Is there a monk (martial artist) equivalent in Conan?



Title says it all.

I remember Grace Jones' character in Destroyer. Not sure how monk-ish she was.

Lots of people have suggested using the Scholar class without magic -- it's legal to take feats instead of sorcery styles.

With his multitude of skills, you will end up with a more traditional monk -- not a Kungfu master but a sage man who has skills in battle if he's ever forced to it.

Don't underestimate the power of skills in Conan.
I gave an example of a scholar-monk a while back so, because I am lazy, I figgure I might as well re-post it for you.

By the power of cut and paste I summon you from the depths of the message board! Arise my old post and live again! :twisted:

me said:
The Scholar works very well for a martial artist, so long as you are looking more for Quai-shin Kain (sp? the guy from "Kung Fu") than something from Crouching Tiger.

Example Kung-Fu Masta: Khitan Scholar 6/Thief 4

28 point buy
Str 10 (11 at 6, 12 at 8, 13 at 10) = 13
Dex 16 (17 at 6, 18 at 10) = 18
Con 12 (13 at 4, 14 at 6, 15 at 10) = 15
Int 13 (14 at 6, 15 at 10) = 15
Wis 14 (15 at 6, 16 at 10) = 16
Cha 9 (10 at 6, 11 at 10) = 11

Hp 6d6 + 4d8 + 20 = 54 (a bit on the low side, consider Toughness in the future)

Fort 5, Ref 10, Will 11 (Great Fortitude is another feat to consider picking up)

Base PP = 9

He knows 3 Sorcery Styles and 5 Advanced Spells. Take Oriental Magic and one of counterspells, divination or hypnotism depending on what flavor of mysticism you want. Cash in your third Style for Defensive Martial Arts. For spells choose: Darting Serpent, Warrior Trance, and then whatever spells you want from your other style.

He has a butload of skills, particularly Knolwedge skills. This guy will be very usefull out of combat. (pay attention to Bluff and Tumble)

From racial bonuses, favored class bonuses, class features, and regular feats he will have. Improved Unarmed Strike, Brawl, Weapon Focus [unarmed], Expertise, Improved Trip, Dodge, Defensive Martial Arts, Light Footed, and Fleet Footed (raise move to 40 ft).

Fists are a finesse weapon so he will attack at +12 meele finesse for 1d6 + 1. Now that isn't much but he also has 3d6/3d8 sneak attack (choose Unarmed as a sneak attack style) so he can tumble into flanking position to take advantage of that, plenty of damage to cause a massive damage save.

But wait, it gets better. For every 2 pp he drops into Darting Serpent he gets +2 Dex: meaning he can pump his finesse attack up to +16 at the drop of a hat. And I'm not through yet, if his opponent is wearing really heavy armor he will just trip him. Between his feats he gets a +6 to trip attempts for a total of +7, unless his opponent also has Improved Trip he will likely succede most of the time giving him another +4 for attacking a prone opponent. That means that in just one round of prep and one round of combat he will be making a finesse attack at +20. This guy ignores armor outright. If he happens to be flanking or have pulled off a feint then you have a character who can kill a guy in full plate with just one blow, with his fists

Things also look good on the defensive end. He has a base dodge DV of 20. Add in Darting serpent and he can get it up to 24. Add in Expertise and Fighting defensively and he can get it to 32 while still making finesse attacks at +7.

There are varaitaions on this build too. Want a martial artist who uses a bo staff? Change Weapon Focus unarmed to staff and Brawl to Improved Disarm. A staff is finnesable and is two handed which means a +8 on disarm attempts which means a total of +20 to disarm or +24 with Darting Serpent. And you can do that at 10' reach!

What you can't do with a martial artist is get really good at it right away. Which fits the genre I think. It takes dedication and hard work but a master who has studied his entire life will be very impressive.
I'm surprised that no one else has mentioned the Sorcerers of the Scarlet Circle Prestige Class from "Scrolls of Skelos". They are scholar-martial artists, although like most sorcerers EVIL.
Consider Vendhyan Soldier.

Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple and Defensive Martial Arts at level 1. Focus on Strength and use your off-hand for an extra grab. You won't mow down enemies left and right, but you can take down good fighters of twice your level if you only get close.

Get some armour, a helmet and a Targe for defense. You have high Strength, you have a shield and Soldiers get great Parry, so you'll be alright in melee.

When leveling up, pick feats such as Parry, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Improved Initiative (your Reflex save will suck), Improved Two-Weapon Combat (make twice the grab attempts), Weapon Focus: Grapple, Weapon Specialization: Grapple, Brawl and Fleet-Footed.

Throw in either one or four levels of Noble for flavour.

Why grapple:
  • You can use people as shields and make enemies strike each other.
  • People you grapple can only attack you with light weapons, and that at -4.
  • People you pin are at your mercy.
  • Grapples cannot be parried, only dodged.
  • It takes two feats to be good at grappling, so good grapplers are rare.
  • Grapple makes you far less vulnerable to grappling, tripping and sundering (just your Targe) and completely shuts down disarming.
  • Grappled sorcerers can't cast Somatic spells, pinned sorcerers can't cast Somatic or Verbal spells (but watch out for Defensive Blast, though).
  • You are always armed. You don't need to take a Move action to draw your weapon.
  • You cannot lose your favoured weapon. You do not need to drop it when you need a free hand in a hurry. You do not have to leave it at the door.
  • Your weapons are free.
How to beat a grappler?
  • With ranged attacks. Grapplers have unimpressive Dodge.
  • Cause massive damage. Grapplers are somewhat slow to act. Better make that first strike count!
  • With another grappler. Works both ways.
  • With a pikeman with Combat Reflexes. Grapplers have a hard time sundering the pike.
Using my own magical cut/paste abilities I have brought this over for your reading edification.
We were thinking of doing Monk as a prestige class off of soldier, and then realized that with a couple of small changes to skills, feats and to the "Formation" ability, it was easy enough to make your soldier into a monk

Get rid of medium and heavy armor and shields. Add 2 skill points per level (x4 at 1st level). Use the thief's skills list with heal and all knowledges added. Require Improved unarmed and Brawl at first level. Instead of the "Formation" abilities increase unarmed combat damage by 1 die type. 1d8 at 3rd, 1d10 at 7th, 1d12 at 11th, 2d8 at 15th and 2d10 at 19th levels.
I also let them trade any bonus feats in for 2 skill ranks if they want.

The reason I require the Imp Unarmed and Brawl at first level is that the Monk represents someone who has spent years attaining this level of proficiency in fighting and it removes a lot of time fom their lives. To me, that is well represented with the use of their first level feats (if soldier is a favored class for them, they even gain a favored class bonus feat, it's not that rough!)

At any rate, it isn't a PrC, it's just a very minor variation to what is already in the book. No biggie, but the guy who got to play it has had a blast so far. He doesn't miss the armor and he loves all of the "kewl ninja feats" and the ability to dish out "staff damage without the reach" with his bare hands.

Something I put into a different thread with similar intent.
There've already been good posts giving stats or suggestions on how to make up a monk, but as for the idea of monks in Conan, the best illustration comes from the Howard story, The Hour of the Dragon.

The 4 khitans who first show up at the end of chapter 10. They travel swiftly and quietly, carrying staves, and strike with them and/or their fists and feet, even wiping out a multitude of Stygians even as they're been rent and slashed by swords. It's the only Howard instance I know of off-hand where monk type characters occur, but it's your best bet for placing such an order. Certainly better than Grace Jones! :)