Monk - Weapon Proficiencies


Classes: Bard, Monk, and Rogue


First off, please clarify that Monks are proficient with their unarmed strikes (that it’s one of the weapons they’re proficient with).

Second, does every Monk everywhere in every campaign and from every civilization need to be proficient with the same list of weapons? Especially when most of the special monk weapons are other weapons by another name (kama = sickle, nunchaku = flail). Even if it’s necessary to limit a Monk to a choice of weapons (possibly using some of the groups created for the Fighter), I think he should still have more of a choice.


I have always been strongly in favor of using feats to add either single, or catagories of weapons to the monk list....why cant their be a sect of monks that trains in the bastard sword ( katana ) or Spiked chain....these weapons have that oriental flare too


Tectorman wrote:

First off, please clarify that Monks are proficient with their unarmed strikes (that it’s one of the weapons they’re proficient with).

Well, actually on page 98 of Beta PFRPG there is written:

"Simple, Martial, and Exotic Weapons: Anybody but a druid, monk, rogue, or wizard is proficient with all simple weapons (although all creatures are proficient with unarmed strikes)."

So, yes, a Monk is proficient with unarmed strikes.


I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.


  • Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.

  • I second your suggestion

    Though rather than giving them a damage bonus when using weapons allow them to use their unarmed monk damage in place of a regular weapon's damage if it is higher. Only if they are proficient in the weapon that is.


    Kalyth wrote:
    Though rather than giving them a damage bonus when using weapons allow them to use their unarmed monk damage in place of a regular weapon's damage if it is higher. Only if they are proficient in the weapon that is.

    I was initially of that opinion, but I didn't want to actively discourage them from fighting unarmed (20/x2 critical with 5-ft. reach is a lot worse than 20/x3 and 10-ft. reach, for example). The +1/2 level makes weapon use almost par for unarmed overall, and is also a "nod" to the 1st edition monk rules.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.

  • I think I like this overall myself. I thought it might need to be attribute dependent on Wisdom, but upon reflection, it doesn't really add anything. I think it might be necessary to change Temple Weapon to Martial melee or Exotic melee weapon, as I don't think we need/want to step on the toes of the Ranged Full BAB specialists.

    I did not think short spears finesse-able like the siangham, which does mean it is a net loss of a weapon type. One thought to address the siangham absence would be to add Arrow to the list of exotic melee weapons, and give the monk proficiency with the Arrow. I had been houseruling EWP:siangham as Arrow melee proficiency, with an addendum that the Arrow follows rules for ammo (meaning you lose it when you hit), unless it had been constructed for melee (ie: was a siangham). Simple, fun, and solved something that a lot of archers want to be able to do, which is threaten in melee without putting down their bow for a fairly simple feat.


    TreeLynx wrote:
    I think it might be necessary to change Temple Weapon to Martial melee or Exotic melee weapon, as I don't think we need/want to step on the toes of the Ranged Full BAB specialists.

    No change there, you just specified what I was already thinking! :) I'd also disallow flurrying with, say, a crossbow -- melee weapons only.

    TreeLynx wrote:
    I did not think short spears finesse-able like the siangham, which does mean it is a net loss of a weapon type.

    It would be easy enough to add them to the list. Your arrow thing would work, too, but would add a lot of text to the rulebook. I'm big into trimming it where possible.

    Liberty's Edge

    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I'd also disallow flurrying with, say, a crossbow -- melee weapons only.

    throws away "crossbow flurry" monk character...


    houstonderek wrote:
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I'd also disallow flurrying with, say, a crossbow -- melee weapons only.
    throws away "crossbow flurry" monk character...

    heh repeating crossbow

    Liberty's Edge

    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.

  • First off, I completely agree that the monk's weapon proficiency list needs to be expanded, one to add more versatility, and second, to better cover the different regions that a monk can potentially be from.

    With that said, I can't quite get on board with allowing them to flurry with any simple weapon, but I do think they should have a larger list of special monk weapons to utilize.

    As or the bonus damage, I have been toying with linking the monk's ki pool in with the weapon proficiencies. As long as the monk has at least one point in their ki pool, they gain a bonus equal to their wisdom modifier to damage with any weapon that is considered to be a favored weapon. That way, it covers the monk's relative lack of enchantments with weapons when compared to other melee combatants and adds another use for their ki pool.


    I like the idea presented here too (for what it matters lol) I've seen a lot of people that want a "sword monk" or "axe monk" that have had to house rule it or work with the "ki" weapon enhancement I would LOVE to see something codified in the core to give these monk types a chance, and agree some added damage would give the weapons monk a chance at life.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Your arrow thing would work, too, but would add a lot of text to the rulebook. I'm big into trimming it where possible.

    I just think stabbing someone in the face with an arrow you just snatched out of the air ranks very high on the "how awesome is that!" meter, and I'd like to see it find it's way into the core ruleset. I know my players like the houserule, and at least then "siangham" might marginally justify being an Exotic Weapon.


    I have to agree with so many people who find the whole exotic monk weapon system rather odd. It is also awkward. As others have said, I would (and I may houserule this) say that monks should just be proficient with all simple weapons and should be able to flurry with them, perhaps limiting only to light or one-handed weapons.

    One thing I would add would be a new light simple melee weapon, the hand flail. Describe it as a short wooden handle with a 6 inch chain ended with a blunt metal head. Make it 1d6 bludgeoning, used for tripping and +2 bonus on disarm checks. If you wish, add a note that it can also be called a nunchauk. This would keep them with the nunchauk without martial proficiencies.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.

  • I agree with this also. However I remember reading posts back in Alpha that I thought made quite a bit of sense also... it was in regards to why the "MONK" weapons even need to exist when each weapon has an equivalent on the normal weapons list. Pulling a cue from the 'Arms & Equipment' Guide, all weapons have equivalents, it's simply a matter of theme and/or RP flair what your particular character is using.

    Example: Bastard Sword = Katana, Short Sword = Gladius, etc.

    The monk weapons are abundant with redundant... yes, this is about 'weapons', but I figured it might be just as important during a class's weapon proficiency discussion as well.

    The only one I'm at a lack of comparison for is the SAI, a bludgeoning weapon that disarms.

    Anyhow my suggestion is to simplify the monk weapons/weapon proficiencies and perhaps add a list similar(not the same, it's not OGL) to that of the 'Arms & Equipment Guide' explaining to folks what can be a feasibly substituted weapon in concept and design. Sure this might add another 1/2 page or so, but having 5+ exotic weapons for one class that either rarely uses weapons, or tries it's hardest to become proficient with real weapons for various other reasons... such as actually getting an occassional magic weapon drop. :) At what point is the DM just giving a character a magic weapon? 'You also find a +2 holy flaming Nunchaku!' 'Gee, I guess we'll give that to the Wizard.' *blinks*

    Ok, enough of that, on to another post! I will be BACK when we discuss weapons!! Muahaha!

    Shuriken = Dart (Ah darts, once upon a time!)


    Daniel Moyer wrote:
    Shuriken = Dart

    Buff the dart? Or nerf the shuriken. Halfling monks want to know.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    TreeLynx wrote:
    Daniel Moyer wrote:
    Shuriken = Dart
    Buff the dart? Or nerf the shuriken. Halfling monks want to know.

    Nerf the shuriken? A small shuriken does 1 damage. Hardly in need of nerfing in my opinion.


    yoda8myhead wrote:


    Nerf the shuriken? A small shuriken does 1 damage. Hardly in need of nerfing in my opinion.

    And is enchanted in batches of 50 (or houserule: batches of 5, at 1/10th the cost), disappear when thrown, most of the time, is drawn as ammo, and so can be thrown in a flurry without having to take quickdraw.

    And in my games, usually has elemental damage tacked onto it, might be bane, and is thrown by very butch halflings, so end up doing about 1d6 energy + 5.

    I don't want the shuriken to be nerfed, but changing all shuriken to act like the dart would be a definate nerf. On the other hand, changing the dart to act like the shuriken might be a buff for the dart.

    Contributor

    I'm all for ditching the "monk weapons". (Can we rename the falchion while were at it?)

    Dark Archive

    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I've proposed the following in other threads:

  • "Monks are proficient with all simple weapons, with unarmed strikes, and with shuriken."
  • Add an addendum to the sickle description: "this class of weapons includes the eastern kama."
  • Add an addendum to the light flail description: "nunchaku are an example of a light flail."
  • Eliminate the siangham, because monks could now use short spears.
  • "A monk can flurry with any simple melee weapon. Flurrying with other weapons requires the Temple Weapon feat [allows the monk to pick one martial or exotic weapon, with which he gains proficiency and the ability to flurry]."
  • Give monks a damage bonus equal to 1/2 class level when using weapons with which they are proficient.

    This eliminates confusion, breaks the bland "all monks fight unarmed because it's better" stereotype, and allows sects of monks that flurry with glaives or spiked chains or whatever... and has the added benefit of eliminating three lines and a footnote from the weapon table, and three paragraphs' worth of text thereafter.

  • Couple of things about this that I'd like to comment on. I really like the idea behind this. I think it would give some much needed diversity to monks, as well as taking them out of their eastern mysticism roots. It would necessitate moving the flail to the simple weapons or adding it to the list of allowed weapons.

    I think the Flurry ties in well and the "Temple Weapon" feat is excellent. For flavor, I think it should be limited to lighter weapons, but then you end up eliminating weapons like the glaive and halberd, which are perfect weapons for Flurry.
    My real issue is with the damage bonus of 1/2 monk level. That means at 14th level a monk is doing +28 damage in a flurry. A fighter with GWS is only +21. The fighter has to spend 4 feats and is limited to only 1 weapon to get a +7 damage/hit. The way this is written, _every_ monk gets +7 damage/hit with _any_ weapon they are proficient with. We all know that nobody is going to get to do more damage/hit than a fighter in a toe-to-toe fight except in highly specialized circumstances.


    eldrwyrm wrote:
    My real issue is with the damage bonus of 1/2 monk level. That means at 14th level a monk is doing +28 damage in a flurry. A fighter with GWS is only +21. The fighter has to spend 4 feats and is limited to only 1 weapon to get a +7 damage/hit.

    I wrote this assuming the fighter gets a substantial boost to his effectiveness, to make up for the crippling of his capabilities in the shift from 2nd to 3rd edition (for example, average hp of monsters increased dramatically, whereas the fighter's damage output increased only fractionally; the fighter's interative attacks became less likely to hit as monster AC's improved; and the fighter lost his mobility potential when making full attacks). If the fighter remains "as-is," then there is a need for a competent melee combatant; hopefully the monk could then fill that role.

    eldrwyrm wrote:
    We all know that nobody is going to get to do more damage/hit than a fighter in a toe-to-toe fight except in highly specialized circumstances...

    ...except the rogue, with his +7d6 (not just +7) on every attack at 14th level (because flanking really isn't that hard to achieve at all); or the barbarian, raging with a 2-handed Power Attack for +10 damage at 14th level; or the eldritch knight, using Arcane Strike with every attack (slightly lower damage output, but the hit bonus makes up for it); or the druid in wild shape with his buff spells; etc. I mostly feel as if setting the monk's capabilities based on the current fighter's is like setting a human wizard's based on a kobold adept's, if you see what I mean.

    Dark Archive

    okay, point made. allow me to retract the "highly specialized circumstances" portion of that remark.

    Again though, sneak/flank is still a special circumstance. Power attack sacrifices hit potential for damage. Druids in an alternate form are not "always on." A straight up bonus to attack and damage that requires nothing more than picking up a weapon and hitting the opponent is more powerful and I think the standard by which to measure.


    eldrwyrm wrote:
    A straight up bonus to attack and damage that requires nothing more than picking up a weapon and hitting the opponent is more powerful and I think the standard by which to measure.

    Yes, I see where you're coming from, but as characters advance in level, those "circumstantial" bonuses approach being "always on" because of the scaling nature of rage, spell durations, items allowing sneak attacking, etc. The fighter's Weapon Specialization is more circumstantial than that, because it stops applying if he has to change weapons. He spends 2 feats (Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization) to get a benefit on one specific weapon type that's often less than a 1st level cleric spell (divine favor) can bestow on ALL attacks. That's a rotten deal by almost any standard. Now, if Weapon Specialization gave +1/fighter level to damage... now we're talking!


    TreeLynx wrote:
    Daniel Moyer wrote:
    Shuriken = Dart
    Buff the dart? Or nerf the shuriken. Halfling monks want to know.

    LOL! My first instinct is to yell "READ THE BOOK!", but that would just show that I watched a bit too much television in the 80's.

    Sooo... being an understanding DM, when I DM...

    *shrugs and hands the Halfling Monk a +2 Holy Flaming Nunchaku that just happened to be in the Lich's sarcophagus because he just happen to be a oriental weapon aficionado.*

    *Looks down at the Halfling Monk*, "How about that instead?"


    No,no,no... we were talking about ranged weapons... so it would be a +2 Holy Returning Nunchaku that just happened to be in the Lich's sarcophagus because he just happen to be a oriental weapon aficionado. *grins*

    Shadow Lodge

    Flurry with Glaives, Spears, and Sawtooth sabers!

    Glaive=Claw Style
    Spears=Stinger Style
    Sawtooth Saber=Fang Style


    Dragonborn3 wrote:


    Sawtooth Saber=Mantis Style

    Fixed that for ya! ;)


    Tom Cattery wrote:
    Dragonborn3 wrote:


    scythe = Mantis Style

    Fixed that for ya! ;)

    Fixed that fix for ya! ;D

    Shadow Lodge

    Thank you both!

    Shadow Lodge

    Abe the next part of my pbp was just posted.


    Abraham spalding wrote:
    Tom Cattery wrote:
    Dragonborn3 wrote:


    scythe = Mantis Style

    Fixed that for ya! ;)

    Fixed that fix for ya! ;D

    Normally I would agree, if I didn't know the background on the sawtooth saber.

    Shadow Lodge

    Sawtooth Saber+T.W.F.=Mantis Style

    Please not this style needs the blade to curve down while the hilt/guard remain normal.


    DB3 hold the saber in a reversed grip, duh! ;D

    Shadow Lodge

    Abraham spalding wrote:
    DB3 hold the saber in a reversed grip, duh! ;D

    Looks cooler my way...


    Daniel Moyer wrote:
    The only one I'm at a lack of comparison for is the SAI, a bludgeoning weapon that disarms.

    Not a direct analog, but what about the main gauche? Granted, it's a dagger with modifications, but it seems similar in purpose to the sai.

    I lay no claim on being an expert on martial arts, but since we're talking about a game, a little fudging may be in order...

    Liberty's Edge

    First, I like the proposal.

    Second, the sai is a peculiar weapon. It is actually intended as a civil order device, for disarming and subdual, as well as to convey authority, rather than to kill everyone. That does not mean you cannot break a bone or drive the point through someone's throat, just that the main focus is something else, and naturally specific cultural context and training will affect that. Just as insisting on carrying a pike, taking a sai into a dungeon is going to be a strange fit no matter how you structure it in the rules.

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