The Quintessential Monk

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The Quintessential Monk
Quintessential Monk Cover.jpeg
Abbreviation: QM
Author: Patrick Younts
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Release Date: Out of Print (November 2002)
Format: Softcover
Page Count: 130
ISBN-10: 1903980402
Price: $3.96
Product Blurb:
The square-jawed, half-orc boxer, yearning to be a legitimate champion but beholden to the whims of a gangster cartel. The halfling acrobat, running up walls and tumbling from rooftop to rooftop as easily as he cartwheels across the stage. The serene elf bodyguard, slender and graceful but able to crush a giant's skull with a single kick. The wandering philosopher, slow to anger but an implacable defender of the poor. All are monks and all can be created using the rules and guidelines presented here, in The Quintessential Monk. With this sourcebook you will be able to create any sort of martial artist that you can imagine, as the rules presented within greatly expand the horizons of the monk, allowing him to become perhaps the most versatile and diverse class available.
This text is quoted from promotion material. Text and images are copyrighted by the original publisher.


Character Concepts[edit]

Not all monks spend their days meditating behind monastery walls. Whether a broken-nosed pugilist fighting in squalid back alleys, a classically trained actor re-enacting heroic legends on the stage or a fugitive monk forced to flee the ashes of his temple, every monk has a unique story to tell. Karate Recorder Character Concepts are a core idea for the Quintessential series of sourcebooks from Mongoose Publishing and provide a range of templates for each character class that allow players to quickly and easily create background for every new character. As well as providing both a small bonus and penalty to his character's capabilities, each character concept gives a ready base for role-playing, thus greatly shortening the time taken during character creation, as well as granting that oft-needed inspiration so important for a player to feel 'athome' with his new character.

Any one character concept may be applied to a character as it is being created. If chosen, a character concept is considered in addition to the basic monk class. From this point forth, both the player and the Games Master should be aware of the character concept chosen and take steps to ensure the character is played accordingly. It must be stressed: character concepts are a role-playing tool, not simply a method to gain lots of new abilities!


"You are envious of what I have achieved, yes? But if you knew what I have sacrificed, you might reconsider."

The practice of removing one's reproductive organs is a long-standing tradition in some societies. Often it is done as a punishment, to ensure the end of a traitor's line or, more commonly, to create elite guards, for harems and the like, who are immune to temptations of the flesh. Other times, the castration is voluntary, a way for the subject to remove the perceived weakness of sexual lust and focus the mind. These voluntary eunuchs occupy, or seek to achieve, trusted positions within powerful organizations, gaining considerable influence and wealth in the process. Many eunuchs immerse themselves in the way of the monk, more for the development of subtle mental and martial strength than the desire for enlightenment.

Adventuring: Most eunuchs see adventuring as a means to an end, by developing their fighting skills, acquiring gold or magic and gaining a reputation as a great warrior, eunuchs seek to take their place among the ruling elite. Others are forced to become adventurers after they find themselves out of favour in the noble courts, most often as a consequence of one of their own failed plots. On the run, they make alliances with other adventurers, hoping that strength in numbers will keep them safe from retaliation.

Roleplaying: Eunuchs are driven by the need to acquire power; everything else is secondary to that desire. They tend to be cautious, considering all facets of situations before responding, knowing that a single ill-considered action can irrevocably ruin their plans for greatness. Eunuchs have few, if any, real friends, though they will claim many as such - people are tools to be used and discarded when necessary and emotional attachments simply complicate matters. Still, eunuchs value known commodities and will not betray their companions on a whim, remaining loyal so long as it is in their best interests to do so.

Bonuses: Eunuchs' single-minded pursuit of wealth and power gives them unshakable resolve. They receive the Iron Will feat for free at first level. In addition they receive permanent +2 insight bonuses to all Sense Motive and Bluff checks relating to members of their own gender.

Penalties: In addition to sacrificing their reproductive organs, eunuchs have great trouble understanding the motives and desires of the opposite sex. Eunuchs suffer -4 penalties to all Charisma checks involving members of the opposite sex.

Temple Orphan[edit]

"This unworthy begs you to sheathe your blade. I do not wish to hurt you."

Every year hundreds of infants are abandoned on the steps of monasteries around the world, usually because their families are too poor to provide for them. Most temples make it a practice to adopt these cast-offs, teaching them the ways of the order in exchange for years of work as cooks, gardeners and general laborers. Since they know no family outside the temple's brotherhood or lifestyle other than the regimented monastic existence, temple orphans spend their formative years concerned only with the quest for self-perfection, honing their martial skills to a razor's edge.

Adventuring: Many temple orphans never willingly leave the comfort of their monasteries, viewing the intrusions of the outer world as unwelcome distractions from their pursuit of self perfection. A few of these sorts are forced into lives of adventure when their elders send them in pursuit of stolen temple relics or into service as advisors, ambassadors or guards to royalty. Other temple orphans actively seek out adventure, fleeing the confines of their monasteries at the earliest opportunity. Very often, they are surprised at how woefully their years of meditation and practice have prepared them for the challenges of the larger world.

Roleplaying: Sheltered by decades of isolation in monasteries, temple orphans see the outside world as an alien environment. some are overwhelmed by, and fearful of, the new and exotic cultures and sights they are exposed to, while others react with wonder and child-like enthusiasm. They tend to see the world as black and white and, accustomed to the honesty of their fellow monks, take people at their word. Many temple orphans quickly tire of the chaos and uncertainty of world beyond their temple's walls and seek to return home as soon as possible. The rest thrive on that same chaos, holding true to their early training, they never fully immerse themselves in it, more an interested observer than an active participant.

Bonuses: Temple orphans approached their early monastic training with the utmost dedication. They receive 8 bonus skill points at first level, 6 of which can be spent on any monk class skill. The other two must be spent on Profession or Craft skill.

Penalties: Due to the fact temple orphans have witnessed so little of the world outside their temple, they are more naive and trusting than they should be. Temple orphans receive a -4 penalty to all Bluff, Sense Motive and Intimidate checks at first level. These penalties decrease by one each time the temple orphan gains a level, until they no longer suffer any such penalties at fifth level.


"Pardon miss. Could you pick up me teeth?"

Not every unarmed fighter comes from a monastery and not every martial art was developed by monks. Pugilists, or boxers, learn to fight on the streets hone their skills in countless prize-fights, both legal and illegal. By tradition, boxers are not allowed to kick or strike below the waist, so pugilists rely on their fists and elbows in and outside the ring. Though their techniques aren't flashy, true pugilists are finely trained martial artists, able to defeat any foe with precise, brutal efficiency.

Adventuring: Some pugilists, particularly those from large cities, never leave their hometown, but most live the life of the open road, travelling from city to city and fair to fair, fighting for a share of slim prize purses. After a few years of such hard living, many try their hand at full-time adventuring, lured by tales of vast treasure vaults waiting for those with the strength to claim them. Most pugilists try to convince themselves that they will retire after one big score, whilst a few do, the rest quickly become addicted to the challenge of putting their fists against sword and claw, fighting on until old age or, more likely, a violent demise, claims them.

Roleplaying: Pugilists are tough-as-nails warriors who relish the opportunity to test themselves in unarmed combat. At their worst, pugilists are crude, brutal thugs addicted to the feeling of bone crunching beneath their fists; at their best they are local or even national heroes who embody the fighting spirit of their community. Though pugilists are sometimes unrefined, they possess an earthy magnetism that the common man can easily relate to, so pugilists are often their adventuring party's mouthpiece, especially in poorer neighbourhoods.

Bonuses: Pugilists are fanatically dedicated to brutal training regimes that dramatically increase their punching power. They gain new unarmed damage dice one level earlier than other monks, receiving their first increase at level three, their second at level seven and so on. Additionally, pugilists understand the value of intimidating their opponents, so Intimidation is a class skill for pugilists.

Penalties: Since boxing rings are so small, pugilists put less emphasis on mobility and acrobatics than other monks. Pugilists do not receive tumbling as a class skill. Additionally, pugilists gain unarmoured speed bonuses one level later than other monks, receiving their first increase after four levels, their second after seven and so on.


Many wanderers are monks who have traded the structured routine of the monastery for the freedom of the open road. Some are students of obscure family styles, leaving the village to bring fame to their art. Others have chosen the way of the knight-errant, wandering the frontier and setting their martial skills against monsters and bandits who prey on outlying villages. Regardless of their origin, all wanderers share a deep, restless passion for discovery, a need to see the land beyond the next hill and to overcome its challenges.

Adventuring: Wanderers don't seek out adventure, it finds them. The desperate and the helpless are drawn to wanderers and, in turn, wanderers are drawn to help them. Wanderers make fine additions to most adventuring parties; they recognize the advantages of their partners' diverse skills and, though most see little use in wealth, are happy to help their friends find gold and fame.

Roleplaying: On the whole, wanderers are more open and friendly than other monks; they seek enlightenment through worldly experience and are not afraid to put themselves in situations where the boundaries of their personal and religious ethics are pushed to the limits. Having tested themselves in this manner again and again, wanderers are comfortable with who they are and what they are capable of, acting as a calming influence and wise counselor to their friends and adventuring partners.

Bonuses: Wanderers are accustomed to life in the wilderness and many can survive there indefinitely. Wilderness Lore is a class skill for wanderers. Additionally, at character creation they have 4 bonus skill points which are automatically assigned to Wilderness Lore.

Penalties: Wanderers have no use for the niceties of polite society and prefer exploration of the open roads to the contemplation of the soul's pathways. They do not have Diplomacy or Knowledge (arcana) as class skills. In addition, they are required to have maximum ranks of Wilderness Lore at each level.

Former Sumotori[edit]

The history of sumo wrestling stretches back millenia, to a legendary battle between giants that changed the shape of the world. Sumo competitions are equal part sporting match and cultural event, precisely orchestrated ritual clashes that capture the attention and passions of entire nations. Sumotori are athletes unlike any other - through a combination of high fat diets and torturous, all-day training sessions, they gain enormous fatty bulk while simultaneously achieving the highest levels of physical fitness. The greatest sumotori are revered as national heroes, accorded glory equal to the most storied adventurers.

Adventuring: Though successful sumotori can achieve great wealth and fame, the vast majority toil in obscurity until age or injury forces them into retirement. Those who refuse to accept such an ignoble fate turn to adventuring, hoping that courage and raw power serve them better in the dungeon than it did in the ring. Former sumotori make excellent adventurers, as their grueling training has well prepared them for the hardships of the adventuring life.

Roleplaying: Former sumotori who turn to adventuring have an air of quiet desperation about them. Filled with uncertainty after abandoning their long cherished dreams of arena glory, they can be easy prey for the unscrupulous. More than a few sumotori have become enmeshed in organized crime, serving as hired muscle for minor crime lords. Former sumotori lucky enough to join heroic adventuring bands, particularly successful ones, quickly become the party's unshakable foundation and, having discovered their new place in the world, they will fight with all their considerable power to protect it.

Bonuses: Sumotori can train their bodies to withstand almost inhuman amounts of punishment. They receive the Toughness feat for free at first level. Furthermore so long as they continue to train extensively, sumotori may roll twice for their monk hit dice, taking the higher of the two rolls.

Penalties: Though more nimble than their bulk would suggest, and far faster than any non-monk, sumotori are not as quick as their smaller brethren. As a result, they gain unarmoured speed bonuses two levels later than normal, with their first increase at fifth level, their second at eight and so on.

Fugitive Monk[edit]

Though most orders of monks carefully maintain political neutrality, many despots grow fearful of their martial strength and enigmatic natures, coming to view them as potentially deadly rivals. To eliminate the imagined threat, they subvert the orders with bribery and blackmail, then strike with overwhelming military force, razing the temples and putting the monks to the sword. Invariably, despite the despot's best efforts, a few monks survive, often due to being overlooked by the attackers or being away from the temple at the time. Fleeing to the wilderness or nearby villages, these fugitive monks disappear for years or even decades, resurfacing to wage guerrilla war against their betrayers, a deadly threat of their enemies' own design.

Adventuring: Fugitive monks are driven to vengeance against those who destroyed their order. They actively recruit allies, viewing adventurers as potent weapons in their personal war. Though they dislike abandoning their mission for long, they are not so single-minded that they refuse other quests, seeing every adventure as a chance to hone their fighting skills and recover useful magic. If and when fugitive monks complete their vengeance quest, they turn their attentions to rebuilding their order, continuing to adventure until they have enough money and fame to reconstruct their temples and attract new students.

Roleplaying: Whilst fugitive monks hunger for revenge, their hatred is tempered by years of quiet meditation and contemplation - they often seem calm and dispassionate, even while single-handedly laying waste to entire enemy patrols. Having endured the worst sort of betrayal, fugitive monks rarely trust anyone and even companions they have known for years will often be kept at a distance.

Bonuses: Fugitive monks are driven to seek vengeance against the organization that destroyed their temple. They may choose a favoured enemy as the ranger, however, the bonus applies only to members of that organization (tribe, gang, cult, military troops, etc.) and does not increase as the monk gains levels.

Penalties: Forced to flee the destruction of their temples before their training was complete, fugitive monks lack the strong base of skills other monks enjoy. They receive only half the normal number of skill points at first level and may assign no more than two ranks to any skill.

Temple Swordsman[edit]

The blade cuts, the body directs the blade... but it is the mind that strikes the killing blow.

As an aid to meditation and a means of practical self defence, monks are taught the use of various weapons. Some monastic orders and family schools take their weapons training a step further, selecting a single weapon and training its use to the exclusion of all others. Temple swordsmen are initiates of these orders, philosophical warriors who see their weapons as extensions of their souls.

Adventuring: Some temple swordsmen become adventurers out of a sense of duty, feeling that their great skill gives them the responsibility to protect the weak from the deprivations of monsters and unscrupulous men. Others see adventuring as a test; by pitting their skills against the world's greatest dangers they prove themselves worthy of their masters' attention. Temple swordsmen are valuable members of any adventuring party - what they lack in raw weapon power they make up for with esoteric techniques and sheer combat speed.

Roleplaying: Many temple swordsmen enjoy quiet contemplation and view their sword practice as an almost holy pursuit; possessing a calmness of spirit that is unshakable they endeavour to set a good and righteous example for their companions. Others are more flamboyant, viewing martial arts training as a means of achieving great fame as warriors. Uninterested in quiet contemplation or self discovery, they enjoy boisterous companions and raucous celebration, though they practice moderation in indulging their vices, knowing that excess leads to weakness of the martial spirit.

Bonuses: Temple swordsmen gain proficiency in any single melee weapon presented here (except the flying guillotine) or in Core Rulebook I.

Penalties: In order to hone their exceptional skill with their chosen weapon, temple swordsmen forsake all others. They are not, nor may they ever become, proficient in any other weapon, even if multiclassed. The single exception to this is a temple swordsman who studies the Smoke Sword style (see Alternative Fighting Schools). A member of this school who is a temple swordsman gains proficiency in both the escrima stick and kris knife should he select either of these weapons (see Tools of the Trade).

Pirate of the Eastern Seas[edit]

The pirate fleets that haunt the eastern shipping lanes are infamous for their audacious cruelty and ruthless martial skill. Over the centuries many disgraced monks have found a home with the pirates, so there is a long tradition of martial arts within the fleets. Though other monks often take a dim view of the behaviour of their seafaring counterparts, even they respect the formidable fighting prowess of the pirates of the eastern seas.

Adventuring: The pirate's life is one of constant adventure, a desperate struggle against the sea and the law. Some pirates view the life of the typical adventurer as an escape from the cycle of violence and fear, abandoning ship at the earliest opportunity to seek their fortune on the docks; others flee when their ships are seized or destroyed by rival pirates or military forces. Constantly on the run, they join adventuring bands as a way of finding safety in numbers.

Roleplaying: Pirates of the eastern seas are exposed to constant cruelty from a young age and never forget those early lessons. They have no regard for the well-being of others and are unmoved by even the most wretched pleas of their victims. A precious few come to regret their beliefs and attempt to atone for their actions by working for the common good, but such pirates are the rare exception.

Bonuses: Pirates of the eastern seas are not constrained by the morals, laws and beliefs of polite society. They are restricted to Evil or Neutral alignments at character creation.

Penalties: To describe pirates of the eastern seas as merely crude is a compliment. They do not have access to Diplomacy, Knowledge (arcana) or Perform as class skills. Additionally, they are required to have maximum ranks in the Swim skill at each level. Lastly those who sailed amongst the pirates for long might well have earned a bounty (or three) upon their heads for taking part in crimes committed by the pirates.

Secret Society Member[edit]

The first secret martial arts societies were created in response to government-sponsored destruction of famous monasteries. The founders of the societies were fugitive monks who sought to overthrow the ruling government by raising and training secret armies of martial artists. The societies shrouded their activities under layers of passwords and hidden symbols until, as the founders died and years turned into centuries, they lost sight of their original goals and only the culture of secrecy remained. Now, most of the secret societies have become criminal gangs also known as triads or tongs, or religious cults dedicated to the worship of forgotten gods and esoteric philosophies.

Adventuring: Secret society members become adventurers for any number of reasons. Some are assigned to accompany adventuring bands, either as spies or as recruiting agents. Others adventure as a sideline to their criminal activities, a way to develop their fighting skills and earn extra gold. A few see adventuring as the means of escaping their society's clutches and end up dragging their fellow adventurers into a shadow war with their former associates.

Roleplaying: The secret society member is only comfortable when he knows more about his companions than they know about him. They have few close friends outside their order and are tight lipped and reserved around strangers and casual acquaintances. They are suspicious by nature and most have little trust for any authority outside their order's hierarchy. Society members who are fleeing their order will be even more guarded and paranoid, though they will be careful not to alienate their adventuring companions.

Bonuses: Secret societies must exercise great discretion if they hope to survive. They gain Innuendo as a class skill.

Penalties: Secret society members do not have Diplomacy as a class skill.


The martial and performing arts have been intertwined for centuries. The graceful movements and lightning-fast flourishes of most martial arts styles are easily adapted to the stage and very appropriate for the myriad plays and operas celebrating the exploits of legendary heroes. Many monk performers are members of opera troupes that specialize in the performance of these legends, trained in arts that blend acting, dance and martial skill equally, they are masterful acrobats but lack the fighting abilities of other monks. The rest find work as street acrobats, eking out a living with impromptu tumbling and weapons displays in open air markets and upon street corners.

Adventuring: Most performers become adventurers out of a desire to emulate the heroes they portray on stage. For some, the line between performer and performance becomes blurred and they begin to believe that they are the spiritual heir of the warriors of old. Still others, particularly street acrobats, adventure because they cannot afford to eat if they don't.

Roleplaying: Most performers are flashy and flamboyant by nature, hungry for the admiration of the crowd. They never walk when they can strut and never talk when they can orate. Performers see little difference between combat and stage performance; with flourished spins they display their bodies and skill with reckless abandon. Performers get along famously with bards, though they see them as friendly rivals, and are often the heart of an adventuring band, lightening the moods of their stodgy fellows with levity and irrepressible joy.

Bonuses: Performers specialize in crowd-pleasing acrobatic displays and impressive, if impractical, weapon flourishes. They receive the Opera Training feat for free. Many are also skilled actors and imitators, so Disguise is a class skill for performers.

Penalties: Though the performer's weapon and unarmed fighting displays are visually impressive, they are not as effective as the techniques of other martial artists. They improve their unarmed damage dice one level later than normal, with their first increase at fifth level, their second at eighth and so on.


The study of anatomy and physiology is an important component of most martial arts. In fact, many cultures considered a martial artist to be a master only if he can heal as easily as he kills, so many monasteries and schools serve double duties as hospitals, especially in poor and rural areas. Monks who are particularly skilled healers are sometimes referred to as bonesetters, in a somewhat snide reference to the fact that they spend much of their time healing the broken bones of others, often those they've defeated in challenge matches.

Adventuring: Many bonesetters become adventurers out of a sincere desire to help the downtrodden. Knowing that the peasants of poor, rural communities rarely have access to medicine, especially those who live under the thumb of tyrants or in monster-infested wilderness, they take it upon themselves to act as doctor and shepherd to the community. Many proactive bonesetters view tyrants and predatory monsters as simply another 'disease' and consider their destruction a logical extension of their work as community healers. Others adventure hoping to collect esoteric healing knowledge from far flung cultures and ancient tomes, the better to perfect their healing arts. In any case, their knowledge of healing and compassionate natures make bonesetters an asset to any adventuring party.

Roleplaying: Bonesetters are compassionate by nature, with a tendency to treat even their close friends and family as patients, offering counsel on life and health that is honest, if occasionally blunt. Most are enraged by cruelty, having seen the pain of needless violence first hand, they have nothing but contempt for bullies and thugs. A few take their hatred of violence to an extreme, becoming sworn pacifists, but most simply practice restraint in their use of force.

Bonuses: Gifted natural healers, bonesetters have Heal (acupuncture) as a class skill. Additionally, they receive 4 ranks in Heal for free at 1st level.

Penalties: Bonesetters cannot be of evil alignment. Additionally, their years of diligent training in the healing arts leaves them no time for the contemplation of the world at large, so Knowledge (arcana) is a cross class skill. Finally, bonesetters are required to maintain maximum ranks in Heal (acupuncture) at each level.

Non-Humans and Character Concepts[edit]

The character concepts presented above draw their inspiration from the archetypal cultures of martial arts fantasy. As such, though all the concepts can be applied to any character, not all are appropriate for typical members of the various non-human races. The following are guidelines for applying character concepts to non-human characters.

Dwarf Concepts[edit]

The archetypal dwarf is industrious, gruff, dedicated to the point of obsessiveness and predisposed to favour the practical over the frivolous. As such, the most appropriate concepts for dwarves are the pugilist, fugitive monk, temple swordsman, secret society member and bonesetter.

With their great love of fisticuffs and natural hardiness, dwarves make outstanding pugilists. Also, the boxing style's focus on straightforward punching, free of the ornamentation and acrobatics of many other styles, suits both the dwarven mindset and minimizes the disadvantages of their stubby, somewhat sluggish bodies. Famed for their almost obsessive pursuit of vengeance for even insignificant, centuries-old slights, dwarves fall naturally into the roles of fugitive monk and secret society member. Masters of the slow burn, vengeance-driven dwarf monks are terrors to behold, their carefully nursed, centuries-old hatreds leading them to commit unspeakable atrocities in the name of justice. The temple swordsman is an excellent concept for dwarves who wish to become masters of that traditional dwarven weapon, the axe, as the dedication required to truly make a weapon an extension of the body comes naturally to a dwarf. Such characters are often revered by other dwarves for their work in preserving dwarven martial culture. Finally, the skills of the bonesetter appeal to the dwarves' practical side, as skill with the natural healing arts is often seen to be less wasteful than using magic, particularly on minor injuries.

Occasionally, a dwarf will follow the path of the former sumotori, as his natural bulk and squat body can be of considerable advantage. Even more rarely, a dwarf obsessed with the perfection of his martial skills at any cost will become a eunuch. Such a dwarf will usually be considered a pariah among his own people; to the dwarven mind, a person unable to resist the temptations of the flesh without taking such drastic measures is a weakling.

Elf Concepts[edit]

Elves, with their extremely long lives and innate grace, would seem to be perfectly suited to the life of the monk and, in fact, they are enthusiastic practitioners of the martial arts. Unfortunately, elven enthusiasm is too often a fleeting thing. In pursuit of their whimsies elves have been known to simply abandon their martial practice literally in the blink of an eye, with no intention of ever returning to it. Those elves who do maintain their devotion do so as often for the aesthetic value of the martial arts as for any concerns of practicality or enlightenment. As such, elves are most often temple swordsmen or performers.

Elves have a great love for swordplay that is instilled in them almost from birth. Many monasteries in the elven lands teach fighting styles that blend the longsword with graceful, high flying kicks and tumbling into a seamless whole. The sword masters these schools produce are considered artists on a par with the greatest singers, sculptors and painters, likewise for those elves who dedicate their lives to the study and perfection of acrobatics and performance theatre. Elven performers are among the most recognized artists in the entire world, their grace and carefree natures making them the darlings of crowds everywhere.

Elven history is marred by long periods of sorrow, betrayal and brutal warfare. When such tragic times occur, many elves are driven to the life of the fugitive monk or secret society member, working to preserve the unravelling threads of elven society. Others, the last survivors of their family, are left on the steps of human monasteries and grow up as temple orphans. Finally, some elves, embittered by years of hardship and sorrow, turn to crime and the ways of the pirates of the eastern seas, swooping down on their traditional racial enemies in a storm of blood and fire.

It is the rare elf indeed who would choose to study the way of the sumotori, as the enormous fatty bulk of the greatest sumo is repugnant to the elven sense of beauty. Likewise, no elf would willingly choose to become a eunuch, the prospect of millenia without carnal release is a truly terrifying prospect for the free-spirited elves.

Gnome Concepts[edit]

Of all the non-human races, the whimsical gnomes are the least likely to choose the life of the monk. Those few gnomes who do choose to do so approach the martial arts as an academic exercise, studying forms and techniques with the same fervour as they would architecture or mathematics.

Gnomes have a difficult time acclimatizing themselves to regimented monastery life. Not only are they irrepressible pranksters, which does not endear them to their often stuffy fellow students, they chafe at the restrictions placed upon them by the temple elders. For gnomes, learning is an organic thing best accomplished by a combination of study and practical experience. As such wanderers are the archetypal gnome monks. Travelling the sprawling wilderness, they seek to use their martial arts abilities in novel ways, whether it be cutting wood with a kick or catching salmon for dinner with their bare hands. Gnomes are also fascinated by the medical practices taught in many martial arts academies, particularly the precision art of acupuncture, and they have an abiding love for any science that improves the lives of others, so they often become bonesetters.

On the other hand, few, if any, gnomes become pugilists or sumotori though they share the dwarves' hearty constitution; their muscles are puny at best and they lack the aggressive nature required of aspiring champions. Likewise, the gnomish heart is rarely capable of summoning up the hatred required to pursue the goals of the fugitive monk and only the most depraved would ever become a pirate of the eastern seas.

Half-Elf Concepts[edit]

The life of the monk holds great appeal for many half-elves. It offers them a chance to distinguish themselves as powerful warriors and wise scholars, finding acceptance in a brotherhood that judges them by their deeds, not their mixed heritage. Though any of the character concepts can be considered appropriate for half-elf characters, the temple orphan and wanderer are the natural choices.

Half-elf temple orphans are children of three worlds - elven, human, and monastic. They are rarely bitter towards their natural parents, especially if they ever leave the temple and encounter the social hardships encountered by their kind in the outside world. In fact, many consider their abandonment on the temple steps a blessing, as it allows them to avoid the weight of the outside world's prejudices and expectations that burden so many of their monastic brothers along the path to enlightenment. Most half-elf wanderers share this belief, moving freely through the worlds of elves and men, they consider themselves the best expression of each culture's most desirable qualities.

Half-elf characters are frequently found among the senior hierarchy of a temple, or teaching a rare few students their mastery of a legendary form. Having both the lifespan to dedicate to study and the desire to excel when they are often regarded as outcasts gives them a rare perspective and dedication towards the higher mastery of the martial arts.

Half-Orc Concepts[edit]

Half-orcs fall easily into the roles of pugilist, eunuch, temple orphan and pirate of the eastern sea. With their immense strength and innate enthusiasm for brutality, half-orcs are perhaps the finest pugilists of all the non-human races. Many half-orcs choose the life of the boxer for another reason, in the ring they can unleash all the hate and rage they feel toward a world that scorns them. Half-orcs that become pirates of the eastern seas do so for similar reasons. On board ship, they are valued for their strength and ferocity and no one cares one whit if they are stupid or ugly. In fact, half-orc martial artists are often the defacto champions of their vessel, enforcing the captain's words with a scarred iron fist.

It's a sad truth that few parents willingly keep a half-orc child. Most are abandoned in a wilderness or a city street, the less lucky individuals being sold to slavers. So it is that half-orc infants abandoned on the steps of monasteries are truly the fortunate few, as monks on the path of enlightenment are wise enough to look past the surface and see the purity within. Half-orcs raised as temple orphans are usually extremely loyal to the monastery brothers who raised them and often appoint themselves 'guardian' of the temple.

Half-orcs rarely become eunuchs by choice. Most are mutilated as infants and then sold into a slave's life as either a caravan or harem guard or as a gladiator. Those few who willingly choose to become eunuchs do so out of a sense of shame. Unwilling to 'curse' their offspring with life as a half-orc, they view their mutilation as a guarantee that their line goes no further.

Halfling Concepts[edit]

With their natural curiosity, love for derring-do and admirable nimbleness, halflings are a perfect match for the concepts of the wanderer and performer. Few halflings can resist the call of the open road for long and halfling wanderers are more susceptible to its call than most. They often serve as advance scouts and good will ambassadors for halfling trade caravans and can be quite vicious in the defense of their people. Their smaller stature is rarely a hindrance during those times when they come into conflict with the larger races; many larger opponents view unarmed halflings as physical weaklings, a false belief halfling monks willingly exploit.

Halfling performers are always in high demand. Though they can be skilled actors, they truly shine at tumbling and often scorning the ritualized plays of heroic theatre for the more free-wheeling, crowd-pleasing antics of the street acrobat. Halfling performers are said to have a knack for recognizing when the novelty of their act has faded, rarely staying in one city for long.

Surprisingly, halfling sumotori and pugilists are not uncommon, though they are considered more novelty acts than serious athletes by most cultures. Halfling sumotori, particularly, face a hard road, most prestigious sumo tournaments, or 'basho', refuse to allow halflings outright. Taverns and local eating establishments often thrive on the needy if not somewhat forlorn patronisation of halflings seeking to 'bulk up' in the hope of being accepted into the nearby basho.

The Prestige Monk[edit]

As characters, monks possess a compelling mix of unique powers. From 1st to 20th level there is never a dull moment. At high levels, there is no other class that can match the monk in his sheer number of exotic abilities.

As their characters progress through the levels, however, many monk players look for something more, whether it be an edge, a character hook, or simply new and unique powers - in short, a way to separate their monk from the crowd. Prestige classes are perhaps the best way to do just that. The prestige classes presented in this chapter are designed to take your monk characters to the next level, allowing you to focus on and explore particular monk abilities or simply better represent one of the classic monk archetypes. While any character that meets the prerequisites for one of these prestige classes will benefit from its unique abilities, each is specifically designed with monks in mind and they will see the most benefits. The prestige classes within this chapter cover a wide range of character archetypes, from hard-nosed kick boxer to flamboyant lion dancer to peaceful healer to wise old man of the mountain, at all character levels, so that relative novices and martial arts masters will reap equal benefit.

With these prestige classes, your monk will stand at the forefront of any adventuring band. Let the fighters have their swords and the wizards their spells - the monk needs nothing but his bare hands and iron will.

Multiclassing: Monk characters can freely multiclass with any of the prestige classes in The Quintessential Monk.

Blind Master[edit]

Most people view being blinded as a tragedy, a trauma that isolates victims from the outside world. Blind masters see it as an opportunity, a chance to focus inward and learn to "see" with the mind's eye. Blind masters spend their days in quiet contemplation, honing their remaining senses to an unmatched degree. The way of the blind master is well known in most monasteries, though only a few monks willingly choose to learn it. Those who do are greatly respected for their absolute dedication to the perfection of their inner self.

NPC blind masters are rare. They prefer to live in isolated monasteries and secluded groves far from noisy distractions. Blind masters choose their students very carefully, they will usually accept monks who have been accidentally blinded, but will accept sighted students only after they have completed many rigorous tests of dedication and agreed to undergo voluntary blinding.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a blind master, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

  • Unarmed Base Attack Bonus: +3
  • Alignment: Any Lawful
  • Feats: Blind-Fight, Skill Focus (Listen) or Alertness
  • Skills: Concentration +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +8
  • Other: Still Mind ability, the character must be blind or must undergo voluntary blinding. If the character is later cured of his blindness, he loses all blind master class abilities. Simply wearing a blindfold is not sufficient.

Class Skills: The blind master's class skills and relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), and Profession (Wis)

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All of the following are class features of the blind master.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: The blind master gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armour.

Monk Abilities: A blind master continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and blind master levels combined. Blind masters do not gain unarmoured speed bonuses.

Sightless Eye: The blind master has honed his hearing to an unmatched degree and has learned to move with absolute silence. At 1st level he gains a +10 competence bonus to all Concentration, Listen and Move Silently checks and he can always choose to take 10 on Concentration, Listen and Move Silently checks, even when circumstances would not normally allow him to do so. At 4th level, his competence bonus increases to +20.

Formless Shadow: A 2nd level blind master retains his Dexterity bonus to AC regardless of being flatfooted or struck by an invisible attacker. At 5th level, the blind master can no longer be flanked, denying the rogue the ability to use Sneak Attack while flanking.

Blindsight: A 3rd level blind master gains acute hearing and vibration-based blindsight to a radius of 30'. Blindsight is an extraordinary ability.

Catch the Phantom: A 5th level blind master can can affect ethereal creatures with unarmed attacks as though he possessed the ghost touch weapon enhancement. Catch the Phantom is an extraordinary ability.

Table:The Blind Master
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Sightless Eye
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Formless Shadow (Dex bonus)
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Blindsight 30'
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Sightless Eye
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Catch the Phantom, Formless Shadow (cannot be flanked)

Iron Body Master[edit]

All monks subject themselves to great hardship in their quest for physical and spiritual perfection, enduring all-day training sessions, exposing themselves to the elements and meditating for hours under the hot sun. The iron body master goes one step further, he meditates under raging waterfalls and at the peaks of glaciers, smashes boards, bricks and steel bars with his limbs and encourages other students to pummel him with fists and weapons. In return, the iron body master learns to endure horrific injuries and deliver focused blows that can shatter steel like glass.

NPC iron body masters are common among the more militant monk orders and in larger cities where boxing is a common sport. Iron body masters happily accept challenges from all comers and will journey long distances to face worthy opponents.

Hit Dice: d10

Requirements: To qualify to become an iron body master, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The iron body master's class skills and relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), and Tumble (Dex)

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All of the following are class features of the iron body master.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: The iron body master gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armour.

Monk Abilities: An iron body master continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and iron body master levels combined. Additionally, monk and iron body master levels stack for the purposes of determining whether the character receives the monk's Perfect Body special ability.

Iron Palm: A 1st level iron body master can attempt to sunder weapons and shields with his unarmed attacks and does not provoke attacks of opportunity when doing so. His unarmed attacks are considered large weapons for the purposes of determining what he can sunder.

Seven Year Stare: In order to endure the excruciating pain of their daily training, iron body masters learn to free themselves from the shackles of their senses, gaining an enviable clarity of focus. At 1st level, the iron body master receives a +10 competence bonus to Concentration checks. At 5th level, the competence bonus increases to +20.

Improved Iron Body: By channeling his Chi energy, a 2nd level iron body master can fortify his body against critical injury. His body is considered to be protected as if by light fortification, granting him a 25% chance to avoid extra damage from critical hits and sneak attacks. He can do this for a number of rounds per day equal to his iron body master class level. The rounds need not be consecutive.

Hammer Palm: A 3rd level iron body master inflicts double damage when attempting to sunder weapons and shields. In addition, his unarmed attacks are considered to be +2 weapons for the purposes of determining what he can strike with his unarmed attacks. The bonuses from the monk ability Ki Strike stack with Hammer Palm when determining what he may attempt to sunder.

Iron Skin: A 4th level iron body master gains damage resistance (2/--). He subtracts 2 points of damage from every attack, to a minimum of 0.

Greater Iron Body: A 5th level iron body master has achieved supreme control over his body and can harden his skin to resist even the most powerful blows. His body is considered to be protected as if by moderate fortification, granting him a 75% chance to avoid extra damage from critical hits and sneak attacks. He can employ Greater Iron Body for a number of rounds per day equal to his iron body master class level. The rounds need not be consecutive.

Table:The Iron Body Master
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +0 +2 Iron Palm, Seven Year Stare
2 +1 +3 +0 +3 Improved Iron Body
3 +2 +3 +1 +3 Hammer Palm
4 +3 +4 +1 +4 Iron Skin
5 +3 +4 +1 +4 Greater Iron Body, Seven Year Stare

Deadly Venoms Boxer[edit]

To the deadly venoms boxer, combat is the purest form of meditation. He actively seeks out powerful opponents in order to practice his martial skills and it is the rare opponent indeed he finds worthy enough to spare from the killing blow. Despite this, the deadly venoms boxer is not necessarily evil, though certainly he can be. Though they enjoy mortal combat, deadly venoms boxers never kill randomly and avoid fighting obviously weaker opponents, using stealth to bypass a target's minions when possible.

NPC deadly venoms boxers rarely stay in one place for long, as they are constantly seeking out new opponents. Many deadly venoms boxers will work as assassins, though they are notoriously selective when accepting commissions.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a deadly venoms boxer, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The elemental fist boxer's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Pick Pocket (Dex), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex)

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the deadly venoms boxer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The deadly venoms boxer gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armor.

Monk Abilities: An deadly venoms boxer continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses, and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and deadly venoms boxer levels combined. Additionally, he combines his monk and deadly venoms boxer levels for the purposes of determining his Stunning Fist save DC.

Diamond Body: A 1st level deadly venoms boxer gains immunity to poisons of all kinds. Diamond body is a supernatural ability.

Centipede Sting: The deadly venoms boxer has an encyclopaedic knowledge of pressure points and at 1st level he adds his deadly venoms boxer levels to the save DC of his Stunning Fist ability.

Snake Bite: A 2nd level deadly venoms boxer is a master of An Ch'i, the art of concealing and using small and unorthodox weapons. He can take 10 on any Pick Pocket skill check when attempting to palm objects up to the size of a dagger and can conceal them as easily as he would palm a coin (DC 10). He gains a +10 competence bonus to Pick Pocket skill checks for the purposes of opposing observers' Spot checks. Additionally, his mastery of Chi and the art of An Ch'i allows him to turn small objects into weapons. The deadly venoms boxer can inflict d4-1 (minimum 1, 20/x2) damage with any object no lighter than a gold piece and no heavier than a dagger, including shuriken. The deadly venoms boxer suffers no penalty to attack rolls when using these unorthodox weapons and may throw them as a dagger, but does not add Strength bonus to damage.

Wasp Venom: By striking certain pressure points, the deadly venoms boxer can unleash virulent poisons into the bloodstream. A 3rd level deadly venoms boxer can, with a successful strike, choose to inflict a victim with poison, as the 4th level cleric spell of the same name. The Fortitude save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 monk and deadly venoms boxer levels combined + Wisdom bonus. Wasp venom is a spell-like ability that can be used 1 + deadly venoms boxer class levels per day, but can only effect each victim once per day.

Spider Bite: With a forceful exhalation of chi, a 4th level deadly venoms boxer can deliveer stunning blows after a successful touch attack. The deadly venoms boxer must announce that he is using Spider Bite before attempting the attack roll (a missed attack ruins the attempt and counts as one of the monk's stunning blows for the day). A successful attack does no damage, but the victim is required to save against the stunning blow as normal. Spider Bite is a supernatural ability.

Blowfish Sting: A 5th level deadly venoms boxer gains a more dangerous form of the monk's Quivering Palm ability. Once per day the deadly venoms boxer can, with a successful strike, choose to affect his opponent with Blowfish Sting. He does not need to announce the use of Blowfish Sting before making his attack roll. At anytime thereafter, up to one day per monk and deadly venoms boxer levels combined, he can, as a free action, will the target to die. The target must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 monk and deadly venoms boxer levels combined + Wisdom modifier) or instantly die. A successful save results in no damage. Constructs, undead, plants, incorporeal creatures and creatures immune to critical hits are not affected by the Blowfish Sting. Blowfish Sting is a supernatural ability that replaces the monk's Quivering Palm ability.

Table:The Deadly Venoms Boxer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Diamond Body, Centipede Sting
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Snake Bite
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Wasp Venom
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Spider Bite
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Blowfish Sting

King Lion Boxer[edit]

Lion dancing is a centuries old art form, a complex blending of pageantry, acrobatics and martial arts. In some cultures, only those skilled at lion dancing can be considered true monks, with the greatest practitioners bringing more honor to their school than the most formidable warrior. The king lion boxer is a monk who has dedicated himself to mastering the art of the lion dance, becoming a performer without equal. King lion boxers who reach the highest level of prowess are unparalleled acrobats and so skilled at imitating the antics of lions that they can become lions for brief periods.

NPC king lion boxers are almost always found in major cities, where appreciative audiences are close at hand. King lion boxers guard their school's lion dancing techniques very carefully and a prospective student will have to work very diligently to earn the king lion boxer's trust.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a king lion boxer, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The king lion boxer's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), and Tumble (Dex)

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the king lion boxer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The king lion boxer gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armor.

Monk Abilities: An king lion boxer continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses, and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and king lion boxer levels combined.

Regal Bearing: A 1st level king lion boxer gains a +10 competence bonus to all Balance, Climb, Jump and Tumble skill checks. At third level the bonus increases to +20 and +30 at fifth level. A king lion boxer can always choose to take 10 on a Balance, Climb, Jump or Tumble check, even when it would not normally be allowed.

Shared Prowess: A 1st level king lion boxer can substitute his own Balance, Climb, Jump and Tumble skill check results for those of his lion dance partner. In order to benefit from the Shared Prowess ability, both the king lion boxer and his partner must be actively participating in a lion dance and must be outfitted in the proper lion dance costume. Shared Prowess is an extraordinary ability.

Awaken Grace: Once per day, a 2nd level king lion boxer can raise his Dexterity by 1d4+1 points. This ability functions as a cat's grace spell cast by a sorcerer of the character's king lion boxer class levels. Awaken Grace is a spell-like ability.

Kindred Spirit: A 2nd level king lion boxer is permanently affected as if by a speak with animals spell, but only in regards to lions, dire lions, and lions with the celestial template (foo lions). In addition, he can charm monster once per day (Will save DC 13 + Wisdom modifier), but can only affect lions, dire lions, and lions with the celestial template.

Frolicking Lion: A 3rd level king lion boxer is so skilled at lion dancing that he no longer imitates lions, he becomes one. Once per day the king lion boxer may, while performing a lion dance with his partner and as a full round action, transform himself, his partner and his lion costume into a celestial dire lion, as the polymorph self spell. Only the king lion boxer's abilities are considered in the transformation - if the king lion boxer is reduced to zero hit points or less, the transformation ends and the king lion boxer's partner resumes his normal, uninjured form. When the king lion boxer learns the Spirit Partner ability, he can achieve Frolicking Lion without need of a partner, though he still requires his costume. Frolicking Lion is a spell-like ability with a maximum duration of 1 hour per king lion boxer class level.

Spirit Partner: At 4th level, the king lion boxer no longer needs a partner to perform a successful lion dance. Instead, the rear half of the lion is held aloft through a combination of swift footwork and sweeping arm movements.

Celestial Ally: At 5th level, the king lion boxer has the ability to summon a foo lion (dire lion with the celestial template) once per day as the spell summon monster V cast by a sorcerer of his combined monk + king lion boxer levels. To summon the foo lion, the king lion boxer must perform a lion dance of 10 - his Wisdom modifier rounds in duration. At the end of that time, the king lion boxer must succeed at a Perform check (DC 20) and then throw his lion costume in the air. The costume rises as a foo lion in the following round, concurrent with the king lion boxer's next action. It obeys the king lion boxer to the best of its abilities, reverting back to the lion dance costume at the end of the duration. If slain or otherwise defeated, the foo lion disappears and the lion dance costume is lost. Celestial Ally is a spell-like ability.

Table:The King Lion Boxer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Regal Bearing, Shared Prowess
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Awaken Grace, Kindred Spirit
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Frolicking Lion
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Spirit Partner
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Celestial Ally

Elemental Fist Boxer[edit]

Martial artists and philosophers accord great significance to the five elements, air, water, fire, earth, and metal, believing that they define the personalities and characteristics of all aspects of reality. The elemental fist boxer is a monk who has learned, using his chi, to separate and channel each of the five elements, taking on the characteristics of each element. An elemental fist boxer possesses the strength of stone, the elusiveness of the wind, the consuming fury of fire, the crushing force of water and destroys steel with a touch.

NPC elemental fist boxers are usually found deep in the wilderness, most often in areas where each of the five elements is found in great abundance. Most willingly share their secrets with pupils they consider worthy, though they can be harsh taskmasters.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become an elemental fist boxer, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The elemental fist boxer's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex)

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the elemental fist boxer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The elemental fist boxer gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armor.

Monk Abilities: An elemental fist boxer continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses, and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed strike attacks as a monk of his monk and elemental fist boxer levels combined and combines his levels to determine available monk Stunning Attacks per day.

Stone Oni Stance: Once per day a 1st level elemental fist boxer can, as a standard action, imbue his body with the weight and strength of stone. While in the Stone Oni Stance, the elemental fist boxer gains a +2 bonus to Strength, a +2 bonus to AC and is considered to be large size for the purposes of determining grappling size modifiers. At 3rd level he can use Stone Oni Stance twice per day. While in his Stone Oni Stance, the elemental fist boxer loses all unarmoured speed bonuses and does not benefit from the Leap of the Clouds ability. Stone Oni Stance is a supernatural ability that lasts 1 + Wisdom modifier rounds.

Leaves Swirling through Reeds: A 2nd level elemental fist boxer can, once per day, use blink as the spell cast by a sorcerer of his class level. Each time the elemental fist boxer 'blinks' out of existence, he disappears in a flurry of blossoms and dried, crackling leaves that fade away almost instantly.

Wind's Grace: A 2nd level elemental fist boxer receives a +10 competence bonus to Jump checks and can always take ten even when not normally able to do so.

Phoenix Spreads its Wings: A 3rd level elemental fist boxer can, once per day, cause his arms to erupt in magical flames resembling a bird's wings. The flames inflict d4+1 per class level damage, in addition to normal unarmed damage, and grant the elemental fist boxer an additional +10 competence bonus to Jump checks. At fifth level the elemental fist boxer can use Phoenix Spreads its Wings twice per day. Phoenix Spreads its Wings is a supernatural ability, activated by a standard action and lasting 1 + Wisdom modifier rounds.

Koi in the Pond: A 3rd level elemental fist boxer receives a +10 competence bonus to Swim checks and can hold his breath for 4 x his Constitution score in rounds.

Immortal Breaks the Blade: As a standard action a 4th level elemental fist boxer can use rusting grasp once a day as the spell cast by a druid of his class level. Immortal Breaks the Blade is a supernatural ability.

Dragon Strikes the Waves: A 5th level elemental fist boxer learns to strike his opponents as the waves strike the shore. 1 + Wisdom bonus times per day he can resolve all unarmed attacks in a round as touch attacks. Dragon Strikes the Waves is a supernatural ability.

Table:The Elemental Fist Boxer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Stone Oni Stance
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Leaves Swirling Through Reeds, Wind's Grace
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Phoenix Spreads its Wings, Koi in the Pond
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Immortal Breaks the Blade
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Dragon Strikes the Waves

Enlightened Scholar[edit]

The enlightened scholar has achieved a degree of spiritual and physical perfection unheard of even among monks. He sits alone on a mountain top, or in the depths of the ocean, unconcerned with the turmoil of the outer world. The enlightened scholar never leaves his meditative state, even in combat, his unshakable focus allowing him to see the world in slow motion and anticipate the thoughts and actions of the less enlightened.

NPC enlightened scholars rarely leave their isolated homes, venturing forth into the mortal world only to face the greatest threats to world harmony. Enlightened scholars never teach students their techniques, though they will guide the worth towards the proper path, most often with proverbs and mind-bending riddles.

Requirements: To qualify to become an enlightened scholar, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The enlightened scholar's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (all, purchased separately), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Scry (Int), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spot (Wis)

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the enlightened scholar.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The enlightened scholar gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armor.

Monk Abilities: An enlightened scholar continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses, and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative attacks as a monk of his monk and enlightened scholar levels combined.

Moving Meditation: Enlightened scholars never leave their meditative state, perceiving the world around them in slow motion. A 1st level enlightened scholar receives a +4 bonus to initiative checks, cumulative with Improved Initiative, and always receives a partial action in the surprise round.

Unshakable Calm: A 1st level enlightened scholar receives a +10 competence bonus to all Balance, Concentration and Sense Motive checks and can take 10 even when not normally allowed to do so. At 3rd level the bonus rises to +20 and at 5th level, +30.

Self Sustenance: The enlightened scholar understands that all things are one and the universe makes no distinction between the bird and the stone. At 2nd level, the enlightened scholar no longer needs to eat, sleep or breathe. He is immune to drowning, starvation and dehydration. He gains a bonus to spell resistance equal to his Wisdom bonus against spells, such as horrid wilting, that pertain to drowning, starvation and dehydration. Self Sustenance is a Supernatural ability.

Circular Thought: Though the enlightened scholar understands the concepts of front and back, he no longer accepts their validity. A 2nd level enlightened scholar retains his Dexterity modifier to AC even when caught flat-footed or attacked by an invisible opponent. At 5th level he can no longer be flanked, denying a rogue the ability to sneak attack while flanking. An exception to this is that a rogue at least four levels higher than the enlightened scholar can still flank him.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon: An enlightened scholar is fluent in the secret, whispered language of creation. At 3rd level, the enlightened scholar gains the ability to speak with any living creature.

Timeless Body: The enlightened scholar realizes that muscle strength pales before the power of chi. A 3rd level enlightened scholar no longer suffers ability penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged. The enlightened scholar still receives bonuses for aging and will still die at the end of his normal lifespan.

Wisdom of the Ages: In his meditative state, a 4th level enlightened scholar can perceive the thought patterns around him. He can detect thoughts at will as a sorcerer of his class level. Wisdom of the Ages is a spell-like ability.

Free from the Cycle: At 5th level an enlightened scholar's lifespan is extended by his Wisdom bonus x 50 in years.

Table:The Enlightened Scholar
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Moving Meditation, Unshakable Calm
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Self Sustenance, Circular Thought
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Tongue of the Sun and Moon
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Wisdom of the Ages
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Free from the Cycle

Master of the Gentle Fist[edit]

Though most monks focus on the development of their fighting skills, some choose to nurture and build on their healing talents. Most masters of the gentle fist consider themselves healers first and warriors second, and though some vow never to take a life, they are not afraid to use their martial arts in defence of the downtrodden. Skilled masters of the gentle fist can defeat multiple opponents without leaving so much as a bruise.

NPC masters of the gentle fist are most often found in villages and small cities, working as doctors in places where powerful healing magic is not available. Many also work secretly as vigilante champions, particularly in areas suffering under the yoke of oppressive rulers. Masters of the gentle fist are extremely careful in selecting students - in the wrong hands, their abilities can be quite deadly.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a master of the gentle fist, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The master of the gentle fist's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (aarcana), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis) and Speak Language

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the master of the gentle fist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The master of the gentle fist gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armor.

Monk Abilities: A master of the gentle fist continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks and Stunning Attack uses per day as a monk of his monk and master of the gentle fist levels combined.

Acupressure Mastery: A 1st level master of the gentle fist receives a +10 competence bonus to all heal and Profession (Herbalism) checks and he can always choose to take 10 even when he would not normally be able to do so. At 4th level the competence bonus rises to +20.

Intercepting Palm: A 2nd level master of the gentle fist is a consummately defensive fighter. When using the Fight Defensively or Total Defence option he adds his master of the gentle fist class levels to his AC in addition to the normal AC bonus from these actions

Superior Wholeness of Body: A 3rd level master of the gentle fist can cure up to three times his current level in hit points each day. At 5th level he can cure 4x his current level.

Quieting Touch: A 4th level master of the gentle fist can, with a successful melee touch attack, hold person once per day as a cleric of his class level. He must declare that he is using the ability before making the attack roll. If the attack misses, Quieting Touch is wasted. Quieting Touch is only effective on those creatures with discernible anatomy and working nervous systems, so it has no effect on constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures and creatures immune to critical hits. Quieting Touch is a Supernatural ability.

Hands of Mercy: The master of the gentle fist is a healer of unmatched skill. By allowing his chi to flow into his hands, he can repair even mortal wounds. At 5th level, a master of the gentle fist can, as a spell-like ability requiring a full round action, use his Wholeness of Body ability to heal others. Normal hit point damage healed by Hands of Mercy is converted to subdual damage on a 1 for 1 basis, so if a character who has suffered 20 points of normal damage is healed by Hands of Mercy, his hit points return to normal and he instead suffers 20 points of subdual damage. A character healed to full hit points after being reduced to negative is still unconscious, as his subdual damage exceeds his hit point total. Subdual damage healed by Hands of Mercy is removed on a 1 for 1 basis, so a character who suffered normal damage can be completely healed with 2 applications of Hands of Mercy.

The Master of the Gentle Fist
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Acupressure Mastery
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Intercepting Palm
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Superior Wholeness of Body (x3)
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Quieting Touch
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Hands of Mercy, Superior Wholeness of Body (x4)

Mage Slayer[edit]

In the right hands, magic is a powerful, benevolent force, bringing peace and prosperity. In the wrong hands, magic is an unstoppable, malignant terror that, if left unchecked, can spread ruin and death across the face of the world. Unfortunately, when magic is used for evil designs, there are few who dare stand against it - blades and arrows are no match for the power of sorcery and no armour can withstand the fury of divine wrath. In dark times, when magic grips the land in tyranny, the mage slayers come to put things right.

NPC mage slayers rarely stay in one place for long. They travel in secret from kingdom to kingdom, quietly eliminating dark, sorcerous cabals and churches dedicated to the worship of evil. By necessity, mage slayers guard their secrets carefully - a potential student must go to great lengths to get a mage slayer to even admit to his abilities, let alone agree to teach them.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a mage slayer, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The mage slayer's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (arcana), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), and Spot (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features: All the following are class features of the mage slayer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The mage slayer gains no new weapon proficiencies, nor is he proficient with armour or shields.

Monk Abilities: A mage slayer continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks and as a monk of his monk and mage slayer levels combined.

Improved Diamond Soul: Each time the character gains a mage slayer class level he increases his Spell Resistance by 2. This bonus stacks with the monk's Diamond Soul ability, as well as with the natural Spell Resistance possessed by certain beings, so a 15th level monk, 5th level mage slayer has Spell Resistance 35.

Improved Flame Focus: A 2nd level mage slayer can use Focus the Flame 2/day. At 5th level, he may benefit from it 3/day.

Circle of Flame: At 3rd level, the mage slayer can, 1/day for 1 + Wisdom bonus in rounds, suffuse a 10ft. radius with his aura, filling the air with harmless motes of flame and allowing all allies within that radius to benefit from his Spell Resistance. Spell Resistance gained from Circle of Flame overlaps and does not stack with existing Spell Resistance. Activating Circle of Flame is a full round action, so it takes effect just before the beginning of the mage slayer's next turn. Maintaining Circle of Flame is also a full round action, so the mage slayer can take no other actions on his turn and may take no more than a 5ft. step. If a mage slayer takes damage while maintaining Circle of Flame, whether by spell or weapon, he must succeed at a Concentration check (DC 10 + damage suffered) or the Circle of Flame ends. The mage slayer can voluntarily dismiss Circle of Flame as a free action, but may only do so on his turn. Circle of Flame is a Supernatural ability.

Reflective Soul: A 4th level mage slayer can, 1/day as a free action on anyone's turn, reflect a single spell or spell-like ability as by the spell spell turning. The spell can be of any level, but affects only those spells which directly target the mage slayer. Effect and area spells are not affected, but unlike spell turning, Reflective Soul is effective against touch range spells. Further, Reflective Soul can affect only those spells which fail to penetrate the mage slayer's Spell Resistance or those which he successfully saves against.

Improved Circle of Flame: At 5th level, the radius of the mage slayer's Circle of Flame ability expands to 15ft. and activating and maintaining it becomes a standard, rather than full round, action.

The Mage Slayer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Improved Diamond Soul
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Improved Flame Focus
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Circle of Flame (10ft.)
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Reflective Soul
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Improved Circle of Flame (15ft.)

Temple Guardian[edit]

It has become common practice to establish monasteries in far-flung corners of the world - high on remote mountains, on tiny, windswept islands, or nestled in the shadowy depths of the forest. While this ensures that the temptations and distractions of civilization rarely interfere with the serious business of achieving personal enlightenment, it also exposes the monastery to many dangers, bandit raids and attacks by tribes of monstrous humanoids or single, powerful creatures chief among them. To ensure the safety of the temple, most monasteries have established and trained cadres of fanatically devoted and martially inclined monks to guard against these constant threats. These monks receive the finest training the temple can offer and are viewed with something akin to awe by their temple brothers. In return, they are required to swear an oath of absolute loyalty to the monastery - they must obey any command by a temple elder and are forbidden to leave the temple grounds except when explicitly given instruction to do so.

Temple guardians are rarely seen outside the walls of the temple or school they are sworn to protect. On those few occasions when they are encountered outside temple grounds, they will invariably be on a mission considered to be of the greatest importance by the monastery hierarchy and will take a dim view of those who interrupt them for comparatively trivial matters. Temple guardians do not accept outsiders as pupils, no matter how skilled or dedicated they may be - only those willing to swear their lives completely to the temple and prove their dedication through personal sacrifice can ever hope to join their ranks.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a temple guardian, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

  • Alignment: Any Lawful
  • Skills: Tumble +5, Listen +5
  • Feats: Alertness, Twin Warriors
  • Other: Still Mind ability, must swear an oath of guardianship to a temple or martial arts school

Class Skills: The temple guardian's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidation (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int bonus

Class Features: All the following are class features of the temple guardian.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The temple guardian gains no new weapon proficiencies, nor is he proficient with armour or shields.

Monk Abilities: A temple guardian continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks and as a monk of his monk and temple guardian levels combined.

Improved Twin Warriors: At 1st level, the maximum circumstance bonus to AC, attack or damage rolls a temple guardian can gain from the Twin Warriors feat increases to +5. In addition, the range at which he may benefit from those bonuses increases to 50ft. No more than two temple guardians can benefit from the same bonus simultaneously but they may change the bonus as a free action on their turn.

Unshakable Resolve: Temple guardians are fanatical in their devotion and cannot be compelled to betray their temple. A 2nd level temple guardian gains a +2 morale bonus to saves versus all spells and spell-like effects from the Enchantment school. He gains this bonus only on temple grounds or when performing a mission in the direct service of the temple or school.

Bonus Feat: Since they rarely leave school grounds, temple guardians have ample time to train. At 3rd level they can select one of the following feats for free; Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Expertise, Martial Weapon Proficiency or any feat from The Quintessential Monk that they meet the requirements for.

Unshakable Resolve: At 4th level, the temple guardian's morale bonus to saves versus Enchantments increases to +4.

Diamond Soul: A 5th level temple guardian gains the Diamond Soul ability, granting him Spell Resistance equal to 10 + monk and temple guardian levels combined.

The Temple Guardian
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Improved Twin Warriors
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Unshakable Resolve (+2)
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Bonus Feat
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Unshakable Resolve (+4)
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Diamond Soul


The temple guardian is primarily designed to be an NPC class, allowing the DM to staff his campaign's monasteries and martial arts schools with powerful guardians capable of facing the heroes without forcing him to use high level NPCs. Several of the temple guardian's abilities will be of limited use to the average adventuring party, so the DM may wish to restrict the prestige class to NPCs only.

Five Animals Fist Fighter[edit]

Many monks look with envy at the animal kingdom, for nature has chosen to bless wild beasts with many advantages most humanoid races simple do not possess. Horns, armoured hides, razor-sharp claws and fangs, superior senses, speed, grace and the power of flight - though man can emulate these things with the aid of magic and invention, he can never use them with the instinctual ease of the beast. Still, monks have for centuries adapted the fighting skills of animals into their own styles, reckoning that even an imperfect version of a superior technique has value. Though there are fighting techniques, and even entire styles, inspired by nearly every animal, none are more commonly seen than the tiger, leopard, crane, snake and dragon. The five animals fist fighter is a monk who has combined all five animal styles into a single style who's whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

NPC five animals fist fighters are usually encountered in remote areas, diligently perfecting their techniques among the wild creatures they seek to emulate. As a rule, they will freely train any prospective student who shows the dedication and aptitude necessary to master the style. However, five animals fist fighters are a territorial, contentious lot, so a prospective student must be prepared to prove his worth again and again in frequent, vicious brawls.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To qualify to become a five animals fist fighter, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The five animals fist fighter's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidation (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int bonus

Class Features: All the following are class features of the five animals fist fighter.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The five animals fist fighter gains no new weapon or armour proficiencies.

Monk Abilities: A five animals fist fighter continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses, unarmoured speed and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks and Stunning Attack uses per day as a monk of his monk and five animal fist fighter levels combined.

Tiger: The tiger teaches strength and ferocity. When he charges, a 1st level five animals fist fighter gains his class level as a bonus to attack and damage rolls (in addition to the normal +2 to attack) and suffers no AC penalty.

Predator's Senses: A 1st level five animals fist fighter gains a +2 bonus to Intimidation, Listen and Spot checks per class level.

Leopard: The leopard teaches stealth and quickness. A 2nd level five animals fist fighter increases his unarmoured speed by an additional 10ft. Additionally, he gains a +2 bonus to initiative that stacks with the bonus from the Improved Initiative feat.

Silent Killer: A 2nd level five animals fist fighter gains a +2 bonus per class level to all Climb and Move Silently checks.

Crane: The crane teaches grace and defence. When fighting defensively, a 3rd level five animals fist fighter adds his class level as a dodge bonus to AC (which stacks with the normal +2 defensive fighting bonus) and suffers only a -2 to attacks. He also gains his class level as a dodge bonus when using the total defence action (which stacks with the normal +4 total defence bonus).

Long-Legged Grace: A 3rd level five animals fist fighter gains a +2 bonus per class level to all Jump and Balance checks.

Snaks: The snake teaches pressure point attacks. A 4th level five animals fist fighter adds his class level to the save DC of all Stunning attacks and may use Stunning attacks against oozes, plants and creatures that are normally immune to critical hits. Constructs, undead and incorporeal creatures are still not affected by Stunning Blow.

Sinuous Form: A 4th level five animals fist fighter gains a +2 bonus per class level to all Escape Artist and Hide checks

Dragon: The dragon is a master of chi energy. A 5th level five animals fist fighter's unarmed attacks are considered +2 weapons for the purposes of defeating damage reduction. This bonus stacks with those gained from Ki Strike.

Diamond Soul: A 5th level five animals fist fighter gains Spell Resistance equal to 10 + his monk and 5 animals fist fighter levels combined. If he later receives, or already possesses, the monk's Diamond Soul ability, there is no additional bonus.

The Five Animals Fist Fighter
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Tiger, Predator's Senses
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Leopard, Silent Killer
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Crane, Long Legged Grace
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Snake, Sinuous Form
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Dragon, Diamond Soul

Iron Legs Kickboxer[edit]

The life of an iron legs kickboxer is an endless cycle of pain. Pain from the grueling training regime that lasts from sunup to sundown and pain from the brutal, horrifically bloody matches that he must survive to claim his share of a meagre tournament purse. Though iron legs kickboxers can fight skilfully with their hands, they are most famous, or perhaps infamous, for the incredible power of their kicks. An iron legs kickboxer's legs are a mass of muscle and scar tissue, capable of snapping a fence post with a single blow; they harden the bones and skin of their legs, and desensitize the nerves, by ruthlessly beating them with sticks and iron bars and slamming them again and again into rocks and tree trunks. Few monks have the courage to follow the kickboxer's path, but those who do are worthy of respect... and fear.

Lured by the fight purses, fame and ready availability of opponents, NPC iron legs kickboxers rarely venture far from large cities. High ranking kickboxers frequently establish their own fighting academies, passing on their fighting secrets in return for prodigious training fees. Unscrupulous kickboxers often find work as thieves' guild enforcers, as the world of organized prizefighting is rife with corruption.

Hit Dice: d10

Requirements: To qualify to become a iron legs kickboxer, a character must fulfill the following requirements.

Class Skills: The iron legs kickboxer's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidation (Cha), Jump (Str), Profession (Int) and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int bonus

Class Features: All the following are class features of the iron legs kickboxer.

Monk Abilities: A iron legs kickboxer continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses and unarmed damage increases. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and iron legs kickboxer levels combined.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The iron legs kickboxer gains no new weapon or armour proficiencies.

Toughness: A 1st level iron legs kickboxer gains the Toughness feat for free.

Razor Kick: A 2nd level iron legs kickboxer adds +1 to the natural critical threat range with all his unarmed attacks. At 4th level he adds an additional +1. If the iron legs kickboxer selects the feat Improved Critical (unarmed), the bonuses from Razor Kick are considered to be part of his natural threat range, so a 4th level iron legs kickboxer with the Improved Critical (unarmed) feat would have an unarmed threat range of 15-20 (18-20, then doubled).

Cannon Kick: A 5th level iron legs kickboxer increases his unarmed damage multiplier for critical hits to x3.

The Iron Legs Kickboxer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +0 +2 Toughness
2 +1 +3 +0 +3 Razor Kick (+1)
3 +2 +3 +1 +3
4 +3 +4 +1 +4 Razor Kick (+2)
5 +3 +4 +1 +4 Cannon Kick

Street Acrobat[edit]

Some monks are destined to be poor. Whether through a cruel twist of fate or their own spendthrift ways, for the a day with two coins to scrape together is a good day indeed. Rather than reduce themselves to begging for scraps, many take up the life of the wandering street acrobat - travelling from city to city, they put on flashy demonstrations of acrobatics and flashy combat, depending on the goodwill and generosity of their audiences to provide them with enough gold for a hot meal and a bed without fleas. Street acrobats have a (usually) undeserved reputation as scoundrels and troublemakers - while it's true that some street acrobats turn their talents to thievery, others consider themselves protectors of the downtrodden and although they seem to be hounded by trouble wherever they go, most are simply men and women looking to earn enough money to survive another day.

NPC street acrobats are most often found plying their trade in the marketplaces of major cities, their stylized tumbling routines and flamboyant martial arts demonstrations bringing cheers and, most importantly, handfuls of gold coins from appreciative crowds. Street acrobats rarely teach their skills to anyone outside their immediate families, having no wish to give their secrets away to potential competitors, so most aspiring street acrobats are forced to learn through simple trial and error.

Hit Dice: d8

Requirements: To become a street acrobat, a character must meet the following requirements.

Class Skills: The street acrobat's class skills and the relevant abilities are: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Jump (Str) Perform (Cha), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence

Class Features: All the following are class features of the street acrobat.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The street acrobat gains no new proficiencies in weapons or armour.

Monk Abilities: A street acrobat continues to gain the monk's unarmed attack bonuses, AC bonuses and unarmoured speed bonuses. He gains iterative unarmed attacks as a monk of his monk and street acrobat levels combined.

Springing Handstand: A 1st level street acrobat suffers no penalties when prone and can stand from a prone position as a free action.

Untouchable: A 1st level street acrobat adds a +1 Dodge bonus per class level when using the defensive fighting or total defence actions (stacking with normal AC bonuses).

Monkey Spirit: A 2nd level street acrobat gains a +10 competence bonus to Balance, Jump and Tumble checks. At 4th level the bonus increases to +20. Additionally, a street acrobat can take 10 on all Balance, Jump and Tumble checks, even if he were not normally able to do so.

Improved Evasion: A 2nd level street acrobat gains the Improved Evasion ability, taking no damage on a successful Reflex save and only half on a failed save.

Feather Fall: A 3rd level street acrobat can use Feather Fall at will, as a free action, as a sorcerer of his monk and street acrobat levels combined.

Bouncing Charge: A 3rd level street acrobat can perform a Bouncing Charge, ricocheting off walls and inanimate objects and gaining a bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to his class level. In order to attempt a Bouncing Charge, he must begin the charge within 20ft. of a wall, thick tree trunk or other inanimate object roughly the size of a wagon. During a Bouncing Charge, he can move up to double his standard movement and need not charge in a straight line. However, in order to change direction during the charge, he must bounce off another object. While performing a Bouncing Charge he may attempt a Tumbling check versus DC 20 each time he passes through a threatened area - if he succeeds, he suffers no attacks of opportunity.

Crowd Fighting: A 4th level street acrobat receives the Crowd Fighting feat for free, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

Gecko Step: A 5th level street acrobat can run up walls, even across ceilings, with no effort. He can move his standard movement rate, or double that with a charge action, across vertical surfaces, or upside down across a ceiling, so long as he ends his movement upright on a horizontal surface. Should the street acrobat end his movement on a vertical surface, or upside down, then he will fall and take damage as normal. Gecko Step cannot be used in conjunction with Bouncing Charge.

The Street Acrobat
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 0 +2 +2 +2 Springing Handstand, Untouchable
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Monkey Spirit, Improved Evasion
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Feather Fall, Bouncing Charge
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Crowd Fighting, Monkey Spirit
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Gecko Step

Alternative Fighting Schools[edit]

There are as many theories of unarmed fighting as there are monks. Though, in a battle, the ultimate goal of any monk is victory, the road each takes to reach that goal is by no means the same.

Alternative Fighting Schools

Alternative fighting schools are a new concept in the Quintessential series, allowing the monks of your campaign to break from the traditional mold and more closely mirror the diversity of martial fighting arts found in fantasy and legend. They are not intended to replace the standard monk, merely enhance it. Each is the distilled essence of one or more martial arts archetypes - the wrestler, the sumo, the internalist, the performer, the stick fighter and the hard-nosed boxer, translated into the d20 system. Alternative fighting schools allow you to model any of these common archetypes using the monk class as a base, while freeing your characters from special monk abilities that can seem extraneous to their concept.

Each of the alternative fighting schools presented here comes with a ready-made origin and history designed to facilitate their adoption into your campaign, but each fighting school is also designed to be a broad representation of a particular fighting concept. As such, each can form the basis of dozens of different monasteries throughout your campaign world.

Benefits of an Alternative Fighting School

Characters that progress in an alternative fighting school are still considered monks for all intents and purposes: the only difference is the alternate special abilities they receive at certain levels. Essentially, alternative fighting schools are groups of abilities with a common theme. In all cases, alternative special abilities are received in lieu of the standard monk special abilities received at the indicated level. Alternative fighting schools are designed exclusively for monks, so only monks, or characters who multiclass as monks, can gain the benefits of these alternative fighting schools.

Choosing an Alternative Fighting School

A player who wishes to have his monk character be a student of one of the alternative fighting schools presented within this chapter must decide to do so before receiving his first alternative fighting technique. For some schools, that means deciding at initial character creation, for the rest, no later than 2nd level. A monk character that is assigned an alternative fighting school at character creation is considered to have studied that style exclusively and he automatically receives the alternative special abilities of that school each time he gains a new level. A character who begins as a standard monk must find a teacher of the appropriate style before he can learn any of its alternative special abilities. Under no circumstance should a monk character be allowed to mix and match alternative special abilities from more than one fighting school and he may not choose to ignore a school's alternative abilities in favor of the standard monk abilities; to achieve true enlightenment and mastery, the monk must be absolutely dedicated.

* Optional: If the Games Master wishes, he can allow higher level characters to enter an alternative fighting school after they would normally have received their first alternative special ability. It is recommended that he follow this guideline when doing so: A monk who purchases the feat he would normally receive at 2nd level (and 1st, with regards to Ancestor's Illusion school), as a bonus feat from an alternative fighting school may freely enter that school if he does so before he would receive that school's next alternative special ability.

Earth Dragon Wrestling[edit]

The art of grappling has a long and celebrated history. Many scholars of martial arts believe that the first organized systems of unarmed combat were based around grappling and pictographs found in ancient orc caverns show that to be true, at least so far as that savage race is concerned. Almost all races and cultures have at least one indigenous grappling system and some, particularly among human, giant, orc and, especially, dwarven cultures, have many. Earth Dragon wrestling is one such style.

The origins of Earth Dragon wrestling are lost to time, though both dwarves and orcs attribute its creation to famous heroes of their respective race's distant past. Regardless of its origin, Earth Dragon has spread across racial and cultural boundaries and monasteries and fighting academies dedicated to the style have be come a ubiquitous sight. The Earth Dragon style focuses on joint locks and grappling techniques - though its students do learn to fight effectively with fists and feet, that training is secondary to the endless, repetitive tackling, joint locking and wrestling drills they must endure.

Weapon Focus Grapple: At 2nd level, a disciple of Earth Dragon Wrestling receives the Elusive Grappler feat instead of the Deflect Arrows feat, allowing him to substitute his Dexterity for his Strength in all grappling checks.

Natural Grappler: At 6th level, in lieu of Improved Trip, the Earth Dragon wrestler receives the Natural Grappler feat for free.

Standing Grapple: Instead of the Leap of the Clouds ability, a 7th level disciple Earth Dragon Wrestler can perform a Standing Grapple. A Standing Grapple allows the disciple to maintain Dexterity bonus to AC (if applicable), continue to threaten adjacent areas while engaged in a Grapple, even when grappling multiple opponents and maintain a Pin on two opponents simultaneously. An opponent who opts to pin a disciple of Earth Dragon Wrestling must succeed at two consecutive opposed Grapple checks - the first grounds the disciple, forcing him to the ground and removing the benefits of Standing Grapple. The second successful check, which must be attempted in the following round, pins the disciple as normal. If the second check fails, the disciple can elect to stand, regaining the benefits of Standing Grapple.

Giant's Grasp: In lieu of gaining the [[[SRD:Monk#Abundant_Step|Abundant Step]] ability, a 12th level disciple of Earth Dragon Wrestling is considered to be one size larger for the purposes of determining what he may grapple and size modifiers for grappling checks.

Dragon's Grasp: In lieu of gaining Quivering Palm, a 15th level master of Earth Dragon wrestling is considered to be two sizes larger for the purposes of determining what may grapple him and size modifiers for grappling checks.

Way of the Titans[edit]

The martial art known as the Way of the Titans is a style of sumo wrestling. According to legend, sumo wrestling originated in a battle between a divinely-descended emperor of an ancient civilization and a great titan that terrorized and devoured the populace of that nation. According to myth, the battle between emperor and titan lasted for days and reduced much of the countryside to rubble. In the end, the emperor was victorious and the titan was slain, his shattered corpse cast into the sea, where it formed a chain of islands that still stands today. Four times each year, in honor of that battle, students of sumo come together from all across the world to grapple one another, to the delight of huge, adoring and fanatically devoted crowds. The Way of the Titans is one of the most famous and successful sumo schools, with off-shoot branches in many nations.

The techniques of the Way of the Titans style, as with all sumo schools, are primarily powerful open hand slaps and pushes, charging techniques and simple but effective throws using the opponent's hips, neck and arms. Unlike other wrestlers, sumo are loathe to fight on the ground - in organized sumo matches, wrestlers are declared the loser as soon as any body part above the knees touches the earth. Strength and mass are critical to success in sumo, so Way of the Titans students enthusiastically practice body building techniques and consume truly massive quantities of rice and fish. As a result, their bodies grow to prodigious size, a combination of fat and bulk muscle that some, notably elves, find repugnant. Many who see sumo for the first time dismiss them solely based on their slovenly appearance - in truth, sumo are extremely fit, superbly trained athletes and warriors, capable of defeating an opponent with a single shove.

Improved Bull's Rush: A 2nd level practitioner of the Way of the Titans gains Improved Bull's Rush instead of Deflect Arrows, even if he does not meet the requirements.

Toughness: At 4th and again at 6th level, in lieu of the Slow Fall 20ft. and 30ft., the Way of the Titans paractitioner receives the Toughness feat for free.

Oshi: At 7th level, in lieu of the Leap of the Clouds ability, an adept of the Way of the Titans receives the Gorgon's Horns feat for free, even if he does not meet the requirements.

Haragei: At 8th level, in lieu of Slow Fall 50ft., the Way of the Titans practitioner gains a +1 natural AC bonus.

Unstoppable Titan: At 12th level, in lieu of Abundant Step, a master of the Way of the Titans gains the ability to trample opponents. As a standard action, or when Charging, the monk can simply move over the opponent, inflicting normal unarmed damage (plus double strength bonus when Charging). Trampled opponents can attempt an attack of opportunity, but they suffer a -4 penalty to the attack roll. Alternately, they can attempt a Reflex save for half damage against DC 10 + Monk level + Strength modifier. The monk is considered to be size large for purposes of determining what he can attempt to Trample. Unstoppable Titan is an Extraordinary ability.

Haragei: At 18th level, in lieu of unlimited distance Slow Fall, a master of the Way of the Titans' natural armor bonus increases by another +1.

Ghost Fist[edit]

For convenience sake, many scholars divide martial arts styles into two broad categories, external or hard styles, which rely on raw physical strength and internal or soft, arts that harness and develop chi energy. While in reality all martial arts become, at their highest level, a mix of external and internal, the division is a valid one. With few exceptions, internal arts and designed to be evasive and reactive, rather than aggressive arts. Practitioners are taught to redirect the force of their opponents' blows with a simple parry (hence the saying 'a single ounce can move a thousand pounds') and then defeat them with a single, chi charged, open palm slap. To truly master an internal art requires boundless patience, as students must endure endless hours of meditation before they begin to feel even the barest trickle of chi energy.

Ghost Fist is an internal style. Created millennia ago by elven scholars, the techniques of the Ghost Fist style were designed to take advantage of the natural grace and magical nature of the elven race, while simultaneously compensating for their innately fragile nature. The result is a graceful martial art that relies on evasive footwork and sweeping circular movements for defence and a huge arsenal of open palm strikes and high kicks for attack. Ghost Fist masters are well known and respected for their mastery of chi energy, an art they have cultivated to the highest degree. The art is most popular among elves, gnomes and humans; elves, blessed with long lives and a love of beauty, appreciate the Ghost Fist's aesthetic value and see no waste in dedicating a century of life to mastery of the art; gnomes, with their love of the intellectual, consider the study and cultivation of chi as a worthwhile academic endeavour; and humans, whose lives flicker out all too briefly, believe that the cultivation of chi helps to preserve their health even well into old age.

Break Breath: A 2nd level student of the Ghost Fist style receives the Break Breath feat instead of Deflect Arrows.

Circle Boxing: Instead of Improved Trip, a 6th level student of Ghost Fist receives the Circle Boxing feat.

Ki Shield: In lieu of receiving Abundant Step, a 12th level practitioner of Ghost Fist gains the ability to add his Ki Strike bonus to any saving throw or skill 1 + Wisdom bonus times per day. He must decide to add the Ki Strike bonus before attempting the roll.

Ki Sword: In lieu of the Tongue of the Sun and Moon ability, a 17th level practitioner of the Ghost Fist style gains the ability to, for a number of rounds equal to 1 + his Wisdom bonus, add Ki Strike bonuses to all unarmed attack and damage rolls. He need not use the rounds consecutively.

Ki Strike: At 19th level, in lieu of Empty Body, a master of Ghost Fist adds another +1 to his Ki Strike ability, for a total of +4.

Ancestor's Illusion[edit]

Through the centuries, as the martial and theatrical arts became more entwined, the need for effective fighting techniques became secondary to the development of spectacular acrobatic skills On stage, the greatest accolades were reserved for those who could thrill, not kill, with a single technique, so martial arts styles evolved to match audience tastes. They are sometimes referred to as 'opera' styles, after the highly ritualized stage plays where they are most commonly seen, and many monks scorn them as 'ineffectual', but in the hands of a dedicated student, hey are still surprisingly dangerous. There are nearly as many styles of operatic martial arts as there are opera troupes and each guards its secret training methods jealously.

The first Ancestor's Illusion academy was founded just over two centuries ago, by a group of halfling revolutionaries who established the troupe as a cover for their anti-government activities. As years passed and the troupe's fame grew, they abandoned their revolutionary ideals in favour of profit. Now, Ancestor's Illusion has become one of the most influential opera styles, its methods and techniques widely copied. Practitioners of Ancestor's Illusion are gifted tumblers and actors, specializing in the reenactment of famous legends of ancient martial arts masters. Elves and, especially, halflings make up a large percentage of Ancestor's Illusion actors, but humans, gnomes and, rarely, dwarves have taken up its study as well. Half-orc students of the style are almost unheard of -- those few who have attempted to practice the art are viewed as side show curiosities not to be taken seriously.

Opera Training: At 1st level, in lieu of Stunning Fist, a student of Ancestor's Illusion gains the Opera Training feat for free.

Ghost Walk: At 6th level, a student of the Ancestor's Illusion school gains the Ghost Walk feat instead of Improved Trip.

Master Performer: At 10th level, the Ancestor's Illusion boxer can take 10 on all Perform, Tumble and, if he has it as a class skill, Disguise checks, even when circumstances would not normally allow him to do so.

Painted Faces: At 12th level, in lieu of Abundant Step, a practitioner of Ancestor's Illusion gains the supernatural ability to change his appearance as by the spell change self. He may do this an unlimited number of times per day, but before each use he must spend a full round applying grease paint makeup to his face.

Heroic Aspect: At 15th level, in lieu of Quivering Palm, a master of the Ancestor's Illusion style gains the supernatural ability to channel the spirit of a legendary hero once per week. After a full round spent applying grease-pain makeup and a second acting out a brief performance related to the hero to be summoned (tumbling, singing or soliloquies are appropriate, but no Perform check is required), the monk is affected as if by the spell tenser's transformation cast by a sorcerer of his class level.

Consummate Actor: At 19th level, in lieu of Empty Body, a master of the Ancestor's Illusion school instead perfects his Painted Faces and Heroic Aspect abilities. He no longer needs to apply grease-paint or act out a performance to use Painted Faces or Heroic Aspect and can activate Heroic Aspect as a standard action. Additionally, the monk can use Heroic Aspect 2/week instead of once.

Smoke Sword[edit]

It's a common myth that monks consider weapons training to be secondary to the study of unarmed combat. While it's true that unarmed fighting techniques are studied diligently, it is also understood that the mastery of weapons is essential for any monk who wishes to have a complete understanding of fighting. In fact, many styles teach weapons use first, the belief is that it is much simpler to teach a man to kill with a sword than kill with a kick. Though these styles later add a comprehensive repertoire of unarmed techniques, they never shift their focus from the perfection of armed combat, considering weapons to be nothing more than an extension of the body.

Smoke Sword originated as an indigenous style of a remote island nation. The native practitioners were much feared by sailors for their bloodthirsty nature and their mastery of the stick and long knife. Slowly, as trade between islanders and sailors increased, the art of Smoke Sword spread along the trade routes to many civilized nations, becoming popular with duelists and with the monks of more martially inclined monasteries. Smoke Sword is famous for its hundreds of intricate and effective disarming techniques, as well as the ruthless efficiency of its practitioners. Though the first smoke sword masters used long knives and fighting sticks, the style has since grown to include training for all manner of melee weapons.

Weapon Focus: At 2nd level, in lieu of Deflect Arrows, the Smoke Sword student receives the Weapon Focus feat for free. He may not select Weapon Focus (unarmed or grappling) with this free feat but is not restricted from selecting either with other feats he may receive.

Improved Disarm: At 6th level, in lieu of Improved Trip, the Smoke Sword practitioner receives the Improved Disarm feat for free.

Weapon Specialization: At 9th level, the Smoke Sword stylist gains Weapon Specialization as a bonus feat, though he may not apply it to unarmed attacks. The Smoke Sword stylist can select Weapon Specialization as a feat only once and he receives the feat in lieu of the Improved Evasion ability.

Unbreakable Bond: A 12th level Smoke Sword master can no longer be disarmed while wielding the weapon he has specialized in. Additionally, that weapon is considered to have an enhancement bonus equal to his Ki Strike bonus when resisting damage from other weapons, unless his weapon's existing enhancement bonus is greater than that gained from Ki Strike. Unbreakable Bond is gained in lieu of Abundant Step.

Ki Empower: At 15th level, in lieu of Quivering Palm, the Smoke Sword master gains the ability to add his Ki Strike as a to-hit bonus to critical hit confirmation rolls made with his chosen specialized weapon. He can do this 1 + Wisdom bonus/day but he must choose to add the bonus before rolling.

Double Hammer[edit]

Boxing, the science of fighting with the fists, has existed in some form or another for thousands of years. It is known that giants have practiced boxing, for both sport and defence, since at least the very beginnings of recorded history. For their part, giant scholars and theologians claim that the art was passed down to them by their gods, who can, on occasion, be seen brawling amongst the thunderclouds. It's doubtful that giants are solely responsible for the creation of the art, as some form of boxing is, or was, practiced by all races and cultures. In many nations, boxing is considered the 'gentleman's art' of unarmed defence and is somewhat of a fad amongst the upper crust. In others, boxing is thought of as nothing more than organized thuggery, a crude sport unworthy of being considered a martial art. In truth, boxing is a sophisticated martial art, incorporating elements of grappling and borrowing and adapting techniques freely from dueling academies.

The Double Hammer style is named in honour of the greatest half-orc boxer who ever lived, a woman with fists as large as hams and hard as stone. Double Hammer is a simple martial art - there are only four punches in the whole of the style: jab, cross, hook and uppercut but, coupled with a judicious sprinkling of fast, low kicks, knees, elbows, bear hugs and surreptitious head butts, it is more than most opponents can handle.

Weapon Focus: At 2nd level, in lieu of Deflect Arrows, the Double Hammer student receives the Weapon Focus (unarmed) feat for free.

Hammer Blow: At 6th level, in lieu of Improved Trip, the Double Hammer practitioner receives the Hammer Blow feat for free.

Weapon Specialization: At 8th level, in lieu of Slow Fall 50ft., the Double Hammer pugilist gains the Weapon Specialization (unarmed) feat for free. He gains Slow Fall 50ft. at 18th level.

Rabbit Strike: At 12th level, when using the Flurry of Blows ability with a full attack action, the Double Hammer practitioner suffers only a -1 penalty to his extra attack and highest base attack. The remaining attacks suffer the normal -2 Flurry of Blows penalty. Rabbit Strike replaces the Abundant Step ability.

Lightning Strike: At 15th level the Double Hammer pugilist is so skilled at making rapid-fire blows that he can attempt a Flurry of Blows as a standard action. In other words, he can make two attacks at his highest base attack as a standard action, suffering the normal -2 Flurry of Blows penalty to both attacks when doing so. He gains the Lightning Strike ability in lieu of Quivering Palm.

Great Fortitude: At 17th level, in lieu of Tongue of the Sun and Moon, the Double Hammer master gains the Great Fortitude feat for free.

Raging Bull: At 19th level, in lieu of Abundant Step, the Double Hammer master gains the ability to, 1/day, raise his strength as if by a bull's strength spell cast by a sorcerer of his Wisdom bonus in levels.

Tricks of the Trade[edit]

A monk is more than the sum of his feats and special abilities. The world of martial arts is filled with ancient fighting doctrines to study, esoteric philosophical beliefs to absorb and colourful rituals to perform and the wise monk samples them all, absorbing what is useful and discarding the rest. While his companions may scratch their heads at some of the monk's more exotic practices, they cannot deny their effectiveness, in and out of battle.

This chapter presents a host of new fighting options and skill uses for monk characters. Also included is a selection of dirty tricks specifically designed to take advantage of the monk's special abilities and rules for pressure point attacks, push hands duels and lion dance competitions. Unless otherwise noted, all characters are free to use these rules, but they are designed with the monk, the master of unarmed fighting, in mind.

Pressure Point Attacks[edit]

The primary targets for any unarmed martial art are the soft spots of the body, those places not protected by bone. The joints, throat, eyes, ears or any one of the body's potentially hundreds of nerve bundles, or pressure points, are vulnerable to a well-placed foot or fist. The monk, as the master of unarmed fighting, can use his encyclopaedic knowledge of these vulnerable areas to wreak havoc with his opponents; by carefully targeting specific areas of the body, he can destroy their will, and ability, to fight.

Making a Pressure Point Attack

In order to attempt a pressure point attack, a character must have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat and either the monk's Stunning Fist ability or the Stunning Attack feat. Each pressure point attack counts against the character's daily allotment of stunning attacks. The character must declare the use of a pressure point attack and its target before rolling to attack (thus, a failed attack wastes that use). When attempting a pressure point strike, the monk receives a circumstance penalty to his attack roll, the value of which depends upon the location struck. If the attack is successful, in addition to suffering normal damage, the victim must succeed at a Fortitude save versus DC 10 + 1/2 the character's level + Wisdom modifier or suffer the appropriate effect listed below. He is not, however, stunned. A character can attempt only on pressure point attack a round.

Pressure point attacks can only be attempted with unarmed attacks and may not be attempted against any opponent who is immune to stunning attacks. Monks, with their mastery of chi energy, can freely use pressure point attacks even against armoured opponents, but non-monks can only affect those in light armour or no armour, or those with a natural armour bonus of +4 or less. The effects of a pressure point attack can be negated by a successful Heal check against DC 15.

Pressure Point Attack to the Arm

With a quick strike to the wrist, elbow joint or vulnerable upper tendons of the biceps, the clever monk can render a victim's arm temporarily useless. The victim immediately drops any items held by the affected arm and that arm is rendered useless, negating shield bonuses if that is the victim's shield arm. A victim with a useless arm suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to all Strength of Strength-based skill checks and, if it is his weapon arm that is affected, he is forced to fight with his off hand, suffering the appropriate penalty. Under normal circumstances, a spellcaster who has only lost the use of one arm is still able to cast spells requiring somatic components, so only if pressure point attacks are used successfully on both arms does he lose the ability to cast those spells.

When attempting a pressure point attack to the arm, the monk suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to his attack roll. The effects of a pressure point attack to the arm last for 1d4 rounds.

Pressure Point Attack to the Leg

Though most areas of the leg are protected by thick muscle, a swift kick to the knee or a single blow to the ankle by a monk's iron hard shin can hobble an opponent. An opponent who suffers a pressure point attack to the knee suffers a 50% penalty to his movement and a -4 circumstance penalty to all Balance, Climb, Jump, Swim and Tumble checks. An opponent who is hobbled in both legs suffers a 75% decrease in movement, a -6 circumstance penalty to the listed skill checks and a -2 penalty to AC, as he is no longer mobile enough to protect himself adequately. A mounted opponent does not suffer the listed penalties so long as he remains on his mount. He does, however, suffer a -4 penalty to Ride checks if he loses the use of one leg, -6 for both, as he is no longer able to use his legs to guide his steed.

When attempting a pressure point attack to the leg, the monk suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to his attack roll. The effects of a pressure point attack to the leg last for 1d4 rounds.

Pressure Point Attack to the Groin or Kidney

A swift, savage, low blow to the groin or kidneys causes the victim to feel excruciating nausea. A victim affected by a pressure point attack to the groin or kidneys is considered staggered for 2 rounds, so he is restricted to partial actions. Further, he suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls and all skill checks during those two rounds and for 1d4 rounds after that. Additional pressure points attacks to the groin or kidneys have no cumulative effect.

When attempting a pressure point attack to the groin or kidneys, the monk suffers a -4 circumstance to his attack roll, as most trained combatants protect these two especially vulnerable areas instinctively.

Pressure Point Attack to the Throat

The throat is among the most vulnerable points of the body. A single, sharp blow can seal the windpipe, making it difficult for an opponent to draw breath. A victim affected by a pressure point attack to he throat cannot speak even so much as a whisper and he cannot cast a spell with a verbal component, unless that spell is enhanced via the Silent Spell feat, nor may he activate any item that requires a command word. Finally, he is forbidden from using spell-like or supernatural abilities involving a sonic component or effect.

When attempting a pressure point attack to the throat, the monk suffers a -6 circumstance penalty to the attack roll, as the throat is a small, well protected target. The effects of a pressure point attack to the throat last 1d4 rounds.

Pressure Point Attack to the Eyes

With a quick knuckle or finger thrust to the eyes, a monk can render his opponent partially blind for a short time, just long enough for a lethal finishing technique. A victim affected by a pressure point attack to the eyes is rendered nearly blind, suffering a 30% miss chance in combat (opponent gains 3/4 effective concealment), losing any Dexterity bonus to AC and granting opponents a +2 bonus to hit him in combat.

When attempting a pressure point attack to the eyes, the monk suffers a -8 circumstance penalty to the attack roll, as the eye is both a small and instinctively protected target. The effects of a strike to the eyes last for 1d4 rounds.

Pressure Point Attack to the Ear

A chopping blow to the soft spot behind the ear can render an opponent deaf for a brief period of time. A victim affected by a pressure point strike to the ear is deafened, suffering a 25% loss of movement rate and granting opponents a +2 bonus to strike him due to loss of equilibrium. Further a spellcaster suffers a 20% chance to miscast and lose any spell with a verbal component.

When attempting a pressure point strike to the ear, the monk suffers a -6 penalty to the attack roll, as the back of the ear is a difficult target to reach effectively. The effects of a strike to the ear last for 1d4 rounds.

New Grappling Options[edit]

Grappling is a key component of any complete martial arts system. Through the skilled application of grappling techniques, a monk can, if he chooses, neutralize an opponent while inflicting minimal bodily harm. Or, should he choose, he can throw his opponents around like a rag doll, tearing their joints and twisting their limbs into agonizing, unnatural positions.

Here are new techniques for your monk characters to employ in grappling combat.


A choke-hold is a vicious manoeuvre in which a wrestler wraps his arm around the victim's throat and squeezes, halting the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. A monk can only attempt to initiate a chokehold on his turn in the round immediately following a successful full round Pin of his opponent. With a successful opposed grapple check at a -4 penalty, you achieve the chokehold and your opponent must immediately succeed at a Constitution check or fall unconscious (0 hp). The DC of the check is equal to 10 + 1 per your remaining unarmed melee attacks. If you wish to maintain the chokehold after the 1st round, and your opponent is still conscious, you must declare your intention to do so at the beginning of your turn and immediately attempt an opposed grapple check with no penalty. If the grapple check is successful, the DC of the chokehold is increased by 1 for each unarmed melee attack you would normally receive and your opponent must immediately attempt another Constitution check. If the grapple check fails, you maintain the grapple but there is no other effect. In either case, you may take no other actions during your turn. While in a chokehold, your opponent is considered to be pinned. As with a Pin, a conscious opponent can attempt an opposed grapple check to escape the chokehold. If successful, they are still grappled, but your cumulative bonuses to the Constitution check DC are lost and you must again Pin them for a full round if you wish to reapply the chokehold.

  • Results:

When a victim succumbs to the chokehold, he immediately falls to 0 hp and is unconscious. If the chokehold is maintained, he drops to -1 hp in the second round and loses an additional hit point for each round the hold is maintained. At -10, he is dead.

  • Exception:

A character whith the Weapon Focus (grappling) feat suffers only a -2 penalty to opposed grapple checks when initiating a chokehold.

Grappling Throw

With a successful opposed grapple check, you can throw your opponent. Your opponent lands in any adjacent square, suffering normal, not subdual, unarmed melee damage and is considered prone. If you accept a -4 penalty to your grapple check, you may throw your opponent into any square within a 10ft. radius. If the square is occupied, the occupant must attempt a Reflex save against DC 15 or suffer unarmed melee damage equal to that suffered by the thrown opponent. A successful grappling throw ends the grapple and allows you your normal movement. A grappling throw may not be attempted while you are pinned by or pinning an opponent.

  • Exception:

A character with the Weapon Focus (grappling) feat suffers only a -2 penalty to opposed grapple checks when using a grappling throw.

Joint Lock

In your turn immediately following a successful full round Pin, you may attempt to joint lock your opponent. You must declare your intention to attempt a joint lock before rolling the opposed grapple check and you receive a -4 penalty to the check. With a successful opposed grappling check, you apply a painful lock to an opponent's limb and he suffers the penalties for being Helpless until the start of your turn in the next round. If you have multiple attacks, you can use subsequent attacks to damage your opponent. With a failed grappling check, you are still considered grappled, but there is no additional effect. A joint-locked opponent can attempt to break free on his turn with an opposed grapple check at a -4 penalty. If he succeeds, he escapes the joint lock, but is still considered grappled.

  • Exception:

A character with Weapon Focus (grappling) suffers only a -2 penalty to opposed grapple checks when initiating a joint lock.

Push Hands Competition[edit]

Push hands is the common name for a training technique, practiced in several internal martial arts, that increases the monk's balance, chi flow and awareness of his opponent's body language. Skilled push hands practitioners develop such instinctive awareness of movement and react so quickly to their opponent's techniques that they are sometimes mistaken for mind readers. A popular legend tells of the monk who could sense the tensing of muscles when a bird on his palm was preparing to fly and, by dipping his hand at the correct instant, he could prevent the bird from pushing off and taking flight.

Push hands is a two-person exercise. To begin the push hands training, the partners must assume a low and relaxed stance. The partners then cross their left forearms, with their right palms placed flat against them. During push hands, the partners attempt to sense the balance and anticipate the motion of their partners, flowing forward and back, their arms moving in sweeping circular patterns. When a practitioner senses that his partner is off balance, he presses forward quickly, expelling chi energy and pushing. If his partner does not respond quickly enough, he staggers back or falls to the ground.

Push hands contests are a useful way for monks, especially those of the Ghost Fist style, to settle conflicts, or simply test each other's skill, without the need for outright violence. Victory conditions for push hands duels are usually agreed upon before the duel begins. Most often, the winner is the duellist who manages to push or pull his opponent a certain distance, the duellist who first manages to knock his opponent down or the duellist who manages to knock his opponent unconscious with palm strikes.

Conducting a Push Hands Duel

For a push hands duel to take place, both participants must willingly enter into it. Ideally, a push hands duel is conducted outside of combat. If the participants choose to engage in a push hands duel while involved in combat, the opponent with the higher initiative must declare that he is readying an action to prepare for the duel and wait for his opponent's initiative. His opponent, until he moves to a square threatened by the monk's unarmed attack and declares he is preparing to push hands, may freely decide not to enter the duel. If he does choose to push hands, he must move adjacent to his opponent and declare his intent to push hands. Assuming the proper push hands stance is a move-equivalent action.


Opponents in a push hands duel must be within two size categories of one another and only opponents with humanoid hands and arms can attempt to push hands. No more than 2 opponents may engage in a push hands duel at the same time. During a push hands duel, the opponents may take no movement beyond that listed under each push hands option (see below).

Push Hands in Combat

Opponents pushing hands in combat do not threaten any adjacent squares and may not attempt attacks of opportunity. They do, however, maintain their dexterity bonus to AC. If a push hands duellist is damaged by anyone other than his push hands opponent, he must succeed at a Concentration check against DC 10 + damage received. If he fails, the duel ends. Both duellists act simultaneously each round, with phase 1 and 2 or a push hands duel encompassing a full round action. Either duellist can choose to end the push hands duel by declaring his intention to do so at the beginning of the round, before the opposed push hands check is rolled; if he does so, the other duellist is allowed to attempt an immediate unarmed melee attack as an attack of opportunity against him.

Phase 1

Each push hands duellist attempts an opposed push hands check. A push hands check is 1d20 + Balance + Wisdom bonus. As success in a push hands duel depends on technique, not strength or mass, size modifiers do not apply to opposed push hands checks. A push hands duellist without the Improved Unarmed Strike feat suffers a -4 competence penalty to all opposed push hands checks. The winner of the opposed push hands check is the aggressor. The aggressor picks one of the push hands options listed in phase 2 and resolves it as listed below. Then, if the push hands duel continues, the opponents return to phase 2, rolling new opposed push hands checks, with appropriate modifiers, to determine who the aggressor is.

Phase 2

Each round the aggressor in a push hands duel chooses one of the following options:

  • Palm Strike: If the aggressor chooses, he inflicts unarmed damage against the defender. There is no need to make an attack roll. Damage inflicted is assumed to be subdual; if the aggressor chooses to inflict normal damage, the push hands duel ends and normal melee combat begins. A character without the Improved Unarmed Fighting feat cannot attempt the palm strike manoeuvre.
  • Surge: If the aggressor chooses, he can surge forward, automatically moving into the defender's square and pushing the defender back 5ft. Immediately afterwards, both opponents must make another opposed push hands check. If the aggressor wins, he can choose to surge forward another 5ft. If the defender wins, he manages to brace himself and is pushed no further.
  • Pull: If the aggressor chooses, he may pull backwards 5ft., pulling the defender forward into the square he just vacated. Immediately afterwards, both opponents must make another opposed push hands check. If the aggressor wins, he can choose to pull his opponent another 5ft. If the defender wins, he manages to brace himself and is pulled no further.
  • Trip: If the aggressor chooses, he can attempt to trip the defender. He does not need to make a melee touch attack to do so. The trip attempt is resolved by opposed push hands checks. If the aggressor wins, the defender falls prone. If the defender wins, the push hands duel resets to phase 1, he does not have the opportunity to trip the aggressor. As success in a push hands duel depends on balance and technique, not mass and strength, size modifiers do not apply to a push hands trip. If the aggressor wishes, a successful trip attempt ends the push hands duel- if he has the Improved Trip feat, he may immediately attempt an unarmed melee attack against his opponent. A successful strike inflicts normal damage and automatically ends the push hands duel. If the aggressor does not wish to end thhe duel, the defender must first be allowed to stand and then the duel returns to phase 1, with the aggressor receiving a +4 circumstance bonus to his next opposed push hands check.
  • Stun: If the aggressor chooses, he can strike the defender with a Stunning Attack, though the force of the blow is somewhat muted as his arms are intertwined with his opponent's. He does not need to make an attack roll to strike his opponent. The defender must immediately attempt a Fortitude save as normal. If he fails, the aggressor can choose to end the duel. If he does not, the duel resets to phase 1 but the defender does add his Wisdom bonus to his next opposed check and he suffers an additional circumstance penalty equal to the aggressor's Wisdom bonus, if any.
  • Grapple: As the two opponents have already entwined their arms, there is no need for the aggressor to make a melee touch attack to initiate a grapple, should he choose to do so. He must, however, attempt to achieve a hold. To do so, unlike when attempting to initiate a standard grapple, both opponents make opposed push hands checks. If the aggressor wins, he achieves a hold, moves into the defender's space and the two opponents are now considered to be grappling, ending the push hands duel. If the defender wins, he may choose whether or not to enter the grapple. If he does not wish to grapple, the push hands duel resets to phase 1 and he receives a +2 circumstance bonus to his push hands check. As success in a push hands duel depends on balance and technique, not mass and strength, size modifiers do not apply to the opposed push hands check that initiates the grapple.

Ending the Push Hands Duel

The push hands duel ends as soon as one duellist is reduced to 1 hit points, when any of the conditions listed under push hands options are met, or when the duellists agree to stop pushing hands.

Lion Dance[edit]

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the lion dance to the monks of many cultures. The lion is a symbol of strength, wisdom, good fortune and courage and monks who can perform a skilled lion dance are said to possess the same virtues. Lion dancers carry the pride of their monasteries, so only the most athletic and dedicated students can hope to don the lion dance costume.

Lion dances are a regular occurrence in any large city with a sizeable population of monks. As the lion dance is thought to bring good fortune and frighten away mischievous spirits, new businesses frequently commission monasteries or schools to conduct a dance in front of their building. For the same reason lion dances are frequently performed at weddings and births. Lion dances are also performed during every religious holiday that is of significance to monks and to celebrate significant events in a monastery's history. Finally, a competitive lion dance is also a common means for rival Monk schools to settle disputes, though, as often as not, such competitions simply lead to even greater violence.


The lion dance is performed by two monks who work in tandem to replicate the movements and mannerisms of a lion through a combination of dance, martial techniques and imitation. The dancers wear a fanciful and expensive costume that resembles a lion only in the loosest sense (see Tools of the Trade for details). The dancer who controls the lion's head is in the most prestigious position. It is he who determines the steps of the dance and he who is responsible for bringing life to the lion head's features. The performer under the costume's rear half is responsible for supporting the lead as he performs acrobatic leaps and must learn to time his own moments perfectly to the established rhythm, as there are several points in every lion dance where both performers must leap and roll as one.

The lion dancers are accompanied in every performance by two or three junior monks wearing fanciful masks of famous monks and mythic heroes. The job of these masked men is to 'tease' the lion by tumbling, running and flipping over and around the costume, all the while shaking tabourines and jangling bells. Each dance is also accompanied by a trio of musicians playing flute, cymbals and drums. These musicians set the pace and their music serves as a narrator of sorts for spectators. Their songs are by turn lively, sleepy, fierce and playful, representing the many moods of the lion.

The Goal of the Lion Dance

The ultimate goal of any lion dance performance is the devouring of the lettuce or bakchoi bundle, a large head of leafy greens that the lion dancers must reach and 'eat', using the hinged jaw of the lion head to tear and shred it. The bundle is the symbolic reward for the lion, thanking it for bringing good fortune and driving away evil spirits. In a lion dance competition the bundle usually contains a small pouch of money as well - the first lion team to reach the bundle gets the money as a reward. By tradition, the bundle is hung from either the front door-frame of a building or from a pole extending from the building's eaves. Between the bundle and the lion dancers is an obstacle course of balance wires, seesaws, balance balls and chairs and planks stacked like stairs. Reaching the bundle is not simple a matter of leaping up and grabbing it, no matter how far a monk's leap can carry him. Rather, the lion dancers must reach the bundle by carefully making their way over and across all the obstacles placed before them, all the while maintaining the rhythm and prescribed motions of the dance.

In a competition involving two (or more) lions, reaching the bundle becomes even more difficult, as the performers must not only navigate the obstacle course, they must contend with interference from the other lion dance teams. In such competitions, lion dancers are free to attack one-another with kicks and ramming attacks, though the deliberate destruction of an opponent's lion costume is frowned upon, though it is still a common tactic. A team whose lion head is destroyed is out of the competition, regardless of how well they have performed up to that point.

Conducting a Lion Dance

A proper lion dance lasts a minimum of 10 rounds but can take much longer, particularly if the bakchoi bundle is protected by a large array of obstacles. The lion dance begins with each of the lion dance musicians making a Perform skill check, followed by both members of the lion dance team. For each musician that succeeds against DC 10 the lead lion dancer receives a +2 bonus to his own skill check. When the two costumed lion dancers roll their Perform checks the results are averaged by adding them together and dividing by 2. This Perform check covers the complete lion dance, regardless of how many rounds that lion dance lasts. The masked performers who accompany the lion are not required to attempt Perform checks. Instead, they spend each round performing intricate Tumbling manoeuvres.

After the Perform checks, the lion dancers roll Initiative. Since lion dancers must learn to move and perform as one, they can only act at the speed of the slowest performer. The dancer with the higher initiative must ready an action to wait for his fellow dancer's turn. On their initiative, the lion dancers are free to move but they must spend a move equivalent action each round performing the shambling steps and intricate imitative motions of the lion. Every other round, so long as the lion is not attempting to navigate an obstacle, the dancers are required to perform a sideways roll by attempting a Tumble check against DC 15.

If there are no obstacles between the lion dancers and the bakchoi bundle they are free, once 10 rounds has passed, to attempt to grab and 'devour' the bundle. Grabbing the bundle requires a successful melee touch attack against AC 15. Usually, the bundle is hung 2-3ft. above the heads of the lion dancers and to reach it, they must first succeed at a standing high jump. Lion dancers are not required to spend a move equivalent action performing in any round that they attempt to leap to reach the bundle.

If there are obstacles to be overcome the lion dance team must navigate each one before they may attempt to seize the bundle. Before the team can enter the obstacle course, they must spend at least 5 rounds dancing on open ground. A list of possible obstacles to be overcome is provided below.

Lions in Combat

When two or more lions from opposing teams meet in a dance, they must compete for the bakchoi bundle. When teams from allied schools meet, the contest is relatively peaceful, with each team trying to outdo the other through wildly enthusiastic dancing and daring feats of tumbling and leaping. In such friendly competitions, being the first to reach the bundle is almost less important than putting on a spirited show. But when teams from bitterly opposed schools meet, concerns of art and showmanship are put aside in favour of victory at any cost.

In contests between multiple lions, it is common for two (or more) identical sets of obstacles to be erected, so that the contest becomes a race between teams to see who can overcome the obstacles and reach the lone bakchoi bundle first. As before, the lions must spend a minimum of 5 rounds dancing on open ground before they can move to the obstacles. During this time, the opposing teams are free to attempt to disrupt each other's performance, whether by simply moving into each other's way, or, more commonly, by attacking each other with charges, fists and feet. Weapons are not allowed during a lion dance and though it is considered bad sportsmanship to directly attack any opposing team's lion, it is still a common tactic. Attacking the opposing team's obstacle course is also frowned upon but that rarely stops anyone and more than one lion dance has ended with all erected obstacles reduced to rubble and one or both team's lions in tatters, with the bakchoi bundle still hanging untouched.

The tumblers that accompany the lion dance team may or may not be allowed in competition dances. If they are allowed, they are forbidden from touching the opposing team's lion or musicians. Instead, they spend most of their time brawling with their counterparts, much to the delight of the gathered crowd.

Wild Lions

The lion dance competition is fast becoming a staple of martial arts films and literature. Often, the wild and woolly competitions they portray bear little resemblance to the historical reality of the lion dance, with armoured lions, fire breathing lion heads and even sickle wielding steel centipede costumes dancing side by side with their traditional brethren. The lion dance rules presented here in The Quintessential Monk are intended to strike a halfway point between reality and fancy. They are freeform enough to allow players and Games Master to add their own cinematic descriptive touches but are not intended fully model the often ludicrously hyper-kinetic contests seen in the most extreme martial arts movies. Should the Games Master choose, he may wish to incorporate some of those elements into his own campaign, by allowing player characters and their non-player opponents to add outlandish weapons to their lions or placing fantastic obstacles in between them and the bakchoi bundle. Here are some examples to help you get started. Fair warning though, should you choose to incorporate these elements, you must be vigilant to ensure that you lion dances to not simply degenerate into costumed brawls.

Weapons And Armour

Fire Spitter: A fire spitter is a weapon mounted in the mouth of the lion that allows the lion to shoot a stream of alchemist's fire at opponents. The fire spitter is simply a leather bladder attached to a short brass nozzle, when compressed the bladder shoots alchemist's fire out the nozzle in a stream that ignites upon contact with the air. The alchemist's fire shoots in a Line, 5ft. Wide, 5ft. high and 15ft. long. Anything within that area takes damage exactly as per the description of alchemist's fire in Core Rulebook I. A fire spitter contains enough alchemist's fire for a single burst and up to two fire spitters can be mounted in a standard lion head. Each time the fire spitter is used, there is a 10% chance that it bursts, inflicting damage to the head it is mounted on and the dancer that squeezed it. An empty fire spitter costs 50gp.

Mounted Sickles: A lion head with sickles mounted on both sides inflicts 1d6 damage, double that at the end of a charge. Each round the armed lion is in contact with an opponent, whether that be another lion or a tumbler, it gets an automatic attack against them at the highest base attack bonus of the lead lion dancer. Mounted sickles cost 100gp.

Iron Armour: A lion can be equipped with iron plates, making it much more difficult to damage in combat. An armoured lion adds +5 to its hardness and +1 to its AC but is so heavy that the dancers within lose 10ft. of their normal movement. Only masterwork lion heads can be armoured in this way. Adding armour to a lion head adds 50% to the base price of the lion costume.

Alternate Costumes

Though the lion is the traditional costume, it is by no means the only possible choice. Other suitable options include: unicorn, bear, goat, tiger, wolf, snake, turtle, shark beetle, centipede, leopard, boar, rhinoceros or any other creature that is considered fearsome in either appearance or temperament.

Ending a Lion Dance

The lion dance ends one round after a lion successfully seizes the bundle. during that final round, the lion dance team finishes its dance with a flourish, ending by laying belly-first on the ground, in imitation of sleep. At the same time, the musicians and tumblers are building to a frenzy of movement and sound -- when the lion settles, the music and tumbling comes to an immediate halt.

A competitive dance ends in a similar fashion, with one important difference. When one lion seizes the bundle, the other must immediately, on its next action, roll onto its back in submission. The victorious lion dancers then spend at least 1 round cavorting around their defeated opponents, often ending the dance with the lead dancer standing on his opponent as a lion stands over its kill.

Lion Dance Obstacles

The follwing are common examples of lion dance obstacles. In all cases, the DC is raised by a circumstance penalty of 5, as the performers are required to maintain the shuffling, capering gait of the lion even while navigating the obstacles presendted to them.

Obstacle DC
Angled Narrow Beam 20 (Balance)
10-60ft. long
Tightrope 25 (Balance)
10-30ft. long
3ft. circumference Leather Balance Ball 20 (Balance)
Both dancers must balance simultaneously
Angled Ladder 15 (Climb)
10-20ft. high
See Saw -
(A see saw is often placed under a platform 5-10ft. overhead. To reach the platform, both lion dancers must stand on one end of the platform and ready an action to Jump. Once of the tumblers that accompanies them then leaps on the other end of the see saw, sending the lion dancers into the air and granting them a +4 circumstance bonus to their Jump skill checks.)
Balance Poles 15 (Balance)
1' circumference, 5-20ft. high
(Balance poles are generally spaced 5ft. apart. To move between poles, the lead lion dancer must leap to the first pole. On the next round, the two dancers leap together, with the lead dancer moving to the next pole and the tail dancer jumping to the first. If either fail their jump check, both fall, as the costume and weight of the falling partner is too much to resist.)
Stacked Chairs or Stools 5 + 5 per additional level of chairs
(Chairs are usually stacked in a single chair wide pyramid. If either member of the lion team fails his Balance check, both dancers fall and the stack of chairs tumbles to the ground.)

Dirty Tricks[edit]

Oh yeah? So what if he calls his punch 'The crane strikes swift and sure'? A sissy name don't mean nothing. When he hits you in the kidneys, you're still going to piss blood for a month.

Ignorant and arrogant back alley brawlers often claim that they are more than a match for the monk because they 'fight dirty'. What they fail to understand is that martial arts styles are nothing but systemized methods of dirty fighting. Tempered in the fires of war and a thousand lethal challenge matches, the monk doesn't know one method of breaking a nose with a head butt, he knows a dozen.

The following section presents new rules and tactics for monks designed to give them the advantage in any situation.


Starting at 11th level, the monk gains absolute immunity to poison. The unscrupulous monk can take advantage of this powerful ability in a number of ways.

Spitting Cobra: Unscrupulous monks often carry a small bladder of contact venom under their tongues. When they close on an enemy, they simply bite down on the bladder and spit a mouthful of poison in the unfortunate victim's face. For the spitting attack to be effective, the monk must be within 5ft. of his opponent and must succeed at a ranged touch attack. The save DC versus a poison delivered in this way is reduced by 1, as the poison is slightly diluted by the monk's body fluid. Spitting poison in an opponent's face is a standard action.

Poison Skin: Mercy is not a virtue all monks share. Those monks who believe that death is the only fitting punishment for any who would dare face them often coat their bodies and fists in virulent contact poison. An opponent who strikes the monk with any sort of unarmed blow is considered to have come in contact with the poison and must attempt a Fortitude save versus the poison as normal. Alternately, a successful unarmed blow from the monk transmits the poison to the target. A single dose of contact poison is enough to coat one fist, three doses are required to coat the body with the equivalent of a single poison dose. In order to effectively strike a character wearing medium or better armour with a poison punch, the monk must succeed at a normal unarmed melee attack. Against an opponent in Light or no armour, the monk simply needs to succeed at a melee touch attack. When striking with unarmed attacks, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat risks just a 10% chance of contact with the poison if he is wearing gauntlets, without Unarmed Strike, the chance of accidental contact rises to 25%.

Poison and the Quivering Palm[edit]

In order to survive a Quivering Palm attack, a victim must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw. A ruthless monk can minimize his victim's chance of surviving the attack if he first affects them with doses of one or more poisons that lower their Constitution score.

Kicking Up Dust[edit]

Sometimes, fighting with honour is not as important as winning the battle. An old trick amongst monks who believe that the ends justify the means is the throwing of dust, flour or similar substances into their opponent's face. Throwing a handful of dust in the opponent's face requires a ranged touch attack. If the attack is successful, the opponent must succeed at a Reflex save against a DC of 15 or suffer a -2 circumstance penalty to attack rolls and AC for 1d4 rounds - if the save is successful, te victim suffers no ill effects, as he was able to avert his eyes in time to avoid the dust. The victim can eliminate the penalty if he spends a full round wiping the substance from his eyes. Likewise, a quick application of water, such as a splash from an ally's canteen, negates the penalty. A monk or any character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat can attempt this manoeuvre as a standard action, as they can , if fighting outdoors or in a particularly dirty environment, literally scoop up and deliver a healthy dose of dust to their victim's eyes with a kick. Characters without the Improved Unarmed Strike feat must first spend a move equivalent action to scoop up a handful of dust before they can attempt this manoeuvre.

Thunder Step[edit]

A monk skilled at the art of breaking can spring a rude surprise on opponents who are foolish enough to attack him inside a building. When his enemies charge to the attack, the monk can use his focused power to smash the floor in front of hi, sending his would-be assailants crashing to the earth below. In order to avoid smashing the floor beneath his own feet, the monk must succeed at either a Knowledge (architecture) check against DC 10 or, if he has no ranks in that skill, an Intelligence check against a DC of 20. If the check is successful, then the monk, with a successful break check, smashes a 10ft. square area adjacent to himself. If the knowledge check is unsuccessful, a successful break is centred on the square occupied on the monk and he is subject to falling damage, as appropriate.

Falling Rock[edit]

Starting at 4th level, most monks gain the ability to fall great distances without suffering damage, so long as they are within arm's reach of a wall or similar surface. Clever monks can wreak terrible damage on their adversaries with this ability by simply dropping on them from great heights. The monk gains +1 to strike and damage to his unarmed attack roll for every 10ft. that he drops and for every 100lbs he weighs, to a maximum of +20. He does less than normal falling damage since he is using a wall to slow his descent. He may not use Stunning Blow, Power Attack or similar feats in conjunction with a falling rock attack.

Garrotte Strangulation[edit]

A particularly vicious way to kill an opponent, in garrotte strangulation the attacker wraps a length of wire, rope or wound cloth around the victim's throat and twists it, cutting off the flow of air and blood to the victim's brain. Garrotte strangulation is similar to a chokehold, but the presence of the weapon makes it much more lethal. To strangle an opponent, the attacker must enter into a grapple by succeeding at both a normal, not touch, melee attack and an opposed grapple check. If he succeeds, the victim must immediately succeed at a Constitution check against a DC of 10 + 1 per attacker's remaining unarmed melee attacks or fall unconscious (0 hp). Each round that the garrotte strangulation is maintained, the attacker makes 1 opposed grapple check for each unarmed melee attack he possesses. Each successful grapple check adds +1 to the save DC of the Constitution check - the victim must attempt a new Constitution check at the end of the attacker's action. The round after a victim loses consciousness he falls to -1 hp and is dying. He dies the following round. On his action, a conscious victim can attempt to escape, but he suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to his opposed grapple check. If he succeeds, he is no longer considered grappled and can take his normal movement. If the attacker wishes to reapply the garrotte, he must succeed at another melee attack and opposed grapple check and, even if he is successful, the accumulated bonuses to the Constitution check DC from the prior attempt are lost.

New Uses for Existing Skills[edit]

It's easy to overlook the monk's skills. Compared to the exotic array of special abilities and feats available to him at each level, the monk's skill list can seem somewhat drab. Nothing could be further from the truth. The skills available to a monk character are some of the best in the game and a monk who uses his skills in new and inventive ways is a great asset to a party.

Unless otherwise noted, the new skill uses listed below can be attempted by anyone, but hey will be of particular interest to the monk.

Balance (Dex)

Normal Use: This skill allows you to keep your balance while walking on a tightrope, narrow beam or uneven floor.

New Use: Cat Creep. With a successful skill check against DC 20, you can literally walk on the tips of your big toes, adding a +2 bonus to all Move Silently checks and, where applicable, leaving a minimal trail reminiscent of cat prints. A successful use of Cat Creep adds a +4 circumstance penalty to the Track DC of anyone attempting to follow your trail. While using Cat Creep, you are limited to moving at half your speed.

Climb (Str)

Normal Use: Using this skill you can climb cliffs, scale a monastery's walls or slide down a tree trunk.

'New Use: Cling: You can attempt to leap and cling to a wall or slope. The DC of the Climb check is equal to the normal Climb DC of the wall or slope +5. With the Games Master's permission, you may also attempt to jump and cling to the side of a moving inanimate object no smaller than a wagon. The DC of such an attempt is equal to the base Climb check DC (usually 15, plus appropriate modifiers for slipperiness, etc) + 10.

Concentration (Con)

Normal Use: You can focus your mind to an impressive degree.

New Use: Breaking. An important concept in many martial arts systems is that of breaking, the art of shattering objects with an unarmed strike. Breaking is not simply a matter of pitting crude muscle against the inanimate, though certainly strengt does play a part; any barbarian can smash down a door with an axe, after all. Rather, breaking is a challenge of will against the weakness of the flesh. The monk does not seek to conquer the stone, he seeks to conquer his own doubts. The stone's destruction is simply a beneficial side effect. Breaking is governed by the Concentration skill.

Only a monk or character with at least 1 rank in Concentration and the Improved Unarmed Strike feat can attempt a break. Breaks can only be attempted against unmoving, non-living objects, so a character cannot attempt to destroy weapons or armour in combat. The optimal time to attempt a break is during a period of relative calm, so a monk who attempts a break while under duress, in combat for example, will find it much harder to accomplish.

The Break Attempt: A character has two options when performing a break - he can attempt to shatter the object by overcoming its hardness and hit points, or he can simply attempt to overcome the object's Break DC. In either case, the initial procedure is the same.

First, the character must devote at least 1 round, and may devote up to 1 + Wisdom modifier in rounds, to focusing his will. While doing so, he is considered to be flat-footed and may take no action. Since the character is already concentrating to focus his will he cannot attempt a Concentration check to ignore injury, so any damage he receives during this time automatically disrupts the break attempt. When the character has finished focusing his will, he attempts a Concentration check at a DC equal to 20 + 2 per additional round beyond the first spent in concentration. In combat, the DC is 30 + 2 per additional round. If the check is successful, he moves to the next step. If unsuccessful, he can still attempt to strike the object but receives no break bonus for doing so. It is not possible for a character to take 10 or 20 when rolling a Concentration check.

Next, the character attempts to strike the object. In order to correctly break an object, he must strike a vulnerable point with a single unarmed touch attack against an AC equal to the object's hardness. If unsuccessful, he may inflict normal damage on the object but does not receive the break bonus. In any round the character attempts a break, he may make only one attack roll, regardless of how many unarmed attacks he can normally attempt. There is no need for the character to actively search for a vulnerable point before striking, if his attack is successful, it is assumed he found one.


Attacking an Object's Hardness and Hit Points: If the character is attempting to destroy the object, for example a novice attempting to destroy a board as a test of skill, he rolls unarmed damage once for each unarmed attack he would normally receive in a round and totals the amount. A monk may not use Flurry of Blows when attempting a break. For purposes of the break attempt, the character adds Strength, Power Attack and Weapon Specialization: Unarmed bonuses to damage only once, as he is making only a single strike. As the master of chi, a monk, and only a monk, can choose to substitute his Wisdom bonus for Strengtth bonus when determining break damage. For each round beyond the first that the character concentrates, he may add 1/2 of his Strength or Wisdom bonus to the total damage inflicted. When the damage is totalled, it is applied against the hardness and hit points of the object. If the damage is higher than the total of the object's hardness and hit points combined, it is destroyed. If not, the ogject survives but is likely to be heavily damaged. A character that fails to destroy an object with one blow is free to try again, but the DC of the Concentration check when focusing rises by 5 each time.

(Example 1: A 20th level monk with a Wisdom of 26 (+8) is attempting to shatter an iron door (Hardness 10, HP 60). He concentrates for a total of nine rounds and succeeds at his Concentration check versus DC 36 (20 + 2x8). he also succeeds with an unarmed touch attack against AC 10, so he rolls his unarmed damage (d20) five times, for a total of 60 points of damage. He then adds his full Wisdom bonus + 8 x 1/2 his Wisdom bonus to that, for a total of 98 points of damage, more than enough to destroy the iron door.)

Multiple Simultaneous Breaks: On rare occasions, a character may need to attempt to break multiple objects simultaneously, usually as some sort of demonstration of skill. A character can only attempt o break multiple objects if they are adjacent or, more commonly, when they are stacked horizontally or vertically. When attempting to break adjacent objects, the character attempts a single unarmed touch attack to strike both objects, but rolls damage for each separately and each object's hardness is doubled.When attempting to break a stack of objects, the character makes a single unarmed attack and damage roll, and then applies that to the first target. If the break is successful, he applies the same damage against the next target, but its effective hardness is stacked with that of the first. Break results against additional objects in the stack are resolved the same way, with its hardness equal to the sum of all the objects previously broken. When a character fails to destroy an object, the break attempt ends.

(Example 2; A 20th level monk with a Wisdom of 26 (+8) is attempting to shatter a stack of twenty wood planks (Hardness 5, HP 10). He concentrates for a total of nine rounds and succeeds at his Concentration check versus DC 36 (20 + 2x8). He also succeeds with an unarmed touch attack against AC 5, so he rolls his unarmed damage (d20) five times, for a total of 60 points of damage. He then adds his full Wisdom bonus + 8 x 1/2 his Wisdom bonus to that, for a total of 98 points of damage and applies it against the first wooden board, destroying it easily. He then applies damage against the second, subtracting 10 points of damage - another success. He destroys each plank in turn, until he reaches the eighteenth, which has an effective hardness of 90. The 8 points of damage subtracted from the eighteenth plank are not enough to destroy it, so the break attempt ends.)

Attacking an Object's Break DC: If the character is attempting to knock an object down, for example a monk attempting to knock a dungeon door off its hinges, he rolls a Strength check and adds +1 to the result for each unarmed attack he would normally receive in the round. As the master of chi, a monk, and only a monk, may substitute a Wisdom check for the Strength check. For each round past the first the character concentrates, he adds 1/4 (minimum 0) of his Strength, or Wisdom for a monk, bonus to the check. A character may not take 10 or 20 when on his check.

(Example 3: A 20th level monk with a Wisdom of 26 (+8) is attempting to bash open an iron door. He concentrates for a total of nine rounds, succeeds at his Concentration check versus DC 36 and also with his unarmed touch attack against AC 10. He rolls a 10 and adds his Wisdom + 8 x 1/4 his Wisdom bonus to the check, for a total of 34, more than enough to bash open the door.)

Other Uses for Breaking

Shattering the bottom brick: As a demonstration of his consummate control of martial power, a monk can attempt to break only a single object in a stack, most often the bottom one, rather than the entire stack. In order to do so, he must, at the moment he strikes the stack, succeed at a Concentration check. The DC of the check is equal to 20 + 1 per object in the stack up to, and including, the target object. With a successful check, he inflicts break damage against only that object, leaving the rest unharmed. However, he must still bypass the cumulative hardness of each object in order to damage the target. If the check is failed, he damages all objects as normal.

New Use: Body Kung. The young girl who serenely performs a handstand balanced on only two fingers. The ancient master who bends spears and swords placed against his throat. Both are examples of body kung. Closely related to the art of breaking, body kung are tricks of mind over matter that monks use to demonstrate their focus and power. While body kung serve no combat purpose, they are often spectacular displays that impress laymen and attract prospective students. As the successful performance of body kung depends on absolute focus and unshakeable mental clarity, only a monk or character with at least 1 rank in Concentration and the Still Mind class ability can attempt to perform body kung. Certain kung also require the character to possess at least 1 rank in Balance. The following are examples of body kung:

Balance on Two Fingers: A monk who succeeds at both Balance and Concentration checks against a DC of 20 can focus enough chi into his hands to perform a handstand using only his index fingers. A monk who succeeds at Concentration and Balance checks against DC 25 can balance on a single index finger.

Bend Spears: With a successful Concentration check, a monk can bend the shafts of spears placed against his throat or other vulnerable areas. A monk preparing to bend spears is required to spend a minimum of 10 - Wisdom bonus in rounds in absolute concentration. At the end of that time, he readies himself and assistants place the point of at least one spear against the hollow of his throat. When the monk is ready he tightens his throat and leans forward. With a successful Concentration check against DC 20, he inflicts unarmed damage against the spear. As with breaking, a monk, and only a mnk, may add his Wisdom bonus instead of Strength to the unarmed damage. If the unarmed damage is enough to overcome the spear shaft's hardness, the shaft bows and the monk is uninjured. If the damage is insufficient to overcome the spear's hardness, he suffers the unarmed damage instead. If the initial Concentration check is failed, the monk suffers maximum possible weapon damage, including Strength or Wisdom bonus.

Martial artists are not limited to bending spears using this technique, though hat is the most common choice; swords, iron bars, quarterstaves and chopsticks are all common choices. Skilled and especially confident monks can even attempt to bend more than one simultaneously, in the case of multiple objects the hardness of each is stacked together to determine the total the monk must overcome.

Balance on a Spear Point: With successful Balance and Concentration checks, a monk can place the tip of a razor sharp spear point or similar item just below his belly button and, using nothing but the strength of his chi, balance there uninjured. Before he can attempt this feat, the monk must spend at least 10 - Wisdom bonus rounds in absolute concentration. When he is prepared, he places his stomach against the spear point and leans his full weight forward. He then attempts balance and Concentration checks against DC 25. The assistants then tilt the spear upright, hoisting the monk high into the air, his full weight pressing down on the spear. If both the Balance and Concentration checks are successful, the monk balances, unharmed, on the spear point for a maximum of his Wisdom bonus in rounds. If he fails either or both of his skill checks, the monk suffers damage equal to the maximum possible for the weapon each round he remains on the spear point.

Belly Suction: A simple way for a monk to demonstrate his muscle strength and mastery of chi is to suction a bowl to his stomach, using abdominal power and breath control, and challenge all comers to try and remove it. To perform this kung, the monk simply relaxes the muscles of his stomach, places the open end of a bowl against his bare skin and takes a deep breath. He then rolls a Concentration check. The result of the Concentration check is the Strength check DC that must be overcome if someone is to successfully remove the bowl. If the bowl is broken, as often happens when those attempting to remove the bowl become frustrated, the suction fails and the remnants of the bowl fall. A monk can maintain belly suction for as long as he can hold his breath.

Body kung can only be attempted outside of combat. If a monk suffers damage from any attack while performing the kung, the kung ends and the monk immediately suffers damage as appropriate for each kung.

New Use: Feign Death. Martial artists are famed for their incredible control over even their body's autonomous functions - the breath, dilation of the pupils, even the heart's beat obey the monk's every whim. A successful Concentration check, opposed by an observer's Spot check, allows the monk to slow his heartbeat and control all autonomous functions to such a degree that he appears, for all intents and purposes, to be dead. The monk must attempt a new Concentration check each round that he remains under direct observation. If the monk takes damage while attempting to feign death, he must immediately succeed at another Concentration check against a DC equal to 10 + damage suffered or involuntarily react (by flinching, a sharp intake of breath, etc.) to the attack. While attempting to feign death, the monk is considered to be holding his breath. When he reaches the point where he is required to roll Constitution checks to continue holding his breath, his opposed Concentration checks suffer a -1 cumulative circumstance penalty. When the monk fails his first Constitution check, he can no longer attempt to feign death.

Monk Feats[edit]

The monk is a character for all occasions. The sheer number of special abilities available to even a low level monk is staggering, giving him a degree of versatility in, and out, of combat that few, if any, other characters can match. This versatility is only enhanced by a player who makes judicious use of his character's feats. A wisely chosen feat can make the difference between a legendary hero and and anonymous also-ran. The feats presented here are specially designed to give your monk the edge he needs to be more than just a face in the crowd.

Please note that the feats listed in this chapter are specifically intended to be used by monks and that feats listed as 'monk' are only available to monk characters. Feats labelled as 'general' are available to anyone.

Blunted Blade (General)[edit]

You have great skill with weapons, but prefer to use them to defend, not attack.

  • Prerequisites: Proficient with weapon, Dex 13+
  • Benefits: You gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC when wielding a one- or two-handed weapon. While using Blunted Blade you cannot attack with that weapon, but may strike with unarmed attacks at no penalty. A monk character cannot use Flurry of Blows during any round in which he uses Blunted Blade. If fighting with two weapons, you gain no additional AC bonuses from the second weapon, may only attack with one weapon and suffer the usual penalties for two-weapon fighting. An exception to this is a character using paired special monk weapons, he suffers no penalty to weapon attacks, though he still cannot use Flurry of Blows. Blunted Blade can be taken twice and its bonus is cumulative.

Break the Breath (Monk)[edit]

Your stunning attack is particularly potent.

  • Prerequisites: Wis 15+
  • Benefit: You add 2 to the save DC for your stunning attack.

Broom Sweep (General)[edit]

With a fast, low sweep of your leg, you can cause even groups of enemies to tumble to the ground.

  • Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Trip, Finesse Trip, Unarmed BAB +4
  • Benefits: As a full attack action, in lieu of your regular attacks, you can attempt a trip attack at your highest base attack bonus against every opponent within 5 ft. of you. Each successful trip attack allows you to make an automatic melee attack against that opponent, as with the Improved Trip feat, but a failed trip attempt ends your action.

Chin Na (Monk)[edit]

You have learned the art of Chin Na, or joint locking.

Choose the Poison (Monk)[edit]

Your knowledge of anatomy is unequaled and you are able to strike even the most well-protected pressure point with ease.

  • Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse: Unarmed, Heal 8 ranks
  • Benefits: When using a stunning attack, you choose whether your opponent must attempt a Fortitude or Will save.

Clever Monkey Spins the Branch (General)[edit]

You can adjust your grip quickly on any long handled weapon, allowing you to attack nearby opponents freely.

  • Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Weapon Focus
  • Benefits: When wielding a reach weapon, such as a naginata, that does not normally allow you to attack adjacent opponents, you can adjust your grip to allow you to attack close-range foes. You cannot attack adjacent opponents in any round that you use reach to attack, nor may you use reach in any round you attack adjacent foes. This includes attacks of opportunity. Adjusting your grip between reach and adjacent attack positions is a move equivalent action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Cotton Cage (Monk)[edit]

You can use loose clothing to capture opponents' weapons.

  • Prerequisites: Improved Disarm, Improved Unarmed Strike, BAB +4, loose robes or a cloak
  • Benefits: At the start of your turn, declare that you are using Cotton Cage. The next opponent who strikes you is automatically subject to either a disarm attempt (using the attack roll that struck you for the opponent's disarm check) if using a melee weapon or a trip attempt (no attack roll required) if the opponent attacks unarmed. Clothes are considered to be one size larger than the character wearing them when determining size modifiers for disarm and trip checks. You cannot be disarmed or tripped as a result of a failed check. Cotton Cage takes the place of the character's attack of opportunity for the round and opponents with the Improved Grapple ability who attempt to initiate a grapple are not subject to Cotton Cage.

Crowd Fighting (Monk)[edit]

Your combat savvy and dextrous footwork makes you difficult to pin down in combat.

  • Prerequisites: Dex 15+, Dodge, Mobility or Circle Boxing, BAB +4
  • Benefits: You are not considered flanked unless you are within the threatened areas of three or more foes. To be considered flanked, the attackers must meet the normal requirements for flanking, however an additional opponent must be threatening you for you to be considered flanked. If three or more opponents threaten you, only those who would normally be considered flanking gain the benefits for flanking, including Sneak Attack opportunities. An exception to this are rogues of at least four higher levels than you, who can flank as normal.

Crushing Blow (Monk)[edit]

Your charges strike with incredible force.

  • Prerequisite: Power Attack
  • Benefits: At the end of a charge, if you move less than your standard movement, you add 1 point of damage to a successful attack per 10ft. of movement remaining. Crushing Blow cannot be used if you charge beyond your standard movement.
  • Example: A 20th level monk (base speed 90ft.) with Crushing Blow charges an opponent 10ft. away. With a successful strike, he adds +8 to damage. The same monk charges an opponent 80ft. away. With a successful strike, he adds +1 damage. If he charges 90ft. or more, he adds no damage. Extra movement gained from magic items or spell effects do not add to damage.

Elusive Grappler (General)[edit]

You rely on quick techniques, rather than powerful ones, when grappling.

  • Prerequisites: Dex 13+
  • Benefits: You can apply your Dexterity bonus, rather than your Strength, in all grappling checks.

Finesse Trip (General)[edit]

You know that strength is not the only way to topple a mountain.

Focus the Flame (Monk)[edit]

Some forms of meditation teach the student to focus the will and ignore outside turmoil by visualizing a spark of flame drifting in an endless black void. You have learned this technique.

  • Prerequisites: Still Mind ability, Concentration 10 ranks, Wis 15+
  • Benefits: 1/day you may substitute your ranks in Concentration for the d20 roll in any saving throw. Bonuses gained from Skill Focus (concentration) are counted as ranks for the purposes of this feat, but modifiers from statistics or special abilities are not.

Frog on the Lilypad (Monk)[edit]

By focusing your chi, you can walk on water as if it was solid ground.

  • Prerequisites: Wis +15, Balance 15 ranks, Concentration 10 ranks
  • Benefits: With successful Concentration and Balance checks against DC 25, you can move your normal movement rate across relatively calm liquid surfaces for a number of rounds equal to 1 + Wisdom bonus. With a successful Concentration check against DC 30, you can stand motionless atop liquid surfaces for 1 + Wisdom bonus rounds. The difficulty for all Concentration and Balance checks increases by 5 when attempted on liquids with fast or choppy currents and up to 10 when attempted in conditions equivalent to storm-tossed seas. A character using Frog on the Lilypad can even attempt to run across the surface of oozes and other creatures with amorphous, primarily liquid bodies, but the DC to do so is at least 40 and they are subject to an attack of opportunity from the creature when doing so. Characters are subject to normal contact damage for moving across liquids other than water, if appropriate.

Ghost Steps (Monk)[edit]

Your footsteps echo strangely and no longer betray your location.

  • Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Tiger Treads on Eggshells, Move Silently 10 ranks
  • Benefits: Thanks to your knowledge of acoustics you can, should you choose, cause the sound of your footsteps (as well as breathing and the rustle of gear) to issue forth from any direction and location within a 30ft. radius. With a successful Move Silently check, enemies are not aware of your true location and believe the Ghost Steps to be real. On a failed Move Silently check, enemies are aware of your real location and hear your ghost steps for what they are, echoes. Ghost Steps does not work in areas affected by Silence effects or when underwater.

The Gorgon's Horns (General)[edit]

Your body hits with the force of a battering ram.

  • Prerequisites: Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, BAB +3
  • Benefits: If you successfully push an opponent back during a Bull Rush, make a melee touch attack. If you are successful, you inflict normal unarmed damage.

Hammer Blow (Monk)[edit]

You know that power makes up for subtlety. Where other monks strike like lightning, you prefer kicks and punches that hit like a battering ram.

  • Prerequisites: Flurry of Blows ability, Power Attack, BAB +6
  • Benefits: In lieu of an extra attack when using Flurry of Blows, you add damage to your first attack equal the base attack bonus of the sacrificed extra attack, minus the Flurry of Blows penalty.
  • Example: An 11th level monk with unarmed BAB of +8/+5/+2 and a +1 Str bonus to damage would, when using Hammer Blow, have an unarmed BAB of +6/+3/+0 with +7 to his first damage roll and +1 to the rest. Hammer Blow can be used in conjunction with Power Attack.

Hidden Tiger (General)[edit]

Your small size leads opponents to believe you are weak, a mistake you always use to your best advantage.

  • Prerequisites: Small size, Improved Unarmed Strike
  • Benefits: When attacking unarmed, or when using a Tiny-sized weapon, you gain an additional +1 small size bonus to attack rolls in the first round of combat when fighting opponents of Medium size or larger. All other bonuses or penalties for size are unchanged.

Improved Ki Strike (Monk)[edit]

Your Ki Strike is more potent than normal.

  • Prerequisites: Wis 19+, Ki Strike +1
  • Benefits: Add +1 to the effective enhancement bonus of your Ki Strike ability. This feat can be taken only once.

Iron Body (Monk)[edit]

After years of diligent practice and great hardship, you have boosted your body's pain tolerance to an incredible degree.

  • Prerequisite: Great Fortitude
  • Benefits: You reduce the damage from critical hits and sneak attacks by 1 point per damage dice. Additionally, when reduced to 0 hit points or less, you have a 20% chance to stabilize each round, rather than 10%.

Monkey Taunts the Emperor (Monk)[edit]

You have learned to dismiss your enemies' fighting prowess with a single sneer or waggle of your finger, goading them into rash actions.

  • Prerequisites: Unarmed Damage d8, Bluff 6 ranks
  • Benefits: With a successful Bluff check you can force an opponent to charge you on his next action. If you ready an action to meet his charge, your unarmed damage is doubled. Monkey Taunts the Emperor can be used once per opponent per combat.
  • Special: Monkey Taunts the Emperor cannot be used against non-intelligent creatures or creatures of animal intelligence (1-2). Single class wizards and sorcerers, who as a whole put little stock in martial prowess, gain a +8 insight bonus to their Sense Motive checks.

Natural Grappler (General)[edit]

You can grapple as easily as you punch.

  • Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Weapon Focus (grappling), BAB +3
  • Benefits: You no longer provoke attacks of opportunity when attempting to initiate a grapple and can initiate a grapple as a free action after a successful unarmed melee attack.

Northern Staff, Northern Spear (General)[edit]

Some styles of martial arts teach their practitioners to use the staff in the same manner as a spear, keeping both hands on one end of the staff and stabbing, as with a spear, with the other end. This style of staff fighting allows you to attack opponents at a longer range than is normal for a staff, while still allowing you to change your grip and attack nearby opponents at will.

  • Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (staff), BAB +4
  • Benefits: While fighting with a shortspear, snake spear or quarterstaff, you may attack opponents who are 10ft. away as if you had a reach weapon. In any round that you use this feat, you may not attack adjacent opponents with your staff or spear.

Opera Training (General)[edit]

You have undergone the intensive training required to be a performer in the heroic opera.

  • Prerequisite: Dex 13+
  • Benefits: You gain a +2 bonus to Tumble and Perform checks.

Rhythmic Accompaniment (Monk)[edit]

You practice a style of martial arts that benefits from strong musical accompaniment.

  • Prerequisites: Perform 6 ranks, Skill Focus (perform) or Opera Training
  • Benefits: When accompanied by at least one musician with 6+ ranks in perform, you gain a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls and Tumble checks. For the purposes of this feat, a bard with at least 6 ranks in Perform is considered to be accompanying you whenever he uses his Bardic Music abilities.

Scabbard Strike (General)[edit]

You understand that even a sheathed weapon is dangerous.

  • Prerequisites: Combat Reflexes, Monk's Stunning Attack or Stunning Fist
  • Benefit: Once per combat you can surprise an opponent with an unexpected blow from your scabbard. Make a normal attack roll. If successful, you deal subdual damage equal to your unarmed damage and your opponent is forced to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + Class level + Wis modifier), or be stunned as per Stunning Fist or a monk's stunning attack. Scabbard Strike can only be used with a scabbarded weapon of at least medium size and only with scabbards that are worn on the waist or loosely slung. Scabbard Strike counts as one daily use of the stunning ability.

Throw (General)[edit]

You know how to sweep your opponents to the ground and control the direction of their fall.

  • Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike
  • Benefits: When making an unarmed trip attack, you can cause your opponent to land prone in any direction within your threatened area. When making a bull rush, you can push your opponent in any direction you choose, even directly behind you.

Tiger Treads on Eggshells (General)[edit]

You have a delicate step.

  • Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Balance and Move Silently.

Twin Snakes Share the Fang (General)[edit]

Assassins in many cultures are taught to keep their hands close together and quickly pass their blades from hand to hand, making it much more difficult to disarm them. You have mastered this unique skill.

  • Benefits: You gain a +4 bonus to resist disarm checks while wielding a single, one-handed weapon. Both hands must be free in order to gain this bonus.

Twin Warriors (General)[edit]

Some martial arts schools teach their students to fight in teams, one monk using aggressive techniques and the other fighting defensively, the better to keep opponents off balance.

  • Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Dodge, or Weapon Focus (unarmed)
  • Benefits: For each ally, to a maximum of two, who possesses this feat and is within a 20' radius of you, you benefit from one of the following: a +1 circumstance bonus to AC, attack or damage rolls. No two characters can benefit from the same bonus simultaneously, but any character can change the bonuses (including the bonuses of their allies) on their turn as a move equivalent action.

Tools of The Trade[edit]

The monk is, perhaps, the ultimate survivalist. More than any other class, a monk is capable of surviving and even thriving without a single weapon or piece of equipment. Still, a wisely selected weapon or piece of gear can do much to enhance the monk's already formidable abilities.


Though monks are justifiable famed for their mastery of unarmed fighting, the martial arts have been the inspiration for a seemingly limitless number of exotic weapons, many of which appear to the untrained eye to be so bizarrely shaped as to be unusable. In truth, each is designed with a specific purpose in mind and, in the hands of a trained monk, their killing power is readily apparent. The weapons represented here are representative of many diverse cultures and fighting philosophies, allowing you to more fully explore the rich and varied range of fighting techniques available to the martial artist.

Twin Weapons

Many martial arts weapons are specifically designed to be used as a pair rather than individually and, though they can be used in that fashion, doing so is the exception rather than the rule. Twin weapons are, regardless of weight and size, considered Light weapons for the purposes of Two-Weapon fighting. A weapon that is considered a twin weapon is identified as such in its descriptive text.

New Monk Weapon Proficiencies

In addition to the weapon proficiencies listed in Core Rulebook I, a monk also gains proficiency in the following weapons: escrima stick, sai, tonfa, two section staff and any one of the following: dao, scholar's sword, butterfly sword or three-section-staff. A student of the Smoke Sword school can instead choose to be proficient in the kris knife and if he does so he gains access to that weapon's exotic properties as well.

PHB Equivalent Weapons[edit]

Some common martial arts weapons are simply cultural variations of those presented in the Core Rulebook I. A character who is proficient with the Core Rulebook I weapon is also considered proficient with the equivalent weapons listed below.

Dao: The standard weapon of many armies, the dao has a heavy, curved blade, sharpened only on one edge. Dao forms are athletic and aggressive, concentrating on heavy chopping blows, but encompassing slashes and quick thrusts as well; skilled dao practitioners are said to embody the spirit of the tiger. The dao is the equivalent of a scimitar.

Escrima Stick: Escrima sticks were first developed by martial artists of the Smoke Sword style. Thin, 2ft. long rods of lacquered hardwood, escrima sticks strike with lightning speed. Escrima forms teach the practitioner many rapid disarming techniques and quick chains of up to a dozen strikes in the space of a few seconds. Escrima sticks are often paired with kris knives and a character with the temple swordsman concept can use an escrima stick and kris knife simultaneously with his higher number of attacks and Flurry of Blows without penalty. Escrima sticks are equivalent to nunchaku and can be used with the monk's more favourable number of attacks.

Hero Lei Kwei Axe: Hero Lei Kwei axes are named in honor of the great warrior of antiquity who first wielded them. Hero Lei Kwei Axe forms are slow but aggressive and the martial artist learns to punch with the hilt as often as he slashes with the blade. Equivalent to a battleaxe, Hero Lei Kwei axes are perhaps half the size of a normal battleaxe, but just as heavy. They are constructed entirely of metal, from blade to hilt. Hero Lei Kwei axes are designed to be used in pairs, so they are considered twin weapons.

Sai: A sai is equal parts club, fork and dagger, with a long, blunt metal tine spiking out from the center and a shorter tine set to either side. Sai forms teach the wielder to thrust with the weapon like a dagger, all the while distracting the opponent with feints and spins of the sai. Sai forms also teach the wielder many diverse disarming techniques - a character wielding a sai gains a +2 bonus to all Disarm checks. A sai is equivalent to a kama and a monk who wields sai can use them with a Flurry of Blows and attacks with his more favourable number of attacks.

Scholar's Sword: A scholar's sword is equivalent to a rapier, and can benefit from Weapon Finesse, but is a slashing as well as piercing weapon. Scholar's swords are rarely used in large battles, but are favoured as dueling weapons and often worn as fashionable accessories by nobles. Scholar's sword forms favour graceful footwork and intricate attack patterns that are sometimes likened to the sinuous movements of a dragon's tail.

Tonfa: Tonfa are 2ft. thick, 1 1/2ft. long lengths of hardwood, either rounded or squared, with a short wooden handle, set a few inches from one end, that juts out perpendicular to the longer shaft, giving the weapon a peculiar L shape. Tonfa attacks are made by either punching forward with the butt end of the weapon, or by gripping solidly on the handle and allowing the tonfa to swing in a wide, clubbing arc. Tonfa are often used in pairs and are functionally equivalent to nunchaku. Like nunchaku, they are considered a special monk weapon and can be used with the monk's more favourable numbers of attacks.

New Weapons[edit]

Assassin's Beads: Though the practice is frowned upon, some unscrupulous monks, and others pretending to be monks, hide garrotte wires in their prayer beads. Usually the wire is kept spooled within a pair of hollowed out prayer beads but, as a free action, the wielder can tug on the beads, separating them and exposing the garrotte. Assassin's beads add +1 to the Fortitude save DC of a garrotte attack.

Ba Gua Dao: The Ba Gua dao is a much larger and heavier version of the dao, 4ft. long and weighing nearly 6 pounds. The shape and balance of the Ba Gua dao preclude its use as a one-handed weapon by anyone of less than Large size. In combat and forms practice the dao is kept extremely close to the body, often held vertically with one palm flat against the midpoint of the blade and 'swung' by sharp twists of the waist coupled with quick circular footwork. The sheer size of the Ba Gua dao, coupled with its forms' footwork training, is a great defensive asset - by spending an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat, the wielder gains a +1 bonus to AC that stacks with armour as a shield would.

Bull's Head Headdress: Worn as both weapon and religious ornamentation by primitive orc tribesmen competing in the ritualized sport known as 'Throw Horns', the bull's head headdress is a stylized, bulky leather helmet in the rough shape of a bull. Topped by a long, wickedly curved pair of iron-reinforced bull's horns, the bull's head headdress is capable of inflicting gaping wounds if it strikes an opponent at the end of a charge attack. The bull's head headdress is rarely wielded outside of a throw horns competition, as its great bulk and weight make it nearly useless in normal combat and the wearer suffers a -2 circumstance penalty to his attack roll even if he sends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat. The bull's head headdress inflicts double damage at the end of a charge.

Butterfly Swords: A butterfly sword is a heavy, single-edged blade roughly the length of a short sword but much heavier. Butterfly sword forms teach the wielder to attack with vigorous pushing strikes and axe-like, heavy chopping blows. Frequently used in pairs, butterfly swords are considered twin weapons. There is also a famous weapon form designed for close range combat against spear and trident-wielding foes that pairs a single butterfly sword with a woven shield.

Deer Horn Knife: A deer horn knife is formed by two sharpened crescent blades turned inwards towards one another; the tips of each blade overlap, forming the knife's four 'horns'. A length of leather wrapped around one of the blades serves as a grip for the wielder. Deer horn knife forms are circular and evasive, with low stances and attacks that come from every direction. The 'horns' of the deer horn knife are especially useful when making disarm attempts and a practitioner who spends and Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat gains a +2 bonus to all opposed Disarm checks. Deer horn knives are usually wielded in pairs.

Dragon Head Bench: A dragon head bench is nothing more than a small, four-legged hardwood bench. Usually intricately carved with a dragon motif, from which it takes its name, the dragon head bench is a useful, but rarely seen weapon in the monk's arsenal. In addition to its value as furniture, the dragon head bench is very useful in both Trip and Disarm attempts, granting the wielder a +2 bonus to all opposed checks. Dragon head bench forms are extremely difficult to master, combining tumbling with awkward, seemingly uncontrolled strikes with the bench's legs. Only a character who expends an Exotic Weaponry feat can hope to use the dragon head bench effectively - all others suffer a -8 non-proficiency penalty.

Emei Piercers: An emei piercer is a long steel needle, between 9 inches and 1ft. long and sharpened on both ends, with a ring for the index finger attached to the needle on one side. When worn, an emei piercer can be easily concealed under long sleeves and an outstretched palm, making them useful in discreet assassinations. Emei Piercers grant a +4 bonus to rolls to resist Disarm attempts.

Finger Razors: Finger razors are sharpened false fingernails of either jade or steel that slip over the tips of the wearer's fingers. They allow the user to inflict slashing damage with unarmed attacks and are useful for delivering poisons. Finger razors are ineffective after the first blow, as they have a tendency to either stick in their target or simply fall off the user's fingertips.

Flying Guillotine: The flying guillotine is a cage, large enough to enclose a human head and rimmed along the bottom by a razor-sharp blade. The cage is attached to a 15ft. length of chain. A flying guillotine is designed as a particularly insidious ambush weapon; the wielder typically hides in the lower branches of a tree and drops the flying guillotine over his victim's head. When the cage slips over the target, the assassin pulls up, the bottom of the cage constricts and the razor blade slices through the victim's neck, severing his head. Outside of ambushes, the flying guillotine loses much of its effectiveness, but can still be a dangerous weapon in the hands of a master. When wielded in combat, the flying guillotine threatens a 15ft. radius, but its awkward design forces the wielder to use a full attack action if he chooses to strike and he is restricted to a single attack each round.

Gold Coin Spade: A gold coin spade is a long handled weapon with a sharpened circle of steel on one end, often with an elaborate design, usually with a clan or religious symbol, set in the centre of the wheel. In addition to delivering powerful slashing blows, the wheel is especially suited to trapping opponents' weapons - the gold coin spade can be used by anyone proficient with martial weapons but those who use an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat gain a +2 bonus when attempting to disarm (including resisting disarms).

Iron Fan: An iron fan is a well-crafted fan with iron spines and covered with either paper or silk decorated with elaborate landscapes or animal motifs. Iron fans are common in noble courts, serving as both accessory and subtle protection. Most attacks are thrusts to the vitals made when the fan is closed, though the universally intricate and graceful fan forms teach practitioners to open and close their fans with a quick flick of the wrist, the loud snap serving as a distraction to opponents. A player who expends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat adds a +2 bonus to Bluff checks when attempting to feint in combat and can use the iron fan as a special monk weapon.

Iron Staff: An iron staff is a heavier version of a normal quarterstaff, much sturdier and capable of inflicting large amounts of damage with a successful hit. An iron quarterstaff can be wielded by anyone proficient with quarterstaff but requires a higher degree of strength. A character with less than Str 13 must spend an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat to use the iron staff without penalty.

Kris Knife: Kris knives, which average 20-30 inches in length, are famous for their wavy blade shape and are sometimes referred to as "flame" blades. The unique design of the blade gives it exceptional wounding power and superior ability to slip past bone to the vital organs. Beyond their lethal efficiency, kris knives are purported to possesses all manner of spiritual powers, including the ability to kill a man simply by stabbing his shadow, and are viewed with the same reverence that samurai hold for their daisho. The best kris knives are made from meteoric iron, known in some nations as adamantine. Kris knife forms are taught in single blade, twin blade, and blade and stick styles and are famed for their practicality and systematic methods of striking an opponent's vulnerable areas. Any character who is proficient in martial weapons can use the kris with proficiency, but a character who chooses to spend an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat on the kris increases its critical multiplier by one to x3. A Kris blade is considered a twin weapon when used in conjunction with an escrima stick.

Kwan Dao: Also known as the general's sword, the Kwan dao is one of the martial arts' most legendary weapons. Named for a famous mythological hero, the Kwan dao is essentially a heavier version of a halberd, granting the same +2 bonus to Trip attempts but may not be set to receive a charge. Gaining proficiency with the Kwan dao is an essential part of opera training, as General Kwan figures prominently in many famous opera stories. Kwan dao forms are very aggressive and teach the practitioner to spin the weapon in tight arcs around his body to build up momentum for wide slashing strikes.

Meteor Hammer: A meteor hammer is simply a solid metal ball attached to a 15 ft. length of rope. The wielder attacks by quickly shooting the metal ball out with punch or kick and then pulling it back in one smooth motion, powering his strikes by coiling the rope around his elbows, neck, back, legs and arms. A martial artist wielding a meteor hammer threatens a radius of 10 ft., can attack freely anywhere within that radius and can use his more favourable number of attacks and Flurry of Blows ability. However, useing the meteor hammer requires full concentration -- the wielder can only attack using the full attack action, limiting his movement to 5 ft. in any round he wishes to attack. Also, since a meteor hammer attacks with linear, rather than circular blows, it cannot be used with Trip attempts. A meteor hammer can be finessed.

Monk Spade: A monk spade is a long-hafted weapon topped on one end by a sharpened, shovel-like blade and an outward facing, half-moon crescent blade on the other. Monk spade forms help build strength and stamina, favouring low stances and thrusting attacks that require full body extension. Monk spades can be used as double weapons, incurring the normal attack penalties for using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

Naginata: The naginata is a type of polearm with a long, curved blade set atop an 8 ft. shaft. As it is an effective weapon against opponents at a distance but useless at close range, naginata practitioners are taught to keep their opponents at a distance by striking with quick, deliberate blows and then retreating. The naginata is the traditional weapon of the female warriors of several martial arts but it is by no means restricted to use by women. A naginata has reach, but cannot be used to attack adjacent targets.

Prayer Beads: Prayer beads are long strings of wooden or, rarely, jade or ivory beads worn around the neck. Most prayer beads are small, roughly the size of a marble, though prayer beads the size of eggs or even oranges are not unknown. It's common in most monastic orders for monks to wear a string of prayer beads, usually as an aid to meditation and novice monks are taught to slowly count the beads as a way of taming their thoughts, a habit that stays with many monks for years, or even decades. Though it is not common, some monks choose to use their prayer beads as weapons, whipping them in wide circles as impromptu flails. A chain of prayer beads used in this manner adds +2 to Trip attempts and a martial artist can choose to drop the beads rather than risk being tripped in return.

Snake Spear: A snake spear consists of a 1 ft. long kris style spear-head mounted on a 6 ft. haft. The wavy blade design allows the blade to slip past bone to the target's vulnerable organs more readily, but the weapon's heavy forward balance makes it difficult to use, requiring an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat to use without penalty.

Tamo Daggers: Tamo daggers, which are always sold in pairs, are thin, stiletto blades mounted on an often elaborately carved, thick, wooden handle. Each handle has a slot near the blade that serves as a sheath for its twin. When the blades are sheathed, the handles form a sturdy club.

Three Section Staff: A three section staff is just that, a quarterstaff separated into three pieces of equal length and connected by short lengths of chain. Three section staff forms are a whirlwind of aggressive techniques, with the wielder alternately holding the staff by one end and sweeping it in wide arcs and grasping the middle length in both hands and spinning both ends in intricate whirling circles about the body. The three section staff is an exotic weapon and a monk character who spends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat can use the three section staff with his more favourable number of attacks. The three section staff is also long enough to be used as a reach weapon and, by adjusting grip, can be used to attack adjacent opponents in the same round. However, during any round a monk chooses to attack with the three section staff as a reach weapon he is restricted to his less favourable number of attacks.

Tiger Fork: A tiger fork is a trident-like weapon, with three widely spaced, 1 ft. long, very narrow steel tines set atop a long wooden haft. Originally designed as an implement for hunting tigers, the tiger fork also makes an outstanding weapon of war. The narrow tines of the fork can quite easily slide past bone and to the most vulnerable points of the body, inflicting terrible damage and spitting opponents like a worm on a hook. A tiger fork can be set to meet a charge, inflicting double damage against charging opponents and a character that spends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat on the tiger fork can, on a successful critical hit, impale an opponent, forcing him to make either an opposed Strength check or an Escape Artist check against DC 15 on his next action. If he fails, he cannot move, though he may attack, and he automatically suffers normal tiger fork damage in the next round with no attack roll needed.

Tiger Hook Swords: A tiger hook sword is a 3ft. long blade, the first 6 inches of which is curved sharply forward like a fishhook. The wielder's hands are protected by a sharpened, crescent blade and the base of the hilt is sharpened to a spear point. Tiger hook sword forms specialize in Disarming and Tripping techniques and tiger hook swords give a +2 bonus to all attempts to Disarm or Trip. Additionally, a character with Two Weapon Fighting who uses paired tiger hook swords can link the swords together by their hooks and swing them as one long range weapon -- the character is considered to have reach, but cannot attack adjacent foes. Linking tiger hook swords together is a move equivalent action.

Two Headed Spear: A two headed spear is simply a long wooden haft with a spear point on each end. A two headed spear form is a constant blur of motion, the spear spinning in constant figure-eight patterns as the practitioner leaps and twists. A two headed spear can be used as a double weapon, but the wielder incurs all the normal attack penalties as if using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

Two Section Staff: A two section staff is a 1 ft. long length of wood attached by stout chain to a quarterstaff. Primarily used as a grain threshing tool, the two section staff has been adopted into a few martial arts styles, but is neither as popular nor effective as the three section staff. Characters familiar with two section staff forms attack by spinning the short length of wood in figure-eight patters, using just one quick flick of the wrists. A two-section staff can be used by anyone to proficient in quarterstaff.

Whip Chain: A whip chain is a flexible weapon consisting of 3, 6, or 9 steel bars tipped on one end by a small lead weight and on the other by a sharpened point. Attacks with whip chains are made by spinning the chain in spirals and figure-eight patterns over the head and around the body. Characters using a whip chain gain a +2 bonus to Trip attempts. Whip chains are a common choice for martial artists who fight with two weapons, usually they are paired with a sword, but it is not unheard of for two whip chains to be used simultaneously. Whip chains are also popular as back weapons as they can easily be disguised as a belt or hidden in the folds of a loose robe.

Wolf's Teeth Club: A wolf's teeth club is a 1 ft. long, wickedly barbed steel head set atop a 5 ft. long haft. Wolf's teeth club forms are short and to the point, concentration on crude but effective hammer blows and fast jabs with the tip of the club. A characters who spends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat can inflict fearsome wounds with the club -- a successful critical hit causes the vicitim to lose an additional hit point each round until the wound is bound. The effects of multiple critical hits are cumulative, but creatures that are immune to critical hits or blood loss should ignore the effect.

Armour and Shields[edit]

Normally, monks scorn the use of armour, counting on their unmatched agility and well-honed combat instincts to help them avoid blows that clumsier warriors would require thick sheets of steel to absorb. In fact, in most cases, a monk who chooses to don armour of any sort loses his vaunted unarmed combat prowess and most of his supernatural abilities. There are, however, a few specialized protective devices designed to complement, rather than impede, the monk's abilities and he may benefit greatly from them.


In order to benefit from any of the protective devices listed below, the monk must purchase both the Shield Proficiency feat and an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat. A monk who has not purchased both feats suffers the normal penalties of a monk in armour, as detailed in the monk class description in Core Rulebook I.

Studded Bracers: Forearm-length wrist guards of heavy leather studded with steel, studded bracers are an excellent choice for martial artists, as they offer protection from the accidental injuries that can result from blocking swords and flying arrows. A martial artist who wears a set of studded bracers against a +1 bonus to his Reflex save for the purposes of deflecting arrows as per the Deflect Arrows feat.

Tiger Steel Shields: Tiger steel shields are an exotic combination of weapon and shield, 3 ft. long, 1 ft. wide gently curved lengths of steel sharpened on the edges and tapering to a spear point that projects just past the fingertips. Tiger steel shields are most often used in pairs. A tiger steel shield can be used by any character with the shield proficiency. Normally, a character loses the shield's AC bonus if he attacks with it, but a character who spend an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat retains the AC bonus, even during rounds that he uses it as a weapon. In addition to that benefit, a monk who spends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat does not lose the use of his monk abilities while armed with one or more tiger steel shields.

Woven Shield: Woven shields are lightweight, steeply-rounded shields made of interwoven lengths of either lacquered rattan or bamboo. Though a common sight on the battlefield, woven shield use is only rarely taught at martial arts schools. The few existing woven shield forms concentrate on highly mobile fighting techniques, utilizing low stances and evasive tumbling maneuvers that allow martial artists to close quickly against spear and polearm-wielding opponents. A monk who spends an Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat does not lose the use of his monk abilities while equipped with a woven shield, negates the armour check penalty in regards to the Tumbling skill and receives a +2 competence bonus to the Tumble checks when tumbling through threatened areas.


Though monks have admirably little need of equipment, those few tools they do require are often very specializes and quite expensive. The following items are designed especially with the monk in mind.

Lion Head: One of the most revered possessions of many martial arts schools is the lion head, the symbol of the school's martial pride, vitality and hounour. Lion heads often remain within a school for centuries, representing an investment of not just thousands of gold pieces, but also countless hours of loving maintenance. Lion heads are often placed in a position of honour directly above the main door of the school or temple's training hall.

A lion head is constructed of a simple, lightweight, wooden frame, large enough for the upper body of an adult mail to fit comfortably inside, covered with a thin veneer of silk, wood, and painted paper in a myriad of colours. The eye-lids and lower jaw of the lion head are attached to the frame by thin ropes that hang loose within the head; a person inside the head can manipulate the ropes and cause the lion to flutter its eyes and flap its lower jaw. When the costume is worn, usually for a lion dance competition, the head is attached to a stylized lion's 'body', made of thick cloth or silk in colours to match the head, large enough to completely cover two men. Two sets of pants decorated in colours matching the rest of the lion complete the outfit.

Lion heads come in two main styles, young lion and elder lion. The young lion is more colourfully decorated, in clashing shades of red, green, white, purple, or blue, often highlighted with gold. The elder lion is more subdued, usually in black or grey and trimmed with long tufts of white hair around the eyes and chin. The young lion is worn by young and aggressive schools, who often parade through the streets in impromptu displays of their martial skill. When two groups of young lion dancers meet in the street, the encounter very often descends into violence. Elder lions are worn by the dancers of established schools and it is a symbol of their enduring strength and value to the community. Elder lions are rarely worn in lion dance competitions; their use is reserved for ceremonies commemorating important events in the school or temple's history.

A masterwork version of the lion head is available. Made of rare silks, woven strands of precious metals, and exotic hardwoods, the masterwork lion head is far sturdier than the standard but so prohibitively expensive that only the wealthiest of temples and schools can afford them.

Acupuncture Kit: This kit comes with a supply of acupuncture needles, charts of the pressure points of several humanoid races, and a few vials for storing herbs. It is a mandatory accessory for a healer who wishes to attempt any of the acupuncture remedies. An acupuncture kit grants a +1 circumstance bonus to all uses of the Heal skill listed in Core Rulebook I. The bonus does not stack with that gained from the healer's kit and does not apply to the acupuncture skills listed earlier.

Explosive Egg: En explosive egg is a unique espionage tool used to distract and frighten pursuers. Although its most famous users are the mysterious assassins known as the ninja, it also sees use by several other lesser known organizations. An explosive egg is a hollowed out eggshell filled with a pinch of black powder and a handful of flour or dust. A thin square of paper is placed over the hole in the egg, with the shell and paper held fast together by a gum made of sticky, smeared rice.

To discharge an explosive egg, the user simply throws it, whereupon it explodes, using the rules for grenade-like weapons listed in Core Rulebook II. When the egg breaks, the black powder explodes in a flash and the flour fills the air in a thick cloud. Anyone within 10 ft. of the egg must attempt a Reflex save against a DC of 10. If they succeed, they have successfully averted their eyes. If they fail to save, the combination of the explosive flash and the flour in the air blinds them for 1 round. The flour cloud disperses after 1d4 rounds. While the cloud remains, anyone within its 10 ft. radius suffers a -2 circumstance penalty to all Spot checks. An explosive egg has a range increment of 10 ft..

As you might imagine, an explosive egg is very delicate. A character carrying an explosive egg who is struck in melee combat or affected by an area effect damaging spell risks having the egg explode prematurely. Each time he is struck by a melee weapon, there is a 20% chance that the egg detonates. If it does, he, and all characters within 10 ft., must immediately attempt to save as detailed above. The owner of the egg suffers a -2 circumstance penalty to his save. If he takes any damage from an area effect spell, regardless of whether he successfully saved against that spell, there is a 50% chance that the egg explodes, as detailed above.

Creating an explosive egg is a relatively simple procedure, requiring only the proper materials and a successful Alchemist's skill check. The DC of the check is 20, with time and costs associated with the manufacture following the guidelines listed in the description of the Craft skill.

Jow: Jow is a herbal treatment that is very beneficial for both martial artists and anyone who works in a physically demanding occupation. Concocted from a number of individually toxic herbs and a healthy dose of strong alcohol, jow is used as a topical ointment; when rubbed vigorously on bruises and sore muscles, jow relieves tension and eases stiffness. Anyone who rubs a single ounce of jow on their body heals 1 additional hit point after a full day of rest or 1 additional point of subdual damage each hour. 1 ounce of jow is considered a single dose.

Padded Boxing Gloves: Padded boxing gloves are cotton and rag-stuffed leather or canvas gloves that fit snugly over the hands and wrists. The bulk of the padding is settled across the top and front of the knuckles, to reduce the impact of unarmed blows. A character wearing boxing gloves can inflict only subdual damage when attacking unarmed and monks are further restricted to a maximum of d10 unarmed damage when attacking with their fists. Additionally, while wearing boxing gloves, monks cannot use their Ki Strike or Quivering Palm ability in conjunction with the fist attacks, nor may spellcasters cast any spell requiring gestures. Unscrupulous competitors sometimes hide metal shot or small iron plates in the interior of their gloves, allowing them to inflect normal damage with a successful blow. Gloves altered in such a manner weigh twice as much as normal boxing gloves.

Leather Fist Straps: Leather fist straps are hand wraps of soft, boiled leather that provide both minimal protection for the wearer's hands and cutting power to his blows. On a successful critical hit, the leather fist straps slash open the skin of the target, causing them to lose an additional hit point for 6 rounds, minus the target's Con bonus due to excessive bleeding. Cumulative effects stack, but creatures immune to critical hits, or those who cannot bleed (constructs, undead, etc.), are unaffected.

Dragon Sweat: Dragon sweat is a rare and expensive oil that is the bane of grapplers. It takes its name from the disciples of an infamous, and now destroyed, Earth Dragon wrestling school who used it so liberally that it would sweat from their pores for weeks after wrestling bouts. A single ounce of dragon sweat is enough to fully coat a Medium-sized wrestler and 2 ounces is sufficient to cover a suit of armour, providing a +4 circumstance bonus to opposed grapple and Escape Artist checks to resist being Grappled or Pinned. Dragon sweat remains effective for 1d4 hours after first application. In addition to being exceptionally effective, dragon sweat is virtually undetectable -- users gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Disguise checks to hide its presence.

Animal Fat: Animal fat is the cheapest, most readily available type of body oil. It is also the most obvious and least effective. A handful, or roughly 5 oz., of animal fat is enough to coat a Medium-sized wrestler's body, providing a +1 circumstance bonus to opposed grapple and Escape Artist checks to resist being Grappled or Pinned. Two handfuls are sufficient to cover a suit of armour. Animal fat remains effective for 1d4 minutes after application, but is so rancid and visibly greasy that the Disguise check to mask its presence suffers a -6 circumstance penalty. Those with the scent ability will instantly detect the presence of animal fat. Butter, another common body oil substitute, is considered identical to animal fat for the purposes of grappling bonuses and penalties.

Dragon Tail Tassel: A dragon tail tassel is a long, 1 ft.-3 ft. length decorative braid that can be added to the hilt of any sword. When the sword is used in combat, the dragon tail tassel slashes and twirls through the air, distracting opponents and giving the wielder a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff checks when attempting to feint in combat. A crude version of the dragon tail tassel exist for pears and other pole weapons as well; a tuft of red-dyed horse-tail tied just below the weapon's head, it adds a +1 circumstance bonus to feint attempts.

Tear Away Robes: The outfits worn by many martial artists can be a liability against a skilled grappler, as the loose folds of the robes make for easy handholds. The solution is the tear away robe. A tear away robe is made of the same sturdy fabric as a normal monk outfit, but is held together at the seams with thin thread that tears away easily when it is given a hard tug. Tear away robes give a +2 bonus to all opposed Grapple checks or Escape Artist checks rolled to resist or escape from a grapple. After the first successful check, the seams split and the robes fall free from the wearer in several large pieces. A tear away robe can be used more than once but it must be sewn together with a successful Craft (weaving) check against DC of 15 if the wearer wishes to receive the same tear away benefits each time.

Magic Items[edit]

Though monks are not able to create their own magic items, they often commission the creation of special items or receive magical treasures as rewards from kings and commoners alike. The items listed below are some of the most common useful magic items for martial artists.

Magic Weapons

While most monks prefer to fight using only their bare hands, all recognize the power an enchanted weapon can provide. Magical weapons for monks are usually designed to complement, rather than replace, the monk's innate combat abilities.

Weapon Qualities

Blunted: A blunted weapon does not truly lose its edge. Rather, it is enhanced to inflict only non-lethal wounds. A blunted weapon deals only subdual damage. Even extra damage, as from the enhancement flaming burst, is converted to subdual damage. Blunted weapons are very popular with practitioners of the more pacifistic martial arts, as it allows them to fight opponents without fear of slaying them. Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cure light wounds or sleep; Market Price: +1 bonus

Blossom Cutter: This quality may be applied to any slashing or bludgeoning weapon. It is enchanted to effortlessly deflect arrows and other ranged weapons, granting the wielder the use of the Deflect Arrows feat even if he does not meet the prerequisites. 1/round, if the wielder does not already possess the Deflect Arrows feat, the blade automatically attempts to deflect the first arrow or other ranged weapon that would otherwise strike the wielder. The roll is made using the wielder's base Reflex save, with a bonus equal to the weapon's enhancement bonus. If the wielder already possesses the Deflect Arrows feat, he may attempt to deflect a number of projectiles equal to 1 + his Dexterity modifier per round and each roll to Deflect is made using his base Reflex save + Dexterity modifier + the enhancement bonus of the weapon. The wielder need not be aware of the attack to attempt to deflect it, as the blossom cutter will automatically move to deflect it, but his weapon must be at the ready. Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, protection from arrows, cat's grace; Market Price: +2 bonus

Enlightened: Enlightened martial artists are very conscientious of the damage their magical weapons can inflict in the wrong hands and take great pains to prevent such occurrences. A weapon enchanted to possess the enlightenment enhancement can only be wielded by Lawful characters with a Wisdom of 15+ and the Still Mind class ability. In the hands of anyone without those abilities, the enlightened enhancement negates any and all special properties or magical bonuses the weapon may possess, causing it to function as simply a masterwork version of the appropriate weapon. When wielded by someone who does possess the proper abilities an enlightened weapon functions as normal. An elightened weapon has no other special properties. Receiving an enlightened weapon is considered a great honour among martial artists, as it signifies that the recipient's honour is considered to be above reproach. Caster Level: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, detect thoughts or detect law, caster must be lawful and possess Wisdom 15+ and the Still Mind class ability; Market Price: +1 bonus

Shadow Stab: The shadow stab is a very potent ability and weapons so enhanced are rare and must desired by martial artists and assassins of all sorts. 3/day a weapon enchanted with shadow stab can literally be used to stab the shadow of any creature, living or not, bypassing its innate defenses and inflicting crippling wounds. In order to strike a living creature's shadow, the wielder must succeed at a melee touch attack against an AC of 10 + or minus the target's suze modifier to AC. A successful hit bypasses all the victim's defenses, such as Damage Reduction or immunities to specific types of damage (slashing or piercing). A successful hit also ignores miss chances from incorporeality or similar defenses. In order to use shadow stab, the victim must cast some sort of shadow, so invisible creatures are not affected and shadow stab cannot be used in areas of absolute darkness. Against creatures that are literally shadows, the enhanced weapon can directly shadow stab the creature but must strike the target's normal AC. Shadow stab is most often associated with kris weapons, but any piercing or slashing weapon can be enhanced to carry this effect. Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, true strike, darkness; Market Price: +3 bonus

Specific Weapons

Chi Staff: An enchanted 1 ft. length of dark hardwood, a chi staff functions as a simple +1 club in the hands of most characters, but is a potent weapon when wielded by an experienced monk. When grasped in both hands by a monk who possesses the Ki Strike ability, a 2' length of shimmering energy, in whatever colour the wielder desires, erupts from both ends of the stick. In this form the weapon functions as a quarterstaff with an enhancement bonus to attack and damage equal to the wielder's Ki Strike bonus. A chi staff can benefit from other enhancements as normal but those enhancements only apply when the weapon is wielded as a quarterstaff. Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, greater magic weapon; Market Price: 8,300 gp

Peacemaker: An enchanted abbot's staff, crafted from an unknown, shimmering, blue/black stone that radiates an inner light, the peacemaker is both lightweight to the touch and stronger than steel. Rumored to have been crafted with his bare hands by a dwarven monk of unsurpassed wisdom, the peacemaker is a potent weapon for peace when wielded by a skilled martial artist. The peacemaker bears the blunted and enlightened enhancements and radiates at all times a zone of calm as the spell calm emotions cast by a 10th level cleric. 1/day the wielder can also cast zone of truth and hold monster as the spells cast by a 10th level cleric. In combat, peacemaker functions as a +3 weapon. Caster Level: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, hold monster, calm emotions, cure light wounds, detect thoughts, zone of truth; Market Price: 72,300 gp


Potion of Great Ki: When consumed, this vial of golden liquid sends alternating waves of hot and cold through the drinker's body. For the next hour, his unarmed attacks strike as though he had the Ki Strike +1 ability. If the drinker already possesses the Ki Strike ability, the benefits of the potion stack with it, raising it by +1 to a maximum of +5. While under the effects of a potion of great ki, the drinker is suffused with golden light and he suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to all Hide skill checks. Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Brew Potion, magic weapon, brewer must have Ki Strike as a class ability; Market Price: 150 gp

Potion of Burning Skin: When drunk, this potion causes the user's skin to exude a clear, shimmering substance that burns with the same intensity as the juice of a hot pepper. For 1 hour after it is consumed, a potion of burning skin forces any creature attacking the user with unarmed attacks to succeed at a Fortitude save against a DC of 11 or suffer 1 point of damage each time they successfully strike. A creature grappling the user must attempt the same save at a -2 circumstance penalty each round. Caster Level: 1st; Prerequisites: Brew Potion, inflict minor wounds; Market Price: 50 gp

Potion of Total Focus: The user of this potion gains great clarity of focus, providing them +30 bonus to a single Concentration check made within the next 24 hours. Potions of Total Focus are used most often by martial artists looking to gain an edge in breaking competitions. A potion of total focus appears as a syrupy, brown liquid shot through with yellow motes of light. Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Brew Potion, endurance, spellcaster level 5+; Market Price: 300 gp

Wondrous Items

Ancestor Tablet: An ancestor tablet is a stone or wooden tablet with the likeness of a famous ancestor of the martial art's school or monastery carved on its surface. An ancestor tablet is also covered with calligraphy and religious writings that describe in great detail the honour and worthiness of that ancestor. Once per month the tablet can be used to communicate with that ancestor as by a speak with dead spell. The ancestor tablet takes the place of the corpse for the purposes of the spell effect. If the questioner is a member of the ancestor's school or monastery, the ancestor receives no Will save to ignore his questions, even if his alignment is different.

If found, an ancestor tablet will already be connected to a specific being. That being can only be contacted once its identity has been discovered and even then it receives a Will save to refuse to answer questions as though its alignment was different to the questioners. Caster Level: 8th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, speak with dead, creator must be a member of the ancestor's school or monastery; Market Price: 800 gp

Bowl of Alms: A bowl of alms appears as a simple cracked, wooden bowl, perpetually dusty and rancid with absorbed sweat. 1/week, a single copper or silver piece placed within the bowl is automatically transformed into a gold piece. A bowl of alms also grants a +2 bonus to the wielder's Diplomacy skill checks when he attempts to beg alms. Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, fabricate; Market Price: 400 gp

Brush of the Enlightened Artist: A fine calligraphy brush, with bristles of softest sable and an ivory and jade handle, a brush of the enlightened artist grants a +10 competence bonus to all Craft (calligraphy) checks and automatically produces ink upon command. 1/week, a brush of the enlightened artist can be used to create illusory script, as the spell cast by a 5th level sorcerer. Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, illusory script; Market Price: 2,500 gp

Chi Ofuda: A small strip of paper upon which religious and philosophical writing are placed, a chi ofuda has two uses. First, if places against the forehead of any outsider or undead by a martial artist, it automatically adheres to the creature and allows any character to strike that creature with unarmed or melee attacks as though they possessed a weapon enchanted to the same bonus as the monk's Ki strike. The monk must succeed at an unarmed melee touch attack in order for the chi ofuda to be effective. Such an attempt always draws an attack of opportunity. Second, if placed against a door frame or at the juncture of two doors, the chi ofuda automatically adheres to the door, temporarily affecting the door as if by an arcane lock spell as by a wizard of the monk's class level. In addition, the door and frame are considered to possess magical enhancement equal to the monk's Ki Strike bonus for the purposes of what may be used to damage them, so a door protected by the chi ofuda of a monk with a Ki Strike +3 can only be damaged by a weapon with a +3 or better enhancement. A knock spell is only effective against a door protected by a chi ofuda if the ofuda has already been negated by dispel magic. In all cases, a chi ofuda is effective for 1 + Wisdom bonus in rounds, after which time it disappears in a puff of smoke. Activating a chi ofuda is a full round action. Once placed, a chi ofuda cannot be removed or damaged by any being other than a monk with Ki Strike ability equal to or greater than the monk who placed it. A chi ofuda can be crafted by any character with the appropriate requirements, but only a monk with Ki Strike +1 or better can activate it. Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, magic weapon; Market Price: 4,000 gp

Father of Lions: The father of lions is an exquisitely crafted elder lion head, with a frame of jade and a covering of seamless, midnight black silk. The eyebrows and bears of the father of lions are made from strands of woven ivory, thin and flexible as hair but tough enough to resist any blow, and its eyes and teeth are orbs of pearl. A father of lions has Hardness 15 and 100 hit points and can only be damaged by weapons of a +3 or greater enhancement.

A character performing a lion dance with a father of lions head gains a +10 bonus to all Perform skill checks and can unleash a cataclysmic roar 1/day. A cataclysmic roar combines the effects of both a fear and shout spell cast by a 10th level sorcerer. The roar affects all objects and creatures within a 30' cone of the effect that originates from the father of lion's mouth.

If a father of lions' head is used by a character of the King Lion boxer prestige class to summon a foo lion (see the Prestige Monk chapter for details), the summoned lion has an additional +2 Strength and gains a +1 bonus to all saves and 10 additional hit points. If the summoned lion is slain in combat, the father of lions is not destroyed. It is instead rendered inert for 1 week, during this time the father of lions retains its hardness, hit points, and weapon immunities, but loses all other powers. Caster Level: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster, shatter or shout, caster must have 5+ ranks in Perform (lion dance); Market Price: 12,000 gp

Gong of Warning: A gong of warning is an enormous brass gong that stands nearly twice a man's height and weighs nearly a ton. A ringer nearly the height of a man is attached by a length of silk rope to the gong. When hung from a sturdy frame within a martial arts school or monastery, the magic of the gong activates. A gong of warning has two powers. First, the gong will sound, as if by an alarm spell, when any being not of the monastery or school enters the grounds. The sound of the gong will be very clearly heard by any monastery brother within the grounds but is otherwise inaudible. Second, if a member of the brotherhood strikes the gong with the ringer, the gong will give off a thunderous peal, affecting all non-brothers within the monastery or school grounds as if by a fear spell cast by a 10th level sorcerer. The gong may sound in this fashion once per month. Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Items, alarm, whispering wind, fear; Market Price: 1,500 gp

Power Talisman: A power talisman appears to be a simple iron coin emblazoned with a pair of crossed fists. A power talisman ban be enchanted to contain any weapon enhancement of a +2 bonus or less and grants the user of that ability with unarmed attacks. The price of the enhancement bonus is doubled for the purposes of imbuing it within a power talisman, so a +2 bonus placed iwth a power talisman costs the same as a +4 bonus placed within a weapon. Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wonderous Item, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, greater magic weapon; Market Price: 2,000 gp


The martial arts were born in conflict. Though some monks attempt to distance themselves from that bloody history, claiming that the true purpose of the unarmed fighting arts is to facilitate the pursuit of enlightenment, the fact remains that a monk who never tests his fighting skills can never achieve the pinnacle of his art.

Many monks, with the notable exception of those who pursue enlightenment while sequestered behind thick temple walls, are a restless, contentious bunch given to brawling with minimal provocation. Without a proper war in which to test their skills and establish their fame, martial arts schools have no choice but to battle each other to prove their supremacy and win the gold of prospective students. Thus organized martial arts tournaments have evolved out of a direct need to preserve both the integrity of the unarmed fighting arts and civil order during lengthy periods of peacetime, since they are a relatively safe way for monks to hone their fighting techniques, earn the recognition and acclaim of their peers and, in many cases, a goodly sum of gold.

The Tournament[edit]

Martial arts tournaments come in all sizes, from a pair of boxers bludgeoning each other on a wooden table in the common room of an inn, to a grand affair with thousands of entrants taking their turn in the coliseum. Most are held in conjunction with public holidays, or are marked as public holidays themselves, as commoner and noble alike are drawn to the spectacular and often exotic fighting styles on display. Some tournaments have strict rules of entry, insisting that prospective contestants provide verifiable proof of their instructors and their style lineage, but most are open to all corners regardless of race or birth.

Many larger tournaments encompass a number of different events, with breaking, lion dancing and push hands tournaments spread throughout the tourney grounds. The highlight of any tournament, however, is the actual unarmed fighting competition and this draws the largest crowds by far. In a tournament that encompasses multiple events, the winner of the unarmed fighting competition is accorded the tournament's greatest acclaim and, if applicable, its largest prize, but unlike a joust, there is no acknowledged lord of the games.

In larger tournaments, great care is taken to ensure that magic is not used to influence the outcome of the tournament in any way. Most commonly, the organizers employ a low level wizard to scan the contestants with a wand of detect magic at the start of the tournament, in an effort to prevent the use of enhancement spells such as bull's strength.


The tournament world attracts all manner of riff-raff. Inveterate gamblers, gangsters and slumming nobles form a large part of the audience of a typical, big city boxing match and the amount of gold that passes from hand to hand at the conclusion of a match can be staggering. Even in poor farming villages, peasants wager eggs and livestock on the outcome of a match. Though they do all the work, monks rarely get any direct shares of these (usually) illicit gambling profits, as most tournaments have strict rules forbidding contestants to wager on the outcome of their own matches. However, thieves, corrupt nobles and wealthy merchants often bribe, or simply threaten, contestants into purposefully losing, or "throwing" their matches. This is simple referred to as "fixing" the match. Fixed matches are particularly common in larger cities, where thieves' guilds often rules the tournament scene with a ruthless iron fist. More insular tournaments, particularly those restricted to the members of a single temple or school, are only rarely fixed.


Boxing is the art of fighting with the unarmed fists. Boxing tournaments, usually referred to as matches, are enormously popular in both rural and civilized areas and, within the circle of their communities, boxes are often accorded greater acclaim than mighty dragon slayers. Boxing is popular with nobles and commoners alike; for the nobles, it is a way to prove their valour and ease boredom, for the commoners, it is often the only hope for achieving any measure of prosperity.\

Rural boxing tournaments are usually small affairs held in a roped off square of grass on the edge of a market fair or on the cleared floor of the local inn's common room. In larger cities, inns and theaters are common hosts for boxing tournaments, but matches between famous pugilists are occasionally held in the open areas of the market district or, if the city is lucky enough to have one, in the coliseum. The rules of boxing vary from location to location, but generally share these common features:

Ring: The boxing ring is a square, 20ft. to a side and clear of obstructions. Rarely, the boxing ring is lined by two sets of ropes attached to poles set in each corner of the ring. In the center of the ring are two short, parallel lines spaced roughly an arm's length apart. At the beginning of the boxing match, the two contestants are required to place the toes of their leading foot on the line, hence the phrase "toe the line". Once the match begins, the contestants are free to move about the ring.

Rules: Attacks are to be made only with the fists and only to the waist and above. Throws and deliberate trips are not allowed. Once the match has begun, only the fighters are allowed to remain in the ring. Traditionally, there are no weight classes to separate the competitors, so a halfling could quire easily find himself in the ring with a half-orc on any given night. If a contestant is knocked unconscious, his friends are given roughly 30 seconds to revive him and coax him to toe the line again; while he is recovering, his opponent must toe the line. The fight continues without breaks until one pugilist is either knocked senseless and cannot recover or signals his acquiescence by holding up both hands. If more than one fight is scheduled for the evening, the second is begun as soon as the contestants of the first walk, or are dragged, from the ring.

Costume and Gloves: The idea of boxers wearing gloves for safety's sake is a recent one, but it is growing in popularity. Most matches are held "bare-knuckle", or at best the pugilists wrap their hands in strips of rough leather or cloth. When gloves are used, both fighters are required to have them. There is no typical or required uniform in boxing, though most competitors compete shirtless. Most kick boxing tournaments ban the use of footwear in the ring, though sailors of certain elven and human nations are known for fighting in hard-toed shoes, a practice known as "la savate", or old shoe.

Prizes: The prize of a boxing tournament is referred to as the purse. In larger cities, the purse is most often a handful of gold pieces. In rural areas, the prize may be livestock or simply a handful of silver. There is no second place in a boxing tournament; the entirety of the prize purse is given to the final boxer standing.

Boxing Variants:[edit]

Kick Boxing: A popular variant of the normal boxing match is kick boxing, where fighters are allowed to use kicks and knee strikes in addition to punches. Kick boxing matches tend to be even more brutal than normal boxing contests; indeed several cultures require that kick boxers wind long strips of glass studded cloth around their wrists, the better to inflict debilitating injury.

San Shou and Pankration[edit]

San Shou translates as "unbound hand", pankration as "all powers", with both referring to martial arts matches that allow the use of nearly the full arsenal of martial arts techniques. Kicks, punches, joint locks and wrestling holds are all expressly allowed in san shou and pankration contests. The only forbidden techniques in most matches are eye gouges and throat strikes and even those techniques are allowed by more militant races and cultures.

Ring: Organized san shou tournaments usually occur on a 5-10ft. high raised platform, known as the lei tai, that is similar in size and shape to a boxing ring. Unlike a boxing ring, the lei tai platform is never encircled by ropes. Instead the ground around the ring is, as often as not, studded with dagger-length spikes. A contestant thrown from the ring must succeed at a Reflex save versus DC 15 or become impaled on 1d4 spikes, each causing 1d4 damage. Pankration tournaments, on the other hand, are almost always held on open ground, in a designated square 10ft. to a side, the better to encourage aggressive, close range fighting.

Rules: In both san shou and pankration, no one besides the contestants is allowed to enter the ring after the match has started. In both, a winner is declared when one opponent is unconscious or raises his hands in a sign of surrender. In san shou, a contestant also loses if he is thrown or falls from the ring. In pankration, judges with wooden rods, equivalent to a quarterstaff, stand on each side of the ring; if a contestant attempts to leave the ring, he is beaten with the rods until he returns to the contest or offers his surrender. As with boxing, there are no formal weight divisions in san shou or pankration.

Costume and Gloves: Most san shou and pankration matches are held either bare-knuckle, or with each opponent's hands wrapped in long strips of cured leather. In the latter case, the leather serves no protective purpose. Rather, it is intended to make the match bloodier, as the rough leather edges can slice flesh like a knife. Traditionally, pankration requires all contestants, regardless of sex, to fight in the nude. San shou competitors must compete without shoes and are not allowed to wear armour, but are not otherwise restricted.

Prizes: San shou and pankration matches are fought as often for honour as for monetary gain. Many san shou tournaments begin with a monk setting up a ring in the town square and challenging all comers, in an effort to boost the prestige of his style and attract students. In those tournaments where a prize is offered, the reward is rarely monetary, the champion is routinely given a set of masterwork weapons or a grant of land for the establishment of a fighting academy.


The sport and martial art of wrestling is practiced the world over. Sometimes known as the sport of kings, as facility with grappling is considered essential for the warrior kings of many societies, it is equally popular with commoners, who often settle arguments with impromptu bouts. Like boxers, wrestling champions are considered to be heroes of nearly mythic proportion and they often move in high social circles.

In rural villages, wrestling contestants are a traditional part of almost all official fairs and celebrations and many wrestlers make their living traveling in a circuit from one fair to another. In cities, the students of wrestling academies frequently organize small tournaments in inns across the city, with government-sponsored tournaments held on at least a yearly basis.

Ring: The size and shape of a wrestling ring varies widely from place to place. In many places the ring is a circle of ground roughly 15ft. in radius, in others the contestants fight on a raised platform identical to a boxing ring. Halflings are famed for their "table wrestling", in which matches are held atop round tavern tables stacked two or even three high and giants frequently wrestle on the very peaks of craggy mountains, where a fall means almost certain death.

Rules: Though there are cultural and racial variations, the essentials of wrestling remain the same; two contestants attempt to force each other to submit by use of throws, holds and applied joint locks. A submission is achieved when a wrestler surrenders or is pinned (per Core Rulebook I) for 2 consecutive rounds. In most cultures, if one or more of the contestants finds himself outside the ring, the match is halted and both fighters return to their starting positions in the center of the ring. Initiative is rolled each time the match is halted.

Costume and Gloves: Wrestlers wear no protective equipment in the ring, as gloves interfere with the intracate lock of most wrestling styles. In some cultures, it is traditional for wrestlers to compete in the nude, regardless of sex, though most allow wrestlers to wear anything but armour in the ring.

Wrestling Variants[edit]

Shuai Chiao: Shuai chiao, or "fast throw" is a form of wrestling that relies entirely on theutralizing an opponent's balance and punishing him with high speed, sweeping trips and throws. In a shui chiao competition, normal grappling is forbidden; instead, the contestants must attempt to throw each other using trip attacks. Each time a contestant is successfully thrown, competition halts until the competitors have themselves in the center of the ring, at which time, as with normal wrestling, a new initiative is rolled.

Corno Breton: Corno breton is a style of wrestling competition that is very popular in rural areas. In a corno breton match, each competitor wears a long-sleeve, canvas jacket that serves as the only allowed grappling point for the wrestlers. When the match begins, the competitors attempt to push, pull, and twist the jacket, in an effort to destabilize their opponents for a throw. The common corno breton is to "back" your opponent three times, throwing him onto his back so that at least three of his four "pins" (left and right shoulder blades and hips), make contact with the ground. Each time a contestant is successfully backed, the match resets and a new initiative is rolled. In corno breton, if any part of the thrower is above the knee touches the ground before his opponent is backed, the throw is considered invalid -- in game terms, grappling is allowed, but the pin option is not. An exception to this rule is that a monk of 7th level or above who practices the earth dragon style can back an opponent using a standing grapple pin.

Ssirum: The notable difference between a ssirum match and other wrestling tournaments is the presence of the "sabta", a thick cloth sash that is wound about the waist and right leg of each competitor. In a ssirum contest, the competitors are required to maintain a two handed grip on the sabta at all times. The winner of the match is the contestant who manages to throw his opponent three times while allowing no part of his own body above the knee to touch the ground. As in corno breton, an opponent cannot use the grappling Pin option without forfeiting the throw, as a ssirum contest is a series of Trip and Grappling Throw attempts. The presence of the sabta adds an additional wrinkle to the ssirum match, an opponent who is successfully tripped still has an opportunity to trip and the other competitor by pulling on the sabta as he falls, though his opponent receives a +4 stability bonus to resist the trip. If both competitors are successfully tripped, the throw is considered invalid.

Throw Horns: Throw horns is a peculiar, primitive form of shuai chiao wrestling, kept alive as a rite of manhood among the savage humanoid races. In a throw horns competition, both wrestlers wear a bull's crown, a leather helmet, topped with long stag or bull horns, and shaped to resemble a stylized bull's head (see Tools of the Trade). The opponents begin the match at opposite ends of the ring, their heads lowered. When the judges' horn sounds to begin the match, they charge, attempting to gore their opponent with their great horns. In effect, the contest begin with both contestants executing a charge as a simultaneous partial action independent of initiative. At the end of the simultaneous charge, both wrestlers make melee attack rolls - a successful hit inflicts double normal bull's crown damage. Following the simultaneous charge, initiative is rolled as normals and the contestants attempt to throw each other per shuai chiao rules. Each time a wrestler is thrown; the competitors resume their places at opposite ends of the ring and await the signal to charge.

Sumo Wrestling[edit]

Sumo wrestling is an art whose origin stretches back to the age of myth. It has enjoyed enormous popularity for millennia and its greatest champions are considered heroes of legendary state. Sumo is practiced as both an art of war and a sport. Many militarizes believe that the powerful shoves and full body throws of sumo are more effective against armoured opponents than the precision techniques of other martial arts. Commoners and noblemen alike hunger for the social prestige that a sumo champion enjoys.

Rural sumo tournaments are universally humble affairs, usually organized by a local sumo school, temple or retired competitor. Such tournaments are annual events in many villages and are usually held during the celebrations that mark the conclusion of harvest season. Established sumo champions rarely, if ever, deign to compete in rural tournaments, but the villagers and young sumotori who fill the tournament ranks are enthusiastic, if unskilled, competitors. Large sumo tournaments, known as basho, are traditionally held four times each year and attract crowds and competitors from all over the world. Since most basho are organized and tightly controlled by government and religious organizations, they rarely experience the wide spreads corruption that infects so many other martial arts tournaments.

Ring: The traditional sumo ring is a 10ft. radius circle of soft dirt, the "dohyo", on a 1-2ft. high raised platform, its boundaries marked by straw-filled canvas bags. The sumotori begin the competition adjacent to one another in the center of the ring.

Rules: Major sumo tournaments take place over a period of fifteen days, with each sumotori competing once a day. The championship goes to the sumotori with the best winning record. Smaller tournaments are held over the course of a single day, or at most three days, with sumotori competing in several matches each day. Regardless of tournament size, there are no weight or size divisions, so half-orcs and halflings can and do compete against each other.

Sumo tournaments are dominated by the elaborate rituals that take place before the tournament begins, before and after each individual match and at the conclusion of the tournament. The performance of these rituals is not optional; unlike in most other styles of tournaments, the observance and skilled performance of the myriad sumo rituals is considered just as important as the outcome of an individual match. Descriptions of the various sumo rituals are provided in Tools of the Trade, but the salient points are repeated here. A proper sumo match is conducted as follows:

Before an individual match, the two contestants stand at opposite ends of the ring and perform the shikiri-naoshi, a ritual that involves each contestant stalking back and forth, throwing handfuls of dust to either side of the ring and flexing their muscles in an attempt to intimidate their opponent. At the beginning of the shikiri-naoshi, each player rolls a Perform (sumo rituals) check. At the conclusion of the shikiri-naoshi, which by custom lasts 4 minutes, the player of the sumotori who achieved the higher result on the Perform skill check attempts an Intimidate skill check, with a +2 morale bonus - if the check succeeds, his opponent is considered Shaken for the duration of the bout, suffering a -2 penalty to attacks, damage rolls and saving throws.

Following the shikiri-naoshi, the competitors enter the ring and squat opposite to one another. When the referee, or "gyoji", signals the start of the match, the sumotori attack each other with a barrage of slaps, pushes, trips and throws, with the goal of forcing their opponent from the ring or causing any part of his body from the knees up to touch the ground. Most sumo matches are concluded in seconds. In game terms, sumo are allowed to attack with unarmed melee attacks, Trips and, most often, Bull's Rush attacks. They are also free to grapple, though they may not use the Pin or Choke grappling options.

Costume and Gloves: Sumotori wear no protective equipment of any kind during a match. Before they enter the ring, as they perform the many rituals of the basho, sumoroti wear a multicoloured, braided apron known as a kesho-mawashi. In the ring, they wear only the "mawashi", a rolled loincloth with long fringes hanging from the front.

Prizes: The traditional prize of a sumo tournament is a well-crafted-longbow. In larger tournaments, the weapon is a masterwork mighty longbow. In addition, in countries where sumo is popular, the champion of a major sumo tournament is almost always invited to perform several highly ritualized ceremonies before the country's ruler.


As monks grow in power and wisdom, word of their deeds and prowess spread far and wide. A renowned monk will be sought out by supplicants yearning to benefit from his wisdom and eager hopefuls desperate to become his martial disciples. Unfortunately, a famous monk also becomes a target for bloodthirsty warriors eager to test their skills against him and young toughs hoping to make their reputation by his defeat. This chapter provides rules and suggestions to help you model your monk's growing fame and influence on the world around him. While of particular interest to the monk, the rules presented here can be used by members of any class.

What is Renown?[edit]

Calculating Renown:

Using Renown:

Renown and Disciples:

Renown and Challenge Matches:

Students, Challenges and the Adventuring Life:

Renown and Alignment:

Renown by Location:

Diminishing Returns:

Martial Arts Traditions[edit]

The martial arts are governed by tradition. Many arts are centuries, or even millennia, old and have developed intricate formalized curriculum, forms of address and rules of conduct. Though not all monks, or systems, share all of the same traditions or even pay heed to them at all, they cast a long shadow over the life of a monk.

Accepting a Student:

Tests of Strength and Endurance:

Tests of Wisdom:

Tests of Humility:

Tests of Generosity:

Rank and School Hierarchy:

Junior Student:
Accepted Student:
Children and Siblings:
Other Methods of Determining Rank:

When the Student Surpasses the Teacher:

Students of More than One School:

Coloured Belts and Other Signifiers of Rank:

Generation and Lineage:

Lineage among the Races:

Chi or Ki Energy:


Legendary Forms[edit]

Building Monasteries and Schools[edit]

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