Wednesday, June 19, 2019

[Class] Disciple

There are many paths through life. Some take the high road and live virtuously. Some take the path of the sword- and some seek inner mastery. Disciples are those who study to seek enlightenment. The Path of the Shadowy Death teaches its users to starve themselves in dark places until one day they can fade into darkness and become one with shadow. There is the Path of Peace, which teaches that its users must be totally nonviolent, to experience the peace of the afterlife with their limited time. But by far the most famous and potent path is the Path of Many Ways.

Disciples of the Many Ways are martial experts. They learn martial arts, combat, and train their bodies relentlessly. Unlike many of the more strict paths, Disciples of the Many Ways are allowed to incorporate many training techniques and don't have the same ritualistic observances as other schools. This is the reason why all the Disciples you'll see adventuring are Disciples of the Many Ways. Disciples of the Many Ways can also seek wealth, wives, and can engage in pointless pursuits like violence or honor even if true masters shun such things. Young adherents are fully engrossed in worldly pursuits; this is all part of learning how much they don't matter.

HD- d8
Max AC- 14 / Minimum Hit-Points- 5

Disciples are warrior adherents. You've trained your body and mind into a weapon. You can still use all weapons/armor- you're just really good at Special Moves. You're a lot like a Monk.

Every Odd level, including 1st level, you get +1 to hit with all weapons and attacks. You also get +1 to saves versus poison at the same rate.

At 2nd, 4th,6th, and 8th level, you get +1 AC.

You are an expert at Blade Arts. Secret Techniques are something any class can learn, but you're the best at it. You can learn any number of Special Moves; and begin play with a Difficulty 1 Special Move at 1st level, rolled on the table below.

You are a martial artist. You deal 1d4 damage on an unarmed attack, where as most characters only deal 1d2 or 1d3. You also start with a single martial arts style. Martial Art Styles are required to use the enhanced damage die and special moves that use unarmed combat strikes or defense as a base. Styles are based on animals, the weather, a gemstone, etc. Every style encompasses the movements, strikes, and blocks flowing from that inspiration- but styles aren't perfect. If you are an expert at Snake style, then Mongoose style is your counter. Burning Emerald Fist is popular, because it counters the Killing Sapphire Strike, etc.

Whenever your style is countered, your opponent gains advantage on attack rolls against you and gains advantage on saving throws against your moves. These styles only work on martial arts, and have little effect on weapon users. You can switch styles at the start of a round.

If you are at least 7th level, you can make your own unique style. Making your own style involves meditation, study, and experimentation. You must observe an animal in nature, or own and find the fracture points of a 5,000c cost precious stone with your fingers, etc. It takes a season to create your style. Before this point, your character will need to learn new styles from Masters of the Many Ways. At 10th level you can start making multiple new styles.

Starting at 5th level, you gain a supernatural level of agility that lets you move on things that cannot support your weight. This ability scales further as you level further, eventually allowing you to run on water or balance on a spear's tip.

At 10th level, you become a Master of Many Ways. Masters are heralded as having learned enough from the many paths they've traveled, reaching a new level of understanding. Masters gain access to a Dojo, which is usually in a misty mountain or in some isolated place. Every Season, many new students will join the Dojo, but only 1d4-2 will remain at the end of the Season, to become 0th Level Disciples themselves, who can be trained further. After the first few years; you'll be famous and established enough to get invited to martial arts tournaments, have rival schools show up to beat up your students and vice versa, and be sought as a source of Wisdom and training in your styles from roaming Disciples of the Many Ways. Your most basic expenses of bland staple food, simple robes, and straw mats are taken care of for you and your students. Wandering Disciples that you train may move heaven and earth for you to simply gain a few new skills; you could shake them down for quite a lot of wealth, or trade knowledge for a few peaches.

Additionally, you gain the power of Stunning Fist. Whenever you land an unarmed martial arts attack, you can choose to make the result a one round stun instead of a damage roll, and you can do it after you have rolled the damage; picking a stun over a low damage roll. You can also chain this ability with any special moves or martial arts that require a successful attack roll- letting you perform 1d4+1 multiple debilitating martial arts moves in a single round's worth of attack. If you're already allowing this ability, then gain an extra attack instead.

Disciple Starting Special Moves – 1d10
[1] Throwing Bull Movement
Use the strength and momentum of your enemy against them. When engaged in a grapple, you can substitute your enemy's Strength modifier for your own if it's bigger. The maximum modifier you can swap is a +4; enemy's with levels of Strength above this are just too strong to fully control, but you can still keep up to +4 against gargantuan strength.

[2] Reach Heaven through Violence
Whenever you hit a foe with an attack roll of 20, put a tally mark on your sheet. Once you get 3 tally marks, you can create your own unique style based on a variation of your favorite one. Gorilla Twist style becomes Monkey Kick style, and so on. You can only create one style from this move.

[3] Old Man's Cane strikes at Spirits
When using a bo staff, you can strike at beings that can only be hit with magic weapons or spells. This only works with purely wooden implements; metal caps and sharpened points ruin the magic.

[4] Way of the Closed Fist
You deal +1 damage with unarmed attacks. This affects all styles equally; you strike with much more aggression then most practitioners.

[5] Contortionist slithers like Snake
You can move at half speed when bound, tied up, or otherwise stuck in place by anything you could feasibly move through. For instance, crawling like a worm when tied up, or 'swimming' through entangling roots. This doesn't work for being frozen in place or bound by a strong creature.

[6] Whirlwind sends back the Twigs
If you give up your attack roll, you have a 4 in 6 chance to deflect an arrow or throwing weapon as long as you're using a whip, nunchuck, or other flail like weapon. Even if you fail the deflect roll, the arrow still has to succeed against your AC. You can deflect arrows aimed at others behind or adjacent to you as well, but only one arrow per round.

[7] Immortal Prana Ember
If you fall to exactly 1 hit point, you can use up a combat round to perform a breath exercise that returns you up to 4 hit points. You can only do this once per adventure/day.

[8] Gorilla's Knuckle makes Thunder
This is actually a Difficulty 2 move, and you cannot use it yet. Everyone can learn this at the cost and training time of a Difficulty 1 move however. As part of learning this move, you constantly crack your knuckles until you can pull it off at 3rd level. By giving up your combat round to crack your knuckles, it creates a loud echoing noise that causes a morale check in animals.

[9] Defensive Ninjutsu
You get +1 to saves versus spells. You only get this benefit if you are totally unencumbered.

[10] Gleaming Sword speaks Truth
Any amount of times you can turn undead per day can be used instead for this ability. If you have a light level of at least a torch, and a highly polished mirror, weapons, or piece of armor, you can reflect light off of that object and at an undead creature dealing 1d4 damage of searing holy light, no save or attack roll needed. If you cannot turn undead, or have unlimited uses of turn undead, just let the character use this power 3 times per day.

I've been working on this class and it's adjoining 50 Special Moves post for a while. The Monk is a weird place in a game with a specialized Fighting class- you might be pressed to remove one and keep the other depending on what theme your campaign is going for. Anyway; here are some little thoughts or extra rules that are relevant to this class.

The Disciple gaining AC may seems a bit powerful without a max AC rule. In my game, your AC has a cap based on your class. This simply means you get to wear less armor to get to your cap. If you don't use this cap, then reduce this to +1 AC at levels 4 and 8.

Styles are countered by each other in a semi-logical and semi-allegorical sense. Crane style counters Frog style, as the Crane eats the Frog. But Crane style is countered by Rat style, as the wily rat steals the Crane's eggs. Rat style is countered by Monsoon style, as the rat is drowned by the flood. But you know what comes out after a Monsoon? Frogs. Gemstone styles and other more esoteric styles aren't countered as easily- for Gemstones I'd say they're countered by a prettier gemstone. So if an enemy Disciple pulls out the Gleaming Diamond Technique you'd probably want to switch styles.

Finally; the supernatural movement mechanic might be quite powerful, especially at level 5, but with this character class's lack of out of combat usefulness it might be a decent niche. Additionally, with Rogues getting supernatural or nearly supernatural climbing and saves, this could be bled into that class as well, just at a later level.

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