He wonders as he wanders...
Originally Posted by Ben Neru
Ben Neru of the Crab clan, the Imperceptible Skulk
The enclosed is to be read only by the master of the temple within the hidden valley.
Let me begin by saying how truly sorry I am.
By now, youíre doubtless wondering how Ben came to your dojo in the first place. While the boy undoubtedly has talent, he sometimes gets carried away.
At first, I thought he was just striking students while he had disappeared from the eyeís view. Thereís nothing unusual about that after all. Itís one of the hallmarks of the dark moon dojo.
But once Ben reappeared again during sparring, I saw his opponents react as if struck even though he hadnít laid a hand on them.
Iím aware of some schools that teach motion of the mind, but one master to another, that frightens me. Iím not accusing Ben of anything, mind you, itís just beyond my ability to tutor him in something I donít understand.
If I had my own way of things, I wouldíve told him things just werenít working out, wished him well, and sent him on his way. But we all know things donít work out the way we like when we send out star pupil out into the world. They always come back, burn the place down, and make an example of us. I understand itís how you came to your current position, as a matter of fact, taking the place of your former master after the Red Fist of the West himself descended upon you. You have both my congratulations and deepest sympathies.
It might gladden you to know that you wonít have to worry about him anymore.
Just as I was preparing to talk with Ben about the way he was surpassing me as a student, he attacked here too. They fought for hours, and then Ben struck the soul straight from his body. We were all relieved, of course, but Ben was horrified. He told me he didnít know his own strength and would understand if I wanted him to wander the land in search of a new tutor.
You canít blame me for seizing the opportunity. I advise you to do the same as soon as you can. Youíre not the first, and I assure you you wonít be the last. Ben has the tattoos of more dojos than Iíve ever seen on one manís back. If that eases your conscience when you send him on your way, so be it. If you want to keep him around, I wish you the best.
Just donít say I didnít warn you.
Spoiler: stubShowLN strongheart halfling monk 9/psychic warrior 1/serene guardian 10
dex 20 (increases here)
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Monk 1 +0 +2 +2 +2 balance 4, hide 4, jump 4, ms 4, tumble 4 evasive reflexes, shape soulmeld (astral vambraces) bonus feat (underfoot combat), flurry of blows, unarmed strike 2nd Monk 2 +1 +3 +3 +3 balance 1 (5), hide 1 (5), jump 1 (5), ms 1 (5), tumble 1 (5) bonus feat (combat reflexes), invisible fist (invisible) 3rd Monk 3 +2 +3 +3 +3 hide 1 (6), ms 1 (6), spot 2, tumble 1 (6) weapon finesse darkvision 60ft 4th Monk 4 +3 +4 +4 +4 hide 1 (7), ms 1 (7), spot 2 (4), tumble 1 (7) ki strike (magic), slow fall 20ft 5th Monk 5 +3 +4 +4 +4 hide 1 (8), ms 1 (8), spot 2 (6), tumble 1 (8) fire resist 5 6th Monk 6 +4 +5 +5 +5 hide 1 (9), ms 1 (9), spot 2 (8), tumble 1 (9) martial study (cloak of deception) bonus feat (improved trip), slow fall 30ft 7th Monk 7 +5 +5 +5 +5 hide 1 (10), ms 1 (10), spot 2 (10), tumble 1 (10) shadow blend 8th Monk 8 +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 hide 1 (11), jump 1 (6), ms 1 (11), spot 1 (11), tumble 1 (11) slow fall 40ft 9th Monk 9 +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 hide 1 (11), jump 1 (7), ms 1 (11), spot 1 (11), tumble 1 (11) confound the big folk invisible fist (blink) 10th Psychic Warrior 1 +6/+1 +8 +6 +6 autohypnosis 3 bonus feat (spectral skirmisher), new power known (compression) 11th Serene Guardian 1 +7/+2 +10 +8 +6 hide 3 (14) Resonance, painful release 12th Serene Guardian 2 +8/+3 +11 +9 +6 tumble 3 (14) martial stance (child of shadow) Damaging release 13th Serene Guardian 3 +9/+4 +11 +9 +7 hide 2 (16), tumble 1 (15) bonus feat (shadow blade) 14th Serene Guardian 4 +10/+5 +12 +10 +7 hide 1 (17), tumble 2 (17) Staggering release 15th Serene Guardian 5 +11/+6/+1 +12 +10 +7 hide 1 (18), jump 1 (8), tumble 1 (18) gloom razor Greater resonance 16th Serene Guardian 6 +12/+7/+2 +13 +11 +8 hide 1 (19), jump 1 (9), tumble 1 (19) Traumatic release 17th Serene Guardian 7 +13/+8/+3 +13 +11 +8 hide 1 (20), jump 1 (10), tumble 1 (20) Immune to fear 18th Serene Guardian 8 +14/+9/+5 +14 +12 +8 hide 1 (21), jump 1 (11), tumble 1 (21) open chakra (hand) Confounding release 19th Serene Guardian 9 +15/+10/+5 +14 +12 +9 hide 1 (22), jump 1 (12), tumble 1 (22) Unclouded mind 20th Serene Guardian 10 +16/+11/+6/+1 +15 +13 +9 hide 1 (23), jump 1 (13), tumble 1 (23) Soul release
you function like a standard monk here, albeit with a few extra tricks. hin disciple is up and running, allowing you to run circles around those foolish tall people with underfoot combat. you gain soft cover when youíre in the square of someone 2+ sizes bigger. niche now, but itíll be part of your regular combat strategy later. and as a monk bonus feat, we donít need to meet the req for it, so can take it even though it breaks the skillcap. neat, huh?
thatís not all. dark moon disciple gives you darkvision, much more applicable than still mind, and your evasionís been gone and pawned for invisible fist! as an immediate, you can turn invisible for an entire round (so greater invisible essentially) with all the resultant benefits. instantly say no to any attack whenever you want! thereís a cooldown of 3 rounds, but you can do this as often as you like aside from that. can your wizard friend do that?
youíre punching through dr with your karate chops, and youíve got energy resist to the most common type, helping those burning hands not sting as much. youíve got dr of your own too thanks to the handy dandy astral vambraces, helping improve monkís trademark survivability
youíre up to your old tricks, but they pack a much stronger punch. cloak of deceptionís up now, which makes you greater invisible for 1 round as a swift. sound familiar? it should, itís just like your wonderful invisible fist. this means you can alternate rounds should you need to be invisible for more than one round successively in a given encounter. it also lays groundwork for later.
shadow blend is online, giving you total concealment in anything less than full daylight. take advantage of this in combination with underfoot combatant and its big (or small, as the case may be) brother, confound the big folk when youíre in tall peoplesí squares.
a tactical feat, it gives you a ton of options, boosting your crit rolls, and helping out your tripping ability. move into a foeís square, trip him (using your immense dex) and he canít add his size bonus, plus he canít trip you back, and if youíve got improved trip (which you do) you get a free attack once you trip him.
all these things work in tandem to give you a zillion sources of attacks when it comes time to build resonance for serene guardian. plus flurry, so you got that too. the penaltyís negated by being invisible all the time, and your bonuses from all your sneaky feats.
psychic warrior opens up dorjes and gives compression, to make you smaller, boost your numbers, and make you better at everything
invisible fistís second boost comes up now. when normal monks are limping along with improved evasion, you can use your invisible fist now to activate blink for a number of rounds equal to your wis mod with a 3 round cooldown.
spectral skirmisherís up and running. when an enemy takes a poke at you while youíre invisible and misses (so all the time,) then you gain an aoo.
this aoo can then be used either to do stuff to them via combat reflexes as usual.
you can use it to fuel evasive reflexes and take a 5 foot step immediately.
oh like, say, into the enemyís square? itís certainly the last place heíd look, and itíll make him provoke more aoos from you using your other tricks, so keep the cycle of violence going.
get in peopleís grills, take aoos and names, and kick shins. itís all gravy from here.
youíre building on everything youíve been laying foundation for. all your sources of extra attacks now help you build all the resonance you could ever want and more. child of shadow gives you more skulky bonuses to help you stay hidden and rack up bonuses against bad guys. shadow blade helps boost your damage when youíre in melee.
gloom razor is pulling its weight, giving you yet another way to stay invisible, render bad guys flat-footed, and use your prodigious tumble to move around behind enemy lines
youíre rounding out serene guardian, and between all these sources, you can gather resonance and use it against enemies essentially at will.
your hand chakra is open now, letting you pick up any ability from astral construct menu a via your astral vambraces. there are plenty of goodies there, like flight, letting you become essentially impossible for your foolish tall enemies to pin down
srd: monk, weapon finesse, combat reflexes
exemplars of evil: invisible fist
champions of valor: hin disciple, dark moon disciple
planar handbook: planar monk
magic of incarnum: shape soulmeld, open chakra
tome of battle: martial study, martial stance, gloom razor, shadow blade, evasive reflexes
races of the wild: confound the big folk, underfoot combat
playerís handbook 2: spectral skirmisher