Flayed Hand Monastic Order

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Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby enderxenocide0 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:16 pm

A PC of mine wants to train under monks of the Flayed Hand. I want a training regimen, both physical and mental, that revolves around dealing with and inflicting pain. This Dragonshard article discusses some methods, such as the well-known flaying of their own skin, enduring and mastering torture, and destroying hopes and dreams. What else might you do, thematically, and specifically?
Last edited by enderxenocide0 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby HawkDiesel » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:14 pm

Watch the Hellraiser movies for inspiration. The cenobites are basically monks of the flayed hand.
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby AvonRekaes » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:06 pm

I can see the monks of the flayed hand doing extreme endurance tests, like resting on a bed of nails or walking across hot coals.

They may also have an initiation ritual that is a lot like that scene in Bourn Identity. "Kill this man." "What did he do?" "It doesn't matter. Kill him."
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby Beoric » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:46 am

Don't forget the Flayed Hand monks follow The Mockery, and are also about stealth, disguise, and deception. And many are skilled healers. They are a religious, Ghaal'dar version of the Silent Clans.
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby ThePurple » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:20 am

AvonRekaes wrote:I can see the monks of the flayed hand doing extreme endurance tests, like resting on a bed of nails or walking across hot coals.


Neither of those is really an "extreme endurance test" however. Both of those are simply a demonstration of the average person's inability to properly understand physics: neither of those events will injure you because there are enough nails that the pressure is distributed enough to leave no injury (nor cause much pain) and the coals have low heat capacity and stuff can only absorb heat so quickly (which is why you walk quickly and it won't burn you; stand in it and it *will* burn you).

Real "extreme endurance tests" would be the stuff that ascetic monks do (as opposed to corporate self-confidence camp people): they break stuff with their bodies (think "hard body training": punching/kicking stuff until your limb bleeds and your bones break, repeatedly getting hit by bludgeoning weapons; the coolest one I've seen was a spear snapping as it was pressed into the throat of a monk), they soak their robes in freezing water and then meditate on freezing mountain tops (this one generally involves using their body heat to dry out the robe before they freeze to death; it's really cool to see the mist rise up in vast swathes after a couple minutes), and stuff like that. Stuff that takes *intense training* to do, rather than just a basic knowledge of physics and enough smarts to not stand still.

Of course, I see those "extreme endurance tests" as part-and-parcel of any D&D "Monk" training. The Flayed Hand should be off the extreme deep end. Ritual flensing should be just the start. The accepted "pain tolerance" stimulus for psychological testing is submerging a hand/arm in ice water, which could work as well (since it tends to cause extreme pain without causing much permanent damage, risk of hypothermia, or debilitating injury). I could also see acupuncture that, rather than attempting to prevent pain or reverse injury, is used specifically to *cause* obscene amounts of pain while causing negligible injury to the body (and also to teach pressure points and other anatomical things).

Keith Baker's description of them from here states "The Mockery is the lord of pain and vengeance -- the deceiver who destroys. His monks embrace suffering; through ritual torture, they overcome weakness of body and mind. As part of this training, a monk flays strips of her skin, treating the muscle below with an alchemical substance that toughens it. This excruciating torment permanently marks the monk as a follower of the Mockery. "

I definitely concur with a lot of the stuff about Hellraiser Cenobites being a decent inspiration for the tortures done, but you need to remember that their reasons for doing so are completely different. The Cenobites do it because that torture is how they experience pleasure (they're sado-masochists in the truest sense); it's not *painful* to them, it's pleasurable (it's just our misfortune that these things are how *we* experience pain). The Flayed Hand, on the other hand, are about using pain to transcend the weakness of their physical bodies. They torture themselves not because they *enjoy it* (some probably might, but it's not the primary reason they do it) but because it makes them *stronger* (especially with the alchemical treatments they follow the torture up with). The Cenobite creed could be boiled down to "pain is pleasure" while the Flayed Hand would state both "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" and "pain is weakness leaving the body" (to a level that would make even the most devoted PE teacher start vomiting).
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby AvonRekaes » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:20 pm

I'm aware that the bed of nails and hot coals are more parlor tricks. However I do lean on the "tropes aren't bad" side of D&D, where we use fictional things in the manner in which they're intended. So in real life, yes, a bed of nails has enough surface area that it won't hurt you, and hot coal walks are fast enough to not burn you, but the cultural image of "these people can withstand pain", whether scientifically accurate or not, can be use in the fiction of the world, and I thought they would be fitting for a sect of monks that ritually endures pain.

Perhaps the Flayed Hand nail beds DON'T have enough surface area to not hurt. Maybe theirs are the real deal and they have to withstand being stabbed all over and only the tensing of their muscles keeps them from being impaled. Maybe when their masters make them do the coal walk, if they come out the other side and DON'T have blisters on their soles, because they walked too fast to be burned, they are brutally punished, so all who walk do it as slowly as possible.
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Re: Flayed Hand Monastic Order

Postby Big Mac » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:57 pm

enderxenocide0 wrote:This Dragonshard article discusses some methods, such as the well-known flaying of their own skin, enduring and mastering torture, and destroying hopes and dreams.


It looks like the link didn't copy into your post. I think you mean the: Dragonshards: Monastic Orders article.

enderxenocide0 wrote:What else might you do, thematically, and specifically?


Well there is a bunch of requirements in the article, and I think you should make the PC buy all of those.

You have three ranks of the Flayed Hand Order:
  • Initiates - 1st Level
  • Excoriates - Requires the flayed hand ritual and usually the Flensing Strike feat and
  • Archimandrite - Requires a excoriate to settle in a monastry

I think you are mostly going to be dealing with the first two. The Character Development section says that a Flayed Hand monk may become an Assassin at 6th Level or above, so I suggest you allow free multiclassing in the Assassin PrC, in a similar way to the way that FRCS Monk Orders sometimes allow free multiclassing.

The Mockery is a deity who likes betrayal, so if you are going to let a PC join the Flayed Hand, you are going to need to get them to betray people, at some point. I'm not a fan of PvP combat, but perhaps your players have written down a backstory and you could get them to compete against some of their NPC allies.
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