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Kensai

A kensai spends his life focusing his training and meditation into a rapturous perfection of the use of a single weapon, which is usually but not always a sword, channeling his arcane might through it in a dizzying and deadly dance beyond the abilities of even the greatest of mundane warriors.

The kensai is an archetype of the samurai class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A kensai is proficient in simple weapons and in a single martial or exotic chosen, melee weapon of his choice, usually a katana, nodachi, or wakizashi. A kensai is not proficient with armor or shields.

Expanded Skill (Ex)

The kensai has trained himself in the use of his chosen weapon to complement his fighting style. The following features work with the kensai’s chosen weapon: One with the Sword, Blocking Cuts and Limit Breaks.

This ability modifies one with the sword, blocking cuts and limit breaks.

Limit Break (Su)

At 1st level, the kensai receives the Limit Break (Meikyo Shisui).

Meikyo Shisui (Su): This Limit Break grants a +2 bonus to all attack and damage rolls made by the kensai while wielding his chosen weapon for a duration of 1 round + 1 round 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 bonus increases by 2 per four samurai levels after 1st. This limit break requires only a swift action.

This ability replaces the Limit Break (Sixth Sense).

Kensai Strike (Su)

At 1st level, whenever the kensai successfully damages a creature with a kenki technique, he gains 1 spirit.

This ability replaces samurai strike from spirit.

Kenki Techniques (Ex)

At 1st level, a kensai 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 his chosen weapon. In addition, when using a kenki technique, the kensai can spend 1 spirit as a free action. If he does, he can roll twice when making this attack roll, taking whichever result he desire.

  • Falling Slash (Ex): A kensai who uses this kenki technique deals normal weapon damage.
  • Heavy Slash (Ex): A kensai 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 kensai 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 kensai 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 kensai is not tripped in return.
  • Slash (Ex): A kensai who uses this kenki technique deals normal weapon damage.
  • Sweeping Slash (Ex): A kensai 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 kensai 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 kensai is not tripped in return.
  • Thrust (Ex): A kensai 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 kensai can attempt to sunder his opponent’s armor as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity if he hits with this kenki technique.

This ability replaces iaijutsu strike.

Combo Finisher (Ex)

Also at 1st level and every odd level thereafter, a kensai 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 kensai 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 kensai is able to use a combo finisher, he must activate it before the end of his next turn or its lost.

The kensai may activate a combo finisher as a swift action, unless indicated otherwise on the ability. If the combo finisher requires an attack roll, it replaces a melee or ranged attack respectively from his next attack made before the next round. All combo finishers with an attack component are made at the highest base attack bonus. Any combo finisher that adds extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

Art of the Storm (Ex): (Requires Slash → Sweeping Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to charge energy into his blade and pierce the ground, causing lightning to burst from his blade. He deals normal weapon damage as lightning damage to all enemies in a 15-ft.-radius from the kensai. Enemies must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or have their vision blurred, gaining a 20% miss chance for a number of rounds equal to the kensai’s Charisma modifier.

Art of the Swell (Ex): (Requires Sweeping Slash → Sweeping Slash → Rising Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to charge energy into his blade, swinging out a burst of cutting wind that deals normal weapon damage as wind damage to all enemies in a 20-ft.-radius and knocking enemies prone. A Reflex save must be made (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) to not be knocked prone.

Art of the Sword (Ex): (Requires Heavy Slash → Heavy Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to charge energy into his blade and send it out in a wave of shadow energy. He sends a wave of energy out from himself with his blade dealing normal weapon damage to all enemies in a 20-ft.-line. A Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) can half this damage. At 4th level and every four samurai levels thereafter, he gains an additional 20-ft.-line, and is able to send out more than one wave. The additional lines can be merged. Multiple waves require multiple Reflex saves for each if merged.

Banishing Blade (Ex): (Requires Heavy Slash → Heavy Slash → Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to summon energy in his blade and strike an opponent causing the opponent to be blasted with energy taking in false screams and ringing from seemingly an otherworldly place. As part of this combo finisher, the kensai makes a single melee attack. If this attack hits, his target takes normal weapon damage as shadow damage and cannot make a full attack on its next turn. Otherwise, they can act normally.

Concentravity (Ex): (Requires Rising Slash → Heavy Slash → Heavy Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to charge his blade with his might and slam it into the ground, causing an eruption of energy in a 30-ft.-radius burst from the kensai, dealing triple weapon damage to all enemies within. A Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) can half this damage.

Dragon (Ex): (Requires Slash → Thrust → Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai may make a single attack, allowing him to drain hit points from an opponent with a successful attack. When using Dragon, the kensai makes a normal melee attack, if it hits, the opponent takes damage as normal and must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or be drained of 1d6 hit points per three samurai levels after 1st, which is then granted to the kensai as temporary hit points. These temporary hit points last for 1 round per samurai level.

Dragon Fang (Su): (Requires Slash → Rising Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to strike the ground with a fierce stab with his weapon, blasting nearby enemies with energy. Enemies within 10-feet of the kensai takes normal weapon damage + 1d6 points of fire damage + an additional 1d6 fire damage per three samurai levels after 1st, a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) halves the damage.

Draw Slash (Ex): (Requires Slash → Heavy Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to sheath his sword and enters total defense, ready to draw his blade when the moment comes. While he maintains this total defense for 1 round he gains a +5 insight bonus on his next attack, and it deals additional 1d6 damage. He may hold this defense for 3 rounds each round granting another +5 insight bonus and another 1d6 to his next attack. (Max +15 and 3d6). He may exit this defense by performing an attack when he desires. He may end total defense normally, but loses the bonuses from draw slash if he does not attack.

Eclipse (Ex): (Requires Rising Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to, as an immediate action, make an attack that allows him to immobilize an opponent’s movement. Whenever an opponent is adjacent to the kensai and attempts to move away from him (even when using Withdraw or 5-foot step), the kensai can make a normal melee attack, if it hits, the opponent takes damage as normal and is inflicted with the Immobilize status effect for 1d6 rounds, a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) to negate.

Gekko (Ex): (Requires Heavy Slash → Rising Slash → Rising Slash) This combo finisher is utilized by the kensai to linger over his foe, much like the moon, overwhelming their senses and disrupting their connection to the energies around them. He makes a melee attack on a target and, if successful, he deals normal damage as holy damage and the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or suffer a 50% spell failure chance for 1d4 rounds. This works like the Silence status effect for the purposes of feats, magic, and items.

Guren (Ex): (Requires Thrust → Falling Slash) A combo finisher designed during an era of bloodshed, it aims to both physically and spiritually break down the opponent, leaving them unable to fight back. He makes a melee attack on a target and, if successful, he deals double weapon damage and the target must make a Will save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or suffer a -2 penalty to attacks rolls, skills rolls, and CMD for a number of rounds equal to the kensai’s Charisma modifier.

Higanbana (Ex): (Requires Slash →Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to sheath his blade and draw his blade with such speed, it seemingly strikes multiple times leaving his target bleeding. He makes a melee attack on a target and, if successful, he deals weapon damage plus 1d6 damage per three samurai levels after 1st to the target. The target is also dealt bleed damage equal to the amount of bonus damage dice.

Kasha (Ex): (Requires Sweeping Slash → Falling Slash → Heavy Slash) This combo finisher emphasizes the understanding of the ephemeral in the kensai’s life, focused into his strike in a single, perfect moment. He makes a melee attack on a target and, if successful, he deals normal damage and the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or be stunned for 1 round.

Midare Setsu Gekka (Ex): (Requires Slash →Slash → Falling Slash → Heavy Slash →Thrust → Rising Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to sheath his blade and make a terrifying barrage of quick cuts, sheathing his blade afterwards; the cuts explode, becoming apparent in one moment. He makes a melee attack on a target and, if successful, he deals triple weapon damage to the target plus 1d6 points of damage per three samurai levels after 1st. This attack ignores damage reduction.

Oblivion (Ex): (Requires Heavy Slash → Rising Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to make a 30-foot movement dash that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity and makes a melee attack against a target, the attack deals normal damage, and if the target is dropped below 0 HP, the kensai can move another 5-feet and make another attack upon an enemy within range. The kensai can keep moving and attacking this way if each target he attacks drops below 0 HP against his attack.

Scintilla (Ex): (Requires Slash → Thrust) This combo finisher allows the kensai to turn the blow from an opponent straight back at it. When an enemy initiates a melee attack against the kensai on its turn, he can attempt to block the blow and send it back at that creature. The kensai steps into the attack and redirects it. This combo finisher pits his skill against that of his foe. If an opponent attacks the kensai, he can initiate this combo finisher to make an opposed attack roll as an immediate action. If the kensai’s result is higher, his foe rolls damage as normal for the attack and takes that much damage. Otherwise, the kensai is attacked as normal.

Shooting Star (Ex): (Requires Slash → Heavy Slash → Rising Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to make a short but powerful slash at his opponent. The kensai makes a single melee attack as part of this combo finisher. If this attack hits, the kensai deals double weapon damage and the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or be pushed back 5 feet + 5 feet per three samurai levels after 1st.

Sudden Cruelty (Ex): (Requires Heavy Slash → Rising Slash → Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to study his opponent and deliver an attack precisely aimed to ruin his defenses and force him to scramble for his balance as he strikes swiftly, so swiftly the opponent believes the kensai struck multiple times in a single slash. While he struggles to ready himself, he becomes more vulnerable to the kensai’s attacks. As part of this combo finisher, the kensai makes a single melee attack. This attack deals double weapon damage. In addition, the target must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or become flat-footed until the start of his next turn. If the target cannot be caught flat-footed (he has uncanny dodge, for example), he still takes the weapon damage but otherwise suffers no ill effect.

Tenka Goken (Ex): (Requires Slash →Slash → Falling Slash → Heavy Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to sheath his blade, charge energy in his sheath, and draw his sword, sending out 3 waves of cuts before him. He deals double weapon damage plus 1d6 points of damage per three samurai levels after 1st to enemies in three 15-ft.-lines, One line stemming in front of the kensai and the other two from his frontal corners diagonally. An enemy can only be effected by 1 line even if hit by multiple lines. A Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level+ his Charisma modifier) can half this damage.

Tornado (Ex): (Requires Falling Slash → Falling Slash → Sweeping Slash → Sweeping Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai an attack that hits all enemies adjacent to the kensai sending out waves of wind like a tornado. When the kensai uses this combo finisher, he makes a single melee attack against every enemy adjacent to him, and if it hits, he deals double weapon damage + 1d6 points of wind damage + an additional 1d6 wind damage per three samurai levels after 1st. If the attack made is a natural 20, the tornado turns ablaze dealing an extra 1d6 points of fire damage per four samurai levels after 1st.

Vein Splitter (Ex): (Requires Slash→ Sweeping Slash→ Heavy Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to bring up his blade and slam it into the ground, causing it to crack and erupt with a blast from the ground to burst out and rend his foes. He deals double weapon damage to all enemies in a 15-ft.-cone as earth damage and causes the area affected to become difficult terrain. A Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) can half this damage.

Yukikaze (Ex): (Requires Falling Slash → Thrust → Thrust) This combo finisher allows the kensai to channel his energy into a strike that muddles their perception. The kensai deals normal damage as ice damage and the target must make a Will save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) or suffer a 50% miss chance when making melee or ranged attacks for 1d4 rounds. This works like the Blind status effect for the purposes of feats, magic, and items.

Zanmato (Ex): (Requires Slash → Heavy Slash → Thrust → Sweeping Slash → Rising Slash → Falling Slash) This combo finisher allows the kensai to make a terrifying slash upon an opponent within 30 feet, choosing to move to the target or not. If it hits, the target’s current HP is reduced to 1. A Fortitude save (DC 10 + half of the samurai’s level + his Charisma modifier) can negate this effect. Alternatively, he may instead stand still and perform a single attack against all enemies in a 15-ft.-cone, slashing with blinding speed, and if his attack hits, he deals triple weapon damage.

These abilities replace iaijutsu techniques.

Uncanny Defense (Ex)

At 2nd level, a kensai gains Weapon Focus with his chosen weapon as a bonus feat. When a kensai is wielding his chosen weapon and unarmored and unencumbered, he adds his Charisma modifier (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a kensai gains a +1 bonus to his AC and CMD at 6th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four samurai levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 14th, and +4 at 18th level). This bonus reflects the kensai’s intense training in unarmored combat. These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the kensai is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load. This ability does not stack with AC bonus from any other class (such as monk and dancer).

This ability replaces action without thought.

Bushido Pool (Su)

A kensai 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.

At 2nd level, a kensai can expend 1 point from his bushido pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four samurai levels beyond 2nd the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 6th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, earthen, earthen burst, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, jetstream, jetstream burst, keen, roaring, roaring burst, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal.

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the bushido pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the kensai uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the kensai.

A kensai can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.

This ability modifies bushido pool and also replaces armor training.

Bushido Arts (Ex/Su)

In addition to the normal list of bushido arts, the kensai may pick from the following:

Iainuki* (Ex): When performing a combo finisher that has a radius of any type, such as from a burst or line effect, as a free action, he can increase the effects range by 5 feet plus an additional 5 feet for every two samurai levels after 2nd.

Ikishoten (Ex): When the samurai performs a kenki technique, he can have it count as if he had used it twice in a single hit for the purposes of completing a combo finisher. Prerequisite: Samurai level 10.

Magicide* (Su): When performing a kenki technique, as a swift action, the samurai can choose the strike to also deal MP damage. He deals 1d4 MP damage for each successful kenki technique this round.

Sekkanoki* (Ex): The samurai, as a full-round action, can use any combo finisher without the need of performing a combo. Prerequisite: Samurai level 10.

Shikikyo* (Ex): The samurai can easily set up allies to also perform his combo finishers. When he performs a kenki technique during the round with the same descriptor as an adjacent ally’s blitz technique or blade technique, it counts as that technique for that ally as if he had performed it. This does not allow an ally to hold a combo, if he does not perform any techniques of his own. This ability can only effect a single ally and is a swift action to activate.

Perfect Strike (Ex)

At 5th level, when a kensai hits with his chosen weapon, he can spend 1 point from his bushido pool in order to maximize his weapon damage. Don’t roll for damage—the weapon deals maximum damage. This affects only the weapon’s base damage dice, not additional damage from sneak attack, magical weapon properties, or critical hits. If the kensai confirms a critical hit, he can instead spend 2 points from his bushido pool to increase his weapon’s critical multiplier by 1.

This ability replaces sheath block.

Blade Block (Ex)

Also at 5th level, the kensai 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 his chosen weapon. Any enhancement bonus on these weapons he wields is added to the shield bonus gained from this ability.

This ability replaces dragon defense.

Fighter Training (Ex)

Starting at 6th level, a kensai counts his samurai level –3 as his fighter level for the purpose of qualifying for feats (if he has levels in fighter, these levels stack), but forfeits the benefit of such feats with weapons other than his favored weapon.

This ability replaces meditate.

Iaijutsu (Ex)

At 8th level, a kensai applies his Charisma modifier as well as his Dexterity modifier on initiative rolls (minimum 0). A kensai may make attacks of opportunity when flat-footed, and may draw his favored weapon as a free action as part of taking an attack of opportunity.

This ability replaces brutal slash and opportune slash.

Critical Perfection (Ex)

At 11th level, a kensai adds his Charisma modifier (minimum 0) on critical hit confirmation rolls with his chosen weapon.

This ability replaces iaijutsu mastery.

Superior Reflexes (Ex)

At 13th level, a kensai can make a number of attacks of opportunity in a round equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1). This effect stacks with the Combat Reflexes feat.

This ability replaces terrifying iaijutsu.

Iaijutsu Focus (Ex)

At 14th level, a kensai may always act and may draw his weapon as a swift action during a surprise round, though he is considered flat-footed until he acts. During a surprise round or when attacking a flat-footed opponent, he adds his Charisma modifier on damage with his chosen weapon (minimum 0).

This ability replaces roaring iaijutsu.

Iaijutsu Master (Ex)

At 18th level, a kensai’s initiative roll is automatically a natural 20 and he is never surprised.

This ability replaces frightful presence.

Kensai