Far across the rolling waves, towards the rising sun, there lies the island nation of Hingashi. In the distant past, the realm’s great lords vied for supremacy over its sea-girt confines in a long and bloody conflict. And taking to battle in their lieges’ names were noble swordsmen whose art was forged in the crucible of war: the samurai. Eventually, the nation was unified under one banner, and these warriors came to wield their katana not upon fields as part of an army, but upon streets as protectors of the peace. But as a neglected blade grows dull with rust, so too do men forget their purpose. Amidst waning memories of the old ways, a determined few hold fast to their convictions, hands by katana grips, awaiting the moment for steel to sing.
Role: Excelling in melee combat, these warriors focus precise strikes to deal devastating damage to their foes; their tenacity and will power allowing them to shrug off attacks. They strike with fast and precise attacks, building their warrior spirit before unleashing powerful moves known as combo finishers, instilling fear into their enemies before wiping them out with powerful Iaijutsu enhanced with their bushido arts. Their mastery and use of the katana is unmatched by any other.
Hit Die: d10
Parent Classes: Monk and Knight.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gil (average 175 gil.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gil or less.
The samurai’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier
All of the following are class features of the samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Samurais are proficient with all simple weapons and are proficient with katanas, nodachis, and wakizashis. They are also proficient with light armor, medium armor, and heavy armor but no shields.
Limit Breaks (Su)
At 1st level, the samurai receives the Limit Breaks (Meikyo Shisui and Unseen Strike).
Meikyo Shisui (Su): This Limit Break grants a +2 bonus to all attack and damage rolls made by the samurai while wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four samurai levels after 1st. This bonus increases by 2 per four samurai levels after 1st. Furthermore, he can perform a combo finisher without needing to perform kenki techniques once per round for the duration of this limit break. This limit break requires only a swift action.
Unseen Strike (Su): This Limit Break allows the samurai to make a fast quick strike against his opponents faster than the eye can see. The samurai makes a number of attacks equal to what he can normally make against any opponents within 30 feet (they are considered flat-footed unless they have Uncanny Dodge), if the strike hits, they suffer damage from the samurai’s attack plus +1d6 points of damage + an additional 1d6 per four samurai levels after 1st.
Kenki Techniques (Ex)
At 1st level, a samurai can utilize these techniques to enable combo finishers (see below). Kenki (Warrior Spirit) techniques are special attacks which can be used in place of an attack during an attack action, full-attack action, or charge action. These techniques only function while wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi.
- Falling Slash (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique deals normal weapon damage.
- Heavy Slash (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique suffers a -2 penalty to this Attack roll but deals normal weapon damage + 1 and a foe struck by this, must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or be staggered for 1 round.
- Rising Slash (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique suffers a -2 penalty to this Attack roll but deals normal weapon damage + 1 and has a chance to knock a foe prone. The samurai can attempt to trip his opponent as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity if he hits with this kenki technique. If the attempt fails, the samurai is not tripped in return.
- Slash (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique deals normal weapon damage.
- Sweeping Slash (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique suffers a -2 penalty to this Attack roll but deals normal weapon damage + 1 and has a chance to knock a foe prone. The samurai can attempt to trip his opponent as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity if he hits with this kenki technique. If the attempt fails, the samurai is not tripped in return.
- Thrust (Ex): A samurai who uses this kenki technique suffers a -2 penalty to this Attack roll but deals normal weapon damage + 1 and has a chance to sunder armor. The samurai can attempt to sunder his opponent’s armor as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity if he hits with this kenki technique.
Combo Finisher (Ex)
Also at 1st level and every odd level thereafter, a samurai gains a combo finisher which allows him to put the kenki techniques into good use by starting and finishing combos. Each combo finisher requires a certain amount of kenki techniques in order that must hit and be completed before the end of her next turn of the last successive hit or the samurai must start over. Any kenki techniques used in part to fulfill a combo finisher may be used on any number of creatures. In addition, once the samurai is able to use a combo finisher, he must activate it before the end of his next turn or its lost. All combo finisher are swift actions, unless indicated on the ability. After successfully performing a combo finisher, a samurai may, as a free action, sheath his katana, nodachi, or wakizashi without provoking attacks of opportunity.
- A complete list of combo finishers can be found here: Combo Finishers
Iaijutsu Strike (Ex)
Beginning at 1st level, a samurai can perform a lightning quick iaijutsu strike against his opponent to inflict devastating wounds while drawing his sword. In order to use this ability, the samurai’s weapon must be sheathed. As a standard action, the samurai makes a melee attack roll, if he successfully hits his opponent with an iaijutsu strike, his attack deals an additional +1d6 points of damage. This bonus damage increases by an additional +1d6 at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter to a maximum of +10d6 damage at 19th level. Any extra damage as a result of a successful iaijutsu strike is not multiplied by a critical hit. After making an iaijutsu strike, a samurai takes a –4 penalty to his AC until his next turn, but his weapon is now drawn and he may continually to fight normally. Regardless of whether he hits his opponent with the iaijutsu strike, a samurai cannot use this ability on the same foe more than once per day but may sheathe his weapon afterwards. At 10th level, the penalty to his AC is reduced to –2. Iaijutsu strike counts as any kenki technique for the purposes of performing a combo finisher.
Action Without Thought (Ex)
Having mastered the tenets of battle, the samurai is able to act instantly and without consideration of the consequences, confident his actions are correct. At 2nd level, the samurai cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does he lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A samurai with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him. In addition, he gains a +2 competence bonus to initiative.
Bushido Pool (Su)
A samurai is known not only by his skill with his weapons, but by his bushido, a representation of his honor and discipline he has held with his training. At 2nd level, he gains a Bushido pool that is used to fuel certain bushido arts. He gains a bushido pool equal to half his samurai level plus his Charisma modifier. The pool refreshes once per day when the samurai rests for a full 8 hours. At 6th level, he can spend 1 point from this pool to take the place of a kenki technique for a combo finisher as a free action. Additionally, he can spend 1 point from this pool to increase the DC of his combo finishers for 1 round by 2 as a free action.
Bushido Arts (Ex or Su)
At 2nd level and every two samurai levels thereafter, a samurai gains a bushido art from the list below. A bushido cannot be selected more than once unless stated otherwise. Abilities with an asterisk (*) requires the samurai to spend a point of his bushido pool to use.
- A complete list of bushido arts can be found here: Bushido Arts
Armor Training (Ex)
Starting at 3rd level, a samurai learns to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. Whenever he is wearing armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, 15th and 19th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –5 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +5 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed. In addition, a samurai can also move at his normal speed while wearing medium armor. At 7th level, a samurai can move at his normal speed while wearing heavy armor.
Starting at 3rd level, the samurai gains resolve that he can call upon to endure even the most devastating wounds and afflictions. He can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day for every two samurai levels after 3rd.
- Determined: As a standard action, the samurai can spend one use of his resolve to remove the fatigued, shaken, or sickened If the samurai is at least 8th level, he can alternatively remove the exhausted, frightened, nauseated, or staggered condition. If the condition has a duration longer than 1 hour or is permanent, this ability removes the condition for 1 hour, at which time the condition returns.
- Resolute: Whenever the samurai is required to make a Fortitude or Will save, he can spend one use of his resolve, as an immediate action, to roll twice and take the better result. He must decide to use this ability before he rolls the saving throw.
- Unstoppable: When the samurai is reduced to fewer than 0 hit points but not slain, he can spend one use of his resolve, as an immediate action, to instantly stabilize and remain conscious. He is staggered, but he does not fall unconscious and begin dying if he takes a standard action. He does fall unconscious if he takes additional damage from any source.
One with the Sword (Ex)
The katana, nodachi, and wakizashi are noble swords to a samurai. This is their choice of weaponry and thus puts the most amount of practice into it. At 4th level, while wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi, a samurai gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with these weapons. At 8th level and every four samurai levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1.
Weapon Expertise (Ex)
At 4th level, a samurai gains an unparalleled expertise with his noble swords. The samurai can draw his katana, nodachi, or wakizashi as a free action as if he had the Quick Draw feat. In addition, whenever he threatens a critical hit with his katana, nodachi, or wakizashi, he gains a +2 bonus on the confirmation roll.
Blade Block (Ex)
The samurai is able to use his weapon to block attacks aimed at him and even block unusual attacks with his quick reflexes. At 5th level and every six samurai levels thereafter, he gains a +1 shield bonus as long as he is wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi. Any enhancement bonus on the weapon he wields is added to the shield bonus gained from this ability.
At 6th level, the samurai can take time to focus his body and mind for the coming battles ahead. He can spend 30 minutes in meditation to grant himself an insight bonus on one saving throw equal to his Charisma modifier for 24 hours. If the samurai meditates again, he loses the previous bonus.
Blocking Cuts (Ex)
At 7th level, the samurai is able to use his quick reflexes with the blade to cut down attacks aimed at him and allies. He gains Cut from the Air as a bonus feat even if he doesn’t meet the prerequisites and this feat functions only with katanas, nodachis, and wakizashis.
At 10th level, he gains Smash from the Air as a bonus feat even if he doesn’t meet the prerequisites, and this feat functions only with katanas, nodachis, and wakizashis. If the samurai already has these feats, he may take another Combat Feat for which he meets the prerequisites for.
Brutal Slash (Ex)
At 8th level, a samurai’s iaijutsu strike becomes even more deadly. If a samurai threatens a critical hit with his iaijutsu strike, he adds a bonus equal to his samurai level to the attack roll to confirm a critical hit.
Third Eye (Ex)
At 10th level, the samurai’s senses are so keen that he is able to predict where to dodge an opponent’s attacks. As an immediate action, the samurai can make a DC 20 Reflex save to evade one attack. The samurai can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.
At 10th level, a samurai can use mental and physical resiliency to avoid certain attacks. If he makes a Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that has a reduced effect on a successful save, he instead avoids the effect entirely. A helpless samurai does not gain the benefit of the stalwart ability.
Terrifying Iaijutsu (Ex)
At 12th level, a samurai’s iaijutsu strike devastates the morale of foes that witness it. When a samurai successfully hits with an iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or become shaken for 1d4+1 rounds.
Roaring Iaijutsu (Ex)
At 14th level, a samurai’s iaijutsu strike deafens foes upon impact. When a samurai successfully hits with an iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Strength modifier) or be deafened for 1d4 minutes.
At 16th level, when the samurai dodges an attack while using Third Eye, he may make an attack of opportunity with a melee attack against the opponent attempting to strike him. This ability cannot be used at the same time as Merciful Eyes.
Merciful Eyes (Ex)
Also at 16th level, when the samurai dodges an attack while using Third Eye, he may gain temporary hit points equal to his samurai level that last until the end of combat or is lost. This ability cannot be used at the same time as Deliverance.
Frightful Presence (Ex)
At 18th level, a samurai’s bravery, honor, and fighting prowess have become legendary. When the samurai draws his blade, opponents within 30 feet must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or become panicked for 4d6 rounds (if they have 4 or fewer Hit Dice) or shaken for 4d6 rounds (if they have from 5 to 19 Hit Dice). Creatures with 20 or more Hit Dice are not affected. Any foe that successfully resists the effect cannot be affected again by the same samurai’s frightful presence for 24 hours.
Master Samurai (Ex)
At 20th level, the samurai’s prowess with the blade is unmatched. His critical threat rate while wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi increases by 1 (which is applied after Improved Critical and similar effects) and the critical multiplier of his katana, nodachi, or wakizashi increases by 1. He may never be disarmed while wielding a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi.
Favored Class Bonuses
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have samurai as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
- Au Ra: Add +1/6 to the DC for Bushidos.
- Dwarf: Add +1/4 to the samurai’s daily uses of resolve.
- Elvaan: Add +1/6 to the DC of Bushidos.
- Galka: Add +1/3 to the samurai’s critical confirmation rolls.
- Half-Breed: Add +1/6 to the samurai’s known Bushidos.
- Hume: Add +1/6 to the samurai’s known Bushidos.
- Mithra: Add +1/6 to the samurai’s initiative rolls.
- Moogle: Add +1/2 to Knowledge (Nobility) checks.
- Roegadyn: Add +1/3 to the samurai’s critical confirmation rolls.
- Ronso: Add +1/2 to Intimidate skill checks.
- Tarutaru: Add +1/2 to Knowledge (History) skill checks.
- Varg: Add +1/3 to the samurai’s critical confirmation rolls.
- Yagudo: Add +1/3 to the samurai’s critical confirmation rolls.
- A complete list of samurai archetypes can be found here: Samurai Archetypes