Martial Disciple in S&P #30


For those who don't know, S&P #30 features a new base class called the Martial Disciple that is, in essence, a monk for Conan. It's pretty cool, but I have to ask, and maybe I'll get a dev response, did anyone think this was nessecary? I mean I wanted to play a monk once upon a time, but Soldier/Scholar with Oriental magic and the various unarmed combat feats seems to be the job just fine. Especially with the new feats out of Hyboria's Finest, not that the class isn't cool, it is, I was just wondering if my seemingly obvious answer to the Monk character was lacking.
Articles in S&P are usually what if/speculative rules - we want people to try them out and, if popular, they will become part of the core rules set. If not, well, you'll never see them again :)
Holy Quick Reply Batman!!

Well then in my offical capacity as Armchair Games Designer, let me say, that I think the class is unnessecary and could be done by doing one of those spiffy multiclassing option thingies you guys do do well. The class is neat, I just think it kind of dilutes the core focus of the game. Alao, the styles are qildly different in terms of power, namely the Fell Soul Style is awesome, while the style focused on quick blows and criticals are clearly in need of a beef-up. Fell sould gets to nerf any fighter class, use unarmed attacks against armor with reliabllity, kill people quicker through ability damage, and finally threaten a 15-foot area. That last one is over the top, esp. with the high ability scores most Conan characters will have by 20th lvls, a Martial disciple with combat reflexes could easily have 6 attacks of oppertunity a round and take them all, plus his normal attacks. But again, I'm not complaining, the class is cool, I just kinda question if it's needed. Thanks for the response.
Well done, Mr. Cole!
It looks very nicely thought-out indeed.
I have no objection to developing CONAN RPG beyond the basic classes and multi-classes whatsoever.

I may make a proposal to S&P some time in the future, if they are open to contributions.
The only problem with building a martial artist from the soldier class is that the soldier gets better defense to parry whereas one would expect the martial artist to get better defense to dodge.

I haven't seen the class from S&P, but it sounds a bit over the top from your description. My homebrew martial artist class would simply be the soldier class with the defense bonuses and saving throws swapped in from the barbarian class, and with a feat list that focused on unarmed combat. Perhaps a few special abilities would need to be added in to balance for a loss of formation combat and armor proficiency.
The class is way overpowered... Parry 15 dodge 15? Ref and will reach +12? MAB +10?
I felt the need for a Monk class, but now i see that much work is still needed in this one.

I still think that a scholar/soldier is better... i liked the martial disciplines, those could be added as spells for the oriental magic style, and all other habilities could also be traded for the Formation combat of the soldier.

Well i always tought that parry was more "monkish" than dodge, stoping the blade with your hand, very martial arts style.

I really didn´t like the "speed of the..." hability, that combined with 3xfleetfooted gives him a 120 feet move action, more than an arrow from a bossonian longbow, really unrealistic... and running it goes x4, so i´m not even going to comment.

I like the 9 coreclasses, and with that you can make an infinite multiclass combination, i look forward to see a small number of feats that require levels of two, three or even four diferent classes, making multiclass even more complex and interesting.

About "The Martial Disciple", it has some good ideas, but in my humble opinion i think it needs some work...

Well i´m not going to use it, but it really brings some good ideas and made me think in some interesting martial things... i´ve got to thank joshua cole, it may not be what I expected but it has some cool ideas, diciplined defense is really good.
Thanks for the kind words.

I'll admit, I worried less about balancing the class than about making it 'cool' and appropriate, since that seemed more in keeping with Conan the RPG. Nonetheless, I think you may find it weaker in actual play than it appears on paper. The high dodge and parry bonuses are basically to compensate for a lack of armor.

I consider automatically confirming criticals an extremely powerful ability; certainly in any d20-based game I've ever played, Conan included, it's been a true capstone. Ranged Threat (which is essentially the capstone ability for fell hand), on the flip side, is a bugaboo in d20, but really not all that special. I'd rather auto-crit, myself, especially at higher levels where agile foes are likely to be tumbling a lot.

Anyway, I hope you'll find some use for it, even if it means converting the class features into feat trees (always a good idea!). :)
About balance: without having tried it in our game, I'd say it is OK.

About necessity: I'll keep the Sorcerer of the Scarlet Circle as "my monk".
Simply because I'd like to keep the game as compact as possible, which is the reason I dropped almost all PrCs out.

A new thought: take the Barbarian, substitute Track, Bite Sword and the Versatility chain with appropriate feats (Improved Unarmed Strike etc.): Voila, you have a monk.
Other goodies of the Barbarian can remain, even Crimson Mist can be interpreted as Fighting Trance.
Just an idea...
Actually as far as Monks go, try this on for size:

The Martial Disciple (Scholar/Soldier)

Replace Decipher Script, Appraise, Forgery, Craft (Alchemy) and Gather Information with Jump, Climb, Tumble and Hide on the Scholar Skill List

Scholar Class Ability Becomes Physical Training, Use any Physical Based Skill instead of knowledge.

Replace Soldier Formation Combat with Martial Style, Improved, Greater and Mastery. Progression goes like this:


New code of Honor, upon attaining they're first Martial Discipline class ability, Martial Disciples must take the Taboo code of Honor, this provides all the standard code of honor benefits and provides access to the Martial Disciples Combat Disciplines. Every time the Disciple gains a new Discipline they must choose a new Taboo, examples include, cannot eat meat, cannot cut hair, can only speak the truth etc. If the Disciple ever violates his taboos, he breaks the code of honor and looses access to the disciplines. When he has regained his Code of honor he may begin to use his combat disciplines as normal.
One of my new players has expressed interest in playing a "combat monk", and I vaguely remembered some mentions of the Martial Disciple, so I went to have a look at the class now.

So I can also tell the class is way, way overpowered. Most things have already been addressed but I will recap what hurt my eyes the most:

- Fell Hands. This ability _completely_ negates the drawback of having the reduced BAB progression. Effectively you could just as well scratch the magic attack stuff and just give him a +20 BAB progression. Then everybody would see at first glance that the class is way overpowered. And that's not even commenting on the ranged strike.
If I make this class available, it will be without the option for Fell Hands. That's definitely a goner.

- the excellent Dodge and Parry progressions are debatable. You'd also expect the Thief, Borderer and Nomad classes to specialize in some kind of defense, and still they only get +10 tracks.

- Speed. What the F***? This is Conan, not a Hongkong Action Movie on Bad Acid. I am definitely not having any character zooming around at 60mph. The speed bonuses will be changed to free Fleet Footed.

- Armour: he doesn't get armour proficiencies, but his features work also in Light Armour. Many classes work best in light armour, but the Barb is the only one who gets DR, and he has a crappy Parry to go with it. The MD can be pushed to DR12 at no penalties, that's not on.

Anyone here managed to cut the MD down to size, and tried it out in their game?
sorceror of the scarlet circle is what you want for an unarmed monk, the prestige class is in the scrolls of skelos book. or the brawler multiclass option from hyborias finest which is a barb/ sold combo able to replace formations with sneak attack.

just have him take something like a barb/scholar combo and take unarmed and grapple feats with oriental magic as his only sorcery style and the other styles taken as skill focus feats in skills like climb and tumble. alot of the barb's class features would be appropriate for a monk without it being overpowered like the martial disciple.
OK, I am kind of wondering why all of the hoopla over the martial disciple (MD)?

I consider my self well read in Conan (REH) and most pastiche, and I never really remember the MD ever being a factor/ class in any of the stories.

With all due respect to Mongoose and the MDs author, I don't see how it fits in REH's Hyboria.
It seems like a nifty way to 'deedledee' this game we know as Conan.
IMHO, arguaing over the fixes for the class is pointless since this class doesn't belong here, right?

If I am wrong, please point out the names of the story, and characters who you think are MDs, and why?

I think the Scarlet Sorceror is fine as a PRest. class. but a whole new ass whooping Bruce Lee class doesn't seem to fit in the world of REH.
We've got an MD in the party and he's great.

The balance problem is NOT that he's overpowered. Another character has a sword that deals 2d10 damage at first level. An MD has to take the feats Improved Unarmed Strike (free), Brawl, and Greater Unarmed Strike, Greater Unarmed Strike, and Greater Unarmed Strike (yes, three times) to be able to deal 1d12 damage. That's FIVE feats to deal roughly half the damage of a first level warrior with a sword. If anybody thinks this guy is going to beat Conan, they've got another thing coming.

As far as I knew, the MD, as well as Scarlet Circle, came from other writers of Conan (de Camp or whoever). Having not read these sources, I can't say personally if there are any martial artists in them. Anyone know for certain?
You might wish to try these :

Another thought I had was does one consider the class to be more physically based or maybe for it to be more mystical.

If it is the former perhaps using the feats like brawl/ martial arts, improved brawl/martial arts, combat expertise or defensive martial arts, combined with standard soldier feats and maybe some feats from the links I provided in the above post.

If more mystical maybe use the feats and links in the sentence above maybe with maybe the soldier feat progression. So with a regular feat it could be the same but with formation feats the monk could get a BASIC sorcery school. Basic only as their focus can be seen as more as being in tune with one’s self as opposed to casting spells per se. Example the counter magic can be seen as the monks inner fortitude to resist magic, calm of the adept as being increased inner awareness, etc…