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Playing the Monk, Grappling vs Flurry of Blows (advice needed)


Advice

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Hi everyone, I hope this is the right section :)

First off, I've recently started playing Pathfinder and I am now a lvl 5 monk. I enjoy playing the monk, but I am having trouble figuring out how I should play my character.

My primary concern is flurry of blows and the utility of my class.
From what I understand the monk pretty much needs a full round action to do any real damage because he has to use FoB. On the other hand the monk is also great at moving around the battlefield, using combat maneuvers like Grappling.

My real problem here is, I don't know how to put my character to any good use in combat, other than just FoB the *beep* out of the enemies, pretty much limiting me to moving to an enemy and then full-round attack when possible.

I want to use combat maneuvers, but I am just having a hard time figuring out when this is actually a good idea. The impression I get from grappling is that it does not really make much difference, because if I grapple the enemy he can perform many actions, and it cripples me greatly because I can't FoB while grappling, not even if I have the greater grapple feat.

I hope you guys can give me some pointers on how to use my monk in combat. Maybe I just need some kind of CMB-epiphany, but right now I'm just not seeing the great use of grappling and then the monk just seems like a sub-par damage dealer at best. (With a nice flavor to the class of course, but still)

Sorry for the long post, any advice/pointers will be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Taldor

if you take the right grapple related feats, you are able to take a full round action in addition to making a grapple check (swift action). i think improved, greater, and rapid grapple are the right chain. and monks get some for free as bonus feats


Grapple helps your allies hit the enemy as they can a -4 penaly to their dex. If you pin them, they gain a -4 penalty to their AC and they lose their dex bonus to AC allowing rogue types to sneak attack.

Grapple is a great maneuver as it allows you to help your Allies in so many ways. Disarm is also good because you can take his weapon and use your advanced movement to run away so he can't get it back. Sunder the heavy armor's armor and make him cry.

I, personally, believe CMB is the way to go for the Monk until Paizo stops trying to kill the effectiveness of the Monk class with all their nerfs.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Use CMB maneuvers when you have to move, then follow up with attacks of opportunity and flurry-of-blows.

For example, you rush the foe in round 1, before he gets his action, and attempt a disarm. If he gets disarmed, he loses his weapon (has to pick up or draw a new one), and likely provokes an AoO regaining it and then can only hit once. Then you FoB his ass, disarming with your attacks until he loses his weapon (again), then pummelling him.

Qadira

ok if i may. i play with monks alot i love monks. if you can make a change to your level 5 take teh maneuver master archetype and you can shine. you can even choose to use weapons if youlike at that point.

do not take teh full grapple choice grapple is a messy ugly beast even in pathfinder.
take improved trip and greater trip. as 1 and 6 level feats. take imp disarm as level 2 bonus feat.
now when you have to move you have a strong option to do trip someone and off the ao disarm as they fall. this eats up all there actions in there next rounds. and on a full attack you get a free cmb then your full attack. the nice thing about this is that there are no negatives on the attacks after the cmb. also you can fight with any weapon you have profficiency in with 0 penalty. so picking up a reach trip weapon i.e. fauchard, horsechopper, guisarm and now you are a beast at range ;-) and at level 8 you get 2 combat maneuvers then a full attack.


@Nepril
You say that I get two combat maneuvers and a full attack at level 8? That must be unique to the maneuver master archetype, or am I mistaking?

In any case, I am afraid that we are not playing with any archetypes are specialization classes, only the core classes. This also means that improved disarm is not available until lvl 6 as a bonus feat.

@Dabbler:
This might be a silly question, but instead of running away with the weapon, can I not just throw it away?

@Nezthalak
I'm afraid I can't find the feat you mentioned, I don't see it possible to make grapple a swift action, so whenever grappling I will always be restricted to using normal attacks.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

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I recently shared two monk builds on my blog that make use of tripping and Vicious Stomp, which can be used as part of a full attack or as a single attack.

The first uses grappling too:

Human Monk (Maneuver Master) 20 point build

S 18 D 14 C 14 I 10 W 12 C 8

1M – Combat Reflexes
1H – Vicious Stomp
1MB – Improved Trip
2MB – Improved Grapple
3M – Ki Throw
4 -
5M – Binding Throw
6MB – Greater Trip
7M – Extra Ki
8 -
9M – Enhanced Ki Throw
10MB – Greater Grapple
11M – Pinning Knockout
12 -

The build focuses on tripping, stomping and grappling (doing all 3 outside of a full attack from level 5 onwards (trip as standard action, stomp as AoO, and grapple as swift action). I would also consider replacing one of the Greater feats with Improved Disarm or Dirty Trick.

The second build is more playful, focusing more on defense, doing things on an enemy's turn:

Human Monk (Flowing Monk \ Monk of the Sacred Mountain) 20 point build

S 17 D 14 C 14 I 10 W 14 C 8

1M – Combat Reflexes
1H – Vicious Stomp
1MB – Improved Trip
2MB – Nimble Moves
2SM – Toughness
3M – Ki Throw
4 -
5M – Monkey Style
6MB – Body Guard
7M – Extra Ki
8 -
9M – Greater Trip
10MB- Tripping Strike
11M – Monkey Moves
12 -


With the CORE book only.

Trip is your go to maneuver.
Spring attack is your non flurry attack.

My vanilla monks work like this:
Before combat I pick my huckleberry, usually a caster or specialist or something big that looks like it lacks ranged attacks.

I use Spring Attack to pester him, I'll make the attack a trip maneuver most of the time. I'll dip fighter to get a reach/trip weapon sometimes. This is really good against non ranged beaters.

I'll charge opponents that I need shut down. If they are a serious threat, my charge attack is a Stunning Fist. Otherwise I'll trip them.
On the followup I lead with a Stunning Fist in my flurry and then pummel them silly with unarmed strikes, unless I'm dealing with DR, then it's a weapon attack.

I do grapple on occasion,'especially spellcasters.
With only core feats, grapplers do well with the Scorpion Style chain. Gorgon Fist is not wasted on a dedicated Grappler. Medusa's Wrath is always good, regardless of combat preferences.

Grappling is complicated but incredibly useful at times. It just requires that you KNOW it inside and out with all it's little side cases.


Also you can substitute a combat maneuver for any flurry of blows attack. You and the DM may have a discussion about the attack bonus but it's written into the flurry rules.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Simon Langhoff wrote:

@Dabbler:

This might be a silly question, but instead of running away with the weapon, can I not just throw it away?

Standard Improved Disarm just puts it on the floor next to the person you took it off. Leave it there - if they try and pick it up, that's an AoO. As you can substitute another disarm for any FoB strike, this is the best way to act: keep disarming him when he has a weapon, and hit him if he doesn't. It should keep him down to one standard action a turn with any luck and stop him full attacking you back.


Dabbler wrote:
Simon Langhoff wrote:

@Dabbler:

This might be a silly question, but instead of running away with the weapon, can I not just throw it away?
Standard Improved Disarm just puts it on the floor next to the person you took it off. Leave it there - if they try and pick it up, that's an AoO. As you can substitute another disarm for any FoB strike, this is the best way to act: keep disarming him when he has a weapon, and hit him if he doesn't. It should keep him down to one standard action a turn with any luck and stop him full attacking you back.
That's actually wrong.
Disarm wrote:

You can attempt to disarm your opponent in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Disarm feat, or a similar ability, attempting to disarm a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Attempting to disarm a foe while unarmed imposes a –4 penalty on the attack.

If your attack is successful, your target drops one item it is carrying of your choice (even if the item is wielded with two hands). If your attack exceeds the CMD of the target by 10 or more, the target drops the items it is carrying in both hands (maximum two items if the target has more than two hands). If your attack fails by 10 or more, you drop the weapon that you were using to attempt the disarm. If you successfully disarm your opponent without using a weapon, you may automatically pick up the item dropped.

Unarmed Monks can pick up the weapon. Best part is, if they don't have Improved Unarmed Strike, or a natural attack, and you took their weapon, you can simply walk away (if you have a move action left) since they can't make an AoO with unarmed strikes without Improved Unarmed Strike or a natural attack.

Threatened Squares:
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your turn. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you're unarmed, you don't normally threaten any squares and thus can't make attacks of opportunity.

Improved Unarmed Strike:
You are skilled at fighting while unarmed.

Benefit: You are considered to be armed even when unarmed—you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you attack foes while unarmed. Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice.

Normal: Without this feat, you are considered unarmed when attacking with an unarmed strike, and you can deal only nonlethal damage with such an attack.

Qadira

It's that fact that you are unarmed that makes disarm as a monk really interesting. Sure, a fighter can probably get a higher CMB but is unlikely to choose to be an unarmed specialist.

Of course, this tactic will only work on enemies that use manufactured weapons so you need other tactics for other fights.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I stand corrected Tels! Nice!


Even just using core, a well built Maneuver Monk can really impact the game. Sure, damage isn't great, but the BBEG can't do squat when you take his sword/wand/staff or grappled the caster, or you keep him prone (trip + grapple as the AoO when he stands up with a -4 to his CMD**).

** -4 to CMD:
Combat Maneuver Defense wrote:

Miscellaneous Modifiers

A creature can also add any circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, luck, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses to AC to its CMD. Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD.

Prone wrote:
The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You can't trip somebody as an AoO when they are already prone. The attack comes in before they complete the action that provokes it, and if they have not stood up, they are still prone. It's a good set-up for another maneuver though!


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Guide to making a GM frustrated:

Move + Improved Disarm, let it drop to the ground
Enemy retrieves weapon provoking AoO
Substitute Improved Trip for AoO
Enemy is Prone and now has his weapon, so he stands up thus provoking another AoO and ending his turn
Substitute Improved Grapple for AoO

Now it's your turn. Withhold until just before his turn and take your turn.

Free action, release the grapple. Improved Disarm, take the weapon and move away. Or repeat the previous process to keep him occupied while allies beat him down.

Next Encounter:

73 wizards cast Disinitgrate on you, with the 74th casting a scroll of Power Word Kill if necessary.

GM says, "F-you!"


Dabbler wrote:
You can't trip somebody as an AoO when they are already prone. The attack comes in before they complete the action that provokes it, and if they have not stood up, they are still prone. It's a good set-up for another maneuver though!

The idea is to trip them, then when they are standing up, you grapple them as the AoO. Thus making them spend their standard action to try and break free.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tels wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
You can't trip somebody as an AoO when they are already prone. The attack comes in before they complete the action that provokes it, and if they have not stood up, they are still prone. It's a good set-up for another maneuver though!
The idea is to trip them, then when they are standing up, you grapple them as the AoO. Thus making them spend their standard action to try and break free.

I prefer dissarming them again. Then get another AoO as they pick up their weapon, it being a trip. Then disarm as they stand, then trip ...


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If you can grapple and pin them when they are prone, they take a -4 penalty to AC against melee for prone, a -4 for being pinned, and are denied dex. Rogue characters love you when you do this. I did this in my last session and the Rogue actually split his share of treasure with me because I did a charging grapple to save his life, he broke free, so I tripped him, and grappled him when prone. Suddenly that Rogue felt like a melee god.

[Edit] BTW, because the AoO interrupts the standing up, and grapple prevents him from moving, he doesn't actually get to stand up and stays prone.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

... I like you Tels.


Lol thanks. I've never gotten a chance to play a Monk up until my friend started Legacy of Fire. I've always wanted to play one, but never had the chance (I usually opt to play whatever the party needs). This time, I had first chance at class pickings, and told him I was playing a monk, and I didn't care if we were all rogues, fighters and myself, I'm sick of wanting to play a Monk for 10 years and never getting the chance.

So come Pathfinder, I've done a lot of thought into my character, read a lot on the forums about monks, and really looked for ways to make my (probably one chance this decade) Monk as fun for me as possible, while still contributing to the group.


Consider this:

You disarm him, and he retrieves provoking AoO. Substitute Trip. He's Prone. He attempts to stand up as his final action provoking AoO. Substitute Grapple with him at -4 to CMD. If you succeed, he gains a -4 to Dex, which is a further -2 to CMD. He is now at -6 to his CMD. It's now your turn. You've already got him grappled, so you gain a +5 circumstance to your grapple against him. You are now, effectively, at a +11 to maintain that grapple. Considering you're a monk, this is almost an auto success.

So now you Pin him. Now he is denied his Dex (which could drastically lower his CMD even further depending on what he's got), and has a -8 penalty to AC and CMD and you have a +5 circumstance bonus on your grapple checks. Now, the SRD says:

Grapple wrote:
If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds.

This is a little ambiguous, but it could be interpreted that your CMD also gains a +5 circumstance bonus when he attempts to break free. If this is how your GM interprets the rules, it'd be very hard to escape a Monk built with those three maneuvers.


Tels wrote:

Consider this:

He attempts to stand up as his final action provoking AoO. Substitute Grapple with him at -4 to CMD.

How are you substituting a grapple for an AoO? AFAIK, the only maneuvers that can be substituted for an attack are disarm, sunder, and trip (and by extension drag and reposition). Standard action maneuvers like grapple can't be used "in place of melee attacks".

Still, that is good advice about taking advantage of prone or other conditions that give AC penalties, which will also lower CMD.

Also, I especially enjoy the bit about a disarmed enemy being helpless to stop you from simply walking away from them with their weapon unless they've got a natural attack or IUS. That's definitely a good catch, and awesome.

Note that this kind of thing would also apply in any case an enemy is denied the ability to make an AoO (like when grappled, blinded, etc). It gets really interesting when you realize that now you've opened up the possibility of using ANY maneuver you want against such an enemy, even those for which you lack the 'improved' feat. Don't need to avoid AoO if they're incapable of making one ;-)

Tels wrote:
This is a little ambiguous, but it could be interpreted that your CMD also gains a +5 circumstance bonus when he attempts to break free. If this is how your GM interprets the rules, it'd be very hard to escape a Monk built with those three maneuvers.

I guess I can see where you're coming from, but I wouldn't run it that way, and do not believe the circumstance bonus applies to CMD, only CMB. Its already plenty hard enough to escape a monk, since they get to add 3 stats and the monk bonus to their CMD already. That +5 should kick in by your 2nd turn if the enemy fails to break free during their turn (either by failing their maneuver check or by forgoing it to make a full attack), and will make it substantially easier to pin them though.


You are right. I had thought Grapples could be made as part of an AoO. I guess that changes the tactics a little. One could, instead, trip the enemy, then disarm them as an AoO from standing up, then when they try to retrieve the item, trip them again. On your turn, then grapple the enemy and begin the penalty stacking.

Yeah, it was merely an observation I had made as 'grapple checks' seems a little unclear. If my GM allows it, I'm not gonna complain as there are ways around it. For instance, making an Escape Artist check is not a grapple check, therefore he doesn't get the +5 bonus (in case someone happens to be grappling me). Although, if my Monk were being grappled, I'm not sure I'd actually want to escape as I can make a flurry of blows on him, and he simply gets to inflict damage with a light, or one handed weapon, or a unarmed/natural attack, basically auto-hitting with one attack, while I get all of mine.


Tels wrote:
You are right. I had thought Grapples could be made as part of an AoO. I guess that changes the tactics a little. One could, instead, trip the enemy, then disarm them as an AoO from standing up, then when they try to retrieve the item, trip them again. On your turn, then grapple the enemy and begin the penalty stacking.

Yeah, that's a good way to go. Certainly ruins that poor guy's day.

Tels wrote:
Yeah, it was merely an observation I had made as 'grapple checks' seems a little unclear. If my GM allows it, I'm not gonna complain as there are ways around it. For instance, making an Escape Artist check is not a grapple check, therefore he doesn't get the +5 bonus (in case someone happens to be grappling me). Although, if my Monk were being grappled, I'm not sure I'd actually want to escape as I can make a flurry of blows on him, and he simply gets to inflict damage with a light, or one handed weapon, or a unarmed/natural attack, basically auto-hitting with one attack, while I get all of mine.

Do be careful though. If you get grappled, and are pretty good at grappling yourself, IMO the best course of action is generally going to be trying to reverse or escape the grapple on your turn. The major exception would be if you think you can drop the enemy with a full attack/flurry. Thing is, if you fail to do so, you could get pinned, and that's pretty terrible. I suppose if you don't think the enemy will try to pin ya, flurry away. Otherwise...try not to get pinned, lol.

OTOH, you could always gamble and wait until they DO manage to pin you before trying to escape on your turn, getting flurries off in the meantime. Probably depends mostly on how many threats there are in the combat.


Tels, you've made me reevaluate grappling somewhat.


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Grappling is fun, if you know the rules. One of the reasons I like the PFSRD over the SRD is I saw some flow charts for grappling there.

Grapple Flow Chart 1
Grapple Flow Chart 2


Best part about grapple? Once you have him pinned, he's at -8 to CMD, plus he's denied his dex, and you have a +5 circumstance bonus. Lets say he's got a 14 dex, so he's got a total of a -10 to CMD and with the +5 circumstance, you have an effective +15 on grapple checks against him. So now you take the -10 penalty and hog tie him.

So Round 1: FIGHT!

Player 1: Move + Trip
Player 2: Stand up (Player 1 Disarms Player 2)
Player 2: Retrieves Weapon (Player 1 Trips Player 2)

End of Round 1

Round 2: FIGHT!

Player 1 Grapples Player 2
Player 2 tries to break free of Player 1

End of Round 2

Round 3: FIGHT!

Player 1 Pins Player 2
Player 2 tries to break free of Player 1

End of Round 3

Round 4: FIGHT!

Player 1 Ties up Player 2
If Player 2's CMB isn't higher than Player 1's CMB +20, Player 2 cannot escape.

Taldor

Rapid Grapple - swift action


Tels wrote:


So Round 1: FIGHT!

Player 1: Move + Trip
Player 2: Stand up (Player 1 Disarms Player 2)
Player 2: Retrieves Weapon (Player 1 Trips Player 2)

End of Round 1

Round 2: FIGHT!

Player 1 Grapples Player 2
Player 2 tries to break free of Player 1

End of Round 2

Round 3: FIGHT!

Player 1 Pins Player 2
Player 2 tries to break free of Player 1

End of Round 3

Round 4: FIGHT!

Player 1 Ties up Player 2
If Player 2's CMB isn't higher than Player 1's CMB +20, Player 2 cannot escape.

If you want, its possible to progress all the way to tied up in the first round.

You'll need snapping turtle style and clutch so that you can initiate the grapple on their turn, when they miss you. Then you'll need greater grapple so that you can maintain the grapple with a move action on your turn, also progressing it to a pin. You'll then use your standard to hogtie. Done and done. Alternatively, if you're an 8th+ level maneuver master with the snapping turtle feats, you can (probably, see above) use your 2 maneuvers to progress the grapple to a hogtie, while still having a full attack left (which you can use against a separate enemy within reach) if you choose.

Otherwise, the second round will have to do ;-)


The scenario I posted above needs to be kept in context of the build (which can be done at level 5). Rapid Grapple can't be taken until level 9, and you only get grapple as a swift, if you are maintaining the grapple. It basically allows you to perform 3 grapple maneuvers in one round, when 2 would do it just fine with Greater Grapple. Greater Grapple would allow you to pin, then tie up in the same round, while Rapid Grapple would let one do something such as move, pin, tie, or inflict, pin, tie etc. Rapid Grapple is little more than overkill, unless you mess up your grapple check, so one could Pin (fail), Pin, Tie.

Remember, by grappling the opponent while they are prone, they take a -4 penalty to CMD. One of the things about the scenario I posted above is the penalty stacking. At the end of round 3, the opponent would have -8 to AC and CMD and they would be denied their dex, which further limits their AC and CMD.

Snapping Turtle is nice, but it doesn't allow for the penalty stacking at level 5, that the above scenario proposes.


Tels wrote:
Rapid Grapple is little more than overkill, unless you mess up your grapple check, so one could Pin (fail), Pin, Tie.

I'm inclined to agree. RG is more like insurance in case you miss one of your rolls. Something that won't likely happen if you've got a +5 circumstance bonus plus penalty stacking to work with.

Note that its effectively useless if you're running a maneuver master monk anyway since you'd be forgoing a full attack to maintain as a move action via GG to trigger RG, rather than via FoM. After level 8, even GG is a bit lackluster for the MM due to their being able to make 2 checks with a full attack (although that +2 is nice, and its needed as a prereq for a bunch of useful stuff).

Tels wrote:
Remember, by grappling the opponent while they are prone, they take a -4 penalty to CMD. One of the things about the scenario I posted above is the penalty stacking. At the end of round 3, the opponent would have -8 to AC and CMD and they would be denied their dex, which further limits their AC and CMD.

This is true, and quite powerful.

Tels wrote:
Snapping Turtle is nice, but it doesn't allow for the penalty stacking at level 5, that the above scenario proposes.

I wasn't really advocating an optimal scenario, just the limits of whats possible with respect to speed hogties. My monk actually doesn't use SNS FWIW (went with Dragon).


I see that being a monk is not that simple after all hehe, I guess a lot of the combat maneuvers confuses me because I haven't really been playing much and I haven't used combat maneuvers a lot and everywhere there is a small bit of information or a small rule that affects everything.

But Tels, it's been very informative to read your posts (and you other guys as well). I have a question about disarming. It says that if you try to disarm a person then the defender gains an AoO against me, is that also so if I trip a person and then uses my AoO to disarm him when he tries to stand up? Does he get an AoO then?

I can't get the improved disarm feat before level 6(as a bonus feat) and then at that point there are other bonus feats that I would really like instead as well, like mobility(for spring attack) and also improved trip.

Again, a silly question, but as a normal feat "slot" can I still select from the bonus feat list, even though I don't meet the prerequisites?

I was hoping that maybe you could outline the kind of build you would go with, for making your tactic work best? Considering only the core rulebook and not any special version of the monk. I'm not quite sure how to account for the feats I get at a later level, so I'm having a hard time actually deciding about my feats, and thinking maybe I should change some of the feats I chose earlier, if the DM allows it.

Thanks in advance :) Oh and I'm so gonna print out those grapple flowcharts! (thumbs up!)


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Simon Langhoff wrote:
I have a question about disarming. It says that if you try to disarm a person then the defender gains an AoO against me, is that also so if I trip a person and then uses my AoO to disarm him when he tries to stand up? Does he get an AoO then?

If you have the Improved combat maneuver feat, you do not provoke an attack of opportunity for using that maneuver. For your specific scenario, if you do not have the Improved Disarm, you do provoke an attack of opportunity if you try and disarm them when they stand up. Keep this in mind, since you are using your attack of opportunity from them standing up, they are considered prone, so they take a -4 to their CMD vs Disarm, and they also take a -4 to their attack if they take their attack of opportunity. Also, if they hit you, apply the damage dealt as a penalty on your CMB.

Simon Langhoff wrote:
Again, a silly question, but as a normal feat "slot" can I still select from the bonus feat list, even though I don't meet the prerequisites?

No you can't. When selecting a feat that every character gets at the odd numbered character levels, you must meet all prerequisites.

Simon Langhoff wrote:
I was hoping that maybe you could outline the kind of build you would go with, for making your tactic work best? Considering only the core rulebook and not any special version of the monk.

To be the most effective at Maneuvers I would choose the following feats:

(Assuming a Human Monk)

1 Combat Expertise
1 Agile Maneuvers (Human Bonus Feat)
1 Combat Reflexes (Monk Bonus Feat)
2 Improved Grapple (Monk Bonus Feat)
3 Improved Disarm
5 Improved Trip

Now, keep in mind, if you are not a human, then this build can be finished at 7th level instead. Also, if you choose not to take Agile Maneuvers, you can get all the Improved feats by 3rd level.

Simon Langhoff wrote:
I'm not quite sure how to account for the feats I get at a later level, so I'm having a hard time actually deciding about my feats, and thinking maybe I should change some of the feats I chose earlier, if the DM allows it.

Perhaps you could post what feats you have, and what feats you would like.

Simon Langhoff wrote:
Thanks in advance :) Oh and I'm so gonna print out those grapple flowcharts! (thumbs up!)

No problem, the Monk is a complicated class with a lot of weaknesses thanks to the Overlords at Paizo (slightly bitter at some of their rulings).

===========================

Simon Langhoff wrote:
I can't get the improved disarm feat before level 6(as a bonus feat) and then at that point there are other bonus feats that I would really like instead as well, like mobility(for spring attack) and also improved trip.

I wanted to address this one separately and outside the wall of text.

This first thing you need to do to make a Monk, is decided on what exactly kind of monk it is you wish to play. Choosing the role you with your Monk to perform is critical in deciding how to build him. This actually applies to all character creation.

I've seen several people play Monks before, both in games I'm involved in, and games I give advice on. One of the biggest problems is people want to design a Monk that runs in really fast, sping/whilwhin attacks, uses flurry of blows, grapple/trip/disarm, and out fights the full BAB classes. The problem is this nearly impossible to do. Fighters and Barbarians, for example, are simply going to be better and fighting than the Monk is, as that isn't his role.

The Monk, in my opinion, is a support fighter and skirmisher. His job is to be self-sufficient, and harass/hinder the enemy until his allies can assist in taking them out. He isn't going to be an incredible damage dealer, or the best melee attacker, as his abilities aren't set up to be that way. This flies in the face of what people think the Monk is for, as they all picture Bruce Li kicking ass with martial arts.

The Monk can be a really fun class to play, as long as someone knows the direction he wants to take his Monk, and doesn't try to over reach what he is capable of. Sure, using Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack, Flurry of Blows, Grapple/Trip/Disarm and other things are all possible for a single character, but that's not going to happen until your character level is in the teens, and most people don't play a character long enough to reach that point.

So, my advice to you, is sit down, and give a good long hard thought on where you want your Monk to go, and how you envision playing him. If you think you're going to be outfighting a fighter, then you're going to be disappointed in the class. If you want to be able to move around the battlefield with little hindrance, harassing and disrupting the enemy tactics, then you're very likely to succeed.

For instance, an enemy wizard may have a bunch of goons that he's got between him and the party. The fighter has to fight through everyone, while getting attacked by spells from the wizard. The Monk simply jumps over the goons and pounces on the Wizard, disrupting his plans and probably all of his spells. Granted, the Monk is now in a vulnerable spot behind enemy lines, but the rest of the party has a much easier job without the Wizard harassing them with Fireballs, Disintegrates and Glitterdusts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just found this post, I've been playing a Human Monk now till 12th level. I (finally) figured out my characters role, as Tels beautifully did, the hard way.

The last thing I would add, is with Greater Grapple when you can pin and tie up in the same round...following round is a coup de grace! I missed a session with my group and they ran into some serious trouble with a spellcaster who was summoning Glabrezu's. When I got to our last session we went back into the dungeon and I basically got to Abundant Step behind him, grapple, he attempts a spell and loses it, I pin him then tie him up in the same round, he curses at me, then I coup de grace break his neck.


Jatori wrote:
I recently shared two monk builds on my blog that make use of tripping and Vicious Stomp, which can be used as part of a full attack or as a single attack.

I'm playing a vicious-stomp monk right now, with a very similar feat build at early levels (I'm only 4th)...can I ask what Ki Throw adds to the build? I don't have it in front of me, but seem to recall when I read it in the book I was underwhelmed. How does it help?


Ki Throw

This feat does look underwhelming. But it's the special section that makes it sexy. Ki Throw allows you to trip creatures of any size. That's a big deal if you have invested heavily in trip techniques. Normally you are capped at creatures 1 size category larger than yourself, so most Giants, Dragons and other biggies are trip immune. This feat solves that.

Also, as an added benefit it rolls the Trip and Reposition maneuvers into a single attack, that can be a part of a full round action.


It is worth noting however that this feat can eat up your Ki pool during encounters that have lots of big monsters.

Look into either the Extra Ki feat or better yet the Ki Mystic Archtype as a solution to this problem.

Cheliax

zagnabbit wrote:

It is worth noting however that this feat can eat up your Ki pool during encounters that have lots of big monsters.

Look into either the Extra Ki feat or better yet the Ki Mystic Archtype as a solution to this problem.

You mean Hungry Ghost Monk? I don't see anything in the ki mystic archetype that allows for replenishment of ki points.

Osirion

Tels wrote:

Grapple helps your allies hit the enemy as they can a -4 penaly to their dex. If you pin them, they gain a -4 penalty to their AC and they lose their dex bonus to AC allowing rogue types to sneak attack.

Grapple is a great maneuver as it allows you to help your Allies in so many ways. Disarm is also good because you can take his weapon and use your advanced movement to run away so he can't get it back. Sunder the heavy armor's armor and make him cry.

I, personally, believe CMB is the way to go for the Monk until Paizo stops trying to kill the effectiveness of the Monk class with all their nerfs.

Just the other day, I had to help my allies by grappling my own ally. He was confused and attacking us, so I had to grapple him and get him out of the way. We needed to protect ourselves from him, preferably without hurting him.

Whether you use grapple or FoB will depend mostly on the situation. You need to neutralize an archer, a spellcaster or someone using a two-handed weapon? Grapple.
You need to fight lots of mooks? FoB.


Veldebrand wrote:
zagnabbit wrote:

It is worth noting however that this feat can eat up your Ki pool during encounters that have lots of big monsters.

Look into either the Extra Ki feat or better yet the Ki Mystic Archtype as a solution to this problem.

You mean Hungry Ghost Monk? I don't see anything in the ki mystic archetype that allows for replenishment of ki points.

There's some debate over the Ki Mystic Ki Pool class feature. As written, the Ki Mystic loses Still Mind and gains a Ki Pool. That also means he gains a Ki Pool from simply being a Monk. So now he has two Ki Pools.

From there, it's debatable over what that second Ki Pool can be used for. Can it only be used for the things like knowledge checks, or can it be used like a normal Ki Pool? If it's only used for knowledge checks, then it's a pretty weak class feature. But if it's used for everything a regular pool is used for, plus knowledge checks, then it's a fairly good class feature.

So if it can be used as normal + knowledge checks, then it would really help to be a Ki Mystic and taking Ki Throw as you now, effectively, have two pools to pull from.

Grand Lodge

Tels wrote:
Keep this in mind, since you are using your attack of opportunity from them standing up, they are considered prone, so they take a -4 to their CMD vs Disarm, and they also take a -4 to their attack if they take their attack of opportunity.

Actually, nowhere in the prone condition does it say you get any penalties to your CMD, just AC.

Cheliax

Rendrin wrote:
Tels wrote:
Keep this in mind, since you are using your attack of opportunity from them standing up, they are considered prone, so they take a -4 to their CMD vs Disarm, and they also take a -4 to their attack if they take their attack of opportunity.
Actually, nowhere in the prone condition does it say you get any penalties to your CMD, just AC.

tels quoted the rules further up the page.

Quote:


Combat Maneuver Defense wrote:
Miscellaneous Modifiers

A creature can also add any circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, luck, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses to AC to its CMD. Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD.

Prone wrote:
The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Grand Lodge

Ah, ok, sweet, thanks. I just looked under the Prone condition in the back of the book, I wasn't reading the CMD rules. If I'm going to keep GMing PFS I need to not fail so much.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Simon Langhoff wrote:

I can't get the improved disarm feat before level 6(as a bonus feat) and then at that point there are other bonus feats that I would really like instead as well, like mobility(for spring attack) and also improved trip.

I'd advise against getting Spring Attack, because it won't work with your FoB. Getting a single attack isn't going to make your monk very useful.

I've got a level 7 monk in Pathfinder Society, and I'm loving him. I use the Monk of the Four Winds and Qinggong archetypes, so I can cast Barkskin, Scorching Ray, and Hydraulic Torrent as ki powers, which keeps me versatile.

I also have Improved Trip and Improved Grapple. Grappling is great for shutting down casters, because they have to make ridiculously difficult concentration checks to cast spells while grappled. It's also handy when you outnumber your opponents, because you essentially remove the two of you from combat.

Tripping is good when you face heavy-duty martial characters, who are outclassing you in attack rolls and AC. Knocking someone prone is one of the best debuffs you can put on a martial character. I'm a fan of the Trip + Elemental Fist combo in my Flurry of Blows. Knock them down, then go for big damage while they've got an AC penalty.

Shadow Lodge

i would suggest if you choose to play a monk that grapples play AC/CMD
with snaping turtle style. dont focus on damage, but instead focus on taking powerful targets out of the fight for your group.

if you like the idea of striking (and damage) more then playing support, then i would suggest dragon style, and trip to set up your full attacks.

if you're able to trip your target as a standard action, then he has to use his move to get up, and either attack you once(standard action) or try to get away from you, then you try to trip them again. take combat reflexes and you gain quite a bit of damage when its not your turn, then get your full flurry once you get your turn.

both characters can be cool and effective.

i personally like playing a grappler for the utility of taking casters and summoned monsters out of the fight by tieing them up while i move on to the next target. if you do decide to grapple go with a tetori, and get an amulet of mighty fists + ghost touch asap and focus on your non armor based AC (touch and CMD)


Spring Attack actually isn't all that bad of a Feat, as long as you don't try and use it to deal damage. For instance, let's say you're fighting against a Huge Giant, and you have Disarm and Trip. Now, you can't trip him, unless you've got Ki Throw, but you can still Disarm him. It will be very difficult, but a 20 always succeeds. So what you do, is use Spring Attack to get in, and out, of reach to attempt a Disarm maneuver. If you succeed, you take his weapon and run away with it, as you're more than likely faster than he is.

My own personal playstyle for the Monk is Harass and Hinder. I do as much as I can, to piss off the enemy, and focus their attacks on myself, because I've got a pretty damn good AC, and enhanced mobility. Any attack delivered to me, is an attack that isn't against our primary hitter, which is a good thing. Some call this Tanking, but a Tank should be able to draw attacks, take hits, and deal damage. Monks can't take hits very well or do lots of damage, but if he can sufficiently piss off the enemy, he can draw the attacks.

Shadow Lodge

now speaking of grapple, how would you handle a creature grappling you mid full attack? say for instance you have turtle clutch, you get attacked and provoke the grapple. now the person you just grappled had 5 attacks, and only used 2 of them. what then happens with the remainder of the attacks?


He gets to continue the attacks. The person that is controlling the grapple, may deal damage with a single weapon, while the person who is being grappled, may make a full attack, as long as he is using an appropriate weapon.

If the person whose attack routine you interrupted is using an appropriate weapon (light or one-handed weapon iirc), then they may continue the attack routine. If you grappled someone using a Greatsword, their attack routine ends because you can't use a Greatsword in a grapple.

Keep in mind, if you are grappled, that doesn't stop you from threatening squares. So if you grapple someone using a Greatsword, and they don't have a smaller backup, they can still pummel you with fists. But if they don't have Improved Unarmed Strike, they provoke attacks for each attack they make.

Cheliax

Tels wrote:

He gets to continue the attacks. The person that is controlling the grapple, may deal damage with a single weapon, while the person who is being grappled, may make a full attack, as long as he is using an appropriate weapon.

If the person whose attack routine you interrupted is using an appropriate weapon (light or one-handed weapon iirc), then they may continue the attack routine. If you grappled someone using a Greatsword, their attack routine ends because you can't use a Greatsword in a grapple.

Keep in mind, if you are grappled, that doesn't stop you from threatening squares. So if you grapple someone using a Greatsword, and they don't have a smaller backup, they can still pummel you with fists. But if they don't have Improved Unarmed Strike, they provoke attacks for each attack they make.

But you can't take attacks of opportunity with the grappled condition (i think tetori and maybe the unarmed fighter give exceptions).

Quote:

Grappled

A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. Grappled creatures cannot move and take a –4 penalty to Dexterity. A grappled creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, except those made to grapple or escape a grapple. In addition, grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform. A grappled character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level), or lose the spell. Grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity.

A grappled creature cannot use Stealth to hide from the creature grappling it, even if a special ability, such as hide in plain sight, would normally allow it to do so. If a grappled creature becomes invisible, through a spell or other ability, it gains a +2 circumstance bonus on its CMD to avoid being grappled, but receives no other benefit.

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