Why do people consider Monks flawed / broken?


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I have heard on several threads that the Monk class was the most broken or most flawed. Why do people think that? What makes the monk broken, if it is at all? Is this just an opinion or is there something wrong with the class's design?


The monk has no focus. With the new books it is more playable, but the core monk is hurting badly. It is a bag of random abilities.
One example is that it is very mobile, but FoB requires it to stand in place, and with the update/clarification that you must use 2 different weapons while using FoB it just got weaker. It is a selfish class. It can get high saves and good AC, but that help the monk survive. It does not help the party. It is often touted as a caster-killer, but that is far from the truth.
They are often MAD, which is not good if the GM does not like to be generous with the ability points.
There is also a thread on the monk here that is recent.

I am sure there are things I did not list, but I figure it is better to have one current monk thread than two so it is better to go there in order to keep all the points in one thread. It also makes for easier referencing.

Scarab Sages

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Well, most people look at monk and see "flurry of blows, awesome!"

Then they really start looking into it. With flurry of blows, either you have major trouble with your fists keeping up with an enchanted weapon, or you lose out on your unarmed damage. Where does that leave you?

You can attack like a two-weapon fighter, but without the weapon training, the armor training, or the bonus feats. You add wisdom to ac, but you can't wear armor. Your ac will be harder to maintain, meaning you have fewer points to stack into your attacking ability score (str or dex). Also, unless you're flurrying, you're using medium bab.

As a tradeoff, you get increased ground movement speed, a handful of not so great abilities, and the ki pool. The ki pool is cool, but again not great. The dodge bonus is nice, but 1 round isn't very long. The extra attack often doesn't stack with haste (depends on your gm). And more speed is mostly unimportant when you have plenty of speed already.

In a fighter comparison, it comes down to what you would rather have. Full bab all the time, the ability to focus on one stat, 11 extra feats, +4 from mastery to hit with your chosen weapons, ability to wear full plate and still have the potential of getting ac from dex all the way to a 20 point dex, full movement while wearing armor, and a nice keystone ability.

Or

full bab only while flurrying, lower hps and more skills, more stats to worry about, evasion, reduced fall damage, better acrobatics checks, disease and poison immunity, spell resistance (which by the way is a standard action to lower, so it interferes with beneficial spells as well), the possible ability to kill a creature days later after fighting it, age penalties negated, the ability to speak with any living creature, some use of etherealness, and a keystone that makes you more vulnerable instead of less.

Now, the things you get from the fighter can all stack with magical bonuses, like bonuses to hit from magical weapons.

The monk bonuses can mostly be replaced via gear, in a non-stacking manner. You can't get more ability to talk to any creature, for example.

The monk deals about the same amount of damage as a cleric that took the twf chain. The cleric can cast spells to reproduce many of the monk abilities, and to render the others unnecessary. And all the other spells that clerics get.

The monk deals less damage than the fighter, but looks like he should be a melee combatant. It makes the role of the monk very unspecific. He can't hit the armored guy, but he doesn't have the feats to go anti-caster like the fighter can.

He's not a casting class either. So, what is his role? The rogue does better damage, with the same chance to hit, and has utility as a trap finder.

The monk is not as good as other melee classes at meleeing, he's not as good an anti-caster even built for it as a fighter can be. The only thing he has over most combatants is mobility. At least, until flight comes into play.

Poor monk :D


Because it only has one syllable.

Seriously.

All the most downtrodden D&D classes have one syllable!

Bard,
Monk,
Rogue.


The monk has 2 main offensive advantages that are mutually exclusive

1) Mobility: They're faster because they don't need armor, gain speed bonuses, and have acrobatics as a class skill. They're built, in that sense, for zipping around the battlefield.

2) Their big offensive weapon is flurry of blows... which means that they need to hold still so they can full attack.

So they're awesome at moving.. but need to hold still to do any damage. They have to choose one or the other.


the monk is a playable class, people who optimize or over analize the game see it as a "flawed class". dont get me wrong i would never turn down a little help with anything.

i play monks mor often then any other class:

monks>fighters>wizards

only thing i dont like as a monk is that, you will have a lower ac then the fighter, lower to attack, lower hp, and the best abilities and feats come at 10-14. it has amazing flavor and that why i play them, even more so now that paizo got rid of the kung-fu bull s*$! attached to the class. now monks can be bar room brawlers and not fu man shoo.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Magicdealer wrote:
full bab only while flurrying, lower hps and more skills, more stats to worry about, evasion, reduced fall damage, better acrobatics checks, disease and poison immunity, spell resistance (which by the way is a standard action to lower, so it interferes with beneficial spells as well), the possible ability to kill a creature days later after fighting it, age penalties negated, the ability to speak with any living creature, some use of etherealness, and a keystone that makes you more vulnerable instead of less.

No mention of stunning fist, quivering palm can be used immediately too (not just days later), no mention of good saves across the board, no mention of flurrying monks getting 1x + 1x = 2x strength bonus with unarmed and/or weapons as opposed to 1x + 0.5x = 1.5x for all other classes, no mention of fast movement, no mention of various ki pool abilities, no mention of self healing via wholeness of body, no mention of abundant step... and those are just the things unarguably left out. The view that Monks have poor AC and that Perfect Self is primarily a vulnerability are in the realm of 'opinions which I disagree with'.

To answer the original question, mostly people who say the Monk is a weak class do so because they don't appreciate its benefits. Yes, a fighter is going to win in a straight toe to toe fight... but that's the situation the fighter is specifically intended to excel at. That's not the Monk's role. The monk is the one who can catch the escaping bad guy, infiltrate behind enemy lines to disrupt spell casters, take on a small army of 'canon fodder', continue to wreak havoc without equipment or in an anti-magic zone, resist anything and everything thrown at them long enough to make it through the 'death trap gauntlet', et cetera.

If all your GM ever throws at you is scenarios where the party and all enemies march up to each other and slug it out face to face then Monks aren't a great choice. However, if the enemy has even heard of the concept of tactics then having a guy designed to disrupt the 'best laid plans' is very 'powerful'.


I mentioned those things in my post, but they still don't make core monk any better.


Vindicator wrote:
I have heard on several threads that the Monk class was the most broken or most flawed. Why do people think that? What makes the monk broken, if it is at all? Is this just an opinion or is there something wrong with the class's design?

The design could have been better, but Paize was constrained in that they were working off of the 3.5 Wizards version of the monk. Even so, there are many aspects of the monk that Pathfinder got right. Monks are not meant to stand toe-to-toe against a raging barbarian, untouched fighter, or switch-hitting ranger; they are a light fighter in the traditional sense of a skirmisher or guerilla.

They use their mobility to get into posistion where they can use combat maneuvers and terrain and character posistioning to their fullest advantage. The key to playing a good monk is to remember that monks don't fight fair--they fight to win. They flank, they fight from a higher elevation, they use acrobatics to avoid attacks of opportunity, they trip, they disarm, they sunder, they stun, sicken, stagger, blind, deafen, paralyze, and outright kill their foes; they harass with insignificant shuriken that are often coated in poison (so what if the monk poison's himself; he's immune!), while deflecting the ranged attacks of his opponents (oh, fighter rolled a natural 20 with his composite longbow built for Str 24; so sorry, I deflect so that attack is gone bye-bye).

Contrary to popular opinion, Int is NOT a dump stat for monks. Indeed, I don't want to play a monk with less than 12 in Intelligence, and a 14 is better. Because that is the second half of what a monk is good at: skills. With a human monk and a 14 Int, you can have up to EIGHT maximized class skills. Only the bard or the rogue usually manages to exceed you (until you get into stupid levels of Wizard INT, that is).

But even more important than being intelligent, it is necessary for the monk to be played intelligently. Monks are not characters for players whose idea of sublety is kick down the door and kill them all. To be exceptional, a monk character has to have a strong, imaginative, intelligent, and outside the box thinker as a player.

But when the stars align, and you have a GOOD player running a well-built (not optimized, but WELL-CONSTRUCTED) monk character, then that's when people scream about how broken the monk is. While everyone else scratches their head and goes, 'guy's they're weak'.

It is just my thoughts, but it is the thoughts of a man who has played monks since '86 in all editions. Hope that helps.

Master Arminas


Really, the only things that hurt the Monk are a 3/4 BAB and that you can't move and flurry in the same round.

Everything else the class offers makes it extremely versatile.

It's a controller class. If you play it to top the damage, you'll be disappointed. If you play it to control the battlefield, you'll be happy with your class choice.

(And yes, it's absolutely the best anti-caster class, IMO. Abundant Step + Stunning Fist + Full Flurry while grappling = Dead mage.)

edit- pretty much everything Arminas said. Damn ninjas...


Hey! I'm a monk; I eat ninjas for breakfast. LOL

Master Arminas


The best anti-caster class is another caster. If that mage allows himself to be caught in melee by anyone he is dead. He also has trouble with CMB checks at higher levels due to monsters getting ridiculous CMD checks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

This is one relatively small issue but it's one that does make the class frustrating to play --

The monk does not get along well with the DR system. While monks' unarmed strike counts as magic when they get their ki pool, as you get into mid-high levels you get into a lot of situations where you may be fighting creatures with DR/all kinds of things (and the DR/lawful comes waaaay too late). You have to choose between your awesome unarmed strike damage--which may be pointless if it won't bypass DR--or monk weapons whose attraction are not the amount of damage they can do (few do more than 1d6) but the cool abilities they have, such as trip, disarm, or blocking (the latter is in Ultimate Combat). So if you want to play a monk because you want to play a unarmed, unarmored melee specialist, you can become disappointed very easily. If DR's not an issue (you're in a low level campaign or one where you're mostly fighting ordinary humanoids) or your focus on building a combat style that isn't built around damage (say, maneuver master or tetori) then it's less of a problem.

Now, there are lots of awesome things monks can do, but I think it's hard to pick a focus and the folks who want to play a martial artist type get especially frustrated with the class. The monk LOOKS like it's the class for them when really, it may not be (at best it may be a source for dipping before multiclassing into a brawler barbarian or fighter).

I've noted before that I feel like the monk is two classes shoved together--one's a mobile martial artist who's really good at punching things, the other is a mystical hermit type who does stuff like confounds his enemies and disappears out of nowhere only to reappear somewhere else and has random knowledge of historical dynasties and tea drinking. Since the class tries to do both at the same time, it doesn't really excel at either. A person who wants to focus on the cool mystical abilities and skill monkey aspects of the class may feel like the combat aspects of the class are a waste of space where they could have had some other ability that enhances their ki; a person who wants to focus on destroying the enemy with a thousand finger pokes may feel like they're limited to a handful of tricks amidst a bunch of stuff they hardly use. Part of the issue is the monk was never really as presented as well as it should have been in 3.x, and since one of Pathfinder's original goals was to remain as backwards compatible with 3.x as they could manage, they couldn't make too dramatic changes to the monk.

Note, I say it CAN be frustrating. Obviously there are monk players here who've found their niche and made the class work. I don't think ANYONE who notes what's frustrating about playing a monk dislikes the monk or thinks they're completely unplayable or discounts the cool things monks can do. The monk does have a lot of cool awesome abilities. But to extrapolate from something wraithstrike said, it feels less like a class concept and more like a bucket of abilities someone saw in a wuxia film and wrote them down in a class statblock.

Finally, in a way probably what some people don't like is that it DOES take some mastery to play. All classes are like that to a degree. But a newbie sitting down to play Pathfinder can probably pick up a fighter or rogue or cleric or wizard and get the idea of the role their character is going to play in the party, and a sense of what they should focus on when they build their character. A newbie sitting down to design a monk is more likely to fall into design traps early on and make choices that they realize later they wish they could change--or have trouble keeping track of when they can use what ability. The monk has tricky stuff like--basically they have two different BABs, one for single attacks and one for flurries and combat maneuvers which also makes them daunting to play to someone who doesn't have a lot of system mastery under their belt. As master arminas notes, the monk can be amazing when you have a player who is creative and smart, milking the class for all its potential, but unfortunately not all players, or not even most players, can make it work they way they want it to.

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wraithstrike wrote:
The best anti-caster class is another caster. If that mage allows himself to be caught in melee by anyone he is dead. He also has trouble with CMB checks at higher levels due to monsters getting ridiculous CMD checks.

Going off on a tangent, but isn't that WHY the monk is thought to be a good anti-caster? They have superior movement speed, high jumps, and abundant step to get them next to a spellcaster very easily. Then they can disarm them of their wands and/or grapple them before the spellcaster can get away. Plus the monk's superior saving throws allows them to resist a lot of the SOS/D spells optimized spellcasters tend to rely on.

Sure, a spellcaster should be designed to stay out of melee but presuming that they will always succeed in doing so is a big design trap, IMO.


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Not really. Abundant Step ends your turn in core. Now outside of core you can continue to take actions*. Most casters will also have things like displacement up, and mirror image so that even at low levels they are hard to hit even once you bypass difficult terrain, which includes summons.

They(casters) can also fly at low levels. Of course if the ceiling is low enough it might not matter. Gaseous form is also a low level spell.

Nothing always works, but the monk is still not the anti-caster he is made out to be.

Now I don't expect for all these things to always be on one caster since he needs offense, but to say the monk is good at handling casters is something I have never seen in a game.

*Once you open up Ultimate combat, and the APG the monk gets a lot better. A lot of people are still not aware of all the options however. UM helps also with the monk that can trade in class features for spells, and other special abilities.


I think Wraithstrike believes (and forgive me, WS, I don't want to put words in your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong) that arcane casters which would be vulnerable to a monk because of their fairly low CMD have an entire kit-bag of tricks of their own which nullify the monk. From things like greater invisibility and overland flight, the casters that monk could kill if he can get his hands around their necks, aren't quite so easy to get a hold of.

Heh. I remember a game once (in 3.5) when a monk in my group charged the high-level sorceror the group was hunting down. He used his jumping ability to leap over a lava filled chasm as part of a charge; but he wasn't expecting the sorceror to have a readied action prepared. The sorcerer cast Prismatic Wall, and you should have seen the player's face as his monk fell through all seven layers to finish his charge.

Abundent step helps, certainly, but unless you go the Dimensional Agility/Dervish/Assault route you can't attack after using it.

Divine casters tend to have higher CMD, more hit points, better BAB, better hit points--and things like freedom of movement. And with the good Fort save of Clerics and Druids, neither is particularly vulnerable to Stunning Fist.


master arminas wrote:
Contrary to popular opinion, Int is NOT a dump stat for monks. Indeed, I don't want to play a monk with less than 12 in Intelligence, and a 14 is better. Because that is the second half of what a monk is good at: skills. With a human monk and a 14 Int, you can have up to EIGHT maximized class skills. Only the bard or the rogue usually manages to exceed you (until you get into stupid levels of Wizard INT, that is).

Hopefully this isn't too much of a derail, but what do you consider a normal starting array for a human monk that wants to start with 14 Int, especially if you're planning on putting favored class bonuses into skills? The best 20-pt array I could manage was 16/12/14/14/14/8, which isn't THAT bad, but I'd love to have some more points where they count, especially since I'm ditching my favored class bonus to HP. In general, I'm having trouble putting together anything that doesn't make me fear for my short (but at least bright) life or make me worry about ever meaningfully contributing to combat. Nearly any class can get 8 skills/level by being a human and pumping a stat that otherwise does nothing for them to 14 and using favored class bonuses, and most of them are less MAD than the monk. That's not a feature of monks. That a feature of things that aren't Paladins/Antipaladins/Fighters/Clerics/Sorcerers.

Mixed into the group of things that aren't those five classes are a few classes that use Int as a primary combat stat, five classes that, if they're human and putting their favored class bonus into skills like the 8-skill monk is, can get away with a 10 or 7 in int and still get those 8 skills/level, saving 5 or 9 points on a standard point buy. (Or can go with 12 or 8 and put the favored class bonus into something else, saving 3 or 7 points in a standard point buy and getting the equivalent of toughness for free on top of it.) Eight skills/level sounds impressive, but the monk is no better at getting that than nearly any other class in the game (and substantially worse than a significant chunk of them), and can arguably less afford it with the MAD issues and fragility than many of the others.

I agree that monks are cool (if subject to a few issues) and I like skilled characters, I just don't think the "monk" and "skilled character" combo is going to make for something that's going to live for all too long in most cases.


Human monk, 20 pt buy:

Str 12 (+2 for human; total 14)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 14
Wis 14
Cha 8

2+5+5+5+5-2 = 20.

However, on a 20 pt buy, I tend to go with a 12 INT simply because it is hard to build a expansive character with few flaws even with 20 points.

Str 14 (+2 for human; total 16)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 14
Cha 8

5+5+5+2+5-2 = 20.

On a 25-point buy? It gets easier.

Str 15 (+2 for human; total 17)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 14
Wis 14
Cha 8

7+5+5+5+5+0 = 25.

Master Arminas

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truesidekick wrote:

the monk is a playable class, people who optimize or over analize the game see it as a "flawed class". dont get me wrong i would never turn down a little help with anything.

i play monks mor often then any other class:

monks>fighters>wizards

only thing i dont like as a monk is that, you will have a lower ac then the fighter, lower to attack, lower hp, and the best abilities and feats come at 10-14. it has amazing flavor and that why i play them, even more so now that paizo got rid of the kung-fu bull s~%@ attached to the class. now monks can be bar room brawlers and not fu man shoo.

Please don't attach fallacious labels to people who just want a good monk class. We analyze because we love. We see potential in the monk, but the abilities when put together just don't make any sense.

Fast movement: Awesome, I love being a mobile skirmisher!

Flurry of Blows: Okay, I guess I'm a stand in the breach and fight kind of class!

Unarmoured, d6 weapons: Wait, what?

SLOW FALL: Well, I'm gonna have to try really hard to find a use for this.

Ultimate Combat made it better, the qinggong archetype made it much better, the current flurry of blows clarification is making it worse, and overall, the monk remains unimpressive.

Controller class? Why? It has a stun that has a middling chance of working for one round. It has a pretty good CMB I suppose, but no better than a barbarian's or a fighter's. The barbarian can actually strength surge to have a monstrous and inescapable CMB, while the monk will eventually be surpassed in his tripping and grappling by large and huge-sized enemies.

Mobile? Yup. What is It doing while running around? Ah, a single attack at 3/4 BAB. Or grappling a single enemy. I sure hope the enemy isn't a spellcaster flying 100 ft. up; I don't believe the monk shows up with a way of flying on its own steam, nor does a monk's fast movement apply to its fly speed if it gets someone to cast on him rather than the raging barbarian.

One more thing. Flavour is not a reason to play a class. You take the class, the mechanics, the abilities, and you apply your own flavour. That's a player's job. I could make a barbarian who acts quite 'monk-like': he uses his ki energy to summon up otherworldy strength which lets him knock down enemies with single punches. If the only reason you're playing a monk is because it's got the name, there's a problem.


Neo2151 wrote:

Really, the only things that hurt the Monk are a 3/4 BAB and that you can't move and flurry in the same round.

Everything else the class offers makes it extremely versatile.

It's a controller class. If you play it to top the damage, you'll be disappointed. If you play it to control the battlefield, you'll be happy with your class choice.

(And yes, it's absolutely the best anti-caster class, IMO. Abundant Step + Stunning Fist + Full Flurry while grappling = Dead mage.)

edit- pretty much everything Arminas said. Damn ninjas...

actually you can only flurry as the grappled, not the grappler... stupid i know but thats how it works


truesidekick wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

Really, the only things that hurt the Monk are a 3/4 BAB and that you can't move and flurry in the same round.

Everything else the class offers makes it extremely versatile.

It's a controller class. If you play it to top the damage, you'll be disappointed. If you play it to control the battlefield, you'll be happy with your class choice.

(And yes, it's absolutely the best anti-caster class, IMO. Abundant Step + Stunning Fist + Full Flurry while grappling = Dead mage.)

edit- pretty much everything Arminas said. Damn ninjas...

actually you can only flurry as the grappled, not the grappler... stupid i know but thats how it works

There is no distinction in PF.


Mergy wrote:

Please don't attach fallacious labels to people who just want a good monk class. We analyze because we love. We see potential in the monk, but the abilities when put together just don't make any sense.

Fast movement: Awesome, I love being a mobile skirmisher!

Flurry of Blows: Okay, I guess I'm a stand in the breach and fight kind of class!

Unarmoured, d6 weapons: Wait, what?

SLOW FALL: Well, I'm gonna have to try really hard to find a use for this.

Ultimate Combat made it better, the qinggong archetype made it much better, the current flurry of blows clarification is making it worse, and overall, the monk remains unimpressive.

Controller class? Why? It has a stun that has a middling chance of working for one round. It has a pretty good CMB I suppose, but no better than a barbarian's or a fighter's. The barbarian can actually strength surge to have a monstrous and inescapable CMB, while the monk will eventually be surpassed in his tripping and grappling by large and huge-sized enemies.

Mobile? Yup. What is It doing while running around? Ah, a single attack at 3/4 BAB. Or grappling a single enemy. I sure hope the enemy isn't a spellcaster flying 100 ft. up; I don't believe the monk shows up with a way of flying on its own steam, nor does a monk's fast movement apply to its fly speed if it gets someone to cast on him rather than the raging barbarian.

One more thing....

all i heard was blah blah blah. the fact of the matter is that i have played a core monk in pathfinder 6 times, 4 of which was pre UM. tell me the monk broken and i will tell you that even though you dont like it... it works, and pretty damn well.

for some people flavor is the ONLY reason to play a class. playing a concept is more important then worrying about which class is "BETTER", for most people. maybe not you, maybe not 90% of the people who post on this forum. but they have sold thousands of books, while i only see about 50 people posting in the "omg you nerf monk flurry of blows" thread. huh maybe that should tell you something about these forums... they are a vocal minority.


Other people will have different answers, but mine is that I do not feel comfortable playing a monk in a four person party. They have (had...archetypes help) a difficult time taking the place of a tank, damage dealer, or skill monkey. There have been several campaigns where I wanted to play a monk, but I felt (after building the character) that playing that class would be selfish because my ability to contribute to the party in a meaninful fashion both in and out of combat was less than if I'd taken a more traditional character option.

Archetypes do help a lot, as has been said. I'm currently playing a flowing monk of the sacred mountain (started off as a 6 person group...down to 4 on bad weekends now) and he's proved to be useful in the protect people near him role, but his damage output (and thus threat value) is really not that great, and at 10th level I'm already running into more creatures and NPCs where his combat maneuvers are difficult to pull off than the reverse.


Neo2151 wrote:
truesidekick wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

Really, the only things that hurt the Monk are a 3/4 BAB and that you can't move and flurry in the same round.

Everything else the class offers makes it extremely versatile.

It's a controller class. If you play it to top the damage, you'll be disappointed. If you play it to control the battlefield, you'll be happy with your class choice.

(And yes, it's absolutely the best anti-caster class, IMO. Abundant Step + Stunning Fist + Full Flurry while grappling = Dead mage.)

edit- pretty much everything Arminas said. Damn ninjas...

actually you can only flurry as the grappled, not the grappler... stupid i know but thats how it works
There is no distinction in PF.

Yes, there is. The grappler must use a standard action to maintain the grapple. Standard action means no full-round action, which means no flurry.

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truesidekick wrote:


for some people flavor is the ONLY reason to play a class. playing a concept is more important then worrying about which class is "BETTER", for most people. maybe not you, maybe not 90% of the people who post on this forum. but they have sold thousands of books, while i only see about 50 people posting in the "omg you nerf monk flurry of...

If only the concept matters, why should you care what class you play? Play a fighter who's a monastic, play a cleric monastic, play a barbarian brawler. All of those classes benefit from working better than the monk and being more focused than the monk; if you just like the name monk, write it at the top of your character sheet.

Also: shift key. You can use square brackets to bold aspects of your post, but you can't press a shift key?


Mergy wrote:


If only the concept matters, why should you care what class you play? Play a fighter who's a monastic, play a cleric monastic, play a barbarian brawler. All of those classes benefit from working better than the monk and being more focused than the monk; if you just like the name monk, write it at the top of your character sheet.

Also: shift key. You can use square brackets to bold aspects of your post, but you can't press a shift key?

i like the revamp to the monk, i think it makes for a very good character as i said in my last post, ive played one... it works, and pretty damn well.

yet again you cant get past this infatuation you have with which class is better? who cares if a barbarian can rage lance pounce something 100 to dead in one hit, my monk can win a cr encounter with a group just fine.

also: you can see the bold, but you choose not to read the bold? i took the time to bold important words so you wouldnt miss out. i guess my plan failed ...


My two cents are this:

Monks are really nice in niche campaigns/adventures.

Low magic actually makes monks a bit shinier, especially with APG/UC in play.

Likewise, fighters/barbarians/cavaliers aren't now nor have they ever been particularly pleasant to play in an urban setting, monks typically are for lots of reasons.

Monks are also generally quite good in the role usually assumed by the rogue - with traits and such - monks are quite good at disarming traps and have the saves to back them up against high level magical traps, and as skirmishers they are better than rogues at positioning and therefor damage/disabling.

I wouldn't let them take over the front-line warrior/tank role though. They have too many abilities that point in other directions, as has been noted.

One of the biggest detriments of playing a monk in pre-made adventures is that the kind of specialized equipment they require to be optimal isn't typically prominent. I'm fairly certain there aren't any robes of the monk in Rise of the Runelords, for example.


wraithstrike wrote:
I mentioned those things in my post, but they still don't make core monk any better.

Agree with you 100% about the inherent 'problem' with core monks. Love my Zen Archer though!

Dark Archive

Flurry of blows ruling might have killed the monk again for damage dealing. Let's complicate some math!


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wraithstrike wrote:
The monk has no focus.

I'm going to disagree here, WS, and say the monk is not focussed for one of the traditional four roles in a party: Tank, Healer, Caster, Scout.

Monks actually make very good scouts, if you configure them correctly. What they excel at is mobile support: go to where you need to be and tie down foes. Rather than thinking about the monk as having abilities that do not mesh, consider instead that they have abilities for contingencies.

They have a number of strengths and weaknesses:
AC - strong, I usually find the monk's AC is only a little behind the hardcore fighter's. In addition, the monk usually has higher touch AC. On the flip side their flat-footed AC does suck.
Saves - strong. Monks have the best saves, on a par with paladins.
To Hit - weak. This is the monk's most serious weakness IMHO, even with flurry improved, the lack of magic enhancement means they are well behind the curve at higher levels.
Damage Output - moderate. A monk can deal out damage, but it's not what he's best at.
Maneuvers - strong. Monks have access to bonus feats and have improved CMB/CMD to make this their hidden strength.
Mobility - strong. Short of flying, their mobility is unmatched, and monks can wear winged boots as well as anyone.
Hit Points - weak. Their MADness means hit points just won't be stellar.

If I were to 'fix' the monk, then the way I would do so is by increasing their chances to hit at the mid to high levels. A number of possibilities are:
Monk magic weapons - either reverse the decision on Brass Knuckles, or allow a Greater Ki Focus weapon feature that allows a weapon to deal unarmed damage.
Automatic Magic - when the monk's unarmed strike improves to magic, then lawful, then adamantine, give it a corresponding +1 to hit and damage, so that at magic it becomes a +1 weapon, at Lawful a +2 weapon, and at adamantine a +3 weapon.
Add Wisdom Bonus to hit - allow the Wisdom modifier to be applied as an insight bonus on rolls to hit with unarmed strikes at mid-to-high level, or via a feat.
Full BAB/d10 hit dice - this does not fix the low chances to hit as well, but it does beef up hit points, another problem area.

In other ways, I do not see the monk as particularly needing any more advantages.


The monk, from what I can tell, operates in the sweet spot that the game is designed for. Fighters and Barbarians can crush the AC and damage curves trivially, which IMO causes a detrimental arms race. The problem with the monk class it that it does not optimize well, so optimizers see problems with the class.

Monks have fairly consistent damage no matter what you do to them. So, in order to make them good, you have to try doing something else. Grapple and trip builds tend to dominate here, from what I can tell. Both have issues with some types of play. GMs who rely on monsters at high levels give monks issues since these specializations don't work well on them, while GMs who focus on humanoids can have huge issues with these types of monks.

People complain that the abilities do not work with eachother. I disagree. The mobility works with FoB. It allows you to get in a position to use it more often, especially if you can use your standard action to stun, trip, or grapple your opponent.

Monks defenses are often overlooked. They tend to be one of the better defensive classes, but because they are not the biggest threat on the board damage-wise people see this as a waste since the monk wont be the primary target. here it is not just about AC, but saves. Often a monk can resist harmful abilities that can neutralize the other party memebers. Depending on the group, this can vary in importance. If your GM doesn't like to use casters, it can be fairly irrelevant.

In the end, I find monks to be a good class if you are not consistently ppushing CR+3-4 encounters as standard. I would gladly take a monk in some of my groups, and be vary wary of it in others.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Neo2151 wrote:
truesidekick wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

Really, the only things that hurt the Monk are a 3/4 BAB and that you can't move and flurry in the same round.

Everything else the class offers makes it extremely versatile.

It's a controller class. If you play it to top the damage, you'll be disappointed. If you play it to control the battlefield, you'll be happy with your class choice.

(And yes, it's absolutely the best anti-caster class, IMO. Abundant Step + Stunning Fist + Full Flurry while grappling = Dead mage.)

edit- pretty much everything Arminas said. Damn ninjas...

actually you can only flurry as the grappled, not the grappler... stupid i know but thats how it works
There is no distinction in PF.

Yes, there is.

When you are the grappler you cannot flurry, only do grapple checks, move and standard actions (assuming you can maintain the grapple as a move action) or use special abilities you can get through archetypes or feats.
When you are grappled, you can flurry.


Mergy wrote:
truesidekick wrote:

the monk is a playable class, people who optimize or over analize the game see it as a "flawed class". dont get me wrong i would never turn down a little help with anything.

i play monks mor often then any other class:

monks>fighters>wizards

only thing i dont like as a monk is that, you will have a lower ac then the fighter, lower to attack, lower hp, and the best abilities and feats come at 10-14. it has amazing flavor and that why i play them, even more so now that paizo got rid of the kung-fu bull s~%@ attached to the class. now monks can be bar room brawlers and not fu man shoo.

Please don't attach fallacious labels to people who just want a good monk class. We analyze because we love. We see potential in the monk, but the abilities when put together just don't make any sense.

Fast movement: Awesome, I love being a mobile skirmisher!

Flurry of Blows: Okay, I guess I'm a stand in the breach and fight kind of class!

Unarmoured, d6 weapons: Wait, what?

SLOW FALL: Well, I'm gonna have to try really hard to find a use for this.

Ultimate Combat made it better, the qinggong archetype made it much better, the current flurry of blows clarification is making it worse, and overall, the monk remains unimpressive.

Controller class? Why? It has a stun that has a middling chance of working for one round. It has a pretty good CMB I suppose, but no better than a barbarian's or a fighter's. The barbarian can actually strength surge to have a monstrous and inescapable CMB, while the monk will eventually be surpassed in his tripping and grappling by large and huge-sized enemies.

Mobile? Yup. What is It doing while running around? Ah, a single attack at 3/4 BAB. Or grappling a single enemy. I sure hope the enemy isn't a spellcaster flying 100 ft. up; I don't believe the monk shows up with a way of flying on its own steam, nor does a monk's fast movement apply to its fly speed if it gets someone to cast on him rather than the raging barbarian.

One more thing....

Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.


As for monk stats, I find this works well.

15 point buy:
str 14 - add +2 for human here
Dex 12
Con 12
Int 13
Wis 14
Cha 8

20 point buy
14 dex, 15 wis

25 point buy
14 con, 15 str.

The 13 int allows you to take the various expertise feats. 16 str is enough to do what you need to do. Pumping wisdom too much is overrated IMO.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.

Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.

Monks cannot flurry with a single monk weapon. If there is a 'potential' weapon that differs from all the others (so if you have a temple sword and your unarmed strikes for instance)you must split up attacks between them.

Many, myself included thought that the 'any combination of monk weapons and unarmed strike' clause in the flurry of blows description meant you could flurry all with a single monk weapon (lets say a temple sword). That meant you could use flurry without the ever increasing cost of enchanting multiple weapons or costly amulets of mighty fists. Since that isn't the case it decreases the value of monk weapons in general, since if you have to enchange 2, or you also have to enchant your unarmed attacks, it isnt really worth it to try.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
*Once you open up Ultimate combat, and the APG the monk gets a lot better. A lot of people are still not aware of all the options however. UM helps also with the monk that can trade in class features for spells, and other special abilities.

Just curious but what is APG stand for? Is that Advanced Players Guide?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Banecrow wrote:


Just curious but what is APG stand for? Is that Advanced Players Guide?

Yes.


Wow,,,,,that is not cool at all.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.
Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.

no way.......


I think it comes down to play style. It seems like the same people who dislike the monk also revere the wizard. I personally suck as a wizard, and would call him worthless as a class, while I adore the monk and he excels when I employ him.


I have a Monk (Hungry Ghost Monk) in my current game (started at 8th, currently at 13th). 25 point buy with standard wealth by level. I don't use the flurry of blows clarification (frankly, I'm not sure I fully understand it) - this monk is unarmed and is allowed to flurry of blows with his unarmed attacks.

He was quite effective in the beginning - damage with flurry was on par with the rest of the group, AC and saves have usually been better than the rest. Around 10th level, the monsters starting having DR 10 or 15/something other than magic and the Monk suddenly became a non-entity on the battlemat. I ended up having to give him a custom magic item that lets him burn ki points as a free action and overcome 5 points of DR for each point burnt for one round. That has worked nicely. But without it, the Monk is useless against a good 50% of the monsters at 13th level.

To me, the DR issue is the biggest flaw.


Lobolusk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.
Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.
no way.......

Yes way. "Any combination" is apparently not any combination, but Sean does not specify which attacks have to be from which weapons or from feet, which kind of makes it a nonsensical ruling.

Mike J wrote:
To me, the DR issue is the biggest flaw.

Another reason for my proposal of adding an actual enhancement bonus to the monk's unarmed strike as well as the DR bypass bonus. There were some feats that did this too, allowing a monk to bypass good or evil DR.


Didn't read all the posts, just a short reply to your post: I think the monk is good, neither broken nor flawed.
It's just not a very easy class to use and make work, similar to a bard.

Dark Archive

Dabbler wrote:


Yes way. "Any combination" is apparently not any combination, but Sean does not specify which attacks have to be from which weapons or from feet, which kind of makes it a nonsensical ruling.

Any combination, so long as it exactly follows the format of Two-Weapon Fighting? ;)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lobolusk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.
Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.
no way.......

I'm just going to go on pretending that the post doesn't exist.


TarkXT wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.
Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.
no way.......
I'm just going to go on pretending that the post doesn't exist.

I was mostly looking for a "yes way" response as I am terribly behind mthe times on most things.


TarkXT wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Lobolusk wrote:
Can you explain the Current Flurry of blows Clarification every body is talking about? I am not aware of what you are talking about.
Read carefully, and wearing protective gear if possible.
no way.......
I'm just going to go on pretending that the post doesn't exist.

Later in that thread JJ says that the ruling is causing more problems than they realized, and they will be revisiting it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

When I set out to create a new character, I looked at the monk and was frankly not impressed. I wasn't impressed because I had been playing a well built summoner, not a maximized summoner but a natural attack Eidolon based summoner and I was getting killed due to damage reduction on multiple attacks.

The DM asked me to play a monk, and I said no. One of my friends talked me into playing a Zen archer, and I couldn't be happier. The base damage for my arrows is 1d8 +13 if within 30 feet (1d8 +12 if not) and because I can flurry with the bow, things just die. Especially when I loose 5-6 arrows at them per round.

As a core class, the monk is built to survive fireballs and AOE blasts, but when compared to a fighter he has fewer hp, less armor, and does less damage, requiring high ability scores to be impressive.

I don't consider myself an extreme min/maxer, but when I sit down to play a character for a few hours every 1-2 weeks it gives me time to plan things out. When I planned out a regular monk vs a regular fighter my heart just sank when I saw the damage output difference, or at least the damage output difference after factoring in a DR of 5-10. I don't have to do the most damage in combat, but I do want to contribute.

The zen archer archetype allows me to contribute a flurry of blows from the safety of range every round, ignoring the problems of lower AC, HP, and having to move up to the target in order to flurry. The core monk does not offer this.


master arminas wrote:

I think Wraithstrike believes (and forgive me, WS, I don't want to put words in your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong) that arcane casters which would be vulnerable to a monk because of their fairly low CMD have an entire kit-bag of tricks of their own which nullify the monk. From things like greater invisibility and overland flight, the casters that monk could kill if he can get his hands around their necks, aren't quite so easy to get a hold of.

Heh. I remember a game once (in 3.5) when a monk in my group charged the high-level sorceror the group was hunting down. He used his jumping ability to leap over a lava filled chasm as part of a charge; but he wasn't expecting the sorceror to have a readied action prepared. The sorcerer cast Prismatic Wall, and you should have seen the player's face as his monk fell through all seven layers to finish his charge.

Abundent step helps, certainly, but unless you go the Dimensional Agility/Dervish/Assault route you can't attack after using it.

Divine casters tend to have higher CMD, more hit points, better BAB, better hit points--and things like freedom of movement. And with the good Fort save of Clerics and Druids, neither is particularly vulnerable to Stunning Fist.

That is pretty much spot on.

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