Monks: A Treantmonk Guide (Optimization)


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ernest Mueller wrote:
The problem with the cestus is that damage stays at 1d4 and doesn't go up.

Yes you can... that's what enchantments are for. You can put flaming, frost, holy, etc.... things you can't do with your fists.


LazarX wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:
The problem with the cestus is that damage stays at 1d4 and doesn't go up.
Yes you can... that's what enchantments are for. You can put flaming, frost, holy, etc.... things you can't do with your fists.

You can, with an amulet of mighty fists, it's just more expensive. You're trading gold for a lot of points of base damage. And actually the amulets are cheaper in many circumstances.

At level 8-11,
1d4 + 1 + 1d6 flaming on +1 flaming cesti ($8,000) = 7 damage a hit
but
1d10 base + 1d6 flaming ($5000, amulet, flaming) = 9 damage a hit

And it gets worse as you go up.

Sure, if at level 5 you have many thousands of gold to burn, they will be a short term help - too bad you burned a feat slot on them. Even at levels 1-3, a +1 cestus is only a little better (not damage wise, but to hit wise and arguably material wise) than the 1d6 unarmed strike.

At high level,
1d4 + 3 + 1d6 flaming + 1d6 thundering ($50,000) = 12.5 damage a hit from +3 flaming thundering cesti

2d8 + 1d6 flaming ($5000, same old amulet, flaming) = 12.5 damage a hit

(Strength and other stuff left out of all this because it's not relevant for the calc)

Anyway, cesti allow you to be slightly better in some limited circumstances, but never enough to merit spending a feat slot.


Love your guides, TreantMonk!
Looking forward to your rogue one!


Abraham spalding wrote:

"The cestus is a glove of leather or thick cloth that covers the wielder from mid-finger to mid-forearm. It is reinforced with metal plates over the fingers and often lined with wicked spikes and fangs along the backs of the hands and wrists. While wearing a cestus, you are considered armed and your unarmed attacks deal normal damage rather than nonlethal damage. If you are proficient with a cestus, your unarmed strikes may deal bludgeoning or piercing damage. When using a cestus, your fingers are mostly exposed, allowing you to wield or carry items in that hand, but the constriction of the weapon at your knuckles gives you a –2 penalty on all precision-based tasks involving that hand (such as opening locks)."

And it's a monk's weapon. So you can enhance it, get your flurry of blows, doing unarmed strike damage, and have a 19~20 crit range. Now you do have to spend a feat to become proficient, but you can also change out between piercing and bludgeoning damage. Those are a lot of good things.

I am just quoting this again. It seems to says in the description that it converts your unarmed damage from nonlethal to lethal, which says to me that a monk can use his improved unarmed damage with a cestus. If that is the case, it is certainly worth a feat.


Anburaid wrote:


I am just quoting this again. It seems to says in the description that it converts your unarmed damage from nonlethal to lethal, which says to me that a monk can use his improved unarmed damage with a cestus. If that is the case, it is certainly worth a feat.

That's what I was saying!

According to AS' description, the Cestus works in the same way a Spiked Gauntlet, using the creature's unarmed strike damage and apllying all Unarmed Strike bonuses too (WF(Unarmed Strike), Greater Magic Weapon and, arguably, Greater Magic Fang and Amulet of Mighty Fists), with all the perks of being a Monk weapon.

Humbly,
Yawar


I say it works with unarmed strike, because telling a monk it doesn't is just asinine.

"Wait, why aren't I doing my monk damage anymore? I'm still punching the dude. I just have gloves on now."

"GO PLAY A FIGHTER IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT MUNCHKIN!"

Seriously, do you punish monks for wearing boots and gloves as wonderous items, too?


Lokie wrote:

The same can be said of a group of experienced players with one new player. An experienced player can make do with half of what a newer player may have, just because they know how to make the most of it.

My point is... that there can be no black<>white way of looking at it. Each groups play style is going to be different based on a number of factors that have nothing to do with which character is more "powerful".

Inexperienced players can get better through experience and advice. Classes require changes by designer or DM to improve. There is a difference. Additionally an experienced player will generally know when they are choosing to get less and so will not be disappointed while an inexperienced player generally will not know what they are getting into. This can increase the difference between the players making the problem of inexperience even greater. I would assume that this should be avoided since it can reduce the fun someone is having.

GRU wrote:

Sorry for being an %#&!!, but:

THAN everyone else, not "THEN everyone else"

Contribute less THAN everyone else, not "contribute less THEN everyone else"

"then" and "than" are different words with very different meanings.

Apart from that I see your point.

GRU

Eh so I misspell. I realize this fact and do not claim to be an excellent typist.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Without all the "blah blah blah," I don't think it was their intention to say (and they didn't say) that it does your normal unarmed strike damage. No other monk weapon does that, and it's just listed as a monk weapon with a defined damage. If it did, sure, it would be worth a feat. Perhaps we should try to get a clarification on that from someone official.

Same deal with brass knuckles and rope gauntlets, though those are entertainingly (or annoyingly, depending on your point of view) all defined slightly differently.

Brass knuckles - monks are *proficient* in them but it's not a "monk weapon" (no flurries?). It has the same sentence about "They allow you to deal lethal damage with unarmed attacks" but again, have damage (crap damage) listed.

Rope gauntlets - seems similar to cesti, just bludgeoning/slashing instead of bludgeoning/piercing - but no monk proficiency even, not just not a monk weapon. And exotic instead of martial.

Hmm, looking through all 451 posts in that annoying Armory thread, I see that Sean says monks do their normal unarmed damage with brass knuckles. He doesn't say anything about the other two, but I reckon you could easily say it applies to the other ones too. Although... In the Armory tables, brass knuckles are listed under the "unarmed attacks" section like gauntlets, but the cestus (and rope dagger) is listed under "light melee weapons" which would imply not. Alas. I understand the *opinion* they should, but the RAW and their placement in the tables would imply not (we're somewhat at the mercy of a book that is really a rulebook but got editing like it was a fluff book, so there's a lot of problems like this...)


wraithstrike wrote:
Can you make this guide available for download like the others are?
treantmonk wrote:

Not sure why it's not downloadable - the doc shows up as available to everyone (just like the others) on my Google docs. Are you trying to download from PFSRD or Google Docs? The Google Doc address is: http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AcNyxDTKvAmqZGRtZzhzdjZfNTB3YzJ0NzlkOA&am p;hl=en

Thanks. I could not find the link to the google docs.


Text > Tables

Also the gauntlets and spiked gauntlets have damage listed on the table too but state the same in the text.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Text > Tables

Also the gauntlets and spiked gauntlets have damage listed on the table too but state the same in the text.

Unclear text = unclear.

Gauntlets and spiked gauntlets, like the brass knuckles, are listed under "unarmed attacks" in the tables, while the other are under light weapons.


Ernest Mueller wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Text > Tables

Also the gauntlets and spiked gauntlets have damage listed on the table too but state the same in the text.

Unclear text = unclear.

Gauntlets and spiked gauntlets, like the brass knuckles, are listed under "unarmed attacks" in the tables, while the other are under light weapons.

Seems rather clear to me:

"The cestus is a glove of leather or thick cloth that covers the wielder from mid-finger to mid-forearm. It is reinforced with metal plates over the fingers and often lined with wicked spikes and fangs along the backs of the hands and wrists. While wearing a cestus, you are considered armed and your unarmed attacks deal normal damage rather than nonlethal damage. If you are proficient with a cestus, your unarmed strikes may deal bludgeoning or piercing damage. When using a cestus, your fingers are mostly exposed, allowing you to wield or carry items in that hand, but the constriction of the weapon at your knuckles gives you a –2 penalty on all precision-based tasks involving that hand (such as opening locks)."

If you aren't proficient it deals the 1d4 damage (which is more than most people's unarmed strike damage btw) if you are proficient then you deal your unarmed attack damage. The monk just has better unarmed attack damage than anyone else.

Yes it is on the light weapon table, but that doesn't change what the text says -- examples:

The rapier is on the one handed table but you can finesse with it, same with the elven Curved blade and the Aldori dueling sword, spiked chain, etc. The sawtooth saber is on the light table but is one handed as a martial weapon...

So on and so forth. So basically, yes it's at a different spot, no that doesn't change what the text states.


Oh, jeez, you're right, repeating yourself for the tenth time has convinced me that the book is clear where it's not. Great, thanks.


So yeah, while it says in the text that cestus upgrades unarmed damage to armed damage, etc, the damage table seems to be odds with the description. There are 2 ways to come down on it. But is the impact of ruling one way or the other and is it in the scope of an exotic weapon proficiency feat?

If a monk gets to use his improved unarmed damage, then he also gets an improved crit range, as well as either blugeoning/piercing damage, the ability to enchant the cestus for normal prices, and immunity to normal disarms. While I believe that in RL a monk would do at least his normal unarmed damage with a cestus, that seems like a lot of advantages for 1 feat. If you allow this for monks in your game it is arguably THE BEST weapon a monk could use (especially since he could use other weapons in the cestus). What monk wouldn't want the equivalent of improved critical, plus bonus damage type, plus discounts on enchantments.

If the cestus does only 1d4, it's still good as a backup weapon, that can take some useful enchantments.

Shadow Lodge

I'm with Anburaid in this. Certainly RAI would point to the cesti delivering monk unarmed damage normally, but a +1, hell, make it +2 since monks have so hard time hitting things with their MAD anyway, a +2 acidic burst cesti with the Improved Critical(cestus) feat and Monk's Robe is really freaking scary a thought. I have a hard time imagining this as anything but balanced with e.g 2d6+12+1d6(17-19x2) for nine attacks!

Hahhah, now I know which feat Taxil'ahn Pauroisie, the oni-spawn thiefling monk will be having right away. Jesus Christ on a bicycle.

Then again, monks struggle uphill as it is, so maybe this is the boost that they need. And hey, even though the weapon offers a great amount of advantages to a crafty player, it still doesn't have an other abilities, unlike the other monk weapons with their +'s to combat maneuvers and so on.


This item is a must for a monk!!! Finally you can flick the amulet of mighty fists for a amulet of natural armor +5 and just enchant your cesti like two seaparate weapons.

The Monk AC issue is solved by his item...


Once again, looking at it purely not from fluff but from a perspective of mechanics and balance, the Cestus only helps put monks where they should be.

Yes, it's a no brainer for monks. Not because of the crit rate, but because of the enchantability. But this isn't because the weapon is so incredibly awesomely powerful, but the current method for monks to get enchanted is so terrible.


ProfessorCirno wrote:

Once again, looking at it purely not from fluff but from a perspective of mechanics and balance, the Cestus only helps put monks where they should be.

Yes, it's a no brainer for monks. Not because of the crit rate, but because of the enchantability. But this isn't because the weapon is so incredibly awesomely powerful, but the current method for monks to get enchanted is so terrible.

I do not disagree. I think the crit range is off. The spikes on a cestus are probably less vicious than the flanges on a mace. If you take the crit off I believe that it would be alright for using improved monk damage. Weapons just don't compete with unarmed strike damage after a while and I believe that is by design. Instead they provide other benefits such as special material types, damage types, bonuses to combat maneuvers. Perhaps you could say that the cestus increases the unarmed damage by +1 to represent the piercing damage of the spikes, but IMHO the crit chance is just too much to include with the improved unarmed damage (unless you decide that all monks can choose to substitute their weapon damage with their improved unarmed damage. But that is houseruling ...). Monks may have it a little tough, but the cestus is not a "patch" to allow them to compete more effectively, or at least it shouldn't be.


Treantmonk, I was hoping for your opinion on using Cornugon Smash as a monk to activate Medusa's Wrath.
From what I have seen there are few 'necessary' feats for a monk build, that you don't get through bonus feats, so the chain doesn't hurt as much, but I was curious as to whether the ends might be worth it.

Level 11 Human Monk:

Monk-Intimidating Prowess, Skill Focus-Intimidate, Bonus- Improved Grapple
Monk-Bonus-Deflect Arrows
Monk-Power Attack
Monk-
Monk-Weapon Focus-Unarmed
Monk-Bonus-Improved trip
Monk-Dazzling Display
Monk-
Monk-Cornugon Smash
Monk-Bonus-Medusa's Wrath
Monk-Shatter Defenses

At this point, with every hit you intimidate check to demoralize, which means you trigger Shatter Defenses and Medusa's Wrath and destroy whoever is unfortunate enough to be fighting you. With Haste and a Ki point, this level 11 Monk would attack 9 times a round, 6 times of which are at his highest attack bonus. On top of this you can take advantage of the demoralized opponent and try to get in a stunning fist after your first power attack hit.

Do you think this is a viable option, or would it create too much of a one hit wonder by eating up all the feats?


@BSF:

The build is perfectly legitimate. Note that if the target is not shaken yet, then the first powerattack would allow you to shake it - and only the next hit would actually activate shatter defenses.

So assuming a non-shaken start, it'll take 2 hits in the first round to get Medusa's Wrath going. Assuming the target is already shaken, then only one hit is required to activate the bonus attacks from the Medusa.

I was planning a similar monk build (without Skill Focus, to complete it by level 10) to submit for DPR Olympics. But I haven't run the math yet to gauge effective DPR.


Hadn't seen that feat before. Getting an auto-demoralize on every power attack hit is fantastic. I would take that every time.


@Lorekeeper

How would you speed up the build? The fact that monk doesn't start with +1 BAB means you can't take the necessary Weapon Focus or Power attack Feats at level 1, how do you manage to get Cornugon Smash and Shatter Defenses by level 10?


@BSF:

My mistake - I keep thinking of Power Attack as requiring only Strength 13+. I wouldn't have invested the Skill Focus, as the intimidate skill will be high enough to intimidate reliably; and repeated hits would extend the duration.

The build would use a guiding amulet of mighty fists, to allow Wisdom to be used for attack and damage. Thus freeing up Strength as a required attribute allowing the monk to build high AC, attack, damage and stun DC from Wisdom. The feat freed from level 1 would become Ability Focus (Stunning Fist); coupled with 24+ Wisdom to provide a potent monk offense and defense.

An additional feat worth looking into is Ki Diversity (Faction Guide) or Just One Finger (Campaign Setting) - either of which can be used to make a stunning fist attack a touch attack. Coupled with a high stun DC that is about a 50% stun-chance.


Would you take the trait that gives UMD as a class skill if it was available?


blope wrote:
Would you take the trait that gives UMD as a class skill if it was available?

Probably. UMD is very handy. (Wands of Mage Armor and Greater Magic Fang come to mind)


So... looks like I'll be using the Monk of the Sacred Mountain variant from APG as it fits my character concept.

I'm wondering how it looks from an optimisation stand point, particularly the loss of evasion for toughness & +1 natural armour, and loss of improved evasion for DR 1/- (increasing to DR 4/- by lvl 18) ?


The following feat is not rated by treantmonk:

srd wrote:


Stand Still (Combat)

You can stop foes that try to move past you.

Prerequisites: Combat Reflexes.

Benefit: When a foe provokes an attack of opportunity due to moving through your adjacent squares, you can make a combat maneuver check as your attack of opportunity. If successful, the enemy cannot move for the rest of his turn. An enemy can still take the rest of his action, but cannot move. This feat also applies to any creature that attempts to move from a square that is adjacent to you if such movement provokes an attack of opportunity.

But as his monk is about standing in one place fighting, and AoO use a monks low BAB this seems like a decent feat, using a monks higher CMB and keeping enemies close to you...

As I write this I realise that improved trip is actually better then this feat... though you cannot get it until lvl 6. hmmm.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Text > Tables

Also the gauntlets and spiked gauntlets have damage listed on the table too but state the same in the text.

Unclear text = unclear.

Gauntlets and spiked gauntlets, like the brass knuckles, are listed under "unarmed attacks" in the tables, while the other are under light weapons.

Seems rather clear to me:

"The cestus is a glove of leather or thick cloth that covers the wielder from mid-finger to mid-forearm. It is reinforced with metal plates over the fingers and often lined with wicked spikes and fangs along the backs of the hands and wrists. While wearing a cestus, you are considered armed and your unarmed attacks deal normal damage rather than nonlethal damage. If you are proficient with a cestus, your unarmed strikes may deal bludgeoning or piercing damage. When using a cestus, your fingers are mostly exposed, allowing you to wield or carry items in that hand, but the constriction of the weapon at your knuckles gives you a –2 penalty on all precision-based tasks involving that hand (such as opening locks)."

If you aren't proficient it deals the 1d4 damage (which is more than most people's unarmed strike damage btw) if you are proficient then you deal your unarmed attack damage. The monk just has better unarmed attack damage than anyone else.

I'm going to revive this discussion to point out that now that APG is out, it is very clear that this is not what is intended with the Cestus. Why? Because brass knuckles specifically state "monks are proficient with brass knuckles and can use their monk unarmed damage when fighting with them," while the cestus just says "monks are proficient with the cestus."

More on topic, I'd like to see brass knuckles worked into Treantmonk's guide. So much cheaper than an amulet of mighty fists, and so much better...


Just passing by to say that I enjoy reading Treatmonks guides, and this thread too :p

A friend used some of the counsels from the guide and now his high AC, inmune to magic, not-worth-a-damn-when-dealing-damage Monk (but still quite powerful) is dealing damage instead of living in his high-AC/saves heaven. He is happier now, many thanks.

I also used the guide to rangers, I had no clue about how to make an archer or a ranger for Pathfinder, thx!


urodivoi wrote:

The following feat is not rated by treantmonk:

srd wrote:


Stand Still (Combat)

You can stop foes that try to move past you.

Prerequisites: Combat Reflexes.

Benefit: When a foe provokes an attack of opportunity due to moving through your adjacent squares, you can make a combat maneuver check as your attack of opportunity. If successful, the enemy cannot move for the rest of his turn. An enemy can still take the rest of his action, but cannot move. This feat also applies to any creature that attempts to move from a square that is adjacent to you if such movement provokes an attack of opportunity.

But as his monk is about standing in one place fighting, and AoO use a monks low BAB this seems like a decent feat, using a monks higher CMB and keeping enemies close to you...

As I write this I realise that improved trip is actually better then this feat... though you cannot get it until lvl 6. hmmm.

From page 1 of the thread about 3/4 of the way down.

Treantmonk wrote:


Quote:

d) one of the feats that I didn't see you rate is Vital Strike. Another is Stand Still.

Red and Red.

Don't get me wrong - I actually like vital strike - but not for Monks. Vital Strike is good for classes that have one really big hit, not a bunch of smaller hits.

The problem with Stand Still is it requires someone to provoke an attack of opportunity from moving through your threatened squares, AND they must be adjacent to you (so no enlarge reach or reach weapons). This just doesn't come up enough to make the feat worthwhile.

Reiterates praise for Treantmonk guides. Thanks TM for bringing rational thought and civil tone to this optimization discussion.


I don't know if it was pointed out: About the problem of the Amulets (mighty fist and natural armor)

In 3.5 we had the option to change the slots of items, I remember an article (still available in the WotC site) from Skip Williams that used the example of putting the mighty fist in another kind of item when talking about making magic items.
Now the only mention to magic items in different slots for Pathfinder comes from the Conversion guide, which is as good as nothing.

Well, maybe would be worth mentioning that a very generous GM may allow to make a cape of migthy fist or something like that.


Thanks Therealthom for the reference, I should have thought to use a search on the tread. :P

The guide is excellent. Many thanks to Treantmonk!

PS.

Little thing: Treantmonk's guide says to "Look for a Starting grapple score of +7...which is very respectable at 1st level."

I can only come up with a +6 (strength mod for +4 and improved grapple for +2) Monk Level doesn't replace BAB until 3rd level.

I assume the last +1 is simply an error, or am I missing another boost to grapple? - perhaps it's assumed the monk is enlarged?


urodivoi wrote:

Thanks Therealthom for the reference, I should have thought to use a search on the tread. :P

The guide is excellent. Many thanks to Treantmonk!

PS.

Little thing: Treantmonk's guide says to "Look for a Starting grapple score of +7...which is very respectable at 1st level."

I can only come up with a +6 (strength mod for +4 and improved grapple for +2) Monk Level doesn't replace BAB until 3rd level.

I assume the last +1 is simply an error, or am I missing another boost to grapple? - perhaps it's assumed the monk is enlarged?

Not sure, but the +1 from Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) may add to unarmed maneuvers (trip, grapple, bull rush, overrun?)

The Exchange

So is anyone else as interested as I am in hearing Treantmonk's thoughts on the new options in the APG.


kingpin wrote:
So is anyone else as interested as I am in hearing Treantmonk's thoughts on the new options in the APG.

Not especially; I've made up my own mind about the monk options.

  • Drunken Monk: The temporary ki points are nice (especially since they last an hour, so they're good for multiple fights). The ability to do a 5' step as a move action is useless, as others have pointed out, since it doesn't explicitly say that this allows you to do two 5' steps (which I suspect was the intent). Drunken Strength is mediocre; you're almost always better off using your ki points for extra attacks. Drunken Courage and Drunken Resilience are not terribly exciting. Firewater Breath is weak compared to Empty Body, but it's fun in a silly way.
  • Hungry Ghost Monk: Punishing Kick is interesting, since it has a "save" effect and a "no save" effect that you can choose from. Steal Ki/Life Funnel/Life From A Stone/Sipping Demon are poorly conceived, IMO; I don't want monks running around killing squirrels or stepping on bugs to recharge their hit points and ki points.
  • Ki Mystic: Mystic Insight is very useful (although I've found that GMs tend to dislike immediate actions). Mystic Persistence is at least as useful as Empty Body, although I'm not a big fan of 1/day abilities. The rest of the stuff is basically harmless fluff.
  • Monk of the Empty Hand: I like the idea of this class. The rules for using weapons as improvised weapons are a little convoluted, but they ultimately make sense. The Ki Weapons ability is cool, although 3-5 ki points per rounds is pretty expensive. The rest of the stuff is pleasant fluff, for the most part.
  • Monk of the Four Winds: Elemental Fist is a weak and boring feat; at least the Mot4W has the damage scale a little bit over time, though. Slow Time looks powerful at first glance, but the restrictions on the extra actions you get and the high ki point cost make it kind of weak. Aspect Master is an interesting idea, although by the time you reach level 17 having a fly/swim/climb speed isn't really that exciting or useful. The spontaneous reincarnation ability sounds neat, but I suspect it would be more annoying in practice (I'll stick with resurrection, thanks).
  • Monk of the Healing Hand: The slightly improved ki healing is dull. Using ki for raise dead/resurrection could be handy. The ability to permanently destroy yourself to heal your allies is of limited usefulness, naturally (although it would probably be memorable).
  • Monk of the Lotus: Touch of Serenity is interesting, and possibly as useful as Stunning Fist (maybe more useful once the duration is extended to 2+ rounds). Does it work on constructs and undead? It doesn't say it doesn't. (That's one of my pet peeves -- abilities that clearly should have the [mind-affecting] descriptor, but don't.) Touch of Surrender is interesting and kind of neat (although rather expensive). Touch of Peace is okay, but charm monster is probably weaker than instant death. Learned Master is harmless.
  • Monk of the Sacred Mountain: +1 natural is not nearly as good as evasion. Bastion Stance is not bad (certainly better than Slow Fall). Iron Limb Defense/Adamantine Monk/Vow of Silence leave me kind of cold; DR 1/- is too little, too late by level 9, and likewise +2 to AC isn't really exciting. Then again, the abilities they replace (high jump, improved evasion, tongue of the sun & moon) aren't very exciting either.
  • Weapon Adept: I like Perfect Strike better than Stunning Fist, but that's probably just because I don't like abilities that require a successful attack and a failed save. Weapon Focus + Specialization in exchange for delayed evasion is a reasonable trade (although evasion is pretty sweet). Uncanny Initiative is nice. Pure Power is the most boring capstone ability I can think of.
  • Zen Archer: Why did this guy get more flashy abilities than the Weapon Adept? That's discrimination! Using Wis for bow attacks is kind of handy. Ki Arrows, Reflexive Shot, Trick Shot and Ki Focus Bow are all useful abilities for an archer (although it makes it painful to choose what to do with your 1 swift action per round).

Out of all of the options, I'd say that the Monk of the Lotus is the most interesting (if not powerful) new option. Ki Mystic is pretty good; the reroll abilities are fairly powerful, and you don't give up anything too great. Zen Archer and Weapon Adept are fine, if that's what you're into. Hungry Ghost Monk has some interesting ideas, but the implementation is not very good.


Treantmonk wrote:
I think grappling is a good secondary focus for Monks (since they can qualify for the greater version - and grappling is something that can be initiated with a standard action - for when Flurry isn't an option), but Str based Monks are better at grappling too, and grappling is never going to be your regular tactic in combat...it's too situational.

I'm curious what people think of Improved/Greater Sunder... granted, Improved isn't available as a bonus feat, but it doesn't require Combat Expertise and it's flurryable, so... green choice?


Phonzy wrote:
Treantmonk wrote:
I think grappling is a good secondary focus for Monks (since they can qualify for the greater version - and grappling is something that can be initiated with a standard action - for when Flurry isn't an option), but Str based Monks are better at grappling too, and grappling is never going to be your regular tactic in combat...it's too situational.
I'm curious what people think of Improved/Greater Sunder... granted, Improved isn't available as a bonus feat, but it doesn't require Combat Expertise and it's flurryable, so... green choice?

A lot of people don't like sunder because you are destroying your loot! I know in 3.5 selling +1 long-swords was a big part of our income. Also: you can't sunder natural weapons so it becomes situational.

Now I think it is easier to repair objects/weapons in Pathfinder with spells, but I don't know if they are cost-effective or make sunder a better option or not.


I agree with urodivoi on the Sunder question.

Also, picked up APG today. Once I've read through it and gathered some opinions, I'll be updating these guides with APG suggestions.

Not going to happen today, but I'll put up posts when the new material is added to each.


You have the option of letting the object with only one hit point after sundering, wich would left the item with the broken condition. This way you can impose a penalty to the opponent and later repair the loot with mending.

I doubt this would make sunder worthwhile in most ocasions, but can be enough to make Sundering Strike worth considering. Specially since creatures become untripable more or less past level 10 and most have enough reach to make Bull Rush Strike conter productive.

Humbly,
Yawar


hogarth wrote:
kingpin wrote:
So is anyone else as interested as I am in hearing Treantmonk's thoughts on the new options in the APG.

Not especially; I've made up my own mind about the monk options.

spoilered for length
Spoiler:

[list]
  • Drunken Monk: The temporary ki points are nice (especially since they last an hour, so they're good for multiple fights). The ability to do a 5' step as a move action is useless, as others have pointed out, since it doesn't explicitly say that this allows you to do two 5' steps (which I suspect was the intent). Drunken Strength is mediocre; you're almost always better off using your ki points for extra attacks. Drunken Courage and Drunken Resilience are not terribly exciting. Firewater Breath is weak compared to Empty Body, but it's fun in a silly way.
  • Hungry Ghost Monk: Punishing Kick is interesting, since it has a "save" effect and a "no save" effect that you can choose from. Steal Ki/Life Funnel/Life From A Stone/Sipping Demon are poorly conceived, IMO; I don't want monks running around killing squirrels or stepping on bugs to recharge their hit points and ki points.
  • Ki Mystic: Mystic Insight is very useful (although I've found that GMs tend to dislike immediate actions). Mystic Persistence is at least as useful as Empty Body, although I'm not a big fan of 1/day abilities. The rest of the stuff is basically harmless fluff.
  • Monk of the Empty Hand: I like the idea of this class. The rules for using weapons as improvised weapons are a little convoluted, but they ultimately make sense. The Ki Weapons ability is cool, although 3-5 ki points per rounds is pretty expensive. The rest of the stuff is pleasant fluff, for the most part.
  • Monk of the Four Winds: Elemental Fist is a weak and boring feat; at least the Mot4W has the damage scale a little bit over time, though. Slow Time looks powerful at first glance, but the restrictions on the extra actions you get and the high ki point cost make it kind of weak. Aspect Master is an interesting idea, although by the time you reach level 17 having a fly/swim/climb speed isn't really that exciting or useful. The spontaneous reincarnation ability sounds neat, but I suspect it would be more annoying in practice (I'll stick with resurrection, thanks).
  • Monk of the Healing Hand: The slightly improved ki healing is dull. Using ki for raise dead/resurrection could be handy. The ability to permanently destroy yourself to heal your allies is of limited usefulness, naturally (although it would probably be memorable).
  • Monk of the Lotus: Touch of Serenity is interesting, and possibly as useful as Stunning Fist (maybe more useful once the duration is extended to 2+ rounds). Does it work on constructs and undead? It doesn't say it doesn't. (That's one of my pet peeves -- abilities that clearly should have the [mind-affecting] descriptor, but don't.) Touch of Surrender is interesting and kind of neat (although rather expensive). Touch of Peace is okay, but charm monster is probably weaker than instant death. Learned Master is harmless.
  • Monk of the Sacred Mountain: +1 natural is not nearly as good as evasion. Bastion Stance is not bad (certainly better than Slow Fall). Iron Limb Defense/Adamantine Monk/Vow of Silence leave me kind of cold; DR 1/- is too little, too late by level 9, and likewise +2 to AC isn't really exciting. Then again, the abilities they replace (high jump, improved evasion, tongue of the sun & moon) aren't very exciting either.
  • Weapon Adept: I like Perfect Strike better than Stunning Fist, but that's probably just because I don't like abilities that require a successful attack and a failed save. Weapon Focus + Specialization in exchange for delayed evasion is a reasonable trade (although evasion is pretty sweet). Uncanny Initiative is nice. Pure Power is the most boring capstone ability I can think of.
  • Zen Archer: Why did this guy get more flashy abilities than the Weapon Adept? That's discrimination! Using Wis for bow attacks is kind of handy. Ki Arrows, Reflexive Shot, Trick Shot and Ki Focus Bow are all useful abilities for an archer (although it makes it painful to choose what to do with your 1 swift action per round).

    Out of all of the options, I'd say that the Monk of the Lotus is the most interesting (if not powerful) new option. Ki Mystic is pretty good; the reroll abilities are fairly powerful, and you don't give up anything too great. Zen Archer and Weapon Adept are fine, if that's what you're into. Hungry Ghost Monk has some interesting ideas, but the implementation is not very good.

  • I cheerfully second anything hogarth says without (me) having read the source material. He knows his stuff.


    urodivoi wrote:
    Phonzy wrote:
    Treantmonk wrote:
    I think grappling is a good secondary focus for Monks (since they can qualify for the greater version - and grappling is something that can be initiated with a standard action - for when Flurry isn't an option), but Str based Monks are better at grappling too, and grappling is never going to be your regular tactic in combat...it's too situational.
    I'm curious what people think of Improved/Greater Sunder... granted, Improved isn't available as a bonus feat, but it doesn't require Combat Expertise and it's flurryable, so... green choice?

    A lot of people don't like sunder because you are destroying your loot! I know in 3.5 selling +1 long-swords was a big part of our income. Also: you can't sunder natural weapons so it becomes situational.

    Now I think it is easier to repair objects/weapons in Pathfinder with spells, but I don't know if they are cost-effective or make sunder a better option or not.

    Hmmm... given the campaign I'm currently playing in essentially has no loot, I think I'll keep it in mind, though I can definitely see how it would be a problem in most games.

    Scarab Sages

    I've read through all of the posts and build suggestions, etc. because I play Dex-based monk in Pathfinder Society and was interested to see how my monk build stacked up to the optimized monk that Treatmonk put so much time and effort into writing (nice job, by the way, and very helpful) and maybe pick up some ideas. I played 9 slots at GenCon with my monk and took him from 4th level up to 7th level (playing at higher tiers for 8 of those slots).

    <I'm gonna say right now that I've read through the rest of my post a few times and it might sound like I'm a glory hound or bragging about my character, but that's not the case. It's impossible to sum up several adventures' worth of play with the intent of illustrating the advantages of a character concept without sounding like a braggart. So please take this in the spirit in which it is intended and not how it might "sound".>

    At every single table (6 players each) I was in the front line with the fighters, rangers and barbarians (was the only front-liner in one mod) and was nearly un-hittable in every combat and dealt out almost as much damage per combat as the fighter-types. My speed broke two major encounters. My grappling took out a BBEG spellcaster. My stunning saved a ranger from a death blow (TWF with low AC). My acrobatic jumping got me into a solo combat with a BBEG and a minion that I (almost) single-handedly took (summoned creature helped at the end). Without a rogue in one adventure, my speed/ evasion/ AC was used to set off the traps Indiana Jones style.

    I didn't have any cheesed out equipment or any non-core feats and my only equipment was a +1 ring of protection, an amulet of shocking fists (not +1, just shocking per core rules), potions of mage armor, belt of dex +2 and headband of wis +2 (and a monk's robe I picked up just before the last adventure)- so about 15k gp worth of items for most of the adventures. And ALL of the buffs in-game went to the fighter types to help them out (AC, Str, saves, etc.).

    I didn't roll exceptionally well at any point but I was never thought of as pitiful or lame. And, yes, other classes could do some of the things I did- but none of them could do them as well as my monk and none of them could do them ALL like my monk! The fighters I played with were solely concerned with damage output (which they did well)- none of them grappled. No one even came close to my 30+ AC or my movement (even the flying creatures which can be severely hampered by a monk jumping up on them and grappling them). None could offer flanks as easily or quickly as I could. And only one person had a +10 to their initiative modifier like I have, so I almost always got to go first in the round. My high wisdom and max ranks in perception allowed me to act in every surprise round.

    Anyone who's played for any length of time knows that no two combats are the same and that putting together a theoretical fight where your Monster X is standing right next to my monk and will kill me in 2 rounds is unrealistic, to say the least, because that's not how combats happen in an actual game. There's initiative, distance, terrain, BBEG pre-buffs, enemy spells/ effects, circumstance modifiers, wise use of resources and special abilities in addition to ACTUAL dice rolling instead of just using averages that typically account for the majority of each encounter.

    The result is that I had a BLAST playing my monk, was not only effective in combat but bordered on dominating several encounters (combat and non-combat) and had lots of opportunity to role play this multi-dimensional character. What more can you ask for from a character concept? Don't let anyone tell you that monks can't rock in combat, or that you have to have certain magic items to "be as good as X", or that you're a one trick pony, or that you need a spellcaster to buff you to be effective. Monks have an incredible array of abilities that allow him to excel at a lot of different things and to fill in many of the gaps of your party make-up. They're not weak, they're not sub-par and they're not taking up space in a combat that an animal companion or summoned creature would be better at filling. If you're considering playing a monk- do it! You'll love the exceptional versatility and one of the most well-rounded and self-reliant classes in the book.

    Just my experience talking here. Hope you get the same from your monk.


    I was wondering if you get the +1 on hit rolls for having Weapon focus (unarmed) while wearing brass knuckles?


    Probably not, since you are now using a weapon rather than fighting unarmed.

    On the plus side, you can get them masterwork, enchanted, and in multiple metal flavors :) (silver, adamant, etc..)

    -S


    Treantmonk wrote:

    Here's the link for Treantmonk's Guide to Monks

    Any chance for an update to the guide now that the APG is out with more options?


    Treantmonk, just been using your guide while building a monk character. Thank you, its been very helpful even though I haven't focused on strength due to my DM making non-core Pathfinder and 3.5 supplements fair game for character-building. A Guided Amulet of Mighty Fists is a game-changer for MAD.

    That said, one recommendation I really can't fathom is your support for Overrun. While I appreciate the prone result is attractive (provided you exceed to hit by 5), the greatest single flaw with overrun is:

    d20pfsrd wrote:


    When you attempt to overrun a target, it can choose to avoid you, allowing you to pass through its square without requiring an attack.

    With overrun freely avoidable every single time I can't see how it would ever succeed (unless your DM forgets or chooses to be nice).

    Also, something I'd love to hear your opinion on is this: by the time you purchase the feats necessary to pull off more than 2 combat maneuvers without provoking AOO the prospects for successfully defeating enemy CMD starts to dip significantly after level 11. I'm having trouble seeing monks pull off more than grapple, trip, or, in your case, bull-rush. Plus, the presence of Ki Throw feats in APG (and being able to get them as bonus feats without paying prereqs) allows you to get two (or more) foes prone based on trip.


    Ether_Drake wrote:


    d20pfsrd wrote:


    When you attempt to overrun a target, it can choose to avoid you, allowing you to pass through its square without requiring an attack.

    With overrun freely avoidable every single time I can't see how it would ever succeed (unless your DM forgets or chooses to be nice).

    Except if you take the improved overrun feat, they can't chose to avoid you. Which is why Treantmonk suggested it...


    daemonprince wrote:
    Except if you take the improved overrun feat, they can't chose to avoid you. Which is why Treantmonk suggested it...

    Ah, OK. Thanks for pointing that out.


    What do people think of combining slow time with vital strike? 3 vital strikes in a round at 3 short of full bab is pretty sweet.

    Even without the slow time though, I have always felt that vital strike was strongest with a monk or possibly a polymorpher. But monks are likely the highest damage die characters, and they have high movement. So it possibly shapes up well. Also a monk can be a strong spell interrupter if he readies a vital strike to interrupt a casting.

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