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Darius Finch

LoreKeeper's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter, 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 3,988 posts (8,778 including aliases). 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 22 aliases.


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the xiao wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

@xiao:

I really like that you pointed out Ki Craft positively. I was a little worried how it would be received as it opens up strange possibilities. To help out the feat and monks who take it: note that all the magic items in Unfettered Monk only require Craft Wondrous Item and that the creator is a monk - meaning Ki Craft can be used for those items without extra effort (getting the crafting spell cast somehow).

doesn't Ki Craft count only as craft weapons and armors?

Well, not rings and staffs and rods, but

Ki Craft excerpt wrote:
... You are considered to possess the feats Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Arms and Armor for the purpose of ...

So weapons, armor and all wondrous items are fair game.


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@xiao:

I really like that you pointed out Ki Craft positively. I was a little worried how it would be received as it opens up strange possibilities. To help out the feat and monks who take it: note that all the magic items in Unfettered Monk only require Craft Wondrous Item and that the creator is a monk - meaning Ki Craft can be used for those items without extra effort (getting the crafting spell cast somehow).

You also mentioned the feat Style Shift, to alleviate the feat-intensive nature of Style Shift note that it combos really well with Improved Formless Stance.


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the xiao wrote:

That sounds better and works with the feats in the book.

I agree that a monk inspired by buddhist/shaolin monks would be lawful, but then again we have taoist monk who are better represented by a chaotic alignment.
I finished my review. I didn¿t include the redundancy examples since I just found one. Dex to damage during flurry costs two insights, and you can get Dex to damage for AoO for another insight. But if you use Embrace the Cycle, you can always Dex to damage from level 8 on.

Thank you the xiao, that's a great review you have for the Unfettered Monk.

Redundancy can be a problem, but I'm not sure your example counts: AOO Dex damage could be gained at level 1 (at least relevant for those that multiclass into the monk), but the most important difference is that "Embrace the Cycle" is a deep insight. These tend to be really powerful but since you can have very few active at a time it is a matter of being really choosy about them. And making choices is really what the Unfettered Monk is about :)


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Sure, it is easier to just dip into it, along with a feat. I think it is balanced out a little by the class itself being quite generous with insights (11 in total) and as a rule the insights are better than a feat.

True, the cost of 4 feats is steep. However, to me that is a fair price for being a non-lawful monk. Naturally the game is about having fun with your friends, so your table can houserule it to be more lenient.

I propose this alternative: a neutral monk's "monk level" follows the 3/4 progression and a chaotic monk's "monk level" follows the 1/2 progression. This only has an effect for insights that specifically call out the monk level. For example, a 12th level monk with wholeness of body would heal 12 hp if lawful, 9 hp if neutral, and 6 hp if chaotic.


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Oliver Volland wrote:
Lars Lundberg 419 wrote:

Any of you reviewers out there willing to pass along information on the best way to contact you for a review? It always feels awkward to bug you guys to read our stuff so I would like to know the way to present it to you in the most palatable fashion possible...its kind of like asking for a first date.

My palms are sweaty just thinking about it.

If someone wants me to review something, just send me a PM. There are some topics like psionic I haven't read anything about yet, so I'd need basic material first before I can look into specific archtypes or something like that, but I think most things should be doable for me.

You don't have to tell me twice :)


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the xiao wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:


I'm looking forward to the review. If you don't mind me asking, what design decisions did and did not sit well with you?
Basically, alignment and costs of some abilities and some redundancy which I will expand in my review.

Ah yes, I am personally of the opinion that the (normal) monk should be lawful. To me the class instill a sense of discipline and gravity that is best reflected by the lawful alignment. That said, I agree there is a space for non-lawful monks (and that is why I included the Beyond Order feat).


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Hoorah! The Monk Unfettered has its first review (thank you TriangularRoom). After reading it I thought I should share what is meant by deep insights that are mentioned in the review.

Deep insights are particularly powerful insights. Unlike, say, advanced rogue talents, deep insights can be taken from level 1 - however there is a limit to how many of them the monk may have active at a time. At level 1 only one deep insight can be used - but increasing levels and certain other options (feats, insights, etc) allow the monk to use more deep insights simultaneously.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

the vast majority of class abilities are rolled into insights (similar to rage powers and rogue talents).

That's much the direction I took with the "Kirthfinder" monk as well. Great minds!

You know it!

I've just had a good look at the Kirthfinder monk, there are some other parallels where we have different design details but similar overall intentions. For example, the Kirthfinder monk's flurry is a full-BAB but the iterative attacks never have a penalty of greater than -5. In contrast, the Unfettered Monk retained 3/4-BAB even when flurrying, but none of the attacks take a penalty and they have a faster progression.

For example, at 12th level:

Kirthfinder monk: +12/+7/+7
Unfettered monk: +9/+9/+9/+9

The unfettered monk doesn't use ki spells like the Kirthfinder monk (though some insights duplicate spell powers), however the list of insights is truly massive well in excess of 100 insights and some of them expose rather exotic powers.

Partial text from "Overwhelming Spirit" insight wrote:
Overwhelming spirit (Ex)*: shaken enemies within 10 ft of a monk with this insight remain shaken even if the duration of the shaken condition has expired. At 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter the range increases by 5 ft up to a maximum of 30 ft at 20th level.

Edit: I noticed another overlap between Kirthfinder and Unfettered: Kirthfinder provides some class-specific favored class bonuses for the monk. The Unfettered Monk does something similar, but has a whole section dedicated to it, exposing just shy of 30 alternate favored class bonuses.


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the xiao wrote:
I bought this on a whim along the Pathfinder Unchained. I also have the Talented Monk and the follow-up. I must say that while I really dont like some of the design desicions, the Unfettered Monk lets me create MOST monk characters I would like to create, unlike the core unchained and talented. I will do a review after I try a couple of builds.

I'm looking forward to the review. If you don't mind me asking, what design decisions did and did not sit well with you?

Regarding monk diversity: yes, it was a design goal to be both extremely flexible as well as cover as many possibilities that I could think of. If you have some great ideas that aren't covered yet I might design them into the PDF and release them as an update - so don't hesitate to let me know and discuss.


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CWheezy wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

Con is the tertiary stat for battle oracles, because you still need a minimum of 14 to cast your spells,

You need a minimum of 11 to cast level 1 spells man. You really do not need much charisma, as a battle oracle you will never cast a spell that has a save DC

Not to mention that buying a +2 (or higher) headband of Charisma will also give you access to the higher level spells.


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Insain Dragoon wrote:

@Anyone who likes unarmed strikes, Third Party Material, and hates the Amulet of Many Fists

In the upcoming supplement book from Amora Games for the Liber Influxus Communis is an item tentatively called a "Spirit Focus" that is meant for you.

I hope you guys like it.

Alternatively, the Monk Unfettered has a lot(!) of monk options including, but not limited to, allowing Dexterity or Wisdom focused monks; and introducing a wondrous item that picks up where the amulet of mighty fists leaves of.


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Rynjin wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Tels wrote:
Nicos wrote:
There is a FAQ saying taht is incorrect.

Please link to the FAQ that clarifies that unarmed strikes count as either a natural weapon or a manufactured weapon for the purpose of haste or similar spells and effects that fail to possesses language otherwise including unarmed strikes in their effects.

As far as I know, the only FAQs that skirt around this issue is the one on Feral Combat Training and the one on a Monk's extra attack from Ki stacking with the extra attack from haste.

Good enough?
That's the same FAQ he said wasn't good enough just five posts before yours...

Perhaps your page is different than mine, because 5 posts above mine isn't even a post by him, and the one above that (#6) doesn't mention it at all that I see.

I believe he rejects it because the FAQ does not specify it includes unarmed flurries. (Beweaponed flurries are of course fine.)

That said, I also think it is nonsense to argue about it and that haste works on a monk's unarmed flurry.


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Malwing wrote:
Just did a long one. Spheres of Power. Its five stars and a tough contender for best product ever.

Similar to Oliver, I've been convinced and will pick up Spheres of Power for myself


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AndIMustMask wrote:
@lorekeeper: your tiger vs dragon thing got me thinking--going without dragon style REALLY hurts your damage on the unarmed side, and you cant take both without MoMS (iirc, one of the few archetypes that actually still work with unchained monk)

I disagree, see for example: a 22 Str monk with Dragon Style gets a nice +3 to his damage. That's fairly decent. But in the equivalent situation a Tiger Style monk would have +3 to attack. The rough guideline that I follow is that a +1 to attack is worth +2 to damage - that is a rather reliable rule of thumb statistically (and also reflected in feat chains, see for example Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, etc). By that rule, Tiger Style is a net +6 to damage compared to the +3 from Dragon Style.

As an added bonus Tiger Style grants a form of pounce. This means that together with the flying kick style strike you can get a lot of mobility going in combat: potentially two movements combined with a flurry in a single round.

Furthermore, Tiger Style gets its benefits from having the Power Attack feat - this means you only need 13 Str to get it to work. This in turn means you can use Tiger Style very well with a Dex-based monk and thereby retain the same or better AC than a Str-based monk even when using Tiger Style. A Wisdom-based monk (see Wise Punch Man) can also do very well with a Tiger Style approach.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages to either approach, and some situations will favor the one over the other - and vice versa. But the prevalence of Dragon Style is, in my opinion, unfounded; Tiger Style is an effective option that deserves a bit more attention than it receives.

...

PS - Wise Punch Man is an example of great defenses on the Unchained Monk. He deals significantly less damage than a pure damage build, but he offers a lot of battlefield control and a rather large ki pool. If refocused to use Tiger Style he gives up some control power, but adds formidable damage to good control and good defenses.


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Dabbler wrote:

Certainly, here’s the back of my envelope:

Let’s assume a 10th level monk with 20 Strength (16 +2 levels +2 Belt) and Power Attacking. Assume 1/3 WBL for weapon, which is 20,000gp.

Unarmed monk is attacking for 1d10 base damage, and can afford a +2 AoMF. That gives him +7 static bonus, then Power Attack for +6, and assuming Improved Critical a 10% threat chance. That gives us 18.5 x 1.1 = 20.35 before we factor odds to hit.
Armed monk with a temple sword has only 1d8 base damage, and can afford a +3 weapon. He’s using it two-handed so he gets +7 from Strength and +3 from the weapon for +10. Then he’s using Power Attack for +9, and the Improved Critical gives him a 20% threat chance. That gives us 23.5 x 1.2 = 28.2 before we factor in odds to hit – which are better for this monk as he has an extra +1 from his weapon and can take Furious Focus to make his first attack with no penalty from Power Attack.

So quite a difference. Even if the unarmed monk uses a monk’s robe (damage to 2d6), and a feat chain like Dragon Style to add 1.5x strength bonus damage, he caps at 22 x 1.1 = 24.2. The armed monk is both more accurate and does more damage.

Although true it's not like the unarmed version is extremely far behind the weapon version, and all the style strikes require unarmed attacks - so that would mess with the weapon users karma a bit.

Instead of Dragon Style I think that Tiger Style might be better by negating the need to take an attack penalty to Power Attack.


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Shisumo wrote:
I'm the only one who has posted anything even close to an actual side-by-side comparison, and the back-of-the-envelope calculations didn't really seem to support the "armed is better" hypothesis.

I posted Wise Punch Man :)


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
I did look into it. The problem is that channeling is only acquired at level 7, and general feats under VMC only at level 9 and 13 after that. So you'd have to wait until level 13 to get Guided Hand (which allows you to attack with Wisdom).
Retrain level 1/human feat?

!!

I didn't consider it like that. Then maybe it's possible. You still have to be faithful to the plan to at least level 7 to come fully "online". But I'm patient that way.


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David knott 242 wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

I've made an Unchained monk (monk 11 / cleric 1) that focuses on unarmed strikes. A couple of neat features:


  • SAD monk, heavy emphasis on Wisdom attribute
  • At level 1 take a short detour into cleric of Irori to acquire Guided Hand, so attacks are now calculated on Wisdom
  • Trait: wisdom in the flesh (acrobatics)
  • Large ki pool
  • Pick flying kick style strike first; it is used to combo with Disorientating Maneuver
  • Combat style mastery, to switch between boar style and mantis style on the fly
  • Mantis style and high Wisdom grant a Stunning Fist DC of 25
  • Medusa's Wrath as monk 10 bonus feat: stronger than improved critical (unarmed strike) with the new flurry and high chance to stun
  • Unarmed damage is not emphasized, but battle field control is significant
  • The 1 level in cleric grants protection from and remove fear
  • The 1 level in cleric grants small boost to Will save, coupled with great Wisdom for a good overall Will save
  • Original draft used only boar style to grant slashing/piercing/bludgeoning unarmed strikes, and the ability to demoralize for free when striking a foe twice

** spoiler omitted **...

Did you try building this monk as a VMC cleirc? You would lose the protection from evil and remove feat spells along with three feats. Would it be worth it for one more actual monk level?

I did look into it. The problem is that channeling is only acquired at level 7, and general feats under VMC only at level 9 and 13 after that. So you'd have to wait until level 13 to get Guided Hand (which allows you to attack with Wisdom).


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You can also skip direct stat-based increases to damage and make use of Tiger Style instead. Take an AC penalty instead of attack penalty and get Power Attack damage bonus on your attacks. Works particularly great with Wisdom or Dexterity focused monks (such as Wise Punch Man posted above) - you only need enough Strength for Power Attack.


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PlagueCrafter wrote:
I've searched around the thread and haven't found a great answer to this: Can I use the Unchained Monk to be an absolute Grapple monstrosity?

I've not run all the numbers, but something that definitely helps is that the Unchained monk has full-BAB, so his CMD is higher - makes it that much harder to escape his grapples.


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I've made an Unchained monk (monk 11 / cleric 1) that focuses on unarmed strikes. A couple of neat features:


  • SAD monk, heavy emphasis on Wisdom attribute
  • At level 1 take a short detour into cleric of Irori to acquire Guided Hand, so attacks are now calculated on Wisdom
  • Trait: wisdom in the flesh (acrobatics)
  • Large ki pool
  • Pick flying kick style strike first; it is used to combo with Disorientating Maneuver
  • Combat style mastery, to switch between boar style and mantis style on the fly
  • Mantis style and high Wisdom grant a Stunning Fist DC of 25
  • Medusa's Wrath as monk 10 bonus feat: stronger than improved critical (unarmed strike) with the new flurry and high chance to stun
  • Unarmed damage is not emphasized, but battle field control is significant
  • The 1 level in cleric grants protection from and remove fear
  • The 1 level in cleric grants small boost to Will save, coupled with great Wisdom for a good overall Will save
  • Original draft used only boar style to grant slashing/piercing/bludgeoning unarmed strikes, and the ability to demoralize for free when striking a foe twice

Wise Punch Man:

Wise Punch Man
Male human cleric of Irori 1 Unchained monk 11
LG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +22

-=DEFENSE=-
AC 35, touch 27, flat 31 armor +4; dex +3; wis +7; dodge +1; monk +4; natural +4; deflect +2
HP 110 1d8 + 11d10 + 36
Fort +14; Ref +13; Will +15
Special still mind, improved evasion

-=OFFENSE=-
Speed 60ft
Melee unarmed strike +21 (2d8+6 19-20/x2) Type: bludgeoning/slashing; Size: Medium; Wgt: -
Melee unarmed flurry +21/+21/+21/+16/+11 (2d8+6 19-20/x2) Type: bludgeoning/slashing; Size: Medium; Wgt: -
Special boar style, mantis style, flying kick, one touch, stunning fist DC 25 (13/day), medusa's wrath

-=OTHER=-
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 25, Cha 8 20pt buy, racial bonus on Wisdom
BAB +11; CMB +18; CMD 41
Feats channel smite, guided hand (unarmed), improved unarmed strike, stunning fist, dodge, weapon focus (unarmed), combat reflexes, disorienting maneuver, boar style, improved trip, mantis style, combat style master, medusa's wrath
Traits Quain martial artist +1 unarmed strike damage, Wisdom in the Flesh (acrobatics) becomes a class skill, uses Wisdom
Special aura (lawful good), channel energy 1d6 2/day, domains (knowledge, law), improved evasion, fast movement (30 ft), ki pool 12/day (magic, silver, cold-iron, lawful), still mind, purity of body
Ki power qinggong power (barkskin), furious defense, high jump, abundant step
Style strike flying kick, foot stomp
Favored class monk
Favored class bonus 12hp
Skills Skills per level: 5 (4 class + 1 human); Armor check penalty: 0
Trained acrobatics +27(12); climb +9(3); diplomacy +9(4); intimidate +17(12); perception +22(12); sense motive +22(12); swim +9(3)
Untrained bluff 2

Spells
Orisons prepared: detect magic, guidance, stabilize
Level 1 prepared: protection from evil, endure elements, remove fear, comprehend languages (domain)

Equipment
Wealth 7000gp


  • bracers of armor +4 (16000)
  • monk's robe (13000)
  • headband of wisdom +4 (16000)
  • belt of perfection +2 (16000)
  • amulet of mighty fists +2 (16000)
  • cloak of resistance +3 (9000)
  • boots of elven kind (2500)
  • ring of protection +2 (8000)
  • circlet of persuasion (4500)
  • ...sundry adventuring gear...


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Shisumo wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

we need a "normal" unarmed strike monk example.

I must confess I don't fully understand what you mean by "normal" in this context.

Dragon Style is useful as a baseline because it's entirely passive and nonreactive; it doesn't require the opponent to do anything and it doesn't rely on successful (or unsuccessful, for that matter) actions on the part of the PC himself to show its benefits. Snake Style may be awesome, for instance, but it is hard to demonstrate that without an actual gameplay experience to show how many times you get to make your Snake Fang counterattack or use the Snake Style Sense Motive "dodge."

I'm saying the unarmed strike damage is inflated by the Dragon Style. This is of course a good thing for the specific character; but it is important to consider "normal" unarmed monk damage (the baseline without Dragon Style). There are *a lot* of good styles available. Picking the one style that is the most beneficial for raw unarmed damage is not suitable to understand the baseline for Unchained monks.


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You should also show a non-Dragon-Style monk. There are plenty of good styles out there - we need a "normal" unarmed strike monk example.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
Asha Ghadvhi wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Somehow I doubt that, unless you neglected your Cha. Gimme some numbers on your Monkadin.
Hey.
How are you getting the Unchained monk close to a base 16 will save? As you don't have a cloak of resist at all on your monkadin and you calculated his will save wrong, it should be a 16. It starts with a 4 + wisdom so even if it's a +5 (two higher than your monkadin) that's a 9. iron will for 11. so spending a feat and investing even more in wisdom is getting you to a -5 from your monkadin. If you monkadin had 10's for wisdom and cha his will save would still be one point higher than the UC!monk with a +5 wis mod.

I agree, there's something pretty fundamentally wrong if you think an Unchained Monk 12's Will Save is comparable to a Core Monk 4/Paladin 8's Will save. Either your calculations are off, or you not telling us something pretty important about your Unchained Monk 12.


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Personally I like the introduction of ki powers as selectable class abilities (akin to rage powers and rogue talents); as this in theory allows monk-specific support in Paizo publications. It's kind of what I've done in my reinvention of the monk (Monk Unfettered). The specific implementation that was done in Unchained, however, is unattractive. Previously free powers now cost (a lot) of ki. Some powers are fairly good, some are still exorbitant (wholeness of body!).

The Ki Range power is probably in need of errata. As written there is no duration; so in principle a monk could "charge up" his shuriken until it had a range increment of 2000 ft.

Overall I think a better design approach for Ki Powers would have been a constant effect for having the ki power, and an activatable ki-based kicker. For example:


  • "Wholeness of Body" could have absorbed purity of body as a constant effect and allow 1 ki as a swift action to heal monk-level in hit points.
  • "Diamond Soul" would grant constant spell resistance and allow 2 ki as standard action to allow harmless spells to bypass spell resistance for 1 minute
  • "Diamond Resilience" grants DR 2/- at 12th level, increasing by +1 every four levels. By spending 1 ki as a standard action the DR is doubled for 1 minute.
  • "Abundant Step" grants +4 dodge bonus against AOOs caused by moving, and the monk can spend 2 ki as a move action to dimension door
  • "Feather Balance" allows the monk to always take 10 when making a balance check, by spending 1 ki as a swift action he gains a +10 bonus to balance checks for 1 minute

But, that said, I think in terms of finding a sweetspot of buffing the monk and keeping the traditionalists happy the best decision would be to take the Style Strikes class feature and apply it on top of the original Core monk.

Edit: ...and perhaps replace Core flurry with Unchained flurry. It's just a neater way to handle flurries (and also a little bit like what I did in Monk Unfettered).


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Shisumo wrote:

Last year I played a monk 4/paladin 7 (hit 8th level about halfway through) all the way through Ruby Phoenix Tournament in a PbP on the boards. She could flurry with a glaive, made most saves on a 2+, and pretty much soloed a non-evil dragon (no smite) shortly after leveling up.

My Dragon Fist Style test unchained!monk has more attacks for more damage at better attack bonuses, has way better AC, more maneuverability and every once in awhile can just punch people as a touch attack because he feels like it. Oh, and his saves? -1 Fort, +1 Ref, -2 Will to hers. Not exactly character-breaking.

No argument that the monk (old and new) can be optimized into a very respectable combatant. But saying that a monk 4 / paladin 7+ has no save issues even with a low Will save on the monk is not exactly going to surprise anybody.


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@Mark Seifter: there's a different issue that I would like to see corrected that relates to the monk. The Stunning Fist feat benefit states:

Core, page 135 wrote:
"A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn)."

The part in parenthesis is, to my knowledge, supposed to be a reminder for the normal duration of "1 round". However, I've seen it stated by various people (including James Jacob) that read the parenthesis literally to mean that in a successful Stunning Fist as part of an Attack of Opportunity, the effect still wears off at the start of your next turn - rather than at the start of the creature's turn who's initiative was active at the time.


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With a poor will save, the Unchained Monk loses somewhat on one of his classic selling points: making casters shake (a little) in their slippers.

On a related note: keeping diamond soul as a constant effect but allowing spells denoted as "harmless" to bypass the spell resistance would have made everybody forget about the will save issue.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
plaidwandering wrote:
no more immunities either.
Unchained monk is still immune to disease, just like before.
Indeed. The only immunity it lost was poison, for a flexible ki power. And as I mentioned upthread (and posters generally agreed), back with the regular monk, people usually traded diamond body for a qinggong power anyway.

I'm with Lemmy on this one; unless I have a really really good reason to trade-out diamond body (archetype or a very specific character build) there is no way I'll give up diamond body. Poison immunity is great.


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Rhedyn wrote:

You know, the current monk works just fine with enough optimization and even scales well into high levels due to their saves.

The unchained monk was a chance to make that same concept work without all the jerry-rigging. They decided not to do that and instead give us a monk that falls more in-line with paizo design philosophy rather than the monks 3.5 and earlier legacy. I'm sure the new monk is a great Goku-like character that will work great alongside the barbarian, bloodrager, and fighter but still be outclassed by nearly every 3/4 BAB/casting class.

Well, keep in mind that the Unchained Monk can still take on a lot of the optimization (and some new ones) that the Core Monk can take


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Shisumo wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Cat-thulhu wrote:
Paladins divine grace but based on wisdom or dex (your choice)
No one has asked for this.
Not trying to be nitpicky, but at least two people did ask for that, actually.

Just to put it into context: I suggested "monk divine grace" in conjunction with low Fort and low Will saves as a vehicle to make the class unattractive for dipping but still retain the sense of all-good saves. Though I believe Cat-thulhu improvised the Dex choice.


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Ckorik wrote:

I still think there is a great deal of overreaction here about the will save - all about a single spell that is rarely cast - that is only a threat in the late game (or by very rare specific monsters - where that is the *only* offense they have like a standard aboleth). As many people point out there are a ton of tables that never even take the game that high level. Honestly if your play experience consists of wave after wave of casters that were built with max spell focus and stats casting dominate every session I humbly suggest it's not the game that is letting you down.

But isn't the converse also true? Wouldn't it have been just-as-fine if the monk kept good Will saves? There are plenty of other ways in which multi-classing monks could be balanced to make them less attractive for dips.


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@Mark Seifter:

A problem with house-ruling is that it doesn't apply to Pathfinder Society play. A great amount of playing happens within those parameters - and from the sound of it, the Unchained Monk may be available for PFS play. If so, then definitely within the confines set by Paizo.


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Back on track with the Unchained monk: I understand that the designers felt it necessary to nerf one of the core aspects of the monk to balance out his gains (full-BAB and 10hd in exchange for poor Will save). Coupled with the need to also balance multi-classing (or dipping) into monk the decision makes mechanical sense. By having Wisdom being one of the core assumed attributes there is some justification in the decision to pick Will saves, as the overall save would still not be abysmal.

Comparing similar strategies in other classes there is ample precedent: wizards only get 2 skills (+ Int) per level. This allows benefits to the wizard in other departments, and his innate high Intelligence ensures a fair skill selection. However, the important distinction here is that wizards have a single attribute dependency, whereas a monk must spread his stats extensively to cater to the demands of the game. Whereas many level 1 wizards will aim for 18 to 19 Int (with racials), a monk will typically find himself at around 14 to 15 Wis.

10hd means the need for Con is slightly reduced on the monk - the monk is "less" MAD. But poor Will save means the importance of Wisdom has increased. Wisdom was already a 14/15 stat - now it needs to be pushed to 16 to somewhat mitigate the loss in Will save. However, the higher point-buy cost mitigates the slight gain in point-buy that comes from lower Con requirement.

The Unchained Monk has (for me) a clear stat precedence of: Str > Wis > Dex > Con (or Dex > Wis > Str/Con in the case of a finesse monk)

Two "classic" 20 point monks might be

Str 16+2 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 10 Wis 14 Cha 8

Str 10 Dex 16+2 Con 12 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 8

The unchained monk could vary those to

Str 16+2 Dex 14 Con 10 Int 10 Wis 15 Cha 8

Str 12 Dex 16+2 Con 10 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 8

Thus the unchained monk has his hitpoints unchanged (ignoring max hp at level 1), drops his Fort save by 1, and drops his Will save by 2 (along with slow progression of the Will save); but can pick up a bit of Wisdom at level 4 (in the strength-based variant). On the plus side, his offense is increased slightly by being "unchained".


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JonathonWilder wrote:
Again though, what I would probably consider for a home game is the idea that a monk has an ability similar to Divine Grace where all saves get a bonus based on Wis bonus... that was an interesting idea.

Ya, although as I mentioned when I suggested it, I think it would be advisable to also drop the good Fort save on the monk in that case.

PS - our avatars are too similar, I was confused for a moment about what "I" am saying


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I'll start: Flawless Mind does not cost ki, nor do you have to pick it as a ki power. You just get it automatically.

And don't forget that just 1 level later you get DR 10/chaotic as well as the ability to recover ki at a rate of 1 ki per 10 minutes!


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I'd like to mention a couple of my thoughts on the Unchained Monk:

1. I like the changes to the flurry mechanic

2. The move to full-BAB class is not as relevant to me - previously the monk already flurried "as if" he was full-BAB; but it is still nice to have access to better feats sooner (and the lack of -2 to attack on the flurry helps as well, especially for low-level monks)

3. The drop to Will saves is pretty horrible. I understand that it is probably meant to de-incentivise dipping into [unchained] monk - but it is a poor choice nonetheless. The later class abilities granted to the monk do not make up for this loss in Will save. The unchained monk is an attractive dip-class regardless of the poor Will save; and the change breaks thematic assumption on the monk.

There are probably a number of factors contributing to the design decision. Moving the class to full-BAB was coupled with an increase to HD to stay in-line with the class norms in Pathfinder - but then the trifecta of full-BAB, full-HD, and full-Saves is just too good on paper. And on-top of that it predisposes the class to the perfect dipper.

I think Paizo missed an opportunity to look at paladin to solve this. My design advice for this would be: give the monk Poor Fort, Good Reflex, Poor Will - then adjust the ki pool ability to grant a bonus to all saves equal to the Wisdom modifier (akin to the paladin's divine grace). Perhaps make it a separate class ability at level 4 "Wisdom in the Flesh". This is a noticeable nerf for dipping purposes, even characters that are willing to dip 4 levels are not likely to have amazing Wisdom to really take advantage of this ability.

4. Ki powers. These are a very valuable addition to the class - but there are up and downsides to it currently.

The good: by instating a concept such as ki powers Paizo opens the possibility of monk support in upcoming Player Companions akin to how barbarians get new rage powers and rogues get new talents. (Previously the only "support" that monks could hope for were feats, which are not particularly class specific.)

The bad: the monk is nerfed somewhat in that several of the previous "always on" abilities now cost ki; the abilities tend to cost a lot of ki relative to the reward; the ki pool of the class is quite small. This causes many situations where it would be advisable to use a ki power to go to waste as the monk needs to carefully ration his ki expenditure.

An option: something that would go a long way to both increase the actual use of the ki powers and the ki cost is to allow every ki power to be used 1/day for free. Only additional uses cost ki.

5. Style strikes. These are great - again for the reason that this opens the door for additional support in future Paizo publications.

If I would leverage a complaint against style strikes, is that it only offers one solution for flurry mobility. There certainly was room to introduce two or three different strikes that have different conditions of behavior to open up different character concepts.


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@Malwing

Oh. Em. Gee.


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Malwing wrote:
I have the pdf. Reviewing it is a bit of a problem. I got done with a ton of reviews and have a lot more to go, and this book has a lot of options to pare through.

Thank you :) - there is absolutely no rush. Just enjoy it.


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hehehe - Monk Unfettered was a project that took me nearly two years to complete, there was a lot of time for design, balance and testing. The number of insights just naturally escalated more and more as time went on.


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And for everybody interested: Jerall Toi's blog has a sneak peak of some of the content, including some art samples. Well worth the visit.


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With the insight that allows them to use their monk level as BAB for the purpose of qualifying for feats, a monk can take Power Attack at level 1. The insight in question, "prodigy of battle", can be taken by a monk at level 1.

Likewise, the insight "cat's paw strikes" (showcased on the Tiger in Waiting on Jerall's blog) allows the monk to use half his Dex bonus for damage instead of using Str. The follow-up insight "cat turns tiger" allows using the full Dex bonus. If you spend your level 1 feat to gain an extra insight, along with the innate level 1 insight that the monk gets, a monk can use his full Dex to damage when flurrying from level 1. The combination allows for high defense and offense in early levels, while also reducing the MAD of the monk.

"Iron body" grants DR/- that grows as the monk gains levels.

There are truly a lot of insights (100+) and many of those give the monk potent options from the early game onward. Many insight choices also grow with the monk, granting increasing benefits with higher levels, or granting new abilities at higher level. The monk can be relevant at all levels of play.


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Cyrad wrote:

There's been an incredible amount of work on this forum on revising the monk, so this looks worth looking at.

Do monks get a full BAB? That's been the one thing that helped monks in my campaigns stay competitive with other non-spellcasting classes.

Yes and no. By default the monk in Monk Unfettered is still a 3/4 BAB class, however, two things balance this off:


  • firstly the Monk Unfettered's flurry mechanic is different from the Core monk's (basically the Unfettered Monk gets to use his highest BAB on *all* his attacks in a flurry)
  • secondly there are a lot of insights that allow the Unfettered Monk to use his monk level as BAB for various purposes (e.g. on "Stunning Fist" attacks, against favored enemies, on AOOs, etc). There even is an insight that allows the monk to use his monk level as BAB for the purpose of qualifying for feats.

So no, he doesn't get full BAB by default - but you can spend the insights if you want to become a full BAB class. At the same time it isn't so bad to have 3/4 BAB if you're making 5 attacks that are all at your highest BAB.


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Greetings avid reviewers!

On Jerall Toi's blog there is a sneak peak of some of the content and art assets of Monk Unfettered. For those that post their reviews outside of the Paizo reviews, you are more than welcome to make use of the art assets in Jerall's post in your own reviews.


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Greetings adventurers!

I have just released my first PDF here on Paizo. The Monk Unfettered. It is a complete reinvention of the class over 38 pages that is designed to give the monk vastly greater diversity. The core changes are to the flurry mechanic and consolidating a large set of class abilities into insights (akin to rage powers and rogue talents).

On Jerall Toi's blog there is a sneak peak of some of the content and art assets. Have a look! Even with the imminent release of Pathfinder Unchained upon us, I think the book is a valuable addition to any campaign.

Let me know what you think. Any questions are welcome!


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I don't think you need to apologize, you're doing "us" a service. Take your time. Make it shine!


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Malwing wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

It's great that Paizo is releasing a "revision" of the monk in Pathfinder Unchained; but that didn't stop me from releasing my hopes for the monk in Monk Unfettered. I would greatly appreciate Malwing's (and all other reviewers) attention, and hope it will be well received.

Awww crap. On one hand, thanks to third party products, monks have been playable in my games for a while, and in addition to that we have a new replacement monk coming up to add to the mix, meaning that this kind of product is kind of useless to me.

On the other hand, I like Monks and Monk fixes, making me very curious. The price tag is low. And the art looks badass.

In the interest of full disclosure: the price tag is low because I made Monk Unfettered as a vanity project for myself over the course of almost two years. It is not intended to be a source of income for me (but hooray if it manages to break even). It took me a long while to find two artists that are both great and affordable, and part of the long project time was due to waiting to fit into the artists' schedules for the individual pieces. I am exceedingly satisfied with the art assets in the final results. :)


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+1

I'm keen


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It's great that Paizo is releasing a "revision" of the monk in Pathfinder Unchained; but that didn't stop me from releasing my hopes for the monk in Monk Unfettered. I would greatly appreciate Malwing's (and all other reviewers) attention, and hope it will be well received.


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Hi GarnathFrostmantle

I'm Henri Hakl, the primary author and designer. Though I drew upon various sources (the only name you might recognize is Jerall Toi).

The monk is reinvented mechanically, specifically the flurry mechanic is completely reworked and the vast majority of class abilities are rolled into insights (similar to rage powers and rogue talents). Whether you design your character to be more mystical monk or more pure martial artist is up to you: there is a large set of insights that cover a wide range of martial concepts and monk tropes. I don't have a hard number for you but there are well over 100 insights.

Page breakdown:

The entirety of the PDF is 38 pages:

  • Title page, introduction, credits and copyright account for 4 pages
  • The monk reinvention (new rules for the monk) is over 13 pages
  • Favored class bonuses, feats, and magic items are 4 pages
  • 8 sample monks (at levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19) spread over 9 pages
  • 5 pages of additional discussions (interaction with archetypes, balance, intentions)
  • 3 pages with a handy reference tree of insights that shows what insights are required, and what insights are unlocked by all insights

I hope that helps, if you have more specific questions don't be afraid to ask.

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