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View Full Version : People bash Monks alot. Are they good for anything? (Gestalting?)



Sims
2011-02-10, 09:32 PM
I know it sounds mean, but its true. At later levels, Monks just aren't that great. Unless you Gestalt it with something.

Does anyone have any uses for Monks?

dsmiles
2011-02-10, 09:34 PM
Monk/Unarmed Swordsage should be an acceptable use. Extra punchy goodness! :smallbiggrin:

Talya
2011-02-10, 09:39 PM
Monks can actually be good for several things....just not single classed.

A few simple things worth playing:
Monk/Cleric/Sacred Fist
Monk/Unarmed Swordsage/Shadow Sun Ninja
monk/druid (emphasis on the druid)

There are plenty of ways to make a few levels of monk useful. However, they tend to be useful like two levels of fighter can be useful...only far more specific and less versatile.

arguskos
2011-02-10, 09:43 PM
Monk 2 is a great pair of levels. +3 to all saves, +1 BAB, some feats, Evasion, decent skills from a good list, and 2d8 HD is all pretty good actually.

Monk 3-20 sucks terribly.

It's a great dip class. Nothing more though.

EDIT: Also, Talya, I like seeing you around again. Your avatar always makes me smile, I dunno why.

SurlySeraph
2011-02-10, 09:45 PM
The first two levels of Monk are good for a lot of melee or skillmonkey builds, especially those that want to work well with minimal equipment. You can also use Monk well in combination with Psychic Warrior (via Tashalatora), Wizard (via Enlightened Fist), or Cleric or Druid (via Sacred Fist).

MeeposFire
2011-02-10, 09:45 PM
Monks can actually be good for several things....just not single classed.

A few simple things worth playing:
Monk/Cleric/Sacred Fist
Monk/Unarmed Swordsage/Shadow Sun Ninja
monk/druid (emphasis on the druid)

There are plenty of ways to make a few levels of monk useful. However, they tend to be useful like two levels of fighter can be useful...only far more specific and less versatile.

Though in many ways isn't that true with most classes in 3.5? Especially PHB1 classes.

Fighter 1-4 levels

Barb 1-5 (though usually only 1. Heck barbarian is only really better than fighter due to an ACF and a few skill points).

Paladin 1-4

Monk1-4(6) some people really like level 6 for flurry purposes with 5 level of flurry prcs.

Cleric/wizard/sorcerer 5 at best.

Fighter and monk are not the only low level dips around.

Saint GoH
2011-02-10, 09:47 PM
I find Monk to be a great dip class, and even passable when gestalted with something else worthwhile. Cleric, Ardent, Druid, immediately spring to mind. Since it really only grants good saves and a moderate skill list, there are many many better options. Ranger/Cleric would essentially be the same as Monk/Cleric except you'd have better BAB in the long run, and usable class features.

John Cribati
2011-02-10, 09:47 PM
CHaos Monk actually works a bit better. Flailing Strike > Flurry.

turkishproverb
2011-02-10, 09:50 PM
Whatever else you may say, LVL 17 Monks can make good diplomancers (after all, they are the only people who can talk to any living thing without a spell).

arguskos
2011-02-10, 09:50 PM
CHaos Monk actually works a bit better. Flailing Strike > Flurry.
Kinda. We established in another thread that Flailing Strike is still a full round action, so it's not quite as good as previously believed. Still probably better than Flurry though, mostly cause Flurry SUUUUUUCKS.

Also, I failed to mention one of my favorite builds: Soulknife/Monk/Atavist (Races of Eberron). Use the Shape Mind Blade feat from Dragon Mag to make your mind blade an unarmed strike (a legal choice). Stack unarmed strike damage with mind blade buffs. Do the Buddha Palm. Enjoy. I think AslanCross has an example thread about it somewhere.

chaos_redefined
2011-02-10, 09:59 PM
I've always had to question the monk/druid idea...

Are you telling me that a monk 1/druid X is better than a druid X+1? At low levels, that +1 can be the difference between having access to a higher level of spells or not, or an extra wildshape, or, well... you get the idea. At high levels, you can replace it with a monk's belt.

When are you supposed to take this dip?

Telonius
2011-02-10, 09:59 PM
As you mentioned, they are really nice for gestalt builds, particularly for Wizards and Sorcerers. Higher hitpoints, skillpoints, BAB, and saves are really nice.

A couple levels of Monk can also help full-BAB builds if they're trying to qualify for early entry into Prestige Classes that require lots of skill points. Rogue is usually better, but not always - especially if you're concerned about low Will saves. A level or two won't kill your build in any case; you're going to be trading (at most) 1 point of BAB for the better saves and higher skill points.

As always, Rogue19/Anything1 is better than Rogue20. Monk is Anything, so it's a power boost over a straight 20 levels. It also gives access to Shuriken proficiency, which can be very helpful to a Rogue who wins initiative. Flurry of Blows to launch a bunch of Shuriken against a flat-footed foe (when you have Sneak Attack damage) can be a nasty surprise.

But yes, do notice that most of what's been listed (either by myself or others) is either for a 2-level dip, or for use with gestalt. There's really not much use in taking more than a few levels of it. Other classes (notably Unarmed Swordsage) do most of what Monk does, better. That's not to say Monks can't be optimized - any class can have more power wrung out of it, depending on the level of cheese you're comfortable with - but Monk should not be your primary go-to for powergaming.

Flickerdart
2011-02-10, 10:02 PM
Whatever else you may say, LVL 17 Monks can make good diplomancers (after all, they are the only people who can talk to any living thing without a spell).
If, by 17th level, you can't access a 2nd level spell, then speaking in tongues is the least of your worries.

Talya
2011-02-10, 10:04 PM
Still probably better than Flurry though, mostly cause Flurry SUUUUUUCKS.


And yet one can make it work.

Note that all the builds I listed above continue monk flurry progression through a prc or similar, for a reason. Once you get to 11 equivalent monk levels, all you need to do is find a way to take a full attack, and it's worthwhile -- no penalty to hit, two extra attacks. Hell, with the sacred fist build, you do it with Divine Power active and you're actually hitting as well as a fighter, but with far more attacks.

I'm not saying flurry is great, but it's better to have it than not to have it. In every campaign I've played, melees still end up taking their full attacks in 90% of fights. They aren't as rare as people like to pretend.

(Flurry should still be applicable to both full attacks and standard action attacks, but you take what you can get.)

John Cribati
2011-02-10, 10:05 PM
Also, Gestalt is where the monk shines. Pretty soon, I'll be playing a Chaos Monk// Paladin of Freedom/Barbarian. Plus Vow of Poverty (a homebrew variation, I admit). That may be the cheesiest thing I've even come up with.

Dr.Epic
2011-02-10, 10:12 PM
People don't bash monks. Monks bash people.

(Sorry, had to make that joke.)

Urpriest
2011-02-10, 10:12 PM
If, by 17th level, you can't access a 2nd level spell, then speaking in tongues is the least of your worries.

No no no. Tongues only allows you to speak with things that have a language. The monk ability allows you to speak with any living creature. Oozes? Check. Assassin Vine? Check. It's pretty essential for the Diplomancy version of the Tippyverse.

SurlySeraph
2011-02-10, 10:20 PM
I've always had to question the monk/druid idea...

Are you telling me that a monk 1/druid X is better than a druid X+1? At low levels, that +1 can be the difference between having access to a higher level of spells or not, or an extra wildshape, or, well... you get the idea. At high levels, you can replace it with a monk's belt.

When are you supposed to take this dip?

It's good if you take that feat from Dragon, Beast Strike or whatever it's called, that lets you add your Unarmed Strike damage to natural weapon attacks, especially since Flurry gives you another attack that way. Is what you gain (including the money you don't spend on a Monk's Belt) worth losing 1 CL and Huge Elemental Wildshape? Usually not. But it's not a big loss.

Monk 1/ Druid 6/ Sacred Fist 10/ Druid +3 is also pretty solid. Worth the lost CL, Wildshape, and Animal Companion progression? Hell no. But pretty solid.

Really, almost nothing except Planar Shepherd is worth losing Druid levels. But Monk 1 is less not worth it than most dips a Druid could take.

grarrrg
2011-02-10, 10:22 PM
As stated, Gestalt is where the Monk is 'best'.
Sorc X// Monk 2/Pal 2/whatever
Equals awesome saves man.




Paladin 1-4

Cleric/wizard/sorcerer 5 at best.


Paladin is a 2-5 dip. Level 2 is the main Dip-Draw in Divine Grace. And Level 5 gets you access to the Mount.

Cleric/Wizard/Sorcerer can at least be worth taking the full way, or at least until 9th level spells are gotten. The main draw with any caster Base-class or PrC is the Caster levels anyway.

Sorc 18/Pal 2 FTW!

turkishproverb
2011-02-10, 10:32 PM
If, by 17th level, you can't access a 2nd level spell, then speaking in tongues is the least of your worries.

Any living thing. Not any sentient thing. The creature doesn't have to be intelligent for you to diplomance with it if you're a monk. IT doesn't even have to be animalia.

Effectively it's antimagic proof Tongues, Speak with Animals, Speak with plants. All in one. As well as speak with beasts, abberations, other monsters, etc. About the only thing it doesn't work on is undead (and that is a bit debatable).


Ever diplomance a Tarrasque? or that Darned Crab?


No no no. Tongues only allows you to speak with things that have a language. The monk ability allows you to speak with any living creature. Oozes? Check. Assassin Vine? Check. It's pretty essential for the Diplomancy version of the Tippyverse.

Bingo. Thanks.

Flickerdart
2011-02-10, 10:43 PM
And why would you need to chat up the world's most disappointing CR20 monster or a creature that stopped being a thread 12 levels ago? Everything important can be reached by Tongues or telepathy.

SurlySeraph
2011-02-10, 10:55 PM
What if you need to Diplomance something mindless or telepathy-shielded? Or something from the Far Realms which has a mind full of screaming and that communicates by vomiting up frogs? Or that only speaks in kung fu? There are tons of totally plausible scenarios where you would need that many monk levels to communicate.

Leon
2011-02-10, 10:55 PM
Does anyone have any uses for Monks?

Whatever the level Monks are good second line combatants, with recon elements if you lean that way with skills.
Good partnered with a Rogue for flanking abilities (high DEX and tumble)

cupkeyk
2011-02-10, 11:22 PM
Actually, the most front loaded class IS wizard. it actually says so in their progression table. If you can find a PRc you can qualify for at level 2 without losing caster levels, you should do so. master specialists PRC out of wizard at 3 and NEVER look back.

Straight monks aren't horrible in game play. I had a friend who played into Monk 20 unoptimized and he had fun. I was a buffer wizard, so I gave him a Tenser's Transformation as a contingent spell. Plus Haste and Mass fly, and Radiant Aura, I can just sit back and relax.

It depends on how well the dynamic within the party is and how good the DM is. Our DM set up challenges designed for the monks skill versatility. Monks will suck in an arena of course but that's not how most DnD games go.

Sinfonian
2011-02-10, 11:27 PM
Actually, the most front loaded class IS wizard. it actually says so in their progression table. If you can find a PRc you can qualify for at level 2 without losing caster levels, you should do so. master specialists PRC out of wizard at 3 and NEVER look back.

Alas, the actual answer is sorceror. Wizards at least get bonus feats.

cupkeyk
2011-02-10, 11:31 PM
I stand corrected. Yes it is the sorc. And they cast one level slower than wiz too. Oddity.

Cog
2011-02-11, 12:39 AM
I stand corrected. Yes it is the sorc. And they cast one level slower than wiz too. Oddity.
It's not that odd. They just thought the ability to spontaneously cast was that good. Turned out to be wrong for a given level of optimization, but in a casual game (the way it seems to have been playtested) I could easily see it turning out that way.

Coidzor
2011-02-11, 12:46 AM
It's not that odd. They just thought the ability to spontaneously cast was that good. Turned out to be wrong for a given level of optimization, but in a casual game (the way it seems to have been playtested) I could easily see it turning out that way.

Eh. Considering the low-op games I've been in, I just can't see that at all.

Talya
2011-02-11, 01:43 AM
I've always had to question the monk/druid idea...

Are you telling me that a monk 1/druid X is better than a druid X+1? At low levels, that +1 can be the difference between having access to a higher level of spells or not, or an extra wildshape, or, well... you get the idea. At high levels, you can replace it with a monk's belt.

When are you supposed to take this dip?

It's not strictly better. It violates the "Never give up spellcasting levels" commandment. It does, however, have the potential to turn the druid into a much scarier wildshaper. The druid doesn't ultimately lose much when they grab their single monk level--it just slows down their progressio.

And technically, a druid can't use a monk's belt to gain that advantage without access to some very suspect splatbooks. When they wildshape, they lose their gear. There's a way around that in a splatbook, but splatbooks typically require DM approval to use -- and who decides to give a druid something to make them MORE powerful. (And anyone who suggests the druid should take off their gear before they wildshape then put it back on afterward -- that's a good way to get your DM to stab you in the face with a brick.)

Kerghan
2011-02-11, 02:00 AM
Combine levels of Sorcerer with levels of Monk, and take the Ascetic Mage feat out of Complete Adventurer. It allows you to add your charisma modifier to AC instead of your wisdom bonus, and your monk and sorcerer levels stack for purposes of determining the monk AC bonus. You would lose a level or two from your caster level (knocking out a spell level at least until level 18 when you got 9th circle spells). You're already not wearing armor, and concentrating on your charisma to play a better caster, why not add it to your AC?

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-02-11, 02:03 AM
Monk 1/ Wizard or Sorcerer 4/ Enlightened Fist 5/ Master of the East Wind 10 is decent, it gets 16th level Monk abilities without a Monk's Belt and 18th level spellcasting without Practiced Spellcaster, though its BAB is lacking (+12 at 20th, or +14 fractional). Use Ascetic Mage or Carmendine Monk/Kung-Fu Genius for SAD, get spell buffs, and cast and deliver touch spells as part of a full attack. Ideally you could use Kiss of the Vampire to add the Enervation touch or Vampiric Touch to your unarmed strikes, but (Maximized) Shivering Touch is probably just as game-ending. I'd say that this is the most capable build that progresses its monk abilities to a high level. You would probably be better off going something like Monk 1/ Wizard or Sorcerer 4/ Enlightened Fist 5/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Sacred Exorcist 5, using Illumian with Naenhoon for Persist cheese. The best part about that is you qualify for Abjurant Champion using the Monk's handaxe proficiency, probably the only use that proficiency has seen since its original printing.

Two levels of Cobra-Strike Monk (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#monkVariantFightingSty les) is good for meeting Arcane Duelist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20030224a)'s prerequisites, take Ascetic Mage and you get 2x your Cha bonus to AC.

A (nonpsionic) Thri-Kreen HD 2/ Monk 1/ Soulknife 2/ Soulbow X gets some serious Wis SAD, though you would still probably be better off with Swordsage, taking the second level of it some time after you pick up Soulbow 1.

Psyren
2011-02-11, 02:05 AM
They're great with psionics, both flavor- and crunch-wise.

Starbuck_II
2011-02-11, 08:18 AM
I know it sounds mean, but its true. At later levels, Monks just aren't that great. Unless you Gestalt it with something.

Does anyone have any uses for Monks?

Why do people bash Alots that are monks. Leave the alot alone. :smallfrown:
Everyone should love the alot.
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

LordBlades
2011-02-11, 08:44 AM
And technically, a druid can't use a monk's belt to gain that advantage without access to some very suspect splatbooks. When they wildshape, they lose their gear. There's a way around that in a splatbook, but splatbooks typically require DM approval to use -- and who decides to give a druid something to make them MORE powerful.

In high-op games most DMs allow Wilding Clasps (which have been reprinted in MiC, which is not nearly as 'suspect' as their previous source). When you;re playing beyond a certain power level, druids with Wilding Clasps are actually less scary than gishes with Polymorph into humanoid forms that get to keep their gear.

Talya
2011-02-11, 09:06 AM
In high-op games most DMs allow Wilding Clasps (which have been reprinted in MiC, which is not nearly as 'suspect' as their previous source). When you;re playing beyond a certain power level, druids with Wilding Clasps are actually less scary than gishes with Polymorph into humanoid forms that get to keep their gear.

I've never met a DM that allowed wilding clasps, citing "They're not core, and druids don't need the lovin'."

That said, a wildshape-focused druid with Vow of Poverty may have one of its few reasonably powerful uses there...I'd say a much better choice for the wildshaping druid than a level of monk, if you can stand playing without gear.

LordBlades
2011-02-11, 09:20 AM
I've never met a DM that allowed wilding clasps, citing "They're not core, and druids don't need the lovin'."

That said, a wildshape-focused druid with Vow of Poverty may have one of its few reasonably powerful uses there...I'd say a much better choice for the wildshaping druid than a level of monk, if you can stand playing without gear.

My experience has been exactly contrary. Any DM I've played with in a high-powered game has either allowed it from the start, or allowed it after I asked him to compare the stats of a druid wildshaped in a Dire Bear (without items) vs. a Gish wildshaped in a War Troll (with full items).
I can understand why in some lower-powered games people would feel they are too strong, but when everybody is optimizing, they don't pull the druid ahead that much.

Havelock
2011-02-11, 09:26 AM
Monk Gish implementing Greater Mighty Wallop can be effective. 12d8 base damage is pretty decent either way you slice it. Need 11 monk levels (though monk 12 gives +1 to all saves, plus BAB so usually take that) one feat from ToB and a monk's belt for that....

Cogidubnus
2011-02-11, 09:51 AM
With Droylt's Vow of Poverty fix and the Falling Star Strike feat, plus one of the several ways of getting Wis or Dex to attack rolls, you can optimise your to hit and AC. This sounds kinda crap - who wants to hit but not hurt? This is where Falling Star Strike comes in. It doesn't use Stunning Fist uses, just requires the class feature, and forces a fort save against blindness whenever it's used. With Wis based DC. Just poke them in the eyes and let the Rogue finish them off.

Fri
2011-02-11, 09:55 AM
What if you need to Diplomance something mindless or telepathy-shielded? Or something from the Far Realms which has a mind full of screaming and that communicates by vomiting up frogs? Or that only speaks in kung fu? There are tons of totally plausible scenarios where you would need that many monk levels to communicate.

I totally have to make my players encounter something that only communicate in kung fu. This really made me laugh.

turkishproverb
2011-02-11, 07:34 PM
I totally have to make my players encounter something that only communicate in kung fu. This really made me laugh.

Hey, it works for Batgirl.

AslanCross
2011-02-11, 08:11 PM
Monk/Unarmed Swordsage should be an acceptable use. Extra punchy goodness! :smallbiggrin:

This is how I use them.

Adamantrue
2011-02-12, 09:27 AM
I didn't notice anyone mentioning the Halfling Monk substitution levels from RotW. Combining that with Cobra Strike variant from UA is pretty sweet, mostly because all the abilities are working with each other rather than against each other.

Freely multiclasses with Rogue, too.

Earl William
2011-02-12, 09:35 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong thread for this but as a 3.5/D&D newbie, I'm driven to ask: Why do monks suck, everyone says they do but they look decent to me.

Eldan
2011-02-12, 09:39 AM
The short list usually goes like this:

1. They are a primary combat class, but their BAB is low, so they don't hit often.
2. They need four high abilities, most classes only need one or two.
3. Their class features don't work together: they have high speed, but flurry only works on a full attack.
4. Their other class features are usually weaker copies of spells that casters got many levels ago.
5. At pretty much every level, their damage is lower than that of a normal fighter, as is their armour class.

Edit: and of course the same problems as any melee class: compared to casters, they have little tactical variety, few abilities useful out of combat, and there are many enemies they can't deal with at all, such as flying or incorporeal creatures.

Adamantrue
2011-02-12, 09:40 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong thread for this but as a 3.5/D&D newbie, I'm driven to ask: Why do monks suck, everyone says they do but they look decent to me. Source (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4869.0;wap2)
Monk:

Cons: They aren't exceptional tanks due to lowish HD, medium BAB, multi-attribute dependency (and thus comparably lower combat stats than melee monsters; this also hurts their supposed strengths in Grapple, Tripping & other combat maneuvers, along with Stunning Fist; all of those heavily reward straightforward dedication to a single stat over all else, and a Monk really can't pull that off), the fact that you can't combine their movement speed with Flurry (Flurry requires full attack, movement allows only one) and lack of weapon proficiencies (unarmed strikes getting decent dice later on, but lacking in special abilities and enhancing them costs a ****ton; oh, and no reach, no AoO-builds). Flurry is needed for them to do decent damage forcing them to ignore their speed boost in combat.

They aren't exceptional scouts due to lacking Trapfinding and having relatively low skill points and being unable to afford decent Int thanks to multi-attribute dependency (Hide/Move Silently/Tumble is all good, but if you don't have Trapfinding, scouting ahead in a hostile environment is like to get you killed).

They aren't exceptional mage killers (*chuckle*) because they really have nothing to especially threaten mages with. Just like every other warrior type, their movement is inferior to teleportation (once-per-day Dimension Door doesn't cut it), they have few if any ways to locate the mage and penetrate magical defenses (Mirror Image + Displacement + Blink: good luck hitting... Or Wall of Force) and they can't even reasonably use bows so their ability to act at range is infinitely diminished. Oh, and if they somehow manage to plop an Anti-Magic Field around themselves? They just gave up like 70% of their class features. Thanks to Greater Spell Penetration (in Core)/Assay Resistance (out of Core), their multi-attribute dependency, spells that ignore saves (even just good ol' Rays like Enervation/Scorching Ray/whatever, or Forcecages or something dumb), spells that trivialize touch AC (hello, True Strike!) and so on, all their magical defenses really add up to jack ****.

They aren't exceptional skirmishers due to not being able to Flurry with standard action and their speed bonus being enhancement thus, while probably being able to somewhat remain out of the harm's way with Spring Attack, not reducing the damage their allies take one bit and dealing negligible damage themselves. Indeed, this is the worst thing a Monk can do since it means the people who do the fighting are now taking all the beatdown while the Monk isn't contributing to the team's damage in any meaningful way either. In other words, the Monk isn't taking any hits and he isn't dealing any damage this way; thus he's as good as an empty slot in the party.


And overall, their class features kinda suck. Mostly, you can look at 'em like this:
-Flurry? That's nice! Now if only I were able to focus on one stat and have full BAB, I'd be doing a lot with my extra attacks on highest bonus!
-Improved Grapple/Trip/Stunning Fist/whatever? Nice! Now, if I only were able to focus on one stat and have full BAB, I could be landing these and winning the opposed checks!
-Speed boost? That's nice! Now, if I only could move and attack with my Flurry (which "almost" makes me equal to full BAB types), I could be doing something! Oh, and if this only stacked with magical speed boosts I'd actually be faster than the other classes.
-Unarmed Strikes? That's nice! Now, if I only got size increases or something so the damage dice would actually add up to something, and got 2x Power Attack returns and full BAB, this could add up to something!
-Ki Strikes? Nice, my unarmed strikes pretend to be weapons and get some minor abilities that almost replicate what my 1000gp weapon does! If only my WPL wasn't 100000...
-Slow Fall? So I get to replicate a 1st level spell by level 20? No? It only works next to walls? Well, almost replicate a 1st level spell!
-All this nice stuff, Abundant Step, Quivering Palm, Empty Body, I can replicate many kinds of spells poorly...once per DAY! Oh, make it Once per WEEK for that scary scary, broken Finger of Death With Save DC Derived Off Secondary Stat That Requires An Attack To Hit To Be Used.
-Oh, there's more? I get to replicate few more random low level spells? Cool. Oh, and Evasion? Yeah, nice, my Reflex-saves actually matter something! That's like...25k saved on the Ring.
-I get Spell Resistance? Just to ensure my team can't waste a Heal on me when I'm about to die? Cool!


Lack of synergy and multi-attribute dependency pretty much screw Monks up. Oh, and the good class features being limited to Very Few Uses Per Day. Seriously, if Monks had the ability to use Flurry whenever making an attack, if they got like Wis x uses of their now-daily abilities and the ability to use Dex for combat maneuvers, and Wis/Dex for damage, they'd be just fine. Grab Weapon Finesse/Intuitive Attack and they'd be able to go to town. As all those things are ****ed up though, they don't. As I mentioned above, those multiclass builds easily sidestep these issues. Mono-classed Monks don't though. -Eldariel
---------------------------------------------------

Monk 2 with Tashalatora feat / Ardent 18 , is waayyy superior to Monk 20. It's not even close. -Awaken DM Golem

Pros: Though horrible as a long class, these guys are an awesome dip. Monk 1, Monk 2, and Monk 6 are all solid break points, providing many bonus feats, full saves, and Wis to AC (which Carmendine Monk or Kung Fu Genius can turn into Int to AC). This class goes great with Shou Disciple, which progresses flurry and gives full BAB. The class is heavily upstaged by the Unarmed Variant Swordsage, but it's still a solid dip. Consider Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Kensai 9 or Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 9 as solid examples of a fighting monk build. Monk 1/OA Samurai 1/Warblade 8/Shou Disciple 5/Iajuitsu Master 5 is another solid build. The combination of Sense Motive and Diplomacy on a wisdom based class can be very handy... our party will often back up the skill monkeys with a Monk during social encounters, with the monk using Sense Motive to watch the interaction. Monk is also a solid dip with Druid, since you can use iterative attacks with your unarmed strikes while Wild Shaping, and Wis to AC is handy if you can't purchase a Monk's Belt. -JaronK I should mention I don't think they suck, but I also prefer lower-tier play, as well as the challenge in making harder choices work as well as possible.

Plus I like the flavor. They don't feel like any other Class.

Gnaeus
2011-02-12, 09:44 AM
The short list usually goes like this:

1. They are a primary combat class, but their BAB is low, so they don't hit often.
2. They need four high abilities, most classes only need one or two.
3. Their class features don't work together: they have high speed, but flurry only works on a full attack.
4. Their other class features are usually weaker copies of spells that casters got many levels ago.
5. At pretty much every level, their damage is lower than that of a normal fighter, as is their armour class.

Edit: and of course the same problems as any melee class: compared to casters, they have little tactical variety, few abilities useful out of combat, and there are many enemies they can't deal with at all, such as flying or incorporeal creatures.

Good summation. But I would add that along with lower to hit and damage and armor compared with most melee, they also tend to have lower hit points.

The Glyphstone
2011-02-12, 09:45 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong thread for this but as a 3.5/D&D newbie, I'm driven to ask: Why do monks suck, everyone says they do but they look decent to me.

Multiple ability dependency plus conflicting, non-synergistic abilities and a lack of focus on their intended role, mainly.

Less jargon - more than any class besides Paladin, Monks need a lot of high ability scores (Str for Damage, Dex for AC, Con for HP, Wis for their class features, Int and Cha optional). This means they suffer at low point buy or if you can't roll good on your stat dice.

Lack of frontline capability: The biggest offender is their increased speed, plus flurry, since flurry can only be used if they can't move. Likewise, they are intended to be a melee fighter, but have 3/4 BAB, and their signature move (flurry) makes them worse at hitting things. Combined with the ability score problems, they will likely end up with a 'flurry of misses'. Many people champion them as 'wizard killers', but that's a whole nother flavor of wrong that we don't want to get involved in.

Finally...they look cool because they get all sorts of powers - but none of them actually synergize or work together. They have kung fu...and they can talk to plants...and they're immune to disease...and they can teleport once per day....and they can kill someone with a pressure point once per week...wut? The flavor of the Monk is every Wuxia warrior film character and Asian folklore hero hamfistedly glued into one lumpy whole.



EDIT: Swordsaged by Eldan and others, naturally.

Starbuck_II
2011-02-12, 09:48 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong thread for this but as a 3.5/D&D newbie, I'm driven to ask: Why do monks suck, everyone says they do but they look decent to me.

Because they have no synergy.

Compare the rogue: Evasion reduces damage from area effects. Uncanny dodge reduces chance to hit. Sneak attack increases combat damage by a steady rate (twfing increases it if target is still flanked/deny dex).
Eventually you cause con damage with your attacks or get improved evasion.
Everything makes you strong at fighting.
But you can multiclass freely/be any alignment
Rogue is also a highly skilled class so doesn't need to be a combat one.
Needs Dex for AC if in light armor, but nothing else needed (non-negative Int mod). Obviously con as everyone needs that

Back to Monks: get a full attack ability (flurry) coupled with a huge movement ability. They don't help each other. Then he stop falling damage but only by a wall...how often do you fall right by a wall?
Then he can teleport 1/day...but everyone else (spellcaster could 5-6 levels ago). Then he can kill 1/week, but everyone did that 10 levels ago.
Then he can speak to anything...
They aren't a highly skilled class so primary feature will be fighting...except they aren't as good as any other class.
They need all stats but Int/Cha (Str for damage as they have no sneak attack, Dex/Wis for AC as they can't wear armor, Con due to a fighting class)= MAD (multiple ability dependency).

Coupled with multiclass penalty (can't reenter) and alignment focus issue (must be lawful).

Now look at Barbarians: are better focused: Wear armor, need a tiny dex due to armor, need Str, bash/smash, Rage, get DR.

Now look at Codzilla: every spell can be combined to make you a melee powerhouse (Wild shape, Divine power, etc).

Here is a story from 3.0 monk:
http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=37404&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
The monk story starts after a paragrasph or two giving his background. He called him Joel Leonwright or something.

Dragero
2011-02-12, 09:49 AM
I once made a Half-Dragon Water Orc Grapplomancer, by using 1-2 levels of monk for the feats/fists, a monks belt for more monk with less levels, and the rest into Sorc for magic. I played him in one brief game, but he turned out quite well!

Prime32
2011-02-12, 09:51 AM
Good summation. But I would add that along with lower to hit and damage and armor compared with most melee, they also tend to have lower hit points.Also, they must spend far more money if they want to improve their attacks or AC, since they can't use normal weapons or armour. Which means they have less to spare for the cool toys the other PCs get. In fact, the wealth difference is enough that the other PCs could buy things like rings of feather falling and monk's belts to duplicate all the monk's abilities in addition to their own.


They need all stats but Int/ChaActually they need Int to make use of their skill list, and Cha if you want to try making use of their ability to talk to things. And yes, they must spend more money to increase their stats.

MarkusWolfe
2011-02-12, 10:20 AM
If you want to do away with weapons, monks are wonderful for gestalt builds. You can either:

A) Gestalt with a full BAB class. From the BAB class, you get the ability to actually hit things and do well in a grapple as well as, in all likelihood, larger hitdie. From the monk class, you get the ability to do high damage with your fists (which can be used in a grapple), sometimes more skill points, perfect saves, and a wis bonus to AC and a speed boost if you're wearing no armor.

OR

B) Gestalt with a casting class. From the casting class you get......well, casting. From the monk class, you get a probably larger hitedie, a higher BAB, the ability to not be completely screwed over when attacked in melee or a grapple, sometimes more skill points, perfect saves and a wis bonus to AC and a speed boost if you're wearing no armor.

However, unless you've rolled mostly/all 18s or you're playing with really high point buy, many monk gestalts are unadvisable as the monk on its own suffers from MAD problems (needs WIS, DEX, STR and CON). There are only 2 builds off the top of my head that minimize the MAD issues:

Monk/Fighter: The fighter is only concerned with STR, CON and DEX to begin with, so he's not a bad choice. You get an upgrade to hitdie and BAB, which is always good. Monk bonus feats stack with fighter feats, so you've got a lot of options. Look through Complete Warrior for monk styles, they'll really pay off. Also, if you get Clever Wrestling (and if you're making a grapple build, why woudn't you?) by level or later, substitute the next 5 levels of fighter for 5 levels in Reaping Mauler (Complete Warrior). Trust me, if you intend to grapple a lot, you won't regret it.

Monk/Cleric: They're both MAD, but for the same stats, so no problems here. You gain divine spells. Now, if you gestalt into core Cleric, you get no upgrades to hitdie or BAB.....however, consider the Cloistered Cleric variant from Unearthed Arcana. In addition to your 2 domains, you get the Knowledge domain for free, a Lore feature identical to that of bards, you class skills expand to include Decipher Script, Speak Language, and all Knowledge skills. Additionally you gain skill points per level equal to 6 + Int modifier (4 at 1st level). That's better than default monk or cleric skill points. The downside to this variant is that you have reduced hitdie and BAB (which are coincidentally negated by gestalting with monk) as well as loosing medium and heavy armor proficiency (which you don't need, because monk).

Gnaeus
2011-02-12, 10:28 AM
Monk/Fighter: The fighter is only concerned with STR, CON and DEX to begin with, so he's not a bad choice.

The goal of a good gestalt is to cover weaknesses or supercharge strengths. This one does neither. Lacking any casting or skillmonkey, its out of combat utility is nearly 0. Lacking casting, it fades to obscurity at high levels, and even at low levels it is nothing to write home about. Monk/Cloistered Cleric can be good if you PRC out on the monk side.


You get an upgrade to hitdie and BAB, which is always good. Monk bonus feats stack with fighter feats, so you've got a lot of options. Look through Complete Warrior for monk styles, they'll really pay off. Also, if you get Clever Wrestling (and if you're making a grapple build, why woudn't you?)

Because it only helps you to escape grappling? And your goal as a grappler is not usually to get out of grapples


by level or later, substitute the next 5 levels of fighter for 5 levels in Reaping Mauler (Complete Warrior). Trust me, if you intend to grapple a lot, you won't regret it.

Unless you do. Reaping mauler requires Clever Wrestling. Clever Wrestling requires small-medium size. So if your mage Polymorph or Enlarges you so that you can successfully grapple stuff, you lose Clever Wrestling, then you lose all your PRC features. MUCH better to take levels in Psi Warrior so that you can enlarge yourself, or totemist and grow extra arms.

Starbuck_II
2011-02-12, 10:56 AM
Unless you do. Reaping mauler requires Clever Wrestling. Clever Wrestling requires small-medium size. So if your mage Polymorph or Enlarges you so that you can successfully grapple stuff, you lose Clever Wrestling, then you lose all your PRC features. MUCH better to take levels in Psi Warrior so that you can enlarge yourself, or totemist and grow extra arms.

A ranger (or someone else favored enemy) with a a dip on Leviathan hunter can ignore preqs foer clever wrestling so you can polymorph/enlarge.

But that require non-monk.

Gnaeus
2011-02-12, 11:00 AM
A ranger (or someone else favored enemy) with a a dip on Leviathan hunter can ignore preqs foer clever wrestling so you can polymorph/enlarge.

But that require non-monk.

OK. Granted.

Still probably isn't the best way to go for a grapple build. But much better than fighter/reaping mauler//monk

term1nally s1ck
2011-02-12, 11:02 AM
2 level dips of variant monks are great, getting you evasion, unarmed strikes, the AC bonus, and 2 feats of various sorts.

Tyndmyr
2011-02-12, 11:06 AM
I know it sounds mean, but its true. At later levels, Monks just aren't that great. Unless you Gestalt it with something.

Does anyone have any uses for Monks?

They make a solid 2 level dip. Perhaps higher, in gestalt.

Steward
2011-02-12, 11:18 AM
Monks basically went to the superpower store and grabbed everything that was on sale. "Ooh, magic ki strike, only $2.99? Sure! Whoa, healing hands is kind of neat... oh, and break me off a piece of that vibrating palm action. For fighting. Just fighting..."

mootoall
2011-02-12, 12:11 PM
People always talk about Monk for good saves and such, but doesn't Favored Soul actually give you better class features, good saves and a touch of spellcasting?

Flickerdart
2011-02-12, 12:45 PM
People always talk about Monk for good saves and such, but doesn't Favored Soul actually give you better class features, good saves and a touch of spellcasting?

If by a touch of spellcasting you mean it's a full divine spellcaster then yes.

mootoall
2011-02-12, 01:08 PM
If by a touch of spellcasting you mean it's a full divine spellcaster then yes. Well I meant for a couple-level dip. I mean, there's no reason not to take it 20 levels, but it's got Monk BAB, saves, and better proficiencies, plus weapon focus with your deity's signature weapon. Can anyone say "I'm a ... uh ... Favored Soul of an ideal! The ideal of tripping with spiked chains!" Edit: And VoP goes even better on them, since they get Ex Flight!

MeeposFire
2011-02-12, 01:23 PM
Another problem is that monks are more reliant on setting books to even work ok. If you do not have access to Eberron books or savage species don't even bother since you will lack ways to boost your unarmed strikes effectively. Shou Disciple is ok though that requires Forgotten Realms.

SurlySeraph
2011-02-12, 01:33 PM
People always talk about Monk for good saves and such, but doesn't Favored Soul actually give you better class features, good saves and a touch of spellcasting?

A couple weapon profs and a Weapon Focus aren't nearly as nice as Flurry of Blows, IUS, two bonus feats that can be decent (via ACFs), Evasion, and Wis to AC. For a high-Cha build that wants to use divine scrolls or wands without needing to bother with UMD, Favored Soul would be a better choice, but that's a pretty specific situation.

mootoall
2011-02-12, 01:59 PM
A couple weapon profs and a Weapon Focus aren't nearly as nice as Flurry of Blows, IUS, two bonus feats that can be decent (via ACFs), Evasion, and Wis to AC. For a high-Cha build that wants to use divine scrolls or wands without needing to bother with UMD, Favored Soul would be a better choice, but that's a pretty specific situation.


So, let's look at what's the same. Saves, all good. HD, the same. BAB, the same, and then boosted for FS with Divine Power. Now, let's go into some more detailed analysis:

1. Spells.
2. You'll get a lot more damage from weapons than from Improved Unarmed Strike and its progression. Not to mention there's likely to be a deity that likes Spiked Chains.
3. Flurry of Misses is universally panned. Also: Divine Power might make it actually work.
4. Evasion's good, yeah. But it's the same in a ring, which I *believe* a FS can craft with a scroll. I think. Perhaps Jump is just a Druid spell, so I might be wrong.
5. Wis to AC is admittedly nice, and something the FS doesn't get. So that's a point to Monk. Ooooor it helps prove that the Monk isn't good for anything, since Swordsage gets it.

Editedit: Also, FS gets to wear armor. Medium at most, but still, armor.


Long story short, I'm seeing that for gestalting Favored Soul is better, which is the one place people seem to like monk ...


Edit: And again, VoP- not so good on a Monk. Better on a Favored Soul though! Can anyone say Ex Flight?

Lord.Sorasen
2011-02-12, 02:31 PM
So, let's look at what's the same. Saves, all good. HD, the same. BAB, the same, and then boosted for FS with Divine Power. Now, let's go into some more detailed analysis:

1. Spells.
2. You'll get a lot more damage from weapons than from Improved Unarmed Strike and its progression. Not to mention there's likely to be a deity that likes Spiked Chains.
3. Flurry of Misses is universally panned. Also: Divine Power might make it actually work.
4. Evasion's good, yeah. But it's the same in a ring, which I *believe* a FS can craft with a scroll. I think. Perhaps Jump is just a Druid spell, so I might be wrong.
5. Wis to AC is admittedly nice, and something the FS doesn't get. So that's a point to Monk. Ooooor it helps prove that the Monk isn't good for anything, since Swordsage gets it.

Editedit: Also, FS gets to wear armor. Medium at most, but still, armor.


Long story short, I'm seeing that for gestalting Favored Soul is better, which is the one place people seem to like monk ...


Edit: And again, VoP- not so good on a Monk. Better on a Favored Soul though! Can anyone say Ex Flight?

Flurry of Misses wouldn't be so if you were gestalting with a full BAB class. People call it flurry of misses because it forces you to give up BAB and makes you take a penalty to your attack rolls at earlier levels. But by monk 11 it's completely free. 2 extra attacks, no penalty. Which changes 20/15/10/5 to 20/20/20/15/10/5.

Also chaos monk//barbarian can pounce-flurry from 200 feet and while some might ask why you'd want to do that, it'd be hard to deny that it's awesome.

SurlySeraph
2011-02-12, 03:03 PM
1. Spells.

Nice, but a single Cloistered Cleric level gives you that and a lot more if you pick good domains.


2. You'll get a lot more damage from weapons than from Improved Unarmed Strike and its progression. Not to mention there's likely to be a deity that likes Spiked Chains.

The only one I'm aware of is from Sandstorm, though you could worship an ideal. Also, looking at CDivine, FS doesn't get its Weapon Focus until 3rd level. +1 BAB and another 1st-level spell that level are nice, but it you're dipping as part of a melee build you might be a lot better served taking those levels in your main class.


3. Flurry of Misses is universally panned. Also: Divine Power might make it actually work.

Having the option to make an extra attack is always nice, and constantly getting an extra attack is very useful for lots of builds, particularly precision damage builds and high-BAB pouncers. Using a Scroll of Divine Power is certainly nice, but if you're taking a dip as part of a melee build why do you need Divine Power?


4. Evasion's good, yeah. But it's the same in a ring, which I *believe* a FS can craft with a scroll. I think. Perhaps Jump is just a Druid spell, so I might be wrong.

25,000 gp is non-negligible. Even at 14th level it's a big chunk of your wealth. Evasion without having to fork out a ton of money is great at low levels, and still useful at high levels.


5. Wis to AC is admittedly nice, and something the FS doesn't get. So that's a point to Monk. Ooooor it helps prove that the Monk isn't good for anything, since Swordsage gets it.

Swordsage will usually be better than Monk unless you need the bonus feats and extra good save, yes. So?


Editedit: Also, FS gets to wear armor. Medium at most, but still, armor.

So? That's no benefit to arcane casters in gestalt, and something other desirable classes also do for pretty much every character that has a reason to dip Monk.


Long story short, I'm seeing that for gestalting Favored Soul is better, which is the one place people seem to like monk ...

Gestalting lots of levels of FS is obviously better than gestalting lots of levels of Monk, what with it being a full caster and all. I'm talking about dipping 2 levels (or 3 for FS) whether in gestalt or non-gestalt, not making it a primary feature of your build.


Edit: And again, VoP- not so good on a Monk. Better on a Favored Soul though! Can anyone say Ex Flight?

Yep, VoP is a trap for Monks, and much better for casters. But the wings come at at 17th level, 12 levels after Fly spells. Not needing to use up a 3rd-level spell slot to fly at 9th-level-spells-time doesn't seem like a big deal to me.