I’ve mentioned before that I miss the monk class in fourth edition. I can see why they passed it by for the PHB — monks have always been kind of fiddly in D&D, and they don’t exactly fit into the Tolkienesque heroic fantasy D&D takes its inspiration from. Gandalf and Frodo didn’t travel with Bruce Lee or the Bronzemen of Shaolin. There are historical Western — European, I should probably say — unarmed martial arts, of course, but they don’t have the same kind of mystique built up around them that their Eastern counterparts do. Whatever its actual strengths, pankration doesn’t draw the romantic associations that the 72 Shaolin Arts do.
My own games, however, draw heavily on Eastern influences. They’re as much Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as they are Lord of the Rings. So a monk class is, if not vital, at least important to my longest-running game world, Galadria.
The monk class is going to appear. Eventually. But since I don’t want to wait a year or more to see and use it, I’ve decided to create one of my own in the meantime.
It’s in an “alpha” stage right now — the pieces are all there: all of the powers from level 1 to level 30, the class features, the related feats, 7 paragon paths, and an epic destiny. But they’re not all finished. There will be balancing, and there will be revisions.
Still, it’s a start.