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Still-Water Meditant (Monk)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

Still-Water Meditant (Monk)
The Still-Water Meditant seeks enlightenment through studying human nature. The monk learns to discern a man’s true thoughts from his face and predict his movements from his body, while she herself strives to be like still waters: placid, remote, and unknowable.
Read the Ripples (Ex)
At 3rd level, the Still-Water Meditant can read a humanoid or monstrous humanoid’s surface thoughts from up to 20' away by observing his face. This takes 30 seconds and requires an opposed Sense Motive check against the target’s Bluff. This ability replaces still mind.
Ride the Current (Ex)
At 4th level, the Still-Water Meditant can analyze an opponent’s fighting rhythm with Sense Motive and strike when he’s off-balance. This is a move action that denies the target his Dexterity bonus to AC against the monk’s next attack. The DC of this check is 10 + the target’s base attack bonus + his Charisma modifier or 10 + his Bluff bonus, whichever is higher. This ability replaces all slow fall abilities.
Quench Suspicions (Sp)
At 5th level, the Still-Water Meditant can use ki to manipulate others, as if using the spell charm person. This is a standard action consuming 1 point of ki. Her caster level for this effect is her monk level, and the save DC is 11 + her Wisdom modifier. She may have only one creature charmed at a time, and the monk uses Wisdom instead of Charisma in opposed checks to command him. At 9th level, and every second level thereafter, the monk chooses an additional type of creature to target with quench suspicions. Targeting a non-humanoid creature consumes an additional ki point. At 11th level, the save DC increases by +3, and the duration to 1 day/level. This ability replaces high jump, purity of body and diamond body.
Flow Like Water (Ex)
At 7th level, when the Still-Water Meditant readies an action, she need not specify what action she will take, or its trigger. The monk may use her readied action at any time before her next turn, and may interrupt any character's action after it has been declared. This ability replaces wholeness of body.
River Changes Course (Sp)
At 12th level, the Still-Water Meditant can influence a creature as if using the spell suggestion. This is a standard action consuming 2 points of ki. Her caster level for this effect is her monk level, and the save DC is 13 + her Wisdom modifier. This ability replaces abundant step.
Submerge Spirit (Su)
At 19th level, the Still-Water Meditant’s consciousness is so tranquil that it cannot be distinguished from the world around it. She permanently gains the benefits of the spell mind blank. This ability replaces empty body.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Kind of an interesting theme upon which to build a monk archetype. I actually like the name and the flavor description. Of all the ability trade-outs, though, I'm kind of disappointed to see the still mind ability disappear. I would think that'd be kind of integral and thematically-appropriate for a still-water meditant. Losing the slow fall abilities also seems a little at odds, as I'd think a monk who is able to remain at peace at all times could focus even better to "flow like water" and rebound/recover and slow down a sharp fall. Same goes for diamond soul's protection from poison. Why not let a guy who takes inspiration from the placid still-water to more easily overcome poison? Or even the wholeness of body ability. I would have liked to see that stay as well.

At any rate, setting aside those design decisions, I've got some concerns with a couple of the abilities and their mechanics. I like the Read the Ripples ability. That's very thematically-appropriate and cool. But Ride the Current is a bit too potent for the monk/rogues that might exist out there, since that lets you setup sneak attacks on every strike. And, I'm not a fan of the either/or DC mechanic. You should settle on one or the other and call it at that. I actually like the idea of the Ride the Current ability...i.e., that a still-water monk understand the natural ebb and flow in the tides of battle and can find an opening whereby an opponent has overextended themselves. I'm just not sure a simple move action is the best way to define it.

I've also got reservations for the Quench Suspicions ability. Why use a charm person effect? That implies a lot more than just quenching someone's suspicions about you. I think you would have been better served to give this monk archetype a nondetection or something else that lets him shrug off those trying to use detect thoughts, seek thoughts, discern lies, etc.

I'm also concerned about readying undeclared actions with the Flow Like Water ability. Essentially, this just becomes an initiative interruption ability at any point the monk wishes to act. And I'm not certain you'd want him to have that ability at will. Maybe nerf this back down to a limited number of uses per day based on his Wis modifier or something.

I really love the name for the River Changes Course ability, but I was taken aback that it just resulted in a suggestion effect. I went into it hoping you were going to allow combat maneuver interrupts via imposed attacks of opportunity...basically a monk who can redirect the energy of an attacker in interesting and varied ways. That would have been more in line with the theme, I think.

So, looking past these quibbles, I'm mostly left with assessing how well you did the job on the stuff you included. Your presentation is good. Your understanding of how to apply and use the existing rules seems sound. I'm just not completely sold on the game-balance of everything you've chosen. It was a smart (and somewhat safe) choice to play with the monk class for your archetype. It has a lot more abilities to raid. And it may pay off for you.

Personally, I'm mostly on the fence with this one. However, I'll go out on a limb and say I RECOMMEND this archetype design to advance to the next round in the interest of seeing what more you can do.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Read the Ripples needs a duration--I don't know if you can continue to read the creature's thoughts for just one round, as long as you concentrate, and so on.

I was at first concerned about Ride the Current because of the deny-Dex-bonus mechanic, but this is a 4th-level ability so you generally don't have to worry about a rogue multiclassing that far into this class to get that ability for easy sneak attacks, and it's something you can do anyway with feint. However, feinting in combat is a standard action and this is a move action, which makes me wary--it's like getting Improved Feint for free, without having to take Combat Expertise. Yet, unless you have sneak attack or some other ability that triggers off a denied Dex bonus, you're not really getting a big benefit out of this ability. So the power level is somewhere in the middle.

Quench Suspicions is neat, not something a monk could normally do, but I think the scaling effect comes at too high a cost--you're giving up immunity to disease and poison just for an only-one-at-a-time charm person.

Flow Like Water is really neat.

I think River Changes Course is much weaker than the dimdoor ability you're giving up, but sometimes you take a suboptimal choice because you really like the flavor of it.

Submerge spirit seems like a good trade.

Overall, it is a nice theme, not something a minmaxer would want but definitely useful for a serene monk.

RECOMMENDATION: I DO recommend this archetype design for advancement in the competition.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 2 Points
Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (.5 point)
What's a "Meditant"? Did you mean "Mendicant"? Wikipedia says a Mediant is a musical notation. A Mendicant relies on others for donations. Neither seem to match the theme. I'm giving you half credit on the off chance that there's a common use word out there I don't recognize or you thought you were making up a word from scratch. Be careful!

Mechanics (.5 point)
The Monk is a swiss army knife with the loosest of descriptions employed to make it hang together (somewhat). Archetypes should be rampant for monks since there's so many ways to reconstruct a SAK.

You chose to focus on mental type abilities which was an interesting idea. I don't know what "Read the Ripples" does. In combat, isn't my surface thought going to be "try not to die?" In a social situation, won't my surface thoughts be too complex to distill into anything useful? If you meant this to be "detect lying", you should have just used that instead. Also, how long does it last? Forever?

River Changes Course seems really weak for something you get at 15th level, after you've become able to Charm all sorts of folk much earlier.

Awesomeness (0 points)
Just not awesome. I can't see many players opting for this vs. a basic Monk.

Template (1 point)
Did well with the template and had a lot to write.

Context (0 point)
I'd rather build a Wizard (or maybe a Cleric) to do what this archetype does rather than a Monk.

Paizo Employee Developer

I love the flavor of this one, and think your writing is top notch. From the onset, I knew exactly what you're going for here: a zen, meditative monk using water as the theme of its fighting style. The alternate class features all have evocative names, and even before digging into the mechanics, I want to play one of these. So good work on theme and wow-factor, Sam.

Read the ripples is interesting, but like Neil, I hate to see it replace still mind, which seems like such a perfect match for the theme you've chosen. There should be a duration on this as well, like Sean mentions.

Ride the current and quench suspicion are also neat abilities that fit well with the theme, though quench suspicions should not allow for charming non-humanoids at all (even with an extra cost of ki, unless it's not actually "as if using the spell charm person" since that only affects humanoids. If you want the ability to expand upon the spell's capabilities, it should probably be a Su ability instead of Sp. The remaining three class features are similarly evocative and mostly balanced.

In all, this is a tight design with very professional writing and rules consideration. I RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement to the next round, and hope the voters agree. Best of luck!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ryan Dancey wrote:


What's a "Meditant"?

Haven't read through everything yet, but I wanted to point out that this definition is probably somewhere in the ballpark of what Ignotus was thinking.

Of course, Ignotus cannot reply with any comments whatsoever. I just thought that it would be helpful to link to a definition.


THis one has my vote.

I don`t see much problem with Ride the Current, you obviously were just trying to make an alternate Feint maneuver using a skill (Sense Motive) more appropriate to a contemplative Monk than Bluff. The alternate DCs are exactly how Feint works, just updated as appropriate. The concern about an effective free Feat (Imp Feint), on top of the free Feats Monks already get and which you don`t remove, is valid though. I think the ability should simply have been stated as an alternate take on Bluff`s Feint usage, allowing swapping of the opposed skill`s as you have done... I.e. you still need to take Imp Feint to use it as a Move Action, etc. That would be somewhat weaker, I suppose, but if we`re to belive the Still-Water Monk is investing in Sense Mtive (since many abilities use it), its to their benefit... And Read the Ripples is somewhat of a strong exchange for Still Mind, so I think doing this could have worked here.

I like the flavor of Flow Like Water, but it`s a bit over the top as written. WHy doesn`t it use Ki, for one? You were very good in using Ki for other abilities, so I was surprised you did`t here. With Ki limitations, it would be much more balanced IMHO.
I also think that getting rid of specifying BOTH trigger and readied action is un-needed... Still requiring a specified action isn`t that much of a limitation really (`hit the guy` usually does SOMETHING somewhat effective), and not needing to worry about the trigger is really the main thing with Readied Actions.

This is obviously alot more powerful than Wholeness of Body, but I don`t think ability trades need to be balanced DIRECTLY against what you are giving up, but in the context of the ENTIRE class` trade-offs (taking into account which level abilities are gained). Still, I could see also giving up Quivering Palm for this would be equitable. The ability could also be split up into a lower level version and a higher level version. Maybe the lower level version (at 7th) only allows Readying a Partial Charge under the normal rules...? (Readied Partial Charges when not limited to Standard Action, e.g. Staggered/Suprise Round, is already a PRPG Feat so I don`t think that is too much, but seems a reasonable lower-level ability before the full version is gained... Certainly any Monk could take that Feat allowing Readied Partial Charges, so this isn`t adding an ability they COULDN^T gain, but just integrating it in their power ladder).

Interrupt-ANYTHING with no specified trigger/action is a VERY powerful effect in game IMHO, and should be treated as such when designing a Class.

I think it`s a bit too powerful over-all, I could changing the list of Bonus Feats at 1st and later levels to be something less always-useful, but flavor appropriate, like Step Up and Improved Feint. That could extend to higher level Bonus Feats like the ones allowing 5` steps when an opponent misses, which seems appropriate to the flavor.

BUt this is looking very good... I`m pretty sure you will make it future rounds!

Osirion

Ryan Dancey wrote:
You chose to focus on mental type abilities which was an interesting idea. I don't know what "Read the Ripples" does. In combat, isn't my surface thought going to be "try not to die?" In a social situation, won't my surface thoughts be too complex to distill into anything useful? If you meant this to be "detect lying", you should have just used that instead. Also, how long does it last? Forever?

Just wanted to point out that there is a spell that does exactly this; Detect Thoughts, which allows you to detect surface thoughts, yet the spell doesn't elaborate as to what "Surface Thoughts" entails - I'd assume that the contestant was thinking of this spell when creating this ability.

I like this entry, it's nice to see a Monk with some non-combat abilities.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I love the crap out of that opening blurb and it makes me want to love the class.

Ride the Currents is a good idea and a great ability. I'm finding it to be a chin-scratcher balance wise (I get the feeling that it's better, but it is hard to compare a social divination with a movement enabler).

Read the Ripples is a good idea with unfortunate execution. If a monk starts his turn next to his foe (giving him a spare move action), just how often is he going to be willing to give up a full-attack? Have you never MET a monk?

Quench Suspicions is appropriate and mostly well executed (the save DC should just scale directly to level, it's a class power, and it replaces some important other class powers at higher levels). If the DC scaled up smoothly I do think this would be worth the cost, at least in a party that doesn't otherwise have arcane casters. Charm person is one of the most useful spells in the game. Also, there is nothing wrong with describing a power as working "like charm person, except" (flip to charm monster and you'll see that exact same text).

Flow like Water is an excellent idea but suffers from the same problem as Read the Ripples. Though readied actions will inevitably be worth doing sometimes.. and really, it's a wonderfully appropriate power. I certainly think the power of the effect is being overblown, as any time you use it you're giving up a REAL turn, without really even knowing what you want to do (i.e, if you did know what you wanted to do, you wouldn't need Flow like Water to do it).

River Changes Course is nothing surprising but still an appropriate choice, as is Submerge Spirit. I do agree that River Changes Course is a little redundant with the charm effect and therefor less exciting than it could be (though Mr Dancy was incorrect, that one comes at 12th, after which the monk will have access to humanoid plus two other types).

It looks like your vision for this was subtle rather than obvious; I bet that if you'd been asked right after coming up with it you would have had trouble explaining it. But it really worked; I'm totally digging the mind-control monk and I hope to see you around in Round 3.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 aka The Leaping Gnome

Ok, this is an interesting take on a monk and I think it's cool that you made up something more focused on the mental enlightenment aspect of monks and less on the martial artist stuff.

That said, I find it odd that you chose to get rid of so many abilities that are basically mind-over-matter sort of powers and chose to keep other martial stuff that doesn't really go with the theme. For example you gave up still mind, purity of body, and diamond body when you could have done something really crazy like swap out flurry of blows, stunning fist, or dare I say unarmed strike (I'm probably losing points with the monk players but hear me out). I know these are integral parts of what we know and love about the monk, but this archetype doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who throws himself into the midst of combat. Swapping those abilities out could have made a very different monk starting right off the bat and all the way to twentieth level.

Maybe you already considered that stuff though and just wanted to play it safe and swap out a couple of abilities.

Two more things:

Why bother with ride the current? Improved Feint is on the monk bonus feat list, all this does is swap Bluff and Sense Motive for feinting. Plus you give up slow fall, an ability that scales with your level (every other level at that).

Replacing evasion with an ability similar to mettle from 3.5 (see hexblade) would have been awesome for this archetype (albeit not terribly creative).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

Excellent flavor and an interesting choice of abilites! I wish you the best of luck in the contest. =)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Trevor Merback wrote:
That said, I find it odd that you chose to get rid of so many abilities that are basically mind-over-matter sort of powers and chose to keep other martial stuff that doesn't really go with the theme. For example you gave up still mind, purity of body, and diamond body when you could have done something really crazy like swap out flurry of blows, stunning fist, or dare I say unarmed strike (I'm probably losing points with the monk players but hear me out). I know these are integral parts of what we know and love about the monk, but this archetype doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who throws himself into the midst of combat. Swapping those abilities out could have made a very different monk starting right off the bat and all the way to twentieth level.

One of the things the "monk" class in D&D does for the genre is make it so that guys-entering-the-dungeon-unarmed-and-half-naked become associated with the crazed pursuit of enlightenment. A guy with a different primary style (attacking with swords or magic when not charming) wouldn't have the same enlightened-mastery-of-the-mind feel to him.

I think of it not as him having greater mastery of the mind, but as his "mastery of the mind" being extroverted rather than introverted (mastering other minds rather than his own). He's still a monk, and he still punches dragons to achieve physical and mental perfection, but the "mental" side of that perfection manifests in a different way.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 aka The Leaping Gnome

Nicholas Quimby wrote:

One of the things the "monk" class in D&D does for the genre is make it so that guys-entering-the-dungeon-unarmed-and-half-naked become associated with the crazed pursuit of enlightenment. A guy with a different primary style (attacking with swords or magic when not charming) wouldn't have the same enlightened-mastery-of-the-mind feel to him.

I think of it not as him having greater mastery of the mind, but as his "mastery of the mind" being extroverted rather than introverted (mastering other minds rather than his own). He's still a monk, and he still punches dragons to achieve physical and mental perfection, but the "mental" side of that perfection manifests in a different way.

I don't see why fighting with your fists equals enlightenment. What I wanted to see was something more Zen than Shaolin. Someone who attains enlightenment through meditation, good deeds, and gathering knowledge.

I do like you idea of "his 'mastery of the mind' being extroverted rather than introverted" but I feel that this would only further lead him to disdain physical confrontation. He would defeat his enemies with his mind not his fists. Fighting would be below him.

This seems to be getting off topic though. Maybe after the voting is finished Sam will let us know how he viewed this archetype.


Looks like a good implementation of the theme. I like the ability names and their effects. However, Flow Like Water may be a little too powerful.


I was pretty meh at first. Poor name, sort of lame concept. Then I read the whole thing.

I love it. I love the concept of a fluid combat style. I would totally play a monk like this. Reading it again, I think I have to say it's tied with the Saboteur for my favorite this round.

I really do like Flow Like Water, but it seems like it could be a headache to adjudicate and certainly powerful.

It also reminds me of Cowboy Bebop, which has to count for something, right?

It should go without saying this gets my vote.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Trevor Merback wrote:

I don't see why fighting with your fists equals enlightenment. What I wanted to see was something more Zen than Shaolin. Someone who attains enlightenment through meditation, good deeds, and gathering knowledge.

I do like you idea of "his 'mastery of the mind' being extroverted rather than introverted" but I feel that this would only further lead him to disdain physical confrontation. He would defeat his enemies with his mind not his fists. Fighting would be below him.

This seems to be getting off topic though. Maybe after the voting is finished Sam will let us know how he viewed this archetype.

Hey, that's cool; I'll admit that the collection of ideas which comprise the "monk" in D&D is a pretty arbitrary mishmash, and respect that other ways of doing it could still be awesome. But personally his way (less Zen, more Shaolin) works for me too, especially since there's such precedence forged for it in D&D anyway.

I also wouldn't mind hearing what he has to say about it after the round; it's an interesting subject. :)


When I read the powers I swung back and forth about them being too powerful or not powerful enough. In the end it seems well balanced. The combat powers (equivalent of Improved Feint two levels prior to a typical monk getting it, and the Flow like Water/Ready Action ability) require you to give up Flurry of Blows. So a major trade, but an optional one in the moment. I like classes and what not that give me two good choices more than a one trick pony that may be a bit stronger when the trick works.

In a game with a heavy social element this Archetype will be very powerful; in contract, a game with lots of flying poisonous cliff dwellers you may be missing your slow falling and poison resist. :)

Since I typically play in socially focused games though... this is a winner! I also like the flavor allot. Away from Wire-Fu Monk and into the Manipulative Master territory.

In regards to the duplication of suggestion and charm, suggestion is a decent in-combat ability, where charm is heavy penalized in combat. (ie. threatening situations).


Awesome... great theme and you balance it well as a whole.
You've got my vote.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Sam, I thought your Book of Night Without Moon was an evocative core concept but I had some concerns over its usability in the game. Your Still Water monk appears filled with water-inspired mind tricks. Let's see how they shake out in terms of balance and playability.

still water meditant wrote:
Read the Ripples (Ex): At 3rd level, the Still-Water Meditant can read a humanoid or monstrous humanoid’s surface thoughts from up to 20' away by observing his face. This takes 30 seconds and requires an opposed Sense Motive check against the target’s Bluff. This ability replaces still mind.

Interesting but mechanically weird. First of all, this needs to be measured in rounds. 30 seconds would be equal to 5 rounds. Second, in no way is this an (Ex) ability. You probably want to call out the Detect Thoughts spell here. I think a flat Will Save is a better choice than an opposed check... Bluff is an active action that someone deliberately does, it's not the default state of a creature's mind. I'm not sold on this implementation.

still water meditant wrote:
Ride the Current (Ex): At 4th level, the Still-Water Meditant can analyze an opponent’s fighting rhythm with Sense Motive and strike when he’s off-balance. This is a move action that denies the target his Dexterity bonus to AC against the monk’s next attack. The DC of this check is 10 + the target’s base attack bonus + his Charisma modifier or 10 + his Bluff bonus, whichever is higher. This ability replaces all slow fall abilities.

Basically this is granting Improved Feint as a bonus feat using Sense Motive instead of bluff. It's okay, I guess. Not mind-blowing. Also not a particularly strong trade for slow fall. Maybe that will be rectified later.

still water meditant wrote:
Quench Suspicions (Sp): At 5th level, the Still-Water Meditant can use ki to manipulate others, as if using the spell charm person. This is a standard action consuming 1 point of ki. Her caster level for this effect is her monk level, and the save DC is 11 + her Wisdom modifier. She may have only one creature charmed at a time, and the monk uses Wisdom instead of Charisma in opposed checks to command him. At 9th level, and every second level thereafter, the monk chooses an additional type of creature to target with quench suspicions. Targeting a non-humanoid creature consumes an additional ki point. At 11th level, the save DC increases by +3, and the duration to 1 day/level. This ability replaces high jump, purity of body and diamond body.

Wording here is a little rough around the edges. I have to read this a few times to figure it out. I'm not sure I see the justification for using Wisdom as the controlling stat. Even clerics still have to use charisma for bossing people around. But really, this ability is the crux of your archetype... use ki for a charm effect. I think that's a fine ability, but this execution dulls my enthusiasm for it.

still water meditant wrote:
Flow Like Water (Ex): At 7th level, when the Still-Water Meditant readies an action, she need not specify what action she will take, or its trigger. The monk may use her readied action at any time before her next turn, and may interrupt any character's action after it has been declared. This ability replaces wholeness of body.

This would end up being too disruptive. I'd get behind allowing the monk to choose two possible triggers and act on either of them. Maybe even scale it - define an additional trigger per four levels or something. But as written this is overly rewarding of disruption to the flow of the game.

still water meditant wrote:
River Changes Course (Sp): At 12th level, the Still-Water Meditant can influence a creature as if using the spell suggestion. This is a standard action consuming 2 points of ki. Her caster level for this effect is her monk level, and the save DC is 13 + her Wisdom modifier. This ability replaces abundant step.

Trade Dimension Door (4th level effect) for Suggestion (3rd level effect). Both use up the same amount of ki. Seems like a reasonable trade, as suggestion has a lot more utility in more situations.

still water meditant wrote:
Submerge Spirit (Su): At 19th level, the Still-Water Meditant’s consciousness is so tranquil that it cannot be distinguished from the world around it. She permanently gains the benefits of the spell mind blank. This ability replaces empty body.

Not a bad finish, actually. You've put together a mind-focused monk who can do a few minor charm tricks. You can sort of get people/monsters to do stuff for you, with charm and suggestion, but if your jedi mind tricks fail, you're kind of hosed. Can't heal yourself, can't teleport away, can't resist spells, poison, or disease, and make a big mess if you fall off a cliff. I just don't think I would ever take this class over an enchanter, cleric, or even a bard! The Still Water monk is a man of few tricks, and a liability if those tricks don't succeed.

While I do like your water theme in conjunction with mental abilities, I do not see this archetype holding together very well mechanically. It's going to underperform both a standard monk and someone like a sorcerer, bard, wizard, or cleric who can select a more wide-ranging variety of mind control effects. I do not think this archetype is solid enough to have earned a vote from me.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

I like the concept. The core monk does suffer from an image of 'mishmashed' abilities, this tries to pull them together.

I just feel it comes up dry when compared to a regular monk.

Thanks for your effort, and don't give up trying.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 aka The Leaping Gnome

I do like submerge spirit. Empty body is probably more useful in most instances but submerge spirit is passive and fits the theme very well.

Grand Lodge Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am not a fan of the monk class, however, I do like what Sam has put forward, a really good variant, one which I would consider playing.

Vote cast for this one!


Ryan Dancey wrote:


Name & Theme (.5 point)
What's a "Meditant"? Did you mean "Mendicant"? Wikipedia says a Mediant is a musical notation. A Mendicant relies on others for donations. Neither seem to match the theme. I'm giving you half credit on the off chance that there's a common use word out there I don't recognize or you thought you were making up a word from scratch. Be careful!

Meditant is an uncommon and somewhat archaic word meaning 'one who meditates', but it has a clear derivation from the root word meditate or meditation, so I feel it will be easily intelligible.


I already said good job, great archetype here.
I disagree with comments saying this is `the mind control monk`, though I understand where that comes from.

Most of the abilities are based on Sense Motive, which isn`t `mind control` as much as Extraordinary extension of mundane senses, i.e. the Monk being in tune with the world so much; including others^ sentiments; that they can pull this type of stuff off. I see Quench SUspicions/Rivers Change Course in the same light, i.e. they ARE related/derived from the same focus as the Sense Motive powers... i.e. they work by the Monk being so attuned to his targets that he knows just what to say / how to manipulate them, which APPEARS as mind-control, but it`s really just finding the right bridge between the target`s mind and the monk`s intentions.

Of course, that clashes with QUench SUspicions/Rivers Change Course being (SP). I think they should either be (Ex) or (Su). I don`t see any reason in the archetype why they should start getting (Sp) powers rather than (Su) or (Ex)... And I don`t see any reason why Ex/Su abilities still can`t say `works like X spell` for convenience/balance sake, without relying on `magic` per se.


I like your concept and some of the abilities granted. However, I think overall the mechanical execution was a little off. I'm going to give you a chance, though, because of how much I like your theme here. I hope you clean up your work a little for next round.

Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't like the name (and I question whether meditant is even an archaic term or if it is, as I suspect, just a newly coined common use term), but I really like the concept and the mechanics seem to fit very well with it. So it's got my vote.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Lost a post. Only Submerge Spirit really works for me as a design. Otherwise, this shows a consistent pattern of trading varied defensive abilities for a single offensive concept, which makes me wonder whether the author really likes the monk as written at all.

Flow Like Water basically takes the meditant out of initiative and the action economy unless he wants to take a full attack. You just don't get to find out your enemy's intentions before taking your action every round.

It's too .. slippery. I can't support this sort of design to advance.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

This is great. Even if meditant is not word, it's clearly someone who meditates, I saw that right away. The flavour here is through the roof, and all the abilities have such great names. I like the idea of denying dex bonus, but having undeclared readied actions seems a little abuseable to me. I would be inclined to multiclass with something that can make huge use of this, like crippling ranged attack or targeting the right low level spell to rob boss monsters of their action every turn. I also think the charm and suggestion are not the best fit. That said I think this is excellent work, with amazing style which will make me fear you in future rounds.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

An entire archetype built around a Bruce Lee quote? Nice.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for the monk and this is both thematic and well written. I agree with Niel that some of the substitutions seem inappropriate with the loss of still mind being completely baffling.

Given those less than optimal substitution choices it is the inspired view that impressed me and ultimately garnered my vote.

Good work!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I like the flavor of this one and your writing is evocative and descriptive. I was a little sketchy about the deny-Dex ability, especially since it seems like it would fulfill the criteria for Medusa's wrath, and the open-ended ready-action was a little more than I would like, but I don't think either went entirely out of bounds.

The charm/suggestion stuff is all right, and I can connect the dots enough to make them fit the theme, though I don't think they're as natural a fit as the rest.

Overall, I like it.

Congrats on making it to round 2, and best of luck!


Sam Zeitlin wrote:

Still-Water Meditant (Monk)

The Still-Water Meditant seeks enlightenment through studying human nature. The monk learns to discern a man’s true thoughts from his face and predict his movements from his body, while she herself strives to be like still waters: placid, remote, and unknowable.

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead moths and a three week old shopping list.
;)

Would you want this person sitting next to you as a guest at a formal evening dress dinner party?
Oh yes, precisely because this sort of smug, self-obsessed aesthetic needs taking down a peg or two.
His sort tend not to attend dinner parties though. They like to sit in remote mountain coves, staring at tarns. Whilst this does make them quite tricky to hunt down it also means (since they tend to do it in isolation) that once a demonic seductress does have one located she can round up some friends and go shatter their inner peace.

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Probably quite effective, but getting him to actually go and do it is likely to be a nightmare. If you're not an arch-deceiver, he's going to probably see right through any trickery a succubus initially tries to use which means he will then expect you to harass and annoy him for the traditional forty days and nights, before he will be prepared to fold and agree to go fetch flowers in exchange for some quiet. I've played it a couple of times, but the game isn't usually worth the candle.

Could you hire one person like this to do a better job than one other trained mercenary and/or to do the jobs of two (or more) other trained mercenaries?
By the standards of narcissistic aesthetic recluses, this one is trained packs a meaner punch than most, at relatively little loss to his overall efficiency.
But trying to get one to do what you want is a problem. See my comments above regarding flower-picking. And forget any but the most perfunctory of attempts at recruitment if there's any kind of clock running on getting something done.

Other comments?
Given their mind-bending powers some experienced still-water meditants are offered alliances by the Church of Asmodeus, who quite like having additional minions around able to enslave hapless innocents to their master's will. Any such alliances which do form tend to be volcanic and not to last though, given the fundamental philosophical incompatibilities between the church of Asmodeus (a deity of (hell)fire) and an order of monks who study water.

Desirability:
Hireable, but seldom worth the bother.

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.


I figured a bit more detailed comment would be ideal, so here you are.

Quote:

Read the Ripples (Ex)

At 3rd level, the Still-Water Meditant can read a humanoid or monstrous humanoid’s surface thoughts from up to 20' away by observing his face. This takes 30 seconds and requires an opposed Sense Motive check against the target’s Bluff. This ability replaces still mind.

This seems a little weird. I don't really like the ability.

Quote:

Quench Suspicions (Sp)

At 5th level, the Still-Water Meditant can use ki to manipulate others, as if using the spell charm person.

I didn't really like this one, either. I think I'd definitely prefer more water-themed martial arts abilities instead of these weird influencing options.

Quote:

Flow Like Water (Ex)

At 7th level, when the Still-Water Meditant readies an action, she need not specify what action she will take, or its trigger.

This one is awesome. I think it's one of the best things here, and is indicative of how to make a monk that flows like water.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I like this one. The trade of defensive abilities for a suite of focused offensive ones works for me. Specifically, abilities that require the sacrifice of full attacks, the traditional monk's bread and butter. So it's definitely not a traditional monk, but it's an interesting one. The above comparison to Jedi knights is not a bad one.

This archetype has me wanting to play it, and not in a "oh, this is so broken I will rule all" sort of way. It will be getting my vote.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

I probably should like this one more than I do. I can't put my finger on it, but something just isn't gelling, perhaps the luck of the draw in being the 32nd archetype I've read in this contest. I'm on the fence as to whether or not to throw one of my extra two votes it, which does mean I'm rooting for you to go on in the contest.

I think part of it is that I feel like the water concept demands more reversals and the like.


Sam Zeitlin wrote:

Still-Water Meditant (Monk)

Disclaimer: My ranking scheme for this round consists of given marks form 0 to 4 in the following three categories:

1.Is the Archetype conceptually interesting?
2.Are the mechanics of the Archetype interesting?
3.Are the mechanics of the Archetype balanced and well executed?
But rather than simply adding up the marks for a final score I'm gonna interpret them as a point in 3-dimensional space and the final mark of your submission will be the length of the vector between the origin and this point.
Note that my ranking doesn't need to directly correspond with my votes, as other factors like: Strength of your item submission, mood, my horrorscope and other random stuff still factor in. Also note that this scheme is highly subjective and only mirrors my perception and opinion about your archetype submission.

Conceptual Mojo (CM): 3, A social monk. In a very monk-y way. I like this, even if for me the name evokes something different and I have to focus on expecting social fu stuff.

Mechanical Mojo (MM): 4, Reading Minds from faces, predicting movements, adapting to the flow of combat, Ki mind manipulation,... You are certainly thinking big with this one. And the abilities don't just fit the theme, they enhance it.
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2, Now the big thinking comes to bite you in the back. Detect thoughs quasi at will at level 1? hour or even day long charm effects? But at least you are trying to balnace it back in ( with giving up multiple abilities for those)

Final note: Maybe there is a better name for this archetype, because I keep thinking of stuff other than social fu when I read the name. Otherwise this is a great, superstar concept, that suffers from a bad case of hard to balance due to big ideas.

Total Score: 5.385


Azmahel wrote:
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2, Now the big thinking comes to bite you in the back. Detect thoughs quasi at will at level 1? hour or even day long charm effects? But at least you are trying to balnace it back in ( with giving up multiple abilities for those)

Are you saying that these abilities are too strong for their level? It is curious since about XX%* of the post claim it is too powerful and XX%* seem to say it is too weak.

*tried to count %'s but I guess I can not see all the posts while writing a post. so just say some go one way and some of the other! :)

It seems like these are circumstantial. powerful when not fighting, but you have to lead them around with only carrots. since asking them to do things too against their nature breaks charm.

How do suggestion and charm work together(from the spell perspective)? are the completely separate? do they feed on each other... I have never run into a combined effect before, so was not sure there was a rule.


Khelek wrote:
Azmahel wrote:
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2, Now the big thinking comes to bite you in the back. Detect thoughs quasi at will at level 1? hour or even day long charm effects? But at least you are trying to balnace it back in ( with giving up multiple abilities for those)

Are you saying that these abilities are too strong for their level? It is curious since about XX%* of the post claim it is too powerful and XX%* seem to say it is too weak.

Of course they are circumstantial, but assuming a setting where you can actually use the abilities ( If you are playing this archetype in a pure H&S campaign you would have tough luck though, but even then you wouldn't have lost much).

I'm gonna give this a bit more in-depth analysis, since you asked.

1. Read the ripples:
1.1 what you are giving up:
A +2 bonus on a certain sub-set of spells an effects ( which wouldn't see much use in a purely combat focused campaign)

1.2 what you are getting:
the ability to effectively emulate a 2nd level spell at will. There are some differences though:
- :this ability takes longer to set up ( 30 sec vs. 18 sec)
- :you get less information ( Int scores)
- :you only target one creature at a time.
+: The target doesn't get a save, only a skill check against your most important skill
+: it is more discreet than casting a spell
+: Anything that makes you immune to magical mind reading leaves you still vulnerable to this.
----
Is this an equal trade?

2. Ride the current:
2.1:
the ability to reduce falling damage, if there is a wall nearby. (helps with all kinds of pit traps)
2.2
Improved feint as a bonus feat + the ability to use your favorite skill instead of bluff, and the target is defending with bluff. (Normally Sense motive is a defense and bluff an attack skill, so this is switching stuff up again)
Not too valuable, because as a monk you will want to flurry as often as possible, but if combined with the weapon adept and perfect strike this becomes more powerful.
----
is this an equal trade?

3. Quench Suspicion
3.1
the ability to jump really far, immunity to diseases and poisons.
Simply that you give up 3 abilities shows that wahts coming is going to be powerful
3.2
Spend 1 Ki point to cast a 1st level spell ( Problem, DCs for Class abilities are normally 10+1/2level+Attribute, the 11+ is supposed to be another limiting factor.)
normal uses for Ki include +4 AC vs 1 attack, there is a 1st level spell that gives +4 AC for 1 hour per level.
This lasts for 1 hour per level and for one day per level at later levels ( which means that you can have many, many instances of this abilities in effect at the same time and still have a full ki pool for adventuring.
also you can use your favorite stat instead of charisma and affect other types of creatures, approaching a 4th level spell for 1 Ki point.
---
Is this an equal trade?

4. Flow Like Water.
4.1 the ability to spend ki to heal yourself a bit
4.2 The ability to bank a standard action to use it whenever you want for whatever you want, possibly interrupting other actions, like spellcasting, or even attacks (e.g. with disarming)
----
Is this an equal trade?

...
gonna stop here. I think you get where I'm coming from. But in the end you have to answer these questions for yourself. Sam surely tried to limit these effects in power and recognized their potential. And I'm glad he went with the idea , because otherwise he would have needed to dump a great concept.

This is why I chose my scoring scheme. it rewards high values more than it punishes mediocre ones. if Sam had ditched his idea for a 3/3/3 one he would have lost points. (3/3/3 would have been a score of 5.196)
Rpg Superstar is about taking risks and dealing with the consequences, and at least for me great ideas count more than mechanical balance. (the latter can be fixed with additional editing. try to edit a great idea into ok rules)


Azmahel wrote:

3. Quench Suspicion

3.1
the ability to jump really far, immunity to diseases and poisons.
Simply that you give up 3 abilities shows that wahts coming is going to be powerful
3.2
Spend 1 Ki point to cast a 1st level spell ( Problem, DCs for Class abilities are normally 10+1/2level+Attribute, the 11+ is supposed to be another limiting factor.)
normal uses for Ki include +4 AC vs 1 attack, there is a 1st level spell that gives +4 AC for 1 hour per level.
This lasts for 1 hour per level and for one day per level at later levels ( which means that you can have many, many instances of this abilities in effect at the same time and still have a full ki pool for adventuring.
also you can use your favorite stat instead of charisma and affect other types of creatures, approaching a 4th level spell for 1 Ki point.
---

Your break down seems good. I do, however, believe that you missed something in the section above:

1. the S-WM can only have one charmed creature at a time. at least that was my read.

2. I figured the 11+ and 14+ were based on the equiv spell levels rather as limited factors. but either way...

So are these various abilities balanced? I would generally say yes. but you were right when you said:

Quote:
If you are playing this archetype in a pure H&S campaign you would have tough luck though, but even then you wouldn't have lost much).

But that is true of sooo many of the published archetypes as well. that they have a time and place, or rather a campaign type.

seems that people who think this is too powerful might commonly heavy social game, where those who think it is too weak might be playing exploration/hack and slash games. Supposition certainly, but maybe an interesting thought experiment.

Certainly in my current campaign the S-WM would have used their abilities more than a typical monk would have used theirs. on the other hand I have had a monk be the only one to survive a very long fall (never let the rogue lead the way). so. that's a thing.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Formatting: I’m really not a fan of 20', it’s old school and not clear, also you are so close to the word count that this seems like a cheap way of losing a word. I know that Jim Groves said to use words if you need them last round, but being able to cut unnecessary words from a manuscript is something a superstar/freelancer has to be able to do.

Read the Ripples: not a big fan of unlimited detect thoughts at 3rd level, seems a bit better than still mind. Especially as an (Ex) ability!

Ride the Current: A funny feint action, but I get it where it is coming from.

Quench Suspicions: I really want this to have a scaling DC as you are giving up a lot of abilities (and good abilities) for it. 10 + ½ class level + Wisdom modifier is fine by me. That is uses ki is a good limiter.

Flow like Water: a bit too good because the PC can respond to anything. I actually like that you tried to make readying easier. This is what I don’t like about readying:

‘I ready to hit the wizard if he casts a spell’.

The wizard then withdraws, or attacks, or does something else and some GMs make the poor PC lose their readied action because the specific trigger didn’t occur.

I think a limit of readying to interrupt a maximum number of creatures (probably based on your Wisdom modifier) would have been a good limit. That way, if an enemy you can perceive does something, you can react, but if a hidden foe fires an arrow, you can’t interrupt that.

This archetype is fairly well balanced and has some interesting and innovative abilities. Your writing is good, good luck in the voting.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I don't think you should have an ability require '30 seconds'. A full round action seems sufficient. If it provokes attacks of opportunity. A minute if you really want to limit its combat use. How do you adjucate 30 seconds in combat? Five rounds? Who would choose that ability?

I agree with Neil that giving up still mind and not giving the class nondetection is a whiff. I think that read the ripples ought to allow a save instead. Too many monsters and characters don't have Bluff as a class skill. For most monsters, a Will save, even a sad one, is better than an opposed Bluff check. Reading surface thoughts is too powerful to nake so easy. Maybe as is, reading NPC attitudes is better.

Any ability named 'river changes course' ought to be just studly. But yours isn't. As Neil suggested turning provoked attacks of opportunity into combat maneuvers is a great idea: you attempt to read the ripple, and when someone charges, you, you interrupt your reading to reposition him. When you know you have a great, thematic ability name, meditate on that name and develop an ability that sings it. Like Ring the Golden Bell. The ability and the name are perfect together.

A lot of missed opportunity here, but still maybe worthy of my vote given the weakness of the round.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I want to steal Flow like Water now and run it through some playtests (which will probably happen since I love oneshots anyway). My guess is that it's not as powerful as people think, but it certainly looks fascinating (and a little unpredictable) in its effects on the game.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I like this. The mechanics and what swaps for what probably need a second pass, but the flavor is delish and it's pretty solid overall.

Cheliax

This archetype has my vote, and out of the 5 archetypes that I voted for I think I enjoyed the way the mechanics and the flavor of this one "flowed" together most of all ;-).

Also, I think the name is cool, and there's all sorts of juicy campaign ideas that this archetype inspires. I really hope that you advance to Round 3 and that we get to see more of your designs!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Standback

Sam, I really like this concept. I'm not a big fan of monks in general, but they do seem very appropriate for archetypes, and I like that you've built up a distinct, individual discipline as your archetype. It's well-themed and well-written; that's a really great start.

My personal commentary rubric focuses mostly on concept and theme; I have less to say on mechanics and balance, and I leave those to wiser forumgoers than I.

Resonance
Is the concept a cohesive, identifiable archetype? Do I understand the concept? Is it colorful, interesting, innovative?

Yes; this grabbed me at once. I really liked the idea of a monk discipline that focused on understanding other people - very appropriate, definitely missing from the existing disciplines, and with exciting color and roleplay potential.

Implementation
Does the implementation of the archetype do justice to the concept? Can the archetype character do the type of things we'd expect him to?

Fairly well, I thought. Certainly you've given flavored justifications for the particular powers you've chosen (I was somewhat bemused by Neil's missing that slow fall isn't particularly appropriate for a monk who reads the people around him). You mix between combat abilities based on predicting others' attacks, and the enchantment spell-like effects. All fit the theme very nicely.

Playability
Would players want to play this archetype? Would this character archetype have a place in a game? Will the archetype's unique flavor be evident in actual gameplay?

That last question is the one I'm a bit concerned about. Though all your abilities have justifications in your described discipline, I'm not sure how many of them demonstrate it, making its flavor felt in the game itself. A lot of the combat abilities could as easily represent a monk who is extremely quick and flexible, for example. The spell-like abilities, I'm concerned, might not come into play early or often enough for the Meditant to be the go-to guy for charms and suggestions.

OTOH, the coolness of the concept and the solid abilities should be enough to ensure that this archetype is at least as good for playing this type of character as playing a regular monk would be.

All in all, I like the concept a lot, and I think you've implemented it very nicely. I'm concerned that the flavor might not trickle into the game as much as might be liked, but that's a tough requirement, and you've at very least made some sturdy inroads even to that.


Sam Zeitlin wrote:
Still-Water Meditant (Monk)

NOTE: I read all archetypes before voting, but didn't get all comments posted before voting. I'm now finishing my comments.

It's probably not fair, but as I've had such little experience with Monks, I really just don't feel I can give this one a proper analysis.

I'm not keen on the idea that any character can read someone else's surface thoughts at will (30 seconds is short out of combat) without any limit to the number of times per day. I think that should have been limited more.

Ride the Current: I like that. This really would be a cool ability for any class. Would make a nice feat.

Ready an Action, by its nature, should always be stated ahead of time.

But, compared to other Monk abilities...I just don't know.

Good job otherwise,

Ken

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

Now that the gag order and voting is over, I just wanted to thank the posters in this thread for their kind words and also for the very well-thought-out criticisms. And, of course, everyone who voted for me!

If I have some time after I get a draft of my Round 3 entry together, I'll post a bit about my design decisions and some criticisms that hit home.

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

So, first off, I’d just like to reiterate that the level of insight in this thread is really high – several times, I would wish I could say something, only to realize that someone I’ve never met had figured out what I was trying to do with a particular mechanic or decision (to say nothing of the many fair and accurate criticisms).

The inspiration for this class was the Duneyin from R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series, a terrifying, isolated order of manipulative monks. They seem more suited to villainous dark fantasy, but I loved how they used their understanding of other people and themselves to be dangerous both on and off the battlefield. I decided to make a monk who focused on Wisdom/Sense Motive, and traded supernatural perfection of the body for the perfection of his mind and his understanding of other people.

A lot of the discussion in this thread centered around whether or not the archetype is overpowered or underpowered, and several people argued each side. The glib answer would be for me to say that this disagreement means that the class is balanced, but I don’t think it’s that simple. The balance of the Still-Water Meditant was hard to gage because he gives up passive abilities for active ones, physical abilities for social ones, abilities that allow you to affect the combat mechanics for ones that affect the game’s fiction.

I’m fairly confident that Ride the Current and Flow Like Water are balanced. They’re high enough level to discourage dips from other classes. More importantly, however, they have a hidden drawback that balances them: as Azmahael pointed out, they take a move action, meaning you can’t use them in the same round as flurry of blows. This serves to restrict them to occasional use in situations where they’re crucial. Although there are some monk builds that would take further advantage of these abilities, those builds would essentially forsake using flurry of blows – and effectively trading flurry for those two abilities is more than fair.

Read the Ripples and Quench Suspicions are trickier, and depending on the kind of game you like to play/run, I could see them being more or less powerful than what they replace. I do think that trading a passive ability that only comes into play sometimes for an active ability you can use whenever is a significant upgrade, which is why I made River Changes Course weaker than the ability it replaces (to compensate for the earlier abilities).

Finally, I wanted to mention some critiques that are right on the money.

Read the ripples needed a duration – I would say it lasts for as long as you remain concentrating while looking at the target’s face.

Replacing Still Mind was unfortunate; I knew it, I did it anyway, and I deserved to get dinged for it. All the other low-level abilities scaled, though, which made them much stronger than Read the Ripples; I couldn’t find a cleaner solution in the end.

Nicholas Quimby and Matt Goodall's point about the DC on Quench Suspicions is well-taken, it should scale like a normal class ability.

In response to Quandry, the reason the charm effects are Sp instead of Su is so that they don’t ignore spell resistance. I agree that it reads oddly. The power bump is probably minor enough that it could be changed, though it makes the effect quite a bit better against high-level fighty types.

Lastly, I really like Neil’s suggestion for replacing River Changes Course. Using combat maneuvers instead of attacks of opportunity might be too strong, since some of the combat maneuvers then grant further attacks of opportunity themselves if you go far enough down the feat tree (trip). If that turns out to be unbalanced, maybe something like “a number of times/day equal to your wisdom modifier, after an opponent strikes at you and misses in melee combat, you may use a combat maneuver against that opponent as an attack of opportunity.”

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read and comment!

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