Sohei

In Kara-Tur, as in the West, grand shrines can be found in the teeming cities. However, those seeking a quicker path to enlightenment or total devotion to the gods prefer remote monasteries or temples. Such places of worship offer immersion in spiritual pursuits and isolation from the distractions of civilization. Most are hidden high in remote hills or mountains, making the very act of finding the place a show of one’s dedication to the sacred.
    An urban shrine’s clergy can look to the local authorities for protection from monsters, bandits, and enemies of the faith. A wilderness temple’s devotees cannot—most secluded places of worship are as much fortress as monastery. Just as such a holy place needs walls, it also needs guardians who share the spiritual values of their less militant fellows.
    A sohei, sometimes called a yamabushi (“mountain warrior”) due to the usual site of farflung monasteries and shrines, is a monastic soldier trained as a temple guardian. Rather than focusing on intense religious instruction, a sohei receives training in meditation, body control, and martial techniques. Although devoted clergy of the same religion or sect might practice pacifism, a sohei warrior-monk does not.
    The difference between a sohei and a fellow priest is type of duty. The warrior-monk looks out for the safety of the temple, allowing other priests to fulfill duties that are more spiritual. A sohei can also serve as the face of a religious order, going out into the world to spread the faith, strike against the temple’s enemies, and seek objects and people important to the religion.
    A sohei’s superiors are figures higher in his or her religious hierarchy. Every sohei is a devoted combatant with mastery over preferred weapons, and each serves those higher in the hierarchy with obedience. As part of their service to the religion, they also learn to wield magical power. Often divine in nature, this power is a blessing of the sohei’s commitment to a deity. However, legendary sohei—even those from the same religious sect—wield varying mystical capabilities.
    A sohei can come from any walk of life. Children given into the service of a temple, whether orphans or nobles, can become sohei. Older initiates might be anything from outlaws to ronin. Requirements for becoming a militant priest include strength and willpower, as well as an abundance of energy and ambition that compels the individual to abandon the wholly meditative life.
    An adventuring sohei frequently takes on a quest for his or her religious order. A few sohei go into the world to experience its mysteries, using worldly knowledge as part of a path to enlightenment. Other sohei, such as ronin, have been expelled from or have lost their temples. These wanderers search for a new purpose as much as any ronin does.

    Sohei Starting Feature (1st level): You gain the sohei flurry power.
    Sohei Level 5 Feature (5th level): You gain a +2 power bonus to Insight checks and Perception checks.
    Sohei Level 10 Feature (10th level): You gain a +1 power bonus to saving throws against fear effects and effects that render you dazed, dominated, or stunned.

Sohei Attack Sohei Flurry

The blood you’ ve drawn spurs you on, and you lash at other enemies around you with divinely inspired fury.

Encounter        Divine, Weapon
Minor Action      Melee weapon

Requirement: You must have hit an enemy with a weapon attack during this turn.

Target: One creature
    Level 21: One or two creatures

Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. AC

Hit: 1[W] damage.
    Level 11: 2[W] damage.


Sohei Utility 2Sohei Parry

Divine guidance helps you place your weapon in the path of an attack.

Encounter        Divine
Immediate Interrupt      Personal

Trigger: You are hit by a melee or ranged attack while you are holding a weapon.

Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to the defense targeted by the attack until the end of your next turn.


Sohei Attack 3Sohei Advance

Centering yourself as you move, you draw your weapon and rush to engage your enemies.

Encounter        Divine, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee weapon

Effect: You can draw a weapon before making the attack.

Target: One creature

Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + highest ability modifier damage.

Special: When charging, you can use this power in place of a melee basic attack. If you have actions remaining, you can use your sohei flurry power after the charge, but if you do, you grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn.


Sohei Utility 6Sohei Clarity

Your mind instinctively finds its center, ridding you of a hindrance to the performance of your duty.

Encounter        Divine
No Action      Personal

Trigger: You start your turn subjected to a dominating or stunning effect that a save can end.

Effect: You make a saving throw against the effect.


Sohei Utility 10Sohei Invincibility

Your conscious mind can no longer be relied upon, so your sense of self retreats to your innermost soul and keeps acting.

Daily        Divine
No Action      Personal

Trigger: You start your turn dominated, stunned, or unconscious and have at least 1 hit point.

Effect: You ignore the triggering condition and are instead dazed for the same duration as the triggering condition.


Sohei Attack 13Sohei Rush

You attack without consideration for your own safety, trusting in the power of the divine to see you through the fight.

Encounter        Divine, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee weapon

Effect: You can draw a weapon before making the attack.

Target: One creature

Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. AC

Hit: 3[W] + highest ability modifier damage.

Special: When charging, you can use this power in place of a melee basic attack. If you have actions remaining, you can use your sohei flurry power after the charge, but if you do, you grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn.


Sohei Attack 23Sohei Supremacy

More than one foe faces your attack, which you bring to bear with a swiftness granted by unshakable focus and the power of faith.

Encounter        Divine, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee weapon

Effect: You can draw a weapon before making the attack.

Target: One or two creatures

Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. AC

Hit: 3[W] + highest ability modifier damage.

Special: When charging, you can use this power in place of a melee basic attack. If you have actions remaining, you can use your sohei flurry power after the charge, but if you do, you grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn.


Published in Dragon Magazine 404.