|Ross Byers Assistant Software Developer|
Is it 22 PB or are you mis-accounting for the racial and level up bonuses?
No, his ability scores are a 20-point buy. He started out, I think, with Str 18 (17 points), Dex 14 (5 points), Con 11 (1 point), Int 7 (-4 points), Wis 14 (5 points), and Cha 7 (-4 points).
+2 for human in Strength, +2 enhancement bonus in Strength and Wisdom, +2 level up in Strength equals Str 24, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 7, Wis 16, and Cha 7.
His AC just plain sucks, though. Base of 10 +2 (Dex) +3 (Wis) +2 (Monk AC, plus monk's robe) +1 (natural armor) +2 (deflection) +1 (bracers of armor) for a total of 21 at 8th level. 25 when he blows ki.
And his hit points suck: he should average out at 39.5 hit points. 47.5 if he puts his favored class bonus in HP. Which brings us to . . .
2 skill points per level . . . 3 for being human. 4 if he puts his favored class bonus in skills (which leaves him at 39.5 hit points. How the devil do you play a monk with these few skill points? I have problems playing a monk with 7 skill points per level (favored class, human, and Int 12) because skills are GOOD. Not to mention his saves of Fort +6, Reflex +8, and Will +9.
He is a glass cannon built for one thing . . . and even then he had to hit FIVE times (and crit once) AND use Elemental Fist on a creature vulnerable to the energy he selected (while being buffed by a bard) in order to do his 137 points of damage in a single round.
Never mind that his shield in the Ioun stone is questionable and that he appears to have overspent his wealth-by-level. And I haven't a clue what a freaking 'cracked purple ioun stone' is supposed to cost or do.
Sigh. If someone sat down with that character at my table, they would be thrown out of the game. Literally.
master arminas wrote:
No, his ability scores are a 20-point buy. He started out, I think, with Str 18 (17 points), Dex 14 (5 points), Con 11 (1 point), Int 7 (-4 points), Wis 14 (5 points), and Cha 7 (-4 points).
Ah. That's my bad. I had it in mind that dropping to a 7 was a -3 cost. That makes sense.
I don't want to bag on his monk, but I don't think it proves our concerns wrong. It's a strength-loaded offensive glass cannon who -- without the aid of at least two of his arcane team members -- wouldn't last very long once the baddies realized he was a threat. Low HP + Low AC = KO time.
I'd still like to know what the opponent was that received such a beating in one round. It might give a fuller picture of how the monk was able to succeed so brilliantly.
In his defense, I am guessing his GM was responsible for giving him his items--or perhaps there is a party member that made them for him, since he was certain he would be getting Boots of Haste. I also disagree with the idea that, just because you favor a high number of skill points, he was building a week Monk by dumping his Intelligence. Skills can be powerful, but that might not be his particular style. A combat focused character doesn't necessarily need the same number of skill points. Just look at the Fighter! Otherwise, I agree on all other points made previously. While this is a team-centered game, one really shouldn't be bringing party buffs into the mix when discussing class balance. Really does throw things out of whack.
Yah, i guess the point was that he has a very focused build. He didn't just dump one stat, but two, to a pretty low number to make the absolute most out of his primary offensive stat.
It's one way to try to mitigate MAD... which is one of the contributing factor's to the monk's struggle to hit CR-equivalent opponents.
Hey, get one thing straight here. I did not claim my monk was the best thing since the invention of alcohol! My claim is that monks are not underpowered and that at th8s one rond of attack in the game people thought "whoa, thats a lot" and had an idea that the monk i had was overpowered due to also having a high ac at the point.
As such i do object to any comments like the one stating that i should be thrown from the table. That is a plain mean and very unreasonable thing to say when i was just posting to show my character and that one time i got a nice result from my dice. You sir are mean if you mean what you type and i would like you to reconsider your remark.
Monks are not underpowered at all, great fun to play and can do some amazing things, just like any character class should be able to do and that is what i aimed to point out with my post.
And i think i have done just that. Thankyouverymuch.....
It is mean to say that I would never allow such a lop-sided character to be played at my table? Well, I guess I am mean, then. But I have six regular players and three more who show up every now and then, and none of them would bring something like that to my table. And any new character that did, and insisted on playing it, would be shown the door.
Yeah, i build it to be a damagedealer and had no interest in skills whatsoever at that time. The creature was a numeran hound or something named alike, indeed. It was 20 point buy with the human plus 2 in strength indeed.
master arminas wrote:
Since you incist in insulting me and being mean, i would like to wish you a peacefull life and hope you find a better place then my posts to read so you can still have a fun day. I will not reply to you or adress my further posts to you so you will not feel harmed by them any more.
And any new character that did, and insisted on playing it, would be shown the door.
You dislike his AC and he seems to have rolled fairly poorly on HP, and that's a reason to not allow somebody to play? He was being very respectful and reasonable in his approach to requesting a retraction I might also add.
Building an offensive character can be brilliant given the correct party make-up. I see no reason to harshly criticize his character merely because his anecdote doesn't prove that Monks are the bees knees.
Valiant >> Thank you for sharing your character. I myself have seen games where Monks did fantastically. It is not normal, but it can happen. In fact, in my game it was also because of the help of a Bard, which I think drastically improves the Monk. When Flurry of Misses actually becomes Flurry of Blows you do see a marginal change in the way the Monk performs.
The point that many are making on this thread is that this is a very situational experience. I'm glad that you have the party dynamic in which you perform wonderfully.
I think Valiant's anecdotal experience does show how slippery a slope it can be to improve the Monk, and it should be done carefully to avoid overpowering. I considered the ki based fix to perhaps be a morale bonus to not stack with Bardic Performance, but the flavor seems off. I'm still leaning towards Insight.
I think I picked a bad time to post my new ability as Valiant's claims have completely buried it. >.>
Here's Valiant's monk rewritten as an 8th-level core-only ranger:
Human Ranger 8:Net result: Valiant's monk as a ranger deals less damage per attack than Valiant's monk as a monk, but has triple the crit range on all attacks, a +2 better attack bonus when making single attacks and attacks of opportunity, and an animal companion to provide flank and make supplemental attacks. The monk does have a 10-foot greater speed, but the ranger has more skill points, and might be able to ride his animal companion. Giving the monk the benefit of the doubt, that all balances out. But the ranger also has more hit points, bonuses against favored enemies, and bonuses in favored terrain.
Speed: 30 ft. (40 ft. after casting longstrider), woodland stride
Str: 24 (+7); base 20*
Feats (4 from level, 1 from human, 3 from ranger):
Trait: Indomitable Faith (+1 trait bonus on Will saves)
Melee (single-attack): +1 scimitar +16/+11 (1d6+7/18-20)
Fort +9; Ref +11; Will +9
So a double-archetyped monk created using material from four different splat books and two different product lines is about equal to a wounded core-only ranger fighting non-favored enemies in non-favored terrain.
But let's assume I've overestimated my ranger and Valiant's monk is somehow better; that still leaves us with a problem. No one here is arguing that monk archetypes can't make the class viable. Folks who want to see the monk adjusted would like to see a change that makes the core monk at least as viable as Valiant's double-archetyped, four-splat-book, two-product-line Frankenstein monk (which I believe to be slightly weaker than a core-only ranger).
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
You are right that my monk is an offensive glass canon. It chose to build it that way. It can only really shine in the defence department when getting help of partymembers. You got allthat right. My idea though was to mention that i do not find it underpowered, as the stated issue was, and that at this one round of damage it really shined.
Fun to see your ranger meepo, thanks for your effort and sharing that.
Some details for you to optimize (or rebuild when your GM allows): firstly the Power Attack would be -3 to hit for +6 damage. The devs have confirmed that you use the effective BAB from flurrying (i.e. BAB 8) when using flurry and Power Attack together.
Secondly you cannot take Weapon Focus or Power Attack at level 1; as both require BAB 1 or better. In this case the effective BAB from flurrying does not apply.
If building a damage machine is the intention, then you'd be better served with the Tiger Style feat chain (which at level 9 would be complete and give you a swift-action move-half-speed as well as the ability to take the penalty of Power Attack to AC instead of to attack) which would give an amazing increase in damage.
Alternatively, you could already have Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity which would increase your damage by +3 (and +7 for the first attack).
Lorekeeper, thank you for pointing out the feat at lvl 1 issue. To correct this i would have to shufle stuff a bit indeed. Also thanks for your suggestions to improve on the concept. Ill gladly look into them.
The thrown from the table comment was a little much.
The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of linking the monk's speed to his attack bonus.
I think maybe the best way to implement it would be to change the fast movement entry to state that a monk may move up to his fast movement speed and make a full attack after a certain level(link it to flurry and you screw some archetypes).
Then, as a new class ability, allow them to "spend" that movement bonus to enhance attack bonus for that round at a rate of 10ft/+1 attack. It gives the monk a flexible resource that isn't exhausted quickly. You could call it something cheesy like encircling assault, multi sided strike, or whatever you want. Thematically, I think it makes the monk fill the role that he's described as filling.
What about the balance though? With this change, a level 18 monk could make stationary flurries at 22/22/17/17/12/12/7 +Str +Enhancement. What's a fighter hitting at around this level? His max with TWF would be around 20 +enhancement +strength or dex, depending on his build, but his stats should be higher and his damage should be better. He has dueling gloves which should get him a little higher too. And he still has feats that the monk can't get because of BAB requirements or fighter only feats.
Realistically, the monk will want to move some every round, so he won't be taking the full +6. Anyone have any opinions?
I had a guy with lightning speed in Marvel Super Heroes. He called his a shotgun punch. Like the pellets of a shotgun rabbit punches came from every direction at roughly 150 miles an hour.
Couldn't someone buy speed with ki and in turn earn themselves extra damage or whatever faster speed gives them?
Also, here's Valiant's monk as a monk/fighter:
Human Monk 4/Fighter 4:Note that the monk/fighter is almost exactly identical to the straight monk (including unarmed strike damage and drunken ki that can be readily replenished), except the monk/fighter trades a 20-ft. speed increase for a better attack bonus with single attacks and attacks of opportunity (thanks in no small part to brawling armor), and proficiency with all martial weapons (including composite longbows, which are better than a 20-ft. speed increase).
Drunken Master/Monk of Four Winds
Speed: 30 ft.
Str: 23 (+6) Base: 20*
2nd lvl Monk feature: Evasion
Trait: Accelerated Drinker
Melee (single attack): unarmed strike +16/+11 (1d8+10 plus 1d4 bleed damage)
Thanks for the build, Valiant.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be adopting that for PFS because in PFS skills are important for faction missions, and I can't always count on a cooperative arcane caster willing to supply me with buffs (but well done on the idea of using the ioun stone to get the mage to cast personal-range spells on you! That's some good value for 2000 gp!).
As GrenMeera pointed out though, you've done well to illustrate how a Monk can quickly become a nasty damage-dealer if given lots of support/given lots of buffs, so cheers for contributing to the discussion that way. =)
Arminas: there was no need to be offensive, mate. He was sharing a personal experience and a build, and whilst his build is not one you or your friends may like, it's his choice how he wants to build and play his character. I like the monk class too and am also frustrated by how it's working out (in fact I share alot of your views on the monk's wonky mechanics), but that doesn't mean we can't be nice to others on the boards. =)
Killsmith >> I would think that +6 is a bit extreme of a bonus (which I still prefer Insight to Enhancement and prefer Insight to untyped). I don't believe I've ever seen a Monk fall QUITE that far behind on the scale. If built properly, a Monk would practically never miss which I would avoid.
The point seems to be to make a Monk competitive with the other classes, and it has been pointed out the average drop points from MAD, AoMF enhancement, and forced TWF. I wouldn't make the bonus higher than +3 myself, but I also feel that Monks are closer to being adequate than many here. Having played many Monks myself, I could take that +3 very far.
Also, I do enjoy the title Turning the Circle due to the direct translation origins from Baguazhang. The generic concept of circling an opponent is found in almost all forms of martial arts, including even Boxing.
Whether my flanking option or your translation into direct bonus, the title fits thematically.
OK, looking at this monk, I can see some issues.
1) His AC is not 37, it's 22. It's up to 37 by getting casters to buff you in advance, and burning ki like it's going out of fashion. A dispel magic puts you in serious danger by relying on these, but I guess that's his choice.
2) Somehow, you had normal attacks at +14, but when power attacking (which should have been -2 for +4) you were up at +17, and you managed to land all your hits. Either the target AC was appalling, or you were infernally lucky.
3) Your damage is highly circumstantial. It required either luck or a low AC (see above) and a target vulnerable to cold. I mean, my current monk could go awesome in the party-paladin's Aura of Justice, but that's not really his doing.
4) You've sacrificed a lot to get this monk to work - his un-buffed AC is terrible for 8th level, his hit points aren't brilliant, he has very few skills, and is as thick as a brick.
I mean he is a good, effective combat build in many ways, but he requires a lot of party support to work, and you need a degree in min-maxing to get a monk up to this level, which is basically where your average 8th level fighter should be.
Or to put it another way, nice but I had an 8th level paladin dish 145 damage in one round with a better base AC, better HP, better skills and better saves.
Edit: this monk does not provbe that monks are not underpowered - if anything it underlines the point many of us have been making: you can make a monk that can hit reliably and produce a good damage output, but you will nerf yourself in many other ways if you do. This monk does that. He can attack, but not defend. You could build any other combat character to dish more damage reliably and have better defences. That's underpowered, you just exchanged underpowered offence for underpowered defence.
I too would like to thank Valiant for posting his build. It's not perfect, but it does show us where he's comming from. It doesn't change our opinions, as Dabbler and others have pointed out it sacrifices a lot to do what it does compared to other martial classes and relies on circumstancal equipment and buffs; but that doesn't make it a less valid opinion then our own, just a differing one.
It took balls to put up with our criticism when so many others have simply said, "I'm not going to do the work for you". So again, I tip my hat sir. Carry on.
Darth Grall wrote:
Sure. I appreciate the attempt...but I think he just proves the point even more so that the Monk is always a bottle half full of water. Just turning the bottle upside down and standing it on the lid does not now mean it is full, just that the water has gone to a different place.
Meanwhile a Fighter is a 12oz lukewarm beer and the Wizard is a frosty keg.
Just a few things:
1 - MA's tone was rather harsh, there's no denying that. But I don't think his issue was with the player's choices for his character so much as it was an illegal character (based on feats), and has more wealth spent than MA would allow at his table.
2- Cracked Vibrant Purple Prism Ioun Stone
3 - Valiant, thank you very much for posting your build. But it's worth noting that you aren't a Monk - You're a Drunken Master/Monk of the Four Winds. Archetypes aren't what's under scrutinity here; The core Monk is.
I'll second the thanks for the build, Valiant.
It gives us a good starting point for further discussion.
I'll add to that vote of thanks, Valiant. You haven't changed our minds but you were happy to stand up and be counted.
I'll also add that you shouldn't take Master Arminas' comments too negatively, he simply didn't explain himself clearly: Your build does include some illegal feats (nothing that couldn't be fixed by swapping them around), items that couldn't be used as you envisaged, and greater than normal WBL. What I think he was referring to most importantly is the fact that this build is very weak defensively - he'd send it back because this character couldn't survive five minutes without the rest of the party bending over backwards to save them. That's the problem with glass cannons I'm afraid.
You are all more then welcome :)
Concerning the feats: As pointed out, I selected them at the wrong level. This doesn't mean that I can't swap some out to have the same result if you look at the damage only issue.
My monk is also not superbly optimised like others pointed out. Some people even gave me advice to build it even better! Thanks for that :)
Concerning the gold: My character is level 8, but has played 2 pathfinder society adventures into level 8, giving it more gold then a 'fresh lvl8' indeed. Plus I think I played a module or so with it, which usually provides a bit more gold then regular PFS adventures. So yeah, I have a bit more gold available then a 'newly' created lvl 8 monk from the standard gold table book thingy.
Concerning my monks hitpoints: Yes, they are very low. Something I am very much aware of. This is the whole reason why I let my party buff me before I go into action cause I'd probably not survive a full round of attacks of a big monster without them. Then again, I think not many characters can. Maybe they are unbuffed a bit better at it, but they still need the help of the party, just like everybody else, to be able to stand there and tank big bad guys.
As soon as I get to lvl 9 and have enough cash to get the Boots of Speed, I do not need to chose between damage and defence any more, since the Haste effect of the boots make my extra Ki point attack obsolete, freeing it up to put into defences as a standard.
Those are the buffs I already have running or are able to provide myself (after filling up the Ioun stone and having mage armor pre-cast) and thats how I usually run around in combat.
Other buffs that sometimes happen just top my AC up. (think about some cavaliers power that gives me more AC if I follow his command, Cats reflexes, Owls wisdom, Barkskin, +4 dodge from Mobility if I'm running around the map)
So yeah, I can be an AC monkey and acually the parties I play with expect me to tank.
I have read all your comments and I know what you are talking about. Remember that it all started with me going: "Hey, I scored this nice damage once as a Monk, and people -then- were like: Wow! Thats awesome" Making me feel like the Monk isn't underpowered.
Going further back with the information you provided me about your discussion, I can imagine that you would think differently. You guys are discussing the core monk stripped down of any extra's I'm using.
So yeah, the Monk can be great! Is that a safe thing to say?:)
Thanks so much for taking a look at my Monk, giving the advice for it and pointing out some issues. Because of that I am able to correct these and have a 'better' character.
Lastly: Yeah! Isn't that Ioun Stone a nice trinket for that cash, eh? I love it:)
Edit: Yeah, I'm burning through Ki points like nobodies business! Thats why I have the drunken master thingy, effectively making it reeeally hard for me to ever burn through them all in a combat.
Yes, the monk can be great. We've never denied this, but it does take a lot of system mastery, usually archetypes rather than the core monk, and the cooperation of the rest of the party to succeed. What we want is a monk that can function properly as it appears they should (as a master of unarmed combat, for example) without having to pull every optimising trick in the book just to perform at an average level.
As pointed out, the monk is currently always 'a glass half-empty' whichever way you look at it.
Thank you for clarifying, Dabbler :) I will be following your theories and ideas in this thread, since I am learning a lot because of it.
Valiant, just wanted to add my thanks in for your willingness to post your build. It does contribute to the conversation immensely.
And before I go any further, let me say this. I'm not criticizing you or your decision to play this monk. I love monks, and i've played one that looked similar to this one. Moreover, you have a group that supports your decision and -- through coordinating efforts and intentional use of party resources -- makes your monk work well for your group in your game. Good on ya! That's what this game is about.
But that's not what some of us are talking about. We've asked the question: what is it that the monk is supposed to excel at? Does he succeed at that? And is this role at which he's supposed to succeed a worthwhile role in an adventuring party?
Given those questions, we don't believe the monk is succeeding at the level most of the other classes do.
My monk is also not superbly optimised like others pointed out.
The thing is, he's fairly well optimized around dealing damage. As has been pointed out, there may be a few feats you could have taken to eke out a few more points of damage per round, but not by much. Your stat buy, feat choice, gear selections, and general strategies align really well with being a melee hard-hitter. And your monk's offensive numbers support this.
The problem that the rest of us are trying to voice, however, isn't that your monk can't hit consistently enough or hard enough. We're just asserting that that's only half of any melee specialist's job. Every melee specialist must be able to do two things successfully to contribute meaningfully to his adventuring party: 1) deal damage and 2) survive the enemy's response.
The fighter can do this through consistent damage output and consistently decent-to-high AC. Plus, his bonus feats and dependency on few attributes means he can somewhat easily raise his saves to remain effective.
The barbarian has killer offense and -- between the largest HP pool and a few class-specific defensive options -- can generally survive long enough to end a fight.
The paladin has dependable offense without Smite, and incredible offense with smite. Then he has some of the strongest defensive options in the game. Divine Grace, heavy armor, and a handful of auras and abilities that make him even more resilient.
The ranger and cavalier are in the same boat as the above, having the ability to spend his own personal resources to attain a balance of dependable offense and defense.
"But Eben," you might say, "those are all full BAB classes, isn't it more appropriate to compare him to other 3/4 classes?"
Somewhat, though -- unlike many of the 3/4 BAB classes -- the monk's iconic offensive class ability suggests that he stand and trade hits with opponents. Magi and Inquisitors are the closest comparison to the monk that I can find in regards to how they're supposed to contribute in combat situations, and they both have the resources to excel far beyond the monk's capabilities. And secondarily we must keep in mind that most (if not all) 3/4 classes are built to contribute to the party in other meaningful ways. Rogues are intended to be the consummate scouts. Bards provide some of the best group buffing in the game. These are just two examples. Scouting seems to be the best "alternate role" for the monk, but -- as has been pointed out repeatedly -- in order for him to succeed consistently in this role, he must spread his attributes even thinner, which exacerbates his combat pains.
So let's get back to your monk. From your posts, I can't tell the full composition of your party. It seems fairly obvious that you have a bard, with potentially a second arcane caster. And since you're being used as the primary tank -- and about two rounds of buffs are being spent consistently to make you succeed in that role -- I'm guessing your group doesn't have another melee specialist.
So your monk isn't being asked just to be a damage dealer, but a true tank. And this is the problem. He can't' succeed on his own. He requires very intentional and consistent support from at least one (more likely two) other party members to play this part effectively. Its great that you have a group willing to do this for you to play the character you want to play, but I don't believe any class should be expected to receive this type of support to succeed at what they're supposed to do.
If your chosen class is supposed to succeed at being a tank, it should have the built-in resources to succeed at that role all by itself. The addition of spells and resources to make you better should make you go from adequate (at the worst) to good or great. it should be the difference between tanking successfully at appropriate to slightly elevated CR challenges and taking on a challenge rated a few levels above your group.
And let's be clear, using Mage Armor and Shield to boost your AC is applying other class's resources to a monk. If Mage Armor and Shield were expected and designed-in resources that the monk was supposed to use to succeed as a tank, he'd have consistent access to them within his own class resources… which he doesn't.
TLDR: Your monk is a glass cannon being propped up by team members to play a role he's otherwise unable to successfully play. Your group is making this work for you, and that's fantastic. You should keep on keeping on. But this doesn't change the fact that it's a weakness of the class.
Dude, when you say "Not welcome at my table" you aren't helping.
Everyone who plays by the rules and is polite is welcome at a table.
But some builds aren't able to survive and contribute as well as others. In this case it is structurally.
Valiant stepped up and you chopped his head off.
master arminas wrote:
Don't be that guy.
You aren't helping with comments like this.
Eben: Spot on!
I see what you are trying to say and understand it: You're discussing something waaaaaay more in depth then just a 1 time experience I had with my Monk. As such, continue your discussion so I can learn from it :)
Yah, at this point, Valiant, I didn't make that post because I think you're arguing (or even disagree with us), but as a way of getting all of my thoughts about your example in one post. Hopefully it's constructive to the conversation.
I'm open to having my mind changed about the equality of the monk, but so far I haven't heard any logic or examples that are convincing enough.
Adding to what Eben said, given that the monk is ideally buffed by the party, look at what other 3/4 classes would do in similar ideal circumstances.
A rogue would blow away the monk in damage, while also likely having a higher AC and ability to hit considering the focus on Dex as both a defense and attack bonus when you consider weapon finesse.
An inquisitor would have two judgments and bane at that level, so they blow the doors off the monk.
Clerics and Druids are full casters. 'Nuff said.
Summoners cast AND have eidelons. Nuff said.
The bard can self buff AND buff the party AND cast...
It isn't just about what can your monk do. And it isn't about keeping up with the Full BaB. It is that when you put them agaisn't the other 3/4 BaB they don't keep up either.
Eben: My monk can drink more alcohol then any of your characters.
That makes mine superior in any and every way you can think of.
Awesome overpoweredness to the max! Wheee!:))
Edit: Noooooo don't shoot me with Con based rules about getting drunk! I'm a drunken master! Let me live in my delusion and be happy!:)
Yeah, you've done a great job really working with what you have been given to do a good job for what your party needs you to do with a little help from your friends.
The problem is, as somebody pointed out above with the same buffing and help that the other 3/4ths BAB classes outshine him at his own game. That is really all that is being said. I think everybody here wants the Monk to be an awesome kung-fu master, not an anchor that the party has to drag along.
...I don't have Purity of Body....heh...
But I have the ultimate 'free' healing! 2 Ki points = 8 hp healing due to Wholeness of Body...
Then I just drink up to replenish those 2 Ki points from my drunken Ki points pool....and heal again!
Drink drink drink and all the pain goes away :))
Take a level of Cleric of Cayden Caileen and you can create ale as a cantrip :)
Don't forget that summoner's are full-casters in disguise. They stuff so many high level spells into low level spell slots it's silly. :P
That is probably the only useful application of wholeness of body I have yet seen - converting a night in the tavern to healing up.
IMHO The summoner is a great idea that just doesn't quite work. I love what Jason was trying to do, and I don't criticize the effort as I can't think of how to execute it better without having it basically be two aquamen or not make sense, but as it is it just doesn't work unless the player is really, really helpful.
Agreed actually. It's currently off limits from my online group's campaign, pending some serious reworking of its spell list. It might even just be easier to just exclude it entirely, but people have asked about it, so it'll probably just get modified. :P
The spell list really needs to die in a fire though. It bugs me all the high level spells they shoved into 3/4 spellcasting, and I find it very annoying that it makes tons of item prices incorrect, opens up stuff like wands of summon monster V (instead of staffs), etc, etc, etc. 2nd level wands of haste? O.o
No sir. (0.o)
My monk uses a bag of holding stuffed with absinth :)
Oh, and 2 springloaded wristsheeths of course, holding a drink of absinth in a vial each for really fast consumption if really needed.