If you want to fight in the thick of a melee, and remain effective, then play Flowing Monk, and disrupt everything.
If you intend to dart in and out of combat and throw combat maneuvers to disrupt individual enemies and small groups, play Standard + Qinggong.
If you want to be able to disrupt ANYTHING that has its feet on the ground, from levels 1 through levels 20, play Underfoot Adept (Halfling Required), take the Level Bonus at every level and apply it to the Halfling Racial bonus for Monks. And add in Qinggong Monk wherever possible. And take Stunning fist at level 11 so you can apply the other half of the Halfling Monk Level Bonus that you don't get until you have Stunning Fist. Just remember to take Vicious Stomp at level 3 and Combat Reflexes at level 1, and party hard.
And if you intend to deal damage as opposed to disrupt, play a different class.
It does not. Master of Many Styles is POTENTIALLY amazing due to the sheer number of high powered style feats it can have active simultaneously. But if you want to hit things consistently and effectively, you're better off just picking one set of style feats and sticking to them with a version of Monk that has Flurry.
Dabbler has pretty much summed things up, otherwise.
You have a good point. I suppose the main reason I'm so iffy on the idea, is that I'm already giving this heavy duty weapon training. Seeing as Monk has enough problems with items as it is, I'll add a rewrite that adds it as built in.
And now that you mention it, I do think I prefer 4/7/10/13/16 for the increasing enhancement bonus.
Thanks guys! Any more thoughts? :D
I don't know Rainzax. For built in, permanently enchanted weapons for a character, I feel like there NEEDS to be some kind of cost in money and time. Even Monk's AC bonus has a cost...although that cost is giving yourself a high enough wisdom mod during Point Buy that it counts as being Light Armor + Enchantments across 20 levels. XD And I based the 300 GP cost on the standard masterwork cost/the cost for gunslinger to take their busted starting gun and make it masterwork.
It's still +5 better across twenty levels regardless of what your strength or dexterity stat is.
In all seriousness though, the idea here is a quick fix bandaid that takes the broken bits of monk, and makes them reasonably functional for quick play. I do agree completely that they should make enhancing Unarmed Strike a part of the class. I disagree with how you go about it though.
My issue is that the monk would end up getting for free what other classes need to pay a boatload of money for, and for better or for worse, equipment is a HUGE part of High Level Play. One way or the other, a Monk is going to have a boatload of cash as he or she levels, and they should have to spend it on something. OR they need to make Vow of Poverty actually playable. It has to go one way or the other.
So here's my thought. Martial Artists have been performing body conditioning exercises since the dawn of recorded history to make themselves better fighters.Therefore, New Class Feature: Conditioning Exercises.
Body Conditioning Exercises:
Body Conditioning Exercises (su): The monk trains daily in a variety of unusual disciplines to enhance their unarmed strike. Some exercises involve striking objects, ranging from soft to hard as they slowly build up their power, and then use special medicines to prevent damaging their bodies in the process, constantly enhancing their unarmed strike into something supernaturally deadly. At first level, The monk may enhance their unarmed strike with their esoteric practices. At the cost of 300 gold in unusual herbs, medicines, and materials to practice striking on, the Monk may transform their unarmed strike into a Masterwork Weapon. At 4th level, the monk may enhance their unarmed strike into a +1 Magical Weapon with more impressive conditioning tools and medicines costing up to 2,000 gold. At 8th level, the Monk may enhance their unarmed strike from a +1 Magical Weapon to a +2 Magical Weapon at the cost of 6,000 Gold worth of medicine and conditioning tools. At 12th level, the Monk may enhance their unarmed strike from a +2 Magical Weapon to a +3 Magical weapon at the cost of 10,000 gold in medicines and conditioning tools. At 16th level, the Monk may enhance their unarmed strike from a +3 Magical Weapon to a +4 Magical Weapon at the cost of 14,000 gold in medicines and conditioning tools. at 20th level, the Monk may enhance their unarmed strike from a +4 Magical Weapon to a +5 Magical weapon at the cost of 18,000 gold in medicines and conditioning tools. The time it takes to use these medicines and conditioning exercises to finish enhancing a Monk's unarmed strike is always equal to 1 month of training, split among two hours every day of that month. A Monk cannot spend more than 2 hours of training on this process every day, without simply injuring himself and rendering the conditioning exercise a failure. If the Monk misses a day of training, he simply adds another day to the month of training time required to enhance his unarmed strike. If the monk has taken Vow of Poverty, he receives all the benefits of magical weapon enhancement for his unarmed strikes at the levels he would normally need to spend gold and time enhancing his unarmed strikes, at no cost. If he ever loses Vow of Poverty, he automatically loses this special benefit.
As you can see, this allows the Monk a cheap and easy way to enhance his unarmed strike. If the costs of enhancing his unarmed strike don't seem to make sense, keep in mind that I used the prices for taking a previously enhanced magic weapon, and further enhancing it using Item Creation feats for purposes of enhancing a Monk's unarmed strike beyond a +1 Enhancement Bonus. While conventional wisdom is that Monk's unarmed strike needs cost double the normal price to enhance it, frankly, this is supposed to be a useful class feature, and it never takes Monk's weapon enhancement bonuses to Unarmed Strike beyond +5.
Because for better or for worse, I think that unless you take Vow of Poverty, getting a permanent enhancement bonus to ANY weapon should cost you something. This way is in line with what martial artists have done throughout history, and is a reasonably fair way to give monk some cheap enhancement to offset the ridiculous pricing on the Amulet of Mighty Fists.
What do you think?
Aye. +5 over twenty levels. Enhancement is still a problem, but if you just pump it up to +5 with the Amulet, or use this variant of monk to wield a Monk Weapon (trust me, there are FAR superior results using monk weaponry thanks to the Weapon Training Bonus), and you'll be hitting smooth and stylishly.
It covers Accuracy and potentially enhancement, because weapons instantly become better. OR it makes Unarmed Strike a plausible choice, assuming you can forgo enhancement special abilities in favor of flat bonuses. It's pretty elegant actually. Although, if we want to get fancy, I'd add a few new tricks to Unarmed Strike across 20 levels to make it a good weapon choice.
I wrote up a big treatise on this a while back. I'll dig it up when I have the chance. In short: this is how you make Current Monk work correctly within it's current design theory. It's two changes and no hassle. It's a good band-aid devised by members of my gaming group (Namely one Dan, and one Dave,) and it does the job nicely. We've played around with it, and we think it works. Anyone who wants to playtest it, please do, we want to know if everyone else agrees.
Monastic Warfare: Monk Unarmed Damage Dice is improved to 1d6 instead of the 1d4 that would normally be provided by Improved Unarmed Strike. (Small characters do 1d4 instead of 1d3, Large characters instead do 1d6 instead of 1d4.) Monks gain a special bonus similar to Weapon Training with the Monk Weapon Category at level 4. They get +1 to attack and +3 to damage in that category. This increases by +1 to attack and damage at levels 8, 12, 16, and 20. (Replaces normal Unarmed Strike damage progression) (Note: The Monk Weapon Category includes Unarmed Strike.)
Superior Maneuver Training: At 1st level, pick one Combat Maneuver. The Monk counts as being 1 size category larger for purposes of performing or defending against that maneuver. The Improved (Maneuver) feat for that maneuver is added to their bonus feat list at 2nd level. At 3rd level, a monk uses his monk level in place of his base attack bonus when calculating his Combat Maneuver Bonus for all combat maneuvers. Base Attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally. At 6th level, the Monk has an opportunity to further improve their skill with one combat maneuver. The Greater (Maneuver) Feat for the maneuver they chose at first level becomes available to that monk as a 6th level bonus feat. Unlike normal Monk bonus feats there is one prerequisite they must meet: they may only take the Greater (Maneuver) Feat for their chosen combat maneuver if they have first taken the Improved (Maneuver) Feat. (This replaces Maneuver Training.)
Why this fixes most of our problems:
Due to the way that Combat Maneuvers work, and the fact that a Weapon Training bonus will add to combat maneuvers if you're using a weapon from your category to do that combat maneuver (which means that if you've got Weapon Training with Unarmed Strike, you ALWAYS get the bonus on Maneuvers). You also are able to Maneuver something of up to Huge size without too many complications. Furthermore, this makes Monk now able to accurately hit its enemies, and do slightly better damage than before. The math says it's a MUCH better deal, and no one should argue with math. It's not enough to get a Fighter or a Barbarian worried about their DPR Jobs or to really imbalance things, but enough that Monk is still very relevant once the Dragon or Ogre gets into melee.
Short of just giving Monk Full BAB and being done with it, as well as Fixing MAD, this Bandaid pretty much covers all the major problems on some level while still keeping to Monk's supposed strategy: in Melee, you flurry with maneuvers and deadly strikes to defeat a target. When getting into melee on the run, you use a maneuver or a stunning fist, or a maneuver followed by an attack-of-opportunity stunning fist to disrupt and destroy your enemies. This quick fix band-aids Monk enough that you can ignore a lot of its structural weaknesses, and just get back to having fun with your Martial Arts shenanigans.
So! Tell me what you think, anybody who is up for playtesting it please run with it, and lets find out if it works as well as I think it does.
Precisely. It's not about your DCs, it's about being able to play the character across 20 levels.
Now, if you know you aren't going past level 10, you might be able to squeak by on a 15 for your entire career.
For the most part though, the majority of clerics are going to want to get that massive Wisdom stat, so as to keep their spellcasting strong.
Guided Hand, with Point Buy, is a stopgap for a serious math problem.
Your average cleric needs Stength, Constitution, Wisdom, and Charisma. It's a brutal combination that leaves your statline in shambles in low point buy.
Since you want Maximum Wisdom for a Cleric anyway, Guided Hand lets you ignore your STR to an extent, and hit someone consistently, at a decent rate. Your damage will be lame, but a Melee Cleric gets a LOT of attack/damage buffs, so it doesn't matter as much.
Channeled Smite is not necessarily a trap, IF you go Guided Hand and Improved Channel Smite.
If you take it on it's own though...it is pretty trappy.
Against most undead you'd use it on, you're often better Channeling to heal the party as you damage it. Sometimes though, it's nice to be able to swing a big pool of dice at the big bad.
When my players are... I no longer feel bad for DMs who hate on whiny players, also i have results about the entire party of wizards thing
You'd think that a party of Wizards + 1 Sorcerer would all prep Color Spray a half a dozen times each, stun everything they encounter, and then stab them while they're down until they die.
In all seriousness, it sounds like you've got a group of players that forgot the great secret of spellcasting: It's a Magikarp Power. At low levels: not particularly amazing unless you cherry pick your moves VERY carefully. Overwhelming at high levels.
They decided to believe their own hype instead of read the fine print, methinks.
Fighter Combat Maneuvers vs. Monk Combat Maneuvers.
I would like to take a moment to dispel the notion that Monks are as good as Fighters at Combat Maneuvers.
Fighter Combat Maneuvers:
A Fighter can get Improved (Maneuver of Choice) at level 1 or 2 after taking Combat Expertise or Power Attack. He can get the Greater (Maneuver of Choice) feat at level 6 with his bonus feat. If he is using his weapon of choice, depending on which combat maneuver he chose, he may get +6 to his CMB across 20 levels (Weapon Training + Weapon Focus Tree) to performing that specific combat maneuver with that wepaon. If he would like to further enhance his combat maneuver with things like Quick (Maneuver), Rapid Grappler, Charge Through, or other such feats, he can do so with a bonus feat any time he meets the prerequisites. Your average fighter has a minimum of 22 feats to burn, 23 if human. This is not a huge investment if he wants any Combat Maneuvers at all.
Monk Combat Maneuvers:
A Monk who is willing to use up precious feats to take Combat Expertise at 1st level can conceivably start play with a Combat Maneuver. If he chooses to go Improved Grapple instead of a combat maneuver that requires Combat Expertise or Power Attack, he'll be better off, hence why there are a thousand grapple monk builds. He does not become reasonably effective with any combat maneuver until level 3, when he counts his BAB as his Monk Level for purposes of Combat Maneuvers. Note that he cannot start with any combat maneuver that requires Power Attack, as his low BAB means he can't pick one of those Improved (Maneuver of Choice) feats until level 5, as he would need to take Power Attack at level 3. Most monks will do this regardless, but I'd just like to point that out.
He cannot get any Greater (Maneuver of Choice) feat until level 9 due to the +6 BAB requirements on each of them. He may chose to get a variety of random Improved (Maneuver of Choice) feats at level 6 as a bonus feat, however, if he did not take Combat Expertise at a lower level, he will never be able to get the Greater feat. It should be noted that Combat Expertise is basically a feat tax for a Monk, because they have no practical reason to ever use the feat. It is just not a good option 90% of the time due to their low accuracy. In terms of effectiveness, you can get around the lack of a Greater (Maneuver of Choice) Feat for Improved Trip by taking Vicious Stomp, but that is ONE bandaid feat for ONE combat maneuver.
Since a Monk cannot get any Greater (Maneuver of Choice) feat until level 9...I'd like a quick refresher, what level is it that Combat Maneuvers start becoming less effective at? It's right around then, isn't it?
IN SHORT: a Fighter is potentially +6 better on CMB across 20 levels with Combat Maneuvers, and can have more effective combat maneuvers at MUCH lower levels.
I like your hotfix.
-Add Punishing Kick to Bonus Feats
...but yeah. This is some really cool stuff.
Am I the only one bugged by the fact that this sample monk has Weapon Focus at level 1, when it can't meet the BAB Requirement yet? Or the fact that it has Exotic Weapon Proficiency for a Temple Sword it already has proficiency with?
Lets get a legal example of a monk to work with here. :(
All Monk REALLY needs, is the accuracy boost from Weapon Training, offset by reduced damage dice to make it balance out for damage...and then an increased effective Size Category so they can use Combat Maneuvers effectively at higher levels against larger creatures.
Assuming you don't want to rebuild it from scratch. It could use rebuilding from scratch. But the above would be an amazing bandaid.
+5 Toaster wrote:
what if we focused all of the monks wisdom based abilities on con instead. what if i wanted to play an unwise monk, still learning the ways of the world. their abilities would be a representation of their physical conditioning instead. it's probably too radical to even seriously contemplate.
And that would literally fix ALL the MAD problems, and could easily qualify as being the function of internal energy based on a greater understanding of your body's physical capabilities. It also represents traditional monk physical conditioning worldwide...hell, you just need to change the normal AC bonus to a Natural Armor bonus instead of an untyped bonus, and it all fits together nicely.
It just irks me that we have to go away from the image of the wise old monk who is wise to the world. -_- I desperately want the traditional image of the wise old monk to WORK, but it's current features kind of make it a MADdening process.
...I've been waiting to throw that pun in this entire thread.
Why I think Cleric is a strawman in this argument.:
Cleric is a bad example. They need Wisdom for their spells, and Charisma for channel energy, and Channel Energy is one of your big selling points as a Cleric. Furthermore, your average cleric is also a Backup-Fighter, using Divine Power/Favor and other buff spells to wade into melee when the Wizard's in a bad place or the Rogue needs a flanker. So effectively, a cleric needs Decent STR, Decent CON, Great WIS, and Great to Decent CHA.
You can go decent to weak STR if you get Guided Hand after you've buffed your Channeling with a feat or two, but as a rule: Cleric has enough firepower under their belt to do some damage and be well rounded, but not enough to be as utterly brutal as they were in D&D 3.5.
Why I also think Wizard is an unfair comparison:
Furthermore, it's not entirely fair to compare to Wizard. Wizards have spells, but what can a Wizard actually do beyond their spells and intelligence based magic special abilities? They can't fight in melee, their BAB is too low to fight at range, their HP is terrible... truthfully, Wizards only need 1 stat, but that's because they can't really do anything ELSE with their other stats. Stick a Wizard in an Anti-Magic field, or take away his spellbook for a day or so, and I don't care what his statline is, he's going to be in serious trouble.
What I feel is a better approach to the problem:
The issue with Monk as it stands, is that unlike Wizard or Cleric, their powers are geared entirely toward defense in a game where attacking has a priority over defense...and their defense focus is to the point that they have no offense. Regardless of your statline, a monk is still going to have trouble combining their disparate non-synergizing abilities to make a deadly combatant.
Standard Monk Strategy, and why it is fundamentally flawed:
The clear road is to pick up a Combat Maneuver and stick to it as your standard mode of going into a melee, and using your attacks of opportunity from that to deliver a Stunning Fist for maximum beatdown potential. However, your 3/4's BAB means that it will be difficult to qualify for maneuver upgrades.
(First chance to upgrade it to a Greater Feat is going to be level 9, long after the Fighter made it his backup plan at level 6. And I hope you picked up Combat Expertise if you want to be able to pick up the Greater Feats from those trees. This takes up another of your rare, difficult to place feats. Vicious Stomp exists to plug that particular hole for a Trip Monk, but that's the only feat that exists to plug one of those holes. Needless to say, I sometimes think the Monk bonus Feat list is more of a hindrance than a help. It probably would have just been better to give a bonus feat you could qualify for at those levels rather than the strangeness it currently exists as.)
Flawed Monk Strategy (Concluded):
Lastly, Even if you use your Frontline BAB level combat maneuver power combined with your Flurry of Blows to disrupt a group...well, the minute you hit Huge Sized enemies, you're out of tricks other than running around and being a flanker.
If you're playing a bodyguard monk, then this assumes it is a monk that wants to stay close to one target, and doesn't need to move very fast.
I would suggest going "Flowing Monk + Monk of the Sacred Mountain + Qingong Monk"
It is a monk that wants to stand in one place all the time, gets bonuses to AC and CMD for standing in one place, gets bonuses to AC for being in range of multiple opponents, and can throw people around willy-nilly. If someone power attacks or charges them (or worse, both,) it can do even more terrible things to them. It is a monk that SPECIALIZES in fighting in melee with lots of enemies.
Toss in a little Qinggong powers where possible to add a few nasty spells or powers here and there, as well as Crane Style, and I'd say you'd be in business.
Make Unarmed Strike Unique and Interesting:
Make Unarmed Strike via Monk a unique weapon. Make it so that at certain levels, you can choose to add weapon properties (like brace, reach, or deadly, etc.) to it, or increase it's critical threat range.
Replace increasing damage dice with Weapon Training:
2d10 is a ludicrous number to balance for. Reduce Unarmed Strike base damage to 1d6 for Monk, and include a weapon training bonus of some kind that only applies to the Monk weapon category (including unarmed strike and the weirdest of weapons).
Lets actually make them Combat Maneuver Specialists.:
Pick a Combat Maneuver at first level. You count as being 1 size category larger for purposes of performing it, and defending against it. At level 2, that combat maneuver's Improved feat is added to your bonus feat list. At level 6, that combat maneuver's Greater feat is added to your bonus feat list. If Monks are supposed to be Combat Maneuver specialists, lets have them act like it and not be immediately outclassed the minute a Huge sized creature walks into the room.
It doesn't fix their MAD, or the fact that they're trapped in a Full BAB/Three Quarters BAB nightmare, or the fact that Slow Fall should really be some kind of Feather Fall Spell-like Ability. It does however, mitigate a number of the issues, possibly to the point that the class could be played normally with a minimum of grumbling.
Bonus Crazy Talk:
Include class feature that adds 1/2 the character's Wisdom modifier to the Monk's HP at every level, which is reduced if the caster's Wisdom is damaged, but never reduces the monk's total HP once it goes below 10 Wisdom.
Something that might actually happen that would be a good short-term, non-book annihilating fix:
Something that they might actually add in some day as a stopgap.Somebody floated the idea a while back of adding a +1 bonus to Attack rolls at level 4 and every 4 levels afterwards along with the normal AC bonus. Might fix the accuracy problem without TOO much trouble.
I just wanted to double-check. It says that the Overrun combat maneuver "Can be done as part of a charge".
Does that mean that the Charge Attack occurs as normal, but you can perform an Overrun on an enemy between you and your target? Does it mean that you Overrun them at the end of your charge? Or does it mean that you charge, overrun someone in the middle of the charge, and don't attack at the end?
Needless to say, I'm trying to spice up a Tactical Paladin with a bit of "You're in my way." *stomp*.
My Fighter can always fight you. It is, in fact, forever fighting you. At longbow range, in melee, and everywhere in between. Is there a point when I'm not dropping a full-attack action at high level? No. Do I have enough feats left over to have the full Vital Strike tree when the impossible strikes and I can't drop a full attack action on someone? Yes.
Is the barbarian able to switch to a bow and still be effective? No. Is the Paladin going to be able to pull off the Fighter trick? Only if his target is evil, OR if he had a handy Divine Favor or Divine Power spell, and is high enough level to make them work...in which case, they're still only as effective as the Fighter using his Off-weapon. Rangers are fantastic switch-hitters, but only against their favored enemies. etc. etc. etc.
I just wish that Fighter had a better skill selection. Otherwise, I've got to agree with everyone else, they work just fine.
That depends. Are you using a Chinese Eyebrow-height staff? In which case, you don't need to be significantly taller than six feet, the weapon is sized to stand up to the height of your eyebrow after all. Are you using a long staff or actual British Quarterstaff, which tended to be around eight feet long? Or are you using a Japanese Jo (short staff), which tended to be around 4 feet tall, or would be sized to fit just under the wielder's armpit in height?
Frankly, I hate the quarterstaff that is in the PHB, for one simple reason: Staves have variable grip depending on the needs of the wielder. I think that the PHB quarterstaff is statistically missing one thing: the ability to count a staff as a Reach weapon when you need it to, and then the option of making it a normal melee weapon when you need it to. You'd need a whole new weapon quality to make that work, but that's basically what you need to do if you want the "quarterstaff" to fit with the actual real-world use of the average stave.
Hi guys, so here are my thoughts:
StreamOfTheSky: That's some pretty good Monk right there. I agree with what you say about Qinggong Monk being the best possible base, although I for one think that the big flaw with Qinggong is that some of those feats should be Ki Cost 0, and just become free bonus feats. Then maybe the later feats should work the way you say. Otherwise: very nice.
LoreKeeper: I really like it. I get nervous about some of the working theory behind these powers though. Greater Meditation of Fire for example, is only really useful beyond 10th level if you burn all of your flurry actions to just blast something with fiery burning doom for the round. Meanwhile, other meditations at the greater level may require that you spend ki, but if you spam them using Flurry, you might just wipe out a small army, or at least drop enough damage to make the Sorcerer blush. It's a fantastic concept, but I'd go over those meditation powers with a fine tooth comb and make sure that they're all incredibly useful for somebody, and that all of the greater meditations are worthwhile buys even at 20th level.
My thoughts about what could fix Current Monk with minimal changes:
Okay. Here's a crazy one:
Reduce Unarmed Strike Damage to static 1d8 across 20 levels.
Why?: Because Unarmed Damage Progression is a bad class feature and it should feel bad. The potential damage it grants is effectively pointless as there's no static damage to back it up. No matter how nostalgic it may make you feel, mathematically there is no defense for keeping it. Furthermore, we need to reduce Monk MAD, and with Precise Technique, a Monk can have middling Strength or Dexterity. They can't just dip a few levels in monk to become supremely effective either, not without a whole lot of very precise twinkery. If the character is particularly blessed by their point buy/dice rolls, then being able to have decent strength or dexterity continues to help the character, but does not hurt it the way replacing Attack or Damage with wisdom would in other builds.
Second Change: Increase BAB to Fast progression.
And that's about it.
Ah yes. I took the summer off from Board Shenanigans, and they're still here when I get back in September. Fun times.
Really though, I think that a vast number of things could be EASILY applied to monk without causing imbalance if they just decreased unarmed strike damage, and added something like weapon training. (I love how that's finally getting traction. It's just a good idea! :D)
Mostly though, I agree that everybody needs a hug right now. The devs need a hug, the players need a hug...we'll make it through this.
As for tweaking thoughts: Reduce Unarmed strike damage to a static 1d8, let the monk's entire body entire body count as a single weapon for purposes of "unarmed strike" and having it enchanted, and add an iron palm feat/class feature that lets you pay the normal gold costs in "special exotic materials" to magically enhance your unarmed strike like a normal weapon? (Flavor: The monk meditates with incense and punches/kicks something the way real world martial artists perform conditioning training until his body counts as being effectively like a magic weapon. Too bad the stuff he has to beat up and the incense and the scrolls and secret training techniques eat up so much cash. But what can you do?) Also: Some kind of Monk Weapon Training on top of that to compensate for reduced Unarmed Strike Damage Dice.
Additional tweaking thought: Same as above, but forget weapon training, instead allow Wisdom to apply to attack and damage with Unarmed Strike and monk weapons... BUT, never let more Wisdom Bonus apply than a number equal to 1/2 your Monk Level rounded down. (IE: If you had 18 wisdom, +4 Modifier, at level 8 you could apply the entire bonus to attack and damage. However, at level 2, you could only apply up to +1 of that bonus to attack and damage to your unarmed strike/monk weapons. A great benefit that also stops Monk from being a 1 to 2 level dip for an easy attack/damage boost.)
Its good to be back. :D Now lets have awesome discussion, eh?
1: Ach! Dabbler, yer killin me here! Change the description of flurry of blows to say "Any Combat Maneuver that can be performed as an Attack". Otherwise, you can't use Flurry to Dirty Trick or Bull Rush someone, even if you have the Quick Dirty Trick or Fast Bull Rush feats. Although, you MAY want to consider simply saying "you can perform any combat maneuver that costs a standard action or faster using your Flurry of Blows bonus attacks." If we're going to make Monk a Combat Maneuvers Master, we may as well build that right in. If not, you should still at least say "if a combat maneuver can be performed in an attack action, it may be used with Flurry of Blows."
2: Don't make Fast Move an enhancement bonus. Make it an insight bonus or something. One of the big complaints about Monk Speed Bonus is that EVERYONE can be just as fast with an item or two, but Monk never gets faster with magic. I think this means that either Monk should be slower, or the bonus should be different? It's tricky balance-wise, but I think by the time it matters at high levels, people teleport, fly, and murderize everything ever, so I don't see why it would matter.
3: Everyone complains that Ki Pool isn't powerful enough, or that Monk needs more Ki than it gets for the effects it can use. Either it needs more Ki, or the individual effects it can do need to be more powerful. It's something you should consider, although what you've done with Wholeness of Body and Abundant Step IS awesome. Either way, lets see more Ki effects you can drop on someone as you level up!
4: Slow Fall is a bad class feature that's impossible to use most of the time. Just make it Automatic Free Feather Fall, and combine it with normal Monk High Jump, and be done with it already. :(
5: "Zen" is not a good name for Zen Fist. I suggest "Ghost Palm" based on the nature of the effect. Zen hasn't got nothing to do with it, but just touching someone to deliver the badass as well as piercing all armor? Definitely more like the legendary "Ghost Palm" technique you hear about sometimes in martial arts circles. ;D
6: What if you added the "Quick/Fast (Maneuver)" feats in at level 10?
7: World-wise is awesome, but with that added in, I desperately wish this monk was 6 + Int Mod skills.
That said Dabbler, I love it more than the last draft. I'll take a look at Mystic Monk in a little bit. Just remember: I'm harsh because I want it to be awesome, and I want to see if the ideas will make it more awesome.
Admittedly, having that kind of Wisdom stop-gap for attack rolls is a nice idea...but it doesn't really work. I mean, there are a LOT of Monk variants that do that, and not a single person has brought up the usefulness of this. The reason of course, is that it's too small. If you're a monk that intends to do damage, you pump your Strength, in which case you also pump your Wisdom for your class features. Or you're a Dexterity monk, and you pump your Dexterity and your Wisdom and take weapon finesse. You could pump dexterity and not take weapon finesse, but No matter how many ways you slice it, you're still putting points into Wisdom for class features, and still not getting any bonus damage for your damage rolls. Wisdom for attack rolls has been done before, and it's just as useless the first time it's done as the last time it's done: you still need that OTHER stat to make up for things no matter which route you go, and that means the alteration to your attack stat really doesn't affect anything. It's a zero-sum game, gents, something new needs to come into play here.
Everyone brings up Wisdom to attack AND damage rolls in place of Strength, because that ends up being a bigger, more effective number that genuinely changes up the entire class. The problem there of course, is that you run the risk of someone dipping Monk, and then going straight into Fighter, or something similar.
No matter what fix you throw up using a minor stat alteration, Monk still needs Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom at minimum to be effective. And Dexterity...well, honestly I prefer my Dexterity Monks to my Strength monks, thematically.
Monk definitely needs to change the way it does business, and that includes finding a way to lower it's required stats. It's time to bite the bullet and actually ask: What can you do to drop the stat requirements down to something reasonable?
Ohhhh. Okay. I see. That makes MUCH more sense. That's pretty awesome, in fact.
That's not true, actually. Current Monk can get +5 Enhancement to hit with their unarmed strike, it was just really expensive and you couldn't get anything else. Current Monk in fact gets +1 more to hit across 20 levels due to the fact that it's BAB becomes Full when it flurries. Dabbler-Monk is a much better monk in terms of attack bonus whether it flurries or does not flurry, however, losing out on only 1 point in attack compared to when Current Monk Flurries. Either way though, I honestly think you'll still end up with the same Flurry of Misses issue that Current Monk has regardless of if it's making a full attack action or a standard attack.
Still, overall, this IS MUCH BETTER in terms of attacking than Current Monk. I don't know if I want to agree that it's good enough though. You've got a huge feat Frontload that you can't actually take useful feats with due to Monk's Medium BAB.
My big suggestion at this point? Something that lets you use your Monk Level in place of your BAB for meeting feat prerequisites, and 6 + int Mod Skills OR Ranger/Paladin style spellcasting up to 4th level to count as "secret techniques" to round out the class.
Adding any one of those things along with more things you can take when you get your Weapon Training bonuses would probably even out the class and make things work like a charm. I might have more ideas on that later...but so far, I like what you've got.
Final Thought: MAD is still an issue, because if you drop STR for DEX, your monk is now a master of cherry tapping. So make it so that you can also use Dexterity or Wisdom for your damage rolls instead of Strength if those scores are better, and treat it as being Strength bonus for all damage roll purposes (including how STR is treated when using a two handed weapon.)
Does that work? I'd love to see some discussion on that idea. :D
Dabbler. You're missing some serious issues in this proposed draft of Monk. It doesn't actually fix Monk's problems. :(
There are great ideas in your rewrite. You're trying to get rid of monk MAD, and it's admirable, however:
1: By reducing BAB, and not including original Monk Maneuver training, this version of monk is -5 in the hole across 20 levels when they attempt to perform a combat maneuver compared to Current Monk. In fact, the best you can get by comparison is -3 compared to Current Monk, because of a special ability you can take once for one combat maneuver. You never get to take it again for that combat maneuver...which leads us to...
2: The bonus feat list is still lacking all the different Improved and Greater combat maneuver feats. This is a huge problem for Monk, so many bonus feats, and none of them particularly useful at the times they get them. Admittedly, the Maneuver Skill power you wrote in mitigates SOME of that, but it doesn't change the fact that Monk should have a more expanded combat feat list. I know a few Crane Kung Fu and Mantis Kung Fu guys who would tell you flat out that Improved Dirty Trick, Greater Dirty Trick, and Fast Dirty Trick are totally part of their feat choices.
3: Spending a Ki point to change the damage type of Unarmed Strike, unless it becomes elemental, isn't worthwhile at all. Come on, Style Feats let you change that permanently. There's a reason why everyone complains about the overall usefulness of Ki Pool, and it's because of lackluster spending options.
4: Tag on another ability to change unarmed strike from 1d12 to 2d6? Did you mean 2d6 to 2d8, or 1d12 to 2d8?
5: Your flurry is a fun idea, and I've seen it before. However, the version I saw before on the internet was made for D&D 3.5, and it made up for Monk's weaknesses by adding your version of Flurry AND by making Monk an 8 + Int Mod skills class. You still haven't fixed Monk's role problem the way that version did...we're still somewhere in between, and there is no reason that this version of Flurry is not at Full BAB, but with no final bonus attack. (Thus leading to 4 attacks and 3 bonus attacks.)
The reason 5 is true is because...
6: Your Monk is still at Medium BAB, making it a combat class that still cannot qualify for useful combat feats at a reasonable rate, and you haven't added or replaced anything with a degree of power that would allow this monk to stand on it's own as a combat class OR as a medium BAB class. The reason we all love the Psychic Monk class, is because it is an example of a Medium BAB class that has special powers that allow it to compensate for it's otherwise weak fighting ability. DO NOT STAND BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES. Either make it a Medium BAB class with the awesome powers to compensate, or make it a Full BAB class, which is the route this version mostly takes. Your new flurry is fantastic, and the Weapon Training is useful, but all of that combined still leaves this monk with a +1 Attack Bonus overall compared to CURRENT monk. The only reason this is true is because of the two weapon fighting penalties that Current Monk faces. There is exactly ONE thing that would fix every single problem with this draft of your Monk with the exception of the lackluster Ki expenditure choices and the limited bonus feat list: Make it full BAB. If you did that, it would be +5 Attack Bonus greater overall, and you wouldn't need any Maneuver Training nonsense, it would qualify for combat feats easy, and suddenly the vast majority of monk problems would fade away. And you'd have an awesome, nifty Skirmisher. Remember: The number one complaint that people have with Monk is that it can't hit things, and bypass DR. You've dealt with the DR issue, but this monk is only +1 better at hitting things than current monk. That is not enough.
Seriously guys, I love you all, but stop trying to straddle the line between Full BAB Combat Class, and Medium BAB Combat-With-Weird-powers. Monk's been trying to do this since Day One, and it does not work.
That said though! There were a lot of amazing ideas in this one, I especially like the special abilities that could be purchased for monk fighting options.