Been told that monk archetype at 10 is almost mandatory for anyone that uses unarmed strikes, and a kitsune thaumaturge I've got has enough flat damage to make the 1d4 + nothing viable. Problem is that getting any str makes it MAD, let alone two boosts in it that the foxfire attack wouldn't use.
Is getting two attacks with the flourish (assume it's the only flourish I'll have) worth the 14 strength prereq, or is flurry a pass?
So if you're going to play a finesse switch hitter thaumaturge it can be okay. But there are a few things at play here:
1.) Thaumaturge is action constrained. It wants to be applying exploit vulnerabilities and may need to burn a few actions every combat to move it around. Ranged attacks alleviate some of that suffering by mitigating further action taxes to move into melee. Flurry of blows further alleviates that by getting two strikes for 1 action.
2.) Thaumaturges want their hands free so they can be holding two implements. Unarmed strikes (typically) alleviate any hand issues because you can get a bite or something like fox fire that sounds like it comes form your tail?
So its not mandatory, but its not a bad idea. One issue is foxfire is 20ft range total. So its not great as a ranged unarmed strike. Automatons have a better laser eye beam that is a range increment. Also all ancestries can take a L5 fey/L9 fey (with dryad focus) feat chain to get leaf hair that can do 1d6 slashing (they didn't print a range, but I'd assume a range increment of 30ft since its a L5/L9 ancestry feat to get).
Another thing to consider is that if you're already going to be in melee and want to use a weapon then you're going to have to pay for 2 sets of runes (unless you use ABP variant rule). At which point it may not be worth it to you vs. blazons of shared power and a 1H ranged weapon (like a long air repeater) that you can draw (at the expense of losing 1 active implement) if need be.
Finally if you don't want unarmed strikes the new thrower's bandolier really opens up ranged options including boomerangs that are 1D6, thrown, 60ft range weapons that return to your hand on a miss, as well as a few 1D8 options with shorter ranges. You can just be a thrown weapon thaumaturge with shurikens that are also 20ft range (but as an increment instead of 20ft total) and reload 0 so you can pull and throw with no other feats (i.e., quick draw from gunslinger, ranger, or rogue multiclasses) and it will be instantly better than foxfire unless you're also in melee with unarmed strikes.
Monk does have the benefit as well that at L12 you can grab the path of perfection feat to boost your bad save (believe it is reflex on the Thaumaturge) to give you master/master/legendary progression.
So really depends what you want out of the character.
Thanks for the detailed responses. Did some napkin math and found that, after the second foxfire not being agile and not benefitting from weakness in a flurry, it only does about a quarter of the damage of the first.
So it's a question of: are two class/FA archetype feats and two boosts (kind of; the deadly fists feature is nice for versatility) worth if for +25% damage on a strike?
So, the actual costs here:
- you need to have two feats spend on the monk archetype. The second of those must be level 10+.
- The first feat must be after you achieve 14 str.
- There's various things about dedication lock-in and timing with any other dedications you might want.
Of course, there's also benefits
- You get a moderately improved finesse melee unarmed attack.
- If you are fighting unarmored, you can invest a feat to get a stance that will improve your damage further. There are some caveats (needs to be finesse, needs to be nonexclusive, costs an action to enter the stance) but there are a few decent level 1 stances that fit the bill.
- At lvl 12, you can spend a feat to take Stunning Fist, which is another nice little add-on.
My read? If you're Free Archetype, then it starts looking pretty good. Take some other archetype for 2, 4, and 6, get your str up to 14 by level 8 (wisdom can afford to lag a bit) and then take monk, flurry, and stunning fist for 8, 10, and 12. Getting a 25% damage boost for a bit of low-end stat-shuffling is well worth it, and stunning fist is a nice bit of freebie add-on too. If you're *not* Free Archetype... then start taking a look at what it's going to cost you in class feats. That 14 str is going to cost you a bit in wisdom and/or constitution and that's not nothing, but I think that the feat cost is the more meaningful part here.