[RotRl] A monk


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I'm playing a human monk in our Rise of the Runelords campaign, ran by Navdi. The campaign started in May 2008 with Alpha 3 rules. Previous thread about my playtest notes can be found here.

We converted the characters to Beta immediatelly when it came out - hence the new thread. This time I'm using the thread to share my feelings and observations mostly about monks and related mechanics. I'll post all relevant rules issues to the appropriate design forums when they're created.


So far the monk has advanced to level 6. He has godly monk stats, and is built towards a straightforward, bare-knuckled fighter.

Beta had changed two of his feats. Even when the changes were minor, that called for conversion, in my opinion.

Weapon Finesse no longer requires BAB +1. It meant that there was a better option than Toughness on first level. It freed one feat on level 5. I opted for Agile Maneuvers, as the monk has way higher Dex than Str. I feel this change made him more what I wanted from him. I'm a bit dubious whether Weapon Finesse is overpowered on level 1. Probably not, though.

The other thing was Dodge (taken as bonus feat). Dodge is now a swift action - as are all the Ki options. Meaning that monks can't dodge while they're being monkish. I replaced Dodge with Improved Grapple. This felt counterintuitive and stupid. Monks get a bonus feat that doesn't work with other monk abilities.

No other conversion was needed. The monk in question relies mostly on brute force, so I kept the bonus hp from the favored class.

Currently, his stats are as follows:

Spoiler:
Abilities: STR 16, DEX 22, CON 16, INT 12, WIS 16, CHA 11

Feats: Agile Maneuvers, Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Martial Weapon Proficiency (Longbow), Stunning Fist, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike)

Special Qualities: AC Bonus (Ex), Evasion (Ex), Fast Movement (Ex), Flurry of Blows (Ex), High Jump (Ex), Ki Pool (Su), Maneuver Training (Ex), Purity of Body (Ex), Slow Fall (Ex), Still Mind (Ex)

Skill ranks: Acrobatics 6, Climb 1, Escape Artist 1, Knowledge (History) 1, Perception 6, Performance 1, Ride 1, Sense Motive 5, Sleight of Hand 1, Stealth 6, Swim 1, Use Magic Device 6

Notable equipment: Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Cloak of Resistance +1, Ring of Protection +1, Wand of Mage Armor

Liberty's Edge

The way the new Dodge is written, it sounds almost like a poor-man's monk ability anyway. A monk can spend a ki point as a swift action and get +4 AC for one round, why would he bother using his swift action for a +1 (+2 at 10th level) AC bonus?

A monk should only choose Dodge as a feat if he wants to use it before 4th level (when he gets access to the better, ki-driven version) or if he doesn't want to use any of his ki points.

Dodge is really for the people who wish they were as cool as monks. :-p

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jagyr Ebonwood wrote:
Dodge is really for the people who wish they were as cool as monks. :-p

Or monks who want to Spring Attack.

At the moment, the feats that require swift actions (dodge, arcane armor feats) strike me as underpowered. Not yet playtested, just my instict as a player.

Liberty's Edge

spamhammer wrote:
Jagyr Ebonwood wrote:
Dodge is really for the people who wish they were as cool as monks. :-p
Or monks who want to Spring Attack.

Ah, good point about the spring attack. Hadn't thought of that one.

spamhammer wrote:
At the moment, the feats that require swift actions (dodge, arcane armor feats) strike me as underpowered. Not yet playtested, just my instict as a player.

I agree. Anything that uses a swift or standard action is essentially competing for attention with all the other things that use swift/standard actions every time your turn comes up. They have to be pretty good to get picked.


spamhammer wrote:
Or monks who want to Spring Attack.

You get Spring Attack on 6th level by spending two feats and one bonus feat. If you wait till 7th level you need to spend only one feat but two bonus feats. If you wait till 10th level spending one bonus feat is enough.

Because Dodge overlaps with other monk abilities, and Spring Attack makes Mobility almost useless, I'd wait.

I agree with you about swift action feats being underpowered nowadays. Combat feats that were made swift actions are now worse. After all, combat feats only prevented other combat feats from being used.


I'm going to be trying a monk for the first time and have been reading your threads to get a feel for them (good info btw). I had a thought and wanted to get some feed back... Has anyone thought of using gauntlets?

These are taken right from the Beta book

Gauntlet: This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack.

Flurry of Blows (Ex):...When using f lurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons...

The reason I suggest this is because tecnically gauntlets are considered weapons and can be enchanted as such, even if splatbooks call them clothing and the like.

I did think about the fact that monks dont have gauntlets on the weapons prof. list, and they would need to take a feat for it but...
I think the ability to have some kick-ass weapons and still be only unarmed would out weigh the down side.

If anybody has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.


Apostate's Asylum wrote:

Gauntlet: This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack.

Flurry of Blows (Ex):...When using f lurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons...

The wording is exactly the same in the SRD, both for gauntlets and flurry of blows. Unfortunately v.3.5 Main D&D FAQ, page 21 states "Gauntlets are indeed a weapon. If a monk uses any weapon not listed as a special monk weapon, she does not gain her better attack rate".

I'd say the same ruling applies to Pathfinder Beta.


We've played two more sessions since the last update.

Tenth session was played with Alpha 3 rules. It featured a combat in a place designed for leaping. Unfortunately, none of the leaping potential was used. The critter(s) rushed us and a fierce melee ensued. Later, the session had two more fights but they were both in confined space. On paper the monk's movement capabilities are superb but we seem to run into monsters when it doesn't matter.

Eleventh session already had Beta rules in use. The monk saw one round of one fight. He failed a save and died. Not that I mind - these things happen. It was a bit ironical, though, that I had taken precautions (which failed), and had by far the best saves for the job. Not much to comment on that, except SoD sucks :)

What killed him?

Spoiler:
DC20 Deep slumber as a spell-like ability (the monk had Will save +11, and Silence cast on him).


Alas for news of untimely death! One hopes that your monk will be raised so that he can continue his adventures - and so that we can continue to see how the monk adapts to the PFRPG Beta!


WmTell wrote:
Alas for news of untimely death! One hopes that your monk will be raised so that he can continue his adventures - and so that we can continue to see how the monk adapts to the PFRPG Beta!

Luckily his fellows recovered the body, and raised him from the dead. Next session he's again alive and kicking (literally).


Ah... ok then just a thought.


Twelth session had - among all the roleplaying - lots of different fights. At this point the characters are brb6 (fighter), mnk6 (fighter), rgr5/wiz1 (walking library), and rgr2/rog4 (archer).

In the first fight the monk slowed down the big one a bit, and the barbarian finished him off. Meanwhile, the other characters killed his sidekicks.

In the second one the monk tried to disarm the opponent, failing his 9 attempts. By then the barbarian had killed him with some help from the other characters.

Third fight started with all characters doing their part but when the BBEG arrived it was a job for the monk and the barbarian. While the monk tried to set up flanking the barbarian killed the baddie.

The last fight was mostly won before it started. Knowing what to face we had bought enough bane arrows. Our ranger/rogue sniped the critter before he could even hit the AC boosted monk (who again failed all his disarm attempts).

I mean, I had fun. But the fights start to feel the same. Everyone else stalls while the barbarian kills everything. It's especially annoying as I have designed the monk to be a damage dealer. Maybe things change now that he got Improved natural attack. But I fear that he keeps missing too often.

The other benefit the monk used to have was high AC. After the session his AC was the second lowest - the archer being only one point away. This seems to be a bit more than stupid.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Question,

You said in that one combat he failed 9 disarm checks and you are disappointed he isn't doing more damage because he should be a damage dealer. It sounds like you are doing a bunch of disarm attempts instead of attacking and that could be why your damage is more limited.

Also, as for having so many failures, the monk has a lot of chance of keeping up(I know they get the equivalent of a fighters bab for combat maneuvers). Is your dex much higher then your str? You might want to pick up feat that lets you swap the two for maneuvers as well to get better, and are you using improved disarm to get that extra +2?

Manuevers are definitely a bit tougher now then they were in 3.x, but in my experience they haven't been all the impossible unless you are fighting a creature that seems particularly resistant to them some how. Make sure you and the DM read through the combat chapter carefully because there have been some changes to modifiers in there that could make a difference.

-Tarlane

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Samuli wrote:
In the second one the monk tried to disarm the opponent, failing his 9 attempts.

If I'm doing my math right, you have a +14 to your disarm attempts, yes? What in the gods' names were you fighting?!


For the OP:

your monk a damage dealer? with weapon finese? no way!

You should have built a Strength-based monk. less defensive but impressive in dealing damage. And you would have spared TWO feats (weapon finesse and defensive combat training).


Tarlane wrote:
It sounds like you are doing a bunch of disarm attempts instead of attacking and that could be why your damage is more limited.

You're correctly pointing out that my two sentences "lots of disarm attempts" and "too little damage" are contradictory. However, I meant them a bit differently.

Last session was the first one the monk had Improved disarm (and was alive to use it), so I wanted to experiment with that. Those were the first disarm attempts ever by the monk. The other set of attempts was in a later fight where we knew that the monk's job was not to damage but to hinder the opponent. The comment about damage spans over all levels and session. Although I admit that having a barbarian in the group might cloud my judgement.

Shisumo wrote:
If I'm doing my math right, you have a +14 to your disarm attempts, yes? What in the gods' names were you fighting?!

The monk a sai in that battle, making it +18 (this should be fixed, btw). Telling what stood against that would be a

Spoiler:
We're currently in Hook Mountain Massacre, populated with high BAB, high STR ogres. We also faced a golem with a large scythe. Disarming is trying to prevent single crit kills (one happened already).

In retrospective, it might not have been the best place to experiment with disarming but I also rolled poorly. All the disarm attempts would've been misses if hitting normally. We can as well say "the monk missed 9 times". That might be a more fair way of putting it.


Hayden wrote:
You should have built a Strength-based monk. less defensive but impressive in dealing damage. And you would have spared TWO feats (weapon finesse and defensive combat training).

I've thought about this option as well. Unfortunately I don't see this the right way for damage dealing monks. Let's take our monk as an example.

Swapping Str and Dex pros:

  • damage 2d8+6 and 2d8+3, instead of 2d8+3 and 2d8+1
  • two feats to spare (or one if not taking Agile maneuvers)
  • better climb

    Swapping Str and Dex cons:

  • AC 20 instead of 23
  • reflex save +9 instead of +12 (cloak of resistance +1)
  • worse acrobatics, escape artist and stealth
  • missing out Improved and Greater TWF

    Let's say we're not interested in the skills, saves, or the AC. My reasoning was that defensive monks keep hitting longer, and mobile monks can concentrate hitting where it hurts the most.

    Next the feats on the pro side. What to take instead of Weapon finesse and Agile maneuvers? If there is a single essential feat it could've been swapped with Agile maneuvers. It was taken because there were no better options. Finding another essential feat is possible but I doubt it. Remember, we're playing with Pathfinder Beta + SRD only. In my opinion the feats are not an issue.

    This leaves the question whether the better damage justifies missing the rest of the TWF feat. Let's look it from a mnk16/ftr4 perspective. The one that has taken Improved vital strike at level 20. Let's also assume he now has a +6 stat booster (upping main combat ability to 30, secondary still 16).

    The Dex monk now has 8 attacks (9th with a Ki point, 10th with Haste). He can sacrifice two of those to triple his damage. Let's say he has 7 attacks left, 6 of them 12d8+9, and the last one 12d8+3. That's a potential 84d8+57 (avg 435).

    The Str monk has two fewer attacks but the damage is 12d8+30 for the first four, and 12d8+15 for the off-hand attack. Five hits with that damage is 60d8+135 (avg 405). I'd say a fair interpretation (or estimation) is that they hit equally hard.

    The Str monk has now four feats to spare (thanks to the latter two TWF feats). He also has 7 worse AC, reflex save and mobility related skills. How to use those four feats in his advantage?

    Disclaimer: the Str monk has had higher damage in the early career but less opportunities to hit what he wants. I estimated that those cancel each others out.


  • Hayden wrote:

    For the OP:

    your monk a damage dealer? with weapon finese? no way!

    You should have built a Strength-based monk. less defensive but impressive in dealing damage. And you would have spared TWO feats (weapon finesse and defensive combat training).

    Just to reiterate what Samuli said -- two or three points of damage is not really the difference between impressive damage and unimpressive damage.

    On the other hand, I doubt that two-weapon fighting is the best approach for a monk that's having trouble hitting already.

    Samuli, have you gotten any mileage out of Stunning Fist? (If you have Stunning Fist, that is.)


    hogarth wrote:
    On the other hand, I doubt that two-weapon fighting is the best approach for a monk that's having trouble hitting already.

    I noticed the same thing. Nowadays I use flurry more, and TWF less. What puzzles me is the disarm + TWF combo, though. Seems like there are no penalties for disarming or tripping while using TWF. It used to be harder in 3.5.

    hogarth wrote:
    Samuli, have you gotten any mileage out of Stunning Fist? (If you have Stunning Fist, that is.)

    Spoiler:
    Most of the opponents have been either immune to Stunning fist (a lot of them), or just had massive fortitude saves. The current DC 17 isn't enough for the monsters we face.

    Samuli wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    Samuli, have you gotten any mileage out of Stunning Fist? (If you have Stunning Fist, that is.)
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Spoiler:
    But does that mean you don't even try, or that you try and fail? The good thing about Stunning Fist is that it doesn't take any action over and above a normal attack; it's like a free lottery ticket, kind of.

    Samuli wrote:
    The Str monk has two fewer attacks but the damage is 12d8+30 for the first four, and 12d8+15 for the off-hand attack. Five hits with that damage is 60d8+135 (avg 405).

    Oopsie, the damage from Str doesn't triple. It's four times 12d8+10 and once 12d8+5, summing up to 60d8+55 (avg 325). Substantially less than the 435 average from the Dex build.


    hogarth wrote:
    Samuli, have you gotten any mileage out of Stunning Fist?

    I've used all my Stunning fist attempts often. Twice I used 4+ attempts on the same opponent without effect - that is, until I ran out of daily uses.

    We had a short discussion with our DM, and realized that RotRl is actully quite horrible for monks. There are a number of reasons all shouting "don't create a monk". Of course, you should take this with a grain of salt. But I decided to keep it out of the spoiler tags as I think this is a problem with RotRl design. May this be a warning to all thinking about monks in Sandpoint :)

    Liberty's Edge

    Samuli wrote:
    Apostate's Asylum wrote:

    Gauntlet: This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack.

    Flurry of Blows (Ex):...When using f lurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons...

    The wording is exactly the same in the SRD, both for gauntlets and flurry of blows. Unfortunately v.3.5 Main D&D FAQ, page 21 states "Gauntlets are indeed a weapon. If a monk uses any weapon not listed as a special monk weapon, she does not gain her better attack rate".

    I'd say the same ruling applies to Pathfinder Beta.

    Depending on how available magic items in your game and the flexibility of your DM, gauntlets CAN be used with Flurry. There's a weapon enchantment DMG pg 225 called Ki Focus. This allows any melee weapon to be used with the monk's Ki powers. Stunning Fist, Quivering Palm, Ki Strike are mentioned. Flurry isn't mentioned specifically, but my DM allowed the enchant so long as I only put weapon enchants on the gauntlets and not armor enchants. So my monk is running around beating up the baddies with a pair of +1 cold iron Axiomatic Ki Focus gauntlets.

    Why Axiomatic and not Holy?
    1. It's cheaper.
    2. Complete Champion pg 48 (alternate class feature)
    3. Exalted Deeds pg 44 (Sanctified Ki Strike / Holy Ki Strike) if your DM allows 3.0 books (mine does).


    cox7858 wrote:
    Depending on how available magic items in your game and the flexibility of your DM, gauntlets CAN be used with Flurry. There's a weapon enchantment DMG pg 225 called Ki Focus. This allows any melee weapon to be used with the monk's Ki powers. Stunning Fist, Quivering Palm, Ki Strike are mentioned. Flurry isn't mentioned specifically, but my DM allowed the enchant so long as I only put weapon enchants on the gauntlets and not armor enchants. So my monk is running around beating up the baddies with a pair of +1 cold iron Axiomatic Ki Focus gauntlets.

    This is not totally necessary in Pathfinder Beta -- you can add weapon enhancements to an Amulet of Mighty Fists now, so you can have an axiomatic amulet of mighty fists +1 instead (you do lose out on the cold iron bit, though). Unfortunately, an axiomatic amulet of mighty fists +1 would cost 45,000 gp (as opposed to an axiomatic ki focus weapon which would cost 32,000 gp).


    cox7858 wrote:
    Depending on how available magic items in your game and the flexibility of your DM, gauntlets CAN be used with Flurry. There's a weapon enchantment DMG pg 225 called Ki Focus.

    The same enchantment is on Pathfinder Beta pg. 347. It still doesn't allow using Flurry of blows with ki weapons. And even if it would why the monk wanted to use gauntlets when the damage is vastly inferior to unarmed strikes. Ki weapons most certainly do not allow using the monk's unarmed damage. And gauntlets are weapons, as seen in the equipment section, Beta pg. 102. Note that gauntlets are considered as unarmed attacks, but not unarmed strikes. Monk bonus damage only applies to unarmed strikes.

    cox7858 wrote:

    Why Axiomatic and not Holy?

    1. It's cheaper.

    Which rules are you using? Pathfinder Beta pg. 345 lists both Axiomatic and Holy as +2 bonus equivalent abilities.


    Okay, leveling to monk 7. One new feat, totally useless Wholeness of body, and BAB +1. One of the more useless levels in monk progression. Except that single-class monks now fulfill the requirements for Improved natural attack.

    Arguably, that single feat is the best monk ability in the current rules (Pathfinder Beta + SRD). The only competition comes from the 4th level Ki pool ability, and it's quite easy to see INA being more powerful than that. INA is so powerful that all monks should take it at 7th level. This shows two problems with the feat. Most probably it's overpowered if all monks choose it. And if all monks choose the feat it's no longer an option but required instead.

    In other words, Improved natural attack is seemingly an option but the effect is so overwhelming that it reduces the option to an automation: everyone chooses the feat. Along the best practices in game design such an "option" should either be removed or changes should be made that turn it into a real option. If the feature is not important enough removing is the route to take.


    I started my chr as a cleric or Irori with the thought of muti- classing into monk. put my high abilty scores into dex. con. and wis.
    i roleplayed for my first two feats at first level (human) and took bounus skills to knowledge local and and religion. so now going into monk i wanted to use pick up something more useful for combat.... my dex mod is +2 con+2 and wis+3 but dex and wis are both 15s so that at level 3 i can pick witch one i want to inprove. the feats that i am looking at are "weapon finesse" but i read into "turning smite" and thought it it would be a nice addition for the multi class. any thoughts...?


    cleric of* Irori

    Grand Lodge

    Samuli wrote:
    In other words, Improved natural attack is seemingly an option but the effect is so overwhelming that it reduces the option to an automation: everyone chooses the feat. Along the best practices in game design such an "option" should either be removed or changes should be made that turn it into a real option. If the feature is not important enough removing is the route to take.

    I think that it is only an overwhelming choice when points of damage done and body count are the measure of a player's performance at the table. Granted, everyone wants to get in there and kick some boo-tay but my thoughts on that as a GM are that if the player wanted to be a melee DPS machine then monk was not the best choice of character for them to play. Monks are sure be effective at the things they do well... just like fighters are... just like wizards are and so on. Howeve, comparing Monk DPS to Barbarian DPS is comparing a cherry to a watermellon - sure, they both have seeds of some sort and are red but a cherry is not a watermellon and is much more delicious (IMO).

    There are many other feats that are viable selections for Monks and folding Improved Natural Attack into the base features would make the monk more "fighter-y" and less "monk-y" in my book. It's good to have it as a feat because if you player feels compelled to to dish it out DPS, they can choose it just like the fighter can cross class or take steps to be more stealthy like a monk... and so on. But I do agree, for DPS, that is the most obvious choice.


    Samuli wrote:


    In other words, Improved natural attack is seemingly an option but the effect is so overwhelming that it reduces the option to an automation: everyone chooses the feat.

    Two to four points of damage is overwhelming? It's nice, but not that exciting. Of course, there aren't a lot of other cool Core feats that the monk can get a lot of use out of.


    hogarth wrote:
    Two to four points of damage is overwhelming?

    Looks like I misread the damage by one step. I thought it would double the damage. Looks like it gives "only" 60% more damage. That's still huge from one feat. Maybe not enough to warrant bolding, at least not before combined with vital strikes (as shown a few posts above).


    Samuli wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    Two to four points of damage is overwhelming?
    Looks like I misread the damage by one step. I thought it would double the damage. Looks like it gives "only" 60% more damage. That's still huge from one feat. Maybe not enough to warrant bolding, at least not before combined with vital strikes (as shown a few posts above).

    Just to clarify:

    I thought your 7th level monk does 1d8+3 (?) unarmed damage, for an average of 7.5. Now he'll do 2d6+3 (?) unarmed damage, for an average of 10.

    How is that a 60% increase? I must be way off on the values, somehow.


    hogarth wrote:
    I thought your 7th level monk does 1d8+3 (?) unarmed damage, for an average of 7.5. Now he'll do 2d6+3 (?) unarmed damage, for an average of 10.

    I was calculating without the Str bonuses, over multiple levels. The increase is +56% at 7th level, and +64% at 20th. The effect of Str modifier is the greatest at 7th, and diminishes as the base damage piles up (especially with vital strikes).

    You were correct on the d8+3, though. To be exact it's d8+3/d8+3/d8+1 most of the time :)


    One thing your forgetting though Samuli. Monk's have no "offhand" penalties while using flurry. As such those #d# +1's of yours are in truth +3. Its not a big difference but should you be picking up the other two weapon fighting feats it'll add an extra 6 damage to your full attack's.

    Hope that helps :)

    (I agree the monk is way underpowered though. The ki pool system as it is now doesn't do anything close to compensating for its inadequacies. Monk is, in truth, my favorite class, but it brings me nearly to tears to see the way its treated in D&D. It really fails to compete with the other classes, and the Beta hasn't solved that.)


    kyrt-ryder wrote:
    Monk's have no "offhand" penalties while using flurry. As such those #d# +1's of yours are in truth +3.

    Actually, that's not correct. At least according to v.3.5 Main D&D FAQ. Pg. 19 states:

    "To add an off-hand attack to a flurry of blows, stack whatever two-weapon penalty the monk has with the penalty (if any) from the flurry. Attacks from the flurry have the monk’s full damage bonus from Strength, but the off-hand attack gains only half Strength bonus to damage."

    Dark Archive

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    hogarth wrote:
    Samuli wrote:


    In other words, Improved natural attack is seemingly an option but the effect is so overwhelming that it reduces the option to an automation: everyone chooses the feat.
    Two to four points of damage is overwhelming? It's nice, but not that exciting. Of course, there aren't a lot of other cool Core feats that the monk can get a lot of use out of.

    But it's a dice enlargement ... so when you start stacking "enlarge person" or something like vital strike ... things get big. Frex, a vanilla Monk 20 does 2d10 per hit ... upped to 4d8 with enlarge ... upped to 8d6 with INA ... then doubled, via Vital strike, for a total of 16d6 per strike (avg. 56 per hit). Without INA, you're only tossing 8d8 (avg. 36 damage). That's 20 less damage per strike, which can make a big difference when you've got 4+ kicks per round (you'll lose your lowest attack for Vital Strike).

    That said, I don't think INA is too good. It's just an automatic choice because so many of the Monk's other options suck.

    Edit: and things get even CRAZIER with a Fighter 4/Monk 16, cuz you can get Improved Vital Strike. I'm way tempted to give it a try -- who doesn't want to toss around 24d6 every time they land a hit? It's like a "meteor swarm" in your pants! (Cause that's where your legs are).


    Thanks for the link, but I must digress. I read all the fax pieces about Monks, and they flat out suck lol. Some of them were obvious but others were obscure pieces that completely made me wince in agony. (The two weapon fighting flurry thing, for example. Its obvious the attack penalties apply, but the 1/2 strength issue that I referenced in my prior post is a huge pain)

    I hope the designers are reading this, I've played the normal monk, and many of the variant class features that have come out, and he simply does not contribute often in combat. The improvements they've made seem nice and interesting, but truly do not appear to be, iirc (Based both on reading the RAW and your accounts) anything close to what is needed.

    I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of your adventures, and I'll start a play-test group and a thread regarding it and try to see if I can figure out a few propper ways to bring the monk's combat capacity into alignment.


    I've been thinking about monks a lot lately, this monk in particular. After walking him from 1st level to the 7th it's time for a retrospective. What was he supposed to be, what is he now, and what I want him to be.

    The original concept was essentially a bruiser, a flashy prize-fightery kind but a bruiser still. All his physical stats are high, and I chose to concentrate on Dex. Dex is more defensive, something the monks really need with their rather low AC. I also needed high Dex to grab all the two-weapon fighting feats.

    Hitting is a problem for monks, but there is always Weapon finesse. The Pathfinder monks are also quite good with combat maneuvers. That called for Agile maneuvers. Two feats and most of the lower Str problems were obsolete. I thought it was a bargain. Instead it was stacking up to the pile I was starting to lean against: Dexterity first and foremost.

    Before I knew it he started to resemble more a ninja, or a wire-fu warrior, than an honest fighter. It wasn't what I meant him to be. He was mostly jumping around during the battle, grappling, disarming and trying to come up with clever ways to perform under his potential. I tried to figure out why I felt he wasn't enough when he was actually doing quite ok, compared to the rest of the party.

    Thinking back, it was because he wasn't doing I wanted him to do. In addition, he was doing the things I wanted from him worse than he could've done, with a different approach. It was the Str vs Dex discussion that made me eventually realize this.

    Unfortunately it's getting late. I'll come back tomorrow, and try to figure out if this made any sense. Till then.

    (By the way, in 3.5 you need only Weapon finesse to be effective both in hitting and combat maneuvers. Pathfinder requires another feat for that.)


    Samuli wrote:
    The original concept was essentially a bruiser, a flashy prize-fightery kind but a bruiser still.

    For a "bruiser", I'd stick with fighter/barbarian/psychic warrior/etc. In fact, the best "bruiser" monk I ever played was a psychic warrior grappler.

    The monk is all about having a bunch of flavourful (but not necessarily useful) class abilities of the kung fu persuasion.

    Silver Crusade

    So, what is the best way to build a hand to hand fighter. Does it have to be a monk?

    Dark Archive

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    I'm saving the full discussion on "Agile Maneuvers" til Jason gets to the combat section, but I -really- think this feat needs to be automatic. Size bonuses, too, are off -- in 3.5 you took a penalty to grappling if you were little, but you still got your size bonus to AC when they tried to hit you. In the Beta, the size bonuses/penalties have been reduced somewhat, but since there's no roll to hit, Small and smaller characters are really easy to grapple. I noticed this in my Runelords playtest campaign when the PCs could barely hit (the little lady in the Catacombs) with traditional attacks because of her Tiny size and Dex bonus, but easily snatched her out of the air with a Grapple check (in which she got no Dex and her size worked against her) and beat the tar out of her.

    Of course, I'm starting to think Weapon Finesse should just be automatic, as well. Did the Beta do away with the +1 BAB requirement? I can't remember, but if it didn't, it should. Otherwise it just forces the rogue to suck until 2nd level.

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    hogarth wrote:
    The monk is all about having a bunch of flavourful (but not necessarily useful) class abilities of the kung fu persuasion.

    I really wish this wasn't so true. One of my most heart-felt wishes is for some alternative class features for the monk that allow you to strip off the pseudo-chop-socky to make something more like a bare-handed brawler or Shoanti martial arts adept.


    I am in the process of writing up 3 alternative monk paths for the sake of fixing the class, I'll post them once they're done. You all make some very good points about the current state of the monk in 3.P.


    tribeof1 wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    The monk is all about having a bunch of flavourful (but not necessarily useful) class abilities of the kung fu persuasion.
    I really wish this wasn't so true. One of my most heart-felt wishes is for some alternative class features for the monk that allow you to strip off the pseudo-chop-socky to make something more like a bare-handed brawler or Shoanti martial arts adept.

    But that's just it. If you want a "bare-handed brawler", why don't you make a fighter (or maybe a barbarian/ranger/rogue if you want some variety)? Improved Unarmed Strike isn't a monk-only feat.


    hogarth wrote:
    If you want a "bare-handed brawler", why don't you make a fighter (or maybe a barbarian/ranger/rogue if you want some variety)? Improved Unarmed Strike isn't a monk-only feat.

    Monks (or mnk/ftr at higher levels) are by far the most efficient bare-knuckle brawlers. Ftr1 with IUS does 1d3 unarmed damage, compared to the monk's 1d6. And the gap keeps getting wider. Of course, the fighter is hitting more often and can wear armor.


    Samuli wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    If you want a "bare-handed brawler", why don't you make a fighter (or maybe a barbarian/ranger/rogue if you want some variety)? Improved Unarmed Strike isn't a monk-only feat.
    Monks (or mnk/ftr at higher levels) are by far the most efficient bare-knuckle brawlers. Ftr1 with IUS does 1d3 unarmed damage, compared to the monk's 1d6. And the gap keeps getting wider. Of course, the fighter is hitting more often and can wear armor.

    Wow! 1.5 points of damage (1 point if the fighter is using a spiked gauntlet), and the monk hits less often. At level 20, the fighter is doing 1d3+5 damage (for Weapon Mastery) vs. the monk's 2d10 -- 4 points of damage, but the fighter can use Power Attack to increase his damage and still have a better chance of hitting than the monk (note that Power Attack works with light weapons now). Not to mention that the fighter can use other, better weapons as well.


    hogarth wrote:
    Wow! 1.5 points of damage (1 point if the fighter is using a spiked gauntlet), and the monk hits less often. At level 20, the fighter is doing 1d3+5 damage (for Weapon Mastery) vs. the monk's 2d10 -- 4 points of damage, but the fighter can use Power Attack to increase his damage and still have a better chance of hitting than the monk (note that Power Attack works with light weapons now). Not to mention that the fighter can use other, better weapons as well.

    This discussion is quite long and complicated. But I see your points, and was aware of them.

    My ideas for the monk included things like Improved natural attack, Enlarge person, and the vital strike feat tree. Those up the mnk16/ftr4 unarmed damage to 18d8 per hit. I'd say that's pretty impressive, and not that far-fetched an idea (except for the lvl20 part).

    He still hits worse than a pure fighter but I thought the massive damage (pun intended) makes up for that.


    Samuli wrote:
    This discussion is quite long and complicated. But I see your points, and was aware of them. My ideas for the monk included things like Improved natural attack, Enlarge person, and the vital strike feat tree. Those up the mnk16/ftr4 unarmed damage to 18d8 per hit. I thought it was pretty impressive, and not that far-fetched (except the lvl20 part). He still hits worse than a pure fighter but I thought the massive damage (pun intended) makes up for that.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but saying that a monk is a better unarmed brawler than a fighter starting at level 15, if he's allowed to take some levels in fighter is a far cry from saying that the monk is better in general!

    I'm exaggerating, of course. There are several areas where the monk is better; getting in lots of attacks vs. opponents with low AC, for instance.

    Liberty's Edge

    Samuli wrote:
    cox7858 wrote:

    Why Axiomatic and not Holy?

    1. It's cheaper.
    Which rules are you using? Pathfinder Beta pg. 345 lists both Axiomatic and Holy as +2 bonus equivalent abilities.

    Oops! For some reason I had it in my head that Axiomatic was +1. My Monk was converted from 3.5 to Pathfinder. I double-checked DMG and it's a +2 enchant there. Forget I said anything. :P

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