Dragon Style, Dragon Ferocity and Power attack.


Rules Questions


I am not sure where this goes, but I had a thought and was wondering if I could get some advice/critique for my analysis of this idea.

I have been considering the effect of Dragon Style, Dragon Ferocity and Power attack on unchained monks.

I think I have found evidence that a strength based monk can have very powerful attacks at a relatively low level. However, I am not sure if my reasoning is correct so I would appreciate any feedback to my analysis/logic chain.

BTW I will be replacing the somewhat ambiguous 1-1/2 Str notation with 1.5xStr to help with reading of this writing.

Here goes:
If a 20 STR unchained monk, (not necessary to be unchained, but the full BAB and the better HP due to D10s is nice) at level 5 takes the following feats: Power attack, Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity I think their output attack and damage would be as follows (assuming average rolls for a D20 and a D8, the monks unarmed damage):
Using Flurry
2 X Attack = 10(D20) + 5(BAB) + 5(STR) + -2(Power attack) = 18
1st strike Damage = 4(D8) + 10(2xSTR) + 6(PA) = 20
2nd strike Damage = 4(D8) + 7(1.5xSTR) + 6(PA) = 17

I using the Power attacking bonus as -2/+6 for attack and damage rolls as opposed to the -2/+4. My reasoning is as follows:
From https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/universal-monster-rule s/

Natural Attacks
Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon). These attacks fall into one of two categories, primary and secondary attacks. Primary attacks are made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and add the creature’s full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature’s base attack bonus –5 and add only .5 the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1.5 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type. You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks).

I think a Monk’s unarmed strikes while using Flurry would qualify as a Primary natural weapons based on the wording above. The Primary natural weapon will use full BAB and use full strength modifiers.
Also from https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/monk/

Unarmed Strike
There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.
A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

This would not allow for the spell Strong Jaw to be applied to these strikes, because the monk is not a beast/monster his strikes would only qualify as Primary natural attacks for the purposes of feats and spells applicable to humanoids. (i.e. he would need to cast lead blades on himself, somehow, to gain increased damage dice.)
The reason I am trying to establish that a Monk’s strikes count as primary natural weapons is because according to https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/power-attack-combat-final/

Power Attack
Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half .5 if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1.5 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon

This would indicate that if a Monk’s Unarmed strike could do 1.5 times Strength damage it would qualify for the 1.5 times damage from Power attack, at least according to my reading of the rules.

While a normal unarmed strike does not use 1.5xStr, using Dragon style in addition to Dragon Ferocity all of a monk’s unarmed strikes will use a minimum of 1.5xStr.

From https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/dragon-style-combat/
Dragon Style (Combat)
Benefit: Further, you can add 1.5 times your Strength bonus on the damage roll for your first unarmed strike on a given round.

This feat would take care of the first strike using 1.5xStr, and would allow for a Primary Natural attack to have 1.5xStr applied and so it would allow for Power attack to use the -1/+3 as the attack/damage modifiers as opposed to the -1/+2 for the attack/damage modifiers for the first attack at least.

If we use the Dragon Ferocity feat as well then from https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/dragon-ferocity-combat/

Dragon Ferocity
While using Dragon Style, increase your Strength bonus on unarmed strike damage rolls by an additional .5 your Strength bonus, to a total of double your Strength bonus on the first attack and 1.5 times your Strength bonus on the other attacks.

I find this is often times misunderstood, but my reading of this feat application would be that the first strike from a Flurry will have 2xStr and the subsequent strikes will have 1.5xStr.

Now we have a Monk with two Primary Natural attacks the first of which uses 2xStr and the second uses 1.5xStr. This would mean that the pre-requisites for using Power attack with the -1/+3 ratio instead of the -1/+2 ratio have been met.

I know many will argue that a Monk’s weapons are not Primary Natural weapons, I would say that by RAW, they can count, because the passage on Natural attacks specifically says that a Primary Natural attack qualifies as a Primary attack by using the full BAB and STR of an attacker, and both of these requirements are fulfilled with a Monk’s unarmed strikes, and it could pretty easily be argued that a Monk’s strikes could be counted as “Slams” from a creature, seeing as how they both use a unspecified part of the body and deal blunt type damage.

This would be a pretty long feat chain, but a Monk can complete this chain fairly easily and could be doing a pretty solid 37 damage with average rolls and on a full attack. This will create a very powerful Monk, however, seeing as how a Monk is supposed to be the pinnacle of martial prowess I think flavorfully it fits this class well to be able to achieve such high damage.

I should also mention that if this is allowed, all combat will likely revolve around killing this damage monster right out of the gate by the DM. This would not be out of the ordinary, since after the first strike a group of enemies would label this monk as the most dangerous thing on the battlefield, and since this damage can only be achieved by being a frontline melee combatant it will likely result in a lot of monks getting killed very quickly. Add on top of this the fact that this is still a very MAD class that cannot have any armor on at all, and you have a very much “Striker” character.

I know this is quite long so I really appreciate it if you have stayed with me this far, and would love to hear opinions from anyone who would like to point out to me the flaws in my analysis, I am certain there are many.

Shadow Lodge

My group allows it to work as you say.

However, I believe the official RAW reading is that while a monk's UAS is "treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons" it is NOT a natural weapon and thus doesn't qualify for the "natural weapon applying 1.5 Str" as described in Power Attack.


Some searching will turn up a fair amount of discussion on this topic here on these boards. I don't think I was ever convinced of what RAW actually is in this case, but it did lead me to my ruling for my table.


Power Attack doesn't improve a weapon, it provides a bonus to any melee damage roll where the conditions are met. The weapon itself doesn't really matter.

The "treated as both a manufactured weapon and natural weapon" is for thing like magic fang that actually modify the statistics of a weapon.


I agree with you Mallecks, but the description of the Power Attack feat says that to apply a -1/+3 modifiers to your melee attacks you need to be wielding a two handed weapon, a one handed weapon in two hands or a primary natural attack. That is the only reason I was kind of hung up on the definition of the monks unarmed strike as a primary natural weapon.

Weirdo: I am not sure about the RAW, but I think many of the rulings that are accepted are mostly in place to prevent abusing a monk/wild shaping combo. I think I saw a thread where people were trying to apply a monks unarmed damage while wild shaped into a deneinychous, pretty sure I didn’t spell that correctly.
But I could be mistaken.

Regardless thanks to everyone for the feedback so far.

Hope to see even more opinions.

Also, do you mind letting me know what you ruled for your table Java man?
I am just curious.


Sure, my simple rule to make things easy for everyone is that power attack scales to match the strength bonus on the attack in all cases, either +1, 2 or 3 per increment to match str at 1/2, normal, or 1.5 or better. I know this goes against RAW in some cases, for better or worse, but it hasn't hurt the balance of my game yet and is an easy, comprehensive rule.


It has been my opinion for a while that the Power Attack bonus damage should scale proportionately with all Strength damage multipliers, including *but not limited to* .5x Strength off-hand (+1 per -1 to-hit), 1.5x Strength two-handed weapon(+3 per -1 to-hit), and 2x Strength Dragon Style + Dragon Ferocity first attack (+4 per -1 to-hit).

There are so many ways to add extra damage, extra damage dice and other modifiers that far exceed this bonus that, as a DM, I find this extra 1-2 damage per hit to be negligible. The investment of 2 additional feats into being able to more effectively utilize the Power Attack feat seems very much in line with the power curve of feats in this system in general.

My use of rules in my own campaigns is not in keeping with sanctioned play, but I think it makes the game more enjoyable for my players and increases the viability of more straight-forward builds in a system that seems to overly reward class dipping and feature abusing builds.


What you (and all the others who argue that way) ignore is that the Monkäs unarmed strikes "A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons." Emphasis mine. A general rule is not an effect, however. It's also a classification, not an enhancement or improvement.
Furthermore, the same natural attack rules also state "If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls." - if the general natural attack rules affect a Monk's US, then you don't even need Dragon Style/Ferocity in the first place! Oh, and your iteratives would all be made at full BAB.

I'm sorry, but that can not possibly be the correct interpretation.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
I should also mention that if this is allowed, all combat will likely revolve around killing this damage monster right out of the gate by the DM.

This isn't even close to a "damage monster". It's also far from the best unMonk style for damage, as Ascetic Style does basically the same thing, only with cheaper weapon enchantments (that can be stacked with an AoMF, although that's fairly cheesy), and even that's not the peak.


Thank you Java and ArsMoritoria, those rules seem pretty straight forward and simple to follow I will consult my DM if he feels that would be acceptable.

Derklord, I am not quite sure I understand all that you saying in your post. But I think you are saying that the part of the definition of a Monk's unarmed strike that specifies it as a "Natural weapon" is incorrect. If I misunderstood your words please let me know.

Now the second part of your post says that if a Monk's US is treated as "Natural Attacks" then it would be using 1.5x STR and be all made at highest BAB. I don't agree with this interpretation of the rules, because this type of strength application and use of full BAB is only applicable to "Natural attacks" made by beasts who only have one natural attack(i.e. a wolf's/T-rex's bite or a rhino's charge), at least in my understanding of the rules.

Because a Monk is by definition taking levels in a class, something beasts cannot do without ceasing to be classified as beasts, then the Monk's "Natural Attacks" cannot have the 1.5x STR modifier applied to them without using the Feats of Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity because the Monk is not a beast and their US is not the only attack they have, unlike a rhino's charge or a wolf's bite. At least this is my understanding of the rules, I could well be mistaken, hence why I was asking for opinions on this matter.

Also, I was looking over your post and you say that if the Monk's attacks are primary attacks they should all use 1.5x Str and use full BAB, and I would like to point out that a creature with two claw attacks does not use 1.5x STR for both claws, they only use 1x Str, and those are considered primary natural attacks, also if they have the ability to rake, their rake claws are made at a -5 of Full BAB, much like a Monk's attacks do after about 6th level.

As for the last part of your post Derklord, I was thinking this would be a damage monster at low levels, since I have never personally had a campaign last beyond 6th level I also don't use any magic on my builds, because in most games I have played magic items are not plentiful, and we rarely have the funds to simply buy them. But I was not aware the Ascetic Style monk was so powerful, if you could please provide me a link to see his build and his attack/damage stats I would really appreciate it.

My damage for this monk without using any magic items at all and using only a full attack action will render these stats at level 7:

Flurry with one extra attack using a Ki point and applying ArsM's PA rules for Str bonuses (i.e. at 2xSTR; PA = -1/+4 at 1.5xSTR; PA = -1/+3 and so forth)

3 X Attack = 10(D20) + 7(BAB) + 5(STR) + -2(Power attack) = 20
Attack = 10(D20) + 2(BAB) + 5(STR) + -2(Power attack) = 15
1st strike Damage = 4(D8) + 10(2xSTR) + 8(PA) = 22
2nd strike Damage = 4(D8) + 7(1.5xSTR) + 6(PA) = 17
3rd strike Damage = 4(D8) + 7(1.5xSTR) + 6(PA) = 17
4th strike Damage = 4(D8) + 7(1.5xSTR) + 6(PA) = 17

If we assume all strikes hit because of convenience, then the total damage for this full attack at 7th level with no magic whatsoever is 73 damage on average rolls.

However, I have never built an Ascetic Style monk, and am not sure of the stats, if you could post them for me I would really appreciate it Derklord.

Thank you for your feedback.

Paladin Lamo

P.S. Derklord, I am interested in seeing the peak of damage build, so if you have time could you direct me to that build, I am playing a game with some players who seem to be power gaming a bit and I would like to at least hold my own. Thank you in advance.


Disclaimer: I'm not saying that a Monk gets free 1.5xStr on all his natural attacks, I'm saying that if you choose to apply the primary/secondary classification rules to the Monk's US, than you must also apply the other natural attack rules to it.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
Derklord, I am not quite sure I understand all that you saying in your post. But I think you are saying that the part of the definition of a Monk's unarmed strike that specifies it as a "Natural weapon" is incorrect. If I misunderstood your words please let me know.

My point is that a Monk's unarmed strike (US) isn't generally treated as a natural weapon for everything, but only for some specific things ("spells and effects that enhance or improve (...) natural attacks"). This is a really important distinction, because general rules aren't "effects", they are basic rules.

Thus, none of the natural attack rules are relevant for a Monk's US.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
the Monk is not a beast

Irrelevant - the natural attack rules are in the Core Rulebook (pg. 182), same as the other rules regarding attacking. The section is headed with "During one turn, there are a wide variety of actions that your character can perform" Emphasis mine. It's actually the rules describing primary attacks that only show up in the Bestiary!

Paladin Lamo wrote:
and their US is not the only attack they have

The rule says "If you possess only one natural attack (...), you add 1–1/2 times your Strength bonus" emphasis mine - unless we're talking about a catfolk Monk with claws or something, the Monk doesn't have any other natural attacks*. The ability to make more than one attack per round with the natural weapon in question is irrelevant for that rule (a wolf with Haste still keeps the 1.5xStr). If a half-orc PC with the toothy racial trait makes a standard attack with it, he also adds 1.5xStr on the damage roll.

*) The whole body counts as the unarmed strike, thus you couldn't possibly have more than one of those.

--------------------

What unMonk playstyle does the most damage depends on the level. I'm going after the data gained by a modified version of my DPR calculator spreadsheet, which I've posted here. If you're really interested, I can send you a a copy of my Excel spreadsheet.

As you can see, Dragon Style with 1:3 Power Attack (PA at 3rd level, Possessed Hand at 7th level) does indeed fare rather well, but is never the best. Of course, that also means that doing it doesn't affect game balance. I'm not using 1:4 Power Attack ratio, as that has obviously no base in the rules, but it doesn't change much anyway.

Ascetic Style does constantly more damage except at 6th and 9th level, and at levels above 8th, nothing beats VMC Magus.

VMC Magus actually only does that high damage a few rounds per day at 9th level due to the high cost of Accurate Strike, but at 10th level, the Ki Leech Qinggong Ki Power fixes that.


Alright Derklord, I am still a bit fuzzy on some of the finer points. This may be because I am just not very intelligent, or just a bit dense, I am pretty sure its the latter.

However, I would like to ask a few questions to help me understand, if you would indulge my curiosity.

First though a few points of mine on rules.

1. I agree with you that if I am claiming that the Monk's US is a natural weapon then I should apply all of the Natural weapon rules to it. However, I think I stated in my original post that I was not making this claim, I was saying that it could be counted as a primary natural attack because it followed the criteria of using full BAB and full strength modifiers. The reason I was trying to make this point is because the Feat Power attack, in my opinion would count as an "effect" on the Natural or Manufactured weapon, and as you have stated " A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."

2. If we assume that the fact that the monk is not a beast as irrelevant, then I would ask how can an Elder earth Elemental not use their 1.5xSTR on each slam attack they use.
From Archives of Nethys:

Elemental (Earth), Elder Earth Elemental
Elder Earth Elemental CR 11
Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 123 (Amazon)
XP 12,800
N Huge outsider (earth, elemental, extraplanar)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +19
Defense
AC 23, touch 7, flat-footed 23 (–1 Dex, +16 natural, –2 size)
hp 168 (16d10+80)
Fort +15, Ref +4, Will +10
DR 10/—; Immune elemental traits
Offense
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft., earth glide
Melee 2 slams +26 (2d10+12/19–20)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks earth mastery
Statistics
Str 34, Dex 8, Con 21, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 11
Base Atk +16; CMB +30; CMD 39
Feats Awesome Blow, Cleave, Greater Bull Rush, Greater Overrun, Improved Bull RushB, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Power Attack
Skills Appraise +19, Climb +31, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +19, Knowledge (planes) +19, Perception +19, Stealth +10

If this is taken as proper rules, then the idea you proposed of "One Natural Attack" receiving 1.5xSTR does not make sense. This elemental has only one form of attack, a Slam, which like a Monk is poorly defined and can be thought of as using their entire body, of which they don't have another, therefore they should get to use 1.5xSTR, but they don't. This would indicate to me that even if the Monk's strikes were counted as Natural attacks they would not automatically get 1.5xSTR unless we use Dragon style and Dragon Ferocity. Also the wolf using haste, and the orc's bite are not proper examples. Attacks using haste are special in that they are essentially copies of the first attack, because the Hasted character is moving so quickly it makes the first attack again in the exact same way. The orc's bite is also not going to use the upgraded STR modifier because it is, according to the rules, a secondary attack for the presumably weapon wielding orc.

3. A thought occurred to me while reading through your post. I think the fact that the strength modifier is what presumably dictates how much Power attack modifies your damage we don't even need to classify the Monk's strikes as Natural weapons. My reasoning is as follows: A Monk's strike is treated as Manufactured and natural for effects and spells. The Power attack feat is an effect that happens on your damage rolls based on the strength used with said weapon.

If a power attack modifier is changed from -1/+2 to -1/+3 due to using a manufactured weapon with both hands. Then the only reason for this modification to occur is because you are increasing the STR modifier while wielding said weapon in both hands, therefore if you can use your "Manufactured" strike while applying a higher STR modifier then you can also use the upgraded -1/+3 damage modifier from Power attack.

While the rules do not specifically state that the -1/+3 damage modifier is applied because of a higher STR modifier, we can only logically draw the conclusion that the upgraded damage modifier from Power attack is applied because the weapon now has 1.5xSTR added to it's damage.

I agree that the -1/+4 damage modifier has no basis on the rules as written, but there is a mention of that kind of modifier if you look at a high level Two-handed fighter archetype. This class gets a version of Power attack called Greater Power attack and it specifically says that this causes a -1/+4 modifier to damage.

5. I like your spreadsheet. It is very well done and pretty well explained, but I am just curious where you are getting the damage numbers from? I can see they are progressing, and I am not saying they are wrong numbers I am just not sure what the algorithm is for coming up with 16.4 damage at first level Ascetic form, vs 11.6 first level Dragon Style. If you could help me understand the calculation I would be much obliged.

The Multi-classing into magus, is not surprising at all, I have seen a Magus blast out 350+ damage just with a maximized shocking grasp transmitted through a falchion. But I don't really like bonuses that can only be used a few times a day or a few rounds a day in the case of a Barbarian's rage. They are both useful and impressive, but much like magic items or spells, I prefer to not rely on them for my damage output during game play. I usually just forget to buff before some fights or just don't remember I can do that at all, so I design characters assuming you are not going to have to activate an effect other than power attack and you have no limit you have to keep track of other than your Ki points.


Paladin Lamo wrote:
I was saying that it could be counted as a primary natural attack because it followed the criteria of using full BAB and full strength modifiers.

An unarmed strike is not a natural weapon, thus the rule doesn't apply in the first place. Seriously, there is absolutely nothing that classifies US as either primary or secondary.

Also, "full BAB and full strength modifier" aren't criteria, they are the effects of the classification. The criterai for primary natural attack are "classified as such by type, of only natural attack form".

Your entire argument rests on applying a rule that can not possibly apply! Unarmed strikes count as a weird type of manufactured weapon, and nothing in the Monk description changes that. You wouldn't get iterative attacks if it was an actual natural weapon.

Paladin Lamo wrote:

2. If we assume that the fact that the monk is not a beast as irrelevant, then I would ask how can an Elder earth Elemental not use their 1.5xSTR on each slam attack they use.

(...)
Melee 2 slams +26 (2d10+12/19–20)

There is your answer - it says 2 slams. The condition for 1.5xStr is "If you possess only one natural attack (...)" - 2 is not one. You talk abouty "one natural attack form", while rules ask for "one natural attack".

That the entire body is the US is not my interpretation, it's an actual written rule. Slam has no such rule, and is thus done with a specific body part.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
The orc's bite is also not going to use the upgraded STR modifier because it is, according to the rules, a secondary attack for the presumably weapon wielding orc.

I said "makes a standard attack with it", which means the half-orc makes a single attack with the bite.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
I think the fact that the strength modifier is what presumably dictates how much Power attack modifies your damage (...)

Wrong - what dictates PA's ratio are the exceptions explicitly written in the feat description, and nothing else.

Indeed, the PA ratio is completely independant from the strength bonus - Double Slice doesn't change the ratio for off-hand attacks, for instance.

----------

#5 I'll answer tomorrow. Although it might be better to resolve this issue first, and then discuss actual builds.


I think I understand the rules a bit better now Derklord. Thank you for explaining, no need to worry about the builds, I will just go back and keep reading things over.

I could be mistaken, but you have seemed to be a bit agitated/annoyed as we have conversed back and forth, and if I have upset/angered you with my ignorance, I apologize.

But thank you for clearing up my misconceptions, I appreciate the assistance.


I wanna see this unmonk VMC Magus build, it seems interesting.


Derklord wrote:

What you (and all the others who argue that way) ignore is that the Monkäs unarmed strikes "A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons." Emphasis mine. A general rule is not an effect, however. It's also a classification, not an enhancement or improvement. Furthermore, the same natural attack rules also state "If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls." - if the general natural attack rules affect a Monk's US, then you don't even need Dragon Style/Ferocity in the first place! Oh, and your iteratives would all be made at full BAB.

I'm sorry, but that can not possibly be the correct interpretation.

You didn't quote any prior posts in the above statement like you did with the rest of your post(s), so this may have been replying to my post, which was the one directly preceding. If this was unintended then feel free to discount my response to the above.

I would never argue that the PA damage scaling should apply to unarmed attacks based upon the scalar allowed for primary natural attacks due to the line that a monk's Unarmed Strikes, by way of IUS, count as Manufactured Weapons and Natural Attacks for the purposes of spells or effects that enhance either one or the other.

My argument, which I make only for games I run or play in with a DM who is amenable to the argument, is that the nature of the bonus to damage in Power Attack is clearly scalable with forms of attack that either increase or decrease the amount of bonus damage from Strength.

In the PHB, the book in which the Power Attack feat was printed for Pathfinder, there were only 3 ways to achieve a Strength damage bonus of 1.5x to an attack, and only 2 ways to achieve a penalty dropping you to .5x Strength bonus damage to an attack. All 5 examples of bonus/malus are listed explicitly in the text for the Power Attack feat. In these cases, Power Attack bonus damage suffers a penalty or receives a bonus to the damage done per point to-hit sacrificed. It logically follows to apply the same proportional bonus/malus to attacks that receive the same penalty or benefit from feats or features that were/will be printed in future supplements.

Trying to use the Natural Attacks rules simply muddies the waters and turns an easy yes or no question into a long, drawn out and fruitless discussion, along with clearly absurd conclusions that you highlight rather well in the above quote and following posts. My houserule is purely an errata for Power Attack stating that the feat provides -1 to hit, +2x , with an additional -1, +2x per 4 BAB, where x is the coefficient applied to your Strength Bonus Damage for the given attack, on a per attack basis. This also means that attacks made without a Strength modifier to damage (e.g. Dervish Dance, Unchained Rogue Finesse Training) receive 0 bonus damage from Power Attack. I feel this follows a consistent internal logic for the feat, as well as other feats or features that may be enhanced by it.

As intimated before, this is not in any way supported by Paizo. Paizo is not sanctioning my games, nor am I seeking their blessing. For me, it comes back to logical consistency, fun play, and relative balance. The balance of the combat system is not particularly heavily impacted by these changes, but may enhance the fun of a player playing in my game when they get a few extra points of damage in a round. If that few extra points means the difference between killing something and it surviving to take another turn, so much the better. I'll not weep for the masses of NPCs slaughtered in the pursuit of good times with friends.


I realize that I forgot to note Double Slice, which is in the PHB along with Power Attack. I rule it consistently along with the rest of what I stated, that it gives you back the PA damage that off-handing would cost you without it.


ArsMoritoria wrote:
You didn't quote any prior posts in the above statement like you did with the rest of your post(s), so this may have been replying to my post, which was the one directly preceding. If this was unintended then feel free to discount my response to the above.

It actually was directed at Paladin Lamo, and I apologize for not making clear who I was talking to.

I do indeed think that your houerule is totally reasonable, as it fixes a pet peeve of mine: Paizo's lack of futureproofing. If I ever get into the situation as a GM, I'll probably houserule it that way myself.

­

Paladin Lamo wrote:
I could be mistaken, but you have seemed to be a bit agitated/annoyed as we have conversed back and forth, and if I have upset/angered you with my ignorance, I apologize.

I was indeed a bit annoyed, but it's all fine. Past experience when discussing this topic with someone ridiculously stubborn made me post more aggressive than I should have.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
5. I like your spreadsheet. It is very well done and pretty well explained, but I am just curious where you are getting the damage numbers from?

The numbers from the second linked spreadsheet come from the first one. Well, actually, from a special unMonk-only-version derived from the original Excel sheet.

Ok, I took the time to make an online version of my unMonk DPR calculator spreadsheet.
Make your own copy to edit it. All the calculations are visible, but some of these calculations are fairly complex, and you'll need some understanding of how Excel works.

The pink number in P15 is the first attack for Dragon Style, you would need to adjust that one and the purple number in N15 for the increased Power Attack ratios.

What makes Ascetic Style so strong is that we start with 1d10 19-20/x2 weapon that grants 1.5xSTR and 3:1 Power Attack ratio - which is obviously stronger than the unarmed strike the other styles start with. That's under the presumption that we want to actually start unarmed for these, and not simply use a weapon for the first two or more levels.

Paladin Lamo wrote:
But I don't really like bonuses that can only be used a few times a day or a few rounds a day

That's the thing - at 10th level, the limited recource is de facto unlimited.

The VMC build is pretty straight forward - unMonk (the normal archetypes should work fine), with Variant Multiclassing: Magus. At 3rd level, we get Arcane Pool for +1 weapon enchantment. It's only a few uses per day, because our Int won't be too high, but that's ok. At 7th level, it increases to +2, or we can add flaming etc. to our weapon (which is mathematically superior for us). We also get a Magus Arcana at 7th level, which should be Ki Arcana - at this point, we basically combine our two pools. At 9th level, we take the Extra Magus Arcana feat to pick Accurate Strike, which is normally too costly for a Magus to use on a regular basis. Our combined pool helps in that regard, but it's still a limited recource - until 10th level, when we pick up the Qinggong Ki Power Ki Leech.
With a ki kost of zero, we can simply recast it every time it runs out, i.e. we can maintain it all day long. That alone provides huge amounts of ki, and you can get almost infinite amounds with a few tricks. With this, we should be able to activate Accurate Strike every round of combat, meaning we're constantly attacking touch AC.


Thank you Derklord for the spreadsheet I appreciate it.

I was pretty sure the build used a Sansetsukon or something similar to deal damage initially. I only have one more question about the Ascetic style? How do you get your damage with your weapon to scale while using the weapon in later levels? I think the simple solution is you just put down the weapon and use your fists/body, but I was looking over the Ascetic Feat chain and I read the Ascetic strike feat and thought it would be too costly to the build's Damage dice to take that big of a hit in substituting your unarmed strike damage for the weapon damage dice.

The Magus build seems pretty interesting, I did not know the Magus Arcana could be used as a Ki Arcana. Your solution to the loss of ki points is also pretty cool. But for me this would probably never get off the ground seeing as how the groups I play with never get past level 6. I have only ever played level 1-5 characters and even then I think I only made it to level 5 twice in the last 3-5 years of playing.

But thank you for explaining your build.


Paladin Lamo wrote:
I only have one more question about the Ascetic style? How do you get your damage with your weapon to scale while using the weapon in later levels?

It's build into Ascetic Style itself (for Monk)! The scaling damage counts as an "effects that augment[s] an unarmed strike". The feat's author did regret wording it that way, and thus some people think a houserule is in order. That is why I included a row where that's not used.

This is how Ascetic Style works for an unchained Monk:

Monk class features that now work with the weapon:
● Stunning Fist
● Ki Pool's DR penetration
● The scaling damage (works like Warpriest's Sacred Weapon)
● Dealing full strength on off hand attacks (almost never relevant).

Other things that now work with the weapon:
● Feats that enhance US, e.g. Improved Critical [Unarmed] (no stacking, though)
● Feats that have IUS as a prereq, e.g. Hex Striker
● Traits that enhance US, e.g. Bullied
● Spells that enhance US, e.g. Magic Fang
● Items that enhance US, e.g. Amulet of Mighty Fist (multiple enhancement bonuses don't stack, but other magic weapon abilities can be stacked with them)

Monk class features that do not work with Ascetic Style:
● The extra attack from Ki Pool
● Style Strikes
● Ki Blocker, One Touch, and Quivering Palm
● Flurry of Blows (relevant for tri-point double-edged sword, urumi, and the versatile design modification).
­All of these are 'unlocked' by Ascetic Form, though.

Thing I'm not sure about:
● The ability to deal nonlethal damage without penalty (on one hand, that basically comes from the general rules for US, but on the other hand, it it explicitly mentioned in the Unarmed Strike class feature)
● Weapon Finesse
● Effects that only apply to natural attacks, e.g. Elemental Fury - the "is treated as (...) a natural weapon [blah]" line does make US better, but only indirectly.

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