Far from being a mere flesh-peddler, as many may foolishly believe, geisha are among the most cultured entertainers in the world. Instructed in the finest dance, song and verse the cultured world has to offer, geisha are greatly sought after and highly respected. To entertain one’s guests with geisha is considered among the nobility to be the highest honor a host can show, as much for the quality of the entertainment as for the extraordinary cost the must be paid to the okami, a geisha’s benefactor.
Most geisha are brought up in the home of their okami, called an okiya. Here they are instructed in the social arts for years until they are old enough and experienced enough to become geisha. Occasionally, however, an experienced entertainer will swear herself to an okami in exchange for the constant instruction that she will receive from the okiya. Eventually, if she is shrewd and successful enough, a geisha may be chosen by a retiring okami to take her place, which places the management of the okiya in her hands, as well as the profits in her pocket.
Most that are not brought up into the life of a geisha from childhood begin their career as a bard. The prestige and status of being a geisha appeals to many bards, especially since it also provides a great many opportunities to perform for the wealthy, powerful and influential. The high number of skills afforded the rogue class makes them a viable option to become a geisha. Members of combat-based classes such as the barbarian and fighter almost never become geisha. Interestingly, those favoring subterfuge and clandestine operations, such as spies and assassins occasionally become geisha. Being a member of a respected okiya provides a legitimate front for their operations and the nature of a geisha’s work often provides a means to get close to what would otherwise be an inaccessible target.
Hit Die: d4
Alignment: Any non-chaotic
Gender: Female only
Skills: Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 2 ranks, Perform (dance) 6 ranks, Perform (any) 2 ranks
Special: Must be accepted into an okiya by an okami, which may result in becoming indentured*.
The geisha’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (n/a) and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
|1||+0||+0||+2||+2||Indentured*, Talented Performer, Yakata|
|3||+1||+0||+3||+3||Constant instruction, Talented Performer|
|5||+2||+1||+4||+4||Constant instruction, Talented Performer|
All the following are class features of the geisha prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Geisha gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.
*Indentured: A geisha that is housed and trained in an okiya from childhood is indebted to her okami. So long as her debt remains, her okami is legally considered to be her mother and enjoys any and all of the legal benefits of this arrangement, even if the geisha has reached the age of adulthood. The okami garnishes the lion’s share of any money earned by the geisha, which is applied to paying off her debt. This debt usually equals 1000gp plus 500gp per year the geisha has been part of the okiya. If a geisha is accepted into an okiya without incurring a debt or if an indentured geisha pays off her debt, any money that would normally be applied to her debt goes directly to her instead.
Talented Performer: Unlike many lesser performance artists, a geisha learns to master several forms of creative entertainment. At 1st level and every two levels thereafter, a geisha gains the Skill Focus feat, which must be applied to a Craft or Perform skill.
Yakata: When one becomes a true geisha, an arrangement called yakata is entered into with the okami. The geisha always has the okiya to provide a roof over her head, food for her belly and the finest clothing to cover her. In exchange, the okami collects any money from a client directly. One fourth of this payment is given to the geisha while the rest goes directly to the okami to use as she sees fit (any non-profit money is generally applies to the needs and expenses of the okiya). One fourth of the remainder after the geisha’s cut is taken is applied to repaying her debt to the okami. Usually, a geisha’s activities will bring in 100gp x her class level per month.
Superb balance: A geisha’s training in dance, her focus on maintaining a particular walk…even the clothing and shoes she wears are all designed to help her maintain a style and grace that helps her focus on the fluidity of her movement. At 2nd level, a geisha gains a bonus to all balance checks equal to her class level.
Constant instruction: A geisha does not loaf around while waiting on her okami to arrange a rendezvous for her. Life in the okiya is a constant learning process. Everything is a teaching tool. Each available moment is spent instructing geisha in the performance arts. At 3rd and 5th levels, a geisha three extra skill points on top of the normal skill point she gains at these levels. These extra skill points may only be applied to Craft or Perform skills, but may be allocated into any combination thereof.