The kuge are samurai who were born into a life of wealth and privilege. These warrior-nobles begin martial training later in life than is normal for samurai, but they enjoy greater access to refined culture, works of art, and scholastic thought. Kuge frequently find employment in the courts of the daimyo, or as captains, leading other samurai into battle.

The kuge is an archetype of the samurai class.

Class Skills

The Kuge’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str). The kuge may choose one additional Knowledge skill as a class skill.

Skill Ranks per Level

The kuge gets 6 + Int modifier skill ranks per level.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A kuge is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with the katana, and wakizashi. He is proficient with all armors (heavy, light and medium) but not with shields.


A 1st level kuge begins play with an extra 200 gp. Characters who multiclass as a kuge after 1st level do not benefit from this ability.

By My Honor (Ex)

Kuge’s have a greater capacity for Honor than lesser samurai. When determining the amount of Honor a kuge character can possess, add 2 to the kuge’s class level and then divide by 2. He gains Honor, as normal, by defeating a challenge with a CR 1 greater than his character level in the name of his lord (in the case of a ronin kuge he must defeat this challenge in the name of a community). The kuge is under no obligation to defeat this challenge alone but he must contribute significantly to the success of the endeavor. If the kuge ever fails at a challenge where the CR is 1 or more less than his character level, he loses 1 Honor. A kuge with an Honor score of at least 1, can, once per day, add +10 to a single d20 roll (attack roll, skill check or save) so long as the success of the roll is directly relevant to maintaining or gaining Honor.

This ability replaces mount.

Challenge (Ex)

The kuge’s challenge ability operates as normal but the kuge gains additional uses of the ability at a slower pace than the standard samurai. The kuge gains a second use of challenge at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter, to a maximum of 5 times per day at 17th level.

Resolve (Ex)

The kuge’s resolve ability operates as normal, but the kuge gains additional uses of the ability at a slower pace than the standard samurai. A kuge gains an extra use of his resolve ability at 4th level and every three levels thereafter.

Mighty Pen

At 1st level, the kuge can choose either Linguistics or a single Knowledge skill. He gains the Skill Focus feat for this chosen ability.

Master of Etiquette (Ex)

At 3rd level, the kuge’s knowledge of proper etiquette and sense of honor serves him well in dealing with other people. He can add his Honor score to all Diplomacy skill checks.

This ability replaces weapon expertise.

Voice of Authority (Ex)

At 4th level, the kuge can choose to use Diplomacy as a standard action to alter attitudes and persuade others to act. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 plus his Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

This ability replaces mounted archer.

Kuge’s Banner (Ex)

Allies affected by the kuge’s banner do not gain a bonus on attacks made during a charge. Instead, these allies gain a +1 morale bonus to all Will saves. Against saves versus fear, this bonus increases to +2. At 10th level and every five levels thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1. Otherwise this ability functions as the samurai banner ability.


At 7th level, the kuge gains the Leadership feat. His cohort must be a part of the buke caste.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Way of the Samurai Copyright 2012, Steven D. Russell and Michael Tumey, all rights reserved; Author Jonathan McAnulty


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