To many, it may seem strange to interpret pain as an ideal to strive toward, yet some mortals steep themselves in its bitterness. To these men and women, pain exists to serve the self as a reminder of the frailty of the body. To overcome and endure such suffering is to overcome the limitations of the flesh.
Scarred monks find unique clarity in physical discomfort.
For monks who seek the truth hidden in pain, the practice of mortifications of the flesh helps to achieve enlightenment and acquire disturbing powers.
Detailed below are a number of unusual, grisly, and harrowing processes known as mortifications that a monk can inflict upon herself in exchange for an unusual ki power.
The monk must adhere to a philosophy that finds power in self-mortification. While mortal followers of the mysterious kyton demagogues are rare, the kytons also encourage their monk worshipers to invest deeply in mortifications.
A scarred monk chooses her first mortification at 4th level, selecting one from the list of potential mortifications detailed below.
The scarred monk gains another mortification every 3 monk levels after this, to a maximum of six mortifications at 19th level.
Once a scarred monk selects a mortification, she cannot change it. Some mortifications have prerequisites, such as already knowing certain mortifications or attaining a specific level (as noted in their descriptions). Unless otherwise stated, a scarred monk cannot select an individual mortification more than once.
When a scarred monk gains her first mortification, she gains a number of ki points equal to 1/2 her monk level + her Wisdom modifier. These ki points can only be spent to activate powers granted from mortifications or to make ki strikes. A scarred monk cannot spend ki points to make an additional attack at her highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows, to increase her base speed, or to give herself a +4 dodge bonus to AC, nor can she use any of the other powers normally granted to monks that utilize their ki pools.
Armor of Scars (Su): A scarred monk can force ki into her extensive scars, hardening them like armor. Provided she has at least 1 ki point in her pool, she gains a +1 bonus to her natural armor. A scarred monk can take this mortification multiple times; its effects stack.
Blood Eagle (Su): The monk’s rib bones are unusually prominent and press hideously against the flesh of her chest. As a swift action, she can spend 1 ki point to cause her ribs to break through her flesh, lacerating and tearing any opponent that has engaged her in a grapple attack or that has swallowed her whole. This does not cause the monk any damage; a few seconds after she extrudes them, the ribs retract into her body, leaving behind angry red welts. The ribs deal an amount of slashing damage equal to her base unarmed strike damage to any creature that is currently grappling her or has swallowed her whole. If the monk attempts to escape from that grapple in the same round, she adds the amount of damage her ribs inflicted to her Escape Artist or CMB check as a circumstance bonus.
Contortionist (Su): Over the years, the scarred monk has broken many of her bones and reset them at odd and repulsive angles to allow her to contort into entirely unnatural forms. The monk can spend 1 ki point as a free action to gain a +20 circumstance bonus on any Escape Artist check.
Doll Face (Su): When acquiring a new face with the face collector mortification (see below), the scarred monk can spend an additional 2 ki points to perform an eerie blood ritual that gives the stolen flesh the appearance of aged ceramic. When the face is stitched to her flesh, the monk gains the appearance of an aged porcelain doll, complete with cracked and peeling paint and a glassy, unblinking stare. A scarred monk with a doll face does not gain the bonus on Disguise checks but does gain a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks. Once per hour, the scarred monk can cause the doll face to shift and appear as the face of a lost loved one or friend of a single viewer within 30 feet—that targeted individual must succeed at a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the scarred monk’s monk level + the scarred monk’s Charisma modifier) or become nauseated with fear for a number of rounds equal to the number of mortifications the scarred monk has. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. Unlike a face of flesh, a doll face ages and cracks, falling off and restoring the scarred monk’s true and deformed face after 24 hours. A scarred monk must have the face collector mortification to take this mortification.
Eyes Stitched Shut (Su): The scarred monk can stitch her eyes shut. This takes 1 minute to accomplish, after which the monk is effectively blind. However, as long as the monk retains at least 1 point in her ki pool, she gains blindsense to a distance of 60 feet. She can detect living creatures with at least 1 point of damage within 30 feet of her as if via blindsight. The monk can remove the stitches as a full-round action to restore her normal sight and end this effect.
Face Collector (Su): This mortification requires a monk to surgically remove the flesh from her face, surrendering her appearance and all associated identity. The flesh of her face heals into a featureless mass of scars at the end of this surgical ritual. Thereafter, at the cost of 1 ki point and as a standard action, the scarred monk can alter her facial features to duplicate those of a dead body she touches. The body must be of the same creature type as the scarred monk, and as her face changes, the corpse’s face withers away into rot and decay. This grants the scarred monk a +8 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks to appear as that individual (although the penalties for gender, race, age, and size still apply). As a side effect to this unnatural shifting of appearance, a scarred monk gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against scrying effects. For 24 hours after claiming a new face, this bonus increases to +4.
Pain Binding (Su): By spending 1 ki point when she makes a single unarmed strike against a living creature as a standard action, the scarred monk can link her own pain to the creature struck. For a number of rounds equal to the total number of mortifications the scarred monk has, any time the scarred monk takes lethal damage, the creature she has bound her pain to must succeed at a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Charisma modifier) or take an equal amount of nonlethal damage. The effects of pain binding end immediately once the pain-bound creature falls unconscious.
Rings of Pain (Su): The scarred monk has pierced her flesh with numerous large metal rings. As a standard action and at the cost of 2 ki points, she can tear one of these piercings free from her flesh to flood her body with searing pain. As she does so, she exudes waves of agony in a 30-foot radius to deal damage equal to twice the monk’s unarmed strike modified by twice her Wisdom modifier to all creatures in the area of effect. A successful Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + her Wisdom modifier) halves the damage, but on a failed Will save, a creature is sickened by the pain for 1 round. A scarred monk must be at least 10th level to take this mortification.
Share Pain (Su): Whenever the monk takes damage from a weapon, she can spend 1 ki point as an immediate action to cause the body of her attacker to suffer the pain of that blow. The attacking creature must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Wisdom modifier) or take damage equal to the amount the weapon blow inflicted on the monk and become staggered from the pain for 1 round as well. A successful saving throw halves the damage the attacker suffers from shared pain and negates the staggered effect.
Third Eye (Su): The scarred monk bores a hole in her brow and then implants a mummified or alchemically preserved third eye in this opening. The third eye must come from a creature of the same size and creature type as the scarred monk. The scarred monk can then spend 1 ki point to gain true seeing, as per the spell, for 1 round. A scarred monk must be at least 13th level to take this mortification.
Tongueless Master (Su): The monk assumes a vow of silence and slices out her own tongue. Thereafter, she wears the preserved appendage on a cord about her neck. She can no longer speak or cast spells with verbal components. Whenever she hits a creature with an unarmed strike, she can spend 1 point from her ki pool to steal the voice from her target. The target can resist this effect with a successful Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the scarred monk’s level + her Wisdom modifier), otherwise the victim loses the ability to speak or cast spells with verbal components for a number of minutes equal to the total number of mortifications known by the scarred monk. During this time, the scarred monk can speak in the victim’s voice.
Torturous Vision (Su): As a move action, the scarred monk can spend 1 ki point to cause a creature that recently wounded her to suffer—in one sudden blast of agony—the pain of all the wounds the scarred monk has endured. The monk can target any living creature within 60 feet who has been affected by share pain in the last 24 hours. The creature becomes stunned with pain for 1 round and then staggered for 1d3 rounds unless it succeeds at a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Wisdom modifier). The scarred monk must be at least 13th level and have the share pain mortification in order to take this mortification.