Monks with Swords


Homebrew and House Rules


There is an excellent movie called Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, wherein there is a monk who fights with a sword. He is definitely a monk (right down to flurry of blows and some of the quinggong powers), and he definitely uses a sword (it's the main macguffin, named the Green Destiny).

But monks can't use swords in Pathfinder. Well, not effectively. However! This is the homebrew forum, and I pretty much only play homebrewed games anyway. So do you see any problems with the following feat?

Disciple of the Blade
Unlike ordinary monks, you have practiced with unusual weapons, learning to see the grace and beauty in their lethal potential.
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus with selected weapon, flurry of blows class feature, see special.
Benefit: Select a single weapon with which you have Weapon Focus. You treat this weapon as though it had the monk special quality, allowing it to be used with flurry of blows.
Normal: Flurry of blows can only be performed with a weapon with the monk special quality.
Special: A monk can select Disciple of the Blade as a bonus feat at 10th level or higher. If a monk selects a longspear, longsword, katana, or meteor hammer, they need not have Weapon Focus with the selected weapon to take this feat.

(Brief comment: those last four weapons are listed since they are fairly common among weapon-using monks, and it removes the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat tax, otherwise left in to explain the atypical flavor)


...Hwat.

Monks can use swords, and sword using Monks are superior in every way to not sword using Monks.

Grab a temple sword, Flurry, you get full Str to damage (1.5x Str if you're Unchained), a better crit rate, HALF COST ON WEAPON compared to unarmed, have a higher AC (since you can use an Amulet of Natural Armor), and if you really want to rub it in the unarmed Monk's face, use Ascetic Style to get the ability to have the increased unarmed damage applied to swords, and use Stunning Fist, Style Strikes, etc. with them in addition to being able to use Style Feats that only work with Unarmed Strikes in conjunction with your weapon.

Not to mention other minor benefits like getting Adamantine for DR way earlier, not hurting yourself when smacking a Fire Elemental, and so on.

Sword wielding Monks don't need any extra help. They are already superior to unarmed Monks in every way (which makes me maaaad).

That said, Feat looks fine. Given the existence of Ascetic Style, Flurrying with a Greatsword isn't an issue any more.


Weapon Adept Monk Archetype might help. However you do it though, you will probably need Ascetic Style!


Crusader's Flurry makes flurrying with all kinds of weapons pretty easy for a character who has both flurry and Channel Energy; a multiclass Monk/Cleric or a Sacred Fist are the most obvious, but there are other options as well.

The warrior from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon could be done as an Unchained Monk 1/ Paladin with Crusader's Flurry: Rapier and Fencing Grace.


Hmmm... where is Ascetic Style? The PRD doesn't know about it. Is this another one of those annoying feats that only exists in the Inner Sea World Guide? I wish they would just release that already.
Also, Sundakan, the full Str to damage, monks already get that. The 1.5 Str from Unchained I don't know about, unless you're getting that from wielding two-handed? If so, Core also gets it.

Artifix, I already checked Weapon Adept Monk, and it still has the monk weapon requirement. Ascetic Style might take care of that, but it's been kept secret and safe.

BadBird, I also can't find Fencing Grace. Do you know where that is?

And seeing as there are apparently a number of feats that aren't available on the PRD, is there a better resource I should be poking around with?

Thanks for the responses, by the way.

EDIT: Okay, just found Ascetic Style on some other website, and it still has the monk weapon requirement as well, which is the main thing I'm trying to get around. Crusader's Flurry does do that but Ascetic Style does not.


SanKeshun wrote:


Also, Sundakan, the full Str to damage, monks already get that.

Never aid they didn't.

SanKeshun wrote:
The 1.5 Str from Unchained I don't know about, unless you're getting that from wielding two-handed? If so, Core also gets it.

Core Monks cannot get 1.5x Str when two-handing a weapon if they Flurry.

"A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands."

Unchained explicitly allows it.

SanKeshun wrote:


And seeing as there are apparently a number of feats that aren't available on the PRD, is there a better resource I should be poking around with?

The d20 SRD.

SanKeshun wrote:


EDIT: Okay, just found Ascetic Style on some other website, and it still has the monk weapon requirement as well, which is the main thing I'm trying to get around. Crusader's Flurry does do that but Ascetic Style does not.

What weapon, exactly, are you trying to use?

There's a Monk weapon that is a rough statistical equivalent to most of the weapons in the game already. Particularly with Ascetic style taking damage dice out of the equation (double chained kama becomes your big dice Monk Reach weapon, voila).

Reflavor to taste, rather than reinventing the wheel.

Edit: You could also get up to some shenanigans with Martial Versatility via Sohei or some such.

Grab a temple sword. Choose it as your Ascetic Style weapon.

Grab Martial Versatility.

Temple word is in both "Monk" and "Heavy Blades".

Longsword is in the latter.

So now you can use a longsword with Ascetic Style.

This will work for a frightening number of weapons.


Sigh... these are yet more examples of why, as a programmer, Pathfinder can be tedious. Too many exceptions to rules stated generally elewhere. Thanks for pulling out the specific examples, Sundakan.

That's also part of why I prefer the above and don't see it as reinventing the wheel; the above feat is designed to be more applicable as the system grows. Pathfinder, however, has never seemed particularly cognizant of its future. Ah, well. If I really cared I'd just write my own system.

Thanks for the advice. Probably will go the Martial Versatility route.


Your Feat is probably the simplest way to go about it, to be fair, but one of the upsides to jumping through all those hoops is that it will work in any game, not just ones that allow your homebrew Feat.

Totally agree about Pathfinder's almost complete lack of "future proofing", though. Take a trawl through the FAQ and you'll see some fun ones like how Improved Familiar interacts with classes that aren't Wizards, since the Feat actually specifies "Arcane spellcaster level" instead of something a bit more general, so it caused issues with Shamans (divine caster with a Familiar) and a lot of stuff from the Familiar Folio (complete non-casters with Familiars).

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