Red Book Monk: Unlearning What We've Learned

We drastically overhauled the monk about a week ago, and everyone that's seen it has told us that it looks waaay better than the original take, which was similar to the Dungeon World version where you choose a Fighting Style at 1st-level, and could later choose talents that build on that Style.

You could only have one Style active at a time (which you could change as a Swift Action on your turn), and if you had multiple Styles and talents that required them, could only use talents that required your active Style.

Yeah, there were talents that didn't require a Style, but we thought it would be cool to have a class that could switch gears mid-fight, sometimes on a round-by-round basis, dishing out more punishment, being harder to hit, or hindering with enemies as needed.

Really though, the end result was more like playing a cleric with two or more Domains, or a wizard with two or more spell Schools, but every round you had to choose which Domain or School you could use (and, in effect, the Domains and Schools you couldn't).

In actual play it wasn't nearly as fun as it sounds.

Most of the time players just picked one Style and ran with it, only deviating to choose talents that didn't require a Style at all. I mean fighters typically choose whether to emphasize offense or defense and get by just fine, so why spread yourself out and have to choose which batch of talents you don't get to use that turn?

So after some prodding from Conner and/or Adam (I think both, but I honestly can't remember since we don't play nearly as often as I'm sure everyone would like) we just scrapped most of the class and started over.

First up, Fighting Styles got switched to Stances. You can only have one Stance active at a time, but they each only have like one talent that builds on them as opposed to a half-dozen or so. The vast majority have been reworked and no longer require any Stance at all, so you can for the most part pick whatever you want and not have to worry about not being able to use them if you're in the "wrong" Stance.

While researching actual fighting styles, we noticed that there was plenty of overlap even before we started working on style trees for the cockatrice, bulette, and owlbear. We considered making some talents work with multiple Styles (or even require multiple Styles), but figured that would eventually cause issues if you have two Styles that overlap, and/or multiple talents that build off of one and/or towards the same thing.

We definitely didn't want to make two talents that basically did the same thing, but require separate Styles.

By decoupling most of the talents from Styles that's no longer a concern, but even better you can basically build your own fighting style. For example, Dragon's Breath lets you breathe fire; while you could take that, Tiger Stance (and Tearing Claws), and Heavenly Ascent and say that your character knows Dragon Style, you could just as easily swap out Heavenly Ascent for Spirit Poisoning Fangs and say you know Chimera Style.

By picking and renaming various talents, you could easily create a Stone Dwarf Style, Stinging Wyvern Style, or a Flowing Undine Style. It also allows you to, as Adam suggested, find ancient scrolls with forgotten techniques, or learn them from an ancient master without going, "Whelp, shit, too bad I invested in all these talents that I can only use in a specific style or stance!"

Now to get cracking on that paladin. That's really the only other class holding things up. We're taking a similar approach and scrapping the Virtue arrangement, but what we got now is looking pretty damned good and still avoids the paladin being essentially a fighter/cleric with severe moral restrictions.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want (the PDF is also on sale on DriveThru)! We've also released the first big supplement for it, Appendix D, so pick that up if you want more of everything.

The first issue of The Delver, a magazine featuring fungal-themed content for both players and GMs (including an adventure in which myconids find religion), is available!

Our latest Dungeon World class, The Ranger, is now available.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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