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RPG Superstar 2015

The Genius Guide to the Talented Monk (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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Monks are the iconic martial artists and students of esoteric mysticism of the core rules, dealing significant damage with their bare hands, leaping across battlefields, and learning exotic fighting styles and combat techniques. They are also among the most hotly debated of classes, with different groups of players envisioning them as scouts, front-line combatants, skirmishers, mystics, or self-sufficient adventurers who are mostly useful because they don’t require as much support as most classes. Of course these different ideas and play styles are sometimes mutually exclusive, and the core monk offers little customization to help build a character matching one of those concepts outside what bonus feats can be selected.

The Genius Guide to the Talented Monk rewrites the classic monk class to use talents, rather than static class abilities and bonus feats. Rather than require all monks to be masters of unarmed attacks and self-perfection, each monk can have custom-fit class abilities to match a player’s specific concept. This greater flexibility allows the monk to be the default esoteric-combat-style-oriented character without limiting it to just one or two styles of fighting. Like a rogue, a talented monk character can pick and choose from a range of similarly-powered abilities appropriate for the monk’s role, without making the class overpowered. The talented monk can still fill the same roles in a party, but can customize his combat style and abilities to fill a much broader range of concepts.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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Legends of Awesomeness

*****

The other day, my son and I were watching the tv show Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. I was thinking about how I could make all the characters using Talented Monk. (Except the races.)

I have enjoyed the entire talented line. It allows you the flexibility (even more than archetypes) to play the character concept you want while still being the core Pathfinder/D&D class-based system.

The monk class really struggles with its diverse and non-synergetic abilities. Talented Monk solved all that and moves the class power level to be at least equal to the other martials. I have seen a couple of people post a link to Talented Monk in the numerous “How to fix the monk” threads on the Paizo boards. And I have to agree – whatever your vision of a monk is Talented Monk will let you build it effectively.

I especially like the deadly strikes talent allows all monk weapons (among others) to go up in damage dice like unarmed strike. 8th level shuriken at 1d8 damage plus flurry make my evil GM smile.

1 nit: I like the original cover art much better than the revised RGG cover art. The original showed a japanamation style “monk” in the cool straw hat with a thin sword.

Buy this and More Monk Talents. You’ll be happy you did.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This third installment of SGG's Talented-class rewrites is 27 pages of content long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 25 1/3 of a page content, so let's take a look!

All right - like its two predecessors, this pdf provides us with an alternative for the monk - and imho the class needs it - the monk, while better than its previous iteration, still is too tied to its basic principles and doesn't offer that many customization options - enter this take! On a basic level, the class gets 3/4 BAB-progression, 4+Int skills per level, d8, proficiency with clubs, crossbows, daggers, handaxes, javelins, shortspears, short swords, slings and spears and good fort-, ref- and will-saves.

Have you noticed the first peculiarity yet? Yes, no improved unarmored strike - unless you want to have it! At first level, the monk gets 3 so-called monk edges and for the next 3 levels, monks also get an additional monk edge. Unless otherwise specified, edges may only be taken once - so what do they do? Well, first of all, we get 21 of these edges, allowing for a rather extensive amount of variety - but read the pdf's boxed text: Yes, it is possible to make an ineffectual talented monk - evasion, ki pool, fast movement, flurry of blows, wis-mod to AC and CMD - all of these are no longer obligatory, but optional. Among the other options, edges may allow talented monks to get proficiency with light and medium armors, gain +1 natural AC, gain handle animal as a class skill (and mounted combat as a bonus feat), may gain Diplomacy, Knowledge-skills and Linguisitics and tie the wisdom-attribute as key attribute to them. Proficiency with martial weapons by group, wildering in combat feats, an oratory-based bardic performance for inspiring courage and flurrying with maneuvers as well as improved grappling become distinct possibilities - and later still have additional results - at 8th level, e.g. grab (ex) is provided by one of the edges - oh, and you can actually exchange edges for monk talents.

You start the game with two monk talents and get +2 per level for the next 2 levels, after that gaining 1 such talent per level. At 10th level, advanced talents get added to the list and at 20th level, grand talents make for capstones. Whether edges or talents, they do come with information on from which archetype they were derived from if applicable. As yes, casting via ki as qinggong monks, increased damage dice in crit 20/x2 weapons and a vast array of talents allow for maximum customization to create your own version of the monk - distinct beyond style-feats and easier to be included into your campaign setting, allowing you to e.g. create support monks based on hindering foes as well as weapon-studded martial artists.

Speaking of beyond styles - of course the respective options to e.g. fuse styles etc. are still there and the talented monk also gets o choose the apex of his/her powers - which is awesome. Now to combat the massive wall of text that makes up a significant amount of this product's content, we also get a very helpful list of talents by classes. Speaking of helpful: A question immediately comes to mind - is there an option for synergy between this class and its talented rogueish/fighter cousins?

Balance-wise, the results can be daunting to take a look at - and the pdf actually addresses it by providing a variety of different options and advice on creating balanced hybrid options from the base-classes -awesome!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed a couple of minor issues and honestly would rate it slightly down for it, these minor glitches a) are errata'd and hopefully will be updated to the file and b) the construction of the class is simply awesome and overshadows those minor flaws. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column full color landscape standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience as well as with several beautiful full color artworks.

Owen K.C. Stephens has done it again - and even surpassed the excellent fighter-installment : We get one beautiful, massive take on the monk-class that is inherently more complex and versatile than its base-class, ridding the monk of its linearity and replacing it with options galore - options that might require more responsibility on part of the player, but that also will enrich your game and especially the experience of playing this class by at least a tenfold - final verdict? Unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval. These will be standard in my game.

Endzeitgeist out.


If someone were to make a Strix Talented Monk, would it be a Talonted Monk?

*****

The Genius Guide to the Talented Monk is the latest in the “Talented Class” line by Super Genius Games. For those of you who don’t know, the product line gets the class features from the classes and sets them up into groups of talents, allowing you to pick and choose what you’d like from a class to fit an exact concept instead of having to straight jacket your character to an archetype or a specific build.

The Monk as it stands, is a class that suffers from being forced into concepts and archetypes a lot, as some class features such as Tongue of Sun and Moon, or silly things like Still Mind. Ontop of that, it also has the weirdness of Flurry of Blows giving it a technical higher BAB, and being really, really, REALLY Multi-Ability Score dependent, making it hard for the Monk to pay for some feat taxes (like the 13 int required for Combat Expertise, but that’s another review for another time), makes it so that most monk builds are very hodge-podge mixes of features, hoping to get something right.

The PDF itself is a 27 Page PDF, with a Half Page Cover, One page of credits and OGL, and Three Pages covering an organization chart of the talents/edges, and the ability to allow monks/rogues/fighters to share talents., leaving 22.5 pages of content. It’s a full color PDF with full color art.

The Talented Monk itself is a d8 HD Class with a medium BAB, having every save as good saves, 4+ int mod skills per level, and its own set of weapon proficiencies. It has an alignment restriction of Lawful, but some talents allow it to be a different alignment as well. It also has a “Specialty attack bonus”, which follows regular BAB progression, when attacking with a Fighting Style or Chosen Weapon. What are those exactly? Those are Edges and talents, respectively.

Monks edges this time around are really cool, giving you proficiency with a whole group of weapons and allowing you to use your specialty bonus with them, or even allowing you to use light and medium armor. Of course, if you want to build a classic monk, with the Unarmed Strike and the usual fast movement, you can still take those options. The ability to Flurry is another option you can pick up as well, essentially allowing you to Flurry using your specialized attack bonus.

Talents are also sufficiently awesome, from giving you the ability to hit so fast your shadows can’t catch up (thus making DR on an enemy less useful), being able to sense creatures around you with blind sense, or even letting it steal ki from other people. Or, if you don’t feel like being the aesthetic warrior, you can forgo all Ki powers and be a martial artist, or indulge deeply and become a drunken monk, letting you find inner peace right at the bottom of the bottle. At 10th level onward you’re able to take advanced talents, and at 20th you get an additional edge and capstone talent choice, which are really cool.

I also like some of the ideas presented, especially the weapon groups that you get from the Fighting Style edge, in that you gain proficiency with all of the weapons in them, since they are similar enough to use, and I also like how flurry is an option, if you just want to full attack normally (see; If you’re a two handed monk and you want your STR.5 bonus), you can.

Aside from a few text errors (Trick shot is listed as a normal talent when it should be an advanced), and a few questionable choices for balance (Uncanny Initiative is available at 10th level?), this PDF is great. It allows you to choose certain choices that wouldn’t be viable or even choose able at certain levels (being able to get Pounce at 10th with Animal Aspect is <3), this is great. The only thing I could ask for is sample builds for newer players with suggestions to branch them out (which if I was Gming I’d do anyways) and more talents/edges. If I’m making a Ki-less monk, I feel my options are a little less compared to one that uses ki, but besides that this is a great product. 5 stars, can’t wait until they release more talents for it so that I can finally make that unarmored martial artist that I’ve always wanted to make.


Every eastern fantasy trope you never got to play.

*****

We've all been there. We're thinking of a character to play, we keep looking at the monk, and we sigh because it's just not right. There is one ability that will be wasted. You will have to multiclass to get your character concept and you don't want to miss out on level dependent abilities. You think armor is for dwarves and wussies (and you're not confusing the two as synonymous).

Or you just got done watching any japanese or chinese movie/anime and you immediately want to play that kind of character. One of these two are usually the issue.

That's where The Talented Monk comes in.

What can I say that hasn't been said? This pdf is awesome. I'd buy this in print if I could. I'd staple it into my core rulebook in the monk section. IT'S THAT GOOD.

Now you're reading this and thinking "but if it's that good, it must be overpowered." I know, I thought the same thing. Monks never run the perfect line of good power and balance. They're usually broken in either a good or bad way. But this time around, it's not. The monk is broken down into component bits that you can plug and play with to make your perfect character. If it were not for the feats, I would consider this the better fighter. Give me another hour of tinkering, and I might be able to make it the better fighter. But if you don't want to be a fighter and want to focus on ki powers, do that instead (or mix them up!). If you want to be a Tai Chi master and wield a longsword while flurrying, go for it. They even took the archetypes abilities into consideration and broke them down too. Don't feel constrained to abilities that are one trick ponies. Pick up a smidge of what you wanted from it and keep going. Be a martial arts master, a ki mystic, a ronin samurai, or a devoted warrior guard.

It's all in here. It's 3.99. It's worth more than anything else you will buy for 3.99. Feel hesitant, go read the comments section. I was hesitant. And I'm glad I bought it anyway. My group will be glad too. And as an added bonus, this book will open up so many options in any eastern campaign it's indescribable.

Enough rambling, go treat yourself to the monk you've always wanted.


I Will Only Say it Once ... Buy This

*****

Buy this. Buy this product NOW. Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll explain why you should put this PDF in your cart if you JUST PUT IT INTO YOUR CART ALREADY!

Crunch
If you’re familiar with Super Genius Games and their Talented line, you know what to expect from this. Basically, this product takes every monk archetype as well as the standard class, breaks everything down into talents that are roughly as powerful as a feat, and allows you to custom build your very own version of the monk class. The system resembles the one designed for the Rogue class; possessing edges and talents that you get as your level improves. Generally speaking, a monk edge is less powerful than a rogue edge, but monks get a heck of a lot more of them early on, and talents interact more with them too.

How do I begin talking about how amazing this design is when translated to the monk? Everything, literally everything you could have ever wanted from the Monk class is here. I would literally be copy/pasting the entire book if I were to stop and talk about every little thing that makes this class great, so instead I will pick a few big notes. First, the monk’s “Flurry of Blows” attack bonus has been expanded upon greatly; basically, its now called a “Special Attack Bonus” and as you gain talents you select special abilities to use with this attack bonus. Flurry of Blows is only one such ability; one of the amazingly awesome new ideas to come out of this book is called Fighting Style, where the Monk chooses one Fighter Weapon Group and gains proficiency with all of its weapons and can use those weapons to perform most monk abilities (except Siege Weapons; as the book says, no matter how good you are you can’t use Stunning Fist with a catapult!) This leads to amazing character builds, including the “Samurai Jack” for all of you fellow 90s kids. Another great change is special talents that modify what alignments your monk can be, from the ki-less martial artist to the Drunken Master, who may now adopt a Chaotic Alignment.

Ultimately, the crunch in this book is well pieced together and is character gold; you can easily look through this book and piece the abilities together into creative, unique character builds. 5 / 5 Stars.

Flavor
SGG Products aren’t well-known for their flavor, especially ones in the Talented Classes line. That said, there is a distinct theme in this class, and that is disciplined specialization. This becomes especially noticeable when you compare the Talented Monk to the Talented Fighter; almost all of the Talented Fighter talents work across multiple weapons and abilities, while the Talented Monk has abilities that function for weapons that the Monk chooses to devote themselves to. The product ultimately comes off with a vibe that the Fighter’s methodology is about how to excel at a given way of combat, regardless of weapon, while the Monk focuses on adapting a specific weapon to their personal fighting style. It’s very cool, very flavorful, and it’s a great feeling to be able to say that the Monk has a niche in terms of how they act in combat. 5 /5 Stars.

Texture
Super Genius Games products always look beautiful, but I want to call out this one especially because the art is some of the best that I’ve ever seen in a Super Genius Games product. Maybe it’s because gaming culture has a very strong collective identity for what it means to be a monk, but the art ties itself together very well from page to page; there are a couple of places where you wonder if a few of pieces show the same monk in different situations. Very nice, high-quality stuff here! 5 /5 Stars.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 5 / 5
Flavor: 5 / 5
Texture: 5 / 5
Final Score: 5 / 5 Stars

This product is absolutely essential to a player who wants to create a Monk. Of all the Talented Classes, I would say that the Talented Monk is probably the most powerful. But honestly, that is for a good reason. The standard monk isn’t very fun or imaginative, and most of the best Monk builds involve drastically changing the standard monk with archetypes. This product takes that one step further and truly creates a character class that says, “Yes, I can hold my own in this game. I am fun to play. I am filled with story ideas. I am a character who you will remember and cherish.” This might very well be one of the best designed monk-type classes of all time.

— Alexander "Alex" Augunas



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