The samurai is a militaristic servant of a great leader, one who follows a strict code of adherence and is practiced in a number of martial and artistic doctrines. They live their lives by an honorable code, which dictates how they live, fight and die.
Masters of the art of warfare, they blend the art of combat into a single, deadly function.
Way of the Warrior
At 3rd level, the samurai gains proficiency with the katana. He can use longswords and katanas as finesse weapons. Samurai also gain the optional Honor statistic (see the DMG) and must hold loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion and honor as important, above all else.
In addition, choose one of the following abilities:
One Cut. As a bonus action, a samurai wielding a longsword (or katana) can make a single attack with their weapon against two adjacent foes within reach simultaneously. Use the single attack roll and damage against both targets.
Mounted Archer. You suffer no penalties for firing ranged weapons from the back of a mount.
At 7th level, the samurai has learned to harness his ki, a vast reservoir of inner spiritual strength.
Choose from one of the following powers:
Kiai Shout. You can perform a kiai shout. When you do, all enemies that can see and hear you within 30 feet must succeed at a Wisdom save or become frightened of you for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier.
Ki Awareness. You may enter a Ki Awareness state as a bonus action. Entering this state allows imposes disadvantage on all attacks against and grants you advantage on Dexterity saves for one round.
Whichever ability you choose, you can use it once, and you must finish a short or long rest to do so again. At 10th, 15th, and 18th level you can perform that ability one additional time per rest.
Death Before Dishonor
At 10th level, the samurai’s code of honor is so strong he is much less likely to succumb to mundane temptations and even magical enchantments find it difficult to ensnare him. You gain proficiency with Wisdom saves. If you are already proficient with Wisdom saves, you instead gain a bonus of half your proficiency bonus to Wisdom saves.
At 15th level, the samurai’s name and banner are symbols of hope and righteousness. This banner serves to inspire and empower those around the samurai to greatness. All allies within 60’ gain +5 temporary hit points and a +1d4 bonus to attack rolls. These benefits last for one hour or as long as the samurai is not reduced to 0 hit points, incapacitated or dead, whichever comes first.
These bonuses do not stack with other bonuses to attacks or temporary hit points.
At 18th level, whenever the samurai attacks with a shortsword, longsword, katana or bow, his weapons deal critical hits on natural 18s, 19s and 20s.
The code of the samurai is one of the balancing factors of the archetype. GMs should make sure that characters are living true to their archetype’s nature, and if not, ensure there are consequences.
Other samurai will not stand for those tarnishing their reputation and bringing dishonor to their name. This is not to say there may not be evil samurai, rather that the code must be observed.
Different factions of samurai may have varying codes as well. It’s not difficult to envision a faction of lawful evil hobgoblin samurai.
Fighter Folio © 2018 Total Party Kill Games; Authors: Brian Berg, Mark A. Hart.