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If Monks have trouble hitting...


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Andoran

wraithstrike wrote:
ciretose wrote:
I don't like adding wisdom, as I agree with Cheapy. The solution is simply letting the monk enhance their hands at similar cost.
I do agree this is a good idea, but that would get rid of the need for the AoMF, and they have already said no to that.

They have also said they haven't talked about it.

The AoMF is more useful for druids, animal companions and many armed creatures at this point than it is for a monk.

It is too expensive and takes up to valuable a slot.

Andoran

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Dabbler wrote:

The devs have said that the AoMF is not changing, period.

That leaves the monk to change.

Or for them to realize they are wrong about this one and that the AoMF is a monster/druid/animal companion item at this point, and stop adding more barriers to correcting the problem.

It is a horribly designed item that is the only thing standing in the way of correcting the problem.


If they're sticking with the whole a monk's unarmed strikes is multiple weapons that each needs to be enhanced separately line of reasoning and claims that it makes no sense to have an item that only enhances unarmed strikes and not natural attacks to justify the AoMF then IMO the Monk needs to be allowed to use all of these different weapons as natural weapons instead of being artificially limited to using them to make iterative attacks.

Monk gets 2 fists (primary}, 2 kicks (primary), and 1 headbutt (secondary), there, now AoMF is a fairly priced item.


Ninja in the Rye wrote:

If they're sticking with the whole a monk's unarmed strikes is multiple weapons that each needs to be enhanced separately line of reasoning and claims that it makes no sense to have an item that only enhances unarmed strikes and not natural attacks to justify the AoMF then IMO the Monk needs to be allowed to use all of these different weapons as natural weapons instead of being artificially limited to using them to make iterative attacks.

Monk gets 2 fists (primary}, 2 kicks (primary), and 1 headbutt (secondary), there, now AoMF is a fairly priced item.

You are leaving out knees and elbows (which would probably be secondary). Does that mean a monk can take the Multi-Attack Feat? And Improved Natural Attacks?

The designers have already ruled the latter out (even though it was legal in 3.5).

MA


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I kinda posted this another thread, but heres my take on what would help the monk some (its not a total fix, but it helps with the combat issue).

Replace Ki Strike with an ability similar to the magus arcane pool. So it would read something like this:

Ki Strike: At 4th level, a monk can expend 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action to grant his unarmed attacks a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every three levels beyond 4th, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 16th level. These bonuses can be added to his unarmed strikes, stacking with existing enhancement bonuses to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 8th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: axiomatic, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, or speed. (this part could use some expansion probably)

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the monks unarmed strike already has, but duplicates do not stack. At least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the ki pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the monk uses this ability.

Its a thought. Maybe good, maybe bad, but its a thought. It uses an already existing resource, and an already existing mechanic, so it isn't completely unprecedented. Doesn't do a lot for a monk wielding weapons, but I'm kinda of the opinion that isn't what folks think need boosting. It would stack with an AoMF, so it doesn't invalidate that item, and it allows monks to get up to a total of a +10 effective enhancement, thus allowing them to get better use out of it than they do now, and arguably, better usage than druids/animals/natural attack users.


I assume knees and elbows are falling under the "one NA per limb" limit 'rule'/assumption that I've seen mentioned a few times.

So a monk could use elbows or fists (or one of each), but not use 2 elbows and 2 fists in the same attack sequence.

If I were actually thinking this through as a serious Monk change rather than just looking at this, "We must treat unarmed strikes as separate natural weapons, except for when we don't," line of reasoning then I'd suggest some sort of scaling system. Let Mr. Monk pick 2 natural attacks at level 1, add a 3rd at level 6, a 4th at 11, and a 5th at 16th to represent his ongoing training.

I would assume so on the natural attack feats.

In general monk improvement theory I think the Monks scaling unarmed damage should be done away with (keep at 1d6), and replaced with a Weapon Training type ability, this would remove the size stacking and great fear of high numbered dice being tossed around that seems to be at the heart of a lot of the issues/misunderstandings that people have about Monk effectiveness ("A monk can do 2d10 damage!? That's more than a GREAT SWORD!!!"). If you did this, then INA wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue either way.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I assume knees and elbows are falling under the "one NA per limb" limit 'rule'/assumption that I've seen mentioned a few times.

So a monk could use elbows or fists (or one of each), but not use 2 elbows and 2 fists in the same attack sequence.

If I were actually thinking this through as a serious Monk change rather than just looking at this, "We must treat unarmed strikes as separate natural weapons, except for when we don't," line of reasoning then I'd suggest some sort of scaling system. Let Mr. Monk pick 2 natural attacks at level 1, add a 3rd at level 6, a 4th at 11, and a 5th at 16th to represent his ongoing training.

I would assume so on the natural attack feats.

In general monk improvement theory I think the Monks scaling unarmed damage should be done away with (keep at 1d6), and replaced with a Weapon Training type ability, this would remove the size stacking and great fear of high numbered dice being tossed around that seems to be at the heart of a lot of the issues/misunderstandings that people have about Monk effectiveness ("A monk can do 2d10 damage!? That's more than a GREAT SWORD!!!"). If you did this, then INA wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue either way.

Yes, but part of the scaling is a legacy issue. Back in 1ed AD&D, monks damage went from paltry, and scaled up to rolling more dice than anyone. This was balanced by a lower THAC0 (BAB for the newer folks) than front liners. But they also had a frightening number of attacks. Essentially, they were originally the undisputed masters of hitting things a lot and very hard with their fists. Along with many of the neat bag of tricks kind of things we see them still doing today.

The problem is that as the system changed, the sort of balancing act that worked for monks in 1ed AD&D doesn't work anymore. Heck, they were originally a 17 level class in a 20 level game, and for ~1/2 of those levels had to fight to prove themselves and earn the level, with less and less folks allowed to be at the higher levels. Plus the high entry requirements reflected in their current MAD.

Which is what makes monks so complicated in so many ways. You have the folks who remember the monks of "ye olde days" and want that back (even though some have the "back in the day it was better" glasses on when it wasn't) and you have folks that haven't seen anything other than new 3.0+ monk and just want the class to have a defined role and be good at it. And all in between.

Personally, I don't think any solution anyone comes up with will please anyone. But, doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried.


master arminas wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

If they're sticking with the whole a monk's unarmed strikes is multiple weapons that each needs to be enhanced separately line of reasoning and claims that it makes no sense to have an item that only enhances unarmed strikes and not natural attacks to justify the AoMF then IMO the Monk needs to be allowed to use all of these different weapons as natural weapons instead of being artificially limited to using them to make iterative attacks.

Monk gets 2 fists (primary}, 2 kicks (primary), and 1 headbutt (secondary), there, now AoMF is a fairly priced item.

You are leaving out knees and elbows (which would probably be secondary). Does that mean a monk can take the Multi-Attack Feat? And Improved Natural Attacks?

The designers have already ruled the latter out (even though it was legal in 3.5).

MA

Well... not exactly.

Improved natural attack is for monsters, it's a dm feat to make the natural attacks of some monsters more damaging. It represents bigger tusks, teeth-filled maws, giant claws, that sort of thing. Not really something for player playing non-monsters to be taking and confined to the monster manuals. You won't find it in the players or in many of the "Complete" books used as supplementary material for players to build their characters.

If a humanoid monk did take it, it would mean that their fists, elbows and legs were abnormally large and dense for a humanoid. It is straying into dire creature territory.

Having said that, I have heard of players try to take it for monks, so that their unarmed strike had better damage. Problem is, the unarmed strike of a monk isn't a natural attack--it is an unarmed strike, an attack honed through training and the martial arts. The levels of monk turn simple hands, elbows and feat into lethal weapons, which are not lethal strikes in their natural state.

Another example, you could have a minotaur monk, and that monk could take improved natural attack to increase the damage die of their gore horn attack (the gore attack is a natural attack, the minotaur has giant horns) but that would not impact their unarmed strike, which is determined by their monk level and size (in this case, the minotaur is large).

Complicated stuff, but there is usually "confusion" because of people pulling a fast one, or trying to.


Krigare wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I assume knees and elbows are falling under the "one NA per limb" limit 'rule'/assumption that I've seen mentioned a few times.

So a monk could use elbows or fists (or one of each), but not use 2 elbows and 2 fists in the same attack sequence.

If I were actually thinking this through as a serious Monk change rather than just looking at this, "We must treat unarmed strikes as separate natural weapons, except for when we don't," line of reasoning then I'd suggest some sort of scaling system. Let Mr. Monk pick 2 natural attacks at level 1, add a 3rd at level 6, a 4th at 11, and a 5th at 16th to represent his ongoing training.

I would assume so on the natural attack feats.

In general monk improvement theory I think the Monks scaling unarmed damage should be done away with (keep at 1d6), and replaced with a Weapon Training type ability, this would remove the size stacking and great fear of high numbered dice being tossed around that seems to be at the heart of a lot of the issues/misunderstandings that people have about Monk effectiveness ("A monk can do 2d10 damage!? That's more than a GREAT SWORD!!!"). If you did this, then INA wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue either way.

Yes, but part of the scaling is a legacy issue. Back in 1ed AD&D, monks damage went from paltry, and scaled up to rolling more dice than anyone. This was balanced by a lower THAC0 (BAB for the newer folks) than front liners. But they also had a frightening number of attacks. Essentially, they were originally the undisputed masters of hitting things a lot and very hard with their fists. Along with many of the neat bag of tricks kind of things we see them still doing today.

The problem is that as the system changed, the sort of balancing act that worked for monks in 1ed AD&D doesn't work anymore. Heck, they were originally a 17 level class in a 20 level game, and for ~1/2 of those levels had to fight to prove themselves and earn the level, with less and less folks allowed to be at the...

They were very cool, weak but mobile at low levels, and then quickly incredibly vicious. E.Honda, hundred palm strike deadly.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

The devs have said that the AoMF is not changing, period.

Or for them to realize they are wrong about this one and that the AoMF is a monster/druid/animal companion item at this point, and stop adding more barriers to correcting the problem.

It is a horribly designed item that is the only thing standing in the way of correcting the problem.

I agree, it's one solution, but I am going from what they have said so far.

Krigare wrote:

I kinda posted this another thread, but heres my take on what would help the monk some (its not a total fix, but it helps with the combat issue).

Replace Ki Strike with an ability similar to the magus arcane pool. So it would read something like this:

Ki Strike: At 4th level, a monk can expend 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action to grant his unarmed attacks a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every three levels beyond 4th, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 16th level. These bonuses can be added to his unarmed strikes, stacking with existing enhancement bonuses to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 8th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: axiomatic, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, or speed. (this part could use some expansion probably)

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the monks unarmed strike already has, but duplicates do not stack. At least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the ki pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the monk uses this ability.

I like this. It has a +5 cap so it does not do away with the AoMF which can add the other +5 of properties, but it does keep the monk up to speed on hitting. It also builds on an existing mechanic which is easily understood.

Ninja in the Rye wrote:
In general monk improvement theory I think the Monks scaling unarmed damage should be done away with (keep at 1d6), and replaced with a Weapon Training type ability, this would remove the size stacking and great fear of high numbered dice being tossed around that seems to be at the heart of a lot of the issues/misunderstandings that people have about Monk effectiveness ("A monk can do 2d10 damage!? That's more than a GREAT SWORD!!!"). If you did this, then INA wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue either way.

I like this idea too. If the monk uses Weapon Training scaled as a fighter's (but without the extra weapon groups) then alongside automatic scaling enhancement the average damage output of the monk actually stays very similar at any given level. If you want the monk to be 'more deadly' you could increase the threat range of the unarmed strike rather than the direct damage output. If the weapon training adds to hitting as well as damage, you could get rid of the silly 3/4 / full BAB mucking about and keep the monk at 3/4 - with the bonus they are up to almost-full BAB in effect. You'd have to re-write Flurry-Of-Blows but that's already on the cards regardless.

Andoran

Feinting Flurry and Improved Feinting Flurry certainly do quite a bit to help a monk out with hitting his/her target for those who care to take the ranks in Bluff (and perhaps a trait that makes it a class skill). The issue as mentioned before, though is that monks tend to fight best unarmed, and amulets of mighty fists are more expensive than masterwork/magic weapons for other melee classes. The Style feats can do a bit to give situational bonuses as well.

I make a point to say "situational" because the bonuses given paladins/rangers for smiting and favored enemies is also very much situational; a paladin cannot smite a neutral enemy, and a ranger's favored enemy list doesn't always include all monsters/races encountered.

It should also be pointed out that monks aren't necessarily meant to be an "always hit, always damage" class. Their feat-trees and class bonuses to combat maneuvers makes them more geared towards sacrificing one of their flurry attacks to grapple, trip, reposition, or distract an enemy for greater party utility.

Monks, rogues, and magi have plenty of utility that goes beyond merely being able to hit an enemy for raw damage. An illusionist doesn't do very well in melee at all - and rightly so - but his/her worth isn't measured by how well he/she can dish out the hurt.

I'm not going to diminish the issue at hand too much - like I said, the cost of AoMF vs weapon enchantments is quite a valid problem - but to me it seems like a "right tool for the job" problem as well. A monk can deal damage, but they're far better when used for defense/evasion and utilitarian battlefield control with incidental damage, especially at lower levels.


Giving monks a bonus to disarm, grapple and trip and making them actions that the monk is by default good at, would be another option instead of increasing attack and damage. PF discourages combats mans at mid level as the defence skyrockets, but the game lowering the worth of some feats as levels increase is a system problem.

Or some type of full defence option plus intercepting the attacks upon another target could be cool.

Osirion

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Why if I hid this thread has it appeared again?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:

I don't think so, actually. At least, no more a nightmare than any other monk fix is going to effect them.

If the monk still cannot hit the AC, then none of it means anything. Enhancement is only one reason monks don't function against high AC, the other is MAD. The monk has to sacrifice AC or damage to get comparable to hit to the other combat classes, something the others do not have to do. If they try and balance it out between their three 'necessary' scores (strength, dexterity and wisdom) by taking moderate values at each, then they end up behind in accuracy. They simply can't take just one high score and two moderate, or two high and one mediocre, and not lose out substantially compared to other classes.

That's where the wisdom-to-hit comes in. It means they CAN take wisdom high, and moderate their other scores. Or if they choose to take two high scores they do not necessarily have to pay a feat-tax, and they only lose out in one area.

Because the strength monk is a glass cannon and the finesse monk is ineffectual in damage output when compared with other combat classes.

I actually agree with everything you have said in many ways, however you seem to have missed my point.

It seems like you were mostly explaining what is wrong with the current PF monk. Once again, all of which I fully agree with.

My point was that you can fix the monk problems in such a way as to mitigate the need to address other areas. An ideal solution is a clean one. You may be absolutely correct in thinking that Wisdom-to-hit is an ideal solution, however there are a lot of consequences to this change and would require a great deal of play testing. I prefer a solution that only impacts the actually problem directly and has no additional messy side affects.

Let me put this another way. You stated that the problem with monk is lack of enhancement and MAD. I would like to change the perspective on this. The problem with monk is not lack of enhancement and MAD, it is the inability to reliably hit (and also to bypass DR, but let's stay focused on one thing). Lack of enhancement options and MAD are multiple CAUSES to a problem, but are not inherently the problem in and of itself. When faced this way, you realize that the goal is to fix the problem, not necessarily to fix the causes of the problem.

If you remove a problem, the results of the causality are mitigated to zero, and all other factors that they may create remain unchanged. Simply put, being MAD as a class does a lot more than affects your ability to hit. A change to this has more ramifications that must be considered, adjusted, and balanced.

If you fix the problem with hitting, you do not need to address MAD. If you had a monk that could hit with his attacks comparably to the other combat classes, would you continue to bemoan about MAD issues? If so, then why? Perhaps there are more issues you believe need addressed and that is certainly worth bringing up.

Also, as a side note and not directed at Dabbler, I still don't understand why everybody creates a monk ability that is "enhancement" bonuses as a proposed fix. Enhancement bonuses do not stack and you need to create special text that allows it to for the proposed monk fix ability. Either keep the bonus untyped or use a rare one. I'm a fan of Insight bonuses.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GrenMeera wrote:

I actually agree with everything you have said in many ways, however you seem to have missed my point.

It seems like you were mostly explaining what is wrong with the current PF monk. Once again, all of which I fully agree with.

My point was that you can fix the monk problems in such a way as to mitigate the need to address other areas. An ideal solution is a clean one. You may be absolutely correct in thinking that Wisdom-to-hit is an ideal solution, however there are a lot of consequences to this change and would require a great deal of play testing. I prefer a solution that only impacts the actually problem directly and has no additional messy side affects.

Well here is the thing, Wis-to-hit HAS been play-tested - the cleric can get it for two feats, and the sensei archetype has it at 2nd level. I have not heard anyone call either of these options broken yet, so I am figuring that it isn't.

GrenMeera wrote:
Let me put this another way. You stated that the problem with monk is lack of enhancement and MAD. I would like to change the perspective on this. The problem with monk is not lack of enhancement and MAD, it is the inability to reliably hit (and also to bypass DR, but let's stay focused on one thing). Lack of enhancement options and MAD are multiple CAUSES to a problem, but are not inherently the problem in and of itself. When faced this way, you realize that the goal is to fix the problem, not necessarily to fix the causes of the problem.

So you are looking at a top-down solution rather than a bottom-up solution. I wish to address the cause, you are looking at the symptoms.

The third angle to the problem is ability to get through DR. This is caused by low damage output, poor enhancement and capped weapon properties. However, for that I certainly DID suggest a top-down solution - because it was the best option, simple as.

GrenMeera wrote:

If you remove a problem, the results of the causality are mitigated to zero, and all other factors that they may create remain unchanged. Simply put, being MAD as a class does a lot more than affects your ability to hit. A change to this has more ramifications that must be considered, adjusted, and balanced.

If you fix the problem with hitting, you do not need to address MAD. If you had a monk that could hit with his attacks comparably to the other combat classes, would you continue to bemoan about MAD issues? If so, then why? Perhaps there are more issues you believe need addressed and that is certainly worth bringing up.

The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.

GrenMeera wrote:
Also, as a side note and not directed at Dabbler, I still don't understand why everybody creates a monk ability that is "enhancement" bonuses as a proposed fix. Enhancement bonuses do not stack and you need to create special text that allows it to for the proposed monk fix ability. Either keep the bonus untyped or use a rare one. I'm a fan of Insight bonuses.

Exactly because enhancement bonuses do not stack. Also, enhancement alone has certain properties, like bypassing some DRs. The whole point is to NOT have too many stackable bonuses. While a nice insight bonus would be cool, it DOES stack with enhancement which means if you get both, you have a higher total.

For example: If we replace the enhancement bonus suggested for ki-strike (+1 at 4th level, +1 per three levels after) with an insight bonus, it may have the same effect in numbers to hit when you just consider flurry-of-blows (Level + Modifier + Feats + Bonus) but you can then add enhancement on top. Enhancement might be less at lower levels, but with the +5 cap it does catch up eventually, so you could end up with +5 insight and +5 enhancement at very high level. That's as good as a fighter at hitting, with more attacks. You've fixed the under-power problem at a lower level and replaced it with an over-power problem at higher level.

That's why we stick to an enhancement bonus to hit only. It means that bodywraps or amulets cannot stack on top of it for hitting, although they can add damage and properties so they remain useful and are not rendered obsolete.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:
The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.

Well, rolling for stats and having ridiculous items is game breaking anyway, but I see your point. I asked if there was another reason to approach MAD other than the to-hit dilemma and you delivered a very good, not yet mentioned, difficulty and I found this illuminating. Being MAD is not always a drawback. Offset stat rolls can make the dependency a virtue and risk overpowering. I had not considered this. Thank you!

Dabbler wrote:

Exactly because enhancement bonuses do not stack. Also, enhancement alone has certain properties, like bypassing some DRs. The whole point is to NOT have too many stackable bonuses. While a nice insight bonus would be cool, it DOES stack with enhancement which means if you get both, you have a higher total.

For example: If we replace the enhancement bonus suggested for ki-strike (+1 at 4th level, +1 per three levels after) with an insight bonus, it may have the same effect in numbers to hit when you just consider flurry-of-blows (Level + Modifier + Feats + Bonus) but you can then add enhancement on top. Enhancement might be less at lower levels, but with the +5 cap it does catch up eventually, so you could end up with +5 insight and +5 enhancement at very high level. That's as good as a fighter at hitting, with more attacks. You've fixed the under-power problem at a lower level and replaced it with an over-power problem at higher level.

That's why we stick to an enhancement bonus to hit only. It means that bodywraps or amulets cannot stack on top of it for hitting, although they can add damage and properties so they remain useful and are not rendered obsolete.

Actually, I wouldn't just directly replace the suggestion in your example above. Bonus types are not equivalent. I would use Insight, but have smaller numerics to prevent too many stackable bonuses. You can mathematically control the curve to be the exact same to-hit output without any difficulty, but +1 Enhancement does not equal +1 Insight and should not be treated as such. Essentially, I wouldn't suggest adding any more than +3 Insight as max level, and even slightly consider keeping it lower at +2.

Using Insight creates wider, direct impact of the ability because of the lower gap ranges on the modifier curve. This can be viewed as the main drawback, but as you have personally stated, the lag that a monk maintains is usually only 1-3 behind. With such small numbers I don't see this disadvantage as having much weight.

The +1 to an ability every four levels even has a stronger curve factor. In fact, I once made a chart (and I realize the chart makes no sense without the thread) that emphasizes how a +1 offset to an ability modifier changes the slope. It's not tailored to this topic, but it helps display my point.

The advantage being that with using stackable bonus types you open up versatility. If a campaign leans more towards high AC enemies, having the full +5 range of AoMF as optional parameters gives you the ability to stack a few more points in if you truly need to. This actually works out well because, like all statistics, a to-hit value has a point of diminishing returns which is already known and calculated for two weapon fighting trees.


Dabbler wrote:
The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.

You say that it could make the Monk OP, but that same rare situation could easily be applied to a Paladin. Balance is facade anyway. If monks can suddenly be precision machines with three stats at 18's what exactly here breaks? It's not exactly stepping on anyone's toes, at least not any more than other existing classes can already.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.
You say that it could make the Monk OP, but that same rare situation could easily be applied to a Paladin. Balance is facade anyway. If monks can suddenly be precision machines with three stats at 18's what exactly here breaks? It's not exactly stepping on anyone's toes, at least not any more than other existing classes can already.

What static bonuses do Paladin's get that compensate for MAD and could be OP if they have two 18's? I can't think of any, so the question does not arise.

You are correct, GrenMeera, different bonuses have different values. Using enhancement to hit addresses one of the monk's issues directly, and I prefer to keep things simple which this does.


Dabbler wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.
You say that it could make the Monk OP, but that same rare situation could easily be applied to a Paladin. Balance is facade anyway. If monks can suddenly be precision machines with three stats at 18's what exactly here breaks? It's not exactly stepping on anyone's toes, at least not any more than other existing classes can already.

What static bonuses do Paladin's get that compensate for MAD and could be OP if they have two 18's? I can't think of any, so the question does not arise.

You are correct, GrenMeera, different bonuses have different values. Using enhancement to hit addresses one of the monk's issues directly, and I prefer to keep things simple which this does.

18 strength and 18 charisma?


LoreKeeper wrote:
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.

Haven't read far enough to know if this was already brought up, but I think an FAQ allows monks to have Power Attack at first level.

Link

Of course, this means they can only use Power Attack(at level one anyway) while also using Flurry. That's just they way I read it anyway.


Azten wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
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.

Haven't read far enough to know if this was already brought up, but I think an FAQ allows monks to have Power Attack at first level.

Link

Of course, this means they can only use Power Attack(at level one anyway) while also using Flurry. That's just they way I read it anyway.

I would think you'd have to really stretch things for 'determine the effect of' to be logically equivalent to 'have the prerequisites of'.

Just my thoughts


Dabbler wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
The problem is that if you 'fix' the hitting problem via another means, what happens if I roll for stats and get three 18's? Or get lucky finding a magic item with a big enhancement bonus? You end up with an overpowered character. That's why I look to the root of the problem, because I know that the options suggested will not be overpowered because they have natural limits.
You say that it could make the Monk OP, but that same rare situation could easily be applied to a Paladin. Balance is facade anyway. If monks can suddenly be precision machines with three stats at 18's what exactly here breaks? It's not exactly stepping on anyone's toes, at least not any more than other existing classes can already.
What static bonuses do Paladin's get that compensate for MAD and could be OP if they have two 18's? I can't think of any, so the question does not arise.

How about Divine Grace? And Smite? Plus they can cast more spells and lay on hands. That's operating under some strict circumstances. I'm not saying that the Paladin is OP, but I'm not seeing how the proposed changes would make the monk OP.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gignere wrote:
18 strength and 18 charisma?

Thos grant ability score bonuses, not static bonuses. Weapon training is a static bonus, for example. Where is the static bonus they get that assumes these will not be 18s?

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
How about Divine Grace? And Smite? Plus they can cast more spells and lay on hands. That's operating under some strict circumstances. I'm not saying that the Paladin is OP, but I'm not seeing how the proposed changes would make the monk OP.

Again, this does not answer the question. Maybe I wasn't clear enough:

GrenMeera and I are agreed that the monk has a low chance to hit caused by MAD and lack of enhancement.

My solution is to reduce MAD through allowing Wisdom-bonus to replace strength on to-hit rolls with monk weapons and unarmed strikes, and give the monk's ki-strike an enhancement bonus to hit. This leaves damage untouched but boosts the monk's effectiveness without making the AoMF obsolete.

GrenMeera suggested a static bonus that is not an enhancement bonus to hit instead. The problem with this as I see it is that such a static bonus assumes that the monk will have lower scores, and that might not be the situation in all cases. Then the bonus would stack with both enhancement and ability score bonuses to be considerably larger than either could normally reach.

Next, someone said that the paladin had such a bonus, but it doesn't. The paladin gets other bonuses it's true, but he doesn't anywhere get a flat bonus that assumes he won't have a high hitting stat, or anything of the sort. Paladins are powerful, and with a great deal of flexibility from their spells, and I agree anyone claiming that monks should not get better offences because they are defensively so good needs to take a good look at the paladin. That doesn't change the fact that giving a class a static bonus because you assume it will have bad scores is not necessarily a good idea, because that can be overpowered if they do get good scores.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Actually, the static bonus discussion is relevant to the to-hit fix, not the disadvantage of MAD.

Rolling a large number of 18s is a problem for balancing the current monk just as much as a monk with a static bonus. A static bonus moves the damage curve upwards linearly at all character levels while maintaining the shape/slope. What you are referring to is the MAD caused problem in which a rolled character can change the shape of the curve due to combat reliability on multiple variables. A true problem indeed!

Regardless (and back to the task), there are advantages and disadvantages to all implementations. I noticed you only mentioned the advantages to your suggestion you clever tome-carrying Rattus! ^.^

So, in the name of game balance, I would like to take a closer look at reducing MAD and relying on Wisdom to hit without a feat tax.

More particularly, replacing Strength with Wisdom does not influence simply Strength and Wisdom. For all classes, the point cost buy is a non linear curve in which the slope evens out at 13 but becomes increasingly more expensive.

Reposted for ease!
The relevant graph is "Ability Modifier by Point Cost". It is non-linear, not exponential, and not directly logarithmic.

When you remove the effectiveness of a single ability, you open up costs for others in which you may create spare points from the leftover point buy. This leads to more odd ability scores and changes the min/max methodology.

Also, the monk class abilities intrinsically link Wisdom and Dexterity together for AC. If you increase the effectiveness of Wisdom by giving it more combat potential, you actually decrease the reliance of Dexterity. They both have an equal footing on AC, and with Wisdom taking a more active role in to-hit, Dexterity starts to lose speed and only maintains skills and Reflex saves. It could even be possible to make a Strength AND Dexterity dump build.

I think this change would effectively remove the viability of the Weapon Finesse monk. MAD is a fickle mistress and is too complex to take lightly.

While I do agree that your resolution is by far the simplest, I would wonder if simplicity is always something to be treasured. I will never claim to be a master of game balance, but we should tread carefully when possibly mistaking simplicity for ignorance of a complex truth.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Something else to Dabbler, about the wish to hit vs static bonus. We do have a class that gets a static bonus to hit based on level. The fighter.

While the fighter is a predominately SAD class, it does need other stats, which is a build variable. Depending on build, from the ugg, me smash power attacking 2-hander user to the death of a thousand cuts finese kukri wielder, at the minimum, they need Str for damage (and hit), dex for defense (and hit) and saves, con for HP, with things in () being build specific.

Weapon training gives a static bump to hit and damage on a set progression. So, what makes it potentially more broken to just give a to hit bonus the monk similar to the fighter?

Multiple 18s rolled? Well, 18 for str, 18 for con, with another 18 for dex or wis depending on build and other stat rolls. Yeah, that's problematic for a DM.

There is a reason many people use point buy even for home games. While lucky rolls can influence a game during play, at creation rolling for stats they can make one player inherently capable of more than the rest of the party due to dice variation. And god forbid the poor guy who only rolled 10-13 on all his dice.

Meh. Sorry if that's kinda rambling, I hope I sorta got my idea across, bit tired and some painkillers added on make my brain funny.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GrenMeera wrote:

Actually, the static bonus discussion is relevant to the to-hit fix, not the disadvantage of MAD.

Rolling a large number of 18s is a problem for balancing the current monk just as much as a monk with a static bonus. A static bonus moves the damage curve upwards linearly at all character levels while maintaining the shape/slope. What you are referring to is the MAD caused problem in which a rolled character can change the shape of the curve due to combat reliability on multiple variables. A true problem indeed!

Regardless (and back to the task), there are advantages and disadvantages to all implementations. I noticed you only mentioned the advantages to your suggestion you clever tome-carrying Rattus! ^.^

Yes, Oh sly fox, because I couldn't think of any downsides.

GrenMeera wrote:

So, in the name of game balance, I would like to take a closer look at reducing MAD and relying on Wisdom to hit without a feat tax.

More particularly, replacing Strength with Wisdom does not influence simply Strength and Wisdom. For all classes, the point cost buy is a non linear curve in which the slope evens out at 13 but becomes increasingly more expensive.

When you remove the effectiveness of a single ability, you open up costs for others in which you may create spare points from the leftover point buy. This leads to more odd ability scores and changes the min/max methodology.

Also, the monk class abilities intrinsically link Wisdom and Dexterity together for AC. If you increase the effectiveness of Wisdom by giving it more combat potential, you actually decrease the reliance of Dexterity.

...and on strength, and this is deliberate. This is the whole idea.

GrenMeera wrote:
They both have an equal footing on AC, and with Wisdom taking a more active role in to-hit, Dexterity starts to lose speed and only maintains skills and Reflex saves. It could even be possible to make a Strength AND Dexterity dump build.

Just as strength only maintains damage. And yes, you could make a strength and dexterity dumped build with this option. You could do the same with a ranger or a paladin. After all, a paladin has Smite to add his charisma to hit and deflection AC, and his level to damage. Ranger gets a static bonus, his favoured enemy bonus.

However the effect on the monk will be the same as the effect on those classes, namely that they will suck in most circumstances. Being able to get by with less than a maxed-out score is not the same as actually being SAD, which is in effect what you are alleging.

GrenMeera wrote:
I think this change would effectively remove the viability of the Weapon Finesse monk. MAD is a fickle mistress and is too complex to take lightly.

Believe me I do not take it likely. These boards have hummed with ideas and suggestions and builds. Wisdom-to-hit is the best suggestion I have seen so far.

As for the Finesse monk, I can see him still being used. Dexterity adds to a LOT of skills, especially the scouting skills. It adds to initiative, and to AC. If you want a scouting Monk, Dexterity/Finesse is still the way to go. Likewise it does not invalidate the strength builds. Strength is still good to jack up damage and you can make it your primary hitting score if you wish - especially with Dragon Style out there waiting to be capitalised on.

What the option DOES do is give the monk more choices about how he balances out his physical stats. Currently, as it stands, it's a requirement to max out one and in effect dump the other. Balancing the two as an option does not exist unless you want to be behind the curve in both attacks and damage. Wis-to-hit means you can even the balance between AC and damage without sacrificing attack bonus.

GrenMeera wrote:
While I do agree that your resolution is by far the simplest, I would wonder if simplicity is always something to be treasured. I will never claim to be a master of game balance, but we should tread carefully when possibly mistaking simplicity for ignorance of a complex truth.

At the end of the day, Wisdom to hit has been out there for a while in some monk archetypes, so we do not have to speculate about it being broken or not - they have been played and are some of the 'better' versions of the monk but have never been called broken.

I originally trained as a physicist, so I like simple solutions it is true. But I also know that any solution needs to be tested in the field. That's what REALLY makes Wisdom to hit a good idea: It is already tested and working in game play. That beats any amount of speculation and theory-crafting.

Krigare wrote:

Something else to Dabbler, about the wish to hit vs static bonus. We do have a class that gets a static bonus to hit based on level. The fighter.

While the fighter is a predominately SAD class, it does need other stats, which is a build variable. Depending on build, from the ugg, me smash power attacking 2-hander user to the death of a thousand cuts finese kukri wielder, at the minimum, they need Str for damage (and hit), dex for defense (and hit) and saves, con for HP, with things in () being build specific.

Weapon training gives a static bump to hit and damage on a set progression. So, what makes it potentially more broken to just give a to hit bonus the monk similar to the fighter?

...But the fighter does not get a static bonus to make up for MAD, because he is SAD. The fighter's design was based on his highest stat being his hitting stat, end of, because that's how you can make a fighter. The static bonus for the monk is presented to assist his highest stat being reduced because of MAD, and this may not always be the case.

Fighter's weapon training is his 'thing' that means he can, on a level playing field without corner cases, match and beat the attack and damage of any other class. Barbarians match it when they rage. Paladins and rangers surpass it against their specialist foes. That's how it works. What would be nice is if the monk could beat the fighter in HIS specialisation, unarmed combat, but it isn't happening at the moment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dabbler, you say its tested and working in play, but the only monk archetype I know of that does it trades away evasion and a bonus feat for Wisdom to hit. In fact, as an archetype, it trades away flurry, fast movement, bonus feats...so how does that wisdom qualify as being play tested with an actual base monk again? Seems a bit of a stretch there.

Is it an idea worth play testing? Sure, when your looking at ideas, everything needs to be on the table. But look at the difference between that archetype and the core monk, see what one has that the other doesn't.

As for the static bonus and fighter thing, you said exactly why wisdom to hit is worse than a static boost to hit.

Quote:
...But the fighter does not get a static bonus to make up for MAD, because he is SAD. The fighter's design was based on his highest stat being his hitting stat, end of, because that's how you can make a fighter. The static bonus for the monk is presented to assist his highest stat being reduced because of MAD, and this may not always be the case.

Sure, I agree with the fighter being SAD more or less because of the high stat being the to hit stat. But the same holds for the monk as well if you shift to hit onto Wisdom, with it being already used for so many things for the monk class.

As to the static bonus making the monk less MAD, it would help. One of(not the only) the complaints about the monk is his accuracy, a static increasing bonus to hit will offset that, indeed, it would possibly help with the damage issue as well due to better accuracy meaning more its where as long as some damage gets through, there is the potential for the monk to come out ahead.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Krigare wrote:
Dabbler, you say its tested and working in play, but the only monk archetype I know of that does it trades away evasion and a bonus feat for Wisdom to hit. In fact, as an archetype, it trades away flurry, fast movement, bonus feats...so how does that wisdom qualify as being play tested with an actual base monk again? Seems a bit of a stretch there.

Not at all. The main problem with Wis-to-hit is NOT how it effects the monk, it's that a cleric could dip a monk level to get it. Only it transpires that clerics already have it available for two feats anyway, so they could pick it up without sacrificing spell-casting if they want it that bad.

Yes the wis-to-hit is a big thing...but that's the point. The monk needs a power-up because it is underpowered. At the end of the day, switching the hitting stat is less of a power-up than a static bonus to hit.

Krigare wrote:
Is it an idea worth play testing? Sure, when your looking at ideas, everything needs to be on the table. But look at the difference between that archetype and the core monk, see what one has that the other doesn't.

This is true, but it does not change the fact that the concept is out there.

Krigare wrote:

As for the static bonus and fighter thing, you said exactly why wisdom to hit is worse than a static boost to hit.

Quote:
...But the fighter does not get a static bonus to make up for MAD, because he is SAD. The fighter's design was based on his highest stat being his hitting stat, end of, because that's how you can make a fighter. The static bonus for the monk is presented to assist his highest stat being reduced because of MAD, and this may not always be the case.
Sure, I agree with the fighter being SAD more or less because of the high stat being the to hit stat. But the same holds for the monk as well if you shift to hit onto Wisdom, with it being already used for so many things for the monk class.

I have already explained why this would not make the monk SAD, which is what you are trying to say without actually saying it.

Let me draw you a comparison:

In 3.5, paladins were considered as MAD as monks as they too needed three decent stats: strength (or dexterity for an archer build), wisdom (for spell-casting) and charisma (for smite & other abilities). The monk needed (and still needs) strength (he IS a combat class), dexterity for AC, and wisdom (for AC & special abilities). Monk needs at least two high scores and one moderately high.

Pathfinder rolled spell-casting into charisma for the paladin, so MAD was reduced - it did not make the paladin SAD, he still, like the monk, needs strength for damage. I am suggesting rolling to-hit into wisdom so that the monk, like the paladin, only needs one high score. A paladin can function with strength and charisma, with one of them high and the other moderately high. The monk would then be able to function with one of wisdom, strength or dexterity (with Weapon Finesse if needed) high, and the other two moderately high.

This is not broken. It's making the MAD viable.

Krigare wrote:
As to the static bonus making the monk less MAD, it would help. One of(not the only) the complaints about the monk is his accuracy, a static increasing bonus to hit will offset that, indeed, it would possibly help with the damage issue as well due to better accuracy meaning more its where as long as some damage gets through, there is the potential for the monk to come out ahead.

And what happens to the monk who manages to get his hitting stat up as high as the fighter's? Then he's ahead of the curve on hitting, and that's not where we really want him to be. We want him as good as the other melee classes when they do not have their 'thing', not better.

Andoran

minoritarian wrote:
Why if I hid this thread has it appeared again?

Because it was never addressed. And much like any problem left unaddressed, it continues to fester.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dabbler, you say wisdom to hit wouldn't make monks SAD because they need str for damage? OK, but that's all they need it for. Defense, to hit, DC's, ki pool, in fact, everything but a few points of damage would be most benefited by boosting wisdom. I'm not sure how you don't qualify that as SAD. When every single class feature runs off of one stat, that's SAD. At low levels, the extra damage from str is offset by stunning fist doc's being higher and better accuracy/AC, at higher levels, the 1-3 extra points of damage your talking about will be overshadowed by larger static bonuses.

Shadow Lodge

Krigare wrote:

Dabbler, you say wisdom to hit wouldn't make monks SAD because they need str for damage? OK, but that's all they need it for. Defense, to hit, DC's, ki pool, in fact, everything but a few points of damage would be most benefited by boosting wisdom. I'm not sure how you don't qualify that as SAD. When every single class feature runs off of one stat, that's SAD. At low levels, the extra damage from str is offset by stunning fist doc's being higher and better accuracy/AC, at higher levels, the 1-3 extra points of damage your talking about will be overshadowed by larger static bonuses.

i have to agree wisdom to hit would make monks way to good. for the reasons stated in bold.

im still of the opinion that at 1,6,11,16 a monk should get a generic bonus to attack and damage and give more levels of ki based damage reduction. so instead of magic, law, adamantine and i think im missing one, paizo should just add in cold iron, silver, and (your alignment).

that seems like it would make everyone happy, at least a little.

Andoran

While Dabbler and I are on the same page about a fix being needed, and the general problem being attack bonus (along with overcoming damage reduction) I think adding Wisdom to Dex causes as many problems as it fixes.

Neither the Sensai or the Cleric can flurry, and I think the math when you add wisdom would be a bit over the top.

I think rather than creating a new mechanic, we should just give the unarmed monk access to the same mechanic at the same cost as everyone else.

If it is TWF, price it as such and the problem is solved itself.


If the concern over making WIS responsible for both hit AND damage is because it allows you to focus too much on WIS, then what if you gave, for example, Agile Maneuvers and Weapon Finesse to the Monk by default and then a new feature that makes WIS provide a damage bonus only, due to insightful knowledge of the target's weak points?

This means for full combat effectiveness you still have to focus on at least two stats, DEX and WIS. This would be akin to focusing on STR and DEX for other melees (STR for offense, DEX for defense).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quintessentially Me wrote:

If the concern over making WIS responsible for both hit AND damage is because it allows you to focus too much on WIS, then what if you gave, for example, Agile Maneuvers and Weapon Finesse to the Monk by default and then a new feature that makes WIS provide a damage bonus only, due to insightful knowledge of the target's weak points?

This means for full combat effectiveness you still have to focus on at least two stats, DEX and WIS. This would be akin to focusing on STR and DEX for other melees (STR for offense, DEX for defense).

Point 1 - I do not advocate wis-to-damage, only wis-to-hit. I agree wis-to-damage is too much.

Point 2 - I actually looked at this early on, and it was one of my earlier suggestions. One problem with it is that it stereotypes the monk into the high-dexterity builds. Another problem is that you still need two high scores - dexterity and wisdom - and a moderate one, strength, along with other potential requirements for Con and Int. That's still more than any other Pathfinder class. What it means in practice is you can have a dex-focussed monk without paying the feat tax, but otherwise doesn't make a difference. You still need strength to get the damage that other melee classes are dishing out easily.

It's not the same as going for Str & Dex for other melee classes, unfortunately. The monk is way more dependent on Dex for AC than they are, and damage will fall way behind without the strength. I've run enough dex-based monks to know that you are otpimising to the max just to perform at slightly-below-average with them.

In fact it's my experience with dex-based monks that convinces me that wis-to-hit is the way to go, perhaps the only way to go. The alternative, thanks to MADness, doesn't exist. If you try and make a monk with moderate stats in several places and without a high score in either strength or dexterity, you end up with a monk that can do reasonable damage but cannot hit anything.

Krigare wrote:
Dabbler, you say wisdom to hit wouldn't make monks SAD because they need str for damage? OK, but that's all they need it for. Defense, to hit, DC's, ki pool, in fact, everything but a few points of damage would be most benefited by boosting wisdom.

You forget that to get comparable AC to any other melee class they will also need dexterity (a monk's Wis may be his light armour, but Dex is his shield). Sure, they may not need maxed-out strength or maxed-out dexterity, but they still need decent scores. Melee classes have to dish some damage, it's the nature of the beast. They also need decent AC. Just because you can get by with a 14-16 rather than an 18 does not mean you are not MAD.

Krigare wrote:
I'm not sure how you don't qualify that as SAD. When every single class feature runs off of one stat, that's SAD.

All melee classes need strength, except the rogue who isn't strictly a melee class and in any event has sneak attack to boost damage. The monk also needs dexterity to get that AC up, as well as initiative, reflex saves etc. In short the monk is not SAD because he needs these two stats, and he also needs a moderate Con score to help with that d8 hit dice.

That is why I can categorically say that the monk is not SAD with Wis-to-hit. Just because he does not need a maxed out score does not mean it's a dump-stat.

Right now the monk can be argued to need two high scores and one to three moderate ones - he needs one of strength or dexterity to be high to act as the hitting stat, and the other of them to be at least moderate so damage and AC do not suffer. Wisdom needs to be high for abilities and AC. Constitution can be argued as well as the monk only gets d8 hit dice. Intelligence if they want to be maneuver experts because you can't get those greater maneuvers without Combat Expertise. It's also useful if you want the monk to scout because you then need the extra skills.

That's a LOT. All Wis-to-hit does is take out the need for a maxed out dex or str score. The need for decent strength and dexterity is not removed, which you are in effect arguing. The need for moderate scores in other attributes is likewise not removed.

As I said before, a SAD monk that focuses only on Wisdom is going to be one sad monk because he will have problems delivering damage or staying alive. A monk without decent strength and dexterity will function as well as any other class that dumps these both: badly.

Krigare wrote:
At low levels, the extra damage from str is offset by stunning fist doc's being higher and better accuracy/AC, at higher levels, the 1-3 extra points of damage your talking about will be overshadowed by larger static bonuses.

Larger static bonuses from what, exactly? Strength and enhancement are the only static bonuses a monk gets at the moment, and I certainly have not added another one, nor do I advocate doing so. As for better AC, they certainly will not have that without a good dexterity.

You are trying to make out that wis-to-hit makes the monk SAD, and it patently does not. The need for a maxed-out physical stat is removed, nothing else. Strength and Dexterity are almost as necessary to the monk as ever. Wis-to-hit just takes the edge of MAD, putting him at Ranger level rather than top-of-the-scale for Pathfinder.


Dabbler wrote:
Quintessentially Me wrote:

If the concern over making WIS responsible for both hit AND damage is because it allows you to focus too much on WIS, then what if you gave, for example, Agile Maneuvers and Weapon Finesse to the Monk by default and then a new feature that makes WIS provide a damage bonus only, due to insightful knowledge of the target's weak points?

This means for full combat effectiveness you still have to focus on at least two stats, DEX and WIS. This would be akin to focusing on STR and DEX for other melees (STR for offense, DEX for defense).

Point 1 - I do not advocate wis-to-damage, only wis-to-hit. I agree wis-to-damage is too much.

Point 2 - I actually looked at this early on, and it was one of my earlier suggestions. One problem with it is that it stereotypes the monk into the high-dexterity builds. Another problem is that you still need two high scores - dexterity and wisdom - and a moderate one, strength, along with other potential requirements for Con and Int. That's still more than any other Pathfinder class. What it means in practice is you can have a dex-focussed monk without paying the feat tax, but otherwise doesn't make a difference. You still need strength to get the damage that other melee classes are dishing out easily.

It's not the same as going for Str & Dex for other melee classes, unfortunately. The monk is way more dependent on Dex for AC than they are, and damage will fall way behind without the strength. I've run enough dex-based monks to know that you are otpimising to the max just to perform at slightly-below-average with them.

In fact it's my experience with dex-based monks that convinces me that wis-to-hit is the way to go, perhaps the only way to go. The alternative, thanks to MADness, doesn't exist. If you try and make a monk with moderate stats in several places and without a high score in either strength or dexterity, you end up with a monk that can do reasonable damage but cannot hit anything.

If I'm not mistaken, STR is normally responsible for hit, damage, CMB, and CMD (in part). Agile Maneuvers causes DEX to be used in lieu of STR for CMB. Weapon Finesse moves hit to DEX. CMD uses both DEX and STR already so if you drop STR to pick up DEX, it's a wash. But I didn't want to lump everything in with WIS which is why I proposed pushing damage to WIS.

What I don't understand is the hesitancy to push damage to WIS. Is it concern over dipping? That could be mitigated by gating the damage bonus on a per X monk levels basis (e.g. max +1 WIS to damage at 1st, +2 at 3rd or 4th, etc.) Otherwise, the only thing you'd be left needing STR for would be to carry stuff, and you won't be carrying armor and shield which means you're probably better off than most. You'll want DEX/WIS high, of course, and as you say, decent CON to make up for the low HD.

Personally I think monks need a lot more help on the CON front due to the d8 and being a front line fighter. Whereas a rogue in that situation will have options to retreat back into stealth, a monk lacks this and as suggested by the emphasis on grappling and the like, seems to be meant to be full time in the thick of things. So ideally a monk build should be able to focus on CON (perhaps as secondary stat) plus one other stat. But limiting it to DEX/WIS/CON by eliminating STR seems a good start to me.

Would you mind helping me understand better why, on point 2, you feel you still need a moderate STR score in this scenario?


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Improved natural attack is for monsters, it's a dm feat to make the natural attacks of some monsters more damaging. It represents bigger tusks, teeth-filled maws, giant claws, that sort of thing. Not really something for player playing non-monsters to be taking and confined to the monster manuals. You won't find it in the players or in many of the "Complete" books used as supplementary material for players to build their characters.

If a humanoid monk did take it, it would mean that their fists, elbows and legs were abnormally large and dense for a humanoid. It is straying into dire creature territory.

Having said that, I have heard of players try to take it for monks, so that their unarmed strike had better damage. Problem is, the unarmed strike of a monk isn't a natural attack--it is an unarmed strike, an attack honed through training and the martial arts. The levels of monk turn simple hands, elbows and feat into lethal weapons, which are not lethal strikes in their natural state.

Another example, you could have a minotaur monk, and that monk could take improved natural attack to increase the damage die of their gore horn attack (the gore attack is a natural attack, the minotaur has giant horns) but that would not impact their unarmed strike, which is determined by their monk level and size (in this case, the minotaur is large).

Complicated stuff, but there is usually "confusion" because of people pulling a fast one, or trying to.

The problem with this argument is that it is almost entirely speculative, based in opinion. The only part that isn't (Monk's unarmed strikes are not natural weapons) is just flat-out wrong:

SRD wrote:
A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

A feat would be an effect.


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Neo2151 wrote:


Quote:


Complicated stuff, but there is usually "confusion" because of people pulling a fast one, or trying to.

The problem with this argument is that it is almost entirely speculative, based in opinion. The only part that isn't (Monk's unarmed strikes are not natural weapons) is just flat-out wrong:

SRD wrote:
A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
A feat would be an effect.

It is in 3.5, their FAQ clarified this.

The only reason Monks can't take INA in PF is the designers said no, but not because the monk doesn't qualify. It is an exception to the normal rules (to bar the monk).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quintessentially Me wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, STR is normally responsible for hit, damage, CMB, and CMD (in part). Agile Maneuvers causes DEX to be used in lieu of STR for CMB. Weapon Finesse moves hit to DEX. CMD uses both DEX and STR already so if you drop STR to pick up DEX, it's a wash. But I didn't want to lump everything in with WIS which is why I proposed pushing damage to WIS.

I would put Wis as replacing Str in to-hit and CMB, just as the two feats do with Dex. I wouldn;t put Wis-to-damage because I think that does concentrate too much into Wisdom. Wis-to-hit allows more flexibility in monk design.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
What I don't understand is the hesitancy to push damage to WIS. Is it concern over dipping? That could be mitigated by gating the damage bonus on a per X monk levels basis (e.g. max +1 WIS to damage at 1st, +2 at 3rd or 4th, etc.) Otherwise, the only thing you'd be left needing STR for would be to carry stuff, and you won't be carrying armor and shield which means you're probably better off than most. You'll want DEX/WIS high, of course, and as you say, decent CON to make up for the low HD.

Dipping is one reason, yes, because clerics can already get Crusader's Flurry. Another is that the devs have already stated that they do not want to give the monk further boosts to damage output, which this could be argued to provide. We are looking at resolving the MAD influence on hitting, not the damage output. Another objective is to NOT eliminate a valid monk design - the strength based monk - which a lot of players like, even if I personally am not fond of it. Wis-to-damage makes the strength based monk pointless unless you want to go with Dragon Style, and that's not something we want. The monk needs more viable options, not less.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
Personally I think monks need a lot more help on the CON front due to the d8 and being a front line fighter. Whereas a rogue in that situation will have options to retreat back into stealth, a monk lacks this and as suggested by the emphasis on grappling and the like, seems to be meant to be full time in the thick of things. So ideally a monk build should be able to focus on CON (perhaps as secondary stat) plus one other stat. But limiting it to DEX/WIS/CON by eliminating STR seems a good start to me.

I agree, Con is another issue entirely, and I think it's up tpo the player to balance their offence and defence (one reason for wis-to-damage is it makes this a little easier). Monk's have great defences, don't forget, so they shouldn't be free of all weaknesses. They have decent AC, good saves, and other abilities that cut down the amount of damage that they take.

However I would say the monk is better able to retreat out of a bad situation than the rogue. After all, if there is one thing the monk is good at by default, it's running away.

That said, some mitigation of this should be available. However, I would look for the solution in Wholeness of Body. Paladin dependence on Con was reduced by two factors: Divine grace and lay-on-hands. LoH as a swift action made a lot of sense for the paladin, as he has few needs for swift actions and it lets him heal as he fights. However this would not work for the monk, because the monk has a lot of requirement for swift actions. For a monk, choosing between self-healing or increasing AC mid combat is a no-brainer - in almost all circumstances it makes more sense to improve AC.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
Would you mind helping me understand better why, on point 2, you feel you still need a moderate STR score in this scenario?

Strength is needed to help dish damage. You don't want to hit hard, drop strength by all means. However if you do hit hard, the enemy will not be around as long to hit you.


Dabbler wrote:
Quintessentially Me wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, STR is normally responsible for hit, damage, CMB, and CMD (in part). Agile Maneuvers causes DEX to be used in lieu of STR for CMB. Weapon Finesse moves hit to DEX. CMD uses both DEX and STR already so if you drop STR to pick up DEX, it's a wash. But I didn't want to lump everything in with WIS which is why I proposed pushing damage to WIS.

I would put Wis as replacing Str in to-hit and CMB, just as the two feats do with Dex. I wouldn;t put Wis-to-damage because I think that does concentrate too much into Wisdom. Wis-to-hit allows more flexibility in monk design.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
What I don't understand is the hesitancy to push damage to WIS. Is it concern over dipping? That could be mitigated by gating the damage bonus on a per X monk levels basis (e.g. max +1 WIS to damage at 1st, +2 at 3rd or 4th, etc.) Otherwise, the only thing you'd be left needing STR for would be to carry stuff, and you won't be carrying armor and shield which means you're probably better off than most. You'll want DEX/WIS high, of course, and as you say, decent CON to make up for the low HD.

Dipping is one reason, yes, because clerics can already get Crusader's Flurry. Another is that the devs have already stated that they do not want to give the monk further boosts to damage output, which this could be argued to provide. We are looking at resolving the MAD influence on hitting, not the damage output. Another objective is to NOT eliminate a valid monk design - the strength based monk - which a lot of players like, even if I personally am not fond of it. Wis-to-damage makes the strength based monk pointless unless you want to go with Dragon Style, and that's not something we want. The monk needs more viable options, not less.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
Personally I think monks need a lot more help on the CON front due to the d8 and being a front line fighter. Whereas a rogue in that situation will have options to retreat back into stealth, a monk
...

Actually, my closing question about STR became superfluous based on the second part of your response, but thanks for the completeness. :)

In retrospect, my hope for WIS-to-damage was twofold, to reduce MAD and to deal with the DR problems, at least in part. The idea being to bump damage output up so that the smaller damage per hit isn't being absorbed by DR when they can't beat it outright.

Anyhow, back to lurking. :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well my proposal was threefold, including an option to spend ki per minute to bypass a selected creature's DR, that's why I am less concerned about damage output.


Dabbler wrote:
Well my proposal was threefold, including an option to spend ki per minute to bypass a selected creature's DR, that's why I am less concerned about damage output.

I see... so the ki-based hit bonus would also be used to determine whether the attack ignores DR based on an equivalent enhancement bonus. Is that the Zen Strike ability you created with your Mystic Monk? I didn't notice the DR avoidance mechanism but yes, that would be an interesting idea and would fit neatly with the idea of a monk as an anti-supernatural martial, with the ability to shut down casters and ignore DR which is usually supernatural in basis.

Very neat. I like it. Thanks for the clarification.


Starbuck_II wrote:

It is in 3.5, their FAQ clarified this.

The only reason Monks can't take INA in PF is the designers said no, but not because the monk doesn't qualify. It is an exception to the normal rules (to bar the monk).

Absolutely agreed. Here's a place where the Devs said, "This is not allowed" even though nothing in the RAW suggests it shouldn't be allowed.

It's hard to take them seriously when they say they're not purposely harming the Monk when statements/rules such as this one exist. Kind of casts a shadow over the "we're going to fix the monk" thing, yeah?


Neo2151 wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Improved natural attack is for monsters, it's a dm feat to make the natural attacks of some monsters more damaging. It represents bigger tusks, teeth-filled maws, giant claws, that sort of thing. Not really something for player playing non-monsters to be taking and confined to the monster manuals. You won't find it in the players or in many of the "Complete" books used as supplementary material for players to build their characters.

If a humanoid monk did take it, it would mean that their fists, elbows and legs were abnormally large and dense for a humanoid. It is straying into dire creature territory.

Having said that, I have heard of players try to take it for monks, so that their unarmed strike had better damage. Problem is, the unarmed strike of a monk isn't a natural attack--it is an unarmed strike, an attack honed through training and the martial arts. The levels of monk turn simple hands, elbows and feat into lethal weapons, which are not lethal strikes in their natural state.

Another example, you could have a minotaur monk, and that monk could take improved natural attack to increase the damage die of their gore horn attack (the gore attack is a natural attack, the minotaur has giant horns) but that would not impact their unarmed strike, which is determined by their monk level and size (in this case, the minotaur is large).

Complicated stuff, but there is usually "confusion" because of people pulling a fast one, or trying to.

The problem with this argument is that it is almost entirely speculative, based in opinion. The only part that isn't (Monk's unarmed strikes are not natural weapons) is just flat-out wrong:

SRD wrote:
A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
A feat would be an effect.

Hahahahahahahahhahaha!

...

Bwahahahahaha.

Oh dear. Anyway, you won't find that feat in the players or in the close sources FOR CREATING PCS. YOU DO NOT USE THE MONSTER MANUALS TO CREATE PCS UNLESS THE DM SPECIFICALLY ALLOWS IT. Do you understand?

The way I've seen it used most commonly, is for bite attacks, to make the bite of the monster bigger and nastier, more of a threat. It is a monster feat. Players of monks want it and have wanted it for a long time because it ups damage, but it isn't for monks and has a compatibility issue with their damage progression. Power gamers take it from the monster manual to use it for monks, or they try.

Spells and effects is not feats, it is not saying that feat in the monster manual for monster bites, claws and horns is also good for your monk, take it.


Neo2151 wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:

It is in 3.5, their FAQ clarified this.

The only reason Monks can't take INA in PF is the designers said no, but not because the monk doesn't qualify. It is an exception to the normal rules (to bar the monk).

Absolutely agreed. Here's a place where the Devs said, "This is not allowed" even though nothing in the RAW suggests it shouldn't be allowed.

It's hard to take them seriously when they say they're not purposely harming the Monk when statements/rules such as this one exist. Kind of casts a shadow over the "we're going to fix the monk" thing, yeah?

What pf nicks from 3.5 and what they choose to not allow, is sometimes a very loco decision. Some really great options from the feat index and feat books, those that allow new options, exciting choices while remaining balanced, they never came across.


So, you can't use Improved Natural Attack if you're a dragon-bloodded Sorcerer? OR a Barbarian with the the Beast Totems? I thought you could..


Those are some big hands.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quintessentially Me wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Well my proposal was threefold, including an option to spend ki per minute to bypass a selected creature's DR, that's why I am less concerned about damage output.

I see... so the ki-based hit bonus would also be used to determine whether the attack ignores DR based on an equivalent enhancement bonus. Is that the Zen Strike ability you created with your Mystic Monk? I didn't notice the DR avoidance mechanism but yes, that would be an interesting idea and would fit neatly with the idea of a monk as an anti-supernatural martial, with the ability to shut down casters and ignore DR which is usually supernatural in basis.

Very neat. I like it. Thanks for the clarification.

What I was suggesting was:

  • A scaling enhancement to hit via ki-strike. No expenditure of ki necessary, you have it to hit but not damage. It can't stack with an AoMF or other enhancement bonus to hit, but you can benefit from enhancement to damage and properties from an AoMF.
  • Wisdom to hit with monk weapons, maneuvers, and unarmed strikes.
  • A ki-based ability to bypass DR on one target for one minute. Something like 1 ki for cold iron/silver, 2 for hardness, 3 for alignment. Axe the ki-strike DR bypass in favour of this.

    So damage stays low, but accuracy is increased. Dependency on MAD is reduced a little. DR is no longer a major issue that shuts you down due to low damage output.

    Other monk abilities could do with a look, but those IMO are the big ones. For other possibilities:

  • Make the 20' speed bonus on movement be a move on a swift action instead.
  • Allow Wholeness of Body to do something useful - like restore lost ability score points, negative levels, or such. Or change the focus so it can act as DR, maybe, or fast healing for a minute, or be equivelant to the Toughness feat. Anything in fact that makes it more useful than drinking a 50gp potion.
  • Make Dimensional Agility and it's tree be monk bonus feats so Abundant Step is actually useful right off the bat.

    These are just the little tweaks I would make - obviously my Mystic Monk goes a lot further than this, or does things in different ways, but Paizo just want tweaks to the basic monk, they are not interested in a full re-write. Not everything here is what I have put in my re-build of the monk, not everything I put there is appropriate for the core monk as-is.


  • 3.5 Loyalist wrote:
    Those are some big hands.

    Again, this is entirely your opinion. Nothing in the feat description says the appendage with the natural attack gets bigger somehow. Please stop spreading misinformation as if it were fact.


    Maybe they are big hands. Perhaps you have a vague connection to giants or something aberrant. Maybe you honed the bones in your legs and arms into a devastating weapon, evev more so than other monks. Perhaps your head is literally thicker than others. I'm sure gamers can come with many other ideas. I was pointing out that you said it cant be used by Pcs. Can you not take that feat in either of those cases?


    Stacking the improved natural attack feat for the monk. It depends on where the dm draws the line, what monstrous feats they allow to combine with classes. The same can be said for ability focus, it can be applied to one invocation for the warlock. Can it also be applied to stunning fist? Some dms will allow it, others won't. What particular aspects of the game the gaming group is so desperately trying to fulfill is the pivotal point.

    There is nothing in the rules saying INA cannot be combined with the monk's unarmed damage. Going by the logic that everything is allowed unless not explicitly stated in the rules, it is a possible option.

    <sigh>

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