View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Knight as makeshift Samurai?

Dusk Raven
2017-12-07, 02:57 AM
While 3.5 has a Samurai class, presented in Complete Warrior, it's terrible. As I once read, likely on TVTropes, "A Fighter can do all things a Samurai can do, while simultaneously doing a lot of other things the Samurai can't."

However, if I am to run a 3.5 Oriental Adventures campaign, I'd like to be able to have a class for samurai to be, especially since the party would benefit greatly from having a member of the setting's nobility. To that end, I got an idea - what if the Knight class could be tweaked and reflavored as a Samurai?

Now, I realize the Knight doesn't rank much more highly in terms of Tiers -- martial melee classes seem to end up rather low on the Tier list, sadly -- so I don't actually know what it does well or what it does poorly. I can only go off of what I can glean from reading the class abilities -- and I at least appreciate what they were going for with the Knight, unlike CW's Samurai.

The reason I put this thread here instead of, say, the general 3.X forum is because I'd like to tweak and rebalance it a little, both to fit an Oriental Adventures setting and to make it a little better and more appealing, rather than just calling a Knight a Samurai and then calling it good. My suggestions so far:

-Change Fort saves from poor to good. Seriously, how does a class have d12 hit dice and poor Fort saves?
-Swap out Mounted Combat as a given feat, but add it to the list of bonus feats a Samurai can choose to take (more on that later). Instead, Samurai get Ancestral Relic as a bonus feat at 2nd level, Ancestral Relic being essentially the 3.5 version of an ability OA Samurai got -- which was an idea I really liked.
-Remove the Shield Block ability, and replace it with something else - possibly the Kiai Smite ability, which was the one ability the CW Samurai had that I thought was interesting.
-For the bonus feats that Samurai can choose from, add Mounted Combat. Also replace Weapon Focus (lance) with Weapon Focus (bastard sword), the bastard sword being what a katana counts as in D&D terms. One could probably pull a list of other feats to add to that list as well, given how many sourcebooks there are. Alternatively, one could come up with a series of feat lists divided into different clans like how the Samurai bonus feats worked in OA, or simply have it so that the bonus feats the Knight chooses are from the list of Fighter bonus feats.

That's all I've got for now, a few tweaks to some of the existing features I felt were more appropriate for western knights and not Japanese samurai. Agreements, disagreements? Any tweaks to the Knight's Code or other abilities that might make it fit better?

2017-12-07, 05:37 AM
Why specifically you need a samurai character class? Why can't, a character with "fighter" class have a rank of "samurai" in the kingdom? Or a paladin? Or even a ranger? Do you need a "king" or "duke" class in your game? A character can have rank of king, but class-wise they can be a marshall, or a fighter, or even a charismatic bard. Basically, what do you want to do that you need to have a specific class called "samurai" in your game that it can't be a profession.

For example, in ordinary game, a character can have "sailor" as their profession, but when pirates come they throw fireballs at them, because their "class" is a sorcerer. But, in a game specifically about travel, a "sailor" might be a distinct "character class" by itself, because the other character classes are not sorcerer or fighter, but say, "pilot" or "diver" or "mechanic." What is your concept of this character class "samurai?" Why do someone need or want to take this class rather than fighter or paladin? Take Wizards and Sorcerer. In one system, there might just one "magic user" class and wizards or sorcerer might just be profession. But in 3.5, there's a specific, distinct concept between them. One prepare spell and is a "learned mage" and the other spontaneously cast spell and is a "talent mage." In 3.5, wizard and cleric are different class, they have different concept. One prepare arcane spells and other prepare divine spells from gods, and those are specific concept. But in other system, both might be just "magic user" class, because there's no concept of arcane or divine spell there.

I hope you get what I'm trying to say. Basically, if there's no actual reason on why you need samurai class, just have it as a profession or background, and any other existing character class can take it. A lot of samurai are learned bueraucrat, for example, why can't there be samurai with wizard class? Some samurai are more famous for their leadership capability, why can't a marshall or bard be a samurai? Some samurai are famous for their archery capability, why can't there be a samurai with ranger class, etc.

2017-12-07, 05:59 AM
If you gestalt OA samurai, CW samurai, and knight, I think you'd have something that does a decent job of being the samurai found in common tropes.

To more accurately portray realistic samurai, consider that early samurai were master archers. Later on, they were respected cavalry. Once gunpowder entered Japan, for a brief period muskets became a weapon exclusive to samurai there. After the Meiji Restoration, samurai were mostly disarmed and became bureaucrats and nobles in the modern English tradition (ie "old money").

2017-12-07, 08:11 AM
Aside from your suggestions...

Boost their skill points to 4+Int, the mandatory minimum. Add Iajutsu Focus to the list.
Double the bonuses for Fighting Challenges
Let the bonus feats at 5th, 10th, and 15th come from the full Fighter feat list
Remove the stupid code restrictions.
Let the smites work more often than 1-2/day-- I like a 1d4 round recharge, personally. Let it add their level to damage when smiting a challenged foe, to tie things together neatly.