Probably my L5R influence, but...


Samurai Discussion: Round 1

Scarab Sages

Its probably my L5R influence, but I don't see most samurai being mounted.

OTOH, the new cavalier orders seem good and i can probably simulate Lion clan with Fighters and make very effective non-mounted samurai. And these guys are ideal Unicorn clan samurai.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matthew Trent wrote:

Its probably my L5R influence, but I don't see most samurai being mounted.

OTOH, the new cavalier orders seem good and i can probably simulate Lion clan with Fighters and make very effective non-mounted samurai. And these guys are ideal Unicorn clan samurai.

Obviously, the PF Samurai are those Moto who decided that gaijin lands are more exciting :)

Shadow Lodge

Historically(I know it's kind of stiff to posit this without sources, but Japanese history is not my main subject) samurai were mounted nobility and proficient with the bow. BEing nobility, samurai led troops and platoons in war, so the visibility of the saddle the range of the bow were optimal. Popular fiction and the latter periods of Japanese history, especially the waning period of Meiji Restoration have painted these warriors are uncanny sword masters, whose purposes seem to be frontal assaults on foot and pointless dueling.


I guess some Scorpion decided the follow the Moto around, after looking that Ninja class.

Silver Crusade

Historically it depends on what earea your talking about. In the early history of the samurai thay learned the way of the horse and bow. At this time there where alot of small wars being fought all over Japane. At the start of the Eato period with the power moven from the diamos to the emporer. There where no wars being fough this is the time period when thay moved from the horse and bow to foot weapons. This was done becous most of the fights of this time where dules of honer. Thats the short verson.

Personly I think that this verson of the samurai is going to have the same problems as the cavalier. It lackes any real use in most campanes becous there to spelized to mounted combat. I could see makeing a samurai a alternt ranger class or paladin. This fits much better then the curent form.

Samurai class = Ranger base

Change animal companion to horse/pony.

Change spells to exta bounes feets.

Change favord tarain to chalange macanice.

Change the favord enemy to hit and damage only.

Move the skill list around a litte to socal skills removing the wilderns skills.

Now you have a more versatile samurai.

Dark Archive

Though it pains me, historical samurai/ninja/whathaveyou must be taken with a grain of salt before they are converted into the pulpy goodness of Pathfinder. As evidenced by these discussions.

Some examples: historically, samurai employed a great many different fighting styles, but their origin was a group of nobility that fought primarily mounted with spear and bow. However, this was because they were appointed bureaucrats who supplied their own armaments and maintained readiness in exchange for not paying taxes, an institution brought over from China. Down the road, during the Gempei Wars, success in battle meant fighting with sword and bow from ships. Fighting on foot with the naginata (glaive) also came into style for time, during Gempei and the later Kamakura period, since the long-hafted weapon could strike at unprotected legs until armor designs caught up. This period gave us such figures as Benkei, and the Sengoku-onward idea of the Naginata as a 'woman's weapon' was a result of the old Naginata being unused by later Sengoku (1530-1614) era Samurai and becoming hand-me-downs. Speaking of the Sengoku period, that eighty year civil war saw the rise of the arquebus. Though generally most useful in the hands of conscripts, like practical military men the samurai tended to take up whatever arms got the job done. So we've gone from horse-archers to marines to polearm specialists to gunners and haven't even touched on the era when Japan convinced itself that the Katana was miraculous, holy and the only weapon for the civilized warrior poet.

It's also worth noting that Zen Buddhism spread to the Japanese nobility during the 13th century, but the 'quintessential' body of Samurai literature and lore was a product of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the guys that won the day during the Sengoku period. In other words, just like the knight in Europe, even the 'historical' samurai as it is generally known is a product of revisionism and imagination.

L5R did a great job of identifying 'samurai' as a social class, rather than a character class. d20 L5R tried to work with this via many different prestige classes and the like, but I never liked it. If I must have a samurai archetype or alternate class, I find I am quite pleased by the samurai as presented. Sure, it has many of the same problems as the cavalier, but that is a different discussion.

If you want a campaign of samurai, use many classes. Dragon Clan two-weapon fencer? Ranger seems right. Favored enemy human might even be allowed to good and neutral characters to represent dueling talent. Matsu Warrior? Barbarian or polearm fighter fits nicely. Or Paladin with the power of your ancestors behind you. Crane clan courtier? Cavalier or bard could do it. But that's all for specific campaigns, and I'd rather that sort of thing remain in setting supplements.


calagnar wrote:


Personly I think that this verson of the samurai is going to have the same problems as the cavalier. It lackes any real use in most campanes becous there to spelized to mounted combat.

Point being, at least for the cavalier I've seen in play, mounted combat is at best 20% of what he does.

Cavaliers have ally-boosting and/or tanking features, 4/lvl skill points, and challenge works on foot and even with ranged weapons if needed. Mounted combat is an important part but is not everything.

As stated in another thread 'though, it would be very nice have alternatives for the mount for cavaliers and samurai, as happens for Druids, Rangers and Paladins.

Perhaps Auras like the 3.5 Marshal for the Cavalier, and an enhanceable Daisho for the Samurai.


I'm far from being a samurai buff, but it immediately struck me as a little "ho-hum" that they have the mount/animal companion component in the class... would have been nicer to see a bond with perhaps their traditional weaponry?


Hmm...

Dispite the whole real life heratage of being horse back archers I am very keen on the idea of them having the option to be bonded to their weapons instead.

Something to think on.


Rhidian wrote:

Hmm...

Dispite the whole real life heratage of being horse back archers I am very keen on the idea of them having the option to be bonded to their weapons instead.

Something to think on.

I wish to point out that my ideal situation would be both things. Is not that i don't like mounted samurai. I LOVE mounted samurai - it's almost mandatory it being represented.

I just think that should not be the only option. Moreover, a mechanic for a badass heirloom weapon is cool :)


I don't object to the mounted Samurai, it does fit my preconeptions.

Much like other posters, I would also like to see a bonded 'heirloom' weapon option.


Spiral_Ninja wrote:

I don't object to the mounted Samurai, it does fit my preconceptions.

Much like other posters, I would also like to see a bonded 'heirloom' weapon option.

The horsemanship can be corrected with archetypes! =D

Dark Archive

I'm keen for any cavalier alternative feature that lets them get away from the mount. I've never been fond of pets as class features anyway, and the PF Core did a wonderful job of never forcing me to take one. Even the Paladin has an alternative now, allowing me to be a wandering foot-paladin rather than a cliche with a white horse/other. Heck, the feasibility of making a bow-paladin did more to restore my faith and imagination in old D&D than anything else.

It's a tight spot though. Heirloom weaponry might tread on paladin toes too much though, essentially turning the Cavalier into "non-lawful good paladin". Giving them martial heritage and tricks steals thunder from the fighter. For the samurai I think it could work. Especially since I still know people who love the kensai in form and function.


Matthew Trent wrote:

Its probably my L5R influence, but I don't see most samurai being mounted.

OTOH, the new cavalier orders seem good and i can probably simulate Lion clan with Fighters and make very effective non-mounted samurai. And these guys are ideal Unicorn clan samurai.

As others have said here, for most of their history, Samurai functioned as mounted archers; but a tactical revolution took place during the sixteenth century, as more troops became available, infantry became much more dominant.

Samurai never actually functioned as heavy cavalry, as indigenous horses of Japan were the size of ponies, unsuitable for use as shock-cavalry. This can be seen in that no "Lances" (as westerners or the Ming might have known them) have ever been discovered archeologically, the pole arms of this era were for battles on foot.


the lack of the bonded weaponry is a good thing it allows the class to be more flexible outside of the cultural ties. I could use thus class as a raider warlord or a knight errant without a lance or even for noble aristocrat in general. I think the class is beter able to use these weapons if the player wants to but without class ties forcing them.

it's for this weapon expertise is one of the few parts I don't like.


Just a possible note, one thing we could be missing is a set of optional rules that will be in UC for just such items. I point to the old item familiars in Unearthed Arcana as an example rule.

Ancestral swords are common enough across mythology and cultures to warrant a universal optional rule.


I think it's worth noting that the cavalier/samurai's mount is not the same thing as the Paladin's special mount therefore it would not be a direct example of swapping the weapon bond ability.

Scarab Sages

Muser wrote:
Historically ...

I stopped reading after you said this. That's how little I care about historic accuracy.

Dark Archive

Matthew Trent wrote:
Muser wrote:
Historically ...
I stopped reading after you said this. That's how little I care about historic accuracy.

A grain of salt may be necessary, since we aren't gaming historicals here, but one does not have to be uncivilized about it.

Besides, if we don't ground our approach in something than we're screwed. I'll say "samurai" and you'll say "guys who cut cars in half" and I'll say ninja and you'll say "like that Metal Gear guy! or those kids in the orange jump suits flashing gang signs!" That is not a game I want to play, my friend.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Trent wrote:

Its probably my L5R influence, but I don't see most samurai being mounted.

OTOH, the new cavalier orders seem good and i can probably simulate Lion clan with Fighters and make very effective non-mounted samurai. And these guys are ideal Unicorn clan samurai.

Yes, it probably is. Of course, I suppose you could just have all of the mounted ones wearing purple (Ugh...). Now Ran, there's a fine film with a bunch of mounted Samurai. Historically accurate? Well, no, it's King Lear, after all.

Cool? Hells Yes!

-Uriel

PS: I played Mantis, so I too liked a break from the mold, and my 'Samurai' carried Kama (Obviously).


Kaiyanwang wrote:
Rhidian wrote:

Hmm...

Dispite the whole real life heratage of being horse back archers I am very keen on the idea of them having the option to be bonded to their weapons instead.

Something to think on.

I wish to point out that my ideal situation would be both things. Is not that i don't like mounted samurai. I LOVE mounted samurai - it's almost mandatory it being represented.

I just think that should not be the only option. Moreover, a mechanic for a badass heirloom weapon is cool :)

Hence why I said as an option (as I have pointed out in bold).

I very much agree. I think it's awesome that the traditional Samurai is what is being reprisented but at the same time I think a nod to modern interpritations wouldn't go amiss.


I have to agree. Pathfinder embraces both historical and the more romanticized ideals of the archetypes. While I do like the horsemanship aspect I would have liked more to see the sword-school trained imagery of the late Tokugawa period. The staff did a great job with the idealized versions for gunslingers and mystical (not entirely historically based)ninjas I would have liked to see some of that spill over into the samurai.


Dukal wrote:
I guess some Scorpion decided the follow the Moto around, after looking that Ninja class.

The Scorpion were kicked out of the empire at least twice if I remember :)


Spiral_Ninja wrote:

I don't object to the mounted Samurai, it does fit my preconeptions.

Much like other posters, I would also like to see a bonded 'heirloom' weapon option.

+1 Just adding a vote for pro-nonmounted options in case they are counting.


Have you guys read through the same class I did?

I mean, here's what the Samurai gets for abilities related to Mounted combat:

Mount Companion
Mounted Archery

That's it. This isn't like the cavalier, who has three more abilities, one of which is his end cap ability.

Also, the Samurai already gets Weapon Expertise, which is your "bonded weapon" benefit right there, only mundane/nonmagical in nature. Sorry, this is a Cavalier sub-class, not a Paladin sub-class. No "spirits of ancestors giving magical effects" here...

.
The impression I got from the Samurai class goes like this:

- Can be more effective with a mount than most.
- Has some weapon specialization.
- Has training towards being resilient and focused.
- Can rally allies under his banner.
- Has bonuses to focusing on a single target (Challenge).
- Follows an Order.

Compared to the Cavalier:

- Fairly focused on mounted combat (especially charging).
- Is focused on using tactics with allies
- Can rally allies under his banner.
- Has bonuses to focusing on a single target (Challenge).
- Follows an Order.

Most of the problems the Cavalier faces is that he's too focused on mounted combat and on improving others.
The Samurai specifically drops those aspects in favor of being more resilient and better weapon specialization.

Really, I think people need to play this class to really see if their fears are valid.


+1 for an heirloom weapon option.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Trent wrote:

Its probably my L5R influence, but I don't see most samurai being mounted.

OTOH, the new cavalier orders seem good and i can probably simulate Lion clan with Fighters and make very effective non-mounted samurai. And these guys are ideal Unicorn clan samurai.

Then again, my experience was the movie Shogun... plenty of mounted action there.


calagnar wrote:

Historically it depends on what earea your talking about. In the early history of the samurai thay learned the way of the horse and bow. At this time there where alot of small wars being fought all over Japane. At the start of the Eato period with the power moven from the diamos to the emporer. There where no wars being fough this is the time period when thay moved from the horse and bow to foot weapons. This was done becous most of the fights of this time where dules of honer. Thats the short verson.

Personly I think that this verson of the samurai is going to have the same problems as the cavalier. It lackes any real use in most campanes becous there to spelized to mounted combat. I could see makeing a samurai a alternt ranger class or paladin. This fits much better then the curent form.

Samurai class = Ranger base

Change animal companion to horse/pony.

Change spells to exta bounes feets.

Change favord tarain to chalange macanice.

Change the favord enemy to hit and damage only.

Move the skill list around a litte to socal skills removing the wilderns skills.

Now you have a more versatile samurai.

I would have done the samurai as a fighter variant, and the gunslinger as a ranger variant.


I want the samurai to be archetypes for ALL the martial classes rather than have it be an alternate cavalier as base.

Cavalier: The mounted stereotype, upper middle/high caste, most common.

Paladin: The poetic hero-type who follows Bushido in _spirit_ not only word.

Fighter: The ronin/lower caste samurai, typically serving minor lords and focusing on fighting over the intrigue/philosophy.

Ranger: The survivalist/rural samurai who serves a lord on the outskirt prefectures.

Barbarian: The OA "You wouldn't like me when I am angry" clans and prestige class types.


From my understanding, Samurai are students of war. So one would think that they would have something for mounted combat, hand to hand (not like monk but something), melee weapons, and range weapons. Looking back from the 3.5 days we got the Samurai from Oriental Adventures (OA) and Complete Warrior and of the two i liked the one from OA the most. It allowed you to multiclass with the monk class because of the unarmed combat it should be allowed to have and had a really good weapon bonding element to it. Now granted i could not find any reason that a Samurai in pathfinder couldn't multiclass with a monk. However i would like to see a more bonding element grater then what a fighter could do with feats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kaisoku wrote:

Have you guys read through the same class I did?

Also, the Samurai already gets Weapon Expertise, which is your "bonded weapon" benefit right there, only mundane/nonmagical in nature. Sorry, this is a Cavalier sub-class, not a Paladin sub-class. No "spirits of ancestors giving magical effects" here...

Yes, I did read through the same class.

But I guess you never read through the Samurai OA class at all from your comment here.

The "bonded weapon" wasn't a bonus like the Paladin's, nor was it like what Weapon Expertise does.

What it was was a replacement mechanism for upgrading your "family" katana. You kept the same weapon, and you got to upgrade it to reflect that you weren't getting new magic weapons like your buddies the Fighter or the Paladin.


Matthew Trent wrote:
Muser wrote:
Historically ...
I stopped reading after you said this. That's how little I care about historic accuracy.

Actually I stopped reading as soon as you said L5R, its to that degree that I far prefer historic accuracy.


Let me restate that... while I certainly prefer historical accuracy, this regards things like ninja, samurai and katana. Still my intended setting is not historic, but more closely tied to fantasy Japan then the less then tied to anything Rokugan.

My setting is folklore accurate as well, it follows Japanese legends and folklore better than other fantasy Japan settings.

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