Kensai

(Chris Loh)

Kensai means "sword saint" or "sword master" and is usually applied to characters who have perfected the art of fighting with the sword. In the game this is broadened to include almost any type of weapon or fighting skill. Thus, there may be kensai who use halberds, kensai who use swords, etc. The player is allowed to choose the kensai character's special weapon. In all cases, it is the kensai's aim to become the perfect master of his weapon. For the man and weapon to become one, acting on a single thought, is the ultimate goal of a kensai.

To achieve this the kensai must master his weapon and himself, and must study and learn other arts. He must practice daily with his weapon, condition his body and purify his spirit through meditation and ordeal. He must acquire proficiencies in different peaceful arts as well as be absolutely dedicated to his goal.

Elf and Dwarves cannot be kensai. Elf lack the dedication and single-mindedness to perfect the skill and Dwarf finds the whole idea of fighting without armor to be completely absurd. As the class is more skewed towards the oriental setting and thus may not be suitable for a normal “western world” campaign in the normal DW setting. Nevertheless, this could be introduced as an NPC class or alternative PC class for those who are playing oriental humans.

To become a kensai, a character must have Strength and Psychic Talent scores of at least 12 and a Reflex score of at least 14.
- Only human can be kensai.
- Starting stats are as follows
- HP 1d6+7
- Attack 14, Defence is 7
- Magical Defence 4
- Evasion 5
- Stealth 13, Perception 5
- Starting equipment, lantern, flint & tinder, backpack, 2-20 florins and their specialty weapon of choice.

They progress as knights. They can use any weapon but cannot wear armor. The player must declare his specialized melee weapon for his kensai character. They are trained in unarm combat and attack at d6 armour bypass roll and inflict 3 points of damage. At 12th level, they will be able to inflict the same amount of damage as if they are holding on to their specialty weapon even though they are unarmed. At this point, they are consider to be “one with the weapon”.

A kensai AF is determine as by the ki in his body.

Ki Remaining AF
0 0
1-3 2
4-6 3
7-9 4
10-12 5
13-15 6
16-18 7
19 above 8

Kensai will gain 1 Ki for every level. Thus a 1st level Kensai has 1 Ki and a 3rd Level Kensai has 3 Ki.

Through training with his particular weapon and his mental practice, the kensai learns to focus his ki power. This lets him cause twice the basic weapon damage with a single attack when using his specialized weapon. E.g. Longsword would cause 8hp damage rather than 4hp. The player must announce that the kensai character is using this power before rolling the die to determine whether the kensai hits his opponent. If the opponent is hit, the weapon automatically causes twice the basic damage plus any other damage bonuses the kensai has. If it misses, the ki power is considered to be spent anyway.

Once the Ki is spend, the next round AF of the Kensai will be adjusted accordingly to the new Ki remaining. Thus a wise Kensai should try not to exhaust his Ki too fast against simple opponents as his AF will drop rapidly.

The kensai can use this power a number of times per day equal to his level. Thus a 5th-level kensai can use his ki power five times in a single day. The use is regained at sunrise every day.

A kensai will suffer the following penalties for using a shield. It will negate ALL his kensai bonus on the weapon and impose a further -3 to both his attack and defence. He is subject to the double the combat penalties as a sorcerer for wearing armour.

A kensai will be able to use his specialize weapon to parry like a shield. However if he use 2 weapons, he can have only 1 parry roll and not 2 parry roll. A kensai will be able to score a critical hit with his specialize weapon at a roll of 1 or 2.

He also automatically has a + 1 bonus on Reflex in determining initiative, for both melee and missile combat. If the kensai is fighting as part of a group, the bonus applies only to him. Thus, he may be able to act before the rest of the party. This initiative bonus rises to + 2 at 5th-level and + 3 at 9th level.


All kensai are immune to fright attacks.

In addition to the above abilities, the kensai gain the following powers when they reach the appropriate level.

At 2nd level he causes one additional point of damage when using his specialty weapon. This increases by one again at 8th and 12th level, for a total damage bonus of + 3.

At 3rd level he gets a + 1 bonus on his dice rolls to hit. This also allows him to hit creatures that normally can be hit only by magical + 1 weapons. The bonuses increase by one when the character reaches 8th and 12th levels, for a total of + 3 to hit and the equivalence of a magical + 3 weapon.

At 4th level he gets a + 1 bonus on his armour bypass rolls. The bonuses increase by one when the character reaches 8th and 12th levels, for a total of + 3 to hit and the equivalence of a magical + 3 weapon.

At 4th level he can meditate. Meditation is a state of deep concentration. By meditating, the kensai focuses and regains his energies. One hour of uninterrupted meditation is as restful as two hours of sleep. While meditating, the kensai is oblivious to hunger, thirst, heat, and cold. He is still conscious and aware of his surroundings, however, so he does not suffer any penalties on surprise or initiative dice rolls.

At 5th level he gains an additional + 1 on Reflex to initiative, for a total modifier of + 2. This increases by one again when the character reaches 9th level, for a total initiative bonus of + 3.

At 6th level the kensai is surprised only on a roll of 1 on 1d8.

At 7th level he can use two weapons simultaneously with no penalty to his defence. He also causes fear cause fear in all non-rank normal humanoids that has no adventuring class (or GM’s discretion) if they fail to roll above the kensai rank on 2d10. A 20th level kensai will automatically cause fear to normal humans if they choose to do so. The kensai can control this power, turning it on and off (as it were) at will. Any characters or creatures struck by fear flee from the kensai or surrender to him, depending on the circumstances. A creature that passes its saving throw is immune to this effect for the remainder of the encounter.

At 9th level the kensai attracts 1d6 pupils, drawn by his great renown as a master of his weapon. All pupils are 1st-level kensai. These pupils stay at the school of the master, studying under and serving him. There is a 5% chance per level that a pupil ends his studies with that master and leaves to pursue his own course. In addition, should the master ever lose a duel to a lower level kensai, there is a 50% chance per pupil that the pupil will leave the service of the defeated master. When a kensai master defeats a higher level kensai character in a duel, he gains 1-2 additional pupils. Again, these are all 1st-level kensai. All pupils specialize in the same weapon as the master. The kensai will only be able to attract pupils if he has a dojo or school being set at a location.

At 11th level the kensai can make a whirlwind attack. This is an additional ki power. The kensai concentrates his bodily energy and bursts into a blurring whirlwind of motion. This ability requires all of the character's ki power for the day (i.e., he cannot have used any ki power previously that day). The whirlwind attack can only be made with the specialty weapon. Using this power, the kensai can attack all opponents within 3m feet of him once in the same round. Both sides must roll for initiative (the kensai's initiative bonuses do apply) and the kensai cannot use his ki power to guarantee double damage. However, all other to hit , damage and armour bypass roll bonuses apply. The kensai can attack every opponent within range at the instant of the attack, regardless of the number of attacks he normally is allowed. All attacks occur when dictated by the initiative roll.

Skill of mighty A Kensai of 8th level and above can attempt to reach Adepthood* as Mystic*.

He will reap the same benefits as a Mystic*
- Increase in Reflex and Psychic talent
- Immune to poison - Natural rate of healing double
- Cannot be control via mind-controlling spells, possessions and etc.

The only important difference is that he cannot forge any magical weapons. In addition, he receive an additional +1 Bonus that could either be added to Attack, Defence, ABR or damage.

Because of his dedication to perfecting his combat art, the kensai must follow certain restrictions.

He can never use a magical weapon, since such a weapon is not a true measure of his skill. All types of armor are prohibited for the same reason. If a kensai fights with a weapon other than the one he specializes in, he gains only one-half the usual experience for opponents he defeats with it. If he uses a magical weapon, he will not receive any XP from the fight and will instead receive a negative XP equals to his level at the end of the fight.

In addition, the magical plusses will actually become double negative penalty. Thus a +1 magical weapon will becomes a -2 weapon in his hands. He is better off using a normal weapon. This applies even if only part of the fighting was done with a different weapon (unless the kensai was fighting with his specialty weapon and another weapon at once).

If he defeats another kensai in a duel, he earns double the normal amount of experience. A duel can be fought with a particular opponent only once per level.

A kensai must train and practice for at least two hours a day. Any practice over two hours has no additional effect. Ignoring practice will means that the kensai will not be able to use his ki power.

Each time a kensai advances a level, there is a percentage chance equal to 10 times his new level that he will be challenged to a duel. The challenger is a kensai of the same level that the character just attained. A duel is a one-on-one fight between two characters. Neither character can receive aid or support from anyone else. Kensai characters cannot use magical weapons or armor in a duel. The duel can be a very formal affair at a pre-arranged site and time, or an impromptu meeting of two characters.



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