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OMG this thread is everything!

I just joined a "Superheroes in Pathfinder ie Marvel/DC 1602" campaign that inspired me enough to GM a "subuniverse" in it, and I came looking for character conversions. I haven't had a chance to go through and integrate all of the suggestions on here, but I did want to give what I could contribute. Here's the "brain dump", along with links to an excellent set of conversions of a variety of characters, and another set of X-Men conversions. Note that some are dated, so I updated things if I believed a better class came along (such as Slayer for Winter Soldier):

  • Arsenic (or similar "hero w/ pet"): Hunter
  • Beast: Beastmorph Alchemist
  • Beast Boy (or similar general animal-based shapeshifter): Feral Hunter / Metamorph Alchemist / Shifter / Weretouched Shifter
  • Black Widow: Spy Rogue
  • Blade: Dhampir Vampire Hunter
  • Blue Beetle / Talkback / Other gadget-based hero: Scavenger Investigator / Psychometrist Vigilante / Occultist
  • Brother Blood: Cult Master Mesmerist
  • Cable / Jean Grey / Other Telekinetics: Aether Kineticist
  • Captain America: Shield Champion Brawler w/ Advanced Template
  • Catwoman: Burglar Rogue (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Clayface: Oozemorph Shifter
  • Deadshot: Sniper Slayer
  • Diablo: Alchemist
  • Dr. Doom: Battle Host Occultist
  • Dr. Faustus: Vox Mesmerist
  • Dr. Occult: Psychic Detective Investigator
  • Dr. Octopus: Sythesist Summoner; Eidolon has four arms
  • Dr. Strange / Zatanna / Similar Mystic Character: Arcanist / Sorcerer / Wizard
  • Drax the Destroyer: Scarred Rager Barbarian
  • Flash: Elven Monk (w/ Long Limbed & all FCBs to movement), single level dip in Occultist Reliquarian for Travel Domain, Transmutation Implement with Sudden Speed Focus Power, and Expeditious Retreat spell, all of which combines into "Taps into the Speed Force".
  • Gambit: Card Caster & Staff Magus
  • Green Goblin: Construct Rider Alchemist
  • Jakeem Thunder (Spiriualist)
  • Geo-Force: Earth Kineticist
  • Green Lantern: Bonded Wizard
  • Hate Monger: Hate Monger Mesmerist
  • Hawkeye: Arrowsong Minstrel Bard / Trapper Ranger / Archer Fighter (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Hawkman: Strix Constable Cavalier
  • Hellcat (or any other feline-based hero): Feline Wildsoul Vigilante
  • Hulk: Brute Vigilante
  • Human Target: Infiltrator Investigator / Skinshaper Druid / Master of Disguise Rogue
  • Human Torch: Fire Kineticist
  • Huntress: Urban Ranger (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Iceman/Frozone: Water Kineticist
  • Invisible Woman: Aether Kineticist (requires level 6)
  • Iron Fist: Sacred Fist Warpreist
  • Jericho: Projectionist Mesmerist
  • Jessica Jones: Sleuth Investigator w/ Advanced Template
  • John Constantine: Occultist
  • Katana (Or any other "I conjure up my weapon" types): Phantom Blade Spiritualist
  • Kingpin (or similar Crime Boss): Mastermind Investigator
  • Kitty Pryde: Formless Adept Psychic
  • Kraven, the Hunter: Packmaster Hunter
  • Leader: Vizier Mesmerist
  • Lone Ranger: Mounted Fury Vigilante
  • Lucy In The Sky: Vrillbound Magus
  • Luke Cage / Bruiser / Similar Power Character : Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian / Monk of the Iron Mountain (either with Advanced Template)
  • Mantis: Dreamstalker Mesmerist
  • Moon Knight: Splintersoul Vigilante
  • Mr. Zsasz: Serial Killer Slayer
  • Nightwing: Teisatsu Vigilante
  • Patriot (Eli Bradley) / Nuke / Hourman : Mutation Warrior Fighter
  • Poison Ivy: Urushiol Druid (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Professor X (Or other telepaths): Lore Psychic
  • Psylocke: Mindblade Magus
  • Punisher (or any other gun-based hero): Gunmaster Vigilante
  • Question: Cypher Investigator
  • Raven / Dark Phoenix: Abomination Psychic
  • Riddler: Gnome Perfect Scholar Sensei Monk w/ Bewildering Koan
  • Robin(Damien Wayne): Martial Artist Monk (GUIDE RIGHT HERE)
  • Rose: Majordomo Investigator
  • Sailor Moon (Magical Child Vigilante)
  • Sister Grimm (or similar magic based character with prominent item): Wizard w/ Bonded Item
  • Storm: Storm Druid
  • Vampire Hunter D: Vampire Hunter from World of Vampire Hunter D official Paizo supplement (Yes, that's a thing!))
  • Vixen: Adaptive Shifter
  • Whiplash (or other dual wielding "I conjure my weapons" types): Ectoplasmacist Spiritualist
  • Wolfsbane / King Shark: Mooncursed Barbarian
  • Wolverine: Abyssal Spelleater Bloodrager
  • Winter Soldier: Slayer w/ a Clockwork Prostetheses(GUIDE RIGHT HERE)

OK, with Pathfinder 2.0 announced, I decided to come back into this and try to move towards a "final" version. Here's my update:

* All new archetypes should now be in, though obviously the more eyes to doublecheck the compatibility the better.

* The Peaceful Sensei has been given its own section. After playing with the build a few times I'm pretty convinced it is up there with the Zen Archers and Tetoris, with utility as the shining point rather than attacking... at least past level three. I have yet to try it out at first level, and I admit I do suspect it would have a tough time then.

* I noted a number of modular "add-ons" that are sets of things that synergize well with any monk. Healing/Condition Removal, Martial Flexibility, Psychic Abilities, Specialized Equipment, and a very convenient one level dip (Reliquarian Occultist) are all analyzed.

I don't anticipate this to be "final", but I suspect that there won't be a lot more new monk archetypes coming...

The Phrenology and Prognostication Occult Skill Unlocks can be used to determine class and levels.

Good luck getting someone to let you rub their heads...


There are very few things that can handle both Stunning Fist and Touch of Serenity, and ToS functionally gives you "free hits". The classic Big Strong Fighter is typically stuck with no other option than "Run" after a ToS. It's good stuff.

Psychic Sensitivity.

Perception, Sense Motive, Heal, and Survival are all WIS based, and each has an occult skill unlock. It also, once you get the ki pool, gives you what is functionally Cloud Step for 2 ki (Sacral Chakra for a Fly speed for a turn, but you must hit the ground at the end of the turn).

Psychic Sensitivity, Empath, and Snake Style has been a fun combination in a game I'm in.

At 2nd level, as a swift action an elemental monk can gain the benefits of one of the following style feats, based on one of the five types of genies.

That's pretty straightforward - you get the benefits of the feat. Four out of five of those have, as one of its benefits, "An extra use a day". Therefore, you can get up to four more a day.

I'm not making a comparative statement about the efficiency of the archetype, because I believe we sometimes spend a bit TOO much time on "optimization". The number of bonus feats is a rules question, not an evaluation of quality.

Derklord wrote:

Genie Style says "an elemental monk can gain the benefts" - as written, with infinite duration. Considering how ridiculously bad the archetype is (seriously, you lose all your bonus feats for an ability every character already possesses), I'd actually be fine with the archetype granting 3 or 4 extra EF uses.

There is no way to have five elemental style feats by level six. In fact, you will probably only have one. Even a MoMS cannot get to the second feat in the feat chains until 10th level, as they still have to meet the prerequisites. Elemental Monk lets you get the second feat at 6th and complete the chain at 10th. No one else can do that.

Again... I am not evaluating the efficiency of the archetype, but I don't see how it can be said that "every character" already possesses this ability, as they do not.

By RAW I do believe you are gaining four total uses of elemental fist a day. Each time you adapt one of the feats, you get the fist. The "per day" wording prevents it from being unlimited but still... four free fists a day isn't bad. Marid Style in specific benefits heavily from being used six times a day at level two.

Sohei and Zen Archer stack with almost nothing. Hence, they get mentioned in the "These archetypes change enough to make it a completely different class" group (with Tetori) and then basically not mentioned again.

Wow Paizo has been hooking the monk up! Thanks zer0darkfire; I credited you for the Nornkith, Sin Monk, and Nimble Guardian. It's going to take a moment for me to update the document, but I do have my workload set: Elemental Monk, Hellcat, Menhir Guardian, Wasteland Militant, Water Dancer, and Treetop Monk are all on the agenda to add in! I'll hopefully have the document updated in the next week or so.

Give that Sensei two levels of Ninja and Forgotten Trick as the Ninja Trick. You just added to your list of abilities to distribute an extra attack each round that stacks with Haste, Vanish, and any given combat feat to the whole team. Giving everyone an extra teamwork combat feat is worth a ki point.

You can safely stop the Sensei at level 15; you've pretty much gotten everything you need there.

Last thought - add in the Monk of the Lotus archetype, which stacks with all three of Sensei, Drunken Master, and Ki Mystic. Stunning Fist becomes Touch of Serenity (Fort Save vs Will Save), but more importantly, levels 12 and 15 offer no save Charm Monster on your foes. So at level 12 via Mystic Wisdom, whenever ANYONE takes a foe down to 0 hp you can "save" them as that person's pet without a Save.

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VoodistMonk wrote:
derpdidruid wrote:
Drunken master/sensei gets infinite party wide ki powers
I really need to examine this further...

The rules are... squishy... about how much a character can drink a day. There's a level of GM interpretation, but at minimum you know you can drink CON*2+1 drinks a day before negative repercussion. Add in Deep Drinker, and that's a LOT of ki in the harshest interpretation of how much you can have a day.

In the most liberal interpretation... The game never gives a limit to how many drinks one can have in a day...

EDIT: Mass Drunken Step is also fun and high utility as well.

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I don't know if I would say "best", but one of the more unique ones that I'm loving right now (as a monk guy) is a Sensei/Ki Mystic Monk. You get some really good Bardic Performances (Inspire Courage, Competence, and Greatness), and access to all of the feats and add-ons of having Bardic Performance as a result. The unique part is the ability to give people your ki-based powers while using your "performance". With Qiggong substitutions, this provides a lot of variety. The Sensei casts TrueStrike from a distance. Extra speed, gaseous form, dodge bonuses, barkskin, no-component restoration... anything you can do on yourself, you now do on others. Ki Mystic gets you more ki (more buffing!), plus the ability to distribute an extra +4 to a skill that stacks with Inspire Competence, or reroll an attack or save as an immediate action.

So that poison dart your partner succumbed to? Have them reroll that. Plus, you can reduce the cost of your bigger gun abilities (Ring of Ki Mastery). At level ten it goes into overdrive, as now things affect EVERY ally within 30'.


Again... I don't know about "best", but it is certainly unique.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Either way monsters will ignore him.
Why? Does he have a sign "Hard to hit, but doesnt do any damage"?
No when the other characters actually do something from casting an offensive spell to hitting for good damage they will have signs that say “hit me because I can kill you”
Good thing he gives them all +4 to ac

For perspective, a 10th level Sensei gives everyone within 30' +4 to AC for an hour and a half at the cost of a single ki point... and can Inspire Courage/Competence/Greatness, give out an extra 20' movement, allow everyone TrueStrike, etc.. All of this while keeping his Crane Style.

Yeah... I was hoping I wasn't just reading it harshly. :) Ah well.. time to decide between Boar Style and Pummeling Charge for my offensive style.

I've been That Monk in a campaign, where my defensive-minded guy made it to where the GM could either design a bad guy that could definitely hit me (but mollywhop the rest of the party), or was a "proper" threat to the rest of the party but was untouchable to me. I can tell you from personal experience that it SUCKS if you go out of your way to try to set up bad guys that can threaten the one thing the player built around.

My thought: DON'T build around trying to overcome their AC, and, if targeting saves, make it make sense in context. I present, as evidence, my favorite fail moment of the character.

So the team is taking on a vampire and we managed to damage it. The vampire goes into gaseous form and flies away, with only our Fighter/Wizard (we were playing core only, so no magus) being able to fly. My monk decides instead to run and leap from rooftop to rooftop after the vampire. Eventually, it gets annoyed with being chased, stops, confronts the "magus" and I, and dominates us. No problem, I think... I just need to roll a 5.


I turned to the "magus" with the wrong gleam in my eye and the fight suddenly became more interesting.

My point is that the encounter, while one that could target my character's "weakness" (if you can call it that) wasn't artificial. It didn't come off as the GM trying to shut me down.

Other similar ideas:

* Non-combat event resolution: This is your biggest, best option, and another one that the GM of the campaign ran with. You don't have to beat the big Wizard at the end; you have to destroy the sample of the uber-potion being used as a MacGuffin.

* Bad Guys that are a threat for OTHER reasons: The four good guys save the MacGuffin prince. They are then attacked by 40 mummies, which under regular conditions would be wiped apart by the PCs. The twist - you can NOT let the Prince contract Mummy Rot. NOW things have becomes interesting.

Hey all,

I have a "corner case" to run by folks. I want to combine a full Crane Style chain with Linnorm Style via Combat Style Master. However, because of the wording of Linnorm Style, I'm uncertain if what I want to do works.

I would like to use Crane Style on defense. Assuming someone has tried to attack my character, I would want to switch to Linnorm Style on offense. At the end of my turn, I'd switch back to Crane Style.

The difficulty is that the verbiage of Linnorm Style has most of the effect AFTER it says "When using this style". That would imply that you must be /IN/ Linnorm Style at the time of the attack to get the Wisdom bonus to damage.

How would things work?

Thread resurrecting, as I am trying something similar (using a Sensei monk with high Heal as a backup healer/condition person).

A few thoughts:

* A Healer's Kit has 10 uses. That means that you're actually paying 10gp each time you use these abilities, not 100.

* A single level dip into Cleric or Inquisitor and then taking the Medicine Subdomain. This is the game changer, IMO.

Medicine Subdomain:
Blessed Surgery (Su)
Your divine patron guides your healing hands, allowing you to perform minor miracles with mundane cures. You can use this ability as a free action when using the Heal skill in order to roll the check twice and take the higher result. When you’re using this ability, any use of the Heal skill requiring 1 hour instead takes at most 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

This reduces Treat Deadly Wounds, Disease, Caltrops, Restore Vitality, and Suspend Affliction all down to 1 minute usages, rolling your Heal check twice and taking the best result. Combined with Battlefield Surgeon and good rolls, you can let someone regain (LVL+WIS)*2 in two minutes. The Signature Skill for Heal applies a multiplier to that. Psychic Healing allows you to give someone temp hit points a minute before the fight, with Trepanation and/or Psychic Maestro allowing you to "power up" multiple people before a fight.

* Half-Elf seems to be the go-to race if you want to do this, as it provides a couple of different ways to get Psychic Sensitivity without dropping a feat (trading either Keen Senses and Multitalented, or trading out Adaptability). I'm actually doing the former, to be able to Skill Focus (Heal). You're now two feats down the road to doing this. A Half-Elf Wendo Caller Medium would have EVERYTHING needed without dropping a feat OR multiclassing (Channelling a Wendo for the Healing domain).

There are also some items like the Gloves of Unfolding Wind or Mountainshaper's Girdle that can also be used by anyone with a ki pool to spend. I would assume that the SoP could use it as well.

Ferious Thune wrote:

I'm also assuming that the OP doesn't have Magical Knack, so is losing a full caster level with the dip. That alone on a Warpriest means that at 1/3 of your levels, you'd be effectively cutting the benefit of something like Dedicated Adversary in half, and that's about the best fallback feat for Martial Flexibility when you don't need something else.

It's an option. :) I just didn't want to include it because it muddied the waters. The question is whether or not 25 feats minimum available a la carte were worth a spell level. The answer is "no".

I'm looking at doing the dip at 5th level. At that point, my feats (for the purposes of analysis) would be the following: Dodge, Dirty Fighting, Crane Style, Power Attack, and Improved Unarmed Strike. Based on what PCGen, with nowhere near all of the books loaded, that gives me access to the following: Archon Style, Gang Up, Improved Dirty Fighting, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Awe-Inspiring Smash, Cleave, Furious Focus, Improved Drag, Improved Sunder, Pushing Assault, Improved Overrun, Shield of Swings,Dazing Fist, Deflect Arrows, Improved Grapple, Jabbing Style, Nightmare Fist, Pummelling Style, Scorpion Style, Snapping Turtle Style, and Tiger Style. I have them for either 4 "standard" fights, or a couple of standard ones and a long one. That is based SOLELY on the feats I listed as taking; it doesn't include things without prerequisites, like Dedicated Adversary, which in this light I can STILL take via MF and pick a new adversary every day.

It feels weird to me that this sort of utility isn't viewed more strongly. A lot of these are situational, but that's the beauty of MF; I don't have to "invest" in it until I need it. I'm a bit taken aback, but I understand the arguments and reasoning given.

That said, I'm thoroughly convinced to cut Aldori Caution for Magical Knack, though. :)

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Wouldn't taking Advanced Weapon Training: Abundant Tactics on an Arsenal Chaplain WP to supplement the Barroom Brawler feat be better?

Not if I'm a Sacred Fist.

I'm not looking for an alternate methodology, at least for the moment. I need to get a sense of the comparative importance of Martial Flexibility vs a level of cleric spellcasting.

lemeres wrote:

Well, the essential question is this: what are you planning to do with it?

Because martial flexibility basically just gives you a bonus feat that you have to activate with an action, but you can switch it every time. So the question is: what bonus feats are you looking for?

All of them? That really is my answer, unfortunately.

The way I'm analyzing this is that every new feat I pick up is not just that feat, but anything else I can unlock using MF. Dirty Fighting isn't just Dirty Fighting; it's Archon Style, Gang Up, Improved Dirty Fighting, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Disarm, and Improved Trip.

I did look once to build toward Hurricane Punch. I wasn't looking at it as just Hurricane Punch - I'm also picking up Awe-Inspiring Smasg, Cleave, Furious Focus, Improved Drag, Improved Sunder, Pushing Assult, Improved Overrun, Shield of Swings, AND Hurricane Punch.

So the thought was never looking at any one thing; it was more "what else are we pulling in the process to getting that one thing.

The question is whether or not all of those things picked up en route become worth a spellcasting level.

Simply put, is Martial Flexibility worth losing a level of spellcasting, particularly in a class that gets extra "building block" feats to flex off of like Warpriest?

Follow up: Does going Sacred Fist instead of standard Warpriest make a difference?

I recently went from a generalized WarPriest of Korada to a WarPriest of the same God, and I found it slightly easier to "create a divine Monk" with the Sacred Fist. Some of it is that a full, direct translation does eat away at a number of feats: The three TWF, Double Slice, AND Dual Enhancement (two weapon fighting needs two weapons; nothing says you can't just use the same fist with a flurry).

The way I analyzed it is that feats were "frontloaded" in the SF. Since I didn't have to spend a feat on TWF, I got another feat at 1st level... which the regular isn't getting until 3rd, and must be a combat feat. The same thing occurs at level 8 with ITWF.

Also, if you're looking at getting Style feats, you have a lower number of options, but the fact that SF's levels count as monk levels for the purposes of the feat makes a difference. If you actually want to get Pummelling Style, you can straight out get it at any point before level 6. I'm planning to do a one level dip into brawler, but the combination lets me pick up the full Crane style chain by 7th level.

If you are talking general combat, I'm with you. If you are making what is commonly thought of as a "divine monk", SF is SLIGHTLY better.

I'm also playing with a 15 point buy in my analysis. :)

VRMH wrote:
There's such a thing as a Bladed Scarf. That might make things more convenient.

If you are up for a one-level dip into Magus there is also this archetype.

There's also the Kitsune Chain of Style Feats (I'm linking the last in the chain, as you can see the others as prereqs) and the Fox Chain of Style Feats.

Well, don't thank me too soon. I forgot to check my own guide. Both Drunken Master and Empty Hand replace Still Mind.

Perhaps Drunken Master/Sage Counselor, using a feint as his scarfwork?

I'd like for my "math to be checked".

OK, because you can attach any number of free actions to an action, this means that you should be able to do a free action during an immediate action. So, if I have Combat Style Master, Crane Wing, and Snake Style, I could end my turn in Snake Style after fighting defensively, activate the Snake Style immediate action if I'm attacked off of my turn, and then as a free action switch to Crane Wing for the +8 bonus on the next attack.

Is that correct? It does involve fighting defensively even when not using Crane Style, just in case you do decide to switch to Crane Style...

Stalarious wrote:

so I'm sitting here and thinking of a monk that uses a "scarf" like piece of clothing as a weapon I know there are feats to use improvised weapons. but what else should I go for? the picture in my head is he is at a table and someone tries to take his drink. Then a comical fight happens where he uses nothing but a few kicks and a scarf to teach the punk you don't mess with a man's drink.

as always you guys are awesome thank you.

I read this and went "Isn't there an archetype for that?"... and yup! Monk of the Empty Hand.

I'd also recommend dipping a level into Wild Child, Strangler, or Exemplar Brawler. Martial Flexibility is simply incredible on a Monk, and the hit for multiclassing is at least somewhat blunted by the dip not affecting your feat progression. What you really want, though, is flexible access into Equipment Trick, assuming your GM may allow you to use the scarf as "Rope".

... increase your base high jump distance?
... give an additional +1 to AC for fighting defensively (through 3 ranks)?
... open up varying Style feat with minimum Acrobatics prerequisites (such as Monkey and Snake)?

Updated, though visually; I am very happy to update it with anything missed.

Martial Flexibility Options:
Most of this was written to support my desire to get a solid idea of what the immediate options are from the "perspective of a monk". As there is some level of planning, I wanted to make a list of what could be created using "minimal resources". I won't pretend that this covers the best situations; the Wombo Combo is the place to look for a more comprehensive and handy guide to Martial Flexibility. Instead, I'm look at either (1) what you need no resources for, or only a Wisdom of 15 as a requirement, (2) What you can build off of the 1st level monk bonus feat, or (3) what combat styles only requires a skill point investment. I will note that Combat Expertise and Improved Disarm also unlock a lot of feats, but neither is available as a level one Monk bonus feat.

There were a number of equipment trick options, so due to time constraints those are not summarized. All Equipment Tricks require the piece of equipment mentioned.

Finally, numbers in parentheses represent the number of ranks needed for the ability.

Immediate Uses Available when Martial Flexibility Is Taken:

Combat Styles
Linnorm Style: -2 to hit, WIS to damage instead of STR or DEX

Perfect Style: Resistance 5 to fire, acid, or cold

Snapping Turtle Style: +1 to AC with one hand free

Tiger Style: +2 to CMD on bullrush, trip, or overrun; slashing damage; 1d4 bleed for two rounds on critical

Non-Style Feats
Blind Fight: Reroll miss due to concealment; invisible people get no advantage

Catch Off Guard: No penalties for improvised weapons; enemies are flat-footed against you

Combat Stamina: Provides a variety of options based on your Feats (Requires GM Approval)

Death From Above: +5 to attack from above instead of charging bonus

Equipment Trick (Boot - Cleat Stomp)

Equipment Trick (Lantern - Lesser Light)

Equipment Trick (Rope - Quick Release)

Flyby Attack: Attack in the middle of a move action

Divine Fighting Technique (Way of the Perfected Fist): -2 to hit, but unarmed strike damage is always average (Must be Lawful Neutral)

Monastic Legacy: Classes besides monk count for purpose of unarmed strike

Quick Draw: Draw weapon as free action

Step Up: 5 foot step forward if opponent takes five foot step away

Telekinetic Item Mastery: Use telekinesis 1/day (with another at level 10 and 14, if using this build). Requires 7th level (6th with a two level Brawler dip) and an item with a 4th level conjuration spell requirement, such as Traveler's Tools.

Weapon Trick (Freehand Maneuver): dirty trick, disarm, drag, reposition, or steal combat maneuver with free hand and no two weapon fighting penalties (BAB 6 and Manufactured Weapon required)

Styles/Feats Based on Dodge:
Crane Style: fight defensively at -2/+3 (+4 with Acrobatics of 3)

Mobility: +4 to AC (DEX 13 required)

Styles/Feats Based on Combat Reflexes:
Panther Style: Swift action retaliatory Strike if someone makes an AoO due to movement on you.

Weapon Trick (Stylish Riposte): Gives an AoO on any opponent that misses by more than five (Manufactured Weapon Required)

Equipment Trick (Mirror - Reflect Gaze)

Styles/Feats Based on Improved Grapple:
Grabbing Style: No penalties to grappling with one hand or to AC to pin opponent (Two level Brawler dip required)

Kraken Style: Opponent takes WIS additional damage with any successful grapple check; +2 to maintain a grapple

Tatzlwyrm Claw Style: Slashing damage with Unarmed Strikes; Striking someone grappling another can force them to release the hold

Equipment Trick (Net - Grappling Net)

Equipment Trick (Rope - Hogtie)

Skill Points Requirements Only:

Janni Style (3): Charging penalty reduced to -1; flanking only provides a +1 bonus against you (also requires Perform (Dance) 3)

Monkey Style (5): Wisdom to Acrobatics; no penalty to attack or AC when prone; crawl and stand up w/o AoO, Swift Action Stand (DC 20 Acrobatics) (also requires Climb 5)

Snake Style (1) : Immediate action to use a Sense Motive check as AC against one attack you know (also requires Sense Motive 3)

Equipment Trick (Cloak: Parachute Cloak) (5)

Equipment Trick (Ladder: Vaulting Ladder) (3)

Monkey Style (5): Wisdom to Acrobatics; no penalty to attack or AC when prone; crawl and stand up w/o AoO, Swift Action Stand (DC 20 Acrobatics) (also requires Acrobatics 5)

Equipment Trick (Anvil: Counterweight) (5)

Equipment Trick (Ladder: Vaulting Ladder) (3)

Equipment Trick (Rope - Lifeline) (5)

Craft (Alchemy)
Equipment Trick (Lantern : Intensified Oil) (3)

Equipment Trick (Sunrod : Flare) (3)

Equipment Trick (Sunrod : Twice As brightly) (3)

Escape Artist
Equipment Trick (Rope : Slip Away) (3)

Handle Animal
Equipment Trick (Sunrod : Lure) (5)

Boar Style (3): Slashing damage with unarmed strikes; 2d6 bonus damage if you hit an opponent twice with unarmed strikes

Knowledge (Arcana)
Kirin Style (6): Swift Action to take a Knowledge check to identify creature; +2 to savings throws and AC vs AoO once identified. (also requires Knowledge (Dungeoneering, Local, Nature, Planes, or Religion) 1)

Knowledge (Nature):
Wolf Style (3): Lower speed by 5 feet for 10 points of AoO damage; 5 more feet for every 5 damage beyond 10; free trip attempt if this negates all of their movement left

Knowledge (Religion):
Equipment Trick (Mirror - Bold Presentation) (5)

Sleight of Hand:
Equipment Trick (Mirror - Blinding Light) (3)

Equipment Trick (Rope - Coil) (5)

Equipment Trick (Mirror - Telltale Reflection) (3)

Equipment Trick (Wondrous Item - Counter Dispelling) (3)

Equipment Trick (Cloak - Distracting Cloak) (3)

use Magic Item:
Equipment Trick (Wondrous Item - Aura Mastery) (1)

I've been working on this idea a bit more, and I think I have it modularized. I found myself wanting to address the idea of having to go "full" support and/or focus on spamming ki. Neither is a bad direction; I found myself wondering if I could squeeze some combat ability from things. This became something of a "Sensei Stacking" guide as a result.

Disclaimers: There are two "correct answers" (Drunken Master & Exemplar Brawler dip in both flavors with either a STR 15(Dragon/Mantis focus) and No Offensive Archetype or CON 14(Elemental Styles Focus) and Monk of the Four Winds Offensive Archetype), but I like to think varying combinations could be flavorful, if not the most mechanically efficient. I am, for the record, looking at going Ki Mystic / Monk of the Four Winds with CON 14 (Elemental Styles Focus), but I'm taking a mechanically inefficient route, as I really like Empath. I'm also playing this character in Ruins of Azlant, so I'm not expecting full access to equipment that we can't build. I'm writing this without equipment in mind for that reason, with one very glaring exception.

It's definitely time to revisit my archetype stacking guide. There's been a lot of good stuff put out; I really want to revisit this sort of idea again, based around Invested Regent rather than Sensei.

Sensei!: The Magical Mystical (Mostly) Not-MAD Monk

The project became making a Monk built around Sensei, with the hope of trimming down how many attributes I needed to invest in because I'm running a 15 point buy and my GM said the magic words "You can use any book".

The main idea is to combine the Sensei archetype with two other archetypes that stack: one is chosen to increase the access to ki, and the second is chosen for offensive capabilities. This still creates a support character only, but there does has to be some focus on the character's offensive abilities to stay somewhat in situations where there aren't as many people around to be assisted. We also secure Martial Flexibility via one of a number of potential one level dips.

Attributes: This idea is centered around a 15 point buy, though, as with any monk, the higher the point buy, the more viable the creation. That said, Wisdom will be the most important statistic, as it will control your to-hit with your monk weapons (also known as "your to hit"), the strength of your ki abilities, the size of your ki pool, your most used skills (Sense Motive & Perception), and your most important save for this build (Will). The secondary statistic can be seen as your first "Style" choice. Builds that center around Strength are great for Dragon Style/Mantis Style /Maddening Style pursuits. Constitution based builds are best for the varying Elemental styles, as well as working with Drunken Master. Dexterity based builds aren't quite as conducive by my analysis, but will work for Crane Style/Tatzlwyrm Claw/Upsetting Shield builds.

Base Archetype: Sensei

Offensive Archetype: Monk of the Four Winds/ “None”/Monk of the Lotus/Hungry Ghost Monk/Black Asp/Windstep Master

These options all involve or lead to an empowered unarmed attack. The primary archetypes are Monk of the Four Winds, Hungry Ghost Monk, and not taking an archetype (i.e. staying with Stunning Fist). Monk of the Lotus is usable and has a number of great later level abilities, but it cannot really be built upon. Black Asp and Windstep Master are included since they technically stack; taking wither of these (or Hungry Ghost Monk) requires taking it for the Regenerative Archetype as well.

Regenerative Archetype: Ki Mystic / Drunken Master / Hungry Ghost Monk / “Black Asp” / “Windstep Master”

These options are meant to get you more ki. Ki Mystic and Hungry Ghost are the most viable options, though they are eclipsed by Drunken Master. It's simply hard to pass up at least 14 extra ki a day at level 11, made even better if your CON is high enough and you can take Fast Drinker. Finally, if Black Asp or Windstep Master were taken as Offensive Archetypes, they must be taken here as well.

Multiclass Dip: Strangler Brawler, Exemplar Brawler, Warsighted Oracle, Eldritch Scrapper (preferably Empyreal) Sorcerer

Martial Flexibility is a key part of this build, and a single level in a class with Martial Flexibility is all that is needed. Surprisingly, Brawler seems to best synergize with this build, especially if the redundant unarmed strike is replaced.

1st Lvl: AC Bonus, Unarmed Strike, Monk Bonus Feat , "Offensive Fist", Advice (Inspire Courage), Feat

"Offensive Fist" is the offensive weapon taken from the archetypes. These include Elemental Fist(Mot4W), Stunning Fist (No archetype taken), Touch Of Serenity(MotL), Punishing Kick, (HGM), Free poisoning (Black Asp), and Hurricane Punch (Windstep Master). Elemental Fist and Stunning Fist are by far the easiest to build from, though Monk of the Lotus gets a special message for being one of the few (only?) natural ways to target the Will save of an opponent.

This build will use Martial Flexibility to expand its options, so these first few feats will decide what you can do later. Taking Dodge as your Monk Bonus Feat opens up Crane Style. Improved Grapple will open up Grabbing, Kraken, and Tatzlywyrm Claw styles, and synergizes with a Strangler Brawler. Taking Combat Reflexes opens up Panther Style. For a build which is Feat starved, it is a really good idea to invest in that which you need. Honorable Mention to Psychic Sensitivity, which features a number of unlocks (Dowsing, Faith Healing, Read Aura, and Prognostication) which are conducive to the Monk, as well as unlocking chakra abilties.

2nd Lvl: Insightful Strike
Yay! You can hit now.

3rd Lvl: “Regen Ability” (Ki Mystic/Drunken Ki/Still Mind/Adder Strike/Still Mind), Maneuver Training, Advice (Inspire Competence), Feat

Things officially get interesting. Drunken Ki makes Drunken Master stand out, as it gives to access to your standard set of ki abilities at level 3. Ki Mystic also gives a ki pool early, though its uses are considerably more limited. The choice of feat here will also be foundational to your Martial Flexibility.

4th Lvl:Ki Pool (standard uses), Qinggong Power/WindStep

A straightforward level, for the most part. Slow Fall will undoubtedly be your first Qinggong substitution.

5th Lvl: (OR MULTICLASS DIP) Qinggong Power (Barkskin), “Regen Ability” (Mystic Insight/Drunken Strength/Steal Ki/Purity of Body/Purity of Body/Purity of Body), Feat

If you have two Style feats already, now is the time to take a dip into something that gives Martial Flexibility. Strangler Brawlers synergize well with Improved Grapple builds, while Exemplars give you the ability to remove the flat-footed status from allies. Most importantly, Brawler levels count as Monk levels for the purposes of feats, which is the real bonus. With a Charisma of 11, the Warsighted Oracle or any Sorcerer with the Eldritch Scrapper archetype works. Empyreal blooded Sorcerers are the best if your do want a touch of actual spellcasting (an option I'm considering in RoA). Whenever you do take the dip, Combat Style Master should be taken as the feat.

In any case, you now get four times a day of taking any Combat feat you qualify for. This is incredible goodness, as anyone that plays a Brawler can tell you. An analysis of possibilities based only on Combat Styles, Ki-specific Feats, and more Monk-specific feats occurs below.

There is an argument for a two level dip into Brawler. This increases your BAB even more, gives another precious feat, returns your flurrying ability (admittedly as the not-quite-as-nice Brawler's Flurry), and allows you to take the Grabbing, Jabbing, and Pummelling styles.

One last quick note - looking at the verbiage, it looks like the Wild Child Brawler will give you a free druid animal companion. This seems... questionable, but appears to work RAW.

6th: Mystic Wisdom (1 ally)
This becomes level 7 if you go for a two level dip. There is an excellent argument for waiting until level 7 to dip into a Martial Flexibility option, as you may not want to wait a level to be able to give away your abilities like candy. Don't forget that any class feature that involves spending ki can be given away - Drunken Ki's safe 5' step and Ki Mystic's bonus to a skill should also be given away as well. I see this as the level where the build truly meets its purpose. Another reason why I wanted to tinker with the combat options available is to allow for a focus on using ki to help others while using personal abilities to help themselves.

This is the level I expect to dip into Exemplar Brawler. I'll give the breakdown on uses of it below. Note that this is the first level where you can use the FORT: +6 Item Mastery feats.

8th: Qinggong Power /Life Funnel (HGM)
Things become considerably more straightforward for a few levels. Hungry Ghost Monk must take Life Funnel, but everyone else can pick a Qinggong power

9th: Feat
Yes, there's a fairly dead Monk level, where all you are getting is plusses. The dip at least gives you a feat. Note that you can flex into second tier Elemental Feats at this point assuming you dipped Brawler.

10th: Advice (Inspire Greatness)
Another relatively small level, though Inspire Greatness can be nice.

11th: Feat, Mystic Wisdom (All allies, plus access to and share Monk Moves abilities)
And the Sensei ability gets an upgrade. Note that YOU do as well; you can now drop a ki to get back many of the ki powers that didn't have a ki cost) replaced in this archetype (evasion, fast movement, high jump, purity of body, or slow fall), since you are your own ally.

12th: “Regen Ability” (Mystic Visions/Drunken Courage/Life From A Stone/Diamond Body/Diamond Body)

You pick up your second mid-level power, all of which have fairly good uses. Drunken Courage may be the most practical. The pattern continues.

13th: “Offensive Ability” (Slow Time/Abundant Step/Touch of Surrender/Abundant Step/ Abundant Step/Abundant Step)

This is where I stopped my analysis. If Slow Time (deliverable to your buddies!) is the weakest thing available, it's not a bad set of options.

BadBird wrote:

the breath attack is


some kind of non-action that simply occurs because the chakra is open. But that runs into some strange issues as well, not least if it's also then logically applied to the heart chakra power, so that you're making a breath attack and a healing touch every round as essentially non-actions simply because those chakras are open or maintained.

Yes. That's exactly it. The breath attack doesn't take up an action; it is the effect that is triggered when you spend the ki.

And yes, I'm saying that you are getting a swift action breath attack and healing touch, at the mere cost of taking an obscure archetype that isn't compatible with anything else good (save Ki Mystic), at minimum five ki plus two more ki each round you keep it up AND the DC 20 Will Save each round AND the DC 20 Fortitude each round. Odds are low of missing one, but miss the Will Save and you start over, being capable of doing it all again in another four rounds plus, again, a minimum of 5 ki. Miss the Fort and you do as much damage to yourself as the enemy.

The fact that Chakras require so many hoops to jump through, and the combination of verbiage / missing verbiage is SO specific, it really seems like this is at least RAW, if not RAI. None of the powers are explicitly labelled spell-like abilities, unlike, say, Qinggong powers. It says, rather explicitly, that you open the chakra when you spend the swift action ki point. It rather explicitly says that you get the benefit when you awaken the chakra.

I'm not arguing for you; I'm arguing for whatever developer eventually gets around to seeing the FAQ question. It seems like a confluence of things had to have gone wrong from a verbiage standpoint for this interpretation to be off.

Anyways, from here on in, I'm going to treat Chakras as a "Less Than Desired" option in my analysis, as that seems to be the common call on them.

BadBird wrote:

It's generally a given that abilities - at least the ones that actually do a thing - require a standard action, unless something specifically states otherwise. Supernatural abilities and I think other types are specifically called out in the text as following this rule.

There are many confusing cases with abilities that aren't clear about whether they require an action to activate at all - like the Flight Hex. But to say that making an entire breath attack requires no action, or no further action beyond a swift action that's already established as doing something else that requires a moment of time to do, seems pretty shaky. Read in a straightforward way, you're spending a swift action to gain the ability to do X, and then X is by default a standard action.

But the thing is, it DOES state otherwise - look at the stuff I quoted before. It pretty explicitly says this stuff is going down during the swift action. There is nothing in it that says that we're moving into the standard action, and "as a standard action" is pretty normal verbiage.

I thought another piece that makes me feel better about my interpretation. Linked Chakras requires use of your standard action in order to open multiple chakras. So, if it is using up the standard action, how would you be able to use your navel chakra effect in the same round?

Hence, it makes sense that the action in which you spend the ki is the action with which the effect takes place. In addition, it does follow that utilizing one chakra effect is a swift, and two takes up... the standard.

I'm going to mark it as a FAQ, but... just to make sure I'm interpreting correctly, are we about to argue that there is a possibly "overpowered" aspect of a set of abilities that are known almost universally across these boards as "total trash and worthless"? Can we let chakras have a little bit of something good?...

BadBird wrote:
While opening a chakra is a swift action, I think it's pretty safe to say that the breath attack enabled by opening the naval chakra is it's own action. It doesn't say that when you open the chakra you make a breath attack; its says when you open the chakra you are able to make a breath attack.

By that interpretation, wouldn't the verbiage have been "Upon awakening his navel chakra, the initiate can channel the serpent-fire as a breath attack that deals 2d8 points of damage in a 30-foot cone AS A STANDARD ACTION" (emphasis mine)? This isn't a situation where no action type is listed; the swift action for the ki usage /IS/ the action type labelled. Why would we assume that it is a standard action, particularly since nothing is EVER listed as a standard action in the regular version, but they explicitly list uses of chakra that are a standard action in the Serpent Fire Adept writeup (the ability to open multiple chakras under "linked chakras")?

I can see saying that you need to use your move action to fly with the Sacral Chakra (you GAIN a fly speed), but this seems pretty open and shut; I spend ki during my swift and I choose to shoot a breath attack or not do so (as opposed to, say, keeping DR3/- instead).

Don't get me wrong; consistent verbiage is the big boogeyman for Paizo. Maybe I'm wrong, and it was a grand oversight on their parts. However, given how weak people are saying chakras are, doesn't it make sense that this wasn't a wide mistake and it was always the desire?

Actually, one other example. From Throat Chakra:


When using this chakra, the initiate slips into a kind of trance. He can take actions as normal, but he constantly mutters incoherent, often disturbing utterances of a vastly primal nature.

Now, if we use your interpretation, you just spent the swift to either maintain or open a chakra, and a standard action to create the stagger effect. What actions are LEFT to "take as normal", besides moving?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Markov Spiked Chain wrote:

Yeah, mine is all re-filling out of combat. 12 Ki and a Ring of Ki Mastery has been way more than enough for any one combat so far.

I can't imagine giving up Ki Mystic's Mystic Insight at this point. That re-roll is one of the most memorable moves for my Sensei. Help one person who rolls a one on their save, or fails to confirm a big crit, and it'll stand out. Spending a Ki for +4 Insight to a skill check is big too (+2 Inspire Competence, +3 Aid Other w/(non-halfling) Helpful, +4 Insight is +9, making your advice *very* impactful)

I'm kind of in the same boat; Drunken Master is WAY better from an optimizing viewpoint, but Ki Mystic goes MUCH more along the lines of the vision I have for the character ("The Bard That Ducks A Lot Of Punches").

Also, am I off in interpreting that usage of chakras are swift actions and not standard actions, and, as such, can be done with regular attacks in the same manner as Cold Ice Strike?

Looking at the Chakra descriptions


Awakening chakras or maintaining awakened chakras is a swift action that costs 1 ki point. On the first round, this opens the root chakra. Each round after the first, it opens the next chakra in the sequence, up to the crown chakra on the seventh round. Once the initiate has begun awakening his chakras, each round he must continue opening chakras or maintain his awakened chakras, or all of his chakras close and he must begin again from the root chakra. If he pauses in the progression, he can resume it at any time, provided he has spent 1 ki point per round in the meanwhile to maintain his open chakras. Each round, when expending the ki for that round, the initiate can select the benefit from one chakra awakened up to that point.


3. Navel Chakra (DC 16): The navel chakra is sometimes called the power chakra, for it is associated with fire, combustion, digestion, anger, joy, fear, anxiety, and laughter. Here the serpent-fire swirls and swells with heat and vital energy, the source of the so-called “fire in the belly” of common parlance.

Upon awakening his navel chakra, the initiate can channel the serpent-fire as a breath attack that deals 2d8 points of damage in a 30-foot cone. This radiant gout of orange-red liquid flame somewhat resembles fire, but bypasses all forms of energy resistance, protection, and immunity. The amount of damage increases by 1d8 for each open chakra beyond the 3rd, to a maximum of 6d8 if all of the chakras are awakened. The initiate must be at least 6th level before he can open this chakra.

Since it never explicitly says usage of the navel chakra is a standard action, I'm assuming the breath attack occurs when the ki is spent ala during the swift action.

So, as one usage, if one does multiclass into Cleric and takes the Law domain (as I may have the only monk ever to worship Iomedae and now Irori), could you not use your Touch of Law as a standard action, give yourself the guaranteed 11 roll on the savings throw, then swift action use chakra and blast with the Navel Chakra (or however high you can go with save bonus+11) with no fear of backfire due to Touch of Law?

Moonheart wrote:

In that case, your best bet is going high con and wisdom, use drunken master archetype and drink everyday until you feel sick (this is not an unlimited ki as some people think: there is a rule somewhere saying how much alcoholic brevages you can drink be day before being nauseated)

Fast drinker, deep drinker, scorching ray and lingering performance are almost mandatory for this.

1+2*Con Mod.


So with Drunken Master with this build, you're looking at somewhere between 3 and 9 drunken ki a day. If you're going offensive and don't want to be evil, this is the way to go.

Since creating this post, I decided to instead go Ki Mystic, so I'm going to determine experimentally how much ki is needed and if it is viable against Hungry Ghost / Drunken Master.

Bloodrealm wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
There's no way to make Chakra viable.
Indeed. It's unfortunately a pure trap option. It takes an entire character built around it to even activate, the risk of using it is horrendous, and the benefit is just kind of okay. I can't imagine it even being weak-but-fun-to-play.

I dunno... I think the biggest problems with Chakras is that they are incredibly underwhelming on their own, but as a part of a package, it's not bad. Here's how I say to look at Chakras:

For the cost of the Psychic Sensitivity Feat and Being a Monk (i.e. decent Perception and Sense Motive), you get:
* Prognostication 1/day
* Read Auras 1/day
* Cloud Step (with some chance of backfiring) for 2 ki with 1 ki to maintain at level 4, with the backfire chance undoubtedly minimized by Lvl. 6
* DR 3/- or a breath weapon (with some chance of backfiring) at level 6 for 3 ki, with backfire chance minimized by level 8.

Game changing? No. Worth a single feat? Yes. Throw a trait in there to get Appraise as a class skill, and you add Psychometry as well. One for Heal gives Faith Healing.

Chakras become a trap option if you try to go beyond the third, or you try to build around it. As a part of a suite of abilities and at lower levels, it's not that bad.

JAMRenaissance wrote:

From that thought, though, it seems wiser just to drop DEX to 10 and up the WIS to 18. He's using it to hit 99% of the time, for AC, and to power pretty much every ability and primarily used skill...

So I'm starting the campaign (Ruins in Azlant), and I realized that the following is my current stat array:

STR: 10 DEX: 10 CON: 14 INT: 10 WIS: 18 CHA: 10

With the option of dropping CHA to 8 if I want a few more points in the physical stats. The big obvious problem is the lack of damage, but I'm making a choice of that. Make the CON 12 (or 13 and dump CHA); up the STR to at least 13, and pick up the Dragon Style feat tree instead of Snake Style.

I think this builds the non-MAD monk.

My love of monks has nothing to do with effectiveness, but I think this may be a combination of things that would be usable as well, with a few different flavors.

The archetype combos needed are: Sensei + Ki Generating Archetype + Offensive/Utility Archetype.

Ki Generating Archetypes are Hungry Ghost, Drunken Master, and Ki Mystic. Of these, Ki Mystic is the weakest, but I would also say it is the best for the "mystic monk" being designed. Hungry Ghost and Drunken Master are both more efficient with Hungry Ghost serving as a theorhetically unlimited amount of ki and Drunken Master functionally adding 1+CON*2 ki a day (more if you don't mind being nauseated, at least until you can retrain a Qinggong Power to Neutralize Poison). Ki Mystic is just "extra ki" in terms of ki generation, but 2 ki for free is better than none.

The Offensive/Utility Archetypes are Hungry Ghost, Monk of the Lotus, and Monk of the Four Winds. Again... I recognize that MY build does almost no damage, but combine elemental fist / the usage of fighting styles with throwing some points into STR and DEX, and you /SHOULD/ be ok. With that said, I don't do DPR combinations, for the most part, so I don't know if it is considered "good enough" on a broader scale.

There's also three things we can add to this build which flow easily from this set up and are fairly cheap: Psychic Sensitivity (1 feat), Snake Style (1 feat), and (most importantly) two levels of Ninja either after 6th or after 10th (depending on which Monk abilities you'd prefer not to delay).I think you have a really unique buffing machine. The 2nd level of Ninja is for Forgotten Trick, the real bonus to this. The cost is steep (at least two ki, if not more), thus relegating it to Hungry Ghost or Drunken Master build, but now you, at 8th level, can both use any Ninja Trick, but also give any ally within 30 feet any Ninja Trick. Alternatively,if you can wait until after 12th level, give all of your allies any Ninja Trick as well.

avr wrote:

So you spend two rounds getting DR 2/- and the ability to fly if you begin and end on a solid surface. While maintaining these (including the second round of the setup) you have about a 10% chance of something going horribly wrong each round. You can do this about once per day without digging into your real ki rather than serpent-fire ki, and you plan to burn that real ki on true strikes. Edit: missed the wand use. Though with flagbearer and tanglefoot bags this could lead to action economy issues.

No, not cheesy. Weak as weak can be. At least the rest of the party will get the benefit of your inspire courage.

I dunno... two rounds powering up, which conveniently go along with two rounds of not attacking (and two ki) gives him flight for a minute throughout the battlefield. That doesn't seem that bad, though I agree on action economy.

At the low end, chakras seem fine. It's a bit to invest, but Psychic Sensitivity has some fun synergies with WIS based characters. "Fun" is the key word; I'm assuming you're not optimizing BECAUSE you're playing a monk. :)

If you are REALLY worried about things, would your GM let you retroactively add Ki Mystic? It stacks with Serpent Fire Adept. Mystic Insight will let you allow any ally to reroll any roll for 2 ki. Since you are your own ally, and it doesn't explicitly state that you can't be affected...

Erushin Laaslir wrote:

I'm playing a 7th level Serpent Fire Adept that also has the Sensei archetype's advice feature and he also employs Vow of Peace, both for Ki and the flavor of helping guide even his enemies towards their true path of self perfection. A few questions.

He can never strike the first blow in combat. If attacked, he must use the fight defensively action or the total defense action for the first 2 rounds.

Does this preclude Inspiring allies (we have an Fire Bomber Alchemist, a Gunslinger and a Blackened Winter Oracle, so only the Rogue and I can do nonlethal)?

Inspire Courage/Competence is not an attack, so that shouldn't be a problem in itself. The bigger problem I would say is that the initial Inspiration is a standard action, which precludes using Total Defense. So if they attack you first, you can't start the inspiration until after two rounds of being attacked.


Does my character have to be targeted by an attack to start the 2 round timer? Or could one argue that attacking my allies meets the if attacked condition?

That one seems like it HAS to be you.


He must always give his opponent the option to surrender, and cannot purposely slay another creature that could reasonably be influenced to flee or join a civilized society as a productive member (obviously this excludes many monsters).

How do I prevent the game from slowing down with sermons about redemption?

Alignment isn't personality. You would be the one that makes it a sermon. "<whiff> OK, I just gave you swing number two. Try swing number three and your a$$ is mine" immediately comes to mind. I would personally go with taunting. "<Whiff> You know, we should really talk this out. <whiff> Has it become obvious that this is stupid? Let's get a drink."

if I get nonlethal up on the enemy, they'll likely fall unconscious. Would a Wand of Detect Evil be useful here?

And the problem with making your foes unconscious when you have taken a vow of peace is?

BadBird wrote:
Clerics may take Inquisitions, so unless there's something at Inquisitor 1 you need, Cleric gets two Domain or Inquisition picks instead of the Inquisitor's one.

Breadth not depth (which is the theme of this character, pretty much), though looking at it again, Monster Lore/Judgement is worse than another domain AND channeling

A WIS-focused Monk already has a strong AC, especially with Dodge and Barkskin. Bracers of Armor = armor enhancement as far as cost goes, so Monk AC is basically your base 'armor'. Which means a level 8 Monk with 18WIS, a +2 headband, +2 from Monk levels, Dodge and Barkskin is in heavy armor territory. So I wouldn't worry too much about DEX AC.

From that thought, though, it seems wiser just to drop DEX to 10 and up the WIS to 18. He's using it to hit 99% of the time, for AC, and to power pretty much every ability and primarily used skill...

BadBird wrote:
Temple sword would be the simple choice, since it's effectively a longsword for Monks. However if you're not going to have a STR modifier or Power Attack, then two-handing becomes irrelevant. It's still more effective to enchant, I guess.

Ah, I gotcha. How would you want to balance things? What I mean is this - one of the big plusses to Sensei is that it takes some of the focus off of STR/DEX and moves it to WIS at 2nd level. So having WIS as a primary and CON as a secondary stat works, but which becomes tertiary (STR or DEX), and at what value? My call was to say that STR, for a Sensei, is strictly damage modifier, carrying capacity, and using non-monk weapons in comparatively close quarters, which I hope to never do. DEX covers AC, Reflex saves, and non-monk distance weapons, which are a bit more likely. The call I made was that the Feat I needed to help STR (Power Attack) couldn't be taken as a monk bonus feat, but the one that supplemented DEX (Dodge) could. Is there a solid way to get around this?

I do remember now why I didn't get a temple sword - I'm starting at level one and can't afford it. He does have nunchuku, though.

For Cleric grabs, I was thinking of something like Repose for Gentle Rest in combat and Reformation Inquisition for using WIS on social skills and oratory.

Ooooooooohhhh... yeah that'd be great.

8th level is functionally a dead level (WTH Paizo? A dead level in official materials), so I was looking at multi-classing after either level 7 or 8. Now that you mention Reformation, though, Inquisitor has started looking good too. The only thing that makes me pause is that it slows down "All allies take Gaseous Form for a single ki" at level 10.

BadBird wrote:

How committed are you to unarmed combat? A weapon would probably serve you better in the long run, since a weapon is easy to enchant and can be two-handed.

Dual Talent Human is a help for any ability spread, and a huge help for a 15pt buy. Why 13DEX and 10STR? Zero damage modifier is pretty grim.

I would probably avoid dipping a level, unless maybe Cleric for a good Domain Power.

I'm not particularly connected to using a weapon. The only concern would be proficiency, since this build is fairly feat starved. The rest of the party group is an invulnerable/drunken barbarian, a hexcrafter magus, and an alchemist. My boys got my back damage-wise. That said, there just isn't a lot of room for anything he isn't already able to use. What would be a good weapon that doesn't need Flurry to look good and that doesn't require a feat investment for the monk?

I hate 15 point buys. The only reason I didn't run Dual Talent is not being able to afford losing the Feat, as the build is feat starved.

The Tattooed Empyreal Sorcerer is a dip specifically for the "domain power" - the tattoo familiar. Sense Motive gets outsized usage (as AC in combat, powers Read Emotional Aura and powers Prognostication, and the familiar gives you Alertness. It would be the cherry on top of being able to cast Moment of Greatness and Silent Image at will.

Hey guys,

After taking a break from Pathfinder for a bit, I'm joining a group with some old friends where I was told "All books are available". This isn't a heavy-optimization crew, but there is quite a bit one could do with "all books", so I decided to try one of my favorite concepts that I never got a chance to execute - the support sensei. We're on a 15 point buy. I'm running with a combination Human Sensei/Drunken Master/Monk of the Lotus on a 15 point buy. I'm a bit concerned about offensive capabilities, but I also don't want to take too much away from the concept, which is another iteration of the "non-magic magic user", basically. The big thing is that I want the monk to be able to contribute. I only analyzed through level 12, since, well, mosHere's what the progression looks like thus far:

Stats: STR: 10, DEX: 13, CON: 14, INT: 10, WIS: 17, CHA: 10

1st Lvl: AC Bonus, Unarmed Strike, Monk Bonus Feat (Dodge), Touch of Serenity, Advice (Inspire Courage), Feat: Psychic Sensitivity, Feat: Empath

2nd Lvl: Insightful Strike, Root Chakra (DC 11; DR # open chakras/-)

3rd Lvl: Drunken Ki (standard ki uses plus 5 ft. step w/o provoking), Manuever Training, Advice (Inspire Competence), Feat: Snake Style

4th Lvl: Ki Pool (standard uses), Qinggong Power (True Strike), Sacral Chakra (DC 13; Fly speed base movement, Cloud Step rules)

5th Lvl: Qinggong Power (Barkskin), Drunken Strength, Feat: Chakra Initiate

6th: Mystic Wisdom (1 ally), Naval Chakra (DC 16, 2d8 energy in 30' cone ignoring resistance/protection/immunity)

7th: Qinggong Power (Gaseous Form), Feat: Truth In Wine

8th: Heart Chakra (DC 20, Heal 1d8 + 2 * # of open chakras)

9th: Advice (Inspire Greatness), Feat: Teleportation Mastery

10th: Mystic Wisdom (All allies, plus access to and share Monk Moves abilities)

11th: Drunken Courage (Immune to fear), Feat: Deep Drinker

12th: Touch of Surrender (6 ki upon finishing blow to Charm Monster with no save)

Thoughts? There's a few ways that popped in my head to enhance things (subbing feat stuff for the Snake Style chain, Multiclassing a level of Empyreal Tattooed Sorcerer, then taking Spectrum Sight).


3 people marked this as a favorite.
JosMartigan wrote:
Well it's obvious the player of the half or isn't actually playing his 7 cha and 7 int. I wonder how they would take it if you brought up that he was literally ignoring those stats in regards how he should be playing the character?

Co-sign here. This isn't "old school" mentality; I'm old enough to be old school, and I'd say that the player needs to either redo the stats to represent the actual charisma level of the character or role play the character as though s/he is both pretty dumb and not a very good communicator.

What this guy is doing isn't "old school". It's allowing powergaming under the excuse of "just role-playing it".

A few thoughts:

Why Heal and Knowledge (Nature) on the tech guy?

Similar question for the rogue talents. I can see specific individual ones, but any of the minor and major ones? There's nothing about this concept that screams "Convincing Lie" or "Master of Disguise".

Does your Clockwork Companion get Clockwork traits? If so, it becomes WAY too powerful for a 5th level investment. I've done something similar (feel free to crib from my homebrew Futurist class), and clockwork traits made even a familiar considerably more battle worthy. Adding that to an eidolon is a LOT higher than a 5th level thing. This does assume you are giving it the clockwork traits.

I've gone back and forth about the Gunsmithing Innovations. They each seem to have an intrinsic drawback, and the Innovations SEEM like they should be more powerful than what the base innovation does.

Finally, why did you go with Studied Target instead of Gunslinger Deeds? It feels a bit more like a Scavenger Investigator that happens to be more specialized with a gun.

With all of that said, it feels pretty balanced, and it looks like it could stand beside anything other class in PF. Good stuff, man!

PossibleCabbage wrote:
TxSam88 wrote:
I agree, so how do you handle it when half the players build flavorful characters and the other half go for total optimization?
Talk it out with the people at the table and come to a mutual understanding in terms of what people want and what they expect out of the game? This is really the sort of thing that can't be solved with rules, but can easily be solved by reasonable people having an honest conversation.

Why not all of the above?

Lower the ceiling on the optimization.

Raise the floor on the power level of the low end.

Talk to the players themselves to manage the space in between.

TOZ wrote:

I stand in awe of you, sir.

I have a thought exercise:

What would be the single best usage of combat feats, and at what level?

Combat Stamina at level one, if offered, would be high on the list.

Advanced Weapon Training at 6th level for all except weapon master, which would be at 4th and 6th.

Barroom Brawler at 4th simply has way too many potential uses, particularly if paired with Abundant Tactics and any of the Item Mastery feats.

Speaking of which, Telekinetic Mastery is Class Feature-worthy and can be taken as a Combat Feat at 10th.

What else would be the most powerful options if we were trying to squeeze out every class-feature-ness we can out of the Bonus Feats?

Are we presupposing in this that more options = more fun?

I would HEAVILY argue against giving everyone a Stamina pool unless you were going to drop the Fighter class totally. Combat Stamina is one of the few ways to make the Fighter unique.

Finally, are bows/crossbows still penalized for firing into melee while guns are not?

Ryan Freire wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

The fighter gets tones of love it just never seems to manifest very well. It's always just MoRE nUMberS or optional systems no-one is in a hurry to learn.

I mean really how many archetypes and alternate class features can one class handle?

The fighter needs a new kind of love or a book that collects together all the bazillion options out there and it shall be called uncrapping the fighter. Like unchaining but different in subtle ways.

I'm still pretty convinced that if you changed every archetype fighter has to eat a certain number of bonus feats instead of bravery,weapon training, and armor training (exception: rewrite all the not actually weapon training abilities to count as weapon training for AWT) and made AWT and AAT core rules you don't really even need stamina to make the fighter pretty damn good.

This, this, a thousand times this. The Bonus Feats are looked upon as Class Features, but most (with a few exceptions like Combat Stamina and Leadership) are nowhere near equivalent to a class feature.

I'm running a similar style campaign, where the rise of technology has caused a lot of changes (hence that custom Futurist class). Just in case any of my players are reading, I'll include spoiler tags for the reasoning for my campaign.


The Tycon world is a world where the time of magic was simply passing by. The prior age of Tycon was characterized by a four way war between the Drow, Duergar, Elves, and Dwarves, with tthe Duergar taking an early advantage via the discovery and use of ki based abilities; the Gray Disciple Monk was a game changer for the balance of that world. In order to survive, the Drow prayed to and received help from Lolth, which led to the first Drow spellcasters, which were monks that multiclassed with Sanguine Sorcerers. Elves and Dwarves were blessed with the Sage and Empyreal bloodlines, respectively, and magic began as the dominant force in the world.

That was a millenia ago, however. Just as the power of more life-based magic (i.e. ki) once waned, so did the power of magic. The rise of alchemists and futurists portended a new god entering the pantheon, the God Of Numbers, a deity that represented the rise of physics and engineering in the world. In addition, Mystra, a former Magic goddess, is reborn as a Goddess of Chemistry and Biology. The gods are forced to choose sides, with some that were either more inclined towards building things (Laduger, Moradin) or simply more forward thinking (Gorum, Nerull) allying with the God of Numbers and Mystra as other gods (Hextor, Boccob, etc.) actively worked to keep magic as the dominant power. To this end, Hextor launched a plot to maintain the power level of magic by permanently setting up portals to devillish and cherubic realms to keep magic flowing into the world). When Heironious tries to stop them, Hextor murders him and set into the events of the initial campaign for the world, where the PCs are agents of the gods of change trying to stop the permanent portals in order to send the world further down the path of technology.

I'd also echo the idea that mass production is an excellent reason why magic would eventually wane in use as compared to technology.

Which character classes are you allowing? I'd also cosign the idea of not allowing full casters if this is a magic-poor world. Other ideas would be to modify the alchemist to allow them to create alchemical items is spell slots; every 75 gp in the cost of an item is one spell "level" in this system. The philosophy is to make alchemy as close to Chemistry and less "magic performed on yourself" as possible.

Finally, wouldn't you want to allow more than just a sword? A quarterstaff, nunchuku, or even brass knuckles work in 2017, so I don't see why they wouldn't work in this environment. Bows, especially, would still be used for stealth purposes, I would imagine.

There is also the Serpent Fire Adept, if you want the ability to fly at 4th.

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