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Cubic Prism wrote:
It's a good spell, unfortunately not on the magus' list, which is a bit short imo, but I suppose that's the tradeoff. Guess I'll need to try to find some scrolls or a wand for when I really need to bust a magic trap and dispel isn't cutting it. Thanks for pointing it out, never noticed it before. :)
My magus is basically the rogue of our party. 30 stealth at level 10, hips-lite via hellcat stealth. Perception and disable device as class skills via traits, and he does vastly more damage and has more utility than a rogue. He can't disable magic traps yet (magi get too many cool tricks to lose a level imo), but so far dispel has handled that when its come up.
Yeah, I can see the argument on both sides, but I tend to agree that dominate doesn't change your attitude, so you'd resist as you see fit.
I did a pretty extensive search and couldn't find anything on this (there are tons of threads about both spells, but none that I could find regarding this aspect). Hopefully an official type will chime in.
PC is currently under the effects of dominate person (with a command to kill the party), party cleric casts prot evil on him, does the target save vs the prot evil?
Open air is not 'hazardous terrain.' But more importantly, reposition says "A reposition attempts to force a foe to move to a different position in relation to your location." So if the creature has flight, sure, you can force him to move up even without the feat. Otherwise, no.
If you're going to dip, I'd go with a level of trapper ranger. Better saves, bab, and favored enemy. Evasion is cool, but Inquisitors have some nice abilities, I'd not want to push them back more than one level...
Unarmed strikes are a finessible weapon. "your body" is not a weapon.
What does this term 'your body' have to do with anything? You use your hands to grapple as explained in the grapple rules. Hands are considered a close weapon(actually, any part of the body is, despite your claim to the contrary). A grapple is an attack role. Finesse allows you to sub dex on attack roles. Any distinction between disarm & grapple is purely arbitrary and I don't really see a reason to slap another feat tax onto a dex build just so they can try to be a dexy grappler, who will never actually hold anyone pinned, or do any damage once in a grapple...
Sounds fun. I wouldn't worry about the absence of a 'primary' arcane caster. Since your the gm it's easy enough to account for that when designing encounters. You're creating everyone's characters, I think it's safe to say you're not a lazy GM, so I'd not expect it to be an issue at all. ;) And if you decide you really want the party to have access to some specific magic for a particular part of the story, give them an item that casts the spell in question, or let the magus even learn the spell (via a storyline plot device that expands her magic), etc, etc. Adjusting for those sorts of things are really easy if you're willing to use your noodle a bit. ;)
The wizards spell list is vastly larger than the magus', and they must be much more tactical in the usage of their spells, as well as the preparation for the day. A magus can prep the same exact lineup 100% of the time and it won't matter one bit. Their spell usage is also a no-brainer most of the time. Just learning which wizard spells to use in what situation is a serious study in itself.
As for the melee stuff, I think players need to understand how melee works even if they aren't playing a melee character, and melee tends to be rather straightforward. Concentration checks are the same mechanic for both so I don't understand the difference. Using them more frequently actually makes the mechanic easier to learn, not more difficult. Since the wizard might make a couple per session, she will have to be told every time how to do it. After the second combat with the magus it'll be autopilot.
I think the magus is also more fun for a new player, since they can always be in there mixing it up every round. A wizard can't or they run out of spells, so their moments of awesome are usually interspersed throughout a lot of standing around doing not much at all. Or they do awesome round after round, then run out of spells, which leads to standing around doing not much at all...
Magus because once you understand spellcombat it's a very simple class to play. Wizards are far more difficult-- from deciding what to prepare, to actually using the spells correctly. It will also give her a chance to play with both magic and melee, so she can see which she really prefers.
So, to the meaty question; Why, exactly, did the writer specify in Spellstrike that you may replace the free melee touch attack for casting a touch spell with a free melee weapon attack? I'll tell you why; so you know that you are able to trade out that free-action attack. It doesn't need to extend beyond because you can spend the actions normally available to you to make melee touch attacks, unarmed strikes and natural attacks, and (in the case of using spellstrike) melee weapon attacks to deliver the charge. But, without the clause stating that you have permission to swap out the attack in the touch attack you are provided gratis, you would not be able to do so and you'd be limited to a free touch attack on the turn you cast the spell, but are free to use a weapon to deliver the spell afterwards. That is the purpose behind that line... and nothing more.
whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack.
This is all that's really needed to impart what the magus can do under the faq's clarification. The second sentence is restrictive; It says the spell must offer a free attack, and you get to use your weapon to deliver that free attack. Removing the sentence (and all references to 'the attack') would remove the source of most of the confusion. All it really needs to say is 'the magus may deliver magus touch spells via weapon attacks.' The rest follows from the normal rules as you point out.
In any case, as I said, and you clearly missed, the faq cleared it up. Thanks to whoever initially pointed at that. I'm going to start using frostbite now, lol.
I would call that explicit and verbose. 'The Attack' is singular, and rather explicit. There's nothing at all ambiguous about it. You really can't denote a subject more explicitly than 'the <subject>.'
The problem with the reading everyone prefers (which just happens to be most beneficial to Magi, which I don't really mind at all) is that it does render the second sentence meaningless. Clearly the author meant something when he wrote it?
When casting a touch spell, you get one free attack upon casting the spell. This can be delivered using spellstrike. If you hold a charge longer than that round, the attack is no longer free, you must use a standard action to deliver it. Thus, there is no 'the free attack' to be replaced with spellstrike. All subsequent frostbite attacks also must be delivered via standard action, so even if you allow that those subsequent attacks can be delivered by spellstrike, there's nothing in the language suggests that this can be done via full attacks (unless used with spell combat, which works only on the round the spell is cast).
The FAQ makes it pretty clear this is not how they actually want it to work, but it's still not clear at all if you're supposed to be able to deliver those spells via full attacks on subsequent rounds (when not using spell combat). Unless they addressed this somewhere else?
I won't argue there. First off, is the mistaken assumption that Frostbite is "no longer a touch spell" after the first charge has been used. That was a rather facetious off-hand comment made by "Not Rules Guy" JJ and all such comments from him have his own attached disclaimer, "This isn't a FAQ-Equitable clarification, just how I personally GM things." There's no official rule anywhere that backs this up or even posits it as a possibility. To clear up your confusion, here's a neat way to adjust your thinking on the matter. Don't think of it as multiple charges; think of it as a single charge that can be used multiple times and doesn't dissipate (as touch spells normally do when they've been delivered) on the first touch, but rather after the final use. Then, it all falls into place with no funky rules contortion or needing of imaginary special buffs to govern it.
That's an easier way to think about it, but it also seems just as arbitrary as the other. There are plenty of spells that have an immediate effect followed by lingering effects. I'm not sure why this is a 'funky contortion.'
So the line about 'the free melee attack' is literally meaningless.
Raith Shadar wrote:
I did not carefully avoid it. That's why I posted it. The first compond sentence is independent of the second. Read it again. The first sentence has nothing to do with the second sentence or the rest of the text. The text for Spellstrike explains how to use the entire ability. The first sentence is the key to understanding Spellstrike. Paizo certainly did not write Spellstrike unaware that touch spells usually have multiple uses.
Agreed, Paizo certainly was aware that some spells allow multiple touches, and, they explicitly state that spellstrike only works on the ONE free touch granted by the spell. Your reading of this literally makes that sentence meaningless.
Raith Shadar wrote:
I note you carefully avoid the second sentence of that ability which entirely contradicts your argument.
Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell
Frostbite grants one free melee touch attack 'normally,' when you cast the spell. Ergo, you may spellstrike with it once, when you cast the spell.
Lord Pendragon wrote:
I'm confused. Why do you think you can use spellstrike to deliver the subsequent frostbites at all? As far as I can tell there's no reason to think you can.
After the first round, Frostbite is no longer a touch spell. It's a buff that gives you the ability to make a touch attack for damage. Which means after the first round you are not 'holding' a charge, so you can cast anything you like. It also means you cannot deliver the touches via spellstrike.
I also don't see the point of using a manufactured weapon if you want to do the FB route. It just needlessly complicates things and demands more feats. It's far easier just to get multiple natural attacks, with which you will have better to-hit, won't have to shuffle weapons, and will always have free hands for casting.
Not sure why quicken is relevant. You can quicken SG and then do the frostbite. It takes a crit just for SG to compete with FB. And maximizing crit chance takes resources, in the form of feats/enchants/arcane pool, etc, all of which would be redirected to more static damage or more to-hit for the natural attacker, who would not focus on crits for obvious reasons (nor use manufactured weapons).
If someone has actually put the time into working this all out in detail I'd be interested to see it as well, but it seems pretty obvious to me that FB will win fairly handily. (If this were legal, which I don't think it is, and I wouldn't use it or allow it in either case).
Isn't there a faq about multi touch spells that specifically limits them to once per turn?
Assuming it's actually legal to multi-frostbite, what do you mean by high levels? Shocking grasp caps at only 10d6 (intensified, doesn't help frostbite), or 35 damage/turn on average per cast. Frostbite does d6+level per attack, level times. Even with only 5 attacks, which is easy to do, at level 10 frostbite is already doing 67.5 damage on average per turn, and you'd get two turns out of it.
Let him do the elemental thing, but say it's always on. So when he's standing there, his hand is wreathed in flame, electricity, or dripping with acid. Could be fun. (for you) ;)
For just one natural weapon, I would do as you suggest and price it as the equivalent weapon (maybe add a bit of a bump to the cost as there are some advantages, but I wouldn't go crazy).
Otherwise just make it a ring of mighty fists, there's no reason that will break your game.
The paired op/outflank thing is fun, but it sucks when your buddy dies. (I speak from experience)
You can also do the same thing with a ranger or druid and his pet. Works well with the dinos with the one single attack. In fact, two of them doing the same thing would be AOOs galore if you're all on the same target, lol...
My GM doesn't go for the arcane mark for an extra attack thing
Don't play a magus. The 'extra attack thing' is the only reason the magus can stay relevant when not burning spells, and they don't get nearly enough spells per day to do so consistently, and frostbite does not generate extra attacks(after the first round).
Or, go hexcrafter, so you have that whole at-will debuffing thing going on...
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Your entire argument is based on the premise that either: You spend all your resources on spells/hexes, or all your resources on melee. This is a false dichotomy. The entire point of the magus is that he does both. You will not be casting spells/throwing hexes every single turn. Being able to contribute reasonable amounts of damage spending 0 resources is a good thing.
If you want to go full caster, again I ask, why are you playing a magus? A wizard is vastly better at being a straight caster. People usually chose magus because they want to actually melee and cast.
And I don't really see the value of pulling numbers out of the air as you're doing. Compare actual decisions that are relevant in this case.
And how did you become a Calikang? Even in your own comparison, the 'caster' magus is expending vastly more resources than the melee to double his damage for one whole round? And the first example gets two more uses of SG to boot...
I Hate Nickelback wrote:
Well, I'll see exactly what I'd like to take. Hexes are either really good, or totally useless.
Slumber and misfortune (with cackle) are broken, or useless, depending. Our witch got rather bored after several levels since he basically just had to cycle through the same hexes every single combat. When it worked, he totally gimped the enemies. When it didn't, he was irrelevant.
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Wow, someone sounds like they don't like having the truth of their favorite archetype be discussed.
lol, the only facts you stated were regarding the power pool, and you are factually incorrect. That you decide to 'stand behind' this factually inaccurate statement is rather comical. And even if it was factually accurate at 20, who cares? The game is over well before that. And for the vast majority of your career, the BB is behind by a point or two, which really doesn't matter in actual play, since most of your points are from INT anyway. (and why on earth would you only have a 20 int at level 20? That's a rather low estimate that only artificially inflates the gap)
If you really want to 'focus' on spells and hexes, be a witch. They are better at it. The point of being a magi is that you can do both. The sword helps you when it's time to stick the pointy end in the squishy bits.
I Hate Nickelback wrote:
Ok, so I'm not the only one who thought he was being ridiculous about the BB being bad for a low magic campaign. I'm leaning towards the BB archetype now...
I'm in a low magic campaign and it's been awesome. Honestly, depending how low magic the campaign is, it might be worth banning. My GM is the type that keeps us well below WBL, then eventually we'll pick up one or two really awesome items. So right now when I spend a power point I have a +3 keen sword, which is definitely the best weapon in the party. But in a few levels somebody might find something that's even better, so in the long run the BB might not be the 'best,' but I really don't care. Just means I'll probably get a really cool non-weapon item. ;) And the sword is a great plot device...
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Or why not play a class that actually focuses on a pet instead of trying to shoehorn the magus into being something it's not? Summoner, druid, ranger, hell, even the wizard is better at this than the magus. The magus doesn't get tons of spells per day. If you're using them to make your familiar be less relevant, that's just fewer spells available for the magus to do his magus thing.
Your argument that bladebound is bad in a low magic game is also rather ridiculous. A free scaling weapon is huge in a low magic game. (And I speak from experience, not theory). And stop saying he loses a third of his arcane pool. At level 10 (random choice that favors the straight magus), a straight magus will have 5+int, the bladebound will have 3+int +2 from the blade. The blade's points aren't as good as the magus', but saying he has a third less is factually wrong even ignoring the blade's.
Not to mention, some people like to roleplay, and the blade is a huge plot hook for the GM to play with (but that requires a GM that uses character backgrounds).
Do you want to stick with bows though, or just kill people? If you want a fairly simple character that kills well, the pixie would make an exceptional dervish Magus, and they are fairly straightforward.
Another option is to do ranger/fighter archer and forget magic all together. Also fairly simple and effective.
Well, you can be an archer who casts spells, as opposed to a wizard who shoots arrows. Then your focus is on spells that help you be more effective at killing people with your bow. It actually narrows down your spell selection quite a lot, so if you really like the AA idea, don't worry about spell selection, it won't be that hard...
Well what do you want your AA to actually do? A pixie is awesome as a bard, but he will probably just be better off going straight bard. You really don't want to slow the bard's already slow progression for a couple tricks that won't even help that much.
I understand the allure of choosing spells at will, but the wizard gets more spells per day, so you can be somewhat flexible with what you memorize, plus he gets scribe scroll, so you can have tons of backup utility spells always on hand, and with a bonded item you can cast any spell you know once per day.
Unless you want to be the party 'face,' I think the wizard just wins, hands down.
AA is all about bows. If you dont want to use a bow, why are you still thinking about AA? Switch to gunslinger and one of its PRCs if you want to use guns.
Ranger 2, then wiz into AA would work fine. Good skills, favored enemy, and a free feat.
I played a pixie arcane archer once, and it was a blast. I think I did something like 2 fighter/5 wiz, then into AA. It's been a while though, so I can't remember. Lower base damage dice, but huge dex, size bonuses to-hit (I went tiny a lot for another +1 and ridiculous stealth). I used elemental enchants, flame arrow, and deadly aim as my primary damage, and he did quite well.
New to PF, and wondering what sets off an initiative roll? For example, if a group of creatures are 120 feet away and running towards the party, when would you roll initiative to determine who can take actions in order in the round?
Basically, as soon as one party realizes the other has hostile intent, or decides to initiate hostilities.
This is my favorite version, and probably what I'm going to be using in my own game. :)
The lack of tactical options in 3e+ is one of my biggest gripes. Most of my house rules are designed around just this type of thing. 'Stand in square, full attack' is so zzZZZzz...
There are 'attention' rules, however (vague and incomplete though they may be). I find it odd that if the target is distracted you would allow the stealther to move to an unobserved spot, but not from one.
The problem I have with static bonuses in general are they are just boring. Oh, yay, yet another +1. They also do cause serious to-hit imbalances with the other martial classes. This is where someone says 'but the fighter is all about fighting, he should be the best!' And maybe that's the problem. Well trained Fighters (capital F)in the real world aren't just about fighting. They have a fairly broad skillset, but in PF 'big dumb fighter' is perfectly apt.
I also find to-hit a terribly un-fun way to balance the classes. 'Since you get fiddly bit X, you are simply going to succeed at hitting 20% less often than class Y.' Why not simply give class Y it's own unique fiddly bit?
Personally, I think fighters should have teamwork and tactical abilities. The Fighter is really more like a gladiator or duelist. All of their abilities revolve around single combat, which is kinda silly.
Chris Kenney wrote:
If you are taking more than a 5-foot step more than once an encounter as a melee fighter (note the small 'f'), someone else isn't doing their job.
If you can take nothing but 5' steps during an entire encounter, the GM isn't doing his job. And god, that sounds incredibly boring besides.
Your contention that movement is rare and/or hard to accomplish during fights is erroneous. Its easy to do a full move every single turn, but it doesn't even require that. If you're fighting appropriate CR opponents, the rank and file do not live more than a round or two. That means you have to move every couple rounds anyway. You also discount the value of the feat you burned on Blind fight. Power attack (or weapon focus) + Vital Strike is going to be more damage than moonlight stalker.
If the entire concept of the character is to move around a lot delivering large blows, saying 'well just stand still and full attack' doesn't really help. Your initial 'proof' revolved around 1.3 dpr. 1.3 dpr is utterly irrelevant. If you want to actually provide a 'proof' that shows stalker does so much more damage over the course of an actual encounter, be my guest. Until then, you haven't proven anything.
Matthew Downie wrote:
The 'proof' is thus:
Blind fight + Combat expertise + Moonlight Stalker = 1.3 more dps than vital strike alone, ergo, vital strike is bad, horrible, not worth the paper it's printed on, etc.
It's a horrible, nonsensical proof.
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
This is not a discussion about full attack vs vital strike. Full attack is better (though probably by less than you seem to think, especially for a 3/4 bab class).
Also, you cannot vital strike and spring attack.
Your entire argument revolves around 1.3 dpr. At the cost of 3 feats. I'm sorry, your argument is bad. And claiming moving is more situational than being concealed is absurd. Yeah, at 12 he can have a lot of rounds of improved invis. He also has other tricks on which to spend ki. His enemies will also have ways to foil invis. Much less common to absolutely restrict his movement.
On what basis? If you're talking about small sample sizes, it's just as likely that he rolled low on all his dice and ended up looking pathetic and weak.
You roll 2d6+2. I roll 4d6. Our mins are the same. My max is nearly twice yours.
Why do I think this matters more than 1.3 average dpr? Simply, as I stated, we do not play in the large numbers, so averages will rarely pan out. But, you will frequently get those swings in either direction. Swinging low on either method results in the same effect- the baddy lives one more turn. But those big hits from buckets o' dice are more likely to finish whatever it is your swinging at. +1.3 dpr, not so much.
Dpr is a fine metric for ballpark analysis. But quibbling over ~1 dpr is absurd. Calling the -1 dpr option 'bad,' and 'a trap' is ridiculous in the extreme. Especially considering you're ignoring those two feats you lost, which will be worth worth more than the difference. (or can provide other, better utility)
A fine example of how out of whack analysis is on these boards. A feat that nets a whopping 1.3 dpr loss is 'bad' and a 'trap,' and never under any circumstances should anyone be encouraged to use it! Even though that loss is highly situational.
Moonlight stalker is nice. It's also more situational than just saying 'I use my damage increasing feat!' It also requires two feats, not one. One of those is bad, the other is highly situational.
(And moonlight stalker feint is not 'so much better it's ridiculous.' It has huge prerequisites, and if you already have concealment, why are you feinting in the first place?)
The other problem with this is simply one of philosophy. Somehow dpr got super popular on these boards as a metric for valuing combat ability, and the concept just won't go away. This is not a video game. We do not play in the averages. Fights are way too short for average performance to really mean anything. You could go months without seeing expected average dpr over the course of any particular fight. Also, average dpr is simply overvalued. Next few sessions pay attention to how many times enemies die by one or two hp. That's how often this would be relevant.
You also fail to account for lead blades and enlarge person, both of which will significantly increase the max potential of the swing, which is vastly more important than 1.4 dpr. And, it's more fun to roll buckets of dice than knowing in your head that you're, in theory, doing more damage than the guy with vital strike even though he actually outdamages you over the course of the campaign because we do not roll enough dice for the law of large numbers to kick in.
Vital strike is not one of the top tier feats. It's also not bad, it's not a trap, you're not a bad person for using it or for suggesting it's a fun/decent feat to take.
My zen archer was by far the most fun character I've played, and they are extremely effective. Slightly less dpr than fighter, but vastly more survivability and out of combat utility, ad all the required feats are built in, so you have feats to play with...
The 10th level ability alone make it worthwhile. It basically means the wizard can have every spell he knows available at full power, all the time. That's pretty huge. The melee stuff is pretty much trash that you have to take to get the good stuff. =p
Even without MAD the monk suffers accuracy issues. It's most notable when they have to move, or using AOOs, but even flurry lags because they have no static bonuses to hit. (rogue has same issue) I say the enhancement bonus to hit is 'useless' because on a properly geared monk he should be getting his enhancement elsewhere. Yeah, it will allow the monk who has access to custom items to build a sweet aomf with a bunch of abilities and no enhancement. But that also means that any normal aomf that does have enhancement is now garbage. It also still doesn't address the accuracy issue.
An insight bonus let's any aomf still be appealing and addresses the accuracy issue. Your comment about a 'normal martial having +3' only applies if the GM is not doing his job. Once again we go back to bad GMing. If the GM is doing his job, everyone should have relatively the same amount of wealth, in which case the monk's aomf should be +1 behind the single-weapon user's weapon.
Oh, and with it he's not 'ahead of the martials.' Fighters have weapon training/focus, rangers and paladins have self buffs, favored enemy and smite. The only one he'd be ahead is the rogue, who also needs help.
Too much of your design philosophy stems directly from bad GMing. I don't care for magic shops either, and don't use them in my world. But I also tailor very specific items for the players. If you don't use the former, you have to do the latter. I've read a lot of APs, and played through a handful. I've never seen one that was literally so fast-paced the party didn't have time to run to town once in a while to buy & sell stuff. (
The monk already can have better than +5 amulet, since he can pick up wands/scrolls/whatever of magic fang, or get the party druid to cast it on him. Letting him occasionally boost it up is no different than what the magus, paladin, inquisitor, etc, etc, do all the time. And I thought the whole point to this exercise is that monks need help. A generic non stacking enhancement to hit literally does nothing for a monk who's properly equipped. Class features that do nothing are not well designed imo. And multiple to-hit only enhancement is also just weird. Magic enhancement is virtually always to both. If it must be always on, make it an insight or 'focus' bonus or something, then it stacks, is not weird, and actually addresses one of the monks biggest weaknesses, which is accuracy...
Yeah, the str and wis thing is too much. That just kinda came to me so I threw it out there. I think dipping for wis to hit is good for certain builds, but I also don't mind that. I like interesting multiclass builds, so that's not really a detraction for me.
Mostly because there's no evidence to be had. And once again you put more nonsense into my mouth. Never once said rogue/ninja was totally awesome best. But to claim it's less viable than the alternatives is dishonest and leads new players astray. It's at least as good. In some ways better, in some ways weaker.
I made three builds to actually compare without all the hyperbole and vague theorycrafting you're throwing around, (sans actual craft, of course)
Ranger 5/SD 5 vs. Ranger2/Ninja3/SD5, vs Pal2/Ninja3/SD5
20 point buy (assuming +2 belt/hat)
All three builds are within 1-3 dpr of each other on CR11 oponnents, favored enemy, and sneak attack immune enemies alike. Straight ranger is up 3 on his most favored ememy, ninja is up by 3 on non-Most favored enemy. Pal can once a day be up there with the ranger vs his most favored enemy, otherwise is same as ranger/ninja. The ninja also has slightly higher max damage than the straight ranger.
So dpr is a non issue. Hitting for 3 more damage on a very specific subset of monsters is not going to make or break the character. If you're really after dpr, play a fighter. They are vastly better than any of these options.
Pal/ninja has huge advantage here.
And what is the basic concept of this character that we're trying to optimize? A stealthy mage slayer.
So the ranger sneaks up to the mage, hits him once for a decent chunk, then stands there, hoping he doesn't get dominated, or just outright killed by the mage's buddies.
Ranger/Ninja sneaks up, hits the mage, then goes invisible. (yes yes, I know, everything sees invisibility, has true sight, etc. etc. But if that's the case, this entire concept doesn't work. Play a fighter.)
Pal/ninja also has a few uses of LoH, which increase his effective hp over the other two by a bit. He can also wear heavy armor if so desired, which would help particularly in the lower levels. His saves make him the clear winner in terms of mage slaying. It would probably be worth it to go 3 pal/2 ninja for invis and immunity to fear. It would really be a personal choice, skills/sa vs fear immunity.
All 3 paths are very viable, and close enough in actual performance that it's purely a personal preference. I think the pal/ninja's survivability pushes him ahead in terms of actual effectiveness, but there are ways to compensate for the other build's lower saves...
Do you cap your magic weapons at +1 across the board? No? They get access to weapons up to +5, so if you are comparing the monk without his AoMF to a barbarian with a +5 fgreatsword instead of his prefered greataxe, it's not "only +1", it's +5. That's a LOT.
Why are you comparing a destitute monk to a barbarian with a 50,000gp sword? This is purely a contrived dilemma. It does not happen. And if it does, that monk player should talk to his gm, and ask what he did to piss him off, lol.
I have to point out that in the many games I have played, this doesn't happen in practice.
Really? You've played in many games where one guy has a +5 sword and another doesn't even have a +1? Why do you keep playing with that gm?
Can you show me the page? The devs write adventure paths with strictly limited items in them, which makes me suspect that this is NOT actually part of the design philosophy.
Where do you get this notion that they are 'strictly limited?' They seed loot throughout the game, because that's what players expect, and for verisimilitude. Every AP I've ever read also includes the sizes of settlements, and I think frequently even list the gp value of items available there. There is also the 'Available magic items' chart in the dmg that lists gp caps by settlement sizes. The game presumes you get the opportunity to buy stuff. If you're not, again, that is the fault of the gm. (or the decision, some like to play low-magic games, but that should affect everyone equally)
I did consider a ki-based ability, but if it cost ki I'd feel obliged to add to damage too - along the lines of: "Expend one point of ki as a swift action to manifest an effect identical to greater magic fang on the monk themselves, using monk level as caster level." This would add to damage as well as accuracy, though, and it would infringe more on the AoMF that the devs have said they do not want to make redundant. However, they made the bladebound magus who gets an automatic fully enhanced magic weapon for free, so the enhancement is not without precedent of it's own, so I went that road.
Greater magic fang doesn't necessarily infringe on the aomf. The amulet can be enchanted with other affects without the usual +1. So the monk could use GMF to get his enhancement bonus, then load up his aomf with cool abilities. GMF lasts too long though, imo. It would become a no-brainer. There's no decision to make. If a monk can spend ki on that, he will. If its lower duration, like the magus or pal abilities, then he has to actually decide when to use it. It becomes more tactically interesting.
Dipping for wis to-hit is pretty attractive, even if it's at second level. Clerics get few feats, and if you're making a martial cleric, monk is already front loaded with all kinds of goodies.
Another option would be to scrap the enhancement thing all together, leave to-hit with strength, but give the monk a to-hit bonus equal to his wisdom modifier, capped at his monk level. This would prevent dippage, and make them much more accurate, which is one of their biggest issues, but still effectively remove their Mad, since strength is still effectively a tertiary stat...
This really doesn't follow. It's 'only +1' if you take the feat, why is the monk suddenly nerfed because he's down +1? Is that +1 damage really gamebreaking? You already handled DR, which is the main reason everyone needs magic weapons. With that change alone the monks reliance on magic weapons is greatly reduced. Yeah, more to-hit is good, but if it's 'only +1' for the feat, it's 'only +1' for the weapon.
I didn't realize this was a fix with the intent of catching the devs eye. From that perspective the enhancement bonus seems even more out of place. By design, game presumes everyone is equipped relatively equally. If they aren't, that is strictly a flaw with the DM. There's really no getting around that. The game has rules built in for acquiring weapons that were not dropped. There's really no reason the devs would even consider instituting a class feature that only functions when the basic wealth mechanics are ignored. Make it stack, make it cost ki, and then you have something that's in line with existing game design.
It's not even about exotic weapons. If you take weapon focus: Guisarme, you're locked into Guisarme, which is a fairly standard weapon. Now go look through any given AP and see how many Guisarmes there are. (Or any particular weapon). Generally, if you're after any specific weapon type, an AP is likely not going to hand it to you (and certainly won't keep it updated as appropriate for your level).
There is a big difference between designing your own world or adventure, and changing "Shortsword + 2" to "Kama + 2" as you're reading through the AP. The former is a ton of work. Not doing the latter just smacks of laziness to me. That kind of GM is likely not going to allow a home brew monk.
You are obviously not one of those types of GMs, so I don't really know what you're going to get out of the playtest for the ki strike. Either you intentionally don't give him an item or let him buy one as per the standard rules, so you can say, 'look, it's working,' or you do, and it's kinda pointless.
In any case, I like where you're going with it, and will likely do the same sort of thing if any of my players ever expresses a desire to play a monk.