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Unearthed Samurai

Honor in service to his daimyo, the unearthed samurai is groomed from birth as both a swordsman and honor bound loyal retainer. It is not sufficient to just master his weapons, the unearthed samurai seeks to excel in all aspects of his life including several types of arts including calligraphy and poetry.

The unearthed samurai seeks perfection in honor and loyalty both in himself, his household, allies, and retainers.

It is only through this perfection in both thought and deed that drives the unearthed samurai actions and goals best defined by the code of bushido.

Although fighting skills are rigorously practiced and infused in the very soul of this swordsman, the unearthed samurai seeks to employ the principles of bushido in every aspect of his life. To be samurai is to be the very embodiment of selfless honor and loyalty.

Class Skills: The unearthed samurai gains Perception as a class skill. In addition, an unearthed samurai gains a +1 bonus per five class levels to Perception checks to avoid being surprised.

The unearthed samurai must always have at least one Craft or Perform skill with a number of ranks equal to his unearthed samurai level.

Weapons and Armor Proficiency

The unearthed samurai is proficient with all simple and martial weapon, the katana and wakizashi. The samurai will only use weapons associated with peasants, thieves, thugs, and assassins as a last resort; including blow guns, clubs, crossbows (any type), dart, garrote, great club, net, saps, shuriken, slings, and whips. The samurai suffers a -2 penalty to all charisma based skill and ability checks while wielding such a weapon.

The unearthed samurai is proficient with light, medium, and heavy armors but not with shields.

Samurai prefer heavy armor over medium or light armor, especially eastern armors including the o-yoroi or kusari gusoku. If given the choice between a battered set of o-yoroi or a magical do-maru, the unearthed samurai would choose the o-yoroi. If the samurai dons armor normally associated with peasants, thieves, thugs, or assassins; including leather, padded, or studded leather armor; he suffers a -2 penalty to all charisma based ability and skill checks. This penalty stacks with the penalty for wielding commoner weapons as well (see above).

Ki Shout (Ex)

The samurai may give forth a great shout as a swift action at 1st level that grants him a +4 bonus to his Strength score for one round.

The unearthed samurai may do this a number of times per day equal to half his class level (minimum of 1 time at 1st level). The samurai must be able to vocalize his shout, i.e. it will not work if the shout cannot be heard by anyone including the samurai.

At 4th level, the unearthed samurai may use this ability as an immediate action and use the +4 bonus for any fear based saving throws instead of the Strength bonus.

At 8th level this effect carries over to all allies within 30 feet of the unearthed samurai that can hear the shout, granting them the same bonus to their Strength score until the beginning of the samurai next turn.

At 12th level the unearthed samurai may choose to instead demoralize living opponents within 30 feet that can hear the shout. Opponents with less hit dice that the samurai class level must make a Will save or become frightened for a round.

The Will DC is 10 + half the samurai class level + his Charisma modifier and if the opponent successfully makes the saving throw he is still shaken for one round. Opponents with more hit dice than the samurai class level are not affected by this ability. Other samurai may add half their class level to the saving throw against this effect.

At 16th level the samurai may use his shout to bull rush any opponent within 10 feet of the samurai as a standard action. This effect is handled as a normal bull rush but does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

This ability replaces resolve, greater resolve, honorable stand, and true resolve.

The Way of the Sword (Ex)

The unearthed samurai gains Weapon Focus (katana) and Quick Draw at 1st level.

At 2nd level he gains Weapon Specialization (katana).

At 3rd level he gains Weapon Focus (wakizashi).

At 5th level he gains Weapon Specialization (wakizashi).

At 8th level he gains Greater Weapon Focus (katana).

At 10th level he gains Greater Weapon Focus (wakizashi).

At 12th level he gains Greater Weapon Specialization (katana).

At 14th level he gains Greater Weapon Specialization (wakizashi).

The samurai does not need to meet the fighter prerequisite for Weapon Specialization for katana or wakizashi. Note that the effects of Quick Draw are not normally limited to specific weapons, but the unearthed samurai only gains the benefits of the feat when using a a katana or wakizashi. The samurai may choose to gain the Quick Draw feat separately normally if he wishes to gain the effects for all other weapons.

This ability replaces samurai challenge, weapon expertise, and demanding challenge. The samurai loses the challenge bonus normally granted by his chosen order.

The Way of the Bow (Ex)

The unearthed samurai may choose from the following feats as bonus feats at 4th level and every four levels thereafter:

Clustered Shots, Deadly Aim, Far Shot, Focused Shot, Greater Snap-Shot, Impact Critical Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Improved Snap-Shot, Manyshot, Mounted Archery, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run, Snap-Shot, and Weapon Focus (long bow only).

The unearthed samurai must meet any prerequisites for the feats listed above and treats his unearthed samurai class levels as fighter class levels for those feats that have that requirement. The only exception is mounted archery, the samurai does not need to possess mounted combat.

This ability replaces mounted archer and bonus feats.

Notes and Rationale

The samurai challenge ability is one of his greatest assets so replacing it with specific feat trees for two specific weapons seems a bit counter-intuitive. However, the challenge is very limited both in scope and use with a very limited number of uses per day and limited to one specific target. The bonuses granted by the way of the sword are not limited either in number of daily uses or opponents with which the bonuses may be applied.

The ki shout ability is probably the unearthed samurai greatest feature, easily replacing the samurai resolve features and easily over shadowing the bonuses it is replacing. However, the effects are only gradually granted as the samurai gains levels, and many of the more powerful effects are only granted at higher levels.

The way of the bow is probably the closest conversion in regards to power for the abilities being replaced. Essentially it grants bonus feats that are much more limited in nature than the normal bonus feats gained by the samurai, though gained at a slightly faster rate of progression.

Overall, the unearthed samurai is very comparable to the original class, but the abilities were tailored from the original samurai class found in the 1st edition unearthed version of the worlds oldest fantasy role playing game.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Player Paraphernalia #24 Old School Samurai (New Samurai Archetype) ©2015, The Knotty-Works; Author: John Buckley.