Chi Power Source: Ninja, Samurai, Monk

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These aren't fully fleshed out class concepts by any stretch, but here's a good place to put "design notes" for the basic idea of grouping the samurai, ninja, and monk as roles under a new powers source for an Oriental setting. "Chi" can mean many things, of course, but for this purpose let's consider it internal strength, focus, and self reliance. It's very, very similar to "psi", in some respects, but it's completely internal. (And yes, I know that's a fairly gross distortion, but let's move on for right now.)

With that basic understanding in mind, let's play with the essential character concepts. The Oriental classes in D&D have always felt a bit muddled in their function and class role - the 3.5 monk wasn't quite a striker or controller, the ninja was interesting but tricky in execution, and the samurai never quite felt like a cohesive class. I'd like for the peanut gallery to give their input as to what defines these types of characters in fiction, what elements would work in making the characters fun to play, and how we could progress in making them exciting.

Samurai - chi defender. There are two essential characteristics of the samurai that I think "matter". One is the classic quick-draw samurai strike. A samurai stares intently at an opponent, waits until the last moment, whips out his sword, and things disassemble all around him in improbable ways. The other is superhuman stoicism in the face of adversity. Giving the samurai the quick draw feat as a bonus seems like a natural. Some sort of iterative attack might be nice - I can visualize a daily, encounter, and at-will power that all do exactly the same thing - permitting you to chain them together. (Something like an Str vs. Will, 2[W]+Wisdom strike, contingent on a successful attack.) Playing up the "combo" aspect makes the game play for a samurai unique, and nods back to the old fighting games many of us grew up on. Attacks that stun or daze to increase the "stickiness", and some powers that permit you to convert reflex or fortitude saves to will saves, would also work well. Wisdom should be high on the list of samurai attributes - much like the paladin has Strength and Charisma builds, a Wisdom-based samurai should be viable.

Ninja - chi striker. The easiest one to do. Powers that grant cover, grant concealment, and grant invisibility. Powers that do devastating damage from cover, concealment, and invisibility. Legendary pieces of ninja gear (like smoke grenades) might be best simulated as daily powers instead of actual equipment - reference the artificer play test class for an example of this school of thought.

Monk - chi leader. Here's the controversial one, folks. We have to put him somewhere, after all, and this can make sense if you look at fiction and the movies. Monks are enlightened; in most fiction, they teach as much as they kick behind. A leader-monk would still have mad kung-fu skills; those attacks are easy to emulate in 4e. (A 1st level at-will touch-based 1d6+Wisdom attack? Works for me.) But he'd also be able to inspire other characters, dispensing "enlightenment" that increase the effectiveness of their attacks, grant extra saving throws, and even restore powers. A daily use power that counts as a passed milestone might be overpowered, but would definitely feel right in terms of a "meditate with me, grasshopper" moment.

Thoughts?
Samurai

The D&D samurai isn't much to go off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai

Samurai is a title of nobility. Like Knight.

They used heavy armor (lets go with scale)
They use katana (bastard swords), wakizashi (short swords), Tantō (daggers), yumi (longbows), hankyu (shortbows, for horseback), yari (longspears), and naginata (glaves)

For stats Str, Wis, Cha?

Ninja

Actually the hardest to do. There's simply too much stuff to work with. No two people have the same notion of what a ninja is.

Though anyone who tries making ninja anything else than a striker needs to be slapped

Monk

now I've heard it it all. I've seen people build them as defenders (it works) strikers (it works) controllers (it doesn't work) but I've never seen a leader build, I doubt it would work.
now I've heard it it all. I've seen people build them as defenders (it works) strikers (it works) controllers (it doesn't work) but I've never seen a leader build, I doubt it would work.

Heh. I think that testifies to what a hodge-podge the 3.5 class was...

I know it makes the history fans wince, but I'm suggesting we look to movies, pop culture, and fiction for definitions of these characters. I know that the samurai were really at their best as horse archers, but let's toss that out in favor of (good) anime and cinema. What's a "good" cinematic samurai like? How do you make a character that feels like Usagi Yojimbo? (Yes, he's a rabbit. But the stories are awesome.)
I know that the samurai were really at their best as horse archers, but let's toss that out

just means they get martial ranged.

What's a "good" cinematic samurai like?

The first episode of samurai jack comes to mind. He whips all the historical goodies. A good D&D samurai should have all those options.

But the most common fictional samurai is a whole other beast. He's an unarmored striker with wielding a katana in two hands.
Hmmm.... I can see it. But strikers also imply a lot of mobility. Unless you wire-fu everyone to the gills (which is an option), I don't see the mobility implicit in the a striker role in a samurai.

I'm visualizing the classic "blind swordsman" duel, where the thugs stare at the samurai, sweat, stare, and Very Unpleasant Things happen. That seems like defender to me.

Of course, I'm also hoping that if we're going to the bother of defining a new power source, it'll be diversified enough to be self reliant. But I'm just chewing on ideas.
That seems like defender to me.

heh, carving people up like that seems more strikerish to me.
To evoke defender to me it takes heavy armor on the battlefield.

but then again that's why I brought up them being 'knights'

a knight converted into current D&D classes might be a fighter, a paladin or a warlord

a samurai converted into current D&D classes might be a fighter, a ranger or a warlord.


Ninja is worse, rogue is part of the mix but ranger, fighter, warlock, and wizard are all multiclass candidates.
heh, carving people up like that seems more strikerish to me.
To evoke defender to me it takes heavy armor on the battlefield.

Turning them into julienne fries with a katana? Strikerish.

Making the badguys stare at you, numb with horror, for so long you could go fix a cheese sandwich before you cut them down? Defenderish.

Or lunch. Either one. Go figure. :P
Samurai using Iajuitsu are definitely strikers.
Iajuitsu is the art of unsheathing killing your enemy, flicking the blood off and resheathing in one fluid motion. It Screams Striker.

Samurai using a form of Kenjitsu are still probably Strikers.

Samurai tended to not wear heavy armor, they wore what amounted to Lamellar armor it evolved in the west to Scale and eventually Plate armors, in DnD terms its similar to Chain-Scale, but they also didn't wear the amount of extra armor that was common with Western Knights.

Templars (one of the quintessential western knight groups) would wear Plate with chain and padding under the chain.

Lightly Armored warriors who deal death tend to be strikers (Rogues, Rangers).

Back onto topic and away from my historical ramblings.

For the Samurai, The two different forms should be 'Kyudo' and 'Kenjutsu' as Iajitsu tends to be more one trick wonder than something to be able to base an entire group of abilities around.

Kyudo is the form of the bow, and Kenjutsu is the art of sword fighting. Although to be honest, with just renaming some of the powers the Ranger becomes the Samurai.
Heh. I think that testifies to what a hodge-podge the 3.5 class was...

no, it was just not defined by the four class types.


Ninja can be a rogue cross class warlock, or the reverse.

Monks are defenders that get lots of attack of opportunity abilities.
(based off most monks I've seen)
I'm going to chime in here and say that the samurai should be a Striker IMHO. Light armor + emphasis on clean kills + not a tank =/= Defender. You could MAKE them a Defender, but it'll end up looking about as strange as a Controller Monk or a Defender Bard.

Speaking of the Monk, I think they should be a Striker. They don't strike me as a Defender either. Again, they have terrible armor, and in earlier editions, low HP but a lot of attacks that do respectable damage (at least in theory). In addition to that, I don't see how making them a Leader would work out. True, the monk is introspective, enlightened, and a source of wisdom (among other cliches), but their focus is on self-enlightenment. They don't go around preaching in the town square about the virtues of meditation. Compare that to other Leader classes. Warlord? Huge, rousing speaches. Priest? Preaches by defenition. Bard (presumably)? Inspiring songs and tales. The monk just doesn't fit into that mold.

Instead, I propose a Striker monk with an emphasis on mobility and a minor in Controller. They should be able to outmaneuver opponents, cruise over difficult terrain, and get a speed boost. Their blows are probably not on par with a ranger or rogue - though still impressive enough to be a Striker - but come with disabling or debilitating after-effects that let the party finish them off in short order. Ditch most of their extra attacks (wouldn't work well in this edition) but let them daze/immobilize/debuff. That's how I picture the monk working this time around.
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the samurai should be a Striker

There's a split.

Real samurai where defenders.

But most pop fiction samurai are instead kensai.
There's a split.

Real samurai where defenders.

But most pop fiction samurai are instead kensai.

I politely disagree with you here Henry, most my research into exsisting Kenjutsu and Kyudo forms, makes me think that simply renaming some powers from Ranger to Samurai feel would give me a Samurai, thus they are Strikers.
...Upon further reflection, if the samurai is a Striker, then all three of them would be Strikers. That's boring, so allow me to backpedal.

The samurai could be a Leader. His presence is so commanding that enemies fear him, his allies rally around him. Basically a warlord, but with more of an emphasis on two-handed combat, with some buffs and some debuffs. Less about moving troops around and more about making those troops count for more in the face of the enemy. Possibly gives a morale bonus of +1 to attack rolls to nearby allies as a class feature? Some light Striker qualities in that he can do heavy damage with two-handed weapons, maybe even kill weak enemies outright.

This is off the top of my head, mind, so I have no idea how workable that is. Really there's no explicit need for a samurai class, beyond swelling the ranks of the Ki power source. It's a social distinction rather than an occupation, so a samurai could be a fighter, ranger, or warlord, or heck, even a wizard if he so chose.
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I politely disagree with you here Henry, most my research into exsisting Kenjutsu and Kyudo forms, makes me think that simply renaming some powers from Ranger to Samurai feel would give me a Samurai, thus they are Strikers.

That would give you one type of samurai.

But it wouldn't cover the other types.

While real samurai did practice Kenjutsu and Kyudo, that's not all they practiced.


I don't think you can fit all samurai into one role or class. It's not hard to see them as leaders.
That would give you one type of samurai.

But it wouldn't cover the other types.

While real samurai did practice Kenjutsu and Kyudo, that's not all they practiced.


I don't think you can fit all samurai into one role or class. It's not hard to see them as leaders.

Its kind of like what happened when I started converting the old christian orders to classes, the reality is most of them were striker/leader/defenders.

Which don't exist. Instead I decided to make the Hospitalars more into the leader types, and Templar/Teutonics more into Strikers and just leave the Defenders out.

I think cinmatically samurai are strikers, its usually favorable to fit cinmatically to the class then realistically, the fact that there were real samurai that were strikers makes it all the better.
I think cinmatically samurai are strikers

I agree.

real samurai that were strikers

That I don't agree with



But it's moot. The class people want to play is the striker version.

The problem with the ranger class is the TWF it doesn't really fit. They should be using THF


The closest thing in the game right now is a great weapon fighter with a bastard sword who takes the kensai paragon path.
But it's moot. The class people want to play is the striker version.

The problem with the ranger class is the TWF it doesn't really fit. They should be using THF

Yeah which is the only issue really, and to me TH style and TW with two same weapons is mostly equilivent, I could allow samurai-rangers to use TW style powers replacing 'must be wielding two weapons' to 'must be wielding two weapons Or being using a weaopn in two hands' as there are a couple of Konryu's that in fact teach daisho fighting still.
The closest thing in the game right now is a great weapon fighter with a bastard sword who takes the kensai paragon path.

Except then they are missing the Ryudo.
fighter can use bows.

Bow use is secondary anyways, for the cinematic version at least.
Eh most samurai movies I hae seen have at least one guy who is very very good with his bow.

I still don't see samurai as defenders, they aren't heavily armored and they aren't slow. They say Striker to me.
heavily armored and slow doesn't make for good cinema :P
Which is why Western Knights are always mounted :lightbulb :D.

Seriously though, I think Samurai would be better as Strikers, with a ranged and TH option, I would just be lazy and rename Ranger powers to equilivent names for Samurai

That and I don't think Samurai should be 'chi' the Ninja and Monk sure, but Samurai (both in cinema and reality) weren't anything more special than a european knight.
Is there any reason that you're shoving the samurai and ninja into the Chi power source other than that they're AZN? Because, you know, aside from not being a very smart idea, some people might not be too happy about those classes being segregated from the other classes based on their location in real life/their slanty eyes. It's sort of racist.

Also, monks are like unarmed martial artists or something like that, right? Make them Martial, just like the samurai and ninja (not that you need separate classes in the first place). At least then you can play a German boxer without all that ki **** getting in the way (or maybe that's a separate class, using the Bräu power source).
Is there any reason that you're shoving the samurai and ninja into the Chi power source other than that they're AZN? Because, you know, aside from not being a very smart idea, some people might not be too happy about those classes being segregated from the other classes based on their location in real life/their slanty eyes. It's sort of racist.

Actually going with cinematic ninjas, they need something other than Martial, the attributes given to ninjas.
Also, monks are like unarmed martial artists or something like that, right? Make them Martial, just like the samurai and ninja (not that you need separate classes in the first place). At least then you can play a German boxer without all that ki **** getting in the way (or maybe that's a separate class, using the Bräu power source).

Again Wushu monks, need something other than 'martial'
Actually going with cinematic ninjas, they need something other than Martial, the attributes given to ninjas.

Cinematic ninjas are still martial. You're talking about cartoons and video games (fine too, but distinction is key).

They sure as **** aren't ki-powered. If you want to make mystical ninja, the arcane power source is a perfect fit (PERFECT!).
Again Wushu monks, need something other than 'martial'

Wushu monks are martial. Ki is the exact same thing as martial. There's nothing mystical about it, nothing supernatural and nothing inherently superior to any martial technique practiced by any other martial artist.
Cinematic ninjas are still martial. You're talking about cartoons and video games (fine too, but distinction is key).

No I am talking American Ninja. Ninja Scroll (Anime not cartoon). I'm talking about the legendary powers of the ninja to literally turn in invisible. And their ability to cloud the minds of their enemies, let see, walk on water, fly. You know things you can't do with normal Martial power and didn't really occur with ninjas, but are part of the myth, which is what we build classes on.

They sure as **** aren't ki-powered. If you want to make mystical ninja, the arcane power source is a perfect fit (PERFECT!).

Actually Ki is what it is.

Arcane - outside power you control
Divine - God power
Ki - internal power
Wushu monks are martial. Ki is the exact same thing as martial. There's nothing mystical about it, nothing supernatural and nothing inherently superior to any martial technique practiced by any other martial artist.

That makes Ki racist, which I doubt is their intent. As then Ki is just oriental (specifically japan/china excluding Yogis of India).
These aren't fully fleshed out class concepts by any stretch, but here's a good place to put "design notes" for the basic idea of grouping the samurai, ninja, and monk as roles under a new powers source for an Oriental setting. "Chi" can mean many things, of course, but for this purpose let's consider it internal strength, focus, and self reliance. It's very, very similar to "psi", in some respects, but it's completely internal. (And yes, I know that's a fairly gross distortion, but let's move on for right now.)

I've always considered ki/chi as closer to a martial-style power source (but with mysticism). I would definitely put it closer to martial than psi, in any case.
Cinematic ninjas are still martial. You're talking about cartoons and video games (fine too, but distinction is key).

They sure as **** aren't ki-powered. If you want to make mystical ninja, the arcane power source is a perfect fit (PERFECT!).

LOL, that's even further from ki than psi! Arcane source is a HORRIBLE "fit" for a mystical ninja.

Wushu monks are martial. Ki is the exact same thing as martial. There's nothing mystical about it, nothing supernatural and nothing inherently superior to any martial technique practiced by any other martial artist.

So a ki blast is just like a martial blast, then? Wait... wtf is a "martial blast???"
I think I'll hop in with my two-cents.

First off, I really have to side with a lot of Irving's initial assessments. I'm not buying the "Samurai are strikers" argument. First, people are assuming that defenders don't do damage. I've seen fighters chop up the opposition with next to no trouble. A striker moves in and out, deals the damage where it needs to go, and avoids taking it back. While I like the image of a samurai charging through, chopping everything in their path to ribbons, I don't see that being their primary role. And, more so, I REALLY do not see them running away when the enemy turns to face them or being in the least bit fragile. I picture concepts such as Iajuitsu fitting much more into something similar to a fighter's Combat Challenge in which they lock an enemy into combat, making sudden strikes at just the right moment. And if you're worried about damage, take another stroll through the fighter's powers. Just because they're not doing top-die every single round doesn't mean they don't have bursts of "everything in front of my dies".

I have no real expectations of ninja. Striker, obviously. Mostly a rogue with a stronger focus on the stealth, athletics, and acrobatics than on the charismatic elements. While I think a couple bits of warlock may look neat, don't go hog wild. I think this is a class that many would shove any and everything at, because "ninjas be cool", without too much regard for balance or role.

To play devil's advocate, I think maybe Monk could work beautifully as a leader. First off, they really essentially are oriental priests. Not all clerics are evangelical preachers, and a monk wouldn't really have to be one. They do radiate a sort of peace and tranquility. Their knowledge of pressure points and chi flow is far more rooted in healing than stunning and killing. Their wisdom can inspire and enlighten with very few words. The mobility and "use your enemy's movements against them" nature of martial arts are a potent means of opening up an opponent's defenses to your ally's attacks. The idea that a monk would be able to use their naked body to the effectiveness of a cleric's divinely guided mace or a warlord's carefully trained blade is already epicly impressive. Forcing the fist of every monk's fist to cut like a ranger's arrow into his prey is hardly necessary. If a player wanted to capitalize on this aspect of the monk, that is what paragon paths are for, much like a warlord's Sword Marshal path improves their sword fighting rather heavily.

What I seem to be seeing a lot is striker being placed at the front of many suggestions. And what that tells me is what I learned in my experience in online gaming, which is that people often want to be the damage dealer, no matter what the class's actual role is. It doesn't really make striker appropriate everytime one would think a class should be proficent in hurting things, or that no one else can ever deal damage. Striker is specifically for classes that can pick a target or opportunity, put as many dice on as possible, then find some means to not be there when the revenge seeking victim wants to return the favor. If you're willing to stay when the axe of retribution comes out, or give one ounce of care what your party members are doing outside of doing something for you, you probably aren't a striker.
No I am talking American Ninja. Ninja Scroll (Anime not cartoon). I'm talking about the legendary powers of the ninja to literally turn in invisible. And their ability to cloud the minds of their enemies, let see, walk on water, fly. You know things you can't do with normal Martial power and didn't really occur with ninjas, but are part of the myth, which is what we build classes on.

I think the arcane power source could fit the bill here.
Actually Ki is what it is.

Arcane - outside power you control
Divine - God power
Ki - internal power

HAY OMG THATS EXACTLY HOW MARTIAL IS DESCRIBED
That makes Ki racist, which I doubt is their intent. As then Ki is just oriental (specifically japan/china excluding Yogis of India).

Ki is simply redundant (and racist). So maybe it could sound more mystical, but when it all boils down it's still perfectly within the bounds of the martial, and martial was never implied to be mundane (in fact, we need an absolutely redonkulous martial character).

Let's just say that my image of the martial power source is that just because we can't do it in real life, doesn't mean D&D creatures shouldn't be able to.
LOL, that's even further from ki than psi! Arcane source is a HORRIBLE "fit" for a mystical ninja.

Sounds to me like you don't know what the arcane power source is.
Arcane: Drawing on magical energy that permeates the cosmos, the arcane power source can be used for a wide variety of effects, from fireballs to flight to invisibility. Warlocks and wizards, for example, use arcane magic. Each class is the representative of a different tradition of arcane study, and other traditions exist. Arcane powers are called spells.

Basically, they manipulate magical energy that is already there. Pretty much within the "established fluff" (i.e. common notions) of the mystical ninja. Only Mortal Kombat has inherently supernatural ninjas. I've only heard D&D nerds making a connection between ninjas and ki, at least.
So a ki blast is just like a martial blast, then? Wait... wtf is a "martial blast???"

You can call it "ki blast," but the fact remains that if it comes from within their body, it's just an exaggerated martial exploit.
Not a bad discussion going. I'm pleased this idea's got legs.

As to regarding whether ki/chi might be racist, or whether these characters could be deemed martial or arcane: I'm using the chi source as a defining point for these characters for a somewhat "meta" sort of reason. If you define them all as having the same power source, then you can define them all as being part of the same set for publication of campaign setting purposes (not that I'm suggesting that's my ultimate goal, but it;s how my brain works). It's not my intent to be racist, but it is my intent to take classes from a specific culture and group them under a specific power source.

By the same token, it's useful to be able to build a "balanced" party with only oriental/chi-focused classes. Placing the samurai as a defender and the monk as a leader makes that happen. (Yes, I know that there's no controller in this set up, but we've got a dearth of controllers in 4e right now anyways, so let's not open that can of worms just yet.)

I agree that a samurai can and should deal some impressive damage, but damage is not the only quality of a striker. Mobility and fragility are also hallmarks of a striker, and I have trouble assigning either of those qualities to a samurai. Strikers, as a rule, "can dish it out but they can't take it". Can you visualize a samurai retreating, ever, under any circumstances? Heck, I think it would be characterful for a samurai to have epic-level daily abilities that trigger upon his death... or upon the use of his last healing surge, at least.
By the same token, it's useful to be able to build a "balanced" party with only oriental/chi-focused classes. Placing the samurai as a defender and the monk as a leader makes that happen. (Yes, I know that there's no controller in this set up, but we've got a dearth of controllers in 4e right now anyways, so let's not open that can of worms just yet.)

I agree that a samurai can and should deal some impressive damage, but damage is not the only quality of a striker. Mobility and fragility are also hallmarks of a striker, and I have trouble assigning either of those qualities to a samurai. Strikers, as a rule, "can dish it out but they can't take it". Can you visualize a samurai retreating, ever, under any circumstances? Heck, I think it would be characterful for a samurai to have epic-level daily abilities that trigger upon his death... or upon the use of his last healing surge, at least.

I agree that the Ki/Chi power source should have a ballanced array of roles, which is why I changed my vote for the samurai from Striker to Leader.

However, sometimes a given role just fits a concept well. Striker, in this case, would not be inappropriate for any of these concepts. It's less a case of "everyone wants to play the Striker!" than it is "the Striker is a role which is at least somewhat appropriate for virtually all warrior-style classes."

I still hold that the samurai would make a poor Defender without giving them A) some kind of artificial defense boost, B) massive HP, or C) both. One of the most essential traits of the Defender is that they can wade into a large group of enemies and come out reletively unscathed. Samurai, from a cinematic standpoint, are really more about making a single fatal strike and not having to worry about retaliation. In fact, I would say mobility and fragility are inherent to the concept, at least insofar as samurai tend not to be nicked and scraped to death so much as cut down in one blow. So, I still hold that the Striker role fits better, though I think Leader would be more ballanced against the other classes, and no less apropriate.

Only Mortal Kombat has inherently supernatural ninjas.

Actually, a lot of ninja movies (particularly Chinese films) ascribe ninjas inherent supernatural powers.
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I still hold that the samurai would make a poor Defender without giving them A) some kind of artificial defense boost...

I'm actually leaning towards this. In my initial post I'd listed resilience as a trait of samurai; I'm thinking less about the ability to take punches and more about the "Way of the Warrior" Zen stoicism that fictional samurai (and real samurai, for that matter) exhibit.

To reflect that this isn't so much a matter of HP as much as will and focus, I'd like for that resilience to be reflected in ways other than healing surges. A power that lets you roll fortitude saves as will save for the encounter is good; a daily power that does not permit you to be bloodied makes sense, too, although that might create problems. I'm trying to suggest a sort of resilience where you take damage, but it just doesn't matter, because you're one with the universe. Whether that's mechanically possible is an open question, but...
Not a bad discussion going. I'm pleased this idea's got legs.

As to regarding whether ki/chi might be racist, or whether these characters could be deemed martial or arcane: I'm using the chi source as a defining point for these characters for a somewhat "meta" sort of reason. If you define them all as having the same power source, then you can define them all as being part of the same set for publication of campaign setting purposes (not that I'm suggesting that's my ultimate goal, but it;s how my brain works). It's not my intent to be racist, but it is my intent to take classes from a specific culture and group them under a specific power source.

But those two ideas are mutually exclusive. As soon as you segregate based on culture, you're discriminating (not really against anybody, but it is based on race). I don't think you're a racist or idiot, though (I best make this disclaimer because apparently I act like everybody else is an idiot while discussing stuff). Samurai was just a title, and if made into a class would simply imply a mundane (if badass) warrior, hence the martial power source. Ki as a supernatural force has never been associated with the samurai, at least.

As for ninjas, Pilgrim_Shadow mentioned some Chinese movies where the ninjas have magical powers. My retort would be "But is it ki?" I've only seen a handful of people associate ninjas with ki, and only one or two that weren't on this forum. I guess I'm just sort of confused as to why that is.

The monk, I think should also have the martial power source, because I'd prefer people to be able to play a pugilist or unarmed warrior without massive reflavoring.
By the same token, it's useful to be able to build a "balanced" party with only oriental/chi-focused classes. Placing the samurai as a defender and the monk as a leader makes that happen. (Yes, I know that there's no controller in this set up, but we've got a dearth of controllers in 4e right now anyways, so let's not open that can of worms just yet.)

But why can't the arcane, martial and divine power sources be eastern as well? There are loads upon loads of divine figures in eastern mythology, and spellcasters aren't all that rare either. Not to mention warriors of about the same caliber as us inferior western gaijin have.
I agree that a samurai can and should deal some impressive damage, but damage is not the only quality of a striker. Mobility and fragility are also hallmarks of a striker, and I have trouble assigning either of those qualities to a samurai. Strikers, as a rule, "can dish it out but they can't take it". Can you visualize a samurai retreating, ever, under any circumstances? Heck, I think it would be characterful for a samurai to have epic-level daily abilities that trigger upon his death... or upon the use of his last healing surge, at least.

Yes, samurai would make for better defenders. The whole marking shtick fits an iaijutsu challenge. In fact, looking over the Fighter class, I could totally see it as a samurai.

Well, a samurai with a spear, at least. I'm looking for good maneuvers to use with a spear.
But why can't the arcane, martial and divine power sources be eastern as well? There are loads upon loads of divine figures in eastern mythology, and spellcasters aren't all that rare either. Not to mention warriors of about the same caliber as us inferior western gaijin have.

The Ki power source is listed in the PHB as one that will be used in future books, presumably with the Monk in mind. I don't see any problem with houseruling that Ki = Martial, but Wizards at least seems to think they're different. As for why other power sources can't be used, I don't see any reason why they couldn't. Not all Asian classes have to be Ki. It does fit better with Asian classes than western ones, though.

Also, Irving, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there are any Fort/Will saves in 4e. You have Fort and Will defense, which works like AC, and you have saves, which are just a roughly 50/50 pass/fail check, but you wouldn't have a Fort save. Do you mean allowing the samurai to use their Will defense in place of Fort? That could work, although I'd be careful about swapping out defenses too much, as it means that in effect any bonus to Will also suddenly applies to Fort. That could potentially have ballance issues.

As for the daily power that prevents being bloodied, I think it would work better as an Encounter power (or even a class feature) that prevents the samurai from being dropped below their bloodied score on a single hit. Not sure how useful that would be; any thoughts?
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Well if it prevents you from letting a hit bloody you it can turn 20+ damage potentiall into 0. If you're close to being bloodied in the first place. Not that that's uncool, It would just not be a low-level power.
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HAY OMG THATS EXACTLY HOW MARTIAL IS DESCRIBED

No, MArtial 'You use your training to use weapons to do X'
Ki 'Haranassing years of study your body achieves X' (or language similar)
Arcane 'You have have learned, have made a pact, et cetra to manipulate arcane power.'
Divine 'Your faith in your god allows you to do X'
Psi 'By focusing your inner power you achieve X'

Ki is kind of between Psi/Martial in my mind, Just like I expect Elemental to between Arcane and Primal.
Ki is simply redundant (and racist). So maybe it could sound more mystical, but when it all boils down it's still perfectly within the bounds of the martial, and martial was never implied to be mundane (in fact, we need an absolutely redonkulous martial character).

There is a difference from Martial and Ki though. A huge one. That or find me a single blast power in the current martial powers, a true blast that doesn't rely on weapons to achieve it.
Let's just say that my image of the martial power source is that just because we can't do it in real life, doesn't mean D&D creatures shouldn't be able to.

Oooo, so basically to you a martial power that allows guys to shoot fireballs is ok?
Basically, they manipulate magical energy that is already there. Pretty much within the "established fluff" (i.e. common notions) of the mystical ninja. Only Mortal Kombat has inherently supernatural ninjas. I've only heard D&D nerds making a connection between ninjas and ki, at least.

Naruto leaps out. Oh and then there is the Mythbusters they did on Ninja's supposed powers.
Historically Ninjas have been ascribed with a multitude of mystic abilities. Any ninja class that doesn't have those is failing the ninja.
They have supernatural techniques. In 2E this wasn't even handled similar to wizards and their spells.
You can call it "ki blast," but the fact remains that if it comes from within their body, it's just an exaggerated martial exploit.

No.
Every martial exploit is either ran off a skill or a weapon. A Ki blast won't run off of either.

You don't seriously think Ki Blast should be written as 2[w] or 1[w] do you?
That form of damage determination on Ki Blast would make me... *loud retching*

Seriously Ki=/=Martial. Ki is about manipulating the flows of energy within you. Martial is about ******* bashing someone with a weapon. Where do you see the overlap?
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No, MArtial 'You use your training to use weapons to do X'

Nope.
Martial: Martial powers are not magic in the traditional sense, although some martial powers stand well beyond the capabilities of ordinary mortals. Martial characters use their own strength and willpower to vanquish their enemies. Training and dedication replace arcane formulas and prayers to grant fighters, rangers, rogues, and warlords, among others, their power. Martial powers are called exploits.

There is absolutely no reason for ki not to be lumped in with martial. I hope WotC abandons their plans to do ki, because only the monk even remotely fits it, and that class should be represented by the martial power source so as to not stereotype martial artists and, basically, force players into playing a Kung Fu movie character if they want to play an unarmed warrior.
Ki 'Haranassing years of study your body achieves X' (or language similar)

Fits with the martial power source as described.
Ki is kind of between Psi/Martial in my mind, Just like I expect Elemental to between Arcane and Primal.

I'd imagine the primal power source to be more in between the elemental and arcane ones, but whatever. Not important.
There is a difference from Martial and Ki though. A huge one. That or find me a single blast power in the current martial powers, a true blast that doesn't rely on weapons to achieve it.

Just because it doesn't exist doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be invented. That's just bad logic.
Oooo, so basically to you a martial power that allows guys to shoot fireballs is ok?

If he's an azer or something, sure. Otherwise, fire is an external force that you can't manipulate to any appreciable extent with your own body or mind, meaning it's more within the realm of everything else.
Naruto leaps out. Oh and then there is the Mythbusters they did on Ninja's supposed powers.
Historically Ninjas have been ascribed with a multitude of mystic abilities. Any ninja class that doesn't have those is failing the ninja.
They have supernatural techniques. In 2E this wasn't even handled similar to wizards and their spells.

What does that have to do with ki?
No.
Every martial exploit is either ran off a skill or a weapon. A Ki blast won't run off of either.

"Every X is" is very different from "every X must be." You haven't proven why martial exploits must be based on weapons.
You don't seriously think Ki Blast should be written as 2[w] or 1[w] do you?

I sure don't! But see previous point plus PHB quote.
There is absolutely no reason for ki not to be lumped in with martial. I hope WotC abandons their plans to do ki.

Ki is from the chinesse Qi, which is closest to western ideas of vitalism. Its the idea that the body is rife with unique and special energy, leaning how to harnass and exploit these is very diffrent from martial powers as presented. Is it possible to lump Ki into Martial, sure. Its also possibly to toss Primal into Divine and Elemental into Arcane (From whats being ascribed to both so far anyway). There is already diffrences.

Just because it doesn't exist doesn't mean it can't be invented. That's just spurious reasoning.

Personally I find the idea of a martial blast silly and Pointless, Especially as Ki is an analog for soul energy. Even the PHB agrees. Do I think Samurai should be Ki? No. Ninjas, Monks Yes. They train and use dedication to do things beyond the well trained body. Its like the diffrence from Spiderman's strength to Wolverines. Wolverine is very strong for a human. Spiderman is just a bit beyond that.
If he's an azer or something, sure. Otherwise, fire is an external force that you can't manipulate to any appreciable extent with your own body or mind, meaning it's more within the realm of everything else.

But you think its ok to turn invisible as a martial exploit? Or to walk on Water?
What does that have to do with ki?

Its simple, its beyond Martial, its not Forumalitic like Arcane Therfor its something else.
"Every X is" is very different from "every X must be." You haven't proven why martial exploits must be based on weapons.

Its rather simple really there is upper echelon of what Martial allows, once you surpass that then you move to Ki. Ki is Very similar to Martial, I grant you, but its also close to Arcane or Divine. And probably fairly close Psionic.
But those two ideas are mutually exclusive. As soon as you segregate based on culture, you're discriminating (not really against anybody, but it is based on race). I don't think you're a racist or idiot, though (I best make this disclaimer because apparently I act like everybody else is an idiot while discussing stuff). Samurai was just a title, and if made into a class would simply imply a mundane (if badass) warrior, hence the martial power source. Ki as a supernatural force has never been associated with the samurai, at least.

I agree here. I actually see some european archtypes that fit in Ki as a supernatural source. It is a stronger eastern grouping, as in the west Vitalism is mostly associated with the former theory of illness, and was never studied to the degree that the east did. There is certain groups (The Essences, Gnostics) that to one degree or another did attempt to exploit the internal energy of their body. They would be Ki too as the PHB puts it harness the power of soul energy (Ki)
As for ninjas, Pilgrim_Shadow mentioned some Chinese movies where the ninjas have magical powers. My retort would be "But is it ki?" I've only seen a handful of people associate ninjas with ki, and only one or two that weren't on this forum. I guess I'm just sort of confused as to why that is.

Because its not forumlatic nor from the gods, yet clearly a degree beyond mortals by themselves, Or at least its why I see it that way.
The monk, I think should also have the martial power source, because I'd prefer people to be able to play a pugilist or unarmed warrior without massive reflavoring.

Actually I allow a simple feat that allows unarmed strikes to be upgraded a die of damage, and count as either Light Blade (focusing more on knife hand attacks and such) or mace (pugilistic) for the purposes of exploits, and another feat that allows the replacing of Str with Dex for the purposes of unarmed combat. Allowing pugilists/unarmed warriors to have a 1d6+dex weapon and to be ok in lighter armor and still fullfill the role of defender.
But why can't the arcane, martial and divine power sources be eastern as well? There are loads upon loads of divine figures in eastern mythology, and spellcasters aren't all that rare either. Not to mention warriors of about the same caliber as us inferior western gaijin have.

I agree, its why I don't like the idea of Samurai as Ki. Ki should be Ninja, Monk, Skald. It like martial I can't see a good controller for, as the Wu Jen isn't Ki, they are Arcane. Monk as defender, Ninja as Striker, Skald as leader. Though I don't really like the term Skald for the leader the name I would prefer escapes me, but refers to followers of hippocitius.
Yes, samurai would make for better defenders. The whole marking shtick fits an iaijutsu challenge. In fact, looking over the Fighter class, I could totally see it as a samurai.

Iajutsu includes many techniques that decapite in one fluid motion. Samurai were a whole lot mobile then people give them credit, Yes they tended not to retreat, but they would move through combat zones to get to their target.
I really see the Samurai as a hybrid Defender/Striker, which makes me leery of making it a full class.
Well, a samurai with a spear, at least. I'm looking for good maneuvers to use with a spear.

There is a decent class in the works on this board for spear based fighters. I think its working name is Lancer.
Well if it prevents you from letting a hit bloody you it can turn 20+ damage potentiall into 0. If you're close to being bloodied in the first place. Not that that's uncool, It would just not be a low-level power.

Sorry, let me clarify. I'm not suggesting the ability should negate all damage, only that it should prevent you from dropping to (or possibly below) Bloodied status in a single blow. If you have 40 HP and you get hit for 21, it might prevent 1 or 2, dropping you to just above (or just to) your Bloodied value. However, as you've pointed out, the closer you are to being Bloodied, the better it becomes, so maybe that needs to be rethought. Perhaps it would be better to just have an Encounter power that prevents X damage?

Also, I really don't think the discussion on the merits or lack thereof of the Ki power source are helpful to the discussion of the classes. Personally, I have no problems with Ki, but if someone else wants to lump Ki in with Martial, I'd have no problems with that, either. Unless someone can come up with a reason why the difference should matter, I think we can leave it to DM's discresion. I agree with Awesome_Dude that there's no reason why Martial can't have some kind of Ki blast, and while I'd probably call that a Ki power, in the end it really seems like semantics to me.
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