Review – Monk Archetypes

23 March, 2012

Monk Archetypes is an excellent expansion to the options available for the monk, allowing many of the classic wushu and martial arts characters to be modeled in interesting and dynamic ways.  It does come with a slight increase in complexity and resource management for the monk, but many players will find that a small price to pay for the wushu abilities made available.

Monk Archetypes is a 29-page PDF (26-pages if you remove the cover, ad and OGL page) for Pathfinder written by Frank Carr and published by Rite Publishing.  This is part of Rite Publishing’s Jade Oath support.

The layout is a standard 2-column design.  The art is a full color cover with a few other interior pieces that nicely support the theme.  A set of bookmarks makes it easy to navigate the product but a list/chart of the new feats might have been helpful

It is broken into three major sections:

New archetypes, eight of these emphasize different aspects of the monk and range from the Contemplative, master of the sutra, to the Thaskalos, wrestler-philosopher from the distant west.  The Sohei and Yamabushi are different sorts of weapon-focused monks, the sohei focusing on being part of a group, while the yamabushi master the elements.  These allow a wide variety of ways to emphasize different aspects of the monk.

A new rule for those with ki pools, Ki Focus, leads into the sixty-one new feats which are almost all divided into two new types: Ki feats, which require the character to have a ki pool, and Chakra feats, which are also powered by Ki and require allocation of ki to maintain them. There are also three general feats, one of which opens ki powers to the dedicated.  The Chakra feats are quite fun and will allow for some interesting tricks, they provide bonuses by locking part of a character’s ki pool into them which can then be expended for a major effect if needed.

The last section contains seven Major Chakra, which work like the chakra feats but are only available to the Sadhu archetype, which specializes in manipulating the chakra.  They are slightly more powerful and certainly more flexible than the chakra feats allowing for considerable adaptability.  A GM may wish study this section carefully before allowing its use.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review

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