Any idea how to build / play a Ki-style monk?


Advice


So, I've gotten my hands on the 2E rulebook, and I kind of like the Ki Monk sample build in the book. But I'm not really sure how this sort of build is supposed to be played. I'll admit that this might be a bit due to inexperience on my part (I'm relatively new to Pathfinder as a whole), but it feels like all of this build's abilities are based on a focus pool that can never go above three charges. It feels like they can only ever do impressive things three rounds in a combat, and after that are stuck just punching things. Am I missing something about how this build is supposed to work?

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If you read all the feats given to the Ki style-focused monks, you will quickly realize that they become stronger over time, gaining more focus points every time you pick a ki spell with your class feats and the meditative focus at level 12 to allow your character to regain 2 focus points with the refocus action (see focus spell rule section for more details).

Anyway, at low level you will use your ability sparingly in low levels, doing more melee/physical attacks at low levels, then at mid-levels and higher, having more focus points, you can go supernatural monk more often.

Ki Monk is essentially a build-up.


BlueMoon87 wrote:
So, I've gotten my hands on the 2E rulebook, and I kind of like the Ki Monk sample build in the book. But I'm not really sure how this sort of build is supposed to be played. I'll admit that this might be a bit due to inexperience on my part (I'm relatively new to Pathfinder as a whole), but it feels like all of this build's abilities are based on a focus pool that can never go above three charges. It feels like they can only ever do impressive things three rounds in a combat, and after that are stuck just punching things. Am I missing something about how this build is supposed to work?

I think your mistake is dismissing the monk's other options as "just punching things". Melee combat, for all classes, involves some tactics and choices. Flanking and avoiding being flanked, tripping, grappling, etc.

If you are human, you can use Natural Ambition to get another 1st level class feat. You can pick a Ki power and a stance at level 1. I recommend doing this if you are looking for more complex options for your Ki Monk. Each stance gives you interesting changes to your attacks.

Crane Stance gives you AC and a reaction to reduce damage.
Dragon Stance does more damage, but loses agile + finesse, so you will want to pick and choose when to use it, possibly switching in and out of it.
Mountain Stance (which the example Ki Monk has) is great defense for low-dex monks, but you might have to decide when exactly you want to switch to it instead of moving or striking more.
Wolf Stance encourages tripping and flanking.
etc.

Then you have Stunning Fist, Crushing Grab, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eltacolibre wrote:

If you read all the feats given to the Ki style-focused monks, you will quickly realize that they become stronger over time, gaining more focus points every time you pick a ki spell with your class feats and the meditative focus at level 12 to allow your character to regain 2 focus points with the refocus action (see focus spell rule section for more details).

Anyway, at low level you will use your ability sparingly in low levels, doing more melee/physical attacks at low levels, then at mid-levels and higher, having more focus points, you can go supernatural monk more often.

Ki Monk is essentially a build-up.

So, maybe I'm reading something incorrectly, but I think that the rules are saying that "you can never hold more than three points in your focus pool." Am I reading something wrong, because this makes it sound like you can never have more than three focus points at a time, which seems like it would limit your ability to use Ki Focus abilities. Is the idea that you continuously refocus after each combat?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
BlueMoon87 wrote:
Eltacolibre wrote:

If you read all the feats given to the Ki style-focused monks, you will quickly realize that they become stronger over time, gaining more focus points every time you pick a ki spell with your class feats and the meditative focus at level 12 to allow your character to regain 2 focus points with the refocus action (see focus spell rule section for more details).

Anyway, at low level you will use your ability sparingly in low levels, doing more melee/physical attacks at low levels, then at mid-levels and higher, having more focus points, you can go supernatural monk more often.

Ki Monk is essentially a build-up.

So, maybe I'm reading something incorrectly, but I think that the rules are saying that "you can never hold more than three points in your focus pool." Am I reading something wrong, because this makes it sound like you can never have more than three focus points at a time, which seems like it would limit your ability to use Ki Focus abilities. Is the idea that you continuously refocus after each combat?

Yeah the goal is to refocus between combat, at least when you can, if you plan to use Ki abilities all the time. But you are still a monk, so you don't need to use the abilities normally all the time.


BlueMoon87 wrote:
Eltacolibre wrote:

If you read all the feats given to the Ki style-focused monks, you will quickly realize that they become stronger over time, gaining more focus points every time you pick a ki spell with your class feats and the meditative focus at level 12 to allow your character to regain 2 focus points with the refocus action (see focus spell rule section for more details).

Anyway, at low level you will use your ability sparingly in low levels, doing more melee/physical attacks at low levels, then at mid-levels and higher, having more focus points, you can go supernatural monk more often.

Ki Monk is essentially a build-up.

So, maybe I'm reading something incorrectly, but I think that the rules are saying that "you can never hold more than three points in your focus pool." Am I reading something wrong, because this makes it sound like you can never have more than three focus points at a time, which seems like it would limit your ability to use Ki Focus abilities. Is the idea that you continuously refocus after each combat?

There's a hard cap of 3 focus points, yes. After each combat, if you can get a 10 minute rest, you can get 1 back. You can't refocus several times in a row, but there are many feats (monk and ancestry) to regain focus points in other ways.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

3 point focus pool is just for "burst" (as is some few options that give 1 focus /day like a familiar)

for sustain until high levels (12-14) you can only use 1 focus per battle if you want to sustain said pool and after that level 12-14 it's 2 focus per battle.

You can go up to 3 focus per battle but that's a 18 level feat, so pretty much capstone.

Given that, it feels almost impossible to build a character where his "main" thing is focus abilities.

So they are better used to supplement your repertoire than somehow trying to make them the main thing you do.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, Paizo doesn't really seem to want Ki monks to be much a thing aside from "here is a neat trick I can do now and then", and that if you want to be a every-turn supernatural character take a full magic class.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It's not all doom and gloom.

We are just talking the basics here, the ki monk on his own.

Magic items have ways to give focus points too, every day.


Eltacolibre wrote:

It's not all doom and gloom.

We are just talking the basics here, the ki monk on his own.

Magic items have ways to give focus points too, every day.

i wasn't talking about doom and gloom per se.

having even 1 "max level" spell every combat all day, with the ability to nova for 3-4 of them, i find it to be quite useful perosnally.

it's just that i don't see it viable building a whole character around those only.

tbf though, i haven't even touched the magical item section, so there may be some solutions/tricks there to facilitate a pure focus build.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Eltacolibre wrote:

It's not all doom and gloom.

We are just talking the basics here, the ki monk on his own.

Magic items have ways to give focus points too, every day.

Yeah, no. There are only 2 items that give focus, and both give them 1/day to cast specific focus spells. The cassock of devotion to cast a domain spell or the druid's vestments to cast an order spell. Also, they are level 11 and level 10 items respectively.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Personally, I would go Dex-focused over the Str-focus version in the sidebar:

Human/Versatile Human, [any background with Str, Dex, Con, or Wis bonus]
14 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, plus whatever
1st- Fleet, Natural Ambition (Ki Strike), [background], Monastic Weaponry (to use bo staff and shuriken at low levels, mostly)
2nd- Elemental Fist, Quick Jump
3rd- Expert Athletics, Feather Step
4th- Flying Kick, Powerful Leap
5th- Expert Acrobatics, General Training (Titan Wrestler)
6th- Ki Blast, Cat Fall
7th- Master Acrobatics, Incredible Initiative
8th- Wild Winds Initiate, Kip Up
9th- Master Athletics, Multitalented (Rogue Dedication)
10th- Sneak Attacker, Wall Jump
11th- Expert Diplomacy*, Toughness
12th- Wind Jump, Hobnobber*
13th- Expert Stealth, General Training (Fast Recovery)*
14th- Wild Winds Gust, [whatever]*
15th- Legendary Athletics, Cloud Jump
...

The last 5 levels or so should be tailored to the needs of your table. Once you gain Wild Winds Initiate, you should be using it at the start of each combat and then Refocusing after the combat ends to regain the focus point. The other focus point using abilities should be reserved for specific situations.

*- or whatever suits your fancy


If say you got wild wind stance what be best stance to fuse it with for 20th lvl monk.


Reziburno25 wrote:
If say you got wild wind stance what be best stance to fuse it with for 20th lvl monk.

I'd probably fuse with Ironblood, for that resist 5 to all damage. Though it should be noted that Ironblood and Fuse currently have conflicting wording, so one of them will be errata'd.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:

Personally, I would go Dex-focused over the Str-focus version in the sidebar:

Human/Versatile Human, [any background with Str, Dex, Con, or Wis bonus]
14 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, plus whatever
1st- Fleet, Natural Ambition (Ki Strike), [background], Monastic Weaponry (to use bo staff and shuriken at low levels, mostly)
2nd- Elemental Fist, Quick Jump
3rd- Expert Athletics, Feather Step
4th- Flying Kick, Powerful Leap
5th- Expert Acrobatics, General Training (Titan Wrestler)
6th- Ki Blast, Cat Fall
7th- Master Acrobatics, Incredible Initiative
8th- Wild Winds Initiate, Kip Up
9th- Master Athletics, Multitalented (Rogue Dedication)
10th- Sneak Attacker, Wall Jump
11th- Expert Diplomacy*, Toughness
12th- Wind Jump, Hobnobber*
13th- Expert Stealth, General Training (Fast Recovery)*
14th- Wild Winds Gust, [whatever]*
15th- Legendary Athletics, Cloud Jump
...

The last 5 levels or so should be tailored to the needs of your table. Once you gain Wild Winds Initiate, you should be using it at the start of each combat and then Refocusing after the combat ends to regain the focus point. The other focus point using abilities should be reserved for specific situations.

*- or whatever suits your fancy

At level 12 you may consider Mediative Focus instead. If not, you only dispose of 1 focus per combat once you have used all 3 in an encounter.


For the record, thank you to everyone for the input on this. It's helped me put this character build more in a better frame for me, if that makes sense.


I think multiclassing sorcerer is a good idea, if only to get a focus power. That way you don't need to meditate, you straight up get a focus point every 10 minutes.


Gaulin wrote:
I think multiclassing sorcerer is a good idea, if only to get a focus power. That way you don't need to meditate, you straight up get a focus point every 10 minutes.

Spending two class feats on just that seems costly, especially since you would also need afford 14 charisma on a ki-focused monk.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Amaranthine Witch wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:

Personally, I would go Dex-focused over the Str-focus version in the sidebar:

Human/Versatile Human, [any background with Str, Dex, Con, or Wis bonus]
14 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, plus whatever
1st- Fleet, Natural Ambition (Ki Strike), [background], Monastic Weaponry (to use bo staff and shuriken at low levels, mostly)
2nd- Elemental Fist, Quick Jump
3rd- Expert Athletics, Feather Step
4th- Flying Kick, Powerful Leap
5th- Expert Acrobatics, General Training (Titan Wrestler)
6th- Ki Blast, Cat Fall
7th- Master Acrobatics, Incredible Initiative
8th- Wild Winds Initiate, Kip Up
9th- Master Athletics, Multitalented (Rogue Dedication)
10th- Sneak Attacker, Wall Jump
11th- Expert Diplomacy*, Toughness
12th- Wind Jump, Hobnobber*
13th- Expert Stealth, General Training (Fast Recovery)*
14th- Wild Winds Gust, [whatever]*
15th- Legendary Athletics, Cloud Jump
...

The last 5 levels or so should be tailored to the needs of your table. Once you gain Wild Winds Initiate, you should be using it at the start of each combat and then Refocusing after the combat ends to regain the focus point. The other focus point using abilities should be reserved for specific situations.

*- or whatever suits your fancy

At level 12 you may consider Mediative Focus instead. If not, you only dispose of 1 focus per combat once you have used all 3 in an encounter.

Fair enough. I was looking more at "wuxia-style" than focus expenditure.

Grand Lodge

Gaulin wrote:
I think multiclassing sorcerer is a good idea, if only to get a focus power. That way you don't need to meditate, you straight up get a focus point every 10 minutes.

Minor nitpicking..

The Basic Bloodline Spell multiclass feat only gives the "Sorcerer style Refocus", if you didn't already have a focus pool.


Varun Creed wrote:
Gaulin wrote:
I think multiclassing sorcerer is a good idea, if only to get a focus power. That way you don't need to meditate, you straight up get a focus point every 10 minutes.

Minor nitpicking..

The Basic Bloodline Spell multiclass feat only gives the "Sorcerer style Refocus", if you didn't already have a focus pool.

The general focus rules always give you a focus point when you acquire a focus power, even if it doesn’t grant one itself. Probably intended to cover multuclassing so you don’t get a focus spell you can’t use.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
Varun Creed wrote:
Gaulin wrote:
I think multiclassing sorcerer is a good idea, if only to get a focus power. That way you don't need to meditate, you straight up get a focus point every 10 minutes.

Minor nitpicking..

The Basic Bloodline Spell multiclass feat only gives the "Sorcerer style Refocus", if you didn't already have a focus pool.

The general focus rules always give you a focus point when you acquire a focus power, even if it doesn’t grant one itself. Probably intended to cover multuclassing so you don’t get a focus spell you can’t use.

he's not talking about the focus point, he's talking about the method of refocus:

if you already have a focus pool and you gain the Sorc focus powers you DON'T change your way of refocus (clerics still need to pray, wizards still need to study, etc)

You only get their "free" refocus-while-doing-anything if you specifically didn't have a focus pool to begin with.

Not sure if this is intended, but that's what the poster meant at least, and it "seems" like it's the raw as well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Its very clear about it in the book. From the spellcasting rules;

Focus Points are not differentiated by source; you can spend any of your Focus Points on any of your focus spells. Likewise, when you Refocus, you get back a point as long as you follow the guidelines of any abilities that granted you focus spells.


Gaulin wrote:

Its very clear about it in the book. From the spellcasting rules;

Focus Points are not differentiated by source; you can spend any of your Focus Points on any of your focus spells. Likewise, when you Refocus, you get back a point as long as you follow the guidelines of any abilities that granted you focus spells.

That is true, but irrelevant to what was being discussed. Since the archetype says you only get the focus point if you didn't have focus points. So there is no modification to the pool.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel like the magic feeling mystic monk starts working as soon as you get wild winds stance. It's clearly supernatural (you are punching people from across the room) and it costs one ki for the whole combat. Once you get the level 16 upgrade (which again costs no ki) you feel even more magical.

For a Ki Monk we need more stuff like this- ki spells that last the whole combat.


Milo v3 wrote:
Gaulin wrote:

Its very clear about it in the book. From the spellcasting rules;

Focus Points are not differentiated by source; you can spend any of your Focus Points on any of your focus spells. Likewise, when you Refocus, you get back a point as long as you follow the guidelines of any abilities that granted you focus spells.

That is true, but irrelevant to what was being discussed. Since the archetype says you only get the focus point if you didn't have focus points. So there is no modification to the pool.

If I was looking at making a focus spell powered monk, this would be something I would be interested in. So to me at least it's relevant. But there is a modification to the pool, you can even look at the example they give.

If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool. For instance, if you were a cleric with the Domain Initiate feat, you would have a pool with 1 Focus Point. Let’s say you then took the champion multiclass archetype and the Healing Touch feat. Normally, this feat would give you a focus pool. Since you already have one, it instead increases your existing pool’s capacity by 1.

Note that the healing touch feat has the same wording as the basic sorcerer bloodline spell.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gaulin wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Gaulin wrote:

Its very clear about it in the book. From the spellcasting rules;

Focus Points are not differentiated by source; you can spend any of your Focus Points on any of your focus spells. Likewise, when you Refocus, you get back a point as long as you follow the guidelines of any abilities that granted you focus spells.

That is true, but irrelevant to what was being discussed. Since the archetype says you only get the focus point if you didn't have focus points. So there is no modification to the pool.

If I was looking at making a focus spell powered monk, this would be something I would be interested in. So to me at least it's relevant. But there is a modification to the pool, you can even look at the example they give.

If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool. For instance, if you were a cleric with the Domain Initiate feat, you would have a pool with 1 Focus Point. Let’s say you then took the champion multiclass archetype and the Healing Touch feat. Normally, this feat would give you a focus pool. Since you already have one, it instead increases your existing pool’s capacity by 1.

Note that the healing touch feat has the same wording as the basic sorcerer bloodline spell.

you don't always get +1 focus when you gain extra abilities/pools:

"You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the
first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

so, you gain a focus pool if you don't already have a focus pool even if the ability doesn't say so.

"Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points
in your pool beyond 1. Typically, these are feats that give
you a new focus spell and increase the number of points
in your pool by 1."

so, the ability/feat must actually say that you gain +1 focus to increase a focus pool you already have.


That 'typically' can go either way, and in this case it does grant you a focus point. Just look at the example the book gives that I posted. The character already had a focus point, gained this feat;

You gain the appropriate devotion spell for your cause ( lay on hands for the paladin, redeemer, and liberator). If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by praying or serving your deity.

And gained a second focus point from it. So it's pretty clear to me.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

actually you correct due to:

"If you have multiple abilities that give
you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool."

in the sidebar.

i have missed that.


So I have not fully read through the book yet but it looks like some of the monk abilities are focus 4. Does that mean they cost 4 focus and if so how do you get that, or does that mean like feats you need to be at least fourth level?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It means they are a minimum of 4th spell level when you can get them.


Thanks I read and realized as per always after I posted the question.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:

Personally, I would go Dex-focused over the Str-focus version in the sidebar:

Human/Versatile Human, [any background with Str, Dex, Con, or Wis bonus]
14 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, plus whatever
1st- Fleet, Natural Ambition (Ki Strike), [background], Monastic Weaponry (to use bo staff and shuriken at low levels, mostly)
2nd- Elemental Fist, Quick Jump
3rd- Expert Athletics, Feather Step
4th- Flying Kick, Powerful Leap
5th- Expert Acrobatics, General Training (Titan Wrestler)
6th- Ki Blast, Cat Fall
7th- Master Acrobatics, Incredible Initiative
8th- Wild Winds Initiate, Kip Up
9th- Master Athletics, Multitalented (Rogue Dedication)
10th- Sneak Attacker, Wall Jump
11th- Expert Diplomacy*, Toughness
12th- Wind Jump, Hobnobber*
13th- Expert Stealth, General Training (Fast Recovery)*
14th- Wild Winds Gust, [whatever]*
15th- Legendary Athletics, Cloud Jump
...

The last 5 levels or so should be tailored to the needs of your table. Once you gain Wild Winds Initiate, you should be using it at the start of each combat and then Refocusing after the combat ends to regain the focus point. The other focus point using abilities should be reserved for specific situations.

*- or whatever suits your fancy

Bow Staff is nice but, unfortunately not a Finesse weapon. Might be better with a stance.


Another thing to note, you may not need wisdom at all for a ki monk. As of right now the only two powers that require anyone to save against a spell DC are Ki Blast and Quivering Palm. Both really fun abilities, but by no means necessary for a fun ki monk build.

I'm still not sure if Wild Winds Stance uses spell attack rolls or not. My thinking right now is no because it says make a ranged attack, but I think jury is still out on that one.

Even if it does you are still left with a monk who can ramp their to hit like a champ, run around at superhuman speed, or teleport, or fly if they feel like it.


Ranged strikes are specifically defined. It is not a spell attack.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Advice / Any idea how to build / play a Ki-style monk? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.