Monks: What is their "role?"


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stéphane Le Roux wrote:
edross wrote:
I'll confine my monk role comments to what I've seen out of PF, and try to leave 3.0/5 baggage out of it. In my game, after the first 4 players covered the usual bases (fighter, rouge, divine, arcane), we added a 5th player, and he thought Monk would be a good 5th wheel class alternative to the obvious bard choice(I don't necessarily subscribe to the tradition party model, but my players do).

Are you aware that saying "this class is a good 5th wheel" is just the nice way to say "this class is useless"?

No it means that in the hands of a flexible player who doesn't look for a narrow box it's a very effective character. The Monk has always been a relatively advanced class to play, which means it's contribution isn't a matter of brain-dead simplicity the way most of the main four have always been. It's the type of class in which the role is mostly what the player makes it to be. The monk has strong potential in the areas of scouting, mobility, caster disabling, and survivability. When half your group has been disabled by mind effects, the monk may very well be the one who turns the tables.


My problem with giving Monks a full BAB is that it pushes them into being grouped with Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Rangers. Monks shouldn't be grouped with those classes. Monks should sit between Rangers and Rogues. I like the fact that their CMB is equivalent to that of the full BAB classes, but that's about as far as I think they should go with regards to raising their BAB.
If I were to upgrade their power, the only thing I think they *need* is Secret Training (replacing magic items with powers they can do innately - for example, researching innate bonuses to attributes in the same way that casters research magic items which give bonuses to attributes)
Beyond that, things I'd like to see, but which they don't *need* (and, so, might unbalance them) include
*Monks need to be able to make Abundant Step as a move action and this needs to be understood to mean that they get a standard action at the end of the dimn door (it's my understanding that this will be fixed with an upcoming errata)
*That the Secret Training mentioned above allows for the monk to spend wealth to learn more feats without needing to learn the prereqs first
*Monks gain extra movement from spending ki. If the monk takes -only- this extra movement in a round, he should be able to full attack at the end of his move.
*A martial arts style which gives 2 hexes of weapon range

NOTE that I said these -might- unbalance monks. I hope they don't as I think these abilities would give more mojo


LilithsThrall wrote:
My problem with giving Monks a full BAB is that it pushes them into being grouped with Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Rangers. Monks shouldn't be grouped with those classes. Monks should sit between Rangers and Rogues. I like the fact that their CMB is equivalent to that of the full BAB classes, but that's about as far as I think they should go with regards to raising their BAB.

Why?


Because the monk would have the same BAB as non-spellcaster classes.


GâtFromKI wrote:
Because the monk would have the same BAB as non-spellcaster classes.

Actually it's even harsher than that, because he has a crappier BAB and HP than some other characters who DO get spells like the Ranger and the Pal.

EDIT: Here's a novel idea that comes from the long defunct RPG known as Rolemaster: give the monk some spells. Monks are religious/philosophical little bastards, why shouldn't they get some divine magic at higher levels like a ranger does?


LilithsThrall wrote:

My problem with giving Monks a full BAB is that it pushes them into being grouped with Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Rangers. Monks shouldn't be grouped with those classes. Monks should sit between Rangers and Rogues. I like the fact that their CMB is equivalent to that of the full BAB classes, but that's about as far as I think they should go with regards to raising their BAB.

If I were to upgrade their power, the only thing I think they *need* is Secret Training (replacing magic items with powers they can do innately - for example, researching innate bonuses to attributes in the same way that casters research magic items which give bonuses to attributes)
Beyond that, things I'd like to see, but which they don't *need* (and, so, might unbalance them) include
*Monks need to be able to make Abundant Step as a move action and this needs to be understood to mean that they get a standard action at the end of the dimn door (it's my understanding that this will be fixed with an upcoming errata)
*That the Secret Training mentioned above allows for the monk to spend wealth to learn more feats without needing to learn the prereqs first
*Monks gain extra movement from spending ki. If the monk takes -only- this extra movement in a round, he should be able to full attack at the end of his move.
*A martial arts style which gives 2 hexes of weapon range

NOTE that I said these -might- unbalance monks. I hope they don't as I think these abilities would give more mojo

If I was going to change one thing, I would let them have their full BAB when using unarmed attacks or monk weapons, period. The limitation of only getting it when they flurry limits them in somewhat unnecessary ways, such as for when they need to skirmish. Its more organic if they keep the full BAB when they fight in an overall monk-ish fashion, rather than just when they flurry.


edross wrote:
LilithsThrall wrote:
My problem with giving Monks a full BAB is that it pushes them into being grouped with Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Rangers. Monks shouldn't be grouped with those classes. Monks should sit between Rangers and Rogues. I like the fact that their CMB is equivalent to that of the full BAB classes, but that's about as far as I think they should go with regards to raising their BAB.
Why?

Let's look at the classes that get full BAB

Consider the Barbarian
Barbarians excel in combat, possessing the martial prowess and fortitude to take on foes seemingly far superior to themselves. With rage granting them boldness and daring beyond that of most other warriors, barbarians charge furiously into battle and ruin all who would stand in their way.

Consider the Fighter
Fighters excel at combat—defeating their enemies, controlling the flow of battle, and surviving such sorties themselves. While their specific weapons and methods grant them a wide variety of tactics, few can match fighters for sheer battle prowess.

Does the Monk emphasize inflicting ruin against all who would stand in their way? Does it emphasize that few can match it's battle prowess?

Consider the Rogue
Rogues excel at moving about unseen and catching foes unaware, and tend to avoid head-to-head combat. Their varied skills and abilities allow them to be highly versatile, with great variations in expertise existing between different rogues. Most, however, excel in overcoming hindrances of all types, from unlocking doors and disarming traps to outwitting magical hazards and conning dull-witted opponents.

Now, look at the Monk
Monks excel at overcoming even the most daunting perils, striking where it's least expected, and taking advantage of enemy vulnerabilities. Fleet of foot and skilled in combat, monks can navigate any battlefield with ease, aiding allies wherever they are needed most.

Where the Rogue emphasizes catching foes unaware, the Monk emphasizes striking where it's least expected. Where the Rogue emphasizes avoiding head-to-head combat, the Monk emphasizes striking where it's least expected. Where the Rogue emphasizes overcoming hindrances of all types, the Monk emphasizes overcoming even the most daunting perils.

Clearly, the Monk's fighting style is most like the Rogue's. Currently, the Monk has the same BAB as the Rogue. If you elevate the Monk's BAB to that of the Fighter or the Barbarian, than how do you not justify elevating the Rogue's (or the Bard's for that matter)?


LilithsThrall wrote:
If you elevate the Monk's BAB to that of the Fighter or the Barbarian, than how do you not justify elevating the Rogue's (or the Bard's for that matter)?

For the rogue, I don't justify anything, and I'm forced to give him full BAB. Like any boring NPC class. Huh, I mean "spellcasting-challenged class".

For the bard, one word: spellcasting.

Anyway, do you think that cleric should also have full BAB? The fluff text says: "More than capable of upholding the honor of their deities in battle, clerics often prove stalwart and capable combatants."

Liberty's Edge

Most of the posts have covered the mechanics of the monk in combat and skill-test situations. On the other hand, the monk as a member of the party has gotten the short-shrift. I have played monks in AD&D, D&D 3.5, and PFRPG and have always had a blast with the monk as a character class. Here's why:

1. The monk gets to be wise without having to proselytize. While the cleric, role-played properly, has obligations to his church and god that often require him to grandstand and preach, the monk doesn't have to take that on. If you make him a Western style monk (I know, the martial arts don't suit that but this is fantasy), then William of Baskerville from the Name of the Rose is a fantastic template and points out that the monk can be detective, wise councillor, diplomat, and sage in a package that doesn't attract attention (like bards), law enforcement (like rogues) or spell-hating assassins (like wizards and sorcerers). The monk can lead the party with a quiet word or a sharp observation and never worry about how the treasure gets divided since wealth is not his objective. Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (Ep IV by Alec Guiness) has this kind of impact on the party of Han, Luke, Chewbacca, R2D2, and C3PO. In RPG groups, this monk is easy to appreciate and hard to hate.

2. The monk gets to have moments of acrobatic/martial artist daring like no one else, including the Rogue. While the Rogue has to position to sneak attack and spend valuable time searching for traps, the monk can roam the battlefield with superhuman speed and agility. If you enjoy talking up your character's moves and maneuvers, there is no class like the monk for role-playing joy. Who cares how many points of damage he delivers, he can go anywhere, strike anyone, and survive to get back to the party. In MANY MANY game sessions against the final menace, it is the monk whose mobility and high STS, special abilities, and defenses, who cracked the DM's toughest opponent's skulls. More than a mage-killer, a monk can also be a dragon-slayer, drow-buster, and mind flayer-destroyer. When the rest of the party is fully engaged in melee, the DM drops a delayed ambush on the wizard at the rear of the party, it is the monk who can adjust, leap to the mage's aid and insure the survival of the party.

3. When things go badly wrong, and they often do, the party is often caught unawares and improperly equipped. The fighter is asleep without armor and weapons, the mage out of spells for the day, and the cleric caught with only a cure light wounds to hand, who is still ready to react effectively? The monk. The monk's abilities work as well underwater as in the air and on the ground, when he is rested or fatigued, and against all kinds of opponents. The monk exemplifies the boy scout motto, 'be prepared', by keeping all his preparations inside himself. As a role-player, this kind of readiness is very appealing and insures that you always have something to contribute to the situation.

I know there are, and always have been, arguments about this mechanic or that. But take it from a guy who started with a 2d4 1st level Novice in AD&D and took him all the way to Grand Master of Flowers:

When you are ready to put aside the simplicity of the CORE FOUR (Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard) and take up the mantle of a class that reveals character, roll up a MONK!


Persis Strongfellow wrote:
If you enjoy talking up your character's moves and maneuvers, there is no class like the monk for role-playing joy.

Bard is a better class for role-playing joy. As well as for talking up your character's move.

Quote:
When things go badly wrong, and they often do, the party is often caught unawares and improperly equipped. The fighter is asleep without armor and weapons, the mage out of spells for the day, and the cleric caught with only a cure light wounds to hand, who is still ready to react effectively? The monk.

In such a situation, the monk is out of HP, and therefore can't react effectively.

I often play a cleric, and that's a situation I have seen a countless number of time: when the cleric has only one spell left, the martial characters are dying. Especially the monk.


GâtFromKI wrote:
For the rogue, I don't justify anything, and I'm forced to give him full BAB. Like any boring NPC class. Huh, I mean "spellcasting-challenged class".

If the Rogue is going to get full BAB, then go ahead and give the Monk full BAB. But I think giving both of them full BAB is a bad idea. If they need a power boost, give it to them. But balancing classes by making them more alike is a bad idea.

All the same, Paladins and Rangers cast spells. Should they have full BAB?

GâtFromKI wrote:


Anyway, do you think that cleric should also have full BAB? The fluff text says: "More than capable of upholding the honor of their deities in battle, clerics often prove stalwart and capable combatants."

Don't get me started on clerics. I think they are the worse (not weakest, just worse) class in core.


LilithsThrall wrote:
Don't get me started on clerics. I think they are the worse (not weakest, just worse) class in core.

MUCH PAIN SOON, NO HEALING FOR YOU. CLERIC SMASH!


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gandalf-lotr wrote:
I played NWN1
Which is a completely different beast from 3.5/PF.

Yes, the 3.0 monk was weaker than either. Actually, NWN was a good place to play a monk because it wasn't a standard party situation. You had a wide array of threats to deal with, and the monk's spectrum of abilities suited them to handling many of them with only one sidekick to back them up. You could play NWN with a specialist, but you got more mileage out of a generalist like a bard, ranger or monk.


GâtFromKI wrote:
Quote:
When things go badly wrong, and they often do, the party is often caught unawares and improperly equipped. The fighter is asleep without armor and weapons, the mage out of spells for the day, and the cleric caught with only a cure light wounds to hand, who is still ready to react effectively? The monk.
In such a situation, the monk is out of HP, and therefore can't react effectively.

Wholeness of Body, plus no-one said they were out of hit points, the cleric probably burned all his channellings and cures getting hit points back up before they bedded down. The fighter is having problems because he doesn't have his armour, not because he has no hit points.


Dabbler wrote:
Wholeness of Body, plus no-one said they were out of hit points, the cleric probably burned all his channellings and cures getting hit points back up before they bedded down.

It's very specific: the party used all of his daily resources (spells, cures, etc), but everyone is full HP? The encounter of the day were though and burned every single resources, but at the end the party is full HP?

Personally, I've never seen any situation like this.

But that's a fact: if we create a situation which will never happens in any actual game and in which the monk is the only character able to do something, then we have a situation in which the monk is the only character able to do something and which will never happens in any actual game.

LilithsThrall wrote:
If the Rogue is going to get full BAB, then go ahead and give the Monk full BAB. But I think giving both of them full BAB is a bad idea. If they need a power boost, give it to them. But balancing classes by making them more alike is a bad idea.

If at least one of the spellcasting-challenged classes were in par with playable classes, then I would agree with you.

But that's not the case. Spells give you the choice between dozen of new powerful abilities at each level, they give you many different thing to do in combat and useful things to do out-of-combat. And they don't prevent the character from having mundane useless abilities (like ranks in Stealth): everyone have skills, everyone can hit things with a pointed stick, not everyone can read minds or transform himself into a dinosaur.

Spoiler:
Seriously, look at a level 4 bard: he can chose two new abilities between "gain darkvision and enhance your scooting abilities" (alter self), "blind golems, reveal invisible" (glitterdust), "blind bystanders, permanent and dismissable, then blackmail them" (blindness/deafness), "speak any language" (tongue), "be professor Xavier" (suggestion & detect thoughts; OK, this one count as two abilities), "use your flute to stun peoples" (sound burst), "walk around without being seen" (invisibility), "hide in plain sight" (blur) and many more.

No spellcasting-challenged class can compare in term of choice, versatility or fun: at this level, the rogue choose a crappy half-feat such as "don't have a -5 Stealth in some circumstances, skill focus is better than this you sucker" or "cast color spray, but only once per day", and he's done. The monk write on his character sheet "ki pool: many useless one-round buffs, including the ability to jump 10 feet higher while some characters can levitate; and the ability do one more attack during a flurry". Or the Fighter: "specialisation: +2 to damage. The most exciting ability you'll ever get".

And I have chosen the bard in purpose, since he's also better than any spellcasting-challenged class with respect to skills. It doesn't really matter, since skills don't do anything: like anyone, the bard can roll Diplomacy, Sense motive or Stealth when it's useless, but when it really matters, he casts suggestion, detect thoughts or invisibility. Anyway, even without his spells he has more versatility than many classes.


If a class doesn't give spellcasting, it'd better have something really great to offer; something versatile, fun, powerful and with many choice at every level; preferably usable in combat and out-of-combat (even the magus has access to useful out-of-combat spells! Even the magus can interact with a plot in different ways than "beating it to death"!). Something more exciting than "gain some random bonus to hit and damages rolls".

Up to this day, all the spellcasting-challenged classes failed to deliver. The best they do is "gain some supernatural and underpowered ability once per day" (quivering palm, anyone?). Huh, if it's possible to create an interesting spellcasting-challenged class, prove it and create one; but two years after the publication of the core rulebook, it seems impossible: the only non-spellcaster playable class is the Alchemist, and he use the spellcasting subsystem. If it's impossible, you should at least give a full BAB to spellcasting-challenged classes. Or even better: give them spellcasting; but I think peoples will be even more reluctant.


In other words: in the Pathfinder system, either:

  • you're a spellcaster.
  • your only way to meaningfully interact with anything is to beat it to death.
    For an unknown reason, some peoples wilfully choose the second. Anyway if your only way to interact with the plot is to beat it to death, you'd better be good at this. This include at the very least a full BAB.


  • Mistah Green, is that you in there ....

    If these things you say were true, then the game would be much more boring than it really is. The fact is you are not giving any credit to any build without THE BEST combat or spell casting abilities, and that is misguided. You are positing strict optimization as the only method of success, and it is not.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    I play monks, because otherwise the game is too easy.


    Do you go the Mr Fishy route and strap thunderstones to the heels of your boots?


    Brutalitops wrote:
    If these things you say were true, then the game would be much more boring than it really is. The fact is you are not giving any credit to any build without THE BEST combat or spell casting abilities, and that is misguided. You are positing strict optimization as the only method of success, and it is not.

    lol

    Seriously, tongue is the best combat spell? That's really what you're arguing?

    That's a fact: if you want to play a linguist without magic, you're screwed. If you want to play a stealthy character without magic, you're screwed. If you want to play a crafter without magic, you're screwed by the crafting time. etc: skills can't do anything relevant. A DC 100 Acrobatics check allow you to jump 50 feet high, a DC 100 Perception check allow to see someone 1 000 feet away (incidentally: a bow can shot at a range of 1 000 feet, but it's impossible to see the target; actually at level 1, you can't see anything past 300 feet): any DC 100 skill check has such a pitiful effect, it's not even worth mentioning.

    Spoiler:
    As a matter of fact, I play a painter in a Pathfinder game. And yes, strict optimisation is actually the only method of success: anything worth painting (something too expensive for a random level 1 commoner) take several month of work, while fabricate does the trick within 6 seconds. I need spellcasting to play a painter, without spellcasting I can't even say: "since we can rest for a week, I paint our fight with the dragon".

    That's how pathfinder works: without spellcasting, you can't interact with the world, except by "hitting someone in the nose". Painting is an interaction with the world, and is not "hitting soemone in the nose", therefore painting isn't possible without magic.

    Anyway, a build without spellcasting can't do anything relevant outside of combat. If he also perform poorly during combat, why would anyone bother to build it in the first place? Why not just playing a commoner, that's far easier to build ?...


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    Brutalitops wrote:
    If these things you say were true, then the game would be much more boring than it really is. The fact is you are not giving any credit to any build without THE BEST combat or spell casting abilities, and that is misguided. You are positing strict optimization as the only method of success, and it is not.

    lol

    Seriously, tongue is the best combat spell? That's really what you're arguing?

    That's a fact: if you want to play a linguist without magic, you're screwed...

    No, you just don't have tongues. Your definition of "screwed" need reexamination.

    Spoiler:

    Ahhhhh, nice. Using the Craft rules as your example of why magic RULZORZ. Craft is perhaps one of the most houseruled skills in the game. A quick search of these boards will show you how much people have done just that. In fact there are 3rd party products called making craft work. Also no disrespect to your painter, but the is not a class, that is a profession. I should know. I am one. Sadly, I don't go on adventures much, and when I do, I don't paint. But I digress. Fabricate is nice to have as a painter, but it isn't necessary for painting.


    Brutalitops wrote:
    No, you just don't have tongues. Your definition of "screwed" need reexamination.

    OK, Let's play a level 5 linguist with 18 Int. I know 10 languages, including common. I choose:

  • Common.
  • Elf.
  • Gnome.
  • Dwarf.
  • Halfling.
  • Orc.
  • Draconic.
  • Varisian.
  • Thassilonnian.
  • Azlante.

    DM: You meet a Shoanti. Can you speak with him?
    Linguist: No... Huh, wait. Shoanti language ressemble to Varisian language?
    DM: Yes.
    Linguist: I speak Varisian.
    DM: Doesn't work like this... There are also orcish words.
    Linguist: I speak Orc.
    DM: No, doesn't work like this...
    Linguist: didn't you say that all those languages come from Thassilonian and Azlante? I speak those.
    DM: Look, according to the rules, you must speak Shoanti.
    Linguist: Can I try a Linguistic check?
    DM: The rules don't allow that.
    Linguist: I commit suicide and roll for a wizard.

    Since there is an incredible number of useless languages (aklo, elemental languages, drow...) and there's no way to use your linguistic skill to communicate when you don't speak the appropriate language, you can't play a linguist.

    Remember the first episode of Stargate: SG-1? Daniel Jackson can speak with extra-terrestrial beings. It's not easy, but he manages to do it, just because he's awesome. That's what a Fantasy linguist should do. But it's impossible with competences.

    In the real world, a linguist who can speak Latin and Italian and Spanish is able to communicate with a French people. Ergo: without magic, you can't even play a mundane real-world linguist. It makes me sad.


  • wraithstrike wrote:
    Slaunyeh wrote:
    Their role is to be fun to play and to have high adventure! I don't understand why this is difficult.
    That could apply to any class. I don't understand why trying to answer the OP's question in the manner that he wanted it to be answered is so difficult. You can't really have fun if you have are not being effective. well maybe YOU can, but many people can't.

    Ok coming late on this...

    I'm going to actually role play a monk as a duelist and he will in NO way be maximized. Average stats, I'll pick my feats and so on as each level comes up rather than optimizing to the Nth degree and will be ROLEplaying him. The most fun I ever had in a character was as a gully dwarf in Dragonlance and she was fully ineffectual but FUN.
    I think the move to blast out stats and abilities with every single advantage and tweak and loop-hole has radically reduced the ability of players to have a good time with their characters.
    It might feel good to do 120 points of damage to that giant in one round but do you still have time to enjoy giving an apple to a homeless waif and finding a tenable living situation for her?

    Slaunyeh wrote:
    Their role is to be fun to play and to have high adventure! I don't understand why this is difficult.

    is a fully valid role to play.


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    Brutalitops wrote:
    No, you just don't have tongues. Your definition of "screwed" need reexamination.

    OK...

    Since there is an incredible number of useless languages (aklo, elemental languages, drow...) and there's no way to use your linguistic skill to communicate when you don't speak the appropriate language, you can't play a linguist.
    ...
    Ergo: without magic, you can't even play a mundane real-world linguist. It makes me sad.

    ROFLOL or, you know, roll linguistics.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    I missed the part in that link that describes how you communicate with someone that speaks a language you don't know. Which is what he said.


    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    I missed the part in that link that describes how you communicate with someone that speaks a language you don't know. Which is what he said.

    Show me a mundane real-world linguist that has that ability. Specifically perfect communication with people speaking a totally foreign language.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    GâtFromKI wrote:


    In the real world, a linguist who can speak Latin and Italian and Spanish is able to communicate with a French people.

    I'll be sure to rustle up a real live linguist for you right away.

    Silver Crusade

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    It doesn't even take a linguist, I can communicate with Russians, Czechs and Serbs, especially if vodka is involved...


    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    GâtFromKI wrote:


    In the real world, a linguist who can speak Latin and Italian and Spanish is able to communicate with a French people.
    I'll be sure to rustle up a real live linguist for you right away.

    Or perhaps he put ranks into french after learning italian and spanish? Maybe the skill isn't perfectly written. It doesn't mean that the game fundamentally revolves around "go magic/full BAB, or go home". That's not a truth, its a playstyle.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    If his hypothetical linguist HAD done that, it would have been mentioned.

    The 'playstyle' of 'because you can speak Infernal, you can communicate with a creature that only speaks Abyssal' is a houserule. There is no non-magical way to communicate with a creature whose language you do not speak outside pantomime, which does NOT represent the actuality of languages.


    Brutalitops wrote:
    Also no disrespect to your painter, but the is not a class, that is a profession. I should know. I am one. Sadly, I don't go on adventures much, and when I do, I don't paint.

    Spoiler:
    The samurai who can fight, but is also an educated man who can paint, has calligraphy skills etc is an actual fantasy archetype.

    Therefore, my samurai is a magus. He gains fabricate very late in the game, but at least he has access to it; and he has some use of his intelligence.

    Anyway, craft is not the only example of useless skill. I gave two other examples.

    But it's worse than that : every skills are useless, it's a mathematical fact. The combat prowess increase exponentially (+2 level = power*2, according to the CR system) (it's true even for the Fighter: a single fighter of level N+2 is as powerful as two fighters of level N; it can be proven with very simple fighter builds in very simple arena fights) (spellcasters increase their power more quickly than that). But skills are linear: a +4 bonus doesn't make the skill two time more efficient, and characters don't even gain +4 per 2 levels. eg: a level N+2 rogue doesn't have 50% chance to sneak two level N characters (+2 Stealth is weaker than two Perception checks).

    In fact, craft increase quadratically, since the end result is given by the product DC*check: it's the skill with the best progression in the whole game.

    Skills can't be relevant after the few first levels.

    We're completely out-of-subject, but the point is: without magic, you can't be relevant out-of-combat. Therefore you should be relevant during combat. Full BAB is a good start.

    There are other solutions: give spellcasting-like abilities to every classes (the Alchemist isn't a spellcaster, but he has a spellcasting-like ability), or create a new skill system from scratch (eg skills ranks unlock extraordinary/supernatural abilities at least for some classes).

    Edit for the linguist trick : I don't speak esperanto, but I actually understand it. Not very well, but that's what I'm talking about: communicate, not have a philosophical argument.

    Hey, I don't even speak very well English, but I can communicate...


    Perhaps you all might want to start a "Linguist: What is their role?" Thread?

    This is all way off topic to the original thread


    BltzKrg242 wrote:

    Perhaps you all might want to start a "Linguist: What is their role?" Thread?

    This is all way off topic to the original thread

    Or the caster/martial disparity thread.

    We're getting far and beyond monks now.


    I think that for some people, every thread is a caster/martial disparity thread. Sufficed to say I've had my fill of those.


    In this thread, I read nonsenses like "monks are versatile".

    Can someone explain? When I read the class, I see as much versatility as a fighter: a monk can walk and hit thing. Oh, and stun things.


    A 12th level monk can run up to you at the breakfast table on round 1 (280 foot move doing a Run action), piss in your cheerios (Standard Action) and then dimension door away with Abundant Step (Move Action).

    I am so houseruling that Abundant Step is a move action and allows a Standard action afterwards. Anything other than that is b$#%#~@! for a 12th level ability.

    Either that, or I'm replacing it with the ability to spend a ki point after a successful Melee or touch attack to selectively break enchantments on the target.

    But as interpreted? Stupidity beyond compare. Gaaah. It makes me want to burn my PDFs.


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    It's very specific: the party used all of his daily resources (spells, cures, etc), but everyone is full HP? The encounter of the day were though and burned every single resources, but at the end the party is full HP?

    I don't find this an unusual situation at all. The party just finished a very tough battle and everybody is down - down on hit points and spells. As is common, casting healing in combat isn't an optimal choice, so the cleric focused on casting buffs and offensive spells during the combat. He's got a few channels and misc spells left. Right after beating this ultra tough bad guy, the party decides to camp for the night so that the spellcasters can get their spells back. The cleric does what channelling he can to cure the party and spontaneously converts his misc spells to healing. Then, something attacks them while they are camping.

    GâtFromKI wrote:

    If at least one of the spellcasting-challenged classes were in par with playable classes, then I would agree with you.

    Casting isn't so uber awesome that nothing could possibly match it. Find what could match it and is appropriate to each of the other classes and addd it.


    GâtFromKI wrote:

    In this thread, I read nonsenses like "monks are versatile".

    Can someone explain? When I read the class, I see as much versatility as a fighter: a monk can walk and hit thing. Oh, and stun things.

    and can heal himself and can walk on air (with cloud step) and can dimn door and has more skill points and can go ethereal and not only has diplomacy as a class skill, but at high levels can talk to anything and gets several feats without having to worry about prereqs and can keep up with the party while moving in stealth without taking penalties and has the highest perception score of any class and etc. etc.

    Yep, other than all the extra stuff he gets, he gets nothing that the fighter doesn't get.


    BltzKrg242 wrote:

    Perhaps you all might want to start a "Linguist: What is their role?" Thread?

    This is all way off topic to the original thread

    GâtFromKI wrote:

    In this thread, I read nonsenses like "monks are versatile".

    Can someone explain? When I read the class, I see as much versatility as a fighter: a monk can walk and hit things. Oh, and stun things.

    I have been following this thread because I play a monk. That monk went on hiatus from the campaign because I took over as GM, but I hope to return him to the adventure party someday. I am studying monk roles to figure out how that character would level up to match the growth of the rest of the party.

    And GâtFromKI's observations strike a bull's eye on my character. My gnome started as a young Guide Ranger and switched to Ki Mystic Monk of the Four Winds for his own gnomish reasons, which are mostly about being able to say, "Hey, I can do that!" He is interested in trying out new skills and feats. He wants to be versatile.

    From my gnome's point of view, a monk can
    a) fight in a flurry of blows
    b) fight with his bare hands
    c) fight with fire or ice or electricity from his fists (Monk of the Four Winds)
    d) move as fast as his long-legged human and elf friends
    e) resist mind control (good will save and Iron Will as 3rd-level feat)
    f) dodge fireballs (good reflex save and Evasion)
    g) grapple (Improved Grapple as a monk bonus feat)
    h) climb, bully, spot details, ride, sneak, and swim as well as a ranger
    i) tumble snd jump, escape, tell stories, and recognize lies better than a ranger
    j) use skills well with little practice (Ki Mystic)

    That is from the cheerful character's point of view. Alas, from my view as a player, he cannot truly do those things unless he has a reasonable chance of success. What was adequate at 8th level (ranger 5/monk 3) might not work at 12th level. Dropping from the 6 skill points per level of a ranger to the 4 skill points per level of a monk will take its toll on his skills, fighting grows more dangerous without enchanted armor, and walking fast does not matter much when the party wizard and sorcerer and many of their opponents can fly.

    I am looking for more ways my gnome monk can say, "I can do that!" that are not more easily answered by, "But my wizard friend will take care of it better with his magic." What good is Slow Fall when a Ring of Feather Fall costs only 2200 gp?

    I enjoyed GâtFromKI's math behind his spoiler barrier, and he is half right about skills being linear. He neglects that some skills avoid being linear for the same reason BAB is not linear. If a skill is used mostly in contested rolls, such as Bluff versus Sense Motive or Acrobatics against CMD, so that the difference matters, it is not linear. But in the opposite direction, some skills top out as less than linear. For example, there is little reason to put as many as 10 ranks into Survival. The Pathfinder skills are, at best, limited by realism.

    And D&D 3rd Edition designed its monks as masters of non-magical abilities. They have the same reality-based limits as the skill system. Every monk can jump like an Olympic athlete. Too bad the actors on wires in the Hong Kong martial arts movies put those monks to shame. In a world where 500-pound griffons can fly by flapping wings, why can't a monk jump to the rooftop of a two-story house? Paizo wisely enhanced the Pathfinder monk with a magical ki pool, but spending a ki point for +20 to an Acrobatics check is only an extra five feet in a high jump.

    The role of monks is to use human (or gnomish) skills and abilities in fantastic ways. Unfortunately, the magic in the campaign setting sets the bar for fantastic higher than expected. Paizo provided the specialist Zen Archer as one answer and the magical Qinggong Monk as another answer, but it would have been nice to push the versatility of mundane actions to magical levels. (I pretend Elemental Fist enhances natural gnome abilities.)


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    Remember the first episode of Stargate: SG-1? Daniel Jackson can speak with extra-terrestrial beings. It's not easy, but he manages to do it, just because he's awesome. That's what a Fantasy linguist should do. But it's impossible with competences.

    This part I do agree with. It's part of the "fighters can't have good things" problem that DnD has.

    Though it saddens me that you refer to the first episode of SG-1 rather than the movie.


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    Dabbler wrote:
    Wholeness of Body, plus no-one said they were out of hit points, the cleric probably burned all his channellings and cures getting hit points back up before they bedded down.
    It's very specific: the party used all of his daily resources (spells, cures, etc), but everyone is full HP? The encounter of the day were though and burned every single resources, but at the end the party is full HP?

    Yes, it happens a lot - you finish the task at hand battered to hell and back, and the cleric blows his remaining channels and spell-slots on healing everyone before you rest. It's not like he can save them for the next day, is it? It's not like there's an advantage to everyone being on low hit points by the morning, and have the healer use up all his resources for the NEXT day instead of the remaining ones for the day before healing everyone - it effectively writes off a day of adventuring just healing up.

    Bottom line, your party is likely not on full hit points, but is likely not far off it if their healers had any resources left at all. The monk in particular can heal himself with wholeness of body as well as from the party pool, so he likely on even more hit points than everyone else by the time they bed down.

    GâtFromKI wrote:
    Personally, I've never seen any situation like this.

    Then either your games are so intense that ALL spell and healing resources are exhausted by the time the party rests, or else you are playing with much less strategic acumen than would appear from your posts, or you don't actually play the game with other players. Healing-before-bedtime is a no-brainer for any adventuring party with replenishing healing resources (spells or channels, sometimes even wands) to expend.

    GâtFromKI wrote:
    But that's a fact: if we create a situation which will never happens in any actual game and in which the monk is the only character able to do something, then we have a situation in which the monk is the only character able to do something and which will never happens in any actual game.

    .. and yet according to those posting here, me included, it not only can happen but does happen. I've been in games where the party were jumped at night after a hard day's adventuring, they were on decent hit points but the fighters were ill-equipped and the casters were low on spells, so who could function at full capacity? Only the monk. My real experience trumps your theoretical postulations every time.

    Bottom line is, do people have fun playing monks? Yes, a number of us do, which means they cannot be so useless as all that some are making them out to be. Ultimately, having fun is the point of the game, and nothing else.


    LilithsThrall wrote:
    and can heal himself and can walk on air (with cloud step) and can dimn door and has more skill points and can go ethereal and not only has diplomacy as a class skill, but at high levels can talk to anything and gets several feats without having to worry about prereqs and can keep up with the party while moving in stealth without taking penalties and has the highest perception score of any class and etc. etc.

    He's very versatile because at level 17, he knows 4 spells or so.

    And because he has an ability half as powerful as a skill focus (penalty for sneaking at full speed: -5; skill focus: +6 to stealth in any situation). Do you know who has many feat, and therefore many skill focus if he wants to? You named it: the Fighter. And he can also take a skill focus in perception, if that's what you want.

    Saying that "sneaking at high speed" make a character versatile is nonsense.

    LilithsThrall wrote:
    Casting isn't so uber awesome that nothing could possibly match it. Find what could match it and is appropriate to each of the other classes and addd it.

    ...

    OK.

  • The monk is incredibly more versatile than the fighter because he knows 4 spells or so (at level 11, he knows 1 spell). Yeah, spells are that versatile. That's you first point.
  • But knowing 30+ different spells is not über, and you can match with two or three appropriate class ability. Yeah, spellcasting is that easy to match up. That's your second point.

    ...

    ... That's complete nonsense.

    ... Well, I concede: a level 11 monk has the versatility of a Fighter with cure light wound 4/day and skill focus (stealth); and it prove definitely that the monk is the most versatile of all NPC classes (baring adept and expert).

    Thus, thanks to LilithsThrall, we are now able to answer the thread: the role of a monk is to be a very versatile character who can walk, hit things, stun things, cast CLW at level 7; and starting at level 12, he can even be useful out-of-combat.


  • GâtFromKI wrote:
    LilithsThrall wrote:
    and can heal himself and can walk on air (with cloud step) and can dimn door and has more skill points and can go ethereal and not only has diplomacy as a class skill, but at high levels can talk to anything and gets several feats without having to worry about prereqs and can keep up with the party while moving in stealth without taking penalties and has the highest perception score of any class and etc. etc.

    He's very versatile because at level 17, he knows 4 spells or so.

    And because he has an ability half as powerful as a skill focus (penalty for sneaking at full speed: -5; skill focus: +6 to stealth in any situation). Do you know who has many feat, and therefore many skill focus if he wants to? You named it: the Fighter. And he can also take a skill focus in perception, if that's what you want.

    Saying that "sneaking at high speed" make a character versatile is nonsense.

    You wanna know how I know you're a troll? Because anyone of average intelligence knows that a.) the monk's ability to keep up with the rest of the party while sneaking without taking a penalty is a side effect of an even more powerful ability b.) it stacks with skill focus (stealth) which means that it is more powerful than skill focus (stealth) c.) that while the Fighter has more feats, many of those feats have to be spent on prereqs d.) unlike the Fighter, wisdom is a primary attribute for the monk and perception is a class skill for the monk and the monk can take a feat in skill focus (perception), but typically doesn't need to as, even without it, he's going to have a higher perception than the fighter and e.) sneaking around allows for scouting and, as anyone of average intelligence knows, intelligence is the foundation of tactics which is critical to using one's abilities appropriately (ie. versatility).

    Because I believe that you are of average intelligence, but you've attempted to pass yourself off as less intelligent than that, you show yourself to be a troll.


    LilithsThrall wrote:
    You wanna know how I know you're a troll?

    ...Says the guy who explains that a skill focus (or a less powerful ability) makes your character versatile.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Sayer_of_Nay wrote:

    First off, I want to say that this thread isn't meant to debate the usefulness of the monk; I'm not interested in reading an endless stream of "monks are underpowered," or the like. If you only want to comment on how much monks suck, please move along.

    That being said, I will say that I've never played the class. I never really understood what the class was for? What is their role? How exactly do they contribute to a group of adventurers?

    Having just picked up the Ultimate Combat book, I've seen a lot of neat things there for monks, and unarmed combat in general, but I'm still having trouble grasping just *what* it is the monk is supposed to be doing in the grand scheme of things. In a way, this feeling extends to the other hybrid classes, but for me the monk is the most elusive.

    Just thought I'd repost this in case people of any intelligence level have forgotten what the thread was supposed to be about.


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    LilithsThrall wrote:
    You wanna know how I know you're a troll?

    ...Says the guy who explains that a skill focus (or a less powerful ability) makes your character versatile.

    That's not what I said, but then again, you know that. You're trying to goad me.


    GâtFromKI wrote:
    LilithsThrall wrote:
    You wanna know how I know you're a troll?

    ...Says the guy who explains that a skill focus (or a less powerful ability) makes your character versatile.

    I know you're a troll by your abrasive tone and total defenestration of the topic.

    As to the topic:

    I think for the most part the monks role depends entirely on the archetype he's chosen. A core monk is pretty much a combat suvivalist, good saves, decent immunities, he doesn't have weapons or armor to lose generally so disarming him or sundering doesn't mean much. Unfortunately in the course of pathfinder survival isn't as meaningful as beating the other guy as hard as possible. The archetypes have done a lot to change that alot. Mostly at the cost of his survivability.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Nazard wrote:
    Sayer_of_Nay wrote:

    First off, I want to say that this thread isn't meant to debate the usefulness of the monk; I'm not interested in reading an endless stream of "monks are underpowered," or the like. If you only want to comment on how much monks suck, please move along.

    That being said, I will say that I've never played the class. I never really understood what the class was for? What is their role? How exactly do they contribute to a group of adventurers?

    Having just picked up the Ultimate Combat book, I've seen a lot of neat things there for monks, and unarmed combat in general, but I'm still having trouble grasping just *what* it is the monk is supposed to be doing in the grand scheme of things. In a way, this feeling extends to the other hybrid classes, but for me the monk is the most elusive.

    Just thought I'd repost this in case people of any intelligence level have forgotten what the thread was supposed to be about.

    A monk's role is to take advantage of situational opportunities. He needs to be versatile because opportunities take many forms, such as a vulnerable wizard who foolishly relies on his minions as a shield or an overspecialized fighter who put all his prowess into one disarm-able weapon or an open window up the castle wall to leap to when no-one brought a grappling hook.

    Mobility helps in case the opportunity is on the other side of the room. Good saves help so that the monk is on his feet when endgame opportunities present themselves. As Persis Strongfellow said above, if a monk is caught asleep and unprepared, he can still respond to the situation, because he does not rely on weapons and armor.

    The monk is not going to be as good in combat as the characters who specialize in combat. The monk does not wield significant magic because magic is about controlling situations rather than finding them. The monk will shine only when the unexpected happens. This is why the monk does not fill a niche, a so-called role, in a party. That kind of role plays to the expected.

    It takes a smart player to see all the opportunities, so it takes a smart player to play a monk to his full capacity.

    Dark Archive

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Your problem is scenario design. The advantages and strengths of the monk have been explored. Naysayers are trying to argue that these strengths are irrelevant.

    Unfortunately, they are doing so by relying on a fair number of dubious premises, then claiming objectivity and absolute truth. I get the distinct impression that GâtFromKI and Mathmuse have not played other Tabletop RPG rules before and therefore (somewhat rightly) feel constrained by the limitations of the d20 system's assumptions. I would be happy to be corrected on this presumption of mine.

    Alright. My points. I have two. First, good or bad scenario design makes or breaks any class. Second, the arguments in play to demonize the monk, skills, and all other 'inherent crippling problems of the ruleset' commit the common sin of elevating system above the common sense and judgment of the DM. Spoiler Bump for explanation and TL:DR.

    Spoiler:
    Argument the first: in all cases where the monk has been 'demonstrated' to be the inferior of, say, the wizard or bard in all areas of alleged monk strength, scenario design has played a key role. Being woken from slumber by ambush, having to navigate a crevasse, having or not having access to featherfall, maneuvering to flank with the rogue, etc. Naturally, from these starting conditions the potential reactions of different character classes are then compared straight-away to assert the relative performance of each.

    Missing from the discussion is how, precisely, the hypothetical characters got where they are. As such, in each given case the bard, wizard, etc. is miraculously shown to have the same capability as the monk, and the relative strengths of the monk are shown to be nonexistent. The monk is 'not versatile' because other classes can do what the monk does without preparation or sacrifice.

    However, since we are never presented with how things arrived at that point, I question the supposed objectivity of the analysis on the grounds of scenario design.

    • The case of the party ambushed at rest shows the strength of the monk because there is virtually no delay moving between 'the monk at ease' and the monk 'battle ready'. The counter-argument, that the monk will not have the HP to fight, is spurious and could apply to any character taken in ambush. The monk will outperform fighting classes in ambush. Furthermore, the case of the party having low hp and no resources before they rest is a case of incompetence, since it leaves them quite vulnerable. If this is a common occurrence in anyone's game, I retort that the GM has not played opposition with appropriate aggression; when GMing, I afford even the occasional wild animal the low-cunning necessary to understand that they should attack adversaries when they are bloody and exhausted. Provided they can detect that weakness, of course, though if anyone is going to retort that the party can conceal themselves than I would say that they are not quite out of resources then, are they?
    • The comparison of innate featherfall to a ring of featherfall always comes out in favor of the innate class-based featherfall. Because it a)does not take up a ring-slot, and b) does not make the assumption that one can simply buy a ring of featherfall. I grow very weary of arguments that presume a steady stream of gold and the constant availability of any magical trinket commonly in print. If your game world works that way that is on you, but such abundance conditions are a distinctly modern luxury. If further argument is needed, than please realize that counter-arguments of "default setting assumes abundance / items are available in Pathfinder Society style" are non-unique and so could apply to any class. There are items to replicate class-abilities and spells of just about every level, so one could a commoner (where are all of these high-level commoners coming from?) with trinkets could do just about anything and that this invalidates all other classes. It's a fruitless and circular line of logic that demonstrates very little about the inherent capabilities of any given class.
    • Flight and levitation, I will agree, jeopardize balance to an extraordinary degree. But the monk's mobility is impressive to behold, and absent magic items and expended sorcery easily the most impressive mobility of any class. This mobility allows the monk to dictate the terms of engagement, something their predilection for stealth and perception aids them in. But if the DM is uninterested in keeping track of this sort of thing because the encounters all take place on set fields and white-rooms rather than lived-in spaces, than it is true that all the monk's mobility is meaningless. So is any maneuverability, for that matter.
    • Finally, all arguments that rely on the wizard or bard having learned/memorized the appropriate spell by which their superiority over the monk is realized fail to take into account that the caster class has expended resources pursuing their superiority and that those resources are available only temporarily. Versatility, in the case of the monk, I will argue comes from their endurance. The monk may switch between several roles without expending consumable resources or taking additional time and preparation. The wizard must marshall their resources carefully, because it will take hours to restore them once they are gone. Scenario design will either favor the monk or the caster class via the frequency and ability of the party to take safe rest.

    Which leads to the second argument: that it is the job of the DM to arbitrate, and it is expected that they will do so with some degree of wisdom to create immersion in the plot and setting as well as smooth over gaps in the rules. This applies to any and every ruleset one plays with. As such, dogmatic adherence to the strict rules of the game cheapens the experience for everyone. If my assertion does not stand on its own, I am relatively certain I caught James Jacobs saying something similar in a different thread.

    Skills are exactly as relevant and useful as your scenario design and DM allow them to be. If your DM only gives your party five skill checks every session and three of them are mobility related than this favors the casters by an absurd degree because, as some have pointed out, spells are quite a bit more powerful than skills at achieving the same objectives. But this goes without saying, and the same endurance I mentioned above applies in this case.

    Furthermore, if your DM does not permit a linguistics skill roll to communicate with and understand Shoanti when you already know Varisian and Orc, than your GM is doing a bad job and/or creating a deliberate impediment. We are not speaking of true fluency, just basic understanding. The same applies to most skills, however, save for solid standbys like sense motive and perception, which are rolled more than any other skill (by general consensus, anyway) which invite themselves to be rolled in reaction to a wide variety of circumstances.

    I could talk about craft, but everyone would be well served to simply look up appropriate threads. The same criticism applies, however: a gm that gives no downtime or asserts absurdly long craft times for everything invalidates all resources sunk into such skills. Another GM might make craft utterly essential by placing broken McGuffins into the plot that require a master crafter. It's arbitrary. To some extent, this is by design.

    Let it be clear I do not think the monk is superior, and I do believe the system retains some bias toward casters, and I think the monk could use some improvement, but I do not believe it remains an impossibly weak class that only a fool would play. The arguments against the monk posed thus far are merely arguments for the superiority of casters. This is insufficiently focused.

    I will say this: I believe the monk to be a cautious class. Because it endures and maneuvers well, it escapes trouble well and helps others to do the same. And because of this, the monk's role is "support", in the sense of "our party would have collapsed if not for your timely support." They could use a few more ki-pool tricks to improve this, and I would like to see the cost of all ki-tricks reduced to one point, but I have yet to see a bad situation where the presence of a monk does not open new avenues for engagement or escape.

    And yeah, it really really is vulnerable to trap feats and poor planning. That could use some work too.


    Kegluneq wrote:

    Your problem is scenario design. The advantages and strengths of the monk have been explored. Naysayers are trying to argue that these strengths are irrelevant.

    Unfortunately, they are doing so by relying on a fair number of dubious premises, then claiming objectivity and absolute truth. I get the distinct impression that GâtFromKI and Mathmuse have not played other Tabletop RPG rules before and therefore (somewhat rightly) feel constrained by the limitations of the d20 system's assumptions. I would be happy to be corrected on this presumption of mine.

    The non-D&D tabletop RPG's I have played are Call of Cthulu, Champions, Rifts, Deep Sleep (an obscure small press game), Traveler, Legends of the Five Rings RPG, and the Serenity Roleplaying Game. I am also playtesting a RPG in development. The versions of D&D I have played are Advanced D&D, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, Kingdoms of Kalamar, and Pathfinder.

    However, I would rather establish my credentials by stories of my gaming. This spring I played a Pathfinder alchemist. The setting was a small colonial city and after we reached fifth level by eliminating the illegal slave trade, my alchemist decided to become the foremost maker of magic arms and armor in the city. Actually, the only maker. (And the GM did allow an alchemist to use Craft Magic Arms and Armor like any other spellcaster.) Alas, the city had a metal shortage, because no-one dared explore deeper into the continent to find ore. So my alchemist researched the few libraries in the city, took ranks in Craft(mineral assaying), Knowledge(geology), and Profession(prospector) and led the party on an expedition to find ore. We found tin and established a mining town. We also found a lost civilization, but that is another story.

    In addition, my wife, who roleplays more than me, solved the Linguist problem. Her character took ranks in Linguistics and declared that she would name the languages learned later, when the character needed to learn a new language.

    So don't accuse me of blindness from inexperience. I know how to adapt my characters to the game.

    I never claimed objectivity. My goal is that when my monk returns to my campaign, I want him to have a chance to shine without anyone thinking it is GM fiat, because I will probably still be the GM.

    Remember, this thread is about good party roles for monks. We identify the weakness of the monk to avoid the false roles. One weakness I noticed is that the monk was designed to look realistic, unlike a paladin's lay on hands or a summoner's eidolon or a sorcerer's spells, which means that he loses versatility in many highly magical scenarios.

    Kegluneq wrote:
    I will say this: I believe the monk to be a cautious class. Because it endures and maneuvers well, it escapes trouble well and helps others to do the same. And because of this, the monk's role is "support", in the sense of "our party would have collapsed if not for your timely support." They could use a few more ki-pool tricks to improve this, and I would like to see the cost of all ki-tricks reduced to one point, but I have yet to see a bad situation where the presence of a monk does not open new avenues for engagement or escape.

    How can the monk serve this role without being the last man standing? As a GM, I prefer to avoid having almost all the party fallen, because that is no fun for the inert characters. How does a monk help others escape? My monk took Improved Grapple to try this role, but we had been fighting monsters much stronger than him, so the grapples lasted only one turn. Monsters with high CMDs are awfully common.

    My wife, when she was GM for the campaign, did ambush the party in the night. Our 7-member 6th-level party had had an uneventful day traveling, so everyone had full spells and hit points, but the fighters sleep without armor. None were on watch in armor when three owlbears attacked. They got mauled as they fought. My monk also awoke and fended an owlbear away from the spellcasters. He fared better, but this was more a case of pulling his weight than of saving the party, since he could barely damage an owlbear.

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