Why do I hate the monk where everyone seems to like it?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I would like to note, while I do like Monks and think they're a perfectly good class when you combine their high saves and AC, insane speed, FoB, and stances...and while I love Nonat1's videos, him being one of my favorite Pathfinder YouTubers...

He is notoriously not the best at balance questions. He puts a ridiculously high value on being able to do "everything" even if you're objectively bad at all of it. He does consider alchemist to be one of his favorite classes, and he considers Untrained Improvisation to be overwhelmingly the best general feat in the game.

Monk is good. I've got a player using one right now with the other players playing a Rogue, Cleric, and Magus, and she's come in clutch to save us more than once with how tanky she is compared to the rest of the party.

She doesn't have the best DPR, but that's what the Rogue and Magus are for!


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Mobility is a hard thing to put a value on. Monks aren't really competing with fighters and barbarians so much as swashbucklers and summoners, the other high mobility classes. How do you value the monk's extra mobility letting them only spend 1 action moving into attack when the other martial spends two? The monk has made two attacks to the martial's one, and still has a third action leftover.

Cool things about monks:

Three dimensional combat. Monks can climb better, jump farther, fall further, wall run, fly, and more. (Wall run is a little janky if taken RAW, but if you house rule to smooth out the edges with things like Flying Kick it is incredibly cinematic.)

Whirling Throw might be the single strongest battlefield control ability in the game. Forced movement is hard in Pathfinder, and this combos incredibly with spells like barrier, and is great for 3D combat. I've seen monks not only reach enemies their allies couldn't, but toss those enemies down to be curb stomped by said allies.

Ki powers. Lots of good options. Native flight, self heals, AoE, extra speed, extra damage... And at high levels you go super saiyan.

Damage versatility. Even if you just take one stance, you've probably gotten two damage types out of one rune set. You can also make that rune set into a ranged weapon with certain ki power stances.

Their mobility and free hands make them great at coming to the rescue for allies. Throw a flurry out, then grab a vulnerable adjacent ally and get them away from the front line. Feed an ally a potion without having to shuffle hands off things.

Metal Strikes makes them incredibly effective against the right foes. Precious materials are too expensive to keep up to snuff without prior knowledge that you'll actually be facing appropriate enemies. Monks just getting it is a really nice perk, albeit one I wish kicked in earlier. Demons, devils, velstracs, fey... These enemies have an annoying tendency to pop up without warning and metal strike tears them apart.

Some pretty solid ways to avoid AoOs.

Sleeper Hold does something pretty much no other martial ability does, even if you need to be over leveled to reliably do it to foes. This, the mobility, and lack of weapons give them serious infiltration and scouting potential.

Speaking of scouting, great defenses plus ultimate mobility means a monk can usually get away if they are caught.

AlastarOG wrote:


Stances are cool: yeah they are... but they also cost you an action to give you a means of attack that's not really better than picking up a weapon.

They are, actually, compared to finesse weapons.

Quote:
Best AC after champion!: Except not really... unless you go 18dex at start, which is valid, you're going to be struggling behind the rest of the martials for the early levels as they just rock full plate ASAP.

This reads as "unless you make specific build choices with the monk, you'll be behind other martials making specific build choices." And that's not a meaningful critique because only two martial classes get native heavy armor. And you also can't create a level 1 character with full plate, which people always seem to omit when they talk about early levels.

Quote:
but at this point you've committed to finesse stances

Have you though? There's nothing stopping you from retraining into strength stances for levels 5-9 and 15-19. Plus, those finesse stances are great.

Quote:
Best unarmed fighter Barbarian does it WAY better, fighter does it better, Magus does it better. Several classes out there outshine the monk at unarmed fighting, by a lot!

Fighter and Magus aren't better natively. Certainly not before they can get FoB. You can make a case for the animal barbarian, but they also get intense anathema and really, really specific flavor.

Quote:
Flurry of blows is so good: It's an action economy thing, provides no added accuracy, and its on par with several other similar feats like hunted shot or twin takedown (except the ranger is actually good at using these to attack 4 times!)

PF2 monks aren't supposed to attack 4 times. That was PF1 monks. PF2 monks attack twice, much like most other martials, and then have two actions to do whatever else.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:


Cool things about monks:

One thing I've noticed, and this may or may not be a problem depending on your perspective, but I've noticed many of the features you've described are all coming from feats (metal strikes doesn't and some of the mobility doesn't, but a lot of the other stuff does).

And I feel like that might be one pain point or confusion point. A lot of what makes a monk cool and good comes from those class options and how you invest in them.

By contrast, I feel like for the most part the best parts of the fighter start and end with their chassis. You get that sweet +2 and a solid set of baseline proficiencies and everything else is almost gravy tbh. For a lot of other classes it really comes down to just a couple core feats too.

Again, might be considered a good (or bad) thing for some people, but just something that stands out from the discourse I see surrounding the class.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


Cool things about monks:

One thing I've noticed, and this may or may not be a problem depending on your perspective, but I've noticed many of the features you've described are all coming from feats (metal strikes doesn't and some of the mobility doesn't, but a lot of the other stuff does).

And I feel like that might be one pain point or confusion point. A lot of what makes a monk cool and good comes from those class options and how you invest in them.

By contrast, I feel like for the most part the best parts of the fighter start and end with their chassis. You get that sweet +2 and a solid set of baseline proficiencies and everything else is almost gravy tbh. For a lot of other classes it really comes down to just a couple core feats too.

Again, might be considered a good (or bad) thing for some people, but just something that stands out from the discourse I see surrounding the class.
[/QUOTE
True, but to be fair part of that is how unique the monk options are. I can think of like two fighter unique fighters feats that feel interesting and notable.


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I think the main stocking point is the mobility. If you don't have the space to make use of it then being the fastest isn't a selling point. But I've seen a monk run 50 feet up a Castle Wall and throw otherwise really troublesome enemies to their party (any Elden Ring players Will know how great it would be to just get to the ballistae/caster etc in 6s)


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I agree that mobility is a big draw. My party once faced two NPC monks alongside a minor boss. In the first round, the monks used ki rush to close 80 feet in 1 action, did flurry of blows, and backed off 40 feet. The party's fighter was a dwarf, and even with sudden charge, it was hard to close the distance around the various bits of difficult terrain. If he did close and get an attack off, they could then flurry on their turn, and back off 80 feet.


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gesalt wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
What's difference between a monk spending 1 action to get into stance and a fighter spending 1 action to draw a weapon?
Typically, unless you're in a town/settlement/whatever that weapon is out at all times.

You must have a very nice gm because i would not allow a character to always have a weapon at hand for 8 hours of cross-country travel.


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Also just with how the interact action works someone needs a hand empty to open doors etc. Your sword and board fighter can't have both out and be point man if there is anything I'm the way between encounters. Alot of my encounters start with opening doors, climbing etc.


I've got a Wild Shape Monk in PFS, unfortunately still low level so I haven't been able to play much with Wild Shape. But this is the strongest Wild Shape build you can come up with at low level (besides level 3 where only druids can Wild Shape). And even when you get to 10 (when Fighters can get both Martial Artist for their proficiency issue and Flurry of Blows), the Monk has way more options than the feat constrained Fighter.

At some point, you get crazy reach, crazy mobility, Stand Still that triggers on movement and can even disrupt it, and feats like Knockback Strike to push the enemies away from you. And on top of that an excellent damage output, largely on par with the highest damage dealer in the game.


SuperBidi wrote:

I've got a Wild Shape Monk in PFS, unfortunately still low level so I haven't been able to play much with Wild Shape. But this is the strongest Wild Shape build you can come up with at low level (besides level 3 where only druids can Wild Shape). And even when you get to 10 (when Fighters can get both Martial Artist for their proficiency issue and Flurry of Blows), the Monk has way more options than the feat constrained Fighter.

At some point, you get crazy reach, crazy mobility, Stand Still that triggers on movement and can even disrupt it, and feats like Knockback Strike to push the enemies away from you. And on top of that an excellent damage output, largely on par with the highest damage dealer in the game.

Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.


I like the monk class because it has almost everything a character may want:

Quote:

- 1 action to attack twice ( eventually, with monk weapons )

- 10hp/lvl
- Excellent saving throws progression ( of your choice )
- Improved refocus ( x2/x3 )
- 4 skills + int
- High AC
- High Speed
- Stances + special attacks

I admit I am a little sad paizo forbid monks from benefitting from the sentinel dedication, but I understand it's for balance purposes.

But apart from that, I think that being MAD is the major downside of the class ( but since we have plenty of classes forced into specific stats, it's not a major flaw ).


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AlastarOG wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

I've got a Wild Shape Monk in PFS, unfortunately still low level so I haven't been able to play much with Wild Shape. But this is the strongest Wild Shape build you can come up with at low level (besides level 3 where only druids can Wild Shape). And even when you get to 10 (when Fighters can get both Martial Artist for their proficiency issue and Flurry of Blows), the Monk has way more options than the feat constrained Fighter.

At some point, you get crazy reach, crazy mobility, Stand Still that triggers on movement and can even disrupt it, and feats like Knockback Strike to push the enemies away from you. And on top of that an excellent damage output, largely on par with the highest damage dealer in the game.

Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.


Ahhhh ok wild shape monk has great damage!

I buy that !


SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:


Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.

So ignoring all the monk powers bar Fury of Blows? Got any other suggestions?


Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:


Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.

So ignoring all the monk powers bar Fury of Blows? Got any other suggestions?

Also probably better as a fighter cause of the insanely high attack rolls ... Depending on if you need mobility or not.

Which brings me back to the mobility argument. I think a good ballpark would be that 30-40% of encounters benefit from high speed. There's a skew if players build around speed tactics (such as scouting and starting the encounter at range from as far as possible)

But this is more than the monk only, the whole team needs good speed, otherwise you have a Monk being gangbanged alone on the frontline while the rest are potshotting.

Also while monk has the biggest status bonus to speed, other classes have enough speed inbuilt to be effective in around 80% of encounters where speed is a factor.

Barbs with fast rage
Inventor with speed booster
Swashy
Summoner with evolution surge
All casters with primal and arcane (longstrider)

I'd also add in that items can cover a lot of the big speed gaps, in my age of ashes we had an animal barbarian with 55 speed (fast barb, fleet, boots of striding, nimble elf) who kept rushing ahead in the big maps using predators pounce.

When he did that the champion just used her cloak of the mountebank to dimension door next to him.


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Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:


Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.

So ignoring all the monk powers bar Fury of Blows? Got any other suggestions?

I don't know if your answer was sarcastic or not.

You can benefit from most Monk features, actually, as long as they don't add damage (and even in that case, it's really up to the GM). You get your extra movement, as it's a status bonus, Metal Strikes, too. And there are even stances that don't force you to use their attack (Ironblood Stance springs to mind as a perfectly usable Stance while Wild Shaped).

AlastarOG wrote:
Also probably better as a fighter cause of the insanely high attack rolls ... Depending on if you need mobility or not.

You can't benefit from the Fighter high attack rolls as your attacks are in no weapon group. So you need to take Martial Artist for that. Hence the fact that the Monk does it better than the Fighter (unless you focus only on very high levels).


They're in the brawling weapon group no ?


AlastarOG wrote:
They're in the brawling weapon group no ?

Nope.

I'm pretty sure there's no rule stating that an attack without weapon group befalls to the brawling weapon group.


SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
They're in the brawling weapon group no ?

Nope.

I'm pretty sure there's no rule stating that an attack without weapon group befalls to the brawling weapon group.

well fists are and they're the default unarmed attack, stands to reason all unarmed attacks would fall there unless contrary notion.

I understand your argument but I think you'll find a lot of DM's allow that, I certainly would, as this is already a huge commitment to a fighting style that's not super efficient (waste 2 actions to cast wild shape every fight)

If you rule that way with WS attacks then sure, monk stands out.

But if I wanted to do a polymorph animal fighter as a theme I'd go Animal barbarian (more action efficient, more damage) or Dragon barbarian (dragon form is very fun!)


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AlastarOG wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
They're in the brawling weapon group no ?

Nope.

I'm pretty sure there's no rule stating that an attack without weapon group befalls to the brawling weapon group.

well fists are and they're the default unarmed attack, stands to reason all unarmed attacks would fall there unless contrary notion.

I understand your argument but I think you'll find a lot of DM's allow that, I certainly would, as this is already a huge commitment to a fighting style that's not super efficient (waste 2 actions to cast wild shape every fight)

If you rule that way with WS attacks then sure, monk stands out.

But if I wanted to do a polymorph animal fighter as a theme I'd go Animal barbarian (more action efficient, more damage) or Dragon barbarian (dragon form is very fun!)

Sorry, but you can't bring the argument of "most GMs will houserule it so Fighter wins again" in a discussion about balance. Also, I think you vastly undervalue what +4 to attack does, this Fighter outdamages your Barbarians by at least 20% (Graphs). And at level 13+ you no more need to use actions to Wild Shape as you use Form Control at that stage.

So, I think that from a Balance point of view you really need to apply this rule. This Fighter is still doable, but you now need to jump through hoops to make it work so it's only doable at really high level.


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AlastarOG wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
They're in the brawling weapon group no ?

Nope.

I'm pretty sure there's no rule stating that an attack without weapon group befalls to the brawling weapon group.

well fists are and they're the default unarmed attack, stands to reason all unarmed attacks would fall there unless contrary notion.

No its actually the opposite. No unarmed attack or weapon belongs to a weapon group unless it explicitly says. It may seem like the default but its just not true. None of the battle forms are in a weapon group. Which means they don't have a critical specialization effect. Thats a concern, but double damage is still an Ok critical.


SuperBidi wrote:
Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:


Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.

So ignoring all the monk powers bar Fury of Blows? Got any other suggestions?

I don't know if your answer was sarcastic or not.

You can benefit from most Monk features, actually, as long as they don't add damage (and even in that case, it's really up to the GM). You get your extra movement, as it's a status bonus, Metal Strikes, too. And there are even stances that don't force you to use their attack (Ironblood Stance springs to mind as a perfectly usable Stance while Wild Shaped).

I guess it was. Sorry I just consider that particular build broken especially as I allow additional damage to apply (I consider wild shape too weak without it). But really something in the class is the point. All that FoB is doing is giving you an extra action, but one extra attack with a full MAP is not particularily exciting. So how do you use that extra action.


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Gortle wrote:
I guess it was. Sorry I just consider that particular build broken especially as I allow additional damage to apply (I consider wild shape too weak without it). But really something in the class is the point. All that FoB is doing is giving you an extra action, but one extra attack with a full MAP is not particularily exciting. So how do you use that extra action.

I agree the issue with Wild Shape is the additional damage. I just realized I've considered the runes in my graphs, but anyway even if you don't take Elemental Runes you can take other Runes, so it's not much of a downgrade power wise.

About your actions, movement is obvious. Especially when you consider the crazy Reach you end up with, forcing the enemy to lose a move action to come to you means triggering Stand Still and making them lose an action.
As you need Druid Dedication for Wild Shape, I also love to grab a Wand of Vital Beacon and heal myself in the middle of the fight.
Some stances are usable, Ironblood Stance is really nice.
You also need to spend 2 actions to Wild Shape during the first round before you get Form Control. So at least you don't lose your second attack.


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Davido1000 wrote:
gesalt wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
What's difference between a monk spending 1 action to get into stance and a fighter spending 1 action to draw a weapon?
Typically, unless you're in a town/settlement/whatever that weapon is out at all times.
You must have a very nice gm because i would not allow a character to always have a weapon at hand for 8 hours of cross-country travel.

It's more like if there's even the barest narrative hint that there's trouble, the weapons are out before the potential encounter even starts unless there's some compelling reason to not immediately do so.

And that's aside from "totally unanticipated ambush encounter during overland travel" being significantly rarer than "active exploration of a dangerous area" where no matter how blindingly obvious the coming encounter might be, the monk can't ready themselves at all. But that's not so bad. After all, lots of martials have action taxes before they're allowed to be effective in combat. Rangers hunt, barbarians rage, monks take a stance, etc.

At least monk isn't taxed twice during those rare encounters to both draw weapon and press their usefulness button. But gold standard fighter isn't double taxed either and isn't taxed at all the rest of the time.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One more cool thing I'll add: no penalty non-lethal. Monks are great for capturing enemies alive, and interrogation can be an extremely useful tool.

AlastarOG wrote:
Gortle wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:


Can you elaborate on the damage output because I'm just not seeing it.

All three monks that I've seen play hit for roughly half the damage of the rest of the team.

Wild Shape gives you a +2 status bonus to attack. So, if you are in a party without significant status bonuses to attack, it's basically the equivalent of the Fighter bonus.

The form damage is not crazy but not low: 2d8+1 at level 4, 2d8+5 at level 5, 2d8+9 at level 7, 4d8+7 at level 9 and 4d8+15 at level 17.
You have flurry of blows as action economy booster. And Stand Still + massive reach as a nice reaction.

It should be competitive with most martials but the most optimized one.

So ignoring all the monk powers bar Fury of Blows? Got any other suggestions?

Also probably better as a fighter cause of the insanely high attack rolls ... Depending on if you need mobility or not.

Which brings me back to the mobility argument. I think a good ballpark would be that 30-40% of encounters benefit from high speed. There's a skew if players build around speed tactics (such as scouting and starting the encounter at range from as far as possible)

But this is more than the monk only, the whole team needs good speed, otherwise you have a Monk being gangbanged alone on the frontline while the rest are potshotting.

Also while monk has the biggest status bonus to speed, other classes have enough speed inbuilt to be effective in around 80% of encounters where speed is a factor.

Barbs with fast rage
Inventor with speed booster
Swashy
Summoner with evolution surge
All casters with primal and arcane (longstrider)

I'd also add in that items can cover a lot of the big speed gaps, in my age of ashes we had an animal barbarian with 55 speed (fast barb, fleet, boots of striding, nimble elf) who kept rushing ahead in the big maps using predators pounce.

When he did that the champion just used her cloak of the mountebank to dimension door next to him.

If your monk is the only one on the front line, they are in an extremely good position to use hit and run tactics.

Also, in both your assessment of mobility and in your framing of poachable abilities you are kind of underselling the cost in investing in it. Monks can make similar investments in their mobility and wind up not only significantly faster but with abilities like Wind Jump to help them bypass difficult terrain and deal with flying enemies and what have you. Or they can multiclass and pick up extra damage from rage or sneak attack. (Wolf Stance with Sneak Attacker hits pretty damn hard all things considered.)

I see the same issue when people assess the battle oracle. Getting a bunch of abilities handed to you is better than having to buy them all.


In general I agree with your assessment Captain Morgan, but it depends a bit.

As an exemple, we don't have a monk in this party, but we're level 4 on it so I'm about as fast as a monk.

In the group I'm talking about, I play an armor inventor with speed boost, and I'm in a party with a dragon summoner, earth order druid and curse witch.

We're all elves.

Oftentimes we start the fight from afar, cause we're all decent in stealth, cause elf, and then have the druid land either entangle or web from afar to slow down ennemies, and pelt them with ranged attacks until they get to within around 50-60ft, then me and the summoner switch to speed and melee to go in, stay 1-2 rounds until we get got good, then back up using the insane speed to the druid who patches us up while the witch lands debuffs as best she can (with reach spell).

This has been working VERY well. However, this was a group effort that was made possible through two factors:

1: My armor innovation is flexible, so I swapped out from the resistances I initially picked using the rework ability.
2: the summoner's evolution surge allows her to trigger this, or not.

The Monk does not have those options. The monk is always fast.

One of the worst fights we had was us locked with 8 brigands in a small cave with only 2 torches. The mobility was definitely not a key factor there, but that didn't matter because my kit as an armor inventor was still super strong, and the summoner didn't evolution surge, she just started shredding.

A monk that is used to hit and run tactics would not have fared as well.

This is simply the nuance i'm trying to underline.

Overall, I'd say you're right and monks are definitely the kings of mobility (along with others like the swashy and the laughing skulls Magus ;)) with their built in mobility. But there is such a thing as too much mobility in a lot of encounters.

Still, better to have it than not, on that we agree!


AlastarOG wrote:

Overall, I'd say you're right and monks are definitely the kings of mobility (along with others like the swashy and the laughing skulls Magus ;)) with their built in mobility. But there is such a thing as too much mobility in a lot of encounters.

Still, better to have it than not, on that we agree!

So... you're going to have to explain your enchantment with the swashbuckler as far as mobility is concerned, because I'm honestly nto seeing it. The monk gets extra movement on the chassis, sure. Then they also get FoB at level 1, so they can afford to spend two actions on movement while also getting two attacks. At level 10, other folks can poach FoB, and at that same level, the monk gets to pick up Winding Flow, and they *still* get one more full movement action per turn than anyone else.

For *other* movement-related monk feats, not including those that are stance specific, we have Dancing Leaf, Flying Kick, Guarded Movement, Abundant Step, Water Step, Wall Run, Wind Jump, Dodging Roll (sort of), Empty Body, Swift River, and Enduring Quickness.

The Swashbuckler, sum total, gets Tumble Behind (sort of), Flamboyant Athlete, Nimble Roll, Mobile Finisher, and Vivacious Afterimage (sort of)

Starting from level 3, the swashbucker has a movement of +5/+10 panache, and scales up to +15/+30 panache. The monk starts at +10, and scales up to +30. Admittedly, at levels 1 and 2, the swashbucker gets +0/+5 panache, and the monk gets nothing, but maintaining panache isn't free. Sure, any swashbuckler player out there is going to have techniques for gaining and maintaining panache, but those often take actions, no?


Oh definitely, Swashy isn't AS good as the monk at moving around, but they're out there with them.

If you add in the free skill feats they gain they can be on the level of monks who don't use their class feats for these. Don't forget that there's an opportunity cost for all the feats you said.

Also Swashy's can start with panache if they want to, and have overall better acrobatics and (possibly) athletics checks when they have panache.

Since Gymnast Swashys at 10+ kind of want to keep panache as much as possible I'd argue that they're very close mobility wise to a monk that tries.

Not quite there, but close.

I just think the two classes have similar feel, but I like the Panache mechanic more. I do realize that's an opinion though.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Monks do get some options when mobility is limited. Small rooms are easy to bisect with Wall of Flame, and if your druid casts that Whirling Throw will get huge mileage. It is also a good idea to pick up one of the two action attacks for when you need to stand and bang. I don't love those feats because they require you to use your full turn to use them plus flurry, but they have a use.

Also, I haven't known summoners to particularly out damage monks in practice. Eidolon damage is pretty modest, and they can have awkward AC gaps if you try to max it. (To Squiggit's point, though, they also rely on their feats to define their build in a big way.)

Glad to hear your group has been effective though. It warms my heart to hear about good tactics, range, and mobility paying off in battle. I have found the community to overfixate on close quarters encounters and that tends to exacerbate the difficulty curve of the game.


Summoners at the lower levels outdamage monks with the old:

Boost eidolon
Demoralize (or move)
Primary
Secondary.

Even at level 1 that does 1d8+6 and 1d6+6 (with agile) against an AC possibly 1 or 2 lower.

Meanwhile the monk is probably rocking something like:
Move
feint (or whatnot, I always struggle to find actions to do with monk)
Flurry of blows

and those fists do probly something around 1d6+2/3 or 1d8+2/3. (maybe 4 if you went tiger or 1d10+4 for dragon, still 9.5 vs eidolon's 10.5)

that gap is going to get even worst at 3-4 when boost eidolon becomes even better, moving damage to 2d8+8 with striking runes vs the monk's 2d8+2-3. (15 for full strenght dragon style vs 17 for summoner)

At levels above 5 the monk catches back on strength most likely, or if they were dragon the difference remains the same mostly.

Then it depends on eidolon itself, some of them get damage boosts. What's notable here is that this is just the standard eidolon damage output, its baked in. The monk, meanwhile, to do lower damage than a basic ass summoner, has to go full strength (lowering their AC) and dragon style (notable for its lack of agile trait).

Might pick up at higher levels though.

Actually now that I think about it summoners and monk are kinda similar in their scaling ?

Both have AoO (stand stil vs eidolon's opportunity, they each have pros and cons)

Energy heart vs ki strike

Ki blast vs eidolon's wrath.

I'm wondering if we look at level 12 with greater striking runes what the gap in expected damage would be ?

EDITED: following humble gamer's comment.

With strike strike electric arc damage is around
9.5 primary
7.5 secondary
13 for electric arc
so round 30

For monk full attack is .
7.5 primary
7.5 secondary
7.5 tertiary
7.5 tertiary (bis)
So round 30 too, but incredibly less accurate.

I guess I could graph it if people are interested?


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Also, tbh, this whole thread has made me want to play a whirling throw dragon style monk, so good talks !


Captain Morgan wrote:


Also, I haven't known summoners to particularly out damage monks in practice. Eidolon damage is pretty modest, and they can have awkward AC gaps if you try to max it. (To Squiggit's point, though, they also rely on their feats to define their build in a big way.)

How so?

Monks should be outdamaged by a lot even with the standard 2x strike + electric arc ( a monk might dare to flurry + Electric Arc, but its DC would be laughable at, compared to the summoner's ).

So, even leaving apart stuff like:

- Merciless Rend
- AoE spells
- Eidolon's Wrath
- Eidolon's Opportunity ( which is going to trigger more than stand still because of the increased reach )
- Boost Eidolon
- Etc...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The monk gets agile on their d8 attack, which does help offset the boost damage. That's also an optimal turn for the summoner-- if they themselves have to move their DPR goes down, while the monk remains pretty constant. Even with that optimal round, They've only got one miscellaneous actions to spare to the monk's two. A monk could use that action to raise a shield and suddenly the Dex monk has a whopping 4 points higher armor class at low levels.

Also, stunning fist comes in on top of their attacks, which IMO is easily worth a point or two of damage despite incapacitation.


HumbleGamer wrote:


How so?

Monks should be outdamaged by a lot even with the standard 2x strike + electric arc ( a monk might dare to flurry + Electric Arc, but its DC would be laughable at, compared to the summoner's ).

So, even leaving apart stuff like:

- Merciless Rend
- AoE spells
- Eidolon's Wrath
- Eidolon's Opportunity ( which is going to trigger more than stand still because of the increased reach )
- Boost Eidolon
- Etc...

That's where the "in practice" comes in. 2x strike + EA means that you have to have the enemy in reach of the eidolon, have the summoner within 30 feet but not in reach of something that can respond with opportunity attack, and not need to do anything else with your turn. Having EA proc twice rather than once requires that the summoner be within 30 feet of two different enemies.

This can all happen, and there are parties that are reasonable well-optimized for making it happen, but it's pretty much ideal simplified conditions. The whole thing about the extra actions and the mobility is that the monk really shines when conditions are either less than ideal or distinctly nonsimple.

...and yeah, you can find ways to make it happen more consistently as the summoner, too (like, say, going Plant Eidolon and grabbing the stuff that gives you more reach). In practice, though, it's still something you have to work around.


Captain Morgan wrote:

The monk gets agile on their d8 attack, which does help offset the boost damage. That's also an optimal turn for the summoner-- if they themselves have to move their DPR goes down, while the monk remains pretty constant. Even with that optimal round, They've only got one miscellaneous actions to spare to the monk's two. A monk could use that action to raise a shield and suddenly the Dex monk has a whopping 4 points higher armor class at low levels.

Also, stunning fist comes in on top of their attacks, which IMO is easily worth a point or two of damage despite incapacitation.

No one is saying summoner is more defensive, or controls better, but damage wise their output is much higher. Using a secondary attack for the agile trait only loses you -1 to damage, which is offset with higher strength and boost eidolon.

Also monks get 2 actions in one with FOB and 2 other actions.

Summoners just straight up get 4 actions.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:


How so?

Monks should be outdamaged by a lot even with the standard 2x strike + electric arc ( a monk might dare to flurry + Electric Arc, but its DC would be laughable at, compared to the summoner's ).

So, even leaving apart stuff like:

- Merciless Rend
- AoE spells
- Eidolon's Wrath
- Eidolon's Opportunity ( which is going to trigger more than stand still because of the increased reach )
- Boost Eidolon
- Etc...

That's where the "in practice" comes in. 2x strike + EA means that you have to have the enemy in reach of the eidolon, have the summoner within 30 feet but not in reach of something that can respond with opportunity attack, and not need to do anything else with your turn. Having EA proc twice rather than once requires that the summoner be within 30 feet of two different enemies.

This can all happen, and there are parties that are reasonable well-optimized for making it happen, but it's pretty much ideal simplified conditions. The whole thing about the extra actions and the mobility is that the monk really shines when conditions are either less than ideal or distinctly nonsimple.

...and yeah, you can find ways to make it happen more consistently as the summoner, too (like, say, going Plant Eidolon and grabbing the stuff that gives you more reach). In practice, though, it's still something you have to work around.

yeah but as I said above, even with boost eidolon move strike strike summoner outperforms the monk.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
AlastarOG wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

The monk gets agile on their d8 attack, which does help offset the boost damage. That's also an optimal turn for the summoner-- if they themselves have to move their DPR goes down, while the monk remains pretty constant. Even with that optimal round, They've only got one miscellaneous actions to spare to the monk's two. A monk could use that action to raise a shield and suddenly the Dex monk has a whopping 4 points higher armor class at low levels.

Also, stunning fist comes in on top of their attacks, which IMO is easily worth a point or two of damage despite incapacitation.

No one is saying summoner is more defensive, or controls better, but damage wise their output is much higher. Using a secondary attack for the agile trait only loses you -1 to damage, which is offset with higher strength and boost eidolon.

Also monks get 2 actions in one with FOB and 2 other actions.

Summoners just straight up get 4 actions.

Right, but that superior damage requires the use of all 4 of those actions. Where the monk only needs to dedicate one of it's actions to attacking and is still pretty much optimal.

And it isn't like only getting one strike off, or getting two without boost, I'd a terrible round or anything. But you're falling behind the monk at that point.

One other interesting thing: shared proficiencies means the eidolon isn't necessarily trained in acrobatics and athletics, which kind of surprised me as a GM. Not having a viable shot at Tumble Through or Shove makes it much harder to set up flanks once doors are blocked.


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I had a blast with my tiger monk iruxi with a beast master raptor pal. We were shredding in extinction curse. I was fluffing my character as a turncoat xugalath. Most fun I've had so far with a p2e character. Creeper and Fluffy will always hold a special place in my heart.


NECR0G1ANT wrote:
FoB is good, but you need to find something useful for the rest of your turn. MADness hurts here, manuevers are useless, skirmishing denies allies a flanking partner, so that leaves Raise a Shield.

Maneuvers aren't useless if you grab Assurance(Athletics). It ignores MAP and scales fine if you keep Athletics proficiency up. Extreme saves might be borderline depending on encounter difficulty but if assurance fails, target a different save.

Want to up the DAKKA! of maneuvers? Pickup Crushing Grab (Grapple,) MC Rogue for Harder They Fall (Trip,) or just archetype Wrestler for all sorts of maneuver shenanigans.

Whatever route you go, enjoy your solid damage, mobility, and saves while snacking on the enemies actions and controlling the battlefield...

Stunned(Stunning Fist): eats 1 action
Prone(Trip): eats 1 action (stand to remove -2 attack penalty & Flat-footed) and will make any class w/ AoO happy (Stand is a Move action)
Grapple: eats 1 action to Escape if they want to move and remove Flat-Footed and the mild caster debuff from Grabbed


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Assurance Athletics has been kind of hit and miss so far in the game I GM with a swashy with assurance athletics as well as with my inventor.

Most of the time when I use it it doesn't work.


Captain Morgan wrote:

The monk gets agile on their d8 attack, which does help offset the boost damage. That's also an optimal turn for the summoner-- if they themselves have to move their DPR goes down, while the monk remains pretty constant. Even with that optimal round, They've only got one miscellaneous actions to spare to the monk's two. A monk could use that action to raise a shield and suddenly the Dex monk has a whopping 4 points higher armor class at low levels.

Also, stunning fist comes in on top of their attacks, which IMO is easily worth a point or two of damage despite incapacitation.

Yes this was what I really say for the monk, Agile d8, combining with the extra attack option from flurry. Plus Ki Strike. It is something. Is it enough?

I so dislike shields on animal barbarians and unarmed monks, just from a flavour point of view. But I guess its part of the game.

Scarab Sages

Assurance (Athletics) for combat maneuvers only consistently works on on-level enemies if they have a Terrible saving throw to target. If the foe just has a Low save, it ususallyworks.

On foes of a higher level than you, you basically have to lower the modifiers for it to work. Foes that are a couple level lowers than you can still be affected if they're saving throw was Low to begin with (or sometimesModerate.

Plus you have to know which of the foe's saves are bad. So it can work if you have lots of party synergy, but there are better ways.


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I like shields for peafowl stance. Sword and board style. Otherwise, it is a little weird.


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One idea I had for a Monk would be to grab the Duelist Dedication. Since Monk AC is some of the highest in the game and they have some pretty excellent unarmed strikes, they can make pretty good use out of the Duelist's riposte abilities.

I also think the Monk's stance support feats makes them unexpectedly good Marshals, if you'd rather go for a support monk. Marshal gives a lot of party support actions that are a good use of a third action after one has strode and flurried in a round.


Ventnor wrote:

One idea I had for a Monk would be to grab the Duelist Dedication. Since Monk AC is some of the highest in the game and they have some pretty excellent unarmed strikes, they can make pretty good use out of the Duelist's riposte abilities.

I also think the Monk's stance support feats makes them unexpectedly good Marshals, if you'd rather go for a support monk. Marshal gives a lot of party support actions that are a good use of a third action after one has strode and flurried in a round.

The charisma monk is a rarity. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun though. Have to go with weapons if you're sticking with the marshal stances. Not a bad deal I would say.


Who would win in a fight, everyone who hates the monk, or Goku?


Goku can destroy planets so I'd say Goku!


aobst128 wrote:
Ventnor wrote:

One idea I had for a Monk would be to grab the Duelist Dedication. Since Monk AC is some of the highest in the game and they have some pretty excellent unarmed strikes, they can make pretty good use out of the Duelist's riposte abilities.

I also think the Monk's stance support feats makes them unexpectedly good Marshals, if you'd rather go for a support monk. Marshal gives a lot of party support actions that are a good use of a third action after one has strode and flurried in a round.

The charisma monk is a rarity. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun though. Have to go with weapons if you're sticking with the marshal stances. Not a bad deal I would say.

Swashy dedication would net you opportune riposte on that build on top of that. Still requires 14 charisma though.

Dueling parry can give you the AC of a shield without the visuals of a shield.

Plus you can grab some slight bonus damage while having panache for doing actions like tumble through and trip that you'd be doing otherwise.


pauljathome wrote:

I think that at levels 10+ monks start to lose their lustre. Lots of other classes can poach flurry of blows and often use it better than the monk. And others can generally be fast enough with long strider and boots of bounding. At that point their defences are one of their best features (the AC issue doesn't kick in until level 17).

But prior to level 10 flurry is the best action economy boost in the game. They're mobile. They're tanky (especially when using a shield). They're fun to play.

Judging a class only on how they perform at high levels just seems wrong to me.

Most classes don't actively synergize with flurry of blows unless you pick up Monk Weapons. Namely because weapons are not unarmed strikes. That is a distinction that is important to remember.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

I think that at levels 10+ monks start to lose their lustre. Lots of other classes can poach flurry of blows and often use it better than the monk. And others can generally be fast enough with long strider and boots of bounding. At that point their defences are one of their best features (the AC issue doesn't kick in until level 17).

But prior to level 10 flurry is the best action economy boost in the game. They're mobile. They're tanky (especially when using a shield). They're fun to play.

Judging a class only on how they perform at high levels just seems wrong to me.

Most classes don't actively synergize with flurry of blows unless you pick up Monk Weapons. Namely because weapons are not unarmed strikes. That is a distinction that is important to remember.

If you plan to use FOB at 10th level, you probably would pick up a stance before then. Stumbling and gorilla are the choice ones because of the absence of unarmored as a requirement.

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