Six Freedoms Acolyte

Round 2: Design an archetype

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Mattrex

Six Freedoms Acolyte (Monk)
Like the River Kingdoms themselves, these fragmented, quarrelsome aspirants have a thousand names and a thousand self-styled masters, yet all of them share in common a pious devotion to the Six River Freedoms. United in the belief that the Six River Freedoms represent the principles by which they may best achieve self-actualization, Six Freedoms acolytes blend the radical individualism of the River Kingdoms with the disciplined focus of more traditional ascetics.
Courts Are for Kings (Ex): At 3rd level, a Six Freedoms acolyte learns from the fourth Freedom that laws can be flexible. For the purposes of alignment-based spells and effects, he is always treated as being the most beneficial alignment. This ability replaces still mind.
You Have What You Hold (Ex): At 4th level, a Six Freedoms acolyte internalizes the sixth Freedom’s wisdom, gaining a +1 bonus on disarm and steal combat maneuvers, and a +1 bonus to his CMD against these maneuvers. These bonuses increase by +1 every four levels, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. This ability replaces slow fall.
Walk Any Road (Ex): At 5th level, a Six Freedoms acolyte learns to safeguard his third Freedom, gaining immunity to the entangled and grappled conditions. At 11th level, he becomes immune to all effects which hinder movement, as though under the constant effect of freedom of movement. This ability replaces purity of body and diamond body.
Say What You Will (Su): At 7th level, a Six Freedoms acolyte may draw upon his inner strength to resist restrictions on his first Freedom. He may spend 1 ki point as a standard action to ignore all supernatural effects which silence him or limit his speech (such as zone of truth) for one minute. This ability replaces wholeness of body.
Slavery is an Abomination (Su): At 12th level, a Six Freedoms acolyte may secure the fifth Freedom for any creature. As a standard action, he may spend 2 ki points to touch a creature, suppressing any charm or compulsion effects upon it for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier. This ability replaces abundant step.
Oathbreakers Die (Su): At 15th level, a Six Freedoms acolyte adopts the grim severity of the second Freedom. Whenever any creature violates an oath given to the Six Freedoms acolyte, he immediately becomes aware of the breach. As a free action within one week of the violation, he may will the oathbreaker to die. The oathbreaker must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Wisdom modifier) or die. This ability may be used once per violated oath. This ability replaces quivering palm.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Okay, a monk archetype that uses a set of laws about freedom to define the boundaries of its discipline. Interesting.

Courts: I like it. Pretty specialized, and not likely to come into play much at low levels. I think it needs a little clarification (does this mean you're immune to a paladin's smite evil, because "not-evil" is the most beneficial alignment?).

You Have What You Hold: Giving a combat bonus in place of a utilitarian ability makes me wary.

Say What You Will: Wholeness of body is a crappy ability, but it's still a healing ability that may be useful in emergencies. I think most players would be grumpy at this option (though it is appropriate to the theme of the archetype).

Slavery: Ditto... abundant step is one of the flashier monk abilities.

Oathbreakers Die: I think giving up a use-when-you-want-it ability for a only-can-use-with-unusual trigger ability is a big powerdown for the class.

I like where you tried to take this. I like that you based the abilities on the Six Freedoms (though using their actual names feels a little cheesy). I think you hampered yourself by doing so, though--if you had chosen three of the Freedoms to focus on, it would have turned out stronger and you wouldn't have felt the need to mess with some of the iconic monk abilities.

I do NOT recommend this archetype for advancement.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Another monk trying to work the freedom of the River Kingdoms into the monk class restrictions. That's a good initial idea. I like that a lot. Problem is, I think the Everbloom Monk does this better and with a more creative swing for the fences. I think you fell into a common design trap that tends to rear its head when time frames are short. You decided to work all 6 of the freedoms into this archetype and you let that thematic decision drive your design, and I don't think it worked well. Now, you had a good "big idea": tie the powers to the freedoms. Good idea. Maybe not blowing my mind, but really solid. Problem is, you held on to that so tight it tied your hands in design. I dont know if this is a first draft or if time got to you, but you see this kind of thing in first drafts. You need to step back from your big idea a bit.

In the end I DO NOT Recommend this archetype for advancement.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Congrats, Matt, on making Top 32! The monk is a fine choice for an archetype, but you have some competition in this category.

First off: Missed the formatting in the subject line, which is meant to include (Monk). I noticed it every time I was scanning the list...

Beyond that, though, I like the conceit that the Six Freedoms would be designed as new abilities. The problems Sean and Clark point out above reflect some real issues with the swaps you chose. You Have What You Hold is a nice uptick in power balanced by the other power-downs. Overall, though, some of the other swaps are pretty niche abilities.

So: I want to like this more than I do, because it shows clean writing, some thoughtful decisions, and thematic unity. I'm a little more on the fence than the other judges, and I think that this shows promise, even if the calibration is toward niche abilities like speech.

On the Fence, and let's see whether the voters decide to give you a ticket to the Top 16!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

I agree with Wolfgang Baur here: Sean and Clark are too hung up about the strengths and weaknesses and the interplay while not looking at the big picture. This also happened on the Everbloom Monk (though in the opposite direction) - the judges are wowed by one-two iconic ideas but there's not enough appreciation on the whole for how the archetype would play.

I think the Six Freedoms Acolyte is a very playable monk - he grants a new set of things to emphasize while still having a well-rounded experience overall. In contrast, the Everbloom Monk is not nearly as playable: there are rule issues that need clarification and the archetype leaves the monk even MADder than before making him unbearable to play.

For this archetype the judgment shows a focus on equal-trades by the judges - which is good advice, but not necessarily superstar and not something that this archetype does. Instead it subtly shifts between the power levels to present a coherent balanced whole.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Good points, Lorekeeper. I tend to agree with you. I think the beauty of this archetype is that it came from a very strong idea and carried it through thematically at every stage. I respect Clark and Sean's point of view or design hampered by concept and appreciate Seans's comments on iconic abilities being traded out; I just tend not to focus on losing iconic abilities of any class - that's often what my favorite archetypes do - they stretch the iconic into the archetypical without becoming an alternate core/base class...

I think this is tight design AND concept.


I'm a little bit biased in this particular run, mostly because I designed a Six River Freedoms archetype as well in case I made it to Round 2. On that note, congratz for making it this far!

However, my problem with this archetype is that while the theme is definitely a good one, the execution itself is rather boring. Most of these powers trade strong, core aspects of the monk for powers that are downright situational. Your "Courts Are For Kings" power has very little to do with what the essence of that law is; that a ruler has absolute sovereignty within his own lands. Instead, you have a very bland immunity to alignment-based effects (it basically is immunity, since that is often the "most beneficial effect" for most of those abilities). Oathbreakers Die is an interesting concept, but overall I'm not impressed by this archetype. I can't see myself or any of my players getting excited to play this one.

Also, why pick monk? The River Freedoms are thematically like the United States Constitution; they're laws that are designed to provide lines that governments cannot cross; they protect freedoms. Monk doesn't feel like a good fit for this archetype and it shows.

Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree with Oceanshieldwold. Thematic and mechanical success in my eyes, though it's possible this could have been better tied to an Inquisitor > Monk.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

good writing, template was mostly right.

i think you did a pretty good job of balance, though as has been pointed out, you did make this monk a bit more situational. my biggest complaint is that i had an idea to do this with the ranger (which clearly would have had a lot of competition) that i think was a much better fit (though, i might be a bit biased).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Jaerc wrote:
I agree with Oceanshieldwold. Thematic and mechanical success in my eyes, though it's possible this could have been better tied to an Inquisitor > Monk.

As I was reading the comments this was almost exactly my thought but then it would have to be very different and I probably wouldn't like it as much as this version. *shrugs* I just don't know about this one: I like it but I'm not excited. Add to that the there's something nagging at me that I can't quite put my finger on.

I'm not even really on the fence here yet. I need digest this one and come back. Anyway, congratulations on making it this far and good luck this round.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

My plan is to comment on all 32 archetypes. We'll see if I make it!

I will give general impressions, but with 3 areas of particular focus that suit my personal interests. Class and feat names: do they show flare? How closely tied to the River Kingdom is the archetype? And last but certainly not least, do I want to play this archetype?

Class and feat names: A bit too literal for me. What mojo they have comes from the existing game. Could have shown more originality here.

River Kingdom tie: Well, pretty strong since everything is based directly from the River Kingdoms. :-) I like that a monk fervently embraces the philosophy of the land, maybe even more so than other inhabitants.

Desire to play: Overall, I think I'd rather play the monk straight. Seems like I lose too much and dont get any wows in return. Oathbreakers Die is an interesting power, but the rest are kinda bland.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 6

I've always loved the monk class for the disciplined (and therefore a need for order (Lawful alignment)) which went with it.

I like the concept of being in synch with the land, but I think the alignment thing has thrown me.

Like Clouds Without Water above, I think I would rather play a standard (or already established Archetype) than yours ... sorry :(

I can't see myself being excited if I was handed the archetype as a pregen to play in the River Kingdoms, and wanting to play the archetype I believe, should be the deciding factor on these.

of course, that is just my opinion, and others may love it :)

Good luck with the voting Matt and grats on making the Super 32 :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Isaac Duplechain

Lorekeeper is a known monk enthusiast. I'll take his endorsement as my guidance.

I got to say I like the flavor on this one a lot, and have to agree with lorekeeper. The trades are serious but not bad at all, and I feel the abilities you get for what you give up tied to the flavor of the abilities too is good. It's generic enough that it can flow in anywhere but specific enough that you know exactly where it is from and how serious that part of the campaign world is.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I like it, Matt. You work in the Freedoms and give a monk who might be a little more social oriented. You've got my vote.


Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

There's a lot of change in this archetype. I mean, monks have a lot of powers to play with, but you introduced six all new ones. Which is good, in most cases - especially because you didn't overstep the capacities of any single power, creating new mechanics or something.

Mechanically, you've created a very different type of monk here, which I kinda like.

Good luck this round!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

I'm going to preface ALL my monk reviews with this: I am a zealous monk lover. I am going to try to step away from that as I review the monk archetypes.

OK, the name. I like it, don't love it.

Whoo boy, you sure messed with those monk abilities, didn't you? By and large I like them. Sure, I had a knee jerk reaction to losing Abundant Step, but not as bad as it could have been, since I need a feat (Dimensional feat line) to be able to make it more useful anyway.

Courts: I like this and the flavor it adds. Monks are disciplined, but who says that discipline can't be in flexibility? Anyways, the glaring issue here is the "most beneficial" line. I get what you want but there are some mechanical considerations such as Sean's smite evil example. Maybe an addition like "most beneficial within the effects realm" or some such.

Hold: I knee jerked at the loss of slow fall. That's a cornerstone of my monks. But...+1 up to +5 in Steal and Disarm and a +1 to the CMD...sweetness. I would maybe add that this works as the Improved (so no AoO's) but that could be overpowered for the exchange.

Road: Again, I like the abilities you swap out, because most of my games (or when my friends GM) tend to involve poisons or deafening. But, whoa...immunity to entangled and grappled. That right there is huge. But then constant freedom of movement at 11th? Killer. Almost too killer.

Say: Does this actually function like zone? Meaning, can allies benefit from this? Otherwise, what's the point? Monks don't normally cast spells and don't NEED anything requiring speech. When you say Supernatural effects, does this not include the silence or same spells?

Slavery: Ok, this was the biggest iffy thing you did. Replacing Abundant Step. Risky business. BUT...being able to break charms and compulsions on your allies for X rounds? That's...pretty useful.

Oathbreakers: This is still basically quivering palm...with a wonkier activation method. Just does bypass the problem of actually hitting a creature but that save is still probably going to be made.

Overall, I like your idea and ideas. I really do. It's just not quite together on this one. On the fence but right now a tentative no.

I barely DO NOT recommend.

Star Voter Season 6

I really like the swaps. Loss of Abundant Step is the only one I consider a noticable power down, but the permanent freedom of movement I think makes up for it. Most of the abilities I think are slight power ups, but not so much that it there is an imballance.

I especially like getting rid of the Quivering Palm in exchange for something that adds RP strength to the class.

Courts are for Kings - I like where this is going but some more text is needed to describe mechanics here. There is a little too much ambiguity.

Overall, I'm about halfway through the entries and this is the first on my Strong Keep list.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

I think this will get my vote, though I'm still working my way through the list.

I thought you did the best job of incorporating the Freedoms into your power names, which a number of people tried to varying success. In addition, I thought what powers you chose to give those names were interesting while still managing to be relevant to the names.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber


I REALLY liked the thematic ties here with your Monk archetype, I hadn't considered the actually "normal" class abilities that got swapped and whether or not it was a "power-up" or a "power-down" ... and that honestly didn't bother me much ... I liked it ... and I voted for it.


Best of luck, and I'd like to see your monster entry.


RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Good: Monks need love, river freedoms is most inspiring bit of the RLs so great tie in, first power is pretty good.
Bad: mechanically you're making an underpowered classs more so
Ugly: Ok none of these powers are all that great I'd never hamstring my monk like this.
OVerall: sorry but while well written the mechanics of this aren't winning my vote.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I was surprised at attempting to combine the individual freedoms of the River Freedoms to the rigid lawful monk. I was going to submit an archetype using the same theme, but for rangers, so I like the overall concept of powers based on the freedoms, but not sure how well they fit a monk thematically.

That being said, overall you have smart choices on tying a power to each freedom, though they vary in balance. Some are too weak and others are too strong. In particular, walk any road is hugely powerful - I guess it's not too absurd for an 11th level character with the guideline 82K gp to have a 40k ring of freedom of movement, but that's half their wealth - more reasonable to have that power at 14th level when it would be a bit under 25% of their wealth. And the immunity to entangled and grappled at 5th is super too good. A +4 (or a scaling bonus) to CMD vs. grapple and saves vs. entangle would be better.

The same pattern applies to several other powers - courts are for kings gives total immunity to some powerful effects rather than a bonus against them, and while slavery is an abobination is good, it's essentially only usable on others, since most charm and compulsions don't allow you to take a standard action to use it on yourself. You should have allowed it as a free action at the end of your next turn (or even automatic if you want to activate it) when used on yourself and standard action on others.

While on the whole the mechanic problems are fixable, I don't think I can get past the chaotic principles mixing with a lawful monk - at least not without changing the alignment requirements to be chaotic rather than lawful. Finally, your intro paragraph indicates that there are thousands of these with thousands of names floating around the RKs, but in general, my impression is that monks of any type would be faily rare in the RK region, and the hyperbole didn't work for me therefore.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

We're running out of time, so let me just say, I dig this archetype. Clever twist to all six freedoms!

Mind you, if you had taken the judge's advice and only done 3 or 4 of the freedoms, that's all you'd be hearing about... "Dude, you only did some of the freedoms, why not all?" Don't believe me? Check the other archetype(s) that only did some.

Nice work and good luck!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Liked this one a lot. There were a few bugs but I really enjoyed the concept and the fact you stuck with it so disappointed we won't get to see what else you can do. Best of luck next time!

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Devoted to upholding the Six Freedoms, a true acolyte emerges.

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