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Reasons not to go full anarmed with monk?


Beginner Box


So either I missed something along the way or I don't understand the rules surrounding unarmed strikes because there's seemingly really no reason to use monk weapons considering they do less damage by a massive amount, my monk in the group dropped his sword the second le learnd that he could do more damage with an unarmed strike, the only benefit over fists I see is magical monk weapons and damage type but that's it


King_Namazu wrote:
So either I missed something along the way or I don't understand the rules surrounding unarmed strikes because there's seemingly really no reason to use monk weapons considering they do less damage by a massive amount, my monk in the group dropped his sword the second le learnd that he could do more damage with an unarmed strike, the only benefit over fists I see is magical monk weapons and damage type but that's it

Yes, you got it. For example, your unarmed strikes are bludgeoning. If you get attacked by zombies, you want to switch to a slashing weapon to get past their Damage Resistance.

Liberty's Edge

And there is also weapon material, for example when fighting fay cold iron weapons help.


Magic is the big one, another is the 1.5 strength you get on two handed weapons. it ends up costing way less to enchant one monk weapon than buying an equal enchantment amulet of mighty fists so over the course of the campaign you would see more accuracy and damage out of a weapon using monk than an unarmed monk... unless the unarmed monk knows a lot about the system and built specifically to optimize their fist. And that can be done and done well but not without a lot of experience with the system or some quality googling.


There are also special abilities. These can help, depending on the weapon and your build. The Sansetsukon, for example, has Blocking (good for Crane Style) and Disarm (in case you'd want to do that). The Kusari-Gama has Reach and Trip. It all depends on what you're interested in.

Another downside of weapons, though, is you can't use your Munk's Style Strike.

Is it widely accepted that you get 1.5x Str on two-handed weapons while flurrying? That seems like something that GMs would be quick to shoot down.


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Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
Is it widely accepted that you get 1.5x Str on two-handed weapons while flurrying? That seems like something that GMs would be quick to shoot down.

It is accepted for unchained monks to get 1.5x Str on two-handed weapons because the unchained version of flurry specifically does not share the chained version's text "A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands" and specifically stated by one of the developers as an advantage of unchained monks:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Interestingly, there have also been a fair number of posts about weapon monks being buffed too much by Unchained monk (they get 1.5x Strength damage now in flurry)...Overall, Unchained monk buffed both weapon and unarmed from the basic monk in different ways. Weapon monk is still doing better damage...(1.5x Strength, better accuracy, and better crits eclipse the increasing damage dice on the unarmed strikes).


Well, my monk has great use magic device and I flurry a staff...I cast with use magic , cures or .....versatility


Disclaimer: I'm only talking about unchained Monk. If you're using chained monk that's either because damage focused unarmed chained monk makes no sense.

King_Namazu wrote:
there's seemingly really no reason to use monk weapons considering they do less damage by a massive amount

This is simply wrong, the opposite is true.

The highest damage monk weapon is 1d10, so unarmed strike does more base damage at 12th or higher level. But, the base damage is generally the smallest part of the total damage.

Let's say 12th level character using Power Attack. 16+2 starting strength + 2 pips, +4 belt for a total of +7 strength bonus. Unarmed has a +3 Amulet of Mighty Fist for 36k gold, while the weapon is +4 for 32k gold.

Unarmed: 2d6+7(str)+3(amulet)+8(power attack) = 2d6+18, average of 25
Weapon: 1d10+10(str)+4(bonus)+12(power attack) = 1d10+26, average of 30.5

The scaling damage makes up for the higher power attack multiplier, but starts up to 3 damage behind. Then there is the higher strength bonus, and then there is the higher enhancement bonus on attack and damage because enchanting a weapon is simply less expensive than an Amulet of Mighty Fist.

Now, there are a lot of monk class features that only work with unarmed strikes, and there are two good style pathes that only work for unarmed (Jabbing Style and Dragon Style). But, there is also one style path that makes monk weapons work with all those class features,including the scaling base damage: Ascetic Style.

Basically, the damage ranking is this:
1. Jabbing Style with Jabbing master (i.e. at least lvl9)
2. Ascetic Style
3. Dragon Style
4. weapon based without Ascetic Style
5. Jabbing Style without Jabbing Master.

Liberty's Edge

This is just the beginner box. They my not have those weapons in it. So mostly this has become info for after you start the full game.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

the only reason to use weapons as a monk are DR or of the creature has a special ability like damage weapon or caustic skin where your weapon is damaged by hitting the creature. if its your fist you take damage from hitting it.


Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't pay attention to which board this was in (and neither did Kitty or Protoman, apparently).

Wait, are there even Monks in the Beginner Box?

Also, man, my first sentence in my last post really makes no sense. I hate this board for not allowing edits!


People often post in the Beginner Box forum because they think it's a "fun" name for a place for actual Pathfinder beginners to ask questions without knowing about the actual boxed product. I know I did during my early Paizo Pathfinder account days. So unless it's actual "Beginner Box"-product questions posted, I'll just in general assume it's actually for the regular game. Especially in this case about monks and swords (I assume temple sword) which I don't even know are in the Beginner's Box or not.

Also I was responding to Kitty's question about 1.5xStr on flurry.

EDIT: I agree the deadline for edits is harsh. So many things I've posted in the past I look back on I still smack my head for due to the typos or grammar errors I didn't catch and now can't fix.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Protoman wrote:

People often post in the Beginner Box forum because they think it's a "fun" name for a place for actual Pathfinder beginners to ask questions without knowing about the actual boxed product. I know I did during my early Paizo Pathfinder account days. So unless it's actual "Beginner Box"-product questions posted, I'll just in general assume it's actually for the regular game. Especially in this case about monks and swords (I assume temple sword) which I don't even know are in the Beginner's Box or not.

Also I was responding to Kitty's question about 1.5xStr on flurry.

EDIT: I agree the deadline for edits is harsh. So many things I've posted in the past I look back on I still smack my head for due to the typos or grammar errors I didn't catch and now can't fix.

Portoman i nkow wha t you mean dude.

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