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, 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 (Sixth Sense and Unseen Strike).
Sixth Sense (Su): This Limit Break allows the samurai to sense all incoming attacks and dodge with relative ease. Any melee or range attacks automatically misses unless a natural roll of 20 is rolled, and even then, the critical threat is unconfirmed unless another natural roll of 20 is rolled. This lasts for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four samurai levels after 1st. 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.
At 1st level, a samurai gains access to spirit, using it to focus his attacks. A samurai begins the day with no spirit, but can gain spirit in the following ways (a samurai cannot gain spirit from each of these more than once per round and Prerequisite: A samurai must be at least in combat to gain spirit):
- Spirited Initiative: Whenever the samurai rolls initiative, he gains 1 spirit.
- Samurai Strike: Whenever the samurai successfully damages a creature with an iaijutsu strike, he gains 1 spirit.
- Warrior’s Guard: Whenever the samurai takes damage from an attack originating from a creature (including spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities), he gains 1 spirit. A samurai does not gain spirit from attacks made against them while he is flat-footed or unaware.
His spirit goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than his Charisma modifier (minimum 1), though some feats, abilities, and magic items may affect this maximum. If a samurai spends 1 minute or longer outside of combat, he loses all spirit he possesses. Spirit is used to power the samurai’s kiai arts, resolve, and other class features.
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 nor by use of Vital Strike feats. 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. In addition, when making an iaijutsu strike, the samurai can spend 1 spirit as a free action. If he does, he can roll twice when making this attack roll, taking whichever result he desires. At 10th level, the penalty to his AC is reduced to –2.
Iaijutsu Techniques (Ex/Su)
At 1st level and every three samurai levels afterwards, a samurai gains the ability to alter his iaijutsu strike, gaining an iaijutsu technique of his choice. A samurai can only apply a single iaijutsu technique to an iaijutsu strike. The saving throws of iaijutsu strikes are equal to 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier.
There are two types of iaijutsu techniques; slashes and cuts. Slashes are used to inflict statuses and other such things, while cuts change the area and range of the attack.
- A complete list of iaijutsu techniques can be found here: Iaijutsu Techniques
Sheath Control (Ex)
At 1st level, a samurai gains Quick Draw as a bonus feat as well as being able to sheathe a weapon as a free action that can be taken even outside of his turn after making an attack with it. In addition, a samurai can treat a sheathed weapon as drawn for the purpose of threatening spaces and can draw his weapon as part of an attack of opportunity.
“Sheathed”: While the term ‘sheathed’ may not make sense for weapons that do not have a sheathe (such as polearms and other such weapons), for the purposes of the samurai, it is intended to mean a weapon which is upon the person of the samurai (or able to be accessed easily) which can be drawn but is not currently being wielded.
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.
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 spend 1 spirit as the listed action type to use resolve in a number of ways.
- 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.
Blazing Initiative (Ex)
At 3rd level, whenever a samurai would gain 1 spirit from his spirited initiative class feature, he instead gains 2 spirit. At 12th level, he instead gains 3 spirit.
Kiai Arts (Su)
At 3rd level and every four samurai levels after, a samurai gains new ways to channel his fighting spirit into shouts called kiai arts. At each listed level, the samurai gains all listed kiai arts for that level. Although kiai arts are supernatural abilities, he all have a verbal component of a shout and thus cannot be used whenever a spell with a verbal component would be unusable.
Duty’s Call (Su): As a standard action, the samurai can spend 1 spirit and touch an ally under the effect of a [fear] effect. If he does, that ally can make an additional saving throw against that effect with a morale bonus equal to the samurai’s Charisma modifier. On a successful saving throw, the effect is ended as though the ally had made a successful saving throw. If the saving throw was successful, the samurai can spend 1 additional spirit as a free action to absorb the effect into himself, being able to discharge it by performing a melee touch attack against a creature as a standard action, being treated as though he were the caster for the purpose of its effects. A samurai can only hold a single [fear] effect, and must discharge it within a number of minutes equal to his Charisma modifier or else it is discharged harmlessly. A samurai can spend 2 spirit while using this kiai art; if he does, it can be used as a move action.
Follow My Lead (Su): Whenever the samurai successfully strikes a creature, he can spend 1 spirit as a free action. If he does, all allies within 60 feet of himself gain a circumstance bonus to damage rolls against that enemy equal to half the samurai’s level for a number of rounds equal to the samurai’s Charisma modifier (minimum 1).
Soul-Rending Shout (Su): As a standard action, the samurai can spend 1 spirit. If he does, the samurai can make an Intimidate check to demoralize all enemies within 60 feet of himself, ignoring any immunity to fear effect those creatures may possess. If this check is successful, the samurai can spend 1 additional spirit to cause the creatures to be frightened rather than shaken. A samurai can spend 2 spirit while using this kiai art; if he does, it can be used as a move action.
Duty’s Call, Charm (Su): The duty’s call kiai art can now be used for [charm] effects as well as [fear] effects.
Ghost Blade (Su): As a free action, the samurai can spend 1 spirit. If he does, any weapon he is currently wielding gains the ghost touch property for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier. In addition, if the samurai attacks a creature he has iaijutsu striked, he can ignore any miss chance that creature possesses granted by spells, spell-like abilities, extraordinary abilities, or supernatural effects (such as blur, vanish, or similar effects).
To Your Last Breath (Su): As a swift action, the samurai can spend 1 spirit. If he does, he gains a number of temporary hit points equal to his samurai level + his Charisma modifier for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier. While a samurai possesses temporary hit points from this ability, he ignores the fatigued and exhausted condition (this does not remove the condition, instead suppressing it). A samurai can choose to spend 2 spirit when using this kiai art; if he does, at the beginning of each of his turns, he gains an additional amount of temporary hit points equal to half his samurai level; these temporary hit points stack with those granted by spending 1 spirit.
Duty’s Call, Compulsion (Su): The duty’s call kiai art can now be used for [compulsion] effects as well as [fear] and [charm] effects.
Regroup (Su): As a standard action, the samurai can spend 1 spirit. If he does, he gains the effects of a freedom of movement spell for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier. Unlike other kiai arts, this can be used as a purely mental action, no longer requiring a verbal component. In addition, all allies within 60 feet can move up to 60 feet as long as he would end this movement closer to the samurai. A samurai can choose to spend 2 spirit when using this kiai art; if he does, allies are also under the effect of freedom of movement for 1 round and are instead teleported to a space adjacent to the samurai (or as close as possible if there are not any open squares adjacent to the samurai).
Spirit Charge (Su): As a full round action, a samurai can spend 1 spirit. If he does, he becomes ethereal and any weapon he wields gains the ghost touch property until the end of his turn, moving 60 feet in a straight line. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity, and the samurai can make an attack roll against any creature that he is adjacent to at any point during his movement. The samurai can use any iaijutsu technique with ‘slash’ in the name with each of these attacks, being able to use a different iaijutsu technique for each attack. A samurai can choose to spend 2 spirit when using this kiai art; if he does, he can use this kiai art as a standard action.
Duty’s Call, Possession (Su): The duty’s call kiai art can now be used to reroll saves against any magical possession effects. The samurai cannot spend spirit to hold a magical possession effect.
Rebuke Sorcery (Su): As an immediate action, the samurai can spend 2 spirit. If he does, the grant all allies (including himself) within 60 feet a morale bonus to their saves against spells and spell-like abilities equal to the samurai’s Charisma modifier for 1 round per samurai level. This morale bonus does not stack with any other ability that allows a creature to apply his Charisma modifier to his saving throws.
Yojimbo’s Presence (Su): As a move action, the samurai can spend 2 spirit. If he does, until the beginning of the samurai’s next turn, whenever an ally within 60 feet of the samurai is targeted with an attack roll, the samurai can spend a free action (even if it is not his turn) to teleport both himself and the targeted ally, switching spaces with the ally (if the ally would take up more spaces than the samurai, the samurai must end this movement in a space in which he could be a target of the triggering attack). The attack is instead resolved against the samurai, and provokes an attack of opportunity from the samurai which is resolved before the triggering attack. A samurai can choose to spend 3 spirit when using this kiai art; if he does, whenever he is teleported, all attacks made against the samurai provoke attacks of opportunity (which are resolved before the attack) until the beginning of the samurai’s next turn.
Duty’s Call, Mind (Su): The duty’s call kiai art can now be used to reroll saves against any mind-affecting effects. The samurai cannot spend spirit to hold a mind-affecting effect unless it is already a [fear], [charm], or [compulsion] effect.
Shogun’s Demand (Su): As a standard action, the samurai can spend 3 spirit to impose order on the battlefield. If he does, he create a supernatural field forms in a 60-foot. radius around the samurai which remains, stationary, for 1 minute. In this zone, flying creatures are immediately forced to land, ethereal creatures are forced to enter the material plane if used on a material plane, magical effects cannot move between planes or cause movement between planes, all illusion effects are suppressed, and physical movement in or out of the zone is prevented. Creatures do not receive a save to resist these effects except the restriction against moving in or out of the zone; a successful saving throw (DC 20 + the samurai’s Charisma modifier) while attempting to cross the boundary allows the subject to move in or out as intended.
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.
Sheath Block (Ex)
At 5th level, whenever the samurai makes an iaijutsu strike, if he has a free hand, he can use it to pull out his sheath, gaining a +2 shield bonus against melee attacks until the beginning of his next turn. At the beginning of his next turn, he can return his sheath to his hip and sheathe his weapon as a free action. At 8th level and every four samurai levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1.
Dragon Defense (Ex)
Also at 5th level, as a free action, a samurai can choose to take on a dangerous stance which enhances his spiritual prowess. Whenever he does, he suffer the following effects until the next time he receives damage or the beginning of his next turn, whichever comes first:
- The next attack made against the samurai targets his touch AC.
- The samurai takes a -10 penalty to Reflex saves. The next time the samurai take damage while using this ability, if that damage would activate his warrior’s guard ability, rather than gaining 1 spirit, he instead gains 2 spirit. In addition, as an immediate action, the samurai can make an Intimidate check against the creature that dealt damage to them to demoralize or antagonize that creature as long as he is aware of that source of the damage, ignoring any immunity to fear it possesses.
Advanced Blade (Ex)
At 6th level, a samurai gains Vital Strike as a bonus feat. At 11th level, he gains Improved Vital Strike. At 16th level, he gains Greater Vital Strike. If the samurai already has these feats, he may take another Combat Feat for which he meets the prerequisites for. In addition, the samurai can use these feats with Iaijutsu Strike, but no more than once a round, even if the samurai has a way to iaijutsu strike more than once.
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.
Spirit Charge (Ex)
At 7th level, a samurai can spend a move action before making an attack action. If he does, whenever the samurai would gain 1 spirit from his Samurai Strike ability, he instead gains 2 spirit.
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.
Greater Resolve (Ex)
At 9th level, a samurai can spend his spirit to negate some of his most grievous wounds. After a critical hit is confirmed against him, the samurai can spend 1 spirit as an immediate action to treat that critical hit as a normal hit. Effects that only trigger on a critical hit do not trigger when the samurai uses this ability.
Opportune Slash (Ex)
Also at 9th level, once per round, a samurai can treat an attack of opportunity as an iaijutsu strike.
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.
Iaijutsu Mastery (Ex)
At 11th level, whenever a samurai uses a slash iaijutsu technique, he can also apply a cut iaijutsu technique to the attack (such as ranged cut and armor-rending slash). If a technique which forces a creature to make a saving throw affects more than a single creature, the saving throw of any iaijutsu techniques applied to the iaijustu strike is reduced by -2.
Terrifying Iaijutsu (Ex)
At 13th 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.
True Spirit Charge (Ex)
At 15th level, a samurai can use his spirit charge ability as a swift action instead of a move action, although he can only use his spirit charge once per round.
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.
True Resolve (Ex)
At 17th level, a samurai can spend spirit to avoid death. If he has at least 2 points of spirit remaining, he can spend all points of spirit that he has available to them as an immediate action to avoid death. Regardless of the source of the attack that would have killed him, he is left alive, at –1 hit points (or lower if he were already below –1), unconscious, and stable.
Merciful Eyes (Ex)
Also at 17th 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.
Last Stand (Su)
At 19th level, a samurai can spend 1 spirit as a move action to declare a last stand. For one round, the samurai takes minimum damage from all sources, becomes immune to death effects, and does not die from having negative hit points in excess of his Constitution score. In addition, the samurai remains conscious and is not staggered while he is below 0 hit points. At the start of each subsequent turn, the samurai can spend 1 spirit as a free action to extend the last stand for another round.
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.
- Immortal: 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