I assure you that this post does NOT have any spoilers pertaining to the new race, Pandaren.
With the new expansion: Mists of Pandaria in the foreseeable future it’s time to start thinking about how your character’s story will progress into this new and unknown area of lore. For some people even, they’ll be moving into completely unknown lore territory when they roll their new monk characters. This isn’t like going into Wrath where there was plenty of Death Knight lore in the previous games and novels, these are BRAND NEW classes! Or are they?
In this post I’ll be detailing some lesser-known-about or sometimes even hidden lore behind the monk class. This should help you get some of the backstory in order before you even click on that “create character button”
As it turns out, the new expansion won’t be the first time we encounter the monk class. Take a step back-in-time with me to when we were level 30 and we zone into a random dungeon.
The first time we meet a monk that isn’t a panda comes in the form of a Scarlet monk in the instance Scarlet Monastery. Which arguably makes sense, a monastery is where monks are typically found.
Taken from the WoW World Dungeon page:
The Monastery was once a proud bastion of Lordaeron’s priesthood – a center for learning and enlightenment. With the rise of the undead Scourge during the Third War, the peaceful Monastery was converted into a stronghold of the fanatical Scarlet Crusade. The Crusaders are intolerant of all non-human races, regardless of alliance or affiliation. They believe that any and all outsiders are potential carriers of the undead plague – and must be destroyed. Reports indicate that adventurers who enter the monastery are forced to contend with Scarlet Commander Mograine - who commands a large garrison of fanatically devoted warriors. However, the monastery’s true master is High Inquisitor Whitemane - a fearsome priestess who possesses the ability to resurrect fallen warriors to do battle in her name.
While zoning into the monastery and doing battle with Mograine and Whitemane (heh it rhymed) we really don’t see the monks do anything other than punch us and fall as we kill them. The same can be said about the crimson monks that reside in the Scarlet Bastion within the burning streets of Stratholme. While some see this as a flaw, others might see it as a clean slate to start with. Through the entirety of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion we saw the Scarlet Crusade, then the Scarlet Onslaught begin to splinter and fragment until it was utterly broken apart by the players hands. Then going into Cataclysm we saw minimal changes within the Monastery itself but with the future changes coming in Mists of Pandaria it might be time for a human or dwarf or possibly another race to defect from the Scarlet ranks.
For a more detailed description of the Scarlet Crusade’s history click here and for a more detailed description of the Scarlet Onslaught’s history click here. And finally for a more detailed description of Stratholme, click here.
Moving on from a corrupt crusade to a nobler one:
Note: this part pertains specifically to the Argent Crusade and not to the old faction of the Argent Dawn.
Another time we see a monk again is when we defeat the faction champions at jousting, beat them down, and loot their treasure chest. Enter in Eadric the Pure or Argent Confessor Paletress. They spawn with three packs of trash that each has three mobs. One of these mobs being an Argent Monk. Here’s some short back ground information on the Argent Crusade:
Taken from Wowpedia:
The Argent Crusade is a faction created from the union of the Argent Dawn, a few survivors of the Scarlet Crusade who didn’t follow Abbendis to Northrend, and the Reformed Order of the Silver Hand. It was formed shortly after the Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel, as played out during the death knight quest The Light of Dawn, in which Tirion Fordring — leader of the reformed Silver Hand — reclaimed (and evidently purified) the Ashbringerduring a confrontation with the Lich King. He assumed a leadership position over the Argent Dawn and united the two factions in order to take the fight against the Lich King to Northrend.
A particularly important line from the above text states that “a few survivors of the Scarlet Crusade” joined the Argent Crusade; this opens a whole slew of possibilities. Was your monk stationed at the Argent tournament grounds and picked up a few abilities from a scarlet monk? Were they stationed at any of the other Argent Crusade outposts? Once the Lich King had been defeated and Deathwing remerged into Azeroth the Argent Crusade withdrew a majority of its forces from Northrend and stationed them all through the Eastern and Western Plaguelands. With its main base now in Hearthglen, Western Plaguelands this makes it a little more accessable for lowerlevel roleplayers. It’s also worth mentioning that Hearthglen acts as training center for new recruits who are intent on joining the Crusade which sets the perfect scenario for a monk in training.
Finally there is one last faction that hosts monks, this one is a little less known and a little more obscure, the Auchenai.
This faction of draenei comes in two parts, pre-corruption and post-corruption. I’ll take a moment to comment on both.
Long before players arrive in the Outlands the Auchenai were a noble sect of priests and light-wielders that acted as grave keepers. They took care of the large necropolis city known as Auchindoun as well as the the graves of the dead found there. One grave was of particular importance, of the naaru known as D’ore, who perished when the Oshu’gun crash landed on Draenor.
The draenei studied him, those large eyes unblinking, and Danath knew the stranger was somehow testing the truth of his words. At last he nodded. “That is a noble goal,” he stated, and stepped out of the doorway to stand before Danath. “I am Nemraan, one of the last of the Auchenai,” he introduced himself. “We were the priests of our people, and cared for the dead here in Auchindoun.” Danath introduced himself…
“There are others,” the Auchenai replied, his staff raised to light the way. “Several of us survived the Horde’s attack and fled into the tunnels. Other draenei joined us later, seeking refuge from the Horde’s sudden onslaught. Many of them died in the explosion [which happened when the remenates of the Shadow Council summoned Murmur into the Shadow Labs which shattered the Auchindoun into the scattered wreckage we see in game today], and others have been lost since. Only a handful of us remain.
Danath glanced around, wondering where these other might be, but ahead of him Nemuraan shook his head.
“You will not see them. Though you seem noble and true, it would not be wise for me to put the rest of my people at risk. They will remain hidden while I aid you so that if you betray me, our race will yet continue.”….
Danath turned to Nemuraan. On impulse, he said, “Come with us. This is no place to live, and you can serve your people more by leaving here and returning to the world. We would even take you to Azeroth with us, if you liked.”
Nemuraan smiled. Truly your world must be a wondrous place, to have produced such a people,” he complimented, and I appreciate your offer. But no, my place is here. Our dead remain in this world—honorably laid to rest in Auchindoun, or scattered in the forest, even paving the path the orcs misname the Path of Glory. Here they lie, in Draenor, and here I stay, to tend them. The Holy Light has placed us here for a reason and some day it will triumph over all.” -Beyond the Dark Portal, Aaron Rosenberg and Christen Golden
During the time span from when Draenor suffered its own cataclysm and became the Outlands to when the dark portal opens again and players venture forth the Auchenai became corrupted.
Taken from Wowpedia:
The Auchenai are a draenei faction who can be found in Terokkar Forest. They are opposed to other draenei groups, and hostile to both Alliance and Horde. While they are similar to mainstream draenei society in that they are a theocratic society, their religion is very much unlike the Holy Light. Little is known about their cult and what they worship, but they seem to be obsessed with a coming apocalypse, and indulge in dark practices like necromancy. Their corruption is most likely caused by the void radiated by D’ore.
While this is all fine and dandy we cleansed the Auchenai crypts during our raids across Outlands so it stands to reason they are no longer corrupted. Or at the very least those that saw the error of their ways fled to Shattrath where they could teach others of their monk-ly ways.
There you have it, the three factions that have monk NPCs. It’s up to you what you do with this information. What kind of backstory will your monk have? Will you be a human that defected from the Scarlet Crusade? A tauren that was stationed in Dawn’s Light and learned the ways of the monk from someone else? A draenei who ran from the Auchenai Crypts when you saw how you’re people were falling into corruption? Or maybe even a blood elf who spent their free time hanging around the lower city of Shattrath City, listening and learning from the refugees? Or quite possibly just learning it all from the panda’s. The choice is yours.