Bushi, Variant Samurai (3.5e Class)

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A Bushi is variant Samurai (CW). These Eastern Knights bask in bloodshed, revel in war, and relish every moment of combat. These warriors are strictly honor-bound and hell bent on being a presence on the battlefield. When a Bushi strikes, he not only harms his opponent's body, causing immense pain and bloodshed, but he also harms his opponent's resolve, as the Bushi's multiple strikes build on one another, a challenger is forced to realize that the Bushi is a war machine, a warrior of unending bloodshed. The presence of a Bushi on the battleground can rattle the resolve of any warrior.

Making a Bushi[edit]

A Bushi is a melee' combatant, capable of striking and defending. The Bushi's class features grant it the power necessary to do such, and a character wishing to broaden their versatility may take archery feats or mounted feats. Bushi also have many abilities that enhance their presence on the battlefield. Thus, Bushi typically take the Imperious Command feat as early as possible, as well as Resounding Blow.

Abilities: Charisma enhances the Bushi's ability to be a presence on the battlefield, while Strength and Constitution powers the Bushi's power and durability on the front lines.

Races: Humans often find a home for their yearning for power in the path of the Bushi. Dwarves are often attracted to the way of the Bushi, due to their intense codes of honor, but may have a difficult time being a terror on the battlefield.

Alignment: Any Lawful.

Starting Gold: 4d4x10 (80gp)

Starting Age: Moderate

Table: The Bushi

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Katana Proficency, Kiai Shout, Code of Bushido
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Daisho Style, Iajitsu Style
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Bushido Bravery, Diehard
4th +4 +4 +1 +1
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Daisho Training, Staredown
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Uncanny Dodge
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Daisho Training
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Greater Kiai Shout
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Mass Staredown
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Daisho Training
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Improved Diehard
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Daisho Training
15th +15/10/+5 +9 +5 +5
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Daisho Training
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 Frightful Presence
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Daisho Training, Suprme Kiai Shout

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis)

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Bushi.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bushi are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor, but not with shields. Bushi shun the use of shields in combat as cowardly and weak.

Katana Proficency: A Bushi favors the use of a Katana (bastard sword) in combat. Thus, at 1st level, he gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

Kiai Shout (Ex): A Bushi lives to strike fear in the hearts of his foes. He gains Kiai Shout as a bonus feat. In addition, he gains uses of the feat equal to his Bushi level. This supersedes the normal Kiai shout feat, which allows three uses per day.

Daisho Style (Ex): A Bushi excels at using two weapons at once, turning him into a flurry of deadly attacks, one after one slaying his foes. A 2nd level Bushi gains Two Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. If he already has this feat, he may choose a different one.

In addition, a Bushi ignores any Dexterity prerequisite to qualify for a feat that also has Two Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite. He must still meet any other the prerequisite for the feat. For example, a Bushi with 11 Dexterity may qualify for Two Weapon Defense, as long as he meets the other prerequisites.

Iajitsu Style (Ex): A Bushi has experienced enough battle to know the telltale signs of a coming fight. At level 2, a Bushi gains a bonus equal to his Charisma modifier to all initiative checks.

Bushido Bravery (Ex): A Bushi of enough experience knows no fear. He stands in battle against all odds. A 3rd level Bushi gains immunity to all fear effects.

Diehard: A 3rd level Bushi can stand and fight for honor even through the most grievous wounds. He gains Diehard as a bonus feat.

Daisho Training (Ex): A Bushi learns many ways of fighting with two weapons throughout his career. At 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 20th level, a Bushi gains a bonus feat from the following list. She must meet all prerequisites for the feat (Remember that a Bushi ignores any Dexterity prerequisite to qualify for a feat that also has Two Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite.)

Dual Strike, Double Hit, Greater Two Weapon Defense, Greater Two Weapon Fighting, Haft Strike, Improved Two Weapon Defense, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Oversized Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense, Two Weapon Pounce, Two Weapon Rend.

Staredown (Ex): At 5th level, a Bushi becomes able to strike fear into his foes by his mere presence. A Bushi can demoralize any single opponent within 30 feet as a move action. He also gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks to demoralize an opponent in combat.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Bushi of 7th level can react to combat and battle unnaturally quickly. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Greater Kiai Shout (Ex): A Bushi of 9th level has incited fear and panic in the hearts and souls of hundreds. He gains Greater Kiai Shout as a bonus feat.

Mass Staredown (Ex): The terror of a Bushi on the battlefield is a sight to behold. At level 10, a Bushi can demoralize all opponents within 30 feet of him as a move action.

Improved Diehard (Ex): When a Bushi reaches 13th level, his heart of bravery and honor gives him the strength to fight on even when others cannot. A Bushi of this level only falls in combat when his hit points reach a negative value equal to 10 + double his Charisma modifier. For example, a Bushi with 19 Charisma only falls when he reaches -18 hit points.

Frightful Presence (Ex): A Bushi of 19th level has terrorized kingdoms, feared the mightiest armies, and conquered kings. When he enters combat, opponents within 60 feet must make a Will save (DC: 10 + 1/2 class level + Charisma modifier) or be shaken for 5d6 rounds. An opponent that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to that same Bushi’s frightful presence for 24 hours.

Supreme Kiai Shout (Ex): At 20th level, a Bushi's Kiai Shout is such a force of terror that affected foes could potentially die of fear. Opponents who fail their Will saving throw against the Bushi's Kiai Shout must also make a Fortitude save of the same Difficulty Class. Should they fail, they are instantly slain due to fear. Should they succeed, they still suffer the normal effects of the Kiai Shout.

Code of Bushido: A Bushi's Code of Bushido defines him as a warrior. A Bushi must follow his Code of Bushido intently, lest he lose his status as a Bushi. The Code of Bushido requires the following:

  • A Bushi must never use a shield
  • A Bushi must be polite
  • A Bushi must not flee a fight unless the CR is equal to or greater than his character level
  • A Bushi must respect legitimate authority
  • A Bushi must act with honor

A Bushi who violates this code takes a -6 penalty to his Charisma score for 24 hours. Multiple violations of this code in 24 hours receive a cumulative penalty. If this penalty equals or exceeds the Bushi's Charisma score, he becomes an ex-Bushi (see below). His Charisma score then reverts to normal.

A Bushi can atone for a violation within the 24 hour time period from one of the following creatures: A Paladin of Honor, A Paladin of Tyranny, A Lawful Good-aligned Soulborn, A Lawful Evil-aligned Soulborn, An Incarnate of Law, A character with access to the Law domain, a character with access to the Law mantle, or an outsider with the Law subtype.

In order for the atonement to be successful, the creature must not oppose the Bushi's alignment in any way, and the creature must have at least as many Hit Dice as the Bushi. The Bushi must then expend 50 experience per Bushi level.

Alternatively, an Atonement spell erases this penalty.


A Bushi who ceases to be Lawful, or who violates his Code of Bushido so grievously becomes an Ex-Bushi. An Ex-Bushi loses all class features of the Bushi, save for weapon and armor proficiency, BAB and save progression, Daisho proficiency, Daisho Style, and Daisho training.

A Bushi who loses his status may regain his title as a Bushi through an Atonement spell.

Epic Bushi[edit]

Table: The Epic Bushi

Hit Die: d10

Level Special
23rd Bonus Feat
26th Bonus Feat
29th Bonus Feat
2 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Bonus Feats: The epic Bushi gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Bushi bonus feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Epic Bushi Bonus Feat List: Damage Reduction, Dire Charge, Devastating Critical, Epic Leadership, Great Charisma, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect Two Weapon Fighting, Superior Initiative.

Human Bushi Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Bastard Sword, Shortbow.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 3 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Concentraition 4 CON -
Craft 4 INT -
Diplomacy 4 CHA -
Intimidate 4 CHA -
Knowledge (History) 4 INT
Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 4 INT
Ride 4 DEX
Sense Motive 4 WIS

<-copy and paste the rows as necessary.->

Feat: Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword.

Bonus Feats: Improved Initiative.

Gear: Scale Mail, a bedroll, 1 day's travel rations, flint and steel, 2 torches, quiver with 20 arrows.

Gold: 2d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Bushi[edit]

Religion: Bushi typically worship lawful aligned gods. The most common choice for any Bushi's worship is St. Cuthbert. Good aligned Bushi often worship Heronius, and Evil aligned Bushi may worship Hextor.

Other Classes: Bushi get along well with Paladins and Monks, due to the sharing of intense training and codes of honor. Fighters appreciate Bushi, as they share the intense struggle of training. Rangers and Druids often are skeptical of the heavy armor and the organized structure of the Bushi. Clerics may treat you with respect or distaing, depending on their god. Barbarians, Rogues, and Bards won't be too keen on your presence; they're lives of trickery, anarchy, and freedom keep them at bay. Wizards and Sorcerers may have a hard time telling the difference between a Bushi and a Paladin, and most won't want to.

Combat: Bushi are strikers and defenders, warriors who find their place in the front lines. You are a primary melee' warrior, though your proficiencies may give you some power at range, if you take the right feats.

Advancement: <-Typical advancement options for characters with this class. Include desirable multiclass options->.

<-pluralized class name-> in the World[edit]

<-Some quote from a character of this class->
—<-NPC name->, <-race-> <-class->

<-Where characters of this class fit in a d20 world.->

Daily Life: <-day in the life of a character of this class->.

Notables: <-notable NPCs of this class->.

Organizations: <-info on what, where, when, and how characters of this class congregate and assemble->.

NPC Reactions: <-How NPCs react to PCs of this class->.

<-class name-> Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in <-the appropriate skills-> can research <-pluralized class name-> to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

<-the appropriate skills->
DC Result
5 <-common knowledge->.
10 <-not so common knowledge->.
15 <-rare information->.
20 <-very rare information->.

Bushi in the Game[edit]

<-How characters of this class fit in the game (PC and NPC) and what roles they play.->

Adaptation: <-Possible variant conceptions of this class.->.

Sample Encounter: Takyo the Tyrant is a powerful slave driver, encountered on the road to a major city.

The brave adventurers march down the open road, the rubble of a million footsteps welcoming their steps. After about a mile of seamless walking, they spot a sting of ten human shaped figures chained to each other, walking without emotion as they are pushed by six men, all armed with long hafted polearms with blades on the ends. A young woman dressed in flowery robes stands in front, stroking her hair that reaches her calves. She smiles grimly as the chained people are shoved down the road, clutching fire in a balled hand. She chuckles and runs up to the chained man in front, and begins to wind up for a touch with the flames.

"Hami! Stop!" A voice bellows from behind the chained men.

A man wearing shining black full plate armor steps out from behind the slaved husks. His head is exposed, and the party sees his green eyes that are housed in a beautiful male face, his dark skin reflecting the light of the shining sun in a gleaming way. His back holds two sabers, sheathed in scabbards that appear to be drakes, or eastern dragons. One is a red sheath that glows with burning passion, the other in a white sheath that glows with cold unlife, both ready to taste blood.

"Hami, why would you want to damage our..." he looks at the man, draws the white blade and places the flat of the blade under his chin. "...products? Surely number one here is worth enough gold that you could raze a worthless cattle with your cut. Plus..." He begins to stroke the side of the slave's face with the flat. "...look at him. This man has no HONOR!" He slaps the man with the blade's flat, knocking him down. The man with the blade crouches and grabs the naked slave by the neck. He lifts the slave effortlessly so that their eyes meet and stares into his eyes so intently that he almost stares through the slave's physical being into what is left of his soul. "This man... He watched you raze his home, along with his wife and baby. His eyes were filled with horror, rage, and despair... And WHAT DID HE DO?" The man throws the slave to the ground and places his foot on the slave's neck. "He RAN! He did no face us and defend his family like an honorable man." He lifts his foot from the slave's neck and places it back on the ground slowly. The man sheathes his blade, turns, and walks back to his previous spot. "This man does not deserve a family, and he certainly does not deserve death. That would be far too merciful."

Takyo the Tyrant, LE Human Bushi 11

STR 17 DEX 11 CON 15 INT 8 WIS 10 CHA 21

HP: 11d10+22 (82hp) AC: 23 (+8 armor, +1 enhancement, +2 deflection, +2 shield) Touch: 12 Flat Foot: 23 Bab +11/+6/+1 Grapple +14 Initiative +9

Standard Attack: +1 Flaming Bastard Sword: +16 melee' (1d10+1d6 fire +4) or Masterwork Composite III Shortbow +12 (1d6 +3)

Full Attack: Rainblades (+1 Flaming Bastard Sword and +1 Frost Bastard Sword) +14/+14/+9/+9/+4: (1d10 +1d6 fire +4/1d10 +1d6 cold +4) or Masterwork Composite III Shortbow +12/+7/+2 (1d6 +3)

Special Abilities:

Daisho Proficency, Greater Kiai Shout/Kiai Shout x11 (DC: 20), Daisho Style, Iajistu Style, Bushido Bravery (Immune to Fear), Diehard, Staredown, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Staredown

Feats: Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword), Improved Initiative, Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Defense, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Imperious Command, Improved Two-Weapon Defense, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting

Skills: Intimidate +19 (+23 Demoralization), Sense Motive +14

Inventory: +2 Cloak of Charisma, +1 Full Plate, +2 Ring of Deflection, bedroll, 2 torches, flint and steel, quiver with 40 arrows, 1d10 gp, Lockbox (DC: 25) with 5000 gp)

EL 11: Takyo the Tyrant comes in a caravan of Hami (an 8th level Wu Jen or Evoker) and six 5th level Fighters.

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