D&D (2024) (+) Hopes for The Monk

This is wholly false. Nearly every region has some history of esoteric/mystical traditions of martial arts, usually very much armed which is why I hate that the monk is so tied to unarmed fighting.

Any group or tradition that combines mystical symbolism and ritual with martial training and practice is fit for representation in the mystic master-of-arms. The only naming issue is calling it a “monk”, which is simply a product of treating the concept as if it only exists in the Shaolin monk.
It is too bad that there is no singular word that captures a universal, nondenominational, non-culture-specific mystical martial artist. Below are words that have been suggested to represent the mystical/spiritual martial artist.
  • Monk: Because of D&D, it has the most history, and other games have adopted this nomenclature too. TTRPG players do know what this means. But the world does have more than one definition (Western and Eastern, if nothing else), can be problematic, so we're considering other names.
  • Warrior Monk: This could to the job, however it seems there is a secret rule where core classes need to have 1-word English names.
  • Incarnate: I really, really like Incarnate. But it has some baggage with Incarnum from 3E, which is soul/spirit substance. Can it be reclaimed?
  • Adept: This word essentially means "expert" (not fighter, and not spiritual/mystical, necessarily) and is already used for a variety of themes in D&D. Attempts to use it (like in Level Up) are attempts to redefine it. I don't care for it, personally.
  • Martial Artist: This captures the vision of a variety of martial artists and could be awesome, but it doesn't specifically capture the mystical stuff of the class. Unfortunately, as I mentioned previously, it seems core classes need to be 1-word names.
  • Martial Adept: It helps define "Adept" from above, but also see "Martial Artist" above.
  • Mystic: This could work, and it has been used in the past, however it has also been used for psionics. But also, Monks in 4E were of the Psionic power source. Could the monk be a psionic martial artist (build similarly to the 2014 Warlock) with martial arts instead of a Blade Pact, and Mystic Maneuvers instead of Invocations and Mystic Arcanum? Nahhh, that's be crazy. << >>
  • Ascetic: This word is defined as "characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. So, no drunken masters here. Also, it doesn't capture a warrior theme.
  • Disciple: Specifically a student, not a teacher, and it doesn't capture a warrior theme. Usually it needs another word to help define what kind of "disciple" it is, like "Dragon Disciple."
  • Pugilist: A generic fist fighter that does not capture the spirituality of the class. Sounds like a Fighter subclass.
  • Brawler: See Pugilist above.
  • Sōhei: This literally translates to Warrior Monk. But it isn't an English word and is specific to an existing culture. But if Samurai is allowed, why not Sōhei?
  • Gish: Fighter/mages of a Githyanki tradition. Not unarmed combatants, and not the kind of spiritual feel of the class.
  • Zerth: Psionic monks of the Githzerai tradition. Can the word be reclaimed by the core class?
  • Spirit Warrior: Sounds like a ghost that could be in a Monster Manual.
Sometimes I feel that if the Monk's class name needs to change, they should just invent a new word. But the made-up names I could scrape up aren't any better.
  • Mystic Fist
  • Soulmonk
  • Soulfist
  • Incarnus
  • Disciplar
  • Moncarnate
  • Handcatcher
  • Kickpuncher
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Boxer monk FTW
dec6aa73c0208cf34cdb94c89aba6f94.gif
Yes to boxer monk but...
2023-04-27_184851.jpg
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It is too bad that there is no singular word that captures a universal, nondenominational, non-culture-specific mystical martial artist. Below are words that have been suggested to represent the mystical/spiritual martial artist.
  • Monk: Because of D&D, it has the most history, and other games have adopted this nomenclature too. TTRPG players do know what this means. But the world does have more than one definition (Western and Eastern, if nothing else), can be problematic, so we're considering other names.
  • Warrior Monk: This could to the job, however it seems there is a secret rule where core classes need to have 1-word English names.
  • Incarnate: I really, really like Incarnate. But it has some baggage with Incarnum from 3E, which is soul/spirit substance. Can it be reclaimed?
  • Adept: This word essentially means "expert" (not fighter, and not spiritual/mystical, necessarily) and is already used for a variety of themes in D&D. Attempts to use it (like in Level Up) are attempts to redefine it. I don't care for it, personally.
  • Martial Artist: This captures the vision of a variety of martial artists and could be awesome, but it doesn't specifically capture the mystical stuff of the class. Unfortunately, as I mentioned previously, it seems core classes need to be 1-word names.
  • Martial Adept: It helps define "Adept" from above, but also see "Martial Artist" above.
  • Mystic: This could work, and it has been used in the past, however it has also been used for psionics. But also, Monks in 4E were of the Psionic power source. Could the monk be a psionic martial artist (build similarly to the 2014 Warlock) with martial arts instead of a Blade Pact, and Mystic Maneuvers instead of Invocations and Mystic Arcanum? Nahhh, that's be crazy. << >>
  • Ascetic: This word is defined as "characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. So, no drunken masters here. Also, it doesn't capture a warrior theme.
  • Disciple: Specifically a student, not a teacher, and it doesn't capture a warrior theme. Usually it needs another word to help define what kind of "disciple" it is, like "Dragon Disciple."
  • Pugilist: A generic fist fighter that does not capture the spirituality of the class. Sounds like a Fighter subclass.
  • Brawler: See Pugilist above.
  • Sōhei: This literally translates to Warrior Monk. But it isn't an English word and is specific to an existing culture. But if Samurai is allowed, why not Sōhei?
  • Gish: Fighter/mages of a Githyanki tradition. Not unarmed combatants, and not the kind of spiritual feel of the class.
  • Zerth: Psionic monks of the Githzerai tradition. Can the word be reclaimed by the core class?
  • Spirit Warrior: Sounds like a ghost that could be in a Monster Manual.
Sometimes I feel that if the Monk's class name needs to change, they should just invent a new word. But the made-up names I could scrape up aren't any better.
  • Mystic Fist
  • Soulmonk
  • Soulfist
  • Incarnus
  • Disciplar
  • Moncarnate
  • Handcatcher
  • Kickpuncher
Yeah best I’ve got so far is Meistro, which is a thing swordmasters have been called but in modern times is more associated with art and professional crafts. It’s still the highest rank in competitive fencing, but…yeah.

Ascetic isn’t bad, but of course not all esoteric martial traditions are into the whole deprivation thing.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
They're also quite Eurocentric.

But I'm saying despite that problem with those names, they shouldn't change them, much like how they shouldn't change the Monk's name.
Two very different sets of issues. The monk is problematic because it ties the class specifically to East Asia and Shaolin Monks and to a lesser degree the Sohei, because pretty much nowhere else in the world does that concept even make sense.

Paladin isn’t contributing to Orientalism in the game, which is a form of othering.
 

mellored

Legend
Paladin isn’t contributing to Orientalism in the game, which is a form of othering.
Paladin is contributing to the Europism in the game.
Which is a form of othering for most of the world.

But meh.

Words change from their original meaning all the time. And "Monk" is a western word to begin with anyway.
 

Vael

Legend
I know it won't happen, but I've long toyed with the idea of "charge up" mechanics. I quite like the 13th Age version of the Monk. So rather than start a combat with X power/spell slots/Psi Dice, etc. that are then depleted, the Monk would build up Momentum/Adrenaline/Focus to then power out more explosive effects.

As for the name ... Monk is not perfect, but it has some DnD history and I've yet to find alternative I like, tbh.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Paladin is contributing to the Europism in the game.
This isn’t really a thing, though, at least in the US where this whole discussion is even happening. Also, European history isn’t hugely impacted by outside imperialism unless you go all the way back to the late Medieval period. It just isn’t the same, at all.
Which is a form of othering for most of the world.

But meh.

Words change from their original meaning all the time. And "Monk" is a western word to begin with anyway.
I’m struggling to see any relevance. The word refers to a religious warrior in a very narrow context. Using it for a class that already has issues with orientalism that is largely sourced in bad stereotypes of Shaolin Monks.

What purpose is served by trying to act like none of that context exists?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I definitely want to see a boxer monk.
I think my recalcitrance toward the boxer monk is simply that I don’t know what you can add to the boxer concept to make it not mundane, not wholly “martial”.

Like fencing gets called an art, and has some almost occult history, but boxing is called “the sweet science”. To me, that is pure fighter territory. Unarmed Battlemaster in the meantime, but certainly I could see a subclass. Maybe call it a Pit Fighter, to let cover a little more than just straight boxing, conceptually, but Pugilist if you don’t want it straying from boxing as such.

But I’m open to idea of what the flavor would be for a mysterious order of boxers.
Reflecting more on some of the ideas here and in other 5e-style games, I want to see fighting styles implemented in a way that lets monks do cool monk stuff without ki/spirit points/whatever. I really like the idea of letting their attacks chain, so that a basic attack - a jab - can lead to something heavier if it lands, which can then lead into something amazing. Basically, I want them to fight like Street Fighter characters.

Ki should be for the quasi-mystical abilities.
I really like chains, but they have to be within a round, or from one round to the next at the longest. Like Street Fighter combos, tbh. Or Legend of Dragoon attack chains.

I’m gonna set this spinning in my brain box and see what comes out next time I have free time.
You just described the paladin.
No. Not all mystic orders are sacred orders, and not all sacred orders are especially esoteric or any more mystical than everyday practice of a given faith.

They are different concepts.
 

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