Sunday, January 20, 2019

OSR: Monk

Monks have been a fascination of mine ever since I started playing Dungeons and Dragons.  I thought the idea of playing a foreign martial artist who fought with only kicks and punches was crazy, even compared to some of the other classes you could play as.  As such, I've been working on trying to make Monks fit more into the standard OSR mode.  For the longest time, I failed.

Then I had my revelation.  After I came to the conclusion that all casting classes were just GLOG Wizards in increasingly stupid hats, I decided I wasn't going to write anymore casting classes.  The only thing left to do then was to convert the Monk to a GLOG Caster.  So that's exactly what I did.

Also, if you need more Monks in your life, try the Sword Mage from Library of Attnam, or the Renunciates over at Against the Wicked City, or the Void Monks from Goblin Punch.

The Foreign Priests of No God

Monks are not from Around Here.  They are Outsiders from Foreign Parts, strange purveyors of philosophy and spirituality.  Most Around Here wouldn't even know they were casters at all, considering them more like wandering prophets, teachers or soothsayers.  Foreigners could tell you differently though.  In Foreign Parts, on the other side of the Empty Lands, you will find Monks acting as advisors and bodyguards to Priest-Kings, acting as elite troops in war, or governing their own principalities as divinely appointed governors.       

To determine what Order of Monks you belonged to, make one up, or roll on the tables below.

I came from...


1- The Brotherhood
2- The Fraternity
3- The Order
4- The Society
5- The Union
6- The House
7- The Temple
8- The Army
9- The Family
10- The Followers

of the...


1- God-man
2- Five Seasons
3- Indomitable Soul
4- Steady Hand
5- Empty Palm
6- Whispered Word
7- Winter's Heart
8- Spring's Fire
9- Sons of Summer
10- Way of Solar Righteousness 

In my Order, we...


1- Didn't eat certain things.  Roll 1d6 to see what that was: [1= certain types of meat; 2= all meat; 3= mixed-grain bread; 4= fish; 5= eggs; 6= the flesh of anything we didn't personally kill.]
2- Didn't drink or smoke.
3- Swore oaths of poverty.
4- were taught how to garden and write poetry.
5- Went to funerals to appreciate the brevity of life.
6- Allowed prostitutes to live with us, but were never allowed to touch them.
7- Were allowed to get married and have children, as long as the Grandmaster approved.
8- Acted as the local constabulary.
9- Organized hunting expeditions for monsters terrorizing the area.
10- Assassinated people for money.
11- Practiced Humans Sacrifice.
12- Had a Deity who lived and dwelt in the monastery with us.

"My Teachers taught me poetry, etiquette, moral philosophy, and how to reach Heaven through violence."

Monk is just a sub-class of the Base GLOG Magic-User/Wizard class, which can be found here.  For anything else about the class, see below.

Power: You are trained in martial arts, and can use your unarmed strikes as a weapon.  Unarmed strikes do 1d6 damage.  For unarmed strikes, you may add twice your DEX modifier to your attack roll.  You may also calculate your AC as 10 + 2 times your DEX modifier.

Alternatively, you may use a weapon approved of by your order.  Speak to the Referee at character creation if this is what you desire.

Drawback: You may not wear any armor or use any weapon not approved of by your order.  If you do, you cannot cast spells until you speak to your Teacher/Mentor or the Master of your School and seek his forgiveness.  You will also probably have to perform some act or quest in penance for your violation of your holy vow.

Monk starting Spells

1- All Journeys Begin and End with One Step
2- Empty Palm Vanquishes the Wicked
3- Fear of Rain Clouds is Advised
4- Fortune shakes the Proud, but the Humble endure
5- Green Woman is easily rebuffed by the Chaste
6- Light is Foreign, Darknesss is Native
7- Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Ora!
8- Pain is the Curse of Living
9- Rain Parts for the Wise
10- The Gale shatters the Oak, but the Willow survives
11- The Wise Student fills the Tea Cups
12- Virtue is a shield against Tragedy

13- If you meet God on the Road, Kill Him
14- Sin brings Death, but the Path of Righteousness is Life

Legendary Spell: Suffering is the path to Divinity

All Journeys Begin with a Single Step
R: self        T: self        D: one moment

Move up to [dice] x your movement speed as a free action. Your movement is so fast it appears instantaneous.

At 1 [die], you ignore pressure plates (or similar mechanisms) and dangerous or difficult terrain. At 2 [dice], you may move up a wall or over the ceiling, as long as you end your movement in a place where you can normally stand. At 3 [dice], you may move over surfaces that couldn't normally support your weight (surface of water, twigs and leaves, weapons held by your enemies). At 4 [dice], you may move through impossibly tight squeezes without being slowed (between prison bars, through a keyhole).

You may also cast this spell as a reaction to any melee attack against you, even outside your turn.

This spell is borrowed from here. Mr. Kangaroo came up with it first.  He deserves the credit, not I.

Empty Palm Vanquishes the Wicked
R: 30'        T: object    D: [dice] minutes

As an action, you fire a gigantic hand (about the size of a refrigerator or a pony) made of blue life-force from your own hand.  The hand can be used to strike anyone within range for 1d6+[dice] damage, or it can do anything else a giant hand could do.  It cannot fly or really move, but it can hold things or lift things up.  It has a STR of 13+[dice] and HP of [sum].  It disappears after time runs out or it runs out of health.

Fear of Rain Clouds is Advised
R: self        T: self            D: one action

You may make 1 ranged attack with a shuriken, throwing knife, or small thrown projectile (1d6 base) of the sort.  This projectile is then multiplied many thousands of times over, doing normal damage +[sum].  If the creature you targeted had any creatures standing adjacent to them, the amount of damage taken is divided evenly among those creatures.

Fortune shakes the Proud, but the Humble Endure
R: touch    T: creature    D: one action

Make a melee attack against a creature within melee range.  On a hit, that creature must save, with a penalty to their save equal to [dice].  On a failure, that creature is stunned, and cannot take any actions for [dice] rounds.

If you cast this spell with 2 or more [dice], then the creature also cannot move on a failed save.  If you cast this spell with 4 or more [dice], the creature must make an additional save, regardless of what they rolled on the first one.  If they  fail their second save, they die.  

Green Woman is easily rebuffed by the Chaste
R: 30'        T: creature        D: [dice] minutes

This spell makes the person it is cast on light as air.  They take no fall damage, can jump a number of feet equal to their STR score, and can run along walls for far longer than is humanly possible, though they will still fall down.

Light is Foreign, Darkness is Native
R: self        T: self            D: [dice] rounds

For the next [dice] rounds, the caster exudes a thin aura of light.  This light illuminates [dice]*10' around the caster.  If they strike anyone with a melee attack, they do an extra +[dice] holy damage to that person.  If this spell is cast with 4 or more spellcasting dice, the light exuded by the caster has the properties of natural sunlight.

Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Ora!
R: self        T: self        D: one round

You may make [dice] bonus attacks on your next turn.  If you cast this spell using four or more spellcasting dice, you may choose to instead do [sum] bonus attacks.

This isn't mine either, Dan from Throne of Salt made it first, here.

Pain is the Curse of Living
R: touch    T: creature        D: one action

You take [dice] damage.  One creature you touch regains [sum] HP.  You can also use this spell to regenerate the bodies of Undead, bringing them "back to life".  If this is done to an Undead, they must save.  On a success, they are still Undead, but now with restored bodies that will swiftly begin rotting.  On a failure, their bodies are filled with the power of their soul and restored to life, similar to the way a defibrillator can restart a stopped heart.

Rain parts for the Wise
R: self        T: [dice] projectiles    D: one action

This spell can be cast as a reaction.  When you do, you can reduce the damage [dice] projectiles do by [sum].  If you reduce the damage to 0, you catch the projectile.  This spell only works on projectiles that could be conceivably caught, unless you invest four or more projectiles, then the spell works on any material projectiles.

The Gale shatters the Oak, but the Willow endures
R: touch    T: object    D: [sum] minutes

Use any object as if it could cut, from grass to your own fingers. The enchanted item counts as a sword and deals damage based on [dice] invested (plus Str mod).

    1 [die]  1d6
    2 [dice] 1d8
    3 [dice] 1d10
    4 [dice] 1d12

Mr. Kangaroo came up with this spell here, I am just borrowing it from him.

The Wise Student fills the Tea Cups
R: self        T: self            D: concentration

This spell is a free action to cast.  Once cast, the caster can spend a round meditating, and doing nothing else.  If they do this, one person within 100' regains [dice] HP.  The caster may continue doing this for as many rounds as they like, but if they stop meditating, the spell automatically ends.  Additionally, if they take damage or suffer a significant shock or scare, they must save.  On a failed save, they let go of the spell and it ends.

Virtue is a shield against Tragedy
R: self        T: self            D: one action

When you cast this spell, it consumes your next action as you prepare yourself.  Then, when next attacked or affected by an opponent's ability, you may take an action to counter it.  If their ability or attack required an attack roll, then you must contest their roll with one of your own and roll higher than them.  You get a +[dice] bonus to this.  However, if the ability would have automatically affected you, or done so if you failed a saving throw, then no additional roll on your part is required. 

If you have successfully matched the roll or otherwise met the conditions, then this spell takes effect.  The attack or ability you used it against does not affect you, and instead is redirected back at the person who used it, affecting them instead.  Additionally, the effect of their attack or ability is multiplied by [dice].

For example, if it was an attack that did 4 damage, it would do 4*[dice] damage to the person who made the attack.

If you meet God on the Road, Kill Him
R: self        T: everything        D: [dice] hours

When you cast this spell, select a condition (ex: If I die).  If that condition is met within [dice] hours, time resets, going back to the moment when this spell was cast.  This looping effect will only occur [dice] times, after which the spell automatically ends.  The spell also ends if the duration passes. 

Sin Brings Death, but the path of Righteousness is Life
R: 50'        T: creature        D: [dice] rounds

One creature within range takes [sum] damage as wounds begin to open up all over it's bodies.  Lacerations from invisible blades begin to peel the skin off its body as nonexistent arrows punch holes in its chest.  These are all the wounds the creature has received, might receive or ever will receive being unleashed upon it at once.  This lasts for [dice] rounds, or until the creature is dead.

After you cast this spell, you will not be able to regain any spellcasting dice until you say a prayer for the fallen, and make sure their body is respectfully interned in a crypt or tomb.  You need not bury them yourself, but it certainly would be polite.

                                                                  by Wonderis

Chaos and Corruption of the Monk:
When you roll doubles, roll on the Chaos table.  The spell still goes through.  You receive 1d3 Doom Points.
When you roll triples, roll on the Corruption table.  The spell automatically fails.  You also receive 1d4 Doom Points.
At 10 Doom Points, you invoke the Doom of Fools.
At 20 Doom Points, you invoke the Doom of Kings.
At 30 Doom Points, you invoke the Ultimate Doom. 

Chaos of the Monk:

1- Spellcasting Dice only return to your pool if you rolled a 1-2 for 24 hours.
2- You take 1d6 damage.
3- Random mutation for 1d6 Rounds, then Save with a -4 penalty. Permanent if you fail.
4- The next person you touch takes damage as if you hit them with an unarmed strike, even if you touched them gently.
5- You are blinded for 1d6 Rounds. 
6- Your fingers become sharp as swords for 1d8 hours.  Anything you touch that is soft, easily cut-able or fragile is cut exactly as if you poked it with a sword.

Corruption of the Monk:

1- A  giant hand of blue energy emerges from your hand.  The hand has 1d6 HD AC 10 STR 13(+1), can fly and wants to break valuable objects.  It will fly around for 1d6 rounds, stealing valuable objects and attempting to break them.
2- Your skin starts glowing like a bonfire.  During the day, this is merely bright, but indoors in the dark, it is obvious for 1d6*100' around.
3- One non-virtuous person near you must save.  On a failed save, they suddenly die in a freak accident.  On a successful save, they are merely injured, possibly seriously.  Example freak accidents include, but are not limited to, being kicked by an unruly horse, being hit in the head with a carelessly thrown or dropped object, the roof collapsing on their head, being struck by lightning, or etc, etc.   
4- The next person you touch must save or suffer a heart attack.  They must then make a second save.  If they fail their second save, they die.
5- For the next 1d10 rounds, if you move faster than a walking pace, you light on fire.  This fire is non-magical and does 1d6 damage a round.
6- A Living Weapon and its Chariot appears before you and demands that you become its new chariot.  If you refuse, it will try to fight you.  The Living Weapon and its chariot disappear after 1d10 minutes.

Doom of Fools- A former classmate of your suddenly shows up.  He demands that you return with him to the monastery, claiming that one of the former senior students has returned, having learned black, forbidden techniques from unknown sources.  All students of your monastery must return immediately, to protect the Grandmaster and the secret knowledge in the Monastery.

There is a 50% chance your classmate is telling the truth.  If he is, you two will be attacked shortly thereafter by Assassin-Monks working for the former senior student.  If he is not telling the truth, he is actually a traitor who wants to test your loyalty to the monastery.  If you prove loyal, he will try to kill you.  If you are not, however, he will tell you to stay lost and not come back.    

Doom of Kings- A former Teacher at your monastery suddenly shows up.  He has a 50% of being a survivor who escaped the monastery when it was seized by the former senior student, or he is working for the student to spare his own life.

If the former, he is being pursued by a posse off Assassin-Monks who serve the former senior student.  When the Assassin-Monks arrive, they will try to kill him and anyone else associated with the monastery.  If you promise to come with them and swear fealty to the former senior student, they will let you live.  If you resist, they will kill you and anyone else who stands in the way of killing the former Teacher.

If the latter, then he will demand you return to the monastery to swear your allegiance to the new Grandmaster.  If you resist, he will try to beat you into submission and drag you back in chains.  He will kill you, though he'd like to avoid that, if possible.       

Ultimate Doom- The Former Senior Student himself suddenly arrives, accompanied by a group of his body-guards and supporters. He will demand you swear your allegiance to him and do something dangerous, unpleasant or degrading for him.  If you refuse, he will kill you. 

This Doom can be avoided by hunting down the former Senior Student and killing him, or by crafting a disguise convincing enough that no one from your former monastery can recognize you.


  1. I am so glad I had a hand in inspiring this.

  2. Legendary spell appears to be missing.

    1. I never write out the Legendary spells. I always leave that up the individual Referee.

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