World Of The Oerth
D&D Class Information - Samurai
Known for their matchless bravery and strict code of honor, the samurai were the noble soldiers of
feudal Japan. In a fantasy setting, the samurai brings that courage and honor to the service of a lord,
general, or other leader. The reputation of samurai for being tenacious in combat often precedes them in
battle, and their mere presence is often enough to make dishonorable enemies slink away in the
Adventures: Samurai undertake quests and other adventures at the behest of their lord, who often uses
mid- to high level samurai as troubleshooters. A samurai might be ordered to defend a village beset by
bandits, to lead allies in battle, or to hunt down and duel a rival who has stained the lord’s
Characteristics: Wielding their signature katana (bastard sword) and wakizashi (short sword)
simultaneously, samurai are as potent in melee as a fi ghter, although they are less versatile. Their
adherence to the code of bushido is intimidating to their foes, and the fixed stare of a samurai can
unnerve most opponents.
Alignment: Almost every aspect of a samurai’s life is ruled by the code of bushido, which demands
total obedience to one’s lord, bravery in the face of utmost peril, and honor and respect to superiors,
peers, and lessers alike. Samurai are always lawful, stoic in demeanor, and implacable when matters of
honor and justice are concerned.
Religion: In a fantasy world, some samurai worship no deity, instead relying on the code of bushido for
guidance on moral and ethical issues. Others gravitate to the worship of deities of law, honor, and
justice, such as Heironeous and St. Cuthbert. Some evil samurai find the tyrannical teachings of Hextor
acceptable. (no evil alignments are allowed in my game)
Background: Samurai are traditionally of noble birth, although folk tales are replete with samurai who
were orphans adopted by noble families or foot soldiers who showed outstanding bravery in battle.
Becoming a samurai means untold hours learning to use the katana and wakizashi, lessons in manners
and etiquette, and relentless instruction in the tenets of bushido.
Races: The clan-based, lawful society of the dwarves would make a good match for samurai culture.
Elves’ long lives and sense of history could lead them down the samurai’s path. Most halflings wander
too much to make effective samurai, and gnomes show no particular affinity for the class. Least likely
of all are half-orcs, who rarely attain a high enough station in civilized society to become samurai.
Other Classes: Because both classes live their lives ac cording to a code of behavior, samurai tend to
get along well with paladins, although samurai are sometimes puzzled when paladins ask, “Is this the
right thing to do?” (A typical samurai’s response might be “You dishonor the lord by questioning his
orders.”) Monks are likewise admired for their strict training regimen and self-discipline. Samurai also
get along well with fighters, especially if they have served in an army, and bards whose art reflects
appropriate themes. Barbarians are tolerated with only a thin veneer of politeness, as are rogues who
focus on larceny and other dishonorable activities.
Role: With heavy armor and a razor-sharp blade in each hand, samurai are front-line melee combatants.
They also benefit from a series of abilities that give morale penalties to their foes. In addition, because
they are trained in matters of etiquette, samurai make good negotiators and spokesmen.GAME RULE INFORMATION
Samurai have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Strength is of paramount importance to the sword-wielding samurai, and Dexterity and
Constitution help him survive in the midst of battle. Many of the samurai’s other class features depend
on Charisma—a samurai’s force of personality can make his enemies quake in fear.
Alignment: Any lawful.
Hit Die: d10.
The samurai’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int),
Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int),
Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis). See Chapter 4 in the Player’s Handbook
for skill descriptions. Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Table 1–3: The Samurai
Base Fort Ref Will Special
1st 1 2 3 4 5 6/7/8/9/10/11/1 12/2 13/3 14/4 15/5 +12 +6 +6 Frightful presence
All of the following are class features of the samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A samurai is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and
with all types of armor, but not with shields.
Ancestral Daisho:All samurai begin play with a katana and a wakizashi—two masterwork weapons.
These are weapons that belonged to the samurai’s ancestors, and protecting the weapons is an importantpoint of honor for the samurai. As a samurai acquires treasure through adventuring, he has the option of
awakening the supernatural abilities latent in the weapons. This option allows a samurai who prefers to
use his ancestral blade to wield a magic weapon, while a samurai whowields a tetsubo against
Shadowlands fiends can use his treasure to acquire new jade or magic weapons.
At any time, a samurai may retreat to a temple or shrine and spend time in prayer in order to awaken
the ancestral spirits in his katana or wakizashi. (Most samurai improve their katanas and not their
wakizashis.) This requires a sacrifice of valuable items worth the amount shown on Table 2–2:
Ancestral Daisho. This sacrifice does not have to be gold—the character can sacrifice magic items or
other goods worth the required amount, rather than selling his goods (at half value) to pay for the
sacrifice. The samureai must meet the minimum character level (including any prestige class levels)
shown on the table, and he must spend one day per 1,000 gp sacrificed in the shrine or
temple. During this time, he must spend at least 8 hours each day kneeling before his ancestors and his
weapons, not stopping to eat or rest. The values shown on Table 2–2 are the total value of sacrifice
required to bring a single weapon to the listed weapon bonus. If a samurai already has a +3 katana, he
can raise it to a +4 katana by sacrificing 14,000 gp and spending two weeks in prayer. If the
same samurai wanted to bring his masterwork wakizashi to a +1 wakizashi, he would have to sacrifice
2,000 gp. Before a samurai’s ancestral sword becomes a +1 weapon,it is an ordinary masterwork
weapon in every way. Its latent supernatural powers do not cause it to be considered a magic weapon
until those powers are awakened. A samurai who loses his ancestral swords is dishonored until
he can recover them. He cannot enhance any other weapon in this way.
Note: In some campaigns, a samurai might begin play with a different ancestral weapon, such as a
tulwar (scimitar) or a jian (longsword).
Table 2–2: Ancestral Daisho
Total Sacrifice Minimum
Weapon Bonus Required Character Level
+1 2,000 gp 4th
+2 8,000 gp 7th
+3 18,000 gp 9th
+4 32,000 gp 11th
+5 50,000 gp 13th
+6* 72,000 gp 14th
+7* 98,000 gp 15th
+8* 128,000 gp 16th
+9* 162,000 gp 17th
+10* 200,000 gp 18th
*A weapon can’t actually have a bonus higher than +5. Use these lines to determine price when special
abilities are added in. Example:A samurai who has a +4 katana can transform it into a +4 thundering
katana with a sacrifice of 40,000 gp, since thundering is a special ability equivalent to a +2 bonus.
Daisho Proficiency (Ex): In melee combat, a samurai favors the katana (a masterwork bastard sword)
and the wakizashi (a masterwork short sword). Samurai receive an heirloom set of these two
blades, known as the daisho. Because a samurai is trained in their use, he gains Exotic Weapon
Proficiency (bastard sword) as a bonus feat.
Two Swords as One (Ex): At 2nd level, a samurai has learned to wield the katana and wakizashi
together. He is treated as having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and wakizashi,
even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.Kiai Smite (Ex): Once per day, a samurai of 3rd level or higher can give a great cry during combat that
invigorates him. When a sam urai shouts (a free action), his next attack gains a bonus on the attack roll
and the damage roll equal to his Charisma bonus (minimum +1). As a samurai gains levels, he can
make a kiai smite more often.
Iaijutsu Master (Ex): By 5th level, a samurai has become adept at iaijutsu, a fighting technique that
concentrates on drawing his weapon and striking a foe in one fluid motion. He is treated as having the
Quick Draw feat, but only when he draws his katana or wakizashi.
Staredown (Ex): At 6th level, a samurai becomes able to strike fear into his foes by his mere presence.
He gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks and can demoralize an opponent (as described in the
Intimidate skill description, page 76 of the Player’s Handbook).
Improved Initiative (Ex): At 8th level, the samurai has practiced iaijutsu techniques used in ritual
duels between two samurai, and he is able to anticipate when any enemy will attack. He now has the
Improved Initiative feat.
Mass Staredown (Ex): At 10th level, a samurai has sufficient presence that he can cow multiple foes.
Using a Intimidate check, the samurai can demoralize all opponents within
30 feet with a single standard action.
Improved Two Swords as One (Ex): At 11th level, a samurai’s prowess with the katana and wakizashi
improves. He is treated as having the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a katana and
wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for the feat.
Improved Staredown (Ex): At 14th level, even a glance from the hard eyes of a samurai is enough to
give his foes pause. The samurai can demoralize opponents within 30 feet as a move action, not a
Greater Two Swords as One(Ex): At 16th level, fighting with a katana and wakizashi becomes second
nature for a samurai. He is treated as having the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat when wielding a
katana and wakizashi, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for that feat.
Frightful Presence (Ex): A 20th-level 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 20 + samurai’s Cha 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.
A samurai who ceases to be lawful or who commits an act of grave dishonor loses all samurai class
features that depend on Charisma or Charisma-based checks. Minor embarrassments don’t count, but
major breaks with the code of bushido do. Acts that could lose a samurai his status include disobeying
an order from a superior officer or feudal lord, fl eeing in cowardice from an important battle, being
caught in a major lie or other breach of integrity, and appallingly rude behavior. A disgraced character
may not progress any farther as a samurai. He regains his class features the ability to advance in the
class if he atones for his violations (see the atonement spell, page 201 of the Player’s Handbook), assuming the feudal lord offers a chance at redemption. (Some feudal lords demand ritual suicide as the
only act that cleanses the stain of dishonor.)
Like a member of any other class, a samurai may be a multiclass character, but multiclass samurai face
a special restriction. A samurai who gains a level in any class other than samurai may never again raise
his samurai level, though he retains all his current samurai abilities. The way of the samurai demands
constant adherence to the code of bushido. Samurai may sometimes take levels in particular prestige
classes without violating this code. The kensai and the knight protector (both in Complete Warrior
) and the dwarven defender (in the Dungeon Master’s Guide) are three such examples. The Dungeon
Master may designate other prestige classes as available to a samurai.