A Samurai with flavor: multi class to Monk or Kensai?


Advice


Dear friends,

I am completely new here, and I am also new to Pathfinder, as I have only randomly played D&D years ago. Yet I find Pathfinder much more interesting, especially because there seems to be more about Eastern mythology and characters.

So my question is: I would love to create a Way of the Warrior Samurai, but with some more flavor; my original idea is to multiclass it with a Hungry Ghost Monk, so to give him some ki sources. Do you think that would be a good idea, in terms of playability? I also have the feeling that multi classing to a Magus Archetype (such as Kensai) would feel more natural for the character.

Second question: is there any software for character generation, that allows to include all these very specific alternate classes? So to have a final idea of how the character would turn out :)

Please forgive me for being broadly naive, any answer is well accepted!

Thaaaanks


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Welcome.

Way of the Warrior is just an Order, right? You might be able to just VMC Cavalier to get that.

Are you using any of the archetypes available? I really like these archetypes [for various reasons]:
Disciple of the Pike, Ironbound Sword, and Warrior Poet.


Yeah, VM is hitting the crux of it. The various Archetypes of the Samurai are a great resource to add flavor to that class. Each has a different approach, and I think all but the Sovereign Blade can be stacked with the Ward Speaker. Unfortunately, none have the specific abilities of the Kensai. The Sword Saint has his own Iaijutsu-themed abilities, but they're quite distinct from those of the Magus Archetype.

Another thing to consider is Variant Multiclassing. You give up half your 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level feats, but in exchange you get certain Monk class features--to include a Ki Pool class at 11th level.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

Yeah, VM is hitting the crux of it. The various Archetypes of the Samurai are a great resource to add flavor to that class. Each has a different approach, and I think all but the Sovereign Blade can be stacked with the Ward Speaker. Unfortunately, none have the specific abilities of the Kensai. The Sword Saint has his own Iaijutsu-themed abilities, but they're quite distinct from those of the Magus Archetype.

Another thing to consider is Variant Multiclassing. You give up half your 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level feats, but in exchange you get certain Monk class features--to include a Ki Pool class at 11th level.

I did not know about this Variant Multiclassing!

So let's say that I play A Sword Saint with some Magus abilities: Does that mean that at those levels I can pick some Magus feats at those levels?


Remember, a Sword Saint has no spellcasting of his own. So your Sword Saint would be able to use his Arcane Pool to enchant his katana (or whatever weapon you choose), but would have no spells to use with Spellstrike. So it's a matter of whether you think the Arcana you would gain (two of which are gained at 15th and 19th level) are worth the loss of feats.

For example, IF the Wand Wielder Arcana works with Spellstrike as well as Spell Combat (more informed posters should weigh in here), you could, as a standard action, use a Wand of Shocking Grasp and deliver the spell with Spellstrike. But even then, you'd have to wait four levels to do that (you don't get your first Arcana until 7th level and don't get Spellstrike until 11th level with VMC). Alternately, you could get the Arcane Accuracy Arcana (to give yourself a bonus to hit equal to your Intelligence modifier) and then retrain it to Accurate Strike at 9th level (which would make your Iaijutsu strike practically unstoppable) or Hasted Assault (which would give you a free Haste buff for a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence modifier). You could get the Bane Blade and Devoted Blade Arcana at your latter levels, stacking up bonus damage dice.

You could try the reverse, but only if your GM is accommodating, because going by strict rules the Samurai was not given rules for VMC (likely because, like the Swashbuckler, it's an alternate class). If your GM approves, you could use the Cavalier's VMC progression, substituting Resolve and Greater Resolve for Tactician and Greater Tactician (which are gained at the same levels). In that case, you'd get the following:

1st level: Order of the Warrior. You would add Knowledge (history) (Int) and Knowledge (nobility) (Int) to your list of Magus class skills, and would be able to make Knowledge (nobility) checks untrained. If you had ranks in the skill, you would receive a bonus on the check equal to 1/2 your Magus level (minimum +1) as long as the check involves the nobles or politics of your land.

3rd level: Challenge. You would gain the ability to issue a challenge as a Samurai of your Magus level –2, but only once per day. You would add the appropriate order adjustment to your challenge based on the order you selected.

7th level: Order Ability. You would gain the 2nd-level ability of his chosen order, treating your Magus level as your effective Samurai level.

11th level: Resolve. You would gain the Resolve class feature, treating your Magus level as your effective Samurai level.

15th level: Greater Order Ability. You would gain the 8th-level ability of your chosen order, treating your Magus level as your effective Samurai level.

19th level: Greater Resolve. You would gain the Greater Resolve class feature, treating your Magus level as your effective Samurai level.

The real question is, do you feel these abilities, and the flavor they would bring to the Kensai Magus, make up for the loss of five feats? Flavor-wise, does the merging of themes (weapon specialist, warrior-mage, Samurai) meet your needs?


If you are a fan of unarmed combat the Warrior poet archetype of samurai works well with VMC monk.


Variant Multiclassing, UncPF1 is an option rather than part of the standard game.
Sadly Ki sources from different classes don't combine unless the classes specifically say they do. Archetypes usually modify the base classes abilities.

Samurai Class

Class Guides at ZG

Items that can save you thread c2019 for PFS but works in any setting.

For me, one of the key things to multiclassing is to expand the character's options and increase their survival. Samurai are Full BAB martial characters in armor with some intimidation skills and mount options. Gaining arcane or divine spellcasting would open many doors and allow easier magic item use (wizard, cleric, bard, magus, psychic). Gaining feats or skills are also an option (ninja, rogue, paladin, fighter, investigator, gunslinger).
For me the best options are Diviner wizard 1 {with Magical Knack}, Conjurer Wizard 2 {Dimensional Slide with Magical Knack}, Cleric 1-3 {Healing with Magical Knack}, and I'd go Psychic rather than Sorcerer. Often this class can have thematic issues with spellcasting if it gets tangled up with 'honor' and psychic neatly sidesteps that issue. While Bard isn't the best caster, their casting style blends well with Samurai and can bolster troops.
Ironbound Sword Samurai archetype with Fighter 5 is pretty darn good.


Guys, thank you all!
It seems there is no effective way to give a samurai a nice magic asset, but I have found this class on the web

http://www.pathfindercommunity.net/classes/multiclass-archetypes/samurai/el dritch-banneret-samurai-magus

Is it something official?


It is not. There are a few instances of things hidden away on Paizo blogs or in Archives of Nethys pages that aren’t otherwise linked to (e.g., the Deadeye Devotee), but a good rule of thumb is that if it’s not in the AON website it’s probably not official material.

In this case, the Eldritch Banneret only gives credit to an individual for the concept.


On the Ki side of things, it’s not an easy “dip” because monk doesn’t get Ki until 4th level. That’s a huge investment. Hungry Ghost’s Ki refill ability is at 5th. So with that, seems likely for most of your character’s life, he’ll be more a “monk with some Samurai flavor” than the other way around. You could get Ki with 2 levels of Ninja, but not sure that’s the flavor you are looking for.

I’m going to suggest you take a look at the Sohei Monk archetype (as a single class character, though a dip for Flurry of blows and Mounted Skirmisher could be a strong option too). It is basically a Samurai monk, focused on mounted combat but with conventional weapons, monk flurry, Ki, and so forth. It’s weirdly one of the strongest archetypes in the game, but not ‘broken’ because (1) core monk is a weak chassis to start with and (2) the overpowered abilities don’t synergize, e.g., Flurry of Blows with a bow + mounted ‘pounce’ (move then Full Attack) into Flurry of Blows at 1st level (Mounted Skirmisher) are both great amazing, but they don’t work together at all. But for you, depending on what you want out of Samurai, it could hit the target of an Eastern themed knight with some monk mystical abilities.

On the other direction, dipping into spellcasting classes, i would comment that shallow dips into casting classes tend to be unrewarding.


Lelomenia wrote:
core monk is a weak chassis to start with

I’m sorry, but, what? Core monk is not a weak chassis at all… it’s actually one of the more broken core chassis. It doesn’t take much to optimize a monk. 3 good saves, and only needs the stats associated with all three saves, d8HD, treated as full BAB during flurry, flurry of blows = free TWF+ITWF+GTWF… no offhand penalty, and it is frontloaded with bonus feats and class features… core monk is an amazing chassis even without any optimization. The greatest flaw for monk is that it is a very MAD class, but even as a MAD class it is in a good spot stat wise, Str, Dex, Con, & Wis are good stats, and Str can easily be cut out entirely with a little optimization. With very little optimization a monk can have nearly untouchable AC, all high saves, 7 attacks per round, and hit just as high as a sneak attack optimized rogue with every strike.

And that is before you even factor in any class abilities gained after 1st level. It takes very little system mastery to make a monk overpowered.


Chell Raighn wrote:
Core monk is not a weak chassis at all… it’s actually one of the more broken core chassis. It doesn’t take much to optimize a monk. 3 good saves, and only needs the stats associated with all three saves, d8HD, treated as full BAB during flurry, flurry of blows = free TWF+ITWF+GTWF… no offhand penalty, and it is frontloaded with bonus feats and class features… core monk is an amazing chassis even without any optimization.

You do know April Fools' Day is still five months away, right?

Seriously, what the hell? How is d8 HD part of a good chassis? It's the worst you can have on a non-full-caster. If you do the math, you can see that Flurry of Blows is objectively weak, so what you get for free is worse than what other classes get. And you do know that Monk has to select the bonus feats from a list of feats that no one ever takes outside of Monk, right?

Chell Raighn wrote:
It takes very little system mastery to make a monk overpowered.

If a core monk is "overpowered", there's either a ton of system mastery at work, or the campaign is ultra low powered.

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