Ooh, as tough as possible, I like the sound of that.
Monk/Paladin/Champion of Irori fits the bill for a character that has unlimited smites per day (against evil and chaotic), can't be hit (against evil and chaotic) and saves against everying (ditto). Also hits like a dump truck.
The build I had was here:
But if you're starting at lvl 15, you can skip the level of cleric for the hospitaler paladin archetype, more bang for your buck.
Don't forget to start off as an aasimar for the tasty, tasty immortal spark/middle age combo (or heck buy the nacreous grey ioun stone and start off as venerable).
Unfortunately, this was one of the projects that I wasn't able to come back to for a while (distracted with other things, I'm afraid.) Most people seem to come up with the same objections, so pardon if I don't specifically mention yours.
It really does depend. Lots of dice do add up, especially if you can combine it with strength increases (wildshape, which increases your strength does this the easiest, you tell me what other class gets you huge size in 4 levels and a +6 to str?).
A druid/monk allosaurus iterative attack of 6d8 at 10th level (3 of them) and then 4d6, 3d6, 3d6 for a bite claw claw routine is nothing to be sniffed at, especially if you have 26 strength when you do it.
Further, Vital Strike is terrible. You should absolutely not mention, as those big dice will just further tempt newbies into ruin.
Agreed. I mean, there was a particular wis based build that I made that could guarantee 36d8 damage per round with it, but in all other cases, it isn't a particularly good investment.
1) Size works for all martial classes, not just monks. It also makes you easier to hit, and it makes navigating small spaces like dungeons difficult. Also, it encourages thinking that more dice = more damage, while in fact static bonuses and increasing threat range is where it is at.
True. But 4 levels of Druid I've found is the quickest way to huge size, and most classes are too wedded to their weapons to benefit from wildshape. Monks, which can unarmed strike freely as an allosaurus are the exception.
More dice=More damage is a fallacy if you're only getting say 2d8, but when you start getting the quadratic size increases (6d8, 8d8 and 12d8), I feel there is something to be said for it.
How'bout some actual builds instead of the usual color coded list of unverifiable opinions?
Well, I didn't want to toot my own trumpet too loudly, but I have made the following well received monk multiclass combinations:
Way of the Angry Bear (for all your Mnk/Drd multiclass queries, there is a wis build and a str build)
Irori's Champion (Clr/Mnk/Pal/Coi) more complex perhaps, but accomplishes some pretty impressive feats AC wise and damage/to hit wise
hmmm… can't help but point out that you suggest Eldritch Heritage (a feat chain that requires a Charisma investment – either though actual stat point purchase/advancement or through expensive equipment purchases), which is one of the few stats a monk can actually dump without losing power. Then you turn around and suggest they get SAD.
Comes with trying to put all my thoughts in one place I'm afraid, there are like 4 builds worth of advice in there. My apologies for the confusion.
1d10 unarmed damage (10th level monk damage, up to 2d6 if you're wearing a monk's belt) I feel is slightly anemic.
Would it be more to your satisfaction if you were dealing 6d8 + 12 unarmed strike damage, with pounce as one of your options such that you could get a full attack on a charge?
With a druid/monk multiclass, by 10th lvl you can probably do 6d8 damage with quite high AC and strength boosted up to 27 with wildshape.
But before I discuss further, you decide whether its something you want to play (and if indeed something that fits in your game).
Keep in mind that that link is probably going to be going away soon as that's campaign setting material which is going to be scrubbed from the site.
I was worried for a moment there, but just checked and they replaced every instance of Irori with "The Enlightened" and removed the setting specific description only. Ha!
Rogue, scout/thug archetypes. Enforcer. Sap Master. Everytime you charge (or later, move 10ft) you do double sneak attack damage. Enemies will then run in fear if you make an intimidate check.
Ninja, Scout archetype. Sap Master. See above, minus the intimidate + invisivbility and later, greater invisibility.
Batter McShieldBash! They'll never see it coming.
So I was playing around with a Monk (Sensei)/Ninja multiclass that used the 12th level ability Mystic Wisdom from the Sensei archetype:
to give all his teammates invisibility using the Vanishing trick ability from the ninja class.
Is this actually legal? Or are the abilities that you can use mysic wisdom for only the monk ones?
Faq, if you like. I'd like to get a straight answer either way.
So, invariably it's true that monks require a bit more system mastery than most melee classes, which makes them hard to play for novices. So for those of you who want to play a monk, here are my system mastery tips to ekeing out an advantage.
1.)Size is your friend.
Basically the biggest force multiplier for monks is increasing size. A 20th lvl monk's unarmed damage at large size is 4d8 (Improved Vital strike for 12d8). How do we get size mods? I'm glad you asked.
- Various spells like enlarge person, e.t.c. If you can get them (probably involving multiclassing with sorcerer with the empyreal bloodline for wis to casting, more on that later)
- Multiclass with druid for wildshape. 4 lvls of druid and the feat Shaping Focus will get you huge size critters (I recommend the allosaurus for pounce) which is two size increases to your unarmed strike. Druids also have the strong jaw spell which further increases your unarmed strike by two sizes (4 size increases so far, for those keeping track). 10 monk/10 druids do 12d8 unarmed strike damage (Improved vital strike for 36d8)
- Brotherhood of the Seal PrC, its a 1 size increase, but it's better than nothing, and its a monk PrC, nifty.
- Eldritch heritage Orc tree will net you blood of giants eventually, as above, its a 1 size increase, but nothing to sniff at.
2.)Don't be MAD, get SAD
A lot of guides will advise you to focus on strength to shore up to hit and damage, but there a couple of ways to make wisdom pull its weight (which is good because it does a lot of other things for you, AC, ki points, stunning fist DCs, e.t.c.)
- Sensei (Monk archetype), at 2nd level will give you wisdom to hit. A controversial choice given that they lose flurry, fast movement and evasion, but useful in certain builds.
- The guided hand feat, requires you to multiclass with cleric (or take 4 levels of a paladin archetype), but you can use your wisdom to hit with your unarmed strike IF it is your deities favored weapon (so far, thats only Irori).
- The guided weapon ehancement: +1 weapon enhancement only found in an early adventure module. It actually rubs me the wrong way because it is too good. Wisdom to hit and damage, as compared to the agile enhancement which is only dex to damage. If you can get your DM to spring for it, its the best choice (to put on your now cheaper amulet of mighty fists)
3.)Funky mystic Bullcrap
- Gnome Zen Koans: Bewildering Koan is a feat only gnomes (and humans, halfelves, halforcs, aasimars with the human heritage racial archetype who take the Racial Heritage (Gnome) feat) can take. Basically, you make a bluff check as a swift action, and the enemy makes a sense motive check, and if they fail, they lose their action. Hours of stunlock fun. Works best on bosses. Costs a ki point, which is a non-renewable resource (at least in the short term) unless you are a...
- Heavy Drinker: Drunken master monks have basically an unlimited source of ki, as long as they can keep drinking, and if you can get a flask of endless sake, you can do just that. Take the swift drinker trait to get a jump on the action economy (requires 18 con, so you might want to start off with 16 and get a stat boosting item).
- Qinggong monks are the masters of funky mystic bullcrap, and the archetype stacks with basically everything. If you can pull the top two off, you can then also get the ability to fire off Scorching rays basically at will. Ki leech at 12th level isn't a bad choice either.
Hmm, post has run on a bit. Tune in tomorrow for more Monk system mastery (and feel free to add your own).
I'm not playing this character, but neither do I depend on the guided property which isn't core. I took the sensei archetype instead.
So stunning fists states the following:
A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn).
In the event that you stun someone when it is not your turn (i.e. when you use crane riposte and stun them with the counterattack), how long does the stun last for? Does it last for one round, or does it last until just before your next turn?
I'd appreciate if people could faq this as well, because JJ has stated that it is until just before your next turn (thus voiding the 1 round bit), but since he doesn't adjudicate rules anymore, I'd like a more concrete conclusion.
Way of the Angry Bear 2: Bear Fisted Fighting! a.k.a. Is that Allosaurus doing Tai Chi? Comments and critiques please.
Depends on what you want.
So tank build means not getting hit first? Yes, follow the build above. Get crane wing first and basically one on one you cannot be hit in melee. Then you get dragon ferocity at 4th and you can do good damage (as opposed to average damage).
I haven't made too any changes to it, as it should still be functional, but I can play around a bit with it in herolab and tell you if any improvements can be made.
Azaelas, I think what you are saying does not actually have a RAW backing. Unarmed strikes can be made with heads, elbows and feet as per the description, name me an animal that you wildshape into without a head?
By RAW, unless you are changing into an ooze or an animated block of wood, you can unarmed strike as a monk.
I distill my thoughts for a monk/druid build here
the tl:dr version:
1.) Size shennanigans. Combine strong jaw and huge size nets you 12d8 unarmed strike damage eventually. (24d8 if you charge and use janni style)
2.) Strength shennanigahs, with dragon style you can do a lot of damage when you wild shape into something huge.
3.) Forget about flurry of blows, just dump it. You can't flurry and then use your natural attacks, so just attack regularly with your unarmed strikes and tack on your natural attacks at the end at a -5 penalty (-2 with multiattack). Hence, archetypes that give up flurry (like Master of Many Styles) are the best for this kind of build.
JJ seemed okay with the idea (if I'm not misquoting him). Otherwise get an amulet of mighty fists, its cheaper these days (and you don't have to buy the allying property). Its not like you desperately need those plusses to hit and damage (your smiting takes care of that).
And unfortunately the guided enhancement was written for an adventure path and isn't completely compatable with pathfinder core.
Its not a bad strategy (and I have advocated it as an alternative in the past).
Paladin channel energy gets you nothing. They don't actually have a pool for that. They convert lay on hand uses to it. Completely useless.
Eldritch heritage stuff is very late game, lvl 15. I could try a str build and see if I can stuff it in earlier, however (maybe that wouldn't make for a bad character).
All quite true. I recommend playing as your basic cleric for those levels, not a front line combatant (granted he doesn't get higher than lvl 1 spells). Use enlarge person wisely to boost strength and damage, turtle when needed with crane style.
It doesn't take too long for the build to bloom though, and yeah, I don't see any other better route to CoI do you? Its always going to be quite schizophrenics, paladin and monk.
If you don't want to go cleric for guided hand, you can always take the sensei archetype and take the TWF feat tree instead (you lose flurry of blows, so you replace it with the TWF tree, CoI is full BaB anyway, so you're not losing much).
Or you could focus on strength and cha like a paladin but have a respectable wis. That works too (fewer ki points).
The bronze gong is nice to have, but what is essential for this build is the ring of ki mastery. Are you going to be able to buy one of those eventually?
A level of cleric is a "weird and cheesy" combination? All right then. Its half your ki points for most of your career so I'm not recommending not taking it.
How would you distribute 20 points? Aasimar *might* not be an option, if not I'd go with Human. We can't roll older age brackets either, so mental stats are staying where they are.
The same organization as before, just with fewer points, prioritize Cha and Wis (Wis over cha in this case presumably) and then everything else can go into Str and Con.
Any other advice?
If you want to get your damage up, try taking improved eldritch heritage (orc) earlier. By lvl 15 you could havea +4 inherent bonus to str, which stacks with an enhancement bonus.
Ability points are a problem, I personally went for a high cha/high wis build and focused on doing damage with smite. If you have the guided hand feat, you can use wisdom to hit. Aasimar and the immortal spark racial trait will give you some leeway in ability points if you start at middle age.
Does anyone have recommendations on a build? They seem to specialize in enemies surrounding them for crazy smite cleaves/whirlwinds, I'm not sure if this will be good considering monks low AC, or if the situations will even arise in the Adventure Path.
Based on your decisions, champions of Irori can have one of the highest ACs in the game by lvl 10 with a combination of smite deflection bonus, high wis, crane style, and osyluth guile. I lay out my thoughts on the subject here in my build:
Qinggong Monk is an obvious Archetype pick here, what others? Consider that many of the Champion's attacks rely on Standard actions, so I imagine something that trades out Flurry might be a good swap.
The thing about CoI is that you won't have enough levels in Monk to take any archetypes of value. I also recommend keeping Flurry as most of the CoI stuff can be used when you move and attack and flurry saved for when you get to full attack.
Have a look at my build and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Monk - is it vanilia monk or some archetype? master of many styles?
The various archetypes didn't help out much. Anything that dumped flurry was straight out (I wanted those extra attacks), of those left I didn't have enough monk levels to make most worthwhile.
I suppose I could have taken Monk of the Lotus to get touch of serenity, but with this character's focus on damage, that seemed a bit self defeating.
Are Aasimar alternate racial traits legal for PFS?
They are, but aging effects are't. So you can't use the immortal spark trick for no penalty stat gain (though you could just buy one of those anti-aging ioun stones if you're high level enough).
Its a minor inconvenience.
5) Osyluth Guile - do you need the extra AC at this point?
I can still be hit by CR 25 creatures (if the tarrasque rolls a 19 or 20)! Without Osyluth guile, he would be hitting on a 12! Unthinkable, my dear sir.
(Of course if I spend one of my many ki points on AC, the tarrasque is only going to be hitting on a 20 in the prior case and a 16 in the latter.)
With 15 point buy and no usage of the immortal spark extra points, you start off with stats: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 16 and Cha 15. Not as good, but still doable.
2) Any room of Noble Scion (cha to initiativ)
The requirement that it be a 1st level feat really hurts my desire to take it. This character needs all the feats it can get at early levels.
3) Instead of the last paladin lvls - perhaps a dip into Oracle of lore for more cha synergy
Sure, its a net gain of +4 AC at the cost of +1 BaB and +1 damage (paladin levels and smite)
Light, simple, 1d6 bludgeoning, monk, trip, looks like a walking stick. Comes from adventurer's armory.
Broken Zenith wrote:
Sorry, forgot! You get stars! :). I think people will be interested what he looks like at levels besides 20, though, so add maybe something about him at 8 & 12 and you shall get three stars!
Hi Zenith, if you scroll up on the page, you'll see that I have builds at lvls 1, 5, 10, 15 and finally 20 with commentary for each level.
Nonbeing a.k.a. There is no Lotus
Master Endless Spring Lvl 20
Nuts and Bolts:
Stats (When Power of Giants is invoked) :
Str 32, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 12, Wis 28, Cha 24
Boots of speed (10 rounds/day)
Gear Value 716701gp, 163399gp leftover for consumables (Spend a bit of that to make my headband of mental prowes into a headband or aerial agility fly at will when I can figure out the formula for it.)
Attack Routine (Hasted and ki point spent): +38/+38/+38/+38/+33/+33/+28/+28/+23
Damage: 3d8 + 11 (str) + 5 (enhancement) + 20 (Smite) + 1 (Trait)= 3d8 + 37
AC: 56, 60 when using a ki point
Wow, what to say?:
Lets start with the weaknesses. This character has a low reflex save, in that he doesn't autosave against a great Wyrm Gold Dragon's breath weapon (has to roll a 6, 5 if he isn't enlarged). Also, against non evil/non chaotic things, a lot less powerful. But everything else, can't hit him, can't affect him and he can literally pound anything up to CR +5 (or possibly higher, I haven't checked yet) into dust, solo.
There you have it, all 20 levels of Irori's Champion. I think he's viable at all levels (but much moreso after 5). But please offer your comments.
So just figured out the perfect feats to fill in the last four feat slots. Skill Focus (Survival), Eldritich heritage and its improved and greater versions (Orc). You can't argue with +12 str and large size. (Ironically this makes my strength higher than my wisdom, so guided hand is useless. However the growth power isn't continuous, and when it is not active, my wisdom is higher).
Some reskinning will probably be needed, maybe instead of becoming a great orc warlord, this character is growing to become like a Solar ancestor?
Will post build tomorrow.
You'd still only get one AoO because of your low Dexterity.
Ah, well caught. I can switch the 12 in con to a 12 in dex and with combat reflexes this character will have 2 AoOs, more than enough to respond to one critical hit/round (which hopefully is all he has to face).
Or you could switch the belt of giant str +4 for a belt of physical perfection +2 dex +2 str, for a loss in total damage but a gain in the AC department as well as extra AoOs.
Further enlightenment a.k.a. The Lotus Blooms
Master Endless Spring
Nuts and Bolts:
Str 18, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 24, Cha 22
Total: 230901 gp, 9199gp to spend on expendables
Average damage: 2d8 + 3 (enhancement) + 15 (smite evil) + 4 (str) + 1 (trait)= 2d8 + 23
Attack Routine (when hasted and using a ki point): +30/+30/+30/+30/+25/+25/+20
Ki points/day: 13 (Lvls + Wis) + 9 (channel energy uses) = 22
3 smite evil attempts/day from levels, so 24 smite evil/chaos/day.
AC (against a single target): 48, 52 if you are willing to use a ki point. Things at your equivalent level CR will not be able to hit you. +2-+3 CR will have difficulty.
Okay, this is getting a bit ridiculous:
So as the levels advance, just keep racking up the bonuses. A couple of things to make life just that little bit better.
1.) You can now use a touch attack to hit things as a standard action. I recommend you leisurely walk up to dragons during the first round of combat, and autohit them for 2d8 + 38 points of damage before things start getting rowdy.
2.) The Allying Wyroot Hanbo. This weapon will help you out in two ways:
a: The allying property will allow you to have enhanced unarmed strikes for less than the cost of an equivalent +3 amulet of mighty fists, and also frees up the amulet slot for more AC boosting items.
b: A Wyroot item will absorb ki points on a critical hit. Champions of Irori get an attack of opportunity whenever an opponent confirms a critical threat on them or an ally with their perfect opening ability (they have to be adjacent to the enemy), which is an automatic critical threat if it hits. Basically, use your Wyroot hanbo to confirm the crit, and you've got extra ki points!
3.) You know that critical threat thing, that happens before your opponent actually does damage to you. So basically here is what happens:
Step 1: Enemy rolls a crit against you and confirms it
So that is two attack of opportunity whenever an enemy crits you, with one of them likely to be a critical hit (and smite damage multiplies on a critical hit doesn't it?). And you take no damage.
Granted, I just thought of this, but it looks solid. I'm sure people will disabuse me if it is wrong.
4.) Feats are free after crane riposte at 11th lvl. Really. Take whatever you like. Monastic legacy is a good one (even better if CoI levels count as "Non monk levels" for the purpose of Monastic legacy). Angel blood and Angel Wings give you innate flight. Also nice. Just go wild.
Bonus points for readers, suggest to me good feats to take after lvl 11!
So what do people think?
Hmm, no I haven't. I haven't made a guide before, and really, I'm afraid I might not be very good at it. (And its only a PrC, so its a bit more limited in scope than an actual class, a guide might be a bit too much?)
The monastic legacy feat for multiclassed monks:
Benefit: Add half the levels you have in classes other than monk to your monk level to determine your effective monk level for your base unarmed strike damage. This feat does not make levels in classes other than monk count toward any other monk class features.
But how does it interact with Champion of Irori levels which state:
The class levels of a champion of Irori stack with monk levels for determining the effect of his AC bonus, flurry of blows, stunning fist, and unarmed strike class features.
Since a level in CoI is not a level in monk is it considered as a level in a class "other than monk" for the purpose of monastic legacy? (I.e. count 1/2 levels in CoI towards the monk unarmed strike progression)?
Well I did think that, so I had a look while I was drafting the character. Here is what the SRD has to say:
But not one word on whether a particular special quality needed to go in a particular slot. So apparently if a magic item has only one special quality, it can go in any slot for the same price.
There is a chance I am wrong however, so if you can point me to where it does say it, my thanks to you.
I'm working on my Champion of Irori build here: Irori's Champion
Basically its a build that lets you smite every enemy you encounter, and also has great saves/AC.
I'm not sure that its a shoo-in to the guide to the builds, but it would be nice to hear what people think.
Disclaimer: I've only plotted out the lvl 1-10 progression so far. More incoming after I've received comments, I suppose.