Monday, November 14, 2011

D20 3.root(-36): Rules: Katas

One part of my system overhaul is a complete redesign of the monk class. The warrior who fights using only bare hands and discipline is an iconic genre convention (not to mention too good an idea to just throw away), but unarmed attacks are just too low-damage and problematic to be useful.

The solution I decided to use was to give monks access to what are called katas: simple tricks that allow the monk to slightly alter the normal rules for a short amount of time. For instance, one monk might be able to fall slowly, taking no or reduced damage from falls; while another might be able to enhance unarmed strikes so that they can cut; and a third might be able to alter pheromones, becoming able to more easily manipulate both people and animals.

Then I decided: why should monks get all the fun? Some monk abilities are simply a change in mental state, which is very similar to a barbarian's rage ability. So, barbarians have the ability to use some katas as well. And naturally, so does the partial-caster equivalent to the barbarian, the shaman.

Some characters are able to learn techniques called katas. These are physical and mystical disciplines that produce a fixed effect over a fixed amount of time, inflicting a set amount of fatigue on their users.
Unless some effect states otherwise, using a kata is an extraordinary ability.
All katas have the following attributes:
  • Name: The name of the kata.
  • Keywords: These are words listed in square brackets after the kata name. These words are meaningless in themselves, but control how a kata interacts with other effects.
    • Mind-Affecting: This keyword indicates that a kata does not influence creatures with no Intelligence score.
    • Trance: This keyword indicates that a kata works by influencing the mind of its user. If the user is reduced to 0 Intelligence, the kata immediately ends.
    • Mystical: This keyword indicates that a kata involves magical components. Treat the kata as a spell with one margin of success for purposes of dispelling effects.
    • Language-Dependent: This keyword indicates that a kata involves language. The kata has no effect on creatures that do not share a language with the user.
    • Space-Consuming: This keyword indicates that a kata requires that its user be able to perform large movements. If the user is helpless, grappled, grappling, or restrained, the kata immediately ends.
  • Duration: How long the kata's effect lasts. A kata with a duration of “Concentration” lasts for as long as the user spends the listed number of ticks per round.
  • Initiation: The number of ticks that must be spent in the same turn to begin the kata. This replaces a "Concentration" duration for that round.
  • Fatigue: The number of fatigue factors the user takes when beginning the kata.

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