Mythological Figures: Tomoe Gozen (5E)
  • Mythological Figures: Tomoe Gozen (5E)


    Today’s post in Mythological Figures focuses on another truly badass woman warrior from the east, this time in Japan with the feared samurai Tomoe Gozen!



    To be blunt, Tomoe was a badass lady samurai and pivotal to the history of Japan, playing a role in the Genpei War and the creation of the first major shogunate spanning across all of the country (particularly noted for her exploits in the Battle of Awazu in 1184). She was apparently gorgeous, had excellent archery skills, knew her way around a blade, and was an incredible mounted combatant. When battle commenced she went out as the first captain and wielded weapons that include an “oversized sword” and “mighty bow”, recognized time and again for her valor.

    At the aforementioned Battle of Awazu she straight-up beheaded Honda no Morishige of Musashi but their forces were outnumbered so her husband (the commander Minamoto no Yoshinaka) ordered her to flee. Exactly what went down after that isn’t clear--some accounts say one thing, others claim differently. She does kill another warrior on her way out (Uchida Ieyoshi) and evades capture by another (Hatakeyama Shigetada) but as for her life after the conflict, nobody is certain. Judging by her purported skill I’m inclined to believe she died of old age.

    Design Notes: Tomoe’s not renowned for much other than being a badass, mounted combat skills, and wielding weapons on the heavier side of armaments--pretty easy to check off the list. After that (which includes two different feats for riding about on a horse) it was a matter of picking out the right maneuvers in which case I focused on things that work both on horseback and on her feet.



    Tomoe Gozen

    Medium humanoid (human), lawful neutral fighter (samurai) 15
    Armor Class 16 (breastplate)
    Hit Points 97 (15d10+15)
    Speed 30 ft., 60 ft. on mount (warhorse)

    STR
    DEX
    CON
    INT
    WIS
    CHA
    16 (+3)
    14 (+2)
    12 (+1)
    13 (+1)
    14 (+2)
    13 (+1)

    Saving Throws
    Str +8, Con +6, Wis +7
    Skills Animal Handling +7, Athletics +8, Intimidation +6, Perception +7
    Senses passive Perception 17
    Languages Common
    Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

    Background: Military Service - Rank. Tomoe commands respect from her time serving in the army. Soldiers loyal to the same forces view her as their superior, and Tomoe can use her influence to temporarily requisition simple equipment or horses, possibly even gaining entrance to military fortresses and outposts.

    Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on her turn, Tomoe can take an additional action on top of her regular action and a possible bonus action.

    Feat: Charge. After Tomoe uses her action to Dash, so long as she moves 10 feet or more in a straight line she can use a bonus action to immediately either shove a creature or make a single melee weapon attack. On a hit she either pushes the target up to 10 feet away from her or deals 5 extra damage.

    Feat: Mounted Combat. When Tomoe’s mount is attacked, she can make herself the target of that attack. In addition, she has advantage on melee attack rolls when her target is an unmounted creature smaller than her mount (usually any unmounted target of Medium size or smaller). Finally, when Tomoe’s mount is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

    Feats: Maneuver Master (4d6/Short Rest). Tomoe can expend a maneuver dice to perform a single maneuver with an attack.

    • Lunge. Tomoe increases her reach by 5 feet for one attack, dealing 1d6 extra damage on a hit.
    • Parrying Twist. Tomoe uses her reaction when damaged with a melee weapon attack to reduce the damage by 1d6+2.
    • Precise. Tomoe adds 1d6 to a weapon attack roll.
    • Sweep. Tomoe chooses a creature adjacent to her target and within her reach and on a hit, the adjacent creature takes 1d6 damage (of the same type as the weapon attack).


    Indomitable (2/Long Rest). Tomoe can reroll a saving throw that she fails but must use the new roll.

    Rapid Strike (1/Turn). When Tomoe has advantage on a weapon attack during her turn, she may choose to roll normally and instead make an additional attack against that target.

    Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On her turn, Tomoe can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+15 hit points.

    Warrior Spirit (3/Long Rest). Tomoe can use a bonus action to gain 15 temporary hit points and advantage on weapon attack rolls until the end of her turn. When Tomoe rolls for initiative and has no uses of this feature remaining, she regains one use.


    ACTIONS

    Multiattack. Tomoe attacks three times.

    O-Dachi. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6+3) slashing damage.

    Naginata. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d10+3) slashing damage.

    Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      If there is a new book of Oriental Adventures for 5th Ed, the ninja and the samurai should be base classes with the sohei, and I would add the option of maneuvers like the ones by the martial adepts from "Tome of Battle: Book of nine Swords" (crusader, warblade and swordsage). Some concepts should be base classes or archetypes (an optional list of class features). The subclasses are like wearing the same dress with a different color and other fashion accessories and somebody would wish to feel wearing more exclusive clothes.
    1. Azzy's Avatar
      Azzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by LuisCarlos17f View Post
      If there is a new book of Oriental Adventures for 5th Ed, the ninja and the samurai should be base classes with the sohei, and I would add the option of maneuvers like the ones by the martial adepts from "Tome of Battle: Book of nine Swords" (crusader, warblade and swordsage). Some concepts should be base classes or archetypes (an optional list of class features). The subclasses are like wearing the same dress with a different color and other fashion accessories and somebody would wish to feel wearing more exclusive clothes.
      It's not going to happen. There's no need for those to be base classes, just like there's no need for a "knight", "spartan", or "dragoon" base class. Given that we also have subclasses for the ninja (way of the shadows monk) and the samurai, that also spells a big nope on these things being base classes. Sohei (which in the past was nothing more than a martial class with divine trappings) should be a paladin oath if anything.
    1. Azzy's Avatar
      Azzy -
      Nice article.

      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      Armor Class 16 (breastplate)
      I'd probably go with scale armor, seeing how much of samurai armor of that time period (o-yoroi) was lamellar, but meh it's the same AC.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Another nice article Mike - thank you for sharing! I don't really have a comment on this one - it all looks good to me.

      Correction 1 question: why no great weapon master and/or sharpshooter feats?
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quick note for anyone interested: I have a handy, neat, free thingy here with a shinobi background, ninja rogue archetype, and samurai paladin archetype.

      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Another nice article Mike - thank you for sharing! I don't really have a comment on this one - it all looks good to me.

      Correction 1 question: why no great weapon master and/or sharpshooter feats?
      It was either those or more combat maneuvers and I figured the latter would be more interesting for GMs to use--and they are feats without any ABIs so easy to swap around. Either of those would make good sense for her though (Sharpshooter for sure).
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      Quick note for anyone interested: I have a handy, neat, free thingy here with a shinobi background, ninja rogue archetype, and samurai paladin archetype.


      It was either those or more combat maneuvers and I figured the latter would be more interesting for GMs to use--and they are feats without any ABIs so easy to swap around. Either of those would make good sense for her though (Sharpshooter for sure).
      I assumed it was something like that - thank you for clarifying!
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Great choice.

      There's a really neat trilogy of books by Jessica Amanda Salmonson on a slightly fantasy version of Tomoe Gozen (The Disfavored Hero, The Golden Naginata, Thousand Shrine Warrior). Also, C. J. Cherryh wrote a book, The Paladin, that's very loosely based on her. They are all highly recommended.
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      I don't agree. Sourcebooks with base class send more, and if it's made by WotC then it will be by a 3rd Party publisher. Some players want more clases, at least to be showed like a pathfinder archetype.
    1. Aiden_Keller_'s Avatar
      Aiden_Keller_ -
      I was super excited because I thought Gozen was Gozer...https://ghostbusters.fandom.com/wiki/Gozer
    1. Greg K's Avatar
      Greg K -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Great choice.

      There's a really neat trilogy of books by Jessica Amanda Salmonson on a slightly fantasy version of Tomoe Gozen (The Disfavored Hero, The Golden Naginata, Thousand Shrine Warrior). Also, C. J. Cherryh wrote a book, The Paladin, that's very loosely based on her. They are all highly recommended.
      It is funny that you should have mentioned the Salmonson books. On my way home, tonight, I had stopped off at my local used bookstore to inquire about them as I have never seen them on their shelf over the past year.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Greg K View Post
      It is funny that you should have mentioned the Salmonson books. On my way home, tonight, I had stopped off at my local used bookstore to inquire about them as I have never seen them on their shelf over the past year.
      It looks like they're available in Kindle format for a reasonable price. I didn't see PoD but that might be around somewhere. They're good reads. She started a series with the book The Swordswoman, which was an Eastern-influenced planetary romance, but unfortunately it was never finished.
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