Monk, Is there any reason for it


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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DrDeth wrote:
you have to give me my grognard cred that I likely know better than most about "the origins of the hobby" and I can tell you that origins of the hobby are NOT consistent with those types of games.

If you're claiming that tactical wargaming does not lie in the misty origins of D&D, I direct your attention to something called "Chainmail" and rescind your Grognard cred.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
It needn't be DPR, but they do need to bring something to the table that does something just as tactically useful.
DrDeth wrote:
However, that being said, even if your niche could well be filled by another class with better DPR, if you can contribute greatly with great skills and massive saves, you can still be a valuable team-member- since even in highly optimized games, stuff other than DPR remain critical.

See above.

Also, after low levels, in a highly-optimized game, "great skills" other than Diplomacy don't cut it compared to "casts spells." This has nothing to do with damage and everything to do with what those things can actually accomplish. "Massive saves" simply keep you alive long enough to DO something, but if you're not contributing to the party with that lease on life, you're not really helping them.


Oh, Deth...

What do people think about the Hungry Ghost's Punishing Kick to assist in applying debuffs? It isn't a trip so it works on anything that fails the fort save, even if they're flying or above the size restrictions. If you have a way to reach them it's a pretty nice visual to Hi Jump Kick a flying wizard out of the air and onto his face.

I'd like to come up with a way to combine it with Wolf Savage too, but the feats that come before it are just so bad...


DrDeth wrote:

"Misty Origins" maybe, but the idea of D&D was to get away from pure combat optimization into Roleplaying, which made it the first RPG. Hell, I played Chainmail... it was terrible.

No argument from me, but the fact that D&D was originally built off of modified Chainmail rules, rather than being conceived of a a storytelling exercise from the get-go, can't be ignored. Gygax and Arnseson could just have easily started with that game where each player writes the next line of a story, for example -- but they chose to start with a tactical wargame instead.


Arachnofiend wrote:

Oh, Deth...

"O, Death

O, Death
Won't you spare me over til another year?

Well what is this that I can't see
With ice cold hands takin' hold of me?

Well I am death, none can excel
I'll open the door to heaven or hell"


Kirth Gersen wrote:
DrDeth wrote:

"Misty Origins" maybe, but the idea of D&D was to get away from pure combat optimization into Roleplaying, which made it the first RPG. Hell, I played Chainmail... it was terrible.

No argument from me, but the fact that D&D was originally built off of modified Chainmail rules, rather than being conceived of a a storytelling exercise from the get-go, can't be ignored. Gygax and Arnseson could just have easily started with that game where each player writes the next line of a story, for example -- but they chose to start with a tactical wargame instead.

Which I feel is evidence that it's not kosher to dismiss everyone trying to play a tactical game as "not playing D&D" and therefore not worthy of any consideration in the hobby.

There is also the fact that one of the most iconic ways of playing D&D is the "Dungeon Crawl"... which generally are more optimization slaughterfests and less "Less bribe this guy to get into the castle."


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Heck, the game was called DUNGEONS and DRAGONS...


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DrDeth wrote:
So, you agree "The idea that you MUST play the MOST powerful DPR class to fill any niche otherwise you are a waste of air is ludicrous." Many niches are better filled with abilities that are not just DPR. And we both agree that not many games are high optimization games, anyway.

Absolutely. I disagree with efforts to claim that Core monks function at the level of a god-wizard in a tactical game, however, or rogues can function at that level no matter what Paizo sources you use. And I disagree with anyone's efforts to imply that highly-optimized tactical games "don't count" just because they may not be the #1 most common type, the implication that those games somehow only consider DPR (extremely untrue), and the implication that any consideration for those sorts of games is ludicrous.


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It's kinda funny and kinda tiring to see these accusations that the complainers only care about DPR... Many of the people complaining about Monks (and Rogues) also complain about Fighters, and Fighters have nothing but DPR and AC going for them. When we say the Monk is a weak class, it's not because his DPR isn't high enough. Damage output is an issue, but not the only one, or even the most important.

Monks are most certainly not skill monkeys. They are definitely not healers. They are not support casters (except for Qinggong Sensei Monks, maybe... And even then, I'd much rather have a Bard). They aren't all that good at Combat Maneuver, and focusing on those has its own share of problems.

The only real way Monks can contribute is by hitting stuff, and they aren't very good at that ether. They have good defenses, but their offensive tool are so lackluster that they can't effectively force enemies to attack them.

Sure, some archetypes really help with that. Zen Archer, Sohei, Qinggong and maybe Sensei are nice patches... But vanilla Monk? Not a great addition to the party if the GM is playing without kid gloves.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Removed a few posts. Guys, it's possible to have a discussion without being condescending or passive aggressive. Let's take it down a notch and remember to be civil to each other please.


To the best of my knowledge only monks and mythics can get extra standard actions. For extra fun you go sensei qinggong monk of the four winds and give everyone within 30 feet 3 standard actions on their turn. No spells with the standard actions though. It's not necessarily that useful, but it's certainly unique.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
To the best of my knowledge only monks and mythics can get extra standard actions. For extra fun you go sensei qinggong monk of the four winds and give everyone within 30 feet 3 standard actions on their turn. No spells with the standard actions though. It's not necessarily that useful, but it's certainly unique.

Arcane Spell Casters and Oracles abusing Paragon Surge can... its called time stop :P


Time Stop is 9th level. Hardly comparable to Slow Time, which the Monk gets five levels earlier. Plus, you can't give Time Stop to someone else. The real benefit of the ability is to pass it on to someone who can't full attack on a move on their own - hell, even pouncers like the barbarian would do better under the effects of Slow Time than to use Greater Beast Totem. It's the same number of attacks until 16th level, and even then you have a much higher chance to hit with all of them since the Slow Time hits are all at your highest BAB.

I think Magi and archers are the only dedicated hammers that would be better off using their own abilities compared to getting Slow Time passed to them.


Well he simply said that Monks and Mythics are the only ones to get extra standard actions :P. Technically speaking so do casters xD


PIXIE DUST wrote:
Well he simply said that Monks and Mythics are the only ones to get extra standard actions :P. Technically speaking so do casters xD

They get extra turns, not standard actions. Slight distinction, but important because buff spells and other timed things do run out faster for a caster with time stop.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Well he simply said that Monks and Mythics are the only ones to get extra standard actions :P. Technically speaking so do casters xD
They get extra turns, not standard actions. Slight distinction, but important because buff spells and other timed things do run out faster for a caster with time stop.

true :P


Arachnofiend wrote:
Time Stop is 9th level. you can't give Time Stop to someone else.

If mythic is being considered, mythic time stop allows you to.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
The idea that you MUST play the MOST powerful DPR class to fill any niche otherwise you are a waste of air is ludicrous.

In a highly-optimized tactical game, any PC who doesn't pull his weight, on a more or less even footing with clerics and/or druids and/or wizards and/or superstitious ragepounclance barbarians and/or 3.5e halfling flask-hurlers, gets the party killed. It needn't be DPR, but they do need to bring something to the table that does something just as tactically useful. Playing a class that cannot be brought to the same level of optimization as those others is to sacrifice the entire party for the sake of vanity.

I'll happily admit that most games are not like that. However, the rules were written to support those types of games, the origins of the hobby are consistent with those types of games, and a number of people still enjoy those types of games.

Therefore, although the idea is "ludicrous" for your group, it is not thereby automatically ludicrous for everyone else's group, and it's dishonest and insulting to imply that it is.

Which is why I suggest one of two things for classes that can't cut it in ALL types of games, but only SOME games: (1) put a disclaimer to that effect right up front in the class description: e.g., "The monk is a great class to play in games in which not all the participants are playing heavily-optimized characters, and which are scaled for that sort of party. The monk can be brought to a higher level of optimization, but that requires careful picking through a number of supplemental sources and is not recommended for any but the most dedicated players." Alternately, (2) make the Core monk as easily-optimized as the Core cleric, and as capable in ALL styles of games, and then there's no need for a disclaimer. Either approach would end all these types of threads.

I will agree that how you play your game is fine as long as you have fun.

But I prefer a game with more storytelling and role playing to a Highly Tactical game where one side is playing to lose. some of the best games I been in are those where no sword leave it sheath and no offensive spell is cast.
If I want to play a Highly tactical game( And I do play them) well I have a rather large Flame of War army I dig out about every two weeks and play that. Then the other side is not playing to lose(Like a good GM does) but to tear my heart out and turn my tanks into scrap metal.


JurgenV wrote:
Never underestimate the value of always being "armed and armored". Cannot bear arms in the king's presence? no problem for the monk. Attacked while sleeping? monk needs no time to get ready. Undercover mission? Disarming enemy? monks are always ready to rock.

Never underestimate the value of not having a shtick that will lead your poor, mislead, spotlight balancing GM to throw encounters at the group that only the least capable member can fight.

For those without inappropriately metagaming GMs there's not pissing off the king when standing in the same room, setting watch and sleeping in a chain nightshirt, not taking on missions completely inappropriate to your talents, and carrying a spare sword.

An infiltration party requires a completely different skill set: if you're fighting you've already lost. You want everyone to have high bluff, probably high stealth, and at least two should have high disguise. Adopting appropriate mannerisms for your disguise either falls under bluff, disguise, or perform:act and everyone should have whichever one of those too. Also small amounts of a number of cover professions. That pretty much means a party of nothing but rogue derivatives. And I think slayer may be short of skill points too.

A fighting party has no more business infiltrating than an infiltration party has fighting. An unarmed monk generally has no business in either, but a temple sword strength build or a Sohei or Zen Archer can work in the former. There's something to be said for not failing will saves and ganking your own wizard.


I've heard more good things about a monk than bad. Old GM I had said he once finished half a boss fight (so something at APL+3 or more CR) all on his own.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
To repeat something that's been said a bunch of times before nobody's denying viable monk builds can be made with enough system mastery. It's that it takes so much system mastery to bring the monk up to par, and that it usually involves stepping away from the classic monk flavor. The default flavor for monks is that don't wear armor, don't use weapons, and don't cast spells.

Side note, I gotta strongly disagree that the 'default flavor' for a monk is in not using weapons; the default flavor is that they can fight unarmed well, but they also have a selection of weapons - including a 'longsword' - that work just fine with their defining combat ability. Personally, the iconic image of an eastern fighting monk for me is quarterstaff or kung-fu broadsword. But whatever your style preferences, a core monk is not restricted to unarmed strikes. With the (eventual) clarification of Flurry of Blows, that fact can be put to very good effect.

If there's 'systems mastery' required for building a viable core Monk, it's simply in choosing your feats and abilities to reflect the fact that you're trying to be a melee combatant, not some kind of Stunning Fist caster or whatnot. People keep returning to the terrible limits of the vanilla monk, but I don't see how high strength Flurry of Blows is so terribly deficient compared to other high strength vanilla melee; your attack and damage are somewhat lower and compound each other, but you're throwing plenty of attacks. Calculating for AB x Damage x #Attacks generally seems to come out quite reasonable for me. I guess if you replace 'requires systems mastery' with 'you probably want a reasonable understanding of basic mechanics and what to build for' I'd agree.

Shadow Lodge

I think the problem of the monk is that its really defensive in general. It has the best saves, inmunities to load of things and different ways of ac. The game however asumes the character has to be active so it incentives to play agresively.

Now why the monk sucks is not the class, its because:

Beign unarmored sucks and its quite unsoported.

Beign unarmed sucks and its quite unsoported.

The system has problems with this styles and how to make the work. The monk struggles to make them work but ultimately its still reliant on magic items to work. Now the monk doesnt really has a "role" its probably similar to fighter, its not an skillmonkey, its a fighter with better saves, but worst hit dice, but also worst damage potential.

Zen archer, beign ranged, get the damage output the regular monk lacks while retaining good defenses and is not married to the unarmed strike option.

Silver Crusade

Arachnofiend wrote:
Ah, right. My other point stands though. It's kinda frustrating because I do think Monks can be genuinely good and useful to strong parties if built properly but builds like these are a large part of why people think otherwise...

Why are you assuming all I do is stand there in full defense? I never said that's all that he does. It's a viable option under certain circumstances, in which this was the ONE circumstance. Otherwise, I tend to zip around the field soaking up AoOs, tripping, punching, and stunning(hopefully).

Quoting myself from earlier "Sorry, seems like 35 by level 6. Without Total Defense that is."

It was a fantastic build, in every way, except for damage. I was only swinging for 1d8+4, sadly. I'm there to defend my allies, and set up opponents for them so they're easier to knock down. I fulfilled my purpose very well.

I guess when you lack the reading skills to read every word that some writes, you would think that builds like these are a large part of why people think otherwise.

DrDeth wrote:

The idea that you MUST play the MOST powerful DPR class to fill any niche otherwise you are a waste of air is ludicrous.

Honestly, the most powerful DPR is quite boring too. It is highly convenient destroying things in one hit, but it's bland.


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@Kazumetsa: Good offense and defense is important for a front-line combatant. The former gets their attention, the latter lets you survive it. Monks are fantastic at the latter, not so good at the former. If your character can't punch through a creatures DR or do more than 8 damage on average per hit, why should it pay any attention to you over the mind-controlling / fireballing wizard or the sneak attacking rogue? You're not a threat, they are.

I'm still wondering how you managed to get Shield on that monk. Alchemist party member with the Infusion discovery?


Cerberus Seven wrote:

@Kazumetsa: Good offense and defense is important for a front-line combatant. The former gets their attention, the latter lets you survive it. Monks are fantastic at the latter, not so good at the former. If your character can't punch through a creatures DR or do more than 8 damage on average per hit, why should it pay any attention to you over the mind-controlling / fireballing wizard or the sneak attacking rogue? You're not a threat, they are.

I'm still wondering how you managed to get Shield on that monk. Alchemist party member with the Infusion discovery?

I sense a cracked purple ioun stone!


Undone wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:

@Kazumetsa: Good offense and defense is important for a front-line combatant. The former gets their attention, the latter lets you survive it. Monks are fantastic at the latter, not so good at the former. If your character can't punch through a creatures DR or do more than 8 damage on average per hit, why should it pay any attention to you over the mind-controlling / fireballing wizard or the sneak attacking rogue? You're not a threat, they are.

I'm still wondering how you managed to get Shield on that monk. Alchemist party member with the Infusion discovery?

I sense a cracked purple ioun stone!

Ah, that would do it. So, without multiple buffs from a wizard, without going defensive, and without expending ki every single round, the AC of that level 6 character is more like a 24. That's much more reasonable.


Cerberus Seven wrote:
Undone wrote:
Cerberus Seven wrote:

@Kazumetsa: Good offense and defense is important for a front-line combatant. The former gets their attention, the latter lets you survive it. Monks are fantastic at the latter, not so good at the former. If your character can't punch through a creatures DR or do more than 8 damage on average per hit, why should it pay any attention to you over the mind-controlling / fireballing wizard or the sneak attacking rogue? You're not a threat, they are.

I'm still wondering how you managed to get Shield on that monk. Alchemist party member with the Infusion discovery?

I sense a cracked purple ioun stone!
Ah, that would do it. So, without multiple buffs from a wizard, without going defensive, and without expending ki every single round, the AC of that level 6 character is more like a 24. That's much more reasonable.

And just how much Ki does a 6th level monk usually have? Not much... Oh and remember, spending Ki is eating your Swift actions... Additionally, the monk build actually EXTENDS combat, which makes him eat away at his Ki Pool even more...

Honestly one of the best defensive monks I have seen had to have been A Flowing Monk with the Old Crane Wing and heavy focus on Reposition and trip... He just kinda locked everything down around him.


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Lemmy wrote:
They are not support casters (except for Qinggong Sensei Monks, maybe... And even then, I'd much rather have a Bard).

Qinggong Sensei Monk: "All I do is give and give and this is what I get in return? I'm sorry my ability to simultaneously give everyone in the damn group Barkskin, True Strike, Lunge, Step up and Strike, Restoration with no costly component, and/or Dimension Door on top of my super defenses and full level Inspire Courage isn't good enough for you."

Why must you make the Qinggong Sensei Monk cry?


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Because he doesn't have Haste on tap. Booooo.


chaoseffect wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
They are not support casters (except for Qinggong Sensei Monks, maybe... And even then, I'd much rather have a Bard).

Qinggong Sensei Monk: "All I do is give and give and this is what I get in return? I'm sorry my ability to simultaneously give everyone in the damn group Barkskin, True Strike, Lunge, Step up and Strike, Restoration with no costly component, and/or Dimension Door on top of my super defenses and full level Inspire Courage isn't good enough for you."

Why must you make the Qinggong Sensei Monk cry?

I do not deny that Qinggong Sensei has nice tricks... But I still think a Bard is a better supporter.


Lemmy wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
They are not support casters (except for Qinggong Sensei Monks, maybe... And even then, I'd much rather have a Bard).

Qinggong Sensei Monk: "All I do is give and give and this is what I get in return? I'm sorry my ability to simultaneously give everyone in the damn group Barkskin, True Strike, Lunge, Step up and Strike, Restoration with no costly component, and/or Dimension Door on top of my super defenses and full level Inspire Courage isn't good enough for you."

Why must you make the Qinggong Sensei Monk cry?

I do not deny that Qinggong Sensei has nice tricks... But I still think a Bard is a better supporter.
William Wallace the Skald wrote:
SCREW YE AN' YER' FRILLY OUTFIT AN' SPOONEY S+!@E MUSIC!!! I HAND OU' THE PO'ER O' RAGE!!!!!


So... a Quinggong Sensei Monk and a Skald in the same party. That's... just about every possible bonus and buff imaginable, including the ability to hand out Rage Powers.

I can deal with that.


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To just naturally branch from that...

A Qinggong Sensei Monk, a Skald, and a Bard all rolling together... the gathering of the teachers!!! Three teachers... three styles... WHO WILL YOU CHOSE!!!!

*Poor fighter in corner scared from all three instructors trying to "help" him*


Oh and the Fighter is a Mutagenic Warrior because screw you I get all the bonuses xD


PIXIE DUST wrote:


A Qinggong Sensei Monk, a Skald, and a Bard all rolling together

A Qinggong Sensei Monk, a Skald, and a Bard walk into a tavern.

The Bard says "Make me one with a nice hoppy note",

The Skald sez "Make me a large one".

The Monk sez "Make me one with everything"


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Oh dear... I almost feel like trying this for my groups next campaign... I will be the Skald, my bf the Sensei, another buddy as a bard, and my sis will be the fighter... oh dear this will get funny...

Bard: I am fairly certain that the Fighter found his great inspiration from my beautiful masterpiece!!!

Skald: PFFF Bullocks!!! It was obvious it was my beating drum that gave him the strength to overpower his foes!!!

Sensei: i believe you are both mistake for it was obviously my wise advice that let him prevail over his enemies.

*all look at the Fighter

*Fighter looks at all*

*Fighter casts invisibility some how and vanishes*


When it comes to Core Rule Book Monks I agree without question that the class is terribly weak.

I am of the opinion however, that Ultimate Combat relatively fixed the class for me, Crane Wing nerf notwithstanding.

Style feats, awesome archetypes, and the Dimensional Agility feat chain give the class more versatility than pretty much any other melee class.

Barbarians, paladins, and magi are the only other classes that can move and unleash a full attack, the monks being treated as pseudo BAB for which doesn't bother me too much. They can do it with a Temple Sword and Power Attack and get more attacks in than a paladin or barbarian with Haste going, for comparable damage, all at full BAB.

Sure, I guess the Dimensional Agility feat chain doesn't technically count as a class feature of the monk because other classes can take it, namely the magus and the paladin, but it doesn't change the fact that it was inherently designed for the monk class and so well designed that other classes could use it also for it's very strong general purpose.

stares at Slashing Grace intently


PIXIE DUST wrote:

Oh dear... I almost feel like trying this for my groups next campaign... I will be the Skald, my bf the Sensei, another buddy as a bard, and my sis will be the fighter... oh dear this will get funny...

Bard: I am fairly certain that the Fighter found his great inspiration from my beautiful masterpiece!!!

Skald: PFFF Bullocks!!! It was obvious it was my beating drum that gave him the strength to overpower his foes!!!

Sensei: i believe you are both mistake for it was obviously my wise advice that let him prevail over his enemies.

*all look at the Fighter

*Fighter looks at all*

*Fighter casts invisibility some how and vanishes*

This sounds like a terrible idea for a harem anime, to be honest.

As a note, the Bard and Sensei wouldn't stack with each other. You'd need the Bard to play something that replaces Inspire Courage (Court Bard?).


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Arachnofiend wrote:
This sounds like a terrible idea for a harem anime, to be honest.

Aren't they all?


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
This sounds like a terrible idea for a harem anime, to be honest.
Aren't they all?

if you aren't familiar with tenchi universe or fruits basket, yes

Dark Archive

Depends entirely on what you are using the monk for, I have run a PFS monk capable of soloing the whole adventure (not sure how fun it was for the party for me to take out both bosses in 1 full attack). He was an offense built monk rather than a defensive wall (as honestly AC will only get you so far).

Its all a matter of what you are up against, playing in any printed campaign as written a monk is more than viable, playing a campaign with GM improvements a monk might not be able to keep up with other classes (but even then all melee classes will have issues in these sorts of campaigns).

I am also planning to play a monk in an upcoming Wrath of the Righteous campaign, because our GM said specifically that optimisation will not be heavily required to be able to handle the encounters (so I will be a 15 point buy monk as the primary tank and frontliner).

My only annoyance with the monk class is the inability to get greater trip without having combat expertise (but that is just an issue with all feats being written to require all prereqs of previous feats).


Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
and +4 doge with ki,

Much AC.

So Miss.

Wow.


Zhayne wrote:
Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
and +4 doge with ki,

Much AC.

So Miss.

Wow.

*heavy breathing*

Dark Archive

Dark Immortal wrote:

Next you're going to argue that since Ki abilities are mystical and I want speed, attacks and mystical powers while having a high ac, I should just play a wizard and call it a monk. I even get to hold a quarterstaff.....

Like.....seriously?

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Yes, seriously.

I had a player whose ninja character used the Sorcerer class (obscurement spell for smoke bombs, etc.), and it worked out perfectly -- way better than if he had selected "Ninja" as his class. Another one used the Barbarian class mechanics to represent a monk whose training allowed him to slip into a trance in a fight, like he was "in the zone." These sorts of things work out really nicely if your mind isn't so rigid that it breaks when confronted with something other than a stereotype.

A ranger works pretty well for a hermit-type zen master, too. Go TWF, and use a quarterstaff. Perhaps go woodland skirmisher.

Swashbuckler (or duelist, for that matter) could work out fairly well for a more martially focused monk, or a competitive wushu master.The abilities would be suited for it. I forgot the requirements of using a sword. If your GM would let you do it with monk weapons/unarmed combat (of a non-maneuver focused style), it would work pretty well. Of course, in this case it's still likely a weapons user; but it could be done in a very eastern style.

Magus would work well also. (again, better with a weapon)

The only time it really becomes tricky is if you want to focus on no armor whatsoever, unarmed strikes, or using a wide array of different monk weapons.

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