For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield—it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding weapons within themselves just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade. These monks (so called since they adhere to ancient philosophies and strict martial disciplines) elevate their bodies to become weapons of war, from battle-minded ascetics to self-taught brawlers. Monks tread the path of discipline, and those with the will to endure that path discover within themselves not what they are, but what they are meant to be.
There are many different styles of monk with each style typically hailing from one geographic region or another. Monks from more euro-centric nations have a more theosophical approach to their discipline, while some of the monastic traditions from the Far East hold onto more martial disciplines.
Base Class Features
- Far Strike Monk- Far strike monks are masters of thrown weapons, from shuriken to throwing axes to spears. The far strike school views thrown attacks as an extension of unarmed strikes, and masters of this school can infuse thrown weapons with their ki.
- Kata Master- The kata master takes the visual aspect of his martial art to its logical extreme, harnessing her flowing movements and skilled maneuvers as a psychological weapon against her enemies. A kata master forsakes the mental discipline of her more contemplative brethren in favor of these flamboyant exhibitions. She often performs in staged fights and tournaments, utilizing stylized forms to amaze the audience and shock and dismay her opponents.
- Ki Mystic- The ki mystic believes that violence is sometimes necessary, but knowing and understanding is the true root of perfection. Through meditation and spiritual visions, a ki mystic can see beyond the veil of reality to the underlying truth of all existence. A ki mystic has the following class features.
- Master of Many Styles- The master of many styles is a collector. For every move, he seeks a counter. For every style, he has a riposte. Ultimately, he seeks perfection through the fusion of styles.
- Monk of the Healing Hand- Monks of the healing hand seek perfection through helping others. By focusing their meditations on the flow of life within themselves and all creation they gain an understanding of how to share their ki with others, healing wounds and even bringing the dead back to life. For such a monk, sacrificing himself to save another is the surest way to achieve transcendence. A monk of the healing hand has the following class features.
- Monk of the Lotus- Monks are warriors who hone their bodies into deadly weapons, but some monks eschew violence in favor of a more peaceful philosophy. While a monk of the lotus realizes that combat cannot always be avoided—and is more than capable in a fight—he understands that all creatures are connected, and to harm another is to harm the self. Instead, he strives to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts, and in doing so, hopes to achieve inner peace. A monk of the lotus has the following class features.
- Qinggong Monk- The qinggong monk is a master of her ki, using it to perform superhuman stunts or even blast opponents with supernatural energy. Some achieve their power over ki through extreme discipline, while others attain this power by intentionally or accidentally ingesting rare herbs or strange mystical fruits, and a few are gifted these abilities by a dying qinggong master.
- Spirit Master- Spirit masters are monks who specialize in combating the undead, laying their corpses to rest, and sending their souls to final judgment.
- Wanderer- Some monks wander the world in humility to learn and to share wisdom and philosophy from their teachers with those they meet, often aiding those who are in need.
- Zen Archer- Some monks seek to become one with another weapon entirely—the bow. The zen archer takes a weapon most other monks eschew and seeks perfection in the pull of a taut bowstring, the flex of a bow’s limbs, and the flight of an arrow fired true.