Monks of Peace may copy religious texts, meditate or collect alms for the poor. Monks of Peace are sworn to reject violence and may not even strike back in self defense.
Monks Militant, on the other hand, are fighters at the core. They form one of the greatest assets of the Magisterium. Forbidden to shed blood, they use their fists and feet to maximum effect. They spend their lives perfecting their bodies, building incredible physical strength and endurance. They become experts at balance and agility, easily dodging the swords and spears of better-armed soldiers. They learn to punch and kick with lethal force. They are called to make their bodies “living weapons in the hand of god.”
“My body is a weapon in the hand of god.”
Some monks expose themselves to poison in small doses, gradually building up immunities to all poisons. Others learn to control their bodies to a point where they can endure extreme hunger and thirst.
Exercise is rigorous and constant; the monks teach that bodily strength originates from a strong will. Disease rarely takes a monk. Old age does not seem to impede their strength; but death still comes to them eventually.
Marriage and intercourse are forbidden; a breaker of this vow may be defrocked. Using a blade which sheds blood is also expressly forbidden, on punishment of defrocking. Defrocked monks must embark on quests of atonement to regain their status.
“My body is a temple.”
• Self-control — both mental and physical — is instilled through methods of varying severity. Monks can balance easily on uneven surfaces, rooftops and even thin rope.
• Monks condition their bodies and develop such physical strength that they can leap to great heights — greater than what seems physically possible.
• The hands and feet of a monk are as deadly as a sword. Monks kick and punch with lethal force.
• A monk in his prime has such strong mental self-control that he is virtually immune to the enchantment of sorcerers.
In the Northern World, monks are also prohibited from shedding blood. Their solution is different; they wield clubs and maces in battle. They are similarly prohibited from marrying and all carnal intercourse — on punishment of death. Many orders survive on begging; in Zarubain, male priests in general are viewed with scorn and do not receive tithes. The leader of the monks in the north is the Primate, who is in full communion with the Magisterium. The Primate reveres the god Heron, lord of justice and just war, and has his base of operations in Highrock Abbey, near Southkirk, Gallia.
Those who fight are called warrior monks. They may aid in this or that lord’s war, if the Primate sees fit.
Templars are the greatest of the warrior monks; they wield maces or giant flails in addition to immense tower shields. Templars have commanderies throughout Zarubain.