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Thread: Drunken Master

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Drunken Master

    I was looking at the drunken master PrC and debating wether or not to make one at some point. So anyway the point being that it makes no mention of a monk continuing to gain monk bonus unarmed damage but in the example it has a lvl 5 monk/ lvl 8 drunken master and lists their unarmed damage as 1d10 which neither a 5th level (assuming drunken master doesn't add to it) or a 13th level (assuming drunken master does add to it) deals as damage.

    So did WotC just make another mistake or is there some system of adding half drunken master levels or some such thing I'm not aware of? Cuz they do make mistakes alot.....like the two constructs in Fiend Folio who have saving throws based on their con scores

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Xenogears View Post
    I was looking at the drunken master PrC and debating wether or not to make one at some point. So anyway the point being that it makes no mention of a monk continuing to gain monk bonus unarmed damage but in the example it has a lvl 5 monk/ lvl 8 drunken master and lists their unarmed damage as 1d10 which neither a 5th level (assuming drunken master doesn't add to it) or a 13th level (assuming drunken master does add to it) deals as damage.

    So did WotC just make another mistake or is there some system of adding half drunken master levels or some such thing I'm not aware of? Cuz they do make mistakes alot.....like the two constructs in Fiend Folio who have saving throws based on their con scores
    I, too, have often contemplated putting together a Drunken Master build, mostly because the basic concept immediately rings several "That's Cool!" bells. However, mechanically it's an absolute wreck. Almost everything it offers you can get somewhere else that's more effective or has fewer drawbacks.

    Drink like a demon to boost Str/Con? Rage can do that and doesn't require move actions. Want to hit people with improvised weapons? Hulking Hurler or Brawler. (Note: Drunken Master doesn't make you proficient with improvised weapons, and although you can use your unarmed strike damage, it doesn't progress your unarmed damage.) Want to charge around a corner? Psionic Charge or Twisted Charge. Breath flames? Dragonfire Adept, Dragonborn of Bahumat, or Dragon Samurai.

    On top of that, the requirements are almost as bad as Fochlucan Lyrist: IUS + two useless feats, evasion, flurry, and the "night of drinking" thing. This pretty much forces two levels of monk on you, and the PrC doesn't advance any of your signature monk abilities. I've made a few attempts to put together a build that gets around some of these difficulties, but I haven't managed to come up with anything satisfying yet. Here are some of my thoughts on how to get around or fix some of the problems with Drunken Master:

    Problem: How do I get evasion without resorting to the humiliating lameness known as a Monk?

    A two-level dip into Totemist is awesomeness on toast. There are a variety of other dippable classes that offer evasion. There's a Fochlucan Lyrist guide on the Wizards/gleemax forums somewhere that goes into detail on picking up evasion.

    Problem: But that won't work! I still need two levels of Monk for "flurry of blows", right?

    There are two other PrCs that offer flurry: Disciple of the Eye (Races of the Dragon) and Shou Disciple (Unapproachable East). Unfortunately, Disciple of the Eye is barely more effective than just biting the bullet on Monk levels. And the wording on Shou Disciple's "Martial Flurry" is pretty wonky, as the PrC appears to assume you already have flurry even though it's not required. It also assumes you have a separate unarmed attack progression, as the 3.0 version of the monk did. Although Unapproachable East was updated to 3.5 with errata, no one bothered to clean up the 3.0 wonkiness in this PrC. Another option might be to convince your DM that "flurry of strikes" from Exotic Weapon Master should qualify, but that's up to the DM.

    Problem: What about Dodge and Great Fortitude?

    Expeditious Dodge or Midnight Dodge can be substituted for plain ol' boring Dodge. Great Fortitude... hmm... well, Bear Totem Barbarian (UA p. 41) picks it up as a bonus feat at level 3. You could pick it up from the Dwarf Domain with a cleric dip. Belt of Endurance (A&EG p. 129) offers Great Fortitude if you're willing to risk your class abilities on an item that can be sundered/lost/etc.

    Problem: No proficiency with Improvised Weapons.

    A one-level dip into Hulking Hurler (requires large size or powerful build) reduces the penalty from -4 to -2. There's also the City Brawler variant of the Barbarian (Dragon #349), it reduces the penalty from -4 to -2, although I don't think you can stack that with Hulking Hurler. The Brawler PrC (Dragon #295) eliminates the penalty entirely. Another level of Brawler also allows you to use Weapon Focus and other weapon-specific feats with improvised weapons.

    Problem: Ok, I can hit things with improvised weapons and get my unarmed damage plus a little bit extra, but my unarmed damage stinks!

    There are a variety of ways to pick up Improved Unarmed Strike or the monk's unarmed strike ability (Important Note: not the same as IUS!) without taking monk levels. Shou Disciple, for example, starts you off with a monk's unarmed strike at 1d8. Fist of the Forest not only gives you a monk's unarmed strike, but gives two damage boosts in only 3 levels. Battledancer is a bit more obscure (Dragon Compendium p. 26) but offers the full BAB that the monk really should have... unfortunately, other than Cha bonus to AC, it doesn't offer much else. City Brawler Barbarian also gets IUS as a bonus feat at 1st level, although *not* the monk version.

    Once you have IUS and BAB +3, you can pick up Superior Unarmed Strike. You get lethal unarmed strike damage that's the equivalent of small-sized monk, but the important thing to remember is it scales up by your character level, which means you can take all those Drunken Master levels without worrying about going into another PrC to progress your unarmed damage. There's a tricky caveat, however... if you have monk levels, instead of scaling up by character level, you just get the unarmed damage of a monk four levels higher. But if you don't take any monk levels and combine this with Shou Disciple, Fist of the Forest, or Battledancer, you get somewhat decent unarmed damage that scales up, and you can also bump up the damage with Improved Natural Attack and the Totem Avatar soulmeld (bound to your shoulders, most likely with Open Lesser Chakra).

    There's another quirk to Superior Unarmed Strike... the non-monk damage it grants doesn't depend on your size. This can create problems if you're trying to use expansion or enlarge person to boost your damage, but it also means you can start with a Strongheart Halfling and get the same damage as a small-sized monk. Well, because we all know that beating monsters into a bloody pulp is even funnier when you're smaller than they are. Even better, start with a Hengeyokai (Oriental Adventures), change into a fine-sized sparrow (AC 24 at 1st level, +8 size bonus on attacks) and then unload some flying feathered whoopass.

    Problem: Ok, I can hurt people now, but Drink Like a Demon is soaking up all my move actions! Flurry of Blows is useless if I can't full attack. How can I get this to work?

    Psychic Warrior 4 gets you Hustle, which you can use to get more move actions. Picking up some of Claws of the Beast or Claws of the Vampire wouldn't be a bad thing, either. To offset the loss of Wisdom and Intelligence... well, I was going to say Shape Soulmeld: Strongheart Vest or a dip into Binder to pick up Naberius, but unfortunately the description describes these effects not as ability damage but as a penalty, and I don't think Strongheart Vest or Naberius can help with that. You might want to run that by your DM and see what he says.

    Ok, so when you put everything together... hmmm... how about:

    City Brawler Spirit Lion Barbarian 1/Psychic Warrior 4/Shou Disciple 3/Totemist 2/Drunken Master 10

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Xenogears View Post
    So anyway the point being that it makes no mention of a monk continuing to gain monk bonus unarmed damage but in the example it has a lvl 5 monk/ lvl 8 drunken master and lists their unarmed damage as 1d10 which neither a 5th level (assuming drunken master doesn't add to it) or a 13th level (assuming drunken master does add to it) deals as damage.
    ...is it perhaps because said Drunken Master is wearing a Monk's Belt that treats the unarmed damage as though it was doled out by a monk five levels higher?

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    I know I'm obsessed with Tome Of Battle, so don't take my suggestions seriously, but have you considered playing an unarmed Swordsage? At level 7, you can get Bounding Assault (the maneuver, not the feat), which works almost exactly like Stagger. And you can set yourself on fire like a real monk!

    There's no alignment restriction, so you can multiclass to Barbarian and get Pounce. Use the City Brawler variant from Dragon Magazine. It gets IUS (so your DM might allow it to progress unarmed damage), reduces the penalty for using improvised weapons, and explicitly allows you to dual-wield unarmed strikes. Let's not get into that. Then you take Flying Kick for massive damage!

    You also get proficiency with light armor, which doesn't impair your class features at all, and proficiency with simple weapons, which allows you to use battle gauntlets from Races Of Faerūn. They're just like regular gauntlets, except they use your full unarmed damage. Your armor and weapons can be magically enhanced, making you far more powerful than a core Monk even without your maneuvers.
    Last edited by Faleldir; 2009-05-07 at 04:15 PM.

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Faleldir View Post
    but have you considered playing an unarmed Swordsage?
    You also get proficiency with light armor, which doesn't impair your class features at all
    Lolwut?

    The unarmed Swordsage loses his light armor proficiency...

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Glyphstone
    Lolwut?

    The unarmed Swordsage loses his light armor proficiency...
    The armor proficiency is from the Barbarian level.

    See, I can write invisible text too.

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Faleldir View Post
    I know I'm obsessed with Tome Of Battle, so don't take my suggestions seriously, but have you considered playing an unarmed Swordsage?
    Unarmed Swordsage doesn't add all that much to a Drunken Master build, not necessarily the fault of the Swordsage but more because the mechanics for Drunken Master are such a mess. Yes, ok, you get a monk's unarmed strike at 1st level, but your Wisdom-based AC bonus becomes problematic. You lose light armor proficiency, although it's fairly easy to find light armor with no armor check penalty (leather, masterwork studded leather, mithril chain shirt, etc.). Unfortunately, when you start using Drink Like a Demon, your Wisdom goes down.

    And Swordsage doesn't solve the evasion and flurry problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faleldir View Post
    There's no alignment restriction, so you can multiclass to Barbarian and get Pounce. Use the City Brawler variant from Dragon Magazine. It gets IUS (so your DM might allow it to progress unarmed damage), reduces the penalty for using improvised weapons, and explicitly allows you to dual-wield unarmed strikes. Let's not get into that. Then you take Flying Kick for massive damage!
    City Brawler pairs up nicely with Bear Totem Barbarian, although you don't get pounce. Take three levels of Bear Totem and you gain IUS, TWF (IUS only), improvised -2, Toughness, Improved Grapple, and Great Fortitude. Start with a Frostblood orc/half-orc, and you can convert Toughness into any other bonus feat you qualify for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faleldir View Post
    You also get proficiency with light armor, which doesn't impair your class features at all, and proficiency with simple weapons, which allows you to use battle gauntlets from Races Of Faerūn. They're just like regular gauntlets, except they use your full unarmed damage. Your armor and weapons can be magically enhanced, making you far more powerful than a core Monk even without your maneuvers.
    Definitely a good idea, but the whole point of Drunken Master is to hit people with furniture, not your fists.

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    And Swordsage doesn't solve the evasion and flurry problem.
    City Brawler gives you a kind of pseudo-flurry by bending the TWF rules, but I see your point. You want to play a class that has "drunken master" in the title, and there's nothing wrong with that. I just misunderstood you.

    Definitely a good idea, but the whole point of Drunken Master is to hit people with furniture, not your fists.
    That explains why I gave such bad advice. I assumed the whole point was Stagger.

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Definitely a good idea, but the whole point of Drunken Master is to hit people with furniture, not your fists.
    No, no, no! The whole point is to hit enemies with their friends! Grapple check anyone? Then you wield them as a weapon, and, if you roll a natural 1, they break in half and become useless
    Awesome avatar by the amazing Serpentine!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Shadows View Post
    Spell Mastery. Seriously a Wizard without Spell Mastery is like a Fighter without Weapon Focus: possible, but why?

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    Default Re: Drunken Master

    Although it would give him the appropriate unarmed damage (i think didn't actually check) It isn't listed as one of their possesions.... So I'm pretty sure that they just screwed up.

    To other people. I've never used Tome of Battle and prolly wont look into it right now. Also I like plain Monk even if it isn't that good....

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