View Full Version : If I ran the monastery

2010-04-19, 11:50 PM
I've been working on this re-write for about a week - and I present it here exactly as I wrote it. However, I had a friend look over it, and he got very excited and showed me his pathfinder core rules. I agree, they're similar. However, I hope you'll agree - my version fixes a few things Paiso kept around.

I've included notes on what I was attempting to accomplish with each ability, my Rules As Intended, as it were.

Without further ado - my Monk:

Alignment: Any lawful.
Hit Die: d8.

Base Fort Ref Will AC Unarmored
Level Attack Save Save Save Special Bonus Speed Bonus
1st 0 2 2 2 Bonus feat, flurry of blows, unarmed strike, monk's training, engage, grappler 0 +0 ft.
2nd 1 3 3 3 Bonus feat, monk's evasion 0 +0 ft.
3rd 1 3 3 3 Monk's mettle 0 +10 ft.
4th 2 4 4 4 Ki attack (magic), slow fall & jump 20’ 0 +10 ft.
5th 2 4 4 4 Purity of body, Ki strike (daze) 1 +10 ft.
6th 3 5 5 5 Bonus feat, slow fall & jump 30’ 1 +20 ft.
7th 3 5 5 5 Wholeness of body, Ki hold (sicken) 1 +20 ft.
8th 4 6 6 6 Slow fall & jump 40’ 1 +20 ft.
9th 4 6 6 6 Improved monk's evasion, Ki strike (stun) 1 +30 ft.
10th 5 7 7 7 Ki attack (lawful), slow fall & jump 50’ 2 +30 ft.
11th 5 7 7 7 Diamond body, ki hold (deafen) 2 +30 ft.
12th +6/+1 8 8 8 Abundant step, slow fall & jump 60’, ki strike (fatigue) 2 +40 ft.
13th +6/+1 8 8 8 Diamond soul, ki hold (sleep) 2 +40 ft.
14th +7/+2 9 9 9 Slow fall & jump 70’, ki strike (blind) 2 +40 ft.
15th +7/+2 9 9 9 Quivering palm, ki strike (weaken) 3 +50 ft.
16th +8/+3 10 10 10 Ki attack (adamantine), slow fall & jump 80’, ki hold (paralyze) 3 +50 ft.
17th +8/+3 10 10 10 Timeless body, tongue of sun and moon, Ki strike (confusion) 3 +50 ft.
18th +9/+4 11 11 11 Slow fall & jump 90’ 3 +60 ft.
19th +9/+4 11 11 11 Empty body 3 +60 ft.
20th +10/+5 12 12 12 Perfect self, slow fall & fky any distance 4 +60 ft.

Class Skills

The monk’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the monk:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with certain basic peasant weapons and some special weapons that are part of monk training. The weapons with which a monk is proficient are club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, siangham, sling and unarmed combat.

Monks are not proficient with any armor or shields—in fact, many of the monk’s special powers require unfettered movement. When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a monk loses her AC bonus, as well as her fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.

Engage: Any time the monk is in melee combat with a target, she is considered Engaged unless noted in the specific ability. Engagement limits the monk's actions and reactions to combat.
[RAI: limits the monk's options when attacking a foe - having a reason to choose to stick to their opponent or open the field up to be more resistant to magic.]

Grappler: Any time the monk is grappling an opponent, she may still strike out at anyone in melee range with unarmed strikes, including flurry of blows.
[RAI: One drawback to standard grappling is the lack of attacks to flanking opponents. A monk, having superior wrestling moves knows how to strike out with her arms or legs while maintaining a grapple.]

Monk's Training: A monk is focused in a very limited arena of martial arts. This is represented in both her limited BAB and in the monk's training feature. For the following list of abilities add the monk's level to her Base Attack Bonus to derive at her new to hit bonus: Disarm, Flurry of Blows, Grapple, Ki Hold, Ki Strike, Overrun, Stunning Fist and Trip.
[RAI: My intention is to limit the number of iterative attacks, but not cripple the monk's ability to be effective in their designed role.]

AC Bonus (Ex): A monk is highly trained at dodging blows, and she has a sixth sense that lets her avoid even unanticipated attacks. When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five monk levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level). These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load.
[RAI: No change from the original monk]

Flurry of Blows (Ex): When unarmored, a monk may strike with a flurry of blows in an attempt to stagger her enemy away from her. When doing so, she may make one attack per dexterity modifier in a round at her highest base attack bonus (modified by her monk's training feature). This is a standard attack. 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). She may attack with unarmed strikes and special monk weapons interchangeably as desired. Regardless of weapon type used, the damage done is 1d6 + str modifier (feats such as Power Attack and two handed strength modifiers can apply). For every 10 points of damage (rounded down) the flurry of blows routine generates in a round will push the target back 5 ft. If the target is pushed back at least 5 ft. from the monk, she is not considered Engaged with the target.
[RAI: The one change most builds talk about doing but I've yet to see actually executed - making FoB a standard attack. This is the monk's 'bread and butter'. 4th Ed really made this their own, and I see no reason not to emulate it. By removing the number of attacks from a static number to one derived by dex mod, it does keep MAD - more dex and more strength make this better. However, allowing a monk to use a staff to derive a 1 1/2 strength mod to damage mitigates it somewhat. Granting the push aspect, imo, better images the fluff from classic martial arts movies - the assailant being staggered back by the onslaught of the monk. I also codified the damage to bring the monk in line with similar classes regardless of weapon type used.]

Unarmed Strike: Monks are highly trained in fighting unarmed, giving them considerable advantages when doing so. At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may even make unarmed strikes with her hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes. Usually a monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling. A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons (such as the magic fang and magic weapon spells). Base damage with an unarmed strike is 1d6 + str, regardless of size.
[RAI: only changed the base damage amount.]

Bonus Feat: At 1st level, a monk may select either Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist as a bonus feat. At 2nd level, she may select either Combat Reflexes or Deflect Arrows as a bonus feat. At 6th level, she may select either Improved Disarm or Improved Trip as a bonus feat. A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.
[RAI: I didn't change these, though I could see just giving all six feats for free. Also, I could see an issue where a monk has Stunning Fist, plus uses the Ki Strike (stun). To avoid confusion, I'd recommend adding the daily uses together (2x monk level +2 per 4 levels). It's not like Stunning Fist is overpowered.]

Monk's Evasion (Ex): While not Engaged, a monk of 2nd level or higher can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save (such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or a fireball), she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of evasion. If the monk is Engaged, she may opt to evade, but allows her target the same option, even if they normally can't evade.
[RAI: I changed evasion slightly - I never understood how anyone attacking a group of people could suddenly leap out of the way of a fireball and remain unscathed while his enemies fell. I really like the image this version evokes - with the monk needing to decide if he's going to evade and drag his enemy with him, or just take the hit.]

Fast Movement (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk gains an enhancement bonus to her speed, as shown on Table 3–10. A monk in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.
[RAI: No change here]

Monk's Mettle (Ex): While not Engaged, a monk of 3rd level or higher can avoid spells that target her Fortitude save if they have a partial effect. Mettle can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. Can not be used while Engaged.
[RAI: I never really liked Still Mind as an ability, but mettle hadn't been devised yet. I decided to go with Fort instead of Will mostly because the spells that have a partial effect for fort saves are generally harsher. I didn't want to keep the same mechanic for evasion though - and really, how do you pull someone with you to resist cloudkill. I picture the reason it doesn't work while engaged is due to the monk needing to concentrate on fending off the attack - deep breathing exorcises, or what have you. Difficult at best when you're trying to subdue your opponent.]

Ki Attack (Su): At 4th level, a monk’s unarmed attacks are empowered with ki. Her unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Ki attack improves with the character’s monk level. At 10th level, her unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. At 16th level, her unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction and bypassing hardness.
[RAI: Just renamed strike to attack as I liked strike for actually, striking.]

Slow Fall (Ex): At 4th level or higher, a monk can slow her descent. When first using this ability, she takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The monk’s ability to slow her fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall) improves with her monk level until at 20th level she can slow her descent and fall any distance without harm.
[RAI: dropped the silly wall requirement. As has been noted many times, featherfall is a 1st level spell. A monk should be able to emulate that in entirety by 20th level.]

Leap (Su): At 4th level or higher, a monk can greatly improve her jumping. When first using this ability, she can jump 20 feet farther than her skill check. The monk’s ability to jump improves with her monk level until at 20th level she can fly at her run speed, with clumsy maneuverability .
[RAI: probably my most radical idea, and one I added at the end... it's mostly in response to the lack of airborne mobility. Although, clumsy maneuverability is almost no mobility at all - but it does capture the concept of leaping without limit very well. Seriously, I wouldn't be sad if this was quashed as OP.]

Purity of Body (Ex): At 5th level, a monk gains control over her body’s immune system. She gains immunity to all diseases except for supernatural and magical diseases (such as mummy rot and lycanthropy).
[RAI: no change here]

Ki Strike (Ex): At 5th level a monk may begin utilizing status effects on her opponents. The first Ki Strike she learns is Ki Strike (daze). On a successful attack, the victim must roll a successful Will save (DC 15 + 1/2 character level + wisdom modifier) or be dazed for one round. At 9th level she gains Ki strike (stun) as per the Stunning Fist feat; at 12th level she gains Ki strike (fatigue): on a successful attack, the victim must roll a successful Fort save (DC 12 + 1/2 character level + wisdom modifier) or be fatigued until rested. This strike can be used once per day per three monk levels. At 14th level she gains Ki strike (blind): on a successful attack, the victim must roll a successful Ref save (DC 16 + 1/2 character level + wisdom modifier) or be permanently blinded. This strike can be used once per day. At 15th level, the monk gains Ki Strike (weaken). On a successful attack, the victim must make a successful Fort save (DC 17 + 1/2 character level + wisdom modifier) or lose 2d6 strength until restored This strike can be used twice a day. At 17th level she gains her final Ki Strike (confusion). On a successful hit, the victim must make a successful Will save (DC 21 + 1/2 character level + wisdom modifier) or be confused until restored. The monk can use this strike once a day.
[RAI: The DCs and uses are completely arbitrary - and would probably need a bit of playtesting to get solid numbers for them. Any feedback here is appreciated. I like the idea of the monk being a status effecter... better control powers, I think. Between these and the holds, this is where I feel the true meat of the class resides.]

Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can heal her own wounds. She can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to twice her current monk level each day, and she can spread this healing out among several uses.
[RAI: no change here]

Ki Hold (Ex): Beginning at 7th level the monk learns various holds, detaining and immobilizing her opponents. The first hold she learns is Ki hold (sicken). On a successful grapple, the monk may sicken her opponent. The sickness lingers after the hold is released for as many rounds as the monk has levels. At 11th level, the monk can opt to deafen her opponent as well (each effect takes a round to implement). At 13th level, the monk may induce her victim to sleep, and at 16th level, she can paralyze her victim. There are no saves against these holds, but the victim must have an anatomy (does not work against undead, constructs, etc.) Plus the grapple must be maintained for an entire round for each effect to be applied. The monk is considered Engaged while grappling.
[RAI: No save hold status effects. This, imo, is where the monk raises above it's lowly tier 5 and climbs up the tier ladder. He's still only able to control one opponent at a time, but with the lingering effects, he has the ability to jump from target to target and help his teammates get a grip on the situation. And if he finds he's up against something immune to the effect, he can always go back to his flurry of blows.]

Improved Monk's Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a monk’s evasion ability improves. It still doesn't work while she is engaged, and she still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon’s breath weapon or a fireball, but henceforth she takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of improved evasion. As per monk's evasion, the monk may use this ability why engaged - doing so still grants her opponent improved evasion, even if they don't normally have it.
[RAI: other than the engaged stat, no change.]

Diamond Body (Su): At 11th level, a monk is in such firm control of her own metabolism that she gains immunity to poisons of all kinds.
[RAI: no change here]

Abundant Step (Su): At 12th level or higher, a monk can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door, once per day. Her caster level for this effect is one-half her monk level (rounded down).
[RAI: no change here - I was thinking of making it once per encounter - but encounters aren't really defined in 3.5...]

Diamond Soul (Ex): At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to her current monk level + 10. In order to affect the monk with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check that equals or exceeds the monk’s spell resistance.
[RAI: no change]

Quivering Palm (Su): Starting at 15th level, a monk can set up vibrations within the body of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the monk so desires. She can use this quivering palm attack once a day, and she must announce her intent before making her attack roll. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the monk strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter the monk can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to her monk level. To make such an attempt, the monk merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Wis modifier), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time.
[RAI: I'm not fond of this ability - it downplays the other strikes, but I did up it to once per day - didn't seem right hanging out at once a week with everything else the monk got.]

Timeless Body (Ex): Upon attaining 17th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to her ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when her time is up.
[RAI: no change here]

Tongue of the Sun and Moon (Ex): A monk of 17th level or higher can speak with any living creature.
[RAI: no change here]

Empty Body (Su): At 19th level, a monk gains the ability to assume an ethereal state for 1 round per monk level per day, as though using the spell etherealness. She may go ethereal on a number of different occasions during any single day, as long as the total number of rounds spent in an ethereal state does not exceed her monk level.
[RAI: no change here]

Perfect Self: At 20th level, a monk has tuned her body with skill and quasi-magical abilities to the point that she becomes a magical creature. She is forevermore treated as an outsider (an extraplanar creature) rather than as a humanoid for the purpose of spells and magical effects. For instance, charm person does not affect her. Additionally, the monk gains damage reduction 10/chaos, which allows her to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a non-chaotic weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn’t have similar damage reduction. Unlike other outsiders, the monk can still be brought back from the dead as if she were a member of her previous creature type.
[RAI: only change was to make the DR from magic to chaos. Magic is so common by 20th level it was laughable. At least chaos would be rarer to find.]

A monk who becomes nonlawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities. Like a member of any other class, a monk may be a multiclass character, but multiclass monks face a special restriction. A monk who gains a new class or (if already multiclass) raises another class by a level may never again raise

Looking over the Pathfinder monk, I think I like the idea of a Ki pool... I might integrate that in here.

Mando Knight
2010-04-20, 12:14 AM
1.) Use a table.
2.) This goes in Homebrew.
3.) 1/2 BAB? What the... ...?
4.) Nerfing Evasion isn't helpful for a melee class.
5.) Some of the mechanics don't fit the archetype: the Shaolin-style monks are ridiculously combat-aware. Being more aware of the battlefield and adapting to it before their opponents even notice a change is kinda half their schtick.
6.) You crippled the monk's unarmed damage output, which is half of the rest of their schtick.

2010-04-20, 12:56 AM
On the positive-

I like all your 'Ki' ideas- the strike DCs are more reasonable than Stunning Fist at the levels the monk has them, they remove stunning fist from the 'required' list, can affect enemies even at mid-high levels (when everything you fight is flat-out immune to stunning), and are just plain cool.

I kinda like the addition of mettle- as a monk, my wis was always so high I made most will saves automatically, and since I was flat-out immune to most fort save effects, Con was essentially the 'whatever points are left over' stat in point buy.

On the neutral-

Ki Holds are cool and rather powerful. However, 'no save' will only make a difference defensively- things a monk can willingly grapple won't make the save, things which could make the save will grapple a monk with little problem. This makes it essentially a 'let go of me' effect, meaning the big guys will go attack something else.

On the negative-

You took many of the problems and made them worse. You even introduced new problems, that make them less useful. Also, there are some areas where the writing could be clarified.

You increase the MAD, reduce their high-level damage/damage vs DR, and remove a lot of the monk's "lock down" ability that made them tactically amusing.

1 & 2) Assuming "improved natural attack" is an acceptable feat, after a monk qualifies, STR plays almost no part in their damage. Even if it isn't, after mid-high levels it stops mattering again. So, making their unarmed damage stuck to essentially the minimum* means they have one more attribute they actually need, and (at higher levels, since they have the worst BAB, they can't make a worth while power attacks outside of a flurry. Assuming they have good enough of stats to afford power attack.)

3) With the "engaged" condition removing many of a monk's defensive abilities (and still the medium hit-die), they can no longer afford to be in the thick of things slowing enemies down. It was always a fun strategy to 'jump into the middle as I pull out the spiked chain, stunning headbutt someone, and trip whoever moves, then let the wizard fireball us all. Engagement lets you do this (I think- see below), but give the enemy you're engaging a defensive boost.

Beyond which, as written, Ki Holds still remove their ability to make AoO's, leaving anyone nearby free.

*This is assuming you didn't just leave "unarmed damage" off the table, and forgot to include an exception in the "flurry" text

Problems with the writing-
For the ki abilities, you never establish a limiting mechanic, or an action mechanic. Without some form of limiting mechanic, one would assume they can be used as often as you like (not a bad thing, for a low-tier class, but seems out-of-place).

I'm assuming the strikes are either "part of an attack action", meaning any time they attack they can add one on, or a "standard action", meaning they are their own attack. Do they also deal damage? Can they be done during a flurry. If part of an attack action, can you use more than one a round? The same one more than once? If you take Stunning fist, can you use it simultaneously with a ki strike/hold?

It says a monk may attack nearby foes while grappling- does this mean they may still take attacks of opportunity? If not, can they make them against a spellcasting enemy who would normally provoke?

You do not spell out, in the declaration of it, exactly what engagement does. This means, when a monk is engaged, the player will have to read over the entire class (rather than just "Engage") to see what it affects. From reading it over, it seems to (remove Evasion/grant evasion to the enemy) and remove mettle. Are there any other effects?

Does 'Leap' affect vertical jumps in any way before level 20? (It should if you want it to matter-though, by 10, any tolerable player should have flight available anyway.)


My suggestions-

Give them back the Monk Unarmed Damage.

Explicitly state whether they threaten while grappling (I'd suggest yes)

Explicitly state how Leap affects vertical jumps.

Remove "Engage". If not, explicitly state, in "Engage", everything it affects (and add a similar 'Grant my opponent Mettle to let me keep it') option.

Explain how, when, and how often, a monk may make a Ki Attack.