"Warrior Monk" By The Book (?)

How would you burn a warrior monk lifepaths using only the BWG rules?
(Something like the old “Kung Fu” television show)

Get Blossoms, take Sohei lifepath. BWG core is decidedly Western medieval, and warrior monks don’t fit into the lifepaths. Your Crucible character is probably the best you can get.

If you don’t mind a massive re-interpretation of Faith and the associated mechanics, you could always use Faith to represent the spiritual aspects of the warrior monk. Specifically, you’d want to allow prayer to be conducted via a meditation ritual, and for most of the prayer effects (i.e,. p 524-525 of BWG) to be “saved up” and used later (i.e., you don;t have to meditate in the middle of a fight to get the bonuses. In particular, the Boon, Blessing, and Aid prayers could be used to great effect by a warrior monk. You could also allow for the effects of the Hindrance prayer to be released on a Mark unarmed strike, for a similar effect as D&D monks’ stunning attack.

village born–>Temple Acolyte–>outlaw–>ships chaplain–>itinerant monk.

orphaned and taken in as an alcolyte in the far east, his master is murdered by the emperor and our protagonist revenges himself on the emperor’s nephew, fleeing across the great ocean after many years he arrives in the west and travels the land righting wrongs…

as to “monk-like” powers, fate, persona and deeds points will cover such things as being able to leap over a wall or hold your breath for 10 minutes, catching arrows etc.

a d&d monk would have more thief and martial skills. make sure to put skill points in brawling and bow/crossbow.

village born–>failed alcolyte–>scout–>zealot.

Yeah, I’m trying to cover the basics of menial labor, religious training, and warrior arts (any Born to Servitude: Field Laborer to Pro. Soldier: Foot Soldier to Village: Acolyte) the problem could be my skills to skill points ratio. (Too many needed skills, not enough points to pay for them.) I also must do this in four lifepaths.

Oddly enough, I can burn up a perfectly serviceable four lifepath elven martial artist (go figure).

I think if your goal is a fully bad-ass monk, he’ll need to be 50-60 years old; as BWG states life paths are roughly analogous to D&D character levels. 8-10 life paths gives you a “name level” monk. At 4 life paths I wouldn’t expect him to be good at a broad retinue of skills. Taking your, “Born to Servitude: Field Laborer to Pro. Soldier: Foot Soldier to Village: Acolyte” Maybe you take Born Servitude–>Field Laborer–>foot soldier–>scout…

and then begin the first session of actual play with your soldier entering the monastery with the intention of learning the way of the fist. So maybe the “monk” actually takes shape through play instead of backstory if you are limiting yourself to 4 LP; in play you start learning how to catch flies with chopsticks, walk on walls, learn how to read and meditate on Ohm. If you want to start play with all of the story of becoming a monk behind him, you have to start with many more LP.

basics of menial labor, religious training, and warrior arts

If this is the order, then in media res of his first lessons (now that his master finds him worthy) of the warrior arts, so Born Survitude->servant->student->temple alcolyte…begin play with your first lesson on combat from your master, like Neo in his first lesson in the Matrix.

The third option in the servitude setting is “bondsman” and treat your monk-master as the bondsman which will get you more skills. Born Peasant->bondsman->bondsman->bondsman or maybe Born Survitutde->servant–>bondsman–>foot soldier.

It looks like this:
#1 peasant-soldier backstory who arrives at the monastery seeking to learn the mystic arts. (Born Servitude–>Field Laborer–>foot soldier–>scout)
#2 peasant-servant-alcolyte who is now deemed worthy of the martial ways. (Born Survitude->servant->student->temple alcolyte)
#3 peasant-scholar-warrior-monk who has a long way to go in attaining full mastery of his abilities. (Born Peasant->bondsman->bondsman->bondsman or Born Survitutde->servant–>bondsman of a theologian–>foot soldier).

It seems like you are trying to make #4 “peasant scholar warrior monk who’s already pretty good at what he does”. But that takes more LP :smiley: (Born Survitude->servant->student->temple alcolyte->foot soldier->sergeant->gardener*)

*I think gardener is an awesome capstone LP for a warrior-monk.

Seems like I should first burn up the master to see what could be and then burn up the student to see what should be.
I always thought that the number of lifepaths loosely followed the same idea as exponent dice so that a three lifepath character would be nominally trained and practiced, four is competent, five an expert, and six a master. (Anything over six is just higher degrees of mastery) that’s the way I’ve always worked up backround archtypes and templates. It has worked so far (except for the monk) so were I to try to burn up a venerable master like master po he would have eight to ten lifepaths, where as kane would start play at six.
It seems that a three lifepath character is about equal to a 1st. Level character in Basic D&D, 4-5 lifepaths for a 1st. Level in Advanced (depending on what edition and character class of course).

born noble–>scholar->arcane devote–>sorcerer = 1st level d&d wizard.
born noble–>squire–>knight–>veteran= 1st level fighter.
born noble–>religious alcolyte–>military chaplain–>knight of holy orders= 1st level cleric
city born->pickpocket->apprentice->journeyman->locksmith = 1st level thief

Just for fun, I would say two life paths puts you at 0 level (you are now an adult, after all, adults have life paths beyond, “I was born in a city”…that’s just childhood). What’s your occupation? City born–>barkeep = 0-level NPC.

So 3-4 life paths puts you at 1st level to 3rd level. For example, It takes a minimum of 4 life paths to equal the 1st level fighter’s title of “veteran”.

born noble–>squire–>knight–>veteran–>lord->baron–>count->duke–>king
born noble–>religious alcolyte–>military chaplain–>Knight of holy order–>itinerant priest–>archpriest–>bishop
born noble–>scholar–>arcane devote–>sorcerer–>court sorcerer–>rogue wizard–>advisor to the court.
city born–>pickpocket–>apprentice–>journeyman–>locksmith–>criminal–>clerk–>town official–>treasurer

No surprise that name level requires 7-9 life paths. Pretty close to d&d (some of the above can be done in 6…but keeping within the bounds of a good character arch, the fighter should attain veteran soldier (or a captain of some sort) before becoming a lord, the wizard should pull a stint as court sorcerer before going off to be a mad wizard in a tower for a while before becoming the mysterious advisor to the court etc.)

It seems to me that the Soldiering skill could be made to take up some of the slack of the menial labor as much of what boring day to day tasks a soldier would be faced with a young initiate would face as well (learning formations would be similar to learning katas in a group and getting paid does not always require “money”).
Taking that into consideration, I could go with Born Peasant (Professional Soldier Subsetting) Scout, Foot Soldier, (Villager Setting) Acolyte for a 4 Lifepath character (Religious Subsetting) Itinerant Monk for a 5 Lifepath character (Peasant Setting) Itinerant Priest for a 6 Lifepath character.

From humble beginnings, our hero finds his way to the temple where he is trained in the ways of an initiate and warrior before being accepted into the brotherhood as an acolyte. He now travels with his master (an itinerant priest) aiding the poor as best they can. (23 yrs, 8M/18P, 23 Res, 6 Traits, 17 Skills, 3 General) Slightly more warrior than monk but we can see at least one way to grow. (At 4 lifepaths he only needs to be competent in what he does) he and his master would have to spend 10 resource points in burning for the apprentice relationship.
Or forget the master and spend 22 points on the “gangs and crew” option (gives a B1 Resource with 1 point left over for clothes) or save two points for traveling gear and shoes by turning your “head of the order” relationship into a hateful one (perhaps the reason he is no longer at the temple). You still get the 1D Resources until he cuts you off completely (suffer a tax).

What do you think, am I pushing the intent of these lifepaths to far out of context?

Yes, to be blunt about it. Soldiering is for being a soldier, and is about as far from being a member of a monastic order, weapons-trained or not, as you can get. What you’re describing to me looks a lot more like a soldier who’s on his way to taking vows. A perfectly good and interesting character, to be sure, but not what you’re suggesting.

I think he’s thinking of a shaolin monk, who are also a soldier force, they just happen to be monastic.

It occurs to me that in some martial arts films doing menial labor ultimately makes the protagonist better at martial arts, whereas in BW it doesn’t, and furthermore it probably means you have a job that doesn’t leave much free time for learning martial arts.
It also occurs to me that BW has lifepaths devoted to learning martial skills- Page and Squire. Maybe use those but change around some of the weapon skills to reflect the difference in the culture? You might make this character like you would a member of a military order, but with a different set of weapon skills.

“Knight of a holy religious order” could be a shaolin monk.

Born peasant> (Religious)temple alcolyte>(Soldier) chaplain>(Religious) military order.

Yeah, I thought that might have been over reaching a bit. I do like the gangs and crew with the hateful master approach as it feeds into so much storyline fodder as well as beliefs about proving/redeeming himself. But that can work with any lifepaths that provide enough resouce points (20 for the gang and crew plus whatever you need for gear and such)

Unfortunately, Chaplain requires “any priest or Military Order” before it can be taken, unless I’m reading the way requirements work wrongly (before you take it rather than afterwards, just like leads) however, I do like the Military Order idea

My very first BWG monk was what we refered to as “The Noble Monk” (Born Noble, Page, Religious Acolyte, lead to Religious Subsetting: Itenerant Monk). It was a good character for the campaign we were in (based on the elder scrolls game oblvion) as his high resources were used to buy the priory (15 point farm) as well as “gangs and crew” at the priory (22 points) and shoes, clothes, traveling gear and a gambeson chest piece (heavy robes) he even had enough trait points to purchase hands of iron.
The problem is that I can not have every character I make be of noble birth and backround.
And concept wise, it’s kind of cheating.
(The poor monk with the B2 Resource)

Poor in money but rich in friends is still high Resources.

Have you read Accelerando? Part of the (complicated) plot, at least in the beginning, is the IRS dealing with a man who has no money or income but lives very well indeed on nebulous exchanges of favors and goodwill.

A little off topic, but these are way high for making the equivalent of a 1st-level character. Check out this doc: http://www.burningwheel.org/wiki/images/BurningTHAC0.pdf. 3LPs max, I feel. Do you recall how many misses made up your first combat?

So maybe something like Village Born, Acolyte, Foot Soldier might get you close to what you want? Replace the weapon skill with brawling or boxing?

Whoops. You’re right. I read, “any priest” as “any religious”.