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Removing Monks 2 The Paladin option

So, I am trying this again. Another part of my series of blog posts explaining how you might remove the Monk from D&D and keep some of the playstyle intact. The last post caused a good deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who objected to even the suggestion that there might be a problem with Monks, on a cultural level. I will leave that aside for the moment. I can recognize there are issues with Monks and still love them. I have played them and I have written subclasses for them. I will do so again.

I will instead focus on the purpose of these blog posts. It is a mental exercise. “How do I do a thing?” is reason enough to take on a writing project. In this case, how do I make a version of D&D without Monks, but keeping some of the cooler aspects of monks?

As an additional benefit, all of the subclasses I am writing for this project and other things I am coming up with work just fine in ordinary 5e. Here is my latest entry. Enjoy!

Edit: I am updating the class based on som solid feedback I have received.

Oath of the Open Hand

Open Hand Paladins are trying to fill a couple of niches. For one, there is the mystic martial artist niche. Plenty of cultures have a semi-mystical tradition to their warrior archetypes. Indeed, this is reflected in the Paladin as a whole. It is the definition of a “holy warrior” archetype.

The Oath of the Open Hand is also leaning into the notion of someone focused on self-discipline and self-perfection. Yes, this does lean into some of the ideas behind East Asian martial arts, but the greeks had a version of this and so did a number of other cultures. The notion of denying baser urges to gain physical perfection shows up a lot in legends and religions. The Oath of the Open Hand is very much about perfect form and style. It is also worth noting that it does not actually require the paladin to always me unarmed, but it does have several abilities that work best with at least one hand free.

Tenets Of The Open Hand

The tenets of the Oath of the Open Hand were set long ago. There was a need for champions of the people to walk with hands open indicating that war alone was not the only solution. They will often go without armor, without blades, and always trying for a kind of self-perfection. Their divine power is channeled inward to give them greater mastery over themselves. They can seem detached at times, but that is part of their discipline.

A Mind at Peace. When passions flare, I will remain calm and centered. I do not act from a place of anger or passion.

Discipline and Endurance. A focused mind and body start with self-discipline. . Every day, I will strive towards the divine discipline of myself through practice and endurance.

The Perfection of Form. Nothing is quite so aesthetically pleasing as perfectly executed movement, a perfectly placed foot, or the sound of a perfectly placed strike. I will always strive for this.

Restraint and Moderation. I cannot achieve perfection if I overindulge in food, in passion, or in spirit. I will pursue restraint and moderation in all things.

Oath Spells

You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.
Oath of the Open Hand Spells
Paladin Level Spells
3rd Shield, Longstrider
5th Enhance Ability, Levitate
9th Elemental Weapon, Crusader’s Mantle
13th Aura of Purity, Staggering Smite
17th Dispel Evil and Good, Holy Weapon

Smiting Fist

For the purposes of smite spells, open hand counts as a mellee weapon.

Channel Divinity

When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following Channel Divinity options.

Divine Glow.

As an Action, you channel your divine energy into your body. For one minute, you body gains a divine glow. You gain gain temporary hit points equal to your Paladin level + your Charisma modifier. Additionally, if you are not wearing any armor, your base AC becomes 10+ Your Wisdom Modifier+Your Charisma Modifier.

Stunning Strike.

As a bonus action, you can make an unarmed strike. If you succeed, the target must make a Constitution save or be stunned till your next turn.

Divine Deflection.

Starting at 7th level, if at least one hand is free, you can use a reaction to deflect ranged attacks. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d12 + your Wisdom modifier + your Paladin level.

If you deflect the entirety of a ranged spell attack from a hostile target, you regain a first level spell slot.

Improved Extra Attack

At 11th level, once per combat, you can attack a third time, instead of just twice, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. This can only be done once per short or long rest.

Spirit Body

Starting at 15th level, you gain an immunity to aging and the poisoned conditions. You can still take poison damage, but the condition does not affect you. Spells or effects that cause aging no longer effect you unless you chose to let them.

Divine Form

At 20th level, Your body constantly is supported by the divine energies you have channeled. Every long rest you can choose a damage type (Slashing, Bludgeoning, or Piercing) and you have immunity to that type of damage unless the source is a magical weapon. Additionally, you are any effect that would change your form such as polymorph.

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