New: D&D Monk Path of Peace
Welcome back to the Zurn blog! As we continue to work through new subclasses for Dungeons & Dragons, we present a new monk subclass: the Path of Peace. Monks in D&D are not the religious clerical figures of medieval Europe, but rather the Eastern mystic seeking the path to heaven/the dao/the ideal. And while the paths that exist for monks are very cool, you don't see one of the more common paths in Eastern mysticism: the Path of Peace.
The Path of Peace relies on the principle of negation: tranquility through inner peace, discipline through stillness, and serenity through a clear mind. Like the Love Domain Cleric, the Path of Peace Monk is centered around negation: doing less harm, and keeping your enemies from doing harm to your friends, all while healing the wounds of war and poverty. And that is a new and exciting type of monk that does not yet exist in the world.
Path of Peace: Theme and Inspiration
The Shaolin monk and the Zen Buddhist monks of the Far East heavily impacted this subclass. In their devotion to do as little harm to others as possible, these monks abandoned the use of bladed and pointed weapons, instead carrying spades and staffs for personal protection, with the former being used to bury bodies as well if they came across dead bodies.
They also heavily encourage the practice of inner peace extended and proselytized to others, and wherever they went they encouraged others not to act violently toward others. Some of the traits of these monks are encapsulated generally in the class, but some of the philosophical and action-oriented elements of their tenets are lacking, and we borrowed from those in the creation of the Path of Peace.
Path of Peace: Mechanics
You can find the details of the subclass here, easily printable for your game master to consider if desired thanks to the team at Homebrewery. To start off, at Level 1 you select this subclass (which is not normal), and you immediately gain proficiency with all rounded edged weapons, and you lose proficiency with all bladed and pointed weapons. So you are using slings, staves, hammers, maces, clubs, etc. instead of the typical bladed weapons and darts that many monks use.
At Level 3 you gain your standard subclass feature, and it improves your non-combat ability to engage with others and spread your message of peace. You gain proficiency (or expertise, if you are already proficient) with the Persuade skill, and you can add to your roll by giving alms to the person if they are a poor person. You also gain the Spare the Dying cantrip, allowing you to keep allies from having to take death saving throws. This element of healer will be further improved as the subclass continues.
As you level up you extend your healing abilities. You gain the Healer feat and add 1d4 to the healing volume, giving you a non-magical way to heal the party (which also means it cannot be counterspelled by an enemy, which is handy).
As you delve further into your practice of the art of peace you gain the ability to keep the forces around you from harming others, forcing humans or beasts to make a Wisdom saving throw or they will suffer disadvantage on attacks for 1 minute. The effect ends, though, if the target is attacked or if you attack anyone for any reason, so during this time you are modeling the peace that you are encouraging. Unlike the Love Domain Cleric that gains this as a Channel Divinity, this is merely done as an action. It's less useful as you have less spell utility than the cleric, but you do get access to it in every combat, no matter how many combats happen in a given day.
And finally, as you round out your pursuit of the Path of Peace, you gain the ability to heavily impact others. You can spend 3 ki points to cast the Compulsion spell, with the ability to add to the difficulty of the saving throw by spending additional ki points. So if you really need to take an enemy out of a fight, you can compel them to go elsewhere, taking them and their deadly actions out of the fight.
This is definitely not the strongest monk subclass, but it is a good subclass. It adds control elements and healing elements to the class that make for a good utility character, still benefitting from the mobility of the class, but adding to it powers in and out of combat. The Path of Peace Monk becomes a force for level-headed, calm, clear-minded actions, favoring negotiation and discipline over "quick resolutions" of disputes. If you find that character fun to play, consider the Path of Peace Monk.
In our next post we will discuss our new paladin subclass, taken straight from the Zurn Medieval sourcebook The Paladins of Zurn, as the Knight of the Order of the Sacred Grove makes his appearance in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.
Until next time,