Good points ciretose. Stunning fist is an ability which can be really useless if the monk doesn't focus on it, or be really devastating if it is really specialized. A level 10 monk with 20 wisdom and a feat in break the breath or, if the dm allows, ability focus (stunning fist), can hit a dc of 22. Such a monk doesn't do the greatest damage but has a decent attack and damage. Pair it with rapid stunning and you're forcing two such saves a round. Take rapid stunning twice and if you hit with everything, as unlikely as it is, and you're forcing three such saves. I've seen such a monk build at level 10 force a cr 13 glabrezu to do nothing but stand there and pose with the stunned condition. Keep in mind that fort is the glabrezu's best save and it was 3 CRs above the party level. Stunning fist can also be used for other things like fists of iron, thunder strike and fiery fists if you wanted to do more damage with the monk. This is why I don't buy the argument that stunning fist is a useless or worthless ability.
I hope I wasn't giving the impression that Stunning Fist is worthless or useless. It is a very handy tool, and if you specialize in it, it will turn into a very frightening thing.
But right out of the box with no feat investment in booster feats for Stunning Fist, the DC isn't going to be something you can reliably count on an opponent to fail. Which honestly, I'm ok with. I look at it as akin to a fighters weapon proficencies, just because he can use almost every weapon in the game doesn't mean he gets crazy good bonuses with them. Most melee fighters won't have more than (at most) 2-3 feats into archery feats, and vice versa, and even then it isn't that common.
*shrug* bedtime for me either way, I'll come back to this in the morning.
master arminas wrote:
Against the barbarian, paladin, or ranger using two weapons, the monk is even at 1st-4th, +1 at 5th-8th, +2 at 9th-12th, +3 at 13th-15th, and +4 at 16th plus. Once again, before any special abilities, ability scores, or feats (assuming the barbarian, paladin, or ranger have the TWF chain, that is).
Not quite, MA. You forget that the martial classes are getting +1 to hit with masterwork weapons from 2nd level, so the monk is actually behind at levels 2-4.
If it's not broken for the bladebound magus to get his Black Blade at 3rd level, it's not broken for the monk to get his +1 ki-strike at 4th level. Keep it simple and neat with minimal disruption to the existing class.
At 10th level you don't have abundant step. You can't get Dimensional Agility until 13th level. Plus, if you are fighting a wizard he's likely a BBEG and several CRs above your actual level, say 12-14th.
However, going with your example, while the wizard's base Fort save isn't great he will have Con bonuses. He will be wearing cloak, rings and other stuff. I would assume 14 Con, +2 from a belt, so that base save is up to +6 now. A cloak of resistance +2 is perfectly acceptable at this level, so we are up to +8. You have a 55% chance of success with a stunning fist, if you hit and do damage.
Now a 14 Dex, with +2 from a belt, is also not unlikely especially if your wizard likes his rays. a +2 ring and +2 amulet are again not outside the pale, to take base AC to 17. Add in mage armour and shield because this wizard is not an idiot, and you have a base AC of 25 (and I've spent only around half his WBL, I will point out).
So taking your dwarf monk, with his unarmed attack of +12, and he hits 40% of the time with his highest attack bonus.
That puts the odds of your stunning fist attack actually stunning the guy down to 22.5%. Enough to worry him, not enough that you aren't worried.
Now lets say this wizard also knows how weak he is, so he ensures his protection with one more buff: stoneskin. Why not? It's a 4th level wizard spell, he's a super-genius. That grants him DR 10 against your attacks, so you need to do 11+ damage to have a chance of success. Your dwarf strikes for 1d10+4 so he needs to roll 7+ on a d10 to have a chance, that's only 40% of the time.
That cuts his odds to 9%.
So on average your monk will need all ten of his stunning fist attempts just to get one successful stun. Odds are on the fight will be over before that happens, one way or another.
Stunning fist is awesome, when it works, but isn't anything you can rely on. My monk (Feriah) in our Thursday game just hit 14th level, and in her career got in a total of four successful stunning fists against serious foes.
Against a caster, a monk's beast weapon is Improved Grapple. That wouldn't kill this wizard, but it would sure take him out of the fight.
Well look at that. Ya learn something new every day. ^_^
The equalizer wrote:
Not to mention it becomes a death attack.
Stunning fist is great when it works, and unlike other abilities it doesn't take an action to try and do it since you still get damage on top of it.
Stunning fist is very underrated specifically because people are constantly frustrated about being unable to hit anything to the point thy can even make the opponent have to TRY and save against it.
In my games I remove the need for Stunning Fist (and similar abilities) to deal damage (I've always imagined it more as a pressure point/ki blocking strike rather than just punching someone in the face), a successful hit is enough to trigger it.
In the only game I get to play in regularly the GM tends to run things about 99% by the book, I usually try to pick up Touch of Serenity when playing a monk in those games as it lacks the need to do damage.
@dabbler - Which is why I want to be better able to hit.
I don't think any of us are saying the monks ability to hit doesn't need an improvement.
I do think we all have differing ideas of how to go about it, and how much extra to hit the monk needs.
Just off of memory, there's been Wisdom as a to hit ability, weapon training, static bonuses of various types, level based enhancement bonuses, and variations of all of the above floated.
And that's just the ideas that leave the monk feeling monkish. Ashiel did a really good job on her psychic monk deal, but it doesn't feel like a monk, it feels like a full fledged alternate psychic warrior to me.
Anyway, I thought that was the point of this thread, float ideas, pick them apart, see what comes out of it. You never know, Paizo might just rob a couple of the ideas and we'll get a monk fix sooner.
@Neo2151: Yeah, it is a nifty rule, and assuming I'm confident in getting craft time, I try to squeeze Craft Wondrous Item in on my caster builds.
Not with enhancement bonus, which would overcome DR in two ways.
First, enhancement bonuses can overcome many DR. A +3 can overcome cold iron/silver and eventually the monks hands become adamantine. That would be 18k. A +2 AoMF costs 20k and doesn't work for the DR purposes.
Second you do more damage, so you do enough damage to get past DR. Generally fairly easily with a strength second build.
Your are asking for too much, unless you can demonstrate that just add this is too little. And we have seen over and over that when we ask for to much, we get nothing because they don't believe anything will make us happy.
Wisdom as attack bonus causes several problems. It makes it a dip class. Second, it leads to munchkin building, it doesn't fit the physical perfection fluff, and off the top of my head I can think of tons of synergy problems.
@Krigare - As you said a psionic monk is not a monk. Period, full stop. There are no psionics in the game, so having a psionic solution is about as useful as having a solution that involves action points.
If the problem is the monk can't hit, fix that problem.
I am arguing that if the monk could enhance hands at the same cost as TWF (which it is based off) it is viable.
In the build I posted, if you swap out the temple sword for hand enhancements, I have enough gold to afford two at +2. Swap out weapon focus and improved crit for Temple Sword to unarmed, the attack bonus is the same and I'm doing 1d10 +6 damage on each attack with crit on 19/20 and the ability to kick it up a notch with power attack.
That is going to overcome DR, be able to hit, and all of the other stuff stays the same.
That is a perfectly viable, helpful, but not overpowered build.
That is the goal that can't be reached now for an unarmed monk.
1. Actually it doesn't. Minimum damage is as high as most DR of equal level.
2. What percent of success is good enough? 20% to 25% seems more than reasonable to me as a goal, considering that means 1 out of every 4 to 5 times you use it, your enemy loses a round (or worse, later on) in addition to taking damage.
The goal isn't parity, not superiority.
The equalizer wrote:
Can we get some more details about this 10th level monk who was able to shut down a glabrezu, and would they be legal as the monk rules are now?
Crunching the numbers:
a level 10 monk has +7 (or +8/+8/+3/+3 if she can flurry with an optional additional +8 Ki Strike) BAB to hit with a fist.
assuming the monk has managed to buff to 18 STR to go with the 20 WIS, she has +4 to hit from STR
a +2 amulet of mighty fists is the best a level 10 monk can be expected to afford, but one of those +1s could be bane, outsider (demon) to grant the monk +3 to hit the glebrezu
This gives the monk +14 to hit when moving and +15/15/(+15)/+10/+10 if she can position herself where she can flurry
A glabrezu has an AC of 28
===> monk can move and have a 35% chance of hitting the glebrezu
hmm, even flurrying I think rapid stunning isn't going to be kicking in too often and would maybe be a bad idea. Stunning fist attacks have to be declared before the hit roll is made, a level 10 monk only gets 10 stunning blow attempts/day, at a 40% chance to hit it will take on average 2 & 1/2 uses of stunning blow per stunning blow hit, so this monk could be expected to land only 4 total stunning blows on the glebrezu if she restricted herself to only attempting on the best attacks.
AND then the glebrezu has to save against DC 22. With a +18. And miss repeatedly. For a monk who optimized stunning fist.
So stunning fist can be devastating if all the ki pool and stunning fist uses are deployed against a monster which cannot manage to roll a 4+ to save, repeatedly. That does not show that the stunning fist ability doesn't have problems, it shows how a string of bad or good rolls can change the game.
It gets worse: the Glabrezu has DR 10/good and the sample monk is doing 1d10+6 damage. In order for stunning fist to take affect, you have to damage the creature hit. 40% of your hits (those where you roll a 1, 2, 3, or 4 on the d10 damage die) will not get through that DR.
So, you have a three chances of hitting at 40% each in a flurry, plus two more at 15%, if you spend a point of ki. You have to declare your stunning fist BEFORE the attack roll, and you get one chance a round. IF you manage to hit, then you have a 60% chance to actually deal damage, otherwise no stunning fist. THEN, the demon gets to make its fortitude save with an 85% of succeeding.
Total chances of success for any given round: 3.6%.
@ciretose: Yes, the goal is parity, no argument there. It is just a matter of how to get there, withing the constraints the devs have stated. One of which is not invalidating the AoMF for monks. So any solutions will need to factor in things like that.
@cnetarian: With haste, heroism, nd other combat buffs the to hit numbers get a little better. As for the DC, it is possible to take feats to improve it above the 22 you mentioned. It comes down to how much the monk focuses on it. If you take a single feat to boost the DC, you shouldn't expect much more useage from it than anything else you spend a minimum amount of feats on.
master arminas wrote:
Is there limit of one stunning fist attempt per round which I missed which makes stunning fist even more nerfed, or is that a houose rule?
Also the DR is against good and there is no reason to assume that the monk is good, she could be LN or LE.
DR/Good means you need a good aura or something similar to cut through it not that it only works against good characters. I think a blessed weapon counts.
The 22DC wasn't mine, it came from equalizer's example. I tried a few ways to maximize stunning blow myself, and came up with a build which pushed the DC up to 26 at level 10, but could only hit on a 20.
Yes the hit numbers can be pushed a little higher but that scarcely changes the Save and Suck nature of stunning blow. Either you build to get the hit chance to land stunning blow and make the save too easy or you improve the save DC and not be able to land the stunning blow to trigger the save.
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Idon't know about you, but my party doesn't always fight level-appropriate encounters. And the fighters and wizards can still contribute above their CR-equivalent.
Does your group also hold to a 20 point buy and WBL that we are holding this discussion to?
The Glabrezu also has spell resistance of 24, Reverse Gravity, can summon another Glabrezu and can greater teleport at will.
Any level 10 character not specifically designed for an encounter with a Glabrezu will have trouble contributing.
From PRD, Page 125:
One stunning fist attempt per round, even for a monk. There are ways around that (Rapid Stunning, for example) but they require spending feats.
And no, just being a good alignment doesn't bypass DR/Good. You need either a holy weapon, a +5 weapon, a weapon which has had the align weapon spell cast upon it, any other spell which states bypasses DR/Good, or possess DR/Good yourself in order to bypass the damage reduction (but only with natural attacks in the later case). Or, you can be a fighter with Penetrating Strike and Greater Penetrating Strike (16+ level) which allows you to ignore up to 10 points of DR.
Not my strawman, Equalizer is the one who claimed a level 10 monk with a 22DC stunning fist could shut down a CR13 glabrezu.
I'm not saying it didn't happen, but it was due to a string of bad rolls by the glabrezu, not because stunning fist is problem free.
We sometimes hold to a 20 point buy, though I'm not sure about our average WBL compared to the standard.
I didn't intend to insinuate that this would be a cake-walk for any classes. just that other classes have tool-sets that allow them to find a way to contribute easier.
... wich i believe is one of the complaints against the class.
master arminas wrote:
Wonderful, stunning fist is even more craptastic than I thought it was. I knew unarmed attack monks had problems in PF, I came close to playing one with brass knuckles (when they worked) but went a temple sword monk instead. This just adds another reason not to play an unarmed monk.
Maybe it was putting bane, outsider (demon) on the amulet of mighty fists which made the DC not an issue. I know I thought of some trick to deal with the DC when I was trying to figure out the monk.
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
And I'm saying a 10th level TWF Ranger or Fighter is going to have the same kinds of problems. Worse in some ways, since they won't have the saves against the spells or the touch AC. But I don't hear anyone saying that is a problem class.
Cherry picking a +3 CR monster demonstrates basically nothing.
If we keep exaggerating the problem, we are never going to be given a solution to the legitimate problem.
When you say "But I can't easily beat this monster that is 3 CR higher than me!" the Dev's response is "Good"
A level 10 elite array THF with just haste up and a +1 holy weapon can deal 70 DPR on a Glabrezu. Which means with 186 HPs a fighter can 3 round a Glabrezu if they went at it full attacking one another. I think this is pretty good contribution.
And all 10th level fighter's carry 8000k backup Holy weapons with the 62k WBL they have.
I agree Schrodinger's (Name your class) can beat X monster. The Paladin would do even better, since, you know, it is basically made for that fight.
Give a monk a AoMF with Holy on it, for basically the same cost, and they can hit too.
And that means what exactly?
This. 100% this.
It is one thing to say "Here is an encounter that is level appropriate (hey, look at all those AP's and modules with examples) and here is why the monk is not doing a good job of contributing to the resolution of the encounter." and another to go and say "Hey, here is a monster whose CR is 3 over the level of what we are talking about and by himself the monk can't take him." Well, of course not. Even with some extreme min-maxing and optimization, you'd be looking at what, clerics, wizards, maybe paladins who even have a chance in that kind of situation, and even then you'd need dice in your favor.
Now, if your just wanting an open plane, nothing resembling an actual in-game encounter, then that can shift the odds and math. It also makes for a horrible case, because the issue isn't the theory craft on the monk, it is the kind of things that happen in an actual game, in real encounters.
Fair enough, but my point was never that it's unfair that a monk can't take down a +3 CR opponent.
My point was that a monk can't hope to contribute to similar difficult encounters like other classes can.
Fighters and rangers are going to struggle against that big guy as well, but they have class abilities and gear to help close the gap a bit. (Weapon Training + Gloves of Dueling for Fighter; FAvored Enemy + Instant Enemy for the Ranger.)
Level 10 Strength Monk DPR with a holy AoMF using elite array 41, blowing ki, not blowing ki or ruled that haste doesn't stack with ki 35.
Is that enough contribution for a combat class with no spell casting, I don't know. It maybe for some groups.
With a chance of stunning. A low chance, but a chance.
If the monk could even succeed on stunning fist 10% of the time in this encounter, that means 1 out of 10 times the monk is the game changer for an encounter.
It costs pretty much nothing to attempt the stun, but it changes the battle when it works.
The monk has a problem, but the problem is often overstated when people forget the moments where the monk shines.
When you down the BBEG with a quivering palm, you don't think the monk is weak.
These things don't happen enough, due to inability to attack, but they do happen.
Dabbler and Ciretose have gotten me thinking about stunning fist and how to make it work better. One option that I have been exploring to remove the daily uses and key it to triggering on a critical hit. Since unarmed strikes (heck, most monk weapons) only acheive a confirmed critical on a 20 (19-20 with improved crit), I think that it could be workable. Anyway, it is posted in the thread "Stunning Strike" here on these boards.
Do you think Stunning Fist needs to be revamped/reimagined/reexplored, or is it fine the way it is?
Glabrezu have 18 fort save. An elite array strength monk will not have enough wis to get a stunning fist to a DC 21 at level 10, to get a 10% chance of stunning fist working.
DC 21 is a 22 Wisdom.
A monk can't get to a 22 wisdom by 10th level? Potion of Owl's wisdom on the monk I posted gets there, and that monk isn't even particularly wisdom based.
The question I'm asking is if you just add the ability to enhance unarmed attacks at the same cost you can enhance other weapons, does that "fix" the monk.
And then the other side, does that "break" the monk.
We are aiming for the sweet spot where we say it is "fixed" without becoming "broken"
One of the things that came up while I was trying to figure out The Equalizer's monk was that a
level 1 cleric/ level 9 monk:can be built to be a stunning fist monster with a better chance of stun locking a glabrezu, just not a level 10 monk . It's another example of design failure about the monk class that getting best use out of their class abilities can only be unlocked by other classes.
cleric of Irori, channel smite & guided hand feats at level 1 - take a 20 WIS during creation, add 2 points to it as leveling, buy headband + 4, use owl's wisdom wand for +4 - mantis style feat +2 DC, mantis wisdom +2 hit, weapon focus (unarmed strike) + 1 hit, optional if allowed ability focus (stunning fist) +2 DC = +25 to hit as a standard attack and a stunning fist DC of 31 or 33 this character could move and hit with a stunning fist on a 3 or higher and the glabrezu would need a 13 or 15 to save, leaving damage resistance as the only drawback
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
The buffing isn't an issue, anyone can buff the monk, it is just a nice touch that the monk/cleric can self buff with wands. What is important is that 'guided hand' cures the MADness of the monk and makes monk/cleric so very SAD that the 'stunning fist' ability becomes super-powerful. A cleric/monk can actually move across the battlefield at high speed to shut down spell-casters, a role monks are supposed to fill but suck at.
edit: I should point out that even without the owl's wisdom buff the cleric/monk is still +23 to hit and has a DC 29 stunning fist, which is more than adequate for shutting down a CR 10 creatures.
Hayato Ken wrote:
If you have 'guided' enchant as a choice then grab it for a monk, it is superior to the "guided hand" feat since guided adds wis to both 'too hit' and 'damage', making monks overpowered - able to do acceptable damage AND use nearly unbeatable stunning while having a AC through the roof. unfortunately the 'guided' enchant is from an early AP so it is: certainly unballanced, legal only by GM fiat, and might not even work with unarmed attacks with an unfavorable GM reading. 'Agile' enchant is possible but the 'weapon finesse' feat is considered superior because the AoMF is so limited and expensive that a feat is considered to cost less than a precious AoMF enchant.
What would be nice about the guided hand stunning cleric/monk is that the cleric/monk could carry multiple +1 AoMFs to defeat DR, going up against a demon then use your Holy AoMF. Since 4x +1 AoMFs cost the same as 1x +2 AoMF this might be a viable option.
The problem arises that you cannot own either an agile or a guided amulet of mighty fists prior to 7th level; not if your DM is using a balanced WBL system (max 25% of your total weapon on offense, 7th level is 23,500 gp, a +1 AoMF is 5,000 gp, or 21.27% of your total wealth).
For levels 1-6, you are not going to be hitting all that much, or dealing damage if you do hit. And if you rely on your enhancement bonus to get through DR, you will 17th level before you bypass cold iron or silver (+3 agile or guided AoMF). Good news is, you can already bypass adamantine . . . bad news, you will never bypass alignment-based DR since the AoMF caps at +5.
The buffing isn't an issue, anyone can buff the monk,
But will they? What if they don't want to play a buffing caster? And if you have to rely on resources from your team-mates just to make you as effective as they are without buffs, isn't that really proving the point that the class is underpowered?
At higher level, they have to beat your SR to buff you, if you do not have the time to lower it.
master arminas wrote:
The problem arises that you cannot either an agile or a guided amulet of mighty fists prior to 7th level; not if your DM is using a balanced WBL system (max 25% of your total weapon on offense, 7th level is 23,500 gp, a +1 AoMF is 5,000 gp, or 21.27% of your total wealth).
In my last case, I didn't get an AoMF until 12th level. The DM restricted our down-time to craft items, and we were pretty much restricted to what we could find.
With the cleric/monk you don't rely on the buffs to make you effective, they are just some nice floss which can make you even more effective. And if your team-mates are expecting you to shut down a monster 3CRs above your level solo then you should darn well expect them to buff you, regardless of your class and whether they want to be buffing casters or not.
But the guided hand cleric/monk with overpowered stunning fist isn't as effective as other characters, even with the buffs. It is a one-trick pony with weak DPR that uses a dip into to cleric class to get a feat not available to pure monks just so it can make a primary ability of the monk class useful. A pure monk cannot make stunning fist work while one level of cleric can make it work, to me that spells broken class.
* A note about the 'guided' enchant. It is great, it is wonderful, it turns the monk into a high power killing machine. It also comes from an AP not a rule book, and things in APs (especially the early ones) are not balanced. Guided is not balanced, it allows one attribute (WIS) to add damage, hit chance, AC, ki points, and DC to stunning fist/quivering palm - even the oh so SAD gunslinger needs a second attribute for grit points. No matter how much I think the monk needs help, the 'guided' enchant is not the answer and I would not hesitate a second to disallow it if I was GMing.
Guided enchant alone will not make a monk into a killing machine. I created a strength monk for a model, the bonus to damage and attack will be the same as the monk with a guided AoMF because I ignored defense. I just wanted to see what is the maximum DPR a monk can get, if they had all the DPR feats up to level 11.
If you focus everything on Wisdom than you need to forgo Dragon Style chain which is one of the biggest DPR boosting feat chains for monks.
Even grabbing all the DPR feats and laser focused on strength sadly the monk without blowing ki comes in about 1/2 the two hand fighter (not optimized, just well built), if blowing ki, assuming ki and haste stacks, they are around 55%.
With the model an unarmed monk needs about a +3 to hit and damage just to get to 75% of the two hand fighter's DPR. Guess what ability in the game already provides that? Yes weapon training, monks need weapon training for unarmed strikes. This will make them damn good unarmed fighter, still not out doing a well built fighter, but they will be equal to a dervish dancing fighter.
Just for sh*ts and giggles, I tested the DPR of a fighter with no DPR feats, with just weapon training, a +2 keen falchion and gloves of dueling and the featless fighter was nearly pulling the DPR of the optimized strength monk not using ki.
You're not really suggesting that the +1 Holy weapon is a backup weapon are you? Considering DR/Good is probably the most commonly encountered DR type in the game...
A monk can't get to a 22 wisdom by 10th level? Potion of Owl's wisdom on the monk I posted gets there, and that monk isn't even particularly wisdom based.
A Monk with a base score of 18 in their Wisdom at level 10 isn't "particularly wisdom based?" Really?
DR/Good is common in some games, sure. In some games DR/Lawful, DR/Evil, or DR/Chaotic can be just as common.
Yes, it is one of the most common alignment type DR's, but it is by far not the most common DR type encountered. I know the last couple games I was in Cold Iron and Silver were really handy up until all the melee had weapons that bypassed it, and then we were on to other more interesting issues.
And yeah, at level 10, a Wisdom 18 monk isn't Wisdom focused. It is higher than the norm, sure, but focused? Not really. Without even tanking the dump stats, it isn't hard to get a 24 or better in your main stat (16 +2 race, +2 level, +4 item) by level 10, and for an important secondary, a 17-18 is manageable.
No the other poster is saying 18 wis without enhancements (he said 22 with a pot of owl wisdom) at level 10. That is pretty much focusing on wisdom for anything below 25 point buy.
Here's the thing about Cold Iron and Alchemical Silver: They're cheap.
But this actually paints light on another issue Monks have. If you're focusing on UAS as your main attack, then your backup weapon must be of a different weapon type. Carrying a Cold Iron kama is great and all, but you've invested your build, feats, etc with the assumption that you'd be punching and kicking.