Effectiveness of Monks in Combat


General Discussion (Prerelease)

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Silver Crusade

I've previously dismissed the the "flurry of misses" discussion with regard to monks, but I've begun to notice this at my own table with the player running a monk (currently 7th level). He is having definite problems hitting many of the creatures at this level, and looking ahead in the campaign, I don't see this improving.

Part of the problem may be he has built a fairly defensive character (spring attacker), and compared to the party's fighter (a two handed power attacker), his combat effectiveness is comparatively low, both in attack and damage. I'm sensing a bit of dissatisfaction from the monk player with his character.

My questions are:

1. Is the monk versus fighter a fair comparison, or we talking apples and oranges?
2. Is there a particular area he can focus on to be more effective? I can allow a retool of the character if needed.
3. Does the monk class need a boost of some sort, like more feats or full BAB?

Thanks for any input.


sowhereaminow wrote:

I've previously dismissed the the "flurry of misses" discussion with regard to monks, but I've begun to notice this at my own table with the player running a monk (currently 7th level). He is having definite problems hitting many of the creatures at this level, and looking ahead in the campaign, I don't see this improving.

Part of the problem may be he has built a fairly defensive character (spring attacker), and compared to the party's fighter (a two handed power attacker), his combat effectiveness is comparatively low, both in attack and damage. I'm sensing a bit of dissatisfaction from the monk player with his character.

My questions are:

1. Is the monk versus fighter a fair comparison, or we talking apples and oranges?
2. Is there a particular area he can focus on to be more effective? I can allow a retool of the character if needed.
3. Does the monk class need a boost of some sort, like more feats or full BAB?

Thanks for any input.

Straight up the monk vs. fighter isn't exactly apples to apples. The monk has massive mobility and really needs to use that to shine. Dodge, mobility and all are great for him to have, but is he flanking at every oppertunity? Is he charging the enemy casters in prefernce to duking it out with their armored screeners?

Also your player is building defensively and hoping to compair to a fighter built offensively in damage, that alone should be an indication of his problem.

Monks have no armor so no reason not to take skill focus acrobatics and pour skills points into that to do similar actions with less feat use then the dodge line of feats. Taking weapon finesse (if your dex is greater the your str but enough to be a two point change) all but eliminates the miss for flurry of blows, barring that weapon focus (unarmed) removes half the negative effect of the move.

Also don't forget Ki he can be using that 3 times a day for a third attack when using Flurry of Blows, making him great at destroying a soft target quickly.

The Monk also have some serious advantages when it comes to saves vs the fighter. The monk can feel good about making any save, and reflex saves should be cake for him. The fighter can rely only on making fort saves. This is really a big deal as a will save often shuts you down if you fail it.

At 8th level the damage die for the monk will also jump to a d10, and he gets another attack.

Try tweaking what he has, if it still doesn't work for him try upping his BAB. But I would try using feats and skills to improve his combat ability first. I think there is plenty to help him.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Also, monks can really excel as grapplers. Once they get the grapple going, their unarmed attacks are already ready, while most of their humanoid foes will be unable to use their normal weapons.


Monk's big bonus is all those juicy attacks they can get with flurry of blows and the medusa's Wraith feat. These in conjunction with a haste spell can lead to a monk getting as many as 7 attacks at full BAB bonus (main attack, flurry for 2, Ki for 1, 2 from medusa's wraith, Haste for the last). At this point he should get vital strike and give up that last attack (at the very poor bonus) and rely on the 7 good attacks (with stunning fist to trigger medusa's wraith) and deal enough damage to kill in that one full attack action.

Defense in the monk's case is usually a stellar offense: stunning fist is almost a necessity due to the fact that a stunned foe both can't attack and drops any item in hand beyond the fact that a stunned opponent is easier to hit. Stunning fist also opens up Gorgon's Wrath.

Dazzling Display and Stunning Defense are very good too, as these also open up options for the monk's gorgon's fist by causing the opponents to be flat footed, which activates the medusa's Wraith feat.

Str isn't as nessecary for a monk as some people believe. Yes it helps with damage, however if you take weapon finesse you can instead focus on DEX and WIS to help both AC and your attack bonus, monks get some of the best damage dice in the game, and using those to deliver the hurt (while a bit swingy) is probably better than trying to balance three stats poorly.

Overall using all the means at a monk's disposal to activate Medusa's Wraith and get as many attacks in as possible is the key to quickly defeating foes... which means living for another round.

One last thought: Monk's can generally survive one or two solid hits -- so if you have the means to force your foes to close on you -- even if it means taking a charge, it can be very worthwhile as it allows you to get a full attack on your next turn.

***************************************8

Quick comment on Thurgion's post (which was very good) -- Just don't get overly worked up over Will saves, Generally Fortitude saves from spells will shut you down just as quickly and even if they don't, are more prone to having really wicked secondary effects on a successful save, and having multiple rounds to attempt to affect you, where as most will save effects are done after the initial save.


JoelF847 wrote:
Also, monks can really excel as grapplers. Once they get the grapple going, their unarmed attacks are already ready, while most of their humanoid foes will be unable to use their normal weapons.

Not in Pathfinder -- monks don't have a particular advantage over a fighter (say) when it comes to grappling, and grappling is pretty poor in general (hard to do, requires a standard action instead of an attack, failure terminates the grapple).

To answer the original poster: It's fair to compare the monk and other melee fighters (since a monk is a melee fighter), and yes, monks come up short in the fighting department.

They're great at making saving throws and running around, though. =)


I would echo what Thurgon says about the Mobility chain: if maxing out Acrobatics is a viable approach to basically the same outcome, that saves Feats which can enhance Offensive effectiveness. Spring Attack obviously is a unique ability allowing the Monk to escape Melee range after attacking, but using it also means the Monk isn't Full Attacking: the pre-requisite for Melee effectiveness past low levels.

For Offensive optimizations, besides Attack Bonuses like Weapon Focus, you might want to try things that synergize well with lots of attack rolls: Vital Strike & Special Effect (Stun, etc) Feats already mentioned, Sonic/Sonic Blast Weapon Enhancement on Fist Wraps, though all of that requires a Full Attack to get the most out of it (AKA drop the Spring Attack routine). The final Pathfiner RPG rules may allow "lesser" Iterative attacks as Standard Actions, but Full Attack would still be "desirable".

It's fairly easy to have a good AC as a Monk, though the Fighter's Armor + Armor Training will tend to over-take you by/beyond the levels you're at. But beyond AC buffing, the Monk could look into having someone create a Wand of Mirror Image and/or Blur (and take several ranks in UMD to use them). Alternatively, have a continuous effect/command word activated effect permanently built into an Item. All those options would make staying in Full Attack range much less dangerous.

For your Monk player, I'd consider allowing them to 're-spec' to a more offensive build, if other players wouldn't be offended.
Spring Attack is still a useful Feat for when you absolutely don't want to stay in Melee range, but if you're worried about offensive juice, you don't really need to take it right away...
And overall, I wouldn't ever expect the Monk to challenge the Fighter for Damage-Dealer role, unless you're totally abusing some rules tweaks somewhere or another. But all the Scorpion/Medusa/etc martial arts Feats applying "debuffs" provide a unique role to NEUTRALIZE opponents that the Fighter doesn't approach until high levels (with the Crit Feats).


One of the beautiful things about being a monk is multiple attacks.

So why is your player focusing on Spring Attack - it only allows him one attack.

That's like buying a ferari and only driving it in the sand.

Play to the monk's strengths, don't nerf him further by choosing feats that rob him of his strengths.

That said, you as a DM can help him out a bit.

Sure, maybe he doesn't outdamage the fighter, but if the fighter has a habit of ending up face-planted while the monk walks away from the fights, he'll have something to feel good about. In other words, monsters tend to strike back at what they fear the most. They fear the PC who is damaging them the most. Put a monk and a fighter side-by-side fighting a throng of ogres, and those ogres will prefer to hit the fighter, if they can, because he scares them a lot more (big old sword vs. empty hands) and because he's easier to hit) so the fighter could and should be taking more damage in most fights.

Further, throw lots of stuff at the party that demands Will saves and watch the fighter go running away in fear, or even better, dancing his butt off, while the monk makes his saves and keeps on fighting.

Talk that monk into using his CMB, since he's better with it than he is at raw attacking, anyway. Every wonder how easy it is to put a choke hold on an ogre when you already doinked him with stunning fist?

And to this end, hook the guy up with some weapons that might be a bit over his level. Maybe you can encounter an evil monk villain wielding a pair of sai, one flaming, the other frosty. Kill him, and you find out they are +2 sai, both with Ki Focus and one is flaming, one is frost. He'll cherish those for life.

Even more so if you do, as I have done, and houserule that every time a monk's unarmed damage die increases, he also increases the damage dice of any special monk's weapons. So at 7th level a monk's damage has increased once, from d6 to d8, and at 8th level it increases again to d10. So his damage with nunchaku, sai, kama, bo, and sianghams also increases one size at 7th level (well, it was at 4th level actually), and another size at 8th level. This means his sai would be d6 at his current level and d8 when he reaches 8th level.

Sure, those weapons are too powerful for his level, but as I've mentioned in other threads where people want to use charts with special abilities so they don't have to use the Christmas tree of magic, one of the beautiful things about keeping the magic items in the game as RAW is that a DM can tweak up or down the items certain PCs find, in order to balance them out within the PC group. So hook that bald-headed brother up with some kickin gear.

And don't forget that while a monk can't flurry with his Sai of Fire and Ice, he can still use feet, knees, elbows, and really, his hands (I trained for years with sai, even have a couple trophies for sai kata competitions - when you lay the "blade" back along your arm, gripping the sai so the handle pionts forward, you are basically punching your foe with that solid handle much like a "spear hand" attack, and chops and "ridge hand" attacks are also essentially identical to the same motions empty handed) - all of which can still be done useing unarmed damage and flurry of blows without dropping or putting away his sai.

So he can flurry when he wants, toast and freeze his enemies when he wants, use those sai with their +4 disarm bonus when he wants to disarm an enemy, and he can grapple when he wants - sai are beautifully shaped to trap (and break) an wrist, and you can apply many holds, such as a choke hold ("rear naked choke"), with sai in your hands, or drop the sai for other holds as needed.

Don't forget to hook him up with an Amulet of Natural Attacks so he can be further effective with his unarmed combat.


I have a Monk [level 8] in my RotRL game.

He has +3 Dex and Wis. He gains a +2 AC from class. He has a Ring of Protection +1 and a Amulet of Natural Armour +1. And Dodge adds another one.
The Arcane user casts Mage Armour on him each day and he uses Pots of Shield.

That’s an AC of 25 without Shield at level 8, which is more than satisfactory [and 29 with].

He uses the Mobility & Spring Attack chain to help while positioning himself for flanking bonuses, and Improved Disarm to steal the enemy’s weapons with a more than reasonable CMB.

The damage output is low compared to a Fighter, but as others have said, Good Saves and crazy manoeuvrability make for a very interesting character.


If he wants to play a skirmishing (ie spring attacking monk), I would suggest a slight rebuild aiming towards shadow dancer. A stealthy monk with hide-in-plain-sight doesn't deal the damage that a stand up fighter can, but can often easily take an encounter solo.

Scarab Sages

2nd day.. I had to sleep and needed to retreat to my coffin... 2 of my BlackGuards were killed in the defensive attack against the 2nd Adventuring party that consisted of a 12th Wizard, 4 10th Fighters, 2 9th Rouges, 2 11th Clerics.

I made it to my Coffin, and after a brief rest arose to destroy the 2nd adventuring party, calling for assistance from the rest of my party, in gaseous form I traversed the many secret corridors of my Castle collecting my party for the final assault in the Main Hall.

Vs the above Party I had my 2 undead/Vampiric Dire Tigers, 2 BlackGuards 8F/4BG, 2 Clerics 12,10 2 Monk Assassins 10/4 Myself 4th Rogue 18th Wizard.

The battle was fierce.. getting the Monks to take out their spellcasters was crucial.. I more or less flew to the air to get out of reach of Melee, and proceeded to take out their muscle.. the fighters while my Monks, and Blackguards delt with the Spellcasting Clerics and Wizard. Tough battle.. battle of wits for the Mages.. Whew.

Monks Rule... Both of my Followers Monks are Teifling Monk/Assassins, and they Rock!


Vampress77 wrote:

The battle was fierce.. getting the Monks to take out their spellcasters was crucial.. I more or less flew to the air to get out of reach of Melee, and proceeded to take out their muscle.. the fighters while my Monks, and Blackguards delt with the Spellcasting Clerics and Wizard. Tough battle.. battle of wits for the Mages.. Whew.

Monks Rule... Both of my Followers Monks are Teifling Monk/Assassins, and they Rock!

Care to tell us how this happened? Without a little more detail, simply saying the monks took out their spellcasters is nice, but you could have had barbarians take out their spellcasters, or rogues take out their spellcasters, or spellcasters take out their spellcasters, or...

My point is, what was it about the monks that made using them to take out the spellcasters so advantageous? Please tell us that part of it. Or was it merely that you had monks, so you used monks? Because if so, I venture to suggest that if you didn't have monks, but had barbarians or rogues or spellcasters or something else, then that is what you would have used to take out their spellcasters.

Incidentally, I can't help but notice that each of your monks prestige classed into assassin, something that monks don't usually do - how much of their success was due to monk abilities and how much was due to assassin abilities? Were they fighting with poisoned sianghams? Were they using assassin spells? Sneak attack? Death attack? None of that?

Starving for details here, because I don't find monks to be terribly effective, though I do believe their superior saving throws, fast movement, and ability to flurry of blows against poorly armored enemy spellcasters might actually make them the perfect choice for taking out enemy spellcasters in the back. It might be a place where they do truly shine.

Sovereign Court

DM_Blake wrote:

One of the beautiful things about being a monk is multiple attacks.

So why is your player focusing on Spring Attack - it only allows him one attack.

That's like buying a ferari and only driving it in the sand.

Play to the monk's strengths, don't nerf him further by choosing feats that rob him of his strengths.

That said, you as a DM can help him out a bit.
again to d10. So his damage with nunchaku, sai, kama, bo, and...

Well in all fairness if they have access to the PHBII there are feats that allow the monk to get multiple attacks off in the spring attack tree.


DM_Blake wrote:
And don't forget that while a monk can't flurry with his Sai of Fire and Ice...

Ummm.. why not?

Sidenote: Remember, Monk's Bonus Feats do not require any of the prerequisites. Any of them, including other bonus feats. That means Spring Attack without Dodge or Mobility for instance.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
JoelF847 wrote:
Also, monks can really excel as grapplers. Once they get the grapple going, their unarmed attacks are already ready, while most of their humanoid foes will be unable to use their normal weapons.

I have to say that I haven't seen this with my monk. CMB seems a bit high or the monk doesn't receive enough of a gain over other classes. Perhaps if Paizo returned all the improved fighting feats to +4 from +2 this could change.


Majuba wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
And don't forget that while a monk can't flurry with his Sai of Fire and Ice...
Ummm.. why not?

Oops, yeah, sai, special monk weapon.

My bad.

Our monk in our game uses a sword and can't flurry, and so I mistakenly translated that to my monk example.

So disregard that, and let that monk's awesome flamingness and iciness flurry on!


Saurstalk wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Also, monks can really excel as grapplers. Once they get the grapple going, their unarmed attacks are already ready, while most of their humanoid foes will be unable to use their normal weapons.
I have to say that I haven't seen this with my monk. CMB seems a bit high or the monk doesn't receive enough of a gain over other classes. Perhaps if Paizo returned all the improved fighting feats to +4 from +2 this could change.

Monks kind of excel as grapplers, since they get the same CMB as a fighter and they don't have to throw their weapons and/or shield on the ground to grab their foe.

But they don't exactly gain any bonuses to grappling that other full-BAB classes don't also have, except the always-ready thing (unless the monk in question uses weapons, in which case, he's equally unready to grapple as any other class).

Now, when grappling, you can automagically inflict your unarmed damage bonus, and monks tend to have better unarmed damage than anyone else of the same race, which makes them better at inflicting damage once a grapple is initiated.

Also, higher level monks can use Abundant Step and Empty Body to escape grapples, in case they aren't in the mood to tap out.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

stuart haffenden wrote:
The Arcane user casts Mage Armour on him each day and he uses Pots of Shield.

Stuart Potions of Shield don't exist. Personal Range Spells can't be made into them.

--Vrock and a hard place


In Magic of Faerun, there are magic bracers that grant a bonus to unarmed strike, like a magic weapon. Maybe he can find one of these in your next adventure, and presto, problem solved. Maybe a +2 flaming (or holy, or whatever) well help even the odds. Yeah, he may have a bit more magic than some of the other PCs, but it shouldn't be a big problem.


primemover003 wrote:
Stuart Potions of Shield don't exist. Personal Range Spells can't be made into them.

While I've seen this as a suggestion, and I heartily agree with it in general, this is somewhat open to debate. Potions are required to target one or more creatures, Shield targets "You", which pretty much has to be a creature.

Again, I agree that Personal spells might be good to eliminate from potions (though that includes things like Expeditious Retreat and Longstrider), I haven't seen a formal ruling on that.

Scarab Sages

Having experince on playing as a monk in my first 6-7 mods, i can safely say, monks are there as support chacters ducking round behind for the flank, then the grapple if one took the improved grapple feat has helped immensly, giving the person on the other side huge bonus on attack rolls. Sure monks don't have a whole heap of skill points but it means what he/she is skilled in is very good at what he/she does.

Its all depeandant on the concept people want to play.

Phoenix

Scarab Sages

Forgot to mention one thing in my last post the monk armed with mage armour potions and scrolls are useful

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:
Vampress77 wrote:

The battle was fierce.. getting the Monks to take out their spellcasters was crucial.. I more or less flew to the air to get out of reach of Melee, and proceeded to take out their muscle.. the fighters while my Monks, and Blackguards delt with the Spellcasting Clerics and Wizard. Tough battle.. battle of wits for the Mages.. Whew.

Monks Rule... Both of my Followers Monks are Teifling Monk/Assassins, and they Rock!

Care to tell us how this happened? Without a little more detail, simply saying the monks took out their spellcasters is nice, but you could have had barbarians take out their spellcasters, or rogues take out their spellcasters, or spellcasters take out their spellcasters, or...

My point is, what was it about the monks that made using them to take out the spellcasters so advantageous? Please tell us that part of it. Or was it merely that you had monks, so you used monks? Because if so, I venture to suggest that if you didn't have monks, but had barbarians or rogues or spellcasters or something else, then that is what you would have used to take out their spellcasters.

Incidentally, I can't help but notice that each of your monks prestige classed into assassin, something that monks don't usually do - how much of their success was due to monk abilities and how much was due to assassin abilities? Were they fighting with poisoned sianghams? Were they using assassin spells? Sneak attack? Death attack? None of that?

Starving for details here, because I don't find monks to be terribly effective, though I do believe their superior saving throws, fast movement, and ability to flurry of blows against poorly armored enemy spellcasters might actually make them the perfect choice for taking out enemy spellcasters in the back. It might be a place where they do truly shine.

I chose Monks for NPC class because of their mobility, multiple attacks, and that they nearly take no damage from Area effect spells because of their reflex save. These particulr monks have been built out for agility, multiple attacks with either their hands or weapon/poison. At them moment their Assassin spells are limited so they are buffed up with mage armor, bulls strength and Cats grace by either spell or from what they are wearing. They both have boots of spider climbing and cloak of the bat, which aids them from entaglement etc. They are excellent grapplers so their primary mission is to get in close, do terrible damage, possibly poison the victim with paralyasis and then go for the easy kill. In a couple more assassin levels they will be even more lethal, having the ability to cast from a more complete set of spells.

Barbarians are nice, but it did not fit with my storyline


Majuba wrote:
primemover003 wrote:
Stuart Potions of Shield don't exist. Personal Range Spells can't be made into them.

While I've seen this as a suggestion, and I heartily agree with it in general, this is somewhat open to debate. Potions are required to target one or more creatures, Shield targets "You", which pretty much has to be a creature.

Again, I agree that Personal spells might be good to eliminate from potions (though that includes things like Expeditious Retreat and Longstrider), I haven't seen a formal ruling on that.

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."


hogarth wrote:
Majuba wrote:
primemover003 wrote:
Stuart Potions of Shield don't exist. Personal Range Spells can't be made into them.

While I've seen this as a suggestion, and I heartily agree with it in general, this is somewhat open to debate. Potions are required to target one or more creatures, Shield targets "You", which pretty much has to be a creature.

Again, I agree that Personal spells might be good to eliminate from potions (though that includes things like Expeditious Retreat and Longstrider), I haven't seen a formal ruling on that.

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."

Guess a good reason to learn how to use scrolls for the monk.


Thurgon wrote:
Guess a good reason to learn how to use scrolls for the monk.

Yes, scrolls of Shield can be useful, not to mention Mirror Image and other nifty arcane spells...

-Finn, the monk 2/sorcerer 1


hogarth wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Again, I agree that Personal spells might be good to eliminate from potions (though that includes things like Expeditious Retreat and Longstrider), I haven't seen a formal ruling on that.

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."

Ahh, in the "Creating..." section. I thought I had seen it somewhere.

Also on Page 21 of the Magic-Items Web Enhancement: "The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."

Very good, thanks... man.. no Longstrider potions, ouch. No more feeding those to horses...


Thurgon wrote:

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."
Guess a good reason to learn how to use scrolls for the monk.

I've seen this, and I know of the rule, but I can't imagine any logical justification for it.

It's OK for a mage to cast a spell where he is both the caster and the target.

So why is it not OK for a drinker to quaff a potion where he is both the caster and the target?

Seems the same to me.

This seems an arbitrary and illogical rule, and I personally ignore it.

Now, the rule I use for potions is that you can create any potion that alters you in some way, but you cannot create a potion that alters something outside of you. So Mage Armor, Bull's Strength, Longstrider, all good. Summon Monster, Floating Disk, Fireball, all bad.

But that's just my take.


DM_Blake wrote:
This seems an arbitrary and illogical rule, and I personally ignore it.

You're not alone; Paizo has put a number of personal-range spells into potion form in their Adventure Paths (e.g. expeditious retreat).


DM_Blake wrote:
Thurgon wrote:

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."
Guess a good reason to learn how to use scrolls for the monk.

I've seen this, and I know of the rule, but I can't imagine any logical justification for it.

It's OK for a mage to cast a spell where he is both the caster and the target.

So why is it not OK for a drinker to quaff a potion where he is both the caster and the target?

Seems the same to me.

This seems an arbitrary and illogical rule, and I personally ignore it.

Now, the rule I use for potions is that you can create any potion that alters you in some way, but you cannot create a potion that alters something outside of you. So Mage Armor, Bull's Strength, Longstrider, all good. Summon Monster, Floating Disk, Fireball, all bad.

But that's just my take.

I suppose a potions of fireball would be ok in your game, as long as the target was yourself......dang that would be a fun "cursed" item. Potions of summon monster...oh dang it appears in your stomach....


Thurgon wrote:
I suppose a potions of fireball would be ok in your game, as long as the target was yourself......dang that would be a fun "cursed" item. Potions of summon monster...oh dang it appears in your stomach....

Those aren't spells with a "Target" line, though. But you should note that there already is a "potion of summon monster", sort of (i.e. the Elemental Gem from the DMG).

A more interesting potion would be a potion/oil of Animate Dead. Don't drink that one unless you want a stomachache...

Silver Crusade

Hey, just wanted to chime in with a big thanks to everyone who has commented on this thread. Y'all have put forth some great suggestions, from feats to equipment to tactics that should help my Monk player. I'm planning on sitting down with him prior to our next session to discuss retooling options, and some tactical ideas he could try.

Thanks again, and keep the idea's coming! It's been a very interesting, and productive, thread!

Dark Archive

hogarth wrote:
A more interesting potion would be a potion/oil of Animate Dead. Don't drink that one unless you want a stomachache...

DM: Remember that burger you ate last night?

PC: Yeah..
DM: It wants out now...

Dark Archive

sowhereaminow wrote:

Hey, just wanted to chime in with a big thanks to everyone who has commented on this thread. Y'all have put forth some great suggestions, from feats to equipment to tactics that should help my Monk player. I'm planning on sitting down with him prior to our next session to discuss retooling options, and some tactical ideas he could try.

Thanks again, and keep the idea's coming! It's been a very interesting, and productive, thread!

There's an article in KQ #5 about the monk.. i thought it was worth the read..

Silver Crusade

lastknightleft wrote:
Well in all fairness if they have access to the PHBII there are feats that allow the monk to get multiple attacks off in the spring attack tree.

Really!?!

[[ Flips through PHBII ]]

Cool feats, but the BAB requirement is a bit high for the campaign currently (7th level). Of course, maybe I can use monk level instead of BAB down the line...

Silver Crusade

Jason Beardsley wrote:


There's an article in KQ #5 about the monk.. i thought it was worth the read..

Well, time to get that KQ subscription I've been putting off...


DM_Blake wrote:
Thurgon wrote:

It says so in the DMG (and in the SRD):

"The imbiber of the potion is both the caster and the target. Spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions."
Guess a good reason to learn how to use scrolls for the monk.

I've seen this, and I know of the rule, but I can't imagine any logical justification for it.

It's OK for a mage to cast a spell where he is both the caster and the target.

So why is it not OK for a drinker to quaff a potion where he is both the caster and the target?

Seems the same to me.

<< end quote of DM_Blake >>

Some of the spells are balanced with the assumption that certain classes won't be affected by them (at least not without multiclassing).

Without magic items, how does a fighter get Mage Armor on him? He asks the Wizard to cast it.

How does a fighter get Shield on him? He asks the Wizard, who instructs him in the ways of magic, and many experience points later, he casts it on himself.

If you allow potions of Shield, you're allowing a cheap way around that restriction.

Whether a potion of Shield/True Strike/Expeditious Retreat/Blink will break your game is a different discussion, but I can understand the logic behind the rule.

Also remember spells from expansion books. There's a first level wizard spell in (I think) complete arcance that gives the caster a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a slam attack. If you can make that into a potion, who's going to buy potions of Bull Strength anymore?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Paizo does regularly break the potion rule, but how they normally do it is to make them wonderous items(normally 'elixers') and that gets around it. Though I do believe it costs more that way since you are making an item that doesn't require a slot, even if its single use.


Tarlane wrote:
Paizo does regularly break the potion rule, but how they normally do it is to make them wonderous items(normally 'elixers') and that gets around it.

Well, I'm pretty sure I've seen a "potion of tree shape" and a "potion of expeditious retreat" that weren't labelled as elixirs. I could be misremembering, though.


sowhereaminow wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Well in all fairness if they have access to the PHBII there are feats that allow the monk to get multiple attacks off in the spring attack tree.

Really!?!

[[ Flips through PHBII ]]

Cool feats, but the BAB requirement is a bit high for the campaign currently (7th level). Of course, maybe I can use monk level instead of BAB down the line...

Sure, you could houserule that.

However, remember that the BAB requirement is there to balance the classes a bit.

These feats should be available to fighters, and other full-BAB classes, before other classes can have access to them.

In theory, this was done for a reason. It's almost like a class feature. Hey, you get full BAB, so you can hit better, and more often, and you can get the good feats before anyone else.

Then along comes the houserule that says "Well, forget about getting those feats before anyone else, but you're still cool anyway."

Which might be fine. Just consider the balance issue.

On the other hand, where monks get (effectively) full BAB with their CMB maneuvers after 3rd level, it might be a fair houserule that monks can use their class level to qualify in place of BAB for any feat that requires CMB rolls to use, such as Improved Trip, etc.

But any feat that isn't a CMB feat that is equally interesting to all melee characters may not be a good candidate to give early access to monks, for the balance reason stated above.

It's your game, and your houserule, so do what you want. I'm just suggesting that this coin has two sides, so consider them both.


udalrich wrote:

Some of the spells are balanced with the assumption that certain classes won't be affected by them (at least not without multiclassing).

Without magic items, how does a fighter get Mage Armor on him? He asks the Wizard to cast it.

How does a fighter get Shield on him? He asks the Wizard, who instructs him in the ways of magic, and many experience points later, he casts it on himself.

If you allow potions of Shield, you're allowing a cheap way around that restriction.

Good point.

I personally would disallow a potion of Shield because it violates my houserule of a potion changing something external to the imbiber. Mage Armor would be fine (but doesn't stack with your figher's chainmail, so it's nearly useless to a fighter, less uselss to a monk), but placing a shield outside of the user's body, in the air in front of him, is beyond what I'm willing to allow a potion to do.

udalrich wrote:
Whether a potion of Shield/True Strike/Expeditious Retreat/Blink will break your game is a different discussion, but I can understand the logic behind the rule.

None of them will break my game, and all of them sound fun. Assassins with True Strike potions. Yum...

udalrich wrote:
Also remember spells from expansion books. There's a first level wizard spell in (I think) complete arcance that gives the caster a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a slam attack. If you can make that into a potion, who's going to buy potions of Bull Strength anymore?

I don't have my books here with me, and I don't remember that spell. But if it exists, it better have a really tiny duration or it's the wrong level. Probably the wrong level either way. There should be no way a 1st level spell in any book, splat or otherwise, should be 3x as powerful as a similar 2nd level spell, plus have extra benefits (the slam attack), and I'm not sure even a shorter duration really compensates well for that abuse of spell power.

Sovereign Court

udalrich wrote:
Also remember spells from expansion books. There's a first level wizard spell in (I think) complete arcance that gives the caster a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a slam attack. If you can make that into a potion, who's going to buy potions of Bull Strength anymore?

Fist of stone, the spell exists, I believe the duration is 1round/level but I'm not 100% since I don't have my books with me.


Looks around Anyone want to try my potion of fireball?

lastknightleft wrote:


udalrich wrote:
Also remember spells from expansion books. There's a first level wizard spell in (I think) complete arcance that gives the caster a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a slam attack. If you can make that into a potion, who's going to buy potions of Bull Strength anymore?
Fist of stone, the spell exists, I believe the duration is 1round/level but I'm not 100% since I don't have my books with me.

Duration 1 minute, +6 to Str and an additional slam attack...

Pretty powerful stuff really, however the range is personal...

Sovereign Court

Abraham spalding wrote:

Looks around Anyone want to try my potion of fireball?

lastknightleft wrote:


udalrich wrote:
Also remember spells from expansion books. There's a first level wizard spell in (I think) complete arcance that gives the caster a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a slam attack. If you can make that into a potion, who's going to buy potions of Bull Strength anymore?
Fist of stone, the spell exists, I believe the duration is 1round/level but I'm not 100% since I don't have my books with me.

Duration 1 minute, +6 to Str and an additional slam attack...

Pretty powerful stuff really, however the range is personal...

So ten rounds and it can't be cast on others as opposed to 1/3 the str, but cast it on others and it lasts longer, but is one level higher. I don't know it sounds like they should have been the same level.

And I definitely don't want the 19str fighter quaffing a potion of it at the start of combat.


Yes, Fist of Stone sounds dangerous as a potion.

But Bull's Strength gives almost as much STR (4 instead of 6) and what fighter needs a slam attack anyway?

So, 1/10 the duration, but +2 STR. That may be a fair trade off, which makes me think this should be a 2nd level spell, and it might be wise to houserule it to the 2nd level spell list.

Either way, by my houserule, this would be possible as a potion. And either way, I wouldn't call it game breaking, since +2 extra STR really won't rock the world too badly.

Especially if the fighter has to pay the price for a 2nd level potion instead of a 1st level potion.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hogarth, I believe you are right(I'm pretty sure it was the goblin druid in burnt offerings.) I think that it was pointed out in the boards that the potion technically wasn't legal, JJ or one of the others made a comment about making it an elixer instead, and I haven't noticed any quaff-able personal spells that were labeled as potions since, so I suspect they have just been printing them that way now.


primemover003 wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
The Arcane user casts Mage Armour on him each day and he uses Pots of Shield.

Stuart Potions of Shield don't exist. Personal Range Spells can't be made into them.

--Vrock and a hard place

That's a very good point...One I clearly overlooked, Hmm, I'm gonna have some very unhappy players come Sunday...

Silver Crusade

DM_Blake wrote:

Sure, you could houserule that.

However, remember that the BAB requirement is there to balance the classes a bit.

These feats should be available to fighters, and other full-BAB classes, before other classes can have access to them.

In theory, this was done for a reason. It's almost like a class feature. Hey, you get full BAB, so you can hit better, and more often, and you can get the good feats before anyone else.

Then along comes the houserule that says "Well, forget about getting those feats before anyone else, but you're still cool anyway."

Which might be fine. Just consider the balance issue.

On the other hand, where monks get (effectively) full BAB with their CMB maneuvers after 3rd level, it might be a fair houserule that monks can use their class level to qualify in place of BAB for any feat that requires CMB rolls to use, such as Improved Trip, etc.

But any feat that isn't a CMB feat that is equally interesting to all melee characters may not be a good candidate to give early access to monks, for the balance reason stated above.

It's your game, and your houserule, so do what you want. I'm just suggesting that this coin has two sides, so consider them both.

Very good points. Balance considerations are very important, especially when considering fighter feats, effectively the only fighter special abilities in 3.5. Although the feats in question aren't fighter feats, they are most likely to be taken by a fighter, based on the high BAB and three feat requirements.

I think it might be OK to fudge this one a bit to allow a monk to take at 12th level (the same time as the fighter could) as opposed to 16th, since this is a significant feat investment on the part of the monk. Regardless, it would be a one off case, not a standing house rule. If I had another player working on the same or similar feat tree, I would be disinclined to allow such an exception.

Silver Crusade

DM_Blake wrote:

Yes, Fist of Stone sounds dangerous as a potion.

But Bull's Strength gives almost as much STR (4 instead of 6) and what fighter needs a slam attack anyway?

So, 1/10 the duration, but +2 STR. That may be a fair trade off, which makes me think this should be a 2nd level spell, and it might be wise to houserule it to the 2nd level spell list.

Either way, by my houserule, this would be possible as a potion. And either way, I wouldn't call it game breaking, since +2 extra STR really won't rock the world too badly.

Especially if the fighter has to pay the price for a 2nd level potion instead of a 1st level potion.

Bumping it to 2nd level potion prices is a good idea. In addition to the STR bonus of +6, it grants you an additional slam attack (at -5 BAB)when used as part of a full round action. Very useful to a monk or a fighter with a free hand. Luckily it only grants one extra attack, and the spell has a fixed one minute duration.


Fist of stone is also a great spell to throw on a wand... CL doesn't matter at all, so you can just do the minimum for 750 gp and be as effective as if you had done it at CL 5.


If you want, you could suggest he uses the Decisive Strike alternate class feature instead of Flurry. It doubles all damage done with the attack and adds +2 to the Dc for Stunning fist. The only drwback is you can only make one attack this way until 11thlv(correct me if I'm wrong), at which point he can make to attack against different opponenets in the round. The penalties/bonuses to hit are the same for a flurry monk.

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