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D&D 3E
Kensai Prestige Class 
16th-May-2005 06:50 pm
In The Complete Warrior, there's a Kensai Prestige Class, which was adopted from some Japanese setting. It allows a character to transfer some of her life-force to her chosen weapon, giving it magic powers. Fine.

My first question: let's say her base weapon is a +1 falchion. If she's a second-level kensai, can she give the weapon two levels of power (say, to make it a +2 ghost-touch falchion) or can she only improve it to a total of two levels? If she wants to make it a "+1, axiomatic" weapon, is that possible, or does she have to give at least it at least +1 of enhancement?

My second question: can a kensai change the powers in the weapon? For example, let's say a second-level kensai has given her chosen weapon (let's say a mace, perhaps) the powers of a +2 mace (Which would cost 160 experience points), and then gains a third level. I understand that she could give the weapon another (360 - 160 =) 200 experience points and make it a +3 mace, or a +2 shock mace, or whatever additional +1 bonus you please.

But what if she wanted to make it a +1 dragon-bane mace instead? Could she "re-empower" the thing, losing the +2 bonus, and readjusting the weapons' powers? If so, does she get to "reabsorb" any experience?

Are there any limitations to what powers she can grant her weapons? Can a sixth level Kensai really make her +1 falchion a +1, keen, vorpal falchion?

My a priori ruling: A Kensai should be able to re-assign the powers in her weapon. It takes the requisite amout of time, like any magic-item creation. If she's modifies the weapon when she rises in level, she only pays for any new powers (so, in the example, changing from a +2 weapon to a +1 dragon-bane weapon only costs 360 - 40 = 320 experience points); if she does so at any other point, all the weapon's powers are "flushed" and she would need to spend the full experience points.
17th-May-2005 12:35 am (UTC)
Not really related to the weapon thing, but something I found odd: The PrC gets cleric BAB doesn't it? Kind of weird for a class so based upon fighting with a particular weapon. Perhaps it should have AT LEAST something like monk BAB - full BAB with specified weapon but 3/4 with anything else. Maybe its a balance thing - would the class be too powerful with full bab? I'm sure there'd be some other way to penalize the class if this was the case though.

Sure, the kensai is a master of their signature weapon, but they can't use it as well as a full fighter or someone else with full BAB. Ehh.
17th-May-2005 02:05 am (UTC)
... wow, they changed Kensai a LOT in 3.5, huh.

First of all: you can't put keen and vorpal on the same weapon anyway. Only one enchantment pertaining to critical enhancement on a weapon, thank you.

Second of all: I think the answer should be based on your campaign. If the Kensai should theoretically be able to imbue his weapon with +3 worth of bonus, but everyone around him has +2 keen holy spell-storing bastard swords of doom, then I'd say let him imbue it on top of the existing bonus of the weapon, if any. If the Kensai bonus seems to be on par with the stuff the party's got, then no.
17th-May-2005 04:20 am (UTC)
First of all: you can't put keen and vorpal on the same weapon anyway. Only one enchantment pertaining to critical enhancement on a weapon, thank you.

That makes sense, but where are you getting that ruling?
17th-May-2005 04:39 am (UTC)
Maybe a slightly loose reading of "This benefit doesn’t stack with any other effect that expands the threat range of a weapon (such as the keen edge spell or the Improved Critical feat)"?
17th-May-2005 04:43 am (UTC)
Okay. And that quotation belongs to...? (and is it 3.0 or 3.5?)
17th-May-2005 04:45 am (UTC)
I got it from the 3.5 SRD. Under the "Keen" property description.
17th-May-2005 04:51 am (UTC)
Well, that is a change from 3.0. The canonical example of multiple effects in 3.0 was the "keen" property and Improved Critical. (The notorious keen scimitar, weilded with Improved Critical, would threaten a critical hit on a roll of 12 or better.)

Having said that, "vorpal" doesn't expand the critical threat range of a weapon, so it would still stack with "keen" just fine.
17th-May-2005 08:07 am (UTC)
Yes they changed criticals under 3.5 to balance them, the effects no longer stat.

Vorpal also doesn't care about crit range anymore for triggering, it only lops off a head on a nat 20 that is then confirmed. :)
17th-May-2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
Well, the balance is different. I wouldn't say that criticals under the 3.0 system were unbalanced. The keen blade spell and the "keen" property never stacked, and Improved Critical isn't the most impressive feat on the list. Other than the 3.0 "vorpal" ability, there wasn't any way to get a particular weapon's critical damage improved. And it was only in 3.5 that we started to see feats that made it easier to confirm a critical. A character who wants to focus on "doing a lot of criticals" is an interesting choice, and no more twinky than a character who wants to attack 6 times a round.

The more I study the differences between 3.0 and 3.5, the more strongly I'm drawn to keeping the 3.0 system in the campaign I'll be running, using bits and pieces of 3.5 as corrections to obviously broken parts of 3.0. (Which means back-adjusting some parts of some of the 3.5 material...)
(Deleted comment)
17th-May-2005 11:19 pm (UTC) - The problem with that combination
...isn't the 3.0 version of critical damage. The problem with that is broken Prestige Classes. (Which kinda gets us back on the original topic).

In particular, there's nothing --no spell, no feat, no weapon ability-- in the core 3.0 rules which allow any given weapon's critical multiplier to increase. Don't allow the Weapons Master, cause it's twinky-broken. In particular, don't allow the Deepwood Sniper / Weapon Master combination.
17th-May-2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
no, the critical range increases are clearly broken under 3.0, that's why the change was made. At high levels the effect on damage was insane from all the stacked ones. For example the Fighter when our campaign was 3.0 had improved critical, keen, and the weapon master +2 to critical range with a two handed sword. That gave it a base crit range of 13-20. Crits don't just multiply the base weapon damage, they multiply the str bonus, the enhancement bonus, the whatever bonus from bard song, etc. They were balanced fine at low levels, but at high levels the system fell apart mathematically. 3.5's restrictions on that help that particular problem somewhat.
26th-May-2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Right, they changed vorpal in 3.5, I guess, so there's no problem with stacking it with keen anymore. I was quoting 3.0 rules.
17th-May-2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
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17th-May-2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
Right, but does a Kensai have to be third level to inbue a +1 longsword to act as a +3 longsword, or can she do so at second level?

Put another way, if a third level Kensai's weapon is already a +3 kukri, can he imbue it with any power at all?
18th-May-2005 12:39 am (UTC)
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