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A Monk for All Editions


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


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The debate over the past week caused me to go back and look at the Monk class yet again. Inspired by everyone's questions and advice and rants, I thought that I could transform the Pathfinder monk into a class that fits all of our expectations, yet isn't over powered. It builds off of my own Monk and incorporates a few things from that design, but this one is a bit different.

The thread is named A Monk for All Editions because I felt that every edition had something good in their take on the monk. So you will see elements of 1st edition AD&D, Wizards 3.0/3.5 take, and Pathfinders own monk class here. By blending them together, I think that his time we have come up with something far greater than just the sum of its individual parts.

There are too many people for me even to consider thanking them all for their advice and support and critical cricisms; but you know who you are. Without you good folks behind me, this would never have come to pass.

I have posted the entire class, and many of the changes are subtle; I would suggest therefore that you take your time reading over the class and don't be afraid to reread a section or two. It keeps the basic framework of Pathfinder, but incorporates changes based on the old AD&D monk, the Best of Dragon monk, and the Wizard's 3.0/3.5 attempts. It is not owing any lineage to 2nd edition, however (whose monks were merely clerics lite). This version is a mystic warrior, with supernatural powers and abilities common to wuxia and older martial arts traditions, and yet it hits as hard as Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. Any playtesting that you do, I would like to know how it turns out.

This post also includes two new feats (well, an old feat redone and renamed, and a new one) and a magic item. I hope that you enjoy this and may you have many fond days of gaming ahead of you. Let me know what you think.

Master Arminas

A Monk for All Editions

For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield: it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding within themselves weapons that are just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade. These monks (so called since they adhere to strict martial disciplines and ancient philosophies passed down through the generations since the mythical War between Law and Chaos) elevate their bodies to become weapons of war. Monks tread the path of discipline and self-enlightenment, and those with the will to endure that path discover within themselves not what they are, but what they are meant to be.

Role: This version of the monk class is, first and foremost, a skirmisher, a scout, a light fighter who relies on his innate abilities and ki to achieve literally inhuman results. He eschews clumsy armor and random weapons to instead achieve greatness through his own inner will and strength. His endurance and ability to sustain hardship is legendary, rivaled only by the toughest of barbarians and most skilled of rangers. His combat ability with attacks, damage, and maneuvers comes close to equaling more marital classes, yet he is more than merely a fighter. Wise beyond his years, the monk’s senses are keenly honed and he possesses an extensive array of techniques that permit him to accomplish acts that normally can be done only by a practitioner of magic. The varied selection of skills and talents that the monk has at his disposal make a valued member of any adventuring party.

Alignment: Any lawful.

Hit Die: d8.

BAB: Medium

Good Saves: Fort; Reflex; and Will

Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex); Climb (Str); Craft (Int); Escape Artist (Dex); Perception (Wis); Perform (Cha); Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex); Sense Motive (Wis); Stealth (Dex); and Swim (Str). See monastic skill training (below) for additional class skills.

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with the club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, sling, and spear. Monks are not proficient with any armor or shields. When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a monk loses his AC bonus from intuitive defense, as well as his fast movement and flurry of blows abilities (see below).

Intuitive Defense (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four monk levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.
These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he uses a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Bonus Feat: At 1st level, 2nd level, and every 4 levels gained as a monk thereafter, a monk may select a bonus feat. These feats must be taken from the following list: Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Improved Grapple, Improved Sunder, and Weapon Focus.
At 6th level, the following feats are added to the list: Improved Blind-Fight, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Ki Stand, Mobility, and The Waves and Wind (see new feats, below for details).
At 10th level, the following feats are added to the list: Combat Expertise, Greater Blind-Fight, Improved Critical, Medusa’s Wrath, Snatch Arrows, and Spring Attack.
At 14th level, the following feats are added to the lists: Greater Bull Rush, Greater Disarm, Greater Grapple, Greater Sunder, and Greater Trip.
A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

Fast Movement (Ex/Su): A monk’s land speed is faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet. This benefit only applies when he is wearing no armor and is not carrying a medium or heavy load. This ability is extraordinary.
At 4th level, when a monk gains access to his ki pool (see below), the character can achieve literally superhuman bursts of speed for limited periods of time. As a free action, a monk can spend 1 point of ki to increase his speed by +20 feet. This speed increase lasts for 1 round per monk class level and is a supernatural ability. At 8th level, and again every four levels gained thereafter, the monk's speed when using this ability increases by an additional +10 feet, to a maximum increase of +60 feet at 20th level.
The bonus speed granted to a monk through spending a ki point is a supernatural ability and does not stack with other effects, spells, and abilities that provide an enhancement bonus to the monk’s speed.

Monastic Skill Training: Different monasteries emphasize different skill sets for the monks that they train. At first level, a monk may choose any three of the following skills: Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Any) (Int), or Linguistics (Int). These skills become class skills for the monk. Once chosen, these selections are forever after fixed, even if the monk places no skill ranks in the specific skills selected.

Unarmed Strike (Ex): A monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s unarmed attack may be made with his fists, elbows, knees, feet, or even his head. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.
Usually a monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
A monk deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than normal; from 1st-3rd level the damage is 1d6. This increases to 2d4 at 4th level. At 9th level, and every 5 monk levels gained thereafter, the damage increases by an additional 1d4, to a maximum of 5d4 at 20th level. The unarmed damage is for all monks, regardless of size. The techniques a monk learns do not alter the base damage of the class due to being either smaller or larger, although both Strength bonuses and penalties apply as normal.

Stunning Fist (Ex): The monk gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. At 4th level, and every 4 levels gained as a monk thereafter, the monk gains the ability to apply a new condition to the target of his Stunning Fist. This condition replaces stunning the target for 1 round, and a successful saving throw still negates the effect.
At 4th level, he can choose to make the target fatigued. At 8th level, he can make the target sickened for 1 minute. At 12th level, he can make the target staggered for 1d6+1 rounds. At 16th level, he can permanently blind or deafen the target. At 20th level, he can paralyze the target for 1d6+1 rounds. The monk must choose which condition will apply before the attack roll is made. These effects do not stack with themselves (a creature sickened by Stunning Fist cannot become nauseated if hit by Stunning Fist again), but additional hits do increase the duration.
A monk can select which condition to apply each time he makes a stunning fist attack, limited only by his monk level.
A monk gains one use of this feat for every monk level he possesses, as described in the Stunning Fist feat.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level or higher, a monk can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks. If a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing no armor and is not carrying a medium or heavy load. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of the following weapons: club, dagger, handaxe, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, spear, or unarmed strike. New weapons designated with the monk special property may be added to this list at a later date. This additional attack is made at the monk's highest attack bonus.
At 8th level, a monk gains a second bonus attack at his highest attack bonus when he uses flurry of blows.
At 15th level, a monk gains a third bonus attack at his highest attack bonus when he uses flurry of blows.
A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with a flurry of blows, whether the monk is fighting with unarmed strikes, a light weapon weapon, a one-handed weapon, two weapons, a weapon and an unarmed strike, a double weapon, a thrown weapon, or a two-handed weapon.
A monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows.
A monk cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows.
A monk cannot use two-weapon fighting (see combat) to gain additional attacks when using flurry of blows.
A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.
A monk does not suffer any penalties when using flurry of blows (such as those normally associated with two-weapon fighting), regardless of whether he wields a light weapon, a one-hand weapon, a double-weapon, or a two-hand weapon.
A monk may wield two weapons, a double-weapon, or a two-handed weapon when using flurry of blows (provided that the weapon is a special monk weapon) and may use unarmed strikes and weapons wielded in any combination during his flurry of blows attacks.

Maneuver Training (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk uses his monk level in place of his base attack bonus when calculating his Combat Maneuver Bonus and his Combat Maneuver Defense. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally.

Still Mind (Ex): A monk of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects of the enchantment school. This bonus increases in value to +4 at 10th level and to +6 at 17th level.

Ki Pool (Su): At 4th level, a monk gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a monk's ki pool is equal to his monk level + his Wisdom modifier. As long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can make a ki strike. At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to be treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Ki strike improves with the character's monk level. At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness.
In addition to ki strike, a monk can spend points from his ki pool to achieve special short-term effects. By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk can invoke any one of the following options: he can gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round; he can gain a +4 insight bonus to his attacks for 1 round; he can gain a +4 insight bonus to his damage for 1 round; or he can gain one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when he uses his flurry of blows ability (see above).
A monk who moves or charges (including the use of the feat Spring Attack) and then makes a single attack with his unarmed strikes or a special monk weapon can spend 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action to gain one additional attack at his highest attack bonus.
A monk gains additional powers that consume points from his ki pool as he gains levels. The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive.

Catfall (Su): At 4th level or higher, a monk can fall incredible distances without suffering damage. When falling, a monk always lands on his feet. In addition, he reduces the damage inflicted from a fall by 1d6 per monk level he possesses, to a maximum reduction of 20d6 at 20th level. Unlike magical spells (such as feather fall) with similar effects, a monk is not slowed during his descent, making this ability a favored method for higher level monks to rapidly descend great distances quickly. A monk gains the benefits of this ability so long as he has at least one point remaining in his ki pool.

Agility Training (Ex): At 5th level, a monk adds one-half his level (round down) to all Acrobatics skill checks and to the monk’s choice of either Climb or Swim skill checks. In addition, he always counts as having a running start when making jump checks using Acrobatics. By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk can gain an additional +20 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for 1 round.

Monastic Weapons Training (Ex): Starting at 5th level, a monk gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when using any of the following weapons: club, dagger, handaxe, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, spear, and unarmed strike. This bonus increases to +2 at 9th level, and by an additional +1 every four levels gained thereafter as a monk to a maximum bonus of +4 at 17th level.
A monk may add this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with the listed weapons.
This bonus applies to the monk's Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against the character, if he is wielding one of the listed weapons.
This bonus is not an enhancement bonus and is not magical in nature; it instead reflects the training and honing of a monk's martial abilities.

Purity of Body (Ex): At 5th level, a monk gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases (such as lycanthropy and mummy rot).

Speak with Animals (Ex): At 6th level, a monk can converse with any creature of the animal type, as per the spell speak with animals. Such conversations are limited by the animal’s intelligence (or lack thereof).

Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can heal his own wounds as a standard action. He can expend 1 point from his ki pool to heal a number of hit points of damage equal to 2d8 + his monk level + his Wisdom bonus (if any). A monk can instead spend 2 points from his ki pool to use this ability as a move action. If the monk spends 3 points from his ki pool, he may use this ability as a swift action.

Spiritual Endurance (Ex): At 8th level, a monk's training and inner reserves of ki allow him to comfortably exist in environments and conditions that would quickly sap the strength from others. He is considered to be under the influence of an endure elements spell at all times, ignoring the extremes of heat and cold. In addition, he may go for a number of days equal to one-half his monk level without eating or drinking before beginning to suffer adverse effects. He requires only four hours of sleep per night, provided that he also meditates for at least four hours as well. While meditating, a monk remains fully aware of his surroundings and may make Perception checks without penalty.

Duty Never Tires (Ex): At 9th level, a monk gains Endurance as a bonus feat. Furthermore, by spending 1 ki point as a swift action, he can ignore the effects of fatigue for 10 minutes per monk level. This ability only suppresses the fatigue; it does not remove it.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a monk’s evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Unfettered Speech (Ex): At 10th level, a monk can converse with any creature of the plant type, as per the spell speak with plants. Such conversations are limited by the plant’s intelligence (or lack thereof). A monk can also converse with any creature of the magical beast type that has an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 (for the purpose of this ability, treat magical beasts as though they are animals and refer to the spell speak with animals).

Diamond Body (Ex): At 11th level, a monk gains immunity to poisons of all kinds.

Abundant Step (Su): At 12th level or higher, a monk can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 2 points from his ki pool. His caster level for this effect is equal to his monk level. Unlike the normal use of dimension door, the monk may take any remaining actions in a round after using this ability. He may take willing creatures with him when he uses this ability, so long as the monk does not exceed his maximum carrying capacity.

Diamond Soul (Ex): At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to his current monk level +11. In order to affect the monk with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the monk’s spell resistance. A monk gains the benefits of this ability so long as he has at least one point remaining in his ki pool.

Tongues (Ex): At 14th level, a monk can converse with any creature, as per the spell tongues. To communicate, a creature must be within 30 feet of the monk and both the monk and creature must have line-of-sight to each other. Furthermore, the monk is able to commune with stone (as per the druid spell stone tell), however to commune with stone the monk must be touching the stone object.

Quivering Palm (Su): Starting at 15th level, a monk can set up vibrations within the body of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the monk so desires. He can use this quivering palm attack once per day, and he must announce his intent before making his attack roll. Creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the monk strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter, the monk can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to his monk level. To make such an attempt, the monk merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + ½ the monk’s level + the monk’s Wisdom modifier) it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target instead takes twice the damage of the monk's unarmed strike (as if the monk had threatened and then confirmed a critical hit) and the quivering palm attack ends; the target may still die if he suffers enough damage from this attack to reduce him to negative hit points equal to his Constitution score. A monk can have no more than one quivering palm in effect at one time. If a monk uses quivering palm while another is still in effect, the previous effect is negated. This ability is a death effect.
At 17th level, and again at 19th level, the monk gains one additional daily use of this ability.

Timeless Body (Ex): At 17th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to his ability scores to his physical ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. The initial roll made by the DM for the character’s maximum age (according to race) is discarded, and a new maximum age calculated. The random dice are maximized. For example, a human monk who reaches 17th level will live to a ripe old age of 110 years, while an elf monk could see 750 years. Age bonuses to the monk’s mental ability scores still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when his time is up. This ability is not the same as immortality, and the monk can always die before his time due to violence.

Stalwart Soul (Ex): At 18th level, a monk no longer suffers any penalties for being fatigued (he still remains fatigued, however, for purposes of exhaustion). If the monk becomes exhausted, he may spend 2 ki points as a swift action to ignore the effects of exhaustion for 1 minute per monk level. This ability only suppresses the exhaustion; it does not remove it. A monk gains the benefits of this ability so long as he has at least one point remaining in his ki pool.

Empty Body (Su): At 19th level, a monk gains the ability to assume an ethereal state for 1 minute as though using the spell etherealness. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 3 points from his ki pool. This ability only affects the monk and cannot be used to make other creatures ethereal.

Perfect Self: At 20th level, a monk transcends his mortal limitations. He gains blindsight in a 30-foot radius. He gains immunity versus all hostile mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities, and other effects (this replaces and does not stack with the still mind ability). Additionally, the monk gains damage reduction 10/chaotic, which allows him to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonchaotic weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn’t have similar damage reduction. Furthermore, a monk who has attained this level of experience can go for twenty days without food or drink before suffering from ill effects. This replaces the duration listed under the duty never tires ability (see above). Finally, the monk’s bonuses accrued from monastic weapons training (see above) increase to provide a +5 bonus on attacks and damage.
The few monks who reach this level of achievement often retire from adventuring to explore what they are becoming. Only those with the strongest of ties to their companions and their homelands remain, but even these will eventually simply vanish one night, never to return.

Ex-Monks: A monk who becomes nonlawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities

New Feats

The Waves and The Wind
You channel your ki energy to breach the resistances that many creatures have, eroding them away as the wind and the waves cut into the rocky highlands.
Prerequisites: Base Attack Bonus +9, Dexterity 13, Wisdom 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Stunning Fist.
Benefit: You gain a +4 bonus on damage rolls when you make an unarmed strike against an opponent who possesses damage reduction of a type that you are unable to normally bypass. You do not receive the bonus damage if your unarmed strike is able to bypass the creature’s damage reduction. The Waves and The Wind may be chosen by a Fighter as one of his bonus feats, provided that he meets the listed prerequisites.

Extra Monastic Weapon
You are highly trained in the use of a non-standard monk weapon.
Prerequisites: Monastic weapons training class feature, proficiency with the chosen weapon.
Benefit: Select one special monk weapon with which you are proficient. You may now apply the bonuses on attack and damage rolls from your monastic weapons training class feature to that weapon.
Special: You may select this feat multiple times. Each time you select this feat it must be applied a new special monk weapon with which you are proficient.

New Magic Items

Gloves of Perfect Striking
Aura: Faint (+1); Moderate (+2; +3); Strong (+4; +5)
CL: 3rd (+1); 6th (+2); 9th (+3); 12th (+4); 15th (+5)
Slot: Hands
Price: 2,000 gp (+1); 8,000 gp (+2); 18,000 gp (+3); 32,000 (+4); 50,000 gp (+5)
Weight: 1 lb.
Description: These finely crafted gloves of silk interior and leather exterior are fingerless and adjust themselves to tightly bind to the hands and wrist of the wearer. When worn, they provide the wearer with an enhancement bonus of between +1 and +5 on the attack and damage rolls of his unarmed strikes. Unlike standard magic weapons, the gloves cannot be enchanted with special weapon properties. Both gloves must be worn for the magic to function.
The enchantment of the gloves of perfect striking stacks with that of an amulet of mighty fists but only the highest enhancement bonus applies.
Construction
Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Items, magic weapon, crafter’s caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus bestowed.
Crafting Cost: 1,000 gp (+1); 4,000 gp (+2); 9,000 gp (+3); 16,000 gp (+4); 25,000 gp (+5)

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The monk in the D&D Cyclopedia was the best monk class implementation I have played.

S,


I never saw that one, I am afraid.

Master Arminas

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well worth a look - actually the older I get the more the D&D Cyclopedia for me becomes the 'go to' D&D-type fantasy RPG. Light on b*@*@#!s, high on playability. d20-like RPG's seem to have taken the inverse of this...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would say that if you are giving the monk full BAB, the flurry of blows should still be at -2 to hit. You have just up-gunned the monk a lot with just those changes, your FoB up-guns it more when it is no longer necessary.


Medium BAB Dabbler. Or is the fighter now Ultra BAB?

The monastic weapon training doesn't change the BAB, it merely provides a bonus on attacks and damage, just like the fighter's weapon training. If both the fighter and the monk have equal strength, both have all of their respective focus feats, and both have equal enhancement bonuses on their weapons, the fighter will still be +5 higher on the final adjusted attack bonus. Of course, the monk will have a lower Strength than the fighter, so the difference will increase. Same with the Barbarian, Ranger, and Paladin, all of which have their own 'enhancer' on attack rolls.

What it does though, is to allow the Monk to hold his own in battle against CR appropriate critters; he definately ain't bottom tier no more.

Master Arminas


I like it, I'm going to be playing a Monk in a Legacy of Fire campaign, I'll see if I can playtest this during the campaign and how well it works out.

One nitpick, under Monastic Training, you should add the clause for other special monk weapons to receive the bonus as well.


That was actually deliberate, Tels. I didn't want EVERY new weapon Paizo puts out there with a 'monk special property' tag to be automatically eligable for monastic weapons training. That is why I added the feat Extra Monastic Weapon.

Master Arminas


I understand, it's just if a player wants to use a specific weapon that they are proficient in, they have to take a feat to use their class ability along with it, even though it's got special abilities exclusive to them. It just doesn't seem to sit well with me to limit them in this way when other classes don't have the same restrictions. I mean, a Two-Weapon Ranger doesn't have to take a feat to add his favored enemy to his attacks with a bow, nor does a fighter have to take a feat to add extra weapons to his weapon training if later books print a weapon that isn't listed under his training.

I think it would work better if the characters abilities function with all weapons that fit the criteria as long as he is proficient with it. A weapon the requires special training, like a double-axe, should require a feat, but simply to make it 'legal' for his class ability seems wrong to me. I mean, feats are too valuable for a monk to have to spend one just to use his temple sword with his monastic training.

Grand Lodge

This is a great write up Arminas. Not my style, but a great write up.

It seems a little over powered (which is fine) but looks fun none-the-less.

And this coming from a grognard who even as a kid in the seventies could not sit through even a few minutes of wuxia style movies.

Only exception= Enter the Dragon. I actually watched it once.


Is there any particular reasoning behind the altered list of available bonus feats? I don't think that there's anything wrong with the new list, I'm just curious about what went into putting it together. (It's in many ways a better list for including fewer traps.)


Thank you, Ravenbow. It is stronger than the canon Pathfinder Monk, but hardly overpowered.

The full BAB classes (Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, and Paladin; no, I'm going into the Cavalier and Samurai today, so stop it!) each have their own special attack that grants bonuses on attack (and usually damage).

Fighters have weapons training: +4 to attack and damage by 20th level.

Rangers have favored enemies: anywhere from +2 to +10 to attack and damage by 20th level!

Barbarians have rage: +4 to attack and +4 (+6 two-handed) damage by 20th level.

Paladins have smite: + Charisma bonus to attck and +20 damage by 20th level!

Canon monks have none of that; yet, they are a martial class. Flurry is their special ability, and it is really nothing more than two-weapon fighting (well, it's now exactly like TWF, but that is beside the point). I wanted something that couldn't be matched by other classes just by picking feats for the monk. That's why I went back to the old 3.5 style of flurry. I went ahead and removed the penalties as well, from 1st level!, because it isn't two-weapon fighting and that was one major way to drive that point home.

Still, as a martial character, with medium BAB, that puts the monks signature special attack between 9 and 15 points behind the other martial classes on attacks. So I stole weapons training from the fighter and stuck it on the monk, but only with unarmed strike and monk special weapons. Now, they are still behind, but only by +4-10.

And for combat maneuvers, they are the better than everyone else--except the specialized fighter. Which is as they should be.

Now, they still trail behind on raw damage, but not as much. And it lets the monk contribute to a fighter much better than any previous attempt or archetype (except the Zen Archer, darn his soul!).

But that isn't fair to the poor old rogue, some will say. Or the magus or the bard. Well, the magus and bard have their own special stuff and spells to 6th level. The rogue has sneak attack, and those 10d6 bombs hurt when they hit.

I don't think it makes the class overpowered, but it removes the weaknesses it had before.

Master Arminas


Joyd wrote:
Is there any particular reasoning behind the altered list of available bonus feats? I don't think that there's anything wrong with the new list, I'm just curious about what went into putting it together. (It's in many ways a better list for including fewer traps.)

There was a lot of, quite frankly useless stuff on the original bonus feat list. I wanted to concentrate more on what the monk's role is: combat maneuvers, skirmish fighting, and scouting, while removing the dross.

Did I go too far, Joyd?

Master Arminas


Tels wrote:

I understand, it's just if a player wants to use a specific weapon that they are proficient in, they have to take a feat to use their class ability along with it, even though it's got special abilities exclusive to them. It just doesn't seem to sit well with me to limit them in this way when other classes don't have the same restrictions. I mean, a Two-Weapon Ranger doesn't have to take a feat to add his favored enemy to his attacks with a bow, nor does a fighter have to take a feat to add extra weapons to his weapon training if later books print a weapon that isn't listed under his training.

I think it would work better if the characters abilities function with all weapons that fit the criteria as long as he is proficient with it. A weapon the requires special training, like a double-axe, should require a feat, but simply to make it 'legal' for his class ability seems wrong to me. I mean, feats are too valuable for a monk to have to spend one just to use his temple sword with his monastic training.

Understandable. But one thing I have noticed is that nearly all of the new monk weapons are not exotic weapons: and a good majority of them include the phrase . . . 'all monks are proficient with this weapon'. If they were exotic and the character wanted to use them, he would have to spend an Exotic Weapon Proficiency, but it seems Pathfinder wants these new weapons to be available to all monks. Now, I did expand flurry to include the 'western' simple weapons on the monk list, including the club, dagger, handaxe, shortspear, short sword, and spear. And he can even flurry with them!

I guess it is just different play styles, but I hate when a new book comes out with a half-dozen weapons and the following week I am barraged by questions about when I can get one of these?

But I understand where you are coming from. Feel free to change it; it's not like I'm going to take the class away and say: NO! You have to play it exactly as written or not at all!

Heh heh. You have my official permission to make what changes work for your group.

Master Arminas

Grand Lodge

Apologies, you are correct. I should have said "more powerful" not Over Powered.


De nada, man; it's all cool.

Master Arminas


master arminas wrote:
But I understand where you are coming from. Feel free to change it; it's not like I'm going to take the class away and say: NO! You have to play it exactly as written or not at all!

No, you won't because then that would make you Paizo :P

I don't have that problem with my group, especially since only two of us are willing to GM and we've both decided to ban anything but the Core Rule Book without prior approval and extensive research into what their asking for. We've got a couple people who are all too willing to break the system and we have to keep them in check. One swears a full Archer isn't too powerful when compared to other martial classes.


I love it! Well done. Kudos. I want to play that monk. ;)


Thank you Netherek. You will note that I included your suggestion for fighter weapons training (and I have no idea why it never before occurred to me until you brought it up!).

Master Arminas


I have a few minor complaints.

1: There is no point to using a weapon at higher levels due to the massive damage potential of Unarmed Strike. If a player wants to emulate a Chinese Folk Hero who ran around stabbing everybody with his spear, it's a much harder sell to do that at high level. 5d4's damage potential is massive, with a MUCH higher chance of rolling average or decent damage. I think Monk Unarmed Damage should be the best possible unarmed damage, but with the bonus to Attack and Damage from Monastic weapon training, 5d4 seems a little too over the top. :(

2: The way Intuitive Defense reads would lead someone unfamiliar with monk to believe that the maximum defense bonus you could get from intuitive defense would be +5. Reword that a bit so it says "Bonus equal to your Wisdom Modifier. This bonus increases by an additional +1 is added to this bonus at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20.

3: Across a full attack action, after level 8, there is no reason to take the Extra Attack option in Ki Pool instead of +4 Damage. Mathematically, it's something of a wash.

4: I think it should be full BAB. Barbarian Rage and Rage Powers as well as Fighter's massive feat powers means that even with the wonderful enhancements here, if you drop the Unarmed Strike damage dice from 5d4 to something like 2d4 or 3d4 Max, then you can have Full BAB AND Monastic Weapon Training without being afraid of stealing their thunder. Like everyone else, you KNOW you want to give it Full BAB and thus end that particularly painful problem forever.


ReconstructorFleet wrote:

I have a few minor complaints.

1: There is no point to using a weapon at higher levels due to the massive damage potential of Unarmed Strike. If a player wants to emulate a Chinese Folk Hero who ran around stabbing everybody with his spear, it's a much harder sell to do that at high level. 5d4's damage potential is massive, with a MUCH higher chance of rolling average or decent damage. I think Monk Unarmed Damage should be the best possible unarmed damage, but with the bonus to Attack and Damage from Monastic weapon training, 5d4 seems a little too over the top. :(

2: The way Intuitive Defense reads would lead someone unfamiliar with monk to believe that the maximum defense bonus you could get from intuitive defense would be +5. Reword that a bit so it says "Bonus equal to your Wisdom Modifier. This bonus increases by an additional +1 is added to this bonus at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20.

3: Across a full attack action, after level 8, there is no reason to take the Extra Attack option in Ki Pool instead of +4 Damage. Mathematically, it's something of a wash.

4: I think it should be full BAB. Barbarian Rage and Rage Powers as well as Fighter's massive feat powers means that even with the wonderful enhancements here, if you drop the Unarmed Strike damage dice from 5d4 to something like 2d4 or 3d4 Max, then you can have Full BAB AND Monastic Weapon Training without being afraid of stealing their thunder. Like everyone else, you KNOW you want to give it Full BAB and thus end that particularly painful problem forever.

1. 5d4 gives the same maximum damage as 2d10, which is what the monk already has. It does bump average damage (from 11 to 12.5) and provides a generally more consistent result. Both low and high results become much rarer, and (of course), the 5d4 eliminates the change of getting a 2, 3, or 4. Monastic weapons training also applies to weapons, remember? And weapons are much easier to enhant with special weapon properties (such as keen or flaming; can an unarmed strike even be made keen?).

2. I'll rewrite that to make it clearer in my master copy.

3. Like you said; it's a wash. But they still have the option.

4. Sigh. Monks should be a solid, decently-capable martial class. But they don't need that full BAB. And no, I really do not want that full BAB. I just want monks to stay within 5-7 points of a fighter's primary attack, not to equal it. I would rather keep them at medium BAB, with monastic weapon training to keep all of the mystical abilities. Otherwise, we are just making an unarmed fighter.


Master Arminas wrote:
1. 5d4 gives the same maximum damage as 2d10, which is what the monk already has. It does bump average damage (from 11 to 12.5) and provides a generally more consistent result. Both low and high results become much rarer, and (of course), the 5d4 eliminates the change of getting a 2, 3, or 4. Monastic weapons training also applies to weapons, remember? And weapons are much easier to enhant with special weapon properties (such as keen or flaming; can an unarmed strike even be made keen?).

Technically, unarmed strike can be made keen, although it is usually silly to make it so. My issue is more that wielding a weapon is grossly ineffective compared to being unarmed. In both the martial arts and in the movies, Monks are well known for using weapon skills effectively. I'd be much more interested in an unarmed strike that did less damage, but could have special features applied to it as Special Technique. Ex: having your unarmed strike have the Brace, Reach, or other weapon effects. Cool techniques should take priority over DPR I think...and the sheer damage you're getting from 5d4 combined with Monastic Weapon Training is ...frankly, I don't think it's balanced. There's no way that much damage doesn't outfight just about anything in the game.

Master Arminas wrote:
4. Sigh. Monks should be a solid, decently-capable martial class. But they don't need that full BAB. And no, I really do not want that full BAB. I just want monks to stay within 5-7 points of a fighter's primary attack, not to equal it. I would rather keep them at medium BAB, with monastic weapon training to keep all of the mystical abilities. Otherwise, we are just making an unarmed fighter.

A Cavalier is not a Fighter on a horse, and a Gunslinger isn't a fighter with a gun. Giving this class a Full BAB will not simply make it an unarmed fighter.

Monk doesn't especially need the massive damage that you're giving it. The number one monk complaint is it's poor accuracy, and by giving it the Weapon Training-style bonus but reducing it's BAB, we're right back where we started but with more damage, and the same problems picking up useful feats that have a BAB requirement at low level. Making Monk a Full BAB class would let it get all the feats that it is denied at low level which make it so very cumbersome; it would also give it the accuracy boost that Monk really, really needs. After that: Reduce monk unarmed damage to compensate, maybe to 2d4 or 3d4...and suddenly, you've got a wonderfully accurate, decently damaging class that fixes all of our complaints without being simply an "Unarmed Fighter".

Don't give me wrong, I LOVE the majority of this class. But we want a little accuracy and versatility with our monk that this monk currently lacks due to Average BAB and an imbalanced Accuracy vs. Damage ratio. :(


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

For the sake of argument, what if we consider a different damage mechanism for the monk than the existing (and suggested) ones. Other classes have smites, rages, banes, training, favored enemies, challenges, and so forth. Monks get... somewhat more attacks (but not more than others can get using feats).

Perhaps it is time to investigate a new mechanism for damage rather than plain attacks and plusses to attacks? I think it might be worth it to just take a minute and try to think outside the box and look at the problem from a new angle again.

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