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Why do monks need to be as good at fighting as other melee classes?


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Isnt part of being a monk having cool ki-like powers, being able to dance around through combat kicking things and generally shrug off attacks which would fell a lesser person? I dont really understand why the classes need to be balanced with respect to combat - isnt the style worth something?

It seems to me that many of the people declaring monks to be underpowered are still actually seeing them used in play. So presumably the people playing them are getting what they want.

I wonder whether the 'monk furore' is a function of a segment of the fan-base expecting combat-balanced classes when that isnt actually a terribly important part of the design philosophy being followed. (Not that I have any inside information as to what the design philosophy actually is).

It just seems to me that 'class X is underpowered' is often put forth as something obviously wrong and I'd be curious what the justification is for striving for class balance?

Shadow Lodge

Because they all fight.


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But why do they have to be as good as each other specifically at fighting?

If you make a melee class and decide to give it some schtick of 'being good at social situations' or something. Dont you have to make it a bit worse in battle than the 'pure fighter'? Otherwise the arguments are just going to go in reverse arent they? Everyone concerned about power levels is going to choose the 'suave swordsman' since they just get something for nothing.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
It just seems to me that 'class X is underpowered' is often put forth as something obviously wrong and I'd be curious what the justification is for striving for class balance?

If you look long enough you will find at least one post saying every class in the game sucks, is under/over powered, is too good, etc.

IMO your far better off playing the game with a good group of friends and making your own decisions on it all, since every group out there plays a little different (or a LOT) and that is the experience they are talking about.

If a person plays a rogue in a game where all the other characters did better then the rogue sucks. Etc.

The only bad class is the one you don't like playing IMO.


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Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. Our group is quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do.

I'm sure there are threads somewhere, I just dont see why balanced combat effectiveness is seen as so important.

Star Voter 2014

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I don't really know, there sometimes seems to be a very MMO style EVERYTHING MUST BE BALANCED idea going around. I'm perfectly happy with my games and my players and we have fun. No one really seems to over shadow anyone else because they take their turns.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. We're quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do. I'm sure there are threads somewhere, I just dont see why balanced combat effectiveness is seen as so important.

Game design and 'balance' is a very precarious thing and will change with individual and group perception and experience.

In a nutshell all classes should basically be 'equivalent' to all other classes so that you can have variations in flavor and therefore variety of fun but so that no one class is the clear choice for all things.

Why do monks need to be good at fighting? Because, even with all their flavor, they are primarily a melee class. That means the folks who play them WANT to get in there in hand to hand combat and mix it up in a martial arts/mystic/zen like style. If your class is no good at it then it won't be fun to DO, no matter how good the flavor.

You could have the coolest story and class concept ever but if you play it and you get your ass handed to you all the time and you never shine, then that classes balance is bad on the low side and no one wants to play it.

The REALLY hard part is getting folks to all have the same rough vision of what 'equivalent' IS. THAT is where the art of game design really happens and where all the argument happen too.

I been gaming 30+ years now so I like to think I have a decent idea of game balance (then again who doesn't so I could be full of it) and the Paizo guys seem to have a good handle on it too. If all your classes are attractive to play, have a lot of options so you can create your personal character vision and MAKING those choices is hard because they all seem to be good and fun, then that to me indicates good balance.

Grand Lodge

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It's all relative.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
It's all relative.

Einstein said it first though.


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Gilfalas wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. We're quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do. I'm sure there are threads somewhere, I just dont see why balanced combat effectiveness is seen as so important.

Game design and 'balance' is a very precarious thing and will change with individual and group perception and experience.

In a nutshell all classes should basically be 'equivalent' to all other classes so that you can have variations in flavor and therefore variety of fun but so that no one class is the clear choice for all things.

Why do monks need to be good at fighting? Because, even with all their flavor, they are primarily a melee class. That means the folks who play them WANT to get in there in hand to hand combat and mix it up in a martial arts/mystic/zen like style. If your class is no good at it then it won't be fun to DO, no matter how good the flavor.

You could have the coolest story and class concept ever but if you play it and you get your ass handed to you all the time and you never shine, then that classes balance is bad on the low side and no one wants to play it.

The REALLY hard part is getting folks to all have the same rough vision of what 'equivalent' IS. THAT is where the art of game design really happens and where all the argument happen too.

I been gaming 30+ years now so I like to think I have a decent idea of game balance (then again who doesn't so I could be full of it) and the Paizo guys seem to have a good handle on it too. If all your classes are attractive to play, have a lot of options so you can create your personal character vision and MAKING those choices is hard because they all seem to good and fun, then that to me indicates good balance.

That makes sense to me to some degree - I can see that if you choose to play a monk, it's reasonable to think you're going to dance through combat landing some blows with your bare fists and feet and being generally cool. However, I dont see why you have to be as good at that as a fighter is and it seems like a lot of the analysis being posted is based on an assumption that the various melee classes should be equivalent in combat.

It seems to me that the extra maneuverability and better saves are an edge outside of combat and should count for something - you get to run around a lot and not be as susceptible to those things which require saving throws, but you'll end up doing less damage than the combat specialised brute.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
That makes sense to me to some degree - I can see that if you choose to play a monk, it's reasonable to think you're going to dance through combat landing some blows with your bare fists and feet and being generally...

And you know what? I agree compeltely with you. I think one problem is a lot of folks want to look at fighters in combat and think that fighters should be a baseline. They should'nt really. Fighters are the BEST all around fighters in the game. The BEST. ALL AROUND. No one should be a better all around fighter than Fighters because fighters do nothing but fight in melee. They don't do anything else and that is the entire focus of their concept.

But people look at the other martial classes and call them underpowered if they don't kill things as well as the fighter, since lets face it, killing things so your characters don't die and can 'continue' is a pretty important part of the game. (Mind you I said important, not sole and not the ONLY important part by a far means).

But what they should realise is that trade offs are GOOD. They allow flavor, they allow diversity and they allow you to have charactes that are playable and not walking godlike arsenals.

Anyone who has every played an FPS computer game on god mode knows it is fun for a few minutes but quickly gets boring since ther is no challenge and therefore no real excitement.

In reality the other martial classes should be about right where they are, including the monk if you ask me. They trade off some of that all around combat ability that makes the fighter what is it for 'other' stuff. Thematically appropriate things that give them different options in combat (Smite, Favored Enemy, Rage and Rage powers, Ki abilities) or options outside of combat that can affect not just making things dead but interacting with things that are not dead and having that benefit and entertain the group and the individual player.

The big problem is a lot of folks only see the 'make things dead' part of the game as having any real value. Thus the rest are 'who cares' and the classes that have them are then labeled 'underpowered'.

Firepower is immediate, is visceral and is readily rate-able by how fast the DM's minions are removed from the table. Defenses, options, out of combat abilites are more esoteric and often have a lesser emotional impact than doing 300 damage and killing the dragon.

Instant gratification has an impact.


Well, if you want the WotC view about something like this...

I recently read an article or blog (can't remember which) where the D&D designers discussed how they divided the game up into three different sections:
1. Combat
2. Exploration
3. NPC Interaction

Class design is then balanced in some ways around these three pillars of the gaming experience. Therefore, as a class gets more options or abilities tailored for each section of the game they lose option or abilities from the others. In this article, they noted how the fighter is essentially the strongest combat focused class they try to develop while other classes lose combat options as to gain access to abilities which help in the other two areas of the game.

This is why some classes come off as not as good in combat as others. They were not designed to be as strongly combat focused. The monk is one of those classes where additional abilities were given for the purposes of strengthening exploration play or NPC interaction over combat. That isn't to say the class cannot excel in combat, but is simply not optimally designed to do so. This also reveals the common complaints against rogues who have strong exploration skills and moderate interaction skills, but subpar combat abilities.

As for spellcasters and their respective power level versus effectiveness in the three pillars. The designers noted the concept of complexity as a balancing model. Spellcasters can dominate in every section of gameplay, but this is balanced by the difficulty in successfully implementing their resources to do so. Simply, a wizard has more options to be effective in more situations, but it is more difficult to leverage them both reliably and successfully.

I don't know how that does for the "public" opinion, but it has informed the way I see certain decisions in class or ability design.


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Monks aren't as good at fighting as the other melee classes. They are a martial class that can't really fight their way out of wet paper sack unless very well built. Okay, I am exaggerating there a bit, but not by much.

By 20th level, it looks like this (sans Strength mod):

Fighter: +31 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +4 weapon training, +5 weapon, +2 feats)
Barbarian: +30 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +4 rage, +1 feat)
Ranger: +28-36 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +2-10 favored enemy, +1 feat)
Paladin: +32 (or higher) attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +6 [or higher] smite evil, +1 feat)

Monk (flurry): +24 attack bonus (+18 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)
Monk (non-flurry): +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)

That is without Strength modifiers. Add in Strength, and things start getting more out of line for the Monk. By 20th level, a fighter, ranger, or barbarian can reasonably expect a 30 Str. A Paladin might have 26 because of MAD issues. Monks are lucky to have a 24 at most, because of even MORE MAD issues.

So w/o Strength modifiers, Monks are already anywhere from +4 to +12 behind the martial classes, and after Strength the gap tends to increases by another +1 to +3. Damage is even worse because ALL of those martial classes can two-hand a weapon for 1.5x Str, and ALL of them have class features and/or feats that add to the damage. They can get another +5 in special weapon properties added to their weapon (giving them as much as +5d6 extra damage on each hit). Monks are limited to the Amulet of Mighty Fists which only goes UP to +5 total, and he needs to use every bit of that to stay in the same ballpark as the martial classes.

Now, take a look at the medium BAB classes that the monk shares his attack bonus with:

Cleric: +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, PLUS 0-9 level spells)
Druid: +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, PLUS 0-9 level spells)
Bard: +25 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, +4 inspire courage, PLUS 0-6 level spells)
Rogue: +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)

They are all around the same level as the monk, BUT, the cleric has a spell that can add another 5, the bard is already ahead, the druid not only has spells that add to his attacks, he has an animal companion, and the rogue has 10d6 of sneak attack dice on every hit that qualifies!

The monk is a martial class, but other than the rogue (which has sneak attack, rogue tricks, and twice the skills available), he is seen as one of the weakest classes. He can't hit as a martial class should, he can't deliver consistent damage, he can't cast spells, his 'best' AC is a myth, his saves are no better than beefed up cleric or a paladin standing in his underwear, and anyone can match his flurry of blows with three feats, getting an equal or greater number of attacks.

So what does the monk do well? What does this class do uniquely? He runs real fast.

Sigh.

I'm just going to end it here, and not rant all day long Steve, but we don't want monks to be as good at fighting as the other melee classes: we fans of the monk would just like to be in shouting distance and have something unique we can call our own.

Master Arminas


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That's all a bit arcane to me, however it seems a different thing. If you think monks should be a little bit worse than fighters and just disagree with the developers valuation of ki powers, maneuverability and better saves then I understand (whilst being unqualified to express a view on whether you're right).

Is that right though? You think monks should be a little bit worse than fighters at fighting?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Is that right though? You think monks should be a little bit worse than fighters at fighting?

I think most people are fine with the Monk lagging a bit behind the Fighter offensively, as long as they actally make up for it in other ways.

Unfortunately, generally speaking, they do not make up for it. And so people are disappointed.


Correct, Deadmanwalking. I don't want a monk that has as good or better an attack bonus than a fighter; I do want a monk that can reliably stay within 5 points of a fighter. And do decent (not great, just decent) damage; I'm even willing to give up flurry of blows for it. But you are right DMW, the rest of the monk's abilities do not make up for the class's lack of combat potential.

Master Arminas


Gilfalas wrote:

And you know what? I agree compeltely with you. I think one problem is a lot of folks want to look at fighters in combat and think that fighters should be a baseline. They should'nt really. Fighters are the BEST all around fighters in the game. The BEST. ALL AROUND. No one should be a better all around fighter than Fighters because fighters do nothing but fight in melee. They don't do anything else and that is the entire focus of their concept.

In 3.5, Fighters were the base line.

It is only in PF that Fighters are better than that.

So it is kind of people expecting the past as experience.


I think one other thing that generally works against monks is complexity level. Classes with more built in choices tend to have a greater power level simply because designers take into account the chance of players making the "wrong" choice. Pick the wrong spells for a caster for a given situation and they can be close to useless. Less complex classes compensate with reliability, a rogue is always prepared to deal with that next trap or skill challenge.

The monk is considered one of those non-complex classes. A player needs to make no decisions to make a monk do what it does. Every monk gets all its choices pre-selected. The majority of which are kind of get out of environmental hazard free cards (immune to poison, disease, falling, anti-wand SR). I think this is one of the reasons the class comes across the way it does. When developers remove complexity, they in many ways unbalance classes because they become straight-jacketed.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Is that right though? You think monks should be a little bit worse than fighters at fighting?

I think most people are fine with the Monk lagging a bit behind the Fighter offensively, as long as they actally make up for it in other ways.

Unfortunately, generally speaking, they do not make up for it. And so people are disappointed.

I see. I must have misunderstood.

It seemed to me that people were generally arguing that a party should be equally effective in combat if they subbed their fighter out for a monk.

In that case, is it just a difference of valuation of the moks other abilities?


master arminas wrote:

Monks aren't as good at fighting as the other melee classes. They are a martial class that can't really fight their way out of wet paper sack unless very well built. Okay, I am exaggerating there a bit, but not by much.

By 20th level, it looks like this (sans Strength mod):

Fighter: +31 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +4 weapon training, +5 weapon, +2 feats)
Barbarian: +30 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +4 rage, +1 feat)
Ranger: +28-36 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +2-10 favored enemy, +1 feat)
Paladin: +32 (or higher) attack bonus (+20 BAB, +5 weapon, +6 [or higher] smite evil, +1 feat)

Monk (flurry): +24 attack bonus (+18 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)
Monk (non-flurry): +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)

That is without Strength modifiers. Add in Strength, and things start getting more out of line for the Monk. By 20th level, a fighter, ranger, or barbarian can reasonably expect a 30 Str. A Paladin might have 26 because of MAD issues. Monks are lucky to have a 24 at most, because of even MORE MAD issues.

So w/o Strength modifiers, Monks are already anywhere from +4 to +12 behind the martial classes, and after Strength the gap tends to increases by another +1 to +3. Damage is even worse because ALL of those martial classes can two-hand a weapon for 1.5x Str, and ALL of them have class features and/or feats that add to the damage. They can get another +5 in special weapon properties added to their weapon (giving them as much as +5d6 extra damage on each hit). Monks are limited to the Amulet of Mighty Fists which only goes UP to +5 total, and he needs to use every bit of that to stay in the same ballpark as the martial classes.

Now, take a look at the medium BAB classes that the monk shares his attack bonus with:

Cleric: +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, PLUS 0-9 level spells)
Druid: +21 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, PLUS 0-9 level spells)
Bard: +25 attack bonus (+15 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat, +4 inspire courage, PLUS 0-6 level...

By this standard a Sohei should be fine since it gets +3 weapon training it comes up at +27 in flurry, less accuracy and damage but more attacks due to flurry.

I think the monk suffers from the Bruce Lee syndrom, greatest 'fighter' ever without apparent weakness. Giving full BAB seems wrong due to not having any real weakness in the class, all around good defenses, decent skills and bonus feats.

I think monks should be given full BAB outside flurry though, cut down on special rule exceptions on monk to make them viable for high BAB feats, and reduce that ridiculous movement a bit it is only thinly supported in mythology or fiction, like wise I'd rather not have them good will saves but possibly iron will as a bonus feat with still mind and good wisdom scores they will still be good compared to other warriors.


monks are fine being weaker than fighters for the same reason rangers are fine being weaker than fighters.

because they have all kinds of other flavor that makes them fun to play.

if you just want to hack, slash and spam damage make a fighter.

If you want to build a different archtype that is also fun play a monk, or paladin, or rogue, or ranger, or magus, or wild shape druid, or battle oracle, or combat cleric or skald (battle bard) or any other class that is a lot of fun to play as long as you dont spend your entire session crying about how much damage the min/maxed fighter does.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

master arminas wrote:

Correct, Deadmanwalking. I don't want a monk that has as good or better an attack bonus than a fighter; I do want a monk that can reliably stay within 5 points of a fighter. And do decent (not great, just decent) damage; I'm even willing to give up flurry of blows for it. But you are right DMW, the rest of the monk's abilities do not make up for the class's lack of combat potential.

Master Arminas

I have good news for you!

master arminas wrote:

Fighter: +29 attack bonus (+20 BAB, +4 weapon training, +5 weapon, +2 feats, -2 Two-Weapon Fighting)

Monk (flurry): +24 attack bonus (+18 BAB, +5 weapon, +1 feat)

A Flurrying Monk is exactly 5 points off a Two-Weapon Fighting fighter :)

(Granted, the fighter may widen that gap when you add Strength in, but my point stands. The monk is a Two-Weapon Fighter, so its only fair to compare him with Two-Weapon Fighters)


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Even if monks were excellent in other areas of the game (they're not), balancing combat prowess with non-combat prowess is not a good design decision, in my opinion. It's certainly NOT the case whatsoever that every class has to be good ad everything, but I do think that it should be within the reach of most characters to generally be able to feel like they're a contributing member of the party in most "scenes", and the longer and more common a type of scene is, the more important it is that it's within the reach of every class to feel like they're contributing.

There's two reasons that "combat" is where it matters most that everyone feels like they're contributing either something crucial that the rest of the party can't really handle well (emergency healing, battlefield control, effective measures against unusual enemies, being a beefy wall) or are generally matching the rest of the party in combat prowess. The first is that in most campaigns, combat is a very common type of "scene" and one that takes a lot of time to resolve. In pathfinder, combat capabilities are a big part of what distinguishes characters mechanically, and the system is a poor fit for campaigns that feature almost no combat (being both unecessarily complex in some places and insufficiently nuanced in others for many campaigns like that). While there are some campaigns without much combat, the default assumption is that combat is a regular feature of the game, and it should be balanced around that. Because so much game time is typically spent on combat, there's a lot of time for players to feel sad or bored if they're not really contributing.

The second is that combat involves a lot of checks and is something that essentially a massive, complex check on everyone. A trap is a very simple check on (typically) whoever has the highest DD score. It tends to be over fast. Players don't get to "hand" combat to whoever's the best at it and quickly get it over with.

Here's the good news for the monk: Rumors of their unsuitability for combat have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, the monk has both systemic (my "weapon" costs too much; I'm worthless when I can't full attack) and numerical (the numbers don't add up as big) balance issues, but the monk isn't so far off the standard that it can't be a contributing member of a party. Point-precise balance, where everyone's really exactly on the nose combat-wise is really hard to achieve (and certainly isn't congruent with "Everyone has identical DPR"), but the monk is (when built with some degree of competance) in-band. Comfortably in-band, in my experience, even if it's near the bottom of the band.

What does baffle me is when people, presumably driven by the human belief that if two things are presented as parallel options and one is clearly better than the other in one area that the other has some less tangible benefits, point to the monk's skills as some kind of redeeming factor. People do realize that with 4+Int, no use for int in-class, some of the worst MAD in the game otherwise, and no class abilities that boost skills except for jumping, that the monk is only a hair above the Truly Shafted caste (Paladin, Cleric, Fighter, Sorcerer) in terms of being Not Good At Skills, right? Sure, the monk is I guess arguably (very arguably) better at skills than the Barbarian and doesn't look too shabby compared to the oracle, but even if we're randomly super generous and say that the monk is the BEST of the non-int 4+Int classes at skills (clearly he isn't really), he's still chilling unimpressively in the bottom half.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Steve Geddes wrote:

I see. I must have misunderstood.

It seemed to me that people were generally arguing that a party should be equally effective in combat if they subbed their fighter out for a monk.

In that case, is it just a difference of valuation of the moks other abilities?

Depends on what yo mean by 'effective in combat'. Most people are okay with monks doing less damage, but would like them to be equally 'effective in combat' by having, say, high enough AC and Saves compared to the Fighter that they stay up and fighting significantly more often (Note: This isn't the case).

Many people also think that right now the gap between Monks and Fighters even in damage is too great, and very much wish to narrow it as an alternative to vastly increasing other stuff, as the simplest way to make all characters equally useful.

And yeah, a lot of the Monk's abilities are of extremely debatable usefuulness.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Isnt part of being a monk having cool ki-like powers, being able to dance around through combat kicking things and generally shrug off attacks which would fell a lesser person? I dont really understand why the classes need to be balanced with respect to combat - isnt the style worth something?

It seems to me that many of the people declaring monks to be underpowered are still actually seeing them used in play. So presumably the people playing them are getting what they want.

I wonder whether the 'monk furore' is a function of a segment of the fan-base expecting combat-balanced classes when that isnt actually a terribly important part of the design philosophy being followed. (Not that I have any inside information as to what the design philosophy actually is).

It just seems to me that 'class X is underpowered' is often put forth as something obviously wrong and I'd be curious what the justification is for striving for class balance?

Hey, I back you. I never want them to be fighters, or to give them d10 hit die and +1 bab per level. They are, before feats are applied, far more like skirmishers, not greatswordsmen swingers swords into faces at close range. They get a number of special abilities in the bargain, and it is not balanced to make them as good as other melee classes (perhaps we should give them rage, d12 hit die and specialisation unarmed?) and for them to still have their special abilities on top.

I have had players get quite annoyed at the "weak" monk, and want them to be stronger than they are as a class. Players who like monks, generally like action films and want them to be really tough and damaging. There are builds you can do to specialise them of course, prestige classes, but the dnd monk unfortunately, is not the toughest, hardest or most skilled class around. Although of course pathfinder has provided all manner of new rules to beef their capabilities. I like the old monk, and I sense power gaming in the air whenever someone wants to make them stronger, but not have them lose anything.


On monks being under-powered, I've seen a player run a really effective and dangerous warrior grappler in a game with paizo monsters. Underpowered doesn't mean helpless and there are a number of ways of balancing weak classes (if they really are weak).


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Let me, as a monk-lover, have a crack at this.

Steve Geddes wrote:
Isnt part of being a monk having cool ki-like powers, being able to dance around through combat kicking things and generally shrug off attacks which would fell a lesser person? I dont really understand why the classes need to be balanced with respect to combat - isnt the style worth something?

It surely is. However, you can describe things as epic as you like, to the DM and the other players all your high kicking and bouncing around don't mean jack. What matters in the crunch of combat is attack bonus, damage, AC and hit points.

It doesn't matter if I can describe my monk's stylish acrobatic move past the Shezaihan Demon and my savage kick to it's spine if my flurry of blows can't land one hit, and any I do land are shrugged off by it's DR. My graceful avoidance of blows doesn't mean d*ck if it then turns on me and rips me limb from limb because it's +25 to hit nails my AC to floor and it's damage overwhelms my d8 hit dice.

Hard to be stylish as a red smear on the floor.

Steve Geddes wrote:
It seems to me that many of the people declaring monks to be underpowered are still actually seeing them used in play. So presumably the people playing them are getting what they want.

I'm afraid this is a fallacy. You CAN make a decent monk out of core, but there are only one or two ways of doing it, and in each of them there is virtually nothing you can do that another combat class cannot do better, and very little you can do out of combat that they cannot do either.

The problem is then that even those few ways of making a monk take up all your feats and leave you no scope for making your monk 'individual' and he certainly has trouble being what people expect a monk to be. If you are a complete beginner, playing a monk can be a real disappointment. I mean if you play a fighter, you can grab a greatsword and Power Attack and always be useful. As a monk, it just doesn't work that way.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I wonder whether the 'monk furore' is a function of a segment of the fan-base expecting combat-balanced classes when that isnt actually a terribly important part of the design philosophy being followed. (Not that I have any inside information as to what the design philosophy actually is).

It's not a case of balance so much as one of being effective in the role set out for you. The monk is specifically a combat class, and their started role is:

Quote:
Role: Monks excel at overcoming even the most daunting perils, striking where it’s least expected, and taking advantage of enemy vulnerabilities. Fleet of foot and skilled in combat, monks can navigate any battlefield with ease, aiding allies wherever they are needed most.

So can the monk do this?

Overcoming perils - presumably this means non-monster perils, so check. The monk has good saves and some good skills to overcome obstacles.
Striking where least expected - nope. He can get where he's least expected with his movement, acrobatics and abundant step, but striking is problematic (see below).
Taking Advantage of Enemy Vulnerabilities - nope, this is problematic also. The monk has few special abilities to get past enemy defences and actually hurt them.
Navigating the battle with ease - with acrobatics and fast movement, the monk can definitely do this. OK, so can a fighter with a pair of winged boots, but it's still a plus.
Aid Allies - how, exactly? Other than flanking, the monk doesn't have much to offer his allies directly. He can heal, but only himself. He can buff, but only himself.

So at best the monk is under-performing, and THIS is what we mean by a weak class, when it has trouble doing what it's meant to be doing. By and large, a rogue wearing a pair of boots of speed can do the monk's role better than the monk, and that smarts.

Steve Geddes wrote:
It just seems to me that 'class X is underpowered' is often put forth as something obviously wrong and I'd be curious what the justification is for striving for class balance?

OK, let's look at other classes and what they do, specifically the combat classes as that is what we compare the monk to.

Fighter: A fighter can have the best AC, the best overall damage, and top-notch hit points. Saves are not so good, but Will is largely their weakness. A monk has problems matching them in any of these areas, even AC - even the feats that boost a monk's AC are largely also available to the fighter, who has more feats to burn. Yes, the fighter SHOULD be the best at fighting. This is not in question, what is in question is should the monk be as good as the other combat classes outside their speciality zone when compared to the fighter.

Other Combat Classes: The barbarian, paladin and ranger are all behind the fighter when fighting outside their comfort zone, but get their specialities which allow them to exceed him against certain foes or in certain circumstances.

The Rogue: the monk bears some comparison to the rogue too. The rogue is weaker in combat, but has sneak attack to even the odds and a shed-load of out-of-combat skills and abilities. He can overcome the non-monster perils as well as the monk, and hit harder than the monk. He has slightly worse AC, it's true, but otherwise he matches the monk in many ways.

So what can the monk do?
He has good saves and resistance to magic attacks, equal to the paladin.
He has an AC to match (or get close to matching) the other combat classes, for the most part.
He has less hit points.
His attacks are horribly sub-par compared to all the others, even the rogue. Herein lies the monk's problem: He's a combat class that is barely better than non-combat classes at fighting.

Flurry of Blows is a great feature on paper, but clashes with the monk's high movement: if the monk moves, he's a 3/4 BAB class only, and that's prolem number one. It does improve his chances to hit a little, and gets him lots of attacks, so what else is wrong with it?
Problem two is Monk weapons: they are notoriously poor in damage and threat range. They simply do not cut it, and they are the only ones he can use, there's no way such as other classes have of boosting damage, so damage is sub-par.
Problem three is unarmed strike: Sure, the damage is better, but enhancement is harder to come by which is the majority of damage for other combat classes at high level. What is more, that lack of enhancement puts the monk far behind in terms of actually hitting foes.

Whichever way you look at it, the monk is either delivering moderate damage but not hitting anything, or else hitting and delivering little damage. That's where the other with 'striking' comes from - overcoming DR. A fighter, paladin or ranger can use weapon properties and their special abilities and when all else fails raw damage to overcome DR. Unarmed strike has the damage (on a lucky day), but has trouble getting a hit and very limited ability to bypass DR. Weapons can have the properties, but not the damage.

To cap it off, weapons need the ki-focus property for the the monk to use their other abilities, such as stunning fist with them. Does any other combat class need a special weapon property to deliver their special abilities? Do rogues only do sneak attack damage with sneaky weapons? Whichever way you look at it, the monk is paying twice as much for half as much.

Stunning Fist: What about stunning fist? Well it's a Fort save, which means it's only effective against foes that are obliging enough to have low Fort saves, and that rules out most tough melee foes.

Maneuvers: Aha! The monk is master of maneuvers! Well, he's OK. He can have a great CMD it's true, and he gets the Improved maneuvers as bonus feats and the equivelant of full BAB with them, so that makes up for it, right? Wrong. Maneuvers are great against humanoid foes, but suck against anything with too many legs or large size, and that's a LOT of monsters there. What's more, he loses out on the Greater maneuver feats. Further, the maneuvers based on attacking unarmed have the same enhancement problem as unarmed strike. Any of the other combat classes that focus on maneuvers can use them through a dedicated weapon (add the weapon enhancement, and probably reach) and gain the weapon enhancement, and because they are working up the feat-tree they can take the Greater maneuver feats too. The monk can take the feat tree as well...but runs into MAD.

MAD: a fighter needs one good stat to function: strength. Dex and Con are secondary, and they help, but strength is king. Barbarians and Rangers can work with one good stat as well. Paladins need two: strength and charisma, and they get awesome saves, spells and other abilities to make them great support when they are not kicking evil butt. The monk needs wisdom for his abilities, dexterity because he doesn't wear armour, strength like any other combat class, constitution because he only has d8 hit dice...and if he wants maneuvers, he needs intelligence to get Combat Expertise.

All this adds up to make the monk less able to do their combat role than any other class. Which sucks when combat IS your role.

What it comes down to is, I don't want the monk to be as good as hitting and dishing damage as the fighter, I want him able to hit and dish damage comparably to a barbarian not raging, a ranger not fighting his favoured enemy, or a paladin not smiting. As it stands, he either cannot hit, or cannot do damage.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Hey, I back you. I never want them to be fighters, or to give them d10 hit die and +1 bab per level. They are, before feats are applied, far more like skirmishers, not greatswordsmen swingers swords into faces at close range.

And that's the problem. As skirmishers they aren't flurrying. They have 3/4 BAB with no accuracy bonuses. Unless they vital strike with their scaling unarmed strike damage, paying 2.5x as much for enchantments as everyone else in the bargain, they skirmish worse than Aristocrats, who at least have better weapon proficiencies.

You know who else is traditionally a skirmisher class? Rangers. You know what their BAB is? Yeah, not 3/4 with no accuracy.

Ooh, hey. Know another skirmishing class? Cavalier. Full BAB again with charge benefits.

How about another skirmishing class, this one actually 3/4 BAB like the monk: Bard. Forget that he's a six level caster. With inspire courage he's maybe a point behind full BAB, gets extra damage, and gets even more extra damage when the fighter hits. If you were a Sensei you could get in on that -- but have half as many rounds of it, fewer skills, and ki that's worth maybe 4 level casting instead of six level casting.


Atarlost wrote:
How about another skirmishing class, this one actually 3/4 BAB like the monk: Bard. Forget that he's a six level caster. With inspire courage he's maybe a point behind full BAB, gets extra damage, and gets even more extra damage when the fighter hits.

I'm not sure Inspire Courage should count as a buff to the bard specifically. After all, if there's a bard in the party everyone gets that bonus, so the bard is still 10-15 points of attack bonus behind the fighter at level 20 (5 for just the BAB, 4 for Weapon Training, Greater Weapon Focus for another +1, and then there's the fact that the bard has probably focused on buffing Cha instead of Str).


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
How about another skirmishing class, this one actually 3/4 BAB like the monk: Bard. Forget that he's a six level caster. With inspire courage he's maybe a point behind full BAB, gets extra damage, and gets even more extra damage when the fighter hits.
I'm not sure Inspire Courage should count as a buff to the bard specifically. After all, if there's a bard in the party everyone gets that bonus, so the bard is still 10-15 points of attack bonus behind the fighter at level 20 (5 for just the BAB, 4 for Weapon Training, Greater Weapon Focus for another +1, and then there's the fact that the bard has probably focused on buffing Cha instead of Str).

Nah if we are comparing what monks bring to the table versus another class the monk party will presumably not have a bard.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Staffan Johansson wrote:


I'm not sure Inspire Courage should count as a buff to the bard specifically. After all, if there's a bard in the party everyone gets that bonus, so the bard is still 10-15 points of attack bonus behind the fighter at level 20 (5 for just the BAB, 4 for Weapon Training, Greater Weapon Focus for another +1, and then there's the fact that the bard has probably focused on buffing Cha instead of Str).

Oh yes it should. The fact that he can give it to everyone else in no way makes a Bard's bonus worse.

The point isn't to compare who's actually got the highest bonus in the group, the point is why you should play a Monk instead of a Bard (and, sadly, the answer is usually 'You shouldn't.') You aren't in competition with each other per se, but with the static abilities of the monsters you fight, which the Bard's bonus helps him against significantly.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. Our group is quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do.

You're not going to find the "public"'s view here. What you'll get is a distortion from one or more vocal minorities, most of whom are making their conclusions from spreadsheets and theorycrafting rather than actual play.

This message board population does not reflect the "public" in any meaningful way.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. Our group is quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do.

You're not going to find the "public"'s view here. What you'll get is a distortion from one or more vocal minorities, most of whom are making their conclusions from spreadsheets and theorycrafting rather than actual play.

This message board population does not reflect the "public" in any meaningful way.

Well I can't speak for anyone else, but my dissertation on the monk's strengths and weaknesses above is from experience in play, combined with 'theorycrafting' to explain clearly why I had such difficulties. The two back one another up in the cases I cite - though as I say, I can't claim this for anyone else.

Theorycrafting is not invalid, as long as you are using valid baseline assumptions and are presenting your working.


I have seen these things in actual games. Otherwise I would be a naysayer. The monk needs help.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What Dabbler and wraithstrike said. The monk needs help, and I know this having seen one in play.

He had good stats, sensible (though pre-APG and UC) Feats...and simply couldn't keep up with the similarly optimized (or unoptimized) Barbarian or Rogue, in either damage or (to a lesser extent) AC. Yeah, he flat-out failed to keep up with the Rogue (who, in fairness, did use TWF and flanking effectively).

Could he have done better? As a damage dealer...not really, no. There simply weren't the tools to do it. All the theorycrafting ever did was confirm to me that this wasn't an isolated incident.

And that's why I have several Monk-specific house rules.


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah - I'm really just curious about "the public"'s view on game-design theory. Our group is quite happy playing the mangled set of rules we do.

You're not going to find the "public"'s view here. What you'll get is a distortion from one or more vocal minorities, most of whom are making their conclusions from spreadsheets and theorycrafting rather than actual play.

This message board population does not reflect the "public" in any meaningful way.

Sure, nobody gives an objective view. Minority viewpoints are part of the public, though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Two handed unarmed fighter BAB 29, Monk 24.

The monk have a ki attack more than fighter.
The monk deal 2d10 damage instead 1d4. The warrior have weapon training (+4 damage) and 2x weapon specialization (+4 damage). Middle damage 11 vs 10,5.
Using power attack with the weak attack the warrior have -6 damage.
The monk can use flurry for some manoveurs, the warrior can't.
The monk has a better AC while the warrior has more PF.

The monk has abundant step (use it whit dimensional dervish :P), spell resistance and much more.

The fighter is not so good.

And the same is valid for all other classes. Less direct damage, but more fun and possibility!


Atarlost wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Hey, I back you. I never want them to be fighters, or to give them d10 hit die and +1 bab per level. They are, before feats are applied, far more like skirmishers, not greatswordsmen swingers swords into faces at close range.

And that's the problem. As skirmishers they aren't flurrying. They have 3/4 BAB with no accuracy bonuses. Unless they vital strike with their scaling unarmed strike damage, paying 2.5x as much for enchantments as everyone else in the bargain, they skirmish worse than Aristocrats, who at least have better weapon proficiencies.

You know who else is traditionally a skirmisher class? Rangers. You know what their BAB is? Yeah, not 3/4 with no accuracy.

Ooh, hey. Know another skirmishing class? Cavalier. Full BAB again with charge benefits.

How about another skirmishing class, this one actually 3/4 BAB like the monk: Bard. Forget that he's a six level caster. With inspire courage he's maybe a point behind full BAB, gets extra damage, and gets even more extra damage when the fighter hits. If you were a Sensei you could get in on that -- but have half as many rounds of it, fewer skills, and ki that's worth maybe 4 level casting instead of six level casting.

Yeah, I recall a monk failing at skirmishing in a game last year. Winter wolves took him out hard.

Aristocrats are not to be under-estimated! :D

The good ol' monk suffers from a bit of a problem, at the base concept for a long time, they have more represented the defensive martial arts styles (which are not all about pure damage and savage offence, like a barb in your face or a zweihander fighter). Tied to this, are the special abilities and swiftness, drawn from myths and cool ideas that work with the monk ki-user concept. The end result, not the hardest hitter, not incredibly tough, less glaring weaknesses than some other classes. Indeed, I would say one of their greatest strengths is not having heavy weaknesses--but then this is seen as flawed because they don't have great melee strengths.

What the number crunchers more seem to want, is a fighter that has the ac of full plate+enchanted shield ac, while unarmoured, and the damage of a two handed fighter/barb done via their limbs. Alas, not something I can get behind, without them losing a lot. So by taking a bit of this and a bit of that, they aren't as good as others in combat. I actually don't like the adjustments in pathfinder that were made to them, increasing rate of damage, ac bonus.

Others can do skirmishing better yes, if you take the feats. Take a rogue or the old scout class, beef up their base speed, take reach polearms and powerful charge. It can work well. The monk however, comes with a good base speed and can always try their hand at skirmishing without additional feats--their speed keeps going up.

Good thread guys, we are really getting into the monk.

Liberty's Edge

More bonus feats could help the problem spots. They are unarmed combatants, give them weapon focus, weapon specialization, and the greater versions as bonus feats (or at least eligible to take them). This will narrow the gap some, with little dramatic change to the class. Also, more skill points would help take the focus off the monk as a combatant and make them more of a skillmonkey which is what they compare most favorably to.


Pad Shiro wrote:

Two handed unarmed fighter BAB 29, Monk 24.

The monk have a ki attack more than fighter.
The monk deal 2d10 damage instead 1d4. The warrior have weapon training (+4 damage) and 2x weapon specialization (+4 damage). Middle damage 11 vs 10,5.
Using power attack with the weak attack the warrior have -6 damage.
The monk can use flurry for some manoveurs, the warrior can't.
The monk has a better AC while the warrior has more PF.

The monk has abundant step (use it whit dimensional dervish :P), spell resistance and much more.

The fighter is not so good.

And the same is valid for all other classes. Less direct damage, but more fun and possibility!

So let me get this straight. The fighter I assume, is using Two Weapon Fight to fight unarmed, as opposed to "two-handed". The fighter is NOT using say, Two Short Swords to bring himself up to 1d6, and have a 19-20 crit, or doing any of the other basic fighter things to fight effectively, and we're not counting in Fighter Feat selection beyond Weapon Focus and Specialization, but we are counting weapon training.

We're also not factoring in Fighter AC improvements that allow him to wear heavier armor and still have decent Dexterity and Movement Speed due to Armor Training.

We're also assuming the fighter never takes Double Slice.

We are assuming the Monk takes Dimensional Dervish (Which is a WONDERFUL feat tree), which incidentally it cannot use until LEVEL 17! How often do your games go to level 17? Mine don't ever go that far...and yet I still put Dimensional Dervish on my feat list, despite knowing I'll never get to use it.

Oh, and this is also assuming that the fighter doesn't take Penetrating Strike and Greater Penetrating strike, which means that it will on average ALWAYS beat enemy DR, whereas the Monk has laughable DR penetration despite having class features supposedly designed to penetrate DR.

You have successfully built a Strawman, based on a Monk at level 17 taking some of its strongest feat choices, and a Fighter choosing its poorest feat choices throughout. (And if this guy chose to be a Brawler or Close Combat fighter, his special abilities in combat would MORE than make up for Monk's special abilities in combat, and his DPR/Rate of Enemy being Maneuvered would be MUCH higher.)

Reconsider your argument, keeping in mind that Fighter has a FAR greater number of successful build choices compared to monk. Also keep in mind that the Monk has less chances of having enchanted weapons, and NO guaranteed bonus damage to his die rolls.

And everyone who says that there is nothing wrong with monk, and that we're not playing our monks: Trust me, other than hitting a few squishy targets with special abilities, there isn't a lot our monks can do. And not EVERY encounter is against a few Squishy Damage Dealers like Wizards or Rogues. And this is all assuming the Squishy Wizard didn't decide to be a FLYING squishy wizard, rendering our Monk's options moot.


This is mildly off topic, but I have a couple of house rules that I believe would make monks more effective.

1. Vital Strike Feat Tree is free for everyone (this includes monsters).
2. Two weapon fighters with BAB 11+ may make a dual vital strike (that is two attacks as a standard action, they only gain extra vital strike damage as though they were making one attack but may divide it between weapons or place it all on either weapon).
3. Feat: Mobile Vital Strike: Prereq BAB 11+, in circumstances where one can normally make only a single attack as part of an action (thus not on an AoO) the character may make a vital strike (this applies to charging, spring attack, ride-by-attack, etc.)

With the monk's high speed and high base damage dice this would help them deal and avoid damage significantly (especially with spring attack) and might allow them to spend feats on more interesting things.

It has also had the effect of keeping our melee types on par with the spell casters up through 17th level (the party will advance to 18th very shortly). We don't have a monk in our party, but the ranger and paladin are both getting a lot of mileage out of these rules (as are quite a few of the monsters).


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Just to be clear. I'm not really challenging the view that monks are weak choices for a melee combatant (nor accepting it).

I was curious as to why people think that matters. Why should all melee classes be equally effective in melee (albeit via differing methods of excelling)? This seems frequently assumed, but I haven't seen many arguments for it.

The reason I think it matters is that, if the PF philosophy is not, in fact, based on such equivalency then pointing out a discrepancy in power level doesn't seem like it will be very fruitful. (I'm reminded of the discussion regarding the separatist cleric, for example).

Sovereign Court

potion of expeditious retreat. everyone runs fast ;-). potion of feather fall, etc.

unique monk abilities are granted at the costs of some level 1 and 2 potions.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Isnt part of being a monk having cool ki-like powers, being able to dance around through combat kicking things and generally shrug off attacks which would fell a lesser person? I dont really understand why the classes need to be balanced with respect to combat - isnt the style worth something?

My $.02:

Not everyone who strongly disagrees with the monk flurry of blows clarification is an advocate for bumping up monk damage and, "balancing combat ability." Monks have superior mobility and flexibility in combat situations, strong saving throws (both from their class base and the fact that a side-effect of their MAD provides bonuses to all three saves) and abilities which provide durability against everything but straight-up hp damage. They also have situational burst damage capability better than the rogue. This is mitigated by their troubles with damage reduction, their relative lack of physical defense when dealing damage, the conflicting abilities of being very mobile but needing to not use that mobility when they want to hurt something, and the need to have all your selected character advancement options synergize well unless you want to seriously fall behind other players in usefulness.

All in all, I don't have a lot of issues with the monk's current effectiveness but see some areas the class could use improvement. All of its special abilities should be based around ki, with a more robust ki pool, and the basic monk should look more like the qinggong archetype (but a better-constructed version with more and better mechanically-refined options).

My issue with the clarification is it's built on what I see as a fallacy of comparative equipment cost. It's easy to understand why at first glance allowing a monk to execute all her flurry of blows attacks with a single weapon appears to grant the monk a significant savings in weapon cost above that of a two-weapon fighter, ranger, etc. My first instinct when I throw on a developer hat is to look at the topic precisely the same way. However, as I outlined in one of the first threads on the topic this isn't the entire picture.

Here is a link to a monetary breakdown of weapon costs that explains my point.


Jerald Schrimsher wrote:
More bonus feats could help the problem spots. They are unarmed combatants, give them weapon focus, weapon specialization, and the greater versions as bonus feats (or at least eligible to take them). This will narrow the gap some, with little dramatic change to the class. Also, more skill points would help take the focus off the monk as a combatant and make them more of a skillmonkey which is what they compare most favorably to.

Mmm, but why should monks be able to take it, and not rangers, barbs, cavaliers, warriors, paladins etc etc etc? I quite like the fighter restriction of specialisation, but I have heard many wishes to open it up to other classes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

Just to be clear. I'm not really challenging the view that monks are weak choices for a melee combatant (nor accepting it).

I was curious as to why people think that matters. Why should all melee classes be equally effective in melee (albeit via differing methods of excelling)? This seems frequently assumed, but I haven't seen many arguments for it.

The reason I think it matters is that, if the PF philosophy is not, in fact, based on such equivalency then pointing out a discrepancy in power level doesn't seem like it will be very fruitful. (I'm reminded of the discussion regarding the separatist cleric, for example).

I think any close-up melee choice has to be reasonably interchangeable (there's a lot of room in that reasonably, of course) so that no single melee class is utterly overshadowed in all situations by the others. It's OK for there to be some differences in effectiveness as long as there are no glaring weaknesses.

The 3.5 monk is definitely on the weak side. PF makes good strides to fix it but could go farther. Putting them on a full BAB would have been a good idea though I can see the designer argument about backward compatibility on that topic. I just don't think that allowing the monk slightly earlier access to some feats and prestige classes was that much of a backward compatibility breaker. There's no ironclad rule that a character has to take them at first opportunity, so any 3.5 adventure material wouldn't really have to change.

Things I would do to further fix the monk (and monk-related stuff):
1. Full BAB and d10 hit die - that simplifies a lot
2. Flurry of blows includes giving out the two-weapon feats as bonus feats opening up possibility of pick up other feats that use them as pre-requisities
3. As flurry advances, even the -2 penalty to attacking with two weapons is forgiven for unarmed strikes and monk weapons.
4. Amulet of mighty fists rewritten to exclude natural weapons - apply it only to unarmed strikes so we can drop the price to reasonable levels for a monk.
5. Come up with alternative magic items (Collar of the Mauler or Savaging Collar) to give bonuses to hit for natural weapons - some focused on a single weapon (bite) others for multiples (bite/claws/rake) so that you don't have to pay through the nose to get your animal companion's single bite magicked up.
6. Brass knuckles do monk unarmed damage. I mean, honestly, what's the point of making them monk-proficient weapons if they don't?

Liberty's Edge

Imo reducing the MAD of the class would be a step in the right direction. The Monk imo is a decent class if as a player one did not have to worrly about making sure that four out of the six attrbutes were at certain minumums. With the other classes you can have a mix and match of low and high attrbutes with the monk it's so much hareder to do. That and keep the old flurry of blows.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Just to be clear. I'm not really challenging the view that monks are weak choices for a melee combatant (nor accepting it).

I was curious as to why people think that matters. Why should all melee classes be equally effective in melee (albeit via differing methods of excelling)? This seems frequently assumed, but I haven't seen many arguments for it.

The reason I think it matters is that, if the PF philosophy is not, in fact, based on such equivalency then pointing out a discrepancy in power level doesn't seem like it will be very fruitful. (I'm reminded of the discussion regarding the separatist cleric, for example).

I think it matters because there's lots of people who would really like to play a martial artist (I'm not talking about the monk archetype), which has always been represented by the monk class. Unfortunately, every iteration of D&D that has included the monk has been completely underwhelming. In an effort to maintain balance between the classes, the monk has always been reduced to a secondary or support fighter. I've always felt that the classes are inherently unbalanced as it is, and there will never be a perfect balance between the classes. I doubt it would tip the scales significantly and make the monks unbalancing if the monks had d10 HPs, full BAB and proficiency (and yes, the ability to flurry) with martial weapons for starters. At the end of the day, it matters because the monk can be a great class to play (and by great I don't mean overpowered, I just mean plain old fun), but as it is now, playing a monk strictly by the rules causes far too much angst for far too many people...


My issue with monk is simple. Devs claim it is a defensive class when in reality it isn't. All of the defensive capabilities just don't scale well as you get into higher levels vs higher CRs


Steve Geddes wrote:

But why do they have to be as good as each other specifically at fighting?

If you make a melee class and decide to give it some schtick of 'being good at social situations' or something. Dont you have to make it a bit worse in battle than the 'pure fighter'? Otherwise the arguments are just going to go in reverse arent they? Everyone concerned about power levels is going to choose the 'suave swordsman' since they just get something for nothing.

But Monks ought to rock when the situation favors them. A level 6 Ranger rocking out with 4 melee attacks or 4 arrows per turn, getting +4/+4 from Favored Enemy; A Paladin, obliterating the bossfight; those are non-Fighter fighting classes who excel at their specialties.

Unless you consider your specialty to be "move around, make a single attack at a low bonus for mediocre damage", Monks fail at everything.

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