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sonofzeal
2010-03-03, 03:13 PM
Since that is the case, the Monk's actual damage output will never match the Fighter's damage.
Never? That's a big word. I've played in games where the Fighter took Dodge, Alertness, Self-Sufficient, and Endurance as feats, used a longsword one-handed with no shield, and never spent a dime on magic items despite having 20,000 gp because the player didn't really know what to buy and didn't want to ask anybody.

I think a Monk, even an barely optimized monk, could beat him in every major category.

AtwasAwamps
2010-03-03, 03:17 PM
Never? That's a big word. I've played in games where the Fighter took Dodge, Alertness, Self-Sufficient, and Endurance as feats, used a longsword one-handed with no shield, and never spent a dime on magic items despite having 20,000 gp because the player didn't really know what to buy and didn't want to ask anybody.

I think a Monk, even an barely optimized monk, could beat him in every major category.

I think he meant the specific hypothetical monk vs. an opposed specific hypothetical fighter. Not every possible monk vs. every possible fighter.

lesser_minion
2010-03-03, 03:26 PM
With regard to partially-charged wands with 1-2 charges, bear in mind that they contradict RAW and RAI as explained here (http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/misc/rechargingitems.html).

IIRC, the default is to pay half price and get d100/2 charges, and this option is only available when creating a new character above first level.

sonofzeal
2010-03-03, 03:35 PM
I think he meant the specific hypothetical monk vs. an opposed specific hypothetical fighter. Not every possible monk vs. every possible fighter.
Possibly (though he might have said so himself), but a Monk controlled by that same player could probably beat their fighter. Fighters rely on feats and equipment and combat styles (Power Attack being a big one) to be effective. At that level, a Fighter without any good feats or any good gear is actually worse than a Monk with the same, because at least the Monk has class features. Granted they're poor ones that don't synergize, but there's sort of a minimum level to how far you can sink.

Think of it this way - Fighter is a better class than Monk, but a Fighter with all bad feat choices is actually more like a Warrior. And Warriors are worse than Monks. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6976598&postcount=40)

AtwasAwamps
2010-03-03, 03:42 PM
Possibly (though he might have said so himself), but a Monk controlled by that same player could probably beat their fighter. Fighters rely on feats and equipment and combat styles (Power Attack being a big one) to be effective. At that level, a Fighter without any good feats or any good gear is actually worse than a Monk with the same, because at least the Monk has class features. Granted they're poor ones that don't synergize, but there's sort of a minimum level to how far you can sink.

Think of it this way - Fighter is a better class than Monk, but a Fighter with all bad feat choices is actually more like a Warrior. And Warriors are worse than Monks. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6976598&postcount=40)

Okay, yes, this is true. No bearing on most of the discussion, I think, but okay.

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-03, 03:46 PM
Possibly (though he might have said so himself), but a Monk controlled by that same player could probably beat their fighter.

I believe he is referring to my level 10 Monk v level 10 Fighter.

sonofzeal
2010-03-03, 03:50 PM
I believe he is referring to my level 10 Monk v level 10 Fighter.
Ah, well then. If that's the case, I don't have any objection. A decently built pure Fighter will beat a decently built pure Monk in damage.

Sinfire Titan
2010-03-03, 03:51 PM
Possibly (though he might have said so himself), but a Monk controlled by that same player could probably beat their fighter. Fighters rely on feats and equipment and combat styles (Power Attack being a big one) to be effective. At that level, a Fighter without any good feats or any good gear is actually worse than a Monk with the same, because at least the Monk has class features. Granted they're poor ones that don't synergize, but there's sort of a minimum level to how far you can sink.

Think of it this way - Fighter is a better class than Monk, but a Fighter with all bad feat choices is actually more like a Warrior. And Warriors are worse than Monks. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6976598&postcount=40)

I'll give you that a Fighter with poor feat selection and an inexperienced player would be worse than an average Monk with an average player, but I'm assuming a modicum of optimization (something at least one of Giacomo's Monk builds lack (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124758)) and a seasoned veteran playing both.

I don't mean a Leap Attack+Battle Leap+Shock Trooper Lion Totem Barbarian/Dungeoncrasher, I mean Power Attack+Lance+Decently optimized weapon enhancements (+1 Valorous, Collision, etc, not +5 Vorpal). And by Monk, I mean any build suggested by Giacomo, not Dman's Monks (which are a completely different can of Monk).

ScionoftheVoid
2010-03-03, 04:53 PM
I think I'll give my Cleric-Monk thing up, having seen the other out-Monk/out-do the Monk challenges. They seem much more entertaining and the bare bones of the idea is layed out in my previous posts, somewhere deep in the consolidated thread. Note that the power of spellcasting scales very well, so the build will quickly be up to speed.

To Giacomo, I could counter some of your points, but I'd rather let other people do it because I don't wish to go to the bother of finding them. One in particular caught my attention, however. The reason no-one wants to emulate all of a Monk's abilities is because they are fluff based to varying degrees and with different kinds of monk in mind. I do not mind a class being able to represent a monastic monk and a combatant monk. If the class represents a mish-mash of the two with no option as to which is the focus then there is a problem. No-one wants most Monk abilities because they are situational beyond that of equivalents (Slow Fall, immunity to non-magical diseases and poisons), almost useless at the level they are gained (Tongue of the Sun and Moon, which is also situational. The fact that it is less so than the Third level spell which replicates the important bit of it is hardly an achievement at level 17. DR 10/magic at level 20, when every monster that is a threat and their senile old grannies bypass it) or actively unhelpful (Spell Resistance, Outsider type at level 20, when all the meaningful humanoid specific effects are buffs (which are hindered by your Spell Resistance unless you use your actions removing any benefit it might have had as well)).

Summary: No-one can replicate all a Monk's abilities? No-one wants to so it doesn't matter.

Petrocorus
2010-03-03, 05:09 PM
Hey! Look! A forum for that stuff! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15) :smallwink:

Make it bigger.. It is quiet small and making it bigger causes major quality losses and it's a pain.

Wait.. You made flurry worse? A -3 penalty that doesn't cancel out in the end? WAT?

Just fixed. New one. (http://yfrog.com/0ealternativemonkp)

Fhaolan
2010-03-03, 05:14 PM
Way back in 2nd edition AD&D a friend of mine took the Monk from 1st edition, and converted it to be a sub-class of the Psionicist from the Complete Psioncs splatbook. The various special monk abilities mapped to psionic powers fairly well according to him. This appears to have been a common concept, as when 3rd edition Psionics came round the Psychic Warrior showed up. It wasn't exactly like my friend's homebrew, but it was close enough.

Ever since I saw that homebrew, and when someone says they want to play a Monk in 3.X, I mention the Psychic Warrior. Or the Unarmed Swordsage from ToB, but I rarely deal with games allowing ToB (not because I have anything against it. I just don't have the book at the moment.)

Sir Giacomo
2010-03-04, 06:31 PM
Well, a lot appears to have happened to the thread(s)...

I guess a broad summary of my view on the monk and my joker monk concept may be helpful here.

I. On the monk in general
1. Why keep discussion core?
I always divide up my views on any class balance discussion - including on the monk - into whether you only consider the core rules or if you consider "anything goes".
My case of broad class balance only pertains to a core rules framework (PHB, DMG, MM). This is what the original balance is meant to be and I think it is OK.
The moment you add non-core rules to compare balance it is really just a matter of what splatbooks/optional rules you use (or have bought) and no longer the original structure of the balance of classes.
Sure, for instance outside core casters have a big advantage - it is because they get to choose from way more spells with almost every book added!
Having said that, it is also easy to do a fighter charger build that does damage in the 1000s - but it is also possible for a monk. In other words, you can break every class with non-core rules.
Therefore, it is not useful to do a class balance comparison of "hey, monk may do 6d8 base damage in core at most per hit, but my non-core ubercharger shocktrooper with belt of battle can do 1000 damage!"


2. Monk MAD myth
Again: the monk can focus on just STR if he so desires. This is because he needs no prereqs for his bonus feats that allow two great melee combat avenues: grappling (see also below) and tripping. That he has a lower AC (not lower touch AC!) than other melee classes at low levels can be overcome by choosing exactly the combat tactics grappling (your opponent gets -4 to hit and can only use light weapons, or even gets pinned!) and tripping (your opponent gets -4 to hit for being prone, you even get +4 to hit).
A monk with DEX and WIS 14 and fighting defensively with 5 ranks in tumble has an AC of 17 at low levels. Not great, but not hopeless either.
Once a monk uses concealment tactics and blind-fighting, the melee defenses go up considerably.

Meanwhile, the other melee classes will have to have 13s in both DEX (improved grapple) and INT (improved trip) plus spend two more feat slots for the required feats (improved unarmed strike, combat expertise).
DEX and INT actually have to be 15 each for non-monks, since
- when using the key enlarge buff for grapple and trip tactics at low levels, you lose -2 DEX (meaning you need a 15 in DEX or lose the benefits of the improved grapple feat)
- when getting a STR-boosting core race like half-orc, orc or wood elf entails an INT penalty of -2 is the price.

In core, it may a bit difficult to also do a DEX-based monk or even a WIS-based monk, but deviating from the default best stat is a similar problem for other core classes as well (say, a ranger focusing on CHR to max animal handling), but this problem vanishes the moment non-core rules are added.


3. Grappling IS a strong low-level tactics
As I outlined already in my joker monk guide at length (see link below), grappling is a powerful combat option for levels 1-8 (after which freedom and movement effects as well as stronger grappling monsters become more common)
Advantages:
- the monk's lower AC at low levels does not matter anymore in 1:1 combat
- I guess the monk will have a higher grappling modifier than 90% of all same CR and lower opponents from levels 1-8 (check out the MM or SRD monster stats, not counting the mostly weaker humanoid npc opponents).
- his grappling damage output, in particular with flurried grappling (as per RAW and FAQ), is very good.
- the monk effectively neuters any opponent power attack and big weapons, also reducing monster multiple attacks to -4 to hit each.
- a very good trick also is to use won grapple checks to move the opponent alongside allied melee characters - triggering an AoO from each of them. Also, the grappled opponent loses his DEX to AC, opening the way for your party rogue's sneak attacks.
Disadvantage:
- when facing several opponents, the monk is at a disadvantage with this tactics (and may revert to fight defensively or get up concealment instead). But, hey, the monk should not be better at overall combat than the fighter or the barbarian, should he?
:smallwink:
There are some combat strengths for a monk, but they are in specialised niches and not overall combat.

4. The monk has a good chance in core to overcome almost all same CR and lower opponents as his level
See my post avove on this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7990527&postcount=198) for CR 5 and CR 10 creatures that Jacob Orlove suggested.


II. On the joker monk build (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80704) in particular ...
1. Synergies of buffs with monk abilities
My view is this: some spells and magic item buffs/effects synergise better with the monk class than with other classes. This is the avenue to understanding the joker monk concept.
There are two types or better synergy:
a) Relatively better synergy: Here, other classes do not make as much use out of the effect since they already in part have it as a class ability. Still, the fact that those who do not have it jump from a weakness to being almost as good as others is a big plus.
Examples for the monk: mage armour and divine power.
Examples for the fighter: spell resistance, periapt of proof vs poison, expeditious retreat (while the monk already has this at the higher levels).
b) Absolutely better synergy: Here, the monk simply gets most mileage out of the buff, being ahead before the buff and getting ahead even more with it.
Example for the monk: Enlarge (due to size stacking for base damage dice; boost to bonus feat power), owl's wisdom (compared to other melee classes)
Examples for the fighter: Animated Tower Shield, Figurine of Wondrous Power (due to Riding, Mounted Combat feats)

2. Wbl is completely sufficient to get the needed consumable items for the joker monk build
Three major clarifications here:
- The build does not use "all/most of its wealth" on consumables (up to half at low levels, 20-40% at higher levels).
- the UMD is high enough for most purposes to activate wands which has a fixed DC (20).
- when the item is used up, it is deducted from wbl. But this does not mean that a level 15 fighter is better off having kept his mithral plate +4 and being able to sell it after using it all the time. The monk having used a wand of divine power over several levels will also have done what the items are needed for: having shown a strong combat performance.
When the characters retire at level 20 or so, some may value to be able to hang up their vorpal blade over the fireplace while the monk has spent the same money for his wands and consumable items. But the magic-item-increased effectiveness of the classes getting to level 20 is just the same.

3. The Joker monk DOES have a good chance vs casters and wizards in particular - within the core rules framework.
The reason for this is that the complete core default setting is assumed
- including the ability to buy partially charged wands for higher level character creation (as per RAW DMG p. 199)
- including the ability to buy (minor/medium priced) magic items as you like, provided they are available in the community size encountered.
It is not, however, assumed that the wizard can use non-core material, choose all items, spells and item creation material he needs while the monk gets random treasure, or that barbarians using non-core material could do that better or that complete non-core classes like factotum are used for comparison.
Neither is it assumed that the specific joker monk build should have the tank role, do melee all the time and be better than the fighter or barbarian in damage-dealing. His role is different: to take out opponent casters and be more resilient against their magic.

Having said that, the joker monk is primarily a theoretical concept,
- meant to show the balance of the classes within the core rules (even when looking at the allegedly "weakest" class - monk - compared to the allegedly "strongest" class - wizard).
- and for this reason a straight level 1-20 build is used.
- in the guide and thread itself it is suggested repeatedly that in certain circumstances, it could be way better to just replace UMD by getting one or more spellcasting classes in multiclass combination with the monk.
- overall, the joker monk concept can - with different mixtures on feats, skills and magic items - be used to create widely different kinds of monks that all are as effective as the other classes.
- insights on what items and buffs work best with monk abilities can also help for non-core builds.

That's about it.

- Giacomo


PS: More details in my reply to Tyndmyr:


Gotcha. Yeah, it does spend a very significant amount of WBL on consumables. Lets look at your level 6 wand purchases, shall we?

3x Enlarge (5 charges each, total 1,125)
2x Heroism (bard version, 1 charge each, total 1,200)
2x Silence (1 charge each, total 900)
2x Hide from Animals (2 charges each, total 300)
2x Obscuring Mist (2 charges each, total 300)
2x Detect Secret Doors (1 charge each, total 150)
2x Detect Magic (1 charge each, total 75)
2x Comprehend Languages (1 charge each, total 150)
2x Cure Light Wounds (2 charges each, total 300)
2x Resist Energy (Ranger version, 1 charge each, 300)

First off, it's very obvious that you're using a very, very lenient version of partially charged wands, in which every wand is available in the desired number of charges, from the desired crafter. Even MiC only lists them in charge quantities as low as ten. Traditionally, single charge magical items are scrolls/potions, not wands. It's also very clear that if you actually use these things in a fight, you'll run dry in a heartbeat.

It's not lenient, it is per DMG p. 199.
Then, those same rules suggest that for one-shot adventures (which was what the test adventure was about) you should divide the charges by 5 - this is the reason why charges are so low. For one adventure, these wand charges are more than enough.

The fighter has a lot of feats. More importantly, some of the monk abilities he doesn't need to replicate at all. PA +ST is more powerful than all the monk abilities put together.

No, it is not when using just the core rulesset (my reference point for balance discussions).
PA translates into 10 damage advantage per hit through 5 higher BAB by level 16. STR, again two-handed, yields maybe another 5 (with STR 30). That is 15 damage per hit which has to make up for the gap the fighter has to cross, left by comparing 6d8 damage per hit of the monk vs 3d6 for the fighter's greatsword.
And THEN even enter the monk's higher number of attacks and higher number of attacks with highest BAB...
Sure, once you add a good AoO fighter build and weapon specialisation, plus non-core stuff into it the picture may change. But it is not so easy as you make it sound.

Since we're discussing level 6 already(and your build had a spiked chain involved earlier than this), lets consider the comparative tripping of equal strength monk and fighter. We'll assume 18 for each. The fighter is one who uses a spiked chain as his normal weapon.
Monk: 4(str) -4(non proficiency) +1(masterwork) +4(BaB): +5 attack vs touch
Fighter: 4(str) +1(Mw or +1) +6 BaB +1(Weapon Focus) +12 attack vs touch
Amusingly enough, the fighter gets the iterative and the monk does not. No, the monk is not better at this. If the monk opts to flurry to match the iterative, he is now at a +4 attack on both swings. Yeah, no.
Dude, when you have a whopping +5 to hit, you can still miss touch attacks. Against anyone with significant dex, you're probably just wasting your turn.

Do not forget that the monk can make good use of stealth skills and charge with good movement from hiding from 60ft+ away. That's +2 to hit already, negating DEX bonus when opponent is flat-footed.
Then, maybe add weapon focus - unarmed strike. Another +1
Bless is a common buff at those levels, another +1
Then, a grapple/trip focused monk may easily have higher STR than 18, another +1/+2
Then, you forgot that the monk using the non-proficient weapon also has the +1 enhancement bonus, another +1
Then, maybe total concealment and blind-fight. Another +2 and possibly losing DEX bonus
Then, maybe add flanking bonus +2 in combat (not that rare given monk has tumble and high movement)
Most opponent have (flat-footed) touch AC around 10ish.
So it is not as if hitting touch AC is something the monk should be worried about in earnest except in the most unfortunate circumstances (even then still having a 75% chance to hit...).

A monk has a higher number of attacks with his fists, yes. With a spiked chain, as you proposed, no. He only gets two iteratives in non-epic. The fighter is one ahead here. Sure, you can flurry. You then have quantity, but a lack of quality. Until 9th level, this also means taking an attack penalty.

I would not call a penalty of -1 (and no penalty by level 9) exactly "lack of quality", in particular with the kind of touch AC needed to hit.

And don't compare tripping via unarmed to tripping with reach. Reach is pure awesome.

It is. Which is why a monk should also have a spiked chain handy. As shown, the non-proficiency does not matter.

You didn't actually cite any evidence. You just repeated the statement.

See my general statements above. And at the time of the post you referred to, I had already outlined exactly that in detail in a previous post in this thread.

Fact: A fighter can have two points less in con than a monk and have the same hp.

Fact: A monk gets from level 7 healing power of 2/lvl/day, effectively translating into +4 CON over the course of the day.
Thus, he can actually have 2 lower CON and still have the same hp on average (not counting max level 1).

Fact: The monk only gets two feats ignoring prereqs, from a very short list. If he wants anything else that the fighter needs int/dex 13 for, he also needs int/dex 13.

Fact: The monk does not NEED anything else that needs int/dex 13.

Fact: A monk doesn't generally wear armor, and relies on wis for AC. If both a fighter and a monk dump wisdom, the monk will be forever behind on AC.

Fact: Even with WIS 8 (dump stat), the monk within core rules eventually by level 20 gets +5 to AC from his monk AC (with monk's belt). This along a WIS-boosting +6 item (small change at level 20) means +7 total bonus that a fighter does not get.
Fighter AC bonuses that the monk can emulate:
+8 armour bonus (bracers of defense) = full plate
+4 shield bonus (shield spell in ring of spell storing) = tower shield
This leaves the fighter with just the +5 enhance from both the armour and then shield (possibly animated to preserve his TH-combat style).
So, in total the fighter is just +3 AC ahead (all other AC boosters can be bought by both sides)...
...HOWEVER a full plate armour unfortunately caps the DEX bonus to a max of +3, while the monk can easily have a DEX of 24 by level 20 and getting the full +7 bonus for it. Plus, he can use tumble for full defense +6 vs the fighter's +4...
So, monk eventually beats fighter in terms of AC even when both dump WIS. Although admittedly at low levels the fighter is ahead here.

Fact: Quivering Palm DC goes off wisdom. It's low even with an excellent wisdom. If you dump it, your targets will generally only fail on a 1.
Fact: Stunning fist has the exact same DC as Quivering Palm(10+.5 level + wis mod). If you've dumped wisdom, you've also made this ability meaningless.
What you have left is a monk without useful class features.

Fact: You COULD max quivering palm DC to about 34 or a bit higher in core with high WIS and ability focus. That is quite tough for even the big monsters to handle.

Granted, it is true that all monk builds not focusing on WIS will not make such big use out of QP and SF. However, the power of quivering palm like stunning fist and massive damage fort save is that they accrue (possibly several rounds in a row for stunning fist) EVERY time the monk hits ONTOP of the damage he does. Say, an opponent saves on a "5" or better ... then it starts to get a bit risky after 2 combat rounds...

You completely ignored the point. Battles typically take place such that additional movement is meaningless unless you need to run away.

I do not think that the minitiatures and dungeon floor map available should limit what the characters are able to do in combat using the rules. Nothing stops a monk to withdraw away 120 ft and charge again back the next round.

It is...but it's still an advantage. And you're just trying to spin the topic away from the original curious idea that mage armor was better for a monk than a fighter.

It is not a curious idea- see above for my explanation on what I mean with relatively better use than absolutely better use.

You're dumping stats to focus on strength, remember? Or are we dealing with Shrodinger's monk here?

When focusing on STR it does not mean that you have an "8" in all other stats, just as for all other classes.
Monk per core rules favours putting highest stat on STR, 2nd highest on WIS I guess.

Strengths, yes.

? Do you mean a fighter has different strengths, but the same weaknesses as a monk?
Again: both classes have their strengths and weaknesses. A fighter is a master of weapon and mounted combat. A monk is a master of unarmed combat with high resilience vs magic and some unusual abilities.

When someone says "they get abilities like x and y", that does not imply that they are a complete list. You are again dodging actually proving the value of those abilities.

All of the monk abilities are useful. When someone says "monk ability x and y is useless" I call this ignoring part of the class.
Also, even saying the abilities are weak because alledgedly they do not synergise is wrong.
Example: flurry and high movement. A lot of players would like to have houseruled flurry available as a standard action to attack and pounce, so to say.
But that would be seriously imbalanced.
Instead, the designers left many INDIRECT ways for a monk to achieve full attack situations:
- stunning fist (charge and stun, opponent cannot move away)
- trip (charge and trip, opponent cannot move away without 2 AoO, one for standing up and one for moving away)
- grapple (grapple and opponent cannot move away)
- stealth (surprise and win initiative to land full attack).

UMD is not a monk class feature. Cha is not a monk stat. Monks have NO special advantage here, and all classes synergize with magical buffs. This is like stating that a monk with giant piles of money is great.
Yes, he is, but another class with the same pile of money is still better.

1. All the joker monk needs is attaining that fixed wand activation DC of 20 which he can from around level 11. Even an UMD of just +0 is enough for repeatedly trying to activate several CLW wands to heal between combats.
No UMD as class skill or Cha above 8 even needed.
2. All classes synergise with magical buffs, but some better with some buffs than others (see also avove and below).
3. The default core setting with wbl assumes an increasing power role of items to keep the game balanced. This may be cumbersome for many and not fitting into all campaigns since it limits the range of atmospheric options/fluff for campaigns. But it is still there.
When you do not like that, simply houserule it otherwise - but then just do not maintain that the system is unbalanced as it is.
Caster classes get disproportionately more powerful with their spells at higher levels. This is counterbalanced by the increasing power role of items which relatively benefits non-casters more.
And the monk actually is better without any items in core than any of the other non-casting classes, due to his many, sometimes supernatural special abilities.

You ignored the fact that Stand Still means that you don't get to grapple. Or, with a decent amount of reach, escape. Unless he misses you on the AoO(Unlikely, since he actually has a great attack modifier, and you have a lack of armor), you stand there. On his turn, he full attacks you, and you then die horribly.

Stand Still is not part of the core rules. Again - in full agreement of the more powerful, up to broken possibilities with non-core material. But this has never been my point.

Grapple builds are a poor choice for going solo because far, far too many things can either avoid grapples with ease or will trump your ability to grapple. Leaving aside the fact that you can't build a monk who is a good tripper, a good grappler, AND dump dex and int, as you imply....lets look at mobs.

Polar Bear: CR4, Improved Grab. +18 Grapple.

Yeah, grappling him is a terrible idea.

Sigh. I never said anything about "dumping" DEX and INT. Instead of enlarged half-orc fighters I simply can put in a DEX 14 and INT of 10.
Then...
Half-orc monk with starting STR 19 (17+2 racial) with improved grapple feat. Stat gain at level 4 for STR 20.
Hides 50ft away from polar bear spots/listens him before the other way round. Enlarged for STR 22, bull's strength potion for STR 26. Then charges in surprise round.
That's a whopping 3 BAB +4 improved grapple +4 size + 8 STR for a whopping total of +19 to grapple, +18/+18 flurried.

Yes, sounds like a good idea to grapple.
And I somehow find it fascinating that picking among the top 5% monster grapplers is intended to show that somehow grappling is not a good idea in 1:1 combat.:smallwink:

In core? What is this in core business? This isn't a core only discussion. You've changed the comparison to be as optimal for you as possible, and ignored everything else.

See above for my reasons to keep core and non-core environments separate.

For example, the fact that damage die makes up only a small portion of damage. Strength and power attacking matter a ton.

They do not matter that much, at least not in core. See above.

Yes, that power attacking goes with shock trooper.

And that greater mighty wallop goes with pushing the monk's unarmed base damage to 24d8 within non-core rules (which is just the beginning...)

As I stated, the lack of epic progression, due to the use of monks belt, impacts monks starting at level 16. It's somewhat amazing that you could quote this, and still miss that it's not just an epic issue.

Whereas the fighter's size stacking to base damage dice caps at level 1 (greatsword with enlarge to 3d6). What is that going to show? Fighter remains behind, enlarge helps monk more, as shown repeatedly.

A single 1st level spell off a wand is unlikely to do much from mid-levels up. Yay, you have mage armor for the fight. You wasted the first round(or are burning charges every hour), and still have less AC than the fighter. You need to burn far more than this to have a significant effect.

You overlook
- that mage armour is an hour/lvl buff (which btw is better to get from fellow caster pc with pearl of power and rod of lesser extend)
- a monk can due to his stealth often get a surprise round to buff
- his AC in some circumstances will be better than that of the fighter (and his combat style makes AC less important than that for the fighter).
- at 15 gp per casting from a wand 1st level spells are not really something to worry about; they are the best wand use bargains.

Dispels from mid levels up are a standard caster tactic, and an untargetted dispel is often the best tactic available. Unless your DM is giving you an easy/stupid opponent, dispels should come up at some point. Not every fight, no, but often enough to be a factor. This is especially true if it's obvious that you're buffing yourself.

Seriously - how often will monsters and/or DM npc casters really use a dispel magic on a monk?
- I daresay less than 10% of the monsters have this ability at all, and if they do, it is too low caster level to reliably debuff the monk (for instance dragons, plus, they have better things to do mostly with their actions)
- npc casters MIGHT consider this, but how often do, say, the wizards you play use dispel magic in the first rounds of combat when faced with overwhelming odds of opponents attacking them? Solid fog, dimension door, wall of force all seem like way more promising defensive / debuff actions.

If the amount of casting a wizard + scrolls on hand is "more limit", then clearly, your WBL will suffer horribly from the amount of consumables you're using.

I'd say the wizard at low level runs out faster with enlarge spells than the monk with his wand :smallwink: But of course a caster with wands and scrolls will be able to cast more often per day than a monk with the same - but it may not always be the case that he has exactly the same set of consumable items (not even advisable to do so).

Monk 11/Sorc 1 is a terrible gish build. A gish is one that progresses both melee and casting. The standard for a decent gish build is full base attack bonus OR 9th level casting.
Typically, you can get pretty close to having the second as well, and Im sure someone out there has worked out ways to get both. Presumably any shenanigan to pick up third level casting with any full caster + 1 level of dragon disciple + Eldritch Knight + 8 levels of another eldritch knight like class would be sufficient to get 19/20 BaB and a full 20 levels of caster progression.
That's a magic + melee done right, and it'll shred the monk in a standard action without consumables.

No, that is a magic + melee done with non-core material - where I could as easily show there is a vast array of possibilities to synergise monk abilities with psionics, divine casting up to 9th level and/or arcane casting up to 9th level.
In core (since you are comparing it to a core monk build) your build has only 18 levels of caster progression and can at best take a low BAB prestige class/more wizard levels ontop of the eldritch knight.
The best thing to achieve in core to my knowledge is a BAB 16/11/6/1 and level 17 casting (say, with Sorcerer 6/Dragon Disciple 2/Eldritch Knight 10/Archmage 2; leaving out the dragon disciple a wizard variant could also get 9th level spells)
Compared to such a build, a level 1/19 sorcerer/monk or 1/19 cleric monk is quite OK, I believe (14/14/14/9/4 BAB, all sorcerer or cleric spells lvl 1-4 in wands, good stealth).

Go nuts. But remember, monks are MAD, mkay? Especially if you're depending on stats like wisdom. So your earlier statement about being able to focus on str more than the fighter...nope.

MAD myth: see above. And a monk does not "depend" on stats like wisdom - he can dump it easily as shown. Having high WIS simply benefits him more than other non-casting classes, but this is not "dependence".

This is not a core discussion. It was a general discussion about monks, not specifically about monks in core. Changing the rules to avoid admitting that your point is wrong doesn't prove anything.

The OP never specified any particular rulesset, as such the (quite often used common ground) core rulesset was not excluded.
People in such discussion about class balance often try to keep the environment non-core, quoting apparently awesome combos that hardly ever see play or would ever be allowed by sane DMs as proof that monks are subpar.
And I think this is not really helpful when trying to find imbalance in the system - a mere choice of what splatbooks/fluff/campaign setting to choose from vastly determines the balance and challenges every DM. So it is impossible to say IN GENERAL, with ALL combinations of rules available, a monk will suck.

I didn't say casting six spells of a scroll. I said casting a level 6 spell off a scroll, which is different. Wands are not an option here.
UMD DC: 31(20+minimum CL for a level six spell)
You also need a minimum int of 16 to cast this...if not, you need to emulate it via another DC 31 UMD check(15+ 16(minimum stat needed)).
UMD is cross class, you're "focusing on strength", so you can't have that good of cha, and you have no cha synergy with your other abilities.

As shown in the joker monk build, it is entirely possibel to even achieve DC 31 UMD checks eventually, even when starting with just CHR 8.

Antimagic field is a self only spell.
How on earth is this a "best for monks" deal?

Yes, it is self only. Hence the use of UMD and scrolls (although at very high levels a greater ring of spell storing is also an option).
The better AMF synergy for a monk compared to other non-casting classes is the better movement enhancement (ex) that is preserved inside an AMF.

No...he won't be standing on the ground. He'll be flying. And/or ethereal. Likely have buffs up too. Details depend on level you encounter him at, but no, the monk will not be standing there on the ground, letting you punch him. Thus, your run speed is entirely irrelevant.

Even a wizard will not always be flying out of reach or etheral or with decisive buffs up, just as the monk. This means that run speed is relevant at times (in particular when combined with the jump skill).

So, you cast an obscuring mist, then move around it in rapidly. Got it.
How does this matter? How is it an advantage?

Movement is halved when moving silently (or penalty), so movement advantage even within 40ft diameter is more relevant.

Fighters don't need the owl's wisdom in the first place. You're merely trying to catch up with them. They can use an equivalent buff to much better effect.
Thus, it does not prove your vaunted monk/magic synergy.

So... you are in effect saying that all classes make equal use of buffs (or even everyone makes at least better use of buffs than a monk).
Yet you say that "fighters don't need the owl's wisdom in the first place". Isn't this somewhat a contradiction?

Again: +4 to WIS benefits to fighter:
- +2 to will save
- +2 to several (likely not raised) cross-class skills
That's about it.
Then: +4 to WIS benefits to monk
- +2 to will save
- +2 to several class skills (likely raised to make good use of this bonus)
- +2 to stunning fist DC
- +2 to AC
Now tell me: what class makes more use out of WIS?
(note that monk's belt for the fighter costs 13,000 extra, abandons the low/mid-level advantage of armour and shield, and stunning first feat results in less use of the stunning fist/day than for the monk).

I hope that I have been able to change your opinion on the monk class.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-03-04, 08:18 PM
Some of the points you put forward are quite interesting. However, there are some parts that don't really make sense to me. I would greatly appreciate some clarification on a few things.

On Ability Dependence


2. Monk MAD myth
Again: the monk can focus on just STR if he so desires. This is because he needs no prereqs for his bonus feats that allow two great melee combat avenues: grappling (see also below) and tripping. That he has a lower AC (not lower touch AC!) than other melee classes at low levels can be overcome by choosing exactly the combat tactics grappling (your opponent gets -4 to hit and can only use light weapons, or even gets pinned!) and tripping (your opponent gets -4 to hit for being prone, you even get +4 to hit).
A monk with DEX and WIS 14 and fighting defensively with 5 ranks in tumble has an AC of 17 at low levels. Not great, but not hopeless either.
Once a monk uses concealment tactics and blind-fighting, the melee defenses go up considerably.

Meanwhile, the other melee classes will have to have 13s in both DEX (improved grapple) and INT (improved trip) plus spend two more feat slots for the required feats (improved unarmed strike, combat expertise).
DEX and INT actually have to be 15 each for non-monks, since
- when using the key enlarge buff for grapple and trip tactics at low levels, you lose -2 DEX (meaning you need a 15 in DEX or lose the benefits of the improved grapple feat)
- when getting a STR-boosting core race like half-orc, orc or wood elf entails an INT penalty of -2 is the price.

In core, it may a bit difficult to also do a DEX-based monk or even a WIS-based monk, but deviating from the default best stat is a similar problem for other core classes as well (say, a ranger focusing on CHR to max animal handling), but this problem vanishes the moment non-core rules are added.


If what you suggest is correct about multiple ability dependence, then monk certainly gains a good deal of power. Being able to dump all stats but STR, to a greater extent even than the fighter or barbarian, would certainly add to the appeal of the class. If I understand it correctly, your assertion is that, since Monks get Improved Grapple and Improved Trip for free, it is unnecessary for them to invest much in INT or DEX -- at least not a much as a Fighter who would have to put 13 (or even 15 in the case of DEX) in both stats.

However, by this reasoning, it seems to me that three flaws appear. They are that 1) by dumping DEX, a monk's AC, at least at low levels, is significantly impacted, 2) since grappling is considered to be a weak at high levels, and even at low levels outstripped by tripping, it is unlikely for a fighter or barbarian to bother with the feat at all. I will explain these points more thoroughly in the following, and 3) due to low HD, a monk must focus on constitution to a greater degree than a fighter or barbarian. I will explain these points more thoroughly in the following.

1) Getting Improved Grapple for free does not free monks from DEX dependency.

In your post, you suggested than a monk can be less DEX dependent than a fighter, since the monk doesn't need any DEX to qualify for Improved grapple. Assuming that a fighter or barbarian wants improved grapple for some reason or another, they would need 13 (or 15 if enlarged) DEX to pull it off.

However, being unable to wear armor, a monk needs DEX for armor class. As you stated in your post, at low levels, a monk with 14 DEX and 14 WIS has an AC of 17, similar to the AC of a low level fighter in armor.

For this reason, at low levels, a monk can't really dump DEX. At least not to a significant extent.

2) Fighters shouldn't take improved grapple in most situations. Therefore the fact that monks get it for free is not a big benefit.

In my previous point, I argued that, at low levels, a monk would require roughly the same investment in DEX to keep up his/her AC as a fighter would need in order to use Improved Grapple (especially when enlarged). In the following, I will argue that a)there is little reason for a fighter to take improved grapple at all, and that b)the fighter will not be majorly handicapped (if handicapped at all) by the lack of this feat.

a) Grappling has its merits. If done well, an opponent without easy ways to escape can be almost completely shut down. Additionally, grappling synergies well with other party members' talents (particularly the rogue who can get free sneak attack on the grappled foe).

That said, its drawbacks too are significant. As has often been argued by others, grappling loses much of its appeal in a higher-level game due to the prevalence of very big creatures and easy escape methods (like dimension door, contingency, etc.). Few classes can keep up with the grapple modifiers in high-level play except for the Druid. So, at high levels, it seems foolish for a fighter to attempt grappling as a major strategy.

At low levels, grappling has drawbacks too. As you mentioned in your post, against multiple foes, grappling is a much a liability as benefit since the grappler leaves him/her self open to attack.

For these reasons it seems unwise for fighters (and possibly monks too) to invest too heavily in grappling.

b) The fighter, I think, is not grievously hurt by ignoring grappling. In addition to the drawbacks mentioned above (section 2a), the fighter has a better way to do most of what grapple did, namely Improved Trip.

Improved trip, which as greater applicability at high levels than improved grapple, can also be used to control the battlefield and give allies (and yourself) both offensive and defensive bonuses.

For this reason, fighters are not majorly impacted by not investing in grappling.

It seems, therefore, that, since investing in grappling is a poor investment in the long run, and since fighters can do better with Tripping, that it is quite unlikely for a fighter to want to invest 15 points in DEX for the purpose of grappling.

3) Monks need CON more than fighters.

Monks have d8 HP (avg. 4.5/lvl) as opposed to Fighters' d10 (avg. 5.5/lvl). This means that, in order to keep up with a Fighter in HP, a monk must have a CON modifier 1 point higher than a fighter (a CON score 2 points higher) in order to keep up in HP.

Now, if monks had superior ways to defend their HP than fighters (e.g. better AC, better miss chance, ways of avoiding attacks, etc.) this would not be an issue. However, as far as I know, monks have no such defenses. At low levels, monks can match fighters in AC for a little while by depending on their combination of DEX and WIS to AC. However, as early as 3rd level, fighters may very well have surpassed a monk of similar level's AC. As for Non-AC-Defenses of HP, Monks are in the same boat as fighters -- pretty much nothing unless it comes from an item.

Thus it appears that monks need CON just as much, nay, more than, fighters need it.

Conclusion:
It appears that Monks are certainly no less MAD than fighters, and quite likely more so. Since DEX requirements for monks are, at best, equal to those of fighters, and they have greater CON and WIS requirements, it is not logical to argue that they of equal or less multi-ability dependence than fighters.

While it is true that a monk needs not bother with INT for Improved Trip, it seems to me that the monk needs a higher DEX, WIS, and CON to keep up with a fighter in terms of HP and AC.

Math_Mage
2010-03-04, 08:24 PM
Sure, for instance outside core casters have a big advantage - it is because they get to choose from way more spells with almost every book added!

Inside core, casters get a bigger advantage. The myth about core being more balanced is just that. It's just that the core material is more *obviously* unbalanced and thus easier to restrain, while non-core material is better at walking the edge between broken and merely very good.


Therefore, it is not useful to do a class balance comparison of "hey, monk may do 6d8 base damage in core at most per hit, but my non-core ubercharger shocktrooper with belt of battle can do 1000 damage!"

Most direct comparisons have been with a fighter using Power Attack and sometimes Weapon Focus.


A monk with DEX and WIS 14 and fighting defensively with 5 ranks in tumble has an AC of 17 at low levels.

...and no attack bonus whatever since he's fighting defensively. Yeesh.

Not to mention, with a 28-pt buy that means a Str of 16 if the monk wants any Con score.


Meanwhile, the other melee classes will have to have 13s in both DEX (improved grapple) and INT (improved trip) plus spend two more feat slots for the required feats (improved unarmed strike, combat expertise).

It's highly doubtful the fighter wants either improved grapple or improved unarmed strike. It's as previously said, why would the fighter waste time trying to be the monk when he can just be better than the monk? At most we're talking a reach tripper who wants Improved Trip. And that's if you decide that yes, the fighter should deliberately MAD himself for tripping. The fighter needs Int 13-15; the monk needs Wis 14; and the monk needs higher Dex and Con than the fighter due to reduced AC and hit die. The monk remains more MAD than the fighter.


The build does not use "all/most of its wealth" on consumables (up to half at low levels, 20-40% at higher levels).

Only if you obsolete potions and scrolls with questionable RAW reading of partially charged wands, a notion that won't fly with any DM.


My view is this: some spells and magic item buffs/effects synergise better with the monk class than with other classes.

Except that with UMD not a class skill, and without yet more questionable readings about masterwork items that grant bonuses to it, you're still in serious trouble when it comes to actually getting those buffs. By the time you're able to reliably cast off a wand, the wizard can start distributing mass buffs and your personal contribution to the party on that score becomes nil.


Example for the monk: Enlarge (due to size stacking for base damage dice; boost to bonus feat power), owl's wisdom (compared to other melee classes)

It has been established that the monk is behind on damage before and after Enlarge despite the difference in die-based damage, and the fighter doesn't *need* Owl's Wisdom since Bull's Strength does exactly what he wants, and better.


The best thing to achieve in core to my knowledge is a BAB 16/11/6/1 and level 17 casting (say, with Sorcerer 6/Dragon Disciple 2/Eldritch Knight 10/Archmage 2; leaving out the dragon disciple a wizard variant could also get 9th level spells)
Compared to such a build, a level 1/19 sorcerer/monk or 1/19 cleric monk is quite OK, I believe (14/14/14/9/4 BAB, all sorcerer or cleric spells lvl 1-4 in wands, good stealth).

Right, I forgot, the monk abilities are *obviously* worth giving up the ability to actually CAST spells, not to mention the ability to cast spells 5th-8th level.

And let's not forget, every player in the world would rather reverse your 1/19 builds. Monks make good dips, casters make bad ones. It's like you actually *want* to play Elanicalicus, and at least the other half of that deal was a bard!

Gametime
2010-03-04, 09:47 PM
I take issue with some of these statements.



I. On the monk in general
1. Why keep discussion core?
I always divide up my views on any class balance discussion - including on the monk - into whether you only consider the core rules or if you consider "anything goes".
My case of broad class balance only pertains to a core rules framework (PHB, DMG, MM). This is what the original balance is meant to be and I think it is OK.

I'll actually agree with you here - not that core is balanced (I don't think it is), but that a discussion of core monks vs. core everything else is just as valid as a discussion using all books. If the monk is weak in core, as I and many other people believe, we should be able to prove it without resorting to non-core material.

I will note that I think that the monk only gets comparatively worse the more splatbooks you add; casters get the lion's share, as almost every book has more spells, but the good feats to be found outside of core are largely tailored to rogues, paladins, and fighters.


Having said that, it is also easy to do a fighter charger build that does damage in the 1000s - but it is also possible for a monk.

I will, however, note that this statement seems deliberately misleading, since a fighter can access more and better feats to complement charging; a monk charging build would suck compared to almost any other martial class.


A monk with DEX and WIS 14 and fighting defensively with 5 ranks in tumble has an AC of 17 at low levels. Not great, but not hopeless either.
Once a monk uses concealment tactics and blind-fighting, the melee defenses go up considerably.

He also has an attack bonus of all of +0 at first level, assuming 18 strength. Even touch attacks miss a lot when you get +0 to attack. Once you start using Enlarge Person to get bonuses to grappling, you'll be at 15 AC.

All other issues aside, when a fighter can beat your AC with mundane gear, before devoting any feats, stats, or combat maneuvers to it, it might be time to give up the debate on AC.

Any melee class can benefit from sources of concealment. The only advantage a monk has is Hide, which is only necessary for very specific kinds.


Meanwhile, the other melee classes will have to have 13s in both DEX (improved grapple) and INT (improved trip) plus spend two more feat slots for the required feats (improved unarmed strike, combat expertise).
DEX and INT actually have to be 15 each for non-monks, since
- when using the key enlarge buff for grapple and trip tactics at low levels, you lose -2 DEX (meaning you need a 15 in DEX or lose the benefits of the improved grapple feat)
- when getting a STR-boosting core race like half-orc, orc or wood elf entails an INT penalty of -2 is the price.

Most non-monks would just skip the grapple. Tripping is much better in core than grappling; here I'll concede that monks are better at grappling than most other classes, but that has more to do with how wretched the whole affair is than anything else. So, now our prerequisite is Int 13, if we want to trip; it's effectively Int 15, if we get a strength-boosting race, but we could just skip that and go human for the extra feat (since we do need a few). The monk thus gets +2 to strength over us - but is still spending points in dexterity and wisdom to make his AC not quite as sucktacular as it otherwise would be.

With 28 point buy, your half-orc monk can get a spread of STR 18, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 6, WIS 14, CHA 6. He's dumb as a brick and annoying to boot, but he's got decent physical stats. You could take some points out of con to get more skills, but you'll end up a bit fragile; you certainly can't take them out of strength (we're focusing on it, remember?), or dexterity or wisdom (since 14's are the baseline you assumed for a strength-focused monk to have a reasonable AC).

Our human fighter can afford STR 18, DEX 8, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 8, CHA 8. He's got (amusingly) three more skill points per level than your monk, and can invest in full plate for a higher AC without having to fight defensively. He's a bit more sociable, though less aware. His initiative and touch AC are lower, but when it comes to tripping? He'll be just as good. He's even more versatile, thanks to those skill points, and he's got bundles of extra feats to spend on whatever he wants.


- when the item is used up, it is deducted from wbl. But this does not mean that a level 15 fighter is better off having kept his mithral plate +4 and being able to sell it after using it all the time. The monk having used a wand of divine power over several levels will also have done what the items are needed for: having shown a strong combat performance.
When the characters retire at level 20 or so, some may value to be able to hang up their vorpal blade over the fireplace while the monk has spent the same money for his wands and consumable items. But the magic-item-increased effectiveness of the classes getting to level 20 is just the same.

There have been extensive posts examining the math behind these claims, most coming to the conclusion that extended use of this strategy falls behind after awhile.

I will, however, put forward the claim that every permanent magical investment increases a character's power permanently. Every temporary magical investment increases the character's power temporarily. If that temporary timeframe is equal to or greater than the length of the campaign, there is no disparity, and the temporary items may in fact be more efficient.

If, however, the items will be used up before their cost can be replenished by the encounters they are used to help overcome, then the permanent items form a significantly higher boost.

I'm sure you'll agree with this assessment. From here, our disagreement revolves around the maths involved. I'll leave that dispute to Bertrand Russell.


The reason for this is that the complete core default setting is assumed
- including the ability to buy partially charged wands for higher level character creation (as per RAW DMG p. 199)

If you admit to the build relying on the availability of cheaper wands that only exist at character creation, why do you dispute the claim that the build is untenable as a campaign goes on and you are forced to buy full-priced wands?

And now for the response to Tyndmyr:


It's not lenient, it is per DMG p. 199.
Then, those same rules suggest that for one-shot adventures (which was what the test adventure was about) you should divide the charges by 5 - this is the reason why charges are so low. For one adventure, these wand charges are more than enough.

Already commented on the apparent dual-nature of a build functioning only in short adventures and also over the course of a long campaign.


PA translates into 10 damage advantage per hit through 5 higher BAB by level 16. STR, again two-handed, yields maybe another 5 (with STR 30). That is 15 damage per hit which has to make up for the gap the fighter has to cross, left by comparing 6d8 damage per hit of the monk vs 3d6 for the fighter's greatsword.
And THEN even enter the monk's higher number of attacks and higher number of attacks with highest BAB...
Sure, once you add a good AoO fighter build and weapon specialisation, plus non-core stuff into it the picture may change. But it is not so easy as you make it sound.

It's actually every bit as easy. You are deliberately looking at every advantageous class feature the monk has at level 15, and none of the fighter's. The 15 damage the fighter has gained leaves only 1.5 damage the monk has in advantage - to be generous, we'll say 2. Weapon Specialization covers that. Greater Weapon Specialization gives the fighter the advantage. Weapon enhancements (which are much cheaper, in core, for weapons than for natural attacks) widen the gap. (If Greater Magic Weapon is used to give the monk enhancements, the fighter presumably has access to it as well, and can spend the gold adding properties to his weapon instead.) Improved Critical adds more damage. So do Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus, since you can Power Attack for more before missing.

The fighter has spend six of his eight bonus feats and is already well ahead of the monk in damage. He hasn't even dipped into normal leveling feats, and has spent only a fraction of his wealth. If you're willing to admit that fighters fight better than monks, why do you keep arguing about it?


Do not forget that the monk can make good use of stealth skills and charge with good movement from hiding from 60ft+ away. That's +2 to hit already, negating DEX bonus when opponent is flat-footed.

You're making your case pretty situational, but okay.


Then, maybe add weapon focus - unarmed strike. Another +1
Bless is a common buff at those levels, another +1

Even more situational, but okay.


Then, a grapple/trip focused monk may easily have higher STR than 18, another +1/+2

Not without gimping your AC even more than you already have. Reference my point spread above, and tell me what stat should be even LOWER than it already is.


Then, you forgot that the monk using the non-proficient weapon also has the +1 enhancement bonus, another +1

A masterwork bonus is included and does not stack with the attack from +1 enhancement.


Then, maybe total concealment and blind-fight. Another +2 and possibly losing DEX bonus

Wait, what? You're charging an enemy you've surprised in an area where they can't see you?


Then, maybe add flanking bonus +2 in combat (not that rare given monk has tumble and high movement)

It is rare if you've charged in during the surprise round from a greater distance than the rest of your party can cover in a single turn and in an area where no one can see anything.


Most opponent have (flat-footed) touch AC around 10ish.
So it is not as if hitting touch AC is something the monk should be worried about in earnest except in the most unfortunate circumstances (even then still having a 75% chance to hit...).

So if you either surprise them from stealth or have total concealment, and if you've been buffed by a friendly bard or cleric beforehand, and if you spent one of the three non-bonus feats you get by level 6 on Weapon Focus, you'll have +5 to hit. A 75% chance to succeed at the tactic which your entire build is devoted to in the most favorable of conditions is not what I would call reliable.

If you don't catch them by surprise, or you fail the first trip and have to try again next round, they cease to be flat-footed and you lose that +2. Even with no dex bonus, your chances of failure have increased by 10%. In the total concealment scenario, your chance of success falls from 3/4 to 9/16.

Consider that even though the monk can succeed at this, he has a vastly lower chance of success than the fighter who devotes less of his resources to being good at it.


I would not call a penalty of -1 (and no penalty by level 9) exactly "lack of quality", in particular with the kind of touch AC needed to hit.

I would, considering how low your chances of success becomes after the surprise round (when flurry is a possibility).


Fact: A monk gets from level 7 healing power of 2/lvl/day, effectively translating into +4 CON over the course of the day.
Thus, he can actually have 2 lower CON and still have the same hp on average (not counting max level 1).

And requiring actions to use, severely reducing the monk's effectiveness if his lower health threatens dropping him in combat.


Fact: The monk does not NEED anything else that needs int/dex 13.

Although even your strength-focused monk assumed dex 14, amusingly, and dumping int severely limits your skills (which already include Hide, Tumble, and UMD; if you want Move Silently, you'll need an int of at least +1).


Fact: Even with WIS 8 (dump stat), the monk within core rules eventually by level 20 gets +5 to AC from his monk AC (with monk's belt). This along a WIS-boosting +6 item (small change at level 20) means +7 total bonus that a fighter does not get.
Fighter AC bonuses that the monk can emulate:
+8 armour bonus (bracers of defense) = full plate
+4 shield bonus (shield spell in ring of spell storing) = tower shield
This leaves the fighter with just the +5 enhance from both the armour and then shield (possibly animated to preserve his TH-combat style).
So, in total the fighter is just +3 AC ahead (all other AC boosters can be bought by both sides)...
...HOWEVER a full plate armour unfortunately caps the DEX bonus to a max of +3, while the monk can easily have a DEX of 24 by level 20 and getting the full +7 bonus for it. Plus, he can use tumble for full defense +6 vs the fighter's +4...
So, monk eventually beats fighter in terms of AC even when both dump WIS. Although admittedly at low levels the fighter is ahead here.

Starting with a dex of 14, you'd need a +6 item and +4 tome to get 24 dex. This puts your expenditures at 277,000 gold, and a standard action each fight to put up your shield. (I'll grant you the caster replenishing it every day.)

In contrast, the fighter has spent 119,000 for his mithral armor, animated shield, and +6 dex item (to get from 10 to 16 dex).

Does a class feature that only becomes useful once you have more than doubled your competitor's expenditures strike you as worth the trouble?


Fact: You COULD max quivering palm DC to about 34 or a bit higher in core with high WIS and ability focus. That is quite tough for even the big monsters to handle.

Sure - at level 20, with Ability Focus and a Wis modifier of +12. A +6 item, +5 inherent, and +5 from levels leaves you needing a starting Wisdom of 17, and has both cut into your wealth and any potential bonuses you might give Strength.

So, yes, at level 20 you could stun a lot of things that aren't immune to it and don't have really high fortitude saves - so no constructs, oozes, undead, plants, animals, dragons, giants, magical beasts, outsiders, or vermin. Also, your non-wisdom stats all suck.


Granted, it is true that all monk builds not focusing on WIS will not make such big use out of QP and SF. However, the power of quivering palm like stunning fist and massive damage fort save is that they accrue (possibly several rounds in a row for stunning fist) EVERY time the monk hits ONTOP of the damage he does. Say, an opponent saves on a "5" or better ... then it starts to get a bit risky after 2 combat rounds...

Uh, no. Quivering Palm is once per week, period. A ton of creatures are immune to it, you have to hit, you have to deal damage, and you have to hope they fail their save. You get one Stunning Fist per level per day; enough to force a lot of saves on two enemies, but not many more than that.


I do not think that the minitiatures and dungeon floor map available should limit what the characters are able to do in combat using the rules. Nothing stops a monk to withdraw away 120 ft and charge again back the next round.

I agree, but that is a terrible strategy. Two full round actions to get one attack? Instead of TWO full attacks?

High speed is good, but only in three situations: trying to escape, trying to catch a person trying to escape, and closing in the first round of combat. The first is very rare, the second somewhat less so, and the last the only one that is relevant more than 10% of the time. Even the best abilities are limited in utility when they only apply for the first round of combat.


When focusing on STR it does not mean that you have an "8" in all other stats, just as for all other classes.
Monk per core rules favours putting highest stat on STR, 2nd highest on WIS I guess.

No, focusing on strength means putting 14's in Dex, Wis, and Con, and 6's in Int and Cha. At least, based on the guidelines you've given elsewhere.


Sigh. I never said anything about "dumping" DEX and INT. Instead of enlarged half-orc fighters I simply can put in a DEX 14 and INT of 10.
Then...
Half-orc monk with starting STR 19 (17+2 racial) with improved grapple feat. Stat gain at level 4 for STR 20.
Hides 50ft away from polar bear spots/listens him before the other way round. Enlarged for STR 22, bull's strength potion for STR 26. Then charges in surprise round.
That's a whopping 3 BAB +4 improved grapple +4 size + 8 STR for a whopping total of +19 to grapple, +18/+18 flurried.

Yes, sounds like a good idea to grapple

An Int of 10 and Str of 17 is going to cost you a whopping FIVE points more than the spread I assumed. That's going to require dumping either Wis or Con, or both.

The cost of being able to grapple a polar bear is evidently losing AC or hit points to the point where you won't survive a grapple with a polar bear.


MAD myth: see above. And a monk does not "depend" on stats like wisdom - he can dump it easily as shown. Having high WIS simply benefits him more than other non-casting classes, but this is not "dependence".

At low levels, you say monks have good AC with a 14 Wis. That's dependence. You can't get a decent AC without a high Wisdom until near-epic, after spending hundreds of thousands of gold. As shown, your theoretical monk focusing on Strength with decent Dexterity and Wisdom has to either severely dump Charisma (cutting into UMD), Intelligence (cutting into skills in general), or Constitution (cutting into the monk himself - rimshot!).


So... you are in effect saying that all classes make equal use of buffs (or even everyone makes at least better use of buffs than a monk).
Yet you say that "fighters don't need the owl's wisdom in the first place". Isn't this somewhat a contradiction?

No, he's saying that making better use of a buff is meaningless if all it does is bring you up to the level of someone who doesn't need the buff to function. In this case, the monk "makes better use" of a buff that the fighter has innately: +2 armor.

Whew. What a post! I've likely been ninja'd many times over, but let's see if we can't summarize this, shall we?

- Monks are reliant on Dexterity and Wisdom for AC at low levels. Not dumping both, while still focusing on Strength, results in in low Constitution, low Intelligence, or low Charisma. Any one of the three will negatively impact the monk (though Charisma less than the others). Saying that a monk COULD get his stats high enough to execute a given strategy ignores the very real consequences of pumping that stat to the exclusion of others.
- Monks suffer from a low attack bonus. Fighting defensively to make up for the lack of armor exacerbates this issue. Even touch attacks become increasingly unlikely at low levels with stacking penalties, and without magical buffs the monk has no chance.
- A monk is worse at any one thing he tries to do, compared to fighters, barbarians, and rogues in their respective areas. A monk attempting to focus on one of these areas - grappling, tripping, fighting - will nonetheless fail to keep up with competitor classes. As shown above, attempting to specialize in this way will cut into at least one function, be it armor, health, or skill points. Attempting to generalize will yield even worse results in any given area.
- Monks are demonstrably worse than other classes. It is important to note that this doesn't mean they cannot overcome challenges; simply that they will not overcome them with the same ease or efficiency as other classes.

I doubt any of this will change your mind, Giacomo. Most of the same points have been made - sometimes will more elegance, sometimes with more proof, sometimes lacking either - without any significant effect. I hope you will, at least, take my objections into consideration, and understand why many people do not share your opinion. It may be that we are stupid sheep; more likely, in my mind, it is that you fail to provide convincing proof of any of your claims.

JaronK
2010-03-04, 11:55 PM
I will, however, note that this statement seems deliberately misleading, since a fighter can access more and better feats to complement charging; a monk charging build would suck compared to almost any other martial class.

In core, yes. In most games, yes. The one exception to your statement is the Feral template, which is awesome for charging Monks. The main thing here is that you get 4 claw attacks with Feral in addition to Pounce (when charging, two of the claws are rakes). This combined with the fact that Monks can do unarmed strikes without using up their hands means Monks get far more attacks as Feral creatures.

However, Feral is in Savage Species and may not be allowed. If it's not then you're right, Monks are terrible chargers. The fact that they have to be Lawful means they can't dip Lion Totem Barbarian, and their weapon proficiencies really screw them up (they basically have to spend a feat on a Glaive or other decent charging weapon, and then another feat to flurry with it). Plus they have the midrange BaB.

Anyway, Gia seems to be making a lot of class X fallacies, which is to say he's basically saying "Monks are cool because they can do these specific things" where the things in questions are cool if any class does them (thus, you could replace the word Monk with any class X and have the same statement, hence class X fallacy). UMD for a Monk is a perfect example... it's not on their class list, charisma is the best stat for them to dump, they have no special abilities relating to it, nor do they have a ton of skill points to dump into it. I could just as easily say "Commoners are cool because they can use UMD wands" and it would be the same.

JaronK

Gametime
2010-03-05, 12:04 AM
In core, yes. In most games, yes. The one exception to your statement is the Feral template, which is awesome for charging Monks. The main thing here is that you get 4 claw attacks with Feral in addition to Pounce (when charging, two of the claws are rakes). This combined with the fact that Monks can do unarmed strikes without using up their hands means Monks get far more attacks as Feral creatures.



I love the idea of a feral monk pouncing, hitting with all four claws, and then proceeding to headbutt his way through his iterative unarmed attacks.

Math_Mage
2010-03-05, 12:08 AM
I love the idea of a feral monk pouncing, hitting with all four claws, and then proceeding to headbutt his way through his iterative unarmed attacks.

Hey, no being hilarious when I'm drinking chocolate mi...er...EVER!

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 01:04 AM
I. On the monk in general
1. Why keep discussion core?
I always divide up my views on any class balance discussion - including on the monk - into whether you only consider the core rules or if you consider "anything goes".
My case of broad class balance only pertains to a core rules framework (PHB, DMG, MM). This is what the original balance is meant to be and I think it is OK.
The moment you add non-core rules to compare balance it is really just a matter of what splatbooks/optional rules you use (or have bought) and no longer the original structure of the balance of classes.
Sure, for instance outside core casters have a big advantage - it is because they get to choose from way more spells with almost every book added!
Having said that, it is also easy to do a fighter charger build that does damage in the 1000s - but it is also possible for a monk. In other words, you can break every class with non-core rules.
Therefore, it is not useful to do a class balance comparison of "hey, monk may do 6d8 base damage in core at most per hit, but my non-core ubercharger shocktrooper with belt of battle can do 1000 damage!"
I struck out anything not relevant to the fact that the OP for that topic did not specify a core framework, and it should not be assumed unless stated. All of your opinions on the class are secondary to that.


2. Monk MAD myth
Again: the monk can focus on just STR if he so desires. This is because he needs no prereqs for his bonus feats that allow two great melee combat avenues: grappling (see also below) and tripping. That he has a lower AC (not lower touch AC!) than other melee classes at low levels can be overcome by choosing exactly the combat tactics grappling (your opponent gets -4 to hit and can only use light weapons, or even gets pinned!) and tripping (your opponent gets -4 to hit for being prone, you even get +4 to hit).Or the opponent stands up, you get your AoO, and then it clobbers you due to having a pathetically low AC.


A monk with DEX and WIS 14 and fighting defensively with 5 ranks in tumble has an AC of 17 at low levels. Not great, but not hopeless either.
Once a monk uses concealment tactics and blind-fighting, the melee defenses go up considerably.Also, that's a minimum of level 2. 16 before that, and a -4 to hit, which puts your monk at swingin' a +0 or so.

Everything's at a cost, Giacomo. Everything's at a cost. The difference? A fighter with a 16 dex and and 10 wis (same point buy cost) with a breastplate will have an 18 AC all the time, without having to sacrifice accuracy. Far more useful at low levels. These things are what is not considered. The value of +5 to hit (1 extra BAB at levels 1-4, combined with not fighting defensively), less skill points needed, and +1 AC, vs having a touch ac 4 points higher.


Meanwhile, the other melee classes will have to have 13s in both DEX (improved grapple) and INT (improved trip) plus spend two more feat slots for the required feats (improved unarmed strike, combat expertise).Generally, a character will go one or the other, rather than both. The above character, though, could drop dex to 14, raise int to 12, have the 17 AC, and be able to get the int 13 at level 4. Also, by the time such a fighter would reach level 4, he'll get 3 bonus feats, more than enough to cover that.


DEX and INT actually have to be 15 each for non-monks, since
- when using the key enlarge buff for grapple and trip tactics at low levels, you lose -2 DEX (meaning you need a 15 in DEX or lose the benefits of the improved grapple feat)How does that make int have to be a 15?

I'm a bit lost on the logic there.

- when getting a STR-boosting core race like half-orc, orc or wood elf entails an INT penalty of -2 is the price.Which is why not every fighter is an Half orc.

In core, it may a bit difficult to also do a DEX-based monk or even a WIS-based monk, but deviating from the default best stat is a similar problem for other core classes as well (say, a ranger focusing on CHR to max animal handling), but this problem vanishes the moment non-core rules are added.You haven't demonstrated how.


3. Grappling IS a strong low-level tactics
As I outlined already in my joker monk guide at length (see link below), grappling is a powerful combat option for levels 1-8 (after which freedom and movement effects as well as stronger grappling monsters become more common)Freedom of Movement is available in core at level 1. That ability is more rare, but it's available, and requires no in combat actions to activate, ever.


Advantages:
- the monk's lower AC at low levels does not matter anymore in 1:1 combatUnless it's not really 1:1, such as when the creature's friends are meleeing you from outside the grapple... Or the lower AC is being swung against by an ogre you're grappling, or something.

- I guess the monk will have a higher grappling modifier than 90% of all same CR and lower opponents from levels 1-8 (check out the MM or SRD monster stats, not counting the mostly weaker humanoid npc opponents).And a lower AC than the same.

- his grappling damage output, in particular with flurried grappling (as per RAW and FAQ), is very good.Again, not demonstrated.


- the monk effectively neuters any opponent power attack and big weapons, also reducing monster multiple attacks to -4 to hit each.Versus an AC 14? I can think of several CR 1-8 creatures that can reliably hit that with a -4 to hit.

- a very good trick also is to use won grapple checks to move the opponent alongside allied melee characters - triggering an AoO from each of them. Also, the grappled opponent loses his DEX to AC, opening the way for your party rogue's sneak attacks.However, when you move out of enemy allied melee characters, YOU provoke the same.

Disadvantage:
- when facing several opponents, the monk is at a disadvantage with this tactics (and may revert to fight defensively or get up concealment instead). But, hey, the monk should not be better at overall combat than the fighter or the barbarian, should he?The first truth I've heard, that's not heavily flavored with your own brand of logic.


There are some combat strengths for a monk, but they are in specialised niches and not overall combat.Such as falling, running, and taking penalties to attack to keep a pretense of a reasonable defense?


4. The monk has a good chance in core to overcome almost all same CR and lower opponents as his level
See my post avove on this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7990527&postcount=198) for CR 5 and CR 10 creatures that Jacob Orlove suggested.This is supposed to be par for course. Any 28pb character should have such a good chance against almost all. There are exceptions (nobody's gonna ask a beatstick class to take down a shadow at ECL 3). But you don't earn a cookie for stating that with optimization, you can make it do what anyone should be able to do anyway.


II. On the joker monk build (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80704) in particular ...
1. Synergies of buffs with monk abilities
My view is this: some spells and magic item buffs/effects synergise better with the monk class than with other classes. This is the avenue to understanding the joker monk concept.True, a monk, who doesn't get armor, benefits more from Mage armor, than a fighter, who does. Then, the fighter has the benefits (or better) his entire waking day, should he choose to strap on armor.

As for the rest of your view? Rubbish.


There are two types or better synergy:
a) Relatively better synergy: Here, other classes do not make as much use out of the effect since they already in part have it as a class ability. Still, the fact that those who do not have it jump from a weakness to being almost as good as others is a big plus.
Examples for the monk: mage armour and divine power.
Examples for the fighter: spell resistance, periapt of proof vs poison, expeditious retreat (while the monk already has this at the higher levels).
b) Absolutely better synergy: Here, the monk simply gets most mileage out of the buff, being ahead before the buff and getting ahead even more with it.
Example for the monk: Enlarge (due to size stacking for base damage dice; boost to bonus feat power), owl's wisdom (compared to other melee classes)
Examples for the fighter: Animated Tower Shield, Figurine of Wondrous Power (due to Riding, Mounted Combat feats) Yes, Owl's Wisdom will benefit a monk more than a fighter. Yes. Owl's wisdom will not benefit a monk more than Bull's strength will for a fighter, and that's the same spell slot, from the same class list. Alternately, the same price from the same wand/scroll/potion.

Enlarge benefits classes other than monk, you know. At low levels? A monk's bonus die increase is far less than a fighter even with a longsword.

Not to mention, a fighter with a tower shield can block passages 10 feet wide for retreats, maneuvering, and ranged actions. The back ranks are safe from melee. These things are not uncommon for fighters to have. For a monk, who loses many class abilities for using a tower shield? It's much more situational and rare.


2. Wbl is completely sufficient to get the needed consumable items for the joker monk build
Three major clarifications here:
- The build does not use "all/most of its wealth" on consumables (up to half at low levels, 20-40% at higher levels).Here's a math question for you, Giacomo.

You have 900gp. 450gp of it is consumables.
You gain 2200gp, of which 1100gp is spent on consumables.
You use 700gp total of those consumables.
How much gold do you have?
2400 gp.
And according to WBL, you should have 2700gp.
You're now behind what a level 3 character should have. The difference will only further exacerbate itself.

It's simple math.

4+4=8
4+4-1=7
4+4-3=5

If everyone starts with "4" wealth, and gains "4" wealth, they should have "8". If one person spends "1", they should have "7" (in this example, "7" would be the book's WBL recommendation). If another spends "3", they'll only have "5".

If you spend more of your paycheck on movies and dinner out, you have less of it for car payments.


- the UMD is high enough for most purposes to activate wands which has a fixed DC (20).Non class skills are a monk strength, I love the logic.

- when the item is used up, it is deducted from wbl. But this does not mean that a level 15 fighter is better off having kept his mithral plate +4 and being able to sell it after using it all the time. Actually, he is. Because he can sell it, and get half its value back. You can... scratch your rump with a stick, and be out the gold.


The monk having used a wand of divine power over several levels will also have done what the items are needed for: having shown a strong combat performance.At the cost of losing wealth. When such a monk is organically played, it will end up with much less money than other characters, for the same reason a deadbeat roommate who spends half his money on beer has less than his share of rent.


When the characters retire at level 20 or so, some may value to be able to hang up their vorpal blade over the fireplace while the monk has spent the same money for his wands and consumable items. But the magic-item-increased effectiveness of the classes getting to level 20 is just the same.Depends. If you like being able to afford nicer items earlier, then it's nice to have the extra WBL as you level.

including the ability to buy partially charged wands for higher level character creation (as per RAW DMG p. 199)Correct. AT CHARACTER CREATION. Which means thereafter, NO.

Also, players, YMMV on this. Be careful to check your DM's policy on partial charge wands. Many DMs impose restrictions on the minimum number of charges that such wands may contain.

- including the ability to buy (minor/medium priced) magic items as you like, provided they are available in the community size encountered.Correct. Any listed magic item (note, wands with less than 50 charges are not listed and priced in any core book. Ever.)

That's about it.
Actually, it wasn't. I spent 30 seconds scrolling down with the shift button on to delete the rest. Another solid indication of the accuracy of the other information contained within.

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-05, 01:17 AM
I got bored and I hate myself enough to get back involved, so here: Giacomo (http://invisiblecastle.com/stats/view/23501/)'s suggested monk stats. 14 in DEX, 14 in WIS, a 'STR focus' and whatever I could fit in the others. I assumed he wanted a CHA score of "not negative" to UMD.

Now here is a Fighter (http://invisiblecastle.com/stats/view/23502/) I threw together out of boredom. Standard ole "Rawr Big Weapon" guy with more Strength than his INT and CHA combined.

Now, assuming they are both human(and thus no stat mods), have 100 gp for equipment and are both level one:

Fighter McBigstick
HP: 12; AC: 14; Fort Save: +4; Ref Save: +0; Will Save: +1; Feats: Weapon Focus(Longsword)(1); Improved Initiative(Human); Weapon Specialization(Longsword)(Bonus); BAB: +1; Grapple: +5; To Hit(Weapon): +6; Damage(Weapon): 1d8+8(STR*1.5+2); Skills: None; Gear: Scalemail(50gp)+Longsword(15gp)+1 chicken per copper

Monk McFisticuffs
HP: 9; AC: 14; Fort Save: +3; Ref Save: +4; Will Save: +4; Feats: Weapon Focus(Fist)(1); Improved Initiative(Human); Improved Grapple(Bonus); BAB: +0; Grapple: +7; To Hit(Weapon): +4(+2/+2); Damage(Weapon): 1d6+3(1d6+3/1d6+3); Skills: Hide(+6), Move Silently(+6), Use Magic Device(+2); Gear: Quarterstaff(free)+1 chicken per copper

Note, the monk uses Giacomo's erratic suggestions for a fighting monk. The numbers show the monk is behind by +2 to hit, has maximum damage equal to the fighter's minimum damage, equal AC, better saves and a difference between grapple mods of +2.

While the monk will be hitting the poor CR 1 orc on a 10, the Fighter hits on an 8. The monk has a +3 over the orc's grapple mod, but even the fighter beats his mod by a +1. The orc drops the monk with average damage, but only drops the fighter on a max damage roll or a crit.

Now, for the monk to be ahead in to-hit, he needs to charge. Doing so puts him behind in AC and will not kill our given orc unless his fist crits. So the orc will kill our monk on the next turn. However, the monk needs to fight defensively and sacrifice his ability to hit in order to pull ahead in the AC department. At least the monk will probably go first due to it's intiative mod of +6.

In the end: It shows that the monk is a class of sacrifices. "Do I want to annoy someone with my fist this round or live to see the next round?" "Do I try to become unhittable or do I try to actually do worthwhile damage?" Ultimately, the monk tries to have as many options available as possible, but consistently fails to do.

Swok
2010-03-05, 03:08 AM
This seems to be the proper place to ask this.

How exactly does flurry interact with natural attacks?

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-05, 03:18 AM
This seems to be the proper place to ask this.

How exactly does flurry interact with natural attacks?

It doesn't. Natural Attacks aren't mentioned as monk weapons or unarmed attacks, and as such don't qualify under Flurry by RAW.


When using flurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham).

Relevant quote.

Swok
2010-03-05, 03:20 AM
It doesn't. Natural Attacks aren't mentioned as monk weapons or unarmed attacks, and as such don't qualify under Flurry by RAW.

So you cannot flurry and then make natural attacks? Not flurry with the natural attacks, make them period.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 03:30 AM
So you cannot flurry and then make natural attacks? Not flurry with the natural attacks, make them period.


When using flurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham).

Relevant section bolded. If you flurry, you may not use any weapon that is not an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon. If you can get a natural attack named as a monk weapon, more power to you.

Swok
2010-03-05, 03:35 AM
Relevant section bolded. If you flurry, you may not use any weapon that is not an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon. If you can get a natural attack named as a monk weapon, more power to you.

I can't believe I missed that twice.

Though interestingly enough, that makes both parties wrong in the game earlier. Another player was swearing up and down that using the natural attacks with flurry made no sense because of the amount of attacks it would generate. Or something like that, he was not being very clear at all.

JaronK
2010-03-05, 03:59 AM
My reading of that section indicates that you can't flurry with natural weapons, but you could flurry in addition to natural weapons. So for example, a Feral Monk 12 (two claw attacks) with Multiattack would have Unarmed Strikes at a base +9/+9/+9/+4 and could additionally make two claw attacks at +7/+7.

Of course, if you really want to use natural weapons in the flurry itself, you could just take Shou Disciple levels. That lets you flurry with all simple and martial weapons after 5 levels (and progresses flurry and unarmed strike, plus it has full BAB).

JaronK

Mystic Muse
2010-03-05, 04:13 AM
So, what are some good Monk PRCs I can suggest to my friend?

Swok
2010-03-05, 04:22 AM
My reading of that section indicates that you can't flurry with natural weapons, but you could flurry in addition to natural weapons. So for example, a Feral Monk 12 (two claw attacks) with Multiattack would have Unarmed Strikes at a base +9/+9/+9/+4 and could additionally make two claw attacks at +7/+7.

Of course, if you really want to use natural weapons in the flurry itself, you could just take Shou Disciple levels. That lets you flurry with all simple and martial weapons after 5 levels (and progresses flurry and unarmed strike, plus it has full BAB).

JaronK

Something like that was incidentally specifically what I was curious about, if you could use the natural attacks as secondary attacks after flurry. It came up because we have a Werewolf Monk. Pity Shou Disciple is regional, the DM in this game can be a stickler about regional things.

Gametime
2010-03-05, 04:25 AM
So, what are some good Monk PRCs I can suggest to my friend?

How many levels of monk has he already taken?

Since magic is always fun, you might consider Enlightened Fist or Sacred Fist. (Neither is good from the perspective of the casting class, but both are a big improvement over straight monk.) If going with the former, either Carmendine Monk (for wizard or beguiler) or Ascetic Mage (for sorcerer) are a good idea, so you don't need Wisdom for your AC. Focus on swift action spells that complement your attacks (like Wraithstrike) and long buffs that do the same (my personal favorite being Greater Mighty Wallop, from Races of the Dragon).

If he doesn't like casting, his options for decent prestige classes are more limited. My personal favorite is Disciple of the Word, from Tome of Magic. (Yes, yes, Truenaming sucks. And so do monks. But when the DCs don't scale faster than your skill check, it isn't so bad, and the class really does advance everything worthwhile about monks while giving them some good action economy - though you'll have to make sure your DM is okay with it advancing flurry, since it both specifically says it does and say it doesn't). Carmendine Monk is again a good idea, so you get Int synergy for your Truespeak. Mild optimization should be enough to pump your Truespeak as high as you need it; Skill Focus, an item of +20, an Int of +5, and 19 ranks gets you to +47 by the level when you get the DC 50 check. In return, you get the ability to overcome damage reduction, parry attacks, dispel buffs, avoid spells, and take a move as an immediate action - all big buffs to the utility of the monk. It doesn't solve a lot of the big problems the class has - reliably hitting, doing enough damage to actually matter - but it solves some of them.

Though not a prestige class, the ACF from Exemplars of Evil that trades Evasion for immediate action invisibility is pretty rockin'. Note that a lot of monk-oriented prestige classes, including two of the three I suggested above, require Evasion to get in; if you aren't going for one that does, however, nearly at-will invisibility will get you a lot more mileage.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 06:00 AM
Something like that was incidentally specifically what I was curious about, if you could use the natural attacks as secondary attacks after flurry. It came up because we have a Werewolf Monk. Pity Shou Disciple is regional, the DM in this game can be a stickler about regional things.

The rules are not 100% clear, however, FAQ answers that state that monks can flurry in grapple (Note: FAQ is not concrete RAW) suggest that the monk's flurry BAB is entirely seperate from non-flurry BAB.

If this is the case, then "when using flurry of blows" would mean "when using the flurry BAB". This would preclude using natural attacks on any attack action that you used flurry.

Note: even without this ruling, since you make a flurry on a full attack action, there is reasonable enough strength in ruling to say that if you use flurry of blows on a full attack action, that you are ineligible for using illegal weapons on that attack action.

Tyndmyr
2010-03-05, 09:37 AM
I'd happily take on the monk, head to head, using RAW. Or fighting comparable opponents, or better yet, both. Any level. In core, out of core...don't care. I'll build a beatstick type(even if out of core, I'll still start with fighter and/or barbarian).

I tend to play casters, so I'm better at optimizing them, but I can still make a decentish melee char, good enough to outperform a monk.

Up for it, Gio?

Sliver
2010-03-05, 09:45 AM
Heh.. RAW.. Don't you follow the monk test? It was pretty popular trying to pass on favored rulings for the monk while insisting on over strict RAW use for the others.. :smallwink:

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 09:54 AM
I'd happily take on the monk, head to head, using RAW. Or fighting comparable opponents, or better yet, both. Any level. In core, out of core...don't care. I'll build a beatstick type(even if out of core, I'll still start with fighter and/or barbarian).

I tend to play casters, so I'm better at optimizing them, but I can still make a decentish melee char, good enough to outperform a monk.

Up for it, Gio?

I'd be happy to officiate, with certain agreed upon stipulations (such as Giacomo stating that FAQ is to be considered RAW for purposes of flurry grappling, and the like) to keep things even. Barring those stipulations, I would be the adjudicator, and would attempt to keep things balanced and fair, in terms of RAW and leniency. (note: I would consider monks proficient in unarmed strike, as well)

I can handle a variety of levels and situations, all the way up to ECL 20, though I warn you, I doubt any monk or fighter will beat the ECL 20 challenge. Even working together.

Let's just say I like creatures that start with "Drag" and end with screaming.

Saph
2010-03-05, 10:06 AM
On the subject of monk tests . . .

Test Of Spite: The Monkening's still running, and as a result of Pharaoh's Fist's unfortunate disappearance (due to being banned), we're currently looking for a new player to run Jaya Ballard, the party wizard.

Any interested parties, post in the Test of Spite thread. :)

Lycanthromancer
2010-03-05, 10:11 AM
So, what are some good Monk PRCs I can suggest to my friend?Assuming he hasn't taken more than, say, 2 levels in monk (though you can get away with more, it will severely curbstomptail his power and flexibility, I'd suggest taking levels in psion or psychic warrior, then eventually heading to illithid slayer (depending on how many psionic feats you want). Take Carmendine Monk if you go psion (preferably egoist).

If he's taken more than 2 levels in monk, perhaps head toward war mind.

Either way, take Talashtora for the class you choose.

Greenish
2010-03-05, 10:21 AM
Assuming he hasn't taken more than, say, 2 levels in monk (though you can get away with more, it will severely curbstomptail his power and flexibility, I'd suggest taking levels in psion or psychic warrior, then eventually heading to illithid slayer (depending on how many psionic feats you want). Take Carmendine Monk if you go psion (preferably egoist).

If he's taken more than 2 levels in monk, perhaps head toward war mind.

Either way, take Talashtora for the class you choose.If you want to work towards the War Mind (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/prestigeClasses/warMind.htm), ask your DM to make Know: Psionics monk class skill or lower the requirement or something. Seriously, the PrC would be great for non-psionic characters wanting psionic flavour, but that single requirement pretty much ruins it for most melee'ers.

That said, I was going to suggest Tashalatora (a feat in Secrets of Sarlona), but Lycan beat me to it. Psionic Warrior can cover monk weaknesses and actually make use of the monk's strengths (such as they are).

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 10:25 AM
If you want to work towards the War Mind (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/prestigeClasses/warMind.htm), ask your DM to make Know: Psionics monk class skill or lower the requirement or something. Seriously, the PrC would be great for non-psionic characters wanting psionic flavour, but that single requirement pretty much ruins it for most melee'ers.

That said, I was going to suggest Tashalatora (a feat in Secrets of Sarlona), but Lycan beat me to it. Psionic Warrior can cover monk weaknesses and actually make use of the monk's strengths (such as they are).

So can Ardent, and well. The limited focus of the class actually serves well here, keeping the powers well themed to a monk focus. It goes off wisdom, so little extra, and it sets you up well for Psionic Fist.

Kzickas
2010-03-05, 10:48 AM
Let's just say I like creatures that start with "Drag" and end with screaming.

Tim Curry's character in The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Gametime
2010-03-05, 10:56 AM
Tim Curry's character in The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

I'm gonna say you win the thread, right here.

Also, an ECL 20 encounter with Frank-n-Furter would be both awesome and terrifying.

Tyndmyr
2010-03-05, 11:04 AM
I'd be happy to officiate, with certain agreed upon stipulations (such as Giacomo stating that FAQ is to be considered RAW for purposes of flurry grappling, and the like) to keep things even. Barring those stipulations, I would be the adjudicator, and would attempt to keep things balanced and fair, in terms of RAW and leniency. (note: I would consider monks proficient in unarmed strike, as well)

Personally, Im not even sure what the FAQ point there is. FAQ is usually reasonable, though.

Im ok with considering monks proficient in unarmed strike. Yeah, we all know it's RAW for them not to be, but it's obviously a mistake, and it's very, very commonly houseruled anyway.


I can handle a variety of levels and situations, all the way up to ECL 20, though I warn you, I doubt any monk or fighter will beat the ECL 20 challenge. Even working together.

Let's just say I like creatures that start with "Drag" and end with screaming.

Eh, Im ok with just scaling up the encounters and seeing what happens, then comparing the results. Screaming is a plus.

Mystic Muse
2010-03-05, 03:02 PM
He's taken 7 levels in Monk so far.

Also, Pharaoh's fist was banned? Dawww

Eldariel
2010-03-05, 03:06 PM
He's taken 7 levels in Monk so far.

Also, Pharaoh's fist was banned? Dawww

He prolly accidentally mindcrushed a mod or something.

JaronK
2010-03-05, 03:07 PM
I'm a fan of Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5 as a straight forward "still a Monk" build for those who want to focus on the combat abilities of the Monk. Shou Disciple progresses everything that matters to a fighty monk (flurry, unarmed strike damage, and it increases AC by a different mechanic) but it also gives full BAB and the ability to flurry with lots more weapons. Those 11 levels give you maxed out flurry... now you can go into other classes to finish out, like Unarmed Swordsage or Kensai. Maybe even Master of Nine.

JaronK

Mystic Muse
2010-03-05, 03:09 PM
He prolly accidentally mindcrushed a mod or something.


Bullying People is just wrong. But breaking people's minds with magic is A okay!

EDIT: what's Shou disciple from?

Loxagn
2010-03-05, 03:11 PM
Fun fact:

4e monks can throw their own fists.

With a barbarian multiclass feat, and the 'Hurl Weapon' feat, monks can treat their unarmed strike as a heavy thrown weapon.

Mechanically useful? Probably not.

But it is hilarious.

JaronK
2010-03-05, 03:20 PM
EDIT: what's Shou disciple from?

Unapproachable East.

JaronK

Eldariel
2010-03-05, 03:24 PM
Fun fact:

4e monks can throw their own fists.

With a barbarian multiclass feat, and the 'Hurl Weapon' feat, monks can treat their unarmed strike as a heavy thrown weapon.

Mechanically useful? Probably not.

But it is hilarious.

Funny fact; 3.X Monks can throw any part of their body. Get Throwing to their Unarmed Strike (through e.g. Kensai, Necklace of Natural Attacks or similar) and you're good to go. Might want to make it Returning too though.

Tyndmyr
2010-03-05, 03:37 PM
Funny fact; 3.X Monks can throw any part of their body. Get Throwing to their Unarmed Strike (through e.g. Kensai, Necklace of Natural Attacks or similar) and you're good to go. Might want to make it Returning too though.

This, combined with the thread title is a disturbing possibility.

Math_Mage
2010-03-05, 03:50 PM
This, combined with the thread title is a disturbing possibility.

Well, he took the 'Aid Another' action to help you with your Craft (Disturbing Image) check result.

Gametime
2010-03-05, 03:56 PM
This, combined with the thread title is a disturbing possibility.

And in the interest of tying together the two running jokes on this page, this mental image was like getting hit by a MIND CRUSH.

AmberVael
2010-03-05, 04:05 PM
This, combined with the thread title is a disturbing possibility.

Replace this image with the image of a warforged monk shooting out flaming fists.

Rocket fist justice!

Kylarra
2010-03-05, 04:09 PM
This, combined with the thread title is a disturbing possibility.How about the Sizing weapon enchantment?

DragoonWraith
2010-03-05, 04:20 PM
If you want to work towards the War Mind (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/prestigeClasses/warMind.htm), ask your DM to make Know: Psionics monk class skill or lower the requirement or something. Seriously, the PrC would be great for non-psionic characters wanting psionic flavour, but that single requirement pretty much ruins it for most melee'ers.
The Education (Eberron Campaign Setting), Draconic Knowledge (Dragon Magic), Apprentice (Philosopher) (Dungeon Master's Guide II), or Apprentice (Spellcaster) (Dungeon Master's Guide II) feats will get you Knowledge (Psionics) as a class skill. The first two grant all Knowledges, and that last one will grant any as well as Use Magic Device, which is nice.

Still, burns a feat for a very silly reason. Making it 4 ranks would be far more reasonable.

Sir Giacomo
2010-03-06, 01:51 PM
Hi again,

sorry- at the moment it is a bit difficult for me to post; likely I'll be able to post more from Wednesday or so.


I'd happily take on the monk, head to head, using RAW. Or fighting comparable opponents, or better yet, both. Any level. In core, out of core...don't care. I'll build a beatstick type(even if out of core, I'll still start with fighter and/or barbarian).

I tend to play casters, so I'm better at optimizing them, but I can still make a decentish melee char, good enough to outperform a monk.

Up for it, Gio?

Yes, I am. And I am also greateful to PhoenixRivers to DM it (I have followed his excellent DMing in the fight of a level 20 group vs a dragon).
My suggestion would be core rules, ToS modifications, except that monk has no non-core advantage like usual BAB - just as done in the monkening ToS special currently underway.
Then I'd like to show what a monk can do at levels 3,6,9,15 and 18 (12 already being tested in the ToS special). Also, I have been convinced recently that the DMG suggestion is to have at most 50% of wbl going to a single item, not just 25%. But either wbl restriction is fine with me.
My hunch is that a fighter or barbarian should be better in melee combat overall, in ranged combat definitely, but that the monk has enough powerful duelist capabilities to be able to be quite a good match in PvP - although with a slight disadvantage here.
In general survival vs typical CR, I guess the monk is ahead, due to his more varied abilities and better defensive qualities.

Having said that, I have the impression that many of you still do not understand my view. I'll use Mushroom Ninja's good points to illustrate what I mean - and I guess this answers most of the other posts (apart from confusion on posts like PhoenixRiver's claim to have - albeit rare- access to freedom of movement in core at level 1).


Some of the points you put forward are quite interesting. However, there are some parts that don't really make sense to me. I would greatly appreciate some clarification on a few things.

On Ability Dependence

If what you suggest is correct about multiple ability dependence, then monk certainly gains a good deal of power. Being able to dump all stats but STR, to a greater extent even than the fighter or barbarian, would certainly add to the appeal of the class. If I understand it correctly, your assertion is that, since Monks get Improved Grapple and Improved Trip for free, it is unnecessary for them to invest much in INT or DEX -- at least not a much as a Fighter who would have to put 13 (or even 15 in the case of DEX) in both stats.

Yes, that is my point - but there is more to it and I'll come to this by replying to the three flaws you see.


However, by this reasoning, it seems to me that three flaws appear. They are that 1) by dumping DEX, a monk's AC, at least at low levels, is significantly impacted, 2) since grappling is considered to be a weak at high levels, and even at low levels outstripped by tripping, it is unlikely for a fighter or barbarian to bother with the feat at all. I will explain these points more thoroughly in the following, and 3) due to low HD, a monk must focus on constitution to a greater degree than a fighter or barbarian. I will explain these points more thoroughly in the following.


You are making good descriptions of these three points, but to keep it short, here are my answers on 1)-3)

1) Yes, by dumping DEX, the monk's AC would be significantly impacted. Usually I aim for DEX 12 or 14 and thus not really dump the stat, but you are correct - at low levels, a high AC is not the monk's forte.
Why is this not that much of a weakness or MAD-causing incident, though?
It is less relevant due to the combat style that I outlined: use grappling.
As soon as you grapple, it is no longer your AC that matters, but your grappling mod (against the opponent you grapple). Whatever attacks your opponent still has will have to be only with a light weapon (in case he has one handy) or natural weapon, and those will be at -4 - so effectively a monk with WIS and DEX 14 at a start has an AC of 18. That is absolutely enough at level 1.
NOW of course against more opponents, grappling can suck as a tactics (you also lose your DEX bonus to boot against others). BUT in a four-member party against a same level CR what kind of opponents can there be? How common will it be, say, that in a party of 4 1st level characters facing two orc warriors both warriors will gang up on the monk grappling one of them and ignore the other three pcs?
The monk's great combat speciality due to his high defensive qualities, grappling tactics, speed and spot/listen/movesilently/hide mods is to tackle the BBEG, or the big monster encounters. Against mobs, you'll need different combat tactics - either at higher levels the improved trip for a monk, or a fighter altogether (and/or area spells).
At low levels, a monk can sidestep somewhat bigger odds of small critters by fighting defensively or total defense with tumbling, meaning again a good AC (+4/+6 respectively). The monk then will simply fight defensively until an opportunity arises when he can strike a foe alone. (just as the fluff role description in the PHB suggests).
At mid levels, a monk gets blind-fight and concealment methods to incur miss chances and thus render is not-so-great AC less important.
At high levels, as I have shown repeatedly, the monk can definitely rival barbarian and fighter in terms of melee with full attacks (though not single melee attacks) and his AC (since a lot of items feed into his AC).
The monk, thus, is a great combat duelist - but not the mighty hero stemming the tide of dozens of attackers.:smallsmile:

2) Grappling is a strong tactics for a character (in particular a monk) from levels 1-around 8 (when more and more monsters have higher grapple checks and FoM can pop up occasionally).
I have shown it repeatedly that a monk' level 1-8 grapple checks will be higher than most (=90%ish) SRD/core monsters of those levels. And against the rest, other methods may be found (even regular ful attacks).
He'll do more grappling attempts (flurry) and more damage per check (INA feat, monk damage progression) than anyone else in core (and also outside core).
Yes, rarely there may be a whale or polar bear (I have shown by the way that a maxed level 4 monk can overcome that as well!) or ungrappable creature like an allip. But that is not the norm. For instance, in ZeroNumerous' fighter vs monk level 1 example that he thinks shows a monk is underpowered, the monk with improved grapple would wipe the floor with that fighter or that orc warrior. Yes, grappling is that powerful at low levels.
And as you outlined, yes, taking improved grapple is usually not a good idea for a low-level fighter or barbarian, since the feat investment and DEX requirement (of 15 with enlarge) is simply too constricting, and both stat points as well as feats are way better invested elsewhere for these kind of melee classes.

3) The monk does not need a higher CON than a fighter, actually it is the other way round, for the following reasons:
- at level 7, the monk gets a healing ability that basically translates into a +4 CON bonus per day (assuming you have the average 4 encounters per day). This means a monk with CON 12 and a fighter with CON 14 have effectevely the same hp power from that level onwards, before any other healing enters the picture. (yes, I know that there are very, very few core spells that target hp total and that there may be fights that lower you to 10ish hp in a single round and thus put fighter at an advantage here, but how often will that turn up compared to the regular melee experiences of losing, like, half your hp per encounter?)
- the monk, due to his stealth capability, can avoid just like a rogue or ranger way more often (surprising, unnecessary) combats than can the fighter. This translates into less hp loss.
So overall I'd say a monk needs about 2-4 points CON less than a fighter.

I hope that clarified a lot.

- Giacomo

Sliver
2010-03-06, 02:09 PM
3) The monk does not need a higher CON than a fighter, actually it is the other way round, for the following reasons:
- at level 7, the monk gets a healing ability that basically translates into a +4 CON bonus per day (assuming you have the average 4 encounters per day). This means a monk with CON 12 and a fighter with CON 14 have effectevely the same hp power from that level onwards, before any other healing enters the picture. (yes, I know that there are very, very few core spells that target hp total and that there may be fights that lower you to 10ish hp in a single round and thus put fighter at an advantage here, but how often will that turn up compared to the regular melee experiences of losing, like, half your hp per encounter?)
- the monk, due to his stealth capability, can avoid just like a rogue or ranger way more often (surprising, unnecessary) combats than can the fighter. This translates into less hp loss.
So overall I'd say a monk needs about 2-4 points CON less than a fighter.

Only that if the difference in HP that Wholeness of Body covers ever comes up in combat, suddenly a monk wastes an action. Also, this is only relevant if you actually start at that level, because otherwise you will want to cover that HP difference instead of hoping you will survive to level 7. So at that level, you can heal, mostly outside of combat, 14hp. So you save a charge an a half of a wand of lesser vigor, which does nothing to mitigate the price of all the other partially charged wands you used. Impressive.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-03-06, 03:33 PM
Thank you for your clarifications. They clear up quite a few things to me. However a couple of your clarifications raise a few more small questions. I would greatly appreciate it if you could explain your reasoning in a couple of places. (Note that the numbers I have assigned to my questions are not related to the numbers I used in my last post -- they are simply there to help me organize my thoughts)

1) If I properly understood, you have put forward Fighting Defensively as: a) a mitigating factor for a monk's AC at low levels and b) something to allow the monk to bide his/her time in large encounters in relative safety until "opportunity arises when he can strike a foe alone." I think I have found a bit of a problem with a) which might make b) somewhat undesirable.

This problem is the -4 penalty to attack caused by the defensive fighting. At low level play this -4 can easily constitute a huge chunk of any character's attack bonus. For example, at 1st level, this is likely to decrease a human monk's attack bonus to +0 (With 18 STR) or -1 (with 16 STR). Flurrying compounds this problem, making the attack bonus -2/-2 for the 18 STR monk and -3/-3 for the 16 STR monk. Even in the upper range of the low levels, this penalty to attack is major. In short, Defensive fighting greatly impacts a monk's chances of landing any blows at low levels.

Due to this lack of accuracy, is it not the case that, while biding time with defensive fighting, waiting for the opportune moment to grapple, is the monk not somewhat useless to the party? Depending on how long the monk has to wait before he/she can the perfect moment for grappling comes, this relative lack of contribution may last for large part of the encounter. In the mean time, it is quite likely that the bulk of the enemy force will have shifted its focus to the rest of the party. If this is the case, then has the monk not spent the majority of the encounter mooching off of the other party members? Letting them do all the work?

Perhaps your logic would become clearer to me if you were to describe this biding of time with greater detail (I'm afraid that I'm a little confused by what you mean by it).


2) You have stated that a Monk can easily rival a barbarian's damage output at high levels by use of the full attack, but not with single attacks. Is it not the case, however, that it is undesirable to have to rely on melee full attacks for damage? Is not any intelligent enemy who realizes that he/she is out-damaged by a monk with a full attack, but not with a single attack, likely to adopt tactics which involve attacking once and then moving back out of the monk's range?

3) You have stated that Wholeness of Body (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/monk.htm#wholenessofBody) more than makes up for the monk's lack of HP. However, it seems to me that you may rate this ability too highly. As a supernatural ability that doesn't specify otherwise (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#supernaturalAbilities), Wholeness of Body requires a standard action to activate. This seems to be a relatively major problem to me as I hope to explain in the below:

The following two tables are made with the assumption that a monk can heal 2X hp with his/her wholeness of body.

{table]Turn|Action
Enemy's 1st turn|Hit the monk for X damage
Monk's 1st turn|Heal X damage
Enemy's 2nd turn| Hit monk for X damage
Monk's 2nd turn|Heal X damage
Enemy's 3rd turn|Hit monk for X damage
Monk's 3rd turn| Out of healing, hit enemy for Y damage[/table]

This is obviously a problem since the enemy ends up ahead on damage and the monk has wasted not only his/her healing for the day, but 2 rounds.

Another possibility:
{table]Turn|Action|Monk HP|Enemy HP|
Enemy's 1st turn|Hit monk for X|Max - X|Max
Monk's 1st turn|Hit enemy for Y|Max - X|Max -Y
Enemy's 2nd turn|Hit monk for X|Max - 2X|Max - Y
Monk's 2nd turn|Heal 2X|Max|Max-Y
Enemy's 3rd turn|Hit monk for X|Max - X|Max - Y
Monk's 3rd turn| Hit enemy for Y|Max - X|Max - 2Y[/table]

Now the above situation would actually work out in favor of the monk if both a) X is less than or equal to Y and b) the monk's Max HP is equal to the enemy's Max HP. If either a or b is false, the monk comes out the loser in this situation.

Now, the above situations were thought out with the assumption that an enemy is going to do average damage each round equal to the monk's level. However, it seems to me that at most levels (if not all), most enemies are going to be able to hit for an average damage much higher than your level each round.

Thus it seems as though, due to its activation time, Wholeness of body is not an acceptable substitute for HP.



Your post for reference (spoilered for length):



You are making good descriptions of these three points, but to keep it short, here are my answers on 1)-3)

1) Yes, by dumping DEX, the monk's AC would be significantly impacted. Usually I aim for DEX 12 or 14 and thus not really dump the stat, but you are correct - at low levels, a high AC is not the monk's forte.
Why is this not that much of a weakness or MAD-causing incident, though?
It is less relevant due to the combat style that I outlined: use grappling.
As soon as you grapple, it is no longer your AC that matters, but your grappling mod (against the opponent you grapple). Whatever attacks your opponent still has will have to be only with a light weapon (in case he has one handy) or natural weapon, and those will be at -4 - so effectively a monk with WIS and DEX 14 at a start has an AC of 18. That is absolutely enough at level 1.
NOW of course against more opponents, grappling can suck as a tactics (you also lose your DEX bonus to boot against others). BUT in a four-member party against a same level CR what kind of opponents can there be? How common will it be, say, that in a party of 4 1st level characters facing two orc warriors both warriors will gang up on the monk grappling one of them and ignore the other three pcs?
The monk's great combat speciality due to his high defensive qualities, grappling tactics, speed and spot/listen/movesilently/hide mods is to tackle the BBEG, or the big monster encounters. Against mobs, you'll need different combat tactics - either at higher levels the improved trip for a monk, or a fighter altogether (and/or area spells).
At low levels, a monk can sidestep somewhat bigger odds of small critters by fighting defensively or total defense with tumbling, meaning again a good AC (+4/+6 respectively). The monk then will simply fight defensively until an opportunity arises when he can strike a foe alone. (just as the fluff role description in the PHB suggests).
At mid levels, a monk gets blind-fight and concealment methods to incur miss chances and thus render is not-so-great AC less important.
At high levels, as I have shown repeatedly, the monk can definitely rival barbarian and fighter in terms of melee with full attacks (though not single melee attacks) and his AC (since a lot of items feed into his AC).
The monk, thus, is a great combat duelist - but not the mighty hero stemming the tide of dozens of attackers.:smallsmile:

2) Grappling is a strong tactics for a character (in particular a monk) from levels 1-around 8 (when more and more monsters have higher grapple checks and FoM can pop up occasionally).
I have shown it repeatedly that a monk' level 1-8 grapple checks will be higher than most (=90%ish) SRD/core monsters of those levels. And against the rest, other methods may be found (even regular ful attacks).
He'll do more grappling attempts (flurry) and more damage per check (INA feat, monk damage progression) than anyone else in core (and also outside core).
Yes, rarely there may be a whale or polar bear (I have shown by the way that a maxed level 4 monk can overcome that as well!) or ungrappable creature like an allip. But that is not the norm. For instance, in ZeroNumerous' fighter vs monk level 1 example that he thinks shows a monk is underpowered, the monk with improved grapple would wipe the floor with that fighter or that orc warrior. Yes, grappling is that powerful at low levels.
And as you outlined, yes, taking improved grapple is usually not a good idea for a low-level fighter or barbarian, since the feat investment and DEX requirement (of 15 with enlarge) is simply too constricting, and both stat points as well as feats are way better invested elsewhere for these kind of melee classes.

3) The monk does not need a higher CON than a fighter, actually it is the other way round, for the following reasons:
- at level 7, the monk gets a healing ability that basically translates into a +4 CON bonus per day (assuming you have the average 4 encounters per day). This means a monk with CON 12 and a fighter with CON 14 have effectevely the same hp power from that level onwards, before any other healing enters the picture. (yes, I know that there are very, very few core spells that target hp total and that there may be fights that lower you to 10ish hp in a single round and thus put fighter at an advantage here, but how often will that turn up compared to the regular melee experiences of losing, like, half your hp per encounter?)
- the monk, due to his stealth capability, can avoid just like a rogue or ranger way more often (surprising, unnecessary) combats than can the fighter. This translates into less hp loss.
So overall I'd say a monk needs about 2-4 points CON less than a fighter.

I hope that clarified a lot.

- Giacomo

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-06, 03:59 PM
Having said that, I have the impression that many of you still do not understand my view. I'll use Mushroom Ninja's good points to illustrate what I mean - and I guess this answers most of the other posts (apart from confusion on posts like PhoenixRiver's claim to have - albeit rare- access to freedom of movement in core at level 1).
It's essentially a short duration contingent Freedom of Movement, available as soon as you get cleric domains.
(http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spellLists/clericDomains.htm#travelDomain)
As I said, it's fairly rare, being limited to clerics only, but FoM is accessible as early as level 1.

marjan
2010-03-06, 05:01 PM
It's essentially a short duration contingent Freedom of Movement, available as soon as you get cleric domains.
(http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spellLists/clericDomains.htm#travelDomain)
As I said, it's fairly rare, being limited to clerics only, but FoM is accessible as early as level 1.

That won't help against grapple, unless you consider monks magical effects.


Travel Domain
Granted Powers

For a total time per day of 1 round per cleric level you possess, you can act normally regardless of magical effects that impede movement as if you were affected by the spell freedom of movement. This effect occurs automatically as soon as it applies, lasts until it runs out or is no longer needed, and can operate multiple times per day (up to the total daily limit of rounds).

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-06, 05:18 PM
That won't help against grapple, unless you consider monks magical effects.

Only when enlarged.

EDIT: For any test that will be run by me, we will be following all rules for magic items for characters above 1st level listed on DMG p 199, with 1 magic item limitation (based on total WBL vs cost of item), and a few magic item vetos.

These include:
Partially Charged items may be purchased.

One Shot-Adventure rules (1 use items cost 5 times as much, charged items have 1/5 the charges they should). This means that a potion of Enlarge Person would be 250 gp (MIC update places the base cost at 50gp), and a fully charged wand of Cure Light Wounds will cost 750gp, but will have 10 charges.

Magic item limitations by WBL. I feel the example of 25% wbl on a single item is a touch restrictive, but 50% is a bit much, and encourages an "all the eggs in one basket" approach. Said limit will be 1/3 of total WBL.

Finally, any spell not generally available for casting (per SRD entry here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm#spellcastingAndServices) is not easily available for purchase in scroll format. This includes all 9th level spells, as, per the entry, not even the largest cities are guaranteed to have 9th level capable casters. Such spells will be dealt with on a case by case basis, and, I can tell you now: Gate will never be available for purchase in any format. This includes scrolls, Candles of Invocation, and any other method that will grant it.

Other than this, ToS rules will hold sway, with previous limitations laid out by Giacomo (Core only, Monk uses SRD entry rather than ToS modifications).

Volkov
2010-03-06, 06:14 PM
How about this Gia, you make a Monk and I'll have a balor, another person will have a fighter. The one who does the most damage to the balor or actually kills it wins. If both can kill it, the one with the least amount of damage is the victor of the contest.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-06, 08:04 PM
How about this Gia, you make a Monk and I'll have a balor, another person will have a fighter. The one who does the most damage to the balor or actually kills it wins. If both can kill it, the one with the least amount of damage is the victor of the contest.

I don't particularly feel that CR 18-20 challenges are an accurate representation of typical game balance and class effectiveness. I think CR 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 are good benchmarks.

Volkov
2010-03-06, 09:24 PM
I don't particularly feel that CR 18-20 challenges are an accurate representation of typical game balance and class effectiveness. I think CR 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 are good benchmarks.

I like balors so shush.

Yukitsu
2010-03-06, 11:28 PM
I don't particularly feel that CR 18-20 challenges are an accurate representation of typical game balance and class effectiveness. I think CR 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 are good benchmarks.

Make it a real challenge and do it at level 12?

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-07, 12:08 AM
Make it a real challenge and do it at level 12?

I was thinking of running at each of the ECL's. A couple quick challenges for each. I've got plenty of premade maps, and I'm an old hand at putting characters through their paces.

Frosty
2010-03-07, 03:31 AM
Replace this image with the image of a warforged monk shooting out flaming fists.

Rocket fist justice!

I challenge to make a Mazinger Clone (doesn't have to be mecha size) using a Warforged :smallbiggrin: Rocketto Paunnnnch!

Optimystik
2010-03-07, 03:47 AM
I like balors so shush.

Judging from your previous posts, your games don't stay near CR 20, or even 50, very long.

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-07, 09:31 AM
I challenge to make a Mazinger Clone (doesn't have to be mecha size) using a Warforged :smallbiggrin: Rocketto Paunnnnch!

Psy Warrior 12/Monk 1/Kensai 7.

Crappy, yes, but get Flaming, Throwing and Returning Fists. Pick up the Expansion power, Energy Ray(via feat) and whatever other powers you think fit.

You can now throw your fists and they will be on fire and return to you when thrown. You can also shoot eye and/or chest lasers with Energy Ray.

Volkov
2010-03-07, 09:34 AM
Judging from your previous posts, your games don't stay near CR 20, or even 50, very long.

Max hit dice balors with sixty levels in cleric=fun fight.

Gametime
2010-03-07, 01:02 PM
In the interest of testing Giacomo's claim that grappling is a viable tactic against 90% of enemies at low ECLs, I decided to compile a list of those enemies. A level 1 monk will have a presumed grapple check of +4 without Enlarge Person, +9 with it; since the buff is so short at this level and the monk cannot likely afford consumables of it, he will be mostly judged on his ability to grapple without it.

Spoilered for length.


Animated Object, Small - monk can definitely outgrapple this. Depending on the object, however, the monk may not be able to damage it.
Camel - the camel outgrapples the monk un-enlarged; it's a tossup if the buff is available.
Darkmantle - advantage monk, assuming the darkmantle engages him.
Dog, Riding - advantage monk.
Dwarf, Duergar - the monk has a small advantage innately, but the duergar can cast Enlarge Person on himself. I'm going to say the duergar is more likely to have the buff up, and that tips the balance to him.
Elemental, Small (any) - the monk can outgrapple all of these, though the air elemental is unlikely to get tied down in melee combat at all.
Elf, Drow - the monk can outgrapple the drow, though he's actually pretty liked to fail his save against poison if he's hit at all (assuming a save of +4 at this level, he fails 45% of the time; not terrible odds, but not great).
Ghoul - monk wins, though he again has a 40% chance to lose on being hit.
Giant Ant, Worker - monk wins.
Giant Bee - monk wins at grappling, bee wins at flying.
Githzerai/Githyanki - advantage monk.
Gnoll - advantage monk.
Gnome, Svirfneblin - monk can out-grapple, but again has a 45% chance to lose the fight when the gnome acts.
Grig (Sprite) - the monk can win at grappling, but the grig can fly, turn invisible, hide very well, and possibly (40% chance) make the monk just lose.
Grimlock - exactly on par with the unbuffed monk. Monk wins if Enlarged.
Homunculus - monk wins.
Horse, Heavy - horse definitely wins if monk is medium, even odds if monk is enlarged.
Horse, Light - roughly same odds as heavy horse, slightly better for monk.
Horse, Light War - same odds as heavy horse.
Hyena - small advantage monk.
Krenshar - monk can grapple handily, but has a 45% chance of Just Losing (TM).
Lemure (Devil) - advantage monk.
Lizardfolk - advantage monk.
Manta Ray - monk almost certainly loses unless enlarged, in which case it's a toss-up.
Monstrous Centipede, Large - monk probably loses unless enlarged, probably wins if enlarged.
Monstrous Scorpion, Medium - advantage monk.
Monstrous Spider, Medium - advantage monk.
Mule - mule wins unless monk is large, blah blah.
Nixie (Sprite) - monk wins - unless the Nixie just charms him (55% chance).
Octopus - advantage monk.
Pseudodragon - monk wins at grappling, but has a 50% chance to fall asleep.
Shark, Medium - advantage monk.
Shrieker (Fungus) - advantage monk.
Skeleton, Wolf - advantage monk.
Snake, Medium Viper - advantage monk.
Spider Swarm - can't be grappled.
Squid - advantage squid. Monk has to be enlarged to has a good chance.
Troglodyte - advantage monk.
Wolf - advantage monk.
Zombie, Troglodyte - advantage monk.


So, by my count, the monk has a decent chance at grappling at least 30 out of the 44 CR1 enemies in the MM. Of these, he is guaranteed victory against only a few; most of the time his modifier is +4 to their +2, which will still lose roughly 40% of the time. Still, he has at least an advantage against almost 70% of them; not quite the 90% Gia was predicting, but not terrible.

If enlarged, the monk's chances against those enemies improve immensely and he has a chance against a further 9 enemies (bringing him to a fighting chance against nearly 90% of the list - about what Gia predicted). Given that the monk has a grapple modifier equal to his enemies for most of these cases, however, and the fact that the Enlarge Person buff is only available through spellcasters for a minute per day per casting, I don't think this number accurately represents the monk's chances. Action economy as first level is very important; you can't walk around Enlarged all the time because the duration is so short, but if you use a standard action to buff in combat you waste an attack that might've knocked out half the monster's hit points.

This isn't intended to demonstrate that the monk can't handle enemies at CR1, but only that grappling at those levels is either infeasible or suboptimal as strategy. If your enemy only takes two hits to kill, why bother with grappling them first?

Also, fully 10 of the enemies on that list have abilities that allow them to avoid grappling (flight, swarm, hiding) or abilities that render the monk useless if he fails a save. Neither of these capabilities are particularly restricted by grappling, as melee combat is. Again, I put it to you: why not just punch the enemies instead?

The answer, of course, is that fighters kill things better than monks, and if he had to admit that grappling isn't worthwhile even at the levels where it is possible, he would have to admit that monks are a weak class.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, I got really bored after finishing the CR1 list. If Giacomo wants to alter his claim to not include level 1 as a good level for grappling, I'll do some more research, but I don't expect the enemies at higher CRs to be any better. By level 8, you start to encounter large enemies more regularly, as well as more enemies with flight, swarm, incorporeality, or other ways to not get grappled, and you don't have all the CR1 NPC warrior humanoids filling up the list with easily-grappled targets.

JaronK
2010-03-07, 03:52 PM
You know, one thing that's not being considered here is the skills. Monks have Move Silently, Hide, Spot, Listen, and Diplomacy on their class list. While their Charisma is probably going to be very low, they can still have enough Diplomacy to handle a bit of face duty, and they make decent scouts (though they lack trap detection). In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing the Rogue go along with the Monk... the Rogue can focus on traps while the Monk detects enemies (thus allowing the Rogue to put some skill points elsewhere instead of Spot and Listen... UMD, perhaps). That's two useful roles they can fill outside of combat, which is certainly handy. And that's doable with an Int of 12 or a Human with an Int of 10. Anyway, it's a valuable contribution they can make, so that's something

JaronK

The Glyphstone
2010-03-07, 04:09 PM
You know, one thing that's not being considered here is the skills. Monks have Move Silently, Hide, Spot, Listen, and Diplomacy on their class list. While their Charisma is probably going to be very low, they can still have enough Diplomacy to handle a bit of face duty, and they make decent scouts (though they lack trap detection). In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing the Rogue go along with the Monk... the Rogue can focus on traps while the Monk detects enemies (thus allowing the Rogue to put some skill points elsewhere instead of Spot and Listen... UMD, perhaps). That's two useful roles they can fill outside of combat, which is certainly handy. And that's doable with an Int of 12 or a Human with an Int of 10. Anyway, it's a valuable contribution they can make, so that's something

JaronK

That'd be valid, but if you were to substitute, say, a second Rogue into the slot (or a Scout or Ranger, even) instead of a monk, you get everything the Monk would be contributing and more.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-07, 04:10 PM
You know, one thing that's not being considered here is the skills. Monks have Move Silently, Hide, Spot, Listen, and Diplomacy on their class list. While their Charisma is probably going to be very low, they can still have enough Diplomacy to handle a bit of face duty, and they make decent scouts (though they lack trap detection). In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing the Rogue go along with the Monk... the Rogue can focus on traps while the Monk detects enemies (thus allowing the Rogue to put some skill points elsewhere instead of Spot and Listen... UMD, perhaps). That's two useful roles they can fill outside of combat, which is certainly handy. And that's doable with an Int of 12 or a Human with an Int of 10. Anyway, it's a valuable contribution they can make, so that's something

Name me one scouting situation where it wouldn't be more advantageous to have a second rogue, a ranger, or a bard.

(1) Second rogue has MORE skills, and less wisdom focus, allowing for better Cha, for those face duties or UMD. Extra Bonus: two trap senses. Redundancy!

(2) Ranger has detection/hide/stealth, equal stealth/detection skills, better BAB, and a potential 3rd stealth ally (animal companion).

(3) Bard has good skills too (6+Int), UMD, most of the above skills, and is eminently more qualified to be a face.

(4) Monk has movement (but can't go ahead of the rogue without defeating the purpose of trap sense). Medium BAB, same as rogue, with no trap sense. Medium BAB, same as bard, but less Crowd Control ability and no spellcasting. Same skills as a ranger, with less BAB, no spellcasting, and a distinct lack of animal companion.

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-07, 06:24 PM
That'd be valid, but if you were to substitute, say, a second Rogue into the slot (or a Scout or Ranger, even) instead of a monk, you get everything the Monk would be contributing and more.

Or, better yet, a Bard.

JaronK
2010-03-07, 07:02 PM
That'd be valid, but if you were to substitute, say, a second Rogue into the slot (or a Scout or Ranger, even) instead of a monk, you get everything the Monk would be contributing and more.

Maybe. But a Rogue or Scout would have a tougher time tanking than a Monk, so if when scouting they had to fight the Rogue or Scout wouldn't be as good (maybe), and Rangers don't get Diplomacy (IIRC). Also, Monks are generally a weaker class than Rogues, Scouts, or Rangers, so it's expected. After all, a Druid could do this better than any of those.

I'm not saying Monks are the kings of anything (except running fast on the ground), just that they have a nice set of abilities which can be made use of. Also, Monks keep getting compared in this thread to Fighters, and one thing a Monk brings to the table that a Fighter doesn't is that they can do things outside of combat. Fighters have VERY little outside of combat, while Monks can handle social, stealth, and scouting situations. So yes, a Fighter probably delivers more in combat, but Monks deliver more out of combat. Depending on the situation or campaign, either could be more useful. Yes, a Druid does all this better still, but that's expected.

JaronK

tyckspoon
2010-03-07, 07:21 PM
Maybe. But a Rogue or Scout would have a tougher time tanking than a Monk, so if when scouting they had to fight the Rogue or Scout wouldn't be as good (maybe), and Rangers don't get Diplomacy (IIRC). Also, Monks are generally a weaker class than Rogues, Scouts, or Rangers, so it's expected. After all, a Druid could do this better than any of those.


If you have to 'tank' anything on a scouting trip besides the occasional trap you didn't notice, you have failed and are probably going to die (or you're being foolish and are probably going to die.) Monks, Rogues, and Scouts are all going to get beaten down quite rapidly if they fail their Spot/Listen checks badly enough to trip into an orcish barracks room or other kind of monster den.

Roderick_BR
2010-03-07, 07:44 PM
Wait, aren't they technically not proficient with their fists?
A small error that was never errata'd because Wizards thought their players smarter than that.

To the OP: Ask him to make 3 characters, a monk, a wizard, and a fighter, than make a bunch of situations (battles, traps, social, exploring) and ask him what each class can do.

Asgardian
2010-03-07, 10:32 PM
Can we just agree on the following and call it a day?

1. Monks do not excel in a hack-n-slash or optimized campaign as their damage output will be overshadowed.

2. Monks do perform well in role playing heavy games where their social skills come into play

3. Monks do not make for an optimal replacement for a Fighter,Rogue or Scout

4. Monks do make an a good 5th character, asy the can act as a backup to each of the above classes.

5. MAD makes it difficult to play a monk that does everything well. (social skills, combat,etc..)

6. There are feats such as Kung Fu Genius and Weapon Finesse that reduce MAD and allow the monk to perform better in a more specialized role.

7. There are Monk variants from Dragon Magazine that make the whole discussion moot as they change the class abilities to fit into more specialized roles.

Gametime
2010-03-07, 11:13 PM
1. Monks do not excel in a hack-n-slash or optimized campaign as their damage output will be overshadowed.

Sure.


2. Monks do perform well in role playing heavy games where their social skills come into play

Monks perform "well" in combat, too, if by that you mean "can kill enemies." They'll still be overshadowed by classes better at the social game, and "role playing" is a skill distinct from and unconnected to class anyway.


3. Monks do not make for an optimal replacement for a Fighter,Rogue or Scout

Indeed.


4. Monks do make an a good 5th character, asy the can act as a backup to each of the above classes.

I'd rather have a bard or ranger as a fifth character, even within core. But monks aren't bad as a fifth character, no.


5. MAD makes it difficult to play a monk that does everything well. (social skills, combat,etc..)

Which severely undermines their ability to be a good fifth man, although they can still pull it off to some degree.


6. There are feats such as Kung Fu Genius and Weapon Finesse that reduce MAD and allow the monk to perform better in a more specialized role.

Eh...sort of. It's almost impossible to get them below three crucial stats, and you give up a lot to get there. (Dumping Strength for Weapon Finesse loses you a respectable amount of damage, for instance.)


7. There are Monk variants from Dragon Magazine that make the whole discussion moot as they change the class abilities to fit into more specialized roles.

Certainly true. In that vein, there is an entire variant class printed in Tome of Battle that really makes the class features more appealing. :smallwink:

Petrocorus
2010-03-07, 11:40 PM
Well, There is the evidence that monks are the best! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4Mv14lYo4)

Ogremindes
2010-03-07, 11:59 PM
Well, There is the evidence that monks are the best! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4Mv14lYo4)

Nah, that's a Cloistered Cleric in DnD terms.

Petrocorus
2010-03-08, 12:15 AM
Nah, that's a Cloistered Cleric in DnD terms.

Wait, with THIS athletic abilities and the break-wall-bare-hand thing?

And BTW, in which book is this ACF?

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-08, 01:15 AM
So yes, a Fighter probably delivers more in combat, but Monks deliver more out of combat. Depending on the situation or campaign, either could be more useful. Yes, a Druid does all this better still, but that's expected.

But why bring a Monk instead of, say, a Bard? Bards provide combat support, out of combat support, a little healing, UMD in class and buffs.

Why bring a Monk instead of, say, a Rogue? Better combat support, much better out of combat support, trapfinding, UMD in class and a secondary-beatstick if he takes some sneak-attack Fighter levels.

Why bring a Monk instead of, say, a Ranger? Much better combat support, equal out of combat support, tracking, an animal companion and minor buffs at later levels.

The issue is that a Monk, any Monk, can be made better by taking levels in anything other than Monk after the 2nd level of Monk. Anything at all. Even CW Samurai.

The Glyphstone
2010-03-08, 01:29 AM
Eh...sort of. It's almost impossible to get them below three crucial stats, and you give up a lot to get there. (Dumping Strength for Weapon Finesse loses you a respectable amount of damage, for instance.)



Certainly true. In that vein, there is an entire variant class printed in Tome of Battle that really makes the class features more appealing. :smallwink:

Note that Unarmed Strikes are a favored weapon of the Shadow Hand Discipline - so if you have access to ToB but for some reason refuse to play Swordsage, you could technically burn 3 feats (Martial Study, Martial Stance, Shadow Blade) to safely dump Strength without damage loss...of course, that's really at the point of amputating olfactory organs to annoy the ventral head surface.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 01:44 AM
But why bring a Monk instead of, say, a Bard? Bards provide combat support, out of combat support, a little healing, UMD in class and buffs.

Perhaps you don't want to play a caster, and your character concept calls for a martial artist, and you either don't like or don't have access to ToB? Perhaps Bards don't appeal? There's more to character building than power, after all. The point is not that other classes aren't stronger and more versitile than a Monk. They are. The point is that you can do something useful with Monks.


Why bring a Monk instead of, say, a Rogue? Better combat support, much better out of combat support, trapfinding, UMD in class and a secondary-beatstick if he takes some sneak-attack Fighter levels.

As above, perhaps Rogue won't fit your character concept. Again, power isn't everything. The same applies to Rangers. Yes, Bards and Rangers and Rogues are stronger, but they may not fit the character concept.


The issue is that a Monk, any Monk, can be made better by taking levels in anything other than Monk after the 2nd level of Monk. Anything at all. Even CW Samurai.

Actually I'd argue that Monk 6 is quite nice, as you can then chain into Shou Disciple 5 and get something nice going. Yes, the Monk class is front loaded. Yes, it's weaker than most classes out there. I'm not like Giacomo... I know quite well the power rankings and I know that Monks aren't top contenders by any means. The point is not that Monks are awesome... the point is that they can be useful, especially if the rest of the party isn't that powerful. Remember, the game was designed to be much lower power level than what actually happened. It was supposed to be healbot Clerics, nuker Wizards, Druids that don't use Wild Shape except to look like an animal sometimes and who mostly melee with a scimitar or similar, and so on. The Monk is actually perfectly balanced for what it was designed to do. The problem is that a lot of other classes ended up a LOT stronger than intended, so Monk players will often get trumped completely and wonder why they're in the party. But if you want to play at the intended power level, playing a Monk is fine.

Consider what happens if the rest of your party is Ninja, Fighter, Healer. Monk fits great in that group. Sure you could play a Druid and be better at everything than a Monk... but you'd also make the rest of the group obsolete. Even a Bard with a bit of creativity would make the group look like it shouldn't even be there. Rogues and Rangers would likely be noticably stronger, though they'd work. But Monk would fit just right with that power level.

JaronK

Mushroom Ninja
2010-03-08, 01:48 AM
Perhaps you don't want to play a caster, and your character concept calls for a martial artist, and you either don't like or don't have access to ToB? Perhaps Bards don't appeal? There's more to character building than power, after all. The point is not that other classes aren't stronger and more versitile than a Monk. They are. The point is that you can do something useful with Monks.


I agree. When it is said that "monk sucks", what is actually meant is "monk sucks relative to most other classes." It is entirely possible to make a playable monk. Other classes might be able to do whatever it is that you're trying to do better, but, with sufficient CO, you can certainly make a playable monk.

ZeroNumerous
2010-03-08, 02:12 AM
The point is that you can do something useful with Monks.

You can do something useful with Expert. Does that make Expert worth adding to the party? No, no it doesn't.


As above, perhaps Rogue won't fit your character concept. Again, power isn't everything. The same applies to Rangers. Yes, Bards and Rangers and Rogues are stronger, but they may not fit the character concept.

It is impossible for rogue not to fit a concept. Rogue lacks flavor of any noticeable amount. A rogue can be anything or anyone who knows to go for the kidneys. "It doesn't fit my character concept" basically means "I want to play a monk and only a monk". It's not a justification for choosing Monk, it's an excuse.


The point is not that Monks are awesome... the point is that they can be useful, especially if the rest of the party isn't that powerful.

As noted before, so can Expert. The question is: Why pick Monk over any other fifth-wheel class?


The Monk is actually perfectly balanced for what it was designed to do. The problem is that a lot of other classes ended up a LOT stronger than intended, so Monk players will often get trumped completely and wonder why they're in the party.

What is Monk supposed to do, by the way? He's certainly got nothing that isn't covered equally well, or even better, by any of the three above classes.


Consider what happens if the rest of your party is Ninja, Fighter, Healer. Monk fits great in that group. Sure you could play a Druid and be better at everything than a Monk... but you'd also make the rest of the group obsolete. Even a Bard with a bit of creativity would make the group look like it shouldn't even be there. Rogues and Rangers would likely be noticably stronger, though they'd work. But Monk would fit just right with that power level.

JaronK

So does a Scout, Bard, Rogue or Ranger. In particular an unoptimized Bard using Bard Songs would provide much more party support than a monk while also providing small amounts of arcane support. You don't need to intentionally pick a poorly designed class just to fit in with the specific power level of your group.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-03-08, 02:40 AM
You can do something useful with Expert. Does that make Expert worth adding to the party? No, no it doesn't.

I dunno. If you optimize the Expert much more than the rest of the party optimizes their characters, you can certainly be a very valuable asset to the party. It would be a fun challenge if you like to optimize, but your group prefers low-powered games. Also, if the party is ~Tier 5/Tier 6, you would fit in just fine without pimping the crap out of your Expert.

I don't think we can categorically say "Never, ever play a monk". We may be able to say "Never play a monk with a level of optimization similar to or lower than that of a your party if it is higher tier than tier 5," but that's quite different from "never play a monk."

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 02:41 AM
Perhaps you don't want to play a caster, and your character concept calls for a martial artist, and you either don't like or don't have access to ToB? Perhaps Bards don't appeal? There's more to character building than power, after all. The point is not that other classes aren't stronger and more versitile than a Monk. They are. The point is that you can do something useful with Monks.



As above, perhaps Rogue won't fit your character concept. Again, power isn't everything. The same applies to Rangers. Yes, Bards and Rangers and Rogues are stronger, but they may not fit the character concept.
When the discussion is on the effectiveness of character classes, then YES, power is.

If you're asking if monk can make contributions to a party? Yes.
If you're stating that they're on par with the contribution that any (4+ Skills) class can make, as a fifth wheel? No.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 03:25 AM
You can do something useful with Expert. Does that make Expert worth adding to the party? No, no it doesn't.

Why not? If it fits, what's wrong with using an Expert?


It is impossible for rogue not to fit a concept. Rogue lacks flavor of any noticeable amount. A rogue can be anything or anyone who knows to go for the kidneys. "It doesn't fit my character concept" basically means "I want to play a monk and only a monk". It's not a justification for choosing Monk, it's an excuse.

If your concept is something similar to a traditional martial artist, Rogue isn't a good fit. If you want to play a heavily armored glory and honor straight forward warrior, Rogue does not fit your concept. Frankly, if you really can't think of concepts that Rogue is unacceptable for, I just don't know what to say to you.



As noted before, so can Expert. The question is: Why pick Monk over any other fifth-wheel class?

Because it works? And you can play an Expert too. I have done so.


What is Monk supposed to do, by the way? He's certainly got nothing that isn't covered equally well, or even better, by any of the three above classes.

He has things he can do better than each. He's a better tank (and observer) than a Rogue or Scout, due to his higher Wis modifier. He's better at fighting unarmed (which you might want to do) than any of them. He's a better diplomat than a Ranger. If you happen to want a character that has the specific mechanical abilities that a Monk has, then it works.


So does a Scout, Bard, Rogue or Ranger. In particular an unoptimized Bard using Bard Songs would provide much more party support than a monk while also providing small amounts of arcane support. You don't need to intentionally pick a poorly designed class just to fit in with the specific power level of your group.

Maybe you don't want to be a caster? And Monks are actually one of the best designed classes in their power level (Fighters are horribly one dimensional and unable to do what their own description says they do. Ninjas are often worthless against many opponents and their abilities run out WAY too fast. Healers are just plain boring, and are weak through most levels but suddenly spike up in power at level 17. And so on).

JaronK

JaronK
2010-03-08, 03:26 AM
When the discussion is on the effectiveness of character classes, then YES, power is.

Yes, but I'm not saying Monks are powerful, I'm saying they can be useful. That's all.


If you're asking if monk can make contributions to a party? Yes.

Exactly. They're still able to be useful.


If you're stating that they're on par with the contribution that any (4+ Skills) class can make, as a fifth wheel? No.

They're on par with Experts and Ninjas.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 03:45 AM
Yes, but I'm not saying Monks are powerful, I'm saying they can be useful. That's all.



Exactly. They're still able to be useful.



They're on par with Experts and Ninjas.

JaronK

Ninjas have an ability that's solidly useful (the ability to attack from ethereal to material plane), and very hard to otherwise get.

Experts are an NPC class.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 03:54 AM
Ninjas have an ability that's solidly useful (the ability to attack from ethereal to material plane), and very hard to otherwise get.

Experts are an NPC class.

Yes, Ninjas have a useful ability (with relatively limited uses per day). Monks have Flurry which is useful too. Nice bonus feats in the first 6 levels as well. They're still on par (neither is particularly good). Oh, and add Swashbuckler to the list of 4+Int skill point classes that are on par with Monks.

Yes, Experts are an NPC class. They still fit the qualifications. Heck, Adepts are stronger than a bunch of PC classes.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 04:16 AM
Yes, Ninjas have a useful ability (with relatively limited uses per day). Monks have Flurry which is useful too. Nice bonus feats in the first 6 levels as well. They're still on par (neither is particularly good). Oh, and add Swashbuckler to the list of 4+Int skill point classes that are on par with Monks.

Yes, Experts are an NPC class. They still fit the qualifications. Heck, Adepts are stronger than a bunch of PC classes.

JaronK

Relatively limited? A solid Wis focus ninja can have, at mid levels, 10-15 uses a day. Couple that with an item like a Cloak of Etherealness, and you've got 3-4 uses per combat... which is the bulk of your encounters.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 04:52 AM
Relatively limited? A solid Wis focus ninja can have, at mid levels, 10-15 uses a day.

If he's solid Wis focus, he's got the same problem as a solid Wis focus Monk... those other stats were needed. Just like a Monk with pumped Wisdom is sacrificing Dex, Con, and/or Str, a Ninja is in trouble... Ninjas need Dex, Int and Con at the very least (ever tried to make a Ninja with enough skill points to do his job without a decent Int score?).

And I'd stand by the Expert and Swashbuckler as well.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 05:06 AM
If he's solid Wis focus, he's got the same problem as a solid Wis focus Monk... those other stats were needed. Just like a Monk with pumped Wisdom is sacrificing Dex, Con, and/or Str, a Ninja is in trouble... Ninjas need Dex, Int and Con at the very least (ever tried to make a Ninja with enough skill points to do his job without a decent Int score?).

Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 28pb
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 32pb.
(Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 8 - 32 PB alternate)

Dex is a myth need for this class. It helps, but is wholly unnecessary. Early on, you can use ranged and stay back, and be fine. Later, alchemical items can offer flat footed ranged touch attacks, negating about 95% of AC, for difficult targets. From there, boost Wis (level 4 and 8), and get a +6 item when you can? and you have 24 (+7). By level 8 (when you get it), that's 11 uses. It's not hard, honestly, to do, and ninja abilities do synergize with ranged attacks. With a couple martial feats, you can get assassin's stance, and now that attack has 6d6 extra damage. Not fantastic, but very difficult to counter. Alternately, a couple caster levels in there can grant ranged touch spells that can do good damage on ranged touch.

It can also be combined with other classes (esp divine casting classes - Chameleon, ur priest, etc), for good effect.

It's honestly more solid than monk. Not much, but yes.

I'd wager that Expert, again, is an NPC class, not designed for pc use. Please, PLEASE drop this one. I'm not going to split hairs with you over semantic nonsense.

Swashbuckler? No comment on until I get back that book. It's on loan.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 06:11 AM
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 28pb
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 32pb.
(Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 8 - 32 PB alternate)

Dex is a myth need for this class.

You are essencially a Rogue, but you lose skill points and class skills for a few interesting combat abilities. And now you say you don't need stats to let you hit? I mean seriously, look at your stats there. Barely an Int bonus (if any) means you're barely able to handle being a skill monkey (Spot, Hide, Move Silently, Listen, Disable Device, Search... and we're done. With the +1 Int bonus version, you can add one more skill bu that's it). Str penalty means you're worthless when you can't land Sudden Strike. And in one version, you've even got a Con of 10 with your D6 HD unarmed (but with a +4 Wis bonus) self. Ugh.


It helps, but is wholly unnecessary. Early on, you can use ranged and stay back, and be fine. Later, alchemical items can offer flat footed ranged touch attacks, negating about 95% of AC, for difficult targets. From there, boost Wis (level 4 and 8), and get a +6 item when you can? and you have 24 (+7). By level 8 (when you get it), that's 11 uses.

You then go on to recommend spending your WBL increases on wisdom bonuses, spending 36kgp for a +6 Periapt of Wisdom by level 8. Note that your WBL at level 8 is 27kgp, total. You're way over budget, especially if you plan on spending 10-20gp per shot on alchemical weaponry at even the low mid levels (and how were you planning to carry those vials? You have a strength of 8... even holding enough for one encounter will cut into your weight allowance big time. Planning on hitting medium loads as a skill monkey all the time?).


It's not hard, honestly, to do, and ninja abilities do synergize with ranged attacks.

I completely agree that ninja abilities are good with ranged attacks, but your plan here really isn't working. No, high Wis Ninjas just aren't a good plan. They're really just like high Wis Monks... nice in theory, but in practice it just won't work. You've demonstrated that quite well... it must be hard to do, since you just broke WBL trying to do it. Even if you'd just gone with a +4 Periapt for 16kgp, you still would have spent over half your WBL at level 8 on it, leaving precious little for tools, defenses, weapons, items that deal with sneak attack immunes, and so on. And let's not get started on how hard it can be in many campaigns to actually keep up a supply of alchemical throwables that will last long enough when you adventure.

Honestly, high Wis Ninjas are pretty weak. I'd want to pump Dex first, Int second, Con third, Wis fourth.


With a couple martial feats, you can get assassin's stance, and now that attack has 6d6 extra damage.

So can a Monk. And neither a Ninja nor Monk should do that of course... both would want to multiclass into Swordsage for two levels and just take Assassin's Stance. The Ninja has more precision damage, but the Monk has more attacks, feats, and base damage, plus a better chance to hit when you're not throwing alchemicals (or against foes with higher touch ACs) and isn't worthless against foes where Sudden Strike won't trigger. They really are in the same boat here.


Swashbuckler? No comment on until I get back that book. It's on loan.

Their only solid ability is Int to damage with finessable weapons at level 3 (with Weapon Finesse as a Bonus Feat at level 1). The rest is cute. They do multiclass nicely with Rogues given a specific feat, though.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 06:35 AM
You are essencially a Rogue, but you lose skill points and class skills for a few interesting combat abilities. And now you say you don't need stats to let you hit? I mean seriously, look at your stats there. Barely an Int bonus (if any) means you're barely able to handle being a skill monkey (Spot, Hide, Move Silently, Listen, Disable Device, Search... and we're done. With the +1 Int bonus version, you can add one more skill bu that's it). Str penalty means you're worthless when you can't land Sudden Strike. And in one version, you've even got a Con of 10 with your D6 HD unarmed (but with a +4 Wis bonus) self. Ugh. Remember where I pointed out ranged combat? And let's be honest, rogues aren't that worthwhile when they're not getting sneak attack.

Combine flat footed (for sudden strike, and there are class skills to get it) with unseen (+2 to hit), and you're as accurate as any can expect, at range.

I thought we're talking a 5th pc, not a defined role. Of course a dedicated skill monkey's better at being a skill monkey. You'd have to be a complete moron to believe otherwise.


You then go on to recommend spending your WBL increases on wisdom bonuses, spending 36kgp for a +6 Periapt of Wisdom by level 8. Note that your WBL at level 8 is 27kgp, total. You're way over budget, especially if you plan on spending 10-20gp per shot on alchemical weaponry at even the low mid levels (and how were you planning to carry those vials? You have a strength of 8... even holding enough for one encounter will cut into your weight allowance big time. Planning on hitting medium loads as a skill monkey all the time?).Sigh. Are you REALLY going into encumbrance? The vials are 1/10 of a pound. Throwing 3 an encounter (at mid levels) would HARDLY cut into encumbrance "big time".

As for the WBL restrictions? It's still quite possible for a 4k +2 item, 9 uses, and tons of WBL left over. Add in a sling, and you're still not too bad on accuracy.


I completely agree that ninja abilities are good with ranged attacks, but your plan here really isn't working. No, high Wis Ninjas just aren't a good plan. They're really just like high Wis Monks... nice in theory, but in practice it just won't work. You've demonstrated that quite well... it must be hard to do, since you just broke WBL trying to do it. Even if you'd just gone with a +4 Periapt for 16kgp, you still would have spent over half your WBL at level 8 on it, leaving precious little for tools, defenses, weapons, items that deal with sneak attack immunes, and so on. And let's not get started on how hard it can be in many campaigns to actually keep up a supply of alchemical throwables that will last long enough when you adventure.Actually, none of the things you've claimed are "demonstrated" are. You're stating one personal (highly warped and slanted) opinion that you yourself formulated as the open and shut end of discussion. Your argument has as much logical sense in it as the following:

I like pie, therefore cupcakes are purple.



Honestly, high Wis Ninjas are pretty weak. I'd want to pump Dex first, Int second, Con third, Wis fourth. That's rather good for you. Skimp class abilities for features everyone gets, and wonder why you think the class features are weak. Imagine that.

So can a Monk. And neither a Ninja nor Monk should do that of course... both would want to multiclass into Swordsage for two levels and just take Assassin's Stance. The Ninja has more precision damage, but the Monk has more attacks, feats, and base damage, plus a better chance to hit when you're not throwing alchemicals (or against foes with higher touch ACs) and isn't worthless against foes where Sudden Strike won't trigger. They really are in the same boat here.Except that the monk can't go invisible, or ethereal, or benefit as much from saves, or use poison reliably, or detect traps... Wow, a lot of "or" there.

Your views are getting rather heavy on opinion and bluster, and rather light on reason and fact. I'd appreciate you rectifying that.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 06:57 AM
You're the one who claimed, straight up, that it was "not hard" for a ninja to have plenty of uses of his ki powers by having a Wis of 24 at level 8 using almost 50% above WBL on a single item. That's not a biased opinion, that's a fact.

The facts remain: ninjas have a lot of problems, and pumping Wis compounds them. Fewer skill points and class skills than a Rogue... and not putting much into Int makes that much worse. Few hitpoints and few defensive abilities on a class that has to stay within 30' of the enemy to be effective, and a low con to make that even worse. 3/4 BAB, and now you're correcting your WBL problems using a sling (which takes a str penalty) to hit with a dex that you're not pumping up. Your ninja has a base to hit of +8/+3 at level 8.

And that's not getting into all the enemies you can't even hurt, like undead, oozes, elementals, plants, and constructs, plus anything that's resistant to being made flat footed for one reason or another. There are ways around a few of those, but it's still an issue. Monks don't have that particular annoyance, at least.

Both classes have serious power issues. Put them in a party together, and they look pretty similar (assuming they're optimized about the same).

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-08, 07:26 AM
You're the one who claimed, straight up, that it was "not hard" for a ninja to have plenty of uses of his ki powers by having a Wis of 24 at level 8 using almost 50% above WBL on a single item. That's not a biased opinion, that's a fact. No, that's a misquote. I've struck it out for correctness. I never mentioned a +4 item. YOU did. In fact, when the pricing error was pointed out, I mentioned a +2 item, which is just over 10% WBL. That's the fact, since you're so keen on them.

The facts remain: ninjas have a lot of problems, and pumping Wis compounds them. Fewer skill points and class skills than a Rogue... and not putting much into Int makes that much worse. Let's look at this one. By that logic, nearly every class in the game has a major problem. Your logic (or lack thereof) is downright dazzling, so far.


Few hitpoints and few defensive abilities on a class that has to stay within 30' of the enemy to be effective, and a low con to make that even worse. 3/4 BAB, and now you're correcting your WBL problems using a sling (which takes a str penalty) to hit with a dex that you're not pumping up. Your ninja has a base to hit of +8/+3 at level 8.
Ah, I see you caught the sling reference. So you did see the post where I mentioned the +2 item. Hm. Few HP on a class that has to stay hidden and out of melee to be effective. Sounds balanced. You make the HP issue seem like it's a front line fighter. Con is nice, but a D6 with less than 18 Con can survive, it really can. I promise and everything!


And that's not getting into all the enemies you can't even hurt, like undead, oozes, elementals, plants, and constructs, plus anything that's resistant to being made flat footed for one reason or another. There are ways around a few of those, but it's still an issue. Monks don't have that particular annoyance, at least.Yeah, they have all the others, including being proficient with precisely 1 range weapon (which has a range increment so small the player must choose between a -2 penalty for range or provoking an AoO). Yes. The monk is designed to do damage in melee. The ninja is not.


Both classes have serious power issues. Put them in a party together, and they look pretty similar (assuming they're optimized about the same).
If by similar, you equate being able to talk with anything as roughly on par with, say, being able to vanish on command.

Which most people don't.

JaronK
2010-03-08, 07:29 PM
No, that's a misquote. I've struck it out for correctness. I never mentioned a +4 item. YOU did. In fact, when the pricing error was pointed out, I mentioned a +2 item, which is just over 10% WBL. That's the fact, since you're so keen on them.

Eh? You claimed that you should get a +6 item to wisdom, then said that at level 8 from a starting Wis of 16 you could have put two points into Wisdom and had that item, giving a Wis of 24. What misquote?


Let's look at this one. By that logic, nearly every class in the game has a major problem. Your logic (or lack thereof) is downright dazzling, so far.

Every skillmonkey/trapfinder that's not Int based and has 6+ Int skills, yes. So... Ninjas. Scouts have 8, Factotums and Beguilers and Artificers (though the last are debatable as to whether they're skillmonkeys, but they do have trapfinding) are Int based. Bards are on the edge of being skillmonkeys, but they've got useful spell support (as do Factotums and Beguilers) to cover that. Ninjas, meanwhile, have MAD. Anyone else? One could argue for the Expert I guess, but since skills is all they do I'd call them Int based.


Ah, I see you caught the sling reference. So you did see the post where I mentioned the +2 item. Hm. Few HP on a class that has to stay hidden and out of melee to be effective. Sounds balanced. You make the HP issue seem like it's a front line fighter. Con is nice, but a D6 with less than 18 Con can survive, it really can. I promise and everything!

You have to get within 30' to deal damage. That's close enough to get charged. And with your low Dex (for a stealther/skill monkey), I doubt your hide and move silently are going to be as good as they should be. If you have to stay hidden and far from melee you're not dealing damage, if you get close to deal damage you're certainly within charge range. Bad combo. Yes, you want to survive, and a Con of 10-12 is really dangerous. Monks keep getting a bad rap for being unable to tank, yet they're far better at taking hits than Ninjas, especially ones that leave their Con at 10-12. Plus, consider how many monsters like to grapple enemies. Now consider your Dex isn't very high and you dumped strength. This could get ugly fast.

And vanishing on command sucks when so many enemies see invisible. Darkstalker deals with this... but the invisibility in that case doesn't matter.

JaronK

Gametime
2010-03-08, 07:49 PM
Is anyone really contesting that a monk can conquer challenges in a low-powered game? Any class can, given enough optimization or low enough difficulty. I've seen monks do just fine in campaigns, and I think this is all Jaronk is arguing. (If you aren't, I don't mean to put words in your mouth.)

Monks are weaker than most other classes. I think (again, apologies if I'm wrong) that Jaronk agrees with that assessment. But being weaker than other classes doesn't automatically make one too weak to deal with challenges presented by the DM.

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-08, 09:02 PM
Is anyone really contesting that a monk can conquer challenges in a low-powered game? Any class can, given enough optimization or low enough difficulty. I've seen monks do just fine in campaigns, and I think this is all Jaronk is arguing. (If you aren't, I don't mean to put words in your mouth.)

Monks are weaker than most other classes. I think (again, apologies if I'm wrong) that Jaronk agrees with that assessment. But being weaker than other classes doesn't automatically make one too weak to deal with challenges presented by the DM.

I'm pretty sure he agrees. He did write the tier system after all :smallwink:

Gametime
2010-03-08, 09:12 PM
I'm pretty sure he agrees. He did write the tier system after all :smallwink:

Probably, but if there's one thing I've learned about talking on the internet, it's that you can't overclarify your statements. :smalltongue:

JaronK
2010-03-08, 09:50 PM
Is anyone really contesting that a monk can conquer challenges in a low-powered game? Any class can, given enough optimization or low enough difficulty. I've seen monks do just fine in campaigns, and I think this is all Jaronk is arguing. (If you aren't, I don't mean to put words in your mouth.)

Monks are weaker than most other classes. I think (again, apologies if I'm wrong) that Jaronk agrees with that assessment. But being weaker than other classes doesn't automatically make one too weak to deal with challenges presented by the DM.

Exactly. Monks are pretty darn weak compared to most other classes. But they're still usable in a game where everyone else is also playing similar powered classes. I personally believe that the problems develop only when you have vastly different power levels between players, which makes it hard for the DM to challenge one of the players without destroying the other. A Druid and Monk shouldn't be in the same party, all other things being equal, because the Druid can do everything better. Wild Shape Ranger and Monk will have similar (but fewer) issues. Ninjas and Monks can get along fine.

Basically, I'm saying "Monks suck" is an overgeneralization. Monks can be perfectly fine in games appropriate for their power level. They're actually a reasonably well designed class... within their power level. In a game designed for that power level, Monks are a solid class... they can fight, handle social situations, scout, and sneak. I like them a lot better than Fighters in that respect, who hit harder but are very one dimensional. But yes, you could have another class in there that could do all the Monk stuff only better (Druids, Unarmed Swordsages).

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-09, 12:10 AM
Eh? You claimed that you should get a +6 item to wisdom, then said that at level 8 from a starting Wis of 16 you could have put two points into Wisdom and had that item, giving a Wis of 24. What misquote?
Allow me to refresh your memory.

As for the WBL restrictions? It's still quite possible for a 4k +2 item, 9 uses, and tons of WBL left over. Add in a sling, and you're still not too bad on accuracy.
Go ahead and clicky the link next to my name in that quote.

A 4k, +2 item. That was what I said, not 2 posts before that rubbish misquote. And I know you saw the post, because you picked up on the sling REAL quick. In the very same post as the miquote, if I remember correctly. Still say I was talking about a 16k item that grants +4? Hm? Or was I talking about a 4k item, that grants +2? Because, last I checked, 4k is not even close to half of 27k (14%, or thereabouts). And you stated "using almost half of WBL on a single item".

Please, enlighten me on how that could possibly be an accurate depiction of what I said. I'm doing you the courtesy of re-reading all my own posts, so as to provide linkable support of your inaccuracy. Do me the courtesy of at least showing me where I claimed a +4 item, or an item totaling in the neighborhood of 13,500gp, cause I sure as anything don't see it.


Exactly. Monks are pretty darn weak compared to most other classes. But they're still usable in a game where everyone else is also playing similar powered classes. I personally believe that the problems develop only when you have vastly different power levels between players, which makes it hard for the DM to challenge one of the players without destroying the other. A Druid and Monk shouldn't be in the same party, all other things being equal, because the Druid can do everything better. Wild Shape Ranger and Monk will have similar (but fewer) issues. Ninjas and Monks can get along fine.

Basically, I'm saying "Monks suck" is an overgeneralization. Monks can be perfectly fine in games appropriate for their power level. They're actually a reasonably well designed class... within their power level. In a game designed for that power level, Monks are a solid class... they can fight, handle social situations, scout, and sneak. I like them a lot better than Fighters in that respect, who hit harder but are very one dimensional. But yes, you could have another class in there that could do all the Monk stuff only better (Druids, Unarmed Swordsages).

JaronK

Let me clarify.

Monks suck. Yes. For all the reasons you stated. They're underpowered compared to most base classes.

Monks can also make for a rewarding campaign experience, for people who aren't concerned with being more capable. This requires either classes that are relatively close in power to the monk (your suggestion), or a DM who is adept at dealing with power disparity.

Personally? I don't find them reasonably well designed. They're a trash can class. Design took a lot of different generalizations from various wire-fu movies and stories, randomly through it together, offered little choice to the customization of each, and dumped it all in the same trash can. Then they called it a day. They have little continuity of purpose. Most of the entries on the class list would be called situational by the most generous standards. With little continuity, and little effectiveness, the class has few qualities that point to forethought in design.

Nobody is arguing that anyone who's playing a monk is playing the game wrong. What I am saying is that the class is underpowered, and built with little actual reasoned planning or design.

JaronK
2010-03-09, 12:37 AM
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 28pb
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8 - 32pb.
(Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 8 - 32 PB alternate)

Dex is a myth need for this class. It helps, but is wholly unnecessary. Early on, you can use ranged and stay back, and be fine. Later, alchemical items can offer flat footed ranged touch attacks, negating about 95% of AC, for difficult targets. From there, boost Wis (level 4 and 8), and get a +6 item when you can? and you have 24 (+7). By level 8 (when you get it), that's 11 uses.

There's the quote Pheonix. You said, quite clearly, by level 8 you'd have a Wis of 24 via a +6 Wis boosting item. Can we stop pretending that wasn't said now?

And I'm not arguing that the Monk is even of average power. It's not. I was just pointing out a few ways one could be useful.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-09, 12:49 AM
There's the quote Pheonix. You said, quite clearly, by level 8 you'd have a Wis of 24 via a +6 Wis boosting item. Can we stop pretending that wasn't said now?

And I'm not arguing that the Monk is even of average power. It's not. I was just pointing out a few ways one could be useful.

JaronK

And, several posts before, I revised that, after you pointed that out.

I.E. I conceded that freaking point, and you continued on like a broken record, after that.

I.E. My view was modified to: +2 item.

I.E. Here's a horse. It's dead. Why are you beating it, Jaron, why?

In other words, this is how the conversation went:

A: 2+2=5
B: No, it doesn't.
A: Ok, ok, 2+2=4.
B: WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING "2+2=5"?
A: Umm, that's not quite accurate.
B: WHY ARE YOU PRETENDING YOU NEVER SAID IT?

JaronK
2010-03-09, 02:14 AM
Hey, you kept denying it. If you'd said "oops, nevermind" we'd have something here. Frankly I don't know why you keep going at this... I've never claimed Monks are powerful, so I don't know why you keep wanting to prove they're well below average power.

The only difference here is that you think Monks suck for being weak, whereas I don't think being low powered alone is a bad thing. I like playing low powered characters sometimes.

JaronK

Frosty
2010-03-09, 03:32 AM
I'm fine with low-powered. Badly-designed is another matter.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-09, 03:34 AM
The only difference here is that you think Monks suck for being weak, whereas I don't think being low powered alone is a bad thing. I like playing low powered characters sometimes.

And I've never claimed being low powered alone is bad. You assume a distinction where none exists.



Monks suck. Yes.

Monks can also make for a rewarding campaign experience, for people who aren't concerned with being more capable. This requires either classes that are relatively close in power to the monk (your suggestion), or a DM who is adept at dealing with power disparity.

See? Lookie, I even say that you can play a monk, and have a rewarding campaign experience.

I'm not saying "this class sucks, so you can't have fun playing as it".

I'm saying "This class sucks. If you can get past that, or that's not important to you, you can still have fun with it."

There is a distinction between a class and a character, and between a character and a game.

Bad classes can be optimized to good characters.
Bad classes can also be fun to play.

That doesn't, however, make them good classes. They're still bad.

In addition, I didn't think the monk "sucked for being weak". I said that it sucked. One reason is that they're underpowered. Another is poor design, and lack of continuity and purpose. There are many reasons I feel it's subpar, and they're not just restricted to low power in class abilities.

Frosty
2010-03-09, 03:39 AM
So...what exactly are you two disagreeing on? I think you two pretty much think things about the Monk. I'm not seeing the point of contention here.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-09, 03:40 AM
So...what exactly are you two disagreeing on? I think you two pretty much think things about the Monk. I'm not seeing the point of contention here.

I think he has a semantic disagreement over my use of the word "sucks". He seems to be interpreting it as "OMG i think this class should be burned and locked away and buried and never seen or played by anyone ever no matter what".

JaronK
2010-03-09, 03:49 AM
I think power level aside, they're well designed. They get a ton of fun and interesting abilities without being overpowered, mostly because all those abilities are either weak or non synergistic. I think that's a lot better than the Wizard's "look I have an empty sheet of class features, but I can blow up the world if I get bored." Non synergistic abilities means you can have more good abilities to chose from, and you have to chose. For example, fast movement makes them good at hit and run, but they can't do that while using flurry. That's decent design. Sure, a lot of their abilities are far too weak (quivering palm) but better to be too weak than overpowered.

Plus, Monks are actually at the power level they were supposed to be at, so that's a mark of good design too. The mistake was in Clerics and Wizards and Druids and such, not Monks.

And Monks can be useful in a variety of situations, from social to combat to stealth. Monks are rarely useless, just not that good. If they were a bit stronger, they'd be a great class (quivering palm once per day at a higher DC would be a nice start. Full BAB and maybe a third flurry attack at high levels would be solid too. And something nice to do with the MAD, like free Weapon Finesse and easy access to Shadow Blade).

They've got a few bad design elements independent of power level of course. There's nothing wrong with abilities that are duplicated by magic items... that means you don't need that magic item. But the class is too front loaded (it gets all its bonus feats in the first 6 levels, and all useful offensive abilities by level 11). Enhanced movement being limited to on the ground is a shame too... if that had been an increase to all movement modes it would have been much better. The reliance on unarmed strikes without a way to make sure those strikes can hurt all opponents is annoying too. And considering the MAD, more skill points would have been nice. Plus, abilities like Quivering Palm need to be much more powerful if they're going to have such a slow recharge. But again, the power level they were aiming for was much lower back then... I'm sure if the Monk had been made in the ToB era it would have had decent non magic item movement to get airborn and a bunch of other useful abilities.

But I'd say that the Monk is one of the most successfully designed classes in core, actually, in that it's interesting, has few dead levels, and successfully hit its power target. The Fighter is too one dimensional and boring, and often provides no mechanical abilities for many types of situations. The core full casters are massively overpowered. Rangers aren't bad, and Paladins have a claim as well. Rogues have the annoying tendancy to be worthless against a huge number of combat encounters. The Barbarian is close too, but still pretty one dimensional (not as bad as the Fighter though!).

Of course, since I prefer the power level of the ToB classes, the Monk is not usually my preference. Still, it accomplished what it was intended to do. It just turned out that what was intended was not actually the best of ideas.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-09, 05:22 AM
I think power level aside, they're well designed. They get a ton of fun and interesting abilities without being overpowered, mostly because all those abilities are either weak or non synergistic. I think that's a lot better than the Wizard's "look I have an empty sheet of class features, but I can blow up the world if I get bored." Non synergistic abilities means you can have more good abilities to chose from, and you have to chose. For example, fast movement makes them good at hit and run, but they can't do that while using flurry. That's decent design. Sure, a lot of their abilities are far too weak (quivering palm) but better to be too weak than overpowered.
I'll come back to this.

Of course, since I prefer the power level of the ToB classes, the Monk is not usually my preference. Still, it accomplished what it was intended to do. It just turned out that what was intended was not actually the best of ideas.
What did it intend to do?

Let's see.

Unarmed Strike damage boosts: Ok, they want to represent martial arts/kung fu. I can see this.

Fast movement: Ok, they saw a movie where the monk was running across water. I can see that.

Wis to AC: Heavily underpowered, but I can understand where they're coming from. The whole Miyagi "don't get hit" thing.

Grappling, stunning, blocking arrows... yeah, all three are represented in the movies. All marginally useful.

Evasion: Ok, nice class ability, if a bit situational. Dodging bullets theme.

Still Mind: +2 to enchantment saves? Far too small a bonus, far too situational. Someone saw the "monk sits on beach with eyes closed" and felt it needed to be put somewhere.

Ki Strike: Upgrade to unarmed strike. All in all, the unarmed strike is not what I have a problem with on monks. It's not terrible. And fitting.

Slow Fall: Again, someone had too much acid on a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" marathon. The result? An ability that's pathetically useless.

Purity of Body: Situational, but I can actually see a solid theme on this one. Far too weak, but it's gotta be a slave to the "monk on a beach".

Wholeness of body: Again, the theme is nice, but would be far better if this path were beefed up. Sticking to the "monk on a beach" theme.

Diamond Body: See above.

Abundant Step: Teleporting monk. Wire fu/hong kong effects strike again! That said, far too weak.

Diamond Soul: Now, the monk's soul is on a beach. First nice defensive ability of the class. At level 13.

Quivering Palm: Now let's add in the touch of death cliche, and make it not able to actually kill anything to boot. So it's the touch, unless it's on 6 year old girls. Again, far too weak to be useful, and far too few uses to actually have a shot at getting it through on repetition.

Timeless Body: Ah, now we answer the question of the 90 year old grandmaster with the 12-pack abs. I like this ability, actually.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon: Level 3 spell... at the same level that you start seeing level 9 magic. This ability is a slap in the face, really. But they must have seen a "monk talks to furry forest creature" movie.

Empty Body: Now our monks go on spirit journeys. Not very thematic, but it's a good ability. Shame that by level 19, anything and its mother can hit and see ethereal creatures.

Perfect Self: Ah, transcendence. Theme good, execution horrible. Take all the worst features of outsiders, get those. Lose anything good about humanoid.

As we can see? Non-synergy would be good if you actually got an array of good abilities. Instead, you get a bunch of thematically mixmatched crap that's mostly situational, and only marginally effective then.

It's not about the power. It's not about the theme. It's about the lack of both. Bard is an example of a jack of all trades that was executed well. Monk? Is an example of a 7 year old boy seeing Karate Kid and thinking hurr hurr cool.

There aren't more good abilities to choose from. There are more bad abilities to choose from. And poorly themed, to boot. It's a matter of the lesser of two evils.

T.G. Oskar
2010-03-09, 10:24 AM
It's not about the power. It's not about the theme. It's about the lack of both. Bard is an example of a jack of all trades that was executed well. Monk? Is an example of a 7 year old boy seeing Karate Kid and thinking hurr hurr cool.

Actually, Monk is the attempt to transform the very old AD&D 1st Edition Monk into 3rd Edition. Needless to say, they were far too conservative and didn't notice what was wrong with following that philosophy. It's the same as what they did to the Paladin; the 2nd Edition Paladin and the 3rd Edition Paladin are almost identical except for the special mount.

Now, to compare:
--The 1st. Edition Monk struck as the 1st. Edition Thief did. 3.x Monk hits like 3.x Rogue.
--The 1st. Edition Monk could hit better with open hands. The lowest result was a 1d3; the highest, an 8d4 dice of damage with each hit. Again, 3.x Monk has increased dice of damage, except the range is much more reduced (1d6 all the way up to 2d10, disregarding Large Monks and INA)
--The 1st. Edition Monk had an effective reduced Armor Class, which started at 10 and then got higher (or lower, as in the old days) to -3 (aka, an AC of 23 now). Consider that reaching negative AC in the old days, even a -1, was quite an achievement; Monks had it just by leveling up. 3.x Monks have their Wis to AC (since 1st Edition Monks didn't add their Dex to AC) and increased Armor Class.
--The 1st. Edition Monk had the Stunning Fist. To succeed on a stunning attack, you only had to exceed the AC of the creature by 5 on your roll. 3E Monk had stunning attack, and then 3.5 Monk got Stunning Fist as a bonus feat.
--1st. Edition Monk had better movement (in inches!!). 3.x Monk has fast movement.
--1st. Edition Monk couldn't be surprised, had the ability to dodge area attacks and deflect projectiles of any kind. Except for Uncanny Dodge, what does the 3.x Edition Monk has? Evasion and Deflect Arrows (the latter as a bonus feat in 3.5; the original had it as a fixed feat IIRC).
--1st Edition Monk could use some skills as if it were a 1st Edition Thief. Those were: opening locks, finding and removing traps, moving silently, hiding in shadows, hearing noises and climbing walls. 3.x Monk lost the ability to find and remove traps (Disable Device + Trapfinding) and opening locks (Open Lock), but still has Move Silently, Hide, Listen and Climb. Since the idea is to keep someone who had good skills, Monks have 4+Int skill points.
--The 1st. Edition Monk could slow his or her fall by being in contact with a wall. 3.x Monk has Slow Fall, and it eventually reaches any distance (it started with 20 feet, and since 4th level; does it look familiar?)
--1st. Edition Monk had the ability to mask their mind so that ESP wouldn't work, then beguiling, charming, hypnotic and suggestive spells had less effect, then telepathy and mind blasting had less effect. Apparently, the guys got it all wrong, since they collapsed ALL of that into Still Mind. Of course, the fact that they have a much higher Will save kinda reflects that...
--1st. Edition Monk could heal his or her wounds, at a very small rate (1d4+1, plus 1 point per level). 3.x Monk has Wholeness of Body
--1st Edition Monk was immune to diseases and poisons. 3.x Monks have Diamond Body and Purity of Body.
--1st Edition and 3.x Monks both have Quivering Palm. Almost exactly as intended, though the 1st Edition version was a tad restrictive.

As you can see, there are abilities that appear later on (Wis to AC, flurry, ki strike, abundant step, diamond soul, timeless body, tongue of the sun and the moon) with the 3.x Monk; other abilities are lost with the 1st Edition Monk (chance of killing with stunning attack, speak with plants and animals, feign death, immune to haste and slow, extra attacks which were present int the 3E Monk but not in the 3.5 Monk), but aside from that, they are pretty similar. Now, I'm not sure which of the two are more restrictive, but trying to revive the 1st Edition (and who knows if they also used the setting of Oriental Adventures from earlier editions) Monk ended up in...well, in this.

Oh, and 1st Edition Monks were also a bit MAD. They required good Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity and only moderate Constitution. They didn't use Strength or Dexterity for anything; keep that in mind.

I actually consider that Monks, Paladins and Rangers got really shafted because they were stretching old systems. Paladins got the mount (which some people claim it's the best part of them), and then later got options (better spells, ACFs to get rid of the mount, Divine feats); Rangers got a rebuild between 3E and 3.5 (got combat styles and movement enhancers such as Woodland Stride) and then later also got options (better spells, chances to get rid of the animal companion). Monks technically got the same as well as a bit of a change on how they were (lost their bizarre attack progression but kept the flurry, Stunning Fist and Deflect Arrows are now optional), and then got..."options". Some are sorta good (the Halfling version grants Skirmish, they can get Spell Reflection, you may make a statement for Draconic Fist and the Fiery Fist feat), some are abysmal (almost anything else). But that they were bad trips from watching too much Hong Kong flicks? If they did, they'd be awesome (just like watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other wuxia movies would have caused the Monk to have frickin' Air Walk, darn it!)

Yora
2010-03-09, 11:07 AM
As I'm doing a low-level asian campaign, I re-examined the monk to see if I should allow it for PCs and NPCs.

So I made a 6th level monk and 6th level fighter. Both humans with point buy 25.
Fighter: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10.
6d10+12 (49 hp)
AC 21 (+2 Dex, +1 breastplate, +1 large shield)
+1 Bastard Sword +10/+5 (1d10+4)
Monk: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10.
6d8+6 (36 hp)
AC 16 (+2 Dex, +2 Wis, +1 monk bonus, +1 bracers of armor)
Unarmed Strike +5/+5 (1d8+2)

So lets see what both characters have to roll to hit the other.
Fighter: 6 / 11
Monk: 16 / 16

And translated to hit chance.
Fighter: 75% / 50%
Monk: 25% / 25%

Here's the average damage on a hit.
Fighter: 9,5 / 9,5
Monk: 6,5 / 6,5

I might have made a methematical mistake here, but as the next step, I multiplied the average damage with the chance to hit.
Fighter: 7,125 / 4,75 = 11,875
Monk: 1,625 / 1,625 = 3,25

And as a last step, divide the characters hp by the other characters average damage per round.
Fighter: 36 / 11,875 = 3,03 rounds
Monk: 49 / 3,25 = 15,08 rounds

Maybe I've got some mistakes in my calculations, but according to these numbers a Fighter 6 could easily defeat two Monk 6 at the same time or four in a row.
And keep in mind that fighter is considered a very weak class.

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 11:58 AM
Well first problem would be that d&d is not a pvp game nor a 1vs1 game so these calculations donīt tell all that much.

Second major problem would be that you only compare the very basic chassis of the classes and at that point there is really no need because you can see that at a glance ie:
full bab vs med bab
d10 hd vs d8

the outcome of such a battle is very predictable ^^

/edit third ^^

You compare them at a level that is not favorable to the monk because even with his flurry he only has the same amount of attacks the fighter has.
At level 1-4 and 8-9 the outcome might be a bit better for the monk ^^

I still think the fighter would win but it would be a bit closer I guess :smallwink:

/edit2 fourth

Your item selection for the monk seems a bit weird
fighter has a +1 sword but monk doesnīt have +1 amulet for his fists? (Iīm talking about the item compendium one not Arms and Equip)

Nor does the monk wear a ring of force armor which grants +4ac +1 enhancement bonus to unarmed strike and +1d4 dmg bonus ? btw a pretty nice monk item for low levels only 4500gp ^^ (downside uses both ring slots but at lower levels you donīt have the money for two rings anyway ^^)

Math_Mage
2010-03-09, 04:51 PM
To be fair, the fighter is also pretty heavily unoptimized. And it's really just the bare bones: no feats, for example.

But the difference in each fighting chassis (hit die and bab progression) are very real problems, and they don't go away just because you pointed them out. The monk is a worse straight-up fighter than the fighter, a worse sideline sneak and skill monkey than the rogue.

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 06:17 PM
medium bab is not really a problem if you are in a group, the rest I agree although giving the monk quasi zero items while the fighter enjoys a +1 breastplate, a +1 bastardsword and a +1 shield is not really a fair comparison.

The monk should at least get a ring of force armor (+4ac +1 ustrike and +1d4dmg) which is still cheaper then those three items the fighter got :smallwink: and not just a 1000gp item compared to the fighters ~5000gp


the fighter will still win but by a much smaller margin ;)

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 06:48 PM
I used your template for this if you donīt mind and I think you made a mistake with the fighter tohit and dmg there was a +4 involved with +1weapon and +2str and a one handed use of bastard sword (shield to ac) that seems wrong :smallwink:

Fighter: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10.
6d10+12 (49 hp)
AC 21 (+2 Dex, +1 breastplate, +1 large shield)
+1 Bastard Sword +9/+4 (1d10+3) [there was a mistake +4n everything instead of +3 ie +1 weapon +2str]

Monk: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10.
6d8+6 (36 hp)
AC 19 (+2 Dex, +2 Wis, +1 monk bonus, +4 ring of force armor)
Unarmed Strike +6/+6 (1d8+3 + 1d4)

Fighter: 10 / 15
Monk: 15 / 15

And translated to hit chance.
Fighter: 55% / 30%
Monk: 30% / 30%

Here's the average damage on a hit.
Fighter: 8,5 / 8,5
Monk: 10 / 10

Fighter: 4,675 / 2,55 = 7,225
Monk: 3 / 3 = 6

Fighter: 36 / 7,225 = 5 rounds
Monk: 49 / 6 = 8,2 rounds

Fighter still wins but it is a much closer call if you give both classes equally good items :smallwink:

T.G. Oskar
2010-03-09, 06:59 PM
medium bab is not really a problem if you are in a group, the rest I agree although giving the monk quasi zero items while the fighter enjoys a +1 breastplate, a +1 bastardsword and a +1 shield is not really a fair comparison.

The monk should at least get a ring of force armor (+4ac +1 ustrike and +1d4dmg) which is still cheaper then those three items the fighter got :smallwink: and not just a 1000gp item compared to the fighters ~5000gp


the fighter will still win but by a much smaller margin ;)

I think the concept here is showing how the Fighter outclasses a Monk without going far away from Core. Notice that everything that's on there is on the DMG, which is one of the Core rulebooks. Rings of Force Armor are on the Magic Item Compendium; by opening that, you can open the Fighter to hold several bunches of items with lesser cost but higher power.

The idea is showing how, having roughly equal power (the Fighter doesn't have more Strength and Dexterity than the Monk has, only more Constitution or Intelligence), the Fighter with mostly expected weaponry would still beat the Monk.

Of course, the thing here is that you're assuming a few things. First, I'd not use Bastard Sword and go straight for Longsword; that way, you'd have the same variable and not one dice higher, which is almost one extra point of damage on the entire calculation. That goes with the assumption; the character has Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword, or else he'd have a penalty on attacks of -4 to use it one-handed with the shield. Otherwise, the Monk would have to get 1d10 unarmed strike damage to compare a bit more. Second, the weight of feats; otherwise, might as well compare it to a Warrior, of all classes; the main difference between the Warrior and the Fighter is their feat selection. Or a fallen Paladin (which is technically a warrior who can get better with Atonement, but that has a much higher Charisma and decent Wisdom because it was a Paladin). If a Fighter is stripped bare of its abilities, the Monk should technically be stripped bare as well; that is difficult, so feats would work something out. That's...important, since just by feat selection the Fighter defeats the Monk (the Fighter could take Improved Unarmed Strike and prove just how good he is at the fisticuffs), except when the Monk gets Stunning Fist.

Another good comparison, using the same stats:
Fighter 6, Con 14 = approx. Fort saving throw bonus of +7
Monk 6, Wis 14 = approx saving throw DC of Stunning Fist of 14.

The Fighter needs a 7 or higher to beat the saving throw DC. Thus, a 6 or less makes the Fighter regret hitting on the Monk alone with such selection (the weapon gets dropped) at least 30% of the times, considering the strike actually hit. The chances of one Stunning Fist landing, however, are closer to 7.5% (you may correct me on that one)

Grapple is strictly worse:
Fighter 6, Str 14 = approx Grapple check modifier of +8
Monk 6, Str 14 = approx. Grapple check modifier of +6

Assuming four scenarios (Monk has Imp. Grapple, Fighter has Imp. Grapple, both have Imp. Grapple, none have Imp. Grapple), the Monk has a reasonable chance of having the Fighter grappled (the only actual bonus the Fighter has is a +2), considering the Monk actually has a chance to land the Imp. Grapple. The Fighter can land an attack of opportunity and null the effect. With the Monk alone having Imp. Grapple, the chances are much better (the Monk has a higher Grapple Modifier) and there's no production of attacks of opportunity, so the Monk has a slight chance of keeping a hold reasonably and land a few hits while grappling. There, Monks take advantage of a much higher Unarmed Strike damage, and the Monk only needs to succeed on one check to deal the damage. The Fighter has two chances of escaping. The Fighter, obviously, doesn't want to initiate a grapple since the Monk can simply remain grappled and deal the damage regardless of the circumstance. In fact, the Monk will want to be grappled, since the damage changes almost entirely (1d3 nonlethal if not having IUS, 1d3 lethal if using IUS, 1d4 if using a gauntlet) and the success chances are much bigger. The Monk doesn't lose anything if it has Improved Grapple.

The rest of the combat maneuvers are a bit different, tho:
Trip: Monk and Fighter are roughly equal. The Monk loses without Improved Trip, doesn't lose much if the Fighter also has Improved Trip, shouldn't attempt it if the Fighter is the one with Improved Trip, and if the Monk is the only one with Improved Trip, then it gets into a serious advantage.
Disarm: not a chance in Heaven to pull it off. The Monk is screwed with just an Unarmed Strike
Bull Rush: pointless, but in case of completion: no difference.
Feint: you lose two attacks, gain one with a theoretical +2 bonus (you cause your opponent to lose your Dex bonus to AC) to attack rolls. Pointless and not smart at all.
Overrun: does anyone ever uses this? Getting Imp. Overrun would drain the feat choices of the Monk just to grant a mild benefit. Overrun is opposed Strength checks, so no big difference; treat as Trip and to an extent Grapple.
Sunder: pointless no matter what. Utterly pointless. But, if the Monk wishes to try it; even more pointless, since it's an opposed attack roll and the Monk has a light weapon (unarmed strike). The only advantage is that...you can't sunder an Unarmed Strike. Still, Sunder is considered taboo, so...

The reason I explain all of this is because a Monk that simply deals damage with Flurry of Blows, or even without a Flurry of Blows, is doing things wrong against a Fighter. It shows the importance of a Fighter's feats, since the Monk has Imp. Grapple and Imp. Disarm and Imp. Trip as bonus feats; they're as much class abilities as the Fighter's bonus feats are. It also shows the potential weakness of a bare-bones Fighter; of course, the idea is how a Monk would deal with a spiked-chain trip Fighter, which is a relatively smarter choice for the Fighter. It also showcases some of the ways a Monk would be capable of handling a humanoid Fighter of roughly equal level and bypassing some of the restrictions. It showcases how poor the Monk works with options that aren't Grapple or Trip, why Improved Disarm is utterly pointless, and why oddly Overrun works strangely well, if the Monk desires to waste a feat slot on Power Attack...

Of course, use the full feat potential of the Fighter, and suddenly you get a Power Attacking, Tripping, Overrunning and usually better Fighter. Heck, for all means; you can drop the shield and use the Bastard Sword two handed; better, you can use a Greatsword or Greataxe and work things better. Or use the EWP for Spiked Chain, and then go trip-happy on the Monk. And you can ditch a bit the Wis and/or Charisma (specifically Charisma) for more Int, to get Combat Expertise and thus out-trip the Monk.

This serves as a reasonable enough method of comparing a Fighter and a Monk that decide to fight each other, since at every moment they have those options. A Monk would try to handle the Fighter of same size and relative skill with Grappling, not pummeling; the Fighter, on the other hand, would try to get out of the grapple and pummel the Monk with full attacks, or rather, trip the Monk and finish it on the ground. Core, even.

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 07:24 PM
I think the concept here is showing how the Fighter outclasses a Monk without going far away from Core. Notice that everything that's on there is on the DMG, which is one of the Core rulebooks. Rings of Force Armor are on the Magic Item Compendium; by opening that, you can open the Fighter to hold several bunches of items with lesser cost but higher power.


ring of force armor is also in arms & equipment guide which is considered a core book I think atleast (maybe updated in mic? I donīt own that book).

I do believe and know that the fighter "chassis" is overall better then what the monk gets but not to that degree shown in the above calculations :smallwink:

The Glyphstone
2010-03-09, 07:52 PM
ring of force armor is also in arms & equipment guide which is considered a core book I think atleast (maybe updated in mic? I donīt own that book).

I do believe and know that the fighter "chassis" is overall better then what the monk gets but not to that degree shown in the above calculations :smallwink:

A&EG is neither core nor 3.5, it's an old 3.0 splatbook. Though, if you 'know' that he is wrong, post calculations of your own to counter? I'm curious.

JaronK
2010-03-09, 08:01 PM
Why do we even have to demonstrate that the Fighter is a better fighter in a straight up fight than the Monk? If they're balanced, that's how it should be. Monks have other areas (stealth, scouting, diplomacy, and at low levels manueverability) where they're stronger. They're in many ways between the Fighter and Rogue... a somewhat in between class. Depending on campaign, that could be stronger or weaker than a Fighter (or Rogue, really). A kick in the door smash all enemies campaign would make Monks look worse, but an intrigue, stealth, and detection thing would make Fighters look worse.

At this power level, that's expected. Classes aren't flexible enough to adapt to situations, so situations control how good they are. It's not like we're talking about Druids here who can adapt to what's going on around them.

JaronK

Volkov
2010-03-09, 08:04 PM
Why do we even have to demonstrate that the Fighter is a better fighter in a straight up fight than the Monk? If they're balanced, that's how it should be. Monks have other areas (stealth, scouting, diplomacy, and at low levels manueverability) where they're stronger. They're in many ways between the Fighter and Rogue... a somewhat in between class. Depending on campaign, that could be stronger or weaker than a Fighter (or Rogue, really). A kick in the door smash all enemies campaign would make Monks look worse, but an intrigue, stealth, and detection thing would make Fighters look worse.

At this power level, that's expected. Classes aren't flexible enough to adapt to situations, so situations control how good they are. It's not like we're talking about Druids here who can adapt to what's going on around them.

JaronK
Except that monks are far, far worse at sneaking than Rogues because they are significantly MADder. Monks are just terrible.

Kylarra
2010-03-09, 08:10 PM
Except that monks are far, far worse at sneaking than Rogues because they are significantly MADder. Monks are just terrible.
Fighters are far, far worse at sneaking than monks, because they tend to wear heavy armor. Fighters are just terrible [at it]. :smalltongue:

Volkov
2010-03-09, 08:12 PM
Fighters are far, far worse at sneaking than monks, because they tend to wear heavy armor. Fighters are just terrible [at it]. :smalltongue:

Yes, but Monks suck at nearly everything. What prevents them from landing in the same lot as the CA Samurai? Who is just awful...

Gametime
2010-03-09, 08:19 PM
Monks aren't as good at killing things as fighters, or as good at sneaking as rogues, or as good at being the party face as bards. They're much better at sneaking and being the party face than fighters, however.

The question, then, becomes not whether a monk can beat a fighter in a fight, or a rogue in a sneaking mission, or a bard in a negotiation, but whether they are just proficient at all of those areas to make a more meaningful contribution to a party than a more specialized character would.

My general inclination is no, although as I've said before they still do just fine in low-powered games.

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 08:23 PM
A&EG is neither core nor 3.5, it's an old 3.0 splatbook. Though, if you 'know' that he is wrong, post calculations of your own to counter? I'm curious.

If you take a look a few posts above there are my calculations using a bit better monk gear (ie 4500gp instead of 1000gp items) and minus a small mistaken +1 on the first calculations fighter part.

And it is a lot closer then the first calcs

/edit
and Iīm not saying he is wrong at all Iīm just saying that yoraīs calculations are a bit over the top ^^

Kylarra
2010-03-09, 08:31 PM
Monks aren't as good at killing things as fighters, or as good at sneaking as rogues, or as good at being the party face as bards. They're much better at sneaking and being the party face than fighters, however.

The question, then, becomes not whether a monk can beat a fighter in a fight, or a rogue in a sneaking mission, or a bard in a negotiation, but whether they are just proficient at all of those areas to make a more meaningful contribution to a party than a more specialized character would.

My general inclination is no, although as I've said before they still do just fine in low-powered games.It's about the same issue as a core bard. Bar diplo-cheese, they simply try to fill too many roles at once and thus suffer in a game that rewards specialization. Unlikely to be the star of any given encounter, but in low-powered games, should be able to contribute just fine in most situations, albeit not as "optimally" as their more specialized counterparts for a given situation.

Volkov
2010-03-09, 08:37 PM
It's about the same issue as a core bard. Bar diplo-cheese, they simply try to fill too many roles at once and thus suffer in a game that rewards specialization. Unlikely to be the star of any given encounter, but in low-powered games, should be able to contribute just fine in most situations, albeit not as "optimally" as their more specialized counterparts for a given situation.

Except that the bard has magic and can be somewhat useful for buffing, thus saving it from the same tier as the monk.

Gametime
2010-03-09, 08:38 PM
It's about the same issue as a core bard. Bar diplo-cheese, they simply try to fill too many roles at once and thus suffer in a game that rewards specialization. Unlikely to be the star of any given encounter, but in low-powered games, should be able to contribute just fine in most situations, albeit not as "optimally" as their more specialized counterparts for a given situation.

Indeed. Of course, in a socially focused game, bards can still excel in core; Glibness beats the pants off of any other social ability even if you aren't busy abusing Diplomacy.

Kylarra
2010-03-09, 08:38 PM
Except that the bard has magic and can be somewhat useful for buffing, thus saving it from the same tier as the monk.:smallsigh:

Sigh, hyper-literalism at its finest.

Yes, bard is better than monk.


Indeed. Of course, in a socially focused game, bards can still excel in core; Glibness beats the pants off of any other social ability even if you aren't busy abusing Diplomacy.Yeah, glibness is ridiculously good for bluff checks.

El Dorado
2010-03-09, 08:40 PM
The Magic Item Compendium lists rings of force armor at 30,000 gp. +5 AC that is effective against incorporeal touch attacks. The field also deals 1d4 damage to anyone who strikes you with a nonreach weapon. No bonus to unarmed strikes, though you can hit incorporeal creatures.

JaronK
2010-03-09, 08:40 PM
Except that monks are far, far worse at sneaking than Rogues because they are significantly MADder. Monks are just terrible.

They're worse at sneaking than rogues, but better at detection (and honestly they shouldn't be that bad at sneaking, I'd generally pump Dex as one of the higher priorities as a Monk. Not as high as a Rogue, but still I'd have it up there). Worse at straight fights than a Fighter, but still able to contribute at least. About equivalent to a Rogue at Diplomacy (I'd dump Charisma on both Rogues and Monks, personally). That could still be useful in a campaign. I think Rogues are generally stronger than Monks (until too many sneak attack immunes show up) but Monks have still got a bit to offer with Rogues in play. They fight sneak attack resistant enemies and sneak attack immunes (which are horribly common) better than Rogues. They sneak and handle social situations better than Fighters. They're the low level jack of all trades, basically. Not perfect by any means, but solid enough at low powered play.

Besides Volkov, with a Monk you'll never have to send armies of uberdragons or hordes of nature Clerics to kill them for doing something surprising.

JaronK

The Glyphstone
2010-03-09, 08:41 PM
Yes, but Monks suck at nearly everything. What prevents them from landing in the same lot as the CA Samurai? Who is just awful...

Monks suck at nearly everything, but at least they get a lot of stuff to do. The CW Samurai only gets one or two things to do, and sucks at both of them*.

*Okay, so it can actually pull off a decent Intimidate build, but that's extremely splat-heavy and complicated.

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 08:43 PM
The Magic Item Compendium lists rings of force armor at 30,000 gp. +5 AC that is effective against incorporeal touch attacks. The field also deals 1d4 damage to anyone who strikes you with a nonreach weapon. No bonus to unarmed strikes, though you can hit incorporeal creatures.

Ok then there are some changes compared to a&eg I only have eTools here atm and there was never a mic update sold to my knowledge :smallwink:

Emmerask
2010-03-09, 08:44 PM
Monks suck at nearly everything, but at least they get a lot of stuff to do. The CW Samurai only gets one or two things to do, and sucks at both of them*.

*Okay, so it can actually pull off a decent Intimidate build, but that's extremely splat-heavy and complicated.

Well there is at least one point every d&d player can agree on samurai sucks :smallbiggrin:

JaronK
2010-03-09, 08:44 PM
Monks suck at nearly everything, but at least they get a lot of stuff to do. The CW Samurai only gets one or two things to do, and sucks at both of them*.

*Okay, so it can actually pull off a decent Intimidate build, but that's extremely splat-heavy and complicated.

Eh, not that complicated, and only takes two splat books (Complete Warrior itself for the class, and Drow of the Underdark for Imperious Command). Of course, when you fight enemies who don't care about mind effecting, you get to sit there and cry. Eh, I guess you could Shock Trooper your way to glory.

JaronK

Gametime
2010-03-09, 08:45 PM
Except that the bard has magic and can be somewhat useful for buffing, thus saving it from the same tier as the monk.

So monks are less useful than bards, who are less useful than most other classes. They're still capable of functioning competently in a low powered campaign, which is all we're really saying here.

It's true that fighters are better at fighting than monks, and that both classes are poorly balanced, but it's not true that fighters are superior in every way to monks.

Volkov
2010-03-09, 08:46 PM
Eh, not that complicated, and only takes two splat books (Complete Warrior itself for the class, and Drow of the Underdark for Imperious Command). Of course, when you fight enemies who don't care about mind effecting, you get to sit there and cry. Eh, I guess you could Shock Trooper your way to glory.

JaronK

Then you get to see the fighter and barbarian and the knight and the crusader and the paladin and the druidzilla and the clericzilla and the polymorphed wizard and the polymorphed sorcerer and the erudite and the polymorphed artificer and the polymorphed archivist and the warblade and the swordsage and the duskblade and the warmage and the warrior and the ranger and the druid's animal companion and the ranger's animal companion and the paladin's mount and the psion and the psychic warrior and Billybobjoepants the Commoner all do a better job at that then you.

Truly the life of a Samurai is one filled with suck.

Gametime
2010-03-09, 08:54 PM
Then you get to see the fighter and barbarian and the knight and the crusader and the paladin and the druidzilla and the clericzilla and the polymorphed wizard and the polymorphed sorcerer and Billybobjoepants the Commoner all do a better job at that then you.

Truly the life of a Samurai is one filled with suck.

At the intimidating or at the Shock Troopering? Because Samurai actually have a key class feature to take care of the intimidating part.

If it's the Shock Troopering (or just meleeing in general), then yeah, pretty much everyone is going to do it better. Except the commoner. His dinosaurs will do it better.

Although Samurai does make a decent entry for Ronin, who can technically Shock Trooper better than anyone thanks to their identical class feature. :smallbiggrin:

Volkov
2010-03-09, 08:56 PM
At the intimidating or at the Shock Troopering? Because Samurai actually have a key class feature to take care of the intimidating part.

If it's the Shock Troopering (or just meleeing in general), then yeah, pretty much everyone is going to do it better. Except the commoner. His dinosaurs will do it better.

Although Samurai does make a decent entry for Ronin, who can technically Shock Trooper better than anyone thanks to their identical class feature. :smallbiggrin:

Not Jefferyjohnjacobshirt the Commoner, he's genre savvy!

JaronK
2010-03-09, 10:33 PM
Well there is at least one point every d&d player can agree on samurai sucks :smallbiggrin:

We could debate about whether the CW Samurai is worse than the Soulknife. That's a fun conversion.

JaronK

JaronK
2010-03-09, 10:37 PM
Then you get to see the fighter and barbarian and the knight and the crusader and the paladin and the druidzilla and the clericzilla and the polymorphed wizard and the polymorphed sorcerer and the erudite and the polymorphed artificer and the polymorphed archivist and the warblade and the swordsage and the duskblade and the warmage and the warrior and the ranger and the druid's animal companion and the ranger's animal companion and the paladin's mount and the psion and the psychic warrior and Billybobjoepants the Commoner all do a better job at that then you.

Truly the life of a Samurai is one filled with suck.

The Commoner can't Shock Trooper better than the Samurai, nor can the Warmage. You kinda need BAB for that one. None of them Intimidate better. And again, we're talking about low powered classes here... why do people keep bringing up high powered ones and claiming that since a low powered class is worse than the high powered one, that means the low powered class is extra sucky?

No one's claiming the CW Samurai or Monk are super powered (except maybe Giacomo). No one's claiming Monks are stronger than (or even power wise comperable to) Druids or Wizards or Sorcerers. So why bring them up? Most recently, the conversation was about comparing Samurai to Truenamers and Monks. Let's stick in that power band for the discussion.

Besides, coming into this conversation going off about how much Monks and Samurai suck, while simultaneously going off about how an unoptimized Factotum is munchkining for sneaking up on something and killing it... what power band do you want anyway? Something with godlike power that doesn't use it?

JaronK

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-09, 10:46 PM
We could debate about whether the CW Samurai is worse than the Soulknife. That's a fun conversion.

JaronK

Wow, I just imagined a party of a Samurai, a Soulknife, a Truenamer, a Healer, and a Monk epically failing to defeating something way below their CR... :smallbiggrin:

Gametime
2010-03-09, 10:47 PM
Wow, I just imagined a party of a Samurai, a Soulknife, a Truenamer, a Healer, and a Monk epically failing to defeating something way below their CR... :smallbiggrin:

Which is odd, since such a party should have no trouble with enemies of their CR given even moderate playskill.

"Worse than other characters" isn't the same as "incapable of functioning."

holywhippet
2010-03-09, 11:25 PM
So monks are less useful than bards, who are less useful than most other classes. They're still capable of functioning competently in a low powered campaign, which is all we're really saying here.


Bards tend to get negative comments because they aren't a major damage dealer. However, I'd consider them to be one of the best classes because they are so good at just about everything else.

Bards have a lot of buffing and healing spells as well as other generally useful spells. They have most of the talking skills (including languages) as class skills which synergises with charisma being their primary stat. Knowledge skills are also class skills which helps when your DM is dangling some bit of information just out of your reach.

In short, bards are good at helping the party get through problems - whether they be martial, diplomatic or intellectual in nature.

Yora
2010-03-10, 07:20 AM
Another question to think about is: Can the concept of the monk be salvaged?

Just watch some kung-fu movies and you're probably sure it can.

But the real question is, what a monk is supposed to be, and what he's supposed to do as a party member or a villain?

Here's one idea what the monk could be:
A warrior who fights with bare hands and without armor. His strength lies in his speed, so that he becomes almost impossible to hit. He can't deal the massive amount of damage a greatsword or greataxe would, but instead weakens his opponents with a series of kicks and punches, while searching for an opportunity to place one or two hits where it really hurts. He also uses his speed and agility to use the battlefield to his full advantage and against his opponents.

First thing, this would require a very high AC, and without any armor the monk would need a huge AC bonus. Not this laughable +2 +Dex +Wis at 10th level. His AC would have to be at least equal to that of a well equiped fighter, if not even higher. In that case d8 hit points would probably be enough and not needed to be increased.
As monks deal less damage, they need at least a good chance to hit, to I say full BAB, though it doesn't make that much of a difference if you have items that improve strength, attack rolls, and damage rolls.
Which brings me to the next point, that monks should have access to items that enchant their unarmed strikes, like belts or gloves which are enchanted exactly as melee weapons.
And if the monk wants to defeat his enemies with well placed strikes instead of just punching them in the face until they die, they need special attacks. Quivering palm is once a week and much too late. Stunning fist is a start, but 1/day for every 4 levels is laughable, if it's the only thing at the monks disposal. You'd want to hand it out three or four times in a single encounter to have real fun with it. Here much more is needed.
And if a monk is supposed to be an athlete of superhuman ability, he needs more special abilities that reflect this. Slow fall is definately not enough. It needs stuff like Mental Leap from the XPH. And thinking of it, the monk would make a great non-manifesting psionic class, like the soulknife. Except that it shouldn't suck.

T.G. Oskar
2010-03-10, 07:58 AM
Another question to think about is: Can the concept of the monk be salvaged?

Just watch some kung-fu movies and you're probably sure it can.

It depends on what concept of kung-fu movies you wish to salvage. Not everything is reasonable or considerable on an actual D&D game. Recall that in D&D, magic reigns pretty much supreme; supernatural is only a different form of magic, and the thing closest to what you seek is Maneuvers and Stances, which leads to the point of "ToB is a Martial fix".

Most people are happy with calling the Unarmed Swordsage the definite Monk concept. It does all the tricks you're accustomed with. Certainly, it fits the wuxia, and the unarmed version kinda fits the Monk concept, but the biggest problem lies in effectively serving as a non-intended replacement to the Monk.

Then comes the dual trouble of Psionic-powered Monks vs. Unarmed Swordsage. Compare something like, say, Monk 2/Psychic Warrior 18 (Tashalatora) against Unarmed Swordsage 20 and ask which of those comply with the "Monk" or "superb martial artist" concept. One at least uses the traditional Monk archetype; the other just uses an adaptation.

So yeah, the concept of the Monk is salvaged for a few people. The problem is using the original concept of the Monk, the one with the title behind it, and the one that's weak in the eyes of the people who cannot separate the concept (monk as martial artist) from the class (Monk as character class)


But the real question is, what a monk is supposed to be, and what he's supposed to do as a party member or a villain?

The answer is hauntingly simple. It involves kicking a word that's a synonym for "donkey". Real hard.


First thing, this would require a very high AC, and without any armor the monk would need a huge AC bonus. Not this laughable +2 +Dex +Wis at 10th level. His AC would have to be at least equal to that of a well equiped fighter, if not even higher. In that case d8 hit points would probably be enough and not needed to be increased.

If you notice what happens when you don't replace one stat by another and let them stack, the big problem here is MAD. Go ahead and look at the armor. You'll see the Wisdom bonus equal having light armor, to an extent; a Wis of 18 would be the equivalent of wearing a chain shirt, but without a maximum Dex penalty, armor check penalty, or arcane spell failure. The added bonuses are roughly similar to having a +1 or higher armor.

Of course, then the devs realized the actual AC was meant to be higher; padded armor and hide armor are almost never used, studded leather is good for starting but not for keeping, and usually everybody goes for the mithral chain shirt, no exceptions. Med-armor users go for breastplate almost without exception. Heavy armor users go mithral full plate or nothing at all. So...making the Wis bonus to AC replace light armor (which is what I believe they tried to do, as well as replacing the original AC decrease based on level; recall how AC worked those days) was good...if AC bonuses remained roughly that way. By the time they were reaching the end, they decided the swordsage would have light armor, and let the optimizers get huge bonuses to AC through maximizing Wis AND Dex, and quite probably Con as well.


As monks deal less damage, they need at least a good chance to hit, to I say full BAB, though it doesn't make that much of a difference if you have items that improve strength, attack rolls, and damage rolls.

Basis on the original Monk (that one from 1st Edition) caused them to hit like Thieves, not Fighters. Only the Ranger and the Paladin hit like Fighters in the old days. They kept that idea, which became quite detrimental.


Which brings me to the next point, that monks should have access to items that enchant their unarmed strikes, like belts or gloves which are enchanted exactly as melee weapons.

Savage Species. Amulet of Natural Attacks. Take it. Love it.

Someone who recalls the Monk recalls that their weapons are treated like natural attacks or manufactured weapons for purposes of spells and effects. You may argue that the Amulet can be treated as an effect. Otherwise, homerule it; otherwise, deny Totemists access to it.


And if the monk wants to defeat his enemies with well placed strikes instead of just punching them in the face until they die, they need special attacks. Quivering palm is once a week and much too late. Stunning fist is a start, but 1/day for every 4 levels is laughable, if it's the only thing at the monks disposal. You'd want to hand it out three or four times in a single encounter to have real fun with it. Here much more is needed.

Stunning Fist for Monks is 1/day/Monk level + 1/day/4 non-Monk levels. A Monk 20 (or a hypothetical Monk 20, we assume Zuoken) would have 20 uses of Stunning Fist per day.

Then again, that's what maneuvers are for. Rechargeable special abilities that you can use several times in a single encounter. Some of them send Quivering Palm to sleep.


And if a monk is supposed to be an athlete of superhuman ability, he needs more special abilities that reflect this. Slow fall is definately not enough. It needs stuff like Mental Leap from the XPH. And thinking of it, the monk would make a great non-manifesting psionic class, like the soulknife. Except that it shouldn't suck.

That's why Tashalatora exists. Or if you don't have it, Psionic Fist (of Zuoken) or the lesser but flavorful Zerth Cenobite. Most of the 1st and 2nd level powers make the Monk far much better. 4th level non-Psionic Warrior powers (say, Metamorphosis or Psionic Fly) make them much better). Psionic Fist, Zerth Cenobite, Psychic Warrior and Ardent (the latter two using Tashalatora) also allow for Wisdom as a primary stat, which enhances most of the Monk's abilities...of course, by the time you get them, the thing they mostly enhance is the few uses of Stunning Fist you get and your AC. And your Will save, but that's something you already had without being a Monk; so does your Listen and Spot skills.

I still claim that the problem of the Monk is trying to salvage something from 1st Edition; that's why the Fighter sucks so badly but still can be saved (their old specialization ability was turned into a series of feats, but the feats began to turn into something better), the Ranger sucks (too bad it's not 1st Edition; then, you'd have Druid spells and Wizard spells...then again, that's why you have Sword of the Arcane Order), Paladins have it rough (look at 1st and 2nd Edition Paladins, you see almost exactly the 3rd Edition Paladin) and Monks suck so badly, while Clerics got broken (brutally boosted, and with added spells to not make them merely bandaids), Wizards got even more broken but blaster Wizards suck (Magic progressed in 3rd Edition, blasty spells didn't until a bit later and only through very specific spells), Druids became broken (since they didn't have to beat elder Druids and take their position), and Monsters became really unfair. Swordsage is a good try, but I can't see it as a Monk; I can see it as a martial artist and Wuxia artist, but not as an esoteric monk. 4th Edition got rid of Swordsage and took the line of the Psychic Monk.

As for why prove that a Fighter fights better than a Monk...well, it mostly proved that the Fighter, against someone without magic, does what it's meant to do well; take a weapon and beat someone with it. It causes the Monk to fight a bit smarter (aka, grappling) to change the result. It also shows the big trouble Monks have for grappling, since at 6th level monsters simply destroy any chance of a single humanoid to grapple them. Meanwhile, one level later, Evard's Black Tentacles has a grapple check of +15, which is unfair since they do more damage than a Fighter and are almost inescapable.

Yora
2010-03-10, 08:07 AM
To replace the monk, swordsage definately seems a viable replacement. Both in abilities and in fluff.
But as I like to keep my game simple, and allready have psions and wilders, I think for my own game, I just use psychic warriors and come up with something that makes them good at unarmed combat. They are allready considered a very good and balanced class.
Just add the right fluff:
http://www.monstersandcritics.de/downloads/downloads/articles2/88550/article_images/image5_1213989231.jpg

Eldariel
2010-03-10, 08:14 AM
Most people are happy with calling the Unarmed Swordsage the definite Monk concept. It does all the tricks you're accustomed with. Certainly, it fits the wuxia, and the unarmed version kinda fits the Monk concept, but the biggest problem lies in effectively serving as a non-intended replacement to the Monk.

The awesomeness of Swordsage, Unarmed or otherwise is actually how open it is. Due to the breadth of maneuvers available at his command, you have a veritable army of concepts you can realize with just one class.

Want a Martial Artist? Tiger Claw/Diamond Mind/Setting Sun Unarmed Swordsage!

Want a Magical Brawler? Shadow Hand/Desert Wind/Stone Dragon UA SS!

Ninja? Shadow Hand/Tiger Claw UA SS with profs! Thief? Same as above, except SS!

Mind-over-Matter type contemplative? Diamond Mind/Setting Sun/Stone Dragon UA SS.

Magical version of the above? Add Desert Wind and maybe Shadow Hand.


What's so wonderful about the class, and ToB in general is the expressive potential. Due to the way the schools and maneuver acquisition are designed, you don't really shoot yourself in the foot by not chimerically spreading across the schools.

So you can pick schools which work best for your concept and then work from there without relevantly gimping yourself. And yet, at the same time, the Master of the Six SS is equally doable. Same goes for all the ToB-classes and it's really a huge contributor to all the love the book gets.

Being able to realize just about any martial concept mechanically as a D&D character is just plain awesome, and precisely what ToB enables. Of course, sometimes you need homebrew schools and maneuvers, but the groundwork is done by the book in a satisfactory manner. Hell, the multiclass system and such from ToB are actually very functional (compared to the rest of 3.5's multiclassing).

Volkov
2010-03-10, 08:16 AM
The Commoner can't Shock Trooper better than the Samurai, nor can the Warmage. You kinda need BAB for that one. None of them Intimidate better. And again, we're talking about low powered classes here... why do people keep bringing up high powered ones and claiming that since a low powered class is worse than the high powered one, that means the low powered class is extra sucky?

No one's claiming the CW Samurai or Monk are super powered (except maybe Giacomo). No one's claiming Monks are stronger than (or even power wise comperable to) Druids or Wizards or Sorcerers. So why bring them up? Most recently, the conversation was about comparing Samurai to Truenamers and Monks. Let's stick in that power band for the discussion.

Besides, coming into this conversation going off about how much Monks and Samurai suck, while simultaneously going off about how an unoptimized Factotum is munchkining for sneaking up on something and killing it... what power band do you want anyway? Something with godlike power that doesn't use it?

JaronK
Oh wonderful, another person who can't tell I was joking. And I thought the absolutely silly name I gave the commoner would give it away.

Emmerask
2010-03-10, 08:16 AM
And a few levels after black tentacles grasping hand makes every non wizard grappler cry :smalleek:
a 33+ grapple bonus is something most others can only dream of ^^

@ Yora just give monks psychic warrior psion advancement and their spelllist and they will do okay :smallwink:

ie they can increase their tohit with precog offensive and meta weapon
increase their ac with inertial armor and precog defensive
can even boost unarmed strike by becoming larger
have access to the sometimes really good psion feat selection
and lots of other tricks

This should put them at tier 3 to 4 which is a reasonable boost

Tyndmyr
2010-03-10, 08:44 AM
Which is odd, since such a party should have no trouble with enemies of their CR given even moderate playskill.

"Worse than other characters" isn't the same as "incapable of functioning."

Well, if their opposition is an equally leveled wizard...

Sir Giacomo
2010-03-10, 04:27 PM
As a matter of fact I like bards...:smallwink:

Well, some comments of mine on what has been said over the last days...


In the interest of testing Giacomo's claim that grappling is a viable tactic against 90% of enemies at low ECLs, I decided to compile a list of those enemies. A level 1 monk will have a presumed grapple check of +4 without Enlarge Person, +9 with it; since the buff is so short at this level and the monk cannot likely afford consumables of it, he will be mostly judged on his ability to grapple without it.

(...)

EDIT: Oh, by the way, I got really bored after finishing the CR1 list. If Giacomo wants to alter his claim to not include level 1 as a good level for grappling, I'll do some more research, but I don't expect the enemies at higher CRs to be any better. By level 8, you start to encounter large enemies more regularly, as well as more enemies with flight, swarm, incorporeality, or other ways to not get grappled, and you don't have all the CR1 NPC warrior humanoids filling up the list with easily-grappled targets.

Thanks, Gametime, you put in a lot of effort into this...and it shows to me that a monk with improved grapple who dumps STR at level 1 even has a good chance against most opponents.
Of course, my guestimates were based on the typical grappling monk with STR 14-16 as a starting stat, pushing starting grapple mod to +6/+7. Also, enlarge buff can be obtained quite easily with potions for safe activation from level 2 (adding another +6 total in level 2 - BAB and enlarge effect).
And it is true I think - as I have also said repeatedly - that around level 8 grappling becomes less reliable.



Maybe I've got some mistakes in my calculations, but according to these numbers a Fighter 6 could easily defeat two Monk 6 at the same time or four in a row.
And keep in mind that fighter is considered a very weak class.

It was never maintained that at low-mid levels a monk can keep up with the fighter in the "move up to the monster and damage it until it drops" game.
But in specialised combat maneuvers like grappling the monk can keep up at low levels, too.


Thank you for your clarifications. They clear up quite a few things to me. However a couple of your clarifications raise a few more small questions. I would greatly appreciate it if you could explain your reasoning in a couple of places. (Note that the numbers I have assigned to my questions are not related to the numbers I used in my last post -- they are simply there to help me organize my thoughts)

1) If I properly understood, you have put forward Fighting Defensively as: a) a mitigating factor for a monk's AC at low levels and b) something to allow the monk to bide his/her time in large encounters in relative safety until "opportunity arises when he can strike a foe alone." I think I have found a bit of a problem with a) which might make b) somewhat undesirable.

This problem is the -4 penalty to attack caused by the defensive fighting. At low level play this -4 can easily constitute a huge chunk of any character's attack bonus. For example, at 1st level, this is likely to decrease a human monk's attack bonus to +0 (With 18 STR) or -1 (with 16 STR). Flurrying compounds this problem, making the attack bonus -2/-2 for the 18 STR monk and -3/-3 for the 16 STR monk. Even in the upper range of the low levels, this penalty to attack is major. In short, Defensive fighting greatly impacts a monk's chances of landing any blows at low levels.

The point is that defensive fighting should not be used when in one-on-one combat (where grappling comes in - or rather, use it before the touch attack to start the grapple). It is used when faced with overwhelming odds. A melee-weak party member could jump on an enlarged monk, who provides cover (+4 AC) and uses full defense himself (+6 AC), moving away.
A fighter is better at controlling mobs - until level 6 when a monk can also use combat reflexes and improved trip (possibly better than some fighters not devoted to that technique).
At that point, also, improved trip as a touch attack combined with STR check can nicely combined with fighting defensively as part of attacking actions as well.


2) You have stated that a Monk can easily rival a barbarian's damage output at high levels by use of the full attack, but not with single attacks. Is it not the case, however, that it is undesirable to have to rely on melee full attacks for damage? Is not any intelligent enemy who realizes that he/she is out-damaged by a monk with a full attack, but not with a single attack, likely to adopt tactics which involve attacking once and then moving back out of the monk's range?

A monk inside the core rules has the following methods to get more full attacks:
- get a surprise round and winning initiative for the first round adjacent to foe
- stun foe
- trip foe to keep him in full attack range
- grapple foe to keep him in full grapple check range
- at high-power-play use intelligent special purpose items to dimension door next to foe (with the item's aciton), or polymorph to get a form with pounce.
A monk outside the core rules can do a multitude of things at those levels, including
- ToB maneuvers
- belt of battle additional actions
etc.


3) You have stated that Wholeness of Body (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/monk.htm#wholenessofBody) more than makes up for the monk's lack of HP. However, it seems to me that you may rate this ability too highly. As a supernatural ability that doesn't specify otherwise (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#supernaturalAbilities), Wholeness of Body requires a standard action to activate. This seems to be a relatively major problem to me as I hope to explain in the below:

Thanks for your detailed explanation that I omit to repeat here to reply faster.
The point is that
- the supernatural healing ability hp difference between monk and fighter ONLY plays a role when in ONE encounter the, say, 7th level fighter would get reduced to 14 hp and thus the monk to 0. That is quite rare given there are usually quite a few encounters per day that do not all eat up the melee'ers hp (with the monk's sneaky/opportunistic combat style making him less likely to lose hp in the first place as I already outlined).
- thus, the monk will simply be able BETWEEN encounters to just make up for the hp difference, BEFORE any healing enters the picture.


Why do we even have to demonstrate that the Fighter is a better fighter in a straight up fight than the Monk? If they're balanced, that's how it should be. Monks have other areas (stealth, scouting, diplomacy, and at low levels manueverability) where they're stronger. They're in many ways between the Fighter and Rogue... a somewhat in between class. Depending on campaign, that could be stronger or weaker than a Fighter (or Rogue, really). A kick in the door smash all enemies campaign would make Monks look worse, but an intrigue, stealth, and detection thing would make Fighters look worse.


Completely in agreement here.


How about this Gia, you make a Monk and I'll have a balor, another person will have a fighter. The one who does the most damage to the balor or actually kills it wins. If both can kill it, the one with the least amount of damage is the victor of the contest.

Well, since it has been shown already that both fighter and monk at level 20 with just the core rules can defeat a balor in one round, there is no big use of such a comparison I guess :smallsmile:

- Giacomo

Yora
2010-03-10, 04:32 PM
It was never maintained that at low-mid levels a monk can keep up with the fighter in the "move up to the monster and damage it until it drops" game.
But in specialised combat maneuvers like grappling the monk can keep up at low levels, too.
Maybe. Then I represent the huge masses of players who don't know anything about optimization or high level play, and believe you can play the game as it is written in the PHB. :smallbiggrin:
And I'm usually the rules expert in about every group I play in, as most players I know never had the urge to read the entire PHB. May be rare in internet forums, but it's a perfectly viable way to play the game, too. :smallwink:

rockdeworld
2010-03-13, 08:29 PM
I've heard a lot about how bad a Monk is, and how anyone considering Monk should simply play Unarmed Swordsage instead. Since I play core-only (or core and the SRD), that got me wondering how a Monk stacks up to an unarmed Fighter. Now IMO it's pretty difficult to directly compare 2 classes by examples, but I tried to do it in the most general way: I used the same starting stats (that didn't cause either class to suffer) so they would be comperable; and I neglected any items/feats/skills/class features that both could use. This is the result of my direct comparison:

Using a 25 point buy, I gave them stats of:
Str 14
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 9
Wis 14
Cha 8

I used the following rule for Stunning Fist when calculating percentages in PvP: stunning an opponent buys a turn and adds +4=20% to hit for 1 turn. I subtraced the resulting damage from the opponent's HP before calculating normal attacks, and added the total number of stuns onto the opponent's rounds-to-win total.

Here are my results:
{table=head]|Fighter 1|Monk 1
Feats|(F) Weapon Focus (Spiked Gauntlet), Improved Unarmed Strike|(M) Stunning Fist, Dodge
Skills|Intimidate 4 (-1 Cha = +3)|Hide 4 (+2 Dex = +6), Move Silently 4 (+2 Dex = +6), Tumble 4 (+2 Dex = +6) (Monk effectively goes first in battle by hiding, denying dex adds 5% to hit for 1 turn - not significant)
Items|Chain Shirt, Heavy Wooden Shield, Spiked Gauntlet|none
HP|12|10
AC|18|14 (15 vs 1)
Saves|+4/+2/+2|+4/+4/+4
Melee|+4 (1d4+2)|Stunning Fist (DC 12, 1/day); +2 (1d6+2) or +0/+0 (1d6+2)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 16=25% for ~5.5 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 8=65% (fails 1/3 rounds, Monk has 1 SF, so no stun), 3 rounds to kill; or on 18,18=27.75% for ~5.5 damage, 3 hits = 12 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 10=50% for ~4.5 damage, 3 hits = 6 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Fighter

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 10, HP 10: 2 rounds
Fighter vs AC 10, HP 10: 4 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

{table=head]|Fighter 2|Monk 2
Feats|(F) Improved Grapple|(M) Combat Reflexes
Skills|Intimidate 5 (-1 Cha = +4)|Hide 5 (+2 Dex = +7), Move Silently 5 (+2 Dex = +7), Tumble 5 (+2 Dex = +7) (Monk effectively goes first in battle by hiding, denying dex adds 5% to hit for 1 turn - not significant, fighting defensively without Combat Expertise is counterproductive)
Items|Breastplate, Heavy Wooden Shield, MW Spiked Gauntlet|none
HP|19.5|16.5
AC|19|14 (15 vs 1)
Saves|+5/+2/+2|+5/+5/+5
Melee|+6 (1d4+2)|Stunning Fist (DC 13, 2/day); +3 (1d6+2) or +1/+1 (1d6+2)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 16=25% for ~5.5 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 8=65% (fails 1/3 rounds, Monk has 2 SF, so no stun); or on 18,18=27.75% for ~5.5 damage, 19.5/(5.5*.2775) = 12.7 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 9=60% for ~4.5 damage, 16.5/(4.5*.60) = 6.1 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Fighter

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 11, HP 15: 3 rounds
Fighter vs AC 11, HP 15: 5 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

{table=head]|Fighter 3|Monk 3
Feats|Improved Grapple|Ability Focus (stunning fist)
Skills|Intimidate 6 (-1 Cha = +5)|Hide 6 (+2 Dex = +8), Move Silently 6 (+2 Dex = +8), Tumble 6 (+2 Dex = +8)
Items|Full Plate, Heavy Wooden Shield, MW Spiked Gauntlet|Bracers of Armor +1
HP|27|23
AC|21|15 (16 vs 1)
Saves|+5/+3/+3|+5/+5/+5
Melee|+7 (1d4+2)|Stunning Fist (DC 15, 3/day); +4 (1d6+2) or +2/+2 (1d6+2)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 17=20% for ~5.5 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Monk has 3 SF so 1.5 stuns); or on 19,19=20.9% for ~5.5 damage, ~(27-3.85 SF)/(5.5*.21) = 20 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 9=60% for ~4.5 damage, 23/(4.5*.60)+1.5 = 10 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Fighter

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 12, HP 20: 4 rounds
Fighter vs AC 12, HP 20: 6 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

{table=head]|Fighter 5|Monk 5
Feats|(F) Weapon Specialization (Spiked Gauntlet)|
Items|Full-plate, Heavy Wooden Shield, +1 Spiked Gauntlet|Bracers of Armor +2
HP|42|36
AC|21|17 (18 vs 1)
Saves|+6/+3/+3|+6/+6/+6
Melee|+8 (1d4+5)|Stunning Fist (DC 16, 5/day); +5 (1d8+2) or +4/+4 (1d8+2)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 16=25% for ~6.5 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Monk has 5 SF so 2.5 stuns); or on 18,18=27.75% for ~6.5 damage, (42-4.5)/(6.5*.2775) = 20.7 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 10=5% for ~7.5 damage, 36/(7.5*.55)+2.5 = 11.2 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Fighter

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 14, HP 30: 5 rounds
Fighter vs AC 14, HP 30: 6 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

{table=head]|Fighter 9|Monk 9
Feats|(F) Greater Weapon Focus (Spiked Gauntlet), (F) Stunning Fist, Ability Focus (Stunning Fist), - (INA increases Unarmed Strike from 1d3 to 1d4, so it's useless)|(M) Improved Trip, Improved Natural Attack, open
Items|+1 Full-plate, +1 Heavy Wooden Shield, +2 Spiked Gauntlet|Bracers of Armor +3
HP|72|62
AC|24|18 (19 vs 1)
Saves|+8/+5/+5|+8/+8/+8
Melee|Stunning Fist (DC 18, 2/day); +13/+8 (1d4+6)|Stunning Fist (DC 18, 9/day); +8/+3 (2d8+2) or +8/+8/+3 (2d8+2)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 16,20=28.75% for ~11 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Monk has 9 SF so 4.5 stuns (since 72 HP / 11 Damage > 4.5 hits)); or on 16,16,20=46.56% for ~11 damage, (72-23.04)/(11*.4656)+1 = 10.5 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 5,10=90% for ~8.5 damage, Monk makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Fighter has 2 SF so 1 stun), (62-7.65)/(8.5*.90)+4.5 = 11.6 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Monk

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 18, HP 50: 6 rounds
Fighter vs AC 18, HP 50: 7 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

{table=head]|Fighter 20|Monk 20
Feats|(F) Greater Weapon Specialization (Spiked Gauntlet), Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, rest open| Spring Attack, Weapon Focus (unarmed), open
Items| +5 Full-plate, +5 Heavy Wooden Shield, +5 Spiked Gauntlet|Bracers of Armor +8
HP|154.5|133.5
AC|32 (33 vs 1)|21 (22 vs 1)
Saves|+14/+8/+8|+14/+14/+14
Melee|Stunning Fist (DC 24, 10/day); +24/+19/+14/+9 (1d4+11)|Stunning Fist (DC 24, 20/day); +17/+12/+7 (4d8+2?) or +17/+17/+17/+12/+7 (4d8+2?)[/table]
PVP Breakdown:
Monk hits Fighter on 15,15,15,20,20=73% for ~20 damage, Fighter makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Monk has 20 SF so 7 stuns (since 154.5 HP / 20 Damage = 7.725 hits)); (154.5-102.2)/(20*.73)+2.5 = 6 rounds to disable Fighter
Fighter hits Monk on 2,3,8,13~=100% for ~13.5 damage, Monk makes SF save on 10=50% (fails 1/2 rounds, Fighter has 5 SF so 2.5 stun), (133.5-33.75)/(13.5*1.00)+7 = 14.3 rounds to disable Monk
PvP Winner: Monk

PvM Breakdown:
Monk vs AC 30, HP 100: 6 rounds
Fighter vs AC 30, HP 100: 8 rounds
PvM Winner: Monk

Errors: I made a few, and tried to correct them, however the figures may be wrong. Off the top of my head, I think I messed up with iterative attacks for the levels 9 & 20 cases, i.e. at level 20 it should take the monk 3 rounds to disable the fighter, not 6. The result is pretty much the same though, see conclusion.

Conclusion: The fighter is much better early on, but later on the monk's high damage dice and flurry abilities allow him to outpace the fighter in damage. Hence my hypotheses, that an unarmed fighter is strictly better than a monk, is wrong. Monks can contribute a good amount of damage at higher levels - albeit with lower AC.

Even with a barbarian dip for rage (which monk can't do), a fighter 20 still loses to monk 20. If there were some way for an unarmed fighter to deal 4d6 base damage, it would probably beat out the monk completely in combat. This doesn't extend beyond core, but I think it may be a good marker for determining the difference between a fighter (which is generally strictly better than an unarmed fighter), and a monk.

Whew, statistical analysis. PEACH.

Zergrusheddie
2010-03-13, 08:37 PM
It's not necessarily that the Monk is bad at it's specific role. It's just that the specific role isn't all that great to begin with.

Sinfire Titan
2010-03-13, 08:46 PM
It's not necessarily that the Monk is bad at it's specific role. It's just that the specific role isn't all that great to begin with.

Also, this is Core-only. Outside Core, the Fighter can out-pace the Monk in Unarmed Damage and Attacks/round (unless you're following Dman's Handbook and optimizing the **** out of your unarmed combat damage).

ericgrau
2010-03-13, 08:50 PM
Fort is the fighter's strong save. While we can't assume the monk will take improved grapple every time, you should at least try that feat too. The monk may not beat the fighter's grapple check half the time, but he'll fare better than he would against the fighter's AC. Likewise the fighter may beat the monk's grapple check more than half the time, but it's harder than hitting the monk's AC. From there the monk's higher unarmed damage becomes an advantage, and depending on his build the fighter might not even have the choice to wield a weapon (and he's at a -4 to hit even if he does). So then he spends his standard breaking the grapple, maybe a full round action if he rolls poor. Then he must either move away and provoke and then get attacked again on the monk's turn. That means 2 attempts to grapple again. Or he stays there and almost certainly gets grappled again from a full round attack of grapple attempts. Both the attempts and any leftover attacks deal unarmed strike damage.

Or if we don't do an unarmed challenge then maybe the fighter is wearing armor spikes as his main magically enchanted weapon, etc., etc. Haven't seen a build focusing on such before but it could happen. A lot of situational things can change the outcome.

rockdeworld
2010-03-13, 09:10 PM
Like the one I just posted?

Huh, I had no idea there was a whole thread for this sort of thing.

John Campbell
2010-03-13, 09:22 PM
It's perhaps worth noting that you can Power Attack with unarmed strikes, in an explicit exception to the "no Power Attack with light weapons" rule. You can TWF with unarmed strikes, too, and the off-hand in that case is both light and Power-Attackable. The Fighter's got more feats and more BAB to burn on this stuff... and in core, not a whole lot of other good choices.

Also, matching stats aren't really fair, in that one of the Fighter's advantages is that he's not as MAD as the Monk. With proficiency in heavy armor and no Wis-to-AC feature, the Fighter doesn't need Wis or Dex as much, and can put the points into Str or Con instead.

rockdeworld
2010-03-13, 09:32 PM
It's perhaps worth noting that you can Power Attack with unarmed strikes, in an explicit exception to the "no Power Attack with light weapons" rule. You can TWF with unarmed strikes, too, and the off-hand in that case is both light and Power-Attackable. The Fighter's got more feats and more BAB to burn on this stuff... and in core, not a whole lot of other good choices.

Also, matching stats aren't really fair, in that one of the Fighter's advantages is that he's not as MAD as the Monk. With proficiency in heavy armor and no Wis-to-AC feature, the Fighter doesn't need Wis or Dex as much, and can put the points into Str or Con instead.
The reason I didn't include Power attack is that both classes have access to it, ditto on TWF.

I knew the argument about matching stats would come up, and the reason I did it the way I did was to make it a straight matchup between fighter and monk. Fighter doesn't have as much mad, but that 14 Wis could be Int or something else for a tripper, etc. So it is fair, in the sense that it's a damage-dealing monk US build vs a damage-dealing fighter US build.

John Campbell
2010-03-13, 10:05 PM
The reason I didn't include Power attack is that both classes have access to it, ditto on TWF.
But all Power Attacks are not created equal. The Fighter has more BAB, more attack bonus, to play with, so he can consistently Power Attack for more. The feat is better for the Fighter than for the Monk.

It's also cheaper for the Fighter, because he gets, as his one and only class feature, fistfuls of bonus feats, so he's a lot more likely to actually have Power Attack, or any other given combat feat - and a Power Attack that you have is infinitely better than one that you don't have. Same for the TWF chain, which is awfully expensive for not so much return for someone who gets only seven or eight general feats, but looks a lot more appealing when you've got 18 or 19 feat slots you need to fill from the sparse pickings core makes available.

I notice you included Stunning Fist in your considerations, which both classes can also get, but which is better (free, and more uses) for the Monk than the Fighter.


I knew the argument about matching stats would come up, and the reason I did it the way I did was to make it a straight matchup between fighter and monk. Fighter doesn't have as much mad, but that 14 Wis could be Int or something else for a tripper, etc. So it is fair, in the sense that it's a damage-dealing monk US build vs a damage-dealing fighter US build.
But a straight-up damage-dealing Fighter US build has little use for a 14 Wis, and would be better off putting those points into Str for more attack bonus and more damage per attack. Or, yes, putting them into Int and going into something fancier like tripping. Forcing the Fighter to have a 14 Wis just because the Monk needs it is hardly a fair matchup, when one of the advantages of the Fighter class is that he doesn't need a high Wisdom.

Flickerdart
2010-03-13, 10:07 PM
The reason I didn't include Power attack is that both classes have access to it, ditto on TWF.

I knew the argument about matching stats would come up, and the reason I did it the way I did was to make it a straight matchup between fighter and monk. Fighter doesn't have as much mad, but that 14 Wis could be Int or something else for a tripper, etc. So it is fair, in the sense that it's a damage-dealing monk US build vs a damage-dealing fighter US build.
Except the Fighter doesn't need DEX at all and only need 13 INT at best. A "damage-dealer" unarmed Fighter wouldn't even have Trip because trip is useless without reach, either, he'd have things that help him punch enemies in the face.

Math_Mage
2010-03-13, 11:17 PM
The reason I didn't include Power attack is that both classes have access to it, ditto on TWF.

But these feats give distinctly unequal returns on unequal investments, as has been pointed out.


I knew the argument about matching stats would come up, and the reason I did it the way I did was to make it a straight matchup between fighter and monk. Fighter doesn't have as much mad, but that 14 Wis could be Int or something else for a tripper, etc. So it is fair, in the sense that it's a damage-dealing monk US build vs a damage-dealing fighter US build.

If you're going to use the 14 Wis or Int for a tripper or something else, then build a tripper or something else. If you want 'fair' stats, take the build's needs into account. Start with 25-pt buy or something. Forcing the SAD fighter to play a MAD stat distribution ain't 'fair' by a long shot.

And the main thing you seem to be forgetting here is that the noise is about an unarmed *Swordsage*. There aren't a lot of people who claim that a Fighter will be miles better at hitting things bare-handed than a Monk.

Pluto
2010-03-13, 11:19 PM
Since I play core-only (or core and the SRD), that got me wondering how a Monk stacks up to an unarmed Fighter.
...
PVP
Does... not... follow...

rockdeworld
2010-03-14, 12:16 AM
Does... not... follow...
It's my understanding that testing two characters against one another in one-on-one combat isn't a good way to tell if one is better than another.


But all Power Attacks are not created equal. The Fighter has more BAB, more attack bonus, to play with, so he can consistently Power Attack for more. The feat is better for the Fighter than for the Monk.
Hmm, I didn't think about that. That could be included in the "errors" or "sources of error" section of that post. I'm not sure how that's true for the TWF though. The other reason I didn't include it is that both Monk and Fighter didn't have enough dex for it (fixable by an enhancement item?), but the original monk build I borrowed had TWF and ITWF. Arguably the Fighter could have GTWF as well. Are you saying the difference is a result of their BAB?