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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    The Practical Monkís Manuscript


    Out of all classes Core and beyond, the sage Monk is perhaps the most derided. ďThey canít hit anythingĒ cry some. ďThey donít do any damage when they doĒ insist others. ďAll their Class Features suck!Ē is echoed by many voices. Listen to them not. Like all simpletons, they hate that which is beyond their comprehension. Having seen through the misunderstandings to the true power of the Monk class, and with the help of this text, you can show them the error of their thoughts and guide them along the path to enlightenment.


    Ability Scores:
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    Monks are often criticized for being reliant on too many ability scores. In truth, this proves no fault in the Monk, but simply the backwardness of their detractorís thinking. This ďMultiple Ability DependencyĒ makes the Monk class especially friendly to new players. Every ability score is somehow critical to your success as a Monk, which means that there are no wrong decisions! No matter which abilities you favor, you can be sure that it will benefit you down the road. Strength increases your ability to carry equipment, Constitution makes you more durable, Dexterity makes it harder for things to hit you, Intelligence lets you maximize your many class skills, Wisdom fuels many of your class features, and Charisma makes you look better in those skimpy Monk outfits. Have you ever seen an ugly Kung-Fu chick? Thatís right, and itís because nothing makes a woman more beautiful than getting kicked in the face as a career. Thereís no real priority to any of these stats, so feel free to spend your points wherever you want. However, to truly capture the cinematic feel of a Monk, itís probably best to spread them around until you have at least a 16 in everything before raising one ability any higher.


    Roleplaying:
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    Being Lawful, Monks lend a critical aspect of stability to an otherwise chaotic adventuring party. After all, there is nothing players like more than being constantly reminded by the Monk that their behavior is dishonorable. You should speak up loudly and insistently whenever your character would object to the situation, which includes unnecessary violence, disrespectful behavior such as looting the dead, and receiving payment for heroic deeds that really should have been done for the sake of honor and good faith. Most adventurersí mothers canít accompany them into the wilderness, so you should feel honor-bound to take on their duties. Just remember that your fellow Adventurers are grown-ups, so you should be nagging them to do their own laundry. Be firm about not washing their clothes more than once a month, no matter how badly the Barbarian starts to smell.


    Combat:
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    Monks donít really have a role in combat. If the designer gods had intended you to fight, they would have given you full BAB like every other martial class in the game. Your excellent saves, Improved Evasion, Wisdom bonus to AC, and eventual DR (because nothing can penetrate DR/Magic!), Poison Resistance, and Spell Resistance will make you a difficult target, even though you only have a d8 hit die. Combine these defenses with your pathetic damage output, and your opponents will realize that they have better things to do than waste spells and attacks on you. Sometimes foes donít figure this out immediately, and your unique Flurry of Blows routine will serve to identify yourself to these confused enemies. Your enhanced movement speed will further help to keep you from danger.

    You might be tempted by some of your abilities, such as Stunning Fist. However, against opponents with low enough saves to be affected by you, youíre probably better off using your stunning figure instead. Also, cleavage targets Will saves, which tend to be much lower.

    All that being said, there are rare occasions where you will be called upon to enter the fray alongside your companions. Sometimes the Rogue will be desperately in need of a flanking partner, but the Cleric, the Warblade, and the Barbarian will all be busy doing something important. Since nothing youíre doing in the fight really matters, the duty will fall to you to stand on the other side of the monster from the Rogue so he can Sneak Attack it, safe in the knowledge that no monster will waste an action to attack you while any of your comrades are alive. Donít let that +2 to hit fool you, though; your job is to help the Rogue do damage, not deal any yourself. Still, feel free to let off a few flurries to remind the enemy how useless you are.

    Monks have a few other combat related abilities that deserve a passing reference; you are proficient in a small number of esoteric weapons which serve no purpose, and you have the Quivering Palm attack, which is really a moral dilemma in the form of a Catch-22. Since itís only available once per week, you obviously have to save it for the really big monsters. However, anything worth using it on will pass the Fort save by default? The best choice is probably just to forget you have Quivering Palm to begin with.

    As a final reminder, remember that disturbing the dead is extremely dishonorable! Your companions tend to forget this a lot, but the Fighter will be very grateful when you remind him while heís attempting to shamefully loot the enchanted sword that almost took off his head. The same applies to taking someoneís private possessions, even if they are recently deceased.


    Skills:
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    As a Monk, you have access to a wide variety of useful skills to take advantage of your broad scores. Since your Intelligence should be as high as everything else, you should have plenty of options. Many, like Tumble pertain to movement and evasion in some way, which will help keep you out of danger. In addition, a sufficiently stealthy Monk can accompany the Rogue on covert missions as a Flaking Buddy. This opens up a whole new level of gameplay, because there are no other means by which a hidden Rogue could get Sneak Attacks. Knowledge (Arcana) is very useful, as it is the only way for you to have any relation the field of magic, and Diplomacy will help you convince others of their misdeeds. Honestly though, like Ability Scores, you should have so many skill points that you can afford to spend them however you please and still be good at everything.


    The True Purpose of the Monk:
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    So far, the longest tract of this text has been outlining what you canít do, fight. Donít take this as a concession of weakness, though; combat is only a small part of the larger game, and you wonít be missing out on much. You have a role that goes beyond providing an incessant moral compass for your allies, even when they forget to ask (which could be done by any Paladin). With rigid honor, loyalty, tenacity, and freedom from burgeoning equipment, a Monk makes the ultimate Porter. Your eat much less than a mule and can accompany your party through most any environment, meaning no matter where they may go, the Wizard will never have to carry his own Spellbook. You canít wear armor and shouldnít wield weapons, so with your strength as high as all your other attributes, you should have plenty of carrying space on you. In this light, many of your other abilities, which might seem random and incoherent at first glance, come into context.

    As already mentioned, you are utterly without peer when it comes to avoiding and resisting things. After all, your entire purpose is defeated if the party has to carry you around. This means that, in the event your party is wiped out, you are practically guaranteed to be the last one standing. However, the true sting of death comes not from the loss of life, but from the loss of equipment. The problem is solved by you; you should be carrying most of the equipment to begin with, and you should have been stuffing your alliesí bodies into your Bags of Holding as they fell. Your defenses will keep you safe long enough to collect your last friend, and then the true power of the Monk comes into play: Your phenomenal movement speed will easily allow you to outpace your opponents, and every extra 10í puts more distance between yourself and your enemies, and brings your party that much closer to resurrection. Empty Body, Abundant Step, and Slow Fall, which many detractors claim to be nonsensical, fit perfectly into this role by allowing you take shortcuts which cannot be followed. After all, very few enemies can fly, become incorporeal, or have access to 1st level arcane spells. Tongue of the Sun and Moon suffers much of the same criticism, but it provides unparalleled utility. No matter where your misadventures take place, you will be able to ask for directions to a healer and negotiate the resurrection of your party members. Donít be afraid to use your stunning figure for a circumstance bonus to the Diplomacy check.

    With their bodies and their possessions intact, your party will be right back on its feet! Well doe, Monk, well done. Now, remind them all that they have a lot of blood to wash out of their clothes, and itís going to stain if they donít take care of it right away.


    Equipment:
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    As a Monk, you donít really have any need for equipment. Anything you carry will simply reduce your ability to carry other things, and your ability scores are all so high already that you shouldnít need to enhance any one over the rest. However, items that help you in your role as a Porter are absolutely essential. Purchase a Handy Haversack and as many Bags of Holding as you can carry. If the group has benevolently given you a big enough share that you have any money left after this, be gracious and give it back to them. After all, they could put it to better use and did most of the work to earn it.


    Feats:
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    The Run feat is absolutely critical to the Monkís strategy of escaping from a lost battle. Beyond that, the skyís the limit. You donít get many feats, so pick ones that suit your favorite skills, such as Stealthy, Negotiator, or Agile. Avoid combat-related feats, as you wonít be able to put them to good use.


    Races:
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    The most important things to keep in mind with choosing a race are speed and carrying capacity. Small races lose both of these, so donít play them unless youíre willing to settle for a slightly unoptimized build. Large races tend to draw attention, so avoid those as well. Medium races are therefore your best bet, and since youíre so good at everything, theyíre all viable choices. The only exception is Dwarves, since they move slowly and any loss of speed is absolutely unacceptable. Beyond that, thereís no preference but your heartís fancy.



    This concludes our guide, disciple. Keep the tenets close to your heart, and you shall bring much honor to your name, temple, and oft maligned class. Your party may be reluctant to accept you, but after their first few attempts to kill you or run away fail, they should come to view you as inescapable. When you finally have a chance to shine after everyone else is dead, they will realize the true path that you follow, and regret that they could not share in your moment of glory.

    Good saves to you all. Amen.
    Last edited by Voyager_I; 2008-02-01 at 10:54 AM.
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    I am forced to assume satire.
    "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    I am forced to assume satire.
    The best satire is when you can't tell.

    I am, by the way, laughing out loud.

    EDIT: And indeed, have Lol'd loud enough to wake up my wife. Congrats, OP. I owe this night on the couch to you.
    Last edited by Swordguy; 2008-02-01 at 04:43 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag
    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin
    Thus, knowing none of us are Sun Tzu or Napoleon or Julius Caesar...
    No, but Swordguy appears to have studied people who are. And took notes.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    That actually sounds like a good idea. I've only just started playing D&D, and I may take a Monk if my Cleric and Beguiller characters don't work out (I've already got an LA 0 Gnoll Shapeshifter Druid as a reserve character, though).
    "It doesn't matter what you think I'm supposed to be, 'cause I myself know all too well." Line from "King of My World" by Saliva.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Never in my life did I dream of having the honor [male chicken]blocking a complete stranger over the internet. Many thanks, kind sir.

    Also, obvious props to Kurald Galain for the inspiration
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Who was the "Never in my life did I dream of having the honor [male chicken]blocking a complete stranger over the internet. Many thanks, kind sir." line aimed at? (I did realise that it's a spoof, but I just felt like making an ironic comment).
    "It doesn't matter what you think I'm supposed to be, 'cause I myself know all too well." Line from "King of My World" by Saliva.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Well, fairly mediocre satire imo. Kurald Galain's samurai is much better, I daresay.
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showp...60&postcount=1

    Lesson to be learned: it is apparently much easier to max the monk than making fun of it!

    - Giacomo

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Well, fairly mediocre satire imo. Kurald Galain's samurai is much better, I daresay.
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showp...60&postcount=1

    Lesson to be learned: it is apparently much easier to max the monk than making fun of it!

    - Giacomo
    While Kurald's samurai satire was exceedingly well done, by no means is Voyager's piece merely mediocre.

    And it is much easier to mock the monk than make it useful in ways other than those which Voyager has detailed.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest Fennac View Post
    Who was the "Never in my life did I dream of having the honor [male chicken]blocking a complete stranger over the internet. Many thanks, kind sir." line aimed at? (I did realise that it's a spoof, but I just felt like making an ironic comment).
    That was directed at Swordguy, who is hopefully comfortable on his couch right now. One has to wonder how he had time to tell he was getting the boot, though?
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Every party should have an NPC monk like that. Seriously, you would never have to worry about a TPK again.



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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Thank you. I now have a reason to introduce a Monk NPC to my party. I'm sure the group will appreciate how the Monk is useful and yet does not step on anybody's toes.


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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    On a honest note, it's not really as funny as Kurald Galain's Samurai - but it has plenty of humor and bright spots. Congratulations and thanks :)
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Really? I thought this satire was superior to Kurald's (not that Kurald's was bad by any means).

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    you are however incorrect on one point.
    goblins are small yet have a speed of 30 and so are kobolds.
    goblins make good fleeing monks therefore and have +4 hide and move silently. you should also allow this monk porter to buy a ring of invisibility!
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Nice post, but I'm shocked that you failed to mention the many exciting job opportunities for monks in the field of explosives delivery.
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Hey, I'm famous

    The funnest part about my samurai thread was the people who took it seriously and wrote a point-for-point rebuttal...
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    WOO! MONK DEFENSE FORCE IS GO! Sir Giacomo, Form up on me!

    Alright, let's clarify this a bit. I do not believe the monk is a balanced class when compared to casters, but then again, no class is. What I do believe is that although the monk lacks the BAB and damage output of other melee classes, his survivability balances this. Let's address it one point at a time though.

    Abilities:
    The monk has MAD, yes, but it's certainly not crippling. With a single feat, weapon finesse, the monk has eliminated his need for STR as a high stat and now only needs decent scores in DEX, WIS, and CON, no different than a wizard's need for DEX, INT, and CON. Sure, he won't be putting out as much damage, but that's not his job, that's the raging power attacking barbarian's.

    Roleplaying:
    The monk has one, and only one, roleplaying restriction: lawfulness. Interpret this how you want. You see it as always being honorable, I see it as believing in social heirarchies. Really, it's very vague and very flexible, no more restrictive than a bard's chaotic alignment.

    Combat:
    Here is where the monk gets ragged on. He fails to fit in any of the 4 party roles of tanker, flanker, blaster, or healer. His attacks are sub-par, but his defense is impenetrable. With high movement speed, ranks in tumble, and good saves across the board, he's an expert at moving around the battlefield. This opens up a lot of "Plan B" options for the monk. When the party is going into combat, give the monk a couple of healing potions to deliver when necessary. Did the party fighter just get surrounded by enemies? Monk can get over there and flank with him within the next turn. With his mobility, he won't have any trouble reaching them. His combat role isn't damage-dealing or taking blows, although he CAN do that to an extent. It's his job to do whatever's necessary as quickly as possible, while providing support for the melee classes. Really, the only thing that's too underpowered to use effectively is the flurry of blows, but that's "Plan C."

    Skills:
    Like most classes, most of these are superfluous. Unless you're going for diplo-cheese, just stick all those points into jump and tumble for maximum mobility on the battlefield.

    True Purpose:
    Like I said, Plan B healer/flanker and support for the melee classes.

    Equipment:
    A monk doesn't need much, and unless you're going past 12th level or so, he's a fantastic (albeit somewhat broken) candidate for Vow of Poverty. Seriously, he's untouchable with that. Otherwise, a cloak of resistance and some bracers of armor will help you stay alive, along with perhaps an amulet of mighty fists to increase damage.

    Feats:
    Like I said, weapon finesse and possibly VoP. After that, stuff like improved grapple could make you a decent caster-killer, provided your DM isn't throwing Batman wizards at you. (Don't call this a straw-DM theory. What kind of sadistic DM does stuff like that, unless he's trying to put munchkins in their place?)

    Races:
    Small races are viable, although unoptimal. The movement speed penalty hurts, but the AC and BAB bonuses are nice. I wouldn't do it though, just because of the unarmed damage reduction. Large races are just not worth it in general, although being polymorphed into one can be quite effective.

    So, all in all, the monk is a viable class and can contribute well to the party if played correctly. Depending on the DM, ki strike can also be invaluable for bypassing DR, and will still be useful even after the party gets magical weapons. So yes, while certain features are underpowered, (flurry of blows and quivering palm) I feel that the monk is overall balanced with the rest of the non-caster classes.

    NOTE: I said NON-CASTER classes. Please don't turn this into a monks vs. wizards thread!
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The funnest part about my samurai thread was the people who took it seriously and wrote a point-for-point rebuttal...
    Does that count as irony?
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Snadgeros View Post
    WOO! MONK DEFENSE FORCE IS GO! Sir Giacomo, Form up on me!
    Alas, in this ironic thread I would prefer not to join in your noble quest, o Snadgeros...but rest assured that any such thread yould be easily done on any class regardless of their alleged power(s). For instance, the druid...

    - Giacomo

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    This was funny, the other one was better though. The stunning figure jokes weren't very good as they had no basis in seriousness.

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager_I
    Does that count as irony?
    It counts as hilarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Alas, in this ironic thread I would prefer not to join in your noble quest, o Snadgeros...but rest assured that any such thread yould be easily done on any class regardless of their alleged power(s). For instance, the druid...

    - Giacomo
    In the case of the monk, it's funny because it's true!

    Not so much in the case of the druid.

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Yeah, this thread is most definitely not intended to spiral into another Monk debate, and I intentionally avoided the whole UMD Gonk issue in its entirety to avoid that (and also because Kurald Galain already parodied those arguments in his most esteemed Samurai thread). Especially given that, aside from the obviously satirical aspects, we're mostly saying the same things.

    As for the "Any Class" idea, look up the little rant on Wizard brokenness on the Wizards forums. It's hilarious, and it still doesn't even cover half the ridiculous stuff that full casters can do. Imagine one of these threads, except talking about how comically overpowered a class is, and every word of it is true.

    ...especially when those words include (roughly) "and if you somehow manage to kill me after all that, you were actually fighting my Astral Projection, and none of those scrolls were really used. Now the real me teleports in."


    [Edit]
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor DemonKing
    The stunning figure jokes weren't very good as they had no basis in seriousness.
    The basis would be that Stunning Fist will rarely actually work.
    Last edited by Voyager_I; 2008-02-01 at 11:24 AM.
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Well done; I enjoyed it.

    Incidentally, for a truly unkillable Monk, take him to level 20, give him the feats The Mountain Does Not Move and The Mountain Does Not Fall (UF I think) to let him take temporary wisdom damage to negate real damage and status effects, and then give him 5 levels in Legend (Ultimate PrC's vo. 1) to give him that unkillable bit where even past -10 HP he can make fort saves to stay alive-- nonmagical immortality! Hooray!

    Or, to enhance "combat" ability (that is to say "skill checks while you happen to be near combat"), Student of the Dragon offers the ability to jump around corners and gives an inherent +20 bonus to jump checks!
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager_I View Post
    As for the "Any Class" idea, look up the little rant on Wizard brokenness on the Wizards forums. It's hilarious, and it still doesn't even cover half the ridiculous stuff that full casters can do. Imagine one of these threads, except talking about how comically overpowered a class is, and every word of it is true.
    Would anyone happen to have a link on them?
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager_I View Post
    ... Imagine one of these threads, except talking about how comically overpowered a class is, and every word of it is true.

    ...especially when those words include (roughly) "and if you somehow manage to kill me after all that, you were actually fighting my Astral Projection, and none of those scrolls were really used. Now the real me teleports in."
    Sounds great. And from that little bit it already illustrates that every word of it is NOT true. Unless said duel took place on a different plane, because you can only astrally project yourself away from the prime material plane where your body remains, helpless.

    But please, post the link and I'll gladly give it a rules reality check.

    - Giacomo

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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    you sir win an internets
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Detecting high levels of sarcasm and vitriol.

    Pity as it'd nice to have build techniques to bring a Monk up to par.
    Matthew Greet
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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Voyager, you had me fooled until I started reading the roleplaying text. The ability scores text is an argument that someone can actually make and argue for, so I thought it was going to be a real monk guide. Hell, I thought it was going to be a witty and real guide to Monks But hey, at least it was witty. One out of two isn't bad.

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Link for Giacomo. I think there might be a rules goof in there (he Dimension Doors into the ground while Incorporeal), but beyond that it's all valid...and they'd already discussed Shrink Item. Remember, Astral Projection merely starts you somewhere else. Scrolls of Plane Shift and Greater Teleport can get you wherever you're going in a hurry, should be trivial by 17th level, and won't actually get expended because they're just projected copies.

    As for the rest of you, this is only partially satire. At high levels, life gets cheaper, and equipment gets much more expensive. Haveing a handy dandy Kung-fu porter around to stuff your loot-laden corpses into a portable hole and get out of dodge would be save tone of grief, even if his only role in combat was being a potion-boy (but shouldn't they have their own already?) and letting the Rogue sneak attack. It's definitely preferable to, say, a mule, which will just get eaten when you all die. I think Monks usually smell a little better, too.
    Praise me not for my born strengths, but for what I make of them.
    Scorn me not for my born faults, but for my failure to overcome them.

    The Practical Monk's Manuscript

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    Default Re: The Practical Monk's Manuscript

    Voyager, as much as I respect your attempt at humor, Sir Giacomo does it better with his monk guide.
    Last edited by Solo; 2008-02-01 at 05:11 PM.

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