I think its a matter of playing to the AP. These aren't sandbox stories, but a railroad - and that is fine. We can, of course, drift off that and make the entire thing more simulationist - but that defeats the purpose of APs and puts a tremendous burden on story-telling and encounter design on the GM. (To be frank, apart from occasional gems most such encounters tend to the more uninspired variety anyway, it takes a lot of time and commitment to design elaborate and fun encounters.)
I'm honestly not against a dungeon disguised as an overland race. I've been in plenty regular dungeons. This is a nice change of pace and scenery, and makes some other skill-sets be more relevant than the typical dungeons.
Here's Jakiro's performance against the Greater Shadow
Except for the special bit of text that (Greater) Shadows have:
Strength Damage (Su) A greater shadow’s touch deals 1d8 points of Strength damage to a living creature. This is a negative energy effect. A creature dies if this Strength damage equals or exceeds its actual Strength score.
So far, assuming I am right, only archetypes are winning this.
If you remove the qinggong from Jakiro, then the only change is the +4 natural AC goes away: you end up with exactly the scenario you described with needing a 16 to hit. And as you said, the bebilith still gets its butt kicked that way. That would be core monk then.
Ah - the monster needs a 20 to hit (as specified, Jakiro uses ki dodge), hence the smaller Rot damage.
@wraithstrike: no Jakiro is the Dex monk I posted on page 1. I'm not going to run the paladin-monk in the Proving Grounds, it was just a thought experiment so it's not fully thought-through.
Well once you know the percentage it is easier to figure out. As an example someone with an 80% chance to succeed will make it 4/5 times so assume the 5th round is the failing round.
That also assumes that the monster is spending 5 turns using dominate (and not much else). If it doesn't have at-will dominate it may be hard to accept.
It comes down to the same thing: in Round 2 to Round 3 the Bebilith tries to make distance between itself and Jakiro follows. The numbers get smaller because less attacks go back and forth, but the Bebilith is still playing a losing game. If the monster goes out of reach by going up, then Jakiro needs to follow using a potion of fly - but it still doesn't change the per-round numbers.
I actually considered switching it's tactic to overrun or trip or grapple; but in my experiments the numbers favored her even less, so I switched to Power Attack which at least increases DPR a little.
Jakiro senses the bebilith before the monster can sense him. He immediately begins to stealth in cautiously, switching to invisibility to close the final distance, then rushes in with a charge when opportunity presents itself. Jakiro doesn't bypass DR.
Furious the bebilith returns the favor, unloading its bite and claws on Jakiro
The bebilith is somewhat worried at this stage, and attempts to pick up its superior reach - first it webs Jakiro then backs into 15ft reach range; but Jakiro's touch AC of 31 is too much for the web to connect with and instead it just creates a plotch of difficult terrain around Jakiro's feet. As the monster moves away it tries to tumble, but Jakiro smashes with an 85% chance to ignore the tumble.
AOO vs bebilith 0.85 * 0.8 * 8.5 * 1.1 = 6.36 (total of 86.13)
AOO vs Jakiro 0.6 * 0.05 * 15 * 1.05 = 0.47 (total of 2.8)
Jakiro attacks 0.75 * 8.5 * 1.1 = 7.01 (total of 93.14)
Confounded by this human, the bebilith decides that if it has almost no chance to hit - it might as well hit as hard as it can, it uses Power Attack on its full attack.
Very nearly dead, the bebilith decides to flee - 5ft step and plane shifting away.
Since the paladin was mentioned, I thought I'd do the thought-experiment and make a paladin monk. As expected the defenses are very formidable, and damage is passable. The build is not intended to be used for the Proving Grounds:
Paladin 4 Monk (Qinggong) 6:
traits - undecided, there are a few that can change the direction of the character; combat orientated options include Flame of the Dawnflower and Pirate Duelist
level 1 - pala 1 - weapon focus (scimitar), weapon finesse
primary skills: acrobatics 20(10), perception 21(10), perform (dance) 8(2) remaining 20 skill points undecided
scimitar flurry (crane) +16/+16/+11/+11 1d6+9 15-20/x2 6 monk + 4 bab + 7 dex + 1 feat + 1 ioun + 1 magic - 2 flurry - 2 crane
Extra build thoughts:
With more aggressive archetyping, more options come available - since both paladin and monk give disease immunity, that might as well be archetyped away - Ki Mystic may be a good option, as it also gives a good boost to the ki pool.
Something else to consider: if Weapon Adept's "way of the weapon master" is read to allow the scimitar as focus and specialization weapon, then the levels can be re-ordered such that Crane Riposte is finished before level 10; and weapon specialization grants another +2 to all attacks. Most will probably not read it like that.
Its Rock DPR is irrelevant, as that doesn't help it win the fight. Getting to the archer and fighting him in melee is what the giant should be interested in. As such, don't waste a standard action to toss a rock, double-move and take cover. Minimize damage taken and minimize time to get ontop of the archer.
It doesn't need stealth to ambush either, it needs to find a sleeping archer to ambush. The point is not whether it is likely to happen that a fire giant surprises the archer, the point is to portray both sides of the coin.
Another way to look at these fights: if I was playing the fire giant, how would I go about beating this random archer encounter? If you approach the battles like that, then you start putting your own character through her paces properly - and that gives her a chance to grow. My criticisms may come across as negative, but I'm trying to be constructive; the point of this thread (to my understanding) is making the characters even better.
I think it is a matter of how many resources are poured in by the martials. For me it is remembering that Jakiro also needs to stock up on See Invisible and Darkvision potions.
A question: would having ghosttouch allow a monk to deflect a witchflame bolt? By my reckoning it should, but I'm throwing it out there.
Jakiro should be able to spot the crocodile well away (31 perception, taking 10), and can stealth passed with a check of 30 (taking 10).
Should the dire crocodile become a threat for a different reason (perhaps Jakiro spots it as it is trying to sneak up on Little Suzy) then Jakiro feels confident in straight-up engaging the creature.
The dire crocodile is flustered, its primitive animal brain tells it that between fight or flight, a retreat is advised at this stage - unless it is desperately hungry or territorial - in which case the fight will continue with the same results as in round 1 and the crocodile will die in round 3, before it gets to act again.
I don't imagine the barbarian should have trouble with difficult terrain, its just 2000gp for featherstep slippers. However, difficult terrain shouldn't be the issue with the Witchfire: she's flying and cackling (and crackling) like mad.
Noted. Jakiro would switch to increasing his AC with ki, but I assume things won't change drastically to the outcome of the battle, albeit it may come to a much closer tally on the hitpoints for both sides. Hopefully Jakiro's party can put up some additional pressure.
Okay, this is my first attempt:
Being invisible, and flying, the Witchfire gets the jump on Jakiro. The Witchfire uses her ranged attack from 30ft away - directly above Jakiro. The attack is not a touch attack (being her ranged attack), but still catches Jakiro by surprise.
Round 1 (surprise!)
+13 attack vs 35 AC = 0.05 * 28 = 1.4
+16 attack vs AC 24 = 0.65 * 18.5 * 0.5 = 6.0 taking into account half-damage vs incorporeal
The Witchfire gleefully switches to its touch attack
At this point the Witchfire is quite confident in its ability to take on Jakiro
The Witchfire is a little bothered by the potency of the flurry, and decides to take this into a ranged fight - she moves away, provoking, then ranged attacks
At this point the Witchfire realizes it is playing a losing battle, it chooses to go invisible and flee. Jakiro has no means to follow her (apart from what the party may provide) so the battle ends for him.
It seems Jakiro should invest in a few potions of see invisibility
Perhaps in those cases assume fail-success-success-fail-fail-success-success-fail-... (etc)
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Bleeding Rain is Epic. 33 wins out of 37 on the spreadsheet, before accounting for range.
Keep in mind that the spreadsheet partially accounted for range, and excludes basic defensive measures like monks' ki dodge, as well as deflect arrow feat. (Though obviously the sheet cannot account for more complex fighting strategies.)
I agree that a dragon is not typically an opponent encountered 1v1. But on the other hand, me and GM's I play with, use all the dragon's tricks and powers appropriately. Either the party beats it anyway, or they run away really fast. (Or a TPK.) You cannot assume "it'll be stupid because it is prideful".
Apart from that, you're example fights need to account for terrain - we're not fighting on a featureless flat plane. The Fire Giant will make effort to approach a ranged combatant by ending its turns behind cover when possible. I'd usually rule for normal cover (rather than total cover), but that is still a +4 to AC that is not accounted for in the simulation fight. Yes, Bleeding Rain will still beat the Fire Giant just fine, but it is not as one sided as described initially.
As a ranged combatant, you need to always have a follow-up encounter, with the same monster where the monster ambushes Bleeding Rain - since you may not give your character the benefit of idealized starting conditions in all fights. E.g: surprise round charge by the Fire Giant to attack Bleeding Rain, then normal rounds after). Again I expect Bleeding Rain to win, but it will be even less easy as she doesn't have the range advantage to start with.
These are the types of conditions and encounters you need to portray. The whole point of this Proving Grounds thread is that we have "real" opponents under "real" conditions.
I gave statistical results for all CR 10 creatures in Bestiary 1. This includes creatures with 1 huge attack and many small attacks. Several creatures have DR that the monk cannot bypass, a potent combatant example is the Bebilith with DR 10/good. The maths penalized the monk for that appropriately, and the monk still beat the Bebilith admirably.
Enemies that choose to attempt trips on the character will lose just as badly as those that try direct damage - because most just can't hit the AC or CMD except on natural 20s.
There are ways for the build to be rendered in-effective in combat, but the build is solid against most direct combat attempts (irrespective of the attacks, maneuvers, immunities, DR, etc).
The archery fighter is (as expected) a bundle of death at range (good job); but conversely, keep in mind that a 10th level monk can charge those 110ft in one round and has a good chance of disarming Bleeding Rain of her bow. Taking Jakiro as an example, he doesn't have any disarm feats, but still has a 55% chance to disarm the bow. If a monk actually gets to do a flurry against Bleeding Rain, that would be a lot of disarm attempts, in the case of Jakiro the chance of missing all disarm attempts is:
0.45 * 0.45 * 0.7 * 0.7 = 9.9%
Or conversely, in one flurry round Jakiro has a 90% chance of disarming the bow - or 95.5% chance if he uses ki for an extra attempt.
Don't get ahead of yourselves - some of my monks use brawling armor: any archetype that gives up flurries (except possibly the sensei) should thoroughly consider whether they want to use a brawling mithril chainshirt or not. It's a trade-off, of course, but perfectly reasonable for certain monk concepts, and allows those concepts to reduce their MAD by a lot (a dex-based maneuver master in brawling armor makes a lot sense - and requires only good dex and some constitution, no more MAD!
Characters aren't automatons that only do 1 thing. If Step Up is the wiser move for a monk, then the wise monk will Step it Up. The odds still favor the monk by a good long margin even if he doesn't spend ki to up his great 33 AC to insane 37 AC.
The default combat methodology vs a reach enemy would (if possible) be to trip him and then finish the flurry. If successful, the enemy cannot 5ft step, and might not even be able to full-attack. If he chooses to full attack, then he does so at -4. If he can't be tripped, cest la vie, just Step Up unless an even better tactical option presents itself.
When Stepping Up, there's the encounter area to consider too - especially in dungeons or buildings in general, it is usually possible to 5ft in such a way that in the long-run the enemy cannot keep 5ft stepping away to a position where he can consistently leverage his reach.
It's because I'm a very patient man. And the character does not play in isolation.
I've got two similar builds (one in PFS); they both managed quite fine. Fortunately there is a whole party to support me, and early on it is easy to focus on alternative ways of doing combat (I usually favor disarms and trips, possibly grapples and dirty trick) even without having the Improved feats. It may seem weird, but I've also spent combats doing aid-another (for AC and attack) when I was too weak to do damage myself (DR can be a pain) - and on the other hand, it isn't that hard to have enemies spend a couple of rounds of attention on you to buy time for others, or use attacks where Str doesn't matter much, such as ranged attacks.
I've also played builds that only start being "proper" from levels 8 and 11 onward. And I'm fine with that. For the same reason that I like to play monks: I like a challenge like that. A long game that bears fruits a year later.
I think that the levels of optimization we're doing here are generally perverse to the game. The monsters from Bestiary 1 are designed with Core characters in mind - but the actual hero's that we play typically exceed the expectation two-fold or even three-fold. It is perfectly fine to play with sub-optimal characters, or - to bring it back to this reply - to a character that is sub-optimal for a while.
Regarding the Snake Fang, when I did the calculations I assumed that on average a CR 10 creature would have 2 "high" and 1 "low" attack, based on the stats from the Bestiary monster baselines. The high attacks attack at +18, and the low attack at +13.
In your case (your ranger is 24 AC) that would work out to be:
2 * 0.25 * AOO DPR + 1 * 0.5 * AOO DPR
Unfortunately this does not capture using Snake Style's Sense Motive immediate action interrupt, which should push the average Snake Fang damage up a little bit.
Then your DM is not playing by the core Pathfinder rules, and is house ruling that you cannot get this enchantment. I have shown you a simple solution to give a monk enchanted weapons, shown that it works via the math, and makes a monk easily competitive with other characters. I, and every DM I know allows this, because it is i in the core equipment rules and high level characters exist to challenge the high level foes in the world already. This is not a low magic world, super powered creatures and characters exist all over.
I am willing to hazard that you're actually in an overwhelming minority on this. I know plenty of GMs too, and none would roll with this. It's not like this is news to me, I've came across and tried to do the exact same thing when I was still relatively new to roleplaying years ago. As I said, for the sake of discussion here, a build should really be available for the majority of players - preferably even be PFS legal - and unfortunately a permanenced 20th level greater magic fang is not.
I agree that there are times and campaigns where it can happen. Such as a high-level campaign, or module, or once-off. But most of the time it just won't fly.
The thing I mention about Power Attack improving DPR: Power Attack only improves DPR if your damage without Power Attack is low enough, if the bonus from Power Attack is a relatively small percentage of the total damage on 1 hit, then using Power Attack actually lowers your DPR.
level 10 (10 bab)
level 10 (10 bab)
level 10 (10 bab)
That means that many classes that get a big bonus to damage from somewhere (Favored Enemy, Smite, Challenge, Rage with Dragon Style) actually should steer clear of Power Attack.
You cannot get a 20th caster level potion of greater magic fang for the same reason that you cannot get a 20th level caster. They could just not be bothered with something as trivial or mundane. A character that is 20th level has much more important things to do than cater for something like that. 600 gold, minute or otherwise, is pittance to them.
But, that actually misses the point: a theoretical build like yours does not help the average player. Our GMs are not letting us get access to 20th caster level magics - even if they agree to permanenced magic fangs. I think it is fair to stipulate that any build up for serious discussion should be legal for play for the majority of players (preferably also PFS legal). A monk build that is only playable by 1% of monk players is just not meaningful or practical.
The + behind your damage isn't particularly high, that is why Power Attack improves on the DPR even with the attack penalty. Consider the deliquiscent gloves to add an extra 1d6 acid damage (at 8000gp, a steal). Also if you can somehow get the 13000gp for a monk's robe, your unarmed attack improves to 1d8.
Finally, for the MoMS+Ranger version, consider taking enough levels of MoMS to qualify for Monastic Legacy (ultimate combat feat). 4 levels MoMS and 6 levels of ranger = effective monk unarmed level of 7. Combined with a monk robe you get an effective unarmed level of 12; in other words a 2d6 unarmed strike.
Here's my submission; in its current form - barring unknown developments.
Jakiro is designed to not be as damage focused as my previous submissions. He's still a significant combat presence and has a lot of room for trickery in combat, primarily through the addition of a sipping jacket that he can use an invisibility potion on (thus granting him 30 rounds of invisibility a day activated as a swift action for 1 round of invisibility). In many ways it is superior to a ninja's vanishing trick - I think it should be a required item on any rogue.
Jakiro, Qinggong Monk 10:
Qinggong Monk 10
traits - bullied (+1 trait bonus to unarmed attacks for AOOs), mikari rebel (+1 trait bonus to damage for unarmed strikes)
level 1 - weapon finesse (human), dodge (bonus), toughness
equipment: gold spent 62000
primary skills: acrobatics 25(10) 35 to jump, perception 21(10), sense motive 16(10), stealth 20(10)
unarmed flurry +17/+17/+12/+12 2d6+8+1d6(acid) 10 monk - 2 flurry + 7 dex + 1 feat + 1 ioun
Jakiro knows he has excellent defenses and is not afraid to provoke attacks of opportunity by using trip or disarm attempts without having the Improved feats - this is calculated step that allows him to capitalize with Snake Fang attacks should the AOO against him fail - in combat he may spend his lower iterative attacks to do disarm or trip attempts to provoke an AOO to respond with a Snake Fang AOO of his own (which is at a higher attack bonus than the lower flurry iteratives). If an enemy is particularly difficult to hit, Jakiro may use his sipping jacket to momentarily go invisible to attack from invisibility, granting him a +2 bonus to his attack and attacking his foe's flat AC - such attacks are usually Stunning Fist attacks, as Jakiro hopes to disable his foes (whether by disarming, tripping or stuns).
Jakiro can generally rely on his AC without extra modifiers, but if a foe proves to be a particularly potent combatant, he'll use his ki dodge ability to raise his AC to 39 when facing that enemy's attacks.
Typical combat statistics
All out combat
unarmed flurry 2 * 0.8 * 1.1 * 20.5 + 2 * 0.55 * 1.1 * 20.5 = 60.89
Typical combat statistics
@Lemmy: perhaps consider - for the purpose of these simulations - a "guide" archetype ranger. That would allow you to declare a favored enemy 4/day (or 3/day with two levels of MoMS). It'll mean at least the main bad guy in each encounter can be faced with the very best the ranger has to offer.
@The Big Dog:
Assuming access to a 20th level caster that is willing to permanently enchant some low-level character is already stretching things for all but theoretical situations. But I don't even see protection for the enchantments on your character (like a ring of counterspelling). Facing one knowledgeable caster will see the magic fang and enlarge person dispelled.
I mean, I see the appeal of getting an almost free +5 to attack and damage (that happens to also stack with amulet effects); but in practice I don't see it happening.
4. Perhaps I should add that the aggro-meter would probably also be affected by the special case of a scenario: if the idea is not to necessarily kill the dragon, but recover the world-saving macguffin from its hoard.
hmmm... interesting, but in that case you need to start going deeper into what "draws aggro" from a monster. In the dragon example link, Grokko is chosen as Grokko deals the most damage. This raises several issues:
1. Why should a dragon chose the one that hits it the hardest? As opposed to, say, the one that is stealing its hoard, or breaking its eggs? I'm willing to argue that a character with good wisdom and sense motive has the insight to what will make the dragon upset and draw its ire.
2. A dragon might be wily and fight the one that hits the hardest might make sense in some cases, but odds are that only 1 of the 3 candidates in the fight actually hit the dragon, about a 66% chance that the character in question is a monk (while the other two just plain miss). For that matter, perhaps the dragon is prideful and tries to hunt the one it failed to hurt on the first attempt.
3. Likewise, why is a cunning dragon's combat tactic against the one that can hurt it most with a greatsword to go and attack, when it can readily see that Grokko won't be able to withstand more than 3 or 4 breath attacks? Then, if the dragon does decide to be all martial, why doesn't he use his amazing combat abilities to disarm Grokko (and add a valuable magical greatsword to its hoard).
Finally, what about multi-classing, how much non-monk is legal before the character is not considered a monk anymore? Monk 8 / ninja 2 fighting unarmed is, to me, pretty much a monk - but others will say no. Then again, I've seen people claim that their Fighter 8 / MoMS 2 is a monk; and I'm like, dude, get real.
Another question is, what are characters rated on? Mikiko, for example, would perhaps deal less damage than Thrundrar the fighter, but on the other hand she'd maybe only sustain 10% of the damage that the fighter sustained.
Can we get an example of how things are going to work in this proving ground? Because it is one thing to present a strong combatant, another entirely to find that (s)he's pitted against situations that they cannot handle. Do we assume a base party constellation of 3 other characters that are part of the encounters, or are the characters expected to fend for themselves in entirety? Any other details? Perhaps a sample encounter?
5ft-ing isn't always possible (difficult terrain, wall behind monster, etc), but yes often it applies. The numbers are already there - just ignore the part about Snake Fang damage. (The maths is straight forward given the numbers provided.)
While you're at it, have Mikiko be smarter about using ki for AC - some enemies have so low attacks that the ki dodge doesn't make a difference (I didn't account for that either) - so use that for ki attacks instead during the flurry (add 25% more damage to the flurries).
Anyway. There are plenty of ways to counter reach. A 50gp potion of Enlarge Person for example. Or the feat Step Up. Or fog (5ft vision).
A note: Mikiko features a level 1 feat "fast learner" that she doesn't qualify for (needs more Int) - so feel free to replace that with the feat of your choice. Perhaps Great Fortitude.
A note, the second: At level 11 consider Step Up, just to handle those pesky reach monsters.
Not accounted for at all, likewise for any of the spells and special abilities that couldn't readily be incorporated into the statistical analysis. The demo fights are just about showcasing the ability of the monk to do raw damage - much like the vaunted fighter, ranger, paladin and barbarian. A measure for a front-liner is whether he/she can handle 25% of a CR-appropriate foe in 1 round - Mikiko manages that and exceeds that admirably.
However, I didn't give the monk the benefit of knowing who she'd be fighting (if she accepts a quest to fight a dragon, it would be reasonable for her to pick up a couple of potions of flying, etc). Likewise, she doesn't get any help against the DR 10 (or DR 15) that she cannot overcome in the sample fights, she just powers through it. So simulations willing to go into such depths should consider how often a prepared character could bypass DR.
Real fights in actual campaigns are typically considerably more complex, and feature a whole party, and a whole lot of upfront knowledge. They also relatively rarely feature fights with a single big monster - typically it is a host of enemies with many class levels.
Finally, as I mentioned before, Mikiko can be played with the extremes she is built with (she's not a purely theoretical construct in the sense that she cannot survive outside the simulation), but I - for one - would tone down the extreme offensive for a more balanced defense. The monk will still do sufficiently well in combat, but gain great saves and even better AC that way.
A couple of notes on optimization for non-flurry monks:
If you're archetype gives up flurry, then there's not much else to force the monk to go without armor. If you're willing to give up Wisdom AC and fast movement, then you can instead equip light armor - specifically a +X brawling mithril chainshirt. The +2 to hit and damage to unarmed attacks go a long way to compensate for the "lost" BAB from monk flurry vs 3/4 BAB.
The sensei archetype is, in my opinion, one of the strongest archetypes in the game. It is not for martial combative characters (though the Wisdom focus means you can really work that Stunning Fist and get much higher than normal DCs) - which also means that the sensei is a great target for taking Spring Attack. It plays more like a combat-focused bard. Other than the "inspire courage" the sensei can do, from level 6 he can use his ki to give benefits to everybody - you think the barkskin ki power is cool? Wait til the entire party gets it via the sensei (this also frees up buying amulet of natural armor for the party - so money win too). But this extends to all ki powers - in fact, if you have 2 levels of ninja and get yourself "forgotten trick", the sensei can do a *lot* of strange things with his ability to apply ki powers to others. Like giving an ally in a pit spider climb. Or giving any combat feat that the recipient qualifies for to an ally).
A level 12 sensei goes even further: he applies the chosen ki power to all allies within 30 ft (includes himself) without increasing the cost. Having the entire party get +4 dodge AC, or an extra attack (that stacks with haste). Or use wholeness of body to "channel" healing onto all allies. Or dimension door all allies within 30ft to the BBEG (passed all the defenses) - or to safety.
So what about all the ki that is necessary? A ring of ki mastery goes a really long way for a sensei. Since he's generally not super combat focused, he's got spare feats for Extra Ki. He should probably take the human extra-ki favored class bonus. And as written, the ki mystic archetype pretty much doubles the character's ki pool (by granting an additional ki pool, the archetype doesn't replace the original monk ki pool).