Combat Balance, or Karma Strain, or Chi Balance, or whatever funky monk name you want to call it.
When the monk does damage in a fight, they can arbitrarily add bonus points to their damage. But! They must achieve b a l a n c e. During the fight they have to apply an equal amount of MINUS POINTS to their damage. If they don’t, then a turn later they will take that many D6s in damage to themselves, as their muscles pop and snap from the strain. If someone casts something like Lesser Restoration on the monk before the turn is up, this will quiet their muscles and they won’t take the damage, but the monk will still have Failed to Achieve Balance (covered later). Something like a Cure Wounds spell won’t help at all, though it will have its normal effect on the damage after the monk’s muscles have snapped.
Let’s Have an Example!
Jovaell the Monk is in a fight again! She hits Bandit Leader for 3 points of damage, and is deeply unfulfilled. She is a professional, so she knows this hit is wimply, and decides to DRIVE HER IRON WILL INTO HIS BODY! She adds.. Hmm.. 7 points! Yes, she feels that’s prudent, and adds 7, doing 10 all together. Bandit Leader falls to the ground, the victim, ultimately, of his own poor life choices.
But now Jovaell must achieve BALANCE!
She strikes Lackey X, and hits, doing 4 points of damage. She subtracts 3 from that, doing a total of 1 point. She MUST do at least one point of damage with the hit, or she can achieve no balance with it. 7-3=4. She still has 4 points of her earlier bonus damage she needs to make up for before she has achieved balance.
To her dismay, Lackey X drops in front of her, the victim of Nabonidas the Assassin. He seems pleased with himself.
|Jovaell the Monk, in case you forgot|
She now has a few options. Her friend Cormac the druid is senile, and has nothing like a restoration spell prepared. She sees a nearby goat. She has never liked goats. Not since the Goat Incident. She hits the goat and rolls an exciting 6 points of damage! Unfortunately for everyone concerned, it was an Old Goat, and had but one hit point to give up. To achieve any balance, the goat would have to take at least 1hp in damage anyway, so she still has 2 points of Chi Strain (or whatever) to unload, even though the goat shatters like a chair in a bar fight from that 6.
She will hit Nabonidas. She will make it up to him later, and he probably deserves it anyway. Assassin, amiright?
She cracks him a good one for 5 points, subtracts the 2 that was building up dangerously, hurting him for a total of 3pts, and has ZEROED OUT HER YANG WITH HER YIN! YAY!
She Failed To Achieve Balance during the fight. She has avoided physical damage, but her Inner Calm (or something) pays the price. She gets no combat xp from that fight. Or maybe just half. Up to your DM.