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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Monastic Traditions in 5e



    As i wasn't able find any Monk guides that include all the added Monastic Traditions from the Sword Coast Adventurer Guide and Underneath Arcana, I decided to write down my own guide about them to share my thoughts and experiences with the traditions! English is not my first language, so please forgive or report me mistakes you find. Im also happy about critique and suggestions!

    Spoiler: Thoughts on the Monk Class
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    The Monk is one of the rarer played classes in DnD because he does not fall in to one of the three typical roles of DnD characters (tank/damage/untility). While there are usually Fighters/Barbars/Paladins in the frontline, Sorcerers/Wizards in the backline and Druids/Bards/Clerics somewhere in the middle to keep the team together, the Monk has fewer appearances in classical Dnd setups (at least in the group i play with). He is a robust damage & utility hybrid.

    While the d8 health die is only average, the Monk has a lot of ways to dodge or to mitigate damage. The class as a whole is very good in utilizing the action economy (main action/bonus action/reaction) and also has a suprisingly high damage output with all the bonus attacks! The Monk is a very constant class, that gives you a lot of options and probably never will feel useless, even if you already spent your KI points. However, while the class gains loads good of features on its way to lvl 20, it does not get any ridiculous capstone abililties that allow you to permanently turn your allies into fully grown dragons or to cast fireballs at will. (The only feature thats comparable is QUIVERING PALM from the "Way of the open Hand" tradition)

    The thing i like most about the monk is that he is a character that has very viable attacks (i dont like to rely on very medicore cantrips when im out of spellslots), while still getting loads of free or KI based abilities and even spells. One could argue that classes like the knight can also gain spells by choosing the eldritch knight path, but that only enables the typicaly used shield spell and a few other utility spells, while the whole playstyle of the Monk is based around the effective usage of KI points (which you regain every SHOT REST)

    The monk excels at locking down single targets and misses the ability to dish out AOE damage to deal with large groups (like most fighting based classes). While the basic features of the Monk already form a very feasible class, the 7 Monastic Traditions allow you to customize the class into a direction of your choice (ranged combat/ AOE damage / Healing/ weapon fighting / rouge like shadow skills ect....)



    I will comment on Feat and Background choices in a short manner as there are many other guides about them and you are better off choosing based on your own preferences anyways.


    Spoiler: Colors
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    Gold represents the best abilities

    Sky blue represents excellent choices and very strong abilities

    Blue represents good abilities that you might not want to miss

    Violet represents optional abilities that are not necessarily bad but often weak compared to other choices

    Red represents suboptimal choices that you should only pick up if you like the style and the flavour

    Important: im not only rating the abilities based on their utility and strength but also based on their cost and on the level where you get access to it. For example abilitys that you get between lvl 17 and lvl 20 have to have a major impact on the character to get a good rating!


    Spoiler: Stats
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    STR increases your carrying capacity and helps you with sometimes occuring strengths checks. If you have some points left you could spend them here.

    DEX besides being your comat stat it also increases your AC, you initiative, and often required DEX saving throws and dex checks (like stealth). Your key Stat, max it!

    CON boosts your HP and helps you with CON saves which occur from time to time

    INT is the worst stat for you as there are not a lot if INT saves/INT ability checks and you dont benefit from it in other ways. The only reason for me to invest 2 points here is flavourwise to avoid playing an unintelligent character

    WIS increases your AC and also your DC that enemies have to beat. Its also helps you to succeed on commonly apperaing WIS saving throws, that often have bad consequences if you miss your save. High WIS checks like Perception are also nice to have. This is your second priority after DEX

    CHA i'd only increase this flavourwise or to be better in situations where you have to be talkative as there are a lot of usefull CHA based skills. If you have a lot of other CHA based characters in your party its even less important.


    Spoiler: Class Features
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    UNARMORED DEFENSE if you pick your Stats right this will give you good armor values early on and scale up to 20 AC as soon as your max DEX and WIS score. Definetely good to have!

    MARTIAL ARTS enable your further abilities and allow you to do decent damage with your unarmed strikes. I would recommend to use a monk weapon in the beginning (at least till lvl5) because your unnarmed strikes only to 1d4 damage. This feature also allows you to make an unarmed strike as a bonus action for free! Very important as it allows you to attack two times a turn beginning from level1!

    KI is the resource that enables a lot of strong things. Unlike most rescources it replenishes every short rest, which means you get to use it very frequently once you gained a few levels. You also dont have to be too concerned about spending too many points during combat. Important: KI Points allow the Monk to hit with additonal attacks or to stun an opponent. They increase the Monks fighting abilities. This means that if you gain additional abilities with KI Point costs their usage is not pure upside, but comes with the restriction that you have to decrease the ammount of bonus hits and stunns in order use the other ability. (contrary to the eldritch knight, whose additional spells dont tax him in the usage of other comabt abilities) Keep this in mind while evaluating abilities with KI point requirements!


    Flurry of Blows allows you to make 2 instead of 1 unarmed strike as bonus action. After level 5 thats potential FOUR ATTACKS per turn! It gets bonus effects if you choose the Way of the open Hand as your Monastic Tradition. Be aware that you can only use it after you used your main action to attack!

    Patient Defense and Step of the Wind can be very usefull in the right situation. Its a nice option to have but generally you dont want to spend a lot of your KI points here

    UNARMORED MOVEMENT very nice ability to have as it allows you to move in and out of combat and close gaps. The bonus gets ridiculous at higher levels. Movement on water and along vertical surfaces can also be very usefull in the right situations

    DEFLECT MISSILES Monks often can stun or run from melee fighters. So getting an ability to stop ranged foes is nice but its not a gamechanger. It requires your reaction, so you only can use it once a turn.

    SLOW FALL is often handy, but rarely really important. I ll still take it if i get it for free!

    EXTRA ATTACK allows the monk to strike 3 or 4 times when other combat classes strike 2 times. While the figher gets a 3rd and 4th attack we use Flurry of Blows and increase the damage of the unarmed strike with with increasing level.

    STUNNING STRIKEgives you a lot of utility against single strong foes. You can attempt to stun somebody with every meele attack you make (also with Flurry of Blows). All further attacks from everyone (and your attacks on your next turn) are with advantage as the enemy is stunned until the end of your next turn. In addition he cant take any actions and reactions, which keeps your opponent from being relevant. Great ability!

    KI EMPOWERED STRIKES are very important as the campaign goes on, to dodge resistances or immunities

    EVASION not as good as i thought when i read it the first time, because it only dodges 1. Area of Effect 2. spells that 3.require a DEX save. Still very usefull!

    STILLNESS OF MIND is situational, but still very usefull for getting rid of annoying effects that otherwhise could potentially disable you completely

    PURITY OF BODY is no gamechanger either, but nice to have in certain situations

    TONGUE OF THE SUN AND MOON I rate this rather high, because i have come into a lot of situtions where combat and difficulties could have been avoided by talking to and understanding creatures that are in your way. Of course there will be dumb creatures or creatures that will fight no matter what. But often understanding the reasoning behind an encounter helps you to avoid the encounter or to advance the knowledge about your campagin.

    DIAMOND SOUL is GREAT, proficiencys for all saving throws (including death saving throws) is already great. Getting rerolls for 1 KI point makes it even better!!

    TIMELESS BODY its nice to age like a super saiyajin, but its rarely relevant for campaigns

    EMPTY BODY is very good, but comes a bit late. At least you have enough KI points at lvl 15 to make use of it

    PERFECT SELF it's not bad to have, but its weak compared to other lvl 20 capstone features


    Spoiler: Monastic Traditions
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    There is no obvious best one that you have to pick above all the others so i will rate none of them Gold. I will start with the three from the players handbook, continue with the ones from the Swords Coast Adventure Guide and finish with the Underneath Arcana traditions.

    Spoiler: Players Handbook
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    Way of the open hand

    OPEN HAND TECHNIQUE adds free features to your Flurry of Blows. The most commonly used one is to knock your opponent prone. Standing up will cost him half of his movement. Damagewise it is a two edged sword as prone opponents can be attacked with advantage in meele, but can only be attacked with disadvantage from the distance

    WHOLENESS OF BODY of course its nice, but the bad scaling (3x your monk lvl) and the one time use per day make it rather weak. Still the ability to heal half of your HP once a day should not be underdestimated!

    TRANQUILITY a weak abilty that only gets cast once a day and you cant even control when it gets cast. Obviously it has some utility but compared to everything else its a stinker!

    QUIVERING PALM is the only save or die spell in 5e (to my knowledge). For only 3 KI points and one action you can kill anyone or deal 10d10 if they succeed on their CON save. Extremely strong! Its one of the main reasons why i would choose the Way of the open Hand. Be aware that you wont be able to use it before lvl 17!

    Way of Shadow
    I would rate this Tradition half lightblue / half blue if it wasnt so dependent on the surrounding light conditions. The Players Handbook states that even the worst weatherconditions during day are not enough to get dim light and a torch or the dancing lights cantrip can ruin your day

    SHADOW ARTS can be pretty usefull. 2 KI points per spell are a lot in the beginning when KI points are limited, but mages also have to be canny with their spellslots in the beginning. You basically get the option to cast one of four very usefull spells for the cost of 2 KI points! (and a free usefull cantrip!) Taxing on your KI point economy, still very usefull!

    Pass Without Trace The main gamechanger here is the +10 Stealth for your whole group, allowing you to suprise attack in encounters or to dodge them completely
    Darkness can have a lot of utilities! (especially if you took 2 levels in warlock and the evocation to see trough the darkness!)
    Silence usefull to have if you want to stop someone from talking or casters from casting!
    Darkvision if a light source would keep you from being undetected it might be usefull, but generally you dont want to spend your KI points on it
    Minor Illusion is one of the most usefull cantrips in and out of combat. Getting it for free as a non caster class is awesome!

    SHADOW STEP makes you the perfect ninja if you can create a setting with lots of darkness or dim light. Advantage on attacks and teleport are quite good. It sounds good, its is not too bad, but keep in mind that you loose your Flurry of Blows if you use your bonus action to teleport and that its hard to use it if your surroundings are not naturally dark or dim. Bonus: You can use your teleport to get out of attackrange without the risk of opportunity attacks

    OPPORTUNIST is a free attack (requies reaction) when you set it up right. Not too bad, but id expect something more powerfull at lvl 17

    Way of the four Elements

    To be honest the Way of the four Elements if the Tradition i have explored the least. It offers some powerfull spells, that otherwhise only can be cast by Wizards or Sorcerers. One highlight is the Fireball spell for 4 KI points at lvl 11, which gives you the option to dish out AOE damage! Some other examples for usefull spells:

    Burning hands gives some nice AOE damage at early levels for 2 KI Points

    Fly gives some nice utility for 4 KI points (lvl 11 required)

    Water Whip was another usefull option until it was declared that it also has to be used as main action (instead of a bonus action)

    The class offers some utility but in general the spells have too high level and KI point requirements to be used efficiently. If you want to play a spellcaster, id reccomend you to do so, because you will be able to cast your spells much earlier, much more often and with more additional benefits!

    Spoiler: Sword Coast Adventurer Guide
    Show


    Way of the long Death
    This is currently my favourite Monastic Tradition. It gives you utility and makes you hard to kill while complimenting your combat abilities.

    TOUCH OF DEATH can support you with multiple health boosts per day or even per combat if you get to finsh some creatures. You can use it beginning with level 3 and it scales while you advance. If your group lets you deal finishing blows on purpose its even better! On the other hand its useless against single boss monsters

    HOUR OF REAPING can provide a lot of utility for your party. You get it early, it has a big AOE and you can keep your opponents from comming closer to your squishy casters. Bonus: Its totally free and castable at will! Downside: If you dont use your main action to attack, you wont be able to use your bonusaction for unarmed strikes

    MASTERY OF DEATH it basically makes you unkillable as long as you have KI points to spend. It gets weaker if you fight against hordes of enemies or against foes with multiple attacks as it requires you to spend more KI points to avoid death. Bonus: If you manage to slay somebody after using Mastery of death, you ll get some temporary hitpoints to keep going on.

    TOUCH OF THE LONG DEATH is not bad as burst damage to finish somebody or if you know that you will have a short rest to replenish your KI points soon. It costs a lot of KI points to be effective and even if you spend a lot , its very likely worse than QUIVERING PALM. Damagewise you need to invest at least 5 KI Points to make it better than 4 unarmed strikes (from Flurry of Blows) so you better spend a lot of points or none!

    Way of the Sun Soul
    This Monastic Tradition gets undervallued by a lot of people. In my oppinion this is the most viable way to play a ranged Monk and to gain some AOE damage. The only real downside and the reason why I rate it half violet is that you miss out on some main class benefits, that can only be used by meele combatants. Also other lightblue classes also get additional utility in their Monastic Tradition. Dont let this discourage you from playing the Sun Soul Monk and keep in mind that you can also go into meele combat any time!

    RADIANT SUNBOLT gives you 30 feet ranged attacks with radiant damage. They are as strong as your unarmend strikes and you can also spend one KI point here to add two attacks as your bonus action (a perfect substitute for Flurry of Blows). What you are missing is the one free bonus strike that close combat Monks can use as bonusaction (if you dont want to spend a KI point on Flurry of Blows) and the ability to use STUNNING STRIKE as it only works with meele attacks! This still makes you a very viable ranged combatant.

    SEARING ARC STRIKE can be a usefull AOE spell as bonus action but i feel like it gets overshadowed pretty fast and you really dont want to sink lots of your KI points into this

    SEARING SUNBURST provides you with an improvable free AOE spell. Monks usually have no way to deal with hordes of enemies, but this basically is a FIREBALL if you spend 3 KI points on it (same AOE, same Damage, same Range). You cant use this before level 11, but having an AOE spell is huge and one or two of these will still fry large hordes of critters

    SUN SHIELD is a good effect with some return damage against meele attackers (reaction required!). Its strong and flavourful but nothing crazy for a lvl17 ability.

    Spoiler: Underneath Arcana
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    Way of the Kensei(without a shortsword)
    This one is very hard to evaluate! You can choose up to three martial weapons, which you will be proficient with. The problem is that the only martial weapon that also counts as "Monk weapon" is the Shortsword. If you use anything else as you Kensei weapon, you loose all benefits from your MARTIAL ARTS. Unarmed strikes will only deal 1 damage again and you get no free unarmed strike as your bonusaction (but you can still use Flurry of Blows with 1 damage). In my oppinion you really have to use shortswords to be effective, otherwhise this Tradition is a trap.

    PATH OF THE KENSEI makes using Martial Weapons viable. As you loose your bonuses on unarmed strikes if you dont use a shortsword, you get the option to use "pummel" as your bonus action to at least deal 1d4 (instead of you unarmed strikes). You get +2 AC if you use an unarmed strike in your attack action. This can push your AC significanty, however it keeps you from attacking with your martial weapon (which you wanted to do in the first place.) After lvl 5 you at least get to attack once with your Martial Weapon while you get the +2 AC

    ONE WITH THE BLADE gives magical attacks with your weapons (which is needed against resistant/immune monsters) and another minor benefit. It's between blue and violet, because you unarmed strikes get this feature anyways

    SHARPEN THE BLADE this is potentially very good as it gives you a strong buff for a long time. The downside is that this only counts for weapon attacks and not for unarmed strikes. Let me show you the following comparison: You often will attack 4 times after lvl5 (2 main attacks + 1-2 Unarmed strikes as bonus action) if you choose another Monastic Tradition. Using SHARPEN THE BLADE will cost you your bonus action and stengthen weapon attacks that you only can use once or twice a turn, depending on if you want to get your +2 AC. It might be viable, but is worth choosing the whole Monastic Tradition for it?

    UNERRING ACCURACY finally a proper lvl 17 ability. Rerolling missed weapon attacks for free is a serious advantage! (keep in mind this does not count for unarmed strikes!)

    Im sure this Monastic Tradition is viable if you use shortswords as your Kensei Weapon. My issue are all the hoops you have to jump through, just to use martial weapons during your main action and get the occassional +2 AC. While most other Tradtions give you AOE frightens , knock prone, AOE damage or unkillability,...... this Tradition only improves your Damage and sometimes your AC. In the end you will be able to make 2 Weapon strikes (with some good bonuses) and 2 unarmed strikes for a lot of damage.


    Way of Tranquility
    This Monastic Tradition is less combat based and gives you the possibility to heal and to avoid attacks. If you dont have a healer in your group, this might at least provide some help, while giving you a new monk experience!


    PATH OF TRANQUILITY Do you remember the crappy TRANQUILITY ability from the Way of the open hand? This is so much better. Its still an ability with a medicore effect, but you can cast it for free beginning from level 3 and have unlimited uses with the only restriction that you cant cast it more often than once a minute. Nice to have and nice to use in and out of combat

    HEALING HANDS is so good, because the scaling is so ridiculously good. With a HP pool that is 10 times your Monk level, you will be able to heal A LOT! Way of the open Hand Monks only get a weak 3xMonklevel self heal and even Clerics and Paladins only get to heal 5*Characterlevel once a day. You get double the amount, which itself contributes a lot to the viability of this Monastic Tradition!

    DOUSE THEFLAMES OF WAR The ability itself is very very potent. Its also castable for free and at will! You can stop single enemies from attacking you to pass by or to negotiate. The big problem is, that the tamed creature and its allies cant take damage and cant get forced to do saving throws or the whole thing will end. So while you try to convince your second target to stop attacking, you force it to make a saving throw which will set your first target free again. Once cheesy thing you could try to do is to seperate your enemies somehow so that they wont free each other from the effect. (but seperating wont be easy with hostile creatures)

    ANGER OF A GENTLE SOUL a potentially strong lvl 17 ability, as it can add 17*4= 68 damage a turn too your attacks, if you hit four times. The problem i see here is that you generally dont want so see your allies dying. As a result you wont benefit from this too often. A way to abuse this would be to play with a group that can conjure a lot of small beings. Everytime one of them dies you get these ridiculous damage bonuses



    Spoiler: RACEs/FEATs/BACKGROUNDs/MULTICLASSING
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    I will only shortly mention optimized choices here. Many other choices will also be solid, bring benefits and allow you to add personal flavour to your character!

    Spoiler: RACEs
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    RACEs
    Wood elfs get you +2 DEX and +1 WIS which is very helpfull. Nightvision can be very usefull and 35 FT movespeed increases your already fast movement even more! Also you only have to be in trance for 4 hours during a long rest!

    Ghostwise Halflings give you +2 to DEX and +1 to WIS. The reduced movementspeed (25Ft) gets compensated by the monks movementspeed increase! The "Lucky" ability is also very usefull to have! Bonus: Telepatic communication

    Variant human is lightblue for most classes. Its also good here as you can increase two stats of your choice and add a feat on top, but because the monk is MAD and needs his stat increases more than additional feats, i rate it blue

    Aarakocra +2 DEX and +1 WIS are perfect and flying speed opens a whole new World of options. I personally dont like them that much, because of their short lifespan and because there are many settings where they dont fit in


    Spoiler: BACKGROUNDs
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    Backgrounds
    In my oppinion pick whatever fits the story of your character, but if you still want to optimize here:

    Outlander is a good background because you get proficiency atlethics and survival, an extra language and proficiency with an instrument. The wanderer feature is also not too bad

    Sailor&Pirate Perception is King and you will be proficient in it (and in Athletics). The Sailors/Pirates Features are also quite good!

    Urchin is also pretty good with Stealth and Sleight of hand as proficiencies!


    Spoiler: FEATs
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    FEATs
    The Monk is one of the few classes that prefers stats increases over feats. If you still want to get some, here are some usefull ones:

    Lucky: You basically can never go wrong with Lucky. If you want to increase your chances on getting good d20 rolls go ahead

    Observant Increases your Wisdom by one and gives you +5 on passive perception and passive invetigation. If you have an odd WIS score and dont need additional stat boosts, this is quite good as passive perception can help you A LOT if your DM uses it regularly (which he should) to figure out if your group recognizes something without actively searching

    Mobile: Makes you even faster and stops opportunity attacks, which enables a hit and run style. (the other option would be to use a KI point and a bonus action to disengage)


    Spoiler: MULTICLASSING
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    I ll only give a few thoughts as i generally dont like to multiclass with the monk, to avoid missing KI Points and to not lag behind in the power of my abilities during the game. On the other hand the monk does not have any crazy capstones to reach between level 18, 19 and 20, so taking a few levels off is possible.

    (2-3 levels) Warlock:

    CANTRIPS & LVL1 SPELLS Warlock spellslots refresh during short rests, having a repertoire of cantrips and lvl1 spells as a non caster class is very nice and adds new options!

    Evils Sight is a nice combo with the Way of the Shadow because you will be able to create magical darkness while having the ability too have vision in it. That means in your darkness you get advantage on your attacks against creatures that rely on their vision and the creatures get disadvantage on their attack rolls if they can guess your location. If they guess wrong they straight out miss!

    LvL3 gives you the option to use one of the three Pact features the Warlock offers!

    FIGHTER and ROGUE are two other popular multiclassing options for the Monk.

    2 levels of Fighter are a natural fit for every weapon oriented class as you get action surge and a Fighting Style.

    Going into Rogue levels because you are a Shadow Monk is a bad idea in my oppinion as:
    • your sneak attack only scales with rogue level
    • and your sneak attack only triggers once a turn (but you have the ability to attack multiple times)

    Cunning action with level 2 is still nice to have as you get to dash/disengage/hide as a bonus action!





    Conclusion & TLDR:
    I can recommend all Monastic Traditions except the Way of the four Elements. Depending on what you want to do all other Traditions are perfectly viable, while the Element Monk lags behind them in some aspects. Keep in mind that choosing one of the Traditions does not lock you into a certain playstyle or into the permanent use of the additional features you get. You will still have all the basic features that make the Monk a great fighter!


    • Way of the open hand for improved Flurry of Blows with utility and one shot kills beginning from lvl 17
    • Way of Shadow for teleport ninja action in the shadows and some lvl2 spells that have high utility
    • Way of the long Death to avoid death for a long time and for AOE frighten effects at will
    • Way of the Sun Soul for ranged attacks and AOE damage
    • Way of Tranquility for healing capabilities and to stop creatures from attacking
    • Way of the Kensei to use a Shortsword or other Martial Weapons
    Last edited by Matheusz; 2016-12-26 at 03:07 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    To be honest i have never thought about playing a Elemental monk. Most abilities cost too many KI points and are too weak compared to what the other Monastic Traditions offer. Water Whip was the only usefull option until it was declared that it also has to be used as main action (and not a bonus action)
    EM uses the spell point guide in the DMG.

    The fact that you've never played it means you're vastly underestimating the tradition.

    With two short rests and spending half of your ki on spells, you're equivalent to an EK. Spend all of your ki on spells and you're a stronger spellcaster than a paladin.

    Or you don't and you're just as good as any other monk. The tradition provides versatility.

    The archetype rates solidly in the violet; maybe borderline violet-blue. But it's definitely not red.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Okay, i ll try to find out more about it! I changed the chapter, but im still quite sceptical about the element Monk. (but i was certainly to harsh to make it Red)

    The paladin might have weaker spells, but he has the ability to use his spellslots to create hefty smites and his Oaths provide him with a lot of additional stuff (i dont think its appropriate to compare both classes in this way)
    Last edited by Matheusz; 2016-12-24 at 08:50 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Underneath Arcana? What's that?

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by King539 View Post
    Underneath Arcana? What's that?
    Its the subliminal messages WotC prints, with super-secret special ink, in every Unearthed Arcana to control your mind and make you buy more of their products

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Overall this seems good. Here is where I disagree:

    Way of Shadow
    I think you underestimate Shadow Arts and slightly underestimate Shadow Step. The thing with the Shadow Arts spells is that they are expensive, but they have a huge impact when they are useful. Shadow Step is very useful in exploration which you don't mention. It is also good for covering extra ground and bypassing mooks. Also note that you have left out their Invisibility ability.

    Minor Illusion It is one of the best non-attack cantrips. Its best use is to create sounds or to create a hiding place.

    Pass Without Trace It is a game changer. It costs 2 Ki but helps the party to get surprise attacks or avoid encounters entirely. It is probably the best 2nd level spell in the game.

    Darkness This is a good tool to have to avoid TPKs. Other uses are circumstantial

    Silence This is potentially useful. When it comes up, maybe once a campaign, it's great to have. Some campaigns will see more use.

    Darkvision This is a waste of Ki.

    Way of the long Death
    I think Touch of Death is regular blue at best. It's best when killing mooks, but Monks are best for taking out the big enemies so it works against what Monks are good at. The extra temp HP aren't that big of a deal when you do get them as well. It's just not as good as Open Hand Technique or Shadow Arts.

    Way of the Sun Soul
    Radiant Sun Bolt is just regular blue. A ranged attack is fun but it lags behind in damage from your regular attacks for most of the game. You covered its other weaknesses too, you need to spend Ki on flurry and you can't use Stunning Strike. Monks are also already highly mobile so they don't need ranged attacks as much as other classes.

    Searing Arc Strike however is also regular blue. It is better than Flurry (with the caveat that you can't Stunning Strike with it). 2 attacks plus an AoE is pretty good.

    Way of the Sun Soul isn't bad, but it doesn't play like a typical Monk and plays against some of the Monk's strengths. Still, ranged and AoE can make for a fun hybrid.

    I would rate the subclasses like this:

    Open Hand, Shadow
    Long Death
    Sun Soul
    4 Elements

    Open Hand and Shadow both do what they set out to do. Open Hand is the solid regular Monk. Shadow is great at sneaking and doing things related to that. I am not sure what Way of the Long Death is going for. Yes, the 11th level ability is amazing, but it takes a long time to get there.

    Races
    Ghostwise Halfling from SCAG is the Halfling of choice for the Wisdom boost.

    Kenku from Volo's are a decent alternative. Their racial abilities aren't great but 2 skills are decent, you're just here for the stats anyway.

    Lucky
    This is basically it. If you are going Vuman take Lucky. Otherwise don't take feats, or recognize that the feats are Violet.

    Observant
    The problem is that you're basically never going to have an odd Wisdom stat.

    Mobile: Makes you even faster and stops opportunity attacks, which enables a hit and run style. (the other option would be to use a KI point and a bonus action to disengage)
    Other options include running around enemies, using flurry w/Open Hand, using teleport w/Shadow, using Stunning Strike, or spending a Ki and a bonus action for Dodge to protect you for the entire round. Or you can simply take the attack if it is important.

    You also haven't covered the benefit of this hit and run style. Most of the time the enemy can still attack you or another party member on their turn, potentially one that is more fragile than you are. It also requires that you spend an attack on an enemy which might be better used to force more Stunning Strikes from a more dangerous enemy. If there are many mooks you may not even be able to get through them anyway since you can't actually pass through enemy spaces. So even with Mobile you will be using one of your other Monk abilities.

    Most of the time using hit and run doesn't actually yield a benefit. The times it does it is better to use a Monk ability to make it work than waste a feat on Mobile.

    A Monk doesn't benefit from Mobile as much as other classes do because Monks are already fast and have many abilities to avoid Opportunity Attacks. Mobile on Monk is win more. They get slightly better at what they are already good at.

    Mobile is the quintessential Violet. It can be very useful, but most of the time it isn't. There are a bunch of other feats just as good or better. Magic Initiate comes to mind, and Resilient shouldn't be discounted as most campaigns won't make it to 14th level or far beyond.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    1) I'd say sun shield is Blue tier, as it's guaranteed damage that's pretty easy to trigger. Not as much of a sure thing to proc as opportunist, but at the end of the day it's about the same damage with 100% accuracy (barring magic weapons/multiclass damage boosts)

    2) Variant Human should still be light blue, the only big downer is that you need to dump 2 stats to 8 as opposed to 1. The feat out the gate can do a lot of work in the long run, especially since you don't have to end up dropping an ASI for a feat later. Not that I think any given feat is necessary on any given monk, but it's at least as good as the other listed races, and probably better than stout halfling

    3) ghostwise halfling is better than stout for monks (gets +1 wis); Kenku has the same stat bonuses as wood elf, with different flavor abilities that may be more worthwhile depending on usage; Goblin can hide or disengage as a bonus action, which could be very useful early on when your best option for survival is kiting; Kobold gets free advantage at the cost of a harder dump on str. Those races should probably be on your list.

    If I were you I'd look at multiclass options for each subclass and add that in.
    Spoiler: bad tactics
    Show


    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by mgshamster View Post
    With two short rests and spending half of your ki on spells, you're equivalent to an EK.
    An EK who has fewer fighter abilities and no other subclass abilities.

    The trouble with these sorts of arguments is that abilities like War Magic are ignored completely because we're talking about spells.

    Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters don't just get extra spells on top of their base class, they get abilities that allow them to use those spells better.

    They also get to choose their spells, and get a lot of them.

    It's not just the Ki cost that sinks 4E, it's the actual spells they get too. Most of them are rubbish. Sun Soul is the good version of 4E.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post

    2) Variant Human should still be light blue, the only big downer is that you need to dump 2 stats to 8 as opposed to 1. The feat out the gate can do a lot of work in the long run, especially since you don't have to end up dropping an ASI for a feat later. Not that I think any given feat is necessary on any given monk, but it's at least as good as the other listed races, and probably better than stout halfling
    It's not just the stat they lose out on. They lose out on all of the extra abilities that the races provide.

    The Halfling Lucky trait is really good for example.
    Last edited by ad_hoc; 2016-12-24 at 08:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post

    The Halfling Lucky trait is really good for example.
    I'd say the lucky feat is better that rerolling exclusively 1's and a +1 to an off stat you don't care about.
    Spoiler: bad tactics
    Show


    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    I'd say the lucky feat is better that rerolling exclusively 1's and a +1 to an off stat you don't care about.
    Why are you being deliberately deceptive?

    How does this add to the conversation in a meaningful way?

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by mgshamster View Post
    EM uses the spell point guide in the DMG.

    The fact that you've never played it means you're vastly underestimating the tradition.

    With two short rests and spending half of your ki on spells, you're equivalent to an EK. Spend all of your ki on spells and you're a stronger spellcaster than a paladin.

    Or you don't and you're just as good as any other monk. The tradition provides versatility.

    The archetype rates solidly in the violet; maybe borderline violet-blue. But it's definitely not red.
    Its abilities are overpriced, considering the lack of them (Only four when you finish it out) - and they're also overpriced in relation to other monk abilities (Reducing the costs across the board by 1 would bring them in-line with other monk abilities)
    A 4E monk requires 4 Ki to cast Fireball. A Sun Soul requires 3. The level 2 spells a Shadow Monk gets cost 2 ki. The 4e has fewer, and they cost 3. An open fist monk can spend 1 ki for control effects and damage that a 4e monk has to spend 2 ki on. 4e monks need 1 ki to get a bit of range on their attacks. Sun Souls get 3x as much range for no ki cost at all.

    Eldritch Knights, which you love to compare 4e monks to, have more than three times as many spells known as a 4e Monk, and by all practical purposes, more casting options AND far greater martial power.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Matheusz View Post
    Okay, i ll try to find out more about it! I changed the chapter, but im still quite sceptical about the element Monk. (but i was certainly to harsh to make it Red)
    Other things I think you should consider putting in to the 4E Monk eval:

    1) Burning hands, against as few as two targets, is better DPR & DPKi than flurry when you get it.
    2) Gust of wind
    3) Fly

    And maybe maybe Shape the Flowing River / Wave of Rolling Earth, and how they make 4E Monks the best builders in the game. These are Red options, but I think they're noteworthy red options because of just how stylish and flavorful they are. A level 20 4E monk creates three houses every hour and a half (~33/day), or ten igloos a minute if he's interrupted often enough. Sorcerers are the second best construction workers, and they can only cast wall of stone ~20 times a day.

    Overall, I think the pink rating is fine, I just think, with their expansive list of features, it might do to mention a few more.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Why are you being deliberately deceptive?

    How does this add to the conversation in a meaningful way?
    m8, it's an opinion. chill.
    Spoiler: bad tactics
    Show


    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The problem is that you're basically never going to have an odd Wisdom stat.
    Kinda. Vuman can 8 16 14 10 16 10 with observant. Or if you really wanted a non-Wis race and have to patch that Wis15.
    Trust but verify. There's usually a reason why I believe you can't do something.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    Kinda. Vuman can 8 16 14 10 16 10 with observant. Or if you really wanted a non-Wis race and have to patch that Wis15.
    Yeah, it's more about how the guide is only listing the good feats.

    A Vuman w/Observant isn't as good as one of the better races.

    A non-Wis race then taking Observant at level 4 puts you an ASI behind.

    I think that makes Observant violet rather than blue.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Yeah, it's more about how the guide is only listing the good feats.

    A Vuman w/Observant isn't as good as one of the better races.

    A non-Wis race then taking Observant at level 4 puts you an ASI behind.

    I think that makes Observant violet rather than blue.
    A firbolg monk with 17 starting wisdom can take it at level 4. I think that works pretty well with Tranquility or, to a lesser extent, Long Death / 4E, since they have access to more non-AC based defenses.

    Still, I agree with your violet assessment.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Matheusz View Post
    (2-3 levels) Warlock: Warlock is the most obvious Multiclass for me, because Warlocks are also wisdom based and the only class in 5e that gives you access to the most important abilites with as small dip of 2 or 3 levels.
    What? Warlocks are charisma based. It's a pretty rare monk who can afford enough charisma to make a decent one. (It's sometimes worth doing on Shadow monks for the Devil's Sight, but even there it's a serious investment that you need to plan in advance.)

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Thank you for all the replies, i tried to include many suggestions!

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    I think you underestimate Shadow Arts and slightly underestimate Shadow Step
    The whole Shadow Monk got revisited!

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    I think Touch of Death is regular blue at best.
    I think your right!

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Radiant Sun Bolt is just regular blue. Searing Arc Strike however is also regular blue.
    The way of the Sun Soul also got redone!

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Ghostwise Halfling from SCAG is the Halfling of choice for the Wisdom boost.
    got fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Most of the time using hit and run doesn't actually yield a benefit. The times it does it is better to use a Monk ability to make it work than waste a feat on Mobile.
    Hit and run aso includes:
    • Hit (stun) and run to the next target to stun again
    • Hit and run to get behind cover
    • Hit and run to get into darkness or to hide


    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The problem is that you're basically never going to have an odd Wisdom stat.
    WIS could be odd if you choose other stats because of flavour reasons. It could be odd because you rolled your stats and it could be odd because you planed to take the Observant FEAT.

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Mobile is the quintessential Violet.
    Feats got edited!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    Variant Human should still be light blue
    I disagree because (as someone else also mentioned, you do not only loose additional STATS but important abilities like Darkvision or Lucky!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    ghostwise halfling is better than stout for monks (gets +1 wis)
    Thank you, it got fixed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    If I were you I'd look at multiclass options for each subclass and add that in.
    I wrote a short abstract about it!

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    I'm having alot of trouble finding information. I'm new to D&D. From everyone I've talked to you are able to pick multiple traditions, however I can't find anyone talking about it online... Are you able to pick more than one tradition? And if not, why does it say in the book that monks can follow multiple traditions, and why doesn't it say how to do that?

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Ioxna View Post
    I'm having alot of trouble finding information. I'm new to D&D. From everyone I've talked to you are able to pick multiple traditions, however I can't find anyone talking about it online... Are you able to pick more than one tradition? And if not, why does it say in the book that monks can follow multiple traditions, and why doesn't it say how to do that?
    You can only pick one. A tradition is an archetype.

    Just like every other archetype for every other class, you only get to pick one per class.

    The "follow multiple traditions" you read in the book isn't for individual monks, it's for monasteries - locations where monks train. Most monasteries only teach one tradition, but some teach two or even all three. However, each individual monk must pick the tradition they wish to focus in.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    One level of cleric can be insane for her Monk.

    Trickery Domain pairs super well with shadow monk, and currently the only good kensei is a human variant GWM war cleric 1 kensei so you can bonus attack with your heavy weapon for +10's weapon instead of flurry. You also get cleric buffs and heals you can use on yourself in a pinch.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by tsotate View Post
    What? Warlocks are charisma based. It's a pretty rare monk who can afford enough charisma to make a decent one. (It's sometimes worth doing on Shadow monks for the Devil's Sight, but even there it's a serious investment that you need to plan in advance.)
    non-variant human can go 9/16/14/9/16/13 to get 1 or 2 levels of warlock exclusively for hex.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arelai View Post
    One level of cleric can be insane for her Monk.
    Agreed, particularly war cleric for divine favor- the damage boost on flurry of blows is pretty sweet



    I'd also add that 2-3 ranger levels on anything but sun monk is worthwhile. Hunter's mark is about as good as hex, big difference being in the recharge time, while dueling style can be quite a boost, even when you're still settling for the d6 damage die. UA ranger is even better with improved initiative and potential favored enemy damage. Lastly, colossus slayer is an okay pure damage boost if you either don't care for the empty body ability, and it works even better with shadow monk's opportunist if you happen to get to L20.
    Spoiler: bad tactics
    Show


    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


  23. - Top - End - #23
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Is there any way i can get this into the Guide section of the forum?

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    Thumbs up Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    I am currently playing a WOTLD monk and I have to say the Temp HP is extremely helpful, I am in a small party and they are all ranged players bar me, so the ability to have that extra barrier against death is good, also the level 6 ability ot be able to possible frighten a large group of people will be extremely helpful! Especially for ranged characters and our ranged Rogue.

    I am unsure of the level 11 ability as of yet but the level 17th ability looks amazing as it reads to me it can be utilised without an attack as it states touch!

    Oh and by the way great breakdown OP

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Not to disagree with anything, but just to throw in my two coppers...

    I've been playing an Open Hand monk from 4th to 6th level (I just turned 7, but haven't played it yet). Here's what I've found useful.

    Flurry of Blows with Open Hand Way for proning, pushing and denying reactions is gold.
    I don't use stunning strike very often, usually due to a high monster CON. It becomes important if they're dishing out a lot of damage or other nasty attacks.
    I've never used Patient Defense.
    Step of the Wind, I've spent the ki for dash once or twice, never for the jump and maybe once for the disengage. Maybe.
    Unarmored movement is awesome. I can go anywhere, and have enough movement to get away. But I'm a wood elf on top of it, so your mileage may vary (mileage? get it?)
    Deflect missiles: this sounds like the most awesome thing ever. At fifth level I can resist 1d10+8 damage. But I've never actually been shot at!
    Slow fall. This came in handy once, when I missed my climb roll four times in a row.
    Wholeness of body: better than a cure wounds spell.

    I enjoy the options afforded by the ki points, but sometimes it feels like many of the options aren't very useful. But what I like is that on those rare occasions you need them, they're there.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Wanted to say I really appreciate this update to the guides with the new material.

    I joined an AL game of Lost Mines of Phandelver where the other characters were level 3 (mostly), and I of course started as level one. So I've played a Vuman with Mobile, and it's been very effective in keeping me alive. Most recently, after finally doing everything but the main mines, we started those with most others at 5 (one guy at level 4), and me at level 3. I took Path of the Long Death, and the temp hp are a nice safety blanket, at least.

    Wanting to catch up to the others during a gap in sessions (no December game), I joined another AL game with a bunch of level 1s. Storm King's Thunder 1-1, so plenty of mooks to kill. Then we went into some caves, and an impetuous ranger picked a fight with literally every mob there, which was very bad. But my monk, between the enhanced mobility and temp hp, did pretty well. (We would have definitely wiped, except for the level 5 cleric using Spirit Guardians and level 5 ranger finally rolling well.)

    So I got my two milestones which cover the last 725 xp I needed to get to level 4 so I can spend 20 days of downtime to get to level 5. That said, before I play as level 5 and lock in my build for good, I think I'm going to switch to Way of Shadow. I like playing up the control/utility aspects of the class - we have a barbarian, we have a paladin, we have a ranger, we have a cleric, we have a sorcerer, we have a bard (depending who shows up at which session).

    I've also found the lack of darkvision problematic, especially if I go Shadow and need pools of darkness, and don't want to spend Ki on darkvision. I use Mobile a ton to attack and run without an opportunity attack, but now that I have Stunning Strike, maybe I'll switch to Wood Elf (?).

    Anyway, thanks for the guide, and the discussion!

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    I wanted to say this is easily the best Monk handbook I've seen. No disrespect to other ones out there, but this has everything, up to date, and the OP takes peoples criticisms and thoughts into account instead of writing them off.

    Thank you for writing this.

    I also want to say I think the Monk class is one of the best designed in the game. Each Archetype can drastically alter the way you play. Sun Soul play very differently from Long Death, for example. Each has unique advantages and offers new ways to handle a situation.

    It's a class I've wanted to play for a very long time, but I simply can never decide on what archetype because I see potential scenarios where each one is spectacular.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    I thought they changed it so any Kensei Weapon can count as a monk weapon for martial arts?

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    I don't understand why people think radiant sunbolt is so good. I'd rate it as red. The reason is that it is not functionally very different from using daggers. Daggers are simple melee weapons which make them monk weapons. When thrown, they are still a melee weapon being used to make a ranged attack. Monk weapons use your unarmed damage die. Things you lose out on are the ability to do a flurry of blows at range, 10 feet of range, and radiant damage. But daggers can be thrown to 60 feet with disadvantage. The flurry of blows thing is the only meaningful loss but I generally think that you are always better off using your ki to disengage or stunning strike depending on if you need to live or kill. If I feel like I have to flurry I've lost value because stunning strike is too phenomenal so it isn't a big loss.

    The fluff that it is a DBZ type kamehameha might appeal to some people but it is not a mechanically impactful option unless I'm missing something.

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    Default Re: Monk Guide with all the current Monastic Traditions in 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by queyote View Post
    I don't understand why people think radiant sunbolt is so good. I'd rate it as red. The reason is that it is not functionally very different from using daggers. Daggers are simple melee weapons which make them monk weapons. When thrown, they are still a melee weapon being used to make a ranged attack. Monk weapons use your unarmed damage die. Things you lose out on are the ability to do a flurry of blows at range, 10 feet of range, and radiant damage. But daggers can be thrown to 60 feet with disadvantage. The flurry of blows thing is the only meaningful loss but I generally think that you are always better off using your ki to disengage or stunning strike depending on if you need to live or kill. If I feel like I have to flurry I've lost value because stunning strike is too phenomenal so it isn't a big loss.
    I have palyed the Sun Soul Monk (MC with Druid) and i can tell you, its pretty good, the extra range of the dagger is not really needed cause as a Monk you have a really high mobility so you will almost always have people at your range, it also it easier for the Monk to be a Hit and Run character, including with high lvl monsters that have a really good mobility (I rarely ever get hit), also being as a Sun Soul Monk you will rarely (to not say never) use Ki points to disengage (cause you will only melee someone you plan on stunning and they will, most likely, be alone).

    Note: The Druid MC was mainly to be a Flying Lazer Snake :P (and it was fun as hell)

    In general, the Sun Soul Monk will mostly be targeted by range weapons (And you have something to deal with this)

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