Monastic Way of the Zen Archer
Way of the Zen Archer
Standing amongst snowdrifts billowing in through the doors of a ruined monastery, a female Halfling, robed in white and holding a small crossbow, lies in wait. She knows the goblins that hide in these mountains mean to make this ancient place of meditation and worship into their festering lair, and has dedicated herself to stopping the desecration before it begins. Eyeing the doorway, she spies a pair of green scalps protruding above a mound of snow. Quicker than she can breathe, she focuses her ki and lets fly a bolt, drawing and bring a second in quick succession. Both strike home, and the goblins squeal in pain before dashing back out the door.
The woods echo with wicked laughter as a fleet female tabaxi chases after a blindingly fast quickling, the nimble fey dodging and weaving between the trees yards ahead of the cat. Perched on a leafy branch at the far side of the tree, thinking itself out of reach, the quickling continues cackling maniacally over the latest batch of tricks and thefts it has heaped upon the tabaxi's unsuspecting village. The tabaxi waits but a moment, concentrates, and lets loose a single arrow from her bow that curves amongst the branches, finding its target and eliciting a small, startled yelp.
A human male, wearing but a simple tunic and trousers to shield against the wind, stares down a regiment of hobgoblins that have been terrorizing a small town. Marching two by two, heavily armoured and armed, the goblins pose a serious threat to the farming community, who have been giving them tribute to the point of starvation. Nocking an arrow to his bow, the human fires a single shot which explodes in a powerful lance of radiant light, splitting through the ranks and sending even the most disciplined hobgoblins pulling away in fear or agony.
In the hands of most, a bow is simply a weapon, designed for firing arrows to strike targets far away. To a master Zen Archer however, a bow is a conduit for spiritual energy, an implement that allows them to be both near and far at the same time, to exist in a multitude of places and forms. A Zen Archer knows that the act of loosing an arrow creates a moment of change in the world, determined ever after throughout the arrow's flight and even beyond when it reaches its destination. It is up to the archer, then, to manipulate that moment, to create the best possible outcome for all involved.
Zen Archers, even more so than most monks, are given to intense concentration and keeping their minds within the moment. Knowing that a single shot can change the world, they think about their actions carefully.
Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you learn how to let your ki flow through ranged weaponry, striking further than you could with fists or melee weapons. You gain proficiency in two of the following weapons: light crossbow, hand crossbow, shortbow, or longbow. These weapons are not monk weapons for you, and thus do not qualify for use with the Martial Arts feature. At 11th level, the damage die of these weapons increases to ld8 (if it is not that already), and at 17th level it increases again to 1d10.
Also at 3rd level, you are able to concentrate and instill your ki into the arrows or bolts that you fire. Before you make an attack on your turn, you may use a bonus action to focus your kl into one of the ranged weapons you chose with your Bonus Proficiencies, causing the first attack you make with that ranged weapon this turn to deal extra damage on a hit equal to your Martial Arts die + your Wisdom modifier. At 5th level, you can choose to spend 1 ki when you use this ability. If you do, the extra damage applies instead to the first two such ranged weapon attacks you make on your turn.
In addition, you gain knowledge of the cantrip true strike if you don't already know it, and its range increases to the furthest long range of any ranged weapon you are holding. You may also cast this spell with a bonus action by spending 1 ki.
At 6th level, your control over the ki that flows through your ranged weapons becomes more nuanced, and you are able to alter the path of an arrow in flight. Your attacks made with the ranged weapons you chose in your Bonus Proficiencies feature count as magical for the purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to non-magical attacks and damage. You may also use your Stunning Strike feature with ranged weapon attacks.
Additionally, you may choose to make ranged weapon attacks with these chosen weapons as if you were standing in any location that you can see within 30 feet of you, enabling you to curve arrows around walls and cover The target must still be at least partially visible from your actual location or the attack suffers disadvantage, as normal.
Beginning at 11th level, you can unleash a devastating strike of pure ki energy from your bow. As an action on your turn, you can spend 0-3 ki to produce a line of radiant light 120 feet long and 5 feet wide, which leads away from you in a direction you choose until it strikes a wall at least 1 foot thick or a solid, non-living object of similar thickness. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 4d4 radiant damage plus an additional 3d4 for every point of ki you spent.
At 17th level, your ranged weapon becomes a true extension of yourself. Once on each of your turns when you miss with an attack, you may reroll that attack, negating any disadvantage it may have had. You must use the result of this new roll.