Monk Sage Abilities, Studies & Fields

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Below can be found a list of the knowledge fields and studies available to the Monk Class. Starting at 1st level, the monk gains one field, and one study within that field. This choice is left entirely to the player.

There are four fields to choose from:

Way of the Heart: seeks to embrace the balance of Yin & Yang as a means to empower the body, gaining strength from the energy that surrounds the character. Monks of this way seek interconnectness and interdependence with the natural world.
Way of the Spirit: seeks to embrace the inward energy that is found in the mind — which, when released, has the capacity to drastically alter the fabric of reality. Thus focus, study and meditation are central to the pursuit of this field.
Way of the Stick: seeks to strengthen the body as a weapon of war, with the essence of the practitioner being committed to performance in combat, causing damage and acting as an arm for the character's masters — whomever they may be, either good or evil.
Way of the Stone: seeks to strengthen the body as an immovable, indestructable object, committing the practitioner's essence towards defense. Monks of this way are often guardians of that which must be defended at all costs.

Sage Studies

The studies within these fields are each described more thoroughly on their own pages — and in turn are a number of sage abilities that await possession by player characters and others. Following are a list of studies sorted by their field.

Way of the Heart

  • Blood: maintains the body's purity, increasing it's capacity for providing energy to the body, guiding the healing process and the character's will over the body's weaknesses.
  • Breath: increases the monk's speed of attack by lessening the body's need for air, or animus.
  • Dragon: distracts and confuses the enemy by calling forth the earth's spirit, commonly termed "the dragon," as an ally.
  • Yin & Yang: enables numerous combat techniques that surpass the body's limitations by transforming weaknesses into strengths.

Way of the Spirit

  • Calligraphy: influences behaviour and happenstance through the use of written characters, transcribed as a form of meditation. Beyond the effects, the characters themselves have importance as communication and providing knowledge of the monk responsible.
  • Insight: provides knowledge to the character that would otherwise be unknowable, more in the form of being able to recognise the hidden clues within objects and events rather than acting as a form of divination.
  • Mindfulness: the practice of heightened self-awareness, enabling the character to strengthen themselves, withstand supernatural forces and counteract the body's natural impulses towards hunger, the need for sleep, emotional weaknesses and other similar limitations.
  • Tranquility: the ability to reach a state of deep meditation, whereby the character achieves a sense of tranquility that can be used to moderate the aggression of others, while seeking a greater understanding of things.

Way of the Stick

  • Claw: use of the hooked hand, applied to acts of throwing, catching and speed, while seeking to wound or blind an enemy.
  • Fist: use of the closed hand, dedicated towards strength, physical damage and the use of force, seeking to break and destroy an enemy.
  • Foot: use of the foot, to provide additional attacks and force in order to overcome an enemy.

Way of the Stone

  • Moat: to distance oneself from attack through protections that deny the enemy effectiveness in their attack.
  • Pedestal: to take a place and be rooted to it, so as not to yield one foot of ground to an enemy.
  • Smoke: to disappear entirely, so as to be where the enemy does not expect.
  • Wall: to withstand all that an enemy can deliver, ignoring pain, suffering and damage.

Awarding Knowledge Points

At 1st level, the monk player character starts with 12 knowledge points in their chosen "study" of expertise; for other studies of player's chosen field, described as "in field," a d8-1 is rolled, producing a number between 0 and 7. This gives how much knowledge the character has for these non-chosen studies in field.

All other studies in all other fields, described as "out of field," a d4-1 is rolled, producing a number between 0 and 3. This is the knowledge the player has in these studies.

With each gained level, the player rolls a random d12 for their chosen study in their chosen field; a d8-1 for their non-chosen studies in that field; and then a d4-1 for all other studies that are out of field. With each level, the numbers accumulate until the player is able to boast of "amateur-status" (10 pts.), "authority-status" (30 pts.), "expert-status" (60 pts.) or "sage status" (100 pts.). These in turn provide the character with an accumulation of "sage abilities" that the player can access to achieve goals or learn things about the game world.

Additionally, the player gains a new field every 6 levels after 1st: a second field at 7th and the remaining field at 13th. After the field is chosen, the die rolls for studies in that field are adjusted from d4-1 to d6-1; but this only counts going forward from the level when the new field is adopted.

Likewise, the player also gains a new study every 4 levels after 1st among those within a chosen field: a second study at 5th, then again at 9th, 13th, 17th and so on. As the character adds more fields, this widens options for which studies are chosen. Once a study is chosen, the die roll for accumulating knowledge is changed to a d12.

For example: Kerith, a 9th level monk, chooses Way of the Heart as her field, and Breath as her study. At 5th, she's free to choose another study inside Way of the Heart, and chooses Dragon. At 7th level, she gains another field and chooses Way of the Spirit. At 9th, she gains another study and can take it from either the remaining list in Way of the Heart or from Way of the Spirit. Kerith chooses calligraphy; and so it goes.

Explaining Knowledge Accumulation in Game

From the character's point of view, this knowledge doesn't "suddenly appear" as it does in the meta-game. Instead, characters steadily accumulate this knowledge through ordinary means: every day discussions with persons in the world, the chance reading of books, overhearing others, self-experimentation and so on. As there's so much actual time the characters spend in the game world that are not "run in session," there's time for these conversations and actions to occur. After all, there are other people at the end to speak to, persons along the road that can be chatted with, a shelf of books in some shop the player stopped in for a few hours or whatever.

See also,
All Sage Abilities
Player Characters