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Minor (?) Monk tweak and it's effects


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


Hello everyone,

I read a lot about the Monk lately and it kept me thinking.
There seems to be some general disagreement/discussion about the monk and her combat abilities (especially the FoB).

So I thought about house-ruling the following:

1) BAB changes to "Good"
2) Flurry of Blows: The monk receives the following bonus feats as long he is neither wearing armor nor a medium/heavy load and only when using UAS or monk weapons:
1st level: Two-Weapon Fighting, Double Slice
6th level: Improved TWF
11th level: Greater TWF
3) Drop "Maneuver Training"

I thought about giving them something like the "Pounce" ability too.

Well. What do you think about it and what would possibly come out of these changes?


Really, all you did was extract the base mechanics of FoB and make it core to the class. Nothing too terribly unbalancing, there.

I'm not sure about getting all good saves and always-on full BAB.

Adding Pounce to the class (probably at a higher level, comparable to a Beast Totem Barbarian) might be ok. That said, what would you get rid of to replace it?

It all depends on what you are wanting to do. For this setup, I would drop one of the saves to poor progression. Not sure which one, though.


The main reason was to get rid of the stupid headache you get when trying to figure out which attacks get which attack bonus for a monk.

I think FORT could be dropped to "poor" if any of them.

And maybe dropping "Still Mind"

or changing into "Mind over Body"
(WIS bonus to FORT-saves, or something like that)

OR

Maybe simply dropping the "Flurry" thing and/or
a) make the monk "ambidexterous"
b) add the TWF feats to list of bonus feats.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It 'fixes' FoB but introduces other issues with all good saves and full BAB. It also doesn't tackle the monk's main weakness, lack of enhancement to hit with the unarmed strike, although it does give you options to alleviate it by not using FoB.


How about:

Monks receive a “Good” BAB and a “poor” FORT-save
Monks lose the “Flurry of Blows” and “Still Mind” abilities
Monks gain the “Mind over Body” ability at 4th level, adding +1 per 4 class levels to all their FORT-saves
Monk weapons benefit from the “no off-hand” bonus of the “Unarmed Strike” ability and do not suffer the –4 penalty when dealing non-lethal damage when used by a monk (of course)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

How about:

Monks receive a “Good” BAB and a “poor” FORT-save
Monks lose the “Flurry of Blows” and “Still Mind” abilities
Monks gain the “Mind over Body” ability at 4th level, adding +1 per 4 class levels to all their FORT-saves
Monk weapons benefit from the “no off-hand” bonus of the “Unarmed Strike” ability and do not suffer the –4 penalty when dealing non-lethal damage when used by a monk (of course)

Is this a monk any more? Mind you, I do like the 'Mind over Body' concept with a poor Fort save. Rather than +1/4 levels, just add Wisdom bonus to Fort saves. Less complex, more thematic.


Not very impressive changes, I'd say. Basically, they now can make a single attack at full bonus: yay, it's still not going to hit anyway, since they would be the only full bab class with no attack bonus (fighters get weapon training, barbarians get rage, rangers get fav enemy, paladins get smite), are the one with the highest mad and unarmed strikes are the most expensive weapon of the game to enchant.
Now, adding pounce would be a good idea: it's thematically appropriated and relevant.
Personally, I'd give the monk a toned down weapon training (something like +1 at 5h, +2 at 11th, +3 at 17th) with unarmed strike only. Another option could be give them the weapon training of the fighter but with no bonus to damage.


@ Dabbler: Sure it's a monk!
FoB is not what makes a monk a monk. Neither is a good or poor fort save.

I thought about adding WIS to FORT, but with magic items increasing WIS, this bonus might get out of hand quickly, making FORT his best save instead of slightly worse.
(at least that's what I believe)

@ Crysknife: You DO realize that the thread title says "minor change" right?
I never said I wanted to make an "impressive" change. Actually, if I didn't, that's a good thing from my POV. My sole intention is to make the monk a little less complicated (starting with the FoB) and maybe a little more capable.
I don't want to make the monk a combat monster.

Regarding "Pounce": Which level or condition would be appropriate?
Should it be tied to the "Ki Points" for example?

Regarding the "enchanted weapons": This should not be fixed by changing the Monk but changing magic items.

I don't see that monks actually NEED an additional bonus to their attack rolls.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Changing to full BAB is not a minor change, really. There are some interesting ideas here, but it's not my favourite concept.

Oh, as for items Paizo have made clear that they are not changing. They may introduce one, I suppose, but I am not holding my breath. Ergo the fix needs to be in the monk, because that is where the unarmed strike is.


It's not a BIG change either.
The monk has a good BAB about half the time, I'd say.
So changing it completely to "good" while dropping the flurry just straighten things out.

I really don't understand your point about the magic items.
What has paizos policy to do with what WE change in our games?
They wouldn't use any changes you'd made "inside" the monk either, so who cares?

Looking over the "AoFists" I came to a quick and simple solution:

When creating the amulet (or bracers since they fit the concept too/better), simply use the rules for creating magic weapons.
Including costs, max. enchantment bonus, etc.

Only Exception: You need "Craft Wonderous" and "Magic Fangs" as basic requirements instead of "Craft A&A" and "Magic Weapon".

Quick and simple.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

It's not a BIG change either.

The monk has a good BAB about half the time, I'd say.
So changing it completely to "good" while dropping the flurry just straighten things out.

So, lose the monk one of his iconic class features, and make him the same as the other combat classes? Not for me. I agree, the problem with one BAB at one time and another the rest has to be fixed, but full BAB is not the only solution or the best solution.

DracoDruid wrote:

I really don't understand your point about the magic items.

What has paizos policy to do with what WE change in our games?
They wouldn't use any changes you'd made "inside" the monk either, so who cares?

You can run your home game any way you like. Thing is, some things should not have to be houseruled, they should work right out of the box. Plus, if you love your iconic monk in your game, and you try to play them in another DM's game, you then also have to convince him you are right.

Hence one of the reasons for all of these threads is to give the devs feedback on the classes and how they could fix them.


And you really believe anything said on this board will actually make paizo doing major changes in any of their books?
And as I can see it, improving or fixing the monk will be nothing less.
They might add some minor clarifications or add some small sentences but that's gonna be it.
At least not until they release a new Pathfinder version 2.0, 1.5, or whatever.
So anything discussed here will be relevant for home games only anyway.

Back to my changes:
What good is FoB anyways? Everyone is arguing how stupid it is.
You don't hit anything, your bab is mixed up, you must stand still, yadayadayada.
So why clinging to this stupid thing at all?

Core to the monk are fighting unarmed, unarmored and developing supernatural abilities.
Not FoB and not Stunning Attack.
If the monk is considered or supposed to be a combat/melee class, NOT having a good BAB is simply stupid.
As it is stupid to give him a medium BAB and implement additional and unnecessary (complicated) rules for when he has not.

There is ONE core rule when creating a system: "Simple is always better"


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

And you really believe anything said on this board will actually make paizo doing major changes in any of their books?

And as I can see it, improving or fixing the monk will be nothing less.
They might add some minor clarifications or add some small sentences but that's gonna be it.
At least not until they release a new Pathfinder version 2.0, 1.5, or whatever.
So anything discussed here will be relevant for home games only anyway.

Really? So why have devs been posting in this thread agreeing that the monk class needs to be overhauled? I do not pretend to know what they have in mind, but clearly something is afoot.

DracoDruid wrote:

Back to my changes:

What good is FoB anyways? Everyone is arguing how stupid it is.
You don't hit anything, your bab is mixed up, you must stand still, yadayadayada.
So why clinging to this stupid thing at all?

The concept was a good one: hit many times for less damage rather than a few times for massive damage. This is very thematic for a martial artist (just watch any kung fu flick). Problem was with the execution: without proper enhancement the monk's unarmed strike could neither hit often enough and/or couldn't bypass DR if it did. In addition it requires the mobile monk to stand still.

I believe the concept can be realised, and I like the idea so I am unwilling to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

DracoDruid wrote:

Core to the monk are fighting unarmed, unarmored and developing supernatural abilities.

Not FoB and not Stunning Attack.

Only in your opinion, my friend. I consider the package of unarmed strike, flurry of blows and stunning fist as a suite the monk uses in combat to get success.

DracoDruid wrote:

If the monk is considered or supposed to be a combat/melee class, NOT having a good BAB is simply stupid.

As it is stupid to give him a medium BAB and implement additional and unnecessary (complicated) rules for when he has not.

The monk gets a lot of other powers and features, he is meant to be a mystic warrior, not just a bruiser. Full or 3/4 BAB is less important IMHO than actually being effective in combat. I do agree that the mucking about with FoB and non-FoB BAB is unnecessary. I just have different ideas about how to fix the problem.

DracoDruid wrote:
There is ONE core rule when creating a system: "Simple is always better"

I agree, you should start with simple rules, but if you really want to simplify things then every combat character would be 'fighter'. Hence we clearly want a level of complexity brought about by taking those simple rules and using them to make more complex outcomes. The monk is one of those.


Would you mind pointing me to the post (not the thread) and the name of the dev who said that?
That would be nice.

Concering FoB:
If you want to keep it, I would simply get rid of the phrase part "as if using TWF", and add a sentence to the end of the paragraph, similar to:
"You cannot use TWF, iTWF, etc. in combination with a FoB."

Now the monk only needs the ability to use his FoB as a standard action.
(like pounce, or simply make FoB a standard action)

But there are more problems concerning FoB, i.e. the use of monk weapons, AoO.

So many, that I simply prefer to give the monk a full BAB and start from there.

Even saying, the monk has a good BAB when unarmed or using monk weapons but medium for every other weapon would be better/simpler then ONLY when flurring.

IMO.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

Would you mind pointing me to the post (not the thread) and the name of the dev who said that?

That would be nice.

SKR, second page from the end I think.

DracoDruid wrote:

Concering FoB:

If you want to keep it, I would simply get rid of the phrase part "as if using TWF", and add a sentence to the end of the paragraph, similar to:
"You cannot use TWF, iTWF, etc. in combination with a FoB."

Now the monk only needs the ability to use his FoB as a standard action.
(like pounce, or simply make FoB a standard action)

But there are more problems concerning FoB, i.e. the use of monk weapons, AoO.

So many, that I simply prefer to give the monk a full BAB and start from there.

Even saying, the monk has a good BAB when unarmed or using monk weapons but medium for every other weapon would be better/simpler then ONLY when flurring.

IMO.

Well my solution was a little more elegant, though not full BAB. I kept them at 3/4 BAB and gave them the weapon training class feature, but inly with regard to monk weapons and unarmed strike. So at level 20 they are hitting for +19 rather than the current +15 or +18. I modified FoB so that you get standard iterative attacks on a standard action, and twice as many attacks on a full action (ie attack with iterative attacks, but two attacks at each iteration).

Added advantage to this was that it gives a nice damage boost to monk weapons.


I see no problem with giving the monk full BAB. The biggest difference will be earlier access to certain feats. If you want a pounce mechanic, I would suggest that you instead look at the dawnflower dervish fighter archetype's rapid attack. It's not quite as powerful as the pounce, but that might prevent it from overpowering the existing class features.

LINK.

Qadira

Full bab and all good saves on a monk is fine. Paladins have it if not better. Actually having the feats is real nice.


There's another thing that's not making sense:

If the monk is supposed to be the "many small-damage attacks" guy,
then WHY does his unarmed damage increase to a point where it's easily better than ANY weapon? (despite magic bonuses)

The whole monk seems like they tried to stike as close as possible to 3.5 without really thinking the whole thing through.

@ dabbler: I like some of your ideas used in your redisgn. I started my own version yesterday and came up with the same idea you called "insights".
I called them "monk disciplines" in line with rogue talents and rage powers.

Turning most "standard" monk abilities into selectable disciplines/insights.

I REALLY think, that's the way to go with the monk.

Heck, I REALLY think that's the way to go with ALL classes.
(But that's another topic)

I had another idea that would cool too IMO: "Monk Orders".

Similar to schools/bloodlines, a monk chooses his Order's teaching and receives certain abilities along the road.

All those monk variants and archetypes could be redesigned into these orders.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Um, the insights were Lorekeeper's idea - I stuck with the more traditional suite of abilities where I could.

The latest incarnation of my monk is here if you are interested, though.


Huh. Okay sorry. Could have sworn it was your post that linked to that.
(maybe you simply commented it, IDK)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No worries - but I would be interested in what you think of my design anyway, if you feel so inclined.


I scanned through the abilities you added.

I must say, they are often a little bit complicated and sometimes fuzzy to read.
Especially Flurry of Blows.
I could take some time to straighten this out for you, but right now, I'm a bit fuzzy myself.

Likewise, you might rephrase "Weapon Training" and delete all references to the fighter ability.
With its exceptions and special rules its better to treat it as a unique ability and discribe it in detail (and simply state something like "similar to a fighter's weapon training" if anything).

Am I seeing it right that you replaced "Ki Strike" with "Enhanced Strike"?
If so, I like "Ki Strike" better.
I know there are some voices that think the monk needs some additional to-hit bonuses but I don't buy this, and I still think the best way would be to simply improve "Amulett of Mighty Fists" to do this.


I would like to present my revision of the Monk.

I'm very eager to get constructive critics.

DracoDruid's Monk


I think the OP change is fine, it has the following changes that I can see:
1. Clearer than the RAW.
2. Makes monk a good skirmisher.
3. Makes non-monk weapons better since he can skirmish with them at no penalty.
4. Opens up BAB dependant feat choices for the monk.
5. Makes the monk more "dipable" since it doesn't cost you BAB to do so.

I assume the bonus feats have the usual stipulation that you can ignore feat requirements.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

I scanned through the abilities you added.

I must say, they are often a little bit complicated and sometimes fuzzy to read.
Especially Flurry of Blows.
I could take some time to straighten this out for you, but right now, I'm a bit fuzzy myself.

It's actually really simple, but I may not have phrased it properly. Effectively, you can make an ordinary full attack on a standard action, and on a full attack action make two attacks for each iterative attack you normally get.

So at 20th level, you can move and attack +15/+10/+5 or make a full attack +15/+15/+10/+10/+5/+5.

DracoDruid wrote:

Likewise, you might rephrase "Weapon Training" and delete all references to the fighter ability.

With its exceptions and special rules its better to treat it as a unique ability and discribe it in detail (and simply state something like "similar to a fighter's weapon training" if anything).

True, but it was inspired by the weapon training feature, it just has added features.

DracoDruid wrote:
Am I seeing it right that you replaced "Ki Strike" with "Enhanced Strike"?

Correct. Ki strike has a lot of problems in that it only allows you to overcome DR as if you had a magic weapon. That means that it does not work against incorporeal creatures, and it provides no enhancement bonus. Amulet of mighty fists and spells likewise provide only an enhancement bonus. Most DM's house-rule otherwise, but technically that's where it is at.

Added to this, one of the monk's problems itself is lack of available enhancement, so I just added on the enhancement anyway. This makes the unarmed strike a full magic weapon, and when you add the AoMF you get full enhancement. Because it is full enhancement it gets you past DR the way ki strike did, only better.

DracoDruid wrote:
If so, I like "Ki Strike" better.

I cannot for the life of me think why, this does exactly the same thing only much more effectively.

DracoDruid wrote:
I know there are some voices that think the monk needs some additional to-hit bonuses but I don't buy this, and I still think the best way would be to simply improve "Amulett of Mighty Fists" to do this.

The devs have made it clear that changes in the AoMF or adding any item that makes it redundant is not going to happen (can you say 'broken druid', anyone?).


I disagree that monks need extra +Attack to be effective, otherwise Paladin would not be effective against non-evil, Ranger against non-favored, and Cavalier when not charging.

The monk does need something to do in high CR fights, and I think that thing is supposed to be stunning fist. You might consider adding an attack bonus tied to the Ki pool if you really need something (IMO of course).


@ all:
I changed the order "my monk" gains bonus feats and monk disciplines. It's better in this order. If anyone cares.
And NO, the monk MUST meet all prerequisites for his bonus feats.

@ slacks:
Welcome to the discussion.
Might I ask which of my changes you are referring to?
The ones in my initial post or my complete redesign?

@ dabbler:
The AoMF can have BOTH enhancement bonuses AND special weapon qualities. The only difference is that the amulet has a total maximum of +5 whereas weapons are capped at +10.
(And the amulet costs a bit more I think)

As I said, I'm still not convinced that the monk need's additional enhancements. The still can use magic monk weapons.
But after reading some more into it, I realize that "ki strike" is also one of those "fuzzy" abilities.

I just stumbled upon the small table that states which enhancement bonus can overcome certain special damage reductions.
I wasn't aware that those (still?) existed.

I have to give the Ki Strike some more thought...

And I might dare ask:
What's the problem with "AoMF" and the Druid?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
slacks wrote:
I disagree that monks need extra +Attack to be effective, otherwise Paladin would not be effective against non-evil, Ranger against non-favored, and Cavalier when not charging.

One word: Enhancement.

Even a TWF ranger pays less for enhancement than the monk, and has a higher cap. This means that his chances to hit are generally better than the monk's. Plus, he has the option of making a single attack that is at a better attack bonus than the monk can manage, or of not employing TWF in a full attack to have better chances to hit.

Further, their weapons can be made of materials that go through DR, and a high enough enhancement bonus will also go through DR. The bonus from the AoMF is not a magic weapon, so it does not bypass DR, and the monk's unarmed strike can only be made of monk.

In short, the paladin not smiting and the ranger not facing their favoured enemy really do fight better than the monk when he is employing his 'special' attacks: flurry of blows and unarmed strike. If the monk arms himself, then they have access to better weapons. Stunning fist really doesn't cut it as not all creatures are effected, the save is not brilliant and you have to hit and do damage first.

slacks wrote:
The monk does need something to do in high CR fights, and I think that thing is supposed to be stunning fist. You might consider adding an attack bonus tied to the Ki pool if you really need something (IMO of course).

I have added this in my latest version, to go up shortly: 1 ki for +Wisdom mod to all attacks for 1 round.

The reason stunning fist does not cut it is the save. Now on the face of it, it looks OK, but it falls down because the monk is MAD. The monk gets +5 in attribute increases, so he will spend them on the attribute he hits with just like the other combat classes do, not his wisdom - if he doesn't he falls yet further behind the hitting curve, and you have to hit and do damage with stunning fist in order to have a chance of it working. Hence his stunning fist save falls behind the curve of saving throws as he levels up higher.

DracoDruid wrote:

@ dabbler:

The AoMF can have BOTH enhancement bonuses AND special weapon qualities. The only difference is that the amulet has a total maximum of +5 whereas weapons are capped at +10.
(And the amulet costs a bit more I think)

Exactly. If you want to get through DR without a +5 weapon (and the AoMF does not count as a +5 weapon) then the only other way to do it is through effects. If you have a cap of +5, then you have to reduce your chances to hit in order to have chances to get through DR.

DracoDruid wrote:

And I might dare ask:

What's the problem with "AoMF" and the Druid?

The AoMF adds a bonus to ALL a creatures unarmed strikes and natural attacks. So if you hang one on a dragon, that's 6+ weapons that all gained the same bonus. Pretty nasty on a hydra, eh?

That's why the AoMF is so expensive and why the champion shape-shifter/companion-handler (the druid) gets more out of the Amulet of Mighty Fists, supposedly designed for the monk, than the monk does.


I took your considerations into account and added them to my version of the monk.

I also decided to give the monk a second swift action (for activating monk disciplines only) beginning at 11th level.

@ anyone: Please feel free to check my version (again) and point out where I might have overdone it!

I still am concerned about the monk overshadowing the fighter.
(But I will redo the fighter too soon...)

DracoDruid's Monk


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looking much better, my only concern is that the unarmed damage is a little low, but a good compromise between base dice and static bonus damage.

I confess I do miss losing the multiple attacks of the old monk, though.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:


The bonus from the AoMF is not a magic weapon, so it does not bypass DR, and the monk's unarmed strike can only be made of monk.

This is false.

There are some issues with the monk, but there is no need to make up problems.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Dabbler wrote:


The bonus from the AoMF is not a magic weapon, so it does not bypass DR, and the monk's unarmed strike can only be made of monk.

This is false.

There are some issues with the monk, but there is no need to make up problems.

Hmm. Double checked and you are correct, Cheapy. It defines magic weapons as a weapon with an enhancement bonus of +1 or better. As AoMF does provide an enhancement bonus, it must allow the unarmed strike to qualify.

I have heard the opposite stated in several posts, especially with regard to magic fang spells, so there may be some tables where it is ruled otherwise.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I believe the issue is that people see that it's based off of magic fang, which does not count (same as magic weapon) for overcoming non-magic DR. But the prerequisites of an item don't have anything to do with how the item actually works, and the item itself doesn't mention that it won't count for overcoming DR.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very true. Nonetheless the AoMF still has some serious drawbacks as regards monks.


I think I will be doing two monks actually.

The monk I have done know, I will call "Battle Monk" or "Fighting Monk".

It seems that many players see the monk in this particular role, and compare the monk with other melee classes.

However, the more I thought about the monk in the last hours, the more I came to realize, that from an ingame (and not player/mechanic) point of view, the monk does NOT train to become the perfect fighting machine.

The main goal of the monk is to achieve personal - physical and mental - perfection; to reach enlightment and transcent from the mortal world.

Combat Training is simply one of many ways to train body and mind, with the benefit of being able to defend oneself.

So I will - in the next days - create a second monk that will focus on this aspect.

He will probably be more of a bard/rogue/jack-of-all-trades.

We'll see...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Loblusk suggested we all load up our ideas here and vote on them!

Look forward to seeing yours there DracoDruid!

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