Xanathar's Guide to Everything's Samurai Subclass

I really didn't think the Samurai would make it, it felt mechanically redundant with the Knight, plus they already had two fighter archetypes, the Arcane Archer and the Cavalier.

I'm curious as to what it's final mechanics look like.
 

Comments

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I found this ability a little confusing though:

Its hard for me to picture what is happening if you use your bonus action to move out of reach of the triggering attack, vs. gaining resistance to it. Maybe it will be a little clarified now :)
It is a little weird. I think after reading it (twice) that you still take the hit and will be affected by the damage but you ignore it until the end of your bonus turn. That's why you could gain resistance to it but can't move out of the way of the attack since you are still hit. It could definitely be clearer though.
 

AmerginLiath

Visitor
Hopefully it means the Knight's Implacable Mark and Hold The Line abilities will be included in some form.
Ever since the 3.0 feat, every D&D ability named Hold the Line has continued to cause me to spontaneously sing out, “Love isn’t always on time!” literally every single time that I read the name...
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Arcane Archer works better as a Wizard archetype. Wizard can benefit from ranged archery attacks, and organizing a Wizard tradition around it makes sense.

By contrast, as a Fighter archetype, it feels redundant with the Eldritch Knight that can already take archery as a Fighting Style.

In all cases, the Arcane Archer should have an energy arrow as a cantrip, similar to the D&D cartoon ranger, and relating to the British folklore about ‘aelfshot’, an invisible arrow that deals psychic damage, namely pain, spasms, seizures, and strokes.
 

Mouseferatu

Visitor
Really glad to hear this. I love the samurai. Been playing one in a "gonzo, everything goes, 20th-level mini-campaign," and I've really enjoyed the class. I hope it doesn't change too much from the UA/playtest.

(I haven't watched the video as of yet.)
 
In my UA feedback I wrote that IMO the Knight and the Samurai were overlapping in concept, both being essentially "noble educated warriors", and I suggested them to be merged into a single archetype, leaving the choice of flavor (western/asian/else) to the player's narrative description.

But the Knight also overlapped somewhat in concept with the Cavalier, and WotC decision was to merge those 2 instead.

It would have actually been possible to merge even all three, but then you probably end up discarding some good abilities that can add to the game.

While I am not overly fond on this subclass (at least not the UA preview), one bright side of adding it to the game is that it makes the oriental flavor more part of the game... the reason why I've never liked having Monks in D&D has always been because they were the only oriental concept in an otherwise typically very western setting, and so they felt out of place. Including Samurai certainly makes Monks feel more welcome to me.

Now if only they would keep the Wu Jen too (when Psionics come out), it would make even more sense...
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Just as you can play a "samurai character" with the Champion Fighter class, you can always use the samurai fighter class to represent a different character concept.
 

ZeshinX

Explorer
While I'm glad WotC is visiting some of their Oriental Adventures classes of previous editions, frankly the DM's Guild product Heroes of the Orient achieves a far superior approach.

WotC's approach is simpler, and likely to be organized play legal if that's your thing, and that's great, but if you're looking for a more complete OA-inspired collective of material, Heroes of the Orient is likely going to serve you far better that a few piecemeal bits from WotC.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Well first, the video confirms it'll be temporary HP instead of resistance.
I think that is a different ability though.

Secondly, I assume that nothing special happens if you move out of reach. You're delaying applying damage rather than the attack itself. So moving away would still result in a dying samurai, as the attack is still considered to have hit you, and you're still going to take that damage at the end of the bonus turn, no matter how far you run.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question.
It's mainly a narrative thing. So you get hit by an attack that would take you to 0 hp, and decide to use Strength Before Death to strike back. I can see two ways to describe that: (a) you're so tough that even though you've been stabbed, you have time for one last attack before you drop, or (b) you're so quick that you can get an attack in just before the killing blow lands. Either of those works for me, and the effect is the same.

But say it's a fireball, and you use your action to drink a potion of fire resistance. Per the rules, that is effective, which I can only understand as option (b). But if you use your action to dash out of the spell area, then you still take the damage, which seems to require option (a).

So how am I supposed to think about it? I'd like a narrative option (c) that works for both cases.

Of course, maybe the ability was tweaked a bit to avoid this conflict. :)
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
While I'm glad WotC is visiting some of their Oriental Adventures classes of previous editions, frankly the DM's Guild product Heroes of the Orient achieves a far superior approach.

WotC's approach is simpler, and likely to be organized play legal if that's your thing, and that's great, but if you're looking for a more complete OA-inspired collective of material, Heroes of the Orient is likely going to serve you far better that a few piecemeal bits from WotC.
Excellent point, Heroes of the Orient is a great product.
 
Well, obviously temporary HP affects all damage vs. the basic B/P/S resistance. I think they had Fighting Spirit in mind when they wrote the text for Strength Before Death. So if you invoked Fighting Spirit when Strength Before Death triggered, you would have triggered the B/P/S resistance and possibly reduced the damage to below what would have taken you down to 0 HP. In the new version, your pool of temporary HP from Fighting Spirit may soak up enough damage to prevent you from actually going down to 0 HP by the end of the bonus turn from Strength Before Death.

In either case, the point was that if you had any uses of Fighting Spirit left, you could invoke Fighting Spirit to potentially prevent yourself from going to 0 HP (as well as get advantage on your attacks). You also could activate Action Surge if you still have it. You could not, however, use Fighting Spirit and Rapid Strike in the same turn. If you survive to your next turn, you then could give up your advantage for an extra strike from Rapid Strike.
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
Well, at least they are building it off of the concept that it is about "duty" first and foremost. Given that the meaning of samurai is "one who serves" meaning a dedicated lifelong military officer who is on the payroll of someone from a noble house... well, at least they are on the right track and far less likely to classify the most stand-out examples of samurai in history as something other than samurai.

It is a vast improvement over the damn nonsense of 3.0 Oriental Adventures where the concept of "samurai" was "I have a magical katana and I am the best at using a magical katana and therefore I use a magical katana." Which is the mistake I see pretty much every thread on this board proposing this subclass makes ever since 5E launched. So many people are just incapable of getting over their whole fixation on the sword that they actually build the class to dissuade people from using bows (which is really where a Japanese Samurai shines over the European knight) or polearms (which they tended to use in battle at least as often as their sword).
 

Uchawi

Visitor
I prefer 'I want to play a noble born warrior from feudal Japan who is a warlord'. How each player gets there is up to them. However, with any fighter presented in 5E I am afraid it will be too simple.
 

Mirtek

Explorer
Just as you can play a "samurai character" with the Champion Fighter class, you can always use the samurai fighter class to represent a different character concept.
If you want to emulate the fictional samurai rather than the more historical one the barbarian class is even better
 

jrowland

Visitor
Ever since the 3.0 feat, every D&D ability named Hold the Line has continued to cause me to spontaneously sing out, “Love isn’t always on time!” literally every single time that I read the name...
Thank you. You've successfully passed this disease to another.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
If you want to emulate the fictional samurai rather than the more historical one the barbarian class is even better
THE fictional samurai? You mean A fictional samurai—given that samurai in fiction are all over the place in how they're represented (which is really unsurprising). There is no single iconic take on the samurai.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
[MENTION=6563]Azzy[/MENTION], [MENTION=40810]Mirtek[/MENTION]

Using the Barbarian for a Samurai makes sense to me.

The light armor, toughness, high Dexterity, relentless attacks, and so on, work pretty well.

The suggestion by Mirtek to use the Barbarian was surprising because its flavor is so wild, and the flavor of the Samurai is so civilized. But both are arguably disciplined warriors, and the mechanics seem a good fit. Flavor ‘rage’ as ‘zen’, and it works.
 

thanthaocb

Visitor
For me a lot of it goes to Kurosawa, the Seven Samurai , which I love that movie and I love any movie that kind of deals with transitions that movie is really it's about the Seven Samurai but what it's really about is the end of the samurai era right it's about firearms right and the change in culture and Japan's heading toward modernization"
 

thanthaocb

Visitor
That the samurai has duty and puts duty above everything else and will die in trying to seek out "Here is my duty here's what I have set out to do, nothing will stop me"... that implacable nature.
 

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