This week Rite Publishing released a new Pathfinder supplement for their Kaidan setting: Way of the Samurai. This new sourcebook by Jonathan McAnulty is both a faction guide to the samurai clans of Kaidan, and both a supplement to support oriental – mainly samurai - characters.
Visually Way of the Samurai provides the same excellent quality as the other Kaidan books, with great artwork, a nice and clear design. Compared with other Rite Publishing products, the artwork is less varied in style, which is more fitting for these kind of supplements.
First I must be clear in one thing: for the purposes of this book we are speaking about the samurai social class, which is not entirely equal with the character class of the same name. The members of the social class could be rangers, paladins, or members of any other character class, while the majority is still from the samurai character class.
So, what is in the Way of the Samurai book? In one part it’s filled with detailed information on the social class, its place in Kaidan (or any other oriental setting), and how and why an honorable samurai acts in the game world. On the other hand, the supplement features a great quantity of resources to generate or enhance characters, including archetypes, traits, prestige classes and many more.
The first several pages introduces the samurai class, it’s history and it’s role in the game world. I think it’s detailed enough to include such characters into the campaign, but not overly long. The quotes from several famous samurai scattered through the book also greatly add to the feeling, what a samurai is.
The longest part of the book is about samurai characters, and we really receive a lot of options. These include a new (simple but useful) Honor mechanic, traits, archetypes, samurai orders, two prestige classes and several feats. The archetypes include many different kind of samurai from those who use musket (gunslinger), who hunt oni or ghosts (paladin) to samurai spellcasters (wizards) to different archetypes to the actual samurai character class. The two prestige classes are the Bugyo (a samurai with greater authority) and the stubborn Mosa.
The rest of the Way of the Samurai book contains game information to create and manage samurai clans by the Game Master, and include a complete description about the Kawashi samurai town. The latter include all information (including important NPC-s, their motivations and adventure seeds) to use Kawashi as a campaign setting.
I think that Way of the Samurai is a great supplement both to the world of Kaidan, and also (maybe more importantly) to the Pathfinder role-playing game. It’s receiving a solid 5/5 from me.
The Way of the Samurai is available on DriveThruRPG here, and it's highly recommended if you run an oriental Pathfinder campaign.Zoltán "Cain" Mészáros