Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Void Monks

Void monks seek to embody nothingness.  The tradition originally came from the orcs, who sought a way to escape the cruel world by vanishing it like the rude dream that it is.  Nihilism is the only comfort, because by embracing it, comfort is no longer needed.

Annihilation isn't destruction.  It is the return to nothingness.

Everything is an illusion.  Only the mind is real.

Even the mind is an illusion.  Nothing exists.

The world is a lie, and you can prove it.

Class Abilities


In this initiation ritual, you scoop out a chunk of your own brain.

Lose half of your Charisma.  Nothing can lower your Charisma further.  Your mind cannot be read.  You get +4 to save vs charms (including domination) and all emotions (good and bad), including pain, fear, anger, and sadness.  When you are scryed upon, you appear fuzzy and indistinct.

Reveal the Void

A creature you touch must save or lose one of its senses (your choice) for 1d6 rounds.  This includes extraordinary senses.  You can channel this ability through a melee weapon (usually a black steel quarterstaff) but doing so incurs a -2 penalty to the attack roll.

Void monks can also use this ability on themselves, and use it to meditate in perfect sensory deprivation.

Prepared for the Void

You no longer need to breathe.  In zero gravity, you can accelerate yourself telekinetically.  You are immune to radiation.  In theory, you would have no trouble existing in outer space.

Void Gaze

When you lock eyes with someone, they fall under the effect of a hold person spell (and get a save each round to escape).  However, while they are under the effects of hold person, so are you.  You can end the effect at any time.  This functions as a gaze attack.


You remove your eyes with leaden ritual-spoons crafted specifically for this purpose.  They boil off into the void.  You are blind, but have such excellent hearing that it doesn't matter for most things within 30', since you can hear creature's heartbeats and the echoes of your footsteps off the floor.  The only things that give you trouble are things that are truly silent.  Obviously, you cannot read books.  This ability is constant.

You can become locally omniscient for 10 minutes.  This is not true omniscience--you only understand physical things.  Anything that you could learn from taking things apart and looking at them, you know know.  You know all of the contents of books (despite not being able to read while blind) and the contents of people's pockets.  You cannot read minds or learn people's histories.  Invisibility is no barrier to this ability.  You can use this ability 1/day.

Total Removal of the Brain

You no longer have a Charisma score.  You must burn a hole in your character sheet so that no mention of Charisma remains (the self-concept is a lie).  You have a Charisma modifier of +0.  You automatically fail social-based Charisma checks and succeed on willpower-based Charisma checks.

Your mind cannot be read (because you have no mind-concept that they can comprehend) and anyone that attempts to read your mind must make a save or either fall catatonic for 1d6 days or have their mind read by you (as ESP), your choice.  Neither your image nor your sounds appear when scryed upon.

Lock Time

You designate a length of time (of any duration, including infinite).  For that length of time, your body becomes frozen in time, rigid and utterly unmoving.  While in this state, you cannot be altered--you are effectively harder than adamantine.  The only things that can affect you are spells that affect all matter (like disintegrate) or time spells.  If the time spell is cast on you, your stasis lock is dispelled and you are stunned for 1d6 rounds.  This ability is usable 1/day.

It takes an action to go into stasis lock; you cannot activate it fast enough when falling, unless the fall is more than 200'.

In your hands, an immovable rod turns into an immovable quarterstaff.  If you have an immovable quarterstaff in your hands when you use this ability, you can have the option to also lock Space as well as Time.  If you choose this, the effects of the immovable rod apply to your entire body while you are in stasis.  If other people are holding the immovable rod, you have the option to bring them (willingly) into stasis with you.

Once you gain this ability, you must resist the temptation to immediately use it on yourself with a duration of 'infinite'.  Make a Wis check with a +1 bonus for every reason you can name for staying on this mortal plane a while longer.  (Why postpone annihilation?  It is what you truly seek.  On the other hand, what's a few years in the face of infinity?)


Your most valuable possession immediately boils off into the void.  This makes you happy--or it would if you felt any emotions at all.  It is, at least, a desirable thing.

If you don't possess anything especially valuable (DM's discretion) this ability will be postponed until you own something nice (DM's discretion).  DM's should strive to avoid egregious metagaming with regards to this ability--the character wants to see their most previous item vanish, since it symbolizes non-attachment.

Once this has happened, it signifies that you have finally shed your soul.  From now on, you are soulless, and are immune to level drain.  When you die, you vanish utterly from all existence.  Your corpse and equipment vanish, and you fade from the memories of everyone.

Annihilation of False Self

You destroy yourself, and then recreate yourself 3 rounds later.  During this interim, you are a shapeless, massless, volumeless force similar to an unseen servant.  You still occupy a point in space, however, or at least a probability cloud.

The only things that affect you are things that affect an area.  Spells that see invisibility don't see you (since you are incoherent, not invisible) but AoE effects that reveal you (such as faerie fire) work on you (since they instantly collapse your wave-partical duality) and additionally dispel this effect.

While annihilated, you can still affect the world as if you were present.  You can make (unarmed) attacks, pull levers as normal.  (Basically, it's as if you are running around naked, but no one else can see, hear, feel, or touch you unless it is with an AoE effect.)

This ability is usable 1/day.

Annihilation of the Lie of Reality

You touch a target with both hands.  If the target fails a save, it vanishes.  This can be a single creature or object not larger than an ogre.  This ability only works on discrete things, within the size limit and capable of being described with a single noun.  This ability only works on things potentially affected by a disintegration spell.

So it would work on a door, but not on a wall (unless the entire wall was smaller than an ogre).  It would work on a canoe, but not a galleon.  It would work on a mind flayer, but not a dragon.

Erased creatures get a second save after 1d6 rounds.  If they succeed on this save, they return from the dimensionless, timeless void.  If they fail it, they are utterly gone forever.

This ability is usable 1/day.

My Homebrew

Void Monk A - Reveal the Void, Autolobotomy
Void Monk B - Prepared for the Void, Void Gaze OR Denucleation, +1 Initiative
Void Monk C - Lock Time, Total Removal of the Brain
Void Monk D - Nothingness, Annihilation of the False Self OR Annihilation of the Lie of Reality, +1 Initiative

Starting Skills


Bonus XP

Obtain the  Sphere of Annihilation: +1000xp.


  • Go into outer space.  Ride the stars.  Feel the void on your teeth.
  • Get the Sphere of Annihilation.  Wreck shit.
  • Erase the Universe.

Your Homebrew, Probably

Everything as Cleric, but subtract Turn Undead + spellcasting, then add: 

Level 1 - Reveal the Void
Level 2 - Autolobotomy
Level 3 - Prepared for the Void
Level 4 - Void Gaze OR Denucleation
Level 5 - Lock Time
Level 6 - Total Removal of the Brain
Level 7 - Annihilation of the False Self OR Annihilation of the Lie of Reality
Level 8 - Nothingness
Level 9 - Establish monastery, attract 2d6 followers, learn the location of the Sphere of Annihilation

If you want to make them extra-monkish, give them no armor proficiencies but increase their unarmored AC over time, in classic monk fashion.

Void Monks in Centerra

It freaks a lot of people out, the way that they scoop out their brains without much effect.  In the old days, when the Void Monks were closer to the orcish metal, removing your brain meant sawing off the top of your head and scooping out your own brains while reciting the chants.  Those who removed all of their brains were revered as Masters of Emptiness.  Those who pitched forward, had a seizure, and died were quietly buried under the turnip beds.

Lobotomy has a tremendously beneficial effect on orcs.  It inhibits their aggression, their ambition, their restless distrust.  Lobotomized orcs are strikingly similar to lobotomized humans.

They fight with black steel quarterstaffs, katars, or khopeshes.

They build monasteries in remote parts of the world.

These monasteries are filled with time-stopped monks, masters of Nihilum.  These time-stopped monks sit like mummies, except that they're invulnerable.

The monastery of Granat is said to have walls made from time-stopped monks, who simply climb into the wall, lock limbs, and then stop time permanently for themselves.

The monastery of Zhul is said to float in the air, supported by a trio of Time and Space Locked monks (each possessing an immovable rod).

Their monasteries are great empty places.  They hire dwarves to build them true hives.  Just thousands of identical square rooms piled together in a grid, or in a hexagon pattern.  Nearly all of these are empty.

People sometimes come to them to be lobotomized.  They are very good at it.  If you make a sizable donation, or promise to serve the monastery for a year, they might lobotomize you, too.  These lobotomies can cure insanity, restore lost levels, and even erase painful memories.  It only costs a point of Cha for these minor lobotomies.

Some monasteries do ritualized memory purges every year, wiping themselves of all memories that distract them from their meditations.  PCs might return to a monastery several months later to find that none of the monks remember them.

The monks revere the Annihilated Ones, who grew so wise that they were even able to escape history.  The monks do not know who the Annihilated Ones are (since they erased all traces of their passage) but they know that there must have been some, and so they invent their own names and histories for the Annihilated Ones.

These invented histories are then treated as fact, and believed utterly.

It makes no difference to them.  In the end, all reality is contrived.  Why should one illusion be believed over another?

Pictures of Void Monks


  1. Love the lobotomy part.

    In my world the bad orcs are masters of the lobotomy and other crude brain surgeries, and use it to create dull witted creatures capable of control. They come packing various sizes and shapes of nails and little spoons, and have skull maps with the optimum patterns for the various species they encounter. There's good money in it as theres always a demand for well-lobotomized Ogres.

  2. The phrase "Pretentious Annihilation-holes" was coined to describe Void Monks.

  3. These guys are going into my Mutant Crawl Classics campaign as a cryptic alliance.

  4. The party void monk rolled a crit fail to resist the urge to timelock herself forever at level 5... Rest In Nihilo, Bers the Void Monk.
    The most fun was had with Reveal The Void and stretching it to include emotions and proprioreception.

  5. If anyone is interested, I created a 5e adaptation for this:

  6. Aah, and now the reddit post if 5e got deleted. Pls post it elsewhere.

  7. Oh sorry, super late but here's the updated 5e version: