How do you fit monks into Occidental campaigns?




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    How do you fit monks into Occidental campaigns?

    The Monk class is based on the idea of the Eastern Shaolin/Zen/Taoist Monk as per all those Wuxia/Golden Harvest movies right?

    yet most gamers use Westernish settings

    How do you reconcile the two?

    - Monks are exotic 'oriental' visitors to the campaign region
    - Monks are a integral part of normal society
    - Monks are changed to have a more occidental outlook whilst maintaining their core abilities

    any ideas?

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    I consider it a non-fantasy 'DnD thing' they did just because they liked watching Kung Fu and they've never bothered to remove it because some people like it. In general the monks are just an accepted part of society.
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    The two times I've played a martial artist/monk, I had the character come from "a far distant place, thataway".

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    I played a non-Occidental monk twice. The first time I played a philosopher/mathematician from a greek like society. Instead of training my body per se my order studied mathematics, philosophy and engineering. This gave us great insite into how the body moves, acts, and reacts. With this knowledge we learned how merely tapping a person lightly in the perfectlly calculated place could cause agony or disable. Greater knowledge of the bodys mathematics lead to greater eficiency, expressed in movement and attacks.

    The second time I was just a bare knuckle brawler. Trip attacks were RPed as a roundhouse so vicious it knocked men down in a single blow. 'Lucky' tended to be at the right place at the right time, barely dodging fireballs and rolling with falls. Mixed in a few Fighter levels there, and if I ever play him again I'll prolly use the Oriental Adventure feats heavily.
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    I have a vaguely western setting but with martial arts which are integrated into the whole thing. Monks in my world are seeking perfection of body and spirit but not in a zen/shaolin etc way.

    My campaign has a very wide range of martial arts feats, and many martial artists are simply fighters who specialise in unarmed combat.

    Imagine a world where unarmed fighting and fighting techniques were as common and popular as various schools of swordfighting and stickfighting in europe (with addition of savate and similar european unarmed striking techniques)
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    Originally posted by Plane Sailing
    Imagine a world where unarmed fighting and fighting techniques were as common and popular as various schools of swordfighting and stickfighting in europe (with addition of savate and similar european unarmed striking techniques)
    You mean like the one we live in?
    Last edited by Kriegspiel; Friday, 22nd February, 2002 at 03:12 PM.

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    I incorporate it into the culture.

    I have things set up so that an order of my Judeo-Xian-esque god retreats to better contemplate their deity through mental, spiritual, and physical perfection. When the emerge into the world to spread their findings, they discovered that their training made them pretty good combattants (they used sparring as a way to test their physical development) this embarassed the order horribly but the cat had been let out of the bag. There are two other "monestaries" that copy the divine one, but they don't follow any school of thought and are just in it to learn how to beat people up (evil orientation).
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    Re: How do you fit monks into Occidental campaigns?

    Originally posted by Tonguez
    The Monk class is based on the idea of the Eastern Shaolin/Zen/Taoist Monk as per all those Wuxia/Golden Harvest movies right?

    yet most gamers use Westernish settings

    How do you reconcile the two?

    - Monks are exotic 'oriental' visitors to the campaign region
    - Monks are a integral part of normal society
    - Monks are changed to have a more occidental outlook whilst maintaining their core abilities

    any ideas?
    As I see it, you can:
    • Exclude monks (A DM locally who wanted to make a very Christianish/Knightly game do this, in addition to hearing of this multiple times on the net)
    • Tweak monks to fit european archetypes like savate fighters and pankrationists.
    • Assume your campaign is like Europe except for certain aspects. Frex, what if a nation like India or China was much closer to your europe analog, like where the middle east is in our world?
    • Explain monks in the context that they exist in your game, and not worry about what happened in ancient Europe.


    Personally, I lean towards the last one. AFAIAC, my game only resembles Europe inasmuch as it, er, resembles Europe. Yes there are knightly warriors and suchnot. But in the age of knights in Europe, a monotheistic religion held sway; in my campaign (and in most campaigns) there is a more pantheistic outlook. So it would be rather odd to me to try to enforce consistency with europe as an archetype when it doesn't fit the mold in so many other ways. (And I won't start on how different the easily available magic in D&D makes a D&D world different from europe.)

    Your world is your world. Europe is Europe. The right thing to do, like any other aspect of the game, is to decide why it exists, including history. Martial arts has always been part of my game world that I have been using since 1e. Monks are followers of certain deities who espouse both a martial life and introspection. IMC, knowledge (religion) is a class skill for monks (and I was happy to see that OA agrees with me on this count.) Some orders of monks have evolved that do not hold a deity central, but all orders have some sort of central purpose (this idea was lifted from a well written article in an old Dragon, which I'm sure you could dig up if you have the CD archive.)
    Last edited by Psion; Friday, 22nd February, 2002 at 02:45 PM.
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    I excluded monks from my campaign, as they don't match my idea of a pseudo-medieval setting. But it's really a matter of taste.

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