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.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

LuisCarlos17f

Explorer
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.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
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.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
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?
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Quick note for anyone interested: I have a handy, neat, free thingy here with a shinobi background, ninja rogue archetype, and samurai paladin archetype.

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).
 

dave2008

Adventurer
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!
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
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.
 
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LuisCarlos17f

Explorer
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.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
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.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
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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