Author Topic: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk  (Read 3062 times)

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
[3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« on: October 11, 2012, 01:55:03 pm »
I don't mean just PCs.  Everyone is a monk.  No commoners or other NPC classes, no other PC classes, no variant classes, no races as classes (except for monster HD as shown in the monster manual), no bloodlines, no gestalt classes, just the pure monk.  If I have forgotten a loophole, imagine that this is banned as well.

That said, every monster capable of having a character class will have at least one class level of monk.

Spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities and extraordinary abilities would be unchanged, but spells would be gone (so for instance, dragons would lose spellcasting, but gain the equivalent in monk class abilities).

Thoughts?
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 06:24:56 pm »
I assume templates are also removed?

Do magic items still exit (weapons, armour, wondrous items, wands, scrolls)?  If so, the Use Magic Device (even cross-class) would be a very important skill.  In general, everyone would be defined mostly by their variation in stats, skills, and feats (and equipment, possibly).

I could see many people just using weapons & armour like normal fighters.
You lose:
- a feat (for proficiency)
- monk AC (replaced by armour though, so mostly trading touch AC for flat-footed AC)
- flurry of blows (fewer attacks, gain accuracy and strength & power attack bonuses to damage)
- fast movement (can't combine flurry with movement anyways, so unarmoured greatsword user would be better skirmisher)
- evasion
You keep:
- good saves & immunities
- slow fall
- unarmed strike bonus damage (paired with a reach weapon)
- teleporting & healing
You gain:
- most likely better AC (especially with shield), cheaper/easier to enhance
- can two-hand weapon
- more damaging weapon low levels, cheaper to enchant higher levels.

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 06:57:32 pm »
Magic items would be rare to absent as there are no humanoid spellcasters to make them.  There are some monsters that cast spells (dragons, notably) but if they advance by HD rather than by character class, then they won't have any levels of monk and hence no xp to burn on magic items.  In short, I think pcs would have to either do without, or make creating a magic item a major campaign goal.
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 10:42:45 pm »
I see some decision tree forks I would have to make:

a) Magic Items?  Should they be impossible or very hard to get or easy?  I am thinking almost impossible (if there are magic items, they are likely famous and known by name) - you would need spells, the right feats, and someone with xp to burn.  But the way I have divided things, if monsters don't advance by class level, they don't have xp to burn.  So you need a monster with some SLAs that can advance by class, and then gets a feat to create magic items, and then either uses their own SLAs or else finds, say, a dragon to provide the spells.  Tricky.  I might make it a possible PC quest but needless to say, magic items would be almost impossible to just get (unless perhaps they kills monsters like outsiders that just have these items from their own domain).

b) Speaking of outsiders or dragons, a lot of them seem undefeatable by monks.  So I could go with them being rare to super-rare, or I could go with them being The Masters of the Monks Slaves (admittedly, dragons make good rulers in this respect), or I could just have them absent.  With outsiders that might be relatively easy to explain - who would summon/call them?  Or maybe I would only have inevitables and some "bad guy" CN outsiders (slaadi, magmin, chaos beasts, etc.).

c) If I went totally "hard core" with everyone is a monk, I could have there be no MM creatures that don't advance by class level.  So lots of humanoids and some monstrous humanoids and a few undead (template style) and . . . not much else.  A further decision would be whether or not I have animals/vermin (that would get *very* bizarre - I don't even know if plant life does that well without animals/vermin - for instance, no bees would mean no flowers).  So we would have vegetarian monks, which is kinda thematic, I suppose.
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 01:18:45 am »
a) Pathfinder has this feat to allow non-spellcrafters to make magic weapons, armour, and wondrous items only.  Consider importing it over to 3.5?  You'd still get the basics, without getting all the wands & scrolls & potions that anyone could Use Magic Device with to simulate being a caster.

Or just make them items created by specially-trained, rare NPCs.  Otherwise, I can't fathom how it would make sense for magic items to exist, as natural spellcasters like dragons & outsiders wouldn't make things appropriately designed for humanoids.

b) I like making dragons/outsiders/etc. much rarer to accommodate their higher difficulty.  But with everyone having high saves, evasion, and (eventually) spell resistance, many such creatures would probably end up resorting to melee anyways.

c) I think it's fine for anything with an Int of 2 or less to not need: squirrels, worms, dust mites, and bacterium with monk levels seems a bit too much.

Other thoughts:
- The world will seem like Seventh Seas, with armour being less effective, and needing special training/focus (proficiency feat) to use any weapon (as opposed to carrying a golf-bag of weapons for every situation).
- Everyone has easy access to a non-lethal form of damage, so fights between (good/honourable) humanoids will be less lethal.  As a corollary, drunken bar fights will be more lethal in general, as everyone has access to an easy form of lethal damage.
- No healing from spellcasters or potions.  So slow natural healing (sped up with the Heal skill) means fewer attempted fights per day.  Dungeon crawls take weeks.  7th level & higher can heal lvlx2 HP extra per day, so that helps.
- Temples/strongholds/etc. for higher level characters will have weird properties (to keep out weaker peons):
a) gaps/spires & shafts instead of bridges & stairs/ladders/ropes (speed boosts give jump bonuses, slow fall)
b) secure areas permanently flooded with toxic gas, needing to drink 20 mugs of beer or eat rotten food to be worthy for something (immunity to disease/poison)
c) for the true elites, rooms with no entrances (Abundant Step)
- Population issues: While not many people reach level 17, most of the ones that do will hang around forever.
- Skills that are cross-class, and therefore will overall be weak in the populations at large: Appraise, Bluff, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Disguise, Forgery, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge(Architecture, Dungeoneering, Geography, History, Local, Nature, Nobility, the Planes), Open Lock, Perform, Ride, Search, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Survival, Use Magic Device, Use Rope.

What atmosphere are you trying to achieve with this concept?  My main issue is that the Monk class doesn't have a lot of customization -- besides a few bonus feat choices, you know what special abilities an X-level character will have.  The only variables are skills, feats, and equipment (which is restricted).  You might as well just make a "commoner-only" campaign.

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2012, 08:44:48 am »
Commoners can't break out with the martial arts as easily.  ;)

Monks don't actually live forever.  They still die of old age; they are just young-looking (and feeling) when they do.  Given the aches and pains I feel at age 40 I envy these high-level monks even if they don't have immortality.   :)
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 09:26:30 pm »
Oops, I glossed over Timeless Body's description, since it's mostly a flavour thing that I can't see ever being relevant to PCs.

More thoughts:
- With more significant penalties for medium/heavy loads, and possibly no bags of holding/handy haversacks, there will be more incentive to take beasts of burden with you or pack light.
- If someone runs faster then another of the same race, s/he is more powerful (or took the Run feat).  This could have important implications on how important races are to culture.
- High-level Merfolk on land would be hilarious.  Normally they flop about awkwardly with a move speed of 5 (meaning they can't 5-foot step).  9th-level Merfolk would scoot about on land faster than ordinary 1st/2nd level humans, and do awesome kung-fu flips to smack people with their tails!
- I just noticed that there are some weapons Monks are proficient with, even though they're not flurry-friendly.  Notable ones:
a) Dagger: for if you need to get past slashing/piercing DR, or cutting your way out of a monster's stomach
b) Club: alternative to Quarterstaff for being able to two-hand weapon for extra strength & power attack damage: pros: can throw to attack, lighter, can use with one hand free; cons: can't use with flurry
c) Javalin/Sling: alternative to Shuriken for ranged strength-based damage.  Only one attack instead of flurry, but more damage & much more range.
d) Crossbows: ranged weapon of choice for non-strength-based characters.  Also your best bet against fast flying creatures: Shuriken are capped at 50 feet away, Javalin 100 feet, Slings 150 feet, crossbows 800/1200 feet away

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: [3.5 Dungeons and Dragons] Insane idea #43: Everyone is a monk
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2012, 10:28:15 pm »
Well looks like a friend will run with my insane idea, with a few mods: Pathfinder, includes all monk variations and ninja (ki user so counts as a "monk").  No multi-classing.  There will be commoners (1st level but if they get enlightened they can switch out for a level of monk).  Heavy-hitters like dragons sealed away (for now).  Gods sealed off too.  There was something major in the past, so that's the why of how all the other choices basically disappeared (occasional flare ups of bad guy npcs a la iron heroes villain classes).  Chinese Zodiac based, with Slaadi (reskinned as catlike not froglike) as one of the big baddies.  Some sealed off outsiders (genasi, etc.) but no summonings.

Sounds decent.  I look forward to it at some point in the future when it comes to fruition.

I like it when my mad seed is planted in the fertile brain of another.  ;)
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!