Way of the Monk includes many new features. The most important is the addition of two new skills: Unarmed and Unarmored. Unlike other mods, these skills do not replace existing skills, and do not even use the same system. Thus, these new skills will also not conflict with other Unarmed mods.
These new skills will also level as you use them. As you fight with your bare fists or the new weapons, then your Unarmed will be raised. When you are hit while not wearing armor, your Unarmored will be raised.
Along with these skills come three perk trees: Damage, Attacks, and Unarmored. The Damage perk tree contains perks related to increasing your damage and offensive abilities, the Attacks tree contains perks that affect how you fight, and the Unarmored tree lets you choose perks that (obviously) enhance your Unarmored usage. There are 9 perks for the Damage and Attacks perk trees, and 10 for the Unarmored perk tree, respectively. The Damage and Attacks perk trees use your Unarmed skill, while the Unarmored perk tree uses your Unarmored skill.
Yes, the Unarmored skill could use some more perks. I know. More will be added in later versions. The perks from both skills compliment each other, though, so it shouldn't feel too neglected.
Right now, the first bit of gameplay forces you to choose the first perk from each tree before you can choose the second one. Not because there are actual restrictions, but because you get perk points before you get the chance to choose a new perk. This is because I have not yet created a perk to go between the first one and the second one. Doing so will help eliminate the stall in progress. Expect such an addition in a later patch or version.
The Skills are all managed at the Pillars of the Way, which are just up the road from the Guardian Stones. The Pillar of the Way introduces you to the mod. The Pillar of Choice allows you to choose new perks. The Pillar of Progress allows you to check your current stats. The Pillar of Rewalking allows you to reset your perks and choose new ones (can only be done once). In a future edition, these Pillars will be replaced with an NPC that lets you do all of this through dialog. For now, though, you have to manage your stats by using these Pillars.
Every five levels of either of the new Monk skills, you are given a perk point. These perk points can be used at the Pillar of Choice to gain new perks. The same perk points are used for both skills, so you can choose an Unarmored perk even if you got the point by advancing your Unarmed skill.
Unfortunately these are not the same perk points that are used in the normal leveling system. The scripting language for the Construction Kit does not have any way for me to use them. I have pinned hopes on the SKSE team, though, and hope that they will add that functionality. If they do, then I may be able to add more advanced leveling options.
Weapons and Clothing:
There is a plethora of new weapons and clothing. They all fit the customary monk-character, and can be crafted like normal items. There are new enchantments, as well, to enhance the Monk combat system.
The new weapons are all from tom349's mod, with BloodySunday's enhanced textures. I gained their permission before using their creations. They can all be crafted, improved, and enchanted like normal weapons. While traveling throughout the world you may find them as loot, see enemies wielding them, or buy them from stores.
The new clothing is a set of monk clothes that were actually created by Bethesda and can be found in the Creation Kit. Despite making them, however, they did not add them to the game. Luck for me! So, you get to see some new robes, while also being able to find specially-enchanted versions of them with my new effects. They have also been added to stores and leveled lists. They are craftable at the forge with linen wrap.
A note on the weapon animations: Unfortunately, the new weapons do not use the hand-to-hand animations and killcams. Why? Because the animation that Bethesda created was not designed to be used by actual weapons. Thus, when I try to add a model to weapon that uses it, the model either does not appear or appears obnoxiously between the player's feet. So, not my fault. :-( If anyone can find a way to fix this, however, I would be glad to do so.
Perks and Enchantments:
ALL of the new perks have been created by me. A number of them have entirely new effects that were scripted and design by myself, as well. The enchantments are the same way, though some of the weapons that you find will be enchanted with default enchantments. In total, there are 45-50 new perks, and around ten new enchantments that have been created entirely by me. That number of perks includes all of the different levels of perks, as well as those that are added for Pillars and items. Some of these perks give you powers and abilities that are entirely new to the game, built from scratch to enhance this mod. Others are unique twists of already-existing perks. Either way, they will all add unique aspects to your playing experience.
To compliment the addition of all these new features, an enemy faction called the Apostates has been created. The Apostates are a group of Monks that use their power for personal gain. They are usually not organized into groups, but instead mix with the bandits and lowlifes of Skyrim. There are melee versions and magic versions. The melee versions focus on using the new weapons and close-combat perks that are added to the game, while the magic versions mix magic with unarmed. Both versions wear the new clothing and use the new items, providing an excellent way of finding the new weapons and clothing.
They are also leveled so that you will not encounter ones that are two easy or difficult. There are the basic "Apostates" that are level 1, the "Apostate Apprentices" that are level 10, the "Apostate Masters that are level 20, and the "Apostate Elders" that are level 40. The Apostate Elders are the most powerful and will only be encountered at high high levels. Bring all that you've got, though, because they are powerful!
In addition to using the new items, they also take advantage of the Monk perks. Don't be surprised if they use some of the same tactics that you do!
(Part 2 and 3)
Read the Plans for information on new NPCs and factions that I hope to add.
My plans are somewhat tenuous, but are outlined below. Some of the features that I want to add may prove either impossible or too difficult. For now, though, they are what I desire to give you.
Also, new enchantments, perks, and items will be added as I think of them or am supplied with new material, so they are not included in the list. Assume that I will add them whenever I get the chance.
Part 1: (current)
- New Unarmed and Unarmored skills
- New melee weapons
- New monk robes
- New perks
- New enchantments
- New enemies
- Monk follower(s)
- Joinable Apostate and Cult of the Way factions
- Radiant quests for both factions
- A mentor that lets you manage your stats, tells you the backstory, and can train you
- New scaling options to balance my leveling system with Bethesda's default system (may be impossible)
- New combat animations (I will contact the owner of the Marital Arts mod)
- Bases for the new factions
- Faction questlines (possibly hundreds of hours of work)
- More backstory in books
- Unique NPCs with quests
I can not specify exact dates, unfortunately. They will simply be released as they are completed. Part 3 will likely take the most amount of time, if I am even able to complete it. Hopefully, since summer is coming up, I will have a ton of time to mod. Real life gets in the way, though, so I can not know for sure what will happen.