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Comparing monk and fighter from another angle


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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argicida wrote:

monk

18(highest with flurry)+ 10 (str)+ 5 (AoMF)+ 1 (wf)= +34
fighter
20(base)+10(str)+5(weapon ench)+2(wf+gwf)+2(Gloves of Duelling)+4 (weapon training)=+43
so: monk attack is: +34+34+34+29+24
fighter attack is:+43+43+38+38+33+33+28.
No doubt which is the better...

You've forgotten 2 of the monk's attacks (Monk gets 7 attacks at 20th level.

But here's what your (and by "your" I mean pretty much this entire thread) comparison doesn't include: A battle map, Movement, AoO, real opponents that have special abilites and spell like abilites.

A fighter's job is DPR, you're acting like we should be surprised that a fighter can out DPR a monk. I'm here to tell you, no one is surpised by that. No one has said it should be, or even could be the otheR way around. So what you're saying is that since a fighter can out DPS a Monk a fighter is better than a monk. What some of us are saying is that you have to look at more than DPR.


Jodokai wrote:
What some of us are saying is that you have to look at more than DPR.

Exactly. That's what this thread was to be about as there are enough threads already where the DPR argument is beat to death.

Thanks to those actually reading my original comparison and discussing the topics raised (instead just repeating their own comparison of fighter and monk which is typically DPR focused).

So there seem to be others like me who value the movement, touch AC, high saves and combat maneuvers.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Actually if you read what I wrote you will see I was arguing that the monk is not as good as the barbarian OR the fighter OR the paladin OR the ranger. An unarmed monk is not as effective in attacking as ANY of these classes even when they do not employ their special features (ie Rage, Weapon Training, Smite Evil & Favoured Enemy respectively).

That's not quite what it sounded like you were saying. What it sounded like was

Them: A monk can do X better than a fighter
You: So a Rouge can do X better than a monk

I don't think I mentioned rogues. I did mention all of the combat classes, and they all out-class the monk at combat, and some of them at non-combat tasks too.

Barbarian matches the monk when NOT raging, has the same number of skills, special abiltiies etc.
Ranger and Paladin both have spells. Ranger gets MORE skill points, Paladin gets better defences save in touch AC.

Jodokai wrote:
It sounded like you were trying to compare 4 different classes to 1 monk.

Well I was pointing out that all four full BAB combat classes are better at combat than the monk, yes. Not all four together, but each one individually can fight better than the monk.

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Again, this is not stated anywhere, it's assumed by yourself. Me, I assume that both are in a party and have to pull their weight as members of said party. That's usually how Pathfinder is played, anyway.
Okay, well you mention the Wizard helping out the Fighter, where's the comparison to the Wizard buffing the Monk? You minimize the Fighter's weaknesses by saying the Wizard will do it for the fighter, but you don't give the Monk the same benefts. Any idea how many buffs a wizard can cast that will increase a Monk's to hit?

Precisely none that he cannot also cast on the fighter. We are comparing the monk to the fighter in the party context, are we not? So any buff that the monk can benefit from the fighter can also benefit from, keeping the comparison the same.

That the fighter may need a spell to protect him from those things he cannot save against is a different circumstance, and a situational one. These are combat classes, they MAY have to face casters, they WILL be expected to fight.

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
So if the monk is attacked by something that only relies on Touch AC, he is better off than the fighter. Shame that doesn't happen all that often, and that the fighter can get ghost touch armour if it does.
I don't know what kind of high level games you play, but in ours, we face a touch attack probably 2 out of 3 combats. Ghost touch doesn't protect against rays, or rusting touch or Pinpoint accuracy or a gunslinger, or... etc. etc. And lets not forget the Monk NEVER has to charge, his land speed is 90' to the fighters 20-30' Guess how much AC you lose by charging?

I am not and never have denied that the monk's AC is good. In fact monks are defensively very good, save for hit points. The problem is that it doesn't help much if you cannot even get the enemy's attention. As for charging, yes the monk can and should charge even if his target is within one movement of him - he has 3/4 BAB on his standard attack, remember? He needs that +2 to hit more than the fighter does.

As for the number of touch attacks, that is again situational. You may or may not fight things that go for your touch AC, but you WILL run into things that attack your AC. Your fighter's touch AC is woeful, even for a fighter.

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Otherwise, you are proving my point that the monk is short-changed, because he has LESS AC than the fighter.
Exactly he takes a small hit on base AC for a H U G E gain in Touch AC. As far as Flat-Footed, I wouldn't know, it has never come up with the Monk's DEX and WIS through the roof.

Again, I have not disputed that the monk has some advantages in AC, but they are insufficient to make up for his lack of offensive ability. If the monk has to go up against something that can hurt the fighter, it's going to hurt the monk more because he has less HP to absorb the damage and less conventional AC to avoid being splattered in the first place. Plus, he cannot hurt it as much.

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Who of them has most hit points? I am willing to bet it's the fighter.
Yup, fighter, which is good considering all the spells that are going to wail on his 13 touch AC.

Again, situational. You won't always fight spell casters but you will always fight something. Further, there is a lot a fighter could and should be doing to improve his touch AC if you are having to use it that much: Ray Shield, Dodge, Rings of Protection, boosted dexterity should all work well. If high level play is as you suggest as standard, the fighter should be built for this, otherwise your fighter gave himself a major weakness - a touch AC of 13 at high level is dire even for a fighter, at level 20 it should be around 19+ (+5 RoP, +3 dex, +1 Dodge).

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Who hits most often? I am willing to bet it's the fighter.
Yep, but not really as much as you might think. With the battle field being what it is, the fighter isn't as mobile as the monk.

I fail to see where movement comes into it - if the monk hits ten times out of twenty while the fighter hits fourteen out of fifteen the fighter is way ahead. He should be at least +5 to hit ahead of the monk if not more, and that makes a big difference to iterative attacks.

As regards movement, Boots of Striding and Springing, plus armour training and you have 40' per round, or you can have 60' with haste (as you mentioned your wizards buff the warriors) which doesn't stack with monk's fast movement. The fighter can move around, in this case yours doesn't. Nothing wrong with that, letting the enemy come to you just means you get more full attacks.

Jodokai wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Who scores most damage per hit? I am willing to bet it's the fighter.
It's pretty close actually, monk's 2d10+ bonuses, vs the Fighter's 2d6+ Bonuses.

Correction: monk's 2d10+ bonuses, vs the Fighter's 2d6+ BIGGER Bonuses.

I did a comparison in another thread, leaving aside strength the fighter will be way ahead on the damage per hit stakes. Monk will be at 2d10+5+str, fighter at 2d6+8+5+(strx1.5)+PA+special effects and hitting more often.

It sounds to me as if your game is very heavily stacked toward fighting casters, under which situation the monk prospers with his better saves, SR, and touch AC. However not everyone's game is like that, many times they have to fight good old slogging matches, and at this the fighter excels. Seems to me you are comparing a monk to a fighter in a game that plays to the monk's strengths' and that the fighter is not built for.

Jodokai wrote:
But here's what your (and by "your" I mean pretty much this entire thread) comparison doesn't include: A battle map, Movement, AoO, real opponents that have special abilites and spell like abilites.

Because these factors are situational; you cannot guarantee them in any given situation. On the other hand, you always have to deal damage to your foe, and they will always try and hurt you back when you do.

Jodokai wrote:
A fighter's job is DPR, you're acting like we should be surprised that a fighter can out DPR a monk.

No, we're pointing out that the discrepancy is not small, it's HUGE. No one has a problem with the fighter being king of DPR, we'd just like the mnonk to be able to play in the same team on the same field rather than in the league below.

Jodokai wrote:
I'm here to tell you, no one is surpised by that. No one has said it should be, or even could be the otheR way around.

Problem is, you are telling us something that we already know and have taken into account.

Jodokai wrote:
So what you're saying is that since a fighter can out DPS a Monk a fighter is better than a monk. What some of us are saying is that you have to look at more than DPR.

Agreed, you do. The problem is that ultimately the monk is a combat class, and ultimately a combat class has to be able to damage a foe in combat. If the monk either cannot score hits or cannot inflict damage, they cannot fulfil their function, and this is part of the problem.

The monk's unarmed strike combined with flurry of blows is good, but it lacks the full enhancement that allows a weapon to bypass DR and both hit and inflict significant damage. Monk weapons are largely terrible.

Does this mean that you cannot make an effective monk? No. You can do it, BUT you have to really pick and choose feats and stats (and equipment) carefully to do it. It constrains you far more than a fighter is constrained. A fighter, paladin, ranger, or barbarian can have mediocre stats and pick poorly with their feats and still be effective. A core monk can't, and that's the other part of the problem.


When you negate the classes biggest strength and dismiss it by saying "It's situational so it doesn't count" it's no wonder you think the class is under-powered. You will move EVERY combat, especially at higher levels. Bad guys aren't going to walk into Flanks. The beauty of the Monk is its flexiblity. It has more flexability than the Fighter. Once a fighter has chosen their feats, there's no going back. The adventure before may not have had as many touch attacks, so you didn't gear up for that. You don't really have the money to completely change your outfit, so a fighter is just screwed, a monk adapts... but that's situational and doesn't count.

It seems like it's your opinion that because a Fighter can get his attack bonus 10 points higher than a Monk (just using the example above, not saying this is an absolute), that a Monk is useless is combat, but let's take a closer look:

The Average AC for a CR 20 monster: 36. Using the example above with the monk's real BAB we get: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19. So for the average CR 20 creature the monk auto-hits twice (a 1 is a miss for a fighter too), needs a 7 twice, needs a 12 twice, and needs a 15 once. Is that as good as a fighter? Heck no, is it completely useless? I'd say hitting twice 95% time, and hitting 4 times 65% of the time is pretty good.

Now let's dig a little deeper into that CR 20 monster. Save DC for secondary attacks should be around 20. Fighter probably dumped his WIS, but let's pretend he left it at 10, that's a 6 WILL Save, what +4 Cloak of Resistance makes it a 10. You're going to fail that WILL save 50% of the time. A monk will make it 95% of the time (failing on a 1 assuming a 1 is an auto-fail on a save, and I'm not sure it is). But again, that's situational and doesn't count.

The Exchange

there's no going back? a fighter can retrain his bonus feats if he decides he wants to try something else. that's flexibility over time. a monk? set in stone unless your GM allows some sort of retraining.

The Exchange

for a fighter to do a lot of damage, he can put in 2 or 3 feats. and use the rest to round out other things if he wants, or keep spending feats to do even more damage.

for a monk to do a lot of damage, he has to spend all of his feats to be as effective.

the last high level monk i played with in Runelords could not power attack during the last third of the game because if he did he reduced his to hit bonus too much. and this was a party with a Bard throwing up good hope and inspire courage most combats.

he got so used to having to move into flank to support the rest of the party that the monk gave up on power attacks and started taking vital strike feats so he could deal some damage on the one hit where he would connect.


Jodokai wrote:


You've forgotten 2 of the monk's attacks (Monk gets 7 attacks at 20th level.

You're right. The new dpr is ~ 137

Jodokai wrote:


But here's what your (and by "your" I mean pretty much this entire thread) comparison doesn't include: A battle map, Movement, AoO, real opponents that have special abilites and spell like abilites.

If a fighter attacks a round every 3 of the monk, he has still a better dpr... Damage from AoO, or spell like abilities aren't so important(the healer is there for a reason), as a striker, you must hit hard and fast... and BTW stunning each round a foe(if he is so lucky to be still alive) reduces a lot the amount of damage you receive. The twf can make two attacks even if he had the full movement, pin down stops the monster to run, so it has also less round spent tracking down the bastard...

Jodokai wrote:


A fighter's job is DPR, you're acting like we should be surprised that a fighter can out DPR a monk.

what is the job of the monk? It should deal some sort of damage, but:

Is he a striker? NO!
other roles?
is he a healer? naaah
Is he a controller? mmmmhhhh... NO
Is he a tank? Not the best. (both pally and fighter are better)

Jodokai wrote:


I'm here to tell you, no one is surpised by that. No one has said it should be, or even could be the otheR way around. So what you're saying is that since a fighter can out DPS a Monk a fighter is better than a monk. What some of us are saying is that you have to look at more than DPR.

The monk hasn't ever worked in D&D. I tried so many builds(in 3.5 before(it sucked even with the Vow of PPoverty), in 4.0 then, in pathfinder now), and when even your cleric outruns the amount of damage you do, it means that there is not a chance... It's fantastic concept to play, has a lot of appeal, but in terms of efficiency it is terrible


Jodokai wrote:


Now let's dig a little deeper into that CR 20 monster. Save DC for secondary attacks should be around 20. Fighter probably dumped his WIS, but let's pretend he left it at 10, that's a 6 WILL Save, what +4 Cloak of Resistance makes it a 10. You're going to fail that WILL save 50% of the time. A monk will make it 95% of the time (failing on a 1 assuming a 1 is an auto-fail on a save, and I'm not sure it is). But again, that's situational and doesn't count.

Not even the most beginner fighter dumps his wis, it is your weak point, you must do something (better dump the con). You bad dices, so 12 as a starter, +6 with an headband (bad dices need better equip), makes a +4, +6 of base +4 (the cloak) + iron will +2 by the half elf(i use to play half elf fighters) it a +16/+18 so 80-90% of passing , with improved iron will 96-99%. I don't see so many differences with the monk...


Jodokai wrote:
When you negate the classes biggest strength and dismiss it by saying "It's situational so it doesn't count" it's no wonder you think the class is under-powered. You will move EVERY combat, especially at higher levels. Bad guys aren't going to walk into Flanks. The beauty of the Monk is its flexiblity. It has more flexability than the Fighter. Once a fighter has chosen their feats, there's no going back. The adventure before may not have had as many touch attacks, so you didn't gear up for that. You don't really have the money to completely change your outfit, so a fighter is just screwed, a monk adapts... but that's situational and doesn't count.

Being able to move is a good ability. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean a monk can do anything of note when he gets into position. His standard attack is made at medium BAB, not his flurry BAB, and he only gets one. He can still try (and try a Stunning Fist). Or he can use maneuvers. Let's take a look at those CR20 foes: Balor (CMD 54), Pit Fiend (CMD 53), Ancient Gold Dragon (CMD 53, 57 w/Trip), Tarn Linnorm (CMD 64, cannot be tripped). The Monk might be able to affect the first three on 17+ roll on a d20. He needs a natural 20 to use a manuver against the last. And most well-built NPC humanoid foes with class levels will probably have a similar, if not higher, CMD.

Having a good touch AC is nice; having a high normal AC is nice; having all three saves good is very nice. But in Pathfinder, the best defense is a good offense, and that is where the Monk is sorely lacking.

Quote:

It seems like it's your opinion that because a Fighter can get his attack bonus 10 points higher than a Monk (just using the example above, not saying this is an absolute), that a Monk is useless is combat, but let's take a closer look:

The Average AC for a CR 20 monster: 36. Using the example above with the monk's real BAB we get: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19. So for the average CR 20 creature the monk auto-hits twice (a 1 is a miss for a fighter too), needs a 7 twice, needs a 12 twice, and needs a 15 once. Is that as good as a fighter? Heck no, is it completely useless? I'd say hitting twice 95% time, and hitting 4 times 65% of the time is pretty good.

Now let's dig a little deeper into that CR 20 monster. Save DC for secondary attacks should be around 20. Fighter probably dumped his WIS, but let's pretend he left it at 10, that's a 6 WILL Save, what +4 Cloak of Resistance makes it a 10. You're going to fail that WILL save 50% of the time. A monk will make it 95% of the time (failing on a 1 assuming a 1 is an auto-fail on a save, and I'm not sure it is). But again, that's situational and doesn't count.

Let's just take a took at the first of those CR 20 critters: the Balor. Yes, his AC is 36. He has 370 hit points. And he has DR 15/cold iron and good. So each and every hit that the Monk lands is going to be reduced by 15 points. On average, a 20th level monk does 2d10 + 8 (Str 26) + 5 (amulet of might fists). So that is 9 points of damage (on average) that gets through the damage reduction. Yes siree Bob, those awesome flurry of blows really add up. At this rate, it will take the Monk 42 successful attacks to get the center of the Balor and drop him unconscious. That is if the Monk is able to attack: he has best hope that his SR holds up against that blasphemy, that he makes his save against the quickened telekinesis, and that the Balor doesn't hit. Because the Monk is also taking 1d6 points of fire damage (no save or SR) every time he hits the Balor.

But I guess that is situational and doesn't count.

Master Arminas

Master Arminas


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jodokai wrote:
When you negate the classes biggest strength and dismiss it by saying "It's situational so it doesn't count" it's no wonder you think the class is under-powered.

If you are saying that fast movement is the monks greatest feature, then they ARE underpowered, period. Being able to move fast is nice, but it is not unique to the monk (one haste spell and everyone is doing it) and it's actually not any good to you unless you can do something at the end of it. In the case of the monk, he can make one attack at 3/4 BAB. OK, he can add stunning fist or quivering palm, but those are not infallible (see below). He can do a manuever, but he may not be fighting something that is amenable to being tripped, grappled or disarmed (natural weapons, multiple legs, larger size not being uncommon).

Jodokai wrote:
You will move EVERY combat, especially at higher levels.

I've been in some where that didn't happen, because the environment was constrained. Hint: this game evolved from DUNGEONS and dragons. Even if you do move, will you achieve much other than to isolate yourself from the rest of the party? The monk is good for getting where you need him, I agree, but he'd be better if he could do something significant on arrival.

Jodokai wrote:
Bad guys aren't going to walk into Flanks. The beauty of the Monk is its flexiblity. It has more flexability than the Fighter.

I don't disagree that, combat aside, the monk can do stuff the fighter cannot. I don't disagree that they can maneuver around the battlefield. However, that isn't always much of an advantage, and it doesn't change the fact that they are a combat class at the end of the day: getting there is only half the story.

Jodokai wrote:
Once a fighter has chosen their feats, there's no going back.

Two points: Retraining, and Who Cares I Have Loads Of Feats to Burn. A fighter can have all the essential feats for a fighting style like TWF or Power Attack and STILL have feats to waste.

To make an effective monk (and I do not disagree that you CAN make an effective monkm it's just not easy) you can't afford to waste a single feat.

Jodokai wrote:
The adventure before may not have had as many touch attacks, so you didn't gear up for that. You don't really have the money to completely change your outfit, so a fighter is just screwed, a monk adapts... but that's situational and doesn't count.

If you tailor an encounter for the monk, he does well, but then if you tailor an encounter for ANY class, they do well. You have to consider that encounters will span a broad range of possibilities. If you are unable to contribute effectively in a significant number of them, then there is a problem.

Bottom line, if you are a combat class you have to be able to hit and deal damage, because offensively that's all you can do in every given situation. It's what combat classes do. Paladin, Rangers and Barbarians have abilities that allow them to spring to the fore when needed. The monk doesn't, and unlike the fighter his damage output is often below that of those other classes even when they do not use their special kill-things-quick abilities.

Jodokai wrote:
It seems like it's your opinion that because a Fighter can get his attack bonus 10 points higher than a Monk (just using the example above, not saying this is an absolute), that a Monk is useless is combat, but let's take a closer look:

It makes a massive difference to DPR, yes, once you factor in iterative attacks. I am not saying a well-built monk cannot hit at all, I am just establishing that all those attacks don't mean much without the proper enhancement.

Jodokai wrote:
The Average AC for a CR 20 monster: 36. Using the example above with the monk's real BAB we get: +34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19. So for the average CR 20 creature the monk auto-hits twice (a 1 is a miss for a fighter too), needs a 7 twice, needs a 12 twice, and needs a 15 once. Is that as good as a fighter? Heck no, is it completely useless? I'd say hitting twice 95% time, and hitting 4 times 65% of the time is pretty good.

Until you work out the fighter would have his twice as often for more damage each time, resulting in close to triple the DPR. The fighter is hitting 95% of the time on six attacks and 75% on the remaining one. You have one threat, he has a couple of confirmed critical hits.

In the case of paladins and rangers and barbarians - assuming they do not bother with their special abilities - it's only twice the DPR.

Jodokai wrote:
Now let's dig a little deeper into that CR 20 monster. Save DC for secondary attacks should be around 20. Fighter probably dumped his WIS, but let's pretend he left it at 10, that's a 6 WILL Save, what +4 Cloak of Resistance makes it a 10. You're going to fail that WILL save 50% of the time. A monk will make it 95% of the time (failing on a 1 assuming a 1 is an auto-fail on a save, and I'm not sure it is). But again, that's situational and doesn't count.

Well if the fighter is actually worried about this (ie it's not so situational that it won't come up only once in a blue moon) he will have sensibly invested in Iron Will and a headband of wisdom (say +4, it's a secondary expense, no need to break the bank) and not dumped wisdom either. That boosts his save bonus to +16, giving him a save chance of 85%. Hmm, not so bad at that, so unless your argument is that a monk is better than a badly built fighter, I don't see it holding much water.

Speaking of saves, what about the monk's stunning fist or quivering palm? Well these have a save of 10 + 1/2 level + wisdom bonus. Assuming wisdom to be the monk's secondary stat, he could have a wis of, say, 26 for a +8 bonus, that's a save DC of 28. The Fortitude save of most melee-oriented creatures will be around a +22 according to the table, so they have a 75% chance of saving, so they are worth including as an outside chance, but you cannot rely on them.

OK, so let's pit the monk and the fighter against their hypothetical foe. We'll assume that they start the encounter face to face with the HF, and the monk and fighter both win initiative over the two HFs (trust me, if they rush in the fighter has a big advantage on the first blow with full BAB). We'll also assume that the HF does NOT have significant DR (because the monk can't get through it if he does, which cuts his DPR drastically).

Round 1:
Monk: full-attacks with flurry of blows and does 1/3 of HF's hit points in damage, but it saves vs stunning fist. Nasty! HF responds by using it's secondary attack, which the monk saves against.

Fighter: full attacks the HF and kills it. Saving throws are now purely academic.

Round 2:
Monk: full-attacks with flurry of blows and does 1/3 of HF's hit points in damage - it's now 2/3 dead! But it still saved vs stunning fist. HF responds by using it's conventional attack, mauling the monk badly (high attack is +30, with 120 damage - it will likely get hits even if the monk burns ki to defend himself, and that'll hurt the d8, tertiary constitution monk).

Fighter: starts sauntering toward the next encounter.

Round 3:
Monk: full-attacks with flurry of blows and kills the HF. It failed vs stunning fist, shame that didn't happen earlier.

Fighter: carries on sauntering toward the next encounter.

Round 4:
Monk: uses superfast movement to catch up with the fighter (ready for the next encounter), who asks what kept him.


Okay last post on this I promise:

I will never be able to argue against your position because your platform is able to morph, while mine must remain constant. Sure you can build a fighter to counter every situation I come up with, but the same fighter cannot do all of those things at the same time. They can't change all their gear out based on what the circumstances are like most of you are suggesting.

Dabbler, allow me to propose a couple of senarios for you:

HF is behind a 400' stone block door with a window. Monk teleports in and kills bad guy while the fighter chips away at the first 5' of stone.

HF is on a mountain raining down spells, monk skips up the side ignoring the spells with his high saves, high touch attack AC, evasion and spell resistance, and kills the bad guy while the fighter fails all his climb checks and is destroyed by the spells.

There are 600 minor HF's between characters and and Major HF, monk uses acrobatics and makes it through them all to kill the HF while the Fighter dies to AoO.

HF and characters are 90' away. First round Monk moves up to HF and attacks, fighter makes it a 1/3 of the way there. Second round, Monk full attacks, fighter is 2/3 of the way there. Third round monk full attacks, Fighter finally makes it and attacks once. Fourth round Monk full attacks and kills it, Fighter Full attacks at kills it. They walk off together hand in hand.

I'm not "custom making" senarios where the monk shines, I'm just not using the one senario where the fighter shines: HF and character are in adjacent squares slugging away at each other, which is a completely unrealistic scenario at high levels.

It's obvious I'm not going to convince anyone, the only real way to show you is to make a high level fighter and high level monk and have a GM run a published adventure, where maps are used and movement rules are enforced. We would also have to include some non-combat encounters and problems to slove.


Jodokai wrote:

Dabbler, allow me to propose a couple of senarios for you:

HF is behind a 400' stone block door with a window. Monk teleports in and kills bad guy while the fighter chips away at the first 5' of stone.

Well, I am not Dabbler, but I will give it a shot. If the opponent is of an appropriate CR for both a Fighter and a Monk, then the Monk is going to be hurting if he engages alone. Rule #1 is, and always has bee, do not split the party. DMs try to get the players to ignore Rule #1, but any player who has seen a horror movie knows better.

Quote:
HF is on a mountain raining down spells, monk skips up the side ignoring the spells with his high saves, high touch attack AC, evasion and spell resistance, and kills the bad guy while the fighter fails all his climb checks and is destroyed by the spells.

Why does the Fighter need climb checks and the monk doesn't? The monk is already spending his skill points on Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth, Sense Motive, Perform, a coule of Knowledges . . . he isn't going to have that many left over for Climb. Fighters, on the other hand, have reduced ACP for armor and Climb is based on Strength--their prime requisite (to use the terminology of an older edition).

Quote:
There are 600 minor HF's between characters and and Major HF, monk uses acrobatics and makes it through them all to kill the HF while the Fighter dies to AoO.

Both die from AoOs. You do know that multiple adjacent characters jack up that Acrobatics DC very fast, right?

Quote:
HF and characters are 90' away. First round Monk moves up to HF and attacks, fighter makes it a 1/3 of the way there. Second round, Monk full attacks, fighter is 2/3 of the way there. Third round monk full attacks, Fighter finally makes it and attacks once. Fourth round Monk full attacks and kills it, Fighter Full attacks at kills it. They walk off together hand in hand.

Round 1: Monk charges and gets a single attack. Fighter double-moves 60' (from 2nd level on he isn't slowed by medium armor; after 7th level he isn't slowed by heavy armor).

Round 2: HF takes a 5' step back, monk rolls Acrobatics to get behind him and set up a flank, getting one attack. Fighter charges (with a +2 bonus to hit from the Monk's flank).

Round 3: Both Fighter and Monk full-attack with flanking bonus. Opponent dies. They walk off into the sunset.

Come on, man. Give us some hard ones here--quit lobbing softballs over the plate.

Master Arminas


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

MA has answered these pretty well, but I'll reply also.

Jodokai wrote:

Okay last post on this I promise:

I will never be able to argue against your position because your platform is able to morph, while mine must remain constant. Sure you can build a fighter to counter every situation I come up with, but the same fighter cannot do all of those things at the same time. They can't change all their gear out based on what the circumstances are like most of you are suggesting.

Actually they do not have to. Given WBL and the number of feats a fighter has he can easily cover his weaknesses with a minimal outlay of resources. This isn't 'morphing' my platform, it's intelligent character design that for some reason you don't think will happen.

You seem to be basing your fighter builds on two assumptions:
Firstly, that foes will often have mind-affecting powers requiring Will saves, or attacks requiring touch attacks; and secondly that the fighter will do absolutely nothing about this.

The first is situational; the second, given the first, is ludicrous. Out of 21 feats, the fighter can afford one for Iron Will; he won't use Wisdom as a dump stat; and the cost of cloaks of resistance and headbands of wisdom is low enough compared to WBL that they make a sensible investment.

Jodokai wrote:

Dabbler, allow me to propose a couple of senarios for you:

HF is behind a 400' stone block door with a window. Monk teleports in and kills bad guy while the fighter chips away at the first 5' of stone.

This situation is so unlikely as to never arise, because of several factors you have failed to take into account:

1) How does the monk know where the BBEG is? Abundent step works like dimension door, where you have to either see your target place or otherwise know where it is. Through 400' of stone, that's tough.
2) How does he know the BBEG is alone and that the monk can defeat him? If he IS detectable, and alone, why does the party wizard not use dimension door to transport the entire party there in order to attack him?
3) Cape of the Mountebank. Oh look, now everyone can teleport in and out just like the monk.

Jodokai wrote:
HF is on a mountain raining down spells, monk skips up the side ignoring the spells with his high saves, high touch attack AC, evasion and spell resistance, and kills the bad guy while the fighter fails all his climb checks and is destroyed by the spells.

Climb is one of the few things the fighter is likely to do better than the monk, it's a useful class skill and it relies on strength.

The monk won't be any better at it than the fighter. He could use abundant step again, but then finds that the HF has sensibly used project image to throw the spells down while flying invisible elsewhere.

Or

The monk uses abundant step to get to the top of the mountain. His turn ends. The HF pushes him off the mountain before he can do anything else, or places a wall of force between himself and the monk. Or rips into the monk before he can do anything.

Or by far the most likely situation, one of the party casters transports ALL of the party to the top of the mountain.

Jodokai wrote:
There are 600 minor HF's between characters and and Major HF, monk uses acrobatics and makes it through them all to kill the HF while the Fighter dies to AoO.

No, he can't. The acrobatics check to get through that lot is astronomical. More likely the party paladin casts grace and lance-charges right through them on his steed. Or again, the party casters transport the whole party to the other side of the army. Maybe the monk could use the old abundant step again, but then he still has 600 HFs at his back, only now he's all alone with no backup.

Jodokai wrote:
HF and characters are 90' away. First round Monk moves up to HF and attacks, fighter makes it a 1/3 of the way there. Second round, Monk full attacks, fighter is 2/3 of the way there. Third round monk full attacks, Fighter finally makes it and attacks once. Fourth round Monk full attacks and kills it, Fighter Full attacks at kills it. They walk off together hand in hand.

This one is almost a viable scenario. IF the HF is a foe that can hit the party at a distance and the monk knows he can tie it down by getting in close, it works. However, the fighter will move 60' per turn by double-moving (armour training means he can move 30' base even in full plate). However, this is not one where the monk 'wins' it is one where the monk is viable and contributes usefully.

However, if the foe is mobile, or if the foe is not susceptible to the monk's attacks, or if it cannot do much at range, then the monk is better off advancing at the fighter's speed and double-teaming it between them.

Jodokai wrote:
I'm not "custom making" senarios where the monk shines, I'm just not using the one senario where the fighter shines: HF and character are in adjacent squares slugging away at each other, which is a completely unrealistic scenario at high levels.

No, you are trying to do this, and I understand why. However, the situations where the monk shines really do depend on how the encounter happens, and what the foe is. The fighter ALWAYS has the option of dishing damage. Dishing out damage works on the vast majority of creatures, every time. For the monk, as a combat class, to not be able to reliably deal out significant damage is a fundamental weakness in the class.

Jodokai wrote:
It's obvious I'm not going to convince anyone, the only real way to show you is to make a high level fighter and high level monk and have a GM run a published adventure, where maps are used and movement rules are enforced. We would also have to include some non-combat encounters and problems to solve.
I do understand what you are trying to do. I do understand the monk's strengths as well as his weaknesses. The problem is, as I have said, that the monk's fundamental weakness is pretty darned fundamental for a combat class. It's not that monks cannot be effective, it's that for the monk to work well it takes:

  • Good (and sadly restrictive) character design
  • Clever tactics in the game
  • Specific situations that do not always occur

If you don't have these three, the monk isn't in a situation past low-mid level where the monk can deal out and withstand significant damage to make enough of a difference.


@jodokai
No point arguing against the schrodinger fighter, who as always more feat than you can count and more gold in equip you can dream of. And BTW, save are nor relevant, the only thing that matters is the AC.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

After years of playing in PF and 3.5, I think the single biggest problem for a monk is MAD.

If MAD can be resolved, I think the monk will be no worse than the rogue.

That's why whenever I plan out a monk, I try and avoid MAD builds. Trying to avoid doing damage could be worth it. Instead focus on using combat moves to disable and hinder opponents, using high DEX and Agile Maneuvers feat help with this. Or using millions of tanglefoot bags since it's a rock solid debuff that is virtually guaranteed.

That's why I've been planning out the qinggong/sensei mix, since I'll contribute without doing damage.


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Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Currently there are several good threads around discussing the monks weaknesses and really nice monk redesigns. One often mentioned weakness is the monks disadvantage at hitting foes compared to the fighter. While I think that these arguments are valid, I'm wondering how the monk compares to the fighter when not concentrating on this aspect...

Having played a Half-Orc Monk to level 19, I'd have to agree that Monks can really shine, especially when paired with a Druid in the party. The ever improving, and long lasting, Greater Magic Fang spell, along with the potential to make it permanent, is fantastic. Enlarge Person is a Monk's friend too.

Party composition does make a difference here. Shrug. With that done, the Monk can focus on using the neck slot to boost Wisdom and gain those extra benefits.

In my experience, with our DM, we had a lot of fights that could take place across multiple dungeon rooms, or in a large cavern, or with terrain obstacles, hazards, pits, water, and various things blocking the way to the enemy wizard, or cleric, or rogue, or ranger.

I could get past just about any obstacle with my speed and skills, and I could resist just about any attack other than standing toe to toe with a same level, powerful fighter.

When I got to my preferred target, I could trip them, grapple them, stun them, disarm them... as the situation dictated.

An enemy ranger with no bow isn't such a threat.

An enemy wizard who is stunned or grappled isn't such a threat.

An enemy rogue who is stunned and disarmed isn't so bad.

An enemy cleric who is disarmed or tripped or grappled... again.

I could resist their close spell damage, touch attacks, and other defenses better than a fighter. A cleric with a devastating touch attack still had to hit me, and my Touch AC was VERY GOOD.

My saves were over the top in almost all areas and coupled with other resistance defenses like evasion, still mind, diamond body, etc. Most attacks had to get past several levels of defenses.

Only the encounter bosses who were higher level than us could reliably penetrate those defenses, and, those bosses are a risk to anyone.

So, in the end, I could get to foes a round or two before our fighter could reach them, and survive until he got there. I'd prevent insane amounts of spell damage to the party just by disrupting the enemy formations like this.

In another encounter, in a black dragon's lair, we had to deal with a flying, swimming foe, and at one point, our plate armored dwarf fighter fell into the water.

Sure, he survived it, but, in that fight, I was able to get to, and attack, the dragon far more easily. I also evaded it's breath, and had good enough armor to only be hit physically about half the time.

There were dozens and dozens of times that the defense and mobility and skillset of the monk let us prepare for an ambush instead of walking into it, or dodge critical spells or attacks, or get to foes that should have been out of reach.

But, again, it is situational.

I had a great group. The druid and I partnered up a lot with his contingent of buff spells, etc. Getting some permanent buffs on a monk can be a quest just like a fighter might quest for a specific magic sword. Not much different right?

I'd highly suggest, if your party does have a druid, consider playing a monk.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dekalinder wrote:
No point arguing against the schrodinger fighter, who as always more feat than you can count and more gold in equip you can dream of. And BTW, save are nor relevant, the only thing that matters is the AC.

What you mean is, you lost the argument because we demonstrated WBL and a number of bonus feats mean the fighter has enough resources to cover his weaknesses to a reasonable degree, especially if those weaknesses are exploited as often as is assumed when he doesn't, without crippling his standard offensive and defensive abilities. The monk, on the other hand, has no way of covering his weaknesses adequately by wealth or feats.

That's the bottom line, I'm afraid.


To put an end to the hypothetical discussions what the fighter (and monk) might have chosen as feats and magic items, I'd like to suggest the following:

Let's build example fighters and monks.

To keep it comparable let's restrict ourselves to levels 6 and 12.
Character wealth will be 16.000 and 108.000, respectively (according to the game mastering section of the rules). Let's assume that magic items may be freely bought for their given costs.
Ability scores should be bought with 20 points (high fantasy), as I would find free access to magical items rather strange in a standard fantasy setting (actually I still find it strange for a high fantasy setting).
For easier comparison I'd like to restrict the builds to human characters.
For HP I will use the average, rounded up (and full hp at first level).

Furthermore I'd like to keep the comparison restricted to Core rules (to keep it simple, and because my GM allows only these).

Let me start with an example monk, quickly thrown together (level 12 to follow):

Liam ap Thalwig, monk, level 6

Str 18 (7 points, lvl 4 +1, belt +2)
Dex 14 (5 points)
Con 12 (2 points)
Int 12 (2 points)
Wis 16 (5 points, human +2)
Cha 9 (-1 points)

Move 50 ft

Feats
Skill Focus (Stealth) (H1), Skill Focus (Acrobatics) (L1), Weapon Focus (Unarmed) (L3), Blind Fight (L5), Improved Grapple (M1), Dodge (M2), Improved Trip (M6),

Special
Stunning fist (stun 1r, fatigue) DC 16
Slow fall 30 ft, High jump
Purity of body

Ki pool
6 ki points (unarmed treated as magic, +4 AC, +1 attack, +20 move, +20 jump)

Defense (including bracers, ring and cloak)
HP 39
AC 20 (touch 18, flat footed 17) [24 with ki]
CMD 24 (grapple 26, trip 26)
Fortitude +7
Reflex +8 (evasion)
Will +9 (+10 vs. enchantment)

Attack (including belt)
Initiative +2
Unarmed (flurry) [+9]/+9/+9/+4, 1d8+4 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Unarmed (std action) +9
Kama, masterwork cold iron (flurry) [+9]/+9/+9/+4, 1d6+4 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Kama, masterwork cold iron (std action) +9
Shuriken (flurry) +6/+6/+1, 1d2+4 20/x2
CMB +9
Grapple +12
Trip +12

Skills (36 ranks, including favored class bonuses) (including belt)
Acrobatics 14 (6 ranks)
- Jump 28 (acrobatics + level +8 for high movement), 48 with ki, always counts as running start
Climb 13 (6)
Knowledge (history) 7 (3)
Knowledge (religion) 8 (4)
Perception 12 (6)
Sense motive 9 (3)
Stealth 14 (6)
Swim 9 (2)

Costly and Magic items (15.604)
Kama, masterwork cold iron (304)
Bracers of armor +2 (4000)
Cloak of resistance +1 (1000)
Ring of protection +1 (2000)
Ring of sustenance (2500) - I like that ring :-)
Belt of giant strength +2 (4000)
Hat of disguise (1800)

When initiating combat (move + standard action) Liam likes to trip (or grapple) the opponent.
When flurrying he likes to start with a trip attack to keep the opponent from using multiple attacks and to reduce his AC. If successful the next attack will often be an unarmed attack with stunning fist.

Hope I didn't make too many mistakes...

I'm looking forward to see an example fighter to compare him with.


Suggestions to improve the monk example build are welcome, too, of course.

Shadow Lodge

Quote:

I play in a high level group as a monk, guess who has the 2nd best AC in the party? The Monk only slightly behind the fighter (38 vs 36). Out of the Monk and the Fighter, guess which one has a 13 Touch AC and which one has a 36 Touch AC?

tell your fighter his character sucks. my level 18 fighter with armor training 4 in mithril full plate has a touch ac of 25. a 25 isnt a 36 but even then at 18 he should have well over a 43 ac, 36 flat footed. while your monks flat footed is most likely 20 or so.


Monks do not lose their Wisdom Bonus to AC when flatfooted,so how should it fall down to 20 from 36?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Level 6 I expect there to be little difference, the monk is still in his 'sweet spot' where the enhanced weapons of the fighter will not create a major discrepancy. At level 12 you will start to see it, but really it kicks in the higher the level. I would suggest a level 18 build as well to get a more complete comparison.

As for your level 6 monk, Liam why the hell has he got Skill Focus? TWICE? If you want good acrobatics and stealth, pump dexterity and make a dex-build. If you are making him to fight, then make him to fight.


I would suggest replacing those two skill focus feats and Improved Grapple with Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, and Dodge. Grapple is a standard action and YOU gain the grappled condition as well as your opponent. One BBEG, that is not too bad. One BBEG plus minions? It is not good. Multiple slight weaker but by no means weak BBEGs? You are in trouble.

Improved Trip at 6th level is okay; I would have gone with Mobility, but you can take that feat at 7th--or you could had taken Dodge. :)

I see you are going the 'Strength' monk route. That Dex is really low for a monk, though. Needs to be at least two points higher, in my experience. Luckily you get that by dropping Strength from 18 to 17 and Charisma from 9 to 8.

Muscle bound Monks with higher Strength than either their Wisdom or Dexterity are not exactly what I picture when I think of a Monk, after all. But it is your character.

Master Arminas

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
master arminas wrote:
Muscle bound Monks with higher Strength than either their Wisdom or Dexterity are not exactly what I picture when I think of a Monk, after all.

I guess it depends on your background. If you grew up watching Bruce Lee (or David Carradine) you have one mental picture of a monk. If you grew up watching more euro-centric shows, Friar Tuck is probably the first monk that comes to mind. His strength was probably higher than his dexterity in most of the portrayals I saw.

My current monk character is definitely more along those lines. Not entirely - dexterity is too useful to not have it as a prime attribute - but strength is important as well (yet more MAD ...). Of course I could probably build a fairly good version of this character without picking the monk class, but fighting either unarmed or with a quarterstaff made a monk seem to be a natural fit.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, I know what you mean. My idea of the monk is the little Shaolin priest in orange robes, so I find the necessity of investing massively in strength to be counter-flavour for the monk. I have nothing against strength-builds, I just wish that being any other kind of monk didn't contain such a feat-tax just to be half as effective. Still, it DOES cut down on the MAD.

The Exchange

Can a multiclass Monk use his Flurry of Blows ability as a prerequisite for Improved Unarmed Strike? I'm thinking Monk/Sap-Master Rogue.

EDIT: (error) I meant Improved Two Weapon Fighting from flurry of blows


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Monk has Improved Unarmed Strike at 1st level, or as good as - I think it allows him to qualify as such anyway.


Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Dabbler wrote:


The problem with the monk doing damage is their actually hitting and getting through DR.

Yeah, but the fighter won't hit anything either (or worse, his comrades) if he gets charmed, put to sleep, magically held or confused. Considering his really bad Will saves the chance for some of these things happening is quite high.

Quite a few monsters having DR have considerable enchantment capabilities.

And DCs do not end at DC 21. Just have a look at succubi or imagine a fey sorcerer (compulsion DC +2) putting some points into his Cha and taking Spell focus (enchantment). Fighters seem like easy prey for them...

So, taking a look at the whole picture I'd say while monks may pale between fighters in certain situations it is just the other way round in other situations. Just depends on what situations you happen to run into - or create for yourself.

You can't use circumstantial arguments like that. Nothing says a fighter has to have a low will save any more than a wizard has to have a bad fort save.

Star Voter 2013

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Suggestions to improve the monk example build are welcome, too, of course.

there are very cheap items to improve stealth and acrobacy, i would use those feats for other options.

Improved grapple is very good feat, especially agains spellcasters. The line greater grapple + vitalstrike is good too.


master arminas wrote:

I would suggest replacing those two skill focus feats and Improved Grapple with Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, and Dodge. Grapple is a standard action and YOU gain the grappled condition as well as your opponent. One BBEG, that is not too bad. One BBEG plus minions? It is not good. Multiple slight weaker but by no means weak BBEGs? You are in trouble.

Improved Trip at 6th level is okay; I would have gone with Mobility, but you can take that feat at 7th--or you could had taken Dodge. :)

I see you are going the 'Strength' monk route. That Dex is really low for a monk, though. Needs to be at least two points higher, in my experience. Luckily you get that by dropping Strength from 18 to 17 and Charisma from 9 to 8.

Muscle bound Monks with higher Strength than either their Wisdom or Dexterity are not exactly what I picture when I think of a Monk, after all. But it is your character.

Master Arminas

Thanks for your feedback, Master Arminas.

I chose the skill focus feats because I don't want to build a combat-only character.
Actually I've been toying with Endurance (very fitting for a monk, I think) but up to now it would not have been useful in our campaign.
The example monk is loosely based on my real character (although there are some significant differences like a level of sorcerer, being a follower of the god of magic in our campaign and an aspirant to the monk order of seekers which fight renegade mages and recover lost magic items or artifacts; the real character does have higher Dex (his rolled scores are 15+1 (lvl 4), 16, 14, 12, 16, 11) but I had to go with a point build for the comparison here).

Dodge he already has :-)

Up to now, there has been just one occasion where Combat reflexes would have been nice, although we do use a battle map, so currently I don't see the point why to choose that feat (except in combination with Enlarge person which gives reach - then it would be great).

Deflect arrows actually was the choice of the original character (in place of Dodge), but I decided to use Dodge for the example monk, as I did not have many arrows to dodge up to now (I think it came up twice).

Grapple, on the other hand, I do like very much because of its versatility. It has been proven to be very useful several times already from hindering spell casters casting spells to making prisoners. Of course it cannot be applied to all situations but it keeps my monk very flexible. Having to render someone helpless without hurting him? Use grapple+pin (or nonlethal unarmed attacks which a monk can do very nice as well - he did use that on a mob of derailed people who attacked the party once).

Mobility I kind of find weak, actually. That skill focus (acrobatics) helps not getting attacked at all (as long as I do no pass too many opponents at once). Up to now it has been quite sufficient so that I did not miss mobility. And the skill focus improves the skill for non combat situations as well whereas Mobility is a combat feat only. That is one of my pet peeves with Pathfinder: I have the feeling that most feats are geared toward combat, especially in the expansion books.

With regards to Str vs. Dex: note that 2 points of strength come from the belt of giant strength. The innate values are 16 vs. 14, which I wouldn't call "muscle bound", yet. Future improvements to ability scores will go into Wis and maybe Dex.
And I wouldn't like to drop Cha further (I did already grumble when I had to drop it to 9).


Nicos wrote:
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Suggestions to improve the monk example build are welcome, too, of course.

there are very cheap items to improve stealth and acrobacy, i would use those feats for other options.

Improved grapple is very good feat, especially agains spellcasters. The line greater grapple + vitalstrike is good too.

The feats will give more bonuses (+6) later than the magic items (+5), cannot be lost and their choice surely has been influenced by my real character on which the sample character is loosely built. I'll think on alternatives.

Yes, grappling is very nice and my real character will take Greater grapple as soon as possible (level 9 due to BAB requirements). The example monk as well :-)

Vital strike I don't find too useful for a monk, though: you have to use the lesser BAB because attacking with vital strike is neither a flurry nor a combat maneuver. And you will lose more attacks than, say, a fighter using a two-handed weapon.


wraithstrike wrote:
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
... stuff on bad will saves of fighters...

You can't use circumstantial arguments like that. Nothing says a fighter has to have a low will save any more than a wizard has to have a bad fort save.

I was merely extrapolating from the fighter being painted as SAD in many postings and the conclusion drawn there that he "WILL have higher strength than the monk". Dex and Con where typically stated as secondary attributes and Wis even mentioned as a dump stat somewhere IIRC.

Of course it is possible to build a fighter with a better will save than the fighter just pictured.

To end the discussion about schroedinger fighters like Dekalinder put it aptly, I started the comparison of concrete character builds where I posted a monk to get it started and are waiting for a fighter build now.

Star Voter 2013

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:


Yes, grappling is very nice and my real character will take Greater grapple as soon as possible (level 9 due to BAB requirements). The example monk as well :-)

Vital strike I don't find too useful for a monk, though: you have to use the lesser BAB because attacking with vital strike is neither a flurry nor a combat maneuver. And you will lose more attacks than, say, a fighter using a two-handed weapon.

I mean, vital stike while grapling. with the improved version at hig level it would be 6d10+mod of damage.

But yes, it is not a godd combo.


Dabbler wrote:
Level 6 I expect there to be little difference, the monk is still in his 'sweet spot' where the enhanced weapons of the fighter will not create a major discrepancy. At level 12 you will start to see it, but really it kicks in the higher the level. I would suggest a level 18 build as well to get a more complete comparison.

So, we had all those threads about monk weaknesses because the monk is weak at level 15+??

Dabbler wrote:
As for your level 6 monk, Liam why the hell has he got Skill Focus? TWICE? If you want good acrobatics and stealth, pump dexterity and make a dex-build. If you are making him to fight, then make him to fight.

I don't want a one-trick-pony, I want both: good fighting skills and good scouting skills.

The monk, for me, is about flexibility.

Skill focus gives +3 in the beginning and later +6. I would have to increase the Dex to 20 and later 26 to match that.
What feats would you suggest as replacements?


Dabbler wrote:
Yes, I know what you mean. My idea of the monk is the little Shaolin priest in orange robes, so I find the necessity of investing massively in strength to be counter-flavour for the monk. I have nothing against strength-builds, I just wish that being any other kind of monk didn't contain such a feat-tax just to be half as effective. Still, it DOES cut down on the MAD.

While I like the little Shaolin priest, too, when you look closely at the Shaolin priests touring the world or the kung-fu fighters in movies (including Bruce Lee) you will see that they are quite well muscled.

Not the kind of bulky muscles you see on a body builder which are primarily there to be seen, but the kind of muscles which can be seen when flexed.
Typically there is a lot of strength training being done in kung-fu movies, as well.
I would put Bruce Lee easily at a strength of at least 16.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee (section "Physical fitness" at the bottom): he obviously was quite possessed with physical fitness and strength training.


If you put a monk or a fighter into a party the fighter will generally be more useful. There are always exceptions, but a large part of the game is combat, and if I am playing a fight I have ceded a other parts of the game to other party members anyway.

The other thing is that the monk is not doing anything I can't do with another class, and you need a higher level of system mastery to make a monk work well.

I do have a level 12 fighter around here somewhere. I will see if I can find it that is 20 point buy. I think I went dwarf instead of human.

If I can't find it I will post a 12th level fighter within 24 hours.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
I was merely extrapolating from the fighter being painted as SAD in many postings and the conclusion drawn there that he "WILL have higher strength than the monk". Dex and Con where typically stated as secondary attributes and Wis even mentioned as a dump stat somewhere IIRC.

Not by me it wasn't. Charisma, even Intelligence can be dump-stats. However, for a fighter with a decent Will save, I assumed a starting 12 Wisdom. Not unreasonable, I think, to be able to get a good Strength, acceptable dex and con, and then have a few points from dumping charisma to get 12 Wisdom.

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
To end the discussion about schroedinger fighters like Dekalinder put it aptly, I started the comparison of concrete character builds where I posted a monk to get it started and are waiting for a fighter build now.

I have crunched some numbers. Posting shortly.

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Level 6 I expect there to be little difference, the monk is still in his 'sweet spot' where the enhanced weapons of the fighter will not create a major discrepancy. At level 12 you will start to see it, but really it kicks in the higher the level. I would suggest a level 18 build as well to get a more complete comparison.
So, we had all those threads about monk weaknesses because the monk is weak at level 15+??

I have crunched some numbers, and I was wrong - there is a MARKED difference at 6th level. The fighter is WAY ahead.

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
As for your level 6 monk, Liam why the hell has he got Skill Focus? TWICE? If you want good acrobatics and stealth, pump dexterity and make a dex-build. If you are making him to fight, then make him to fight.

I don't want a one-trick-pony, I want both: good fighting skills and good scouting skills.

The monk, for me, is about flexibility.

Skill focus gives +3 in the beginning and later +6. I would have to increase the Dex to 20 and later 26 to match that.
What feats would you suggest as replacements?

I get where you are coming from, but consider this: How good do you NEED to be at what you propose? Then you expend the resources required to get to that point, and don't waste any more.

If you want a monk who can scout, then you need dexterity and intelligence to do the rogue's job. If you just want to sneak along behind him and help him out, you just need skill ranks in Perception, Stealth and maybe Climb. You don't need to invest in feats to achieve this (after all, he won't bother!). Save the feats for damage.

You have made a strength oriented monk, which means you want to hit and do damage. If you want to compete on the Damage stakes, you need Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity (and you want them even before Power Attack as they don't gimp your attack bonus).

Liam ap Thalwig wrote:

While I like the little Shaolin priest, too, when you look closely at the Shaolin priests touring the world or the kung-fu fighters in movies (including Bruce Lee) you will see that they are quite well muscled.

Not the kind of bulky muscles you see on a body builder which are primarily there to be seen, but the kind of muscles which can be seen when flexed.

I never said they shouldn't have any strength, just that HIGH strength should not be essential. I completely agree that a decent strength is always useful, it just strikes me that the monk player shouldn't feel he has to treat strength as his primary stat just to compete.

wraithstrike wrote:

If you put a monk or a fighter into a party the fighter will generally be more useful. There are always exceptions, but a large part of the game is combat, and if I am playing a fight I have ceded a other parts of the game to other party members anyway.

The other thing is that the monk is not doing anything I can't do with another class, and you need a higher level of system mastery to make a monk work well.

This sums it up beautifully.


Here comes the 12th level build in addition to the fixed 6th level build (I forgot the extra skill rank per level due to being human and CMB didn't include the belt bonus, CMD was wrong, too).

Liam ap Thalwig, monk, level 6

Str 18 (7 points, lvl 4 +1, belt +2)
Dex 14 (5 points)
Con 12 (2 points)
Int 12 (2 points)
Wis 16 (5 points, human +2)
Cha 9 (-1 points)

Move 50 ft [70 ft with ki]

Feats
Skill Focus (Stealth) (H1), Skill Focus (Acrobatics) (L1), Weapon Focus (Unarmed) (L3), Blind Fight (L5), Improved Grapple (M1), Dodge (M2), Improved Trip (M6),

Special
Stunning fist (stun 1r, fatigue) DC 16, 6x/day
Slow fall 30 ft, High jump
Purity of body

Ki pool
6 ki points (unarmed treated as magic, +4 AC, +1 attack, +20 move, +20 jump)

Defense (including bracers, ring and cloak)
HP 39
AC 20 (touch 18, flat footed 17) [24 with ki] [10 +2 (bracers) +2 (Dex) +3 (Wis) +1 (ring) +1 (monk) +1 (Dodge)]
CMD 28 (grapple 30, trip 30) [10 +lvl +4 (Str) +2 (Dex) +3 (Wis) +1 (ring) +1 (monk) +1 (Dodge)]
Fortitude +7
Reflex +8 (evasion)
Will +9 (+10 vs. enchantment)

Attack (including belt)
Initiative +2
Unarmed (flurry) [+9]/+9/+9/+4, 1d8+4 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Unarmed (std action) +9
Kama, masterwork cold iron (flurry) [+9]/+9/+9/+4, 1d6+4 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Kama, masterwork cold iron (std action) +9
Shuriken (flurry) +6/+6/+1, 1d2+4 20/x2
CMB +10
Grapple +12
Trip +12

Skills (42 ranks = 4 +1 (Int) +1 (Human) +1 (favored class bonus) per level) (including belt)
Acrobatics 14 (6 ranks)
- Jump 28 (acrobatics + level +8 for high movement), 48 with ki, always counts as running start
Climb 13 (6)
Knowledge (history) 10 (6)
Knowledge (religion) 10 (6)
Perception 12 (6)
Sense motive 9 (3)
Stealth 14 (6)
Swim 10 (3)

Costly and Magic items (15.604)
Kama, masterwork cold iron (304)
Bracers of armor +2 (4000)
Cloak of resistance +1 (1000)
Ring of protection +1 (2000)
Ring of sustenance (2500) - I like that ring :-)
Belt of giant strength +2 (4000)
Hat of disguise (1800)

When initiating combat (move + standard action) Liam likes to trip (or grapple) the opponent.
When flurrying he likes to start with a trip attack to keep the opponent from using multiple attacks and to reduce his AC. If successful the next attack will often be an unarmed attack with stunning fist.

-----

Liam ap Thalwig, monk, level 12

Str 20 (7 points, lvl 4 +1, belt +4)
Dex 18 (5 points, belt +4)
Con 12 (2 points)
Int 12 (2 points)
Wis 20 (5 points, human +2, lvl 8 +1, lvl 12 +1, headband +2)
Cha 9 (-1 points)

Move 70 ft [90 ft with ki]

Feats
Skill Focus (Stealth) (H1), Skill Focus (Acrobatics) (L1), Weapon Focus (Unarmed) (L3), Blind Fight (L5), Improved Grapple (M1), Dodge (M2), Improved Trip (M6), Extra Ki (L7), Greater Grapple (L9), Medusa's Wrath (M10), Toughness (L11)

Special
Stunning fist (stun 1r, fatigue, sickened 1min, staggered 1d6+1r) DC 20, 13x/day
Slow fall 60 ft, High jump
Purity of body, Diamond body,
Wholeness of body (heal 12 hp for 2 ki, i.e. can heal himself almost completely in one day if somehow separated from the cleric)
Abundant step

Ki pool
13 ki points (unarmed treated as magic and lawful, +4 AC, +1 attack, +20 move, +20 jump)

Defense
HP 87
AC 28 (touch 24, flat footed 24) [31 with ki] [10 +4 (bracers) +4 (Dex) +5 (Wis) +4 (monk with robe) +1 (Dodge)]
CMD 41 (grapple 45, trip 43) [10 +lvl +5 (Str) +4 (Dex) +5 (Wis) +4 (monk with robe) +1 (Dodge)]
Fortitude +9 (immune to disease, immune to poison)
Reflex +12 (improved evasion)
Will +13 (+15 vs. enchantment)

Attack
Initiative +2
Unarmed (flurry) [+16]/+16/+16/+11/+11/+6, 2d8+5 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Unarmed (hasted flurry [boots of speed]) [+17]/+17/+17/+17/+12/+12/+7 [extra attack with ki]
Unarmed (std action) +15
Kama, masterwork cold iron (flurry) [+16]/+16/+16/+11/+11/+6, 1d6+5 20/x2 [extra attack with ki]
Kama, masterwork cold iron (std action) +15
Shuriken (flurry) +14/+14/+9/+9/+4, 1d2+5 20/x2
CMB +17
Grapple +21
Trip +19

Skills (84 ranks = 4 +1 (Int) +1 (Human) +1 (favored class bonus) per level)
Acrobatics 23 (12 ranks)
- Jump 51 (acrobatics + level +16 for high movement), 71 with ki, always counts as running start
Climb 17 (10)
Knowledge (history) 15 (11)
Knowledge (religion) 16 (12)
Perception 18 (12)
Sense motive 15 (9)
Stealth 23 (12)
Swim 13 (6)

Costly and Magic items (107.204), included in all stats above
Kama, masterwork cold iron (304)
Bracers of armor +4 (16.000)
Monk's robe (13.000)
Ring of invisibility (20.000)
Ring of sustenance (2.500) - I like that ring :-)
Belt of physical might (Str, Dex) +4 (40.000)
Headband of inspired wisdom +2 (4.000)
Goggles of night (12.000)
Hat of disguise (1.800)
Boots of speed (12.000)

When initiating combat (move + standard action) Liam likes to trip (or grapple) the opponent.
When flurrying he likes to start with a trip attack to keep the opponent from using multiple attacks and to reduce his AC. If successful the next attack will often be an unarmed attack with stunning fist, most likely to stagger the opponent for 1d6+1r, setting him up for 2 extra attacks per round via Medusa's wrath besides preventing multiple attacks.
Ring of invisibility combined with Abundant step allows moving in undetected and striking unexpectedly.
Goggles of night allow moving around in the dark without light.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OK, here are some monk and fighter builds I constructed at level 6.

Scouting Monk:

MONK TEST LEVEL 6 CR 5
Male Human (Chelaxian) Monk 6
LN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +5; Senses Perception +13
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 24, touch 22, flat-footed 18. . (+2 armor, +5 Dex, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 33 (6d8)
Fort +5, Ref +10, Will +9
Defensive Abilities Evasion; Immune disease
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 50 ft.
Melee Masterwork Cold Iron Kama +10 (1d6/20/x2) and
. . Masterwork Siangham +10 (1d6/20/x2) and
. . Mithral Kama +10 (1d6/20/x2) and
. . Unarmed Strike +9 (1d8/20/x2)
Ranged Shuriken +9 (1d2/20/x2)
Special Attacks Flurry of Blows +4/+4/-1, Ki Strike, Magic
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 10, Dex 18/20, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 16/18, Cha 8
Base Atk +4; CMB +11 (+13 Disarming+13 Tripping); CMD 26 (28 vs. Disarm28 vs. Trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise +/-2, Combat Reflexes (6 AoO/round), Dodge, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Monk Weapon Proficiencies, Stunning Fist (6/day) (DC 17), Weapon Finesse
Traits Vagabond Child (urban): Disable Device, Wisdom in the Flesh: Climb
Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +11, Disable Device +13, Escape Artist +14, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (History) +7, Knowledge (Religion) +7, Perception +13, Ride +9, Sense Motive +12, Stealth +14, Swim +6
Languages Common, Draconic, Thassilonian
SQ AC Bonus +5, Fast Movement (+20'), High Jump (+6) (Ex), Ki Defense (Su), Ki Pool (Su), Maneuver Training (Ex), Purity of Body (Ex), Slow Fall 30' (Ex), Still Mind (Ex), Stunning Fist (Stun, Fatigue) (Ex), Unarmed Strike (1d8)
Combat Gear Masterwork Cold Iron Kama, Masterwork Siangham, Mithral Kama, Shuriken (20); Other Gear Belt of Incredible Dexterity, +2, Bracers of Armor, +2, Headband of Inspired Wisdom, +2, Ring of Protection, +1

I made this monk to primarily be a scout, not a front-ranker. He has all the necessary skills, a good AC and mediocre hp. His touch AC and saves are excellent. He is not better than a rogue, as he lacks the social skills, but he can handle the trap-springer role very well.

Combat-wise, he is at +9/+9/+4 at 1d8 per hit. His best chance against a humanoid foe is to disarm and trip, and land attacks of opportunity, as he is very adept at maneuvers. This means that against non-humanoid or large foes he is up the creek without a paddle.

A fighter will beat him hands down at fighting, and even a rogue will have +3d6 sneak attack damage to fall back on.

Punching Monk:

MONK TEST #2 LEVEL 6 CR 5
Male Human Monk 6
LN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +4; Senses Perception +13
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 20, touch 19, flat-footed 17. . (+1 armor, +2 Dex, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 45 (6d8+6)
Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +9
Defensive Abilities Evasion; Immune disease
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 50 ft.
Melee Unarmed Strike +9 (1d8+5/20/x2)
Special Attacks Flurry of Blows +4/+4/-1, Ki Strike, Magic
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 17/19, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16/18, Cha 8
Base Atk +4; CMB +10; CMD 27
Feats Combat Reflexes (3 AoO/round), Crushing Blow (-4), Dodge, Dragon Ferocity +2, 1d4+4r, Dragon Style, Gorgon's Fist (DC 17), Improved Unarmed Strike, Monk Weapon Proficiencies, Scorpion Style (DC 17), Stunning Fist (6/day) (DC 17)
Traits Outlander - Exile, World Traveler: Knowledge (Local)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Climb +10, Escape Artist +9, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (History) +4, Knowledge (Local) +5, Knowledge (Religion) +4, Perception +13, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +9, Swim +9
Languages Common
SQ AC Bonus +5, Fast Movement (+20'), High Jump (+6) (Ex), Ki Defense (Su), Ki Pool (Su), Maneuver Training (Ex), Purity of Body (Ex), Slow Fall 30' (Ex), Still Mind (Ex), Stunning Fist (Stun, Fatigue) (Ex), Unarmed Strike (1d8)
Other Gear Amulet of Mighty Fists +1, Belt of Giant Strength, +2, Bracers of Armor, +1, Headband of Inspired Wisdom, +2, Ring of Protection, +1

This monk is designed to dish out hurt. He is attacking at +9/+9/+4 on a flurry of blows for 1d8+7 damage per hit. That's going to hurt. His hit points are very decent, but his AC is sub-par at 20 at level 6.

Sword & Board Fighter:

FIGHTER TEST LEVEL 6 CR 5
Male Human (Varisian) Fighter 6
NN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +5; Senses Perception +7
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 25, touch 12, flat-footed 23. . (+10 armor, +3 shield, +2 Dex)
hp 52 (6d10+12)
Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +4
Defensive Abilities Bravery +2
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Light Shield Bash +8/+3 (1d4+4/20/x2) and
. . +2 Scimitar +12/+7 (1d6+9/18-20/x2) and
Special Attacks Weapon Training: Blades, Heavy
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 16/18, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 9
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 22 (26 vs. Disarm26 vs. Trip)
Feats Double Slice, Improved Shield Bash, Improved Two-weapon Fighting, Power Attack -2/+4, Shield Focus, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus: Scimitar, Weapon Specialization: Scimitar
Traits Indomitable Faith, Outlander - Exile
Skills Acrobatics -1, Climb +9, Escape Artist -1, Fly -1, Handle Animal +3, Intimidate +4, Perception +7, Stealth -1, Survival +5, Swim +6
Languages Common, Varisian
SQ Armor Training 1 (Ex)
Combat Gear +1 Full Plate, +1 Shield Spikes Shield, Light Steel, +2 Scimitar; Other Gear Belt of Giant Strength, +2

This guy is dishing out serious hurt. He has an excellent AC at 25, although his touch AC is not very good. His saves are respectable, not as good as the monk's but just about good enough. Hit points are also good. Best of all, he's attacking for +12/+8/+7/+3 for 1d6+9/1d4+4/1d6+9/1d4+4. If he Power Attack's that goes to +10/+6/+5/+1 for 1d6+13/1d4+6/1d6+13/1d4+6. Then he has the higher threat range on that scimitar...

In short, he out-hits the punching monk and out AC's the scouting monk hands down. On the whole he is essentially hitting more often and more accurately than the monk in either incarnation.

Two Handed Fighter:

FIGHTER TEST #2 LEVEL 6 CR 5
Male Human (Ulfen) Fighter 6
NN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +4; Senses Perception +5
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 22. . (+10 armor, +2 Dex, +1 natural, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 53 (6d10+12)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +5
Defensive Abilities Bravery +2
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 20 ft.
Melee +2 Falchion +14/+9 (2d4+11/18-20/x2) and
Special Attacks Weapon Training: Blades, Heavy
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 19, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 24 (29 vs. Disarm29 vs. Trip)
Feats Cleave, Dodge, Furious Focus, Great Cleave, Power Attack -2/+4, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus: Falchion, Weapon Specialization: Falchion
Traits Indomitable Faith, Outlander - Exile
Skills Acrobatics -2, Climb +8, Escape Artist -2, Fly -2, Handle Animal +3, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +5, Knowledge (Engineering) +5, Perception +5, Stealth -2, Survival +5
Languages Common, Skald
SQ Armor Training 1 (Ex)
Combat Gear +1 Full Plate, +2 Falchion; Other Gear Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance, +1, Ring of Protection, +1

Just for comparison, this is what the two-handed fighter can do. Saves are respectable, hit points are good, AC is excellent, even touch AC is adequate. Best of all is his attack - with Power Attack he crucifies foes with +14/+7 on attacks and 2d4+17 damage on an 18-20 threat range.

This is where the fighter is consistently beating the monk - not on damage so much as on hitting, where the monk's MAD nature and poor enhancement options leave him unable to even employ his combat abilities like stunning fist to an effective degree.


Dabbler wrote:


Charisma, even Intelligence can be dump-stats. However, for a fighter with a decent Will save, I assumed a starting 12 Wisdom. Not unreasonable, I think, to be able to get a good Strength, acceptable dex and con, and then have a few points from dumping charisma to get 12 Wisdom.

Sounds a little bit like MAD to me :-)

No, serious, I'm looking forward to your fighter build to see how it plays out in a concrete example.

Dabbler wrote:


I have crunched some numbers, and I was wrong - there is a MARKED difference at 6th level. The fighter is WAY ahead.

Considering DPR I expect nothing less, but the point of this comparison is to see whether he then falls behind on other scores and if so, where.

Dabbler wrote:
If you want a monk who can scout, then you need dexterity and intelligence to do the rogue's job. If you just want to sneak along behind him and help him out, you just need skill ranks in Perception, Stealth and maybe Climb. You don't need to invest in feats to achieve this (after all, he won't bother!). Save the feats for damage.

Mostly the second (helping out the rogue), but I'd rather not botch that stealth roll, so the bonus from the feat is welcome (rolling twice, i.e. once for the rogue and once for the monk, almost doubles the chances of failure if both have the same skill).

Dabbler wrote:
You have made a strength oriented monk, which means you want to hit and do damage. If you want to compete on the Damage stakes, you need Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity (and you want them even before Power Attack as they don't gimp your attack bonus).

I agree on Dragon Style, but as we only use Core rules in our campaign (due to the questionable quality and balance of the expansion books) and in this comparison (for simplicity), those feats are out of scope, unfortunately.


Dabbler wrote:
If you want to compete on the Damage stakes

I don't really want to compete in the sense of being equal or near equal but just want to be good enough to make a difference, but then I expect tripping and grappling to play important parts besides raw damage.

One other combat feat I've been thinking of is "Step up", though I didn't use it in the example builds. What's your experience with that feat?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, I assumed non-core official material, as this actually favours the monk, but my builds above (ninja'd you!) should show the discrepancy nicely. The monk is hitting at +9 to hit, the fighter at +12 or +14.

There's just nothing in it, the fighter comes out on top with AC, hit points, hitting and damaging all. I'm not saying the monk should be superior at these, or even equal, but the monk needs to be able to do SOMETHING when his movement gets him where he is going.

My scouting monk is good at maneuvers at the expense of damage, but they are sadly highly situational.

Edit: No experience with Step Up, but I imagine it would be good for a mage-killer. Problem is with the monk there are so many feats you NEED there's no luxury to try out anything. I couldn't even fit in Weapon Focus (Unarmed) on my builds above.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just did a basic TWF fighter to add to those above...

TWFer:

FIGHTER TEST #3 LEVEL 6 CR 5
Male Human (Taldan) Fighter 6
NN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +7
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 24, touch 13, flat-footed 22. . (+10 armor, +1 shield, +2 Dex, +1 deflection)
hp 46 (6d10+6)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +5
Defensive Abilities Bravery +2
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 20 ft.
Melee +1 Cold Iron Shortsword +11/+6 (1d6+8/19-20/x2) and
. . +1 Mithral Shortsword +11/+6 (1d6+8/19-20/x2) and
Special Attacks Weapon Training: Blades, Light
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 17/19, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 9
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 23 (29 vs. Disarm29 vs. Trip)
Feats Double Slice, Improved Two-weapon Fighting, Iron Will, Power Attack -2/+4, Two-weapon Defense, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus: Shortsword, Weapon Specialization: Shortsword
Skills Acrobatics -1, Climb +8, Escape Artist -1, Fly -1, Handle Animal +3, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +4, Knowledge (Engineering) +4, Perception +7, Stealth -1, Survival +5
Languages Common
SQ Armor Training 1 (Ex)
Combat Gear +1 Cold Iron Shortsword, +1 Full Plate, +1 Mithral Shortsword; Other Gear Belt of Giant Strength, +2, Ring of Protection, +1

I gave this guy two weapons of different materials because to him it makes a difference. That cut his wealth down by 3K, and without it he'd have a cloak of resistance and an amulet of natural armour as well. All the same, his has good AC and good hit points, and hits for +11/+11/+6/+6 for 1d6+8 damage. If he uses Power Attack that scales to: +9/+9/+4/+4 (like the monk, but with an extra attack) for 1d6+12 and 1d6+10 damage.


wraithstrike wrote:
If you put a monk or a fighter into a party the fighter will generally be more useful. There are always exceptions, but a large part of the game is combat, and if I am playing a fight I have ceded a other parts of the game to other party members anyway.

And here ladies and gentlemen is why a comparison is completely useless. Everyone plays differently. A large part of your games are combat. Some games are 50/50, some are even swayed more towards non-combat.

A fighter more "useful"? How? If it's not combat, all a fighter does and stand there and wait for combat. Take a dungeon crawl (I know, I know "situational, doesn't count"), who's going to be in front the fighter or the monk (out of just those two)? The fighter with his higher AC and HP, or the monk with his higher saves, his higher perception, slow fall, and evasion?

wraithstrike wrote:
The other thing is that the monk is not doing anything I can't do with another class.

I keep hearing this, so here's my question: What can a fighter do you can't do with another class? Name the class that can't damage the bad guy? How many classes have full BAB? A Paladin, Barbarian, and Ranger, all have full BAB (to just use CRB), heck the monk technically has a full BAB when two-weapon fighting. And all those classes actually contribute something out of combat. Do see what I'm saying now? You compare the Monk to the Fighter, the Rogue, the Barbarian, and the Wizard, but you only compare the Fighter to the Monk. Of the two, the fighter is the one that has the most redundant skills, not the monk.

TheSideKick wrote:
tell your fighter his character sucks. my level 18 fighter with armor training 4 in mithril full plate has a touch ac of 25. a 25 isnt a 36 but even then at 18 he should have well over a 43 ac, 36 flat footed. while your monks flat footed is most likely 20 or so.

And he would tell you optimization is for power gaming adolecents that play roll playing games intead of role-playing (his words not mine). I would say, I certainly hope your level 18 fighter is better equipped than my friend's level 15 fighter. My level 15 Monk's flat footed AC is 31, but again, with the high DEX, high init, and high perception, the monk is rarely caught flat-footed.


Thanks for the fighters to compare against, Dabbler!

Comparing Ulfen to Liam:

General notes on Ulfen:

- The feat Furious Focus is not Core.
- Traits are not Core.
- hp should be 52 (10 + 5x 6 + 12)
- CMD 24 is 1 too low: 10 + 6 (lvl) + 5 (Str) + 2 (Dex) + 1 (ring) + 1 (dodge) = 25
- where does the trip CMD 29 come from?

Ulfen's advantages:

- much better hit points (52 vs. 39)
- vastly more damage dealt per hit: avg 18.4 (25.3 w/power attack) vs. 8.9 (all including confirmed critical hits)
- vastly better AC (25 vs. 20) and flat-footed AC (22 vs. 17)
- nice feats for fighting multiple opponents like Cleave and Great Cleave
- has minimal survival skill where Liam has none

Liam's advantages:

- much better touch AC (18 vs. 14, with ki 22 vs. 14)
- stunning fist
- can fight in darkness (Blind fight)
- better reflex save (+8 vs. +5) + evasion
- vastly better will save (+9/+11 [enchantment] vs. +5/+7 [bravery])
- moves 2,5 times as fast (not only nice for maneuvering on the battlefield but nice for catching escaping opponents or getting away oneself)
- can tumble (acrobatics +14 vs. -2)
- can scout (stealth +14 vs. -2)
- vastly better knowledge skills (+10 vs. +5)
- vastly better climbing skill (+13 vs. +8), but 8 might suffice in many situations
- vastly better perception (+12 vs. +5)
- can jump as high as 22 feet and as far as 88 feet without a running start (Ulfen can't jump at all)
- can fall 30 ft
- can cast Disguise Self on himself (hat of disguise)
- has only to sleep 2h per day and does not need nourishment

Summary

As expected, Ulfen can deal far more damage per round: 50.6 vs. 26.7 (or 35.6 with ki) assuming all attacks hit (and all crits are confirmed) which is not likely.
Taking hit probabilities into account (including critical hits):
AC Ulfen Liam Liam/ki
24 19.0 5.8 8.5
22 24.0 8.5 12.0
20 29.1 11.2 15.6
18 34.2 13.8 22.8
16 39.2 16.5 26.3

Pitting Liam against Ulfen would be folly but that is to be expected (and Liam might get lucky with tripping (45%) and stunning (hitting a prone Ulfen 50%, Ulfen failing the save 35%) and throw the falchion out of reach when the stunned Ulfen drops it, but that would require quite a bit of luck (about 8% chance, which is too low)).
But then Liam would have to have a good reason to take up this fight. He would probably rather choose to surprise Ulfen in the middle of the night when he doesn't wear his armor. And maybe in the dark when Ulfen can't see anything.

But even so, the comparison is not about combat alone, but to get the whole picture.
And while Ulfen is much better in dealing damage, Liam is not to be taken lightly in combat and has much more other abilities at his disposal.
Besides dealing damage Ulfen can Climb moderately (+8), Handle Animals and Intimidate just barely (+3), has minimal knowledge skills (+5) and minimal perception (+5) and that's it. Nothing else.
His defense is very good as far as AC is concerned, touch AC is low (the ray attack of a 6th level caster without any Dex bonus or otherwise will hit with 50% success chance, for example; I won't even think of specters). His reflex save is poor and he has no evasion and his will save is poor which means he might fall prey to spells like confusion or deep slumber etc. (DC 16 to 20+, depending on whether the caster has a good ability score and has specialized or is even a fey sorcerer, so 50% to 25% success chance).
Whether that is bothersome or not depends on the campaign, of course.

The sword-and-board fighter looks similar: he out damages the monk but has no much skills otherwise. At least he has a moderate perception (+7, still low) and can swim, but has no knowledge skills. His feats are all just combat feats as well.

All in all I think the monk does fare quite well.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jodokai wrote:
I keep hearing this, so here's my question: What can a fighter do you can't do with another class?

Hit any bad guy for guaranteed damage, have a gobsmackingly huge AC with good hit points. It's what the fighter does.

Jodokai wrote:
Name the class that can't damage the bad guy?

Given the nature of the game, that's a very silly question to ask. All classes have the ability to do something to an enemy.

Jodokai wrote:
How many classes have full BAB? A Paladin, Barbarian, and Ranger, all have full BAB (to just use CRB), heck the monk technically has a full BAB when two-weapon fighting.

Flurry of blows, actually - whether it is mechanically identical to TWF is still up for discussion.

Problem is the monk does NOT have full BAB when not using FoB. This is a major problem when he relies on speed and movement a lot.

Jodokai wrote:
And all those classes actually contribute something out of combat.

Yes - arguably, more than the monk does as two of those three have SPELLS on top of other special abilities. In spite of all the comparisons with fighters, the thing to bear in mind is that if you take a ranger, paladin or barbarian they can also out-fight the monk even when they are not fighting their favoured enemy, smiting or raging. The monk fighting unarmed with his flurry of blows should be able to exceed them in damage output, because that is what monks DO, just as the ranger should exceed the monk (and the fighter) fighting his favoured enemy, the barbarian should exceed him when raging, and the paladin when smiting evil. Problem is, they don't.

That is the problem I see.

Jodokai wrote:
Do see what I'm saying now? You compare the Monk to the Fighter, the Rogue, the Barbarian, and the Wizard, but you only compare the Fighter to the Monk. Of the two, the fighter is the one that has the most redundant skills, not the monk.

I've always seen what you are saying. Problem is, that when the chips are down the monk has to be able to hit his targets and damage them, because that is all he can try and do other than maneuvers (and maneuvers are very, very situational) assuming he has the Improved {Maneuver} feats.

The monk merely has the problem of being a combat class that has difficulty actually fighting.

He can avoid attacks, yes - AC is not the question. He can make saves, yes, he is good at that. His hit points are moderate, but adequate given his other defences. What he can't do is reliably score hits with his unarmed attack, or if they do hit, score damage.


The biggest issue with the D&D/PF monk is that D&D/PF generally rewards specialization because it is a game designed to work with a party. Four people with 4 different specialties work a ton better in this game than 4 guys that is decent at everything.

The monk is probably one of the best soloing classes in the game, because he is good at so many things, just not great.

The only schtick that the monk can absolutely be the best at is master of the touch AC. However, this is so situational I don't think it is a good thing to be best at.

Also rolling for stats or high point buys do alleviate alot of the issues with the monk. Unfortunately the game and classes are balanced at 15 point buy.

My simple fix for monks is make Wisdom the be all and end all stat for monks. Basically not only does Wisdom add to AC for monks but they can choose to use wisdom bonus in place of their strength bonus with unarmed strikes and monk weapons.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liam ap Thalwig wrote:
All in all I think the monk does fare quite well.

You mean as long as he doesn't have to fight anything challenging, Liam is fine. If there is anything that can challenge any of those fighters, it will challenge Liam more. A LOT more.

A CR6 creature should have:
70 hit points
AC 19
Attack of +8 to +12
Inflict 18-25 damage
Good saves of +9 and poor saves of +5
A primary ability with a DC16 save and a secondary ability with a DC 11 save.

So Liam can hit it 55%/55%/30% of the time (average 1.4 hits per turn, for 8.5 per hit, total average 11.9). It will save against Liam's stunning fist DC16 70% of the time with his good save, 50% with his bad one). Liam can take this creature down in 6 rounds.

In return it will hit him on average 55% of the time for 21.5 damage, average 11.825 DPR. Liam will last 4 rounds against this creature.

If Liam doesn't get very lucky, he's dead. His best hope is to hit this thing with stunning fist and hope that it fails the save, and does so twice. No matter what Liam does, if he gets the drop on this creature he'll only get one action of advantage, the equivelant of one attack. The chance of any given stunning fist attack succeeding are at best 27.5% (have to hit, damage and then fail a save), so it's dicey that Liam would be able to succeed. He might be able to use his Trip or Disarm, but that depends on what kind of creature it is - looking at the list of CR 6 creatures, almost all are non-humanoid or large sized; many have DR but few have abilities that require a save.

Liam's best strategy is to fight like a rogue: hit with surprise, then run away and lure the creature into a trap where he can keep hitting it from surprise.

Compare this to Ulfen, who can hammer this thing flat in three rounds while barely sustaining a scratch, whether it sees him coming or not.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gignere wrote:

The biggest issue with the D&D/PF monk is that D&D/PF generally rewards specialization because it is a game designed to work with a party. Four people with 4 different specialties work a ton better in this game than 4 guys that is decent at everything.

The monk is probably one of the best soloing classes in the game, because he is good at so many things, just not great.

The only schtick that the monk can absolutely be the best at is master of the touch AC. However, this is so situational I don't think it is a good thing to be best at.

Also rolling for stats or high point buys do alleviate alot of the issues with the monk. Unfortunately the game and classes are balanced at 15 point buy.

My simple fix for monks is make Wisdom the be all and end all stat for monks. Basically not only does Wisdom add to AC for monks but they can choose to use wisdom bonus in place of their strength bonus with unarmed strikes and monk weapons.

I agree with your analysis. The system rewards specialists, except that the monk's specialisation is unarmed combat and it's sub-standard compared to any full BAB class.

My own 'fix' is to change the ki strike. Rather than the procession of magic, lawful and adamantine, I'd make it a +1 enhancement to hit at 4th level, +1 per four levels after. This enhancement to hit would bypass DR as a magic weapon (the AoMF does not) and stack with the damage bonus and/or properties of the AoMF. This alleviates the monk's biggest combat problem - having the enhancement to actually hit the target and bypass DR.

Actually inflicting major damage is not such a big problem if you can get past DR and high AC: you can make up for that with the monk's stunning fist and maneuvers. But you need to actually hit the target reliably first!

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