I’ve been working on a Monk playbook for DW for a long time.

I’ve been working on a Monk playbook for DW for a long time.

I’ve been working on a Monk playbook for DW for a long time. There are a lot of Monk playbooks out there already so why create another? None of them did exactly what I wanted. What I wanted was a Monk that had the same “feel” as the base playbooks—streamlined, mostly setting free, with a some cool moves that referenced the tropes of the archetype. I especially wanted to try to remove explicitly Asian flavors as I find it unnecessarily guides the fiction. For example Diablo III’s Monk has kind of an Eastern European flavor that I think is fresh and different. I wanted a monk that was about devoting oneself to mental and physical practice to achieve mastery.

I’ve drawn inspiration for this from multiple sources, including Peter Johansen’s Monk in the Lore and Lords Pack, Jason Shea’s Monk in the Donjon World Hack, Friendly Neighborhood Gamer’s Monk, James Mendez Hodes’ Monk, the Flow Monk, the Prisoner Monk, David Guyll & Melissa Fisher’s Monk, thesmitster’s Dungeon World Ideals project, Johnstone Metzger’s Class Warfare, Multiple editions and supplements for Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, and references to a wide variety of traditional media.

I really like what’s being done with the World of Adventures project, so I made some changes to make my WIP Monk compatible and decided it was finally time to share. I’m particularly proud of the moves Drunken Master and Shadow Clone. Hope you like it.

6 thoughts on “I’ve been working on a Monk playbook for DW for a long time.”

  1. Wow.

    Just, wow. That’s so awesome – thank you for making this.

    Jeremy Strandberg​ and Andrew Huffaker​, you were interested in a monk playbook ?

  2. So, I practiced Kung Fu for a long time, and perhaps that’s partly clouding my opinions in here. Take it with a grain of salt. 99% of this is stuff I’m criticizing, which means I like ever isn’t mentioned here.

    Is the base damage a little low? I’m not sure what a traditional monk playbook would do, damage-wise. Actually maybe it’s good like this.

    I like sensei, but if you’re planning on removing asian stereotypes, I’d say change the name. Not a big deal.

    Drives are great.

    Bonds are great.

    I think you give too many starting arms; that or you just have too many in each. Short Sword AND a crossbow? Baton AND a Rope Dart? Actually the last is very flavorful; I’d do staff and Baton as the two choices. They can always pick up a sword.

    Right Practice is awesome. Great flavor, unique vows.

    Martial art seems strangely named; these are more masterful feats or something?

    I love the other basic moves as well. Death Moves? Hell yes.

    Koan practice- now that is well named!

    Wire Fu is a little freaky, because it means that a 6th level monk can basically fly.

    So is Do No Harm.

    I feel like Monastery Refuge should be a basic move? Though I guess one could just take it at 1st level.

    Hurricane Blow. Now THAT is a great monk move.

    Shadow clone is interesting, albeit very different from the rest of the moves. Very cool. That said, I would break it out into an advanced move and a master move (no 6+ requirement), and switch the order of the two moves. It deserves its own path.

    Drunken Master is off to me. First, the Drunken style is all about misdirection – like, acting in a way that avoids telegraphing your next move, or feinting to throw someoen off. It has nothing to do with being drunk.

    The rest of move is fine, I just don’t know that it goes along with the whole purity/vows theme you’ve got going on here.

    Overall this is a unique take on the Monk, and I like it a lot.

  3. Comments are now allowed. Thanks for the feedback I appreciate it.

    On base damage this is actually one of the biggest problems I had with the WoA system. For DW, I had a base damage of d8 (less than the fighter) but had advanced moves to add +2d4 to bring it more in line with a top en damage dealer. With the d6+n system there’s just not as much granularity of damage curves.

    Sensei—you’re right. I need an adjective to go with “Teacher” though.

    Starting weapons—you’re probably right, not sure what exactly the solution is though. I wanted rope dart in there because it’s so flavorful and would probably be overlooked on a weapons table. I wanted some kind of ranged weapon to show that the monk could be an archer as well. But also wanted to support the idea that a monk could be a weapons master, originally I had Eighteen Arms as a starting move, but I figure someone can choose it at first level if they want the more exotic weapons. I’ll think about it.

    I named it Martial Art as a reference to Arcane Art because it’s similarly structure. It’s intended to be the workhorse move of the class. Suggestions for a better name?

    Note wire fu only lets you fly to near range (you can see the whites of their eyes). I figure this is maybe 30ft at most, and is rate limited by requiring preparation. It’s intended to be pretty powerful but I can see a GM not wanting it in their game.

    Do No Harm is based off of the advanced version of “Seduce or Manipulate” from Apocalypse World and is intended to be quite powerful. (If you haven’t read Vincent Baker’s comments on that move in the AW rule book they’re very interesting). I don’t think this is quite as powerful as that though because I think the trigger is significantly harder to pull off than rolling a 12+, note your allies cannot choose to incapacitate an enemy, only the monk with Incapacitating strike can do that. Also it’s up to the GM how the defeated foes respond, they can just choose to have them not attack again, which is not that different from if you killed them.

    Yeah Monastery Refuge has no level requirement so you can choose it as first level. It’s not baseline because I want to be able to model a monk who has lapsed from their practice and left the order. This is also why Right Practice works the way it does. You can completely ignore your vows and practice and still be pretty effective you just can’t pull off the super crazy stuff.

    Perhaps shadow clone should be split but what I like about it being together is that you have to not have a shadow to steal someone else’s and the only fictionally established way of losing your shadow is taking damage. This means if you want to steal a shadow but still have your own, you basically have to murder your shadow by doing damage to yourself and having the shadow take the blow.

    Drunken Master is less about the style and more about the campy drunken master movies. There’s the trope that shows up where alcohol is treated as some kind of fuel that empowers the fighter’s actions that I was trying to model. Getting the 7-9 result reflects that this is risky and unpredictable. The trigger might be wrong though and perhaps it should be named differently.

    Thanks again for the feedback!

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