While monks and ninjas (and, using the alternate rules above, samurai) possess a baseline pool of ki points and class abilities that can be activated using them, most users of ki rely on the use of feats to focus and channel their use of ki. For characters without a pool of ki points, this can be facilitated by taking the following prerequisite feat:
In general terms, the only way to increase a creature’s pool of ki points comes from either class advancement in a class that already gains a ki pool or from taking the Extra ki feat. If you are using a more robust ki system in your game, however, this may not provide enough access to ki points to really allow PCs to take advantage of the expanded ki options. Feat slots alone already constitute a limiting factor, but requiring PCs to spend feat slots on Extra ki just to expand their ki pool enough to use the ki feats they select ends up like a double-tax on ki abilities and makes them relatively unappealing.
One solution, both thematically and mechanically, is to allow characters of any class can learn to devote themselves to vows of focus and purpose that define the things he should (or, more often, should not) do in order to further his efforts to find purity and balanced union of mind, body, and spirit. Thus, any character in a Far East themed campaign game can commit themselves to a vow of celibacy, chains, cleanliness, fasting, peace, poverty, silence, or truth, gaining the same benefits of bonus ki that a monk would receive. The bonus to their ki gained through these vows is based on their total character level rather than their monk level, and the potential loss of ki for breaking those vows applies just as it does for monks. While these published vows offer an excellent starting point, they also can be used as models to develop similar vows that may be unique to particular organizations or cultures as appropriate for your campaign world.
In battle, ki is that sense of inner focus and concentration that allows a warrior to attain peace and oneness in the midst of a chaotic battle, achieving perfect clarity and analytical precision as they survey the battlefield and causing pain, fear, and confusion to ebb away. You become one with your weapon, flowing easily from attack to defense and back again, allowing you to supersede your physical limitations and defeat your enemies.
While the monk, ninja, and samurai are described above as classes particularly suited to the use of ki, other martial classes could also adjust their class abilities in a campaign that prominently features the use of ki in the following ways.
- Barbarian: A barbarian may choose ki feats in place of rage powers.
- Cavalier: A cavalier may select ki feats using his bonus feat slots.
- Fighter: A fighter may select ki feats using his bonus feat slots.
- Paladin: A paladin may select ki feats in place of her mercies.
- Ranger: A ranger may choose ki feats in place of his combat style feats. These ki feats are not restricted to use in light or no armor as combat style feats are.
- Rogue: A rogue may choose ki feats in place of her rogue tricks.
Ki represents a serene mystic art separate and distinct from traditional forms of arcane and divine magic. However, the practice of focusing and channeling ki certainly has applications in terms of manipulating the traditional methods of magic. ki can be used to subtly reshape the form of spells and magic themselves, but its greatest power is in the pursuit of perfection of spellcasters. Those who wield magic can find great comfort and aid in focusing their magical skills through combining their ki and their magical mastery as one. In a campaign where ki plays a prominent role, you can expand the availability of ki feats for spellcasting classes using the following methods.
- Alchemist: An alchemist may choose a bonus ki feat in place of a discovery.
- Bard: A bard may choose a bonus ki feat in place of a versatile performance.
- Cleric: A cleric may replace one domain with the Ki Meditation feat at 1st level, gaining one bonus ki feat at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter.
- Inquisitor: An inquisitor may replace her domain with the Ki Meditation feat at 1st level, gaining one bonus ki feat at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.
- Magus: A magus may choose ki feats using his bonus feat slots.
- Oracle: An oracle may choose a ki bonus feat in place of a revelation; if she does so, she also gains another ki feat as a bonus feat 2 levels later.
- Sorcerer: A sorcerer may choose ki feats in place of bloodline bonus feats.
- Summoner: When gaining a level, a summoner may choose to gain Ki Meditation or another ki feat in place of the evolution points his eidolon would gain upon advancing to to that level.
- Witch: A witch may choose Ki Meditation or other ki feats in place of hexes.
- Wizard: A wizard may choose to take Ki Meditation in place of Scribe Scroll and to select ki feats with their bonus feat slots. Alternatively, a wizard could replace his arcane bond with the Ki Meditation feat, gaining one bonus ki feat at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter.
The Way of Ki © 2012, Legendary Games; Author Matt Goodall.