Epic Insights
Epic Insights - Oriental Adventures Core Classes
By Andy Collins

The worlds described in Oriental Adventures are no strangers to characters of epic power. In fact, many of the fantastic options available in the Epic Level Handbook owe their inspiration to literary and film genres that feature characters much like the samurai or the wu jen.

Here, then, we come full circle, presenting for the first time epic class progressions for the five core classes presented in Oriental Adventures. The legendary samurai, the wondrous shaman, the mighty shugenja, the powerful sohei, and the mysterious wu jen are now fully developed for infinite levels of play!

All that plus four new epic feats designed for your Oriental Adventures or Rokugan game. What are you waiting for? Strap on your katana and get moving!

Epic Samurai

The epic samurai is a peerless paragon of bushido, vowing to uphold the honor of his lord and himself above all else. The only thing greater than his skill in battle is his reputation of nobility and principle.

The epic samurai should focus on improving his combat prowess by selecting feats such as Armor Skin, Epic Prowess, and Epic Weapon Focus (katana).

The samurai depends on Strength and Constitution above all else. Those who favor archery or riding (such as samurai belonging to the Unicorn clan) also favor Dexterity. At higher levels, Epic Ancestral Daisho expands the power that the samurai can imbue into his weapons.

Other Options: The epic samurai makes a fine leader, and feats such as Epic Leadership and Legendary Commander are right up his alley. Depending on his clan, other feat choices may be appropriate as well.

Hit Die: d10.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Ancestral Daisho: The epic samurai's ancestral daisho can't be improved beyond the values shown in Table 2-2: Ancestral Daisho unless the character selects the Epic Ancestral Daisho feat (see below).

Bonus Feats: The epic samurai gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic samurai feats) every 2 levels after 19th.

Epic Samurai Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Epic Ancestral Daisho (new feat; see below), Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Weapon Focus (katana), Legendary Commander. In addition to these feats, an epic samurai may select an epic feat appropriate to his clan:

Crab: Devastating Critical, Epic Endurance, Epic Weapon Focus (battleaxe, greatclub, or warhammer), Overwhelming Critical.

Crane: Blinding Speed, Epic Skill Focus (Iaijutsu Focus), Epic Speed, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Superior Initiative.

Dragon: Exceptional Deflection, Infinite Deflection, Legendary Wrestler, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Righteous Strike.

Lion: Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Toughness, Epic Will, Superior Initiative.

Phoenix: Epic Fortitude, Epic Will, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Whirlwind Attack.

Scorpion: Blinding Speed, Dire Charge, Epic Reflexes, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Superior Initiative.

Unicorn: Distant Shot, Epic Weapon Focus (spear, lance, or any bow), Legendary Rider, Swarm of Arrows, Uncanny Accuracy.

Samurai
Level

Special
21 Bonus feat
22
23 Bonus feat
24
25 Bonus feat
26
27 Bonus feat
28
29 Bonus feat
30

Epic Shaman

The epic shaman's connection with the spirit world continues to grow as he gains power and wisdom. He is the spirit world's mightiest representative among mortals.

Most epic shamans favor epic feats that improve their spellcasting ability, such as Epic Spell Focus and Improved Spell Capacity. Spontaneous Domain Access can be a powerful feat for the shaman. Since many epic shamans face extraplanar creatures, Planar Turning and Epic Spell Penetration can come in very useful.

Since Wisdom affects the epic shaman's spellcasting, most ability increases should go there. An occasional Charisma increase helps the shaman's ability to turn or rebuke undead.

Other Options: Pick up feats such as Automatic Silent Spell or Spell Opportunity to increase your spellcasting versatility. Evil shamans should look to feats such as Negative Energy Burst, Undead Mastery, and Zone of Animation to bolster their link with the world of the undead. Don't forget the bonus feats listed in your class description in Oriental Adventures, as well.

Hit Die: d6.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic shaman's caster level is equal to his class level. The shaman's number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level.

Turn or Rebuke Undead: Use the shaman's class level minus 2 to determine the most powerful undead affected by a turn or rebuke check and the turning damage, just as normal.

Bonus Feats: The epic shaman gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic shaman feats) every 4 levels after 20th.

Epic Shaman Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Bonus Domain, Enhance Spell, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment-Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Negative Energy Burst, Perfect Health, Permanent Emanation, Planar Turning, Positive Energy Aura, Spectral Strike, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic, Undead Mastery, Zone of Animation. Alternatively, the shaman can select any of the feats listed under the class's bonus feat list found in Oriental Adventures.

Shaman
Level

Special
21
22
23
24 Bonus feat
25
26
27
28 Bonus feat
29
30

Epic Shugenja

The epic shugenja combines nobility and piety with great divine power, often becoming the most respected supporters of the faith of Rokugan.

As with any epic spellcaster, the shugenja favors epic feats that strengthen her spellcasting. Enhance Spell can increase the punch of her damage-dealing spells, and Spell Knowledge lets her add more spells to her repertoire. Improved Element Focus is another solid option for the shugenja.

Charisma is the epic shugenja's first priority among her ability scores. Improving Dexterity or Constitution can allow her to hold up better in combat situations.

Other Options: Shugenja who specialize in metamagic can pick up feats such as Automatic Silent Spell or Improved Heighten Spell to further bolster that capacity.

Hit Die: d6.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic shugenja's caster level is equal to her class level. The shugenja's number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level. The shugenja does not learn additional spells unless she selects the Spell Knowledge feat.

Bonus Feats: The epic shugenja gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic shugenja feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Epic Shugenja Bonus Feat List: Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Energy Resistance, Enhance Spell, Epic Reputation, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Element Focus (new feat; see below), Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Tenacious Magic.

Shugenja
Level

Special
21
22
23 Bonus feat
24
25
26 Bonus feat
27
28
29 Bonus feat
30

Epic Sohei

The epic sohei defends the faithful from those who would terrorize the innocent, and she works tirelessly to further her monastery's goals in the world.

When selecting epic feats, the sohei traditionally balances offense, with feats such as Devastating Critical and Dire Charge, with defense, including such feats as Armor Skin and Reflect Arrows. Epic Ki Frenzy is a new feat that is appropriate to all epic sohei.

The sohei should distribute her ability increases between Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom, as all of these are important to her well-being.

Other Options: Sohei who rely on their spells should consider Improved Combat Casting and Improved Spell Capacity.

Hit Die: d10.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic sohei's caster level is equal to one-half her class level, as normal. The sohei's number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level.

Ki Frenzy (Ex): The epic sohei may use this ability one additional time per day for every 4 levels gained after 19th (23rd, 27th, and so on).

Damage Reduction (Ex): The epic sohei's damage reduction improves by 1 point for every 3 levels gained after 20th (5/- at 23rd, 6/- at 26th, and so on).

Bonus Feats: The epic sohei gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic sohei feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Epic Sohei Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Epic Ki Frenzy (new feat; see below), Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Exceptional Deflection, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Spell Capacity, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect Health, Reflect Arrows.

Sohei
Level

Special
21
22
23 Damage reduction 5/-, ki frenzy 7/day, bonus feat
24
25
26 Damage reduction 6/-, bonus feat
27 Ki frenzy 8/day
28
29 Damage reduction 7/-, bonus feat
30

Epic Wu Jen

The epic wu jen continues to grow apart from society, since her mighty powers and strange ways often frighten those uninitiated into the mysteries of arcane magic.

The epic wu jen lives and dies by her spellcasting, and her epic feat selection, including such choices as Multispell, Intensify Spell, and Epic Spell Focus, reflects that reality. For higher-level wu jen, Epic Spell Secret is a powerful option.

Since the wu jen's spells are affected by her Intelligence, most ability increases should go there. Dexterity and Constitution are reasonable second options since they improve her defensive capabilities.

Other Options: Superior Initiative makes a fine choice for the wu jen who believes in striking first. Improved Metamagic is good for the wu jen who employs many such feats.

Hit Die: d4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic wu jen's caster level is equal to her class level. The wu jen's number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level. Each time the wu jen achieves a new level, she learns two new spells of any spell level that she can cast (according to her new level).

Spell Secret: Every 3 levels after 18th, the epic wu jen may select one additional spell known to her to become modified as listed for this ability. She must choose an additional taboo each time she learns a spell secret.

Bonus Feats: The epic wu jen gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic wu jen feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Epic Wu Jen Bonus Feat List: Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Enhance Spell, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spell Secret (new feat; see below), Epic Spellcasting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Spell, Superior Initiative, Tenacious Magic.

Wu Jen
Level

Special
21 Spell secret
22
23 Bonus feat
24 Spell secret
25
26 Bonus feat
27 Spell secret
28
29 Bonus feat
30 Spell secret

New Epic Feats

Below are four new epic feats designed for your Oriental Adventures campaign. They follow all the normal rules for epic feats as described in the Epic Level Handbook.

Epic Ancestral Daisho

Your ancestral weapon gains the capacity for even greater power.

Prerequisites: Samurai level 21, Wis 19.

Benefit: The maximum weapon bonus that you can awaken in your ancestral daisho increases by +1 (such as from +10 to +11). Also, your ancestral daisho's maximum enhancement bonus increases by +1 (such as from +5 to +6).

You must still make an appropriate sacrifice to awaken this bonus, as shown on the table below. For instance, to increase a +5 flaming katana of speed to a +6 flaming katana of speed, the samurai must sacrifice 2,220,000 gp.

The samurai must spend one day per 10,000 gp sacrificed in the shrine or temple. He must spend at least 8 hours each of these days kneeling before his ancestors and his weapons, not stopping to eat or rest.

Epic Ancestral Daisho
Weapon
Bonus
Total Sacrifice
Required
+11 2,420,000 gp
+12 2,880,000 gp
+13 3,380,000 gp
+14 3,920,000 gp
+15 4,500,000 gp
+16 5,120,000 gp
+17 5,780,000 gp
+18 6,480,000 gp
+19 7,220,000 gp
+20 8,000,000 gp

Epic Ki Frenzy

Your ki frenzy grants you even greater power and agility.

Prerequisite:Ki frenzy 6/day, Wis 21.

Benefits: Your ki frenzy grants you a +4 bonus to Strength and Dexterity and increases your speed by 20 feet.

Normal: Without this feat, ki frenzy grants only a +2 bonus to Strength and Dexterity and a speed increase of 10 feet.

Epic Spell Secret

Choose a single spell that you know. You can apply one of your metamagic feats to that spell without altering the spell's level.

Prerequisite: Wu jen level 21, Spellcraft 27 ranks, three or more metamagic feats.

Benefits: You choose a spell that you know, which becomes permanently modified as though affected by any one of your metamagic feats. The spell's level does not change, and once the choice of spell and modification are chosen, they cannot be changed. You can apply this feat's effect to a spell already modified by a spell secret, but you can't apply Epic Spell Secret to the same spell more than once.

Improved Element Focus

The spells of your specialized element are even more powerful than normal.

Prerequisite: Shugenja level 21, Spellcraft 24 ranks, Cha 25.

Benefits: The spells of your chosen element focus are treated as if you had the Greater Spell Focus feat; that is, their save DC is increased by a total of +4 (including the benefit from Spell Focus).

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the Epic Level Handbook, and grab a copy of Oriental Adventures. Of course, you'll also need the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual!

About the Author

Andy Collins is the co-designer of the Epic Level Handbook. Read more about him and his projects at www.andycollins.net.

Epic Level Handbook Playtesters

Many thanks are due to the fine folk who playtested the Epic Level Handbook. Playtesting is all about experimentation and trying to fix any potential mistakes and oversights. Regretfully, we committed an oversight by leaving off the list of people who playtested the document. Here are our unsung epic heroes:

Christopher Adomaitis, Dave Anderson, Jeffrey Ball, Robert Ball, Marty Bartoy, Derek Belanger, James Black, John Black, Gwendolyn Black, Carl Bobo, William Braun, Craig Bucheli, Barbara Chandler, Scott Chandler, Donald Dodge, Jocelyn Eisenhour, Sarah Faigh, Mattthew Farr, Kelmar Firesun, David Fulkerson, Carlos Garcia, Chris Garcia, Corey Garrett, Chris Garrison, Omar Ghannoum, Matt Glavich, Catherine Good, Andrew Gristina, August Hahn, Cynthia Hahn, Arthur Harris, Nick Hidalgo, Quentin Hidalgo, William Holder, Kurt Johnson, George Kalauokalani, Charles Keene, Brian Klement, Robert Krempa, Gary Labrecque, Rocky Lange, Kevin Leistico, Eric Lopez, Anthony Ludlam, Jon Lundeen, Jeremy Lutz, Ralph Mack, Greg Marone, Thomas Martin, Frank Mathenia, Joseph Meeks, Kevin Meyer, Scott Morgan, Nicholas Morgan, David Nowell, Kevin Odom, Brock Ormond, Damian Osisek, Jon Otaeuro, Scott Parks, Goon Pattanumotana, Gavin Pattanumotana, Tom Pearce, Brian Perry, Russell Richardson, Dan Robbins, Andrew Rothstein, Richard Sakoda, Jeff Showiak, Ray Stakenas, Maryrita Steinhour, Curtis Steinhour, Jeff Stolt, John Sussenberger, Lisa Sussenberger, Zachary Tom, Robert Trottier, Thomas Vail, Jason White, Matthew Woodard.


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