Samurai, Tirr (3.5e Class)

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This page details the Tome Samurai, as modified to fit the Tirr setting. You may be looking for the Samurai found in the Complete Warrior, or the original Frank and K creation, Tome Samurai.
A female samurai.


My ancestors had words for people who would do such a thing. They were not nice words.

The war torn countrysides of many a land are held together with tremendous amounts of dedicated work by masters of weaponry and honor. These martial specialists represent the structure of society by their very existence, and beat the living crap out of any who would dare to stand against it.

At least, that's the idea. In truth, there are those who take upon the mantle of the Samurai only to betray its ideals. Those who trample the fabric of the social network they are supposedly sworn to protect.

Making a Samurai

With your peculiar set of abilities, you are the anti-tank gun. With your Kiai! ability, you are practically guaranteed to win personal combat—as long as you have uses of it left. As you gain Samurai levels, you gain more abilities which negate defenses, allowing you to, for example, demolish the formerly-invulnerable Wall of Force and escape the mighty Force-cage. Your ability to commune with the dead gives you something to do when you're trying to find out where to go next. Your armor and HP are relatively fragile, making you something of a glass cannon—nonetheless, you will be able to reave your way through crowds of opponents, and no matter what your opponent is, you will eventually be able to hurt it.

Alignment: The Samurai can be of any alignment. All of them must maintain the veneer of honor and civility, though there is no reason that they have to actually be Lawful.

Races: The Samurai is primarily found in societies where the law of the land is held in primacy over other things. So while a Samurai himself does not have to be Lawful, Lawful races bear the vast majority of Samurai.

Starting Gold: 4d6x10 gp (140 gold), plus one masterwork weapon.

Starting Age: As Fighter.

Table: The Samurai

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Bushido, Ancestral Alignment
2nd +2 +0 +0 +3 Horde Breaker, Kiai!
3rd +3 +1 +1 +3
4th +4 +1 +1 +4 Whirlwind Attack, Ancestral Guidance
5th +5 +1 +1 +4
6th +6/+1 +2 +2 +5 Blind-fight, Terrible Blows
7th +7/+2 +2 +2 +5
8th +8/+3 +2 +2 +6 Parry Magic, Quick Draw
9th +9/+4 +3 +3 +6
10th +10/+5 +3 +3 +7 Blade of Devastation
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +7
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +8 Deny Caster Defenses, Cut Magic
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +8
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Final Cut
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +9
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +10 Blade of Souls, Reflect Magic
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Deny Armor
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Scrolls of Wisdom

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Samurai.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as a single exotic weapon appropriate to the Samurai's tradition. Samurai are proficient with light and medium Armor, but not with shields of any kind.

Bushido: Samurai are required to perform certain tasks and achieve certain results before they can be considered such; The requirements of being a Samurai and the burden they must carry are detailed in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, which every Samurai adheres to. All of the following are aspects of Bushido:

Pledge of Loyalty: Samurai pledge their loyalty to a Lord, a figure of temporal power and head of a noble family or clan. To retain this Lord, they must follow this Lord's orders and uphold any Code of Conduct the Lord obeys. As long as a Samurai does these two things, he cannot be forced to act against his Lord or Lord's family by mind-affecting effects. Samurai can also pledge towards an ideal, such as righteousness or lawfulness. This, however, forces the Samurai to abide by the very ideal of these virtues or evils, effectively becoming this alignment, and requires that his ancestors would normally allow this.
Ancestral Weaponry: Every culture with a Samurai tradition has a signature weapon that Samurai from that culture use. Whether it is the Spiked Chain of the Hobgoblin Khanate of Underdark or the Katana of the Human Empire of the Ashen Coast, the weapon serves as a symbol of the office and prowess of the Samurai. A samurai can only have one weapon designated as his Ancestral Weapon at a time, and this weapon must be a masterwork weapon exalted by the Samurai's warrior culture. He must perform a 24 hour ritual to call his ancestral spirits into the weapon and designate it as his Ancestral Weapon. This ritual costs 100 gp in incense and offerings, and once performed grants the following abilities:
  • The designated weapon counts as his Ancestral Weapon for all Samurai abilities.
  • The weapon designated cannot have a magical enhancement property, such as Flaming. It may have an enhancement bonus, however.
  • The weapon acts as if it has an enhancement bonus to attack and damage equal to his level divided by three (maximum of +5 for a samurai of 20th level or lower).
  • The Ancestral weapon has double HPs and +10 Hardness, and acts as though it has the Ghost Touch special property.
If a Samurai's ancestral weapon is broken, he suffers similar penalties as if he had lost a familiar: The Samurai must attempt a DC 15 Will saving throw. Failure means he loses 200 experience points per Samurai level; success reduces the loss to one-half that amount. However, a Samurai’s experience point total can never go below 0 as the result of a weapon's destruction. The Samurai cannot replace his Ancestral Weapon until either one year and one day have passed, or the Samurai has been forgiven by his ancestor spirits, through mediation or through atonement.
Code of Honor: A Samurai, just like a Knight or Paladin, is bound to a specific set of rules and conduct. The following is specific and key things that are necessary of Samurai, as dictated by Bushido:
  • A Samurai must treasure his Ancestral Weapon; If disarmed or dropped, the Samurai places priority in retrieving his Ancestral Weapon above all else.
  • A Samurai must accept all challenges against his swordsmanship, provided that his sworn lord, nor his companions, are imperiled at his knowledge.
In duels of this nature, A samurai can elect to be merciful, or attack only for non-lethal damage with the backside of his blade. The latter gains him −2 to hit, but these are acceptable if the Samurai does not wish to kill his opponent.
  • A Samurai must never interfere in a challenge to another, so long as the terms of the challenge are still honored.
  • A Samurai who fails his lord severely must live in exile of his homeland, or commit Seppuku. In exile, he will still follow his lord's code of conduct, and command, if made known to him.
A Samurai's lord or lord's family can pardon the failure, if they are able and wish to, either immediately or at a later point in time.

A Samurai who does not follow these tenets of Bushido is no longer able to call himself a Samurai, and instead, becomes a 'Ronin'. A Ronin can no longer progress in the Samurai class until he is able to return to the path of Bushido; For a Samurai who has his Ancestral Weapon broken, this can last as long as a year and one day, as detailed above. To a Samurai who has rebelled against his lord or code, this is until he is granted atonement.

Ancestral Alignment: A Samurai may be of any alignment, but his ancestor's must have defined, general alignment as well. The Samurai gains power from the support of his ancestors, as he calls them into the ancestral weapon. If the ancestors disapprove of the actions the Samurai commits, they may end up abandoning him. To determine this, any questionable action forces the Samurai to roll a d%, and determine the result based on it's severity:

Table: Tolerance
Nature of Action Example Offense Chance of Abandoning
Forgivable1 Killing someone to uphold other virtues 0%
Minor Actively allowing a murder 25%
Moderate Unintentionally committing a murder 50%
Major Intentionally committing a murder 75%
Heinous2 Intentionally killing defenseless or helpless beings 100%
  1. A forgivable offense assumes the Samurai has no other choice; Otherwise, the offense is minor or moderate.
  2. A heinous offense is generally anything above major, including committing multiple major offenses.

The table assumes that Murder, and to a lesser point fairness, is against the beliefs of the ancestor spirits.

If a Samurai ever performs an act that would go against his ancestors and their approval, the ancestor spirits in his designated weapon will abandon him. The weapon loses all abilities that it gains as a Ancestral weapon, and has a 20% chance of breaking, outright. The Samurai will no longer be able to call an ancestral weapon unless he can reconcile with his ancestors, or atones. This penalty can also be incurred through failure to uphold Bushido, but only if the ancestor spirits believe this is dire enough to warrant abandonment, and above roll takes place.

Horde-Breaker: A Samurai gains Horde-Breaker as a bonus feat at 2nd level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may take a different feat from the Fighter Bonus Feat list that he meets the pre-requisites for.

Kiai! (Ex): At 2nd level, a Samurai may convert a successful strike with his Ancestral Weapon into a confirmed critical hit. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his half his Samurai level + 2. This ability is a free action that is declared after the strike is rolled and confirmed as a hit, but before damage is rolled. This ability cannot be used on Attacks of Opportunity.

Whirlwind Attack: A Samurai gains Whirlwind Attack as a bonus feat at 4th level, even if he doesn't meet the pre-requisites. If he already has this feat, he may take a different feat from the Fighter Bonus Feat list that he meets the pre-requisites for.

Ancestral Guidance (Sp): At 4th level, a Samurai may seek guidance from his ancestors. This counts as a commune effect that can be used once a day. A samurai can also seek guidance from other peoples' ancestors if they are available. This works like a speak with dead effect that may be used once per day.

Blindfighting: A Samurai gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat at 6th level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may take a different feat from the Fighter Bonus Feat list that he meets the pre-requisites for.

Terrible Blows (Su): At 6th level, a Samurai's Ancestral Weapon bypasses Damage Reduction up to 10 as if it were a magical weapon, and ignores Hardness up to half the Samurai's Class level.

Parry Magic (Su): At 8th level, a Samurai may use his Ancestral Weapon to parry magic targeted at him. When the Samurai is targeted by a spell or supernatural ability, he may take an SRD:Attack of Opportunity against the targeted effect. In pursuing this, the caster rolls a spellcraft check, and adds the spells level to the number; If the Samurai can make an attack roll of equal or greater than the resulting number, the spell is parried.

Quick Draw: A Samurai gains Quick Draw as a bonus feat at 8th level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may take a different feat from the Fighter Bonus Feat list that he meets the pre-requisites for.

Blade of Devastation (Su): At 10th level, the Samurai may attack enemies within his reach through objects and walls, his Ancestral Weapon automatically destroying any unattended object or wall in the way with a Hardness less than 10. As a result, enemies do not gain cover bonuses against an attacking Samurai under these circumstances. This effect can also pierce force effects.

As a full round action, he can also destroy unattended objects of any Hardness with a successful Ancestral weapon attack, or dispel up to a 10' by 10' section of a [force] effect.

Cut Magic (Su): At 12th level, a Samurai may attack ongoing spell effects by attacking the square they are in for Area of Effect effects or the object or person for targeted effects (which does damage as normal to the object or person). This attack is handled like the Samurai's Parry Magic ability, but it only dispels a 10' by 10' section of an Area of Effect spell or spell-like ability.

Deny Caster Defenses (Ex): At 132th level, a Samurai attacking with his Ancestral Weapon ignores any AC bonuses on his targets that come from spells or spell-like abilities.

Final Cut (Ex): At 14th level, a Samurai's Ancestral Weapon gains the Vorpal special quality, even if it is not a slashing weapon.

Reflect Magic (Su): At 16th level, a spell effect that would be dispelled by a successful use of the Samurai's Parry Magic ability can instead be reflected back on the caster, as per a spell turning effect.

Blade of Souls: At 16th level, any enemy killed by a Samurai's Ancestral Weapon has his soul sucked into it, and this enemy cannot be raised, resurrected, or otherwise returned to life until the Ancestral Blade is broken. Each time the Ancestral Weapon takes a soul, the Samurai gains a single bonus use of his Kiai! ability that must be used before the next sunrise.

Deny Armor (Su): At 18th level, a Samurai attacking with his Ancestral Weapon ignores any AC bonuses on his targets that come from armor or natural armor.

Scrolls of Wisdom: At 20th level, the Samurai has reached the pinnacle of his art, and he may compose a treatise of his collected wisdom. If he spends one month composing this treatise, he may distribute it and spread his wisdom. Anyone who reads this treatise gains a +2 competence bonus to attack characters with Samurai levels, but a -8 penalty to attack the writer of the treatise.

In addition, a Samurai who writes his treatise no longer takes ability penalties for aging as long as one copy of the treatise exists.

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