opponent escapes from it, even if it's all merely "as normal". Also, you're looking to say that any opponent who threatens the grappled victim may treat it as flanked. Creatures don't automatically get a flank benefit simply because their target is flanked by another opponent.

    Way of the Insightful Earth 18: Blindsight 120' is one of those power abilities I mentioned. Generally, exotic senses with a range greater than 60' cause trouble for the DM. Not saying you shouldn't do it, but this is one of the abilities that pushes you up a tier past the ToB classes. Regardless, I'd suggest starting with a weaker version of this around level 10, and scaling the range as you advance in level.

    Way of the Ever-Shifting Waves 6: Need to define the skill the opponent rolls to resist. Is it also Sense Motive, or maybe Bluff? Need to define the range of the ability.

    Way of the Ever-Shifting Waves 10: This is another ability that potentially pushes you up a tier. With sufficient Sense Motive optimization, the kensai's player can basically say to the DM, "just show me the character sheet for everyone we meet." This can totally wreck many sorts of campaigns involving intrigue and deception. I'd suggest limiting it to function only in combat, and only against opponents who do not have total concealment from the kensai.

    Way of the Ever-Shifting Waves 14: Is the kensai empowered to attack the foe if he doesn't have sufficient reach to threaten it?

    Way of the Ever-Shifting Waves 18: Needs a range. This ability is broken, in the sense that it doesn't work. The DM can't tell you what an NPC is going to do for the next three rounds because the DM doesn't know. You could force the DM to guess, but if your knowledge is truly 100% accurate, this can create time-paradox issues. For example, if the DM says "he's going to full-attack you, score seven critical hits, gut you for 873 damage, then clean his blade and smoke a cigarette" and you respond by soiling your pants and teleporting to safety, the universe breaks in half because you've prevented your 100% true prediction from occurring. I'd suggest a more limited ability, such as that granted by the foresight spell.

    Way of the Piercing Wind 14: The ability to ignore all immunities creates the possibility for some nonsensical situations which may be inappropriate for an extraordinary ability. For example, you can use it to burn a fire elemental, stab a swarm of fine creatures to death, knock an incorporeal creature unconscious by beaning it over the head with a barstool, level-drain an undead creature, frighten a mindless creature, and do many other very odd things. In general, you don't want to use words like "any" and "all" when writing rules. Instead, narrow the scope and define exactly what you want to be able to bypass.

    Way of the Piercing Wind 18: Disintigrate as a full attack. That's hella stylin', man. Applying it to constructs and undead is a bit much, although that's more a problem with the number of attacks per round this class makes, rather than with the disintigration attack. Also, you need a save DC. Even unattended items receive a save vs. disintigrate, if they're magical.

    Way of the Boundless Void: This is just made of win. However, it's another tier-busting ability. At 18th-level of play and up, true resurrection with no level loss is easily affordable. At epic it becomes a trivial expense. Thus, this is an affordable, no-save, just-die ability that will kill any BBEG in the game. Worse, it puts the spotlight on you and your dramatic conversation with the villain while completely shunting the other players aside and forcing them to sit and be your audience. This needs to be revamped to be more DM-friendly, campaign-friendly, and party-friendly. For example, a better balance should be that it requires a successful contested roll of some kind to succeed, forces you to lose a level if it works, and brings all creatures within a set radius into the field of blossoms.

    Master of the Way: The ability to gain the incorporeal subtype is awesome, and really fits the ideal of Void. It's a rare ability too, not granted by many prestige classes or spells. Good choice.


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    Flavor/Fluff
    Don't change it! You've got an excellent concept, well-expressed and well-communicated. The mechanics strongly support the fluff and really cover a lot of the bases in addressing what Musashi wrote about.

    Skill Use
    Musashi was a big believer in instant mastery, the idea that you could become excellent at one thing and then transfer your knowledge of the techniques or habits of "excellent doing" to any other thing. As a nod to that, you might consider a feature allowing the character to do something like take a penalty to his base attack in order to gain a like bonus on checks with a particular skill, sort of like power attack for skills. There would need to be a significant time commitment (at least 5 minutes, maybe an hour) in regaining your base attack bonus in order to make the sacrifice meaningful.

    On a related note, samurai were expected to be skilled in many pursuits. 6 skill points per level is appropriate here. However, I'd suggest paying for it with nerfs elsewhere rather than simply adding it on top of everything else.

    Maneuvers
    I'm surprised to see such limited Stone Dragon access. I'd suggest simply adding it as a known discipline - it's not very powerful, and the added versatility is useful. On the subject of disciplines, I think you're going to be a little disappointed in the maneuver use of this class, as its swift and immediate actions are so good that it will rarely want to change a stance or use a boost or counter, and it gets so many perks on its normal full attack (along with two forms of swift-action movement and pounce) that it would usually rather full attack than use a strike. The problem with putting maneuvers on a Tier 2 class is that maneuvers (with the notable exception of Iron Heart Surge and White Raven Tactics) are strictly Tier 3 powers, making them a suboptimal use of actions for a powerful class like the Kot5R.

    Way of the Insightful Earth
    Myself, I see earth as the element of terrain mastery and steadfastness, not the element of intuition. I'd like to see abilities resembling flawless stride, bulkwark, and aura of courage here, rather than +Wis to a bunch of stats. I'd also encourage you to consider these sorts of abilities because tactical options are more interesting than numeric bonuses anyhow. At the least, we should be adding +Con to things here, rather than +Wis.

    Way of Earth is the right place to also be offering the ability to shrug off conditions like fatigued, exhausted, nauseated, and such. If that suits your vision for the class.

    I was going to try to offer some suggestions for the other elements, but I'm drawing a blank. I'll get some sleep and consider more, and re-read Go Rin No Sho a bit to get a little more in your head with where you're coming from with each element. Will post again tomorrow night.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-10-17 at 04:10 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Other people have given some fantastic suggestions here, so I'm just going to say one thing; I would really like if there was an ACF to allow for two-handing rather than two-weapon fighting.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    The only reason that may not happen is given the subject material; Miyamoto was famous for dual-wielding, and it is reflected in the style provided in the book. So, if Travel wants to keep it as close to inspiration as possible, that may not happen.

    Or he could not care and do it anyways. You know, his call.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Jiriku and YouLostMe: you both raise excellent points (though troubling, as I did not realize KotFR had the ability to attack that many times per round). I have classes for much of the day, but I plan to address each of your points and hopefully work to revamp some of the more glaring issues some time tonight.

    I'd also like to say that I truly appreciate the level of thought each of you gave to the class and it's features. Many thanks and I have no doubt that once I make the changes the class will be better for them.
    Last edited by TravelLog; 2011-10-17 at 10:09 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Well Travel, what jiriku failed to mention is that you can only attack that many times per round on the first round, as if you consume your immediate action, you lose your swift action for the next round, which means no double-pouncing. That's why I didn't bring it up to begin with.

    The ability to make a full-round attack of opportunity is indeed powerful. Instead of that, I would suggest that you allow your kensei to use martial strikes in place of his attacks of opportunity, as well as in place of the full round attack offered by Evershifting Wave 14. It's still an improvement over the normal rules, but less game-breaking.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Well Travel, what jiriku failed to mention is that you can only attack that many times per round on the first round, as if you consume your immediate action, you lose your swift action for the next round, which means no double-pouncing. That's why I didn't bring it up to begin with.

    The ability to make a full-round attack of opportunity is indeed powerful. Instead of that, I would suggest that you allow your kensei to use martial strikes in place of his attacks of opportunity, as well as in place of the full round attack offered by Evershifting Wave 14. It's still an improvement over the normal rules, but less game-breaking.
    This is an excellent suggestion. However, I'm still having trouble figuring out how a Kot5R could get 26 attacks per round, even with jiriku's explanation. Could you provide an action-by-action breakdown? I haven't had my coffee yet so I'm probably not thinking clearly enough.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Well, I must say that this is indeed a juicy class, and though I won't be able to give you nearly as extensive a critique as those before me, I can at least give you my two cents.
    Overall the class feels heavy, it's like a Kot5R can not only be a one-man army fluff-wise, but mechanics-wise as well. It essentially has the weight of a gastalted character in a single-class world and this is mainly due to having access to all the Ways.
    If I could make a suggestion, based on the Master of the Way capstone it would be neat if a Kot5R could shift his Ways, like shifting a martial stance (albeit involving more action-investment than a mere swift action) and thus gaining access to all the branches of each Way including the corresponding elemental type in the capstone.
    This way, the Kot5R still has access to all of his abilities but now is less uber-doomy and over-bulked.
    Plus, it adds that extra thrill of assessing a situation and adapting one's style to best suit the conflict. Imagine the awesomeness of seeing Cuttingsworth Bladebeard if he assumed Way of the Insightful Earth to lock down a tumbling flippy-dippy rogue and cleaned his clock, sensed the big bad voidmind wartroll coming at him, negated its charge, Sudden Leaped far away for some breathing room and thought to himself "This beast is clearly more resilient than that doofy rogue . . . time to adapt and vanquish!" and assumed Way of the Piercing Wind to eat right through that things regeneration despite its immunity to acid damage.
    Anyway, that's my main beef. Beyond that I generally agree with the common critques of those before me and beyond those, I say job very well done.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Well Travel, what jiriku failed to mention is that you can only attack that many times per round on the first round, as if you consume your immediate action, you lose your swift action for the next round, which means no double-pouncing. That's why I didn't bring it up to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    This is an excellent suggestion. However, I'm still having trouble figuring out how a Kot5R could get 26 attacks per round, even with jiriku's explanation. Could you provide an action-by-action breakdown? I haven't had my coffee yet so I'm probably not thinking clearly enough.
    Tch. I did mention, although only in one place.

    The expected number of attacks would vary from 10 to 26 per round, because some are made as an immediate action and some as a swift action, and those compete with one another. As an example of how this might work:

    Round 1: The Kot5R charges a group of opponents, attacking 8 times and killing most of them. He takes a swift action to charge a second group, but provokes an attack of opportunity from a survivor of group 1, to which he responds by countering and riposting (running total: 9). He completes his swift charge and makes 8 more attacks (running total: 17). The monsters act, attacking him at least twice because he just messily butchered half their side. He counters and ripostes (running total: 18), then takes an immediate action to counter with a full attack of 8 more strikes (running total: 26).

    Round 2: With no swift action available, he simply attacks 8 times. The monsters act and attack him, provoking two more counter-riposte sequences (running total: 10 attacks).

    Average number of attacks over two rounds was 18 per round, but this is significantly front-loaded. It's likely that the battle would be over on round 1 unless some opponents were undetectable, invulnerable or inaccessible, but it would be hard to imagine how that would occur since the Kot5R can fly, phase, and ignore invulnerabilities (although that costs him some attacks), and has 120' blindsight.

    This is a basic example. If the Kot5R has reach and Combat Reflexes and a Dex of, say, 20, wields two +5 speed light maces, and picks up the Improved Critical, Lightning Mace, and Snap Kick, he could probably claim 8 - 16 additional attacks per round. So we'd be looking at 18 to 42 attacks per round, probably averaging somewhere south of 30 attacks per round on average.

    In general, the Kot5R suffers from being too good at what he does. A major problem with this level of efficiency is that combat isn't really fun any more when you simply take your turn and kill every single opponent all at once. The Kot5R becomes so efficient at combat that he essentially solves it, and removes combat from the list of interesting challenges that D&D has to offer. Now sure, T1 casters can do the same, but that's a bad thing. Fortunately, the character is a Sense Motive beast and can find useful things to do outside of combat, but there too, some of his abilities (Ever-Shifting Waves 10, for example) are so efficient that he essentially resolves entire plot-lines with a single die roll ("Aha! I deduce from his abilities that Jeeves the human butler is actually a changeling with 8 levels of rogue and 5 levels of Cabinet Trickster! I can tell just by looking at him. I think we've found our killer, inspector.")
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-10-17 at 05:03 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Tch. I did mention, although only in one place.

    The expected number of attacks would vary from 10 to 26 per round, because some are made as an immediate action and some as a swift action, and those compete with one another. As an example of how this might work:

    ----an extremely thorough and helpful breakdown of the KotFR's actions in combat, highlighting the insane number of attacks he gets---------

    Average number of attacks over two rounds was 18 per round, but this is significantly front-loaded. It's likely that the battle would be over on round 1 unless some opponents were undetectable, invulnerable or inaccessible, but it would be hard to imagine how that would occur since the Kot5R can fly and ignore invulnerabilities (although that costs him some attacks), and has 120' blindsight.

    This is a basic example. If the Kot5R has reach and Combat Reflexes and a Dex of, say, 20, wields two +5 speed light maces, and picks up the Improved Critical, Lightning Mace, and Snap Kick, he could probably claim 8 - 16 additional attacks per round. So we'd be looking at 18 to 42 attacks per round, probably averaging somewhere south of 30 attacks per round on average.

    In general, the Kot5R suffers from being too good at what he does. A major problem with this level of efficiency is that combat isn't really fun any more when you simply take your turn and kill every single opponent all at once. The Kot5R becomes so efficient at combat that he essentially solves it, and removes combat from the list of interesting challenges that D&D has to offer. Now sure, T1 casters can do the same, but that's a bad thing. Fortunately, the character is a Sense Motive beast and can find useful things to do outside of combat, but there too, some of his abilities (Ever-Shifting Waves 10, for example) are so efficient that he essentially resolves entire plot-lines with a single die roll ("Aha! I deduce from his abilities that Jeeves the human butler is actually a changeling with 8 levels of rogue and 5 levels of Cabinet Trickster! I can tell just by looking at him. I think we've found our killer, inspector.")

    This is incredibly helpful and gives me a glimmer about how to solve the issues that have been discussed. I'll try to come up with something appropriate as a fix.

    Additionally, the Sense Motive as part of the WoESW is meant to be only in combat, though of course huge sense motive ranks will also help out of combat. Is the consesus that I should make each of the paths fully scaling, with only one fully available at a time and perhaps varying degrees of one or two others, changeable at some defined interval?
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    BY the way, is there any way i can keep the class as written now before you make further changes?

    This would be for when i play another game where its me playing a martial and everyone else is a Cleric/Wizard/Druid/any other full caster.

    (Or does copy/pasting into Word work, even for tables and such?)

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    ^It should, yes.

    I also considered doing just that, but I think I will wait for the completed version. Perhaps a previous version in a spoiler somewhere??

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base, TOB] Kensei of the Five Rings: PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by kalminos View Post
    BY the way, is there any way i can keep the class as written now before you make further changes?

    This would be for when i play another game where its me playing a martial and everyone else is a Cleric/Wizard/Druid/any other full caster.

    (Or does copy/pasting into Word work, even for tables and such?)
    What I may do is leave the class in it's current version here, then make a new post with the updated version. That said, you will be able to copy everything but the table by my general understanding. If you do use it, I'd love if you gave me feedback on how it functions and plays.
    Last edited by TravelLog; 2011-10-17 at 05:16 PM.
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