The Geisha
[D&D Core Class]

The Geisha
The geisha can serve many roles in society: companion, courtesan, diplomat, entertainer, beauty, spy, and even assassin. Most geisha are confined to the hierarchy of their House, owners, or employers; these professional geisha rarely proceed beyond a few levels in the class, attaining only a minor level of mystical charm and grace. However, the rare geisha, thirsting for a life beyond her four walls, eventually escapes her rigid life for one of independence and adventure.

Geisha is a profession pursued almost exclusively by humans, although half-elves and spirit folk have been known to join their ranks.

Geisha Prestige Classes: femme fatale, paragon of beauty, silk rose, zen gardener.

Adaptation: The geisha is designed to fill the bardic role in Oriental campaigns.

Game Rule Information
Geisha (Gsh) have the following game statistics.

Abilities: A vital attribute for any geisha, Charisma determines how powerful a spell a geisha can cast, how many spells she can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. Charisma also influences many geisha class abilities, from Performances to Grace. Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence are also important for many of the geisha’s class skills.
Base Attack Bonus: Poor (as a sorcerer).
Hit Die: d4.
Saves: Good Will / Poor Fortitude and Reflex.
Class Skills: The geisha's class skills are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (All) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (Int), and Spellcraft (Int). Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Intelligence modifier (x4 at 1st level).
Gender: Female.
Alignment: Any nonchaotic. Geisha are reserved, cautious, and observant by nature.
Starting Age: As a bard.
Starting Gold: 3d4 x 10gp. Each geisha begins play with 1d4+1 hairpins beautifully arranged in her hair.
Favored Class: Geisha is favored class for half-elves, humans, and spirit folk.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the geisha.

Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Geisha are proficient with the blowgun, chakram, dagger, dart, fu kima-bari, hairpin, hand crossbow, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, war fan, and weighted sleeve. They are not proficient with any armor or with sheilds except the tessen.

  1. Feminine Charms [+1], Geisha Performance, Grace, Spellcasting
  2. The Blossom's Thorn [Finesse]
  3. Air of Beauty, Geisha Performance
  4. Feminine Charms [+2]
  5. Legends and Lore
  6. Geisha Performance

  7. The Blossom's Thorn [Precision], Feminine Charms [+3]

  8. Gingerfoot

  9. Feminine Charms [+4], Geisha Performance
  10. Discretion
  11. The Blossom's Thorn [Lethality]

  12. Feminine Charms [+5]
  13. Mystique
  14. Geisha Performance

  15. The Blossom's Thorn [Mastery], Feminine Charms [+6], Timeless Beauty

Feminine Charms
The geisha is the epitome of beauty and grace. Against Male creatures of her same type (Humanoid, Giant, Dragon, etc.), the geisha receives a +1 bonus to the DCs of all her Enchantment spells and effects and to her Geisha Performances. This bonus increases by +1 every four levels of geisha thereafter (+2 at 4th, +3 at 8th, etc.), up to a maximum bonus equal to her Charisma modifier. Feminine Charms does not stack with other DC bonuses based on gender.

Geisha Performance
The geisha’s performances can be of heartbreaking beauty and devastating sorrow. Once per day per geisha level, she can use acting, dance, oratory, and song to produce magical effects on herself or those around her. Each Geisha Performance requires both a minimum geisha level and a minimum number of ranks in either Perform (Dance), Perform (Oratory), or Perform (Song), depending on the performance in question. If a performance can be executed using more than one type of Perform, the geisha can only execute it using the type of Perform in which she has enough ranks; if she has sufficient ranks in more than one type of Perform listed for a Geisha Performance, she can choose the method to use each time she executes that Performance. Performances by Perform (Dance) do not require vocalization and can be performed in magical silence but require targets to be able to see the geisha, while performance by Perform (Oratory) can only be heard by, and only affect, creatures within 10 feet but can be whispered into the ear if the target is close enough to touch, allowing for discretion.

Starting a Geisha Performance is a standard action, and some Performances require concentration and a standard action each round to maintain. However, some performances - such as haikus - require only a single round to complete. Even during performance that do not require concentration, the geisha cannot cast spells or activate magic items by spell completion or magic word. Just as for casting a spell with a Verbal Component, a deaf geisha has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use any Performances except those accomplished with Perform (Dance). Failed attempts at Performances counts against her daily limit.

Geisha learn performances from a list of available dances, poems, and songs. At 1st, 3rd, 6th, 12th, and 18th level, the geisha can learn a specified number of performances as long as she has sufficient ranks in at least one type of Perform listed for a given Performance.

1st Level: When the geisha gains 3 ranks in Perform, she learns two of the following:
  • Aria: She cancels the effects of sound-based attacks with her song; as bardic Countersong. [Perform (Oratory) 3, Perform (Song) 3]
  • Beguile: She hypnotizes a listener with a song or poem or an observer with a dance; as bardic Fascinate. [Perform (Dance) 3, Perform (Oratory) 3, Perform (Song) 3]
  • Heroic Tale: Allies receive a +1 to hit, damage, and Will saves against charm/fear effects after hearing the geisha’s song or poem; as bardic Inspire Courage. [Perform (Oratory) 3, Perform (Song) 3]
  • Impossible Note: By hitting a certain note, she effects a shatter spell as cast by a shaman of equal level, centered on the geisha and extending in 1ft radius per level, or targeting a single item within 30ft, with an instantaneous duration. [Perform (Song) 3]

3rd Level: Once she acquires 6 ranks in Perform, the 3rd-level geisha learns two of the following performances:
  • Air of Tranquility: With a song, dance, or conversation, she calms emotions as cast by a shaman of equal level. [Perform (Dance) 6, Perform (Oratory) 6, Perform (Song) 6]
  • Ease Doubts: Ally gets +2 to skill checks, with a song, poem, or conversation; as bardic Inspire Competence. [Perform (Oratory) 6, Perform (Song) 6]
  • Hush: Her dance causes silence, as cast by a shugenja of equal level. [Perform (Dance) 6]
  • Lullaby: With a song, she causes creatures to fall to sleep as the spell cast by a sorcerer of equal level, centered on the geisha with a 25ft radius. [Perform (Song) 6]

6th Level: She learns one performance from the following list at 6th level after gaining 9 ranks in Perform:
  • Beauty in Motion: With a dance, the geisha moves in a hypnotic pattern as the spell cast by a sorcerer of equal level. [Perform (Dance) 9]
  • Haiku (Autumn's Whispered Grays): Her poem causes diminish plants as the spell cast by a druid of her level. A haiku is a single-round performance. [Perform (Oratory) 9, Perform (Song) 9]
  • Haiku (Sunlit Lotus Blooms): Her poem causes plant growth as the spell cast by a druid of her level. A haiku is a single-round performance. [Perform (Oratory) 9, Perform (Song) 9]
  • Whisper: She plants a suggestion in a Beguiled creature with a poem or conversation; as bardic Suggestion. [Perform (Oratory) 9]

9th Level: She learns one performance from the following list at 9th level after gaining 12 ranks in Perform:
  • Haiku (Red Glint in Green Blades): Her poem causes any metallic object within 30ft to crumble to rust as if affected by rusting grasp as the spell cast by a druid of her level (DC = her Perform check). A haiku is a single-round performance. [Perform (Oratory) 12, Perform (Song) 12]
  • Legend of Legends: She encourages her allies in combat with a song, poem, or conversation; as bardic Inspire Greatness. [Perform (Oratory) 12, Perform (Song) 12]
  • One of Many: Her dance gives the illusion of a group of geisha moving in perfect unison. As long as she keeps dancing, for up to 1 round per geisha level, she is accompanied by three persistant mirror images of herself. There is a 75% chance each round that any attack made against the geisha strikes an illusion instead. [Perform (Dance) 12]
  • Song of Sorrow: Her song of heartbreaking beauty causes her audience to burst into tears. Once per day for every three geisha levels, she can effect Morosa's woeful wake on creatures within 30 feet, as if she had cast the spell. The effect lasts as long as the geisha continues to sing (up to 1 round per geisha level) + 1 round. [Perform (Song) 12]

12th Level: Upon achieving 15 ranks in Perform, the 12th-level geisha chooses one of the following:
  • Flight of the East Wind: With a song, poem, or dance, the geisha can enjoy freedom of movement; as bardic Song of Freedom. [Perform (Dance) 15, Perform (Oratory) 15, Perform (Song) 15]
  • Haiku (Shadow's Quiet Creep): Her poem causes any creature within 30ft to transmute into a cat as if affected by baleful polymorph as the spell cast by a druid of her level (DC = her Perform check). A haiku is a single-round performance. [Perform (Oratory) 15, Perform (Song) 15]
  • Poise of the Tree: She strikes an impossible pose of perfect stillness. Each round that she holds this unearthly poise, she can target a single creature within 30 feet to a hold monster effect (DC = her Perform check). Each round, the creature is entitled to an additional save at a cumulative -1 penalty (-5 maximum). If the creature succeeds at a save and breaks free of the effect, the geisha can target it again (returning the save penalty to 0), target another creature, or end the performance altogether. [Perform (Dance) 15]
  • Zen Riddle: With a poem, the geisha can cause confusion among her enemies; as jesterly Riddle Me This. [Perform (Oratory) 15]

15th Level: She learns one performance from the following list at 15th level after gaining 18 ranks in Perform:
  • Anthem of Glory: She encourages her allies in combat with a song, poem, or conversation; as bardic Inspire Greatness. [Perform (Oratory) 18, Perform (Song) 18]
  • Hymn of the Heavy Heart: Her song instills languor in enemies within 30 feet; she may affect one enemy for every geisha level. The targets must be able to hear her and fail a Will save (DC = her Perform check). The effect lasts for as long as the enemies hear her performance and for 1d6 rounds thereafter. A creature instilled with languor is slowed while she sings and for 1d6 rounds therafter. Hymn of the Heavy Heart is supernatural. [Perform (Song) 18]
  • The Wounded Swan: She effects utter hopelessness with a song, poem, or dance once per a day, as the spell cast by a bard of equal level. The Wounded Swan requires four uses of the geisha's daily performances. [Perform (Dance) 18]

18th Level: With 21 ranks in Perform, the 18th-level geisha selects one of the following:
  • The Dance of Mirrors: Once per day, her dance has an infectious quality on the targeted creature, who must be within 25 feet of the geisha and observing her at the time. If the targeted creature fails its Will save, it succumbs to Otto's irresistible dance and attempts to match the geisha's dance step for step; if the geisha stops dancing before the duration of Otto’s irresistible dance expires, the effect instantly ends. The Dance of Mirrors requires four uses of the geisha's daily performances. [Perform (Dance) 21]
  • Devotion: She can compel an observor with a song, conversation, or dance once per week, as the spell cast by a shaman of equal level. Devotion requires four uses of the geisha's daily performances. [Perform (Dance) 21, Perform (Oratory) 21, Perform (Song) 21]
  • Mass Whisper: She plants a suggestion in a group of Beguiled creatures with a poem or conversation; as bardic Mass Suggestion. [Perform (Oratory) 21]

The geisha's grace and poise is transcendent, an unearthly, ethereal quality. When in no armor, she gains a bonus to her Reflex and Will saves and a dodge bonus to her AC equal to her Charisma bonus, up to +1 per geisha level. When denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she loses her Grace bonus to Reflex saves and AC. Grace is supernatural.

The geisha casts arcane spells as a bard, using her Charisma score to determine maximum spell level, Difficulty Class, and bonus spells. She chooses spells from the following list:
  • 0 Level: comprehend writing, create water, dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, gothic, kiss of mercy (cure minor wounds), light, lullaby, mending, message, prestidigitation, read magic, summon instrument, virtue
  • 1st Level: alarm, animate scarf (animate rope), applause, charm person, color spray, comprehend languages, cure light wounds, detect secret doors, disguise self, doubt, faerie fire, feather fall, fury eyes, greater create water, hush, hypnotism, iron scarf, ivory kimono (mage armor), kiss of winter (chill touch), lesser's cat's grace, lesser eagle's splendor, lesser enlightenment, lesser owl's wisdom, magic mouth, Mochiko's sorrowful sobbing (Morosa's sorrowful sobbing), obscuring mist, optimism, origami familiar, pass without trace, protection from charm, remove fear, sanctuary, secret signs, silent image, sleep, Tasha's hideous laughter, unseen servant, ventriloquism
  • 2nd Level: aid, animal messenger, animal trance, blur, calm emotions, cat's grace, cure minor wounds: mass, cure moderate wounds, delay poison, detect thoughts, eagle's splendor, enlightenment, entangling scarf, enthrall, glitterdust, heroism, hold person, invisibility, kiss of the toad, know motivation, lesser restoration, magic vestment, make whole, mirror image, ovation, owl's wisdom, rainbow spray, rain of needles, rebuke, remove paralysis, shriek, silence, suggestion, tongues, undetectable alignment, whispering wind
  • 3rd Level: castigate, charm monster, create food and water, crushing despair, daylight, deep slumber, dispel magic, displacement, fairy wings, glibness, good hope, helping hand, illusory wall, kiss of the pennaggolan (vampiric touch), martyr's touch, mental strength, mental weakness, Mochika's woeful wake (Morosa's woeful wake), nondetection, remove blindness/deafness, remove curse, scrying, sculpt sound, secret page, Suki's contagious giggle (Bambo's laugh riot), water walk
  • 4th Level: air walk, bloodcurdling scream, break enchantment, dance of the unicorn, detect scrying, discern lies, dominate person, freedom of movement, greater cat's grace, greater eagle's splendor, greater enlightenment, greater owl's wisdom, hold monster, kiss of the morning sun (remove fatigue), legend lore, lesser geas, modify memory, neutralize poison, Oyumi's private carriage (black carriage), poison needles, rainbow pattern, repel vermin, stone kimono (stoneskin), zone of silence
  • 5th Level: advice, atonement, dream, emotion, eyebite, greater dispel magic, fabricate, greater heroism, kiss of the rainbow (prismatic touch), Leomund's secret chest, magic jar, mass cure light wounds, mass suggestion, mislead, nightmare, prismatic aura, restoration, seeming, sending, servant horde, shadow walk, song of discord, summoning wind, sunlight
  • 6th Level: decapitating scarf, emperor's palace (Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion), geas/quest, guards and wards, heroes' feast, ki-rin's splendor (unicorn's splendor), kiss of death (slay living), kiss of the old woman (withering palm), mass cat's grace, mass charm monster, mass cure moderate wounds, mass eagle's splendor, mass enlightenment, mass hold person, mass owl's wisdom, Otto's irresistible dance, phii khamot's grace (quickling's grace), power word: deafen, prismatic spray, project image, sleep of ages, spirit needle, t'ien lung's wisdom (angel's wisdom), transfix, true seeing, unwavering certitude, utter hopelessness, visage of beauty, veil, yogi's enlightenment, youth and beauty

Spell Notes: At 4th level and every two levels thereafter, the geisha can upgrade one of her Spells Known to a more powerful version of that spell effect - in effect forgetting the weaker spell while learning the higher-level counterpart, such as replacing charm person with charm monster or forgetting cat's grace to mass cat's grace. Both spells must appear on the geisha spell list.

The Blossom's Thorn [2nd/8th/14th/20th level]
The geisha can be as unexpectedly dangerous as a poisonous kiss, using the tools of beauty as deadly weapons. When wielding the fukima-bari, hairpin, war fan, or weighted sleeve while wearing no armor, she enjoys a number of benefits.

At 2nd level, she enjoys Finesse. She may use her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier when making attack rolls with these weapons and may draw them as a free action, or as a move action if they are hidden.

At 8th level, she enjoys Precision. She gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls made with these weapons, which stacks with the benefits of Weapon Focus feats.

When using these weapons at 14th level, she enjoys Lethality. Her threat range is increased by +1 with these weapons, which stacks with the benefits of Improved Critical. In addition, she can apply poisons to these weapons with no danger of accidentally poisoning herself.

At 20th level, she enjoys Mastery. She may use her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier when making damage rolls with these weapons.

Air of Beauty [3rd level]
Around her, cherry blossom petals swirl to the sound of chimes and glitter falls to gentle koto music, a bewitching effect. Whenever the geisha makes a Geisha Performance or casts an Enchantment geisha spell, the effect is accompanied by illusory visual and auditory components related to music and beauty and receives a +1 bonus to any save DC. However, observers also receive a +5 bonus to Spellchecks to identify any affected spell the geisha is casting.

Air of Beauty has no effect against Animals, Constructs, Oozes, Plants, Undead, or creatures both blind and deaf. It is supernatural.

Legends and Lore [5th level]
Trained at storytelling and sophisticated conversation, the geisha is familiar with legends, lore, and a great many topics. She can make Bardic Knowledge checks.

Gingerfoot [10th level]
Her step is as light as air. While under the effects of Gingerfoot, the geisha adds her level to all Balance and Move Silently checks and enjoys the benefits of featherfall and walk on water, as the spells cast. When opening any nonmagical portal by normal means, such as a creaking door, her silence extends to the portal, as if silenced; when passing through magical doors or using unusual means of opening a portal, this silence does not apply. While her feet do touch the ground, she applies no weight to her step, and traps and effects based on weight or a footfall are not triggered. She can move with Gingerfoot up to 1 round per level. This spell-like ability can be initiated and ended as a free action on her turn.

Discretion [13th level]
She knows the potency of stillness, the deafening power of a simple glance, and the influence of a gentle touch. The geisha receives either the Still Spell, Silent Spell, or Touch Spell feat for free.

Mystique [17th level]
The geisha is especially adept at keeping her secrets and revealing only what she chooses. She adds her geisha level to all opposing Bluff checks, and she is considered to have spell resistance equal to her geisha level against all Divinations that target her. This is supernatural.

Timeless Beauty [20th level]
Her beauty is as timeless as forever. The geisha no longer suffers ability penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged; bonuses are still accrued, and she still dies of old age when her time it up. This is extraordinary.

Epic Geisha: The epic-level geisha continues her Hit Die, skill point, Feminine Charms, Geisha Performance, Gingerfoot, Legends and Lore, and Mystique progressions. In addition, she receives bonus epic feats at 23rd level and every three levels thereafter (23rd, 26th, 29th, 32nd, etc.).

Board Link: None. Originally posted on the old Wizards of the Coast Message Boards in 2001. This was the first original class I'd ever written.


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