Why are monks the biggest punching bags?


Classes


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So, I've been sitting around creating playtest characters with friends all day, and I gotta say: Monks have the lowest AC of any class. This feels really odd for a frontline fighter—am I missing something? Expert in Unarmored is only the equivalent of padded armor, and every other class starts out with something better (Mage Armor is equivalent at level 1, but grows much faster than the Monk's AC bonus, meaning even wizards and sorcerers wind up with higher armor).

Like, an 18 Dex monk (and that's burning quite a bit on maxing dex) has the same AC as a raging 14 Dex barbarian. I guess by level 20 the monk is sort of catching up, but considering most gameplay happens at low level, why is the monk the single easiest class to hit/is there a way to fix this?


Monks are designed with the idea that they will spend their wealth from adventuring on bracers of armor and magic fistwraps equivalent to what other classes spend on armor and weapons. That helps out a good amount but it looks like they really do need to start with dex no lower than 16 and buff it every chance they get in order to have a front liners AC.


Also early on until you get your bracers of armor ask your local caster who can cast magic armor to use it on you. As a front line fighter you get more use out of it than any others who likely want it and it lasts a full 24 hours so it is a really efficient use of a spell slot.

Also note that with the new way abilities upgrade getting +2 to four stats every 5 levels you kinda have to be trying to not have dex to not have it close to max.


kaid wrote:

Also early on until you get your bracers of armor ask your local caster who can cast magic armor to use it on you. As a front line fighter you get more use out of it than any others who likely want it and it lasts a full 24 hours so it is a really efficient use of a spell slot.

Also note that with the new way abilities upgrade getting +2 to four stats every 5 levels you kinda have to be trying to not have dex to not have it close to max.

Mage Armor doesn't have a target anymore. It's just the caster who benefits. So a Monk MC Wizard might be fine, but by the time they can get there, they probably can get bracers of armor already.


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Monks are actually one of the top 3 in the game when it comes to AC, certainly the top when talking about TAC, assuming characters obtain magic items on schedule.

An item less level 1 Monk with 18 Dex starts out with 16 AC (10 + Level + 6) and throughout the adventure, gradually increases his +6 bonus to +16 at level 20. This is accomplished through having Bracers of Armor starting at level 1, Anklets of Alacrity at level 13, as well as his Unarmored proficiency increasing to Legendary and his Dexterity score increasing.

I’ve mapped out the increases, and you should see the Monk’s AC going up at levels 1, 3, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 20. At most of these levels, your bonus goes up by 1, and at level 13 it goes up by 2 (this is where you gain Master proficiency in Unarmored and the Anklets of Alacrity).

Compare the Monk to the Paladin, who enjoys Legendary proficiency in Heavy armor and shields, and whose maximum AC is (10 + Level + 15) at level 18 when he gets a +5 Half Plate, and you’ll find that the Monk’s AC is very slightly higher.

But what about shields? With a shield, the Paladin can situationally gain +2 to AC unless he uses his level 20 feat to always have his shield raised

Monks can get a +1 bonus to AC from Crane Stance from level 1, which can be increased to +2 vs a melee Attack as a reaction (that also grants a counterattack).

Basically, Monks can have the highest AC in the game with enough optimization. All you need is to start with 18 Dex, keep up in terms of magic armor, and possess a level 14 common magic item type that most PCs will end up getting at some point.


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Pramxnim wrote:
Basically, Monks can have the highest AC in the game with enough optimization. All you need is to start with 18 Dex, keep up in terms of magic armor, and possess a level 14 common magic item type that most PCs will end up getting at some point.

Not in the early game. At level 1, Monks max out at AC 15 (but realistically, probably 13 or 14, since Monks' reliance on Athletics means they need to put Str first to use half of their class abilities). Wizards/Sorcerers can hit AC 16 (and Barbarians, though they're probably raging down to 15), Bards/Rogues can get to 17, and Fighters/Paladins can hit 18.


15 is not the max for a 1st level monk. its 16. They need a good reaction that buffs their ac thats true. I guess you could take crane style. but still would like to see something the the rogues dodge.


thunderbeard wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
Basically, Monks can have the highest AC in the game with enough optimization. All you need is to start with 18 Dex, keep up in terms of magic armor, and possess a level 14 common magic item type that most PCs will end up getting at some point.
Not in the early game. At level 1, Monks max out at AC 15 (but realistically, probably 13 or 14, since Monks' reliance on Athletics means they need to put Str first to use half of their class abilities). Wizards/Sorcerers can hit AC 16 (and Barbarians, though they're probably raging down to 15), Bards/Rogues can get to 17, and Fighters/Paladins can hit 18.

Remember that monks start at level 1 with expert in unarmored defence. thats 10+Dex mod+level+1. an 18 dex monk starts with AC 16. With most styles offering agile and finesse it seems like dex builds are a stronger option for most builds (dragon and monastic weapons excluded). If you are worried about athletics remember Crane style gives a ridiculous +4 to jumps (on top of extra distance) which more than mitigates your strength lagging behind by 2-4 points.


thunderbeard wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
Basically, Monks can have the highest AC in the game with enough optimization. All you need is to start with 18 Dex, keep up in terms of magic armor, and possess a level 14 common magic item type that most PCs will end up getting at some point.
Not in the early game. At level 1, Monks max out at AC 15 (but realistically, probably 13 or 14, since Monks' reliance on Athletics means they need to put Str first to use half of their class abilities). Wizards/Sorcerers can hit AC 16 (and Barbarians, though they're probably raging down to 15), Bards/Rogues can get to 17, and Fighters/Paladins can hit 18.

Monks start out with a +1 AC bonus (expert unarmored) instead of the +2 but ACP penalty of -1 of studded, and by level 2 they have already overcomed this with a +1 bracer.

if you want to play a str based monk, then you'll usually be behind just 1-2 points in AC in the start and later on still catch up, but you get the benefit of extra damage.

Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.


Having just made a monk the other day, I can confirm that at level 1 you can start with AC 16 (10 + 1 level + 1 prof + 4 Dex), and boost it to 17 with Crane Stance. Also keep in mind that with Flurry of Blows, it seems as though you can easily skirmish every other round and still have good damage (make 2 attacks, step, stride) meaning that an enemy whose speed isn't greater than yours (or is blocked by a fighter type) can only attack you every other round. Granted, that won't always be the case, but it becomes an increasingly effective tactic as the monk's speed increases at higher levels.

Dark Archive

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Pramxnim wrote:

Monks are actually one of the top 3 in the game when it comes to AC, certainly the top when talking about TAC, assuming characters obtain magic items on schedule.

An item less level 1 Monk with 18 Dex starts out with 16 AC (10 + Level + 6) and throughout the adventure, gradually increases his +6 bonus to +16 at level 20. This is accomplished through having Bracers of Armor starting at level 1, Anklets of Alacrity at level 13, as well as his Unarmored proficiency increasing to Legendary and his Dexterity score increasing.

How are you getting a level 2 item at level 1?


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Mergy wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:

Monks are actually one of the top 3 in the game when it comes to AC, certainly the top when talking about TAC, assuming characters obtain magic items on schedule.

An item less level 1 Monk with 18 Dex starts out with 16 AC (10 + Level + 6) and throughout the adventure, gradually increases his +6 bonus to +16 at level 20. This is accomplished through having Bracers of Armor starting at level 1, Anklets of Alacrity at level 13, as well as his Unarmored proficiency increasing to Legendary and his Dexterity score increasing.

How are you getting a level 2 item at level 1?

you pay for the GMs lunch


The bo staff is a reach monk weapon that allows the parry ability. Monk just needs to take the monastic weapons feat to use it. Unarmed attacks do not require open hands. Flurry only takes one action so a monk can afford to use one action on parrying.

A human monk could take it and a stance at 1st level. A 18 str & 16 dex dragon stance human monk could have a 16AC whenever they parry at level 1.


Monks having bad Ac at low levels and good Ac at high levels is because of the armor system keeping Ac bonus + max Dex = 7 for all levels. At low levels heavy armor characters have an advantage, but as you level up and get stat boosts every five levels light armor uses catch up and everyone's equal.

I think that's a very flawed system. Ac difference between character concepts should remain consistent across levels. It makes no sense to start with an advantage and than lose it because of normal level ups. Not even any special investment of resources.


shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.

You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.


Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

From our playtest, the str Monk did more damage than the dual wielding fighter.

Usually the monk used move, trip, double attack vs the fighter just using move double attack.

You severely underestimate the advantages of Flurry being 1 action.


shroudb wrote:
Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

From our playtest, the str Monk did more damage than the dual wielding fighter.

Usually the monk used move, trip, double attack vs the fighter just using move double attack.

You severely underestimate the advantages of Flurry being 1 action.

I just disagreed with your false statement, since monk does not outdps every other class. Sure the monk is more mobile, thats about the only thing going for him outside of best safes.

Dark Archive

Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

As both parts of a flurry are strikes, and one comes after another, it should be +0/-4 to flurry. Otherwise there would be language stating that the penalty shouldn't apply until after.


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Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

From our playtest, the str Monk did more damage than the dual wielding fighter.

Usually the monk used move, trip, double attack vs the fighter just using move double attack.

You severely underestimate the advantages of Flurry being 1 action.

I just disagreed with your false statement, since monk does not outdps every other class. Sure the monk is more mobile, thats about the only thing going for him outside of best safes.

Let me restate to fix your false imafinations:

Str Monk, in a REAL game and not in paper dps, in the early levels, outdps the fighter.

Better?

Paper dps doesn't mean jack with the new 3 actions system, get over full round attacks, they rarely happen.

As an example, A fighter to consistently pull double attack can only do 1 move, which is nowhere near enough to guarantee flank. A monk on the other hand has +2 to his attacks almost always due to his mobility.

So yes, when mobility means +2 attack, then your mobility directly translates to more damage.


shroudb wrote:
Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

From our playtest, the str Monk did more damage than the dual wielding fighter.

Usually the monk used move, trip, double attack vs the fighter just using move double attack.

You severely underestimate the advantages of Flurry being 1 action.

Since you mentioned using trip, were you applying the multiple attack penalties from trip? It's an attack too, so using it will give the rest of your attacks -4 to hit.

Because of this I found another attack was usually a better decision.


citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Subutai1 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Monks also start as the only class that can do 2 attacks with 1 action, their strength builds outdps pretty much everyhting in the early game, at the cost of a small AC penalty.
You do not seem to realize that 2 attacks with +0 do more damage on average than 3 attacks with +0/-4/-8. Said fighter has the same STR, thus more DPR as the monk and on top of that on average 2 more AC in early game, plus an extra attack in form of AoO from time to time.

From our playtest, the str Monk did more damage than the dual wielding fighter.

Usually the monk used move, trip, double attack vs the fighter just using move double attack.

You severely underestimate the advantages of Flurry being 1 action.

Since you mentioned using trip, were you applying the multiple attack penalties from trip? It's an attack too, so using it will give the rest of your attacks -4 to hit.

Because of this I found another attack was usually a better decision.

We did. It gives a - 4 to rest attacks, but it also gives a +2 to rest attacks. It also steals actions from your opponent.

If there were 2 people going to attack the same target, trip felt worth it.


shroudb wrote:


Str Monk, in a REAL game and not in paper dps, in the early levels, outdps the fighter.

Paper dps doesn't mean jack with the new 3 actions system, get over full round attacks, they rarely happen.

This should be made sticky in the forum.

Most of the misconceptions about balancing come from not understanding the changes in action economy. People really need to start playing the game before making posts.


I'd like to add that a level 1 monk can wield the bo staff without taking Monastic Weaponry. Provided he keeps on fighting unarmed (but wields the bo staff), he can always spend an action for +1 circumstance bonus to AC. Proficiency in the bo staff is not required for this (and having legendary proficiency in the bo staff also doesn't raise the benefits).

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