General Prestige Class : Master Samurai

The master samurai is a military retainer of a feudal overlord; he practices a martial code of behavior that emphasizes the value of personal honor over life itself. In some cultures he is part of the warrior aristocracy

The details of the master samurai code are quite specific. Master samurai are required and expected to demonstrate absolute obedience to their feudal overlord, even if his lord's commands might result in the master samurai's certain death. He remains ready to die for his lord or his honor at a moment's notice, and to avenge to the death any slight to either. His personal honor demands that he repay all debts fairly. Perhaps the most important tenet of this code is the expectation that the master samurai never commit a dishonorable act or demonstrate the slightest fear of personal injury or death. Master samurai who fail to live up to these strictures face personal shame so overwhelming that they prefer to destroy themselves rather than live under its shadow

Fighters, rangers, and paladins make excellent master samurai, and they find that its class abilities enhance their own combat potential. Monks also make good master samurai: The discipline of bushido is a natural reflection of the monk's desire to study a philosophy or belief with single-minded determination. Wizards and sorcerers may find it difficult to qualify for master samurai, but those who do enjoy the martial enhancements available to them.


To qualify to become a Master Samurai, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The master samurai's class skills are Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (code of martial honor), Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Ride, and Tumble.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Master samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields.

Code of Conduct: The master samurai must be of a lawful alignment, and must adhere to the martial code of honor (see sidebar). If the master samurai violates this code, he may be required to atone by performing some arduous or disagreeable task; if the violation was particularly egregious, he may be invited to commit ritual suicide. In some cultures, when a feudal overlord is killed, defeated, or disgraced, his master samurai retainers are expected to follow him into death.

Support: Master samurai can expect to receive all the necessary requirements of life from their feudal overlord, including room and board, transportation, normal (including masterwork) arms, and armor. Those master samurai who do not serve a lord are called ronin and do not receive the support benefit.

Tumble: At 1st level, the master samurai gains a +2 competence bonus to Tumble skill checks.

Great Cleave: At 1st level, the master samurai receives this feat for free.

Supreme Cleave: At 2nd level, the master samurai gains the ability to take a 5-foot step before making a Cleave or Great Cleave attack.

Blades of Fury: When a master samurai delays his attack with the katana until after he is attacked in the round, he takes advantage of the opening and can add a +2 bonus to his attack and damage rolls. In other words, you delay your action until after you are attacked in melee combat.

Blades of Death: When the master samurai fights with the katana two-handed, he adds double his Strength modifier to damage rolls.

Supreme Mobility: The master samurai gains a +6 dodge bonus to his AC against attacks of opportunity provoked by moving into or our of a threatened area. Note: A condition that makes you lose your Dex bonus to Armor Class (if any) also makes you lose dodge bonuses. This dodge bonus supersedes that of Mobility.

Ki Strength: Beginning at 5th level, the master samurai learns to channel ki, a source of inner energy and strength shared by all living creatures. You can add +2 to your Strength score for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom bonus.

Ki Attack: Beginning at 6th level, the master samurai gains the supernatural ability to imbue his melee attacks with ki energy for one successful attack as a free action. The damage from such an attack can harms even a creature with damage reduction. When using this ability consider the master samurai's weapon to be a magic weapon with a bonus equal to the character's Wis modifier for of harming a creature with damage reduction. Once activated, this bonus remains until the master samurai hits once with the weapon charged with ki.

Master SamuraiHit Die: d12
1st+1+0+2+2Tumble bonus, Great Cleave
2nd+2+0+3+3Blades of Fury, Supreme Cleave
3rd+3+1+3+3Supreme Mobility
4th+4+1+4+4Blades of death
5th+5+1+4+4Ki strength 1/day
6th+6+2+5+5Ki attack 1/day
7th+7+2+5+5Ki strength 2/day
8th+8+2+6+6Ki attack 2/day
9th+9+3+6+6Ki strength 3/day
10th+10+3+7+7Ki attack 3/day

The Master Samurai's Code

The master samurai is obedient to his lord.

It is a master samurai's right to protest against bad judgments or orders from his lord and death is the final protest a master samurai can make.

The master samurai is ready to die at any time.

There is no failure, only success or death.

To die in the service of one's lord is the greatest service a master samurai can perform.

Dishonor to one's lord or family is dishonor to the master samurai.

All debts, of honor or vengeance, are repaid.

An enemy deserves no mercy.

Cowardice is dishonorable.

Source: Sword and Fist

General Prestige Classes