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Battle Monks of Cathay

Grade: 1c
Source: Border Town Burning (PDF)
Setting: Grand Cathay

The borders of Grand Cathay present a myriad of obstacles to invaders from the known world. In its north, the verdant rice fields are defended by the Great Bastion, a walled fortress that stretches further than the eye can see. The west is shielded by a haunted mountainous stretch, remembered as the Ancient Giant Holds, and the contaminated sands of the Baleful Deserts in the northwest where wyrdstone is said to be found. Upon the slopes towering monasteries were built long ago by monks living in the outskirts of Cathay. In relative solitude, these cowled guardians split their time between meditating, fishing, and crafting, all the while honing extraordinary fighting techniques. The brother’s dedication at arms, not to mention acrobatic defensive strikes, has repelled despoilers from the sacred grounds of each fortified tabernacle.

Innkeepers, swordsmiths, merchants, fishermen, and farmers have all survived in the monk’s proximity, seeking the protection afforded by the monasteries surrounds in these perilous borderlands. Peasant folk risk what little they have by taking shelter here in the wilderness. Tranquillity found within the temple sanctums is a far cry from the warmongering tribes who threaten the Cathayan Empire. From the west loom feral bands of Ogres and men with no honour. Hobgoblin riders roam the steppes to the northwest. From the Wastes to the north come the marauding hordes of Chaos barbarians and creatures of horror that feast upon flesh.

In times of strife frontiers are defended by the community. Local militia comprises the strongest young men, supporting trained soldiers of the Emperor’s Guard. An authorised emissary from Weijin is appointed by Imperial decree to govern each border district. The military view warrior monks as hooded vigilantes, and a menace to law and order. Temple masters themselves only cooperate with the emissary for that is the Emperor’s bidding. So it is that they are united in battle against the enemies of the throne. Officers begrudge the monks meddling in their affairs, yet heroic deeds and the martial arts mastery of these robed advocates is ultimately what keeps raiding parties of hobgoblins, beastmen, marauders and mutants out. The combat skills of a Celestial Dragon Monk surpass anything that Old World scholars have seen – even when using no weapons at all!

Special Rules

Strictures: A stringent regime of meditation is used by monks. Their faith is supported by a notion that the skin of one's body is armor in itself. Dragon Monks and Warrior Monks never wear any kind of armor.

Distaste for Poison: The use of poisons and various drugs is a speciality for dishonorable warriors who would stoop to such ends. Dragon Monks and Warrior Monks frown on this and may never use any kind of poison or venom.

Outsiders: Foreigners are generally considered unwelcome by the border guards of Cathay. The Battle Monks warband may never hire any sort of Hired Sword or Dramatis Personae unless specifically stated with the Hired sword/Dramatis Personae.

Choice of Warriors

A Battle Monks warband must include a minimum of three models. You have 500 gold crowns which you can use to recruit and equip your warband. The maximum number of warriors in the warband is 15.


Emissary: Each Battle Monks warband must have one Emissary – no more, no less!

Officer: Your warband may include up to one Officer.

Dragon Monks: Your warband may include up to three Dragon Monks.


Soldiers: Your warband may include any number of Soldiers.

Warrior Monks: Your warband may include up to five Warrior Monks.

Raging Peasants: Your warband may include up to five Raging Peasants.

Starting Experience

An Emissary starts with 20 Experience.

An Officer starts with 12 Experience.

Dragon Monks start with 15 Experience.

Henchmen start with 0 Experience.

Characteristic Increase

Cathayans are humans and therefore use the maximum profile for humans.

Battle Monks Skill Table

Dragon Monk

Battle Monks Special Skills

Battle Monks of Cathay may choose to use the following skill list instead of the standard skill lists.

Note that the Emissary may only pick the Warmonger skill.

Energy Focus

If fighting unarmed, the Hero may choose to reduce his Attacks by –1 and thus gain +1 Strength in close combat. The monk may sacrifice any number of attacks this way.

Lightning Speed

The monk may triple his Movement whilst running or charging and may run even when there are enemy models within 8”.

Leap of Faith

The Hero cannot be intercepted whilst charging. He may escape from combat (as described on p. 161 in the Mordheim rulebook) by leaping away without having to pass an Ld test and may declare a leaping charge at the same time in the same turn.

Human Shield

If two or more models are engaged in close combat with the monk, he may choose to grab one to use it as a shield instead of his normal attacks. To do this, he must pass an Initiative test after the first model has attacked, but before the second model attacks. On a successful roll, the monk grabs the first model – the second model directs its full attacks on the friendly model. After the combat phase, the model breaks free and the battle goes on as usual. On a failed roll, the monk and the second model use their normal attacks.


The Emissary may make an Ld test before the battle. If the test is successful, D3+1 Raging Peasants join the warband for the next game (this may exceed the maximum number of warriors). Each Raging Peasant in the warband is subject to Hatred for the duration of the battle.

Battle Monks Equipment Lists

The following lists are used by Battle Monks warbands to pick their equipment:

Soldier Equipment List

Hand-to-hand Combat Weapons

Dagger1st free/2 gc
Spear10 gc
Sword10 gc
Katana20 gc
Cathayan longsword*75 gc

Missile Weapons

Duelling pistol30 gc (60 gc for a brace)
Handgun35 gc
Bow10 gc
Crossbow25 gc


Light armour20 gc
Heavy armour50 gc
Shield5 gc
Helmet10 gc

Miscellaneous Equipment

Cathayan silk cloak*40 gc
Horse*30 gc

*Emissary only

Monk Equipment List

Hand-to-hand Combat Weapons

Axe5 gc
Spear10 gc
Sword10 gc
Quarter staff15 gc
Katana20 gc
Chain sticks20 gc

Missile Weapons

Fish-hook shot10 gc
Throwing stars15 gc



Battle Monks Special Equipment

This equipment is only available to the Battle Monks, and no other warband may purchase it.

Quarter Staff

15 gold crowns
Availability: Common, Battle Monks only

Range: Close Combat
Strength: As user
Special Rules: Balanced, Parry, Freestyle


Balanced: A quarter staff is especially light and easy to wield. A model armed with a fighting staff gets +1 Initiative in close combat.

Freestyle: Although a staff does not always require two hands to use, it cannot be combined with another weapon, shield, buckler, etc. However, it can be combined with the Monks bare hand attacks. This means that the Monk is still getting +1 Attack.

Chain Sticks

20 gold crowns
Availability: Rare 7, Battle Monks only

Range: Close Combat Strength: As user
Special Rules: Flurry, Two-handed


Flurry: A set of chain sticks allows its wielder to unleash a furious bludgeoning. A warrior armed with chain sticks gets +2 Attacks. This bonus only applies in the first turn of each hand-to-hard combat. Using chain sticks otherwise counts as having two hand weapons.

Fish-Hook Shot

10 gold crowns
Availability: Rare 7, Battle Monks only

Range: 3"
Strength: 3
Special Rules: Thrown weapon, Precise, Caused fall


Thrown weapon: Models using a fish-hook shot do not suffer penalties for range or moving as it is designed for short-range use anyway.

Precise: A model using a fish-hook shot is so well-trained in the use of this weapon that he may attack enemy models that are engaged in close combat. However, the hook shot is useless when the monk himself is engaged in close combat.

Caused fall: The warrior may declare to try and cause an enemy model to fall instead of causing damage. The warrior must roll to hit as normal and then pass a Strength test. If the test is successful, the enemy model counts as knocked down. Apply a +1 modifier to the Strength test against large models. When a mount gets knocked down, the rider falls off (see 3-4 on the Whoa Boy! table).


1 Emissary

60 gold crowns to hire

An official delegate of the Dragon Throne is sent to each border town from Weijin. His orders are to ensure that the Emperor's decrees are being upheld.


Weapons/Armour: The Emissary may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Soldier Equipment list.


Leader: Any warrior within 6“ of the Emissary may use his Leadership when taking Ld tests.

Ride Horse: The Emissary is trained in riding Horses.

Decree: When the Emissary dies, a new one must be hired as soon as possible. Until you have done so, no other warriors and/or equipment may be bought. The new Emissary will then reclaim Leadership of the warband.

0 – 1 Officer

40 gold crowns to hire

The Officer is the highest ranking member of his division, a decorated soldier dispatched as custodian to administer Imperial law throughout the district.


Weapons/Armour: The Officer may be equipped with weapons chosen from the Soldier Equipment list.

0 – 3 Dragon Monks

55 gold crowns to hire

Dragon Monks are close to reaching mental and physical perfection. The most skilled martial artists among each brotherhood have mastered the Way of the Dragon, a fighting style which Cathayan monks are renowned for even far beyond their borders.

Dragon Monks443331418

Weapons/Armour: Dragon Monks may be equipped with weapons chosen from the Monk Equipment list. Monks suffer no penalties whatsoever for fighting unarmed and they receive +1 Attack when doing so.


Art of Silent Death: Dragon Monks have become masters of the Cathayan art of open-hand fighting. In hand-to-hand combat, if fighting unarmed, they will cause a critical hit on a roll 'to wound' of 5-6 instead of a 6. If the Dragon Monk wields a quarter staff, only the unarmed attacks will cause a critical hit on 5+.


25 gold crowns to hire

Comprising trained fighters and local militia, the border guards form a solid patrol to defend the borderlands against invading tribes and other dangers.


Weapons/Armour: Soldiers may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Soldier Equipment list.

0 – 5 Warrior Monks

35 gold crowns to hire

The Battle Monks from Cathay are experts in fighting unarmed. Brothers combine open-hand tactics with specialist weapons training to create a shrouded force of lethal warriors.

Warrior Monks433331417

Weapons/Armour: Warrior Monks may be equipped with weapons chosen from the Monk Equipment list. Monks suffer no penalties whatsoever for fighting unarmed, and they receive +1 Attack when doing so.

0 – 5 Raging Peasants

10 gold crowns to hire

Raging Peasants422331316

Weapons/Armour: A peasant is usually equipped with a pitchfork, torch, or other simple tool. Treat them as fighting unarmed but without any penalties.


Simple folk: Peasants never gain Experience.

Mob: Peasants become threatening in large numbers. A Peasant gets +1 Ld for each other allied Peasant model within 3". Due to their rage, they do not benefit from the leader rule.

Ignored: Peasants that are out of action do not count toward the number of out-of-action models for the purpose of Rout tests.

Downtrodden: When a Peasant is wounded, do not roll for injury. The model is immediately taken out of action.