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From the PRD:

Ki Power: A qinggong monk can select a ki power (see below) for which she qualifies in place of the following monk class abilities: slow fall (4th), high jump (5th), wholeness of body (7th), diamond body (11th), abundant step (12th), diamond soul (13th), quivering palm (15th), timeless body (17th), tongue of the sun and moon (17th), empty body (19th), and perfect self (20th). This replaces the monk class ability the qinggong monk gives up for this ki power.

I don't understand which ability you have to give up to select a Ki Power. The only detail is "for which she qualifies" and it is about the Ki Power, not about the ability you have to give up.

  • Can I take Deny Death (4th-level Ki Power) by giving up Perfect Self (20th-level monk ability) ? This seems useless but if the campaign stops at level 7, it's a free ki power...
  • Can I take Blinding Critical (20th-level Ki Power) by giving up Slow Fall (4th-level monk ability) ? This seems unbalanced, but RAW I don't see what prevents it.

There are 6th-level Ki Power but no 6th-level monk ability to give up. Same for level 16. Which monk ability can I give up to take Remove Disease (6th-level Ki Power) ? What about if I want to take Bleeding Critical (16th-level Ki Power) ?

It may look like multiple questions, but they are all part of the same Qinggong mechanic.

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The important line of the qinggong monk archetype's special ability ki power says, "This replaces the monk class ability the qinggong monk gives up for this ki power." This is later clarified by the section on Requirements that says, "All ki powers have a minimum monk level requirement to select them. A monk who does not meet this requirement cannot select that ki power" (emphasis mine).

This means such a monk can give up the level 20 monk special ability perfect self for the ki power deny death, but the monk won't actually get the ki power deny death until level 20 when the monk would normally get the special ability perfect self.

This also means a less-than-level-20 monk can't give up the level 4 monk special ability slow fall for the level 20 ki power blinding critical because the ki power blinding critical has as a requirement being a level 20 monk.

Further, there's no way to delay or swap a monk special abilities for ki powers after having advanced a level. That is, the monk couldn't opt to take neither slow fall nor a minimum-level-4 ki power so as to leave that level empty for a higher-level trade later on. A monk can't opt to take nothing so as to later fill that empty low-level monk ability with high-level awesome.

To take a ki power that requires being a level 6 monk, the monk trades a higher-than-level-6 monk special ability for the minimum-monk-level-6 ki power. For example, the monk can trade the level 7 monk special ability wholeness of body for the minimum-monk-level-6 ki power remove disease.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In your last paragraph example, does the monk make the choice of swapping wholeness of body for remove disease at level 6, or at level 7 ? In any case, if I understood your answer correctly, he actually gets remove disease at level 7, right ? \$\endgroup\$ – Kalissar Mar 11 '17 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kalissar The monk can't make the choice to swap out wholeness of body until the monk has wholeness of body. So, yes, he'd get a ki power that has a minimum monk level of 6 at monk level 7 if he trades out wholeness of body. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 11 '17 at 22:59

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