Another Monk advice thread


Advice

Liberty's Edge

Hi all,
I know ther have been a few Monk threads around but many recent ones involved multiclassing. I am going to be making a Monk for PFS, and I know the monk is a class that is easy to screw up, so I was hoping to get some build advice from the expert here.

I am unsure whether to go full offensive, full defensive or a mix of both. so suggestions for any and all monks would be welcome.

I am not too interested in being a trip/grabble etc. kinda guy and I am not really keen on being ranged, so melee builds prefered.

I am a bit of a Str junkie so likely I will be wanting a high stat there.

My biggest dilema tends to be with the different style feats. If going unarmed, Dragon looks vital, on the other hand Crane is a nice defensive style too.

Monk of Many Syles is tempting, but my concern is the loss of FOB being too big an impact on damage to make it worth while, so if someone can show how such a build would work then I would be very interested (I could mix Dragon with Crane for offensive/defensive char).

On the whole I am not interested in multiclassing, but having said that, unarmed fighter for 1 lvl to get a style feat could be considered

My initial thoughts on stats were something like:

Str: 18 (+2 Human)
Dex: 13
Con: 14
Int: 7
Wis: 16
Cha: 7

I could of course go Dwarf and have 5 Cha and higher Wis :)

I am not a big fan of two dump stats, but Monk is rather MAd so may have no choice.

Any help is appreciated!


Are there many social situations in PFS games? My initial reaction, looking at your stats, is that I hope you plan on standing in the background doing nothing during these situations. Since you dumped Int and Cha so low, you'll never have any skills high enough to do anything well. And even with the MoMS archetype, you'll need some skills at some point as prerequisites for the style feats.

As for the Dragon/Crane idea, I think it's better to focus on styles that complement each other. These two do not. Dragon, Boar, Tiger and maybe even Monkey all seem to work well together. Dragon, plus any of the genie feats work well, granted you also take advantage of the Dragon Ferocity + Elemental Fist combo as soon as possible. If you want to focus on defense, then Crane, Snake, Snapping Turtle, and Panther all work well together.

Really, you can do whatever you want, though. It's about having fun, so if Dragon/Crane sounds like fun to you, then you should do it.


Go half Orc, something like
Str 17 (15+2)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 8
adjust as you see fit

Pick up a sweet 2hander from racial ability and Power attack
Step 1: Charge with power attack
Step 2: is it still alive? if yes go to step 3, if no repeat step 1
Step 3: are you level 4 or above? if yes, power attack flurry. If no, power attack with your 2hander.

Below level 4 monk flurries either don't do enough damage or are woefully inaccurate from my experience with the above set up.
I recommend a wizard buddy or using Dangerously Curious with a wand of Mage Armor.

Dark Archive

I think Crane and either Dragon or Tiger compliment each other well: all three focus on unarmed combat and/or having a free hand. Crane Riposte helps shore up the AC deficiency from Tiger Pounce while providing some additional offense.

The following build was created with a Dwarf Monk in mind...

S:16 (all bumps here) D:12 C:16 I:10 W:16 C:6

1) Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk Bonus)
1) Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus)
1) Crane Style (1st level)
1) Dodge (Monk)
2) Combat Reflexes (Monk)
3) Dragon Style
5) Crane Wing
6) Improved Trip or Improved Grapple
7) Crane Riposte
9) Dragon Ferocity
10) Medusa's Wrath (Monk)

You can switch Dragon Ferocity and the 2nd and 3rd Crane feats if you are feeling like you need offense more than defense at level 5.

It takes a long time for the Dragon and Crane Styles to meld properly, but you don't lose as much as you do by going with Master of Many Styles. I like MoMs more for level dips than a I do for straight monks. MoMs is especially potent when combined with Unarmed Fighter or Lore Warden.

I also agree with the comment about skill and being useful in PFS games: if you dump CHA you probably shouldn't dump INT, too. Having said that, most of the skills that you are going to contribute to the party are physical (Acrobatics/Climb/Stealth) or WIS-based (Perception/Sense Motive) -- but you aren't going to have many skills if you drop that INT to 7.

Dark Archive

I know you said you wanted to go straight monk, but I thought I wold post an Unarmed Fighter/Master of Many Styles build, just for reference. You can see that the multiple styles come together earlier than the pure monk build.

Human Unarmed Fighter / Master of Many Styles

1) UF1 - Improved Unarmed Strike (UF); Crane Style (UF); Dodge (Human); TWF (1st);
2) UF2 - Weapon Focus
3) UF3 - Dragon Style
4) UF4 - Weapon Specialization
5) UF5 - Crane Wing; Weapon Training: +1/+1
6) MoMS1 - Crane Riposte (MoMs Bonus); Stunning Fist (Monk Bonus)
7) MoMs2 - Dragon Ferocity (MoMs bonus), Combat Reflexes
8) UF 6- Improved TWF
9) UF 7 - Greater Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike

Continue build with all UF levels...or mix back into MoMs, but UF is probably more optimal.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the feedback guys. The reason for the 2 dumps is because the Monk seems so MAD. I will only be playing this char with a set of friends, so I know weaknesses I have will be made up for by others.

Have to admit, the UF build is tempting, though isn't it really squishy with no real AC buff?

I had another look at MoM as a straight class but losing FoB and not having the BAB to play with TWF seemed too painful.

One possible build I looked at was Human Flowing Monk of the Sacred Mountain
One thing I need to clarify is that the Toughness feat is not a replacement to the 2nd lvl bonus feat is it?
Anyway, stats (VERY open to suggestion)

Str: 14
Dex: 18
Con:13
Int: 7
Wis: 16
Cha: 7

Again this uses dump stats, I had the extra Str for Power Atk but to be honest I am not sure I can fit it in so could lose Str I guess. My fear is, while damage isn't my focus, it looks like I may not contribute to that at all really.

The Feats would be:
1 - Dodge
H Bonus - Crane Style
M Bonus - Weapon Finesse
2M Bonus - Improved Trip
2 Stalwart Bonus - Toughness
3 - Weapon Focus
5 - Crane Wing
6 - Improved Reposition
7 - Crane Wing

Even with FoB, the damage would actually be less than a heavy Str Master of Many Styles with Dragon style. But, on the other hand I have other functions.
Also, this build gives pretty good AC:
10 + 7 (Dex + Wis) +1 (Monk) + 1 (Stalwart archtype) +3 (Crane style)+ 2 (If not moved)+1-3 (depending on how many monsters threaten) = 22AC always, up to 27.

So, this build seems like it could be fun and useful in a non damaging way, though I would like to see a few damaging builds - or a better version of what I made (ie high defense but not ignorable due to things I can do).

I will do some more investigating of the UF build too. First question that comes to mind though is 'For the price of one style feat being obtained early, is it worth going straight fighter and wearing armour?'


I do suggest going Dwarf. You get bonuses in stats you need and a penalty in your primary dumpstat. It works. They also have stronger saves against a lot of things and a bonus against orcs and goblins which you can trade off for a bonus against elves.

An idea to reduce the MAD is to go dervish scimitar Sohei. That reduces your primary abilities to the save abilities. Add Keen to your scimitar, and you'll be the flurry crit guy with epic initiative. Mind you, if you're into it, Sohei's can mix with MoMSs. A cool technique actually is to ride the party druid or synthesist. They get your monk bonuses!

Since you did mention MoMS, the most common builds would be Crane/Snake/Panther, or Boar/Dragon/Tiger. The first being a retaliatory build, and the second being a full offense build.

Also, check out these guys!
link 1
link 2

Liberty's Edge

Damn, links are blocked at work, will have to check at home. I was looking at Weapon Adept. Again though, do the bonus feats actually replace the normal bonus feats you get to choose or are they in addition to normal bonus feats from Monk class.

Weapon Adept
Str: 18 (+2 Human)
Dex: 14
Con: 13
Int: 7
Wis: 16
Cha: 7

With Dragon Style/ferocity and Weapon specialisation unarmed strikes would be 1d8+10/1d8+8. Unfortuantely I cannot fit Power Atk in for a while. Alternatively I could get Power Atk earlier, forget Dragon Style and actually use a weapon so that I can make use of Perfect Strike.

----
I am now very interested in the Sohei idea. I saw a thread arguing whether or not you could FoB in armour. In PFS has a decision been made?
Waiting until lvl 6 for FoB with weapon is a bit harsh, but I guess until then you can use unarmed strikes.
Which book is the Dervish feats in/
It says you may select mount feats as bonus ones, I assume you can still pick normal bonuses too?

Man, the monk has so many choices


from 1-5, you'll be flurrying with a temple sword, or something smaller just so you can finesse. That also means you can postpone dervish dance until level 5.

Yeah. mounted combat feats are just additions.

Dervish Dance is from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

Liberty's Edge

So 1-5 I would be doing no damage but after that things would be better.

Hmm, so my choices look to be:
Full offense with Weapon Adept (by lvl 6 I should be doing 1d8+10/1d8+8 unarmed)

Or, full defensive with the Flowing monk I mentioned. Or a mix of both by changing the Dex with Str and changing Crane to Dragon (so lose 5AC, gain 1 To Hit and gain +6/+4 damage). Or even keep Crane but still swap stats to lose 2 AC and gain +4/+4 damage) I could then work on getting good enchants on weapon...is there a monk weapon with trip?

Or I could go with Sohei which looks to be another high offensive char, however is weak until lvl 6 but on the brightside requires no Str.

And of course I need to get home and check the two links provided.

Anyone have any other ideas/builds they want to share?


Sohei isn't as weak as you say it is. You'll just be flourishing instead of flurrying.

Also Flowing Monks are good. I play combat support with one. There's a one-handed exotic monk weapon (which I got proficient with through Ancestral Arms Half Elf) called 9 section whip. It has trip, distact, and block, which goes well with crane style. 1d8 at 19-20 crit. It's also metal, opening the cold-iron and silver options. That's what I use. Also, I fix it up as well with Qinggong Monk just to remove the less desirable abilities. My flowing monk also makes use of Fury's Fall, a feat from the Cheliax book which allows you to add Dex to tip CMB. Flowing Monks can also be paired with Monk of the Sacred Mountain for a ton more defense.


You might be interested in my thread and build I did over here (build is at the bottom):
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz52nq?Plethora-of-Tripping-Dexbased-Flowing-Monk

All about trying to figure out how the hell a flowing monk's abilities and feats are supposed to work together...

I'm playing this guy at level 1, and it sucks a bit doing absolutely no damage (d6-2...), but of course my goal until I get an Agile Amulet of Might Fists is just to have high ac, high saves, and to trip the hell out of everything :) so I'm enjoying it. +9 on a charge trip (slidetackle i suppose?) and +6/+6 flurry to almost definitely trip on a full attack.

My plan right now it to go up to level 6 as flowing/mountain monk, then do my 1 level dip in unarmed fighter depending on how my dm rules about the way Double Chained Kama works. I can still get power attack at monk7/uf1 by dropping wholeness of body and using quingong archetype, it just means it will cost a chi point. i figure since I'll be using my swift action on Redirection, I won't be able to spend chi points the usual ways, since they mostly take swift actions, so I should have enough to spare.

Liberty's Edge

Great info, interesting read, much more to think about now. I like the vicious stomp idea

Liberty's Edge

Ok, I think I have come up with a plan (thanks all for your ideas)
Feel free to offer suggestions, improvements or even still alternative builds.

Human Quingong Flowing Monk of the Sacred Mountain:

Str: 18
Dex: 16
Con: 13
Int: 7
Wis: 14
Cha: 7

Skills:
Acrobatics
Perception

Trait:
Bullied (+1 Trip)
TBD

Feats:
lvl 1: Combat Reflexes
1 Human Bonus: Vicious Stomp
1 Monk Bonus: Improved Trip
3: Dodge
5: Crane Style/Dragon Style
6: Improved Reposition
7: Crane Wing/Dragon Ferocity

Feats missing: Power Attack and Weapon Focus. Worth dropping anything for these or just get them at higher lvl?

This build should be able to control well but also deal reasonable damage (or good if I go Dragon style) handy for the attacks of opportunity or mobs I cannot trip

lvl 5 AC should be:
10+3(Dex)+2(Wis)+1(Sacred Mountain)+1(Monk)+1(Dodge)=18
With the potential of +2(Sacred Mountain) and up to +2 (Flowing) = up to 22 AC. This can go to 26 with Mage Armour or 29 with Crane Style

saves:
Fort: +6
Reflex: +8
Will: +7

For Fighting I have To Hit:
FoB: +7/+7 (or +5/+5 if using Crane Style)
Trip +10 (or +8 using Crane style)

Damage is 1d8+4/1d8+4 (or 1d8+8/1d8+6 if Dragon Style)

This is obviously without stat increase or magic item (except Mage Armour wand).

While I like the Crane style for the extra defense, I am concerned that the defensive style will be dropping my hit too low, meanwhile Dragon Style will up my damage nicely so I think it may be an extra option. Obviously lower To Hit is ok if monster is prone, but I need to succeed that first.

At lvl 7 I can finally replace a Monk ability with a Quingong ability, I was thinking of going with Barksin for this.
------

The main strategy is simple:
FoB with trip, AoO Vicious Stomp on monster (if lucky monster may be flatfooted too because of Unbalancing Counter). Second Attack either hit the prone monster or if another is near by, try Trip and repeat what I did with first attack.

When not on my turn, if monster attacks me or ally (so long I threaten monster) I trip, Vicious Stomp (hopefully monster is flatfooted and sickened), if monster tries to get up again I get another AoO, can either Trip again or just straight hit it


since you have high dex, I'd get Fury's Fall in place of Dodge. CMB to trip would become BAB+Dex+Str

Liberty's Edge

Ooh, good call. Didn't even know of that Feat.
Don't need Dodge (aside from for the AC) if I am going Dragon Style either

Liberty's Edge

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Asteldian Caliskan wrote:

Ok, I think I have come up with a plan (thanks all for your ideas)

Feel free to offer suggestions, improvements or even still alternative builds.

Human Quingong Flowing Monk of the Sacred Mountain:

Str: 18
Dex: 16
Con: 13
Int: 7
Wis: 14
Cha: 7

Not seeing a reason for 16DEX/14WIS instead of 14DEX/16WIS (which gives you the same AC and +1 ki pool, and may meet more requirements of monk-inclined feats).
Quote:

Skills:

Acrobatics
Perception
You get three skills/level as a human. (Not a fan of rock dumb monks, but I digress.)
Quote:

Trait:

Bullied (+1 Trip)
TBD

Feats:
lvl 1: Combat Reflexes
1 Human Bonus: Vicious Stomp
1 Monk Bonus: Improved Trip

You're a terror at 1st level; but this stuff will look annoying on your character sheet later on unless you're still able to trip huge reach-monsters.
Quote:

3: Dodge

5: Crane Style/Dragon Style
6: Improved Reposition
7: Crane Wing/Dragon Ferocity

IMO the whole Crane chain is a PITA feat-hog to make you AC awesome against things that are stupid enough to want to end their turn adjacent to you.

-- Enemies learn pretty quick that monks go off like a bomb if given a full-attack, so you may want to try a more pro-active means of acquiring AoOs -- take a look at the Panther Style chain (pretty sick if you take Mobility and chip a Ki point for another AC+4 on top).

Liberty's Edge

Thanks Mike,
The reason for higher Dex is simply because I need more attacks of opportunity - one used up after trip, one used for them getting up, I can trip more than once a round if full attacking, also by lvl 4 anyone within my threat area that attacks can get tripped which means another AoO.

Not a fan of Panther Style becasue after one combat the GM knows not to waste his time making AoOs against you - making the feat chain wasted.

If I don't go with the trip build then Flowing monk entirely becomes pretty pointless so I would have to change that up (though I still am open to ideas so by all means offer alternatives)

The Crane style means better AC and avoiding one attack a round, it is real nice, but at -2 to Hit until lvl 9 it's a harsh penalty that I will give a miss.

Dragon Style gives extra damage which means something more to do against monsters that I cannot trip (though given the number casters around I would expect enlarge will minimise non tripping issues based on size)

Liberty's Edge

Asteldian Caliskan wrote:
Not a fan of Panther Style becasue after one combat the GM knows not to waste his time making AoOs against you - making the feat chain wasted.

That's cheap-ass meta-gaming if he carries it over between different groups of opponents.


Personally, I would NEVER play a monk with an Int of 7. Needs to be at least a 10 so you don't lose access to some of your skills. Right now you are getting 3 skill ranks each level; man, I don't see how you are going to have ANY noncombat use at all.

But if it floats your boat . . . it's your character.

Master Arminas

Liberty's Edge

Unless against lots of stupid mobs, you would get one round of AoO fun per encounter with panther and then the enemy would be smart enough to realise attacking you is bad.

The lack of Int and Cha does take away alot of my options for out of combat use - though I will still be happily trying it for roleplay and fun. It's not a big deal as I have another PFS who has high Cha and does a lot of out of combat stuff, this char is just a much more basic char to mess around with - it's only played with the same group of friends so I will have plenty of fun even if not actively involved

Liberty's Edge

Asteldian Caliskan wrote:
...you would get one round of AoO fun per encounter with panther and then the enemy would be smart enough to realise attacking you is bad.

First of all, not all enemies are smart. Second, let's say you get ONE shot off per encounter, and do 20pts of damage with your AoO. OK, now let's say the fighter gets in TEN hits with his favorite weapon during the same encounter, garnering +20pts damage from Weapon Spec. So, is Panther Style really that bad? -- If you get two hits with it, the fighter has to connect twenty times to make WS equal.

Sczarni

You should take Power Attack and weild a Temple Sword 2 handed so you get 3:1 return on damage when you flurry. Since you're not getting 1.5x STR from using any weapon 2 handed you could go with the minimum needed for PA and not suffer too bad - unless of course you plan to use combat manouvres.

I'd use the qingqong archetype and consider the Dimentional Feats when you're of the appropriate level.

One of the style feat chains will give you 1.5x STR mod on damage with unarmed strikes - which could be worth the investment, especially if you plan on taking Medusa's wrath, in which case it makes sense to incorporate unarmed strikes in your flurry..

Still weild the Temple Sword 2 handed and use your feet/head/elbows/knees for your unarmed strikes.

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