The Elemental Monk - feedback please

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The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« on: July 30, 2013, 12:55:17 AM »
Here's another (draft) version of a monk - all feedback, criticism and suggestions to improve it gratefully accepted.  Plus, of course, I'd love to hear how great it is and what you really like about it :-)

Why do yet another Monk?
There's some great cuts of a Monk class out there (as will be obvious from the number of things I've borrowed from other Monks). However, I was looking for a Monk that:
a) was straight forward to use (i.e. didn't rely on a complex mechanic - aka accounting - for its moves/flavour),
b) had access to the moves/abilities of movie and anime 'monks' (the ones that studied in an asian monastery); and
c) was distinct from other classes.
While the other Monks all have some of this, I couldn't find it all in one package, hence the attempt to do this as a new class.

The principles this Monk has (hopefully) followed:
1. It is a dynamic martial artist whose combat style emphasises a) reflexes/movement to evade attacks and create advantages, b) well placed blows rather than brute force damage.
2. It has enhanced movement abilities and reflexes.
3. It has simple (optional) elemental abilities
4. Its control over its own bodies gives it (optional) healing and survival advantages.
5. Being a Monk is a vocation, not a job.
6. The Monk is a distinct from other classes - it is not a martial arts version of another classes e.g. Cleric (healer monk), Druid (nature monk), Fighter (warrior monk), Thief (ninja).
7. No accounting or similar mechanic is required to play the Monk.

LAdies and gentlemen, for your comment and critique, I present:

The ELEMENTAL MONK

Name
Elf: Illothin, Selariel, Mefanis, Teigan, Angasil, Genfaron, Feolin, Darothis
Halfling: Cudry, Thorn, Meada, Keraldan, Rill, Tremell, Comfrey, Bartly, Lannar
Human: Lan Wu, Ethan, Zarraza, Francoro, Mayoki, Sillar, Hiyao, Drenet, Mal

Look
Wise Eyes, Penetrating Eyes, Calm Eyes or Laughing Eyes
Bald, Tattooed Head, Hooded, Tonsure or Pony Tail
Simple Robes, Travelling Robes, Dignified Robes or Loin Cloth
Lean Body, Round Body, Compact Body or Built Body

Alignment
Lawful: Work to right an injustice or restore someone’s honour
Chaotic: Prove your kung-fu is superior
Good: Protect those who cannot fight

Race
Elf: Your natural grace gives you +1 to the Wind Flows Over the Water and Wind Flies Over the Mountain moves
Halfling: When you Defy Danger and use your small size to advantage, take +1
Human: You are naturally aggressive; take +1 Forward on your first move in combat

Bonds
___________ fights well, one day I will surpass them.
I will earn ___________’s respect as a Monk.
___________ is undisciplined and dangerous, I cannot trust them.
My master warned me about ___________.

Starting Moves
Martial Arts
You have mastered a school of martial arts. Choose a style (all are Hand range, Precise, and 0 weight.)
? Ancient/formal
? Animal imitating
? Classic grace
? Hardened fury
? Loose/drunken
Choose two elements/enhancements:
? Fire Melts the Rock. Your powerful attacks do +1 Damage
? Rock Breaks the Wave. Your skilled blocks and deflections give you +1 Armour
? Water Seeks the Slightest Flaw. You seek out weaknesses in your enemy’s defences: +2 Piercing
? Wind Buffets the Tree. Your style targets nerve centres. When you hit chose one effect:
•   Confused
•   Disable 1 limb
•   Shaky
•   Sick
•   Stunned
•   Their control of their magical power is loosened
•   Weak
? Enlightened Combat. You fight with an awareness of the whole battle: When you hit with a 7-9 take +1 Forward or grant +1 to an ally.  When you hit with a 10+ take +1 Forward and grant +1 to an ally.
? Tools Obey the Craftsman. Your style includes weapons: +1 damage when using a weapon and add the weapon’s range(s).

Enhanced Senses
Your well trained senses mean you are never caught by surprise.

Monk’s Evasion
When you wear no armour and carry no shield, you get 2 Armour.
Wind Flows Over the Water
When you run across a surface that cannot hold your weight (e.g, wall/ceiling), roll +Dex.  On a 10+, you make it across smoothly. On a 7-9, you make it across but expose yourself to danger (the GM will tell you how).

Gear
Your Load is 9+STR. You start with one Dungeon Rations (5 uses, 1 weight), a staff (1 weight) and your monk’s robes (0 weight) describe them.
 Choose one:
? Book of Wisdom (0 weight)
? Monastic Symbol (0 weight)
? Prayer Beads (0 weight)
Choose two:
? Adventuring Gear (1 weight)
? Antitoxin, Poultices and Herbs (0 weight)
? 2 Healing potions (0 weight)

Advanced Moves
When you gain a level from 2-5, choose from these moves:
? Confound Your Enemies
When fighting multiple enemies or one-on-one against a clumsy foe you gain +1 armour.
? Elemental Shield
When you use your mastery of the elements to protect yourself or another, choose an element (Fire, Water, Air, Rock/Earth) you have mastered in your Martial Arts and roll +Wis.  On a 10+ you create a shield of this element in front of you.  On a 7-9 the shield appears, but choose one:
•   You draw unwanted attention to yourself or put yourself in a spot
•   You take -1 ongoing to Elemental moves until you meditate and re-attune to the Elements
•   The effort drains you of 1d4 Hit Points
? Hurricane Uproots the Tree
When you attack an opponent to disarm or throw them, roll +Dex.  On a 7-9 chose one, on a 10+ choose two:
•   Disarm them
•   Throw them in a direction of your choice
•   They are Stunned
? In Harmony with Nature
Take a move from the Druid class.  Treat your level as one lower when choosing the move.
? Master’s Wisdom
When you think about what your master would do in a situation, you will think of an insight relating to the current situation. Ask the GM a question about the situation as if you were asking your Master. Roll +Wis. On 10+, the advice is helpful and clear. On a 7-9, it’s potentially relevant but vague.
? Mastery of the Body
Once per day you may enter a deep trance from which you cannot be woken. Make a +Con roll. On a 10+ choose two; on a 7-9 choose one:
•   You are healed an additional 2d6 Hit Points damage
•   You are healed of one Debility
•   While in the trance you appear dead and do not breathe
•   You are aware of your surroundings and may exit the trance at any time
•   The trance takes 1d4+2 hours only, instead of the usual 8
? Mastery of the Elements
Choose one extra element/enhancement for your Martial Arts.
? My Opponent is My Teacher
+1 to your Martial Arts when fighting a foe you have fought before.
? Spirit Senses, Spirit Moves
Your heightened senses and reflexes help you evade danger. +1 to Defy Danger.

When you gain a level from 6-10, choose from these moves or the level 2-5 moves:
? An Honourable Vocation
When you approach someone with humble dignity, roll +Cha.  On a 7-9 they show you respect and consideration. On a 10+ they consider you an honoured guest and treat you and your companions accordingly.
? Elemental Fury (Requires Elemental Shield)
When you channel a blast of elemental energy at an opponent, choose an element you have mastered in your Martial Arts and roll +Wis.  If you roll 10+ the blast is successful.  On a 7-9 the blast is successful, but choose one:
•   You draw unwanted attention to yourself or put yourself in a spot
•   You take -1 ongoing to Elemental moves until you meditate and re-attune to the Elements
•   The effort drains you of 1d4 Hit Points
? Elemental Purity
When you are exposed to harmful special effects (e.g. poison) conveyed by physical touch or proximity, roll +Con.  On a 10+ you are unaffected by those special effects.  On a 7-9 the special effects are reduced but not completely negated (the GM will tell you the reduced effects).
? Fortress of Qi (Replaces Monk’s Evasion)
When you wear no armour and use no shield, you get 3 Armour.
? Grandmaster of the Elements
Take a Martial Arts enhancement/element a second time, doubling its effects. If you choose an element, your Elemental Fury with that element does +1d8 damage.
? Strikes like Lightning
When you hit with your Martial Arts attack you do an additional 1d6 damage to the same or an adjacent opponent.
? Turn Your Enemies On Themselves
When you are attacked while in melee with multiple enemies, roll +Dex. On a 10+ you deflect the attack from you to an adjacent enemy.  On a 7-9 you take half the damage and deflect the other half to an adjacent enemy.
? Wind Blows the Leaves
When you deflect a missile attack, roll +Dex.  On a 7-9 you deflect the attack away from its intended target but thereafter its path is out of your control (GM will tell you where it goes). On a 10+ you catch the missile or redirect it to an adjacent target of your choice.
? Wind Flies Over the Mountain (Replaces Wind Flows Over the Water)
When you leap and fly to a new location, roll +Wis.  On a 7-9, you make it but expose yourself to danger (the GM will tell you how). On a 10+ you arrive safely.  On a 12+ you disappear and (choose one):
•   Reappear at the new location and take +1 Forward
•   Hold 1 to reappear at will at the new location

[In the process of creating this I've borrowed a number of superbly appropriate moves from other versions of the Monk and other classes.  These may have been renamed to match the Elemental flavour of this Monk and there may be other tweaks I've lost track of (I've been working on this as a whole, so individual changes have got a bit lost).  Some moves I've borrowed have appeared in multiple places, making their true origins unclear. If anyone can identify the correct origin of any moves in here, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit.]

*

Jeremy

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Re: The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 02:17:25 PM »
Neat.

Regarding Master's Wisdom: I'd recommend this:

"Choose another player to portray the memory of your master. When you consider your current situation and the teachings of your master, ask that player what your master told you. Take +1 forward to act on their advice."

Re: The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 05:22:53 AM »
What is this class's damage die? I can't see it anywhere.

Re: The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 05:02:49 PM »
Thanks for the feedback so far. :-)

@Jeremy. I like the role playing possibilities of that change. Your idea sounds great for groups that that are good at co-op story development.  Less developed groups (i.e. those who rely more on the GM to hold the story together) would probably benefit from the GM providing the advice.  Thinking this through, the solution is probably to give the player the option of choosing who will provide the advice - this allows both options while letting the player feel like the move and its outcome is still their initiative.  I'll have a think about how to word this concisely.

@Glazius. Good point, I forgot to transfer that across from the sheet I've been working off.
Damage die is d8. HP is 8 +Con.

How does this class look overall?
  • Too strong?
  • Too weak?
  • Is it distinct enough from other classes?

Re: The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 06:02:40 PM »
I'm drawn to monks in every game, but in every game I find something about the implementation or flavor of monks to be not quite what I want, so I'm very sympathetic with the desire to roll my own.

You ask about how distinct this seems from other classes.  When looking over it a couple of times, there are two things that make it highly reminiscent of the Fighter.

 The first is the initial Martial Arts starting move customizations.  I looked at these and immediately thought "reskinned Signature Weapon".

The second is that Master's Wisdom == the Fighter move Heirloom.

I don't know if that's too much overlap with the Fighter or not, but those came immediately to mind.

One other questions and comment.  In the move description for Martial Arts it probably wouldn't hurt to have a piece that explicitly states that even without a weapon you're considered to be armed for the purposes of dealing damage and Hack and Slash, and so forth.  We take that for granted given that it's a monk, but still. 

Also, is there a mechanical need to apply a weight, and "hand" and "precise" tags to the styles?  It seems that all of the styles are the same mechanically (at least in this draft). My instinct is that there's no need to try to stat a style like a weapon, and to simply add to the MA move that the character can choose to use DEX for Hack and Slash, although there could be some other stuff in the game that triggers off the precise tag that I'm not thinking about.

Keep it going!




Re: The Elemental Monk - feedback please
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 01:49:10 AM »
Race
Elf: Your natural grace gives you +1 to the Wind Flows Over the Water and Wind Flies Over the Mountain moves
Halfling: When you Defy Danger and use your small size to advantage, take +1
Human: You are naturally aggressive; take +1 Forward on your first move in combat

I think you could spice up the racial moves. In particular, the human move could be something that encourages aggression, rather than just something that reflects it.

Otherwise, looks interesting.
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