Martial Arts, Monks and Monasticism

As it appears in the campaign world of Tolrea, the monk class of the Dungeons and Dragons v.3.5 Core Rules might be described more precisely as a class for unarmed martial artists. Not all monks of the kind who inhabit monasteries are members of the monk class, and not all members of the monk class are monastic in character.

Temple Styles

Mastery in the temple styles often requires training as a cleric or paladin, since they were developed by and for the clergy of the Celestial Court. Many of these styles are characterized by their requirement that their students learn to channel positive or negative energy or infuse divine magic into their attacks. Practitioners of the temple schools are almost always part of an order of fighting monks or friars trained to serve their churches as templars, spies, or champions against the enemies of the faith.

Sectarian Styles

The martial art forms pioneered by the druids of the Aureshan Empire are part of a long and rich tradition. Rife with conflict between the Imperial government and the stern and secretive druidic abbots whose power often stretched across vast swathes of the countryside throughout the Imperial provinces, the history of sectarian martial arts is half-obscured by a veil of druidic uprisings, Imperial suppressions at the hands of the legions, and violent disputes between rival sects.

Martial Arts Styles

The pursuit of martial arts training according to school or style confers benefits unavailable to those afforded simply by taking levels in the monk class and choosing feats according to one's own plans. Characters master a style when they possess all of the listed prerequisites. For some styles, this amounts to no more than gaining every entry on a list of feats; for others it is necessary to multiclass in order to fulfill a requirement calling for access to spells or to a specific class ability.

Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight

Review of "Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight"

Martial Arts seem to be a tricky thing to really include in standard D&D. While the monks unarmed attacks and flurry of blows represent all the martial arts, with some tripping and grappling thrown in for good measure, it doesn’t really capture the ‘feel’ of a wuxia inspired movie. On the other hand, players may wish to play an unarmed warrior without all the ‘spiritual’ trappings of the monk. The standard rules don’t really allow for that. An ‘unarmed fighter’ even with all the unarmed feats, will never deal more than 1d4 base damage (and that includes Improved Natural Attack). Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight, attempts to redress these issues with the core rules.

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