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Person_Man
2010-08-03, 02:48 PM
Updated: Included some of the advice from posts. Thanks!

I was giving Oriental Adventures a serious re-read for the first time in several years (3.0 material, which is why I rarely use it), and I came across a number of feats that help the Monk. So I've compiled them and added them to a larger list of things Monks might find helpful:

I. Increasing Size, Effective Size, Unarmed Damage, Reach

Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7081777) is a thread dedicated to just that subject. The Monk isn't going to win any damage output contests. But a Monk/PrC/PrC can get 12d6ish damage relatively easily via a variety of means.


II. Get Extra Attacks

Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7066595) is a thread dedicated to that subject. Obviously you're going to want a lot, especially at low levels. Note that someone using a manufactured weapon usually can't use all of their claw attacks in the same round. For example, a variant Kobold Monk 1 who invests in the Dragonic Tail feat gets 6 attacks (Flurry/Flurry/Claw/Claw/Bite/Tail) on a full attack action.


III. Useful Alternate Class Features

Here (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19872054/Alternative_Class_Features_III)'s the full list. Below are the ones I consider useful. I've summarized them to save space. Follow the link if you want to know the specific trade-offs and the levels they occur at:

Broken One Substitution Levels: Add Heal and Survival. Gain Lay on Hands in place of Still Mind. Champions of Valor pg 36.

Dark Moon Disciple Substitution Levels: Gain concealment in less then full daylight, lose Wholeness of Body. Champions of Valor web (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060327a).

Hin Disciple Substitution Levels: Trade Improved Evasion for The Harder They Fall - when you Trip an enemy whose square you occupy (via Underfoot Combat) every threatening ally gets an AoO. Partner with an ally using Animate Objects or Summon Monster. Champions of Valor web (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060327a). Halfling only.

Kalashtar Monk: Spend Power Points to improve Grapple and Stunning Fist, Replaces Flurry of Blows. Races of Eberron p 124. Kalashtar only.

Skarn Monk Substitution Levels: Gain Intimidate, the ability to use your natural weapon Spines for all Monk class features, a point of essentia, a Soulborn Soulmeld, and Chakra Bind Arms (essentially 2 bonus feats). Lose Lawful Ki Strike and your AC progression (but not Wis to AC). Magic of Incarnaum pg 47. Skarn only.

Soulwarp Strike: When hit with an unarmed strike your enemy is nauseated, or sickened if they Save. Usably once per day per level. Lose a bonus feat. Complete Mage p34.

Spell Reflection: If an enemy uses a spell or spell-like ability that targets you AND misses you, you can reflect it back at them as an Immediate Action. Lose Evasion. Complete Mage p35.

Standing Jump: Reduce fast movement ability, improves jumping ability. Dungeonscape pg 10.

Wall Walker: Lose slowfall, ignore the need to make Climb checks for certain distances. Dungeonscape pg 11.

Variant Fighting Styles: Exchange bonus feats for other bonus feats and minor benefits. Unearthed Arcana pg 52.


IV. Feats

Arcane Schooling: Youíre treated as having one level of one arcane class for the purpose of activating spell trigger items (like Wands). Hello buff spells, good bye UMD! Playerís Guide to Faerun pg 33.

Acheron Flurry: You can spend a Standard Action to restrict an enemy to a single Move or Standard action on his next turn. No To-Hit roll, no Save, it just happens. There are various little restrictions on this, but itís a great way to prevent a boss enemy from making a full attack or Summoning while your friends pummel him. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike and 15 Wis and Dex. Planar Handbook pg 37.

Choke Hold: If you Grapple and Pin an opponent, at the end of the round he must make a Fort Save (DC is Wis based) or be rendered unconscious for 1d3 rounds. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, and Stunning Fist. Oriental Adventures

Combat Acrobat: You can make a (fixed DC) Balance check to negate being knocked Prone and/or ignore up to 4 squares of difficult terrain. PHBII pg 76.

Contagious Paralysis: Anyone who touches someone that you paralyze must Save or be paralyzed as well. Combine with Freezing the Lifeblood and any Bull Rush effect or Setting Sun throw maneuver. Libris Mortis pg 25.

Expert Grappler: You may add your Dex and Str bonuses to all Grapple checks. Requires 13+ Str, 15+ Dex, Weapon Focus (Grapple). The Quintessential Fighter (Mongoose, 3.0).

Grappling Finesse: You may use your Dex in place of your Str for all Grapple Checks. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike and Weapon Finesse. Jade and Steel (Avalanche, 3.0)

Falling Star Strike: Against a humanoid enemy, if you make a successful unarmed strike, they must Save (DC is Wis based) or be blinded for 1 round per your character level. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, +4 BAB, 17 or higher Wis. Oriental Adventures

Freezing the Lifeblood: Against a humanoid enemy, if you make a successful unarmed strike, you may forgo damage and force them to make a Save (DC is Wis based) or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, +5 BAB, 17 or higher Wis. This feat has been updated in Comp Warrior. But the updated version is much weaker, in that it requires +10 BAB and burns Stunning Fist uses. Ask your DM if you can use the old version.

Grappling Block: When unarmed or wielding weapons designed to catch other weapons (such as sai or jitte), once per round when you are hit with a melee attack you can expend an attack of opportunity to make an opposed attack roll. If your roll is higher then the attack that hit you, you Disarm your enemy. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Deflect Arrows, Expertise, Improved Disarm, Combat Reflexes, Int 13+. Oriental Adventures

Intuitive Attack: With simple or natural weapons you may use your Wis mod in place of your Str mod on attack rolls. Superior to Weapon Finesse for Monks if they don't need Str for Grapple checks or Dex for AoO. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 44.

Pain Touch: Victims of successful Stunning Fist attacks are Nauseated the round after they are Stunned. Creatures more then 1 size larger then you are not effected. This was also updated in Comp Warrior, but was made more powerful, effecting creatures up to two sizes larger. So use the newer version. Oriental Adventures

Pharaoh's Fist: When you use Stunning Fist against an enemy, adjacent enemies must also Save or be Stunned. Sandstorm.

Sand Dancer: Whenever you move at least 10 ft in an area of sand/loose dirt/etc, Tumble, and attack and damage an enemy, they must Save or be Blinded for one round. You can buy a Bottle of Endless Sand, which you can just tie to your belt and leave on. Or you can have someone cast or UMD Transmute Stone to Sand or Black Sand to create it. Getting 10 ft of movement every round isn't that hard (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103358). Sandstorm pg 52.

Sand Snare: If you successfully Trip and enemy in an area of sand/loose dirt/etc, they must take a Full Round Action followed by a Move action if they want to stand up. No Save. Working with someone who has a Bottle of Endless or sand creating spells, this is a great way to lock down an enemy. Sandstorm pg 52.

Scorpionís Grasp: Free Grapple check whenever you hit an enemy. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple. Sandstorm pg 52.

Slave to Evil: Gives you evil aura. As you gain hit dice, benefits improve. Stronger aura can improve Spell Resistance against Divine spells by 5 (Monks get SR at level 13), and can prevent Divine spell casting. (Also a great feat for Incarnates, who have access to high SR via the Spellward Shirt soulmeld). Requires Chosen of Evil feat. Elder Evils pg 14.

Snap Kick: Adds an Unarmed Attack whenever you attack (including AoO), but imposes a penalty to-hit. Tome of Battle.

Shape Soulmeld + Open Chakra: Lots of options here. Impulse Boots grant Uncanny Dodge + Evasion (in case you traded it away for Spell Reflection). Gloves of the Poisoned Soul deal Wis and Str damage. Sphinx Claws give you Pounce with natural weapons. Phase Cloak makes you Ethereal when you move.

Tashalatora: Your Monk and a psionic class levels stack to determine unarmed damage, flurry, and AC bonus. Monk levels + Expansion + Improved Natural Weapon + Fist of the Forest + Warshaper = massive damage. Requires Monastic Training, Secrets of Sarlona pg 119.

Touch of Golden Ice: Any Evil enemy hit by your unarmed strike or natural weapon must Save or take 1d6 Dex damage. Note that the Save DC is garbage, so this is only viable for a low levels and debuff build. But at level 1-3ish, it absolutely rocks against non-immune Evil enemies. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 47.

Tunnel Fighter: When you hit your enemy from higher ground (like when youíre mounted, or climb/fly above the enemy), your enemy must make a Balance check or be knocked Prone or give up his next Move action. When in a tunnel, you can choose to block line of site, so your enemies canít target your allies standing behind you. (Useful if you spend a lot of time in dungeons). Requires that you be a Dwarf or Gnome. Dungeonscape pg 46.

Unbalancing Strike: Against a humanoid enemy, if you make a successful unarmed strike, they must Save (DC is Wis based) or lose their Dex bonus to AC (and enemies get +2 to hit them, essentially reverse Invisibility) for 1 round. Requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Wis 15+. Oriental Adventures

Vorpal Strike: Your Unarmed Strikes count as a Vorpal Weapon. Requires Epic Character, STR 25+, WIS 25+, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Ki Strike +3, Keen Strike, Improved Critical (unarmed). If a Monk somehow manages to get all the other pre-reqs, I would hand wave it to make it a non-epic feat. Epic Level Handbook (3.0).


V. Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

At low levels (ECL 1-4ish) 1 or 2 levels of Monk is often a respectable part of many potential melee builds, especially if you mine the above alternate class features for exactly what you want. Monk 2/Fighter 2, Monk 2/Binder 1, Monk 2/Ranger 2, Rogue 2/Monk 2, Monk 2/Totemist 2, etc.

Above ECL 5ish, nothing in existence moves Monk 3-20 out of the bottom Tiers. But in a non-optimized party, an optimized Monk can still contribute (somewhat). So you can either accept your weakness and do your best to have fun with it, or have as little Monk as possible in your build (at which point it's not really a Monk build, but that's semantics). Tashalatora Psychic Warrior, Fist of the Forrest, Warshaper, whatever. Monk is a weak class. So adding levels of any other Tier 4 or higher class or prestige class makes it stronger.

In addition to Fax's excellent Monk fix (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Monk) (and dozens of others, if you read the homebrew forums). Another simple Monk fix is to just give them full BAB and extra bonus feats at levels 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20. That moves them into Tier 4ish territory.


Please do not post "Yeah, but the Monk still sucks" here. I know that. You know that. Everyone knows that. Please do post any other "Here's another way to help the Monk." That way when the next Monk thread comes up (twice a day, on bad days) we can all just link here and to the various handbooks.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-08-03, 03:02 PM
Your efforts are noble, Person_Man, I'll give you that. The only thing I can think of off-hand is Fist of the Forest in aiding the monk.

Also, you should probably throw "Arcane Schooling" into a general "For anyone/everyone" category, but that's mostly just a pet-peeve of mine.

Jyokage
2010-08-03, 03:07 PM
I'm rather fond of many of those rarer monk feats as well, but I still think that some of them should have the "Requires stunning fist even if stunning fist has nothing to with the feat" requirement dropped. My experience has always been that stunning fist is a trap.
Anyways, enough complaining some other things that help monks.

Now it is a variant feature, but Ranger's who worship the moon can get this at Ran2.

Armor of the senses: Wisdom to AC. (Stacks with Monk's wis bonus to ac) Dragon Magazine.

obviously this can be useful to a low level monk/hybrid. Of course you have to get Dragon material approved but why ever gimp the monk?

Prodan
2010-08-03, 03:07 PM
Perhaps if there were also some way to expand their skill list...

The Shadowmind
2010-08-03, 03:27 PM
Don't forget the popular devotion feats, and the fun a 1 level dip in cleric/cloister cleric gives. Travel devotion is a must.

Darrin
2010-08-03, 03:33 PM
Some help from the Planar Handbook:

Monk Planar Substitution levels... most of these replace useless class features with slightly different useless class features, but they do give Knowledge: the Planes as a class skill (briefly). The first of these kicks in at 5th, which means a monk can put 4 skill points there, and then buy another rank with two cross-class skill points next level, and pick up the Planar Touchstone feat at 6th. Linking to a planar touchstone site offers some base abilities that can be fairly useful to a monk. For example:

Ashardolan's Tongue: +1 untyped bonus on all unarmed melee attacks.
Restyn's Last Stand: +1 untyped bonus on all melee attacks.
Densahl's Challenge: +1 untyped bonus on all melee damage.
Pilgrim's Rest: +1 untyped bonus to AC while on prime material plane.
Valley of Thunder: +1 untyped bonus to AC.
Monastery of Zerth'Ad'Lun: +1 dodge bonus vs. melee attacks, or +2 dodge bonus vs. full-round melee attacks.
Oxyhynchus: gain extra attack at -5 BAB with chosen weapon whenever opponent is denied Dex bonus (flat-footed, balancing, blind).

Also, Catalogues of Enlightenment allows you to pick up a cleric domain... off the top of my head, I'm not sure which ones would really help a monk, but it is a good way to pick up two feats for the price of one: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain and Weapon Focus: Spiked Chain. A few deities offer Spiked Chain as a favored weapon: Zoser (Sandstorm), Tsolorandril (Living Greyhawk), and Vulkoor (Secrets of Xendrik).

Oh, might want to mention Unorthodox Flurry from Dragon Compendium. Lets you flurry with a light non-monk weapon.

And then there's Shape Soulmeld... a bunch of Totemist and Soulborn soulmelds that can be a huge help. But mixing Incarnum with Monk might be worth a whole 'nuther handbook all on its own.

mangosta71
2010-08-03, 03:39 PM
Falling Star Strike and Freezing the Lifeblood are kind of overpowered if they trigger on any successful unarmed attack - you could be forcing a creature to make half a dozen saves against each effect per round.

Baron Corm
2010-08-03, 03:42 PM
The fist of the forest (Complete Champion) and warshaper (Complete Warrior) prestige classes, along with the Superior Unarmed Strike (Tome of Battle) and Improved Natural Attack feats and maybe a Monk's Belt, can make the monk function similarly to a King of Smack. The monk's unarmed strike is treated as a natural attack if beneficial, so it all stacks.

The easiest way to qualify for warshaper is the changeling race (Eberron Campaign Setting) or the bear warrior prestige class (Complete Warrior), but any large race will also increase your damage and reach, if you want to drop warshaper.

The benefit of using monk here instead of psychic warrior is mostly for Flurry of Blows and higher saves, as well as not relying on even psionics to accomplish what you need to.

Monks can also benefit from Snap Kick (Tome of Battle) using only their unarmed strike, since it counts as a manufactured weapon if beneficial.

Keld Denar
2010-08-03, 03:43 PM
And then there's Shape Soulmeld... a bunch of Totemist and Soulborn soulmelds that can be a huge help. But mixing Incarnum with Monk might be worth a whole 'nuther handbook all on its own.

Shape Soulmeld: Kraken Mantle + Open Lesser Chakra: Shoulders is very important for a Monk/PsiWhatever Tashalatora grappler, since Constrict is the most powerful ability a grappler can have and this is one of like, 3 non-Polymorph ways to get it. The other 2 are Martial Study/Martial Stance for Crushing Roots of the Mountain, and a 1 level dip in Nature's Warrior (which would probably require the Wildshape Monk ACF from UA).

EDIT:

The benefit of using monk here instead of psychic warrior is mostly for Flurry of Blows and higher saves, as well as not relying on even psionics to accomplish what you need to.

Or take the Tashalatora feat and do both. See above.

AmberVael
2010-08-03, 03:47 PM
Champions of Valor Web Enhancement. (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060327a)

Dark Moon Disciple Monk Substitution Levels.
3rd and 12th level? Not interesting.

7th level? Trade out Wholeness of Body for Shadow Blend. So either you heal a little bit each day or you can just gain total concealment in any non-full daylight condition. Much better deal, especially for a sneaky monk.

Baron Corm
2010-08-03, 03:51 PM
Or take the Tashalatora feat and do both. See above.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like a Tashalatora build would take only 1 level of monk to get unarmed strike damage, and the rest of it would be psychic warrior? That seems more like a psychic warrior build to me. My build would exit monk at around level 11 or 12 to get Greater Flurry, and cover the rest of the way with Superior Unarmed Strike and fist of the forest.

Also might want to mention that with Elusive Target (Complete Warrior), the King of Smack build can pretty easily out-damage and defeat any Power Attackers it might come across... as long as they come one at a time.

Keld Denar
2010-08-03, 04:19 PM
Actually, its typically 2 levels. Monk2 gets +1 BAB, +1 all saves, Evasion, and a bonus feat (which can be traded for the Monastic Training prereq of Tash). Its pretty frontloaded.

Also, Tash stacks Monk with PsyWar for flurry. That means you have -1 penalty flurry when the sum of your Monk and PsyWar levels totals 5, and no penalty flurry when the sum of your Monk and PsyWar levels totals 9, and Greater Flurry when the sum of your Monk and PsyWar levels totals 11. After 11, you can leave either class, as Superior Unarmed Strike and a Monk's Belt progress your UAS damage the rest of the way up to 20. At this point you can hop into Fist of the Forest and/or Warshaper to stack some more size bonuses or continue progressing your Psionic class of choice. You can truely have the best of all worlds with this combo.

Tash also works with Ardent, since you can nab Practiced Manifester and still get 9th level powers by ECL17, and you can even use it with a Psionic PrC like Warmind or Slayer or Sanctified Mind or Soul Manifester, since you only really need to get to 11 levels total between Monk and (Psionic Class).

Adumbration
2010-08-03, 04:22 PM
There's also the Invisible fist ACF from Exemplars Evil that may be worth contemplating. It loses two of the more useful monk features - Evasion and it's big brother - but it gains two interesting mechanics in returen. At 2nd level, you can turn invisible as an immediate action for 1 round, once every 3 rounds. At 9th level you can use Blink for a number of rounds equal to your wisdom modifier, with the same 3 round recharge time.

In top of that, they're supernatural abilities.

Person_Man
2010-08-03, 04:27 PM
Falling Star Strike and Freezing the Lifeblood are kind of overpowered if they trigger on any successful unarmed attack - you could be forcing a creature to make half a dozen saves against each effect per round.

That's the point.

But note that both feats only function against humanoid enemies. Also, a generic Warrior using a magic weapon that forces Saves (there's dozens of them, although the Save DC's are usually fixed, so they're only useful at certain levels) can do the same thing. A Glaivelock can as well.

Fax Celestis
2010-08-03, 04:30 PM
Hey, theoretically you can pick up pounce for your fists with Shape Soulmeld (Sphinx Claws) and Open Lesser Chakra (Arms) since your unarmed strike counts as a natural attack for spells and effects, right?

Also see if your DM will allow the Sapphire Eremite.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-03, 04:32 PM
After 11, you can leave either class, as Superior Unarmed Strike and a Monk's Belt progress your UAS damage the rest of the way up to 20.

You need at least 15 if you want maxed UAS damage, the Belt and SUS don't stack. It's in the description of SUS.

JKTrickster
2010-08-03, 05:03 PM
You need at least 15 if you want maxed UAS damage, the Belt and SUS don't stack. It's in the description of SUS.

No....what are you referring to? By text, it doesn't mention Monk's Belt at all :smallconfused:

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-08-03, 05:15 PM
No....what are you referring to? By text, it doesn't mention Monk's Belt at all :smallconfused:

It's the Monkey Grip problem. Both the belt and the feat refer to base monk levels, so an effective +3 increase here and a +4 increase there don't become a +7 increase: you default to the bigger of the two instead.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-03, 05:38 PM
It's the Monkey Grip problem. Both the belt and the feat refer to base monk levels, so an effective +3 increase here and a +4 increase there don't become a +7 increase: you default to the bigger of the two instead.

Precisely.

El Dorado
2010-08-03, 06:24 PM
I was always a fan of Diana's javelin staff (from the 80s D&D cartoon). The animated series handbook write up listed it as a +2 ki strike quarterstaff when wielded or a +2 ki strike javelin when thrown. Allowed use of stunning fist feat in melee or at range. Added +5 to jump checks. The best part was it's special ability: if she hit an opponent in melee, she could attempt a trip attack as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an AoO. If the attempt failed, the opponent couldn't try to trip her. (basically a stronger version of the Knockdown feat). Cost: 25,000 gp. Expensive but flavorful.

Awnetu
2010-08-03, 07:03 PM
Kung Fu Genius

you substitute your intelligence modifier for your wisdom modifier for purposes of all monk special abilities

and if Dragon Magazine isn't allowed,

Carmendine Monk, which works the same way, but requires you to be Lawful Good and a member of the "Zealots of the Written Word."

Both help out a bit with the MAD.

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-03, 10:56 PM
Person Man...what happened to Snap Kick!? Being capable of pseudo-flurry with Snap Kick while moving is a blessing, you know, like the idea of having flurry as standard action.

Also: Decisive Strike + AoO build. This one is a nightmare to pull, but it's Tash-tastic if you pull it over. Works better with Decisive Strike since you basically deal two attacks (you sacrifice all of your iteratives and you don't get flurry, but Snap Kick isn't an iterative and it works even with AoO's), so you make two attacks with double damage, albeit at a -4 penalty (ouch, but it should be worth it). Then, you do AoO + Snap Kick at double damage every time someone hits you.

Might not fly out, but just the Decisive Strike + AoO build with the monk fist damage can work out. It should do quite a lot of damage by itself, even though it'll be a tad feat-starving (depending on how you work it out, if you do it pure Monk or if you Tash it, be it PsyTash or ArdTash). As for why it may not fly out: it depends if the DM claims Snap Kick can activate with an Attack of Opportunity, as Snap Kick activates on a melee attack (http://www.realmshelps.org/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Snap_Kick) and AoO clearly states it grants a melee attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm#makinganAttackofOpportuni ty).

Evasion for Invisible Fist makes it a tad more mobile, and with Travel Devotion or Hustle you can become a mobile attacker, which should solve one or two of the problems using all books. With Stunning Fist and feats, you can make it a mild debuffer and boosting Wis you might pull off a character that can work decently in melee, though not on ToB range.

Also: Improved Natural Attack (unarmed strike). P_M, just...add it. Maybe even say that they get INA for free, or maybe by replacing one of their bonus feats (6th level is tasty).

I'd say Fiery Fist, but 1d6 fire damage isn't that hot even if you can pull it for the entire round (given fire resistance and whatnot). Draconic Fist ACF, sadly, is worse: 1d6 for one single attack, with an increase of +1d6 every five levels (to a top of 5d6 at hypothetical level 20, which might make a Monk 20 summoned by Planar Ally a tad less pathetic :P).

Halfling Monks can exchange the flurry for Skirmish. You can dip Scout 1 level and get increased Skirmish damage, then Imp. Skirmish for extra damage. If you want that damage to be special, then add Dragontouched, Draconic Inspiration (exotic dragon race) and Dragonfire Strike. BAM!, now your skirmish damage is force damage, or sonic damage, or radiance-based damage, or the like. With Snap Kick, you get that damage twice, so it's not a bad trade.

Also: Dragonfang Gauntlets, Gauntlets of the Talon and Scorpion Kama. Three items that stack with your unarmed strike damage, so you can use it at your leisure. Fanged Ring grants free INA (unarmed strike) and allows Con damage on a critical, though the price is a tad steep (10k gp!? No wonder; D&D hates monks with a passion...)

dextercorvia
2010-08-03, 11:04 PM
<snip> Draconic Inspiration<snip>

You mean Draconic Heritage.

/nitpick

+1 on Snap Kick.

Sir Giacomo
2010-08-04, 12:54 AM
Great idea, Person_Man!

I guess that 3.0 Oriental Adventures can be considered valid for 3.5 for those parts that have not been updated to 3.5.

Before doing a follow-up to my own guide, here are some ideas that play on/increase monk strengths:

1) Increasing unarmed strike damage dice
Person_Man himself once did a great compilation of how to get size increases.
The MM shows expansions for 1d8 base up to 12d8 iirc.
The monk's unarmed strike dice cap at 2d10, which could then be expanded to 24d8 with the help of great buffs like greater mighty wallop (from Races of Dragon), improved natural attack feat, enlarge and similar methods. With the help of a monk's belt you can get the maximum base damage already by level 15.

2) Improve stunning fist attack
Apart from increasing the DC to the low 40s by level 20, you can also use this feat combination that I found among the most powerful things a monk can do:
Snap kick (ToB), Rapid stun and sun school tactical feat (both from complete warrior).
Dimension door next to opponent, kick him twice, forcing two stun saving throws.

3) Improve grapple
In particular good until mid-levels. Use the psionics SRD gloves of titans grip that grants +8 to grappling checks, and alongside the usual grappling optimisation you can outgrapple most MM creatures appropriate for your level.

- Giacomo

Origomar
2010-08-04, 01:09 AM
man choke hold makes me want to understand grappling mechanics...

Edit: looked at the srd, not worth the half hour need to sleep.

lsfreak
2010-08-04, 01:35 AM
There's also the Invisible fist ACF from Exemplars Evil that may be worth contemplating. It loses two of the more useful monk features - Evasion and it's big brother - but it gains two interesting mechanics in returen. At 2nd level, you can turn invisible as an immediate action for 1 round, once every 3 rounds.

The really good part about this is that it doesn't mention the spell invisibility - and thus you can attack during the round without the invisibility breaking, effectivley giving you greater invis once every 3 roudns starting at 2nd level, before even see invisibility is available. It's excellent for a monk2/rogueX build, and is good simply for upping your attack when more heavily into monk. It makes for an easy +2atk, and versus flat-footed AC, to make up for the penalties to flurry that really hurt at low levels.

SurlySeraph
2010-08-04, 01:51 AM
I feel a build coming on. Monk 2 (Invisible Fist, Carmendine Monk)/ Swashbuckler 3 (Arcane Stunt)/ Factotum X. Lots of sneak attack, lots of minor arcane tricks. Also, Int to everything. Switching the Factotum levels for more Swash and throwing in a level of Swordsage for Assassin's Stance to qualify for Daring Outlaw would be a more damage-oriented, less skill-oriented variant.

...but back to monks.

zugschef
2010-08-04, 07:45 AM
don't forget the neckless of natural weapons from savage species and the fanged ring from dragon magic.

the first one is 3.0 material, but so is oriental adventures, but the amount of money this saves is simply incredible.

the fanged ring gives you improved natural attack (unarmed strike) _and_ improved natural attack, which means that if you have a natural attack, such as claws, your unarmed strikes and your claws deal more damage. 2 feats for 10k gold.

pharao's fist is a great feat to deal with a bunch of enemies.

serpent strike, pole master, stunning master (ecs, sos) and ability focus can be really nice for monk's relying on status effects.

btw, a monk2/psywar18 is basically on the same powerlevel as a psywar20. the bonus feats which ignore prereqs, the save boost and the skillpoints _can_ actually be a boon to the psywar.

[edit] you might want to add that intuitive attack is an (su) and as such susceptible by antimagic fields and the likes...

dextercorvia
2010-08-04, 07:51 AM
A one level Warblade dip, aside from maneuvers, gets the Adaptive Style class feature. Combined with one of the weapon specific feats from ECS, (Whirling Steal Strike, Serpent Strike, or Double Steal Strike) allows a Monk to flurry with any weapon he spends the time with.

Roderick_BR
2010-08-04, 11:10 AM
I'm rather fond of many of those rarer monk feats as well, but I still think that some of them should have the "Requires stunning fist even if stunning fist has nothing to with the feat" requirement dropped. My experience has always been that stunning fist is a trap.
Anyways, enough complaining some other things that help monks.

Now it is a variant feature, but Ranger's who worship the moon can get this at Ran2.

Armor of the senses: Wisdom to AC. (Stacks with Monk's wis bonus to ac) Dragon Magazine.

obviously this can be useful to a low level monk/hybrid. Of course you have to get Dragon material approved but why ever gimp the monk?
Maybe give stunning fist as a free feat, ON TOP of the 1st level monk bonus feat. Make it a default class feature. I think I saw some homebrews that uses it. Against enemies not immune to stun/criticals, it can help lock targets.

UserShadow7989
2010-08-04, 01:27 PM
Maybe give stunning fist as a free feat, ON TOP of the 1st level monk bonus feat. Make it a default class feature. I think I saw some homebrews that uses it. Against enemies not immune to stun/criticals, it can help lock targets.

That could work, but I think it would make more sense to make it require Improved Unarmed Strike. Same concept, but the requirement makes more sense and there's no need to modify the Monk's Bonus Feats.

Adumbration
2010-08-04, 02:09 PM
You know, this kinda makes me want to play a monk.

true_shinken
2010-08-04, 02:21 PM
You should note the Empty Hand Mastery, Person_Man.
It's a fighting style on OA: just take the requirement feats, your unarmed strike goes up one size.

Person_Man
2010-08-04, 02:29 PM
You know, this kinda makes me want to play a monk.

Well, if you're absolutely sure that you're going to be fighting humanoids most or all of the time, then they're an excellent choice. Stunning Fist and/or Soulwarp Strike and/or Falling Star Strike and/or Freezing the Lifeblood rocks.

Or if you're absolutely sure that you're going to be fighting enemies who primarily rely on weapons, Grappling Block (and it's numerous pre-reqs, 3 of which you can choose as bonus feats) is pretty awesome, in that it ignores the normal penalties for using a one handed weapon (unarmed strike) and any size differences.

Otherwise, the best advice is usually to look elsewhere.

Ruinix
2010-08-04, 02:52 PM
holy sh**, person_man now i want to take a shot on a monk ¨¨

XD anyway there was a thread of few month ago of a werebear build full of puns like "i can't bear such a build" or the like XD of a druid wherebear lord of bear bear totem barb. and so and so wich was given the idea of put some monk levels wich with certain item (a belt i think it was) can retain monk abilities in wild shape.

add that to some of this "dozen of save per hit" feats and will be worth of take a shot on that just for add to the list of puns "i bear illness on this bear hands" XDDD

Gametime
2010-08-04, 03:41 PM
Much as I love Tashalatora, it feels a bit like cheating. If you're planning on taking more than a few levels in monk, there are actually a few good prestige classes that can open up some options.

The first is Monk of the Enabled Hand, from the Dragon Compendium. Prereqs are easy (though effectively locking in two of your bonus feats is a pain), and it advances flurry, armor bonus, unarmed damage, and movement. In return, you get the ability to make a touch attack in place of a regular attack a few times per day (potentially awesome with Power Attack + Decisive Strike), the ability to make AoO's against enemies that attack you (nice to have since Robilar is only available late for monks), and the ability to bull rush someone you hit and knock him back (not very strong, but cool!). Nothing spectacular, but it's almost all better than what the normal monk gets, at least.

The second is the Disciple of the Word. It gets - wait, come back! I swear, combining Truenaming and monks isn't quite as fail as you'd think! Unlike Truenamers, the Disciple of the Word isn't targeting enemies with his abilities, so he doesn't have to worry about that horrifying 2xHD scaling DC. Instead, his abilities almost all key off of static DCs; they get pretty high (DC 50 for the capstone), but magic items alone should cover it. You'll almost certainly want either Kung-Fu Genius or Carmendine Monk, since extra Int will make your Truespeak boosting less painful.

In return for all this hassle, you again get to progress flurry*, movement, unarmed damage, and armor bonus. This one also progresses Stunning Fist attempts, which is important because you spend them to activate most of its abilities. The first few are pretty lame, but not terrible. At 6th level, you can make a Truespeak check to overcome damage reduction (even DR/epic!), but only for one attack (again, Decisive Strike is probably a good idea). At 7th, you can make a targeted dispel against someone, using Truespeak against their caster level check; since you're pumping Truespeak so much, you actually have a really good chance to succeed at this unless they're using caster level shenanigans. At 8th level, a Truespeak check can deflect attacks; at 9th level, it can deflect spells! At 10th level, for a DC 50 check, you can take a move action as an immediate action. It comes online way later than other move+full attack options, but it's something, and it does have other potential tactical applications.

If you're looking to play a monk that doesn't quite suck but doesn't just rely on other class's better class features to power it, it might be worth looking into the above options.

*Thanks to the marvel of editing that is Tome of Magic, Disciple of the Word actually explicitly both progresses and does not progress flurry of blows. Since the "does not progress" part is boilerplate for monk prestige classes and the "does progress" part isn't, I assume that it's supposed to advance flurry. Either way, I can't imagine many DMs who would not allow it.

Adumbration
2010-08-04, 03:44 PM
Well, if you're absolutely sure that you're going to be fighting humanoids most or all of the time, then they're an excellent choice. Stunning Fist and/or Soulwarp Strike and/or Falling Star Strike and/or Freezing the Lifeblood rocks.

Or if you're absolutely sure that you're going to be fighting enemies who primarily rely on weapons, Grappling Block (and it's numerous pre-reqs, 3 of which you can choose as bonus feats) is pretty awesome, in that it ignores the normal penalties for using a one handed weapon (unarmed strike) and any size differences.

Otherwise, the best advice is usually to look elsewhere.

Oh, I know. It's just that I'm a frequent victim of the "Oooh, shinies!" effect, and I am quite curious what kind of a monk I could whip up using all these alternate class features and feats. In particular, if I had a game in IRL, I'd probably do the aforementioned warblade/monk with a longsword, just for the mental imagery. It might even be efficient in the lower levels - although I'm well aware that the higher I would go, the more inefficient he would be.

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-04, 04:01 PM
Oh, I know. It's just that I'm a frequent victim of the "Oooh, shinies!" effect, and I am quite curious what kind of a monk I could whip up using all these alternate class features and feats. In particular, if I had a game in IRL, I'd probably do the aforementioned warblade/monk with a longsword, just for the mental imagery. It might even be efficient in the lower levels - although I'm well aware that the higher I would go, the more inefficient he would be.

For defensive ability, either Spell Reflection (with some sort of concealment, of course) or Invisible Fist are awesome. One works wonders with targeted spells, the other is basically icing in the cake. Both are wonderful with a Rogue dip, since you can basically sacrifice Monk evasion for Invisible Fist, Rogue evasion for Spell Resistance, and combine both to deflect attacks (not to mention having a 1/3 rounds chance of pulling Sneak Attacks without trouble).

For offensive ability, Decisive Strike is wonderful if you have ways to pull off attacks (say, Karmic Strike or Robilar's Gambit but not both), and a Halfling with Skirmish can be excellent while moving.

Still, neither actually makes going more than 6 levels (or heck, more than 2 levels) any more attractive, which is a shame. Most good builds rely on dipping Monk and claim it is one...

As for MotEH and DotW, I can't say much. I recall having seen one on the ToS, but it always had a lot of trouble (then again, it's the ToS...). MotEH isn't considered part of the official D&D rulebooks so it may be out of bounds to most, but the touch attack ability as the best of choices doesn't cut it really. It's rather interesting, though, as a PrC.

I'd add Tattooed Monk to the list, if only because at least one or three levels (never ending on even levels, of course) grant useful abilities. It also progresses Monk abilities (AC, speed and damage). Though Tattooed Monk is best taken for 9 levels (the last level is a dead level, and you want it mostly for the duration of the tattoo benefits. You can get most of the Monk benefits back that way without spending Monk levels to get them, but it's kind of a patch and not a viable ability.

Prodan
2010-08-04, 04:02 PM
Tattooed monk allows you to use Alter Self. Very useful on its own, moreso if you have some way of gaining the outsider subtype.

El Dorado
2010-08-04, 05:19 PM
The one downside of Tashalatora (when paired with psywarrior) is the lack of skill points. The monk's 4/level hurt as it is; 2/level is unacceptable.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-04, 06:48 PM
If we're discussing Monk prestige classes, nothing beats out Drunken Master for sheer awesome potential. It doesn't offer much for good abilities except near-unlimited healing (limited by the number of drinks your Strength score can carry), but it's hilarious.

UserShadow7989
2010-08-04, 08:46 PM
Unfortunately, the feats really don't fix the Monk's main problems. Horrible class abilities, MAD, no major roles they can fill in the party... Drunken Master doesn't either, as much of a hoot as it is.

Still freaking cool stuff, though. Especially Snap Kick. I really wish I had access to stuff beyond what's on the d20srd.org site. This is making me feel outdated. I have to try actually playing a game again. Hell, when was the last time I played D&D? Was it even D&D in the first place...?

Pechvarry
2010-08-04, 11:13 PM
From Monster Manual 5 (page 97):

Kuo-Toan Monasticism
requires you to be Kuo-Toa and possess Flurry of Blows.
benefit: Activate as Swift action; if your first hit in the round connects, one of your additional hits from flurry automatically hits as well.

Mind-Shattering Strike
requires Kuo-Toan Monasticism and stunning fist
burn a stunning fist use as you attack. On failed (will) save, opponent attacks nearest non-Kuo-Toan next turn.

Obviously, these are great and all... if you happen to be Kuo-Toan. (LE+3) As you're already posting 3rd party content and epic level stuff with a "handwave caveat", I figure these are worth noting as well. The 1st, particularly, could be fun on a build that can get big attack bonuses once/round. The 2nd might need modified to be "attacks nearest creature other than you." Or simply 1 round of confusion.

JBento
2010-08-05, 05:49 AM
hum... is it wrong that when I read the thread title my first thought was: "but wizards already gave monks all the help they needed - it's called "unarmed swordsage"? :smallfrown:

Curmudgeon
2010-08-05, 07:03 AM
There's one interesting synergy that hasn't been pointed out: the Invisible Fist ACF and Kung Fu Genius feat. Invisible Fist gives you Blink at 9th level, with a duration set by your WIS bonus. Kung Fu Genius uses INT mod instead for all Monk class features based on WIS mod. The problem there is that there are only two Monk class features based on WIS: AC Bonus (level 1+) and Quivering Palm (level 15+). Invisible Fist boosts that from 2 to 3 class features affected by Kung Fu Genius, a 50% improvement.

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-07, 11:06 AM
There's one interesting synergy that hasn't been pointed out: the Invisible Fist ACF and Kung Fu Genius feat. Invisible Fist gives you Blink at 9th level, with a duration set by your WIS bonus. Kung Fu Genius uses INT mod instead for all Monk class features based on WIS mod. The problem there is that there are only two Monk class features based on WIS: AC Bonus (level 1+) and Quivering Palm (level 15+). Invisible Fist boosts that from 2 to 3 class features affected by Kung Fu Genius, a 50% improvement.

Don't forget that Carmendine Monk does the same, but you get the floating bonus. So it's TWO feats that gain a 50% boost from sacrificing Evasion/Imp. Evasion.

Hmm...Monk 2/Rogue 2/Monk +7/Tattooed Monk 9... Replace the Monk Evasion with Invisible Hand, Rogue Evasion with Spell Reflection, and use Tattooed Monk for Alter Self, while getting more stuff than a Monk will ever have. Props if you can add the chameleon (alter self) tattoo to the mix. You get Sneak Attack which is a mild plus, and you can act as half of a skill monkey if you want. It's also a good way to use more than 2-6 Monk levels.

Also, for those who think "unarmed Swordsage = modded Monk"; first, the intention of this thread is to help the classic Monk class. That would be roughly similar to what Person_Man tried preventing people to do (unless, of course, they provide support with new tricks for the monk, in which case you're considered to "help" the Monk (putting unarmed Swordsage is another case of "stating the obvious", which isn't the purpose of this thread). Second: I'm away from the book currently, but doesn't Unarmed Swordsage provide only the unarmed strike damage progression, not the "treat as manufactured or natural weapon, whichever is more beneficial" quirk?

Seriously, and as a funny remark: who made the first mention of "unarmed Swordsage = modded Monk"? I think he (or she) made a new tabletop-based rule of the Internet:

The "Swordsage is modded Monk" Law: in any discussion dealing with the Monk character class from the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the chances of having a mention of "Unarmed Swordsage" are estimated to be a cumulative 45% per post after the first.

And to provide more support...the Holy Strike ACF from Complete Champion. Hit an evil creature (if you're good, otherwise hit a good creature), your weapon is considered good-aligned (or evil-aligned if LE, but not magic >.<) and deals 1d6 extra damage per hit. Consider how many creatures are evil, and you get free damage; plus, you can finally qualify for the Holy Ki Strike (so to speak :P) to deal 2d6 vs. evil outsiders. And Prayerful Meditation (+2 saving throw vs. spells and effects from chaotic and good/evil creatures, which compose a good lot of creatures), while not as strong, is much better than Still Mind (+2 vs. enchantments).

Oh, and a reminder to Person_Man: why in heavenly tarnation you haven't added Travel Devotion to the list of feats!?!? It was mentioned already, and it's one of the best ways to make a Monk mobile in at least one battle!

true_shinken
2010-08-07, 11:18 AM
Obviously, these are great and all... if you happen to be Kuo-Toan. (LE+3) As you're already posting 3rd party content and epic level stuff with a "handwave caveat", I figure these are worth noting as well. The 1st, particularly, could be fun on a build that can get big attack bonuses once/round. The 2nd might need modified to be "attacks nearest creature other than you." Or simply 1 round of confusion.

I actually saw no 3rd party stuff on Person_Man's post.


Second: I'm away from the book currently, but doesn't Unarmed Swordsage provide only the unarmed strike damage progression, not the "treat as manufactured or natural weapon, whichever is more beneficial" quirk?

You are correct, of course. People just tend to ignore that, like the fact that unarmed swordsage per se is totally DM-dependant anyway.

JaronK
2010-08-07, 12:13 PM
I'm surprised not to see mentions of Shou Disciple in here (did I just miss it?). In 5 levels you get full flurry progression (stacking with Monks), full BAB, 3 AC, two bonus feats, unarmed damage progression, and the ability to flurry with martial weapons. That's not bad, and really covers all the good abilities Monks get. It's in Unapproachable East. Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5 is thus a very solid class combo... you end up with better BAB than a straight class Monk, after all, and Flurry with a Guisarme is quite nice (since you can also unarmed strike in close).

Kensai is another solid class since you can enchant your fists or feat, and is amazing with Vow of Poverty if you go that route. A VoP Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Kensai 9 binding a few Chakras for special abilities can be surprisingly good while flurrying with a Longspear and Unarmed Strikes.

JaronK

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-07, 12:51 PM
I'm surprised not to see mentions of Shou Disciple in here (did I just miss it?).

I'm not sure if Shiba Protector was mentioned in here either. I mean, what better than Wis to attack and damage rolls?

The fact that it's an addition, and not a replacement; hence, you can have high Wis and Str bonuses and stack both!

...Or so I think. Away from Oriental Adventures, so...


Kensai is another solid class since you can enchant your fists or feat, and is amazing with Vow of Poverty if you go that route. A VoP Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Kensai 9 binding a few Chakras for special abilities can be surprisingly good while flurrying with a Longspear and Unarmed Strikes.

Except that VoP doesn't allow longspears? Though, it does allow Chakras, but then again you might want to go Incarnate or Totemist for that :P

As for Kensai, I'm not entirely convinced of the idea. It does have some interesting stuff: full BAB, the ability to enchant your weapons, Power Surge and Withstand which can replace Evasion (and if you went the path of Invisible Hand or Spell Reflection, much better!), but any more levels and it becomes pretty weak. Instill is for Monks that realize that they do better providing their stats to other characters (and thus, become a nuisance) and Ki Projection is a veritable joke. Ki Warlord is basically a minor benefit for a capstone ability.

Yet, a Necklace of Natural Attacks does the job. Not sure if Ancestral Relic would qualify (you can't have a masterwork unarmed strike, unless somehow you cut the hands of an ancestor and imbued them with energy), and definitely you can't enchant unarmed strikes as weapons of legacy (though it would be truly interesting to allow...)

As for "Unarmed Swordsage is DM-dependent"...well, if your DM accepts the idea of "unarmed Swordsage = modded Monk", the restriction is pretty pointless. Besides, it's not like in the same book, we have a follower of St. Cuthbert being a Ruby Knight Vindicator, instead of a Knight Vindicator of the Stars (making mention of the Stars of St. Cuthbert). So it's not like people are going to care that the devs intended unarmed Swordsage to be essentially a Monk replacement; it's a player-based conception.

But, it's interesting to add that little quirk. They still get relatively better class features, after all...

Also, Person_Man: willing to add builds to the 1st page? Or maybe ask Roland to allow sanctioned thread necromancy on the thread that looked for builds that used more Monk than Monk 2/Monk 6? It would give an idea on how to use Monk features the right way (much like Jaron's use of Shou Disciple)

true_shinken
2010-08-07, 12:57 PM
I'm not sure if Shiba Protector was mentioned in here either. I mean, what better than Wis to attack and damage rolls?

The fact that it's an addition, and not a replacement; hence, you can have high Wis and Str bonuses and stack both!

...Or so I think. Away from Oriental Adventures, so...
You are correct. Requirements are a bit steep, though.


As for Kensai, I'm not entirely convinced of the idea. It does have some interesting stuff: full BAB
Kensai is 3/4 base attack, actually.

As for "Unarmed Swordsage is DM-dependent"...well, if your DM accepts the idea of "unarmed Swordsage = modded Monk", the restriction is pretty pointless.
Indeed. Granted.


Besides, it's not like in the same book, we have a follower of St. Cuthbert being a Ruby Knight Vindicator, instead of a Knight Vindicator of the Stars (making mention of the Stars of St. Cuthbert). So it's not like people are going to care that the devs intended unarmed Swordsage to be essentially a Monk replacement; it's a player-based conception.
Wait, I'm confused. Do you mean the example RKV is not devoted to Wee Jas?



Also, Person_Man: willing to add builds to the 1st page? Or maybe ask Roland to allow sanctioned thread necromancy on the thread that looked for builds that used more Monk than Monk 2/Monk 6? It would give an idea on how to use Monk features the right way (much like Jaron's use of Shou Disciple)
Also, this guide needs more Sun School.

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-07, 02:28 PM
Wait, I'm confused. Do you mean the example RKV is not devoted to Wee Jas?

What, the farmer guy?

Look at the spell list. While the fluff says he's devoted to Wee Jas, the spell list claims St. Cuthbert as the patron deity, and the domains possessed are consistent with the Cudgel's domains (Protection and Destruction, if my memory serves me well).

I recall the pic delivers another clue: the holy symbol is that of St. Cuthbert, not that of Wee Jas. Can't be 100% sure of that one, tho.

Then again, it's not the first or the last example of how the devs don't understand their own game...

Also, +1 for Sun School. Inexorable Progress is kinda silly (hit with two attacks from a flurry, enemy moves 5 ft. and you can decide to move 5 ft.), Blinding Sun of Noon is so-so (you succeed on a stun attempt, you also blind the enemy for the following rounds), and Flash of Sunset makes abundant step (or Dimension Door) less retarded (you can make a single attack after using Dim Door or abundant step). I'd allow Flash of Sunset to deliver a flurry of blows attack after the use, though, to make it much better (since you only get ONE use of abundant step, which is obviously meant to escape from ONE battle). But it's a feat that screams of MONK all over, actually.

true_shinken
2010-08-07, 02:34 PM
What, the farmer guy?
I recall the pic delivers another clue: the holy symbol is that of St. Cuthbert, not that of Wee Jas. Can't be 100% sure of that one, tho.
Well, ToB has lousy editing. Maybe the statblock was pasted from a cleric of St. Cuthbert and badly edited.


Also, +1 for Sun School. Inexorable Progress is kinda silly (hit with two attacks from a flurry, enemy moves 5 ft. and you can decide to move 5 ft.), Blinding Sun of Noon is so-so (you succeed on a stun attempt, you also blind the enemy for the following rounds), and Flash of Sunset makes abundant step (or Dimension Door) less retarded (you can make a single attack after using Dim Door or abundant step). I'd allow Flash of Sunset to deliver a flurry of blows attack after the use, though, to make it much better (since you only get ONE use of abundant step, which is obviously meant to escape from ONE battle). But it's a feat that screams of MONK all over, actually.
I think this feat is even better on Tashalatora builds, who have A LOT more teleporting to do.

JaronK
2010-08-07, 04:06 PM
Except that VoP doesn't allow longspears? Though, it does allow Chakras, but then again you might want to go Incarnate or Totemist for that :P

Sure it does. Longspears are simple, and you can use simple weapons.

And yeah, some Incarnate or Totemist would be a good idea too.


As for Kensai, I'm not entirely convinced of the idea. It does have some interesting stuff: full BAB, the ability to enchant your weapons, Power Surge and Withstand which can replace Evasion (and if you went the path of Invisible Hand or Spell Reflection, much better!), but any more levels and it becomes pretty weak. Instill is for Monks that realize that they do better providing their stats to other characters (and thus, become a nuisance) and Ki Projection is a veritable joke. Ki Warlord is basically a minor benefit for a capstone ability.

It's mostly so you can have solid enchantments that you'd want (like Shadow Striking or Valorous) in addition to the normal +5 VoP bonus. You could theoretically have up to +15 worth of bonuses on your unarmed strikes, and that's handy enough. I'm not saying it's super powered or anything, but it's handy.

JaronK

Flickerdart
2010-08-07, 04:41 PM
You can use Psychic Weapon Master instead of Kensai for getting money-free enhancements on your weapon. It has 5/10 manifesting, so it's trivial to get 9th level powers with a Tashalatoran Ardent.

T.G. Oskar
2010-08-07, 04:55 PM
It's mostly so you can have solid enchantments that you'd want (like Shadow Striking or Valorous) in addition to the normal +5 VoP bonus. You could theoretically have up to +15 worth of bonuses on your unarmed strikes, and that's handy enough. I'm not saying it's super powered or anything, but it's handy.

Hmm, perhaps it's true, but doesn't seem to work if you compare it to other Monk-themed options. Then again, I've never thought of Kensai as a really worthwhile PrC: the main benefit (enchanting your weapon as you desire) isn't strong enough to compensate for the lack of other benefits, even if you get two worthwhile class abilities during the path (Power Surge and Withstand).

Then again, you can blame stuff like Final Fantasy Tactics ruining my concept of Kensai.