First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ Character Creation
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AD&D Character Class:  Sohei
  The sohei is a temple guard and soldier, defender less of the faith and more of the church.  They are affiliated with large monasteries and temples, and receive less instruction in religion and more in combat than the shukenja.  They are called to defend the physical presence of the faith against military attacks, and to advance its cause and presence in the world as necessary.  Although he is connected closely to his religion, he is more like a fighter than a cleric subclass.

  Sohei must have at least a 13 strength, and a 10 in wisdom and constitution.  Strength and wisdom are prime requisites; if both are at least 15, the character gains a 10% bonus on experience.  All sohei are lawful, and may be good, evil, or (morally) neutral, even if their alignment is at odds with that of the temple they protect.

  They fight and save as clerics, but get d10 hit points per level and fighter constitution bonuses.  They may use any armor but no shield, and can use any weapon save for a few ninja weapons which are forbidden them.  At first level, the character may designate one of the weapons in which he is at that time proficient as his weapon of choice, forever gaining +1 to hit and to damage on all attacks made with that weapon.  He may not specialize in the sense that other fighter classes do.  He begins with 4 proficiency slots, which can be used in any way the character wishes.

  The sohei also gains the use of shukenja spells; however, he does not gain any spells until level 6, is limited to certain spells from the lists, and never gains any spells above spell level 4.

  At third level, the character learns to focus his ki such that once per day he can achieve a berserk frenzy in combat.  This lasts a full turn, and grants him an extra attack each round, a one-place improvement in armor class, a 3" increase in movement, and a +1 bonus on hit, damage, and saving throw rolls.  The character in this state may also dodge or deflect missiles on a successful save (against breath weapons).

  At level 5, the character gains his "last gasp" power.  If his hit points reach 0, he may continue to fight until he reaches -10 hit points or the enemy is defeated--at which point he will die.  The power ends (and the character dies) if he stops fighting to perform any other actions.  He thus uses his remaining ki to grant +2 on hit and damage rolls during this fight.  It is a valiant and heroic action which will earn the character a great deal of posthumous honor; it is the last thing he will ever do.  (The rules are not clear concerning the consequences of healing or resurrection spells on such characters.)

  The sixth-level sohei is assigned to command d3x10 first level sohei.  This number is increased by ten sohei per level beyond the sixth, and any who are killed are replaced by other first level sohei, unless all (except the commander) are killed before any are replaced.  These advance in levels as sohei, and will be replaced by level one sohei if they leave (such as to start a new monastery).

  The monastery will issue a commission to each sohei at level 9 which will require him to escort a group of priests and monks to a new location to clear the land and build a new monastery.  The commanding sohei is in charge of all defenses at this site, and of all sohei at the new monastery upon its completion.  He will still receive 10 sohei per level, but may attempt to recruit additional characters in the area to become sohei.  He and all sohei under him are still subject to the parent monastery, although it is not impossible for subsidiary monasteries to rebel (and to face the armies of the parent monastery).

  There are religious restrictions on the sohei much as there are on the shukenja, but these are far less strict.  He may not eat meat, but fish is permitted.  He must observe moderation in his personal behavior.  As a soldier he may use violence freely and even kill his opponents, but he may not murder or assassinate anyone.  Although he gains full experience points for defeating enemies and killing monsters, this is only true when he is acting in the cause of his monastery; if this is not the case, he gains only half the experience point value for such actions.  In view of this restriction, it is recommended that the DM assign a task or mission to any sohei in the game which will explain and justify his presence on an adventure (since he should be defending his monastery).  Such missions in my world have included protecting a shukenja connected to an adventuring party, investigating the problems associated with expanding into a new location, or reporting on the movements of an important person such as a samurai or a character of high level or social standing.  In the alternative, the referee may wish to have the party leader approach the sohei's commander and request assistance for a mission (forcing the players to come up with a reason for the sohei to be sent with them).

  Sohei are permitted but not required to roll on the birth, ancestry, and honor tables.  It is generally advantageous to do so.  On becoming a sohei, he leaves his family behind, and treats the monastery as his new family.  Although honor is important to him, it is now related to the status of the order he defends.  He does not receive honor for the deeds of the monastery, however.

  Advancement table:


sp; 200,000 experience points per level are required above level 11.

Only oriental humans may be sohei.

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