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View Full Version : Monk Improvements: Nerve Strikes & More



Lysander
2009-09-28, 12:13 AM
Here's an idea to make the 3.5 monk a more attractive class to play. It's going to address two things I find problematic. First, that monks are generally considered underpowered, and second that to me some of their more magical abilities like being able to use dimension door or turn ethereal detract from the kung fu feel of the class.

Since I prefer a punchy monk the first homebrew addition, nerve strikes, requires that your monk take Stunning Fist. At level 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19 a monk learns their choice of a new nerve strike, an attack that targets a specific part of the body to cause a unique effect. Using a nerve strike spends one usage of stunning fist, and operates identically besides causing a different effect than stunning. Since monks often have a surplus of stunning fist this makes good use of their pool of attacks. Multiple nerve strikes can be unleashed on a single foe to cause multiple negative status effects.

A preliminary list of nerve strikes to pick from:

Blinding Strike
A hit to the head that affects the optic nerve and causes blindness for 1d4 rounds, and -4 to spot checks for an hour afterwords. Follow up blinding strikes can blind a person again but do not stack with the spot check penalty although it does reset the hour.

Deafening Strike
A slap to the head that temporarily disrupts hearing for 6 rounds, and causes a -4 penalty to listen checks for an hour afterwords. A monk must use flurry of blows and hit twice to pull off a deafening strike. Follow up strikes can deafen a person again but do not stack with the listen check penalty although it does reset the hour.

Rattling Strike
This ability improves a monk's stunning fist, making it a quivering blow that can stun creatures usually immune to stunning such as constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits. Creatures without a constitution score instead use strength for their saving throw. This only improves stunning fist and not other nerve strikes.

Pain Strike
This strike hits a precise cluster of nerves to cause intense agony, causing a -4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks for 5 minutes. This sudden burst of pain also gives anyone currently influenced by mind-affecting magic a new save to resist.

Breath Strike
This blow leaves the target unable to breathe for one minute. In addition to preventing speech the target may start to suffocate. Followup breath strikes does not add additional minutes, but restarts the sixty second countdown before they can breathe again. A monk can lightly tap someone to free them from their own breath strikes without using up a daily stunning fist usage.

Spirit Strike
A meditation technique that makes a monk's spirit and body overlap perfectly during an unarmed strike. A spirit strike operates exactly like a normal unarmed attack but it ignores the miss chance of incorporeal creatures. When used against a living creature a spirit strike instead deals one bonus point of non-lethal damage should it injure them. Incorporeal creatures do not get a save to keep their miss chance.

Slaying Strike
A successful slaying strike can instantly knock enemies with five HD less than the monk's class level down to -1 hp or any higher health, at the monk's preference. This ability can only affect creatures without damage reduction the monk's ki strike can't bypass.



These magical abilities are replaced by non-magical zen abilities.


In exchange for abundant step they gain:
Zen Movement
A monk rolls an additional die for all balance, climb, jump, and escape artist checks and uses the higher roll.

In exchange for Quivering Palm they gain:
Heart Quieting Palm
The monk strikes a foe with a blow that causes their heart to explode in a few moments. If the subject takes damage they must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + ˝ the monk’s level + the monk’s Wis modifier). If they fail their heart fatally bursts after two rounds. A spell that cures all diseases such as Heal or regenerates missing body parts can prevent their death if cast within this two round window. This ability can be used once per day.

Timeless body is retained but improved to add fifty years to the monk's maximum lifespan.

In exchange for Empty Body they gain:
Swift Perception
A monk can speed up their perception of time once every twelve hours. This functions exactly like Time Stop except it is a non-magical effect. Altering any creature or object besides the monk's carried possessions instantly ends the frozen time effect. In addition, should another monk use Swift Perception or a magician cast Time Stop the monk can perceive their actions despite appearing frozen, and if their own Swift Perception ability is ready they can accelerate themselves to be able to act within the same shared frozen time. They can interact with and attack other accelerated individuals without ending Swift Perception.

In exchange for Perfect Self they gain:
Enlightenment
At level 20 a monk gains a deep understanding and control of reality. The monk gains damage reduction 10/magic, which allows her to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonmagical weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn’t have similar damage reduction. She also gains an always active superhuman awareness that functions exactly like the Foresight spell but is non-magical. Additionally, a monk gains immunity to all mind-affecting magic.


And finally, monks gain a few new special abilities:

Level 1:Meditation
Instead of sleeping a monk can rest by sitting completely still and entering a deep contemplative state for an equal amount of time. The advantage over sleeping is that a monk retains normal awareness of the world around them. A monk must be unarmored to meditate.

Level 3:Renewed Will
By meditating for 24 uninterrupted hours a monk receives a second will save to negate any one ongoing spell currently afflicting them that the monk failed a will save to resist. If this second save is failed the monk cannot try using renewed will again to end that instance of the spell.

Level 8: Wise Sight
A monk receives a will save to disbelieve illusion spells even if they don't interact with them. At level 14 Wise Sight improves so that a monk can automatically tell when something in their field of vision is magically invisible, although this does not tell them what or precisely where it is.

Level 10: Lightness of Step
A monk can balance themselves to minimize the strain on fragile surfaces supporting them. When walking or running on any surface a monk's weight can count as one tenth as heavy for the purpose of determining whether the object holding them breaks. This ability cannot be used while stationary. This effective weight reduction can potentially be used to avoid triggering pressure plates.

Level 18: Wall Climb
At level 19 a monk can apply the principles of slow fall to climbing as well, allowing them to climb vertical surfaces with no handholds up to fifty feet high. If a monk cannot reach a handhold or the top after fifty feet they must drop or slow fall back down.

Level 20: Reincarnation
When a monk dies they can choose to have their soul can be reincarnated in the body of a newborn infant somewhere in the world. The child will be level 1 and have none of the monk's memories, but have a desire to train as a monk. When the child reaches monk level 10 they gain vague memories of their immediately previous life. When they reach level 20 they gain perfect memories of all their previous lives.

zagan
2009-09-28, 07:30 AM
I really like it, it's very flavorfull. I does help the monk effectiveness. Perhaps not as much as some would prefer but still very nice. Good work

Eloel
2009-09-28, 08:42 AM
The L20 ability is actually a nerf, in a world where Raise Dead/Resurrection is pretty easily accessable by a L20 character (or a party, or a monastery etc.)

Shinizak
2009-09-28, 09:21 AM
What I find funny about the L20 monk is that means that right out of the womb a child is dealing 1d6 points of damage (enough to rip his mother's face off) using stunning strikes and capable of flurrying killing everything else in the room.

Lizard Lord
2009-09-28, 09:41 AM
What I find funny about the L20 monk is that means that right out of the womb a child is dealing 1d6 points of damage (enough to rip his mother's face off) using stunning strikes and capable of flurrying killing everything else in the room.

I am not really sure if it could kill anyone right out of the womb. It would be a tiny creature with a pretty severe strength penalty after all.

Lysander
2009-09-28, 10:40 AM
The L20 ability is actually a nerf, in a world where Raise Dead/Resurrection is pretty easily accessable by a L20 character (or a party, or a monastery etc.)

The emphasis here is on "can". They can be reincarnated as a child instead of traveling to an afterlife. They don't have to if they expect to be resurrected. I'll edit the skill to show that it's optional.


I am not really sure if it could kill anyone right out of the womb. It would be a tiny creature with a pretty severe strength penalty after all.

Plus, being in the womb could be considered an autofail grapple won by the mother :smallbiggrin: