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Thread: Monks

  1. #1

    Monks

    Hiya. I was looking at the wiki, and noticed y'all's answer to the whole 'intigrating the monk' problem. Is it such a good idea to completly ban a core class like that?

    I mean, there's always the, 'Don't allow it in your game via house rules' option if you really just absolutely hate the idea, but 'Unarmed fighter who uses martial techniques and philosophical training to compensate for lack of weapon.' isn't something that's strictly limited to east Asian culture. Their "monks" are the most famous, to be sure, but the whole idea of trained martial discipline has been part of a ton of cultures worldwide; the Egyptians, the Greek wrestlers and atheletes, Roman gladiators, west African warrior socities, and so on. I'd rather there be rules for me to ignore, than no rules at all.

    Martial monasticism also fits pretty well into Cerilia's temple system: any church that studies the body, or has a monastic tradition could be spun into having Monk class characters, and the whole idea of a powerful abbot, religious leader who lives outside of the community, philosopher-king who comments on the secular leaders or even sets up seperate communities themselves is a fairly signifigant part of the fantasy picture of rulership. While Clerics and druids represent the "town priest", who bless the harvest, and run the hospice, and dabble in local politics, and generally try to take care of their communities, monks, along with paladins, represent the part of a religious community that seperates itself from the community, so as to be in a position of neutrality when critiquing the community, and to provide a place of isolation and contemplation for members of said community. The whole concept of blending the physical and spiritual until you ascend human limitations fits the doctrines of several of Cerilia's dieties as well; off the top of my head, I could see Kriesha, Haelyn, Avani, and Sera being open to followers expressing these ideas.

    You could even have a holding that builds off of these traditions; the Monestary, which works for Temple holdings much like a Castle does for Law holdings, maybe providing protection against outside agitation, giving a loyalty bonus that can be taken away by a canny regent, military support, and other benefits of a fortified spiritual center. This not only gives monks and paladins a type of holding to be "good" at, but also gives you room to develop unique spins on other fortifications; say, maybe a Library or College for Sources(Wizards, Sorcorers, Bards), and a Bank or a Trust for Guilds(Rogues, Nobles).

    Anyway, just seemed like something to think about.

  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 01:07 PM 2/6/2008, ThatSeanGuy wrote:

    >I was looking at the wiki, and noticed y`all`s answer to the whole
    >`intigrating the monk` problem. Is it such a good idea to completly
    >ban a core class like that?

    I`m of the opinion that it`s a really, really good idea to exclude
    monks from BR. At least, they should be excluded if one is basing a
    campaign on any of the existing materials.

    I don`t find anything like monks (in the D&D character class sense of
    that word) in the BR materials, and any inclusion of them in Cerilia
    diminishes the uniqueness of the setting, mucks up existing character
    class dynamics and is generally god-awful.

    That said, one of my favorite PCs of all time was a monk, and I still
    have fond memories of gaming with that character. I`ve played an
    Oriental Adventures version of BR set on another continent and, of
    course, monks work just great there. I`ve nothing against monks as a
    concept when used appropriately. They`re just horribly wrong for the
    a Cerilia-based BR campaign.

    Gary

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I think its monastic unarmed fighter that is banned. If you invented or found a OGL source for a wrestler or brawler, that would be as good as mentioning any other OGL source. A lot of the Monk class, however is so Asian that a Vos wrestler or a Rjurik brawler would look very different as a class, even though they might still include the same unarmed fighting abilities.

    Since you can replicate some of this with feats, a separate class may not be necessary.

  4. #4
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    What is a monk?

    Monks were available in AD&D, yet WotC intentionally excluded them from Birthright. The BRCS tries to match the AD&D rules where feasible. Excluding monks seems to be quite reasonable. As you say, house rules that give a basis for them to be included is fine, but certainly not in the BRCS. These house rules are free to be added to the wiki as house rules/alternatives to the BRCS.

    Personally I have always had trouble with what exactly was the role of a monk in any D&D world. Are they religious, ie. a new type of cleric? Are they warriors? Are they psionists? Are they magic-users? Are they just violent hippies? They seem to be oriental mystic priests but people keep trying to relate them to European cultures, e.g. Christian monks, which for me doesn't work. That is why I have trouble fitting them into the very non-oriental based Cerilia.

    I wish they had found a word other than "monk" to call them.

    Sorontar.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:49 PM 2/6/2008, Sorontar wrote:

    >Personally I have always had trouble with what exactly was the role
    >of a monk in any D&D world. Are they religious, ie. a new type of
    >cleric? Are they warriors? Are they psionists? Are they magic-users?
    >Are they just violent hippies? They seem to be oriental mystic
    >priests but people keep trying to relate them to European cultures,
    >e.g. Christian monks, which for me doesn`t work. That is why I have
    >trouble fitting them into the very non-oriental based Cerilia.

    According to some ancient source I read back in the 80`s the boys
    (Gygax et al) were into Remo Williams: The Destroyer books when they
    penned the info on D&D 1e monks. I don`t know if you`ve read any of
    those books (there was a movie) but they`re... well, they`re fun for
    a chuckle if you want to put your brain on autoread for a bit, but
    generally speaking pretty dumb. At least, those books are to monks
    and the martial arts what G.I. Joe comics are to the U.S. Army Field Manual.

    The other major source of their inspiration was the Kung-Fu TV show,
    which was, uh, well... you know, also good material for putting the
    brain on hold.

    Both those sources, however, feature a kind of omni-powerful martial
    arts character trying to work his way through Western culture. The
    D&D designers were substantially less successful than the creators of
    Remo or Kwai Chang.

    Gary

  6. #6
    I think its monastic unarmed fighter that is banned. If you invented or found a OGL source for a wrestler or brawler, that would be as good as mentioning any other OGL source. A lot of the Monk class, however is so Asian that a Vos wrestler or a Rjurik brawler would look very different as a class, even though they might still include the same unarmed fighting abilities.
    See, I disagree. The naming of the abilities is Asian, yeah, but that doesn't mean you can't have a brawler or wrestler who calls, say, "Diamond Body", "Erik's Perfect Oak" instead. Do we really need a prestiege class or a new core class to represent that?

    It seems to me that the argument is threefold;

    1) "It wasn't in the origional Birthright.": The Monk wasn't in the core book for 2nd Edition. You didn't see the class in Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, or any other world, even if the class was converted for 2nd Edition later. It is in the core materials for 3rd Edition: And in, for example, Ravenloft's 3E conversion, we see that some room has been made for the Monk. Furthermore, "It wasn't in the old version." isn't the be all end all of an argument for a revision; if someone doesn't like it, well, they're grownups. They can house rule the new spin out.

    2) "I don't like how the class works." I don't like how Wizards only get four level 1 spells at level 20. I'm not going to cut them out of a proposed revision of a campaign setting because of that-that's the perview of house rules. If you hate nunchucks, use boxing gloves, or broken bottles. From a fluff perspective, I don't see how 1st edition AD&D is pertinant to the conversation, or why something having a slightly cheesy inspiration means it's innately wrong. I mean, yeesh, have you seen some of the Conan movies?

    3) "It doesn't fit in the Birthright setting." Why? Orders of cloistered warriors exist in the setting. In basic D&D, the Monk is a philosopher who seperates from society in order to try and achieve physical or spiritual perfection, but because it's an adventure game, they went with 'jump kick in the face' powers instead of 'illuminate that handwritten text!' powers. The essential philosophy doesn't change, just the medium of expression. I don't see why the Monk cannot just have a similar role in the whole regency game as a paladin; a bridge between martial and religious power.

  7. #7
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Both Gary and I have made Birthright versions of the monk. Gary's was a BR-Oriental Adventures, mine was a Rjurik Brawler. It seems this topic can still get people bent out of shape as if their Diana Ross records got messed up.

    My first write up looked
    like this
    and was based on redecoration in the local style.

    My actuall Brawler never seems to have gotten posted, but I took away all the druid stuff and just left him a hand to hand fighter. Sure poison immunity is possible, but it makes sense (given genre conventions) why druids and monks can do it, but I dropped it from brawlers.

    In the end, I noticed that all of my fighter varients were buildable as Fighter Varients, and ditched the notion that they were different classes and just made them specific fighter builds.
    Last edited by kgauck; 02-07-2008 at 01:52 AM.

  8. #8
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    I always figured the monk would work best as a fusion of Khinasi and
    Vos philosophies- the Khinasi were all about knowledge and
    enlightenment, the Vos contributed the philosophy of personal physical
    improvement. There were border states along the frontier of those two
    cultures that would have been the appropriate place for this fusion to
    occur.

    --
    Daniel McSorley

  9. #9
    Both Gary and I have made Birthright versions of the monk. Gary's was a BR-Oriental Adventures, mine was a Rjurik Brawler. It seems this topic can still get people bent out of shape as if their Diana Ross records got messed up.
    I'm sorry, please don't get me wrong. It just seemd like a topic to, y'know, talk about. I thought that I was giving a rational argument, but if it came off as hystronic, I apologize.

    Just, well, I'm not too into elves, so it seemed like I was on my own for new topics.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The topic is fine, and you didn't come off hystrionic. This is just a topic with a history of controversy. And while Gary's post and mine have been somewhat skeptical, its not because we're closed minded on the subject.

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