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The way of the fist

Nymaeron

Master
1. Preface

A "way", that was always to known the monks of One (the tariqa of Qutb), yet never fully understood and accepted in wider Avadon until recently, i see more and more people picking up this fighting style. The "way" was a method for practitioners of Qutb to self express their journey to being the Enlightened one. Bodily combat (fighting with fists) is a mechanism to channel the inner energy (also called mana) to fight the evil of Avadon and protect its innocents.

As one of the earlier and expert practitioners, I recognise the short comings of those who are new to fighting in this way so I decided to write this research piece to help those who wish to understand more about it.

We will cover the following:
- Introduction
- Skills
- Codex
- Aspect choices
- Mastery chain / links
- Templates

2. Introduction to fighting with fists

Whlist it is called fighting with fists, practitioners usually (there are some examples of historical figures to do this without) fight holding a martial manual. These are made by scribes using wood, leather and blank scrolls. So if you need one made, visit a scribe with these materials. Or monsters could be holding on to those they obtained from failed monks.

While the scroll isn't too heavy, fighting in this particular stance while channeling your inner energy/mana requires you to concentrate each of you blow, therefore your swinging isn't the fastest (only same speed as holding a war fork)

Another point to make is that practitioners can hit a special attack that is performed random from other weapon skills (archery, fencing, swordsmanship, macing)

This fighting style brings some unique bonuses and disadvantages, namely the following.

Pros:
1. Defensively, it's the best weapon skill against monsters.
2. Only weapon skill that allows you to hit 3 enemies at once (except Archer ricochet finisher)
3. Once accuracy problems are sorted, monkey stance one of the best offensive stances
4. Can drink potions without worrying about losing parry/weapon skill
5. Even if disarmed, you can protect yourself with your bare fists
6. Wrestling is a hamstring skill (to be removed June/July 2023)

Cons:
1. Less parrying damage reduction from monsters and players on direct hits
2. Monster fighting takes a long while to get going due to monkey stance accuracy requirements (need to hit 3 times in a row)
3. Being a relatively new fighting style, good weapons are really hard to find
4. Not the best PvP weapon, only interrupt capabilities
5. Mana upkeep a problem in beginning without zen strike
6. RNG reliance on weapon specials

3. What it means to be a monk

As all things go, skill choices are quite subjective however I will emphasis few skills as musts.

Wrestling: Obviously.
Tactics: Again, no surprise here.
Chivalry: Being a fast fighting style, chivalry abilities works very well with wrestling (Divine Fury, Cleanse by Fire) so this is also a must.
Anatomy: You need finishers to keep your mana going (Zen Strike), you must take at least 80.
Arms Lore: Disarm, weapon specials (it's great if you manage to land macing specials reducing armour so you can hit for more).

Some skills are not as important, more on the later side of journey though. If you're a beginner you must take these two as well.
Healing: Well you need to be alive and crane by itself may not cut it for you. Or perhaps it may.
Parrying: To parry attacks. However there are some wrestlers that fight without this, going on full aggressive.

Last skill is a bit personal. I personally like the balanced approach and take resisting spells to endure spells, but you can take tracking, camping, alchemy, forensic evaluation or go barding even.

4. The Codex:
The wrestling codex (known by general population) contains some of the most interesting fighting stances from other typical weapon stance found in other skills, including ability to use mana to do great damage or healing oneself. I will now assess each one.

These are:
Dragon
Weapon Specials will consume up to 5 Mana to increase Damage by 5% per rank for each mana consumed (Bonus doubled for first 10 seconds after adopting stance)

Really powerful if you have means to land lots of weapon specials (links/water aspect), regenerate mana (void/air aspect armour and eldritch weapon) and high chance of regaining mana through zen strikes (80+ anatomy). Otherwise not very useful.

Nym's verdict: 7/10

Crab

Successful hits increase your Damage Resistance by 3% per rank for 5 seconds (does not stack) (Bonus doubled for first 10 seconds after adopting stance)

Defensiest weapon stance, enough said. At high aspect levels, you can do very interesting things with crab.

Nym's verdict 10/10

Spider

Deals an additional 5% of Damage per rank inflicted to a random target within 2 tiles (Bonus doubled for first 10 seconds after adopting stance)

If you're able to hold your own ground, you can kill 3 enemies at the same time, making wrestlers very popular at bosses and additional spawn control.

Nym's verdict 8/10

Monkey

Loading 3 hits in a row increases the damage of the 3rd hit by 15% per rank (Bonus doubled for first 10 seconds after adopting stance)

Very powerful, but needs a lot going (you basically need high accuracy via aspect or links or weapon modifiers, and this is very hard to get for new people)

Nym's verdict 9/10

Crane

Has 2.5% chance per rank on Melee Hit to restore 10 health (Bonus doubled for first 10 seconds after adopting stance)

If you run out of healing supplies (or stolen), this should keep you alive fighting your way out. Especially great with air and water monks. Otherise, not very useful.

Nym's verdict 7/10

Finishers

Chi Thrust Inflicts 150% of Weapon Damage to target. Will consume up to 25 mana and increase Damage by 50% per Mana Consumed

While this sounds very powerful, it uses all the mana which is essential to keeping your weapon stances going. Only viable with void or discipline armour (and in this case, it is random due to needing a second Zen Strike finisher right after)

Nym's verdict 5/10

Zen Strike Inflicts 350% of Damage to target and restores 25 Health, 25 Stamina and 25 Mana

Not very strong, but does wonders for survivability.

Nym's verdict 9/10

A way to progress your codex is the following 7 steps:
1- Start with monkey stance
2- Get your monkey stance to 5
3- Get your crab stance to 5.
4- Get rest of your stances to 5.
5- Get your monkey stance to 7.
6- Get your crab stance to 7.
5- Get rest of your stances to 7.

5. Aspect energies to bind
A key decision to the monk way of fighting, are aspects. Having used more than a handful, I'll reflect on some of my own personal experiences as well as other known fighter styles to give examples:

Armour:
1- Air: Wrestling is a fast fighting skill, air makes it even faster. One of top armours for offensive minded wrestlers, especially with a good weapon aspect (earth/discipline/fire/artisan).
2- Earth: The defensive wall. Highly recommended for new players as it will first keep you alive in your early journeys, then becoming a very powerful weapon aspect, allowing you to literally blow your enemies with fists made of stone, and decrease their armour your next fists will hit significantly better.
3- Discipline: This is the most balanced aspect, excelling at every situation (offensive, defensive, boss), super reliable, multiple finishers and high defense resistance lets you pull of superhuman feats.
4- Fire: If your bloodlust is not satiated easily, take on fire armour and blow your enemies.
5- Void: Good for "Dragon" stance, and high armoured enemies (armour ignore) so that you're not relying on random macing specials.
6- Water: A wise monk once said "Be like water". Allows you to land lots of specials, heal much better with "crane". However I find it lacking compared to others mentioned.

Weapon:
1- Artisan: Amazing power-up, if you can guarantee yourself to receive this, you can fight on a whole different spectrum (not needing parry,resist and taking more damage skills)
2- Earth: Earth weapon special deletes armour so great to reduce enemy armours with this and then pummel.
3- Discipline: Iron will boosts your defense and damage, albeit for a short time, while dealing damage to a single target which I find to be great if you're fighting too many strong enemies at once.
4- Fire: Big explosions, enough said.
5- Eldritch: If you want maximum dragon sustainability, this is a good way to do it via mana well, also very high damage with fire armour.
6- War: Something between discipline and artisan, hard to get to high level but very powerful as it increases your damage for a long time.


6. Mastery chain and links to consider
Wrestling differs from other weapon skills due it's overreliance of accuracy, so the emphasis will change from others, also an important consideration is whether the armour is air or not. My recommendation for most cost effective progression is as follows:

Links 1-8:
Get as many accuracy links as possible (Melee Accuracy or Melee Accuracy/Defense). You must see 100% vs 100 wrestling in "Melee" page under [Stats to really make most of this style.

Links 8-15:
Start getting swing speed (until the cap if you're air armour or full 10), and you can start to reduce accuracy links as your aspect level is higher and your accuracy is more than 100.

Links 15-20:
Weapon specials, getting macing specials is very good for wrestling allowing it to deal higher da

Links 20-30:
Damage to location. Wherever you like farming, get your 10 links "Damage to <location>" or just get 110 links to cover everyplace and change as you see fit.

If you're air and capped melee swing speed, then you can look at aspect chance or other links you may want to add a second damage link for fighting daemons in inferno, or undead in mausoleum.


7.Styles/Templates

Lastly, I will mention few different types of monks I encountered during my time in Avadon and want to reflect on some of those types that do well.


1- The fists of wind
Using air armour's speed and artisan/discipline weapon aim to get aspect chance hits to boost your damage resistance so you can fight not using resisting spells against monsters. However you will be more prone to murderers.

Pros: High damage, possibly more looting with camping, more potion duration with alchemy, more visibility of enemy murderers with tracking.
Cons: Weak against other people if caught up in a fight, could also suffer from too many spellcasting mobs (unless magic resistance potions are drank)

Aspect: Air armour, artisan/discipline weapon.

Template:
120 chivalry
100 wrestling
100 tactics
80-100 anatomy
80 healing
80 parry
80 arms lore

Remaining 60-80 points to be distributed to tracking,camping,alchemy or whatever else you like.

2- The all around man
The paragon of balance, this style allows you to fight in any aspect combination and excel equally at PvP and PvM.

Pros: High survivability in every situation (pvm, pvp).
Cons: Not the highest damage, needs strongbox upgrades to not leave dungeons very quickly

Aspect: Any combination, fire is easier to pull of with this template and still have some survivability.

Template:
120 chivalry
100 wrestling
100 tactics
80 anatomy
80 healing
80 parry
80 arms lore
80 resisting spells

3- The fire dancer
An interesting school, using dervish whirling and singing to weaken monsters

Pros: Highest damage in pvm due to barding and introduction of damage to barded links.
Cons: Weak against players in combat, reliance on instrument to get going

Aspect: Fire goes brilliant with this.

Link setup is slightly different, thanks to Battalion I was able to obtain his setup, but feel free to play with it.
10 Swing Speed
8 Accuracy
2 Eff Barding
10 Damage to Barded

Template:
120 chivalry
100 wrestling
100 tactics
80 anatomy
80 healing
80 arms lore
80 musicianship
80 discordance


8.Ending:
This should be a comprehensive guide on how to be a wrestler in Avadon. For obvious reasons, I have not detailed every single aspect (no puns!) of the elaborate art of this fighting style, as real world experience is very different in very unique situations.

Also, i do not claim to be the best, yet I will say I am known for my proficiency, but there are other accomplished monks like Nuggz, Battalion, Wes Furtive (when he likes to be) so their opinions may be different than mine. My reflection is based on my experience alone as a monk of the One and a Pathfinder.

Apart from this text, I do take in apprentices for actual teaching, if this is interest to you and you wish to master the way of fists contact me.
 
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Very well written post.

I am very fond of Wrestling once you have the required accuracy. My big problem with the other weaponskills is that they feel clunky when you have both hands occupied - something wrestling doesn't have to worry about. Alchemy will solve this problem, but at a HUGE sacrifice - 80 skill points. However, trying to juggle weapons at max weight has gotten me killed a couple time so I suppose there isn't really a better choice. Wrestling can spend that 80 points on much nicer perks than Alchemy..... although the tradeoff is having to juggle mana.

Also, Zen Strike is super nice - allows for a very aggressive playstyle with the HP recovery.