Variations on the Monk

   For another request, here are some Eclipse variations on a fifth level Monk.

   The first thing to do for that is to sort out how many points we have to spend.

   Available Character Points: 144 (Level Five Base) +10 (Duties: uphold the philosophy and the honor of his or her order arts style) +6 (any two disadvantages – although almost any monk should have a few notes on where they’ve trained (History), opposing schools (Hunted), or owe a duty to a master or have some sort of religious commitments (Obligations or Vows)) = 160 CP.

   I don’t usually include disadvantages in standard build breakdowns, but the Monk is even more frontloaded than most of the standard character classes, and it’s necessary to cover that.

   First up, we have the Basic Monk. A standard fifth-level monk gets…

  • Fast Learner (6 CP). A standard Monk who interrupts his or her studies can no longer progress as a Monk. In Eclipse, which doesn’t really use classes outside of broad descriptions (“I was raised in a Shao-Lin temple, and I’m a wandering martial artist; I’ll be buying martial arts abilities and c’hi powers.”), that’s a little more difficult to define. Ergo, Monks get Fast Learner, Specialized for double effect/skills only, Corrupted for 1.5x Effect (net +3 Skill Points per level)/only as long as the character practices diligently, spends the points from the relevant level on appropriate abilities, and either regularly seeks out martial masters and manuscripts to study or returns to his or her trainers to learn more. Moreover, I’ll assume that the training to be a Monk started early enough that this was purchased with disadvantage points and applied at level zero for a level five total of +18 skill points.
  • 32 Skill Points (Only 14 CP, thanks to Fast Learner).
  • Proficiency with a limited set of Monk Weapons (6 CP).
  • 5d8 Hit Dice (20 CP).
  • Saves: +4, +4, +4 (36 CP).
  • BAB +3 (18 CP).
  • Another +1 BAB, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with Unarmed Combat and Special Monk Weapons, does not add to iterative attacks, 2 CP).
  • Adds Wis Mod to AC (Augmented Bonus, 4 CP*).
  • Two Monk Bonus Feats (12 CP).
  • Flurry of Blows (Bonus Attack, 4* CP).
  • Unarmed Strike 1d8 (Martial Arts, 9 CP).
  • Evasion (Fortune/Evasion Variant, 4* CP).
  • Still Mind (Resistance, +2 versus Enchantment spells and effects, 3 CP).
  • Ki Strike/Magic (Imbuement/Unarmed Combat, 6 CP).
  • Slow Fall/20 Feet. Celerity/Additional Movement Mode/Flight, Specialized/only for breaking falls, Corrupted/must be within easy reach of a wall (4 CP). This one is actually hard; it’s so restricted already that it would hardly save anything to try to limit it to twenty feet. After all, it only costs four points to begin with.
  • Purity of Body (Immunity/All Natural Diseases, Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP).
  • +10′ Ground Movement. Celerity (4* CP).
  • Defender (4* CP).

   *Corrupted. Not while wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load.

   That’s a total of 160 CP – and is really pretty expensive for what you wind up getting. That’s mostly because the design has a scattering of abilities all over the place, but no real focus. Is the classical Monk a scout, a toe-to-toe melee fighter, a skills monkey, a specialist in standing up to peculiar attacks, or an acrobat? There’s nothing inherently wrong with “general backup”, but it’s not an especially exciting role.

   How about some other conceptions of the Monk?

   We could go with the more extreme kung-fu superheroes, as (once) seen in Jademan Comics – or movies such as Iron Monkey or Kung Fu Hustle. Of course, characters like that have a lot more in common with super-heroes or warlocks than they do with realistic martial artists.

   To build that, all we need is a variation on the fifth-level warlock-style build:

  • Fast Learner (The “Monk” version listed above, 6 CP).
  • Five eight-sided Hit Dice (20 CP).
  • Thirty-two Skill Points (14 CP).
  • A +3 BAB (18 CP).
  • A total of +12 on Saves (36 CP). Put that where you like; in Eclipse there’s no need to adhere to a specified progression.
  • Proficiency with a limited set of Monk Weapons (6 CP).
  • Adds his or her Wisdom Modifier to his or her AC (Augmented Bonus, 6 CP).
  • Flurry of Blows (May make one extra attack in unarmed combat or with special monk weapons, but all the attacks suffer a -2 modifier, 6 CP).
  • Martial Arts/1d4 Unarmed Strike, Considered Armed in Unarmed Combat (3 CP).
  • Evasion (Fortune/Evasion Variant, 6 CP).
  • C’hi Powers (39 CP).
  • 3 Specialized Caster Levels (for the Path of the Dragon only, 9 CP).
  • Path of the Dragon: Shaping (4 CP), with Pulse of the Dragon I (4 CP), and Heart of the Dragon II (4+8 CP for up to L1 spells) all Specialized and Corrupted for double effect and two-thirds cost (allowing spell-like effects of up to level two)/must get the game masters permission and buy individual effects separately as per buying spontaneously-cast spells, must have a caster level, can be physically restrained from casting them, and all effects must adhere to a specialized theme, and they are subject to arcane spell failure chances for armor. Saves are (10 + Wis Mod + Effective Spell Level).

   So… With a theme of “C’hi Powers”, we might want to buy five spell formula, at a cost of 10 CP. Lets make that…

  • Light Foot Technique: A level one effect from the Speedsters spell list, this provides +30 circumstance bonus ground movement speed a +10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, and DR 10 versus Falling Damage only. The user is, however, considered one size category smaller in Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Overrun situations.
  • The Tea Ceremony: A level one effect equivalent to Goodberry, but using tea instead of berries.
  • The Rejuvenating Manuel: A level two Greater Invocation effect – covering a modest selection of level one personal-only healing effects – reduced to level one by the Ambient Magic limitation (so that it requires several minutes of meditation to complete the effects, although they’ll start to take effect immediately). As usual for abilities based on the Path of the Dragon, those with accumulative effects – like healing – will lose effectiveness after 2d6 uses in any one day. This covers Cure Light Wounds, Relieve Illness and Relieve Poison (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list), and Lesser Restoration.
  • Heavenly Golden Bell Technique: That’s a level two effect, a personal-only combined version of Mage Armor and Shield.
  • Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Another level two effect that turns the user’s hands and feet into natural weapons that do a base of 1d8 damage, have a +1 enhancement bonus, and can be used to attack twice per round at the user’s full BAB – but which do not benefit from iterative attacks.

   No, that character is not yet up to the kind of marvelous abilities found in those movies and comic books – but they are on their way, and will get there eventually. Presumably the characters in those sources are of fairly high levels. Still, he or she is going to be pretty hard to hit, is fast and light on his or her feet, and can strike three times a round with reasonable effect – if not with particularly devastating force. He or she can also recover quite quickly, and should be as effective as any standard fifth level character.

   For another version, lets try an exorcist – a mystical monk who travels the land casting out dark forces.

  • Fast Learner (The “Monk” version listed above, 6 CP).
  • One eight-sided first level hit die (4 CP) and four six-sided Hit Dice (8 CP).
  • Twenty-Four Skill Points (6 CP).
  • A +3 BAB, Specialized in Staves (9 CP).
  • A total of +8 on Saves (24 CP) – +6 on Will, +2 on Fortitude, +0 on Reflex.
  • Proficiency with All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Adds his or her Wisdom Modifier to his or her AC (Augmented Bonus, 6 CP).
  • Four levels of the Wilder spell progression, Corrupted/the user may only take spirit-based effects (16 CP). This provides (17 + 2 x Cha Mod) power and access to three powers, currently:
  • Protection from Evil. Level one, as a converted spell this costs 2 Power.
  • Spirit Stave. Level two. As per Shillelagh, but the staff also becomes a Ghost Touch weapon. As a converted spell, this costs 3 Power.
  • Spirit of Place. Level two (from Paths of Power II or the combined book). Calls up a minor spirit of the environment to aid the caster. As a converted spell, this costs 4 power.
  • Rite of Chi (6 CP): The character can take a few moments to regain 4d6 Power once per day.
  • A Companion with the Template Modifier (12 CP): In this case, a Spirit Fetch which provides +4 daily Bonus Uses for the Rite of Chi.
  • Witchcraft III, with the Path of Spirits/Seize the Wandering Soul, Spirit Binding, and Advanced Spirit Binding, the Path of Water/Dismissal, and the Path of Light/Light of Truth (48 CP).
  • Ability Focus/+4 to the DC of resisting the Exorcist’s Witchcraft Powers, Specialized in affecting Spirits/Incorporeal Entities and Undead (6 CP).
  • Adept/Half cost on buying Knowledge/Religion, any one stave-based Martial Art, Concentration, and Diplomacy (6 CP).

   Now, that character is a reasonably good staff-fighter – albeit much better against spirits and undead – and (thanks to the high efficiency of Witchcraft) is an excellent exorcist and banisher of evil spirits. When there are problems in the area, or an occasional need for more direct and powerful magic than his or her psychic powers can provide, our Monk can send his or her Spirit Fetch off to talk to more powerful spirits to provide it.

   Sadly, this “Monk” won’t be as much help as some characters as far as a kick-in-the-door style of campaign goes; he or she may be able to provide some minor healing and combat backup, but his or her main strength lies in the spirit world.

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