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    Canonfire :: View topic - Monks in Greyhawk
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    Monks in Greyhawk
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:55 am  
    Monks in Greyhawk

    Recently I started a Greyhawk 3.5 campaign with some GH novices. One of the guys decided to play a monk but was surprised to find all the oriental weapons when none of the Flanaess humans can be equated to oriental races on our world. After a little research I decided on monks originating amongst the Baklunish basing their fighting styles on the indian martial arts such as Silambam and Kalari.

    The revised list of Greyhawk monk weapons is: Chakram, club, dagger, handaxe, katar (punching dagger), kukri, quarter staff, siangham and sling.

    Just thought I'd raise this for the perusal and discussion of the Canonfire community.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:24 pm  

    Much of what EGG did with WoG was borrowed from our world; a favorite topic here is how much he used our Gods from Mythology, in his original game. Surprised

    Much of Oerth is, even yet, unexplored -- at least, from the point of view of those living within the Flanaess. Certainly there are Orientals living somewhere on Oerth. Confused

    It would make for a good game plot -- or, an article post for Canonfire! -- to explain how these weapons ended up in the Flanaess from some other part of Oerth. Cool

    As you and your players are interested in this aspect -- work on it! Happy

    Just my thoughts. Cool
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    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:29 pm  

    My impression/opinion is that there are two primary schools of monkish discipline in the Flanaess, one descended from the Baklunish (the "falling hail" style taught by the church of Zuoken), and one descended from Suloise traditions. The Suloise school is mainly taught among the Scarlet Brotherhood, but there may be a few other descendants of it.

    It might be a good idea to have separate weapon lists for Suloise and Baklunish monks to help distinguish them.

    Perhaps thousands of years ago the Suloise stole monk skills from the Baklunish, but I imagine the two traditions are pretty distinct in the present day.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:37 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Perhaps thousands of years ago the Suloise stole monk skills from the Baklunish . . .


    I've been discussing the "Zahindia" question with another member and have asked:

    Just how much contact did the Suel have with this "India" (Oriental) type nation -- to their southwest -- before the Twin Cataclysms? Confused

    And what about the nations to the west of the Baklunish? Confused

    Such weapons and techniques could have a completely different origin than "we" think. Shocked

    Rasgon, you're a good person to speculate on this. We all respect your Oerth knowledge. What do you think? Confused
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    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:55 pm  

    I'm not rasgon, but...

    It seems logical to me that "oriental" martial arts and the weapons thereof could have migrated into the Flanaess from BOTH the Suel and Baklunish. But, of course, it all depends on what you want to be westward of those countries.

    IMC, I use the infamous and much-maligned map from the old Dragon Mag (was it #100? I can't remember at the moment). According to this map, southwestward of both the Suel and Baklunish Empires is the Celestial Empire - China.

    If you accept the existence and placement of the Celestial Empire, then it seems reasonable that centuries ago martial arts could have migrated eastward. They probably would have entered the Suel lands first, and then the Baklunish lands. IMC, this occurred millennia ago when even the Celestial Empire's martial arts were relatively new. Thus, the Suel and Baklunish forms vary greatly from the more ancient CE traditions. The migration was possible because the Suel and Baklunish were not fighting at that time (they had yet to even form empires) and some trade across the mountains had been established. All that changed later, of course.

    But changing the weapons does make some sense. There is no reason that Shoulin-style martial arts would exist in the Flanaess. It also seems unlikely that such "strange" weapons would be used only by a single class of people when virtually everyone else is using something else.

    OTOH, if you just like the flavor of the oriental weapons, there are ways to justify their existence. I could see keeping some of the "ninja-style" weapons, since some of them have uses beyond their damage-dealing ability and monks might find them handy. Some of the others could be kept around for tradition's sake. Further, if you assume there were some sort of medieval weapons restrictions (peasants can't own swords, for example) in the ancient days when monks were first migrating into the Flanaess, then the real-world metamorphosis of farming implements into weapons could have occurred in the Flanaess as well.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:21 pm  

    If you accept the Sunelan Coast articles by Tal Meta (for example, this one and this one), then "Zindia" was thoroughly colonized by the Suel during the height of its empire.

    I accept the "Baklunish Delights" article by Erik Mona in Oerth Journal #3 as an accurate description of how the priesthood of Xan Yae developed the da'shon, or "falling hail" style of unarmed combat which was passed on to her servant, Zuoken. Whether the monkish weapons and art originated further west depends on how much like Earth's orient you think the West is. I honestly wouldn't object to having the Baklunish invent these things themselves, but it's also perfectly plausible that they originally learned their martial arts (and perhaps even the worship of Xan Yae) from elsewhere.

    The Suel might have developed their own martial arts styles independently, or they may have learned it from the Baklunish or elsewhere. They seem to have gained what psionic talents they have from Baklunish defectors, if we're to believe Erik Mona.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:35 pm  

    I must admit that I always thought of the Baklunish as more of an amalgam of Indian and Arabian cultures, though I know the official version is more of a pure Arabian influence.
    I guess that's why I've used the Indian martial arts as my inspiration.
    Are there any articles concerning the martial arts of the scarlet brotherhood? It woud seem a shame if they were generic kung-fu style martial artists when there is no obvious source in the Flannaes for that.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:05 pm  

    I think of the Baklunish as more of an amalgam of pre-Muslim Persia and China, personally, with many unique fantasy elements, though the Chinese inspiration comes mainly from the martial arts they developed.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood inherited its martial arts from the Suel Imperium. The founder of the Scarlet Brotherhood, Kevelli Mauk, was already a monk when he left the Imperium with his students in -418 CY. The Suel might have learned their martial arts from the same source as the Baklunish, developed their skills independently, or learned from another source entirely.

    I'm not aware of any source that details how Suel martial arts might be different from Baklunish martial arts. It'd be a fun topic to flesh out, though.

    If the Baklunish are inspired by the elements in their martial arts moves, perhaps the Suel take inspiration from the striking serpent that darts from the shadows and attacks with the poison of Pyremius. From Syrul, Suloise monks learned to mask their intentions with deceptive feints. Haha, now I want to invent a "rattling dice" style for Norebo worshipers.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:05 pm  

    I've always played my monks with the Baklundish style from Erik's Baklundish Delights article that Rasgon has already mentioned.

    You got me thinking and googling around though and I found THIS which defines the Baklundish much like Erik's article (divine/introspective/self-improvement, the Suel/Brotherhood (arcane/flashy/aggressive), the Fey Tradition (movement/glamor/etc) and the "Common Tradition" (a conglomerate of the other traditions, stripped down to their essence and combined... kind of the Bruce Lee thing).
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:28 pm  

    Has anyone done any work on various monk brotherhoods for Greyhawk? We all know about the SB, and most generally agree that there are baklunish and suloise monks, but what about oeridian and flan monks? Surely the knowledge and teachings have spread throughout the Flanaess and there are other styles and brotherhoods out there...
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    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:38 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    I'm not rasgon, but...


    You're no slouch, my friend! Happy

    This is a good thesis. Chinese, Korean and Japanese martial arts all have similarities, but considerable differences as well. And there have been various movies made highlighting how different cultures -- like France and those in South America -- have developed their own styles from this influence. Wink

    And Rasgon, thanks for the links my friend. Happy

    You, too, Varthalon! Happy
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    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:54 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    bubbagump wrote:
    I'm not rasgon, but...


    You're no slouch, my friend! Happy

    This is a good thesis...


    Thanks for the compliment! Now if only Duicarthan would raise his hoary head from the real world and finish his Celestial Empire stuff I'd have something more to work with. I haven't seen or heard much of it, but what I have seen and heard appears quite worth absorbing into my own campaign.

    Then again, if he does raise his hoary head then he might start nagging me to finish my Khemit stuff. Maybe it's better if he stays busy for a while... Wink
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:12 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    Now if only Duicarthan would raise his hoary head from the real world and finish his Celestial Empire stuff I'd have something more to work with . . . Then again, if he does raise his hoary head then he might start nagging me to finish my Khemit stuff.


    So, where is your Khemit stuff? Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Both of you get more writing done than I do, inspite of you're being busy people. Embarassed

    But I'm working on it. Evil Grin

    Striving to develope the Yeomanry and Darkgate, myself. I'll try not to embarass you guys. Wink
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    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:21 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    So, where is your Khemit stuff? Laughing Laughing Laughing


    (Forgive our inadvertent threadjack, but...) It's on the back burner for the foreseeable future, since I'm already working on a number of other projects for my own company and a few others. But it's still percolating in the back of my mind, so someday....
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:27 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Striving to develope the Yeomanry and Darkgate, myself. I'll try not to embarass you guys. Wink


    Embarrassing us? Have no fear of that. I'm sure you'll do fine. In fact, I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with for Darkgate, since that and the Lerara behind it are an interest of mine.

    As it is, I'm just worried I won't embarrass myself too much.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:57 pm  

    Quote:
    Has anyone done any work on various monk brotherhoods for Greyhawk?


    Erik Mona's 2 Baklunish Delights articles are well worth reading and cover the history of the Baklunish tradition pretty thoroughly. It is often overlooked that both Xan Yae and Zuoken have martial arts on their portfolio!

    While I like the Baklunish and the Suel as the main monk traditions there may be even more smaller monk orders. For example in Bastion of Faith which - gives an F&A style rundown of Heironeous & Hextor's clergy - there´s a small bit about a monk order of Heironeous, the most famous of which - the Order of the Glory Everlasting - was founded by one Luther of 1E Rogues Gallery fame (updated to LG hu male Mon17).

    In the Hextor entry there`s a small mention of Hextorian monks. The most famous monastic order is the Brotherhod of the Gray Hand, dedicated to preservation of Oeridian tradition and culture and the destruction of the Heirionean Order of the Glory Everlasting.

    Here's an old thread on Monks of the Flanaess in the 2E subforum, which tries to establish the different name-level monks of the different traditions.

    Ernest Mueller 's excellent website outlines 5 different (2E) martial arts styles for Greyhawk while staying true to Erik Mona's articles. It is an excellent source imho, giving each school a distinct feel and some history, but you'll of course have to convert all the rules parts. Still you can get a good feel for the styles from the 2E mechanics.

    Dethands reatise on the Monkish Orders of the Flanaess: Pt. 1 of 3 and Pt. 2 of 3 details even more.

    This thread on WotC forums further develops several different monk orders in the Scarlet Brotherhood monk tradition based on the information from WG8 Fate of Istus.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:05 pm  

    Did anyone consider the fact that new fighting styles could be introduced through other planes/demi-planes of existance?Along with such a line of thinking one could introduce new or alien weaponry into almost any campaign,or perhaps they we're taught VIA spelljamming crew member from a distant world unknown to Oerthians.
    Take the module"Expedition to the barrier peaks"for example,that module included laser weaponry and a full-fledged space ship.Anything is possible within your own imagination,and you should'nt be afraid to introduce new things to your campaign,even if they seem weird or outlandish it's still in the spirit of the game itself as was intended to be by EGG himself.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:09 pm  

    If you delve a bit into the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and (American) Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) scene, or research the different stickfighting traditions, you'll soon conclude that you don't even need oriental weapons for a martial artist class. Medieval knights, irish shillelagh fighters and later rapier fencers were quite well versed in wrestling and martial arts.

    Of course the D&D monk class is based on the fantasy oriental monk quite heavily.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:38 am  

    Of minor note is the LG meta-org in "The Theocracy of the Pale":

    http://www.theocracyofthepale.com/gamerules/metaorgs/disciples_of_discipline.pdf

    Kaltronas, Recorder of lost Fax


    Last edited by Kaltronas on Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:25 am  

    Some excellent thoughts and links people, for that you have my thanks. :)
    It's given me a lot to digest and consider for my upcoming campaign.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:32 am  

    AcidArrow wrote:
    Did anyone consider the fact that new fighting styles could be introduced through other planes/demi-planes of existance...etc.


    An excellent point. I've never been that comfortable including oriental-flavored elements into the Flanaess, though I've done so on many occasions to satisfy my players. It does make sense, though, to have a variety of styles inspired by other planes and influences. I could easily see one or more of the gods, demons, etc., teaching their followers a form of martial arts instead of imparting magical weapons that could be lost, stolen, or turned against their masters. Martial arts also have the advantage of not needing to be prepared like spells. Martial arts don't get "used up" like spells and magic items, either.

    Why not have a variety of martial arts inspired by a whole mess of influences? It only makes sense, and it has the advantage of not requiring the DM to explain why Japanese ninjas are running around in Nyrond!
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:19 pm  

    Another thought just struck me:

    Consider the number of schools and styles of fencing in medieval times and afterward. Were these fencing styles not "martial arts"? I realize they don't fit the flying, kicking, punching image we have when we think of the term, but are they any less methods of fighting? There were numerous manuals on fencing written during those times, and traveling teachers were known to roam the land. There were even feuds between schools and duels of skill - all similar to what we expect from the classical martial arts movies, only backed by a different culture.

    Could there not be martial arts styles in Greyhawk that focus on fencing and similar arts? I realize the fighter and similar classes usually fill that role, but why not monks? With a few changes to the class's special abilities (to remove the Oriental flavor), it could work, I think. Who says we have to use Shaolin style monks? Who says they have to resemble medieval European monks in any way? Keep the disciplined philosophy, perhaps throw in an allegiance or two to the appropriate Greyhawk deity, switch out a few oriental special abilities for medieval ones, and you've got a whole new kind of monks. Any thoughts?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:54 am  

    My, admitedly limited, knowledge leads me to believe that martial arts were developed by those who were not allowed by their culture to carry weapons. Hence why they learned the unarmed skills as well as how to utilise the peasant tools in an offensive manner.
    Of course Shaolin monks do demonstrate weapon skills, including swords, in their shows, so there is a precedent for expanding their arsenal but maybe that would be at the expense of the unique flavour of the class?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:54 am  

    Indeed. Many of the old european manuals include sections on wrestling, close quarter fighting, disarming, throwing, even personal hygiene and first aid.

    http://www.thearma.org/manuals.htm has links to many manuals, though often without pictures. But you can find these with pictures online quite easily by googling the titles.

    Klare Onderrichtinge der Voortreffelijke Worstel-Konst [Clear Education in the Magnificent Art of Wrestling] and Passchen's Vollstandiges Ring-Buch[Passchen's Complete Wrestling Book] are excellent examples.

    See also this great ENWorld thread, where Galloglaich explains how medieval soldiers trained.

    PS: Hihi, Worsteln! Dutch is sooo funny.


    Last edited by Thanael on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:12 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:06 pm  

    Hey bubbagump Wink

    A while back a couple of us decided to tackle the Celestial Imperium; then people dropped out most found it to large a topic but I forged on. A demense here a relic there and to my surprise I have almost completed a ItU style gazeteer of the entire state. (Used OJ continential map)

    At least it close enough for a sneek peek...

    Anyone interested PM me but I must warn those interested - Last count 100+ pages and I would hope for some feedback.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:19 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    Hey bubbagump Wink

    A while back a couple of us decided to tackle the Celestial Imperium; then people dropped out most found it to large a topic but I forged on. A demense here a relic there and to my surprise I have almost completed a ItU style gazeteer of the entire state. (Used OJ continential map)

    At least it close enough for a sneek peek...

    Anyone interested PM me but I must warn those interested - Last count 100+ pages and I would hope for some feedback.


    I'd dearly love to take a peek at it. IMHO, GH needs an orient, if for no other reason than to explain where all the oriental influences (martial arts, for example) came from. I sent a PM, too, just in case you need a reminder.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:02 pm  
    Re: Monks in Greyhawk

    kingheff wrote:
    The revised list of Greyhawk monk weapons is: Chakram, club, dagger, handaxe, katar (punching dagger), kukri, quarter staff, siangham and sling.


    "Ho, ha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, ha, thrust..." PWAAAANGGG!

    Should GH see the light of day in print again, I always thought a number of classes should have GH-specific variants, including the monk and bard.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:18 pm  

    Can do bubbagump but allow me a couple of days to put it in some shape...article here - idea there - relic somewhere Embarassed

    Look forward to the feedback Wink

    As for the celestial imperium monk: Lung Wang (Dragon King)

    Like the take of Ernest Mueller; although I have altered and expanded his material but the mechanics are sound and it has a good feel and overall fierce personalitiy aspect.

    To futher distinguish it: (Book of Exotic Weapons)
    *Arbir: Bladed Staff (Initial)
    Piau: Throwing Iron
    Siangkam: Thrusting Arrow Heads
    Full Moon: Parrying Weapon
    Sang Kauw: Parrying Spear
    Hooked Sang Kauw: Parrying Staff
    Rante: Weighted Chain
    Kalus: Weighted Whip
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:52 pm  
    Re: Monks in Greyhawk

    Aeolius wrote:
    "Ho, ha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, ha, thrust..." PWAAAANGGG!


    Laughing It's good to know I'm not the only one who remembers that... Thanks for the laugh!
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:23 am  

    Crag wrote:
    Can do bubbagump but allow me a couple of days to put it in some shape...article here - idea there - relic somewhere Embarassed

    Look forward to the feedback Wink


    I'll be looking forward to it. Take all the time you need.
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