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The bushi is a member of a samurai order, a warrior trained to represent her lord on the battlefield as well as in her master’s court. While originally of noble birth, some bushi find themselves pressed into service either through adoption or capture from a rival’s army. They are taught a code of honor and discipline, but like most any organization individuals adhere to varying degrees.

Bushi are known for their ornate armor, exotic weapons, and near preternatural speed with weapons. The bushi chooses a fighting style and weapons to compliment that method of combat whether it be the traditional daisho (paired katana and wakizashi), archery, naginata, or even the brutal tetsubo.

Role: The bushi is a master of combat, whether in melee or with the bow. She is surprisingly fast and nimble even in heavier armor. She focuses on a specific style of combat, and when armed with the proper weapons can be devastating in battle. The bushi is an alternate class for the fighter core class.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The bushi’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Bushi
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Weapon familiarity
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Combat style feat
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Armor training
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Bonus feat
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Ki pool
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Combat style feat
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Armor training
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Bonus feat
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Iajutsu strike
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Combat style feat
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Armor training
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Bonus feat
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Perfect steel
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Combat style feat
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Armor training
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Bonus feat
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Deadly streak
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Combat style feat
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 Armor mastery
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Bonus feat, Weapon mastery

Class Features

The following are class features of the bushi.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A bushi is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, light, and medium). The bushi is not proficient with any shields.

Weapon Familiarity (Ex)

At 1st level, the bushi selects two weapons from the following list and treats them as martial weapons: fighting fan, katana, rope dart, tanto, tekko-kagi, tetsubo, or wakizashi. See Eastern Weapons for more information.

Combat Style Feat (Ex)

At 2nd level, a bushi must select one combat style to pursue: archery, two-handed weapon, or two-weapon combat. The bushi’s expertise manifests in the form of bonus feats at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level. She can choose feats from her selected combat style, even if she does not have the normal prerequisites.

If the bushi selects archery, she can choose from the following list when she gains a combat style feat: Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, and Rapid Shot.

If the bushi selects two-handed weapon style, she can choose from the following list when she gains a combat style feat: Cleave, Power Attack, Pushing Assault, and Shield of Swings.

If the bushi selects two-weapon combat, she can choose from the following list when she gains a combat style feat: Double Slice, Quick Draw, Two-Weapon Feint, and Two-Weapon Fighting.

The benefits from the bushi’s chosen style feats apply only when she is not using a shield. She loses all benefits of her combat style feats when using a shield. Once a bushi selects a combat style, it cannot be changed.

Armor Training (Ex)

Starting at 3rd level, a bushi learns to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. Whenever she is wearing armor, she reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by her armor by 1. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –4 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed.

In addition, a bushi can also move at her normal speed while wearing medium armor. At 7th level, a bushi can move at her normal speed while wearing heavy armor.

Advanced Armor Training: Beginning at 7th level, instead of increasing the benefits provided by armor training (reducing her armor’s check penalty by 1 and increasing its maximum Dexterity bonus by 1), a bushi can choose an advanced armor training option (see Advanced Armor Training) . If the bushi does so, she still gains the ability to move at her normal speed while wearing medium armor at 3rd level, and while wearing heavy armor at 7th level. Source: PZO9467

Bonus Feats

At 4th level, and at every 4 levels thereafter, a bushi gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement (meaning that the bushi gains a feat at every level). These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as Combat Feats, sometimes also called “fighter bonus feats.”

Upon reaching 8th level, and every four levels thereafter (12th, 16th, and so on), a bushi can choose to learn a new bonus feat in place of a bonus feat she has already learned. In effect, the bushi loses the bonus feat in exchange for the new one. The old feat cannot be one that was used as a prerequisite for another feat, prestige class, or other ability. A bushi can only change one feat at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the feat at the time she gains a new bonus feat for the level.

Ki Pool (Su)

At 5th level, a bushi gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy she can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a bushi’s ki pool is equal to 1/2 her bushi level + her Charisma modifier. As long as she has at least 1 point in her ki pool, she gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks.

By spending 1 point from her ki pool, a bushi can make one additional attack at her highest attack bonus, but she can do so only when making a full attack. In addition, she can spend 1 point to ignore any armor check penalties and penalties from encumbrance for 1 round. Finally, a bushi can spend 1 point from her ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action. A bushi gains additional powers that consume points from her ki pool as she gains levels.

The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive. If the bushi possesses levels in another class that grants points to a ki pool, bushi levels stack with the levels of that class to determine the total number of ki points in the combined pool, but only one ability score modifier is added to the total. The choice of which score to use is made when the second class ability is gained, and once made, the choice is set. The bushi can now use ki points from this pool to power the abilities of every class she possesses that grants a ki pool.

Iaijutsu Strike (Su)

At 9th level, the bushi can spend 1 point from her ki pool to make a single blindingly fast strike with a readied weapon as a standard action. The target is considered flat-footed for the resolution of this single attack. If the bushi possesses the Quick Draw feat, she can draw and make the strike with any easily accessible weapon and also return it to its sheathe as part of the same action.

Perfect Steel (Su)

At 13th level, the bushi can spend 1 point from her ki pool to make a single perfectly placed attack with a weapon as a standard action that completely ignores the nonmagical hardness of any object that is not an artifact. Bonuses to hardness from magical enhancement still apply.

Deadly Streak (Su)

At 17th level, the bushi can spend an additional 1 point from her ki pool (2 points total) to make two additional attacks at her highest attack bonus when making a full attack instead of only one.

Armor Mastery (Ex)

At 19th level, a bushi gains Damage Reduction 5/— whenever she is wearing armor.

Weapon Mastery (Ex)

At 20th level, a bushi chooses one weapon from the two selected for weapon familiarity. Any attacks made with that weapon automatically confirm all critical threats and have their damage multiplier increased by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, for example). In addition, she cannot be disarmed while wielding a weapon of this type. 

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The bushi shares her favored class bonuses with the fighter class.


    Section 15: Copyright Notice

    Player’s Advantage: Fighter. © 2017, Samurai Sheepdog, LLC; Author: Charles Plemons III.