Monk Class Preview

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some players love to play monks so they can strive toward enlightenment. Others just like to punch stuff!

Monk Features

Monks choose whether their key ability is Strength or Dexterity, which will determine the DC of some of their abilities. Their selection of initial proficiencies looks pretty different from most classes! First off, they have expert proficiency in all their saving throws. Monks aren't trained in any weapons, but they are trained in all unarmed attacks. They also get powerful fist, which increases the damage die of their fists and lets them make lethal strikes without penalty when using normally nonlethal unarmed attacks. Further, they're untrained in armor, but get graceful expertise at 1st level, which gives them expert proficiency in unarmored defense (everybody else is only trained).

They get one last class feature at 1st level, of course: Flurry of Blows! This is a single action that can be used once per round to make two strikes using an unarmed attack. If both hit, their damage is combined. Both these attacks take the multiple attack penalty normally, so usually the monk will be making the second attack at a -4 penalty (since a fist is agile). Flurry of Blows is a huge advantage, letting the monk attack up to four times in a round, or letting the monk have plenty of actions to move and attack in a single turn. Speaking of moving, at 3rd level, a monk gains incredible movement, increasing his speed as long as he's not wearing armor. This starts at a 10-foot increase, and it goes up by 5 feet every 3 levels.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Because monks can defend themselves in so many different ways, we wanted to let the monk pick how his saving throws improve. His saves increase at 7th level through the path to perfection class feature, which lets him increase a save's proficiency rank to master. The second path to perfection, at 11th level, lets a monk treat any successful save as a critical success instead, as long as he has master proficiency in that save. The monk gets his third path to perfection at 15th level, which he can use to either increase his proficiency rank in another save to master proficiency or progress his proficiency at a save in which he's already a master to legendary.

The monk's unarmored defense proficiency also goes up as he levels, first to master at 13th level and then to legendary at 17th. You'll notice that monks no longer add their Wisdom modifiers to AC, which is due to a few factors. First, depending on the monk's Dexterity modifier, the gulf between a heavily armored character and a monk without armor is extremely low, so adding even more bonuses would put the monk really far ahead. Second, adding more than a single ability modifier to a check or DC now really distorts the game. Third, we have another role for Wisdom to play in the class, and wanted it to be optional so monks aren't dependent on many different ability scores, giving you more flexibility with how you can build a monk character.

Of course, it goes without saying that the monk's unarmed attacks get better as he levels up. Magic strikes, at 3rd level, makes the monk's unarmed attacks magical, and increases his proficiency rank to expert. At 5th level, metal strikes causes them to be treated as cold iron and silver; at 17th level, adamantine strikes makes them act as adamantine. Fierce flurry, at 9th level, increases the damage dice of a Flurry of Blows by one step whenever both strikes hit. At 19th level, the monk has developed perfected form, meaning that when he makes an unarmed attack, he can treat any die roll lower than 10 as if he had rolled a 10! This lets the monk plow through weaker enemies who can't handle his immaculate fighting style, and against bosses, he can even turn a good number of misses into hits.

Monk Feats

A monk's feats let him expand how he can attack, teach him special martial arts techniques, let him develop an entire fighting style, or use magic called ki (which we explain in the Ki section).

Your monk could take Monastic Weaponry at 1st level, letting him use his unarmed attack proficiencies, as well as any monk abilities that normally work with unarmed attacks, with simple and martial monk weapons. This is how Sajan gets to use that sweet temple sword! If you'd rather stick with punches, kicks, knees, and headbutts, take a look at Brawling Focus at 4th level, which gives you the critical specialization effect for anything in the brawling weapon group. This means if you critically hit with your unarmed attacks, the target might be slowed 1 on its next turn, losing 1 action.

Some of the special attacks you can learn include Stunning Fist, a great option if you're looking to recreate your Pathfinder First Edition monk. A Stunning Fist strike takes 2 actions and you make an unarmed strike; if the strike deals damage, the target has to succeed at a Fortitude save against your class DC (based on your Strength or Dex, remember?) or be flat-footed for 1 round, or stupefied 2 if it critically fails. So how do you stun the target? If your strike is a critical hit, the target's saving throw result is treated as one category worse, and if it critically fails its save it's stunned for 1 round! At 4th level, you can pick up Deflect Arrow, a reaction that gives you a +4 bonus to AC against a ranged weapon attack, or Flying Kick, which lets you use 2 actions to jump and make a strike at the end of your jump. You can even Long Jump—normally 2 actions—as part of your Flying Kick, potentially moving very far before your strike. Other attacks include Ghost Strike, which lets you use 2 actions to target TAC, or Wall Run, which lets you run up vertical surfaces at your full Speed.

Now what about fighting styles? Let's look at one that starts with the Crane Stance feat at 1st level! A stance takes one action to enter, and can be used only in an encounter. You typically stay in a stance until you enter another stance or get knocked out. In Crane Stance, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and get better at jumping, but the only Strikes you can make are crane wing attacks. What the heck are those? Well, many stances give special unarmed attacks that have statistics much like weapons. Crane wing attacks deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, and have the agile, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits. They're not too different from normal fist strikes, but others differ more; for instance, heavy dragon tail attacks deal 1d10 bludgeoning damage and have the backswing trait instead of agile or finesse. What if Crane Stance isn't enough? Well, you can pick up Crane Flutter, a reaction that increases your AC against a melee attack and lets you immediately riposte with a crane wing strike at a -4 penalty if the triggering attack misses. Each of the stances in the Playtest Rulebook has one special attack tied to it, but I could see us expanding on them in the future, couldn't you? If you really get into stances, you can pick up Master of Many Styles at 16th level, which lets you enter a stance as a free action at the start of each of your turns.

Ki

Oh, geez, I'm running long, huh? Let's make this quick. You know how I said there's a role for Wisdom? Well, that's where ki powers come into play. And when I say powers, I mean powers—they're spells just like other powers (such as the wizard's school powers or the cleric's domain powers). You gain access to ki by picking up the first ki power feat, Ki Strike, which gives you a pool of Spell Points equal to your Wisdom modifier, which you can spend to cast ki strike. This power is a Verbal Casting free action you can use when making an unarmed strike to get a +1 bonus to your attack roll. So you let out a shout and hit better!

Now that you have Spell Points, you can expand your repertoire of powers to teleport with Abundant Step, fire a cone of force with a Ki Blast, or kill someone with Quivering Palm. Quivering Palm costs 2 Spell Points, and as with the monk's other Spell Point abilities, taking the 16th-level feat to get this spell increases your Spell Point pool by 2. Let's take a look, and then I'm outta here (probably flying away using the wind jump power)!

Quivering Palm Power 8

Attack, Necromancy
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Duration 1 month

Make a melee unarmed Strike, dealing damage normally. If you succeed and the target is alive, anytime during the duration you can spend a Verbal action to speak a word of death that could instantly slay it, depending on its Fortitude save.

Success The target survives, the spell ends, and the target is bolstered against it.
Failure The target is stunned for 1 round but survives. The spell's duration continues, but the target is bolstered against being killed by quivering palm for 24 hours.
Critical Failure The target dies.

If you cast quivering palm again, any previous quivering palm you had cast ends.

Logan Bonner
Designer

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I notice the description of powerful fist says you get various perks with your fists. I’m really hoping that’s unarmed strikes in general. (If I’m playing a Monk, it’s because the character needs their hands free for something. Plus, flurry of bites will be cool once we get some ancestries with that feature.)

Locking “jump and attack” behind a class feat, though? Do you normally have to ready an attack with two actions and jump with the third? Does Monk normally ready a flurry and jump with the third action?

Otherwise, it mostly sounds like Monk. The use of styles to tweak your unarmed strikes is nice.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I must admit, I'd much prefer if they were proficient in simple weapons. I mean...what about ranged attacks? Are they just screwed on those forever for no particular reason?

You're supposed to pick up hadoukens, I guess.


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Dilvias wrote:

I am... concerned. From what I can tell, compared to PF1 monk, PF2 monks lose all weapon proficiencies, increasing damage dice past the first level, stunning fist, bonus feats, wisdom to AC and fast movement. Some of these can be bought back as class feats I presume, but doing so means you don't get ki powers at the appropriate levels. Flurry seems worse as well, going from -1/-1 to 0/-4.

Classes have different structures in 2E.

In 1E, Bonus Feats is a terrible feature. Stunning Fist is a terrible feature. Wisdom to AC never gave more than +2 or +3 at first level – Expert Unarmored Proficiency is only 1 point below that – though it's still a bit low. Fast Movement comes at 3rd level for 1E Monks so I'm not sure what you are talking about.

Flurry is a totally different feature.

We have literally no idea about the structure of Ki Powers. It'd be exciting if they scaled with level.

Shadow Lodge

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Dilvias wrote:

I am... concerned. From what I can tell, compared to PF1 monk, PF2 monks lose all weapon proficiencies, increasing damage dice past the first level, stunning fist, bonus feats, wisdom to AC and fast movement. Some of these can be bought back as class feats I presume, but doing so means you don't get ki powers at the appropriate levels. Flurry seems worse as well, going from -1/-1 to 0/-4.

i agree with most of these concerns...but the more i think about it the flurry actually seems a bit better...in pf1 you have to decide each round whether to flurry or not because there's always the chance you will miss both attacks by taking the negative...in pf2 there's never a reason not to try because you don't actually lose anything on the first attack and the second attack doesn't waste an action...


I'm kind of wondering if stances work with weapons (assuming you take the feat). After all, the feat says that weapons work with any monk feature that works with unarmed strikes. However, Crane Strike is a new attack with the "unarmed" type. I think that if you could use crane stance with a staff, then that could really act as a good defensive option for the defensive monk, but it doesn't look like they synergize.


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dragonhunterq wrote:

Wait, Why? one of the defining features of the monk is being the best unarmed combatant - any martial being able to match that is undermining (one of) the central foundation of the monk - IMO.

I cannot agree with you. (unless you missed a 'not' in there)

Not true. A Fighter in PF1 gets better damage unarmed than a Monk. In my view, a fantasy Monk is a ki mystic first and foremost. Making another class better at being a """mundane""" martial artist than the Fighter would "[undermine] (one of) the central foundations of the [fighter]".


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Dilvias wrote:

I am... concerned. From what I can tell, compared to PF1 monk, PF2 monks lose all weapon proficiencies, increasing damage dice past the first level, stunning fist, bonus feats, wisdom to AC and fast movement. Some of these can be bought back as class feats I presume, but doing so means you don't get ki powers at the appropriate levels. Flurry seems worse as well, going from -1/-1 to 0/-4.

Not that I disagree, but I think treating things in PF2e as the same as 1e is a bit of a mistake. They do get increased damage dice, just not to the extent that a PF1e monk does (partially from fierce flurry, which is admittedly conditional, but also from styles), but on the other hand the PF1e monk had to jump through a number of hoops for their unarmed damage. Amulet of mighty fists costs twice as much as a single weapon, and takes up the same slot as an amulet of natural armor, and is limited at +5. In 2e, this is changed to handwraps of mighty strikes, which for all intents and purposes is the same as a weapon, as far as we know. Likewise Wisdom to AC is more powerful now that armor bonuses are weaker and you get more boosts to ability scores at levels (effectively confirmed earlier in the thread by Logan Bonner) (Though I will also say, AC seems way too weak as it stands). And Bonus Feats are going to be less of a thing overall, now that class feats are a thing, and can fill that niche. Flurry, likewise, isn't really getting worse, since it's basically the same as TWF for monks, and in that respect it's the same as TWF for non-monks, but with less action investment.

Now I agree that Stunning fist is atrociously weak right now (even though it's not limited by times per day, it's not really worth the two action investment), and the fact that class features compete with ki abilities makes both less powerful, at least at first glance, but I will say, while I don't think Monks are as powerful as they should be, compared to what we've seen from other classes, PF2e is going to be a very different beast from 1e, so comparing the two seems wrong.

I'm certainly going to be playing a Monk in the playtest, even though it's probably not my first choice, but because I think it's the class we've seen that needs the most work to get to par, but I'm also willing to wait until the playtest to give my final opinion, because it's hard to see if something is correctly balanced, without something else of similar caliber to compare it to.


So I want to make sure I have this right-

I want to make four attacks in a round using flurry of blows, what are my modifiers- +0/-4/-8/-12? Something else?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So am I right in assuming the Monk and Brawler will be the same class in PF2e? Also do we know how many class feats the monk gets?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So I want to make sure I have this right-

I want to make four attacks in a round using flurry of blows, what are my modifiers- +0/-4/-8/-12? Something else?

+0/-4/-8/-8, -8 is the max for an agile weapon.


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Barathos wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:

Wait, Why? one of the defining features of the monk is being the best unarmed combatant - any martial being able to match that is undermining (one of) the central foundation of the monk - IMO.

I cannot agree with you. (unless you missed a 'not' in there)

Not true. A Fighter in PF1 gets better damage unarmed than a Monk. In my view, a fantasy Monk is a ki mystic first and foremost. Making another class better at being a """mundane""" martial artist than the Fighter would "[undermine] (one of) the central foundations of the [fighter]".

Fighter is, and should be, better at using weapons. Unarmed should be the Monks schtick - at least without significant cost to the fighter.

Therein lies Paizos dilemma, they can't please both of us.

I also believe that a weapon using monk should not be as good as an unarmed monk without a significant cost - as that should be the fighters bailiwick.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Where have they previously clarified this?

Oh, geeze. I think it was the monster stat-block thread?

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Does that mean the Level 7 Path to Perfection to Fort does not have success=crit success? While the Barb's level 7 Juggernaut ability does?
The Barbarian's Juggernaut ability clearly does add this. 7th level Path of Perfection is less clear.

I found it...

Mark Seifter wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
  • Saving Throws. If things like evasion are fundamentally a proficiency level in saving throws, it would be nice to make it clear in the stat block if one of these effects apply or the number is just arbitrarily large.[/list]
  • Almost all PCs gain these benefits simultaneously with master and legendary rank in saves, and the one case that doesn't still requires master/legendary to get them.

    I'm guessing the Monk is the one case...


    SilverliteSword wrote:

    I'm kind of wondering if stances work with weapons (assuming you take the feat). After all, the feat says that weapons work with any monk feature that works with unarmed strikes. However, Crane Strike is a new attack with the "unarmed" type. I think that if you could use crane stance with a staff, then that could really act as a good defensive option for the defensive monk, but it doesn't look like they synergize.

    Ooh, that's something else I'd like to see. Because I could definitely see a lot of min-maxing based on weapon choice for stances. And I think that would be a detriment to the monk as a whole, given that it creates the possibility of two options: Either it's fine for unarmed monks, but overpowered for weapon monks, or it's underpowered for unarmed monks but right for weapon monks (and I suppose the inverse of both are possible, but I think defaulting to unarmed works better than the reverse). Either way, I sincerely hope that monks get a good deal of focus in the playtest. Not necessarily because I like monks, but because I think monks are notoriously hard to balance, with the duality of unarmed and armed combat, and I think that solving this problem will create far fewer headaches down the road.


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    dragonhunterq wrote:

    Fighter is, and should be, better at using weapons. Unarmed should be the Monks schtick - at least without significant cost to the fighter.

    Therein lies Paizos dilemma, they can't please both of us.

    I also believe that a weapon using monk should not be as good as an unarmed monk without a significant cost - as that should be the fighters bailiwick.

    A Fighter using several of his feats and weapon training on unarmed/twf is a pretty significant cost.

    They can, in my opinion, by making the Monk more wis/ki based, and having many ki powers supplement the unarmed/martial aspects of the Monk. Then, while the Monk has ki to use, he can outdo an unarmed-focused Fighter.

    Either way, the Monk we got is just a heavily restricted Fighter to me.


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    Maybe the Monk needs a dodge reaction built in, reaction for +2 AC only when unarmored. Like the rogue feat but a built in class feature. That would mean that (without investment) they would have better AC than the rouge but would need to spend more resources to dodge to make up for the fact that they are unarmored.

    EDIT: You could call it deflect blows and have deflect arrows be a direct upgrade to the ability vs ranged attacks.


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    Mixed feelings.

    Leaning too heavily on the unarmed combat and martial arts as the Class's core identity instead of the mystical warrior (ki enhanced) side. If you are going to focus on that aspect of the class, start with the brawler and use a ki granting archetype to make the Monk.

    Making Monastic Weaponry a feat feels like a tax to a range of thematic styles and archetypes.

    I like the martial arts Style feats and that they grant new attack option. I'd like to see some weapons work with styles too, such as Mantis style for dual wielding and monks with a Red Mantis bent. I imagine there may be a style for weapons too, maybe some focused on a particular weapon. I'm hoping other classes can pick them up too.

    I like the idea of the Ki feats and powers. The implication that you have a limited pool of spell points but it expands the more feats you take is nice take. I wonder if there will be any passive benefits for having Ki points in your pool? I'd like to see some variety in the Ki powers tying in to styles and key attributes. Like going strength you can generate Temp HP with attacks or you get some DR to make up for the AC gap between you and a Dex Monk.


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    I think you will find monks are supposed to have low AC because they are supposed to run away with their last action. Remember that they are faster and can double attack as 1 action.

    They can dictate range to avoid blows, not high AC. Flying kick in to re-engage if you are feeling ballsy.

    Wah-pah-pah!

    Really nice design concept.


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    Dilvias wrote:
    I am... concerned. From what I can tell, compared to PF1 monk, PF2 monks lose all weapon proficiencies, increasing damage dice past the first level, stunning fist, bonus feats, wisdom to AC and fast movement. Some of these can be bought back as class feats I presume, but doing so means you don't get ki powers at the appropriate levels. Flurry seems worse as well, going from -1/-1 to 0/-4.

    Worth noting, Monks have several means to increase their dice damage (Fierce Flurry ups their dice by one level on two attacks if both flurry attacks hit, and styles change the dice, potentially increasing the dice as well).

    Most everyone loses bonus feats as well (though Rogues get bonus Skill Feats).

    Also, Monks still get Fast Movement, how did you miss it?

    "Speaking of moving, at 3rd level, a monk gains incredible movement, increasing his speed as long as he's not wearing armor. This starts at a 10-foot increase, and it goes up by 5 feet every 3 levels."

    Both Incredible Movement and Fierce Flurry are built in upgrades not listed in the feats section.


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    Malthraz wrote:

    I think you will find monks are supposed to have low AC because they are supposed to run away with their last action. Remember that they are faster and can double attack as 1 action.

    They can dictate range to avoid blows, not high AC. Flying kick in to re-engage if you are feeling ballsy.

    Wah-pah-pah!

    Really nice design concept.

    So a class that is supposed to be a dedicated frontliner can't actually stick around on the frontline. A'ight.


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    Malthraz wrote:

    I think you will find monks are supposed to have low AC because they are supposed to run away with their last action. Remember that they are faster and can double attack as 1 action.

    They can dictate range to avoid blows, not high AC. Flying kick in to re-engage if you are feeling ballsy.

    Wah-pah-pah!

    Really nice design concept.

    Dictating play patterns this rigidly defeats the purpose of the new action systems.

    This would be bad game design.


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    Souhiro wrote:

    There's something I find odd, re-reading this.

    Should Fighter (And since I think it's a feat, I suppose that Monk, Paladin, and Ranger too) want to use Power Attack in order to increase damage, they have to spent their actions.

    BUT rogues can add sneak damage, without extra action expenditure? And they can even dual-wield, and add sneak attack MANY TIMES?

    I suspect the missing piece to this puzzle is the same piece you see in Starfinder. Weapons that work with sneak attack will be limited to those weapons that do exactly (fighter weapon dice)-(sneak attack dice). Essentially cosmetic non-abilities used to make characters seem different without any real change.


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    Secret Wizard wrote:
    Malthraz wrote:

    I think you will find monks are supposed to have low AC because they are supposed to run away with their last action. Remember that they are faster and can double attack as 1 action.

    They can dictate range to avoid blows, not high AC. Flying kick in to re-engage if you are feeling ballsy.

    Wah-pah-pah!

    Really nice design concept.

    Dictating play patterns this rigidly defeats the purpose of the new action systems.

    This would be bad game design.

    I think this is what the devs want. I've lost count of the number of times "using X action is better than a 3rd attack" has been said by the devs.


    Deadmanwalking wrote:


    It is, but we know Fighters get to Master in armor eventually (and can get to Legendary somehow), so the Monk's increases after 1st are matched or exceeded by the Fighter's. So they might catch the rogue, but will never catch the Fighter.

    I don't actually have a problem with monk AC never quite catching the Fighter, given other advantages the monk has with mobility and touch AC and probably saves as well. I feel like if they match or exceed a rogue they are probably in a decent place.

    Quote:
    This is also the Dex Monk vs. a bog standard Rogue or Fighter. The Str Monk is in a much worse position.

    I share this concern, yeah. I doubt a static damage bonus is going to really be worth the AC dip... though it might be interesting for weapon users who don't want to wield finesse, and I guess there's always Athletics maneuvers. Doesn't seem like enough though.

    Quote:
    This is true to some degree. But only to some degree. +1 on one or two Saves (everyone get Expert at one Save, and most people seem to get it in two), so they're only getting +1 to one Save as compared to many characters. +1 Reflex doesn't seem worth lower AC to me, though that might not turn out to be true in play.

    That's fair-- I was thinking based on the barbarian classes wouldn't have their "good" saves scale at the same rate, but the Druid does get 2 at first level. I agree +1 Reflex doesn't seem worth +1 AC, although having +1-2 touch AC might be, and having saves add to CMD type DCs is relevant as well. Really depends on how diverse the threats are, I guess.

    Quote:

    I despise how much PF1 Monks rely on Mage Armor for basic functionality, as it's super counter to their whole theme. I will be very disappointed if that's still the go-to/necessary tactic in PF2.

    That's fair. Though I doubt it will be relevant once Bracers come into play-- I THINK Mage armor acts as a Bracer, not in addition to? So Monks will appreciate the wizard giving them Mage Armor the first couple levels, but then it will probably become pointless.

    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    They can only do this if they're a weapon user or using the right style, both of which require Feat investment. I'd really like the Monk to be on par with other people sans Feats. Burning Feats to get to where other people are without Feats is not fun.

    I'm not sure you need proficiency to use a Block weapon to block, though you very well might with the weird ways shield proficiency (or the lack there of) interacts with armor proficiency.

    Quote:
    This is true to some degree, but IMO not enough of an advantage to compensate for the weakness.

    Definitely seems that way, but Logan mentioned ACP and bulk as relevant points of comparison. I DO think they are gonna try and make bulk a much more relevant limitation. And if ACP is bad enough, then not having it could be analogous to something like a skill assurance feat. Probably not quite there, but it is something.

    Quote="Barathos']Not true. A Fighter in PF1 gets better damage unarmed than a Monk. In my view, a fantasy Monk is a ki mystic first and foremost. Making another class better at being a """mundane""" martial artist than the Fighter would "[undermine] (one of) the central foundations of the [fighter]".[/b]

    Paizo already did put out a better mundane unarmed combatant... it was called the Brawler. The monk just seems to be absorbing it. That aside, the comparison between the monk/brawler vs the unarmed fighter looks about the same as PF1-- Fighters still get better accuracy and damage, while the monk gets various miscellaneous perks like bypassing DR. (Fighters in PF2 get Master in one weapon group at 3rd level. This blog confirms unarmed strikes are in the Brawling weapon group. Monks only get Expert at 3rd level. Ergo, Fighters can have better punching numbers than monks.)

    Quote:
    I must admit, I'd much prefer if they were proficient in simple weapons. I mean...what about ranged attacks? Are they just screwed on those forever for no particular reason?

    Yeah, I'm coming around to this as well. (Although, as an interesting aside, the wizard blog made no mention of weapon proficiency, so I'm not sure they get any? But the wizard will now have better cantrips so it won't need to resort to crossbows, the monk does not.) Let them at least use slings or something.


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    Secret Wizard wrote:
    Yep, my concerns are mostly numerical too at this point.

    I share other people's concerns as well with this. But I'm confident (perhaps naively confident) that numerical issues will get sorted out in the playtest (whether it's a flat +2 or WIS mod with a feat).

    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Yaaaay. I'm happy you're happy. :)

    I actually started out the playtest quite positive. I also think conceptually most people are happy with it. It's just the gritty details people are most unhappy with (I'm expecting version 1 of the playtest monk will probably be underpowered. But once we know how underpowered it is I expect Paizo to boost it's power to an appropriate level. PF1e monk got a lot of love in both Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat, although that love was pulled back with Unchained Monk IMO).

    What I'm most happy with is that PF1e saw many styles of monks enabled by later supplements (standard eastern monk in CRB. Priestly monk flavour in APG+UM. Brawlers with APG+UM+UCombat). This monk seems to have kept those abilities.

    For PFS my group had a party of monks at one point: Whip master (I think they had 1 level monk which was required to count as a monk). Maneuver master. Friar Tuck Weatherby. Standard eastern flavoured monk. We tried to journey with a cleric and wrecked a lot of mods with lots of careful maneuvering to maximise AoOs and ki stomp action. We were probably/definitely overpowered for PF1e martials. But the point of the above story is we had so many flavours of monk that weren't possible (barring 1) in CRB monk. That flavour definitely appears possible in PF2e.

    Igwilly wrote:
    You know, I read a lot of AD&D 2e stuff, and that edition’s monk was very weird. 2e Monk (Spells & Magic) has the unarmed, unarmored fighting style, but other than that, it has divine spells instead of ki effects (although with access to some unorthodox spheres). It really is a Monk! That makes a lot of sense and no sense at the same time.

    My first introduction to a D&D monk was the Faiths & Avatars book for Forgotten Realms. I really liked that style of monk (hence making one in PF1e).

    nohar wrote:
    in pf1 you have to decide each round whether to flurry or not because there's always the chance you will miss both attacks by taking the negative...

    I've never seen a monk not flurry with every full attack in PF1e. As mentioned above, I've played with more than a few monks (poor Iron Fist. Such an unfortunate name). It's also rare for a monk to not power attack (although it does happen).


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    Arachnofiend wrote:


    So a class that is supposed to be a dedicated frontliner can't actually stick around on the frontline. A'ight.

    Who said monks are dedicated front liners?

    Everything in the design points to them not doing this. Sure they can, but they are at higher risk than a Paladins or Fighters.

    They can get +4 AC against ranged. This means that they should often be at range.

    They even pick up a free action at high levels for movement.

    I am not a big watcher of martial arts films, but of the few I have watched they are often jumping around and breaking distance. Not standing there and taking it.

    Although there are characters that so a lot of blocking, these characters are generally a much higher level than their opponent, therefore a much higher AC.

    Sovereign Court

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Malthraz wrote:
    Arachnofiend wrote:


    So a class that is supposed to be a dedicated frontliner can't actually stick around on the frontline. A'ight.

    Who said monks are dedicated front liners?

    Everything in the design points to them not doing this. Sure they can, but they are at higher risk than a Paladins or Fighters.

    They can get +4 AC against ranged. This means that they should often be at range.

    They even pick up a free action at high levels for movement.

    I am not a big watcher of martial arts films, but of the few I have watched they are often jumping around and breaking distance. Not standing there and taking it.

    Although there are characters that so a lot of blocking, these characters are generally a much higher level than their opponent, therefore a much higher AC.

    I think I'm digging the style of monk that darts in and out of combat. Take some Acrobatics skill feats to avoid enemy reactions on move and you are pretty solid.


    7 people marked this as a favorite.
    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Malthraz wrote:
    Arachnofiend wrote:


    So a class that is supposed to be a dedicated frontliner can't actually stick around on the frontline. A'ight.

    Who said monks are dedicated front liners?

    Everything in the design points to them not doing this. Sure they can, but they are at higher risk than a Paladins or Fighters.

    They can get +4 AC against ranged. This means that they should often be at range.

    They even pick up a free action at high levels for movement.

    I am not a big watcher of martial arts films, but of the few I have watched they are often jumping around and breaking distance. Not standing there and taking it.

    Although there are characters that so a lot of blocking, these characters are generally a much higher level than their opponent, therefore a much higher AC.

    I think I'm digging the style of monk that darts in and out of combat. Take some Acrobatics skill feats to avoid enemy reactions on move and you are pretty solid.

    I'm absolutely game with this style of monk. I just don't want it to be the only style of monk. There are martial artists that are implacable wo/men who advance inexorably driving foes before them, or who stand firm and leverage power, whether in actual outright blows or in grapples and other maneuvers. That should be equally doable, not just the glass cannon.

    SPEAKING OF. We didn't actually really see ANYTHING about maneuvers today, and I thought the monk blog was when that was going to come up. An actual discussion of stuff like grapple and trip and reposition. Are we not going to get a blog about that, or is that now looking like the Friday blog?


    9 people marked this as a favorite.
    Malthraz wrote:
    Arachnofiend wrote:


    So a class that is supposed to be a dedicated frontliner can't actually stick around on the frontline. A'ight.

    Who said monks are dedicated front liners?

    Everything in the design points to them not doing this. Sure they can, but they are at higher risk than a Paladins or Fighters.

    They can get +4 AC against ranged. This means that they should often be at range.

    They even pick up a free action at high levels for movement.

    I am not a big watcher of martial arts films, but of the few I have watched they are often jumping around and breaking distance. Not standing there and taking it.

    Although there are characters that so a lot of blocking, these characters are generally a much higher level than their opponent, therefore a much higher AC.

    I have watched many martial arts films.

    There is more than one of them.

    I also know some martial arts.

    There is more than one of them.

    I have a notions of how I want Monks to be.

    I expect that someone out there has different one. As a matter of fact, I expect there to be many of them.

    Limiting a whole class to a single playstyle is terrible game design, turning a whole fantasy into a series of levers to be pushed and pulled. We would only get to choose limited inputs, and optimization is the only variant.

    Permitting many different playstyles based upon a fantasy would be more akin to giving a blank canvas with a specific set of colors – within a certain range, create what you want. We would get to choose how to realize our fantasy, and what for.


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    Ugh, love the core of the monk but seeing Lvl 8 power brings me flashbacks of (gulp), 4th edition DnD

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.

    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    Scarab Sages

    KingOfAnything wrote:
    I think "bolstered" is a new term. Anyone know what it means?

    Based on the context, especially the part of "for 24 hours" I am going to guess it's their chosen word for immune to the effect. Seems to be part of Paizo's efforts to standardize the language a bit to reduce ambiguity.

    So rather than saying "is immune to the effect" or "cannot by targeted by this ability for 24 hours" they just say "bolstered against X for Y duration."


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    An assumption from PF1 seems to have returned. That is, unarmored defense. Sure, a monk with REALLY good stats (read: not using point buy and obtaining VERY good rolls) will MATCH a fighter in full plate without a shield. Now, give that fighter mithral fullplate and a mithral tower shield, both fully enchanted. That's our minmaxed monk vs an AC of +30, or a +35 counting an amulet of natural armor. Our monk could wear that same amulet as well as boost his dex and wis, but that's a total equipment-based bonus of +22 on top of however high he can get those relevant stats. For the sake of maths, let's say he started as a Wis/Dex race and scored some sweet 18s. That's a +32, going up to a cool +34. Through effort, you managed to be within 1 point of AC of the fighter who bought his way in. There's no "gulf," and if there was, it's the fighter who's on the far side.

    Making it a static bonus instead of a score bonus is a buff, not a nerf. Hey, be proud of that.

    Edit: I see a small math error. One that only narrows the gap. My point bringing this up was that a VERY powerful monk can keep up with a fighter, but unarmored defense wasn't broken in the slightest.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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    Sinistrad wrote:
    KingOfAnything wrote:
    I think "bolstered" is a new term. Anyone know what it means?

    Based on the context, especially the part of "for 24 hours" I am going to guess it's their chosen word for immune to the effect. Seems to be part of Paizo's efforts to standardize the language a bit to reduce ambiguity.

    So rather than saying "is immune to the effect" or "cannot by targeted by this ability for 24 hours" they just say "bolstered against X for Y duration."

    Not sure how that is any more clear than "immune to X for Y duration". My guess is that immune is reserved for permanent immunities and bolstered for temporary ones.


    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    I've never seen a monk not flurry with every full attack in PF1e. As mentioned above, I've played with more than a few monks (poor Iron Fist. Such an unfortunate name). It's also rare for a monk to not power attack (although it does happen).

    Well, in PF1, there was also the fact that you didn't get to full attack all the time, and the monk in particular had an odd amount of things that prevented it-- grappling, Scorpion Style, and such. (Unchained Monk doesn't have this issue as much.)

    0/-4/ is the same numerically as -2/-2, which is what the original flurry was. And it is also literally the only way to get 2 attacks in one action we have seen so far. Which is pretty dope if they are swinging a high dice weapon or punch, in particular.

    Quote:
    I think I'm digging the style of monk that darts in and out of combat. Take some Acrobatics skill feats to avoid enemy reactions on move and you are pretty solid.

    I've been DM'ing for a half-orc Unchained Monk in the Revised Action Economy. His starting stat array was:

    STR 14
    Dex: 16
    Con: 10
    Int: 14
    Wis: 14
    CHA: 10

    Not an optimal stat array, but he's done very well for himself with it, and is more versatile than the average monk beat stick. The action economy does wonders for the monk.

    He was knocked below 0 more often than the other martials, which isn't surprising, but then he took spring attack and now pops in, flurries, and pops out without provoking, and can do it over stupid long distances with sudden speed. Quite solid, once he ironed out the kinks. (He did also get helped by the World is Square feat tax rules, but those kinda look like the default in PF2 anyway.)

    All that is to say, I'm more worried about the AC discrepancy and strength monks losing out to dex monks than I am the MAD thing, at the moment.


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    As someone who liked the flavour of monks being mystic warriors I'm disappointed they've been changed to "Brawlers, and if you want you can be as MAD as ever to use ki powers once per day". What a waste of potential.

    They could have made unarmed combat just another style of combat that any martial character (including monk) can be good at, and had the monk actually have a point to using ki powers and having wisdom. A standard flavour monk will need high strength, high dexterity, high constitution, and high wisdom, and because the class has Less ties to wisdom your wisdom score is basically doing nothing at all aside from giving you a pathetically small amount of spell points.

    At this point, paladins are better at being mystical warriors than the monk is which is just ridiculous.

    Also, I'm not really sure why a monk would ever spend 2 actions to stupefy someone at best basically, rather than just attack them.


    dragonhunterq wrote:
    Barathos wrote:
    dragonhunterq wrote:

    Wait, Why? one of the defining features of the monk is being the best unarmed combatant - any martial being able to match that is undermining (one of) the central foundation of the monk - IMO.

    I cannot agree with you. (unless you missed a 'not' in there)

    Not true. A Fighter in PF1 gets better damage unarmed than a Monk. In my view, a fantasy Monk is a ki mystic first and foremost. Making another class better at being a """mundane""" martial artist than the Fighter would "[undermine] (one of) the central foundations of the [fighter]".

    Fighter is, and should be, better at using weapons. Unarmed should be the Monks schtick - at least without significant cost to the fighter.

    Therein lies Paizos dilemma, they can't please both of us.

    I also believe that a weapon using monk should not be as good as an unarmed monk without a significant cost - as that should be the fighters bailiwick.

    IIRC, using moves like grapple or disarm requires a free hand. So a fighter would have to drop his weapon or shield to do those things, while a monk would get to do them without dropping anything. So perhaps the fighter is the master of damage while the monk's thing is probably combat maneuvers.

    If that were the case, though. I'd thing it would have been mentioned. Maybe they haven't mentioned it because there hasn't been a blog about combat maneuvers.

    O.O maybe that will be Friday?


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    Quote:
    Monks aren't trained in any weapons, but they are trained in all unarmed attacks.

    Then I must've imagined all those monks I had that used Monk Weapons.


    JoelF847 wrote:
    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.
    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.


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    I am 100 percent a okay with this type of monk, the push for more modulartiy in PF2 is definitely a giving these guys a much needed buff in my option.

    I am also not super worried about the ac as the way I see monks should not nessarly be standing in one spot and getting wailed on. The monks are going to be fast and the fact that Attack of oppurtinty are no longer standard means these guys can be duck in and out of combat. With the the new action econemy they can move, punch, then move out again and not nessarly get a AOO.

    Something to think about I think


    I have to figure there is something (or several somethings) for the Str>Wis>Con>Dex (which should be a fine array for a monk) to not end up taking catastrophic damage in every fight, we just don't know about it yet.

    And if there isn't something like this, let's get something like this.


    Captain Morgan wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.
    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.

    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?


    Mbertorch wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.
    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.

    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?

    Maybe not? Can't see why you'd need them.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I assume Expert, Adept, and Warrior are subsumed into the NPC arrays in an Unchained Simple Monster creation or Starfinder NPC creation system. If you want an NPC-level npc, use the array. If you want one that acts more like a PC, use the PC class to level them.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Mbertorch wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.
    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.

    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?
    Maybe not? Can't see why you'd need them.

    For that one GM (Rob) who constantly has session 0 as the party playing level 0 commoners.


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    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Alchemaic wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Mbertorch wrote:


    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?
    Maybe not? Can't see why you'd need them.
    For that one GM (Rob) who constantly has session 0 as the party playing level 0 commoners.

    Just give the player their ancestry and background, I suppose.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Good good punch buddies are gonna be fun to play. Glad mystical paths are optional because I like mundane heroes most.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Alchemaic wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Mbertorch wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:


    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.

    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?
    Maybe not? Can't see why you'd need them.
    For that one GM (Rob) who constantly has session 0 as the party playing level 0 commoners.

    Since racial HP finally stacks with level 1 HP, I assume a "level 0" character is just playing with the Ancestry and Background selections from the ABC, and doesn't get Class or the rest of their build until they actually become level 1.

    EDIT: Ninjas, man...


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Mbertorch wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).
    He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.
    I don't see why a monk would be less proficient at simple weapons than a commoner or a wizard though. Those are about as low a bar for weapon use as there is, and a monk as a martial character shouldn't be worse off with them. They would have picked up SOME minor training in a basic weapon or two before they became a monk.

    I'm actually thinking Commoners and wizards WON'T get simple proficiency this time around. (To be fair, commoners were only proficient in one simple weapon in PF1. They really sucked.) Also might be worth keeping mind that the untrained penalty is only -2 this time, which admittedly sucks worse than a -2 did in PF1.

    I DO think monks should get at least simple weapon proficiency by default, though.

    Are the NPC classes (like Commoner) still a thing in PF2?

    I actually was reminded last weak of a commoner campaign a friend ran (I only listened in on part of it, since it wasn't my thing), and I came to think that that probably would just be served by Ancesty HP + Background + 1+Int skills trained, in PF2e, as 0-level characters, with the rest coming out at first level. I don't suspect that there will be rules for it, especially given the way NPC design will be no longer tied to class and level by necessity, but I think level 0 characters will replace a lot of the NPC classes, possibly with NPC rules or houserules like "A level 0 npc can be expert in a single skill, or Master in a single skill based on their Background" so that you can have level 0 smiths or (non-cleric) priests who still have some knowledge or skills that PCs don't necessarily have.

    Edit: Ninja'd Several times over. But by the Inverse law of Ninjitsu, I guess I'm the real powerhouse here.


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    The concept that NPC classes being replaced by a combination of ancestry and background is brilliant.


    A lot of interesting stuff to unpack here, but my first thought is: I wonder if we'll eventually see Con or Int based Monks? (Fakir-like ascetics for the former, and Karnak of the Inhumans style monks for the latter). That would be really cool!

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