Most Shaolin hail from ascetic monastic orders and lead a life of quiet contemplation, study, and martial training. Excelling in unarmed combat, and supplementing their skills with the power of their Faith, their very body can become an instrument of considerable power. While their unique way of life originates from the High Elves, it has spread to many cultures and faiths. There are always those who wish to lead a simpler life, removed from the stress and opulence of the wider world.
Many Shaolin monasteries provide charitable services to nearby communities in exchange for land and goods, making them regarded favorably in most cultures. Though they typically live a peaceful life removed from society, some Shaolin choose to champion righteous causes that align with their own beliefs. Those fortunate enough to secure an Shaolin ally will reap a multitude of benefits as the Shaolin can fulfill many roles: acting as a healer, supporting allies, confounding foes, and even inflicting harm with considerable competency when the need arises.
Typical Roles: Healer, Support/Utility, Melee Damage, Ranged Damage
Damage Types: Physical, Faith (Holy, Demonic, Psionic, Primal)
Class Mechanic: Faith and Focus
Available Races: High Elf, Wild Elf, Halfling, Human, Half-Elf, Kayden
Initial Gold: varies by race from 99.8 to 152.0
During Character Creation you may choose to use the Default Stat Line, before racial modifiers, instead of rolling for stats, or if after rolling ten sets of stats you don’t like the results
Natural Armor Proficiency: Cloth
Trainable Armor Proficiency: Leather
Natural Weapon Proficiency: None
Trainable Weapon Proficiency: Knives, Staves
See Equipment section for details. When using weapons or armor that your class is not proficient with, see Combat Penalties. There is no level or title prerequisite to train in a new proficiency, however you must receive the appropriate Training.
Rigorous training is as much a part of the communal monastic lifestyle of a Shaolin as any other. While Shaolin can learn from any master of the martial arts, they rarely need to. Within their communities many masters are willing to teach those who ask with humility and respect. Shaolin fighting styles are a mixture of unarmed attacks and defensive techniques. The use of conventional weaponry is forbidden, but ultimately unnecessary given their talents. Shaolin follow the standard methods for Learning New Focus Skills.
The maximum number of skill points that can be allotted to each focus discipline are as follows:
- Fist: 30 skill points
- Kick: 30 skill points
- Armed: unavailable
- Ranged: unavailable
- Defense: 15 skill points
New focus skills require training unless they are upgrades (i.e. Rank1 Heart Punch -> Rank2 Heart Punch), see Learning New Focus Abilities for details
The writings and teachings of Revered and Transcendent Masters form the bulk of the scriptures held sacred by the monastic orders of Shoalin. So sacred and beloved are these writings that they are rarely if ever allowed to be removed from their Monasteries. Some temples or shrines may even be built around the location where they where first inscribed. On the rare occasion that a Shoalin is required to carry the knowledge fo these teachings with them, it is usually int eh form of a scroll, containing only a portion of the complete work.
Whether studying from a complete work at a monastery, temple or shrine, or carrying sacred scrolls on their person, this is the repository of knowledge for all of the Faith Powers that the Shaolin have access to as part of their faith. Depending on the circumstance and character background, a GM might choose to restrict what Powers are recorded within those sacred writings and scriptures. Unless otherwise stated, it is assumed that a complete work that contains the entirely of what would be available for their choose Faith Path exists at their home monastery (i.e. if following the Holy Faith, it would contain all Holy Faith powers from all Disciplines)
From this complete work, or a subset contained within Sacred Scrolls, a Shaolin can memorize powers for day-to-day use and for use in combat. For additional details see Learning New Faith Powers.
Chanting and Physical Expression
In order to actually cast any of their powers, a Priest, Monk, or Shaolin must chant sacred verses or recite memorized scriptures while focusing their mind on the desired outcome. Shaolin punctuate their chanting with short yells, shouts, or sharp exhaling of breath paired with a symbolic physical expression incorporated into martial poses. This effectively “casts” the power they are focusing on, bringing it into existence. Shaolin do not require physical objects, religious symbols, relics, idols, or other such devices to cast, though they may carry them for a purely symbolic purpose. (see Methods of Casting).
Shaolin use the following chart for levelling up:
- Max Faith Powers Known does not include Tier 0 powers (i.e. Prayers/Rituals/Systems/Mantras)
- Leveling up only increases the capacity for known Faith Powers, to actually learn new powers see Learning New Faith Powers for details
Specializations are recommended for advanced players only, and are accomplished through the Secondary Skill system (see Specialist Skills). Shaolin may choose to specialize their skills in up to one weapon use, one combat styles and/or one faith discipline, but can not have more than two specializations in total.
- Max one Weapon Specialist skill (choose from: Knives, Staves)
- Max one Combat Specialist skill (choose from: Freehand, Great Weapon, Paired Weapon, Freestyle, Peltast, Warder, Pugilist, Physical Defense)
- Max one Faith Specialist skill (choose from any Discipline associated with your Faith Path)
Shaolin follow a Monastic way of life, living and training in a community of believers. Their Monastic Order dictates a variety of regulations and doctrine that the Shaolin must adhere to if they wish to remain living in the Monastary. Every Monastic Order is different, however most are gender specific, being all all male or all female. Shaolin monasteries tend to be found in remote locations, as they are dedicated to improving oneself and attempting to reach an enlightened state, efforts which require a tranquil environment. Despite having a very inward focus, Shaolin Monasteries still often place an emphasis on serving others, as part of the path to enlightenment.
Shaolin are not permitted to live in a communal house within the Monastery until they reach the title of ‘Monastic’. Once this occurs, they are generally not permitted to leave the Monastery, unless specifically on assignment. For some this restriction becomes unbearable and they choose to break away from their Monastic Order.
The titles awarded by a Shaolin Monastic Order are as follows:
|Title||Level||Qualifications||Rewards & Consequences|
A Wanderer is a Shaolin who has rejected the Monastic lifestyle and chosen to live in the outside world rather than cloistered behind the walls of a Monastery. In most other regards they appear as a typical Shaolin, adhering to the orthodoxy and creed of a known Faith, but seeking enlightenment on their own terms or beyond the reach of any strict authority. While some Monastic Orders will attempt to bring Wanderers into the fold, they are most often left to themselves so long as they keep a low profile.
A Shaolin Hermit is one who follows a known Monastic Faith, adhering to its orthodoxy, doctrine or creed, but does not live within a Monastery or Monastic community. This could be because no Monastery exists in that area, or that the Hermit has simply chosen not to join, or has perhaps been excluded for some reason. While a Hermit still lives in seclusion like other Monastics, it is a solitary life which often leads to some measure of eccentricity. Hermits tend to make their homes deep within forests or among remote hills and rugged mountains, often found in self made cabins or even living in caves. Because they still follow a known Monastic faith or religion, Hermits are generally left to practice their faith without interference. However they will lack the sense of community and the benefits it brings if they are not part of a Monastery.
A Heretic is one of the most hated a reviled outlaw titles for faith classes. These individuals have broken the most sacred doctrines of their faith, choosing to dabble in forbidden powers, or choosing to follow a faith path of their own making. While a Faith class may be able to hide these practices for a time, even maintaining other Titles, once found out they are either immediately branded Heretics or labelled so after a trial of some kind. The most militant orders will then seek to execute the Heretic as an example, while more lenient Orders may simply force the Heretic into exile. While a Heretic may escape the immediate wrath of his former Order, nothing will spare him from the attention of Zealots of the Faith.
Witch or Warlock
A Shaolin Witch (female) or Shaolin Warlock Monk (male) is someone who does not follow a known faith of any kind and as such has never joined a Monastic Order, as none would exist that would fit their particular beliefs. Sometimes witches and warlocks will form loosely structured organizations called Covens. These outlaw groups are typically quite small and serve as means for like minded individuals to dabble in powers that they would not be able to on their own. They lack the scope and cohesion of a traditional Religious or faith Order and so remain as a fringe element or gathering of outlaws.
Regardless of whether Witches and Warlocks join a coven or go it alone, they are shunned and often feared by the common folk. Likewise they are prime targets for Zealots of the faith, who would love nothing more than to force a confession our of them. As such Witches and Warlocks are forced to live in hiding or on the outer edges of civilization to avoid persecution and the attention of Witch Hunters.
|Outlaw Title||Qualifications||Rewards & Consequences|
Creedon Roth, Shaolin Wanderer and follower of the Shibou’la Temple, Archivist of the Heroes Guild of Eleutheria
Afflicted as a youth by a mysterious blood curse, a wandering elven cleric of the Shibou’la Temple took pity on Creedon, using his Hemomancy to transfuse his blood with Creedon’s and saving the young human while dooming himself. It was a sacrifice Creedon would never forget and could only repay by likewise embracing Hemomancy, becoming a wanderer and aiding those in need.
Creedon’s wanderings would eventually lead him to join the Heroes Guild of Eleutheria, taking on the role of guild archivist and becoming a founding member of Eleutheria. Together the guild fought the combined threat of the Ogremages of Belsath Canyon and the Black Dragon Flight during the War for the Tindermoot. When they faced the black dragon Lord Zenastracon in battle, it was Creedon that dealt the death blow. If this was not enough, then perhaps his debt was truly repaid in the aftermath. For the reckless machinations of Zenastracon had drawn the attention of the Maw of the Void, ever hungry to devour worlds. Battle weary, Creedon and his allies stood against the Void, and against all odds saved Norlanin from annihilation.
“Like so many times before in this desperate battle, the enchanted bow of Brodash had proven to be the death of entire packs of Shadow Beasts. But unfortunately the pack charging Creedon from behind had been too large, and the time too short. For after the volley of light-charged arrows had descended, one particularly large beast remained, launching itself forward to pounce upon Creedon. However, the flashing light and horrific otherworldly shrieks of the dying pack of beasts must have drawn Creedon’s attention, for at the last moment he turned and calmly projected the blood from numerous open wounds upon his own body, up through his outstretched hand. A jet of thick crimson struck the Shadow Beast in mid-air, tearing through its flesh as if it were a torrent of liquid metal. With a nod of thanks at Brodash, Creedon dodged to the side as the lifeless body of the beast crashed past him.”
-Excerpt from the War for the Tindermoot, ‘Transcript of the final moments of the battle against the Maw of the Void”