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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Monks and Splatbooks.

    We've had a lot of monk threads. Yeah.

    One thing I've noticed, though, is that in every single one of them, people who want to argue that monks are not at the bottom of the heap will constantly, viciously, and without exception shout "NO SPLATBOOKS!" at the first opportunity. They seem practically terrified at the thought of including anything outside of core in a monk discussion.

    So this leads to two obvious questions.

    Do monks get screwed outside of core? Sure, they get a few things (everyone gets something), but do they get noticably less than everyone else?

    And, given that that almost seems to be a given, the obvious extension: Why? Every other class gets a few things that can make it awesome, or at least a lot more awesome than it was when it was printed. Bards get PRCs. spells, and feats to do almost anything. Fighters and fighter-types get ubercharger feat chains. Full casters get spells and, in some cases, more creatures to turn into. Half-casters generally get very, very good spells, ones that are far above what they have in core (unlike full casters, who get more spells but generally -- celerity and the like aside -- stay within the same power curve, there's a very obvious and deliberate effort to increase the power of Paladin and Ranger casting in splatbooks.)

    Monks get a handful of half-decent PRCs which, admittedly, improve on their abilities... a little. They get a small amount of useful equipment, though less than almost every other core class. Maybe a feat or two. And... that's it.

    Granted, some of this is obvious. They don't get feats or spells, and have fairly low skill points. They don't have any basic scaling ability like bardic music, turning attempts, sneak attack, and so on that other classes have gotten countless ways to improve on and expand (there was some effort to expand on stunning fist, but technically that isn't even a Monk ability, and those new things tend not to help much. They also get their fists, I guess, but those are practically only mentioned in entry requirements for the few Monk-specific PRCs) The class is, basically, poorly-designed from an expansion standpoint.

    They have trouble qualifying for 'mixed' PRCs, too. Half-casters generally have full BAB and can use both that and their spells to get into PRCs. Rogues have both SA for rogue-targeted PRCs, and skills for just about any PRC. Fighters have feats and BAB; casters have, well, spells (with lists that can often be expanded via feats or domains)... you get the idea. Monks have lowish BAB, lowish skills, and no casting. They're just very bad at qualifying for any PRC that wasn't specifically tailored to them (and, as noted, there are relatively few of those.)

    But still. Given the fairly blatant way in which the power of other undervalued classes was increased (Paladin, Ranger, Bard and Barbarian all come to mind, though Rogue gets a lot of love, too), what's up with WotC's hate-on for Monks? It wouldn't be that hard to make something like a Lion Totem for them that lets them full attack and flurry on a charge, or something, but it never shows up. You'd almost think WotC regrets printing the class in the first place from the small amount of support it gets.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2008-05-19 at 02:38 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    One thing I've noticed, though, is that in every single one of them, people who want to argue that monks are not at the bottom of the heap will constantly, viciously, and without exception shout "NO SPLATBOOKS!"
    Is it really that bad? I thought it was only one particular person doing that.

    It wouldn't be that hard to make something like a Lion Totem for them that lets them full attack and flurry on a charge, or something, but it never shows up. You'd almost think WotC regrets printing the class in the first place from the small amount of support it gets.
    I think it's quite possible that they're undervalued because of their flavor. It is only mildly generalizing to say that monk flavor comes in two types. The first is the "eastern mystic" bit, which is frankly out of place in many settings, certainly in most "generic European medieval" worlds. The second is the "bare-hands warrior" bit, but that can be duplicated by any melee class.

    WOTC staff isn't that large. The people who like the former fluff are probably working at Kara-Tur, Legend of the Five Rings, or any other Oriental-ish settings available. The people who like the latter are probably convinced that you can simply play a fighter without weapons if you really want to. The people who like neither, well, won't write much monk splat either. As a corollary, I seem to recall from the newsflashes that the monk was one of the first confirmed drop-outs from the 4E PHB (although it'll surely end up in some later book).
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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    It's amazing, but incarnate get a similar amount of non-PrC support in splatbooks to monks.
    Last edited by Illiterate Scribe; 2008-05-19 at 03:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Kensais and Monks tend to work well together.

    Towards the question, it's because the majority of monk debates are focused towards annoying the casting classes. Through supposed use of UMD (One example, not the whole point), Monks can get a pretty okay set of spells with which to counter the caster. This does not work when splatbooks are added. Additional versatility means that the monk cannot possibly grab enough wands/scrolls/etc. to counter most caster tricks.

    The problem is versatility in general. The monks do not get all that much stuff, while the casters get just about anything and everything to pillage and destroy. Cindy would be one example of splatbook abuse. In order to keep monks 'competetive', it's better (not much so) to stick to the SRD.

    Granted, monks have gotten nice stuff in the later books. From Snap Kick to Superior Unarmed Strike, they have obtained some somewhat usable gadgets. However, this does not compare to what the majority of other classes have gotten.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Actually, the splatbook thing is mentioned when trying to show that monk can work, because fullcasters already works well in core.
    With enough splatbooks, you can even make something good, as well as picking LA races, but in the end you can't prove that a pure core monk can get even with a pure core wizard/cleric/druid.

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    The monk dilema is fairly simple. Most players point at them and say "but they aren't as good in a fight as a combat specialist like a fighter/paladin/ranger/barbarian etc.". The problem is, if they had equivalent BAB and AC, they'd be a lot better than those classes since they would have the same combat potential plus all the other tricks that make monks special. Movement speed, saving throws, immunities, slow fall, evasion, flurry of blows etc. You'd end up with a character who could either run around the front lines of the enemies, or tumble past and beat the crap out of their back line casters.

    The main problem of the monk is they don't shine in combat and they generally aren't designed to be diplomats.

    Probably the best trick for making them decent in a fight is to load them up with shurikens with a returning enchantment and other magical bonuses. A monk can throw 3 of them as a single attack, and they are usable with flurry of blows.
    Last edited by holywhippet; 2008-05-19 at 04:42 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    Probably the best trick for making them decent in a fight is to load them up with shurikens with a returning enchantment and other magical bonuses. A monk can throw 3 of them as a single attack, and they are usable with flurry of blows.
    Technically that is a very, very bad idea. Shurikens are unique in that they're treated as ammunition when thrown, which means the following:
    When a magic arrow, crossbow bolt, shuriken, or sling bullet misses its target, there is a 50% chance it breaks or otherwise is rendered useless. A magic arrow, bolt, bullet, or shuriken that hits is destroyed.
    There is no exception for returning, so returning Shurikens are a total waste of money.

    If you can convince your DM to houserule otherwise, it still has problems. It can get a bit expensive, say, since (as you know, from the fact that you mentioned '3 of them') you need three returning weapons on account of it taking until the start of your next turn for them to return. You'll basically be buying all of your weapons three times... and with the base damage on shurikens being what it is, you're going to be completely dependant on that expensive, purchased-three-times enchantment set to do whatever you want to do.

    I could see some fun with Dispelling, Greater Dispelling, Anchoring, Silent Strike, Paralyzing, etc, throwing a whole bunch of nasty debuffs at once... but man, that would get expensive. By the time you can afford it, it'd be a bit obsolete. And most of those allow fairly generous will saves, too.

    Basically, shuriken just suck. The only remotely useful thing I can think to do with them is to take one level of Monk, and use them for two sneak attacks at range... does that even work? I vaguely recall thinking about it before and coming across a reason why it wouldn't, but if it does it's a possibility.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2008-05-19 at 05:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    Basically, shuriken just suck. The only remotely useful thing I can think to do with them is to take one level of Monk, and use them for two sneak attacks at range... does that even work? I vaguely recall thinking about it before and coming across a reason why it wouldn't, but if it does it's a possibility.
    The best use for them is for Basset King's 1d2 Crusader/Cleric combo, which uses them as a melee weapon to get infinite damage (there's other d2 weapons as well, but none quite as humorous as a shuriken used for poking someone).

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    When throwing shuriken, you only gain extra damage (from a critical hit, Sneak Attack, etc.) once per volley/attack roll. That is to say, if you throw 3 shuriken in 1 attack, 2 of them will only ever do their standard weapon damage.
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronicled View Post
    The best use for them is for Basset King's 1d2 Crusader/Cleric combo, which uses them as a melee weapon to get infinite damage (there's other d2 weapons as well, but none quite as humorous as a shuriken used for poking someone).
    Too bad shurikens specifically can't be used as a melee weapon.
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Shuriken are good for a few little tricks, like for Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike specialists. They're not irredeemably hopeless. Oh, and because they count as ammunition, they're cheap to enchant with a whole variety of enchantments for situational attacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    When throwing shuriken, you only gain extra damage (from a critical hit, Sneak Attack, etc.) once per volley/attack roll. That is to say, if you throw 3 shuriken in 1 attack, 2 of them will only ever do their standard weapon damage.
    Nope, that's an outdated 3.0 rule.

    Too bad shurikens specifically can't be used as a melee weapon.
    You need to add 2 Bloodstorm Blade levels to the combo. Then your thrown shuriken can be considered a melee attack. As if this combo weren't already ridiculous enough.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2008-05-19 at 05:57 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Well that just ruined something beautiful... going with other d2 options isn't nearly as cool. Ah well.

    Edit:

    You need to add 2 Bloodstorm Blade levels to the combo. Then your thrown shuriken can be considered a melee attack. As if this combo weren't already ridiculous enough.
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    Last edited by Chronicled; 2008-05-19 at 06:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    Do monks get screwed outside of core? Sure, they get a few things (everyone gets something), but do they get noticably less than everyone else?
    Yep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillon
    And, given that that almost seems to be a given, the obvious extension: Why?
    Because there can be only one. One class had to have the least support, and since the Monk is generally considered to have a flavor that is, well, a bit *off* compared to the medieval swords and sorcery theme of D&D, then it's not surprising that the Monk was chosen for this, especially because it was a weak mechanical choice to begin with starting from core.

    Though there are some pretty decent Monk PrCs, actually - the Enlightened Fist is one of them. Drunken Master can be pretty good too.

    Also, there is the Unarmed Variant Swordsage, which is basically what the Monk always wished it could be.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Hmm. Actually, enchanted shurikens do have their uses. I forgot about the 1/50th cost for enchanting them, since they're ammo... that means you can get a shuriken of anchoring (1-minute dimensional anchor on hit, no saving throw) for a bargain-basement 224 gp, or a dispelling one (CL 5 dispel magic, not that great) for 120 gp. Worth carrying a few for a pinch as a monk.

    A few other nice-looking options (remember, even one level in Monk lets you throw two in one round, and 11th level lets you throw three):

    Paralyzing (DC 17 will save vs. being held for up to 10 rounds, new save every round) for 160 gp.

    Silent Strike (DC 15 will save or be silenced for 4 rounds) for 40 gp.

    Banishing (Extraplanar creatures hit must make a 24 DC will save or get SR against its CL 13 effect, or be banished for 24 hours) for 360 gp a pop.

    Clouting (DC 19 fort save or be knocked backwards 10 feet / sent prone if they can't be; if they fail the first save, they have to make another fort save at the same DC or be stunned for a round) for 360 gp a pop.

    Explosive (5-foot radius explosion dealing 2d4 damage, DC 15 reflex save for half -- not that great a deal, only mentioning it for completeness) for 360 gp a pop.

    Knockback (bull rushes anyone it hits as a medium creature with a +8 strength mod, pushing them as far as it can) for 360 gp. This one could probably be fun in some cases.

    Roaring (Evil targets must make a DC 22 will save or be shaken on a hit; on a critical, it does an extra 2d6 sonic damage, which -- like with most on-critical weapons -- you roll for even if the enemy is immune to criticals.)

    Spireshard (DC 19 will save or anyone hit can't cast spells or use SLAs for 1d4 rounds). This one is throwing weapons only; I'm not sure if you can put it on a shuriken, since they're treated as ammunition for the purposes of enchantment...

    Pity you can only use Spell Storing for melee weapons. If you could use it for ammo, it'd only cost 40 gp a pop, and you could load up on all sorts of useful things.

    ...of course, your range increment still sucks, badly, at 10 feet. You can add the Distance enchantment for another 40 gp to double that, but really, how much do you want to spend on a one-shot item?

    And also, of course, any character that gets multiple ranged attacks (e.g. a ranger with manyshot) can do the same thing much much better, since they'll have far-longer range, will be able to apply enchantments from their bow, will have a higher to-hit, etc. So all you monk-fans out there, don't get your hopes up... but I can't see any reason not to carry a few anchoring or banishing shurikens, at least. Silent Strike is unlikely to work on the opponents you need it to work on, but it's cheap enough to be worth a shot, too.

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    Default Re: Monks and Splatbooks.

    Seems to me it's a matter of synergy. If nobody knows exactly what the monk is supposed to specialize in, it's rather hard to create feats and PrCs to make it better at those specializations.

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