Ruins of Adventure
The monk is a priest who belongs to a cloistered or monastic order, where he withdraws from the everyday affairs of the world around him to contemplate his faith. Powers of philosophy, thought, and scholarship are commonly represented by monks, as well as any deity that is not normally worshipped by the common people of an area. While monks are most often associated with oriental campaigns and settings, this specialty priest is not necessarily an oriental class—monastic orders can exist in almost any fantasy setting.
Monks believe that rigorous training of body, mind, and spirit leads to enlightenment. While monks do not attempt to minister to the masses or gather followers for their patron deity, they believe in demonstrating the qualities of their faith by example. A monastery or abbey is a place of learning and strength that is open to any person who requires shelter, advice, or assistance. Other monks choose to leave the abbey and travel widely, setting an example among the people they meet and help. Monasteries devoted to evil powers are sinister places where knowledge and wealth are hoarded for the use of the order, regardless of whom may need it.
The monk brings a variety of skills to the adventuring party. He is somewhat like the bard in that he is a jack of all trades and master of none. A monk is not a front-rank warrior, but he can be a very capable infiltrator and skirmisher. The monk’s selection of spells allows access to some of the most unusual and versatile priest spells, even if his spells tend to be short on sheer combat power. Like other priest characters, the monk’s principle role is to support and guide the party.
Base Class Statistics:
- Ability Requirements: Fitness 13, Knowledge 14, Intuition 15
- Alignments: Lawful (LG, LN, LE)
- Experience Chart: Cleric
- Hit Dice: d8
- Maximum Hit Dice: 9d8
- Additional Hit Points: +2 per level beyond 9th
- Attack: Priest
- Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Priest
- Rods/Staves/Wands: as Priest
- Petrification/Polymorph: as Priest
- Breath Weapon: as Priest
- Spell: as Priest
- Allowed Weapons: All Bludgeoning weapons
- Allowed Armor: None
Monks may not use magical items that simulate armor, such as bracers of defense, but they are allowed to wear cloaks or rings. Otherwise, they may use any magical item normally usable by priests.
Monks are trained to avoid blows through misdirection and positioning, and their base Armor Class improves by one point at every even level (AC 11 at 2nd level, AC 12 at 4th level, AC 13 at 6th level, and so on). Note that a monk must see the attack coming in order to use this benefit—backstabs, ambushes, or missile attacks from behind the monk will strike him as if he were unarmored.
Monks have exceptional skill in unarmed combat. When a monk makes an unarmed attack against an armed opponent, he disregards the Weapons in Defense rule, since he is trained in dealing with armed enemies. (Normally, this rule allows the armed character to attack first with a +4 on attack and damage rolls when another character makes an unarmed attack against him.) In addition, the monk begins play as a punching specialist, a wrestling specialist, or a martial arts specialist (effectively gaining a bonus weapon proficiency which must be spent on unarmed specialization). If the monk chooses martial arts as his preferred unarmed combat form, he must spend one of his initial weapon proficiencies to do so, since this is more difficult than specializing in punching or wrestling.
Every fourth level the monk gains an additional free weapon proficiency which can be used to continue specialization in his chosen mode of combat. These proficiency slots may only be spent on additional unarmed specialization.
Beginning at 5th level, monks are entitled to a saving throw vs. spell to block detection, scrying, or mind-reading through magical or psionic means (as the 3rd-level wizard spell nondetection). At 7th level, monks gain the special granted power of continual free action, which duplicates the effects of the 4th-level priest spell.
Monks never gain followers, but at 9th level a monk may receive permission to establish a monastery as an outpost of his order; if he does so, 10 to 40 monks of lower level will come to his monastery and take up their studies there, recognizing the PC monk as the head of their abbey.
Monks enjoy major access to the spheres of All, Astral, Divination, Guardian, Law, Numbers, and Thought. They have minor access to Combat, Healing, Necromantic, and Time. Monks cannot turn undead.
The monk receives his spells as insight directly from his deity (the deity does not need to make a personal appearance to grant the spells the monk prays for), as a sign of and reward for his faith, so he must take care not to abuse his power lest it be taken away as punishment (see Edicts and Anathema below). In addition to those spells gained by leveling (see the Table below), the monk gains a number of bonus spells based on his Intuition score. Bonus spells of a given level are not gained until the monk could cast at least 1 spell of that spell level normally.
Edicts and Anathema
Each God in the Realms her their own Edicts and defines certain actions that are Anathema for their Priests. A Priest who acts according to his god’s edicts earns one-and-a-half times the normal number of experience points (150%) from any action associated with enforcing the Edicts.
Contrarily, a Priest who goes against the edicts of his god and performs an action that is Anathema is punished. The gods are pragmatic however, and often allow all but the most corrupt repeat-offenders off with only a series of warnings. Lay followers, are not held to the same high standards as Priests, and are neither punished, nor rewarded, for upholding these tenants.
Each time a Priest performs an action that could be interpreted as Anathema, he immediately loses the highest level spell he has prepared. If he has multiple spells of the same level prepared, the DM will select one at random. Repeat offenses result in further loss of spells.
If the Priest performs an Anathema action when he has no spells prepared (having either cast them all or lost them), he becomes subject to a Ban. A priest under a Ban loses the ability to prepare or cast further spells and to use any of the granted powers of his Religion for the next day (24 hours). If he again performs an Anthema act during this time, the Ban is extended to 1 week. Further violations during the time of the Ban extend the period to 1 month, then 1 season, and finally 1 year.
Changing Religions: A priest who is in good standing with his god is also bound to that god—his soul is not his own, and even should his faith waiver, no other god will accept his service so long as his own god still claims him.
However, a Priest who has been subjected to a Ban due to repeated disobedience is free to seek a new patron. While the Ban is in place, he may seek out a Temple of another god and petition the deity and its clergy to accept him into the fold. This almost always requires some service on the Priest’s part, and proof of his desire to dedicate himself to the new god’s edicts. Once accepted by the new faith, he becomes in all respects as Priest of his new Religion, retaining his present level, but replacing all powers and abilities granted by his old Religion with the new.
If a fifth violation be performed during the Ban (after the ban has reached a year), the Priest is stripped of all powers by his god. He loses ALL experience and benefits of his Priest class (including hit dice, attack bonuses, saving throws, and even proficiencies). He is reduced to 0 experience points and must select a new Class.
A Priest who has been completely stripped of power by his god is shunned by all the gods. None will accept a Priest who has proven himself so absolutely faithless. All prior experience is lost and he must re-train in a new profession.
The sole exception is those gods who are truly antagonistic to each other (such as The Blessed Afflictor and Duvan’Ku). Such gods will accept the worship of those who so flagrantly insult their nemesis. In such cases, the ex-Priest may be accepted as a Priest by the new religion, but must still start his career anew as a 1st-level Priest with 0 experience.