As martial arts are much more important in the world of Oriental Adventures. I had to include something. Two ideas occurred to me – steal it from the monk then tone it down and turn it into a feat OR use the feat chain idea from 3.5e OA.
I didn’t like either of these solutions.
I don’t like taking class abilities since it dilutes the uniqueness of the class. The feat chain in 3.5e doesn’t make sense in 5e as each martial feat made minuscule changes and you would need 5+ feats to get an option that was more than just flavour.
My third idea was to use Google and see what other people had done. This was a winner! I stole the idea from Alfaysia blog and modified it with some of the flavours from 3.5e and 1e OA. The expanded manoeuvre list makes it useful even for monks to take this feat.
An alternate school based version here.
You have training in one of the martial arts traditions of Carao (or Kara-Tur, or Rokugan or whatever your Fantasy Japan analogy is). You gain the following benefits:
- Your unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage.
- Unarmed strikes become finesse weapons for you.
- You learn two kihon of your choice from among those available (see Martial Artist Kihon List). If a kihon you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the kihon’s effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice). These kihon may only be used with unarmed strikes.
- You gain one chikara die, which is a d6 (or two if you are a monk). This die is used to fuel your kihon. A chikara die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended chikara dice when you finish a long rest. If you have more than one chikara die you may use the second die as a damage die and add damage to the kiohn’s effect even if it would normally not do damage.
- You may take this feat multiple times to learn more kihon and gain additional chikara die.
Mechanic Suggestion. I also allow my PCs who take this feat to use downtime to learn a new kihon. It takes one month of non-consecutive training (downtime) to learn a new kihon.
Martial Artist Manoeuvre List
- Beauty Looks At Mirror. You can use your opponent’s weight, strength, and momentum against it, deflecting its attack and throwing it to the ground. When another creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one chikara die to perform a trip attack. The target must make saving throw or be knocked prone.
- Black Tiger Steals Heart. You cause intense pain in an opponent with a successful stunning attack. After successfully making an unarmed attack you can spend a chikara die to cause such debilitating pain that the target creature is incapacitated for 1 round.
- Bull Charges Leopard. When you make an unarmed attack, you can expend a chikara die to increase your reach for that attack by 5 feet. If you hit, you add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll.
- Carrying The Sun And Moon.You can turn a strong defence into a powerful offence. If an opponent attacks you and misses while you are using the Dodge action, you can spend a chikara die and use your reaction to make an unarmed attack and adding the chikara die as a bonus on your attack roll.
- Double Dragons Emerge From Sea. You can strike a humanoid opponent’s joints to knock your target off balance. Against a humanoid opponent, after landing an unarmed attack you can use a chikara die to force the target creature to make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, the target is thrown so off-balance and they grant advantage to all attackers. You may add the chikara die to the DC of the Dexterity saving throw.
- Dragon And Tiger Appear. When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack, you can expend one chikara die to attempt to drive the target back. You add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a Strength saving throw, on a failed save, you push the target up to 15 feet away from you.
- Drunken Dance.You attack from a prone position with advantage. You can expend a chikara die to make an unarmed attack from the prone. You add the chikara die to the attack’s damage or to-hit roll. If your attack roll is successful, you may regain your feet immediately as a reaction.
- Eagle Claw. Your unarmed attacks shatter objects. You may use an attack action to make an unarmed attack against an unattended object. You may spend your chikara die to nullify the objects damage resistance to bludgeoning and bypass its damage threshold (if any). You may add your chikara die to the damage roll.
- Earth’s Embrace. You can crush opponents when you grapple them. If a grappled creature fails to escape your grip you may spend a chikara die to automatically do unarmed strike damage at the start of your turn. You may add your chikara die to the damage roll.
- Falling Star Strike. You have mastered the art of striking a nerve that blinds a humanoid opponent. You may spend a chikara die as part of your unarmed attack to force the target to make a Constitution save or become blinded for 1 minute. You can add the chikara die to the DC of the Constitution saving throw DC.
- False Leg Hand Sweep. When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one chikara die to make an unarmed attack against the creature, if you hit, you add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll.
- Fierce Tiger Pushes Mountain. When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack, you can expend one chikara die to attempt to damage another creature with the same attack, Choose another creature within 5 feet of the original target and within your reach, if the original attack roll would hit the second creature, it takes damage equal to the number you roll on your chikara die. The damage is of the same type dealt by the original attack.
- Fists of Iron. You have learned the secrets of imbuing your unarmed attacks with extra force. When you make an unarmed attack roll against a creature, you can expend one chikara die to add it to the damage roll. You can use this kihon before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.
- Gold Dragon Sweeps The Sky With Its Tail. If you move at least 30 feet towards an enemy and hit it with an unarmed attack, you add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll.
- Golden Dragon Plays With Water. When another creature damages you with a weapon attack you can see, you can use your reaction and expend one chikara die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your chikara die + your Strength or Dexterity modifier.
- Great Snake Takes Hold. You have learned the correct way to apply pressure to render an opponent unconscious. If a grappled humanoid creature fails to escape your grip you may spend a chikara die as a reaction to force the target to make a Constitution save or fall unconscious for 1 minute. You can add the chikara die to the DC of the Constitution DC.
- Lion Roar’s At Purple Dragon. You can bellow forth a ki-empowered shout that strikes terror into your enemies. When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack, you can expend one chikara die to attempt to frighten the target. You add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Wisdom saving throw, on a failed save, it is frightened of you for 1 minute. You can expend two chikara die to turn it into a Great Ki Shout which causes fear (as the fear spell, except it only affects a single target) instead of just frightening.
- Mongoose Strike. When you make an unarmed attack roll against a creature, you can expend one chikara die to add it to the roll. You can use this kihon before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.
- Rising Sun Meets The Lady Sky. When you score a critical hit with an unarmed attack, you can use your reaction and expend one chikara die to make another unarmed attack against the creature, if you hit, you add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll.
- Single Whip Saves the Emperor. When you move, you can expend one chikara die, rolling he die and adding the number rolled to your AC until you stop moving,
- Unicorn Embraces Moon. You can use your action to try to pin a creature grappled by you. To do so, make another grapple check. If you succeed, you and the creature are both restrained until the grapple ends.
- White Crane Chases Jade Tiger. When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack, you can expend one chikara die to attempt to knock the target down. You add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, you knock the target prone.
- White Horse Presents Hoof. When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack, you can expend one chikara die to attempt to disarm the target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it’s holding, You add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Strength saving throw, On a failed save, it drops the object you choose, the object lands at its feet.
- White Snake Shoots Venom. You can expend one chikara die and use a bonus action on your turn to feint, choosing one creature within 5 feet of you as your target. You have advantage on your next attack roll against that creature, if that attack hits, add the chikara die to the attack’s damage roll.
MARTIAL ARTS MASTERY
The monks described in the Player ’s Handbook are the principal practitioners of unarmed martial arts in the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game, while fighters (and, to an extent, samurai) are the experts in armed martial arts. Characters of all classes, however, can learn at least some of the techniques of martial arts — and in an Oriental Adventures campaign, they do so in the context of well-defined schools and traditions. Learning a martial art is more than selecting a couple of interesting kihons (manoeuvres). It involves a commitment to a particular style of fighting — one that emphasises kicks over blows with the hand, for example, or one that teaches throws rather than strikes. A martial arts style is a collection of kihon that practitioners of that style learn to enhance their prowess in combat.
Similarly, schools of unarmed combat have certain styles reflected in the specific manoeuvres they teach. One fundamental difference between styles is the distinction between hard forms and soft forms. Hard forms emphasise the use of muscles and bones for power, relying on direct movements and offensive focus. Hard styles often build off of Strength. Soft forms rely more on inner power, utilizing fluid and circular motions and redirecting an attacker’s movements with a more defensive approach. Soft styles often build from Dexterity or Wisdom.
Within each form, styles make use of certain methods of attack and defence. These methods and the feats associated with them are listed below. No style makes use of only one method. The kihon of a style can be learned in any order.
Following the path of a martial arts style has benefits. A character who masters the kihon within a style gains mastery of that style and you may increase your chikara dice for martial arts from a d6 to a d8. Once a form is mastered your save DC for kihon’s reflect the form you mastered – Strength for Hard Forms, Dexterity or Wisdom for Soft Forms.
MARTIAL ARTS STYLES
|Empty Hand||Mongoose Strike|
|Hard Form||Fists of Iron|
|Rising Sun Meets The Lady Sky|
|White Horse Presents Hoof|
|White Snake Shoots Venom|
|Mighty Works||Great Snake Takes Hold|
|Hard Form||Earths Embrace|
|Fists of Iron|
|Gold Dragon Sweeps The Sky With Its Tail|
|Dragon And Tiger Appear|
|Foot and Fist||Rising Sun Meets The Lady Sky|
|Soft Form||Gold Dragon Sweeps The Sky With Its Tail|
|Fists of Iron|
|Beauty Looks at Mirror|
|False Leg Hand Sweep|
|Fierce Tiger Pushes Mountain|
|The Gentle Way||White Crane Chases Jade Tiger|
|Soft Form||Carrying The Sun And Moon|
|Beauty Looks at Mirror|
|Big Boss’ Drunken Dance.|
|Black Tiger Steals Heart.|
|Meditation on War||Mongoose Strike|
|Hard/Soft Form||Bull Charges Leopard|
|Fists of Iron|
|Black Tiger Steals Heart.|
|Double Dragons Emerge From Sea|
|Falling star strike|