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The Bushi

There are those that take up the way of the sword for lord and honor, gaining prestige as well as wealth in the code of Bushido. Then there is the sellsword, bandit, and destitute village warrior. The bushi represents the common warrior, trained in the ways of combat and war yet considered expendable by his superiors.

However, the bushi understands the value of the way of the sword, the way of Bushido and does strive to attain those virtues in his own way. Unlike his noble counterparts, the bushi gains a practical understanding of how the virtues can be applied in daily life when dealing with other soldiers, common folk, and superiors alike. Where the samurai may seek to attain the virtues of Bushido as a spiritual goal, to the bushi these virtues have a more practical impact on his daily life.

Role

The practicalities of living a common life teach many bushi that questionable skills and talents have merit both on the battlefield and off. Some may find that to survive banditry is acceptable as long as amends can be made at a later time or the spoils shared with those less fortunate than the bushi himself. Relieving a pretentious merchant of his pouch of coins and using them to compensate those that have to kowtow to the merchant’s whims is completely acceptable in the tenets of the bushi’s view of Bushido.

Bushi are first and foremost though are warriors trained with various weapons and armor to fight either for themselves or others. Those who prove incompetent with the weapon are easily weeded out and exposed soon enough in battle and few exceptional bushi find the life of the common warrior both hospitable and profitable. Those that excel soon discover that embracing the code of Bushido not only helps their fighting skills but their career and disposition on life as well.

Alignment The bushi may be of any alignment.

Hit Die d10.

Starting Wealth 4d6 X 10 gp (average 140 gp). The bushi also begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The bushi’s class skills are Bluff, Climb, Craft, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), Profession, Ride, Sleight of Hand, Survival, Swim.

Skill Points per Level 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Bushi
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Irreverence, Bushido (1)
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Resourceful
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Armor training, Bushido (2)
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Bonus feat
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Weapon training
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Bushido (3)
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Armor training
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Bonus feat
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Bushido (4), weapon training
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Resourceful (minor magic)
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Armor training
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Bushido (5)
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Weapon training
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Bonus feat
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Armor training, Bushido (6)
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Resourceful (major magic)
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Weapon training
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Bushido (7)
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 Armor mastery
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Bonus feat, Bushido Mastery

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

The Bushi is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, preferring eastern versions if available. He may choose from the bo staff, double-chained kama, kama, katana, kusarigama, meteor hammer, nunchaku, sai, spiked chain, tekko-kagi, tetsubo, or wakizashi at 1st level and select one additional Eastern exotic weapon at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.

The Bushi is trained in light and medium armors and light shields, preferring eastern versions if available. At 8th level he may add banded, iron lamellar, and heavy shields; kusari gusoku and stone coat at 12th level; and the O-yoroi armor at 16th level.

Irreverence (Ex)

The bushi generally disdain the haughty attitudes of the nobility and cavaliers and samurai in particular. As a result, if a bushi is challenged by a cavalier or samurai he may make a Will save (DC 10 + the class level of the challenger). If the saving throw is successful, the challenge is ignored and the challenger gains no benefit from the challenge.

Code of Bushido

The Bushi tries his best to live up to the code of Bushido, the seven virtues of a truly noble warrior. As a result, he may choose one of the following virtues at 1st level and an additional virtue at 3rd level and every three levels thereafter until all seven are attained. No virtue may be chosen more than once, and more than one virtue may be applied as a time if the bushi has sufficient actions to perform them.

Benevolence (Ex)

The bushi may declare a melee attack as nonlethal without incurring any penalty to the attack. If the bushi is using a bludgeoning weapon for the attack, he may add half his class level to the nonlethal damage caused by the attack.

Courage (Ex)

When the bushi chooses this virtue he gains a +1 morale bonus to any saving throws versus fear. This bonus increases by +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

Honor (Ex)

Once per day the bushi may challenge a single opponent to combat for a single encounter as a swift action. The opponent must be within sight of the challenge and all attacks against that opponent deal extra damage equal to half the bushi’s class level (minimum of 1). The challenge remains in effect until the foe is defeated or the bushi is incapacitated.

The bushi generally ignores others while facing his challenged opponent and as a result, suffers a -1 penalty to his AC against all attacks except the opponent challenged.

The bushi gains one additional use of this ability at 4th level and every four levels thereafter. This effect is treated as the challenge class ability for feats and the bushi’s Irreverence class ability.

Loyalty (Ex)

The bushi grants a +1 deflection bonus to a selected ally’s AC when the ally is threatened by an opponent that is within reach of the bushi’s weapon. The bushi may grant this bonus as an immediate action and it lasts until the beginning of the bushi’s next turn. This bonus increases by +1 at 4th level and every four levels thereafter. If multiple allies may be chosen, the bushi may divide the AC bonus amongst his allies as desired.

Respect (Ex)

The bushi may add half his class level to all Diplomacy skill checks and Diplomacy is treated as a class skill.

Righteous Fervor (Su)

This virtue grants the bushi to select one target as a swift action and all attacks against that target gain a +1 sacred (or profane for evil bushi) bonus to hit and damage. This effect lasts for the encounter unless the bushi is incapacitated. This bonus increases by +1 at 5th level and every five levels thereafter.

He may select one target per encounter and may use this ability a total number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1).

Truthfulness (Ex)

The bushi may add half his class level to all Sense Motive skill checks and Sense Motive is treated as a class skill.

Resourceful (Ex)

The bushi has the knack of finding and negotiating for his daily necessities while within a town, village, or city. At 2nd level, the bushi can find any simple or martial weapon of common stock (non-masterwork quality) or light or medium armor that costs no more than 10 gp times his class level. In addition, he can purchase these items at half the standard price or a broken version at 10% of the standard cost.

The bushi can also use this ability to find free food and lodging for himself plus a number of additional people equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum of 0). The provider usually requires some form of menial service from the bushi that lasts an hour or so. If the bushi fails to perform this task he loses this ability for 1d4 days.

At 4th level, the bushi can use this ability to find any standard adventuring gear, clothing, animal gear, and toolkits. At 6th level, the bushi may use this ability to find alchemical items. Note that common sense should be used in regards to purchasing broken items. If an item cannot be found with the broken condition, the bushi cannot purchase it at 10%.

He can use this ability once per day but may be used to find multiple pieces of equipment as long as the total cost does not exceed the limit of 10 gp times the class level of the bushi. The settlement must be able to support either the production or distribution of such equipment, use the Base Limit listed in Table: Settlement Statistics for the maximum value of non-magical items that the bushi may attempt to acquire. If the bushi turns around and sells the item in the same settlement he loses this ability for a number of days equal to the price of the item divided by 10.

Armor Training (Ex)

Beginning at 3rd level, the bushi reduces the armor check penalty by one (minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus by one for armor worn for which the bushi is proficient. This adjustment increases by one at 7th, 11th, and 15th level to a maximum armor check penalty reduction of -4 and a maximum dexterity bonus of +4.

Bonus Feats

The bushi may choose a bonus combat feat at 4th level. The bushi must meet all prerequisites for the feat before he may choose it. The bushi may choose an additional bonus feat at 8th, 14th, and 20th level. In addition, the bushi may replace an existing combat feat with a new one at 8th and 16th level. The feat replaced must not be a prerequisite for another feat the bushi possesses and he must meet the prerequisite of the new feat chosen.

Weapon Training (Ex)

At 5th level, the bushi may choose one weapons group (see list from Fighter class). The bushi gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage when wielding any weapon from that weapon group. In addition, he may apply that bonus to any combat maneuvers used with the weapon and against any maneuvers directed against that weapon (such as sundering or disarming attacks).

At 9th level, the bushi may choose another weapons group to gain the +1 bonus and the bonus for his initial group increases to +2. He may repeat this process at 13th and 17th level.

Resourceful, Minor Magic (Ex)

At 10th level, the Bushi may use his resourcefulness to find potions or minor magic items that have a maximum price equal to 50 gp times the level of the bushi. The bushi may purchase these items at half the standard cost.

If the bushi sells the item within the same location, he cannot use this ability again for a number of days equal to the cost of the item divided by 50, representing the time required by the bushi to rebuild his reputation.

The same restrictions as given for the bushi’s resourceful class ability apply including limitations based on the size of the settlement and the limitation of once per day.

Resourceful, Major Magic (Ex)

At 16th level, the bushi may attempt to locate and procure more expensive magic item. The bushi can find magic items with a maximum price equal to 200 gp times the bushi’s class level. He may purchase these items at half the standard cost.

If the bushi turns around and sells the item within the same location, he cannot use this ability again for a number of days equal to the cost of the item divided by 100, representing the time it takes for the bushi to rebuild his reputation.

The same restrictions as given for the bushi’s resourceful class ability apply including limitations based on the size of the settlement and the limitation of once per week (rather than once per day).

Armor Mastery (Ex)

The bushi gains DR 5/– when wearing any type of armor at 19th level.

Bushido Mastery (Su)

At 20th level, the bushi becomes the embodiment of the Bushido code. As a result, bushi adds his class level to all Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks (this replaces the bonus granted by the Bushido class abilities of Respect and Truthfulness).

The Bushi may also draw upon the strength of the code of Bushido once per day while using the virtue of Honor and the damage caused by his attacks against his designated opponent causes additional damage equal to his class level (replacing the normal damage granted by the virtue of Honor). In addition, any critical strikes against the designated opponent are automatically confirmed. If the bushi is using a bludgeoning weapon and also invoking the act of benevolence, the damage modifier increases to one and half the bushi’s class level.

The bushi also exerts an aura of calm and all allies that can see the bushi and are within 10 feet of him gain the bonus to all Will saving throws versus fear that the bushi gains from the virtue of Courage.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Player Paraphernalia #17 The Bushi (Alternate Fighter Class) ©2015, The Knotty-Works; Author John Buckley.