Order of the Hidden Blade

A samurai who belongs to this order serves as both a secret police and assassin of his rightful master, whether it is a liege, warlord, or an institution. An order of the hidden blade samurai is held in high regard by criminal organizations and rulers who have a more “clandestine” methodology toward ruler-ship. Samurai of this order tend to be cautious, conniving, vicious, and willing to accomplish the tasks given them by their masters by any means possible. Samurai that multiclass with the rogues or ninja class typically choose this order, while samurai that take a prestige class that grants sneak attacks also tend toward this order. This order complements the Shogun’s Shadow multiclass archetype.

Edicts: The samurai must always be watchful for betrayal against his master, seek to destroy his master’s enemies, and endeavor to strengthen his position within his order. He must always keep his masters secrets, even unto death. The samurai must always follow the orders of his master, even when doing so may compromise his personal convictions. While difficult (though not impossible), the samurai can maintain an alignment different from that of his master.

Challenge: Whenever an order of the hidden blade samurai issues a challenge, he receives a +1 dodge bonus on Armor Class against all attacks made against him by the target of his challenge. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels the samurai possesses. The samurai loses this bonus if he is ever denied his Dexterity bonus to AC (whether he actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or is flat-footed, or flanked.

Skills: An order of the hidden blade samurai adds Disguise (Cha) and Stealth (Dex) to his list of class skills. If he has ranks in the skill, he receives a bonus on the check equal to 1/2 his samurai level (minimum +1) as long as the check involves actions used to slay his master’s enemies.

Order Abilities: A samurai that belongs to the order of the hidden blade gains the following abilities as he increases in level.

No Trace (Ex): At 2nd level, the samurai learns to cover his tracks, remain hidden, and conceal his presence. The DC to track the samurai using the Survival skill increases by +1. In addition, his training gives him a +1 insight bonus on Disguise skill checks and on opposed Stealth checks whenever he is stationary and does not take any action for at least 1 round. Every four levels thereafter, the increase to Survival DCs and the bonuses on Disguise and opposed Stealth checks increase by 1.

Shadow Strike (Ex): At 8th level, whenever the target of the samurai’s challenge is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the target is flanked by the samurai, the samurai deals 1d6 points of precision damage on a successful attack. At 16th level, this precision damage increases to 2d6. When dealing this precision damage, the samurai only deals half the amount of extra damage he normally deals with his challenge ability. If the samurai already deals precision damage (whether from sneak attack or a similar ability), his precision damage increases by 1d6 at 8th level, and 2d6 at 16th level.

One with the Shadows (Ex): At 15th level, the samurai can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, and is wearing no armor, light armor, and not carrying a heavy load, the samurai can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.