Adventuring Classes: Monk Reborn (PFRPG) PDF

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The Monk is dead, long live the Monk! This offering retools the monk for balance and flexibility. Check out this upgraded version of the Monk, with powerful and diverse tantras to make your Monk unique... uniquely awesome!

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The Monk spent a few episodes leveling up

4/5

So the Monk is always an interesting subject in conversation, coming up as a half handed joke, or someone’s pet class, or even as preferred option by many people. However, it’s almost universally panned as rather mediocre. As a d8 Hitdie class, that has zero to no synergy in its kit, wanting it to do a bunch of different things, being overly team reliant or even useless, it’s laughed at quite a bit. Tripod Machine’s first release in a LONG time (the last product I believe was last updated in ’09!) looks to change this.

Adventuring Classes: Monk Reborn by Tripod Machine is a 26 page PDF, with 2 pages of Front Cover, 2 Pages of back cover and 1 page of OGL, leaving 21 pages worth of content. The PDF contains 4 pages of Feats, 3 pages on additional races, 6 pages on the Lore of eastern weapons and two pages of designer notes, with the class itself taking up about 8.5 pages.

It is a D10 hitdie full bab class, with all good saves, Unarmed strike progression equal to a Monk, an AC bonus equal to a Monk, and fast movement equal to a Monk. It gets 4 + int mod skills per level, with the same skills as a Monk, and the same starting gold as a Monk. It gets no armor proficiencies, and the usual Monk weapons, along with one martial weapon proficiency.

At first glance this is VERY scary, compared to the normal monk. It’s obviously MUCH better, being able to get a pseudo flurry through one of the many bonus feats listed, and various other things. Is it more powerful then AM BARBARIAN BUILDS? Doubtful, but there’s still more we get into.

It gets Monk abilities, like Slow Fall (yawn), High Jump (snore) and Fast Movement (grumble), but eventually it gets to choose from Monk Tantras. At 6th level, it gets to choose its first Tantra, which are essentially talents. They range from the flavorful more roleplaying useful ones, like Tongue of Sun and Moon which is the same as the base monk ability (You can speak to anything… ever), or one that allows you to gain all knowledge skills as class skills, using wisdom as your modifier for them. There of course, are more combat related ones, from allowing you to take certain feats without paying silly feat tax (Spring Attack), or some much earlier (Improved Critial) to the something that’s Basically Arcane Strike (Swift action to give yourself a +1 to damage/CMD/Attack rolls, though it caps out at +4, and is a competence bonus), or even allowing you to use your Ki to make your unarmed strikes at a range, using DEX to hit instead.

Again, this all depends on your view, if your table norm is AM BARBARIAN builds, it isn’t so bad, allowing itself to jump through certain hoops to get things earlier, which may or may not be to people’s likes. I don’t think that getting built in keen that early is that strong, but your mileage may vary.

Some of the feats are the scary part, allowing you to take a pseudo flurry, or improving weapon damage dice, or even giving yourself a built in armor bonus, going up to a +8 armor bonus. For Armorless classes, it’s a good way to not have to spend the gold on Braces of Armor, or having to pester your Wizard to give you mage armor every day.

The races listed are the Vanera, the Hanyou, and the Zhu Xiong. Starting with the Vanera, they are the basic pathfinder Vanera, monkey people with a +2 bonus to Wisdom and Dex, with a -2 to Charisma, with Low Light vision, and a prehensile tail. We’ve all seen the Vanera though, so it’s nothing new.

However, the Hanyou, or more specifically the Forest Hanyou is the first of the new races. Hanyou are basically the Planetouched races, being Oreads, Janni, and Tieflings. However there’s never a real “nature” inspired plane touched, just the basic elements, and such. If you want something that’s foresty, there’s only fae, until the Forest Hanyou at least. Looking slightly oakish, with the smell of a dew covered meadow, The Forest Hanyou has a +2 Dex and +2 Wis, with a -2 to Constitiution. Sorcerers of the race can cast spells in the Verdant bloodline better, and have dark vision as most of the Planetouched have. With a built in woodland stride and better stealth in forests, this all and all is a nice little race.

The Last race is the Zhu Xiong, which is going to hit a soft spot with a lot of people, is a Humanoid Panda like race. A docile race that keeps mostly to them self, and eats mostly bamboo, but on occasion fresh fruit and fish, plucks at the heartstrings of many. The race itself has a +2 STR and +2 WIS with a -2 to Con. I feel like that doesn’t make too much sense, as when I think of a Panda I don’t really think less hardy, but that’s more a flavor concern. It gets slow and steady like a dwarf, so it’s never slowed down by armor, and has natural armor due to its thick hide, and it’s thick hide also protects it from the elements, allowing it to not have to worry about cold elements, and giving it a bonus to saves in cold. Aside from the flavor misnomer in my opinion (I’d rather give this a minus to dex, but I guess it makes them worse monks, which this book is actually about), a decent race with flaws and benefits.

The weapons are mostly just flavor reswaps to fit settings better, such as a Dao being Scimitar in essence or the Wind and Fire Wheels are basically star knives. It covers some weapons that have been covered in Pathfinder already (Wakizashi or Katana, as an example) but allows them to be more balanced as they are basically the same thing as the core weapons, instead of giving a Ninja a strictly better weapon to duel wield over the short sword. The new weapons added are rather lackluster, nothing that catches my eye and makes me say I WANT TO USE IT, but nothing that makes me thing “wow they actually printed this.”

So this is a very interesting product to rate, as for the price, the price is DEFINITELY right. 1.99 for all this content is insane, and it’s a decent enough product. Balance concerns ARE there for some of the feats/the Reborn Monk, but with a good GM/eye, it’s easy enough to squash those. I’d allow the class at a table if I ever was GMing albeit tentatively, and this makes it so that I wanna do a Monk that isn’t just a Zen Archer. It’s probably able to have some wacky builds, but nothing to the effect that isn’t allowed in core material only as well (Amy Alchemist/AM BARBARIAN). For the purpose of this review, it’d normally be a 3 star product, but the price kicks it up a whole star, to a total of 4 stars.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!


Panda dude illustration included.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Will pick this up when I get home tonight.


@TriOmegaZero

What do you think?

Liberty's Edge

Just want to say thanks for the great product both I and my players are all over this.

Grand Lodge

The first thing that I noticed was that in the table, Defense Bonus is removed, but is still in the description. This makes things confusing, did you forget to remove it from the description, or forget to add it to the chart.

Also, in the class description at the top, they are described as being unarmored or lightly armored, yet they do not gain light armor proficiency. (Though it does make sense, because they could still use leather armor without penalty.) Just wondering if that was intentional or not.

This is just my initial look.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Lareg wrote:

@TriOmegaZero

What do you think?

Got in late, going to try and read up tonight.


Aeshuura wrote:

The first thing that I noticed was that in the table, Defense Bonus is removed, but is still in the description. This makes things confusing, did you forget to remove it from the description, or forget to add it to the chart.

That's just how the ability looks for the core Monk. I just changed AC Bonus in the text to say Defense Bonus, reflecting the fact that it adds to CMD, too. At one point, I added it to the abilities gained per level as Defense Bonus, but someone complained, so I removed it again.

Quote:


Also, in the class description at the top, they are described as being unarmored or lightly armored, yet they do not gain light armor proficiency. (Though it does make sense, because they could still use leather armor without penalty.) Just wondering if that was intentional or not.

This is just my initial look.

That's just "lightly armored" in the general English sense. Wearing bracers of armor is, in fact, being armored. Lightly. :) -- But I see your point and I'll edit that.

Grand Lodge

Ok, thanks for clearing that up! I like many things about this, especially the modularity of the Tantra abilities!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Another home run product!

I feel like this brings most of the good content released for the monk into one bundle, and then adds some extra goodies for good measure. Modular enough to be easily customizable and still close enough to the source to not feel completely alienated from the core. I can see a lot of concurrent design in this and other homebrew fixes I have seen.

I also got a smile out of the extra races, even if I don't see myself using them any time soon.

Silver Crusade

reads reactions

Well alrighty then.

adds to cart


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TriOmegaZero wrote:

Another home run product!

I feel like this brings most of the good content released for the monk into one bundle, and then adds some extra goodies for good measure. Modular enough to be easily customizable and still close enough to the source to not feel completely alienated from the core. I can see a lot of concurrent design in this and other homebrew fixes I have seen.

I also got a smile out of the extra races, even if I don't see myself using them any time soon.

Thanks! I felt a little daring going with full BAB because "ZOMG good saves!" but in the end, it just really made sense.

If and when SGG puts out the Talented Monk, I'm hoping it will be like chocolate and peanut butter. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Oooo, this needs to get into Hero Lab.

Silver Crusade

Well then. This is going to take a while to digest entirely, but I can say for certain that this monk is modular as hell. I really like the idea of the tantras.

And the words in the back about wanting to support monks that really feel ascetic have me really wanting to dig deeper when I have the time.

Liberty's Edge

I love the book! This monk is the only monk my players want to play now! Keep up the good work!


Thanks!


Review posted. Glad to see Tripod Machine back, I actually made a review for the Fist Full of Denarii wayyyy back which would have been my first review but the site ate it, so it's glad to see an older company releasing fresh content.


Thank you for the review!


This is a great variant of the Monk class. The tantras and the d10 hit die make it that much more attractive to play. In addition, there are new feats to help this character improve his AC without armor. There's also a section on new races ( just a question - is the Hanyou meant to be what Spirit Folk was to D&D? They remind me of one another . .. . ), which are attractive to playing. Now if only Adventuring Races would come out .. . .


RJ, have you thought about favored class bonuses for your new races? Starting ages, dying age, height and weight, etc.? Just thinking, it might be good to put these in. . . .


Hanyou are inspired in large part by Spirit Folk.

Starting and dying ages, height and weight are things I have thought about for the new races. However, it's unlikely to impact play, and in actuality could be somewhat campaign-dependent. You can assume hanyou are similar as for other planetouched. It's something I might address when I have the time, otherwise it's more likely to appear in a future races book that offers more detail.

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