Oriental Prestige Class : Iaijutsu Master

Iaijutsu is the martial art of drawing a weapon (almost always a katana) and attacking with it in the same fluid motion. It is the foundation of some forms of dueling in Oriental Adventures (see Iaijutsu Duels in Chapter 6: Combat), and its masters are feared and respected throughout Rokugan and other lands where iaijutsu is practiced. Iaijutsu masters harness their ki energy to strike with blinding speed and devastating power.

Iaijutsu masters are almost always members of the samurai character class. In Rokugan, they are drawn exclusively from the Crane clan, where they are trained in the Kakira school.

NPC iaijutsu masters serve as sensei to the finest samurai in the Empire.

Class Requirements

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

Class Skills

The iaijutsu master's class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Iaijutsu Focus, Jump, Perform, Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, and Tumble.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

The following are class features of the iaijutsu master.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Iaijutsu masters are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Iaijutsu masters do not gain any proficiency with armor or shields, though most have such proficiency from the samurai class.

Weapon Finesse (Ex): At 1st level, an iaijutsu master may use her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier on attack rolls with her katana. This works like the Weapon Finesse feat, except that it applies to the katana, a weapon to which the feat cannot normally be applied.

Canny Defense (Ex): When not wearing armor, iaijutsu masters add their Intelligence bonus to their Dexterity bonus to modify Armor Class while wielding a katana. As with normal Dexterity AC modifications, positive modifiers are lost when the iaijutsu master is caught flat-footed.

Lightning Blade (Ex): An iaijutsu master of 2nd level or higher adds her Charisma modifier to her initiative checks, as well as her Dexterity modifier.

Bonus Feats: At 4th level, then again at 9th level, the iaijutsu master gets a bonus feat in addition to her normal feat progression. These bonus feats must be drawn from the following list: Dodge (Mobility, Spring Attack), Expertise (Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack), Skill Focus (Iaijutsu Focus), Toughness.

Strike from the Void (Ex): An iaijutsu master of 5th level or higher adds her Charisma modifier to each extra damage die gained from using the Iaijutsu Focus skill.

One Strike, Two Cuts (Ex): At 8th level and above, an iaijutsu master can make two attacks with a katana as a standard action. This means she can strike twice and move in the same round, or attack twice in the strike phase of an iaijutsu duel.

Strike with No Thought (Ex): If an iaijutsu master of 10th level begins combat (not an iaijutsu duel) within melee range of an opponent, she gains a free surprise round, even though her opponents are aware of her presence. The only action the iaijutsu master can take in this surprise round is an attack action using a katana. For example, if the iaijutsu master Kakita Timoshiko and Bayushi Koro are standing on the street hurling insults at each other and the situation erupts into combat, Timoshiko can attack with his katana before Koro even rolls initiative, catching his opponent flat-footed.

This ability reflects the iaijutsu master's ability to apply the principles of the iaijutsu duel in normal melee combat. It does not give the iaijutsu master any additional benefit within an iaijutsu duel.

Iaijutsu MasterHit Die: d10
1st+1+0+2+0Weapon finesse, canny defense
2nd+2+0+3+0Lightning blade
4th+4+1+4+1Bonus feat
5th+5+1+4+1Strike from the Void
8th+8+2+6+2One strike, two cuts
9th+9+3+6+3Bonus feat
10th+10+3+7+3Strike with no thought

Epic Iaijutsu master

Epic iaijutsu masters continue to hone their skills as they progress beyond 11th level in their class. They focus on the art of swordfighting by selecting feats that further enhance their ability to end duels with a single, impossibly fast strike.

Iaijutsu duels are about focus, not strength, and as a result Charisma is the most important choice for ability increases for an epic iaijutsu master, although Strength and Dexterity are also appropriate choices.

Other Options: A rare few epic iaijutsu masters choose to augment their skills with magic. These characters often take Automatic Quicken Spell and Multispell so they can cast spells as quickly as they strike with their swords.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Echoes of the Edge (Su): At 11th level, the epic iaijutsu master gains the ability to strike at a creature an additional time as a free action, as long as she successfully damages the target on the initial strike. This additional attack is resolved at the character's highest base attack bonus and must be directed at the same creature the character's previous attack struck; the strike lands on precisely the same location as the cut before, but slices yet deeper. If this strike hits, it deals an amount of damage equal to the previous strike. If the previous strike was a critical hit, this free strike is a critical hit as well and it inflicts the same damage as the prior strike. An epic iaijutsu master may use echoes of the edge only once per round and only once per day. At 14th level, and again at every 3 levels thereafter, she may perform an echo of the edge an additional time each day.

Spirit Strike (Su): At 12th level, the epic iaijutsu master can draw her sword, strike with it, and return it to its sheath so quickly that she doesn't even seem to move. The strike is so fast that no blood stains the blade, and the victim may not initially realize he has been cut. The epic iaijutsu master makes one attack as a full round action when she spirit strikes; a successful Spot check (opposed by the iaijutsu master's Iaijutsu Focus skill check) allows an observer to notice a faint blur about the target as the strike connects.

If the epic iaijutsu master hits her target with a spirit strike, it is treated as an iaijutsu strike and she can make an Improved Iaijutsu Focus check to determine how many additional points of damage her strike inflicts.

The iaijutsu master can follow a spirit strike with an echo from the edge, but unless she uses up another of her spirit strike uses for the day, this second strike is visible (but still shockingly fast).

At 15th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, an epic iaijutsu master can make an additional spirit strike each day.

Bonus Feats: The epic iaijutsu master gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic iaijutsu master feats) every 3 levels after 11th.

Epic Iaijutsu Master Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Devastating Critical, Epic Dodge, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Skill Focus (Iaijutsu Focus), Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Iaijutsu Focus, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Overwhelming Critical, Spectral Strike, Superior Initiative.

Epic Iaijutsu Master    Hit Die: d10
11th Echoes of the edge 1/day
12thSpirit strike 1/day
13thBonus feat
14thEchoes of the edge 2/day
15thSpirit strike 2/day
16thBonus feat
17thEchoes of the edge 3/day
18thSpirit strike 3/day
19thBonus feat
20thEchoes of the edge 4/day

Source: Oriental Adventures

Monster Prestige Classes