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The Swordsman

Focusing mainly on the Legend of the Five Rings setting for Oriental Adventures, it's no suprise that Asian-themed D&D 3.5ed games tend to be a little on the Japanese side. Sure, there's lots of material to work with, and it's all very good. You have samurai, shugenja, sohei, ninja, courtiers and inkyos to work with. Some days though, you just feel more like the Shaw Brothers than Akira Kurosawa, and that's ok, but there's not a whole lot of Chinese-themed classes to work with.

Enter the swordsman, an alternate samurai (see Complete Warrior) who fights not with a rigid set of weapons, but who can specialize in several weapons, and acheive great expertise, far beyond what their counterpart can. The name swordsman is a misnomer, they can specialize in many weapons, not just blades. They use their reputation and often nicknames as both a way to identify themselves in the world of warriors and as intimidation against those who would seek to do them harm. Some even learn to fly for short distances, floating upon the wind like leaves.

Try out the swordsman class and enter the exciting world of wuxia!

Swordsman (Alternate Samurai)
       "Who am I? I am...I am the Invincible Sword Goddess, armed with the incredible Green Destiny. Be you Li or Southern Crane, lower your head and ask for mercy. I am the desert dragon. I leave no trace. Today I fly over Eu-Mei. Tomorrow... I'll kick over Wudan Mountain!"
                - Jen Yu, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Swordsman are warriors, though not necessarily focusing on swords, or even melee weapons, who take up a cause and form a brotherhood. They practice extreme forms martial arts, usually weapon-based, although many have learned unarmed fighting or even retired to become monks. Their skill is the thing of legends, their names as feared as their wrath.
    Adventures: Swordsmen undertake adventures for many reasons. Some may need the money to continue traveling. Others might find it in their best interest to assist locals in solving their troubles. Still others adventure simply because there is nothing else in their lives.
    Characteristics: While they are masters of martial maneuvers, swordsmen are often pacifists. Living lives in constant danger tends to make them very cautious and they enjoy what little peace they get in between regular adventuring and being challenged by any upstart warrior who wants to make a name for himself.
    Alignment: While they are travelers, and they do not stick to a rigid code of honor, swordsmen are still lawful. They form brotherhoods with one another and will often join a fellow swordsman simply if asked. While they aren't necessarily good or evil, they follow whom they believe is worthy of being followed.
    Religion: Swordsmen are often contemplative and study a philosophy rather than revering a god. Many are Taoist, Buddhists or Confucians.
    Background: Several swordsmen are displaced nobles but many more are simply skilled warriors from any background who have shown some promise and been taken in by an older master who taught them.
    Races: Most swordsmen are humans, although spirit folk are commonly swordsmen as well. Haizi also take up the path of the swordsman occasionally, but often focus on styles that allow them to strike quickly and silently from the shadows.
    Other Classes: Swordsmen are not much different from fighters in their relationship with other classes. They can easily appreciate what other classes can bring to a party. The exception to this is the raging chaos of the barbarian, which often offends the much more subtle swordsman. A masterful battle can silence any protests, at least for a while.
    Role: With their skill with arms and sometimes mystical-ability in martial arts, swordsmen are on the forefront of any battle. They fight from the defensive, biding their time and drawing out their opponents' strength until it's time to explode in a powerful burst of martial prowess.

Changes from the Samurai
    Alignment: Any non-chaotic.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The swordsman is proficient with all simple and martial weapons as well as light armor. They are not proficient with medium or heavy armor or with shields.
    Daisho Proficiency, Two Swords as One, Iaijutsu Master, Improved Two Swords as One and Greater Two Swords as One are removed. Swordsmen do not necessarily focus on two handed combat or with the katana and wakazashi.

New Class Abilities
    Master of Arms: A swordsman trains spiritually, but through the use of a weapon. For the purposes of meeting prerequisites for feats, the swordsman is considered to have a fighter level equal to half his swordsman level. (This means that an 8th level swordsman is equivalent to a 4th level fighter for the purposes of taking the Weapon Specialization feat.)
    Bonus Feat: At 1st, 2nd, 5th, 11th and 16th levels, the swordsman gains a bonus feat chosen from the following list: Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Improved Critical, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Quick Draw, Snatch Arrows, Spring Attack, Stunning Fist, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus or Whirlwind Attack.
    If Complete Warrior is available, include the following feats to the list: Defensive Strike, Extra Smiting, Eyes in the Back of your Head, Improved Combat Expertise, Karmic Strike, Pain Touch, Prone Attack, Rapid Stunning or Weakening Touch.
    If Tome of Battle is available, include the following feats to the list: Rapid Assault, Snap Kick or Superior Unarmed Strike.
    Swordsmen may also take the Qing Gong Jump and Qing Gong Flight feats as bonus feats (see below).
    Dodge Bonus: Starting at 5th level, the swordsman gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC against a chosen opponent. This ability works exactly like, and stacks with the Dodge feat. This bonus increases by +1 (to a total of +2) at 10th level and again at 15th and 20th level.
    Multiclassing: Like samurai, swordsmen are restricted in multiclassing, but to the same extent. They may freely multiclass as fighters or monks (although they still face multiclass restrictions from the monk class). Otherwise if they gain a level in any other class, they can no longer gain levels in swordsman.
    Ex-Swordsmen: Swordsmen who become chaotic lose access to their kiai smite, staredown and frightful presence abilities and can no longer advance as swordsmen. He regains the ability to advance in this class and his class abilities if he atones for his violations (see the atonement spell, page 201 of the Player's Handbook), assuming he can find somebody who is willing to offer him redemption (most often another swordsman or a retired swordsman).

Table 1-01 - The Swordsman
1st Bonus feat, master of arms
2nd Bonus feat
3rd Kiai smite 1/day
5th Bonus feat, dodge bonus +1
6th Staredown
7th Kiai smite 2/day
8th Improved initiative
10th Dodge bonus +2, mass staredown
11th Bonus feat
12th Kiai smite 3/day
14th Improved staredown
15th Dodge bonus +3
16th Bonus feat
17th Kiai smite 4/day
20th Dodge bonus +4, frightful presence

New Feats for Swordsmen

Qing Gong Jump [General]
You have mastered the ability to defy gravity with your jumps.
    Prerequisites: Leap of the Heavens or base attack +5.
    Benefit: You are treated as one size category larger for the purposes of high jumps (see the Jump skill, page 77 of the Player's Handbook). In addition, on a successful DC 15 Jump check you can gain flight, flying at half your base land speed with clumsy maneuverability. You can only fly for 1 round after which you fall to the ground (possibly taking damage if you fall too far).
    Special: Characters with the slow fall or great leap class abilities automatically meet the prerequisites for this feat. A fighter or swordsman may select Qing Gong Leap as one of his bonus feats.

Qing Gong Flight [General]
You have mastered the art of flight through manipulation of your ki.
    Prerequisites: Qing Gong Jump, base attack +9.
    Benefit: With a successful DC 15 Jump check you gain flying for up to 1 minute, flying at your base land speed with average maneuverability. After the duration of the flight ends, you immediately fall to the ground (possibly taking damage if you fall too far).
    Special: A fighter may select Qing Gong Leap as one of his fighter bonus feats.

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