Monks in Pathfinder 2: Fighting Styles & Ki
  • Monks in Pathfinder 2: Fighting Styles & Ki


    In the latest Pathfinder 2nd Edition news, we get a look at the monk! This is quite a long entry, with details on class features, class feats, fighting styles, and ki.








    • Monks choose between Str or Dex for their key ability
    • Start with expert proficiency in all saving throws, and begin trained in unarmed attacks
    • Powerful Fist increases their unarmed damage die size
    • No Wis bonus to AC
    • Expert proficiency in unarmored defense at 1st level, master at 13th, legendary at 17th
    • Flurry of Blows (1st level) makes two attacks with an unarmed attack action (second at -4)
    • Incredible Movement (3rd level) increases speed by 10' (+5'/3 levels) when unarmored
    • Magic Strikes (3rd level) makes unarmed attacks magical and increases proficiency to expert
    • Metal Strikes (5th level) makes unarmed attacks act as cold iron and silver
    • Path to Perfection (7th level) increases a save's proficiency to master, and at 11th level treat a successful save as a critical success, and at 15th level increase another save to master or the first save to legendary
    • Fierce Flurry (9th level) increases flurry of blows damage dice when both attacks hit
    • Adamantine Strikes (17th level) makes unarmed attacks act as adamantine
    • Perfected Form (19th level) makes any unarmed attack which rolls less than 10 be treated as a 10
    • Monk feats --
      • Monastic Weaponry (1st level) use unarmed attack proficiency with simple/martial monk weapons
      • Brawling Focus (4th level) critical specialisation effect for brawling weapon group (crits cause a condition)
      • Stunning Fist require a save or be flat-footed (or stupefied if critically failed)
      • Deflect Arrow (4th level) reaction gives +4 AC vs a ranged attack
      • Flying Kick uses two actions to jump and strike
      • Ghost Strike uses two actions to target Touch AC
      • Wall Run up vertical surfaces at full speed.

    • Fighting styles --
      • Crane Stance (1st level) gives +1 AC and increased jumping, but only allows crane wing attacks which do 1d6 damage
      • Crane Flutter is a reaction which increases AC against a melee attack and allows an immediate counter attack at -4
      • Mastery of Many Styles (16th level) allows you to enter stances as a free action rather than an action

    • Ki --
      • Ki powers are spells which use Spell Points (equal to Wis modifier)
      • Ki Strike is a verbal free action which give s+1 to an attack roll
      • Abundant Step is a teleport
      • Ki Blast is a cone of force
      • Quivering Palms (16th level) allows you to slay your victim if they critically fail a save, or stun them on a normal fail
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. David MacGillivray's Avatar
      David MacGillivray -
      The ability to choose between strength or dexterity could be an interesting change. Can't wait to start a new 2e campaign.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Some of the changes I’m not happy with (deflect arrows for one) but I am interested in the new take on monks. Right now the consensus on the Paizo forums seems pretty split, and there is worry that again, as in the early days of PF1, AC and offenses will not be strong enough for the monk to survive in close combat.
    1. Sunseeker's Avatar
      Sunseeker -
      This is pretty much the Monk that exists in 3.5/Pathfinder, but worse. That Flurry of Blows penalty, OUCH!

      5E may need to tweak the Ki point progression for the Elementalist, but fundamentally: 5E got the Monk right, above and beyond any other edition ever has.

      What I'm reading here doesn't really feel like the Monk has gotten improved, just broken down into it's parts and had them renamed. If I want to play the 3.X Monk...I won't.
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      I imagine ki powers or skills (for Pahtfinder or D&D) like the martial maneuvers like the ones from "Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords" or "Path of War" by Dreamscarred Press. I miss martial adept archetypes for "oriental" classes (monk, ninja, samurai, sohei..).
    1. Jhaelen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sunseeker View Post
      This is pretty much the Monk that exists in 3.5/Pathfinder, but worse.
      Yep. Given how 13th Age re-imagined the monk this is rather disappointing.
    1. Aguirre Melchiors's Avatar
      Aguirre Melchiors -
      the only thing i dont like in pathfinder 2 is the bunch of litle modifiers.
    1. Ghal Maraz's Avatar
      Ghal Maraz -
      Personal opinions (on the flavour of the class) aside, how's that "worse" than the 3.X Monk?
    1. Jacob Lewis's Avatar
      Jacob Lewis -
      I wonder if we'll see the return of prestige classes again? With so many options baked into the base classes already, they may ether redefine how they work or skip over them entirely.

      Speaking of options, that seems to be a recurring theme that I have seen in these previews. The players have more options not only in building character classes and racial options, but also during play. Use an action to empower a spell, raise a shield, or two actions to activate another ability? This is definitely the advanced game. I anxiously await the release to see how it all comes together!
    1. Sunseeker's Avatar
      Sunseeker -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ghal Maraz View Post
      Personal opinions (on the flavour of the class) aside, how's that "worse" than the 3.X Monk?
      The flurry of blows penalty for one.
      And the removal of Wis to AC, but keeping the "no armor proficiency".

      Because nothing else in it is new, therefore if the only prominent changes are nerfs, it is worse.
    1. Ghal Maraz's Avatar
      Ghal Maraz -
      Context is your friend, here. A typical (?) 25-points-buy PF1 Monk (human) probably has STR 16, DEX 14, WIS 16 (CON 14, INT 12, CAR 8?).

      So, at Level 1: to hit +3 (BAB is 0), Flurry at +1/+1, AC 15. He can flurry only if he stands still and full attack.

      A PF2 STR-based Monk is looking to get STR 18, DEX 16. So: to hit +5 (as he's proficient with unarmed attacks, he gets a [Level+0] modifier on top of the characteristic modifier); Flurry at +5/+1; AC 15 (+3 DEX, +1 Level, +1 Expert proficiency Unarmoured). He can move twice and Flurry; or he can move once, Flurry and Strike; or he can stand still, Flurry and Strike twice. Perhaps better yet, he can move, Flurry and move again (to get out of combat).

      He's more mobile and not MAD as before.
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ghal Maraz View Post
      Context is your friend, here.
      ...
      He's more mobile and not MAD as before.
      Context does help - those are some interesting points. With the new action economy in Pathfinder 2 that's being proposed, is it possible that the monk also just stand still and Flurry 3 times - for 6 attacks in a single round?

      That may explain the hefty -4 penalty on Flurry. If a monk can typically move into combat and immediately make 4 attacks on a target, the -4 penalty sounds like a lot less of a penalty than before.

      When I initially read it I was thinking that a -4 penalty is really severe - because AC and attacks are scaling with level that's basically hitting like you are 4 levels lower than you are. In 13th Age (which also scales like that with level) that's a pretty severe penalty. But if you're making 4 attacks in a round, that penalty might not be so severe. (I assume that there's some penalty on a second attack action in a round from what I've read - I don't know what it is but my gut assumes it's -2, so that would mean that the monk with a +5 bonus to attack would be hitting with +5/+1/+3/-1 on four attacks with Flurry. -4 still seems steep, but not as steep as I thought).
    1. Ghal Maraz's Avatar
      Ghal Maraz -
      No. A Monk can only Flurry once per round (we don't know if there are later levels' Feat that improve on this).

      The other attacks ("Strike" action) suffer all from a bigger malus too, being at -8. But you have to remember that those attacks, while probably hitting less, are possible from Level 1 onwards, so it shouldn't sound strange that they won't hit so often.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ghal Maraz View Post
      No. A Monk can only Flurry once per round (we don't know if there are later levels' Feat that improve on this).
      Is it actually different to what Morrus posted in the OP?
    1. Ghal Maraz's Avatar
      Ghal Maraz -
      Nope. It's the same. Its just that Morrus hasn't specified the only one per round thing about Flurries.
    1. mewzard's Avatar
      mewzard -
      Worth a note on the subject of AC and Attacks. When it comes to AC, Mark Seifter commented on how the Monk holds up:

      "That and starting with expert proficiency in unarmored defense is much faster than any other class in the game (even paladin) gets expert armor proficiency, and you're in a situation where Logan was right about the monk effectively wearing a no-restrictions chain shirt, assuming you have either bracers or a solid mage armor (which now lasts 24 hours). In fact, a full-on Dex-based monk will very eventually hit a point where they can equal even a full plate paladin, all while not having any of the restrictions of heavy armor, which is pretty incredible."

      Sounds like Monks will be fine AC wise.

      As for Attacks, normally attacks work at a +0/-5/-10 rate. Any additional attacks beyond that stick to the -10. Since a Monk's unarmed strike is Agile, it's instead +0/-4/-8 with any additional attacks at a -8.

      On the subject of Flurry of Blows, as far as I'm aware, it takes a penalty, but only as normal for multiple attacks. The Flurry should either be (+0/-4), (-4/-8) or (-8/-8) depending upon when you use it in your number of attacks. As I read it, you don't start with a -4 penalty on your first attack, but it follows the multiple attack penalty. So if you start with it, it functions like two attack actions would normally in one action, but if it's not first, then the first attack in flurry will get penalized, since it's a later attack.
    1. Koloth's Avatar
      Koloth -
      Maybe I missed it but I didn't see if a PF2 Monk's unarmed damaged improves with levels like the 3.5/PF1 monk's does. Never saw much advantage to Str in a 3.5/PF1 monk due to the fairly quick improvements in unarmed damage as levels increased. Found it better to work on Dex and Wis for the BAB increases(assuming Weapon Finesse Unarmed feat) and AC stat bonus stacking. Str is only useful for improving load carrying before becoming encumbered and losing much of your speed bonus. What I found was the PF1 monk fell behind in BAB and sometimes can't compete with the other melee classes. If you can't hit, you can't damage.
    1. mellored's Avatar
      mellored -
      As best as I can tell, the multi-attack penalty stack (0/-4/-8)
      Meaning there is no good reason to stand still and swing a bunch of times, and instead should use that last action to move, raise a shield, or whatever else.

      Flurry of blows lets you attack twice, and still have 2 actions to move twice.
    1. mewzard's Avatar
      mewzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Koloth View Post
      Maybe I missed it but I didn't see if a PF2 Monk's unarmed damaged improves with levels like the 3.5/PF1 monk's does. Never saw much advantage to Str in a 3.5/PF1 monk due to the fairly quick improvements in unarmed damage as levels increased. Found it better to work on Dex and Wis for the BAB increases(assuming Weapon Finesse Unarmed feat) and AC stat bonus stacking. Str is only useful for improving load carrying before becoming encumbered and losing much of your speed bonus. What I found was the PF1 monk fell behind in BAB and sometimes can't compete with the other melee classes. If you can't hit, you can't damage.
      Well, remember that any +X enhancements to weapons improve their damage dice, not the modifier.

      So your item for boosting unarmed damage (I want to say the forums have been calling it Handwraps of Mighty Fists) would raise your unarmed damage dice. So a +5 would make it, say, 6d6 or whatever dice you end up using. Say you use the Dragon Style, and it's 6d10 instead of the 6d6.
    1. Koloth's Avatar
      Koloth -
      Quote Originally Posted by mewzard View Post
      Well, remember that any +X enhancements to weapons improve their damage dice, not the modifier.

      So your item for boosting unarmed damage (I want to say the forums have been calling it Handwraps of Mighty Fists) would raise your unarmed damage dice. So a +5 would make it, say, 6d6 or whatever dice you end up using. Say you use the Dragon Style, and it's 6d10 instead of the 6d6.
      Wasn't really worried about item enhancements. A 1st lvl PF1 monk does 1d6 unarmed. At 4th lvl, that goes to 1d8 and 1d10 at 8th. Oddly, this made the special monk weapons mostly pointless as they capped at 1d6. Saw no mention in this write up or the Paizo blog on any damage progression by level.

      Wonder if the PF2 monk will have the same issues with unarmed damage vs monk weapon damage?
    1. mewzard's Avatar
      mewzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Koloth View Post
      Wasn't really worried about item enhancements. A 1st lvl PF1 monk does 1d6 unarmed. At 4th lvl, that goes to 1d8 and 1d10 at 8th. Oddly, this made the special monk weapons mostly pointless as they capped at 1d6. Saw no mention in this write up or the Paizo blog on any damage progression by level.

      Wonder if the PF2 monk will have the same issues with unarmed damage vs monk weapon damage?
      Well, given style feats change your unarmed attack properties, including what damage dice they do, they might not need to give them that kind of progression.

      Also, with how they made Greatswords 1d12 instead of 2d6, I think they were trying to remove multiple dice on regular, non +X weapons, so everyone adds the same number of dice for the same number of plusses. Meaning, even if they did keep progression, I doubt it'd go above 1d12 (and probably not even that high, like a 1d8 or a 1d10).

      I suppose that could make Monk Weapons more valuable (only costs you a feat to use them and they work with your monk abilities). Though style feats can give you options for hand to hand characters.
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