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Just a heads-up for people looking for cool campaigns: unexpectedly Hell's Rebels has been turning into an absolute gem for us. A friend of mine is running it and its been amazing for us. Noteworthy is that *a lot* of encounters that would normally be combat encounters can be solved socially - and the Charisma stat is really relevant for the AP.
Currently we're just about finished with book 2 (and have already done parts of book 3).
Hi Malwing :)
Thanks for taking the time to review Monk Unfettered.
As you rightly point out, the sheer volume of insights of the unfettered monk can be quite overwhelming - so it can be easy to miss options and interactions (that is one of the reasons I've included an extensive insight reference at the end, so it is easier to see what insights are available, what is required for each insight, and what insights become potentially available by taking a particular insight.
Here I'd like to point to some things you may have missed:
"On the down side, I think this is the worst monk at maneuvers I've seen."
1. One of the insights, "maneuver training" allows the monk to take any Improved maneuver feat without meeting the prerequisites (and the monk can take this insight multiple times); so access to any maneuver is assured.
2. The insight "aspect of the monkey" allows the monk to use his monk level instead of his BAB for maneuvers; so when you perform a maneuver (including during flurries) you effectively do as a full-BAB class. That also means that at level 20 you can do a flurry with maneuvers using +20/+20/+20/+20/+20/+20 (before other considerations).
3. The deep insight "maneuver flurry" essentially duplicates the Maneuver Master archetype; and allows you to perform any maneuver in addition to a flurry (including things such as grapples and dirty tricks).
4. The deep insight "embrace the cycle" allows you to always be considered flurrying; together with "maneuver flurry" that means that you can always perform a maneuver in your round - even when you do something like drink a potion, use the withdraw action, cast a spell with a 10-round casting time, and so forth.
"But I feel like I've seen better in terms of solving the Monk's problems."
I'm not sure which problems you specifically refer to, but the monk mobility-vs-flurry issues is extensively addressed. The unfettered monk also has excellent damage potential if built that way, likewise he has great versatility.
"Also some abilities I stumble on because of a lack of rules language."
Unfortunately I do not know what rules language you're missing, please elaborate - I do update the PDF and such clarifications can and will benefit all.
"the Unchained Monk is more devastating due to it's access to Flying Kick"
On a mechanical level, you can consider the unchained monk's Style Strikes to be the equivalent of the unfettered monk's deep insights. Regarding Flying Kick - the deep insight "monkey foot" is better in all ways: more movement, you're not limited to where you move (no attack necessary), you're not limited to a "kick" attack, and the monk can take it earlier (though it isn't necessarily helpful until level 4, or when the monk has insights that grant him additional attacks such as "bane flurry" or "storm spirit"). This does not take into consideration other mobility-based solutions that the unfettered monk has access to.
"This does depend on how Flurry interacts with Pummeling Style. If Pummeling Style works with Flurry then the Unfettered Monk has a little bit of a leg up but the margin isn't that wide."
I think I'll make it explicit in the PDF, but "flurry" qualifies a monk for anything that requires "flurry of blows", so Pummeling Style naturally interacts with flurry.
"but some moving sliding balance on some insights"
I assume you're talking about insights that grant more than one feat (such as "bend in the wind") as well as insights that grant special effects including duplicating feats (such as "typhoon dance" and "one touch"). The former are part of the balance of the class where the unfettered monk class loses 14 class features and gains only 11 insights in return. As such the insights are sometimes a bit stronger than an average feat; both to compensate for the extra removed class features and also to actually power-up the class (since the core monk being too weak is why monk replacements are made in the first place). The later (typhoon dance and one touch) are part of the deep insights and (like Style Strikes) are quite powerful and balanced by having limited utility on them.
Ah... that explains. I do hope you get around to it then; I hope you'll find the unfettered monk is capable of filling character concepts that the official sources have trouble with.
That said; you can easily use the monk unfettered insights as new ki powers/feats without adopting the class chassis as well.
I think Griffin is sick and may-or-may-not take a look on the pbp. For now I think placing him in Sentinel is a good "cover all your bases" starting option. So I'd go for that.
Edit: Actually, Jatori, please give more details. Is Strea Vestori the missing Cloven Hoof head, or the contact in the slums? Contextualize me!
You need to slow down here Navior - you're increasing our party net worth by a staggering 1500% - that level of wealth increase can go to peoples' heads! ;)
Meta reasoning: given Navior's suggestions on how to divide the loot and mentioning that it was tailored; I'm wagering the headband is a headband of +2 Wisdom or Charisma suitable for a cleric and should go to Douena
Man, I've survived a hectic last week. I'm back again.
Regarding Untari's jump: the DC 36 jump is only if she wants to land straight up ontop with no other issues. She technically only needs to make the leap to the point where she can claw onto the ledge and scrabble up the rest; instead of a 9ft clean vertical jump she only needs maybe a 5ft or 6ft reaching jump.
Note that it isn't a straight buff. The class is not nearly as attractive for dipping as you can only get the base feats of a style without prerequisites; the follow-up feats are not covered.
The master of many styles is much better now for people that actually stick to the class; while also keeping sensible level progression balance - no longer can you get feats at level 2 that were intended for level 9 play.
I quite like the proposed system; but it probably needs adjustment: "prowess" probably needs to cover "free" attributes at higher tiers; since using the proposed system doesn't really cater for belts and headbands of perfection. It costs 18 progression steps to get +6 to all attributes - that leaves practically nothing for armor, shield, resistance, weapon, etc.
I propose splitting it into "mental prowess" and "physical prowess" and have each automatically affect all 3 mental / physical stats per progression level.
As a side note: Jemini wears a mithril (chain)shirt 1100gp, not elven chainmail - leaving her with 14225gp to play with.
Jemini's leveled up. Major changes:
HP: 58 to 66
Wealth: no changes (she's roughly at 44,000 counting everything); though if possible I'd like to at least get +1 armor and +1 shield.
Ya, that is exactly the kind of thing that Improvised Weapons are all about. Ask yourself "could Jackie Chan do this?" if the answer is "yes", then you are good to go.
Improvised weapons are really a catch-all term for anything that isn't covered by a normal weapon. This allows you to wield grandfather clocks, throw chamber pots; but it also allows you to wield a sword by the blade and pummel people with the pommel (this would make a 1d8 19-20/x2 slashing longsword act like as an improvised club for 1d6 x2 bludgeoning).
Edit: however, keep in mind that although a bucket on a rope is "like" a meteor hammer - at the same time it is also just a bucket on a rope. As a GM I'd treat it as a 1d4 x2 bludgeoning weapon (with reach if the rope is fairly long).
@Joana: mostly everything, there are a couple of "core" features that the monk keeps (such as stunning fist, evasion, and purity of body). Excerpt from Monk Unfettered:
(The) classic monk possesses a number of inherent class features that have been removed in the redesigned monk – maneuver training, high jump, wholeness of body, improved evasion, diamond body, abundant step, diamond soul, empty body, as well as 6 bonus feats. That means a total of 14 class features have been removed, which in turn have been replaced by 11 insights.
Insights are gained at level 1 and every even level (i.e. 11 in total). Naturally the removed class features (other than "Bonus Feats") can be regained manually as insights; but there are also plenty of other options (a total of 152 insights).
Some of the insights are "deep insights" of which a monk only can use a limited number at any given time. At level 1 that is 1. This increases at levels 8 and 16. The insight "contemplation without limit" increases the limit by 1. Deep insights are typically the things that allow interesting things, such as emulating a monk of the empty hands (via "versatile flurry").
@Joana: the character summary is in the profile, though with little explanation for all the abilities (like "monkey's ambition"). He's now a true 3/4 BAB and uses an alternate flurry progression (no pseudo-full-BAB))
Most of his feats are "Extra Insight" (similar to Extra Rogue Talent).
A short summary: sage, bend in the wind, monkey's ambition, versatile flurry, contemplation in the flesh, high jump, (improved) fight without thought
Sage (Ex): a monk with this insight can make Knowledge checks untrained and may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Intelligence modifier when making Knowledge checks.
Bend in the wind (Ex): a monk with this insight gains Dodge as a bonus feat, at 6th level he additionally gains Mobility as a bonus feat.
Monkey’s ambition (Ex): a monk with this insight gains Catch-Off Guard and Throw Anything as bonus feats.
Versatile flurry (Ex)*: a monk with this insight may use improvised weapons when performing a flurry. A monk may select this insight a second time to flurry with any simple weapon, a third time to flurry any martial weapon, and a fourth time to flurry any exotic weapon. Additional selections of this insight do not count against the number of deep insights applied. A monk must have the monkey’s ambition insight before selecting this insight. This is a deep insight.
Contemplation without limit (Ex): a monk with this insight may apply an additional deep insight.
High jump (Ex): a monk with this insight adds his level to all Acrobatics checks made to jump, both for vertical jumps and horizontal jumps. In addition, he always counts as having a running start when making jump checks using Acrobatics. By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk gains a +20 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for 1 round.
Fight without thought (Ex)*: when performing a flurry, a monk with this insight may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength modifier on attack rolls until the start of his next turn. A monk must have the sage insight before selecting this insight. A monk must be at least 4th level before selecting this insight. This is a deep insight.
Fight without thought, improved (Ex): a monk who uses the fight without thought insight may use his Wisdom modifier instead of his Strength modifier on all attack rolls (including maneuvers). The monk may spend 1 ki as a swift action to add his Wisdom modifier to all damage rolls for 1 round. A monk must have the fight without thought and sage insights before selecting this insight. A monk must be at least 6th level before selecting this insight.
The ghost in the system. Haunts the Paizo forums, but as a consequence is an oracle of the system.
Heeeey :) everybody comes to life! And Joana! You must be keeping a close eye on the boards to be so well informed, good job.
Between Serpent Skull and Savage Tide, I'd definitely would prefer bringing Mahjik (Serpent Skull) back to life.
To that end - as Joana mentioned - I've published my first PDF, Monk Unfettered. I would love to re-create Mahjik within the rules of that book. I'm happy to send Navior a copy "on the house" for that. Or to anybody here who wants to take a look to review it.
Not to mention that rangers - unless they're fighting a favored enemy - do not gain a massive bonus to their maneuvers, so use attack stats similar to a monk (with generally less attacks or attacks less likely to hit).
Any fighter/barbarian that goes this route (TWF) ends up giving up quite a bit of Strength to pay the Dexterity tax, which means less damage overall. The monk stays as good at fighting as before.
The monk might not be especially good; but he isn't particularly bad either.
Let's look at an example, a CMD 33 opponent with the numbers above
I'd say it is fairly comparable between monk and non-monk.
Monk's are pretty good with maneuvers, both core and unchained, since both perform maneuvers using full BAB. The added advantage is that monks get many attempts - and often just one success is sufficient to effectively beat an opponent.
Disarm, for example, is not always applicable - but when it applies it has tremendous impact on an encounter. Disarm wizard's staff, or the BBEG's uberweapon - and they are left with vastly reduced potency. Many humanoid encounters don't even have a mundane backup weapon leaving them to fight with unarmed attacks (that they do not have training in). Puny.
Likewise trip, and sunder. Together with disarm these can be applied to all attacks, allowing a core level 8 monk 5 attempts (with ki) in a round. The monk's bonus to these is fairly good, and he only needs to get lucky once to effectively "win" the encounter. The law of numbers means that victory is on the monk's side.
Firstly, it's available from level 5 onward (and by level 6 you can already cover 20ft with it). That is significantly earlier than a barbarian's typical pounce.
Secondly, it can be used at any time inside a flurry, meaning you can perform some attacks - then - flying kick to a different target and perform some more attacks.
Thirdly, from level 15 onwards you can use it twice.
Fourthly, it combos really well with Disorientating Maneuver, granting the same +2 to attack that a pounce(charge) would, but granting that bonus without a penalty to AC, and the bonus lasts until the start of your next turn (meaning AOOs benefit too). As an added bonus, you can trip really well with it (hurricarana!)
Thank you Oliver Volland, your review raises a number of issues. I'll try to address a few of these below.
Oh, and did I mention there are 152 chooseable insights available?
You actually made me go back and count them all. I originally kept track of the number of insights (there were initially about 80 or 90), but over time I lost track with the numerous additions.
As a side-note for anybody counting: Oliver Volland counted the various "Elemental" insights as 4 each, as each of those insights comes with an air, earth, fire and water option. Those are mutually exclusive, so Elemental Awakening (air) can be counted as distinct from Elemental Awakening (water) - even though they are presented within a single insight.
the Ex-Monk section is contrary to the Beyond Order feat that is introduced later on which does allow non-lawful monks. I'd rule that the feat supercedes, but its not mentioned, and it would be interesting to know what would happen if the character took the feat later on. Will he be a full monk again?
This is a case of a more specific rule trumping the general rule. A monk with Beyond Order cannot be an ex-monk, unless he exceeds the level limit given by Beyond Order. If a monk does become an ex-monk, he comes a non-ex-monk upon taking Beyond Order (provided he complies with the level limits of the feat). He immediately recovers the ability to take monk levels in this case.
sometimes the 'Meditation Insight' is named as a requirement, but there are insights like Meditation of the Beast. Do they qualify?
No, they don't. Only the meditation insight can be used to meet the requirements of insights that require the meditation insight.
With Drunken Master the penalty is a poison effect. What is the synergy with Diamond Body?
This is an intended interaction. The drunken master penalty can be fully negated with the diamond body insight.
are reach melee attacks included in the damage of Elemental Awakening Fire?
No. At least generally. As the text says: "adjacent creatures that strike the monk". So if they happen to strike the monk with a reach weapon while being adjacent to him, then they still take fire damage, otherwise not.
Why is Elemental Mastery Water limited to enemies, but Fire isn't?
Essentially a design whim. I like to think of the water element as controlled and mutable with circumstances; whereas the fire element is powerful, brazen and uncontrolled.
Why does Faster Movement end with level 17? Wouldn't be +10 feet an acceptable choice?
I would not say no to a player in this situation if I were the GM. That said, the design intention is to accelerate the benefit of fast movement and allow it to stack with other effects (by being an insight bonus it is possible for the monk to benefit, for example, from haste or/and boots of speed.
Kyton Pact, fourth line: 50 what? Hp, I assume;
Yes indeed. Kyton pact channels (hit point) damage into wounds.
Does Monkey foot count against the movement of the current round or the next round like the feat Step Up does?
The monkey foot insights grants you limited movement during a flurry. There is no hidden cost or penalty (other than getting the insight and using it as one of your deep insights). It has no impact on your next round.
Asura Curse and Accurate Self should both be deep insights (they have the asterisk).
Accurate self does say "This is a deep insight" - did you mean a different one?
Asura's curse is not supposed to be a deep insight. The asterisk is in error. I shall fix this in the PDF in due course. (Originally the insight was designed to not cost ki, but be a deep insight instead; apparently I missed cleaning up the * during editing)
My two a bit bigger complaint are about the Improved Wholeness of Body Insight, it turns the monk too much into a healer in my eyes
From a balance perspective improved wholeness of body is still slightly weaker than a paladin's lay on hands - while at the same time making use of a similar sized pool of uses and requiring the monk to spend two insights to acquire the ability. With, for example, 16 Wisdom/Charisma respectively a level 10 monk has a ki pool of 8/day and a level 10 paladin can use lay on hands 8/day. However, the monk also needs to use his ki pool to power all his other ki powers, whereas the paladin generally only spends lay on hands uses to lay on hands. Assuming both the monk and the paladin were to spent all their ki/lay-on-hands just for healing, then the paladin will (on average) heal 175 hit points, and the monk 100 hit points.
and the synergy of the various Cat-Insights with the feats Piranha Strike and Slashing Grace. I think here a failsave should be added to limit powerbuilding
It is my understanding that Paizo has clarified that various sources that allow Dexterity to be used for damage do not stack (which is certainly the intention here). So there's no particularly great benefit for having both Cat insights as well as Slashing Grace as well as an agile weapon: you'd still only add Dexterity to damage once. Piranha Strike is only the Dexterity-based equivalent of Power Attack. It is a normal addition to the combat repertoire of characters and does not usually significantly alter powerbuilding. (From a statistical point of view I would rarely recommend using Piranha Strike.)
You'll be happy to hear that the PDF has gone through Paizo (and various changes were made to the original submission over several passes between me and Paizo, some of which was with respect to the Pathfinder compatibility licence). They are happy with the final product and consider that it complies with the licence. I will of course immediately rectify any issues in this regard that Paizo may bring to my attention - but to my understanding everything is fine currently.
I look forward to your review :)
I applaud the idea, but the moon path monk's 3/4 BAB severely limits their combat potential (unless you grant some sort of virtual BAB bonus when flurrying like the core monk). And the ki powers, while cool, are not sufficient to pick up the slack from the poor combat presence. The ki powers simply don't have enough impact; and even with the expanded ki pool in moon path do not have enough staying power.
You'd need to double the ki pool again (similar to rage rounds in quantity) and have additional ki powers that allow at least a temporary nova of the monk.
I just realized something else that has been nagging me in the back of my head about the unchained monk that I didn't know to articulate. Until now.
Have a look at these original class features:
And here some of the new ones:
Do you see what I see? The original names are beautiful. They evoke a sense of mysticism and eastern eloquence.
The new names?
To be fair, there are some okay names: flawless mind, and one touch. Where flawless mind is acceptable but not outstanding. And one touch is a great name - but also a traditionally famous name; so not something for which Paizo can claim originality or creative credit.