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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Lets talk about monks.

    Alright, so we know that monks are some of the worst on the list, sitting near the bottom with the fighter. Now, what do you guys think could conceptually and mechanically help them?


    One thing to me is that, well, the concept sounds like too many cliches tossed together, none of which fit very neatly. The abilities don't sync, and they just have too many problems.

    In addition, why is a level 1 monk fighting bare fisted and unarmed? thats something that a master will do, not a pupil. Sure, they're good, but unarmored and barehanded should be saved till they're high level and a master-- it should remain a nice fallback, not a mainstay till then.



    Give your ideas about what they'd need to work well and keep up.

    Personally, I'd scrap the wisdom to AC thing outright. Screw that. Give them an insight bonus to AC when unarmored equal to 2+half their monk level. THEN give them light armor proficiency. Until they're mid level, they should wear light armor. At high levels, their insight will be better than it currently is (level 20: 12 insight) unless they are focus on wisdom and wear bracers of armor in the current setup. Either way, this is mainly to lessen their crippling MAD.

    Level one: a monk using a monk weapon (like nunchuks) should deal damage as if the weapon were one size higher. This means that at low levels, they'll usually use weapons, not fists, as they are still training. Plus, this means they will be able to fall back easily should they need DR piercing. Monk weapons are pretty sucky, so this won't allow for uber damage anyways.

    Level 10: increase monk weapon damage die again. At this point, even with the die increase, their unarmed will equal it.

    Piercing DR: Add an ability that lets them pierce DR equal to their monk level with their fists. This should probably be a high level ability, but it will let them fight pesky demons and such bare handed

    KI strike: Make it an ACTUAL enhancement. This will finally let them hit well, and they can do some damage. Gets rid of the no enchantment problem.
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    Last edited by krossbow; 2011-03-08 at 10:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    ...
    I'm not touching this one. I can feel the aneurism coming. Bears with Lasers, if you will.?
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Hmm, I wonder if I should just follow Skyserpent's example and wait for BwL to comment before commenting myself... :D
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    If its really that much of an eyesore, I can just ask for it to be locked; not wanting to annoy people here. If this is the wrong place or a tired debate, just say so.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I'll save Bears the trouble. Here's his original quote from an earlier thread:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    First off, I give them full BAB. Then I let gloves (which unarmed damage doesn't change with) be enchanted just like weapons. I scrap some or most of their high-level abilities for other, more relevant ones: a Freedom of Movement effect, an Air Walk ability, an immunity to ability damage/drain, and the like. I up their initial AC bonus (the +1-5 they get besides Wisdom) to start a little bigger (+3, maybe) but progress at the same rate. I consider giving them a class option that'll let'em get 1.5x STR to damage when they don't flurry, and I make flurry more like Snap Kick from Tome of Battle so it's not completely anti-synergistic with their mobility.

    Then I add minor, flavorful abilities and give them and the existing ones cooler names, drawing on the Oathsworn in Arcana Evolved. "Eschew food", "eschew air", "eschew sleep", "eschew aging"; "refuse poison", "refuse debiliation" (ability damage/drain immunity), "refuse hindrances" (that'd be the FoM effect) and the like.
    <<<<<<<<<<<

    What Bears is saying is that (a) they need to be effective in combat, hence the full BAB and enchanted gloves and (b) if they are truly meant to be the game balance answer to spell-casters, give them the tools to do so, hence the air walk, freedom of movement, and immunity to ability drain/penalties.

    Quite the awesome class I'd say!

    I have my own variant on this. Instead of allowing gloves to be enchanted and full BAB, overlay the kensai class on top of monk 11-20. The power surge should also be a swift action, not a move action. The lack of full BAB makes the freedom of movement, air walk, etc. more palatable. The different powers available from kensai will also make each monk unique, something sorely lacking.
    Last edited by ken-do-nim; 2007-01-01 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Geez, guys. No pressure, right?

    Anyway.
    I don't think that that really addresses many of the issues monks have.

    You're right that their abilities don't synch. Mobility is at odds with flurry of blows, since if you're using one you're not using the other; flurry doesn't match well with a 3/4 BAB, Improved Grapple and Trip/Disarm don't synch with the typical low-strength (mitigated, theoretically, by increasing unarmed damage dice) due to need for Dex and Wis monk, whose low STR and BAB will keep him from grappling too effectively or tripping (low STR) and disarming effecitvely (-4 for using a light weapon).

    However, you're actually dropping their AC at low levels, and significantly increasing it (likely too much) at high ones. Your switch from "unarmed from the start" to "unarmed later" doesn't do much to improve them, mechanically, and people play monks for the "unarmed warrior" flavor, regardless of how silly it may or may not be. If you're going to fix the monk, you need to keep the flavor, which is "I am a martial-arts badass who fights unarmed."

    Monks have little to no synergy between their various abilities; sometimes, it's actually negative synergy--Flurry of Blows forces them into straight-up melee, where, with the exception of certain builds, monks don't generally want to be in combat, since monsters will eat them alive (sometimes literally).

    So, a good monk fix should keep the flavor, and the same approximate theoretical strengths and weaknesses.
    So, what should a D&D Monk be?
    First and foremost, an unarmed, unarmored combatant. He may carry a special monk weapon or two, but going without should be a solid option; probably the primary option.
    The Flurry is pretty much too attached to the monk class to remove, and represents the monk being quicker. The Flurry should be kept in some form, but ideally not in its present one.
    Stunning Fist is all right, although there should probably be more uses/day to make it useful at low levels, since it only lasts one round.
    The monk should be mobile and hard to take down, having good mental defenses; however, he shouldn't be quite as hard-hitting, nor as tough in melee, as a more solidly melee-based class. He should, however, have more utility. The Ranger is a good example of a class that's not quite as combat-tough as, say, the Barbarian, but still capable of it, and possessed of other abilities (like 6+INT skills and tracking, not to mension Hide in Plain Sight eventually) to compensate.
    Finally, he should be useful at high levels. As things stand, the monk is basically like the Warlock, a Don't Die But Don't Really Do Anything Useful guy. You should be able to ask yourself, "what will this guy do every combat round?" and the answer should be more than "A couple of 1d8+1s. Later, it'll be four 2d6+2s, and I'll eventually move up to six 2d10+5s, maybe! You know, at level 20! When everyone else is mixing it up with dragons, except my poor fellow underpowered meleers, who at least can do some damage!"


    I'm working on a creature for the Fimbulwinter contest and fiddling with my Fighter fix at the moment, but I may work up an alternate monk at some point.
    I'm not touching it until I finish up my Nobilis character for a game, though. I've been sick, so that's been neglected; pretty Nobilis story-stuff is harder to do than D&D Crunch.


    Edit: Oh, yeah, the monk also needs more options. Right now, the class is rather inflexible, and different schools or styles would fit well.

    Those ideas Ken quoted above are just off-the-top-of-my-head ideas, and aren't all necessary the right thing to do. If I were to try to balance monks though, yeah, I'd try to balance them at least with decent classes like the Psychic Warrior, second-rank casters like the Favored Soul, et cetera. No class should be boosted up to Druid or Wizard or DMM(Persistent) Cleric level, but a strong melee class should have a number of advantaged in melee over a Divine Powered cleric.
    Even if you were balancing monks against Barbarians, Rangers, Paladins, and the like, they'd need a bit more than Full BAB.
    Last edited by Bears With Lasers; 2007-01-01 at 07:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Yeah. BTW, note that BwL believes in balancing classes to ToB and possibly even spellcasters, not balancing monk to regular fighter, etc. (as he has fighter fix which also is towards the ToB level)... If you just want them balanced with regular non-caster and non-ToB classes, giving them full BAB would propably do the trick.

    EDIT: FOR THE F***'S SAKE... I decide not to coment before BwL and when I eventually decide "Whatever, I wll post now", BwL posts while I write...

    Bah...
    Last edited by Pegasos989; 2007-01-01 at 07:25 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Not that it's an eyesore, it's just a very touchy issue =x
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Here's an idea to redesign monk from the ground up. Let's review where they fit in:
    Clerics/Druids/Favored Souls: powered by divine magic
    Sorcerers/Wizards/Warmages: powered by arcane magic
    Warlocks: powered by eldritch forces (I guess)
    Bards: powered by some arcane magic, and some supernatural musicianship
    Psions/Psychic Warriors: powered by the mind
    Monks: powered by ki.

    I think that ki powers would help solve both the problems the monk has (lack of contribution, lack of differentiation). Abundant step, quivering palm, and ethereal body are only 3 examples of ki powers that monks can attain. Ki powers would naturally use power points/day. So if we introduced a six level ki powers chart and perhaps 3 or 4 schools of powers, all the sudden monk is surprisingly similar to psychic warrior, a melee class with lots of variety and powers. Because monks have flurry, diamond body, and many other special qualities, and because I still want to have them gain kensai-like weapon enhancement ability, they wouldn't have as many power points as psychic warriors per day.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Ninjas are Ki powered too. As are Kensai, but you noted that.

    WotC Forums had this one Monk build that I can't find, anyone?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I personally think these abilities would help out immensely:


    Eye of truth: A monk has permanent true sight as an ability.

    Permanent freedom of movement (level 13 at the latest PLEASE. Freedom of movement rings aren't that hard to come by)

    Leap of the clouds: A number of times per day equal to their wisdom score, a monk may use the cloudwalk ability (caster level equals monk level).

    Calming soul: A number of times per day equal to their wisdom modifier, a monk may attempt to dispel any magic cast within 10 feet of them, using their monk level as the caster level. This is a swift action, and may be used to negate affects such as a gate opening near them, a forcecage around them, or a wall of force blocking them.





    Still, the main problem with monks is they have HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE MAD. No other class relies SO much on so many abilities to keep them functioning. Some of their stats need to be allowed to substitued for, so they don't need both STR, DEX, CON, and WIS in equal amounts.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyserpent View Post
    Ninjas are Ki powered too. As are Kensai, but you noted that.
    Hmm... maybe we should fix monk, ninja, and samurai all in one swoop with ki power charts. Monk and ninja each would go to level 6 powers, but have access to different schools (though gee, they both turn ethereal, don't they), whereas samurai would only go to level 4. If I'm actually going to work on this and present the forum with a full chart, I wonder if I should pursue it as a class rewrite or something that could be slid onto the existing class. As Bears stated, monk already suffers from synergy problems, although the kensai power surge (+8 to str) would make grapple, trip, and disarm more viable.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I agree that monks are bad at the begining, but they become extremely powerfull at higher lvls. To be serious, me and a freind pitched epic lvl characters against eachother to see wich combat class was the best. Well, we simply discovered that after the 20 no one can do anything to the monk! He is hard to hit, can deflect spells and projectiles and remove all sort of weapons from their wielders. Unfortunatly the Monk still has a bad time when he tries to deal damage... He is like the spellcasters, weak in the begining and invincible at the end.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    The monk is no harder to hit than a non-monk AC-focused build; he can deflected ranged touches, which leaves tons of ways to kill him with spells. Monks have some very nice epic feats availible, but that's hardly enough to carry the class. (And a Fighter who really wanted to could pick up Imp. Unarmed/Deflect Arrows and then snag Infinite Deflection and Excellent Deflection, anyway.)

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I think that the Monk should be able to beat down sorcerors and wizards, but in turn should be killed if he ever gets into a scrap with a full-fledged fighter.

    My monk (work in progress):

    Hit Die: d6
    Base Attack Bonus: 3/4's
    Fort Save: Full
    Will Save: Full
    Ref Save: Full
    Proficient with all simple weapons, special monk weapons, and light armor. (More proficiencies can be obtained through feats or multi-classing.)
    Skills: The physical ones, knowledge ones, perform and decipher script; no rogue-skills, social skills or spell-casting skills. (I don't know about animal skills.)
    Special Abilities: One Ki Ability can be picked from the following list at every level.

    Ability to Take 10 on Any Physical Skill (Balance/ Jump/ Swim/ Climb)
    Ability to Fly a Distance Equal to Jump Check
    Featherfall at Will
    Flurry of Blows
    Freedom of Movement
    Immunity to Critical Hits
    Immunity to Death Effects
    Immunity to an Individual Element
    Immunity to Mind Affecting Spells
    Immunity to Poison and Disease
    Intelligence Score Bonus to Listen/ Spot
    Stunning Blow
    Touch-Range Dispel Magic at Will
    True Seeing/ Darkvision
    Wisdom Bonus to AC
    Wisdom Bonus to Attack (or Damage)
    Wisdom Score as Spell Resistance

    A lot of the special abilities should probably have a minumum-level requirement, but monks should be able to have very powerful anti-magic abilities at early level; this is countersunk by a d6 hit die, 3/4's BaB and limited weapon proficiencies. (A level five monk could theoretically have True Seeing, Immunity to Fire, Freedom of Movement and a Spell Resistance of 19; he is a wizard's worse enemy, but a fighter can kill him because he wears no armor and only knows how to use nunchucks.)

    With this monk variant, I think that the "wizards win" mentality could be eliminated in favor of a rock-paper-scissors thing (which currently isn't there). The balance of this lies in the list of ki abilities available, all of which need to be playtested and many probably need to be given prerequisites.

    So, what do ya'll think? I think it's a definite step in the right direction.
    Last edited by Begle1; 2007-01-01 at 10:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    The hit Die isnt a d8 or am I wrong?
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fawsto View Post
    The hit Die isnt a d8 or am I wrong?
    RAW Monks have d8's according to my 3.5E PHB. (I just realized that, if you can understand that, you're too geeky for you're own good...)

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Three words: Vow. Of. Poverty.

    Because two brokes DO make a fixed.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    VOP will overall make a RAW monk worse

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by A Pointy Object View Post
    Three words: Vow. Of. Poverty.

    Because two brokes DO make a fixed.

    *gets off soapbox*
    VoP weakens the monk, as he gets less ac, loses the stuff like flying (normally from magic items)...

    "I am a VoP monk. Enemy is flying. I do nothing."
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Begle1 View Post
    I think that the Monk should be able to beat down sorcerors and wizards, but in turn should be killed if he ever gets into a scrap with a full-fledged fighter.
    So, what do ya'll think? I think it's a definite step in the right direction.
    I don't. That's a terrible basis for a PC class, who faces, by and large, non-spellcasting enemies. Most monsters are brutish types.


    Edit: God, why do people keep saying VoP is somehow broken or even good for monks? Just because they heard it somewhere?
    Last edited by Bears With Lasers; 2007-01-02 at 06:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I'd say because it looks powerful and monk is supposedly the best class to take it with.
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Druid is the most powerful class to take it with (because it can't use most of its gear when wildshaped), but it has spells that overlap VoP benefits and last a long time, so really, it's not optimal even for the druid, except at a few particular levels.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Screw actual response to the thread:

    Dear god! Bears With Lasers is the new The Logic Ninja: caustic whenever someone makes a common error, people fearing and anticipating his appearance in a thread, quoting him at every turn, praising and swearing by his comments.

    Differences?: he's currently not as caustic as our old pal, and his focus seems to be monks, rather than wizards.

    This actual thread: skipped most of it, but OP, that AC bonus makes armor even more irrelevent at low levels and even better at high levels; you defeated your own point.
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    I try not to be too caustic, I've just been seeing the "ZOMG VOP IS BORKEN!!!!11111" stuff a lot lately.

    I have no particular focus on monks.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    1) OP, you should really have something other than a copywrited image as your avatar (The front cover for the movie 'Equilibrium'). While I do like the movie, it creates legal hassles which can get you banned.

    2) Monks are not underpowered. If anything, they can be horridly overpowered. They are one of the very few classes which can take on a wizard who knows he is comming and still have a darn good chance of winning. With his three high saves, the wizard can't hit a 'weak save'. With his insane touch AC, the wizard is not going to land a touch spell, even when augmented with Quickened True Strike. And 2d10 is NOTHING to sneeze at, considering the number of attacks a monk gets in one turn. Make him a large monk (dip a level of FoZ to take Expansion, for instance), and it gets even more obnoxious. And even with insane SR penetration, you can always roll a nat 1 and have the spell completely ignored.

    Personally, I could see a Monk getting a revamp, much akin to the ToB revamp for Fighters. However, the emphasis is not to make them more powerful, but to streamline their abilities, some of which just plain suck. Some of the abilities in ToB could really make monks nasty. How about a jump check vs opponent's AC to make a full attack at the end of a charge? I'll take that for a monk. That gives perfect synergy with Flurry and Spring Attack. There's more in there they can use, I'm sure.
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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Just to be clear on these monk over/underpowered and vow of poverty over/underpowered discussions, I think the monk looks more powerful the less wealth the average party member has. In a low magic campaign, the monk's unarmed damage and armor class bonuses put them above others. In a high magic campaign, the monk's abilities seem puny compared to that fighter's +5 speed evil outsider bane sword and his +5 full plate with all the energy resistances.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bears With Lasers View Post
    I don't. That's a terrible basis for a PC class, who faces, by and large, non-spellcasting enemies. Most monsters are brutish types.
    First of all, my monk wouldn't be any worse against brutish monsters than a rogue or bard. Of course he won't be as good as a fighter or barbarian, but it isn't his job. He'll be no more useless against a big brute than rogues are useless against undead.

    There's no reason to be a monk if you're not going to be fighting spellcasters, but a single level seven guy with a touch-range dispel magic, free movement, true seeing and immunity to death effects would be exceedingly useful to any party I've ever played in; at least as useful as a trap monkey rogue or tracker ranger.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    With his three high saves, the wizard can't hit a 'weak save'.

    (...)

    And even with insane SR penetration, you can always roll a nat 1 and have the spell completely ignored.
    Irresistable Dance. No save, no SR. Rocks fall, monk dies.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about monks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Begle1 View Post
    First of all, my monk wouldn't be any worse against brutish monsters than a rogue or bard. Of course he won't be as good as a fighter or barbarian, but it isn't his job. He'll be no more useless against a big brute than rogues are useless against undead.

    There's no reason to be a monk if you're not going to be fighting spellcasters, but a single level seven guy with a touch-range dispel magic, free movement, true seeing and immunity to death effects would be exceedingly useful to any party I've ever played in; at least as useful as a trap monkey rogue or tracker ranger.
    Well, bard is generally seen as the weakest class in PHB for not being able to contribute enough so comparing monk's abilities to his are not a good basis.

    Also, monk is unarmed combatant. I like to think of a boxer type character as a monk, for example. I know many of the abilities are unrealistic which is fine in fantasy setting but I just don't see rocky (high level monk) havin dispel magic...
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