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If Monks have trouble hitting...


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote wrote:
Bonus Feats: All Stunning Fist Variants available as bonus feats (Touch of Serenity, Elemental Fist, Punishing Kick, etc). Greater [Combat Maneuver] Feats are available at level 6.

This is too powerful in my opinion. Greater maneuvers as bonus from level 10 is acceptable to me.

But making all Stunning Fist variants available (from the start no less) is really powerful. My monk's would typically have Stunning Fist, Touch of Serenity and Punishing Kick by level 2, and force 3 saves each round from whatever he is fighting (barring misses). It really is a big deal and the hottest feats for a monk from level 11 onward are specifically those variant feats; having them from the start is just too much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The unarmed TWF fighter can be improved as follows:

Str 10
Dex 24 = 16 + 2 racial + 2 levels + 4 item
Con 14
...

Feats (assuming human): Improved Unarmed Strike, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (unarmed), Weapon Specialization (unarmed), Greater Weapon Focus (unarmed), Power Attack, Double Slice, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Tiger Style, Tiger Claws, Tiger Pounce

Equipment: +4 belt of dex, gloves of dueling, brawling armor, agile amulet of mighty fists, monk's robe, deliquescent gloves, menacing gauntlet

Attack: 35/35/35/30/30/25/25
11 bab + 7 dex + 2 GMF + 2 feats + 3 training + 2 brawling + 3 courage + 2 goodhope + 1 haste + 4 flanking - 2 two-weapon-fighting (and no penalty from Power Attack)

Damage: 35 (32 on off-hand)
1d8 + 7 dex + 2 GMF + 2 feat + 3 training + 2 brawling + 3 courage + 2 good hope + 6 power attack + 1d6 acid

vs AC 28 DPR 232
3 * 0.95 * 35 * 1.05 + 1 * 0.9 * 35 * 1.05 + 2 * 0.95 * 32 * 1.05 + 1 * 0.9 * 32 * 1.05 = 231.8925
and the ability to move half speed as a swift action to somebody you hit recently


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An alternative set of suggestions for monks that I would welcome:

Bonus Feat: all the usual, and:
Alternatively the monk may spend his bonus feats on fighter-only feats that are keyed to unarmed strikes or monk weapons. The monk needs to qualify for these feats but may count his monk level as his fighter level for the purpose of meeting the requirements of these feats (thus a 6th level monk could take Weapon Specialization (quarterstaff) as his bonus feat if he already had Weapon Focus (quarterstaff).

Maneuver Training (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk uses his monk level in place of his base attack bonus when calculating his Combat Maneuver Bonus. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally. A monk does not provoke attacks of opportunity when attempting combat maneuvers.

Ki Pool (Su): all the usual, and:
As long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can make a ki strike. At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to be treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and grants a +1 enhancement bonus to attacks with unarmed strikes and monk weapons. Ki strike improves with the character’s monk level. At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and the enhancement bonus to attacks increases to +2. At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness and the enhancement bonus to attacks increases to +3.

Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can heal his own wounds as a swift action. He can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to his monk level by using 1 point from his ki pool.

Abundant Step (Su): At 12th level or higher, a monk can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door except his turn does not end after using this ability. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 2 points from his ki pool. His caster level for this effect is equal to his monk level. He cannot take other creatures with him when he uses this ability.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmmm.

Bonus Feats: I like that alternative of spending them on combat feats.

Maneuver Training: Now that's an interesting option, that makes maneuvers viable even if the monk doesn't have the feats.

Ki-Pool: Enhancement bonus really needs to keep pace with what the other classes have available, at this level you have set it really doesn't do much except between 1st and 9th. At 10th level a +2 amulet is affordable, by 16th the monk can afford a +4 or +5 amulet so it's almost entirely redundant. Plus this isn't helping with the monk's problem of getting through DR at all.

Wholeness of Body: what is more important to a monk in combat, boost AC to not get hit or heal a few hit points from the damage he has taken? That is why WoB as a swift action doesn't really improve this ability - it's still an option the monk will never use.

Abundant Step: Yep, I rate this one.

A nice set of changes, but the monk's major problems of not being able to hit accurately, being MAD and struggling against DR aren't really addressed.

BTW - thank you for the TWF unarmed build, it saved me having to do so! Love that the damage left monk and two-handed fighter standing!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:
Ki-Pool: Enhancement bonus really needs to keep pace with what the other classes have available, at this level you have set it really doesn't do much except between 1st and 9th. At 10th level a +2 amulet is affordable, by 16th the monk can afford a +4 or +5 amulet so it's almost entirely redundant. Plus this isn't helping with the monk's problem of getting through DR at all.

A fix is not supposed to make the monk independent of additional sources of improvements such as feats, items and buffs from allies. The enhancement bonus to attack is sufficient that the monk can comfortably get a holy amulet at level 10. By level 16 the +3 enhancement to attack accounts for silver and cold-iron DR, and the monk's innate ki strike bypasses adamantium then.

Feats such as Hamatulatsu and Boar Style allow the monk to bypass piercing and slashing DR.

Collectively, at level 16, the monk could wield a holy impact ghost touch amulet of mighty fists, get a +3 enhancement bonus to attacks, coupled with monk's robe each unarmed strike deals 4d8 damage (before additions from strength, feat, buffs). Additionally with Boar Style feat chain and the "holy" part of the amulet the monk now bypasses bludgeoning, slashing, piercing, silver, cold-iron, adamantium, magic, good and lawful DR.

That should be good enough.

Quote:
Wholeness of Body: what is more important to a monk in combat, boost AC to not get hit or heal a few hit points from the damage he has taken? That is why WoB as a swift action doesn't really improve this ability - it's still an option the monk will never use.

Not every round is a round where the monk needs to increase his AC. Sometimes there is room to breathe (and heal some HP) during combat - and sometimes it is important to stop bleed damage. Being able to heal as a swift action is not fantastic (it won't make the monk a tank), but it adds a valuable option. Additionally reducing the cost from 2 to 1 ki point makes the ability as a whole vastly more affordable.

Quote:
A nice set of changes, but the monk's major problems of not being able to hit accurately, being MAD and struggling against DR aren't really addressed.

As demonstrated, by level 16 at least the DR is mostly a non-issue. As SoulGambit0 demonstrated, getting a monk to hit can be readily addressed with allies. The "free" +1/+2/+3 enhancement to attacks helps a little in this regard too, as it allows the monk to save on the amulet of mighty fists, or buy relevant enhancements (such as "holy") without losing bonus to attack.

The MAD issue is not something I'd change drastically on the core monk himself. Feats and/or archeypes can do so effectively (the "agile" weapon property has gone a long way to make monks less MAD if they want to go "that" route).

Overall, I think, the changes are subtle enough not to invalidate any(most?) published monk archetypes - while giving that little boost that pushes monks into relevance though not enough to break them into prominence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Note that the TWF build I've presented needs to be adjusted to have 13 Strength (or 11 strength and a +2 item) to be able to qualify for Power Attack. Everything else stays the same; given that 5 points of the point buy were unallocated, they can be used to have 14 strength at level 1.


Ilja wrote:
I support the idea of a Playtest Tower, but I do not support the idea of having "custom-made encounters worth CR X" because that really says nothing about the difficulty since the CR system is so very very vague. For example see this: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2mvwf?Balors-fall-you-die-Or-how-to-break-the-C R

I have two things to say on this matter. I liked your thread, but the entirety of the CR-system is not broken and is definitely not as erratically wild as this thread suggests. A badly designed template is a badly designed template, but I have a lot of success using the CR system and have had a lot of success with it for years. Pointing at an oddity and declaring it the norm seems odd. I don't even see the ECL 2 "wand and run" encounter that overchallenging sine it's a summoned monster (you can in most cases just attempt to evade the thing until it vanishes) (and the summoner class is as much at fault here as merely having a wand, since the summoner class makes 5th level spells not only available for wands but for cheapsauce due to being priced as 4th level spells). Even then you can do things like protection from evil to render this tactic far less effective. Just saying. Likewise, if someone tries to legitimately do this, how does this make it more difficult on the monk or any other class?

I mean, being told "Okay, the CR 2 enemy blows his load and goes nova and produces a CR 5 summoned (no using SLA summons, vanishes in X rounds, can probably be nullified with simple spells) enemy and runs away" is being less fair to the monk than anyone else in the party. I mean if the ranger and fighter are like "Ah, dire lion is on the menu!" and the wizard is yawning "Pfft, protection from evil" and begins reading a book while waiting for the summon to vanish, and the cleric goes "Well I'll pull my scroll of summon monster III we purchased for dirt cheap for a rainy day when we might be outmatched", and so forth, exactly why is it that this is somehow an inappropriate test for monks vs other classes?

Quote:
Other people, not in the least Ashiel, are also good at optimizing enemies far beyond what the standard game assumes. Ashiels encounters sounds like great fun for an experienced party of well-optimized characters and tactic-savvy players - but are nowhere close to the standard CR assumptions in difficulty (Ashiel, take that as a compliment).

I will, and thank you. Though I'd like to note that you don't see me complaining that the other core classes aren't doing their share. Think about that for a moment. If the monk is the only class in core that simply cannot pull their share even while being well-optimized (I assume you don't mean over-optimized, 'cause you can see my Practical Optimization thread to see the kind of PCs I think are play-able) because the encounters are a little harder than expected, that implies the monk needs to be coddled. The GM has to run the game at a certain difficulty level or else the monk cries again.

Quote:
A better idea might be to take CR X encounters from published AP's. That way we get a measuring tool that reflects what the game designers think on difficulty.

Which is effectively no different than having posters design encounters and throw them up here. The difficulty in encounters in adventure paths vary wildly from icing-covered cake-walks of free gold-pieces to "Oh my god this is a nightmare".


LoreKeeper wrote:
SoulGambit0 wrote wrote:
Bonus Feats: All Stunning Fist Variants available as bonus feats (Touch of Serenity, Elemental Fist, Punishing Kick, etc). Greater [Combat Maneuver] Feats are available at level 6.

This is too powerful in my opinion. Greater maneuvers as bonus from level 10 is acceptable to me.

But making all Stunning Fist variants available (from the start no less) is really powerful. My monk's would typically have Stunning Fist, Touch of Serenity and Punishing Kick by level 2, and force 3 saves each round from whatever he is fighting (barring misses). It really is a big deal and the hottest feats for a monk from level 11 onward are specifically those variant feats; having them from the start is just too much.

As if monks weren't already an amazing dipping class. Sure, monk 20 sucks nuts and bolts, but monk 2 improves almost any martial character without fail. Making that dip even sexier would make a lot of fighters, druids, rangers, paladins, and barbarians very happy. :P


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Ki-Pool: Enhancement bonus really needs to keep pace with what the other classes have available, at this level you have set it really doesn't do much except between 1st and 9th. At 10th level a +2 amulet is affordable, by 16th the monk can afford a +4 or +5 amulet so it's almost entirely redundant. Plus this isn't helping with the monk's problem of getting through DR at all.

A fix is not supposed to make the monk independent of additional sources of improvements such as feats, items and buffs from allies. The enhancement bonus to attack is sufficient that the monk can comfortably get a holy amulet at level 10. By level 16 the +3 enhancement to attack accounts for silver and cold-iron DR, and the monk's innate ki strike bypasses adamantium then.

Feats such as Hamatulatsu and Boar Style allow the monk to bypass piercing and slashing DR.

Collectively, at level 16, the monk could wield a holy impact ghost touch amulet of mighty fists, get a +3 enhancement bonus to attacks, coupled with monk's robe each unarmed strike deals 4d8 damage (before additions from strength, feat, buffs). Additionally with Boar Style feat chain and the "holy" part of the amulet the monk now bypasses bludgeoning, slashing, piercing, silver, cold-iron, adamantium, magic, good and lawful DR.

That should be good enough.

Not really, not when everyone else bypasses everything with a +5 weapon. At level 15. And Adamantine at lower level (around 13th) with a +4 weapon.

So the monk is bypassing less DR, at less of a chance to hit, and has to be higher level than every other martial class.

That's the problem, and this is not a fix, it is a marginal improvement.

LoreKeeper wrote:
Quote:
Wholeness of Body: what is more important to a monk in combat, boost AC to not get hit or heal a few hit points from the damage he has taken? That is why WoB as a swift action doesn't really improve this ability - it's still an option the monk will never use.
Not every round is a round where the monk needs to increase his AC. Sometimes there is room to breathe (and heal some HP) during combat - and sometimes it is important to stop bleed damage. Being able to heal as a swift action is not fantastic (it won't make the monk a tank), but it adds a valuable option. Additionally reducing the cost from 2 to 1 ki point makes the ability as a whole vastly more affordable.

I agree, it's more affordable, but the improvement - like that in hitting and DR - is marginal.

LoreKeeper wrote:
As demonstrated, by level 16 at least the DR is mostly a non-issue.

As demonstrated, it's still more of an issue than it is for every other martial class, and the monk is still gimped to hit.

LoreKeeper wrote:
As SoulGambit0 demonstrated, getting a monk to hit can be readily addressed with allies.

What happens in the party's without buff-monkeys willing to blow all their spells on buffing and none on doing stuff themselves? Last party I was in with a monk, the main casters were an Oracle and a Magus, neither of whom wanted to bother with buffs except personal ones.

In short, unless the monk can apply the buffs himself then they are not a solution to the problems with the class itself.

LoreKeeper wrote:
The "free" +1/+2/+3 enhancement to attacks helps a little in this regard too, as it allows the monk to save on the amulet of mighty fists, or buy relevant enhancements (such as "holy") without losing bonus to attack.

A little, yes, but it still leaves the monk +2 to hit behind the other martial classes, even before you factor in MAD.

LoreKeeper wrote:
The MAD issue is not something I'd change drastically on the core monk himself. Feats and/or archeypes can do so effectively (the "agile" weapon property has gone a long way to make monks less MAD if they want to go "that" route).

So the core monk has to remain brokenly MAD, just because? No, I want a fix for MAD or a tangible reward for it. Archetypes do it by trading out abilities, they look good because they are better at doing something synergistic with what they have, but sadly when you compare them to the other classes doing the same task, most come up wanting.

LoreKeeper wrote:
Overall, I think, the changes are subtle enough not to invalidate any(most?) published monk archetypes - while giving that little boost that pushes monks into relevance though not enough to break them into prominence.

Problem is, they may not rock the boat, but that's because they don't go far enough to actually fix the problem so far as I can see.


The Menacing Property:

"This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons. A
menacing weapon helps allies deal with flanked foes. When
the wielder is adjacent to a creature that is being flanked by
an ally, the flanking bonus on attack rolls for all flanking allies
increases by +2. This ability works even if the wielder is not
one of the characters flanking the creature.
"

Emphasis mine. If you care about it that much, give the menacing Cestus to the Rogue you're flanking with instead of you. All that is required is being adjacent to a creature for it to trigger. The weapon doesn't have to be otherwise involved, or even used to give the bonus.

@Dabbler: Wait... you think the Fighter can dump Dex? That means that the Fighter is a high-level melee, non-monk character that hasn't taken Mobility. That means the Fighter dies horribly every encounter and never contributes vs CR-Appropriate foes. Honestly, a lot of melee characters have problems even after doing that.

The more you comment the more I'm starting to think you've never actually played a non-Monk melee character at very high levels or are familiar with the challenges they face...

Also, the reason higher DPR numbers are happening is because you're making your changes with only your playstyle, your build, your games in mind. You can't do that as a designer. Players will do things you never expect, and will do builds for the purposes of making your ideas not work. When it comes to game balance, it's truly the Players vs The Designers.

I'm going to stat out a Monk and a Fighter per your rules, only bothering with 28 AC. The Fighter wins, the Monk is fairly moderate. Both can punch through the same DR, and the Monk usually keeps above half the monster's Health in DPR, which is most important.

Then we're going to apply your change, and I'll show you the DPR.

Human Monk, 20pt buy, level 11:

STR 18 / DEX 12 / CON 14 / INT 9 / WIS 16 / CHA 7

Traits:
1. Toughness, Dodge, Belier's Bite
2. Improved Grapple
3. Dragon Style
4. +1 Strength
5. Dragon Ferocity.
6. Improved Trip
7. Weapon Focus
8. +1 Strength
9. Hammer the Gap
10. Medusa's Wrath
11. Punishing Kick

Items Belt of Physical Perfection (16k), Monk's Robe (13k), Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4 (16k), Amulet of Mighty Fists +1 (5k), Prayer Wheel of Ethical Strength (10k), Ring of Deflection +1 (2k), Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (5k), Pale Green Ioun Stone (4k), Cloak of Resistance +2 (4k), Wayfinder (0.5k), Lesser Rod of Extend + Pearl of Power (4k, used to receive Mage Armor)

HP: 103
AC: 28, 24 Touch, 25 Flat-Footed (+5 if Barkskin, +4 if Ki)
CMD: 39
CMB: +21 (+2 for Trip/Grapple)
Saves: +12/+11/+14 (+2 vs Enchantment)
Buffs from Bard: Inspire Courage, Good Hope

To-Hit: 11 -2 +6 (STR) +1 (WF) +3 (IC) +2 (GH) +1 (Enh) +1 (Ioun) = +23
Damage: 2d8+6+3+1+3+2 = 24

Human Falchion Fighter:

STR 20 / DEX 10 / CON 14 / INT 10 / WIS 12 / CHA 7

1. Toughness, Weapon Focus (Falchion), Point Blank Shot
2. Power Attack
3. Iron Will
4. Weapon Specialization (Falchion), +1 Strength
5. Weapon Group: Heavy Blade, Weapon Focus (Longbow)
6. Rapid Shot
7. Multi-Shot
8. Improved Critical, Retrain -> Greater Weapon Focus (Falchion), +1 Strength
9. Greater Weapon Focus (Longbow)
10. Weapon Group: Bows
11. Cluster Shots
*I flaffed about giving it archery as a secndary combat style. I'm willing to change it if people think other things are more fitting.

Item: +1 Holy Falchion (18k), Gloves of Dueling (15k), Belt of Physical Perfection +2 (16k), Fullplate +3 (10.5k), Cloak of Resistance +3 (9k), Ring of Deflection +1 (2k), Amulet of Natural Armor +1 (2k), Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (5k), Wayfinder (0.5k), +1 Composite Longbow,

HP: 125
AC: 27, 13 Touch, 25 Flat-Footed
CMD: 32 (+4 if Disarm/Sunder)
CMB: +20
Saves: +13/+7/+7 (+2 vs Enchantment)
Buffs from Bard: Inspire Courage, Haste

To-Hit: +11 +7 (STR) +2 (Feats) +1 (Enh) +4 (Weapon Train) +3 (IC) +1 (Haste) -3 (Power Attack) = 26
Damage: 2d4+10+2+1+4+3+9 = 34 (+7 vs Evil)

Results::

Base: 156 vs 117
Vs Crit-Immune: 125 vs 102
Vs Non-Evil: 134 vs 117
Vs Non-Evil and Crit-Immune: 103 vs 102
Vs DR 10/--: 126 vs 70
Vs DR 10/-- and Non-Evil: 104 vs 70
Vs DR 10/-- and Crit-Immune: 95 vs 61
Vs DR 10/-- and Crit-Immune and Non-Evil: 73.2 vs 61
*Assumes enemy has a weak Reflex save, which most do.

Lets plug in your change, just the +3 Enhancement. The monk swaps to an elemental AoMF and swaps Hammer the Gap for Power Attack (not because its more effective, but because its easier to calc).

Results
Base: 156 vs 152
... I actually don't feel like calculating the rest. Point is, even as much as flanking tips the Monk over the Fighter's DPR normally. Vs non-good or crit-immune enemies the Monk wins. Vs DR10/-- the Fighter wins as long as the enemy isn't Non-Good or Crit-Immune. Your change buffs the Monk too much. That is -just- the enhancement bonus to-hit. You assumed that it would only go on a Dex Monk. The issue is that nothing stops it from going on the STR Monk.

But wait! The Monk lost. So we can giggle like school girls and point and laugh. Well, no. In actual play, the Monk's moderate contribution outstrips the Fighter by virtue of being able to fight at all. Lets pit both characters against that Glaberazu mentioned previously. It's CR 13, with stats comparable to the Monster Creation page.

If the Fighter approaches, the Glaberazu trips. It has a CMB of +24, meaning it hits on an 8 or higher (6 or higher if the Fighter Charged to get in an attack). Once down, the Glaberazu can full attack for over 98 damage. Even if the Fighter makes it to the Glaberazu, it has to punch through up to 8 Mirror Images, meaning the first two rounds or so are almost assuradly wasted. I say up to 8 because hopefully some ranged support knocks out a few. Regardless, this also gives the Glaberazu the freedom to eat an AoO and flee, only to repeat the process. But wait! Most likely the Fighter will play smart, swap out his bow (this should take a round, but we'll assume the Fighter thought ahead) and shoot the Glaberazu, eliminating ~3 images. The Monk throwing Shuriken can eliminate about 2.

That means the Fighter needs to -survive- the first two or three rounds of the Glaberazu's range game. Reverse Gravity aside--neither character survives without Fly--the Fighter has to eat Confusions and Dispel Magics on his sword. The Monk can weather this storm, the Fighter can't. Meanwhile, the Bard should be supporting at range, the Rogue should be stealthing into flank position for sneak attack, and the Wizard should be spamming Dimensional Anchor until it sticks (essential to fight Demons). The Cleric either wades in to tank or supports at range depending on the build. The Rogue survives by virtue of not being near the party and being stealthed, while everyone -else- needs a high Will Save or the ability to weather Dispel Magics. This is also why you don't usually bother with the buffs until the turn of your approach. The Monk can live without his items, the Fighter can not.

Calculations and Math for the above:

Monk Calculation: (0.8*3+0.55*2+0.4+0.8*0.35*(0.15*2+0.2*3)+0.8*0.15*((1-0.8*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.9 *2)+0.8*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95*2)))*24*1.05+0.8*3*1.05 = 114.02

Fighter Calculation: (0.95*2+0.7+0.45)*34*1.3+(0.95*2+0.7+0.45)*7 = 156.16

Monk with Change Calculation:

(0.75*3+0.5*2+0.5+0.75*0.35*(0.2*5)+0.75*0.15*((1-0.75*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2) +0.75*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95*2)))*30*1.05+0.9*3*1.05+(0.75*3+0.5*2+0.5+0.75*0.35* (0.2*5)+0.75*0.15*((1-0.75*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2)+0.75*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95*2)))* 3.5 = 152.45

Things like the above are why I don't care so much about the Monk's DPR or ability to hit. The Monk gets a free pass on a lot of "screw you" effects, especially at higher level. In any actual combat, the Melee Fighter has to jump through hoops just to be able to do anything.

The issue with Monks is one of scale. Their defensive abilities start lower, but scale faster than challenges. Their offensive abilities hit a rut at level 5, that lasts until around level 9, where they compete again. Any changes, IMO, should attack that scale or help those dead-ish levels.

Re: My Changes:

- AC Bonus: The AC bonus is to make the Monk's AC scale properly through the levels while eliminating hedge cases. There would a feat to make a Monk a Dex Monk (AC is Dex SCORE, plus Wis Mod at the same ratio). To prevent it from being a feat tax, it would be folded into a Weapon Finesse that's limited to unarmed strike and monk weapons.

- Maneuver Training: The Wis Mod is added. The issue with Maneuvers is that there is a huge spike for CMD at levels 4 and 5, then it stays steady-ish from level 7 until very high levels. This increase -should- let the Monk keep up. As I said, I'm still unsure on these numbers, but a bonus here is required.

- Monk Speed: This should be +5ft at level 3, +5 every 2 levels--not start at 10ft.

- Stunning Fist: There are builds that can get the DC very high. The only reason psuedo-infinite uses are allowed at all is that there are a lot of things immune, that it has to punch through AC, and that it has to punch through DR. Semi-unlimited uses just helps train new monk players to think about status effects and not damage, which is the primary goal.

- Bonus Feats: Lorekeeper and Ashiel is correct. This needs to be followed alongside an Errata that allows only one "effect" to happen per hit to prevent such shenanigans, thanks for pointing that out. Likewise, the bonus feats for Punishing Kick, Touch of Serenity, etc need to -also- be moved to Level 6. Level 6 is when Fighters would get the Greater Combat Maneuver feats, and the one area I feel Monks need to equal/exceed fighter is with Combat Maneuvers. And, there can always be new high-level feats in future supplements.

I'm totally on board with the Abundant Step change. Wholeness of Body needs to be a free action usable once per turn, cost 1 Ki, and heal much less, imo. Maybe level/2?


@Lorekeeper: The Fighter build is good! It's more of an issue with the Agile enchantment then any inherent quality of the Fighter, however. Also, Haste doesn't grant the unarmed fighter an extra attack, so your DPR is ~196, which is only marginally better than the Monk's. You also spent 73k on all of that, meaning that you have 10k to spend on defense. How do you plan to get your defenses up in that budget? You also have a CMD of 30, which means your Fighter never gets to approach bosses or perform a full attack, as-is (maybe that 10k can solve it?).

EDIT: You also added the elemental damage as though it were multiplied on a crit. It's only worth a few DPR so not a big deal, but for future maths it might be important.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

LoreKeeper's MADless monk
The AC and saves should be slightly better than SoulGambit0's monk (with the Power Attack penalty to AC). AC is significantly better when not using Power Attack (roughly +4 higher). Reflex saves are significantly better - everything else is comparable.

Details:
Str 14 = 12 + 2 item
Dex 24 = 16 + 2 racial + 2 levels + 4 item
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 8

Feats (assuming human): Weapon Finesse, Blind Fight, Dodge, Combat Reflexes, Tiger Style, Power Attack, Deflect Arrows, Tiger Claw, Tiger Pounce, Improved Critical (unarmed), Weapon Focus (unarmed)

Equipment: +4 belt of dex, pale blue rhomboid (+2 str), deliquescent gloves, agile amulet, pale green prism ioun stone, menacing foo, monk robe

Attack: 29/29/29/24/24/19
11 monk + 7 dex + 2 GMF + 1 feats + 3 courage + 2 goodhope + 1 haste + 4 flanking + 1 competence - 2 flurry (and no penalty from Power Attack)

Damage: 30 (27 offhand) + 3.5 acid
2d8 + 1d6 acid + 7 dex + 2 GMF + 3 courage + 2 goodhope + 6 power attack

vs AC 28 DPR 155
1.1 * (2 * 0.95 * 30 + 0.95 * 27 + 0.9 * 30 + 0.65 * 27) + 3 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 0.9 * 3.5 + 0.65 * 3.5 = 155.32

vs AC 28 without Power Attack DPR 137
1.1 * (2 * 0.95 * 24 + 0.95 * 24 + 0.9 * 30 + 0.65 * 24) + 3 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 0.9 * 3.5 + 0.65 * 3.5 = 137.5

SoulGambit0's monk
Revised calculations - I think a couple of calculation errors slipped in (specifically no penalty for Power Attacks was included), these are my results for his build (adjusted for 20pt-buy using 16 Strength as base before racials, also includes a menacing weapon and taking Improved Critical at level 10). I don't think Power Attack is a worthwile investment for this build.

Attack: 26/26/26/21/21/16
11 monk + 6 str + 2 GMF + 1 feats + 3 courage + 2 goodhope + 1 haste + 4 flanking + 1 competence - 2 flurry - 3 Power Attack

Damage 31 (28 offhand) + 7 elemental
2d8 + 1d6 fire + 1d6 acid + 6 str + 3 dragon style + 2 GMF + 3 courage + 2 goodhope + 6 power attack

vs AC 28 DPR 153
1.1 * (0.9 * 34 + 0.9 * 31 + 0.9 * 28 + 0.65 * 31 + 0.4 * 28) + 3 * 0.9 * 7 + 0.65 * 7 + 0.4 * 7 = 152.805

vs AC 28 without Power Attack DPR 148
1.1 * (0.95 * 28 + 0.95 * 25 + 0.95 * 25 + 0.8 * 25 + 0.55 * 25) + 3 * 0.95 * 7 + 0.8 * 7 + 0.55 * 7 = 148.035

For comparison against my TWF unarmed fighter (revised calculation extracting the acid)
vs AC 28 DPR 231
1.05 * (3 * 0.95 * 31.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 28.5 + 0.9 * 31.5 + 0.9 * 28.5) + 5 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 3.5 = 231.09625

...

I think it is clear that the TWF fighter is well above the monk. Using unarmed strikes no less.


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Dabbler wrote:
Not really, not when everyone else bypasses everything with a +5 weapon

The weapon doesn't bypass piercing, slashing and bludgeoning.

Regardless, the monk bypasses 95% of what he can expect to face. And he can wield adamantium knuckles at levels 5 onward just for the occasions when he needs that DR before level 16.


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SoulGambit0 wrote:
Also, Haste doesn't grant the unarmed fighter an extra attack, so your DPR is ~196

Very arguable - in practice I don't think there are more than 5% of GMs that will read (and enforce) the rules like that. That said, I'm pretty sure there is some other means to grant an additional attack that the fighter could use.

The use of a cracked ioun stone is a bigger issue for me personally.

Edit: a couple of levels higher, the TWF can afford a agile speed amulet of the mighty fist; that should cover his extra-attack needs even with obstinate GMs.


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A side note that adjusts all calculations slightly:

The pale green prism ioun stone costs 30,000gp; the cracked version costs 4,000gp. Both grant a +1 competence bonus which does not stack with the the attack bonuses granted by inspire courage.

MADless monk
vs AC 28 DPR 148
1.1 * (2 * 0.95 * 30 + 0.95 * 27 + 0.8 * 30 + 0.55 * 27) + 3 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 0.8 * 3.5 + 0.55 * 3.5 = 148.35

SoulGambit0 monk
vs AC 28 DPR 143
1.1 * (0.85 * 34 + 0.85 * 31 + 0.85 * 28 + 0.6 * 31 + 0.35 * 28) + 3 * 0.85 * 7 + 0.6 * 7 + 0.35 * 7 = 142.695

Unarmed TWF (allow haste)
vs AC 28 DPR 231
1.05 * (3 * 0.95 * 31.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 28.5 + 0.9 * 31.5 + 0.9 * 28.5) + 5 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 3.5 = 231.09625

Unarmed TWF (disallow haste)
vs AC 28 DPR 200
1.05 * (2 * 0.95 * 31.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 28.5 + 0.9 * 31.5 + 0.9 * 28.5) + 5 * 0.95 * 3.5 + 2 * 0.95 * 3.5 = 199.675


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It is possible to get a flawed pale green prism for 28,000gp that grants a +1 morale bonus to attacks; which doesn't stack with good hope.

However, the morale bonus (from whichever source) can be improved by wielding a courageous melee weapon (or amulet of mighty fists) - thereby increasing the moral bonus by (at least) +1.


Dabbler wrote:


Wholeness of Body: what is more important to a monk in combat, boost AC to not get hit or heal a few hit points from the damage he has taken? That is why WoB as a swift action doesn't really improve this ability - it's still an option the monk will never use.

Except when the monk is no longer attacked. In combats against several opponents, or where debuffs fly around, or when there's a chase scene, or several interconnected battles with only a few moments in between, it'll be a fair improvement.

It will still be circumstantial, but the number of circumstances where it's useful has widened.


What about simply replacing Wholeness of Body with some kind of Fast Healing? At that point most parties have more or less unlimited healing between fights anyway, it saves some cash but that's about it, and it certainly FEELS more useful.

Or maybe spend Ki to get fast healing for a while - that means you can pop it before a combat.

Maybe something like this:
Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can spend one Ki point to get Fast Healing 1 for one minute. For every two levels past 7th, the amount of Fast Healing increases by one, to a maximum of Fast Healing 7 at 19th level.

Would it be too much? It's a lot of healing for a single Ki point, at 9th level it's 20hp/ki instead of the 4.5hp/ki of RAW. On the other hand it's spread over time and a lot of the effect is lost if activated before combat.


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There are also other situations where the Wholeness of Body is relevant in combat: when facing stealthed/invisible enemies, enemies that rely on feinting, or any other situation that attacks the monk's flat AC - the +4 dodge bonus to AC from ki is lost against such attacks.


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SoulGambit0 wrote:
@Dabbler: Wait... you think the Fighter can dump Dex? That means that the Fighter is a high-level melee, non-monk character that hasn't taken Mobility. That means the Fighter dies horribly every encounter and never contributes vs CR-Appropriate foes. Honestly, a lot of melee characters have problems even after doing that.

Sorry, but every fighter I've ever seen or played has never suffered from lacking dex, unless I was making a dex-build, and I've been playing this game in various forms since 1979. What does Mobility do? Gives you an advantage vs attacks of opportunity. If you are clever about where and how you move, you don't provoke them, and if they can hit your AC normally with such certainty they can hit it at +4 almost as often.

Unless you would care to expand on your reasoning of how this fighter would die so horribly, I am suspecting it is something unique to your games.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
The more you comment the more I'm starting to think you've never actually played a non-Monk melee character at very high levels or are familiar with the challenges they face...

The more you comment the more I think your games must run in a very specific style that makes monks a lot less sub-standard than the ones I've run and played over the last twelve years since I started playing 3.x.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Also, the reason higher DPR numbers are happening is because you're making your changes with only your playstyle, your build, your games in mind. You can't do that as a designer. Players will do things you never expect, and will do builds for the purposes of making your ideas not work. When it comes to game balance, it's truly the Players vs The Designers.

That's the point of play-testing and putting designs and ideas out here, though, isn't it? I am happy to concede that having a buff-monkey follow the monk around hadn't occurred to me.

SoulGambit0 wrote:

I'm going to stat out a Monk and a Fighter per your rules, only bothering with 28 AC. The Fighter wins, the Monk is fairly moderate. Both can punch through the same DR, and the Monk usually keeps above half the monster's Health in DPR, which is most important.

Then we're going to apply your change, and I'll show you the DPR.

OK, I've seen your DPR, and once again you didn't show where your numbers for it come from.

Compared to your base monk, my changes would make the following differences:

Wis-to-hit: No change, as strength dominates.
Enhancement to hit: that pushes up the attack bonus by +2 to +25. Damage drops by 1, replacing the AoMF +1 with, say, a flaming AoMF means it rises by a net 2.5 to 26.5. I don't see these numbers in your calculations, so I can't guess where you got them from, or why your monk has only one line of calculations and the one you attribute to my design has two. A full-round flurry vs AC 28 yields:

90%/90%/90%/65%/65%/40% = 4.4 hits per round assuming ki spent on extra attacks.

4.4 x 26.5 x 1.05 (criticals) = 122.43 without factoring Hammer The Gap, which would add a maximum of +15, with 4.4 hits it would add +12, so that's 134.43. I would add Bellier's Bite, but you seem to have missed it out of your own calculations as for your monk design as well, so I did for the comparison.

Still definitely less than the fighter. So yes, with all factors favouring, the gap is narrowed, but it certainly isn't closed - especially as you have to account for the fact that the two-handed fighter archetype is not getting as much from the buffs as the TWFer would. If you really want to freak at figures, see how Loremaster's TWFing fighter does with all those buffs...and he leaves the monk WAY behind for DPR at unarmed combat.


How easy a fighter has to close with an opponent depends very much on gaming style. If you're mostly up against big monsters with large reach and huge CMB and combat reflexes, then the fighter might have issues by getting insta-tripped all the time. This is not something to neglect - in many games it IS an important factor and one where the monk has the upper hand.

But if we look at the CRs 11s (since we're talking 11th level here - of course they'll meet lower/higher CR opponents too but I won't bother with ALL opponents), and if we use Soul Gambit's own fighter's CMD (not the build itself since it's a crappy build as an example of a melee build - though it's a good switch hitter, that's not what we're testing) example above with CMD of 32, we can check how many of the monsters will be a real issue. Since his claim is that you can "never reach a boss", I'll check which the fighter has a 50% chance of closing with without getting tripped (I'll ignore other hindrances such as spell-likes, just like I'll ignore other bonuses like friendly DD's or other buffs).

At this level, the fighter will probably have either a reach weapon, be Large, or use Lunge, so we'll check for monsters with at least 15 ft reach, and with a CMB of at least +21 (so they can trip the fighter 50% of attack chances they get).

Stats:

(the +X is CMB)

Reach over 15:
Colossal Object (20+) +39
Spinosaurus (20) +31
Thunderbird (20) +26

Reach 15:
Aghasura +28
Advanced Lightning Treant +22
Green Dragon +22
Sea Dragon +22
Air Elemental +27
Earth Elemental +30
Fire Elemental +26
Ice Elemental +28
Lightning Elemental +26
Magma Elemental +35
Mud Elemental +28
Water Elemental +28
Cloud Giant +26
Gigas Clam +24
Lukwata +26
Retriever +23

Reach below 15 or CMB below +21:
Bhuta
Carnivorous Crystal
10-headed Cryohydra
Erodaemon
Meladaemon
Hezrou
Barbed Devil
Devourer
Black Dragon
Red Dragon
White Dragon
Forest Dragon
Sovereign Drago
Underworld Dragon
Brass Dragon
Copper Dragon
Gold Dragon
Silver Dragon
Brine Dragon
Crystal Dragon
Magma Dragon
Umbral Dragon
Ash Giant
Gnoph-Keh
Stone Golem
Mute Hag
Jinmenju
Larabay
Moon-beast
Royal Naga
Cauchemar
Atamahuta
Verdurous Ooze
10-headed Pyrohydra
Sapphire Jellyfish
Sleipner
Taotieh
Tetrolimulus
Thriae Seer

So, while it's less than half, there's a fair amount of monsters that if the fighter just moves into melee range there's >50% chance it'd get tripped (the monk has double protections from this, both it's CMD which is decent and it's acrobatics which should also be at least as the fighter's CMD). There was a few more with 15' reach but with lower mods that can occasionally trip the fighter but can't count on it.

Now, this does not include NPCs, and NPCs generally don't have greater reach than melee PC's unless of a monster range.

Note also that if the fighter has either a reach weapon (I like bardiches) or lunge, it's only a Potion of Enlarge Person away from only having three monsters to worry about.

One other important factor is how the opponents are supposed to kill off the party if the fighter can't get to it. Several of the monsters on the list are completely reliant on meleeing themselves (animated objects, the dino, most of the elementals) so they need to get close to the party anyway. Others does not need to, but by design might be easier for even a melee fighter than a monk to hurt anyway (for example, dragons at this CR are decent spellcasters and have decent other ranged attacks, so they can hang back where the monk's options are very limited but the fighter is still decent with a bow even without 6 feats in it).

I do not think we should ignore the monk's advantage in getting close to enemies with reach - it is DEFINATELY a strong point of the monk and a weak point of the fighter. But to say that a fighter "can never get close to a monster unless it takes mobility" is ridiculous.

The fighter can better the odds against these monsters quite easily too - Fighting defensively, having a shield, gulping a potion of Enlarge person, whatever.


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Not to mention there are other ways of getting closer to the monster: potion of vanish (50gp); cape of the mountebank; using ways that deny or use-up the attacks of opportunity.

And the fighter has plenty of spare feats, so can invest in Skill Focus (Acrobatics) which is likely to make his Acrobatics better than the monk's (other than for jumping).


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In our current, hypothetical realm of gratuitous buffing, wouldn't the fighter by flying, and hence trip-proof anyway?

I think the interesting thing that SoulGambit demonstrates is that if you pile on a metric crap-ton of buffs there comes a point where all the monk's extra attacks actually land and damage starts to add up. Now, granted, I've never been at a table where I had all these buffs flying around but it could happen. Probably any fix should take this "scaling" behavior into account. For instance, have flurry add something like one extra attack at the highest bonus but make sure all the attacks land often enough and hit hard enough to trail but not exceed the fighter's DPR.


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It kind of reminds me of the people who claim psychic warriors are OP, and then when asked to explain why, they show the psychic warrior with like every possible buff they could manage to have up at the same time. Many of which are 1 round/level durations. So I suppose if you have ample time on your hands to waste your entire pool of energy buffing round after round after round, then you might have something there. Unfortunately, in practice, it is excessively difficult to make this sort of thing possible, let-alone practical.

Imagine for a moment your team's strategy looks like this.
Round 1: Buff the 3/4 BAB class.
Round 2: Buff the 3/4 BAB class.
Round 3: Buff the 3/4 BAB class.
Round 4: Buff the 3/4 BAB class.

Meanwhile, the bad guys have a slightly different strategy.
Round 1: Buff the 1/1 BAB class.
Round 2: Begin killing everyone.
Round 3: Continue killing everyone.
Round 4: Finish killing everyone.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree, Horbagh, it could happen. But I have to point out that one reason the monk seems to catch up to the fighter so easily is the target AC. The fighter isn't getting the most out of his buffs, because you simply cannot improve past 95% chance to hit, and the fighter is nearly there already. The monk is far off it, so the monk gets a huge boost with all his attacks. When the target has higher AC, the gap opens up again.

Of course it can also happen that the monk has no-one willing to buff the party in favour of doing something cool to the enemy directly. Saying that the monk is fine when buffed doesn't change the fact that the monk isn't fine when not buffed.

Looking at the spell requirements that SoulGambit0 postulated, we're talking about a bard in the party (not unlikely, I'll grant you, but hardly a given) and the following buffs:
Good Hope (3rd level) almost every combat (duration of minutes)
Haste (3rd level) every combat (duration in rounds)
Greater Magic Weapon (3rd level) twice with a rod of Extend metamagic, however it could still be debuffed.

So with a 4 encounters per day, you'd at least 2 Good hopes, 4 Hastes and 2 GMWs. You may need extra GMWs and Good Hopes in case of de-buffs, call it two more for 10 in total. At 11th level your typical full prepared caster has 5 3rd level spells, the bard will have around 5 also. So even assuming three casters in the party including the bard, that's around 2/3 of all 3rd level spells available being reserved for buffs alone, in order to buff every fight. Also bear in mind these spell slots are not being used for Hold Person to neutralise single foes, or Fireball to take out reams of mooks, or Cure Serious Wounds to heal party members.

I do not see many parties doing this. Maybe SoulGambit0's group do, but I haven't seen it that often that anyone other than a bard wants to buff. If they do, good for them: they made their front-liner unstoppable at the cost of doing other stuff.


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I will say that two of my most effective parties I've GMed and/or played involved a lot of buffing primarily done by gish builds. You'll notice that most of these buffs affect the entire party, which makes them very useful for a party composed to get the most benefit.

A melee Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple, a Magus, a Bard, a Monk, and a Cleric can put out a LOT of buffs and will all benefit from doing so. It will take 1 round and it pays off.

This isn't a typical party, but it is a viable and played one. When there isn't a single party member that isn't front-lining, a full party buff spell helps everybody, and gish classes know how to cast defensively.


@Dabbler:

Yeah, I totally agree. I'm just saying maybe there's a have cake and eat it too solution out there that would work with my table/party comp and SoulGambit's as well. I'm too lazy to think about it now though. :) Also agree about the AC point. In future models we should probably look at maybe "boss level", "standard CR", and "mook level" AC spreads.

@GrenMeera

I've been in this sort of situation too back in the 3.X days. I had a cleric archer and an AC-focused psion that were downright obnoxious buff-stackers. Those parties were fairly atypical in my experience but they do happen when you get a bunch of power gamers rolling characters together. I like that people are thinking about this sort of situation though. Makes fixing the class a little trickier than I had originally anticipated.


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Horbagh wrote:
Makes fixing the class a little trickier than I had originally anticipated.

Not if the fixes are typed bonuses themselves and hence not stacking with the metric buff ton. :)


@Dabbler: It's (Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*Damage*Crit Mod+(Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*(Elemental Damage).

The second line is because of elemental damage, or other damage that can't be multiplied on a crit.

I also commend your almost 40-years experience. As you should know from that experience, presumably with different systems, each system has its own quirks and challenges. How many level 11+ Non-Monk melee classes have you played in a campaign in the Pathfinder Roleplaying System?

Re: Fighter's Defensive Problems. I assumed we were defining "boss" as CR+2, since that's what all calculations were made against? Lets stick with that assessment and take a quick survey.

The Data:
- Akhlut: Reach 15ft, CMB +30. Requires Melee, and has Grab.
- Alraune: Reach 10ft and +22 CMB. Will Saves abound.
- Azata, Ghaele: Reach 10ft, CMB +20. Caster.
- Azruverda: Reach 15ft, CMB +25 (+29 with Bull Rush). 10d6 Ranged Touch Attack.
- Bandersnatch, Lesser: Reach 15ft, CMB +28. Honestly, this thing seems designed to wreck all melee.
- Banshee: Reach 5ft, CMB +25. Wrecks things with a touch attack and a Will Save.
- Carniverous Blob: Reach 30ft, CMB +33 (+38 Grapple). Requires caster support to effectively damage by anyone (cold damage, at least). The more common Fighter weapons cause it to split.
- Charybdis: Reach 20ft, CMB +28 (+32 Grapple). Probably in the water, which means its own problems.
- Shipwrecker Crab: Reach 30ft, CMB +32.
- CryroHydra, 12-Headed: Reach 10ft, CMB +18. 36d6 damage Breath Weapons (total)
- Thanadaemon: 5ft, CMB +20. DC 21 Will Save.
- Demodand, Tarry: 5ft, CMB +27. Adhesion wrecks manufactured weapons.
- Demon, Glaberazu: 15ft, CMB +28. Spellcaster.
- Devil, Gelugon: 10ft, CMB +21. 13d6 Cone of Colds. Ice Storm. Wall of Ice.
- Dragons: Most have 15ft reach with their Bite and over a +25 CMB. All of them have ~DC 21 Will Saves from Frightful Presence and rather pronounced Breath Weapons.
- Froghemoth: Reach 30ft, CMB +24.
- Advanced Frost Worm: Reach 10ft, CMB +30. Breath Weapon. Anti-Unarmed Aura.
- Gashadokuru: Reach 15ft, CMB +26 (+28 with Grapple). Breath Weapon
- Ghorazagh: Reach 10ft. CMB +18
- Storm Giant: Reach 15ft. CMB +30.
- Iron Golem: Reach 10ft. CMB +30
- Irlgaunt: Reach 10ft, CMB +18. The real only challenge to this one seems to be the subterrainian nature + at-will Stone Shape.
- Mandragora Swarm: Fine Swarm. These things are a%!!@@#s and no melee class does well.
- Psychopomp, Morrigna: Reach 10ft, CMB +24 (+28 with Grapple).
- PyroHydra: Reach 10ft, CMB +18.
- Seaweed Siren: Reach 5ft, CMB +27. Will Saves and Touch Attacks abound.
- Viper Vine: Reach 20ft, CMB +24 (+28 with Grapple). DC 24 Will Save or be Captivated.
- Wraith, Dread: Reach 10ft, CMB +22. Touch Attacks.

Counting Dragons as one entity, that's 28 monsters. Out of 28 monsters, that's 12 that have a reach of 15ft. Basically all of them have 10ft. 10 of them use Breath Weapons, Will saves, and/or Touch Attacks to wreck melee people. Having fought two Pyrohydras at level 12, I can tell you that Improved Evasion is absolutely phenomenal for your survivability. Around 2 to 4 of them just completely destroy all melee and blatantly need caster/ranged support.

I would probably proffer the Monk as my primary melee against the Akhlut, Alraune, Ghaele, Azruverda, Banshee, Carniverous Blob, Charybdis*, Shipwrecker Crab*, CyroHydra, Tarry Demodad, Glaberazu, Gelugon, Dragons, Froghemoth, Gashadokuru, Viper Vine, Dread Wraith. If the Fighter has a low ACP (quite possible) then it'll do fine against the Crab or Charybdis. This is entirely because, at this level, the Monk has the defense to take care of things without dying.

The Fighter, against most of those enemies, has problems either approaching in the first place (Grab is abound at this level, as is reach, and range attacks that mean larger starting distances).

Now, the issue is level 5-8. Level 9-10 the Monk is "eh." Level 11+ He's back in the game, so to speak.

Typed bonuses are a big help. However, a lot of material was released assuming that those typed bonuses wouldn't be easily accessible--like Dragon Style. So giving out typed bonuses doesn't tip the Monk over the maximum, but it does make it rapidly approach it, as I showed with +Enhancement. Giving bonuses to hit and/or damage has rather... large impacts on the Monk.


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@SoulGambit0:

The assessment should keep in mind that most boss fights aren't simply against a creature that happens to fit the CR naturally - but against classed villains.

Additionally, as a GM, when I find that my players are buffed and geared to the point where their lower iterative attacks automatically hit, then I re-assess their effective level and adjust the encounters accordingly. Making them face a "CR+4" or even "CR+6" is not out of the question with the degree of optimization you suggest. As a mere CR+2 is something they'd roll over without breaking a sweat.


SoulGambit0 wrote:

@Dabbler: It's (Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*Damage*Crit Mod+(Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*(Elemental Damage).

The second line is because of elemental damage, or other damage that can't be multiplied on a crit.

I also commend your almost 40-years experience. As you should know from that experience, presumably with different systems, each system has its own quirks and challenges. How many level 11+ Non-Monk melee classes have you played in a campaign in the Pathfinder Roleplaying System?

Re: Fighter's Defensive Problems. I assumed we were defining "boss" as CR+2, since that's what all calculations were made against? Lets stick with that assessment and take a quick survey.

** spoiler omitted **...

At some point it will behoove the Fighter to simply engage from range, an option which it is eminently suited for and far more capable of handling than a Monk in, I would think, any circumstances. Granted, the focus seems to have primarily been melee capability but that's one of the features of the Fighter; Fighters are great combatants at any range.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote:

@Dabbler: It's (Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*Damage*Crit Mod+(Sum of all To-Hit Chances + (Chance to Punishing Kick*Impact) + (Chance to Stunning Fist*Impact))*(Elemental Damage).

The second line is because of elemental damage, or other damage that can't be multiplied on a crit.

Thank you, this is what you need to explain when you set out your calculations. Sadly it doesn't change the fact that you plugged in the wrong numbers (odds to hit were too low and damage was too high). Garbage in = garbage out, your numbers are still off, and a TWFing fighter can still beat them with the same buffs.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
I also commend your almost 40-years experience. As you should know from that experience, presumably with different systems, each system has its own quirks and challenges. How many level 11+ Non-Monk melee classes have you played in a campaign in the Pathfinder Roleplaying System?

DMed for around five, played alongside three, played myself one. None were built the way your fighter is, none had any real problems from lack of mobility (at least none that weren't shared by everyone). However, I have played a fair few monks, and all the monsters you name pose problems for monks too.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Re: Fighter's Defensive Problems. I assumed we were defining "boss" as CR+2, since that's what all calculations were made against? Lets stick with that assessment and take a quick survey.
Looking at your list, I notice a number of other common factors that make the monk just as vulnerable as the fighter.

  • The all have high CMDs - your monk with his low dexterity isn't avoiding AoO's from tumbling very often.
  • Their attack chances are such that a monk - with or without mobility - is still likely to get hit.
  • Their CMBs are high enough that the monk is almost as vulnerable as the fighter.

I will grant you the monk has better chances of getting through with no AoO's, but better != good in the same way 25% is better than 15% but still a long way short of 100%. On the flip side, the fighter has a number of options the monk doesn't have:


  • A variety of reach weapons, should such foes pose constant problems any sensible fighter will tool up appropriately.
  • Ranged weapons are options every fighter should carry, along with a handful of bane arrows for common foes. Sadly, monks got no love in this department.
  • Great AC. While monks can have a fantastic AC, fighters can usually beat it.
  • Fighters can pump CMD too - such as with their favoured class bonus.

Truth is, the best defence against being grabbed is always a ring of freedom of movement. The best defence against getting hit, AoOs or not, is either pump your AC or keep your distance.


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O_o Garbage in? Little hostile, ne? The Ioun Stone was a good catch by Gren, but the rest of the data is good and double checked. I even check it again (with the Ioun Stone revelation) below for your benefit, and explain each step. I actually never have Bards in my games so I didn't realize IC and the Ioun were incomparable.

I'm almost positive I know what you didn't read, and I'd suggest being more thorough before you criticize.

Why the data in isn't bad:

I think you just didn't count Power Attack. I swapped because Hammer the Gap is a JERK to calculate. It's worth roughly the same DPR of Power Attack at that to-hit anyways. That said, with even a single +to-hit lower, power attack is actually not worth it anymore, meaning Hammer the Gap has to be used. >_<

To-Hit:
+11 (Base) -2 (Flurry) +6 (Strength) +1 (Feat) +3 (Enhancement) +3 (Inspire Courage) +2 (Good Hope) -3 (Power Attack) = +24

Damage:
2d8 (Base) +6 (Strength) +3 (Dragon Ferocity) +1 (Enhancement) +3 (Inspire Courage) +2 (Good Hope) = 24 (+3.5 Elemental Damage)

We have a routine of +24/+24/+24/+19/+19/+14. At +24 we need a 4 to hit AC 28. That's a 85% chance to hit (note that in the previous example we used Power Attack (-3) and thought the Ioun Stone applied (+1), so you'd hit a 6 to-hit, so 75%).

The to-hit portion is (0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35). Add in Punishing Kick on the first attack and you get (0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35+0.85*0.35*(0.1*2+0.2*3)). Throw in Stunning Fist and Medusa's wrath on the second attack and you get: (0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35+0.85*0.35*(0.1*2+0.2*3)+0.85*0.15*(0.85*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95 *2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2))). When you do the Stunning Fist calc you have do a different string for punishing kick succeeding and for punishing kick failing.

Now the easy part, factor in average damage (30) and critical hit modifier (*1.05 for 20/x2 crit) and you get: (0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35+0.85*0.35*(0.1*2+0.2*3)+0.85*0.15*(0.85*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95 *2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2)))*24*1.05

Throw in elemental damage by adding the to-hit portion again, but this time multiplied by 3.5. (0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35+0.85*0.35*(0.1*2+0.2*3)+0.85*0.15*(0.85*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95 *2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2)))*24*1.05+(0.85*3+0.6*2+0.35+0.85*0.35*(0. 1*2+0.2*3)+0.85*0.15*(0.85*0.35*(0.1*3+0.95*2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*5+0.95*2) ))*3.5 = 133.08 and 1d4 Bleed damage.

Lets throw in flanking and see what happens. (0.95*3+0.7*2+0.45+0.95*0.35*(0.2*3)+0.95*0.15*(0.95*0.35*(0.05*2+0.1+0.95* 2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*3+0.95*2)))*24*1.05+(0.95*3+0.7*2+0.45+0.95*0.35*(0.2 *3)+0.95*0.15*(0.95*0.35*(0.05*2+0.1+0.95*2)+(1-0.85*0.35)*(0.1*3+0.95*2))) *3.5 = 149.79 and 1d4 Bleed damage.

But wait, isn't that lower than the Fighter? Well, kinda. Hammer the Gap still exists. The actual calculation for Hammer the Gap involves Combinations and I dislike doing them. If someone else wishes to do the full calc feel free, if not I know it adds more than +5 average damage and you'll just have to take my word for it. (for anyone who wants to do the calc I recommend doing it separately and adding the result).

EDIT: I actually did the calc for all hits and exactly one miss for the last Hammer the Gap instance. I got to +9, meaning it's going to sit around +10~+12. This also means that its worth ~+8 in the non-flank example. Just to give an idea.

This means that with your change, and the parameters you specified, all the Monk needs to boost damage above the Fighter is flanking. That said, it's only -barely- below it without, and since enemies have an average of 180 HP, it'd take either character two full attacks.

Dabbler wrote:
DMed for around five, played alongside three, played myself one. None were built the way your fighter is, none had any real problems from lack of mobility (at least none that weren't shared by everyone). However, I have played a fair few monks, and all the monsters you name pose problems for monks too.

Shared by everyone but the Monk, presumably. Bypassing normal problems is an advantage.

Dabbler wrote:

Looking at your list, I notice a number of other common factors that make the monk just as vulnerable as the fighter.

  • The all have high CMDs - your monk with his low dexterity isn't avoiding AoO's from tumbling very often.
  • Their attack chances are such that a monk - with or without mobility - is still likely to get hit.
  • Their CMBs are high enough that the monk is almost as vulnerable as the fighter.

I will grant you the monk has better chances of getting through with no AoO's, but better != good in the same way 25% is better than 15% but still a long way short of 100%. On the flip side, the fighter has a number of options the monk doesn't have:

  • A variety of reach weapons, should such foes pose constant problems any sensible fighter will tool up appropriately.
  • Ranged weapons are options every fighter should carry, along with a handful of bane arrows for common foes. Sadly, monks got no love in this department.
  • Great AC. While monks can have a fantastic AC, fighters can usually beat it.
  • Fighters can pump CMD too - such as with their favoured class bonus.

Truth is, the best defence against being grabbed is always a ring of freedom of movement. The best defence against getting hit, AoOs or not, is either pump your AC or keep your distance.

Regarding challenges:

  • I never mentioned Acrobatics, nor did I factor it in.
  • With the Barkskin SLA and/or spending Ki the Monk has fantastic AC for this level. You pop the Ki for the +AC against big bads who full attack, lowering your DPR, but increasing your defense more than a little bit. Monks have that adaptability.
  • The fighter is being hit on a 4. The Monk is being hit on an 11 without Ki, 13 with Ki. That is a difference between a 15% chance of success and up to 60%. That's a fantastic difference, and I consider a 60% chance of success good.

    Note that if the Fighter Charges to get in that beginning attack, there isn't even a comparison. Most monsters hit on a 2, and the Fighter can't stand up. I presume the Fighter is smart enough to double move, however.

    Regarding Fighter Advantages:

  • None of which have a good crit range, benefit from Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, or Imprived Critical. The Fighter is taking a massive DPR hit for this. How many reach heavy blades are there, anyways? If he loses Weapon Training too then well... good luck.
  • Bane Shuriken cost no more than Bane Arrows. Your supporting dumping DEX to 10, which means the Fighter's ranged attack will be subpar at best. Unless the Fighter sacrifices a lot to switch hit in terms of feats, the DPR is negligible.
  • Not at level 11. That's true at low levels, but by level 11 the Monk AC matches or surpasses anything short of a Shield or heavily Dex-Based fighter. This is, again, why the Monk's primary issue is one of scaling.
  • So you admit to needing a Mobility-Equivalent option.

Actually. I'd like to get the personal involvement aspect of this out of the way. There's a monk that you are playing now that you complain about constantly. Would you mind posting its build? I'd like to see what yo consider the norm. (My norm is Maneuver Masters, which are useless to this discussion because everyone agrees they are fantastic).

@Lorekeeper: I've one unbuffed comparisons as well. And, again, am doing this to point out to people who want to make changes that buffs have a MASSIVE impact on Monk DPR, moreso than any other class. That said, I think it's well-established that Monks do fantastic against enemies with class levels, so I haven't bothered with that comparison.

If you're talking about how a Good GM might expand on encounters I would agree with you. However, a good GM takes his/her PC's abilities into consideration when designing those encounters anyways, and we open up the argument of, "Optimization and character ability is an illusion anyways because the GM builds the encounters around the PCs." I really, really want to stay away from that area by focusing on what the rules expect.

@Everyone: I think the wrong attitude is developing here, especially towards me. No, I don't mean "omg you hurt my feelings," I mean, "wait, I think these people think I'm trying to attack them and are retaliating." No... I'm participating in the design process as I have been trained to do it.

When you are trying to identify a problem and propose a solution, you take each step of the process and act like a scientist trying to propose a theorem. That is, you try to disprove it, not prove it. No matter where your personal experience and bias lies, you need to passionately seek the situations and interpretations that make your idea wrong. Then you submit it to other people so they can do the same thing.

People are proposing to give the Monk +To-Hit. There are situations, some common, where that buffs the monk entirely too much. That means your design needs to take these situations into account and adjust. If you are trying desperately to prove you are correct or less wrong, you've already lost, from a design process point of view.

At the end of the day, do you really, really want a fix that requires, "It works. As long as the players don't...?" If you're satisfied with that mediocrity, I'll step out and not bother you. But I think you guys are capable of designing something great, so I'm pushing you.

So design something great.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote:
The Ioun Stone was a good catch by Gren, but the rest of the data is good and double checked.

Wasn't me, and I'd hate to take credit from somebody who deserves it.

I've been remaining mostly silent in this thread because I see exactly what you were referring to. The thread has become more and more about a small number of voices patting themselves on the back and being exceedingly dismissive of other voices as a defense mechanism. I don't believe this is on purpose, but I do believe that cooler heads must prevail or we've wasted a lot of good data.


OH! Doi. Lorekeeper caught that. I'm so sorry. :/

GJ Lorekeeper!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@SoulGambit0:

No worries :) glad to have helped.

...

@SoulGambit0, Dabbler, and everybody:

I've been entertaining a change to the flurry mechanic, detailed here. I would welcome input on it.

Two things upfront: the new flurry mechanic is intended to increase the combat relevance of the monk and allow his movement speed to matter on occasion. Secondly, on a follow-up post I detail the expected DPR for optimized builds (and a mundane build).


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SoulGambit0 wrote:
People are proposing to give the Monk +To-Hit. There are situations, some common, where that buffs the monk entirely too much. That means your design needs to take these situations into account and adjust. If you are trying desperately to prove you are correct or less wrong, you've already lost, from a design process point of view.

The majority of the proposals I've seen advocating additional +to hit values wouldn't change the overall outcome of your thought experiments, though.

An enhancement bonus to hit would overlap with your +3. Having the option to use Wis instead of Str would overlap with your +6. Since the overall numbers should be basically unchanged, perhaps it could be noted that (from my perspective at least) that having multiple ways to get to competative results is a better way to look at it?

Not everyone wants to build ... I'm drawing a blank on an appropriate superhero comparison for an unlikable, slightly slow powerhouse with loads of common sense...but that's one of the only ways to build a monk that is competative at the table.

It seems to me that Dabbler's base proposal (wis to hit, scaling enh bonus to hit) does a lot to lower the barrier of entry for the monk without relying on tremendous system knowledge to build a character you won't regret later. Also, being able to cover problems with gear isn't an answer either, as stated by the writers.

Lastly, the biggest thing I (personally) walk away from your examples with is a tremendous appreciation for the bard. Providing roughly 25% of your total bonus to hit with a solid, long-lasting class ability and a simple spell? If my next character isn't a bard, I'll have a bard cohort for damn sure. Just saying :)


Correction: I included a -3 for power attack in the line for adding/subtracting. That is an error. The sum (24) does not include it, nor do any calculations. Please omit it.

Zilvar: The +3 is the change. The change is worth 2.5 damage and +2 to hit. To put this in perspective, the same Monk without his change has a DPR of 102. That is a difference of over thirty damage. For +2 to-hit.

@Lorekeeper: On it, working now though so it'll be a tad slow.

EDIT: Initial impression? I like the concept but it actually makes lower levels worse for the Monk. DPR will go down until around level 6 or 8. Lower levels is where the Monk has the most issues.

I would actually nix the Ki aspect. Make it, "Whenever the monk hits with an unarmed strike or monk weapon, he may make an additional attack with his unarmed strike at his full base attack bonus. A monk may only make a single attack in this fashion per round. Additionally, when the monk takes a full attack action, he treats his Base Attack Bonus as being equal to his Monk level.

At 8th level, when performing a flurry of blows a monk who successfully hits with at least two attacks (including attacks granted by the flurry of blows class feature) is granted an additional attack with his unarmed strike at his highest base attack bonus as a free action. This additional attack receives a -5 penalty.

At 15th level, when performing a flurry of blows a monk who successfully hits with at least three attacks (including attacks granted by the flurry of blows class feature) is granted an additional attack with unarmed strike at his highest base attack bonus as a free action. This additional attack receives a -10 penalty."

This makes the Monk better at lower levels. The forced reliance on unarmed strikes prevents the monk from benefiting too much from going two-handed with a Temple Sword, which will be a problem around level 6-8.

The key damage calc through the levels is actually what can be done on a standard action. IMO, you want the DPR to be ower, because there is a hidden benefit here with combat maneuvers. Go forward, use Dirty Trick. That's an attack that hits, so you use Trip with Flurry. That provokes an attack AND one or two AoO's... pretty badass standard action.

If the DPR is too lower remove/lower the penalty, perhaps to -2/-5. But this is just gut instinct, not tested.


i don't share the view that monks has most issues at low levels. at low levels they're tougher than the rogue and more "skilly" than the fighter; their closes relative at this point is the ranger and i think they perform about equally to them until about level 6-8 or so (a bit better defense and less dependancy on opponents abilities, a little less offense)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote:
EDIT: Initial impression? I like the concept but it actually makes lower levels worse for the Monk. DPR will go down until around level 6 or 8. Lower levels is where the Monk has the most issues.

Here is the math, it shows that at level 1 the two flurries are almost identical (the alternative DPR trailing behind by -0.08). At level 4 the gap on normal attacks is -0.36; on ki attacks the alternative is ahead by +1.82. Finally at level 6 the alternative flurry pulls ahead (permanently) even on normal attacks +1.4; and on ki (or hasted) attacks it gets to +3.44. By level 10 the difference is quite drastic and shows that the alternative flurry is effective at increasing the monk's DPR.

Level 1
monk with 18 Strength. CR 1 opponent is given as 12 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 12: 9.45
2 * 0.6 * 7.5 * 1.05 = 9.45

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 12: 9.37
0.7 * 7.5 * 1.05 + 0.7 * (0.7 * 7.5 * 1.05) = 9.37125

Level 4
monk with 18 Strength. CR 4 opponent is given as 17 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 17: 8.93
2 * 0.5 * 8.5 * 1.05 = 8.925
Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 17 with ki: 13.39
3 * 0.5 * 8.5 * 1.05 = 13.3875

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 17: 8.57
0.6 * 8.5 * 1.05 + 0.6 * (0.6 * 8.5 * 1.05) = 8.568
Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 17 with ki: 15.21
2 * 0.6 * 8.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.4 * 0.4)) * (0.6 * 8.5 * 1.05) = 15.2082

Level 6
monk with 20 Strength. CR 6 opponent is given as 19 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 19: 12.97
2 * 0.55 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.2 * 9.5 * 1.05 = 12.9675
Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 19 with ki: 18.45
3 * 0.55 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.2 * 9.5 * 1.05 = 18.45375

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 19: 14.37
0.65 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.3 * 9.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.35 * 0.7)) * (0.65 * 9.5 * 1.05) = 14.37148125
Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 19 with ki: 21.89
2 * 0.65 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.3 * 9.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.35 * 0.35 * 0.7)) * (0.65 * 9.5 * 1.05) = 21.8877684375

Level 10
monk with 22 Strength, +1 amulet, CR 10 opponent is given as 24 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 24: 22.31
2 * 0.6 * 12.5 * 1.05 + 2 * 0.25 * 12.5 * 1.05 = 22.3125
Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 24 with ki: 30.19
3 * 0.6 * 12.5 * 1.05 + 2 * 0.25 * 12.5 * 1.05 = 30.1875

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 24: 29
(numbers get prohitive, used simulation instead)
Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 24 with ki: 41
(numbers get prohitive, used simulation instead)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Since the alternative flurry doesn't impose a penalty to attacks, that is an effective +2 bonus to attacks that the classic flurry monk does not have. That means his attacks on average hit 10% more of the time (which somewhat alleviates the flurry-of-misses).

The consistent increase in DPR from level 6 onwards also means that the monk is not compelled to run a starting Strength score of 18 to achieve passable DPR - in other words he can spread his stats a little more, thus helping out the MAD a little bit.

Finally, for monks that really want to have high DPR at level 1, there is the possibility of investing in TWF feats:

Level 1
monk with 16 str, 15 dex and TWF feat vs CR 1 opponent (AC 12)

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 12: 12.12
2 * 0.55 * 7.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.45 * 0.45)) * (0.55 * 7.5 * 1.05) = 12.116671875

That is 12.12 vs the 9.45 of the classic flurry at level 1.


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What game are you guys playing where CR 1 enemies only have AC 12? o.O

A CR 1/3rd orc can have 13 (or much higher) AC, goblins have 16 or more, and kobolds weigh in at 15 AC with the weakest armor they can equip and no shield.

These numbers don't mean all that much against such easy to hit opponents, from either side of the fence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The numbers come from the bestiary's reference table on average stats at CR. The exact numbers aren't actually relevant - what is important is their relative behavior towards each other.

Edit: if you want you can pretend that the level 1 monster has AC 15 but the monk is flanking and a cleric cast bless. The numbers work out exactly the same again.


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I just went through and calculated the average AC from all the Paizo published CR 1 creatures on d20pfsrd and came out with an average AC of 14.6. This is with all humanoids using stock example equipment rather than what is actually effective for them, and including the ACs of swarms even though they're resistant or immune to weapon attacks.

Your numbers are not accurate. Especially against the most common foes that most people face; classed CR 1/3rd and 1/4th humanoids.

Edit: Also not including that many humanoids can afford a CL 1 potion of shield [of faith] or some other beneficial buff.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SoulGambit0 wrote:

O_o Garbage in? Little hostile, ne? The Ioun Stone was a good catch by Gren, but the rest of the data is good and double checked. I even check it again (with the Ioun Stone revelation) below for your benefit, and explain each step. I actually never have Bards in my games so I didn't realize IC and the Ioun were incomparable.

I'm almost positive I know what you didn't read, and I'd suggest being more thorough before you criticize.

It's not a case of what I didn't read, SoulGambit0, it's a case of what you didn't write. You said you would take the monk and apply my changes...what you did was apply my changes, then swap out equipment and feats, but didn't bother to mention either and didn't bother to show how you arrived at your figures for average damage or hitting. Then it's my fault for not knowing? What did you to expect me to assume? My first thought was that you must have misunderstood my suggestions - after all, you never actually stated what you thought they were.

Sorry, but you can't lay that at my door. I said earlier that you needed to show your working, and I wasn't just referring to the DPR calculations but the numbers you plug into them. I'm quite surprised that Power Attack actually made a difference, in most cases I've calculated it tends to make very little difference (in fact in most monk cases it tends to lower the monk's DPR) which is one reason I never bother with it outside of a two-handed build.

That said, your DPR calculation is probably good, given the changes you made...and I still don't see there actually being a problem. You are comparing a moderately optimised two-handed fighter with a massively optimised monk, burning ki every round (something he can't do every encounter), and applying buffs. Other melee classes have options that deliver more DPR than the fighter; there being one corner case where the monk delivers as much as your fighter isn't going to have me losing any sleep.

Bottom line, you still have a corner case.

SoulGambit0 wrote:

Regarding challenges:

I never mentioned Acrobatics, nor did I factor it in.

Fair enough. But what you are assuming...

SoulGambit0 wrote:
With the Barkskin SLA and/or spending Ki the Monk has fantastic AC for this level. You pop the Ki for the +AC against big bads who full attack, lowering your DPR, but increasing your defense more than a little bit. Monks have that adaptability.

First off, since when did core monks have barkskin as an SLA? Second off, monk's can't spend ki every round. Third off, monks have that adaptability where fighters just have great attacks and great AC anyway. The monk spends ki just to catch up with the fighter.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
The fighter is being hit on a 4. The Monk is being hit on an 11 without Ki, 13 with Ki. That is a difference between a 15% chance of success and up to 60%. That's a fantastic difference, and I consider a 60% chance of success good.

Once again, you pull magic figures out of a hat without explanation. The best you can say is that the monk has +4 AC on the fighter from ki. Otherwise, fighters tend to have an AC as good as a monk's. Where is the rest coming from? explain yourself clearly, or it just looks like you are deliberately nerfing the figures to try and prove a point.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Note that if the Fighter Charges to get in that beginning attack, there isn't even a comparison. Most monsters hit on a 2, and the Fighter can't stand up. I presume the Fighter is smart enough to double move, however.

Or that the party is using that wonder-buff, haste. Or the fighter could just play it smart, shoot arrows and let the monster come to him.

SoulGambit0 wrote:

Regarding Fighter Advantages:

None of which have a good crit range, benefit from Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, or Imprived Critical. The Fighter is taking a massive DPR hit for this. How many reach heavy blades are there, anyways? If he loses Weapon Training too then well... good luck.

Depends how you build your fighter. If, as you insist, creatures with reach are a severe problem to fighters, then fighters could build to optimise with reach weapons and will use them. It makes a lot more sense than wasting points into dexterity and buying feats that hardly help much.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Bane Shuriken cost no more than Bane Arrows. Your supporting dumping DEX to 10, which means the Fighter's ranged attack will be subpar at best. Unless the Fighter sacrifices a lot to switch hit in terms of feats, the DPR is negligible.

What the monk gains in hitting he loses in range factors - if the monk wants to stand out of charge range, he has to take a huge penalty to hit from that alone. So when you balance those two factors out, the fighter with the mighty bow gets my vote as he can shoot from greater range for less penalty and deliver more damage on target.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Not at level 11. That's true at low levels, but by level 11 the Monk AC matches or surpasses anything short of a Shield or heavily Dex-Based fighter. This is, again, why the Monk's primary issue is one of scaling.

Sorry, but I have generally found that a dex-built monk's advantage in AC at around this level is at most 2 points over a non-shield-using fighter, but if the monk nerfed dexterity it's going to be less. A sword & board fighter leaves the monk standing for AC, but delivers less damage on target, it's true. Then again a sword & board fighter would get almost as much out of the monk-buffs you are using as a monk would.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
So you admit to needing a Mobility-Equivalent option.

Who said anything about mobility? If being grabbed is such a big problem, you don't need mobility to avoid it, a fighter can take +1 to CMD vs two attacks as a favoured class bonus every level. That lands his CMD into the forties. He can also wear armour spikes.

I know it sounds like I'm using Schrodinger's fighter here, but you are postulating situations I haven't often encountered as being common, and that changes design philosophy. If they are as common as you say, the fighter would be built differently - but your design is not the only way to skin this cat.

SoulGambit0 wrote:
Actually. I'd like to get the personal involvement aspect of this out of the way. There's a monk that you are playing now that you complain about constantly. Would you mind posting its build? I'd like to see what yo consider the norm. (My norm is Maneuver Masters, which are useless to this discussion because everyone agrees they are fantastic).

I agree, many archetypes are much better than the original monk, although many aren't, and many only look good in comparison. Qigong monk is a decent self-buffer, and Zen Archer is a good, well, archer, but let's face it: a magus knocks the Qigong monk into a cocked hat for self-buffs, and a ranger archer, while he might not be quite the archer the zen archer is, can do an awful lot more with spells, better skills, and an animal companion.

As for my monk, take a look by all means. Bear in mind that I was going for a Dex-monk rather than HULKSMASH monk, because that to me is more monkish, plus I was able with good stats to act as party scout. We had limited equipment, as the DM wanted a fast-paced campaign - hence no amulet of mighty fists, as we never found one and had no-where to buy one. I didn't expect to do mega-damage, but I didn't think I would be sidelined so easily as I was.

Feriah:
Feriah 'Locks' Sirebane
Female Human (Chelaxian) Monk 10
LG Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +6; Senses Perception +17
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 28, touch 25, flat-footed 21 (+2 armor, +6 Dex, +1 natural, +2 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 91 (10d8+20)
Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +12
Defensive Abilities Evasion, Improved Evasion; Immune disease
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 60 ft.
Melee +1 Ghost Touch Kama +14/+9 (1d6+3/x2) and
. . Cold Iron Kama +13/+8 (1d6+2/x2) and
. . Sai +13/+8 (1d4+2/x2) and
. . Silver Kama +13/+8 (1d6+1/x2) and
. . Unarmed Strike +13/+8 (1d10+2/x2) (FoB +14/+14/+9/+9)
Ranged Masterwork Crossbow, Light +14/+9 (1d8/19-20/x2) and
. . Shuriken +13/+8 (1d2+2/x2) and
. . Sling +13/+8 (1d4+2/x2)
Special Attacks Flurry of Blows +8/+8/+3/+3, Ki Strike, Lawful, Ki Strike, Magic
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 15, Dex 21/23, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16/18, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +16 (+18 Disarming, +18 Grappling, +18 Tripping); CMD 34 (36 vs. Disarm, 36 vs. Grapple, 40 vs. Trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise +/-2, Combat Reflexes (7 AoO/round), Dodge, Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Monk Weapon Proficiencies, Snake Sidewind, Snake Style, Stunning Fist (10/day) (DC 19), Weapon Finesse
Traits Unhappy Childhood (Tortured), Vagabond Child (urban) (Disable Device)
Skills Acrobatics +19, Climb +12, Disable Device +22, Escape Artist +11, Heal +7, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (nature) +3, Knowledge (nobility) +3, Knowledge (religion) +9, Linguistics +4, Perception +17, Perform (dance) +7, Profession (sailor) +8, Ride +10, Sense Motive +19, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +19, Survival +5, Swim +7
Languages Celestial, Common, Shoanti, Varisian, Vudrani
SQ AC Bonus +6, Fast Movement (+30'), High Jump (+10/+30 with Ki point), Ki Defense, Ki Pool, Maneuver Training, Purity of Body, Slow Fall 50', Stunning Fist (Stun, Fatigue, Sicken), Unarmed Strike (1d10), Vow of Truth (+2 Ki), Wholeness of Body (10 HP/use)
Combat Gear +1 Ghost Touch Kama, Bolts, Crossbow (28), Bullets, Sling (10), Cold Iron Kama, Masterwork Crossbow, Light, Sai, Shuriken (15), Silver Kama, Sling; Other Gear Alchemist's Fire Flask, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Backpack (16 @ 30.62 lbs), Belt of Incredible Dexterity, +2, Bracers of Armor, +2, Cloak of Resistance, +1, Crowbar, Flint and steel, Grappling hook, Headband of Inspired Wisdom, +2, Healer's kit (10 uses), Holy Water Flask (2), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (2), Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (2), Potion of Invisibility, Powder, Ring of Protection, +2, Rope, silk (50 ft.), Soap (per lb), Sunrod (3), Thieves' tools, masterwork, Torch, Waterskin
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Special Abilities
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AC Bonus +6 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Agile Maneuvers Use DEX instead of STR for CMB
Combat Expertise +/-2 Bonus to AC in exchange for an equal penalty to attack.
Combat Reflexes (7 AoO/round) You may make up to 7 attacks of opportunity per round, and may make them while flat-footed.
Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead.
Fast Movement (+30') The Monk adds 10 or more feet to his base speed.
Flurry of Blows +8/+8/+3/+3 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full action.
High Jump (+10/+30 with Ki point) (Ex) +10 to Acrobatics checks made to jump.
Immunity to Disease You are immune to diseases.
Improved Disarm Disarm at +2, without an attack of opportunity.
Improved Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead. If you fail you take half damage.
Improved Grapple You grapple at +2, with no attacks of opportunity allowed.
Improved Trip You Trip at +2 and don't cause an attack of opportunity.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Ki Defense (Su) A monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.
Ki Pool (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Wisdom modifier.
Ki Strike, Lawful (Su) If you have ki remaining, unarmed strikes count as lawful to overcome DR.
Ki Strike, Magic (Su) If you have ki remaining, unarmed strikes count as magic to overcome DR.
Maneuver Training (Ex) CMB = other BABs + Monk level
Purity of Body (Ex) At 5th level, a monk gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.
Slow Fall 50' (Ex) Treat a fall as shorter than normal if within arm's reach of a wall.
Snake Sidewind Gain a bonus to avoid being knocked prone, and use Sense Motive check to confirm critical hits
Snake Style Gain +2 on Sense Motive checks, and deal piercing damage with unarmed attacks
Stunning Fist (10/day) (DC 19) You can stun an opponent with an unarmed attack.
Stunning Fist (Stun, Fatigue, Sicken) (Ex) At 1st level, the monk gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the monk gains the ability to apply a new condition to the target of his Stunning Fist. This conditio
Unarmed Strike (1d10) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Vow of Truth (+2 Ki) The monk is not allowed to deliberately speak any lies, including bluffing, stating half-truths with the intent to deceive, exaggerating, telling white lies, and so on. This applies to all forms of communication. If presented with circumstances where
Wholeness of Body (10 HP/use) (Su) Self-heal monk level in damage for 2 Ki points.

Party consisted of Feriah herself, along with a sword & board paladin, a bladebound magus, and an oracle of Desna. We could sometimes get the magus to cast haste, but that was it for party buffs.

What really shut down Feriah at this level was a devil with AC 34, CMD 37, (as well as being invisible and attacking us on flat-footed AC) and DR 10/good. My soul contribution through the entire combat was to provide flanking. It couldn't be disarmed, was flying so couldn't be tripped, and that left grappling as my only option seeing as I couldn't damage it. Basically, pray for a 20 that never happened.

As we faced several more devils in that campaign, it was a feeling I had to just get used to. At 12th level I finally got the magus to make me an AoMF, and that helped.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ilja wrote:
i don't share the view that monks has most issues at low levels. at low levels they're tougher than the rogue and more "skilly" than the fighter; their closes relative at this point is the ranger and i think they perform about equally to them until about level 6-8 or so (a bit better defense and less dependancy on opponents abilities, a little less offense)

I agree, at low levels the monk actually performs quite well. My experience, and number crunching, indicate that they start to fall behind around 3rd level, then really start to noticeably fall behind by 7th or 8th.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For Aratrok's benefit (adding +3 to all ACs). If you allow for flanking and bless you get back to original posted numbers. What is relevant is the trend between classic and alternative flurry:

Level 1
monk with 18 Strength. CR 1 opponent is given as 15 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 15: 7.09
2 * 0.45 * 7.5 * 1.05 = 7.0875

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 15: 6.71
0.55 * 7.5 * 1.05 + 0.55 * (0.55 * 7.5 * 1.05) = 6.7134375

Level 4
monk with 18 Strength. CR 4 opponent is given as 20 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 20: 6.2475
2 * 0.35 * 8.5 * 1.05 = 6.2475
Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 20 with ki: 9.37
3 * 0.35 * 8.5 * 1.05 = 9.37125

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 20: 5.82
0.45 * 8.5 * 1.05 + 0.45 * (0.45 * 8.5 * 1.05) = 5.8235625
Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 20 with ki: 10.83
2 * 0.45 * 8.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.55 * 0.55)) * (0.45 * 8.5 * 1.05) = 10.833834375

Level 6
monk with 20 Strength. CR 6 opponent is given as 22 AC.

Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 22: 9.48
2 * 0.4 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.15 * 9.5 * 1.05 = 9.47625
Traditional flurry DPR vs AC 22 with ki: 13.47
3 * 0.4 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.15 * 9.5 * 1.05 = 13.46625

Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 22: 10.60
0.5 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.25 * 9.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.5 * 0.75)) * (0.5 * 9.5 * 1.05) = 10.5984375
Alternative flurry DPR vs AC 22 with ki: 16.52
2 * 0.5 * 9.5 * 1.05 + 0.25 * 9.5 * 1.05 + (1 - (0.5 * 0.5 * 0.75)) * (0.5 * 9.5 * 1.05) = 16.52109375


Since the good people here are more math minded than myself, I'll ask what they think of something I've been trying for a while in my games.

Instead of pseudo TWF, Flurry of blows gives Monks an ability to roll 2d20 and take the better result on attacks with Unarmed stirkes, Monk Weapons, and maneuvers.


@Dabbler: Hrm. Must have accidently deleted the section where I wax poetic about how Hammer the Gap is great but annoying to calculate. I know I wrote it. Fair enough. And yes, I adjust the build to take advantage of changes because players do.

You can call it a corner case all you want, but again. This works almost like a science. All it takes is one, singular case, no matter how obscure, to break your proposal to mark it "needs improvement." Your not being willing to do this and the sheer tenacity with which you hold on to your own ideas is counter-productive. As I stated before. If you want mediocrity and to say "this works unless...," I'll stop challenging you and bow out.

It's particularly funny because it's something that's really easy to fix.

Also, if you want to complain about my THF, build your own. I admit to pulling it out of my arse and would welcome a replacement.

@LoreKeeper: I stand corrected on full attack vs full attack at low levels. There are two concerns now: The Monk's DPR can get beefy under certain circumstances, as stated. Does your change push the Monk over the tipping point? Also, how is the relative value of standard actions?

@Ninja in the Rye: It's basically giving monks ~+5 to-hit. Technically, it halves their chance to miss, whatever that is. That'll result in much less DPR in most cases--assuming it replaces the multi-attack aspect.

RE: Monk's "Low Levels."

Sorry, I should specify, I thought I did earlier. Levels 4-8 are the Monk's crap levels. Levels 1-3, and again at 9-10, the Monk is okay. Level 11 the Monk is back in the game.

RE: Feriah.

I'll look at this chara in detail when I'm less tired and more sober. I'm having a hard time picturing what she's actually supposed to be doing or good at. That said, it looks like an Agile AoMF should solve most of your DPR problems. How, exactly, do you picture Feriah contributing to the fight? In an ideal world, forget the mechanics for a moment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@SoulGambit0

Standard action flurry is highly dependent on the bonus to attack of the monk. In the standard isolated case, the monk has about 65% hit chance in my examples. At level 10 that means:

Chance of 0 hit flurry: 1 - 0.65 = 0.35 = 35%
Chance of 1 hit flurry: 0.65 * (1 - 0.65) = 0.2275 = 22.75%
Chance of 2 hit flurry: 0.65 * 0.65 * (1 - 0.65) = 0.147875 = 14.79%
Chance of 3 hit flurry: 0.65 * 0.65 * 0.65 = 0.274625 = 27.46%
DPR: 1.05 * (0.2275 * 18 + 0.147875 * 36 + 0.274625 * 54) = 25.46
Normal standard action DPR (without flurry): 12.29

However, given SoulGambit0's habit of having super buffed monks, where there is only a miss when rolling a "1", then the standard action flurry results in an almost 86% chance to land 3 hits. (Note that I'm using "18" as damage per hit even though buffing would typically increase that too). The important relative measure is what happens between the normal non-flurry standard action attack vs the flurry standard action attack.

Chance of 0 hit flurry: 1 - 0.95 = 5%
Chance of 1 hit flurry: 0.95 * (1 - 0.95) = 4.75%
Chance of 2 hit flurry: 0.95 * 0.95 * (1 - 0.95) = 4.51%
Chance of 3 hit flurry: 0.95 * 0.95 * 0.95 = 85.74%
DPR: 1.05 * (0.0475 * 18 + 0.045125 * 36 + 0.857375 * 54) = 51.2166375
Normal standard action DPR (without flurry): 18

In other words, on average, a monk that performs a standard action flurry can expect his single attack DPR to double or tripple depending on the situation and buffs. Not a bad investment for 1 ki, but not something I think that should be available each turn (i.e. "free" standard action flurries).

What is nice about the new flurry mechanic is that it "feels" like a flurry. At least in my head.

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