Thursday, August 9, 2012

The State of Mu; an option for the name level Fighter

Name level is typically a pretty important spot for any given D&D adventurer, especially those in older versions of the game. It was at that level you became a force to be reckoned with. No longer were you a "myrmidon" or "prestidigitator" - you were a LORD or a NECROMANCER or even a NECROMANCER LORD, if you were an elf. Generally, you cleared some land, built a fort, put up a sign and waited for your shiny new followers to show up.

Different version of the game came along with variations on high level play. One of the coolest things about Frank Mentzer's version of D&D brought to the table was the idea that you could become "land owning" or "traveling" when you hit name level. This is also how that version of the game allowed for odd sub-classes like Paladins and Druids, turning these into options for higher level characters. It wasn't perfect but, hey.

Anyway, this post has a point beyond retreading stuff that everyone already knows. I like when there are options beyond becoming a Lord at one point but I dislike hard-coded changes to status; basically I think if you want to become a knight or a paladin, it should happen in game as opposed to being dictated by experience points.

So what options does that leave us? I think that reaching such a level should represent something internal, something that can be perhaps disrupted, but never taken away.

(Also, I've been reading way too much "Lone Wolf and Cub")

The State of Mu

Mu's meaning is initially simple and yet deceptively complex; it is emptiness, it is forgetting ones self and merging themselves with their path, perfecting it.

In this case, the warrior has reached a certain pinnacle in his art. Why he wields his blade is no longer important; it is enough that he simply does.

Requirements: A fighter must have attained Level 9, and a wisdom of at least 10 is required. Anyone who does not meet these specifications lacks the discipline to attain The State of Mu. He or she must also reject any possessions beyond what is required to continue his journey and maintain his supremacy as a warrior. (Magic items such as armor and swords are allowed, but something superfluous like a "Cloak of the Bat" may not be, as always the DM is the final arbiter of these things)

- A fighter who has attained Mu only takes half damage from normal, non-magical attacks. He can be hurt normally by another warrior who has reached a similar state, however.
- A bonus of +4 to all saving throws versus Charm, Compulsion, Possession or any other form of mental or emotional domination is granted; it is hard to control someone who has already forgotten the self
- Being one with Mu means to act without acting; A fighter in this state can no longer be surprised by someone who intends to attack them.
- When a person becomes one with their art, they may act flawlessly when called upon; One who embraces emptiness may opt not to roll for an attack, instead resolving the strike as if they had rolled an 11 on a d20.


  1. I'd make the Wisdom requirement higher, maybe a 13 or 14, and probably extend the surprise portion to all awareness or perception situations IN RELATION TO COMBAT. The flawless roll seems... odd, too. Maybe a larger critical hit window, if you use crits, or always max damage, or have it manifest in a basic AC reduction for the target (All targets are -4 AC or something).

    Really cool idea nonetheless, and a good flavor variant.

    1. Originally the wisdom requirement was much higher, but I use 3d6 in order a lot so a fighter with that high of stats seemed really unlikely, and I wanted this to be a fairly viable option. That being said, your assertion isn't unfair.

      Totally agree with the "in relation to combat", that's a much better way to say it.

      What I was trying to do with the flawless roll was make it seem like a totally natural, effortless thing; I figured taking the swinginess that comes from a d20 roll was a fun way to do so. I'll have to think about it.

      I appreciate the feedback! This was fairly experimental, even more so then the classes I've made so far.

  2. This is good stuff! I'd go for higher Wisdom, too. But the basic idea is pure awesome.

    And you really can do worse than reading too much Lone Wolf and Cub.