So, in my days of 1E, I had developed a whole series of “Fighting Styles” adapted from the Oriental Adventures martial arts, these then turned into fully-fledged rules for fighting and dueling styles when I developed my own game engine. Now that I’m returning to 5E, I need to sort through these and figure out what belongs where. Most of these fold into the existing character classes pretty well given the existing options, but a few need to be fleshed out in new ways. So some of these are pretty clearly forms of Monastic Traditions while I may end up developing a couple of others as Feats. In any case, here are details of a pair of Monastic Traditions that originate in the Shadowlands.
Way of the Blood Moon
Monks of the Way of the Blood Moon are weapon-masters and follow a tradition marked by a passion for bloodletting and savagery. Born in the Shadowlands, and itself a descendant of some of ancient Elven schools and techniques, the schools of the Blood Moon can often be found in rough-and-tumble, lower class areas where they also teach basic fighting skills as well as the skills of the quiet blade and the stealthy attack.
Starting at 3rd Level when this tradition is chosen, the monk may use their monk weapons instead of unarmed attacks during their Flurry of Blows. They may also use their Ki to focus their blows, allowing them to add half their level to the damage of any attack with a monk weapon. They may also use Longswords as Monk Weapons.
Starting at 6th Level, the character make half-move towards an opponent as a Bonus action, and make a Surprise attack immediately afterwards.
At 11th Level, the character has begun to become consumed by the passion of slaughter and death. Each successful attack that does damage made against living foes allows them to heal a number of hit points equal to their Charisma modifier with each attack.
One Step, One Kill
Upon reaching 17th Level, the character has become a killing machine. Upon any successful attack, but before the damage dice are rolled, the character may spend 2 Ki Points and do double damage dice for that attack.
Way of Laughing Murder
Another school born of the Shadowlands, the Way of Laughing Murder was developed by and for the slaves there to use during gladiatorial amusements. Similar to the Way of the Blood Moon, the Way of Laughing Murder is about passion – but where the Way of Blood Moon might be akin to the efficient killing of a wolf or a tiger, the style of Way of Laughing Murder is like a cat playing with it’s prey. Similar Traditions (some derivative, others of different roots) exist in Ith as well as Khitain.
The Lover’s Embrace
Upon choosing this Path at 3rd Level, the character learns to treat their opponent like a lover and trains to embrace them closely. They may Grapple, using Dexterity rather than Strength, with any Unarmed or Monk Weapon attack (and may use their legs rather than hands) and upon doing so deny their opponent both Dexterity and Strength modifiers in combat. With the expenditure of 1 Ki Point they may also gain Advantage upon any opponent they are Grappling, and they may attack with either Unarmed or Monk Weapon attacks while an opponent is in the Lover’s Embrace.
At 6th Level, the character draws strength and focus from a well-skilled strike. They regain 1 Ki Point upon any Critical attack.
The Killing Dance
Such is the skill of the character that at 11th Level, upon killing an opponent, they cause Fear for all other opponents within view for the remainder of the combat as a Bonus Action for 4 Ki points. The effect DC for this is 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Dexterity Modifier (and has Disadvantage if the killing blow was a Critical), the save is Charisma-based.
Upon reaching 17th Level the character reaches the ultimate extension of their Path, the Death Blossom. In a supreme display of deadly martial beauty, they may attack each creature within Reach with either Unarmed or Monk Weapon attack for the cost of 6 Ki points.