View Full Version : Monks

2008-08-13, 07:23 PM
I've been noticing that a lot of people seem to feel that monks are underpowered. Most notably, in On the Origin of PCs. I'd like to ask- do you think monks are underpowered enough to give them a good base attack bonus? A large part of this is because Monks attain the outsider type at 20th level and have the saves and HD of outsiders, so it would make sense to give them the BaB as well, if they're underpowered. There's also the fact that this is one of the simplest buffs you could make (especially good if it's something you recommend to most people over the internet), compare:
"Monks are generally considered to be underpowered, I'd personally suggest giving them a good BaB instead of average"
"Monks are generally considered to be underpowered, we suggest you give them the ability to cast divine spells, here's the tables and lists that five people drew up in the course of several days:
Insert spells chart, monk spell rules, and spell lists here"

Alternatively, on that note, Monks have some aspects of a jack of all trades, if not on the level of the bard: they have moderate mele abilities, things like hide and move silently on their class skill lists, and the ability to heal (even if it is self only). Maybe you could give them the choice between a good BaB, divine spellcasting ability, or one or more rogue abilities.
I suppose that buffing a jack-of-all-trades class by allowing it to specialize somewhat defeats the purpose, but there's one thing that they would be useful for, which would certainly explain why somewhat talked about an army of monks as an RFED moment... army slaughtering.
20th level Monks have damage reduction 10/magic and more attack than any other class. I suppose that not being able to wear armor might hamper that somewhat, but with the AC bonus, the high dexterity, a wondrous item or two, getting mage armor from the party wizard/sorcerer, and perhaps some way of getting inertial armor (psionic monk class, anyone?) would probably make up for that.
Come to think of it, maybe they could gain psionic abilities instead of having a good BaB... darn. If they were psionic, they might be able to get some far strike/reach thing so that they could actually USE all their attacks (epic monk with the great cleave feat and a good BaB in the middle of an army of 1st-level NPCs would probably take out everyone within one square, take a five foot step, do so again, and then be left with four attacks left and nobody close enough to use them on-optional range of 10 feat=solution) but they'd have to give one of their attack up to get it. *sigh*

So, anyway, the main point of this topic is whether or not you think giving monks a good BaB would make them overpowered, still underpowered, or about balanced, and if you have any better ideas.

2008-08-13, 07:55 PM
My opinion is always "use an Unarmed Swordsage instead" but presuming that's not an option...

Giving monks good BAB and cutting Amulet of Mighty Fists to normal enhancement bonus costs honestly go a lot towards fixing the monk in terms of balance. Reducing their MAD by making their saves Dex or Str based would help, too. I don't think it would balance them entirely, though, and it still leaves the monk with the issue that one of its two major class-defining features (Flurry of Blows and Monk Speed) is at odds with other, and generally doesn't get enough behind it.

Giving Monks the Decisive Strike feature from PHB II in addition (rather than replacing) Flurry of Blows and allowing that to be used as part of a charge could be nice.

2008-08-13, 09:58 PM
How are Flurry of Blows and Monk Speed at odds with eachother? Is it because using a Flurry takes a full-round action?

Hm. Decisive Strike is interesting. Sort of a free critical hit, but the DC increase in Stunning Fist is potentially nice.

I played in a long-running campaign where one of the players was a highly enjoyable Shifter Monk. He consistently contributed to the fights (possibly because our Crusader didn't know how to play for beans and kept leaving for cigarette breaks), but got bored with the lack of variety in the class. Flurry of Blows, Stunning Fist. Flurry of Blows, Stunning Fist.

They ended up rebuilding their character as an unarmed swordsage at the DM's suggestion. They've a bit less durable, but he ended up having a much better time with the better versatility or offense. They mostly used Tiger Claw and Setting Sun to keep a monky feel to it.

2008-08-13, 10:02 PM
How are Flurry of Blows and Monk Speed at odds with eachother? Is it because using a Flurry takes a full-round action?

Bingo. It's good for variety of attacks (Damage versus Battlefield Control), but since the monk's not particularly good at either, that doesn't add much. BAB only makes one of the two options notably better.

2008-08-14, 06:22 PM
Actually, I now think monks would be much better with extra reach than higher BaB, since it plays to their strengths (evidently, part of the reason they're underpowered is because their skills are so divided) incredibly well by enhancing their ability to deal with both large armies and spellcasters, which the monk is immensely good at compared to other classes. I can't exactly say higher BaB doesn't play to their strengths, though, since it not only grants them an additional attack and better accuracy (by 20th level), but it also benefits them much more than it would most classes, since the extra attacks from their flurry of blows are at their full base attack bonus.

Actually, it would be nice if they could have both. Their stealth and abundant step/empty body abilities are good for getting close to spellcasters before they can take too many spells and likely get a surprise round (two sets of five attacks against a flat-footed, unarmored opponent with d4 hit die, anyone?) but combined with the movement bonus, that's kinda overkill.

And on a somewhat-related note, does anyone think that 5-foot steps should be affected by speed? It's kinda funny how something that has a speed of 5 anyway (if we say that there could, perhaps, be such a creature) moves the same distance as a monk with a speed of 90 ft.

Also, about flurry of blows/speed bonus being at odds with each other, oddly enough, I'd never realized the relation between those two until someone said that they don't fit well. Fast attacking- fast movement.

Well, perhaps hands as reach weapons, good BaB, and being able to move 15 feet in one step (which isn't as ridiculous as you think it might we, if you consider that the same person can run at 60 feet per second) might actually be a tad bit overpowered, even if they lose some of their other abilities...