I am a huge fan of RPGs. Like actual Role Playing Games, though now typically referred to as Tabletop RPGs or Pen and Paper RPGs. I haven’t been playing for too long, being introduced with the release of the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons or D&D 5e, but it has thoroughly taken over my life. Being an aspiring game developer, I can’t help but come up with my own ideas for how certain mechanics should work or new ideas on less fleshed out mechanics. Dungeons and Dragons, while having a rule set, greatly encourages this type of behavior and a community of “homebrewing” has formed.
So I’d like to share a few of my ideas:
I grew up watching a lot of Eastern Asian movies and martial arts masterpieces. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with Samurai and their devotion to their honor and duty. So naturally when I started creating my own characters many of those values made their way into my creation’s personalities. Reading the Dungeon Master’s Guide(DMG) one day I noticed they had variants on the weapons of D&D. Substituting the European influences for Eastern European versions. And that got me thinkin’, “Yo, I could make a Samurai.” My goal is for the Samurai to really emphasize the whole weapon master aspect of the fighter class whilst keeping the theme intact. To make this happen I had to simplify some concepts(specifically using Kendo for all weapons. Eesh..) but I think it came out rather clean. It’s a hybrid between Fighter, and bits of Monk and Rogue.
So.. here we go.
Samurai: (First Draft)
|1st||+2||Fighting Style, Martial Arts|
|3rd||+2||Way of the Samurai|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|6th||+3||Transition Strike, Stances(Third Stance)|
|7th||+3||Way of the Samurai Feature|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement|
|9th||+4||Stance Mastery, Stances(Fourth Stance)|
|10th||+4||Way of the Samurai Feature|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|13th||+5||Action Surge,(one use) Stances(Final Stance)|
|14th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|15th||+5||Way of the Samurai Feature|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|17th||+6||Stance Mastery(second stance), Action Surge(two uses)|
|18th||+6||Way of the Samurai Feature|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement|
|20th||+6||Extra Attack (3)|
Hit Dice: 1d8 per samurai level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8(or 5) + your Constitution modifier per fighter level after 1st
Armor: Light and Medium Armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival.
- (a) Breastplate or (b) leather, Daikyu(longbow), and 20 arrows
- two martial weapons
- (a) Yari(Spear), or two Kama(sickles)
- (a) an explorer’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
+2 to attack rolls with ranged weapon
While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 to damage rolls with that weapon.
Great Weapon Fighting:
When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2.
When you engage in two-weapon fighting you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
At 1st level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and martial weapons.
You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding a single one handed only weapon.
- You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes.
- You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike.
- When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a one handed weapon, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn.
As a Samurai you are prepared for any combat situation. As you grow you will master stances to help you in more specific situations.
There are universal pros and cons to stances:
- While you’re in a stance you move at half speed.
- You cannot receive the bonuses with ranged weapons
- You have advantage on opportunity attacks
It takes a bonus action to activate a stance. Leaving a stance is a free action. You start by picking two stances to learn and gain additional stances at levels 6, 9, and 13.
The most basic stance: You stand with you weapon out in front of you ready to react.
Point your weapon towards the ground baiting your opponent into thinking your guard is down.
+1AC + 1 ATK
The aggressive stance. You hold your weapon over your head and strike down hard. Leave yourself open.
+1 ATK, +2 DAM, -1 AC
You hold your weapon straight upwards. Able to react your opponents movements and still strike hard
+1 AC +2 DAM
Hide the weapon behind you to confuse you opponent on your weapons length. Harder to react to an aggressive opponent.
+2 ATK, -1 AC
Way of the Samurai:
At 3rd level you are experienced enough to choose your own path in life. You can choose between the Way of the Warrior, and the Way of the Ronin. Your choice grants you feature at 3rd level and again at 7th, 10th, 15th and 18th levels.
At 5th level, you can attack twice instead of once when you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level and to four when you reach 20th level.
At 6th level, when you are in a Stance you can choose to forgo one of your attacks and use a Transition Strike. Transition Strikes are effectively the same as a normal attack but it switches you from one stance into another. You can do this once per turn and up to a total number of uses equal to your Wisdom Modifier.(minimum of 1) You regain expended uses upon finishing a short or long rest.
When you reach 9th level, you’ve grown accustomed to one of your stances and now are able to get a bit extra while using it. You are able to pick another stance to master at level 17.
Parry: While in this stance, if another creature damages you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage by 1d6+DEX+WIS.
Riposte: While in this stance, if a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against the creature.
Menacing Attack: When you use Transition Strike into Jodan and hit a large or smaller creature, the creature must make a wisdom saving throw vs or be frightened of you until the end of your next turn.
DC = 8 + Proficiency + Charisma Modifier
Knock Down: When you use Transition Strike into Hassou and hit a large or smaller creature, the creature must make a Strength saving throw vs or be knocked prone.
DC = 8 + Proficiency + Strength Modifier
Iaido: While you are in this stance, you can add your Wisdom modifier(minimum of 1) to your attack and damage rolls if you had used the “Ready” action.
At 13th level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action. This also makes it so you are able to use an additional Transition Attack within the same turn.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.
Path of the Samurai:
The ultimate goal of samurai is to live a life full of honor and glory. Though their goals are the same some take different paths.
Way of the Warrior:
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in History and Calligrapher’s Tools. If you already have proficiency you gain double proficiency in these skills.
At 7th level, you can use a bonus action use a bonus action to regain hit points equal to 1d8+ your samurai level.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
At 10th level, you get to choose a second option from the Fighting Style class feature.
At 15th level, your willpower and focus increase to higher levels.
– You can’t be surprised while you are conscious
– You can add your wisdom modifier to your Initiative.
– You have advantage vs being frightened.
At 18th level, you can re-roll a saving throw that you fail. If you do so, you must use the new roll. You can use this feature twice between long rests.
Way of the Ronin:
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in Perception and Survival, If you already have proficiency you gain double proficiency in these skills.
At 7th level, you gain proficiency with improvised weapons and your Martial Arts Die increases to a d6.
At 10th level, when you’re hit by an attack that you can see, you can use your reaction to have the damage you take.
Free as the Wind:
At 15th level, your free spirit is reflected in your fighting style, you gain additional uses of Transition Strike equal to you wisdom modifier. (minimum of 1)
At 18th level, when you subjected to an effect that allows you to make a dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.
Cover Image by Lubliner