Shadow Monk (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Shadow monks embrace that which other fear. By overcoming their own fear of the unknown and unseen, they gain power over it. The way of the shadow monk is secretive and self-controlled, giving up flashy maneuvers and speed for subtlety, in defense and attack. The addition of shadow magic makes shadow monks feared and whispered of in dark corners.

Class Information

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Prestige Class: Shadow dancer.

Build Class: Monk.

Role: Shadow monks are scouts extraordinaire but also warriors and mystics, able to shift from one role to another in the blink of an eye.

Alignment: Any lawful. Shadow monks seem mysterious to outsiders and their rules hard to fathom, but the monks themselves know better.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Gold:´1d6 x 10 gp (35 gp average).

Class Skills

The shadow monk’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

These are all the class features of the shadow monk.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Shadow monks are proficient with the club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, sling, and spear. Shadow monks are not proficient with any armor or shields. When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a shadow monk loses his AC bonus, as well as his flurry of blows abilities.

AC Bonus (Ex)

When unarmored and unencumbered, the shadow monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a shadow monk gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four shadow monk levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the shadow monk is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Flurry of Blows (Ex)

Starting at 1st level, a shadow monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action.

When doing so, he may make on additional attack, taking a -2 penalty on all of his attack rolls, as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. These attacks can be any combination of unarmed strikes and attacks with a monk special weapon (he does not need to use two weapons to use this ability).

For the purpose of these attacks, the shadow monk’s base attack bonus from his shadow monk class levels is equal to his shadow monk level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the shadow monk uses his normal base attack bonus.

At 8th level, the shadow monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the shadow monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

At 15th level, the shadow monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

A shadow monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A shadow monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows. A shadow monk cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows. A shadow monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.

Unarmed Strike

At 1st level, a shadow monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A shadow monk’s attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a shadow monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a shadow monk striking unarmed. A shadow monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.

Usually a shadow monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.

A shadow monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

Table: Table: Shadow Monk Unarmed Damage by Size
Level Damage (Small) Damage (Large)
1st-5rd 1d4 1d8
6th-10th 1d6 1d10
11th-15th 1d8 2d6
16th-20th 1d10 2d8

A shadow monk also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown above on Table: Shadow Monk. The unarmed damage values listed on Table: Shadow Monk is for Medium shadow monks. A Small shadow monk deals less damage than the amount given there with his unarmed attacks, while a Large shadow monk deals more damage; see Small or Large Shadow Monk Unarmed Damage on the table given below.

Stunning Fist (Ex)

At 1st level, the shadow monk gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the shadow monk gains the ability to apply a new condition to the target of his Stunning Fist. This condition replaces stunning the target for 1 round, and a successful saving throw still negates the effect. At 4th level, he can choose to make the target fatigued. At 8th level, he can make the target sickened for 1 minute. At 12th level, he can make the target staggered for 1d6+1 rounds. At 16th level, he can permanently blind or deafen the target. At 20th level, he can paralyze the target for 1d6+1 rounds. The shadow monk must choose which condition will apply before the attack roll is made. These effects do not stack with themselves (a creature sickened by Stunning Fist cannot become nauseated if hit by Stunning Fist again), but additional hits do increase the duration.

Safety in Darkness (Su)

The dark holds no terror for shadow monks. At 3rd level the shadow monk gains darkvision with a range of 60 ft. If the shadow monk already has darkvision, the range of that darkvision is instead increased by +30 ft. In addition, he is immune to the side effect of any area of darkness that has a side effect, such as the choking darkness shadowdancer trick or the hungry darkness spell.

Bonus Feats

At 2nd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, a shadow monk may select a bonus feat. These feats must be taken from the following list: Catch Off- Guard, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Improved Grapple, Scorpion Style, and Throw Anything. At 6th level, the following feats are added to the list: Gorgon’s Fist, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, and Mobility. At 10th level, the following feats are added to the list: Improved Critical, Medusa’s Wrath, Snatch Arrows, and Spring Attack. A shadow monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

Evasion (Ex)

At 2nd level or higher, a shadow monk can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks. If a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a shadow monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless shadow monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Shadow Disciplines

At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, the shadow monk learns one shadow discipline. Shadow disciplines are developments of the shadow monk's innate ki and include supernatural and spell-like abilities. Unless otherwise noted, a shadow monk can only learn each discipline once.

Acrobatic Master (Su): As a swift action, a shadow monk with this discipline can focus his ki to grant him a +20 bonus on one Acrobatics check of his choice made before the start of his next turn. Using this ability expends 1 ki point from his ki pool.

Blinding Darkness (Ex): Whenever the shadow monk uses the darkness discipline, all living creatures in the area must make a Fortitude save or be blinded by the darkness for 1d4 rounds. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 10 + 1/2 the shadow monk’s class level + the shadow monk’s Wisdom modifier. Blinding darkness costs one ki point to use, beyond the cost of the darkness discipline. The shadow monk must be at least 11th level and know the darkness discipline before selecting this one.

Darkness (Sp): The shadow monk adds darkness to the list of spell like abilities he can use with shadow ki, at a cost of one ki point. This effect is heightened (as the Heighten Spell feat) to a spell level equal to half the shadow monk’s level. The shadow monk must be at least 7th level to learn this discipline.

Darkvision (Su): This discipline allows the shadow monk to use his ki to enhance his sight, giving him low-light vision and increasing the range of his darkvision by 60 feet. Using this discipline is a standard action that costs 1 ki point. The enhanced senses last for 1 hour.

Fast Stealth (Ex): A shadow monk with this discipline can move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.

Feather Fall (Su): As an immediate action, the shadow monk can slow his descent as if using feather fall. This ability uses his shadow monk level as the caster level. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.

Forgotten Discipline (Ex): A shadow monk with this ability can recall one discipline hidden in the shadows of his mind. When he uses this ability, he selects one shadow discipline that he does not know but whose prerequisites he fulfills and can use that shadow discipline for a number of rounds equal to his class level. He must pay any ki costs associated with the discipline as normal. Using this ability expends 1 ki point from his ki pool, plus the ki cost of the discipline he chooses.

Ghost Step (Su): When using the incorporeal defense discipline, the shadow monk can pass through walls as if he were a ghost. Until the end of his turn, he can pass through a wall or other surface that is up to 1 foot thick per level as if he were incorporeal. He must exit the solid material by the end of his turn. The shadow monk must be 11th level and know the incorporeal defense discipline to select this discipline.

High Jumper (Ex): When a shadow monk with this discipline makes a high jump, the DC for that jump is half the normal DC. The shadow monk must have the acrobatic master discipline before taking this one.

Incorporeal Attack (Su): By spending 2 ki points as a swift action, the shadow monk gains the ability to make his unarmed strikes as incorporeal touch attacks. Incorporeal touch attacks ignore armor, natural armor, and shield bonuses to armor class, except that force armor and armor with the ghost touch property protect fully against them. In addition, the shadow monk’s attacks cause full damage to ethereal and incorporeal creatures. The effect lasts until the end of the shadow monk’s turn. If the shadow monk knows the incorporeal defense discipline, he can activate both effects with a single swift action, but must pay the ki cost separately for each. The shadow monk must be at least level 11 to learn this discipline.

Incorporeal Defense (Su): By spending 1 ki point as a swift action, the shadow monk gains immunity to non-magical physical damage and takes half damage from magical physical attacks for 1 round. Force effects, ghost touch weapons, incorporeal attacks, and other effects that specifically do full damage to incorporeal creatures are immune to this effect. He is not otherwise considered incorporeal, and cannot make incorporreal touch attacks or pass through solid objects.

Invisible Blade (Su): Whenever a shadow monk uses the vanishing discipline, he is treated as if he were under the effects of greater invisibility. The shadow monk must know the vanishing discipline and must be at least level 11 to learn this discipline.

Nondetection (sp): The shadow monk adds nondetection to the list of spell like abilities he can use with shadow ki, at a cost of one ki point. The shadow monk must be at least 6th level to learn this discipline.

Release Shadow (Su): The shadow monk can release his shadow as a swift action at the cost of 1 ki point. This acts as summon monster spell and summons a shadow, except that the creature is a construct (not an undead), inflicts 1d6 points of hit point damage instead of Strength damage, and lacks the create spawn ability. It must end each of its turns in sight of the shadow monk or be destroyed. For every two class levels the shadow monk gains beyond level 6, the shadow gains +2 hit dice, +13 hit points, and a +1 bonus to AC, attack, damage and all saves. The added hit dice have no effect in themselves, they just makes the creature stronger for the purpose of effects related to hit dice. As long as his shadow is released, the shadow monk casts no shadow, and he can only have one summoned shadow at a time. The shadow monk must be at least level 6 to learn this discipline.

See the Unseen (Sp): A shadow monk with this discipline learns how to see that which cannot be seen. As a swift action, the shadow monk can cast see invisibility with a duration of one round per level, using his class level as the caster level. Each use of this ability costs 1 ki point.

Shadow Clone (Su): The shadow monk can create shadowy duplicates of himself that conceal his true location. Add mirror image to the list of spell like abilities he can use with shadow ki, at a cost of one ki point. The shadow monk must be at least 6th level to learn this discipline.

Shadow Split (Sp): This discipline allows the shadow monk to cast mislead. The saving throw to disbelieve the glamer part of this is 10 + 1/2 the shadow monk's level + the shadow monk's Wisdom modifier. Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point. The shadow monk must possess the shadow clone and vanish disciplines before selecting this one.

Shadow Swarm (Sp): When he uses release shadow, the shadow monk can pay one additional ki point each to summon additional shadows, up to his Wisdom bonus in number (minimum 2). He cannot use release shadow again until all the summoned shadows are gone. He must be level 11 and know release shadow to learn this discipline.

Silent Shadow Step (Su): After using shadow step from his ki pool, the shadow monk can make a Stealth check to hide, and this Stealth check suffers no penalties for the shadow monks actions earlier in the round. The shadow monk bust be at least 13th level to learn this discipline.

Slippery Mind (Ex): If a shadow monk with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.

Slow Reactions (Ex): Opponents that are damaged by the shadow monk’s unarmed strikes can’t make attacks of opportunity for 1 round.

Unbound Steps (Su): The shadow monk adds air walk to the list of spell like abilities he can use with shadow ki, at a cost of two ki points. This effect is activated as a swift action and lasts one round per level. The shadow monk must be at least 13th level to learn this discipline.

Vanishing Discipline (Sp): As a swift action, the shadow monk can cast vanish as a cleric of his class level. Using this ability uses up 1 ki point.

Wall Climber (Su): The shadow monk adds spider climb to the list of spell like abilities he can use with shadow ki, at a cost of one ki point. The shadow monk must be at least 6th level to learn this discipline.

Ki Pool (Su)

At 4th level, a shadow monk gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a shadow monk's ki pool is equal to his class level + his Wisdom modifier.

By spending 1 point from his ki pool, a shadow monk can do one of the following:

  • Make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack, or
  • Increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round, or
  • Give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.

Each of these powers is activated as a swift action.

The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive.

Ki Strike (Su)

At 4th level, as long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, a shadowmonk can make a ki strike.

  • At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to be treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
  • At 7th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as cold iron and silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
  • At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
  • At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su)

A 5th level shadow monk can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a shadow monk can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

Shadow Ki (Sp)

At 6th level, a shadow monk can draw upon her ki pool to use shadow magic as spell-like abilities at a caster level equal to her class level. At 6th level she can use silent image as a spell-like ability, as long as she has one or more points remaining in the ki pool. The save DC for any shadow ki powers is Wisdom-based. At level 8, the shadow monk can also use the following spells at the cost of one point from the ki pool: shadow conjuration, shadow step. At level 12, the shadow monk can use the following spells at the cost of 2 points: shadow evocation, shadow walk. At level 15, the shadow monk can use the following spell at the cost of 3 points: greater shadow conjuration. At level 18, the shadow monk can use the following spell at the cost of 4 points: greater shadow evocation, shades.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 7th level, a shadow monk cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A shadow monk with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him. If a shadow monk already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Improved Evasion (Ex)

At 9th level, a shadow monk’s evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 12th level and higher, a shadow monk can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the shadow monk by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has shadow monk levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Shadow Master (Su)

At 20th level, whenever a shadow monk is in an area of dim light, she gains DR 10/— and a +2 luck bonus on all saving throws. In addition, whenever she successfully scores a critical hit against a foe who is in an area of dim light, that foe is blinded for 1d6 rounds.

Table: Shadow Monk

Class
Level
Base Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Flurry of Blows Attack Bonus Unarmed Damage AC Bonus
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 Flurry of blows, stunning fist, unarmed strike, safety in darkness –1/–1 1d6 +0
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 Bonus feat, evasion +0/+0 1d6 +0
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 Shadow discipline +1/+1 1d6 +0
4th +3 +4 +4 +4 Ki pool (magic) +2/+2 1d8 +1
5th +3 +4 +4 +4 Hide in plain sight, shadow discipline +3/+3 1d8 +1
6th +4 +5 +5 +5 Bonus feat, shadow ki (silent image) +4/+4/–1 1d8 +1
7th +5 +5 +5 +5 Ki pool (cold iron/silver), uncanny dodge, shadow discipline +5/+5/+0 1d8 +1
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Shadow ki (shadow conjuration, shadow step) +6/+6/+1/+1 1d10 +2
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Improved evasion, shadow discipline +7/+7/+2/+2 1d10 +2
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +7 Bonus feat, Ki pool (lawful) +8/+8/+3/+3 1d10 +2
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +7 Shadow discipline +9/+9/+4/+4/–1 1d10 +2
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Shadow ki (shadow evocation, shadow walk) +10/+10/+5/+5/+0 2d6 +3
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Shadow discipline +11/+11/+6/+6/+1 2d6 +3
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +9 Bonus feat +12/+12/+7/+7/+2 2d6 +3
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +9 Shadow ki (greater shadow conjuration) , shadow discipline +13/+13/+8/+8/+3/+3 2d6 +3
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Ki pool (adamantine), slow fall 80 ft. +14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4/–1 2d8 +4
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Shadow discipline +15/+15/+10/+10/+5/+5/+0 2d8 +4
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +11 Bonus feat, Shadow ki (greater shadow evocation, shades) +16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1 2d8 +4
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +11 Shadow discipline +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2 2d8 +4
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +12 Shadow master +18/+18/+13/+13/+8/+8/+3 2d10 +5

Note: What is Shadows?

Shadowdancers and their ilk have several abilities that work in dim light. This means just what it says; the ability works neither in light nor in total darkness, but only in shadows and dim light. GMs are encouraged to allow these abilities to be used in any area of contrasting light and darkness; in the stark shadows cast by bright light and in the mirk of darkness broken by a tiny flame or elusive reflection. As long as it makes sense for shadows to exist, these abilities work.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever he gains a level in a class of shadow monk, the following races have the option of choosing an alternate bonus depending on their race.

Dwarf: Reduce the Hardness of any object made of clay, stone, or metal by 1 whenever the object is struck by the shadow monk’s unarmed strike (minimum of 0).

Elf: Add +1/2 to Knowledge checks to identify strengths and weaknesses of enemies.

Gnome: Add +1/2 to the shadow monk’s Acrobatics check bonus.

Half-Elf: Add +1/2 on Escape Artist checks and on Acrobatics checks to cross narrow surfaces.

Half-Orc: Add +1 to the shadow monk's CMD when resisting a grapple and +½ to the number of stunning attack attempts per day.

Halfling: Add +1 to the shadow monk’s CMD when resisting a grapple and +1/2 to the number of stunning attacks he can attempt per day.

Human: Add +1/4 point to the shadow monk’s ki pool.

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