Way of the Primal Mask (5e Subclass)

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Way of the Primal Mask[edit]

Monks who follow the path of Primal Masks are practitioners of an ancient shamanistic tradition of carving and obtaining the masks of the primal beasts and monsters of the world to channel the essence of them with their ki into their powerful unarmed strikes, grapples, and use of improvised weapons.

Their monasteries are often tranquil groves and oases hidden in the harsh wilderness, within last bastions of nature in large cities acting as halfway homes, or large wandering caravans whose pilgrimage follows in the path of a wandering beast. The monks and neophytes, including the ancient founders, are often soldiers broken by warfare, the horrors of man, their past burning like a brand in their minds. The nature of masks was made to shield those seeking peace from their past - the return to nature.

Narrative Hooks, Suggestions, and Questions
PCs and NPCs who join this Monastic Tradition mysteriously stop being who they were when they arrived, they become personalities they assign to the masks. Might it be freeing for some to forget the old and become the new, but what if they cannot forget? What if the nature of their past isn't something so easily replaced?
PCs and NPCs who wear these masks can’t act coherently while wearing them - the have animalistic tendencies, cannot speak any languages (but can communicate to certain beasts), and often find themselves compelled by natural forces.
PCs and NPCs might receive odd looks for wearing these masks and might be questioned: Where is that from? Why are you wearing that mask? They may be concerned about the mental and moral fibre of the character or generally disturbed by them.
  • (Up to further DM interpretations and Player characterization).

Bearer of Masks[edit]

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you receive four primal masks. Each grants a unique effect and takes 1 action to equip in combat, or a minute regularly. Each mask weighs 1 pound. If the mask breaks, it costs 2 ki points to repair it - if it is damaged beyond repair, the material to carve a new mask costs 10 gp and it takes an hour to create. At the 6th and 11th Level, you gain two primal masks.

Basic Masks 6th Level Masks 11th Level Masks
Ape: You have advantage on attempts to disarm. As an action, you can choose to spend 3 ki points to attempt to break their weapon by rolling a Strength check with a DC of 10 + the Strength of the creature you are disarming. Owlbear: You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks, can detect illusions, and can hover 1 ft. off the ground. You take 2 less damage from any source long as you have a hand free and are aware of it. You don’t get this damage reduction against damage from a source you can’t see, are not aware of, or if you don’t have a free hand. Kraken: When you grapple a target successfully, you disarm them and can choose to equip their weapon, it is considered an Improvised Weapon. At the end of the grapple, the target becomes Frightened until the beginning of your next turn. You can grapple up to two targets as long as they are within your reach.
Frog: (4 charges) You can magically teleport, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 10 ft. to an unoccupied space you can see. This ability is a bonus action, after all the charges are used up - it requires a short rest to regain all the charges. You can choose to spend 1 ki point to restore 1 charge. Great Serpent: When you grapple a target, the creature is restrained, and takes your unarmed strike damage at the beginning of their turn until the grapple ends. You ignore any size tag above Medium in combat (deal and take normal damage as if you and your opponents are the same size). Great Boar: If you take 10 damage or less that would reduce you to 0 hit points, you are reduced to 1 hit point instead. Unarmed strikes deal double damage to objects and structures.
Tiger: Any damage you do to a target you are grappling has a +2 damage roll bonus. As an action, when you are grappling a creature that is missing any hit points, you can claw them viciously. You can choose to spend 2 ki points forcing the creature to make a Constitution save. On a failed save, they take 1d4 damage at the end of their next two turns.
Rooster: You are advantaged on Charisma (Intimidation) checks; targets you successfully intimidate in combat are disarmed. As a reaction you can choose to spend a ki point when you are targeted by a melee attack but before the roll is made, and roll an attack to perform a counter-strike. If both attacks succeed, both roll at half damage. If only one attacker succeeds, the successful attacker rolls damage.

Rampaging Beast[edit]

At 6th level, after taking a short rest your next roll has advantage.

When you roll a successful attack against an enemy, they can no longer make attacks of opportunity against you. Critical strikes hurls those struck an unbelievable distance. They don’t take any extra damage for being hurled this far, and they’ll stop if they hit any obstacles (though they may also smash through them). You can spend 2 ki points to make them take damage as though they fell.

Instinctual Defense[edit]

At the 11th level, when another creature attempts to damage you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to enter a parrying stance against an oncoming attack. This reaction temporarily gives a bonus to your AC, lasting until the attack has been decided. This does not stack with other AC bonuses. You gain +1 AC while you are unarmed; otherwise, you gain +2 AC with an improvised weapon and +3 AC with stolen weapon - if you succeed against the attack, the weapon breaks.

Primal Strike[edit]

At the 17th level, you can attempt to focus your energy into an incredibly powerful blow, before you roll, declare that you are making a Master Strike. Your next roll is disadvantaged, but gains two benefits:

  • It can be made at a 30 ft. range as long as you can see your target. If made with an unarmed strike, improvised, or melee weapon, you instantly move adjacent to the target.
  • The target’s AC is temporarily lowered by 2 and is disadvantaged for their next two turns. Your damage roll has +2 bonus until the end of your turn; you may spend 3 ki points to double the damage roll bonus.



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