Alternate Class - Sohei

Sohei are warrior monks, religious soldiers who protect large monasteries. Unlike shamans, sohei are more militant than holy, and receive very little religious instruction. Instead they are trained in the art of fighting. Sohei defend their monastery against attacks and advance its political claims in the outside world. They are subject to the leader of their temple. Sohei are not found in Rokugan.

Adventures: Like paladins, sohei think of their adventures as "quests" in the service of their religion. Like samurai, however, they are typically sent on these quests by a superior whose command is law to the sohei. Sohei are often charged with defending their temples in times of conflict, but they can also expect to strike against enemy temples, monks, or shamans, to hunt down evil monsters terrorizing the countryside, or to recover a relic that is sacred to their order. They welcome all challenges as tests of their prowess and, secondarily, their faith.

Characteristics: Sohei mix martial prowess with divine power that grants them spell ability (as they gain experience), the ability to heighten their strength and speed in battle, and protection from mental and bodily harm. Very experienced sohei can shrug off physical damage and ignore certain magical effects. Their spells are useful in battle to grant protection, enhance attacks, and damage foes.

Alignment: Sohei, like monks, live a life of strict discipline and obedience to their orders. Sohei must be lawful, and lose their divine power if they stray from the path of law.

Background: Sohei come from all walks of life to train in their temples and monasteries. Many join their orders as children, and become sohei when they demonstrate a strength of both body and mind that lends itself to the temple's defense. Often, though, young men and women who show little promise for the contemplative life of the monk are the ones selected to become sohei.

Races: As with monks, most sohei are human or near-human (hengeyokai or spirit folk). The monastic orders to which sohei belong are predominantly human, and korobokurus, nezumi, and vanaras rarely join such orders.

Other Classes: Sohei hold shamans and monks in deep respect, and may even be assigned to serve as bodyguard to such a character. At the same time, they typically perceive themselves as spiritually inferior to such enlightened folk, and feel more kinship with samurai or "common" warriors (fighters, rangers, or even rogues).

Game Rule Information

Sohei have the following game statistics.

Abilities: A Wisdom score of 14 or higher is required to get access to the most powerful sohei spells, and a score of 11 or higher is required to cast any sohei spells at all. A high Constitution improves a sohei's hit points, and a high Strength makes her more effective in melee combat, where she typically excels.

Alignment: Any lawful.

Class Skills

The sohei's class skills are Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Iaijutsu Focus, Knowledge (religion), and Profession.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at each additional level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

The following are class features of the sohei.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Sohei are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all armor (but no shields). Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor and equipment carried.

Weapon Focus: Sohei gain Weapon Focus with a weapon of their choice as a bonus feat. Many sohei choose the naginata, the traditional weapon of the sohei.

Spells: Beginning at 4th level, a sohei gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a spell, the sohei must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so a sohei with a Wisdom of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Sohei bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against these spells have a Difficulty Class of 10 + spell level + Wisdom modifier. When the sohei gets 0 spells of a given level, such as 0 lst-level spells at 4th level, the sohei gets only bonus spells. A sohei without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet cast a spell of that level. See sohei's spell list. A sohei has access to any spell on the list and can freely choose which to prepare. A sohei prepares and casts spells just as a cleric or shaman does.

Through 3rd level, a sohei has no caster level. Starting at 4th level, a sohei's caster level is one-half her class level.

Ki Frenzy: Starting at 1st level, a sohei gains the ability to focus her ki power into a frenzy of berserk energy. In this frenzied state, she temporarily gains +2 to Strength and +2 to Dexterity. Her speed increases by 10 feet, and she can choose to make a flurry of blows with a full attack action in melee, making one extra attack per round while suffering a -2 penalty on every attack.

While in a ki frenzy, a sohei cannot use skills or abilities that requires patience or concentration, such as moving silently or casting spells. (She cannot use any class skills in a frenzy.) She can use any feat she might have except for Expertise, item creation feats, metamagic feats and Skill Focus (if it's ties to a skill that requires patience or concentration). A ki frenzy lasts for a number of rounds equal to three + the sohei's Constitution modifier. The sohei may prematurely end the frenzy voluntarily. At the end of the frenzy, the sohei is fatigued (-2 to Strength, -2 to Dexterity, can't charge or run) for the duration of that encounter. The sohei can only enter a frenzy once per encounter, and only a certain number of times per day (determined by level). Entering a frenzy takes no time itself, but the sohei can only do it during her action, not in response to somebody else's action.

Deflect Arrows: At 3rd level a sohei gains the Deflect Arrows feat, even if she doesn't have the prerequisite feat and Dexterity score.

Remain Conscious: At 5th level, a sohei gains the Remain Conscious feat, even if she doesn't have the prerequisite feats.

Strength of Mind: A sohei of at least 5th level is immune to stunning and sleep spells and effects.

Defensive Strike: At 7th level, a sohei gains the Defensive Strike feat, even if she doesn't have the prerequisite feats and ability scores.

Mettle: The sohei's special blessing allows her to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise damage or harm her. If a sohei of at least 9th level makes a successful Will or Fortitude saving throw that[ would normally reduce the spell's effect she suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a Saving Throw entry of "Will partial," "Fortitude half," or similar entries can be negated through this ability.

Damage Reduction: Starting at 11th level, the sohei gains the extraordinary ability to shrug off some amount of injury from each blow or attack. Subtract 1 from the damage the sohei takes each time she is dealt damage. At 14th level, this damage magical reduction rises to 2. At 17th, it rises to 3. At 20th, it rises to 4. Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.

SoheiHit Die: d10
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+2+0+2Ki frenzy 1/day, Weapon Focus----
3rd+2+3+1+3Ki frenzy 2/day, Deflect Arrows----
5th+3+4+1+4Remain Conscious, strength of mind0---
7th+5+5+2+5Defensive Strike, ki frenzy 3/day1---
11th+8/+3+7+3+7Damage reduction 1 /-, ki frenzy 4/day110-
14th+10/+5+9+4+9Damage reduction 2/-2110
15th+11/+6/+1+9+5+9Ki frenzy 5/day2111
17th+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Damage reduction 3/-2221
19th+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Ki frenzy 6/day3332
20th+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Damage reduction 4/-3333


A sohei who becomes nonlawful loses all spells and her frenzy ability. She also may not progress in levels as a sohei. She regains her spells and ki frenzy ability if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell), as appropriate.

Source: Oriental Adventures

Alternate Character Classes
© 2000-2006 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.