The Belts of Parkour
Few know the secret behind the Flying Monks of Ka-zin is not entirely due to their remarkable skill at acrobatics, but also in the colorful belts they wore.
Works of art, the belts are ornately embroidered silk, with the overall colour appropriate for the owner's station in the order, the darker the color, the closer to grandmaster the wearer. The patterns frequently contain the forms of monkeys, storks and mantis.
Only Ka-zib Master monks wear these belts, a sign of their status. Outsiders typically assume that the amazing abilities are simply the result of decades of training. This is not true, for no normal mortal can perform the feats that these belts enable. Once the monk has advanced sufficiently in their study, they are awarded one of these belts, crafted especially for them.
If the belts themselves are secret, the creation of the belts is even more so. Woven only by Master Zer-Than, his advanced age has limited production to a handful per year. He is attempting to pass his skill on to a couple of apprentices, but this has not gone well thus far. The belts may be a product of the art of Entwining.
The silk is collected in a hidden mountain valley, from worms that feed upon mulberry that has been ritually gardened.
The power of the belts is strong, quadrupling the distances of all forms of jumping, although the monk appears to hang in the air far longer than should be the case.
All surface sloping less than vertical are considered mild slopes while vertical surfaces can be run on briefly before the user must step on a naturally flat surface. The wearer can fall safely as far as they can jump.
These benefits will stack with any pre-existing skills the user may have in these areas.
Apart from the effort and cost in creating them, there is a reason why the belts are only granted to those of high station - they are quite dangerous to the unskilled. The alterations to ones normal movements when in use are such that the wearer receives a severe penalty to physical skills, effectively halving their normal proficiency. Failures are more likely, and more severe when they occur. The wearer must train hard to eliminate this effect, to compensate for the altered physics the belts subject them to.
Two variants of the belt exist, in addition to the standard Master's Belt.
These white belts double jumping ability, and improve footing significantly though not to the degree normal belts do. They also can be commanded to cut out at any time by someone wearing a master's belt. These belts are only given out at training sessions.
Giving a greater increase from the Masters belt as the Masters is from nothing, these belts are very few and number, and usually kept well hidden and protected. While wearing one, the user is in tune with the elements and can nearly fly - jumps are increased ten-fold and the wearer can run on any solid surface, regardless of inclination.
In Your Game
In addition to being something player character monks could aspire to obtaining, here are some suggested uses:
- An exotic assassin has arrived and has used her belt to carry out spectacular assassinations - getting places she should not have been able.
- A small boat washes up, one of the dead is wearing one of these belts. Perhaps a monk is sent to retrieve the belt, using a charm that helps him locate the belt - but not precisely.
- Player or players are monks in this order, and seek to earn the belts.
- Players are contacted (through whatever means/person makes sense) by the monks in order to rescue Master Zer-Than from a rival order.
- Bandits/Monsters/Woodcutters have invaded the Mulberry grove - the order does not want to reveal to the world their interest in that location by clearing it themselves, so the PCs have been contacted to act instead.
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? Responses (10)
Update: Out with ye!
I absolutely love it. It brings something unique to the fantasy realm in a replicable and very usable fashion. Great for thieves, acrobats, assassins, ninjas and even more adventurous characters.
Humor: dwarf parkour
horror: tiefling parlour
Aside from a smidgeon of typos, (go/gone mulbury/mulberry) these are marvelous!
Now these can explain a lot of kung-fu movies, wherein our hero, after kicking lots of butt inside the evil dojo's courtyard, merely leaps up and over the (30' or so) wall to escape. Sometimes, the bad guys leap after him. I guess they stole a few belts.
I'm mixed on the belts negative effects on normal physical skills. Seems slightly un-monkish to focus on a magical belt so much as to have to train a lot just to eliminate the negative effects thereof. On the other hand, it's a nice way to limit the belts in game.
I love these more from a thieves-in-big-city angle, where rogues are literally parkour-ing about, amidst the rooftops. Great visual, that.
Anyway, simple, very useful, great idea!
You seem ready to play a kung-fu cinema rp! :-)
Yikes typos! How embarassing! :)
This seems like the sort of thing I would be inclined to drop on a totally untrained group. You're caught in the trap? Oh, well, there's a belt down there. Better hope you don't kill yourself with it.
It could be kind of a neat super-hero gadget, too.
Certainly worthy of merit. I can't wait to unleash an assassin clad in this.
GM's are able, of course, to add any restrictions/downsides/limitations that they see fit for these items, in the case where access for players is possible. They could be the standard equipment for a group of baddies - making capture of these largely inevitable. For example, they could cause lingering exhaustion as soon as the wearer cools down from an encounter, potentially falling unconscious.
https://strolen.com/viewing/The_Ring_of_Hurtling - This might make a nice pairing. :)