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dman11235

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Monk's Handbook
« on: July 08, 2008, 01:13:25 AM »
[size=8]The Guide to Monks[/size]



Table of Contents
Post 1: Introduction/party interaction
Post 2: Attributes and races
Post 3: Class features and alternate class features
Post 4: Feats and skills
Post 5: Equipment
Post 6: Multiclassing and prestige classes
Post 7: sample builds.

Introduction


PARTY INTERACTION
Primary Melee:Battlefield Control:Defensive Master:Scout:
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:15:33 AM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 01:13:37 AM »
ATTRIBUTES

str:str: This is the most important stat by far for most monks, those who focus on damage as a secondary goal and trip/grapple/disarm/ etc. as a primary fighting method.  It boosts your ability to hinder opponents and provides a small amount of extra damage (small compared to your base damage, that is).

dex:con:int:wis: Wisdom is probably the defining stat for monks.  It makes you that wise old man with crazy kung fu skills.  It can be your most important stat with Intuitive Attack.

cha:
RACES

LA+0
[spoiler] Many thanks to AZNsupermarket for making and maintaining the Master Player Race List Version 2.0Note: I never play with multi-class penalties. If you do, make sure to take that into account

Buoman:Changelings:Dwarf: Who am I kidding?  Dwarves are always cool.  And the boost to con and penalty to cha is nice.  Just be sure to not take a subrace that penalizes dex.  Also opens up possibilities for Deepwarden fun.

Elan:Elf: Elves suck.

Oh, you wanted me to elaborate?  Con penalty.  The aquatic, artic, desert, snow and wild elves mightGnome: Gnomes are fun, but not really all that good.  The small size gets in the way of things, but the con boost is nice.  Special mention is Whisper Gnome of awesome.  Those things are really good for stealth characters.

Goblins: About the same as gnomes, bonuses in the right spots, penalties in the right spots, but small.  And that hurtsHalf-elf:Half-Orc:much better.  Of special note: if your DM's a DB and doesn't let you multi-class to barbarian (there's no reason for you not to be able to) you can take half-or paragon to get rage if you really wanted to.

Halflings:Humans:Jermlaine:Kenku:Kobolds:Neanderthal:Neraphim:Orcs:Planetouched: Surprisingly, the Lesser Teifling is one of the best ones of these.  The Lesser Aasimar is also nice, what with the +2 wis.  But you can do better.

Raptorans:Shifters: Again, Warshaper.  No infinite natural attacks (dang it I said ignore that from now on!) but the other bonuses are still great.  Also, there is a shifting form that grants a boost to wis.  And they have a boost to a key stat and penalty to two dump stats.  All around a good option.

Xeph:Catfolk:Half-Giant:Goliath:Uldra: A very nice race, with boosts to two important stats and a penalty to a not so important stat.  Really good for a frostfell campaign.[/spoiler]

LA+2
[spoiler]Githyanki:Githzerai: Penalties in the right spots, bonuses in the very right spots, this race was madeHalf-Ogre:Dragonborn:Lolth-Touched: Sure you have to be C/E, but +6 str AND +6 con?  For +1 LA?  Yes please!

Feral:not love.

Shadow Creature: No stat boosts, but the fast healing alone is nice.  This is a great template for stealth builds.

Saint: Best LA+2 template ever.  EVER!  With this: wisx2 to AC.  A slew of immunities.  The catch?  You must be exalted, which is a major commitment.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 04:05:16 AM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 01:13:43 AM »
CLASS FEATURES
  • Hit Dice: d8, not bad.  Not that good either for a primary meleer.
  • Skills: This one is mixed.  A decent skill list, but only 4+int skills per level and no int synergy.  Has diplomacy.
  • Proficiencies: With almost no good proficiencies and no armor, it would seem to be a terrible way to start for a melee, but there are some goodies, and you donít need armor or a weapon, so itís a fair trade.
  • saves: All good, so all good.
  • BAB: How?!?  A melee class with medium BAB!?!  There are ways around this, thankfully.
  • Unarmed damage: This is the workhorse of this class.  With the right combinations of PrCs, you can get this to reasonable levels.  Enough to compete with other primary melees, even without magic weapons.  But they certainly help.
  • AC bonus:
  • Bonus Feats:
  • Flurry of Blows:
  • Evasion:
  • Speed boost:
  • Still Mind:
  • Ki Strike:
  • Slow Fall:
  • level 6: Not a class feature, but worth mentioning for this: +1 attack, +10í speed, +1 to all saves, and a bonus feat.  The last good level.
  • Wholeness of Body:
  • Improved Evasion:
  • Diamond Body: This is alright, if your campaign actually uses poisons at all, but there are ways to neutralize poison.
  • Greater Flurry: This is nice, extra attacks are always welcome, but at the price of the previous four levels, not worth the effort.  This is an island level, itís got nothing good around it on either side, thus making it useless.
  • Abundant Step:
  • Diamond Soul:
  • Quivering Palm:
  • Timeless Body:
  • Tongue of the Sun and the Moon:
  • Empty Body: Can find use, but not worth the level investment.
  • Perfect Self: Youíre an outsider, and thatís a plus, but itís not worth it!
Alternate Class Features
Fighting Styles-UA:Cobra Strike:Invisible Eye: Requires Agile?  And three not so great feats.  Combat Reflexes is almost necessary, but the other two are not needed at all.

Overwhelming Attack: Only decent because of Power Attack.  And that might not be such a good thing, depending on the ruling of unarmed strikes being light or as natural weapons.

Passive Way:Undying Way: Wat.  No seriously: wat.  Toughness, Endurance, and Diehard.  Three throw away feats.  And DR 2/-.  Just 2.  And requiring a useless skill.  Wat.[/spoiler]

That other variant in UA-UA:Decisive Strike-PHBII: This is great for battlefield control builds of all types.  One of the many reasons monks make great dips.  If you focus on attacks of opportunity to fight, use this.

Sacred Strike-DRG 346:Spell Reflection-CM:Holy (Unholy) Strike-CC:Draconic Fist-Dragon Magic:Stormwrack stuff-Stormwrack:
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:18:54 AM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 01:13:51 AM »
FEATS
Any +2/+2 skill feat, and Skill Focus:Deflect Arrows: Unless you plan on going epic, or can take epic feats early, and are taking Infinite Deflection, Reflect Arrows, and Exceptional Deflection, not worth it.

Power Attack:Fist of Iron: Seriously, a stunning attempt for +1d6 damage 1/round at the most?  Come on!

Fiery Fist:Fiery Ki Defense:Dodge:Mobility:Eagle Claw Attack: 1) requires Improved Sunder.  2) Is only against objects.

Water Splitting Stone:Distant Touch:Vow of Poverty: Monks are extremely item dependant.  This feat is a major trap.

All other vows:Ki Blast: Other than making you a super saiyan, this feat is worthless.  The damage is so low as to be worthless, even by the time you can take the feat.

Versatile Unarmed Strike:Improved Sunder:Snap Kick:Pierce Magical Protection/Concealment: If facing mages these are niiiice.

Inhuman Reach:Broken Fist Mastery I and II: Massive bonuses to trip.

Knock-Down: Whenever you deal more than a low amount of damage, you get a free trip attempt (and if you trip, a free attack thanks to Improved Trip).  These last three are 3.0, and thus of dubious quality, but if you can get them allowed, whoo-boy will you be awesome with the trips.  Very feat intensive though, be prepared to multiclass into psychic warrior and/or fighter.

Dark Stalker: All stealth builds must have this feat.  Period.

Combat Reflexes: As a monk, you are likely to utilize many things that rely on attacks of opportunities.  More of them=more chances to shine.

Superior Unarmed Strike:Law Devotion: A pretty significant boost to either AC or attack.  Not bad.  Better with a cleric dip, grabbing Knowledge Devotion and Air Devotion as well.  Or travel devotion.  Or animal devotion.  Mmm, animal devotion.  Consider this a review of all domain feats.  Those not mentioned=not worth it.  So they get mentioned: protection is decent, and trickery is abusable.  Not as much for you as a monk, but still abusable.

Elusive Target:Freezing the Lifeblood: Better than Stunning Fist.  Paralyzed for more than one round.  Can you say Coup de grace?

Karmic Strike: For a decisive strike AoO focusing build, this feat is key.

See Karmic Strike.

Improved Trip: This is a great feat.  If you can get the reach, even better.

Improved Disarm: If you can get your bonus up high enough, this is almost as good as tripping.  Combine with tripping for fun.

Tashalatora: One of the best feats for monks to take for one reason: Psychic Warrior.

SKILLS
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:21:50 AM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2008, 01:13:58 AM »
EQUIPMENT
« Last Edit: January 15, 2009, 11:56:05 PM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2008, 01:14:11 AM »
MULTICLASSING
Swordsage:Fighter:Psychic Warrior:Arcanist:Divine:Paladin:
PRESTIGE CLASSES
Fist of the Forest-CC:Initiate of Draconic Mysteries-Drac:Enlightened Fist-CArc: For gishes, there are many worse PrCs than this one.  The ability to channel touch spells, and eventually rays, is amazing.  Combine with Abjurant Champion for fun.  Enter with wizard or sorcerer, wizard is obviously more powerful, but either one works fine.

Sacred Fist-CD:Shou Disciple-UE:Bear Warrior-CW:Shiba Protector-OA:Shadow Sun Ninja-ToB:Drunken Master-CW:Kensai-CW:Reaping Mauler-CW:Tattooed Monk-CW:Warshaper-CW: You must be able to shapeshift, but the benefits are well worth it.  Extra reach, more damage, more str/con, immune to crits, and fast healing.

Monk of the Enabled Hand-drg 299: A 3.0 class that is worth 3 levels: make an AoO against someone who hits you in combat.  Also stacks for just about everything important with monk levels.

Psionic Fist-SRD (Fist of Zuoken-XPH):
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:23:18 AM by dman11235 »
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dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2008, 01:14:19 AM »
SAMPLE BUILDS

The S.S. Icanhealbetterthanahealer-dman11235
Enlightened Sorcerer-dman11235
need any specific feats to pull this off.  Same with equipment.

Any more good builds are welcome, and advise on existing ones is welcome as well.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:23:45 AM by dman11235 »
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ninjarabbit

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2008, 02:20:09 AM »
Half orcs are good for one thing: half orc paragon. Half orc paragons allow for a lawful character to rage so you can take the extra rage feat and qualify for PrCs that require the rage ability like Bear Warrior.

A few sample half orc paragon/monk builds:

halforcparagon3/monk12/bearwarrior5

halforcparagin3/monk6/bearwarrior1/kensai10

dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2008, 03:59:27 AM »
Why do that when I can just multi-class to a full BAB d12 HD class with a similar skill list and decent saves, and get Uncanny Dodge in the deal as well (two levels)?  Point taken though.  Can be a decent substitute.
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ninjarabbit

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2008, 04:20:53 AM »
monk2/paladin17/bard1

Key feats: able learner (to keep up on perform and UMD), ascetic knight, devoted performer, initate of milee (sp).

You get the unarmed strike damage of a 19th level monk, smiting damage of a 20th level paladin, and the bardic music abilities of 18th level bard.

You also might want to consider the overwhemling attack monk variant from UA/SRD since it gets you power attack and improved bull rush, setting you up for shock trooper and divine might.

dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 04:23:17 AM »
So what does that build do?
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AndyJames

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2008, 04:37:41 AM »
Sounds like a Chargedin utilising boosters like Bardic Music and Decisive Strike...

dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2008, 04:48:10 AM »
Sounds like it, but feats?  Skills other than UMD/Perform?  Everything else?  Roles it can fill in the party?  Can it do more than one thing?  Effectively?

Also: no Decisive Strike.  It's a full round action.
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Blade2718

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2008, 05:19:34 AM »
Why do that when I can just multi-class to a full BAB d12 HD class with a similar skill list and decent saves, and get Uncanny Dodge in the deal as well (two levels)?  Point taken though.  Can be a decent substitute.
Alignment.

dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2008, 05:49:14 AM »
Doesn't matter.  Not being lawful just means you can't progress with monk levels.  So: no loss whatsoever.  And I don't play with those anyways.  I realize that that doesn't help, but still.

EDIT: On the same note, my bear warrior build: monk 3/barbarian 2/FotF 3/ BW 5/ Warshaper 4.  Needs three more levels.  Something with mettle will be nice.  Also trading out that third monk level for a level of swordsage or crusader would be acceptable.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 05:51:07 AM by dman11235 »
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ninjarabbit

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2008, 10:18:34 PM »
So what does that build do?

Primary melee, secondary support, basically an almost full-BAB monk who fights equally as well with sword or fist and who can really nova..... chargadin sounds about right

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2008, 11:30:52 PM »
Most people read Shou Disciple to stack for Flurry of Blows. That means monk 6/shou 5 has greater flurry (three attacks at full BAB, no penalty). When interpreted that way, I think that makes Shou Disciple one of the best monk PrCs.

It also lets you flurry in armor, which means you can dump Wisdom, as long as you're not using Stunning Fist (much). Improved Grapple and Improved Trip go well with high Strength, which you can afford if you dump Wisdom and don't worry too much about Dex (you're wearing armor).

This makes for a different kind of "monk" than what most people play. I've played several "monks" built like this, and enjoyed them alot. They're more "braulers" than the typical monk.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 11:33:12 PM by PhaedrusXY »
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

dman11235

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2008, 11:49:19 PM »
Yeah, I just came across that interpretation over on the Tier System thread the other day.  It's still not one of my favorite PrCs, because, well, it's so bland.  Miles better than those 5 monk levels though.  It's one of those "take if you need to" PrCs.  If you've got something better, do it, if not, why not?

On armor: well, my monks are typically getting two different stats to AC: con and wis.  Both require no armor, so just eliminating wis on the armor side of things doesn't help.  It's a balancing act.  Generally if it's just wis, you're better off with armor, if it's wis+dex you're better off without armor, if it's wis+small dex and you can wear armor, then you can get a +9 with a chain shirt or something and save a bunch of money.
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Cyrocloud

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2008, 12:00:44 AM »
If you use the shou disciple can't you use gauntlets to get what ever enchantnment bonuses that you want to your unarmed strike and still work with flurry?

Isn't there also a monk/pally hybrid prc in the FoE that is alright ,(lowers the need for dex but in exchange cha isn't a dump anymore. also I think it grants wis to ac in armor).

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Monk's Handbook
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2008, 12:07:03 AM »
Fist of the Forest came out after I'd pretty much quit playing D&D. So I've never played a character that got Con to AC. I think assuming that everyone will have access to a specific PrC is not a good idea, though. Without FotF, Shou Disciple is pretty good.

Yeah, you can flurry with gauntlets with a Shou Disciple. Some DMs will probably say they always do 1d3, instead of your improved unarmed strike damage, though.
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]