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The Monk - Is It Better To Just Dump Wisdom and Wear Armor?


Advice

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

take a splash in wizard and get wands of Shield and Mage Armor. Get a couple pearls of power and have an ally cast them on you. Get one or two cracked vibrant purple prism ioun stones (stores one level of spells each) and wands of mage armor and shield for you allies to cast into teh stones for you.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

don't forget too that mitheral reduction to armor penalties and attack do not apply if you're not proficient in it.

Dusk you say the whole point was to expound on the iron skin monk the other guy was posting about, if that were the case, you should of just posted there.

As it stands you posted it here, stand alone without reference to it, until about 8 replies ago. Context is everything.


This is only in response to "fighters can be better than monks unarmed".

12 Unarmed monk:

Flurry
Stunning fist +10 (1d8+str) DC 10 + 6 + wis
Attack +10 (1d8+str)
Attack +5 (1d8+str)
Attack +5 (1d8+str)
Attack +0 (1d8+str)
Ki attack +10 (1d8+str)
If stunned, then medusa
Attack +10 (1d8+str)
Attack +10 (1d8+str)

12 Unarmed fighter:

(I don't know where he got 1d8 for fighter unarmed from, he used damage from the monk section that is for monks only)
Attack +10 (-2 TWF) (1d3+str)
Attack +6 (-2 TWF) (1d3+str)
Attack +0 (-2 TWF) (1d3+str)
TWF Attack +10 (-2 TWF) (1d3+0.5str)
Imp TWF Attack +5 (-2 TWF) (1d3+0.5str)
Grt TWF Attack +0 (-2 TWF) (1d3+0.5str)
Natural attack (Bite) +7 (1d6 + 0.5str)

What am I missing here? I feel if you used 2 claws you wouldn't be able to unarmed because the natural weapon section specifically says you cannot use the same limb for both. One of the benefits of a monk is:

A monk’s attacks may be
with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk
may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is
no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking
unarmed.

Either way what am I missing, I don't see how he raises his fist damage to 1d8, and I don't see how he can get 3 natural attacks from tiefling unless he's taking feats for biting and counting 2 claws + normal attacks? I would not think a fighter who takes improved unarmed strike can use his whole body for attacking like a monk can. I would think anything but the fighters main attack arm would count as a secondary weapon. So at most I would grant kicks for the off-hand attacks, 1 bite, and 1 claw.


The fighter should have an extra +2 to attack and +2 to damage from weapon training.


Monk's robe boosts damage to 1d8 for unarmed strikes ;)

Double slice increases my off-hand damage.

My fighter is also using kicks (so he can make his 2 claw attacks without a problem). My fighter's damage is also higher due to feats and weapon training.

@lantzkev - you're arguing for the sake of arguing now, and I have no interest in participating in that. Please don't complain if someone wants to devote a thread to making a specific point. Just because a thread was inspired by another thread doesn't mean that I can't dedicate a 'stand alone' thread to discussing the pros and cons of wearing armor for monks. If you have any further complaints, feel free to PM me and we can hopefully resolve them.

Sczarni

Duskblade, the point was you had no reference to that other thread, and so it was "hey monks don't need to wear armor and probably shouldn't" and here are my thoughts as to why.

Despite evidence to the contrary, because it gimps several aspects of the monks abilities...

When I next go to work, I'll bring my books with me and make a lvl 12 monk to show you what it does better, and still keeps up AC wise.


I will say again - I don't need to reference another thread in order to make one of my own. The goal of this thread was to explain pros and cons of wearing armor while being a monk. This thread successfully accomplishes this.

A common misconception about the monk is that it is considered one of the best unarmed strikers in the game. However, when compared to other classes that focus around unarmed striking, this is not even remotely close to the case.

Fighter, Alchemist, Barbarian, and Summoner can all do unarmed striking better.

The problem with the monk is threefold: 1) Flurry is very restrictive since you can't combine natural attacks with it. 2) The gear you need to be effective is typically expensive (Amulet of mighty fists for damage, and bracers of armor for AC). 3) You suffer from a severe case of MAD (You need high strength for hit and damage, a high constitution in order to survive, a wisdom for AC and effectiveness of a lot of abilities, and a high dexterity for AC and initiative as well).

Now, I grant you that you CAN build a monk that is entirely Dex based and still dish out good damage, but such a build really does require A LOT of feats.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly sure what a Monk is suppose to specializes in. I mean, if you want to be a 'combat maneuver master', then I would just say "Go make a Lore Warden." If you wanted an unarmed striker, I'd say "Make a barbarian." If you wanted to make a 'glass cannon' type of character, i'd say "Go make a caster."

anyways though, I didn't start the thread to bash on 'how bad the monk is' or anything. The idea was just to show everyone that wearing armor wasn't exactly a bad idea.


the best way to play a monk is to not play a monk. the simplest method to accomplish this is to play a Zen Archer.

Other Ways include taking and stacking Archetypes that remove armor restricted powers such as AC bonus, speed bonus or flurry. an Example would be an Ironskinned Quingong Master of Many Styles.


Duskblade wrote:

I will say again - I don't need to reference another thread in order to make one of my own. The goal of this thread was to explain pros and cons of wearing armor while being a monk. This thread successfully accomplishes this.

A common misconception about the monk is that it is considered one of the best unarmed strikers in the game. However, when compared to other classes that focus around unarmed striking, this is not even remotely close to the case.

Fighter, Alchemist, Barbarian, and Summoner can all do unarmed striking better.

The problem with the monk is threefold: 1) Flurry is very restrictive since you can't combine natural attacks with it. 2) The gear you need to be effective is typically expensive (Amulet of mighty fists for damage, and bracers of armor for AC). 3) You suffer from a severe case of MAD (You need high strength for hit and damage, a high constitution in order to survive, a wisdom for AC and effectiveness of a lot of abilities, and a high dexterity for AC and initiative as well).

Now, I grant you that you CAN build a monk that is entirely Dex based and still dish out good damage, but such a build really does require A LOT of feats.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly sure what a Monk is suppose to specializes in. I mean, if you want to be a 'combat maneuver master', then I would just say "Go make a Lore Warden." If you wanted an unarmed striker, I'd say "Make a barbarian." If you wanted to make a 'glass cannon' type of character, i'd say "Go make a caster."

anyways though, I didn't start the thread to bash on 'how bad the monk is' or anything. The idea was just to show everyone that wearing armor wasn't exactly a bad idea.

I'm actually with you, with the strong caveat, "depends on what your exact character concept is." I think sometimes, some people place too strong an emphasis on flurry of blows as if the monks had no other class abilities, and while if you want to focus on the monk solely as a very specific type of melee combatant, you do need to make FOB work, there are other ways you could take it (the fact is, were I ever to redesign the monk myself, I'd entirely remove flurry from it. I imagine it would be an intensely hated redesign, to the point that I am sure someone will somehow take this post very personally and yell at me for even thinking it, but that would be my personal preference). But especially if you want to focus on the monk's mobility and certain other abilities, it's actually better to leave flurry of blows behind, IMHO.


You do know that you can enchant regular clothing with armor bonuses right? Also, I would rule that you lose wisdom to cmd as well if you were wearing armor.

And as a side note. You don't play a monk to do insane damage. You play a monk because you want to play a monk and use their abilities. If you spent so many feats on a fighter to get all those extra attacks why not just spend them on the monk as well and pick up an amulet of the mighty fist and do damage as if you were five levels higher?

Shadow Lodge

when playing a tetori i suggest to everyone that they take armor and lower wisdom to increase strength or dex. you cant flurry anyway, and the only thing you lose is a feat, or a level from the dip into a class that can wear armor, and you gain so much in the process.

for a standard monk i would argue that armor it a waste of a feat/level because you will eventually get your wisdom above +9 and that alone is enough to make that light armor useless at higher levels. i do wish that low levels could use armor if they choose to, like the sohei, that way if you can only afford a +2 wisdom modifier then you would be able to bump your ac to +4 for a few levels.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well my Zen Archer Halfling with the slight ruleschange that he uses a halfling slingstick does good damage on level 1 and actually hits quite well, his flurry being +4/+4. As far as i can see this will go on like that.

But as a question, monks can´t use a haramaki or padded armor right?


Duskblade wrote:


A monk is perfectly capable of wearing medium mithral armor without incurring any penalty to attacks, skills, speed, etc, so long as he can reduce the armor check penalty to zero.

Someone may have mentioned this, but the rules don't say no ACP equals no penalty. They say wearing the armor incurs a penalty. In other words as long as you wear armor you have to deal with losing some of the monk's class features.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Roanark wrote:
You do know that you can enchant regular clothing with armor bonuses right?

Citation?

Roanark wrote:
And as a side note. You don't play a monk to do insane damage.

Please do not tell other people how or why they play.


wraithstrike wrote:
Duskblade wrote:


A monk is perfectly capable of wearing medium mithral armor without incurring any penalty to attacks, skills, speed, etc, so long as he can reduce the armor check penalty to zero.
Someone may have mentioned this, but the rules don't say no ACP equals no penalty. They say wearing the armor incurs a penalty. In other words as long as you wear armor you have to deal with losing some of the monk's class features.

Yes, wearing armor causes you to lose monk class features (never said it didn't). However, the lack of an armor check penalty means that you don't have to be proficient in armor in order to wear it.

Normally, if you are not proficient in armor (and the armor has an ACP) you incur all kinds of penalties to attacks, skills, etc. However, if you get the ACP down to zero, it doesn't matter if you wear the armor or not (no ACP = no extra penalties applied).


Roanark wrote:

You do know that you can enchant regular clothing with armor bonuses right? Also, I would rule that you lose wisdom to cmd as well if you were wearing armor.

And as a side note. You don't play a monk to do insane damage. You play a monk because you want to play a monk and use their abilities. If you spent so many feats on a fighter to get all those extra attacks why not just spend them on the monk as well and pick up an amulet of the mighty fist and do damage as if you were five levels higher?

Yes can cast spells on them(magic vestment), but not enhance them in the same manor that you can with armor as a magic item.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Duskblade wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Duskblade wrote:


A monk is perfectly capable of wearing medium mithral armor without incurring any penalty to attacks, skills, speed, etc, so long as he can reduce the armor check penalty to zero.
Someone may have mentioned this, but the rules don't say no ACP equals no penalty. They say wearing the armor incurs a penalty. In other words as long as you wear armor you have to deal with losing some of the monk's class features.

Yes, wearing armor causes you to lose monk class features (never said it didn't). However, the lack of an armor check penalty means that you don't have to be proficient in armor in order to wear it.

Normally, if you are not proficient in armor (and the armor has an ACP) you incur all kinds of penalties to attacks, skills, etc. However, if you get the ACP down to zero, it doesn't matter if you wear the armor or not (no ACP = no extra penalties applied).

You know, this has got me thinking though... (DeathQuaker is about to go off on a tangent, and realizes what she is about to say is only very loosely related to the conversation above.)

Why is the monk prevented from wearing armor? Concept-wise, I think the basic idea is that armor restricts the monk's movements for his special actions (much the way armor restricts somatic components for casters, except the monks get no "silent spell" or feats that allow them to mitigate this).

Armor check penalty (and arcane spell failure) are mechanics that reflect how hard it is to move in armor. If armor that has 0 ACP (and/or 0 ASF), is it that difficult to move in? What is it about that armor that should prevent a monk from doing his monkly awesome in them, realy?

Meta-rules wise, AFAIK the real reason monks work this way--that no armor, no matter how light or easy to move in, can be worn and still let all abilities work--is Because Game Balance.

Now, I've heard people decry rules that are Because Game Balance only -- in other words, the rule has little internal logic or narrative backing behind it, and it only exists as a mechanic to keep people from doing something abusive.

So--beyond the reasons "because it's the rules" and "because game balance," why should monks lose certain class abilities to what mechanically appears to be entirely nonrestrictive armor--i.e., light armor with 0 ACP?

What would happen if, in a house rule, we allowed monks to wear ceremonial silken armor, masterwork padded and leather armor, and mithral shirts without penalty? Complete with all the enhancements they could now access (which they cannot access via a wondrous item that grants an armor bonus) -- including the much coveted brawling quality?

If it was ridiculously unbalancing, is there a more internally logical way to restrict it?

Andoran

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
So--beyond the reasons "because it's the rules" and "because game balance," why should monks lose certain class abilities to what mechanically appears to be entirely nonrestrictive armor--i.e., light armor with 0 ACP?

The reason I've always understood is that monks seek self-perfection. And wearing armor hinders that pursuit, because the wearer is not relying on their own ability to defend themselves. They are using the armor as a 'crutch', in a sense. So the armor isn't limiting them, they are limiting themselves.


Wow, really? Armor is a monk's best friend. Especially in PFS. With the option of dropping my wis, the monk actually becomes decent. Right from lv. 1, I'll have a 17 AC, which I feel is at least adequate for the standard MAD monk. A potential build:

Human, Dual Talent alt racial, MoMS
Str 18
Dex 18
Con 14
Int 13
Wis 7
Cha 7

Equipment
Studded Leather, 2 Daggers, 20 Shuriken, Potion of Enlarge Person.

Saves are Fort 4, Reflex 6, Will 0.

How does the MAD Monk look?

Str 17
Dex 15
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 16
Cha 7

Looks like less damage, less accuracy, less AC to me. Of course, your monk may look different. In which case, he'll still probably have less damage, less accuracy, and less AC.

Of course, I'm not saying that armor is the ONLY way to go. As noted, vanilla monks, and several archetypes, still use flurry of blows, albeit not as effectively as a TWF fighter. The stunning fist DC is 5 higher in my example alone, and that's quite a bit. However, as I'm building a MoMS monk, the flurry doesn't really come into play. My monk will likely focus more on the Dragon and Snake styles of combat. Who knows, maybe he'll end up fusing crane style in there, too.

But honestly, He'll probably end up doing 2 levels of monk, then going into lore warden for all of the goodies they get. The free combat expertise coupled with the threatening defender trait is like a poor man's crane style anyway, and the lore warden has great maneuver prowess. Plus my build is half-decently optimized for a high CMB anyway.

My conclusion is that wearing armor is certainly a viable option for certain monks, not so much for others. They may not have that great monk flavor, but if you're looking for a low-cal alternative, it's worth considering.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
So--beyond the reasons "because it's the rules" and "because game balance," why should monks lose certain class abilities to what mechanically appears to be entirely nonrestrictive armor--i.e., light armor with 0 ACP?
The reason I've always understood is that monks seek self-perfection. And wearing armor hinders that pursuit, because the wearer is not relying on their own ability to defend themselves. They are using the armor as a 'crutch', in a sense. So the armor isn't limiting them, they are limiting themselves.

But if it hinders their quest for self-perfection, wouldn't it also force the loss of other powers like stunning fist and ki?

I actually think that's a great answer, and this is not an idea I am emotionally attached to, I'm just enjoying trying to look at this from a few different angles.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:

But if it hinders their quest for self-perfection, wouldn't it also force the loss of other powers like stunning fist and ki?

I actually think that's a great answer, and this is not an idea I am emotionally attached to, I'm just enjoying trying to look at this from a few different angles.

I don't really have a quick answer to that. I'm thinking that being hindered doesn't mean completely held back. And that stunning fist is more of a martial technique than a spiritual one. Doesn't explain losing flurry however.


Personally, I feel like the inability to wear armor and use class features is a holdover from previous editions. It just feels clunky.

I don't see why they can't get away with using all their class features with any armor that they have proficiency in and is considered light armor with a total 0 Armor Check Penalty. Gives them an option to be slightly less MAD while not taking to much away.

Then again, I've always thought it was silly that brass knuckles, cesti and the like don't synergize with the monk any better than they do.


Duskblade wrote:


Fighter, Alchemist, Barbarian, and Summoner can all do unarmed striking better.

Fighter? Sure. Barbarian? Maybe. But show me a summoner that is better at _unarmed striking_ (that is, actual unarmed striking, not claws/tentacles/whatever). You have me intrigued.

Because saying a summoner focusing on claws is a better unarmed striker than an unarmed monk is a bit like saying a blaster sorcerer is a better archer than an archer bard.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:

But if it hinders their quest for self-perfection, wouldn't it also force the loss of other powers like stunning fist and ki?

I actually think that's a great answer, and this is not an idea I am emotionally attached to, I'm just enjoying trying to look at this from a few different angles.

I don't really have a quick answer to that. I'm thinking that being hindered doesn't mean completely held back. And that stunning fist is more of a martial technique than a spiritual one. Doesn't explain losing flurry however.

Or the fact you can flurry with weapons. If you can't allow armor to protect you in the name of self-perfection, why is a weapon acceptable to your goal, especially when you possess the strongest unarmed strike (barring magic items and the like) in the game.


DeathQuaker wrote:
So--beyond the reasons "because it's the rules" and "because game balance," why should monks lose certain class abilities to what mechanically appears to be entirely nonrestrictive armor--i.e., light armor with 0 ACP?

0 ACP does not mean entirely nonrestrictive. For example, arcane casters suffer 10% spell failure because the precise motions they need to cast are hindered by simple leather armor. I don't know if there are any 0% ASF armors, but even then it might still be just a little bit hindering.

So it can very well be explained from a fluff standpoint. Not that I necessarily agree that that should be the case, but whatever.

Shadow Lodge

monks need to have a non wisdom based ability to gain armor. i was thinking about trying a system of static armor just for having 4 levels of monk.

its something like a monk gains +4 ac at level 1 and must maintain monk for 4 levels in order to keep it.

that way you can have a low dex character and high wisdom, or vice versa if you choose, and still have an 18-19 ac. lower then a fighter, but high enough to be on the front lines in low levels wihtout feeling like they are a liability. then as they gain levels that +4 would be off set by bracers of armor or what not.

Sczarni

How about if you don't like monks and all their restrictions then don't play them. I like Monks and all that goes along with them.

I've never had a problem playing a monk and being a contributing member of a successful Party.

I don't get all the hate directed at the Monk. But whatever, to each his/her own. If you're having fun you're doing it right, regardless of how you're doing it.

Sczarni

so your unarmed fighter...

If you're going a monk that's more about damage than anything, my answer would be the oni spawn.

str 18(22)
dex 14
con 13
int 10
wis 18(24)
cha 8

martial artist,
traits
scaled skin
quain martial artist

feats
dragon style, dragon ferocity, weapon focus, weapon specialization, hammer the gap, dodge, deflect arrows, mobility, imp critical.

Gear looks like +4 cloak of resist
+3 bracers of armor
monk robe, +6 head band of wisdom
+ 4 Belt of str
Amulet of mighty fists +3

resists are ref/fort/will 14/13/19
off hand at lvl 12 the attacks look like a potential of +17/+17/+12/+12/+7

the damage starts at 2d8 +15+1d6, depending on how you view how dragon style works, you might add more than that. the other attacks after that do a little less damage, but your "offhand" attacks will all be at +12 damage. damage scales up with each succesful hit,

That seems pretty decent to me, not to mention you can do the wisdom check thing for AC bonus, or to bypass DR.

To mention the AC, it would be 24. Then again though I spent more money on this build for a higher headband and actually bought resists. considering with a wis check you can add +6ac at will... seems like a decent trade off for me. considering if you'er fighting say a cr 16 critter, you need to roll a 8 or higher to do this. And it gives you a +2 to hit against it from then on.

of course this could all be re-arranged, and probably fine tuned to more damage, but this seems like a reasonable build to me.

Not to mention feeding wisdom feeds your stunning fist, which is a great ability and is free to include in your attacks.

If you want to go for AC, just simply drop str all together, go weapon finesse, armor of the pit feat, and focus a bit more stat wise there, which should get you up to over 30 at lvl 12 with your check... 34ish? And you retain all of your monk abilities in the process.

To be honest there's something to be said if you're going the ac route to just use wands of armor/shield for the big fights with a higher lvl wand and a UMD skill, you know if you really wanted that ac to be higher.


stringburka wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
So--beyond the reasons "because it's the rules" and "because game balance," why should monks lose certain class abilities to what mechanically appears to be entirely nonrestrictive armor--i.e., light armor with 0 ACP?
0 ACP does not mean entirely nonrestrictive. For example, arcane casters suffer 10% spell failure because the precise motions they need to cast are hindered by simple leather armor. I don't know if there are any 0% ASF armors, but even then it might still be just a little bit hindering.

In Ultimate Equipment (and Ultimate Combat I think?) there is the haramaki (which is just a silk sash reinforced with chain links) and silken ceremonial armor, which is very lightly reinforced clothing. Both are +1 Armor Bonus with 0 ACP and 0% ASF -- but are still under the "armor" category so as far as I can tell, they could be enhanced magically like other suits of armor (and as an aside, as far as I can tell from their entries in UE, arcane spellcasters can wear magically enhanced armor of those types without any penalty whatsoever). Fluffwise, I have trouble in particular imagining how a metal and cloth sash or studded silk would restrict a monk's abilities (unless it is a philosophical thing like TOZ suggested, but the nature of that philosophy would be quite strict...).

Anyway, no one's answered the question that followed the start of my post... if you decided fluffwise there WAS no reason to prevent monks from wearing the lightest of armors, what if anything would that break? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm trying to imagine scenarios for how that would affect things. (For one thing, I'm thinking of houseruling silken ceremonial armor as wearable by monks in my campaigns... but it would have some restrictions as to what magical enhancements it would carry.)


I think the reason the monk does not get armor is that the idea was to create an unarmed combatant, who just beat things down with his fist. He was not supposed to need manufactured weapons or armor.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the snakeskin tunic for monks once i can afford it, but thats more mid-game.


wraithstrike wrote:
I think the reason the monk does not get armor is that the idea was to create an unarmed combatant, who just beat things down with his fist. He was not supposed to need manufactured weapons or armor.

'thought the whole point of the fighter build above was to show that you can play someone who beats people down with his fist and doesn't have to shoot themselves in the foot in the attempt to survive doing so.

personally, I play armored monks when I'm either A) playing an archetype that loses out on flurry, fast move, etc. (like nekogami's ironskinned quingong MoMS example), B) too poor to afford the freakishly expensive amulet or (the less so) bracers of armor, or C) dont feel like getting stabbed during the lower levels where my wis bonus isn't so obscenely high as to make real a difference over armor. meaning, the low-to-mid levels.

I'm curious as to the barbarian build though--while I've seen some impressive claw/bite builds using beast totem, CaGM, and feral combat (claw)/panther style to do tons of hits to groups (and full attacking the poor sap on the end of the charge), but haven't crossed any ACTUAL unarmed strike builds.

*warning, tangent*
as an ex-MoMS monk (3 level dip) you could drop the feral combat feat and pick up monastic legacy and do the above (with panther AND dragon styles earlier, making it that much easier to charge-smash everyone with fists instead of claws), and pick up some brawling armor (seriously that enchant is like a giant middle finger aimed at monks, why would they do that) for more fun.

as for playing a monk/barbarian (without using martial artist archetype) it's perfectly fine if you've got a DM willing to work with you, such as playing a LN monk, finding out your monestary is secretly corrupt and smashing them all. shift to CN or CG ("i WILL do what's good, regardless of the consequences.") and continue as an urban barbarian/invulnerable rager to continue the whole "bodily perfection" shtick. makes for dramatic roleplay around the table and an epic character arc, provided you act out your shift in worldviews.

If your DM still isnt feeling the idea (or is just a rather strict person in general), then you could play a CG martial artist (you lose out on monastic legacy, which makes the more claw-centric idea above a better choice) and continue your merry way.

just musing about it, don't mind me

Shadow Lodge

Hayato Ken wrote:
I like the snakeskin tunic for monks once i can afford it, but thats more mid-game.

in 3.5 i loved the psy skins from the complete magic, that was the best magic item from any version of 3.0

they fit over your character like a second skin, kind of like the symbiot from spider man, then gave abilitys based on which one you had.

they had a bunch of differnt ones, and they all worked with monks, i wish they would reprint those, but they never will.

Sczarni

There is the Aasimar racial trait for muse touched that lets you play a monk and just be neutral.


It was not the Muse-touched who got that. It was the Agathion-blooded, the second name of which I forgot.


Well, my unarmed Barbarian (In my opinion) is my strongest unarmed 'warrior' to date. He basically benefits from rage bonuses, a full BAB, INSANE saves (that actually surpass a monk's saves), and he actually has a lot of powerful supporting items.

For feats, I go this route:

1. Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
3. Improved Unarmed Strike
5. Double Slice
7. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
9. Raging Vitality
11. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
13. Two-Weapon Rend
15. Raging Brutality

You should also consider adding Raging Brutality in there as well (though I would advise doing so at later levels...perhaps replacing two-weapon rend). Basically, Raging Brutality adds your Con bonus to damage (FULL Con bonus, even on offhand strikes and secondary natural attacks). For rage powers, I'd probably go this route:

2. Beast Totem, Lesser
4. Superstition
6. Ghost Rager
8. Beast Totem
10. Beast Totem, Greater
12. Reckless Abandon
14. Witch Hunter

You can get a bite attack pretty easily through either items or traits, but essentially your attack routine will be to ALWAYS power attack (and you can use Reckless Abandon to negate the penalty of power attacking) and deal huge amounts of damage. You can always add Come and Get Me if you like (though I would also recommend going invulnerable rager for the extra DR). If you're a human (which you should be), getting the bonus to Superstition will give you HUGE bonuses to your saves (+9 moral bonus to saves vs. spells, supernatural, and spell-like abilities by 12th level). Ghost rager means that you'll almost never get hit by rays again as well.

Combine this with powerful items such as a +4 [Furious] Amulet of Mighty Fists (essentially giving you +6 enhancement bonus to all your unarmed and natural attacks while raging...which means you can even overcome DR/Epic). Throw in some [Brawling/Courageous] +4 armor and you basically get even BIGGER bonuses to your saves, hp, and damage (not to mention pouncing and getting 3 natural attacks combined with your unarmed strikes)

But yea, with this build, you're actually even stronger than the fighter (in my opinion) because you get more DR, have more skill points to burn, a better array of skills, and bigger boosts to your damage (you also just need to focus on STR, CON, and DEX).

You're only REAL weakness is getting fatigued (or fighting ranged opponents), but there are several items that can eliminate that problem.

Sczarni

So what's the actual damage at say lvl 12? or even lvl 20? you've listed some random stuff, but you haven't put any numbers down.

Although I'll admit it gets a bit hazy past lvl 15 as to what a monks unarmed damage does with robes on.

Quote:
An amulet of mighty fists cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents) higher than +5

so no to that idea of getting a +6 while raging, although you could just buy it as a +4 equiv and save yourself the 45k gold though.

I don't see much there that you list that'll get you ahead of a equivelent monk, it'll just be different is all.

for a lvl 20 barbarian the route you're going, you'd be better served adding 5+ lvls of martial artists.

-edit- I realize you're going to say that the equivalent is for the total enhancements added to the amulet, but it's not exactly clear, and it seems silly to be able to get epic DR when nothing else can


lantzkev wrote:

So what's the actual damage at say lvl 12? or even lvl 20? you've listed some random stuff, but you haven't put any numbers down.

Although I'll admit it gets a bit hazy past lvl 15 as to what a monks unarmed damage does with robes on.

Quote:
An amulet of mighty fists cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents) higher than +5

so no to that idea of getting a +6 while raging, although you could just buy it as a +4 equiv and save yourself the 45k gold though.

I don't see much there that you list that'll get you ahead of a equivelent monk, it'll just be different is all.

for a lvl 20 barbarian the route you're going, you'd be better served adding 5+ lvls of martial artists.

-edit- I realize you're going to say that the equivalent is for the total enhancements added to the amulet, but it's not exactly clear, and it seems silly to be able to get epic DR when nothing else can

you should really go read up on the what the 'Furious' enhancement bonus does (treats the enhancement bonus as 2 higher while raging). Therefore...yes...that would be a +6 enhancement (and it is clear by RAW).

And as far as 'not seeing much here that will overshadow monk damage'...well, that's easy.

Constitution modifier to damage (monk can't get)
Higher STR bonus to attacks (monk can't get)
More attacks (monk can't match)
More accuracy (monk can't match)
Brawling armor (monk can't get unless he wants to sacrifice a lot of stuff for)
Better saves against anything from spell (monk can't match)
two-weapon rend (i'd laugh if monk tried to get)
Higher HP (again, monk could NEVER hope to match)

[I will note that this thread was NEVER intended to bash on the monk, but I have no problem making the point that other classes do unarmed striking better if this debate continues]

Keep in mind also that a monk's unarmed damage caps at 2d10 at 20th level (monk's robe doesn't change that).

As I said, while it might be unfair, other classes just do unarmed striking better.

-edit- forgot to mention power attack would also be higher than a monk's as well, though I will admit that a monk COULD match the number of attacks my barbarian could make IF the monk used his Ki point and was able to activate Medusa's wrath. however, that is the ONLY possible way for a monk to match the number of attacks my barbarian would have. :P


TheSideKick wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:
I like the snakeskin tunic for monks once i can afford it, but thats more mid-game.

in 3.5 i loved the psy skins from the complete magic, that was the best magic item from any version of 3.0

they fit over your character like a second skin, kind of like the symbiot from spider man, then gave abilitys based on which one you had.

they had a bunch of differnt ones, and they all worked with monks, i wish they would reprint those, but they never will.

Those skins were originally printed in the 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook, which is not only available on the 3.5 SRD, but was updated for Pathfinder by Dreamscarred Press and added to the d20pfsrd.com as well.

Psychoactive Skins. For your enjoyment.

Sczarni

you keep saying "moar powar" without listing numbers.

Quote:
you should really go read up on the what the 'Furious' enhancement bonus does (treats the enhancement bonus as 2 higher while raging). Therefore...yes...that would be a +6 enhancement (and it is clear by RAW).

I think you ignored this part when replying.

Quote:
An amulet of mighty fists cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents) higher than +5

Although I've admitted it is probably talking about the equivalent for pricing. RAW it's easy to say it caps at 5, furious or not.

With monk robes what they are, there's not alot of reason to take brawling armor. +2 to hit/dmg is nice, but added armor, stunning fist, damage die and uses the same slot.

your note about the capping is noted, like I said some clear goal posts would be useful for actually debating this in earnest. Level 12 seemed the point earlier where you were sorta providing numbers, but now it's 20 I guess? As far as your saves point, it's pretty moot with the monks base +12 to all at lvl 20, evasion, imp evasion and generally better wisdom... Aside from a strength difference, the flurry will stat out the same as the barbarians base stats. the difference will of course be the first hit will be a stunning fist or two, which will promptly drop his ac if successful, which will of course drastically improve the chances of itterative attacks of hitting.


Ah...psionics...good times...although, the only thing I loved from psionics was this: the Collision property (+5 raw damage to every attack...so amazing), the psycokinentic property (1d4 force damage...ah...those where the days), and the Crystal Mask of Mindarmor (+4 insight bonus to will saves...best friggin mask EVER).

Psycoactive skin of the defender was also nice (if you didn't have any natural AC, it was basically like a slotless amulet of natural armor).

.....I'm starting to miss my magic item compendium REALLY badly right now :(


lantzkev wrote:
With monk robes what they are, there's not alot of reason to take brawling armor. +2 to hit/dmg is nice, but added armor, stunning fist, damage die and uses the same slot.

What? I coulda swore the monk's robe was a chest slot item, while brawling is an armor enchant, which would apply to the armor slot. those two are not the same thing, nor are they mutually exclusive.

The only conflict that would apply is the wearer of both not getting the robe's extra AC bonus (since it functions the same as the monk ability, which doesn't work with armor equipped).


you do realize that the +5 enhancement bonus caps on other weapons too (melee and ranged). However, since furious can only be added to a melee weapon, then the essential result is this: ANY melee weapon can get a +7 (or in the case of AoMF, a +6) enhancement bonus to attacks. If you wish to say otherwise, you would have to houserule it.

And another thing, Monk's robes do NOT qualify as light armor (if it did, you lose all those monk abilities) so again, you would have to houserule that.

and as far as 'listing numbers' is concerned...if we just assume that our stats are equal, and we have the same amount of gold, then our 'numbers' wouldn't matter as much as you think.

the point of listing the 'moar power' statement above was to point out all the things a monk CAN'T get.

By itself, I would almost argue that my damage from Raging Brutality alone would out do anything a monk could produce. You must also keep in mind that rage will boost my stats above a monk's, and I don't need mathematics to prove that if we assume that we start with same stats and same gold.

Also, keep in mind that even in epic levels (back in 3.5) a monk's damage did NOT increase beyond 2d10 (literally, that is where it stops).

Also, the point about my saves isn't moot: + 13 morale bonus to all saves vs. spells by level 20 (again, a monk cannot get this, and a barbarian can easily get evasion as well).

Sczarni

I always forget you can wear a chest item with armor, always feels counter intuitive.

Dusk you seem to think the the damage die gap can be overcome so easily just by hand waving "x probably > y" All I'm asking for you to do is establish a level and gold amount and let's compare.

Stop saying you think its so and prove it. If the point is unarmed damage purely, or defense purely, or some mix, say it and let's do it!

Stop handwaving the argument without putting some effort into it.


lantzkev wrote:
I would severely disagree with your anyone is better at being a unarmed striker than a monk. Tell you what want to have a fight off? I'll make a pure monk unarmed striker and we'll see who does better? =P

A fighter does more unarmed damage than a monk, any day of the week. And can have two magical brass knuckles/gauntlets which are cheaper than any Amulet of Mighty Fist, plus use brawling stuff that the monks can't.

Monks might be more stylish and do feather fall and other stuff, but fighters do higher damage. I bet barbarians too, although I'm not well versed in them.


alright, real quick, I'm not gonna do this with my barbarian (trust me, he wins, no contest) but I will show you the MATH behind using my fighter build if you really want me to. I used this equation in a PM I sent to another member on this site, and I will be happy to use again here as well.

[again, assuming 12th level fighter vs. 12 level monk. In addition, we shall also assume we have the same stats and gold, and that the monk is a martial artist as well, so we also qualify for the same feats. Therefore, to simply this equation, I elminating all non-relevant boosts to stats through items and damage through feats, with the exception of items and feats that only a two-weapon fighter can have access to]

Now then, lets start with your 12th level monk first:

Unarmed strikes = 2d8 * 6 (assuming you spend Ki point to get extra attack and have monk's robe)
Your BAB = +10/+10/+10/+5/+5/+0 (again, assuming Ki point spent)
IF we count Medusa's Wrath = 2d8 * 2/ +10/+10

Therefore, your best possible outcome is this:

DMG = 2d8 * 8 (Max = 128 dmg, before STR mod of course))
BAB = +10/+10/+10/+10/+10/+5/+5/+0

Again, this is assuming all the conditions are just right for you.

My fighter, however, doesn't need conditions or Ki points to do his routine, and the routine itself would look something like this...

Unarmed strikes = 1d8 * 6 + 36 extra damage (weapon training, brawling armor, and dueling gloves gives me 6 extra damage per strike, and I also added in a monk's robe as well)

natural attacks = 1d4 * 3 (at half strength) + 12 extra damage (from weapon training and dueling gloves, and I would also add multiattack as well).

My BAB (with unarmed strikes) = +16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6 (keep in mind that I am using my 'weapon training' class feature, dueling gloves, and 'brawling armor' to get these boosts...and all these items are things a monk cannot use).

My natural attacks = +11/+11/+11 (again, weapon training increases the hit ratio). If I take multiattack, my hit then becomes +14/+14/+14

Therefore, MY final attack routine would like this:

BAB = +16/+16/+14/+14/+14/+11/+11/+6/+6 (I have one more attack than you and all my attacks hit more accurately and are not subject to a condition).

DMG (unarmed strike) = 1d8 * 6 + 36 (Max = 84 before STR mod)

DMG (Natural attacks) = 1d4 * 3 + 12 (Max= 24 before STR mod)

In conclusion, these calculations prove two things:

1) At his best, a monk can potentially out-damage my fighter if we assume that ALL the monk's required conditions are met AND he is capable of landing every blow(in other words, you MUST qualify for Medusa's Wrath and spend a Ki point every time you full-round).

2) Even if you DO achieve the maximum result, my fighter will still hit more accurately then you do.

Also, keep in mind that 5 of your attacks have a +10 or higher to hit, while 7 of my attacks have a +11 or higher to hit. Now, if we calculate the probability of our last couple of attacks missing, on average, you will miss on your last 3 attacks, while I only miss on my last 2.

If we consider the damage that will be lost, my fighter will miss out on 28 damage from the loss of 2 attacks, while your monk will miss out on 48 damage by missing 3 attacks.

Therefore, the average for damage is also in my fighter's favor as well.


[also, a couple quick notes about the above equation]

I used roughly 20,000 gp to get brawling armor and dueling gloves, and I also didn't bother calculating boosts from power attack and two-weapon rend. However, I will say this: if a monk power attacks, his ability to hit becomes greatly reduced-

Monk power attack = +7/+7/+7/+7/+7/+2/+2/-3

Fighter power attack = +12/+12/+10/+10/+10/+7/+7/+2/+2

Again, the average is in my favor (not counting two-weapon rend).

Sczarni

since we're assuming the same feats, the fighter (baring racial) only gets three feats beyond what the monk gets at lvl 12 if I'm figuring it right, so what are your three feat differences? or are you going a completely different set up.

Without any information and you actually building something, I can assume you have spent one of those three on taking improved unarmed strike. So that leaves a two feat difference.

Aside from +2 from weapon training the attacks from flurry barring stat differences and the weapon training bonus and enchancment are on a identical path. since flurry is counted as if the BAB was = the monks level.

Unless those two feats are making up a huge difference, there's just no way it's blowing it out.

So with two feat differences and gear you're somehow getting your to hit at a +6 over the monk at lvl 12. I'm assuming a total of +4 from the weapon training the gloves provide a bonus to.

There's also the point of your offhand attacks will all deal half str mod, while the monks will not. If you're going to factor in things like miss % then we must factor in things like stun, which tilts it heavily back into the monks favor, since we're using martial artist at this level the successful check also grants a +2 to hit as well.

Again you're handwaving things without building something with your constraints. Do that, then prove I'm right or that you're right. I didn't even make a fully optimized build for damage with my monk suggestion.

But again, no debate on this will be meaningful if you don't actually provide a build. I realize though this may be more effort than you want to spend on a internet argument, and for that I wouldn't blame you.


(methinks lantzkev wants you to make and post complete character sheets to prove your point, with anything less being handwaved as "you're handwaving something")


lantzkev wrote:
So with two feat differences and gear you're somehow getting your to hit at a +6 over the monk at lvl 12. I'm assuming a total of +4 from the weapon training the gloves provide a bonus to.

The extra +2 come from Brawling quality in the armor, I guess. Note that Brawler archetype gets +1 to hit and +3 to damage with weapons from the close combat group, plus extra +1 hit and damage each 4 levels.

Quote:
There's also the point of your offhand attacks will all deal half str mod, while the monks will not. If you're going to factor in things like miss % then we must factor in things like stun, which tilts it heavily back into the monks favor, since we're using martial artist at this level the successful check also grants a +2 to hit as well.

Not with double slice feat. And of course you have to factor % hit.

EDIT: more importantly, you both should take in account stats. A monk has higher stat requirements in Dex and Wis to stay competitive, because can't wear armor. The fighter can focus more on STR, which mean higher to hit and damage.

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