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Thread: Improving the Monk
Saturday, 20th March, 2010, 09:14 PM #1
Improving the Monk
This is the sequel to my work on Fighters (see sig line for link), since I consider these two to be among the weakest of the core classes. Furthermore, they are completely outshined by Tome of Battle adepts. For monks, the problem is largely about combat, while as for Fighters, they needed more skills and out of combat options, on top of more combat versatility. Here are the changes I am considering to add, first of all:
Just as the Fighter gained several maneuvers and great flexibility in selection of them, so too does the monk gain stances. While Fighter gained a maneuvers readied mechanic identical to the Warblade's (but keeping non-readied maneuvers as available once/encounter on top of it) and the ability to learn a great many maneuvers overall, Monk gets the option to change stances as an immediate action a few times/day. He also can completely ignore maneuver pre-reqs, which is somewhat necessary to actually learn some higher level stances w/o additional feat expenditure. Of course, he can never get to level 8+ stances if he needs to fall back on that option.
Rushing Torrent I consider essential to marry the monk's fast movement major feature to his flurry of blows. It also adds a great deal of offensive punch (haha!) for someone who actually sticks it out in monk. A frequent concern is that monks cannot keep up with other classes for damage. Idea came from my friend and the Snap Kick feat.
Wholeness of Body just seemed like it could use a boost to be useful, I see no harm in making it equal the healing capacity of Paladin's lay on hands. The level 15 benefit isn't enough to entice people to stay monk straight classed on its own, but hopefully will help.
I'm wondering if I should drop a class discipline. Six looks like too much. then again, Swordsage and my Gladiator Fighter both get 6. If I dropped one, it'd probably be Desert Wind.
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Sunday, 21st March, 2010, 09:04 PM #2
Consider full BAB. Consider changing 1/week or 1/day abilities to 1/encounter. Get rid of Tongue of Sun and Moon.
Monday, 22nd March, 2010, 04:19 AM #3
I am fine with changing Quivering Palm to 1/day. Abundant Step as 1/encounter seems fair, too.
Why get rid of it? It doesn't really do much, it's just some random "magical monk" ability that has no real tie in to the rest of the class. But you could say that of many monk class features.
Thanks for your input, I think the question I'd like answered the most is, "Do these benefits make the monk appealing to play to level 20?" I'd like to leave the class as compatible with the old version as possible, so variants and splat book rules aren't affected much.
Monday, 22nd March, 2010, 04:31 AM #4
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
One tweek I've used on occasion is to make Monk's weapon selections reflect real-world martial arts styles a bit more. I've posted it a few times here on ENWorld:
That way you get a monk build that can support a wider variety of martial artists, like Shao-Lin monks who use spears and other pole-arms to keep their foes at range, the Capoirist who can fight with manacles, an Escrima fighter who can use twin clubs, Vietnamese chain fighters, Indian Urimi warriors, and so forth.Weapon Proficiencies: The Martial Artist is proficient in all simple weapons, PLUS choose one of the following groups as the PC's Melee Martial Arts Weapons and additional Ranged weapons:
1) 1 One-handed and 2 Light Martial weapons + 1 Martial Ranged Weapon
2) 3 Exotic Light weapons + 1 Martial or Exotic Ranged Weapon
3) 1 Exotic Light Weapon + 1 Exotic One-handed weapon + 1 Martial Ranged Weapon
4) 1 Martial or Exotic 2 handed weapon + 1 Martial or Exotic Ranged Weapon
5) Any 5 Simple weapons +1 Martial or Exotic Ranged weapon
These Melee Martial arts weapons may be used with Flurry of Blows
One thing this does is fold into one class one of the more common changes involved in some of the variant base class monks that WotC has published- many have alternative or expanded weapons lists...such as the one in Oriental Adventures.
In addition, this tweek minimizes the need for the various feats that are used to expand the monk's weapon list (see my database or check out Secrets of Sharlona, DCv1, or PHB2)- essentially saving this feat-hungry class at least one if not 2 feats (or more) while increasing damage output (with certain selections) and style.
Monday, 22nd March, 2010, 04:56 AM #5
I don't know about that tweak...
First of all, not all simple weapons are created equal, especially for a monk. The longspear in particular stands out to me. Flurry at reach (and unarmed covers adjacent)? Sold! You also get some very nice synergy there with the set against charge property. Rushing Torrent makes that route especially deadly (tossing in Hold the Line for extra overkill, perhaps). putting aside flavor for a second, and strictly looking at things mechanically, why would any monk pick another simple weapon over the longspear?
I would be willing to make different weapons lists for other martial arts (and use ones already printed). I would not feel comfortable just letting a player choose one of those options and compile his own list, if that is what you meant. And I don't know about giving proficiency with all simple weapons.
Monday, 22nd March, 2010, 09:56 PM #6
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
Because of the way that slaves were handled, Capoeira was practiced with both hand AND leg chains. Thus, both upper and lower body strikes could be delivered even if seemingly neutralized. In addition, some of the manacled Capoeirists could use the chains for chokes, grapples & locks.
But that's all beside the point.
IME, the proficiency with all simple weapons doesn't affect monks much- most players only carry monk weapons and some kind of ranged weapon anyway. However, I did it that way because some martial traditions do concentrate on a wide variety of weapons...and some RW martial arts weapons are derived from simple weapons. Heck, some are technically just Eastern versions of Western simple weapons.
And actually, I DO just let my players choose their weapons...after talking to them about their monk and what they're trying to model. Not everyone leaps at the longspear, even if they stick to the simple weapons. Some have opted for twin shortspears. One, who multiclassed into Druid, chose sickle as a monk weapon.
Still, you know your players best.
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010, 12:45 AM #7
Ok, I thought you meant the selected weapons are treated as monk weapons for the purposes of flurry of blows and such. If it's just proficiency and they still have to spend a feat to make the new weapons special monk weapons it's not an issue.
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010, 05:35 AM #8
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
No, you read me right, or at least partially so.
They gain basic proficiency with simple weapons. Then they (or you) choose one option from the list of 5 to represent their "style's" martial arts (a.k.a. monk) weapons.''
IME, 90% of monk PCs only have their unarmed strikes, monk weapons and a ranged weapon. Unless a melee weapon can be used with FoB- or there is some kind of campaign reason to do otherwise- they don't burden themselves with weapons.
Like I said, I haven't had any problems with this so far, but, as the saying goes, YMMV.
Part of the reason why I did this is because of the narrowness of the Monk Weapon list, which is obviously not indicative of anything but a very small number of martial arts styles. And while there are feats that let you add to an individual monk's list of monk weapons, the problem is that 100% of them require Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Focus and then the specific Feat to add that weapon to the Monk Weapon list. And some of those feats are broader than others- some of those Feats are specific to a particular weapon (say, longsword only) and other feats apply to a class of weapons (choose one polearm; choose one small weapon).
Under my revised system, monks start off with a choice of monk weapons, and you can still use the same type of regime. To add to the monk's weapon list, the PC still has to take WeapPro, WeapFoc and then take the single homebrew feat that lets you choose that weapon to add to the monk's weapon list.
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010, 07:04 AM #9
Another concern I have when improving these weak classes is dipping. The thing is, oftentimes a weak class makes a great dip. Fighter 1-2 certainly is popular. Monk 1-2 isn't bad if you can make use of the benefits. That's why I try to install my improvements later on in the class. So it's no more appealing to dippers, or only slightly more so, but boosts a straight classed person up. I just can' help but think letting players grab exotic proficiencies of their choice at monk 1 would just have...unintended ramifications.
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010, 07:18 AM #10
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
If that's your concern, simply make it a DM's approval list, and only approve lists that conform to a RW martial arts style. Not many martial arts styles concentrate on Mauls, Bastard Swords, Greatspears or oversized Axes, for instance. Those that concentrate on chain weapons only have the spikes on the ends of the chains, if any.
Again, its a matter of whom you're gaming with. The guys who've tried this tweak out haven't been powergaming, they've been modeling their favorite martial artists.