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Suggested Monk Redesigns


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This thread is for the suggested changes to the monk to make it, well, do what it's meant to do, really, and not struggle to do anything at all but make saves and run away.

I'll open the batting with my own ideas.

Dabbler’s Monk

This version of the monk class is designed to correct some perceived flaws with the monk class as it currently stands. The monk is a combat class that struggles to inflict significant damage on its targets – or indeed, to hit them with its primary offensive feature, the flurry-of-blows with an unarmed strike. The monk has other problems, too: the monk’s high mobility is at odds with the flurry-of-blows class feature, making the custom skirmisher class a poor skirmisher; while their multi-attribute-dependency makes them famously poor in any one area.

Because I am looking at a fix to the existing monk, rather than rebuilding the class, any class features I do not mention are unchanged.

Weapon 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, and with any weapon with ‘monk’ in its description.
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, as well as his fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.

I’ve added the clause that monks are proficient with any monk weapon. It’s a no-brainer, most monk weapons are not worth taking a feat to use.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st 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 unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) at the same number and penalty as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat), but without restriction on which weapons can be used in what order, and all monk weapons counted as light weapons. If the monk wishes to use the same weapon for all attacks, they may do so. For the purpose of these attacks, the monk’s base attack bonus is equal to his monk level less the penalty for Two Weapon Fighting. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.
At 8th level, the monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, at the same number and penalty as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).
At 15th level, the monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, at the same number and penalty as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).
A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. 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 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 using the Power Attack feat applies the bonus to damage with their weapon as if the weapon was a one-handed weapon, regardless of what weapon they are actually using, even a two-handed weapon.

Save for the Power Attack clause, this is identical to the flurry-of-blows as used since Pathfinder’s inception by the majority of players. Two-handed monk users need not worry, however, just keep reading.

Monk Weapon Training: At 1st level, monks have training to maximize their effectiveness with monk weapons. The monk can be treated as having the Weapon Finesse feat when wielding any monk weapon to which the feat is applied, including the monk’s unarmed strike.

This feature is designed to reduce MAD, by reducing requirements on strength without imposing a crippling feat-tax. It also encourages the monk away from high strength while not prohibiting it – the traditional Shoalin priest was a small, lightly built man, not a hulking brick outhouse.

Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. 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’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
A monk also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, a medium-sized monk will deal 1d6 base damage for their unarmed strike. A small-sized monk will deal 1d4 damage, and a large sized monk will deal 1d8 damage.

This may appear counter-intuitive, but the reason for having such a low and non-rising base damage will become clear below.

Monk Precision: At 2nd level, the monk gains a +1 competence bonus to damage when using their unarmed strike or a monk weapon. Every four levels this bonus increases by another +1, to +5 at 18th level.

This is the first off-set to monk’s low damage output, armed or unarmed; by making it a competence bonus it doesn’t stack with a number of buffs, off-setting its usefulness in all situations. The monk is supposed to be a self-sufficient class, and this way he becomes his own buffer.

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. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally. In addition, the monk may make maneuvers as if possessing the Agile Maneuvers feat if they do so unarmed, or with a monk weapon, if they wish.

Again, reducing dependence on high strength scores and making the ‘traditional’ monk more viable.

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 1/2 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 with his unarmed attack or a ki focus weapon. At 4th level, ki strike gains a +1 enhancement bonus to hit and damage, treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. ki strike improves with the character’s monk level; ever four additional levels the ki strike increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. This enhancement bonus overcomes damage resistance as if it were a magic weapon, but will not stack with a magic weapon’s own enhancement bonus if a ki focus weapon is used – only the higher of the two enhancements will be used. At 8th level it also bypasses five points of hardness when damaging objects, and this increases by five points every four levels to 20 points of hardness at 20th level.
By spending 1 point from his ki pool, a monk can make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack. In addition, he can spend 1 point to increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round. At 8th level, the monk may expend a point from his ki pool to make a short flurry of blows as a standard action; the monk may make two attacks, as if the first and third attacks of their flurry of blows. At 15th level, this increases to three attacks, as if the first, third and fifth attacks from their flurry of blows. Finally, a monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round. Each of these powers is activated as a swift action. 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.

The ‘short flurry’ is the real ace-in-the-hole, it allows the monk to actually move and attack effectively. The enhancement bonus gets around the monk’s major problem of gaining enhancement to the unarmed strike. Combined with the Monk’s precision you gain a total +5 bonus to hit +10 bonus to damage when using your unarmed strike – and 1d6+10 damage isn’t that much more dangerous than 2d10 damage, especially when you consider it can get no further magical enhancement. It makes the amulet of mighty fists the gravy, not the main course, of the monk’s attacks. When applied to weapons the fact that the enhancement bonus only works with a ki-focus weapon and does not stack with it helps cap off the damage before it threatens the fighter’s top-spot.

Comparisons:

At 20th level, a TWF fighter will have +6 to hit from feats and weapon training, with +5 from the weapon for +11 in total. To damage they will have +8 from feats and weapon training and +5 from the weapon, for +11/+13.
At 20th level our monk will have +1 from feats and +5 from either ki strike or weapon enhancements. To damage he will have +5 from monk precision, and +5 from either ki strike or weapon enhancements, for a total of +6/10. The monk can have multiple ki focus weapons with other enchantments it is true, but this is not much more than the fighter can also have and is offset by the fighter’s greater bonuses to hit and better weapons.

There is a greater issue with two-handed weapons, in that the monk can flurry with them. However, the monk’s lack of Power Attack enhancement tells against them, as do the poorer nature of monk weapons with which they can flurry. It’s important to remember that +1 to hit is worth +2 to damage in these comparisons.

At 20th level a fighter will have the same bonuses above, with -6 to hit +18 to damage. The monk will have -5 to hit and +10 to damage from power attack, their effective BAB being two points below the fighter’s. The fighter is therefore at +5 to hit +31 to damage with less attacks, the monk at +1 to hit and +20 to damage. Bear in mind, the fighter is also likely to have higher strength which will also increase their damage potential still further, they will achieve more hits and their weapons have better threat ranges.

The result of these changes is that while the monk is now in the same ball-park as the fighter, he’s not able to approach the fighter’s top-spot. In addition to this, his AC might be comparable (if he throws most of his resources into it) but his hit points are likely to be worse, and at high level hits are inevitable. The fighter is still better at fighting, but the monk is now able to fulfill his stated role of hitting hard and fast.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dabbler on yours -- for Weapon Training, I might consider allowing their weapon finesse like ability to use Wisdom to hit instead of Dex, to reduce MAD further.

May as well throw this out here. A long time ago, I came up with 2 classes to replace the monk for a homebrew project. The project demanded an ascetic warrior very good at fighting--but only fighting--and a more mystically driven crazy-old-sensei-who-lives-in-the-mountains kind of character. The monk only sort of worked as both and I decided to make 2 classes both inspired by the monk, but one focusing on combat and the other focusing on special/support abilities. I realized they'd probably work well in most any game. The attempt is to get two classes with more focus than the 1 monk. I've revised them some over time (and edited out flurry for both of them).

The original thread discussing them is here.

These are slow WIPs, and still need a lot of work:
The Mystic: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10bGZul4t45aWYA3Qw8ufJ7FCzzW7Y-vu-zySft- 3G_c/edit

The Martial Artist: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13Ig4LfFopDCzVlgYX9ACkyRMB2XoEAyMb1LT_x_ t0s0/edit

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
It makes the amulet of mighty fists the gravy, not the main course, of the monk’s attacks.

There's a bit of a problem (possibly with the ki-focus weapons as well), namely that if I have a level 12 monk (thus a +3 ki-strike) and a flaming ghost-touch amulet of mighty fists, the amulet has no effect on my unarmed strikes: when there are two sources of magic enhancing a particular attack, only the stronger of the two is considered - the other is considered "off" for that attack. To determine strength, the relative enhancement bonuses are compared (i.e. +3 vs +0).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Dabbler on yours -- for Weapon Training, I might consider allowing their weapon finesse like ability to use Wisdom to hit instead of Dex, to reduce MAD further.

We could, or we could introduce a feat to do this. I wanted to reduce MAD somewhat, but not eliminate it completely - the power-ups of automatic enhancement and monks precision are powerful, after all. Most monks will have a decent dexterity for defensive purposes, after all. If we hinge everything off wisdom we could go too far in making them SAD rather than MAD.

LoreKeeper wrote:
Quote:
It makes the amulet of mighty fists the gravy, not the main course, of the monk’s attacks.
There's a bit of a problem (possibly with the ki-focus weapons as well), namely that if I have a level 12 monk (thus a +3 ki-strike) and a flaming ghost-touch amulet of mighty fists, the amulet has no effect on my unarmed strikes: when there are two sources of magic enhancing a particular attack, only the stronger of the two is considered - the other is considered "off" for that attack. To determine strength, the relative enhancement bonuses are compared (i.e. +3 vs +0).

No, the way I intended it to work is that the greater enhancement bonus is used: +3. The amulet still confers ghost touch and flaming properties, as these are properties and not enhancements. As far as I know, this is valid - you can, for example, right now cast Greater Magic Weapon on a monk with an amulet as you describe and they get the benefit of both. It actually makes the amulet's cost and limitations look sane and sensible.

Hence you would have a +3 ghost touch flaming unarmed strike. The cost is 20,000gp, which does concern me as it's a lot less than the cost of a +5 weapon (50,000gp). On the flip side, you've lost your amulet slot and will need the money saved to spend on your AC to keep it up to speed (AC for a monk costs a lot). I'd have to crunch some numbers to see how that measures up against the fighter yardstick, but I think it will work out OK.

Edit: yes, it works: sword & board fighter is equal on AC, and 40-50 points ahead in hit points. Face them against each other and the monk will go down first.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:
No, the way I intended it to work is that the greater enhancement bonus is used: +3. The amulet still confers ghost touch and flaming properties, as these are properties and not enhancements. As far as I know, this is valid - you can, for example, right now cast Greater Magic Weapon on a monk with an amulet as you describe and they get the benefit of both. It actually makes the amulet's cost and limitations look sane and sensible.

From Core:

Core wrote:
Bracers of armor and ordinary armor do not stack. If a creature receives a larger armor bonus from another source, the bracers of armor cease functioning and do not grant their armor bonus or their armor special abilities. If the bracers of armor grant a larger armor bonus, the other source of armor ceases functioning.

I suspect the same argument applies to Amulets of Mighty Fist and Greater Magic Weapon. I recall (without reference) James Jacobs or one of the Devs confirming something along that line.

Dabbler wrote:

On the flip side, you've lost your amulet slot and will need the money saved to spend on your AC to keep it up to speed (AC for a monk costs a lot). I'd have to crunch some numbers to see how that measures up against the fighter yardstick, but I think it will work out OK.

Edit: yes, it works: sword & board fighter is equal on AC, and 40-50 points ahead in hit points. Face them against each other and the monk will go down first.

There's not much problem for a monk with respect to AC; his costs are generally cheaper or the same than for a fighter to get the same AC. Losing the amulet-slot is notable, but not 20000gp for a 50000gp weapon notable. A monk looking for AC will use the qinggong archtype to have the barkskin ki power, keeping the amulet slot available for other things.

I always use (and advocate) that monks at levels below 9 use potions of mage armor for AC. That works out significantly cheaper and more effective than other options at those levels. It is still a passable solution to levels around 13, though after that it's generally more useful to have actual bracers of armor (and if he's lucky, the monk can party-buy a good set of bracers from loot at those levels).

...

The benefit of the monk's robe wondrous item would have to be adjusted (with respect to increased unarmed damage).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We might have to add a clause into the ki strike to ensure it does stack with other non-enhancement features of other weapons, amulet etc.

I would beg to differ on the AC side.

Monk gets Dex + Wis bonuses, +3 at 12th level. If the monk is dropping strength then they could have 20 dex (17-18 + level increases) and 16 Wis before we add on gear. That's a base of 11 before magic & enhancements.

Fighter gets Dex + armour + shield at 12th level with armour training. A sword & board TWFer will have around a 17 dex. That gives us a base of 15 before magic & enhancements.

Now the monk has one cheap option for AC (bracers), one moderate one (ring of protection - remember we lost the amulet slot), and two expensive ones (stat enhancers on Dex and Wis).

With 88K he can get +5 bracers (25K), +3 ring (18K), +4 Belt of Dex (16K), +2 headband (16K) for another 11 on AC.

The fighter has two cheap options for AC (enhance armour and shield), two moderate enhancers (ring & amulet) and no expensive ones because he's already getting the best Dex bonus he can apply.

With 58K he can get +4 armour (16K), +4 shield (16K), +2 ring (8K), +3 amulet (18K) for +13 on AC.

Even if the monk ditches the bracers for potions of mage armour and beefs up their other AC boosters, they aren't going to catch up with the fighter.


Here is a link to my own monk redesign: A Monk for All Editions; feel free to steal any ideas you want!

Master Arminas


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you Arminas.

LoreKeeper mentioned I should look at the monk's robe with my build above, so here it is:

Robe, Monk’s
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot body; Price 13,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This simple brown robe, when worn, confers great ability in unarmed combat. If the wearer has levels in monk, her monl's AC bonus is treated as a monk of five levels higher, and she inflicts an extra 1d6 damage with her unarmed strike (this is bonus damage, and is not multiplied on a critical hit). If donned by a character with the Stunning Fist feat, the robe lets her make one additional stunning attack per day. If the character is not a monk, she gains the AC bonus of a 5th-level monk (although she does not add her Wisdom bonus to her AC) and the unarmed strike ability of a monk, inflicting 1d6+1 damage per strike, or 1d6+2 and treated as a +1 magic weapon should the wearer have a ki pool with at least one point remaining. This AC bonus functions just like the monk’s AC bonus.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, righteous might or
transformation; Cost 6,500 gp

Also, the following line from the ki pool class feature should be modified as follows:

"This enhancement bonus overcomes damage resistance as if it were a magic weapon, but will not stack with a magic weapon’s own enhancement bonus if a ki focus weapon is used – only the higher of the two enhancements will be used."

Should now read:

"This enhancement bonus overcomes damage resistance as if it were a magic weapon, but will not stack with a magic weapon’s own enhancement bonus if a ki focus weapon is used – only the higher of the two enhancements will be used, although properties other than the base enhancement replaced still function, as do any special properties of an amulet of mighty fists function on an unarmed strike, if one is worn."


For what it's worth, my order of preference is for a clear class redesign (such as the Ascetic Monk), followed by feats/magic items geared to make the monk more valuable, followed by ad hoc fixes (such as fixing the price of the AoMF, returning FoB to pre-clarification days, etc...).

I like the idea of the Ascetic Monk, specifically, because I don't like splat books. I don't want to have to include books like UM and UC just to have a viable, playable class. I want to see the Ascetic Monk (playtested and finished) included in the core of PF 2.0. Between now and then, I'd like to see the feat approach and magic items (playtested and finished) used in the next edition of the current CRB.

Just my two coppers.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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

Here's an example of a str-damage-focused monk at level 12: 31 AC base, with options to increase to 39 AC. That is sufficient for that level.

Dex 16 = 14 base + 2 item
Wis 16 = 14 base + 2 item

AC 31 = 10 + 3 dex + 3 wis + 4 monk + 5 natural (barkskin ki power) + 2 deflect + 4 armor

Money spent on AC: 36,500gp
- belt of dex +2 (4000gp)
- headband of wis +2 (4000gp)
- ring of proc +2 (8000gp)
- dusty rose prism ioun stone (5000gp)
- monk's robe (13000gp)
- 50x potions of mage armor (2500gp)

Optional AC enhancements:
- crane style +4 AC at -1 to attack
- ki point for +4 AC

A monk that actually tries to focus on Dex and Wisdom and AC could have 20 Dex and Wis respectively, +6 bracers, +3 ring; for a +7 bonus to AC (38 base with options to 46). Monk's have plenty good defenses. Also, although it is expensive to increase Dex and Wis, they do have bonus effects such as increased skills, initiative, saves, stun-DC, etc. Likewise the monk's robe also increases damage.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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

On a note related more to the original topic of the thread: Dabbler, have you seen my mistress of cherry blossoms? (A monk archetype designed to be even >more< MAD than a regular monk.)

The flurry-of-blows replacement is both skirmish friendly and potentially uniquely powerful (particularly against a big group of enemies).


And here is my ascetic monk. Enjoy.

Master Arminas


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:

On a note related more to the original topic of the thread: Dabbler, have you seen my mistress of cherry blossoms? (A monk archetype designed to be even >more< MAD than a regular monk.)

The flurry-of-blows replacement is both skirmish friendly and potentially uniquely powerful (particularly against a big group of enemies).

That's a new one I haven't seem but it's also an unofficial one. I tend not to rely on temporary bonuses to AC - mainly because they ARE temporary, and usually take time to activate (not much help when you get caught with your pants down). Crane Style, without good enhancements to hit, is crippling in so much as it reduces the chances to hit still further from something already substandard for a combat class. It's nice, but how do you get the enemy to attack you if you can't seriously threaten them? Admittedly less of a problem with this design of monk, though.

I'm sure a good optimiser could improve on the fighter's AC from my work - the one I use above has AC38 without breaking a sweat with no conditional modifiers or temporary buffs - for example, another +4 from Combat Expertise.


Here are the ideas I presented in another thread put here at Dabbler's request. They're modified a bit, the first two by taking the changes Tels applied to them. They're meant to increase the monk's mobile offense capability without making a huge change to every class feature.

Flurry of Blows:
Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a monk may make a flurry of blows whenever he attacks. When using a standard action to attack, a monk may make one additional attack at his highest BAB, but all attacks that round take a -2 penalty. When using the full attack action, a monk may make an additional attack at his highest BAB. When using a full round flurry of blows, a monk does not take a -2 penalty.
At 8th level, a monk make take a second additional attack at his highest BAB, but at a -5 penalty.
At 15th level, a monk may make a third additional attack at his highest BAB, but at a -10 penalty.
For the purposes of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus from his monk class levels is equal to his monk level. If a monk has levels in a class other than monk, add the base attack bonus granted from the class to the monk's modified base attack bonus.

A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. 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 and cannot gain the benefits of Two Weapon Fighting or similar abilities at the same time. 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.

Fast Movement:
Fast Movement (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk's base land speed increases by 10 ft. The monk's speed continues to increase by 10 ft. every 3 levels after 3rd (6th, 9th, 12th, etc) to a maximum of 60 ft at level 18. Additionally, at 6th level, a monk's ability to move even when using a full-round action improves. At 6th level, and every 6 levels there after (12, 18..) a monk may make an additional 5 ft. step on a full round action. For example, at 12th level, a monk using flurry of blows may take three 5 ft. steps in between his attacks. A monk in armor or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.

Ki Strike:
Ki Strike (Su): At 5th level, a monk can use their Ki to empower their unarmed strike attacks. As long as they have at least 1 point in his ki pool, they can make a ki strike. At 5th level the monk's Ki strike grants a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls made with an unarmed strike, and a monk's unarmed strike is treated as a magical weapon for overcoming damage reduction. At 8th level and every 3 levels after (11th, 14th, 17th, 20th) the enhancement bonus gains a cumulative +1 extra enhancement point, to a maximum of +6 enhancement bonus at level 20. At 8th level a monk's unarmed strike are also treated as Lawful aligned weapons for overcoming damage reduction. At 11th level they are also treated as Cold Iron/Alchemical Silver weapons for overcoming damage reduction. At 14th level they are also treated as Adamantine weapons for overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness. At 17th level they are also capable of overcoming any alignment based damage reduction. Finally, at 20th level a monk's unarmed strike is also treated as Epic weapons for overcoming damage reduction.

The monk can spend ki points to enhance her unarmed strike or special monk weapon as a standard action for 1 minute per monk level. At 5th level a monk can spend 1 ki point to add a +1 enhancement equivalent special weapon property (such as Flaming or Bane). At 8th level this increases to 2 ki points for a +2 weapon property (such as Flaming Burst) or 2 +1 weapon properties, and for every 3 levels (11th, 14th, etc) the maximum amount capable of being spent increases by 1 for a maximum of 6 ki points at level 20. These bonuses are added to any properties the weapon already has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. If the special monk weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. The bonus and properties granted by this ability are determined each time the monk activates it. These bonuses apply to both ends of a double weapon at no extra cost, but a monk can have only one weapon or unarmed strike benefit from this ability at once. This ability imparts no bonuses if the weapon is held by anyone other than the monk but resumes giving bonuses if returned to the monk. The bonus properties can be dismissed as a free action in order to allow the monk to spend more ki points for different weapon properties. A monk can only apply weapon properties applicable to the weapon involved, and a monk's unarmed strike counts as a light bludgeoning melee weapon. A monk can never apply the Anarchic weapon property, and cannot apply the Dancing or Throwing property to their unarmed strike.

EDITED: Put in no TWF clause in FoB.


I like those Cel'Daren. One point, if the monk stays at medium BAB (which I recommend), drop the -2 penalty. Sure, that gives monks an advantage when he flurry as part of standard action, but you are already dropping the penalty on a full attack. Make them the same. And you might want to put in there a clause stipulating that flurry does NOT stack with Two-Weapon Fighting. Otherwise, the rules lawyers will try and play a monk that gets 13 attacks a round (three standard 15/10/5), three from flurry (15/10/5), three from TWF (15/10/5), one from ki (15), two from Medusa's Wrath (15/15), and one from haste (15); all at a -2 penalty to hit (from TWF).

Master Arminas


master Arminas wrote:
One point, if the monk stays at medium BAB (which I recommend), drop the -2 penalty.

The FoB above gives High BAB, the note is just under the "At 15th level.." portion. The -2 on a standard attack helps offset the fact you're getting up to 5 attacks during a standard action. 1 standard, 3 flurry, 1 ki.

Also my original version had the clause against TWF, let me just shove that back in there...

Star Voter 2013

I changed Cel'Daren's FoB to make his standard action FoB at BAB = HD but with a -2. His BAB is still 3/4 for feats and stuff, but the key here is, the way I changed it, he can only flurry during full attack actions, or standard attack actions. If he were to use feats like Spring Attack, he can't make a flurry.

When I really thought about it, if a Monk could get hist unarmed strikes enhanced like weapons, and make flurries ina Spring Attack, you'd see every monk using Spring Attack ASAP and annoying the hell out of GMs. The monk would be capable of out maneuvering anyone else other than another monk. He'd run faster, hit hard, and have a good enough AC to not be too worried on the off chance he got hit.

I limited the Flurry so as not to make the Monk an annoying class for the GM to deal with. The worst thing we could do with our potential changes, is make a class that would annoy GMs and other players because they are untouchable, and hit extremely hard. I mean, they already have to deal with Pathfinder Archers. We don't want to add a super fast, Spring Attacking, flurry of blows wielding, monk to the equation.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tels wrote:

When I really thought about it, if a Monk could get hist unarmed strikes enhanced like weapons, and make flurries ina Spring Attack, you'd see every monk using Spring Attack ASAP and annoying the hell out of GMs. The monk would be capable of out maneuvering anyone else other than another monk. He'd run faster, hit hard, and have a good enough AC to not be too worried on the off chance he got hit.

I limited the Flurry so as not to make the Monk an annoying class for the GM to deal with. The worst thing we could do with our potential changes, is make a class that would annoy GMs and other players because they are untouchable, and hit extremely hard. I mean, they already have to deal with Pathfinder Archers. We don't want to add a super fast, Spring Attacking, flurry of blows wielding, monk to the equation.

Definitely. What we don't want to do is make the monk brokenly good, because that's as bad as brokenly bad.

Going back to the AC considerations, in Lorekeeper's example he gave the monk +4 AC from Crane Style for -1 to hit. Technically this is in error, Crane Style gives only +3 to AC for -2 to hit, unless you add in the feats up-chain and down-chain. There is also no reason the fighter cannot take this feat chain, so I have to discount it from the AC comparison, which could and should focus on equipment and exclusive feats and abilities. Of these, only Shield Focus and using ki seem really relevant, and the latter is a limited pool you won't use every round of combat.


I'd suggest rewriting Flurry of Blows to remove all references to it acting like Two-Weapon Fighting - just saying it provides extra attacks at -2 and that all attacks use base (not 1/2, not 1-1/2) strength bonus for damage should be a good way to remove a lot of useless wording. Then just add in a clause that states that Flurry of Blows cannot be combined with Two-Weapon Fighting/Multiweapon Fighting or natural attacks of any sort.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's a very good idea, HappyDaze. Something like this:

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Starting at 1st 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 unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) they may be holding in either hand at the time. If the monk wishes to hold a weapon in each hand, they may still make unarmed attacks, if they wish to use the same weapon for all attacks, they may do so.
Their base attack bonus for these attacks is equal to their monk level -2; the number of attacks they receive is equal to those a character with full base attack bonus would receive, with the normal itarative attacks. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.
At 8th level, the monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, one at their full flurry of blows attack bonus and one extra attack at -5 like any other iterative atack.
At 15th level, the monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, one at full flurry of blows attack bonus, one at -5 and one at -10.
For example, at 16th level a monk flurrying has the iterative attacks as if they had a base attack bonus of 16 - +16/+11/+6/+1 but at a -2 penalty to give them an actual base attack bonus of +14/+9/+4/-1 and with three extra attacks at +14/+9/+4 for a final number of attacks: +14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4/-1. For reasons of gaining feats, the monk has a base attack bonus of +12; for purposes of defining effects while flurrying they have a base attack bonus of +14.
A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. 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 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.
The monk may not use Two Weapon Fighting with flurry of blows; the style and mechanics of Two Weapon Fighting are already factored into the monks fighting style with flurry-of-blows.
A monk using the Power Attack feat applies the bonus to damage with their weapon as if the weapon was a one-handed weapon, regardless of what weapon they are actually using, even a two-handed weapon.


Random feat ideas just cause:

Hammering Blows
You sacrifice speed for power to crush your foes.
Prerequisites: Flurry of Blows, Vital Strike, Monk level 6
Benefit: For purposes of qualifying for the Improved Vital Strike and Greater Vital Strike feats the monk's Flurry of Blows BAB is used instead of their normal BAB.
When performing a Flurry of Blows a monk may instead perform Hammering Blows. The monk sacrifices the extra attacks granted by Flurry of Blows in order to apply the damage bonus from Vital Strike to all of their normally available attacks. A -2 penalty is applied to the attack rolls of these attacks, but the normal penalty of Flurry of Blows does not apply. A monk can still spend a Ki point in order to gain 1 additional attack at full attack bonus, and it also gains the benefit of Hammering Blows.

Improved Hammering Blows
Your strikes are devastatingly potent.
Prerequisites: Flurry of Blows, Hammering Blows, Improved Vital Strike, Monk level 11
Benefits: A monk performing Hammering Blows no longer suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls. The monk can also apply the damage bonus of Improved Vital Strike when performing Hammering Blows, and if they have Greater Vital Strike they may apply that bonus instead. The additional damage granted from Hammering Blows is now multiplied on a critical hit.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's interesting, Cel'Daran - I like those. You're effectively halving the number of attacks to double the base damage, which will help overcome DR.


Thanks Dabbler. Sometimes a monk just needs to stop floating like a butterfly and beat a single opponent into the dirt quickly.

This also got me thinking for some ideas for other feats. Mainly having feats that opened up options not normally available to a monk. Like..

Improved Flurry
Your ability to attack quickly doesn't diminish your accuracy.
Prerequisites: Flurry of Blows, Monk level 5
Benefits: You gain a +1 bonus to all attack rolls made during a Flurry of Blows.
A monk with this feat adds their monk level - 2 to their effective Fighter level when applying for feats that require Weapon Focus, such as Weapon Specialization or Penetrating Strike. When choosing these feats only weapons that a monk can Flurry with are capable of being affected.

Star Voter 2013

Cel'Daren, you do realize you're opening the door for six attacks that deal 8d10 damage and if they crit, 16d10 damage?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tels wrote:
Cel'Daren, you do realize you're opening the door for six attacks that deal 8d10 damage and if they crit, 16d10 damage?

Um, Tels, this feat allows you to use Vital Strike - no mention of the Improved and Greater feats. That's just 4d10 instead of 2d10, and on a critical (which is rare with an unarmed strike, even with Improved Critical) the Vital Strike dice are not affected, so it becomes 6d10. Now at a level where a fighter's bonus damage is racked up to huge numbers (+30 isn't unusual), that's not so broken.

Star Voter 2013

Dabbler, you may want to go back and read his post again. The Improved Hammering Blows feat in particular. It clearly says using Imp. and Grt. Vital Strikes and the extra damage is multiplied on a crit.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tels wrote:
Dabbler, you may want to go back and read his post again. The Improved Hammering Blows feat in particular. It clearly says using Imp. and Grt. Vital Strikes and the extra damage is multiplied on a crit.

My bad, I missed that - the Improved IS busted.

Star Voter 2013

He might have edited it in there after you read is initial feat suggestion. So it's all good.

I like the feat Hammering Blows, but the Improved version is too good. It opens up too much possibility for abuse. I mean, can you imagine a Zen Archer that sacrifices 3 attacks, to deal 4d8 on the other six? (4 from BAB, 1 from Ki, 1 from Haste).

[Edit]Toss on a Gravity Bow, and that's 8d6. Give him large arrows and an enlarge person, that's 12d6. It would make an already powerful archetype, a God.


It would be a bit like the old Order of the Bow Initiate from Complete Warrior. Which was a pretty decent prestige class.

Master Arminas


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, the basic feat, Hammering Blows, is OK, it serves a purpose and it kind of works for the monk.


*Shrugs* Sorry, to be honest I'm very new to Pathfinder and similar games outside of their computerized versions (NWN and NWN2). So my views of balance are immature at best. Still, I'm sure someone could tone them down as appropriate easily enough. I've read these forums enough to know you three are very rules savvy. xD

Star Voter 2013

Cel'Daren wrote:
*Shrugs* Sorry, to be honest I'm very new to Pathfinder and similar games outside of their computerized versions (NWN and NWN2). So my views of balance are immature at best. Still, I'm sure someone could tone them down as appropriate easily enough. I've read these forums enough to know you three are very rules savvy. xD

Well, we're glad to have you here. If you have an idea, don't feel afraid to post it, as we can always tweak and prod it until it fits or it's been balanced. Hammering Blows, like I said, is a fine feat, and would probably work great with any of the monk Archetypes, some more than others*. It's the Improved version that has the problem. Vital Strike was clarified to only work on the first attack, otherwise every single person would be taking the feat. Damage would quickly get out of hand when all the greatsword barbarians are dishing out 8d6 per swing.

*Is it just me, or does just about everything work better for the Zen Archer?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Actually Vital Strike is normally a standard action, the idea is that if you are attacking only once you can make up for lack of attacks by dishing more damage out.


Well, my basic idea for the feat was "Monks attack faster than others, so have them spend a feat to use Vital Strike faster than others".

Normally a person could only use a Vital Strike once in a round as a standard action (Good for the end of a Charge or Spring Attack I would think). The Hammering Blows feat simply lets a monk use Vital Strike as a Full round action in order to gain its benefit with up to 5 attacks. 4 base at lvl 16+, plus 1 Ki. I made sure to put in the wording "all of their normally available attacks" and then put in an addendum for the attack gained by spending a Ki point. The feat wouldn't prevent a monk from attacking with their other extra attacks such as from Medusa's Wrath or Haste, but neither would the extra damage from Vital Strike be applied to them.

As for Improved version, looking at it again I see that it is incredibly overpowered as is. I'm not sure how to bring that into balance. Perhaps drop the "multiply on a crit" and apply the extra damage from Improved Vital Strike/Greater Vital Strike only to the first attack? It'd look more like this then:

Improved Hammering Blows:
Improved Hammering Blows
Your strikes are devastatingly potent.
Prerequisites: Flurry of Blows, Hammering Blows, Improved Vital Strike, Monk level 11
Benefits: A monk performing Hammering Blows no longer suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls. The monk can also apply the damage bonus of Improved Vital Strike to their first attack when performing Hammering Blows, and if they have Greater Vital Strike they may apply that bonus to their first attack instead.

The reason I'd rather have that extra damage in the feat is because it gives a monk an incentive to take the entire Vital Strike feat line, which the first Hammering Blows feat allows them to actually do thanks to letting them use their Flurry BAB in order to qualify for the feats. Do you think it would be acceptable now, or does it need more changing?


I have my own very light monk tweak, which I might as well throw out there:

Full BAB, with attendant HD standardization to d10.
Ki recovery: On making a critical hit or felling an enemy with an unarmed strike or monk weapon, recover a point of ki.
Ki pounce: Expend a point of ki as a swift action, gain pounce (with unarmed strikes and monk weapons only) until the beginning of your next turn.
Martial Techniques: Not exactly part of the monk class itself, but designed to work with them. Essentially a category of non-physical "magic item" reflecting a superhuman martial arts technique and granting a weaponlike enchantment to the user's unarmed strikes. The cost is comparable to an equivalent magic weapon, and it can be either voluntarily passed on from a teacher to a student or "stolen" when one martial artist defeats another.

I wrote out more explicit mechanics, but those are the gist of it.

Star Voter 2013

Cel'Daren wrote:

Well, my basic idea for the feat was "Monks attack faster than others, so have them spend a feat to use Vital Strike faster than others".

Normally a person could only use a Vital Strike once in a round as a standard action (Good for the end of a Charge or Spring Attack I would think). The Hammering Blows feat simply lets a monk use Vital Strike as a Full round action in order to gain its benefit with up to 5 attacks. 4 base at lvl 16+, plus 1 Ki. I made sure to put in the wording "all of their normally available attacks" and then put in an addendum for the attack gained by spending a Ki point. The feat wouldn't prevent a monk from attacking with their other extra attacks such as from Medusa's Wrath or Haste, but neither would the extra damage from Vital Strike be applied to them.

As for Improved version, looking at it again I see that it is incredibly overpowered as is. I'm not sure how to bring that into balance. Perhaps drop the "multiply on a crit" and apply the extra damage from Improved Vital Strike/Greater Vital Strike only to the first attack? It'd look more like this then:

** spoiler omitted **

The reason I'd rather have that extra damage in the feat is because it gives a monk an incentive to take the entire Vital Strike feat line, which the first Hammering Blows feat allows them to actually do thanks to letting them use their Flurry BAB in order to qualify for the feats. Do you think it would be acceptable now, or does it need more changing?

Actually, Vital Strike was clarified to be a standard action in and of itself and can't be used on a Spring Attack or Charge. Jason Bulmahn clarified it here. Charge is a full round action, and so is Spring Attack, or Whirlwind, etc. Vital Strike is a Standard Action, so it can't be combined with things like Cleave either, as Cleave is itself, a Standard Action.

Basically, if you've got feats to burn, and you find yourself not doing a lot of charging, but you are moving and attacking, then Vital Strike is good for you. Also, Vital Strike would be good for a sunder happy character.

If you broke Improved Hammering Blows down into Improved and Greater Hammering Blows, I see no reason not to apply full Vital Strike chain to all 5 of their possible attacks.

I would make it so Vital Strike is a prerequisite for Hammering Blows and Imp. Vital Strike, and Imp. Vital Strike is a prerequisite for Imp Hammering Blows and Grt. Vital Strike and Grtr. Vital Strike is a prerequisite for Grt. Hammering Blows.

Granted, that is a seriously heavy feat tax. The other option is to make Hammering Blows a feat that gets better as you level, like Power Attack. Make Vital Strike a Prerequisite for Hammering Blows, and change the wording slightly.

Hammering Blows:

Hammering Blows
You your strikes are devastatingly potent.

Prerequisite: base attack bonus +6, Vital Strike, the ability to make a flurry of blows.

Benefit: Whenever you make a Flurry of Blows, you forgo any extra attacks not granted by a high base attack bonus, to make a Vital Strike on all of your remaining attacks. When using Hammering Blows, the only attacks you may make, are ones granted by having a high base attack bonus, or by spending a point of Ki for an extra attack. Extra attacks granted by effects such as haste, the Speed weapon property, or two-weapon fighting cannot be made when using Hammering Blows.

At base attack bonus +11, you may instead make an Improved Vital Strike on all of your attacks.

At base attack bonus +16, you may instead make a Greater Vital Strike on all of your attacks.

Notice I left in the -2 on the attacks from Flurry of Blows, as I think it's only appropriate to give some penalty for increased damage. I didn't want to take away the -2, only to give the same penalty but under a different name. Hammering Blows has the potential to be a very powerful feat, and like Power Attack, I felt there needs to be a penalty somewhere.

Here is a potential Improved version.

Improved Hammering Blows:

Improved Hammering Blows
Your strikes reign down with overwhelming force.

Prerequisite: base attack bonus +11, Hammering Blows.

Benefit: The extra damage dice from Vital Strike (but not Improved or Greater Vital Strike) is multiplied on a critical hit when using Hammering Blows. In addition, in any round when you use Hammering Blows, your attacks of opportunity also benefit from Hammering Blows until the beginning of your next turn.

I'm not sure about the Improved version. I'm not really positive if it's attractive enough as a feat to take. But it might be worth it to a character with Combat Reflexes and a high Dex.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cel'Daren wrote:
Well, my basic idea for the feat was "Monks attack faster than others, so have them spend a feat to use Vital Strike faster than others".

I like your reasoning, myself. If it were not for BAB, Vital Strike would be great for monks, becase they rely more on dice than static bonuses than other combat classes.


The Vital Strike tree allows to deal similar amounts of damage in a standard action to the damage normally dealt in a full round action. This is why its multiplicator is the same as the number of attacks you can do in a full round action: you can get Vital Strike (x2) when you have 2 attacks, Improved Vital Strike (x3) when you have 3 attacks and Greater Vital Strike (x4) when you have 4 attacks. Not multiplying the bonus damage from strength etc. balances with the reduced attack bonuses for the additional full round attacks.

Therefore I think it is absolutely unbalancing to make Vital Strike available for multiple attacks and would make the monk brokenly good like Dabbler put it some posts ago :-)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
The Vital Strike tree allows to deal similar amounts of damage in a standard action to the damage normally dealt in a full round action. This is why its multiplicator is the same as the number of attacks you can do in a full round action: you can get Vital Strike (x2) when you have 2 attacks, Improved Vital Strike (x3) when you have 3 attacks and Greater Vital Strike (x4) when you have 4 attacks. Not multiplying the bonus damage from strength etc. balances with the reduced attack bonuses for the additional full round attacks.

I disagree that this balances; for example my daughter's 13th level fighter is dishing out 2d6+32 damage on a hit with power attack with a greatsword at +30/+21/+16. No way is +4d6 equivelant to that much in static bonuses. I will agree, Vital Strike does help compensate for not being able to gain the extra attacks, but to be honest it's the feat to choose AFTER you took Furious Focus, which is worth way more, and in fact after a lot of other feats.


Dabbler wrote:
Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
The Vital Strike tree allows to deal similar amounts of damage in a standard action to the damage normally dealt in a full round action. This is why its multiplicator is the same as the number of attacks you can do in a full round action: you can get Vital Strike (x2) when you have 2 attacks, Improved Vital Strike (x3) when you have 3 attacks and Greater Vital Strike (x4) when you have 4 attacks. Not multiplying the bonus damage from strength etc. balances with the reduced attack bonuses for the additional full round attacks.
I disagree that this balances; for example my daughter's 13th level fighter is dishing out 2d6+32 damage on a hit with power attack with a greatsword at +30/+21/+16. No way is +4d6 equivelant to that much in static bonuses. I will agree, Vital Strike does help compensate for not being able to gain the extra attacks, but to be honest it's the feat to choose AFTER you took Furious Focus, which is worth way more, and in fact after a lot of other feats.

Well, it doesn't balance exactly, of course, and I don't think that Vital Strike should be as good as attacking multiple times as you get to move as well and that has to be payed for by something, as well.


@ Tels

Wow, I did not know that you couldn't take an attack action during a Charge or Spring Attack. Forcing the distinction between an attack and an attack action has no point in my mind except to further limit the ability to stay mobile and use special attacks at the same time. While not aimed at the monk, even I can tell that they get hit hard with that. Honestly I would ask a DM to houserule that away, for sake of my sanity.

As for your remake of the Hammering Blows. You removed the portion of using a monk's Flurry BAB. A pure monk would never be able to take the final benefit of it because they're BAB is 15 at lvl 20. My original feat also had a -2 penalty to attack rolls, but it was clarified to be different than the Flurry penalty just to help keep the feat far away from TWF. (Don't want even a chance of someone interpreting it as needing two different weapons to perform the ability)

Also..

Tels wrote:
Cel'Daren, you do realize you're opening the door for six attacks that deal 8d10 damage and if they crit, 16d10 damage?

And with your Improved Hammering Blows feat you're opening the door for 5 + Dex Mod attacks that deal 8d10 damage and if they crit 16d10 damage thanks to this "In addition, in any round when you use Hammering Blows, your attacks of opportunity also benefit from Hammering Blows until the beginning of your next turn." (Assuming you make it possible for a pure monk to be able to take Greater Vital Strike as my feat did.)

@ Liam

Well, let's see. At 20th level with my two feats plus all 3 Vital Strike feats a monk performing Hammering Blows would have the following:

First Attack: +20 BAB with 8d10 damage + modifiers
Second Attack: +15 BAB with 4d10 damage...
Third Attack: +10 BAB with 4d10 damage...
Fourth Attack: +5 BAB with 4d10 damage...
Ki Attack: +20 BAB with 4d10 damage...

Okay so that's a 14d10 weapon damage bonus over 5 attacks for a total of 24d10 weapon damage. I'll admit, pretty hefty potential damage. I think I'll say that at the least it seems the Improved Hammering Blows still seems a bit much. If anybody else wants to show me an example of a class who can reliably dish out 132 (average of 24d10) damage on a full attack round without spending more than 5 feats and 1 class feature, I think it could stay. As of now I'd have to remove Improved Hammering Blows because it just adds too much damage.

Dang, I liked my feat ideas as well. xD

Star Voter 2013

You're right, I did leave out the BAB part, and that was a mistake on my part. I also did not open up room for 16d10 crits, I specifically limited the crit potential to Vital Strike (and not Improved or Greater Vital Strike). This allowws a Monk to better and intentionally drawing in attacks, or positioning himself in places to make attacks of opportunity. It will allow him to make better use of his enhanced mobility, by getting to the enemy first.

With Improved Hammering Blows, I allowed crits with Vital Strike, but, like I said, I excluded Improved or Greater Vital Strike. So if one were to use Hammering Blows, and his first hit was a threat followed by a confirm, he would deal 4d10 (from unarmed strike x2) + 4d10 (from Vital Strike x2) and another 4d10 (from Improved and Greater Vital Strike). Granted, it is a lot, but a Monk is most likely to crit with his first attack or his extra attack from a Ki point, and the following attacks are unlikely to both hit and confirm with the same bonuses.


Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
The Vital Strike tree allows to deal similar amounts of damage in a standard action to the damage normally dealt in a full round action. This is why its multiplicator is the same as the number of attacks you can do in a full round action: you can get Vital Strike (x2) when you have 2 attacks, Improved Vital Strike (x3) when you have 3 attacks and Greater Vital Strike (x4) when you have 4 attacks. Not multiplying the bonus damage from strength etc. balances with the reduced attack bonuses for the additional full round attacks.
I disagree that this balances; for example my daughter's 13th level fighter is dishing out 2d6+32 damage on a hit with power attack with a greatsword at +30/+21/+16. No way is +4d6 equivelant to that much in static bonuses. I will agree, Vital Strike does help compensate for not being able to gain the extra attacks, but to be honest it's the feat to choose AFTER you took Furious Focus, which is worth way more, and in fact after a lot of other feats.
Well, it doesn't balance exactly, of course, and I don't think that Vital Strike should be as good as attacking multiple times as you get to move as well and that has to be payed for by something, as well.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it is not the monk that is broken but the fighter and more generally Pathfinder's excessive escalation of bonuses.

Before I go on I'd like to explain that I have not yet played Pathfinder at high levels yet and am playing it for the first time since about a year. My character has just reached monk level 5 and has one sorcerer level as well. We don't have a fighter in the group but a paladin.
But I have played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (2nd edition) for many many years and many years of those were spent in the harsh world of Athas (Dark Sun) with a DM who liked to make that world quite real which also meant that we couldn't rely on encounters being tailored to our levels. They were rather more tailored to fit the world and we had to decide whether we could take on the enemies or not. We started at level 1 and my character (a Thri-Kreen Druid/Psionicist) did reach levels 12/10. Before AD&D we played lots of D&D where I have experience of levels up to 18.

Having a fighter dish out 2d6+32 damage regularly at +30/+21/+16 never did happen there by far and never was missed!
Why do I think that is a problem? Well, I always hated levels 1 and 2 because you have so few HP there that you might be killed in one round easily. This makes combats depend on one or two rolls which I don't consider much fun.
Now, having a fighter dish out over 100 points of damage a round just means that level 13 will not feel very different from level 1. The only difference is that there are now low level enemies available which are now threat at all anymore (because they can't even hit the AC you are going to have).

In our Dark Sun campaign when my Thri-Kreen was disabled by the psionic field for one long adventure I did play a Half-Giant fighter/psionicist. At level 10/9 his THAC0 with his best weapon was 7 (would be +13 in Pathfinder) and his damage bonus was +11. Dabbler's daughter would probably have felt like an incompetent with a fighter like that at 10th level. In the harsh world of Athas he was a very dangerous opponent.

Another problem with the attack and damage bonuses getting out of hand is that other characters will be left behind and only the fighter will be able to hit the badass enemies in melee combat. Or the paladin if they are evil. Or the ranger if they are his favored enemies. The cleric won't. The rogue won't. The monk won't. The wizard and sorcerer usually don't want to (except for dragon disciples maybe :-).

I could go on but I think I will stop this rant here (anyone still reading? :-)

Note that I do like many parts of Pathfinder very much because I think that it (or its predecessors after AD&D 2nd) fixed many things very nicely, like combat maneuvers which where plain simply missing in 2nd edition (and we missed something like that quite often!).

Well, guess I have to see how our campaign will develop when we gain higher levels.

And of course I know that addressing the topics of my rant would mean a new edition of Pathfinder which would be quite different from the previous one and therefore not likely to happen (and probably not liked by many playing it now :-)

Just wanted to get this off my heart.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it is not the monk that is broken but the fighter and more generally Pathfinder's excessive escalation of bonuses.

I don't see this as a problem. 13th level, for example, is at a point where you are seriously awesome, near legendary power and skill.

So the fighter can dish huge damage? Check out what the other classes can do. This is a feature of D&D and always has been.

The main problem with the monk is the lack of availability of these bonuses for them in particular.


Dabbler wrote:
Liam ap Lanathir wrote:
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it is not the monk that is broken but the fighter and more generally Pathfinder's excessive escalation of bonuses.

I don't see this as a problem. 13th level, for example, is at a point where you are seriously awesome, near legendary power and skill.

So the fighter can dish huge damage? Check out what the other classes can do. This is a feature of D&D and always has been.

The main problem with the monk is the lack of availability of these bonuses for them in particular.

Being legendary is fine but it does not really feel legendary if that other legendary guy can kill me within a round by hitting me with a sword.

In other words: I have no problem with dishing out lots of damage but if a character dishes out as much damage as he has hit points within one round then it gets problematic.

I can accept this more from wizards because they are wizards and magic is scary :-)

What's the point of advancing in levels and getting all these awesome feats and powers if the typical opponent can still kill me in one round like at first level??

Still not convinced. Well, I'll have to wait and see how it turns out when we are 13th level ourselves. Maybe next year :-)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's why you have AC boosters and stat boosters for Con. Awesome damage is countered by awesome AC and awesome hit points.


Haven't the hitpoints of most monsters risen significantly since Liam played 2nd edition? I was under the impression that the scale change came with 3rd.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They have, yes, and in Pathfinder more so.


Dabbler wrote:

for example my daughter's 13th level fighter is dishing out 2d6+32 damage on a hit with power attack with a greatsword at +30/+21/+16

So, that's 39 damage on average per hit. If all attacks hit the fighter could achieve a total average damage of 117.

Dabbler wrote:
So the fighter can dish huge damage? Check out what the other classes can do. This is a feature of D&D and always has been.

Ok, I did check out some other classes for comparison:

Wizard 13th:
He might cast a Delayed Blast Fireball (7th spell level) for 13d6 (46 on average) being subject to SR and possibly being halved on a successful reflex save. Spells giving energy resistance should be quite common at that level and might therefore reduce the damage considerably.
Better would be a Maximized Fireball (effective spell level 6) for 10*6 = 60 damage. A sorcerer of the draconic bloodline could even cause 70 damage if he has chosen a fire breathing bloodline. Still far from the potential of the fighter.
(Of course the wizard usually would damage several foes at once, but I am mostly concerned with the question of the mortality of a single character, so I'm looking just at how many damage will be dealt to one character).
So, let's have a look at Finger of Death: 13*10 = 130 damage. A fortitude save will cut this down to a paltry 3d6+13, but the DC will probably be around 20-25, so there is a good chance to fail. SR applies. So, this spell seems to be on par with the fighter. There is a massive drawback for the wizard, though: he can do this only once per day or twice if he happens to be a necromancer.

Cleric 13th:
Destruction (7th level spell) is similar to Finger of Death although with more damage (10d6) on a saving throw failure. Same drawbacks as the wizard.
He can channel for 7d6 (25 on average) or attack twice with his weapon :-)

Rogue 13th:
Assuming he can sneak attack, although that requires surprise or the help of another combatant, he can deal 7d6 precision damage. Assuming Improved TWF and some Dex bonuses and magic weapons the attacks would be at (just guessing) +16/+16/+11/+11.
If all hit he deals comparable damage to the fighter, although needing special circumstances and considerably lower chances to hit (resulting in maybe one hit?).

So, I still think the fighter is broken :-)


Atarlost wrote:
Haven't the hitpoints of most monsters risen significantly since Liam played 2nd edition? I was under the impression that the scale change came with 3rd.

Yes, I did have that impression already, especially when we met that young black dragon...

Fortunately we had just before looted that shiny gem which summoned a large earth elemental which had lots of hp, too :-)
Still, two clerics had to channel as fast as the could (selectively, of course) to keep us going, although the dragon wisely concentrated on the only real dangerous foe, namely the elemental.
Having attacked us puny humans in rather confined space, he could not get away when the elemental appeared behind him. hehe.

Characters also might have more hp than in 2nd edition: Rogues and Wizards get +1/lvl due to bigger dice and you might take toughness and 1 hp each level. Attribute bonuses are higher, so that's probably another +2. All in all about +4/lvl which would amount + 13*4 = 52 hp on level 13th. Then lets not forget that in 2nd edition hit dice were only rolled until 9th level, so thats 4 rolls more. Assuming the rogue this would be another 18 hp, all in all +60 hp (if you take Toughness as one of your few feats and skip on skills).

Without that extra hp the aforementioned 13th level fighter would probably kill two characters per round instead of only one :-)

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