Monday, April 15, 2013

Avatar World, Art: Half of the Monk's Moves, Waterbender Playbook Image
Haven't played The Last Story, probably won't cuz even "modern" JRPGs are full of all the things that rub me the wrong way. Soundtrack's great though, as I'd expect from Nobuo Uematsu. For, you know, NOT doing FFXIII, this sounds an awful lot like it could be a FFXIII song. Not a bad thing though - as I've expressed before, while FFXIII disappoints me, it has a really good soundtrack.

I'm sorry there's been not much stuff lately, I've been a little stuck writing-wise. I made a little headway into the Monk here, but in general my thoughts have been elsewhere. Namely, my time's been completely dominated by anime. In the past 1.5 to 2 weeks, I started watching Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, finished it, watched Eden of the East and its two movies, and am now watching most of Steins;Gate and it is amazing. I'm hesitant to say any of these is good enough to knock Samurai Champloo out my top anime spot, but GitS:SAC and S-G both come awful close. If you have any more recommendations for awesome anime, especially if it's free on Hulu or if it's on Netflix, I'd love to hear.

So I've been tearing my brain apart because I can't figure out how the hell to do the rest of The Monk's moves. First, some thoughts.

The Name: A fella in my thread on Story Games brought up the idea of not calling the class The Monk at all, but instead going for The Guru. It's a really interesting proposal! The Guru is a more literal tie to the Avatar mythos, and has a great benefit of making the clear distinction between this spiritual monk and the very commonly-known D&D Monk (a martial artist that I would better represent as a Ninja). Still, Monks and Gurus aren't exactly the same thing, and Monks have a little better name recognition, even if we ignore all the D&D Monk recognition. I'm still thinking on this.

The Stats and Basic Moves: The Monk (which I'm gonna keep calling it until I make a final choice) is a Solid/Natural playbook, since that gives me a strong defensive hold on the game while permitting him to be strong at Meditating. Being a good Meditator was important to me. In general, they're not going to be using many Hot moves, which also makes some sense (though one stat array will probably have a +0 Hot instead of a -1). They're decent enough at Keen, being aware of their surroundings and stuff. As for Fluid, you might assume that they wouldn't do a ton of Move With Intention since they're still and all, but I would argue that a deliberate stillness can be Moving With Intention in the same way that taking a stance can be. The thing to keep in mind about the trigger is that you have to make the CHOICE to not move - it has to be proactive.

Playbook Moves: I'll just toss up what I have.
Energy Pathways: You may spend 1 Chi to distribute your remaining Chi as you please to any character you touch. Other characters may donate their Chi to you with a touch.
Probably the most radical move on the playbook by a lot. I really like the idea that through his understanding of Chakras and life energy he can not only manipulate it within an individual, but also channel it through several. He needs to be in physical contact to do it though. The other thing is he can stockpile it for free, but distributing it away has a cost. Honestly, I'll probably end up giving a cost to take in the end - can you imagine what would happen if a Ninja took this move? Holy shit.
Aware and Alert: When the MC triggers a Tag or Environment Tag against you, (they lose) / (you gain) an additional Chi.
Just one of the two though will be the final move, I just haven't picked yet.
An alternate version of this exists that's less volatile, but also boring: You may Observe Carefully using Natural.
I've had this idea around for a while. I'm pretty happy with this one - it's defensive and gets at the whole "aware of surroundings" thing without needing Keen.
Chi Armor: Whenever you would take harm, you may spend Chi equal to the harm dealt (before armor is applied) to ignore the damage.
I haven't a clue what this does to balance, but I thought it was a cool idea. It's things like this that make the Monk want all of his friends' Chi.

The other three moves have names/ideas without mechanisms.
I really want to expand on the idea that the Monk's calmness and stillness doesn't make him worse-off than the other, more mobile playbooks. It's a tough one - I had something of a draft about when you trigger Move With Intention through NOT moving (as described above) but I didn't like what I ended up with. I think it was something super-lame like MWI with Solid or some crap like that.
Almost certainly a modification of Meditate, but I don't know HOW it does that. I can feel something really clever hiding here, but I haven't quite ferreted that out yet. I suspect I need an inspiration flash for this one - maybe I'll go watch some media featuring Monk characters. I feel kinda tempted to look to the actual Spirit World for guidance here, but that was sort of the Avatar's schtick.
Clarity of Thought:
Somewhat of an afterthought, this seems like the right direction but I haven't the foggiest what to do with it.

So, that's actually all that's here today for the Monk, sorry if you were expecting more. I REALLY could use some ideas - heck, I think I'll have an easier time with the freakin' Aristocrat. The Monk is tough because they're not about fighting but are characters in an Action game, and much of what they do is a fluffy spiritual thing rather than any sort of concrete action, making it hard to write triggers that are specific enough while still giving freedom to imagine.

Because I feel bad about leaving so much of the Monk up in the air, and because I'm kinda late after promising this as a Friday post, I drew an image that I think goes pretty good as The Waterbender. Stylistically it's similar to the Scholar one, which is why I'm grouping them as playbook images.
Drawn initially as just some doodling, it grew into a Waterbender. Much more stylized than the previous one, I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about it. Chances are you'll see another Waterbender at some point instead.

Welp. Enjoy, and please help with the Monk stuff.
End Recording,

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