Lamentations of the Monk

Quick sketch by Gus L. during play

Yesterday I ran a high-level (8 + 1d4) LotFP adventure play test. One of my players wanted to play a monk-type character that specialized in unarmed combat. To support that, I bolted on some of the AD&D monk powers to the LotFP fighter, and specified that the attack bonus would only be available with unarmed strikes.

These are the capabilities that the 10th level monk-fighter ended up with:

  • 2d6 + 1 open hand damage
  • 2 attacks per round
  • Self-heal 1/day 1d4 + 4 HP (takes one turn)
  • Wuxia jump (10′ vertical)
  • Saving throw to punch mundane missiles out of the air

The 2 attacks + high damage might seem like a lot in a LotFP context (and it is), but striking something with your hand opens you up to certain dangers that I would certainly run with (for example, punching something with acidic skin).

It worked out well, and I would use it again. Possible changes and additions:

  • Improve the self-heal, to 1d4 + level available from level 1.
  • Wuxia jump would also probably be 10′ + 1′ per level.
  • An ability for running up walls patterned after the specialist’s climb skill.
  • Rather than make two attacks, the monk could attempt a single stunning strike which would paralyze a humanoid target on a failed saving throw (recovery on 1 in 6, checked per round).

I gave no AC bonus and would not change that. Monks can wear armor if they want to, with appropriate penalties. The unarmed strike damage would be lower at the beginning and progress with level.

Postscript: rolling for appearance randomly is fantastic. The player opted to do that and the character ended up as: Mature Male, Immaculate, Obese. How many PCs do you often see like that?

4 thoughts on “Lamentations of the Monk

  1. Bryan Gray

    It was so fun to play!

    I’d love to play a character like that from level 1, I think think the increased risk/reward would make for some interesting situations.

    Could a Monk class (or modified Fighter, in this case) be shoe-horned into Pavelorn? 😛

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  2. Gus L

    I think the sub-class is very workable. There are definite trade offs with LOTFP’s to hit rules.

    As to random appearances – fun and effective. I may adopt them from now on. I rolled again last night for a space game and have a spindly decrepit ancient grandmother who is a former exo-suit soldier. This is awesome, and given her stats she must have been a real terror in her prime.

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  3. Brendan

    If I were to use this in OD&D, damage would be d6 as normal.

    Running up walls would be 10′ of height per level, quick unlike the thief’s careful climbing (though limited by the max height), and usable to reduce the damage from a fall (assuming there is a wall within reach to “run” down).

    Maybe some bonus damage at higher levels derived from attack rank too, but I can’t quite think of an elegant formulation for that right now.

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