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


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So I was listening to this video by Nonat1's: D&D vs Pathfinder - Monk

(Nonat if you read this, love your stuff, keep doing it)

And there was a statement at the end that got my hackles up, and it was kind of the last drop in a goblet of rant, so let me ask the question:

Why do people love the monk so much?

And I don't mean the theme, the theme is fine, I mean mechanically.

So people break it down into these major points I think:

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.
Best saves in the game!: Not really... more flexible sure but rogues, rangers, barbarians even bards get legendary/master/expert as a saves spread. Monks just are more flexible into where it goes but if you assume all saves happen 1/3 of the time, this changes nothing (depends on campaign I guess?)
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. Then if you got 18 dex at start you lose incentive to boost it when it gets to 20 because it doesn't give AC, but at this point you've committed to finesse stances and AC so you kinda have to keep building it despite it not giving you AC anymore...
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!
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!)

So there's probably other points but basically if you take that into account, and then take into account the fact that starting at 18 dex (only valid choice if you want to use that high AC without using mountain stance) means you can start with 16 STr AT BEST and then are stuck using finesse stances that have lower damage, your damage is kinda s+*!.

This makes me perceive the monk as being a kind of jack of all trade master of none 5th person kinda class and that's just so... lackluster to me...

I don't understand why people want to play monks overall, I even find myself coming up with super cool concepts once in a while that I know would be awesome as monks! Then I start to build them and I'm like.... urgh... no... imma do a rogue or something instead....(Thief racket rogue with martial artist archetype mostly outperforms the monk)

Anyways, comment or try to prove me wrong!


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So one of the strengths of the whole Pathfinder 2e game is the whole 3-action system, and the Monk is the class that gets to play the most games with it.

Monks start out with a "2 strikes for one action" ability (contrast double strike which is 2 strikes for 2 actions"), get other action-efficient in feats (2 strikes and a feint for an action ,a step and a stride for 1 action), move faster than everybody else, and have the tools to inflict Stunned and Staggered.

If you want to play around with the action economy the monk is the best class for it. Monk is the only class chassis that regularly has an extra action to do whatever they want with it (bard dedication FTW).

The other thing is that while it's not the best striker or the best defender, it's good enough at either role that you can be flexible to do what needs doing.


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Stances are fun because they give you versatility; most people are not carrying multiple enchanted weapons, while a Monk pretty quickly gets the option (if they want) to bounce between a number of damage types and traits. Add onto that how fun their Focus Spells can be, that they’re really not complicated to build, and that feeling like a Ninja is only a Rogue Multiclass away… I like Monks.

For what it’s worth, I have never once thought about my saves or AC potential while deciding which class a character is - I build concept-first. It’s not all about optimization, y’know?


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I'm not sure it actually does have anything to do with the mechanics. People want the flavor and the class isn't bad so they take the path of least resistance. Or they have a very, very specific build in mind that requires it (snarecrafter throw monk for example).

As a side note, boosting dex past 20 might not give you AC, but it still pumps reflex and is required for attack roll math.


gesalt wrote:

I'm not sure it actually does have anything to do with the mechanics. People want the flavor and the class isn't bad so they take the path of least resistance. Or they have a very, very specific build in mind that requires it (snarecrafter throw monk for example).

As a side note, boosting dex past 20 might not give you AC, but it still pumps reflex and is required for attack roll math.

Yah it does but it makes starting with 18 dex more annoying because if you're gonna go 24 in a stat for a melee striker that doesn't have dex to damage, it would have been better if you went 18 Str, 16 dex and then scaled dex to 20 over 15 levels. But you can't wait that long to survive the lower levels so you're kinda... Stuck with the less efficient dex build.


For action economy mastery: several other classes have those action economy things in placez and monks take a while to get any relevant speed bonuses. This boils down to "jack of all trades master of none"

For stances: If you pick up multiple stances youre locking yourself out of necessary feats like stunning fist, brawling focus,ki strike and stand still. Since they don't have bonus feats, whenever I build a Monk I struggle to find the feats to even pick up one stance, let alone 2 or 3 (I find ki strike to be a better level 1 feat)

For optimisation: I build concept first too, but if I'm picking a class for that concept, I will pick the class that fits that concept the best. If I want a dextrous fighter who runs around and is focused on perfecting their body, and I have the choice between swashy, fighter and monk, I'll pick the monk last because it provides me with less of what I'm trying to be doing. As is, monks do almost nothing for any of my concepts that would approach their themes.


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First thought: on the matter of stances... first round, the monk takes an action to get into a stance, then gets a non-attack action and two attacks. That isn't all that much less than anyone else gets.

The monk's real advantages, though, are in two things. First, they win at mobility. The monk simply has better costless mobility than anyone else. If you want someone who can deep-strike into the enemy's back ranks and make their casters unhappy, the monk will hook you up... and their defenses are good enough that they're well-positioned to survive the kind of hate that generates.

Second, tricks like flurry of maneuvers and the fact that their hands are empty to begin with mean that they're really good for trip/disarm/grapple. At level 8, clinging shadows stance makes you even better at it.

Also, have you taken a look at Stunning fist? If not, you really ought to take a look at Stunning Fist. It's a class feature masquerading as a lvl 2 feat.

Worth noting that Stunning Fist and Flurry of Maneuvers can combo. Stunning fist just requires that you target the same for with both attacks from a flurry, and that at least one of them hit and deal damage. Maneuvers are attacks, so that's legit. At minimum, you could attack with a standard punch, and then if you hit and deal damage, go for the trip/grapple/whatever and still have the stun kick in at the end. Depending on how your GM defines "hit", though, it might also be possible to trigger it with the damage from something like Crushing Grab.

So, basically, the monk doesn't do as much damage as other martials, but the damage isn't really the point for them. They're highly mobile, and they're great at harassing the foe in ways that seriously interfere with their ability to get stuff done. Stun+prone+grappled isn't anything like the same as dead, sure, but it's a great place to start.

/**********/

Of course, a lot of this is going to be campaign-dependent. If your campaign is a bunch of toe-to-toe hacking matches in tight quarters, then the monk is far less useful. If you're always up against a mass of mid-tier-or-lower monsters, then the "I trade my actions for yours" tricks get a lot less valuable. Still... if you want to know what the monk is good for, that's what the monk is good for.

Oh, and if you have someone who specializes in setting snares or likes creating damaging zones, or a GM who leaves such things about the battlefield to play with, then Whirling Throw can also be a lot of fun. What's the DPR for "hurl them from the battlements"?


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Sanityfaerie wrote:

First thought: on the matter of stances... first round, the monk takes an action to get into a stance, then gets a non-attack action and two attacks. That isn't all that much less than anyone else gets.

The monk's real advantages, though, are in two things. First, they win at mobility. The monk simply has better costless mobility than anyone else. If you want someone who can deep-strike into the enemy's back ranks and make their casters unhappy, the monk will hook you up... and their defenses are good enough that they're well-positioned to survive the kind of hate that generates.

Second, tricks like flurry of maneuvers and the fact that their hands are empty to begin with mean that they're really good for trip/disarm/grapple. At level 8, clinging shadows stance makes you even better at it.

Also, have you taken a look at Stunning fist? If not, you really ought to take a look at Stunning Fist. It's a class feature masquerading as a lvl 2 feat.

Worth noting that Stunning Fist and Flurry of Maneuvers can combo. Stunning fist just requires that you target the same for with both attacks from a flurry, and that at least one of them hit and deal damage. Maneuvers are attacks, so that's legit. At minimum, you could attack with a standard punch, and then if you hit and deal damage, go for the trip/grapple/whatever and still have the stun kick in at the end. Depending on how your GM defines "hit", though, it might also be possible to trigger it with the damage from something like Crushing Grab.

So, basically, the monk doesn't do as much damage as other martials, but the damage isn't really the point for them. They're highly mobile, and they're great at harassing the foe in ways that seriously interfere with their ability to get stuff done. Stun+prone+grappled isn't anything like the same as dead, sure, but it's a great place to start.

/**********/

Of course, a lot of this is going to be campaign-dependent. If your campaign is a bunch of toe-to-toe hacking matches in tight...

Stances: yeah but if I'm going to do that, I'd rather do it as a ranger and have some added bonuses on top of my longsword/kukri flurry. Or Gorilla Barbarian with Monk MC to flurry of blows Ape smash on top of being about as fast as the Monk.

Backline: Most fights from printed content do not in fact have a backline, they mostly have 1-2 of the same kinds of ennemies who have their own specialties. Most monsters are strong in their own rights and dont have tactics (hence why they're stronger). Your exemple is good if there's a wizard in the back with a cloistered cleric and 4 fighters in front... but not if you're fighting a single Party level +4 hezrou, which is overall much more common.

Maneuver builds: The fact that to have good Ac you must build dex means that your maneuver build is 1 to 3 points below a comparable maneuver build from a Barbarian or Fighter, since you have at best 16 Str to start with and then must invest in dex to keep accuracy relevant. The other option is to start with Str and have subpar AC.

Stunning fist: Stunning fist is good, its just annoying that its so good its mandatory, i'd love to do something else with my level 2 feat paizo!

Inflicting conditions: I feel like other classes do this better, and with potential reach too (Like the gymnast swashy) while staking damage on top !

Free hands: that's a nice benefit indeed, but since other classes are as proficient in unarmed as monk, its one that isn't unique to them.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:

First thought: on the matter of stances... first round, the monk takes an action to get into a stance, then gets a non-attack action and two attacks. That isn't all that much less than anyone else gets.

The monk's real advantages, though, are in two things. First, they win at mobility. The monk simply has better costless mobility than anyone else. If you want someone who can deep-strike into the enemy's back ranks and make their casters unhappy, the monk will hook you up... and their defenses are good enough that they're well-positioned to survive the kind of hate that generates.

Second, tricks like flurry of maneuvers and the fact that their hands are empty to begin with mean that they're really good for trip/disarm/grapple. At level 8, clinging shadows stance makes you even better at it.

Also, have you taken a look at Stunning fist? If not, you really ought to take a look at Stunning Fist. It's a class feature masquerading as a lvl 2 feat.

Worth noting that Stunning Fist and Flurry of Maneuvers can combo. Stunning fist just requires that you target the same for with both attacks from a flurry, and that at least one of them hit and deal damage. Maneuvers are attacks, so that's legit. At minimum, you could attack with a standard punch, and then if you hit and deal damage, go for the trip/grapple/whatever and still have the stun kick in at the end. Depending on how your GM defines "hit", though, it might also be possible to trigger it with the damage from something like Crushing Grab.

So, basically, the monk doesn't do as much damage as other martials, but the damage isn't really the point for them. They're highly mobile, and they're great at harassing the foe in ways that seriously interfere with their ability to get stuff done. Stun+prone+grappled isn't anything like the same as dead, sure, but it's a great place to start.

/**********/

Of course, a lot of this is going to be campaign-dependent. If your campaign is a bunch of toe-to-toe hacking matches in tight...

Stunning fist only triggers off of Strikes and Maneuvers aren't Strikes.


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Monk good. Most reasons have been covered. I'll add that the attacks that stances give are the best attacks in the game, surpassing advanced weapons. Some are better than others because they have to be balanced with the stances passive ability but anything with a d8 and agile trait is very nice.


aobst128 wrote:
Monk good. Most reasons have been covered. I'll add that the attacks that stances give are the best attacks in the game, surpassing advanced weapons. Some are better than others because they have to be balanced with the stances passive ability but anything with a d8 and agile trait is very nice.

It is indeed!! That's a good point !

Can't wait to get Tiger Claw stance on my flurry ranger/Flurry fighter!


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AlastarOG wrote:


Stances: yeah but if I'm going to do that, I'd rather do it as a ranger and have some added bonuses on top of my longsword/kukri flurry. Or Gorilla Barbarian with Monk MC to flurry of blows Ape smash on top of being about as fast as the Monk.

Backline: Most fights from printed content do not in fact have a backline, they mostly have 1-2 of the same kinds of ennemies who have their own specialties. Most monsters are strong in their own rights and dont have tactics (hence why they're stronger). Your exemple is good if there's a wizard in the back with a cloistered cleric and 4 fighters in front... but not if you're fighting a single Party level +4 hezrou, which is overall much more common.

Maneuver builds: The fact that to have good Ac you must build dex means that your maneuver build is 1 to 3 points below a comparable maneuver build from a Barbarian or Fighter, since you have at best 16 Str to start with and then must invest in dex to keep accuracy relevant. The other option is to start with Str and have subpar AC.

Stunning fist: Stunning fist is good, its just annoying that its so good its mandatory, i'd love to do something else with my level 2 feat paizo!

Inflicting conditions: I feel like other classes do this better, and with potential reach too (Like the gymnast swashy) while staking damage on top !

Free hands: that's a nice benefit indeed, but since other classes are as proficient in unarmed as monk, its one that isn't unique to them.

Stance: your ranger needs to burn an action on Hunt Prey, and then only has two left in that first round. Unless he started right next to the foe, he's not unleashing any sort of flurry unless he's gotten to level 10 and tossed a bunch of feats into a monk archetype. Further, said ranger also needs to spend another action to hunt again if/when the first one falls. A stance is one-and-done. Oh, and for that Ranger and Barbarian, they don't get Flurry of Blows until Level 10, and it costs them that same level 2 feat as an initial price of entry that you were bemoaning having to spend on Stunning Fist. Meanwhile, the Monk gets to spend their level 10 feat on Winding Flow.

Backline: well the Party+4 Hezrou is what Stunning Fist is for, isn't it?

Maneuver: You don't have to be perfect at everything. Your AC as a monk is good enough that you can afford to go STR 18/Dex 16 and not have it hurt too bad. You're still going to be in the same "viable martial" range that people like the Ranger live in by default.

Inflicting conditions: well, if you don't think that "extra actions to perform maneuvers with" plus "free stun" is worth paying for in the action-denial game, then I suppose I can see why you don't care for the monk. Also, Clinging Shadows means that the monk gets to do it at reach too, if that's what you want to go for.

Free hands: they're not, though. They might have the same proficiency, but for most of them, keeping even one hand free is a meaningful cost, and keeping both hands free (like, say, if you want to be able to grapple more than one target at once) is crippling. For the monk, it's baked in.

/************/

Basically, mobility is one a big part of the competitive advantage of the monk (Like, seriously. Winding Flow). From the sounds of things, you're saying that in the campaigns you play in, all of that juicy extra mobility is basically worthless. Also, you really like dealing damage. Also, from the way you're talking about feats, it... sounds like you're using Free Archetype, and comparing Monk to "some other class, but uses Free Archetype to poach monk abilities"... and you're maybe not spending all that long at lower levels, because you don't seem to distinguish much between getting flurry at level 1 and getting it at level 10.

So in that environment, sure. If you start at level 12 with Free Archetype, don't care about mobility, and really do care about your DPR, you probably are better off poaching the choicest bits out of Monk onto some other martial chassis than starting out with Monk. Most of the important parts of Monk (other than the mobility) are a lot more poachable than the corresponding bits of other martial classes are.

But that doesn't mean "the Monk is bad". It just means that it's not well-suited to your personal preferences, situation, and skillset as a player. Honestly, the "I don't care about mobility except as a way to get within reach" would pretty much do it all by itself. If you don't care about the ability to easily move around the battlefield, then you probably shouldn't be playing a monk.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't really get mentioning spending an action to enter a stance as a dealbreaker and then saying you'd rather play a ranger, who has to spend a new action every time they switch targets, or a swashbuckler, who potentially is spending actions every round. Barbarians get Mighty Rage to deal with this, but not until level 11 which is pretty deep.


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nephandys wrote:
Stunning fist only triggers off of Strikes and Maneuvers aren't Strikes.

Bah. Right you are. I'd at first read that as "attacks" rather than "strikes".

Well. That's disappointing.

AlastarOG wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Monk good. Most reasons have been covered. I'll add that the attacks that stances give are the best attacks in the game, surpassing advanced weapons. Some are better than others because they have to be balanced with the stances passive ability but anything with a d8 and agile trait is very nice.

It is indeed!! That's a good point !

Can't wait to get Tiger Claw stance on my flurry ranger/Flurry fighter!

Sir, at this point you appear to be trolling. You aren't actually saying "the Monk is terrible." What you're actually saying is "Hey, people who like monks - I can steal all your best stuff with non-monks, so your class is bad." There may be a "Moo hoo ha ha." in there too. That's a rather different argument than the one you started with... and it only really works if you ignore the cost in class feats. It also seems to be based at least partially on design by white-room optimization, but it sounds like maybe the campaigns you play in run on something pretty close to white-room optimization, so that might be a reasonable choice on your part.

Still it's also true that the monk is not particularly white-room optimal That's not where its strengths lie.

Oh, and if popping a stance is rough first turn, then I feel like popping a stance and also hunting prey is going to leave you mostly just standing there doing not much. I suppose that you could arrange to make a ranged attack before you entered stance? Maybe give an order to your animal companion?


Stance: fair point, in my head flurry was a level 4 feat, i stand corrected. And Rangers do have flurry at one, its twin takedown/hunted shot. But having to rehunt is a pain.

Backline: Stunning fist has incapacitation so unless he rolls a 1... and even then no guarantees.

Maneuver: True enough.

Inflicting conditions:: Oh its definitely a good combo ! Its just that other classes kind of do it on par or better, and with better overall damage.

Free hands: well if you compare to other classes doing unarmed builds, they all have the same advantage.

Other points:
Winding flow IS good, nice feat! I like it!

Mobility: I like mobility don't get me wrong ! I think its a great way to go! But if i'm doing an unarmed dex based swift running class with maneuvers, I'll run a gymnast swashbuckler and be overall more effective, and have the same speed. Also there's such a thing as too MUCH speed. It'll come in handy sure, but not all of the time, as you've pointed out.

Most of my experiences with the monk have actually been 1-4, helping friends build monks in these levels, and for 2-3 of these, no Free archetype. Most of my points are white room points, but I'm a habitual GM so I'll admit I tend to see things from very high level.

And I guess to nuance my point from my ''clickbait'' title, I WANT to like the monk... but I don't. I can see why others might though, definitely, but I can't see why anyone would say that its the BEST martial class, as Nonat1 said in his video. That just makes me go ''am I missing something??!!''


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I was going to ask what the OP wanted to get out of this thread because the OP seems to be pushing back very hard against any assertions that any aspect of monk is good/fun/tactically sound.

If one does not like monk, then one needs only not play a monk.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
nephandys wrote:
Stunning fist only triggers off of Strikes and Maneuvers aren't Strikes.

Bah. Right you are. I'd at first read that as "attacks" rather than "strikes".

Well. That's disappointing.

AlastarOG wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Monk good. Most reasons have been covered. I'll add that the attacks that stances give are the best attacks in the game, surpassing advanced weapons. Some are better than others because they have to be balanced with the stances passive ability but anything with a d8 and agile trait is very nice.

It is indeed!! That's a good point !

Can't wait to get Tiger Claw stance on my flurry ranger/Flurry fighter!

Sir, at this point you appear to be trolling. You aren't actually saying "the Monk is terrible." What you're actually saying is "Hey, people who like monks - I can steal all your best stuff with non-monks, so your class is bad." There may be a "Moo hoo ha ha." in there too. That's a rather different argument than the one you started with... and it only really works if you ignore the cost in class feats. It also seems to be based at least partially on design by white-room optimization, but it sounds like maybe the campaigns you play in run on something pretty close to white-room optimization, so that might be a reasonable choice on your part.

Still it's also true that the monk is not particularly white-room optimal That's not where its strengths lie.

Oh, and if popping a stance is rough first turn, then I feel like popping a stance and also hunting prey is going to leave you mostly just standing there doing not much. I suppose that you could arrange to make a ranged attack before you entered stance? Maybe give an order to your animal companion?

True true, I am trying to create conversation by having an oppositional viewpoint in order to dive deep, the proverbial devil's advocate if you will.

I'll dial it down a bit! And yes this is very much white room optimisation, I haven't seen a lot of high level monks in play, as a GM or as a player (3 builds total, all of them level 1-5 max) so maybe they scale well?

As for ranger, yes the hunt prey is rough, I guess on that action cost it boils down to : several ennemies vs 1 ennemy, where the ranger will fare better vs one ennemy and monk vs several. I guess the whole argument is more that martial stances, through the martial artist archetype, are not unique.

And if they're not unique at all and cost only a class feat to get, then why are other classes not just grabbing them? Are they just not interested in them ? Then if other classes aren't interested in them, why is the monk supposed to be?


Blake's Tiger wrote:

I was going to ask what the OP wanted to get out of this thread because the OP seems to be pushing back very hard against any assertions that any aspect of monk is good/fun/tactically sound.

If one does not like monk, then one needs only not play a monk.

Mostly a better understanding of what I'm missing to make it not dull, better obtained through discussion with other viewpoints.


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AlastarOG wrote:
And I guess to nuance my point from my ''clickbait'' title, I WANT to like the monk... but I don't. I can see why others might though, definitely, but I can't see why anyone would say that its the BEST martial class, as Nonat1 said in his video. That just makes me go ''am I missing something??!!''

Oh. Well for that, I agree with you entirely. The Monk is kind of a specialist/utility player. They aren't a main tank. They aren't a particularly good damage dealer. They're not any kind of healer. They get the fourth or fifth slot in the party, if anything. In general, I'd be ready to argue pretty hard against anyone who pointed at any class and said "best martial".

My only assertion is that they have an entirely valid niche, and they fill it pretty well.

I'll admit that "flurry is level 10" and "flurry is level 4" are two very different worlds to live in as far as certain aspects of monk poachability. I'm personally glad we live in the former.

I apologize for the grumpiness of my immediately previous post. It appears that I imputed somewhat improperly.


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From what I remember from his videos, he likes to hype things up, sometimes without any real merit. I personally still haven't found any reason to deviate from fighter, thief, heal cloistered cleric and bard as far as adding value to the party goes.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
And I guess to nuance my point from my ''clickbait'' title, I WANT to like the monk... but I don't. I can see why others might though, definitely, but I can't see why anyone would say that its the BEST martial class, as Nonat1 said in his video. That just makes me go ''am I missing something??!!''

Oh. Well for that, I agree with you entirely. The Monk is kind of a specialist/utility player. They aren't a main tank. They aren't a particularly good damage dealer. They're not any kind of healer. They get the fourth or fifth slot in the party, if anything. In general, I'd be ready to argue pretty hard against anyone who pointed at any class and said "best martial".

My only assertion is that they have an entirely valid niche, and they fill it pretty well.

I'll admit that "flurry is level 10" and "flurry is level 4" are two very different worlds to live in as far as certain aspects of monk poachability. I'm personally glad we live in the former.

I apologize for the grumpiness of my immediately previous post. It appears that I imputed somewhat improperly.

No worries, I was being kind of a dick ;)

And ok that's kind of my take on the monk as well, glad to see we're mostly in agreement.

I also struggle to find what makes them kinda unique.


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Bc (imo) monks have some of the most interesting class feats in the game. After years of abuse in 5e the p2e monk seems like a godsend in comparison.


The monk does a lot of things to be a "comfy" class. Any particular thing it does can probably be done better by a different class, aside from speed probably. But I think it's more than the sum of it's parts. It's strengths are in it's versatility and flexibility. Kinda like humans. You can make them do a lot of things reasonably well. Only thing that bugs me about it is stunning fist is basically a requirement. They make the best grapplers too with the right feat choices.


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gesalt wrote:
From what I remember from his videos, he likes to hype things up, sometimes without any real merit. I personally still haven't found any reason to deviate from fighter, thief, heal cloistered cleric and bard as far as adding value to the party goes.

That may be true but those are also the 4 blandest play styles in the game (imo). I'd be bored to tears bringing any of those to the table.


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People like the monk because they like what it brings to the table. I’m not sure if there’s anything beyond that, really. High mobility, potentially good defenses, interesting options for control, easy and automatic way to deal with damage reduction, stances being an engaging mechanic…

It’s a complete package wrapped around a theme that people seem to like a lot. I dunno? I’m not a big fan of the monk either, but I can see why people like it. I feel like you’re right that they don’t bring anything particularly unique or incredible though, but that’s not a reason for people to not like it?

I mean sure, other classes can do some of the stuff that the monk does, but better… It’s just, at that point, isn’t that true for most of the other classes as well? Why play an avenger-like Champion if you can play a Fighter and snag the Champion’s reaction through the Dedication? Why play a rugged TWF Ranger if TWF Fighter probably does more damage and really, who needs Survival anyways, or a Giant Instinct TWF Barb who does big numbers and big numbers feel good? Why play an Alchemist if you can just try to convince your GM to play with Free Archetype, pick up all the relevant alchemist feats and then play as a fighter-alchemist? Why have a diverse party, if a party of Fighters + something else will probably be able to handle all sort of challenges?

I hope this does not come off as a rant or anything like that, I do like th Fighter! lol But it’s worth considering, is it not? That it’s maybe not about the numbers to these people, but about the available options that are there, and how they sound, and how they sell themselves. More of a matter of optics, really, and how these optics tell apparently well-adjusted expectations, and how these expectations translate well to the game.


aobst128 wrote:
The monk does a lot of things to be a "comfy" class. Any particular thing it does can probably be done better by a different class, aside from speed probably. But I think it's more than the sum of it's parts. It's strengths are in it's versatility and flexibility. Kinda like humans. You can make them do a lot of things reasonably well. Only thing that bugs me about it is stunning fist is basically a requirement. They make the best grapplers too with the right feat choices.

Yeah, honestly I think the monk could use a couple of things to make them more unique like:

-Stunning fist as a class feature named ''stunning strike'' at 3 or 5
-Critical specialisation without taking a feat.
-Scaling to Legendary in unarmed OR
-Monastic weapons inbuilt.

I see the flxibility I just ... I think it lacks like a unique ''style'' to me ?

P.S: Swashy does speed just as good as monk, although with panache.


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Travelling Sasha wrote:

People like the monk because they like what it brings to the table. I’m not sure if there’s anything beyond that, really. High mobility, potentially good defenses, interesting options for control, easy and automatic way to deal with damage reduction, stances being an engaging mechanic…

It’s a complete package wrapped around a theme that people seem to like a lot. I dunno? I’m not a big fan of the monk either, but I can see why people like it. I feel like you’re right that they don’t bring anything particularly unique or incredible though, but that’s not a reason for people to not like it?

I mean sure, other classes can do some of the stuff that the monk does, but better… It’s just, at that point, isn’t that true for most of the other classes as well? Why play an avenger-like Champion if you can play a Fighter and snag the Champion’s reaction through the Dedication? Why play a rugged TWF Ranger if TWF Fighter probably does more damage and really, who needs Survival anyways, or a Giant Instinct TWF Barb who does big numbers and big numbers feel good? Why play an Alchemist if you can just try to convince your GM to play with Free Archetype, pick up all the relevant alchemist feats and then play as a fighter-alchemist? Why have a diverse party, if a party of Fighters + something else will probably be able to handle all sort of challenges?

I hope this does not come off as a rant or anything like that, I do like th Fighter! lol But it’s worth considering, is it not? That it’s maybe not about the numbers to these people, but about the available options that are there, and how they sound, and how they sell themselves. More of a matter of optics, really, and how these optics tell apparently well-adjusted expectations, and how these expectations translate well to the game.

This 100 times over. Why play a fighter and do the most damage in the party when I can do ok damage AND have the ability to do rediculous wuxia shenanigans early through class feats (without even mentioning becoming a Super Saiyan late game). For me, the choice is clear.

Silver Crusade

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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.


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AlastarOG wrote:
And if they're not unique at all and cost only a class feat to get, then why are other classes not just grabbing them? Are they just not interested in them ? Then if other classes aren't interested in them, why is the monk supposed to be?

There's a few different reasons.

First, synergy with Flurry of Blows, and the various FoB-boosters. FoB is really good (as long as you have plenty of non-attacks for your other two actions) except that the weapons it works on are limited. It can work on all sorts of unarmed attacks, though, so "ways to get awesome unarmed attacks" are inherently more valuable to the monk than to anyone else.

Second, you have a surcharge of a levl 2 class feat to get into your archetype of choice, and then the resulting class feats to unlock various things come slower and require higher-level feats. Worth noting that you can't get FoB through martial artist. You have to get it through Monk Archetype, and the stance-improvement feats in Monk Archetype are lvl 12, rather than lvl 8.

So for the most blatant example, let's look at Stumbling Stance. The combo of Stumbling Stance, Stumbling Strike, and Stunning Blow lets you get a free feint, then flurry (where the feint applies to both blows in the flurry), then have that stun effect if either strike of the flurry lands. For a monk, that's going to cost you your feats as follows:
- 1 (Stumbling Stance)
- 2 (Stunning Fist)
- 6 (Stumbling Strike)

For someone trying to MC in, that's going to cost

- 2 (Monk archetype)
- 4 (Stumbling Stance)
- 10 (Flurry of Blows)
- 12 (Stumbling Strike OR Stunning Fist)
- 14 (the other one)

That's rather pricier. If all you care about is the basic stance and its booster feat, it's not as bad, but it's still taking a level 1+6 and turning it into a level 2+4+8 (via martial artist) and you don't get FoB to play with when you're done.

The issue with white room optimization is that it tends to miss things like "I can step and then stride and still get my two attacks". Basically, the monk has a bunch of actions that are best not spent on attacks, and those can be really useful, if you can figure out ways to use them, but white room optimization doesn't really have a way to put a value on that... while it absolutely does put a value on raw damage - something that the monk is comparatively bad at.


If damage is the concern then rogue or fighter is the pick depending on if you want strength or dex. If ANYTHING else matters for your character concept from the jump then you're better served with a class that better reflects the concept. I'm sure that's gonna continue for the life of the edition.


WWHsmackdown wrote:
If damage is the concern then rogue or fighter is the pick depending on if you want strength or dex. If ANYTHING else matters for your character concept from the jump then you're better served with a class that better reflects the concept. I'm sure that's gonna continue for the life of the edition.

Yeah I guess that's my main issue with the monk ? Like all the other martials like inventor, swashy, barbarian, champion, etc. etc. all have a unique ''flair'' to them that they choose and kinda defines their mechanic and how they interact with it.

Monk... doesn't... if you consider their stances as being their defining feature, that can work, but they cost you a class feat.

I guess I would have made the stances a class feature rather than a class feat choice ?


AlastarOG wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
If damage is the concern then rogue or fighter is the pick depending on if you want strength or dex. If ANYTHING else matters for your character concept from the jump then you're better served with a class that better reflects the concept. I'm sure that's gonna continue for the life of the edition.

Yeah I guess that's my main issue with the monk ? Like all the other martials like inventor, swashy, barbarian, champion, etc. etc. all have a unique ''flair'' to them that they choose and kinda defines their mechanic and how they interact with it.

Monk... doesn't... if you consider their stances as being their defining feature, that can work, but they cost you a class feat.

I guess I would have made the stances a class feature rather than a class feat choice ?

See, there's the thing. The basic "monk flair" is stances plus FoB. That's their schtick. The problem is that it's possible to poach all of that for other classes. Of course, you can poach barbarian rage and hunt prey, too. The issue is that you don't get the boosts to them from Instinct/Hunter's Edge that the Barbarian/Ranger do. The issue is that the stances are basically the monk subtype, except that they're entirely poachable feats, and therefore far less unique. The closest thing that the monk has to a non-poachable class feature is class feats of lvl 12 and above.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:
I'm personally glad we live in the former.

It is a little weird though. Most martial mechanics are either unpoachable or poachable in a very weakened form (i.e. MCD sneak attack capped at 1 die).

I guess maybe Paizo considered the AC track to be their main 'thing', since the same can be said of Champions in that their unique reaction is stealable and that's really the only offensive gimmick they have too.


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I feel like "much of the monk's stuff is poachable" to be a knock on effect of "the monk is the clearinghouse for every single wuxia fantasy concept", some of which might be better off expressed with other classes.

Like my Ruby Phoenix character was based on the classic "Drunken Boxer" archetype, and the best way I could figure out how to do it was as a swashbuckler with the martial artist archetype for stumbling style and feint, then grabbing the monk archetype at level 9 via the human feat "multitalented" and flurry of blows at 10. The fact that none of this works together before level 10 was irrelevant, because that's where the AP started.


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One thing to keep in mind when poaching monk stances is that they do require you to be unarmored, so maybe a fighter or ranger with Tiger Stance and Flurry of Blows will do more damage than a monk, but they'll also be taking more damage.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, the main thing that they get is that +2 AC and high speed / saving throws, that all puts them on equal footing with the champion in terms of defenses, even though their class of armor is lower, they're just straight up 2 above rogues and such. Inbuilt access to flurry of blows gives them better action economy than other classes, inbuilt access to stances make them the default unarmed hitters and they can usually switch between weapons easier than other classes.

They're just a good strong class, while you can be a martial artist on a fighter, you pay for +2 Attack with -2 AC and some other odds and ends (like speed and the superior NADs), and take a lot more class feats to get there. That ultimately means that you're ending up in a place where that has to be your whole concept, whereas the monk can diversify into other areas of the game more easily-- they basically just need to grab their favorite stance and then can throw in with archetypes or whatever.


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Plus if I wanna be a martial artist at lvl 1 I'm playing a monk. If I want wuxia shenanigans as soon as possible I'm playing monk. Basically, if you want your concept to work as soon as possible then you should play the class that's made to be the concept instead of trying to fit square pegs in round holes. If my character were a street tough instead of a martial artist then I'd go for the strength racket rogue. If my concept were just a competent scrapper or a raging brawler I'd go fighter or barb respectively. I rarely see benefit in bending over backwards to Jerry rig other classes to play the concept I want bc the effort usually involves sacrifices for marginal gains. I prefer to play the archetypes that lend themselves to the concepts regardless of whether 2-10 more damage could've been squeezed out of something that didn't quite fit the flavor. I'd rather my character be good to go at lvl 1.


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Red Metal wrote:
One thing to keep in mind when poaching monk stances is that they do require you to be unarmored, so maybe a fighter or ranger with Tiger Stance and Flurry of Blows will do more damage than a monk, but they'll also be taking more damage.

Stumbling and Gorilla do not require you to be unarmored for the martial artist.


WWHsmackdown wrote:
Plus if I wanna be a martial artist at lvl 1 I'm playing a monk. If I want wuxia shenanigans as soon as possible I'm playing monk. Basically, if you want your concept to work as soon as possible then you should play the class that's made to be the concept instead of trying to fit square pegs in round holes. If my character were a street tough instead of a martial artist then I'd go for the strength racket rogue. If my concept were just a competent scrapper or a raging brawler I'd go fighter or barb respectively. I rarely see benefit in bending over backwards to Jerry rig other classes to play the concept I want bc the effort usually involves sacrifices for marginal gains. I prefer to play the archetypes that lend themselves to the concepts regardless of whether 2-10 more damage could've been squeezed out of something that didn't quite fit the flavor. I'd rather my character be good to go at lvl 1.

I fully agree with you there in general, I guess when it comes down to it though if i'm looking into something ''classical monk'' its hard for me to choose monk...

Like:
-Instinctual fast archer with deep insight: I could take zen archery monk... but I'll probly take ranger or fighter
-Sacred fist style worshipper of irori: I'd probly take warpriest before monk... divine font is clutch.
-venerable martial artist known for his inherent discipline: I could take monk... but tbh being a dex based fighter with a finesse weapon fits the theme just as much...

The lack of definite ''concepts'' that are only monk are few, because they lack definition.


I agree with AlastarOG.
The Monk has some cool abilities and does stack up fine. It is a good skirmisher. That's not a role I find easy to use. I quite like tough defender types, but they need to do something other than defend. They need offensive potential, or some control value, or area defense option. Fighter and Champion just seem better at that to me. Especially the way they can stack up on reactions. Barbarian works fine as a point man too.

To me a Monk works fine, but it needs a particular party to shine in.

Scarab Sages

I also don't like monks. It seems they're ability scores are spoken for (STR, DEX, CON, WIS) when I like CHA and INT comes in handy sometimes. Same for gymnast Swashbuckler.

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.

Once you're in mid-tier, FoB is easy to pick up with Multitalented + FoB. IMO the best multiclass in the game.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Monks are a solid, well-designed class that delivers on the distinct flavors it promises. I think that's all it takes to be well liked.


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I think an important thing to understand is that people have loved the Monk class in every other version of this game, even when it was an absolutely terrible class.

This is perhaps the most functional the class has ever been, and that's great.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think an important thing to understand is that people have loved the Monk class in every other version of this game, even when it was an absolutely terrible class.

This is perhaps the most functional the class has ever been, and that's great.

No arguments from me there ! Its definitely the best its ever been !

Just kinda ... meh.. mechanically.


What's difference between a monk spending 1 action to get into stance and a fighter spending 1 action to draw a weapon?


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.


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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.

Then why can't stance be out at all times?


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AlastarOG wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think an important thing to understand is that people have loved the Monk class in every other version of this game, even when it was an absolutely terrible class.

This is perhaps the most functional the class has ever been, and that's great.

No arguments from me there ! Its definitely the best its ever been !

Just kinda ... meh.. mechanically.

I mean, most classes aren't "the absolute best" at a particular thing. There are a few that are, and people for whom that matters are going to flock to those classes.

But the monk is like the ranger, swashbuckler, inventor, investigator, etc. in that it's a viable martial that fulfills a particular thematic niche.

Pathfinder 2e is set up that you kind of have to engage in deliberate self-sabotage to end up with a character that can't do what it's class is supposed to do.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think an important thing to understand is that people have loved the Monk class in every other version of this game, even when it was an absolutely terrible class.

This is perhaps the most functional the class has ever been, and that's great.

No arguments from me there ! Its definitely the best its ever been !

Just kinda ... meh.. mechanically.

I mean, most classes aren't "the absolute best" at a particular thing. There are a few that are, and people for whom that matters are going to flock to those classes.

But the monk is like the ranger, swashbuckler, inventor, investigator, etc. in that it's a viable martial that fulfills a particular thematic niche.

Pathfinder 2e is set up that you kind of have to engage in deliberate self-sabotage to end up with a character that can't do what it's class is supposed to do.

Once again, no arguments from me. It's more like, all of these have a main class ''theme'' whereas the monk doesn't have one. The fighter doesn't have one ''per say'' either mind you, but no one says the fighter isn't up to par.

I just wish they had made the stances into ''schools'' or whatnot for the monk and had scaling power there. I realise its not the case but this is what makes the class not appealing to me (thanks to all for helping me find that out)

Also no one should say they're the best martial class...


Ventnor 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.
Then why can't stance be out at all times?

Because the rules explicitly say so:

*A stance is a general combat strategy that you enter by using an action with the stance trait, and that you remain in for some time. A stance lasts until you get knocked out, until its requirements (if any) are violated, until the encounter ends, or until you enter a new stance, whichever comes first. After you use an action with the stance trait, you can’t use another one for 1 round. You can enter or be in a stance only in encounter mode.*

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