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New Monk Band-Aid on Sucking Chest Wound


Races & Classes

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Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

OK,

I've really liked what Pathfinder has been doing but the new Monk just doesn't cut it. Admittedly there has been some attempt to correct previous failings but a Monk without a full BAB and only a D8 hit die will always fail to compete with other melee combatants.

The ki pool changes miss more often (aka flurry of blows) to misses even more often. Add this to Maneuver Training and it seems they are bending over backwards to do everything BUT increase the BAB. Why make such a complicated system for such a simple fix.

JoS

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Jack of Shadows wrote:

OK,

I've really liked what Pathfinder has been doing but the new Monk just doesn't cut it. Admittedly there has been some attempt to correct previous failings but a Monk without a full BAB and only a D8 hit die will always fail to compete with other melee combatants.

The ki pool changes miss more often (aka flurry of blows) to misses even more often. Add this to Maneuver Training and it seems they are bending over backwards to do everything BUT increase the BAB. Why make such a complicated system for such a simple fix.

JoS

Changing a monk's BAB is not in the cards, just like it is not for any other class. Changing BAB monkey's with a lot of statistics (especially for the monk with flurry). Truth be told, the monk is not a class that is designed specifically to stand up toe-to-toe with a fighter. They serve slightly different roles.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What do you see that role being, Jason, if I might ask?

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Shisumo wrote:
What do you see that role being, Jason, if I might ask?

Monks are support and mobility combatants, generally speaking, useful in moving around the battlefield to assist with problems. In this regard, they gain a number of abilities that allow them to work without the aid of others, which many of the other, straight fighter classes, lack to one degree or another.

Telling me that this is just a band aid, without any playtesting, because they do not get a full BAB, is not very helpful to my development. They might not be perfect for the role that I see them in (at least not yet), but I am looking to work within the system as opposed to just demanding a redesign of some of their core statistics.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Star Voter 2013

Monks are blitzers: the caster killers of the melee classes.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
What do you see that role being, Jason, if I might ask?

Monks are support and mobility combatants, generally speaking, useful in moving around the battlefield to assist with problems. In this regard, they gain a number of abilities that allow them to work without the aid of others, which many of the other, straight fighter classes, lack to one degree or another.

Telling me that this is just a band aid, without any playtesting, because they do not get a full BAB, is not very helpful to my development. They might not be perfect for the role that I see them in (at least not yet), but I am looking to work within the system as opposed to just demanding a redesign of some of their core statistics.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

So ultimately, the problem is that in a party of 4 the monk is replacing someone from the iconic party. Its clearly not the arcane caster or the divine caster. Its by design not the front line combatant. This means they have to compete with the rogue for role and player attention.

The rogue's combat role is notably DPS machine when in the right place. The Monk *does not* replace this. I'll need to take a closer look at what the new monk does do, but it should theoretically be as attractive as dropping multiple +Nd6 attacks per round. It shouldn't necessarily (or even preferably) be damage, but it needs to do something awesome while its running around back there.

*Goes off to look at the monk more closely*

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Monks have always been one of my favorite classes and I love a lot of the changes in this. I think the problem with how you are seeing them is that they never have been intended to be a melee combatant. They aren't just a bruiser. They are a class that is all about being able to be the harrier when needed, getting in and out for blows(which become very powerful) and being remarkably mobile.

If there is a caster 70ft away, across the battle field, the monk is going to be the one who can take him out, whether that is tumbling around combat, balancing or leaping over obstacles and just having the distance to get there and either ready to stop that mage from casting or deliver a stunning blow to keep him from trying later.

Monks are also designed to be really self sufficient, building up resistances to just about everything, having evasion, a high AC, and the ability to heal themselves. It means that they can traverse the field this way without having to run back to the cleric constantly, and they can hit whatever spots in the battle they are needed quickly and efficiently, and abilities like slow fall and dimension door mean that they can get just about anywhere without the wizards help.

I think that the new release of the monk played on all those strengths greatly, allowing monks to use ki-points to make use of whichever abilities serve them best at the moment, be it the need to clear a great chasm or just to be harder to hit.

The monks flurry seems to be where people get tangled up in the thought that they should be great fighters, they get extra attacks and hit really hard with it when they full round. But I think thats part of the
point of it all, they have more shots -to- hit, because they don't hit so well with each of them. If they did hit that hard, they would out class the fighter at what he does.

-Tarlane

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There was only one post on this thread when I started typing all that up. It is nice to see that our designer sort of views them in the same role I do.

As a regular monk player, I think they look great, Jason, and I'm certainly going to make sure they get some testing.

-Tarlane

Sovereign Court

Jason, the new monk is an excelent class, I like a lot of the abilities. I'm not sure about the whole ki pool thing (because I reflavor monks to play them differently, my monk minotaur being one of my coolest characters, but with whom ki pool would totally break the flavor, but I'm allready thinking of ways to reflavor it so don't worry about it) but I'll play it before I say it's a failure (which I wholeheartedly disagree and think it is a sucess).


They're decent. But still feels like a junkyard of a class. I do like how a lot of the abilities are finally useable more than once a day... but...

Scarab Sages

I would argue that the monk's core role in combat is this:

Mage killer.

Between the speed (to get to the mage hiding in the back), the resistances/Saving Throws (to resist spells cast going in), and the ability to hit a relatively low AC opponent many times quickly, the monk is built for that combat role.

Outside of combat, the monk's role is to provide a profoundly ascetic quality to adventure; to call the party to higher objectives without the preachiness of a paladin or cleric. Importing the pursuit of secret knowledge and spiritual/physical perfection into any of the cultural milieus in which we adventure is a great addition to a party.

I have enjoyed playing monks since the 1st edition and find they can go a long way beyond the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cliche from which they sprang. In most of my parties, the monk has ended up serving as the eyes, ears, and wisdom of a party. The clear combat role, once understood, insures a good tactical approach for most encounters. The clear story role provides tons of story hooks, a ton of PC interaction, and a really nice way to import higher concepts without the dogmatic arguments that religiosity in the game can sometimes provoke.

So, my feedback to anyone developing the monk as a class is to insure that the class has enough special abilities to fulfill the combat role and enough flavor to allow players to deliver on the promise of the story role.

(Which, btw, is one of my big gripes with 4E: by attempting to force all characters into one of four archetypes, they ruin the ability of a player to deliver other arechetypes into the storyline. LOTR didn't capture all that there is in imaginative game-play.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Squirrelloid wrote:

The rogue's combat role is notably DPS machine when in the right place. The Monk *does not* replace this. I'll need to take a closer look at what the new monk does do, but it should theoretically be as attractive as dropping multiple +Nd6 attacks per round. It shouldn't necessarily (or even preferably) be damage, but it needs to do something awesome while its running around back there.

*Goes off to look at the monk more closely*

It seems... to be stripping actions off of opponents.

Which could be an extremely effective niche, if handled properly.

If you want bonus damage, though, consider the possiblities in a monk 15/fighter 5 with a monk's robe, Improved Natural Attack and Improved Vital Strike...

Dark Archive

Shisumo wrote:


If you want bonus damage, though, consider the possiblities in a monk 15/fighter 5 with a monk's robe, Improved Natural Attack and Improved Vital Strike...

It somehow bugs me that monks and fighters have mutually exclusive class features. Fighters get their AC bonus only while wearing armor while monks lose theirs under such conditions. Maybe either monks should get an option of retaining their AC bonus while armored (like swordsages do) or fighters should get an unarmored option.

Sovereign Court

Jadeite wrote:
Shisumo wrote:


If you want bonus damage, though, consider the possiblities in a monk 15/fighter 5 with a monk's robe, Improved Natural Attack and Improved Vital Strike...
It somehow bugs me that monks and fighters have mutually exclusive class features. Fighters get their AC bonus only while wearing armor while monks lose theirs under such conditions. Maybe either monks should get an option of retaining their AC bonus while armored (like swordsages do) or fighters should get an unarmored option.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, please save me from armoured monks and naked fighters, their abilities are mutually exclusive because they are incompatable abilities. I want it kept that way please.

Dark Archive

Shisumo wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

The rogue's combat role is notably DPS machine when in the right place. The Monk *does not* replace this. I'll need to take a closer look at what the new monk does do, but it should theoretically be as attractive as dropping multiple +Nd6 attacks per round. It shouldn't necessarily (or even preferably) be damage, but it needs to do something awesome while its running around back there.

*Goes off to look at the monk more closely*

It seems... to be stripping actions off of opponents.

Which could be an extremely effective niche, if handled properly.

If you want bonus damage, though, consider the possiblities in a monk 15/fighter 5 with a monk's robe, Improved Natural Attack and Improved Vital Strike...

Just going straight 20 levels in monk, ignoring items, and just taking Improved Natural Attack, The Improved Vital Strike feat tree(2 feats) a flurry of blow using Improved Vital Strike, you will have 3 attacks at +15 BAB doing 12d8+damage mod per hit with the option of burning 1 ki point to do an extra attack. Assuming those three attacks hit, that average damage of 162+(damage modx3).

That pretty decent, competing with the rogue in terms of damage, beating a rogue that doesn't take TWF out right and competing with a TWF rogue in damage.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alas, you have to multiclass to get the +16 BAB requirement of Improved Vital Strike. But yes, that was what I was getting at. Not too shabby, eh?

Dark Archive

What? *Looks at Improved Vital Strike.* Crap.

Well, make it a level 16 monk/level 4 Fighter then with monks belt :P

And you will recoup the feats this way as well.


I always felt the list of 'Monk Weapons' was somewhat silly and redundant. It may be done for game balance but the way I see it the game balance achieved is minimal at best.

The thing is, most 'Monk Weapons' are just Asian versions of pre-existing simple weapons.

Kama=Sickle
Nunchaku=Light Flail
Siangham=Arrow/Dagger (Honestly, really, what is a Siangham but a Dagger that can be used for special Monk Attacks?)

How about instead of going through this extra redundancy, just let the Monk use Simple weapons, then they'd actually be able to use Spears, weapons that actual Shaolin and Wudan Monks (The main inspiration for this class) train with.

It may seem imbalanced but I've seen a Shaolin Monk 'Flurry Of Blows' with a spear in a demonstration before, and it'd get rid of the necessity to have a bunch of extra exotic weapons that are nearly identical to previously existing weapons.

Dark Archive

Shisumo wrote:
Alas, you have to multiclass to get the +16 BAB requirement of Improved Vital Strike. But yes, that was what I was getting at. Not too shabby, eh?

It's a nice idea, but you would have to go monk 16, fighter 4, otherwise you will have a BAB of +16 on level 20, but no feat to spend. By taking 16 levels of monk, you get a fighter feat to use on improved vital strike. Also, it seems a bit odd that there are no additions to the list of monk bonus feats past level 10. Maybe vital strike and improved vital strike should just be added for levels 14 and 18.

Dark Archive

Jadeite wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Alas, you have to multiclass to get the +16 BAB requirement of Improved Vital Strike. But yes, that was what I was getting at. Not too shabby, eh?
It's a nice idea, but you would have to go monk 16, fighter 4, otherwise you will have a BAB of +16 on level 20, but no feat to spend. By taking 16 levels of monk, you get a fighter feat to use on improved vital strike. Also, it seems a bit odd that there are no additions to the list of monk bonus feats past level 10. Maybe vital strike and improved vital strike should just be added for levels 14 and 18.

Strictly speaking, the way to get the Improved Vital Strike using a level 16/Level 4 Fighter is to take the 4th level of fighter as your last. That aside, I would like to see vital strike and improved vital strike on the monk bonus feat list.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think adding monk level instead of BAB to the CMB will help make up for the weak melee BAB in some cases (as well as the DC starting at 15+). One of the best ways for a monk to neutralize an enemy spell caster (particularly clerics) is to grapple them. Similarly, the best way for a monk to deal with level-appropriate heavily armored opponents is to special maneuver them too. Back when I was playing a 16th level monk back in 3.0, against a CR 16 fighter kitted out with appropriate armor, my best bet was grappling and tripping. It was really the only chance I had, save rolling very high, to affect the goon.

Overall, this fix may not be as far as I'd like to see it go, but it's got some potential.


Actually, I'd like to defend Jason's methodology, if not the Monk as he has it currently formulated. It's entirely possible and goo for back-compatibility of rhte Monk to retain clerical BAB if its class features are impressive enough. Rogues and Clerics are effective frontline combatants without needing full BAB.

The Monk currently doesn't have anything that makes up for the BAB hit, but they could be given something.

Sovereign Court

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Changing a monk's BAB is not in the cards, just like it is not for any other class. Changing BAB monkey's with a lot of statistics (especially for the monk with flurry). Truth be told, the monk is not a class that is designed specifically to stand up toe-to-toe with a fighter. They serve slightly different roles.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I'm sorry Jason but you're just being obtuse. The changes from 3.0 to 3.5 increased the flurry of blows ability until the extra attacks were equal to the Monk's 3/4 BAB. Why? because it was realized that in a fight the Monk needed more. Unfortunately this just lead to a Monk that missed more often. You have bolted on all sorts of bells and whistles so that the Monk "almost" has a full BAB but with added complexity and bookkeeping. Why did you do this Jason if you didn't feel the Monk needed to be a better combatant?

Even as a second line combatant (which is absurd for someone who has spent their lives learning to fight) the Monk fails. Clerics, Rogues, and Bards can all purchase armor and weapons which can improve their AC and attack bonuses; the Bard cannot. A rogue (someone who is generally self-trained and lives by their wits is a better combatant then a Monk. They will have a higher AC and a higher to-hit bonus. Plus given sneak attack they will, more often than not, do more damage than a Monk.

Changing the BAB to a full progression affects two things; Flurry of Blows and Damage Output. Flurry of Blows is an easy fix, put it back to an extra attack with all attacks at -2. Works just like the Rapid Shot feat chain. Damage output doesn't need to change at all because the Monk doesn't get access to all the elemental damage adds that every single other class has available (i.e. flaming, shocking, freezing etc.) thanks to magic items.

JoS

P.S. I may be coming off as a bit of a prick but that is not my intent. I really want to debate this and get a clear sense of what Mr. Bulmahn is thinking (and probably to lobby a bunch to change his thinking.) ;)


I like the new monk, however, there is one glaring error (to me at least). I've always slotted the monk as a mobile combatant, however, one of his main features goes completely against this philosophy and that is flurry of blows. Flurry is a full-round action, meaning a monk needs to choose if he will go mobile fighter or front-liner, and he just can't stand up to other front-liners and thus almost completely ignores flurry. Please, make flurry a standard attack action or have an option to use it at the end of a charge, or something to allow a mobile monk to use it more than once or twice a campaign when he gets cornered.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ki Charge - burn 2 ki points to allow you to make a Flurry of Blows with a charge attack action.

Sounds about right to anybody else?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jack of Shadows wrote:


I'm sorry Jason but you're just being obtuse.

~snip~

P.S. I may be coming off as a bit of a prick but that is not my intent. I really want to debate this and get a clear sense of what Mr. Bulmahn is thinking

Obtuse: not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.

Jack, I suggest that if your real intention is to debate and get a clearer indication of Jason’s thinking, you might do a lot better if you dropped the insults. Might make you come across as less of a prick too. Win/win.

Sovereign Court

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Monks are support and mobility combatants, generally speaking, useful in moving around the battlefield to assist with problems. In this regard, they gain a number of abilities that allow them to work without the aid of others, which many of the other, straight fighter classes, lack to one degree or another.

Except that a Monk who moves away from the support and protection of the party gets gooned and taken down due to their poor AC. I can't argue the Monks mobility but it is often not a factor unless they are running away or trying to catch a single target. A monk away from the party is almost always overwhelmed and outmatched operating on their own.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Telling me that this is just a band aid, without any playtesting, because they do not get a full BAB, is not very helpful to my development. They might not be perfect for the role that I see them in (at least not yet), but I am looking to work within the system as opposed to just demanding a redesign of some of their core statistics.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

First, I didn't make any demands. You're just getting defensive because I didn't like what you did. That's not what this is about. I want to debate what you've done, not condemn it. I think the critical thing is that you have decided what a Monk should be and failed to ask yourself what do "players" want a Monk to be. I think this is the specific element that has been overlooked since the inception of the Monk in D20.

JoS


@Jack of Shadows

You may want to reread pages 2 and 3 of the PDF: History and Design Goals.

Keep in mind that if you tear down the Monk's BAB and Flurry, it alters the role of the Monk, negates the need for some other things the Monk would normally use, and would probably require taking from someplace else to accommodate this large power increase (we aren't talking about +1 hp/level here).

Changing the Monk's role would break the point of using THIS Monk for the roles it was used, and had PrCs and Feats from splatbooks created for. This is one of those "steps too far" that 'Improve the Game' doesn't cut it for changing.

Might I suggest making a PrC, or giving the Fighter a feat chain specifically for an unarmed/unarmored Martial Artist, as opposed to this mystical mage killer.


Jack of Shadows wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Changing a monk's BAB is not in the cards, just like it is not for any other class. Changing BAB monkey's with a lot of statistics (especially for the monk with flurry). Truth be told, the monk is not a class that is designed specifically to stand up toe-to-toe with a fighter. They serve slightly different roles.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I'm sorry Jason but you're just being obtuse. The changes from 3.0 to 3.5 increased the flurry of blows ability until the extra attacks were equal to the Monk's 3/4 BAB. Why? because it was realized that in a fight the Monk needed more. Unfortunately this just lead to a Monk that missed more often. You have bolted on all sorts of bells and whistles so that the Monk "almost" has a full BAB but with added complexity and bookkeeping. Why did you do this Jason if you didn't feel the Monk needed to be a better combatant?

Even as a second line combatant (which is absurd for someone who has spent their lives learning to fight) the Monk fails. Clerics, Rogues, and Bards can all purchase armor and weapons which can improve their AC and attack bonuses; the Bard cannot. A rogue (someone who is generally self-trained and lives by their wits is a better combatant then a Monk. They will have a higher AC and a higher to-hit bonus. Plus given sneak attack they will, more often than not, do more damage than a Monk.

Changing the BAB to a full progression affects two things; Flurry of Blows and Damage Output. Flurry of Blows is an easy fix, put it back to an extra attack with all attacks at -2. Works just like the Rapid Shot feat chain. Damage output doesn't need to change at all because the Monk doesn't get access to all the elemental damage adds that every single other class has available (i.e. flaming, shocking, freezing etc.) thanks to magic items.

JoS

P.S. I may be coming off as a bit of a prick but that is not my intent. I really want to debate this and get a clear sense of what Mr. Bulmahn is thinking (and probably to...

First, how does a rogue or cleric end up with a higher to-hit bonus than the monk (since they all have access to enchanted weapons) and why wouldn't they get access to all of the elemental damage adds? Second, what difference would the elemental damage adds make? Compare a flame burst rapier (1D6 + 1d6 fire) to a 12th level unarmed monk. Same damage output. At 20th level the monk is doing 2D10 points of damage an attack which is probably more than the rogue is doing.

Sovereign Court

Aaron Whitley wrote:

First, how does a rogue or cleric end up with a higher to-hit bonus than the monk (since they all have access to enchanted weapons) and why wouldn't they get access to all of the elemental damage adds? Second, what difference would the elemental damage adds make? Compare a flame burst rapier (1D6 + 1d6 fire) to a 12th level unarmed monk. Same damage output. At 20th level the monk is doing 2D10 points of damage an attack which is probably more than the rogue is doing.

A cleric or rogue is likely to have an enchanted weapon with a to-hit bonus and a Monk cannot add weapon enhancements to their unarmed attacks. Yes, they can enchant a monk weapon but that is a secondary weapon for them. How much of your characters resources do you spend on your back-up weapon? Also take into consideration the rogue's sneak attack and the cleric's buff spells.

As for damage you'll note that I was arguing to leave it as is. I don't think that it is overpowered when considered with the damage potential of the other second line classes.

JoS

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Remember, a monk can use "monk weapons" with flurry of blows. Thus enchanted weapons, with flaming, bursting, wounding...etc.

I would like to see manriki guasari added to the monk weapons, give it a special ability of +4 to deflect arrows, as it can be spun in a figure eight. standard trip and 10' reach of course. Perhaps a feat to allow the manriki to deflect arrows in adjacent squares.

I would also like to see some other feats like Improved Vital Strike added to a level 16 category of Monk feats. If anyone should have that feat it's monks.

Change 5' step to half move rate, and you have a monk more mobile and allowed to full attack with a decent movement. While keeping those fighters in heavy armor to 10'. The 5' step always seemed a bit...restricted.

I would still like to see the Monk Bonus Feats replaced by Monk training. Similar to the rogue talents. Effectively the same, but more open to things like; Palm Strike, Dragon Tail sweep, Iron Broom Sweep, Crescent Kick, or any other martial arts maneuver.

Jack of Shadows, love the name btw, great book. Why would a monk's weapon be secondary? They unlike the cleric don't need to spend money on armor, although bracers of armor are very good addition to a monk's gear.

Monk feat Idea: Lunging Strike: A monk when using a spear may make use a spear or staff as a reach 10' weapon. This goes perfectly with real life martial arts use of a staff.


Jack of Shadows wrote:
A cleric or rogue is likely to have an enchanted weapon with a to-hit bonus and a Monk cannot add weapon enhancements to their unarmed attacks. Yes, they can enchant a monk weapon but that is a secondary weapon for them. How much of your characters resources do you spend on your back-up weapon? Also take into consideration the rogue's sneak attack and the cleric's buff spells.

Actually, this detail I think deserves some fixing - there should be a magical item that allows you to apply magical bonuses to your natural attacks. I would guess it at considerably more expensive than normal weapons (since one hit can potentially empower a LOT of natural attacks), but it would be a valuable addition to the game. And give monks a vorpal unarmed strike. (Kidding about that last part.)


Well, there is Magic Fang (and it's Greater version), that can be made permanent. That does help some.

Dark Archive

Pneumonica wrote:
Jack of Shadows wrote:
A cleric or rogue is likely to have an enchanted weapon with a to-hit bonus and a Monk cannot add weapon enhancements to their unarmed attacks. Yes, they can enchant a monk weapon but that is a secondary weapon for them. How much of your characters resources do you spend on your back-up weapon? Also take into consideration the rogue's sneak attack and the cleric's buff spells.
Actually, this detail I think deserves some fixing - there should be a magical item that allows you to apply magical bonuses to your natural attacks. I would guess it at considerably more expensive than normal weapons (since one hit can potentially empower a LOT of natural attacks), but it would be a valuable addition to the game. And give monks a vorpal unarmed strike. (Kidding about that last part.)

There already is a magic item that does just that, see Amulet of Mighty Fists

Admittedly, the item is crappy because it costs a lot more then enchanting a weapon for no good reason, but thats easy to fix (make cost the same as weapon enchantments)


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
What do you see that role being, Jason, if I might ask?

Telling me that this is just a band aid, without any playtesting, because they do not get a full BAB, is not very helpful to my development.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Its still the exact same class basically with the same problems. You don't need to playtest it to see that. It still has all the same problems the 3.5 version had.


BM wrote:

There already is a magic item that does just that, see Amulet of Mighty Fists

Admittedly, the item is crappy because it costs a lot more then enchanting a weapon for no good reason, but thats easy to fix (make cost the same as weapon enchantments)

Huh. You can see how many monks I've played. But I am 100% with the increased cost. The single amulet can boost two weapons on most PCs (two-weapon fighting while unarmed), and like ten on a giant squid or dragon.

I would like to see it rewritten to allow for other boosts - holy fists, anyone?

Sovereign Court

Kaisoku wrote:

@Jack of Shadows

You may want to reread pages 2 and 3 of the PDF: History and Design Goals.

Keep in mind that if you tear down the Monk's BAB and Flurry, it alters the role of the Monk, negates the need for some other things the Monk would normally use, and would probably require taking from someplace else to accommodate this large power increase (we aren't talking about +1 hp/level here).

Changing the Monk's role would break the point of using THIS Monk for the roles it was used, and had PrCs and Feats from splatbooks created for. This is one of those "steps too far" that 'Improve the Game' doesn't cut it for changing.

Might I suggest making a PrC, or giving the Fighter a feat chain specifically for an unarmed/unarmored Martial Artist, as opposed to this mystical mage killer.

Almost missed this post but I wanted to reply.

Thanks Kaisoku,

I hadn't actually considered all the previous PrC's and the cascade effect the change would engender. However, I think that of all the base classes the Monk is so inherently flawed something drastic IS called for. It doesn't have a "role" so you're not really changing something. I don't think the complexity of Mr. Bulmahn's revisions are warranted if the only issue is legacy problems. I think players (aka customers) would rather have a core class they can play than one that works well with old PrC's they wouldn't use anyway. If people aren't playing Monks, PrC's for Monks don't make much sense.

JoS

Dark Archive

After spending a few mins doing research on it, I think I see where the problem with the monk lies. A quick search for CR 20 monsters show that the lowest AC of any CR 20 monster is 35, which means for a level 20 monk, before any modifiers, needs a 20 to hit. Due to the demands of MAD, monks tend not to max out their str requiring them to balance their stats out. Assuming a +5 on the to hit, they still need a 15 or higher, meaning that they are not even assured a single hit using flurry of blows.

Where this gets interesting is when you add a enchantment bonus to their attacks. If you a +5 enchantment bonus to their attacks, the number need to hit drops down to 10, which makes flurry of blows a much better option.

Amulet of Mighty Fists tries to do that, but at a +5 enchantment bonus, it costs 150,000 gp, 3 times more than a simple +5 weapon would cost, or 20% of a monks wealth by level 20. Thats simply a non-option for a PC, which is why it probably has been ignored.

If you want to being the monk in line with other characters, make a item called Monk Handwrappings that grant enchantment bonus to unarmed strikes, and costs the same as a enchanted weapon or make Amulet of Mighty Fists cost the same as enchanted weapons. Either works.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Hey there all,

So, I am thinking a lot about the monk as of late. The monk, as I stated before, fills a different role than a fighter. They hit more like a rogue, with a different sort of damage potential. For some reason, and I am wondering why, there seems to be an opinion that the monk does not work, but the rogue, who is based off the same progression, does. The monk has access to some of the same bonuses as a rogue (to hit at any rate), but the monk has quite a bit more defenses (good saves, some immunities, and, in the right build, a better AC).

So, to help me understand the arguments being thrown about here. I am wondering. Where is the flaw with the monk? And, as a secondary question, why are these not the same problems with the rogue?

I have seen a large number of monks played over the past few years, and every one of them has been pretty solid at their role in the party. They are great at harrassing spellcasters (clerics, bards, wizards, and sorcerers) and other, equally classed, combatants (rogues and other monks). They do not stand up as well in a straight up fight with fighters, barbarians, and paladins. But this limitation is more about their niche than their shortcomings.

Once again, I am trying not to come off antagonistic here, but I am not sure I undersand the beef. Help me see the point.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

(As an aside, antagonistic thread titles like this one kinda set me off... which might account for some of my earlier defensiveness. My apologies if things were taken that way.)


Class Review
Ok, my problem with the 3.P.0.3 Monk is that he's all defense and mobility. There is no credible offense barring some monk/fighter hybrid that only really kicks off at 20th level (which is way too late). And his low BAB means even with that kind of theoretical damage, he doesn't hit very often - and this is even worse at lower levels before he can get to the top of the Vital Strike tree. Finally, unlike other 'frontline' combatants, Monks want to have a high Wisdom, which generally means lower stats in strength, dexterity, and/or constitution. Thus not only do they suffer as a combatant from mid BAB, they also suffer from lower +to hit and damage from strength score - and we shouldn't be assuming Monks have great strength scores, because often they won't. Regardless, a straight monk needs to have a credible offense 1-20.

I wouldn't count on grappling given the current rules. CMB checks against 15+CMB are painfully hard, because your opponent is starting with a 5 point advantage before looking at CMB scores. A level 10 wizard with 8 str has a CMB of +4 base against the Monk's +12 (10 level + 2 str), giving the monk a mere 3 point advantage - which only succeeds 62% of the time. The Improved Grappling feat increases that to 70%, but the wizard may well be Polymorphed into something with a size and strength bonus, greatly reducing the Monk's chances. And that's before examining the wealth of splatbooks with spells that conceivably improve the wizard's chances. 70% at near ideal conditions is not a good combat strategy, because those odds drop precipitously as you go away from ideal. Also note that grappling doesn't prevent spellcasting effectively - by level 10 a wizard is automaking those spellcraft checks.

(The rogue solves the to hit problem in a number of ways. They can go potion thrower and thus are making ranged touch attacks, which are trivially easy to connect with. They can be flankers which gives a bonus and use weapon finesse to use Dex, which is their primary ability, to increase those to-hit numbers. For a Monk, Wisdom to hit isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world to acquire).

I can see two possible (and somewhat related) visions for Monk based on the 3.x design but in need of something awesome for offense.

(1) Mage killer
(2) Debuffer

Magekiller
The problem is, neither of these is actually supported well by the Monk's mechanics. He can *get* to the targets just fine, but his success in dealing with them is rather poor.

To be a Mage Killer you'll need to get to a mage, something the monk does well some times. He can dim door past magical barriers (of course, that ends his turn, so the mage can get away). He can jump high, but the Mage can fly higher. He has perception to try to find the Mage while he's invisible, but that takes a move action to pinpoint the Mage's location. He's got good saves, but that just means he's making those saves 70% of the time instead of 45% of the time. If he's going to be a magekiller he needs to deal with the types of things mages typically do, and do so before he inevitably fails a save that takes him out of the fight.

He also needs to hit said mage when he gets there. Contrary to popular belief, past low levels Wizard ACs are not that low. Not only is dexterity an important stat for a wizard (because it contributes to Reflex Saves and Initiative), but wizards have many spells which increase their AC, some of which last a long time (eg, Mage Armor). They also have spells like Stoneskin which can absorb a lot of damage for them. At which point, a Magekiller really needs a way to defeat the possibly infinite variety of magical spells defending a wizard, which means some kind of dispelling attack.

Basically, Magekiller means having the rock to wizards' scissors, and that's really hard when one class has 20+ selectable abilities each day, and the other has a smaller number of fixed abilities.

Monk's performed poorly at magekilling in 3.5, and I see nothing in this version that fixes that.

Debuffer
Basically, you make your opponent fight worse. Generally seen as an arcane role, a melee debuffer could work. However, to do that he needs attack options which hinder his opponents. The Monk class contains none itself, but there are a few (apparently Monk intended) feats we should look at before dismissing the current design.

The crowning feat, Medusa's Wrath, is beautiful as a follow-up for a debuffer, but doesn't actually do any debuffing itself. One of the few good combat feats (given something good to combo with), but its the damage end of the spectrum, and a follow-up move. This is for when the Mortal Kombat announcer yells 'Finish him!' (There's also an odd incentive here for the character to have a really high dexterity for winning initiative - use the surprise round to get next to the target and drop this on them before they act. Which means a *rogue* can benefit more from this feat than the monk can!)

Gorgon's Fist staggers a target, which can be a set-up for Medusa's Wrath. Here's the problem, its a standard action. Admittedly this means you can use it with a move, but you can't use it at the end of a charge. Staggered notably doesn't stop a wizard from casting, nor does it stop the target from simply moving away from you - either of which could prevent a Medusa's Wrath follow-up. For a level 6 ability, Gorgon's Fist is actually pretty weak against the kinds of backfield targets we want the Monk to be fighting - it's only effective against targets that want to full attack.

Scorpion Style limits movement speed, also useful, but its a full round action and only limits land speed. For a mobile archetype like the Monk this is unplayable, and its also useless when what you want to do is prevent your opponent from *flying* away.

Honestly, the Monk is sneaky and fast - anything he can't do after a partial charge means he can't use it in the surprise round, a time when the Monk should be able to do some real 'damage' (not necessarily hp). And it severely limits the benefits of his extreme mobility if when he gets there he can't drop a special attack.

The monk could also use more attack moves - the ones above are a rather limited set of options, and they're available to everyone. The fighter probably does some of them *better*, and a (mildly strange) rogue could love Medusa's Wrath.

Despite the relative lack of good debuffer attack options currently available, i think this is the way to take a Monk as it corresponds well with the source material.

Some thoughts on attack forms:
Class Abilities are probably superior to more feats for three reasons:
(1) It gives the Monk a unique offensive schtick that no one else is doing
(2) It doesn't overload the Monk's feat choices
(3) It can be tied into the Ki mechanics to make a more unified class

Monk special attacks should probably be attack actions or require one or more successful attacks to trigger. There are a number of conditions a monk could reasonably nail an opponent with, although a save may be reasonable (DC = 10 + character level + Wis mod).

Possible Effects (in alphabetical order):
Blinded
Confused
Dazed
Deafened
Exhausted
Fatigued
Nauseated
Sickened
Stunned

All of those are sensical things a monk could do with an appropriately formulated move.

Example ability:
9th Level - Screaming Serpent Strike (Ki Strike): If the monk connects with at least two unarmed strikes against one target he may spend 1 ki point as a swift action. That target must then make a Fortitude Save (DC = 10 + Monk's Character Level + Wis Mod) or be nauseated for a number of rounds equal to the Monk's wisdom modifier.

(In this design model, all Ki Strike abilities require a swift action to activate, and therefore a Monk may use no more than 1/round).

Adding Ki based abilities would probably require a larger Ki pool (in fact, the Ki pool seems a little low as is). 1/Monk Level + Wis Mod might be sufficient, but 1/Monk Level + NxWis Mod, where N is a small integer may also be reasonable.

Ki Strikes of increasing quality should probably be granted at around 4th, 9th, two in the 11th-15th level range, and probably one after that. A regular progression would be nice, but not strictly necessary and its not exactly a progression that can be continued indefinitely, so its best to think of these as each being one-off abilities. This also allows removal of the extremely silly Quivering Palm ability - if you're going to give a Monk an SoD, give him one that works with the Ki mechanic (or just don't give him one).

But a Monk already has a load of special abilities!
Yes, and most of those replace equipment. Ie, those are non-abilities because a character is expected to have them anyway. The monk just has artificial limitations which prevent him from getting them the normal way. Those abilities are for flavor (so he isn't running around in armor), they don't actually help him contribute to the party significantly. The Monk *needs* more abilities than other classes.

But your example ability is broken!
Tell that to the 5th level Wizard who's casting Stinking Cloud and doesn't even need to roll a to-hit and effects multiple targets.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There’s a lot of talk comparing monks unarmed attacks and flurry of blows with characters using (presumably magic) weapons, and the resulting disparity in attack bonus.

Monks can use weapons too. They can even use their flurry of blows when using monk weapons.

So then the problem might become damage – monks generally do more damage with their unarmed strike than with weapons. If this is seen as a problem (and I’m not sure it should be; playoff between doing a lot of damage unarmed or getting your magic weapon’s enhancement bonus and/or special properties) maybe their unarmed strike damage could become a bonus die (or fixed bonus) that adds to their damage roll when using an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon, much in the way a rogue’s sneak attack bonus dice are added to their damage rolls.

Balance issues may require that the damage dice are reduced in this case – maybe you start with +1d4 at first level and go from there.

Just some thoughts.


Notes on Specific Monk Abilities
Wholeness of Body - healing #=level hp is not a useful action. Its too little to use useful in combat, and outside of combat you'll get a divine caster (or a UMD user) to burn wand charges on you. Thus this is a non-ability. You could make it less insulting by reducing the ki cost to 1, but it still won't make it playable. (Combat healing less than a single average monster attack is pointless, for the obvious reasons).

Diamond Body - This ability is awesome for all the wrong reasons. It means the Monk can bathe in Black Lotus Poison and wrap cloth soaked in it around his hands so that he procs poison saves with every hit. Not exactly what I envision Monks doing. Can't really think of a fix though - if you want Monks to be immune to poison (and we do, really), the logical end result is Monks using poison.

Abundant Step - Dim Door is a useful ability, but with how few ki points a monk has 2 seems harsh. Wizards at level 12 are memorizing Dim Door as an afterthought, its not an especially exciting capability anymore. Either reduce it to 1 ki or change it so that the dim door doesn't end their turn (and they can thus attack after using the ability).

Diamond Soul - should be 11+Monk Level to correspond to other SR sources in the game and the monster SR rules (SR is 6, 11, or 16 + HD generally)

Quivering Palm - this ability is silly. Give them a real SoD, tie it into the Ki mechanics, or dump it.

Dark Archive

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

So, I am thinking a lot about the monk as of late. The monk, as I stated before, fills a different role than a fighter. They hit more like a rogue, with a different sort of damage potential. For some reason, and I am wondering why, there seems to be an opinion that the monk does not work, but the rogue, who is based off the same progression, does. The monk has access to some of the same bonuses as a rogue (to hit at any rate), but the monk has quite a bit more defenses (good saves, some immunities, and, in the right build, a better AC).

So, to help me understand the arguments being thrown about here. I am wondering. Where is the flaw with the monk? And, as a secondary question, why are these not the same problems with the rogue?

I have seen a large number of monks played over the past few years, and every one of them has been pretty solid at their role in the party. They are great at harrassing spellcasters (clerics, bards, wizards, and sorcerers) and other, equally classed, combatants (rogues and other monks). They do not stand up as well in a straight up fight with fighters, barbarians, and paladins. But this limitation is more about their niche than their shortcomings.

Once again, I am trying not to come off antagonistic here, but I am not sure I undersand the beef. Help me see the point.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

(As an aside, antagonistic thread titles like this one kinda set me off... which might account for some of my earlier defensiveness. My apologies if things were taken that way.)

Its simple really, around level 15 or so, a monk, before all the mods to hit, needs a 19 or 20 to hit. Given MAD, they can't boost their attack bonus stat as much as a fighter or a barbarian, or even a rogue who boosts his dex and then takes weapon finesse to get a good mod on his to hit. Futhermore, a monk can't enchant his unarmed strikes without spending a fortune, making them hit even less.

And before anyone says that a monk can take a weapon, lets be fair here, and admit for most people, the draw of the monk is wuxia kill crap with your fists. It be nice for the monk to be able to use one of his biggest defining features, unarmed strikes.

The easy way to fix the monk is give them a item that enchants their unarmed strikes that isn't going to cost them an arm and a leg. A simple +5 enchantment bonus on attacks moves the chances to hit from 25% or worse to about 50% chance of hitting. Thats alot though it may not seem like it.

To summarize the game assumes that you're going to have a enchantment bonus on attacks and adds them to the AC. Most people play monks with the idea of making unarmed attacks. Since there is no viable way of enchanting unarmed attacks, monks go without the enchantment bonus. Since they go without it, they don't fit into the game's mold and can't hit things as much as they should, making the have no practical offensive ability. Since they really can't hurt anything, and have good defense, the last longer, but die anyway. Thats where the problem is. Thats why the first post said give them full BAB. That +5 matters.

The solution is to give them a way to enchant their unarmed attacks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Help me see the point.

I've had no troubles with monks below 10th level or so, but at higher levels a monk really starts to run into trouble with having to choose which abilities to increase (str, dex, or wis being the big 3 for them) AND in the prohibitive cost of 'enchanted' fists.

For stats: If they choose to improve wisdom they can get AC and a better DC for stunning attack but lack a good attack bonus to hit things. If they choose dex they also get good AC and can compete with a rogue in attack bonus but their damage is poor. Finally, if they choose strength they can hit things and do ok damage, but their Armor Class suffers.

Then, when you stack the crazy cost of geting an Amulet of Mighty Fists they fall behind a few more notches (a +5 amulet of mighty fists is more costly than a standard weapon with a +8 equivalent enchantment).

Lower the cost of enchanting unarmed strikes will help, but giving monks some way to be more effective while moving and attacking and some sort of damage boost with monk weapons would really go a long ways.

For ideas on improving movement and attacking see this thread


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Pneumonica wrote:

Huh. You can see how many monks I've played. But I am 100% with the increased cost. The single amulet can boost two weapons on most PCs (two-weapon fighting while unarmed), and like ten on a giant squid or dragon.

I would like to see it rewritten to allow for other boosts - holy fists, anyone?

The amulet is ridiculously overpriced for monks. Its price really only make sense with non-humanoid characters with multiple natural weapons. With a monk, since the flurry could come from a single fist or foot (there's no specification it MUST be from multiple specific weapons or limbs), the extra expense is just a nasty penalty to bear.

That said, a monk could invest in a single monk weapon, enchant the heck out of it, and then use it for all his flurry attacks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wouldn't be against seeing a ki power added that allows the monk to make a touch attack roll. One of my favorite monk combos was the Empty hand strike from the dragon compendium combined with stunning fist to start off a flurry of blows volley. Touch attack usually hit, and if they failed the stunning save, the rest would have a much better chance of landing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:


So, I am thinking a lot about the monk as of late. The monk, as I stated before, fills a different role than a fighter. They hit more like a rogue, with a different sort of damage potential. For some reason, and I am wondering why, there seems to be an opinion that the monk does not work, but the rogue, who is based off the same progression, does. The monk has access to some of the same bonuses as a rogue (to hit at any rate), but the monk has quite a bit more defenses (good saves, some immunities, and, in the right build, a better AC).

It's true that the monk typically plays a different role, but let's not focus too much on roles inherent to the classes. That's 4e's bag. The character may be called upon to play a different role in a party, at least temporarily, in the course of a game.

Comparing the rogue and the monk, the rogue's attack bonus might be the same but, assuming he's playing well, he's doing a fistful of dice damage every time he hits to anything that can be sneak attacked. And he's not getting all that many fewer attacks than the monk. Plus, he's concentrated on maxing Dex because he knows he makes up for the lower strength by doing more damage with the sneak attack dice. So, he might have a higher net bonus, assuming weapon finesse.

The monk's damage is lower, with stats spread out a bit more and less concentrated. The monk's traditional place to shine is in tripping and grappling, but the higher DC makes those a bit more challenging, other factors being equal. While I think using the monk level instead of the monk's BAB when calculating CMB is a step in the right direction, I'm not really sure it helps the monk keep up enough.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

So,

I think we are starting to see what I felt has been the problem with the monk all along, the fact that they cannot really gain the same kind of bonuses to their unarmed strikes as others can with their weapons without paying a ridiculous cost.

I have been working on a way for them to do this, that is, apply weapon enhancements (such as +1 and flaming) to their fists at a reasonable price. The tripping point was not the idea, but the in game implementation. I thought of some sort of hand wrapping, rings, or maybe bracers, but these are really going off the beaten path, as they are not, in and of themselves, weapons.

I am hoping to get something like this into the Beta. Thoughts?

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

So,

I think we are starting to see what I felt has been the problem with the monk all along, the fact that they cannot really gain the same kind of bonuses to their unarmed strikes as others can with their weapons without paying a rediculous cost.

I have been working on a way for them to do this, that is, apply weapon enhancements (such as +1 and flaming) to their fists at a reasonable price. The tripping point was not the idea, but the in game implementation. I thought of some sort of hand wrapping, rings, or maybe bracers, but these are really going off the beaten path, as they are not, in and of themselves, weapons.

I am hoping to get something like this into the Beta. Thoughts?

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Its not a bad thing to do.

I'd still like to see some Ki based attacks that disable opponents in various ways as Monk class features. I think it would both add to the flavor and the viability of the Monk class - neither of which are a bad thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

So,

I think we are starting to see what I felt has been the problem with the monk all along, the fact that they cannot really gain the same kind of bonuses to their unarmed strikes as others can with their weapons without paying a ridiculous cost.

I have been working on a way for them to do this, that is, apply weapon enhancements (such as +1 and flaming) to their fists at a reasonable price. The tripping point was not the idea, but the in game implementation. I thought of some sort of hand wrapping, rings, or maybe bracers, but these are really going off the beaten path, as they are not, in and of themselves, weapons.

I am hoping to get something like this into the Beta. Thoughts?

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Something i have long wondered/considered, but not actually playtested:

What about allowing the monk to use his 'unarmed strike' damage when using 'special monk weapons'?

It would eliminate the amulet of mighty fists supercost requirement by allowing the monk access to the same priced melee combat boosters as all other classes, plus also get rid of the 'need' to do things like..multiclass to kensai so i can enchant my fist...etc. I think it would allow the monks to get more into the damage dealing level that rogues have because it would allow the stacking of holy, flaming, etc.

Just a thought

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