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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Secret Wizard wrote:


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.

I actually agree with this. However, I think what we are seeing in the play test is the evasion style of Monk. I think there should be other styles, and I think there will be other styles, but for now it has been pushed to fill this combat niche.

So I don't think it is bad game design, it's just limited game design. I think it is unreasonable to expect Paizo to be able to replicate 10 years worth of character development in a single play test release.


So hmm if multiclassing works like alot of people are thinking about it working similar to variant multi-classing in P1E) then perhaps we could even see a INT or CHA monk via multiclassing picking up wizard or sorcerer based abilities.


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One other thing that stands out to me about this preview is that it suggests that some of the hybrid classes of 1E (notably arcanist, bloodrager, and brawler) might be being somewhat "combined" with base classes in 2E if only by way of different class ability/feat choices taken, and thus might not eventually get their own standalone classes.


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Logan Bonner wrote:
My suspicion is that such a monk will still have Dex second, so 18 Str/16 Dex at 1st level, 19/18 at 5th level, 20/19 at 10th level, and so on, meaning they're behind by 1 or 0 in AC at most levels. A monk like this will probably want Con third for sure. We'll see how it fares in playtest!

Please don't say that ability increases will be similar to Starfinder regarding 2 points to lower than 18 score and 1 point to higher... This is super confusing and not player-friendly...


Well that would make it easier to control how many classes are available (some thing like 20 in pf1). It also allows resources to be used for new classes with new mechanics, Ex: Alchemist/Wizard can create an artificer class merging alchemical reagents with arcane power. Or, a Monk/Fighter creating an MMA type class.

Liberty's Edge

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I wish there was a feat for monks to use their deity's favored weapon.


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Bruno Mares wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
My suspicion is that such a monk will still have Dex second, so 18 Str/16 Dex at 1st level, 19/18 at 5th level, 20/19 at 10th level, and so on, meaning they're behind by 1 or 0 in AC at most levels. A monk like this will probably want Con third for sure. We'll see how it fares in playtest!
Please don't say that ability increases will be similar to Starfinder regarding 2 points to lower than 18 score and 1 point to higher... This is super confusing and not player-friendly...

Weeellllllllp. I guess Logan's comment does confirm our fears about the Starfinder "diminishing returns" ability increases returning, and means odd scores are still a thing. :|


JoelF847 wrote:
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.

Bolstered by itself is immunity for the effect (from that source iirc) for 24 hours iirc.

I suspect that the reason in this blog they use "target is bolstered against being killed by quivering palm for 24 hours." is because people might think that the bolster from a failed save (since it comes from the spell itself) would last permanently rather than just 24 hours.

Whereas if you look at success "The target survives, the spell ends, and the target is bolstered against it." they don't feel the need to say 24 hours.


pixierose wrote:
So hmm if multiclassing works like alot of people are thinking about it working similar to variant multi-classing in P1E) then perhaps we could even see a INT or CHA monk via multiclassing picking up wizard or sorcerer based abilities.

On the one hand, this is the only way I can think that this would work, given how much is level 1 here. On the other hand, I hope not. Not because I like the old system of MC, but because I don't like the binary notion of VMC. It reminds me too much of 4e's Hybrid Classes. I don't have too many problems with 4e, beyond the snail slow pace of combat, but if it showed it's seams anywhere it was the hybrid/mc system, where you could only get either a limited version of a class ability, or go half-and-half with classes.

As I've said, I'm not too much a fan of PF1e Multiclassing, but it can be as organic or structured as you see fit, in a way that default structured systems can't.

I don't know how I'd work with this, especially given that I like most of the way stuff works in 2e, but it chafes me.

Bruno Mares wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
My suspicion is that such a monk will still have Dex second, so 18 Str/16 Dex at 1st level, 19/18 at 5th level, 20/19 at 10th level, and so on, meaning they're behind by 1 or 0 in AC at most levels. A monk like this will probably want Con third for sure. We'll see how it fares in playtest!
Please don't say that ability increases will be similar to Starfinder regarding 2 points to lower than 18 score and 1 point to higher... This is super confusing and not player-friendly...

Not meaning to be dismissive, but could you explain? It seems fairly easy to me. If you have a 16 or lower, it's a +2. If not, it's +1. The only issue I can see is people unfamiliar with the d20 ability score system, but at least to me it doesn't seem much more difficult than the old system


pixierose wrote:
So hmm if multiclassing works like alot of people are thinking about it working similar to variant multi-classing in P1E) then perhaps we could even see a INT or CHA monk via multiclassing picking up wizard or sorcerer based abilities.

I'd expect multiclassing to be via feats only. Which could stop thus from happening. Hopefully I'm wrond.

Do we have confirmation as to how weapon proficiencies work? I have a sneaky suspicion we will get AD&D2e style proficiencies.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malthraz wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:


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.

I actually agree with this. However, I think what we are seeing in the play test is the evasion style of Monk. I think there should be other styles, and I think there will be other styles, but for now it has been pushed to fill this combat niche.

So I don't think it is bad game design, it's just limited game design. I think it is unreasonable to expect Paizo to be able to replicate 10 years worth of character development in a single play test release.

Except Paizo doesn't have to replicate anything, the 10 years worth of character development has been done already and just needs to be ported over to the new rules. There's glimpses of that in the preview above, but that's not what people are complaining about. People are complaining about the basic functions of the class: the defenses, the stat requirements, the way some things get locked out by others, nothing really about the niceties of the class and just the basic parts of it.

Also, as someone who's played an evasion style of Monk, it's pretty meh. Only so many times you can spring attack before it gets old and you'd prefer to just beat people into the dirt.


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Cthulhudrew wrote:
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!

I mean, there aren't even Wis-based Monks really so I think that would be getting ahead of ourselves.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

My initial read, I dig it. I’m liking the approach of finding that essence in the class and bringing that to the fore. I also dig the modularity.

I think having unarmored as the base weapon proficiency is a great idea!


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Tholomyes wrote:


Not meaning to be dismissive, but could you explain? It seems fairly easy to me. If you have a 16 or lower, it's a +2. If not, it's +1. The only issue I can see is people unfamiliar with the d20 ability score system, but at least to me it doesn't seem much more difficult than the old system

If you have an extra point, it's better to put it into something you don't want to advance than something you do want to advance. If you hit 15 then 17 you pay double the price to get to 18 compared to someone who went from 16 to 18. This means that extra point is best spent on a dump stat that can be used for qualifying for feats or what have you. So your dex based character would put that odd point into strength to qualify for heavy and power armor proficiency rather than into dex which would waste the point. It's a bit anti-intuitive.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).


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ErichAD wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:


Not meaning to be dismissive, but could you explain? It seems fairly easy to me. If you have a 16 or lower, it's a +2. If not, it's +1. The only issue I can see is people unfamiliar with the d20 ability score system, but at least to me it doesn't seem much more difficult than the old system
If you have an extra point, it's better to put it into something you don't want to advance than something you do want to advance. If you hit 15 then 17 you pay double the price to get to 18 compared to someone who went from 16 to 18. This means that extra point is best spent on a dump stat that can be used for qualifying for feats or what have you. So your dex based character would put that odd point into strength to qualify for heavy and power armor proficiency rather than into dex which would waste the point. It's a bit anti-intuitive.

They also changed the default ability generation so that you always start with even scores so this wont be an issue.


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Malthraz wrote:


I actually agree with this. However, I think what we are seeing in the play test is the evasion style of Monk.

So I don't think it is bad game design, it's just limited game design. I think it is unreasonable to expect Paizo to be able to replicate 10 years worth of character development in a single play test release.

>Evasion style of Monk

We're literally just comparing Monk to any other martial, it's the fact you have to min-max Monk to be comparable to an average martial in terms of AC that's the problem. (A rogue shouldn't be beating a Monk)
This is not a "style" of play, it's just the core mechanics of the class.

>Limited game design/unreasonable to replicate 10 years

This is the foundation, we are criticizing the foundation of the class, most of us are comparing it to the base design of other classes revealed and asking why Monk seems to be so restricted in terms of effectiveness. Nobody is asking for Monk to be king of AC, but Monk seems pretty deflated with this preview.

If i want to play similar to 1E UnMonk that hits things hard and has ki powers, (STR+WIS), why does my AC need to suffer so severely?


Well according to Mark, Monk AC is too good. So no worries.


Malthraz wrote:
Well according to Mark, Monk AC is too good. So no worries.

I feel like there's a lot we're not seeing, i'm just pointing out what i see from this preview, but i hope we see a 2E game with Monk in it soon to see more how it does in practice.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

All of this is good to hear for later levels, but I'm still a bit worried about the early game. Will test it out in the playtest!

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

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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?

It doesn't matter if there's a commoner NPC class. In the game there are still commoners - and they have better weapon proficiencies than monks if monks have none other than unarmed. Just pointing out that it's pretty silly that a monk wouldn't be trained in at least a single simple weapon or two, especially monk simple weapons, rather than all of them.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Don't forget this revealed Monk ability from the previous blog:

"For instance, a 20th-level monk with Enduring Quickness is permanently quick, and can use the extra action to Stride, to Leap, or as part of a High Jump or Long Jump."

For people who want to move in attack, and leave, this can get you the three attacks with Flurry of Blows being one of your actions.

Secret Wizard wrote:
All of this is good to hear for later levels, but I'm still a bit worried about the early game. Will test it out in the playtest!

The longest game I ever played in Pathfinder was a level 1-18 game as an Unchained Monk. At first, I kinda sucked (dumped strength, so until I got an Amulet of Mighty Fists with a way to do non-STR damage, I wasn't doing a lot).

But as I grew in levels...I found myself gradually more useful. Universally good saves really started coming in handy, my good Dex and Will plus Monk level stuff got me heading towards good AC, and as my unarmed damage increased, I gained methods to full round from a distance, and my number of attacks at max BAB increased, I started getting dangerous.

Everywhere I looked, Monks lacked a lot of love, but as I became the secondary tank in the group (second to our fully armored tank) who could full round from ridiculous distances, avoid some crazy s++! from any type of save, and let my allies reroll saves with Inspired Wisdom, I found it to be an awesome experience.

So yeah, kinda like old school wizards, it's a rough beginning, but can be dangerous if you can reach higher levels, get some decent magical support, and pick your abilities wisely.

My biggest concern, the AC, is clearly not an issue, so I'm good with this. Tank Monks are fun.


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I do think that everybody should be trained in Simple Weapons without having to spend a feat. No class should be barred from that at all.

Monastic Weapons would still be a good pickup just for the potential of using "any monk abilities that normally work with unarmed attacks, with simple and martial monk weapons" especially if Powerful Fist is counted at that.

One question though, "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. " I'm interested in what is in the brawling group in PF2 and if there is a possibility that weapons with a "brawling" tag are usable with unarmed attack proficiency. It wouldn't be much, but having gauntlets and cestus type weapons right out of the gate would be nice.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

Wait, so are you saying Bracers of Armor have a default AC bonus that isn't attached to the +1 scale? Or is that they simply run a higher range of numbers? IE, Bracers go to +6 or +7 instead of +5 like magic armor does?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

Wait, so are you saying Bracers of Armor have a default AC bonus that isn't attached to the +1 scale? Or is that they simply run a higher range of numbers? IE, Bracers go to +6 or +7 instead of +5 like magic armor does?

They don't have a +1 through +6. They are "bracers of armor Nth" where N is the level of mage armor they replicate.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
JoelF847 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?
It doesn't matter if there's a commoner NPC class. In the game there are still commoners - and they have better weapon proficiencies than monks if monks have none other than unarmed. Just pointing out that it's pretty silly that a monk wouldn't be trained in at least a single simple weapon or two, especially monk simple weapons, rather than all of them.

Again, you have nothing to indicate commoners get ANY weapon profiency anymore. I am thinking they probably don't at this point. Giving the average person who hasn't trained to be an adventurer or soldier or whatever "untrained" proficiency would be rather intuitive.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

Wait, so are you saying Bracers of Armor have a default AC bonus that isn't attached to the +1 scale? Or is that they simply run a higher range of numbers? IE, Bracers go to +6 or +7 instead of +5 like magic armor does?
They don't have a +1 through +6. They...

... Huh. Fascinating. I take it you can't reveal to us what exactly Mage Armor does?

Dark Archive

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

Mark, there's one thing that's been bugging me, and after seeing this preview I remembered what it was; namely, how armor gives you bonuses to TAC. I get that it was done to balance math, but I feel it weird that ghosts or ray spells, for example, need to "touch your skin" in order to do damage.

Personally, I'd probably just get rid of TAC and give some circumstance/conditional bonuses to attacks from incorporeal/energy sources. Or, preferably, implement 4E style passive defenses (REF, in this case) into the game. Or make all attacks that would target Touch AC simply Ref saves?


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Mewzard wrote:


Secret Wizard wrote:
All of this is good to hear for later levels, but I'm still a bit worried about the early game. Will test it out in the playtest!

The longest game I ever played in Pathfinder was a level 1-18 game as an Unchained Monk. At first, I kinda sucked (dumped strength, so until I got an Amulet of Mighty Fists with a way to do non-STR damage, I wasn't doing a lot).

But as I grew in levels...I found myself gradually more useful. Universally good saves really started coming in handy, my good Dex and Will plus Monk level stuff got me heading towards good AC, and as my unarmed damage increased, I gained methods to full round from a distance, and my number of attacks at max BAB increased, I started getting dangerous.

Everywhere I looked, Monks lacked a lot of love, but as I became the secondary tank in the group (second to our fully armored tank) who could full round from ridiculous distances, avoid some crazy s@$@ from any type of save, and let my allies reroll saves with Inspired Wisdom, I found it to be an awesome experience.

So yeah, kinda like old school wizards, it's a rough beginning, but can be dangerous if you can reach higher levels, get some decent magical support, and pick your abilities wisely.

My biggest concern, the AC, is clearly not an issue, so I'm good with this. Tank Monks are fun.

It would be against my interests to have:

a) a class that sticks to outdated balance patterns,

b) is tied down to magic item effects.

The whole "dump STR, pump DEX" playstyle should be a thing fo the past – not because I hate DEX builds (which I do, but that's beside the point), but because it is based upon the assumption that effective builds are product of overcommiting on character creation.

One of the stated goals of this edition is to ease it up and make it more natural. Beside there being nothing natural in allowing STR dumps on a martial class (sorry, just had to take a potshot at those builds, it's ultimately unrelated to my point), requiring magic items and optimization to be functional would be against those objectives.


Asgetrion wrote:

Personally, I'd probably just get rid of TAC and give some circumstance/conditional bonuses to attacks from incorporeal/energy sources. Or, preferably, implement 4E style passive defenses (REF, in this case) into the game. Or make all attacks that would target Touch AC simply Ref saves?

Seems like it'd simplify things for sure.


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Asgetrion wrote:

Mark, there's one thing that's been bugging me, and after seeing this preview I remembered what it was; namely, how armor gives you bonuses to TAC. I get that it was done to balance math, but I feel it weird that ghosts or ray spells, for example, need to "touch your skin" in order to do damage.

Personally, I'd probably just get rid of TAC and give some circumstance/conditional bonuses to attacks from incorporeal/energy sources. Or, preferably, implement 4E style passive defenses (REF, in this case) into the game. Or make all attacks that would target Touch AC simply Ref saves?

This is why I recommended elsewhere that Touch AC be renamed to Magic AC, or Supernatural AC, or some other such thing, rather than "Touch." Because your actual "Touch" AC would be 10 + your Reflex. Magic / etc AC would have an actual in-flavor justification vs Touch for armor being effective against touch spells, due to things like special materials, the usual lore of iron vs magic, runic engravings and all that sort of thing.


have been lucky to NEVER EVER had a player want to be a monk in any of my FRG campaigns in 40 years and OMG I hope to continue that streak. I find no room for the class in my world view and would love to keep it that way. (this includes a half hearted attempt to run an Oriental Adventures game but everyone wanted to be a ninja)

I have played in others games where Monks were played including the 3rd ed broken ones with vows of poverty to cheese up powers. They have their place in Eastern or pulp settings but they like all the Eastern classes seem to clash with High Fantasy archtypes

Paizo Employee Designer

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Asgetrion wrote:
I feel it weird that...ray spells, for example, need to "touch your skin" in order to do damage.

We've gotten used to it, in part because of older edition legacy, but in some ways, it's actually pretty weird that a disintegrate spell, which leaves your gear alone, or like an acid splash or other attack like that which goes after your body doesn't need to hit flesh (that said, we kept it at touch).

Then again, this is fairly tangential to monk and probably deserves a separate thread.


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While I'm sure it's much too early to say that the ki abilities are weak or downgraded from pf1 I do have some concerns with how long it will take for them to really come online. The example we have for the only entry into ki powers in the playtest feels very underwhelming to spend a point from a limited pool to get a +1 bonus to a single attack roll. I understand the math in pf2 is much tighter so even a +1 bonus is useful but for spending a spell point I don't see why it wouldnt at the very least be for

1. All attacks this round

2. A bonus to attack and damage

Hopefully the ability scales to some degree that we haven't seen otherwise I have serious doubts it will ever see use once other ki powers have been taken making it seem quickly obsolete.

Dark Archive

As for the monk, it looks okay to me; in my group we've not played monks (although I've fought monk NPCs as a player, and also used a few as a GM in my campaign) so I don't have strong feelings about this class however it turns out to be! :)

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
I feel it weird that...ray spells, for example, need to "touch your skin" in order to do damage.

We've gotten used to it, in part because of older edition legacy, but in some ways, yeah, it's actually pretty weird that a disintegrate spell, which leaves your gear alone, or like an acid splash or other attack like that which goes after your body doesn't need to hit flesh (that said, we kept it at touch).

Then again, this is fairly tangential to monk and probably deserves a separate thread.

Absolutely! My intention was not to derail this thread, I just finally remembered what's been bugging me for some time. :)


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jim selzer wrote:

have been lucky to NEVER EVER had a player want to be a monk in any of my FRG campaigns in 40 years and OMG I hope to continue that streak. I find no room for the class in my world view and would love to keep it that way. (this includes a half hearted attempt to run an Oriental Adventures game but everyone wanted to be a ninja)

I have played in others games where Monks were played including the 3rd ed broken ones with vows of poverty to cheese up powers. They have their place in Eastern or pulp settings but they like all the Eastern classes seem to clash with High Fantasy archtypes

Boxing, wrestling and other martial arts in the Western world go back at least to ancient Greece and the ancient Middle East, dude.

Dark Archive

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By the way, I love how spell points "resonate" through the whole system, i.e. all classes that used to have "X points" (such as Ki or Arcana Pool) now simply have this one source for doing or boosting their class abilities. That's elegant design, and also easier to teach new players! :)

Also, it's fantastic how the new action economy speaks to different class features, such as the monk's Flying Kick or Wall Run. It also reminds me (in a good way) of all those martial arts and wuxia movies I've seen back in the 80s and 90s!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Just noticed, but do Monks peak at Expert for Unarmed Strikes? Wonder if you can go Master with a feat...

Secret Wizard wrote:

The whole "dump STR, pump DEX" playstyle should be a thing fo the past – not because I hate DEX builds (which I do, but that's beside the point), but because it is based upon the assumption that effective builds are product of overcommiting on character creation.

One of the stated goals of this edition is to ease it up and make it more natural. Beside there being nothing natural in allowing STR dumps on a martial class (sorry, just had to take a potshot at those builds, it's ultimately unrelated to my...

Don't want to go into it too much and derail the topic, but what it came down to was both my character and my philosophy when it comes to Monks. When you look at a Shaolin Monk, the stuff they do isn't because they have superhuman strength (though they do have some strength), it's something more. Between that and the story I wanted to tell, a lower strength just made sense.


Curious, can you stack abilities as long as you don't exceed the number of actions. Such as ghost strike and flurry of blows, this would give you to hit TAC + 2 attacks.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mewzard wrote:

Don't forget this revealed Monk ability from the previous blog:

"For instance, a 20th-level monk with Enduring Quickness is permanently quick, and can use the extra action to Stride, to Leap, or as part of a High Jump or Long Jump."

For people who want to move in attack, and leave, this can get you the three attacks with Flurry of Blows being one of your actions.

So at level 20, a Monk gets a single extra attack per round while moving around.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?
They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

If we've said that anywhere, whoever said it was incorrect. Bracers of armor are just slightly more expensive than a +X leather armor that gives the same amount of AC, and drastically less expensive than the next higher armor (the first bracers of armor are thus less expensive than even +1 magic armor). That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible.

Mike was talking about Cobra, who's definitely an extreme, but I can say that the defenses on my non-mega-Dex-dump but still-Strength-based monk (who also has solid Wisdom for ki), Iakhovas, were so high that I was surviving with ease even in a serious stress-test playtest (if anything, I may have been too well defended overall, counting AC, saves, self-healing, HP, and so on, given the stress-test Logan was running was supposed to kill us).

Ah! That revelation about Bracers of Armor mostly assuages my worries about Monk AC beyond the very first couple of levels. I'm still ever so slightly concerned about Strength Monks, but I'm much less worried than I was previously, and I can think of several ways to make up for that small difference if you care to.

Thanks for the information, Mark!

Liberty's Edge

Fuzzypaws wrote:
Bruno Mares wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
My suspicion is that such a monk will still have Dex second, so 18 Str/16 Dex at 1st level, 19/18 at 5th level, 20/19 at 10th level, and so on, meaning they're behind by 1 or 0 in AC at most levels. A monk like this will probably want Con third for sure. We'll see how it fares in playtest!
Please don't say that ability increases will be similar to Starfinder regarding 2 points to lower than 18 score and 1 point to higher... This is super confusing and not player-friendly...
Weeellllllllp. I guess Logan's comment does confirm our fears about the Starfinder "diminishing returns" ability increases returning, and means odd scores are still a thing. :|

Yep. That's been mathematically clear for a while now. It's not the end of the world or anything, though I agree flat +2s would be simpler.


Alchemaic wrote:
Mewzard wrote:

Don't forget this revealed Monk ability from the previous blog:

"For instance, a 20th-level monk with Enduring Quickness is permanently quick, and can use the extra action to Stride, to Leap, or as part of a High Jump or Long Jump."

For people who want to move in attack, and leave, this can get you the three attacks with Flurry of Blows being one of your actions.

So at level 20, a Monk gets a single extra attack per round while moving around.

As I mentioned earlier, monks don't get a ton of bonus attacks at low levels in PF1 either. The fact that they only mentioned a "Flurry of Blows I" that lets you use one action per turn for this, does not mean that there isn't also a higher level "FoB II" or "FoB III" available (either as class features or selectable feats) to do it twice or three times per turn. We didn't get the complete class writeup.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
As I mentioned earlier, monks don't get a ton of bonus attacks at low levels in PF1 either. The fact that they only mentioned a "Flurry of Blows I" that lets you use one action per turn for this, does not mean that there isn't also a higher level "FoB II" or "FoB III" available (either as class features or selectable feats) to do it twice or three times per turn. We didn't get the complete class writeup.

A very fair point. The last time this topic assumed something, we had Monks with less AC than a Rogue, lol.

I'm always down with more attacks for a Monk. A 20th level Unchained Monk with Haste, Medusa's Wrath, the extra ki point attack, and double Elbow Smash in a Flurry of Blows can do 12 attacks (with two being non-lethal).

That's just absurd, and it won't hit that level, but I'd take another attack or two via Flurry of Blows upgrades.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Mewzard wrote:

Don't forget this revealed Monk ability from the previous blog:

"For instance, a 20th-level monk with Enduring Quickness is permanently quick, and can use the extra action to Stride, to Leap, or as part of a High Jump or Long Jump."

For people who want to move in attack, and leave, this can get you the three attacks with Flurry of Blows being one of your actions.

So at level 20, a Monk gets a single extra attack per round while moving around.
As I mentioned earlier, monks don't get a ton of bonus attacks at low levels in PF1 either. The fact that they only mentioned a "Flurry of Blows I" that lets you use one action per turn for this, does not mean that there isn't also a higher level "FoB II" or "FoB III" available (either as class features or selectable feats) to do it twice or three times per turn. We didn't get the complete class writeup.

I don't see where it said "1" on there either, but I get that. That's more of an issue related to class previews that give incomplete information and leads to arguments over speculation.

Though even if that winds up being the case, that means a capstone for the class winds up being "get more attacks while moving around", which still isn't great. Plus isn't that what Haste does already?


I mean it would be a permanent haste


Logan Bonner wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Stupefied also seems like an odd choice since it doesn't fit a progression from flat footed->stupefied->stunned. Unless the second step is flat footed AND stupefied.
Yes, it should say that they're both flat-footed and stupefied.

Just to extrapolate from this post...

If you hit and the enemy fails, the enemy is flat-footed.

If you hit and the enemy critically fails, the enemy is flat-footed AND Stupefied 2.

If you critically hit the enemy's save is a category worse so a success counts as a failute, which means the enemy is flat-footed and a failure counts as a critical failure, which means that the enemy is flat-footed, stupefied 2 and stunned.

Correct?


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Yeah, the change on bracers of armor seems to be the piece of the puzzle we were missing for unarmored defense to make sense. It working as a souped up mage armor is really nice because it means that monks no longer benefit from getting slapped with mage armor (and therefore, it's no longer necessary to have a charitable wizard in your party).


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I LOVE the way that the stances make your unarmed strikes act as different weapons essentially, super cool concept that i think adds some great flavor and options to the class.

Not super excited about how being a Dex or Strength based warrior is the default, and doing a Ki based mystic warrior has a feat-tax. Essentially puts those builds a level behind the other two and seems like setting players up for a feel-bad moment. I was really hoping for mystic warrior being more heavily leaned into, but am very ok with the decision to get away from the class being MAD. So mixed feelings to say the least.

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