Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kensei - Labyrinth Lord

The kensei had a bonkers original write-up, including a completely unique method of calculating the kensei's AC. I've eliminated abilities that have no easy applicability to Labyrinth Lord.


Requirements: Str 12, Dex 14, Wis 12
Prime Requisite: Wis, Dex
Hit Dice: 1d8

The kensei is a master with one particular weapon (usually a sword, from the translation “sword saint”). Such a warrior has made it his or her objective to attain oneness of thought and action as well as attain moral purity.

Kensei cannot wear any kind of armor nor can they use shields. They are able to use any weapon, and must choose one weapon e.g. longsword to be their chosen weapon. The kensei gains certain bonuses (see below) when using his or her chosen weapon. Kensei use the Paladin Experience Table, Saving Throw Table and attack values. Kensei must be of Lawful alignment. Should a Kensei become Neutral or Chaotic, he or she ceases to advance in this class and advances henceforth as a Fighter (in this case the Kensei powers gained will not be accessible when wearing armor).

The Kensei receives a bonus of -2 to AC (in addition to Dexterity modifiers). His or her AC continues to improve by -1 at every 3rd Level (hence -1 at 3rd Level. -2 at 6th Level etc.) with a limit of -5 at 15th Level.

Kensei are immune to fear and receive a +1 bonus to all saving throws.

Once per day per level, the Kensei can focus his or her ki to cause maximum damage on a successful hit with his or her chosen weapon. The intention to use this ability must be announced before the to hit roll is made.

The intense dedication required of the Kensei's path places certain restrictions upon them:

  • Kensei avoid using magical weapons, as they wish to master their art without such aids. If a Kensei uses a magical weapon, the weapon's power eliminates any bonuses to hit or damage gained from the class (thus a 5th Level Kensei using a longsword +1 would add +1 to his or her attack and damage rolls, not +2).
  • Kensei cannot benefit from items that alter the character's natural AC (such as magical bracers). If a Kensei wears such an item, it has no effect on his or her AC.
  • The Kensei must practice for at least 2 hours per day. If a training session is missed, the Kensei must make up for any missed sessions before advancing to the next experience level. Thus, if a Kensei misses 1 day of practice, he or she must add a further 2 hours to a practice session before advancing. A Kensei can only practice for a maximum of 4 hours a day.

Reaching 2nd Level – The Kensei gains a +1 bonus to damage rolls with the chosen weapon. This increases by an additional +1 at 5th, 8th, 10th, and 12th Levels to a maximum of +5.

Reaching 3rd Level The Kensei gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls with the chosen weapon. This increases by an additional +1 at 5th, 8th, 10th, and 12th Levels to a maximum of +5. Note that this ability allows the Kensei to hit monsters that can only be hit by weapons of the specific plus needed (e.g. a gargoyle can be hit by a 3rd Level Kensei).

Reaching 4th Level – The Kensei can now meditate (as per the Shugenja ability).

Reaching 6th Level – The Kensei is now only surprised on a roll of 1. His or her allies are surprised as per normal (barring any special abilities).

Reaching 7th Level – The Kensei can cause fear (as per the Samurai ability)

Reaching 9th Level – 1d6 pupils (all 1st Level Kensei) are attracted by the Kensei's growing reputation. The pupils serve and study with their new master, and all have the same chosen weapon as him or her. There is a 5% chance per Level that the pupils gain that each will leave to pursue his or her own studies. Should the Kensei character be defeated in a duel, then there is a 50% chance per pupil that each will leave his or her service.

Reaching11th Level – The most famous and deadly ability of the Kensei is the Whirlwind Attack. This is another use of the Kensei's ki, and the character cannot have used any other ki powers that day. Using this power also prevents any further uses of ki powers for the next 24 hours. The Whirlwind Attack can only be made with the Kensei's chosen weapon. Using this power allows the Kensei to attack all opponents within 10 feet of him or her. This happens regardless of the number of attacks the Kensei could normally make. These attacks must all be made at the same time (i.e. the character cannot make some attacks, allow another PC to take a turn and then make further attacks).


  1. I have been waiting to see how you would tackle the Kensei, good job. I agree the original was completely bonkers.

  2. I like it. This exactly the sort of thing I plan on doing with OSRIC. And like the Khan, I also reckon the original class was Bonkers.