The early monks were very reclusive. They believed that progress in
this life would come from inner truth only and to achieve this they secluded
themselves away. They had almost no need for money but would teach elements
of their discipline and were consulted for their wisdom. The monasteries
started to accumulate wealth. This was almost an embarrassment to the monks,
having eschewed material wealth they couldn't seem to avoid it.
The wealth though was a mixed blessing, bandits, thieves, robbers,
con-men all focused on the monasteries as a source of income and stories
rose in which entire groups had been destroyed for the valuables they had
accrued. In self defense the monks started investigating the arts of combat.
Though they could use some specialised weapons they, for the most part,
discarded them and developed the skills of unarmed combat. They also looked
at how their discipline could be used to heal and in extreme cases harm.
Their research paid off and new skills were passed from group to group
becoming part of a monks basic training.
These new skills also brought a level of worldliness to the monks.
With the new skills they could compete with the fighters and clerics of
the world and some groups changed their focus from a purely mental stance
to a more balanced mind and body combination. These became the modern monks
who travel the world searching for new knowledge and skills.
Monks do not rely on weapons and armour in combat. Their discipline
allows them to use bare hands for weapons and their dexterity and agility
as a defense. High level monks can hit for high damage levels and have
very low armour classes, becoming very difficult to hit. Their dexterity
allows them to hide in shadows and sneak almost as well as thieves and they
can also harness the powers of their minds as well. The first ability is to
meditate which restores some physical wellbeing and the second is to focus
on the touch of death which in certain circumstances can kill a foe outright.
The variety of a monks abilities means that they tend to be one of
the more favoured classes though harder to develop in the initial stages.