Role Play: Monk roleplay in Legion
Monks are a recent addition to World of Warcraft, making their debut in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Although plenty of races can roll a Monk, their beginnings and the bulk of their history are firmly rooted with the Pandaren race. Monk roleplayers may be from different races, but after all that study with Pandaren trainers, they’re still going to be pretty aware of just where the Monk class started out.
In Legion, Monk roleplay took a sharp turn as the Peak of Serenity came under attack by the Burning Legion. Forced to evacuate, Monk players now operate out of the Temple of Five Dawns on Shen-zin Su. In all the chaos, Grand Master Hight was killed, leaving an opening for a new leader of the Monk order — a role to be filled by the player.
Monks were born out of subjugation. Long before the Sundering, the Pandaren were enslaved by the Mogu. Restricted from using weapons, the Pandaren learned how to fight without weapons. They harnessed Chi and used their fists and feet in lieu of traditional weaponry. When it came time to rebel, the Pandaren were well-equipped to deal with their Mogu oppressors, fighting for and winning their freedom.
Although the Monk class originated with the Pandaren, the unique fighting and healing techniques have since spread to other races. The Pandaren Monks were more than happy to share their teachings with the rest of Azeroth. Ever since Pandaria’s emergence from the Mists, the class is far more wide-spread than ever before.
This history does pretty clearly define the emergence of Monks as a post-Cataclysm event. But if you’d like to play your non-Pandaren Monk as someone who has been practicing these arts longer than just a couple of years, that’s certainly possible. Pandaren from the Wandering Isle were known to wander Azeroth every now and again. It wouldn’t be out of place to say your character happened upon one of these travelers, who then taught them how to fight.
Regardless of when or how your character came to be, all Monks share the same wish for spiritual balance in combat and in life. All Monks fight for a reason. That reason may vary from character to character, but the outcome is usually the same. They fight to protect their homes, protect their families, and bring harmony to the world.
In the days long before the Sundering, they fought to protect Pandaria. In Legion, the definition of home has expanded — now they seek to protect the whole of Azeroth. The Burning Legion isn’t just a far-off threat. They deliberately attacked the Peak of Serenity and destroyed it. Many teachers and students lost their lives in the chaos, including the Grand Master.
Whether you play a Pandaren Monk, or a Monk of a different race, that’s still going to affect your character. The residents of the Peak of Serenity weren’t just teachers. They were mentors, advisors, and maybe even friends with your character. If your character ever needed a reason to fight, they certainly have one now. Just how personal that reason happens to be is up to you, and how well your character knows the people that were involved.
Monk character development
Why does your character fight? What drew them to the ways of the Monk? Did they find the fighting style intriguing, or were they searching for some kind of internal balance or peace? How do they feel about what happened at the Peak of Serenity? Are they close with their teachers? Do they know anyone that died in the attacks?
Obviously the game dictates that your character is the one who becomes the new Grand Master. But as with any other Class Hall storyline, you don’t have to acknowledge that role. You can say your character simply earned a much higher rank within the order, or that they’re the same as they’ve always been. Or you can say they were so deeply affected by what happened at the Peak that their convictions have been rattled. It’s all up to you.
Does your Monk still retain a calm, zenlike approach to conflicts? Do they still fight with the same serenity as before, or is there more fervor to their attacks? Are they still fighting for spiritual balance and harmony, or have they crossed the line into fighting for the sheer sake of revenge?
Monk roleplay in Legion
No matter what race your Monk happens to be, the story so far in Legion has been an eye-opening lesson. Just because the Sha are defeated and Pandaria is safe, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is automatically safe as well. There are other dangers out there in the world, far greater threats than the Mogu, the Zandalar, or even those last, terrible breaths of an Old God.
Your character still fights with purpose, but it’s up to you to determine just what purpose that is now. And given that we’ve seen no end to the conflicts that threaten Azeroth, it’s not out of line for your character to question whether or not they want to keep fighting at all. They could be feeling defeated, especially after the events at the Peak, and the failure at the Broken Shore.
For Monk roleplayers, Legion doesn’t have to just be about the fight against the Burning Legion. It can also be about your character’s struggle with themselves — that fight to find the spiritual balance all Monks seek to attain. They may be rattled, or they may be looking at the world with heightened resolve. It’s up to you to decide how your Monk continues down that path of balance. Will they falter in the process, or attain even greater heights of understanding?
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