Originally Posted by Sleepwalker13666 of the Wizards Community forums.
The kensei is a master of their blades without equal. Many seek other known kensei to pursue their art through duels. Kensei unlock secrets of their ancestral blades as the master their skill.
Adventurers: Kensei are usually traveling between towns and cities looking for the next challenger, though usually loners, Kensei have been known to travel with other adventurers for not all battles a kensei endures will be honorable duals.
Races: Most kensei are human, few other races with their longer lived lives wish to pick up the sword in constantly engage in fatally dangerous duels.
Religion: Kensei prefer philosophy over gods, they often pay homage to spirits and ancestors, but rarely choose a take up devotion to a God or Goddess.
Other Classes: Kensei rarely travel with other melee classes, though there have been exceptions (usually with friendly or bitter competition between the two).
Alignment: Any lawful
Hit Dice: 1d10
Skills per Level: 4+Intelligence per level, x4 at level 1.
Class Skills: Bluff (Charisma) Climb (Strength) Craft (Intelligence) Diplomacy (Charisma) Gather Information (Charisma) Iajutsu Focus (Charisma) Intimidate (Charisma) Jump (Strength) Listen (Wisdom) Sense Motive (Wisdom) Spot (Wisdom) Tumble (Dexterity)
Weapon/Armor Proficiencies: Kensei are proficient in one sword, usually the katana, further unless the sword is their personal ancestral weapon, even if it is a weapon they are proficient in, they are at a -2 to wield it. Kensei are not proficient in armor, but as they level they become masters unarmored combat.
|1||+1||+2||+2||+0||Ancestral Blade, Quick Draw|
|2||+2||+3||+3||+0||Weapon Secret (+1), Zanshin Mastery (Wisdom to Ac)|
|3||+3||+3||+3||+1||Bonus Feat, Zanshin Mastery (Dexterity to Ac)|
|4||+4||+4||+4||+1||Weapon Secret (+2), Weapon Specialization|
|5||+5||+4||+4||+1||Evasion, Unarmored Ac +1|
|6||+6/+1||+5||+5||+2||Weapon Secret (+3), Bonus Feat|
|7||+7/+2||+5||+5||+2||Ki Strike (1 xday)|
|8||+8/+3||+6||+6||+2||Weapon Secret (+4)|
|9||+9/+4||+6||+6||+3||Zanshin Mastery (No Flank), Bonus Feat|
|10||+10/+5||+7||+7||+3||Weapon Secret (+5), Unarmored Ac +2|
|12||+12/+7/+2||+8||+8||+4||Weapon Secret (+6), Bonus Feat|
|13||+13/+8/+3||+8||+8||+4||Ki Strike (2 xday)|
|14||+14/+9/+4||+9||+9||+4||Weapon Secret (+7)|
|15||+15/+10/+5||+9||+9||+5||Bonus Feat, Unarmored Ac +3|
|16||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+10||+5||Weapon Secret (+8)|
|18||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+11||+6||Weapon Secret (+9), Bonus Feat|
|19||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+11||+6||Ki Strike (3 xday)|
|20||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||Weapon Secret (+10), Unarmored Ac +4|
Ancestral Blade: The Kensei starts his career with a Masterwork weapon that he is proficient with, this weapon is his ancestral blade, it is usually passed onto him by a former teacher, or in kensai schools a retired or slain kensei’s sword will be passed onto new candidates. Kensei go through great pains to maintain and protect these swords. Should a Kensei’s Ancestral Weapon be lost, stolen or destroyed he may no longer level as a kensei until it is found, recovered, or reforged, Kensei often consider it a thing of great shame for misfortune to fall upon their blades.
Quick Draw: Kensei learn early on how to remove their ancestral weapons with fluid speed and grace, the kensei gains Quick Draw with his ancestral weapon, even if this weapon would not normally be available for the feat.
Weapon Secret: As the Kensei advances he begins to understand the secrets of the blade he wields, he is able to draw upon knowledge and techniques of the previous owners as well as make his one. When wielded by the kensei, he blade takes on magical enhancements, the kensei undergoes a ritual that take one hour per kensei level, meditating and praying over his ancestral weapon, once completed his weapon has magical enhancements of the players choosing, as he levels he may swap out previous enchantments with new ones. The weapon may have a total enchantment equal to half the kensei’s level, the kensei pays an experience cost to unlock these secrets.
|+2||320 exp||+7||3,920 exp|
|+3||720 exp||+8||5,120 exp|
|+4||1,280 exp||+9||6,480 exp|
|+5||2,000 exp||+10||8,000 exp|
Zanshin Mastery: The Kensei has an exception sense of Perception that allows him to react to danger, at level 2 the kensei gains his Wisdom bonus to Ac so long as he remains unarmored and is carrying no more than a light load, at level 3 he retains his Dexterity bonus to Ac even if caught flat footed, finally at level 9 the kensei cannot longer be flanked.
Bonus Feat: At levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 the kensei is able to master techniques to enhance his personal style, he may select any feat from the fighters or samurai’s bonus list as though his was an equal level fighter.
Weapon Specialization: At level 4 the kensei gains this feat for free and applies it to his ancestral weapon.
Evasion: The kensei is able to react to unusual attacks with cunning grace, when making a reflex save versus an attack for partial damage, if successful instead takes no damage.
Unarmored Ac: The kensei gains a bonus to Ac so long as he remains unarmored and is carrying no more than a light load.
Ki Strike: The Kensei can focus Ki into his ancestral blade, and unleash devastating strikes with them. A Ki strike is performed as a standard action, the player makes an attack role, if successful the attack deals maximum damage, a player must declare he is using ki strike before the attack role is made as a failed role waste the attempt. Ki Strike only maximizes the base weapon damage, additional effects such as magical enhancements, maneuvers or Iajutsu Focus will not be maximized.
Combat Acrobat: The Kensei gains the Combat acrobat Feat (see players handbook II pg. 76) as a bonus feat whether or not he meets the requirements.
Multi-Class Note: A player must seek a master to take levels in kensei if he does not start off as a kensei at level 1, while it is not unheard of for various warriors to take up the sword saints path, they can not do it without training. Training time is 1 month per previous level the character has, thus a 3rd level samurai must spend three months training. A kensei who multi classes cannot level as a kensai again with the exception of Monk or samurai. A kensei may freely multi-class between Monk and kensei even though the Monk may not normally multi-class.