Making Monastic weaponry better


Homebrew and House Rules


Hi folks, (first post and im not really sure where or how to submit it.)

I've been playing around with PF2e a lot in the recent months and have created bakers dozens of characters. I had a lot of fun, but something that bothered me was the fact that building a weapon wielding Monk is disappointing. The Monk, in my opinion, combines two very distinct aspects. The Mysticism of Ki-based abilities and the hype of beating opposition into a pulp with nothing but your own body.

The Monastic Weaponry feat was always divorced from one of these core themes of a Monk. It gives Monks a very limited selection of weapons that are on par with all other weapons, but in turn weaker than any single stance. In terms of character creation the limited selection of weapons really kills a lot of concepts. The only upside of this feat is, that you can easily switch between damage types. Since retraining is easy in this edition i think that this advantage is a very weak one. So how would we fix this ?

Two steps:
1. Monks treat weapons with the Monk-trait as Unarmed attacks for the purpose of proficiency and abilities
2. The Monastic Weaponry feat now allows the Monk to choose a weapon and treat it as weapon with the Monk-trait

What do you think ? Would this be too good ? Any other suggestions ?


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Kasekinome wrote:
1. Monks treat weapons with the Monk-trait as Unarmed attacks for the purpose of proficiency and abilities

It already does this: "You can use melee monk weapons with any of your monk feats or monk abilities that normally require unarmed attacks, though not if the feat or ability requires you to use a single specific type of attack, such as Crane Stance." the only ones off limits are stances that lock attacks types. For instance, you can Flurry, Ki Strike, Stunning Fist, Knockback Strike, ect all with a Bo Staff.

Kasekinome wrote:
2. The Monastic Weaponry feat now allows the Monk to choose a weapon and treat it as weapon with the Monk-trait

Could be an interesting backup feat.


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I think Monastic Weaponry is actually pretty good, as far as a low-level feat goes. Monk just has really fun class feats and it feels like a bit of a tax, I suppose.

Expanding what can be used as a Monk-tagged weapon I'm sure will come with archetypes, like Zen Archer which is supposed to come in the APG. That way Paizo can still release cool weapons without worrying about how a Monk is going to Flurry all over the place with it.

I also think we'll get some more feats that interact with Monastic Weaponry later down the line, on top of more weapons beyond what the CRB has.


graystone wrote:
Kasekinome wrote:
1. Monks treat weapons with the Monk-trait as Unarmed attacks for the purpose of proficiency and abilities
It already does this: "You can use melee monk weapons with any of your monk feats or monk abilities that normally require unarmed attacks, though not if the feat or ability requires you to use a single specific type of attack, such as Crane Stance."

I should have specified, that i think that this should be the intrinsic property of the Monk trait for Weapons.


I am sooo looking forward for Zen Archer

On a different note: I think a rather interesting (admittedly maybe a little op, especially with elvish bows) addendum for Monastric Weaponry could be that, if you have Racial Prophiciency, you coun't those as monk weapons

Also interesting would be to count deities favored weapons as monk weapons (scimitar wielding monk of sarenrae, spiked chain using monk of zon-kuthon, glaive monk of shelyn - and scythe wielding follower of pharasma are also not that much worse then dragon stance monks)


Puna'chong wrote:
I think Monastic Weaponry is actually pretty good, as far as a low-level feat goes.

Is it? I mean all it really gives you is proficiency in some martial weapons.

That's fine and all, but the monk weapons that come from stances are mostly designed to be more like advanced weapons, sometimes even better than that.

Without some kind of secondary benefit the feat really feels lacking to me. Especially when Tiger Stance gives me step 10 on top of being just a flat better weapon.

I feel like the main draw of the feat is just if you want to multiclass to pick up some weapon-based feats that don't work with unarmed strikes. Even then it doesn't feel super great imo.


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Squiggit wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
I think Monastic Weaponry is actually pretty good, as far as a low-level feat goes.

Is it? I mean all it really gives you is proficiency in some martial weapons.

That's fine and all, but the monk weapons that come from stances are mostly designed to be more like advanced weapons, sometimes even better than that.

Without some kind of secondary benefit the feat really feels lacking to me. Especially when Tiger Stance gives me step 10 on top of being just a flat better weapon.

I feel like the main draw of the feat is just if you want to multiclass to pick up some weapon-based feats that don't work with unarmed strikes. Even then it doesn't feel super great imo.

The advantage of Monatic Weaponry over tanking stances is the flexibility. You still can do all your monk stuff without beeing limited and gain a number of good choices for damage, weapon properties and even ranged options that work in tandem with your other monk skills

Get one or two weapons with shifting runes and you always have the right tool for the job


I just want a katana wielding monk option so that I can make a Samurai Jack like character. Specifically the ability to treat the katana as if it hand the monk weapon property, and to be as proficient in it as my unarmed attacks.


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Squiggit wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
I think Monastic Weaponry is actually pretty good, as far as a low-level feat goes.

Is it? I mean all it really gives you is proficiency in some martial weapons.

That's fine and all, but the monk weapons that come from stances are mostly designed to be more like advanced weapons, sometimes even better than that.

Without some kind of secondary benefit the feat really feels lacking to me. Especially when Tiger Stance gives me step 10 on top of being just a flat better weapon.

I feel like the main draw of the feat is just if you want to multiclass to pick up some weapon-based feats that don't work with unarmed strikes. Even then it doesn't feel super great imo.

Forgive me for feeling like you stopped reading at that line. For a 1st level feat getting a bunch of interesting martial proficiencies is pretty decent for a frontliner that has no martial proficiency, especially because they all work with Flurry and anything else that benefits unarmed attacks. If Rogue had a first level feat that let them pick up a whole bunch of weapons with funky traits and decent damage dice that work 100% with their Sneak Attack feature that'd be a decent feat.

BUT

Monk has other class feats at level 1 that are really fun, and likely a better investment as far as what we have right now. Benefits from stances are really nice, and the first level ki abilities are also fun. Stances are very neat packages and have a full line of support in the CRB.

HOWEVER

Even though Monastic Weaponry is, I think, a decent 1st level feat overshadowed by Monk's other fun options (and a feat tax to make a nunchaku monk, for example), there's a lot of room for growth. So I think it's likely that we'll see more options introduced to interact with Monastic Weapons that we don't have right now, and which might make it feel less like a feat tax and more like a way to unlock some cool weapons and interesting features.


Squiggit wrote:
That's fine and all, but the monk weapons that come from stances are mostly designed to be more like advanced weapons, sometimes even better than that.

Stances lock you into your stance attack though... You find a target resistant to S damage or out of reach, tiger isn't as impressive, especially if you have to spend actions to pull out a simple weapon to deal with it and then another to get back in your stance: a nifty stance and a target in the air outside your jump range means dropping out of your stance for a crossbow or having lunch while others take care of it.

If you can always melee your foes and don't find the need for other weapon traits and damage types, I could see stances being better.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Monastic weapons also have the benefit of working with feats that require a weapon if you're going to take a dedication.

You can cast True Strike, Bespell Weapon, Flurry/Ki Strike with a Monk weapon for serious damage. Since Unarmed Strikes are not weapons you can't Bespell them.

And if you follow up with Brawling Focus you get access to multiple Crit Effects earlier than I think any other class(lvl 2).

A Temple Sword with a Shifting rune offers great versatility.


Puna'chong wrote:
If Rogue had a first level feat that let them pick up a whole bunch of weapons with funky traits and decent damage dice that work 100% with their Sneak Attack feature that'd be a decent feat.

It would be as rogues are now, but if the Rogue got that feat and then got another feat that gave them a weapon that was just flat out better than almost all of those martial options and made you move faster, the first feat would kind of be a hard sell comparatively.

graystone wrote:
Stances lock you into your stance attack though...

Only a couple stances actually do that. Tiger doesn't care what attacks you make.

Quote:
If you can always melee your foes and don't find the need for other weapon traits and damage types, I could see stances being better.

Few people said this so I thought I'd just address it here.

In terms of traits, there isn't really all that much to write home about regarding Monk weapons. Shuriken and Bo Staff stand out for obvious reasons, but those are specific choices (and you aren't going to get much out of your shifting rune with those two). Damage versatility is good, but I'm not sure it's prevalent enough to be worth the trade off.

So, like I said. It can work for specific builds, like if you're multiclassing for weapon-related options and shurikens stand out as a nice option, but beyond that there's not a lot going on.

That's why I think it should be better, because someone should be able to just say 'I want to use that sword' and be a monk with a temple sword and feel good about it. Right now that's not really the case and they need to jump around multiclassing for options to enable it and probably should ditch the temple sword for a better choice and I just don't think that's a good place for a feat that enables an entire archetype of character to be in.


Squiggit wrote:
Only a couple stances actually do that. Tiger doesn't care what attacks you make.

They do if the reason your in it was for that 'advanced weapon' level attack: you can't use that attack without the stance.

Squiggit wrote:
In terms of traits, there isn't really all that much to write home about regarding Monk weapons. Shuriken and Bo Staff stand out for obvious reasons, but those are specific choices (and you aren't going to get much out of your shifting rune with those two). Damage versatility is good, but I'm not sure it's prevalent enough to be worth the trade off.

Take for instance Nunchaku or sai: with finesse and disarm, you could use dex for the roll. Bo staff has reach trip. It's a feat that just gets better the more weapons get added to the game. Add in critical specialization for more variety [knife/dart, club, sword] past Brawling.

Squiggit wrote:
So, like I said. It can work for specific builds, like if you're multiclassing for weapon-related options and shurikens stand out as a nice option, but beyond that there's not a lot going on.

I like it BECAUSE it lets you avoid stances and keep up without keeping everything in one basket. Multi-class support is icing on the cake. Having the option for reach, parry, dex disarm, reach trip and reload 0 ranged in one feat works for me. If I'm tiger stance focused, it feels like lost resources if I'm not using tiger claw attacks all the time.

Squiggit wrote:
That's why I think it should be better, because someone should be able to just say 'I want to use that sword' and be a monk with a temple sword and feel good about it. Right now that's not really the case and they need to jump around multiclassing for options to enable it and probably should ditch the temple sword for a better choice and I just don't think that's a good place for a feat that enables an entire archetype of character to be in.

I've use a monk with Nunchaku, Sai, Bo Staff, Shuriken and temple sword and haven't felt any particular lack: some monk weapons aren't too exciting but that can be said of ANY category you look at.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Only a couple stances actually do that. Tiger doesn't care what attacks you make.

They do if the reason your in it was for that 'advanced weapon' level attack: you can't use that attack without the stance.

Squiggit wrote:
In terms of traits, there isn't really all that much to write home about regarding Monk weapons. Shuriken and Bo Staff stand out for obvious reasons, but those are specific choices (and you aren't going to get much out of your shifting rune with those two). Damage versatility is good, but I'm not sure it's prevalent enough to be worth the trade off.

Take for instance Nunchaku or sai: with finesse and disarm, you could use dex for the roll. Bo staff has reach trip. It's a feat that just gets better the more weapons get added to the game. Add in critical specialization for more variety [knife/dart, club, sword] past Brawling.

Squiggit wrote:
So, like I said. It can work for specific builds, like if you're multiclassing for weapon-related options and shurikens stand out as a nice option, but beyond that there's not a lot going on.

I like it BECAUSE it lets you avoid stances and keep up without keeping everything in one basket. Multi-class support is icing on the cake. Having the option for reach, parry, dex disarm, reach trip and reload 0 ranged in one feat works for me. If I'm tiger stance focused, it feels like lost resources if I'm not using tiger claw attacks all the time.

Squiggit wrote:
That's why I think it should be better, because someone should be able to just say 'I want to use that sword' and be a monk with a temple sword and feel good about it. Right now that's not really the case and they need to jump around multiclassing for options to enable it and probably should ditch the temple sword for a better choice and I just don't think that's a good place for a feat that enables an entire archetype of character to be in.
I've use a monk with Nunchaku, Sai, Bo Staff, Shuriken and temple sword and haven't felt any particular...

Some weapons also work very well with Monk class feats, the Bo Staff particularly is great with Tangled Forest Stance, letting you deny movement in a huge range.

You can Flurry with a Bo Staff and Trip at range, you can also combine weapons + stances.

Temple Sword + Ironblood stance lets you have 1d8S, 1d8B, parry, sweep trip and Resistance to all damage all at the same time. To do that with stances you need multiple feats (Stances + Fuse Stance at 20), Monastic weps does it in 1 + Stance.

A fun one is Monastic Wep + Wild Winds Stance, use weapon strikes in melee while being able to toss out ranged attacks while never switching weapons.

Having a weapons also lets you avoid having to spend an action entering a stance at the start of combat or spending class feats on Stance switching options.


Squiggit wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
If Rogue had a first level feat that let them pick up a whole bunch of weapons with funky traits and decent damage dice that work 100% with their Sneak Attack feature that'd be a decent feat.
It would be as rogues are now, but if the Rogue got that feat and then got another feat that gave them a weapon that was just flat out better than almost all of those martial options and made you move faster, the first feat would kind of be a hard sell comparatively.

Maybe I'm not being clear, and that's my bad. I don't think we're disagreeing here.

A feat like Monastic Weaponry--in my opinion--is a decent level 1 feat because it provides a good amount of martial flexibility and has room to grow as more options are introduced.

For Rogue, as it stands, a feat that provided more weapon options for Sneak Attack would be decent, because Rogue is somewhat limited in the weapon types and traits it has access to on weapons that it can also Sneak Attack with. This doesn't take into account a hypothetical feat that also gives it an attack like Tiger's Stance does, because Rogue doesn't have a Tiger Stance feat. That's sort of my point.

In a vaccuum, as far as level 1 feats go, there are worse feats, and this one in particular will only scale in usefulness as more options are introduced. Right now it's sort of still in the oven and mostly just provides proficiency in a bunch of different options.

For Monk in particular there are better feats, as you've pointed out. Recognizing this, I think that Monastic Weaponry is overshadowed by other fun feats that Monk has, such that it feels like more of a feat tax right now in order to pull off a more flavorful build.

However, even now it also has some interesting uses with other abilities. Take, for instance, its interaction with Tangled Forest Stance: using a Bo Staff's reach, a Monk with Monastic Weaponry and Tangled Forest Stance creates an area around themselves that makes it difficult for enemies to move.

Further, as things like the Zen Archer are introduced, more weapon options, and more feats that might use Monastic Weaponry as a prerequisite, I think this option will start to look more attractive, even if right now the level 1 stances are cooler.

Edit: Also--for my own edification, and because I can't find this online with a quick search--a Monk can flurry with Shuriken with Monastic Weaponry, right? I've been assuming they can but I haven't looked closely enough at it. It's Reload 0, so presumably the Monk's drawing both Shuriken in the Flurry action?

Paizo Employee

Seisho wrote:


The advantage of Monatic Weaponry over tanking stances is the flexibility. You still can do all your monk stuff without beeing limited and gain a number of good choices for damage, weapon properties and even ranged options that work in tandem with your other monk skills
Get one or two weapons with shifting runes and you always have the right tool for the job

From a "what do I get mechanically?" perspective, Monastic Weaponry is probably the best 1st level monk feat in the CRB. It's not terribly difficult to get a wide array of traits and damage types onto the monk, which is a big upgrade from the base chassis. Once you've got access to shifting runes and doubling rings / greater doubling rings you'll have far more versatility and equivalent or better action economy compared to a stance monk.

Where Monastic Weaponry doesn't shine as well is that it doesn't have specific support the way the stances do and some of the best things to combo onto it require you to either be human or take kind of a circuitous advancement where you circle back to grabbing level 1 feats so you can pick up Ki Strike and then grab Elemental Fist to maximize your ability to trigger weaknesses and always have exactly the right weapon and damage types for the situation. Or grabbing Stunning Fist as your first level 2 feat and then coming back at level 4 to grab Brawling Focus for your critical specializations. The current array of feats for Monastic Weaponry users kind of create a situation where the best builds are pretty recursive and draw on a lot of low to mid level feats, and there's just a kind of visceral resistance that comes into play when you've earned a level 6 feat but you're using that currency to buy a level 2 feat.

Monastic Weaponry just doesn't have the clean flow into obvious, on-level upgrades that the style-based feats have, even if it is individually much more versatile (and thus powerful) than any individual style feat.


graystone wrote:
Take for instance Nunchaku or sai: with finesse and disarm, you could use dex for the roll.

Per previous threads on this topic and developer comments, unarmed combatants can do that anyways. The traits on the temple sword, kama, sai, katar and nunchaku are pretty much meaningless as a result. Getting a ton of new options doesn't matter if they're all just worse.

Damage type flexibility is a thing, but my experience hasn't been that specific resistance to one type of physical damage is nearly relevant enough to make the trade off compelling.

Which again, pretty much just means bo staff, shuriken or seriously just grab a stance. "Monk who fights with nunchaku" is just a downgrade.

In fact, let's not even talk about stances. Nunchaku monk is literally worse than not even taking a feat at all.

Again, I've agreed from pretty much the beginning that certain options, like shurikens and bo staffs and multiclassing, are compelling, but "monk who fights with a sai" is a legitimate character concept in and Monastic Weaponry is a terrible feat for enabling that concept because the returns are just plain bad for them.

Saying the feat works well if you pick up this weapon and combine it with that stance and maybe grab these multiclass options is all well and good... until you run into someone who doesn't want to do that and just wants to hit people with a cool sword.


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Puna'chong wrote:
a Monk can flurry with Shuriken with Monastic Weaponry, right?

No... It makes no sense I can see but no.

"You can use melee monk weapons with any of your monk feats or monk abilities that normally require unarmed attacks"


Huh. So it is.

Well, that's a weird thing for Monastic Weaponry which I guess I'll be houseruling out. Seems weird that they'd restrict it to melee but then make a ranged Monk weapon. Future-proofing for a later feat or archetype I guess


Puna'chong wrote:

Huh. So it is.

Well, that's a weird thing for Monastic Weaponry which I guess I'll be houseruling out. Seems weird that they'd restrict it to melee but then make a ranged Monk weapon. Future-proofing for a later feat or archetype I guess

It seems even odder when they are making a zen archer: The difference in range and base damage alone dwarfs the Shuriken so if it allows you to flurry with a bow I really can't imagine the reason.

Sovereign Court

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The thing I don't really like about monastic weaponry is that it seems like it splits your fighting methods down the middle.

If you go for unarmed styles, you can get handwraps and enhance them, and they'll contribute in whatever stance you're in.

If you go for monastic weaponry and enhance one with fundamental runes, and use either doubling rings or a shifting rune, you can get the benefit on any other weapon.

But you can't combine those things. Investing your money into stances or investing your money into weapons doesn't combine well.


I will say that damage type versatility is a limited sell for me on a monk because many stances already give you two types of damage, because you can always use Powerful Fist for a default d6 bludgeoning. So if you pick up Wolf or Tiger you are already two thirds of the way there. Metal Strikes also offsets the utility of special materials, though I suppose you can get your hands on those weapons before the feat comes online.

But that brings up the other thing. There's a gold cost to taking advantage of the versatility of monastic weaponry. That makes it a harder sell (or harder buy, if you want to be clever about it.) If your campaign rains extra on level weaponry on you, that can help, but it also needs to be monk weapons and that is a pretty specific campaign.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Monastic Weaponry just doesn't have the clean flow into obvious, on-level upgrades that the style-based feats have

To be fair, I haven't seen a monk with Tiger or Wolf style actually take Tiger Slash or Wolf Drag yet, and Dragon Roar isn't great if you're charisma deficient.

It's mostly Mountain and Crane that have really obvious "take the rest of the feats" upgrades; with Wild Winds, Ironblood, and Tangled Forest having "good, but skippable" upgrades.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Monastic Weaponry just doesn't have the clean flow into obvious, on-level upgrades that the style-based feats have

To be fair, I haven't seen a monk with Tiger or Wolf style actually take Tiger Slash or Wolf Drag yet, and Dragon Roar isn't great if you're charisma deficient.

It's mostly Mountain and Crane that have really obvious "take the rest of the feats" upgrades; with Wild Winds, Ironblood, and Tangled Forest having "good, but skippable" upgrades.

This is my experience too: the base attack is nice for the stances but after that? When it's just the base stance you're looking at taking, Monastic Weaponry and none-stance feats don't look bad at all. Teleporting, waterwalking and tossing foes around are competing for those stance upgrades at 6th so if it's just getting an attack and then cool abilities after that, base stances and weapons aren't that different except the need to spend an action to get into a stance.


There is one thing I really wonder, having not playtested the game myself: how many weapons can a player generally afford to maintain decently upgraded with the gold earned from adventuring or downtime? A single feat giving access to many choices is good, but the number of choices becomes meaningless if you can only realistically afford a small fraction of them.

From what I saw, fundamental runes are expected to come up and be made available for the gear to be useful against encounters getting harder.

Speaking of runes, the returning rune makes shurikens completely pointless: the only difference between darts and shurikens for a monk is that shurikens can be drawn in an instant and thrown in quick succession, except the returning rune already allows thrown weapons to immediatly return to the thrower's hand upon hitting or missing and be thrown again. Oh, and the shuriken has negligible bulk while the dart has light bulk, but is that a big deal when you only need one with a 55gp property rune anyway?

Shurikens need something more to stand out because for now they have nothing.


FlashRebel: Generally it's a weapon and the Shifting rune to change weapon shapes. That lets you easily swap damage/crit types and keep your runes.

Shurikens: with these you don't have to carry one at all times to avoid the action to draw it like with a dart. People are going to start looking at you funny when you carry one in your hand at the bar and walking through the market.

Secondly, it triggers feats that require a reload 0 weapon like Double Shot/Hunted Shot - these are multiclass feats but you need something like this if you want to 'flurry' in ranged as the monk Flurry requires a melee weapon.


Monks can't flurry shuriken? That is...kind of a bummer, had to re-read the part to believe it but raw it really is that way...

I think I would allow Shuriken flurry anyway - I mean they are kind of the most...flurrysome weapon around :P

This is most likely an oversight


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As much as I'd like it to be I don't see how. Specifying 'melee' on monastic weaponry literally does nothing but prevent you from flurrying with a shuriken.


graystone wrote:

FlashRebel: Generally it's a weapon and the Shifting rune to change weapon shapes. That lets you easily swap damage/crit types and keep your runes.

Shurikens: with these you don't have to carry one at all times to avoid the action to draw it like with a dart. People are going to start looking at you funny when you carry one in your hand at the bar and walking through the market.

Secondly, it triggers feats that require a reload 0 weapon like Double Shot/Hunted Shot - these are multiclass feats but you need something like this if you want to 'flurry' in ranged as the monk Flurry requires a melee weapon.

Oh, good point there. I had forgotten about specific ranged weapon feats. Definitely interesting to have a thrown weapon (full Strength bonus to damage) usable with bow feats.

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