View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Custom Monk Archetype: Disciple of a Thousand Fists

2015-01-04, 02:31 AM
This is a suggestion for a homebrew monk archetype stemming from the idea of striking pressure points. The basic idea is to build a monk who excels at landing strikes and is capable of learning many techniques similar to the stunning strike. This would be a controller monk most similar to a wizard crossed with a battlemaster. I appreciate any and all critique of this homebrew.

Monastic Tradition: Disciple of a Thousand Fists
The disciples of the ancient master Ton Po sought total mastery of their own bodies. They learned to strike with every part of their bodies, not just hands and feet. But what was most frightening was when one would cripple an opponent with a single finger.
Disciples of a Thousand Fists are called such because every part of their body can be used to attack. They excel at landing seemingly weak and ineffectual attacks which inject ki into their opponent's bodies, disrupting the body's functions. They are able to do this not only for living opponents, but even undeads and arcane constructs, identifying and disrupting the flow of energy.

For ease of reading, I've sectioned everything off with spoiler tags.

The following is a list of strikes this archetype may choose from at certain levels. Each strike may be used any time you land an attack, and costs 1 ki point. Each lasts for a number of rounds and ends on the final round at the end of your turn / initiative count.

Poison the Muscle - the target's muscles cramp as though poisoned, such that only those with overwhelming strength can power through. Target must succeed on a strength saving throw or be poisoned for three rounds.
Confuse the Mouth - send spasms through the target's mouth, making it difficult the form words. Only significant mental ability can make sense of the spasms and form words through the gibberish. Target must succeed on an intelligence saving throw or be unable to speak clearly or cast spells with verbal components for two rounds.
Deaden the Legs - disrupt communication between the target's brain and legs / wings, making the limbs feel dead and unresponsive. Target must succeed on a dexterity saving throw or immediately fall prone and then have its movement speed halved for three rounds.
Befuddle the Senses - place an idea in the target's mind that the world has blackened and stilled around them. Target must succeed on a wisdom saving throw or be blinded and deafened for two rounds. Creatures with tremorsense are stripped of that ability for the duration.
Weaken the Heart - make the target's will to fight falter when they look upon you. Target must succeed on a charisma saving throw or be frightened for three rounds.

When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you gain the ability to make attacks with more than just your hands and feet. Even a single finger can be used to attack. When making an attack, you may instead choose to use a Gentle Touch. If you do so, add your wisdom modifier to the attack roll in addition to the attribute you would normally add. However, the attack's damage die becomes 1 and you do not add your ability modifier to its damage.

In addition, learn one bonus strike.

You utilize every muscle in your body, perfectly coordinating them to perform any task. You may use your dexterity instead of your strength for ability checks and saving throws which would normally use strength.

Also learn one additional bonus strike.

You have gained total control over your body, allowing you independent control over every limb, muscle, and tendon and enabling you to send ki throughout your body to wherever it is needed. You may spend 1 ki point to gain advantage on any skill check or saving throw which uses dexterity, strength, or constitution. You must decide to spend ki before rolling for the check or saving throw.

Also learn one additional bonus strike.

The ultimate ki strike, this attack disrupts all communication between the target's body and mind, such that only the basic processes of life can continue. You must land three separate strikes on the target's body, striking specific ki pathways and spending one ki point for each strike. On the third, the target must succeed on a constitution saving throw as your ki courses through their body, trying to shut it down. If the target fails, the target is paralyzed for one day or until the monk dies or willingly ends the effect. In addition, all non-psychic sensory input is closed off. The target will feel, see, hear, smell, and taste nothing.

Changes to the target's ki flow can disrupt this effect. If the target takes damage on any round after succumbing to this effect, they may attempt one saving throw immediately after the damage is dealt. The target may only make one additional saving throw per round in this manner, and waking up from this effect automatically places them last in the initiative count. The target may take no actions on the round they wake up from this effect.

2015-01-04, 08:16 AM
So this seems pretty good to me.

A few criticisms:
Close the Mouth: Again, feels like str, con, or dex to me. Int should be some method of befuddling the enemy. I don't get how you outsmart a strike to the jaw short of something on quick analysis and reaction time, in which case that should be part of the flavor (but also feels more like a class feature than a general weakness in the attack.)


Paralyzing Strike seems very cool and flavorful, though I'm not confident enough in my grasp of 5E yet to comment on its balance one way or the other. I know the game starts to fall apart at the edges around those levels, though not nearly as bad as 3E.

Gentle Touch I might just simplify to "deals no damage, but makes the strike autoconnect", as a Quality of Life/gameplay speed thing.

2015-01-04, 03:47 PM
Good points. I don't want to make gentle touch autoconnect because that results in an effective +infinity to hit. Since the monk might potentially use this with touch effects or some sort of magical/elemental strike, I'd rather just make it +5 for -damage. Regarding the intellect comment, I'll update that.

2015-01-13, 08:29 AM
Monastic Tradition: Disciple of a Thousand Fists

I can't believe you missed the opportunity to call this monastic tradition the "Fist of the North Star"!