December 12, 2016

Path of the Haka

Primal Path
Notes from the Palm: This, in addition to the next few subclasses, items, and other rules, are all inspired by Greater Than Games co-operative card-based board game, Sentinels of the Multiverse. Since we already have plenty of other superhero-analogous classes and subclasses, these should fit right in to any game in that theme.

Path of the Haka

The tribal island nations of the world share a legend in their folklore, often presented as a parable or an inspirational tale. The tales tell of a bold tribal chief and warrior, Aata the Fierce, a giant of a man who led his tribe through decades of famine, drought, disaster, and war.  For nearly a hundred years, Aata was known as the greatest chief in all the island nations, and his tribe was more powerful and prosperous than any other.
     Some versions say Aata disgraced himself on the battlefield, running from combat as a coward, though others say that he brokered a deal with a demon, in a bid to achieve immortality. In either case, near the end of his reign, the warrior-markings of his tribe (his Ta Moko) suddenly and without cause faded from his face. He was cast out of his tribe as a cursed creature and banished from his island home. For years after, he wandered the world without purpose, fighting not for glory, but for survival. In the depths of his despair and self-loathing, he threw himself into danger, suffering mortal wounds time and again, but always survived, and even grew stronger.
     From this dark, sullen place, Aata found new meaning: if he could not die, then he would spend eternity bringing glory to his people and reclaiming his warrior spirit. He cast off the name Aata, and took up the name Haka, in honor of his tribe's most sacred rituals. His Ta Moko flared to life, deeper and more vibrant than before.
     It is in honor of the great, immortal leader of the island tribes that their greatest warriors take up this Path, learning to channel their warrior spirit just as their ancestor of old.

Ta Moko
Starting at 3rd level, you are granted a set of elaborate facial tattoos which allow you to channel your inner power. You gain a ki pool and a number of ki points equal to half your barbarian level, rounded down.
     Additionally, as a reaction when you are hit by an attack, you can spend a ki point to add your Wisdom modifier to your AC, potentially causing the attack to miss. You regain all spent ki points when you finish a short or long rest.

While you are unarmed and not wearing medium or heavy armor, you gain the following benefits:
  • While raging, when you make an unarmed strike, you can take a -5 to your attack roll to deal an additional 10 damage.
  • Starting at 6th level, your unarmed strikes count as magical for purposes of overcoming damage resistance and immunity.
  • Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage. While you are raging, your unarmed strikes deal increased damage as shown on the table below:
Barbarian level Unarmed damage

Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability to channel your ki through elaborate ritual posture, dance, and shouting. As an action on your turn, you can spend one or more ki points to use one of the following abilities:
     Haka of Battle. Make a single unarmed strike against a creature within your reach. If it hits, the attack deals an extra die of damage. For every additional ki point you spend on this ability, add an additional die of damage.
     Haka of Restoration. You regain 1d12 hit points. For every additional point of ki you spend on this ability, you regain additional hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).
     Haka of Shielding. You gain resistance to all damage types until the start of your next turn. For each additional ki point you spend on this ability, the next time you take damage you reduce the damage you take by an amount equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).

Savage Mana
At 10th level, whenever you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points, you gain 1 ki point. Additionally, your connection to your warrior spirit inhibits your aging: you suffer none of the frailty of old age, you can’t be aged magically, and you can no longer die of old age.

Punish the Weak
Starting at 14th level, whenever you hit a hostile creature with a melee attack, if it has less than half its health remaining it takes additional damage equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Magic Items

Weapon (mace), rare (requires attunement)
This mace, cut from a single, massive piece of jade, is carved with symbols depicting the history and legends of the island people who crafted it. You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Additionally, once per turn when you hit a hostile creature with this weapon, you gain 1 ki point (if you have a ki pool).

Weapon (quarterstaff), very rare (requires attunement)
This quarterstaff takes the shape of a sturdy, double-ended oar, and is covered in scrawlings, patterns that grant the wood unnatural strength. You have a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Once per turn when you attack a creature with this weapon, you can make an additional attack against another creature within 5 feet of the target.

12/19/16: Crush - your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 damage while not raging. 


  1. Seems awesome (even though you already did an unarmed barbarian, the brawler).
    The class is not overpowered per-se, but it is VERY powerful, on account of not having any exploration or ribbon abilities (which is rather odd for an island warrior). All abilities are very combat-centered, which results in above average combat capabilities. I'm not sure whether or not there should be any changes, though, as I don't know the abilities of the original character upon which this path is based- however, I do think if that character has any abilities relevant for exploration (survival skill? rowing boats?), they would fit better for the 10th level ability.

    The tahia should probably be compared to Scimitar of Speed, which is the same rarity, has the same bonus but requires a bonus action for the extra attack. Adding an extra attack once per turn without an action used seems too powerful (and this barbarian doesn't do anything with bonus actions anyway).

    1. I'm not often concerned about the balance of magic items, as those are always up to the DM to hand out of he or she wants to hand them out, but there's an important point you're missing between the Scimitar and Tahia: the Tahia extra attack must target a different creature than the one you struck first. The limitation was enough for me to remove the bonus action requirement.

    2. Hmm. Yeah, I did miss that. It really is enough of a limit to remove the requirement.

  2. I can really feel the haka... The mechanics really fit. But how often do ki points come back?

    1. Aw boooo, I can't believe I forgot that! They come back following a short or long rest, just like a monk. I'll get that changed immediately.

  3. I agree with Idanbhk here in that for an island warrior, this just doesn't feel like it. The mechanics do not reflect the fluff. It's all combat based, with no ribbons. Perhaps throw the ki regen of Savage Mana onto the capstone, and change the 10th level feature to something like this:

    Immortal Voyager:
    At 10th level, you can sail the seas for eternity. You suffer none of the frailty of old age, you can’t be aged magically, and you can no longer die of old age. Additionally, gain proficiency with navigators tools and vehicles (sea).

    Or throw the Proficiencies on the end of the 3rd level feature.

    1. I feel you there, but remember again, this isn't an "Island Warrior" this is Haka. The goal of this project was to emulate the character in question as well as several of the cards used in his deck (where all of the abilities from this set of subclasses came from). If I was doing a more generalized subclass based on the Maori, I would certainly include such an ability.

  4. thinking about a Lizardfolk Haka, dual wielding hand axes or Battle axes, or just Grab a Great axe, though i like the Swing, Bite, twf swing. Or swing swing, hungry jaws.

  5. That'd work pretty well. You don't lose a LOT by not going unarmed, you just can't use the "power attack" option.