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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Minimalist Monk Fix

    I am about to begin running a D&D 3.5e almost core-only game in which I will have two monk characters, one is going full monk and the other is taking monk 1/rogue X for the sake of being a funky unarmed rogue. I've looked through a lot of monk fixes on these boards and elsewhere and decided I wanted to write my own for a couple of reasons.

    1) A monk's role in battle should (generally) be special combat actions such as trip, grapple, disarm, etc. I'm not saying you shouldn't be allowed to build a damage monk, but I think they should be best at other useful combat techniques that often go unloved.

    2) Many monk fixes get very complicated. I want to write a minimalist fix that uses primarily core material that is easily understood.

    3) I do not want to fix monk relative to Tome of Battle. If ToB is allowed, then play the unarmed Swordsage; it's that simple. However, there needs to be a monk fix for all the core-only players and for DM's/Players who simply dislike ToB. In that case, Monk should be fixed relative to the PHB non-spellcasters.

    Also, a note on my interpretation of some rules: Two-Weapon fighting cannot be applied to unarmed strike, because unarmed strike is a single weapon, and hitting with both fists, feat, etc. is what flurry of blows is supposed to represent anyway. TWF can be applied to fighting with monk weapons and can even be combined with Flurry, but Flurry never gives more than 2 bonus attacks per round, and they are considered to be made one with main hand and one with off hand. Weapons of Speed do not stack with Haste. Thus, maximum monk attacks with my version (full BAB) is 11 / round at level 20, using GTWF and Flurry-ing with 2 weapons of Speed.

    So, here's the basics of the monk fix:

    1) Full BAB
    2) 6+int mod skills instead of 4+int mod
    3) A bonus on grapple, trip, disarm, sunder, bullrush, overrun, etc. (did I miss anything?) equal to +1 per X monk levels. I'm not sure if X should be 2, 3, or 4.
    4) Replace Amulet of Mighty Fists with a new item: Ring of Mighty Fists, costs 1000gp, makes your unarmed strike act as if it were a masterwork weapon (+1 on attack rolls). Enchantments may be added to the ring as normal for a masterwork weapon and they affect all your unarmed attacks.
    5) Something to make their AC a bit better? Options for this include: Allowing light armor, increasing the monk's unnamed AC bonus (from +1 per 5 levels to +1 per 3, maybe?), a new monk item similar to Ring of Mighty Fists that allows them to get armor enchantments.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    They should get an ability similar to Brains over Brawn (a factotum class feature, level 3), only with wisdom. This will make their trips much harder to resist, really makes up for the fact that they often have low strength when compared to fighters and the like, and also give them a boost to their skills like Tumble, Jump, and Move Silently.
    Last edited by Deesix; 2007-08-15 at 02:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    definitely allow light armor.
    no warrior of any culture (save viking berserks) fought with NO armor. some fought with only a padded armor, but they at least had something.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Deesix View Post
    They should get an ability similar to Brains over Brawn (a factotum class feature, level 3), only with wisdom. This will make their trips much harder to resist, really makes up for the fact that they often have low strength when compared to fighters and the like, and also give them a boost to their skills like Tumble, Jump, and Move Silently.
    Could you explain the mechanics of that ability? I don't have access to the book factotum is in.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Brains Over Brawn allows you to add you Intelligence as a bonus to Str or Dex checks, as well as Str or Dex related skills. Just do the same for wisdom, and rename it appropriately. A nice boost to trip, bull rush, and the like.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Deesix View Post
    Brains Over Brawn allows you to add you Intelligence as a bonus to Str or Dex checks, as well as Str or Dex related skills. Just do the same for wisdom, and rename it appropriately. A nice boost to trip, bull rush, and the like.
    That sounds really great. I might end up using that.
    Last edited by blue_fenix; 2007-08-15 at 04:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Pounce would be helpful. Monk Flurry should be able to make use of their massive speed.


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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    In my opinion, giving it full base attack bonus is a bit of a stretch. It's very powerful. I would, however, give it a significant bonus to any opposed attack roll things (resist feint, disarming and the like). Add wisdom again? I don't know. Full BAB is just a fairly major thing.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by mf11 View Post
    definitely allow light armor.
    no warrior of any culture (save viking berserks) fought with NO armor. some fought with only a padded armor, but they at least had something.
    Zulu?

    Monks aren't really based on historical warriors so much as they are based on martial artists.

    How about changing skill progression to 4 + Wisdom modifier... I believe that's a netbook of feats custom feat (although, for balance, it reduced your progression by 2 ranks, automatically) for the fluff reason that the monk does not learn through studying or such, but through contemplation.

    Perhaps they gain their wisdom modifier to Grapple/Trip/ect. checks?

    Heck, maybe a little natural armor or damage reduction akin to those dudes in martial arts movies who let two guys whack their abs with boards.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Paragon Badger View Post
    How about changing skill progression to 4 + Wisdom modifier... I believe that's a netbook of feats custom feat (although, for balance, it reduced your progression by 2 ranks, automatically) for the fluff reason that the monk does not learn through studying or such, but through contemplation.
    Interesting idea, would reduce MAD a bit. Under consideration.

    Perhaps they gain their wisdom modifier to Grapple/Trip/ect. checks?
    Currently under consideration.

    Heck, maybe a little natural armor or damage reduction akin to those dudes in martial arts movies who let two guys whack their abs with boards.
    Um, maybe you haven't read the monk class in a while. They already get a +1 unnamed AC bonus per 5 levels and damage reduction over magic. The problem is that those bonuses don't really do enough.
    Last edited by blue_fenix; 2007-08-15 at 04:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Do they? I thought it was just the Wisdom modifier...

    Hum, I'm always forgetting things. Mixing hit die progression with BaB, forgetting skill rank progression, not remembering certain abilities. >_>

    Gah, I have a real life wisdom score of 6. Curse you, roll 4d6 drop lowest character creation! Why did my player make wisdom my dump stat and give me 18 charisma, instead!? WHYYYYYYYYYY!?
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Hmm... I support most of what's been already said, especially the 'Pounce' idea. A jump attack would be a great way to boost Monk combat abilities, at least at the beginning of a fight, and when coupled with a maxed-out Tumble skill it could be incredibly handy.

    And Paragon; you must be one smooth badger.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by blue_fenix View Post
    1) A monk's role in battle should (generally) be special combat actions such as trip, grapple, disarm, etc. I'm not saying you shouldn't be allowed to build a damage monk, but I think they should be best at other useful combat techniques that often go unloved.
    I disagree with you on that point. My experience with martial arts is that you're supposed to strike vital points (deal hp damage, maybe stunning fist). I learned a minimal amount of grappling (mostly escape techniques) and very little else in the way of special combat maneuvers.

    Oh well, that's just what I learned in one martial art. If you want the flashy hollywood-esqe martial artist, you got that.

    4) Replace Amulet of Mighty Fists with a new item: Ring of Mighty Fists, costs 1000gp, makes your unarmed strike act as if it were a masterwork weapon (+1 on attack rolls). Enchantments may be added to the ring as normal for a masterwork weapon and they affect all your unarmed attacks.
    5) Something to make their AC a bit better? Options for this include: Allowing light armor, increasing the monk's unnamed AC bonus (from +1 per 5 levels to +1 per 3, maybe?), a new monk item similar to Ring of Mighty Fists that allows them to get armor enchantments.
    Why not let them enhance their fists by getting tattoos? I do a lot with tattoos in my games.

    As for the AC, Bracers of Armor are great. I allow special enhancements to be added to them. They pretty much act like armor that provides no base armor bonus and takes up the bracer slot. You could do the same thing with magically enhanced clothing if you prefer. The MIC has a lot of rules for that stuff.
    hmmm... wonder if I'll ever get a siggy

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Full BAB is overdoing it, especially with Flurry. Sorry.

    I'd say keep it at 4+int modifier for skills. Ultimately, the monk is not a skills class, it's just a combat class with a few tricks. IMHO.

    In terms of 3, I agree with Wisdom added on to all special combat actions, with the caveat that it can't exceed your level (just a thing that tends to pop up for good reasons). So if your Wisdom is 18, the full bonus won't apply until 4th level, and whatnot.

    I think AC is fine on a monk, but that all depends on if you're playing point buy or not. In my experience, 4d6 drop lowest gives perfectly fine monks, point buy may be trickier. Perhaps you could just make it every 4th level instead of every 5th? A small boost, but a significant one, methinks.

    I'm against allowing light armor, just because I don't think it fits the flavor of the class. The monk's based on a martial artist more than a warrior, as Badger pointed out.

    And Joltz? Whether you're striking vital points in a stunning fist-like manner (or actually, you're going for more of a dazed or stunned effect), or grappling and throwing your foe all depends on what martial art you're talking about. Personally I take Tae Kwon Do, which is primarily kicks and strikes: lots of HP damage and stunning fist-type techniques. However, it also has several trips. Now, if you wanted to talk about Judo, Judo is strictly wrestling and grappling. Then there's Aikido and Hap Ki Do, which would be some grappling, disarming, and various things like that. And that's only listing four of dozens, if not hundreds of martial arts in existence. Every one's a little bit different, and that's half the fun.

    I would say, no bonus on overrun or sunder. Those two are more barbarian than monk. The rest I'd keep. (Bull Rush is iffy, but hey, could be fun.)
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by mf11 View Post
    definitely allow light armor.
    no warrior of any culture (save viking berserks) fought with NO armor. some fought with only a padded armor, but they at least had something.
    Well thats just not a correct statement. Perhaps no culture that had invented armor fought with out it but even then many did. Europe soldiers fought with out armor for years in fact armor has not made its way back on to the battle field until recently.

    But at any rate I would say that the should be able to ware padded and leather armor. They are barely armor as is after all.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Well, my changes are a little bit off the norm. Keep their BAB as is. Add Two Weapon Pounce (that works with Flurry and/or TWF) to their list of combat options. This lets them get 2-4 attacks on a charge (maybe make this an option like "At ? level you may select either TWF or TWP"). But realize this will let them charge and Stunning Fist, Trip (free attack), then repeated attacks at Hopefully Stunned and Prone AC. Change their disease immunity to also include all magical diseases. Not much else for the Monk in general until 20. Instead of DR 10/magic, make it DR Wisdom Mod/-. As for weapons, make the Kama a +2 tripping weapon instead of a no bonus tripping weapon. This gives them a +2 bonus tripping weapon, 2H Quarterstaff for +4 Disarms, Admantium fists for Sunders at later lvls, immunity to all disease, and a much better DR fitting with a lvl 20 ability.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Honestly how the monk is currently built is pretty good, you just need smart players. If you boost the monk's disarm ability (assuming they go with Improved Disarm ability), figure that they are going to disarm any character with a weapon, which puts the weapon in THEIR hands. They can continue to fight with their feet, head, whatever while preventing the other person from using their weapon.

    If the other person draws a new weapon, they can throw the original weapon away (especially if they are near some kind of odd terrain such as, in the water, down a mountain, in lava, etc), and then disarm their opponent again.

    At higher levels, with their increased speed and going etheral abilities, they are effectively superb hit-and-run specialists. Combined with Spring Attack, they can often pop in, strike their target, and then pop back far enough that their opponent is required to charge them or shoot them.

    If your players don't generally use these tactics, then the Monk may seem very underpowered. I'd recommend making Flurry of Blows a standard action instead of a full action, which will allow them to be mobile attackers, popping in, striking twice, and then popping back.

    Honestly, in every campaign I've played (core only, rolling for stats, no magi-marts) monks are one of the better classes. Admittedly, we play more tactics-heavy.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Tormsskull View Post
    Honestly, in every campaign I've played (core only, rolling for stats, no magi-marts) monks are one of the better classes. Admittedly, we play more tactics-heavy.
    Some interesting points there, Tormsskull, but I just wanted to emphasize that it sounds like you were playing in a somewhat low-magic-items campaign. One of the downsides of monk is that they end up spending a lot more money (have you looked at the cost of bracers of armor or amulet of mighty fists?) to get the same magical benefits that fighters, barbarians, etc. usually end up with. This can have a huge effect on their relative power level.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    The disarm tactics are good, if youre 1) fighting something that is, in fact, armed and if 2) the enemy is of approximately the same size as you are. Most campaigns I've played in have been pretty monster- or dragon-heavy, so this doesn't work well all the time.

    My own minimalist fixes to the monk are:
    1. Full BAB.
    2. Can enchant his fists by paying GP, time, and XP in exactly the same manner as somebody making a magic sword. Can improve his ki defenses in the same way, as though making magic armor. Both bonuses stack with what's already in the Monk progression.
    3. d10 hit dice.

    Those three things will give the monk enough of a power boost, without getting too crazy. (Though I will caution that I've only just recently purchased the Magic Item Compendium. Some of the weapon/armor abilities there could result in some grade-A cheese; I haven't gone through the whole thing yet).

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    I'd say that a full BAB is overdoing it in any case. The point of flurrying was meant to be compensating for low hit chance with multiple attempts. I would, however, like to see something to help monks overcome DR (or, to help them sooner).

    As mentioned, monks can be helpful in a very few select situations; they can perform special combat actions (disarm, trip) well enough, and their saves/grapple help them out against casters (until casters become ridiculously good at higher levels), but for most battles, they're outclassed. I like the basic premise of a class capable of dodging blows and tripping up--if not harming--opponents, even if it can't attack well. The only problem is, tanks still exceed monk AC. Give monks a higher AC bonus, maybe uncanny dodge, and leave it at that.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Well, the problem with Monk magic items enhancements is that weapon enchantments use one price scale and Amulet of Mighty Fists scales as a Misc Magic Item enchanted with permenant Greater Magic Weapon/Fang (this gets very expensive, very fast). Make Amulet of Mighty fists scale as a normal weapon enchantment. Bracers of Armor scale as an armor enchantment. While this is good, it is not nearly as good as some other classes that also get a stat other than dex to AC and can wear armor. Unsure about a tweak to this. Maybe just change the Monks AC Bonus to +1 every 3 levels, or +2 every 5. This, at lvl 20, would give this AC equivalent of Scale or Full Plate instead of a Chain Shirt. And at lvl 10 would give the eq. of Hide or a Chain Shirt instead of Leather. But remember any change made to this just makes the Monks Belt that much better (the +1 every 3 levels would keep the Monks Belt the same). To bypass Silver and Cold Iron DR, WotC introduced a Druid spell that can make natural weapons considered Silver or Cold Iron. This paves the way for Potions, Wands, and or Misc Magic Items duplicating these effects (and theres always Silversheen). Monks get Ki strike to affect magic early on, but the wait to Admantium is quite a ways down the leveling road.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    So I was doing some calculations on exactly how much AC, attack bonus, etc. it's possible to get with a monk as compared to a fighter, and I realized that monk is actually pretty close to even with fighter at level 20, except for one damning fact: Periapt of Wisdom, Amulet of Mighty Fists, Amulet of Health, and Amulet of Natural Armor all take up the same body slot, which means a monk has a No-Win choice between the four, all of which are extremely important. Grr....
    Last edited by blue_fenix; 2007-08-17 at 12:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    well, the Magic item compendium had a section for appropriating wondrous items to different body slots.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    That's why I like MIC rules for stacking enhancements. They let you put "essential" enhancements (like ability enhancements) on several different body slots and on an item that already has another ability (something like an amulet of might fists w/ con enhancement).

    edit: awww, ninjaed D=
    Last edited by Joltz; 2007-08-17 at 01:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Joltz View Post
    That's why I like MIC rules for stacking enhancements. They let you put "essential" enhancements (like ability enhancements) on several different body slots and on an item that already has another ability (something like an amulet of might fists w/ con enhancement).
    Do the MIC rules say that the price goes up when you do this? Also, this would help monks, but doesn't it also help every other class too? (Although to a lesser degree - few things are as MAD as a monk).
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    By the MIC rules the "essential" bonuses don't increase in cost when applied at the same time as another enhancement. I play with them, and it's not unbalanced. You still have to have the money to pay for it to begin with.

    "Off the top of my head" list of essential enhancements

    -Ability scores
    -Deflection bonus
    -Natural armor bonus
    -Resistance bonus
    -Energy resistance
    -Armor bonus

    All of them can go on multiple slots too, and cost as much and have the same crafting prereqs as the normal items that supply those bonuses. For example, an enhancement bonus to dexterity can go on gloves, boots, or bracers and costs the same as gloves of dex. The armor bonus works like bracers of armor but can also go on robes or vests/shirts. You get the idea. There's a big chart with all the info in the MIC
    hmmm... wonder if I'll ever get a siggy

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by StickMan View Post
    Well thats just not a correct statement. Perhaps no culture that had invented armor fought with out it but even then many did. Europe soldiers fought with out armor for years in fact armor has not made its way back on to the battle field until recently.

    But at any rate I would say that the should be able to ware padded and leather armor. They are barely armor as is after all.
    The only time i can think of, in any culture, that they did not use at least a form of padded armor, is in the early age of firearms, when no armor could help, and viking berserks, who fought naked. zulu's had shields (a form of armor), and a form of light armor. Almost all martial arts (what the monk is loosly based on) fight with a reinforced cloth garment, called in my style a gi (not sure of other names) that equates about to Padded armor.

    At any time that armor would help more than hinder, they used it. In DnD, armor should be able to help more than hinder a fighting class. With the things a monk can do, I honestly can't see why they arn't allowed to use armor. the only things that require any amount of dexterity to do is their flurry and unarmed attacks, both of which are easy enough to do in light armor. it is only when you have to make EXTREMELY complex movements, such as when casting a spell, that a light armor would hurt you.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Allowing the monk Padded armor would not increase they AC at all except at very low levels, nor would allowing leather. Padded, I think would be appropriate (the aforementioned gi is used in martial arts training to help prevent injury).

    Really, any class can get a really high AC, if they try hard enough. AC is poor mechanic anyways, so I'd focus on their ability to pull of combat tricks and the ability to actually hit people, as these are the two things I see them having the most trouble with.
    Last edited by Deesix; 2007-08-17 at 10:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Easy Fixes:

    1) Give a bonus to str and dex related checks, either equal to Wis, or if you want to get crazy, equal to class level. If you don't want to be stat-dependant or crazy, you could have it progress as the unarmed AC bonus... +1 every four levels to cap at +5 at level 20.

    2) Pounce. I agree, they need some sort of Pounce for their flurry ability, or at least a way to do a single massive attack which would do as much as ALL of their attacks combined. Something which would likely equate to PA/Shock Trooper.

    3) more special attacks and less worthless fluff. How about abilities which actually DO something? Like:

    Vital Strike
    As a full-round action, in lieu of a flurry, a Monk may make a single attack at their highest BAB, resolved as a touch attack, which ignores all DR and Hardness

    In RL, martial artists can and do break bricks bare handed, no reason to see that applied in a cenematic fashion to opponents. To keep it from being unbalancing, it is a full-round action, so you can only do it when you would normally flurry, and it gives Monks something to do when they are fighting something with high DR critters (like a golem).

    4) Allow a Monk's Outfit to be enchantet as though it were +0 armor, but does not interfere with monk unarmored AC bonuses, and allow it to be enchanted seperately as a weapon to give bonuses and special abilities to their unarmed attacks.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Minimalist Monk Fix

    Minimalistic? I'd say get rid of the inability to wear gloves and such (keep gauntlets as restricted)

    Sorry if I get shunned for this or something, but going the route of the Final Fantasy Genre, just make one of the weapons a monk uses a set of gloves as something they're specifically proficient in (I.E, you only get these bonuses if fighting unarmed). Many options to balance the monk would then be open, such as giving the gloves Fire/Ice/Shocking burst, or Tiger Claw gloves for slashing damage....

    I'm pretty sure if you simply change this, and keep the BAB at the same level, the Monk can be balanced, and yet won't outshine any of the other characters at what they do, instead filling the Monk's niche of hitting a lot while being hard to hit.

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