Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monks come from Blackmoor

I have been re-reading all my old original D&D books lately.  Fun stuff.
But I caught something today that I know I have read before, but now it jelled differently.

The Monk Class was introduced in the Blackmoor supplement.
Monks come from Blackmoor.

Now I am thinking for my Blackmoor, whether I use an OSR game or 4e, will have monks.  Sure it might not fit, but it is certainly an interesting concept.

Of course when most people think monks they think Kwai Chang Caine or Oriental Adventures. What if this sect of Monks were still psychic ascetics who trained their mind and body, not so much for a higher religious purpose, but more like something from the psychic awareness boom/New Age we saw in the 1970's.  So less Caine and more Uri Geller.

Yeah, the more I think about this idea the more I like it.   New Agey, crystal wearing hippie monks with psychic powers come from the "forgotten lands" of Blackmoor.  In the community of Blackmoor they replace the clerics as the spiritual leaders, getting people to work out their problems through peace, love and understanding.  When that doesn't work, they go all Neo on you and bend a spoon on your ass.  I'll look over  the "Mystic" class again in my 4e version of the Blackmoor book and see if there are any parallels that I can make work with this concept.

Blackmoor is quickly becoming my go to place for doing some cool Old School sandbox creating.


Havard: said...

Great idea Tim! I have always struggled with the Monk class myself. I like the concept, but it does seem hard to fit in with the traditional fantasy archtypes. Blackmoor does have a history with the Monk class, so why not? It would certainly cast a new light on Brother Richard the Flying Monk...

James Maliszewski said...

While the monk class did first appear in Supplement II, I am not certain that it reflects anything used in the Blackmoor campaign. There are conflicting stories over who inspired and/or created the OD&D monk class and, like much of the content of Blackmoor, Dave Arneson does not seem to be one of them.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

James: Yes. But one of the things that always got me about the monk is it never really seemed to fit anywhere in a D&D world. Re-reading Supplement II got me thinking what if they did come from Blackmoor and I gave them a non-psuedo-Asian background.

Part of what I want here is to make my Blackmoor as much of a tribute to DA as I can, and yet also satisfy my own desire to make it a place very different than the rest of the world.

DA holds a mystique to me. He is often (or was till recently) forgotten and that is a shame. He did some very cool things that I am only now, after 30+ years of gaming, only learning about. But I find I want to hold on to that feeling of mystery and "unknown" which is what Blackmoor does for me.

Harvard has a fantastic Blackmoor resource, so I go to him as i have done for more than 10 years for ideas on Blackmoor and Mystara. I also want to put my own twist on things too. ;)

So it might not be pure Blackmoor. But it is a fun mish-mash of quasi-related ideas that help bring something new and fun to my game. And if having fun in an RPG is not what Dave Arneson was all about then I guess I still have more to learn!

centauri said...

I always wondered where the monk had come from. I had seen it first in the Rules Cyclopedia, but I never used it or saw it in play. At or around that time, I'd already seen a monk in the first Final Fantasy, as the "advanced" version of the Thief. I guess there were monks in 2nd Edition, but I never really saw those, that I recall, though I was well-used to martial artists in my games. So, by the time I got into 3.5, the monk seemed natural, and I wasn't surprised that it was carried into 4th Edition, finally in a form people could agree was on par with other classes.