March 11, 2016

Zen Archer

Monastic Tradition
Comments from the Finger: Another one off the todo list.

Way of the Bow

Monks that follow the Way of the Bow find serenity in the prefect, precise arc of an arrow's flight. You have been trained in archery on horseback, to fire a bow while blindfolded, and to pinpoint the wings of an insect in flight. As you attain peace and oneness with your arrow, no feat of archery will prove to be beyond your grasp.

Archery Fighting Style
Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.

Bow Arts
At 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the longbow and shortbow, which are considered monk weapons for you. Any ranged weapon attacks you make while within 5 feet of a hostile creature do not have disadvantage. Also, you can spend ki points to use the Flurry of Arrows and Soul Arrow features.
     Finally, if you are not unconscious or surprised when you roll initiative, you can immediately make a ranged weapon attack.
     At 6th level, you can make a ranged weapon attack to deliver a Stunning Strike.
Flurry of ArrowsImmediately after you take the Attack action on your turn to make a ranged weapon attack or an unarmed strike, you can spend 1 ki point to make an additional ranged weapon attack as a bonus action.
Soul ArrowWhen you take the Attack action on your turn to make a ranged weapon attack, you can spend 1 ki point to fire a soul arrow for the first attack. A soul arrow is a normal arrow of its type which ignores partial cover and deals additional damage equal to your Wisdom modifier on a hit. Firing a soul arrow does not consume ammunition.
Intercepting Shot
Starting at 6th level, when an attacker you can see makes an attack against you, you can make a ranged attack roll as a reaction to interrupt the attack. If the result of your roll is greater than the result of the attacker, you can reduce the attack roll targeting you by 5, to a minimum of 1.

Serenity of the Wind
By 11th level, you can listen to the wind to see the otherwise invisible. As a bonus action, you may spend 1 ki point to gain blindsight with a range of 120 feet until the end of your next turn.
     At 17th level, you always have blindsight out to 30 feet.

Zen Archery
At 17th level, when you miss with a ranged weapon attack, you can immediately make another ranged weapon attack against the same target. If this second attack misses, you cannot use this feature to reattempt the attack roll another time.

Bow Arts: You gain the use of the Soul Arrow, not Mind Arrow, feature
Soul Arrow: Does not consume ammunition
Intercepting Shot: Requires a reaction
Zen Archery: Slightly reworded
Bow Arts: Shortbow is a monk weapon


  1. The Intercepting Shot doesn't require a Reaction to do. Is that intentional?

    1. That was a mistake. This feature should work identically to the Master Thrower Defensive Throw feature

  2. Do mind arrow shots consume ammunition as normal?

  3. Nice job as always. This one definitely will be fun to play. I see nothing wrong with the current build on this archetype except for Intercepting Shot. Everything else seems to mostly fall in line.
    As for Intercepting shot, it feels like it would be a little too powerful for a sixth level ability, especially seeing as monk already has so many abilities in their kit.
    A few options to bring it down in line, as well as make it more interacting would be to require it to cost a reaction, cost a ki point, and/or, and my most favorite, change the -5 to hit to reducing the to hit by a roll based on the current monk unarmed strike die, sort of how the Battle Master works with their superiority die. It gives it progression, as well as a little bit of chance.
    Overall, I feel like this one's a thumbs up. Good job!

    1. Intercepting shot should require a reaction, which was a mistake on my part. I might have it require Ki as well, but where it stands now I think it's similar in power to the rogue Uncanny Dodge feature.

  4. is the ability called mind arrow, and the arrows produced by activating that ability called soul arrows, or is that a mistake?

    1. over all, I think it's balanced, has abilities that I think are very fitting the class! I've been wanting to play a zen archer for a while, and when I do, this shall definitely be the class I will use! I think rolling to determine intercepting shot's damage reduction would be best, or make it equal to your Dex or Wis modifier at least. This is similar but also opposite of catch arrows, which I think it wouldn't be bad to model off of, sans the reflecting the attack. I really like this ability though, very cool !

    2. Modeling it off of Catch Arrows is an interesting idea. Lemme check how that feature looks and I'll get back to you.

    3. Also, I originally called the feature Mind Arrow (based on a 3.5 class), but I changed it to Soul Arrow for thematic synergy (and missed one reference to the old name.)

  5. Well this looks fun! I've always wanted a ranged Monk character :D
    A question on Zen Archery: when it says you can make an immediate attack after each miss, is that only once per turn, or is it on any miss? If it's on every miss, that seems like constantly-on advantage, plus a little bit of ammunition tax. Was that the intention, or am I misinterpreting it?
    Seems cool though!

    1. That's totally the correct interpretation. In retrospect, it seems like a very powerful feature, but it is at 17th level, so I think the power is deserved.

    2. That's not exactly advantage, because of 2 things:
      1- it STACKS with advantage (and with disadvantage)
      2- if your attack was a soul arrow it's wasted.
      3- if you have Lightning Javelins, even a miss deals damage (as a line), so this would be an extremely powerful combo.

  6. Does the initiative attack require an action or reaction? Or is it just a free action?

    1. This is a tricky thing to talk about, since it happens when initiative is rolled. Players and DMs don't normally keep track of actions and turns without some sort of turn order, and therefore actions don't really /exist/ (at least in a structured way) before initiative is rolled. For that reason, I didn't specify that this takes your action or reaction -- it just happens when you start combat (free actions aren't really a thing anymore.) Hopefully that makes sense.

  7. Why can't my halfling use his shortbow as a monk weapon?