View Full Version : Psionic Monk [Core Class Varriant]

2006-08-28, 03:09 PM
As anyone who either glances at my icon or is familiar with posts I've made knows, I'm a fan of martial arts and martial artists. And as such, I tend to feel that the D&D monk isn't really a good representation of a fantasy fictional martial arts master who channels internal energy to achieve great feats. While that was obviously the intent and the designers gave it a good try, you wind up with a guy who's hard to hit, does fairly good damage with just his fists, can resist magic really well, has some interesting abilities to try and balance out that he hits about as well in melee as a Cleric or a Druid when he should be closer to the Paladin or Ranger.

As such, I've tried to come up with a monk concept that more closely fits what I consider to be a more appropriate monk archetype. To do so, I've combined elements from the traditional Monk class with the Psionics of the Psion and Psychic Warrior, which creates something closer to the idea of a warrior who draws power from an internally generated non-mystic source.

Sadly, I've neither ironed out all the details nor have decided if my own admitted bias for this type of character may have led me to overpower the character. I'm hoping for some solid critiques and advice from everyone with regards to the class. Hopefully comments from all of you will help me fill in any gaps the design has.

Okay, here goes:

Abilities: Wisdom, Dexterity and Strength are the main abilities of the Monk. Wisdom aids in both manefesting psionic powers and is the source of several innate monk abilities. Dexterity is useful for making them harder to hit and maximizing several skills, while Strength improves their to hit and damage.

Alignment: Any Neutral. Monks understand that balance is the way of the universe, and to stray too close to law denies the creativity of chaos, while chaos is formless and without substance. As such, they can be Neutral Good, Neutral Evil or True Neutral.

Hit Die: d8. Monks rely primarily on avoiding damage, not soaking it.

Class Skills: Autohypnosis, Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (arcana, psionics, religion), Listen, Move Silent, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, Swim and Tumble.

Skill Points at 1st Level (4+Int mod) x4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level 4 + Int Mod

BAB: 4/4 Base Attack Bonus, same as Fighters, Paladins and Rangers.

Saves: Same Will and Reflex saves as a Monk, but a lower Fort save.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Same as the base Monk class, save that Monks shun mystic items and weaponry, as they feel that dependance on magic items over their own training.

Essentially, any time a Monk willfully uses a weapon that has mystic properties beyond enhancements that make the blade durable or give it a keen edge, he is at a -5 to his BAB and the price for using all psionic powers is trippled. Items that enhance a Monk's stats will fail to do so, and magic armor will cause the same penalties that normal armor does for a monk (loss of Wis/Monk AC, cannot Flurry, lose movement speed), in addition to making the cost for all psionic powers trippled. If wielding magic weapons and wearing magic armor, the psionic power costs stack.

Note this only applies to Monks that willfully don and activate these magic weapons or stat buffing abilities. Monks that have these items placed on them or need to wear such items for cover but who do not make use of those abilities do not suffer any penalties.

Note also that these penalties apply to weapons, armor and stat buffing items, and do not apply to curative items such as healing potions, items designed to allow Monks to survive in areas such as underwater nor mundane metals such as silver or wooden stakes who are not magical in and of themselves.

Multi-Classing: Monks normally have to focus intensely on their training in order to fully master themselves, and as such do not multi-class often. However, certain monasteries practice the Way of the Dual Path, in which a monk seeks to learn from experiences outside of a normal monk's life path. As such, a Monk may select one class from the others that they can multi-class with freely. If a monk ever willingly takes a level in a class that is not his selected alternate class, then he may no longer progress as a Monk.

AC Bonus: Monks get their Wisdom bonus to AC, plus an additional bonus to AC based on the Monk's level. At level one, the Monk gains a +1 to AC. At level 4 and ever 4 levels afterwards (when the Monk gains a stat point) the Monk gains an additional +1 to AC. So a level 8 monk would have a +3 bonus to AC from their Monk level.

Flurry of Blows: By spending 3 power points, the Monk may make an additional attack at his highest BAB for that round. At level 10, the Monk may spend a total of 10 to make a second extra attacks, the first at his highest BAB and the second at his next highest BAB. So a level 20 Psionic Monk could pay 10 points to Flurry and strike with the following bonuses: 20 / 20 / 15 / 15 / 10 / 5

Strikes of the Enlightened Mind: Monks have combined long hours of physical and mental conditioning with numerous techniques and philosophies. As such, when they strike they channel all of their being (mind, body and soul) into each strike, refining that strike with skill to create lethal weapons. At first level, the Monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike, and this strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purposes of effect that enhance either manufactured or natural weapons. Additionally, a Monk is so in tune with their strikes that Psionic effects that normally just add extra special damage instead can become transmitted to the entire strike. For instance, if a Monk's strike were enhanced with the Claws of Energy power, rather than deal their normal damage with an extra 1d6 of energy damage, the Monk's normal damage would be converted to energy damage with the 1d6 added on as well.

In addition to this, the Monk also does more damage with their unarmed strikes than other beings. They do a base damage of 1d6 at Level 1, and then 2d6 at Level 5, and then do an extra d6 of damage every 5 levels after, at 10, 15 and so forth. However, due to this unique training, Monks cannot take Psionic Fist, Greater Psionic Fist or Vow of Poverty.

Psionic Powers:A Monk uses psionic energy (what they call "chi") to achieve their more impressive supernatural effects. How this power relates to magic depends on how the GM decides Psionics work in the game, either as being a varriant of magic or different from magic, based on the rules of the Expanded Psionics Handbook.

Power Points: Monks gain a certain amount of power points available to them between rests and meditiation. They gain bonus psionic power points for having a high Wisdom as per Table 2-1 in the Expanded Psionics Handbook. They gain points as a Psionic Warrior

Powers Known: Monks learn powers at their own rate, and due to their focus on other areas do not have as many powers as either the Psion or the Psychic Warrior. They know powers as follows:

Level 01: 2
Level 02: 3
Level 03: 3
Level 04: 4
Level 05: 4
Level 06: 5
Level 07: 5
Level 08: 6
Level 09: 6
Level 10: 7
Level 11: 7
Level 12: 8
Level 13: 8
Level 14: 9
Level 15: 9
Level 16: 10
Level 17: 10
Level 18: 11
Level 19: 11
Level 20: 12

Maximum Power Level Known: Since Monks spend as much time in internal contemplation of their mind and soul as they do perfecting their body, their maximum power level of their abilities is the same as a Psion.

Power Selection: Since Monks combine elements of both the Psion and Psychic Warrior, their power list is an amalgamation of the two, losing access to powers from both while having more freedom to pick between them. The list that they can select their powers from is located at the bottom of this thread.

Bonus Feat: At levels 1, 2 and 6 a Monk may select a bonus feat from the following list: Stunning Fist, Improved Grapple, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm or Improved Trip, without having the require prequisits.

Evasion: At 2nd level, the Monk gains Evasion. At 9th, they gain Improved Evasion. If a Monk uses the Evade Burst power in conjunction with either of these Evasion abilities, he gains a bonus to the roll equal to half his Monk level rounded down.

Fast Movement: As a normal Monk.

Still Mind: As a normal Monk.

Diamond Soul: As a normal Monk.

Timeless Body: As a normal Monk.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon: As a normal Monk.

Perfect Body: As a normal Monk, save the damage resistance is now 1/- for every 5 levels in Monk the character has attained. So a 20th level monk would have Damage reduction 4/-.

Monk's Psionic Power List: Adapt Body, Affinity Field, Aura Alteration, Aura Sight, Banishment (Psionic), Bio-Feedback, Body Adjustment, Body Equilibrium, Body Purification, Burst, Call to Mind, Call Weaponry, Catfall, Chameleon, Claws of Energy /of the Beast, Cloud Mind, Cloud Mind (Mass), Conceal Thoughts, Correspond, Danger Sense, Destiny Dissonance, Detect Hostile Intent, Detect Psionics, Detect Remote Viewing, Dimension Slide, Dissolving Weapon, Dispel Psionics, Distract, Dream Travel, Empathic Transfer, Empathy, Empty Mind, Energy Adaptation, Energy Ball / Burst / Missile / Push / Wave, Escape Detection, Expansion, Fission, Float, Fly, Force Screen, Freedom of Movement, Graft WeaponGrip of Iron, Hustle, Hypercognition, Immovability, Incarnate, Inertial Armor, Inertial Barrier, Keen Edge(Psionic), Know Direction and Location, Levitate (Psionic), Mental Barrier, Metaphysical Claw, Metaphysical Weapon, Mind Blank (Personal), Mind Blank (Psionic), Mind Probe, Mindlink, Missive, Missive (Mass), Moment of Presence (Psionic), Object Reading, Painful Strike, Power Resistance, Precognition, Precognition (Defensive / Greater / Offensive), Prescience (Offensive), Prevenom, Prevenom Weapon Prowess, Psionic Lionís Charge, Psionic Revivify, Psionic Sense, Psychic Chirurgery, Psychofeedback, Read Thoughts, Reddopsi, Remote Viewing, Restoration (Psionic), Restore Extremity, Sensitivity to Psychic Impressions, Skate, Steadfast Perception, Stomp, Suggestion, Suspend Life, Sustenance, Telekinetic Thrust, Thicken Skin, Thought Shield, Tongues (Psionic), Tornado Blast, Touchsight, Tower of Iron Will, Trace Teleport, True Metabolsim, True Seeing (Psionic), Truevenom Weapon, Ubiquitous Vision, Ultrablast, Vampiric Blade, Vigor, Wall Walker, Weapon of Energy


Well, that's the class in a nut-shell. It's probably going to wind up being overpowered, but I'll leave that judgement to those more experienced with the system.

So, everyone let me know what you think, both what works and what needs fixing, or if the idea is just too unworkable. Hopefully something good can come of this.

2006-08-28, 05:50 PM
This is indeed a very powerful class. However, I think the inability to use magical weapons and armor is enough of a drawback that it almost balances out. You have to consider the wide variety of magic weapons and armor, and how many effects you can get from them. Having such hefty penalties to the use of such items is going to hurt. But even with that, this class seems a good deal more powerful than most of the other classes. I'm not sure what to recommend about that, though, as I know admittedly little of either monks or psionics.

2006-08-28, 06:34 PM
Yes, I believe the limitation on magic weapons and items is a good balancing feature. I also lowered the Monk's Fort save, got rid of a few abilities, lowered their Spell Resistance and a few other things.

I was thinking that maybe they could use Psionic weaponry up to a certain level (with said items basically being training tools), but at higher levels they'd be limited to psionic items whose only powers were to give them more Power Points to draw on, quasi-indestructible weapons or something similar, rather than weapons that have a lot of innate abilities of their own. The powers available to a monk allow them to get by reasonably well without magic items and if they want to make their weapons more dangerous, there's several powers they can take that would allow them to do so.

2006-08-29, 12:04 AM
I personally love this idea, being a devvoted martial artist myself, and being a big fan of psionics in D&D, this is exactly what I've been looking for. Not sure how balanced it is, but I'm in the process of borrowing complete psionics anyway, so I might be able to form an opinion on that soon.

2006-08-29, 01:02 AM
It's probably a bit on the powerful side, but when you take into consideration the magic items Paladin's, Rangers and Fighters would likely have at that level, plus the powers the former two have and the feat selection the latter has, it probably winds up being not that much more powerful than them.

Power level probably depends on the Psionic Powers taken as well. Though I'd think that Inertial Armor is almost mandatory for this Monk.

2006-08-29, 12:18 PM
The current diamond soul seems rather weak. Just to check: at equal levels, what are the chances that a mage of an equal level to the monk would overcome the spell resistance?

2006-08-29, 12:30 PM
WHy do you have the weakend version of diamond soul? it is useless as you have it now, casters get a bonus equal to their level, only casters of lower level need to bother to roll, and then the chances are VERY low that the SR works, its really not worth having unless you increase the amount(say to 5+character level) then it's still weaker and not very good, but it will be more effective and actually useful.

Seems powerful, but with the no item thing, i think its fairly balanced. Needs play testing i would think

The Glyphstone
2006-08-29, 12:53 PM
Agreed. This Diamond Soul is almost totally useless...an equal level caster will automatically defeat it, and the only casters who would have difficulty would be so low level that the Monk wouldn't gain any XP from defeating them.

5+Character level is a good idea.

2006-08-29, 11:02 PM
That was my unfamiliarity with Spell Resistance shining through. I re-read it the other night and realized that I'd nerfed it out of existence. Right now it's back to the classic level, but I think I might do something to where it's the Monk's current level plus the sum total of his Wis Bonus and his Monk AC bonus, or allow Psionic powers like Inertial Armor to stack with the Spell resistance. Or it might be best to just leave well enough alone.

When a Monk acquires Diamond Soul, it might also be the point at which they can no longer use psionic weapons that have innate powers beyond a few allowable ones.

2006-08-30, 06:20 AM
Well, if you think they are that powerful... If anything, I would expect that they are more proficient with psionic items than most. Still isn't that already covered by the penalties by using mystic weapons?

2006-08-30, 01:05 PM
Well, if you think they are that powerful... If anything, I would expect that they are more proficient with psionic items than most.

It's more against the idea of a monk carrying around a psionic weapon with tons of powers innate to the object itself. Monks, in my mind, are kind of like the Kensai class from an old D&D module that believed that using magic items and such increased their dependency on the item itself and not their own skill. The weapon would make the warrior dangerous, whereas the Kensai felt it should be the other way around.

Monks have a lot of abilities that can enhance their weapons effectiveness, and the varriety of powers available to them should give them a lot of varriety. In my mind, they should have access to no magic weapons, but early on have access to psionic weapons, armor and artifacts to help their survivability and to act as training tools. As they level up, the need for weapons with specific powes decreases and they ultimately rely on less exotic weaponry and more on their own inner power.

They could have psionic weapons that, say, are durable, deal more damage, are keen or vorpal or who have power points stored for them to use, but not have any weapons that deal fire damage or have a lot of innate psionic powers of their own. Instead, the monk would use his own Psionic powers, like Weapons of Energy, to make the weapon more dangerous.

Still isn't that already covered by the penalties by using mystic weapons?

I tend to view Psionics and Magic as two different power sources, really.

2006-08-31, 11:52 PM
Just topping this for now until I make some more modifications.