View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Yet Another Monk Remake (PEACH)

2014-12-15, 11:06 PM
**Edit: Honestly, this has become a giant mess. I can't recommend using this, and am currently working on a new Monk fix (relatively) from scratch with simpler effects and much needed toning down of the various benefits granted (this is a bit too 'and you have a car! and you have a car! and also a subway sandwich!' with the bonuses and abilities if you get my meaning).**


"If you're knocked down 7 times, get up 8 times!"

The monk base class gets a great deal of love from the player base, completely opposite to the amount it got from the people who made it. Being one of the weakest classes in the game, its flaws have been discussed so thoroughly and so often that you can make an easy checklist of what the class lacks. This has not gone unnoticed among homebrewers, either— go onto any active forum that involves D&D 3.X discussion and you can't throw a pebble without hitting a fix, or remake, or so on. I did one myself as my first homebrew class. Heck, it's not uncommon to paint the Swordsage from Tome of Battle as a suitable replacement, so arguably even wizards of the coast made their own monk fix!

So why make my own when there's bound to be at least one monk fix for any taste? A few reasons. There's the obvious goal of re-balancing it so it can better contribute to the party. In particular I've always viewed tier 3 as the perfect balance point. I wanted a fix that's close to the original's intended feel, that of a mobile, supernatural fighter who can zip in and out while taking down mooks in short order, but also has room for adjusting to meet less traditional monk fluff.

While there are probably fixes that meet those goals, I felt like I had come up with an approach of my own that's just as valid, and interesting enough to see to completion.

Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d8
Starting Gold: 4d4x10gp (100gp)
Starting Age: As Core Monk

The obvious change: No alignment restrictions. There are too many examples in fiction of monk-like abilities or techniques belonging to clearly non-lawful folks that a class representing that skill set shouldn't have such a limitation. A class is ultimately crunch meant to be molded into different character concepts, and barring having a dang good reason for the fluff restrictions, there shouldn't be one.

So no 'Ex-Monks' multi-classing or alignment changing restrictions. Again, plenty of 'ex-monks' or disgraced students are redeemed in a story and return to their path, plenty of people continue their training in martial arts after branching out, etc. Not many people enforce the restrictions on this class to my knowledge anyhow.

As for the starting gold, I plan on making the monk a bit more modular, which includes some limited weapon and armor choices for players that aren't complete traps by the monk's nature. One of the failings of the core monk is forcing the crunch to conform to an inflexible yet unfocused fluff that arbitrarily limits character concepts it can support.

Class Skills:
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) × 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier
The monk’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Auto-hypnosis (Wis)*, Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Iajutsu Strike (Cha)**, Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int)***, Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Survival (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

*If Psionic Material is in use.
**If Oriental Adventures is in use.
***If Tome of Battle is in use.

The monk was always in an odd position in terms of skills and skill points. Their class skills and mobility almost paint them as secondary skill monkeys or scouts, but with the need to dump Int and Cha (barring the Int-based feats they could take) they rarely had the skill points to capitalize on their half-decent options. More than that, they lacked a few thematic or flavorful skills that'd make some sense.

I don't see the monk doing the rogue's job, even with the tweaks I've made, but with 2 extra skill points, less pressure to dump Int (more on that later), and other options the monk will have, they can certainly be back up for the rogue, or a half-decent scout. If nothing else, there's a few more choices the player can pick from to fluff their character out. No Use Magic Device, though; it was in my old monk fix years back, but I don't feel it fits in hindsight. You've got a few points to grab cross-class ranks, and there are ways to get new class skills if you really want.

For the individual skills added:

Auto-hypnosis - If it's in use, this is a no-brainer. Focusing your mind to overcome physical ailments is right up the monk's alley, and even those who aren't sticking to the paint by numbers style of the original can fit the concept of sheer willpower overcoming physical limitations.

Bluff - I was a bit on the fence with adding this skill, at least at first. I could see some monks or monk-like characters being good at talking people down or otherwise using words to escape a tough situation- I imagine that being the reason for Diplomacy on the core monk's list- but what pushed this over was the link to feinting in combat. It felt like a crime for that ability to be cross class for what is supposed to be a fast-paced martial artist, and how you play it is up to you.

Decipher Script - Another big one- when thinking of the kind of monks you'd see in a fantasy setting, one kind of image that comes to mind is those who collect, pass down, or protect old and/or secret lore. In D&D, attempting to use the class to represent them would mean they cannot read any old scrolls or ancient writings. Now that's not a problem.

Heal - Going with the martial arts side of things, I picture someone so focused on physical fighting being at least half-competent with treating injuries or comprehending the human body. Not everyone, obviously, but I could see at least enough that Heal would make sense as a class skill.

Iajutsu Strike - Not often used since it can be pretty cheese-tastic in play, but if your game uses it, I can't see a monk class not giving the option.

Intimidate - Unlike Bluff, this one stuck out to me right away. Maybe you're breaking away to the more fallen student type, or the arrogant master, or more into the physical brawler, but in many of the interpretations of a bare-knuckle brawler, the ability to stare down your opponents (or attempt to) goes hand in hand.

Knowledge (History) - Same reason as Decipher Script.

Martial Lore - Again, it fits with the way D&D presents the monk class. One could argue that if ToB is in use, Unarmed Swordsage should be your go to. However, for those who want a feel closer to the core monk minus the suck, or aren't as big on ToB as the rest of the table, this class is still an option, as the Swordsage doesn't mimic the exact feel. Not that I don't love Tome of Battle to bits, mind.

Search - If you're going to be a scout, you have to be able to not immediately fall into a spiked pit and set off every alarm in the vicinity. While you can't do much about traps without the disable device skill or trapfinding, you can scout the place out and map out the traps for your friends without being reduced to paste; hell, the rogue won't mind someone who can avoid drawing attention or setting off traps sticking nearby, just in case things go to hell in a hand basket. There are a few options for the monk player to capitalize on this, but that comes later.

Survival - Meant for the hermit who has isolated themselves, the traveling aesthetic who lives off what they can find, or those who have undergone intense wilderness survival as part of their school's teachings.

There's one more skill I'm considering: Sleight of Hand. I'm iffy on it since, unlike Bluff, it lacks direct combat applications outside of epic uses, and fluff-wise, an assassin would be better served with levels in rogue or similar classes. I have a bias towards saying yes to giving a class access to a skill, but I'm worried about going overboard and feel I need to draw the line here. If you have thoughts on the skill selection, please let me know.

The Monk

Unarmed Damage
AC Bonus
Speed Bonus

Bonus Feat, Combat Art (1/round), Unarmed Strike
+0 ft.

Bonus Feat, Evasion
+0 ft.

Combat Art, Slow Fall
+10 ft.

Ki Strike (+1, Penetrate DR/Hardness)
+10 ft.

Combat Art
+10 ft.

Bonus Feat, Tongue of Sun and Moon
+20 ft.

Combat Art (2/Round)
+20 ft.

Ki Strike (+2, Ghost Touch)
+20 ft.

Combat Art
+30 ft.

Bonus Feat, Mettle
+30 ft.

Combat Art
+30 ft.

Ki Strike (+3)
+40 ft.

Combat Art (3/round)
+40 ft.

Bonus Feat, Diamond Soul
+40 ft.

Combat Art
+50 ft.

Ki Strike (+4, Ignore DR/Hardness)
+50 ft.

Combat Art
+50 ft.

Bonus Feat, Timeless Body
+60 ft.

Combat Art (4/round)
+60 ft.

Ki Strike (+5), Perfect Self
+60 ft.

If you don't see your favorite monk ability on the list, don't abandon ship yet! The changes are pretty sweeping from a glance, considering I listed one of my goals as keeping the original flavor of the class available. You can probably guess that it has to do with the Combat Art thing that's listed several times, and even without context, that it's probably like Pathfinder's Rogue Talents or Rage Powers.

That's covered in its own section, and the same goes for the other abilities. In terms of the table itself, Full BAB is something the monk desperately wanted since the day it was printed. Without something like Sneak Attack to compensate for less iterative attacks/less successful hits, or the ability to focus on your attack roll-boosting stat, 3/4ths BAB was just painful.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with clubs, crossbows (light or heavy), daggers, handaxes, javelins, slings, and their own unarmed strike. They are also proficient with all 'monk special weapons', which include kamas, nunchaku, quarterstaves, sais, shuriken, and sianghams, among many more.

Such weapons are noted as monk special weapons in their descriptions, though there are two additions to this list: gauntlets and natural weapons, which for the purposes of this fix, receive the same benefits as the Monk's unarmed strikes. Monks are proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields).

As opposed to the core monk, this monk has a bit more leg room for character concepts and fighting styles. Though the abilities still best fit someone who fights unarmed or unarmored, the relevant abilities have been adjusted to grant lesser benefits when equipped.

The monk special weapons are also not forgotten by the time Ki Strike rolls around, either, making them useful in corner cases if not really that good, and those that used to require the monk gain proficiency are not barred behind the opportunity cost of wasting a feat. Natural weapons were added to the club for more unique racial choices, as it's only natural that they'd be able to refine their use of them same as a human their fists. I'm planning on making ways for the monk to add further weapons to their special monk weapons list, to make the most of that little category.

The bit about gauntlets is a not uncommon ruling and I like the idea of being able to effectively 'enchant' your fists without jumping through hoops or paying for expensive magical items. Especially considering the irony many have pointed out about the monk, the 'unarmed fighter' incarnate, being perhaps the most gear-intensive class in the game if you want it to function remotely well. I'm making efforts to minimize that.

Unarmed Strike (Ex)
At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may even make unarmed strikes with their hands full. The monk suffers no penalty for striking 'off hand' with an unarmed strike, and may apply their full Strength Bonus to off-hand unarmed strikes, including any other such benefits normally limited to the monk's primary hand.

Usually a monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal, bludgeoning-type damage, but they can choose to deal nonlethal damage, as well as either slashing or piercing damage instead of bludgeoning, with no penalty on their attack roll. They have the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling. A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as a manufactured weapon OR a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons, whenever beneficial.

This is the result of precision strikes, careful movement, and refined technique. Consequentially, when making an attack roll or damage roll involving the monk's unarmed strike or a special monk weapon, or when making a(n opposed) Strength check, the monk may utilize their Wisdom modifier in place of their Strength modifier.

A monk also deals more damage with their unarmed strikes than a normal person would, adding the listed bonus damage shown on Table: The Monk. This damage is not multiplied on a critical hit.

A big overhaul from the core version. Among a few minor benefits like a wording change making it RAW for the monk to pair Two-weapon Fighting with their unarmed strikes and letting them circumvent early game slashing and piercing damage reduction, you can now completely cut Strength from your list of necessary attributes in favor of Wisdom. This was a benefit I gave my old monk fix, but for some reason I had put it at 4th level as part of Ki Strike, necessitating you choose between being sub-par at the first three (and most PC-lethal) levels or in the long run.

The other change is a double-edged sword. Rather than slowly increasing your base unarmed damage like in core, the monk's new damage progression adds on to their default unarmed damage. This is an immediately noticeable buff early on, going from 1d6 damage to 1d4+1d6 (or from 1d4 to 1d3+1d6 for small monks) and putting them more in line with other melee classes, but also a minor nerf in respects to the original manner of optimizing monk damage (size increases) in the long run due to having to work with a 1d4 base instead of a juicy 2d6, 2d8, or even 2d10.

I ultimately decided on this method after some consideration, as it brings the optimization floor for the monk up more than it lowers the ceiling, and the monk has some new ways to improve their damage across the board.

AC Bonus (Ex)
When not immobilized or helpless, the monk adds their Wisdom bonus (if any) to their AC. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at 2nd level. This bonus increases by 1 for every three monk levels thereafter (+2 at 5th, +3 at 8th, +4 at 11th, +5 at 14th level, +6 at 17th level, and +7 at 20th level). These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed.

This benefit is limited when the monk wears armor, carries a shield, or suffers from encumbrance. When wearing armor or a shield that has a maximum dexterity bonus, the bonus to AC from this effect is limited to the same maximum. When suffering encumbrance, the monk's AC bonus cannot exceed the maximum dexterity bonus for that encumbrance. In the event the monk is both wearing armor and/or a shield with a maximum dexterity bonus and suffering from encumbrance, use the lowest listed maximum.

At higher levels, the bonus from this and your combination of Dex and Wis modifiers would probably outweigh the benefit of armor, but access to magic armor abilities and being open conceptually to armored monks without most of your abilities shutting off can't hurt.

That said, this also presents another option; while a Dex/Con/Wis monk is obviously the standard model, a heavily armed and armored monk relying mostly on Strength and Constitution with a few leftover points thrown at Dexterity and Wisdom is certainly possible, representing more brutish or pragmatic fighters.

Combat Art (Ex)
Whatever their motivation, discipline, or philosophy, a monk refines their body, mind, and soul. This does not directly translate into a desire to fight, but in the case of those who travel the world and meet the monsters covering it, they either learn to defend themselves or find their journey coming to an abrupt end.

Upon first level, and every odd-numbered monk level thereafter, choose 1 Combat Art from the following post that the monk meets the prerequisites for. A number of times per encounter equal to their class level, the monk may perform one of these arts.

Most such arts are Free Actions, or are used to modify another action, allowing the monk to use them repeatedly without obstructing their normal actions for the turn. However, everyone has their limits; they can expend only one use of Combat Art each round, regardless of how many actions they can perform that round. This limit is pushed at 7th level and every 6 levels after, allowing the monk to use Combat Art an additional time per round.

If pressed, the monk may spend an additional use on top of the listed cost of a Combat Art to perform it as an Immediate Action, and/or spend a Move Action to activate a Combat Art they know as if they had spent one use without counting it towards their per round or per encounter limit once per turn.

Lastly, a monk may capitalize on an opening or pause in the heat of battle to refocus. By spending a Full-round action centering themselves, performing a flourish, or similarly non-effecting activity, the monk refreshes their per encounter uses of this ability. They cannot, however, refresh uses of Combat Art in the same turn they have expended uses of Combat Art.

Most Combat Arts are Extraordinary (Ex) abilities, exceptions being noted in their descriptions.

Combat Art is the backbone of this fix, creating options and the feeling of playing the superhuman fighter that the class is made to represent. It is designed to solve the core monk's main issue: few nice abilities, all mutually exclusive in use.

The limitations cover two different scenarios: the per round limit for the pure monk or mostly monk build, ensuring that the player can't abuse sheer volume of free actions to perform 20 attacks on their turn or anything silly like that, and the per encounter limit is to prevent monk dips from becoming a necessity for any martial build; I like the idea of the class being dippable, but not if it invalidates other options.

The once per turn option to give up a Move Action to activate a Combat Art as if spending a use was a later revision, as Levels 3-6 had the issue that Combat Art was meant to prevent: too much to do, not enough to do it with. It won't always be the best option, especially since only effects costing one use can be used this way, but it adds a much-needed amount of versatility to the monk.

Flurry of Blows is re-imagined here as a Combat Art, same for most of the missing abilities. Some alternate class features have similarly been converted into or replaced by such arts.

Bonus Feat
At 1st level, 2nd level, and every 4 levels after the 2nd, a monk receives a bonus feat representing their mastery of their physical form. The monk may choose from the following list of feats once at each of these levels and receive that choice as a bonus feat, even if they do not meet the prerequisites for that feat: Deflect Arrows, Improved Bullrush, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Natural Armor, Improved Natural Attack, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, and Stunning Fist.

Alternately, the monk may choose a single Fighter Bonus Feat instead; they must meet the prerequisites of this bonus feat, but may use their Wisdom attribute score to fulfill a Strength or Intelligence requirement.

Lastly, the monk can select a feat with Stunning Fist listed as a prerequisite, treating their BAB as 8 higher for the purposes of (and ONLY for the purposes of) qualifying for the prerequisites of a feat with Stunning Fist listed as a prerequisite.

Why the monk is so gosh darn dippable, and one of its few saving graces are its bonus feats. Getting Improved Trip without that pesky Int prerequisite is a heck of a good deal, and if you're into Stunning Fist I'll bet you can appreciate the ability to get it right from level 1. However, the bonus feats ended at 6th level, leaving you dry for the remaining 14 levels of the class.

Martial characters always need more bonus feats, so the monk is changed to get a steady supply- you won't have the abundance a fighter has, but you'll have plenty enough to build whatever kind of monk you want.

Then there's the (probably far too) generous conditions. Besides being able to nab fighter bonus feats you meet the prereqs for in place of the monk's humble (and now extended) collection and no longer being forced to pick a fork for each of the 1st, 2nd, and 6th level feats, there's the BIG addition that monks can now use their Wisdom to qualify in place of Strength and Intelligence for the feats picked as their bonus feats from this class.

I think I went overboard here, but it's a chance to really expand the scope of the class while still offering the original flavor to those who enjoy it, and it's one more thing needed to remove strength from a monk's list of 'attributes you need to not suck'.

Evasion (Ex)
At 2nd level or higher, if a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, they instead take no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.

No changes needed- it's a good ability, especially so early, and I'd rather not arbitrarily give the monk a better version of Evasion than every other class with Evasion just to keep with the theme of making the class a bit more flexible to concepts. I think it's alright for light/no armor monks to have some stuff that those delving into heavier armors don't, anyways.

Slow Fall (Ex/Su)
From 3rd level onwards, the monk is able to slow their own descent to nullify falling damage at-will. They can utilize this effect by having a sturdy surface or outcropping within reach to slow themselves with, sliding down or bouncing from one outcropping to another as an Extraordinary effect, or focusing their spiritual energy and slowing by seemingly no cause as a Supernatural effect.

This can be used for a fall of any distance, and requires no action on the monk's part. An unconscious monk still benefits from the supernatural version of this ability, as if somehow recognizing the danger despite their condition. The monk can choose not to apply Slow Fall if they wish.

The old version of Slow Fall was perhaps the epitome of everything wrong with the core monk. It seems pretty cool to those who never played before, being able to land from great heights without a scratch, but the lack of practical uses and opportunities for that effect meant it rarely came up- and that's not counting the insultingly small distance you can actually fall safely with it. Over the course of 20 levels, your fluff ability would scale ever so slowly, until at 20th level, you gain the amazing ability to... be inferior to someone with a bargain bin magic item or the ability to cast level 1 spells.

This new version is still pretty much a fluff ability, but the removal of the 'need a wall next to you' condition and the limit to distance means you might get at least some mileage out of it, and if nothing else, a free ring of feather fall that can sometimes work in an anti-magic field is a nifty trick.

Rapid Movement (Ex)
Starting at 3rd level, the monk receives an untyped bonus to their speed as shown on table: The Monk. Things that would affect the monk's base speed (such as wearing medium or heavy armor or suffering from encumbrance) are applied after this bonus; essentially, a human monk of 9th level (60 ft. speed) in medium armor would have a movement speed of 45 ft before other modifiers- 3/4ths the sum of their base land speed and this bonus, rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5, for reference.

Rapid Movement counts as Fast Movement for the purposes of effects that modify or require Fast Movement.

Simple changes to make the class more open. First is the ability to use armor and shields with the benefit if you so please. Second is the change to an untyped bonus, meaning the extra movement stacks with other sources.

Ki Strike (Ex/Su)
At 4th level, the monk has learned to channel their ki into their strikes. When performing an unarmed strike or an attack with a special monk weapon, the monk confers a +1 enhancement bonus to that weapon for the duration of the attack. This bonus increases by +1 every 4 class levels after it was first obtained. If the monk is wielding a weapon with an enhancement bonus or is receiving an enhancement bonus to his or her attacks from some other source, the bonus does not stack; instead apply the higher bonus. This is a (Su) effect.

This innate focus grants the monk additional benefits beyond just imitating a magical weapon. At 4th level, the energy from the monk's blows allows them to pierce resilient hide and dense material. A monk performing an unarmed strike or an attack with a special monk weapon can ignore up to their class level in Damage Reduction and/or Hardness for the purposes of that attack, and deals their full damage roll in damage to objects; I.E. a level 4 monk striking a monster with DR 5/- only subtracts 1 damage from each attack made against that monster. This is an (Ex) effect.

At 8th level, the monk's spiritual energy allows them to strike the immaterial, granting their unarmed strike and any special monk weapons they're currently wielding the Ghost Strike special weapon quality. This is a (Su) effect.

Finally, at 16th level, the monk's training has honed their strikes to impossible precision, allowing them to ignore the Damage Reductions and Hardness of they strike entirely and inflict full damage to the target with their unarmed strike and monk special weapons. This is an (Ex) effect.

Note: For the purposes of official material that require Ki Strike (Magic), Ki Strike (Lawful), and Ki Strike (Adamantine), the monk is treated as meeting those prerequisites at levels 4, 10, and 16, respectively. Any alternate Ki Strike prerequisites, such as Holy/Unholy, are treated as being fulfilled upon reaching the level those variations would be available.

The next big overhaul. The original Ki Strike accomplished next to nothing; your unarmed strike (and only the unarmed strike, those who wanted to use monk special weapons had to shell out extra cash) counted as a magic weapon only for the purposes of overcoming Damage Reduction. There was no bonus to attack or damage rolls, and their fists were as useless against the incorporeal as a commoner's.

They'd eventually pierce DR -/Lawful and DR -/Adamantine (cool!), but that was too limited. Cold Iron, Silver, Good, Evil, Chaotic, Slashing, Piercing, and many more forms of DR exist and are never beaten by your unarmed strike. Your (for the core monk) mere medium BAB progression (and your Flurry of Blows which adds an additional penalty until later) never gets supplemented, barring paying for one of a few possible magic items.

Now they are full-fledged magic weapons, and the benefits extend to monk special weapons. You also get some much-deserved Extraordinary benefits in addition to the scaling enhancement bonus: piercing DR and Hardness of all kinds and eventually ignoring them entirely. Ghost Touch is a minor addition that lets the monk weaponize their Ki mastery to strike out at incorporeal beings.

In short: you're no longer sucking with the thing the class was practically based on in comparison to a fighter who picked up a random magic sword and started swinging, and you have options aside from punching something to death.

Tongue of the Sun and the Moon (Ex)
A monk of 6th level or higher can speak with and comprehend any living creature.

Minor change of also comprehending them, instead of just one-way communication. Major change of 11 levels of waiting cut. A really cool fluff ability, but as a late game benefit it was underwhelming when Comprehend Languages is a 1st level spell.

One could argue that it might not fit the fluff of monk characters trying to break the mold. A fair point, but I figure that given a 6th level character is meant to be far beyond what a real person could accomplish, and how some settings hold 6th level characters to be masters of their fields, it isn't unreasonable for it to be here.

On a positive note, the monk can put its social skills to use now, if the player chooses to go that route. If not, the feature is easy enough to ignore.

Mettle (Ex)
At 10th level and higher, a monk can resist magical and unusual attacks with great willpower or fortitude. They gain the Mettle class ability as a 3rd level Hexblade (Complete Warrior Pg. 7) or 13th level Crusader (Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords, Pg. 11), among others.

If you lack access to these sources, the 10th level monk may gain Improved Evasion as the core monk (see Alternate Class Features in the third post of this topic), or utilize the Pious Templar's version of the effect (see here for details (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20040418a&page=2)).

Another big buff was trading out Improved Evasion for Mettle. With a good Reflex Save progression and Dexterity being a focal attribute score, Improved Evasion wasn't nearly as big a boon as its little brother. Mettle, on the other hand, is an amazing ability in any capacity. Con and Wis are also big scores for you, and with good Fort and Will Saves, Mettle lets the monk shrug off some of the more deadly things D&D has to offer.

Diamond Soul (Su)
A monk of at least 14th level receives Spell Resistance equal to 10 + their class level, forcing spellcasters to make a successful caster check against their SR to affect them with a spell or spell-like ability.

As this is the result of precise training and mental fortitude, rather than a natural reflex like creatures who have Spell Resistance as a racial feature, the monk need not spend a Standard Action each round they wish to suppress it. Instead, the monk may choose which spells susceptible to Spell Resistance are allowed to affect them without having to overcome it.

This benefit even extends to Spell Resistance granted by race, feats, or other classes, though not to magic items that would grant it.

It's a level later than before, but the wait is worth it. Where the core monk's SR was the class shooting itself in the foot, barring you from an emergency heal or much needed buffs, now you get to have your cake and eat it too. SR without the drawbacks is a very nice boon at this point in the game, regardless of the fact that any caster worth their salt can dance around it. The last sentence is my hate for overlapping abilities that end up undermining each other- rest assured, you can pick a race with SR and not worry about losing the tastier side of this ability, should your character concept demand it.

Timeless Body (Ex)
Upon attaining 18th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to their ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties they have already taken from aging are removed, but bonuses still accrue.

Further, the monk does not pass away from old age or natural causes, though they are still vulnerable to an unnatural death (such as from damage, poison, or so on), and they can choose to suppress this effect and pass peacefully when it's their time (though it must be a decision made in a clear mind- a dominate person effect or any outside force affecting their thought process in a way to make them choose to exercise this option when they would normally not do so in their situation does not count).

Another fluff ability in the core version, Timeless Body was a tiny (likely never to come up) boon if the character aged after reaching 18th level. So I made this version make the monk immortal instead.

Technically. A monk still bleeds if cut, and they can pass on if the downsides of immortality rear their ugly heads, but the possibility of living for centuries is certainly a fun prospect. Dropping the aging penalties is new, but unless you're starting at 18th level or higher I don't think there's going to be much abuse of it to minmax (and at that point, a bit of age cheese is not gonna be the biggest thing on the block).

Perfect Self (Ex)
At 20th level, a monk has tuned her body with skill and quasi-magical abilities to the point that she becomes a magical creature. From this point on, the monk is treated as either their original creature type OR as an Outsider with the Native subtype, whichever is more beneficial to them. For instance, a foe's charm person does not affect them, though an ally's enlarge person spell can if the monk wishes.

The monk need not eat, sleep, or breathe. They are not susceptible to critical hits, flanking or stunning, nor the negative effects of extreme weather or temperature, due to the changes in- and their mastery over- their biology.

Most strikingly, their arts have become innate to the point that a monk who has achieved this ability treats all of their monk class abilities as Extraordinary effects when it would be beneficial to do so, as they are now an integral part of their self. Lastly, the monk gains DR 10/-, and Energy Resistance 5 against all forms of energy that would harm them.

The new and improved Perfect Self is loosely based on the 3.0 version of the Elemental Savant's own capstone. Overkill on my part, but given this is your capstone, I'm not in a hurry to tone it down. First matter of order was the type shift. While being an outsider protected you to some potentially nasty spells, it also barred you from beneficial ones. Now you count as whichever is more helpful, your original type or Outsider (Native).

The Damage Reduction was also a slap to the face. DR X/Magic is something that anything remotely worth its CR that a 20th level character should be fighting could get past in its sleep. Making it 10/- means it'll get some mileage, and paired with 5 points of resistance against all energy forms, the monk now has some damage protection from their transformation.

The other changes are mostly minor touches. Perma-ring of sustenance with no sleep needed is a nice kicker, though immunity to crits, flanks, and stuns is much more so. The big one- arguably the most powerful part of this capstone- is the change of abilities to counting as Extraordinary when beneficial. An unconventional benefit, and it means a good number of things that could shut down the monk's tricks no longer apply.

2014-12-15, 11:08 PM
Combat Arts

Centered Mind
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By spending a use of Combat Art, the monk may grant themselves a morale bonus to their attribute scores that lasts until their next turn. At the start of their next turn, however, they may expend an additional use of Combat Art to maintain the effect of a use of Centered Mind until the turn after, and so on.

This bonus is divided among the six attributes as the monk desires, to a maximum combined total of 1/4th the monk's class level (rounded up). The morale bonuses from multiple uses of Centered Mind can stack with each other, but at no point can the combined morale bonus to a given attribute from Centered Mind exceed half the monk's class level (rounded up).

If the monk's Constitution modifier increases from this effect, the hit points they gain are not 'lost first' like temporary hit points; like the increase from the Barbarian's Rage class ability, the monk retains the same amount of damage, just their hit point total/maximum changes.

Special: Centered Mind cannot be chosen for the effects of the Preferred Art or Mastered Art Combat Arts.

Sometimes you just want to be good at punching things. Or dodging. Or tanking. Or maybe you need a little boost to that one skill. Centered Mind caps at a whopping +5 modifier increase if focused on a given attribute. The raw power is balanced by opportunity cost; you can't stack extra hits or effects while keeping it up.

Of course, raw power still needs a limit, and I included the 'Special' condition that it can't be paired with Preferred Art or Mastered Art to keep it in check- I'd appreciate some advice on if this is sufficient or not.

Debilitating Blow
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: When making an attack roll with an unarmed strike or special monk weapon, the monk may spend uses of Combat Art prior to seeing the result to choose one or more of the following conditions. If the attack roll fails, the uses are wasted. If it succeeds, the victim must succeed a fortitude save or will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Wisdom Modifier, depending on the conditions) against condition chosen, or suffer that condition.

Each condition requires between 1 and 4 uses of Combat Art, and the total required uses of the chosen conditions cannot exceed the number spent when activating this effect. Normally the conditions are applied to the victim immediately upon failing the save, though the monk may instead apply the conditions at will at a time of their choosing (up to a week later).

Each condition notes whether it requires a fortitude save or will save, and the duration of the effect on a failed save. If it does not list a duration, assume it is the normal duration for the effect if it has one, or permanent until removed through some other means.

You can choose a given condition multiple times, but unless the condition stacks with itself to become more severe (like shaken becoming frightened and eventually panicked), inflicting the same condition multiple times in the same round through this Combat Art has no effect, and inflicting the same condition on a victim at a later point has no effect unless at least 1 round has passed since the last instance of that condition that was placed on that victim ended.


1 Use - Dazzled (Will, 1 round), Deafened (Fortitude, 5 rounds), Fatigued (Fortitude, 1 minute), Shaken (Will, 1 round) Sickened (Fortitude, 1 round)

2 Uses - Blinded (Fortitude, 5 rounds), Confused (Will, 1 round), Dazed (Will, 1 round), Fatigued (Fortitude, until 8 hours of rest), Nauseated (Fortitude, 1 round), Paralysis (Fortitude, 1 round), Shaken (Will, 5 rounds)

3 Uses - Confused (Will, 5 rounds), Nauseated (Fortitude, 5 rounds) Negative Level (Will), Paralysis (Fortitude, 5 rounds), Stunned (Will, 1 round), Unconscious (Fortitude, 5 rounds)

4 Uses - Confused (Will), Petrification (Fortitude), Instant Death (Fortitude), Unconscious (Fortitude, 2d4 hours)

Special: A monk with Debilitating Blow qualifies for any official material prerequisites that list Quivering Palm if their class level is 15th or higher. I may try to adapt such materials with minor rulings or tweaks (depending on what's needed to make them work and changes to balance to compensate for the changes to some parts of the monk).

Quivering Palm was a massive let down. Once per week, you can cast a spell that wizards and their ilk have had several levels ago and multiple uses of per day since getting it, with the extra hoop of an attack roll. The fun little addition of being able to delay the effect up to a week until applied with a free action isn't enough to compensate.

So here we are; you have free choice of what you do for a successful attack roll and failed save, and while it's tougher to inflict than the spells available at similar times, you get far more uses of this than the wizard gets spells (which also compensates for the actual insta-death effect being pushed back to level 19).

Decisive Strike
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: When making an attack, the monk may choose to spend a use of Combat Art to add their unarmed damage as extra damage to the attack. The attack roll suffers a -2 penalty, and secondary damage from other sources that would be added to the monk's unarmed strikes is not included in the extra damage from Decisive Strike.

Further, when applying Decisive Strike, any additional effects added to the monk's attack that would require a saving throw from the victim has the DC increased by +2, and the monk benefits from a +2 untyped bonus to any opposed checks they make against the foe as a result of the attack. Decisive Strike can only be applied to a given attack once, but can be activated as many times per round as the monk is able to spend a use.

An adaption of an excellent alternate class feature, the Combat Art version of Decisive Strike is plenty potent in the same sorts of builds and as a whole. In particular, the monk can now increase the DC of any of their attack-based effects instead of just Stunning Fist, and it can even benefit a build focused more on Tripping, Disarming, and so on.

Fade From Sight (Su)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: The monk can render themselves invisible by spending a single use of Combat Art. This effect lasts until the monk attacks a creature, they dismiss the effect at will, or the start of their next turn. At the start of their next turn, before this effect would end, the monk can choose to activate this effect again by spending another use of Combat Art to remain invisible until the turn after, and so on.

Further, the monk can expend additional uses of Combat Art to gain one of the following benefits:

Fade From Sense - By spending an additional use of Combat Art when activating Fade From Sight, the monk becomes undetectable to the mundane senses of a creature unless they make a successful spot or listen check against the monk's hide or move silently check. If the monk spends two additional uses instead, then in addition to the previous benefit, he or she may make a Will Save to escape divinations and other supernatural or spell-like abilities made against him/her unless the user of those effects make a successful spot or listen check against the monk's hide or move silently check.

Invisible Assailant - By spending an additional use of Combat Art when activating Fade From Sight, the monk can attack without ending Fade From Sight's effect.

The invisible assassin, the vanishing vigilante, the mysterious mystic who fades into myth. Besides the fluff benefits, Fade From Sight benefits the monk when scouting and in combat by giving their graceful movements a supernatural boost. Handy if the monk's middling durability starts to fail them or the party needs to hide, as well.

Flurry of Blows
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By spending a single use of Combat Art, the monk may perform an additional attack this turn at their highest attack bonus, either as part of a Full Attack, added to a Standard Attack, or as a free action independent of other attacks. Extra attacks from this effect suffer a -2 penalty to the attack roll, cumulative with each additional use of this ability in the same turn.

Effects that specifically apply to a single standard attack, such as the effects of strike maneuvers from Tome of Battle or the effects of a True Strike spell, do not apply to these extra attacks. Benefits that apply to all attacks, like a Rogue's Sneak Attack damage, still apply. All additional attacks from this ability must be made with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons.

One of the classic monk abilities, Flurry of Blows had an issue with being completely exclusive from the rest of their abilities due to hogging their action economy. Not to mention that with how your BAB progresses, you end up with one more attack than most martial classes of similar level at a given time (if that) and are much less accurate overall.

Making it a Combat Art solves the first problem right off the bat, letting the monk sneak in a few extra hits on the move, and you wind up better off than a Two-Weapon Fighting dude in terms of attacks when performing a Full Attack (especially with the penalty only hitting your extras). You can even use the ability to split your focus against two or more foes, using your actual actions to hit one, then Flurry of Blows independent of that move on the next.

Follow Up
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Upon making a successful attack roll or opposed check against a foe, the monk may immediately spend a use of Combat Art to activate this effect. Once the previous roll's results have been resolved, the monk may perform a single Bullrush, Disarm, Grapple, Feint, Overrun, Sunder, or Trip attempt against a viable target immediately afterwards as a Free Action.

This attempt need not be against the same target of the previous attack roll, nor do they have to make all uses of Follow Up against a single target. In the case of a Bullrush and Overrun, the monk must spend a move action or activate an ability that allows them to move.

Add insult to injury: the ability. Combined with easier access to the various Improved X feats and the ability to use Wisdom instead of Strength, the monk is well suited to take advantage of openings for this effect. At later levels, the monk can chain successful uses of Follow Up into additional attempts, potentially letting you hit an enemy, trip them, disarm them, sunder their favorite scarf, and insult their mother, all in one turn. Keep in mind that if you fail, you can't continue the chain.

Giant's Strength
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Spend one use of Combat Art. Until their next turn, the monk and their special monk weapons are treated as one size category larger for the purposes of calculating damage and their size bonus to opposed checks like grappling and tripping. At the beginning of their next turn, before Giant's Strength's duration ends, the monk may spend an additional use of Combat Art to extend the duration to the turn after, and so on.

While benefiting from Giant's Strength, the monk may spend additional uses of Combat Art when making one of the affected rolls or checks to treat themselves as an additional step bigger for each use spent, though they can never increase their effective size beyond Colossal with the effects of Giant's Strength.

If grappling, the bonuses from Giant's Strength persists until the grapple ends, even if the duration of Giant's Strength has ended. In the case of starting and stopping Giant's Strength during the same grapple, the larger bonus of the two is used for the remainder of the grapple; you cannot stack the bonuses from several separate uses this way.

Something I cherry-picked from my old monk fix as worth salvaging; size increases (especially ones that don't actually increase your size, just give the benefits) are a monk's best friend, and now you no longer rely on a friendly wizard or rogue with a wand taking time out of their busy schedules for your sake.

The original version also increased reach and the bonuses both scaled automatically and lasted for a while, but that's simply too much even with spending more Combat Art uses, so the reach benefit is gone. The bonus to damage and checks now last for one round without support.

The exception, as noted, is grapple checks; with full BAB, choice of Wis or Str to the check, more bonus feats for easier access to Improved Grapple without having to give up something better, all the monk needed to actually make use of it was a way to reliably up their size. Now you can get some mileage out of a grapple build, if that's what you want to go for, and have other options for when you inevitably come across something you can't grapple, such as all the other checks that get bonuses from a bigger size.

Heavenly Motion (Ex/Su/Sp)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Well versed in both their body and manipulation of the spiritual, the monk can easily slip free of their physical limits to experience true, wondrous emotion. By spending one or more uses of Combat Art, they can choose one of the following benefits. They receive that benefit for 1 round, and can maintain the chosen effect by spending an equal number of uses for it at the beginning of each round.

The monk can end the effects of Heavenly Motion by choosing not to spend uses of Combat Art at the start of that turn, or simply by willing it, though they must end it if they cannot expend the required number of uses of Combat Art. They can also maintain several different effects of Heavenly Motion at once, so long as they continue to spend the proper amount of Combat Art uses.

Swim Speed (Ex/Su) (1 Use) - The monk gains a swim speed equal to their base land speed. If they already have a swim speed, they use either their base land speed, or their normal swim speed +30 ft. to determine their new swim speed. By spending an additional use of Combat Art, they can treat themselves as the beneficiary of a Water Breathing spell, of a caster level equal to their class level, for the duration of this effect. This secondary benefit is treated as a Supernatural (Su) ability, though the swim speed itself is an (Ex) ability.

Climb Speed (Ex/Su) (1 Use) - The monk gains a climb speed equal to their base land speed. If they already have a climb speed, they use the better of the two. Further, in any turn they move less than half their climb speed while moving along a vertical surface, they have their hands free to attack with.

By spending an additional use of Combat Art, the monk no longer needs to make climb checks to scale vertical or horizontal surfaces (even upside down), and can move at any speed while retaining free use of their hands for other purposes. This last group of benefits is treated as Supernatural (Su), though the climb speed itself and having use of their hands while moving at half that climb speed are (Ex) abilities.

Light Step (Ex/Su) (1 Use) - The monk gains the ability to move across the top of surfaces that normally wouldn't support his/her weight without falling; withered tree branches, thin ice, worn and rotted wood floors, and so on. This movement also has the benefit of not triggering pressure plates or other effects that activate from weight being placed on something.

While this effect is active, the monk can cross over liquid surfaces like the top of a lake or river as if it were a solid surface. This does not prevent them from coming to harm if moving across a dangerous surface, such as lava flows or a pool of acid, but prevents them from sinking in even if they stop on that square. Light Step is usually an (Ex) ability, but stopping on top of a liquid surface without falling in is specifically a Supernatural effect.

Fly Speed (Su) (2 Uses) - The monk gains a fly speed equal to their base land speed (good maneuverability). If they already have a fly speed, they use either their base land speed, or their normal fly speed +30 ft. to determine their new fly speed (using the better of the two maneuverability types). If their usual source of flight is an (Ex) ability, this use of Heavenly Motion is treated as an (Ex) ability as well.

Spending an additional use of Combat Art increases the monk's fly speed by an additional 30 ft, and improves the maneuverability to perfect.

Freedom of Movement (Sp) (2 Uses) - With this effect, the monk gains the benefits of Freedom of Movement, as the spell. Treat the caster level of this effect as equal to the monk's class levels. This effect lasts for the duration of Heavenly Motion.

Abundant Step (Ex/Su) (3 Uses) - Through this advanced use of Heavenly Motion, the monk may slip from place to place in the blink of an eye. Whenever the monk would perform an action that involves moving from one square to another, they can instead choose to teleport up to twice the distance they would normally be able to move with that action. Essentially, a monk with a 70 ft. base land speed could teleport to any square within 140 ft. of themselves as a move action, and the same monk using Quick Step (see the Quick Step Combat Art) would be able to teleport up to 70 ft. away as a free action instead of walking/running the distance normally.

If there is at least one path known to the monk between them and the destination that can be reached with their existing movement speeds normally, is an (Ex) effect and not subject to the normal limitations or effects normally applied to teleportation effects. Moving in such a way that would imply the monk passed through a solid object when they could not do so otherwise or similar impossible feats is a (Su) effect and is treated as any normal teleportation effect.

Empty Body (Su) (4 Uses) - The most powerful example of Heavenly Motion allows the monk to break free of the concept of the physical form itself in their pursuit of pure movement. For the duration of this effect, the monk is ethereal as if through the effect of the Ethereal Jaunt spell. Further, by spending one use of Combat Art, the monk may re-emerge briefly onto the physical plane without ending this effect, taking on an incorporeal form for one round before returning to their ethereal state.

Special: A monk with the Heavenly Movement Combat Art is treated as having the Abundant Step class ability for the purposes of official material if 12th level or higher, and the Empty Body class ability for the purposes of official material if 19th level or higher.

A whopper of an option, Heavenly Movement is a package deal of great and average abilities. Being able to move any way you want at any time is a fantastic advantage, but keep in mind the limited number of Combat Art uses you can spend per round.

In practice, this is less a smorgasbord of abilities and more the ability to move under adverse conditions, covering more conditions the more uses you can spend. The 1 use cost options are situational and scarcely overlap. The 2 or more use cost options are powerful, but can't feasibly be used together without giving up most or all of your uses of Combat Art for the round.

Otherwise of note is the changes to Abundant Step. While the distance you can travel with it is lower than the original, it no longer takes an action on its own, and it applies all the benefits of teleportation to any and all forms of movement you have available to you normally, along with fulfilling the flash step trope.

Martial Initiate
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Choose one martial discipline from Tome of Battle. The monk gains that discipline's associated skill as a monk class skill if they do not already have it, and gain the ability to learn maneuvers from that discipline. For the purposes of learning and using maneuvers through this class, the monk treats their martial initiator level as equal to their class levels + 1/2 their non-monk class levels. The monk learns either two maneuvers or a maneuver and a stance of the chosen discipline, with the same restrictions on learning maneuvers as other martial initiator classes.

This Combat Art may be chosen multiple times. Each time, the monk selects a discipline again. They learn two new maneuvers OR a maneuver and a stance from that discipline of a level they can know. If it is from a new discipline, the monk also gains that discipline's associated skill as a class skill for their monk levels.

Rather than readying maneuvers, the monk spends a use of Combat Art to initiate a given maneuver of their choice, as well as the required actions to initiate that maneuver. They cannot initiate the same maneuver again in the same round or the round after.

If homebrew disciplines are available, the Monk may learn Maneuvers from those disciplines, with DM approval, and if Tome of Battle is not allowed, this Combat Art option can be banned as well without negatively impacting the class's ability to function. It is possible to make a functional monk without maneuvers.

I was initially leery of including this option. Besides the fact that I designed this class as it is to offer a functional monk that isn't just an Unarmed Swordsage or otherwise requiring ToB, I strongly dislike locking bits of homebrew to needing a given material or source to use. For tables who don't have access to 3.5e splat books, homebrew is one of the few ways to expand what you can do.

However, you can toss this option out without any real issues, and including it in the way it works here feels like a solid way to integrate the system into the monk without making it a swordsage rehash (or stepping on the swordsage's toes if a different player plays one).

Mind's Eye (Ex/Su)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By expending any number of uses of Combat Art, the monk gains a bonus to their spot and listen checks equal to 1/4th their class level (rounded up). Further, they gain additional senses or benefits equal to the number of uses spent, chosen from the list of options below. All benefits of Mind's Eye ends after one minute, unless the monk chooses to end it prematurely.

However, the monk cannot expend more uses of Combat Art during the turns Mind's Eye remains in effect than (normal maximum of uses per round - number of uses expended for this effect and similarly limiting options in effect (if any)) at a time.

Enhanced Eyes (Ex) - The monk gains low-light vision, and a choice of one of the following: Darkvision 60 ft., Blindsense 30 ft., Tremorsense 10 ft., Blindsight 5 ft., or increase the range of one of the listed senses that the monk already has by 50%, rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5, using the longer range of the two as the base. This option can be selected multiple times.

Trapbreaker (Ex) - The monk gains trapfinding as the rogue class ability. The monk can attempt to break or remove important parts of a trap's workings, performing an attack roll against the trap's disable device DC. This method can only be performed against traps with moving parts or mechanisms within reach of the monk; basic pitfalls and magical traps cannot be disarmed this way, for example. Failing the attack roll triggers the trap.

If the monk discovers one or more traps during the effect of Mind's Eye, the monk retains this benefit for the purposes of any action taken to deal with those specific traps, including the ability to disarm magical traps if they are trained in the disable device skill. The aforementioned bonus to spot and listen checks also applies to disable device and search checks while this effect is active.

Trap Sense (Ex) - Trap Sense as the rogue class ability, of a rogue of equal level to the monk's class levels.

Spirit Sight (Su) - The monk gains See Invisibility as the spell for the duration of Mind's Eye, caster level equal to the monk's class levels. By spending two uses for this effect instead, the monk instead gains True Seeing as the spell for the duration of Mind's Eye, with the same caster level. A monk must be 10th level before they can benefit from the effects of True Seeing granted by Mind's Eye.

A much needed skill set for the scout monk, including the vital trapfinding. A monk likely won't outdo a rogue in dealing with traps if only due to their lack of disable device, but between the small bonus and the more direct method of trap 'disarming' available to them, it's far from useless.

Outside of Trap Sense for extra help on that front, the other uses allow the monk to thrive in conditions of poor visibility or against hidden foes. In particular, the option to gain True Seeing at higher levels and See Invisibility at lower levels is invaluable. This is also unique as a Combat Art in that the benefit lingers beyond the turn you use it without spending additional uses, and several of the effects are useful outside of combat, meaning it doesn't take away from your combat tricks of choice.

Momentum Fighting
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By throwing themselves into their attacks, the monk can capitalize on their own momentum to not only strengthen the blow, but carry themselves out of the way of the enemy's retaliation. When the monk moves at least 10 ft, they may spend a use of Combat Art as part of that movement or as a Free Action afterwards to add 1d6 bonus damage to their attacks and a +1 dodge bonus to their AC until their next turn. The damage bonus from this effect can only be applied to the monk's unarmed strike, or their attacks with monk special weapons.

At 4th, 10th, and 16th level, increase the damage added to attacks by this effect by 1d6. At 7th, 13th, and 19th level, increase the dodge bonus from this effect by +1. Momentum Fighting stacks with Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike, or Skirmish damage, but not with itself. This bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit, and is of whatever type the damage of the modified attacks are (lethal or non-lethal, and bludgeoning, piercing, and/or slashing).

Due to the changes to how the monk's unarmed strike damage progression works, their main source of damage optimization (size increases) isn't as lucrative, if still an option. Gaining an enhancement bonus from Ki Strike and the ability to focus more on a smaller number of attributes compensates for the difference in less optimized settings and then some, but it still needs an alternative damage source when put alongside a well-built rogue.

Getting damage from mobility is a no-brainer for the agile monk class, and the benefits to armor class act as a nice kicker. Though the damage pales compared to a Rogue's Sneak Attack, the consistency with which the monk gains this bonus damage and their adeptness at landing multiple hits on the move covers the difference.

Precision Blows
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: When making an attack roll, the monk may spend a use of Combat Art to focus their strikes on the victim's weak points. For the remainder of the turn, the monk inflicts an additional (1/3 monk class level, rounded up)d6 damage with their attacks against a foe they are flanking or who is denied their dexterity bonus to AC.

This effect suffers many of the same limitations as the Core Rogue's Sneak Attack damage; it cannot affect creatures who are immune to critical hits, are non-living, or lack a distinguishable anatomy- undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures- or enemies who have concealment or whose vitals are out of reach. The damage is not multiplied upon a critical hit.

Notably, however, the monk can apply the damage from Precision Blows beyond a range of 30 ft, and can choose to make the extra damage lethal or non-lethal regardless of weapon used. Instead, the monk is only able to apply this extra damage when using their unarmed strike or special monk weapons. Otherwise, anything that affects Sneak Attack affects Precision Blows. Precision Blows stacks with Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike, or Skirmish damage, but not with itself.

Precision Blows exists for similar reasons as Momentum Fighting, and I feel can coexist as options due to the limited situations in which they'd be usable together (and the opportunity cost for using them both). Precision Blows deals greater damage than its sister Art, but is proportionately less consistent and lacks the defensive benefit. The ability to Feint without eating up too much of your action economy, such as with the Follow Up Combat Art, is a good partner for this option.

Preferred Art
Prerequisites: Monk Level 3rd
Benefits: Choose one Combat Art you know. Once per encounter, you may reduce the number of uses required to use that Combat Art by one (minimum 0). Preferred Art can be selected multiple times, each time selecting one Combat Art to gain a 1/encounter use of this effect for. Combat Arts already chosen can be selected again to gain an additional per encounter application.

You cannot apply Preferred Art to reduce the number of Combat Art uses spent in a round more than once per round.

Maybe your idea of the character you want to make doesn't have a dozen different tricks up their sleeve, but happens to be really really good at a handful of them? Alternately, if you want to use a set of Combat Arts in the same round but are short on per round uses, or you want to have an extra attack or bit of damage in store in case of emergency, this and Mastered Art are for you (see below).

---Mastered Art
Prerequisites: Preferred Art
Benefits: Choose a Combat Art you selected for Preferred Art. You gain a set of additional Combat Art uses per encounter equal to half your class level (rounded down) that can only be spent for that Combat Art. These uses are refreshed whenever your standard per encounter uses of Combat Art are. Further, you can spend up to one of these uses per round without counting it towards your normal per round limit.

A direct upgrade to Preferred Art; this is your big specialty, your trademark ability, which is no longer so restricted as your other Arts; complete mastery.

Pressure Points
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Spend one or more uses of Combat Art. Whenever the monk performs a successful attack roll using an unarmed strike or monk special weapon against a creature this turn, that creature must make a Fortitude Save (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk's class levels + Wisdom Modifier).

A failed save means the creature suffers 1d4 ability damage for every use of Combat Art spent to activate Pressure Points this turn, dealt to either the creature's Strength or Dexterity score (the monk decides which ability score each 1d4 of ability damage will be dealt to when making the attack roll). A creature can only suffer ability damage from this Combat Art once per round.

Something recycled from my old monk fix. Besides having a distinct monk feel, this gives players a way to debilitate targets when raw damage isn't effective, and tricks like Disarming or Grappling don't have good odds. At the very least, it can allow the monk to slowly tank the victim's stats and make the fight progressively easier for their side.

Quick Step
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: As a free action, the monk may spend one use of Combat Art to move up to half their speed (rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5 ft). This effect may be activated in between multiple iterative attacks, such as from a Full Attack or Standard Attack paired with a use of the Flurry of Blows Combat Art, or between multiple attack rolls made as part of the same action, such as with the Follow Up Combat Art. The movement granted by this effect may be broken up into multiple smaller movements over the course of the turn, in multiples of 5 ft.

In any such event, the monk's remaining attacks or effects may target any creature within range after the movement, which need not be the same target of the previous attack roll(s), though any effects made as part of an attack roll must have the same target, I.E. you cannot perform the attack roll for a grapple attempt against one creature and then the opposed check to perform the grapple on another.

If the monk wishes, they can use some other form of movement for this effect in place of the movement provided by Quick Step, though they must spend any required actions or resources for that movement, and the Combat Art use required by Quick Step is still expended.

The movement performed as part of Quick Step normally provokes an attack of opportunity when moving out of a threatened square, though the monk can make a tumble check as part of this movement to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity.

Special: If the monk also has the Follow Up Combat Art, they can activate Follow Up during any movement they make during their turn without having to succeed on an attack roll first, and can even activate it several times during the same move if they have the Combat Art uses to do so. The only caveat is that they cannot perform Follow Up during a move after failing their last attack roll during that same movement.

Quick Step is all about presenting the feel of speed- even when you're busy with a Full-round action or spending your action economy on something else, you can still get around fast. When faced with multiple opponents, you can sprint from target to target, lashing out at them and dropping several mooks each turn.

If nothing else, more movement never hurts.

Prerequisites: Quick Step, monk level 7th.
Benefits: The monk can spend one use of Combat Art as part of a movement that ends with the monk traveling 10 ft. or more from the square they started in, so long as the movement does not require moving through an occupied square or difficult terrain.

For every 10 ft. they move (rounded down), their speed creates an afterimage that works similarly to the images created by the Mirror Image spell, with the exception that the monk can only have up to half their class level (rounded down) in afterimages at a time. As this is a result of the monk's exceptionally fast movements, effects that pierce or dispel illusions do not work against the monk and their afterimages.

Any afterimages created by this effect fade away at the start of their next turn, when the monk takes damage, or if the monk is prone or unable to move at least 5 ft. A monk can spend a use of Combat Art at the start of their next turn to retain any afterimages they have until the turn after, and so on. This does not replace any lost afterimages, and ends if they move through difficult terrain or an occupied square.

Strictly inferior to a spell Wizards get earlier, a major strike against the core monk's abilities, but here with the justification of being essentially at-will and a free action. The conditions are strict for something that eats up your Combat Art uses, but I needed to have solid limits to keep it from being an 'always on' effect at early levels.

Crunch-wise, it helps the monk when they're facing down something big and mean in melee or outnumbered. Not a huge bonus, but one that's appreciable in a pinch. Fluff-wise? Cool enough I felt the need to add this the moment I thought of it. It's something that just plain feels good to break out when faced with enemies.

Razor Wind (Su)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By spending one use of Combat Art, the monk may treat the attacks they make this turn with their unarmed strikes and special monk weapons as ranged weapons, with a range increment of (the monk's normal reach + 5 + (5 * 1/2 class level rounded down))ft. This is a ranged attack roll, though the weapon is still treated as whatever type it normally is (melee, thrown, etc) for the purposes of other effects.

Razor Wind does not grant an attack on its own, nor does it allow the monk to threaten squares out to a further range than their normal reach, merely modifying the monk's attacks.

As an added bonus, the monk may utilize this effect to perform special attacks from a distance, including Bull Rushing (the monk not needing to move from their square to perform this effect), Disarming, Sundering, and Tripping. The maximum range for this effect is the same as described above.

Whether generating a burst of concussive force just with the speed and strength of their movements or performing a straight out Hadoken, Razor Wind allows the monk to partially overcome the limits to their reach and movement. At higher levels in particular, this effect serves to give the monk the first (and if done right, last) word in a fight with their enemies.

This effect somewhat fills the niche of a ranged monk option as well as averts the dangers of fighting enemies like mimics or gelatinous cubes, I.E. beings you really don't want to have to touch to fight.

---Force Palm (Su)
Prerequisites: Razor Wind, monk level 7th
Benefits: By spending 2 uses of Combat Art, the monk may replace a single attack they make this turn with a 'Force Palm' attack. Force Palm affects a radius, emanating from a point of the monk's choice within the first range increment of their Razor Wind-modified attacks.

The size of the radius is determined by the monk when making the Force Palm attack, and can be any multiple of 5 ft. in size between a minimum of 5 ft. to a maximum of (1/4th monk class level (rounded up) * 5) ft.

Creatures within the radius take untyped damage equal to the base damage done by the monk's unarmed strike or held weapon (the monk's choice), with a successful Reflex Save (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom Modifier) reducing the damage by half.

This can be combined with effects that modify the monk's unarmed strike or attacks with a monk special weapon, such as the 'Debilitating Blow' Combat Art, or the 'Stunning Fist' feat. The effects are applied to all creatures affected by Force Palm who failed their Reflex Save; those who succeeded their save or have the Improved Evasion ability are exempt from these secondary effects, and those affected are still entitled to any saves these added effects would grant normally.

Sort of a nod to an ability in my old monk fix, this allows the monk to deal with large groups of enemies or otherwise make the most of their debuff effects when fending off superior numbers. This is for those who want a stronger wuxia flavor to their monk, or picture their character as being the type to sweep aside whole armies. Enemies with Evasion and/or a good reflex save will need to be dealt with the old fashioned way, and the need for foes to fail an additional save means you can't rely on this too heavily to cripple an enemy group, but given a large enough group and enough uses, you're going to hit something with those effects eventually.

Sealing Touch (Su)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: By manipulating mystic energies, a monk can temporarily unravel the effects of powerful magic. A monk with this Combat Art adds Spellcraft to their class skill list. Sealing Touch requires spending one use of Combat Art, and can be delivered by the monk in one of the following ways:

1. As part of a successful attack roll against a creature using an unarmed strike or special monk weapon. The monk then chooses a single ongoing magical effect affecting the creature or magical item worn by them. If they do not know what magical effects or items they can target, the effect with the highest caster level is targeted by default.

2. By touch, requiring a successful melee touch attack if the target is a hostile or unwilling creature. The monk can use this means to target a harmful effect on an ally without having to make a melee touch attack, or an ongoing magical effect that applies over an area that is within the monk's reach or the range of their unarmed strike/held special monk weapon. This can also be used to disable magical traps.

3. Lastly, the monk can ready an action in response to a spell being cast or magic item being activated (either Sealing Touch itself or an attack that Sealing Touch can be applied to), or use Sealing Touch as an Immediate Action by spending the additional use needed, in which case it activates before the effect of the spell would be applied.

The monk must be able to detect the creature and that they are casting the spell or activating the item, and the creature must be within the monk's reach or the range of their unarmed strike or monk special weapon to use this method. In this case, the monk may attempt to 'seal' the effect before it would be applied.

Regardless of the method used, the monk makes a dispel check (1d20 + monk class level) against the affected spell or item, DC 11 + the spell or item's caster level. If successful, the magical effect is negated, or in the case of ongoing permanent or continuous effects, suppressed for a number of rounds equal to the monk's Wisdom Modifier.

Let's face the facts: a monk will not be a threat to a full caster played properly under any reasonable circumstance. The ability to fill a role as a sort of 'anti-magic' character, however, is a niche that isn't really explored outside of full casters themselves and a few very halfhearted attempts (such as the core monk). Being able to knock off a buff or debuff, or turn off a particularly important magic item, or remove an ongoing spell that's a thorn in the party's side, are certainly not something anyone can complain about being an option.

Fluff-wise this can cement a more 'mystic' monk, one who understands the workings of the supernatural and is capable of actively fighting it.

Serene Focus
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Spend one use of Combat Art to activate this ability, and an additional use at the start of each of your following rounds until you end the effect as a Free Action. While in a state of Serene Focus, the Monk is able to reroll a single failed attack roll or saving throw each round. If they do so, they must take the new result, even if it is worse than the first.

By spending an additional number of uses to activate the ability (and an equal amount to maintain it during the following rounds), the monk gains an additional number of rerolls each round equal to the uses spent per round, though they may only reroll a given roll once.

However, the Monk cannot recover uses of Combat Art in this state. Upon ending this ability voluntarily or running out of uses of their Combat Adept ability (which ends the effect automatically), they are Fatigued for 10 minutes.

This is the fighter who enters a silent, focused fury in combat. Not empowerment through a roaring rage, but precision focused to a fine edge. Pick whatever rolls you really need to succeed, saving this ability until you're in a tight spot.

Sharpen Focus
Prerequisites: Wis 13
Benefits: Gain the Combat Focus feat from Player's Handbook II as a bonus feat, if you don't already have it. If you do, you can choose one Combat Form feat that you meet the prerequisites for; you receive that feat as a bonus feat.

You can spend 1 use of Combat Art to gain Combat Focus for a number of rounds equal to your monk class level + the number of combat form feats you posses, not counting this effect towards the limitation on entering Combat Focus once per encounter or the normal duration for Combat Focus. If you do so, you must spend 1 use of Combat Art at the start of each following turns or lose Combat Focus. If you lose or end your Combat Focus that was granted through this effect, you cannot regain it until one full round has passed.

A set of feats that fit the Monk well, but are lacking for their investment. This reduces their opportunity cost by removing one feat prerequisite, and allowing a monk player to get the effects immediately and repeatedly.

That said, most combat form feats are still pretty 'eh', so I added a few in the 'feats' section below for variety, including an alternate for the Combat Focus feat itself for those who lack the Player's Handbook II or simply dislike the feat.

Wholeness of Body (Su)
Prerequisites: None
Benefits: Upon taking this ability, the monk gains the ability to heal their own wounds and illnesses, at the cost of a single use of Combat Art. The monk may heal any number of their hit points at a time, up to double their own class levels in healing per day, spread out over as many uses of this ability as they wish. Alternately, they may spend 1 use of Combat Art to refresh this pool of healing as if a new day had begun, a number of times per day equal to their Wisdom Modifier (minimum 1), and any effects that heal the monk's hit points can be divided between healing the monk's damage and refilling this pool.

That's not the only use of this ability, however. The monk may expend uses of the Combat Art ability to remove conditions or other negative effects they are suffering from, or negate an effect that would be applied to them, such as due to a failed save. Removing or negating the condition counts as healing a number of hit points dependent on which condition is removed or negated. This can be done even off-turn without spending an additional use or Immediate Action.

The list of conditions below is organized by the number of uses needed, and the amount of hit points healed they count as towards this ability's daily limit is in parentheses next to them:

1 Use - Blinded (8 HP), Cowering/Panicked (6 HP, becomes Frightened), Dazed (12 HP), Dazzled (2 HP), Deafened (6 HP), Diseases (DC/2 HP*), Exhausted (6 HP, becomes Fatigued), Fatigued (6 HP), Frightened (6 HP, becomes Shaken), Mind-affecting Effects (DC/2 HP*), Poisons (DC/2 HP*) Shaken (4 HP), Sickened (4 HP).

2 Uses - Ability Damage (2 HP per point**), Bestow Curse (DC/2 HP*), Confused (12 HP), Fascinated (12 HP), Nauseated (14 HP), Stunned (16 HP).

3 Uses - Ability Drain (4 HP per point**), Negative Levels (10 HP per level), Paralysis (18 HP), Petrification (18 HP).

4 Uses - Death (See Text***), Failed Save (DC = HP cost****), Spell Effects (4 HP per spell level****).

*Cost = half the effect's Save DC. If no Save DC is offered, treat as Save DC 10 + source creature's Hit Dice.

**Number of points healed is chosen by the monk player, and HP cost is determined afterwards.

***Expend all remaining hit points of healing. Negate the death or death effect, and set the monk's current hit points to equal the expended hit points from this effect.

****Use whichever value is higher.

Special: A monk with Wholeness of Body qualifies for any official material prerequisites that list Still Mind if their class level is 3rd or higher, Purity of body if their class level is 5th or higher, Wholeness of Body at monk level 7th or higher, and Diamond Body if at monk level 11th or higher. I may try to adapt such materials with minor rulings or tweaks (depending on what's needed to make them work and changes to balance to compensate for the changes to some parts of the monk).

The original Wholeness of Body ability of the core monk was an interesting idea that ultimately was just fluff: a pool of healing the monk could tap into whenever they needed a second wind. To enhance the ability, I slightly improved the pool of healing the monk has at their disposal while limiting early game abuse by breaking it up into small chunks at a time, then went one step further to make it a worthwhile choice alongside the other Combat Arts by rolling the miscellaneous immunity abilities the monk had scattered about into it, as well as protection from the various things monks wish they were immune to.

Compared to the other Arts, Wholeness of Body is useful in representing a determined survivor, or a more durable monk overall.

---Healing Touch (Su)
Prerequisites: Wholeness of Body
Benefits: The monk may now apply the healing and protective benefits of their Wholeness of Body Combat Art to allies within their reach. Further, by expending additional uses of Combat Art, the monk may apply Wholeness of Body to creatures within (15 * number of additional uses spent) ft., dividing each effect and/or hit point of healing among them as they wish.

While the monk will always primarily be a combat machine, I want to create options for monk players to fill a variety of secondary roles as they wish. With this, the monk can double as a heal bot as they're pummeling enemies, special in their ability to do both efficiently at the same time.

2014-12-15, 11:10 PM

On the subject of official feats: Any feats that no longer provide a benefit, such as feats that allow the monk to multiclass freely, no longer exist. Feats that list removed feats as prerequisites can now be taken without the removed feats, though any specific choices made with those removed feats that are required for the remaining feat's effects must be made upon taking the remaining feat and remain consistent among the other feats based off of the same requirement.

For example, Monastic Training (Eberron Campaign Setting, page 57) requires a choice of one non-monk class. Tashalatora, which has Monastic Training as a prerequisite, normally requires you choose a Psionic class for the purposes of Monastic Training to meet its prerequisites. Now that Monastic Training does not exist, you must choose a Psionic class for the purposes of Tashalatora upon taking the feat.

Just covering my bases with this note; unless the official material flat out no longer works, there's not much reason to strip it away.

Bond Weapon Ritual
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus, Knowledge (Arcana, Psionics, or Religion) 6 ranks
Benefit: Upon obtaining this feat, you have learned a special rite you can perform to bond a weapon to yourself, empowering it through that connection.

You must spend 24 hours in deep meditation with a masterwork or magical weapon of a type you have the Weapon Focus feat for, surrounded by special regents whose total value is equal to the cost of adding the desired enchantments to the weapon normally. Upon completion of the ritual, you pay XP equal to the XP cost of having enchanted the weapon yourself as if through the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat. The weapon is now your 'bond weapon', and any effects it gained from this ritual are suppressed when not being used by you.

You cannot attempt a ritual with an XP cost that would reduce your level or that you cannot pay. The XP cost is not paid and regents consumed until the ritual is complete, and thus there is no loss of XP or resources if the ritual is interrupted or otherwise fails. You cannot enchant a weapon in this manner such that its effective enhancement bonus exceeds (your Knowledge (Arcana) ranks - 3)/3.

Only one weapon can be bonded to a specific creature at a time. By using a bonded weapon as a regent, you can change the bond from one weapon to another, without spending additional XP or gp.

If the new bond weapon has a lower effective enhancement bonus than your last, you can increase its enhancement bonus or add magic weapon special abilities until its effective enhancement bonus is equal to the previous bonded weapon by removing some of the enhancement bonus and magic weapon special abilities from the previous bond weapon, until the old bond weapon's effective enhancement bonus has been lowered by an amount equal to how much the new bonded weapon's has been raised. You cannot form a bond with a weapon whose effective enhancement bonus is higher than the highest effective enhancement bonus you can enchant. Magic weapons used as regents are not consumed in this manner, merely weakened as outlined.

Similarly, you can use a magic weapon as a regent, so long as its effective enhancement bonus is higher than that of the weapon you are enchanting, counting it as half the difference between the two weapons' values in magical enchantments in regents, and subtracting the difference between the XP costs of creating either weapon from the XP cost of this ritual (to a minimum of 0).

You can also choose to perform the ritual for someone else. That person must have the Weapon Focus feat for the type of weapon to be bonded to them, and they must both partake in the ritual for its duration and pay the XP cost themselves. The weapon is bonded to them as if they possessed this feat, and any effects gained from this ritual are suppressed when not being used by them. The process is otherwise the same.

Special: A monk or character with the monk's Ki Strike class feature does not need to have the Weapon Focus feat as a prerequisite to select this feat, and may select this feat as a Bonus Feat if they meet the prerequisites. Such a character, in addition to any types of weapons they have the Weapon Focus feat for, can bond with any special monk weapons.

More notably, a monk with the Ki Strike class feature can bond with their unarmed strike, in particular either hand, foot, knee, elbow, or their forehead (or any natural weapon they possess). These bonds do not count towards their one bond limit, and the enhancement bonus and Ghost Touch granted by the Ki Strike ability do not count towards the limits or costs of the new enchantments.

Only magic weapon special qualities may be added or removed to a monk's unarmed strikes and natural weapons by this ritual process, excluding the Ghost Strike quality granted by the monk's Ki Strike class ability. Each of the listed locations to perform unarmed strikes and each natural weapon can be enchanted and used as separate weapons. All other limitations apply.

A whopper of a feat. Essentially, limited weapon crafting for martial characters, and monks can enchant their unarmed strikes/natural weapons. Taking it a step further, the monk can essentially have up to 9 different sets of enchantments to work with using solely their unarmed strike, which due to their unarmed strike class ability, they can choose between at their leisure! Of course, you're still paying gp and also covering xp expenses unless it's for someone else, but this is a huge boon to martial characters.

Broader Training
Prerequisites: Combat Art class ability
Benefit: Choose one Simple, Martial, or Exotic Weapon. You gain proficiency with that weapon, and treat it as a monk special weapon for the purposes of class abilities and other effects relating to monk special weapons.
Special: A monk can select Broader Training as a bonus feat. Broader Training may be selected as a feat multiple times; each time, choose a different weapon.

Short and sweet; whatever weapon you envision your monk using, they can use well. Giving up a feat for it might be a bit pricy, but depending on the choice and how much it means to you, it can be well worth it.

Graceful Reflexes
Prerequisites: Combat Art class ability, Combat Reflexes
Benefit: Being able to react is one thing, being able to react with precision another. Whenever you would make an attack of opportunity, you can instead perform a Combat Art without spending an Immediate Action or expending an extra use of Combat Art to do so. Alternately, once per round, you can forgo your Combat Reflexes-granted attacks of opportunity to perform a Combat Art during another creature's turn without spending an Immediate Action or expending an extra use of Combat Art.

Special: A monk can select Graceful Reflexes as a bonus feat.

Being able to act off-turn is very potent; even with the number of conditions revolving around them, attacks of opportunity are useful enough that Combat Reflexes is a must-have for most characters with high Dexterity. Being able to trade off an attack of opportunity to use Combat Art off turn without the usual limit opens up a lot of possibilities, though it's costly.

Inebriated Savant
Prerequisites: Great Fortitude
Benefit: After you imbibe a tall mug of ale, a glass of wine, or a corresponding amount of stronger alcohol, you gain a 'drink point', which you have until spent or for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution Modifier (minimum 1). A drink point can be spent at any time to grant a +1 circumstance bonus to any one attack roll, saving throw, opposed attribute check, or skill check you make. Multiple such bonuses from this effect can be stacked onto the same roll, up to a maximum bonus equal to 1/4th your effective character level, rounded up.

You can retain up to 5 drink points from this effect at a time; this maximum is reduced when you spend a drink point by an amount equal to the number of drink points spent (to a minimum of 0), until at least 1 round passes since you've spent a drink point.

You can retrieve, pour, drink, and put away the container(s) for a number of drink points-worth of alcohol in a single move action up to your Constitution Modifier, or a single drink point-worth as a free action, so long as you have at least one hand free. You cannot perform more than one action to imbibe alcohol in this manner in a single turn.

So long as you have not reached the maximum number of drink points from this effect, you negate any negative effects from the alcohol you drink; this does not extend to effects outside of the alcohol itself, such as poison placed in a drink or a magical effect.
Special: A fighter can select Inebriated Savant as a bonus feat.

---Spike Potions
Prerequisites: Great Fortitude, Inebriated Savant
Benefit: When activating Inebriated Savant's effect, you can retrieve, pour, drink, and put away the container(s) for a potion in place of one drink point-worth of alcohol. Potions you consume count as enough alcohol to grant a drink point.
Special: A fighter can select Spike Potions as a bonus feat.

It's no secret that I love the drunken master PrC as much as I do the monk. I gave my own try at making it a Base Class a ways back, but soured on it far quicker than I did my old monk remake. Unlike the old monk remake, I hadn't really given much consideration to the flaws of the original, and instead threw it together mostly for the fun of having a finished product. The end result was a mess.

Enough of memory lane, I'd like to do things right this time. Here's a taste of what the drunken master could be in feat form, and the base of a Prestige Class remake I've got brewing for when I get the monk down. Inebriated Savant can be fairly potent with the right attributes, but given its weak prerequisite and conditions I feel it's balanced.

Spike Potions is worth the three feat investment in a pinch, essentially giving you the ability to apply multiple small buffs to yourself in one big gulp, and a monk in particular can get around the move action cost and act effectively on the same turn with no problem. Of course, potions are pretty expensive for their one-shot effects, so it's not something you'll be doing until the point that those buffs are pretty outdated.

Quick Focus
Prerequisites: Combat Art class ability
Benefit: You may now renew your per encounter uses of Combat Art as a Standard Action.
Normal: A monk must spend a Full-Round Action to renew their per encounter uses of Combat Art.
Special: A monk can select Quick Focus as a bonus feat.

A small boon, allowing the monk some mobility when it comes time to refresh their per encounter uses of Combat Art. It can be useful to get your main set of abilities back online without having to blow you entire turn, but due to the scaling of uses per round being slower than uses per encounter, this loses its luster as the game goes on. One immediate benefit is that it lets you perform a Move Action Combat Art in the same round you refresh your per encounter uses, but ultimately this is more of a feat for those with nothing else of interest to grab. I'm open to advice on how to buffer this feat.

Zen Weapons Training
Prerequisites: Proficiency with one or more monk special weapons
Benefit: When using a monk special weapon that grants a benefit relating to Disarm, Sunder, or Trip attempts, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to any rolls to related to performing the respective special attacks that the weapon benefits with that weapon. You do not take any penalty to the affected rolls from a monk special weapon's size. Lastly, add 1d4 damage to any attack made with a monk special weapon.
Special: A fighter can select Zen Weapons Training as a bonus feat.
Special: A monk increases the circumstance bonus granted by this feat by 1/4th their monk class level, rounded down. Additionally, a monk of 5th level or higher adds bonus damage to their monk special weapon attacks equal to half their unarmed strike bonus damage (rounded up), instead of 1d4 damage.

Combat Form Feats

Combat Form feats are from Player's Handbook 2, and are a series of feats that are based around entering a Combat Focus state where you receive a set of benefits depending on which Combat Form feats you have. All Combat Form feats require the Combat Focus feat other than itself, which is also presented in Player's Handbook 2, though I have a substitute for those who lack that book or dislike the feat:

Combat Meditation
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Concentration 4 ranks
Benefit: Make a Concentration check as a Swift Action, DC 10. If the check succeeds, you enter a state of 'combat focus' for one round plus an additional round for every 5 higher your check result was than the DC (2 rounds for a roll of 15, 3 rounds for 20, etc). If threatened, increase the DC of the concentration check by 5. In a state of combat focus, you gain a +2 bonus to Will Saves, which increases to +4 if you have 3 or more combat form feats. You can only enter a state of combat focus once per encounter. Failing the Concentration check does not count towards this limit; only a successful check matters.
Special: You may treat Combat Meditation as the Combat Focus feat for the purposes of prerequisites and effects referring to Combat Focus. If you have both Combat Meditation and Combat Focus, the bonus to Will Saves do not stack, but you can enter a state of Combat Focus twice per encounter (once using the method described in Combat Meditation, once using Combat Focus).
Special: A fighter can select Combat Meditation as one of their bonus feats.

Not that great a feat, just my attempt to make a mechanically different but roughly equally balanced alternative to Combat Focus. This also opens up the following feats and the relevant Combat Art to those who lack the Player's Handbook II.

Combat Escape
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Combat Focus
Benefit: You can end your your combat focus to gain the following benefit: until your next turn, your actions do not provoke attacks of opportunity. If you have three or more combat form feats, you may ignore a number of squares of difficult terrain up to your number of combat form feats this turn, including terrain that has been magically altered.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Escape as one of their fighter bonus feats.

As limited as effects that end combat focus can be, being able to 'nope' attacks of opportunity and move through difficult terrain (even magic!) is a great panic button for when you need something done without interruptions or penalty.

Combat Evasion
Prerequisites: Dex 13, Wis 13, Combat Defense(PHBII), Combat Focus, Dodge, Base Attack Bonus +6
Benefits: While in a state of combat focus, you can designate up to two enemies at a time for the purposes of your Dodge feat, or one enemy to receive double the normal dodge bonus. Against enemies that are designated for the effects of your Dodge feat, you are treated as having partial concealment.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Evasion as one of their fighter bonus feats.

The prerequisites are fairly mean, but being able to have partial concealment from two targets at any given time has a lot of applications, not the least of which is for a sneak attacker. Just the miss chance alone is plenty potent.

Combat Offense
Prerequisites: Str 13, Wis 13, Combat Focus, Power Attack
Benefits: You can end your your combat focus to gain the following benefit: until your next turn, ignore the penalty to attack rolls from any use of Power Attack. If you have 3 or more combat form feats, increase the damage dealt for each attack you make for this duration by the number of combat form feats you have.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Offense as one of their fighter bonus feats.

Probably not worth it unless you have the Sharpen Focus Combat Art, but with it you have a great way to deal a sudden bust of damage in a pinch.

Combat Precision
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Blind-fight, Combat Focus
Benefits: You can end your your combat focus to gain the following benefit: until your next turn, you automatically succeed on rolls to overcome miss chance generated by cover or concealment. If you have 3 or more combat form feats, you also gain Blindsight out to X ft, where 'X' is 5 * the number of combat form feats you possess, until your next turn.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Evasion as one of their fighter bonus feats.

For when you positively, absolutely must hit what you're up against. Like Combat Offense, this one is one to shelve unless you have Sharpen Focus, at which point it's fairly reliable.

Combat Pressure
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Combat Focus
Benefits: While in combat focus, each time you make a successful attack roll against a creature without attempting an attack roll against another target, that creature suffers a cumulative -1 circumstance penalty to attack rolls and AC, up to a maximum penalty equal to the number of combat form feats you possess. If you lose combat focus or perform an attack roll against a different creature, this penalty ends.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Pressure as one of their fighter bonus feats.

Now here's one that works great when you can locks foes down, or at least outmaneuver them. Keep hammering at a big nasty that relies on its physical attacks and defenses, and you'll be a monumental help. Especially so if you can combine this with some of the debilitating combat arts to stack penalties.

Combat Resilience
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Combat Focus
Benefits: While in combat focus, you gain a +2 bonus to Fortitude and Reflex Saves, in addition to the bonus to Will Saves granted by the Combat Focus feat. If you have 3 or more combat form feats, the bonuses to your Fortitude and Reflex Saves are increased to +4.
Special: A fighter may select Combat Resilience as one of their fighter bonus feats.

Honestly sort of generic, meant mostly as an option if you need another combat form feat for the benefits, and you're perhaps just that lacking in fort and reflex saves to consider this over the others. There's almost certainly better options, but I hope it'll be useful to someone.

Alternate Class Features

Domineering Presence (Ex)
Requirements: None
Replaces: Tongue of Sun and Moon
Level: 6
Benefit: Not everyone trains their body and mind for noble purposes. Rather, there are far too many who are willing to use it as a means to bully others into compliance, and it's not rare for even the well-intentioned to use intimidation to end a fight. A monk with the Domineering Presence class ability can make an Intimidate check to demoralize a creature as a Free Action upon successfully inflicting non-lethal damage on that foe.

If the monk fails the check, they cannot attempt to use Domineering Presence on that creature again for 24 hours.

Tongue of Sun and Moon most strongly clashes with the concept of a thuggish bruiser or banished student, among others like the stern teacher or mysterious wanderer, so Domineering Presence allows players to better express such concepts. It's not an especially powerful effect on its own, but it can easily be combined with other Intimidate check-based abilities and/or fear effects for stronger effects if one wishes to build towards that concept.

Improved Evasion (Ex)
Requirements: Evasion
Replaces: Mettle
Level: 10
Benefit: A monk’s evasion ability improves upon taking this alternate class feature. They still take no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but they henceforth take only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

A nice benefit, but not as big a buff as its little brother. I replaced it with Mettle because of how fitting and useful the latter is, but the fact of the matter is that some groups just don't have access to Mettle. Additionally, it's entirely possible (and valid) for someone to want to focus more on the fleet of foot, untouchable unarmed fighter side of the monk than the iron will, indestructible side.

Kung-fu Genius
Requirements: Int score > Wis score
Replaces: None
Level: 1
Benefit: Your study of anatomy and motion is more text book than practical, but your sharp mind bridges the gap between the two. A 'Kung-fu Genius' monk's class abilities are modified such that at any point that they would use their Wisdom Modifier, they instead use their Intelligence Modifier. This can be applied to any class that grants monk class abilities.

Kung-fu genius is handy if you're going to be playing more of a skill monkey, or if you want to multiclass into Psion with the Tashalatora feat (Secrets of Sarlona official Eberron book, page 119), and I feel the fact you're trading off a better Will Save for what amounts to a bunch of skill points is a fair price without the feat tax.

Physical Mastery (Ex)
Requirements: None
Replaces: Tongue of Sun and Moon
Level: 6
Benefit: With a great knowledge of one's own body and a lifetime of training, you are capable of many great feats of agility and power. Once per encounter, when making a Strength- or Dexterity- based skill check (including Strength-based skills for which the monk is using their Wisdom modifier), the monk may take 10, even if circumstances would normally prohibit them from doing so. When the monk refreshes their per encounter uses of Combat Art, they gain an additional use of this ability during that same encounter.

Physical master works for less 'enlightened warrior' types of characters, or for players who have a different take on that idea, while not dipping into a violent brute taste like Domineering Presence. Regarding the crunch itself, being able to take 10 and forgo the whims of chance is a very desirable ability, but is purposely limited to put it on par with the ability it replaces in terms of impact. It's good for when you need to make a specific skill check work under pressure.

Second Skin (Ex)
Requirements: AC Bonus class feature
Replaces: Evasion
Level: 2
Benefit: Just as many arts emphasize defense as there are arts focusing on speed, and there are plenty who find a happy medium. The monk gains proficiency with Medium and Heavy armor, and Tower Shields. When wearing armor and/or wielding a shield, you reduce the armor check penalty by (1 + 1/5 class level, rounded up) for each piece of equipment (minimum 0), and treat the maximum dexterity bonus as (1 + 1/3 class level, rounded down) higher.

As an added benefit, medium armor no longer reduces your movement speed, and you may treat armor spikes and shields you make shield bash attacks with as monk special weapons.

Armored monks face several limitations and a lack of synergy with their other class abilities. This ACF replaces something nearly useless for such monks with something that alleviates the problem.

Epic Monk Progression

The Epic Monk

Unarmed Damage
AC Bonus
Speed Bonus

Combat Art
+70 ft.

Bonus Feat
+70 ft.

Combat Art
+70 ft.

Ki Strike +6
+80 ft.

Combat Art (5/round)
+80 ft.

Bonus Feat
+80 ft.

Combat Art
+90 ft.

Ki Strike +7
+90 ft.

Combat Art
+90 ft.

Bonus Feat
+100 ft.

AC Bonus
The monk’s bonus to Armor Class when unarmored increases by +1 at 23rd level and every three levels thereafter (26th, 29th, etc).

Unarmed Strike
The damage for a monk’s unarmed strike continues to scale after 20th level, increasing by +1d6 at 24th level and again every 4 levels thereafter.

Stunning Attack
If the monk has the Stunning Fist feat, use the monk’s class level when determining the DC to resist this attack, as normal.

Combat Art (Ex)
The monk gains a new Combat Art at every odd numbered level, as normal. Further, the monk gains an additional use of Combat Art per encounter at every class level, and an additional use per round at 25th level and every 6 levels thereafter. Individual Combat Arts scale as per the usual class ability scaling rules for Epic Level Progression.

Rapid Movement (Ex)
The epic monk’s speed increases by 10 feet at 21st level and every three levels thereafter (24th, 27th, 30th, and so on).

Ki Strike (Su)
The enhancement bonus granted by Ki Strike increases by +1 at 24th level and every four levels thereafter.

Bonus Feats
The epic monk gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic monk bonus feats) at 22nd level and every fourth level after the 22nd. Unlike the bonus feats granted by the non-epic monk, the epic monk must meet all prerequisites for these bonus feats.

Epic Monk Bonus Feat List
Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Dire Charge, Energy Resistance, Epic Dodge, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Exceptional Deflection, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Spell Resistance, Improved Stunning Fist, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Infinite Deflection, Keen Strike, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Legendary Wrestler, Perfect Health, Perfect Two-weapon Fighting, Reflect Arrows, Righteous Strike, Self-Concealment, Shattering Strike, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Vorpal Strike.

That's about everything. I did the lot of this over the course of the year, mostly chipping away at this or that and doing little tweaks, clean up, etc. That said, there's still plenty I'm iffy about:

-Combat Art, even given the limits it has, is really dang potent. I wanna know if it's too much, and if so, how best to fix it. This also extends to individual Combat Arts.
--In particular Wholeness of Body and Debilitating Strike were admittedly eyeballing it, and I'm not sure if the assigned numbers are proper.
--I'm hoping to make additional Combat Arts as time goes on, but want to get this first batch properly sorted so I have a solid reference point to go on for balance and what the class needs/wants.

-Skill list/skill points per level. I tend to be way too generous with assigning these, so any recommendations for cuts or nerfs are appreciated. Might drop skill points to 4 + Int for Kung-fu Genius monks to compensate for the Int focus.

-The balance of the feats are all over the place; some are really good, others fairly situational. I'd like some advice on how to tone down some and beef up others.
--In particular, I think that Graceful Reflexes is very strong on a straight monk, and I'm worried there's a loophole I missed in Bond Weapon Ritual.

-I'm very iffy on the change to how the unarmed damage progression works.

Change Log:

12/15/14: Posted! Any constructive criticism is appreciated.
12/16/14: A number of revisions thanks to the advice of Amechra:
Changed the Martial Initiate Combat Art by replacing the monk's awkward scaling of readied maneuvers with spending Combat Art uses to initiate maneuvers and banned initiating the same maneuver multiple times in a row.
Reworded the first line of Preferred Art to be clearer on a skim, using the recommended wording.
Changed Razor Wind's maximum range to a range increment. Partially because it's a little weird to have a maximum on a non-touch attack ranged attack, partially because it makes more sense in hindsight.
Reworked Force Palm's wording and terminology; as it was, it was incomprehensible. I also noticed a problem with the size of the radius of the effect as I was working on it and fixed that.
Further, I have added a new Alternate Class Feature to replace Tongue of Sun and Moon, and noted that Mettle can be replaced with Improved Evasion for those who lack access to the former or prefer the latter.
12/17/14: Fixed an issue with the table; saves for 10th level were listed as +6, when they should be +7.
Likewise, the speed bonus at 15th level was erroneously listed as +40, when it should increase to +50 at that level.
Edited the Pressure Points Combat Art to remove ambiguity from the effect and better balance it. Originally, it would inflict 2 points of ability damage per Combat Art use with every failed save (divided between the victim's Strength and Dexterity scores), which would become ridiculous with the various means a monk has to get more iterative attacks. Now it does 1d4 ability damage for every Combat Art use spent on a failed save, but can only affect a given creature once per round, and notes the monk chooses how the ability damage would be divided when making the attack roll.
Added an epic level progression for completion's sake.
Added the feat 'Combat Meditation', allowing those without access to PHBII the chance to utilize the related feats.
Added another Alternate Class Feature to replace Tongue of Sun and Moon.
12/18/14: Added an alternate class feature to replace evasion for the armored monk types; it grants proficiency with more armor and shields, allows better synergy with AC Bonus and Rapid Movement, and reduces the penalties when using armor and shields.
Tweaked the wording on the 'can't use the same maneuver twice within two rounds' limit of Martial Initiate to read better.
Slightly increased the starting gold, from 3d4 * 10 to 4d4 * 10.
12/30/14: Fixed the AC Bonus class ability- as written, it made the penalties suffered from medium or heavy encumbrance less harmful to the monk.
1/8/15: Added some new thoughts as to what I'm thinking about changing (see above).
1/10/15: Major Updates!
Monk unarmed damage progression is changed. Rather than replacing their base unarmed damage, the monk adds the listed damage on the table to their unarmed damage. This makes optimizing the monk unarmed damage through size increases far less profitable, but helps out early game and is (hopefully) compensated for through their more numerous options for increased damage.
Spending a move action to activate a Combat Art no longer counts as spending a use of Combat Art, nor is it limited to a once per round option. The monk can only ever activate Combat Arts as if spending one use through this manner, but it is an immediate upgrade in terms of versatility and throws a bone to lower level monks.
Ki Strike now grants the ability to penetrate DR and Hardness at 4th level, and bypass them entirely at 16th (initially, you got the ability to ignore Hardness at 12th without any lead up).
On a more minor note, added the Zen Weapons Training feat, which makes monk special weapons more useful for those interested.
Modified the Abundant Step option of the Heavenly Movement Combat Art to something more useful tactically.
Fixed a typo under Preferred Art (originally read 'Preferred Art be selected multiple times' instead of 'Preferred Art can be selected multiple times').
Rewrote some of the notes to be a bit more helpful.
1/17/15: Buffered the monk's unarmed strike damage progression by a noticeable amount. Adjusted Zen Weapons Training to account for this change, among other abilities.
1/18/15: Buffed the Mastered Art Combat Art; no longer is it limited to per encounter uses by number of times you chose the selected art for Preferred Art.
Corrected more typos.
1/23/15: Removed the Elemental Touch Combat Art, as the changes to the monk's unarmed strike made it too situational to justify, and the existence of Momentum Fighting and Precision Blows means the monk is fairly well covered for damage.
Added the Afterimages Combat Art.
2/26/15: Added the following line to Flurry of Blows for clarity: 'Effects that specifically apply to a single standard attack, such as the effects of strike maneuvers from Tome of Battle or the effects of a True Strike spell, do not apply to these extra attacks. Benefits that apply to all attacks, like a Rogue's Sneak Attack damage, still apply.' This was assumed, but not explicitly stated, and I felt it needed to be said to be certain given how exploitable a ruling otherwise would be (in particular with maneuvers being available).
3/1/15: Minor touch ups to designer notes.

2014-12-16, 04:50 PM
The Martial Initiate Combat Art is... kinda weird. You can end up with more Readied Maneuvers than Maneuvers Known.

Why not remove their Readied Maneuvers entirely, but require that they spend a Combat Art use to initiate a Maneuver, and cannot initiate the same Maneuver two rounds in a row?

Also, Preferred Art should read: "Choose one Combat Art you know. Once per encounter, you may reduce the number of uses required to use that Combat Art by one (minimum 0)." It ends up "scanning" more cleanly.

Razor Wind is weird; usually, non-Ranged-Touch-Attacks have a Range Increment, rather than a Range. I mean, it's OK, but it feels off.

Force Palm is incoherent; what's the shape of the area? Is it a burst? I'm assuming its a Burst. Also, the area of effect... does it vary based off of the total range of the Force Palm, or the distance between the center and the Monk?

2015-01-08, 10:17 AM
I'm made some changes that should address those issues, among other problems I spotted that got through my proof-reading. I've also been thinking on a few things, particularly about unarmed damage progression for the monk class.

With all the other stuff the class grants, is it fine as is? An idea I had on changing it was to make the damage listed be a bonus to unarmed damage (instead of replacing it, so a level 1 medium-sized monk deals 1d4+1d6 instead of 1d6, and a level 1 small-sized monk 1d3+1d6), but that's a double-edged sword considering how the big way to optimize a monk's damage is through size increases (which would be working with that 1d4 instead of, say, a juicy 2d6 at 12th level).

For that matter, how would you all feel if I extended the bonus to monk special weapons? I'd probably have to rethink how a player might add weapons to that list, in that case.

That said, I'm still really wanting to go over the Combat Art ability and the related arts to make sure that's balanced right before doing much else, so I'm bumping the topic.