Monk Cestus questions


Rules Questions

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The Exchange

I have a monk wanting to use Cestus in my campaign. Reading the description, I have a few questions:

1. Does a cestus always deal 1d4 damage as listed, or does a monk's unarmed damage trump the weapon damage since it's considered an unarmed attack?

2. The description of a cestus calls it a glove. Does that mean that it fills the monk's glove slots which prevents wearing gloves and bracers?

My personal conclusions have been that monk unarmed damage will continue to scale even when attacking with a cestus. Also, I think I am going to houserule that the monk cannot wear any other gloves, but because of the way a cestus fits, bracers can still be worn.

Let me know what you think.

The Exchange

My personal wish is that since it is an unarmed attack it should get a monks attack damage. But that is just my hope.


Dukai wrote:

I have a monk wanting to use Cestus in my campaign. Reading the description, I have a few questions:

1. Does a cestus always deal 1d4 damage as listed, or does a monk's unarmed damage trump the weapon damage since it's considered an unarmed attack?

2. The description of a cestus calls it a glove. Does that mean that it fills the monk's glove slots which prevents wearing gloves and bracers?

My personal conclusions have been that monk unarmed damage will continue to scale even when attacking with a cestus. Also, I think I am going to houserule that the monk cannot wear any other gloves, but because of the way a cestus fits, bracers can still be worn.

Let me know what you think.

1) No official word as far as I can tell, but I'd say that a monk would still scale their damage.

2) Technically I don't think it does (full plate, for example, comes with gauntlets, as do many other armors, and doesn't prevent the wearing of magical handwear), but it's kinda iffy. Of course, if they do, you could always enchant them as gloves and as weapons, so...yeah...

Sovereign Court

Monks have a hard enough time of it as it is generally. I'd allow it to deal the Monk's unarmed damage, and be enchanted as a weapon. I'd also let him enchant the gloves as weapons and utility if the player wishes; he's going to have to pay a bomb for all of that...

But yeah, no official word on your original question.


My only problem with it is the better crit chance. Its practically as if the monk got the improved critical (unarmed attack) feat. Why would you ever NOT use a cestus, if that were the case.

I'd offer a player who wanted to use a cestus 2 options.

option 1 - the cestus operates as normal. It does 1d4 base damage, with the listed crit chance.

option 2 - the cestus loses the crit chance (making it crit on 20), and provides +1 damage instead. The monk gets to use his improved unarmed damage.

In either case, a cestus is a weapon and is enchanted at the normal rate. The higher cost of an amulet is because it effects ALL of your natural attacks no matter how you are attacking. Great for druids too.


Dukai wrote:

I have a monk wanting to use Cestus in my campaign. Reading the description, I have a few questions:

1. Does a cestus always deal 1d4 damage as listed, or does a monk's unarmed damage trump the weapon damage since it's considered an unarmed attack?

2. The description of a cestus calls it a glove. Does that mean that it fills the monk's glove slots which prevents wearing gloves and bracers?

My personal conclusions have been that monk unarmed damage will continue to scale even when attacking with a cestus. Also, I think I am going to houserule that the monk cannot wear any other gloves, but because of the way a cestus fits, bracers can still be worn.

Let me know what you think.

This weapon, although listed as a monk weapon, is mostly for non-monks to allow the dealing of lethal damage with unarmed strikes(without wasting a feat on improved unarmed strike). The fact that it is a monk weapon was included simply to let players know you can use it in conjunction with the flurry of blows ability.

So to answer your questions:

1: Cestus is a separate weapon from a monks arms. It does 1d4 damage with a 19-20/x2 critical, and is not added to by monks scaling damage. A monk can use this interchangably with unarmed strikes or other monk weapons as part of a flurry of blows. It can be enchanted to add properties such as flaming or thundering, and may be made of odd materials such as cold iron or silver like a sai or kama can(one of the only reasons for a monk to take it) so that it overcomes the appropriate DR.

2a: The description calls the item a glove, and states specifically that it leaves the hands open to weild other weapons or carry items, so yes it does take up the GLOVES, however you can enchant it with weapon properties legal limit of cost for a non-epic item(+10, and a max total cost of 250,000gp if you tack on gold only priced abilities if your playing with 3.5 rules)

2b: WRIST slot is not mentioned at all so you may still use bracers.

The Exchange

Quote:

This weapon, although listed as a monk weapon, is mostly for non-monks to allow the dealing of lethal damage with unarmed strikes(without wasting a feat on improved unarmed strike). The fact that it is a monk weapon was included simply to let players know you can use it in conjunction with the flurry of blows ability.

So to answer your questions:

1: Cestus is a separate weapon from a monks arms. It does 1d4 damage with a 19-20/x2 critical, and is not added to by monks scaling damage. A monk can use this interchangably with unarmed strikes or other monk weapons as part of a flurry of blows. It can be enchanted to add properties such as flaming or thundering, and may be made of odd materials such as cold iron or silver like a sai or kama can(one of the only reasons for a monk to take it) so that it overcomes the appropriate DR.

2a: The description calls the item a glove, and states specifically that it leaves the hands open to weild other weapons or carry items, so yes it does take up the GLOVES, however you can enchant it with weapon properties legal limit of cost for a non-epic item(+10, and a max total cost of 250,000gp if you tack on gold only priced abilities if your playing with 3.5 rules)

2b: WRIST slot is not mentioned at all so you may still use bracers.

Can you provide a source for why an unarmed attack (even one made with a weapon) would not add monk bonus damage? Your argument makes sense, but I'd really like to either find a reference that proves one way or another or get an official ruling.

You are so right about the wrist slot. I didn't realize they were separate...in fact I could have sworn that I read gloves and bracers fill the same slot. That fixes that problem pretty easily.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dukai wrote:

Can you provide a source for why an unarmed attack (even one made with a weapon) would not add monk bonus damage? Your argument makes sense, but I'd really like to either find a reference that proves one way or another or get an official ruling.

You are so right about the wrist slot. I didn't realize they were separate...in fact I could have sworn that I read gloves and bracers fill the same slot. That fixes that problem pretty easily.

I think the usual is to find a weapon that does say that a monk can add bonus damage while making an unarmed attack with a weapon. Otherwise I could claim that my halfling has wings and can shoot pew pew lazers of disintegration out of its eyes, "The Rules don't say I can't do it!"


Since there is not any official word on the subject...It all depends on your perspective and whether or not you have a nice DM.

Let's look at the description of the cestus from the d20pfsrd website:

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).

...Now take your monk's hand (already a weapon) and wrap it with metal plates and spikes and small blades. What is going to hurt worse... when the monk punches you with his unarmed strike or when he punches you with an unarmed strike covered with a cestus on his hand? I can totally see why the crit chance went from 20 to 19-20... the monk hit you just as hard but the impact was enhanced by all the nasty protrusions from the cestus.

...I agree this basically gives a non-monk the unarmed strike feat for free but that is highly situational. It also seems like the monk gets the improved crit feat for free BUT nearly everyone on these message boards seems to agree that monks already have a problem dealing damage anyway. (plus he is giving up his glove slot)

--- Your DM will have to decide, let the monk uses these as an improvement to his unarmed strike and let his unarmed strike damage scale with his level as normal... and thus allow the monk to get these enchanted and save money instead of saving up for an amulet of mighty fists... if he has to save up for the amulet his damage is going to underperform until he can afford it.

--- or toss the cestus into the pile of traditional monk weapons that will grossly underperform the unarmed monk at higher levels.

... in the end the DM has to decide, will this break his game, or will it allow the monk to better keep up with the fighter's damage output.

Dark Archive

personally, I let the cetus use monk damage, and even be enchanted. Monks should have an option other than amulet of mighty fists

Liberty's Edge

Name Violation wrote:
personally, I let the cetus use monk damage, and even be enchanted. Monks should have an option other than amulet of mighty fists

The question is, would the amulet function with the cestus?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
personally, I let the cetus use monk damage, and even be enchanted. Monks should have an option other than amulet of mighty fists
The question is, would the amulet function with the cestus?

The enhancement bonus wouldn't stack, but different enchantments would.

Liberty's Edge

Xpltvdeleted wrote:


The question is, would the amulet function with the cestus?

With non fist attacks? Yes For the fist attacks, that is a definitive no. You are striking with an manufactured weapon, regardless of the force behind the punch.

Allowing such a thing would essentially be giving them keen for a pittance of starting gold.

In fact I would rule that use of these gloves by a monk would by nature be constantly causing them damage because from the punches landing on the material itself first, then on the target. Leather and cloth are not so durable to stand up to wailing on an armored target for very long, they would break down and fall to piece.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
personally, I let the cetus use monk damage, and even be enchanted. Monks should have an option other than amulet of mighty fists
The question is, would the amulet function with the cestus?
The enhancement bonus wouldn't stack, but different enchantments would.

You know there'll be some munchkin that has cestus w/ a cold iron bludgeoning plate, alternating silver and adamantium spikes, enchanted +1 with shock, flame, icy, and keen and an amulet of mighty fists +x if they're allowed to stack.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
You know there'll be some munchkin that has cestus w/ a cold iron bludgeoning plate, alternating silver and adamantium spikes, enchanted +1 with shock, flame, icy, and keen and an amulet of mighty fists +x if they're allowed to stack.

If he wants to spend that much money inefficiently, that's his own fault. Throw a swarm at him.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
You know there'll be some munchkin that has cestus w/ a cold iron bludgeoning plate, alternating silver and adamantium spikes, enchanted +1 with shock, flame, icy, and keen and an amulet of mighty fists +x if they're allowed to stack.
If he wants to spend that much money inefficiently, that's his own fault. Throw a swarm at him.

My party HATES swarms...especially when they're diminuative and take no damage from weapons :D

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
My party HATES swarms...especially when they're diminuative and take no damage from weapons :D

Better to spend the money on the Metallurgical weapon quality (shifts to overcome any DR after the first hit) and a necklace of fireballs for versatility. ;)


TriOmegaZero wrote:


The enhancement bonus wouldn't stack, but different enchantments would.

I would say treat it like a bow and arrows here, make the cestus abilities stack with the amulets as you would a +2 flaming burst bow an some +4 shocking burst arrows

Contributor

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Cestus shouldn't refer to "unarmed" attacks at all. Just strike "unarmed" and "rather than nonlethal damage" from its description and it'll be clear than monks don't use their unarmed damage with this weapon, it always does the listed damage.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Why do you hate monks, Sean? X3


oh.. Tri... that made me laugh out loud!

I can understand Sean's point. It's disappointing for monk lovers but understandable.

Liberty's Edge

This may be a bit off topic but ... what would happen if you bumped monks BAB progression to max? I think it would help alleviate some of the problems associated with the low damage output to a degree.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Cestus shouldn't refer to "unarmed" attacks at all. Just strike "unarmed" and "rather than nonlethal damage" from its description and it'll be clear than monks don't use their unarmed damage with this weapon, it always does the listed damage.

very poor wording then.

Liberty's Edge

Abraham spalding wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Cestus shouldn't refer to "unarmed" attacks at all. Just strike "unarmed" and "rather than nonlethal damage" from its description and it'll be clear than monks don't use their unarmed damage with this weapon, it always does the listed damage.
very poor wording then.

Not really, it uses the same verbiage as the gauntlet from the core book. I ran into this same issue when I was in a 3.X game. Player wanted to use the gauntlet to improve his unarmed attacks.

Though I cant quite recall how I dealt with it at the time. I think I may have let him due to the absence of the Amulet of Mighty Blows or equivalent.


Themetricsystem wrote:
This may be a bit off topic but ... what would happen if you bumped monks BAB progression to max? I think it would help alleviate some of the problems associated with the low damage output to a degree.

They get full progression with flurry of blows already.


Yeah, the monk problem is less BAB and more non-enchantability. Amulet of Mighty Fists -is- enchantable, but costs so ridiculously much more than an enchanted weapon it's not even funny. If a monk had a bunch of different natural attacks, it wouldn't be so bad, because they'd normally have to be enchanted seperately, but being that they only have 1 (unarmed strike - yeah, they get to use it more with BAB and all,but it's still 1 weapon), well...yeah.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Cestus shouldn't refer to "unarmed" attacks at all. Just strike "unarmed" and "rather than nonlethal damage" from its description and it'll be clear than monks don't use their unarmed damage with this weapon, it always does the listed damage.
very poor wording then.

Not really, it uses the same verbiage as the gauntlet from the core book. I ran into this same issue when I was in a 3.X game. Player wanted to use the gauntlet to improve his unarmed attacks.

Though I cant quite recall how I dealt with it at the time. I think I may have let him due to the absence of the Amulet of Mighty Blows or equivalent.

In 3.5, gauntlets (but not spiked gauntlets) allowed a monk to strike with his/her improved damage. They just couldn't be used in a FoB, as they weren't a monk weapon.

3.5 FAQ wrote:

Can a monk use a +5 gauntlet in an unarmed attack,

gaining all of her class benefits as well as the +5 bonus on
attack rolls and damage rolls from the gauntlet?

Gauntlets are indeed a weapon. If a monk uses any weapon
not listed as a special monk weapon, she does not gain her
better attack rate. She would, however, gain the increased
damage for unarmed attacks.

The problem with the Cestus as presented in AA is that it allows 1. increased unarmed damage, 2. can be enchanted, and 3. can also be used in a flurry of blows. No other weapon introduced in 3.5 or PF has ever been capable of all three of these things, as far as I can find. Allowing it as written makes the Amulet of Mighty Blows pretty much pointless, and makes the use of any other monk special weapon to be an inferior choice as well.


Mynameisjake wrote:

The problem with the Cestus as presented in AA is that it allows 1. increased unarmed damage, 2. can be enchanted, and 3. can also be used in a flurry of blows. No other weapon introduced in 3.5 or PF has ever been capable of all three of these things, as far as I can find. Allowing it as written makes the Amulet of Mighty Blows pretty much pointless, and makes the use of any other monk special weapon to be an inferior choice as well.

There was one, actually...it was a specific weapon, though. Scorpion Kama? Something like that...anyway, it was a kama that let you use your unarmed damage instead.

But as far as general weapons, no. Then again, the monk has been seen as underpowered by most people all along, too, so...

Dark Archive

Mynameisjake wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:
This may be a bit off topic but ... what would happen if you bumped monks BAB progression to max? I think it would help alleviate some of the problems associated with the low damage output to a degree.
They get full progression with flurry of blows already.

so whats the problem with giving it to them on single attacks?

i guess it gives them a more "passive" feel, but i don't think bumbinb monk to full bab is too bab, as long as the hd stayed at a d8

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Name Violation wrote:

so whats the problem with giving it to them on single attacks?

i guess it gives them a more "passive" feel, but i don't think bumbinb monk to full bab is too bab, as long as the hd stayed at a d8

Mostly because some people were adamant that monks had to remain a d8 HD/medium BAB class. So, many hoops were jumped through to give them Full BAB in all but a few situations.

Personally, I find giving them Full BAB/d10 HD to be easier.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Name Violation wrote:

so whats the problem with giving it to them on single attacks?

i guess it gives them a more "passive" feel, but i don't think bumbinb monk to full bab is too bab, as long as the hd stayed at a d8

Mostly because some people were adamant that monks had to remain a d8 HD/medium BAB class. So, many hoops were jumped through to give them Full BAB in all but a few situations.

Personally, I find giving them Full BAB/d10 HD to be easier.

Well it was that and the stated goal of backwards compatibility. Monks are just weird that way. They are almost like a 7/8s BAB. They get a full BAB when flurrying and can choose to take bonus feats at 6th level that would be available to full BAB characters.

Perhaps that issue here is monk damage is a wonky rule to begin with. I understand why its attractive, and how its supposed to help the monk compete for damage at high levels, but the way it is designed it creates this cestus situation, where IMHO the rules don't match reality.

No monk does LESS damage when he straps a piece of studded leather over his knuckles, certainly not by a factor of 4+ dice sizes.

Maybe a monk should get improved damage to all his weapons? or maybe instead of upping his dice, he should just get a flat bonus to the damage of any weapon he wields?

Liberty's Edge

Anburaid wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Name Violation wrote:

so whats the problem with giving it to them on single attacks?

i guess it gives them a more "passive" feel, but i don't think bumbinb monk to full bab is too bab, as long as the hd stayed at a d8

Mostly because some people were adamant that monks had to remain a d8 HD/medium BAB class. So, many hoops were jumped through to give them Full BAB in all but a few situations.

Personally, I find giving them Full BAB/d10 HD to be easier.

Well it was that and the stated goal of backwards compatibility. Monks are just weird that way. They are almost like a 7/8s BAB. They get a full BAB when flurrying and can choose to take bonus feats at 6th level that would be available to full BAB characters.

Perhaps that issue here is monk damage is a wonky rule to begin with. I understand why its attractive, and how its supposed to help the monk compete for damage at high levels, but the way it is designed it creates this cestus situation, where IMHO the rules don't match reality.

No monk does LESS damage when he straps a piece of studded leather over his knuckles, certainly not by a factor of 4+ dice sizes.

Maybe a monk should get improved damage to all his weapons? or maybe instead of upping his dice, he should just get a flat bonus to the damage of any weapon he wields?

This has me intrigued really. I am going to host a new topic in the homebrew board on this in a moment to prevent this tread from derailing. I would appreciate the input there.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Cestus shouldn't refer to "unarmed" attacks at all. Just strike "unarmed" and "rather than nonlethal damage" from its description and it'll be clear than monks don't use their unarmed damage with this weapon, it always does the listed damage.
very poor wording then.

Not really, it uses the same verbiage as the gauntlet from the core book. I ran into this same issue when I was in a 3.X game. Player wanted to use the gauntlet to improve his unarmed attacks.

Though I cant quite recall how I dealt with it at the time. I think I may have let him due to the absence of the Amulet of Mighty Blows or equivalent.

Exactly my point. If they aren't supposed to do a thing for unarmed strike damage (and have their own damage to boot!) why even mention unarmed strike damage and open up the whole mess?

The item as written does the exact opposite of what the designers say it's supposed to do. So if their intention was for the cestus to not allow you to use the improved unarmed strike damage of a monk:

1. Why make it a monk weapon?
2. Why put verbage into the item that makes it look like it should have the improved damage?

It's sloppy design.

Liberty's Edge

Abraham spalding wrote:


Exactly my point. If they aren't supposed to do a thing for unarmed strike damage (and have their own damage to boot!) why even mention unarmed strike damage and open up the whole mess?

The item as written does the exact opposite of what the designers say it's supposed to do. So if their intention was for the cestus to not allow you to use the improved unarmed strike damage of a monk:

1. Why make it a monk weapon?
2. Why put verbage into the item that makes it look like it should have the improved damage?

It's sloppy design.

For sure, what I want to know is why they didn't take the time to clear this up when they were doing the revisions. I mean did they really need the line space to put the Pickle Extractor in... was it that vital?

Contributor

Abraham spalding wrote:
1. Why make it a monk weapon?

Because it's almost unarmed, and it makes sense that a monk can flurry with it, and some monks prefer weapons to unarmed attacks.

Abraham spalding wrote:
2. Why put verbage into the item that makes it look like it should have the improved damage?

Probably because the text was written to be similar to gauntlets.


A Monks unarmed attacks are not only considered strikes from his hands, but also kicks, jabs, heabutts and whatnot.

So from a realism angle it isn't too far fetched to say that using spiked gauntlets means his damage is actually going down (because he restrains himself to only using his hands when using them).

However the rules are still a bit strange, probably for the sake of backwards compatibility.


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In general, I get the weapon / not-weapon distinctions made for enchantments and all the rest.

However, MY suspension of disbelief gets broken the MINUTE you apply similar claims to punching "weapons" as, IRL, a punching weapon is ALWAYS an "add on" to the punch of the puncher (man ... sounds weird).

I mean, the very point and purpose of brass knuckles is to put metal on your hand and increase the chance of inflicting both more force and/or shattering of bones. This is handled quite nicely, IRL, and requires you pick up what boils down to a small piece of metal.

Similar effects happen if you grab a roll of quarters - added weight in your fist ==> more momentum delivered on impact ==> greater damage (in D20 maybe a higher die type/side, OR a flat +x to damage mod, and/or maybe an increased threat range).

Now, however, it's looking like if you want to mimic something similar you'll need to enchant your "roll of gp's" or else it's just not going to work, right? Lame. *rolls eyes*

I'm fine with the weapon distinctions being made - they're weapons in the end, but when the MOST simple enhancement to punching and kicking is getting dragged and limited through "game balance" I cry foul. It's a terrible rule/limitation/design premise/whatever - and I'm not for it in the slightest.

I'll be FIRMLY house-ruling some different mode of function for these "simple" punching/kicking enhancements from now on. Probably, my solution will be to rate these sorts of weapons as "base unarmed damage +X" and leave it there. They ALWAYS work as damage-adders ... screw balance! Basic common sense needs to take root at some point. I draw the line here for my games moving forward and refuse to step backwards into non-nonsensical logic. Unarmed attacks are THE weakest attacks pc's can make ... UNLESS you're a monk.

So, you want to craft rules where non-specialists benefit (like the RW) from added weight and such in hand to improve their WORST attack possible, EXCEPT for the ONE class that specializes in using that worst attack mode?

I think I have to echo TriOmega here: Why do you (not a specific *you* mind you - general and open to anyone) hate monks so much?

Seriously, limiting the cestus with rules as above rewrites the rules and expectations for ONE class compared to all others ... it really makes NO sense unless there is some sort of oversight (ie: lack of realization of the more general function of how it works for all characters), or flat out NEED to inhibit/limit the outlying class.

All that said, I do NOT think a cestus fits as a monk's weapon. It was a gladiator's weapon in ancient Rome. WTF!?!?! The *closest* thing I can come up with is from Kickboxer w/VanDamm and the hand-wraps dipped in glue, and then dipped in broken glass ... and that's hardly close.

I guess if you're going that *broad* to define "cestus" ok - it can work.

Same with brass knuckles, too ... neither weapons are of Eastern style and flavor, but hey - it's D&D/Pathfinder, so who knows? Maybe they're a little bit "West Side" since their immersion side by side with so many Western influences along side of their own. ;-)

TriOmega - whatever that conversion is ... I like it!!! I like it quite a bit!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
TriOmega - whatever that conversion is ... I like it!!! I like it quite a bit!

There's more if you click the pages link. Most of it is Kirth Gersen's work, with a little bit of my own. Check the files section for all of his unedited houserules.

Contributor

The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
I'm fine with the weapon distinctions being made - they're weapons in the end, but when the MOST simple enhancement to punching and kicking is getting dragged and limited through "game balance" I cry foul. It's a terrible rule/limitation/design premise/whatever - and I'm not for it in the slightest.

You can't have it both ways. You can't say, "monk unarmed damage has to scale up to 2d10 per attack at level 20 so the monk can keep up with how much damage the fighter is doing with weapons!" and also say "monks using weapons should be able to do as much damage as fighters do with weapons!"

The fighter's shtick is he's the best at dealing damage with weapons.
The monk's shtick is he's the best at dealing damage unarmed.
Just as you wouldn't want an unarmed fighter doing as much damage as an unarmed monk, you can't have an armed monk doing as much damage as an unarmed fighter--even if that armed monk is using a weapon designed to augment a typical punch.

Or, to phrase it a different way:
Monk unarmed damage increases the way it does because of game balance. So when we limit a monk's weapon damage because of game balance, you can't complain.

The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
They ALWAYS work as damage-adders ... screw balance!

As a game publisher, we don't have the option of saying that. Sorry!

The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
Basic common sense needs to take root at some point.

Basic common sense like "a human being shouldn't be able to punch his way through a stone wall?" (stone is hardness 8, 15 hp/inch, so once the monk's unarmed damage exceeds 8, he's able to break hard stone with his bare hands)

Quote:
So, you want to craft rules where non-specialists benefit (like the RW) from added weight and such in hand to improve their WORST attack possible, EXCEPT for the ONE class that specializes in using that...

Some options in the game are worse than others. Daggers are worse than greatswords. Should we buff up daggers so they're on par with greatswords? Or do we accept that daggers (like cesti) have their uses and in *specific circumstances* are better than greatswords?


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Some options in the game are worse than others. Daggers are worse than greatswords. Should we buff up daggers so they're on par with greatswords? Or do we accept that daggers (like cesti) have their uses and in *specific circumstances* are better than greatswords?

Come on, man. That's not a fair comparison. The dagger/greatsword damage spread makes sense in RL as well as the game. The monk-unarmed/cestus damage spread does not make sense in RL as well as the game. That is the problem. The rules have ended up skewing in a preposterous direction. It happens. No game system is perfect.

Is there a mathematical/game mechanics reason that a monk's unarmed damage increases but his weapon damage does not? I am fine with the monk being better with unarmed attacks than with weapons, but where does that leave monk weapons? No one else generally uses them. Why not let monk weapons, which generally do 1d6 base damage anyway scale with the monk's unarmed damage?

Contributor

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Anburaid wrote:
Come on, man. That's not a fair comparison. The dagger/greatsword damage spread makes sense in RL as well as the game. The monk-unarmed/cestus damage spread does not make sense in RL as well as the game.

Sure it does.

In martial arts movies, is the master martial artist using something like a cestus to be the ultimate badass? No, he's unarmed, or using a conventional weapon (sword, staff, etc.). In fact, the guy using armor on his arms or hands (like Iron Arm Mi, one of the guys in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon who attacks Jen at the inn) is doing so to make up for a shortcoming in his actual skill.

If you're a monk and you're relying on a cestus to defeat your enemies, you are weak. A real martial artist doesn't need to armor his hands to achieve victory; his hands are armor and weapon without augmentation.

Anburaid wrote:
Is there a mathematical/game mechanics reason that a monk's unarmed damage increases but his weapon damage does not?

Yes: weapon damage doesn't progress for any class except through the use of feats and magic. Monks are able to increase their weapon damage just as fighters do (fighter = best class with weapons), but fighters get more feats for that purpose and should be better than the weapon-using monk.

In other words: if monks naturally increased their weapon damage based on class level, then fighters should be able to do so as well, and it's arguable that barbarians, paladins, rangers, and rogues should as well. Which means those classes would all end up with built-in mechanics for increasing weapon damage, and there'd be no point to having the feats take care of that.

To reiterate: the monk should do the best unarmed damage in the game. The fighter should do the most consistently better weapon damage in the game ("consistently better" because the barbarian is "best damage with rage," paladin is "best damage when smiting," and so on--specialized options). That means monks shouldn't do as much weapon damage as fighters do. And because monk unarmed damage is supposed to be comparable to fighter weapon damage, that means monk weapon damage has to be worse than monk weapon damage, and thus monk weapon damage can't scale up by level like its unarmed damage does.

Anburaid wrote:
I am fine with the monk being better with unarmed attacks than with weapons, but where does that leave monk weapons? No one else generally uses them. Why not let monk weapons, which generally do 1d6 base damage anyway scale with the monk's unarmed damage?

And why should the monk's weapon damage get better each level, and the fighter's weapon damage not?


Wait ... you think the barbarian does more damage??? Than a fighter!?!?! Seriously!?!?!?

lol

*wipes tears away*

I'm sorry. Can't back that.

As for the rest - sure, you're designing a game, and "balance" has a place there ... I suppose.

As a game designer you *do* completely have the liberty to revamp and change whatever notions you come across that do not work for you. Cestus *could* just as easily work more or less as you describe it and have the bottom line effect of changing "non-lethal" to "lethal" damage and simply write "adds +1 to unarmed strike damage" over rating it as a weapon.

Just saying ...


I'm with you here, SKR, but I do have a question - if the monk is supposed to be the unarmed damage class (which it is), and its scaling of unarmed damage is supposed to mirror the scaling of damage via additional feats or class features from other classes for their weapons (which is what I'm hearing from your posts, so please correct me if I'm wrong), why does the poor monk still have to pay 2.5 times as much for all of its enchantments and forsake the use of another amulet (or pay yet more to stack extra abilities on it)?

That's the only problem I really see in the comparison...


...Sean, I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to respond to this thread. I certainly can't speak for anyone else but your comments helped clear up any confusion in my mind.

...It's true that you, as a game designer, can not say "screw game balance". Plus, we're dealing with a fantasy game and there are plenty of times real-life just doesn't apply.

Thanks!

Contributor

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DrowVampyre wrote:
I'm with you here, SKR, but I do have a question - if the monk is supposed to be the unarmed damage class (which it is), and its scaling of unarmed damage is supposed to mirror the scaling of damage via additional feats or class features from other classes for their weapons (which is what I'm hearing from your posts, so please correct me if I'm wrong), why does the poor monk still have to pay 2.5 times as much for all of its enchantments and forsake the use of another amulet (or pay yet more to stack extra abilities on it)?

Jason can probably give you the best answer on that, but I suspect it relates to:

1) Monk using flurry is supposed to correspond to TWF fighter.
2) TWF fighter has to have two magic weapons.
3) Thus the monk's cost is double the cost for one weapon.

Keep in mind also that the amulet of mighty fists doesn't need to have a +1 base enhancement bonus before you put other abilities on it. So when TWF fighter is paying for two +1 flaming frost shock weapons (+4 total bonus, 32,300 gp each, 64,600 gp total), the monk only has to get a +3-equivalent amulet of mighty fists (45,000 gp).

And the monk doesn't have to buy armor to keep his AC up, so that frees up more income compared to the fighter.

Anyway, I suspect those are some of the reasons.

Liberty's Edge

The only reason I've ever seen for a monk to have a weapon is to use special properties like disarm, trip or reach. Not a big bonus, but it's there. Also, even if it's not a monk weapon they can use it when they make a single attack (or AoO at reach) then flurry when they can do that. Nothing says that the monk has to use both hands to flurry, or that they cannot be wielding (without using) a non-monk weapon.
Because of the above elements its possible for a monk to wield a reach weapon and still threaten in melee with their unarmed strike, which could be a potent combination. I would totally "waste" a feat on guisarme proficiency as a monk (reach, trip). Maybe even add ki focus to it at higher levels.
Lastly, the Gauntlet in core has similar rules to the Cestus (which I hadn't seen). It's a bit more limited, though, in that it says "Makes your unarmed attacks deal lethal damage, but in all other ways is treated as an unarmed strike." With that wording one would assume a monk could flurry with magical gauntlets (assuming those hands were free), but with the interpretation I'm seeing for the Cestus this sounds like it may not be the case.
Regardless of how this is ruled I would still allow gloves/fist-wraps to be used as enchant-able unarmed strikes for monks, since it limits what limbs they can attack with if they want the bonus.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Also, an amulet of mighty fists is even MORE horrific when you put it on a monster with lots of attacks. Like a dragon, or a hydra, or the like.

Scarab Sages

level 20 monk sans feats deals 2d10 damage over eight attacks

level 20 fighter sans feats deals 2d6+4 damage over four attacks

for the monk, thats 16d10, or 16-160

for the fighter thats 8d6+16, or 24-64

With power attack *adding -6 to hit, +12 for monk and +18 for fighter

weapon specialization for the fighter
greater weapon specialization for the fighter

The 20 monk with power attack now deals:
2d10 + 12 over eight attacks.

The 20 fighter with power attack now deals:
2d6+26

for the monk, that's 16d10 + 96, or 120-256

for the fighter thats 8d6 + 104, or 112-152

The fighter with the higher bab has a better chance of hitting with all his attacks. But let's see what happens to this potential max damage with a +5 monk and a +10 fighter.

The monk adds 5 more damage on every hit, and now deals 160-296

The fighter requires a bit more thought. For ease of calculation, lets go with +5, flaming, frost, shock, and holy. thats +5 and 5d6 damage.

The fighter adds 40 base damage and 140 max damage, and deals 152-292 damage. This puts them at a pretty comparable spot. The monk gets more benefit from str bonuses, while the fighter gets less but is more likely to have a higher str.

Allowing the monk to pick up the extra +5 in bonuses would change the damage potential on the monk to 5-30 per hit, or a total 200-536

I can see why the monks bonuses are restricted to +5 instead of +10 :D

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
As a game designer you *do* completely have the liberty to revamp and change whatever notions you come across that do not work for you. Cestus *could* just as easily work more or less as you describe it and have the bottom line effect of changing "non-lethal" to "lethal" damage and simply write "adds +1 to unarmed strike damage" over rating it as a weapon.

A cestus-wielding monk is not the image of a monk we want to promote, as Sean was more or less saying. A cestus wielding monk is a weakling who's trying to compensate for a failing in his actual unarmed damage. That's not only a game balance thing, but it's just as much a flavor issue because we don't want to make it so that the only way to be great at unarmed fighting is to use a weapon. Which is what a cestus is.

If you want to be a really great cestus using melee class, you should be a fighter. Or maybe a dual-wielding ranger.

Specific GMs can, of course, house-rule better cestus stuff for monks in their game, but that's not the world we wanted to build for the baseline Pathfinder rules. So we didn't.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Jason can probably give you the best answer on that, but I suspect it relates to:

1) Monk using flurry is supposed to correspond to TWF fighter.
2) TWF fighter has to have two magic weapons.
3) Thus the monk's cost is double the cost for one weapon.

Keep in mind also that the amulet of mighty fists doesn't need to have a +1 base enhancement bonus before you put other abilities on it. So when TWF fighter is paying for two +1 flaming frost shock weapons (+4 total bonus, 32,300 gp each, 64,600 gp total), the monk only has to get a +3-equivalent amulet of mighty fists (45,000 gp).

And the monk doesn't have to buy armor to keep his AC up, so that frees up more income compared to the fighter.

Anyway, I suspect those are some of the reasons.

Fair enough, although I wouldn't compare them without including the extra +1 (it helps with the hitting and adds a bit of damage, after all, which the monk needs more than the fighter since the fighter gets weapon training and such).

James Jacobs wrote:
Also, an amulet of mighty fists is even MORE horrific when you put it on a monster with lots of attacks. Like a dragon, or a hydra, or the like.

Oh, certainly. That's what I've always seen it as being intended for, actually - creatures with a bunch of different natural attacks. If you have 3+ natural attacks, then it's definitely worthwhile, but the monk only has 1, even if it gets to treat that 1 like TWF.

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