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More Historical thoughts

More Historical thoughts

A while back I posted about AD&D being Post Apocalyptic. I was further thinking about this when I realized the real problem I had ignored with trying to make AD&D strictly Historical.  Gygax had been there done that.  How many hours had he spent pouring over accurate historical battles fields and tactics until he started reaching for the vast sources of imagination found in Appendix N to add them to his play?  I don’t think I’ll ever really know.

But here is something to chew on: Why Go Backwards?  Gary Gygax certainly could have left all the “historical inaccuracies” out but chose not to because that was not his goal and indeed is merely reinventing the wheels he had already played with and found unfulfilling the niche that he turned into D&D.

So if I choose to have a Hengyoki, Ishtar worshipping Shujenka ex fig wearing a turban under his Jingsa hanging out with a Norse Bard and Newhonian Fighter …. well it works.

Because the one ting I don’t think we can really do is go backwards with any real sense of accuracy.  So skip the unfun parts and ‘ave fun with playing with the strange and esoteric because running away from the problems doesn’t really get you any experience.  Trying out ideas is a part of Heroic Tourney,



Sea See ice

Sea See ice

Gerald Burhgher, a private character who claims this is due to his early enslavement in a gang of Figs (pickpockets) he has since redeemed himself mostly through his Holy Works dedicated to Ishtar as a Shujenka. Though he may eventually be found out he is a Drake Hengyoki as well as all those things mentioned above.

STR 12 INT 12 WIS 13 DEX 10 CON 13 CHA 13  Ac 8 HP 27

5th level Shujenka, Limited choice of weapons and studded leather or less armor. 7 initial proficiency slots, 2 are weapon proficiencies, 1 in a player’s choice of unarmed style, 1 must be religion, 1 in calligraphy. Rituals to perform marriages, christenings, funeral rites, observances of holy days, and purifications which can lift curses (5% chance/level to remove a curse) or sanctify an area with a radius of 5 feet (75 square feet) granting a non-cumulative +1 bonus on all rolls to hit and saving throws to his allies when fighting evil spirits, lasts only as long as the shukenja remains within the purified circle. Meditation: 1 hour of uninterrupted meditation is as restful as 2 hours of sleep and oblivious to hunger, thirst, heat, cold, yet conscious and aware so no penalties on surprise or initiative dice rolls. Shukenja use ki to improve their saving throw by + 3 once per day equal to this level used at any point during a round before the save is rolled. Earn only 1/2 the normal experience for slaying/defeating humans and monsters with full experience for defeating evil spirits yet they only earn experience points for treasure that is donated to charity or the poor. Shukenja earn 100 experience points per spell level used to heal, cure, or aid an NPC or creature not associated with the character’s party. Shukenja must must have good alignment, cannot eat meat, refrain from violence whenever possible (especially killing); and avoid immoderate drinking and eating. Failures can result in a punishment chosen by the DM like: loss of spell levels, reduced access to Disciplines, honor, or a special penance, reduced if the Shukenja is forced to break these rules.

As a member of the rare Asian Race Hengyoki (Drake), he has the ability to change once per day per level to one of three limited shapes natural to the hengeyokai. Speak Hengyoki and comprehend animal speech in all forms, weapon proficiencies: Tetsubo, chain, Unarmed style: Heavy Stone Style AC: 8, 3/1 attacks for 1d8, Body part: hand and arm, Usable with Tetsubo, Also proficient in Religion, calligraphy, and a fig (pickpocket, is 25% more likely to detect pick pocketing attempts and can pick pockets as a thief of half their level by using a proficiency slot which he has)

Dog, guard, Studded leather armor, Tetsubo, chain, Jingasa (war hat), Cloak fur, Loincloth, Robe Outer (ho, happi) fur trimmed, Sandals, Sash or belt (obi), Tabi (boot/sock), Trousers, cotton (hakama), Turban, Vest silk, Basket, medium, Blanket, coarse, Candle, tallow, Chopsticks, lacquered, Cloth, cotton or silk bolt, Cord, 10′, Fishhook, Goza (straw mat), Ink, brush, and inking stone, Lantern (paper), Mirror, small metal, Oil, flask of, Paper, writing, 10 sheets, Pot, iron, Quiver, 2 dozen arrows cap, Rope (hemp or Silk) 50′, Signal rocket, Standard, flag, sashimono, Sword stand, Tent (large or small), Thieves picks and tools, Tinder box, flint and steel, Tobacco pipe, Tobacco, 1 Ib., Torch, Grain, horse 1 day, Ricecake, 1 week’s rations, Tea, 11b., Beads, prayer, Bell small, Incense, stick, he has 7 Mourners, prepaid Musician that owes him one performance, Servant, one month, Bit and bridle, Harness and feed bag, Saddle bags, large or small, Saddle blanket, Saddle, pack, Saddle, riding

Extensive Travels Background: (3 Minor, 0 Major) Something marks Gerald as a favored audience for other travelers to far off lands as a child and adult. As such he has learned how to tie his magic into the lay of the land and gain additional benefits ranging from knowing some truths to additional prowess. Automatically has a 25 % chance of determining if a rumored thing is true or not as a minor ability.

When defending civilized lands from invaders (typically raiding humanoids) Burgher gains +1 to overall damage per two levels spread among the targets of successful attacks or spells in addition he gains normal XP from defeating such creatures.

Someone in a sanctified area created by Gerald will take 1 less pip of damage per die from opponents. The first warded area created after observing a holy day (and up to a number of combats equal to the number of holy days observed in a row with a maximum of his level though all the holy days must be observed to gain the benefit no matter how many days in excess must be observed.) Further tying in his magics to the land all allies immediately begin operating like they bear a Luckstone so long as they remain within a warded area, not just those wards created immediately following the ritual days.

Major abilities for this kind of concept could include such concepts as gaining allies that are also tied to the land, preferably mystically.  Ideas such as Spell return or recharging from using, tying into, preserving, or freeing places both major and minor in scope and mystical power. Other ideas could include having an increase in a lunar or astrological component to the characters power including gaining additional spell abilities or casting levels for short periods following meeting certain requirements.

Dead on the Ice

Dead on the Ice

Kross Deadman, this character has spent part of his life and his fortune building unusual weapons and devices as a way to further combat the monstrosities he has seen from the Borderlands.

Str 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Dex 11, Con 8, Charisma 10, Ac: 3, Hp 43

As a 5th ranked Bushi, Kross can wear any armor and use any weapon. They can choose to specialize in any single weapon. Bushi automatically start with the proficiency in weaponsmith, armorer, and bowyer. A bushi’s armor class improves by one step for every five experience levels. A bushi in a friendly or neutral village or town can always find employment, food, shelter. They have a chance to find “loose”equipment 20% to 90% chance either be at half-price or free. Bushi are also known to liberate cash off the unwary. They have a base 20% chance of success and gain an additional 2% per level. On a dice roll of 95 or higher their attempt has been noticed. Once per day for 1 turn fight at +2 levels by using a kiai, gaining temporary hit points as well as other benefits.

Human, proficiencies in weaponsmith, armorer, and bowyer. Chu-ko-nu, skilled in chandlery/grocer skills. he can attempt his cash liberation skill as a price reduction in the cost of grocer/common goods if he succeeds in his roll (used a proficiency slot). He has also learned the knack for handling Agriculture.

Deadmans Chu-ko-nu :5/2 fire rate, 1d4/1d4 5/10/15 12 round clip, reload 2 per round no reload and fire same round, Armored Shoulder Plates, Armguards, Armored Apron, 2 large belt pouches, boots, Dual bandoliers, tabard, Bracers, Buckler, Goggles, breeches, 2 cakes of soap, 10 lbs firing coal, 16′ hair rope, 4 Torches, 6 Iron Spikes, Chisel, Working Hammer, Whetstone, Crowbar, Ranger Bred horse + tack, Armor Repair Kit, Portable Forge, Flint And Steel

Gifted Inventor: (3 Minor, 0 Major) Deadman can make intuitive leaps that result in any sort of weapon, trap or spell development costing half as much in both time and resources needed/expended than other characters would need. Use the spell costs as guideline for how expensive weapon or trap design is by a character for truly dramatic ideas.

Kross can develop weapons that are faster including reducing weapons speed and potentially in case of certain missile weapons a better rate of fire, he can also develop later versions or ones that can do additional effects or more damage although there may be certain trade-offs made.

In the first round of any combat where his side is not surprised, Kross can check by using his combat action for an opportunity to cause a ‘mishap’ using an identical check to a set traps by an assassin of the same level as he currently is. If the check is succesful Kross triggers the ‘trap’ to where it deals at least 1d6 per level spread among selected opponents. if there is a special effect in the room any roll made by less than half adds the effect to the damage dealt (examples could include poisions, spores/molds and fungi, etc…). If the side with Deadman wins surprise he can check and use an action for each surprise segment availible. Consider his ac to be 2 lower for any attempts to be disarmed.

In his home base, Kross can create one potential for a ‘mishap’ per level using the same set traps check as by an assassin of the same level as he currently is. If the check is successful Kross triggers the trap to where it deals at least 1d6 per level spread among selected opponents. Unlike his fortuitous mishap poison and other questionable moral actions may not be added to these because they are deliberate. These ideas still could include flaming oil etc…

For Major abilities should something occur or as an example for those who have major abilities. Kross could expend the effort to develop Specialization in any weapon he improves upon or builds from his design (after following the invention process). Gain move devastating trap-like abilities or the ability to develop items based on science of weapons beyond current tech.

In Ormegarten both Franco Illitern and Frostbeard might benefit from this discipline, Though Franco obviously has a higher probability of actually possessing this discipline. There might be some who accuse an inventor of being or working with Ninja which could be a problem…


Beneath the Surface

Beneath the Surface

There is something I wondered about certain spells in AD&D when I first read them.  It seems like they haven’t been around long enough to change the world.  Some things that seem like they would have incredible philosophical and

Wishes, Limited or otherwise or the inllusionist spell Alter Reality seem like obvious campaign explanations for certain weirdness elements that can make each campaign unique.  But there are other spells that seem like there should be an impact beyond what the system makes allowances for, especially if the campaign is supposed to be old…

First up on the list is Reincarnation, after a few centuries of this spell being around there are  bound to have impacts and with the way wishes sometimes can appear in a campaign having further effects upon other magics (or their permanent results) should mean that there can be odd or esoteric races.  If a GM desired they could alter the reincarnation charts to produce a more Tolkienesque or C.S. Lewisian world as well while maintaining rarity.

Keep in mind since these are example races and power concepts there may be options removed or altered in the end.  At this point everything is in flux. but these concepts are interesting builds. At least perhaps useful as unique NPC’s at a minimum, but they are a trio reaching for answers to questions I have pondered a long time.   I can also understand a DM realizing this as well as the amount of work that would have to happen and going for “Oh, NOT in MY World!” response.

Quill Dunlop Str 17 INT 16 WIS 11 Dex 12 Con 9 Cha 14  HP 18 AC 7

Fighter-Mage, 3-3, can wear any armor and use any weapon. They can choose to specialize in any single weapon. Magic-users draw upon arcane powers in order to exercise their mighty spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature, There are many powerful items of magic which only this class of character can employ. Most magic scrolls, wands, staves, and many of the miscellaneous items of magic are usable only by this class. When a magic-user attains certain levels or higher, he or she may craft potions, enchant items or scribe magic scrolls.

Quill is a slightly different appearing Half elf, though suspected of being of Grugrach descent the beak like nose and feathered brown hair do suggest there might be other lineage.  He does have many half elvish traits but when magics are involved they sometimes turn down predictable paths because of the curse or blessing carried by some of his blood.  He did and still does find time to care for and protect the legacy of Math as a Sacristan.

Half Elven Hawk. Half Elf (30% resistant to sleep and charm spells, 9 Half elven languages, Infra vision 60′, detect secret or concealed doors 1 in 6, increased if actively searching.), Skilled Sacristan (a person in charge of the relics and religious items of a church) of Math, Proficient in darts, long sword, spear, Religion (use this to help with artifact handling and clues to finding artifacts especially religious ones), Survival, and Swimming.

Leather armor, Skullcap, chain skirt, 12 darts, long sword, spear, two belts, robe, tunic, boots, belt of metal rings, Water sack with wine, rations iron 2 weeks, healing salves pouch of 14, bone scroll case, backpack, large belt pouch, scroll protection from demons, map number 2717, Spellbook (Exterminate, Dust, Warm, Distract, Hide, Mute, Spill, Invisibility, Read Magic, Jump, Light, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Web, Grease, Forget, Fire Veils)

Reincarnated (Descendant): (2 Minor, 1 Major) The character is a descendant of a Reincarnated character. Which race the character is related to will be determined by the Reincarnation chart. Note that though there are some superficial resemblances between hengyoki (a selectable character race) and the reincarnated, their mystic foundations are entirely different. No reincarnated elf has all the powers of an elf, instead they have the abilities shared by Half Elves.  The reverberations of magic on the character automatically means any shape altering spell when given the larger directive of altering the characters form to a non-human one automatically changes the character to a hawk (despite any wording or limits of spell or casters intent, keep in mind this is the after effects of a 6th and 9th level spell working together.  Any lesser spell trying to mess with that without due consideration would in many cases automatically fail.)

Formlessness: the Character being a dual nature spirit is well aware of some elements of the impact of change upon the magic cycle. Because of the altered physicality the character can still cast spells at a price of +3 segments and a minimum of +10% chance of spell failure until the mage finds or expends the effort to research a version of the spell built for this form (this research costs 1/10th the normal spell research time and cost but once learned the differences in casting from memory are also committed. Other mages can learn from these spells taking the same penalties until they find (or research) unaltered versions.

Speed of the Diving Hawk: As a Major ability if Quill wins initiative and declares a charge no hand to hand attacks from the first or second rank will succeed and is -4 to be hit by missiles otherwise normal attack systems except still at -2 to be hit by hand to hand.  In addition Quill also has an ability to negate falling damage as noted for monks of the same level of his mage class as noted in the PHB.

Ramee Mulorn 9 11 11 12 17 11 Ac 4, HP 27,

As a 3rd Level Fighter, Murlorn can wear any armor and use any weapon. They can choose to specialize in any single weapon.  He is rather short as a human, with truncated bandy legs and a wide body, members of this reincarnation family have elongated, weasel-like heads with small ears.

Coming from a Human and Badger mix Ramee lives quietly until attacked, but when provoked can fight off things much larger than itself. They have +1 to hit and -2 to be hit by all size large or larger creatures. Some can detect grade or slope 80%, detect unsafe surfaces 70%, Determine depth underground 60%, determine direction 50%, if concentrating, as well as speak with all burrowing mammals like Gnomes can. As a part of mitigating the bad reports there are about Badger kin he chooses to excel in being a Buffoon (publicly amusing person). He is proficient in Etiquette (used to be certain he doesn’t go too far in his buffoonery as well as to live quietly), Brewer (to smooth over ruffled feathers with excellent drink suggestions often with his own coin or to get in good with taverners) in Combat he uses Axes both battle and hand, Short bows, and thrown weaponry.

Wearing Banded mail, Great Helm (with Buffoon motif), Axes 2 hand/throwing 1 battle, Bow, composite short, Quiver, 2 score arrows cap. arrow, 1 score normal 14 cloth wrapped, 6 silver), Oil, flask of, bag of marbles, 4 bags of caltrops, 3 extra bow strings, Backpack, leather, Box, iron small, with 60 Gold Lions, 30 Silver Snakes, 8 Copper, Candle, 4 wax, Case, leather, map Tabbard, Cloak, Belt, Boots, low, soft, Rope, 50′, 2 Sacks large Skin for water or wine, string of Wolvesbane, sprigs, Tinder Box, with flint & steel, Torch, Lantern, hooded, large metal, Pole, 10′, 12 Spikes, iron, large, Beer, small, pint, Rations, iron, 1 week, Grain, horse meal, 1 day Wine, pint, watered, Beads, Prayer, Wooden holy symbol, Horse, (heavy war), Barding (chain), Saddle, Saddle Bags, large, Bit and Bridle, Harness, Saddle Blanket.

Reincarnated (Descendant): (2 Minor, 0 Major) The character is a descendant of a Reincarnated character. The race the character is a mix of Human and Badger. They have +1 to hit and -2 to be hit by all large or larger sized creatures. Some can detect grade or slope 80%, detect unsafe surfaces 70%, Determine depth underground 60%, determine direction 50%, if concentrating, as well as speak with all burrowing mammals like Gnomes can.

As a minor ability the characters armor class improves by one step for every three experience levels during any fight the character does not begin. Once per day gains +1 to hit and damage for one round per level, the character may not start the fight this occurs.

For his final minor ability His animal senses having been sharpened by time spent underground results in the ability hear noise is (automatically considered keen bestowing chances of) 20%+1d3%/level(27%), detect illusions: 20%+1d3%/level(25%), Detect Invisible: 0%+1d3%/level(6%), Detect secret door: 17%+1d3%/level(22%), Detect concealed doors: 17%+1d3%/level(23%),

Other ideas include the minor ability granting +2 levels the same as the Kiai ability of the Bushi again for combats not begun by The Half Badger, Major ability such as an ability to focus ki lasting 1 turn and can be done 1 per day 1 extra attack per round, improves his Armor Class by 1, increases his movement by 3″, gains an additional +1 on to hit, damage, and saving throws, can avoid missile weapons by making a successful saving throw versus breath weapon.

Phara the Lyone Str 11, Int 13, Wis 13, Dex 9, Con 11 Char 11, AC 3, 2 with shield, HP is 22.5

Cleric-Mage, 5-4, In addition to spell ability, the cleric has good armor, they carry effective weaponry, and engage in hand-to-hand (melee) combat with a reasonable chance of success. Can turn away (or command service from) the undead. Magic-users draw upon arcane powers in order to exercise their mighty spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature, There are many powerful items of magic which only this class of character can employ. Most magic scrolls, wands, staves, and many of the miscellaneous items of magic are usable only by this class. When a magic-user attains certain levels or higher, he or she may craft potions, enchant items or scribe magic scrolls.

His unpolymorphed skin is an extremely pale blue, hair is a forest green, nails are grey, the teeth and proto tusks are very white while the Horns are ivory colored. Their eyes are dark pupiled with white centers. He smells like an ice forest. Half Elven (30% resistant to sleep and charm spells, 9 Half elven languages, Infra vision 60′, detect secret or concealed doors 1 in 6, increased if actively searching.) Half Ogre Magi, grants certain Racial abilities detailed later.  Proficient in: Dagger, Hammer, Tetsubo (iron staff), Mace, Skilled Trapper who has developed Running, Snare building and Survival.

Equipment is often specialized by Phara: Spellbook (Affect Normal Fires, Alarm, Armor, Charm Person, Erase, Read Magic, Jump, Light, Mending, Mount, Spider Climb, Sleep, Wizard Mark, ESP, Forget, Knock, Levitate, Magic Mouth, Mirror Image, Ray of enfeeblement), 4 lethal hunting traps < when set then sprung will say: ‘Got you now!’>, hunting knife (left boot), Dagger and scabbard, 3 Hammers <Wizard marked with his symbol and onomatopoeia’s like bonk!, whack! and Thump!>, Tetsubo (iron staff), Mace, Plate armor, Shield Wizard Marked with his symbol and the six signs of his deity, Oil, 3 flasks of when shattered they say “Burn baby, Buuurrrn” due to a magic mouth spell, 3 bags of marbles <several marbles in each bag have been Magic mouthed to cheer if someone falls within 5’ while one will say”Look out beloooooowwwwww!!!!”> string of Garlic buds, carved prayer beads, gold painted wooden holy symbol, pouch small, 2 belts, bandoleer, 2 torches, 3 flasks of glass, map making kit, 3 alchemical formulae, Dog, hunting, Backpack, leather, Candle, tallow, Case, Ivory, scroll <which is magic mouthed to yell “Stop Thief!” Then howl for the rest of the duration if taken by anyone else than the Lyone>, 6 leather thongs which when used in a snare will crow like a cock for the duration after the snare is tripped, Tabbard, Cloak, Belt, Boots, high, hard, Girdle, broad, Pouch, belt, small, Rope, 50′, Sack, small, Skin for water or wine, Tinder Box, with flint & steel, Torch, Mirror, small, silver, Horse, (draft, magic mouthed to say i wouldn’t do that if i were you Wilbur if anyone tries to move him sneakily), Saddle that has been Wizard marked as his and his gods as well as magic mouthed to scream if stolen, Saddle Bags, large magic mouthed to scream if opened by anyone other than Phara, Bit and Bridle, Harness, Saddle Blanket, Wagon,

Reincarnated: (4 Minor, 1 Major) The character is a Reincarnated individual now set upon a path with entirely different powers. The race the character is a Half Elven Ogre Magi. As a Typically Lawful Evil race there are several abilities that they can draw upon as a member of their race balanced by level gain and sacrifices of other abilities he may have. Any innate abilities do not require Material Components because they draw upon things in the blood and soul.

Some Half Ogre magi are able to perform the following feats of magic Once per day per spell like ability by switching out a currently memorized spell equal to the cost listed for the ability: charm person (lvl 1), sleep (lvl 1), cause darkness (lvl 1)

Possibly those who are Half Ogre magi and Gifted with minor disciplines can perform the following feats of magic Once per day per ability by switching out a currently memorized spell equal to the cost listed for the ability: assume gaseous form (lvl 2), become invisible (lvl 2),

Certain Half Ogre magi are able to perform the following feats of magic Once per day per ability by switching out a currently memorized spell equal to the cost listed for the ability: fly (for 12 turns) (lvl 3), polymorph to human (or similar bipedal humanoid form from 4′ to 12’ size) form (lvl 3), and regenerate 1 hit point per melee round (lost members must be reattached to regenerate, lasts for 1 turn per level) (lvl 3).

Those Half Ogre magi blooded can perform the following feats of magic as a major ability with no Material components Once per day per ability by switching out a currently memorized spell equal to the cost listed for the ability: fight as a 5 HD monster For the duration of the combat (lvl 1), Enlarge (self only, lvl 1), fight as a 9 HD monster for the duration of the combat (lvl 3), create a ray of cold the same dimensions as that of a cold wand which does 8d8 damage (Save for Half) (lvl 4).

Other Ideas could include

1d6 New Monk Ideas

1d6 New Monk Ideas

Here is my humble response to 4 points to Ponder Monks. Written primarily from the POV of someone using AD&D (first edition) rules in some interesting ways.

1d6 ideas for a Monk. Someone (aka you, me, or anyone who does the work)  could reskin the mechanics to do the following things fairly easily.  See the sad thing is though 1E AD&D is importing things through the OSR movement.  Some of that is reinventing the wheel because there were things being done when 1EAD&D was just AD&D and the new BMOC with the full creative force of TSR behind the wheel.

1. Make them a Gladiator.  Instead of an Asian character perhaps they are Marcus Maximus, gladiator(monk) who instead of letting loose a Hiii yaaaaa in a poor parody of many a Hong Kong action flick instead roars out a salute to those who are about to Die (hopefully, their opponents!). If the campaign is Europeanocentric the pre-qualified mechanics officially approved for play in the game and built for balance and intended to complement the other classes just needs to fit the theme of the campaign.  If the campaign is built on the ruins of a Romanesque empire (whether historically accurate or not) complete with the whole vast tapestry and rich history of arenas and gladiators then having this lore survive isn’t impossible and brings some of those threads forward to enrich the campaign.

If you have seen the movie by the same name then you understand that there are many things done in the movie that would be difficult for even a high level fighter to pull off.  With a little bit of handwavium though it becomes much easier for a low level monk to do these in a low level campaign far easier.  There might be some additional restrictions such as requiring a Monk to have an improvised weapon to do their astounding Open Hand Combat (and only with improvised items of for surprise/stealth rounds, not open hand attacks or using just any weapon!). A character that can use armor that no other character would consider fit to adventure in and not get hurt nearly as bad is exactly what the AC modifiers of a monk could explain.  The Healing special ability is a knowledge of how the body works,

Adroitly avoiding missiles? Check. Limited knowledge based healing? Check.

2. Make them a Duelist. Although it shares similarities with the Gladiator concept, this is the other end of the temporal spectrum, having developed a specialized ability to use weapons and armor or techniques that ordinarily would not be nearly as effective.  This could be a late period response (or the equivalent societal/cultural mimicry) to laws trying to prevent brawling in the streets.  A a way to reinforce the necessary look and feel of a Dueling class the fencing blade in the hands of an ordinary fighter might do 1d3.  In the hands of a duelist(monk) the Open hand chart is instead used (and only with the approved/trained dueling styles, not open hand attacks or just any weapon!) making a street tough a real threat with a few levels of Duelist(monk) under their belt.

That fop wielding a cloak in his off hand and a dagger is suddenly no laughing matter. Especially if he is a 6th rank (level) Bravo (monk) going up against even that Double-specialized-in-Longsword Elven 8th level fighter in a sanctioned (or enforced) duel.  With no magical arms, or armor and has to use a weapon he might not even be proficient in that fighter who might ordinarily wipe the floor with any other character has issues because using those other advantages would be cheating in a duel!  Even worse than losing Reputation or Honor in a campaign the character might run afoul of the local law and have to pay the consequences or never set foot in the town again.

Instead of temples of monks there could be fencing schools (with the same variety of masters as outlined in OA)!  In addition if there are only so many top duelists in a town since the schools are related (like the restrictions on Monastic advancement as outlined in the base rules)  then there is a whole built in structure of complex rivalries and inter school conflict that could erupt with the players getting involved perhaps as a part of a Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing plot line. The real benefit of this modification is this does let there be some effective light fighter concepts/classes without too much work.

3. Make them a Psionic Warrior/Class.  Though this is something along the lines of what I did with the Wolfqueen Monks, it remains different. A few of the special abilities in a 1E monk (a human only class which are the ones most likely to develop Psionic Abilities) deal with psionics. So as a way of explanation the character might carry a recessive trait for Psionics that can be developed through intense physical training. Of course if Psionics are non-existent in the campaign that still does not help the viability of the Monks any more than if they are Asians in an Eurocentric campaign.

The Open hand abilities are transmuted into another psionic ability manifested as a physical increase well as the lowering of the characters AC, Saving vs. spells and missile deflection are all some sort of mind tricks while the special abilities are minor psionic manifestations. The weapon damage bonus Monks get is a lesser channeling of psionic might through a weapon.  Thusly instead of shoehorning the class as written into the campaign, the point of these superficial modifications is to create tie ins with the rest of the vast mythos of the campaign universe through earthly lore.

4. Turn them into a Magical/ Physical Adept. Much like the concept in #3 above the Open hand abilities are transmuted into Physical manifestation of magical power (a la Iron Fist perhaps?) as well as the lowering of the characters AC, Saving vs. spells and missile deflection are all some sort of minor magical tricks while the monastic special abilities are spells, lores or major magical abilities. The weapon damage bonus Monks get is a limited channeling of mystic might through a weapon.

Again tying these concepts into the campaign to add depth as well as support the character is the real foundation of these modifications.

Swiftstar Nefertiti, Egyptian Punk Monk

5. Switch their cultural origin. In addition to representing various elements of other cultures (often playing up the stranger in a strange land element) but to make the character even more alien perhaps they aren’t from an Earth Culture but from an Alien/space-faring relic or other Anachronism.

The Drunken master also is a decent enough concept, the character gains powers where others most often gain weaknesses.

6. Describe them as a Preternatural Athlete, or a Buffoon. Again these are just flavor texts for light fighting concepts both supported by Asian media as well as European/American stories.

There is also the option to combine these such as Being an anachronistic metagame buffoon by perhaps knowing the “Rex Quan Do” martial art style… Handled properly it can add an element to the game that can be quite fun.

The end result of these modifications to this class, even if not played, is capable of adding a deeper, richer background to the campaign with no mechanical work and only a little imagination and writing.  If a fighter can be anything because it is such a base concept then so too can the Light fighter (Monk)