All the discussions about Monks have gotten me thinking about where the monk could use improvement. The one thing that stands out is their weapon selection and how it relates to their unarmed strike and flurry of blows.
By 4th level, a monks unarmed strike does more damage than any weapon she is proficient with and only gets better. The weapon selection is missing classic martial arts weapons like the spear and only and extremely narrow group of exotic weapons are usable with flurry.
My proposal has three parts, changes to weapon proficiencies, a feat, and a class ability.
Weapon Proficiency changes:
Add Spear, and Kukri. These 2 weapons plus handaxe can also be used with Flurry of Blows.
A monk gains proficiency with any one martial weapon and may use this weapon with their Flurry of Blows.
As long as a Monk has at least 1 point in their Ki Pool, they can add 1d6 damage with any weapon with which they may use their flurry of blows including unarmed strikes. This ability increases by 1d6 every four levels there after (8, 12, 16, and 20) to a maximum of 5d6.
The purpose of the Ki Focus is to keep monk weapons relevant as the monk gains in level as the Monk's Unarmed Strike quickly outstrips them in damage. The Unarmed Strike still has better damage, but the monk weapons now gain as well. This is more for flavor and preventing the players from feeling they are losing out by using weapons at higher levels which is why it mirrors the unarmed damage increase.
I am also in favor of handwraps allowing the monk to apply weapon enhancements and special abilities to their unarmed strikes and robes allowing armor enhancements and special abilities.
I like some of your ideas there. Especially the hand wraps adding special properties to a monks hth damage.
I am right now wondering how to make the monks of the Pathfinder world different and unique. They all seem to end up being pretty mush the same with equipment having to be used I find to make them distinctive, and even then most of the gear out there is pretty boring.
I want to make the Monks and other classes more connected to the campaign world, and not just the costume they wear but there very abilities. Domains do a great job of this as does the Sorcerer abilities. A little was done for the Wizard and other classes but nothing really seemed there for the monk who seems to be a primary class in this Pathfinder world they have created and I enjoy playing in.
There is mention of various groups, the recent past of the Clexian Monks being tied to barded and Chain devils sounds cool but is that just the "clothes" the wear or do they have different abilites only available to them because of their devotion to these forces. I hope so but I have my doubts?
My group has always played with ki straps that can be enchanted with carriers (ie fire, cold, etc) just like any other weapon, and it works well. I think it's suggested somewheres in a 3.5 book (or maybe that was SKR's website). I think one key (no pun intended) way to improve the monk is to allow them to have the same access as everyone else to magic weapons and armor, through ki straps and other items that are as available as other magic weapons and armor and at the same prices.
EDIT: just noticed on Jason's blog that beta is going to allow amulets of mighty fists to include other weapon enhancements.