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  1. - Top - End - #151

    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    I'm happy that my theme is useful. Finally, Critical Post payed off.

    Scribe, that was so funny my gut hurts from trying to contain the laughs. You can have your own personal coolness theme.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Anything for a fellow member of the Optimisation Cabal .

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Reel on, Love
    View Post
    And the first time it grapples a non-solo enemy, the other enemies will beat the hell out of his puny AC.
    Why would he want to grapple me in the first place?

    Lord_khaine:
    why thank you, i must admit i have considderet to write my own guide, but im wasting to much time reading the forums atm to get it done.
    Don't take this the wrong way..... but please send it to me first for proof reading, ok?

    well im not writing in my native languagede, so it affects my spelling, but if you find it so awfull then link me a decent online spellchecker, and i will use it each time i reply to one of your posts.
    Firefox comes with a good built in spellcheck, as does MS word.

    ok it seems there are 10 CR 10 creatures, after spending 50 gp on a potion of enlarge, then the Khainemonk can grapple the Couatle, formian myrmac, Fire giant, Clay golem, Guardian Naga, Rakasha and salamandar noble. (bit confused over only getting 10 monsters, did get a errormessage on the search site)
    Lucky for you: the SRD isn't even loading for me now (The Commies are blocking my access from China)
    As for the potion of Enlarge giving you a bonus.... what if the monster gets Enlarged as well

    well there are 2 major schools of monks here in the playground, The School of Gia who uses UMD, and the School of Khaine who dont(and like str)
    I approve of the School of Khaine.

    Actually, come to think of it, my major gripe with the School of Gia is that he has a UMD grapple build, not a monk build, but he doesn't acknowledge the fact that it is a not-monk build.

    Giacomo:
    And enlarge person only applies to humanoids, not the vast majority of monsters.
    You an Enlarge something by using a spell other than Enlarge Person, can't you?

    Nope, though you are free to stay in this belief...Actually I plan to add later a check of your sorcerer spells once proposed in a different thread at the given monk levels to see, if the monk has a good chance. My gut feeling tells me Ozymandias should avoid the Joker
    70%-65% fail chance @ level 10

    I hardly see anyone ridiculing a Cleric using divine power to emulate a fighter (although he fails at it btw). Or a wizard using invisibility and flying to be a scout (although not that optimised, either imo)
    Cause they use their class abilities (which they are suppose to, being class abilities), whereas your monk uses a non class ability?

    Say, Giacomo, maybe you're busy, but how come this part of my post wasn't addressed?

    DMG p. 212-215 outlines how magic items shoudl be handled. At the bottom of page 214 even the process of pricing a partially charged wand is explained and that player characters can of course sell them when having found them in treasures. Now, I wonder, if they can sell them why should they not be able to buy them? Why should there be only a market for new cars, but not for used ones?
    You can sell a 1988 Audi at any used car lot, but the chances of going to any used car lot and finding a 1988 Audi are much smaller. Understood?

    By the way, can you quote the specific text for those of us without a copy of the DMG?

    Most of the times, you’ll read about a very popular monk myth, the multi ability dependence (MAD). Allegedly, the monk has to have more high stats everywhere than everyone else
    True, the monk can make use out of great scores in all his abilites. So can everyone else. No difference. So everyone is MAD (multi ability dependendet), to the same degree. Or no one is. It is that simple.
    You only need INT and moderate DEX/CON to be an effective wizard. An effective monk needs more than good ONESTAT and moderate OTHERSTAT/OTHERSTAT. Thus they are MAD by the additive property of addition.

    Here’s a short list of stuff either ONLY the monk can do or can do best in core.
    - best grappler (No. of attacks, damage, bonus feat, spc additional effects like stunning fist- Note: FAQ has nerfed to no longer use stunning fist to be possible alongside grapple damage, so use unarmed strike with stun before grapple or in grapple at -4. His medium BAB does not matter much, and he can easily overcome it – see below)
    - fastest scout (highest move, spot/listen/move silently/hide as class skills). Combined with the highest movement speed this means the monk has the highest chance of achieving a surprise melee attack.
    1. As Talic's table of CR appropriate and under CR monsters has shown, your grapple modifier will be outclassed by a lot of monsters in the DMG.
    2. Barbarians move quickly too.
    3. How are you maxing out spot/listen/move silently/hide while also having enough skill points to max out UMD and avoiding MAD?

    Highest base damage dice eventually.
    Base damage is weak if you don't have the muscle to back it up. That means you'll need high strength. MAD yet?

    Level 10 Joker

    UNARMED ATTACK: +10 (+10/+10/+5); Damage 2d8 +3, 3d8+4 enlarged
    Lol.

    Avrg. 12 dmg, 17.5 enlarged @ lvl 10.

    Lulz

    SAVES: Fort +9, Refl +10, Will +10 (+12 vs enchantment)
    Ozymandias can toss out a DC23 Save or X spell at your level. 20 (+5) CHA, +4 (+2) item, +1 School Focus (pre-req for Archmage), +5 from a level 5 spell (Baleful Polymorph, anyone?) + 10 = +23
    Your fort save succeeds on a 14. that is a 70% chance of failure. But I'm sure your 3d8+4 base damage and your +14(+19) grapple mod make up for it.
    Also, for a guide to playing monks, you sure spend a lot of time talking about how to PvP wizards.



    Thus, I conclude





    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by GoC
    Should we do a Cindy vs. Sir Giacomo's Monk battle?
    Actually Chosen of Vecna's wizards might be better...
    .......

    *stab*

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon
    Scribe, that was so funny my gut hurts from trying to contain the laughs. You can have your own personal coolness theme.
    .......

    *stabitty stab stab*

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quoth DMfromTheAbyss:
    He sneaks around, scouts out enemies and wrongs them on his terms. He's not shy about running away, running out the clock on the opponents and only engaging if he can win. So basically he's a real bastard in a fight. He specializes in taking out 1 guy (grappling) and just plain avoiding (or passing on) guys he can't take.
    That's a perfectly valid playstyle, and if you're going to play a monk, it's not a bad route to go. But that's not the route that Giacomo is going. First of all, he needs his party around all the time, so he can't realistically do things like run out the clock on enemies or run away. Second, his total hide mod is only +31, which means there's still a pretty good chance of spells (or rangers, or rogues, or druids, or animals) spotting him, even if he doesn't do anything to give himself away, and if he does something like attack, then everyone's going to see him. A good core-only sneaky bastard build will have a minimum Hide check better than this monk's maximum.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
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    Current Homebrew: 5th edition psionics

  5. - Top - End - #155

    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Why would he want to grapple me in the first place?

    Lord_khaine:

    Don't take this the wrong way..... but please send it to me first for proof reading, ok?


    Firefox comes with a good built in spellcheck, as does MS word.


    Lucky for you: the SRD isn't even loading for me now (The Commies are blocking my access from China)
    As for the potion of Enlarge giving you a bonus.... what if the monster gets Enlarged as well


    I approve of the School of Khaine.

    Actually, come to think of it, my major gripe with the School of Gia is that he has a UMD grapple build, not a monk build, but he doesn't acknowledge the fact that it is a not-monk build.

    Giacomo:

    You an Enlarge something by using a spell other than Enlarge Person, can't you?



    70%-65% fail chance @ level 10



    Cause they use their class abilities (which they are suppose to, being class abilities), whereas your monk uses a non class ability?

    Say, Giacomo, maybe you're busy, but how come this part of my post wasn't addressed?



    Also, for a guide to playing monks, you sure spend a lot of time talking about how to PvP wizards.



    Thus, I conclude





    Edit:


    .......

    *stab*


    .......

    *stabitty stab stab*
    Hey, solo, chill out. Remember you have your Own Personal Themes. Have mercy on the souls that have not Aleph on the Solo scale of awesome.
    Last edited by Azerian Kelimon; 2008-05-17 at 09:18 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Worira View Post
    Wait, MW sense motive item? What exactly is that? Note that an alchemist's lab costs 500 gp and weighs 40 pounds, so don't claim you can make a MW tool for any skill.
    Also, the Taskmaster is made of awesome and win.

  7. - Top - End - #157

    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Indeed. That guy is a Factotum who rolled 18's in everything, is Epic twohundredsomething, and has a super beefed up version of the class feature replicating ability.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Solo is diligent in making sure budding heroes do not usurp his power.
    That's like, Evil Overlording 101, man. Deal with it!

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Question(s).

    What happens when Giamonk attempts to Grapple a caster with Freedom of Movement on? In spell or ring form, whichever you'd prefer.

    Also, what happens when Giamonk is faced with caster-created obstacles? Grease, magic Walls, etc.

    Lastly, I have qualms about the Gia strategy, as a whole. I get the "Run to die another day" strategy. I really do, because I'd rather not die trying to be the hero. However.

    I sense alignment restrictions coming in to play eventually.

    This affects more on the Evil-Neutral-Good scale, but I can see issues arising on the quite important Chaotic-Neutral-Lawful scale. After all, monks need to stay lawful to keep progressing. Somehow, sneaking around, fighting dirty, and potentially ditching your party members does not seem to reflect the lawful alignment. This is in reference to Gia's 'Waiting it out' and 'Escaping from battle' tactics.

    Hopefully, I've created a new avenue of debate. Frankly, the old ones are getting redundant.
    "So Marbles, why do they call you Marbles?"

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Quoth DMfromTheAbyss:That's a perfectly valid playstyle, and if you're going to play a monk, it's not a bad route to go. But that's not the route that Giacomo is going. First of all, he needs his party around all the time, so he can't realistically do things like run out the clock on enemies or run away. Second, his total hide mod is only +31, which means there's still a pretty good chance of spells (or rangers, or rogues, or druids, or animals) spotting him, even if he doesn't do anything to give himself away, and if he does something like attack, then everyone's going to see him. A good core-only sneaky bastard build will have a minimum Hide check better than this monk's maximum.
    I don't think it is a valid playstyle, not the way Giacomo is doing it. The basic problem is that human casters are just not very common opponents in most settings; building something to kill human casters is inherently a terrible idea. Squishy Wizard applies to PCs, not NPCs; many monsterous casters are big ugly hard-to-grapple things with sorcerer casting.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2008-05-17 at 11:56 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Hopefully, I've created a new avenue of debate. Frankly, the old ones are getting redundant.
    Now only must we win on the old venues of debate, but on the new ones as well.

    So, Giacomo, you see....


    WHAT THE DEUCE!?

    WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH EPIC BLACK MAGE!?!?

    AWAY WITH THE MASK AND SHOW YOURSELF!

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    So you'll Munchaus him to victory? In such a victory, would you not become that which you hate?

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Giacomo - I think myself and others owe you some gratitude for having made the effort to release this guide. It's obvious you've spent some time thinking about these arguments, and they can no doubt be helpful to new players who wish to play a monk, but are unsure of what kinds of tactics to use against NPC casters and developing PC casters whom they happen to oppose.

    However, I do not believe that this work is a complete success, and do not think it accomplishes its primary task of showing us how to beat a "batman" wizard with consistency. Although, I do commend you in your attempt, and your willingness to argue points regarding certain classes, instead of blindly accept what others say to be true. I know of quite a few people who complacently accept certain "knowledge" as fact, without considering the evidence as much as is necessary to have any rightful belief. But, I think you need to let go - this idea of yours no longer appears to be a lone, glorious stand for truth, so much as someone who refuses to accept his many days of fighting have been for ultimately nothing.

    I would have been more impressed if you had been focused on making a guide for monks that was not as centered upon "Beating Batman", as much as simply being useful in a variety of circumstances. Still, I think there's some very good information here - and I think you deserve some credit for that.
    Last edited by Deepblue706; 2008-05-18 at 12:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepblue706 View Post
    I would have been more impressed if you had been focused on making a guide for monks that was not as centered upon "Beating Batman", as much as simply being useful in a variety of circumstances. Still, I think there's some very good information here - and I think you deserve some credit for that.
    But, Deepblue706. That's what I have done. The Joker I posted is not only about fighting casters. Actually, he can also fill the party roles of a scout and combatant.

    Well guys, it's time for another interim comment of mine. Feel free to post, if you feel ignored etc. and I'll edit this post to put in additional comments.

    OK, let's start, that could take some time, like I thought.

    First of all, most of you apparently still do not get what the build is about, although I have to applaud lord_khaine and DMfromtheAbyss to provide me with rare exceptions here.

    You see, the irony is that you all believe that UMD is a MAJOR FEATURE of this build. It is not. Some of you apparently feel you are so wrong that you try to reduce the build to it, while actually my guide showcases what you can do with ALL of the monk's abilities, even with slow fall. And hardly anyone comments on that. The only thing most of you do is jump on "AWWWW, he uses UMD just like we thought - what a stupid build."

    I am a bit disappointed here.

    That disappointment, though, is surpassed by far by the degree of disappointment I feel when some post non-core material and multiclasses for proving the monk is worthless (including my build) - so my full-hearted thanks go to Draz74. Although he is definitely not on my side, he shows a lot of fairness trying to calm the most odd posts around here.

    Now, on to your questions and comments:

    1) THAT GRAPPLING THING/VIABILTIY OF GRAPPLING. In particular @Reel on, Love.
    You fail to see how grappling works and how encounters normally are assumed to be. A level 3 monk facing a CR 3 creature on his own? This is definitely not envisioned by the rules. Even so, the Joker at level 3 with +13outgrapples most of them. Try to follow the link I gave you and see the percentage of creatures who can outgrapple him at CR 3. And do not forget - those with special attacks will receive a -4 to each attack in a grapple.
    Then you will not believe how rare it is that in a four-member party, the monk has to face several creatures at the same time that actually can outgrapple him. This is going to become more and more relevant at, what, level 9 for the group? (Remember that when there are several creatures - at least 5 to get a chance for the monk to be attacked by to in a four-member party, the CR of those creatuers gets reduced substantially!).
    Now if you read more closely what I wrote in the build, level by level, you will notice that actually I commented on that somewhere there. At level 9, the joker tactics change from grappling to stealth (with the help of the eversmoking bottle you so hate, but more so with his superior scout skills and high move).
    Then, on the enlarge thing. If you believe that 2 rounds of buff is a rarity, you will make caster players quite unhappy. You also wish to eliminate the ability of suprise for the group ALTHOUGH THERE ARE VARIOUS CLASSES WITH HIDE AND MOVE SILENTLY WHO OBVIOUSLY ARE MEANT TO CAPTIALISE ON THAT TACTICS! Incredible.
    The monk with his class abilities and skill set WILL be able to get himself often enough rounds to buff.

    And finally, what actually makes you all think that the monk needs to cast enlarge to be able to get rid of casters? The enlarge effect is only there to contribute outside the Joker's role. For the Joker's role, up to the AMF tactics, he does not even NEED UMD. UMD is only there to boost his general combat ability.
    ALTHOUGH it sure comes in handy to have an own independent access for the silence spell, which in the hands of a stealthy character (yes, a rogue can and should use that, too) can be a real pain for casters.

    2) "THIS IS A UMD BUILD, BUT NOT A MONK BUILD"
    Huh, guess I answered that already, huh? Seriously. Read the guide again and what I wrote on how to capitalise on all (ALL) of the monk's class abilities.

    3) "UMD WILL NOT WORK"
    But it will. You see, the point is not that the joker monk needs to use UMD in combat. I described at lengths alternatives to use UMD that will not risk losing 1 or 2 rounds doing nothing while in combat: touch spell attacks, long-term buff spells and heal spells.
    As for an allegedly too low wand budget (again in particular @Reel On, Love): you again fail to see where the greatest bargaings are: in level 1 spells. They do most of what you need. Silence is THE great caster bane at 2nd level, and apart from that, you do not really need anything. And they cost 750 gold for 50 charges.
    This means you can cast a 1st level spell a thousand times by level 10. Something tells me this is often enough. And you know that for this main power of UMD the question of partial wands is even completely irrelevant. We have been through this already. It's a question of whether the monk gets all these 1st level spells and enlarge at level 2 or 4.
    Only at high levels, the joker build assumes that you can cast divine power and holy sword in almost every encounter.
    Ah, and @Sam the Cleric: Rage does not equal enlarge. Rage gives you +2 to the grapple check, while enlarge gives you +5. A barbarian without continuous access to enlarge (and without UMD, it's quite likely) will be far behind a monk in grappling.

    4) WHAT IS THIS MONK's PARTY ROLE?
    Well, reading the introduction of that post, I quoted the PHB roles. The joker fills them all greatly. Added to this is its (non-caster unparalleled) role of beating batman.
    In an iconic party of Fighter, Wizard, Cleric and Rogue he would likely replace the rogue (due to stealth tactics, unusual combat style and skills, and ability to deal with traps). NOTE: replace does not mean I think the monk is stronger in these roles, only that he can fill them in a different way.
    A ranger is also quite close to the rogue's role, although he could also replace the fighter due to BAB for straight combat.

    Now on to some individual posts

    @Draz74 (and @Solo)
    On the MAD issue.
    Three suggestions
    1) The joker monk above is a generalist. So of course I distribute the stats evenly. In case of a lord_khaine monk, I would focus entirely on Strength (see also his build). So no difference to other clases
    2) Think about playing all classes with only 8 in all stats. Strangely, the monk will be entirely playable, while batman will not be.
    3) Read again my examples in the MAD monk myth in the guide.

    @Draz74
    On the "what will DMs allow" issue.
    The core rules assume certaint things. That all classes can UMD to some degree. That there are 50gp masterwork items providing +2 nicely stackable bonuses for the skills (thus making fixed, non-opposed DCs easier to reach). And the wbl.
    A DM has every right to change that. He is probably right that a monk making jumps around with two wands in his hands is not exactly his idea of wuxia.
    However, once he deviates from what the rules allow, then there are balance issues and he'll need to adjust for that.
    And the fluff thing about a monk using UMD and buying stuff can be easily remedied with the following:
    Think about the monk's UMD as some side of special ki ability (which stacks at the cost of 1 skill point less/level and appropriately reduced wealth). Between levels, the monk will go to his monastery and get tatoos/ki crystals etc. that will actually mean he can now cast enalrge 50 times before the next refreshment or fly, or blink or silence or what ever. You could actually build whole fantasy-like kung fu schools around that.
    For instance,
    THE STRENGHT SCHOOL
    Level 2-4 Enlarge
    Level 3-5 Bull's Strength
    Level 6-8 xy...
    Level 14-20 Divine Power
    THE STEALTH SCHOOL
    Level 2-4 Hide from Animals
    Level 3-5 Silence
    Level 6-8 Invisbility
    etc...
    THE DEATH COMBAT SCHOOL
    Level 2-4 Chill Touch
    Level 3-5 Ghoul Touch
    Level 6-8 Vampiric Touch
    etc.
    THE SPELLBANE SCHOOL
    Level 2-4 Obscuring Mist
    Level 3-5 Silence
    Level 6-8 See Invisibility/Faerie Fire
    etc....

    Actually - I like that very much, will expand that (ideas welcome!) and add into the general guide above.

    @Chronos
    THE JOKER NEEDS A PARTY?
    Er...no, he does not. The monk of all classes is among the most self-reliant ones. Batman up to high levels cannot get by on his own, but the Joker definitely can.
    UMD is actually there to showcase that he can also get spells WITHOUT pc casters (read again the guide above). With pearls and pc casters, though, he gets more (which the game obviously intended for GROUP playing rewards).

    @Signmakerens:
    You brougth up some good issues.
    - Grapple vs FOM. Read again what I wrote in the guide above on the issue.
    This is primarily addressed by actually changing from grappling tactics to something else by the time this spell may be encountered more often (besides huge monsters). At high levels, an AMF will negate FOM entirely.
    - Alignment: How can a monk sneak around?
    Well, even rogues are allowed lawful alignments. And the Joker build above may be closer to the idea of "Lawful Evil" which basically means you follow the ruleset which rewards the strongest. He could even continue to use holy sword spells while being evil, simply by emulating an alignment with UMD
    - how to get around walls and grease:
    The jump skill is quite a good answer. And reflex saves. And btw, no - the monk will not have to save or balance twice. You only need that once - once successful, you'll be out of the grease area (simply jump out).
    Vs more powerful/higher walls: a wand of blinking (the partial kind for emergency) will help you in mid-levels. Or you can smash the wall with your unarmed strikes (quite a lot of damage). Or walk through the fire wall and heal the damage later. Or wait out the wall (wall of force) for some rounds (your spellcraft skill lets you recognise what wall is going on).

    Well, that's about it for now. Will add stuff when I find it. Solo's post deserves separate treatment....

    - Giacomo
    Last edited by Sir Giacomo; 2008-05-18 at 01:44 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    while actually my guide showcases what you can do with ALL of the monk's abilities, even with slow fall
    You can do what a first level spell does at level 20. Whup de doo.
    I suppose you could jump off a cliff at level 10 and escape unharmed, but so could anyone else with a Ring of Feather Fall.

    2) Think about playing all classes with only 8 in all stats. Strangely, the monk will be entirely playable, while batman will not be.
    A monk with an 8 in all stats will suck beyond all belief. Would you care to show us what a monk (or any character) with an 8 in all stats can do besides suck?

    You see, the irony is that you all believe that UMD is a MAJOR FEATURE of this build. It is not.
    ...
    For the Joker's role, up to the AMF tactics, he does not even NEED UMD.
    You don't need UMD.... really now?

    UMD is by far the largest investment for your character in terms of time, skill points, and money, yet you don't need it and it is not a major feature of the build?




    ps. Seriously, does anyone know why Epic Black Mage has been replaced by Epic Fail Monk?
    Last edited by Solo; 2008-05-18 at 02:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Ah, Solo will be answered later, just found this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Anyway... Giacomo, it's possible to build a viable monk, but... this isn't it. First, I'm sorry, you passed up Stunning Fist; the choices for getting it are either first level monk or +8 BAB. Guess which one's steeper?
    Read again what I wrote in the guide in the level 1 joker build section about this. It is a tough choice. But without improved grapple as a bonus feat, you simply will have to have a starting DEX of 15 (or you lose the feat enlarged), which costs a bit much from point buy.
    Meanwhile, grappling is a great tactics for low-mid level against pretty much all opponetns. Stunning Fist, though, at low levels, is not such a great effect vs what it does at higher levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Even with Improved Grapple, the monk falls massively behind even full BAB classes in the grappling department fairly rapidly, and even further behind monsters.
    Nope. Read the guide again. And check the SRD 3.5 for how small the percentage of monsters able to outgrapple the monk is until around levels 8-9.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    For instance, let me take this barbarian, who I have played from level one without a set build strategy (that is, he's a fully organic character) and compare to your level 15 point, since that's where he's at right now.
    I guess this has already been commented on by Draz74.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Grapple. The main part of your build. His grapple modifier is higher than yours. You enlarge yourself? He rages; it's now even more.
    No. Rage gives +2, enlarge gives +5 to grapple.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    You bust out divine power? He busts out divine power and righteous might, thanks to runescarred berserker. Your purpose-built grapple monk is outclassed in this area on every level of buffing.
    Runescarred? Are you telling me that you think UMD is not good but come up with something non-core that emulates it more easily? Wow.
    And a barbarian does not get as much out of divine power, which has been shown already countless times, simply because the barbarian already HAS full BAB. Plus likely already a permanent STR-boost item, which is occupied in the monk's case with a monk's belt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Stunning Fist. By this point, you've gotten Stunning Fist by taking the feat the hard way. Great. Rraskinar here has to roll a natural 1 to fail the save against it. Great going there, champ.
    Yes, great going. Unfortunately at that level (which I also pointed out in my guide. Read it guys, READ IT!), the monk can do x numbe of attacks and actually force your babarian to do FIVE fort saves in one hit, if he so wishes. All of a sudden you sweat a bit more not to roll that "1". And what is worse: the next round there will be 4 more saves coming. And so on. And so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Use Magic Device. He doesn't have it, it's true. He doesn't need it for buffs, though, thanks to his runescars. Even discounting that, the magic devices you have to use aren't the sort that can stop him.
    Yep. (see above).
    And your babarian is not stopped dead in his tracks by total concealment? Hmmm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Attack Bonus. Ow, man. Just ow. His attack bonus for his highest attack is a good eleven points higher when he's raging, which, barring some sort of effect forcing him to end his rage, is the only way he fights anything. He also has Power Attack. This is not a good combination for you.
    You forget that meanwhile the monk also has full BAB thanks to divine power. So they are not that far apart. What is more, the monk has higher base damage which your babarian needs to equate with reducing his attack bonus for power attack. In core, that puts them around on more or less equal footing (although the barbarian, of course, has way more staying power in prolonged melee- which is OK because the monk has a different role).

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Damage. Average damage for your monk is 46 when fully buffed. Great; Rraskinar is busting out upwards of 50 himself thanks to Power Attack with just rage (and his attack bonus is high enough to power attack for seven or eight while raging and still reliably hit), and it rushes up to near a hundred when he buffs himself. Unlike your monk, most of his damage is in static bonuses, so it's a lot more reliable than your mass of dice.
    The monk is not fully buffed yet. And the mass of dice is quite reliable when you roll often enough...

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Hit Points. Yeah... He can one-hit the Giamonk all day long. And throw his body across the room just for the heck of it, thanks to the brutal surge weapon property, but that's just gravy.
    Yeah, that's just non-core gravy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Armor Class. You know, given that he's a barbarian, you'd expect your AC to be a lot higher than his, relatively speaking, than it actually is. As it stands, he's actually harder to hit, due to the cloak of displacement.
    While the Joker monk has blink up at that point (also providing +2 to hit the barbarian does not have).

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade Paladin View Post
    Special Attacks. We've already covered grappling, but let's get into other things. The brutal surge weapon property allows him to...[describes non-core coolness].

    I think that about covers all the basics, and I'm comparing a totally non-optimized organic build.
    Yes, of course. Totally non-optimised.

    - Giacomo

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    So how come, Giacomo, you've never taken anyone up on the offer to be in an adventuring party for an actual test of your hypothesis?

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    I love this thread so much, I want to have sex with it.
    Common sense is not so common.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm da Rogue!
    You make sense in an annoying way.

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Squick.


    And as for you, avatar man, I demand you return Epic Black Mage to me now, or suffer my wrath. Solo will not be bested by Epic Fail Monk!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Squick.


    And as for you, avatar man, I demand you return Epic Black Mage to me now, or suffer my wrath. Solo will not be bested by Epic Fail Monk!
    It is pretty funny for what it's worth.
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    Everyone knows you can just parse XML with regex.
    Don't mind me. I'm just going to have some post traumatic flashbacks in the corner here and sob uncontrollably.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuincherguixe View Post
    It is pretty funny for what it's worth.
    You'll be the first to die.

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    This thread is friggin' awesome.

    The great posters of the Gaming Board, divided in their beliefs and gaming philosophies, have united to stop a dark terror that threatens to destroy the world of optimization as we know it. Their fellowship is truly an inspiration to us all.
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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Maybe Epic Fail Monk was under that robe all along....

    Still, he does look strangely attractive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    This thread is friggin' awesome.

    The great posters of the Gaming Board, divided in their beliefs and gaming philosophies, have united to stop a dark terror that threatens to destroy the world of optimization as we know it. Their fellowship is truly an inspiration to us all.
    The Fellowship.... of the Zing?

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    If we all agree, why are we still here? Honestly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    If we all agree, why are we still here? Honestly.
    Ah, but like any adventuring party, there is a lot of disagreement. You must all learn to live and work together in order to stand united and banish the menace via the power of teamwork/friendship/etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Yes, I hear that all the time. I used polymorph, leadership, diplomacy, the eversmoking bottle/blind-fight, UMD, AMF, Silence, Divine Power, spellstaff and masterwork items and all the time I get to hear is "naw, this does not show monks are good, it's just broken/stupid stuff.." Very tiring.
    Gah, reading through this whole thing made me hiccup on this one statement.
    Specifically.

    Because, here.. I'll build a core class, using... Half-Elf, y'know, it's considered weak.
    Using nearly 1/6th wealth by level. Ah, heck, let's make it even more ridiculous. This poor soul rolled 12s across the board. Above average at everything, but... is good really at nothing.
    Actually, he's a commoner too.

    So here's the ECL 10 build:
    Half-Elf
    Commoner 10

    Has 1 item in his whole career, saved up all his poor funds to purchase this specific candle: A candle of invocation!
    Summon Efreeti. Repeat.

    Voila, and hey don't give me nothing about "naw, this does not show commoners are good, it's just broken/stupid stuff.."

    ---
    Yes, it's an extreme example. However, it shows the game is not a perfect construct and that yes - individual works can snap.
    Don't make me diplomacy or basket weave you to death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    Ah, but like any adventuring party, there is a lot of disagreement. You must all learn to live and work together in order to stand united and banish the menace via the power of teamwork/friendship/etc.
    I probably shouldn't, but I feel I must.

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    Default Re: Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo's Guide to Monks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo’s Guide to Monks
    Making the Most of What you Have (When Casters Believe What They Have Is Already Ridiculously Good)
    Dissasembly commence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    As a monk you’re – as Frank Miller would have paraphrased as well – the goddamn Joker!
    Profanity aside, I'd appreciate you not defame the world's greatest supervillain in a cheap attempt in overcoming wizards. Class balance is firstly, not about PvP. Logicninja's guide hailed to the many functional uses wizards have in a party. Your guide seems to be designed to be a "X class is better tha Y class", which on its very nature, removes it from the realm of a practical guide, and moves it to the realm of "biased class wars".
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    1. Key Insights on Giamonk strategy (and: what the Joker would say….)

    1) “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – The Joker
    Be prepared for a harsh truth: Magic is cheap in core 3.5. And the “Giamonk” (courtesy Kurald Galain) intends to make full use of it. In that way, he is quite close to the classic gish…
    The Batman may think he is special, but in a magic world as envisioned in the core 3.5 rules, everyone will want to have magic. And everyone gets it, thanks to four major goodies for all classes
    Yup. Everyone does. Even the wizard. Let's see your methods.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    - fellow pc casting. This is the way assumed by the game (for instance, the enlarge spell has almost no use for the sorcerer or wizard, but it is greatly helpful for fighting characters). In many instances, though, the non-caster or monk needs to be on his own..
    Your exact example is of limited usefulness to monks at level 20, as they are no longer legal targets. Barbarians, however, can still make full use of Enlarge Person. However... Any guide that starts by stating that it can be made viable or better by relying on other classes is doing little to support the claim that it is powerful on its own. This actually seems like a argument for casters, in that their actions and spells can be of great use to this melee class. Thus, the caster is providing usefulness to the fighting class. Actually, this is a key concept of the batman build. Thank you for illustrating it so well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    - npc casting (this could be helped by, but does not need the leadership feat)
    NPC casting is primarily limited to out of hazardous situations (as PC NPC spellcasting services in the SRD are negotiated for hazardous situations, and the default answer is "no".). Further, you have to go to them, which severely increases your dependence on solid supply lines/bases of resupply.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    - wealth by level guidelines and thus, permanent magic items
    Which all characters get, regardless of class. using many of these items requires the most precious commodity of all, more valuable than any gold coin... Actions. We'll get to that in a moment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    - Use Magic Device (UMD), either cross-class or class. It does not really matter, since the greatest bargains, the wands simulating ALL 1-4 spell levels are safely usable with just a UMD score of +19. And even one rank of UMD and total bonus of +0 will allow you to eventually activate a wand…only a “1” rolled without +19 UMD will mean stopping to use that item for the day, but you could carry several for the same effect, lowering your risk greatly. Wands are the cheapest way for non-casters to obtain non-pc buffs. Based on the usual casting and spell levels of arcane and divine spells, level 1 spells, it is 15 gp per use, for level 2 spells 90 gp, for level 3 spells 225 gp and for level 4 spells 420 gp.

    Great level 1-4 spells to get in store (some are range: personal)
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    Level 1: Enlarge, Cure Lights Wounds, Chill Touch (also helps vs low-level undead; better than shocking grasp due to the STR damage potential), Faerie Fire (great cheap anti-invisibility tactics for all levels), Mage Armour (though you should preferably get that with your 1st level pearl of power from a party arcane caster or npc for longer duration), Bless Weapon (good for improved critical- unarmed strike builds), Obscuring Mist (great cheap low-level control vs missile and spell attacks), Shillelagh (the staff is a monk weapon, so you can flurry with it – and it will deal 3d6+1 damage when you are enlarged, and it counts as a magic weapon)
    Level 2: Silence (the poor man’s AMF, remarkably effective). Good hour/lvl buffs are darkvision and false life. Then possibly bull’s strength (for grapple boost) and heroism (from the bard list, lasts 40 minutes then) and ghoul touch (allowing no save vs the parlysis effect)
    Basically, for touch attacks at first and second level, chill touch and ghoul touch are the most effective, while shocking grasp and touch of idiocy (possibly shutting down enemy spell casting without a save) are more stylish for a true “Joker”.
    Level 3: Fly, Blink
    Level 4: Divine Power, Holy Sword
    Will update as soon as I get new ideas!
    Herein lies the rub. Let's go with the numbers now. For monks, UMD is cross class. Thus, if a human monk is getting max ranks in this skill, with 1 of his 2 feats being for skill focus:UMD, and an 18 starting charisma (pretty optimal, for core)... The following is true:
    {table=header]Level | Bonus | Max possible | 50% success | 75% success | 100% success
    1 | +9 | 29 | 20 | 15 | 10
    2 | +9 | 29 | 20 | 15 | 10
    3 | +10 | 30 | 21 | 16 | 11
    4 | +10 | 30 | 21 | 16 | 11
    5 | +11 | 31 | 22 | 17 | 12
    6 | +11 | 31 | 22 | 17 | 12
    7 | +12 | 32 | 23 | 18 | 13
    8 | +12 | 32 | 23 | 18 | 13
    9 | +13 | 33 | 24 | 19 | 14
    10 | +13 | 33 | 24 | 19 | 14
    11 | +14 | 34 | 25 | 20 | 15
    12 | +14 | 34 | 25 | 20 | 15
    13 | +15 | 35 | 26 | 21 | 16
    14 | +15 | 35 | 26 | 21 | 16
    15 | +16 | 36 | 27 | 22 | 17
    16 | +16 | 36 | 27 | 22 | 17
    17 | +17 | 37 | 28 | 23 | 18
    18 | +17 | 37 | 28 | 23 | 18
    19 | +18 | 38 | 29 | 24 | 19
    20 | +18 | 38 | 29 | 24 | 19[/table]
    The Monk player will never, at level 20, with an 18 charisma and skill focus, have a 100% chance at activating a wand. NEVER. That means, to be guaranteed to activate a wand of Enlarge PERSON, then you have to be at a level where it will no longer work on you. You have a chance to use it at level 1, yes... Heck, when fully optimized like this, you have a 50% chance. Which means when you use the wand, you will need to draw it, and then spend 2 of your most valuable resources, on average, Standard Actions, to use it. At level 11, you have a 75% chance, with an 18 charisma and skill focus, and 33% of your total class skill points in UMD. This means that you'll usually get your buff off.

    Granted, I'll give you some of your spells as viable, with less. 10 charisma, skill focus (UMD), and Max ranks... That gives you a +5 at Level 1, and a good chance of 5-6 uses of a wand before failure (30% success). This would be useful for out of battle spells, general usefulness things. Like cure light wounds, and, in certain key situations, spells with a duration of hours per level or better. The advantage casters have in this situation is that they get spaces for these kind of spells, absolutely free of charge, with little to no chance of failure chance, and they recover daily. Hence why Batman has enhanced versatility with utility spells.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Additionally, while you can for a long while not safely activate a wand in one round (meaning in combat you often cannot use it reasonably), you can still make use of:
    - longer-lasting buff spells (10 mins/lvl & up)
    - short-lasting buff spells when you have the opportunity to buff up before combat (say, enlarge wand)
    - instantaneous spells usable between combat without stress (healing, research)
    - touch spells with “holding the charge” use. This is something where the non-casters would even surpass the casters since they 1) have better hitting chances and 2) they most often do not cast spells in between, ending “the charge”.
    Note that, at level 20, you will still not have 100% chance to activate. "A long while" is something of an understatement. However, if you are going in an area of exceptional danger, I can see the use of a buff that has a total duration of 1 hour or greater (only available in hour/level buffs for wands at standard caster levels). I can also see spells where charges can be held, though if this is the case, the monk may not touch anything. He can't open doors, draw items, change items from one hand to the other, pat a friend on the back, shake a hand, enter or exit different mediums(such as water), swing across a ravine by rope, climb up a cliff by rope, squeeze through a cave in, etc etc etc. In other words, any ability that requires the monk touch anything is simply off limits, greatly mitigating the monk's usefulness.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Some of the great things for a monk using wands:
    - you can grapple while using/holding wands (even in both hands)
    - you can do all your unarmed strikes while holding wands (even in both hands)
    Maybe and yes. Grapple is an attack that does require some method of grabbing. If your legs are otherwise occupied, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to disallow that. Unarmed strikes are perfectly fine. This does risk multiple items highly vulnerable to sunder. Not always the best option. And bear in mind, until level 11, you have less than a 75% chance to use those wands, and are unable to use more than 1 per round. Also, out of combat, many of a monk's key skills rely on free hands. WBL is designed to shore up weaknesses and provide useful abilities. Not to make you combat viable in the first place.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    This basically gets you everything you need. For the higher spell levels, either get
    - scrolls or
    - other casters casting (via npc spellcasters, cohort spellcasters or team member spellcasters).
    If all fails, level the playing field, either with AMF or lower-level effects (yes, there are some, see below).
    Plus, there are some fairly cheap single spells that can shut down the effects of whole schools of magic:
    - mind blank (enchantment, divination)
    - true seeing (illusions, excepting the real part of shadow magic)
    - death ward (necromancy)
    - wall of force (all conjuration/evocation/necromancy/transmutation/phantasm/shadow attacks)
    Some of those are available in existing magic items (true seeing, wall of force, death ward), some could be available as custom items (explicit DM’s approval).
    NPC spellcasters again, default to "no", and are showing how another class is useful to YOU, not how you are useful. As for scrolls... See the following:
    {table=header]Spell Level | DC | Level possible | Level 50% | Level 75% | Level 100%
    0 and 1 | 21 | 1 | 3 | 13 | Epic
    2 | 23 | 1 | 7 | 17 | Epic
    3 | 25 | 1 | 11 | Epic | Epic
    4 | 27 | 1 | 15 | Epic | Epic
    5 | 29 | 1 | 19 | Epic | Epic
    6 | 31 | 5 | Epic | Epic | Epic
    7 | 33 | 9 | Epic | Epic | Epic
    8 | 35 | 13 | Epic | Epic | Epic
    9 | 37 | 17 | Epic | Epic | Epic[/table]Thus, an 18 charisma monk with skill focus (UMD) and 33% of class granted skill points in UMD, will be able to activate a level 1 scroll 75% of the time at level 13. A level 2 scroll? Level 17. Anything higher? You're looking at epic levels. You'll get a 50/50 shot up to level 5 by level 19. Note that UMD activation has no mishap, but if you fail with a 1, you have to wait a day to try again. That means that at level 13, a level 8 scroll has as much chance of failure as success. At level 17, a level 9 has that distinction, whereas you'll fail on the level 8 spells for a day 1 out of every 3-4 times you succeeed. Again, good for utility buffs, such as water breathing, detect magic, identify, and the like, but certainly not for combat spells, at all. Scrolls for a UMD mage, are, at best, pre-battle buffs for key fights, if they have a decent duration. I'd say, at least 10 rounds/level (as they'll typically have minimum caster level, ensuring that even with 10 rounds, you'll need to be quick, really quick, to get something off reliably. Silence could be good here as an occasional use. Still, you're usually better off with a single pearl of power so that you can have 1 key fight every day, rather than 1 here and there. If you want a low level boost in battle, consider investing (out of core) in a Circlet of rapid casting for your wizard/sorceror/cleric/druid friend. Thus, he can get you most of the level 1-4 buffs without impacting his other actions in a round. Again, this showcases how useful those casters are to you... Not the other way around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post

    Make use of one of the biggest balancing insights of the game: magic is cheap, and can counter magic easily! Batman got the most recent computer technology…eh spell innovation? Well, get the same stuff cheap!
    The problem with this is... Magic's really not that cheap. Even the level 1 wand with 50 charges is over 10% of your WBL until level 5, and is more than the allocated disposable WBL until level 9. Assuming 1 use each fight? It's equal to disposable WBL at level 5. Disposable WBL is the difference between the average awarded treasure and the WBL gains between levels. As it's not OGL, I can't post any tables here, unfortunately. What does this mean? At level 5, if you get a Wand of Enlarge Person, that is all of your disposable WBL for level 5... about 80% of disposable WBL for level 6. About 40% of disposable WBL for level 7. About 10% of disposable WBL for level 8. That one purchase has occupied all of that, assuming 14 combat encounters per level, and average treasure rewards per encounter, along with 1 charge used for each encounter. That one wand is a major investment at level 5. At level 7 and 8, when it's running out? Now it's less of an expenditure, though you'll only get 8 charges out of it during level 8. So, this Combat spell, with a duration of 10 rounds, at levels 5 and 6, represent most of your disposable WBL, and have a 60% chance of successful activation, with a 5% catastrophic failure chance. At levels 7 and 8, you have a 65% chance. (assuming, again, 18 charisma, skill focus in UMD, and 33% base skill points every level on UMD)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    So here, in a nutshell, are the two Giamonk principles:
    1. Get spells that synergise greatly with the monk abilites
    2. Get items that synergise greatly with the monk abilities
    Showed how wands and scrolls, the two useful items listed, are misrepresented as to their utility, and spells only showcase the usefulness of the caster that you're depending on for them, rather than the monk. Check. Also, showed that the monk is going to be whiffing in combat with failed UMD's quite often. Failed UMD = wasted actions. On a round you fail a UMD, you have your base move, and that's pretty much it. You have no offensive contribution, and little skill contribution to the party. Actions are the main currency.

    Though it is possible to spend more than your disposable WBL on disposable items, such as Wands and Scrolls, doing so will cause your WBL to fall behind the rest of the party, as you're spending into your permanent wealth on things you'll use and destroy.

    Thus, it's been shown that by disposable WBL, the UMD monk is certainly not very viable before level 5, and very limited in UMD after that. If he purchases a wand at level 5, a scroll at level 6 (level 1 only), another wand (level 1) at level 7, and 6 scrolls (level 1, if level 2, 3 scrolls) at level 8. The amount of one shot items you have are limited. Quite a bit moreso than the enounters.

    This is a refutation of one of the core principles of the UMD monk. UMD at low levels.

    As for the rest? The majority of the concept of the post is a direct confrontation between classes, and as such, is limited in usefulness for practical character development. Expect a monk guide from me focusing on monk utility, versatility, and usefulness later on. It's been in the works for about a week, and will attempt to showcase the strengths of the monk class, giving options for useful directions to take it, without focusing on the individual comparisons between classes that take away from the usefulness of such a guide. Expect it to be a helpful resource for those who like the concept of the monk, and would like to try one.

    Currently, it has planned:

    Theme and principle of the monk class.
    Different appealing aspects
    Options for focusing and bringing out the best in these
    Typical weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the class
    Options for defending and protecting those weaknesses
    Typical roles the monk can fill in the party
    Class Synergy, and the usefulness of monk when a short term dip or when
    using other classes to support the monk theme.

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    Enough! Cast Away The Mask And Show Yourself, Vile Coward! Defile My Avatar Space No Longer!!!!

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