The question then becomes what mechanics present in Holmes & Cook can be used to present a class that is similar to the cleric, but sufficiently different as to be a subclass while having at least a passing resemblance to the Christian monastic tradition. It is here that I have to give credit to Talysman and his work on what he calls the Cleric-without-spells. He divorces the class from Vancian magic by embracing the one mechanic that truly belongs to the cleric — Turning. It is from here that I will begin.
If one actually spends time at a monastery or reading the services that monks do on a daily basis, it becomes obvious that the primary vocation is not only prayer, but prayer for other people. This suggests that a Holmesian monk class should buff other characters through the Turning mechanic.
Thus, a monk would have a floating bonus that she can attempt to attach to any number of characters (for playability, this would include the monk herself). This bonus depends upon the monk's level:
- 1st-3rd = +1
- 4th-6th = +2
- 7th-9th = +3
- 10th+ = +4
The number of characters that the monk can attempt to affect and the chance of success is based upon the Turn Undead Table, where the Skeleton category of undead is one character and each progressive category increases that number by one. For example, a 1st level monk can affect one character on a 7 or more, two on a 9 or more, or three on an 11 or more. This bonus then lasts for 2d6 rounds. A ‘T’ indicates an automatic success and a ‘D’ indicates that the bonus will last for the maximum 12 rounds.
Here is a tentative list for the bonus categories a monk can choose:
- To Hit Melee
- To Hit Ranged
- Armor Class
- Saving Throw
Any one category may only be attempted once per combat.
In addition, the monk can perform minor healing. Once per combat per character, the monk can heal their bonus in hit points. For example, a 7th level monk can heal a character for 3hp.
With the exception of spell casting, the monk functions as a cleric.