May 24, 2015


Martial Archetype
Comments from the Finger: This is a class was originally written by The Palm, and has since been revised by me. Essentially, this 3.5 class was a class that focused on making your signature weapon have extremely high modifiers, and was a favorite for min-makers because these modifiers could be translated into weapon properties, like burning or vorpal. We've distilled that down into a fighter that becomes very proficient in hitting things with a single weapon. That being said, I think this class channels the Samurai aesthetic better than most, and places it rightfully in the fighter category.
     Frankly, I have my doubts about the balance of the final two class features of this class, which I've messed with pretty extensively and have yet to find a retool I'm completely happy with. Of course, fighter archetypes are somewhat difficult to gauge the power of, simply because of the power gap in the core fighter subclasses, particularly with how weak the Champion is compared to the Eldritch Knight.


The archetypical Kensai is an honorable swordsman, possessing great power and mastery over her single chosen weapon. An expert in controlling her life energies, a Kensai imbues her chosen weapon with her own Chi and bonds to it, allowing her to wield it with greater finesse than a normal warrior.

Extension of Body
Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you may attune to a weapon that you are proficient with by meditating for 24 hours. By imbuing a weapon with your own Chi, the weapon forms a special link with you and becomes your signature weapon. You may only have a single signature weapon at a time. It is now considered a magical weapon which grants a +1 bonus to attack rolls. Additionally, if you can see your weapon and it is within 30 feet, you may have your signature weapon fly to your hand as a bonus action. If you try to make an attack with any weapon other than your signature weapon, you may not apply your proficiency bonus to attacks.

Extension of Soul
At 7th level you learn to extend your Chi to affect others. You gain advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) and Charisma (Deception) checks while you are within 5ft of your signature weapon if you are proficient in these skills. After using this ability to gain advantage on a roll, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Extension of Blade
At 10th level, through countless battles and days of maintenance, you have gained the ability to wield your weapon with precise control. You may now apply an additional half your proficiency bonus (rounded down) to attack rolls using your signature weapon.

Power Surge
At 15th level as a bonus action, you can channel your Chi to guide your blade. While wielding your signature weapon, you may double your proficiency bonus to attack rolls and add your proficiency bonus to damage with your signature weapon for the rest of the round. After using this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Extension of Mind
At 18th level, you can impart a shard of your consciousness into your signature weapon as a 1 hour ritual requiring concentration and grant it sentience for 1 day. While your signature weapon has sentience, by closing your eyes and concentrating on your weapon as an action, you can enter a Zen State for one minute. Until you lose concentration or choose to end the Zen State as a bonus action, you have blindsight with a range of 30 feet and cannot use your normal sight.  You move at half speed and cannot be surprised.  While in a Zen state, you may not attack normally, though you can launch a single precise attack each round. As an action, you may make a single weapon attack with advantage using your signature weapon. If this attack hits, you may add your total attack bonus as damage to your damage roll. You may not use Power Surge if you are in a Zen State. After you enter a Zen state, you may not enter it again until you complete a long rest.


  1. While I really like this archetype and I am very grateful for making this(when our group converted from 3.5e to 5e, I had a group of samurai baddies I wanted them to fight, but 5e had none), I do have a few questions/issues with this class:

    1st of all, the lvl 7 ability. Why do they gain advantage in Persuasion and Deception? By no means do I think this is a bad ability, but I just don't see why Persuasion and Deception was chosen rather than say, Perception and Intimidation.

    2nd question: Let me see if I get this right. At lvl18, you get the ability to enter a state where you can't be surprised, but lose half your speed. Can't see, but gain blindsight.
    So far, so good, nothing to bad here, but then comes the kicker:
    You lose your ability to attack three times, in favor of a single attack with advantage and total attack bonus to damage??? Tell me how that's not a downgrade. You go from potential 3 times weapon damage+str mod to a more accurate single hit with an extra +9 mod(since the extra damage added from total attack bonus would just be your proficiency bonus(+6 at this point) *1.5(don't count str since you add that anyway)). No matter how I try to wrap my head around it, the lvl 18 ability just seems like a downgrade. Sure it is fluff appropriate, but still:

    Which is better
    Potential 3d10+15(if your str mod is 5)
    or 1d10+14?

    To me the answer seems obvious. I don't know, Extension of Mind just seems...Meh. But then again, that seems to be the overall conclusion of lvl18 fighter features - Underwhelming.

  2. 3 - Extension of Body - Needs to be improved. Suggested change: Use some variant of the Ki Pool. This will make this class more likely to be multiclass with monk (which has a thematic sense to it). Suggested Ki use: Use 1 ki to maximize weapon damage dice for one attack (bonus action, no roll for base weapon damage).

    7 - Extension of Soul - Needs to be improved. Suggested change: Changed to all Charisma-based and Perception skills (if proficient) and Initiative checks. A kensai may draw his attuned weapon as part of taking an attack of opportunity.

    10 - Extension of Blade - Good as is.

    15 - Change this to Iaijutsu Strike. The Kensai may use 1 ki (bonus action) to make a single precise strike in a round (replacing his usual number of attacks). That attack has advantage, increases the base weapon die by +1 die for each extra attack feature the kensai has, adds profiency bonus to damage, and is treated as a critical hit if the attack succeeds (including the extra damage die in the base weapon damage die before doubling).

    20th level example: Strength 20, +1 weapon, Profiency +6, Extra Attack (3)
    Normal Attack (with Extension of Body): +15/+15/+15/+15 4d8+24 (average 46, range 35-56)
    Iaijutsu Strike: +15 (adv) 8d8+12 (average 48, range 20-76)

    Times it makes sense to use this ability: When you are at disadvantage or when it is extremely hard to hit the enemy.

    18 - Extension of Mind - Change this to remove reference to attacks.

    Times it makes sense to use this ability: When blinded or in surprise situation.

  3. Yea. Level 18 ability seems a bit weak on the damage side. It's really cool flavor wise.

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  5. Ahem, Multiclassed into Warlock and you have a jedi. Thank you, i know you now all can see it when you think about it. Call your lightsaber to you with the power of the kaiber krystal, persuade enemies with a wave of your hand. Eldritch Blast for force push, hold person for an altered force choke, on top of having the most precise attack ratio which befits a fighter, it's the golden cherry. Gonna have a lot of fun secretly adding in jedi's with this combo.

  6. and since you can't edit a comment which sucks, chain lightning, no need to explain which star wars power that is.

  7. Sorry in advance for the long comment, but we've got some math to get through regarding damages and chance to hit, so lets begin! (Also the reason im commenting here rather than redux is because i find this version of the kensai much more simple and appealing to use, its to the point, and deals stupid damage) So, looking at the 15th and 18th level abilities, one lets you add double proficiency bonus in addition to the half prof. you are already adding due to the 10th level ability, and adds your proficiency bonus to your damage rolls as well, and the other allows you to make an attack with advantage as a full action, adding your total attack bonus to the attacks damage roll. i'll be assuming for simplicities sake that the character in question is 20th level, with 20 STR, +6 Proficiency, Has a +3 Weapon, and has taken the Great weapon fighting style as well as the great weapon master and blade master feats, with a greatsword as their chosen weapon. However, if this is not the case, as aside from using a heavy crossbow this is the most optimized build for this class, the math is still relatively the same. so starting with the level 18 ability, the total attack bonus you will have using the provided stats is (STR(5)+Prof(6)+1/2Prof(3)+Weap(3)+BladeMaster(1)) +18, which after usung great weapon master becomes a +13 to hit with +10 Damage, now, i personally would calculate this with 18 as your attack bonus, then subtracting five from your actual applied bonus, so the damage comes out to (2d6(8)(AVG 4 due to GWF)+18+10(Great Weapon Master)+5(STR)+3(Magic Weapon) or 44 Damage, 88 with action surge. Now the Fun Part, the 15th level ability. For starters, it gives you a to hit bonus of +24 (ProficiencyX2(12)+1/2Prof.(3)+Weap(3)+Feat(1)+STR(5))instead of the +18 of the 18th level ability, which counteracts the loss of advantage, so the applied bonus after using great weapon master with all 4 attacks is still a very nice +19, but the damage is massively above the 18th level ability, let's math. So with 2d6 every attack for for attacks, we're working with 8d6, or 32 damage from dice, (again, with GWF the average for d6's increases from 3.5 to around 4.16), then Proficiency bonus + STR +magic weapon for all 4 attacks at 14 damage per attack gives you 56 damage, then GWM is an additional 40 damage (10x4), this leaves us with a total damage of 128 damage with 4 standard attacks, or 256 damage when using action surge, compared to the 88 action surged damge of the 18th level ability. even without using the 15th level ability, the damage of just 4 attacks comes out to 104 potential damage per round, or 208 with a standard action surge

    1. i think either adding your level to the damage of the 18th lvl ability or changing the wording so that you only get one attack, but it still counts as the attack action, and adding another effect that allows you to make reaction attacks against enemies that miss you that apply all of the attack bonuses, that would do wonders to even out the damage while still feeling very samurai-y

    2. Another math tidbit, 1 minute of attacks with the 18th lvl ability comes out to around 460 damage, which is not bad damage, but its not what a fighter should have, at 20th lvl, with no magic items, any fighter can deal ~52 damage (STRx5(20)+8d6(32)) with four basic attacks. by comparison, using a round of the 15th level action surged, and then 9 rounds of four standard attacks, Great weapon master on every attack, yields around 1100 damage 15th-(8 attacks, each dealing 29(2d6(8)+11+10) damage, for a total round of 232 damage, and then 9 rounds (36 attacks) each dealing 23(2d6(8)+10+5) damage, for a total of 828 damage, giving us 1060 damage for the same amount of time and more opportunities to hit than the paltry 460 damage afforded to us by the 18th level ability