PFS Tengu Samurai viable?


Advice


I love the idea of a Tengu Samurai, but after looking at it from a few different angles, I'm starting to doubt it's viability. Hopefully all of your wisdoms and insights will either change that thought or confirm it.

I was thinking of a Sword Saint, order of the Cockatrice. 2H weapon with the katana and looking at the critical feat chain. However, the Tengu's -2 Con, +2 Dex/Wis don't really serve that too well.

Stats could look something like:

Str 15
Dex 16
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 10
Cha 10

For feats, weapons finesse would help to hit, but it's near impossible - at least to my knowledge at lower levels - to get Dex to add to damage as well.

If I don't go sword saint I suppose I could embrace the mounted archer aspect, but not sure if that intrigues me.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I would not bother with trying to add dex to damage. Just settle on a 16 base STR. Samurai is a full BAB character and will be hitting things all the time anyway.

Also Sword Saint simply isn't very good. If you really want to you it that is your prerogative.

I personally would go

16
16
12
10
12
10

Make sure to put FCB into HP, pick up toughness if you are worried about it, and bump STR every 4 levels will be just fine.

My own Tengu Samurai in PFS is Order of the Tomb. He rides around on an Axe Beak which is a great combat animal for his Naginata, and lets him move pull out a scroll and deliver it in the same round if he has to. I have successfully pulled off at least two Breath of Life's doing this.

His starting stat line was

16
12
12
14
14
8


I'm playing in a hells rebels game and one of my friends is playing a tengu samurai and he's loving it yea just go for 16 str/dex and then later take feats to get cut from air and you got a very cool thematic character


The other easy options would be Samurai with a single Swashbuckler level, which allows not only Slashing Grace but panache things, or perhaps most ideal - just go Daring Champion Cavalier with the Tengu's free katana proficiency and an Eastern theme. If you're wearing Eastern armor and wielding a katana, nobody is going to think you're some kind of musketeer.

Daring Champion makes for an awesome katana-master, with features that arguably make it better than a Samurai for wielding a blade. At level 9, you can do some significantly powerful things with swift-action Tactician as well, like granting allies Paired Opportunists and then generating AoOs.

Sword Saint is... well, terrible by most people's reckoning, and I generally agree.

If you want to stick with Samurai, you could also consider going two-weapon with the Tengu DEX bonus. Challenge damage on two weapons is fierce.


Mahtobedis wrote:

I would not bother with trying to add dex to damage. Just settle on a 16 base STR. Samurai is a full BAB character and will be hitting things all the time anyway.

Also Sword Saint simply isn't very good. If you really want to you it that is your prerogative.

I personally would go

16
16
12
10
12
10

Make sure to put FCB into HP, pick up toughness if you are worried about it, and bump STR every 4 levels will be just fine.

My own Tengu Samurai in PFS is Order of the Tomb. He rides around on an Axe Beak which is a great combat animal for his Naginata, and lets him move pull out a scroll and deliver it in the same round if he has to. I have successfully pulled off at least two Breath of Life's doing this.

His starting stat line was

16
12
12
14
14
8

Well this sounds intriguing. I'd love to see this build in a little more depth - can you either post it here or private message it to me? How did you get your hands on an axe beak? Is naginata your main weapon or just mounted weapon?


BadBird wrote:

The other easy options would be Samurai with a single Swashbuckler level, which allows not only Slashing Grace but panache things, or perhaps most ideal - just go Daring Champion Cavalier with the Tengu's free katana proficiency and an Eastern theme. If you're wearing Eastern armor and wielding a katana, nobody is going to think you're some kind of musketeer.

Daring Champion makes for an awesome katana-master, with features that arguably make it better than a Samurai for wielding a blade. At level 9, you can do some significantly powerful things with swift-action Tactician as well, like granting allies Paired Opportunists and then generating AoOs.

Sword Saint is... well, terrible by most people's reckoning, and I generally agree.

If you want to stick with Samurai, you could also consider going two-weapon with the Tengu DEX bonus. Challenge damage on two weapons is fierce.

This also is worth the looking into.

Is sword saint really that terrible? I'll have to take another look at it myself. What's the general reasoning behind this?

You have all given me hope for this character idea, thanks!


BadBird wrote:

The other easy options would be Samurai with a single Swashbuckler level, which allows not only Slashing Grace but panache things, or perhaps most ideal - just go Daring Champion Cavalier with the Tengu's free katana proficiency and an Eastern theme. If you're wearing Eastern armor and wielding a katana, nobody is going to think you're some kind of musketeer.

Daring Champion makes for an awesome katana-master, with features that arguably make it better than a Samurai for wielding a blade. At level 9, you can do some significantly powerful things with swift-action Tactician as well, like granting allies Paired Opportunists and then generating AoOs.

Sword Saint is... well, terrible by most people's reckoning, and I generally agree.

If you want to stick with Samurai, you could also consider going two-weapon with the Tengu DEX bonus. Challenge damage on two weapons is fierce.

Since I can seem to find a way to edit my previous posts, so I post again and apologize.

With the daring champion route you get champion finesse that lets you use light or one handed piercing weapons of which the katana is neither, so the katana does not benefit from this - or am I missing something?


Iamrubocop wrote:
BadBird wrote:

The other easy options would be Samurai with a single Swashbuckler level, which allows not only Slashing Grace but panache things, or perhaps most ideal - just go Daring Champion Cavalier with the Tengu's free katana proficiency and an Eastern theme. If you're wearing Eastern armor and wielding a katana, nobody is going to think you're some kind of musketeer.

Daring Champion makes for an awesome katana-master, with features that arguably make it better than a Samurai for wielding a blade. At level 9, you can do some significantly powerful things with swift-action Tactician as well, like granting allies Paired Opportunists and then generating AoOs.

Sword Saint is... well, terrible by most people's reckoning, and I generally agree.

If you want to stick with Samurai, you could also consider going two-weapon with the Tengu DEX bonus. Challenge damage on two weapons is fierce.

Since I can seem to find a way to edit my previous posts, so I post again and apologize.

With the daring champion route you get champion finesse that lets you use light or one handed piercing weapons of which the katana is neither, so the katana does not benefit from this - or am I missing something?

Slashing Grace! Besides granting DEX-to-damage, anything you need a one-handed piercing weapon for will work with katana. Including Panache abilities, and the Swordmaster's Flair: Blue Scarf.

The issue with Sword Saint is that you need a full-round action to use Iaijutsu Strike until level 10, and even then it's a standard action. You also can't attack an opponent before using Iaijutsu Strike. So you either wait until an enemy moves up and attacks you before using your whole turn to strike once, or you move up to an enemy, take their full attack without even having a weapon drawn, and then make one strike. Even after it becomes a standard action, it's *maybe* useful once per battle at the very start. Maybe.

Anyhow, there are a ton of ways to create a 'katana master'. You can even go Sacred Fist of Shizuru (Patron Deity of Samurai) and take Crusader's Flurry to flurry a katana with powerful magic while using Monk defense.


BadBird wrote:


Slashing Grace! Besides granting DEX-to-damage, anything you need a one-handed piercing weapon for will work with katana. Including Panache abilities, and the Swordmaster's Flair: Blue Scarf.

The issue with Sword Saint is that you need a full-round action to use Iaijutsu Strike until level 10, and even then it's a standard action. You also can't attack an opponent before using Iaijutsu Strike. So you either wait until an enemy moves up and attacks you before using your whole turn to strike once, or you move up to an enemy, take their full attack without even having a weapon drawn, and then make one strike. Even after it becomes a standard action, it's *maybe* useful once per battle...

Ah, yes. I misread slashing grace. That does change that.

Looking at the feat requirements, I'd be one short at first level to take slashing grace as a tengu and would have to pick it up at third, as you would need to take weapon focus first. Not the end of the world, but also a step behind the human version.

Definitely appreciate your knowledge!


Iamrubocop wrote:
Looking at the feat requirements, I'd be one short at first level to take slashing grace as a tengu and would have to pick it up at third, as you would need to take weapon focus first. Not the end of the world, but also a step behind the human version.

If we're talking about a Daring Champion, you're not a step behind the human after all - the Human needs to take katana proficiency, while the Tengu cruises on Swordtrained. On a Samurai though, Swordtrained is useless for your purposes and Human has a feat-advantage.

Swordmaster's Flair: Blue Scarf is really a game-changer kind of thing. Note that having a Panache Pool doesn't mean you suddenly need to try to have high CHA; the difference between 14CHA and 8CHA is 1 point of Panache. You can either make do with 1 point, or take Extra Panache once and have as much as a 16CHA character would. Though having CHA does mean that Dodging Panache can be a really strong defense.


Excellent point again, BadBird. Upon looking, it also appears that Pirhana strike could be a useful feat as well alongside slashing grace.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Piranha Strike only works with light weapons. Not one handed slashing weapons that can be finessed.

I'm heading out at the moment, but either tonight or tomorrow I will post my Order of the Tome build.

I acquired the Axe Beak by completing all three parts of quest for perfection with my Tengu. Alternatively, I think I have a boon floating around here to grant Tengu's access to an Axe Beak that I would not mind sending to someone who would actually use it.


Mahtobedis wrote:

Piranha Strike only works with light weapons. Not one handed slashing weapons that can be finessed.

I'm heading out at the moment, but either tonight or tomorrow I will post my Order of the Tome build.

I acquired the Axe Beak by completing all three parts of quest for perfection with my Tengu. Alternatively, I think I have a boon floating around here to grant Tengu's access to an Axe Beak that I would not mind sending to someone who would actually use it.

I would definitely like to see this build and would put that axe beak to use! haha, looking forward to your post!


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Kiro Yamasaki Level 10 Samurai(note this character predates inventory tracking so I cannot say when I bought all of the items)
Stats
STR 20
DEX 12
CON 12
INT 14
WIS 14 (16 for purposes of casting spells from divine scrolls)
CHR 08

Defenses
HP 74 (I am very brave and did not put FC bonus into HP)
AC 26 (+3 Obsidian Stoneplate [because it's cool],+1 Dex, +1 Amulet of NA, +2 Ring of Protection)
Fort +11 (+3 Cloak of Resistance)
Ref +7
Will +8 (A little lower than I like, I was going to get the cracked ioun stone that boosts saves by one, and with resolve and a clear spindle resonance I end up being ok)
BAB +10
CMB +15
CMD +26

Attacks
+3 Naginata 20/15 1d8+12 19-20x4 (Power Attack and Challange boosts this to 17/12 1d8+31 19-20/x4) a very painful crit
Natural Weapons Bite Claw Claw 12 1d3+5 (less if I bite as part of a full attack, more for if I am disarmed)

Feats
1) Weapon Focus Naginata
3) Power Attack
Bonus) Quick Draw Naginata
5)Dazzling Display
Bonus) Weapon Specialization Naginata (It is too a good feat)
7) Shatter Defenses
9) Improved Critical

Abilities (I miss a few racials here, but you should get the idea)
Low Light Vision
Gifted Linguist (So good for intimidators)
Claws and Bite (1d3)
Order of the Tome
Challenge (4) +2 on Saves, Bluff and sense motive against target
Mount (Axe Beak)
Resolve (6)
Specialize Knowledge (Religion)
Mounted Archer (meh)
Banner +2
Powerful Knowledge (This lets me cast Divine Scrolls as if the spell were on my spell list. It gets a little weird with all PFS scrolls being arcane and divine, but I have avoided the issue by limiting my scroll usage to scrolls that are divine outside of PFS. I also use linguistics instead of spell craft for checks related to scrolls, nor do I need read magic)
Greater Resolve (aww yeah)
Trait: Dangerously Curious
Trait: History of Heresy (Grandmother Crow is a great bird who wants to take care of all her fledglings, but she isn't very happy with me. I'm not sure why. I know other people think other things about her, but they are wrong. It's in her name, Grandmother CROW)

Skills (For space I will only list ones I have ranks in)
Handle Animal 15
Intimidate 15
Religion 16 (21 for purposes of any check that involves writing)
Linguistics 26 (Aww yeah Tengu + Order of the Tome)
Perception 14
Ride 10
UMD 16

Gear
+3 Obsidian Stone Plate
+3 Cloak of Resistance
+1 Amulet of Natural Armor
+2 Ring of Protection
+3 Naginata
Cracked Pale Green Prism Attack
Belt of Bears Str +2
Travelers Anytool
Sleeves of Many Garments
Oil of Daylight (sadly scrolls of daylight do not work)
Potion of Cure Serious 2 (for when I drop)
Potion of Fly
Circlet of Persuasion
Wayfinder
Clear Spindle Ioun Stone
Scroll of Airwalk
Scroll of Suppress Charms and Compulsions 5x
Scroll of Breath of Life
Wand Magic Missle CL5 (from a The Infernal Vault)
Spring Loaded Wrist Sheath x2(for those scrolls/wands if your GM is not cool)
Potion of Touch of the Sea
Sea Sponge (Has saved my life)
Wand of Cure Light Wounds
Wand of Glitterdust 10 charges (Got it off a Chronicle)
Wand of Keep Watch (Surprisingly useful)
Potion of Mage Armor (Shadows are real. Grandmother Crow told me this in my dreams)
Scroll Carry Companion x2 (For when the Axe Beak is not allowed)
Scroll Reduce Animal x2 (It has come up)
Scroll Daylight (Sometimes you are not in the darkness)
Scroll Remove Charm
Scroll Cure Critical Wounds x2
Scroll Bless Weapon x2
Scroll Endure Elements x2
Scroll Protection. From Evil x15
Scroll Lesser Restoration x5
Scroll Unbreakable Heart x15 (Yes I know it only lasts a round but sometimes that is all it takes to keep the gunslinger from killing someone)
Scroll Crusader's Edge
Scroll Cure Moderate Wounds x5
Scroll Remove Fear x2 (On an Axebeak I"m actually fast enough to catch them running away)
Scroll Remove Sickness x2
Scroll Remove Paralysis x5
Scroll Silence
Scroll Cure Serious Wounds x4
Scroll Remove Curse x2

Animal Companion Chi Chi the 4th Axe Beak (My Dayjob is an Axe Beak breeder. I bought the Vanity to use Handle Animal)

Stats
STR 22
DEX 18
CON 16
INT 3
WIS 11
CHA 10

Defenses
HP 67
AC 28
Fort 9
Ref 9
Will 2
Speed 50
CMB 13
CMD 27

Attacks
Bite +12 1d8+9

Tricks
Attack, Attack, Heel, Flank, Guard, Stay, Fetch, Come, Defend

Feats
Improved Unarmed Strike (Debateable I know, but I and every GM I have run with rule this is ok)
Narrow Frame
Dragon Style (Aww yeah)
Combat Reflexes
Stand Still (You will not run away from me)

Abilities
Low Light Vision
Sudden Charge
Link
Mounted Challagne
Barding Training
Indefatigable

Skills
Linguistics 1 (Tengu)
Acrobatics 8
Survival 12

Equipment
Breastplate Barding


While it's prolly not what you want a natural attack based Tengu Samurai is actually a very strong build which can do crazy amounts of damage when challenging.


Alex Mack wrote:
While it's prolly not what you want a natural attack based Tengu Samurai is actually a very strong build which can do crazy amounts of damage when challenging.

interesting...care to elaborate? I"m all for learning!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

You use the claws alternate trait and get free unarmed strike and two claw natural attacks. Combined with the natural bite, that's 3 attacks at full BAB when you full attack.

I have a tengu barbarian that switch hits between polearms and natural attacks as necessary. He's only level 3, but he does rip things apart.


Black Powder Chocobo wrote:

You use the claws alternate trait and get free unarmed strike and two claw natural attacks. Combined with the natural bite, that's 3 attacks at full BAB when you full attack.

I have a tengu barbarian that switch hits between polearms and natural attacks as necessary. He's only level 3, but he does rip things apart.

When you say he gets full bab on all the natural attacks, you mean no to hit penalties that a twf would experience.

I.e. a level1 fighter tengu would get 2 claws and a bite all at a to hit of its bab and str modifier combined?

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Yup!

The only downside is having to use the Amulet of Mighty Fists to boost your natural attacks. But I thought it would work well with the Unchained Barbarian and so far, so good :)


Yes, as long as the attacks are primary natural attacks. Check out this Universal Monster Rules entry.


I rather like the sword saint. It drops what I don't want.

That being said it's a long wait to not be a full action attack for your main showcase abilities.

Scarab Sages

My Tengu Samurai is really a 2 weapon fighting barbarian. 17 STR, 19 Dex, 10 Con/8Int/10Wis/10Cha. I two weapon fight with a Katana and Wakazashi. I picked up heavy armor prof and use mithral o-yori.


The sword saint is terribad. One of the least munchkiny players i know got disgusted with how seldom it came up and how little difference it made and swapped it back out for the mount, even if the mount is a little hard to use its STILL comes up more often than ijiatsu strike.


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The Yojimbo is much better than the Sword Saint if you don't want a horse, it's actually prettty rad for a Tengu who likely has high dex and can thus profit from armor training. Also there's a new horseless archetype in the Dragon player companion. Wasn't too thrilled by it but it wasn't as bad as Swordsaint.

The natural attack based Tengu merely needs to get claw and bite attacks at level 1 from race. They cost you nothing so that's quite handy. Later you will need to invest in an amulet of mighty fists. There's a new feat in the Haunted Heroes Handbook which can get you a gore attack at 3rd level. Then you have 4 natural attacks at full BAB. While your damage die is s+$~tty every attack adds your full STR and -1/+2 from power attack.

As Black Powder Chobo mentioned natural attacks can be combined nicely with a Reach weapon. Since the Samurai gets proficiency with the Naginata this is pretty swell. Your base tactic is as follows: Start combat with Naginata. Try to get some AoO and protect your friends with it. Once opponents have closed with you drop the Naginata and do the savage claw claw bite full attack on em.

I'd recommend the fast drinker trait and potions of enlarge person for such a build.


I wish Yojimbo hadn't killed the ability of a Samurai to take Fighter feats. Just doesn't seem right to turn the mighty Yojimbo into a guardy/tanky type with weaker weapon skills.

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