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Monks: A Treantmonk Guide (Optimization)


Advice

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Here's the link for Treantmonk's Guide to Monks

HAQ (Hypothetically asked questions)

Why are you forcing me to optimize?

I'm not, but if you choose to, then this guide can help you do it.

Why are you telling us that a "Treantmonked" monk is the only way to make a good Monk?

I'm not, and don't make me "Treantmonk" you.

I read your guide and Monks still suck. What do you think about that?

I disagree, but your entitled to your opinion. I certainly don't think Monks are all broken kinds of powerful, but I do think they can be offensively dangerous. My guides do not change the game mechanics, they only look at the game mechanics and make the best of what they are given.

At the end you give only generalities in regards to what a Monk should be capable of instead of giving actual build examples. Why?

Because apparently there is some confusion between "example" and "THIS IS THE ONLY BUILD MAKE YOUR CHARACTER COMPLETELY LIKE THIS OR YOU SUCK" so I've decided to only use examples where required.

If you need some help making your Monk so that it meets the promises in the end of the guide, reply on this thread and I'll help you out specifically.

Why can't you just enjoy roleplaying?

I love roleplaying, that's why I hang out here.

If you love roleplaying, then why do you optimize instead?

I love chocolate and I love my wife. I don't choose one or the other, instead I eat chocolate with my wife and I get the best of both worlds.

Optimization and roleplaying is not an either/or proposition.

Why must you be more powerful than everyone else? Doesn't that make the game less fun for them?

You are referring to "Powergaming", not "Optimizing" I don't want to lord over the rest of my group, however, I do want the character I play to be an effective member of a team.

What if I don't want a 7 Cha? Why do you force me to take a 7 Cha when it doesn't fit my character theme?

Read carefully: GUIDE to Monks. Last time I went to Vegas I used Frommer's Guide to Las Vegas, but I didn't read it like a Bible, I took the suggestions that appealed to me.

Please use my guides the same way.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

You're still rating non-options. :| That's noise that distracts from ratings of choices, which actually matter.

Improved Bull Rush is stone cold terrible. Trading your standard action for moving a dude 15' at best? No, no, no, no, and also no.

Abundant Step is less cool than it seems because it ends your turn.

Nimble Moves sucks because you can already ignore 5' of difficult terrain: by jumping over it.

More later when I have time. (Also I read your guide and monks still suck. ¬_¬)


A Man In Black wrote:
You're still rating non-options. :| That's noise that distracts from ratings of choices, which actually matter.

I'm aware you don't like it. You've raised the point before. However, I do like it.

Feel free to download the guide, then remove the colours for your own personal use if you like.

Quote:
Improved Bull Rush is stone cold terrible. Trading your standard action for moving a dude 15' at best? No, no, no, no, and also no.

I don't want to push anyone with Improved Bull Rush, I want to bull rush them with Greater Improved Bull Rush. Improved Bull Rush is taken to qualify for greater improved bull rush.

Also, I don't necessarily even want to push them 15', quite often I'll be hoping to push them 5', it really depends on the position of your allies. I want to push them in that direction - but if possible, when 5' accomplishes that - it's the optimal distance to push them.

Quote:
Abundant Step is less cool than it seems because it ends your turn.

Not really, Dimension Door always ends your turn. However, Monk's get to do a standard action beforehand, which is cool.

Quote:
Nimble Moves sucks because you can already ignore 5' of difficult terrain: by jumping over it.

Can you jump as part of a 5' step? I didn't think you could.

I did mention specifically that's why you would take the feat.

Quote:
Also I read your guide and monks still suck

You think Monks suck? Since when???


boy, that chocolate analogy is kinda racy O.o

thanks again treantmonk for turning your optics to the monk :D

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Treantmonk wrote:
I don't want to push anyone with Improved Bull Rush, I want to bull rush them with Greater Improved Bull Rush. Improved Bull Rush is taken to qualify for greater improved bull rush.

It takes a standard action to bull rush someone. And it auto-fails on huge or larger foes. It's really quite amazingly terrible. Now, if it were an attack-replacement maneuver, GBR would have a role, but it's not.

Quote:
Can you jump as part of a 5' step? I didn't think you could.

Jumping is made as part of another action, with no specification that it must be a move action. As a 5' step is an action (specifically, a free action), there's no reason you can't jump as part of a 5' step. It won't be a running start, but hell, you're a monk.

Quote:
You think Monks suck? Since when???

inorite?


Just a quick note, according to the stunning fist feat, a monk can use stunning fist a number of times equal to his monk level. NON-monks use the gimped 1/day + 1 per 4 levels.

edit- also spending a Ki point for extra attacks, speed, or AC is a swift action so you can only do one at a time.


Interesting guide. Under the Ki pool info, what would be the color coding of the "Increase speed by 20 for one round" ability? From the text I am guessing orange.


A Man In Black wrote:
Treantmonk wrote:
Can you jump as part of a 5' step? I didn't think you could.

Jumping is made as part of another action, with no specification that it must be a move action. As a 5' step is an action (specifically, a free action), there's no reason you can't jump as part of a 5' step. It won't be a running start, but hell, you're a monk.

oh common, man. That is an obvious exploit. Even if its not spelled out in the RAW, no DM would let that fly. If that were true monks would be stupid to not be jumping for their movement at all times. Their horizontal jumping distance often match's most people's speeds.


one note on Defensive Combat Training: While a Monks CMD does not use his monk level, the monk AC bonus you get every 4 levels counts for your CMD, effectively giving your monk a full BAB for CMD. Defensive Combat Training would just boost this higher by 5 points at level 20.


Thanks for this guide!

I would like to suggest Martial Weapon Proficiency feat applied to something like a glaive, or Simple Weapon Proficiency then grabbing a cold iron longspear. You get Flurry attacks as normal, and threaten everything out to 10' for AoO's (1d10+STR*1.5). You can get it at level 1, and 1d10 is nice then. Cold iron, silver, ghosttouch, etc. can be had for less then amulet o' mighty fists. Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm or Trip, and a Ranseur, or Guisarme would also work very well. Being Enlarged doubles you reach and makes you the AoO Master of Flowers!

Thanks again.


Nice work. I really enjoyed your other guides and this one is done just as well as those. Thanks for the effort. Double thanks for being funny.


Fergie wrote:

Thanks for this guide!

I would like to suggest Martial Weapon Proficiency feat applied to something like a glaive, or Simple Weapon Proficiency then grabbing a cold iron longspear. You get Flurry attacks as normal, and threaten everything out to 10' for AoO's (1d10+STR*1.5). You can get it at level 1, and 1d10 is nice then. Cold iron, silver, ghosttouch, etc. can be had for less then amulet o' mighty fists. Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm or Trip, and a Ranseur, or Guisarme would also work very well. Being Enlarged doubles you reach and makes you the AoO Master of Flowers!

Thanks again.

Interesting thought, and technically viable since you can kick them for your flurry.

Also would be worth noting that you'd threaten 5'-10' with the reach weapon, and 0'-5' with your unarmed strikes, giving you the advantages of being armed with a spiked chain.


Will it push it form green to blue?
I might be misreading your take on Stunning Fist, but according to SRD:

"A monk may attempt a stunning attack a number of times per day equal to his monk level."

Also, Weapon Focus Unarmed, only orange? You are talking about ALWAYS using it (except for DR)which means it will come into play many times over the levels.

Cheliax

While a good guide, I'm still going to go with even a Treatmonked Monk falls short of a non-treatmonked Paladin or Druid in every sense (I left fighter off the list because +7 above to Will saves is certainly an argueable "huge bonus" between those two). The guide doesn't really do anything to make them interesting or playable; after seeing it they present the same problems expected; lower overall damage output even with the 18 strength, no area of specialty (well, a semi-specialty in grapple), and poor AC. I did like the Shiruken section, that is a good way to keep them diverse at least.


So just looking at the general problems with monk unarmed damage wouldnt picking up simple weapon proficency (gauntlet) solve most of those issues as you can both enchant them and make them out of different matterials while they still count as unarmed attacks so they get all of the monks unarmed damage increases.


very nice guide.

a) I've fallen in love with the idea of duelist as a viable monk prestige class choice.
1. You can be armed with a siangham and get that great duelist precise strike damage and not have to worry about bypassing DR or paying for an amulet of mighty fists. At 20th level, the straight monk deals 2d10 with a single fist (11 avg), while the monk/duelist deals 1d6+10 (13.5), but only to non-oozes and the like.
2. The duelist/monk can flurry with a single siangham, thus adding Two-Weapon Fighting to the 'single weapon, empty other hand' fighter class.
Anyway, I think this is more than viable.

b) Spring Attack is a little better than Red, I think, not because you're allowed to move away afterward (it's not required), but because you can't suffer an AoO from approaching a big monster. So what if some dragon's CMD is in the 50s? With Spring Attack, you can just waltz right up to it and smack it on the snoot.

c) The sling, even though its pretty crappy, still has the shuriken beat on range. If you really need that range, sling is the way to go.

d) one of the feats that I didn't see you rate is Vital Strike. Another is Stand Still. There are also a large number of really nasty monk or monk-viable combat feats in Cheliax Companion that might get looked at, but I know that's non-core.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Anburaid wrote:
oh common, man. That is an obvious exploit. Even if its not spelled out in the RAW, no DM would let that fly. If that were true monks would be stupid to not be jumping for their movement at all times. Their horizontal jumping distance often match's most people's speeds.

Man, I know, it's going to make monks totally overpowered!

:|

If the jumping rules are not useful for jumping over things, what are they useful for?

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

This guide does a good job of accomplishing its goal: explaining how to play a monk if so inclined.

I think one of the things it does is focus on how to limit the suckiness of one's monk, notably: get a good strength, acquire specific bits of equipment and angle for party members to help out a bit.

That said, I still don't think the monk haters

I think the fighter comparison is pretty apt:

The monk is essentially a TWF fighter with a smaller feat list and a some margin side abilities and without armor or weapon training. I would still take the fighter, I would prefer a good AC over a good Touch AC any day. TWF makes your weapons expensive, but still less than the amulet of mighty fists. The downside...you are slower, don't get the stun mechanic, and your will save sucks.

But a fighter/rogue multilclass would be a more apt comparison:

You would have pretty similar attack bonus (weapon training in lieu of the monks bonus to FoB attacks). You would probably have similar ACs (TWF with a shield is a great option and you have feats for it and your base damage matters very little in comparison to your sneak attack). You still get evasion and probably pretty close reflex saves (maybe 2 less at high level). The upside...better AC, way more damage, and probably equally helpful or better class features.

If I were to add anything it might be how to dip the monk class. Monk levels can be a decent dip for a couple classes (maybe cleric and maybe druid...I haven't given it much thought, evasion could be nice, Combat Reflexes and Improved Trip seem good if you can get big and get strong...easier access to Greater Grapple, just pondering...probably not worth it for the cleric).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

John Spalding wrote:
If I were to add anything it might be how to dip the monk class. Monk levels can be a decent dip for a couple classes (maybe cleric and maybe druid...I haven't given it much thought, evasion could be nice, Combat Reflexes and Improved Trip seem good if you can get big and get strong...easier access to Greater Grapple, just pondering...probably not worth it for the cleric).

It's not worth two caster levels. Martial dips are for martial classes.

Cheliax

I have thought of the druid/monk (drunk). While transofrmation and natural attacks can't use flurry, it can use the wis bonus to AC. You also get 2 handy feats that work well in animal form, especially when you get combos like improved grapple with grab. It's certainly the best dip setup; most other classes losing your armor slot isn't really worth what the monk gives you for a dip. And even the Druid slowing your options and high level spells is annoying. But, how else can you be Kung Fu Panda?

Shadow Lodge

Dipping into the monk class might be ok for a 'spirit of the beast' build. Especially at higher levels when you can be wild shaped all day and armor doesn't work. In that case the monks bonuses to ac could come in handy. The feats are useful while wild shaped as well. And yes, I realize you give up the all important caster levels, except for that build, caster levels aren't the end-all-be-all of the class.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Dax Thura wrote:
Dipping into the monk class might be ok for a 'spirit of the beast' build. Especially at higher levels when you can be wild shaped all day and armor doesn't work. In that case the monks bonuses to ac could come in handy. The feats are useful while wild shaped as well. And yes, I realize you give up the all important caster levels, except for that build, caster levels aren't the end-all-be-all of the class.

But Wild Shape progression is. You're nerfing your wild shape, your GMW and Barkskin, all for a benefit that goes away when you can afford wild armor.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

A Man In Black wrote:


But Wild Shape progression is. You're nerfing your wild shape, your GMW and Barkskin, all for a benefit that goes away when you can afford wild armor.

After 12th level, other than uses per day, how does wildshape scale with level? Perhaps I missed a reference to something like the old HD rule somewhere, but I didn't see it.

I'm not saying it would be my first choice, but if my wisdom was really high (or if I played in a low magic campaign) the AC bonus might be better. Plus 2 levels of monk gives:

Improved Unarmed Strike
2 Bonus Feats
Stunning Fist
Evasion
+3 to saves

That opens up the possibility of Greater Grapple and with it the pinning and spellcasting at the same time option.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

John Spalding wrote:
After 12th level, other than uses per day, how does wildshape scale with level? Perhaps I missed a reference to something like the old HD rule somewhere, but I didn't see it.

Who said anything about 12th level? The wild shape that matters is dire tiger form, at level 6. If you go monk2/druid6, then you get dire tiger form one level before you can afford wild armor. And yes, I realize there are low-wealth games, but your AC is basically screwed anyway in a low-wealth game due to a lack of dex boosters, rings of protection, etc. Adding +5 (at best!) to bad AC isn't worth drastically reducing your ability to make things die.

Quote:

Improved Unarmed Strike

2 Bonus Feats
Stunning Fist
Evasion
+3 to saves

That opens up the possibility of Greater Grapple and with it the pinning and spellcasting at the same time option.

Most of these things are of marginal utility (+3 to saves for a good fort, good will class that uses con and wis?) or near-useless (Stunning Fist doesn't work with natural attacks, alas, and most of the bonus feats are pretty mediocre). Contrast them with a full extra level of spellcasting and earlier access to dire tiger form and there's really no contest.

If you really want Greater Grapple, you can totally just take that by level 9 (while still getting Natural Spell, of course), giving you Greater Grapple/dire tiger form at exactly the same time as a monk multiclass.


A Man In Black wrote:
Anburaid wrote:
oh common, man. That is an obvious exploit. Even if its not spelled out in the RAW, no DM would let that fly. If that were true monks would be stupid to not be jumping for their movement at all times. Their horizontal jumping distance often match's most people's speeds.

Man, I know, it's going to make monks totally overpowered!

:|

If the jumping rules are not useful for jumping over things, what are they useful for?

For actually Jumping over things. You know, like chasms or onto the deck of a departing airship. The skill has a narrative use. People really don't jump across five feet briar patchs in combat in real life, with the possible acception of while running hell for leather towards or away from the enemy.

What your proposing is frankly silly, and it the worst kind of munchkinery.

'The rules don't say i can't so i must be aloud to, doesn't matter that it damages the varsity of the game or that my character probably wouldn't do it, it gives me the player a tactical advantage so that is all the justification i need.'

Seriously while i am not keen on treeantmonks guides, his approach to optimisation is atleast healthy.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Zombieneighbours wrote:
For actually Jumping over things. You know, like chasms or onto the deck of a departing airship. The skill has a narrative use. People really don't jump across five feet briar patchs in combat in real life, with the possible acception of while running hell for leather towards or away from the enemy.

Man, people around here really hate it when non-spellcasting classes get nice things. :| Real life isn't terribly applicable, because people in real life can't effortlessly make 10-foot standing jumps. But when it is an obstacle you can easily clear, even in real life, it barely slows you down. You don't hesitate to jump a concrete median barrier if it's in your way, do you? Or jump over low brush? Or something laying on the sidewalk? Monks get few enough nice things as it is, and being able to make really sweet jumps is one of them.

As for the RAW argument, the rules actually specifically say that you're allowed to. You make a jump as part of an action that involves movement, and a 5' step is an action that involves movement. At level 3, you should trivially clear a 5' step as long as the obstruction is a foot tall or less, since you'll have at least a +10 in Acrobatics (+4 speed, +3 trained, +3 ranks). This is, of course, assuming you're not a gnome, halfling, or dwarf, as they will need to wait another couple of levels. At level 7, you're clearing three-foot-tall obstructions with standing jumps, never failing. (+24 mod total, +8 speed, +7 ranks, +3 trained, +7 bein' a monk). At level 9, you're clearing four-foot-tall obstructions (+33 mod, +12 speed, +9 ranks, +3 trained, +9 bein' a monk). By the time you can clear higher you're probably flying all the time. -edit- Disregard some of this math, I forgot monks always count as having a running start at level 5.

Monks are depicted jumpkicking enemies in every third image. They get a class ability which does nothing but increase their jump checks. They're based on source material where people make absolutely superhuman leaps. It's about the one thing that monks can do better than any other class. What's the problem with them jumping around a lot?


As to the "jump as 5' step" thing. Jumping isn't a monk only thing. He gets bonuses, but there's nothing stopping a wizard from getting a decent jump check.

More to the point, what you're describing is "obstacles" as opposed to "difficult terrain". If you want to jump onto a ledge, by my guest. Otherwise, we're talking about narrow ledges, slippery floors and other similar hazards. This means that even Monks can benefit from Nimble Moves.

Also, trying to replace a basic game mechanic with something that every class can easily do reeks of munchkinism. After all, what IS the DC for a 5' horizontal jump over an icy floor? It ain't much.


Treantmonk, I enjoy your guides. I also agree that color coding the even the basic abilities makes the guide look better.

Your monk guide has some errors, many of which have already pointed out.

Stunning Fist for monks is 1/level, not 1/4 levels.

Ki Pool use is a swift action, so only 1 ability per use.

Great Fortitude. You mention that Fort is the only save that doesn't get special goodies like +2 vs. enchantment. Not entirely true. Monks are immune to disease and poison, both of which normally key off of fort.

Ring of Force Shield. You say it's not great because it takes up a free hand. Monk's flurries don't care if you're carrying TWO shields; you can still make a full unarmed flurry (with feet, head, etc). For that matter, a mithral small shield or buckler might be worth including on the item list.

Also, a quick list of possible multi-class choices and PrCs would be nice. I'd like to see your opinion of Monk/Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

LordGriffin wrote:
As to the "jump as 5' step" thing. Jumping isn't a monk only thing. He gets bonuses, but there's nothing stopping a wizard from getting a decent jump check.

Is a wizard safely jumping over a knee-high obstacle at level 13-15 a big problem for you? The standing jump DCs for high jumps are quite surprisingly high, especially if you want to make the jump routinely and safely.

Quote:

More to the point, what you're describing is "obstacles" as opposed to "difficult terrain". If you want to jump onto a ledge, by my guest. Otherwise, we're talking about narrow ledges, slippery floors and other similar hazards. This means that even Monks can benefit from Nimble Moves.

Also, trying to replace a basic game mechanic with something that every class can easily do reeks of munchkinism. After all, what IS the DC for a 5' horizontal jump over an icy floor? It ain't much.

As it happens, there are even stated modifiers for jumping onto narrow ledges, slippery floors, and other similar hazards. The DC for jumping as a 5' step onto ice would be DC 20. 5 for the distance, 5 for the slippery ice, doubled for the standing jump.

Why does it "reek of munchkinism" to do exactly what the jump rules say they allow you to do?


I'll admit that the rules definitely seem to support this. I'm not sure if the designers would want the monk bypassing difficult terrain penalties to 5' steps without the feat, but I'm wiling to downgrade the idea from "munchkiny" and past "cheesy" to "it just doesn't feel right". Also the DC for 4+ level monk to make that 5' jump over icy terrain is only 10. 20 would be if the wizard tried it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great guide once again Mr. Treeminky !

Some minor errors but who's counting.

Please keep the colour guides, we like!

Personally, I'm not playing a Minky, ever, but this guide certainly shows the Minky in a better light than others have done. The key is to optimize your few good points to make him decent.

I think the main problem with Minkies is that only a few incorrect choices can make him utterly rubbish and there are many, many possible bad options.

[edit] On the jump thing, as a DM I would not allow any 5ft step-jumping, I do not think it is as intended.


Eh... Monks are Monks. They suffer like the Fighter suffers, what can you do (short of a rewrite).

I'm at work, so I can't really get into too much details, but at first glance it's looks about right.

.

Regarding 5' steps as jumps.

RAW? It's allowed. There's no point arguing that, since it's pretty clear cut.

Realistic? Sure. I've personally jumped over obstacles and across "difficult terrain" that was around 5' as a single hop. And I'm an overweight, out of shape gamer.
Look at little kids hopping across puddles of water... now just expand that out to a combat-oriented character that has spent the equivalent of a University Master's degree on Acrobatics training (making a DC 20 check trivial takes more than the average person, aka 1st lvl commoner, can do).

Flavour? Really, Monks leaping across the battlefield sounds "odd"? Honestly, I'm just happy this has been brought to my attention, so that we can now default any of our Monk characters' movements to be leaping any distance that meets his minimal check.
Martial Arts + Leaping around combat = Perfect Monk representation!


I agree. It appears to be RAW. It seems realistic enough. It's almost definitely fits for flavor.

The last, key question is, do you think this unnecessarily bends the intentions of the mechanics? Or maybe this is exactly what they had in mind?

Personally, I don't like allowing lower tier features to duplicate higher tier features. In this case, a skill check being better than a feat. I ALSO don't like rings of evasion for the same reason, so maybe I'm just a dreamer.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

LordGriffin wrote:
Personally, I don't like allowing lower tier features to duplicate higher tier features. In this case, a skill check being better than a feat. I ALSO don't like rings of evasion for the same reason, so maybe I'm just a dreamer.

Nimble Steps is a weak feat in general and is still better than jump checks for pretty much any other class. It's also still (very situationally) useful to monks for non-jumpable difficult terrain, such as things hanging from the ceiling, tangled vines, certain magical effects, etc.


Yeah, there's still a reason to take the feat. Not everyone wants to dump a bunch of skillpoints into Acrobatics to be able to do this. Everyone but Monks will suffer the double DC issue, and as such won't make most tough situations trivial until the mid-teens, which is a huge investment for such a late gained benefit.

That wizard with 15 ranks in Acrobatics and a decent Dex score will absolutely have access to (and used to using) Overland Flight long before then. He'd probably rather spend the skill ranks in something more arcane-related.. or maybe the Fly skill, heh.

The reasons for the Monk specifically to take the Nimble Moves feat is fairly small.


stuart haffenden wrote:
Surely jumping in difficult terrain would be, well, more difficult. Unsure footing, uneven surfaces and the like would make it a higher DC at least.

Man in Black already covered this by referencing the rules which, in turn, cover this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LordGriffin wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
Surely jumping in difficult terrain would be, well, more difficult. Unsure footing, uneven surfaces and the like would make it a higher DC at least.
Man in Black already covered this by referencing the rules which, in turn, cover this.

Ninja-ed. I just realized that and deleted my post...obviously not quickly enough!


And don't forget a Ring of Counterspell with a Dispel Magic in it just in case some nasty Wizard tries to Dispel your Greater Magic Fang.


Lots of stuff here! I'll deal with the generalities and cherry-pick quotes rather than respond to everyone individually:

If you did not get a response to a question or point you wanted a response to, reply again and I'll make sure to deal with your question or point individually.

Quote:
Jumping is made as part of another action, with no specification that it must be a move action.

However, the rules for 5-step specifically indicate that no other kind of movement can be involved. Is jumping excluded?

Quote:
It takes a standard action to bull rush someone. And it auto-fails on huge or larger foes. It's really quite amazingly terrible. Now, if it were an attack-replacement maneuver, GBR would have a role, but it's not.

You will never, ever use it in place of a full attack - the guide is quite clear on that. You use it when a full attack is not an option (like when you move and have a standard action to attack)

Monks should Flurry whenever possible, but when not possible, using a Combat Maneuver is going to be better than doing a single 3/4 BAB attack.

Quote:
Just a quick note, according to the stunning fist feat, a monk can use stunning fist a number of times equal to his monk level. NON-monks use the gimped 1/day + 1 per 4 levels.

I'll get that fixed up.

Quote:
also spending a Ki point for extra attacks, speed, or AC is a swift action so you can only do one at a time.

That too.

Quote:
Interesting guide. Under the Ki pool info, what would be the color coding of the "Increase speed by 20 for one round" ability? From the text I am guessing orange.

Absolutely. Orange is my "It's OK, but circumstantial" colour.

Quote:
one note on Defensive Combat Training: While a Monks CMD does not use his monk level, the monk AC bonus you get every 4 levels counts for your CMD, effectively giving your monk a full BAB for CMD. Defensive Combat Training would just boost this higher by 5 points at level 20.

It "effectively" gives you full BAB, but in actuality it does not, so you can still take the feat and benefit, becoming (as I say in the guide) "this feat applied to your CMD makes you truly a difficult target"

Quote:
I would like to suggest Martial Weapon Proficiency feat applied to something like a glaive, or Simple Weapon Proficiency then grabbing a cold iron longspear.

This hadn't occurred to me, and is a very interesting suggestion.

One problem I would have with it is that although your reach would be 10' with the weapon, you would be working off a 3/4 BAB with that weapon.

My second issue with it is that your hands would be busy holding said weapon, so would not be available for deflect arrows, throwing shuriken, or using flurry-friendly weapons.

However, I still think this is a decent suggestion - are any reach weapons trip-friendly?

Quote:
Weapon Focus Unarmed, only orange? You are talking about ALWAYS using it (except for DR)which means it will come into play many times over the levels.

I absolutely do not talk about "always" using any particular form of attack - if it came off that way, my apologies.

At several points in progression, a flurry-friendly weapon will be your superior attack form. Weapon Focus (unarmed) might even the score at some points, but why spend a feat to even the score when you have either option?

Quote:
So just looking at the general problems with monk unarmed damage wouldnt picking up simple weapon proficency (gauntlet) solve most of those issues as you can both enchant them and make them out of different matterials while they still count as unarmed attacks so they get all of the monks unarmed damage increases.

That would be huge - I was however under the impression that guantlets were considered part of armor, and therefore a no-go with Monks.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

Quote:
At 20th level, the straight monk deals 2d10 with a single fist (11 avg), while the monk/duelist deals 1d6+10 (13.5), but only to non-oozes and the like.

That doesn't really blow me away I must say. Especially when you are giving up attacks per round, stunning fist uses and DC, AC, Ki, etc.

However, the big pain is loosing Flurry of Blows - since the Duelist cannot attack with their other hand in order to use Precise Strike.

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Spring Attack is a little better than Red, I think, not because you're allowed to move away afterward (it's not required), but because you can't suffer an AoO from approaching a big monster.

The Acrobatics skill allows you to do that as well...no feat required.

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c) The sling, even though its pretty crappy, still has the shuriken beat on range. If you really need that range, sling is the way to go.

The sling is horrid. If you have nothing else you can do, then go ahead use a sling. However, hopefully there is something else you can do (like close or something) because the sling results are going to be horribly dissapointing. Even with Deadly Aim.

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d) one of the feats that I didn't see you rate is Vital Strike. Another is Stand Still.

Red and Red.

Don't get me wrong - I actually like vital strike - but not for Monks. Vital Strike is good for classes that have one really big hit, not a bunch of smaller hits.

The problem with Stand Still is it requires someone to provoke an attack of opportunity from moving through your threatened squares, AND they must be adjacent to you (so no enlarge reach or reach weapons). This just doesn't come up enough to make the feat worthwhile.

But a fighter/rogue multilclass would be a more apt comparison:

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You would have pretty similar attack bonus (weapon training in lieu of the monks bonus to FoB attacks). You would probably have similar ACs (TWF with a shield is a great option and you have feats for it and your base damage matters very little in comparison to your sneak attack). You still get evasion and probably pretty close reflex saves (maybe 2 less at high level). The upside...better AC, way more damage, and probably equally helpful or better class features.

The downside, Flurry of blows is better than TWF.

Ki + Flurry of blows is more so.

Stunning fist + Ki + Flurry of blows even more.

Stunning fist + Ki + Flurry of blows + Medusa's Strike even more.

There's other stuff like Will saves and such - but offensively, I dispute that the TWF fighter/rogue has a better offensive punch.

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Monk levels can be a decent dip for a couple classes (maybe cleric and maybe druid

I attempted a Monk dip when working on builds for my Spirit of the Beast Druid style - and found it lacking.

I don't think Monk is a particularly good dip class or a very good multiclass either.

I'm not sure Monk benefits much from multiclassing either.

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Great Fortitude. You mention that Fort is the only save that doesn't get special goodies like +2 vs. enchantment. Not entirely true. Monks are immune to disease and poison, both of which normally key off of fort.

True...I was thinking more of spellcasting defense...

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Ring of Force Shield. You say it's not great because it takes up a free hand. Monk's flurries don't care if you're carrying TWO shields; you can still make a full unarmed flurry (with feet, head, etc). For that matter, a mithral small shield or buckler might be worth including on the item list.

Good point about the force shield.

using a small shield or buckler specifically causes the Monk to lose his flurry, AC bonus, and fast movement. So - no, I would't suggest them.

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I'd like to see your opinion of Monk/Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple.

I would wager you wouldn't like to see my opinion on that.

However, I'll give an opinion, and an evaluation to support that opinion if you like.

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I think the main problem with Minkies is that only a few incorrect choices can make him utterly rubbish and there are many, many possible bad options.

Agreed.


Treantmonk wrote:

That would be huge - I was however under the impression that guantlets were considered part of armor, and therefore a no-go with Monks.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

In the real world, yes, gauntlets are armor. D&D? They're clearly a "weapon" and an "unarmed" one at that. I think it's a little sketchy as to whether monks can (or should) use this option, but they're decidedly NOT armor.

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using a small shield or buckler specifically causes the Monk to lose his flurry, AC bonus, and fast movement. So - no, I would't suggest them.

Are you sure? FoB never mentions "shields". Keep in mind that although shields are SOLD with the armor, they're never treated mechanically as BEING armor. They give a "shield" bonus, require their own feats and follow their own rules. I could see arguments for how using them with a monk would be cheesy, but the RAW seems to support it. Am I missing something?

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I would wager you wouldn't like to see my opinion on that.

However, I'll give an opinion, and an evaluation to support that opinion if you like.

Wrong again. I've read all of your guides and many of your posts and have learned to value your opinion. Thrash the build or love it, if you're willing to offer your insights, I'm curious to see them.

Cheliax

Lord Griffin > When looking to see if monks had ANY potential I considered the shield, but sadly straight from the book:

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When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a monk loses his AC bonus, as well as his fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.

Bad times.

As to the drunk (Monk/Druid) you could dip in a level at 9; certainly +5 AC while transformed, a free feat, and +2 on all saves can be worth a LOT to someone, even putting off a few of the transformations. At level 13 the Spirit of the Beast becomes even more attractive; again you are discounting putting off spell progression, which is painful, especially at high levels.


LordGriffin wrote:
I think it's a little sketchy as to whether monks can (or should) use this option, but they're decidedly NOT armor.

From an optimization standpoint, the question is only whether they CAN.

Because if they can, then they definitely SHOULD.

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Are you sure? FoB never mentions "shields".<snip>Am I missing something?

100% I think you are missing where to look.

Look under the "Armor and Shield proficiency" section under the Monk class. Shields are mentioned specifically as a big no-no.

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Wrong again. I've read all of your guides and many of your posts and have learned to value your opinion. Thrash the build or love it, if you're willing to offer your insights, I'm curious to see them.

My original post was eaten - but a quick rundown:

It's a bad option. A Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple and a Monk are a bad mix.

1) CHA is the only dump stats for Monks. If I was asked to pick the worst multiclass options for Monks, my mind would immediately go to, "What classes rely on CHA?"

2) Claws and Bite don't work with flurry of blows

3) You replace AC increases with Natural Armor increases that aren't as good (since they don't work against touch attacks)

4) Your Combat Manuevers will suffer. +4 Str will not make up for the loss in BAB.

5) your "to hit" will suffer - same reason as #4

6) You give up the extra attacks per round of an advancing flurry of blows provides.

7) You give up the bonus feats

8) Spellcasting is always nice, but it will be a pretty minor ability because your caster progression will be so stunted.

There's more, but that's the big stuff.


Thalin wrote:
As to the drunk (Monk/Druid) you could dip in a level at 9; certainly +5 AC while transformed, a free feat, and +2 on all saves can be worth a LOT to someone, even putting off a few of the transformations. At level 13 the Spirit of the Beast becomes even more attractive; again you are discounting putting off spell progression, which is painful, especially at high levels.

The advantages of the multiclass are pretty obvious. Some of the disadvantages may not be so.

A one level dip (which is really all you would ever do) is reducing your "To Hit" by one. This may not be a big deal, but Spirit of the Beast struggles with "To Hit", so any penalty is painful.

The spellcasting progression is a big one, this isn't just hurting your progression, but also your caster level. Falling behind a level in spellcasting hurts Spirit of the Beast too - especially at high levels as you mention.

Cheliax

True on everything except stunning fist; which is actually based on character level, not monk. You can actually eventually take it even as a fighter if you want to; albeit you only get it once/day every 4 levels instead of every level. But the DC still goes up based on all levels.


Thalin wrote:
True on everything except stunning fist; which is actually based on character level, not monk. You can actually eventually take it even as a fighter if you want to; albeit you only get it once/day every 4 levels instead of every level. But the DC still goes up based on all levels.

Yep - my mistake. Removed the point.


The five foot step thing is kind of a moot point:

Pathfinder Core Rules wrote:


No jump can allow you to exceed your maximum movement for the round.

If you are eligible to take a five foot step, you don't have any moment left for the round. I guess you could make a jump check to very stylishly adjust you position by five feet.


Oops, you are correct. I was looking in the wrong place for the shield info.

As far as Dragon Disciple, I was also thinking rogue/DD, not monk/DD for some reason. Again, sorry for being foolish.

.... I think my point on the gauntlet is still valid though. It's a weapon, unarmed and NOT armor or shield. This means it can be made out of special materials AND specially enchanted. I also think that it's fairly clearly against RAI, as that option suddenly becomes better than Amulet of Mighty fists in almost every, if not all ways.


Treatmonk, I also wanted to say that, while I was never much of a fan of "optimizing" before, I really enjoyed reading your guides, and I like that your point is much less about pounding people over the head for "doing it wrong" and a lot more about showing people how to contribute the most to the party, so long as that is what they are aiming for. Excellent work.


KnightErrantJR wrote:
Treatmonk, I also wanted to say that, while I was never much of a fan of "optimizing" before, I really enjoyed reading your guides, and I like that your point is much less about pounding people over the head for "doing it wrong" and a lot more about showing people how to contribute the most to the party, so long as that is what they are aiming for. Excellent work.

Thank you! That's the best kind of encouragement!

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I think my point on the gauntlet is still valid though. It's a weapon, unarmed and NOT armor or shield. This means it can be made out of special materials AND specially enchanted. I also think that it's fairly clearly against RAI, as that option suddenly becomes better than Amulet of Mighty fists in almost every, if not all ways.

It would be better than amulet of mighty fists - but that isn't really an issue since then you could use both. Provide a "Holy" bonus with the Amulet of mighty fists, while gaining an "Enhancement/Shocking/Flaming" bonus with the gauntlets for example.

I agree I think it's fairly clearly against the intended rules.

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