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Way of the Angry Bear 3: The Guide to Bear Fisted Fighting!


Advice

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9 people marked this as a favorite.

So as promised some months ago, I have started working on a guide to effectively multiclassing Druid and Monk to make the most scary Unarmed combatants in Pathfinder.

So far, I've covered the introduction and the Monk class and all the archetypes (whoo boy, that took longer than I thought it would).

The next step will be covering the Druid class and archetypes, then I'll move onto feats, magic items and probably three example builds (The Mauler, The Crusher and The Conqueror Ooze).

As always with my guides, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

prototype00


Interesting, trex with a katana you say? ;) Actually tried to make something similar myself a few years back, a hippotamus with crane style. Sadly that druid got crushed by his own snake before his prime. :p

Grand Lodge

This is very interesting, I have been wanting to make a grapple based character for a while but the damage has always been kind of low for me.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Are you saying we have the right to bear arms?


lro wrote:
Interesting, trex with a katana you say? ;) Actually tried to make something similar myself a few years back, a hippotamus with crane style. Sadly that druid got crushed by his own snake before his prime. :p

... Is this some kind of sexual innuendo? If so, I shall have no part of it. ;)

Treemystic wrote:
This is very interesting, I have been wanting to make a grapple based character for a while but the damage has always been kind of low for me.

Was your grappler a pure monk or druid? What you basically want is Constrict at this point, and 12d8 or 8d8 unarmed strike damage with Greater Grapple and Rapid Grappler which allows you to make 3 grapple checks per round which equates to potentially 72d8 or 48d8 damage (plus static mods).

boring7 wrote:
Are you saying we have the right to bear arms?

Ha! Better than the right to arm bears (or T-Rexs for that matter, Just say No, man.).

prototype00

Grand Lodge

Yeah it was a pure monk, I was trying to rework it to have some druid but i guess I missed some pretty key things.

And wow that is nasty, considering it also completely locks down whatever you are squeezing the life out of.

Grand Lodge

so what would be the best path for a grappler of that kind?

halfling archetype, manuever master, tetori?

and druid, im guessing no archetype for the faster wildshape?


Well, there's two basic routes.

1. Straight druid + Tetori ) with Shaping Focus to make up the 4 multiclassed Monk levels.
- Final Embrace Feat line to get double damage to constrict
- Normally, the best Wildshape forms don't get constrict (Allosaurus for example), so get an Anaconda Coils belt
- Kill things.

Cons: Belt is expensive and takes up +Str slot

2.Nagaji Naga Aspirant + Tetori
- Naga wildshape allows you to take the final embrace feat line without having constrict (it in fact gives you constrict)
- Lots of nice arcane Spells that are not normally

Cons: You don't get higher Wildshape forms and the Naga is only large.

The halfling Underfoot adept is mostly for tripping.

prototype00


Now I'm all depressed that martial artist doesn't stack with monk of the four winds. With a dip into barbarian and Furious Finish you could do some crazy rage cycling and make Vital Strike worth it. As it is you'd have to go into oracle or something.


Once you're done with the mechanics, I'd love to see a section on the RP:

First of all, a druid/monk must be LN, what are some ways to roleplay that without being "laful-stupid"er than the average paladin?

What are a couple character concepts for fists of the forest, and what mechanical options suit them best?

Thanks a lot for your time, I realy enjoyed reading trough the guide and will keep an eye on it. Great work.

Grand Lodge

I love the Nagaji Idea, however i hate how nagas look so I think if I did that I would flavor my form as a coatl :)


Yeah. The most common druid character-type always seems to be a guy who basically just hates people and has literally NO reason to ever leave his grove and go adventuring. These characters are boring, but that means covering the basics is often all you need to do.

Druids love nature, but more than that they love life. Sometimes life is beautiful trees and colorful birds, and sometimes life is brutal predators and bloody hunts, and the druid himself can range from a cannibalistic and savage despoiler of Lamashtu or a serene flower-child of perfectly ordered gardens and silent contemplation.

My personal favorites are the Primal Crusaders, who seek to protect the Prime Material Plane from incursions by outsiders. Demons and angels and other forces from beyond reality try to unbalance the nature of reality with their "pure" essences of alignment or energy, and while it is true that druids can align with or even summon/forge pacts with beings from these realms, they always seek to keep the influence limited and send the beings back at the end of their job. Angels in heaven, folk on the earth.


Heck, flavour your form however you like, as long as it grapples like a Naga, thats all that matters.

I'm working my way through the Druid section now, I've decided to replace Monk/Druid Multiclass in my guide with Fist of the Forest or FoF for short.

Rolls of the tongue better, I feel, no objections? (And thanks for the idea Efreeti.)

prototype00


LN basically means that you have an internal code of conduct and you follow it to the letter.

I'd basically make up three tenets that represent this code and follow them obsessively.

For example my Strength Obsessed LN Monk(MoMS)/Druid(Saurian Shaman) has this:

1. There is strength in Nature, learn from it and respect it.
2. Your foes deserve your best, hold nothing back.
3. Those who teach you and those you teach are family, treat them as such.

So pretty easy to follow, quite different from the societal norm while still being an internal compass to guide actions.

prototype00


Okay, this looks so cool that I have to try it.

The Exchange

Would Cornugon smash and Hurtful feats be good for the Conqueror Ooze?

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/cornugon-smash-combat

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/hurtful-combat

Power Attack combined with Vital strike, make free intimidate check, and wail on the bad guy again. Problem is you cannot dump cha(or need to get intimidating prowess to make up for it). I think it is worth while since not many would survive 1 vital strike and 1 standard hit form the Conqueror Ooze. However it means the use of your swift actions, so no using of qinggong true strike.

I like your work btw :D

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, I have been thinking on a Naga aspirant/tetori monk

should I take druid or monk first? I was thinking monk first, but druid is stronger early levels. Maybe druid 4/monk 4 using the wildshape feat then druid after.

and how do i qualify for final embrace? does wildshape do it?


Wildshape should allow you to qualify for Final Embrace (IIRC, you lose the benefits of the feat when you are not in Naga form).

prototype00

Sovereign Court

Some ways to play LN without it being Stupid, you ask?

1) Mercenary. Politics don't really interest you, payment does. As long as you get paid you're a reliable asset.

2) "Groundskeeper"; someone has to regulate the boundaries between civilization and nature.

3) Scholar of nature. Not all druids are hippies; some are serious scholars, keeping records and histories.

4) Tribal leader. Some tribes choose to live within the natural order, rather than embracing "civilization" and urban decadence.


Hello Everyone! I have updated the Guide with my thoughts on the Druid and it's archetypes. The next section will be feats, then spells, then magic items and builds.

prototype00


Looks nice.
One thing: this FAQ lets an Eagle Shaman take the form of a Huge Roc with wild shape. While this might not be the best option, it lets you get a bite/talon/talon routine at level 6 with flight and grab, so I think it's definitely worth considering.


If the main thing you want is unarmed strike and shaping, why not use brawler instead of monk?


thegreenteagamer wrote:
If the main thing you want is unarmed strike and shaping, why not use brawler instead of monk?

I'll address that later in the guide, suffice it to say, it isn't awful but for four points:

- Feral combat training doesn't work with Brawler's flurry (due to the wording of Feral Combat Training)
- None of the Brawler archetypes actually do anything for this build
- No Wisdom Synergy (which you'll need as a Druid anyway)
- No existing tricks to up unarmed damage (like Monk's robe, which doesn't work for Brawlers and Monastic legacy)

Avoron wrote:

Looks nice.

One thing: this FAQ lets an Eagle Shaman take the form of a Huge Roc with wild shape. While this might not be the best option, it lets you get a bite/talon/talon routine at level 6 with flight and grab, so I think it's definitely worth considering.

Ooh, that changes things, its about as good as the Lion Shaman then (flight vs rake). I'll update the guide.

prototype00


Worth mentioning regarding the Naga Aspirant that Nagaji are a valid choice for Racial Heritage, so if you want you can go Human for a slightly better stat spread (STR/WIS with dual talent).


Love the idea of this - looking forward to seeing more of the guide :)

Liberty's Edge

this is great, I am on the edge waiting for more! I must make a druid monk mega smasher!!!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

One thing I'll push again for grapplers is the crocodile domain. Death Roll is a fun ability to combine with a grapple focused build, and sneak attack makes constrict all the more deadly.


I've been considering a build somewhat like this and trying (for flavor reasons, as well as for strength boosts) to incorporate Mutagenic Mauler levels. Have you considered anything like that? I was thinking of a mix of monk and brawler in place of what would normally be occupied by monk levels, but the inability to use natural weapons with Brawler's Flurry really has me hesitating.

Also, excellent guide! This is one of my favorite character types, and I shall be watching eagerly for updates.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
GozrehTime wrote:

I've been considering a build somewhat like this and trying (for flavor reasons, as well as for strength boosts) to incorporate Mutagenic Mauler levels. Have you considered anything like that? I was thinking of a mix of monk and brawler in place of what would normally be occupied by monk levels, but the inability to use natural weapons with Brawler's Flurry really has me hesitating.

Also, excellent guide! This is one of my favorite character types, and I shall be watching eagerly for updates.

There is just a lot more wisdom synergy with Monk, as you gain the AC bonus that is active in wild shape forms and the ability to use ki. The Mutagen will give some nice STR increases, but I don't really think the trade-off is worth it.


Hi Everyone,

I have updated the guide with about half of the feats I was going to look at (there are too many Combat Feats, seriously). I'm pretty certain that I've missed some synergy or misgraded some feat here or there. If you do see something you think should be changed, let me know!

prototype00


Just a Mort wrote:

Would Cornugon smash and Hurtful feats be good for the Conqueror Ooze?

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/cornugon-smash-combat

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/hurtful-combat

Power Attack combined with Vital strike, make free intimidate check, and wail on the bad guy again. Problem is you cannot dump cha(or need to get intimidating prowess to make up for it). I think it is worth while since not many would survive 1 vital strike and 1 standard hit form the Conqueror Ooze. However it means the use of your swift actions, so no using of qinggong true strike.

I like your work btw :D

I like what Cornugon smash does, but Charisma is our dump stat so our Intimidate is never going to be very high. Its a good idea, but you have to take more feats (like the one that gives Str to intimidate) to make it work, and the FoF is already feat starved.

Besides the idea behind the Conqueror Ooze is to kill everything in 1 hit. ;)

Quote:

I've been considering a build somewhat like this and trying (for flavor reasons, as well as for strength boosts) to incorporate Mutagenic Mauler levels. Have you considered anything like that? I was thinking of a mix of monk and brawler in place of what would normally be occupied by monk levels, but the inability to use natural weapons with Brawler's Flurry really has me hesitating.

Also, excellent guide! This is one of my favorite character types, and I shall be watching eagerly for updates.

Imbicatus has the right of it. Lack of opposable thumbs and equipment in most forms to make mutagens also kind of sours it for me.

prototype00


I think it also might be good for you to hit on a few different classes. You need to take a look at the Brawler and the Hunter. The Feral Hunter gains wildshape, the Brawler gains extra feats you can just tack on a couple times a day for extra fun, and allows for a low Wis build (technically you could get by with a 12) and pick up light armor with the wild enchant on it at higher levels. The other thing I like about the brawler is the access to fighter feats. Weapon Versatility + Feral Combat Training is a wonderful feat for those that transform into anything with multiple natural weapons.

I've got a build that might be interesting for you. It takes a while to get going, but it's pretty cool.

Human Feral Hunter 2, Master of Many Styles 1, FH2, Dragon Disciple 4

1. Racial Heritage (Kobold), Scaled Disciple
3. Improved Unarmed Strike, Dragon Style, Stunning Fist, Dragon Ferocity
4. Outflank
5. Shaping Focus
7. Weapon Focus (claw)
9. Feral Combat Training (claw)

From here you can take more monk or Dragon Disciple for Dragon Form if you like.

Grand Lodge

Awesome, looking forward to the builds!


Oterisk wrote:

I think it also might be good for you to hit on a few different classes. You need to take a look at the Brawler and the Hunter. The Feral Hunter gains wildshape, the Brawler gains extra feats you can just tack on a couple times a day for extra fun, and allows for a low Wis build (technically you could get by with a 12) and pick up light armor with the wild enchant on it at higher levels. The other thing I like about the brawler is the access to fighter feats. Weapon Versatility + Feral Combat Training is a wonderful feat for those that transform into anything with multiple natural weapons.

I've got a build that might be interesting for you. It takes a while to get going, but it's pretty cool.

Human Feral Hunter 2, Master of Many Styles 1, FH2, Dragon Disciple 4

1. Racial Heritage (Kobold), Scaled Disciple
3. Improved Unarmed Strike, Dragon Style, Stunning Fist, Dragon Ferocity
4. Outflank
5. Shaping Focus
7. Weapon Focus (claw)
9. Feral Combat Training (claw)

From here you can take more monk or Dragon Disciple for Dragon Form if you like.

The Hunter Animal Focus ability is good, I've said as much in the Guide under the Feral Shifter Druid archetype description.

As for the Feral Hunter, it isn't bad. The spontaneous spellcasting to get into DD is an interesting trick, and this would be a pretty decent build. Personally I like some of the Higher level monk abilities (and defintely higher level monk unarmed strike).

I'll add in a portion in the Class section to talk about other classes like the Brawler or the Hunter when I'm done with the feats.

prototype00


Roaring in anticipation. Thanks!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was expecting something else.


After much work, I have finally completed the feats section. *reaches shakily for the coffee*.

prototype00

Scratch that, still have to do the Style feats *sigh* -_-

The Exchange

Can the conqurer ooze kill everything in 1 shot, assuming no strongjaw up? Furious finish requires you to be able to rage cycle( and probably some way to regain rage). I think I ran the calcs before, you can't 1 hit everything cr appropriate unless buffed with strongjaw and using furious finish. Without either you cant? Assume a long long dungeon crawl...no way you're going to be able to have strongjaw up all the time.


Efreeti wrote:

Once you're done with the mechanics, I'd love to see a section on the RP:

First of all, a druid/monk must be LN, what are some ways to roleplay that without being "laful-stupid"er than the average paladin?

Who sais the "L" of "LN" is a Law of Man... try Law of the Jungle.

Basically any that try to forcibly alter how animals live are your enemies. What you do is "ask" your friends for favors, not "tell" them what to do. You don't control them, rather, they like you and show it with favors.

/cevah


Just a Mort wrote:
Can the conqurer ooze kill everything in 1 shot, assuming no strongjaw up? Furious finish requires you to be able to rage cycle( and probably some way to regain rage). I think I ran the calcs before, you can't 1 hit everything cr appropriate unless buffed with strongjaw and using furious finish. Without either you cant? Assume a long long dungeon crawl...no way you're going to be able to have strongjaw up all the time.

Well, Strong Jaw is a big part of the calculation, yes. I would, for preference, save it for the big battles (you get to cast it around 2-3 times per day, at higher levels I would invest in a 4th level pearl of power).

You still can flurry of blows with a 7d8 slam though, so you're not completely helpless when it is not up.

prototype00


I loved reading through your guide. This type of character sounds way fun. What I really wanted to know while reading it was what kind of level progressions for the two types you would suggest? I was also curious for maybe a model of how it might work as it levels. These are just my constructive criticisms.


Lunchbox3000 wrote:
I loved reading through your guide. This type of character sounds way fun. What I really wanted to know while reading it was what kind of level progressions for the two types you would suggest? I was also curious for maybe a model of how it might work as it levels. These are just my constructive criticisms.

Sample builds is what I am looking for. The next campaign, that I will play in won't be till about February 2015, and this looks like something that I would love to play.

For a sample build, we will be going to level 17 max, so I am thinking druid 4, then some levels of monk.

-- david


Looking forward to the builds section. Really want to see how much of the total damage really requires monk levels - I've got a Ranger / Reincarnated Druid that I'm working on and am thinking about possibly going Irori combat style to get Monastic Legacy without the prereqs but I'm not certain it will lead to any actual damage increase for any of the big animal forms.


I'm definitely interested in more info about why not brawler...martial flexibility is awesome, full BAB from the get go for all situations (not just when flurrying or using CMB/D) is very nice, and the ability to wear armor for those levels before you actually shift adds some serious versatility.

Aside from the wisdom to AC, which unless you're up to a 25 point buy won't be more than 3 points at the most, probably usually just 2, I just don't see the advantage of a monk over a brawler.

I'm working on a shapeshifting grappler, and so far for an 8th level character I've done druid4, fighter2, brawler2, with shifting focus to make up the loss of the four melee levels. (I would've done brawler 4, but I wanted access to heavy armor...and if you're gonna dip 1 fighter, you might as well do 2.) He's a dwarf, so he has no speed loss, and can run around in stoneplate with no issues. He's viable before and after shifting, has an INSANE AC before shifting (thanks to a tower shield being added to the mix), and as soon as I can save up for a wild enchantment or two, he's going to be uber beyond belief when shifted. He's only got 1 point less BAB than a full BAB class, and that's applicable to ALL attacks - including when moving and attacking, which, let's face it, happens a lot more in combat than people seem to assume during theorycrafting (it's like they think you'll always get that full attack off).

I really don't see how a monk4/druid4 would compare to that.


For those of you who are looking forward to the builds, I'll get to them after I finish up with the feats and magic items. I have a couple in mind, worry not. (I've been making this kind of character since the 3rd edition days, after all)

Quote:
I'm definitely interested in more info about why not brawler...martial flexibility is awesome, full BAB from the get go for all situations (not just when flurrying or using CMB/D) is very nice, and the ability to wear armor for those levels before you actually shift adds some serious versatility.

Your points are valid. Most of the work I have done has been on Monks, Brawlers have only been out a couple of months. The wisdom synergy as you said is a big one. Also, Brawler archetypes are, from what I can see, apart from the Mutagenic Mauler (and that one has its own problems) not synergistic with shifting at all. (Nothing stands out like the MoMS or the Maneuver Master).

Also, the lack of Monastic Legacy is a bit rankling for a multi-classed unarmed character.

As I said previously, I will touch on the Brawler in the guide after I am done with feats and skills.

prototype00


How does the strangler archetype for brawlers work out for crushing builds i wonder. 2 levels gets you 2d6 sneak in a grapple (which always applies for this archetype)


Since you give up Unarmed strike and Unarmed Strike damage increases, I am not inclined to view it favorably.

prototype00


T-rex with a fricking KATANA!
I love it.
And the rest of the guide is a good read as well.
Thanks for that.


Would it be possible to write builds first and place them at the beginning of the guide? There are quite a few guides on both Monk and Druid, and all Druid guides follow Optimization Commandment №1.


Nyaa wrote:
Would it be possible to write builds first and place them at the beginning of the guide?

To what end? Those who are new to this kind of build would like to see the basics laid out first, I feel. Also, traditionally, most guides have their builds after the exposition.

Quote:
There are quite a few guides on both Monk and Druid, and all Druid guides follow Optimization Commandment №1.

For general optimization, sure. "Thou shalt not give up Caster Levels" is useful. For optimizing something specifically (in this case unarmed strike/natural attack damage), some sacrifices have to be made.

Also, I'll let you guys in on a secret. Best druid self buffing spells? You get by lvl 4 (Strong Jaw). A Druid/Monk can happily take 10 levels of druid (for Huge Elemental Wildshape with Shaping focus) and still not feel inferior to his more casterly brethren.

Of course for those of you who want 9th level spells, there is a build that gets that and 8d8 unarmed strike damage too, fret not.

prototype00

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