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PFS Monk Build-Scout & Damage


Lantern Lodge

Tengu standard monk - favored class - HP (Probably my biggest weakness)

STR: 10
DEX: 18
CON: 10
INT: 12
WIS: 18
CHA: 7

Acrobatics: max - 8 at level 1
Perception: max - 10 at level 1
Sense Motive: max - 8 at level 1
Stealth: max - 10 at level 1
Heal: maybe max, need at least 3
Swim: maybe some points if I don't max heal
Fly: maybe if I get glide racial trait & Qinggong Slow Fall for Ki Stand or barkskin I'll put all but 3 here.
Linguistics: maybe all but 3 here

Silence (with a super stealthy scout and taking sign language with my bonus language this could be fun RP, but might be too difficult)

Traits: Mizu Ki Hikari Rebel (Chu Ye) & Reactionary
Maybe Caretaker if I really wanted to be a backup nonmagic healer.

Alternate racial traits
Exotic Weapon Training - tonfa +3 more light
Glide or Carrion Sense maybe

Feats (C=character, M=monk)
1C - Weapon Finesse
1M - Dodge
2M - Deflect Arrows
3C - Crane Style
5C - Crane Wing
6M - Combat Reflexes (or Improved Disarm-weapons can add +2 unlike trip)
7C - Crane Riposte
9C - Mantis Style
10M- Medusa's Wrath
11C- Combat Style Master

Magic Items (1. first; not sure what order for the rest)
1. Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists
Monk's Robe
Goggles of the Night
+X Defending Tonfa
Headband of Inspired Wisdom
Belt of Incredible Dexterity
Cloak of Resistance
Ring of Protection
Bracers of Armor
Ring of Regeneration
Feather Step Slippers (maybe)
(That's as far as I've gotten)

I would appreciate any opinions anyone is willing to post.

Shadow Lodge

well im looking at your stats, and im not seeing why you are willing to lose out on hp, for 2 extra points of ac.

i understand that you are playing a scouting character, which is a great idea imo. but why not play a halfling for that role? +4 for small size to stealth, +con and dex then -2 strength (it seems like you dont care about that).

with a 14 wisdom, and a 16 con you would be better at surviving melee.
at low levels you wont see how that lack of hp will hurt due to one attack monsters and crane style, but when youre getting full attacked with 2-3 attacks at 5th level and up, crane style will be less of a godsend and more of a liability. small size will also net +1 to ac and flat footed.

most people dont like playing the small races, but i think it would fit your concept better then the giant bird thing race.

with the same basic stats i see you getting a +12 stealth at level 1 and a +8 preception (+2 racial bonus)

other then those few suggestions i see nothing else i would disagree about in your build.

Lantern Lodge

Yeah, I don't like small race monks because when I'm not scouting I want to try to do some decent damage. I want the wisdom also for the stunning fist (Mantis Style and Medusa's Wrath) and ki points, but I have only played tier 1-2 PFS games. Would I still get good enough stun DCs with 14 wisdom?

Note that Sign Language is NOT a legal language in PFS. You will need some other way to communicate(I suggest getting a chalkboard).

Shadow Lodge

well... stunning fist is a very bad feat, fortitude is the best save for most of your available targets for the conditions that stunning fist will apply. so its very limited in use and you most likly wont use all of your attempts per day.

a dc 14 isnt anything to scoff at, a 16 is better. with small races the difference of damage is only 1 point for most weapons. its a mjor misconception that small races cant deal good damage. a better way to get medusas wrath, i know you dont want an archetype but im just tossing this out there, is with shatter defenses + dirty trick which you would need to play a maneuver master, which i will guess is a big no.

from my experience with monks, medusa's is a very rare thing to pull off.

i will let you know what to expect in PFS

1-2 undead, humans
3-5 undead, humans, elementals
6-8 undead, humans, elementals, constructs/golems
8-12 i have no experience with.

there are exceptions to this, but the are very limited to one or two mods. stunning fist works very well on arcane casters. and after level 4 thats all i ever use it on.

Shadow Lodge

Sean H wrote:
Note that Sign Language is NOT a legal language in PFS. You will need some other way to communicate(I suggest getting a chalkboard).

sign language isnt a language at all, its a dc of 15 bluff. the only wierd thing about it, is that it doesnt say that the message has to be spoken, but they hear it... so it would be gm call about hand gestures for simple messages.

Dark Archive

Your biggest problem will be your lack of damage till you can get the 5k and the 18 fame which at 2 every game requires 9 sessions which puts you at level 4 at the earliest assuming you fail 0 faction mission and do not play modules (as mods give 4 fame per 3 exp and you need 6 per 3 exp).

You might want to find some source of extra damage to cover your role until you can get the amulet as level 4-5 is a significant amount of time invested

IMO, drop either Dex or Wis to 16. This allows you to increase your Str to 14. The extra 2 damage per hit is going to carry you a long way and be way more valuable than the 1 AC you trade for it.

You can consider taking Toughness to help with HP if you are concerned about that.

I don't think Deflect Arrows or Combat Reflexes are worth your time. Especially at level 6, Improved Disarm/Trip will be more useful.

Since you are taking Crane Style, I assume you will be fighting defensively a lot. I like the synergy between Crane Style and the Stalwart Feat (Trade AC for DR). But that it takes 3 feats to get there and thus almost necessitates taking a 1 level dip into Unbreakable Fighter. An entertaining notion none the less.

Lantern Lodge

Alright, thanks. I thought I saw something about a sign language in one of the books, but then I can't find it again, and after some research online I think it was the Pathfinder Society hand gestures in Pathfinder Chronicles: Seekers of Secrets and someone in a forum was saying it's not an actual language. I actually decided not to mess with the vows at all because of their complications in PFS, I think they'd be better for a home brew.

Hmm, if you face a lot of elementals later on perhaps I should just check out the Martial Artist archetype and do more of a str based build. Or, if I stick with Tengu, look into Maneuver Master to make use of my exotic weapon proficiencies. I don't like how the negatives stack up with multiple maneuvers on it though, -12 to all to do 3? If it was some progressive penalty where it went -2/-5/-12 I'd be more willing. I also like the Flowing Monk, but the Greater maneuvers aren't available, which makes no sense. At the least Greater Trip and Greater Reposition should be available since the Stunning Fist replacement revolves around tripping and repositioning.

Martial Artist does not have the alignment restriction, so you can dip into Barbarian. Go go Rage Monk! >.>

Lantern Lodge

Yeah, one attribute layout I toyed with was Str/Dex/Wis all at 16. My CMD would be through the roof. Being a 'dual wielder' as monks using Flurry of Blows are, though, makes me cringe at each -1 to hit. I did look at a layout of Str18/Dex14/Wis14 plus dodge. How well does 15 AC hold up early on?

That Stalwart is pretty neat, but would probably only work with Crane Style if you went Master of Many Styles or were really high level. I might steal that build for a character though, 'cause it's a really neat idea. Hmm, if you go half-orc you can get Endurance as an alternate racial trait and half orcs have some neat Die Hard feats that make you super tough.

Lantern Lodge

Yeah, I saw someone post that idea in a forum I read as I was doing research on monk builds; it would certainly be fun because that's both of my favorite classes at the same time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't forget your faction missions. I don't see a lot of skills in your list that lend themselves to completing faction missions.

Lantern Lodge

What type of skills do you need for the Grand Lodge?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

To offer my advice, I would put some points into Con.

Shadow Lodge

Chris Bonnet wrote:
To offer my advice, I would put some points into Con.

i agree. you will be ok at low levels because you're getting crane style, but get hit once or twice and you will go down.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rendrin wrote:

What type of skills do you need for the Grand Lodge?

I don't have a grand lodge PC, so I can't provide specifics. There are several skills which I commonly see among various factions: perception and diplomacy are most common.

Knowledge is the most common skill for Grand Lodge missions, I think. Also some Diplomacy and Perception, yes.

If you play older modules you'll be playing Osirion missions, also heavy on Knowledge, Perception and Linguistics.

Lantern Lodge

So, basically what I'm gathering from everything is don't play a monk in PFS.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rendrin wrote:
So, basically what I'm gathering from everything is don't play a monk in PFS.

You can play whatever you want, but 1) focusing on combat may hurt you on the faction side and 2) it is hard to plan ahead particularly magic items. I don't think you'll ever see access to a ring of regeneration.

Nobody is making you have an 18 Wisdom and Dexterity and lowering one or both of those would give you a higher Con (more HP). You could also raise Charisma.

Basically everything (skills, traits, feats, ability scores) you have on this character is combat related. Once in a while your faction will want you to kill someone and you'll be golden, but the rest of the time you are likely to struggle to complete your faction missions which will delay your access to higher quality equipment. (You could also see what faction is common locally and choose than one and rely on others to complete missions for you).

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

PFS is easy to plan ahead for magic items. You can buy ANY PFS legal item up to the amount your fame level allows you access to. The items on chronicle sheets just allow you early access to items your fame level might not allow yet and occasionally access to items such as partially charged wands that are not otherwise PFS legal. But PFS over a home game offers a lot more flexibility with planning for specific magic items.

If you are going weapon finesse I would make sure the weapon you are choosing qualifies as a finesseable weapon. I'm not familiar with it.

You should also realize that in PFS play "scouting" is fairly rare partially because splitting the party doesn't work well for organized play. So most scenarios have only limited opportunities for a traditional stealth scouting - that said a monk should look to ways to exploit your high base speed to maneuver in combat (speeding past mooks to close with the Spellcaster bbeg for example)

At higher levels you need to consider:

- how you will get flight (around level 7 or so this is nearly mandatory)

- how you will bypass DR (a monk's biggest concern sometimes)

- how you will adapt if your core strategies don't work - ie the trip build against flying or four legged creatures (or very large creatures)

Don't neglect getting items you can't personally use but can loan to a party member - wands of cure light are the basic example but I've seen non-casters with wands of Mage armor, wands or scrolls of lesser restoration etc. useful potions can also be lifesavers (potion of protection from evil or potion of magic circle against evil can literally save a party from a tpk)

You might want to consider Silver Crusade. The faction missions frequently require no skill check at all. When they do it's usually Knowledge: Religion, Heal (neither is too bad for you) or Diplomacy (ouch). Diplomacy is the most common of all missions though, maybe somebody will help you out.

Lantern Lodge

Alright, thanks everyone.

i would so stats instead:

str 10
dex 18
con 13
int 12
wis 14
cha 7
adding +1con at 4th

no matter ur ac ur garanteeed to take damage in pfs, if u wanna survive at least have the 12 con, i would prob use the first set of stats

thats saying you get an agile amf

Why do you have a 12 int and a 10 str? You said you wanted to do damage, and right now a cleric with a 14 str and a greatsword will out damage your full attack with their standard attack.

Also scouts virtually must have darkvision to function.

Are you sold on Tengu and oppossed to Archetypes? If you go an Archetype that gives up FoB, you can focus on your rather excellent 3 Primary Natural Attacks (MoMS and Maneuver Master).

Also, just because you get +Dexterity doesn't mean you have to be locked into Weapon Finesse. Finesse Monks focus on maneuvers, almost exclusively, and now that I learned that Fury's Fall doesn't let you stack Dex twice I'm not even sure they are the best avenue for that. I'd recommend against it further in PFS because you'll have to play so long without an Agile Amulet.

Also, Halfling Monks are secretly the most damaging, especially with the Underfoot Adept.

Also, also. All monks are Quinggong Monks and trade something for Barkskin at the first opportunity.

In PFS, so far I've had pretty good luck starting out with 17 in my main stat and bumping it to 18 with my 4th level attribute bonus. That gives me an extra 3 points to spend elsewhere (more if I don't have a racial bump in that stat.) If you're doing a multi-attribute build, you're probably OK with a 16 in your secondary stat, too.

If you want to go with high Dex and Weapon Finesse, you'll probably want Agile Maneuvers, too: use your Dex bonus instead of Str for CMB.

As a monk, your unarmed strikes increase in damages as you progress, so you should be OK at higher levels if you can stick it out. Personally, for a dexy monk, I'd stick with flurry of blows: by 4th level, you get 3 attacks/round by spending a ki point, which usually gives you a higher average than most medium-strength weapons. (Check out the Hammer the Gap feat as a way to overcome DR.)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Depending on the maneuvers you want to do and the weapon(s) you want to wield (if any) you may not need to take Agile Maneuvers if you have Weapon Finesse (i.e. you can use your finesse weapon to do certain maneuvers - trip, disarm and sunder (the first two being the ones that many maneuvers focused characters may focus on early on). Might save you a feat for something else more useful.

Dark Archive

I wanted to make a dex / wis tengu Flowing monk similar to this. (High AC, support type. not primary damage). The problem is getting your to-hit bonus high enough to really do anything. Just an example, at level 11 i think average monster AC is 25. Your bab is 8. If you jack dex you can get a +7 or +8 mod, but let's say a +7 since you probably won't spend 36k on the +6 dex belt. That's a +15 (8 bab + 7 dex) to hit. You are missing 50% of the time. (they don't call it flurry of misses for no reason.)

No weapon training. No gloves of dueling. No greater weapon focus. No armor of brawling. No +3 AOMF. (you'd be paying 20k for a +1 Agile AOMF, hopefully you can get someone to cast greater magic weapon / fang on you and just go with the straight dueling for 5k).

It's REALLY freaking tough as a monk to do anything with good STR score, let alone trying to go dex. You are feat taxed weapon finesse, which you can use on Trip, Disarm, Reposition, dirty trick [up to gm], and sunder. But it doesn't do crap for Grapple (one of the few maneuvers you can do against guys more than one size category larger). So you'd have to invest ANOTHER FEAT, for agile maneuvers. Now you could go with just agile maneuvers to do your combat maneuvers, but forget about hitting anything without weapon finesse.

To add insult to injury, if you want to trip/reposition anything huge, you need to drink a potion of enlarge person. Now your to hit goes down 1 for being large, and it goes down ANOTHER for losing 2 dex. and your AC goes down 2 points also.

One of the only ways I thought of making a high dex/wis monk effective is with the qinggong archetype; take True strike (don't forget about barkskin). You can use it to try and get a grapple on a tough opponent when you need to take them out for a round. I think that could be very effective, and annoy the hell out of the enemy since you'll be so damn hard to hit. Plus you could examine the other goodies like scorching ray. There is a ring in the ultimate equipment guide that will let you use ki abilities that take more than 2 ki points and reduce one from the cost. So you can scorching ray and things like that with only 1 ki point.

You'll typically get into 3 - 4 encounters in a pathfinder scenario. There usually is one final boss (with minions), and probably a tough sub-boss type before the last encounter. So I can definitely see being a scout and just harassing the enemy and annoying them with your high AC while your friends blow everything up. Save your ki-points and go all out on the harder guys and I think you could have fun and feel effective.

In direct reference to your build; as others have said get that con up to 12.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Well a few things that a monk can do to help (and which a monk in a good party should be looking for as well):

- monks are fast - leverage this speed (and likely high AC if you are a dex & wis focused monk) to strive to always have flanking and/or other advantages against opponents (climb up things to get higher ground if possible), don't neglect to abuse slow fall to get down to opponents quickly. Heck even consider spending a feat on things like Step Up if you have a feat to spare to always be able to close with spellcasters...

- even at high levels a good party is going to have one or more folks laying down party buffs that should be helping your monk's to-hit (from the basic Bless to Prayer to Blessing of Fervor to bardic moral bonuses, freebooters banes, banners etc) someone in your party should be routinely granting most members a bonus to hit.

- once you have closed with someone FLURRY. Suddenly you go from a +15 to a +18 but equally importantly you add additional attacks. Tack on flanking bonuses, greater magic weapon/magic fang and a situationally party buff and your monk will be hitting with ease

- order of maneuvers is key - a maneuver focused monk should try to trip first (though at higher levels this may need you to be enlarged and it won't do much against opponents with flight), once you have tripped then don't forget the +4 against a prone opponent (now without a flurry you are at +19 not +15 and w/flurry at +22 even without any other buffs) . Oh and don't forget that the improved [trip etc] gives you a further bonus on that maneuver. Each little bonus adds up to help you be a lot more effective.

- depending on your build also don't neglect to use Stunning Fist (or whatever you replaced it with if you took an archetype). It won't always land but when it does you greatly help your entire party - either with imposing penalties to your opponent and/or with doing more damage.

- True Strike, Barkskin etc are all nice features for a monk but having the help of your party may make them less valuable compared to what you give up for them.

- if you really are in a situation where you can't easily land a hit (gigantic monster, w/o enlarge person, too hi an AC for you hit and/or DR you can't get through) then also don't neglect to see what you can do to help your party - moving into a flanking position (with a very large monster you likely can help multiple party members flank it) in a way where you absorb an AoO (relying on your high AC to keep you safe) followed by an "Aid another" attack might be a good move ("aid another" is against AC 10 - even with a lower DEX and just taking a standard action a high level monk should be able to Aid at will - just don't roll a 1) +2 to an attack plus +2 from flanking is a pretty good buff for the party damage dealer.

- also don't forget to take full advantage of your movement rate to charge across the battlefield at 11th level a medium sized monk will have a base move of 60' (without any buffs from party members) that means you could charge 120' in a single round (60' in a surprise round where you are limited to a single standard action) and don't forget that you could do Stunning Fist with your single attack (or a combat maneuver ideally one you have improved feats for to avoid AoOs). Even if you don't land the initial blow such a charge can change the dynamics of a battle - speading out your party and forcing the enemies to split up their attention (yes this means you are a target - but that means less attacks on the party casters..)

Lantern Lodge

Yeah, I don't plan on using maneuvers with this build, it just is too tricky for what I'm doing. My focus is AC, deflecting attacks, stealth, speed, and Stunning Fist. If you notice, a magic item with darkvision is on my list of magic items for my scouting job (Goggles of the Night) and my dexterity bonus will go to my damage once I get an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists. Putting points into strength is therefore less useful than an extra skill point.

I think I'm going to drop dex to 17, increase con to 12, then get 18 dex at level 4 though.

The aid another idea is a great one too, thanks. And flanking is one reason I like my high speed and high acrobatics (another benefit of high dex). I just randomly happen to have a bunch of skills that compliment my high stats.

Thanks again for the ideas and posts.

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