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The Janissary - Fighter Archetype


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


Taxes come in many forms. And one of the hardest taxes to pay is giving up a child to the military state. Forcibly recruited at a young age, a janissary is a slave trained and conditioned for life as a soldier. Indoctrinated into war-like faiths and schooled at sophisticated academies of combat, this disciplined warrior faces years of hardship before even his first battle is fought. Many janissaries who survive their servitude retire to a life of honor and some degree of liberty. Others would rather break their marshal bonds and use what they've learned to carve out their own destiny.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Your master commanders were more concerned with your ability to kill than your personal safety. A janisarry does not gain proficiency with heavy armor or tower shields. He gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Elven Curve Blade instead.

Crescent Blade Instruction
You treat the scimitar as a light weapon and can wield a falchion one-handed at a -2 penalty. Additionally, you can deal piercing damage in place of slashing damage when using a scimitar, falchion, or Eleven curve blade. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 1st level.

Indoctrinated Zeal
Starting at 2nd level, a fighter gains a +1 bonus on Will saves against enchantments. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Circular Thrust
Starting at 3rd level, a janissary learns to maneuver his curved blades around enemy shields (scimitar, falchion, or elven curve blade). Whenever he attacks an enemy who is bearing a shield, he ignores 1 point of AC the shield is providing. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), the janisarry may ignore 1 additional point, to a maximum +4. At 19th level, a janisarry ignores an enemy's shield bonus entirely. This replaces armor training and armor mastery.

Weapon Training
A janissary must select heavy blades at 5th level.

Weapon Mastery
Must select scimitar, falchion, or elven curve blade.


Seems very balanced and it is definitely interesting. I'm guessing it's a big part of the lore in your game, right?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While Janissaries were trained in hand-to-hand, and the Yatagan (a forward curving short saber) became something of a signature weapon, they were primarily ranged fighters.

Archers to begin with, but they transferred to handguns, grenades, and cannons around 1440 (pretty much the moment guns became available).

In any case, I don't think a separate archetype is required. Playing a Janissary is more a matter of roleplay than rollplay.


I worry that Circular Thrust is a bit weaker than Armor Training. Enemies wielding shields are a lot more circumstantial than a bonus to the armor you yourself are wearing, especially in a campaign that uses more monsters than humanoid NPCs. Other than that, it looks good to me.


Tim4488 wrote:
I worry that Circular Thrust is a bit weaker than Armor Training. Enemies wielding shields are a lot more circumstantial than a bonus to the armor you yourself are wearing, especially in a campaign that uses more monsters than humanoid NPCs. Other than that, it looks good to me.

I can take that hit to duel-wield falchions.


Thank you all for your feedback so far.

To better flush out Circular Thrust, I would say it counts toward anything that grants a "shield bonus" to AC, whether it be an actual shield or spells such as Shield. Janissaries train to stab around such obstructions. Just an idea to make it less circumstantial.


OmNomNid wrote:
Seems very balanced and it is definitely interesting. I'm guessing it's a big part of the lore in your game, right?

I just threw it together for fun :)

Grand Lodge

Not real cool on elven curve blade - doesn't make sense unless its an Elven community in which case they get it as a martial. Maybe another effect? Free weapon focus as a feat? Its not unheard of as Kensai Magi get free weapon focus for example.


Helaman wrote:
Not real cool on elven curve blade - doesn't make sense unless its an Elven community in which case they get it as a martial. Maybe another effect? Free weapon focus as a feat? Its not unheard of as Kensai Magi get free weapon focus for example.

You make a good point but it makes sense that one culture could steal or adopt a weapon design from another culture. It is said by some that it was Elves who first taught Humans music and poetry.

Another example. Japanese swords used to be straight and double-edged. Then they conquered a small culture call the Emishi who used curved single-edged swords. The Japanese then adapted the Emishi sword into what we now know as the Katana.

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