Monks, Theming and Identity


Prerelease Discussion

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So I'm extremely excited for this game to come out, and given that my favorite class is likely going to be revealed last since, well, it's cared about the least by the community, I think that lack of caring needs to be addressed.

I begrudgingly have to admit that, all in all, Monks are, in fact, too wuxia. It's in the name and the class abilities. You may as well have the word "Shaolin" in front of the word Monk, because that's what the base class is completely based around. There's nothing wrong with Shaolin Monks, or even wanting to play one (Or a derivative) in a PF setting (I practice Shaolin kung Fu and philosophies myself, and have a sense for why they're so damn awesome), but it's too limiting.

You see this is PF1 and how crazy the archetypes got, because the base class itself felt like an archetype that was very lackluster, and while I do like some of the unchained changes, it just made the Monk a better at hitting things. The class itself still felt like a mess.

Let's just look at pretty much any other class by comparison (Specifically the ones already discussed for PF2e). Paladins and Clerics are only as limited as the number of deities, and even then, Paladins have oaths/codes and Clerics their domains/allegiance to a deity. Sorcerers have bloodlines and incredible innate magic, while Wizards have schools and are crazy versatile with magic. Barbarians have totems and rage powers, and Fighters are just custom robos for combat. Even ACG classes like the Cavalier or Oracle feel like the sky is the limit compared to "The Monk," whose identity is limited to punching and being very Shaolin (Unless archetyped to be something that's no longer Shaolin, but then what's the point of the base class?).

TL;DR/My point: The name Monk isn't nearly as nebulous as pretty much any other class, and it feels like a legacy that's inhibiting so much potential.

Proposal: Change the name to Martial Artist. I feel the biggest appeal of the Monk is to kick ass and look good while doing it. A bard is a person of the fine arts, and the name Bard is nebulous enough to encompass anything from playing the ukulele for more courage to break dancing in combat to distract from a Hypnotic Pattern. Basically creating magic through their art.Conversely, a "martial artist" should be able to take their warlike, artistic movements into combat, and make the battlefield their canvas. A perfect example of Martial Arts. Or if that's too wuxia, think of Arya Stark of Game of Thrones fame and her martial artistry.

A Fighter should be the most lethal with weapons. Including their fists. A Martial Artist, however, should be able to push and break the limits of what's possible with weapons. Including their bodies.

Any other opinions on the Monk, and what it should be, I'd love to see. The class has always felt like a problem child, but I think it's a necessary archetype. For all those who wanna make Saitama or Garou. Become a superhuman from hard work, discipline, conviction and courage!


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How is taking things away from the class going to increase it's potential? Especially when your just turning it into "Fighter but Unarmed".


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As Milo says, redusing the monk to just a martial artist only makes it an extremely limited version of the fighter. If anything the monk needs to double down on the wuxia and be the most supernatural of the Martials to ensure it has a unique idenfity.


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I'm okay with the idea, Frosty Ace.

If "Bard" (which on earth means a person who composes plays or music) can mean a person who fences while singing, and who casts spells, and who happens to be well-informed about all manner of history . . .

Then "Martial Artist" (which on earth means a person who trains in fighting techniques primarily for the skill and sport, not for combat) can mean a person who boxes, uses weird weapons, is really good at meditating, and knows how to channel magic through his body (aka ki).

The important goal is for a monk to be more than 'the class that punches.' A 'martial artist' class could cover gunslinger, swashbuckler, brawler, hell, maybe even barbarian. ("My weapon is my rage.")

A mechanical hook would be 'focus,' which would combine the ideas of grit, panache, and ki. You would start by specializing in a group of weapons -- firearms, swords, unarmed, emotions -- and when you're focused you can do exceptional, and eventually superhuman things with that weapon.

You'd be able to potentially choose more weapons later through feats, or learn different cool styles to use with your weapon. Imagine, the new Inner Sea World Guide having sections for what Cheliax's famous fencing techniques are, and how a fight between a Taldan rondolero duelist and a Qadiran dervish would play out, or how Ulfen martial artists call upon bestial rage similar to how Vudrani call upon serenity.

A swashbuckler could just stay forever focused on cool deeds like in PF1, or he could go Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and learn to perch on walls while maneuvering through a battle. A gunslinger could just be a cowboy with an exceptional aim, or he could dodge bullets and free his mind like Neo.

Shucks, I'm going to design this class now.

Why is this different from fighter? Well basically, this would be the class for 'outside reality' fighters.


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Personally I agree that monk characters shouldn't be forced into the whole monastery shaolin lifestyle, just like how a rogue shouldn't have to be a scoundrel or criminal, or how a bard shouldn't have to be a music man that tries to get inside everyone's pants. I think mechanics are what should influence the class, and then players can use it to build the flavor around them. Otherwise, we wouldn't be getting sword wielding Kensei monks (yes, I know kensei were magi in pathfinder) and drunken tavern brawlers, or Lawful good rogues that are detectives.


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I think the should do a hard curve and go full Franciscan. Just copying books, drawing stuff in the margins, nailing large numbers of thesis to doors, just go the full nine yards on em.


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Jinjifra wrote:
I think the should do a hard curve and go full Franciscan. Just copying books, drawing stuff in the margins, nailing large numbers of thesis to doors, just go the full nine yards on em.

It sounds like you want to play Demon Wars: Reformation.


RangerWickett wrote:

I'm okay with the idea, Frosty Ace.

If "Bard" (which on earth means a person who composes plays or music) can mean a person who fences while singing, and who casts spells, and who happens to be well-informed about all manner of history . . .

Then "Martial Artist" (which on earth means a person who trains in fighting techniques primarily for the skill and sport, not for combat) can mean a person who boxes, uses weird weapons, is really good at meditating, and knows how to channel magic through his body (aka ki).

The important goal is for a monk to be more than 'the class that punches.' A 'martial artist' class could cover gunslinger, swashbuckler, brawler, hell, maybe even barbarian. ("My weapon is my rage.")

A mechanical hook would be 'focus,' which would combine the ideas of grit, panache, and ki. You would start by specializing in a group of weapons -- firearms, swords, unarmed, emotions -- and when you're focused you can do exceptional, and eventually superhuman things with that weapon.

You'd be able to potentially choose more weapons later through feats, or learn different cool styles to use with your weapon. Imagine, the new Inner Sea World Guide having sections for what Cheliax's famous fencing techniques are, and how a fight between a Taldan rondolero duelist and a Qadiran dervish would play out, or how Ulfen martial artists call upon bestial rage similar to how Vudrani call upon serenity.

A swashbuckler could just stay forever focused on cool deeds like in PF1, or he could go Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and learn to perch on walls while maneuvering through a battle. A gunslinger could just be a cowboy with an exceptional aim, or he could dodge bullets and free his mind like Neo.

Shucks, I'm going to design this class now.

Why is this different from fighter? Well basically, this would be the class for 'outside reality' fighters.

So, absorbing the Magus and several other classes, basically? I could see that. PF2 Magus is likely to completely lose "normal" spellcasting in favor of spell point abilities, so it might as well merge with the monk. Depending on the abilities you choose, you either go more overtly supernatural animu, or more subtle "internal power," but either way you are fighting with Ki regardless of whether than means channeling it through your fists or another weapon.


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Monk needs to be even more Weeaboo Fightan Magic. Having a number of supernatural abilities to spend Spell or Ki points on would help to give an identity beyond unarmed fighter.


I do agree that Monk shouldn't just be "Asian" the class, there should be monks who aren't Asian-styled and there should be nothing preventing characters from lands reminiscent of Asia from other class concepts.

It definitely needs the flavour of "Mystic warrior who perfects themselves through a philosophy of asceticism", but nothing about that limits the character concept to Shaolin monks. If you remove the mystic aspect of perfecting yourself through a philosophy, then the just have "Warrior who has a philosophy he lives by" which could apply to nearly any martial class and doesn't require anything beyond Fighter or even just taking the Warrior background.

IMO it's especially important considering clerics can no longer follow philosophies in second edition.


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I don't think the name change is necessary or likely but I do like the idea of the monk being the primary supernatural martial class rather than be stuck with a single theme.

Hell my favorite version of the monk is the one from Diablo III who was an Russian Rasputin mixed with a bit of the traditional shaolin who worshipped 1000 gods and tattooed each one on his/her body.


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Jinjifra wrote:
I think the should do a hard curve and go full Franciscan. Just copying books, drawing stuff in the margins, nailing large numbers of thesis to doors, just go the full nine yards on em.

Sure, but remember that any more than 95 theses would be overpowered.

I like Frosty Ace's notion and RangerWickett's description that monks could be the "outside reality" martials. But Jinjifra's suggestion of Fransciscan hits the mark. The monk class should be flexible enough to represent borrow from eastern traditions and western traditions.

Except Martin Luther was in the Augustinian order rather than the Franciscan order. (Okay, you can guess my religion now. My church just spent the last year celebrating the 500th anniversary of those 95 theses.)

I was disappointed in the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition monk. The introductory text described him as extraordinarily diplomatic, but to support that, the class was merely given Diplomacy and Sense Motive as class skills, 4+Int skill points, and at 17th level Tongues. Pathfinder decided to emphasize ki-based fighting ability instead and dropped the Diplomacy skill, which made the monk more coherent but less interesting to me.

Chaos reigns in several Pathfinder classes. The bard gets by on his carefree attitude giving rise to songs in his heart. The rogue honed his skills by cheating the law. The barbarian hangs his abilities off of untamed rage. The ranger stepped away from civilization to live in the wilderness. Balance is more interesting. Every wizard who studiously read arcane tomes is balanced against a sorcerer who effortlessly found himself born with arcane power. The war-trained fighter and the code-bound paladin and studious wizard deserve the disciplined monk standing with them to represent enlightenment and self control.

I would like the monk to have several disciplines open to him to match the wizard's schools, the sorcerer's bloodlines, the cleric's domains, the ranger's combat styles and favored terrains, and the barbarian's totems. He can be a master of unarmed strike, of flurry of blows, of exotic weapons, of the zen of archery, of martial-art stances, of ki mastery, ... or of the serene diplomatic word, of the cloistered library, of athletic prowess, of ascetic self-denial, and many other disciplines that were ignored in favor of combat. Pick any three.


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I am against the name change, Martial Artist is a Fighter, and vice versa. Martial Arts are not just East-Asian unarmed fighting styles, but encompass everything from Spanish sword fighting to Pankration.

The slightly forced part for me is Ki, as that instantly takes me to Japan, which is fine, for some monks. Like others, I also like the monk class to represent many types, Shaolin, Bloodguard (Bannor, the Haruchai), Wuxia, Aesthetics, Kensei, Yogis. I would still like the option to talk to plants.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think there's a lot of design space within the "martial mystic" trope that's still underexplored. Baking more options into the class besides the Shaolin pop staples will go a long way toward making the Monk feel like its own class, rather than an overly specific archetype.


you know I think some people wishes friar tuck one of the monk archtypes but the point of making monk with cleric based fluff is either kinda hard but but i kinda like to atleast read about it.


khadgar567 wrote:
you know I think some people wishes friar tuck one of the monk archtypes but the point of making monk with cleric based fluff is either kinda hard but but i kinda like to atleast read about it.

Speaking of, it would be nice to have an unarmoured archetype or something for the cleric.


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It would help if Paizo's setting had any non-'eastern' monasteries of prominence.

If, like, Ustalav had iconic monks who learn to purify their body to resist curses -- and they wore 'western'-style monk robes, that'd expand what monks can be. If Osirion had orders of desert ascetics who pray at temples to the old pantheon, hoping to recapture the light of civilization that has not truly been seen since before the Age of Darkness, that's evocative.

The last 'monk' I had in a game was a villainous holy monk (referred to as a Godhand) who was convinced he was doing the right thing by burning alive worshipers of evil gods, to purify them. The term 'ki' made no sense for him.

I think 'Focus' or even 'Energy' works better.

Silver Crusade

RangerWickett wrote:

It would help if Paizo's setting had any non-'eastern' monasteries of prominence.

If, like, Ustalav had iconic monks who learn to purify their body to resist curses -- and they wore 'western'-style monk robes, that'd expand what monks can be. If Osirion had orders of desert ascetics who pray at temples to the old pantheon, hoping to recapture the light of civilization that has not truly been seen since before the Age of Darkness, that's evocative.

The last 'monk' I had in a game was a villainous holy monk (referred to as a Godhand) who was convinced he was doing the right thing by burning alive worshipers of evil gods, to purify them. The term 'ki' made no sense for him.

I think 'Focus' or even 'Energy' works better.

I feel like the Hungry Ghost from PF1 would have worked well as an Ustalav style; it’s a shame if took so long to come online and had problems taking thematically appropriate styles (iirc).

I want to see non-human monasteries as well; GURPS 3ed Martial Arts has some great examples of this kind of thing


RangerWickett wrote:

It would help if Paizo's setting had any non-'eastern' monasteries of prominence.

If, like, Ustalav had iconic monks who learn to purify their body to resist curses -- and they wore 'western'-style monk robes, that'd expand what monks can be. If Osirion had orders of desert ascetics who pray at temples to the old pantheon, hoping to recapture the light of civilization that has not truly been seen since before the Age of Darkness, that's evocative.

I'm not familiar with Golarion, but I've been told by individual who do play in it that there are apparently Shelyn monasteries, Cheliax has devil themed monks, and that one of the main inner sea gods is basically a god of monks that is worshipped even in the non-eastern parts of Golarion?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
RangerWickett wrote:

It would help if Paizo's setting had any non-'eastern' monasteries of prominence.

If, like, Ustalav had iconic monks who learn to purify their body to resist curses -- and they wore 'western'-style monk robes, that'd expand what monks can be. If Osirion had orders of desert ascetics who pray at temples to the old pantheon, hoping to recapture the light of civilization that has not truly been seen since before the Age of Darkness, that's evocative.

I'm not familiar with Golarion, but I've been told by individual who do play in it that there are apparently Shelyn monasteries, Cheliax has devil themed monks, and that one of the main inner sea gods is basically a god of monks that is worshipped even in the non-eastern parts of Golarion?

Yeah, Irori is in the core 20, so he's pretty universal. And if I'm not mistaken, there are Osiriani monks. The Ouat, according the Pathfinder wiki, are a caste of sand-dwarf monks, and a couple of the Osiriani deities are mentioned as having monk worshippers. There's a fair bit of non-eastern monk flavor in the setting.


Brew Bird wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
RangerWickett wrote:

It would help if Paizo's setting had any non-'eastern' monasteries of prominence.

If, like, Ustalav had iconic monks who learn to purify their body to resist curses -- and they wore 'western'-style monk robes, that'd expand what monks can be. If Osirion had orders of desert ascetics who pray at temples to the old pantheon, hoping to recapture the light of civilization that has not truly been seen since before the Age of Darkness, that's evocative.

I'm not familiar with Golarion, but I've been told by individual who do play in it that there are apparently Shelyn monasteries, Cheliax has devil themed monks, and that one of the main inner sea gods is basically a god of monks that is worshipped even in the non-eastern parts of Golarion?
Yeah, Irori is in the core 20, so he's pretty universal. And if I'm not mistaken, there are Osiriani monks. The Ouat, according the Pathfinder wiki, are a caste of sand-dwarf monks,

That's cool, and nice to see dwarven monks get some love. There is a cool illustration of a dwarf mystic (warrior-monk, aesthetic cleric kit) in 2nd Ed AD&D Al-Qadim, always made me want to play a dwarf monk. Not possible in AD&D!


To clarify my idea with "Martial Artist," I want the unifying theme of the class to be perfection and subsequent transcendence , and there to be many paths to that goal, not just Asian traditions or monasticity.

All Monks should have Ki. If anything, Ki would be the things that makes the concept of Martial Artist work (Extraordinary and Supernatural fighting prowess). I feel it suits the Monk since the Fighter is about always being great in combat and making absolutely lethal most weapons. What I'd hope with Monks is for the class to have options for their paths to perfection. It could be anything really. Just as well, most martial arts come with philosophical teachings, and become a lifestyle (Part of "The Way" so to speak), meaning certain styles could could impact class abilities or even skills.

Also, archetypes will exist, right? Martial Artist could include Monks, Brawlers, Spell Fencers, etc...


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Weather Report wrote:
khadgar567 wrote:
you know I think some people wishes friar tuck one of the monk archtypes but the point of making monk with cleric based fluff is either kinda hard but but i kinda like to atleast read about it.
Speaking of, it would be nice to have an unarmoured archetype or something for the cleric.

Actually, I'd much rather have the system just generally support unarmored characters of all classes. Make it a feat (or two), and have it come online for everyone else later than it does for the Monk, but the Worldscape comic series had multiple archetypes introduced for the characters the series introduced (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Red Sonja, etc.) and all the archetypes had Monk-style AC bonuses. I'd rather the system not have to reach around its elbow to get to its thumb and just make that sort of thing a thing you can do out of the gate.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I definitely wouldn't mind a general unarmored archetype. The unarmored paladin might be especially entertaining.


Hmm I like that probably could do it with just a feats so a standard archetype from how they sound like there going to work with a few other options in there to build around the unarmored idea.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Here is how I would build the basic chasis of the monk.

Monks get Styles. Styles add to certain actions, and you can use any one applicable style when using a linked action. You start with 2 of these for free. You can pick up new ones or improve old ones with your Class Feats.

E.G I want to be difficult to escape. I pick up Crane Style and Bear Style at first level. Crane Style lets me move 5ft for free when making a Strike, I can use this movement before or after the strike. Bear Style allows me to deal damage for free with a successful Grapple.

Later I get a Class feat. I could improve Crane Style to 10ft, improve Bear to deal additional damage on the grapple or pick up something new like Adder Style, which adds DC to any poisons I use with a Stike. Or Boar Style to push enemies around with my Srikes etc.

Ki comes in the form of Spell Points (why invent a new mechanic to cover one that is already in the game) and are based of Wisdom. Styles give you new ways to spend these Spell Points. The aforementioned Crane Style lets you spend Spell Points to walk on air, the Bear to lift above your normal capacity, Maybe monkey gives you climb speed etc.


@Malk-Content. That's a great idea. I've had the general principle of it bouncing around in my head. There's already precedent for Monks and Styles (Master of Many styles: Perfect concept. Horrible execution), only add weapon styles to the mix. It always upset me how hard it was to make a Spear Dancing Monk in PF1, or even just a Bojutsu ascetic (Never was any real quarterstaff focus, despite it being so iconic for any Monk).

Another idea I had was to keep the class a Monk, but have them be warriors of their faith. Clerics would be messengers and conduits of deific magic, Paladins would be crusaders and defenders of their faith and all of its tenants, and Monks, thru abandonment of worldly desires and a pursuit of aceticism, bring themselves closer to their deity, eventually transcending humanity. I guess "Avatar" or "Paragon" would be an apt descriptor at that point.

Edit: It would also help the Monk keeps its legacy as a "monastic, ascetic warrior," and actually justify their alignment restriction.

Thinking about it more, Monks "pursuing" their respective deities opens a lot of fun ideas. Instead of domains, the focus could be purely on the deities preferred weapon. Each Monk has a type of weapon or style they choose to perfect in pursuit of becoming more like their chosen deity. They fight for their faith as their god would. Pretty badass, actually.


Tectorman wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
khadgar567 wrote:
you know I think some people wishes friar tuck one of the monk archtypes but the point of making monk with cleric based fluff is either kinda hard but but i kinda like to atleast read about it.
Speaking of, it would be nice to have an unarmoured archetype or something for the cleric.
Actually, I'd much rather have the system just generally support unarmored characters of all classes. Make it a feat (or two), and have it come online for everyone else later than it does for the Monk, but the Worldscape comic series had multiple archetypes introduced for the characters the series introduced (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Red Sonja, etc.) and all the archetypes had Monk-style AC bonuses. I'd rather the system not have to reach around its elbow to get to its thumb and just make that sort of thing a thing you can do out of the gate.

Yes, in 5th Ed, the Barbarian gets the Monk's Unarmoured Defence (but Con instead of WIs), and there is an option for the Cleric to get it, but I would like a way to open it up to more classes; Paladin with Unarmored Defence (Cha) would be nice. PF2 has a chance to address it right from the start.


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It's important for "unarmed, unarmored" to be a playstyle that anyone can build into because Clerics and Paladins of Irori exist. Outside of the specific Paladin archetype (which even still needed to multiclass with Monk to even approach being workable) in the PF1 paradigm it was largely impossible to make this concept in a way that satisfied the theme.


Arachnofiend wrote:
It's important for "unarmed, unarmored" to be a playstyle that anyone can build into because Clerics and Paladins of Irori exist.

While I appreciate Golarian, as a campaign setting world, it's neither here nor there, for me, in this case.


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I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.

Paladins, Wizards, Fighters, Bards, etc., they all come from different traditions and cultures.

So this one is an Asian thing. Big whoop?


Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.

It is.


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Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.

Naw.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like both Malk and Frost_ace's ideas, and wouldn't mind either being the way they ultimately went.

A couple ideas I've had: rather than free actions, style feats allow a monk to apply a weapon quality to their unarmed attacks, and possibly (or requiring higher level/a ki point) monk weapons as well. Want an unarmed strike that is deadly, sweeping, and deals slashing damage? Monk styles have you covered, and can even let you swap out for the next fight if other qualities would be better. This could be combined with Malk's idea pretty easily, and would make the weapon qualities table a tactical tool for every monk.

I also want to see monks tap the entire spectrum of magic types. Have wardens of the church that Frost_ace described access divine magic powers off the domain powers list, and maybe even off the paladin powers, an elemental manipulater that's using esoteric arcane magics, a chakra channeler that dabbles into Occult magics, and a primal focused monk that gets minor to major wildshape powers and possibly replaces the shifter class. And that's before getting REALLY interesting, like a transmuter that manipulates time itself or Fiend Worshipers that call hellfire and wrack their opponents with pain.

An entire monastic tradition is going to be, what, ten class feats max? And more realistically around five to seven? You can have all kind of weird powers and varying levels of anime inside the same monk chassis.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
Naw.

Yeah.


Weather Report wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
Naw.
Yeah.

Agree to disagree.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
Naw.
Yeah.
Agree to disagree.

Cool.


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Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.

The Monk archetype is a concept that exists in more cultures than Druids, which were a celtic only concept that didn't even have nature powers. The paladin class is based on a insanely specific group of twelve warriors of Charlemagne. The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder, doesn't even exist in any real world culture.


What I like about the "Martial Artist" idea is that the Monk name could then be used for an archetype. Monk is one of my fave classes too. I came late to D&D and I joined a 1e group and there was the monk and I was like: WTF is this! This is the most awesome and best thing I've heard of in my entire life!


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Milo v3 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
The Monk archetype is a concept that exists in more cultures than Druids, which were a celtic only concept that didn't even have nature powers. The paladin class is based on a insanely specific group of twelve warriors of Charlemagne. The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder, doesn't even exist in any real world culture.

I always heard the original monk was based on David Caridines character from Kung Fu. I think the characters name was Kwai Chang Caine.


Milo v3 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
The Monk archetype is a concept that exists in more cultures than Druids, which were a celtic only concept that didn't even have nature powers. The paladin class is based on a insanely specific group of twelve warriors of Charlemagne. The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder, doesn't even exist in any real world culture.

Yep, why outside the Fighter and Magic-User, it's extraneous and potentially offensive.

Now.


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The only thing holding Paladins, Druids, and Bards together is the fact that JRR Tolkien chose pan-European tropes on his books.

The need to assign Otherness to something is the only reason to discount the Monk from the PHB.

In real life, Asian cultures had much more impact on any civilization than, say, Celts.

Only reason why Druids aren't immediately considered as a fringe trope is because we speak English.

Milo v3 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
The Monk archetype is a concept that exists in more cultures than Druids, which were a celtic only concept that didn't even have nature powers. The paladin class is based on a insanely specific group of twelve warriors of Charlemagne. The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder, doesn't even exist in any real world culture.

Bards exist in traditional cultures. The Finnish Kalevala's protagonist is a straight up Bard who picks up magic songs as he goes. Ultra high charisma and the works.

Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
I don't see why people attack Wuxia like it's something out of the ordinary.
It is.
The Monk archetype is a concept that exists in more cultures than Druids, which were a celtic only concept that didn't even have nature powers. The paladin class is based on a insanely specific group of twelve warriors of Charlemagne. The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder, doesn't even exist in any real world culture.
I always heard the original monk was based on David Caridines character from Kung Fu. I think the characters name was Kwai Chang Caine.

Mechanically? Yes.

The trope? It's incredibly old. From Benkei in feudal Japan to Journey to the West, it's an archetype that dominated Asian folklore for thousands of years.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Bards exist in traditional cultures. The Finnish Kalevala's protagonist is a straight up Bard who picks up magic songs as he goes. Ultra high charisma and the works.

Yes, hence my problem.


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Secret Wizard wrote:


Bards exist in traditional cultures.

Bards yes. "The Bard concept as exists in Pathfinder"... Not really. Bards in ancient cultures were never ascribed as being mages who empower people or weave illusions. Bards were storytellers and poets. Bard doesn't even represent Orpheus very well.

Quote:
The Finnish Kalevala's protagonist is a straight up Bard who picks up magic songs as he goes. Ultra high charisma and the works.

Huh, so there are two Bards (rather than bards) in myth.

Weather Report wrote:


Yep, why outside the Fighter and Magic-User, it's extraneous and potentially offensive.

Now.

I have no idea what you're talking about.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
I always heard the original monk was based on David Caridines character from Kung Fu. I think the characters name was Kwai Chang Caine.

Mechanically? Yes.

The trope? It's incredibly old. From Benkei in feudal Japan to Journey to the West, it's an archetype that dominated Asian folklore for thousands of years.

Yep. I watched the Kung Fu TV series back in 1974. It influenced my views of how a D&D and Pathfinder monk should function.

A common plot was that Kwai Chang Caine, half-white half-Chinese Shaolin monk, walked into a small village in post-Gold-Rush California and was hired as a ranch hand. He had flashbacks to his boyhood in the monastery being trained by wise, blind Master Po. The town faced some troubles, often a bad guy and his gang, and Caine shared Master Po's wisdom to solve the problem. The bad guy realized that Caine was unifying the common folk against him, and showed up with two gunslingers to silence the Chinaman. In a flash of action, weaponless Caine disarmed, stunned, or knocked out his opponents before they could shoot. The bad guy was either arrested, if a bandit, or scurried away in embarrassment and left the village alone. Then Caine departed, because he was wanted for murder and was trying to keep a low profile.

The mechanics of Unarmed Strike and Flurry of Blows came out of the quick series of attacks to neutralize several opponents. Stunning Fist was from an older tradition, but it fit with the one-turn knockout theme.

The Bruce Lee martial arts movies were a bigger influence on the D&D monk. Bruce Lee fits D&D better as a game about frequent combat rather than a game about helping a village.

What I recall of the history of the Shaolin monks--correct me if I am wrong--is that a lot of soldiers retired to Buddhist monasteries. They repurposed their military disciple to religious discipline, which gave rise to a martial arts tradition in the Eastern monasteries. The monasteries did need to defend themselves from raiders, too, so the tradition had practical benefit.

A different tradition arose in Europe: retired soldiers became Knights Templar. The Knights Templar started as caravan guards for religious pilgrims. Over the generations, they added international trade and international banking to their international travel. Since bankers in times of usury were considered evil, and local lords often nullified their debts by accusing bankers of crimes and killing the debt holders, the Knights Templar ended up with a tarnished reputation.

The European monasteries developed a scholarly tradition rather than a marital-arts tradition. So long as the class calls itself "monk", I think it ought to have scholarship available to monks, too.

On the other hand, Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder often toss tradition into the wastebin in favor of good gaming mechanics. Consider the cleric. It is based on folklore about Christian priests and saints, but the clerics have little in common with them. Clerics do not preach nor serve congregations. Their Vancian spellcasting has almost no resemblence to prayer, the source of saints' miracles. Thus, the key question about monks is: What do we want to do when we play a monk?

I think the answer is cool martial arts, a few wuxia moves, and some kind of non-arcane magic that feels mystical rather than Vancian. I want skills and diplomacy, too, but I acknowledge that that is from my outdated vision based on a 1974 TV show. Also, before the unchained monk was developed, players were tired of the monk class being Multiple Attribute Dependent, relying much more on Strength rather than Dexterity, and limited by a 3/4 BAB.

A third agenda relates to the cleverness of Paizo designers. Some classes they developed illustrate obscure rules. The magus relies on the rule for touch attacks with held spells. The alchemist relies on the splash attack rules. Obscure rules are a bane to roleplaying games: we have to stop the game to look them up. Whenever someone says, "Hey, I know about splash attacks because I played an alchemist," then the rule is no longer obscure. The monk keeps the rules about unarmed attacks from being obscure. And most combat maneuvers are also a variant on unarmed attacks. Thus, I would like for the monk to make those rules come alive.


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Quote:
A different tradition arose in Europe: retired soldiers became Knights Templar. The Knights Templar started as caravan guards for religious pilgrims. Over the generations, they added international trade and international banking to their international travel. Since bankers in times of usury were considered evil, and local lords often nullified their debts by accusing bankers of crimes and killing the debt holders, the Knights Templar ended up with a tarnished reputation.

Just a comment on something dangerous here – usury wasn't "considered evil", having money as a guy without a castle made you a target for nobles to pillage.

The whole "usury is evil" is an ad-hoc justification for the efforts of royals to flush their coffers, in this case Phillip IV, and in the case of the jews, literally everybody.

"International banking" is a fantastic euphemism for what Knights Templar did though XD
Very few people portray Knights Templar as "the dudes that had a mind for business", which is cute I guess.

Quote:
A third agenda relates to the cleverness of Paizo designers. Some classes they developed illustrate obscure rules. The magus relies on the rule for touch attacks with held spells. The alchemist relies on the splash attack rules. Obscure rules are a bane to roleplaying games: we have to stop the game to look them up. Whenever someone says, "Hey, I know about splash attacks because I played an alchemist," then the rule is no longer obscure. The monk keeps the rules about unarmed attacks from being obscure. And most combat maneuvers are also a variant on unarmed attacks. Thus, I would like for the monk to make those rules come alive.

Perhaps there shouldn't be obscure rules in the first place, nu?


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Mathmuse wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
I always heard the original monk was based on David Caridines character from Kung Fu. I think the characters name was Kwai Chang Caine.

Mechanically? Yes.

The trope? It's incredibly old. From Benkei in feudal Japan to Journey to the West, it's an archetype that dominated Asian folklore for thousands of years.

Yep. I watched the Kung Fu TV series back in 1974. It influenced my views of how a D&D and Pathfinder monk should function.

A common plot was that Kwai Chang Caine, half-white half-Chinese Shaolin monk, walked into a small village in post-Gold-Rush California and was hired as a ranch hand. He had flashbacks to his boyhood in the monastery being trained by wise, blind Master Po. The town faced some troubles, often a bad guy and his gang, and Caine shared Master Po's wisdom to solve the problem. The bad guy realized that Caine was unifying the common folk against him, and showed up with two gunslingers to silence the Chinaman. In a flash of action, weaponless Caine disarmed, stunned, or knocked out his opponents before they could shoot. The bad guy was either arrested, if a bandit, or scurried away in embarrassment and left the village alone. Then Caine departed, because he was wanted for murder and was trying to keep a low profile.

The mechanics of Unarmed Strike and Flurry of Blows came out of the quick series of attacks to neutralize several opponents. Stunning Fist was from an older tradition, but it fit with the one-turn knockout theme.

The Bruce Lee martial arts movies were a bigger influence on the D&D monk. Bruce Lee fits D&D better as a game about frequent combat rather than a game about helping a village.

Funnily enough, Bruce Lee was originally to play the part of Caine, but due to racist marketing views of the time, they went with David.


Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
I always heard the original monk was based on David Caridines character from Kung Fu. I think the characters name was Kwai Chang Caine.

It was also based on the Destroyer novel series


Secret Wizard wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
A third agenda relates to the cleverness of Paizo designers. Some classes they developed illustrate obscure rules. The magus relies on the rule for touch attacks with held spells. The alchemist relies on the splash attack rules. Obscure rules are a bane to roleplaying games: we have to stop the game to look them up. Whenever someone says, "Hey, I know about splash attacks because I played an alchemist," then the rule is no longer obscure. The monk keeps the rules about unarmed attacks from being obscure. And most combat maneuvers are also a variant on unarmed attacks. Thus, I would like for the monk to make those rules come alive.
Perhaps there shouldn't be obscure rules in the first place, nu?

An obscure rule is a rule that has not come up in play before and that is difficult to look up in the rulebook. That Knowledge(arcane) rather than Knowledge(nature) is used to identify magical beasts can quickly be determined by reading the Knowledge section of the Skills chapter; hence, it is a detail rather than an obscure rule. The rules for Thrown Splash Weapons are hard to find. They are not under Equipment or the regular combat rules like other features of weapons. Instead, they are under the Special Attacks section of the combat rules between Mounted Combat and Two-Weapon Fighting. Fighting defensively is clearly under the Combat Rules, but no-one knows to look for those rules unless they know that fighting defensively is an option.

We could avoid obscure rules via having everything ordered neatly in the obvious place in the rulebook, but roleplaying games mimic life, and life is not neat and orderly. We could avoid obscure rules by building the actions only out of features that are used often, but that makes the game more repetitive and prevents innovation among the PCs. The clever solution, which Paizo used, is to make an obscure rule central to a class. Then people who played the class will be familiar with it.

However, when the class changes the rule, it is not as instructive. Untrained unarmed strikes provoke. The Improved Unarmed Strike feat removes that, and all monks have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, so monks don't illustrate that obscure rule. Maybe we should drop that rule.

What I would like, and it fits Jackie Chan's movies, is for unarmed strikes to count as improvised natural weapons. Then monks can become masters of improvised weapons, too. The Monk of the Empty Hand archetype uses improvised weapons, but it says don't use the improvised weapon rules, treat improvised weapons as a light hammer, club, or quarterstaff. The druid teaches about natural weapons, so we will have some overlap.


Mathmuse wrote:
However, when the class changes the rule, it is not as instructive. Untrained unarmed strikes provoke. The Improved Unarmed Strike feat removes that, and all monks have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, so monks don't illustrate that obscure rule. Maybe we should drop that rule.

I feel like monks actually do illustrate that rule, because when you see monks get Improved Unarmed Strike as a free feat, you wind up looking up that feat and see that it means you don't provoke with your unarmed strikes, leading to the understanding that unarmed strikes provoke, even if you've only skimmed the combat chapter.

Granted this doesn't work as much for classes outside the CRB, as I think it's reasonable to assume that everyone's read and is familiar with CRB classes, but it's not necessarily right to assume that everyone's familiar with other classes introduced later.

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