So a while back
, I was trying to find ways to make the Samurai Class from Complete Warrior not suck. Thanks to a lot of feedback and creative thinking, I was able to make what I believe is a viable Samurai Class that retains the original style and feel of a pure Samurai
The samuraiís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis) Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex). See Chapter 4 in the Playerís Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifi er) ◊ 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A samurai is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armor, but not with shields.
Daisho Proficiency (Ex): In melee combat, a samurai favors the katana (a masterwork bastard sword) and the wakizashi (a masterwork short sword). Many samurai receive an heirloom set of these two blades, known as the daisho. Because a samurai is trained in their use, he gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) as a bonus feat.
Two Swords as One (Ex): At 2nd level, a samurai has learned to wield the katana and wakizashi together. He is treated as having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.
Kiai Smite (Ex): Twice per day, a samurai of 3rd level or higher can give a great cry during combat that invigorates him. When a samurai shouts (a free action), his next attack gains a bonus on the attack roll equal to his Charisma bonus (minimum +1) and a bonus to the damage roll equal to the samurai's level. As a samurai gains levels, he can make a kiai smite more often.
[I give him additional uses of this ability and made it deal more damage as it will most likely be the most used ability]
Bonus Feat (Ex): At 4th level, a samurai obtains a Bonus Feat chosen from the Fighterís Bonus Feat list. A samurai obtains another Feat at 8th level and every four levels afterwards.
[I figure the samurai should have more options available to him than a strict progression, so I gave him access to fighter bonus feats at every four levels]
Iaijutsu Master (Ex): By 5th level, a samurai has become adept at iaijutsu, a fighting technique that concentrates on drawing his weapon and striking a foe in one fluid motion. He is treated as having the Quick Draw feat.
[Samurai have a much larger repertoire of weapons other than the katana and wakizashi, so this feat at least should apply to all weapons the samurai is proficient with]
Staredown (Ex): At 6th level, a samurai becomes able to strike fear into his foes by his mere presence. He gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks and can demoralize an opponent using a swift action (as described in the Intimidate skill description, page 76 of the Playerís Handbook).
[This ability was changed so the samurai could use it as a swift action because otherwise it would be the same thing every other class could due with a normal skill check]
Improved Two Swords as One (Ex): At 6th level, a samuraiís prowess with the katana and wakizashi improves. He is treated as having the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for the feat.
[This feature was dropped down from level 11 to level 6 because it'd be way too late to benefit at that level]
Improved Initiative (Ex): At 8th level, the samurai has practiced iaijutsu techniques used in ritual duels between two samurai, and he is able to anticipate when any enemy will attack. He now has the Improved Initiative feat.
Heavy Armor Mobility (Ex): At 8th level, a samurai learns to move more freely in heavy armor. He reduces the armor check penalty of heavy armor by 2 points. This benefit increases by one additional point at 13th level and once again at 18th level. This ability cannot reduce the armor check penalty to below 0.
[Samurai have been known to wear big heavy armor and not be hindered by it, so I figured this would be a good way to represent it]
Mass Staredown (Ex): At 9th level, a samurai has sufficient presence that he can cow multiple foes. Using am Intimidate check, the samurai can demoralize all opponents within 30 feet with a single standard action.
[Dropped down by a level because it seemed appropriate]
Kiai Whirlwind (Ex): At 10th level, a samurai learns to strike all targets around him with deadly accuracy. He can make a shout and perform a Whirlwind Attack as a standard action (instead of the normal full round action) and adds his Charisma bonus on all damage rolls in this attack (functioning the same as the Feat from page 102 of the Playerís Handbook, other than the casting time) twice a day even if he doesnít normally fill the requirements. His weapons are treated as having a ten foot reach for the duration of this attack. He can use this ability four times a day at 16th level.
[This one I'm pretty proud of, Samurai should be able to take out large groups of enemies at once in a single stroke and I figured this would be a decent way to apply it to the class. This ability is basically a cross between the Whirlwind Attack and the Kiai Smite. Pretty strong and hits multiple enemies, but limited in how many times they can use it]
Zantetsuken (Ex): At 10th level, a samurai is proficient in the technique of zantetsuken (or Steel-Cutting Slash) which allows him to bypass Damage Reduction of enemies. It begins as bypassing 5 points of Damage Reduction at 10th level and increases by 1 at every second level afterwards. (12th level, 14th level, 16th level, 18th level and 20th level)
[Samurai should be able to take out other heavily armored and well defended enemies, so bypassing Damage Reduction just makes sense]
Iaijutsu Defence (Ex): At 11th level, a samurai learns to never drop his guard when fighting. He is treated as having a deflection bonus equal to his Charisma bonus. This bonus remains so long as the samurai is conscious.
[Samurai stay alert at all times, I thought this would be a good way to represent their dedication to their defence in the game]
Improved Staredown (Ex): At 13th level, even a glance from the hard eyes of a samurai is enough to give his foes pause. The samurai can demoralize opponents within a range of 60 feet instead of 30 and gains a additional bonus to the Intimidate check equal to half his level rounded down.
[Also brought down because it felt right]
Greater Two Swords as One (Ex): At 14th level, fighting with a katana and wakizashi becomes second nature for a samurai. He is treated as having the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.
[Same as the one above it]
Frightful Presence (Ex): A 15th-level samuraiís bravery, honor, and fighting prowess have become legendary. When the samurai draws his blade, opponents within 30 feet must make a Will save. (DC 20 + samurai's Charisma bonus) Opponents who fail become shaken for 1D4 rounds, opponents who fail by 10 or more become panicked for 1D6 rounds and opponents who fail by 20 or more flee uncontrollably. Any foe that successfully resists the effect cannot be affected again by the same samuraiís frightful presence for 24 hours.
[See, this one was originally at level 20 and that would have been waaaaaaaaay too late to do any good. So I dropped it down five levels and removed the Hit Dice based effect and replaced by how bad they failed their save]
Unconquerable (Ex): An 18th-level samuraiís resolve and determination is so great that when he is reduced to less than zero hit points (but is still alive) he no longer takes a point of damage for performing a standard action, as he usually would according to the Diehard feat. Furthermore, he does not die until he is reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to his class level and may continue to perform either a move action or a standard action each round until that point.
[A friend suggested this one and it just felt right that a samurai keep fighting past any logical point]
Overwhelming Renown (Ex): A samurai of 19th level is treated as a lord in the eyes of citizens and seen as a brave warrior in the eyes of lords and nobles. Enemies who succeed a Knowledge (Nobility) DC 15 will recall of your exploits and be panicked for 1D6 rounds. Citizens and merchants who pass such a Check will gladly offer services and discounts in awe.
[Really just a bit of flavoring to the class and shows just how strong he might be at this point]
Improved Frightful Presence (Ex): At 20th level, a samurai can inspire terror with a simple movement of the hand. Frightful Presence can be triggered by simply moving a hand towards a weapon (not necessarily your own) and has a range of 60 feet instead of 30.
[See, now this is better for level 20. It's still the same effect, but the range is bigger and you don't even need to draw a weapon.]