Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Way of the Stick

At last, impatiently, I can get to the meat of this thing.  At least, to the first "field" or "way" that a monk has access to: the Stick.

This concentrates on attack forms.  So far, I have accumulated only 18 such forms: 10 amateur abilities, 6 authority abilities and 2 expert.  Nothing on the sage level, but I have plenty of time for that.  I would like more and this number of abilities, but at the moment I'm drained.

I've had to fit each of these ability ideas into the present combat system.  This is tricky and to be honest, I don't know how well any of this is going to work.  That will take game testing (and a lot of players correcting me when I forget what my own damn rules are ~ but that's why I write them down).

I've divided Way of the Stick into four studies, or as a monk would call them, "paths."  We have the hand and the foot (attacks originating with open hand or with kicks), the claw (weapon attacks) and fist (grappling attacks).  The fist represents the closed hand, which isn't used to punch, it is used to grab.

Amateur Way of the Stick:
  • Improved dual-wielding (claw).  Reduces penalties for attacks with two weapons when using two daggers or bo sticks.  [exact reduction yet undetermined ~ likely +1 with either or both weapons]
  • Rhythm speed (claw).  If any of the character's action points (AP) are used to attack with a weapon, the monk receives +1 action point to be counted in that round, after the attack has taken place.
  • Disarm (fist).  Grasping the enemy's arm or wrist, or using the monk's grip on the weapon employed, the target's weapon is forced out of their hand.  Normal fumble rules apply.  Move must be called. Causes half open hand damage.
  • Pin (fist).  Upon a successful open hand strike that stuns (by damage or target strike), the monk may declare that the opponent is pinned.  The stun indicates the monk has moved into the target's hex and grappled [proper grappling rules yet undetermined].  The opponent is then pinned and must make strength check to break free.  The monk can, with the next attack, cause grappling damage (1d4) without a roll to hit, strengthen the pin [lower the target's strength] or release the pinned target.
  • Back kick (foot).  Enables the monk to strike with the foot at a target in a rear or flanking hex without changing facing.  Attack is performed at -2 to hit.  Cost is 2 AP.  Damage equals open hand attack.
  • Kick practice (foot).  Enables the monk to break objects (see item saving throws) as a normal blow, without consequence.  Requires time to focus and breathe with rhythm; cannot be performed in combat.  Saving throw for items is increased 1 point per level of the monk.
  • Snap kick (foot).  Kicks opponent as a primary attack, against the knees or torso.  Can be performed only if the monk has not been hit in the previous round.  Cost is 3 AP.  Damage done is twice normal open hand damage -1.  Thus a 2nd level monk performing a snap kick would cause 2d4-1. (1-7, average 4).
  • Correct form (hand).  Open hand attacks are performed at one level higher with regards to the number of attacks per round.  Thus a 2nd level monk would attack 5 times every 4 rounds, rather than once per round, but still do normal damage for 2nd level.
  • Hammer strike (hand).  Striking outward with both hands with a 3 AP cost.  If the blow hits, regardless of whether the opponent is stunned or not, the target will be knocked back one combat hex.  Adds 1 damage to normal open hand attack.
  • Target strike (hand).  In an open hand attack, if the monk hits five points higher than the amount needed to hit the target's armor class, the target will be stunned, regardless of the damage done.  Achieved through having hit an acupressure point.

Authority Way of the Stick:
  • Deft eye (claw).  The monk cannot cause friendly fire with thrown or fired weapons.
  • Weapon art (claw).  The monk adds one damage to all weapon attacks per four levels acquired.
  • Seize weapon (fist).  If the target is employing a one-handed weapon, the monk can perform a move more intricate than disarm, gripping the target's wrist and taking the weapon from the target's hand. Move must be called.  Requires a -3 to hit modifier.
  • Throw (fist).  Upon stunning with the open hand, the monk may declare an intention to "throw" the opponent.  If so, the opponent is moved to a hex that would normally be on the monk's flank or rear. The destination hex must be empty.  The opponent takes no additional damage [but is still stunned]. Uses remaining AP for that round.  The monk's facing may be in any direction following the throw.
  • Flying jump kick (foot).  The monk moves one hex, jumps, kicks the opponent with both feet.  Must be the monk's first attack that round.  Cost is 4 AP (including movement).  Monk gains +1 to hit. Damage done is twice normal open hand damage.
  • Sweep (foot).  Upon stunning a target, the monk may expend 2 AP and sweep the opponent's legs out from under.  Does not require a 'to hit' roll.  Causes no damage, but attacks against the stunned, now down target are made at +2.

Expert Way of the Stick:
  • Throwing art (claw).  When employing stars or throwing knives [need to be added to the monk's choice of weapon proficiencies], the character will be able to hurl/throw objects at a cost of only 1 AP each (up to the monk's number of open hand attacks per round).
  • Correct effort (hand).   Open hand damage is caused at one level higher than the monk's present level.

Well, that's a start, anyway.  I'll be discussing the Way of the Stone with my next post.


Maxwell Joslyn said...

Really cool, Alexis, really really cool. How excited you must be to finally be laying out the monk! The abilities seem nice and gradual, situational. Nothing jumps out as overpowered or too elaborate. Let's see how playtesting goes -- I don't remember, are you currently running your offline party with the monk in it?

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

This is a very encouraging start, I had commented as such previously but I guess it dind't post.

A couple of questions:

Disarm states half weapon damage, was this on purpose or is supposed to be half unarmed damage?

Pin, is grapple damage soemthing special to be determined or is this just normal damage from grappling?

There might have been another question, but I can't recall it.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

I forgot to mention I especially like the techniques which allow additional special actions after a stun. That's a very solid concept, and I could see it being reused in certain Puissance abilities.

Alexis Smolensk said...


Correct on the disarm damage. Fixed the post.

I need to make grappling rules before I can fix exactly what the pin does. The idea will be that while the pin holds the target, in a way it also restricts the monk from doing anything else; and the longer the pin is held, the stronger it becomes.

Alexis Smolensk said...


Sofia in the Senex campaign is a monk.

The choice to make the action work after the stun was to cut down on the pre-planning before the attack. I don't want to take away from the simplicity of the character beginning their turn with "I attack" followed by the die roll. By having it worked out this way (it only matters if a stun occurs) it means we don't have to call the shot before taking it. Like in pool, if the player gets lucky, they can say it was their plan all along.