20 March 2015

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Discipline 25 - Monk, Part 2

This is the second part of the twenty-fifth 4E Anatomy of a Discipline, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.


Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

In the previous part of this particular project, I started working updating the Monk discipline to Earthdawn Fourth Edition (ED4). It discussed the background of the project, the initial direction, and some design theory. At the end, I wasn't quite happy with how it had turned out. There are things which can be done to tune the talent selections and will almost certainly help, but I don't know if it will end up escaping the "more of the same" feeling. 

One of the topics which was introduced was possibly exploring the Monk as a specialist discipline, rather than a combat discipline. Specialists have a discipline template with Durability 5, a free talent, and an additional karma ability. This entry will be adapting the Monk to this template instead of combat (Durability 7).

The implications from changing template like this will be, first and foremost, a reduced focus on combat. Specialist disciplines gain later access to the more powerful combat talents (e.g. easy damage increases and additional attacks) and have a greater focus on non-combat talents. This represents a fairly drastic change to the direction of this discipline, as previously they were quite combat focused.

Part of this new direction will involve emphasizing scholarship and increasing access to social talents. Increasing their control abilities will also help make them a bit more unique. I'm going to be pulling from the same list of talents, which is repeated below, though I recommend reading the previous entry to make some sense of this.

Here is the super list for Monk:
  • Acrobatic Defense
  • Air Dance
  • Anticipate Blow
  • Astral Sight
  • Avoid Blow
  • Awareness
  • Battle Bellow
  • Battle Shout
  • Book Memory
  • Claw Frenzy
  • Claw Shape
  • Climbing
  • Cobra Strike
  • Cold Purify
  • Conversation
  • Crushing Blow
  • Danger Sense
  • Diplomacy
  • Disarm
  • Distract
  • Down Strike
  • Earth Skin
  • Empathic Sense
  • Etiquette
  • Fireblood
  • Gliding Stride
  • Graceful Exit
  • Great Leap
  • Heartening Laugh
  • Impressive Display
  • Inspire Others
  • Iron Constitution
  • Life Check
  • Lifesight
  • Lion Heart
  • Maneuver
  • Momentum Attack
  • Power Mask
  • Read and Write Language
  • Research
  • Resist Taunt
  • Riposte
  • Second Attack
  • Speak Language
  • Spot Armor Flaw
  • Sprint
  • Stealthy Stride
  • Steel Thought
  • Steely Stare
  • Swift Kick
  • Temper Flesh
  • Thread Weaving
  • Tiger Spring
  • True Sight
  • Unarmed Combat
  • Waterfall Slam
  • Wilderness Survival
  • Wind Catcher
  • Wood Skin
  • Wound Balance
Again, too many talents - though this is by design - and, again, lots of cuts were made. As mentioned above, the focus this time is less around combat and more around a warrior-scholar who harnesses the elemental forces.

The defense are going to change, with Physical and Mystic Defenses shared evenly and Social again taking up the rear. Monks are earnest, a little naive, and more easily deceived. This is a common trait for disciplines heavily invested in elemental themes. Their bonus priorities will also change: 1) Mystic Armor, 2) Initiative, and 3) Recovery Tests. This pushes forward their mystic themes and pulls back a little on their combat.

Again, karma spends and tier abilities still remain. I'm going to keep the same Journeyman ability since it still works, though this is subject to something better coming along. Karma abilities are a little bit trickier this time around, since they will not have the ability to spend karma on damage tests at fifth circle. Though I may as well fill in some of the blanks and see what comes of it.

As of right now, I think I prefer this approach to the previous one using the combat template. Though this still needs a lot of work to get right. The talent selection for each element isn't quite right, which is to be expected at this point. It is also a little combat heavy, which may work, or may need to change. Though putting Claw Shape at second circle definitely reduces the initial emphasis on combat. As well, Wholeness of Body as the free talent seems to work well, though playtesting may reveal otherwise.

There is something for every karma ability, but they definitely need work, particularly the fifth circle ability. The third circle ability has promise and I want to see how the first circle ability works in play before passing judgment. Switching out for Initiative is always an option, but I want to explore things which are different before falling back to an old standby.

Artisan Skills: N/A

Half-Magic: Probably something to do with other monk orders and fighting styles, like Swordmaster, but maybe a little more.

Novice

First Circle

  • Avoid Blow
  • Etiquette
  • Research
  • Thread Weaving
  • Unarmed Combat
Abilities
  • Wholeness of Body
  • Karma: Once per turn when using a defensive talent (e.g. Anticipate Blow, Avoid Blow, or Disarm)
  • Durability 5
Second Circle
  • Claw Shape
Abilities
  • Defense: +1 Physical Defense
Third Circle
  • Awareness
Abilities
  • Karma: Tests to convince someone of your sincerity when you are being sincere.
Fourth Circle
  • Maneuver
Abilities
  • Defense: +1 Mystic Defense
Talent Options
  • Earth
    • Anticipate Blow
    • Read and Write Language
    • Wood Skin
  • Fire
    • Tiger Spring
    • Great Leap
    • Sprint
  • Water
    • Acrobatic Defense
    • Graceful Exit
    • Wound Balance
  • Wood
    • Conversation
    • Danger Sense
    • Speak Language
Journeyman


Fifth Circle
  • Danger Sense
Abilities
  • Meditation: The adept may make a Thread Weaving (6) test. If successful, they may meditate for a number of hours equal to their test result. Time spent meditating is considered the equivalent of sleeping, but the adept is still aware of their surroundings. The adept may make a Recovery Test after meditating for 30 minutes. After meditating for 8 hours, any additional successes on their initial Thread Weaving test give +2 to a Recovery Test made immediately after stopping meditation.
  • Karma: Once per turn to directly support gaining access to new knowledge.
Sixth Circle
  • Cold Purify
Abilities
  • Defense: +2 Physical Defense
Seventh Circle
  • Disarm
Abilities
  • Bonus: +1 Mystic Armor
Eighth Circle
  • Spot Armor Flaw
Abilities
  • Defense: +2 Mystic Defense
Talent Options
  • Earth
    • Steel Thought
    • Lion Heart
    • Resist Taunt
  • Fire
    • Cobra Strike
    • Gliding Stride
    • Swift Kick
  • Water
    • Air Dance
    • Riposte
    • Waterfall Slam
  • Wood
    • Astral Sight
    • Book Memory
    • True Sight
Wholeness of Body
Step: Rank
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
The adept strengthens their body with the power of the elements. While active, the adept adds their Wholeness of Body rank to their Physical Armor and Mystic Armor. This talent is not compatible with worn armor and lasts for Wholeness of Body rank rounds.