This field, or "way," concentrates on influencing the physical world, either through manipulating the body's intrinsic capacity or ability, or manipulating the physical laws of the universe. There are four studies, or paths, through which this can be done: breath (augmenting the body structure); blood (preserving the body); yin & yang (empowering the body without outside force); and the path of the dragon (altering the universe).
I really had no name for the last category. I found myself pouring over lists of Chinese martial arts terms, searching for the right words; I picked this one because it is the name of the game, the dragon is a powerful symbol in martial arts and because I'm a huge fan of the 1981 movie Excalibur, in which "the dragon" is Merlin's allegory for the world itself. So this fits nicely into west meets east for universality. It isn't necessarily an Oriental description.
I have accumulated 28 abilities for the field, much more than the previous two categories: 11 amateur, 6 authority, 9 expert and 2 sage. These were easier to invent but difficult to categorize. The edges of the categories are a little sloppy, but the distribution of the abilities is fair.
Amateur Way of the Heart:
Amateur Way of the Heart:
- Amend self (blood). With a short period of fifteen rounds concentration and relaxation, the monk may self-mend and restore a number of hit points equal to one's day's rest, once time per day.
- Resist fatigue (blood). Enables the monk to act without the need of rest for periods up to 30 hours +2 per level, without the effects from forced march [requires updated forced march rules].
- Vitality (blood). Reduces both the nature and degree of disease by a modifier of 1 point (a result of zero clears the body of disease altogether).
- Fleetness (breath). If any of the monk's action points (AP) are used to move from one combat hex to another, the monk receives 1 AP to be counted in that round.
- Jump (breath). Strengthens the monk's ability to leap further and higher than is ordinarily possible [requires a proper set of jumping rules].
- Scrambling (breath). Skill at climbing steep terrains or urban environments, where handholds and ledges are common. See wiki.
- Interposing aura (dragon). Creates a minor wall of force between the monk and others, protecting two sides of a combat hex. Requires one complete round to put the wall in place, whereupon it will remain so long as the monk does not depart from the hex. Can be replaced in another as often as desired, always at the cost of a round of concentration. The wall cannot be passed through or attacked through with bludgeoning, hacking or hurled weapons; missiles and piercing weapons can penetrate normally. The wall will dissipate the round after the monk departs the hex.
- Phantasmal figure (dragon). Like the illusionist spell of the same name. The figure is created from the life force, or qi, of the monk, in the space of one round and acts as described in the link. One figure may be created per day.
- Backflip (yin & yang). Enables the monk to retreat direction backwards from a combat out of a melee hex without the usual 1 AP penalty. The backflip will retreat the monk two hexes (which must both be empty) as it incorporates two complete turnovers. If the monk is able to perform a flying jump kick, the kick can be used in combination with the backflip at an additional cost of 2 AP.
- Drunken art (yin & yang). Requires the character to be smashed/heavily intoxicated. In this state, the monk will fight as well as they might sober, experiencing none of the attack die, dexterity or wisdom penalties for intoxication (although charisma and intelligence are affected). Hit points and morale benefits are unaffected. ["Don't make me drunk; you wouldn't like me when I'm drunk"].
- Healing energy (yin & yang). Creates healing energy that can be applied to others. Once per day, the monk is able to heal 1 point of injury damage per injury sustained, or 1 point per level of all other h.p. damage. The monk cannot self-support with this ability.
Authority Way of the Heart:
- Fast (blood). Empowers the monk to sustain existence on less food than would normally be required, merely one quarter the amount needed by others.
- Purgation (blood). Cleans poison from the body, calling upon the heart muscle to clean the blood and reduce round-by-round damage resulting from poison.
- Feign death (breath). Permits the monk to slow the heart, taking a single shallow breath of air per minute. State can be sustained for up to 45 hours without needing to eat, drink or sleep. The monk is conscious throughout and can become active instantly.
- Lightened body (dragon). Empowers the monk to push away from the earth, a distance of 2 ft. per level, so long as the monk is within arm's reach of a wall or can reach a fixed object at the height of the push. If the body is lightened in other circumstances, the monk will fall once reaching the apex of the push (a possibility also if the object grabbed for requires a dexterity check).
- Protective aura (dragon). Reduces the damage caused by magical and natural area effects by 1 point per die. The aura protects the hex where the monk stands, so that up to two others in the same hex can likewise be protected.
- Controlled descent (yin & yang). Character is able to fall short distances without harm. The character will take no damage from the first 20 feet, if falling within arm's reach of a wall. Speed of the whole fall is reduced to 10 ft. per second per round.
Expert Way of the Heart:
- Immunity (blood). Provides immunity from disease.
- Animus (breath). Enables the monk to attack from and defend two combat hexes simultaneously, provided both hexes are empty. To others, it will appear as though the monk is two persons, as the body 'wavers' between the two hexes. At the end of the monk's round, either hex may be designated as the destination hex without an AP cost.
- Death state (breath). Enables a state of minimal animation; the blood slows, the organs of the body quiet, outward senses shut down. The monk can hear sound but nothing else. Appears that the monk is dead. Can be sustained for one day per level. Requires three rounds to achieve animation.
- Inner breath (breath). Circulates air within the body, refreshing it without requiring the monk to breathe the surrounding atmosphere. The monk can therefore survive without air, underwater, buried underground or in a poisonous atmosphere for a period up to one day per full breath.
- Cloud (dragon). The monk may breath out a cloud of obscuring cloud which will fill the combat hex and conceal the monk's movement for one round. Requires 1 AP. May be used again following either sunrise or sunset.
- Rise (dragon). Enables the monk to tread the air above a solid surface, levitated to a height of 1 foot. Uneven surfaces may be run over without penalty and reduces the length between jumps by a distance of 2 feet (1 ft. per surface). The monk's body is treated as if it is on solid ground with respect to defense, overbearing or similar effects. Neither water nor living matter, such as tree limbs, can be risen over, but the ground beneath a growth of plants remains supportive.
- Wither flesh (dragon). Enables the monk to modify one damage/level caused during combat to manifest as necrotic damage, withering the flesh.
- Blind Man's art (yin & yang). When blind, the monk is able to fight as well as a sighted character. The monk must actually be blind or the ability requires a blindfold (part blindness is distracting).
- Mastered descent (yin & yang). Character is able to fall increased distances without harm. The character will take no damage from the first 40 feet, if falling within arm's reach of a wall. Speed of the whole fall is reduced to 8 ft. per second per round.
Sage Way of the Heart:
- Touch of death (dragon). Also known as the quivering palm, kills humanoid creatures upon a single touch (saving throw against death permitted).
- Descent of the crane (yin & yang). Character is able to fall any distance without harm, if falling within 8 feet of a wall. Speed of the whole fall is reduced to 6 ft. per second per round.
I have one more amateur skill, associated with the Way of the Stick, Path of the Fist. The character is able to grab the opponent, drawing them close and Headbutting them, causing double ordinary open hand damage. However, the monk will also receive 1d6 damage from performing this move.