Monks are detailed on page 73 of The Scarlet Brotherhood.

For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield—it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding weapons within themselves just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade. These monks (so called since they adhere to ancient philosophies and strict martial disciplines) elevate their bodies to become weapons of war, from battle-minded ascetics to self-taught brawlers. Monks tread the path of discipline, and those with the will to endure that path discover within themselves not what they are, but what they are meant to be.

Most monasteries in Avistan and Garund focus on religion and self-sufficiency. They grow their own food, fell their own lumber, and craft their own clothing and tools. Few of them produce warriors of any kind, except for the occasional cleric or paladin. It was not until the Vudrani came to Avistan that the western nations encountered monastic orders dedicated to self-perfection and quiet meditation (and, frequently, self defense). Monks remain uncommon among the nations of the Inner Sea, although with the continued influx of both Vudrani and Tian, more of them appear every year.

While many seek purity of mind or body, few have the devotion to walk the path of a monk, making them a rarity in Golarion. Even forthright paladins outnumber these skilled martial artists. Most monks pay homage to Irori, who promises to show them the path to self-perfection. In addition to the martial arts for which they are famous, monks practice constant self-improvement through contemplative meditation, fasting, and other forms of voluntary denial.

Few monastic orders that train monks exist in Avistan and Garund, and all of them are small. Each order trains its students in a particular school of battle, and while many schools derive from the same source or have many similar skills, each is wholly unique. Students train not only in their own school, but also in recognizing other schools and in learning those other schools’ strengths and weaknesses.

Some particularly gifted or wishful worshipers of Irori attempt to teach themselves martial arts and contemplative meditation. Nearly all fail. Most independent monks learn from masters who studied at true monastic schools and who later developed their own styles. These apprentices can be found nearly anywhere, performing a host of chores designed to strengthen their bodies while learning all their masters can teach them about self defense, discipline, and contemplation.

Most monks own very little because they need very little. A few own and carry weapons, but many rely on their own bodies instead. Because they use their bodies as weapons, monks prefer to wear loose-fitting clothing that allows a full range of motion. Such clothing is usually plainly adorned, although some orders demand their members wear more extravagant uniforms. In either case, cleanliness and order play a strong role in the garb of every monk.

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