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Since my other concept didn't seem all that viable.
I am now considering a Monk for my backup PFS character.
So I guess my questions are:
I run a PFS monk, but he's only been through the three first steps modules. I do worry about effectiveness when I reach higher levels, but so far it's been fine. He's a Weapons Adept/Maneuver Master.
When I offer a choice to the other players, they usually request that I run my bard because they like the buffs, so he gets used when there's already a buffer in the party.
I haven't played PFS recently, but I've seen at least three monks in Tier 1-2. Two of them were made with at least a token effort at being useful in combat (e.g. 14+ Str) and were welcome additions to the party. The other monk had a low Str (IIRC) and was not that useful; he just jumped around adding a miniscule amount of damage now and then. I think that particular player was new to playing tabletop RPGs, though.
In none of those scenarios did monk skills prove to be especially useful, but I think they all completed their faction missions as well as any other PC did.
I've no idea either. I do know I've seen a number of builds that have taken a level or two dip in the monk class. Just haven't seen any pure monks.
Only exception to this is I know a fellow that has a Zen Archer monk. Haven't seen it played so no idea on how effective they are.
I have a Barbarian Monk (Urban Barbarian/Martial Artist). Somewhat of a glass cannon since his AC is still sort of low, but the initial level 1 Barbarian HP means that at level 4 he still has a solid 35 HP. Has Power Attack and Dragon style so his fists do considerable damage, although he's rocking the Sansetsukon for defense (+4 AC when fighting defensively) and higher raw damage output until I get Dragon Ferocity and a higher unarmed damage die.
Playing a monk in PFS is challenging but can be very effective. At our local group it isn't uncommon for my Zen Archer (well Zen Archer Monk/ Menhir Savant Druid) to be joined at the table with a pure monk (one who has a bunch of styles and elemental damage - and does lots of damage with every strike).
A key point is that done well monks lend themselves to playing very aggressively and leveraging your unique monk abilities to maneuver around the battlefield. Zen Archers get Point Blank Master as a relatively low level bonus feat - that means they can be right in the thick of the battle and still full attack with a ranged weapon while not provoking (and while providing flanking since they have Improved Unarmed Strike and threaten even if their hands are full.
A high WIS monk with the right magic items (and feats) will have massive saves and a decent to massive AC - plus a lot of speed - take full advantage of that speed to charge across the battlefield leveraging your ability to jump, fall w/o damage etc to get into position to close with the BBEG quickly.
It can be a high risk, high reward type of character to play - but it can be a great contributor to any party done right - especially if you invest in a few out of combat abilities. (the Wisdom of Irori trait that allows you to use WIS in place of a physical skill is quite nice, as is focusing on a WIS based skill such as Perception). Combine with Improved Initiative and your high perception, fast monk will likely be among the first to act and will rarely be surprised = may close with enemies even before they have a chance to initiate combat.
You also have to balance how you use limited resources such as your Ki Pool - when to boost your AC vs your speed vs taking an extra attack on a full attack is a complex balancing act - but this flexibility is also the monk's real power.
Plus monks, especially with the right archetypes, can get a ton of bonus feats - meaning you may be able to use your "regular" level feats to add flavor and unique capabilities (i.e. take racial feats or take some out of combat utility feats)
Rycaut already hit the main points of monking it up in PFS, but I'll just add my experiences as well.
I currently play 3 different Monks and have shared tables with 4 others.
Bruno has pretty much locked down the BBEG at the end of PFS six scenarios and almost got a first round grapple off on the BBEG at the end of the seventh. He is definitely in the high risk, high reward side of things as his AC is more on the second-liner side and yet he runs face first at the biggest threat to shut them down (which is in character for him). I'm very happy with how he's been so far but, as I move into the upper tiers of PFS, I'm worried about the big physical shots he'll eat from bosses. Also, because I pumped STR, his ranged attack bonus is pitiful.
Cyrus, thanks to a dip of Inquisitor with Infiltrator Archetype and Conversion Inquisition, can pump his Wisdom and be great Zen Archer in combat and fantastic face outside of combat. Adding on Wisdom of Irori trait for Disable Device means that he can also act as the poor man's rogue as well.
Klemma is a halfling, Dexterity-based Tetori made to address Bruno's shortcomings. She's still low level, but having a high AC and the option be effective with a ranged weapon is aces. (Ultimately, I might sit down and write a post on the pros and cons of these contrasting grapplers.)
With the Tetoris, the melee types (and ranged types with precise shot) in my parties love ganging up on the gimped low AC targets I serve up to them. I've felt guilty at times turning some encounters into a joke with grapples but I predict upper level PFS will not allow for that.
With the Zen Archer, I've already found myself throttling back and taking suboptimal/non-flurried shots when I am rolling hot--whereas the Tetori allows everyone to get a piece of the pie as part and parcel of my success, the Zen Archer can hog the glory before the melee is truly joined. (I don't need to have the biggest DPS dick at the table nor trot out my kill tally--I want everyone in the party to have fun and feel like they've contributed.)
I have a survivable monk, 10th level dwarf. Moderate AC, but good hp, Str, saves. Pretty much core, except for items (made well before UC came out)
I use an amulet with vicious as an enchantment (dangerous!) and a heap of wands as well. Oh, carry lots of flasks (stupid swarms).
A friend of mine uses a Zen Archer monk, and more often than not, "I flurry arrows at 80'" results in a dead BBEG round 1. Deadly Aim, Precise Shot, and Clustered Shot make ANY archer deadly.
That's not (quite) because the Zen Archer is overpowered, but more than ranged combat is grotesque in general in PF.
I have an Oread Monk 6 / Fighter 1 / Living Monolith 2 that's pretty fun to play. He has the Panther Stance feat chain, so when he provokes from moving, he gets to attack anybody who tries to take that AoO, and often drops them. A lot of his rounds involve moving through enemies, laying them low, and then readying an attack against any surprises. He also has ki throw. And an amulet of mighty fists with the vicious property, so he usually takes most of his damage from his own attacks.
In terms of role-playing, he's Lawful Good and rarely speaks. (I think I've gone three levels now, and he hasn't said a word; no vows, just keeps to himself.) He's quick to give a smile or a thumbs-up to a colleague who does well, or rescue an ally who's being overwhelmed.
I just started a Zen Archer. She hasn't hit 3rd level yet, so she sort of sucks.
If you're building a monk, I recommend the Qinggong archetype (Ultimate Magic). It lets you swap out certain abilities for extra ki powers, so you can dump some of the crappy stuff (like Slow Fall or High Jump) with the ability to cast Barkskin on yourself, or Scorching Ray. My monk also uses the Monk of the Four Winds archetype, which replaces Stunning Fist with Elemental Fist, and took one of the style feats to add my WIS mod to the damage from those.
Focusing on grappling and tripping can be useful for Society games, because they seem to be weighted a little more toward humanoid opponents. I think the key to monks is versatility in combat. I can tank, scout, grapple, hit hard, trip, etc.
cracked vibrant purple ioun stone (1 level spell storing; have it loaded with shield)
In Bruno's case, I have it loaded with True Strike...that on demand +20 to Grapple is too tasty to pass up.
While we've sidetracked into talking about Monk equipment, for items like Deliquescent Gloves and Vicious-enchanted amulet of mighty fists, would that damage be added to when you use a Grapple check to inflict damage? ("You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.")
I have a friend who made it to level 13 in PFS with monk. She's not an optimizer by any means, so she just made a standard monk, and did pretty well on quantity of hits at low levels, but she had no way of dealing with DR when we got to higher levels. I'm sure there are tricks to dealing with that, but my friend doesn't know enough to build around that problem, and I don't know monks well enough to know what to recommend there, either.
On the other hand, her insanely high AC drives bad guys crazy. She's great at running around the battlefield, dragging downed allies out of danger, or getting to other things we need, while AoOs just bounce off her. With Mobility, I think her AC was approaching 40 against AoOs at level 12.
Sammy T wrote:
While we've sidetracked into talking about Monk equipment, for items like Deliquescent Gloves and Vicious-enchanted amulet of mighty fists, would that damage be added to when you use a Grapple check to inflict damage?
I believe so.
but she had no way of dealing with DR when we got to higher levels.
See the latest blog post regarding monks and their attacks. Also, she could have carried extra monk weapons made of special materials, oils of bless weapon, potions of magic fang, oils of magic weapon, etc.
I have frequently toyed with the idea of making a monk with the Dangerously Curious trait to get UMD. However, charisma is definitely not a monk strong spot :(
Yeah, carrying monk weapons made of special materials was pretty much her one plan for DR. Unfortunately, we didn't always know which special material to use.
I am playing a master of many styles/ Ki mystic and just hit level 14 with him. At low levels he did a large amout of damage and out attaked most other players but was a glass cannon and died a number of ties . At high levels he is now the one to stand up front takeing the hits while the rest of the party takes down the monsters. He is by far the most fun character i have ever played.
Well, I thought PFS only went to level 12?
I don't think I want to do the zen archer at this time. I think my brother may be making an archer and I don't want to competing with him for the same role.
I don't think I want to be just a damage dealer, because then I might as well be a fighter or barbarian.
But it seems like a scout combined with maneuvers or stunning could be fun. Stunning, grappling, tripping, and disarming are always just tons-o-fun when you can get them to work.
With the new ruling on FoB the Monks DPR just got better so you have less to worry about "in combat".
Which, truth be told was one of the common gripes about Monks.
Personally, I think with the archetypes available there are a lot of variations that can do well in a PFS game.
If you want to be an effective Scout, consider a race that gets Darkvision. Dwarves make fantastic Monks and the Half-Orc with 90' Darkvision would be great for scouting... If you want to add mechanical trap finding/disabling to your repertoire consider the "Wisdom in the Flesh" trait from the APG and select Disable Device.
You can flurry with a single weapon held in 2 hands, using it for all of your attacks.
I was at one of our FLGS and was seated next to a table playing Blakros Matrimony with 2 or 3 Monks at the table at subtier 6-7. I wasn't able to pay attention to how they were playing out, but it was interesting nonetheless.
However, you only get normal strength damage on a flurry, so it's of limited use. You do get the bonus from Power Attack for a two-handed weapon, but monk's attack bonus tends to lag anyway, so this is of limited usefulness.
It's a little boost to a monk that uses weapons, that's about it. It hardly fixes the monk's other offensive liabilities.
As far as pure monks go, I've played with at least 3 monks. I am sure I played with more, but they tend to be forgettable, other than the zen archer and tetori monks. Those can be beasts. I also saw a trip build once that looked ok.
FoB monks tend to not do very much damage, and their ac and hp are typically lower than other front liners. Most primary frontliners are easily in the low to mid 20s by level 4 (plate + some little goodies), and str-based monks commonly are struggling to get to 20 even with mage armor (10+4 mage armor+4 from stats, +1 deflection, +1 class). I've seen a level 5 monk go against an elemental, and it wasn't pretty.
It is extremely helpful in PFS to bring a wand of mage armor as a monk.
Furious Kender wrote:
See, I never understood the claim that Monk AC is bad. I've got a 6th level Monk in Legacy of Fire that has regularly had the highest AC in the group. The only time he wasn't the highest, is at levels 1 and 2, and part of level 3. For defensive gear, he's got both an Amulet +2 and a pair of Bracers +3, both found while adventuring, and a ring of Protection +2 that he bought. He's sitting on an AC of 25, and the next highest AC is our fighter wearing a +1 breastplate at 22. Granted, I've got some good items, but even if your dropped them all to +1, he's still got a 21.
If you want to play a monk, just play the monk. I like to come up with a cool concept, tinker with it, and then optimize. Roleplaying should always be held higher than optimizing.
With that aside, google X stat to Y bonus (pathfinder/D&D) to get a full list of abilities/feats/dips that can help you to alleviate MAD. That is the key to the Monk classes badness, IMHO.
I have a halfling underfoot adept monk in society. Pure dex build. I must admit I used GM credit to get her to the point I could afford and buy the agile amulet of mighty fists. Damage is still not spectacular, but they are very good at making things prone, which is a state you almost never want to be in.
That is 25000 worth of items. +5 plate is the same cost and will also get you at least 25 ac.You also have 7 a.c. from feats or stats. This suggests a dex build or rolled stats.
Furious Kender wrote:
Well he gets dex + wis + 1 for being a 6th level monk, and Dodge as a choice for bonus feat, so +7 AC is about where he should be.
I have a 17 Dex and a 16 Wisdom, plus the Dodge feat that I only just now took at 6th level from my Monk Bonus feats. He has the Amulet +2, the Bracers +3, the Ring +2, Muleback Cords and a special weapon named Tempest. He focuses on grapples, trips and disarms to inhibit his enemies, and as a Monk of the Four Winds, when he really needs to hit someone, he uses Tempest (+1 Frost hand wraps) and Elemental Fist to stack 3d6 points of elemental damage on his first attack in a round.
To be fair, I am playtesting a custom Monk fix but none of the changes add to his AC. He is also well over WBL, but, like I said, if you were to reduce his magical protections down to just +1 each, he'd be at AC 21 and within the WBL range. He can also spend Ki to up his AC, fight defensively, and use Combat Expertise if he ever needs to really protect himself. Which as all happened. One common tactic for the party is to try and bottle neck ourselves, while I move up front and tank my attack bonus to up my AC and while allowing the party to attack from behind me.
There was an elf monk in our PFS group recently who was using Flurry and Kirin Strike with a rope dart to pretty awesome effect. I believe he'd gone with a 16 DEX and 14's in STR and INT to end up with 18 DEX, 14 STR and 16 INT. Between Kirin Strike, Deadly Aim, and flurrying with a full STR bonus to all hits, it was pretty awesome. He was out-damaging pretty much everyone else and had a cool unique weapon.
I played a Monk if PFS, and had a blast with him.
While I wasn't very helpful when it came to knowledge skills (which a lot of PFS scenarios need) my Perception skill, and often Climb, Acrobatics, and Sense Motive were off the chart for helpfulness.
Dont forget too, that MOST of the PFS modules you are facing humanoids of medium size, so a trip build (mine was trip/overrun/bullrush oriented, utilizing Mobility feat and Panther Style to purposely provoke AoO and riposte) works surprisingly well.
Also, my build with movement and tripping/grappling/repositioning and not having many people hit me (mobility adds +4 ac to provoked AoO by moving) and whatnot was very helpful to the other party members. Many of the PFS scenarios have very small tight spaces, and one or two party members fighting are sometimes all that can hit the bad guys....until as a monk with high CMB you overrun, move thru BBEG spot, provoke AoO and riposte (doing damage) and then reposition him into the more open areas/friendly positions, to either set up flanks for rogues or just make it so more people can hit him.
The high Perception skill made it so that we were rarely surprised, my high saves usually meant that at least one or two of us survived fear effects/gasses/bad effects, and more than once a bad guy was on a ledge/balcony thing and a great acrobatics skill made jumping up to get him a real easy task.
Sometimes capturing the bad guy was important, so grappling was very useful too.
Even when "playing up" a scenario, I was still incredibly viable.
Monks get a LOT of bad press here on the boards, but I found that in PFS they were incredibly versatile, fun and useful characters.
I took less of an oriental feel, and chose to take a Vudrani worshipper of Irori. The flavor was fun, the history and backstory meant little other than fluff, but ultimately he enhanced every table I sat at.
By all means, play a Monk. You will really get a solid grasp of the rules and I am sure you will be effective and useful...
despite what most others here on the boards think.
I built the character first before I learned the rules. I had a mobile monk concept well before UC came out, and the Style feats just made it that much more capable.
I have found however, that the key to successfully enjoying the Monk experience is to take advantage of those aspects that most other classes don't do, and make them work for you.
In theory, I wanted to get rid of the 2 biggest gripes that most people have about the Monk, namely: 1. The movement/no more FoB issue, and 2. The supposition that Monk's cant be effective in combat after lvl 6+ (often stipulated on the boards, although the starting point of the level decline varies from post to post).
Panther Style, Mobility, and purposely provoking AoO by purposely moving in "poor" or "exposing" ways to get ripostes and get AoO myself works out perfectly. I make use of the Overrun Combat Maneuver, the Bull Rush, Trip, and Reposition.
If my opponent isn't flat on his back, or at least in a position where 2-3 of the party members can smack him up, I don't think I've played this particular monk to the best of his ability.
I agree that if you forego a strength-based build a monk's AC can shine, His damage output usually sucks as a result, though.
Ok, I think I'm likely to go with a monk. Probably either a dwarf or a half-orc. I'm considering the following:
These seem like good ideas?
Bracers +3 are the same cost as breastplate +3. Fighter AC now 24.
Amulet +2 and Ring +2 are 8k each. Fighter AC now 28.
Yes, you have a higher AC because you have MUCH nicer magic items then the fighter does, and 17k invested in defensive items at level 6. Quite impressive. What did the rest of the party have?
Monks work great if you know how to play them, they are just hard to get through low levels unless you have high dex, high wis. Amulet of mighty fists, elemental fist cure DR problems until post 14th level, then combat maneuver for the fighter/paladin, barbarian
Manouver master works really well in PFS. I have a level 12 that focuses on dirty trick(normally blind, but so many other options). following by a trip with Ki Throw so the bad guy is now prone blind and flanked wherever possible. My damage may not rival the 2-Handed fighter type but is respectable with dragon style and elemental fist and I can go lots of places he cant. As stated above, make sure you have an option for non trippable foes. Mine is reposition, which means they are still blind and flanked.
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